Monthly Archives: December 2010

treat yourself…to breakfast! + new year’s resolution results

Registered Dietitians and moms most certainly agree on one thing: breakfast is the most important meal of the day!

Lately, I’ve been climbing into my car in the morning, with half of my belongings in tow, and I am realizing something very important…I have been forgetting breakfast. Whether it be eating breakfast at home in the morning, or grabbing something on the go, breakfast has simply vanished from my routine. (And because I am notoriously running late, I don’t go back inside to grab something and rough it through the morning hours.)

As a breakfast lover and someone who wakes up with a grumbling tummy, I had to ponder how and why this was happening. Day after day after day. My co-workers and patients appreciate my soul-searching, too. Hungry me = mean me!

I came to the conclusion that my breakfast options were boring and so breakfast no longer interested me. I took a few moments to peruse my plethora of “to try” recipes and found this one. Glad I did!

Pancake Truffles slightly adapted from Healthy Tipping Point

1/2 cup raw oatmeal
1/3 cup whole wheat pancake mix (I used an omega-3 mix)
1 egg white
1/4 Tbsp cinnamon
1/4 cup almond milk (I used skim)
4 1/2 inches of banana (cut into three 1.5 inch pieces)
1/4 cup whole pecans, crushed
3 Tbsp sugar-free maple syrup

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or tin foil. Place crushed pecans in a small bowl.

Combine first five ingredients in small bowl. Separate mix into three piles. Take one segment of banana and coat in the pancake mix. Form ball around the banana segment, and then roll in the crushed pecans. Place on the cookie sheet. Repeat with other banana segments. Bake for 15 minutes. Drizzle with maple syrup and sever immediately. Serves 1.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 599 calories; 24 g. fat; 1 mg. cholesterol; 492 mg. sodium; 86 g. carbohydrate; 15 g. fiber; 17 g. sugar; 19 g. protein

Result: These were excellent! And they sound more difficult than they are — I was able to whip these together in 5-6 minutes after a morning workout and I baked them while I showered. I gobbled them down while my hair dried and it was perfect! You could also make these the evening before or even whip up a few batches for the busy work week and simply store them in the fridge until ready to bake. They are higher in carbohydrate than I usually go for, especially for the morning, but following a workout, I think they are perfectly appropriate. The high fiber (15 grams!) content also makes the glycemic load less on the body, which is all the better. If you want to reduce the calories some, reduce the amount of pecans as they account for nearly 1/3rd of the calories. While I think they add a lot of taste, texture, and nutrition to the truffles, you could get by with less. Enjoy!

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And in honor of it being the last day of 2010 (crazy!), I should take a moment to review how my 2010 resolutions turned out.

2010 New Year’s Resolution Results

  • fit in exercise AT LEAST 4 days a week, every week — Almost a check. There were TWO weeks in 2010 I only worked out 3 days. So close! I still consider this a great accomplishment and I want to continue to work towards this always and forever! I really do love exercise and for that I am VERY grateful!
  • continue trying new, healthy recipes (one recipe a week!) — Check, check, check!
  • run a half marathon — Barely, but check. I finished. It wasn’t pretty, but it got done. Very humbling.
  • obtain a weight that I feel energized at — Errr no. I am the exact same weight as the start of 2010. I guess that’s not a BAD thing, but this is my focus in 2011.
  • continue blogging about nutrition — Hi! I’m here! Check!
  • earn 500 hours towards the CDE credential — Check. This is no longer surging ahead at the speed I was going in my last job, but I am still completing diabetic education and I still love it just as much as I did in 2009! 😀

    In 2011 my new year’s resolution is simply to obtain a weight I feel energized at. I would love to lose my “PCOS weight” and get back down to my “happy weight”. Here goes nothing! 😉

    Question: What’s been your favorite breakfast lately? Is it heaviest in carbohydrate, protein, or fat? And, what are YOUR new year’s resolutions?

    Happy 2011 to all of my lovely readers! Thank you for your loyal readership, it means so much to me! It’s hard to believe I started this blog in June of 2009!!! Time flies when you’re having fun! Keep your eyes peeled for a giveaway coming up here shortly!! 😉

    Have a safe and WONDERFUL New Year’s celebration!! I hope I am the only one stuck at work today! 😦

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    Filed under blog, breakfast, carbohydrates, diabetes, dietitians, exercise, fiber, fish oil/omega-3's, holiday, PCOS, physical activity, recipe, reduced-calorie, vegetarian, weight loss, work

    Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken

    When the weather started to cool off, before snow began to fall, I committed to using my crock pot more. Crock pot meals are fabulous…who would’ve love walking in from a long work day to find a delicious, piping hot meal? Mmm…sign me up! 😀

    When I got home really late on Tuesday night (10pm is really late, people!), Mr. Prevention and I quickly popped this meal into the crock pot. It took all of 5 minutes, and 4 minutes of that was hand-washing and trimming up the chicken breasts. That simple, yep. We popped the prepared crock pot in the fridge and Mr. P turned the crock pot on at 2pm yesterday. At 7pm, we were eating a delicious, healthy (albeit higher in sodium), no-fuss meal. Crock pot liners are your friend. Invest.

    Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken very slightly adapted from Group Recipes and That’s Damn Good!

    1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (can be frozen)
    15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
    15-ounce can corn, drained
    16-ounce salsa
    8 ounces light cream cheese

    Directions:

    Add chicken to slow cooker and cover with black beans, corn and salsa. Cook on high for 4-6 hours until chicken is cooked. Place cream cheese on top and cook an additional 30 minutes. Chicken will naturally shred, and cream cheese will blend nicely after being stirred. Yield: 5 entree portions.

    Nutrition Information (per serving): 421 calories; 12.4 g. fat; 90 mg. cholesteorl; 890 mg. sodium; 50 g. carbohydrate; 5 g. fiber; 4.8 g. sugar; 44.8 g. protein

    Result: Mr. P said, “It’s not pretty, but it’s good…especially considering how easy and cheap it was.” That pretty much sums it up. It is on the higher side in regards to sodium, due to the canned goods (the salsa added the most sodium), but the fiber, protein, fat, and carbohydrates are all very balanced. I plan to make this again, and will probably try making homemade salsa/pico de gallo to cut out a LOT of the sodium. The portion is generous and can be made into a salad, tacos, or just eaten on its own. Enjoy!

    And because it was a night of Illini football and basketball to finish up 2 LONG days at work, I popped open some Trader Joe’s Vintage Ale. It was very dark and I didn’t finish it all. Good thing…9% ABV!

    Mmmm!

    Question: Do you own a crock pot? If so, do you use it?

    I am going to a Weight Watchers meeting tonight — I look forward to learning about the program and providing feedback to you all!

    Off I go,

    Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken
    Serves 4-6

    1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts(can be frozen)
    15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
    15-ounce can corn, drained
    16-ounce salsa
    8-ounce cream cheese

    Add chicken to slow cooker and cover with black beans, corn and salsa.  Cook on high for 4-6 hours until chicken is cooked.  Place cream cheese on top and cook an additional 30 minutes.  Serve.

    19 Comments

    Filed under beer, crock pot, dinner, fiber, protein, recipe, reduced-calorie, sodium, Weight Watchers

    Sweet Potato Rice Pudding

    It’s not like I didn’t already know that 15 hour work days were no fun, but I can confirm that after yesterday. I had orientation for adjunct faculty last night and *yawn*. Necessary, but *yawn*. Just one of those things.

    Last night, Mr. P helped me throw dinner in the crock pot for tonight. Crock pot meals that can be made at 10pm for the following day are my kind of meals…assuming it’s good. TBD. More on that tomorrow 🙂

    When I went to take my shower last night, I was faced with another hairy decision: wash my hair and don’t working in the morning, or don’t wash my hair and force myself to workout in the morning. I went with the later, so this post will be brief. When time is hard to come by, and stress levels rise, I figure THAT is the perfect time to MAKE time for a workout. So I have 45 minutes on the elliptical planned for…now! Wee!

    But quickly, a recipe. I made this Sweet Potato Rice Pudding before Christmas and froze individual portions. It defrosted really well and it was the perfect “chill out” treat before bed last night. YUM!

    Sweet Potato Rice Pudding seen at The Novice Chef, adapted from Healthy Food for Living

    1 cup water
    1/2 cup brown rice
    pinch of salt
    2 cups 2% milk
    1 Tbsp honey
    1 Tbsp maple syrup
    1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste
    1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
    a pinch of nutmeg
    a pinch of ginger
    a pinch of garam masala
    1/2 1/4 cup golden raisins
    1 cup sweet potato puree (or mashed sweet potatoes)

    Directions:

    Combine water, rice, and salt in a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pot. Bring to a boil, stir once, and cover with a tight fitting lid. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until water is absorbed. The rice will be slightly undercooked, but will continue to cook in the next step. Remove rice from pot and place in a bowl, set aside.

    Combine milk, honey, maple syrup, vanilla bean paste, and spices to the same pot. Bring to a very low boil over medium heat, whisking often so the milk doesn’t scorch. Lower heat to medium-low.

    Whisk in the cooked rice, sweet potato puree, and raisins. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Simmer and occasionally stir until milk cooks down and the rice is creamy, about 20 minutes. DO NOT over-cook.

    Transfer rice pudding to a large bowl and allow to cool, pudding will thicken during this step. To speed up the process you can refrigerate utnil well-chilled.

    Serve warm or cold, with an extra dollop of sweet potato puree and a dusting of cinnamon if desired. Serves 6.

    Nutrition Information (per serving): 172 calories; 2.3 g. fat; 7 mg. cholesterol; 96 mg. sodium; 29 g. carbohydrate; 15.8 g. sugar; 2.5 g. fiber; 4.3 g. protein

    Result: Very good! This isn’t an overly sweet dessert, and the portion is plentiful. I love that it’s low in fat and sodium, with a moderate amount of carbohydrate, along with some fiber. It can be prepared ahead of time, which is great for entertaining. Mr. P refused to even try this dessert, so I ended up freezing a good portion of it for later dates, and it defrosted perfectly! Mmmm!

    Question: Have you ever cooked with homemade vanilla beans?

    …delicious!

    Off to run and then to work! Illinois plays in both basketball (Big 10 season starts!) AND the Texas Bowl tonight!

    Go Illini!!!


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    Filed under crock pot, dessert, exercise, fiber, fruits and vegetables, guilt-free, recipe, sodium, Uncategorized, vegetarian, work

    Back at’em

    Whew! Christmas Drive-By 2010 (Columbus to Chicago to Champaign and back in 3 1/2 days) has come to a close, and I start back to work as of this morning. At least I can say that my brief time away was well-spent with family and friends, and decompressing from the stress that was last week. I am feeling energized and ready to take on a crazy, but fulfilling schedule. I have even toyed around with the idea of moving my workouts to the morning as to allow a bit more flexibility in the evening, and to keep up with regular workouts while teaching 2 nights a week…we will see. The added bonus to morning workouts is my hair and its stubborn cow’s lick do appreciate  a morning wash and blow-dry, but that hasn’t motivated my morning sweat sessions as of yet. 😉 Stay tuned.

    So after getting nailed by a state trooper going 73 mph in a 55, my trip picked up from there. Santa, family, and friends were all too generous. Guess I’ve been on my best behavior in 2010. I’d say so 🙂

    Mr. P and I pulled in the drive-way right around 6:30pm last night. We unloaded and extremely packed car (packed in like sardines, I tell you!) and a very tired Lily Monster. I started on dinner right away — I needed balance, green, and something relatively quick.

    I loved the lunch I had at Northstar Cafe with Gina. I’ve been wanting it ever since! It was called the Buddah Bowl and was described like so:

    Pan seared organic tofu or chicken, long-grain organic brown rice with peanut sauce and bright veggies.

    Yum, right? I went with the tofu and it was fabulous.

    However, I am a tofu novice. I know that I love a slightly crunchy tofu with a soft center, and I’ve been told “sauteing” in oil is the best/only way to get that texture. Wrong! Baking worked beautifully in this dish that I re-created at home.

    Tofu Buddah Bowl Re-Make inspired by Northstar Cafe and Eats Well with Others (sauce)

    1 cup brown rice, dry
    1 block extra-firm tofu, drained and cubed
    6 cups broccoli florets
    2 cups carrots, peeled, and sliced into thin, 4″ long pieces
    1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp nut butter (almond, cashew, peanut, etc.)
    1″ piece ginger, peeled and diced
    6 cloves garlic, chopped
    3 Tbsp cup low-sodium soy sauce
    2 Tbsp sugar
    1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
    2 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
    3 Tbsp water

    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 475° F.

    Cook 1 cup of brown rice according to directions.

    Meanwhile, cube tofu. Spray a ceramic or glass 9×13 dish with non-stick spray. Arrange tofu in a single layer in the dish. Spray tofu with non-stick spray. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

    Bake tofu for 30 minutes, stirring and rotating tofu every 10 minutes.

    In a food processor, mix together nut butter, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sugar, oil, vinegar, and water. Set aside.

    With 5 minutes left to cook on the rice and tofu, steam vegetables in a steamer bag, or place into a large dish and cover. Microwave for 4-4 1/2 minutes or until cooked al dente.

    When rice is cooked, stir in half of the nut sauce. Plate rice and top with tofu and veggies. Drizzle with an additional 1-2 tablespoons of nut sauce. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings.

    Nutrition Information (per serving): 565 calories; 25 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 642 mg. sodium; 52.5 g. carbohydrate; 10 g. fiber; 16 g. sugar; 24.8 g. protein

    Result: This was VERY close to the Northstar Cafe version – delicious! Mr. P really liked it, too. The portion is generous and very high in fiber with a great balance between carbohydrate, protein, and fat. As much as I love baked tofu, this dish would be just as good with shrimp, chicken, pork, or beef…it’s very versatile. You can add more veggies to bulk it up, too! Enjoy!

    I am working today and tonight have orientation for new adjunct instructors until nearly my bedtime!! It’s going to be a long one, but the week looks up from here! 😀

    Question: What are your NYE plans?

    Be well,

    18 Comments

    Filed under dinner, fiber, fruits and vegetables, garlic, healthy cooking, recipe, restaurant, stress, travel, vegan, vegetarian, work

    Savory Leek Bread Pudding

    Thank you for all the Christmas wishes! I do hope everyone had a blessed, safe, and healthy holiday!

    My day after Christmas started with a delicious breakfast and a 5 1/2 mile run/walk on the treadmill — I warmed up walking 1/4 mile, ran 3, walked 1/4 mile, ran 1 1/2, and cooled down walking 1/2 mile. Felt good!

    We are off to do some gift returns, but I wanted to post a recipe we tried the week before Christmas. It’s on the lighter side and very good!

    Savory Leek Bread Pudding adapted from “Ad Hoc At Home” and Eats Well with Others

    3-4 cups leeks (about 3), cut 1/2-inch thick, white and light green parts only
    Kosher salt, to taste
    1 Tbsp unsalted butter
    freshly ground black pepper
    12 cups (about a 1lb 8 ounce loaf) multi-grain bread
    1 Tbsp finely chopped chives
    1/2 tsp dried thyme or 1 tsp fresh chive leaves
    3 large eggs
    6 cups almond skim cow’s milk
    freshly grated nutmeg
    1 cup shredded Emmenthaler or 10 ounces (~10 slices) reduced-fat Swiss cheese

    Directions:

    Place a medium saute pan over medium-high heat.  Drain excess water from leeks and add to pan.  Season with salt and saute until leeks begin to soften, about five minutes.  Reduce heat to medium low. Stir in butter.  Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are very soft, about 30 minutes.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

    Preheat oven to 350.  While leeks are cooking, spread bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake until dry and pale gold, about 20-30 minutes, turning pan about halfway through.  Transfer to a LARGE bowl, leaving the oven on.

    Add leeks, chives, and thyme to the bowl with the bread and mix well.  In another large bowl, lightly whisk the eggs, milk, salt and pepper to taste, and a pinch of nutmeg.

    Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese in the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking pan.  Top with half of the bread cube mixture.  Sprinkle with another 1/4 cup cheese.  Top with remaining bread. Sprinkle with another 1/4 cup cheese.  Pour in enough milk mixture to cover bread and gently press on bread so that it gets soaked with the milk.  Let rest for 15 minutes.

    Add remaining milk mixture, letting some bread cubes protrude.  Sprinkle with salt and remaining cheese.  Bake until pudding is set and top is brown and bubbling, about 1 1/2 hours.  Serve hot. Yield: 12 servings.

    Nutrition Information (per serving, about 1 1/3 cups): 201 calories; 2.9 g. fat; 65 mg. cholesterol; 330 mg. sodium; 27.6 g. carbohydrate; 1.8 g. fiber; 9.4 g. sugar; 15 g. protein

    Result: This was so tasty! I love bread pudding! My only caution with this recipe is that it makes a TON and it does not reheat well in the microwave. It reheated fine in the oven, but the microwave was no good — it just turned soggy and ick. So make this for a crowd, or cut the recipe in 1/2 or 1/4th. Enjoy!

    Question: Do you prefer a savory or sweet bread pudding? And more importantly, did Santa bring you anything good this year? 😉

    Happy holidays,

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    Filed under carbohydrates, dinner, exercise, herbs, holiday, recipe, running, Uncategorized, vegetarian

    Merry Christmas!

    Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas filled with health and happiness!

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    Filed under holiday

    Digging deep for the jolly

    It seems like the closer we get to Christmas the less jolly I feel. Quite frankly, I am beat. I haven’t been sleeping well with the anxiety I’m feeling towards my new teaching job. Obviously I am well-versed in nutrition, but I have never lectured 5 hours a week…while balancing a nearly full-time job and a growing private practice. I feel like my to-do list leaves me feeling like nothing ever gets accomplished and there’s always so much on my plate yet to get done. Don’t get me wrong, I am very excited about my new teaching gig…I just hope I do well and give my students the best dose of nutrition ever!

    My schedule come January is going to be…insane. I work 34 hours a week in dialysis, teach 5 hours + prep and grading, spend time in private practice and meetings with my partners as much as possible, and love to spend time cooking, exercising, playing ice-hockey, and blogging. I feel like there’s about 8 million balls in the air and I’m trying to keep them all from colliding or crashing to the ground. I thrive in busy environments, but this impending schedule is simply stressing me out.

    In order to keep blogging a hobby that brings me enjoyment, I will have to see what my schedule allows as far as posting. While I hope to continue blogging most every day, that may no longer be realistic. As much as that saddens me, I hope you understand…a girl has got to do what a girl has got to do!

    Today I am working a short day before picking up Lily at doggy daycare and we make the trip together to Chicago. Mr. Prevention is off on a “Poker Run” today in Illinois with his high school friends. Imagine 30-year-old men in 80’s workout clothes, running around the University of Illinois campus collecting poker cards from various bars for drinking certain beers, shots, and cocktails. As imature as this sounds, it’s a blast….and I will be stuck working. Bitter much? You betcha! The excessive alcohol doesn’t interest me, but not being able to witness this event this year is a shame! But really, I just miss having an actual “Christmas Vacation”…or any substantial amount of time off for the holidays. Oh well. I am very thankful for being employed, there is no doubt.

    On a completely unrelated note, several of you have asked me about the new PointsPlus plan from Weight Watchers. As familiar as I am with Weight Watchers, I am not familiar with the new plan. I did, however, find out that my company reimburses 100% for Weight Watchers and so I have plans to attend a meeting very soon to get the skinny (pun intended). With my company, however, you sign-up for either a 13 or 18-week package and are then reimbursed if you attend all the meetings (you can miss up to 3). Several coworkers are taking the plunge to join and I figured it would be a great opportunity to learn about the new program (and give my honest feeback to you all, of course!) and to possibly take off some weight that I have commonly referred to as my “PCOS weight”. Being the go-getter that I am, in addition to feeling as heavy as a boulder with all the Christmas eats, I went all out for the 18-weeks of Weight Watchers. Sure, it will be a challenge to take that time out for meetings, but it is a part of my “me” time that I require for sanity.

    It will certainly be interesting, as a dietitian, to sit in on a Weight Watchers meeting. It’s been a long time since I attended Weight Watchers AND lead Weight Watchers meetings. I have heard bits and pieces of the new program — good and bad…from media and members alike. The information regarding PointsPlus found online is very vague and I hope to bring you all information on the new program from my perspective.

    Well, that’s a wrap for the most whiny and random post…ever (?) on Prevention RD. I will be glad to pull into Chicago this evening and spend some time with the family, and hopefully a good night’s rest!

    I’ll leave you with a recipe for some tasty Pumpkin French Toast with Light Pumpkin Butter, inspired by our hosts in Albuquerque. Their pumpkin french toast was delicious!!


    Pumpkin French Toast with Light Pumpkin Butter

    1-16 ounce loaf challah, cut into 8 slices, about 3/4 to 1-inch thick
    1 cup of Egg Beaters or egg substitute
    1 cup + 3 Tbsp pumpkin puree, divided
    1 cup of skim milk
    1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
    3 Tbsp Smart Balance Light or Earth Balance
    1 Tbsp brown sugar
    non-stick spray

    Directions:

    For the butter, combine 3 tablespoons of pumpkin puree with the Smart Balance Light and brown sugar. Combine well.

    Cut bread into 3/4 to 1-inch thick slices. In a large bowl, whick together Egg Beaters, 1 cup pumpkin puree, milk, and pumpkin pie spice. Soak bread in milk-egg mixture for 1-2 minutes.

    Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Place the soaked bread in the skillet or on the griddle, flipping after the bottom has browned. Cook the opposite side until browned. Serve immediately. Serves 8 with ~1 tablespoons of pumpkin butter.

    Nutrition Information (per slice with 1 Tbsp pumpkin butter): 221 calories; 6.6 g. fat; 17 mg. cholesterol; 340 mg. sodium; 35 g. carbohydrate; 3.4 g. fiber; 8.2 g. sugar; 8.2 g. protein

    Result: Carb-o-licious! It’s hard to limit to just 1 piece, but they are rather large. I splurged and had 2 one morning and I ate the leftover pieces one at a time with an over-medium egg. Delicious! Pumpkin is never out of season in my kitchen or belly!!!

    I may not be 100% jolly (just yet!), but our neighborhood is sure all decked out! Our block all decorates our trees the same and it really does look festive and beautiful!

    Question: Does the hustle and bustle of the holiday season make you giddy with glee, or do you get a bit overwhelmed and stressed?

    I think working adults need sanctioned holiday vacations like kids in school. I remember the days of a full MONTH with nothing but sleeping in was of concern! College, I miss you!

    Tis the season,

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    Filed under breakfast, butter, carbohydrates, coffee, condiments, diet, dietitians, holiday, PCOS, recipe, stress, weight loss, Weight Watchers, work