Category Archives: condiments

Creamy Parmesan Spinach Dip

Happy Wednesday!

It’s snowing just about everywhere in the US it seems! When I walked out of work yesterday (in ballet flats!) a good 4″ of snow had fallen. Needless to say, the 20 steps to my car lead to near frost bite. Brrrrr!!! But despite this weather, the show must go on. I have lab rounds at a clinic that’s 50 miles north of home and then I will double back to go teach tonight. It’s probably fair to say I’ll be commuting most of the day. Fabulous.

Though, sitting in the car sounds okay right about now. I decided to shovel for my workout last night. I went out with intentions of just just do the sidewalks, but that only took about 10 minutes. So I decided to shovel the DRIVEWAY! Yep, you read that correctly. And the best part: we have a brand new snow blower! I’m walking like a hunch-back today, and sore is the understatement of the century, but it was a KILLER workout! I wonder what the neighbors are saying… 😉

On to a lightened up classic! This recipe contains light mayonnaise, which I must admit, I love. I know a lot of people don’t like mayonnaise, but I love the stuff (Hellmann’s mayonnaise, please! And no Miracle Whip! Ew!). It’s not like I use it often, but I love it in recipes where it belongs: chicken salad, tuna salad, dips, etc. I recall several years ago brainstorming summer job options with my sister-in-law — one of her requirements for a job was that it didn’t involve mayonnaise!! We had a good laugh over that one. I have a terrible memory, but I’ll never forget it! 😉

Creamy Parmesan Spinach Dip from Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes

10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and excess liquid squeezed out
1/2 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp light mayonnaise
1/3 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
1/4 cup scallion, chopped
fresh pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Can be made one day in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. Yield: 2 cups (8 servings, 1/4 cup each).

Nutrition Information (per 1/4 cup): 84 calories; 6.1 g. fat; 16 mg. cholesterol; 172 mg. sodium; 2.4 g. carbohydrate; 0.3 g. fiber; 4.4 g. protein

Result: DELICIOUS! I ate this cold with crackers and veggies, Mr. P heated it up and ate it on chips. It is versatile and scrumptious! It’s perfect to take in lunches to doll-up raw veggies, or as an appetizer at a dinner party. And the portion size is generous for the nutrition stats! Enjoy! 😀

Off for a crazy day! Why do I have a feeling dinner is going to be a Larabar and clementines? Going prepared!

Question: Is it snowing where you are? Do you like mayonnaise?

Drive safe! Stay warm!


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Filed under condiments, fruits and vegetables, Gina's WW Recipes, hors d'oeuvres, low-carb, physical activity, recipe, reduced-calorie, teaching, travel, Uncategorized, vegetarian, work

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

Gluten-Free Cheesy Meatloaf Balls

Mr. Prevention and I were both home from work by 4:45 yesterday afternoon…that’s nearly unheard of. Unfortunately, it was pouring rain so outdoor exercise and dog walking were not in the picture and we settled on indoor workouts. Mr. Prevention hopped on the treadmill while I prepared dinner and then I hopped on while supper cooked. Teamwork! Kinda.

I saw this recipe on Katie’s blog and it looks SO good! When I told Mr. P what I was making he did a double-take. I’m not a meatball lover, nor is he. My suspicion of his distaste for my dinner selection was confirmed when he requested ONE meatball on his plate. Now is a good time to mention Mr. P eats one of nothing…it’s more like double digits of all things edible. The man can eat.

Needless to say, one meatball turned into 4 or 5. “These are good,” he said. With an added, “This is something I would’ve never touched 10 years ago, but I like it now.”

You’d think I fed the man slop with his apprehension at times. Victory for the home team.

Gluten-Free Cheesy Meatloaf Balls slightly adapted from Healthy Heddleston

Ingredients for balls:
1 lb ground turkey
1 cup crushed gluten free crispy rice cereal
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 egg
1/4 cup ketchup
1 cup 2% shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 tsp dried onion
dash of pepper

Ingredients for glaze:
3/8 1/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup BBQ sauce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Combine all of the ingredients for balls. Roll mixtures into mini meatloaf balls (about 15).

Combine all ingredients for the glaze. Gentle apply glaze to each meatloaf ball with a pasty brush. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until cooked thoroughly. Yield: 15 meatloaf balls with glaze (about 5 servings; 3 meatloaf balls each).

Nutrition Information (per serving, 3 balls): 325 calories; 9 g. fat; 121 mg. cholesterol; 1010 mg. sodium; 29.4 g. carbohydrate; 0 g. fiber; 33.8 g. protein

Result: Delicious! The cheese and sweet BBQ glaze was a unique combination. The ingredients were easy to combine and quick to throw together. A great, tasty meal even us meatball non-lovers loved! I served the meatloaf balls with a homemade Caesar salad and garlic-roasted tri-colored potatoes 🙂

Question: What’s something you wouldn’t touch as a kid or earlier in life and have come to enjoy?

My most recent discovery was anchovy paste. I would’ve never touched that stuff with a 10-foot pole before making my own Caesar dressing!!!

Be well,

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Filed under condiments, exercise, healthy cooking, physical activity, recipe, running

Not Greek? Not good.

When Mr. Prevention and I lived in Tulsa, our house had a huge jetted tub. And every Monday when Mr. P’s BusinessWeek magazine came in the mail, he would grab 2 beers, his magazine, and head for the tub. A routine that annoyed me just a bit…the man could bathe for HOURS..

This week, Mr. Prevention pointed out an article in his BusinessWeek about yogurt. For the past year yogurt sales look like this:

Yoplait: -2%
Fage: +57%
Oikos: +88%
Chobani: +246%

Of course health & fitness bloggers jumped on the Greek yogurt band wagon quite some time ago, but it appears most everyone is now on the Greek yogurt train. Or should I say the Chobani train?

There’s no denying Greek yogurt has its perks. Outside of taste, there’s the added protein and loads of live and active cultures to keep your gut nice and healthy. Plus, most are organic products. The drawback tends to be cost. Yoplait and Dannon have tried to meet the demands of the Greek yogurt trend at a lesser cost, but fall short (taste wise) to brands such as Fage and Chobani. Of course, that is just my opinion. Personally, I buy most any brand because I buy what’s on sale for the week.

A huge thanks to Siggi’s who loaded up my fridge this week with their strained yogurt to try! I am yet to try Siggi’s…can’t wait! 😀

And for those adventures folks out there, you can successfully make Greek yogurt in a yogurt maker or a crock pot. I’ve tried both with great results! 😀 And there is a definite cost savings if you decide to tackle Greek yogurt-making for the long haul.

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Aside from Greek yogurt, I have also been enjoying Pumpkin Cream Cheese on my bagel thins for breakfast this week. A few weeks ago I made Pumpkin Butter and I simply mixed equal parts of that delicious pumpkin butter and light cream cheese. Divine! Note: Bring the pumpkin butter and cream cheese close to room temp before combining. Then your cream cheese won’t be chunky like mine. No biggie, it’ll just look prettier 😉

Question: What’s your favorite brand of Greek yogurt?

I think my favorite is Fage, but I’ve heard great things about Siggi’s. I hope I can confirm! 😀

Have a Happy Halloween weekend! Be sure to check-in over the weekend to see pictures from “Pup-A-Ween” at the dog park on Saturday afternoon. Lily is going in her tutu and there’s going to be BOBBING FOR HOT DOGS!!! You’d better bet I’ll be there…with my camera! I can’t wait…haha!

TGIF,

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Filed under breakfast, condiments, crock pot, dog, grocery store, pets, protein

fall means roast in the crock pot to me…you?

It’s rare I go to the grocery store and purchase a several pound piece of meat (i.e. beef, pork, whole chicken, etc.) — it intimidates me. And call me crazy, but I’ve never been a huge fan of touching raw meat…it kinda takes away from my enjoying the final product. But, I like meat and sometimes that means buying and handling large hunks of meat. And I don’t know about you, but something about fall makes me want a roast in the crock pot all day long getting nice and tender. Which lead me to this recipe, and it did not disappoint!

Slow Cooker Char Siu Pork Roast from Cooking Light

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
3 Tbsp ketchup
3 Tbsp honey
2 tsp bottled minced garlic
2 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tsp dark sesame oil
1/2 tsp five-spice powder
2  pounds boneless Boston butt pork roast, trimmed
1/2 cup  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

Directions:

Combine first 8 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Place in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add pork to bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator at least 2 hours, turning occasionally.

Place pork and marinade in an electric slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8-12 hours.

Remove pork from slow cooker using a slotted spoon; place on a cutting board or work surface. Cover with aluminum foil; keep warm.

Add broth to sauce in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 30 minutes or until sauce thickens. Shred pork with 2 forks; serve with sauce. Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 3 ounces pork and 1/4 cup sauce).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 227 calories; 73 mg. cholesterol; 561 mg. sodium; 9.5 g. fat; 12.7 g. carbohydrate; 0.4 g. fiber; 21.6 g. protein

Result: This recipe was easy and delicious! The recipe called for 8 hours of  cooking on low, but I was gone at least 12 hours today and the roast was just fine. It literally FELL apart, no shredding required. I struggled with what to serve with the pork and I landed on fresh bread and an arugula salad…a very simple, flavorful, and easy fall meal. 😀 Mr. P really liked this recipe, too. He compared it to BBQ pulled pork (silly man…) and proceeded to slather about 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce on his meat, but whatever. I found it to be juicy and PLENTY moist and flavorful. Mr. P tends to ruin any flavor with condiments, but I try to refrain from stopping him! I am just glad it wasn’t buffalo wing sauce *eye roll*

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Thank you for all of your kind words about my migraine. I forgot to mention how I called the Walgreens pharmacist MY HERO as he handed over my migraine medicine. Ends up, I didn’t have a script to refill and he found an “emergency dose script” in an old order (???). I’ve never heard of this before, but I wasn’t going to questing anything with that debilitating migraine…it was everything in me not to beg, plead, and cry for the meds. And if I’m being truthful, there were tears…it was THAT bad. BUT, alas, I was a new woman yesterday morning…and I feel great! For anyone who suffers from migraines, you all the empathy in the world coming from me!

My first upper body strength workout went well…but slightly torturous, not going to lie. It was tough, but in a good way. I hope I can keep it up! And in response to a few emails, I am still candy-free!  Thanks for keeping me motivated, folks! 😀

Question: What was your best ever Halloween costume?

I think mine was as a bee in college. I remember “stinging” quite a few young men and having a lot of fun!

P.S. Keep your eyes peeled for some information on my private practice nutrition company! We got some exciting news today and I’m anxious to share…just waiting for our website to launch and then I’ll spill all!! 😀

Have a spoooky day,

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Filed under challenge, condiments, Cooking Light, crock pot, dietitians, dinner, doctors, exercise, healthy cooking, low-carb, physical activity, prescription drug, protein, recipe, salad, work

keeping a salad healthy & flu shots: yay or nay?

I was talking with a new patient at our clinic yesterday and when I started asking his food preferences he immediately confessed that he didn’t like salads, or most vegetables outside of corn, potatoes, and peas…and I hadn’t mentioned a peep about anything fruit or vegetable-related…yet. I could sense that he was slightly defensive and definitely preparing himself mentally for the “Vegetable Police” to start raking him over the coals. Fortunately for him (and myself and others), I am far from the anything police and I definitely take the approach of meeting people where they are in order to make small, meaningful, and lasting changes in their diet.

Same goes for myself, promise. It’s funny to me how many people think dietitian = salad fiend. To the contrary, salads are an item I rarely “crave” and if given an option between a salad and another entree at a restaurant, I’d likely prefer the other entree. In addition, many restaurant salads are loaded with calories and fat. My general rule of thumb for salads is to choose ONE of the following high-calorie salad toppings: nuts, seeds, cheese, or dried fruit. It’s not uncommon to see ALL of the above additions on many salads offered at dining establishments, making them a not-so-healthy option.

I had a perfect fall salad last night featuring some of my favorite in-season fresh fruits: figs, pomegranate, and honeycrisp apple…along with my high-calorie (nutrient-dense) sunflower seeds all atop a huge bed of arugula and drizzled with Girard’s Apple Poppyseed dressing.

 

And because Mr. Prevention passed along his cold before heading out of town for work, I also had half of a can of good’ol tomato soup…

Being sick in warm weather is the worst!! At least it was down to 70° last night when I ate my soup outside! And I must admit, not cooking a meal OR exercising last night made for a relaxing evening with Lily, TV, and then a great book 😀

Speaking of exercise (or lack thereof) and illness…

I get asked a lot if it’s “bad” to workout if you’re ill. In my opinion, unless you’re running a fever, it’s perfectly okay to workout so long as you listen to your body. However, taking a few days off to recuperate from an illness can be more beneficial than pushing through a workout that’s either too much physically or mentally. No one knows your symptoms and body better than yourself so I firmly believe that you have to give the body what it needs, and often times that is rest during illness.

Question: What’s your opinion of flu shots? Do you typically get one each year…why or why not?

Flu shot clinics are popping up EVERYWHERE here in central Ohio and I am not well-versed on the topic. I have personally only received one flu shot in my adult life. Why? Because I haven’t had the flu in my adulthood. *KNOCK ON WOOD* I (probably falsely) rationalize that I’ve fared well thus far during flu season, why jinx it? Impart on me your flu shot wisdom and opinions, please!

Be well,

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Filed under condiments, dietitians, dining out, dinner, exercise, fruits and vegetables, physical activity, recipe, salad, vegetarian, wine

Q&A: ginseng, hidden sodium, and raw milk

Quick update: Home inspection did NOT go well…at all (you can’t judge a book…or a home…by its cover!). Back to square one. Oh the joys of buying a home…I’ll keep you guys posted. Thanks tons for all of your support and well wishes on our big move. Despite the hurdles and big changes, I need to stay positive while we’re in transition!!

As for the job-hunt, I am trying to keep an open mind but I want to still keep my paws in diabetes…some how…some way. I am nearly 50% complete with my 1,000 diabetic education hours needed to sit for the exam and I am not giving up that easily on pursuing my CDE. Diabetes is my passion!

And on to a most excellent line-up of Q&A!

Jodie of Jodie Pilates: I would like to know your opinion on ginseng, specifically for energy. Are there any other supplements you can suggest for energy?

Prevention RD: Caffeine and ginseng are the two most natural stimulants that come to mind. I recently started taking ginseng for my blood glucose and have noticed no increase in energy*. However, ginseng is most commonly found in large doses in energy drinks, such as Red Bull and Monster and is most “famous” for its stimulant-effects. I feel both caffeine and ginseng can be a part of a healthy diet, but I think a good night’s sleep is the best energy boost of all! 😉 Note: If you do utilize ginseng or caffeine, do so earlier in the day to help avoid sleep disturbances.

*Ginseng is working beautifully in lowering my fasting blood glucose, however! My fasting blood sugars have gone from 95-103 mg/dl into a much preferred 83-90 mg/dl range. In less than a week, I am SO pleased with the results!

Liz in Dallas: My grandmother and my dad have both recently been put on low-salt diets. It is easy for them to deal with at home, since my grandmother and my mom cook all their own food and very rarely eat anything processed. The problem seems to be out at restaurants. Both of them eat out for lunch pretty much every day, and my grandmother also goes out to eat for dinner quite frequently. What should they be ordering to avoid sodium overload? Are there dishes that they should always avoid? What do you think are the most sneaky sources of sodium?

Prevention RD: Low-sodium “diets” are tough…really, really tough. Restaurants are notorious for using exorbitant amounts of salt. If it’s possible, your grandmother and dad could decrease the frequency of meals out, or dine at restaurants with published nutrition information (e.g. Chili’s, Applebees, Subway, etc.) so they are sure to make a salt-friendly meal selection. If meals out are a must, there is plenty to know, however! Anything breaded or fried is going to have more salt, so looking for key words on menus such as baked, broiled, steamed, and grilled can be helpful in reducing salt. Chips, fries, and other side dishes such as potato salad are also high in sodium, as are sauces, dressings, and other condiments. Because sodium is hidden in just about everything, the best thing to do at restaurants is to exercise portion control, especially since the portion sizes are generally rather large. When ordering food at a restaurant, they can ask the server to put dressings and sauces on the side so they can control how much they consume. And it’s always an option to take home half their meal and have a small snack before and/or after dining out. Sharing meals is another great option. Best of luck to them! Great question 🙂

Lena of LMC in the World: I read an article in a recent Economist magazine about the trend of raw milk. It was saying there are some nutritional benefits which are eliminated in the pasteurization process and some people are selling/buying raw milk. Had you heard of this trend? It also said the FDA has not identified any nutritional benefits and there are still a number of laws to restrict the sale of raw milk because it can be dangerous. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Prevention RD: What a great question! This is a HOT trend right now, you betcha! Raw milk and dairy simply not been pasteurized, as you stated. Unpasteurized dairy can contain harmful and potentially fatal bacteria including E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella. The National Dairy Council, Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control, American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, among others, endorse pasteurized milk and dairy. According to the National Dairy Council there is no scientific evidence to suggest that there is any nutritional benefit to raw milk and dairy of that which has been pasteurized. In fact, pasteurized milk is fortified with vitamin D, making is a more nutritionally desirable product over raw milk. And did you know that it is actually illegal to sell raw milk in some US states? Check out your local raw milk and dairy laws if you choose to consume raw dairy. While raw milk and dairy carries some risk of bacterial contamination, I think the larger issue is knowing where the products come from and the cleanliness of the site. I know there are many raw milk and dairy advocates out there, but I tend to side with the majority on this one. Would I try raw milk or dairy from a dairy I trusted? Probably. Is it recommended for the young, old, or uninsured? Probably not. 😉

I’ll leave you with a picture of my sleepy girl after her day at camp. She snored ALL night!

Question: What supplements do you take and why?

Happy half-way to Friday!

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Filed under blog topic request, blood glucose, coffee, complimentary and alternative nutrition, condiments, diabetes, dietitians, dining out, enriched/fortified, farming, fast food, food safety, hypertension, minerals, raw food/rawism, restaurant, sleep, sodium, supplements, vitamins