Along with the food and festivities of the holiday season, it’s also prime time for stepping up our generosity and lavishing our family and friends with the fruits of our gift-giving prowess. That being said, it can be pretty challenging to discover that perfect little something to surprise and delight the people we love… and I think we can all benefit from a little inspiration. Thus, this is a gift guide for my kind of people: people who love to cook, eat and obsess over food. If you love someone who sees the kitchen as a playground, I hope you’ll find something here that they can get excited about!
Personally, I fall somewhere in the middle. Traditional flavors, but with enough twist to keep things interesting. Right at home on my holiday table? These dreamy Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes.
I think it’s safe to say that I don’t conform to the “Food Police” reputation that is often (usually unfairly) attributed to dietitians. For one thing, I support a total diet approach, and advocate for eating and loving good food. Secondly, I find that it’s more productive to talk about the positive aspects of nutrition: getting plenty of the good things that our bodies need. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not important to also talk about dietary patterns that have been recognized by researchers to be harmful and associated with specific health outcomes. Knowledge is power, and this stuff is real!
The reason why I’m finding myself on this soapbox today is because I’m inspired by the good work they’re doing at SugarScience.org. The site launched this week as a project by leading experts in the field, who are making an effort to publicize what we currently understand about the risks of eating too much added sugar. The content is exhaustively researched and simply communicated – public health gold, in my book. In addition to perusing the research, you can follow their blog, submit your own questions to their panel of experts, and access a wealth of resources for spreading awareness of the associations of excess sugar consumption with not only obesity and diabetes, but a whole range of inflammatory and hormonal disorders including cancer, heart disease, liver disease, aging, dementia and Alzheimer’s. Seriously, you’ll want to dig into this information. If you’re a dietitian who counsels patients, definitely incorporate some of these killer infographics into your handout repertoire!
As good as these cookies look, I have to tell you that they can look even better. The part that you’re not seeing is the impeccably crackly turbinado sugar crust that sadly dissolved in my humid kitchen in the 24 hours between the baking session and the time I managed to get the camera out. I really wanted to bake a fresh batch to give you some more true-to-life images, but I had to tackle these, and then a gluten-free version for a potluck party, and then Halloween happened… and you guys, I’m sorry, but I just can’t handle another batch of cookies in my house right now. I promise, when the occasion strikes to bake my next batch, I’ll Instagram it for you. Deal?
Surely you understand that I just had to get this online, because pumpkin season is fleeting, and I don’t want you to miss out on such a great cookie. I mean, seriously: Whole-Grain. Pumpkin. Snickerdoodles.
While you can also whip this up as a quick side dish, this recipe is mostly about healthy-eating logistics. We can all benefit from a trick for making it easier to eat more vegetables, and this is one that I keep up my sleeve. I like to make a full batch of All-Purpose Greens to store in my fridge and use throughout the week in meals that could benefit from an extra serving of veggies. It’s an effortless way to add color and flavor, not to mention fiber, vitamins, minerals, and all of the other disease-fighting phytochemicals that make vegetables the foundation of a healthy diet.
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The result was savory, satisfying, and absolutely LOADED with nutrition. And while it gives off the vibe of a fancier weekend dinner, this thing is a 40 minute meal! I can hardly think of an easier way to break into the new season and fulfill your hearty home-cooking dreams.
Tis the season to enjoy pumpkin-flavored treats, so I’m dropping in with this quick Saturday post to share my simplest life-hack for satisfying those cravings when there’s no time for baking from scratch. This is the way that I cover both my seasonal craving for pumpkin spice AND my year-round need for dark chocolate in one simple snack-dessert with relatively respectful ingredients. All it takes is a Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Waffle from the freezer section, and a schmear of my favorite dark chocolate almond spread. Like you needed another reason to keep a jar of that in your fridge! Take it easy, happy weekend!
If you’re a seasoned Caribbean foodie, please note that I’m not claiming any authenticity. When I dreamed up this stew, I was going for a hearty foundation of powerful plant foods, tempered with tropical coconut milk and some warm spices as my simplified allusion to Jamaican jerk-style seasoning. Authentic cuisine? Not exactly. Super satisfying healthy dinner? Most definitely!
This time last year, the grisly scene above – probably familiar to some of you! – was a mainstay of my living room floor (the only place with enough room to spread out all of the materials I wanted at my fingertips). That’s right… Today I’m celebrating my first full year as an RD!
While becoming a dietitian was a major undertaking, from the years of classes, to the way-too-long-to-be-unpaid internship, to the final frazzled study sessions (Even Chuy seems to say, “Um… is everything OK??”) I’m confident that it was the best choice I could have made for my future. So I’m taking this milestone as an opportunity to share some of my perceptions from my experience so far. If you’re into it, come join in for a little #RDChat!