limbo.

Some like it cold…

Verry Berry Breakfast Smoothie

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 Tbsp. crushed flax
  • toppings: sunflower seed butter and Natures Path Pumpkin Flax Granola
  1. Blend all ingredients together in a mixer and top with your favorite add-ons!

And some like it hot…

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 small/medium apple, diced small
  • 1 cup milk + 1/4 cup water
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp. crushed flax
  • toppings: walnuts and Natures Path Pumpkin Flax Granola
  1. In a large dish, microwave all ingredients together for 5 minutes, stirring once halfway through.  Top with your favorite add-ons!

Me?  I haven’t really decided yet.  The weather isn’t officially feeling like spring.  But it doesn’t quite feel like winter either.  Yep.  Here in New England, we’re in a serious state of limbo.

QUESTION: What have you been eating for breakfast?

hug a bowl of soup

I am cold, and all I want is soup.

Most of my favorite soups are the ones that will never win a beauty contest. 

Split pea soup.  Lentil soup.  Brazilian Black Bean Soup.  Creamy Mushroom Soup.  They leave me feeling more and more comforted with each delightful bight.  Happy with life in general, no matter what kind of crazy day I may have had.  Soups that are filled to the absolute brim with bright and beautiful personalities.  Warm and friendly and totally indulgent.

This creamy mushroom soup—from the latest Eating Well magazines—is one of my current favorite soups.  It’s rich, smooth and full of body.  Come to think of it, it’s a little like warming up to a bowl of savory mushroom gravy and realizing that such a guilty indulgence is actually okay.  More than okay.  That it’s actually healthy for both your mind and your body.  Really, it’s enough to make a girl sing.

Side Dish: Salad

Side Dish: Homemade Whole Wheat Bread
(made with blackstrap molasses)

There is nothing quite like hugging a bowl of creamy mushroom soup after a chilly January run. 

Life is so delicious.

Creamy Hungarian Mushroom Soup—as seen in Eating Well Magazine

I recommend doubling this recipe and serving it out on the chilliest of winter nights.  It pairs lovely with a rich, dark bread and a simple side salad. 

Each bowlful of this creamy soup offers you more than just flavor.  You’ll also get a healthy dose of calcium, vitamin A, potassium, vitamin C, fiber and protein.   Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons paprika, preferably Hungarian
  • 2 tablespoons dried dill
  • 4 cups mushroom broth or reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 2 cups low-fat milk
  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Preparation

  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid evaporates, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are very soft, about 3 minutes more. Add flour, paprika and dill and cook, stirring, for 15 seconds. Add broth, milk and potatoes; cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to maintain a lively simmer and cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in sour cream and salt. 

Question: What are some of your favorite soups?

ready (or not) for winter

Dear winter, I’m not really ready for you yet.  I love your sparkly flurries, your rush of cool air, and yes, I even love your fierce and bold personality.  But…I’m just not ready for you yet.

It was only about 10 months ago, when I was out running 11 miles in the middle of a blizzard.  My face felt numb.  My feet felt like…well…they actually felt like nothing at the time.  And I had a smile plastered on my face, as if I had just been botoxed.  And, I truly loved every second of the experience.

Now, fast forward 10 months to the present:  December 8, 2010.

The moment I stepped my sleepy self outside and onto the front porch, I wanted to run back and hide under my warm, dreamy blankets.  Into my dark, cozy room.  For just a few more moments.  *Sigh.*

It was 16 degrees out this morning with a blustery wind that immediately burned my cheeks.  But I wasn’t out running 11 miles.  There was no snow on the ground.  I could feel my feet.  Life wasn’t really that bad after all. 

And so I kept on trudging.  One foot in front of the other until I began feeling warm again.  This happened on the last stretch home as I covered a nice gentle 3 mile run.  Sometimes getting out of bed and facing the cold is a major challenge for me, but it’s always so well worth it in the end. 😀

Overnight Oatmeal

If you plan on working out in the morning, it’s important to not give yourself any available excuse for getting out of it.  Especially in the winter, when we need all the motivation that we can possibly get. 😉

This preparation method saves you the trouble (and time) of putting things together in the morning.  A quick pop in the microwave, and your breakfast is ready.  And finally, after fueling yourself with a warm bowl of hot oats, head out and get your workout in.  You’ll be glad you did. 😀

  • 1/2 c. uncooked oatmeal
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1 T. flax
  • 1 c. milk + 1/4 c. water
  • toppings: about 2 T. peanut butter
  1. Combine all of the ingredients together except for the peanut butter.  Place in a high topped (to avoid boiling over) microwaveable dish and put in fridge overnight.
  2. The next morning, place dish in microwave for 2-3 minutes.  Stir.  Heat another 1-2 minutes and top with peanut butter. 
  3. ENJOY! 😀

Question: Are you ready for winter this year?  What are some of your favorite activities in the winter months?

cold recovery

I don’t know what’s come over me.

Apparently, nobody gave me the memo that you’re supposed to lose your appetite when you’re sick. 

And—apparently—nobody gave me the memo that you’re supposed to crave mostly soup and crackers when you’re not feeling well.

I spent about 10 minutes or so at the Whole Foods’ meat counter on Friday, battling out the question of whether I truly wanted to spend a mini-fortune on ground beef.  Ground, local, 90% lean *grass fed* beef, to be exact.  Was it worth the cost?  Was it worth my returning the local honey jar back to its shelf for another day, another dollar?  Was it worth it?

Short answer: Yes.  Yes, it was.

I’ve come to the conclusion that for the amount of times that I actually purchase and eat red meat, I want to make it count.  I want caramelized onions.  A whole wheat bun (courtesy of Trader Joes.)  And I want the best of the best beef.  Local.  Grass fed.  Delicious. 

(Just remember that grass fed beef tends to be much leaner than it’s grain fed counterpart.  This means (a) reduced heat and cooking time is usually necessary and (b) your beef is going to be much healthier.)

*****************************************

Unfortunetly, I’m still sick.  But—looking at the sunny side of things—I’d rather be sick now vs. Tuesday when I have to go to a Food Service Directors’ meeting. 

In an attempt to get myself feeling back to normal, I’ve been focusing on:

#1: Tea

#2: Fresh Fruits

Cold, chilly, fruit.  Preferrably of the citrus variety. 😀

Just as a little side note, did you know that Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin?  This means that your body has a limit of what it can hold, and past that certain amount, your body simply flushes it out (think of this like filling up your bathtub to the point where it can’t hold any more…it simply overflows!)  So the next time you’re sick, eat an orange but skip those expensive Vitamin C supplements.)

#3: Baking.

I baked.  Mom baked.  I licked the frosting beaters.

And yes, baking is totally necessary for a full recovery.

Besides, there is a good excuse for having a big sheet of carrot cake in the house right now.  It’s my Pepere’s 78th birthday, and with the entire family having a cookout over his house, carrot cake it had to be!  This recipe is a guarenteed crowd pleaser.  I can’t wait to see how it tastes!

#4: Greens, greens, greens.

There’s nothing like filling up on some fresh produce to make a girl feel like brand new again. 

 Yum!!

I’m not sure if a run is going to happen tomorrow, but you never know.  Sometimes a short little run or a walk can do wonders for clearing up a stuffy, congested head.  😀

Question: Do you normally lose your appetite when you’re sick?

comfort

I’d like to say that I’ve been living it up these past couple of days.  Partying like it’s my business.  Living life to the max in New York City.  Or something like that.

But—really—I consider you guys my friends.  And—really—friends are honest with each other.  Right?  Of course. 

Honesty says that I’ve been cozying up with a box of kleenex, becoming best buds with dark cherry herbal tea, and sleeping till past 8 o’clock.  Yes, it’s true.  I have fully surrendered to the common cold. 

It’s funny how despite it all, I still end up in the kitchen with my apron on.  A wooden spoon in my hand.  Flipping through the pages of a Cooking Light cookbook until landing on Vegetarian ChiliI can’t think of anything I’d rather do right now than cook and eat comforting food.  Chili is my comfort food.

As is cornbread. 

I love this recipe both because it’s (a) amazingly delicious and rustic as well as being (b) completely healthy—I use stoneground cornmeal, whole wheat flour and olive oil to make this bread.  The small amount of sugar and oil help to keep this bread moist and soft, providing you with a slice that’s delicate enough to be crumbled lightly over chili, firm enough to be toasted and spread with butter & jam, and healthy enough to be eaten for breakfast.

I heart this cornbread.   😀

+ greens, garden fresh yellow tomatoes, black olives and olive oil. 

Psychologically, vegetables always make me feel better when I’m sick. 😉

Tell me, tell me.  What is more comforting than sipping on tea, sitting near a campfire, holding a bowl of hot chili and savoring a slice of cornbread straight from the oven? 

Comfort to the max. 😀

Question: What is your favorite “comfort food” to make and to eat?

chilly days

Brrr…take out your boots, hats, gloves.  I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but it was well under 60 degrees when I went out for my morning walk.

(FYI, I refuse to wear winter boots before November…call it my feeble attempt to hold on to that last bit of summer :mrgreen: )

Despite the chilly, breezy, thick-sock-only kind of weather, I bowled up some cold “un”overnight oats (see breakfast page for recipe.)  A frozen banana and some almond butter made this extra creamy.  Extra delicious. 😀

I was pretty excited going into the highschool today (just finished my second week there! time flies!)  The regional registered dietitian was coming in to do an audit on the menus’, making sure that they were all up to the government’s expectations, ensuring that all the meals being served were of good quality, and seeing if my preceptor (the food service director) had any issues, questions, concerns.

The RD was super nice, and I like the way she managed to stick to her nutrition roots and beliefs, while still listening to the food service director.  She understood the business side of things and was open for conversation.  And she was very much for promoting whole, natural foods rather then focusing solely on the nutrition label (i.e., just because something is high in fat, doesn’t necessarily make it a bad choice.)  I really enjoyed talking with her and seeing what her job was all about. 

Twas a good day. 😀

Last night, I doubled up on my salad that I had for dinner, and used it as today’s lunch.  Easy peazy. 

  • mixed red and green leaf lettuce
  • 1/2 green bell pepper
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 small tomato
  • black olives, sliced
  • 1/4 avocado
  • olive oil + sea salt

And some kashi crackers + an apple.  I’m working at finishing up these pink ladies before diving into the new bag of local macs.

I also packed…

…drum roll please…

The new Larabar flavor for a morning snack!!  Okay, okay.  Maybe this isn’t *new* new, but it certainly is to me. 😀

The price was a bit steep and the calorie count was a bit high for such a small snack.  I could have easily eaten two of these things and still been hungry. 😉  But the flavor was delicious, and it was studded with rich, chocolate chips.  I’m totally glad I tried it this once, but I don’t know that I would actually buy it again.  Well.  Maybe for a special treat now and then when my wallet allows it. 😉

All together now!

Afternoon Snack: whipped 1% cottage cheese and Natures Path Heritage Flakes

I really like this cereal.  The first ingredient is Kamut Wheat Flour, and there’s organic wheat bran, barley, millet and quinoa following not far after.  It’s nice and crunchy too. 😀

Beans are fabulous in so many dishes.

From salads, to hummus or bean dips, to chilis, to taco fillings.  Anywhere meat belongs, beans can usually follow suit.  And they don’t necessarily need to be a replacement, but they can definitely enhance your meal with flavor and nutrients and fiber. 

One of my favorite ways to use up some nutrient rich beans: Homemade Black Bean Burgers!  Served on a whole wheat bun with some tomato, lettuce and ketchup.

By the way, I love that one can of black beans makes four burgers.  There were three people eating tonight which—of course—means (did you guess??) my lunch is made for tomorrow.  Gotta love it. 😀

A side salad with Newmans Own Balsamic Viniagrette Dressing.

And chilled grapes for an antioxidant rich dessert. 😀

Normally I have Fridays off, but tomorrow I have a seminar to meet up with my fellow dietetic interns and dietetic director.  I have to give a short blurp on whether non-food related rewards work well for long term weight loss.  According to studies and research done, they don’t.  But honestly, I think it depends on the person.  I know for me, personally, a little reward like taking a bubble bath or splurging on a good magazine/book would be a fun reward.  It wouldn’t necessarily aid in the weight loss per say, but it could definitely add to the motivation in keeping me going.  Especially if there are other motivational factors besides.

I don’t know.  What do you think?