Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Reader Favorites: August

Thank you for all of the love this month! August is one of my favorite months; it's the beginning of a new semester. This month, the temperatures have been giving us glimpses of Fall!  I love Fall! 

If you missed any of the posts this month, here are the top favorite posts you visited in the month of August. Enjoy!

I'm a Registered Dietitian (RD). I seek out a lot of mentors in the dietetics profession. I started learning about nutrition and shadowing RDs in high school. I continues to learn from coworker and mentors. Dietetics is a broad profession, so I want to share some of my experiences and tips for future RDs. Hope you have a great semester!

Becoming a Registered Dietitian: RD Exam


Becoming a Registered Dietitian: How to Succeed in Your Dietetic Internship


It's no secret that I love cooking. Apparently you do too! I started taking cooking classes to learn new skills and recipes. My friend, Christy, has gone to most of the classes with me. It's been a blast! 

I started this series to give you a sneak peak of what to expect if you attend a cooking class. I looked for reviews of different cooking class, and couldn't find any. If you plan to attend a cooking class, I wanted to share my thoughts and experiences so you can better know what to expect. I also include personal cooking tips and techniques.


Cooking Class: Pasta


Cooking Class Series: Part 1

Cooking Class Series: Part 2

I've started some new blog series this year. I like to share my favorites with you because I love reading "favorites'' posts. In my monthly favorites, I focus on what I'm watching, cooking, eating, reading, and loving each month. Hope you enjoy!

RDtipoftheday Favorites: August Edition


RDtipoftheday Favorites: July Edition

The "Let's Celebrate" series is my way to celebrate every month. I love food and holidays, so I wanted to highlight everything that is happening with food for the upcoming month.

Let's Celebrate August


I'm big on goals. This series entitled, State of My Goals, keeps me accountable to my goals and keeps you updated on my progress through the year. I hope it encourages you to think about what you want to achieve and check in on your progress every month.

State of My Goals Address: July Edition

I like to write nutrition-related posts, since it's my career. I'm a RD, but I'm not your personal RD. So, I offer great, general tips for health and nutrition. Let me know if there are more topics you would like me to cover. Comment below with your topic suggestions.


7 Tips for Healthy Eating on a Budget

Let me know if there are any nutrition-related topics you would like me to cover. You can comment below or tag me on PinterestInstagram, and Twitter

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Healthy Snack Ideas

It's back to school time. Do you know what that means? It's August, and . . . it's Kid's Eat Right Month. 




What is Kids Eat Right Month?
Kids Eat Right (KER) month was started in 2014 by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). The purpose of KER month is to educate family, caregivers, communities, and policy makers about the importance of nutrition and optimal health for children and their families.


Since I work with pediatrics patients, this is a busy time of the year with children returning to school. As a Registered Dietitian (RD), I want to ensure that children are fueled in a healthy way to grow, play, and succeed in school.

The most frequently asked questions I get this time of year are questions about feeding children healthfully. The mostly commonly asked question is "What's a good snack?" for my child. So, today I'm talking about healthy snacks!

What is a healthy snack?
Snacks are small amounts of food. The portion size depends on your age with smaller portions for toddlers and larger portions for older adolescents and adults.

For school age children, teenagers and adults, the goal is to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables. The more specific goals is 2 servings of fruits and 3 servings of vegetables per day. If you eat 3 meals + 0-2 snacks per day, this averages out to at least one serving of fruits or vegetables at every meal and snack. So, I like to think about having fruits or vegetables as snacks. If a fruit or vegetable does not fill you up, pair it with something. You can add hummus, salad dressing, cheese, peanut butter, almond butter, nuts, or yogurt.

What are some healthy snack ideas?
Here are three quick and easy snack ideas. These make fruit and vegetables the star and are cute for an after school snack.

Vegetable Flowers

My vegetable flowers is made with the following ingredients: hummus, sunflower seeds, carrots, bell pepper, basil, and parsley.

Directions:
1) To make the vegetable flowers, wash all your produce.
2) Spoon hummus on the plate.
3) Arrange baby carrots around the hummus in a spiral shape like flower petals.
4) Sprinkle sunflower seeds on the hummus to represent the sunflower's seeds.
5) Cut a long strip of bell pepper to be the flower stem.
6) Arrange two basil leaves on either side of the bell pepper to be the flower's leaves.
7) Arrange parsley under the bell pepper to represent grass.
Enjoy!
*Note: Steps 5 and 6 are optional. They create visual appeal but are not necessary for a deliciously snack.


Cute Caterpillars


My vegetable flowers is made with the following ingredients: red seedless grapes, green seedless grapes, candy eyes, and royal icing.


Directions:
1) Wash all grapes.
2) Thread grapes on toothpicks or skewers.
3) Attach eyes with royal icing.
Enjoy!
Note: You could also use reduced fat cream cheese or nut butters, like peanut butter or almond butter, to attach the eyes. You could also make the caterpillar's eyes with raisins or mini chocolate chips. Also, make sure your kids or guests know that there are toothpicks in the caterpillars.
Enjoy!




   Rainbow Hummus


My rainbow hummus snack is made with the following ingredients: orange bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, green bell pepper, hummus, peanuts, parsley.

Directions:
1) Wash all vegetables.
2) Slice off the bottom of the orange and yellow bell peppers to create clouds.
3) Cut the green bell pepper in half to make the pot for the "pot of gold at the end of the rainbow."
4) Slice thin slices of bell pepper (approximately 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices). Then, cut the slices in half to make half-moon shapes for the arches of the rainbow.
5) Arrange bell peppers on the plate to make the rainbow and clouds.
6) Spoon hummus on the plate.
7) Place your green bell pepper "pot" on the plate.
8) Place peanuts on the hummus to represent the "gold" in the pot.
9) Place parsley on the plate to represent the grass that the pot of gold is sitting on.
Enjoy!

If you have any healthy snack ideas, share them below in the comments.


August is Kids Eat Right Month™, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Academy Foundation's chance to highlight the fight for our children's healthy future. Find out how you can get involved!

Stay tuned all this month for more on healthy eating and Kids Eat Right Month. For more recipes, encouragement, and tips for healthy eating, follow me on PinterestInstagram, and Twitter




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Monday, August 29, 2016

3 Hummus Recipes

Hummus has become my favorite dip, spread, and appetizer. It's a yummy blend of chick peas and pretty much any flavor you want to add. 

One of my best friends, Mal, introduced me to Mediterranean food in college. It's still one of my favorite things to eat. My husband is half Greek, so anything Greek or Mediterranean is a hit in our house. I find myself making more Greek dishes, and hummus is on a regular rotation at my house.

Here's my hummus recipe.




RDTOD's Hummus - Garlic Red Pepper Hummus
Ingredients
1/2 cup almond butter
2 Tablespoons lemon zest (zest of approximately 1 lemon)
6 Tablespoons lemon juice (the juice of approximately 2 lemons)
2 garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cans chickpeas- rinsed and drained
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

In a food processor, blend almond butter and lemon juice for 2 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add lemon zest and garlic. Mix for 2 minutes. Add red pepper and garbanzo beans. Mix 2 minutes. Add olive oil until combined. Enjoy!


What can you do with the basic hummus recipe? You can eat it or add different flavors. Here are my two current favorite hummus variations.


Basil Pesto Hummus

Ingredients
Half of RDTOD's Hummus recipe
1/4 cup basil pesto

Instructions

Divid the basic hummus recipe in 1/2. Add 1/4 cup basil pesto to the hummus. Mix together. Enjoy!



Lemon Artichoke Hummus

Ingredients
Half of RDTOD's Hummus recipe
3 jarred artichoke hears
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon (2 Tablespoons)

Instructions
Divide the basic hummus recipe in 1/2.
Add hummus, 3 artichoke hearts, zest of 1 lemon, and the juice of 1/2 lemon to a food processor. Pulse until combined. Enjoy!

Hummus is a great spread for sandwiches and wraps. It's a simple, make-ahead appetizer for entertaining. Hummus is a great dip for veggies and crackers. Hummus is a great dip for encouraging kids to eat their vegetables. I recently did a television appearance for healthy eating for back-to-school. Here are some of the simple, snacks you can put together for you kid's lunchbox or after school snack.



Hummus and Veggie Flower


Bell Pepper and Hummus Rainbow and Pot of Gold



For more recipes, encouragement, and tips for healthy eating, follow me on PinterestInstagram, and Twitter

Friday, August 26, 2016

State of My Goals Address: August

As promised, I am sharing updates on my goals and 2016 resolutions in the state of my goals address. You can take a look at my 2016 goals and my thoughts on goals and resolutionsSharing these goals is a way to keep me accountable and help me to improve, grow, and learn. People who share their goals tend to be more successful. So, I'm sharing the goals here to encourage you and to keep me accountable. You're welcome to comment with your goals and share your progress as well. Feel free to tag your goals with #RDTODgoals or #healthyRD on social media.



2016 Goals
Try 30 new recipes. 
In August, I tried a few new recipes including:


  • Lobster Rolls

  • Crab cake

  • Strawberry shortcake

For those keeping track, this makes my new recipe count 24 out of 30.



Build endurance and strength.
I'm still loving my strength class. I've added another day of cardio, and I'm glad to say I've been able to be consistent with physical activity. There are times where I get sick and can't go, but I know physical activity is beneficial. What keeps you motivated? Comment below.


Travel.

There was no big travel this month. But, we have some travel plans later this year. So, stay tuned!



image from amazon.com

Read more.

This month I read Brene Brown's Rising Strong. I enjoyed this book. I became familiar with the author from her Ted Talk on the Power of Vulnerability. If you enjoy the Ted Talk, you will enjoy her book because her writing voice is the same as her speaking voice. I was gifted this book by a sweet friend. Thank you friend! I would summarize this book as learning to accept your story, even if it is one you wouldn't have chosen or written for yourself. I think everyone has experience some kind of disappointment and can relate to this. One of my favorite things are the quote pages dispersed throughout the book (pictured at the beginning of this post.) This is a challenging and encouraging book.

For those keeping track, my book count is 6 in 2016.



Learn something new.

I took another cooking class this month. It was cooking seafood, so stay tuned for that. If you want to know what I thought of my previous cooking classes, here are my thoughts and experiences.



These are my broad goals for 2016. What goals are you working on in 2016?

Comment below.


For more recipes, encouragement, and tips for healthy eating, follow me on PinterestInstagram, and Twitter


Monday, August 22, 2016

Cooking Class Part 2





I went to the second part of my cooking class. We made three dishes. The first dish was pea, prosciutto, and Parmesan risotto. The second dish was blanched green beans with Dijon vinaigrette. The third dish was pan seared scallops with a citrus-thyme gastric. And, the final dish was blackberry croustade with flaky pie dough and homemade whipped cream. Spoiler alert; everything was yummy. Let's start at the beginning.



The first dish we made was risotto. It was super simple especially because all the ingredients were prepped and ready. Many chefs use this technique called mis en place. This is a French term that translates to "put in place."  After prepping and measuring all the ingredients for the recipe.  Warm 6-8 cups of low-sodium chicken broth. We coated a large saucepan with oil. When the oil shimmers, add shallots. Cook shallots until translucent. Add wine. Then, it's time to start the rice.



We used Arborio rice, and toasted the rice in the oil. Then, gradually add chicken broth broth 1/2 - 1 cup at a time. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the broth is absorbed. The broth and rice should be simmering. Repeat adding the rice while stirring. One of my fellow students had made risotto before. She shared a helpful tip; if the pan is sizzling, it's time to add more liquid. Taste the risotto. When the risotto is creamy but still has bite, you're done adding liquid . . . and almost done stirring. Turn of the heat. Then, we add the finishing touches: prosciutto, peas, and Parmesan. Taste and see if it needs anything else. We added salt, pepper, and lemon juice.



This is the risotto after adding stock twice. It's not really creamy. The chef encouraged us to taste at this point. I would not recommend it. The rice was crunchy and stuck to our teeth. It was definitely not done.



This picture shows the risotto after we added the last of our chicken stock. We were finishing simmering until the liquid evaporated. At this stage, the risotto was al dente and creamy. It's almost done!


Add your flavorings. We add peas, prosciutto, Parmesan cheese, and butter to flavor our risotto. It was creamy and tender. The peas added a fresh pop. The Parmesan and prosciutto added a salty bite. So, good! 

The second dish was blanched green beans with Dijon vinaigrette. I've used the blanching technique before with broccoli and green beans. Blanching is submerging a food, like green beans, in boiling water for a few minutes. Then, you shock the food by submerging it in ice cold water. This stops the cooking and locks in the bright green color. 


Adding a vinaigrette was a new way to prepare green beans. I loved the acidity of the lemon, Dijon vinaigrette. The herbs in the vinaigrette were fresh and brightened the flavor. The green beans were crisp, and the roasted hazelnuts were rich and crunchy. So good! 


The third dish was pan seared scallops with a citrus-thyme gastric. As a Louisiana girl, I love seafood. Scallops are sweet, tender, and a little sweet. Scallops cook quickly, so it's a great, quick protein to make. Look for dry-packed scallops and make sure you remove the adductor muscle. We seasoned the scales with salt and pepper, and seared the scallops in canola oil for about 2-3 minutes per side.



We made a citrus-thyme gastrique. Gastrique sounds like a fancy, complex term. But, it is a simple a vinegar-based sauce with caramelized sugar. I tasted the scallop without the sauce, and it was good. Then, I added the gastrique, and it was phenomenal! The gastric add a punchy, bright citrus element from the orange and the sweetness of the sugar complemented the slight sweet scallops.


The final dish was blackberry croustade with flaky pie dough and homemade whipped cream. We made the dough in a food processor. It was super easy and flaky!


We prepped the filling with blackberries, lemon zest, sugar, cornstarch, almond extract, and lemon juice. The almond extract was a delicious addition!


Then you poor the filling into the dough on a baking sheet lines with parchment.


Tip, use the parchment to fold the dough over.


We topped the croustade with whipped cream.


I encourage you to try something new. Invite a friend. Learn something new. Don't be afraid to try a new recipe, and taste something new! That's it for cooking with class part two.

For more recipes, encouragement, and tips for healthy eating, follow me on PinterestInstagram, and Twitter