Counting Calories in Your Alcohol


Happy Friday folks! With summer in full swing and 4th of July holiday cookouts just around the corner for many of us, I wanted to share a quick post concerning calories in alcoholic beverages. With many of my patients, calories from alcoholic beverages tend to be an afterthought when it comes to accounting to daily calorie consumption. However, I’ve also got a few folks who account for their calories from alcohol so much that they skip meals and snacks so they have enough calories allotted for weekend drinking. This is something we should definitely avoid doing. The way to find a nice balance is making sure you eat routinely throughout the day and be mindful & aware of your liquid calories so you can plan your drinks accordingly. Below I’ve listed a few quick tips (this list could go on forever) to keep in mind while when drinking, especially if you’re outside on a hot day:

  • Avoid Drinking on an Empty Stomach– in fact, make sure you have a meal or snack with a nice mix of carb, protein, and fat (maybe some delicious cheese and crackers) to help slow down the absorption of alcohol and avoid getting sick
  • Stay Hydrated in Between Alcohol Drinks– this is going to be really important on a hot day, especially as the alcohol will serve as a diuretic, making you even more dehydrated. If you’re going for a mixed drink that includes both alcohol and a carbonated, caffeinated beverage, water intake is going to be even more important, so drink up on the H2O and water containing foods such as delicious watermelon
  • Watch What You’re Munching On While Drinking– ever notice that at some bars they put out salty snacks like peanuts or Chex mix? Salty snacky foods like this promote us to drink more as a way to combat or even complement the salty goodness we’re eating so make sure you watch any “mindless” eating that may occur while drinking that can attribute to unnecessary calorie consumption
  • Have a Designated Driver– I know this doesn’t have anything to do with nutrition per se, but I care about your safety and had to include this quick PSA

Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I wanted to share a few beautiful and HELPFUL graphics from Wine Folly which is a GREAT website for all of you wine loving enthusiasts!

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But what if you’re a beer person? They’ve got you covered!

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If you’re wanting to go with a “lighter” choice in alcoholic beverage, the folks at 213 Pounds to Happiness share their favorite lighter alcoholic beverages.

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For a complete listing of calorie content in some of your beverages of choice, including liquors that may not be addressed above, please visit CalorieKing.Com which I enjoy recommended to my patients often. I like to consider a “one stop shop” in terms of looking for the nutrition information on various food items, including commercial restaurant dishes. This tool can be especially helpful when looking up calories in beverages…especially alcohol!

Last but not least…please drink responsibly, friends! This includes but is not limited to drinking and driving, drinking while pregnant, and drinking in excess. Okay, that was my last PSA 🙂 Happy Friday folks!

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Redneck Caviar

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Today, I’m honing in on my redneck Southern roots and sharing a recipe for Redneck Caviar. Funny thing is, I just realized as I was making this dip that this was what it was called. In college, I learned it from a friend’s sister who called it “graduation salsa” because she made it for my friend’s graduation. Odd, I know. Anywho, the great thing about this dip is that you really can do whatever you want with it because rednecks don’t care 😉 But seriously, it’s easy to add and subtract based on your taste preferences and not “mess it up” because it is so yummy!

My recipe yields a pretty big batch…I needed to make sure I had enough for both me and my husband to bring to our respective get togethers, but many of the recipes you’ll find may just call for 1 can of each item and 1/2 a bottle of dressing. Also, I decided to go with Marie’s All Natural Italian Vinaigrette but many recipes call for Kraft’s Zesty Italian dressing. I went with the pre-cut Tri Pepper Mix because it ended up being a little cheaper at Publix that day than buying whole peppers (I usually like to buy my peppers from the farmer’s market, but alas no time). Also, I included some minced garlic and green onion that are not pictured below.

ingredients

To reduce the sodium content as much as possible, I went with reduced sodium black beans and rinsed both the black beans and black-eyed peas for additional sodium removal before adding everything together.

beans

Add everything to your bowl including rinsed and drained beans, drained corn, drained tomatoes, chopped peppers, and entire bottle of salad dressing (my bottle had about 11.5 oz)

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And ta-da!

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What I really love about this dip is the fact that you can get some great soluble fiber from the beans, and some vegetable servings from everything that’s added. I would recommend getting an Italian dressing that is low in sodium if possible. Many variations include adding cilantro, chopped sweet onion, and chopped fresh jalapeno peppers (I wish I had put some in mind but forgot to pick them up at the grocery store).  If you have your favorite version, please comment and share! 🙂

Redneck Caviar (again, this will yield a pretty large quantity)

Ingredients
2 cans black beans
2 cans black-eyed peas
2 cans shoe peg corn
2 cans rotel tomatoes
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1-2 cups diced bell pepper of your choice
2 Tb minced garlic
~12 oz Italian dressing
Alternative ingredients:
1/2 diced sweet onion
chopped cilantro
1-2 diced fresh jalapeno peppers

Directions: Drain beans, corn, and tomatoes and add to bowl (may opt to rinse beans also), add diced bell pepper, green onion, garlic, dressing, and any other ingredients you’d like. Let chill for a few hours or overnight before serving. Super easy!


A {Very} Little Taste of Charleston

It is hard to believe that it’s nearly been a month since my trip to Charleston — and sadly I am just now getting to upload a few of the pictures from my short trip! I can honestly say that Charleston food is worthy of a food coma for sure. Thankfully though, I was with 5 other lovely ladies that are foodies in their own right, so our eating adventures were quite fun. Unfortunately I didn’t get to take a picture of every single meal we ate (probably a good thing 🙂 ) but I did want to take an opportunity to share a few pictures from my eating excursion, especially if anyone thinks about visiting this beautiful area any time soon. This was my first trip out there and I am dying to go back soon!!

When we first arrived in Charleston, my best pal Sally and I ate at East Bay Meeting House for a late breakfast… super delicious. She had the smoked salmon on bagel while I had the Portobello mushroom, ham and cheese quiche with fruit as seen below – simply divine.

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That evening, the six of us ended up at Cypress for dinner. We decided to order several different appetizers on the menu including their fried mac & cheese, sweet and sour meatballs, beau soleil oyster platter, and pimiento cheese with grilled bread and pepper jelly. Everyone also opted to get salads as we shared appetizers and I opted for the Almond-fried Brie salad (below) with cranberry-walnut chutney, baby greens, and a champagne vinaigrette. OH MYLANTA this was delicious.

20130531_215114During the small time frames during the day that we weren’t at the beach, we decided to check out the Historic Charleston City Market which had bookoodles of fun things, included a lot of gourmet sauces, mixes, and food items. This is one time that I regretted flying with just a carry-on bag.

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As a lover of any kind of rice, I was really interested to try this plantation rice. I’m sure I looked funny inhaling/savoring the aromatics of the rice bags 😉

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The Charleston Bloody Mary Mix is something I really wanted to bring home; my husband loves some Bloody Mary’s, but unfortunately this was a no-go for my suitcase. Boo.

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🙂

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We have some of this Slap Ya Mama at home as well as Tony’s seasoning..MMmmmmMmmm.

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Sweet Charleston is where I picked up the crickette snacks, which you may remember me eating in my youtube clip.

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There was a man with all of these funny hand-made signs…I took a few pictures of my favorites:

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After we went to the market, we had brunch at Fleet Landing Restaurant which was probably my favorite dining experience out of everything that we had in our short stay in Charleston. I will say that this is a must if you are going to visit 🙂

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Our delicious fried-green tomato appetizer with lump crab meat…..

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The quiche of the day that several people at our table got served over creamy lowcountry grits. This quiche had cheese, spinach, rock shrimp, and bacon. I asked Sally for a “small” bite and it was as delicious as it looks. Note the size difference between this quiche and the one from East Bay Meeting House 🙂

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Me and Lori both ordered the pulled BBQ pork with buttermilk biscuits, fried eggs, and Carolina Bar-B-Que sauce…my husband would have been proud.
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Two of us also ordered the Pan Roasted Crab Cake with poached eggs, grits, and red pepper Hollandaise. I didn’t have a bite but the girls assured me it was delicious.

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To take a break from eating, we stopped in a hat shop. I needed a photo op to send to my husband so he knew I hadn’t died yet of a food coma.

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Once we “walked off” our brunch, we stopped at River Street Sweets which is famous for their freshly made pecan pralines. They were oh so delicious and I’m trying to forget the calorie count I saw on the box after eating one.

20130602_150004Why yes I’d love a free sample!!

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That evening we ate at Mercato since it was in close proximity to the walking ghost tour we decided to take our last night there. Below is my lasagna. Super delish!
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On our ghost tour we got to stop at Poogan’s Porch since it was named by the Travel Channel at one point in time as the third most haunted place in America. Unfortunately though, we weren’t able to get reservations but it’s definitely on my list for next time 🙂

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Okay folks, I guess that’s about it! There are still plenty of places that are on my list to eat the next chance I make it to Charleston. The weekend left little time to eat at every place on my list but I think it just gives me a reason to go back very soon 🙂  If you’ve been to Charleston yourself, let me know some of your favorite places and dishes so I can make sure to add it to my list! 🙂


Balsamic Basil Summer Pasta Salad

balsamic basil summer pasta salad

Today I’m going to share a recipe of one of my most favorite pasta salads. I originally got this recipe from a close family friend after she brought it to my parents’ house for a family get together.  If I’m ever tasked with bringing something to a potluck, especially on short notice, this is my go-to item. Any of my friends, family, or co-workers that have been to a potluck function with me have likely tasted this at some point in time. Some of the things I love most about this salad is how well the basil enhances the taste of the pasta along with the sweet and salty tones of grape tomatoes, feta cheese, and olives. Overall however, I really like how this dish is so quick and easy to make!  P.S. this would be totally great dish to bring to an upcoming 4th of July get together 😉 😉 😉

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When I headed to Publix to pick up the ingredients, I spent a good bit of time trying to decide which pasta to pick up. I noticed that Dreamfields pasta that boasts 5 grams digestible carbs/serving (still very questionable on this) had a penne rigate, but since I had tried their pasta before with some sundried tomato chicken sausage, I figured I’d go with something else.

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I noticed the Barilla Plus pasta had a decent bit of protein per serving but not necessarily as much fiber. Though the Dreamfields contained less sodium as well, I found myself going with the Barilla, since I was accounting for cost as well 🙂

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$1.19 vs. $3.79 per box sounded like a great deal to me!  The Barilla also had about an ounce more in the box compared to Dreamfields.

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Getting all my ingredients together: fresh spinach (on sale!), Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette (sale!), Barilla pasta, fresh basil, 1 container grape tomatoes, slided olives, and crumbled feta cheese (yuuummmm)

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You want to start by cooking your pasta per package directions— I always like my pasta al dente.

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While your pasta is on the stove, start prepping your other ingredients. Wash your grape tomatoes thoroughly, slice length-wise and set aside.

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Next you’ll want to grab your basil- wash it down and dry thoroughly with a paper towel. I like to get the basil leaves, put them in a little stack and roll them up for quick cut as you see below. Fancy folks like to call this technique, chiffonade.

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You can place your chopped up basil in the same bowl as your tomatoes.

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You’ll do the same chiffonade technique with the spinach. I personally like to remove the stems from the spinach leaves. I bought a 9oz bag and ended up using about 1/3-1/2 of the bag. It’s more so personal preference as to how much spinach you want in there. You are also more than welcome to add more than one package of basil, or enhance the flavor by adding dried basil in addition to the fresh that has been chopped up. I used a good bit of spinach simply because I wanted me and my husband to get a good serving of veggies from this dish 🙂

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Once your pasta is done cooking, drain and let cool.

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I only waited about five minutes before I decided to proceed with the pasta. You’ll put your pasta in a large bowl (you want something big enough so that you get mix up the ingredients pretty well) and add your balsamic vinaigrette…I only use about 1/2 of the bottle so that the other 1/2 can be saved to add to the pasta the next day if needed. Don’t worry about seeing some of the dressing towards the bottom of the bowl or the pasta not appearing to absorb it; once you add your other ingredients, everything tends to mix pretty well.

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Next you’ll add your feta cheese— you can use plain crumbled feta cheese but sometimes i like going with the flavored ones like basil and tomato. I bought two 4 oz cartons and ended up using about 1 1/2 cartons. Again, it depends on your preference for how much cheese you want in there. Letting your pasta cool down can also be helpful in preventing the feta from getting “mushy” in your pasta. *I should have waited for my pasta to cool a little bit longer. Oh well, c’est la vie.

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Next you’ll add your bowl of chopped of veggie/herb goodies and mix well.

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Drain your olives and add those in too.

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I decided to do a little bit of fresh ground black pepper and mixed again

So there you have it! I used Newmans Own Balsamic Vinaigrette simply because that’s what the original recipe that was given to me called for. I’ve used the Publix brand tangy balsamic before and was really just not a fan. If you have a personal favorite balsamic or like to get fancy and make your own (I wasn’t feeling too motivated when I made this dish to get fancy with it) then I’m sure that would be super delicious too! I primarily made this dish this past week per my husband’s request… he told me he noticed that I don’t make a lot of the things I used to whenever I was “pursuing him”/dating him, which included this pasta salad…hahaha. I”ve included the recipe below for your use. If you make it, please let me know how you like it or anything you did to enhance it. I’m always looking for tips 😀

Balsamic Basil Summer Pasta Salad

Ingredients
1- 14 oz box penne pasta (or whichever you prefer)
1 package fresh basil 2/3-1 oz)
4 oz fresh spinach (I bought a 9 oz bag from the grocery store and used about 1/3-1/2 the bag)
4-6 oz crumbled feta
1 small can black olives
16 oz bottle Newmans Own Balsamic Vinaigrette (or any other brand you like)
1 container grape tomatoes
ground black pepper, to taste

Directions
Cook pasta per package directions, drain and set aside. While pasta is cooking, prepare other ingredients: slice grape tomatoes length-wise and set aside, chiffonade entire package of basil and about 4 oz of spinach (or as much as you’d like), set aside with tomatoes. In a large mixing bowl, add pasta and about 6-8 oz vinaigrette. Next add feta cheese, mix, then add remaining ingredients and mix well.

The pasta usually tastes best after chilling in the fridge overnight so the flavors can meld. The leftover dressing can be mixed in just prior to serving  as needed.


Liebster Award – Wahoo!

liebster award

I’m so excited to share today that the lovely Sapana at cookingwithsapana has nominated me for the Liebster Award! If you haven’t been to Sapana’s blog, you are truly missing out! She has a great collection of Indian recipes that are not only delicious but are shared in a way that makes us feel confident we can create them too.

For the Liebster Award the rules are:

1. Post eleven facts about yourself.

2. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you and create eleven questions for people you’ve nominated.

3. Choose eleven people (with fewer than 200 followers) to give this award to and link them in your post.

4. Go to their page and tell them.

5. Remember, no tag backs.

11 Facts about me:

1.I am a Christ loving gal.

2. I was born and raised in Fort Payne, AL.

3. I have only been to the Philippines once (when I was 10 years old) but I would like to go back again as an adult and bring my hubby along.

4. I wanted to be an astronaut when I was a little girl.

5. Apparently when I was a small child, when I would go to the grocery store with my grandpa (Lolo), I would bang my head against the shopping cart until he gave in and bought what I wanted. (terrible)

6. I have one sibling who is eight years younger than me. His name is Ace.

7. I met my husband on match.com and I’m really glad he tolerates my dancing in the house and the jingles I make up and sing in the bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, and car.

8. I could live off of ice cream.

9. I think I worry too much.

10. I would rather cook than clean.

11. I lost my home in the deadly April 27th,2011 tornado that hit Tuscaloosa, AL. Fortunately, I was at my friend’s condo in a bathtub when the tornado went over us.

Questions from Sapana:

1. What is your favorite cuisine?

There are so many that I love but honestly, I think I would pick Italian or Indian.

2.Most happiest moment in your life?

Being proposed to with Crest White Strips in my mouth with an XXXL tshirt on and no makeup.

3.Strawberry or Vanilla?

Strawberry cake…vanilla ice cream 🙂

4.Have you ever had a cat?

Unfortunately, I am allergic so I have never had a cat.

5. If somehow you find a bag with one

million rupees what would you do?

Donate 40% of it to Christian missions and help pay off the debt of me and my family.

6.What do you like most in blogging?

I really enjoy being able to share helpful information with people related to every day eating and cooking. I think that blogging is also a nice way for people to get to learn more about you and your personal adventures 🙂

7.What are the best five words that would describe you?

Funny (self-proclaimed), Hyper, Corny, Caring, Dependable

8. What is your phobia?

Pain of any kind— emotional and physical

9. What is the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?

Off the top of my head I’ll say eating crickets since that was recent but I’m sure there are weirder things that I’ve consumed 🙂

10.What was the best childhood book you read as a kid?

I really enjoyed all of the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary 🙂

11. Which chef/cook has inspired your cooking the most?

Honestly, Rachael Ray or Sandra Lee…not because their food is the most exquisite complicated thing out there but more so because I think they did a great job of making me feel like it would be relatively easy to cook at home. I didn’t really start cooking until I went to college and one of the first recipes I tried in my apartment was a pasta and spinach dish by Rachael Ray 🙂

**

Blogs I nominate (some of the ones listed before likely have 200+ followers in some capacity or another but I’m going to nominate them any way because I like them and sometimes it’s just too dadgum hard to figure out how many overall followers a blog has!):

A Little Nutrition

Newlywed Nutrition

Lifes a Little Nutrition

The Story Telling Nutritionist

Food, Faith, and Family

The Guy Domestic

The Grown-Up YA

Cooking From the Heart

It’s a Wonderful Lifestyle

Frozen Pizza, Again

Lifestyles of the Destitute and Obscure

QUESTIONS FOR MY NOMINEES:

1. If you could only tell a stranger one thing about yourself, what would it be?

2. What’s your favorite dessert?

3. Favorite high school memory?

4. Cats, Dogs, Neither, or Other?

5. Your celebrity crush

6. Your favorite TV show

7. Who would be your “call a friend” lifeline if you were on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

8. How would you describe your clothing style?

9. Favorite cuisine to cook?

10. Favorite cuisine to eat?

11. Where do you see yourself in five years?


Hydrating in the Heat

It’s hot, y’all…or at least it is here in my neck of the woods in Alabama. With this heat though, I wanted to write up a quick post encouraging us on the importance of staying hydrated throughout the summer. If you’re physically active in the heat, it’s even more important to be mindful of hydrating yourself properly. Outside temperature raises our core body temperature so just think how much more our body temp is raised when we’re exercising in the heat! I’ve mentioned on here before that sometimes our body will mimic the feeling of hunger to prompt us to drink more water. Waiting until you have the classic dry lips and parched mouth before drinking anything is waiting way too long.

Here are some common signs of dehydration:

  • nausea (ick!)
  • dark-colored urine or infrequent urination (you want your urine to be a light lemonade color vs. dark yellow…please note that some supplements/vitamins will discolor urine to a funky color)
  • constipation (if you’re trying to kick up your fiber intake for any reason, make sure you up your fluid intake as well or you’ll be doing more harm than good!)
  • dry lips, mouth, and skin
  • increased body temperature or hard breathing
  • headaches
  • apathy

It’s easy to sweat off a couple pounds during exercise in the heat. As appealing as this sounds in terms of quick weight loss, think about weighing yourself before and after workouts to determine how much sweat/fluid loss occurred. You’ll want to make sure you drink about 2 1/2 cups water for every pound of weight loss during exercise.

BUT WHY DOES OUR BODY NEED WATER?!

  • removes waste from our body
  • keeps stools softer (yay!)
  • improves/enhances mental function
  • carries nutrients, oxygen, and glucose to the cells giving you energy
  • helps strengthen muscles

If you’re struggling to make sure you’re getting enough fluids throughout the day, buy yourself a cute and fun water bottle as a way to have water as a convenient beverage choice. This may sound silly, but also using a smart phone device with an alarm/calendar to remind you of various points in the day to have your water (it sounds silly but we use our phone for everything else, why not use it as a way to get into a hydration habit?) can be helpful as well. A lot of my patients aren’t crazy about plain water and also want to avoid artificial sweeteners from products such as Crystal Light, Mio, etc. If that’s you, try naturally flavoring your water with slices of your favorite fruit(s) to steep in a cold iced picture of water throughout the day (think about when you go to the spa and you see the containers of water infused with slices of lemon and lime). One of my favorite “odd” combinations is letting a pitcher of water steep with slices of strawberry and mint leaves. Freezing cubes of 100% fruit juice to use to ice down your water can be a great way to get fruit flavor in your water bottle as well.

If you already drink a good bit of water but want to make sure you’re staying well hydrated in this heat, incorporating fluid rich foods can be a helpful way to maintain hydration. Having fresh fruit such as watermelon and citrus fruits with a high water concentration can be a nice hydrating treat during the summer. Salads with wonderful refreshing crisp lettuce and water-rich broccoli can also enhance your hydration. Dairy products such as yogurts and milk have a high fluid content (85-89% water) that can provide a super tasty way to stay hydrated as well! 🙂

*Avoid beverages with high concentrations of sugar, alcohol, or caffeine as these will counteract your hydrating efforts due to their diuretic properties!

Below I’ve included a very short clip encouraging folks to include water-rich foods in their diet to stay hydrated this summer.

What’s your favorite way to stay hydrated in the summer? Any tips for flavoring your own water at home or keeping yourself on task with drinking fluids?


Blueberry and Vanilla Yogurt Smoothie

WHITE SMOOTHIE

Let me start off by saying that I am generally not a smoothie person. My husband and I make them every now and again but overall, it’s not generally a “go to” item for me. I have nothing against them at all but I usually have trouble creating the perfect consistency, whether it be too thick, too thin, or too chunky to easily sip through a straw. Long story short, I just don’t find them convenient for me; perhaps with a little behavior/routine change I’ll have different thoughts in the future on this 🙂 However, earlier this week I decided to whip one up for me and the hubs as a drinkable breakfast. Based on my recent grocery trip and what we had in the fridge, I decided to go with a Vanilla Yogurt and Blueberry Smoothie as seen below:

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Yes, I did use NASCAR glasses for our smoothies… I am not ashamed at all  (okay, maybe just a little 😉 ). Overall it was pretty tasty and wasn’t as much of a hassle as I thought to make. Below I’ve listed the recipe. I’ve got a few other things in the fridge this week that could be used for some smoothies including kale, so if I can convince my husband to drink it, I would like to get in more of a habit of making them, especially after having such as positive experience with yogurt and blueberry one that I originally found on prevention.com.

Vanilla Yogurt and Blueberry Smoothie
(INGREDIENTS BELOW YIELD ONE SERVING— “DOUBLE” QUANTITIES FOR 2 PEOPLE 🙂 )

1 cup skim or soy milk
6 oz (80-calorie) vanilla yogurt
1 cup fresh blueberries
1-2 Tb ground flaxseed
Handful of ice OR 1 cup frozen blueberries

Combine milk, yogurt, and fresh blueberries plus ice OR frozen blueberries in a blender along with ground flax. Blend for 1 minute, transfer to a glass.

For one serving

For one serving

After analyzing this recipe, the calories are a little higher than I typically have in a breakfast, but thankfully a lot of this comes from naturally occurring sugars. Calorie count could be reduced by using less milk and using a lower sugar content yogurt— I’ll probably make these adjustments this weekend. Overall though, fiber and protein content are great which I could tell from how well it kept me full that morning. 

If you try out this recipe, let me know what you think! Also, please feel free to share any smoothie recipes that you swear by so that I can join the smoothie band wagon 😉


Monday Mind-Pick: What’s Your Definition of Healthy?

sheena fat

Me and my 5 lb fat model after a lunch and learn presentation today.

Since it’s Monday, I thought I’d take advantage of today and do a little Monday Mind-Picking. What I want to know from my readers today is, “What’s Your Definition of Healthy?” when it comes to food/eating? This summer with work I’m doing a series of group nutrition presentations to help my clients with summer weight loss goals. I believe a lot of times our biggest gamechanger with our eating habits involves our own personal definition of what we consider to be a healthy food.

I know that my dietitian colleagues will likely have their own definition of “healthy” and I too will share my intepretation soon as well, but I’d love for you all to comment today on what your definition of a healthy food is. As tempting as it is to Google the phrase “healthy” or “healthy food” today, I encourage you to just share what comes up off the top of your head.  Say for example, would you consider iceberg lettuce healthy because it’s low calorie and it’s a vegetable? Or would you consider a potato unhealthy because it’s white and a starchy carbohydrate?  These are just a few examples of some things, but I’d like for you to provide your own food examples as well.  I’d like to use your responses to create a series of posts this summer that will correlate with some of the information I’ll be sharing with my Summer Slimdown series at work.

The more responses the better so please feel free to comment 🙂


Delicious, Nutritious, {Roasted} BROCCOLI!!

roasted broccoli

Shout out to my broccoli lovers in the house! I consider broccoli to be on my personal list of super foods. Why? Need some fiber? Bam, here’s your broccoli! Need water soluble vitamin C or fat soluble vitamin A? Get some broccoli. Or maybe you need some calcium and folic acid…yep, broccoli is there to the rescue. Maybe you’d just like some nice phytochemicals to prevent cancer and other chronic diseases—bring out the broccoli.

For some people however, broccoli can be a daunting task to eat. I used to relish the opportunity to put raw broccoli florets in my salads at work until I realized how sensitive my tummy was to raw broccoli. If you didn’t know, broccoli is part of the cruciferous family of vegetables (which includes cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, and bok choy) which has been known to provide stomach discomforts to some people in its raw form due to the fiber content, providing subsequent bloating from the gases that are formed in the stomach during digestion. Doesn’t sound too fun huh? Though broccoli and other cruciferous veggies have their best health benefits in the raw form, cooking broccoli appropriately (avoiding overcooking) can help diminish these negative tummy effects while also keeping the nutritional integrity of the veggie.

Most people steam their broccoli but yesterday I found a fantastic recipe for oven roasted broccoli at The Gingered Whisk. She has some incredibly delicious recipes! Last night I thought I’d put her recipe to the test right after pinning this bad boy on Pinterest.  This recipe was originally from The Amateur Gourmet who adapted it from the wonderful Ina Garten.

20130604_182133Get out the delicious broccoli…

20130604_182504Chop into florets to arrange on a foil lined baking sheet

20130604_182855Aren’t they so cute and delicious looking?!

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Pull out your seasonings…I didn’t have any kosher salt so ended up using some sea salt; I also pulled out the garlic powder to supplement with the minced garlic I ended up using

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Bake for 20-25 minutes at 425

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Add your lemon juice and Parmesan cheese…I had some leftover Sargento in the fridge

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YUUUUMMMMMM!!!!

Roasted Broccoli Recipe

Ingredients
4-5 pounds of broccoli
5 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1.5 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
zest and juice from 1 lemon

Directions
Preheat your oven to 425
Take 2 large bunches of broccoli and cut it into florets.
Wash them and dry them super thoroughly.
Put some tin foil on a lined cookie sheet.
Place your broccoli on the cookie sheet and drizzle a bit of olive oil on top, sprinkle with kosher salt and some black pepper to taste.
Slice 4 heads of garlic and place these on the cookie sheet, too.
Now toss it all together.
Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the broccoli is crisp tender and getting a bit brown on the tips.
Remove the pan from the oven and zest a lemon over the broccoli, followed by a squeeze of lemon juice.
Drizzle a little more olive oil on top, sprinkle on some parmesan cheese and toss.
Enjoy!

I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to eat broccoli any other way. The lemon juice and zest really enhance the flavor of this dish. My husband and I paired the broccoli with some roasted chicken. If you try this recipe, please tell what you think! 🙂

P.S. Next up this week will be my tasting of some bacon and cheese flavored crickets I picked up at the market in Charleston. Video will be included so you don’t want to miss 🙂


One Year Anniversary {Personal Post}

Once again it has been a hot minute since my last post. I’ve been away on a small getaway to Charleston which has left me with exhaustion but plenty of yummy things to share this week. However, today I wanted to post pictures from my recent one year anniversary shoot with my husband. Being the food and dessert lover that I am, I had to incorporate some cupcakes! It was hard to choose the handful that would go on my final disc. These pictures were done by JWoodbery Photography who can also be found on facebook.

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