Recent Happenings including a few restaurant reviews and community events!

Happy Thursday, folks! I’m gearing up for FNCE (Food and Nutrition Conference & Expo) with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that will be going on this coming Saturday – Tuesday. So much to do before I leave! However, I was happy to see that some of the local publications I contribute to came out this week! My friend Cindy from NewlyWed Nutrition recently recruited me to help her with restaurant review for The Planet Weekly. Below is my first review of a local pizza place in Tuscaloosa.

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I also had my articles from Druid City Living pop up this week. Instead of focusing mainly on food, I was asked to help with some awesome community events happening this month and next…including a delicious Bacon and Brewfest and a fun Monster Makeover! Check out this month’s digital issue of Druid City Living to read the publication in its entirety.

 

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What are you up to this weekend? Let’s swap some ideas!


Weekend Wrap-up: What did the dietitian eat this weekend?

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you had a wonderful weekend full of fun, food, and football. Though I didn’t document what I had for every meal this weekend, I thought I’d at least share a snapshot of a few meals and snacks from Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

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Friday night dinner consisted of oven-roasted brussel sprouts and asparagus (asparagus was cooked a little too long…oops! #ithappens), baked sweet potato, and lentils made with chicken broth and bay leaf (YUM!). I really wanted to find some end of season okra at the grocery store, but I should have known better. The brussel sprouts were a nice compromise and mighty delicious 🙂

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Saturday night dinner (although not pictured very pretty) consisted of homemade burgers with smoked Gouda and caramelized onions with a horseradish sauce. The monstrosity beside it is an extremely large blue cheese baked potato all compliments of the husband. I ended up only eating about an 1/8 of it due to the size. Since I was already planning on eating the bun from the burger, I decided not to eat as much of the potato since I typically like having only 3-4 carbohydrate exchanges/servings at dinner. In hindsight, my hubs and I should have split the potatoes but they were on sale 2/$1 so my hubs took advantage of the deal 🙂

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Sunday lunch was eaten at a function at church that afternoon. The food you see above is from Taco Mama here in Tuscaloosa. It is absolutely delicious 🙂 I ended up with a handful of chips, lettuce, chicken, black beans, cheese, tomatoes, and jalapenos. I should have taken a picture of my actual plate, but I was a little too hungry to remember 🙂

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Sunday snack happened around 5:15 p.m. while catching up on some work in my office. It was a little too early for dinner, and I needed something to hold me over until later that evening. I am absolutely in love with the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavored Quest Bars. However, I wish they were less expensive. Depending on where you purchase them, price can range anywhere from $2-3 per bar. Yikes!

Well there you have it friends- a little hodgepodge of eating over the weekend. What did you have to eat this weekend? Let’s share together!


Summer is over and I’m turning 30 soon

 

So once again I’ve had a little hiatus from the blog. Despite it being the summer time, it’s been busy for me in a few different ways. I am hoping to play catch up soon with some new recipes I’ve tried over the summer. This may not come to a shocker to my regular readers, but I have been obsessed with squash and okra this summer. I told someone earlier this week that I could live off of okra and ice cream (odd combination I know).  And speaking of food and recipes, at the beginning of last week, my husband and I decided to forgo bread/pastas as part of our 21 days of prayer at church. I have realized how much bread is part of my every day munching. However, I will be very candid and say that the one comical thing that I’ve noticed during this time period is that I’ve been gravitating to every single source of carbohydrate possible to “make up” for the fact that I haven’t been eating bread. Way to go, Ms. Dietitian, huh?  I think I’ve finally gotten comfortable with the whole no bread thing,  so maybe I’ll be okay after all 😉

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On a side note,  I turn 30 in about two and a half months. I have mixed feelings about it, but I’ve planned a trip to say adios to my 20s and bienvenidos to my 30s that my hubs and I will be doing later this fall. [EXPECT A FULL REVIEW OF THE VACATION SITE!!! 🙂 🙂 ] Since I’d like to make the start of my 30’s as good as possible, I am publicly declaring I’m on a mission to try to get in a little more exercise this fall. This summer I’ve been on multiple medications for some health issues which have had some weight gain as a side effect. When you’re 5’1 like me, little fluctuations can be noticed 🙂 With all that said, I’m sure I’ll be chronicling some of my efforts with this in conjunction with my regular recipe shares, nutrition tips, and the like. Stay tuned readers…we’ve got a lot coming up this fall!

 


Redneck Caviar

Still need that last minute recipe idea to bring to your 4th of July cookout tomorrow? How about a quick and easy dip! 🙂

A Filipino Foodie

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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…

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Balsamic Basil Summer Pasta Salad

Still need a quick recipe to bring to your 4th of July gathering on Friday? Consider making the pasta salad that I bring to almost all potluck parties!

A Filipino Foodie

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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4th of July Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

With 4th of July just around the corner, here’s a throwback to my recommendations last year for healthy holiday eating tips!

A Filipino Foodie

4th of july eating tips

Hi friends! Today I wanted to share a few quick tips to help you keep up healthy habits during the 4th of July holiday. Cookouts are infamous for copious amounts of red meat, alcohol, and high calorie side items; luckily though, cookouts also provide great opportunity for enjoying fresh veggies and fruit, especially on a hot day!

  • Do NOT show up to the get together famished.  Though “saving up your calories for the big meal” sounds like a great idea, it can do more harm than good by setting you up to eat overly large portions.If your cookout or gathering is at lunch, make sure to have breakfast beforehand….if it’s in the evening, have a light breakfast and lunch- you get the idea 🙂 Having a snack 30 minutes to an hour before eating can help avoid eating “with your eyes” and let you take your time to enjoy the…

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Catch up Monday

news-and-events__home-alone-632Forgive me readers for I have sinned, it has been almost 2 months since my last post. Needless to say, I have quite a bit to catch up on here with the blog. Over the next week I’m hoping to catch up on several things including my cruise, trip to a beautiful B&B in Tennessee, and other shenanigans.

For now, I figured I would catch up on more recent things such as Father’s Day. I hope all of you enjoyed some quality time with the father figures in your life this past weekend. This year, my mother’s birthday actually fell on Father’s Day. My husband and I ended up meeting my parents and brother at a restaurant in Birmingham…Seasons 52. I really like this restaurant and had it for the first time for my brother’s college graduation dinner. As a dietitian, I appreciate their concept of every menu item being 475 calories or less. We ended up sharing a few appetizers including a Grilled Garlic Pesto Chicken Flatbread and a Ahi Tuna Tartare with a wasabi-avocado mousse, tropical salsa, and Hawaiian sea salt crisps.

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photo 2 (2)I enjoyed the barbecue salad so much the last time I was here that I decided to get it again. Their menus are seasonal and our server let us know that they would soon be able to transition to their summer menu.

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It wouldn’t be a complete family get together without some (SEVERAL) pictures. And honestly, I don’t mind it because sometimes I forget how quickly life progresses, and it’s nice to have pictures to remember memories.

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Other than the blessing and pleasure of getting to see my wonderful family (we even got to see my in-laws while we were in Bham), my parents were wonderful enough to bring me a hard copy of the Women’s Health Philippines magazine I was mentioned in as well as one of my dad’s older DSLR cameras for me to play around with. Needless to say, my sweet doggie Lou is going to be my model for the next couple of weeks.

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photo (19)And last but not least…here’s a picture of my Lou. I haven’t taken the time yet to understand how to work this SLR but we can consider this my “before” picture with no skill whatsoever.

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Until next time! Hopefully sooner rather than later 🙂


Calling All Cruise Veterans

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Hi friends! I apologize for my lack of posts in the past week or so. It’s been a little hectic around the office, and I’ve been gearing up for my little brother’s college graduation this Saturday as well as a cruise with 3 girlfriends next week (also lovingly known as LADYPALOOZA 2014), AND my 2 year anniversary with my husband. As a first time cruiser and someone who does get significantly affected by motion sickness, I’m open to any suggestions from my followers. I’ve read the tips for First Time Cruisers on Cruise Critic but I’d love to know if you have any recommendations from personal experiences. We’ll be on Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas leaving from Port Canaveral for a 3 night trip to the Bahamas so I’ll be excited to share pictures with everyone when I return. So with that said, fire away with any recommendations you may have whether it’s food selections, wardrobe, or anything in between!

 


Movie Theater Popcorn and Pizza Hut Personal Pan Pizzas

A happy Friday to all of you! I hope everyone has some great things planned for the weekend. Last night I had the opportunity to watch Divergent with my book club. If you’re a fan of young adult fiction, I do believe you’d really like this series. I could go on endlessly about how I feel about the third book and the way the series ended, but I’ll refrain. As not to spoil anything about differences between the movie and the book, I’ll refrain from any details other than saying that I really enjoyed the movie last night 🙂

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Due to a busy schedule before getting to meet my friends, I was a little panicked about what to eat. I knew I wanted movie theater popcorn but wasn’t sure how much I wanted it as my full-fledged dinner, especially since we weren’t watching the movie until 8 p.m. I had to give a presentation to a student group at 6:30 p.m. and had run out of packed snacks in my purse. The building that I was speaking in had a small food court, including a Pizza Hut Express. Now mind you, when you reach Defcon 1 overt hunger, you pretty much pick foods based on what smells good versus thinking things through and making a healthful choice. Enter the supreme personal pan pizza. I would have taken a picture right when I picked it up, but I was so hungry I forgot. After I ate one of the four individual slices, I decided to stop. I knew that popcorn and a personal pan pizza would not make the most pleasant situation in my stomach. I didn’t want to waste the pizza either, so after flattening the whole thing with a napkin to get the grease out, I stuck the pizza box in a brown paper bag and into my purse, making my way to my lecture. One of the students said I smelled like really good pizza. GREAT!

This the pizza AFTER it had been to the movie theater with me stuffed in my purse and AFTER I gave the dog part of one of the slices. Doesn't really look so appetizing 5 hours after I bought it....

This the pizza AFTER it had been to the movie theater with me stuffed in my purse and AFTER I gave the dog part of one of the slices. Doesn’t really look so appetizing 5 hours after I bought it…. (Excuse the photo quality or lack thereof!)

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Moving on to the movie theater popcorn. Have you ever wondered what makes movie theater popcorn so delicious? It might be the fact that they cook it in coconut oil. After doing some research on the internet, I found that a lot of movie chains are going cheap on this end and going back to canola oil. I decided to call the corporate office of the theater chain I was attending to see what they use. The lady on the phone told me that they did indeed use coconut oil. There’s been a lot of concern about movie theater popcorn but honestly, if you haven’t had it in forever, then go ahead and enjoy it. I’ve been in a bad habit the past few years of woofing down a small popcorn, adding the pseudo butter topping, and then sprinkling some regular and peanut butter M&M’s in the bag (oh good golly it’s delicious). I decided to be a little more healthful in my decision and went with a medium diet coke and a small popcorn sans candy. Now granted I still had the pizza stuffed in my purse (yes gross, I know). When I got home from the theater, I realized I was so engrossed in the movie (and perhaps a particular movie character…) that I only ate about 1/4 of this bag. The only thing that’s a bummer is that “unfresh” movie theater popcorn kinda tastes gross.
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To put a little more perspective on how many calories, fat, and saturated fat (often from coconut oil used to pop corn which gives a better mouthfeel) in your golden buckets of pleasure, check out the graph from City Girl Bites
***Popcorn Size ↓ Calories Total Fat Saturated Fat
Kid’s with butter 470 37 22
Kid’s without butter (5 cups) 300 20 14
Large with butter 1640 126 73
Large without butter (20 cups) 1160 77 55
Medium with butter 910 71 41
Medium with butter 1220 97 56
Medium without butter (11 cups) 650 43 31
Medium without butter (16 cups) 900 60 43
Small with butter 630 50 29
Small without butter (7 cups) 400 27 19

Are you a movie theater popcorn lover or a personal pan pizza lover? What about a Divergent reader? Let’s sound off here boys and girls! 🙂


“Hot” Chocolate

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Happy Thursday friends! How many of you like your chocolate hot? And by hot, I mean spicy. If you do, then my little sweet treat today might hit the spot. I’ve been super stressed at work lately with all the activities coming up, and a coworker/angel decided to provide me with a delicious piece of chocolate. She said, “this looked like something you’d enjoy” and boy was she right. I’ve never had any of the Chuao Chocolatier products but had the pleasure of trying the spicy maya mini chocolate bar today.

After getting the initial taste of dark chocolate, I started feeling the sensation of heat from the chile and cayenne, and cinnamon undertones. I always enjoy high quality small bits of chocolate because you can really savor them and get some enjoyment from such a small amount. For only 50 calories, this was pretty delicious and satisfying 🙂

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For my chocolate lovers out there, what’s your favorite brand and flavor of high quality chocolate? Let’s sound off!