A Chat with Catherine Winn

Hello my faithful readers! I hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend! Today I wanted to share about my recent encounter interviewing the lovely Catherine Winn of Cooking Winn, in my home of Tuscaloosa, AL. Some of you may remember me mentioning my volunteer opportunities writing restaurant reviews for The Planet Weekly and Druid City Living. I recently had the chance to interview Catherine about her side business, Cooking Winn…{fun fact: Catherine is actually a PhD student in Renaissance Literature!} What I love about helping with publications and writing is meeting people just like Catherine and getting to know the story and person behind the name.

catherine winn articleAside from getting to talk with Catherine herself to prepare my article, I also received a flood of emails from her faithful customers. As a talented woman providing International flavors in a profile of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free varieties, she has become quite the popular woman in Tuscaloosa.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from her customers:

“Every time I get something new, it becomes my new favorite. I really like her variety of dishes and the fact that she uses local ingredients. I don’t always have the time to cook and it’s great to know that I can get healthy food from her (and have some frozen in my freezer) in order to live a healthy life! ” – Mary Meares

“From the first bite of a korma handpie from Cooking Winn, I was sold. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve tasted from this business, but those will always be my favorite. I am not a vegan or vegetarian; I am, however, someone who likes delicious food, and Cooking Winn delivers that every time.” – Terri Roberts

“Especially for a vegetarian with a busy work schedule like myself, Cooking Winn has been phenomenal.  It offers a global range of tasty dishes–all prepared with fresh ingredients from local farmers markets & the like, to the extent possible.  Even more, all of these wide-ranging meals are available on a flexible, per request basis.  In that way, Cooking Winn is able to offer a much wider selection of vegetarian meals than any single restaurant would be able to do.” – Stacy Morgan

“As a busy single person, I find it difficult to find the time to cook, plus I hate having too much leftover food.  Catherine’s dishes are great, both because of her variety and because the portions are just right- one or two servings at most.  For convenience, I especially love her tomato tarts, which I can just heat up in the toaster oven for a quick snack or light dinner.  And it’s so wonderful to have so many options, especially for cuisines- like Ethiopian- that are not readily available in Tuscaloosa, or even Birmingham.” – Grace Lee

After reading the flood of raves and praises of Catherine’s food, I knew I had to try some of her dishes myself. The hubs and I had the opportunity to try her vegan potato kale enchiladas and her vegetarian tomato tart. Getting to warm up her dishes and eat them in the the comfort of our home was the icing on the cake. I can’t even begin to describe the symphony of flavors and textures from the enchiladas while enjoying the savory goodness of the tomato tart. I would boldly have to say that Catherine has made me a believer in delicious vegan dishes.

potato enchiladas SgreggOur potato kale enchiladas right before we warmed them up!

tomato tart SGreggSay hello to my little friend, the delicious tomato tart!

If you’d like to see my write-up on Catherine in its entirety, feel free to visit the fabulous Planet Weekly website. Many thanks again to Catherine for allowing me to interview her, hear from her fabulous customers, and try her delicious food!

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March is National Nutrition Month {Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle}

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Hello friends! I can’t believe it’s already March! As a registered dietitian nutritionist, this is one of the most exciting months of the year because it’s National Nutrition Month! I still have some things to share with you as a recap from National Eating Disorders Awareness Week last month, so be sure to come back and visit this week! This year’s theme for National Nutrition Month is “Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle” which can be a great motivator for any health goals you’ve set for yourself this year.

My personal goal for National Nutrition Month this year is to be very purposeful about planning meals and snacks this month, not only for nutrition purposes, but also for budgeting purposes! If you’re up for the challenge with me, be sure to comment and keep me in the loop! If you need some additional inspiration, one of my favorite RDNs and one of my first mentors and preceptors, Paula Gonzalez Rothschild, has some wonderful advice and resources on her website : Plan, Prepare, Portion.  I first met Paula, along with my other preceptor, Monica Montes, during my independent study experience in Pasadena, California. Monica and Paula founded N.E.W. Health Consultants, a Nutrition, Exercise, and Wellness business with dietitians, a naturopathic physician, massage therapist, family therapist, personal trainer, and personal chef to meet all needs of wellness. I’d certainly like to say that they were my first set of mentors that really inspired me to be the RDN I am today!

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Monica Montes (left) and Paula Gonzalez Rothschild (right), summer 2006 during my NHM 491 Independent Study Experience in Pasadena, CA

As far as dinner tonight, I thought my hubs and I would start National Nutrition Month off right with a vegetarian plate. Roasted red onions, sweet potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, brown rice, black beans, and baby kale salad made up our meal. As far as tomorrow goes, I’m planning a spinach and strawberry smoothie for breakfast, yogurt as a snack, leftover whole wheat spaghetti with sausage at lunch, and roasted veggie leftovers for dinner.

Sound off with your plan for Monday! Happy National Nutrition Month!

I'm Blogging National Nutrition Month


Gluten-Free Halloween Candy Guide 2014

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Happy Tuesday to all of you! I don’t know what the weather feels like in your neck of the woods, but here in Alabama we are finally feeling the seasons change. With the arrival of this cold weather, I know that Halloween is just around the corner.

Halloween is always a fun time for neighborhood gatherings and hayrides, trick or treating, or perhaps an office Halloween party. However, Halloween can also be a high stress time for parents and children who battle multiple food allergies. Celiac disease and various levels of gluten-intolerance have now put gluten-containing foods and candies on the “watch out” list.

Thankfully, organizations like the Celiac Disease Foundation have worked hard to research candy companies and make extensive lists for folks to use when preparing for this ghoulish holiday. Below I have listed links for resources from the Celiac Disease Foundation as well as About Health. Please note that these resources are only a guide. Formulas and ingredients by the company can be changed at any time.

Wishing you all a safe and delicious Halloween season!

 


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 🙂

sunday lunch

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!


{Nutracore Nutrition} Skinny Whey : A Quick Review

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HEAVENS TO BETSY! It has been once again been forever since my last post. It’s now time to grab the bull by the horns and post something so you don’t forget about me 🙂

There’s a business called Total Nutrition which is similar to a GNC in many ways. I’ve felt bombarded with the amount of sponsored ads for the store, including one for a Skinny Whey as seen below:

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What’s funny is that my main issue with it is that the flavor is called “Delicious Chocolate.” Being the curious girl that I am, I decided to try it out, especially since so many of my clients in Tuscaloosa have talked about Total Nutrition opening and that they’ve been wanting to try this protein powder since it’s only 100 calories per scoop.

Boasting 100 calories, 22 grams of protein, and only 1 gram of carbohydrate, according to Nutracore, it “supports a healthy low carb lifestyle.” In all honesty, I don’t have that big of an issue with most of the ingredients. I wish it had more carbohydrate, but then again you could always go with a different brand like EAS Lean 15 Chocolate flavor (which is delicious with almond milk, BTW).

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After purchasing it and tasting it, here is my verdict:

It tastes sour. At first I thought it was because I used almond milk, but I really think it’s the powder itself. When I first opened the product, I noticed that the protective Styrofoam was not properly sealed. It offers 22 grams of protein which I will recognize can help with feelings of fullness…however, for a person of my size and activity level, I only need about 45 grams of protein/day. I think that if this product was used with a liquid that contained carbohydrate or if you had additional carbohydrate with the product such as a banana, then this could be a viable choice. I totally get that this product is specifically geared for a low carbohydrate lifestyle, but if you’re not giving your body enough carbohydrate to actually have the energy to use all these massive amounts of protein you’re putting in yourself, then what’s the point? Some evidence suggests an extremely low carbohydrate diet can be maintained long-term for some, but if you are any bit of an active person, please don’t go extreme low carb.

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Would I purchase this again? I don’t think so. I’m still curious to see if the vanilla flavor is any better or if the container I got was a fluke, but this “delicious chocolate” flavor did not taste chocolate at all. I don’t mind it as a protein source to add to shakes, but I do believe that adequate carbohydrate should be supplemented throughout the day.

 

What do you think? Have you tried this product before? Let me know your thoughts and please share what protein powders you have (and haven’t) enjoyed in the past!


My {Not So} Green Smoothie

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Happy Thursday, friends! I don’t know about you, but I’m a little bit on the sore side. Last night me and a girlfriend tried Pure Barre for the first time. I hear my patients talk about it all the time and many of my friends and colleagues swear by it, including Chelsea from It’s a Wonderful Lifestyle. Other than it hurting to laugh, sit, lift, walk, and talk, I survived. I decided to sign up for their Breaking Down the Barre class later this week to get a better understanding about form and technique. With a monthly unlimited membership feeling like a car payment, I have yet to make a decision on continuing this fitness option. If you also swear by it, please let me know 🙂

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Skinny Girl Cosmo I had right after class…Please note I do not recommend this as a post-workout recovery beverage.

Ironically, my Nutribullet Pro had arrived by the time I got home from Pure Barre last night. I would not consider myself to be a smoothie aficionado but after watching a little too many infomercials lately, I thought I’d “bite the bullet” (pun intended) and get one. Since I’m not hardcore in the smoothie arena, I thought I’d wait before considering a Vitamix or Blendec blender. Speaking Blendec, have you ever seen their videos, Will It Blend? If something can blend an Iphone, well then surely it can blend anything else in my house including produce. 
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I was planning on making a smoothie for both me and my husband this morning but since he’s fairly adamant about his fiber cereal routine in the morning, I had the big cup all to myself. My mix had about 1 1/2-2 cups of spinach, one frozen banana, a half cup of frozen blueberries, two tablespoons ground flaxseed,two tablespoons chia seeds, and water.

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So….not exactly the beautiful green smoothies you’d find other people making. However, it did taste pretty good!

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As the day has progressed it has started to turn more green. Again, not a gorgeous pretty lime green, but I’ll attribute the army green color to the blueberries and black chia seeds involved. And honestly, I think I needed to blend it a little bit longer now that I think about it in hindsight. I will try again and keep you lovely folks posted!!

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I really am hoping to make a habit of using my Nutribullet often.  I don’t consider this to be a replacement for my fruit and veggie intake throughout the day; so many of the recipes I share with you all feature veggies as the superstar 🙂 For now, I’ll be looking to my friend Cindy at Newlywed Nutrition for all of her fabulous smoothie recipes— this girl is an expert in the smoothie arena!  If you’re feeling like joining the green smoothie bandwagon, July 1st is your chance!

Alas, now, it’s time for my lunch and as much as I’d love another smoothie, I’m pretty pumped about my Greek chicken salad from Zoe’s Kitchen. Yum! Bottoms up and Bon Appetit!

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Nutrition and Oral Health

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Last week I went in for a long overdue teeth cleaning. As a dietitian, I’m always thinking about how important good dentition affects our food intake. However, I think it’s important to remember how good nutrition affects our dentition. This can be especially important when teaching your kids good eating and dental hygiene habits. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a great info graphic on nutrition and oral health…check it out!

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Tomato, Basil, and Feta Salad

photo 2Some of you may remember me mentioning on my Facebook page a few weeks ago that I would share the recipe of this little salad I made from my finds at farmers market. I’m finally getting to share today. With all the wonderful produce available this summer, it’s hard not to enjoy a nice summer salad. This would make a great addition to any July 4th get togethers or cookouts going on this summer. This is a modified version of a recipe from AllRecipes.com with the tiny addition of black olives and instead of roma tomatoes, I used some plump tomatoes I found at the market that day.

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Ingredients
6 roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
1 small cucumber- quartered length wise and chopped (I used 2 small cucumbers for my recipe)
3 green onions, chopped
1 small can sliced black olives
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
3 Tb olive oil
2 Tb balsamic vinegar
3 Tb crumbled feta cheese (I may have used more than this 🙂 )
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions
In a large bowl, combine and toss all ingredients.

Side note: I like to let this chill in the fridge for a bit, but that may just be personal preference on my part.

Please try this out and let me know what you think! Please let me know of any of your own variations to this recipe.

 


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 🙂


Ingredient Substitutions

Happy Monday, folks! I don’t know how it is in your neck of the woods today, but in my area of west Alabama, it is an extremely rainy Monday. One thing that I hate about rain is that it doesn’t exactly get me in the mood to run to the grocery store to get the ingredients I may need for a particular recipe. Clients always ask me about recipe substitutions not only for a healthier alternative but sometimes because they just don’t have certain staple ingredients in the pantry. Have no fear, friends! The good folks at MyRecipes.com is here to save the day. You may remember me mentioning the site’s nutrition search last summer which is another very helpful tool.

recipe substitutionsAs you can see, this site has quite the variety of ingredient substitution possibilities for those days you just don’t have time to run to the store. Check out this resource for yourself and let me know what you think. What are the most common things that you substitute when cooking your favorite recipes? Let’s chat!