10 Things Tuesday: Dreaming of Summer and New Recipes

DSCF45681. I experimented with using avocados while baking a couple weeks ago when I made these Vegan German Chocolate Cupcakes. Why not also try adding avocados to chocolate chip cookies like this recipe from Eat Live Run? Yum!
2. Speaking of chocolate chip cookies, I almost drooled on my keyboard when I saw these chocolate chip cookie brownies via Pinch of Yum. I will definitely keep this recipe in mind for the next time I need to bring a dish to a potluck. (They are too dangerous to keep around the house, ha!)
3. Will and I made fresh salmon burgers the other night that were so tasty! I hope to post the recipe later this week. 🙂
salmon burger 2
4. This interview with Iron woman Kristen McQueen was so inspiring. A great reminder that you should never take your health for granted.
5. I loved this list of 25 Get-Together Food and Drink Ideas from A Beautiful Mess. I really want to try making their homemade pickles or lemonade! 🙂
6. I can’t wait to try out this Under 10 Minutes Upper Body Workout via The Purely Twins!
7. On the same note of summer and avocados, Joy the Baker posted this goat cheese and roasted corn guacamole recipe that looks absolutely scrumptious! I can imagine chowing down on this on a summer night. 
8. I tried making a batch of spicy roasted chickpeas this weekend. About half of the batch was really good! The other half didn’t really crisp up as well and they are kind of weird when chewy…  I’ll have to try adjusting the baking temperature next time so I can share the recipe!
spicy chickpeas
9. Now that I know it’s so easy to make larabars at home, I really want to try making some “energy balls”. This coconut chocolate energy balls recipe via Fit Foodie Finds looks like a winner! 🙂
10. I haven’t had any kind of hearty Italian/pasta dish in ages! This 5 Minute Pesto and Gnocci recipe from Liz at I Heart Vegetables looks soooo good. I need to get some gnocci when I head to Trader Joe’s this weekend so I can try this out!
Hope you are having a wonderful week so far!

What the Dietitians Eat…

Have you seen this article from Time magazine called “What the World Eats”? I don’t think it’s a new one, but it is definitely very interesting! The article is a series of images that depict families with their weekly groceries laid out. The pictures actually come from a book called Hungry Planet by Peter Menzel. Will came across it via Reddit and showed it to me the other day. It’s so fascinating to see what people in other countries eat! I never realized that we weren’t the only country that drinks a lot of soda. Or the vast difference in the cost of food between countries. Listed with the photo is the cost of all the groceries, which varies from $1.23 to $500.07. Can you imagine being able to feed a family of four for a week for less than $2.00?!

To see how we measure up, Will and I took a picture with our weekly groceries the other day. 🙂

Week of food 1Whenever we do our weekly grocery shopping, we usually end up going to three stores: Stanley’s (a small all-produce grocer), Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods.
Here’s a breakdown of what we bought and where:

  • Trader Joe’s: Sunflower butter, butter, cereal, coffee, almonds, olives, beer, chocolate, coconut milk, cheese = $59.13
  • Stanley’s: Asparagus, cantaloupe, bananas, strawberries, tomatoes, artichokes, pears, green onions, orange peppers, apples, butternut squash, zucchini = $21.67
  • Whole Foods: Salad, peanut butter, quinoa, salad dressing salmon, seitan, ground beef, milk, dates, chickpeas = $63.10

Grand Total: $143.90

This is obviously a bit high compared to some of the awesome bargain shopping bloggers I’ve seen out there. However, Will and I feel better about budgeting a little more for groceries and buying higher quality foods (ie. local, grass fed, or organic) since eating healthy is so important to us.

How does your weekly grocery bill compare? Are you a thrifty shopper?

Foodie Finds Fitness: Favorite Posts of the Week

We made it! Happy Friday! Goodness, this was a looong week. I started my new job on Monday so my head is filled to the brim with new information! Since my brain is pretty stuffed, I thought today, I would just share with you a few of my favorite fitness related posts from the blog world this week:
exercise excuses

  • Why I Exercise Intuitively via Miz Fit: This was my favorite post of the week! I have been mulling it over ever since I first read it and I really like the idea. I can’t believe I never thought of it before! Intuitive eating is such a great tool for so many people, why can’t we use the same concept for exercise? It is all too easy to go overboard when getting started in an exercise routine which leads to burnout. Your body is an amazing machine, it is so important to listen to it when it’s telling you to rest.
  • Ab Burner via Fitnessista: Gina’s blog was one of the first fitness blogs I started reading regularly. Her workouts are always sure to get you sweating! I can’t wait to try out this ab burner she posted this week.
  • Travel Workouts via Peanut Butter Fingers: I loved these simple, no-equipment required routines! 
  • Runners vs. Non-Runners – How to Annoy Them or Get Annoyed by Them via Olive to Run: This post made me LOL for real when I read it. I think I have heard every one of these at one point or another. My favorite is when people ask me, “are you going to win?” when I mention I am running a race soon. Ha! I am never even close to the front of the pack!
  • Dietitian Debbie Dishes on Body for Tomorrow: The blogger behind Body for Tomorow is David, a personal trainer. He contacted me recently to see if we could collaborate and combine our expertise. His site has lots of great information on exercise and staying motivated. Check it out! 🙂

Did you try any new workouts this week? Any fun plans for the weekend?!

Confessions of a Dietitian: I Don’t Read Food Labels…

I know, I know… you must be thinking that I am the worst dietitian ever! Let me explain. When trying new foods on occasion, I will glance at the nutrition facts label. However, I don’t often read food labels because the majority of the food I buy doesn’t have food labels. That’s right! If you think about it, the foods that are best for you have no labels – ie. fresh fruits and vegetables! (Or else there is only one ingredient listed on the package, ie. meat, tuna, frozen beans, etc.) The Food and Drug Association regulates food labeling and does not require produce, fresh fish, some cartons of eggs or foods from self-serve bulk bins to have a food or nutrition facts label (FDA.gov). The majority of my shopping cart is full of these foods!

grocerystoreproduce
Source

That doesn’t mean I don’t buy any foods with a label… however, I do choose these carefully and look at their labels the first time I buy. The foods that I purchase which are labeled include: cheese, grass-fed whole milk, butter, plain full-fat yogurt, soy or seitan, Ezekial bread, and peanut/sunflower butter. Although labeled, these foods make it into my cart because I make sure they have few ingredients. The shorter the ingredient list, the better!
You may have heard this phrase before, but when grocery shopping you really should “shop the perimeter”. That is where you will find all the mostly unlabeled, wholesome foods that you should be putting in your cart. Once you start wandering through the shelves of brightly packaged goods in the center of the store, you will be more likely to buy and eat it. Don’t fall into the temptation! 🙂 Even better, avoid the temptation entirely by shopping at your local farmer’s market!

shop-the-perimeter
Source

Let’s translate this into food. Here is a day’s worth of meals which can be prepared from foods found in the perimeter of the store combined with just a couple pantry items.

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Above I have oatmeal prepared with whole milk, an apple, cinnamon and a tablespoon of sunflower butter.

DSCF4132 For lunch, I usually try to have a big salad – this time I had spring greens with black beans, cheese, and ranch dressing. I usually pair this with a sweet potato and/or some fruit.

DSCF4395
Dinner this evening included roasted green beans, a sweet potato, and almond flour breaded fish.

Here’s where I found the ingredients for this day’s worth of meals:
Perimeter:

  • Apple
  • Green Beans
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Salad
  • Dressing
  • Whole Milk
  • Fish
  • Butter
  • Cheese

Shelves:

  • Almond flour
  • Cinnamon
  • Sunflower Butter

Bulk-Bins:

  • Oatmeal
  • Black beans

As you can see, if you plan well, you only need to venture into the aisles when you need to restock staples, which shouldn’t be every shopping trip. So, next time you go grocery shopping, see if you can “stick to the perimeter”. Your body will thank you for it!

Do you read the food/nutrition labels on all the foods you purchase?

10 Things Tuesday: Lots of Recipes to Drool Over…

Here’s another round up of some of the fun and interesting things I have come across this week!

1. I could definitely relate to Lindsay’s “My Diet Doesn’t Need a Label” post this week. When did eating become so complicated? There are so many labels for eating patterns out there now: paleo, “clean”, raw, vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian, etc. What about, I eat the way that is healthiest for me?
2. I recently came across this awesome website for full hour long yoga classes for free! I can’t wait to try some of these out! By Kennguru (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
3. Angela from Oh She Glows never fails to impress me with her delicious recipes! This week, she posted this Banana Bread Protein Bars recipe that sound so wholesome and tasty…
4. I just scheduled my first order from Stitch Fix! I have been hearing about this awesome service from several bloggers and was anxious to try it out. After filling out a quiz about your personal style, a Stitch Fix stylist compiles a mix of 5 items they think you would like and mails it to you. You keep what you like and send the rest back. I love the idea of having someone shop for me!
5. As a girl with somewhat unruly curly hair, I was surprised to see this post on curly hair care on the food blog Peas and Thank You! I have been meaning to try to transition to more all-natural beauty products for a while now so this post was really helpful!
embrace messy hair
6. I have been drooling over these Grown-Up Mascarpone S’mores all week!
7. The ladies of A Beautiful Mess are so creative! (I’m just a little jealous… haha!) The next time I am in a crafty mood, I want to make one of these braided rope necklaces. How cute!
8. I am always looking for new ways to liven up my usual breakfast routine. This week, I found this Breakfast Quinoa recipe via Pinterest. I definitely need to try this soon!
breakfast quinoa
9. I loved this guide of 13 Creative Uses for Chia Seeds! I’m curious about trying them to thicken up soup. I know I’ve been seeing some interesting pudding recipes using them – that would be tasty!
10. This commercial is absolutely ridiculous, but it made me smile!

How has your week been? Have you tried any new recipes lately?

Finding Some Direction: Goals Update

A couple weeks ago I wrote this post, about setting goals to help give your life direction. As a dietitian, I talk about goals a lot with patients who are wanting to lose weight or eat healthier. However, sometimes I am not the best about making sure I set goals for my own life. So, in order to make the most of my last two weeks of freedom before I started my new job (today!), I made some SMART goals for myself. This exercise worked really well. I had started to get into this slump of feeling so unproductive since I wasn’t working. Setting goals kept me motivated and focused so that I made the best use of my free time. I love some of these motivational quotes about goals that have helped me stay on track.
goals are road mapsnever too old
goals in writing
Here’s a recap of how it went!
1. Journal at least 2 times per week. I’ve been doing well with this goal! The real test will be whether I can keep up with it now that I am back to work.
2. Develop Recipe Redux cupcake recipe. I made some delicious vegan german chocolate and coffee cupcakes. If you missed the recipe, see my post from Sunday! You won’t be disappointed. 🙂
RR Cupcakes 2
3. Create blogging calendar. I’m still working on this one. I did a lot of brainstorming during my time off, so I have a lot of fun ideas for the blog which I plan to implement over the next few months. However, I haven’t added them to specific days on my calendar, but I’m ok with that. 🙂
4. Recommit to reading She Reads Truth daily. I have been doing much better with this! I wrote a reminder in my calendar so each day, I could check it off once I had spent some time reading through the devotion.
5. Sign up for a Chicago library card. I finally got this done! I picked up The American Wife while I was there. So far, I’ve really been enjoying this intimate look in to what it must be like to be the First Lady. I’m not sure I would be up for it!
american-wife_l 6. Brighten up my desk/office space. This is a work in progress… I’ve made some positive changes though! I’ve been slowly adding to my corkboard and hope to hand a few other pictures up soon and get a plant for the window above. 🙂
Desk Collage
7. Create a Facebook page for the blog. Check it out and “like” my page! I am at www.facebook.com/dietitiandebbiedishes!PicMonkey Facebook Collage
8. Make a DIY string pendant lamp shade. This little project was actually a lot of fun! After doing some research online, I decided to use this method. I think I caught the crafting bug, because I want to do more! (PS. It was really difficult to get a decent picture of it!)
DSCF4509
9. Sign up for a summer race! I signed up for the Chicago Women’s Half Marathon on June 23rd. I’m excited to get back in the game and race again. Now I have a goal to work towards!
womens-race-page
10. Volunteer at the Greater Chicago Food Depository. I did an afternoon shift last Wednesday and it was actually a lot of fun! I was really impressed with the organization of their staff and facility (which is huge!). During my session, they had us form an assembly line and put together packages of food for local low-income schoolchildren to take home on the weekends.
Do you have any goals you are working on? How do you keep track of your progress?

Vegan German Chocolate and Coffee Cupcakes

RR Cupcakes 2
I have been anxiously awaiting the 21st so that I could share this awesome recipe with you! If you have been following along with me for a bit, you may know that I joined the Recipe Redux group. Every month, this group of healthy bloggers recreates a recipe based on the theme of the month. April’s theme was “Cupcake Conundrum”. Now, I don’t know about you, but I think cupcakes may be one of my favorite desserts because they are pre-portioned into reasonably sized treats! (Oh, and they’re delicious!)
For my cupcake recipe this month, I really wanted to try a vegan recipe since I haven’t experimented with vegan baking much. Will got me the Joy the Baker Cookbook for Christmas which has a vegan chocolate avocado cupcake I have been dying to try. This Recipe Redux was the perfect opportunity to give the recipe a test run! I made some modifications to the original recipe and created my own frosting. One of the great things about these cupcakes is that the butter and most of the oil is replaced with avocado. That’s right! Trust me, your cupcakes won’t come out tasting like guacamole!
RR Cupcakes 4
Vegan German Chocolate and Coffee Cupcakes
(Adapted from Vegan Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes recipe from Joy the Baker Cookbook)
Makes 12 Cupcakes
Ingredients:
For the cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup Splenda for baking
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup mashed avocado (~1/2 medium avocado)
  • 1 1/4 cup warm water
  • 4 tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the frosting:

  • 1 six-ounce package sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup espresso (reserved from cupcakes above)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons coconut cream (cream skimmed off the top of a can of coconut cream)

Directions:
To prepare the cupcakes: 

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line cupcake pan with paper liners and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  3. Combine the warm water with the instant espresso and stir to dissolve the espresso powder. Reserve 1/4 cup of the espresso for the frosting.
  4. In a large bowl, mash the avocado. Add 1 cup of the espresso, sugar, Splenda, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Stir well.
  5. Combine the flour mixture with the avocado mixture and whisk together. The batter will be pretty thin/liquid-y.
  6. Pour batter into paper liners until 2/3 of the way full. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 18-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

To prepare the frosting:

  1. Pour shredded coconut and 3 tablespoons of coconut cream into a food processor. Blend on high for 5-10 minutes until the coconut is finely shredded and mixture starts to resemble natural peanut butter.
  2. Transfer coconut to a bowl and add the 1/4 reserved espresso from the cupcake batter and the cocoa. Blend on high with a mixer until combined. Spread evenly over cooled cupcakes. (The frosting will be a little thin, but will firm up once it is spread on the cake.)

RR Cupcakes 5