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Butternut Squash Soup

It’s a rainy Saturday and after completing a few errands this morning I am happily hunkered down inside for the remainder of the day. Aside from catching up on sleep and doing some more cleaning, I also made some warm, delicious butternut squash soup to enjoy on this dreary day.


Best part? 5 ingredients! Here’s what you’ll need.

  • 3 cups butternut squash, precut from the grocery store
  • 1/2 yellow onion (about 1/3 cup diced)
  • 1 can chicken stock
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • 3 TBS milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss squash and onions in olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Place vegetables onto a cookie sheet, and roast for 40-45 minutes. The longer you roast your vegetables the more flavor they will have. Toss occassionally to help evenly brown the squash.
  2. In a blender, combine cooked squash, onions, chicken stock and milk. Blend until creamy.
  3. Transfer to a sauce pot and heat as needed on the stove top. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Top with sour cream (ingredient #6!!) if desired.
  4. Enjoy!

This is a great dish to serve for the upcoming holidays too. Did you know you can keep it warm in a crock-pot if you’ll be having guests over throughout the day?


Stay Healthy! Enjoy!

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Hints & Tips, Thoughts of a Dietitian

Wellness Wednesday! 

 Not only will garlic scare away the vampires this Halloween, garlic is packed with great nutrition. Allicin (pronounced Allison) and its derivatives are responsible for many of garlic’s health benefits such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties. Eat up! What’s your favorite dish to add garlic to? #WellnessWednesday

Hints & Tips, Recipes

Smoothies, have it your way

The main reason I love making smoothies is because they are so easy to customize to your flavor preferences and health needs.


Did you know you can add veggies to your smoothie for added fiber and nutrients? Today I added frozen sweet potato, for a little sweetness and added vitamin A. Another one of my favorites is fresh spinach which packs a punch with iron.

Did you know you can add chia seeds to your smoothie for address protein? A single tablespoon of chia seeds adds 3 grams of protein to your drink, plus 5 grams of fiber! Win-win!

Looking for more protein? Try Greek yogurt or peanut butter which are two of my other favorites. Ground flax seeds, similar to chia seeds, also add a dose of protein and fiber to your drink.

Stay away from commercial smoothies which are usually pure sugar and juice. When making smoothies at home make sure your drink contains fiber and protein to keep you feeling fuller longer, and prevent ugly blood sugar spikes. 

Let me know what other foods you add to your smoothie in the comment below! 

Hints & Tips, Recipes

Quick and Easy Crockpot Meal: Salsa Chicken

I’m not sure if anyone else’s family is like mine, but I know my family is never too creative when it comes to naming things. For example, our cats name is ‘Whiskers’ (she has whiskers), the downstairs bathroom is the ‘blue bathroom’ (it’s painted blue) and this chicken recipe is called ‘salsa chicken’ (it’s made with salsa and chicken.)

But let me tell you about this salsa chicken I speak of because it’s seriously the easiest thing ever. It’s TWO ingredients. Chicken thighs (skinless and boneless) and canned salsa. 



Go ahead and clean however much chicken you typically need to feed your family. Place chicken into the slow cooker, dump your favorite jar salad on top and mix around. Any salsa will work here- mild, spicey, sweet, you name it! 

Cook on low for 6-8 hours. The chicken will shred apart when it’s done and it’s so delicious on tacos! It also worked great on top of a salad or by itself. Make sure to serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, and lettuce. Not only does the salsa gives the chicken moisture, it also gives it a TON of flavor. And it’s so easy!


Tonight my family had our chicken tacos on these chia seed taco shells! I’ve never tried them before, but I have to say the taco shells were very fresh and crunchy so I would definitely purchase again.


Also including the nutrition info for the shells below. I am not familiar with typical calories and fiber in normal corn tortilla so I cannot comment on how these compare.


Make sure to add this recipe to your week night menu. It’s great for families of any size, can be customized to meet your familiy’s spice preference, and most of all only requires 2 ingredients! Serve with a quick salad on the side and you’ve got yourself a very healthy meal. Enjoy! 

Happy Posts, Hints & Tips, Thoughts of a Dietitian

What Does it Mean to be “MINDFUL”? 

 I’m always telling my patients to be mindful of one thing or another. It’s a word I use on a daily basis. But I think it can be a very vague word for a lot of people, how exactly do you ‘be mindful?’ 

When I tell my patients to be mindful of something, I am telling them to be more aware. I would NEVER tell someone not to eat something, restriction is not my thing. What I do believe in is being aware of what you’re putting into your body (and maybe, why you’re doing it.)

If I tell you that science suggest we consume less than 2300mg of sodium per day, and you grab a frozen meal that contains 1000mg, what sort of thoughts are you thinking? Hopefully you realize that the frozen meal is about 50% of your daily sodium recommendations. Maybe you consider looking for a different product as a substitution. Maybe you decide to have a smaller portion. Or maybe you decide to have your frozen meal for lunch, but choose a salad later in the day for dinner. ANY of those actions are fantastic! And you were mindful enough, or aware enough, to take that action.

Another setting where it’s really important to be mindful is with weight loss. It’s so easy to over eat, or eat things we aren’t even hungry for. We eat without tasting because we live in a society where we are so rushed! While any dietitian will always encourage you to eat when your hungry, it’s really tough to know what ‘hungry’ is– it’s not bordem, anxiety, or stress. Slow down. Think. Be aware of what’s going on around you. Are you thirsty? Try water first. Are you stressed? Go for a walk. Learn to recognize your body and what it needs, learn to be mindful of what’s going into your mouth, and WHY. 

Still a little confused? Try this exercise (it involves chocolate!) Get a small piece of dark chocolate, or something small and decedent. Go ahead and put it in your mouth, but don’t chew or swallow it. Just let it sit there, let it dissolve and infuse the flavor in your mouth. Notice how it tastes. Notice how the flavor changes in your mouth. How long can you keep up this exercise? It’s tough, but when you continually force yourself to slow down and think about what makes up your food and your reasons for wanting those foods, you are successfully becoming a mindful eater!


The word mindful doesn’t just apply to your plate, being mindful of everything in your life is a really important skill (and one that I’m still working on!!) Life is fast, slow down, and notice the little things- like this beautiful sunset outside my house the other night!

Don’t know where to start focusing your mindful attention? Speak with a registered dietitian to find out where he or she suggest you start!

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Hello Fresh! A Meal Delivery Service

So big surprise, I finally broke down and gave Hello Fresh! a try this week. We had a coupon for $35 off our order, meaning we paid $25 for three (3) meals shipped to our door step. Not only was that a great deal, I was also hopeful that Hello Fresh! would introduce some new recipes into our rotation. Keep on reading for my recap of our experience.


First off, their website was difficult to navigate and order from. I ultimately had to call their customer service line to order my meals over the phone. This was a huge disappointment for me, as part of the draw of Hello Fresh! is convenience, and their website does not represent ease. (-)

Now, our package was scheduled for a Monday delivery. At about Monday at 3pm, I received an email that my package would be delay and now arrive on Tuesday. I was pretty upset. My boyfriend and I planned our meals and grocery list thinking we would be eating Hello Fresh! on Monday night, which was clearly not going to happen. (-) When I called the customer service line, no one could tell me where or why my package was delayed. (Totally picturing my food rotting in the back of a mail truck!) They also could not offer me any compensation until after 8pm on Monday. (-)

Finally, our package arrived Tuesday at 6pm (!!), meaning we couldn’t prepare it for Tuesday dinner either. However, much to my surprise, the food was still cold and fresh. (+) 


The three meals we would be preparing this week were:

Meal #1) Shrimp: Portion was sufficient; flavor was bland; directions were clear and meal was prepared in less than 20 minutes.


Meal #2) Thai Bowl: Portions were insufficient; flavor was great; directions were clear and meal was prepared in less than 30 minutes.


Meal #3) Figgy Pork: Portions were sufficient; flavor was great; directions were clear but the meal took much more time to prepare than indicated (more than 30 minutes)


So, as you can gather, each meal has its pros and cons. So the final verdict? Would I buy Hello Fresh! again?

Hello Fresh! was super fun and it was enjoyable to cook something new with my boyfriend—it definitely felt like a special treat because it was something out of the ordinary. The late package really upset me, in the end I felt like the company made right of the situation, but it was difficult to get clarification and assurance from the company. The meals are reasonably price, and I like that you have the flexibility to skip weeks and choose your meals. I don’t think we’ll be buying Hello Fresh! every week, but it’s a nice treat every once in awhile.

Do you have more questions about my experience? Leave me a comment below!

Hints & Tips, Recipes

Quick And Easy Stir Fry

One of my personal rules of cooking is to avoid repetitive meals as much as possible. I find that I fall into routine too often, and will end up eating similar meals (say Italian) for several nights in a row.

Every once in awhile I like to toss in something new to my mix. This easy stir-fry definitely did the trick, and brought some new flavors to my plate.


What I used:

  • Boil in Bag Brown Rice
  • Frozen mixed Asian Veggies
  • Chicken thighs 
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • Fresh Garic 

I prepared the rice ahead of time, according to package directions. I cooked boneless, skinless chicken thighs on a grill pan, once cooked I chopped into small pieces.  In a large pan, add oil and garic and sautée a 60 seconds, then add frozen veggies and cook until tender. Add rice and chicken to veggie mixture. Season with teriyaki sauce and low sodium soy sauce. Enjoy! 

Happy Posts, Hints & Tips, Thoughts of a Dietitian

How I got into Using Essential Oils

During the moving process, my boyfriend and I were really lucky to have so many generous friends and family members who were able to give us endless things for our new apartment. One gift, probably one of my favorite, is my new essential oil diffuser. 


**there are many oil diffusers on the market. I have never researched nor tried any other brand but simple went with Young Living because it was gifted to me**

I was already familiar with one essential oil, tea tree oil. I have used this to help clear up certain skin issues (always mix oils with a carrier oil before putting on your skin) or for some breathing relief with a cold (breathing over a pot of boiling water mixed with the tea tree oil.) 

I was excited to order some more essential oils to add to my collection now that I had my own oil diffuser.


Essential oils release strong aromas in the diffuser, and will infuse the smell into the whole room. You can mix oils together to create your own blends as well. 

For my diffuser, you simply remove the lid, fill with water to the fill line, and add a few drops of your favorite oil(s)! 

Essential oils have been studied for their health effects for a long time.  Even if you don’t have a diffuser, there are many other ways to use essential oils (such as oils, sprays and lotions.) 

Right now I’m rocking some peppermint oil in my diffuser, which is supposed to help with nausea. (Which I weirdly woke up feeling icky today!!) Different blends of oils are shown to have energizing, calming, or mind clearing effects, depending on how you mix them. The internet can be your best friend when researching which oils are best for you to try.

Does anyone else use essential oils? Which are your favorites and how do you use them? Leave your comments below!