Spring has Sprung Asparagus

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I know I know! I need to update you all on the past 5 months of my life, but let’s start with quite delicious EATS this weekend!

Asparagus is in season! Peak season is April through June. As one of my favorite vegetables, asparagus is so easy cook, whether it is steaming, baking/roasting, sautéing, or grilling! No peeling is required. All you have to do to prepare you asparagus to be cooked is to wash the asparagus and snap off the ends to remove the toughest part of the asparagus. Asparagus contains a high content of folic acid and vitamin K, but also good sources of vitamin B1 (thiamine), copper, selenium, vitamins C, vitamin E, fiber, and potassium! Cook asparagus by itself with olive oil, lemon juice, black pepper, and maybe a sprinkle of asiago or parmesan cheese OR add asparagus to stir fries, omelets/quiche, pizza, pasta, quinoa/orzo salad, or to whatever you desire!

 Egg White Quiche with Asparagus, Broccoli, Spinach and Goat Cheese

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Crust made with sliced red potatoes. No milk/cream in this recipe! Secret ingredient is 0% plain greek yogurt intend of ricotta! Inspired by recipe I found on pinterest.

I can’t wait to eat the rest of this quiche for breakfast and dinners this week! I unconsciously meal prepped when all I wanted to do was try something new in the kitchen..yay!

Fresh Strawberry Cherry Lemonade

(Juiced everything, but the lemon peel in the vitamix)

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Broccoli, Shallot, and Cheese Omelet-Wich

While my quiche was baking, I was starving so I used up the rest of my eggs to make a broccoli/shallot and cheese omelet-wich (omelet folded on a whole grain english muffin)

While my quiche was baking, I was starving so I used up the rest of my eggs to make an omelet-wich (omelet folded on a whole grain english muffin)

Pre-Run Classic

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Whole Grain Cinnamon Raisin Toast with peanut butter topped with banana and strawberry slices & Coffee!

Such an easy breakfast to make in your hotel room! This is a quick meal/snack to make at 5-6 AM (when you are not completely awake) and the ingredients don’t have to be refrigerated! About 30 minutes before my long runs, I always have shake made with UCAN, along with unsweetened vanilla almond milk, half a banana or berries, and sometimes a scoop or two of PB2. Today, I blended my shake with chocolate UCAN, almond milk, and frozen cherries…one of my new favorite combinations!

Notice my LOVE run mug in the above pictures :) Last week, I ran the LOVE Run half marathon in the pouring rain! I wasn’t mad about the rain at all since this run was strictly for a training run to get in the racing mode, work on my Boston pace (7:45-8 min pace), and practice my fuel/fluid strategy. If anything, the rain made the run more challenging and I would rather do a long run with 100’s of people instead of by myself!

Let me give a shout out to the BF for cheering me on bright and early on his Sunday and capturing a few pics and a video of me in the cold and windy storm! My bib broke on one corner so I had to tuck it in my belt, which I think messed up the timing sensor on my bib….so these pictures are proof that I raced! I finished around 1:43.00, which is not a PR, but a good time for the rain and sticking close to Boston pace.

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Berry Dense Oatmeal Muffins 

These muffins have been a great afternoon/pre workout snack instead of grabbing a granola bar OR snacking on who-knows-what I can grab my hands on after work. 2 muffins equals are about 1 cup of cooked oatmeal. Today, I enjoyed 2 muffins with a little PB and blueberry jam after my 22 mile run (my last long run before Boston..yay!). Quick fuel and CHO replenishment! I also grabbed a handful of PB pretzels and pretzel sticks to eat while I got a mani and pedi catching up with a girlfriend. I highly recommend a pedi after a long run..not necessarily to clean your feet, but for the foot and calf massage!

Asparagus Broccoli Arugula Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pizza

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Homemade pesto with basil, arugula, pine nuts/walnut mixture, olive oil, garlic powder, salt/pepper to taste

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The best post long run dinner ever! Continued to replenish my carbs with this tasty pizza dipped in warm tomato sauce!

As I am writing this, but stomach is growling! Red grapes are calling me name for a desert and to continue replenishing my carbohydrate stores!

I am so glad I could finally write a post to end my sunshine filled weekend! It is time for me to say goodnight to be ready for a full day at Drexel University, which is a new part-time job since I last posted! :)

Currently, I am Drexel’s Student Wellness Dietitian (strictly students of the entire Drexel’s student body (athletes and non-athletes), as well as a Dietitian to assist with nutrition counseling for an employee wellness program. I am still working for Family Food, LLC for the majority of my work, which is a combination of nutrition counseling for individuals at their work place (a part of their corporate wellness program) OR in the comfort of their home! My weeks are busy, but the variety of work (university setting, corporate setting, and home setting) keeps me on my toes and of course happy!

Thank you for reading!

I hope to post more frequently than the past 5 months and continue catch you up my obstacles, successes, and fun times with family and friends!

* Staying Boston Strong *

Skinny Thanksgiving Meal Makeovers

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 Are you a green bean and/or sweet potato casserole fan?

Is your Thanksgiving meal never complete with a good helping of these casseroles on your mouth watering plate?

This year, let’s not stress about the calories in these casseroles with skinny twist to these favorite Thanksgiving dishes! Your family and friends won’t complain, I promise! Below are two new recipes that won’t let your taste buds down!

Generous Green Bean Casserole 

Green bean casserole has become a staple at everyone’s traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but it is not always the healthiest dish with the added fat and salt. Keep your Thanksgiving green bean casserole still GREEN by using a light sour cream OR 0% greek yogurt AND not adding butter to the recipe. Also, make high fiber homemade bread crumbs by blending Fiber One Original Cereal in a food processor until a breadcrumb consistency.

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Yield: 8 servings (1 cup per serving)

Ingredients

  • 2 lb green beans, steamed
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • 1 cup of light sour cream
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • ¼ cup of asiago shredded cheese.
  • ½ cup Fiber One Original cereal

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 º F. Grease a 13’’ x 9’’ glass or aluminum pan with olive oil.
  2. Spread out the steamed green beans in the pan.
  3. In a small saucepan, heat 1 tsp of olive oil and sauté the sliced onions until they are slightly brown.
  4. Spread out the onions on top of the green beans.
  5. In a small pot, heat the light sour cream, asiago cheese, and garlic powder for 3-5 minutes until the mixture gets thin.
  6. Pour the sour cream mixture over the green beans and onions. In a food processor or blender, mix the fiber one cereal until a breadcrumb consistency.
  7. Sprinkle the casserole with the breadcrumbs.
  8. Place pan in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Information Per Serving (1 cup): Calorie: 89 kcal, Fat 3g, Cholesterol: 9 mg, Carbohydrate: 15g, Dietary Fiber: 6g, Protein: 4g, Sodium: 41 mg

VS. 600 calories for 1 cup!

Sweet Potato & Butternut Squash Casserole with pomegranate seeds and/or walnuts

Sweet Potato Casserole is another dish that would be missed if it wasn’t served on Thanksgiving. Again, promise me on this one…hold the butter, sugar, and marshmallows and make a slim sweet potato casserole with nutritious and decorative toppings, such as juicy and crunchy pomegranate seeds and heart healthy walnuts.

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Yield: 12 servings (1/2 cup per serving)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of cubed butternuts squash
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, sliced
  • 1/2 cup of almond milk
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup of pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon of cinnamon
  • Toppings:
    • Seeds from 1 pomegranate
    • 1/4 cup of walnuts, chopped

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat over to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the butternut squash and sweet potato on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes until they are soft enough to mash.
  3. In a blender, add the baked butternut squash and sweet potatoes, almond milk, egg whites, maple syrup, and cinnamon, and blend for until a smooth consistency.
  4. Spread out the mash into a 9″x9″ pan.
  5. Bake for another 50 minutes.
  6. Garnish the sweet mash with pomegranate seeds and walnuts! Ready to Serve!

Sweet Potato Casserole 2 copyNutrition Information Per Serving (1/2 cup): Calories: 86 kcal, Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrate: 20 g, Dietary Fiber: 3g, Protein: 2g, Sodium: 33mg

VS. 150 calories for 1/2 cup!

Check out The Calories Behind Thanksgiving to know what foods you are overeating and/or what dishes you should make skinny! 

More skinny seasonal favorites i made last year to potentially add to your thanksgiving menu:

Pumpkin Cranberry Sauce or Butter

Cranberry Chutney 

Crockpot Turkey with Cranberry Gravy (for a small Thanksgiving dinner, 2-4 people) 

The perfect size turkey breast that fits in my 4 quart crockpot!

I remade this recipe last week and it so good for such simple recipe! I found the perfect size turkey breast that fit in my 4 quart crockpot! As you can see, I took off as much of the skin as I could!

I will be bringing my Butternut Squash Pear Soup to my family’s Thanksgiving this year! I already made it last weekend and froze it so all we have to do the night before is thaw it and quickly heat it up 30 minutes before we are ready to eat the big meal!

If you haven’t already, make your grocery list ASAP! Get to the grocery store before certain foods are sold out…you don’t want your Thanksgiving meal to be incomplete!

Be sure to make your Thanksgiving plate is colorful! In fact, how many colors can you put on your plate this year (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, white, brown….different shades of one color don’t count!)? 

Check out last year’s Thanksgiving posts filled with recipes and life long lessons!
My Pre-Turkey Day Act of Kindness to YOU
Gobble Up Turkey Day Lesson 2
Turkey Day Lesson 3: Last, but NOT LEAST
Last Minute Thanksgiving Dishes
Thanksgiving Day Recap and Leftovers
 

I can’t wait to celebrate this cutie’s first Thanksgiving!

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So thankful for a happy and heathy niece!

What is one thing that happened since last Thanksgiving that you are thankful for?……

I wish you a happy happy Thanksgiving!

PS: I know it has been a long time since my last post! I can’t wait (and I hope you can’t wait) for more free time around the holidays to catch up on writing for more consistency with weekly posts! :) 

Pumpkin Saves the Day: Low Fat Ala Vodka Sauce

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What is October, and Fall in general, without a few days (or in my case…weeks!) of eating everything pumpkin!

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#TBT
Pumpkin Picking at Eckert’s Farm in Millstadt, IL- October 2010

When you think pumpkin, I bet you often think about the warm and delicious pumpkin lattes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, and many other sweet pumpkin goodies we have during this time of year…am I right?

But pumpkin can also be a seasonal ingredient in savory foods as well, such as soups and sauces.

Also, when we think about pumpkin, we think the color ORANGE! Just like other orange vegetables (sweet potato and carrots), pumpkin contains a large amount of vitamin A to maintain a sharp eyesight, the antioxidant beta-carotene to prevent cancer, and vitamin C to fight off those winter colds!

If you don’t have a sweet tooth OR you don’t crave pumpkin bread and lattes OR you just want to make something new with pumpkin, try making a new fall inspired creamy sauce to spice up your pasta! Pasta sauces don’t have to be loaded with high fat cream and butter like many alfredo and ala vodka sauces. Pumpkin, butternut squash, or cauliflower puree with white beans create a rich and creamy sauce that would be perfect over a cup of pasta or baked chicken breast!

Creamy Pumpkin Sauce: AKA Low Calorie Ala Vodka Sauce

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Yield: 8 servings (1/2 cup, (4 oz) per serving)

Ingredients:

  • Blended Ingredients:1 cup of roasted cherry tomatoes (bake in oven or cook on skillet with olive oil until tomatoes are soft)
    • 2 shallots, minced
    • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1 tsp of olive oil
    • 1-15 oz can pumpkin puree
    • ½ -15 oz can of cannellini beans
    • 1 Tablespoon of oregano (or mixture of Italian spices)
    • 1 tsp of cracked black pepper
    • 1-15 oz can of low sodium vegetable broth

Directions:

  • In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat and cook the shallots until soft and translucent for about 10 minutes.
  • In a blender, add the cooked shallots and the rest of the blended ingredients in the recipe. Blend sauce until is a smooth puree.
  • Add the roasted tomatoes to the sauce before serving over your pasta or chicken.

Nutrition Information Per Serving (sauce only, 1/2 cup): Calories: 63 kcal, Fat: 1 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Carbohydrate: 12 g, Dietary Fiber: 3 g, Protein: 3 g, Sodium: 158 mg

VS.

Classico, Ala Vodka Sauce (1/2 cup): Calories 90 calories, Fat: 4.5 g, Saturated fat 1.5 g, Cholesterol: 10mg, Carbohydrates: 9 g, Dietary Fiber: 2 g, Protein: 2 g, Sodium: 440 mg.

To look up other brands of ala vodka sauce you may frequently by, click here! I bet you will be surprised at how much fat and sodium are in your particular brand!

Add a chicken breast an broccoli to make a balanced pasta meal!

Add a chicken breast an broccoli to make a balanced pasta meal! 1 cup of pasta (GRAIN), 4 oz of chicken breast (LEAN PROTEIN), 1 cup of broccoli (VEGETABLE) plus pumpkin sauce (another vegetable)!

What is your favorite pumpkin food or drink?

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