Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking Back at 2013

Wow. This year went by in a blink of an eye! Noms McGee is still a baby and it's so exciting to look back at everything I have written since I first started my blog earlier this year. 

My first blog post was published on June 12,  2013.

The post read, "Welcome to Noms McGee!"
Let me tell you a little bit about myself..

I am a New York girl, born and raised.
I have a twin sister, Brittany who judges and evaluates all of my recipes.
I am a senior at Long Island University, Post majoring in Nutrition.
I am FINALLY graduating this December, 2013 (phew.what a journey).
I love...love...love to write....

In July, I shared my amazing experience in Hawaii.

Aloha! White sand beaches, clear blue oceans, palm trees, and ohana (family). I'm in paradise! If you're looking to hang loose and leave all your worries behind, Hawaii is the place to be. The Hawaiian culture is focused on the many meanings of "aloha"- greetings, love, enjoying life, laying back, and having fun...

 
In August, I shared my top tips for healthy eating in college

It's easy to fall out of a healthy lifestyle when you're at school and have so many different influences around you. Here are my favorite tips to follow when life gets a little bit tricky...


In September, the college theme continued with Fuelin' Up for the First Day.

Nutrient dense snacks filled with fiber, protein, and carbohydrates will keep you satisfied all day long. Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables to compliment your meals for an extra boost of antioxidants!

 
In October, I created a delicious Citrus Edamame Salad.

This salad is bursting with colorful antioxidants!


In November, I was put up to the Recipe Redux challenge to make a homemade gift for the holidays.

The Recipe Redux's November theme was "Adding merriment to mixes." My obsession with breakfast foods aided in my inspiration to create a homemade muesli mix in a jar. Whole food ingredients, like whole grains, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit are packed into one merry jar. This gift isn't only from the heart, but provides heart-healthy benefits to those you care most deeply for. 


In December, I was especially pleased with this adorable Apple Cinnamon Muffin recipe. 

Along with the holiday season comes parties and get-togethers with family, friends, and distant relatives. Whether you're hosting or attending, these muffins are the perfect holiday treat! 



Thank you to all who have been following me on this amazing journey! Have a happy and healthy New Year! 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

{Recipe Redux} Celery, Yogurt, & Walnut Sticks

Hi everyone! This month's Recipe Redux theme was right on target for the New Year. Members were put up to the challenge to create a recipe signifying "Good Luck Foods." A little bit of luck is exactly what you need when starting your New Year's resolutions off right! Whether it's cutting something out or incorporating something new, it all comes down to maintaining a year of good health. My New Year's resolution is to be more mindful in all aspects of life - emotionally, physically, mentally, and socially.

My great grandmother was the inspiration behind this recipe. Her staple dish was celery, with a cream cheese spread, topped with chopped walnuts. Since she passed, my family has carried on the tradition. During the holidays, this dish will always be served as an appetizer to share with family and friends. So, here's a little luck from my family to yours!



Celery, Yogurt, & Walnut Sticks
This dish is perfect for a light appetizer or snack. Not to mention, it's incredibly quick and easy to prepare. It's a great alternative for kids who aren't so keen on plain celery, as well. You can substitute the yogurt for a low-fat cream cheese or peanut butter, if preferred.

Ingredients:

6 celery stalks
1 cup Greek yogurt
3/4 cup chopped walnuts



Directions:

1. Wash the celery stalks and cut in halves.
2. Evenly spread and fill the crevices of the celery stalks with yogurt.
3. Top with chopped walnuts!






Friday, December 13, 2013

Apple Walnut & Cinnamon Muffins


It's the happiest time of the year! It's the holiday season, which means everyone is gallivanting with a smile on their face. And why shouldn't they! The snow, the lights, the merriment... I could go on. 

Some of my favorite things to do this time of year involve walking the streets of New York City. I love seeing the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, watching the light shows on the storefronts down 5th Avenue, and visiting the winter boutiques in Bryant Park. The city is so romantic.

Along with the holiday season comes parties and get-togethers with family, friends, and distant relatives. Whether you're hosting or attending, these muffins are the perfect holiday treat! 


Yield: 12 Muffins
Serving Size: 1 Muffin

Ingredients:
1 1/2 c. almond meal
1/2 c. rolled oats
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/4 c. walnuts, chopped
1/4 t. nutmeg
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
1 egg + 1 eggwhite
3/4 c. milk (I used SkimPlus)
2 1/2 T. butter, melted




Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a 12-cup muffin tin with muffin cups or nonstick spray.
2. In a large bowl, combine almond meal, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, walnuts, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. 
3. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs. Stir in milk and butter. 
4. Pour wet ingredients into bowl with dry ingredients. Stir gently until evenly combined. Stir in apples.
5. Pour batter into muffin cups until about 3/4 full. 
6. Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes. Muffin tops should be a golden brown.
7. Let cool and sprinkle on some powdered sugar. Serve!





Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 9, 2013

{College} How to Stay Healthy During Finals Week


It's the busiest time of year! For me, this means school is finally coming to an end. Finals are approaching and graduation is right around the corner (Alleluia!). While these are all positive, healthy habits tend to go out the window. Studying for days on end leaves me sleep deprived, lacking energy. In times like these when I need comfort! I'm not talking getting a pep talk from mom, but surrounding myself with comfort foods like, chocolate, pie, and cookies. Yikes! As a soon-to-be nutritionist, I sit back, relax, and remind myself what I recommend to others every day!

Get enough Zzzz's. First thing's first. Sleep is of prime importance. I know my body needs at the very least 8 hours of sleep to be a functional human being. Sometimes a little thing called procrastination gets in the way and an all-nighter seems like the only option. A recent study found that people who are sleep deprived tend to eat more and gain weight. This time around, I'm putting my foot (and my fork) down and planning my study days in advance.



Breakfast Brain Power. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This statement is repeated over and over again...because it's true! Breakfast consumption has been associated with better diet quality, weight management, and increased cognitive and school performance.  Start by building a breakfast with whole grains, low-fat dairy and fruit. My go-to is oatmeal with milk, a tablespoon of peanut butter, and half of a sliced banana.


Plan ahead. Finals week can get a little bit hairy if you don't give yourself enough time to study. The best thing you can do for your mental health is make a plan. A couple of weeks before (at least) sit down and plan out which days will be dedicated to studying for each class. This will save a lot of stress the night before!



Remember, you can do it!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

{Recipe Redux} DIY Homemade Muesli Mix


Homemade gifts are the best way to show loved ones just how much you care during the holidays. In fact, anything homemade sure does have a special ring to it: homemade cookies, breads, and pasta. Nothing can beat my dad's homemade meatballs. This goes for all things homemade beyond food. Ever since the first time I picked up a pen, my mom has insisted on me creating a homemade card for birthdays, Christmas, and other special occasions. (She finally stopped asking me to pose in her Christmas card...so this is the least I could do...baby steps). No gift necessary, just a card that I made. While this makes my life a lot easier, it really does contain sentimental value. 

The Recipe Redux's November theme was "Adding merriment to mixes." My obsession with breakfast foods aided in my inspiration to create a homemade muesli mix in a jar. Whole food ingredients, like whole grains, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit are packed into one merry jar. This gift isn't only from the heart, but provides heart-healthy benefits to those you care most deeply for. 




Ingredients: 

3 cups hot multigrain cereal (100% Whole Grain), dry
2/3 cups walnuts, chopped
3/4 cups raisins or dried fruit
2 tbsp hemp seed
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 1/2 tbsp flax meal
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Note: In this muesli mix, I used a a hot multigrain cereal mix which contains oats, barley, and rye. Old fashioned oats can be used entirely in this recipe or you can experiment with other whole grains as well. Any type of dried fruit will work equally as well for this recipe.  



Directions for Toasted Muesli:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
2. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl - cereal, nuts, seeds, sugar, and spices. Mix.
3. Add coconut oil and stir well to coat the dry ingredients.
4. Spoon the muesli onto a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
5. Add dried fruit to the muesli and serve over yogurt or milk.


Yield: 2 Jars
Serving Size: 1/4 cup


Happy Holidays!



As the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians, The Recipe ReDux aims to inspire the food lover in every healthy eater and inspire the healthy eater in every food lover. Thank you for visiting. We hope you enjoy!

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Monday, November 18, 2013

How to Get Antioxidants This Fall


Fall is officially upon us. The bright colors of fruits and vegetables have entered hibernation until the warm weather returns. Packaged with these bright colors are antioxidants, the vibrant pigments which protect our bodies from the development of chronic disease and illness. Just when you thought all was lost (including your tan), comes a new harvest of fruits and vegetables – pumpkin, squash, eggplant, cauliflower, cranberries, figs, and apples. These too, are bursting with colorful antioxidants!


Antioxidants in Autumn
Thanks to the American Institute for Cancer Research, fruits and vegetables that fight cancer are summarized for our convenience. Let’s take a closer look at their powerful antioxidant package:


Squash (Winter)
There are several varieties of winter squash depending on their color, texture, and flavor. Most importantly, each variety is high in the antioxidants beta-carotene and vitamin C.  According to the AICR, diets high in these compounds have been shown to reduce your risk of developing cancers of the mouth, esophagus, pharynx, larynx, and lung. Steam, puree, or roast squash to release its rich, sweet flavor. Add in with your favorite whole grain, pasta, or stew for a squashingly, low-calorie fall meal.

Try this: Quinoa and Winter Squash Bake 




Cranberries
We all know the Ocean Spray commercials where the two guys stand in a bog filled with cranberries. Every autumn, cranberries are harvested at their peak flavor and color. Cranberries have long been known for their protection against urinary tract infections. High in vitamin C, cranberries are associated with a lower risk of esophageal cancer. Anthocyanins are the antioxidants that are responsible for their amazing red color. Studies are currently examining their effect on lowering risk of breast, colon, and prostate cancers. Typically consumed in their juice form, this tart fruit can be incorporated into baked goods, breakfasts, and smoothies.




Cauliflower
Compared to the other green cruciferous vegetables, cauliflower is often overlooked due to its dull, white color. Cauliflower is blossoming with antioxidants including: vitamin C, carotenoids, and glucosinolates. Glucosinolates are currently being evaluated for their ability to suppress tumors and slow cancer growth. Vitamin C and carotenoids are active agents in preventing cancers of the mouth and esophagus. Steam, puree, or mash cauliflower into a bright, vegetable medley.


Apples
Apples may be the most commonly consumed fall fruit due to their versatility and variety of flavors. Some are best eaten raw and others are the perfect baking ingredient. From Honeycrisp to Honeygold, apples are bursting with antioxidants, quercetin and flavonoids. These potent plant compounds may have a role in slowing cancer progression in multiple stages including that of the breast, lung, and colon. I recommend enjoying apples fresh or dried for convenient snacks. Apples are great additions to desserts and other savory dishes.


Am I getting enough?

Now that you know how to get an ample amount of antioxidants this fall, how do you know if you’re getting enough? Since antioxidants are primarily found in plant foods, we can turn to the Dietary Guidelines for recommendations. Americans are advised to replace refined grains such as, white breads, white rice, crackers, and noodles with delicious whole grain options like, whole wheat breads, brown rice, oats, bulgur, and quinoa. The recommendations further suggest making half of your total daily grain intake from these whole grain foods. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, aim to consume at least two-and-a-half cups per day for heart health benefits. You’re all shouting, “Enough! Get to the wine!” One four-ounce glass of wine is considered one serving. Ladies benefit from consuming one serving, while men can drink up to two. It seems as if we always get gypped, but let’s face it ladies, we know how to do it right. At your next girls-only night, cut up some cheese with a plate of whole grain crackers and fruit, then pop open a bottle of red. 


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

{Recipe} Banana & Kale Smoothie




Ingredients:

1 small banana
1/2 cup frozen kale
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/4 cup skim milk
2 tbsp unsweetened apple sauce
1 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup crushed ice

Directions:

Pour all ingredients in to a blender, excluding ice. Blend on high for approximately 30 seconds. Add the ice and blend until smoothie thickens. Pour into a glass and serve.

Makes 1 serving




Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Good Nutrition Month: What is Good Nutrition?


November has been deemed "Good Nutrition Month." The question I'd like to ask is, "What is good nutrition?" It seems as if we all have different definitions of what good nutrition is. Some believe a high protein, low carb diet represents good nutrition; meanwhile, others believe quite the opposite. Is good nutrition characterized by a diet at all?

Kale, chickpeas, avocado, and dried apricot salad.


MyPlate gives us a representation of what a well-balanced plate looks like. A 9" plate filled with fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy are the building blocks to a nutritious meal. With so many new trends, diets, and food products, we have forgotten how simple it can be to put a balanced meal together. We constantly turn to the latest diets in hopes of weight loss or to look like the model on the front cover of a magazine. Sometimes this often means skipping a meal or restricting and resisting hunger cues. Sometimes this means reaching for the box of donuts in times of stress or in frustration of the fad diet you've been following.

Fresh bananas and pineapple in Hawaii.


To me, good nutrition can't be defined. It can be put into practice, but nobody can be perfect so, who's to say what good nutrition is. I know I can't go through the day without nibbling on a piece of chocolate or something sweet. Does that mean I have poor nutrition? For now, my personal interpretation of good nutrition would be one that primarily incorporates whole foods - foods that are minimally processed and come directly from nature, while allowing for flexibility and variety. All food groups are allowed and everything is consumed in moderation. A balanced diet consists of complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, healthy fats, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. This month, let's celebrate all the wonderful foods nature has provided us with. Let's embrace the foods we love and nourish our bodies. I'll be nibbling on my favorite Oat, Chocolate & Coconut Cookies which contain whole food ingredients and taste great, too!

What is your definition?



5 Fabulous Ways to Eat Figs


It looks like this week's posts are going to be dedicated to food and nutrition holidays. This week is National Fig Week. There's so much to celebrate about this subtly sweet fruit that can be both savory and sweet - my favorite combination. Figs are an often overlooked fruit, but I'm expecting a big comeback! According to my taste-buds, they're going to be famous.

One serving, or 1 medium fig contains as little as 40 calories and 0 grams of fat and cholesterol. Consumed either fresh or dried, figs are fiber-filled and potassium-rich. Did you know that figs are higher in potassium than bananas? The calcium content of figs adds to its fabulous nutritional profile. In the United States, they are typically grown in sunny California. There are several varieties of figs such as, Adriatic, Mission, and Celestes. As Mother Earth's natural sweetener, figs are packed with nutrients and make excellent additions to salads, sides, and baked goods.

Fig salad with goat cheese and rosemary.


5 Fabulous Ways to Eat Figs

1. Eat them raw! Figs with thick skins can be peeled before being eaten and those with thin skins can be immediately bitten into!
Try this: Waldorf Salad with California Figs

2. Roast 'Em! Wash figs and place them in the oven to roast. Serve with your favorite meat or alone as a side dish. Top them off with a dollop of low-fat ricotta or goat cheese.
Try this: Roasted Figs with Honey and Rosemary 

3. Bake a fresh fig tart with honey and almonds. Serve as a savory meal or top with a scoop of yogurt for dessert.
Try this: Fig and Almond Tart

4. Make a pizza! This Italian classic is certainly worth of a figgy topping. Add caramelized onions, gorgonzola cheese, and thyme.
Try this: Roasted Fig and Prosciutto Flatbread

5. Grill them! Place sliced figs over chicken breasts and wrap in aluminum foil. Place on the grill and let cook until tender.
Try this: Grilled Garlic Chicken Breasts with Lemon, Parsley, and Grilled Figs

Let's get figgy!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Recap: FNCE 2013

Last week was the Academy's Food and Nutrition Conference & Expo in Houston. I have never been to Texas before and was thrilled to enter the land of cowboys and rodeos... or at least that's what I had in mind. My flight to Houston was smooth sailing. Nobody sat next to me so, I picked up my feet and slept for 4 hours straight. Houston, we do not have a problem.

After I dropped off my bags at the hotel, I met up with my friends and mentors, Sharon Palmer and McKenzie Hall for a tapas lunch at Batanga.  I haven't seen these two since my California dream ended early September. Our times together are always filled with undeniably good food and laughs. We shared the chickpea puree (aka hummus) with flatbread, yucca fries which came with a very interesting banana ketchup, and a kale salad. This was just what I needed for a pre-conference meal.

And we were off to the convention center...


McKenzie and I were hired by the Tomato Products Wellness Council to work at their booth in the expo hall. The booth was looking fierce! Everything was tomato red, including a beautiful Coach purse that was the grand raffle prize. It was an amazing opportunity to work for Roger, the main man behind Tomato Wellness. On Sunday night, he hosted a classy tomato cocktail hour filled with bar bites and elaborate wine tastings. While at the booth, I met more dietitians than I ever expected to before arriving to FNCE. Whether it was a quick, "Hello," or a "Nice to meet you," I was on cloud-9! Keri Gans, David Grotto, Bridget Swinney, and Corinne Dobbas were just some of the dietitians I had the pleasure of meeting. I think my face in the picture below just screams, "A young dietitian's dream come true!"

David Grotto & Me.


When I wasn't at the tomato booth, I was wandering around the convention center halls. More tables of dietitians, books, and products lined the aisles. There was so much to soak in I had to keep a notebook and a camera on me at all times. This is when I ran into the fabulous, Robin Plotkin. I had been anticipating this moment since the time I stepped foot into the conference. I have been an intern for Robinsbite since May and have never met the woman! Since she is located in Texas and I am in New York so, our conversations consist of a lot of video chats and conference calls. Once we spotted eachother, in person, it was as if we had already met years ago. She gave me the biggest bear hug I will never forget! Robin was accompanied by the lovely Regan Jones and Holly Grainger, both two dietitians I look up to as a student in dietetics.

Chef Ryan Perra at The Grove Restaurant.


The rest of the conference included networking events, dinners, and lots of wine. These were great opportunities to not just say, "hello," but carry out an actual conversation with some experts in the field. At the Oldways reception, they announced the new Vegetarian and Vegan Diet Pyramid with the help of their nutrition consultant, Sharon Palmer. Later, at Ashley Koff's Allergen reception, dietitians were encouraged to speak up in an open ended conversation to fight the good fight and discuss solutions to food allergies and intolerances. I have to send a special shout out to Ashley for the amazing swag bag that was filled with yummy goodies.


After attending FNCE 2013, this RD-to-be is feeling motivated, inspired, and ready to take action! After spending hours upon hours in class, this was the perfect reminder of why this career choice was indeed the right one. There is so much to look forward to as I graduate this December.



{With a lot to celebrate - McKenzie and I finished off strong with sangria & dessert}


Monday, October 28, 2013

Perfectly Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

I was so excited to buy my first pumpkin of the season. There are a million and one things you can do with pumpkins - carve jack o' lanterns, decorate/paint them, bake a pie (Yes...I'm still a child). Oh! The many, many things you can cook with pumpkins! Let's not focus on the big picture here, but, rather the tiny seedlings that come packed inside one plump pumpkin.

 One-quarter cup serving of pumpkin seeds comes packed with powerful minerals - magnesium and zinc. This punch of magnesium plays an important role in bone health and synthesis of DNA; meanwhile, zinc promotes immune health and awakens your senses to smell, taste, and touch all the beautiful things fall has to offer! Today, pumpkin seed oil is commonly seen as a popular treatment method for prostate enlargement. Researchers are continuing to analyze this association, but previous studies advise men to dig in! Foods high in zinc and magnesium have been shown to aid in prostate health.

Cut back to the beautiful scents and tastes of fall. The toasted smell of pumpkin seeds roasting in the oven may be one of the best scents to fill your house. Take one bite and you're immediately in heaven. Even though this is all fun and games, roasting pumpkin seeds comes down to a science. If you leave them in a minute too long, they may burn; and if you leave them in a minute too short, they won't have that crunch. So, my advice to you is keep a careful eye on these seedlings while they're in the oven for the perfect pumpkin flavors.

How to Roast the Perfect Pumpkin Seeds:

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degress.

2. When carving your pumpkin, separate the seeds from the flesh. Using a colander, rinse the seeds well, removing any excess strings.

3. Place seeds on a layer of paper towels. Press down on the seeds, removing any water that remains.






4. Spread seeds out onto a baking sheet. Drizzle on a tablespoon of olive oil and shake on some salt and pepper.




5. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Stir every 5-8 minutes. Bake for another 5 minutes for a little extra crunch and toasted flavor. Add a teaspoon of cinnamon or spice of your choice!





Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Oven Baked Rosemary Parmesan Sweet Potato Fries


Happy Wednesday! Here is a recipe for your enjoyment...




Ingredients:
2 large sweet potatoes
1 tbsp + 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
1 tbsp + 1 tsp rosemary, dried
1 tbsp minced garlic, dried
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper






Directions: 
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Wash and peel sweet potatoes. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and continue to cut into wedges.
3. Place sweet potatoes on a pan, then add olive oil. Mix well. Sprinkle fries with parmesan, rosemary, garlic, salt, and pepper. Use your hands to mix the sweet potatoes and spices. Each fry should be well coated.
4. Spread the fries out onto the baking sheet. Place in the oven and let bake for 15 minutes, then flip. Continue to bake for another 15 minutes.
5. Let fries cool and serve with the condiment of your choice. Enjoy!


Total baking time: 30 minutes
Servings: 3

Friday, October 18, 2013

In honor of oatmeal.

New York City houses a unique collection of specialized cafes, offering several varieties of one specific item, like the Peanut Butter & Co. Sandwich Shop and Sarita's Macaroni and Cheese (S'MAC). Here, you will find classics at their best! Watch out...there's a new specialty in town, boys...OatMeals. This one-of-a-kind, one-stop-shop features everything oatmeal.


Salted Caramel Apple

Oatmeal is on fire! If you've checked out any of the most popular food blogs recently, oatmeal recipes fused with lots of fall flavors are trending.

How did I come across this oat-rageous find? Last semester, as I sat in my food service management class, I became a restaurant entreprenuer! I was challenged to create my very own restaurant including the design, menu, and management style of the establishment. Since I tend to go through food fazes, oatmeal was my meal of choice. Whether it was for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, I was stirring up a creamy bowl of oats. This is when I came up with my very own cafe (on paper that is), Only Oats.





Little did I know, I wasn't the only clever one in this big city. Samantha Stephens was already ahead of the game. Located on West 3rd street, in the big apple, was the home of OatMeals.

Take a step inside..

The walls of OatMeals are decorated with Samantha's personal collection, antique boxes of oats. A large blackboard is hung on one wall displaying the extensive list of signature bowls and build-your-own options.




In order to complete my project, I sat down with Samantha to discuss her OatMeals journey. While in college, the freshman 15 crept up on Samantha, just like it does with so many of us. As part of her freshman 15 fight, she chose a healthier path and began eating oatmeal for dinner. She found creative ways to spice it up and now shares her favorite recipes with all of New York.

The menu at OatMeals features "Signature Bowls," which are further broken down into the comforts, the hot & bothered, the savory spice & everything nice, and the happy endings. The lucky girl that I am was given the opportunity to try one of these famous oatmeal bowls. I gave the salted caramel apple a go...and it was an excellent choice! Sweet, salty, savory...what more could I ask for in a single bowl of oats?

What will you try?


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Nutrition Student's Guide to FNCE 2013


The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference is right around the corner. This year, it is being held in Houston, TX, beginning October 19th, 2013. As a young professional, who is just starting to make a name for myself, FNCE is the perfect networking opportunity. Thousands of dietitians from around the country gather together to meet each other and learn about upcoming nutrition trends. The only way I can explain this web of emotions is almost like going to the Oscars. Dietitians who I consider famous and who have been stealing the spotlight on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest suddenly become real, walking the same halls as... moi. Imagine coming face-to-face with Ryan Gosling or George Clooney. The typical girl would probably look something like this: pale as a ghost, weak at the knees, and stumbling over her own words. Well, that's probably someone like me, when I come to face-to-face with an A-list dietitian. I sure hope I'm not the only one who would feel this way, which is why I have created a handy dandy guidebook to get you (aka ME) through this Hollywood scene of stardom.


1. It's not what you know, it's who you know. 

The definition of networking is forming connections. These connections, or relationships  may just offer substantial benefits, like a job, or a referral. Networking also allows for the exchange of ideas, feedback, or a new perspective on a familiar topic. For students, speaking with experts in the field can lead to invaluable advice as we take our first steps towards becoming a registered dietitian. By putting ourselves out there and in-the-know, we have allowed ourselves to gain leadership skills which look all so important on dietetic internship applications. 



2. Make goals and commitments. 

I admit, sometimes I'm a little shy, which is even more of an incentive to speak up! In order to prepare yourself to let your personality shine, devise a plan. Make a mental note to introduce yourself to a specific number of people and collect this number of business cards. To accomplish these goals, you may have to get out of your comfort zone and physically make yourself visible in the room.  





3. Dress to impress. 

This is a professional event, not an 8am biology class. According to The Network Journal, about 55% of a first impression is based on how you present yourself. A first impression can be formed within as little as seven seconds of meeting, leaving little time to make it a lasting one. An appropriate wardrobe, proper posture, and a winning smile will create instant connections and will ultimately make you memorable.







4. Follow up for lasting connections.

You have said hundreds of hellos and your bag is filled with business cards. Now what? Keep in touch! Networking involves staying in touch with the connections you have made. Send an email to those who really stood out, thanking them for their time or advice. A thank you card can go a long way, if someone really stood out in your mind. Attend events regularly to become recognizable. You, too, can offer important resources and information. Send an invitation to an upcoming event or a recent article that pertains to a topic of conversation you had. 


Most importantly, be yourself! Confidence is key. 

...And don't overindulge at the expo. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Quinoa Stuffed California Sweetpotatoes

{By posting this recipe we are entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Sweetpotato Council and are eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. We were not compensated for our time.}

Never have I ever seen such beautiful sweetpotatoes in all my life. I like to think of myself as a sweetpotato connoisseur, yet I'm not sure what people think of me as I rummage through the pile at the market. I like to choose only the brightest and cleanest of the bunch, but sweetpotatoes are often marked with bumps and bruises - something almost impossible to avoid. When I received a box from the California Sweetpotato Council, my dream of the perfect potato came true. Each sweetpotato came wrapped in a blue cloth to preserve its beauty. I unraveled these little sweethearts and they were beyond perfect. Flawless! Absolutely flawless!



There are so many different types of potatoes- russet, yam, yukon gold, french fingerling, little did I know there are several types of sweetpotatoes too. Vivid pink and purple potatoes made up the contents of my hand-picked box... and then there were...white. Hm, maybe a mistake? No, sir. Say hello to the Hannah Sweetpotato- same rich, sweetpotato flavor, just with lighter skin. 

So, besides sweetpotatoes being the prettiest and the sweetest, they are also completely and utterly nutritious. The sweetpotato is ranked at the top of its vegetable class, coming packed with fiber, protein, and vitamin C. Not to mention is abundance of vitamin A. 

And now, I invite you to sit back and enjoy a savory, stuffed sweetpotato. 






Spinach & Quinoa Stuffed California Sweetpotatoes




Ingredients: 
4 California sweetpotatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion
2 tbsp garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups spinach, fresh or frozen
1 cup quinoa
1 tbsp Goya adobo seasoning
2 tbsp. parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 eggs, poached



Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash the sweetpotatoes and use a fork to prick holes in the skin of each potato. Place potatoes on a baking sheet and let bake for 40-50 minutes. 
2. While the potatoes are in the microwave, heat a pan with olive oil. Add onion and garlic. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally (garlic should be brown). Add spinach to the pan and cook until completely wilted.
3. Combine quinoa and spinach in a bowl. Add adobo, parmesan, salt, and pepper. (See directions for quinoa below). Mix well.
4. Take sweetpotatoes out of the microwave and cut a slit down the center of each. Spread open the potato and fill with a large spoonful of quinoa stuffing. Top off the potato with a poached egg. Repeat for each potato and serve. 

Directions for quinoa:
Add 2 cups of water to a pot and bring to a boil. Turn heat down until water is at a simmer. Add the quinoa and let cook until water is completely absorbed (approximately 15 minutes).











Friday, October 4, 2013

Antioxidants: What Are They?






Our body’s cells are involved in an ceaseless fight against the damaging effects of free radicals.  These unstable molecules can cause damage to cells and DNA, leading to the development of chronic diseases. Free radicals naturally occur in the body from the breakdown of food and antioxidants can play an important role in protecting our healthy cells from these hazardous effects. Research suggests that increased intake of antioxidants can decrease risk of cancer, heart disease, and age-related macular degeneration.


The body has a unique ability to make antioxidants in times of need and stress. These specific types of antioxidants aren't as effective at protecting our cells as those found in dietary sources, which makes a healthy lifestyle so important (National Cancer Institute, 2013). Plant foods are rich in a variety of these powerful compounds, including: fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Dietary antioxidants include beta-carotene, lycopene, and vitamins A and C. There are tons of articles and blogs reaping the benefits associated with flavonoids in green tea and resveratrol in red wine. In fact, it is the pigments in antioxidants that provide fruits and vegetables with their beautiful, vibrant colors. Current recommendations made by the American Heart Association include 4.5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. 


There is conflicting evidence on the effect of antioxidants on decreased risk of chronic disease. This topic of interest is something to be investigated further to conclude the relationship; however, several studies encourage the intake of antioxidants as protection against destructive free radicals in the body. It is evident that a diet filled with whole, plant foods- fruits, vegetables, and whole grains contain numerous beneficial nutrients that act synergistically to protect our bodies from diseases such as, cancer, heart disease, and age-related macular degeneration. Those at risk for these conditions should follow a diet that is aligned with the current recommendations and Dietary Guidelines





 Try my recipe for a Citrus Edamame Salad that's bursting with colorful antioxidants!





Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Falling in Love with Apples

Fall is officially upon us. Whenever I think of the autumn months, my mind is automatically drawn to all things apples- apple picking, apple cider, and apple pie. One of my favorite fall traditions is taking a drive out east on Long Island, to stop at local farms and vineyards.  I often come home with bags of apples which become the perfect ingredients for all my of my fun-filled, fall recipes!

One plump apple comes fiber-filled and vitamin C-rich. With so many varieties of apples- Gala, Granny Smith, Red Delicious, and Honey Crisp, you can choose the sweet or tart flavor that suits you best! A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found a link between apple consumption and decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. "An apple a day will keep the doctor away" may just be a saying to take a bit more seriously. 

The great thing about apples is their versatility. You can eat them completely in the nude, maybe with scoop of peanut butter, or a dash of cinnamon. When the nights get a little chilly, slice an apple and bake it with a handful of nuts and a teaspoon of brown sugar. Apples can even be incorporated into a savory meal. I love to chop up a couple of apples and mix them into mashed sweet potatoes.  

Apple Cinnamon Cakes

This recipe is sure to satisfy all of your warm, fall cravings. Packed with protein and fiber, you'll be able to keep your energy up when the temperature goes down. Enjoy!





Ingredients:

3/4 cup almond meal
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
5 oz. apple sauce
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2 medium apples, finely diced
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped




Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
3. Stir wet ingredients into dry.
4. Add the apples and walnuts. Mix well.
5. Grease small (6") bundt pans with olive oil or a cooking spray.
6. Spoon cake batter evenly into pans.
7. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Cool and serve.


Makes 3 small cakes

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Recipe Redux: Raw Blueberry Ice Cream Sandwiches

I am excited to announce that Noms McGee is now a proud member of The Recipe Redux! Each month a group of food bloggers are put to the test to create a super delicious, but good for you recipe based on a specific theme. September's theme was, "no bake desserts." The raw food diet has gained a lot of recognition in recent years for its fresh, wholesome, unprocessed plant food philosophy. Some believe when eaten in its raw, natural form plant foods offer more nourishment to our bodies.

This theme was definitely a challenge for me as I have never dared to prepare a no bake dessert! All I have ever known is baked cookies, cakes, and muffins. How on earth do you make a delectable dessert that's...raw?! As I started to research raw dessert recipes that already exist, I came across cheesecakes and pies. My mind was beginning to fry at this point when I heard a familiar sound...the ice cream man! It was a beautiful day so, why not make an ice cream sandwich?








Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 graham cracker sheets





Directions:
1. In a food processor, combine yogurt and blueberries. Pulse until completely blended together.
2. Mix in the dark chocolate chips and cinnamon.
3. Break the graham cracker sheets in half. Use a spatula to spread yogurt mix onto one half of the graham cracker. Top off the yogurt with the other graham cracker half to make a sandwich.
4. Place sandwiches on a baking sheet and place in the freezer for 1 hour.

Makes 6 Ice Cream Sandwiches



As the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians, The Recipe ReDux aims to inspire the food lover in every healthy eater and inspire the healthy eater in every food lover. Thank you for visiting. We hope you enjoy!
(Please note that this is a closed link-up for Recipe ReDux Contest entries only. Any links added to this collection for non-ReDux posts will be deleted.) 


Friday, September 20, 2013

{Restaurant Review} Tula Kitchen

Last week, my twin sister and I celebrated a major birthday milestone...23! Things really do feel different this time around. I've never loved being home so much, in my bed, watching a movie, with the pups. Well, it's a good thing I have awesome friends to keep me chugging along. So, last Friday night a few of us got together for drinks and appetizers. My friend, Dan picked us up, dressed to the nines as always ready to escort Brittany and I to our awaiting reservation.  Boy, does he know us all too well! This was perhaps the cutest place in all of Long Island, Tula Kitchen.  Beneath the sign was the tagline, "Live to eat. Eat to live." It was love at first sight.






The restaurant offered a cozy, Moroccan inspired ambiance. Lanterns and chandeliers lit up the room. Each table had a candle fixture to set the mood for the intimate evening.





The meaning of "tula" goes something like this...
"Each and every one of us has our own personal goals in life that we strivetowards everyday. The most important things in my life have always been family, friends, love, laughter, health & belief in ones cause. The key to maintaining all of that is through "balance". When i discovered the word "Tula" which is the sanskrit meaning for balance, I knew in my heart that it was the perfect name. To be surrounded by delicious, nutritious food, good company & enjoy oneself implicitly is to be at tula. We thank you for allowing Tula to be part of your balance." 
~ Jacqueline Sharlup


Tempeh Teriyaki



The menu features healthy, organic ingredients with delicious vegetarian options. For starters, you can choose from a variety of options like, the Mediterranean spread for two which includes spinach pie, greek salad, hummus, grilled pita, and tzatziki sauce. This impressive spread could feed more than 2 people, but I'm not complaining! Salad options include a roasted asparagus salad with cannellini beans, red onions, feta, tomatoes, and red wine vinaigrette  Protein add-ons are also available for all salads- grilled chicken, organic tofu, tempeh, shrimp, and tuna. The "din-din" section features coconut and almond crusted tilapia and baked salmon cakes. If you're vegan or vegetarian you aren't limited to options here! Sesame crusted tofu and tempeh teriyaki are only a couple of items to choose from on the list.

Tula's mission is to keep you happy and healthy. Mission accomplished Tula! 


Photos courtesy of Tula Kitchen.
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