Prevention RD - an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
A Registered Dietitian, blogger, and cookbook author who believes in An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. He has diverse work experience in diabetes, weight management, renal disease, bariatrics, food service, management, and education
Another week, here again. I started this post yesterday with a different recipe…only to find out there was an issue with my SD card and none of the images were saved. NOT COOL.
The week should fly by – I slept on the “hump” of our bed last night. You know, the part between Mark and I that isn’t indented from years of sleeping in the exact same place. Perhaps we need to do more cuddling! Anyway, sleeping on “the hump” after 2 hockey games on Sunday, a long workout after work, and a nice, warm shower was just what this girl needed last night. If only it hadn’t been interrupted by a phone alarm blaring at me to bring me back to reality. I am almost always up before my alarm and I much prefer it that way. An alarm is no way to ease into the day ahead, amirite? At least I got that morning workout in!
You may be looking at our weekly menu wondering what’s going on. It’s a combination of things: 1. Mark traveling, 2. Wanting to be at the beach and/or pool after work, 3. Needing to get in workouts after work, 4. Not wanting to heat up the house, and 5. Being a sweet enough mom to give the kids a week off of all homemade meals.
It’s just enough green and good-for-you that we can all be happy about it. They’ve been begging for hot dogs and so I splurged on uncured turkey hot dogs and dreamy brioche buns. Not going to lie – that sounds like the perfect summer meal for when daddy’s away. The man does NOT care for hot dogs, that’s for sure.
Unlike this week, last week was several new recipes in our household, all of which we enjoyed. I was on the ball – lots of dinner meals and some time spent over the weekend to prepare for breakfast throughout the week. I’ve been on a bit of a yogurt + fruit + granola kick for breakfast but I’m forever a fan of something I can pull out of the freezer in a pinch.
We never tire of COOKIES FOR BREAKFAST! And as a mom and dietitian, I feel great putting these in my kiddo’s hands to gobble up. Packed with fiber and healthy fat and omega 3 fatty acids, these superfood breakfast cookies are a new staple in our house!
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, oat flour, dried cranberries, pepitas, ground flaxseed, chia seeds, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt until well-combined.
In a medium bowl, mash the banana against the sides of the bowl using the backside of a fork until few lumps remain. Whisk in the coconut oil, maple syrup, and almond milk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined.
Measure dough out by the scant ¼ cupful and place on prepared baking sheet and gently flatten with the palm of your hand.
Bake for 15–18 minutes, or until cookies are lightly golden around the edges. Allow to cool completely before removing from the baking sheet.
I didn’t realize it had been over a month since my last Family Friday post, but just like summertime, time flies by way too quickly. We’re in mid-July and yep, I’m not too happy about it!
I returned to work on Monday after a little staycation over the July 4th holiday and my birthday (July 2). I had so much fun that just today I scheduled a second staycation around Labor Day. A girl could get used to 5-day weekends, right?! I have no real plans other than getting in some good workouts and DEFINITELY making it to the beach…alone…and with my Kindle. That somehow didn’t happen during my last staycation, but I think I did everything else fun – a massage, a pedicure, a run along the beach.
Shea is turning into a bronzed beauty. Even with sunscreen galore, her skin is this perfect sun-kissed summer glow. No idea where she got it but I’m sure jealous! She’s also sprouting freckles like crazy and between Mark and I — there’s no surprise there. I had to give her a little trim last weekend after the ultra-blonde tips of her hair were turning green from chlorine. It has helped some of the hair tangle woes, but the girl still has a ton of hair. She can swim SO well and doesn’t use a puddle jumper at all. She loves to be shoved under water to retrieve diving rings and sticks from the bottom of the pool. She’s definitely my summertime girl! She’s looking forward to changing rooms at the Montessori next month. Thanks to the girls’ fall birthdays, I’ve got 2 extra years of daycare tuition coming my way. YAY!
Piper is fully potty trained (with an insurance pull-up at night that is 95% of the time dry) and has no use for heat. She loves swimming and all of that, but unless she’s in water, she’s complaining about being “too hot”. Her little nose beads up with sweat and between Mark and I — I know where she gets it. She continues to be a mama’s girl and I’m learning that she’s rather sensitive. The other day she was supposed to be changing into clean panties and instead helped herself onto her changing table (the one I need to get rid of) and helped herself to a TON of lotion – it was all over her and the furniture. I raised my voice (big time) and she burst into tears and cried/sobbed for the next 30 minutes, unable to settle down, even after calmly explaining why I got upset, apologizing for raising my voice, etc. I finally offered her a hug and that seemed to help. The last time she was in childcare at the gym she decided to do a summersault…right into a little guy. I scolded her and she burst into tears – not because she was hurt but because she thought she hurt the baby. And probably because she got scolded, too. But she’s my trouble maker, I think. She definitely has the guilty-as-h-e-double-hockey-sticks grin mastered. Yet, very sensitive at the same time.
Mark has some upcoming travel so our evenings will be easy meals and lots of snuggles. We tend to just simplify and enjoy when he’s gone – our girl time! It helps make his time away go by more quickly, it seems. I also can’t complain – his work travel hasn’t been much this summer at all.
August is looking to be BUSY – my niece’s baptism is early in the month, my father-in-law retires and we have his party to attend, I’m hosting my bestie’s baby shower in Chicago, AND my sister-in-law is getting married in Seattle. Whoa. This girl is not used to so many social engagements and travel. I will need to get organized and keep my cool, no doubt! And looking at the craziness of the month, is exactly why I thought a staycation at the end of it all was a good idea!
My back is starting to feel better – I was struggling with a lot of low back pain in June and through this month. I got a new chair back support at work, am working on my posture on the spin bike, and I’m trying to do more stretching and core exercises. As shared on the latest podcast episode, cross-training is on my second half of 2019 goals.
Mark and I have a date night tonight – no clue what we’ll do but looking forward to it! After a beach day with my parents and brother tomorrow, Sunday will be a double-header hockey game that should have me nice and pooped to start the work week!
I listen to my own podcast because…I dunno! I want to hear how I sound “on air” and if nothing else, it’s good to critique myself. I’m currently working on not saying “so” as much. I’m not an um-er, but I certainly over-use the word “so”. Sorry if you’re sweet enough to listen in – I’m working on it!
That said, I started scanning my recent blog posts and I also write the word “so” a lot. Probably because I type like I talk – people tell me that ALL. THE. TIME. Someone just said this week that they appreciate the conversational tone on my blog.
I love that. It’s such a compliment. It feels like an authentic space that represents who I am and what I love. Lately, however, I’ve been uninspired by food. Nothing really seems to sound good and that’s just silly because my love for food is unwavering.
The reality is that I want things quick, easy, and not heating up my house. It was in the mid 90’s here in Michigan today and that’s just a bit too toasty for this northerner. So (there’s that little word I love to over-use) I’ve been taking my cooking to the backyard. Or that little slab in the back of my house I like to pretend is a backyard.
This salad caught my eye on Pinterest because it’s STUNNING. It also uses some of my favorite ingredients – yes the cheese (even though the original recipe called for burrata – is there really any going wrong…mozzarella, burrata…yum), yes the peaches…but the real star is the balsamic.
Balsamic vinegar is basically the ranch of summertime. There, I said it. I get it, ranch is bomb.com but a high quality balsamic vinegar that is syrupy and sweet? Life changing. Find the good stuff* – it’s worth it! If you can’t find the good stuff, simmer your run-of-the-mill balsamic for 10-15 minutes until reduced by half. Allow it to cool and thicken – so flipping good! And on this salad? Oh, sweet, sweet summertime bliss!
Grilled Peach Salad with Basil, Mozzarella, and Prosciutto
Author: Nicole Morrissey
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 3 servings
4 peaches, pitted and cut into quarters
4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
¼ cup balsamic vinegar*
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
5 oz fresh arugula
8-10 large basil leaves, chiffonade
4 oz prosciutto
4 oz fresh mozzarella, torn into pieces
Heat your grill to medium heat. Brush the peaches with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Place the peaches on the grill and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the peaches release gently from the grates and have charred grill marks. Flip over and continue grilling for another 4-5 minutes. Remove from grill and set aside.
Add remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper to a small bowl and whisk well or combine in a small container with a tight fitting lid and shake vigorously.
Place arugula and basil in a large bowl and drizzle with the balsamic vinaigrette. Toss gently to coat the arugula. Serve salad topped with the peaches, prosciutto, and mozzarella.
On a large serving platter place the arugula. Tear each slice of prosciutto in half and place on top of the arugula. Place a piece of burrata cheese and a basil leaf wherever there is a slice of prosciutto.
Drizzle the remaining olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top of the entire salad and then season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
I’ve been off work for nearly 6 days and have so thoroughly enjoyed my little staycation. The weather has been dreamy and I feel like I’ve taken full advantage. Our laundry is a daily occurrence and consists of only swimsuits and beach towels. Isn’t that what summer should be like?!
Yesterday, we rented a boat with my parents and brother, my in-laws, and my friend. We swam and tubed and just played ALL day long. We came home a little too sun-kissed, a little over-served, and way tired. I was in bed, asleep, by 9:15pm and slept the next 10 ½ hours. Like. A. Rock.
And after we said goodbye to our guests, Sunday progressed as any normal Sunday would in our house: a lazy morning of snuggles and TV, followed by church, menu planning, grocery shopping…and then, blogging. Next up: packing the girls’ lunches for Monday.
I’d rather be on a boat! Adulting has never been harder. You get a taste of vacationing where you live and suddenly, anything other than that just seems like torture. It’s a good thing my inbox at work looks to require a lot of my time and attention upon my return – the week should go quickly, no doubt!
When planning my weekly menu, we were sure to plan on using the grill several times. Our forecast for the next week looks stunning and we haven’t grilled out enough yet this year. Second only to one pot delights, grilling is a favorite, especially for vegetables. And coming off my little staycation – I need my veggies!
In this little one pot delight, I ramped up the veggies and served it alongside some perfectly ripe avocado to increase the staying power and unsaturated fats in the meal. Big on fiber and flavor, this meal comes together quickly making it perfect for when you’re short on time or would just rather be in the sun having fun!
1¼ lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 Tbsp taco seasoning mix
1 (15 oz) can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (10 oz) can Rotel
1 cup water
1¼ cups instant brown rice, uncooked
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
½ cup chopped cilantro
Heat oil in large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once hot, add chicken and cook 4-5 minutes or until no longer pink, stirring occasionally. Add onion and green bell pepper, stir, and cook for 2-3 minutes or until softened.
Add taco seasoning; stir and cook 2 minutes more. Stir in black beans, undrained tomatoes and water; bring to a boil.
Stir in rice. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 10-12 minutes or until rice is tender. Stir in ½ cup cheese. Sprinkle top with remaining cheese and cilantro. Serve hot.
When my bestie was in town last weekend, I wanted to spoil the mama-to-be with brunch. I had planned a little something sweet and a little something savory – I know her style because it’s my own I even bought a new, beautiful quiche pan for the occasion – a scalloped edge, white, 10-inch dish.
Amazon lost it. I can’t knock on Amazon too much because seriously, Amazon is LYFE. But I was disappointed and my asparagus was looking a little sad by the time the dish arrived. And sadly, Kristen had come and gone, never having the quiche I’d planned for brunch.
We ended up at a gourmet donut shop instead. Oops. I blame Amazon for that one. Srsly.
But as difficult as bypassing donuts can be, it’s a lot easier when you have something delicious planned for breakfast. Bonus if it can be reheated for a quick-and-easy option during the week. I microwaved my quiche slice at home this morning and brought it to work to eat while I got caught up with emails. My kind of Monday morning!
Plus, one my new year’s resolutions was to be more creative with fruits and vegetables (tune into episode 20 on Dietitians Dish to hear Gina and I give updates on our resolutions and set some new goals for the second half of 2019!) and I’ve always been one to say that if you can start your day with vegetables, you’re ahead of the game. I mean, how many people can say they regularly eat vegetables for breakfast? Not I!
And so this quiche is just perfect – plus, any morning I can start my day with a Swiss or Gruyere cheese – it’s bound to be a great day! It’s my absolute favorite and Aldi now sells it shredded. YASSS! Low carb-ers, gluten-free friends, and those who love asparagus…enjoy!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mist a 10-inch pie dish with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
Cut woody ends off of the asparagus spears. Take half the spears and cut off the top 4-5 inches to use on the top, if desired. Cut remaining asparagus into 1-2 inch pieces. If your asparagus is thick, halve the asparagus to create 2 thinner stalks before cutting into smaller pieces. Sprinkle the smaller pieces into the bottom of the dish and reserve the 4-5 inch pieces.
In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and thyme. Pour the egg mixture over the asparagus in the dish and sprinkle with the shredded cheese.
Top with the 4-5 inch asparagus spears in a star-burst arrangement.
Bake quiche for 60-75 minutes or until golden and eggs are set. Allow quiche to cool for 10-15 minutes before cutting.
There are a few perks to living in Michigan – one is picking strawberries on your lunch break. Our health park is about 2 miles from a strawberry patch and it has become a June ritual to go picking at lunch.
A co-worker asked me to go and knowing they only accept cash, I told her I would pass. And then she did the sweetest thing and said she had plenty of cash and I could Venmo her. Thank goodness for today’s technologies!
We picked and talked and soaked up the sun. My berries were weighed first and she promptly paid the $10.50 owed. Her berries were then paid and she went to hand over the $18.50 she owed…only to discover that she was $0.68 short. The (older) woman working the little stand wasn’t sure what to do with us. I offered to put back a quart of berries that she could sell (there’s a whole bunch of quarts lined up for sale!) but she wasn’t so fond of that idea.
She asked if we lived close. I said that we worked close and she asked that I bring her the $0.68 today. So, I did. I went at lunch and she seemed rather relieved to see me make good on my promise. Perhaps I should have suggested Venmo – ha! It was cute. Only in small town middle America would such a thing happen, I swear.
After delivering the change to the strawberry patch attendant, I returned to my office to fire up my new iPhone (happy early birthday to me) and warm up my lunch. I walked away while it was warming the microwave and when I returned – oh the smells! What is it about Cajun spices that always sound – and smell – so divine!?
This SUPER simple meal uses one of my pantry staples – ready rice! Who doesn’t have 90 seconds to warm up a whole grain? Coupled with andouille sausage, peppers, onions, and big Cajun flavor, this meal hits the spot time and time again. I scale back the cayenne for the little mouths I feed, but if you like things spicy, throw it on it! Enjoy!
⅛ tsp cayenne pepper (up to ¼ tsp if you like spice!)
2 (8.8 oz) packages ready brown rice*, microwaved according to package directions
¼ cup chopped parsley
Place oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot and shimmering, add the sausage and cook for 4-5 minutes or until browned on both sides. Remove to a plate. Return the skillet to the heat and add the peppers and onions; allow to cook 2-3 minutes or until charred before stirring. Cook until al dente, about 2-3 minutes more. Add the garlic and pepper, cooking until fragrant, about 1 minute. remove to the plate with the sausage.
Return the skillet to the heat and add the tomato paste and chicken broth, whisk to combine. Allow the mixture to simmer for 1 minute, then add the cajun seasoning, paprika, and cayenne; whisk well.
Stir in the cooked rice until well-combined. Add the sausage, peppers, and onions; gently mix until combined. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately
Another weekend of summer has come and gone and I am whipped. I really can’t remember the last time I was this tired. I’m dreading my 8:45pm hockey game – ugh. I mean, I know it will be fun once I convince myself to get my rear in gear. But for now, it’s dread.
But until then, between the sun (!) and the fun and the lack of sleep, I’m totally exhausted. Piper had a really rough night of sleep and we’re still unsure as to why. After an hour and a half of in and out of her room in the middle of the night, I finally gave in and rocked her to sleep…my newborn-like nearly 3-year-old. I’d have eaten it up…had it not been the middle of the night.
We had our first FULL weekend of fun in the sun – the pool, the beach, AND the splash pad. When we pulled into the driveway after our 9 minute drive home, Piper was both snoring and drooling and Shea wasn’t far behind. We carried them both to bed for a nap and had to go wake them by 4:30pm.
They’re now washing off the sand in the bath as I supervise. And yes, I realize the sequence of these events are all wrong. The splash pad was not as effective as I’d hoped in removing the sand from all the creases and crevices. #summertimeproblems
After our weekend guests departed, Mark dashed off to Aldi with the list I’d made and for the first time ever, I received no clarifying questions via text or phone call. Small miracles, people. Best I can tell, he got everything on the list…correctly.
While he was sure to stock up on $0.99 cookies, he didn’t come home with fresh fruit for the week. Fortunately, I have quite a bit from last week that’s still good and some peaches that will likely turn into these Peach Upside Down Mini Cakes…not the first time. I mean, how cute are they!? The perfect summer sweet that’s not-so-sinful and yet perfectly sweet. Oh, summertime…so glad to see you!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. Cut 1 tablespoon of butter into 12 small cubes and place one into each of the 12 muffin wells; sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of brown sugar.
Slice 1 peaches into thin slices and place about 3 slices into the bottom of each muffin pan. Cut the remaining peaches into small cubes and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a mixing bowl with paddle attachment, beat the remaining ⅓ cup of butter and granulated sugar together until creamy. Add egg and vanilla extract and beat for another 2-3 minutes, or until well combined, scraping down the sides, as needed.
Add half of the flour mixture into the batter, beat for 1 minute. Stir in the buttermilk and beat for another minute. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat just until combined. Fold in the cubed peaches.
Divide the batter into 12 muffin pan cups. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Cool the cakes in the pan for 5 minutes; run a knife around the sides of each to loosen from the muffin tin. Place the wire rack over the muffin pan and carefully turn the pan upside down to remove the cakes. Cool completely before serving.
I’m a slacker and have been having way too much fun – I’ve been away from my computer and so, apologies! This past weekend was spent with my podcast co-host, Gina, and her family. We interviewed our oldest littles in our most recent podcast episode – be sure to check it out! They’re incredibly cute and officially good friends!
Despite the weather, we had a good time. Probably not as good a time had we been able to do the beach and the pool, as planned. But, hey. I’m trying (and failing) to be patient with summer.
Yesterday LITERALLY felt like fall. Long sleeves and goosebumps. It’s now mid-to-late June and we’re yet to see a truly summer-like day. We’re going from impatient to downright hateful, if I do say so myself.
Admittedly, I’ve been in a bit of a funk all-around, especially when it comes to all things cooking. Having Gina’s husband Nick, whip up homemade strawberry shortcakes in my kitchen was like a dream come true. Who wouldn’t dream about such a thing? Is this what it’s like to be married to someone who loves to cook? If so, lucky husband I’ve got!
With all of these questionable weather days, the grill has been under-utilized and my motivation for seasonal fare is completely confused and thus, underwhelmed. I figured I’d be safe to choose a recipe that is literally a dump-and-go slow cooker recipe – little-to-no effort on my end. In fact, it would’ve been perfect in a cookbook such as my last, The Easy Heart Healthy Cookbook for Slow Cookers.
Packed with fiber, lean protein, and tons of flavor this recipe was perfect! As you may already know, I deem chili the most perfect food there ever was for its big flavor, endless variations, and overall balance of macronutrients. This summer-appropriate chili checked all the boxes and the best part: my kids devoured it!
Combine tomato sauce, pinto beans, black beans, corn, onion, bell pepper, garlic, jalapeno, tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and pepper in a 6 quart slow cooker. Place chicken breasts on top and cover with the lid.
Cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 8-10 hours. Before serving, remove chicken and shred using two forks. Return to chili and stir well. Serve topped with your favorite chili toppings.
Last night I got home from work and was ready to hop on the Peloton. In the basement. However, Mark was on a video work call that would’ve required me walking into the field of view. I had to schlepp a giant fan with me so crawling by wasn’t an option (but I did consider it). So instead, I headed out for a run. Intervals. The death of me. I’m such a pokey runner!
About 10 minutes into my run I got a text from Mark alerting me that I could have access to the basement (and workout room) and so I headed back to do a quick Peloton ride.
Before hopping on the bike our nanny asked what was for dinner (she is cute – she finds a way to invite herself over when it’s something she really wants). When I responded “eggs, turkey sausage, toast, and fruit” she voiced her disapproval. “What happened to the shrimp tacos you’re planning to make?!” Shea has t-ball at 6:30, I replied!
Explaining that those were on deck for later in the week was unacceptable to her. So while I rode the bike, she did all of the prep for this recipe. Being that it was a 20 minute ride, this is most definitely a quick and easy recipe. The shrimp take a matter of minutes to cook and the assembly is 1-2-3.
We all gathered on the front porch with our shrimp tacos and everyone inhaled them. It was SILENT. I probably should have doubled the recipe to have leftovers but it was the perfect amount to feed 3 adults and 2 little girls…two little girls who happen to LOVE shrimp. And tacos.
We all agreed: this recipe is a must-repeat. I’ve made a lot of shrimp taco renditions but I must say, I think this one takes the cake. Both easy, delicious, quick, and healthy, there’s nothing not to love!
Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Slaw and Creamy Sriracha Sauce
Author: Nicole Morrissey
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 6 mins
Total time: 21 mins
Serves: 9 prepared tacos
24 oz raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp salt
9 (6-inch) flour tortillas
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
⅛ tsp salt and black pepper, to taste
3 cups cabbage, shredded
½ cup thinly sliced red onion
¼ cup cilantro, minced
½ jalapeno, seeds removed and minced
¼ cup 2% plain Greek Yogurt
2 Tbsp low-fat mayonnaise
1½ tsp honey
1 Tbsp Sriracha
Combine shrimp and 1½ tablespoons olive oil in a medium bowl; gently toss to coat. Combine the spices, paprika through salt in a small dish, mix to combine. Sprinkle spices over shrimp and gently toss to coat. Set aside while you prepare the slaw and sauce.
To make the slaw, whisk together the olive oil, honey, lime juice, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the shredded cabbage, red onion, cilantro, and minced jalapeno; gently toss to coat completely.
To prepare the sauce, whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl.
Heat remaining ½ tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the shrimp and cook shrimp until pink and cooked through, about 4-5 minutes.
Prepare the tacos by adding 2.5 ounces of cooked shrimp to each tortilla and top with ~1/3 cup slaw and 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce. Serve hot.