Life

Hello 2015!

How did this happen? How is it already a new year?

I apparently decided to take a hiatus from blogging for a little over a month. I think I needed it, honestly. Somehow this site still managed to get a fair amount of traffic during that time period which surprised me, but I’ll try to start posting more often now. This blog turned 2 years old on Thanksgiving but if feels like I’ve been blogging for so much longer than that!

The last 5 weeks haven’t been too incredibly exciting, just working a lot (what’s new), cooking when I can, and trying not to go crazy in this tiny town. There has been no one here since the university is on winter break and a lot of my friends are from out of state and have traveled home for the holidays. People will be returning this weekend and I’m super excited to be surrounded by humans again! My family came up to Oregon for Christmas which actually ended up being a lot of fun! I was worried since my apartment is so small and they stayed with me on Christmas Eve and then all of Christmas Day, but it ended up working out. They ended up staying a few days longer but my parents stayed in a hotel so my apartment wasn’t so cramped!

I had to work on Christmas Eve and December 26th and they were some ridiculously crazy work days! I’m pretty sure I consumed way too much caffeine both days but it helped me stay productive! Red cups for the win!

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I bought an artificial tree this year and after my parents arrived and we put out all the presents it looked so small!

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And of course Miss Ruby tagged along and was up to her usual antics.

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I just love her so much!

I’m pleased to report that I actually stuck with my New Years Resolution in 2014. My faith has always been an extremely important part of my life but during college I found a way to make excuses and let it slip to the side. I still was active in bible studies and church but I wasn’t living like a Christian. In the fall of 2013 I started making some good changes in my life and by the new year I wanted to make 2014 a year of spiritual growth. I bought the devotional Jesus Calling and challenged myself to read all the way through it in 2014. And I did it! Intentionally reading through the Word on a daily basis was life changing for me this year and I would highly recommend this devotional to anyone whose looking for an easy way to ease back into reading scripture!

I didn’t really do much for New Years this year. In fact, I was in bed at 11:00 PM and fell asleep before midnight. I won’t get into specifics as to why that happened, but I think it was a good thing for me. I definitely did not intend to spend my New Years Eve the way I did, but that’s okay 🙂

This year I’m making 2 resolutions. The first is to read the She Reads Truth #365DaysOfTruth. Unfortunately they are having some technical difficulties with their WordPress site today so I can’t actually begin it fully right now, but once I’m able to access it I will. They have an app too, which is great! Check it out, both the site and the app are fantastic!

Yesterday when I was listening to the radio on my way to work they were talking about choosing one word and focusing on it all year long. I decided that would be an awesome resolution as well, so I’ve chosen my word for 2015: LOVE.

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I think this verse, 1 John 3:18, really shows what I mean when I say I want to focus on “love” this year. Not the romantic love, although I wouldn’t be opposed to that (haha), but truly loving people and living out my life in a way that shows I care deeply about those around me. I would also like to work more on accepting love and allowing others to love me. I truly think that what this world needs is more love and people living like they love each other. Isn’t that what God put us here to do, anyways?

Besides contemplating how I can better myself in 2015, I also got to do some cooking today! I got a new food processor for Christmas and I got to use it for the first time today. I’ll post the recipe later this week, it was a super simple vegetarian soup. I’ve been eating a lot of meat lately so it feels good to get back to a meatless diet!

I hope you all had a wonderful New Years Eve and have had a great first day of 2015! I’m so excited to see what this year has in store!

WIAW

WIAW: Hello Thanksgiving

Can you believe Thanksgiving is tomorrow? I worked Thursday – Monday (and had the most ridiculously busy work weekend of my entire life) and then made the long, 10 hour drive home yesterday. I arrived home before dinner and got to enjoy a delicious meal with my family. We had salmon that my dad caught in Alaska a few months ago and it was so so good!

I wanted to sleep in this morning, but I got woken up by this needy creature…

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She got herself trapped on my bed (because there is a lot of extra crap shoved in my room right now) so I had to get up and carry her off my bed and into the hallway.

I love mornings at home because they’re so slow and I can enjoy my coffee and make myself whatever I want for breakfast and now worry about any other obligations. Sometimes it’s hard being at home because my parents choose foods that I no longer choose for myself and try as I might, I haven’t been able to convince them to make many changes yet. But change is slow and I know that. So I guess all I can do is lead by example.

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This morning I decided to make myself a breakfast burrito with two eggs, some cheese, and salsa. This tends to be a common breakfast for me when I’m at home because it’s easy and it’s delicious. Of course I had some coffee with it and since my mom buys the flavored coffee creamer I had some “gingerbread latte” creamer in it. Those creamers used to be my weakness but after trying some this morning I’m glad I kicked the habit. I couldn’t even taste my coffee!

I had a doctors appointment this morning and then I had to go to the store for some food so I picked up a kombucha while I was there.

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Of course, as soon as I got home and sat in a recliner the dog crawled up on my lap again and tried to see what I was drinking. I think she liked the mango smell.

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We didn’t have much to make a meal out of for lunch, so since my brother decided to open a can of refried beans for a quesadilla I decided so eat some with some chips and an apple. Soon after lunch my mom got home from work and the Thanksgiving prep began!

Our menu tomorrow includes turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, artichoke-parmesan stuffing, quinoa salad, cranberry sauce, rolls, olives, and pumpkin pie. I already made the cranberry sauce, prepped for my quinoa salad, and prepped for the stuffing.

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I ate a baby bell and some Belvita biscuits with peanut butter and almond milk for a snack after I was done with most of the prep.

For dinner we had takeout from one of my favorite Chinese restaurants and since we don’t do cell phones at the dinner table, I didn’t take a picture. I had potstickers, kung pao chicken, rice, and chow mein. So good!

My brother’s girlfriend came over after dinner and brought a chocolate creme pie so I had to have a slice of that too, obviously. She was asking me about what I would be eating for Thanksgiving tomorrow (ie, would I be going all out) and I think that’s a common question for holidays that revolve around food. I wrote a post about holiday meals last year and basically, I will be enjoying my meal tomorrow and go back to my normal after. And my normal will include lots of leftovers 🙂

Have a fantastic holiday and eat something delicious!!

 

 

Breakfast · Oatmeal · Snacks

“Glo Bar” Granola Bars

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Lately I’ve been struggling to find a morning snack that works for me. I’ve had problems tolerating dairy in the past and they seem to have returned in full force, so yogurt and granola has been cast to the side. I tried protein bars like Clif or Luna bars, but they put so many unnecessary additives in them and have so much added sugar that those didn’t sit well either.

I bought the Oh She Glows cookbook a few weeks ago and when I saw this recipe I knew I had to give it a try. These are really quick to throw together and they don’t require any baking, just a chill in the freezer and they’re ready to go. Plus, they don’t have any funky additives and give you energy from real, whole foods. Of course there is some sugar in the form of brown rice syrup, which is an incredible binding agent, but if you use a nut butter with no added sugar then the syrup will be the only added sugar in the recipe.

I think it would be really easy to change out the nut butter and seeds in this recipe and make it your own. Go ahead and give them a try!

“Glo Bar” Granola Bars

Servings: 12

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 1/4 cup rise crisp cereal
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 cup sunbutter (or nut butter of your choosing)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions: 

1. Mix the oats, rice cereal, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut, sesame seeds, chia seeds, cinnamon, and sea salt together in a large bowl.

2. In a small saucepan, heat the brown rice syrup and sunbutter until it just beings to bubble and is well combined. Don’t let it bubble too long or it will start to burn on the bottom of the pan! Add the vanilla extract.

3. Pour the syrup mixture over the dry ingredients and mix well. It will get sticky!

4. Pour the mixture into a 9×9 pan lined with parchment or wax paper. Press mixture down with wet hands. Make sure it’s packed well.

5. Place pan in freezer for 10 minutes, or until bars are hardened. Remove from pan using the parchment and cut into 12 squares. You can store these in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

 

 

Casserole · Quinoa

Quinoa Enchilada Bake

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If I’m being honest, lately I haven’t felt like dedicating any time to this blog. I’ve just been lazy and worn out. There has been a lot of unfortunate drama at work lately that has been bringing me down and that added onto a few other things and I just don’t want to put any effort into anything. This blog is still important to me and I really hope that I get my motivation bake soon!

In the mean time, I’ve got a handful of yummy recipes that I’ll be typing up posts for today so at the very least those will be here to get me through the next 2 weeks or so!

My eating has really transformed over the last few months. Vegetarian has become easier and easier and I honestly don’t really have a desire to eat meat right now. It’s becoming easier and easier to find meals that don’t have meat in them and I’m learning to find ways to get enough protein without it. It has been a process though and one of the things that I’ve really missed that normally has meat in it is Mexican food. I know it’s easy to substitute beans for meat in most recipes, but a lot of the time that’s just not the same.

I came across this recipe and knew it was something I needed to try. I’ve been on kind of a quinoa kick lately. I really love texture in my meals and quinoa fits that perfectly.

You could definitely add some shredded chicken into this if you’re not vegetarian. Or different color bell peppers. Whatever you like! It seems very versatile to me 🙂

Quinoa Enchilada Bake

Recipe from Two Peas and their Pod

Serves: 8-10

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups water (or 2 cups veg/chicken broth)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed,diced
  • 1 red pepper, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 orange pepper, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 cup corn frozen kernels
  • Juice of 1 small lime
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups red enchilada sauce
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

2. Add quinoa and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Cover quinoa and set aside.

3. In a large skillet, heat the tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the peppers and corn. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add the lime juice, cumin, chili powder, and cilantro. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

4. In a large bowl, add the cooked quinoa and black beans. Add the sautéed vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Pour in the enchilada sauce and stir. Add 1/2 cup shredded cheese.

5.Pour the black bean and quinoa mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining shredded cheese. Cover the pan with foil. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove foil. Bake an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and edges are bubbling. Remove from the oven, and let cool for 10 minutes. Garnish with toppings such as avocado, green onion, and sour cream, if desired. Serve warm.

 

Casserole · Pasta · Vegetarian

Caprese Mac and Cheese

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Let me start off by saying that I am not a tomato lover and I enjoyed this mac and cheese a lot! It was kind of like a tomato based pasta bake mixed with mac and cheese. Plus basil. So good!

This is definitely not as indulgent of a recipe as it could be. I served a portion of this with a big portion of veggies on the side (lots of broccoli, my favorite!) so I didn’t feel weighed down by a dinner of just pasta.  Give this recipe a try, it’s unique and delicious!

Caprese Mac and Cheese

Original recipe from Prevention RD

Serves: 5

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz whole wheat elbow macaroni (uncooked)
  • 1 cup 1% milk
  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅛ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • 3 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 20-30 basil leaves, chiffonade and divided

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Bring 3-4 quarts of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add pasta, stir, and cook 8-10 minutes or until al dente; drain and set aside.
  3. In the meantime, whisk together milk, vegetable broth, flour, chili powder, salt, and pepper in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Bring sauce to a low boil over medium heat; simmer for 4-5 minutes or until sauce thickens, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat and pour over hot, drained pasta, along with 1 cup of the shredded mozzarella; mix well.
  4. In the bottom of a 2 quart baking dish, spread tomato sauce on the bottom to coat completely. Add half of the macaroni mixture over the tomato sauce, top with half of the tomato slices, ⅓ of the basil, and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat with macaroni, ⅓ of the basil, remaining 1 cup of mozzarella, and tomato slices, in that order.
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until bubbly and just beginning to brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining ⅓ basil before serving.
Life

3 Month Job Update

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On Tuesday I hit the 3 month point at my new job and next week I’ll have been an RD for 2 months! Where the heck is the time going?

I started working on my own doing at the beginning of the September. I started off working as the float dietitian, covering for dietitians that work med surg floors, and covering for the dietetic technicians. At the end of September I started training in ICU and now I’ve also worked ICU a few times on my own. I keep thinking this job will get easier but it is still such a challenge for me almost every day!

I’ve learned so much in the last 3 months it’s incredible. Obviously, most of what I’ve learned is about dietetics itself but I’ve also learned quite a bit about myself too.

One of the most difficult things for me has been being confident in what I know. I have learned a lot but I’m not yet confident making recommendations unless I check them with a reference of some kind first. Luckily, I have access to a lot of fantastic resources but I think I’ve been wasting a lot of time double checking what I already know. It is beneficial though because if I have to talk to a doctor at least I can reference to resource during the conversation.

Another thing I’ve learned is to be very thorough ALL. THE. TIME. This is usually something I excel at in my everyday life because I tend to be an extremely detail oriented person. There have been two instances now where I was too rushed at the end of the day and ended up looking over something extremely important. The first time, someone else had to deal with it after I overlooked it. The second time, which was yesterday, I ended up having to stay an hour late and deal with my mistake. Let’s just say I will always be double and triple checking that everything is done before I leave from now on!

I’ve also learned a lot about myself too. I am actually a really shy person when I’m in an environment where I don’t know a lot of people. It’s taken me a long time to get comfortable calling doctors, talking to nurses, and feeling comfortable sitting at the nurses stations and charting. I’ve really been trying to interact with more people and I’m slowly building a group of acquaintances in different disciplines.

Overall, the first 3 months have been great. The team of dietitians is amazing and so supportive. I know I always have people to turn to if I need help and I love that. I also had my first intern last week and it was such a surreal experience to be precepting when I just finished the internship myself a few months ago! I’m going to find out if I can take the preceptor class that the hospital offers next month so that I’ll be better prepared to be a preceptor. I’m only precepting a few times a month, but I want to make sure I’m having a positive impact on the interns.

I’m excited to see how much I’m going to grow in the next 3 months!

Uncategorized

WIAW: Being Vegetarian

So I’ve been doing this partial vegetarian thing for a while now and it’s getting easier and easier to make vegetarian choices instead of meat. I think the one thing that I’m learning is that if you want to adapt a new diet of any kind it’s important to start slow. I tell this to patients all the time when I’m giving them education about a diet appropriate for diabetes or heart disease, but I seemed to completely overlook it myself while trying to be vegetarian.

I didn’t really eat much meat to start with but I found myself wanting to eat less of it. Initially, it was hard because I was trying to just completely cut it out altogether and obviously that didn’t work that well. One of the biggest challenges for me has been making substitutions for meat that are providing me with enough protein.

I’ve heard before that the average American consumes more than the recommended amount of protein so it shouldn’t be as much of a concern…but then I’ve also read lately that maybe our recommendations are providing enough protein. Honestly, I don’t really know which is true. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out in the future that our recommendations are incorrect in someway just because nutrition is ALWAYS changing.

One thing I’ve really tried to focus on is making sure I have a satisfying breakfast that will hold me over until mid morning when I like to have a snack.

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Over the weekend I made some crock pot pumpkin oatmeal that I’ve been eating for breakfast this week. I used steel cut oats which are nice and chewy and threw some chia seeds in too which thickened the oats and add some healthy omega 3 fatty acids. I’ve been topping my oatmeal which cashew butter, coconut butter, and pumpkin butter. I’ve found that if I get some whole grains and nut butter in the morning that it keeps me full until my morning snack.

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For snack I had my favorite yogurt. I like Greek yogurt because it has some extra protein in it. Lately I’ve been having some problems tolerating yogurt so I’m thinking I might trade my yogurt out for 2 hard boiled eggs, which has the same amount of protein. I also don’t always feel like a sweet snack so something savory would be nice.

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For lunch I had a burrito the size of a baby from the cafeteria. I debated not getting a tortilla and I basically ended up digging the insides out of the last half anyways because I didn’t want the entire tortilla. Instead of meat I just got rice and beans and all the fixings, cheese, jalapenos, salsa, guacamole, olives…so good!

This baby held me over for quite a while! I was actually at work a lot later than I usually am so when I left at 4:30 I was hungry for a snack before the gym. I didn’t really think it through and only brought an apple and crackers for a snack. No protein at all. Luckily, I still wasn’t super hungry so I wasn’t starving at the gym. I forgot to take a picture because it was raining on my way home so it wasn’t safe anyways.

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When I got home from the gym I wasn’t starving so I just threw together a skillet meal of sun dried tomatoes, a couple handfuls of spinach, half a can of white kidney beans, and some parm. It was good! I’ve been trying to get myself to eat larger volumes of vegetables at dinner to fill me up more but today just wasn’t a good day to do that. As long as I make sure there is a protein source in my dinner, like beans, I’m usually not starving later.

As soon as I publish this I’m going to have a little bit of pumpkin ice cream with some milk and chocolate chips, yum! Gotta have a little sweet treat to end the day 🙂