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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Phocus on physical phitness

From the time I was about 15 years old I’ve had various gym memberships. I’ve been fairly faithful with going too. Even in college- that elliptical machine was my jam. A leisurely hour at the gym was the norm.

Now days it’s a different story. I may have 20 minutes either at the gym or at home to cram in my strength training and cardio. Fortunately technology helps me out here as there are some super helpful FREE workout apps and videos.

Here are some of my go-to’s for workouts:

-MapMyRun app/ GPS trackers (is that what they’re even called?) like Garmins are super popular amongst runners, so I feel pretty low tech with using this app, but hey it works. My husband and I use it- and the corresponding website- to map out our potential runs so we can determine distance. When you’re out on your run, the app keeps track of that distance and your time. According to my husband’s MapMyRun, our half marathon the other weekend ended up being 13.5 miles. Eek. Should’ve taken those corners a little tighter, huh? This app doesn’t have to be for running- use it for walking too when you want to track your distance!

-Nike Training Club app. This is the mother load of workout options. Top level athletes create workouts of various intensity and duration and the app shows you visually how to do each exercise. Last week I tried to do a 5 minute just-using-your-own-body-for-resistance workout and I literally only made it 2 minutes in. It. Kicked. My. Butt. Burpees! Why are they so easy when you’re 8 years old, and the worst thing ever when you’re an adult?

-YouTube! I feel like a bit of a chump because I used to buy brand new exercise DVDs (and uhh I might have a few dusty VHS tapes laying around). If you do a search on YouTube, there are MILLIONS of workouts- from beginning yoga to 10 minute core to full body workouts. You can find free Jillian Michaels videos and my fave- Jackie Warner.

What are some of YOUR favorite apps and sources for keeping physical activity feeling fresh and challenging?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

A beast among mothers

YOU GUYS. This past weekend it felt like full-on summer. 80 degrees! Sun! Pool! Thinking-I-should-turn-on-the-dang-air-conditioner-but-sweating-it-out-instead!

I’m feeling like a beast among women for all the stuff I tackled. Our weekend started off with running the Maple Grove Half Marathon. Beautiful course, but holy hills. My mantra for the 13.1 miles became “I EAT HILLS FOR BREAKFAST!”

Whatever works, I tell ya.

Then the rest of Saturday and essentially all day Sunday was spent in the yard digging up our landscaping. The goal is to eventually get a fence and instead of having unkempt rose bushes, have unkempt raspberry bushes. Undigging roots and ripping them up is a bear of a task and I’m proud of everything I accomplished (ok, with some help from the husband).

Our reward was a tasty meal of grilled pizza while the kiddos played in the pool.

Grilled pizza is one of those things that seems intimidating, especially the dough. Anything that involves yeast makes me nervous. Do I have to knead for exactly five minutes? How do I know if I’m kneading hard enough? WHAT IF IT DOESN’T RISE?

Here’s what’s become my foolproof recipe. I let the Kitchen Aid dough hook do the work, but you could also easily make this by hand.

Pizza Dough
3 ½ cups flour (I like a combo of half bread flour, half whole wheat flour. Bread flour yields a crispier crust, but I like to add the whole grain component of whole wheat flour as well)
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 envelope (1 ¼ tsp) instant dry yeast/active dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1 ½ cups water, 110 degrees F
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon

Measure out your hot water using a Pyrex. I just let my faucet water run hot, then add it- using an instant thermometer lets me gauge when it gets close to 110. Then I stir in the sugar, then sprinkle the yeast on top and let sit for five minutes.

Meanwhile in a large bowl, stir together flour and salt. If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, use that. If not, a wooden spoon and muscle power will be fine. After yeast-water has sat for the five minutes, stir it in to the flour along with the olive oil.

Stir until well combined and it’s formed a sticky doughy ball. At this point you could wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to a week. When you’re ready, resume with below.

In a separate large bowl, smear remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil. We don’t want the dough to stick to the bowl as it rises. Place the dough in the oiled bowl and turn around until it’s nicely coated with the oil. Cover the top tightly with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place to rise, at least an hour. Hint- it was a warm day in our kitchen to mine was pretty well risen after just 45 min. In winter months I’ll turn my oven to 200 degrees for a few minutes, then turn off, and put the dough in the warmed oven to rise.

Dough is ready once it’s doubled in size. Spread some extra flour on your countertop. Cut dough in half. Roll out each half using a rolling pin- I tried to get mine as thin as possible, but go for whatever thickness you like. You can go circle-ish or rectangle-ish. Because our pizza was going on the grill, I spread some cornmeal on our baking sheets so we could easily slide the pizzas from the pan onto the grill. If you’re baking in the oven, you could omit the cornmeal.

Top with sauce and your favorite cheese and toppings combo. I love fresh grated mozzarella and fontina. Get creative with it.

Looking forward to seeing more of you real soon, summer. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

A day in my life


A lot of times when I’m working with patients I’ll get asked “So what do you do?”

People get curious about how a dietitian aims to balance a healthy lifestyle with, well, real life.

Here’s a typical day in pictures.

Wake up at 5:15 for morning training run. My husband and I are doing a half marathon this weekend and we’ve been training for 12 weeks now. Woof. Nothing like paying a $75 entrance fee to get you motivated to stick with something.

Home by 6 to shower, get ready, and sneak in lunch packing and some dinner prep. My go-to breakfast is a fistful of whole grain cereal and a spoonful of natural peanut (ie no sugar added) peanut butter. Mid morning I’ll have my whey protein shake. I’m currently using BiPro unflavored along with Great Lake gelatin.

Get the kids in the car and we’re on our way to daycare then work.

Morning clinic starts at 8:30. I usually settle in and check emails and drink my tea.

Lunch break is an hour, which is fantastic- enough time to sneak in a quick strength training session at the gym we have on campus. I usually don’t bother changing my clothes unless I wore a skirt. The older I get, the less I care what other people might think!

Most of the time I'll have dinner leftovers for my lunch. If I didn't budget for an extra portion, then I'll hit the hospital cafeteria (I am VERY spoiled to have this as an option) for salad bar. After a quick chow-down, it's time for afternoon clinic. I counsel up to 12 patients per day. 

I pick up the boys and I’m home by 5:30

Tonight’s dinner is one of my faves- zoodles with roasted veggies and avocado-cilantro cream sauce, which I neglected to take a picture. Check out the old post though. 

After dinner we will go play outside. By that I mean the boys will play, and I’ll try to sneak in some yard work.

Bed by 8pm, then my husband and I crash not long after that!

Sleep annnnnnnnnnd repeat!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

One recipe among millions

I find it kind of obnoxious when you come across a recipe that promises IT’S THE BESSSSSST EVERRRRRR of anything.

Like do a Google search for “Best Ever Brownies.”

You get 4,670,000 hits.


I mean that’d be a heck of a job to be the person who gets to verify ever stinkin’ recipe to narrow down who actually has the best ever brownies.

Maybe I like a fudgy brownie and you happen to like one that’s more cakey. To each their own!

And really, why am I talking about brownies anyway when we have TURKEY BURGERS to be talkin bout.


But not sorry, ‘cause these are BESSSSSSST EVERRRRRRR Turkey Burgers. I can’t not.

Please please please grill these rather than bake or pan fry. I mean you could, I would never judge, but if you’re gonna make these, then make the A+ version. They’re so easy to throw together and don’t take long on the grill at all. The burger plus the toppings together knock it out of the park.

Best Ever Turkey Burgers
-1 lb lean ground turkey
-1/4 cup steel cut (or regular cut) oatmeal, dry
-1 egg
-2 teaspoons dried parsley
-1 teaspoon ground black pepper
-1/2 teaspoon onion powder
-Assorted toppings (I used olive oil mayo, alfalfa sprouts, avocado, sliced tomato, and white cheddar cheese)
-whole wheat round thin buns (6)

Preheat grill to medium heat. Too hot of a grill will dry out the burgers. I trialed adding oats because I’ve found turkey burgers can easily get dense and dry. The oats help retain moisture, and they end up blending in with the meat. Trust me- no weird taste going on here.

Combine turkey, oats, egg, and seasonings in a bowl. Using a patty maker, or your hands, form into six patties roughly 1” thick. Grill for 3-5 minutes. Flip, and grill for an additional 5 minutes. Make sure internal temp registers 160 or higher (tip- insert thermometer horizontally through the burger to ensure you’re really hitting the true center of the burger).

Top with cheese for last minute on the grill to allow it to melt.

Per burger patty: 137 calories, 4.5 g carbs, 7 g fat, 15 g protein

If served like how I had mine: 350 calories

Now officially this joins the 1,760,000 other Best Ever Turkey Burgers floating around the internet.

You’re still thinking about brownies though, aren’t you?

Thursday, April 27, 2017


Fun fact: I planted what felt-like-at-the-time 187 bulbs in my back garden last year.

Fun fact: Like 2% have popped up. Sure I could keep them in the backyard where the only one who'd ever see them would be the dog when she goes outside to do her biz, orrrrrr, I could bring them into the house where I can truly enjoy them.


Fun fact: I roasted some chicken thighs the other night and made an awesomely easy chicken salad! Now we’re talking, right?

Roasted Chicken Salad
-8 chicken thighs, ok to have skin-on, bone-in
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon ground black pepper
-1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
-1 cup lowfat olive oil mayonnaise
-1/3-1/2 cup chopped green onions (vary the amount based on your taste preference)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

On a large rimmed baking sheet, drizzle olive oil over thighs and sprinkle seasoning. Bake for 20 minutes. Flip over each piece. Bake for an additional 20 minutes- take internal temperature. Once temperature registers at least 165, chicken is done. Remove from oven and let cool.

Once cool, use a serrated knife to cut off the meat. Discard the skins and bones. Dice up the cooked chicken and add to a medium bowl. Stir in mayo and green onions. Cover with plastic wrap and let refrigerate for at least 2 hours. I made this 24 hours in advance- the flavors really were well blended.

I used this to make wraps- I’m a fan of Joseph’s brand pita and lavash breads. It’s a softer texture than a tortilla while still keeping carb content under wraps. Get it?? Under wraps?


I fixed mine with some tomato slices, fresh spinach, and bean sprouts. Yum yum yum yum. Makes a big ol’ wrap that’s still only 380 calories. The chicken salad recipe makes roughly 4 cups of chicken salad. You could add wild rice, chopped walnuts, cut up grapes, slivered almonds, tomatoes- really whatever you’d like. It’s a easy base that’s also great on its own.

That chi-chi-chi-chi-CHICKEN is definitely not going to be stuck in your head all day.

Chi-chi-chi- OK I’M DONE.

Saturday, April 22, 2017


The sun is shining. 

The flowers are blooming.  

The deer have yet to eat my tulips.

All is well.

I still have a lemon in the fridge from Arizona, and since asparagus is the quintessential springtime vegetable (so says me), I wanted to make a dinner that paired them both together.

And was also easy.

And partially from a box. Yep.

Lemon Asparagus & Pea Risotto
-2 boxes risotto (I used Priano from Aldi)
-1 lb fresh asparagus, rinsed, with 1” from bottom stems trimmed. I cut mine into 1” pieces.
-2 cups frozen peas
-1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
-1 tablespoon grated lemon
-1 tablespoon lemon juice
-1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
-1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
-1 package chicken sausage, sliced (mine were spinach feta flavor)- could omit if desired

Cook risotto according to package instructions. When there’s about 10 minutes left for it to cook, add the asparagus, peas, and garlic. Once risotto is cooked, remove from heat. Stir in lemon, Parmesan, and pepper and chicken sausages. The acid from the lemon will slightly dull the green-ness of the veggies, but the flavor is thumbs up.

Makes 4 generous servings.

Per serving: 415 calories, 70 g carbs, 6 g fat, 19 g protein

Saturday, April 15, 2017


I went out for a foggy rainy jog this morning.

On my morning runs I can't *not* think about what I might be making for breakfast. Seeing as we have carrots at home as well as cream cheese, and tomorrow's Easter, I thought I'd make some carrot cake-inspired pancakes. Thus was born BUNNYCAKES!

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups milk (any kind will work)
1 egg
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large carrots, shredded
1/4 cup finely diced pineapple (fresh or canned)
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
Nonstick cooking spray

Cream Cheese Glaze
4 oz Neufchatel cream cheese, softened
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk

Heat a griddle or pan to medium high heat (350 degrees). Combine all dry ingredients (flour through sugar) in a medium bowl. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together egg, milk, and olive oil. Pour into dry ingredients. Stir in carrots, pineapple, and walnuts just until mixed. Let sit for at least 5 minutes.

Spray griddle or pan with nonstick cooking spray and spoon a small circle, about 3-4 inches, of batter to be the bunny's head. Gently spoon on some batter to be the ears. Make the ears spaced at least an inch because the batter will puff up as they cook. Use a thin spatula to check the bottoms- flip when golden brown.

For cream cheese glaze, beat together all ingredients. Add more milk if the consistency is too thick. Spoon glaze over pancakes.

Makes 6 bunnycakes. Per bunnycake: 250 calories, 33 grams carbs, 9 grams fat, 4.5 grams protein.