Eating like a dietitian

Stopped at Kroger today on my way home from work. My shopping bag was filled with:

  1. Clementines – on sale, I hope this was a good batch!
  2. Broccoli – also on sale. my garden’s broccoli have gone to seed, I guess it’s too hot to grow them now??
  3. Zucchini – in a few months I’ll have homegrown, organic zucchini coming out of my ears, but for now I pay $1/lb for Kroger’s version and plan to create mock “crab” cakes and delicious muffins
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  4. Mushrooms – I buy the “baby bella” type for maximum flavor; these guys will be featured in tonight’s dinner!
  5. Biscoff spread – I almost wish I never discovered this jar of deliciousness. Definitely my “whoa” purchase of the day
  6. Clif Mojo bars – I pick up a few of these when they’re on sale. Unlike granola bars, I find that these guys actually fill me up – thanks to the healthy nuts, dried fruits, and maybe some chocolate… :)
  7. Special K cereal – this is the chocolate variety. I know, I am a chocolate-addict. But it’s better than a candy bar, and a nice crunchy snack!
  8. All Bran wheat flakes – to mix in with the above cereal and boost the fiber and nutrient profile

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I spent most of my after-work hours in the kitchen today, working on 2 wonderful recipes. Both of these feature super ingredient combinations!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
mmmmmm. My sister has a recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies that are to die for (quite literally) because they are filled with oil and sugar.
This recipe I found is lower on the oil and sugar side, and still tastes delicious. Since I still have a few cans of pumpkin in the pantry, I figured it would be wise to start using them up before the move.

Julia Child’s Leek and Mushroom Quiche
I cheated, sorry Julia. Pillsbury’s frozen pie crust was used for tonight’s dinner, as I was too stressed and frantic to make the dough from scratch. But I have done it before!
The leeks in the quiche were from the garden – we have tons of them that pop up without having ever been planted. Delicious!
Cheat #2 – 1% milk was used in place of heavy cream. I just can’t do it Julia. My arteries harden at the thought.
My Martha Stewart baby yellow dutch oven is the star of the show to make this quiche and cook down the leeks & mushrooms until they caramelize. mmmm
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And now this dietitian is going to sit down and watch House, while trying to figure out how to pay for graduate school, which suddenly became a year longer than I was initially planning for! :(

Comments on the day

Massage

Was pure bliss. Loved it. It’s located in a resort here, nestled among the smoky mountains. We should rent a cabin there. Oh wait, there’s this whole house in the mountains I live in. haha. Back to the massage – I left feeling so refreshed and relaxed! But I do feel like my morning shower was wasted, since I left with greasy stringy hair thanks to the massage oil. Other than that, it was great.

Garage Sales

Must have stopped at a dozen garage sales on my way to/from the spa. I swear, people must be getting desperate, selling their underwear and half-empty bottles of shampoo/lotion. Come on people! Where is your vintage Pyrex!?

Oh, here it is :)

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I found this set of 4 Pyrex cups in the “Harvest Home” pattern, which was only made during 1981-1983 (older than me = vintage). They also came with the matching Corelle bread plates, and for $2 I couldn’t pass it up. Plus, the money went to a Martial Arts academy, and I have to support mountain children learning to defend themselves, right?

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Perfect for fall! And yes, I am using my Autumn Harvest 403 mixing bowl as a centerpiece, filled up with Harmo’s handpicked pine cones from the driveway. We’re very Martha-Stewart-like here.

College Football

Today was the infamous Georgia/Tennessee game. I have gone several years in the past, both in Athens, and in Knoxville. I always cheer for Georgia and I always wear my red and black. Today I chose a muted red shirt, so I didn’t scream “egg my car!” to the locals. Several of the garage sales I attended had the radio tuned in to the game, and when I heard the score, a smile crept on my face. Go dawgs!

Harmo’s Car Therapy

Harmo is now sporting a fancy schmancy car harness. Makes her look even more like a St. Bernard, out to search for human remains on a snowy mountain. haha.

She likes it just fine, and we took it for a 15 minute spin this afternoon. I can’t tell that the harness did anything; she wasn’t really restricted anymore than usual (can still try to force herself onto my lap while I’m driving). But I do think she’s getting better in the car. This time she just laid down,  with her head in my lap. Not bad. Can we extrapolate her behavior for a 15 minute ride to a 12 hour ride? Hmm… that’s a good question for Sheldon:

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Today’s cooking:

Made delicious potato soup for dinner. Chatting online with The Boy during cooking has left potato starch on my keyboard. Darn.

Dessert will be a warm pumpkin scone with cinnamon glaze and a glass of pseudo 2% milk. Impressed? I found the recipe here, had all the ingredients waiting for me in the pantry (I used canned butternut, which is apparently what canned pumpkin often is anyway!), and decided to go for it. They are now resting, on my redneck cooling rack (= upside down muffin tin) while I finish this and the dogs watch the last few minutes of “Never Been Kissed”. Yes, they like Drew Barrymore. 

Time to get glazin’ — Good night!

Harmo Houdini

So far, I’ve had 3 days of work since my parents left, leaving Sheff and Harmony on their own all day.

Day 1 – I rushed straight home from work. Harmo was in the crate, all is good in the world.

Day 2 – Harmo was waiting at the garage door for me. wait! How did Harmo get out of the crate?? I assumed that I didn’t latch the crate door properly.

Day 3 – Harmo again greeted me at the garage door. I had paid special attention this morning to make sure I latched the door firmly shut when I crated her.

Conclusion = Harmony can open the crate door. The only good news to come from this is that she didn’t get into any trouble while free – nothing had been knocked over, chewed, peed on, or messed with. So I guess that lets me know that I can leave her loose. But she’s been here a month today, and has been crated numerous times (although for shorter spans of time) and never busted out before. Maybe she’s been working on this trick the whole time, and yesterday finally pulled it off. Oh Harmo… what will we do with you??

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Tonight’s Homegrown Dinner: Spaghetti Squash

Yes, tonight I’m having the spaghetti squash casserole that I shared with you earlier. And yes, I did use a pyrex mixing bowl :)

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Not Eating Out in East Tennessee

If you remember my recent post about my latest reads, you’ll know that I just read Cathy Erway’s book “The Art of Eating In”, based on her successful blog “Not Eating Out in New York”.

It was a great read. I’m not about to go on any restaurant-fast anytime soon, but as someone who eats out minimally (only weekends IF I’m travelling or spending time with friends, but at the farm it’s home cooked meals 24/7!), it reaffirmed my decision to eat in.

  • You save money. If I’m not eating out, I can easily go for a couple weeks eating my way through my pantry, and only having to buy perishables. I use coupons and stock up on things when they’re on sale, so my grocery budget is usually pretty low. Plus, it helps when you work for the foodservice department of a hospital and get free leftover meals at work :)
  • You use less trash.  Prime example: today after work I went through the Sonic drive-through for a $1 vanilla cone. Along with the cone I got a stack of 8 napkins. Really? I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have used all 8 napkins if I tried. Now, this argument is mainly for take-out, drive-through type restaurant eating. But, you could also say that there is a lot of waste at your normal sit-down restaurant meals, since no one can really eat the monstrous portions anymore.
  • You eat healthier. Ditto about the monstrous portions. When I cook dinner, I make a normal serving. I measure/weigh ingredients. I don’t deep fry anything, use cream sauces, or smother things in cheese. I find the “ignorance is bliss” idea works a little too well at restaurants – I seem to be able to more easily order a “heart attack on a plate” –type meal at a restaurant because I don’t have to see how it’s prepared.
  • You learn new skills.  Did I mention that after reading the book I finally conquered the no-knead bread recipe that I’ve been drooling over for years? For my first attempt, I made an awesome bakery-quality loaf of bread (and devoured it in less than 36 hours…)

Tonight’s home-cooked dinner was nothing special – more like eating up leftovers, with some sliced cheddar and triscuits.

Tomorrow I’m trying a new cookie recipe from Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” that features one of my ever-abundant garden vegetables :) Hopefully it’ll be a hit with my new friends at game night!

New Uses for Squash

No need to remind any of you that I’m being overrun with squash this summer – both the straight neck, heirloom yellow squash, and the zucchini that I planted a few months ago.

This week I decided to tackle pizza as my next use for squash. I present to you the results.

Squash Pizza #1

This was a more traditional type of pizza, using thinly sliced yellow squash as a topping. If any of my tomatoes decide to turn red, they would’ve been used too, but alas I had to turn to a Kroger tomato.

Started with a whole-wheat Boboli pizza crust.

Add sliced tomatoes, sliced squash, and fresh basil and oregano from your garden

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Not bad! If I were to make this again, I’d probably use sauce instead of just the tomato slices. The whole wheat crust makes it seem dry as it is, so sauce is a must. But not bad!

Zucchini “Pizza”

This is a recipe that sounds like a dietitian’s dream, and yet it was recommended to me by one of the staff from my hospital’s kitchen, so I felt it must be good.

Basically, you use grated zucchini as the crust for the pizza! An awesome use for one of the monstrous zucchinis I’ve been pulling out of my garden.

See the size selection I have to choose from? haha

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Crust recipe:

  • 3 cups grated zucchini (pressed, drained, squeezed, whatever you like to get out the excess water)
  • 1/2 cup flour (I used whole wheat, of course)
  • 3 eggs

Press crust mixture into 9×13 casserole dish, bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes until dry/firm/crusty.

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Then, add whatever toppings you like and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. I chose broccoli (my favorite pizza topping!), herbs, and cheeses.  Voila!

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So, there are some pizza recipes for you to drool over. Today I’m baking batches of zucchini muffins to snacks, because surprise surprise there are more zucchini out there in the garden!! :)

Today’s creations

A creative day – both in nutrition and needlework

(haha, I know I’ve been killin’ it with the recent alliterations. They’re too much fun!)

E is for Embroidery

I took my newly purchased embroidery supplies to work today, and practiced some of the basic stitches today at work while patients were in group therapy. I’ve enjoyed the beginning stitching tutorials from sublime stitching, peptogirl, and early bird special. Thanks guys – saves me from having to buy a book!

This afternoon I decided to try out an actual design – copying a free pattern of a cupcake (what else do you expect from me?) from peptogirl. After having some difficulties threading needles (it’s been a long time) and getting the right number of strands figured out (6 works better than 8), I ended up with this!

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Close up:

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Not bad for my first project! And really didn’t take more than 20 minutes – part of which were spent out on the hammock with the border collie (dangerous, I know), while the rest were inside on the couch while watching last night’s Big Bang Theory (love that show!)

S is for Super Salad

Another project based on a purchase from this weekend in Nashville :)

While in Whole Foods (to buy my squash seeds) I picked up the whole-wheat naan that I love so dearly.

image I used it tonight in a flatbread cobb salad that I haven’t made for at least a year. I discovered the recipe from tastespotting (I think) when I was living in Nashville – and loved the salad! For a vegetarian, a lot of people are surprised at my lack of salad-eating, but I’d honestly rather have my vegetables cooked than raw.

This salad looked something like this:

Toppings:

  • 1 roma tomato, chopped
  • 1 hard-cooked egg, chopped
  • 1/4 avocado, chopped
  • couple handfuls of mixed salad greens
  • tossed with 2 tsp of honey mustard dressing

All those delicious toppings are mixed in a bowl, and then plopped on a toasted naan (who had a little EVOO and italian seasonings on before going in the toaster oven).

Soooo good! Nice mix of food groups, carbs, fat and protein.

If only all salads tasted like this….

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Meatless Monday

I talked to my best friend this weekend about trying out Meatless Monday – a simple idea to just choose vegetarian meals one day a week.

My meatless meals today?

Breakfast: fried egg and provolone sandwich

Lunch: Almond and pumpkin butter sandwich with a banana and birthday cake :)

Dinner: homemade falafel with tzaziki sauce!

I was really excited about having falafel tonight, after my sister gave rave reviews to the Near East boxed mix. Unfortunately, my local Kroger didn’t carry it, so I resorted to tastespotting.com to peruse falafel recipes and ended up with this:

  • 1 medium onion, 2 cloves garlic, big handful of parsley –> food processor
  • add 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed. pulse until mixed (but not pureed)
  • pour into mixing bowl
  • add 1/3 cup breadcrumbs, 1 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp salt, pepper, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1/4 tsp oregano, 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • put in fridge to firm up, 15-30 minutes
  • heat oven to 400 degrees
  • shape falafel into patties (I got 9), dredging in flour/breadcrumb mix
  • bake 20 minutes, turning over halfway through
  • serve with pita, tzaziki sauce and enjoy!

How Young Did you Turn?

Everyone at work today wished me a belated birthday and brought me a chocolate birthday cake. It was very good, and I took half of it home with me. I just hope I can make it last! Maybe I can freeze a couple slices.

Everyone seemed so amazed that I was only 24. I know, I know, I look and act much older. It was fun hearing stories from my coworkers about how they used to be the youngest at work, and now that job falls on my shoulders :)

And the cold weather returns…

Today was still a lovely day in the 50s, but it’s the last of this burst of spring weather. I took the opportunity to vacuum and clean out my car. Unfortunately, my mini shop-vac cannot such up dog hair very well, so the backseat of my car (and surrounding area) is still a war zone. How can I get all the dog hair out?!? I can just see myself out there, with my sticky roller brush, rubbing it allover my car’s interior. hahaha