Recipes

Amazing Ahi Tuna Salad with Asian Vinaigrette

Usually on Friday nights, Chris & I make pizza. It’s become a Friday-night ritual. Eventually, I’ll make a post about that because we have made so many awesome variations. However, all of the bread and cheese tends to send me straight into a food coma. So last night, I wanted to go for something lighter so that I could stay awake and enjoy my evening. Chris picked up the tuna steaks from Trader Joe’s on his way home from work, and aside from what we already had at home, we got the rest of the ingredients from Publix. We made this salad, had a couple of Leinenkugel’s Harvest Patch shandies and watched Love & Mercy, a movie about Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. 🙂 (The shandy doesn’t so much pair with the salad, but it is perfect for fall and we sipped on them while prepping.) Anyway, this is one of the best salads I have ever made.

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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 lime, juiced (or 1 tbsp. lime juice)
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds Ahi tuna loin, cut in 4 strips
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds
  • ~8 cups greens of your choice (I used Spring Mix)
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fried rice noodles
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1 clementine orange, peeled and sectioned

Directions

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, lime, ginger, mustard and cilantro. Pour in the olive oil and continue to whisk until emulsified. FullSizeRender

Season the tuna fillets with salt and pepper; lightly coat with coconut oil. Put sesame seeds on a plate. Coat top and bottom of each fillet with seeds. Heat a large, dry skillet over medium-high heat. Add fillets; cook 3-5 minutes. Turn; cook until desired doneness. Slice the tuna into 1-inch thick strips.

Spread the greens out on a platter. Add the green onions, rice noodles, almonds, and orange segments. Lay the tuna strips on top then drizzle with the vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

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Serves 2-4. Adapted from this recipe.

Konnichiwa!
– Kacie

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Food, Nutrition, Recipes

The Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

And you’ll never guess what they’re made with…

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Chickpeas!!!

chickpeas

I promise that you would think these cookies are divine, even if you didn’t know that they are vegan or that they’re made with chickpeas.

My friend who makes a lot of vegan/vegetarian recipes made these and brought them into work one day and I told her she had to give me the recipe. (The recipe is by Registered Dietitian Cristina Cavanaugh.) I don’t have much of a sweet tooth and I’m not easily impressed, so trust me… you will love them! They are also so, so easy to prepare.

Ingredients

  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas (or 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas)
  • ½ cup all natural creamy peanut butter
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup vegan mini chocolate chips

Note: These are the chocolate chips I used by Enjoy Life, and they are great.
Enjoy-Life-Mini-Chocolate-Chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside. (Funny side note: I once used wax paper to make cookies, thinking it was the same thing as parchment paper… Don’t ever do that.)
  2. Add all ingredients except for the chocolate chips into a food processor. Blend for a few minutes or until well combined. Cookie dough should be smooth and creamy.
  3. Transfer cookie dough to a bowl and fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Use a tablespoon and scoop dough into balls and drop onto cookie sheet evenly spaced.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

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Nutrition Information

This recipe makes ~22-24 cookies.

Serving size: 1 cookie
Calories: 95
Fat: 5 g
Carbohydrates: 11 g
Sugar: 5.5 g
Protein: 3 g

If you’d like to know a little more chickpea nutrition, read further.

Otherwise, enjoy the cookies! <3

Chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) contain a wealth of phytonutrients – all of which function as antioxidants, and many also function as anti-inflammatory nutrients. One cup of chickpeas contains about 12.5 grams of fiber, which is half your daily value! They are also a good source of protein, folate, iron and zinc.

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There is quite a bit of scientific research showing the health benefits of garbanzos, and new research suggests that the fiber benefits of garbanzo beans may exceed the fiber benefits of other foods. Participants from the “garbanzo bean group” in one study showed better blood fat regulation – including lower levels of LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides – than those who consumed the same amount of fiber from other food sources. In other words, garbanzo beans are a definite heart-healthy food! They may also help lower your risk of colon cancer and other colon problems, due to the short chain fatty acids that come from the insoluble fiber in garbanzos (read more here). Another study shows that only one-third cup of chickpeas per day is needed to provide blood-sugar related health benefits.

I like them in my salad! However, these chickpea chocolate chip cookies are a great treat for the weekend. 🙂

– Kacie

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Food, Health, Nutrition, Uncategorized

Two New Tries for Me: Maca + Dates!

A couple months ago, I was on the hunt for a really good plant-based protein powder and noticed that “maca root” was used in one of the powders I was interested in. Maca, also known as “Peruvian Ginseng,” is an adaptogen, said to balance the hormones (something my adrenals could certainly use!). Maca is a root vegetable and relative of the radish – but it is the root part of the plant that is commonly used for its health and nutritional benefits. I looked into it further to see if this is something I might like to add to my daily nutrition arsenal. 😉

So what’s an adaptogen? It is “a natural substance considered to help the body adapt to stress and to exert a normalizing effect upon bodily processes.” Several studies indicate that adaptogens can not only help to normalize the body and enable energy to be used more productively in times of stress, but can also enhance general health and performance.

I read that “the warriors of the Incan Empire were prescribed maca in preparation for battles. Outside of wartime, however, warriors were banned from consuming maca due to its ability to increase libido, and the consumption of it was restricted to use by only those in the royal court. Not surprisingly, the Spaniards did not ban this food upon conquering the Incas… once they became aware of its value, they collected maca roots as tribute from the Incas for export to Spain.” I can’t possibly know if that’s true, but it’s interesting!

Benefits of maca may include the following:

  • It increases energy, stamina and strength
  • Enhances mental performance
  • Boosts libido
  • Balances hormones
    • This, in turn, may alleviate symptoms related to anxiety, stress and depression
  • Contains B vitamins, C and E + calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and amino acids

Scientific evidence on the effectiveness of maca is somewhat limited. There are a few randomized control studies showing some benefit, but – as with most things – researchers are still working on it. I like to try things and see what works best for me. I do what makes me feel good, and I encourage others to do the same. When you are consuming foods that are right for your body (and you are adequately hydrated), you should feel light, energized, and clear-minded – never heavy, tired, mentally foggy, or bloated.

I researched a few different maca products and purchased this organic maca powder from Viva Labs (it can be found on Amazon):

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I’ve been blending 1 tsp. a day into my smoothies.

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This one is 8 oz. unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1 c. frozen organic blueberries, 1 tbsp. almond butter, 1 tsp. maca powder, and 1 date! I also had scrambled eggs with spinach, and that was my breakfast!

Speaking of dates… I am obsessed! I had heard of dates being used in various healthy recipes – they work as a natural sweetener – but had never purchased them because they are usually really expensive. We were just at Earth Fare yesterday, and they were $17 (that’s for 2 pounds). But I found them at Costco a few weeks ago for $9, so I decided to give them a try… and they are delicious!

FullSizeRender(1)

I expected that they would be sticky – I guess because I equated them with prunes – but they’re not at all. They are soft… chewy… almost kind of caramel-y. Just don’t eat the pit! I swear that you can eat one or two and it is a completely satisfying dessert, if you’re one with a sweet tooth.

Not only that, but they are nutritious. I just read a PubMed article titled, “The fruit of the date palm: its possible use as the best food for the future?” How cool is that!? It says that dates may be considered as an almost ideal food, providing a wide range of essential nutrients and potential health benefits.

  • Dates contain 14 types of fatty acids and at least 15 minerals, including potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc
  • Selenium, another element believed to help prevent cancer and important in immune function, is also found in dates
  • The protein in dates contains 23 types of amino acids, some of which are not present in the most popular fruits such as oranges, apples and bananas
  • They contain at least six vitamins including a small amount of vitamin C, and vitamins B(1) thiamine, B(2) riboflavin, nicotinic acid (niacin) and vitamin A
  • The dietary fiber of 14 varieties of dates has been shown to be as high as 6.4-11.5% depending on variety and degree of ripeness

So eat your dates! 😉

To trying new things,
Kacie

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Food, Health, Nutrition, Uncategorized

Two New Tries for Me: Maca + Dates!

A couple months ago, I was on the hunt for a really good plant-based protein powder and noticed that “maca root” was used in one of the powders I was interested in. Maca, also known as “Peruvian Ginseng,” is an adaptogen, said to balance the hormones (something my adrenals could certainly use!). Maca is a root vegetable and relative of the radish – but it is the root part of the plant that is commonly used for its health and nutritional benefits. I looked into it further to see if this is something I might like to add to my daily nutrition arsenal. 😉

So what’s an adaptogen? It is “a natural substance considered to help the body adapt to stress and to exert a normalizing effect upon bodily processes.” Several studies indicate that adaptogens can not only help to normalize the body and enable energy to be used more productively in times of stress, but can also enhance general health and performance.

I read that “the warriors of the Incan Empire were prescribed maca in preparation for battles. Outside of wartime, however, warriors were banned from consuming maca due to its ability to increase libido, and the consumption of it was restricted to use by only those in the royal court. Not surprisingly, the Spaniards did not ban this food upon conquering the Incas… once they became aware of its value, they collected maca roots as tribute from the Incas for export to Spain.” I can’t possibly know if that’s true, but it’s interesting!

Benefits of maca may include the following:

  • It increases energy, stamina and strength
  • Enhances mental performance
  • Boosts libido
  • Balances hormones
    • This, in turn, may alleviate symptoms related to anxiety, stress and depression
  • Contains B vitamins, C and E + calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and amino acids

Scientific evidence on the effectiveness of maca is somewhat limited. There are a few randomized control studies showing some benefit, but – as with most things – researchers are still working on it. I like to try things and see what works best for me. I do what makes me feel good, and I encourage others to do the same. When you are consuming foods that are right for your body (and you are adequately hydrated), you should feel light, energized, and clear-minded – never heavy, tired, mentally foggy, or bloated.

I researched a few different maca products and purchased this organic maca powder from Viva Labs (it can be found on Amazon):

IMG_5829

I’ve been blending 1 tsp. a day into my smoothies.

IMG_5818

This one is 8 oz. unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1 c. frozen organic blueberries, 1 tbsp. almond butter, 1 tsp. maca powder, and 1 date! I also had scrambled eggs with spinach, and that was my breakfast!

Speaking of dates… I am obsessed! I had heard of dates being used in various healthy recipes – they work as a natural sweetener – but had never purchased them because they are usually really expensive. We were just at Earth Fare yesterday, and they were $17 (that’s for 2 pounds). But I found them at Costco a few weeks ago for $9, so I decided to give them a try… and they are delicious!

FullSizeRender(1)

I expected that they would be sticky – I guess because I equated them with prunes – but they’re not at all. They are soft… chewy… almost kind of caramel-y. Just don’t eat the pit! I swear that you can eat one or two and it is a completely satisfying dessert, if you’re one with a sweet tooth.

Not only that, but they are nutritious. I just read a PubMed article titled, “The fruit of the date palm: its possible use as the best food for the future?” How cool is that!? It says that dates may be considered as an almost ideal food, providing a wide range of essential nutrients and potential health benefits.

  • Dates contain 14 types of fatty acids and at least 15 minerals, including potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc
  • Selenium, another element believed to help prevent cancer and important in immune function, is also found in dates
  • The protein in dates contains 23 types of amino acids, some of which are not present in the most popular fruits such as oranges, apples and bananas
  • They contain at least six vitamins including a small amount of vitamin C, and vitamins B(1) thiamine, B(2) riboflavin, nicotinic acid (niacin) and vitamin A
  • The dietary fiber of 14 varieties of dates has been shown to be as high as 6.4-11.5% depending on variety and degree of ripeness

So eat your dates! 😉

To trying new things,
Kacie

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Recipes

The Easiest Healthy Pancakes!

IMG_5729ed

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 egg

That’s it!

Just mash the banana in a bowl, then add the egg and whisk together. If you’re feeling fancy, you can add a dash of cinnamon and a little vanilla extract. 😉 In a non-stick skillet (I like to spray with coconut spray oil), cook over medium heat until golden brown and flip. You can make mini pancakes or one large pancake. Top with whatever toppings your little heart desires.

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Here, I’ve used fresh strawberries, blueberries, and coconut flakes with pure maple syrup. These are perfect for 4th of July breakfast or brunch! 😀

These are so easy, healthy and delicious that I made them again the following day and switched it up with pear slices and crushed walnuts. For a little added protein, I also added hemp seeds to the ‘batter.’ I actually liked these even better than the first batch.

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Just have fun and be creative with whatever ingredients you have on hand.

Happy July!
~ Kacie

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Food, Nutrition, Recipes, Uncategorized

Snobby Joes!!!

I had been holding onto this recipe for a while and thought it would be the perfect Memorial Day treat to try. I got the recipe from Andrea Tooley, an M.D. and blogger that I follow. She also does great YouTube videos on study tips, time management, etc., for all my fellow students out there.

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In case you couldn’t guess, they are named Snobby Joes because they are a healthier (and delicious!) alternative to Sloppy Joes. I was never a huge fan of Sloppy Joes as a kid, but Andrea really sold me on this one – plus I love to try different vegetarian burgers and the like. This recipe is so easy and so good. It uses lentils in place of the meat, but trust me – it is satisfying. I love the flavor and it is also very filling.

Just a quick nutrition bit on lentils! Lentils, a type of legume, are low in calories and fat – but because they contain fiber and complex carbohydrates, they are satiating and also provide you with many health benefits such as lowered cholesterol and improved heart and digestive health. Lentils are a wonderful protein source for vegetarians and vegans (or a great plant-based addition for meat eaters!). Additionally, they are a great source of folate, magnesium, and iron.

To give you a better idea, here are the Nutrition Facts for 1 cup of cooked lentils:
Nutrition Facts for Lentils

Okay – now, for the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 cups cooked lentils
  • 2½ tbs chili powder
  • 1 tbs oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 tbs yellow mustard
  • 3 tbs maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Sauté your chopped onion and pepper in the olive oil for 5-7 minutes or until tender.
  2. Add in garlic and continue to sauté 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add in lentils (if you have raw lentils, you will have to cook them first).
  4. Mix in spices and salt. Then add tomato sauce and paste. Cook for about 10 minutes.
  5. Finally, add in the mustard and maple syrup. Once heated through, it’s done!

We decided to add a slice of cheese that we had leftover from the mushroom kale burgers we made the night before (we were on a sandwich kick) – but otherwise, this is a vegan recipe; the cheese is definitely not needed. I loved them so much that two days later, I made them again to take to work with me for lunch. Except this time, I left off the bun and just ate them out of a bowl. Yum!

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Please try this recipe! You will not be disappointed. It makes plenty, and I think that kids would love them too.

Have a lovely Thursday evening!
– Kacie

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Fitness, Uncategorized

Why You’re MORE Sore Two Days After You Exercise

sore-two-days-after-workout

I wanted to share this article because I’m sitting here – still sore – from a leg workout I did three days ago. Granted, I hadn’t worked out this intensely in a couple of weeks. My family was visiting for one week to celebrate graduation, proceeded by a terrible cold I caught from my nephew—sore throat, cough, extremely fatigued… the works (not a coincidence since I was off of my usual healthy regimen!).

So I probably hit it a little too hard after my hiatus, but hey, I was excited. Plus I was trying out my new Polar heart rate watch! 😉 Anyhow, I am always more sore two days following tough workouts, and I wanted to know why. I knew about DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), but I still didn’t understand exactly why I feel more pain two days later (even more so than the day after).

In this article, Jordan Metzl, M.D., and Greg Justice explain why! Jordan is a sports medicine physician and author of The Exercise Cure, and Greg is an exercise physiologist and author of Mind Over Fatter. I found the article in Women’s Health.

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This common and super annoying occurrence is a result of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which generates inflammation in your muscles after a really tough workout—especially if you haven’t worked out in a while, says Metzl. Though your workout is to blame for the inflammation, a healing process called the inflammatory response cascade is what’s really causing your pain 48 hours after your sweat session, he says.

The response is a series of events that happens during a period of four to five days, says Metzl. On day one, your body responds to the injured area by releasing hormones called cytokines. These hormones direct cells to go heal your inflamed muscles. At the same time, prostaglandins, hormones that also affect how cells respond to injury, send blood to the area to heal it. This migration of cells to your tired muscles starts out slowly during the 24 hours after your workout—the healing process hasn’t kicked into high gear yet. However, on dreaded day two, the flood of cells to the area of inflammation, a.k.a. your muscles, reaches it’s peak and continues the healing response, he says. This means you’re going to struggle getting out of bed.

If you’ve heard that lactic acid might have something to do with soreness, here’s the deal on that: “We used to think that lactic acid was to blame for DOMS before we understood cellular biology as much,” says Metzl. Now it’s clear that lactic acid only affects short-term exercise tolerance—or how long you can endure a tough workout—and isn’t a factor in DOMS.

Although any type of tough workout can cause DOMS, eccentric muscle training—which is when you lengthen your muscles while contracting them, like during the downward part of a bicep curl—could create the most. That’s because your workout causes micro-trauma, or tiny tears in your muscle fibers, which your body needs to repair to build muscle, says Justice. Eccentric training causes more micro-tears in your muscles than other kinds of training, he says.

So here’s the good part of your I-can’t-move feeling: It means that you did “a lot of great work and are in the process of building stronger muscles,” says Metzl. To ease the pain and help your muscles recover, keep yourself moving by doing active recovery exercises like biking, yoga, and foam roller moves. Nixing movement altogether can lead to more soreness, he says.

The pain should start to get better after day two or three. If it’s not lessening or if you start to have discolored urine, you should talk to your doctor. It’s possible that you could have rhabdomyolysis, which is basically DOMS gone wild, says Metzl, and is a serious and dangerous condition.

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Oh, P.S. – I did a little myofascial release on myself last night and found out that Milano (our American Bulldog) likes it too. He just laid there and let me roll out his little leg muscles. Haha!

To strong muscles!
<3 Kacie

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Fitness, Uncategorized

Why You’re MORE Sore Two Days After You Exercise

sore-two-days-after-workout

I wanted to share this article because I’m sitting here – still sore – from a leg workout I did three days ago. Granted, I hadn’t worked out this intensely in a couple of weeks. My family was visiting for one week to celebrate graduation, proceeded by a terrible cold I caught from my nephew—sore throat, cough, extremely fatigued… the works (not a coincidence since I was off of my usual healthy regimen!).

So I probably hit it a little too hard after my hiatus, but hey, I was excited. Plus I was trying out my new Polar heart rate watch! 😉 Anyhow, I am always more sore two days following tough workouts, and I wanted to know why. I knew about DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), but I still didn’t understand exactly why I feel more pain two days later (even more so than the day after).

In this article, Jordan Metzl, M.D., and Greg Justice explain why! Jordan is a sports medicine physician and author of The Exercise Cure, and Greg is an exercise physiologist and author of Mind Over Fatter. I found the article in Women’s Health.

decorative line

This common and super annoying occurrence is a result of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which generates inflammation in your muscles after a really tough workout—especially if you haven’t worked out in a while, says Metzl. Though your workout is to blame for the inflammation, a healing process called the inflammatory response cascade is what’s really causing your pain 48 hours after your sweat session, he says.

The response is a series of events that happens during a period of four to five days, says Metzl. On day one, your body responds to the injured area by releasing hormones called cytokines. These hormones direct cells to go heal your inflamed muscles. At the same time, prostaglandins, hormones that also affect how cells respond to injury, send blood to the area to heal it. This migration of cells to your tired muscles starts out slowly during the 24 hours after your workout—the healing process hasn’t kicked into high gear yet. However, on dreaded day two, the flood of cells to the area of inflammation, a.k.a. your muscles, reaches it’s peak and continues the healing response, he says. This means you’re going to struggle getting out of bed.

If you’ve heard that lactic acid might have something to do with soreness, here’s the deal on that: “We used to think that lactic acid was to blame for DOMS before we understood cellular biology as much,” says Metzl. Now it’s clear that lactic acid only affects short-term exercise tolerance—or how long you can endure a tough workout—and isn’t a factor in DOMS.

Although any type of tough workout can cause DOMS, eccentric muscle training—which is when you lengthen your muscles while contracting them, like during the downward part of a bicep curl—could create the most. That’s because your workout causes micro-trauma, or tiny tears in your muscle fibers, which your body needs to repair to build muscle, says Justice. Eccentric training causes more micro-tears in your muscles than other kinds of training, he says.

So here’s the good part of your I-can’t-move feeling: It means that you did “a lot of great work and are in the process of building stronger muscles,” says Metzl. To ease the pain and help your muscles recover, keep yourself moving by doing active recovery exercises like biking, yoga, and foam roller moves. Nixing movement altogether can lead to more soreness, he says.

The pain should start to get better after day two or three. If it’s not lessening or if you start to have discolored urine, you should talk to your doctor. It’s possible that you could have rhabdomyolysis, which is basically DOMS gone wild, says Metzl, and is a serious and dangerous condition.

decorative line

Oh, P.S. – I did a little myofascial release on myself last night and found out that Milano (our American Bulldog) likes it too. He just laid there and let me roll out his little leg muscles. Haha!

To strong muscles!
<3 Kacie

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Food, Fun, Lifestyle

Update

In December, I began the process of applying to dietetic internships/graduate school. (Really, it begins long before that, but December is when DICAS officially opens for applicants who are entering the “Spring match.”) I know, I know – those are a lot of words that mean nothing if you aren’t familiar with the DI Matching system. Even parents of Dietetics students repeatedly ask the same questions because it’s a little complicated. Needless to say, since December, my life has been consumed with this process and finishing out my final undergraduate semester.

Perhaps in another post, I’ll explain a little further. But I could not be happier to say that I was matched to my top choice – a combined Dietetic Internship and Master’s degree program. This means that I will be completing my 1,200 hours of supervised practice (required to sit for the National Registration Exam) and my graduate degree simultaneously. It is my hope that I have the best summer of my life so that I am ready to rock my MS/DI program come August. 🙂 I also want to get back to my blog because I truly enjoy sharing my knowledge through writing.

Fiesta BowlBy the way, check out the fiesta bowl I had for a late lunch! I was craving Moe’s, but decided to not be lazy and make it myself. The base is just brown rice, and I drizzled it with a little sweet chili sauce. Then it’s layered with beans and corn (kidney beans because that’s all I had), grilled mahi, and fresh diced tomato and onion. Easy. Healthy. Delicious! You could also add a little lime juice and avocado, if you have it. Meals like these tend to be my favorite – just a mish-mash of ingredients.

I’m off to wrap up my NCSF 2-year recert.

Happy Hump Day!
– Kacie

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Food, Recipes

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pecan Boyfriend Bait Cupcakes

Photo courtesy of Melissa

That’s a long name! I got this recipe years ago from author and blogger Melissa McLean Jory. While I love to cook, this is pretty much one of the only things that I bake. Baking takes precision, whereas with cooking, you can just kind of throw in what you want and experiment and play (at least in my mind). 😉 This recipe is my go-to for a Thanksgiving potluck or holiday get together (although they’re good any time of year).

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 c. gluten-free baking & pancake mix – I currently have Bob’s Red Mill, but there are lots of options
  • 1 1/2 tsp. 5-spice blend (or you can use 1 tsp. cinnamon + 1/4 tsp. nutmeg)
  • 1/3 c. organic Turbinado sugar (or another form of sugar)
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil (melted)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 c. pumpkin purée
  • 1/2 c. chopped pecans
  • 1/2 c. chocolate chips (optional, but highly recommended!!)

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together pancake mix with the 5 spice blend. Set aside.
  2. Place melted coconut oil and sugar in mixer bowl and mix on medium speed until well blended. Blend in eggs (one at a time), vanilla and pumpkin pie purée.
  3. Slowly add dry ingredients and mix on low speed until well blended.
  4. Fold in chopped pecans and chocolate chips.
  5. Fill paper-lined muffin tins 3/4ths full and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 22 to 26 minutes (depending on your oven temperature), or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. You can also use silicone baking cups.
  6. Cool on wire rack.

Melissa says that you can top with cream cheese frosting or vanilla ice cream, but I have never tried that because I think they are great on their own.

P.S. – I think that the chocolate chips are really a must.

It’s two weeks until Thanksgiving! Gobble gobble.
Gobble
– Kacie

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