Can you believe it’s only February 19th? Why do I say only? On our wedding day Steve and I made the day and the honey moon to follow (read more about that here) go by… More
If you’ve been following me on Instagram or Facebook, by now you might know that I enjoy the random national holidays and holi-months. I think they’re a fun way for me to think outside of the box when it comes to what I want to write about, what recipes to develop and more. So this month is national grapefruit (and cherry!) month! I thought I would bring in an old favorite of mine, the baked grapefruit.
Have you ever had warm grapefruit? I feel like we often limit ourselves when it comes to fruit out of convenience, transportability, time, and price. These are all legit and practical reasons, but if you stick with the same fruit all year round it gets pretty boring.
Grapefruit (and many other citrus fruit) is rich in nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber. In one half of a grapefruit, it has 2 grams of fiber (general recommendations for men/women fall between 25-35 grams of fiber per day), and is high in vitamin C and A. Vitamin C is well known for its abilities to help keep the common cold at bay or improve cold symptoms faster.
If you’re not one to pick up a grapefruit and eat it like an orange (me!) then try baking it instead. Note, the spoons in the photo were for decoration…they did not work very well for scooping out that delicious fruity inside. Baking the grapefruit brings in a sweet flavor and I find it has a little less bitterness as well this way.
Cinnamon Baked Grapefruit
- 1 large Grapefruit
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon (you can use more!)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350
Slice the grape fruit in half (in order to eat it by scooping out the meat of the grapefruit, put the eye of the grapefruit to the side before cutting it in half)
Sprinkle on the cinnamon, sugar, and drizzle vanilla across both halves
Bake for 15 minutes, take out and enjoy warm.
- To make it even more filling, scoop out the warm grape fruit and enjoy it over a vanilla yogurt of choice.
Did you make this recipe? Snap a photo and tag me @The_Beer_Dietitian on Instagram!
If you’re like me and you’ve been working from home more, having shorter days, or are taking time off from work during this polar vortex…you might have more time for breakfast! Now, I always make time for breakfast but my breakfasts over the last couple of days are more like the ones I make on the weekend. They come with a little more TLC. Enjoy!
Ginger French Toast
French toast…but ginger-fied!
- 2 slices your favorite bread (I had english muffin bread on hand)
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup milk, any kind (I used unsweetened almond milk)
Turn your skillet on to medium-heat, use spray so your breakfast won’t stick
Mix all liquid plus ginger.
Dunk your bread and coat it in the liquid mixture
Put on the skillet and cook about 3-5 minutes (depends how hot your pan is) and flip and cook another 3-5 minutes
Continue until you’re done! Top with blueberries or get extra gingery like me and use a ginger syrup on top.
Did you make the recipe? Be sure to snap a photo and tag me on Instagram @The_Beer_Dietitian
Recently I had the pleasure of sitting down with Zoe Bruyn, owner of Stir it Up Bakery in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Stir It Up is a bakery with a mission to provide meaningful employment to individuals with special needs. Stir It Up is not only designed to provide a safe atmosphere where individuals can obtain skills but it is also an example for other bakeries/local business to hire those with special needs.
To share a little background on why I wanted to meet Zoe…I first learned about them at my friends’ wedding. Kayla and Nick Olle are area directors for Special Olympics and both are incredibly passionate about their athletes and Special Olympics as a whole. One of their athletes was hired by Zoe and when Nick and Kayla got married, they knew their dessert had to be from Stir It Up Bakery. They had a variety of cupcakes at their wedding and they were absolutely decadent and delicious!
One of the first things Zoe and I talked about was the statistic she learned, that 70% of people with disabilities are unemployed. (WHAT!?) Zoe, who has always been an entrepreneur and passionate about working with those with disabilities knew she needed to do something about that number. When she was ready to get started she entered an entrepreneur contest and won $5000 to start making Stir it Up a reality.
Zoe started the bakery in her parent’s kitchen. The Cottage Law allows a person to legally bake and prepare certain foods in their home kitchens and sell them on a small scale, typically at farmers markets and direct to other consumers. She felt this was a relatively easy way to begin and did not require a lot of investment to start. She hired her first employee, Kyle, and they started selling their cookies, namely their staple Monster cookie, at West Michigan Miracle League on Saturdays. Very quickly, their cookies became very popular and they found themselves needing an oven that baked more than a dozen cookies at a time.
As their bakery grew, she was able to hire more people and expand their business. She shared with me that her goal is to provide a work environment that not only is safe but also highlights her employees’ abilities, skills, and talents. There’s a stigma out there about hiring someone with a disability. Zoe firmly believes with the right training and support, your most loyal and hard working employees could be someone with a disability, they just need to be given the opportunity to learn. She treats her employees like any bakery owner would. However, she understands the need for gentle reinforcement and that the learning gap may be a bit longer, but the reward is a win-win for all.
Zoe also shared her advice and experience with entrepreneurship. She say’s in order to be an entrepreneur, you have an idea and you go with it. You learn as you go and sometimes the business doesn’t work out…but sometimes it does. She shared that Stir It Up is not where she wants it to be (yet!) and that the sky is the limit. From owning their own store front (they still rent out of a commercial kitchen) to the Stir it Up Bakery business/model expanding across the nation.
Currently, if you want to purchase any of these cookies or desserts you can place corporate orders on their website, visit them at their next Pop Up shop (find announcements for these on their social channels Facebook, Instagram), or visit the Bridge Street Market in Grand Rapids where they have their only wholesale items sold right now. She shared that Bridge Street Market has been very kind and supportive to them and other small, local businesses.
(Disclaimer not really a disclaimer: These cookies were purchased by me because I support this business, this was not a paid advertisement)
As for me, I’m going to go eat the rest of this monster cookie! If you visit them, let me know by tagging them and me in your next Facebook or Instagram post. Cheers!
Disclaimer: I received a coupon for a free box of Banza pasta in order to enter their #Resolvetoeatmorepasta January Instagram recipe challenge.
I’ve always been someone who loves pasta. When I tried being a vegetarian for a little while, it became more of a staple, weekly (okay maybe daily) meal item because many years ago I did not understand what it meant to be a vegetarian. It certainly does not mean just eat pasta all day! 😉
Fast forward to now and you’ll still find me enjoying pasta but I understand how to balance it into my diet now. One of my goals as a dietitian is to help people enjoy pasta the way I’m able to, instead of restricting themselves away from it and labeling pasta/bread as a bad, non-diet, weight-gain-causing food that they “shouldn’t” eat. I’m an advocate for working on all of these things because our diet culture has been a big factor when it comes to fearing certain foods, namely bread and grains (or the dreaded word…CARBOHYDRATE).
We’ve been taught that if we’re dieting then we shouldn’t have certain foods. That sentence is one of the main reasons why diets don’t work. If you’ve told yourself, “Wow I love pasta so much but I’m on a diet so I can’t have it.” Guess what? You’re more likely to binge on it later and to fear it when you do have than you are to learn to integrate the foods you love into your weekly/monthly meals and still achieve your goals.
Also, because we have moralized pasta/bread as a “bad” food, we tend to judge ourselves and set ourselves up for guilt by saying we “shouldn’t” have it. Not only do we judge ourselves but we may judge others (without even realizing it) by projecting these thoughts on food out there. You can read more about this in my food shaming post.
Now, I’m no fool. I understand that pasta and bread have become “bad” foods in many people’s minds. These are learned behaviors/habits, that’s all. I also understand that people do want to try new things and that they want their pasta in a new way. I’m all about it! If you find a variety of pasta like Banza, which is made from chickpeas, and it helps you to enjoy pasta in your life again…then that’s fantastic! In fact, this could be a way for someone to regain pasta-confidence. The confidence that allows you to eat foods you enjoy like pasta 😉
Banza is a pasta made from chickpeas with 25 grams of protein per serving and 13 grams of fiber. Insert surprised emoji face here! While I thought this was great, I knew that my body would say half a serving was filling enough (especially with what I made to go with it). Steve really liked the pasta (to my surprise) and asked if we could have it again. If you don’t know, Steve is 6’7″ and truly it has taken me some time to remember that his body needs more nutrients/calories than mine and I want to make sure he gets enough food. So for him to fill up on pasta that has more protein, fiber, and nutrients added on top too? Yep, that’s a win for us!
If you want to try a new pasta choice, Banza is a great option for all. You don’t have to be 6’7″, or vegetarian, vegan, paleo, or whatever just to enjoy this option. My only recommendation while cooking it is to make sure you stir it consistently throughout the cook time. Then rinse it after you drain it and don’t be afraid to add a little oil in to help the noodles stay separated. Enjoy the recipe below!
Rigatoni, Sausage, & Broccoli Pasta
Six ingredient recipe made with a plant based pasta to keep everyone full and satisfied.
- 1 box Banza Rigatoni noodles
- 1 head of broccoli
- 9-10 ounces sausage We used four Johnsonville Smoked Turkey Sausage Links
- 1 small onion, chopped/diced
- 1 jalaepeno, keep the seeds and chop whole for spice or slice along the curves to avoid adding the seeds/flesh
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Cook noodles according to box (note: I should have been stirring them a bit more frequently and when I drained/rinsed them I recommend adding a little oil in. This will help the noodles not stick together)
Chop the broccoli, onions, and jalapeno and slice the sausage on a diagonal to make it look fancier.
Drizzle a little oil (about 1 tbsp) across your veggies and use a spoon to mix/coat them.
In a large skillet over medium heat, add your veggies and sausage, saute for about 5-6 minutes.
Add 1/4 cup of water to the skillet and place lid on. This will allow the broccoli to completely steam/cook. Leave lid on for about 3-4 minutes.
Remove lid and allow water to evaporate. Takes about 5-6 minutes. When there is a little water left, start sprinkling in your parmesan cheese and turn the heat low. This will naturally start to warm up the cheese and provide enough moisture to make it into a melty delicious mixture.
Serve veggie and sausage combo over your noodles and enjoy!
- If you use Johnsonville sausages, we had two remaining. These were sliced and added to eggs during the week for breakfast.
- The steps of broccoli/veggie scraps can be placed in a gallon sized freezer bag. Once that bag is full of veggie scraps you can make your own veggie stock (hello, budgeting!)
Are you trying any of these new alternatives to traditional pasta? Let me know which ones or if you have any questions on them!
I decided now that we’re almost 6 months past the best day of our lives, I would do a little recap here on the blog. Get ready, it’s about to get lovey dovey.
To start, we wanted our day to represent who we feel we are as a couple. When we saw our venue, Warehouse 6, for the first time we left there knowing that we had to make it happen. Warehouse 6 is connected to Cento Anni which crafts all handmade wood products including the tables that the wedding venue uses. In fact, we’re waiting for a coffee table to be made for us from Cento Anni! One of our family members/family gave us a certificate for them as a wedding gift so that we could have a piece of furniture in our home to always remind us of our special day. I’ll be sure to share it on Instagram when it’s done!
After Steve proposed on New Year’s Day, not at midnight, but in the morning when we had some quiet time together in our PJs …it was nothing short of perfect. Fast forward to August 11th 2018 and we got married on an incredibly hot day when everything happened in slow motion. Most people told me to savor the moments and that it would be over in a flash! I feel lucky to say, we felt like our day went by sweet and slow.
It started at my house, Steve stayed at his best man’s house, and I woke up incredibly early with my friend Kari (also our hair and makeup artist) who is THE best to have woke with me (I really think it was 5am or earlier). She started hair and I set out breakfast food and loads of coffee. Some of my girls were staying with me (and also got up incredibly early) and the others got there throughout the morning. Steve moved our TV into the area we were getting ready in and set up the dvd player with Parks and Rec. Perfection!
Lots of coffee, smiles, talks and the sweetest thing started happening. Steve arranged a gift chain for me from each of my girls. They started with a candle & lighter with my favorite scent, calming putty, my favorite candy (sugar babies), a comic about love, a shot + a mixer (for now), a sour and awesome beer (for later), and a love letter. Steve knows that I value words and so for his final gift to be a letter of how he was feeling that day meant the world to me.
After a little rush to get to the venue, makeup still being done, me running around in my lil robe, family starting arrive, and definitely eating (I was NOT gonna go without eating this day)…it was time to get my dress on. The day still went slowly but I’m pretty sure I power walked to the location where Steve was waiting for me at Windows on the Waterfront. Our photographer, Sydney Marie Photography, captured our first moment together, his first word was, WOW and pictures ensued from there.
After photos were done, I hid away in the kitchen and the caterers gave me rolls to calm the nerves/jitters. I did not really want everyone to see me before it was time. Early on during planning I didn’t think I cared too much about that, turns out I did. So I hid! But quickly things began to happen, my dad & mom were crying and I could not hear the music I spent forever picking out. I couldn’t see the decor and the chairs and even the hops/vines we had up…all I could see was Steve and feel my parents smile as they let me go to him.
Our friend Austin was our officiant and he spoke about us in a way that I don’t think anyone else could have. He talked about our lives coming together and the community of people we have. At that moment I looked out at everyone and felt an overwhelming feeling of love and gratitude. We spoke our vows and Steve got some pretty hysterical laughs AND everyone applauded. I said, “Okay well I better get applause too!” (Side note, I did). We poured a ceremonial beer from Grand Armory, their Nutter Your Business (a peanut butter porter) and Mother Schmuckers (a raspberry ale) and we FORGOT to take a sip together. I have to laugh because we did mean to sip it but we just stared at it and waited for the part where we could kiss.
Afterwards, Steve and I got to sneak away to Big Lake Brewing Co with our photographer and get a beer. This felt like us because trying new beers is a favorite hobby of ours, except this time we were looking way fancier than normal. We went back and did our entrance, listened to some of the best speeches ever from my sisters, my maid of honor, the best man, and my dad…again I looked at everyone and felt incredibly lucky. Steve had one more surprise which was an incredibly delicious beer that the two of us could enjoy. If you haven’t noticed yet, craft beer was a theme which you’ll see in the photos below.
We brewed our own beer for the wedding and Steve’s dad brewed some as well! His neighbor also made us a mead (see the sign below for our clever names!) and between these personal touches, the way our decor came together, the donuts we set out for dessert…everything was perfect. Without our families, this dream wedding would not have happened.
I cried through all the first dances – I cry even now just thinking about them – and there was one point in the night where I asked Steve…this has been amazing, what time is it!? My body said midnight but it was actually only 8:30! This set the mood for our honeymoon because we made sure that no matter what day or time it was, we said, “it’s ONLY Monday” or “it’s ONLY 8:30.” I think this made the last couple hours of our day go slowly and our honeymoon seemed to stretch on and on.
All in all, I can say that our final song, “Wild Fire” by John Mayer gives me a feeling of hope to this day as I’m sure it will years from now. Even our best man had to sit down to take in that moment and just allow those emotions to get out! Everything about our day went so spectacularly which wouldn’t have happened without the community of people Austin reminded us of. I cannot t thank them all enough and I can’t wait to see what is to come.
Let me know if you have more detailed questions 🙂 Tell me, what’s something you hope for your future wedding day? Or what was your favorite or most memorable part if you’re already married?
This cold weather has me searching for all kinds of warm and comforting foods. I know some of us associate the word “comfort food” with only things high in sugar, fat, alcohol, etc…but comfort foods can be anything! The literal definition is food that brings you joy or COMFORT.
So if you’re feeling chilly and need a hearty soup that will feed two people for 1 dinner + 3-5 servings of left overs, you’re in luck! Otherwise, cut the recipe in half and make a smaller portion for the two of you. Enjoy!
Slow Cooker: Chicken Gnocchi & Bean Soup
A quick simple throw together meal to warm you up if especially if you’re tired of chicken noodle soup.
- 1 pound chicken breasts
- 1 cup white beans drained and rinsed from a can
- 1 large onion
- 2 large carrots
- 1 large parsnip
- 5-6 sticks of celery
- 4.5 cups water
- 1 bouillon cube
- 2 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1.5 cups milk I used 2%
- 1 package of whole wheat gnocchi or any kind!
- 4 cloves garlic
- ½ bag ~ 8 oz of baby spinach or kale
Chop all veggies to desired consistencies/sizes
Place veggies in crockpot with chicken (whole breasts) water, bouillon cube and Italian seasoning
Cook on low for about 5-6 hours
Take chicken out and shred with forks, place back in crockpot. Drain and rinse your beans.
Add in your milk, gnocchi, and beans and put the lid back on
Mince your garlic and saute until you can smell it (a few minutes) then add your spinach and cooke down until it’s wilted
Add your greens to to the crock pot and let it sit another 20-30 minutes. Gnocchi cooks pretty quickly. Enjoy warm with a little hot sauce!
- I chose to peel my carrots and parsnip even though some people don’t do that.
- Draining your beans rinses off most of the sodium
- Left over parts:
- You can keep left over veggie pieces in a gallon size freezer bag and keep adding to it, once you have half a bag full, you can make a veggie stock/broth.
- You’ll have celery left over and beans. Use celery with peanut butter as a snack during the week
- Throw the left over beans on a salad or mixed in with taco meat (smash them up really good!)
- You’ll likely have some chicken breasts left over unless you used some from your freezer so if you’re not going to use more, wrap them in plastic wrap, then foil, then place in a freezer ziplock or a stasher bag and use for another week.
Did you make the recipe? Take a photo and tag me on Instagram @the_beer_RD
Don’t forget to tell me if you liked it! Come back and report or show me on Instagram/Facebook. 🙂
Did you know that today is National Cheese Lover Day?? What a fantastic day to celebrate all things cheese AND be reminded that cheese offers a multitude of minerals & vitamins that are beneficial for your body, hello healthy bones! Cheese also has protein and fat in it, both of which are good for our body. You may agree with me when it comes to protein, but are you still on team fat-free or low-fat?
If you are I am not here to make you feel bad for that. Everyone has a right to choose the forms of foods they wish to eat them in. Sometimes I choose these options when it comes to dairy foods because I like the taste. Other times I choose full fat, whole milk forms because it’s more satisfying or works better in a recipe. Depends on my mood and what I’m cooking! Steve prefers the whole fat versions and a spouses’ opinion also plays a factor in the foods chosen to eat.
What we know from history is how fat used to be the enemy of weight loss and is sometimes still advertised as such. “You should choose low-fat/fat-free to save on calories so you can lose weight.” Sound familiar? Me too. But, as far as cheese goes…I’m not seeing science based evidence that relates eating cheese directly to chronic disease. You might see articles that cheese causes this or that symptom along with x, y, and z and certainly those who are lactose-intolerant/allergic may need to change the type of cheese they eat (or eliminate it).
But if anything is being shared more loud and clear right now, it’s that full fat versions of cheese/dairy may be more beneficial when it comes to a balanced diet because it is tastier and produces more satiety (filling) so you may eat less. In this study from five years ago, they found that consumption dairy fat or high-fat dairy foods did not support the idea that they directly contribute to obesity or cardiometabolic risk.
The thing is, you can’t feed a human only cheese and say that it caused obesity or heart disease. So when you see articles out there demonizing a food because a study found something (gasp!)…it’s not generally something that can be applied to EVERYONE. That’s the beauty and grime of science, but it’s why I find that a no-size-fits-all approach to educating people works well. Is it okay to choose low-fat cheese? Sure. Is it also okay to choose full fat cheese? Yep. What’s more important to me is your reason WHY. Are you punishing yourself with low-fat cheese because you were, “bad” over the weekend or are you picking one over the other based on personal preferences or heck, one was on sale?
I digress. What I really wanted to share with you for National Cheese Day (THIS SUNDAY! January 20th!) is a way to enjoy cheese in (maybe) a new way – with beer! Cheese not only pairs with beer well, they are similar in that they both get fermented and aged so they are primed and ready for us to drink/eat. Also, think about how many beer and cheese styles there are…SO many to choose from. So how can we pair them together?
Just like in the above rant about what type of cheese you choose, it can be pretty individual when it comes to pairing cheese with beer. I’ll make suggestions, but you’ll have to try them for yourself – and mix and match them too – to find what you like best.
**If you’re going to taste a bunch all together on a beer/cheese board though…make sure to consider your order. Don’t taste a super sharp cheddar first and jump to brie next…your palette likes it when you build it up gradually!**
A general tip from Steve when he lead a beer & cheese pairing (well, he’s led a good number of these!) is to go slow and take turns. First eat the cheese, what textures and flavors are you experiencing? Then try the beer, what’s happening now? Now try them together. It makes it more of an experiment in mindfulness and getting to know your taste buds which is pretty fun.
I’m choosing four beer styles to start so read on below to get an idea for what kind of cheese to pair with these styles. Remember to also mix and match, just because I say one pairs well doesn’t mean you can’t try all the cheese with all the beers!
- Sours – Sour is a general term to describe these as the bacteria in the beer gives them their taste but the variety of yeast used will give them a funky or earthy (barnyard to me) quality. Sours can cut into a cheese that’s really rich and soft like goat cheese or brie so for me the two work well together.
- Saisons – A saison will typically have fruity and citrus flavors which can go great with soft and semi soft cheese. Even something like a muenster or Monterey jack will help the fruity notes sing and the cheese fit in nicely.
- IPAs – Since all IPAs are different, the cheese that works best might vary. An aged cheddar or gouda might pair well since both will have a pronounced bitterness and a little funk without being too over the top.
- Stouts- Since these are popular more in the winter, try an imperial stout with blue cheese for a strong finish (i.e. don’t start with blue cheese when you’re trying multiple cheeses/beers!). We also liked smoked cheeses with stouts for a more robust and full flavor all around.
Try this sample cheese & beer pairing board:
- The Oarsmen Berliner Weisse from Bell’s Brewery with goat cheese.
- Cropduster IPA from Grand Armory with sharp cheddar
- Farmhand (saison) from Brewery Vivant with brie.
- Dragon’s Milk (BBA Imperial Stout) from New Holland Brewing with blue cheese.
**Tipsy tip: Have water & crackers nearby or on your fancy cheese plate so that you can break up the tastes your palette is experiencing & remember…everyone’s taste buds are different so go out there and try some out!**
Did you try the pairings above? Have you found any on your own that you love? Share’m with me below! OR take a photo and tag me on Instagram @The_beer_RD!
Just cause I love chili, especially this time of year, and I thought you could use some new ideas for ways to change it up. By keeping your foods fresh, as in new and exciting, it keeps your food interesting – and you interested in it!
The other benefit of adding a variety of toppings is that it changes the experience. Is it melty cheese that sounds good? Creamy avocado? Extra pep from something like lime juice? When you change the topping, you’re changing the textures, flavors and aromas which in turn creates a different sensation in your mouth. Eating the same foods all the time gets boring AND forcing yourself to eat something when it doesn’t work for you doesn’t work in the long term (or short term really).
- Greek yogurt / sour cream – I love the cold creaminess against any chili but especially one with a lot of heat.
- Crackers – Because who doesn’t like some added crunch?
- Cheese – Melty…mm mm delicious.
- Cocoa – Throw in a couple tablespoons to your classic chili for a richer flavor
- Avocado – Get your filling green & healthy fat fruit out and throw some contrasting color on your chili.
- Lime / lime juice – I love the zing and brightness that it adds to each bite!
- Noodles – Steve’s personal favorite and one of the only ways I used to eat chili as a kid.
- Corn bread – Corn bread covered in chili or dipped in chili gives you some sweetness paired with savory and the two just sing together IMO.
- Sausage/hot dog – Chop’m up or cover them!
- Chips – My personal fave is tortilla chips with some white chili or black bean chips with traditional.
- Mac n’ Cheese – Instead of just noodles, get out your favorite mac and have a little mac with a lot of chili.
- Shaved carrots / other veggies – I love carrots in chili but it’s fun to add them as a topping. Try it before you hate on it!
- French fries – I like baking my own out of regular or sweet potatoes and instead of enjoying my veggie on the side I put the main course right over them.
- French onions – keep’n it French with Steve’s other favorite crunchy/oily (IMO) topping. I don’t looove these but Steve does and it’s another option!
- Ice cream – Hahaha did I lose you? I’ve not tried this one but I’ve HEARD that just one scoop is all it takes (of chocolate or vanilla) to add cream and contrast to that secret chili recipe of yours.
If one of your 2019 goals is to have a better experience in the kitchen, cooking, eating etc…try one of the toppings above that is new to you (don’t forget to share how it went!)! If you’re making chili like I am this winter, show me on Instagram by tagging @The_beer_rd!