Low-Sugar Oreo Peanut Butter Energy Bites

It’s almost Valentine’s and Galentine’s day which if you’re not sure what to do for either day, check out my Galentine’s post here and my 35 things to do without food post. But let’s face it, we may want to celebrate with a little chocolate! If you’re looking for a simple energy bite that takes minutes to make but reminds you of Oreos dipped in peanut butter (I can’t be the only one who did that right!?) then look no further.

Energy bites are fun because you can make a huge variety of them, freeze them, and eat them on-the-go. If I made this recipe again (which I will) I would add a couple more things like flax meal and chia seeds to add more fiber, protein, and healthy fats.

So if you’re like me and plan to celebrate Valentine’s / Galentine’s all month long – try these little nuggets of deliciousness and get that warm fuzzy feeling with each bite!

Low-Sugar Oreo Peanut Butter Energy Bites

The main ingredients are oats and chick peas, they have carbohydrates but not a lot of added sugar per energy bite. Great for an on-the-go snack for busy moms with one arm to eat or driving to work and ran out of time for breakfast.

Course Snack
Keyword chickpeas, energy bite, oreos, peanut butter
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Calories 90 kcal
Author Jessi Holden

Ingredients

  • 1.25 cups oats (quick, rolled, or steel cut)
  • 1 15 oz can low-sodium or no salt chick peas drain and rinsed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1.5 servings Oreo pudding mix (I weighed this at 45g)
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter

Instructions

  1. Put all ingredients in a food processor.

  2. Pulse/puree for about 1 minute

  3. Remove blade and begin forming into small energy balls. Smaller bites will yield about 20 servings and medium bites will yield about 15.

  4. Place spread out on a cookie sheet and refridgerate for about 10-20 minutes (or enjoy as is) and then place them in a container to keep in the fridge or freezer.

Did you make the recipe? Show me on Instagram and tag me @The_Beer_Dietitian!

Five ways to Celebrate Galentine’s Day

When I was first introduced to Leslie Knope / Parks and Rec I fell in love instantly with the idea of Galentine’s Day (February 13th) and taking a day to celebrate friendship with the amazing women in your life.

Since my word for 2019 is progress, one of the things I wanted to work on was my relationships with my friends. It’s always important to build upon the friendships you have and make sure you’re making time for all of them. Everyone gets busy and life gets busy, so when you’re able to spend time together make it quality time. Thus, I thought I would share five ways to celebrate Galentine’s day if you need some ideas on how to celebrate the women in your life too!

  1. Go out for a slow breakfast with plenty of coffee, beermosas/mimosas, tea, or beverage of choice and spend time enjoying the start of a day with your favorite gal(s).
  2. Take a cooking class together and enjoy the mess and fun of learning something new!
  3. Drop-in on a yoga studio or workout of choice and sweat it out together
  4. Try a fancy new cocktail bar after work for happy hour where you wouldn’t go normally.
  5. Take a day trip to a new town and explore what it has to offer.

You could also invite your ladies over and watch the episode of Parks and Rec that features Galentine’s day. As a bonus, celebrate Leslie Knope style and serve up Belgium waffles!

How will you be celebrating Galentines? Feel free to share and tag me on Instagram @The_Beer_RD so I can cheers to all you lovely ladies!

Cinnamon Baked Grapefruit

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

Course Snack
Prep Time 2 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Calories 50 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 large Grapefruit
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (you can use more!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350

  2. 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)

  3. Sprinkle on the cinnamon, sugar, and drizzle vanilla across both halves

  4. Bake for 15 minutes, take out and enjoy warm. 

Recipe Notes

  • 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!

Ginger French Toast

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!

Course Breakfast
Keyword breakfast, french toast, ginger
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 1 personal delicious breakfast
Author Jessi Holden

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions

  1. Turn your skillet on to medium-heat, use spray so your breakfast won’t stick

  2. Mix all liquid plus ginger.

  3. Dunk your bread and coat it in the liquid mixture

  4. Put on the skillet and cook about 3-5 minutes (depends how hot your pan is) and flip and cook another 3-5 minutes

  5. 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

Stir it Up Bakery – See the Able not the Label

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.

Photo by: Alicia Magnuson Photography

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.

Photo by Alicia Magnuson Photography

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.

Photo by: Jessi Holden

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.

Photo by Jessi Holden

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!

Rigatoni, Sausage & Broccoli Pasta

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. 

Course Main Course
Keyword chick peas, plant pasta
Author Jessi Holden

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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)

  2. Chop the broccoli, onions, and jalapeno and slice the sausage on a diagonal to make it look fancier. 

  3. Drizzle a little oil (about 1 tbsp) across your veggies and use a spoon to mix/coat them.

  4. In a large skillet over medium heat, add your veggies and sausage, saute for about 5-6 minutes.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Serve veggie and sausage combo over your noodles and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Extra ingredients:

  • 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!

Cheers!

Our Wedding Story

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!

We had been dating for four years and it got to the point where I thought every moment was IT…then he said, I’m NOT doing it this year! Turns out he stuck to his word and proposed day one of 2018

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.

We rent an apartment within a house (where no one occupies the downstairs) and our landlord Abby said we could use the whole downstairs for getting ready. This was SO nice because I was so calm being home all morning <3

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.

The funny thing is that we wanted a group shot of everyone in our party to have a can of beer…turns out some people got thirsty ahead of time so these are two empty cans that were left!
I don’t remember what I drank but thank you Big Lake Brewing!

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.

Steve’s dad grows hops so he chopped them down and they put them up behind our alter, I LOVED this touch
My sister Kelsey designed everything that was a sign or on paper for us
Where our real baby’s breath came from was awesome and we got SO much extra which lead to extra bouquets
Against each donut stand was a card that says “He Loves…” or “She loves…” because….and Steve and I filled in the blanks for each other.
I was pretty adamant that no matter what, I was GETTING these balloons. Best $40 ever.
We collect six pack holders and growlers, etc. We filled them with fake baby’s breath and pretzels!

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.

My sister’s a graphic designer so she made all our signs and my mom made these bottles with tons of photos of us all around the venue

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.

We didn’t want cake (except for cake donuts) but did share some cheesecake for just us
We danced to, Bright by Echosmith as our first dance

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?

Cheers!

Slow Cooker: Chicken Gnocchi & Bean Soup

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.

Author Jessi Holden

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Chop all veggies to desired consistencies/sizes
  2. Place veggies in crockpot with chicken (whole breasts) water, bouillon cube and Italian seasoning

  3. Cook on low for about 5-6 hours
  4. Take chicken out and shred with forks, place back in crockpot. Drain and rinse your beans.

  5. Add in your milk, gnocchi, and beans and put the lid back on
  6. Mince your garlic and saute until you can smell it (a few minutes) then add your spinach and cooke down until it’s wilted 

  7. 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!

Recipe Notes

  • 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. 🙂

Cheers!