Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Creative Leftovers!

I am back! After a vacation in Hawaii I am finally back and ready to blog! Excuse my absence--it was for very important reasons. So, upon returning I had a big party where I prepared homemade Beef & Vegetarian Empanadas. I found a fabulous recipe for this on http://www.epicurious.com/ and prepared dough, filling, and chimchurri sauce! Delicious and strongly recommended! Now comes the inspiration...
I made far too much filling and really needed to use the leftover ground beef...what can I do...what can I do? Poof--inspiration for Mexican Shepherd's Pie! I must pat myself on the back, because this recipe turned out to be a huge hit and it will definitely be a keeper!!!
Wendy's Mexican Shepherd Pie
Serves 6 Hearty Portions
4 cups cooked ground beef
1/2 ts cumin
1/2 ts pepper
1/2 jar picante sauce
1 potato
1 cup cilantro
1/2 cup light sour cream
1/4 ts salt & pepper, each
2 slices Pepper Jack cheese (cheddar or colby would work, too)
Homemade Pico de Gallo (see below for recipe)

Preheat oven to 350*F. Scrub potato and cut into 2" chunks. Place potato in stock pot with enough cold water to cover it. Bring water to a boil, cover, and simmer for 5-8 minutes or until fork tender. Drain water and mash potato with sour cream. Season with salt & pepper. Stir in cilantro. Meanwhile, reheat ground beef in a skillet with picante sauce until warmed up. Place ground beef mixture in a baking dish. Top beef with cilantro-mashed potatoes. Top potatoes with cheese slices. I tore my cheese into smaller pieces before putting on top, but you don't have to. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly. If cheese is not browned enough toss under a broiler for 2-3 minutes. Serve with pico de gallo:
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 jalapeno, minced without seeds
1/4 red onion, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 lime, juiced
salt to taste
Toss and serve! Why do we ever buy the store-prepared stuff? Such a difference!!!!
Oh, and I used up my leftover chimchurri sauce over my carrots! Bring water to a boil and toss in cut up carrots for 3-4 minutes. Drain and run cold water over carrots. Heat up 1 ts oil and toss in carrots. Sauté for 3 minutes and pour chimchurri sauce overtop! No chimchurri sauce? Easy--toss in fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime and it will taste great, too!
Variations I thought of:
1. Add a can of black or pinto beans, drain first
2. Make it Italian and use basil in place of the cilantro, jarred spaghetti sauce in place of picante, and bruschetta mix in place of the pico!
What would be your additions?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Check Out Some of My Favorite RD Blogs on RD Day!

Beyond Prenatals - Food vs. Supplements and Real Advice vs. Fake Advice
Annette Colby -
No More Diets! A Registered Dietitian Shares 9 Secrets to Real and Lasting Weight Loss
Ashley Colpaart -
Dietitians working in food policy, a new frontier
Diana Dyer -
There and Back Again: Celebration of National Dietitian Day 2009
Marjorie Geiser -
RD Showcase for National Registered Dietitian Day - What we do
Cheryl Harris -
Me, a Gluten Free RD!
Marilyn Jess -
National Registered Dietitian Day--RD Blogfest
Julie Lanford -
Antioxidants for Cancer Prevention
Renata Mangrum -
What I'm doing as I grow up...
Liz Marr -
Fruits and Veggies for Registered Dietian Day: Two Poems
Meal Makeover Moms' Kitchen -
Family Nutrition ... It's our "Beat"
Jill Nussinow -
The Registered Dietitian Lens I Look Through
Wendy Jo Petersen -
March 11 is our day to shine!
Diane Preves -
Registered Dietitians and the White House Forum on Health Reform
Andy Sarjahani -
Dr. Seuss Tribute continued: Green Eggs and Ham and a Sustainable Food System
Rebecca Scritchfield -
Big Tips from a "Big Loser"
Anthony Sepe -
RD Showcase: Registered Dietitian Day, March 11, 2009
Kathy Shattler -
RD Showcase for Nutri-Care Consultation
UNL-Extension, Douglas/Sarpy County -
Nutrition Know How - Making Your Life Easier
Monika Woolsey -
Dietitians--Can't Do PCOS Without Them!
Monika Woolsey -
In Honor of National Registered Dietitian Day
Jen Zingaro -
My life as a Registered Dietitian

Happy Registered Dietitian Day! March 11 is Our Day to Shine!

There are a handful of people I can think of who have shaped my path of choosing to become an RD (Registered Dietitian). First off my high school chemistry teacher, Mrs. Macbride sparked my initial interest in the science behind food. Next came my in-laws (although Brandon and I were not married at the time). Judy worked for an RD and Ron told me he thought it would be a perfect fit for me and my personality. Last, was the dietitian who cared for my grandmother as she died of pancreatic cancer--talk about seeing a clinical dietitian at his or her best! Of course my folks and sisters encouraged me, too! Thus began my quest to become an RD.

Since becoming an RD people are always amazed by my passion for the field of dietetics. To me, what's not to love! I have an incredible love affair with food! I am amazed by what it can do for your body, mind, & how it nurtures your soul. I enjoy sharing my enthusiasm with people! Whether it be to treat a disease, attain weight loss or gain goals, or cooking it up with firefighters! It is fabulous to have my patients achieve success in their goals and have the doctors thrilled when their blood values reach normal standards. I love being a dietitian!

I hope when you are faced with food issues, a disease, food sensitivities, an athletic event, or pregnancy that you consider seeking out the advice of an RD--your nutrition expert!

To find an RD near you visit the American Dietetic Association's website: www.EatRight.org

Happy Registered Dietitian Day!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Foods for the "Funk"

Ever feel like you are in a "funk?" You can't quite put your finger on why you feel the way you do, but you know it's just not "right." When my mood is "off" I search out comfort foods that bring a sense of home to my heart or foods that shine a ray of sun on my gloomy day. My top 10 foods that heal my heart when I am in a gloomy mood are:
1. Chocolate (hate to a be a cliché, but it's the truth!)
2. Mexican hot chocolate
3. Chicken pot pie
4. Chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes
5. Pickles (and no, I am not even pregnant!)
6. Breakfast tacos--no, not burritos (small, fat tortillas please)
7. Crusty croissants (it cannot be the soft variety)
8. Kathie & Paul's lattes (my friend Kathie is from Italy and they make the best lattes!)
9. Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with pecans
10. Cinnamon toast like Mom used to make
Thankfully I am rarely in a funk, but when I am I choose not to feel guilty about the food I eat. Instead, I relish every bite and appreciate my ability to afford the food in front of me. What a gift! What a blessing! Food can be healing. When you choose not to take for granted the blessings of the food in front of you perhaps the temptation to over indulge will subside. All foods fit, and sometimes we need to treat ourselves to our favorite indulgences. How is your relationship with the food you eat? Nurture it and be thankful for it!

What are your favorite foods when you are in a "funk?" Please share!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Step by Step to a Fabulous Frittata (Quick Dinner Alert!)

After another long day I came home and began my rummage through my fridge...hmmmm.....eggs, veggies, prosciutto, goat cheese, milk...ooo la la--time for a frittata! My first experience with a frittata was at my dear friend Kathie's home. I walk in and on the counter is a beautiful circle egg dish loaded with thinly sliced zucchini. It looked a little like an omelet, but it was at room temperature. It was fabulous! Kathie's family is from Italy, and her mother, Maria is a culinary goddess! That day we enjoyed zucchini frittata and apricots for lunch. The simple things in life! For me, I am forever thankful for my CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) goodies which constantly add variety to my life! Frittatas-- a great way to curve your hunger in under 15 minutes!
Wendy's Wednesday Night Frittata
Serves 2 or 1 with leftovers
1 small potato
2 Tb canola oil
2 broccoli crowns
2 oz prosciutto or ham
4 eggs
1/3 cp crumbled goat, feta, or favorite cheese

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350*F
Step 2: In a heavy skillet or cast iron pan heat oil over medium high heat. Add cubed potatoes and allow to brown on each side (about 10 minutes)
Step 3: While waiting for your potatoes to cook steam your broccoli in the microwave for 3 minutes with 1/2 cup water or in a pot. Drain and chop the florets.
Step 4: Cut up your prosciutto and add prosciutto and broccoli to potatoes
Step 5: Whisk eggs and pour over potato mixture
Step 6: Crumble cheese over top and bake for 5 minutes or until set.
Step 7: Allow to rest for 3-5 minutes before cutting into wedges. Serve!

Serve with fresh fruit and a glass of milk! Well, I did and it was FABULOUS!!! Let me know if you decide to fix it! Be creative and avoid limiting yourself to only certain vegetables! Spinach, peppers, onions, garlic, or squashes all work! Add a splash of fresh herbs, too--darn, I wish I would have thought of that earlier! I was too hungry to think at the time. Enjoy!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Where do you get your nutrition advice???

March is National Nutrition Month! Seek out the advice of a nutrition professional for the advice you crave!

After reading a post by fellow dietitian and friend, Robin Plotkin (
www.RobinPlotkin.Blogspot.com) about where people seek out nutrition information I was saddened. Majority of people use the internet to get their nutrition advice. I realize the ease behind searching information on the internet, because I use it all the time. The worry I have is whether or not people are searching out the best sources. Here are some quick tips for your next internet search regarding scientific information:
1. Search under Google Scholar
2. Look for websites that end in .org, .edu, .gov
3. Find website that are not trying to sell you a nutrition product
4. Type in dietitian with your search to find an article written by or reviewed by a nutrition expert
5. Lastly, find an RD blog and post the question to an expert
Thankfully, I have noticed more of my friends and family seeking me out with nutrition questions since beginning this blog. I am here for you, and would love suggestions on future blog topics. My hope is that before you click that mouse and begin your next search about nutrition you seek me out first!
Happy National Nutrition Month! Check out the American Dietetic Association at

What's In Your Kitchen?

As spring blasts some of us with warm weather and others with frigid snow, it's time to begin thinking about spring cleaning. Yes, it's that time again! So, I must ask...What's in your kitchen? Do you have can goods that are expired, spices that are clumped together, or is your pantry so packed that you don't even know what's in it? Well, it's time for that to change!

So, let's move onto your refrigerator...clean it out--top to bottom! It's time to pull out the mystery meat, the moldy leftovers, and the cheese that has fur on it. Then take a bleach solution (1 Tb. bleach to 4 cups water) and wipe it down. Don't forget the cracks in the door! It's not energy efficient or cooling efficient if your refrigerator is packed. Your food needs space, just like your closet! You refrigerator needs to be in range of 35-38*F!

Yes, now, it's freezer time! Pull out your winter coat (some of you may still be using yours), and start throwing food out. Most things keep in the freezer for a couple months--not years; thus, if it's been taking up space in your freezer more than a year, it's time to put it in the trash. Your freezer is happiest (and your food safest) in the temperature range of -4 to 4*F. Keep it cool!

Stay tuned for tips on keeping your pantry and refrigerator well stocked!