Butternut Squash and Sweet Pea Sage Pasta

Tim and I flew down to Jacksonville, FL, his home town, to spend Thanksgiving with his parents and see some of his friends. On Thanksgiving Eve, after working out, making cranberry sauce and gingerbread muffins, and prepping other food for the following day, we headed out to dinner at Taverna in San Marco. We all shared some ridiculously good brussels sprouts as well as spicy shrimp and broccolini {plus a bottle of sparkling Lambrusco – THE best}. Our eyes were bigger than our stomachs because after the fact, we didn’t want a full meal!



Tim and I decided to share a meal and chose a combo of two of their pasta dishes. I have already been clear that I will only order freshly made pasta at restaurants (it isn’t worth it to me otherwise), and you probably know now that I don’t eat dairy. Tim agreed to split with me the fresh made fettucine but, have it prepared with all of the toppings they listed on the ravioli! This was a fabulous decision as we wound up with a perfect little portion of pasta and vibrant colors and flavors from produce and herbs. It was so good that I had to recreate it once we were home! Continue reading

Vegan Sage Pesto Scramble

Disclosure: I received free full size containers of nuts from nuts.com in exchange for this blog post.

Nuts are easily turned to as a healthy snack but are often not thought of in everyday meals and dishes. I absolutely love to add nuts and nut butters to my oats in the morning, add nuts to salads, and make sauces, bars, and pesto! My buddies over at nuts.com sent black walnuts and pine nuts to inspire me in the kitchen. I’ve gotten creative in the past with my avocado walnut pesto but thought I would change up the herbs this time rather than the nuts, in comparison to the classic basil pesto most of you know and love.


Black walnuts actually have a nuttier flavor than traditional walnuts. I don’t enjoy English walnuts much unless I roast them but these I actually do enjoy raw! Any walnuts are healthy as they provide unsaturated fats so, eat whichever you prefer the flavor of. Fun fact: walnuts are the only nut with a substantial amount of omega-3 fatty acids so, eat up for anti-inflammatory benefits! Continue reading

Giving Tuesday 2016

I have the same perspective the Tuesday after Thanksgiving this year as I did last year. We have taken an extended weekend to indulge, give thanks, celebrate life with our loved ones and, for many spend a lot of money on luxury items from Black Friday through Cyber Monday. Now, it’s time to balance it all out and give to those who are just hoping to have dinner tonight and gloves to put on when the weather gets even colder.

Before looking at my favorite charities to donate to below, please take some time to read through the infographic and increase your knowledge on hunger in the world. While it is a resource for nutrition and dietetics professionals, I think the information is simple enough for everyone to digest.

Also, please do not assume that if someone is overweight or obese that they are not dealing with hunger or malnutrition. In 2012, Philadelphia had the highest obesity rate and greatest percentage of people in poverty than any other large American city (we have since seen improvements). When people, children especially, don’t have access to adequate and nourishing food, fast food becomes more prevalent when food is available and, unfortunately a lot of the items donated to food pantries are not the healthiest. Many kids may only eat breakfast and lunch because they are provided at school, and go home and not have dinner or miss meals over the weekend. If there school is not meeting government guidelines for school foods, they may have excess unhealthy calories and consume minimal amounts of nutrients.

feedingtheworldenoughoftherightfoods

I donate at some point each year to at least the main four organizations covered below but, just finding one that means something to you is enough!

The organizations below directly help those they mention and do so in ways that will benefit their health. There are many charities out there but, I believe many non-profits sell out to corporations to benefit their admins financially and not as much money goes to helping others. Some food organizations aren’t concerned with making healthy options available, too.

Also remember that every purchase you make every day impacts people (and animals) in ways much greater than you recognize. If you feel that donating to an organization is too much, consider your frequent purchases for luxury items. Instead of your normal starbucks can you splurge and ask for Fair Trade? I always do this at my local Starbucks. Fair Trade Italian roast isn’t even listed on the board but, they always have it! Another luxury item is chocolate. Maybe you put less chocolate in your family’s stockings this year but, buy fair trade so you know you’re helping other kids and families have adequate lives somewhere else in the world.


My favorite organization is still Child Fund. I provided a lot of information about it in last year’s post so, you can read more there! Tim and I have a monthly deduction that supports a specific child and donate other times of the year in times of special need.

UNICEF LogoLast week after seeing a video my sister’s boyfriend posted, I immediately made a donation to Unicef, specifically going to help children in Syria. I won’t post a video here, you can easily google and see what is going on but, just because it isn’t on the morning or evening news station you watch, doesn’t mean nothing is going on. Schools and children’s hospitals are being bombed regularly and an estimated 8 million+ kids are in need of aid.

Image result for the food trust
The Food Trust, head-quarted in Philadelphia, is a nationally recognized nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that everyone has access to affordable, nutritious food and information to make healthy decisions.
A young gorilla in the Democratic Republic of CongoBe a hero for wildlife and habitats that are endangered by donating to The World Wildlife Fund! Last Christmas my parents adopted an elephant in my brother’s name as a gift to him. This symbolic adoption supports their conservation efforts in over 100 nations. In addition to wildlife conservation, their efforts also aid in preserving the food system, forests, and our oceans as well as influencing policy and transforming business practices.

Looking for other gift ideas that support a good cause? Consider the following:

Other:

ALS TDI

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

World Animal Protection

Unite for HER

Boys and Girls Club (Husband’s recommendation)

Make a Wish Foundation (sister’s recommendation)

St. Jude’s (Dad’s recommendation)

Not much money in your account? Donate time with Philabundance or a local food pantry or food bank.

**Update: If you donate through your paypal account through Dec 31, 2016, they’ll donate an extra 1%!

Have a wonderful holiday season, and count your blessings everyday!

Cyber Monday Special

Happy Cyber Monday!

I highly recommend that you stop searching for *stuff* that you and your loved ones likely do not need cluttering your home and brain, and instead invest in health! Gym memberships, massages, acupuncture, and yoga are all wonderful but, a healthy diet and a mind that respects your body can not only help achieve a healthy weight but, also prevent chronic disease and relieve stress.

I have several ideas for healthy stocking stuffers and wellness-focused gifts, and here are suggestions from a couple of other RD’s:

  • Kim Hoban, a wellness RD and certified personal trainer has some great suggestions here.
  • Meme Inge, another RD with a fabulous blog, has the Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide plus a gift guide for kids that doesn’t include tons of electronics. Yay for active activities!

I want to share a special Cyber Monday deal for those who want to invest in of give the gift of health! Continue reading

Turkey Trot Trade Up

I’ve done my fair share of turkey trots and was even planning on one this year in Jacksonville, FL. However, after an epic asthma attack a mile into the Rothman 8k in Philly last weekend, I decided to forgo the race and get a good couples circuit in with Tim instead.

I’ve had asthma as long as I can remember and while it is often exercise induced, it’s always worst late November – early December. Using weights for a moderate to high intensity circuit puts slightly less pressure on my cardio-respiratory system while still torching calories and boosting strength. Plus, some of these turkey trots somehow don’t even donate proceeds to a charity so put that money directly towards a charity that means something to you (I’ll be sharing all of my favorites for Giving Tuesday).

Many other people don’t enjoy running or due to injury cannot run and feel there are no other options without their local gym when traveling for the holidays. Some, my clients included, feel bad taking time to exercise when staying with loved ones who aren’t as active. No matter the reason, I have some suggestions for keeping activity up no matter who you’re spending the holiday with. For those that who need to keep it up and use exercise for stress and anxiety-management like me, or who are working towards health goals, I have a circuit you can do anywhere with some basic equipment!

Group ACTIVities

Continue reading

Healthy Gingerbread Muffins

The holiday season is upon us! While I have been sharing fall and Thanksgiving themed recipes all season, The Recipe Redux is “Trimming the Table” for this month’s theme, too!

There is no reason for holiday eats to expand your waistline. Continue reading

Peanut Pumpkin Seed Butter

November is Peanut Butter Lovers Month! Peanut butter is one of those foods that is so easy to add to everything to balance out meals and snacks and luckily provides a lot of nutrition too. Peanuts are a good source of Vitamin E, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant that many Americans do not get enough of. They’re also rich in magnesium, healthy unsaturated fats, and provide plant-based protein. There’s a nice article from the National Peanut Board on peanuts as fuel for athletes, and 16 fun facts about peanuts and peanut butter, too!

We recently ran out of peanut butter. Three years ago this never would have happened considering I was the only one in the house who ate it and I was very aware of how much was left at all times. I was thrilled when in Austin, TX a couple of years ago though, that I finally got Tim to try it (again) and he loved it! Well, he loved the honey roasted fresh grind from Whole Foods. That is the only peanut butter he would eat for awhile and as the quantity built, the added sugar content bothered me more. I started to mix the honey roasted with plain and eventually he loved it all. The moral of the story is that while I am excited we now share peanut buttery snacks and treats, I have to take PB inventory much more often!

Being out of peanut butter, I couldn’t fathom a few days without, and I decided to pull some peanuts out of the pantry to whip up my own! I didn’t have a full 16 ounce package though so I searched for what else was available and thought with it being fall that pumpkin seeds would be a perfect compliment. Well, not to pat myself on the back but, I was right and now I’ve made this recipe a few times and will continue to. A perk to this discovery past the flavor is the nutrients that pumpkin seeds provide, too. Rich in vitamin E just like peanuts, pumpkin seeds also provide lots of magnesium and iron.


All you need are the peanuts,  roasted pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas), a touch of salt and a food processor or high quality blender. Then, you need all of the wonderful things that peanut butter goes with! Bananas, oatmeal, dark chocolate, toast, and rice cakes are some of our favorites. Tim may even put extra peanut butter in his peanut butter puffins cereal.

Share your favorite food to pair with peanut butter below!

img_7649

Pumpkin Seed Peanut Butter

Ingredients
  • 1.5 cups unsalted peanuts
  • Half cup roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Directions
  • Add all ingredients to a food processor or high quality blender
  • Pulse until creamy (about 2 minutes in my Cuisinart food processor, pausing to scrape the sides in between