Oven-Roasted Vegetables– Give Them a Try if you Haven’t!

 

I know the general consensus on the topic of vegetables is…  BORING….  ZZZZZZZ…..

 

As a dietitian, part of my role (along with reminding you to eat your vegetables) is to also help you find ways to actually make them enjoyable to you.

 

 

 

 

Today I am here to hopefully inspire you to try oven-roasting veggies!

We all know how good they are for our health– all those vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants and of course the fiber.  With so much controversy over certain foods like dairy, red meat and wheat, one thing just about all the experts agree on is that vegetables are awesome for us!

And most of us really struggle to eat enough.  Even when we know we should eat them and want to eat them– it can be tough to make it happen.  If your goal is to increase your vegetables but you’re stuck, ask yourself why this is:

  • Maybe you realize you are bored with the same old habitual veggies you always make?
  • Could be you are uncertain about how to make veggies taste good?
  • Perhaps you believe veggies are too much work?
  • Or this one that makes me smile– “They go bad in the fridge before I eat them.”  🙂

Whatever your reason, if you want to get more nutrient-rich vegetables into your life, let me suggest one of my favorite super-easy and delicious ways to cook vegetables…        Oven-Roasted!

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Getting Through January

Getting through January.  Ha, is that the right attitude? What about enjoying each moment?  …Each moment that’s below freezing…Each moment that’s gray and dark.  🙂

I’m seriously trying.  Some days are easier than others and while I know I ought to make the best of what is, the truth is, the anticipation of warmer weather is constantly lurking in the background of my mind.  It’s the hope that keeps me going!

 

 

 

 

 

As I write this, I’m still in awe that today was 54 and sunny.  Just when you think you can’t take another dreary, icy, bitter, 20 degree day, nature throws us a day like this–                    I believe it’s to provide some hope and serve as a reminder that spring will indeed arrive and we can make it.

One day you’re out snow blowing puppy trails:

 

 

Jan 6th

 

 

 

 

And the next you’re raking leaves in a t-shirt while your happy pets enjoy the weather:

 

Jan 20th

Yes, raking leaves in January because we never quite got them all raked in the fall.  Hey, I’ll take raking leaves out in the sunshine over being stuck inside with cabin fever any day.

 

 

 

Is it just me or has this January felt colder than usual?  (aside from today!)                     “You know, it IS winter” says everyone– but when you’re somebody who loves to head outside in the early morning for a run or bike ride (or just sit out on the yard swing reading) it can be difficult to stay patient with this time of year.

I do rely on exercise for feeling good.  Ok, who am I kidding– for sanity!                             But I’m also rolling with the seasons and slowing down a bit.  It even feels nice.            There has been less running and more hot yoga.  And I’m good with that.  I may not be as active as I am in the summer but I make the effort to do something to move my body most days.  I plan for runs when it’s milder and yoga when it’s super cold/snowy.  And yep, some days I do nothing when I need a rest.

 

Totally my attitude.

 

 

 

 

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3 Habits of Highly Successful Clients

A brand new year!  😀

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love that.  Just go back and do what it says if you glossed over it.                                     Now, how do you feel?  Ahh, that’s better, right!?                                                                Imagine if you could remember to pause and just be for a few seconds here and there throughout your day?    

Happy New Year!  January is that special month when a lot of us decide now is the time to get serious and make those healthy changes we’ve been putting off.  If the fresh new year means another start to a diet that’s bound to fail (as diets tend to do), maybe you need to dig a little deeper and look at what is really keeping you from reaching your goals.       Hint:  It’s not that you haven’t found the perfect diet, it’s got a lot more to do with your daily habits and thought/belief patterns.

Understanding specifically what it is that is getting in your way is the key to change.           If you don’t really think about what exactly is holding you back, then you tend to stay stuck, frustrated and powerless.

I’ve spent some time contemplating what sets apart my clients who reach (or are on the path to reaching) their goals from my clients who have a harder time.                               What I’ve found are 3 areas that come up again and again:

1.  Food Planning and Preparation

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a huge one that stifles all those good intentions of eating a healthier diet.  Unless you are wealthy enough to hire a personal chef, there is no way around it.  Meal planning and preparation is ongoing and yes, it takes some time and effort.  Considering that we have to eat several times a day, every day, this means we have to be meal planning fairly often.  Embrace it rather than fight it and know that it does not have to be a major time-consumer or the difficult task that you might envision.

There are so many convenient food options and shortcuts available that I think we often take for granted how truly lucky we are.  Nearly everyone has a grocery store within a couple of miles with everything necessary to make a decent meal.  Be thankful you don’t have to gut and clean your fish and meats like our ancestors did– do you ever consider how incredible it is that they come neatly packaged and ready to cook?  Fruits and veggies are available pre-cut, spiralized and even riced to eliminate the time it takes to prepare them.  And can you believe people once had to wash and chop up a head of lettuce?  😉

That being said, I will add that even with all these prepared foods, I still think it’s comforting and good for the soul to get into the kitchen as much as possible to chop, slice, dice, bake, experiment, taste and connect to our food more.  Food preparation doesn’t have to be a stressful, hectic event.  It can be meditative if you let it.  Doing the dishes and cleaning up is a perfect time to focus on your breath, slow down and reconnect with yourself.

I understand some schedules make it almost impossible to dedicate much time for cooking at home– but if you decide you want to make it a priority it can certainly be accomplished.

2.  Mindset/Knowing Your “Why”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mindset has practically everything to do with success.  I am a firm believer of:  ‘You can have anything you want if you put your mind to it.’  But you have to want it more than you want to stay where you are now, as comfortable as your current zone may be.   You also have to clearly understand WHY you want to make changes– you need to see the benefit. 

Because changes ARE going to take effort!  You have to see and believe that the result is worth the work and energy.  And oddly enough, once you put the “work” and “energy” into action you realize that they actually aren’t the horrible work and energy you imagined and feared.  Find the meaning behind what you’re doing and everything flows more naturally.

You also need to keep that “why” flame burning consistently.  Sure, it’ll go out periodically where you’ll say what the hell and indulge in a night of pizza and ice cream.  No biggie. What will make you successful is you’ll know that it’s OK,  you won’t worry about it and you’ll move on.  The next day you’ll be back to your healthy habits, reminding yourself of the person you want to be and how that type of person eats and lives.  Remember, perfection is not the goal.  A balanced diet can most definitely include sweets and splurges!

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A Chocolate Mint Holiday Dessert and A Shopping Idea

Hello!

Even though I’m not vegan anymore, I still find myself popping in on the Oh She Glows blog to see her latest recipes.

I can’t post her actual recipe here but I can do the next best thing… provide the link to her Vegan Peppermint Patty Slice where you can go and check it out for yourself.

 

And please do because her photos are much yummier than mine.

In my opinion, chocolate and mint are one of the best combos ever.

 

 

 

 

 

Luckily I had all the ingredients at home because when I saw this recipe I knew exactly what was going to happen in my kitchen as soon as work ended for the day.

It came out so good.  LOL, sometimes I amaze myself with my creative, descriptive words.  Hmmm… it’s cool, creamy, minty and chocolatey with crunchy chocolaties on top.  🙂  That’s a bit better.

 

And because these are made with spinach (for the greenness), guess what? They qualify as a vegetable.  Kidding! But I am serious about them being full of healthy ingredients like cashews, cocoa and coconut with maple syrup as a sweetener.

I will surely be making these again!

 

 

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Winter Nighttime Rituals

Happy Monday everyone!  It’s definitely feeling like winter around here now, right? Saturday’s first snow of the season has made if official for me.   As if I am not enough of a homebody the rest of the year, this is precisely when the instinct to stay inside my cozy house kicks into high gear.

Views out my front and back windows on Saturday:

 

 

 

 

But I’m not going to complain about the cold, the snow or the fact that I can’t bike and it’s not as much fun to run when there is slush and ice.  And for a change of pace I’m not going to talk about food.  While we all know that food is a fascinating topic, life is also about many other things that make us feel happy and good.  Like the little behaviors we practice at home for comfort and that contribute to our health and well-being.  Particularly now and in the upcoming months when we’re most likely to feel like hibernating in our woolly socks and hoodies with this 4:30pm darkness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just for fun, I’m going to share my winter nighttime rituals.  These are some of the things I do at home before sleep during these cold, dark months that help bring me comfort, coziness, joy, gratitude and peace.  I’d love to hear yours too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So here I go, starting with after the pets and we have eaten dinner, after the cleaning up of the kitchen (can’t bear to go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink, can you?), after lunches are prepared for the next day and after Bonnie the dog gets a quick walk.  But even she has been preferring to stay in lately when it’s so dark and chilly out there.

 

 

 

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Products I’m Thankful For

I’m truly thankful for all food.                                                                                                      .

Even though I strive to base my diet around simple, unprocessed foods, I also like to buy some things that I couldn’t make in my own kitchen.  Cheese?  Yogurt?  Chocolate?  Technically, yes I could make these, but– I don’t.  When I’m buying a product that’s not a one-ingredient, whole food item (like an apple, a sweet potato or a piece of fish), I always check the list of ingredients.  Most packaged foods don’t provide many nutrients the way whole foods naturally do.  This is because of additions like: sugar, high fructose corn syrup, flours and highly processed oils like soybean, canola and cottonseed.

Perfection does not and should not exist, but we all want to make the best decisions we can… because we want to be healthy.  Most of us have choices when it comes to what we eat– this is something to be extremely grateful for.   Looking at the ingredient list will help you determine if you want to eat it, how much of it you want to eat and how often you want to eat it.  Not much will harm you in the short-term, but remember that your food choices add up over the days, months and years.  So, be choosy.

Let’s get down to some of the products I’ve been loving lately and why.                            Maybe you’ll find something new to try!

Siggi’s Yogurt

 

In my opinion, the Triple Cream is the best.  It’s got the most fat, it’s the creamiest and it’s the most delicious.  They also offer lower-fat flavors, many of which I’ve tried for variety and they are all great choices.

Why?  Two big things to look for with yogurts are the quality of the dairy and the amount of added sugar.      One more thing:  watch out for artificial sweeteners many companies sneak in.

Siggi’s uses milk from grass-fed cows.  Sugars are only 8g in most of the flavors (some have 11g).                                No artificial sweeteners.  No artificial colorings.            (Note that these are thick yogurts.)

 

 

 

Seasonal flavors are always fun.                                Especially when there is pumpkin involved!

 

 

 

Other yogurts I  love: Stonyfield, Narragansett Creamery and Maple Hill Creamery.

For a treat (sugar is on the high side), I really like Noosa:

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin was amazing.                             Apple was equally delicious.                     You’ll feel like you are eating a decadent dessert.  Treat it like a treat.

 

 

 

 

 

Wise cow.

 

 

 

Spindrift Sparkling Water

 

Water without corn syrup and without chemical sweeteners is the way to go.  Your basic flavored carbonated waters by Poland Springs, Polar and La Croix do this just fine with the addition of “natural flavors.”

But sometimes, don’t you want something just a little bit… different…?

 

 

Spindrift has managed to create a product that is mainly just carbonated water but with a squeeze of fruit.

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re willing to spare about 13 calories per can (that’s nothing, you’re burning that off reading this!) in exchange for a little variety and added flavor to your water, then you’re going to love these.

 

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Grapes and Walnuts

Just made this yesterday and wanted to share.  With Thanksgiving coming up fast you might be in need of a fresh and unique idea.  These are delicious and easy– a healthy side dish for your holiday meal that you and your guests will love!

The recipe can be found here:  Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Grapes and Walnuts on the Whole Foods Market website where you’ll also find plenty of other Thanksgiving recipes and tips.   Check it out!

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In Memory of Halloweens Past

I would get so excited about trick-or-treating.  Yes, I was that kid, the impatient one nagging my sister and our friends to “Come on!  Hurry up!” as I ran ahead of all of them to quickly get to the next house.  After all, wasn’t the object of this night to accumulate as much candy as possible?

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Can a Dog Impact Your Health?

While food is a biggie, it’s only one piece in the complex puzzle of enjoying a healthy life!

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the mindset that a perfect diet is the most important element to health and wellness.  But something crucial to remember is… it’s not all about the food!  You could be eating the most “perfect” diet in the world (whatever that is) but still not feeling the way you want to feel– which likely could mean that it’s not what you’re eating or not eating but something else in your life that needs attention.

We’re missing a lot if we focus too intently on exactly what and how much to eat and not on the other areas of life– like ensuring quality sleep and relaxation time, pursing friendships and social connections, lightening up with laughter, treating ourselves to sunlight and time in nature, exploring our favorite creative outlets, moving our bodies, doing kind things for others….just to name a few.

Oh, and loving a DOG!!

 

 

 

 

 

Bonnie is my gorgeous almost-2-year old half-Chihuahua mutt:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She makes me laugh,

 

Waiting for trick-or-treaters.

What a stinker.

 

 

 

 

gets me walking, running and playing outside,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

teaches me to relax,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and no, having a dog is not without its challenging moments:

 

It was evident early on that she was not a fan of crates and much preferred destroying doggie beds to sleeping on them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And yoga in the living room at home is also happening a lot more infrequently.

 

 

 

 

 

The love outweighs the frustrations and I am quite certain that having Bonnie in my life has only enriched it.

 

 

 

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Yay! The End of Summer…. Squash

No, I’m not happy it’s the end of summer.  🙁

But I am not sad to see the summer squash go.  🙂

I gave it my best but I was far too outnumbered to keep up with them.  Every week, with every new CSA bag, there would be more.  Zucchini, pattypans, crooknecks and mystery varieties of all shapes and sizes were building up in my fridge, on top of my fridge and on the counter.  The thought of grilling summer squash with dinner one more night became absolute torture. There is nothing wrong with zucchini on the grill but it can grow tiresome.  I knew I had to get creative with some additional ingredients to liven things up.

If you’re finding yourself here at the end of summer stuck with too many summer squash and not enough motivation to eat them, I have a few tasty ideas you might want to try:

1.  Grilled Pattypan Squash Pizzas

This is what a pattypan squash looks like:

 

They come in white, yellow and green.

 

 

 

 

Slice thinly to make your pizza “crusts” and grill on one side for about 5 minutes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then flip over, add your sauce, cheese and pepperoni and cook for about another 5 minutes (grill closed):

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used Applegate for pepperoni and Organic Valley for cheese:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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