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Parchment Paper Salmon

It’s been HOT, HOT, HOT in LA lately. Like sweat pooling behind your knees and through your shirt hot. Never thought I would say it but I wish it was a a bit cooler. It’s October and I love sweatshirt weather and cuddling under blankets at night and you definitely can’t do either of those right now. Despite my complaints about the warm weather, you really can’t beat views like this:

Sunsets in Santa Monica
Sunsets in Santa Monica

And what made yesterday even better? The San Diego Chargers running train on the Jets!! I will admit that I’m a newly converted Charger fan. Since LA does not have a football team, I naturally rooted for whoever the Patriots were playing because I have a strong dislike for any Boston professional sports teams. (As a side note- this stems from my love for the Lakers and their bitter rivalry with the Celtics. Ask any of my friends and they will tell you that I bleed purple and gold for #24 and the LOS ANGELES LAKERS.) My boyfriend in from San Diego and by default I have become a Chargers fan. SO excited to see them doing well and even more excited that we’re going to see them play the Patriots in December at Qualcomm! #boltup

#BoltUp
#BoltUp

With the Chargers win, it was only fitting to have a winning dinner. Whole Foods was having a sale on wild caught salmon (GO SUSTAINABLE FISHING PRACTICES!) and so we had to buy some. I will admit that I don’t eat it as much as I should but maybe if I make parchment paper salmon every night for dinner, I might just get all my Omega 3’s in!

Parchment Paper Salmon with Greek Yogurt Mustard Sauce

Parchment paper salmon packets!
Parchment paper salmon packets!

Ingredients

  • 3 salmon fillets (about the size of your hand)
  • 1 small yellow zucchini, sliced
  • 1 small green zucchini, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 lemon sliced, 1 lemon halved
  • 1/4 c nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • Whole Foods all-purpose seasoning (or similar- I also like Trader Joe’s salt free 21 Seasoning Salute)
  • 1 TBS whole grain mustard
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Tear off 3 medium sized sheets of parchment paper. In the middle of the parchment paper, arrange the sliced zucchini as a base for the salmon.
  2. Place the salmon fillet on top of the zucchini. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Top with 1 TBS minced onion and lemon slices.
  3. Fold the parchment paper into packets. I folded the parchment paper how I had seen on a cooking show (see photo) but the folks at Cooking Light have a great method that further hammers home the heart health benefits of eating fish!
  4. Put the packets on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the salmon fillets.
  5. While the fish is cooking, whisk together the Greek yogurt, mustard, garlic salt, all-purpose seasoning, fresh cracked black pepper, rosemary, thyme, and fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 2 TBS).
  6. Remove fish from oven and carefully open the packets. Serve with lemon wedges and a drizzle (or more!) of the yogurt sauce!
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Maple Paleo Pumpkin Muffins

Since I’ve passed my RD exam I’ve had every intention of blogging regularly and posting really awesome pictures of all the cool stuff I’ve been up to. However, that did not happen. As much as I would love to be the dietitian that blogs on a regular basis, I decided, or rather realized that I’m better suited to post when I am feeling most inspired. And maybe if I have a really amazing recipe to share!

After I tackled the hurdle of passing my RD exam, I joined the league of Americans searching for a job. It was definitely a long and arduous process. I obsessively searched Indeed every day, upgraded my LinkedIn to premium and utilized my networking skills to see what I could find. During the internship I couldn’t wait to not have work to do but once I was jobless, I quickly realized I missed the work. I guess it’s true when they say you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.

Thankfully, my hard work and obsessive job searching led to two great opportunities! I am working in a hospital one day a week and will work full-time as an outpatient RD for a medical group in LA (my same job from before my internship)!

I couldn’t think of any better way to celebrate fall and new jobs than pumpkin muffins! These paleo pumpkin muffins were created 2 years ago when I was doing CrossFit and first heard about paleo. While I’m not a die-hard paleo-eater, I do love the way many paleo bloggers create some amazing grain free recipes! While the recipe is not completely paleo (oat topping) you can certainly change some ingredients around to make it paleo!

Ingredients

1 cup almond meal (ground up almonds)
1 cup pumpkin puree (I used Trader Joe’s Organic pumpkin puree)
¼ cup real maple syrup (Vermont Trader Joe’s Maple syrup, you can also substitute honey)
2 eggs
¼ cup crunchy almond butter
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon apple pie spice
½ teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ cup roasted pecans
¾ cup roasted walnuts

Topping

¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce
¼ cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon maple syrup
¼ cup oats
1 TBS coconut oil, non-hydrogenated margarine (Smart Balance), or butter

Directions
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Combine all muffin ingredients and mix in a stand mixer.  Be careful not to overmix!

3) Toast walnuts and pecans in a frying pan over medium heat for 3-5 minutes.  Remove from heat and coarsely chop.

4) Add ¾ of chopped nuts to muffin batter.

5) Drop by batter by large spoonfuls into lined muffin cups. Recipe will make approximately 12 muffins.

6) To make topping, combine apple sauce, pumpkin, oats, and remaining nuts.  If using non-hydrogenated margarine or butter melt in microwave and then add to topping mixture.  Spoon a dollop of topping mixture on top of each muffin.

7) Bake in oven on middle rack for 30-35 minutes.  Muffins are done when an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

8) While muffins are cooling, drizzle real maple syrup over each muffin.

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Greek Salad

Greek salad photo

Greek Salad

This hearty Greek salad gets even better as it marinates in the dressing. The bright and cheery colors combined with the freshness of the lemon and parsley make this salad a sure crowd pleaser! Pack this up in a to-go container to take with you to work for lunch or as a snack on a long road trip!

Ingredients

  •  1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
  •  1 cucumbers, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  •  ¼ c red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup garbanzo beans
  • ½ c chopped parsley
  • ¼ c Kalamata olives
  •  ¼ c crumbled feta cheese

Dressing 

  • 2 lemons, juiced (about ¼ c)
  • 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ c nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 TBS brown mustard
  • 2 TBS chopped red onion
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

 

Directions

1)    Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl.

2)    Add dressing ingredients to a blender, blending until the dressing is frothy.

3)    Drizzle about ¼ c of dressing over salad and toss to combine. You can add more or less dressing depending on preference.

4)    Eat and enjoy!

 

Nutrition Facts: Serving size= ¾ cup, 155 calories, 8 g fat, 6 g protein, 327 mg sodium

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Cranberry Quinoa Power Bars

This recipe makes a delicious heart healthy snack or breakfast option for when you’re on the go. Chock full of omega 3’s, fiber, whole grains, and healthy fats, it’s filled with hearty guilt-free goodness.

Ingredients

  • 2 c cooked quinoa
  • 2 c raw oats
  • ½ c dried cranberries
  • ½ c pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • ½ c smooth almond butter
  • ½ c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 c brown rice syrup
  • 1/3 c unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ c ground flaxseed
  • ¼ c chia seeds
  • ¼ c unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Directions

1)     Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2)    Toss all ingredients into a bowl and stir to combine

3)    Lightly coat pan with cooking spray. Press into a 8×8 baking dish and put into the oven.

4)   Cook for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

5)    Slice into bars and enjoy. Store in an airtight container.

For a special heart health treat, drizzle with melted dark chocolate! Dark chocolate has antioxidant properties that may have some benefit to reducing blood pressure.

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Kale Avocado Salad

Image

Kale, the superfood de jour, is a way that you can add major nutrition brownie points to any dish.  Rich in Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and beta carotene, this superfood is low in calories, good source of fiber, and a great substitution for lettuce.  One complaint is that the leaves tend to be bitter and tough.  Tenderize by massaging the leaves and you have a dark, leafy green that can be added to just about any dish.


This salad was created in honor of National Nutrition Month.  It incorporates unsaturated fats, dark leafy greens, and a variety of colorful vegetables.  Avocado is the main base for this dish- it provides that creaminess that we desire from most salad dressing without the saturated fat associated with that Hidden Valley ranch dressing.  

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch kale, de-ribbed and shredded
  • 1 ½ cups shredded red cabbage
  • 2 cups fresh herb salad
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 avocados
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Garlic and herb salt free seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  •  2 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin seeds

Directions

1)   Take 1 whole avocado (peeled and sliced) and sprinkle with garlic and a squeeze of lemon juice.  Mash the avocado onto the shredded kale with your hands, evenly coating the kale with avocado.  Let sit for 30 minutes to help soften the kale.

2)   To make dressing- combine the olive oil, remaining lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and 1 TBS garlic and herb salt-free seasoning.  Whisk together to combine.

3)   Chop 1 whole avocado.  Add remaining ingredients to kale and combine.

4)   Drizzle dressing and top with chopped avocado.

5)   Eat and Enjoy!

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Blueberry Banana Muffins

We made these muffins late one night while craving a sweet snack, that wasn’t packaged or filled with cups of sugar (though the thought of a homemade muffin from Primo Passo Coffee in Santa Monica, CA sounds delicious and very needed as we work on our grant proposals!)  The recipe for these muffins were adapted from the blog The Minimalist Baker.  They use minimally processed ingredients and have recipes that meet a variety of dietary needs and preferences.  These muffins were first made on a snowy, day before Valentine’s Day baked good for boyfriend who was flying in the next morning (It was during one of the worst 2014 polar vortex storms- the California intern just about died!).  The simplicity and ease of the recipe makes these muffins great for anyone who is new to the kitchen!

They can be made gluten free, vegan or paleo by switching a few ingredients.  This batch were vegan and were delicious!  We’re still modifying the recipe but thought we would share our modifications and tips with you!

Blueberry Banana Bran Chia Seed Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 flax eggs (2 TBS flax, 5 TBS water)
  • 3 TBS agave nectar
  • 1/4 c unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 med ripe bananas
  • 1/2 c frozen blueberries
  • 3 TBS almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 c almond meal
  • 1/2 c plus 2 TBS wheat bran
  • 1/4 c chia seeds

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a muffin tin with liners (recipe makes about 10 muffins)

2) Prepare flax egg.  Add flax and water and let sit for a couple minutes.

3) Add banana and mash.  Add blueberries agave, baking powder, vanilla, applesauce, and almond milk.  During this step we began eyeballing the ingredients.  The muffins aren’t super sweet so you can be flexible in how much agave you add.  Since there are no raw eggs, you can taste the batter for sweetness!

4) Add almond meal and wheat bran and stir.  Be careful not to over mix batter as this can lead to tunneled muffins! (Thank you food science class!)  Depending on how dry or wet your batter is, add more liquid (applesauce/almond milk) or bran.  You can also adjust sweetness here.  We added a little honey at this point.  Add the chia seeds and give one final mix!

5) Fill muffin cups to the top and bake for 30-35 minutes.  Check for doneness by pressing the tops of the muffins.  We found that they were still fairly liquid at this point (still experimenting with the baking temps and ratios of the recipe…will keep you updated!) and turned up the temperature to 450 and baked for an additional 10 minutes.  This did the trick!

6) Enjoy with all natural almond or peanut butter!  Delicious and nutritious!  Great way to Get Your Nutrition On!

 

We will continue to experiment with this recipe to perfect it!  To make the recipe gluten free, omit wheat bran and use Gluten Free flour (The Minimalist Baker used ground GF oats!) of your choice.  To make paleo, use almond meal flour.

 

Check out our Instagram feed for photos of the the muffin!  @getyournutritionon