Tag Archives: nutrition

Very Berry Overnight Oats

I guess I’m a little late to the “overnight oats” party. Better late than never, I suppose.

I have been reading about the overnight oats craze for quite awhile, however, and this weekend seemed as good as time as any to finally try a recipe out myself.

My weekday breakfast does not vary much from my usual oatmeal and hot tea. After discovering Better Oats during my internship, I have been hooked on these for my morning meal (and it’s seriously genius that the oatmeal packet doubles as the measuring cup). Anyway, after attempting my own overnight oats, I’m convinced these will begin to make an appearance in my breakfast lineup. They are easy to grab in the morning and the preparation is relatively minimal. The hardest part is deciding on the flavors to experiment with!

Very Berry Overnight Oats


  • 1/4 cup steel cut oats
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt (I used vanilla)
  • pinch of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup mixed berries (approximately)


  • Combine all ingredients (I used a Mason jar), stir, cover and refrigerate overnight. 
  • Enjoy hot or cold the next morning.

I used steel cut oats, but you can easily use rolled oats. Both are whole grains (remember to make half of your grains whole!) and a good source of fiber. The milk and Greek yogurt provide a protein punch and the berries round out the meal for a balanced breakfast. The only thing missing are the vegetables!

I think my next attempt will be apple cinnamon.

Have you tried overnight oats? What is your go-to recipe?


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Cinnamon Ice Cream

Over the weekend, our nutrition graduate student group hosted a “Fall Foods” party. We had quite the spread – vegetarian chili, roasted vegetables, various dips, homemade pretzels, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, and cinnamon ice cream (among other things).

I volunteered to make the ice cream since I have one of these fancy machines sitting around my apartment.

This ice cream maker was one of those impulse buys…you know what I mean, right? I’ve had it for several years but have probably only used it a handful of times (mostly because I’m impulsive when I cook/bake/experiment and forget to freeze the base ahead of time and end up with a soupy mess).

I couldn’t have been happier with how the cinnamon ice cream turned out. I was a little nervous about how much cinnamon to add, but it seemed to be a hit. One guy even told me the ice cream tasted like a snickerdoodle. I’ll take that as a compliment.

Cinnamon Ice Cream


  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • dash of salt


  1. Freeze the ice cream base for at least 24 hours. It needs to be COLD! (for this machine; if you have a different one, follow those directions)
  2. Using a mixer or whisk, mix the milk and sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add in remaining ingredients and stir well.
  4. Turn on machine and pour in mixture (again, follow YOUR machine’s directions/set up) and “churn” for 20-25 minutes.
  5. Enjoy!

The cinnamon ice cream paired well with the carrot cupcakes we also served, but I think it would go well with other desserts as well. Apple crisp, anyone?

What’s your favorite fall flavor of ice cream? Does it ever get too cold to eat ice cream?

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Cheesy Farro and Kale Bake

I LOVE macaroni  and cheese. So much in fact, that last year, my roommate and I essentially ate mac and cheese {almost} every Thursday night for a good duration of the school year. We generally relied on the “blue box”, which is not the healthiest choice by any means, but we added tuna for some omega-3s and to bulk up the nutrition and tiny bit.

Eventually, I got tired of the weekly “blue box” routine and swore off mac and cheese for a while, even though there is one lonely box left in my pantry that remains from the ginormous Sam’s Purchase.

Lately, I’ve been more into “gourmet” mac and cheese recipes, especially those that can/have been modified to be a healthier option. For example, have you ever tried mixing puréed cauliflower with your mac and cheese? Super yummy and you can’t even tell it’s there (that’s a recipe for another time!)

Now onto today’s recipe, Cheesy Farro and Kale!

First, what the heck is farro? I was introduced to this whole grain during my grocery store rotation at GIANT during my dietetic internship. Farro is an ancient grain that can easily be substituted for pasta or rice in most any recipe and has a somewhat nutty flavor that is comparable to brown rice. Nutritionally, farro is chock full of fiber, magnesium, and vitamins A, B, C, and E. Want to learn more about farro (and other whole grains)? Check out  the Whole Grains Council.

Moving on to one of my favorite greens — kale! If you’ve been visiting the farmer’s market lately, you’ve probably seen kale. Along with other greens, kale is the best food source of vitamin K. Additionally greens are packed with calcium and magnesium (strong bones anyone?), vitamin A, folate, and fiber.

Cheesy Farro and Kale Bake


  • 1 cup farro, cooked (you probably could use a little more, this was all I had left!)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup skim milk, hot (but not boiling!)
  • ~ 1 cup Parmesan cheese, sharp cheddar cheese, and Gruyère cheese, shredded (use more or less of each for your own combination; also, feel free to sub other yummy cheeses)
  • Breadcrumbs for a crispy topping (use at your own discretion)


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a baking dish.
  2. Cook the farro according to package directions.
  3. Sauté the garlic in a pan. Add kale and sauté. Remove from heat.
  4. In a clean saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add flour and stir to form a smooth paste. Add milk and stir constantly until thickened. Add shredded cheese mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Combine farro, kale, and cheese sauce in a bowl. Transfer to baking dish and cover with breadcrumbs. Bake until the top is browned

Recipe adapted from Carlene’s Figments

Enjoy this cheesy, whole-grain comfort food dish for a healthier mac and cheese fix.

What is your favorite comfort food? Have you ever tried farro?


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Back to School

Tomorrow marks the start of my second year of grad school. Wow. Where did the last year go?

While I am sad summer is over, I am ready to get back into a real routine and have some structure to my life. I did spend most of the summer working on my research, but I still managed to have some fun. I had some great trips (El Salvador, Pittsburgh, Virginia, Delaware), awesome visitors (family and friends), and made some great memories with my grad school friends. I also got to spend some time at home with my family.

My free time is about to dramatically decrease, but I’m ready to hit the ground running this semester. My backpack is (almost) packed, my planner is updated, and my clothes are ready for the morning. Bring on the school year!

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Happy RD Birthday!

Today is my 1 year Registered Dietitian (RD) birthday.

What is an RD? In a nutshell, an RD is a food and nutrition expert who has completed the minimum academic and professional requirements to sit for the RD exam. These requirements include an undergraduate degree that meets certain academic criteria and completion of 1200 hours as part of a dietetic internship.

For me, I completed my undergraduate coursework at Kansas State University and my dietetic internship at Penn State. Today, I’m using my RD credential as a graduate student where I am exploring different facets of weight management and general health and wellness.

I really can’t believe it has been 1 year since I took the much anticipated RD exam. It honestly feels like just yesterday I was starting the first day of my internship! Time really does fly when you love what you do.

Are you interested in becoming an RD? Be sure to check out The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Have a nutrition question or need some nutrition advice? Find an RD near you.

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Rhubarb Streusel Muffins

Last week I found rhubarb in my CSA box and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. I was trying to avoid the cliché Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie and went searching for the perfect recipe.

I came across a fantastic looking muffin recipe, compliments of Smitten Kitchen, and it definitely did not disappoint. I made a few changes and the end result was the perfect combination of tart rhubarb complimented by the sweet streusel topping. Yum.


Choose firm, crisp, medium-size rhubarb stalks and make sure to remove the leave before use (they’re poisonous). Rhubarb is a good source of vitamin C and also supplies fiber, calcium, and magnesium.

Whole Wheat Rhubarb Streusel Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins


  • ¼ cup (31 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (28 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp (13 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp (38 grams) brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 Tbsp butter, melted


  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp (38 grams) granulated sugar
  • 5 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 6 oz non-fat plain Greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
  • 1 cup (120 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup (63 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup diced rhubarb
  1.  Preheat oven to 375°. Grease muffin tin (or use cupcake liners).
  2. Make streusel: In a small dish, stir together flours, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Stir in butter until crumbly. Set aside.
  3. Make muffins: Whisk egg with both sugars in a large bowl. Whisk in butter and yogurt. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add to yogurt mixture and mix until just combined (batter will be lumpy). Fold in rhubarb and about 1/3 of the streusel mixture.
  4. Divide batter among muffin tins and sprinkle with remaining streusel. Using a spoon, gently press the crumbs into the batter so that they stick.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Rest muffins on cooling rack for a few minutes before removing from tin to cool completely. Enjoy!

 Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

What is your favorite way to use rhubarb?


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Refrigerator Pickles

As I was perusing the Farmer’s Market last week, I came across some Kirby cucumbers and pickles instantly came to mind. Being the impulse shopper that I am, I bought a quart of cucumbers and figured I’d worry about making pickles later (never mind that I don’t even have a canner). After searching Google, consulting my mom, and scouring several cookbooks, I finally found a recipe for pickles that didn’t require a canner and could simply be made in the refrigerator. I just cracked open my first jar for a taste and I am pretty impressed with myself!

If pickles aren’t your thing, don’t shy away from cucumbers! These beauties provide a healthy dose of potassium, vitamin K, magnesium, and fiber and are great served in salads or with dip.

Refrigerator Pickles

Yield: 2 pints

  •  1 quart Kirby cucumbers (I weighed mine and it was approximately 1½ pounds)
  • ¾ cup vinegar
  • ¾ cup water (I used filtered)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons dill seed
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard seed
  • ¼ teaspoon dill (add more if you prefer)
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  1. Wash and dry cucumbers. Chop ends off and slice into spears.
  2. Combine vinegar, water and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat.
  3. While brine is coming to a boil, equally divide the dill seed, mustard seed, dill, garlic, and onion between two pint jars.
  4. Without crushing the cucumber spears, pack as tightly as possibly into the jars.
  5. Divide the brine between the jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace (the space from the top of the jar to the food or liquid in the jar).
  6. Place lids tightly on jars and allow them to cool. Once cool, refrigerate and let cure for a least one day. Store in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Note: These pickles are not shelf stable. Keep them in the fridge!

 Adapted from Food in Jars

Do you have a refrigerator pickle recipe? 

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