Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad

If there are two vegetables that scream “dietitian”, they have to be kale and Brussels sprouts. Kale has seen a rise to fame over the past couple of years, but it is the untapped Brussels sprouts that excites me! If you immediately scrunch up your nose at the mere mention of Brussels sprouts, give me this one chance.   The Brussels sprouts are served raw (no mushy paste here) and shredded, mixed with fresh kale (any kind will do), almonds, Parmesan cheese, and a lemon-Dijon vinaigrette. #YUM.

This salad has it all. Sweet (honey), sour (lemon juice), salty (Parmesan), bitter (kale and Brussels sprouts), and crunchy (almonds).

It takes a little time to slice up the Brussels sprouts, but is totally worth it. I have used several types of kale in the salad, but usually go between baby kale (no cutting or washing required) and lacinato/dinosaur kale (firmer and darker than standard curly kale). Besides the veggies, I typically have the rest of these ingredients on hand.

Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad (Serves 6)

All you need:
For the dressing: 1 tbsp minced green onions
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp honey
1/4 cup olive oil

For the salad:
4 cups chopped kale (Lacinato, curly, baby, any type works great)
4 cups finely shredded Brussels sprouts
1/2 cup sliced roasted almonds
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

 All you do:
Make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the green onions, mustard, lemon juice, lemon zest, honey and olive oil. Season the dressing with salt and pepper to taste.
Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, toss together the shredded kale, shredded Brussels sprouts and almonds. Add the dressing, tossing to combine, then add the cheese and toss. Serve immediately.

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Beets – Give Them Another Chance with Beet and Feta Burgers

I have a confession to make. I am a registered dietitian and I don’t like beets.  There, I said it. Phew, I feel better getting it off my chest.

At least that was the case until today. I have tried numerous beet recipes in the past, always hopeful that one of them would be a “keeper”. But the recipes always failed to cover up the dirty, earthy after taste. I have tried Harvard beets, grilled beets, steamed beets, pickled beets, raw beets, beet hummus, and even beets in a smoothie. But I was always left saying the same thing: “I just don’t like beets!”

Well, I’m here to tell you that I have found a beet recipe that is amazing! It is simple to make and oh, so pretty.

As a warning, when dealing with beets, you will want to wear an apron (or at least avoid wearing white). As proof, here is a photo of the aftermath.

All you do for the burgers is grate the beets and onion, stir in the rest of the ingredients, and let it rest for a minimum of 30 minutes. Letting it rest is what allows it to stick together.

Beet and Feta Burgers

(Makes 6 to 8 burgers)

  • cups grated beets (about 4 to 5 beets)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 8 ounces feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt and black pepper
  • tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil, for frying
  1. Peel and grate beets and onion, using a box grater or food processor.
  2. Place the grated vegetables in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add garlic, olive oil, eggs, rolled oats, feta, basil, salt and pepper and mix everything well.
  4. Set aside for about 30 minutes, so the oats can soak up the liquid and the mixture sets (this step is important for the patties to hold together).
  5. Try shaping a patty with your hands. If the mixture is to loose, add additional oats.
  6. Form 6 to 8 patties with your hands.
  7. In a large skillet on the stove over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Fry the burgers 3-5 minutes on each side, cooking until they are crispy and golden.
  8. Serve with a grilled ciabatta roll and toppings of your choice (lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, and onions).
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Lemon Honey Ginger Tea. A Natural Sore Throat Remedy

Spring can’t come soon enough. It seems like everyone in our family keeps passing around the winter icks. One of my favorite ways to soothe a sore throat is with a hot mix of lemon, honey and giner.

The recipe is simple: fill your favorite mug with hot water, add sliced lemons and ginger and a drizzle of honey. The longer this steeps, the more pronounced the flavors.

lemon honey tea

No ginger? No problem!  I will often make this with a mixture of just lemon and honey, two ingredients I always have on hand.



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Petition to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – #RepealTheSeal

I am participating in the #RepealTheSeal campaign to show my disagreement with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' recent decision to allow the Kids Eat Right logo onto food packaging.   I invite my fellow colleagues and bloggers who share this opinion, or who support this campaign, to also post this Open Letter on their own blog, to sign the petition at change.org, and/or to use #RepealTheSeal hashtag via social media.

I am participating in the #RepealTheSeal campaign to show my disagreement with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ recent decision to allow the Kids Eat Right logo onto food packaging.
I invite my fellow colleagues and bloggers who share this opinion, or who support this campaign, to also post this Open Letter on their own blog, to sign the petition at change.org, and/or to use #RepealTheSeal hashtag via social media.

March 16, 2015.  To Mary Beth Whalen, President Sonja Connor, leadership at the Academy and the Kids Eat Right (KER) Foundation:

As long-time members and proud supporters of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), we are dismayed, shocked, and saddened by the blog post in last week’s New York Times. The piece (http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/03/12/a-cheese-product-wins-kids-nutrition-seal/?_r=0 – ) reports on the KER Foundation’s Nutrition seal— a seal that the Academy states was not an endorsement of the product, but is an indicator of the brands that support Kids Eat Right.

As dedicated Registered Dietitians/Nutritionists and food and nutrition experts, we are protesting the Academy’s position to allow the Kids Eat Right logo on Kraft Singles, as well as the possibility to allow any future implied endorsement of any product by AND for the following reasons:

Flawed Understanding of the Marketplace

We wholly reject the rationale that the Academy used in their formal press release to defend the nature of the relationship between Kraft and the Academy. A logo on a product label is an endorsement, an alignment, and recognition of a paid relationship. Simply stating otherwise in a press release, no matter how emphatically, doesn’t change this fact. Rather, AND’s actions illustrate how profoundly out of touch AND is with business principles, which has put our professional integrity and credibility at risk. It is also a decision that is out of touch with members’ values.

Failure to Provide Transparency to AND Members and Consumers

We work hard to provide full transparency in all of our own business relationships, and we expect the same from the Academy. Failure to be transparent about ANDs actions violates the Academy’s own Ethics Policy, which calls for the highest standards of honesty and integrity, and for members to not engage in false or misleading practices of communications.

Actions Requested of the Academy: #RepealtheSeal

We ask that the Academy make available to its members, the media and the public the following:

  • We ask for full transparency regarding the process of approval to allow the KER logo on the Kraft product— including the names of those involved, the meeting minutes of the discussion, and Board’s vote on this issue.
  • We ask for full disclosure of the terms of the financial agreement between KER Foundation and Kraft. We also request full transparency regarding the status of future agreements under consideration for use of our Logo.
  • We ask the Academy to provide their plan for the discontinuation of this specific relationship with Kraft and removal of the KER logo off Kraft Singles product packaging.

Academy members deserve strong leaders who will protect the integrity of the Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist credential. This latest action is an embarrassing misstep that must be corrected swiftly in order to prevent further damage to the RD/RDN brand and to the Academy.

Sincerely, Rachel Begun MS, RDN Kate Geagan MS, RDN Regan Jones, RDN Registered Dietitian/Nutritionists colleagues listed at change.org

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5 Reasons to Visit a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

5 reasons to visit a registered dietitian nutritionist
In honor of National Nutrition Month and National Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day, here are my top 5 reasons to set up a meeting with your registered dietitian nutritionist:

1. Prevention – this is the nutritionist’s best case scenario. Many people have family histories of cancer, heart disease and other major illnesses. By taking control of the factors you can change including diet and lifestyle, you have a chance of beating the odds. Investing in your health today will pay off with a happy, healthy future.

2. Support your body during illness – when diagnosed with an illness, all contributing factors must be assessed in order to effectively manage and/or reverse the progression. A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist serves as an integral part of your health-care team by helping you safely change your eating plan without compromising taste or nutrition. What you eat and how you live is going to have a direct effect on your body’s ability to fight and recover.

3. Lose weight effectively – being overweight puts you at a higher risk of developing serious conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. In order to lose weight properly and keep it off, more than just a “diet” is involved – a whole change in lifestyle is required, and those changes must be tailored to your unique physical, mental and emotional makeup.

4. Maximize the benefits from your fitness routine – being active and building muscle is half the battle – without the right foods going into your body, plus proper rest and relaxation for recovery, you will not reach your optimal state of health. Why put all the effort into challenging your body physically, if you are not going to do everything you can to ensure health from the inside?

5. Increase your energy and sense of well-being and eat smarter
– sometimes we get in a rut, and our work and family life suffers. Finding out what you may be doing wrong, and incorporating positive health-promoting changes can help you live the life you crave. There is a lot of misinformation out there. Learn how to read labels at the supermarket, discover that healthy cooking is inexpensive and learn how to eat out without ruining your eating plan. Eat well, feel well, and look great – people notice when you are radiating health, and it will boost your confidence and energize you!

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Bacon Brussles Sprouts and Goat Cheese Pizza

Oh yes, you read that correctly. This dietitian put bacon and Brussels sprouts on PIZZA (the same pizza).

I’ll let you in on a little secret. I am always looking for a pizza recipe. To me, pizza is the perfect food. You can have all the food groups addressed in one beautiful, easy-to-eat pie. Another reason that I love making pizza…? My kids eat it without complaining! SCORE!

I came across this recipe on a recent Pinterest binge (please tell me I’m not alone in getting completely lost in that black hole) and it just looked and sounded so amazing. In my mind, Brussels sprouts and bacon go together like cilantro and lime (can a relationship get any more perfect?) so I set out to conquer this new feat.

I started with freshly made dough (really so simple – as long as you plan for the rising time), rolled out nice and thin. I would love to say that I was going for an “artisan” crust, but really my rolling was distracted by a couple of hungry children fighting over who was the better cheese shredder! (If the state of my floors after all the cheese was shredded is any indication of a quality shredder, then they are both A+).

Pizza Dough

Finely slice the Brussels sprouts and green onions.




Mix sliced Brussels sprouts, bacon, onions, garlic, oil, vinegar, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper together in a bowl.


WARNING: This mixture by itself is highly addictive.

Place the dough on a parchment-covered pizza stone, brushing with olive oil. Spread the Brussels sprouts mixture evenly over the crust and top with cheese. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and the cheese is melted.




Slice and enjoy!

Bacon Brussels Sprouts and Goat Cheese Pizza

All you need:
Raw pizza dough
4 tablespoons cooked bacon (I cheated and used the bagged bacon pieces found near the salad dressings)
5-6 Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tsps minced garlic
1 Tbs olive oil, plus more for brushing the dough
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
4 ounces goat cheese, broken into pieces
1/4 Parmesan cheese

All you do:
1. Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees for about 30 minutes prior to baking.

2. In a medium bowl, toss the thinly sliced Brussels sprouts with the green onions, garlic, oil, vinegar, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Lightly dust counter top with flour or cornmeal, roll the pizza dough into a 14-inch circle (or any shape that fits your pizza stone). Place on a parchment paper-covered pizza stone. Brush the outside edge of the dough with olive oil.

4. Spread the Brussels sprouts mixture over the crust then top with cheeses.

5. Bake the pizza for 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is browned and the toppings are cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a few minutes before slicing and serving.

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High Protein, Low Carb Pasta? Yes, it does exist!

With more and more people looking for higher protein and lower carbohydrate options, I have been on the search for a pasta that fits the bill (and still tastes great!).

I was beginning to think that such a product didn’t exist until I came across these amazing bean-based noodles. They come in 3 different varieties including black bean, soy bean, and soy + mung bean. I’ll admit I was a bit hesitant to try them, but the concept was too tempting. I’ve made a couple different dishes with them and have been amazed!


The first one I made was a pasta with the soy + mung bean noodles and a new sauce called Majka Ajvar (I’m not sure on the pronunciation, but am sure that it is delicious).

The sauce is red pepper and egg plant based, rather than tomato based. It is a savory sauce that isn’t overly acidic (like most pasta sauces and salsas). It can be used on pastas, as a dip for tortilla chips or even as a sauce to flavor veggies. ( I have been caught eating it with a spoon).

The noodles are great tasting and have a really nice (but slightly springy) texture.  The biggest plus is that they have 24g protein and only 9g of carbs per serving (compared to about 7g protein and 40g carbs in regular pasta). These noodles will keep you full and satisfied for hours.

Make a traditional pasta or an Asian stir fry. You won’t be disappointed!


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