Friday Link Love

Oh hello, happy Friday! It’s my last day in the Outer Banks (feeling sad).

sunrise 1 framed

One of the best things about spending a week at the beach is cramming in tons of reading. I don’t typically have make time for all the reading I wish I could do in my normal life. For me this means catching up on blogs, articles, audio books and novels. Since not much else is going on in my life this week, I figured I’d share my favorite reads from around the web througout this post.

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Vietnamese Spring Rolls & Internship Days

I cannot believe it has been two full years since my dietetic internship! This time two years ago I was studying my butt off for my board exam to become a Registered Dietitian. In honor of the anniversary, I will reminisce…

In order to be a dietitian, there is a practical internship comprised of three topic areas: clinical, community, and food service. Of the three, food service was at the bottom of my anticipation list. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find I actually enjoyed and connected with many aspects of food service.

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Cocoa-dusted Mint Chocolate Energy Balls

cocoa-dusted Mint Chocolate Energy BallsWhen I got home from the beach Sunday night I thought about checking the millions of emails that were crowding my inbox, but I changed my mind. I didn’t want to rob Monday of its responsibility to torture. Instead, I decided to keep my mental health in check and do some food prep.

When I travel, I end up eating more protein bars, protein shakes, and processed food in general than I’d prefer. So some damage control was necessary. The result was these minty little gems with very few ingredients…

cocoa dusted mint cohcolate bite

 


Cocoa-dusted Mint Chocolate Energy Balls 

Makes: 12-15 balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of dates
  • 1 cup of almonds
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp almond milk
  • ½ tsp peppermint extract
  • ½ tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Place dates in a food processor, blend until smooth
  2. Add almonds to food processor, blend leaving some larger pieces intact for texture
  3. Scoop mixture into a bowl and add the almond milk, cocoa powder, salt, and peppermint extract, stir until mixed
  4. Round mixture into balls about an inch thick (12-15)
  5. Add cocoa powder to a small bowl and dip balls to coat
  6. Place balls in the fridge for 15 minutes to cool
  7. enjoy

Nutrition:

1 ball: 78 calories, 11g carbs, 4g fat, 2g protein and 4 g fiber


 

Chocolate partnered with mint does magic to Mondays.  Don’t you guys worry about me, I’ll be just fine!

never give up

WIAW Accomplished

It’s pitiful the amount of times I have attempted a WIAW (what I ate Wednesday) post and failed. I cannot even give you an exact amount of attempts because counting would involve more effort than I put into the charade. However, today I got it done. I successfully photographed  ALMOST everything I ate. I say almost everything because my co-worker surprised me with a small container (1/3 cup) of homemade asparagus soup with a drop of goat cheese (insert mmmhhhmmm) that I didn’t picture…. it’s a shame because it was probably the best thing I ate today…go figure.

I love WIAW posts because they can spark ideas on future meal plans for others. Plus, who doesn’t love looking at food pictures? However, the love I have for reading these themed posts never provided enough encouragement to record each meal and reflect on it.

energy flow

My documenting success today came from a deeper desire to jump on the healthy eating train. Somewhere between a knee injury, the holidays, work-stress, and partying I fell off and I’m trying to get back on. The thing about documenting is it keeps you in touch the reality of your food choices. Taking pictures and being aware can be healthy and keep things in perspective.

honesty

For me, it’s not about sticking to a calorie number but reflecting on food decisions in the larger scope of a day and sharing meal ideas. Counting calories can quickly become an unhealthy obsession or habit that can take the joy away from eating.

My morning started with some pre-run fuel:

Morning things

 

A small apple and some hazelnut coffee from a motivational mug :)

After four easy miles and a warm shower I had breakfast:

Breakfast ingredients breakfast smoothie

A tropical fruit protein smoothie…this was my first time trying the tropical fruit mix and I wasn’t too impressed. I think the blend of all the different fruit prevented any strong distinct flavor…just give me strawberries and I’m a happy girl.

Morning Snack:

eggs

I had 2 hard-boiled eggs around 10am, appetizing pictures I know. I am a fan of hardboiled eggs and high protein snacks because they keep me full until lunch.

Lunch

lunch

 

This is one of my more ambitious types of lunches.  Grilled chicken, green beans, carrots, and humus.

Dinner

Dinner 2

Dinner was a new soup, light chicken enchilada, with an added chicken sausage and humus toast :)

Add the asparagus soup and about 3 bottles of water and a couple more black coffees with Splenda and that was my day. I feel good and know this was a healthy amount of food for me.

Mac and Cheeseless Cheese

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It’s only right that I start this post off with a full disclosure that I love cheese. Yes, I limit the amount of cheese I let myself eat because of the sodium and saturated fat content (when I can help it) but this post isn’t about that. That’s another story for another day. This post is about pure culinary curiosity.

“Only the curious have something to find.” ~Unknown

A couple years ago (three to be exact) a vegan co-worker of mine  brought vegan Mac and Cheese to lunch and let me try some. Ever since then I have been determined to make my own. It only  took me three years to work up my culinary confidence….better late than never.

All I knew about the creamy creation that had aroused my culinary curiosity was that it had been made with cashews. A girl can only remember so much detail in three years. So I had to do some recipe investigating. After pinteresting my afternoon away I  decided on this Healthy vegan Mac and Cheese recipe. It seemed simple enough so I went for it.

I didn’t let the long list of ingreidents intimadate me and you shouldn’t either!

Ingredients:
8 ounces pasta noodles
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup yukon gold potatoes, chopped
¼ cup carrots, chopped
1/3 cup onion, chopped
1 cup reserved pasta cooking water
¼ cup raw cashews (soaked for 1-5 hours and drained if you your blender is weak)
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)
¼ teaspoon black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
¼ cup nutritional yeast

Other than the nutritional yeast and some spices, most of the ingriedents I had on hand. As for the spices, I made an important discovery, the Latin section of Giant Foods sells spices cheaper than the spice section…go figure.

Since I don’t own a food processor I used my blender. The first thing I did was soak the cashews for an hour so they would blend better. IMG_3024

After that things got a little crazy….not too crazy but I did have three burners on my stove going at one time. The first to saute onions and garlic, the second to cook pasta, and the last to boil carrots and potatoes. All the steps were simple so multitasking was easy. 

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Once the pasta, carrots, and potatoes were soft, the onions translucent, and the pasta finished I added all the ingrents to my blender and blended away. I was amazed quickly it all blended together into a creamy, yummy, cheesey  cheeseless sauce.

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