I know I’ve done good in the recipe department when my meat-loving boyfriend doesn’t request a side of meat.  He asked for falafel but since I don’t follow recipes too much I made a version of some pan-fried chickpea patties.  I looked to other recipes for some spice inspiration but ended up just using what I like/what I had in my cabinet. Much healthier than the deep fried version, albeit less authentic and crispy.

Chickpea Patties (serves 4)

Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

3 cloves garlic

1/2 red onion finely diced

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 egg

1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I used panko but regular or gluten-free breadcrumbs would work)

2 tsp olive oil for patties

2 tsp olive oil for cooking

salt, pepper to taste

1 tbsp cumin

1tbsp dried oregano

Additional Toppings to Make Delicious Sandwiches: tomatoes, more red onion, feta, cucumbers, romaine lettuce, whole wheat pitas(warmed in the oven wrapped in foil), greek yogurt or tzatziki sauce, hot sauce.

To Start: Place chickpeas, garlic and 2 tsp olive oil in food processor.  Process together for about 1 minute.  I left mine a little chunky because I like the texture but if you want a smoother pattie just process together until smooth.

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Mushed chickpeas are sooo photogenic.  To the above mush,  add 1 egg, 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, and spices.  If the mixture is too wet to form patties, just add a little bit more breadcrumbs.  Form into patties using your hands, I made little 2 inch ones but you can make burger sized patties as well.

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Add 2 tsp olive oil to pan over medium heat.  Add patties and cook ~ 3-5 minutes per side or until golden brown.  (The lighter ones in the above picture were cooked in cooking spray so they did not get as crispy; I would not recommend it)

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While my patties were cooking I chopped up some cucumber, romaine, tomatoes and red onion.  I also had pita bread warming in the oven wrapped in foil.  My oven was set to 400 degrees because I was cooking up and I left the pitas in for about 10 minutes.  I wanted to make tzatziki but got lazy.  A tiny spoonful of greek yogurt on top was still delicious.  IMG 0650

Underneath all those veggies are the yummy chickpea patties.  A bit messy but a great combination of crunchy, cheesy, and doughy. I hope you enjoy.  This recipe is super quick and healthy. A can of chickpeas also costs less than a dollar at most groceries so it’s much cheaper than ground meat :)

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Grocery Shopping

Here is the first installment in a series of posts written to help y’all shop for healthy, delicious food. I’d like to provide some basic tips, some you may have heard before, some maybe not. I hope you enjoy and as always feel free to email me with questions @ simmerdownRD@gmail.com

 

The grocery store can be an overwhelming place sometimes. The stores are designed to suck you in and get you to spend more money.  This post is focused on how you can prepare yourself to buy healthy and delicious food before you even make it to the store.

1. Have a Plan: Walking in to a grocery store without some kind of plan usually leads to spending more $$ and buying impulse foods that may end up in the trash later.  What works for me is having a general sense of what I need. A shopping list is definitely helpful, but I rarely remember to make one.

Meals: dinners, snacks, breakfasts and lunches.  I personally always like having bananas on hand for breakfasts to make Peanut Butter and Banana sandwiches on whole wheat bread, or to stir into oatmeal.  So I make sure to add them to my cart as I shop.  Do you want to make a stir-fry?  Grab some brown rice, broccoli and tofu.  Make sure to purchase items for each part of the day

Time: am I shopping for the week? a day? 2 weeks? going out of town soon? No one likes to waste food (which equals wasted money) so think about the length of time you are shopping for.  It doesn’t make sense to stock up for the week if you are leaving or have a lot of dinners out.  But it also doesn’t make sense to buy food for one meal if you can’t (or don’t want to) make it back to the grocery store for a few days.

Convenience: Some days are busier than others.  So it can help to arm yourself with really EASY meals.  Some pre-made soup, ingredients for sandwiches, even a frozen pizza or burrito (of the healthier variety – I like Amy’s products and Flatbread Pizza paired with extra veggies).  I think it is OK to take some help from the grocery store.  Even though it can be a little bit more $$ you end up saving yourself from take-out or restaurant meals.

 

2.  Check the Sale Flyer and Coupons to Save Money:

Sale Flyers: Every store posts on their website what is on sale for the week.  If mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce are on sale, it might be a good week to make lasagna.  I find it helpful to scan these before thinking about what I want to buy for the week.  Buy One Get One free greek yogurt – “Yes please!”

Coupons: Check your weekly paper, if you get one.  Also company websites and store websites for online coupons.  I know there are coupon-ing shows now on TV where people save hundreds of dollars, but I am happy just saving one or two.  My one coupon caveat, be careful not to purchase products you don’t actually want because they are discounted.

 

3.  Eat Something : Don’t go to the grocery store with a growling stomach.  Just don’t do it! You will purchase more. You may even rip into a bag of chips in the parking lot (it happens to the best of us).  Go after dinner, have a snack before you go, just don’t go when you are hungry!

 

Having a plan, checking out sales and not going hungry are all some ways you can prepare yourself for a successful trip to the grocery store.  I hope you enjoyed the first of a series I plan here for SimmeRDown Nutrition.  And don’t forget your re-usable grocery bags.

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m a huge fan of oven fries.  You still get that salty, crispy, potato-y yumminess but don’t end up with a tummy-ache from eating too many deep fried taters.  You also save lots of calories by baking the potatoes instead of frying them.  I leave the skin on for extra fiber and nutrients, but if you are skin-averse feel free to peel away.

Oven Baked Potato Fries -serves 4

Prep-time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes.

You will Need:

Tools: 1 baking sheet, 1 good quality knife, 1 cutting board

Ingredients:

2 large potatoes- I used one sweet and one Idaho, which worked really well, but you can use your favorites

cooking spray to coat pan

1 TBSP Olive oil, or vegetable oil

salt and pepper to season

optional: cayenne pepper, paprika

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Slice potatoes into fry shape.

Start by slicing a small piece off the bottom to create a level cutting surface.

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Continue slicing the potato into even slices-like those pictured above right- always being sure there is a flat surface on the cutting board.  Next flip those slices on their side and cut into fry shapes-like above left.

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You can stack the potato slices on top of each other and slice through for more efficiency.

Repeat with second potato.

3. Spray  baking sheet with cooking spray

4. Dump potatoes on baking sheet. Add olive oil, salt and pepper, and optional spices if desired.  Use your hands to mix them all up and coat the potatoes evenly. *You want to be sure your potatoes can fit on one layer otherwise they won’t get nice and crispy for you in the oven*

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5. Cook for 20 minutes, flip fries on sheet, cook for 20 more minutes or until fries are golden brown.IMG 0649

Nomnomnomnomnom.

I wasn’t sure if blending the two types of potatoes together would work, but they both turned out great.  I ended up with the best of both worlds. I would definitely make them this way again.  If you do make them, let me know what you think!  And if you have a fool-proof tip for oven fries I would love to hear it.

Happy “un-frying”.

 

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It is a beautiful fall weekend here in Boston and I just got home from taking yoga with my absolute favorite teacher in the whole wide world, the beautiful, funny, smart and talented .

So even though I touched briefly upon the benefits of Yoga earlier this week, I thought I would write a bit about what Yoga means to me via a poem.IMG 0617

When you are stressed, Yoga will center you.

When you are angry, Yoga will calm you.

When you are happy, Yoga will make your smile wider.

When you are pressured, Yoga will lift you up.

When you are scared, Yoga will encourage you.

When you are hyperactive, Yoga will ground you.

When you are sad, Yoga will embrace you.

When you are tired, Yoga will help you rest.

When you are energetic, Yoga will focus you.

When you are being present, you are doing Yoga.

I can’t really understand when people say they don’t like Yoga (boyfriend I’m talking to you); because I think they just haven’t found the right yoga pose, or the right yoga class, or the right yoga teacher, or the right way to incorporate yoga into your life. Like doing a little child’s pose. Le sigh.

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I truly believe that Yoga has helped me be less angry, be more connected to myself-mentally, emotionally and physically-and helped me to get stronger and more flexible.  I feel amazing every time I practice Yoga, and I feel blessed to be able to do so with such amazing instructors. Namaste.

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I am constantly amazed by my fellow graduate students at Friedman.  They are smart and articulate and involved in some amazing things!

The Sprout is our student newspaper and covers a lot of fascinating topics this month.  Makes me glad I just snacked on a pear.  And I now have plans to foam roll and do some other warm-ups before heading out for a run. And maybe go Zumba in a bar.  But don’t take my word for it, go read for yourself.

Oh yea, you can also find out how to make a quick and easy, possibly vegan and gluten-free, delicious and healthy Thai food recipe cooked up by yours truly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what are you waiting for…go check it out and subscribe so I don’t have to tell you about it next time.

p.s. If you are clicking over from the Sprout, hi! Hopefully you will come back and read some more too.

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I had to give a speech yesterday in my communications class about the health benefits of yoga.  in my research, I learned that yoga lowers cortisol levels(a stress hormone that is also linked to belly fat) and inflammatory responses in the body.  Yoga just makes people feel good, not to mention the strong core, flexible legs and toned triceps that come along as added benefits.  I love yoga!

Besides my speech research, I’ve also been working on a paper on allowing chocolate milk in schools which is a pretty hot topic these days.  While kids are definitely getting too much added sugar in their diet from beverages, most of that sugar is coming from soda and juice-drinks – not chocolate milk.  I personally think chocolate milk is fine, and it’s even been proven to be a good recovery drink in athletes. Any thoughts?  I have to turn my research into a consumer piece so I’ll be sure to put it up here when its done.

I’ve been working hard, but also playing lots.  My Momma came to visit. Hi Mom!

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We ate African food and ice cream in Provincetown after walking around the beach and sunbathing on her cottage’s roof deck.  It was a perfect weather for a mini-beach vacation!

And on Saturday night I attended a beautiful wedding, with my super hot date. IMG 0602

Such a handsome devil.

And nothing starts off the first October Monday morning like a warm bowl of oatmeal(made with 1/2 cup oats, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup 1% milk, 1/2 banana, topped with brown sugar-melted in the photo below, organic shredded coconut and a blob of peanut butter)

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Hope your week is off to a great start!  I’m off to start another research paper (can you tell I’m in grad school?)

 

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I had to go to the Dentist yesterday – I always have cavities -but he said I was doing a great job brushing and flossing and my teeth looked really clean. Zero cavities for this girl.  I do spend a lot of time brushing(2 minutes at least) and flossing(2 times per day).  And I do so for a whole slew of reasons: habit, societal standards, vanity (I want my pearly whites to be white), bad breath (see societal standards), and also for $$$$.  For a relatively small investment of time and money, 5-6 minutes a day + the cost of toothpaste, floss mouthwash etc., I save myself spending big bucks at the dentist getting fillings or crowns or new teeth.  (In full disclosure, I am pretty sure I have one of the world’s most expensive mouths due to braces, many fillings, gum surgery and wisdom teeth removal-thanks Mom and Dad!)

Anyways, all these reasons got me thinking about food choices and how complex they can be.  Maybe it’s because I’m a dietitian, maybe it’s because I like to complicate things, or maybe it’s just because they are inherently complex!

Taste, time, health, money, how many dishes we need to wash, vanity, food availability… you get the idea. I could go on.

Take for instance, this salad.  Made up of arugula, cheery tomatoes, homemade red pepper hummus, and crumbled tempeh.  Served with a side of quinoa topped with marinara sauce and parmesan cheese.

My decision-making process went something like this….

Money: I already had all these ingredients on hand, so no need to go to the store.  Also, the arugula and hummus will go bad soon so I should really use those up STAT so I don’t waste money.

Health: I like my meals to have a balance of veggies(check), protein(check-tempeh is fermented soybeans), and carbs(quinoa-check).  I knew I would feel good after eating this meal, and not weighed down and overstuffed.

Vanity: oh it’s true. I eat salads not only because I think they taste good and make me feel good but because I want to look good.  I am going to a wedding on Saturday and I’m wearing my old prom dress.  I zipped it up last week and it fits(woo-hoo) but it is a bit snug and I would like to be able to breathe and more importantly, dance.

Taste: hummus is my most favorite salad dressing, and quinoa eaten like pasta makes my taste buds happy, hence the sauce and parmesan.  I also usually like meals that have multiple components so a big salad with a small side is enjoyable for me to eat because of the variety.  I believe everything we eat should be tasty!

Time: This salad took me 5 minutes to plate up.  More time to work on my research paper blog. The quinoa was already prepared otherwise I probably would have eaten a whole wheat tortilla with my salad. Also, cleanup was easy as there was only one dish and one fork involved.

And lastly, I ate a square of dark chocolate for dessert, just because I wanted to and I am the boss of my own self.

Which factors most influence your food decisions?

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See unopened Costco-sized jar of pretzels on counter ten steps outside of bedroom.

See Lisa dip her fall-colored manicured hands into large jar of open pretzels (nail color Orly-bus stop crimson). See Lisa do it again, and again, and again and…..

See Lightbulb!

See sealed jar of pretzels, with lid firmly in place.

See Lisa move pretzels, 20 steps away from the counter, into another room. Out of sight out of mind.

See empty counter.  See Lisa walk back into her room and study.

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As a new student, I am still getting used to my back-to-school schedule.  I have classes in the evening, free time during the day, and homework and studying to occupy said “free” time.  When I don’t get home from class until 8 pm or later, I know I won’t have the time and energy to make an elaborate dinner (I’m sure many of you can relate).

Tonight, I planned an easy to make grilled cheese with tomato soup (roasted red pepper tomato soup from Trader Joe’s to be exact, which i would highly recommend).  Not the healthiest of dinners, but it only takes about 10 minutes to prepare.  I remembered this morning that my bread machine had a timer, so in my five spare minutes, I dumped in water; pinches of salt, sugar and oil; whole wheat flour; and yeast.  11 hours later, I had a loaf of fresh bread awaiting me for what now had become a “semi-homemade” dinner (don’t ya just love Sandra Lee, especially her holiday-themed baked goods?).

 

this picture makes me think it's time for a new cutting board...hmm?

Filled with brie cheese and apples, my sandwich was a perfect complement to the creamy soup.

Planning ahead this morning made me excited to come home for dinner.  There is nothing quite as good as freshly baked bread.  Except maybe freshly baked bread, crisped up with a thin layer of butter, filled with cheese and apple, dunked into a bowl of warm tomato soup.  Mmmmm.

In what ways do you plan ahead? I try and always grocery shop at the beginning of the week and plan out some healthy dinners and snacks.  Having fruits and veggies on hand makes it easier to eat them :)

 

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Hi everyone! Thank you for stopping by my little microcosm of the internet!  My name is Lisa, I’m a Registered Dietitian in my mid-twenties living in Boston.  Currently, I am attending the  getting my masters degree in Nutrition Communications.

I would like SimmeRDown Nutrition to be a blog where people can come for relatable and applicable nutrition, healthy lifestyle, and food information.  I chose the name SimmeRDown Nutrition, because it is 1. oh-so-punny, and 2. I am hoping to keep a healthy discussion of nutrition going on this blog.  Since I can never take myself too seriously, I am sure there will be some fun/funny stuff thrown in too!

"hello this is me"

I used to blog a bit over here  , although it has been over 2 years since I last blogged!  I blame computer burnout. Sitting in front of computer for 8 hours at work + blogging = tired eyes.  But now, my schedule has slightly more flexibility and I miss blogging!

You might think since I have had two years off, I would have lots to say.  And I do, just you wait.

For now I will leave you with this:

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