A Summertime Menu

Living in New York City means that opportunities for grilling and dining al fresco in the comfort of your own home are rare if not non-existent. So, when traveling home to the Northern Kentucky area over a gloriously sunny weekend in June, I took full advantage and enjoyed a meal that included all of the above, local produce, and great company of family.

I can’t take credit for the recipes that constructed this meal, but the combination of entree, side dish, and salad were perfection and I felt it was a summertime menu worth sharing. Sometimes the hardest part is picking out two or three recipes that go together for a meal, so I hope I’ve helped do some of the meal planning for you, allowing you to enjoy a warm summer night.

A Summertime Menu

Entree: Spice Salmon Kebabs from Bon Appetit. While we didn’t find the double skewer trick very helpful, these kebabs were packed with bright, yet spicy flavors. A grill is a non-negotiable for nailing the smoky salmon notes. Plus, the nutrition can’t be beat- lean, filling protein, and healthy, skin-glowing fats, dressed up with natural seasonings.

Side: Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes from Smitten Kitchen. My mother was blessed with a bounty of tomatoes from a friend’s garden, so these bright red beauties needed to be shown off! I had made these tomatoes once before for myself thinking Mr. CN would not be into them, but I was happy that this simplistic side was now enjoyed by my him and even my tomato-averse father. This makes for a grain-centric side dish that is also very veggie-forward.

Salad: Mama Nutritious’ Special Salad from her own genius brain. My mom is always asked to bring her salads to family get togethers. They must be elevated and complex, right? No! She simply grabs  various greens (arugula, mesclun, and pea shoots shown here) and a mixture of toppings (cranberries, feta, and maracona almonds in this one), tossing it all together in a bowl with a dressing of EVOO, lemon juice, usually dijon, garlic, and s&p that she shakes up in a mason jar. Voila! Getting in your veggies is all about preparing them in ways that please your own taste buds- if you don’t enjoy the selections or flavors you’ll be hard pressed to include them in your daily diet.

What are your favorite summer meals?

Egg White Oats

If you can’t already tell from my Insta feed, let me make it known that I’m a pretty big fan of breakfast. To be a cliche, it really is the most important meal of the day for me and I just don’t feel right without it. It’s even become the meal I enjoy planning for most because it’s all for me- husband’s taste buds be damned! I can prepare an egg fritatta with swiss chard, a cauliflower (!) smoothie , avo toast, or any variety of oats I want, and enjoy it with my morning coffee before Mr. CN even gets out of bed.


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Recap of the Ladies First Half Marathon and My Post-Race Eats

While I had always hoped to run long distances likes my superstar mother and inspiring friends, I was never 100% confident that I could actually do it. I struggled with side stitches, knee pain, and, to be honest a little runners boredom, and I never got over the 5 mile hump. But this year, I made a pact with myself, grew some mental toughness, didn’t let up on training, and successfully raced my first half marathon!

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Caramelized Fennel Pasta

Do you have a back pocket pasta recipe? You know, one that’s easy to pull off for a weeknight dinner when your meal planning efforts fail, but pleases everyone in your house? With the arrival of spring and carbo-loading for the half marathon in full effect, I may have just discovered my new favorite back pocket pasta recipe featuring caramelized fennel, tender spinach, bright lemon zest, and creamy goat cheese.

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Energy Bars and Bites

One of the most common food woes I hear from patients, friends, and family is about finding healthy snacks. You’re likely looking for something quick and easy that will give you energy to avoid an afternoon slump. For many people, that’s some form of snack bar- it’s individually packaged, can be healthy-ish, and doesn’t totally break the bank. Now, there are quite a few bars out there that I do love, but so many of of them are full of processed sugars, contain gut-busting indigestible fibers, and often end up being more of a meal bar than a snack.

I love KIND bars. Healthy, transparent and RD approved!

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A Savory “Pie” for Pi Day

Today is March 14th, so math nerds, rejoice- it’s 3.14 or Pi Day! I’m celebrating today, not because I am a math nerd (I actually HATED math as kid), but because it’s also a snow day here in NYC and I’m spending the day in the kitchen whipping up some yummy recipes.

While I may not be very fond of math, I am very, very fond of pie. Of the sweet variety, I would have to say some of my favorites are strawberry rhubarb, peach, or blueberry, but I will certainly not turn down a chocolate mousse or peanut butter pie! However, seeing as it’s just me and my husband, and we don’t feel like scarffing down a whole sweet pie by ourselves (sadly, I don’t think it’s in the half marathon training meal plan either), I made a savory “pie” today in the form of a Swiss Chard and Leek Frittata.

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National Nutrition Month

To my fellow RD’s, foodies, and health nuts- Happy National Nutrition Month!

Each year during the month of March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics  celebrates all things good food and nutrition, and encourages the public to adopt a healthier lifestyle according to specified theme. This year the theme is “Put Your Best Fork Forward”, which is meant to serve as a reminder to start with making small changes in your habits, which will more likely lead to lasting and enjoyable eating practices.

I absolutely love this theme, because it’s something I actually discuss with patients and they do see results! When we declutter our minds from the overwhelming number of guidelines and “do’s and don’ts” of nutrition, and focus instead on choosing one behavior that is going to be easiest to change and sustain for ourselves personally, then we are much more likely to succeed and feel motivated to change other behaviors going forward!

Feeling inspired, I decided to share my advice on the topic of making small and realistic changes in one’s diet on the Stone Soup, a blog by dietitians that runs as a companion to the Academy’s Food and Nutrition Magazine. My tips are centered around shifting your healthy habits during spring vacation travels, so I hope you will find them useful.

I’m proud and excited that this is my second time being published on the blog, and you can find my current article right here– enjoy!

Butternut Squash Black Bean Enchiladas

Lately I’ve been challening myself to eat a mostly plant-based diet after reading the fascinating work of Dr. T. Colin Campbell in The China Study. While I am by no means a vegan and could absolutely NOT live without eggs, cheese, or yogurt, I do get bored of the same ol’ chicken breast, turkey burgers, and seafood dinners, so I am challenging myself- or rather, enjoying experimenting- with adding more beans and legumes in my meals.

These Butternut Squash Black Bean Enchiladas were a quick and easy product of my forray into a plant-based diet, and lucky for me, the whole batch was all mine to enjoy (who else is living with a no bean eater?).

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