Monthly Archive for: ‘September, 2014’

Believe in Wellness and Balance


That’s the core value that maybe makes your eyes roll this time of year. Seriously, “how CAN I get it all done!!?”, “…and still have time for my _____?!”, <–fill in that blank with whatever means the most to you.

Planning for your personal time can make you much more productive and focused at work.

Eric Barker offers a few tips on how you can get tons of stuff accomplished during the week, feel less stressed and even have more fun on your days off. See his article: How The Most Successful People Manage Their Time. Have you set your personal WIGS (Wildly Important Goals)? It helps to start there, and approach your personal wellness and balance with the same time management expertise you’ve mastered at work! Use your mornings to score tremendous victories for yourself and set the tone for your day.

  1. Do a time log. See how long things take and when your best windows are.

  2. Plan the whole week. Focus on your core competency and what makes you happy.

  3. Have a morning ritual that gets you closer to your long term goals.

  4. Set 3-5 anchor events for the weekend.

  5. Plan something fun for Sunday night.

“The best morning rituals are activities that don’t have to happen and certainly don’t have to happen at a specific hour. These are activities that require internal motivation… The best morning rituals are activities that, when practiced regularly, result in long-term benefits.”- Laura Vanderkam

Butternut Squash Lasagna


Serves 12

2 lb        butternut squash, peeled, seeded, 1” cubes

1 T         olive oil

¼c          water

1t. ea     s&p

1c           part skim ricotta

¼c          butter

¼c          flour

3½ c      skim milk

1pinch  nutmeg

4t          fresh thyme & sage, finely chopped

9oz       lasagna sheets, no boil

2c         part skim mozzarella

½c        grated parmesan

1. Cook squash, oil, water, s&p in microwave covered, 10-15 min

2. Purée squash in processor or blender. Remove & mix with ricotta. Set aside


Herb Sauce

1. Melt butter, add flour, cook 1 min

2. Whisk in milk, bring to boil, reduce

& simmer 5 min until thick

3. Stir in seasonings


Assemble in well sprayed 11×14 casserole

1. ⅓ sauce, ⅓ sheets, ⅓ squash pureé, ⅓ c mozzarella

2. Repeat 2 more layers

3. Cover with foil, bake on 375°F @ 40 min

4. Remove foil, top with remaining mozzarella & parmesan

5. Bake for 15 more min

Fresh Fall Apples


One of my son Oliver’s “homework” assignments is to cook an apple dish at home. Though he isn’t really a fan of apples unless they are slathered with peanut butter; I thought at the very least this was an opportunity to expose him to the variety of ways fresh fall apples can be prepared.  Selfishly, I thought it was also a great time to dust off one of my “oldie but goodie” recipes that I admit I have not made in years.  The Thin French Apple Tart not only looks elegant, but also tastes divine.


Speaking of apples, one of my favorite fall activities is apple picking.  If a journey to an apple orchard does not fit into your schedule, check out the Saturday morning Lynchburg Farmer’s Market or the Farm Basket for the tastiest, most flavorful apples you can find.  And remember, those shiny prefect apples in the grocery store shipped from hundreds of miles away don’t even compare to a freshly picked (not so pretty) local apple.


Thin French Apple Tart

1/2 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough (I usually make my own crust with whole-wheat pastry flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 pounds apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

2 1/2 tablespoons honey

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


1.    Preheat oven to 425°.

2.    Place dough on a lightly floured surface; roll into a 12-inch circle. Place on a 12-inch pizza pan. Combine sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle 1-tablespoon sugar mixture over dough. Arrange apple slices spoke like on top of dough, working from outside edge of dough to the center. Sprinkle apple slices with remaining sugar mixture. Bake at 425° for 30 minutes.

3.    Combine honey and vanilla in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at high 40 seconds. Brush honey mixture over warm tart. Serve warm.


Use a paring knife to prepare the apples for this simple dessert.


Source: David Bonom, Cooking Light
MARCH 2004

Step Away From Chronic Dieting


The other day as I was working out in my humid basement, sweating to the tune of a fitness instructors DVD, the message really struck me.  As a nutrition professional, I know without a doubt most people will not get a ripped 6-pack or thin thighs by working out for 30 minutes a day.  This body “evolution” involves so much more (diet, genetics, etc).   The main reason for my “suffering” through the endless droning about transforming your body is that I actually really like to workout.  Over the years I have seen a great improvement in my fitness, however, with that has come inevitable aging changes & the reality that I do enjoy eating.


Very few of us can say we have never struggled with our weight or body image. And messages like “get ripped in 30” certainly do not contribute to body acceptance. (i.e. accepting your genetic blueprint). While I certainly don’t believe that body acceptance means a sedentary lifestyle and stuffing yourself silly, dieting does not work and there are countless studies supporting this conclusion.


So what is the long-term solution?  Of course, I am a proponent of movement, not simply exercise, but minimizing our daily sedentary activities.  I also believe that knowledge is power, so educating yourself about the basics of nutrition is another key piece of the puzzle.  In addition, I am a huge fan of Intuitive Eating principles and the 3 main principles are a great starting point for changing your lifestyle and step away from chronic dieting


1.     Unconditional permission to eat when hungry & what food is desired.

2.     Eating for physical rather than emotional reasons

3.     Reliance on internal hunger & satiety cues to determine when & how much to eat.

Just Another Day?

make a difference phrase on blackboard

Maybe today is your birthday, maybe it’s a major holiday, maybe it’s your first day in a new job or with a new team or in a new place, maybe it’s a Wednesday or a Saturday, maybe it’s raining or not, maybe you have catering tonight, maybe you’re down an employee, maybe you’re getting a haircut later…or maybe none of the above.  Is it just another day?


Is time flying by or is it creeping?  Are you startled that the pool has closed and Christmas decorations are starting to pop up?


Since so many of us work to the rhythm of education, it is that crazy busy and crazy fresh opening season.  Lots of to-do’s, long days, pop-up requests…so let’s keep it simple and soak up the wisdom of Jane Goodall:

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you.  What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Apple Salad

Serves 6

1 T        olive oil

1lb        brussels sprouts, halved

1           apple, diced

1med    yellow onion, diced

2T         seasoned rice wine vinegar

2T         pure maple syrup

1/8t     crushed red pepper flakes

½ c       hazelnuts, finely chopped, toasted

4c        baby spinach

½ c       crumbled blue cheese

  1. Heat oven to 400°F
  2. Combine brussels sprouts, apple, onion, oil, s&p; toss to coat
  3. Roast 20 min, until tender
  4. Whisk together vinegar, syrup, red pepper flakes
  5. Toss brussels sprouts mixture with  dressing
  6. Layer spinach, brussels sprouts mixture, hazelnuts & blue cheese
  7. Drizzle with remaining dressing

Food Labels and Creative Marketing


Food Labels are a perfect example of simple facts that can be completely misleading.  Thanks to the “creative marketing” of food companies, we are lead to believe that eating a “candy bar” will provide us just as much fiber as fruit or that a “contains whole grains” loaf of bread isn’t really white bread in disguise (reality check, it is).  Whatever the label claim, you get the message; food labels are confusing and often downright deceiving.


Check out this blog post on about popular label frauds

 1. Made With Real Fruit or Made With Whole Grains 

There are no regulations regarding the “Made With…. fill in the blank” claims so you need to look at the ingredient list to see if the product really delivers. Many products claim to be made with real fruit or whole grains, when in fact, they may have a lot of added sugars and/or lower quality ingredients. Read the ingredient list. The lower fruit or whole grains are listed on the ingredient list, the less of the ingredient it contains.

2. Lightly Sweetened

Lightly sweetened is another term that food manufacturers use that has no definition by the FDA. Some cereals boasting lightly sweetened on their label contain more added sugar than sugar-coated cereals. Check the Nutrition Facts label and look for cereals that contain 6 grams or less added sugar per serving.

3. Added Fiber

While it’s true that foods marked “added fiber” contain additional fiber (listed as polydextrose, inulin (derived from chicory root), or maltodextrin) it’s not known if these fiber additions have the same health benefits as the fiber found naturally in whole foods. These fiber additives can cause bloating, gas, diarrhea, stomach discomfort when taken in excess whereas natural fiber in whole foods does not have this effect. What’s more, they’re generally added to refined or sugar-rich foods to make them appear healthier.

4. Low-Fat or Fat-Free

Marketing a food as “low fat” or “fat-free” can take your attention off the fact that the food is loaded with added sugars or refined carbohydrates. Low-fat foods that high in low quality carbs shouldn’t be part of your everyday diet.

5. Low-Carb, Protected Carbs, Net Carbs, Digestible Carbs (Not really!)

One of the most fraudulent areas of food labeling is with low-carbohydrate foods. Products that use terms like “Protected Carbs,” “Net Carbs,” “Available Carbs,” are often bogus so don’t assume that they’re good for you, especially if you have metabolic syndrome or have diabetes. Dietitians do not subtract fiber or sugar alcohols from total carbohydrate content of foods, so you shouldn’t either!