Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Engagement Pic Post. Yes.

It has been forever since I have been able to blog, and that said, I wanted to have the first post back be about something fun :). I had way too much fun with Sarah who drove all the way down to shoot our engagement session at McConnell's Mill State Park. Did I mention how awesome she was?? You can check her out at Sarah Gehman Photography. I couldn't stop laughing. So when life gets a little busy, just remember to laugh!

We of course had to include our pups, Steely and Kale.

P.S- One more dog pic...

Thursday, March 12, 2015

March ia National Nutrition Month! Plus a NEW house :)

Hello! March is halfway through and I have just started to blog for National Nutrition Month. NNM is designed to be THE... "nutrition education and information campaign created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics." The theme for 2015 is "Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle," which encourages everyone to adopt eating and physical activity plans that are focused on consuming fewer calories, making informed food choices and getting daily exercise in order to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of chronic disease and promote overall health." I have been beyond busy recently because March is also the month in which we moved into our first house! I promise to be better at blogging in a couple months when we are all settled in ;).

My take on "Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle" is based on individual needs and lifestyles. One example...Me! Over the past couple weeks we have been living out of boxes and full cooked meals were out of the question. So, with a kitchen half in a box and half out of a box, I decided a one pot meal would be the best "healthy bite" to focus on over the next couple weeks. Less mess, whole foods, less fast foods meals = BITE of healthy lifestyle in new house. So I took to Pinterest and found this amazing and super easy one pot meal from Apron Strings blog. Check it out! Note, a cast iron skillet is essential.

Chicken and Potato/Sweet Potato One Pot Dish

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 large sweet potato, thinly sliced
  • 3 russet potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tsp garlic
  • chicken stock, 1 bullion cube (or 1/2 cup)
I didn't measure the seasoning since I didn't have a measuring spoon on hand, so I just had a little dash and extra shake here and there.
  •  pepper
  • salt
  • oregano
  • sage
  • rosemary
  • garlic powder

Preheat oven to 425 F. Layer half of onion in cast iron skillet with garlic and add chicken stock. Layer potatoes and rest of onion on top and add pepper, oregano, sage, rosemary, garlic powder as desired. Massage pepper, salt, and garlic powder on chicken breasts and place on top of potato layer. Give a last shake of rosemary on top and place into the oven for 50-55 minutes or until the chicken is done. ENJOY!


P.S- Pics of new house (a lot of pics) with a SOLD sign.

How to hold a sold sign

Doggies actually staying

Doggies not staying

Friday, January 30, 2015

Just in time for the Superbowl: Greek Yogurt Sweet Dip

OK, I seem to always wait last minute to make a dish for a party or social event. This is one of those times. So now I am joining the "delicious bowl" challenge from Chobani. Here's a super easy and super quick dip with a little flavor flavor for all last minuters. This recipe was modified after spending a little too much time on Pinterest that induced a sensory overload of food pics. Original recipe found on Food Fun Life blog.

Greek Yogurt Sweet Dip

  • 3/4 cup plain  Chobani greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 2-3 Tbsp dark chocolate, chopped

Pair with graham crackers, fresh fruit, or whatever you please. 

Directions: Mix all ingredients together. Sprinkle any left over dark chocolate chunks on top. Add some extra honey dependent on desired sweetness. Enjoy immediately or throw in the fridge until the party is there.

Loving the local honey!


P.S.- Your dog pic of the week. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Fabulous Herb Chicken Recipe

 Hey! Happy New Years week! I'm only 5 days late, but I wanted to wish my readers very belated Christmas and New Years. I have had many things to be thankful for in 2014. 2015 is here and I haven't really thought of my "New Years" resolutions. Recently during my outpatient nutrition consults, I have had numerous clients tell me about how they would start their diet modifications after the Holidays. I've always posed the question back to them, "why not start now?" Why wait? There will always be a tomorrow to wait, but life won't wait for you to live it. I love when people are motivated with the new year, but I don't want it to be a crutch either. I didn't make any new years resolutions, but I did set long term and short term goals for 2015+ into the future. I have been counting down to when January 1st for when my first module opens up for the International Olympic Committee Diploma in Sports Nutrition. I haven't been this excited before to start course work, but that's because this is purely sports nutrition over the next two years. 

I also want to play around in the kitchen more and blog more. No resolutions, but goals. Think about some goals you have or have thought and create an action plan. Action plan meaning what steps you are going to complete to get going on your journey. I want to cultivate my skill set and passion in sports nutrition, so my first action step is started with the IOC course.  Now on to chicken. I like easy and simple recipes and this baked chicken recipe is just that. I went home over the Holidays and my dad  gave me the fresh herbs from his garden. 


Fabulous Herb Chicken

  • 3 medium chicken breasts
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp white wine vinager
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 4-5 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 sweet onion, copped
  • 1 small box mushrooms, sliced
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dill 
  • sprinkle of pepper to taste
  • sprinkle of salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 400. Spray a glass dish or pan with cooking spray. Saute onions in 1 Tbsp olive oil for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Place onions in the cooking dish and layer mushrooms on top. Place chicken breasts on top of the mushrooms and layer rosemary between chicken breasts. Mix olive oil, vinager, lemon juice, dill, and garlic. Pour olive oil mixture evenly over chicken breasts. Place chicken breasts in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes dependent on thickness of chicken breast or until done. Enjoy! I served this chicken with greens and toasted gnocchi. 

Before the oven
Toasted gnocchi


P.S.- Your dog pic. The dogs favorite pass time besides running. Chuck it!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas Snacky Snack

Ever need a good crunch and looking for a snack that isn't a junk food snacky snack? I would recommend super spicy and super simple Spicy Roasted Chickpeas. I whipped these little nibbles of nutritious fiber/protein/healthyfat-olive oil together in 3 minutes and had a snack in 30 minutes. Let's just say this nutri-bite is nutritionist approved. 

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas Snacky Snack

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 3/4 tsp paprika (go a little easy if you like a little light on spice)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • sprinkle cumin
  • sprinkle of salt
  • 1/2-1 Tbsp olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 425 F. Wash and drain chickpeas. Pat chickpeas down slightly so olive oil will stick better. Combine all ingredients place on a roasting pan. Place in oven for 25-28 minutes, turning chickpeas several times. Take out, snap a pic, and enjoy!


P.S- Your dog pic of the week!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Healthier Applesauce Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins

Healthier Applesauce Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins name can be a real mouth full. I'll just shorten it down too Nom Nom muffins. I think these muffins are extra special since the applesauce is this oh so delicious homemade applesauce in the crockpot recipe.  

Please enjoy the lightened muffin recipe below. These little nuggets of taste could be a perfect pre-workout munchy before heading out the door.

Healthier Applesauce Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins/ Nom Nom Muffins


  • 1 1/2 cup Oatmeal, raw
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbps flaxseed meal
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk (I had skim milk on hand)
  • 1 1/4 cup applesauce (If you don't use the homemade then make sure to add 1 tsp of cinnamon)
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips 


Set the oven to 350. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. Mix all dray ingredients. Mix all wet ingredients. Combine dry ingredients into wet ingredients and fold. Next, fold chocolate chips.  Do not over mix. Evenly distribute into muffin and bake for 18-22 minutes or until done. Enjoy!


P.S- Your dog pic of the week.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

IBD Springboard: Moving from Pediatric to Adult Care Review

Photo from the Springboard flyer.

I had the privilege this summer to present at the first IBD Springboard: Moving from Pediatric to Adult Care co-sponsored by Pediatric IBD Center at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, the Visceral Inflammation & Pain (VIP) Center, and the Adult IBD Center at UPMC Presbyterian. This event focused on young adults who experience major transitional growth during their late teen years. Issues can be even more involved for those with IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) transitioning from high school to college lifestyle. Flare ups are often difficult and need special food attention during and after an episode. IBD individuals and families sometimes don’t think enough about nutrition when the IBD is in remission. The pressure to fit in with friends and peers can be overwhelming when the young adult is transitioning into independence and they often want to feel normal by trying to “fit in”. Some of the top challenges of pediatric care transfer to adult care were discussed. Not only does an IBD individual now have classes to juggle and new responsibilities, but they also have to be keenly aware of how to communicate with their professors about IBD, self-management, adherence to treatment program and medication (Mom isn’t there anymore to wake you up and make sure you have your meds refilled), and more. I can’t say enough how much being a part of this great event meant to me.

I have to say a special thank you to Joy Jenko Merusi, Director, Digestive Health Programs, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition of University of Pittsburgh who made this event possible.

This post isn’t meant to diagnosis or treat IBD. Please seek out specialized medical care. If seeking further information for the services that this event discussed, please visit http://www.dept-med.pitt.edu/gi/ibd.html.
IBD Springboard: Moving from Pediatric to Adult Care Key Note Speakers
  Taking Control, David Keljo, MD PhD – Pediatric Gastroenterologist/Director, CHP IBD Center. AMAZING!! Dr. David Keljo thoroughly explained IBD pediatric transfer and considerations.
  Accommodations & Services: What Can I Request?, Noreen Mazzocca, MSEd – Disability Specialist, University of Pittsburgh. Extended flare ups and missed classes can be navigated through if proper protocols are taken prior to the semester. I learned from this speaker and especially from the young college panelists that it is paramount to contact the Disability department before entering college. Again, I can’t stress the importance that you are not disabled with IBD, BUT you are your number one and need to pre-plan with the best possible resources available if a flare up happens.
  Sleep & IBD: Secrets to College Survival, Eva Szigethy, MD, PhD – Psychiatrist & Founder/Director, VIP Center.  Here I learned about the great resources that VIP center offers. Dr. Szigethy broke down why IBD need sleep….and good quality sleep at that.
  Creating a New Eating Norm for Living in the Dorm, A very catchy title that Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, CSSD, LDN, Director of Sports Nutrition, UPMC provided. Thank you Leslie for the valuable information you passed along! I was thrilled to be able to fill in and present at the event. 

**Plus a Young Adult Discussion Panel: I thought this was a very valuable component. A panel of six college students (Pitt, Slippery Rock, Butler Community College, Thiel, and Duquesne) with IBD provided a Q&A session. I was hanging on to every word they said in describing their experiences. They used their own real life experiences to help teens learn how to speak up and also navigate life in college. Some of the major points they spoke about were:

  • Don’t be afraid or wait to speak up. Contact the colleges’ Disability Specialist before college starts and fill out all the proper paperwork even if you don’t think you need it.

  • Talk to each teacher privately after a class or during their office hours and let them know. This is very important in that you’re not trying to play catch up if a flare up happened in the midst of midterms. This is where to the importance of a dialogue with the Disability Specialist was highlighted by all the students.

  • Don’t wait till you’re sick to go to the doctor. Go when you are starting to get sick…NOT after you are very sick.

  Inadequate intake due to pain after eating
  Increased nutrient requirements/losses
  Poor intestinal absorption due to surgery
  Chronic Diarrhea (not fun if you’re close quarters with roommates)
  Drug-Nutrient Interactions
  Food Phobias (e.g. total elimination of essential food groups)
  Increased nutrient requirements

So why is college a concern? Keeping it simple, college is a very transitional period in time for any freshman. When you add in a gastrointestinal considerations, balance is essential in studies, social life, nutrition, medications, sleep, professional development, etc.
  • The majority of college freshmen will experience some change in body in the first year at school
  • On average- a 5 pound weight gain- NOT the “freshman 15” that is often stated
  • Calcium and iron intakes tend to be low
  • Most frequent complaints:
    • Fatigue
    • Colds
    • Headaches
    • Digestive issues

There are several differences in eating behavior between high school and college such as:
  • Different schedule- may vary day to day
  • Greater food availability- cafeteria style vs. what is at home
  • Different times of the day to eat
  • Experimenting with new eating patterns such as vegan, vegetarian
  • More late night snacking, but more likely to be higher calorie items
  • Less availability of fruits/veggies due to limited refrigerator space and what the cafeteria stocks
  • Composition of meals can range from salads to cereal
  • No one is telling what to or not to eat!
  • Alcohol
  • Activity may decrease if you don’t participate in a sport in college and you did in high school
  • In some cases, activity increases dramatically in sports participation due to the coach’s demands

A new student and family may want to know where the health center is located, what services are available, and how much they cost. It may even be helpful to establish a relationship with the school’s medical staff and having your hometown doctor or pediatric doctor release the medical records to the health center. Why would you want to do this? Well, the medical staff would be prepared if you do suffer a flare up. This is where I would recommend to gather the below bullet points before heading off to college. 

       Year of diagnosis
       Segments of GI tract involved
       Past medications
       Current medications (type/amount/timing)
       Past surgeries
       Recent colonoscopy/EGD/CT/MRI results
       Current insurance information

  • DO establish some kind of eating routine that you can live with
  • You may not get to the dining hall for breakfast daily, but you could still have breakfast by having a piece of fruit and yogurt, or a bowl of cereal, or a packet of instant oatmeal in your room
  • Do be careful about what you keep around for evening snacks
    • Snack size bags of microwaveable popcorn
    • Instant oatmeal
    • Soup
    • Yogurt
    • Packets of flavored tuna
    • Nuts, cereal and dried fruit for trail mix
  • Do be smart about the ALCOHOL. Alcohol is a trigger for an IBD flare up. Trust me, don’t be afraid to say no to your friends/peers. Remember, everyone’s friend is the person who volunteers to be the designated driver.
  • If you are tired all the time, the caffeine is only going to do so much. SLEEP is essential. Really, I can’t stress enough how important sleep is for maintaining health in IBD
  • Make sure you are eating enough and often enough to provide your body with energy

In college, slow down. Make eating a priority and not an afterthought. Seek out the resources available at college if there needs be accommodations for possible flare ups. Contact the health center prior to the semester and establish a relationship with the dinning management and the college registered dietitian if there is one on staff (potential tour of the dining facilities could be a good bet).

Other resources to note:

Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America: http://www.ccfa.org

North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition: http://www.naspghan.org

Thank you!

P.S- Your dog pic of the day. Special visit of Kenya the Super dog.