Tuesday, October 12, 2010


My blog has moved to a new URL that is all my own! I am very excited and hope that you will continue to follow along as I get healthy and have some fun along the way.

I am now blogging and sharing recipes at http://www.perfectlyimperfectrd.com/.

My new site is a work-in-progress. I am slowly learning my way around wordpress and web design. Any suggestions or tips are welcomed and encouraged!

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

I am not sure who deserves the credit for inspiring this creation, but I have seen variations here,  here , here and here. Of course I had to try it. I just wasn't expecting it to be so gooood!

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • few shakes of cinnamon (optional - I like extra cinnamon!)
  • 1 cup milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used Naturally Preferred Whey)
Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Topped with some maple granola!

Drink up! If you have not tried a pumpkin smoothie, do it now. It's a great way to use the rest of that can of pumpkin that is in your fridge. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

Spicy Spaghetti Squash with Black Beans

I don't have a lot of experience cooking with spaghetti squash. I attempted it once during my restrictive dieting years as a low calorie substitute for pasta. Lets just say it didn't fool me.

Have you ever taken a bite or drink of something thinking it was something else?  No? Okay, maybe that is just me...but somehow perfectly delicious food, when you are expecting something else, tastes completely wrong.

Over the years I have stopped attempting to pretend foods are something other than what they are. I enjoy tofu and veggie burgers, not because they fool me into thinking I am eating meat, but because I like their unique flavors and textures. The same can be said for soy or almond milk. Does it taste like cow's milk? No. Does it taste good? Absolutely!

Spaghetti squash contains many nutrients, including folic acid, potassium, vitamin A and beta carotene. It is low in calories averaging 42 calories per 1-cup serving. Plus, it is currently in season. I decided to give the spaghetti squash another chance, but I didn't want to make spaghetti. I searched for ideas to fit with the ingredients I had on hand and came up with this recipe.

Spicy Spaghetti Squash with Black Beans
 (adapted from Whole Foods Market)
  • 1 medium spaghetti squash  
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped (I used yellow onion because that is what I had on hand)
  • 1 jalapeño chili, seeded, minced
  • 1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained well
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn, frozen or fresh
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin (I added this to the original recipe because, well, I like cumin)
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (I used the juice from 1/2 a lime)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
Start by roasting the spaghetti squash. First, cut it in half.

I suggest using a large, sharp knife.

Then scoop out the seeds.

I rubbed mine with a little bit of olive oil and sprinked it with salt, pepper and Garlic Garlic.

Place squash face down in a baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees F for 35-40 minutes.

For the filling, heat oil in a large pan and sauté onion, jalapeño and red pepper for 2 minutes.

Add beans, corn, cumin and chili powder; sauté 1 minute longer.

When the squash is finished roasting, scoop the flesh from the shell.

Add cooked squash, cilantro, lime juice and salt to pan; cook 1 minute until heated through. Fill squash halves with filling, mounding mixture in the center. I topped mine with a dollop of greek yogurt.

I fell in love with this dish. It has just the right amount of spice and flavor for me. I really enjoyed the taste of the spaghetti squash as well. This winter vegetable will definitely appear in more of my meals from now on.

Do you like spaghetti squash? What is your favorite way to prepare it?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pumpkin Apple Crisp Muffins

Pumpkin, pumpkin everywhere! I am excited to try lots of recipes including Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins, Pumpkin Black Bean Chili, Pumpkin Pancakes and Pumpkin Spice Lattes!

For now, though, I am craving the combination of two classic fall flavors: pumpkin and apple.

I bring you Pumpkin Apple Crisp Muffins. It is adapted from this recipe on allrecipes.com. I changed a few things and cut way back on the sugar. If you like your baked goods sweet, you may want to check out the original version. These were just perfect for my taste. I also added oats to the streusel topping, apple crisp style.

Pumpkin Apple Crisp Muffins


1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sucanat (or sugar)
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
15 oz can Libby's Pumpkin
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups peeled, cored and chopped apple
1/4 cup water (if needed)


1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp butter


1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 18 muffin cups or use paper liners.

2.In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, spices, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, pumpkin and oil. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stirring just to moisten. Fold in apples. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

3.In a small bowl, mix together oats, flour and brown sugar for topping. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle topping evenly over muffin batter.

4.Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

Oh yeah...

Delicious topped with Homemade Apple Butter!

The "crisp" topping was the best part, I'm not gonna lie. The muffins themselves weren't very sweet so the topping added that little something extra.

In other news, I have had a terrible case of Bronchitis for the past 2 weeks. I can finally breathe again without wheezing and coughing so I AM going to exercise tomorrow! There. I wrote it down. I can't take it back now!!

How do you keep yourself accountable?

Excuse Me, Have You Seen My Motivation?

I don't know what's going on with me. I can't seem to find the motivation to do what I want MOST right now. Get healthy. 

Let me start at the (most recent) beginning. I moved to Louisville and back into my parents' house in the beginning of 2008. My plan was to take care of myself, save money, and generally get my life together.
I researched and researched to find the gym that was the "perfect fit" for me. That gym was Baptist East/Milestone Wellness Center. I started working out and logging my daily calorie intake. I'm a registered dietitian, after all, I know how to lose weight.

In my case, knowing and doing are two entirely different things.

At any rate, I was determined to do things the "right way" this time. SLOOWWLY. Lifestyle change versus diet. I wanted to have a healthy relationship with food and exercise for the first time in my life. I still do.

For several months I ate well, but didn't deprive myself. I went to the gym 5-6 times a week.
I lost nothing...
I had my basal metabolic rate checked. I cut my calories even further. I exercised twice a day.
I lost 1-2 pounds a month.

This just didn't seem right, and I was getting very discouraged. At my next doctor's appointment I asked if they would check my thyroid. The doctor wasn't sure it was necessary, but they were going to draw blood anyway, so she agreed. A few days later I got a phone call letting me know I had hypothyroidism. To make a long story short, I started on medication and resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to try even harder to lose weight.
By November of 2009 I had lost about 30 pounds and had been exercising regularly for almost 2 years. I felt amazing. I even completed a 5K, 10K, 10 miler and a  half marathon during this time period. I thought maybe, just maybe, I could lose the weight and keep it off...

Things were going so well, I decided it was time to move out on my own. I bought a condo and moved in. I guess now would be a good time to tell you that I don't exactly do well with big changes. When I moved, my entire routine fell apart and all of my good habits went out the window. I began eating more convenience foods, snacking late at night and skipping my workouts. I had to get my condo in order, after all. That is what I told myself. The stress of moving and the changes in my routine also caused me to turn to food for emotional comfort again.

 Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months.

It has now been almost a year since I moved into my condo, and I am still not back into a healthy routine. My fitness and energy levels have bottomed out, I've gained back every single pound it took me almost 2 years to lose, and I feel awful.

So why am I doing this to myself? (I don't really know for sure, to be honest).
I do know that I am extremely disappointed in myself and extremely discouraged. I am not even going to get into how many times I have tried to lose weight and failed to keep it off. At some point, you start to wonder if you can do it. At some point you just. don't. want. to. fail. again.  

Now, I've also been given a wake-up call.  At my recent physical my doctor informed me that my cholesterol has jumped nearly 30 points. She has given me 90 days to make an improvement with diet and lifestyle before prescribing a statin medication. In addition to that, I've been sick with bronchitis for nearly 3 weeks and was told my weight might be making my breathing problems worse. I am actually starting to get sick as a result of how I am treating my body...

I can't believe I allowed this to happen. I am ashamed to call myself a dietitian right now.

I am hoping by writing this I will see in black and white the reasons that I need to (and want to) make changes in my life. I am hoping this provides the kick in the pants that will motivate me. I am hoping the fact that I am damaging my body each day I make poor decisions will finally sink in.

I will keep trying. If I don't try I won't fail, but I also won't succeed.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Granola

It's heeerrrre!!

Get ready for the first of many pumpkin recipes to come this season!

I've been wanting to make granola for awhile now. It is simple to make, plus it is healthier and less expensive than most store-bought varieties.

The idea struck me sometime in the middle of work today to incorporate pumpkin into granola (inspiration strikes at odd times, doesn't it?).  I looked at some recipes that use applesauce and thought it made perfect sense to sub pumpkin for the applesauce...one fruit for another, right?

I mixed oats, slivered almonds, walnuts, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and sucanat in a large bowl.

Added some shredded coconut as an afterthought (not pictured).

Mixed in pumpkin, vanilla extract and maple syrup.

Spread it on a sheet pan greased with a little coconut oil.

And put it in the oven.

Let me tell you, this stuff made my kitchen smell all kinds of delicious while it baked!

I added some dried cranberries during the last few minutes of baking.

The granola gets all nice and crispy as it cools.

(I overcooked mine trying to crisp it up, so trust me on this one)

Pumpkin Pie Granola

3 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup sucanat (or brown sugar)
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup slivered almonds
2/3 cup pumpkin
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Coat 2 baking sheets with coconut oil (or cooking spray).
2. Combine oats, sucanat, spices, coconut, almonds and walnuts in a large bowl. Mix pumpkin, vanilla and maple syrup in another bowl. Stir the pumpkin mixture into the oat mixture until combined. Spoon granola evenly on to prepared baking sheets.
3. Bake for about 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes until lightly browned. Mix in dried cranberries at the end.
4. Breathe in deeply the aroma of pumpkin pie filling your kitchen.
5. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature (if you can wait). Store in airtight container. 

Yum, tastes like FALL! 

What is your favorite way to use pumpkin?  

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Birthday Dinner at Ramsi's Cafe on the World

It's official. I am now 29.

To celebrate my birthday last night, my parents and I went to eat dinner at Ramsi's Cafe on the World .

This was my first time eating at Ramsi's and I chose it in part because there are several vegetarian and vegan options on the menu.

(Yes, the 30 day challenge is over, and yes I need to post about it. Coming soon!)

I also chose it because the last time I tried to eat there it was a Saturday night and we waited 2 hours before giving up and going somewhere else...

I figured it would be much easier to get in on a Tuesday night, and it was. We didn't have to wait at all to be seated.


Ramsi's is located on Bardstown Road in the Highlands. As the name suggests, the cuisine is international fusion. The extensive menu includes an eclectic variety of dishes from around the globe. 

The patio had a charming feel, but the weather is still a little warm for my taste so we opted to dine inside.


I started off with a seasonally appropriate Schlafly Pumpkin Ale. I had heard good things about this particular brew, so I jumped at the chance to try it when I saw they had it on tap.

It did not disappoint! The flavor was smooth, slightly sweet and spicy with the flavors and aroma of pumpkin pie.  

For my entree, I chose the Thai Noodles. This vegan dish consisted of pan-seared tofu, snow peas, carrots, red peppers and peas tossed with rice noodles. It was served over a bed of cucumbers and lettuce and topped with a peanut ginger sauce.

I thought it was delicious. The peanut ginger sauce made the dish!

We spanned the globe with our meal choices. My mom ordered the Roasted Vegetable Masala and my dad had the Egyptian Kitchen. They said they enjoyed their dishes. I tasted both and really liked them as well!

We finished the meal with dessert. I got excited and forgot to take any pictures! My mom and I split a caramel banana trifle and my dad had a vegan raspberry chocolate trifle (I am kind of making up the names, I don't remember what they were actually called!). They were both very good, but I think I could whip up something similar at home.

After dinner, we browsed Carmichael's Bookstore next door. I love Louisville's local joints; they have so much personality!

I finished off my birthday relaxing and watching the Biggest Loser season premier.

It was a good day.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bring on Fall!!

Okay, so we are now well into September. What was the weather like in Louisville today?

94 degrees.

Since it hasn't really cooled off at all,  I am going to post some fall pictures from last year for a little inspiration.

The good news is, I have heard rumors we are starting to get some Libby's Pumpkin in this area...now I just need to go out and find some!

I mentioned some of my favorite things about fall here...I just love the changing colors, the crunch of leaves beneath my feet,  the cool, crisp weather that only requires a light sweater, Halloween decorations, hayrides, bonfires, hot coffee, sitting by the fireplace and the smell of the wood burning, all things pumpkin...and apple...and the cinnamon-y spicy flavors of apple crisp, pumpkin pie and spiced cider. I love homemade soups, chili, warm oatmeal and the other cool weather comfort foods. I also really want to set aside time to carve pumpkins for Halloween this year...and toast up the pumpkin seeds!

For some reason, fall gives me the feeling of a fresh beginning...perhaps because of all those years that fall marked the beginning of a new school year? At any rate, it is a good time for me to re-commit to my health goals and make some changes for the better!

What are you looking forward to during the fall season?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Ingredient Spotlight: Millet

In my trial run as a vegetarian, I have gotten fairly comfortable some foods such as quinoa and chickpeas. In fact, they are my go-to vegetarian ingredients (besides vegetables, of course). I wanted to venture out and try something new...millet came to mind.

What is Millet?

Millet is small, round in shape, and can be white, grey, yellow or red. The most common form in stores is the pearled, hulled kind. It is a tasty grain that has a mildly sweet, nut-like flavor which is intensified when the grain is toasted. The protein content is very close to that of wheat; both provide about 11% protein by weight. Millet is rich in B vitamins (especially niacin, B6 and folic acid), calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. Millet contains no gluten, so it is appropriate for those with celiac disease or gluten/wheat intolerance.

Health Benefits

Magnesium found in millet lowers type II diabetes risk, may reduce the severity of asthma, reduce the frequency of migraine attacks, has been shown to lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack

Insoluble fiber from millet and other whole grains helps prevent gallstones, protects against certain cancers and provides cardiovascular benefits.

Millet contains phytonutrients and phenolics, which are powerful antioxidants that work in multiple ways to prevent disease.


Like all grains, before cooking millet rinse it thoroughly under running water to remove any dirt or debris. To enhance the nutty flavor, toast the grains first by placing in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently. When they have achieved a golden color, add one part millet to two and a half parts boiling water or broth. After the liquid has returned to a boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes. The texture of millet cooked this way will be fluffy like rice. If you want the millet to have a more creamy consistency, stir it frequently adding a little water every now and then.


Southwestern Sweet Potato and Millet Salad
(adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian)

Makes 4 servings.

2.5 cups cooked millet (1 cup raw)
2 medium (about 1 pound) sweet potatoes
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup minced red onion or shallot
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 cup toasted pepitas
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro (optional)

1. Cook millet according to preparation instructions above (1 cup millet plus 2.5 cups water).
2. Meanwhile, peel the sweet potatoes and dice into 1/2 inch pieces. Cook in salted, boiling water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well.
3. Toss together sweet potato, millet, bell pepper and onion; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. Whisk the oil, lime juice, red pepper flakes and cumin together in a smalll bowl. Toss the salad with about 1/2 of this mixure; add all or some of the rest to taste. Adjust seasonings, garnish with toasted pepitas and fresh cilantro.

I have been eating this for lunch all week. It is good cold, warm, topped with sliced avocado or wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla. I also mixed in some leftover black beans about halfway through the week, and it was a nice addition.

Question: Do you like the "ingredient spotlight" format or is it too much information?


Monday, September 13, 2010

It's Tastefully Simple

Tastefully Simple is a direct sales company based in Alexandria, Minnesota. They offer a selection of convenient, easy-to-prepare foods designed to help people spend less time in the kitchen. The products are available through independent consultants primarily at home taste-testing parties.

Taste-testing party? Yes please!

Over the summer I attended a Tastefully Simple party thrown by a friend of mine. It was a fun and delicious party, so I signed up to host my own. It seemed like a good excuse to invite people over and, of course, I love food. This was right up my alley.

I got my party kit ahead of time and prepared all of the goodies. My Tastefully Simple consultant, Cory, showed up early to help put the finishing touches on the food. Somehow, she mangaged to avoid my camera the entire evening, but she kept the guests entertained and well fed.

A couple of the tastes, including their famous Bountiful Beer Bread!

My fabulous friends and fam!

My mom. I couldn't have pulled this off without her help!

And, of course, Lila wanted to be included.

The Tastefully Simple product line consists of some healthy foods and other not-so-healthy ones.  All of them are quick and easy to prepare. My favorite (healthy) products are the seasoning blends.

They can be added to anything for a punch of flavor. The best part? I can pronounce all of the ingredients. Plus, 1 teaspoon of Garlic Garlic is equivalent to 1 clove of fresh garlic. I like to have that option if I don't have fresh garlic or don't want to get my fingers smelly by chopping it up! Onion Onion can also be substituted for fresh onion.

The rest of the evening was spent placing orders, socializing and chowing down on Perfectly Potato Cheddar Soup, Nana's Apple Cake, Artichoke and Spinach dip and Key Lime Cheese Ball with Twisty Grahams.

Overall, I'd say the night was a success...I may even have my very own Tastefully Simple consultant in the family very soon!

My biggest fear about entertaining in my home is that no one will show up. What is your favorite excuse to entertain? Do you have any fears?