Thursday, December 11, 2014

Sweet Cheese Ball

Do you have a traditional cheese ball during your family holidays?  If so, try making this healthier recipe to save on calories, fat, and sodium! Trust me, your family won't be able to tell the difference!

Nutrition Facts:
Servings: 32
Serving Size: 2 Tbsp
Calories: 80
Fat: 5 g
Sodium: 70 mg

16 oz. package fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 tsp seasoned salt
2 Tbsp finely chopped onions
1 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped dates
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese, seasoned salt, and onion.  Stir in the cheddar cheese, dates, cranberries, and pecans, mixing well.
Mold into a ball and refrigerate until serving.

Complete the meal by serving it with whole-wheat crackers or a snowman veggie tray!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake

Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 290
Sodium: 379 mg

cooking spray
1/2 cup crushed graham crackers crumbs
1 Tbsp light butter, softened
8 oz package fat-free cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
6 oz. fat-free vanilla Greek yogurt
2 large egg whites
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp All-Purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar-free strawberry jam

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat an 8 inch square baking pan with non-stick spray.
Mix together graham cracker crumbs and butter with a fork until evenly moistened. Press evenly into bottom of prepared pan.
Gently beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth using an electric mixer.  Gradually beat in fat-free Greek yogurt, egg whites, lemon juice, and flour.  Do not over beat. Pour over graham cracker crust.
Stir jam until smooth.  Drop by small spoonfuls over surface of filling.  Using a knife, swirl jam gently through filling to create a marble effect.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until center is almost set.  Cool to room temperature.  Chill in the refrigerator.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Miss Indiana works for others' health -

Miss Indiana works for others' health -

Mexican Fiesta Bites

Servings: 24
Calories: 80 kcals
Fat: 3 grams
Sodium: 150 mg

24 won ton wraps
1 cup cooked turkey sausage
1/2 cup thick and chunky salsa
3/4 cup low-fat shredded Mexican Blend cheese
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

Heat oven to 350 degrees F
Place 1 won ton wrapper in each 24 mini muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray, with edges of wrappers extending over tops of cups; bake 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, combine sausage and salsa.
Spoon sausage mixture into won top cups.  Bake 10 minutes or until filling is heated through and edges of cups are golden brown.  Top with cheese; bake 2 minutes or until melted.
Top with plain Greek yogurt.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Granola Balls

Servings: 6
Calories: 200 kcal
Sodium: 50 mg

1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup raisins
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1 pinch of salt

Combine oats, sunflower seeds, raisins, and salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk together peanut butter and honey until smooth.
Pour peanut butter-honey mixture into oat mixture.  Mix until combined and sticky.
Roll into balls and place in a lightly oiled pan to desired thickness.
Refrigerate for several hours to set balls.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Skinny On Fat

     Fat.  The dreaded word we all hate to hear. After years of being told to limit fat in your diet, choose low-fat or fat-free options, and burn off additional fat on the treadmill, it is no wonder we are so afraid of it!  Rather we are talking about the fat in our food or the fat on our bodies it is easy to wish fat didn't exist at all. But the truth is you need some fat in your diet for good health. 

    Fat supplies energy to fuel your body and carries vitamins A, D, E, and K.  Compared to carbohydrates and protein, fat is digested more slowly and may help you feel full longer after eating.   The amount of fat you should eat depends on the amount of calories you consume, usually 20-35% of your total calorie intake.  Sound confusing?  Try choosing low-fat foods more often and if you occasionally have a day when you eat more fat than you should, you can make up for it by eating less fat in the days the follow.

Tips for cooking with less fat:

  Trim the extra fat from meats.  
  Choose lean or extra lean meats and drain the fat when cooking.
 Go skinless.  
  Cutting the skin off of poultry can cut your calories from fat in half!
 Enjoy vegetables without the extra toppings.  
  Simmer, steam, or microwave fresh and frozen  vegetables.  When stir-frying use fat-free      broth,wine, or vegetable oil spray instead of oil. 
 Use a light hand when scooping dips, dressings, sauces, and spreads.  
  Go easy on these high-fat  extras. 
 Stretch higher-fat ingredients.  
  Grate cheese so less looks like more.  In homemade muffins and  cakes, use fewer nuts and chocolate chips or replace them with dried fruits. 
 Lose fat, not flavor.  
  As you reduce fat, give your food a boost of flavor by using herbs, salsas, or  seasonings. 

Portion Size Guide:
One easy way to eat less fat is cutting your portion sizes.

A portion of 1 cup of milk is about the size of a baseball
A portion 2 ounces of cheese is about the size of a 4 dominoes
A portion of 2 to 3 ounces of meat is about the size of a deck of cards
A portion of 2 tablespoons of peanut butter is about the size of a ping-pong ball
A portion of ½ cup of tofu is about the size of a bar of soap
A portion of ½ cup nuts is about the size of a large egg
A portion of 1 tablespoon regular salad dressing or light mayo is about the size of 2 casino chips
A portion of 1 teaspoon butter or margarine is about the size of the tip of a thumb
A portion of 2 tablespoons light salad dressing is about the size of a ping-pong ball

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cranberry Nut Bread Mix

Servings: 10
Calories: 208 kcal
Sodium: 20 mg

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup chopped cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 Tbsp orange zest
1 egg
2 Tbsp canola oil
3/4 cup orange juice
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and grease a 9 X 5'' loaf pan.
Whisk together in a large bowl, 1 egg, 2 Tbsp canola oil, and 3/4 cup orange juice.
Stir in ingredients from bag until just blended.  Spoon in the batter.
Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Cool in pan for 10 minutes then remove and cool completely.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ginger Glazed Tilapia

Servings: 4
Calorie: 160 kcals
Fat: 2 grams
Sodium: 400 mg

3 Tbsp Honey
3 Tbsp Reduced-Sodium Soy Sauce
3 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tsp Grated Fresh Ginger Root
1 Clove Garlic, Crushed
2 Tsp Olive Oil
4 (6 oz) Tilapia Fillets
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine above ingredients (except fish, salt, and pepper) in saucepan and cook over medium heat until mixture reduced to a thick consistency, approximately 10 minutes.
Place fillets on baking sheet sprayed with non-stick pan coating.  Sprinkle tilapia with salt and pepper.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for approximately 15 to 20 minutes.  Fish should reach a temperature of 145 degrees when done.  Brush fillets with hot glaze.
Garnish with thinly sliced fresh green onions and serve.

Healthy Pumpkin Pie Dip

Servings: 3
Calories: 62 kcals
Fat: 0.3 grams
Sodium: 100 mg

1 Cup plain Greek Yogurt
1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Tsp Vanilla

In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients.  Chill for 30 minutes.  Serve with apple slices and graham crackers.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Pita Pocket Sandwich

Nutrition Facts:
Servings: 1
Calories: 335
Fat: 6 grams
Sodium: 528 mg

1/2 chicken breast
2 tablespoons hummus
1/2 pita (cut so it looks like a pocket)
1/2 cup lettuce mix
4 grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 pear

Follow cooking instructions for the chicken, adjusting for half the amount, and cut into strips.
Spread hummus throughout the pita pocket.  Then add the lettuce, tomatoes, and chicken.
Enjoy with a fresh pear on the side.

Homemade Mac and Cheese

Nutrition Facts:
Servings: 2
Calories: 530
Sodium: 320 mg

1 1/2 cups pasta
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup skim milk
3 ounces cheddar, finely diced
Salt and pepper- to taste
2/3 cup sugar snap peas

Boil water in a medium pot and follow instructions on pasta box.
After cooking the pasta, drain and return it to the pot, which should remain on high heat.
Add butter, flour, milk, cheese, and a pinch of salt and pepper to the pot.
Stir continuously until all the cheese has melted.
Turn burner off, place cover on pot, and allow to firm.
Enjoy sugar snap peas on the side!

Whole Wheat French Toast

Nutrition Facts:
Servings: 1
Calories: 255
Fat: 7 grams
Sodium: 455 mg

1 egg
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Ground cinnamon- to taste
Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 tablespoon butter- optional
2 slices whole wheat bread

Crack the egg into a bowl and add milk.  Add the vanilla extract and cinnamon.  Mix the egg with a fork until the yoke is completely dissolved and the mixture is a light yellow color.
Spray a skillet with cooking spray. Add butter to the skillet and spread it throughout (optional)
Set the burner to medium heat
Dunk one slice of bread into the egg mixture and flip it. Don't let it soak for more than a few seconds and then place it on the skillet.
After about three minutes check to see if the bottom of the bread is golden brown.  If so, flip the slice and cook it for another three minutes. 

Penne & Marinara with a Salad

Nutrition Facts:
Servings: 1
Calories: 575
Fat: 12 grams
Sodium: 520 mg

1 1/2 cups penne
1/2 cup Mariana sauce
1 cup lettuce mix
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Boil water in a medium pot, and follow instructions on the pasta box for penne
After cooking the pasta, drain and return it to the pot. The burner should be turned off.
Pour and stir the Mariana sauce with the pasta.
Enjoy with a lettuce salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing.

Apple Nachos

Nutrition Facts:
Servings: 4
Calories: 325
Fat: 16 grams
Sodium: 70 mg

3 crisp and slightly tart apples (honey crisp or Fuji)
3 tablespoons reduced-fat creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Slice apples into bite size pieces and toss in lemon juice.
Arrange the apple slices on a plate.
Melt the peanut butter in the microwave (1-2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds)
Drizzle the peanut butter over the apples and top with almonds, pecans, and chocolate chips.

Breakfast Fruit and Yogurt

Nutrition Facts:
Servings: 4
Calories: 140
Fat: 0 grams
Sodium: 85 mg

1 apple
1 banana
1 orange
A pinch of sugar
16 oz. non-fat yogurt

Wash the apple, then dice
Peel the banana. Cut into approximately 1/4 inch slices, and cut those in half.
Cut the orange into approximately 1/2 inch-wide crescents, and then cut those in two. Remove the peel from all pieces.
Mix the apple, banana, and orange in a bowl and add a pinch of sugar to the top.
Eat yogurt on the side or combine with fruit.

Pita Pizza

Nutrition Facts:
Servings: 1
Calories: 550
Fat: 15 grams
Sodium: 900 mg

1 whole wheat pita
2/3 cup Mariana sauce
1 ounce cheddar, diced
2 ounces mozzarella

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Spread a layer of Mariana sauce on the pita.  Evenly lay down the cheese on the pita.
Bake for 7 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

Nutrition Facts:
Servings: 1
Calories: 350
Fat: 7 grams
Sodium: 735 mg

1 chicken breast
1 egg
2 slices whole-wheat toast
salt and pepper- to taste

Defrost Chicken
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Cut chicken into tenders or nuggets- your choice
Whisk egg in a bowl
Toast the bread slices. Then, using a knife and your hands, cut and crumple into breadcrumbs.
Sprinkle bread slices with salt and pepper.
Dip each piece of chicken into the egg, and then roll both sides in breadcrumbs.  Place all nuggets on a little greased baking sheet.
Bake the nuggets for 20 minutes, or until cooked.
Enjoy with broccoli on the side!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Healthy Mother's Day Eat!

Happy Mother's Day!
They're the women that do it all!
They're your biggest supporter, harshest critic, and teacher of  the best life lessons.
This year for Mother's Day I wanted to do something special and somewhat out of the ordinary.  My mom loves anything handmade and just like me, appreciates the value of healthy eating.  I could not think of a better way to incorporate those two things than making my own version of an Edible Arrangement.  My sister and I were so excited putting it together and my mom loved it!  We ate nearly half of the arrangement for a Mother's Day Breakfast and snacked on the rest throughout the day.   It was a perfect way to enjoy a guilt-free Mother's Day especially as we are all preparing to leave for the Miss United States pageant this July.

Here are a few pictures of our creation!

1 bag of Stick Kabobs
1 Pineapple
1 package of Grapes
1 package of Strawberries
1/2 Cantaloupe
1 head of cabbage of lettuce to stick the kabobs in

Cost Breakdown: $12

Friday, May 9, 2014

Gluten Free Pizza Crust!

Servings: 1
Calories: 350
*calories, fat, and sodium content vary on your choice of toppings
*this is calculated with spinach leaves, cherry tomatoes, and mushrooms

2-3 Medium Sweet Potatoes (1 cup of mashed sweet potatoes)
1 Cup Almond Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Pizza Sauce
1/2 Cup Mozzarella Cheese
Your favorite pizza toppings

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Boil a large pot of water.
Peel and cut sweet potatoes into quarters.  Add potatoes to boiling water, turn down to simmer, and boil for 20 minutes or until easily pierced with a knife.
Drain potatoes from water and mash in a large bowl.
Add one cup of sweet potato mash, almond flour, baking soda, Italian seasoning, and salt to a large bowl.  Knead well, until the mixture resembles a ball of pizza dough.
Line a baking sheet or pizza pan with parchment paper.  Press dough to a large circle (1/2 thick)
Bake in oven 15-20 minutes or until edges are slightly browned.
Remove pizza from oven, add sauce, cheese, and toppings and broil for 3-5 minutes (until cheese melts)

Slice it up and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Fresh and Crisp Fruit Salad

Servings: 6
Calories per serving: 120
Fat per serving: 2 grams
Sodium per serving: 55 mg

1 Red Apple
1 Pear
1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 Cup Seedless Grapes, Halved
1/2 Cup Raisins
1 Container (6 oz) low fat, sugar free vanilla yogurt
2 Tablespoons low fat mayonnaise-type salad dressing

Chop apple and pear (leave skin on).  Add to large serving bowl and toss with lemon juice.
Add grapes and raisins to bowl.
Combine yogurt and salad dressing in a small bowl and spread over fruit.
Stir to combine. Refrigerate. Best eaten the day it is prepared.

More Ideas! 
Looking for a main dish? Add chicken chunks, tuna, or salmon.
Use dried cranberries or cherries instead of raisins
Add 1/2 cup celery, chopped
Add 1/4 cup walnuts or almonds, chopped

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Corn and Black Bean Burritos

Nutrition Facts:
Servings: 12
Calories per serving: 189
Fat per serving: 3 grams
Sodium per serving:  257 mg

¼ C green onions, cut in ¼-inch wide circles, including green tops
¼ C celery, diced
1¼ C yellow corn
½ ripe avocado, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1 can (15½ oz) black beans
¼ C reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese
¼ C salsa or taco sauce
12 (9-inch) whole-wheat tortillas

- Preheat oven to 350 °F.
- Combine scallions, celery, and corn in a small saucepan. Add just enough water to cover.
- Cover, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 5 minutes, until vegetables soften. Drain vegetables. Set aside to cool.
- Combine avocado, cilantro, and beans in a large mixing bowl. Add cheese and salsa, and mix.
- When corn mixture has cooled slightly, add to avocado mixture.
- Spoon 1/3 cup of the mixture into the center of the tortilla. Fold the top and bottom of the tortilla over the filling. Fold in the sides to make a closed packet.
- Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
- When all tortillas are wrapped, continue heating in the oven 5 minutes, until all are warm and cheese is melted.

*Serve with extra salsa on the side and some guacamole!

**Recipe adapted from the National Heart, Lungs, and Blood Institute

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Chicken Fajitas

An easy and fast dinner for anyone to enjoy!

Servings: 6
Kcals per Serving: 290
Sodium per Serving: 270 mg

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1.5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
6 whole wheat tortillas, 8 inch

6 ounces low fat cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup tomato, chopped
Cilantro, chopped
Jalapeno, sliced

Freeze chicken 30 minutes until firm and easier to cut.  Cut chicken into 1/4 inch strips.  Place in a single layer on a plate.  Sprinkle both sides of strips with chili and garlic powder.
Add oil to a 12-inch skillet.  Heat to medium high.  Add chicken strips.  Cook 3-5 minutes, stir frequently.
Add bell peppers and onion.  Stir and cook until vegetables are tender and chicken is no longer pink.
Scoop chicken mixture (2/3 cup each) onto tortillas.  Top with your favorite toppings.
Serve flat or rolled.

Want a vegetarian option? Use 1 can (15 ounces) black beans (drained, rinsed).
Heat cold tortillas to make them easier to fold.  Cover tortillas with a moist paper towel and heat 30 seconds in microwave.
Want a great side option? Pair with fresh, cut Mango's!

Friday, March 28, 2014

F.A.V.E- Fruits and Vegetables Evansville

Hello Everyone!

It's great to be blogging again.  I have certainly missed it! I have been incredibly busy the past three weeks and have not been posting like I should.  Today I wanted to share the new community project I have the opportunity to part-take in. I have the unique opportunity to work alongside the University of Southern Indiana, St. Mary's Hospital, Deaconess Hospital, and the Welborn Baptist Foundation to improve the accessibility, quality, and selection of fruits and vegetables for the city of Evansville.  We arrive on campus every Friday at 8 am to unload our produce from the delivery trucks.  We then head over to the food lab where we wash, weigh, and bag the produce.  From there, we travel to three different community sites and sell the produce for the whole-sale cost it was purchased at.  We had a wonderful turnout and even had people waiting in line to buy our food!  Not only were we selling fruits and vegetables, but we also provided a nutrition education segment! This week, Brittany Smith, a dietetic student, demonstrated how to make caramelized bananas and banana muffins!  The demonstration was a hit and people were thrilled to taste samples.  It is a remarkable feeling to know we are able to make a difference in the community.  
 Kayla and I setting up the produce bins. 
Check out our fresh fruits and vegetables! 
 Chelsea modeling our personalized apron and baskets!

 The girls are eager to start work! 

 Brittany performing her nutrition education segment. 
Caramelized Bananas. YUM YUM

Recipes! Courtesy of Brittany Smith 

Banana Crumb Muffins

1.5 Cup Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
3 Large Bananas, Mashed
3/4 Cup Sugar
1 Egg Lightly Beaten
1/3 Cup Butter

1/3 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1 T Flour
1/8 tsp. Cinnamon
1 T Cold Butter

Combine bananas, sugar, egg, butter. Mixed well. Stir in dry ingredients until moistened. Grease Muffin pan.  Fill pan 3/4 full.  Combine first 3 topping ingredients.  Cut up butter and add to mix until crumbly.  Spread over muffin.  Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes. 

Caramelized Honey Bananas

2 ripe bananas
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, or substitute preferred cooking oil such as grapeseed oil or canola oil
2 Tbsp Honey
½ tsp cinnamon

Using a sharp knife, start by cutting the bananas into ½ inch thick slices. Preheat your skillet to medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp unsalted butter or preferred cooking oil to the pan. Add in 2 Tbsp honey and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Let ingredients dissolve. Once melted and combined take banana slices and lay them flat in your pan. Once they are in, let them cook for 4-5 minutes until it starts to brown and caramelize on the bottom. Flip to the other side and let them cook for an additional 4-5 minutes. Once they are brown and caramelized all over you can remove them from the heat and serve!

Great to eat as a snack or to use as an ingredient or topping! 

Chelsea and I managing the register. 
 Don't they look delicious?!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Guest Blogger- Madison Duncan: Mind of Madison

Hi everyone and thank you in advance to Sylvia for allowing me to be a guest blogger on her site!

First off I'd like to say THANKS for stopping by. I'm not sure what brought you here. Maybe you saw my post on Facebook and wanted to stop by and keep tabs on the high school homecoming queen that went to college and got fat. Or maybe (hopefully) you're here for inspiration to get off the couch and get moving.  I've never been a size 0, nor will I ever be. God has blessed me with curves and I'm doing my best to embrace them. Unfortunately, I've used my God given curves as an excuse to eat and be lazy. A little extra to love is okay, right?So let me fill you in on my journey.. I started my freshman year of college @ Purdue University (BOILER UP) in 2010. Between a mixture of eating all-you-can-eat dining court meals three times a day, joining a sorority and drinking 4 nights a week, and only exercising when I had to walk 5 minutes to class.... you can imagine I gained a few pounds (or 30). I also developed a few health problems in my sinuses and was put on steroids for three months straight. Adding the constant consumption of calories and the weight gaining power of steroids, there was no hope. I was gaining weight and I didn't want to do anything about it.

It wasn't until a year and a half ago, when my life took an unfortunate turn for the worse, that I started to focus on living a healthier lifestyle. I think it took a seriously traumatic life experience for me to pull myself together. I was depressed and food was my vice. I spent 6 weeks laying in my dark bedroom watching Netflix before I decided that I should do something about my depression. I went to a doctor to get a second opinion on how to tackle my disease. After being put on enough medications to kill a small horse (just to be able to get out of bed and not be a sloth all day) I decided to take matters into my own hands. I HATE the fact that I was considered someone with a 'mental illness' and I was going to do my whatever it took to get rid of that title. So besides the obvious medication, another recommended tactic is diet and exercise. Sounds good to me.

I remember one morning a year and a half ago when I stepped on the scale and saw "the number." The largest number I'd ever seen on a scale. 173 pounds. I was never tiny. I graduated high school weighing 140 and I was happy with that weight.That morning I put on an old pair of running shoes and took my first step towards a healthier me. Fighting the heat of July, I completed two miles in 40 minutes. I was exhausted, but I didn't give up. I continued to run every day and started replacing fast food with healthier options. Fast forward to today. I am 35 pounds lighter, happy, and training to run my first half marathon.

(173 vs. 136)

It can happen to anyone. But, with hard work and determination I know that YOU can be healthy too.

You can follow more of my journey at

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Guest Writer- Jasmin Foster: Dietitian Ambition

My name is Jasmin Foster and I am a Dietetics graduate from the University of Kentucky. While in the didactic program at University of Kentucky my most exciting class was Quantity Food Production.  My classmates and I were in charge of running a student restaurant, The Lemon Tree.  For only $11.00 guests reserved a table where we would provide a three course meal.  Students worked in pairs and rotated to every position of the restaurant to gain a diverse experience.  Of course, we were supervised by a wonderful team that included a registered dietitian, two chefs, and two teaching assistants.  For each meal students we were responsible to prepare food for an average of 40-50 guests and additional food for the class to eat making the total to at least 70 people!  My partner and I started off working in front of house as servers.  Here, we were in charge of preparing the dining room for service.  As a server I learned etiquette on which side to stand, how to properly pour drinks, and how to set the dining room table.  As front of house manager we were in charge of deciding the placement of table, decorations, handling money, and helping servers when in need.                                                               

The majority of the position were in back of house as cooks. All meals were made fresh and each day of service featured a Kentucky Proud or locally grown product.  Some items were provided straight from the farm of our chef! As back of house manager responsibilities were to ensure everything ran smoothly by overseeing operations of all the cooks, delegating cleaning responsibilities, and working with the front of house manager to provide the correct number of dinner plates, glasses, and silverware needed. When my partner and I were in charge of dessert we made lemon poppy seed cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and raspberry drizzle. Some other dishes I made throughout the semester included spinach dip, sautéed kale, roasted turkey, pita bread, and a caprese salad with arugula greens. Customers of Lemon Tree were mostly faculty, staff, and family members of students. I was able to work on a larger scale using RoboCop mixers, large salad spinners, commercial ovens, ranges, and steam tables.  Overall I learned a lot and gained a deeper understanding about what it takes to run a restaurant.  Teamwork through effective communication, preparation, timeliness, and great customer service made my semester in The Lemon Tree a success.  Having a hands on learning class was a great contrast to the medical nutrition therapy and science courses. To view more pictures visit The Lemon Tree Facebook Page (

Want to learn more about Jasmin's experience? Check out her blog at and on facebook at Dietitian Ambition 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

12 ways to motivate yourself to exercise

 Today I was asked why I workout as religiously as I do. It's simple: I really can't afford not to workout!  Heart disease is the number one killer in America and by exercising 30 minutes a day the risk is cut in half.
Well Sylvia, that's great but how do you find motivation to exercise when you don't want to get off the couch? Well today, I am answering that question!  I sat down and really thought about what keeps me motivated and while there are millions of ways to motivate yourself to exercise, I'm going to share a few that have worked for me.

  • The feeling after a workout. I love that "high" I get after a long workout.  I remind myself of how good I am going to feel later. 
  • Me time. While we find time to take care of others, we often put ourselves on the back burner. Exercising is one of the few times a day I truly zone out and take care of myself mentally and physically. 
  • Adrenaline rush. I get a rush of energy when I am doing a new workout. Ride that rush to complete it.
  • Calories burned. Recently, I received a Polar heart-rate monitor watch as a gift.  I track my calories and push myself to go a little farther and harder than the day before. 
  • Having fun. I am constantly mixing up my workout routines.  One day I'm at the gym, next a fitness class, after that a home workout DVD.  I always try to keep things new and exciting and prevent getting in an exercise "rut". What's the best part about mixing up your workouts? No muscle memory so you are constantly working and pushing yourself!
  • The future you. Visualize a happier, healthier you.
  • Blogs. I love to read blogs from RD's, athletes, and runners.  Learning their up and downs is inspirational and you can learn from their experiences. 
  • Success stories. Nothing can compare to testimonials of others who have reached their goal.  Just think, one day that will be you.
  • Cheat days. Let's be honest. It is unrealistic to have perfect days all year long.  Schedule yourself a cheat day once a week.  Studies have determined if you allow yourself a cheat day you will be more likely to comply to the new lifestyle habit. 
  • Contemplation time. I do my best thinking when I workout because I have a clear head. 
  • The dreaded feeling of not exercising. I love waking up early in the morning and getting my workout in before the rest of the day.  Whenever I don't workout, I feel more tired and sluggish.
  • Upcoming event. Anything from a weekend date, graduation, or upcoming vacation.  Find a day that has meaning to you and make a commitment to yourself to prepare for the event. 
What keeps you motivated? I would love hearing your thoughts and ideas! 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Video Blog! Buffalo Cauliflower Bites. Super Bowl!

These little bites are a great additive to any Super Bowl Party.  At 120 calories a serving and 2 grams of fat, you won't have to worry about munching on these all night!

                                                 Watch my video on how to make them! 

1 head cauliflower 
1 cup milk
3/4 cups flour
2 tsp garlic powder
1 T butter
1 cup Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Sauce

Monday, January 20, 2014

Video Blog - Thick and Chewy Banana Oatmeal Cookies

Thick and Chewy Banana Oatmeal Cookies

30-40 Calories depending on size
Fat: 1.5 grams
Carbs: 7
Protein: 1.5 grams
Fiber: 1.3 grams
1 Weight Watchers Point

3 Bananas
2 Cups Old Fashioned Oats
1/4 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1/4 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/3 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
Dash of Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Mash bananas in a large bowl
Stir in remaining ingredients
Let batter stand for 20 minutes
Drop by tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheet
Bake 10-12 minutes

                                                 Watch My How-To Video Below!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

No Bread Ideas!- First Video Blog! Cinnamon Banana Pancake

Hello everyone! I am super excited to announce that I have created my first video blog.  In addition to my ingredients, you can chop up nuts, coconut shreds, or berries and put them in the pancakes.  The possibilities are endless so don't be afraid to get creative!

Cinnamon Banana Pancakes

Calories: 100
Fat: <5

1 Banana
2 Whole Eggs or 1/2 Cup Eggbeaters
Cinnamon to taste
                                                           Watch my video below!

Friday, January 17, 2014

No Bread Ideas! - Cucumber Tofu Rolls

Alright friends, here is the second post to No Bread Ideas- Low Carb January!  I know we often think of tofu as a meat substitute for a meal, but why not use it during snacks?! Tofu is great because you can basically make it taste like anything you want! It's packed with protein, calcium, and is low-cal.  


Serving size: 4 rolls
Makes 8 rolls total 


1 block extra firm tofu
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons Annie's Lite Gingerly Vinaigrette Dressing
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced 
Half teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cucumber, washed
8 toothpicks


Place the oil in a pan on medium-low heat 
Make a slit in the tofu container and drain out the water in the sink. 
Place block of Tofu on a cutting board and cut 1/8 inch slices along the short side cutting 1.5 - 2 inch pieces. 
Place each piece of tofu in the hot pan.  Pour on the dressing and sprinkle on the minced ginger, cumin, salt, and pepper.  Allow 15-20 minutes to cook (or until slightly brown)  Don't forget to flip the tofu! Set aside to cool.
Cut cucumbers lengthwise in 1/8 inch thick slices.  Aim to get roughly 8 slices out of the cucumber. 
Lay one cucumber slice flat on the cutting board.  Place a stack of four pieces of tofu on each end of the cucumber, roll it up, and place a toothpick through the center to keep it in a tight roll. 

*Optional: Looking for some vitamin A? Slice a carrot lengthwise and roll it up with the cucumber! It adds color and makes for an appealing treat! 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

No Bread Ideas!- Baked Coconut Shrimp

I decided I wanted to focus the next few posts on "no bread ideas". Yes, you read that right, I'm talking low-carb!  I have received numerous messages via Facebook asking me to post low-carb snack and meal ideas for individuals on Atkin's, Heart Health diets, and other carb counting diets. I greatly appreciate the enthusiasm and hope you enjoy the posts!

1. Meatballs
2. Veggie Wraps
3. Nuts
4. Tuna Salad on Tomato
5. Avocado with Sunflower Seeds
6. Cucumbers with Ranch Greek Yogurt Dip
7. Cottage Cheese with Veggies or Fruit
8. Cucumber Tofu Rolls
9. Baked Coconut Shrimp

Baked Coconut Shrimp!

Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 cup flaked unsweetened coconut
6 tablespoons plain panko breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
2 large egg whites
1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and patted dry
Salt and pepper

Dipping Sauce:
1/4 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder

Preheat oven to 450 F.  Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray.
Prepare dipping sauce.  Combine Greek yogurt, lime juice, and chili powder in bowl and place in refrigerator to cool.
Combine coconut, panko, and flour in a large bowl.
Beat the egg whites in a medium bowl until slightly frothy.
Add shrimp to egg whites; toss to coat.  Lift each shrimp from the egg whites, letting excess drip off shrimp.  Coat in the crumb mixture, pressing to adhere.
Place the shrimp on a baking sheet in a single layer.  Lightly spray with nonstick spray.
Bake until the shrimp are golden on the outside and opaque in the center or 8-10 minutes.
Serve with dipping sauce.

*Optional: Serve with grilled pineapple and green beans

Friday, January 3, 2014

How to Keep Yourself in Shape this Winter

The New Year has rung in and if you are like 90% of Americans, your resolution's may include losing weight/eating healthier/exercising more. Unfortunately, for those of us who live in the Northern part of the country, the winter storms have came early this year and can make it challenging to stick to those resolutions.  It is far more challenging to wake up and exercise in the early morning when it is -15 degrees and pitch black.  Not to mention, a foot of snow on the ground.
It is recommend that adults get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like walking, per week. That's a little more than 20 minutes per day.  For some, that may seem daunting- but it is possible!

TV workouts- Have a favorite show or certain time each day you like to sit on the couch and relax? Use this time to stay active by doing some light stretching or short exercises during commercial breaks.  If you have an hour long show, that's 15 minutes of commercials to get your heart rate pumping!

Be active at work- If you have a desk job, take a break every 20-30 minutes to stand up and stretch.  A fellow employee needs to make a trip to the printer? Offer to do it for them.  You will get moving and when you sit back down to work, your brain will alert and able to function better.

Walking in a winter wonderland- Layer up! Grab a friend and go for a walk around the block.  Walking in the snow burns more calories than walking in regular conditions.  Even better, go sledding! Walking back up those hills is a great and free workout!

Workout DVD's -  This is my FAVORITE type of exercise in the brutal cold.  When I can't muster up the courage to spend the day outside, I love to do some of my favorite DVD's.  There are so many on the market, you won't have any difficulty finding one that suits your fancy and won't have to worry about getting burnt out.

Winter Cleaning-  Why wait for spring cleaning?  If your couped inside your house why not use this time to organize and de-clutter?  You burn roughly 150 calories per hour and can sleep better knowing your house is spotless.

All these activities will keep your wallet happy and body healthy.  So get creative this winter and be sure to bundle up!