Tag Archives: health

A Big Announcement – Going Back to School

Many of you know this bit of news already, but I wanted to formally announce it all the same.

I am going back to school.

To become a registered dietitian.


Even before I graduated the first time around (in 2012 from Manhattan Christian College with a BS in Cross-Cultural Studies) Will started asking me if I would ever want to go back to school.  I always told him I didn’t know, that I hadn’t thought about it.  I didn’t think about it much till this spring.

I don’t know why our culture expects 17 year olds to know what they want to do for the rest of their lives.  Actually at that age I didn’t even know that I had a passion for nutrition.  Looking back I had generally been a pretty healthy eater.  I ate constantly thanks to soccer, but generally I made pretty decent choices.

When I was 19 I found out that I am gluten-intolerant.  It took a long time to get disciplined about avoiding it.  In college it was hard to learn how to fuel up for soccer without glutenous foods.  Now the interesting thing is figuring out other ways that gluten impacts me.  When it comes to your body – nutrition is connected to everything – emotions, mental clarity, hormones, energy, and of course risk factors for cancer, heart-disease, etc.

Out enjoying creation =)

Seeing how ingesting gluten effects various areas of my life, marrying a person who is interested in sustainable agriculture and passionate about gardening, doing ministry with the marginalizedwho have little access to nutritious food, and a general desire to have a healthy body that won’t hold me back from glorifying God in any part of life stirred a passion in me to go back to school for dietetics.

What I want to do is be knowledgeable about and licensed in what I am passionate about and so that God can best use that passion to help others.  I want to help people make healthy choices – to glorify God with their body, soul, and life.

What I don’t want to do is help people achieve a goal weight for the sake of having a more ideal body.  I do not want to become a food nazi.  I do not want to meticulously count calories and grams of this and that.  I do not want to stop eating sugar.  I want to help myself and others find balance in life.  Find discipline and the occasional splurge.  Find colorful vegetables that they like.  Find joy in cooking.  Enjoy eating out without over indulging.  And overall how to have and enjoy a healthy life, a life that is more full of color, flavor, walks in the crisp fall air at sunset, moments of play and laughter with family and friends.  I want people to be able to live lives where their bodies don’t hold them back from enjoying the glory of God and giving Him glory in return.

Now, confession, not only do I not always do the best with my own nutrition, but I  also have been in school for a few months…. Since March.  That’s why my blogging has gotten a bit sparse.  I started with an 8 week, accelerated pace Basic Personal Nutrition class and then over the summer an accelerated pace Biology course.  Now I am about to embark upon a long journey over the next school year.  I will be taking Anatomy & Physiology I and Chemistry I over the next four months, and taking Anatomy & Physiology II and Chemistry II over the spring semester.

books and backpack, ready for the first day and first homework date with Hubster of the semester.

remember the bookshelf I posted about a couple weeks ago?  I had to add a crate to accommodate my growing school library.

Once that is over I will have one more class to finish up my prerequisites.  At that point I will start working through my core degree classes.  That will take me another two years if I continue at this part time/school-on-the-side pace.   This is going to be a journey…

So what I am asking is that you come along with me on this journey, grace, support, learning as I learn, growing as I grow, and marveling at how God made food and our bodies to work together.

My family is super supportive of this venture of mine.

Izzy has an odd way of showing it... I guess she thinks she can teach me more than my text books can.



Weekly Menu 3-16-14 & Carnita Soup

Last week I started a new page on the blog: What We’re Eating This Week. What Will and I will be cooking is up on that page.  If you checked that out then you got a preview of the menu that I am going to post for you to try out next week.  I hope you like Pork and Mexican, because you’ll be eating a lot of it, which makes dinners really easy!

Click HERE for the printable version

Click HERE for the printable version


We had another cold snap this week, or “second winter” as a really funny Lord of the Rings themed meme I saw put it.  So not only was turning our leftover carnita meat into soup delicious and easy, it was also the perfect meal for the couple cold nights we had.  Here’s the recipe for it.


Mexican Carnita Soup


Soup Ingredients:
  • 1 Tbsp. olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 large Onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 small Yellow/Summer Squash, peeled and sliced into bite-sized sticks
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Corn (I used some we had taken off the cob and frozen last summer)
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cups cooked pork carnitas
  • 1 Jalapeno, diced
  • Pepper and Cumin to taste
  • Potato-Masa Dumplings
  • Fresh Cilantro, chopped

Potato-Masa Dumplings Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mashed potatoes
  • 1/2 cup masa harina
  • 1 egg


  1. Chop the onion and squash.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet (or if you want a one-pot meal heat it in a large stockpot) over medium high heat. Add the onion and yellow squash. Saute until cooked and the onion is translucent.
  3. Add the corn and garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the chicken broth, carnita meat, and jalapeno and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. While the soup is simmering mix together the ingredients for the dumplings. I used my hands for most of this.
  7. Once the dough is nice and smooth start pulling off handfuls, rolling it into a toube 1/2-1″ thick and slicing off little round dumplings about 1/8th of inch thick.
  8. To serve: ladle soup into a bowl, add the dumplings, top with cilantro.

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Here’s another Recipe to look forward to:

Homemade Blackberry Crack (aka Syrup)

Homemade Blackberry Crack (aka Syrup)

Healthy Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookie Bars

Fall is in the air!  And with that comes all things pumpkin flavored! Even my afternoon fuel up snack is now going to be pumpkin flavored.  

Since finding out that I am gluten free I have had to learn to do some dietary shuffling in order to take in enough carbohydrates.  I don’t think that it would be that much a of an issue if I was not active.  But since I am, as hubster puts it, a “recovering jock” or “workout-aholic” I do have to keep the carb intake up. If I don’t eat a light carb near the end of work then my run that evening will be stuck in low gear, and that is unacceptable.

I love granola and granola bars… and everything else made from oatmeal. Consequently, granola bars are my go to afternoon fuel.  I have posted a couple of granola bar recipes, and I have posted a granola cereal recipe (I have another one that I need to post).

I know it would be easiest if I stuck with the routine I had through college of singlehandedly keeping Nature Valley in business, but I value making things myself.  I try pretty hard to keep processed food out of Will and I’s diet as much as possible.  So while I could buy a box of granola bars for a couple of bucks every week, I am convinced that I am going to be able to make perfect ones for myself eventually. This post has two delicious recipes for pumpkin “granola” bars!  They are so moist that they are more like cookie bars than granola bars.  So if you are looking for a crunch, this isn’t where to look.  But if you’re looking for healthy, pumpkin deliciousness – you’ve found the right place.


Prepare your taste buds for these wonderful Tasty Tuesday treats that my mom and I made!  These were even my pre-race breakfast on Sunday for the Iron Horse Half-Marathon.

Healthy Pumpkin Granola Cookie Bars

*adapted from http://deliciousbydre.com/pumpkin-oatmeal-cookies/

Pumpkin Oat Cookies 2Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line or spray a baking sheet.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the pumpkin, egg, vanilla, and honey until well combined.  In another large bowl combine oat flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, spices, dried cranberries, and chopped walnuts. Mix together the wet and dry ingredients. You don’t have to mix it too much, just till it’s all blended together.
  3. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto cookie sheets and form them into little bars.  You could leave them as normal cookie shapes, but I wanted to feel like I was eating a granola bar.
  4. Bake for about 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate or rack to cool.
there they are =) Fresh from the oven!

there they are =) Fresh from the oven!

I think that I want to try these with cinnamon chips or chocolate chips.  They could also use a little more of the pumpkin pie spice and so on.

they pair awesomely with my homemade pumpkin spice lattes!

they pair awesomely with my homemade pumpkin spice lattes!

If you would like your own homemade pumpkin spice latte syrup to add to your coffee, leave me a comment and I will gladly make and sell you your own jar!  

I don’t have any pictures of this next recipe, but man oh man were they good! They lasted me for about 3 weeks!  Made 14 bars.  They are very soft and moist, so I might try baking them longer next time to make them a little crispier.  They are pretty healthy, but not very sweet.  The sweetness comes from your mix-ins.  If you are looking for a sweet snack, stick with the Quaker man.  But if you are looking for something healthy, that you can make yourself and customize to your taste buds you’ve found the right recipe.

Healthy Pumpkin Butterscotch Granola Cookie Bars

They remind me a lot of the homemade breakfast protein bars I used to make in high school. The original recipe with loads of suggestions for different flavors (that I highly suggest you check out) is here. That recipe says that it makes 30 bars…. I got 14 bars.  I guess I just have a big appetite. Lol.


  • 1 ½ cups Pumpkin Puree
  • ½ cup Peanut Butter
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 cups Oats
  • ¾ cup Butterscotch chips
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 Tbsp Honey
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. In a large bowl mix together all the ingredients.
  3. Spread it out on a cookie sheet so that it is about a ¼” thick.  And bake for 15 minutes .
  4. Let cool, slice, and eat!

I bagged all of mine up individually so that I could easily grab one to take to work with me.  Since they are so moist I am afraid of them molding.  My solution is to put of them in the freezer, I take one out in the morning, put it in my purse, and it thaws out quickly. That is what I used to do with the protein bars that I mentioned earlier.