Matcha Smoothie

smoothie
Photo: Jessica Gavin

What a lovely day to post about Smoothies- it’s freeezzzzing over here on the east coast. We are in northern Florida and not used this 30 degree weather! But none-the-less smoothies are always yummy and a great way to get a lot of the good stuff in. I probably have on average- 4 to 5 smoothies (of some kind) a week. This one is a total favorite of ours! It has Matcha, so what’s not to love!

recipe – for one serving

  • 1 cup lightly packed baby spinach
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 teaspoon Matcha powder
  • 3/4 cup of coconut water or almond milk (increase based on preference)
  • Ice to preference
  • 1/4 Tsp Golden Milk (this is turmeric + date powder) – optional
  • 1/4 Tsp Spirulina – Optional
  • Scoop of protein powder- Optional (when we are hungry enough we will add a scoop of Patrick’s protein concoction aka an even mix of whey + plant based protein powder)

Have your pick of sprinkled organic honey, chia seeds, cinnamon and/or coconut on top! Smoothies are great because this is just a base but if you’re feeling extra hungry just add some Greek Yogurt or add blueberries to mix it up! I actually love the taste of blueberries and Matcha together. If you do add fruit- do about 1/3 of a cup! Feelin like you need more fiber in your diet? Add a Tbsp of ground flax! 

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Photo: Epicurious

One of my other favorite things is turning smoothies into a “bowl” aka more space to sprinkle goodies on top! Typically if I’m wanting to turn my smoothie into a bowl, I like them with a little more ice added so it thickens it up- but those details are all about preference! 

-The Neilan Family-

Chickpea (Meatless) Meatballs

Hi everyone and happy Thursday! It has been a little crazy over here in the Neilan household, as I’m sure it’s been in your home too! Patrick is on a 7am-7pm/Mon-Fri schedule now. Which may sound terrible, but it’s actually pretty nice because he gets weekends off. Wahoooo Merry Christmas to us! Anyway, the holidays are upon us- and we love/welcome the chaos. We’ve got family coming into town soon and lots of cooking happening and gift wrapping to do BUT before we close out till after Christmas I wanted to share this Chickpea Ball recipe with you guys. I make spinach turkey meatballs often – this is the first meal I made for Patrick when we were dating (with pasta and pesto sauce) so it hits close to home! I will share the spinach turkey baked meatball/cashew pesto recipe with you all soon as well!  But back to the chickpeas- we don’t like to have meat every night of the week- so we swap chickpea balls over a salad bowl every other night. This way we include lots of plant-based meals too!

From the Dietitian: Chickpeas are great for digestion and satiety. They pack about 15g protein per cup- which makes it an awesome option when you’re trying to add some meatless nights into your weekly routine. Chickpeas are high in folate, magnesium, iron and phosphorus- wahoooo!!

From the Doctor: Studies have shown that 1.5 C of legumes a day helped reduce inflammatory markers and improved insulin resistance. Two awesome correlates in the fight against disease. Chickpeas are packed with soluble fiber as we discussed in the lentil soup recipe (https://doctormeetsdietitian.com/2017/12/13/coziest-lentil-soup-recipe/) – making it great for diabetics, in moderation, as it slows the absorption of sugar. This happens because soluble fiber increases the viscosity (aka thickness) of the intestinal contents after each meal consumed. Even if you are not diabetic- we all want out blood sugar managed well and our insulin levels normalized- trust me. Once your insulin and blood sugar are at of whack it creates an abundance of issues in the body- to put it very lightly. Just a glimpse- diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease, top cause for blindness, the reason for 60% of lower body amputations, 70% of people with diabetes have nervous system damage, diabetes causes- digestive problems, erectile dysfunction and increases risk of high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. Moderation, healthy diet and a lifestyle of balance is the key way to avoid chronic disease. Now, on to the chickpea recipe!

ingredients 

  • 2 eggs or 2 flax eggs to keep chickpea balls vegan (2.5 tbsp ground flax)
  • 1/2 C breadcrumbs
  • 2 C Chickpeas
  • 2-3 Garlic Cloves (or 1/2 Tbsp of garlic powder)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp parsley
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp basil
  • 1/4 tsp marjoram (optional)
  • small handful of basil leaves (optional)

recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 450
  2. Skip this step if using canned chickpeas. If using dried chickpeas, soak for 4 hours. Boil until they’re splitting, about 45 minutes to an hour.
  3. Drain the chickpeas and pinch the skin off [I didn’t take the skin off all the chickpeas and it turned out great- takes wayyy too long! But if you have the time, go for it!]
  4. Blend chickpeas in a blender until broken down [I added a few drops of water]
  5. Make your flax seed “eggs”  [2 Tbsp Flax with 6 Tbsp of Water- mix and let sit for 10-15min]
  6. Mix chickpeas and flax seed eggs [or regular eggs]
  7. Mix in the remaining ingredients
  8. If the mixture is too sticky, add more breadcrumbs a little at a time. If too dry, add a little water or oil [coconut/olive whatever you prefer]
  9. Form the chickpea mixture into meatballs and place onto a greased or parchment-lined baking dish.
  10. Bake the chickpea meatballs for 20-25 minutes, turning over halfway through, They should be golden and crispy.

Recipe Credit: Karissa’s vegan kitchen (modifications made)

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Try “Everything But the Bagel” seasoning from Trader Joe’s- it is so so yummy. Sprinkled on avocado above!

Enjoy with pasta and pesto or over a bed of lettuce with all the veggies of your choice!

-The Neilan Family-

Matcha Pancakes

We are lovers of matcha forever + always [in and on all things]. My husband has now become equally [or more so] as obsessed as I am and that is the absolute, 100% truth. I am just as shocked as you are! A lot of pouting happens in the kitchen if we miss a morning without a dose of it before the hospital. But MATCHA IN PANCAKES- oh boy. Game changing. There are all the fancy pancakes in the world- which I love too- but matcha pancakes- always my fav. You can top it with the whipped cream recipe we also posted or a lot of the time I like matcha pancakes with coconut yogurt on top and almonds! Best part about it is- you can play with it – till you find what you like!

See earlier post on health benefits of Matcha:  https://doctormeetsdietitian.com/2017/11/12/matcha-coffee-adderall/.

Also check out morning “anti-gremlin” concoction for our morning matcha routine:  https://doctormeetsdietitian.com/2017/11/14/morning-anti-gremlin-concoction/. 

ingredients

  • 1 egg [for vegan option, use flax egg aka 1 tbsp flax/3 tbsp water and mix]
  • 1/3 cup milk [we used almond milk]
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter (plus more for skillet) [we used coconut butter]
  • 2 tablespoons sugar [we used 2 1/2 tsp Truvia]
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup flour [use flour of your choice]
  • 1 tablespoon matcha powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 tsp spirulina [optional]
  • 1 tsp ground flax [optional]

recipe

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, melted butter, sugar, and vanilla extract. Add the flour, matcha powder, spirulina, ground flax, baking powder, and salt, and whisk just until the batter comes together; the batter should be lumpy.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium-low heat. Brush with coconut butter or regular butter. Dollop circles of pancake batter onto skillet. Wait until bubbles appear and pop on the surface, then flip the pancakes and cook for another minute or so + stack!

Recipe Cred [although modified] from: Diane A Broad

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photo: be well by kelly

Serve with coconut yogurt + almonds, honey or pure maple syrup- whatever your little heart desires!

– The Neilan Family-

Pancakes + Banana Cinnamon Maple [Half Yogurt] Whipped Cream

I say pancakes are for Saturdays because that is always the day (and sometimes Sunday too) that I’m craving something fluffy + delicious aka pancakes or french toast. Likely, because I am a full time working dietitian- so that’s when I’ve got the time! This weekend we made some Kodiak Cakes with my mom’s whipped cream recipe [modified to half whipping cream and half yogurt]. If you haven’t had Kodiak Cakes – they’re awesome. They have different varieties but my favorite is the buttermilk “protein packed” flapjack mix. Made with 100% whole grains, 14g protein per serving, non GMO and no preservatives— SIGN US UP! We have mixed it up so many ways- but this weekend we added pecans and it was oh so yummy! You can find Kodiak Cakes at most grocery stores or on amazon. They even have muffin and cake mixes now too- that I use when I’m in a bind and don’t have a lot of time (we tried blueberry lemon muffins- so yum). On to the recipe for pecan pancakes with banana maple cinnamon [half yogurt] whipped cream 

For the Kodiak Cakes- Follow instructions on box and add fruit/nuts of your preference.Mom’s Original Whipped Cream Recipe [with modifications]-

  • 1 C Whipping Cream
  • 2 Tbsp of Sugar [we used 2 1/2 tsp Truvia]
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract [if you want to get crazy and make something SO yummy- try adding actual vanilla beans. we do this every so often with this recipe and it’s unreal]
  • 1/2 C Yogurt [greek, almond, coconut or regular will do!]

Throw this in a standing mixer for about 4 minutes on med/high and you will have whipped cream!

-Banana Maple Pecan Whipped Cream-

  • 1 tsp Truvia
  • 1 tsp Pure Maple Syrup [we used golden syrup- you can also use honey]
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Whole Banana
  • 1 C Whipping Cream
  • 1/2 C Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Mix in a standing mixer and add pecans on top!

Enjoy Friends! Please let us know if there’s an ingredient you have questions about or can’t find! The whipped cream recipe is so versatile- we hope you enjoy!!

-The Neilan Family-

Fluffiest Popovers + Simple Homemade Jam Recipe

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Some things I don’t kid about- and one of those things is popovers. Definitely in my top 5 favorite foods. My love of these guys is quite unreal. If you haven’t had one- envision bread- but a hundred million times better. Fluffy, light and incredible. I actually always pass on bread – because unless is extraordinarily made/incredible – I’m not into it. I find most bread boring. BUT POPOVERS- total game changer. 

Background where my story began with popovers: In high school I would go to this super fancy restaurant with a friend (every day) and order a garden salad and multiple baskets of popovers (which came free on the table). Looking back those waiters most definitely hated us. 15-18 year old girls (yes this continued for years), coming in every day and ordering only a garden salad at a fancy restaurant- wowzers. But how nice were they to keep bringing the popovers endlessly without complaining?! Shout out to Luigino’s in Orlando, FL if you all are ever around that neck of the woods.

Anyway, now that I’m older I have realized just how easy they are to make. I recently ordered a popover pan on amazon. I highly recommend purchasing if you plan on making popovers. A cupcake tin does not work as well- they don’t expand and they’re not nearly as fluffy. So for fifteen dollars, I think it’s absolutely worth it. Here is the one I purchased- https://www.amazon.com/Chicago-Metallic-Professional-Popover-15-5-Inch/dp/B003YL3DWO/ref=sr_1_4?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1513207241&sr=1-4&keywords=popover+pan.

We make popovers all the time- with soup or as an appetizer before dinner and they are soooo yummy. I love them with a little butter and homemade strawberry or blueberry jam. As you become a popover pro, you can start adding spices, cheese, chocolate, nuts and jam to the center of the popover- then bake. But I am a simple girl and like them the original way best! But play with it and see what you like!

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Popover Recipe from Neiman Marcus Cookbook

ingredients 

  • 3 1/2 Cups of Milk – we used almond
  • 4 Cups of All Purpose Flour- we used half whole wheat and half regular flour
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • 6 Large Eggs at room temperature

Of note: the key to the best popovers is having the eggs and milk warm before mixing

recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Place milk in bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes
  3. Sift flour, salt and baking powder together in large mixing bowl
  4. Crack the eggs into the work bowl of an electric mixer – beat on medium for about 3 minutes until pale and foamy
  5. Turn down the mixer to low and add warm milk
  6. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes
  7. Turn the machine off and let the batter rest for 1 hr at room temperature (I know this is annoying but it is worth the wait- if you can’t wait continue without letting it sit but if you can- complete this step!)
  8. Spray popover pan generously with nonstick spray
  9. Fill the popover cups almost to the top with batter
  10. Bake popovers for 15 minutes
  11. Turn oven temperature down to 375 and bake for an additional 30-35 minutes or until popovers are a deep golden brown on the outside
  12. Immediately serve hot with butter and homemade jam

simple jam recipe

  • 3 cups of blueberries or strawberries (fruit of your choice)
  • 1 cup of sugar (or 1/3 cup + 1.5 Tablespoons of Truvia)
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice

Place all ingredients in small pot and heat on stove for about 20-30 minutes (low/medium heat) + mix occasionally. Should become smooth/jelly like consistency. If you like your jam lumpy like me – take off a bit earlier. 

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I hope you enjoy this delicacy as much as we do! When Patrick tried a popover for the first time he was thoroughly impressed! Who doesn’t love the delicious light/airiness of a yummy hot popover?! If you all try this recipe, please let us know what you think! 

-The Neilan Family-

P.S. Don’t forget to order your popover tin

Coziest Lentil Soup Recipe

lentil-soup-bowl

This recipe is straight from my mom- aka the greatest Italian chef of all time- without any modifications. Because well, sometimes…you cannot modify perfection. It has always been one of my favorite recipes of hers and it’s so simple. Now that I’m older and cooking for myself, I can totally see why she was so excited when I’d ask for Lentil Soup for dinner- it’s so easy!! Busy after work? Throw everything into a pot to boil and leave it. As Patrick would say, Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

From the Dietitian: Let’s just be frank- this soup is awesome for regularity. It’s got insoluble fiber – which helps prevent constipation and other digestive disorders (IBS and Diverticulosis). Lets talk about the difference between insoluble and soluble fiber- because a lot of people don’t know or forget! If you’re eating a meal- may want to revisit this page at a later time because we are going to get straight into poop talk. Yep – that’s right. Easiest way to say it. So soluble fiber (found in beans, peas, oats, barley, fruits and avocados) is sticky and soft- it acts almost like a gel, in a sense, so that things can slide around the GI tract more easily. The beautiful thing about soluble fiber is that it binds to substances like cholesterol and sugar- preventing or slowing down absorption in the blood- which is super cool and amazing if you ask me. Soluble fiber increases good bacteria in the gut; furthermore, improving immunity, anti-inflammatory effects and even improved mood per studies that have been done. Soluble fiber also is great for weight management -as we all know- because it helps you feel fuller longer…win win! Now for insoluble fiber– think roughage. Insoluble fiber is found in whole grains, nuts, fruits and veggies (mostly in the skin, stalks, and seeds). Insoluble fiber cannot dissolve in water; therefore, it cannot be broken down in the gut and cannot enter the bloodstream. Because of this, it adds bulk to the digestive system- preventing constipation. Which we all want/love.

From the Doctor: I work in internal medicine. In the future, the plan is to work in Pulmonary Critical Care, but for now it’s internal medicine; therefore, dealing with GI issues/disorders/diseases- is absolutely in my wheel house in the internal med world. You would be surprised how many issues stem from poor GI motility/function.

A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that over a nine-year period, consuming more dietary fiber lowered the risk of death from any cause. People who ate the most fiber (about 25 grams a day for women and 30 grams for men) were 22% less likely to die compared to those who consumed the least fiber (10 grams per day for women and 13 grams for men). The effect was even stronger when researchers looked at deaths from heart disease, infectious diseases, and respiratory diseases; people with high-fiber diets had as much as a 50% or greater reduction in risk.

Besides digestive health, fiber helps stabilize sugar. Like the wonderful dietitian mentioned a bit earlier, soluble fiber traps carbohydrates, slowing down digestion and stabilizing blood sugar levels. Meaning, increasing fiber intake is wonderful for people with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia.

Fiber and cholesterol. Just to mention once more, lentils help reduce blood cholesterol because lentils are high in soluble fiber.Canadian researchers examined 26 studies conducted between both the US and Canada that included a total of more than 1,000 people. Their findings showed that including a daily serving of legumes – beans, chickpeas, lentils and peas- was linked to a reduction in low-density lipoprotein (LDL aka bad cholesterol) by 5%.

One of the last things I want to touch on, is fiber and heart health. Several studies have linked consuming high fiber foods (like lentils) with decreasing you risk of heart disease. Lentils are a great source of magnesium and folate- both awesome for heart health too. Folate lowers your homocysteine levels, a serious risk factor for heart disease, and magnesium improves blood flow, oxygen and nutrients in the body. There has been a major link between low magnesium levels + heart disease folks…so eat your lentils!

ingredients 

  • 4 Carrots – chopped
  • 4 Stalks of Celery – chopped
  • 4 Cloves are Fresh Garlic – chopped
  • 2 Cups of Lentils
  • 1 Yellow Onion- chopped
  • 2 qt Low Sodium Vegetable Broth
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • Pinch of Thyme (optional)
  • Pinch of Cumin (optional)
  • Red Pepper (optional)
  • Locatelli Parmesan Cheese (optional)

Of Note: Occasionally, I have modified Mama Romano’s Recipe and added 2 Cups of Spinach or Kale to the recipe.

recipe

  1. Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, lentils, cumin and olive oil to large pot -or dutch oven-, turn on medium heat. Saute so that the olive oil is coating all of the ingredients
  2. Empty Broth into pot (as mentioned above, add spinach/kale here if you would like to add greens)
  3. Add pinch of thyme and salt and pepper to taste
  4. Simmer for about 45 min. Every so often, stir soup and add water so that soup remains at the same level as when you started. Lentils should be tender. (I have had to keep soup on for up to an hour to wait for lentils to soften- by the end I had probably added 1 1/2 Cup water)!

We add red pepper and Parmesan cheese on top (Locatelli Romano Cheese- the absolute best and the only kind my family and I use).

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Now go cozy up with a Hallmark Christmas Movie, Soup and Relax!

-The Neilan Family-

The Incredible, Edible Flax Egg + Green Muffin Recipe

Happy Hump Day Everyone! So update on us: Patrick is now on a super wonderful rotation this month (emergency department-shocking that’s a good rotation for him, I know) and has the greatest hours (8-5pm). So we have been able to enjoy breakfast and dinner together – aka the stars have aligned. And this past week, we have been stuck on these delish green banana muffins!!! I’m all kinds of excited to share the recipe with you but first- I want to chat with you all about one of the very special ingredients used in this recipe.

The flax egg. It has made including plant-based meals in our diet- SO easy. We all know how to swap out dairy for almond or cashew milk and applesauce for butter. But how do we replace an egg?  Patrick and I try to have about 10-15 plant-based meals/snacks per week. Whether that is as simple as swapping out regular yogurt for almond yogurt some mornings or making tofu with dinner. But now we have a way to easily include plant-based baked goods in our diet! (INSERT FLAX OR CHIA EGG). Such a tasty, delicious and simple substitute. Take your favorite cookie, pancake, quick bread, brownie, muffin recipe and swap out an egg for a flax or chia egg and BOOM you have a vegan baked good (assuming you’ve swapped the dairy portion too)! See below recipe, for instructions on how to whip up the flax egg. It’s super easy! Of note, do not try to scramble a flax egg – bahaha – baking substitute only!

Back to the recipe. I LOVE muffins!! But even more than your standard muffin, I love muffins with hidden veggies in them. These have added nutritional benefits without the added weird taste you might sometimes find when you add veggies to baking! NO oil, NO dairy, completely VEGAN and absolutely delicious- if I do say so myself. This beloved recipe is from Kristin Cavallari’s cookbook and boy are they yummy! I was actually very surprised when Patrick scarfed the first muffin down and asked for a second right after. I love earthy, green things but sometimes Patrick is hesitant; however, with these guys he dove right in and loooooved them!

ingredients

  • 2 Cups Spelt Flour (you can also swap it out for 2 cups all purpose flour or ease your way into spelt flour with half and half)
  • 2 Teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1 Bag of baby spinach (about 4 cups)
  • 3/4 Cup real maple syrup
  • 1/2 Cup plain almond milk (or milk of your choice)
  • 1 Flax or Chia Egg*
  • 1/4 Cup applesauce
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 Cups mashed banana (we used 3 bananas)

Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a food processor or blender, combine spinach, maple syrup, almond milk, flax egg, applesauce, and vanilla and process until completely pureed.
  4. Add the wet ingredients and the banana to the dry ingredients and stir until well combined.
  5. Fill each muffin cup about three quarters full.
  6. (Optional) We sprinkled hemp and chia seeds on top of muffins
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let cool for at least 10 minutes.

Flax egg: 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed or chia seeds plus 3 tablespoons water. Mix and let set for 15 minutes until it becomes gooey consistency.

Why use spelt? Spelt is a grain that is descended from wheat, and it has a mild, nutty flavor that is comparable to wheat. Although spelt contains gluten, it has less than whole wheat or white flour. As a result, substituting spelt flour for white flour can make baked goods more digestible for people with a sensitivity to gluten! Spelt also provides 25g protein per cup! Wahooooo!

 

Hope you all enjoy these yummy muffins as much as we are! Have a happy rest of your week!

 

The Neilan Family

Unique Travel: Georgia Edition

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We love our jobs and thank goodness for that because between Patrick spending 80+ hours there a week and me working full time- we spend more time at the hospital than at home. Which is exactly why vacation is a top priority to us. While we love our home so much, sometimes you just have to get away- even if it’s for a weekend! Time to decompress is super important in this household and for overall health in general. Patrick finds it difficult to truly turn off from the hospital- still being “in town”- and I’m certainly not going to complain! 

When it comes to vacation, most importantly, is doing something you both enjoy. Because travel can of course add up, we try to save in other areas (cooking at home is just one example- which isn’t challenging for us- because we don’t have much time to go out to dinner often anyway). For us- our ideal vacay includes nature, quintessential towns & foodie restaurants. We love to be outside scoping out a new city or just being secluded in the mountains (or wherever). I am also a major sucker for an adorable, unique airbnb. We have stayed at a good amount of unique places- so I figured I would start sharing them with you guys-in an effort to hopefully save you a headache (or two) trying to plan your own vacation away! Lets start with Chickamauga, Georgia!

Candelight Forest- Treehouse

This spot was SO amazing. I cannot stress it enough. We just randomly stumbled upon it. We thought we were going to be in the middle of no where Georgia in this tree house (which we were totally ok with too) BUT turns out Chattanooga is only 20 minutes away. Along with the super cute city of Chattanooga, right outside, is the cute, small little town of St. Elmo. Definitely recommend getting a cup of coffee in St. Elmo before heading into Chattanooga and just enjoying the simplicity of the town. The people that live and work there are so friendly and only have the greatest things to say about the area- Patrick and I have actually considered moving to St. Elmo/Chattanooga one day because it’s just such a great location with lots of activities and outdoorsy things without the huge city hustle and bustle.  Also, while in Chattanooga- check out Ruby Falls (Cavern Waterfall) and Rock City. Rock City is amazing- almost like a nature theme park is the best way to explain it. Large waterfalls, old/gorgeous bridges looking over wild deer (including albino deer- so cute). You can also “see” 7 states from the highest point of Rock City. Beautiful cliff with a magnificent waterfall.

Back to Candlelight forest. They describe it as a “simpler times resort”. Patrick and I walked around the grounds for 3 hours because it was so breathtaking- surrounded by mountains and built so flawlessly. We truly felt like we were transported back to the good old days. We stayed in one of their two tree houses. It was only Patrick and I but there was A TON of room in this tiny (or not so tiny) tree house. There was room for four kids and two adults. For larger groups you can check out the “cottage”. Besides the different accommodation options they also have this adorable, “olden day” town. Complete with ice cream shops, convenient stores (The Plucky Peacock Farm-stand), hiking trails, canoeing, badminton, paddle boarding, s’mores by the fire pit and fishing-all within the resort grounds! We could have easily stayed in this spot over a week with all the different activities and sites to see in the area. Wildly enough, there are also residents that live on the 200 acre property.

Above is just us venturing around the property- running into all kinds off cool spots!

If you are looking to get away from the craziness and relax in a beautiful area without the cost- I’d definitely check this place out. Patrick and I plan on taking many trips back without a doubt!! Especially when we have a family, because the space upstairs is so unique and adorable for kids!

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The photo above shows where the four bunk beds are. The space is just huge! On the opposite side of this room there is also a coloring desk and bookshelf for kiddos.

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Here is the link the the treehouse we stayed in and the other tree house as well:

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/18576152 (where we stayed)

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/18565598

http://thecandlelightforest.com/ (to rent out the cottage or for more info on the resort-check out their website)

The only con: Not pet friendly.

Hope you all have carved out some time to unwind + relax with the fam whether it’s at home or away!

Happy Friday Eve Everyone!

The Magic of Spirulina

brief-history-spirulina

Good morning everyone! So let me first just say- My husband and I are like big kids. You tell us we can have our yogurt blue WITH added health benefits and you’ve already got us sold! As we type, we are both sipping on our morning matcha concoction (under recipes) and having our yogurt parfait- both of which, contain none other than…SPIRULINA! Really excited to share some information with you guys about why we’re sneaking it in whenever and wherever we can. If you follow me on instagram, doctormeetsdietitian, you saw me post earlier this week on the Spirulina Bowl and you may have also seen my green pancakes that I make sometimes for Patrick and myself. We could just have our yogurt/pancakes/tea plain OR we could have it blue/green with some wonderful added health benefits. I pick BLUE (and green)! 

From the Dietitian: First of all what is Spirulina? Spirulina is a blue green algae that grows in both fresh and salt water. When you buy it, it comes in powder form. But boy is it loaded with nutrients! Fun fact- Because you can grow it in space, NASA uses it, so astronauts can reap the health benefits. Smart cookies that they are. Going back even further, the Aztecs used it back in the day too!

A tablespoon of Spirulina contains: 4 grams of quality protein (better than beans but not as complete as eggs/dairy), 11% of the RDA for Thiamine, 15% of the RDA for Riboflavin, 4% of the RDA for Niacin, 21% of the RDA for Copper, 11% of the RDA for Iron and wide variety of minerals including potassium and magnesium. Spirulina also contains Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. A lot of people will say “gram for gram” it’s one of the most nutritious foods naturally found on our little planet.

From the Doctor: While we do not believe in a majority of (fad) diets, an anti-inflammatory diet is one that, in our opinion, has the best benefits for health/longevity. Spirulina has both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. In our matcha post, we went over the benefits of antioxidants. Spirulina contains Phycocyanin. This is what, not only gives it it’s blue/green color, but it is also what fights free radicals in the body. Phycocyanin is a very powerful anti-inflammatory agent. By protecting against oxidative damage, you are in turn, contributing to the decreased risk of cancer and other diseases.

Spirulina & Cholesterol: A study completed showed that when patients with high cholesterol added 1 gram of Spirulina to their day it decreased their triglycerides by 16.3% and LDL by 10.1%.

Spirulina & Cancer: Studies have been done linking Spirulina to anti-cancer properties- more specifically oral cancer. The study looked at 85 people from India with precancerous lesions (OSMF) in their mouth. After adding 1 gram of Spirulina to their diet for a year, 45% had regression of lesions (compared to 7% in the control group). There was another study completed comparing Spirulina to the drug typically used to combat symptoms from these precancerous mouth lesions and including 1 gram of Spirulina led to greater improvement than the drug Pentoxyfilline.

Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3919363/

Spirulina & Blood Pressure: By consuming Spirulina, you are in turn, increasing your nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a signaling molecule that helps the blood vessels relax and dilate. Further studies need to be completed; however, one study showed that higher intake of Spirulina daily (4-5 grams) can significantly lower BP.

Allergies & Spirulina: If you suffer from allergies, it can be pretty horrible. There has been suffice evidence showing that Spirulina is an acceptable alternative treatment for symptoms of allergic rhinitis. This is because Spirulina stops the release of histamine in the body. Histamine is what contributes to allergy symptoms. In a study where people consumed 2 grams of Spirulina a day, it dramatically decreased congestion, runny nose, itching, sneezing, etc.

Type 2 Diabetes & Spirulina: Animal studies have been completed comparing Spirulina to the popular diabetes drug, Metformin. More studies need to be conducted and currently the evidence is non conclusive. Therefore, DO NOT get off your diabetes medication and start taking Spirulina; however, adding it to your regular regimen (prescribed by your doctor) could be beneficial along with diet and exercise to possibly decrease insulin injection dependence. In the study, where patients were taking 2 grams of Spirulina a day, their Hba1c dropped by 1% – this is significant as studies show that a 1% decrease in Hba1c, can lower the risk of diabetes related death by 21%.

Links on DM and Spirulina:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12639401

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28617537; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2788188/

Back to the dietitian: So now that we got you all excited to use Spirulina. These are the kinds we use (Link Below). Typically we add the green to pancakes/tea and the blue to yogurt/smoothies/ice cream. You definitely do not have to buy both!

You can mix it up with chia seeds, almonds, berries, granola and all kinds of goodies and it is SO delicious and super fun for kids too. Moms are always on the prowl for an easy way to sneak in nutrients for kids- and in our opinion, this is a great way because it’s fun and colorful too.

A lot of people ask if you can taste it and in yogurt you really can’t (especially as a parfait). In the Morning Matcha Concoction and pancakes you can taste it a little bit more. It adds a delicious, light earthy flavor. If you are adding to a cup of yogurt – I would start with 1/4 tsp and increase to 1/2 tsp based on preference. Pancake recipe coming soon (perfecting it for you all)!

Green: https://www.amazon.com/Non-GMO-Spirulina-Powder-Sustainably-Non-Irradiated/dp/B01E67SEC8/ref=sr_1_8_s_it?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1511619651&sr=1-8&keywords=spirulina.

Blue:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00NT4IK5G/ref=mp_s_a_1_3_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1516412602&sr=8-3&keywords=blue+majik+e3live&dpPl=1&dpID=419OJ4W3TmL&ref=plSrch

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Enjoy Everyone! Have a wonderful weekend and feel free to send us a message with any questions you might have!

Mom’s (Not-So-Secret-Anymore) Cranberry Nut Mold

Well hi there & Happy Thanksgiving morning!! It is still super early and Knox (our pup) is passed out and Patrick just left for another day in the MICU. So before things get crazy at my parents house today, I wanted to share my favorite holiday treat! We make it for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Now I know a lot of people like the cranberry sauce from the can and no judgement here- but I am just not a fan.  Could be the bitter taste or the ridges from the can on the cranberry sauce when its poured out- who knows! So when I make this recipe- I make it as is. Sometimes you cannot mess with perfection; however, I did put some modifications in for you all if you want to avoid all the sugar. 

ingredients

  • 1 (12oz) Bag of Fresh Cranberries
  • 1 1/2 Cups Sugar (3/4 C Truvia Sugar Cane Blend)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Water
  • 1 (6oz) pkg. Raspberry Gelatin (key is raspberry flavor and you’d be surprised when it’s all finished, you’d never know it’s raspberry. It has a “lighter” taste than the cherry and strawberry so you taste more of the cranberry!)
  • 1 Cup Thinly Sliced Celery (Yup- there’s a veggie in there- and it adds incredible crunch to it)
  • 1 Cup Chopped Walnuts

I just want to add here that if you have a favorite fruit/nut you can add 1/2 C in! Apples, almonds, raisins, pineapples- sky is the limit!

recipe

  1. Rinse cranberries and remove stems (if any)
  2. Place berries in a large pot
  3. Add sugar and water and stir to blend. Bring to boil, then lower heat and cook 5 minutes until berries are bursting
  4. Remove pot from heat and stir in raspberry gelatin until gelatin dissolves
  5. Cool in refrigerator until mixture begins to thicken, then add celery and nuts
  6. Pour into mod or bundt pan and refrigerate until firm (4-5 hours or overnight)

Happy Thanksgiving from Our Family to Yours!

P.S. Remember to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full- you can always have leftovers and in my opinion they’re equally yummy!