Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

Craving a warm, spiced, filling bowl of food for dinner? Throw these ingredients in a pot after work tonight and enjoy a steaming bowl of chili in under an hour. It tastes even better after the flavors meld together, so you can enjoy all week for dinner!

The 5 Components of a Perfect Salad

As a human trying to be kind to my body, I ordered a salad and was thankfully NOT disappointed. It was perfect in every way - tangy, acidic dressing, nuggets of nuts and dried cranberries to mine for, savory grilled chicken, crunchy, fresh mixed greens, and more. Since that day, I have eaten a salad daily in search of the perfect copycat recipe. I haven't created an exact replica yet, but I'll post the recipe when I do! All of the salad recipe testing, however, has got me thinking about what makes a perfect salad. Here are the 5 key aspects that make a salad absolute perfection.

Lemony Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables

This lemony quinoa recipe is my go-to when I need to clean out my fridge! I gather up all of my fresh vegetables that are just on the verge of going bad and roast them up. While they're cooking, I rinse my quinoa and cook it until it's light and fluffy. While the quinoa is fluffifying (no, this is not a word; yes, I will continue to use it) I whisk up the super fresh citrus dressing that makes this dish great. I like to garnish with basil, feta, and thin, wispy ribbons of fresh spinach, but of course you can add whatever you want. 

Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Spaghetti Squash

Yes, "Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Spaghetti Squash" is a mouthful. A delicious, tomatoey, veggie-packed mouthful. Spaghetti squash tastes slightly sweeter and has more moisture than typical pasta. If you haven't had it before, this recipe is a perfect place to start.  The inherent squashy sweetness is complimented by the caramelized onions and balanced out by the umami flavor of the tomatoes and the savory garlic and sautéed spinach. 

How to Roast Spaghetti Squash

You've heard about spaghetti squash. Some miracle substitution for pasta that magically turns into spaghetti in the oven??

It's not magic. It's not a miracle. But it is tasty and a vegetable, so I'm here to teach you how to cook it.

Tip: You will need a very sharp, sturdy knife.

Building A Perfect Smoothie

As a person who made a living* making smoothies for high-level athletes for the past 3 years, I am confident in my smoothie/shake-making abilities. When they think of smoothies and shakes, most people probably think of:
                  A.  a bodybuilding gym bro chugging water and protein powder in a shaker bottle
                 B. a health-obsessed yoga guru sipping on a green juice in her Instagram story

While we might be bombarded with these images on social media, there are actually shakes for all kinds of health goals - weight loss, weight gain, muscle gain, maintenance, etc. The key to a perfectly balanced smoothie or shake is to add ingredients that give you either macronutrients (protein, fat, carb) or vitamins and minerals and other good-for-you things.

The Best Ever Easy Salad Dressing

I am a firm believer in making your own salad dressings. They're super quick and easy to make, plus you are in control of every ingredient that goes in it! This recipe is the best, because it can be tweaked endlessly depending on what flavors you're craving. 

This vinaigrette is tangy, fresh, and tastes great on anything. Seriously, I even ate some on my steak last night and floated up to tastebud heaven. 

Whipping up this salad dressing takes about three minutes, depending on how fast you can mince, measure, and mix.

Savory Sweet Potato Spinach Buddha Bowl

This is not the meal I intended to make. I had my sights set on a quinoa, chickpea, spinach bowl with a tangy, citrus, olive oil dressing. As I started to cook (aka pulled out a pot), I realized I didn't buy quinoa. Okay, no worries, can totally do without it - I'll just switch it to a hearty sweet potato black bean bowl. Started to get going on that (aka grabbed the can of black beans), when I realized that the kitchen I'm using doesn't have a can opener... slightly bigger problem. I considered taking a stab at opening the can with a knife, but visions of slicing my hand open quickly took me in a different direction.

How I Passed the RD Exam (2017 Edition)

So I did it. I passed the RD exam. 

You're probably too stressed to hear about my happiness, so I'll jump right into the whole process. 

My route is likely a little different than yours, because I completed my dietetic internship during my undergrad at The University of Alabama in the Coordinated Program of Dietetics. After I graduated with my BS in early May, I waited nervously for the paperwork to clear through CDR. Pearson emailed me about 2-3 weeks after graduation saying I was authorized to take the RD exam. Exciting, but also terrifying. 

I recommend scheduling your exam as soon as possible, because the testing centers book up quickly. It's not just future dietitians taking exams - there are nurses, teachers, etc. all in the same room taking the biggest tests of their lives.  I was in the San Francisco area for the summer and the centers were pretty full, so I booked my exam date later than I planned - the first week of July. 

After I paid for the exam, reality set in. Now I actually had to study.

Feel the Glow Buddha Bowl

Let me set the scene: it's Sunday. Your head throbs from a lingering hangover, and your face is puffy from the alcohol and the messy fries and the Domino's cheesy bread and the free vodka shots that you got because the bartender was in one of your classes freshman year. Not that I would know or anything. But it's Sunday, and the whole week is ahead of you. And you actually have some time today to cook something other than a microwaved veggie burger, and boy oh boy, are you feelin' extra. 

So this is what you do.

Make this b-e-a-u-tiful buddha bowl and post it on your Snapchat story and let everyone know that you not only survived the darty AND the night at the bars, but now you are THRIVING.