Life Happens

Hey everyone!  I’m sure you’ve noticed that I have not been posting much recently.  First it was because I was out of town, but now something else has come up.  Such is life.

My sister-in-law has been diagnosed with aplastic anemia and is in the hospital in Columbus, OH.  My husband had to travel there to see if he would be a match to donate bone marrow to her.  Luckily we just found out he is a match (Woohoo!), so we had to go back so he could go get a full medical work-up.  We will be going back next week to do the transplant and then we will be waiting to see if it worked.  Needless to say our schedules have been out of wack so I have not been near my computer very much, let alone long enough to write a blog.

I promise to get back to writing more consistently, but for now I ask for your patience.  Also, if you pray, please keep Nate and his sister in your prayers.  We would really appreciate it!


North Carolina!

So last week I spent the entire week in North Carolina, first in the Concord/Charlotte area, then in Raleigh.  I have to say I loved both areas!

I attended the Multi-State Nutrition Assistant’s Conference while I was in Concord.  Nutrition educators from WV, VA, NC, AL, SC, and even the Virgin Islands were there.  There were a lot of interesting presentations at the conference, but I’d have to say it wasn’t the best conference I’ve been to.  After attending some presentations, my coworkers and I took advantage of all the wonderful shopping areas in the Concord/Charlotte area and also took a short trip to Queens College to visit a coworker’s alma mater.  The college was so quaint and adorable!  Check out this amazing College of Health building!


One evening, my friend Jill and I drove in to Charlotte to explore and get something tasty for dinner.  We went to the Dandelion Market and it was delicious!  The restaurant owners are from Ireland and it gets its name from a famous market there.  The vibe of the restaurant was very cool and relaxed.  We both decided to share some yellow beet hummus and then both got the shrimp and grits.  The hummus was definitely different and had a strong “earthy” taste, but was still enjoyable (especially with the dried cranberries!).


Shrimp and grits is definitely my favorite southern dish so I’ve had it many different ways.  Super cheesy, spicy, with kielbasa, etc. but never like how they serve it at Dandelion Market.  It is served in a deconstructed way, with the grits cooked up like large croutons and the shrimp on the side.  Even though it was different, it was still delicious!  They used goat cheese and a roasted red pepper sauce, both of which were to die for!


After my conference in Concord, Nate came down to meet me.  We spent the night with some dear friends who had just moved down to Concord and then headed to Raleigh the next day.  We went to Raleigh to explore the area because Nate has applied to grad school there.  The area is beautiful!  I love how it’s a bigger city than I am used to, but isn’t overwhelming at all.  We took a little tour of NC State (where he is applying) and also met some of Nate’s friends for dinner and a little tour of downtown.  I wish I had taken some pictures of all the delicious foods we had and fun places we went, but I completely forgot!  Oh well, hopefully we will get to go down again soon and I’ll have another chance.

On a side note, Nate and I have completed our Vegetarian Experiment and had our first bites of meat in a month while we were in Raleigh.  I will tell you more about how the experiment went and where we will go from here in a later post.  Stay tuned!

Liebster Award

Hey everyone!  Sorry I have been MIA for the past week.  I attended the Multi-State Nutrition Assistant’s Conference in Concord, NC last week and then met up with my husband for a fun little weekend exploring Raleigh, NC.  (More blogs to come.)  When I came home and actually had time to get on my computer, I saw I had been awarded the Liebster Award from my friend Thea at Rants, Raves, and Rations.  Thanks so much Thea!

The Liebster Award is for blogs with less than 200 followers.  The rules include:

• Post 11 random facts about yourself.
• Answer the 11 questions made by the person who nominated you.
• Create 11 questions for the bloggers you pass the award to.
• Choose 11 bloggers to pass the award to and mention them in your post.
• Go to their blogs and let them know that they have been nominated.
• No tag backs.

Random Facts:

  • I got engaged on the Great Wall of China.
  • I once got a mild concussion and whiplash during an (intense) volleyball game.
  • Ellie Krieger was my inspiration for going into the field of nutrition and dietetics.
  • My favorite store is Anthropologie.
  • I took dance classes from age 2 to 18, but still consider myself a dancer.
  • I can do the Thriller dance.
  • My favorite thing to do is go somewhere I have never been before and explore the area.
  • I have 2 tattoos.
  • I take road trips to go to awesome grocery stores that I don’t have at home.  (Ex:  Jungle Jim’s, Trader Joes, Whole Foods, and Fresh Market)
  • My favorite flowers are poppies.
  • I LOVE dark chocolate almond milk.

Questions from Thea:

  • If you could cook with one famous foodie (chef, food writer, TV cook, etc.), who would it be and why?  Ellie Krieger because she is also an RD and has cookbooks on how to make healthy food taste good.  She doesn’t skimp on the “good” stuff either!
  • What is your favorite kitchen utensil? My $2 IKEA milk frother.  I don’t always use it to froth milk for my coffee, but I use it everyday to stir my coffee.  That still counts right?
  • Hot or cold breakfast? Oooh, that’s a tough one.  Oatmeal has always been my favorite breakfast, but I have been on a cereal kick lately.
  • Tea or coffee? Definitely coffee.  I have tried several times to be a tea drinker and have found some teas I do like, but when it comes down to it I am more likely to grab a cup of coffee.
  • What is your favorite cookbook? “Comfort Food Fix” by Ellie Krieger.  It is full of your favorite comfort foods made a little healthier.
  • Sweet or savory snacks? Sweet!  I have a HUGE sweet tooth!
  • What is your favorite travel destination of all time and why? I would have to say either Charleston, SC or Savannah, GA.  I LOVE the southern charm of both places and think they are absolutely beautiful.
  • If you could only eat one specific meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?  Honestly, I would have to say Cinnamon Life cereal.  It’s a comfort food for me and so yummy!
  • What is your most accomplished moment in the kitchen? Recently, my husband and I made some baozi.  It was our favorite breakfast while I visited him in China.  It did not taste anywhere near as good as what we got there, but it was the closest we have here.  
  • What are some of your pantry staples? Oatmeal, peanut butter, beans, whole grain rice, and Nutella.  ; )
  • What are your top three food aversions? I’m not a very picky eater so this is tough for me.  I guess I’d have to say anything super slimy and Durian fruit.

Questions for my nominees:

  • If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
  • What is your favorite cooking show?
  • Do you like to listen to music while cooking?
  • Do you have a favorite person in the Bible?
  • What is your favorite thing for breakfast?
  • Do you eat any foods in a way others consider odd or different?
  • What is your favorite kind of ethnic food?
  • What is your favorite form of exercise?
  • Dark, milk, or white chocolate?
  • What constitutes a healthy lifestyle to you?
  • Outdoors or indoors?


I guess I don’t follow many blogs with less than 200 followers, but here are some awesome ones!

Naturally Ella


The Gibsons: Snapshots of Our Life

The Real Life RD

Oh My Veggies

Eat Good 4 Life




Edamame Lo Mein

Earlier this week, I realized I had a whole bag of frozen edamame that I hadn’t used yet.  I looove edamame, so I was dying to find a recipe to use it in.  While scrolling through my Eating Well app, I stumbled upon a recipe for Edamame Lo Mein.  Besides the fact that it had edamame, my husband and I love to make meals that give us a chance to use our chopsticks.

So to begin, I chopped up the veggies and heated up the frozen edamame.


Instead of using the whole wheat spaghetti the recipe called for, I used rice noodles.  I LOVE rice noodles, however, the brand I used for this recipe were not my favorite.  Oh well, I’ll remember that for next time!  (And there will be a next time!)


I then whisked up all the ingredients for the sauce.  It was sooo tasty!


Once the veggies were cooked, I added the noodles to the pan and drizzled on the sauce.  After the flavors got a chance to meld together, it was time to plate and eat!


Here is the recipe from

Edamame Lo Mein

From EatingWell:  April/May 2006, EatingWell Serves Two

This is not the greasy Lo Mein of your favorite Chinese take-out, it tastes even better. Plus you get plenty of nutrients with the addition of edamame, a great vegetarian protein source. Make it a Meal: Fruit sorbet and sesame cookies are a perfect ending.

4 servings, 2 cups each | Active Time: 30 minutes | Total Time: 40 minutes


  • 8 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
  • 2 cups frozen edamame, (shelled soybeans)
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce, or vegetarian “oyster” sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice-wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 small red bell peppers, cut into matchsticks


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add spaghetti and edamame and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk scallions, oyster sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and crushed red pepper in a small bowl until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Heat canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add carrots and bell peppers and cook, stirring often, until slightly softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the pasta and edamame. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is crispy in spots, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sauce and stir to combine.


I hope you are having a blessed day!  : )

International No Diet Day

Happy International No Diet Day!


Today I want to properly celebrate this day by writing about fad diets, specifically how to spot one so you won’t be easily lured into it’s false promises.

I’m sure most of you have been on a fad diet or 2…or 5…or 15.  I know I have.

Let me tell you a story about one of my experiences on a fad diet.

While I was in college, a couple of friends and I decided to do the cabbage soup diet.  I don’t remember the exact rules of it, but I know you could have all the cabbage soup you wanted and every day we were allowed to add a new food to our diet in addition to the cabbage soup, such as fruit and meat.  At the time, I was still living in the dorms and my friends were renting a house together.  So to begin the week, we went to the grocery store to purchase all the ingredients for the cabbage soup and returned to their house to cook a HUGE pot of it.  I put some soup in containers and took them to my dorm.  I placed them in my tiny refrigerator and was set for the week.  The first few days weren’t bad, but I started getting lazy and didn’t  take my container to the microwave down the hall every time.  So after a while, cold cabbage soup was just not gettin’ it, but I was determined.  That weekend I went home and went shopping with my mom.  Everything was going pretty well, except for my unpleasant mood.  (If you’ve heard of the term hangry, that’s exactly what I was.)  After shopping, my mom asked if I wanted to get some lunch at Panera.  My eyes immediately teared up.  Panera is one of my favorite places to eat but it wasn’t on my diet.  The more I thought about it the more upset I got until I finally called my friends to ask if they thought it would be ok if I stopped the diet.  They laughed and said they already had because they couldn’t take it any longer.  I was free!!  We then went to Panera and I’m certain is was the best thing I have ever eaten.

I have listed some of the criteria for a fad diet below.  If you are following a diet that exhibits any of these qualities, please stop!  Save yourself the torture and get back to eating the things you love.  In a mindful way of course.  ; )

It might be a fad diet if you are…

  • Instructed to eat less than 1200 calories a day
  • Guaranteed to lose more than 1-2 pounds a week
  • Not encouraged to exercise
  • Not allowed to eat certain foods, such as carbohydrates, sugar, fat, etc.
  • Skipping meals
  • Taking certain pills, powders, shakes, etc. or using them as a meal replacement
  • Not making a lifestyle change, but only doing it for a certain amount of time

Do any of you have a fad diet story you’d like to share?


Smoked Paprika Red Potatoes and Baked Eggs

I would love to share with you all a recipe I made recently from NaturallyElla. I have recently fallen in love with her blog! Her recipes are delicious and her photos are beautiful!

So to begin, I washed and sliced one pound if red potatoes and then one half if a medium onion. I placed these into my favorite Anthropologie pie plate!


The potatoes and onion were then tossed with garlic, smoked paprika, cream, and red pepper flakes.


These were baked for 20 minutes at 400 degrees and then I added 2 eggs that I got locally from my friend Meghan and sprinkled them with feta cheese.


The dish was added back to the oven to bake for around 12 minutes and…voila!


It was so pretty I didn’t want to mess with it!

Here is the recipe so you can make this lovely dish for yourself! Add a simple salad on the side to make it a complete meal.

Smoked Paprika Red Potato and Egg Bake
Prep time
5 mins
Cook time
25 mins
Total time
30 mins
Author: Erin Alderson
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 2-3
  • 1 lb red potatoes
  • ½ medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (*optional)
  • 2-3 eggs
  • ¼ cup blue cheese (*optional)
  • Chives, to top
  1. Preheat oven to 400˚.
  2. Cut potatoes in half, length wise, and then each half lengthwise again. Dice into ½” slices. Cut onions into chunks as well.
  3. In a large baking dish (I use a pie pan or 11″ quiche pan), add potatoes and onions. Mince garlic and add to pan along with the heavy cream, paprika, salt, and pepper flakes. Using a spoon or your hands, toss everything together so that potatoes and onions are coated.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes, stir, and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  5. Remove from oven and create a well in the center. Crack desired amount of eggs in the middle and sprinkle cheese over eggs and potatoes. Return to oven and continue to bake until eggs have set, 7-12 minutes depending on desired firmness of yolk- just make sure the egg whites have set.
  6. Remove from oven and sprinkle chives on top.


We’ve Made it Halfway!

So the 1st of May marked the halfway point in our vegetarian experiment.  We have hit a few bumps, but are still going strong!

Nate has probably had the hardest time.  On top of trying to overcome the ingrained idea that a meal is not complete without meat, he had to go on a business trip without his dietitian wife’s help.  Not that he can’t and didn’t succeed on his own (he stuck to it and I’m very proud), but they had several catered meals and no one knew he was vegetarian.  So he had a couple cheese and lettuce sandwiches (after removing the deli meat) and had to endure a couple trips to Red Robin.  I may have dropped the wife/dietitian ball by not making sure he was equipped with snacks for such occasions or helped educate him on what to order when he was eating out.  Nevertheless, he made it through meat-free!

Besides the tough business trip and a terrible freezer-burnt veggie burger experience, we have both found it rather easy to be vegetarian.  There are plenty of recipes available and several meal options offered at most restaurants.  We both feel a little better, but are still trying to get our barrings.  We are still not sure if it will continue after the 30 days, but are definitely not against it at the moment.  Stay tuned!