Alone in the Kitchen

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Sometimes I joke about publishing a cookbook of foods I make and love but would never have the balls to serve up to another human without first letting them know what they were getting into. And obtaining said fellow human’s permission, of course. However, the market’s not exactly hurting for anecdotes on solo cooking and dining behavior. Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant covers that territory so well. If you haven’t read this book, I’d highly recommend checking it out. Reading it a few years ago was a nice revelation that I’m not the only mad scientist out there.

savory oatmeal with tahiniThat said, l fully support the notion that savory oatmeal should become a more mainstream thing. Yesterday I enjoyed a bowl of it topped with roasted veggies, caramelized onions, tahini, and goat cheese.

Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it…Aside from being delicious (in my humble opinion), it’s a great way to get in some veggies first thing.

What’s the weirdest thing you eat but would be hesitant to serve to someone else? 

Sweet and Savory Tofu

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IMG_4949So, my meat-loving friends out there, the title of this post probably just made you roll your eyes, huh? I know because I totally rolled my eyes at myself while typing it. I’ll be honest, making tofu sound appealing, especially when all you have to work with is numbers and letters, is no easy feat. Sucking as much as I do at food photography certainly doesn’t help. However, tofu happens to have the potential to be delicious—and healthy, offering up protein and calcium while also being low in fat (saturated fat, in particular).

For those of us born with an “earthy” tooth (which sometimes goes hand-in-hand with the mushroom/umami tooth), it seems perfectly logical to crave tofu on occasion. Like mushrooms, tofu takes on the flavor of whatever you cook and serve it with, so it helps to keep that in mind when figuring out what the hell to do with it.

While cleaning out old photo files, I found myself salivating over some of the tofu dishes I’d prepared in years past. Consider the source, obviously. As a flexitarian-friendly dietitian, I’m probably more likely than some to go, “I want to put that weird, white block of soy in my mouth,” but hey.


  • 2 tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic powder or 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 block extra-firm tofu


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Wrap tofu in a small towel (paper towel is fine) to squeeze out excess moisture. Cut into cubes and place in a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Whisk together molasses, olive oil, soy sauce,and spices. Pour over tofu and toss well.
  3. Spread tofu on a foil-lined baking sheet and cook until crispy on the outside,  about 40-45 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  4. Enjoy hot or cold with whatever you damn well please.

Do you like tofu? If yes, what’s your favorite way to eat it? 

What I Ate Wednesday #138

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Happy almost-Thanksgiving! I know a lot of you are probably deep into your Turkey Day prep. I’m heading to see my family after work sometime later today. My aunt is hosting Thanksgiving this year and having a lot of the meal catered, but many of us are bringing dishes as well. Predictably, I’m making a few vegetable sides.

Before the holiday madness starts, let’s take a second for a little What I Ate Wednesday, shall we?  Since the last few weeks, I shared Sunday meals with you, here’s a glimpse of what I ate last Thursday, when we served an early Thanksgiving dinner to the patients at the facility where I work. Thank you as always to the lovely Jenn of Peas & Crayons for hosting the weekly link party. Take a visit to see more WIAW from other bloggers!

Since I was staying late last Thursday to help with dinner service, I didn’t have to go in until 11. It was nice to sleep in until 7:30 (hah) and, like, have a morning at home. I even got to run a few errands before heading to work. The day flew by pretty quickly, and soon it was time to go put stickers on the table cloths in front of people on modified-texture diets so servers would know who was puree, mechanical soft, etc. As the dietitian, my job was mostly to keep on eye on things and be on hand to answer questions and handle any issues like “Can this person have the potatoes on their diet?” or “Am I allowed to give more soda?”

I hate being told to “just watch over things.” Maybe it stems from my experience working banquets in college or just being one of those people who always feels the need to be doing something, but I’d much rather be scooping food onto plates in the kitchen or even walking around refreshing drinks. I’ll get up and talk in front of 500 people or pass plates, but ask me to stand in the back of an auditorium and make sure everybody gets the right diet texture, and I’m a twitchy ball of nerves. Go figure. Luckily, everyone seemed to enjoy the food, and the live band got a lot of people up and dancing—walkers and all. I’d say it was a successful night, but goodness, am I happy it’s over with!

Here’s what I ate to stay fueled throughout the day…

  • Breakfast: Eaten at home for a change! Still not sick of these pumpkin cranberry oats–especially topped with PB & cranberry sauce.
  • Lunch: Big salad—I also added some tuna for extra protein.
  • Snack: (unpictured) Dry-roasted edamame and a macintosh apple
  • Dinner: Shortcut shakshuka and (unpictured) toast with hummus & eggplant
  • Snack: A sliced banana with nonfat ricotta and a drizzle of maple syrup (loving this lately)

What are your Thanksgiving plans? 

Best Medicine

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When I first went back to school to become an RD, I had all these identity crisis thoughts swirling around in my head. Did this mean I would have to morph into a Type-A cookie cutter? I had an image in my head of the bottle-blonde, well-heeled dietitian who only seemed to talk about fiber, green juice, and childhood obesity. Was I allowed to have non-food/health-related hobbies? Luckily, time mellowed out my fears as I realized that for better or worse, I will always be me, regardless of how blonde my hair is at a given time or what kinds of shoes I’m wearing.

And you know what? My version of healthy living leaves room for things like drinking a gin cocktail while making oatmeal for the week ahead. Or one-person dance parties just because. Growing up, I danced in my bedroom all the damn time. Then I got out of the habit—dorm roommates, live-in boyfriends, etc. Eventually I rediscovered some of my sillier solo pastimes, and um, yeah.

Dancing like no one was watching circa 2005 or 6.
That costume party where I went as Mick Jagger, dancing like no one was watching circa 2005 or 6. ❤ embarrassing old photos…

When everything around you feels so serious, sometimes the best medicines are laughter and movement and music. I might have danced and listened to this song a lot last night. Best cure for the sad bastard blues ever. Way better than online shopping. And besides, what’s the point of having your own apartment if you can’t dance around in your pajamas? Even if you are 27 and not 17…

Be honest, do you still have dance parties by yourself? What are your favorite songs to dance to? 

“Artist Date” Weekend

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I know this isn’t the first time I’ve talked about Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way on this blog, and it probably won’t be the last. Whether you’re making a living as a sculptor, a dancer, a lawyer, or a clinical nutritionist, it’s important to nurture your creative side and set aside time to play.

Something Cameron talks about is taking yourself on “artist dates,” and while I try to be nice to myself as I would a person I’m dating and not be overly critical or impatient, I tend to slack on actually taking myself on “dates.” I’m making this weekend an exception, though.

I’m not going to lie–the past few weeks have been full of very positive things (starting a new job, finally graduating with my MS in clinical nutrition after 4 years of hard work), but they’ve also been some of the hardest weeks I’ve had in a while. A lot of it is run-of-the-mill New Schedule stress, but also some really emotional stuff (thanks full moon lunar eclipse). Often,  Big Things/Big Changes = Big Feelings, so no surprise there. Just. Wow.  It doesn’t help that it is seriously, like, Leonard Cohen-style “wash my eyelids in the rain” weather. Read the rest of this entry »


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Do you ever just get so tired you feel like a raging idiot?

Me too.

A pretty accurate representation of what the inside of my head looks like right now
A pretty accurate representation of what the inside of my head looks like right now

In the past few weeks since starting my new job, I’ve done some funny sh!t:

  • walked smack into a wall while getting ready for bed—so hard I had a bruise for a whole week. Totally sober, might I add, just not wearing my glasses in the dark. If I had a ring on the “taken” finger, I’d probably have gotten pulled aside at work and asked if things were okay at home.
  • ordered some chia seeds and had them shipped to my old address
  • wrote “2017” for the date. Um…
  • made a recipe I should have known I wouldn’t love—the recipe itself is actually an awesome easy dinner idea, but I was so out of it, I forgot that I am not a fan at all of Laughing Cow wedges—they make me feel like I’d been tricked into eating “diet food.”
  • almost wrote a tube feed order for 1000 ml/hr instead of 100. Whoops.
  • forgot to take off my bra for a massage. The massage therapist actually unhooked it for me when I was lying face-down and helped me out of it. It was both cute and weird.

And to think I have a f***ing Masters degree now…

Do you do stupid and/or weird stuff when you’re tired? 

Last weekend as a grad student!

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So wow, this has been a great last weekend as a grad student—equal parts mellow and fun. I even slept in until 9 this morning!

  • Lunch with Mom when I was passing through NJ for a doctor’s appointment Saturday

    tilapia & funny little salad with lots of picked veggies
    tilapia & funny little salad with lots of picked veggies
  • A friend’s Bday dinner here (I will definitely be attempting to recreate the kale caesar salad I had as an appetizer—so good) and drinks here
  • Coffee at this new place, which kind of feels like an airport hotel lounge—in a good way
  • A surprise Neil Young binge that’s gonna take a few days at least to shake

Tomorrow I’m graduating with my MS in Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics. In some ways, it almost feels like my first day of grad school was last week (it was actually 4 years ago today), but in others, it’s like it was a lifetime ago.

5 years ago, I moved to NYC to be with a guy I’m not even in touch with anymore, thinking I’d do my freelance writing and part time PR job until I found something in publishing. Hah! If someone had told me I’d feel compelled to seek out a job with an alternative health care practice and decide to go back to school to study clinical nutrition because of ghostwriting a Chinese medicine blog, I’d have laughed.

The main lesson I’ve learned is that when you follow your intuition to what feels good and what feels right, it’s hard to go wrong, even if it’s not always easy or doesn’t make sense right away. I can’t lie, it’s been awesome—lots of good surprises along the way. I love what I do, and even on the stressful days, I usually still feel like this: ice cream

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down, ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

—John Lennon

Cheers to that. Thank you, thank you thank, you for all your support and encouragement along the way.