chocolate greek fro-yo

I’ve made a chocolate version of the honey peach fro-yo! And day-ammm is it GOOD.

Not going to go in grave detail here but the basic recipe includes: 2 1/2 cups Greek yogurt (again, I used vanilla non-fat), 1/8-1/4 cup dark cocoa powder (depending on how chocolaty you like it), and swirls of honey. I know it’s vague, but honestly, you just need to keep on tasting it until it tastes delectable. Mix up those three ingredients in a bowl and then pop it in your ice cream maker for 20-30 minutes. Once it’s relatively frozen, devour.

You won’t be sorry you made this.

DSCN0180Yes, that is a shot glass. Yes, I like eating my ice cream out of a shot glass.

When life gives you lemons, make…honey peach frozen yogurt

So somehow I managed to come down with a nasty case of…bronchitis. Fabulous! I’ve never had bronchitis in my 25-years of living, let alone feel so sick in the middle of sunny June! Doesn’t quite make sense, does it? Well, c’est la vie, I suppose. The flip side, however? I’ve had the pleasure of subsisting on carbohydrates alone for the past 72 hours. Now that’s enough to make a girl giddy. Let’s just forget the fact that this is all that sounds palatable to my bronchitis bod at this time, and I’m just gonna roll with the punches since carbs are a delicious food group ;)

I’m feeling a wee bit better today, gastrointestinal-wise, so I decided that it’s time to transition into something other than homemade white bread with butter and Moose Tracks frozen yogurt. I’m trying out this recipe for Honey Peach Frozen Yogurt that I found on this cool blog with a great story (if you have the time, read it).

DSCN0149 Our cast of characters today consisted of only three ingredients: peaches (I used 5), honey, and Greek yogurt (I used Oikos non-fat vanilla).

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Step 1: Chop up your peaches. The recipe says to peel them but it hurts me to remove so much delicious fiber, so I kept half of them peeled and the other half unpeeled. Besides, I like the specks of color. You’ll want about 3 cups of chopped peaches.

DSCN0152Next, puree those peaches up! I used a food processor, but a blender might work fine, too. Even if it’s not pureed perfectly, it’s okay. Peach nubbins are a nice surprise when digging into a bowl of honey peach fro-yo.

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Then it’s time to add 1/4 cup honey…

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…and 2 1/2 cups Greek yogurt.

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Now blend it all up! And then transfer it to an ice cream maker…

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…where it’ll mix for 20-30 minutes or until it’s a thicker-ish consistency.

Then this is where I always make a change-up to the traditional directions when making fro-yo or ice cream. What’s with this putting it in the freezer for 2 hours to make sure it’s frozen? Uhh….sorry, but I like my fro-yo soft n’ creamy, so I eat it right out of the ice cream machine, thank you very much.

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Well, hello there, lovely – aren’t you a gorgeous sight? And was it good or WHAT?! Wow – and definitely has more nutrients than Moose Tracks ;) – not to mention, it packs a mean protein punch! With the yogurt I used (and each brand will vary a little), there’s 42 grams of protein in this entire ~1 quart batch of fro-yo. With 4 cups in a quart, that’s about 10 grams of protein per 1 cup serving (believe me, you’ll want to eat a cup of this). And I’m also super pumped because I’d like to make variations on this recipe and play around with the flavors – my brain is already spinning of chocolate-peanut butter and strawberry versions of this recipe :)

Some other uses for plain Greek yogurt I’ve discovered lately:

- Mix with salsa for a yummy Mexi-esque dressing! Kinda like Mexi-Ranch, but healthy.

- Substitute it for sour cream in 7-Layer Mexican Dip and no one will ever know… (this recipe has been a staple in my family for years, it goes something like this). 

 

On the plus side, being sick and stuck at home somehow makes you accomplish all those little things you want to do but don’t have the time of day to do them. Or in my case, if I do them, I feel guilty because there’s more important, more productive things I should be getting done. I’ve cleaned out my closet of clothes I no longer wear and purses I no longer use, caught up on all my Facebook stalking for probably the next year, embarked on a Pinterest binge of epic magnitude (but in that included mass-pinning of recipe ideas for my next nutrition class, so it’s productive pinning, right? ;)) edited pictures from three wedding events I attended this past weekend (before The Sickness came on full throttle), made a spreadsheet of my monthly finances (I figure I’m  25, and it’s time to get it together), caught up on some Parks & Rec episodes (Leslie Knope still drives me bonkers, but am convinced she is the female version of Michael Scott, and if they were to meet, something either wonderful or terrible would happen), caught up with friends via Gchat, have taken multiple two hour naps (sleeps?), and discovered a cute romantic comedy on Netflix (Simple Love). Oh, and I’ve totally detoxed from coffee!

Hopefully, though, I’ll be rid of this soon and be back to my busy-body self. But sometimes, the forced relaxation is a good thing, it all depends on how you look at it. Maybe the Big Guy is telling me to slow down a bit. Maybe, sometimes, trips aren’t supposed to happen for whatever reason, and there’s a better time, in the future, for certain things to happen. Maybe I need to learn a wee bit more Spanish so I could actually converse with the Salvadorans ;)

And with that, my friends, I leave you with a quote from the one and only Mr. Ferris Bueller:

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”

:)

3+ ingredient pancakes

So I’ve been finding all these awesome recipes on Pinterest lately. Anddd this is one of them…

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Pancakes with three…count ‘em!…ONE: bananas, TWO: egg, THREE: baking powder…ingredients! Oh, and any special add-ins you might want. I have to admit, I was a little skeptical about these. And granted, they do not taste like your typical fluffy-butter-soaked-Sunday-morning-pancake. But I actually loved them, and I think if you give ‘em a try, you’ll love ‘em, too.

Our cast of characters:

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One large, ripe ‘nanner, two eggs (I used one whole egg and one egg white), 1/4 tsp. baking powder, and 2 tbsp. mini-chocolate chips. The peanut butter is pictured because I initially thought it’d be delicious to schmear a dollop of PB on the cakes when they were done. But they were so delish on their own, they didn’t need it! Though I will be trying the PB-topping in the near future.

So what to do, you ask? Stick the ‘nanner in your bowl. Mash him up with a fork:

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Mash it realllly good. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with recipes that have been using banana as a butter/sugar substitute, and I’ve found that when you whip the banana up enough, it actually looks like creamed butter/sugar. Interesting, huh?

Okay, then add ‘yo eggs. I’m sure this recipe would be fine if you wanted to use 2 egg whites, but I think it needs some fat to hold it together. Which is why I used an egg white plus a whole egg. Add the 1/4 tsp. baking powder, and it’ll look like this:

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In the meantime, don’t get distracted by the gorgeous chocolate chips…

IMG_2758Now I added my choco-chips directly to the batter. You’re supposed to add the chips once the cakes have been cooking on the griddle and start to bubble. But it all worked out just fine for me.

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Yummm. Looking delicious! I don’t know if anyone else uses this trick, but whenever I’m making pancakes, I always put the oven on at a supa-low 170 degrees and stick the pancakes in there on a oven-safe plate as they finish cooking so they stay nice n’ warm. Can’t be eating cold pancakes, now. No way!

I made the pancakes by spooning a tablespoon or two of batter onto a griddle sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Cook them on medium heat, and just be sure that they’re fully cooked on one side before flipping because they are a wee bit thinner than your typical pancake. I’m thinking, though, that if I had whisked in my baking powder a little bit better, they would’ve had more height to them. Or maybe if I had added a little more baking powder….but that will be another experiment for another day :)

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In the meantime, I decided to make a “strawberry syrup”. Basically just defrosted frozen strawberries in the micro, mashed them up as they defrosted, and it’s a yummy topping for pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, toast, you name it.

And…the finished product! And devouring it all while sitting in gorgeous 70 degree weather.

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And…..I totally ate them all. No shame, no shame.

IMG_2776Because, really, when you think about it…which is sorta cool in my dietitian-brain…what did I just eat here? One banana, 2 eggs, choco-chips, and baking powder. Heck yes, I’m eating all of ‘em! And man, were they DELISH or what. The chocolate chips make them sweet, so you really don’t need syrup or even my strawberry syrup mash. They basically tasted like chocolate chip banana bread that had been flattened out. Yum. I’ll definitely be making these again – maybe next time with cinnamon and walnuts :)

IMG_2765Oh, and the messy aftermath.

coffee-licious

Three words: I. Love. Coffee. The love affair began back when I was about 9 or 10. I was more of a Frappuccino girl back in the day, but since then, I’ve expanded my taste buds and discovered espressos, Americanos, and soy lattes (due to lovely lactose intolerance), as well as appreciating the daily ritual of coffee brewing and sipping. And yes, coffee is definitely a ritual: inhaling the grounds as you spoon them into the filter, hearing the coffee drip drip drip down into the pot, watching the milk unfold in that beautiful murky abyss, that first sip…

Swoooooon. I told you it was love ;)

The inspiration behind this post came from a deeee-licious coffee that was given to me by my friend, the one and only Miss Raluca – last name withheld to protect the innocent ;) The name of the coffee in case you’d like to hunt it down and brew to your heart’s content? Joy French Diva-Nilla. Yeah, yeah, girly name, I know, but day-aaam is it GOOD OR WHAT. And it comes it a cute lil pink polka-dotted bag, too.

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And guess what? Coffee….in moderation, of course….can be good for you! Here’s some quick facts to feel better about your daily cuppa Joe:

  • The brains: 3-5 cups of coffee daily is associated with 65% less likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia when compared to non-coffee drinkers (1).
  • It can cut your risk of developing certain cancers. Drinking coffee can reduce your risk of developing liver cancer by 41% (2), and if you’re a fellow, drops your risk of developing prostate cancer by 60% (3). And head and neck cancers? Those who are regular coffee drinkers have been shown to have 39% less risk of developing these diseases (4).
  • The heart: Drinking 1-3 cups of coffee daily can drop your risk of cardiovascular disease by 24% (5) and risk of stroke by 19% (6).

But there are also some things to be on the lookout for, too. Coffee is a stimulant, which means too much can cause rapid heart beat and the jitters. And those who have been diagnosed with arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms that are too fast or too slow than normal) should steer clear of caffeine, or eliminate it all together. That also goes for those with high blood pressure since coffee is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it makes the veins shrink up – the veins that are sending valuable oxygen to your brain and other organs. Therefore, in certain individuals, coffee can actually cause headaches, and it raises blood pressure for a wee bit in even the most healthy folk. So…drink decaf, you say? If you’re part of the population who really needs to stay away from caffeine, I’m sorry to say that even decaf brews have a small amount of caffeine in them, since the decaffeination process is not able to remove 100% of the caffeine.

And what about dehydration? Can that be caused by drinking coffee? Not necessarily. If you’re used to drinking 3 cups of Joe daily, it’s not going to affect you. But if you decide one day it’s a stellar idea to down 6 cups because you’re feeling wild and crazy (or more like, extremely sleepy), then yes, you might throw off your body’s water balance a wee bit. As a rule of thumb, it’s always a good idea to stay hydrated – whether or not you’re drinking coffee – to keep your bod in check.

So what did my cup of Joy coffee come with this morning?

IMG_2742THIS! Scrambled eggs with spinach and homemade bread. Yummm.

And…National Coffee Day is September 29th! I know it’s far away….but pencil it in on your calender and feel some extra lovin’ for your mug of deliciousness that day :)

And one more thing, non-coffee related – this morning, I stumbled upon this show on the Cooking Channel called Grow Your Own Drugs, hosted by British botanist James Wong. No, we’re not talking about sketchy substances here, but more like all-natural ways to help out minor ailments. Lots of cool information, not too mention the ever-so-lovely shots of the UK’s countryside that were sprinkled in his show :)

Please pardon my not very accurate list of references. It’s Saturday morning, and writing a full-blown bibliography is not exactly appealing right now ;)
1) 2009 study from Finland and Sweden
2) Hepatology journal 
3) American Association of Cancer Research Frontiers in Cancer Prevention
4) Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention journal
5) Iowa Women’s Heart Study
6) 2009 Harvard Medical School Study

Cake craving gotcha down?

I love cake, and I’m sure there’s a gazillion of you out there who love cake as much as I do. But what’s a girl to do when she gets home at night, has managed to acquire a wicked cake craving, and simply….needs. cake. Or else someone’s gonna get hurt.

Let me introduce our friends: chocolate cake mix + soy milk. It’s this easy: in a little microwave-safe ramekin, mix together a few tablespoons of cake mix and enough soy milk to get a little batter-action going on. I used about 3-4 tablespoons of cake mix. Then, pop it in the micro, zap it on HIGH for about 1-2 minutes, and then (this is key) watch it in the micro for any signs and symptoms of: 1) Over-flowing  2) Over-cooking  3) Explosion.

The benefits? Well, we are still using a processed food item here (cake mix) which in my nutrition-world, is fine for occasional consumption. However, I do know there are people out there where this is a no-no. In that case, I shall lead you to another delicious option and suggest you try this mug cake recipe, which is top-notch delish, and I admit that I’ve been eating this daily for the past week for breakfast, snacks, before work-outs, and just because. But back to our chocolate cake à la soy milk. Yes, the end result will be a little airy and lighter-tasting than your typical cake, but we’ve knocked out a lot of extra fat that comes from the oil and eggs that are frequent flyers in cake-making. I’d like to try making an entire cake this way – just using enough soy milk to cook it. I’m sure you could also use almond or rice milk, as well as non-fat milk or….chocolate almond milk! You could use red velvet cake mix, white cake mix, yellow cake mix (…and now I feel like Dr. Seuss: “One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish.”). The possibilities are endless!

In other news, I have not posted since I started my new job in July! We’re going to try to change this :) Hope you all have a lovely day – in the Mitten today, we’ve got a gorgeous blue sky and the sun is out, which is rare for early February.

And now…I am off to devour some mug cake and then off to the gym to get my boo-tay in shape for a half-marathon in May. Nothing like registering for a road race to scare you into training ;)

hello, oakwood, I’m so happy to see you!

This past Wednesday, I started my new job as a Clinical Dietitian at Oakwood Hospital! I’ve been so excited to start working and meeting the RDs who are helping me so so much. They are extremely patient, nice, and fun to be around! After two days getting trained and being on the floor with them, I already know that I’m going to love it here and will love being a dietitian even more. There’s been a lot of times throughout the path to my career where I’ve wondered if I’ve made the right career choice, and I can safely say that I have. And that’s a pretty good feeling :)

Anyway, it’s been a whirlwind of a week so far. Monday and Tuesday were orientation days for the hospital – basically, sitting through lectures for most of the day and feeling like I was in school again – but Wednesday I started training and reviving my clinical skillz.

Yes. With a “z”.

While I remember a decent amount from school and my internship, there’s a lot of reading/reviewing I need to do. However, I’ve been loving the first few days, so here’s to “studying” after work.

What I need to get used to, work-world-wise? The traffic coming home. The exhaustion-factor. <– Very important factor that I had forgotten about. Aka…I am so tired when I come home, all I want to do is take a nap and eat cookie dough. And not train for the marathon I’m running in October, which would be a bad idea all around. I’m giving myself a week-ish to get in the groove of work-world and then I really need to start running consistently again. For now, I kind of feel like I’m in (as my man calls it) “survival mode”, which is not very enjoyable, but the feeling shall pass. Oh! And I bought my first official lab coat today! Which was very exciting. Next step: legit work clothes. Karen and Anita already have my own “What Not To Wear”-esque episode planned and they plan to help me create some work-appropriate outfits that are also cute. What awesome friends I have :)

And so now, my friends, I leave you all to take….a nap. And to brush up on medical nutrition therapy recommendations. And to go to the gym when I emerge. Hopefully.

it’s so easy, a caveman could do it! thoughts on paleo and intuitive exercise.

So I’ve been reading more on this paleo fad – short for paleolithic diet – and have come across two interesting articles so far. One of which is from the Montgomery Advertiser – Eat like a caveman? and the other from the New York Times – The New Cavemen and the City. The Montgomery Advertiser article gives a good premise of the paleo diet, and the RD in me silently did a happy dance in my head when I saw…numbers! Us RDs secretly – or some of us not so secretly – love love numbers. We love how exact our field can be, for nutrition is a science, don’t you forget. Ohhhhh, baby. Makes me all warm n’ fuzzy inside just thinking about RDAs and serving sizes.

Ahem. Anyway. Paleo recommendations include:

Paleo Recommendations

% of daily calorie intake

Fat: 39%

Carbs: 23%

Protein: 38%

And to compare, the US dietary guidelines:

US Dietary Guidelines

Fat: 20-35%

Carbs: 45-65%

Protein: 10-35%

Those are some significant differences, my friends. In addition, the paleo diet does not include dairy, legumes, or even whole gains. And refined sugars are out of the question. The NY Times article actually goes so far as to refer to those eating paleo as cavemen. Seriously? I think that’s going a little too far. But apparently, there’s a group of people in NYC who actually live out paleo and do things like:

1. Go anywhere from 24-36 hours fasting because that is what our hunter and gatherer ancestors had to do during times when food was scarce

2. Exercise, but not just any exercise. Jumping, squatting, sprinting. Things that our ancestors would have had to do if a saber tooth tiger was hot on their trail.

3. Frequently donating blood. Which is great to do if you’re able to, but these individuals donate since our ancestors may have been up to a pint short of our usual blood volume today due to hardships. Think losing a pint to a wildebeest attack because you were trying to feed your fam. It was a rough life!

 Basic paleo guidelines according to Fitting Back In

Basically, eating paleo seems to be a lot like eating a low-carb diet with additional restrictions. While I agree with eating grass-fed meats if you’re able, increasing the vegetables, nuts, and seeds in your diet, and getting your fill of vegetables, I don’t agree with the total elimination of whole grains and dairy and consuming high fat meats daily. Consuming high amounts of saturated fats over time will only increase your risk for heart disease, stroke, and other heart-related ailments. I could go on about this – specifically about the saturated fats that are found in coconut milk/oil – but this is for another post unto itself ;) And while the American diet is pretty grain-heavy, we do benefit from whole grains as a source of energy – though some may be adamant that adequate carbohydrate stores can be acquired through the consumption of enough fruits and vegetables. This may be true, but in my opinion, getting in your carbohydrates from grains like whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, bulgur, and barley is not a bad idea. Especially for those endurance athletes out there burning through miles and miles of energy!

A few things about eating paleo that have struck my fancy: I came across one paleo website that talked a lot about being in tune with your body – one thing that I think is so so important for good health and is often overlooked. Being in tune with your body means eating when you’re hungry. It means listening to your body when you’re exercising. And no, the burn of your muscles is not always a reason to skip your daily bought of physical activity ;) For me as a runner, this means that I will often revise my run on the fly, AKA literally will revise my workout for the day while I am running. There’s been days where I’ll start a track workout, only to feel sluggish and weak after the first few repeats. This is when I have a heart-to-heart with my bod and come up with a new plan for the day that will maximize how I’m feeling. And yes, sometimes this does mean leaving it on the track and packing my sorry lil boot-ay to the gym to bang out a good weight-lifting and killer ab session instead of mile repeats. When I do this, I always come back the next day feeling stronger and more fit, and ready to tackle that run. Junk miles are eliminated, and I’m left with nothing but a slew of quality workouts, runs, and lifting sessions for the week. And a happier, fitter me.

The trick, however, is that intuitive running – or any form of exercise for that matter – takes time. It takes awhile to know when that twinge in your muscle will benefit from a hard workout sesh or when it’s the warning sign of an injury. So be patient, and enjoy the journey of learning to hear what your body is telling you. And if you want to read a little more about intuitive exercise, take a peek at this post I enjoyed by RD Aaron Flores on intuitive running.

And now, this post has gone from paleo to intuitive exercise, so I apologize for the altered train of thought. Hope that you were able to get at least a little bit of knowledge out of it, however, or had something spark your interest :)

On another note…while I was writing this, I got a call back for an interview with a metro Detroit hospital!!!! I really cannot contain my excitement, and I have an interview on Monday, so please, PLEASE if you could, I’d love if anyone out there could send good vibes my way, say a prayer, whatever strikes your fancy. The job hunt has been rough lately, and I was so so excited to get this call just now :)

are you ready for your mug shot? mug cake.

Today, I happened to stumble upon this recipe for Paleo Mug Cake a la The Wannabe Chef, and my oh my am I happy that I did. It was perfect because I was craving something that screamed CHOCOLATE and did I get it.

Imagine a single serving cake-like brownie that is actually pretty healthy. Well, my friends, you have come to the right place because this is it. And I don’t know about the rest of y’all out there but I will definitely be making this again when the afternoon dessert craving strikes.

The creator of this recipe calls it paleo, and I’ve been seeing that word thrown around a lot on health food blogs recently. Honestly….I thought paleo was a brand….or something. Until I Googled it and realized that it’s a way of eating. Paleo is basically getting down to our hunter and gatherer ancestor roots with a contemporary twist. No, to eat paleo, you don’t have to go out and hunt your own food or risk your life eating an unknown type of berry, only to find it to be nightlock (sorry, still got Hunger Games on the brain ;) ). Essentially, eating paleo focuses on very lean meats, lots of plant-based foods – like fruits, veggies, and nuts – and consuming very little dairy and carbohydrates. In my opinion, it seems similar to a low-carb diet while also eliminating processed foods and refined sugars. I do love the idea of eating foods only in their whole form, which I realized I actually do a good job of about 90% of the time, but I’m going to have to do a lil more research on this paleo thing. I do enjoy reading up on these food fads, however, but in the mean time – whether or not you follow a paleo diet – this mug cake is totally rad.

Slam it all down with a lil goblet of almond milk, and you got one happy and satisfied Miss RD ;)

Chocolate Mug-Shot Cake

Taken and altered from Paleo Mug Cake a la Wannbe Chef

1 ripe banana

1 1/2 tablespoons peanut butter (or any nut butter)

1 egg white

2 tbsp. dark cocoa powder

Sweetener to taste, I used a lil stevia (optional)

Chocolate chips! Dried fruit! Sprinkles! Booze if you want a happy hour-esque treat! (optional)

With a fork, mash the banana until smooth. Mix in the peanut butter, egg white, cocoa powder, and sweetener, if desired into the banana smoosh until it is evenly incorporated.

Fold in any mix-in that you’d like into the batter. Otherwise, pour the batter into a mug or other microwave safe container. Only fill the container up to 2/3rds of the way because it will get BIG in the microwave!

Microwave on high for about 2 1/2-3 minutes or until the center is set. Remove from the micro and eat cold, hot, or room temperature. DEVOUR.

dinner from heaven

Ohmygoshohmygosh. Last night was another potluck din with my friends, and man OH man, was it heavenly or WHAT.

What did this dinner consist of, you ask? I concocted a pasta with sausage, roasted cauliflower, and olives that turned out pretty delicious, if I do say so myself. And then Raluca blew our minds with this outrageous pan roasted brussel sprouts with bacon recipe. Yes, brussel sprouts coated in bacon fat. Everything in moderation, right?? Andy made cookie-brownies with chocolate chips and a secret ingredient….cherries! They were super tasty and we devoured ‘em all. And last but not least, we had Zinfandel, both red and white varieties. Matt joined us after dinner just in time for dessert and for what turned into a heated albeit friendly conversation about whether or not there an alcohol dehydrogenase pill should be invented. This is what happens when you get four science-minded people together, my friends.

It was so much fun to have my pals over, and I’ve missed having them live close to me in Ann Arbor. You make a girl so happy to have such good friends ;)

Corkscrew Sausage Pasta

6 sausage links, boiled

Green olives, chopped

1 large head cauliflower

1 lb. corkscrew pasta

1 jar favorite pasta sauce

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Chop up dat cauliflower head into florets. Place cauliflower on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle on salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat evenly. Roast for about 10-15 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.

In medium pot, place sauce, chopped olives, cooked sausage, and cauliflower over medium heat. Keep warm while cooking pasta according to directions on package.

Once pasta is cooked, drain and top with cauliflower sauce. Devour.

eggstra, eggstra! guest post on Finding Delicious!

A friend of mine, Sheila, has a cooking blog called Finding Delicious and asked me to write a guest post on fats and cholesterol! Check it out!
Sheila is a dental student at Virginia Commonweatlth University, but we met at our lovely alma mater, U of M. Give her blog a peek, too! She has lots of yummy and easy recipes, and she’s pretty dang creative in the kitchen!