Impress your friends and family with these beautiful and delicious apple pie roses. They’re easier to make than you would think! Thank you to Kayla Peters, Dietetic intern at the University of St Joseph, for this video.

Thank you to CT Academy member, Elizabeth Williams, RD of New England Nutrition for submitting this blog.

Who else is excited that slow cooker season is back!?  It may still have felt like summer the past couple days, but I couldn’t resist pulling my Crock-Pot out this week and doing some large batch cooking.  Life outside of work has slowed down a bit the past couple weeks, but things are about to get very busy again so preparing large meals with lots of leftovers is going to be lifesaving.  We have friends visiting from across the country, a wedding, Halloween festivities, and finally Disney World for the Wine and Dine race is fast approaching.  Training for a race this late in the year has been tough because I run in the morning before work, but it has become so dark out!

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Chili is something that I make throughout the fall and winter.  It is one of my favorite meals to make because it can be prepared so many different ways, saves well as leftovers, and is great for serving at parties.  Chili is often thought of as a high sodium food, but you can reduce the content by using low sodium canned or even dried beans.  I used fresh tomatoes and a low sodium tomato sauce.  I topped my chili with a sprinkle of shredded cheese and used Greek yogurt as a high protein and healthier sour cream substitute.  We have a very large variety of hot sauce at our house, which I used to give it an extra kick.

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The chili contains lean proteins, both from meat and plant based sources from the ground turkey and beans.  Choosing lean sources of protein more often is important for health.  Saturated fat in the diet should be limited to protect heart health because it can contribute to raising “bad” LDL cholesterol.  Consuming lean proteins, especially plant sources such as beans, lentils, and nuts may help to raise “good” HDL cholesterol.  Plant sources of protein are also higher in fiber, which can have positive benefits for weight management and blood sugar control or prevention of diabetes.  Consuming adequate protein is important for maintaining lean muscle mass, however the majority of Americans consume adequate and even excessive protein so protein supplements are often not needed in the diet.  If you can get adequate nutrients through food, then this should be the first choice.

This was the first of many batches of chili that I will be cooking this fall/winter.  I am always looking for other ideas, so please comment and share any of your favorite chili recipes or ideas.

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Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground turkey
1 white onion
1 bell pepper, diced
2 cups fresh tomato, diced
1 can low sodium black beans
1 can low sodium cannelloni beans
1 can low sodium tomato sauce
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Pepper to taste

Optional toppings: Shredded cheese, Greek yogurt, hot sauce

1. Heat olive oil in skillet. Cook ground turkey and onion until turkey is cooked thoroughly with no pink and onion is golden brown.
2. Add cooked turkey and onion to slow cooker.
3. Rinse beans well using a strainer.
4. Add bell pepper, tomato, black beans, cannelloni beans, tomato sauce, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, and pepper to slow cooker.
5. Cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 4 hours.
6. Serve hot with desired toppings.

Thank you to CT Academy Member, Elizabeth Williams, RD  from New England Nutrition for sharing her blog post.

Happy Halloween weekend!  We did our celebrating last weekend in Salem and Friday night we had a wedding so we spent most of the rest of this weekend at home.  Instead of going out for Halloween last night I was in bed before 9:30.  I almost never get 10 hours of sleep, so my body clearly needed it.  This morning I woke up and finished my final week of training for the Disney Wine and Dine 10K and half marathon challenge.  I am headed to Orlando for the Disney Wine and Dine Half marathon this coming Thursday and I am beyond excited for my first Disney World experience!  I am especially thrilled to have the opportunity to run TWO races through this magical place.

I am back to pumpkin recipes this week, but since I have had more than my share of sugar recently I made a healthier version of a dessert/breakfast.  As usual I traded the white flour for whole wheat flour to get in some extra nutrients and fiber.  With Halloween this week and traveling coming up, I still need to keep up with good nutrition before two races.  My favorite part of baking is actually sharing with others, which is helpful so that I don’t eat all of my baked goods.  Sharing also allows me to get feedback because sometimes it can take a few tries to get it right when making a healthier alternative to a treat.

pumpkin-muffins- Elizabeth Williams

I added peanut butter to these muffins to increase the protein content.  Protein is often lacking and carbohydrate is excessive in many breakfast foods such as cereal, oatmeal, toast, bagels, and well… muffins.  Protein and fat take longer to digest than carbohydrates.  The combination of healthy fat and protein from the peanut butter makes these muffins much more filling.  A good nutritious breakfast includes whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fat making these muffins a great option.  The best part is that it will feel like you are eating dessert!

This muffins will be a perfect post workout (second) breakfast throughout the week.  Hope you all have a spooky and fun filled Halloween and of course enjoy treats (everything in moderation)!

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Pumpkin Peanut Butter Muffins

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/8 tsp cloves
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 can pumpkin
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, cloves, baking powder, salt) together in a medium bowl.
3. Combine all wet ingredients (pumpkin, eggs, canola oil, honey, peanut butter, vanilla extract) in a second bowl or mixer.
4. Slowly mix dry ingredients with wet ingredients until mixed thoroughly.
5. Spray muffin tin with non-stick baking spray.
6. Add mixture into muffin tin and fill cups evenly.
7. Bake muffins for 20 minutes and insert toothpick into muffins. If toothpick doesn’t come out clean bake for another 2-5 minutes.
8. Cool muffins and enjoy!

by Mara Boggs, University of Saint Joseph, DI ’17

This is something many of us have heard over and over – maybe on TV, the radio, online or in the newspaper. But… Do we know why this is such a trend? Does buying local REALLY matter? Let’s see…

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Today, we are constantly subdued to corporate marketing and commercialism. While these products are strategically placed at our convenience, and can be wonderful – we do not realize the underlying consequences of choosing a multi-million dollar corporation over our neighbors. In certain areas of the U.S. we are becoming more focused on the importance of our local nutrition resources and their influence on the health of our nation. We can see more restaurants and grocery stores opt to provide local foods for our consumption. But, one of the best places we can find farm fresh foods are right at the source: farmers’ markets.

Why?  Choosing local products when grocery shopping or when stopping by your nearby farmer’s market is a great way to help your neighboring farmers make a living. Operating a farm is not cheap – you have to factor in equipment, time, labor, seed, livestock feed, taxes, etc. Really, they have a tough job that many of us tend to take for granted. But, we shouldn’t!!! This our food we’re talking about here – our nourishment to keep our bodies going! On top of that, it’s important for us to think about the additional consequences of NOT buying local.Mara blog 2

Does buying local really matter? Definitely! It’s a domino effect. By not choosing local foods it takes away business from local farms,  increasing the need for shipped goods from various places in the nation or even internationally, and thus increasing the carbon footprint of those apples you just bought. It’s important for us to be mindful of where our food comes from and live sustainable lives. Creating something that can last for generations to come. When we choose local foods, we tend to eat healthier in general since these foods are whole foods fresh from the farm. We know where/how/when our foods was produced and raised. Choosing farmers’ markets also provides us with a sense of community and culture. This is something that I think is so important, and we don’t really see it as much anymore. Most of all, it’s a great way to meet your neighbors, make friends, and know where your money is going 🙂

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Here’s a video I found on YouTube that sums farmers’ markets up perfectly!


Visit http://nourishlife.org. Food and community come together at the farmers market. Farmer Nigel Walker, chef Bryant Terry, and others celebrate the joys of buying fresh, local food direct from the farmer.

Last, here is a link to use as a guide for finding markets in your area:

by Hanna Kelly, University of Saint Joseph, DI’ 17

“We eat with our eyes first,” a quote many of us are familiar with and live by in our everyday lives.  As dietitians and health care professionals, many of us are aware of the challenges associated with making food look visually appealing to our patients, especially when the texture must be modified.  So here are some reminders to help create perfect puree plate presentation!

1.) ConsistencyThe consistency of pureed food is not only important for ensuring safety with chewing and swallowing, but it can have a huge impact visually and in terms of mouth feel as to whether or not someone chooses to eat the food in front of them.  As we know, all pureed foods should have a pudding-like consistency.  That means, no bumps, no lumps, and no runniness!  Uniform texture throughout foods on the plate is essential, and who really wants liquids from one food group running into another on their plate…?

2.) Spacing…kind of goes hand-in-hand with consistency.  If you’re not working with an already divided plate, spacing food groups appropriately on the plate can affect puree 1how appetizing a meal looks.  Especially if the preparation of pureed foods does not involve molds or piping, you may just be using a scoop to put foods on the plate.  In which case, make sure foods are not piled one on top of the other and are neatly scooped on to the plate

3.) Color…Make the color on the plate pop!  For some who may have difficulty seeing, using a colored plate instead of a white one may help make foods stand out better and therefore make it easier for them to eat.  Also, take the couple of extra minutes to puree food items separately (let’s say, spaghetti and meatballs).  Although it takes a little more time,  the end results will be much more visually appealing as the person receiving the dish will be able to distinguish between the spaghetti and meatballs instead of having to guess what ‘that brown stuff is.’

4.) Molds and Piping…are awesome ways to help make pureed foods look natural again, add interest, and really improve plate presentation!  Molds can be used to turn the pureed food back into its original shape. For instance, roast beef can be pureed and poured into plastic molds, which are then frozen, and when ready to prepare a meal the purees can be defrosted, heated, and pressed onto the plate.  puree 2Piping can be used as well to add unique characteristics to pureed foods that would be found in certain foods naturally, such as the stems on carrots.  Piping is as simple as adding the pureed mixture into a plastic piping bag and adding the appropriately shaped tip to create a beautiful plate!puree 3

5.) Clean Edges…are super important not only for food safety, but for plate presentation in general.  It only takes a few seconds and can have a huge impact on the reception of the plate and food.  So next time you go to plate a pureed dish, do not forget a clean cloth to wipe the edges and perfect the plate!

Images resources



3-  http://www.unidine.com/resources/puree-with-purpose-for-seniors/

By: Heidi Harris, University of Saint Joseph, Dietetic Intern ‘17

Pastas, soufflés, mayonnaise, cookies, cakes, pudding… and the list goes on and on! What do all of these delicious foods have in common? That’s right, you guessed it!


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Eggs are a great staple food! They are found in most baked goods and prepared meals and are an excellent source of protein! In fact, despite what many fad diets claim, eggs can be healthy for all ages!  They contain all nine of the essential amino acids our bodies need for proper health and nutrition and one large egg typically packs six grams of protein. Plus, they are a decent calorie source, offering about 70 calories per one large egg. And! They are rich in fat-soluble compounds that can have healthy benefits on nutritionally “at-risk” populations, such as the elderly, pregnant woman, and children.1

So, you might be thinking, if eggs are so good for you, why do they get such a bad rap?

The answer may seem simple, but the truth is a little more complex. So, bare with me as I dive into today’s foodie myth: Eggs Are Evil!

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Over the past 40 years, eggs have gotten a bad rap because of their saturated fat content. There are about three grams of saturated fat per 100 grams of egg and 210 milligrams of cholesterol per one large egg yolk.2 The public has been warned by health professionals, the media and more, against the frequent consumption of eggs. The idea was that consuming eggs and their high saturated fat and cholesterol content would lead to increased levels of cholesterol and would increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, especially for individuals with diabetes.3

But, egg lovers rejoice! New research suggests that dietary cholesterol and the cholesterol in eggs have limited effects on the blood cholesterol level and on the risk for developing cardiovascular disease.4

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In fact, the type of dietary cholesterol found in eggs actually has heart healthy characteristics! I know, most people run and hide whenever ‘cholesterol’ enters the conversation, but the research shows that the consumption of eggs can cause the body to produce good cholesterol, or HDL cholesterol, which can transport the bad cholesterol, or LDL cholesterol, to the liver for bile production and eventually be excreted from the body!5

Now you might be asking yourself: Well, if eggs really aren’t that bad, then why do people still warn us against eating them?

I’m going to be honest with you, there have been some studies that support a correlation between increased blood cholesterol and egg consumption. For example, one study supported that eating four eggs in one week led to a six-percent increase in the risk of developing coronary artery disease and a 29% increase in the risk of developing diabetes.2 But in 2013, this argument against eggs was rebutted as another source found that there was no significant relation of egg consumption and cardiovascular disease, coronary artery disease or diabetes. Instead, the source drew the conclusion that there was an increased risk for these diseases because of the foods that are closely accompanied with eggs, such as bacon, sausage, ham, and the fatty oils and butters used to cook eggs.6

So, with that being said, how many eggs should the average American be eating?

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Good question!

Currently, the Dietary Guidelines recommends Americans to limit dietary cholesterol intake to 300 mg per day.7 But, as more scientific literature is published and supports that there is a lack of correlation between egg intake and cardiovascular disease, it indicates that healthy people are able to eat at least one egg per day.6

What exactly does that mean for you?

Well, before cutting back on those eggs all-together, I’d suggest taking a moment and reflecting on your daily dietary cholesterol intake. If you are following a low cholesterol diet for medical reasons and try not to consume over 300 mg of cholesterol per day, maybe having an egg everyday might not be the best option for you. But, if you’ve got some wiggle room and want to add a little extra protein, get some healthy cholesterol into your diet, and absorb as many healthy fat-soluble compounds into your system as possible, I’d suggest cracking open that egg and cooking them up your favorite way!8 (May I suggest hard-boiling them? Let the pot come to a complete boil, add a teaspoon of baking soda to make that shell slide right off, and boil for 10 minutes –  delicious!)

After all, no one knows you better than you!

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Check Out Where I Got My Facts!

  1. Miranda J, Anton X, Redondo-Valbuena C, et al. Egg and Egg-Derived Foods: Effects on Human Health and Use as Functional Foods. Nutrients. 2015;7(1):706-729. doi:10.3390/nu7010706.
  2. Spence JD, Jenkins DJ, Davignon J. Dietary cholesterol and egg yolks: Not for patients at risk of vascular disease. Canadian Journal of Cardiology. 2010;26(9). doi:10.1016/s0828-282x(10)70456-6.
  3. Djousse L, Gaziano JM. Egg Consumption and Risk of Heart Failure in the Physicians’ Health Study. Circulation. 2008;117(4):512-516. doi:10.1161/circulationaha.107.734210.
  4. Fuller N, Sainsbury A, Caterson I, Markovic T. Egg Consumption and Human Cardio-Metabolic Health in People with and without Diabetes. Nutrients. 2015;7(9):7399-7420. doi:10.3390/nu7095344.
  5. Beynen AC, Katan MB. Effect of egg yolk feeding on the concentration and composition of serum lipoproteins in man. Atherosclerosis. 1985;54(2):157-166. doi:10.1016/0021-9150(85)90175-3.
  6. Rong Y, Chen L, Zhu T, et al. Egg consumption and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Nutrients. 2013;346(jan07 2). doi:10.1136/bmj.e8539.
  7. Burke JD. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Nutrition Today. 2015;50(4):174-176. doi:10.1097/nt.0000000000000104.
  8. Kritchevsky SB. A Review of Scientific Research and Recommendations Regarding Eggs. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2004;23(sup6). doi:10.1080/07315724.2004.10719429.

by Nicole Arruda, University of Saint Joseph, DI’ 17

By now, I think most of us can agree that olive oil is among one of the healthiest of oils available on supermarket shelves. It’s minimally processed, liquid at room temperature, shelf stable, and even tastes good, heck, it’s everything I’ve ever looked for in a healthy cooking oil. But with all the new olive oils that are lining the shelves these days, how can you be sure that you are buying just the right type of olive oil, and what exactly should you even be looking for anyway?

Update: Not all olive oil is created equal!Arruda CAND Blog Image 1 (3)

And well, while I do wish the answer to those questions could be so simple, they really do get complicated. Between the way that olive oil is graded, labeled, and uniquely advertised (for example, by altering the shape and size the bottle to change consumer perceptions of health) selecting the best product can sometimes feel like a self-doubting, and nonetheless daunting task.

Which brings us here, and to the reason that I have created this guide, as a go-to reference for shoppers like you and me, trying our best to fulfill a balanced lifestyle and reap the benefits of even the most basic of foods, i.e. olive oil.

But first, let’s talk about why olive oil is so important! For starters, olive oil is healthy fat, and contains nearly 89% mono and polyunsaturated fats. These types of fatty acids have been shown to be really beneficial for our health, by lowering LDL cholesterol and decreasing overall incidence of coronary heart disease. Olive oil is also a main proponent of the Mediterranean diet, which has been associated with lower risks of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

Extra virgin olive oil.

If there is something that I want you to take away from this guide, it’s this. BUT Arruda CAND Blog Image 3 (3)identifying which oils are “extra virgin” has proven itself a greater challenge than one would think. Look for olive oils that clearly advertise themselves as, “extra virgin,” or “premium extra virgin,” only. Like each type of olive oil, these oils begin by manufacturers juicing up to 90% of olive oils natural juices. However, with extra virgin olive oil, high heat and chemicals are not allowed and beyond some moderate heat, the oil is neither further processed nor refined.

These oils both contain a very low pH, differing only by about half a percent. However, this fraction creates a distinguishable difference in taste and quality. Premium extra virgin olive is the highest quality olive oil, and its best used uncooked in dishes. Trust me and don’t cook it, you want to savor this stuff! You can try it in salad dressing, or to create an aroma-filled and flavorful dip for bread.

Extra virgin olive oil is slightly less acidic (with a cut off at 0.8% acidity), and yields a fruitier taste than its premium counterpart. It also varies greatly in color, with a wide array of shades ranging from yellow to bright green. As a rule of thumb, the deeper the color, the more flavorful the olive oil should be. This type of  olive oil is more flexible, and can be best appreciated cooked or uncooked.

Then comes the next class of olive oils: the “virgin” olive oils, or as I am going to call it, the confusion type of oils- because how genius of a marketing strategy was it to Arruda CAND Blog Image 2 (3)give an entirely new class of olive oil nearly the identical name? These oils sit behind words like, “fine virgin,” or simply “virgin” olive oils. They either have acidity higher than 0.8% or have been refined/processed in some way. They may also be filtered and heated at a high temperature during manufacturing. They must also have 2% or less acidity.

Then finally we have the “Semi Fine virgin” olive oils. These oils are best used for cooking, and reach acidity higher than 3.3%. With these oils, there is more leeway and they can be heated to higher temperatures, further processed, and also refined.