My blog has moved!


Hi everyone! I wanted to share that I have been suffering through making a brand new website, where I am combining my blog and business page into one. It has been a doozy, and I may or may not have tried to throw my laptop out the window from time to time, but I am SO excited about being able to better share information with you and some other exciting products I will begin offering soon (online nutrition classes– yay!). I also wanted to let you know that if you are an email subscriber to this blog, I will be migrating my subscriptions to this new wordpress site so you can continue getting updates on yummy new recipe ideas and nutrition tips. I will say it is still a work in progress, but please feel free to check it out at www.food4success.com/blog.  If you have any difficulty reaching my blog content please don’t hesitate to contact me directly (Elissa@food4success.com).

Thank you for reading, and for allowing me to share my love of good, nourishing food with you! Here’s to bigger and better. See you at the new site!

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Parmesan Breaded Veggies


Ever get in a dinner rut? If you’re an exhausted Mama like me, sometimes you find yourself making the same few meals over and over for sake of convenience. You are likely to have the ingredients you need laying around the house, and you can usually predict the kids will eat it, so it just works. But it gets boring. The other day I was trying to figure out a vegetable, and found broccoli in the fridge. I usually steam it, but my tot won’t eat it without cheese sauce, so that’s what we end up doing every time. I happened to have a little bit of brain activity left that afternoon (it was so bizarre), so I decided to play around with recipe ideas to transform it into something a little different.

I love fried veggies, I’ll admit. Fried okra, fried zucchini, fried pickles even, yuumm. Fortunately for us fried veggie lovers there is a way to enjoy the taste without all the excess fat – oven “frying”. You may have seen from the trend on this blog, I kinda like oven-fried stuff (see Oven-Fried Chicken, or A Fish Recipe for Everybody) . This seemed like a fantastic way to change it up a bit, and it turned out delicious! Matthew even helped me make it and willingly ate it. Win-win.

So, I used what I had on hand, which was broccoli, carrots, and onions…but the possibilities are endless. I think this would also be delicious with cauliflower, zucchini, yellow squash, you name it. I love that we could have a change from the norm yet it was so darn easy to throw together.

Parmesan Breaded Veggies                                                   Serves about 4-5

Ingredients:
3/4 cup Panko
4 Tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 eggs slightly beaten
2 T milk
1 large head of broccoli, cut into florets
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped

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Aren’t the colors purty?

 

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2) Combine first 4 ingredients in a Ziploc bag, set aside. In a separate bowl mix milk and beaten egg.
3) Add chopped vegetables into the bowl, toss with milk and egg mixture until well coated.
4) Pour vegetables into Ziploc bag, seal it shut (important).
5) Shake bag until veggies are well coated.

                                                      My bag shaker did an excellent job.

6) Spread vegetables out onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees, stirring once about half way through.
7) Serve immediately and enjoy!

They came out nice and crispy with an excellent flavor. Husband, toddler, and as far as I could tell, unborn little girl gave it all a big thumbs up. I got everyone to eat more vegetables, so I gave it a full blown victory dance.

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Try it out and let me know what you think! 

In dietitian-ing news, I have some big developments coming up. Stay tuned for an upcoming shiny new website/blog under my brand, Food 4 Success, LLC and some exciting new services I will start offering–not just to locals around here, but to anyone in the whole wide world. I’m so excited!

Until next time!
~Elissa

 

Super Bowl Dip: Corn and Black-Eye Salsa


This post is available on my new website – check it out here!

I realized the other day that the Super Bowl is fast approaching. Now I’ll be honest, I’m not much of a football fan, especially now that the Cowboy’s aren’t in the running anymore. My husband makes fun of me of how little I know about the game (hey, I DO know it’s called a “touch down” and not a “home run,” thank you very much..). But, when it comes to the entertaining commercials and best of all – Super Bowl food – I am all in. The Super Bowl is notorious for being the biggest junk-food, poor food choice day of the ENTIRE year, but I can tell you it absolutely doesn’t have to be that way. And no, I don’t believe you have to torture yourself with cardboard rice patties and celery sticks instead.

I cannot make this dip I’m about to share for a get-together without getting approached for the recipe. It’s make-ahead, ridiculously easy, and a family favorite of ours. I’m also happy to share it with you because it is high in fiber and so much friendlier to the waistline than a lot of super-bowl food out there, although you certainly don’t have to tell everyone it’s healthy (that’s our little secret). This is a must-try, and I promise you it will be a “please, please, please make this again” hit to add to your recipe repertoire. Also makes for a refreshing, colorful appetizer or taco topping for those summer get-together’s as well…

Corn and Black-Eye Salsa                                                 Makes about 8 cups

Ingredients:
2 cans black-eye peas (can also use canned field peas), rinsed and drained

2 cans reduced sodium corn (I like to use white shoepeg corn), drained
2 cans diced tomatoes with chiles
1 can reduced sodium diced tomatoes
5 green onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 16 oz bottle of Zesty Italian Dressing

*Note – all the cans I used are about 14-15 oz size, so anything around that range. I always buy reduced sodium when the option is available and it still tastes amazing.

Directions:
1) Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl or Tupperware container with a lid
2) Cover and chill overnight or for at least 8 hours.
3) Drain off dip before serving. Serve with baked tortilla chips and enjoy!

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Interested in ditching other preservative-laden dips on game day? You can still enjoy those traditional favorites by making them at home (not as hard as one would think..). Check it out here. I also have game-day tips to help you stay on track while still enjoying yourself here.

Throw it together and let me know what you think!

Until next time!

~Elissa

Nourishing Navy Bean Soup


Well hello there. I guess I have some explaining to do about where I’ve been and why I’ve been neglecting this blog. To get straight to the point, I found out in September that we are expecting a new little Lueckemeyer. Shortly after that, intense, crippling morning all day sickness set in, and has out welcomed its stay for the past 3 months. Being sick has become such a routine occurrence that when I have had to excuse myself, my son will kindly be sure to inform anyone around, “Mommy plaaah..” I am still struggling a bit, but it is getting much more manageable now. Needless to say, it was pretty tough to bring myself to think, much less write about food that I so wanted to love to eat, but just wouldn’t love me back. That, and every spare moment I have had between work, running a business, and raising a rambunctious toddler I have spent flat-on-my-face exhausted. Hopefully from now on less “Mommy plaahs” are in my future.

But enough whining already. I am so excited and blessed to announce my sweet Matthew will get a little sister (and our family a future little ballerina) in May. I am trying not to go crazy with tutus and pink, but for those of you who know me well, I can see the “uh-huh, good luck with that..” look on your faces through this computer screen.

So here’s back to enjoying food and back to sharing nourishing recipes with you!  I have to share this Navy Bean (or Boston Bean, if you will) soup I whipped up this week that turned out amazing. It really hit the cozy, comfort-food spot with the cooler weather we finally have had, after it being in the upper 70s through Christmas and New Years. Another one pot, crock-pot meal which you just gotta love. So easy, so satisfying, yet so little to wash.

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A little over $2 per 1 lb bag…that’s hard to beat for a meal that can serve 8..

 

Before I share, I will emphasize this recipe calls for dry Navy Beans, so be careful when shopping to avoid getting dry cannellini, which look similar. Cannellini beans are actually not recommended for slow, lower temp cooking. Why? Because cannellini beans contain higher levels of the lectin, phytohaemaggluttinin (say that 5 times fast, I dare ya) which is considered a toxin when consumed in high amounts. Raw beans have the highest concentration and ironically the toxin is released in even higher amounts in low-temp cooking, like in your crock-pot. This toxin can cause extremely unpleasant GI symptoms, including diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and gas – cue “beans, beans the musical fruit..” song. More info can be found here. Red kidney beans have the highest level of this toxin, so be especially careful with them. These types of beans should be soaked for at least 5 hours and then boiled for at least 30 minutes to help reduce the toxin. Or buy canned beans to be safe.

Now that I’ve scared you with bean poisoning, (I know, it’s like geez Elissa, don’t I have enough to worry about!?!) also know that Navy beans are as nutritious as they are satisfying. Rich in fiber and flavor, they have a low glycemic index and are full of folate (especially important for us pregnant folks) and magnesium. This also makes for a great source of vegetarian protein if you omit the ham.

Alrighty, enough rambling

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Nourishing Navy Bean Soup (Serves 6-8)

Ingredients:
1 lb Navy Beans, rinsed, sorted and soaked overnight
3 carrots, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 onion, diced
3 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 14.5 oz cans low sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1 bay leaf
Ground black pepper
Optional: diced ham or ham hocks

Directions:
1) Combine carrots, celery, onion, and garlic in the crock pot. Drizzle olive oil over the top.

2) Add soaked and drained navy beans, along with the chicken broth, water, and bay leaf.
3) Add ham if desired, sprinkle with pepper according to your taste.
4) Cook, covered, on high for 6 hours or low for about 8-10 hours. Fantastic served with warm corn bread.

Cuddle up with a bowl and let me know what you think!

Are you local to central Texas and are interested in learning proper portion control for diabetes management or weight loss? Check out my upcoming Carbohydrate Counting class schedule at http://www.food4success.com.

Until next time!

Elissa

 

Oatmeal Flax Chocolate Chip Cookies


I know what you’re thinking, because it has been on my mind too. *Sigh.* Oatmeal Raisin is a waste of a cookie. I said it. You think you’re going to sneak your teeth into a gooey chocolate chip, and then you let out a wail of utter disappointment when they hit a chewy raisin instead. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for fruit and more fiber, but when I go for a cookie and see something dark in it, it better darn well be chocolate. Oatmeal and chocolate chips make such a wonderful combination in a cookie, and they are my absolute favorite.

So if I’m going to enjoy  a delicious cookie, why not make it worth the calories by packing some extra beneficial nutrition into it? Before you get the image of a hockey puck “health” cookie in your head, hear me out. Ground flaxseed is an excellent way to sneak some nutrients into your baking. If you’re new to flax, know that aside from it being a good source of fiber and vitamins, it is rich in the plant source of omega 3, alpha-linolenic acid. Flaxseed is what they feed chickens whose eggs are advertised as higher in omega 3 fatty acids. About 1 tablespoon of flaxseed has about 1.8 grams of plant-based omega 3, and it is one of the oldest grains around, known to date back to Ancient Egypt times. King Charlemagne of the 8th century was known to be a big enthusiast of flax too, making his loyal subjects eat it. They were all on to something, because modern science has revealed its benefits, include lowering of cholesterol and your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and as some studies indicate, certain cancers. If I can get those benefits without sacrificing taste of an awesome cookie, why not throw some in? I mean, it’s fit for a freaking king and it’s right there at the grocery store.

I will emphasize the importance of using GROUND flax seed in baking. If you buy whole seeds, you might not get the same health benefits because your body passes it without absorbing any of the nutrients. Plus, I’m not into really seedy cookies.

So if you’d like to give flax a try, this is a great recipe to start with. You get benefits from the oatmeal, the flax, and dark chocolate. And while I can’t say this is a low calorie “health food”(it still has sugar, butter, etc.) it is a smarter way to enjoy a treat once in a while.  Just remember, it is a treat, and should be treated as such. This recipe makes a lot, so you can share.

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Oatmeal Flax Chocolate Chip Cookies (makes about 3 dozen)

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)

3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup oats
1 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup ground flax seed.

Directions:
1) Let butter soften at room temperature

2) Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla.
3) Beat in eggs.
4) Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt together in a small bowl, then add to cookie mixture, blend.
5) Add oats, chocolate chips, and flax, mix until just blended. (try not to overmix, it will get you flat cookies.)
6) Refrigerate dough for at least a couple hours, or overnight.
7) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
8) Drop rounded tablespoon-fulls onto a greased cookie sheet
9) Bake in heated oven for about 8-10 minutes
10) Let cool (can use a cookie rack to prevent overbaking) and enjoy!

Do you have a favorite flax recipe? Please share!

Until next time!
~Elissa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Been a Year…


The first week of October is a special for me. Aside from being a time to frolic in pumpkins, October 1st marked my one year anniversary of starting Food 4 Success, LLC, my nutrition consulting business. A year in private practice has been such an amazing learning experience, and leaves me hungry for learning more. More ways to spread credible nutrition information, more ways to motivate clients, more and better ways to spread healthy recipes and the love of cooking and family time all around. Oh and I have so much to learn still!

Here is some of what I DID learn in this adventurous year:

  1. I have some pretty AMAZING clients. Working with my clients has been such an honor and to say the least, an inspiration. I have had the pleasure of working with so many who are determined to live life to the fullest and take charge of their health by improving how they eat – not an overnight task. While I’m there to provide guidance, it’s my clients that do the work to reap the benefits. And I get the wonderful benefit of seeing their smiling faces when they succeed, whether it be pounds coming off, their blood sugar numbers improved, their cholesterol lower, their delight in telling me their pants are too big, or maybe their boost of energy.  It’s truly beautiful!
  2. I may be a nutrition expert, but you are the expert of your life. The beauty of nutritional counseling is that we work together to find what works for YOU, to get results YOU want. One way of eating or dieting does not fit all,  and while I didn’t think it was possible, working with people this past year has even strengthened my dislike for diets. Everyone has different health backgrounds and lifestyles, so one diet doesn’t fit all. You know what works and what doesn’t. We work together to find solutions to health goal barriers. Working with a variety of individuals with different backgrounds has given me more confidence in patient-centered nutritional counseling, and has proven it is leaps and bounds more effective than some health professional sitting there lecturing you need to do this, don’t eat that, etc, without taking into account your lifestyle and feelings. If you’ve endured that kind of care, I’m sure you can agree, blah to that!
  3. It’s not about perfection, it’s about the right direction. Yep, I stole that from a PBS nutrition cartoon that my son watches in the morning, but man it’s so true. I’ve learned that a lot of clients initially dread coming to see me, because they think I will take away all their favorite foods and demand “diet perfection.” They soon learn that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Dietitians are here to keep your favorite foods in mind, and teach you how to make them fit into a healthier way of eating. It’s about focusing on your diet and health habits as an entire picture, and not dwell on “good” or “bad” foods. Cutting out something you love won’t solve anything, and would make ALL dietitians super hypocrites, because we are ALL human and enjoy things like pizza and chocolate cake from time to time (I sure do..)
  4. The media continues to be full of poop. This isn’t exactly new news, but I have learned more and more the negative impact of what poor, opinion-based instead of science-based nutrition advice can have. I’ve had clients come to me that were victims of poor-nutrition advice and it has shown me first-hand how terrible it can be. Internet fear-mongering and food scare-tactics are horrible, even discouraging people from eating foods that could actually benefit them. Examples of this include a drop in vegetable consumption because of fear of pesticides, or maybe avoidance of carbs because of the whole “carbs are evil” message out there. This can cause problems such as nutritional deficiencies and further health complications. The more we can spread credible, scientific-based nutrition information, the better. Recognizing registered dietitians are the most credible source for nutrition information is critical, and knowing the difference between our profession and self-proclaimed “nutritionists,” that do not have the educational background to advise safely. I also try to empower and educate my clients on better sources when looking for answers on the web, like in  Why I hate Dr. Oz and a list of actual credible web sites for health information .
  5. I will never stop learning. Being a registered dietitian entrepreneur and nutritional counselor and educator will never be boring. My passion is to improve my skills so that I may better serve you in improving your health and quality of life through better eating habits. And maybe in a selfish-sense, because seeing those success smiles make so happy and warm inside.
  6. Improving my blog. I am in the process of learning how to produce better content, better recipes, and better pictures to make it more appealing, interesting, and helpful to you. Thanks for bearing with me on this one, definitely a work in progress! 

I also learned a lot about running a business. It’s not always easy, but it’s fun to dream and strive for what could be. Thank you to all my friends, family, and awesome clients who have supported me in this journey, you are appreciated more than you know. I welcome another year of learning adventures!20160219_133453

Until next time!

~Elissa

 

Overnight Pumpkin Oats


Well hello. I apologize for my lack of posting, but we got hit by the dreaded preschool initiation germs that landed poor Matthew and myself on our rear-ends. It is so tough when your baby is sick and you are barely able to stand up straight yourself. Very thankful for my husband, a.k.a super dad, and the miracle that is antibiotics.

Getting sick on the first day of Fall was irritating because I LOVE Fall and all things Fall, and the germs put a big damper on my enthusiasm. I am making up for it now, and it even feels more special because it is amazingly under 80 degrees outside today, unlike last week. My mom also made my pitiful self this amazing pumpkin bread too. Squee!

So I know this may come as a shock, but I’m kicking off my Fall posts with a pumpkin recipe. For my fellow pumpkin enthusiasts, there is more than one reason to love pumpkin. It is crammed packed with fiber–beneficial for heart health and weight loss, has beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that may play a role in cancer prevention, and 1 cup of it has more potassium than a banana. What’s not to love?

For those of you who adore pumpkin, but maybe also struggle with feeding yourself a nutritious breakfast before you blast out the door (like me), here is a solution that  I recently discovered and decided to play with. Overnight oats can be put together the night before, thrown in a mason jar and then conveniently eaten on the road the next morning if you are in a time crunch. The nice thing about oats is that they are so versatile, you can pretty much do anything to them your imagination allows to keep them from becoming boring. Throw some nuts in for a punch of protein, and you are much less likely to veer off track with snacks or treats later in the day. This is why a fiber and protein-rich breakfast can help shrink your waistline (it’s true).

Overnight Pumpkin Oats  (Single Serving)

You’ll need:
1 small mason jar
1/2 cup oats
1 cup low-fat or almond milk
1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree (be careful when reading labels, pumpkin pie filling is not the same thing)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons honey
Chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds

Directions:
1) Combine oats and milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for about 1 minute and 30 seconds.
2) Remove from microwave, add rest of ingredients (except for nuts), mix well.
3) Pour mixture into small mason jar, cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
4) When chilled, remove cover, layer the top with nuts, and enjoy.

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Easy-peasy. What’s your favorite oats recipe?

Until next time!

~Elissa