Expanding My Horizons

Beginning my last semester of undergraduate classes at Texas State University was not on the lines of ‘ordinary’ or what I was used to. The reason for that is because I decided to change my major to nutrition with a minor instead of keeping the dietetics track that I was originally on when I transferred to Texas State. Instead of most of my classes containing a nutrition background, I was faced with classes that were a little out of my comfort zone. For instance, this online digital media class.

This class made me made flourish in my interest of pursuing my nutrition degree. It helped me cook more at home and be more aware of what I was consuming and why. One thing I wish I could have added to my site and I might expand on in the future, is that of physical fitness. It would boost my physical fitness activity also, so it would be a great step in the right direction. It also made me fall back in love with being a writer and expressing myself through words. All the tools that were used I saw as effective especially because I am new to this field of knowledge. It provided me with great insight into the digital media world and for that I am grateful that I was able to take this class as part of my courses here at Texas State. This class allowed me to be able to write and know how to manage a personal site. With all that I have learned in this class, I could write nutrition columns, or I could vlog on personal testimonies and so much more!

Looking at my analytics on WordPress about my blog posts, I was very amused to see that people have visited my site and read some of my posts. My most successful week for my posts was the first week blogs started (February 5-11), I had 9 views and 9 visitors. The reason I believe got so many views is because I explained it as something I have never done before, and that I was excited to start this journey. The most surprising month that I had on WordPress is that of April and I had two people from Italy read from my blog, I thought that was interesting! For my Twitter analytics, April was the most popular. I had a 100 profile visits and 898 tweet impressions. I believe the reason that it was so popular was because I have become a regular “tweeter” than I have been in the past and people were probably curious about what I was up to. This class was an amazing experience and I’m glad I was able to partake in!

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Benefits of Acai

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There are many healthful and nutritious foods that people might not know about or might be scared to try because they are exotic. This post is going to be about the amazing taste and nutritious benefits of acai. Acai comes from a palm tree that is grown in South America that grows edible berries. The health benefits of acai are:  Great source of antioxidants, fiber, and healthy fats. Other benefits provided by the acai berry is that it aids in weight loss, helps digestion, anti-aging, and boosts energy for the individual.

One of my fellow nutrition classmates and close friends, Mallory Bove introduced me to this delicious bowl/drink recipe, she also has a nutrition Instagram that shares her healthful journey. So first she used 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, 1 scoop of peanut butter protein powder, 1-2 whole bananas (frozen- provides a thicker texture) and 1-2 tablespoons of organic acai powder. All these ingredients were combined into a blender. After the ingredients were blended together they were placed in a bowl.  From there she added the toppings which included: 1 sliced banana, about 2 tablespoons of honey almond granola, about 2 tablespoons of dark chocolate chips and lastly added a tablespoon of lightly sweetened organic agave.

This dish/bowl is starting to become more popular in the United States! It is so refreshing and easy to make. It took about 15 minutes to make and about 5 minutes to devour! It makes a great breakfast food because as stated above it provides energy for the day and it is very filling. A must try dish!

 

E. coli News Flash!

I hope everyone has heard about the E. coli outbreak that happened a couple of weeks back and if you have not, NEWS FLASH- stay away from romaine lettuce! Honestly, I had not heard about when it happened either, so no judgement. For me the beginning of April, I have been on a salad craze. A little synopsis on my eating habits: My lunch on most days consisted of 3 chicken breast tenders seasoned with nature’s seasoning in a bed of romaine lettuce with all the fixings and the dairy-free ranch I shared with y’all in a previous blog post.

Stated above, I did not know that I was in any kind of danger of E. coli and I do not have cable to watch the morning news to see such information. That should not be my excuse for not keeping up with the news but there are other resources that can be used especially in these kinds of cases. The CDC (Center for Disease and Prevention) has a database that shows outbreaks that have happened dating back all the way to 1998. It is a good resource that keeps track of outbreaks and pathogens with in the United States.

Since, the E. coli outbreak has occurred I have been more up to date with outbreaks and news containing food contaminants. The reason I chose to study nutritionwas because it is of high importance in the world, whether it be healthy food or not- the consumer still needs to be in good health and have knowledge about what is going on in the world of food. Stay safe my friends and eat iceberg lettuce!

Dairy-free Ranch

There are many reasons why people may want to restrict certain things from their diet. As I have mentioned before, my roommate follows a gluten-free diet because she has Celiac disease. Some people follow fad diets and others just want to challenge themselves to change their way of eating. Whatever the reason maybe it is difficult to do, and it is certainly a challenge.

Like many people out there I am lactose intolerant. With any kind of milk product my stomach hurts, and it just is not a pretty outcome after the fact. So, I have tried many times to start a dairy-free life, however I have failed miserably. There are great brands to choose from for yogurts, creamers and milk. But what I have not been able to find is a good brand for ranch dressing. I LOVE ranch dressing, so I needed to find a substitute.

I came across this awesome recipe for dairy-free ranch dressing one day on the internet. I was a little hesitant to try it, but I did. This dairy-free ranch recipe makes it super simple to follow because all you do is combine all the ingredients into one bowl, mix it and let it sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. I used the ranch dressing on my chopped salads for the week and I had no bad repercussions after I ate it. This is definitely a must try!

Dairy-free ranch

Italian Chicken and sides

College has been increasingly more demanding, therefore; my time is even more limited to what I can and cannot do. Project proposals, group meetings, tests, trying to find a parking place in this campus, and trying to go to sleep at some reasonable hour is really starting to stress me out. Honestly, sometimes eating is not a priority on my mind.

Most of the time I do not think ahead and forget for example to get the frozen chicken out to thaw properly to be able to make dinner. Sometimes I resort to making a lunch meat or peanut butter and jelly sandwich because there is no energy left in my body. I know it’s not a healthy choice but tough times call for tough measures… Once, I did have chicken in the fridge ready to be cooked however the bad thing was it was already 11 p.m.

Here is a step-by-step on how to make this dish, sautéed Italian chicken breasts with corn and green beans. First, I cooked the chicken breasts in a pan with olive oil. I had them cook until the correct temperature of 165°F was reached. Then I put the Italian seasoning on it and sautéed it more. In the meantime, I emptied a can of corn in a saucepan, and heated it for about 10 minutes on low heat. I added some dairy-free butter to it for taste. I proceeded to open a can of green beans and placed them in a bowl in the microwave for 45 seconds and added some dairy-free butter, again for added taste. It was one of the simplest dishes I have made and I had all the ingredients in the pantry!

 

Spaghetti with Shrimp

In the last blog, I talked about planning ahead on what to cook and going to grocery store with a list of what to buy. I talked about the busy lives that we all face and trying to juggle everything all the time. When things like this do not go our way, we sometimes must improvise and figure out what to make at home instead of choosing the option to go out.

In my apartment, we buy shrimp, chicken and beef and usually have one of those options in the freezer. We also like to eat a lot of pasta, so therefore, we have lots of dry pasta in our pantry (gluten-free). We were looking for a quick meal, that involved pasta and some frozen shrimp we had in the freezer. Luckily, we had an extra jar of spaghetti sauce. Boom! We were making spaghetti with shrimp and parmesan tonight!

First, a deep pot was used to bring to a boil for the gluten- free pasta. We let the pasta cook for 12 minutes. At the same time, we defrosted the frozen shrimp under cold water for 15 minutes. After that, we placed the shrimp into a pan with butter to sauté and added garlic powder and had that cook for 15 minutes. In a little pot, I put the spaghetti sauce on the stove and brought that to a simmer. Once everything was cooked, dinner was served!

Prep time: max 20 minutes

Cooking time: max 45 minutes

Ingredients needed:

  • Gluten-free pasta
  • Shrimp (frozen or fresh)
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Butter
  • Garlic powder
  • Parmesan (to top off the dish)

Chicken Stir Fry

Everybody knows college is demanding and time is also slim when going to school, having a job and trying to study runs your everyday life. I struggle with these things every day just like I know most of you do too. My roommate and I went shopping and we planned what to make for a week and honestly, I feel like the two of us did great sticking to our menu and cooking! Also, I do not think I mentioned that the recipes I will share will most likely be gluten-free based because my roommate has Celiac disease.

To cut back on prices of groceries we split the bill in half. We also use additional resources when grocery shopping by using coupons from previous visits and going to Bobcat Bounty as mentioned in a previous blog. We are still learning to grocery shop on a budget when trying to live a healthy lifestyle. The recipe I am going to share with you is the simple entrée of chicken stir fry. This recipe took at most 45 minutes, so it was quick and easy to make!

When I prepared this meal, the chicken was already defrosted. I prepared two cups of rice to two cups of water in our “instant pot”. I sautéed the chicken in olive oil and cooked them until done and cut them up into pieces and put them back in the pan for about 5 minutes. I then cut up the carrots and mushrooms and sautéed them with the chicken. I cooked a frozen vegetable blend of cauliflower and broccoli in another pan because of the excess water. When the rice was ready I took a bigger pan and transferred the rice over, added the sautéed chicken, carrots and mushrooms in the pan and added the broccoli and cauliflower that was now properly cooked all together. I added the gluten-free soy sauce from the brand, “Kikkoman” and some salt and pepper to taste. I let that all simmer for about 10 minutes and Voila! – dinner was served!

Ingredients needed:

(gluten-free)

  • Chicken tender breasts
  • Rice
  • Olive oil
  • Carrots
  • Mushrooms
  • Fresh or frozen broccoli
  • Fresh or frozen cauliflower
  • Kikkoman gluten-free soy sauce
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste