Review

Food & Friends: Food's Social Aspect (Part 4)

Upon waking up on day 2 of our mini-Texas vacation, we walked to a unique, coffee “stop” just around the corner from our adorable abode.  Jo’s Hot Coffee (http://www.joscoffee.com/congress/jossouthcongress.htm) is located next to San Jose Hotel, a hip hotel tucked away in luscious greenery, in the funky district of south Austin.Jo’s menu did not include just your ordinary coffeehouse selections. Jo’s menu included fresh baked goods, hot & cold coffee beverages, deli-style sandwiches, side items (potato salad, coleslaw, fresh fruit, chips, and shredded green salad), beer, and cigarettes! Since it was breakfast time, I was focused mainly on the breakfast menu which included breakfast tacos (which seemed to be a popular menu item in Austin), fresh baked muffins, and homemade granola!

The main advertisement on their aluminum siding shack, bragged about an original specialty drink called “Iced Turbo”.  I decided I must go with their original creation to ensure I was experiencing Austin's food genre!  So I ordered a small “Iced Turbo” and picked up a bag of homemade granola.  Since Mike and I planned to nibble on each other’s food, he picked out a freshly baked blueberry muffin!  Both items were absolutely incredible, but the true essence of Jo’s was captured in the funky, eclectic environment that consisted of an aluminum shack, random outdoor tables, non-matching chairs, and the ambiance that encouraged friends to converse and people watch as the city of Austin begin to awaken!

On the way back to the house, we decided we better go ahead and pick up cupcakes from “Hey Cupcake” (www.heycupcake.com/) since they were closed the previous night when we wanted to pick up a few treats.  Just like Jo’s, Hey Cupcake was a small establishment, (it was actually a trailer) located on the side of South Congress Avenue.  By the looks of the trailor, you would never realized that located inside was an array of delicious, delectable, freshly baked cupcakes!  Their slogan: “Who You Callin Cupcake?”

As we began reading through the menu, the decision making process became more difficult with each menu item!  So I, the dietitian, make the final decision that a decision does not have to be made because I read a sign that states “The Dozen Deal: Buy 11 cupcakes and Get 1 Free” so that is exactly what I ordered.  I asked for two cupcakes of each flavor and agreed to a sampler party later on that evening with April, Zach, and Mike!  Our "dozen deal" flavors included: Vanilla Dream, Carrot Cake, Red Velvet, Pumpkinator, Michael Jackson, and Sweetberry!

 

After sampling a combination of the Pumpkinator, Sweetberry, Carrot Cake, and Red Velvet, I claimed the Pumpkinator (the Pumpkinator cupcake is the third cupcake from the top in the box on the right-hand side in the picture above) as the winner of my personal taste test. I have to admit that my cupcake taste buds are hard to win over since I am a Birmingahm local with unlimited access to Dreamcakes Bakery (www.dreamcakes-bakery.com)  in Homewood! Although "Hey Cupcake" put up a strong fight with the Sweetberry cupcake (equivalent to Dreamcakes Simply Strawberry cupcake), I still claim Dreamcakes as the champion of strawberry cupcake making!

With a cupcake sampler plate consumed, a tall glass of organic milk to wash it all down, and tired feet from walking the city of Austin all day, it was no doubt the perfect combination to get us all ready for bed!

Austin's laid back environment continues to intrigue me on our visit.  I think the following quote can really sum up the unique and inviting restaurant industry in Austin, Texas! It's good food without the haughty attitude!

"Never trust the food in a restaurant on top of the tallest building in town that spends a lot of time folding napkins."

~ Andy Rooney

RD's Recipe Review: Sante Fe Soup for the Soul

Happy Fall Yall
Happy Fall Yall

According to the majority of my clients, the most common barrier to success in terms of following a meal plan is, LACK OF TIME!  As a full-time, working professional, as well as a wife, daughter, and friend, I know time can easily hinder our ability to nutritionally care for ourselves. We live in a fast pace society which is clearly evident by the high number of fast food restaurants, take out menus, and pre-made meals at local groceries.  So if you feel pressed for time, you are not alone. As a young girl, I can remember sitting down to a hot meal every night for dinner. I consider my mom a “super mom” for many reasons, but one reason being her ability to complete a full day of work as a school teacher and still manage to place a piping hot, comfort meal on the table for my two brothers, my dad, and me to enjoy.  I still marvel at her ability to manage time and I’m so thankful for the priority she placed on meal time as a family. It was not only a time to nourish our bodies, but also our souls by reconnecting with each other at the end of an eventful day. All of us may not have the gift of time management, but that does not mean we have to skimp on enjoying delicious, home-cooked dinners on a weeknight!  Each week I will be reviewing recipes that my family personally enjoys and that I find time to make with my busy schedule.  Our bodies are important and the best preventative medicine is nutrition, so I encourage each of you to make meal time a priority, not only for your physical bodies, but also as a time to reconnect with loved ones.  For this week’s “RD’s Recipe Review”, I decided put together a quick “Santé Fe Soup” recipe.

This recipe is a modified version of the Southwestern Soup recipe that can be found in “Super Fast Suppers” by Cooking Light.  This particular recipe caught my attention because of the short amount of cooking time, but more so because the ingredient list contains mostly pantry staples!

Soup Ingredients
Soup Ingredients
Sante Fe Soup II
Sante Fe Soup II

This soup was extremely easy to put together.  It really made my house feel like a home by filling it with the comforting smell of soup bubbling on the stove.  After all, there is no better comfort food than soup!  This soup brings vibrant flavors by combining the taco seasoning, ranch seasoning, and jalapeños. A dollop of sour cream added a nice touch by incorporating a creamy texture and a nice temperature differentiation.

This soup will help you meet your daily vegetable servings by incorporating onions and a heaping amount of tomatoes!  Tomatoes are full of lycopene which is a carotenoid considered a potential agent in the prevention of certain types of cancer. Your protein needs will be met by the fajita chicken strips and the black-eyed peas!  And finally, your carbohydrate needs are partially met by the addition of corn and black-eyed peas.  In order to complete the meal I simply served the soup with a hearty slice of Mexican cornbread, of which I would share the recipe but I must admit, I did not make the cornbread. It’s my mother-in-law’s specialty which she was kind enough to make while visiting us this past weekend in Birmingham!

I can confidently recommend this recipe for a quick weeknight meal or for entertaining guest on a budget!  Enjoy!

Buy or Deny?: NutriFocus RD's Product Review

Arnold’s Bread now has “Healthful 10-Grain” which is a great way to get nutty, hearty bread without losing site of nutrition.  After trying 2 loaves, my husband and I both agree this bread is a keeper. I would highly recommend this bread to any of my clients, family, or friends for multiple reasons:

  • Arnold’s did a great job keeping this bread within proper portion size.
  • Each slice is equivalent to 1 carbohydrate exchange, contains 10 whole grains, and has no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
  • Each slice is packed with whole wheat goodness, including 4 grams of fiber per slice!
  • Every slice is hearty and adds great texture and taste to sandwiches which helps keeps lunchtime boredom at bay
  • Each slice is packed with 5g of protein to help sustain your energy levels
  • Freezable! Does not lose taste or texture when frozen!!

Other Recommendation(s):

Add a little  color by putting Pecan Pumpkin Butter on a toasted sliced of Arnold's Healthful 10-Grain bread! Great way to add flavor and comfort to your breakfast or a great escape to enjoy for a snack! I personally like Williams-Sonoma's Pecan Pumpkin Butter which can easily be found in all stores during this time of year!

Arnold’s Healthful 10-grain bread can be found at most local grocery stores. I personally purchase this bread at Publix. I have not been able to locate this bread at Target. If anyone else finds this bread at a different location leave a comment and let us know!