Happy New Year!!! What I Hope To Bring in 2017...

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This year will be full.  I'm so excited but I know I'll be busier than ever, which I'm sure many of us are probably saying as we look on into this new year, 2017.  

My original intention for this blog was to share nutrition information and recipes for busy individuals and families and for young athletes.  This year, in 2017, I would like to continue that, but with an additional element and structure.

We all create "new year's resolutions" January 1.  Well, I am & have always been more of a "goals" person.  I have a handful of goals for this year and one of those goals is for this blog and website.  I want to let the reader in a bit more - to know me and to know where my passion for food & nutrition and my food & nutrition recommendations come from.

Over the years, last year especially, I have learned a lot about myself.  What I have realized most is that I love a lot of things!  I love people, I love activities, I love new learning opportunities, and I love the excitement that all of these possibilities bring even though after signing up for it all I am often left with a LOT on my plate.  In the past I have tried to change this and tell myself to stop doing so much but found that I was actually MORE stressed by trying NOT to do things than if I just accepted it and powered on!  So, this year, 2017, I'm just going to embrace it.  Yep, bring it on!  This year I will accept my overly enthusiastic, futuristic, determined, inquisitive, dreamer, "sign-me-up" nature.

I know from experience, though, that in order to do this - to make time for all of my passions, including friends, family, career (nutrition), fitness, volunteering, and, currently, wedding planning that all of my meals will not be perfect and many will be far from home-cooked five star.  This year I know I will need my fitness routines (to stay sane and calm) and nutritious meals and snacks (to stay fueled and energized for meetings, work and workouts) more than ever.  And this is what I'm excited to share with you!  I'm excited to show you that you can still eat tasty, fueling meals and stay healthy and energized amidst a pressed-for-time week AND that you don't have to exclude any foods or food groups along the way :)

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So, this year, starting now, I plan to write about my journey and share recipes, menus, quick grocery tips and lists, and quick pick-up meals, (and maybe a few fitness adventures) that get me through this busy, crazy, but exciting season.  Always up for a challenge, I know it will be a lot but I'm ready & excited.  I want to show you (a) that it can be done and (b) how it can be done, even if it's not always pretty or fancy (which half of the time it will not be, just a heads up), by giving you a glimpse into my everyday.  I'm not at home all day every day creating & testing recipes for my family, or the busy parents, business professionals and young athletes I'm hoping to serve.  I'm at work full-time, followed by volunteering, Bible Study, visiting friends, taking trips, and planning a wedding, throwing together recipes that work for me and have worked for friends and family in the in-between time.  My goal with Taylored Nutrition is to show you what this takes by providing kitchen concoctions, quick picks, and foodie facts each month (weekly as possible).  I hope that, from following along with me on this journey, you see that being "healthy" doesn't mean being perfect and it doesn't have to be hard.  I hope that you are able to find ideas, inspiration and fun food and nutrition facts that help you lead your busy crazy jam-packed lives in the healthiest way possible to help give you the happiest life possible.  So here we go!

Happy Fueling!

Taylor

 

Holiday Season. Hunting Season. Scrabble Season.

It's Thanksgiving weekend!  It's Duck Hunting Season!  Both causes for joy growing up in the Fisher household.  As I got giddy over Turkey Day and all of the holiday festivities to come,  dad got giddy over Duck Season Opening Day and all of the long awaited hunting, grilling, guys being guys weekends to come.

To this day, thinking of the Fall Holiday Season makes me think about Hunting Season which makes me think about Holiday cooking & baking season, which then quickly gets me thinking about a Fisher Family tradition and favorite - our Seasonal Scrabble.  It was something my dad's dad used to make and now it is something my dad makes every Thanksgiving and Christmas, leaving at least one batch at home while he packages up another two batches and takes them with him to the Duck Club.  While I'm pretty sure the recipe might have originated off the back of a Chex box, I like to think that it has been carefully perfected over years and years to this deliciously addicting Scrabble Mix that we pull out at parties, package as gifts for friends and families, and that I, now living in Dallas, sometimes happily receive in the mail.  It's so simple and the prep time is quick.  You just have to be around to stir it every 15 minutes as it roasts in the oven for an hour (perfect for when you have other things to do around the house).  I loved it as a kid and I still love it today.  Adults love it, kids love it, and, together, both groups can make it!  Plus, it's so versatile - it can be used for parties, taken on road trips, or packaged for work snacks or school snacks.  Take your pick!  I'm sure many people out there have some version of this that they have tasted or that they make themselves.  But this is my family's mix, complete with memories, laughs, and celebrations, and one that I want to share with you.

So here you go... my family Seasonal Scrabble recipe.  

Happy Holidays & Happy Fueling!

Taylor

 

SEASONAL SCRABBLE

[Makes about 16 cups of scrabble]

ingredients:

  • 3 cups Corn Chex
  • 3 cups Rice Chex
  • 3 cups Wheat Chex
  • 3 cups Cheerios
  • 2 cups Rold Gold tiny pretzel twists
  • 12 oz. shelled pecan halves (or 3 cups cheddar Goldfish if no nuts preferred) - see note at bottom for altered instructions for a nut-free version
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (or canola oil, if substitution desired)
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce, divided
  • 2 teaspoons Season All
  • 3/4 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
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directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl, mix pecans with the 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce until lightly coated and set aside.**
  3. In a large roasting pan incorporate all of the cereals and pretzels until well mixed.
  4. Add in the seasoned pecans to the cereal pretzel mixture and toss until all ingredients are well incorporated.**
  5. In a small saucepan over medium - low heat, melt the butter and, as the butter melts, whisk in the 2 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, Season All, garlic powder, and onion powder until sauce is smooth and no lumps are present.
  6. Remove saucepan from the heat and, in 3 stages, pour sauce over the cereal mixture, mixing well to coat the dry ingredients after each pour.
  7. Place roasting pan in the preheated oven and bake for one hour, stirring the mixture well with a spatula or large spoon every fifteen minutes.
  8. Remove Scrabble from the oven and let sit, stirring occasionally as it cools.
  9. This Scrabble is best if stored in airtight containers like a gallon Ziplock baggie.  Can also be portioned out into smaller snack size baggies for quick snacks on the go.

Note:  With this Scrabble, it's actually best after resting for at least an hour or two (or a day or two!) as this resting time really brings out the flavors.

**If substituting Goldfish for the nuts, eliminate steps 2 and 4, and incorporate the Goldfish with the reset of the ingredients in step 3.  Also, add the 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce (used for the pecans in the nut version) to the melted butter and additional spices in step 5.

Sweet & Simple Pumpkin Bread

I discovered this recipe last year while surfing through some online recipes.   I'm so glad I found it.  It is quick.  It is easy.  It is a no fuss holiday recipe, which, with all of the cooking and planning and shopping this season, is exactly what I think most of us are looking for.  

I seriously threw this together last night amidst cleaning the kitchen, finishing laundry, responding to emails, and packing for my Thanksgiving trip.  The final product is dense and moist, and you taste all of the pumpkiny goodness along with a subtle hint of sweetness that will keep you going back for another bite.  And since you won't feel like you're eating cake for breakfast, you can feel free to go back for bite two, three, four and so - on.  Plus, with the healthier ingredients like nonfat plain Greek yogurt, canola oil and whole - wheat flour, you're getting an added bang for your bite :)  Just remember all of the extra protein, calcium, fiber and heart healthy fats you are getting with this bread versus the bulk produced coffee pumpkin cake from the store.  Sounds like a win to me!

This recipe is adapted from the blog tastes lovely.  The only change I made was that I used canola oil instead of the coconut oil.  I am not particularly fond of coconut and since science has not confirmed that coconut oil is better for the heart when used in place of canola oil or another oil high in mono and polyunsaturated fats I will continue to use my canola oils to cook and my olive oils for dressings and dips.

NOTE:  I just went to a session at the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo this year in Boston that specifically touched on this topic and confirmed that while certain oils containing saturated fats, such as MCT oils, can have positive indications in the body (particularly in clinical settings), other oils containing saturated fats, like coconut oil have still been found to have negative effects.  This is due to the difference in their structural composition and the fatty acids that they are comprised of.  Canola, olive, and flaxseed oil it is for this girl!

But back to the recipe...  I will say again that it's not my own - I just made one little alteration.  Credit certainly goes to Tastes Lovely.  However, I found it and had to share!  Do stay tuned though because there are one or two other little tricks I want to try.  If they work out, I'll be reposting the recipe soon!  

So I hope you give this bread a try.  It is a breakfast bread to wake up for and so good your guests will never know it's healthier  - at least my friends & fiancé didn't :)   So give it a taste, serve a second slice, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Fueling!

Taylor

Sweet & Simple Pumpkin Bread

Adapted from Tastes Lovely blog

Makes: 1 loaf

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup white, unbleached all purpose flour

  • 1 cup whole - wheat flour

  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • (1) 15 - ounce can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)

  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup honey

  • 1/2 cup plain, non fat Greek yogurt

  • 2 large eggs

  • 6 tablespoons canola oil

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and position the rack in the center rung of oven.

  2. Line a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper to make it easier to remove the bread from the pan after cooking.

  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flours, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

  4. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, sugar, honey, Greek yogurt, eggs, and canola oil.  

  5. Pour the pumpkin mixture (wet ingredients) into the flour mixture (dry ingredients) in two or three stages, gently folding the ingredients together in each stage until all are just incorporated.  Do not over-mix.

  6. Transfer the mixed batter to the parchment lined loaf pan.

  7. Bake for 60 minutes, or until a knife or wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean or with only a few crumbs attached.  

  8. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then lift it out of the pan using the parchment paper and cool on a wire rack for another 10 minutes.

  9. Slice and serve or wrap in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to take with you to your next party of family visit.

 

 

Turkey Time Takeaways: What a day of Thanksgiving can teach us

I see so many people approach Thanksgiving with hesitation and some dread due to all of the hearty and tempting foods that await them, threatening to derail them from their hard-earned fitness and nutrition routine.

But what if Thanksgiving isn't actually this daunting temptation that we have built it up to be?  What if it is actually a day that sets a precedent for what all of our days and weeks should look like?  This week I want to take a moment to look at Thanksgiving through a bit of a different lens.  Looking at the day in its entirety vs. only a day of food and eating.  Looking at the big picture, we can see that Thanksgiving is a day of thanks, a day of activity, a day of, yes, carbs, but also a day of protein, a day of cooking in the home, and a day or evening of gathering together around the table.  To me, this is not a day to dread but a day to embrace and to model all other days that follow.  As we enter into our Thanksgiving celebrations, let's stop and think about how the day and the days that follow can incorporate the following core traditions of this fun, foodie, family-centered day.

Give Thanks:  Remember each day to be thankful for what God has blessed us with regardless of the rough patches we may have encountered .  While we certainly have struggles and disappointments, God holds us up in miraculous ways if our eyes are open to see it.

Play & Exercise:  Each day, try to get out and get moving.  Maybe it's a run like your Thanksgiving morning Turkey Trot.  Maybe it's throwing the football or baseball with your friends or family.  Maybe it's just a lunchtime walk with a friend / classmate / coworker.  Whatever it may be, keep the heart rate up, keep it fun, and keep it consistent.

Get Cooking:  Although making its way back into the spotlight, cooking, I think, has become a lost art.  However, cooking can help us learn about our food, it can help us appreciate what we are eating, and it can be much healthier (and often tastier) than always eating out!

Eat the Carbs & the Protein:  Most people equate Thanksgiving to carbs... casserole upon casserole, rolls, potatoes, pies, and then some protein mixed in.  Of course, we don't want to fill each day with casseroles and pie, but we also don't want to shun carbs all together and we certainly want to keep our protein intake steady.  Carbs are the first source of fuel for our brains and muscles.  Carbs fuel the muscles for workouts and replenish depleted stores after an intense workout.  Protein helps to repair any muscle fibers torn during the workout or helps heal the body after sickness or injury.  These two go hand-in-hand and should be included daily in varying amounts depending on the individual.

Gather:  Gathering around the table is becoming another antiquated tradition, it seems.  However, this is one of my favorite parts about mealtime and food in general.  Eating allows us, whether "us" is family, friends or coworkers, to come together.  It allows us to talk about our day and it makes room for topics that may not have come up otherwise.  Some of my best friendships have started at the table and continue to be nurtured at tables around the country.  Let's continue to gather weekly and enjoy these moments with friends and family that encourage conversation and bring us closer.

I hope we can all take these basics of Thanksgiving and let them infiltrate the rest of the days, weeks, and months to come.  I hope we can all take the time to gather with friends, find a little time to make our own balanced meals, and have fun with exercise, always giving thanks along the way.

Happy Fueling!

Taylor

Stay Fueled with the Star Foods of Fall

As much as the Texas heat wave may have had us thinking otherwise, fall is actually here and it seems that the fall weather may finally be arriving (fingers crossed).  As we dive into this new season we see less of the summer strawberries, mangos, peppers and tomatoes and more of the fall & winter favorites like greens, parsnips, pumpkin, butternut squash, apples and pears.

At times it can seem like a lot fewer options.  And many of you may be thinking, "What do I have to work with now?  Parsnips?  What the heck am I supposed to do with a parsnip?"  Well, let me tell you - you can do a lot of things with a parsnip, as well as the other array of fall and winter fruits and vegetables.  I discovered this in grad school when we had to choose a new fruit or vegetable every week and use it in a recipe.  I distinctly remember getting the parsnip.  But I digress...

I have put together a list of ideas below that I incorporate into weekly meals and snacks or that I'm excited to work on incorporating this year (so many new foods and combinations to try!).  From these I hope you can find at least a few fun and fueling fall meal and snack ideas for you and your active family to enjoy.

Happy Fueling!

FOODS OF FALL:

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  • Butternut, acorn and spaghetti squash
  • Sweet potatoes and white potatoes
  • Parsnips
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Grapes
  • Oranges
  • Greens (mustard, collard, turnip, etc.)
  • Pumpkin
  • Cranberries
  • Figs
  • Cauliflower
  • Mushrooms

INCORPORATE THEM INTO BREAKFAST:

  • Make a cinnamon apple oatmeal (let the apples and oatmeal simmer over the stove together until the apples are sweet and soft and the flavors blend into the warm oats.)
  • Top plain or vanilla yogurt with diced pears and a dash of cinnamon.
  • Add sautéed greens to your omelets. 
  • Stir pureed pumpkin into warm oatmeal and top with a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • Add cranberries to breads, sauces and trail mixes.
  • Add pureed pumpkin to breads to get that fall flavor and, if trying to make your item a bit healthier, to keep a moist crumb while decreasing the butter 
  • Make peanut butter apple rings by coring & slicing an apple so that you have apple rings.  Taking 2 rings, spread about 1 teaspoon of peanut butter on one side, sprinkle cinnamon onto peanut butter, and top with the 2nd ring for a fast and easy apple & peanut butter on the go.

INCORPORATE THEM INTO LUNCH:

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  • Add thin slices of your favorite apple variety to your turkey & cheese sandwich.
  • Try a lunchbox sweet potato bar (Include the small baked sweet potato wrapped in foil accompanied by small containers each filled with a variety of toppings to choose from!).
  • Make a hearty salad by filling your bowl with mixed greens, roasted cauliflower, roasted pumpkin seeds, quartered baby bella mushrooms, diced apples,  & your favorite vinaigrette dressing.
  • Make a Fall Vegetable Soup but filling your regular vegetable soup recipe with hearty fall and winter vegetables (carrots, butternut squash, greens, parsnips, mushrooms, cauliflower).

INCORPORATE THEM INTO DINNER:

  • Balsamic Glazed Chicken with roasted carrots and broccoli.
  • Grilled Dijon salmon with roasted parsnips and brussels sprouts.
  • Make your own Fall Garden Pizza by including roasted cauliflower, mushrooms & greens on your homemade pizzas (one of my favorite restaurants in Memphis, Trolley Stop Market, will do this and even add sweet potatoes.  They have a pizza that constantly rotates and they throw on whatever is fresh out of their garden.  It's the BEST!)
  • Put a spin on the traditional summer salad & instead make a hearty fall dinner salad with roasted cauliflower, brussels sprouts, mushrooms & sweet potatoes.  Top with beans, chicken or other protein of choice, a sprinkle of  dried cranberries & a drizzle of dressing.
  • Pull out your favorite pumpkin soup recipe and top with roasted pepitas and a side of rustic whole grain bread.
  • Keep dinner simple and stuff a whole - wheat pita with grilled or rotisserie chicken, mixed greens already drizzled with some balsamic vinegar, sliced pears, and crumbled cheese like feta.
  • Try serving mini cheeseburger sliders with oven - roasted parsnip fries and diced sauteed cinnamon pears for dessert.