Chili Verde Soup

This week I went to my favorite local Mexican restaurant with my family and had the most amazing chili verde soup. I craved the soup the rest of the week and had to try and make it for myself! This soup is incredibly easy and so flavorful! It has a lot of canned items in it so it makes it cost effective by utilizing some non-perishable items.

 

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I also made some pork in the crockpot while I was at class to add to the soup. The pork ended up being so tender! The crockpot is my new favorite cooking method for this season in life. It’s so old school and I love it! My working mom utilized the crockpot the entire time I was in elementary school and it was so nice to come home to a warm house with the smell of food that has been cooking all day!

Crockpot Pork

Ingredients:

  • 1-2lb pork tenderloin
  • 2-3 T Trader Joes chili lime seasoning
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 T pepper
  • water

Methods:

  1. Rub the pork with the mixture of seasonings.
  2. Add pork to the crockpot.
  3. Fill the crockpot with water just above the pork.
  4. Cook on high for 1 hour
  5. Turn to low and cook for 7-8 hours.

 

Chili Verde Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 T canola oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 2 T garlic powder
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 2 cans diced green chilis
  • 2 can salsa verde
  • 2 cans white beans
  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • pork or chicken

Methods:

  1. Begin by heating oil over medium heat with white onion.
  2. Once onions are sweating and add chili powder and garlic.
  3. Once onions are softened and slightly browned add 1/4 c cilantro.
  4. Mix cilantro and onion well. Add diced green chilis, salsa verde, and white beans.
  5. Add chicken broth and pork.
  6. Cover and bring soup to boil.
  7. Once soup is brought to a boil, add the rest of the cilantro and salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Bring soup to simmer.
  9. Enjoy with cheese, a dollop of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt and radishes on top!

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Mini Apple Tarts

The air smells like apple spice and pumpkin candles, an ungodly amount of leaves are falling on my Rav4, and I keep getting yelled out when I put Christmas music on…..it must be fall! One of my favorite parts about fall are my friendsgivings. I love my family, don’t get my wrong, but I really enjoy seeing friends that I haven’t seen in months. Especially now that I’m in SLO! For this year’s friendsgiving I was in charge of a salad and a dessert. I’ll be posting about the salad soon but spoiler alert – it’s AMAZING! This salad is so hearty and filling; perfect for your fall festivities.

Anywhooooo, back to the tarts. This was my first time making this little beauties and I have to say I am impressed. I got the idea while I was looking through instagram. I saw a quick video of these tarts and thought I could make that without a recipe! For those of you that know me, you know that I’m not great with following a recipe, anyway.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pre-made pie crusts (or homemade, if you’re feeling fancy)
  • 3 large apples, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 T cinnamon
  • 1 t lemon juice
  • 3 T granulated sugar
  • 1 egg white, for egg wash

Methods:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Begin by rolling out one pie crust and cutting small circles.
  3. Place foil over baking sheet and add the circles on top of foil.
  4. In a large bowl, add apples, brown sugar, 2 T cinnamon, lemon juice, and 2 T granulated sugar. Mix well.
  5. Scoop small portions of apple mixture onto pie crust circles.
  6. Cut strips out of second pie crust. Create a lattice with the strips over the apple mixture.
  7. Use the same circle cutter and place over tart to get rid of any additional crust.
  8. Egg wash and sprinkle remaining cinnamon and sugar over tarts.
  9. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until golden brown.

Sweet Potato Chili

One of my favorite recipes to make during fall is chili. It’s really inexpensive, quick and easy to make. Plus it’s primarily made of canned foods which means I always have the ingredients on hand. Chili is a great recipe that can prevent food waste if you’re cooking for one or two people. Too often fresh products get thrown out because you can’t eat it fast enough. With chili, all you need is your canned goods!

Ingredients:

  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 T canola oil
  • 1lb ground turkey or beef (optional)
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 1 T garlic powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 1 12 oz can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 small can of green chilis
  • 2 cans ranch beans
  • ¾ c pepper jack cheese (optional)

Methods:

  1. Add 2 T canola oil and onion over medium heat to a large pot.
  2. Once onion has softened, add ground meat of choice, 1 T chili powder, garlic powder, and salt.
  3. Once meat is fully cooked add in your stewed tomatoes and chilis. Mix well.
  4. Add in your sweet potatoes, and ranch style beans.
  5. Bring chili to boil.
  6. Once it begins to boil bring it to a simmer until the sweet potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork.
  7. Add pepper jack cheese and 1 T chili powder.
  8. Salt and pepper to taste.

 

 

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

From a very young age I became obsessed with food. I remember looking through cook books and food magazines circling all of the recipes that I wanted to make some day. Most kids are given Disney picture books…I was given a Mickey Mouse Cookbook. I still have that cookbook. It’s from Disney World back in the 90s (or older). I would spend hours highlighting and circling recipes that I wanted to make someday when I got older. I have actually never made anything from that book, now that I think about it. I should probably do that! Anywhoo….the first recipe that I ever made by myself was from a Rachel Ray magazine that I use to get when I was 10. I went to my mom and begged her to help me make it. So we went to the grocery store and found all of the ingredients that we would need. This chicken soup recipe is an off shoot of Rachel Ray’s. This one recipe gave me the foundation I needed for other recipes and made me feel like I was capable of making any meal. So thank you Rachel Ray for inspiring the world with your 30 minute meals! I hope you enjoy this meal as much as I do!

Ingredients:

  • 2 T canola oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1/2 T garlic powder or 2 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 1/2 T chili powder
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 T cayenne pepper
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • Meat from 1 rotisserie chicken or 4 cooked chicken breasts , shredded
  • 32oz chicken broth
  • 1 can of black or pinto beans
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 2 limes, juiced

Methods:

  1. Add canola oil to soup pot under medium heat.
  2. Add white onion and cook until softened.
  3. Add garlic powder, chili powder, cayenne pepper and bay leaves.
  4. Lightly toast the spices with the onion.
  5. Add canned tomatoes with chilies and mix with spices and onion.
  6. Add rotisserie chicken, chicken broth, lemon juice and lime juice (I like a lot of lemon and lime but this might be too much for you so maybe save those two for the end to taste)
  7. Cover and bring to boil. Once boiling start bring down to low and let soup simmer until ready to serve.
  8. Top individual portions with extras like sour cream, more citrus, red onion, or radishes.

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Fight My Battles

“For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”

– 2 Chronicles 20:12 

As I read my allotted Bible reading last night, I felt God speaking to me so strongly through 2 Chronicle chapter 20. I have been in a season of life where I look around and at times I don’t know what to do. My norm was stolen, trust was broken, and I have felt like the Israelites – powerless to face the attack. It’s such a bittersweet feeling when God brings you through a season that shakes your whole world. You find yourself with this need to control a situation that is uncontrollable and you’re forced to throw up your hands and say “I don’t know what to do,” as Judah cried out in 2 Chronicles 20. I think my current season has given me a new understanding of this Old Testament scripture. I read it through the first time not thinking much of it until I found the following line..

“You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow and the Lord will be with you.”

– 2 Chronicles 20:17. 

See I’m not typically one of those readers that digs real deep and asks incredible questions that changes my perspective. I’m typically a reader that takes everything for face value. But when I read that line, this question popped into my head. “What did King Jehoshaphat do to warrant that response from God?” I sat there jealous of that response. God has been so faithful to me and has walked me through this season with so much grace. But I never really allowed Him to fight my battles for me. I was the one on defense, staging my next plan of attack on the situation. But this verse stopped me and made me seek out a response like that of God to Jehoshaphat. I back tracked and found a few key things that the king did to cause God’s response.

  1. There was an attack

I know that sounds so ridiculous, but I think we forget that there has to be a problem before there can be a resolution. It’s like I want the maturity and growth that hard times bring without having to walk through the hard times. I want to be able to say God is faithful but avoid a time in life that causes uncertainty in my worldly security. The Bible says that “the Meunites came to make war on Jehoshaphat.” There are going to be seasons when friends, family members, situations, etc come to make war on you. But it’s in war time, more than peace time that God moves.

2. Jehoshaphat responded rather than reacted

“Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed they came from every town in Judah to seek him.”

– 2 Chronicles 20:3-4 

When Jehoshaphat learned of the army coming to attack him he made a decision to seek the Lord instead of seek the gods of worry, anxiety, self-pity, hopelessness and despair. When we are faced with an attack or a difficult season we will learn a lot about the position of our hearts. If our hearts are trusting God our first response will be to seek the Lord and His deliverance. If we are doubting God, then we instead will react with worry, fear, anxiety, and stories in our minds of things that haven’t even happened yet. Jehoshaphat resolved, meaning he made a decision, to inquire of the Lord. He not only sought the Lord but initiated an action that demonstrated how desperate he was to see God move. I have found myself more and more desperate to see God move in my life. This season that God is walking me through has brought me to tears of desperation more times than I can count. I’m at a place in my life where I don’t just want to know God, I need to know God. I need to know His word because it has everything that I need. His promises are so certain and lasting – unlike this world.

3. Jehoshaphat praised God before the battle

Jehoshaphat does something so precious in verse 6. He praises God before he even enters the battle field. He praises God before God has even done anything! God hasn’t even said that He is going to save him. He declares victory through praising God. His praise tells God “Yes, I see death all around me but I choose to walk by what I know not by what I see.” And in that praise he says one of the most honest prayers someone can pray. “For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.” – 2 Chronicles 20:12. This verse has been my anthem this week. When I feel hopelessness, anxiety or uncertainty begin to creep into my mind I stop and remind myself that I have no power and I have no idea what I’m doing but my eyes will not be taken off of the one thing I know to be true – that God is good, God is good to me, and God is good at being God. (Shout out to Lysa TerKeurst for that beautiful concept.) We can’t let our minds wonder into defeat before the battle is over. Yes, life can look so dry. We walk through seasons that don’t feel like they are ever going to end. But they are going to end.

4. Jehoshaphat positioned himself

After Jehoshaphat seeks God, he gets that most incredible reply. “He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.  Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel.  You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’” – 2 Chronicles 20:15-17. God has given me such a sweet response like this during my season of hurt, confusion, and insecurity. He has declared victory over my life and reminded me that He fights my battles. It’s not my responsibility to fight a battle that I obviously can’t win. But it’s not my job to just hide in the corner while God takes care of it. The Lord commands Jehoshaphat to position himself; to stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give him. How can I see the deliverance the Lord will give if I’m too busy looking at the things that I lack? How can I stand firm if I’m complaining about the battle or comparing my life to other’s?Comparison is the thief of joy and it will take and take and take until you find yourself empty and insecure. Yes, God will fight my battles. But it is my job to position my heart to receive His victory. I can’t carry the flag of victim and victor at the same time. 

5. Praise God through the battle

“Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever. As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.” – 2 Chronicles 20:21-22 As we walk through hard seasons in life we have to declare that His love endures forever. It is not reliant on circumstance, emotion, or human power. God’s love is outside of all of the wavering things of this world. Praising God during the battle is the fuel that you need to make it to the end. There is something so beautiful about bringing a sacrifice of praise. When everything around you looks contrary to praiseworthy…. keep praising.

After God brought deliverance to the people of Judah, He also brought them “a great amount of equipment and clothing and also articles of value – more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it.” – 2 Chronicles 20:25 God doesn’t just bring us through a battle in vain. These battles bring greater value than we could ever imagine. Sometimes it is monetary gain like finances or material goods. But God also lavishes wisdom, confidence, maturity, growth, understanding, and closeness with Him that outweighs all of the equipment, clothing and articles of value you could ever have. I am learning, everyday, that my eyes have to stay fixed on Jesus or else I will wear the crown of defeat. My first response to something hard is typically comparison or complaining. But in this new season God has brought a fresh understanding and maturity that I don’t think I have ever experienced. And I am so grateful to know a God that fights my battles, even when I don’t deserve it.

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Citrus Slaw

Happy Taco Tuesday friends! I’m not sure how many people have a Wahoo’s in their town but it’s my favorite place to eat in Fresno. I am convinced that everything they make is INCREDIBLE. My favorite recipe of theirs is the citrus slaw that they lather on every taco, burrito, salad, etc. I haven’t really figured out how they make it yet….but it did inspire me to make my own.

So head home and make a batch of your favorite tacos and add this citrus slaw to the top!

Ingredients:

  • Cabbage Slaw mix
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1-2 green chili peppers, seeded and diced
  • 2-3 limes, juiced
  • 2-3 lemons, juiced
  • Salt and pepper
  •  2t chili powder

Directions

  1. Combine slaw mix, red onion, peppers, lemon juice, lime juice, salt and pepper and chili power.
  2. Enjoy!

This slaw is so quick and easy to make! It makes anything better. I make a big batch of this and use it throughout the week with different meals. My roommate even put it on her sandwich! Hope you enjoy!

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Mediterranean Bulgur Salad

In hopes of avoiding hospital food I’ve been the hunt for some tasty lunches during my clinical rotations. I am lucky enough to have a fridge in the office so it’s been a lot easier to bring healthy options for lunch. This week I made a similar salad to the Southwest Quinoa Salad but put a Mediterranean spin on it! I highly recommend adding a grain to your lunch salads to give you a little bit more protein and whole grain to your lunch time meals. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup bulgur
  • 2 c cold water
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 bunch parsley, course chop
  • 4-5 leaves of mint, course chop
  • 3 small cucumbers, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2:1 ratio red wine vinegar to olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

  1. Add bulgur in water in sauce pan. Bring to boil, cover and simmer until tender
  2. On the side cut up parsley, mint, cucumbers, and onion and add to gallon size zip lock bag. Add drained and rinsed beans to bag.
  3. Cool bulgur and add to bag.
  4. Combine the ingredients in the bag and place in fridge until ready to portion out for lunch.
  5. In a small 4oz mason jar add 4T vinegar to 2T oil. Add oregano, salt and pepper.
  6. Pour dressing over bulgur salad when ready to serve.

This was such a flavorful lunch and I looked forward to eating it everyday! These make ahead salads have been such a lifesaver for me. It can be easy to waste food when you are only cooking for one person. Making your lunch ahead for the week has saved me so much time and has made for really yummy afternoons.

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Farmer’s Market Recipe

This week at the San Luis Obispo Farmer’s Market I picked up a vegetable to feature in a recipe. As I walked Higuera street looking for veggie inspiration, I was reminded of my favorite family recipe that features Cauliflower! This incredibly nutrient dense vegetable has been hidden in my mom’s homemade Chinese food recipe since I was little! It is one of the warmest meals I have even enjoyed; perfect for winter! I used to beg my mom for homemade Chinese food…even in the summer. Sometimes I would get the look of a madman. Other times she would oblige and make it and make the whole family sweat through dinner.

There are so many incredible memories associated with this meal. I was unashamedly excited to share this meal with my new roomies here in SLO. One of them being 100% Chinese, I was a little intimidated since this is a very white-washed version of the real deal. They both loved the meal and I hope you do too!

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Dinner with my gals

Ingredients:

  • 3 chicken breasts or 3 pork chops, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower
  • 4 celery ribs (or sticks, whatever you call them), chopped
  • 1 small container of mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • water
  • 6 oz of reduced sodium soy sauce 
  • Chinese noodles
  • Vegetable or canola oil

Directions

  1. Cut up your meat into bite sized chunks. Add a small amount of oil to the bottom of a stock pot and turn stove to medium heat.
  2. Once oil is heated add your meat and brown.
  3. Once the outside of the meat is browned add your white onion.
  4. When the onion has softened and the meat is cooked add your veggies.
  5. Add water to the pot until it just barely covers your veggies.
  6. Add your soy sauce. If your water is not brown then continue to add until the water has completely turned a light shade of brown.
  7. Cover and bring to a boil.
  8. Let your vegetables cook in the boiling water.
  9. Once veggies are soft add your bean sprouts.
  10. While your water is boiling start frying your noodles
  11. Add enough oil to your pan to lightly cover the bottom of it. Heat stove to medium-high heat
  12. When oil is hot add your noodles.
  13. Cook noodles to desired crispiness.

Serve your Chinese food over the noodles. As seen in the above picture.

 

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Southwest Quinoa Salad

I started my clinical rotation this week in Santa Maria. It has been an incredible experience that has taught me more than I could have dreamed about an acute care setting. The not so glamorous part of clinicals is having to get up at 5:30am. I know, I know, some of you are reading this thinking “I’ve been getting up that early for 10 years!” Well this girl hasn’t and she is strugglin! With that in mind I needed to pack a lunch in the evenings that would be quick and allow me to just grab and go in the mornings. So I will be sharing my simple weekly lunches with y’all during this process. My first recipe is Southwest Quinoa Salad. I have been able to make this ahead and keep it in my refrigerator throughout the week to pack in my lunch bag. It has been a life saver!

img_0770.jpgIngredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup canned corn
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1/2 cup broccoli
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro, course chop
  • dressing of choice!

Directions:

  1. Bring water to boil in sauce pan.
  2. Pour in quinoa and cover for 15 minutes or until it has reach the texture that you want. (Make sure all liquid has evaporated).
  3. Place quinoa to the side to cool.
  4. In a gallon sized bag combine black beans, corn, onion, tomatoes, broccoli, and cilantro.
  5. Once quinoa has cooled, add it to the bag of ingredients. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Seal bag and mix ingredients.

It’s as simple as that! Just scoop your portion into your tupperware for the next day and put your salad dressing on the side. I HIGHLY recommend El Torito’s Caesar Cilantro Dressing. It is life changing!

RD2B: Letters of Rec

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When I first began applying for scholarships and programs I would cringe at the sight of “Letter of Recommendation required.” I would rack my brain and try to figure out who in the world would write me a letter! Letters of recommendation require so much more than just a simple request. They require a relationship to be built, responsibilities to be given, and character to be displayed. The best advise I can give for a stellar letter of recommendation is to start building connections NOW! I have written out a few tips and tricks for requesting letters and proper etiquette that goes along with doing so.

Focus On the Field:

When you are building relationships with professors and supervisors make sure that at least one of those people is a registered dietitian. I was not very good at getting volunteer positions with registered dietitians so it was a challenge for me to find a RD to write me a letter when required. If you are applying for an internship program many of them will recommend having at least one RD write you a letter of recommendation. I asked my DPD director, research professor, and advanced nutrition/soon-to-be research professor to write my letters. Only one of them was a RD, which I’m assuming didn’t look great on my application.  So try to build a strong professional relationship with at least one registered dietitian. Having connections to volunteer coordinators and non-RD professors is not a bad thing! Some of my best letters of recommendations have come from employers, volunteer coordinators, and professors that aren’t even in nutrition! This is just one thing I wish I would have done as an undergrad!

Get Over the Fear of Asking

When you build relationships with professors, employers and registered dietitians they are more than happy to write a letter of recommendation for you. In fact, they expect it! I remember thanking my adviser countless times and apologizing for asking for another letter of recommendation. She quickly stopped me and explained that it came with the territory. She told me how it was almost a form of payment. Professors count on their students who participate in different programs. They know and see the countless hours that students put in studying, preparing and attending events. A letter of recommendation is a form of compensation for the student putting in all that effort. However, NEVER feel entitled to a letter of recommendation but never fear asking for one.

Don’t Fear the NO!

Don’t be afraid of being denied by someone writing you a letter of recommendation. When I was applying for a scholarship it required a letter of recommendation from an employer. I went to my supervisor of TWO YEARS and she told me no. She said that she didn’t like writing letters for her employees and she would be happy to fill out a form but she did not want to write a letter. So I gave her the form to fill out and it was horrible! I ended up not even using it because she was not able to speak successfully on my behalf. I went to a previous employer instead who wrote me a TWO PAGE letter of recommendation. So don’t be afraid of someone rejecting your request, it doesn’t say anything about who you are, it might just be a personal preference.

Always Ask!

When I was applying for DICAS I learned that it was required to submit a letter of recommendation from your program director. My program director knew that she was going to be responsible for writing a dozen or more letters of recommendation that year. Although she was prepared to do so, the ask was still required. I still had to formally go into her office and ask her to write me a letter of recommendation. I try to ask for letters of recommendation in person. If this is not possible due to time or distance then asking over email is also acceptable. If I have never asked someone for a letter of recommendation though before I try to make sure it is in person.

After the Letter

So you’ve built your relationship, gotten over your fears and asked for the letter of recommendation….now what? Always be sure to informally and formally thank your letter writer. I will typically send an email after I have received the letter of recommendation or know that the writer has sent it in. Then I will get a thank you card and hand write a more personal thank you. Once I get into the program or receive the scholarship I will send another thank you email informing them that I got in/got the scholarship. I think this is such an important part of the recommendation process. I love having an excuse to remind my mentors and professors just how important they are in my academics and future career.

Letters of recommendation can be a stressful part of DICAS and scholarship applications. Preparing ahead of time can save you an awkward conversation with a professor that you only had in a general ed class. So start building relationships now! The value extends so much further than just an impressive letter of recommendation.

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