FNCE 2016 and Cauliflower & Chicken Chowder Soup


It’s FNCE weekend!

Oh I know – chances are if you’re not a dietitian you have no idea what I’m talking about. Right. Okay.

Well – FNCE, short for Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo, is the annual meeting of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It’s where all us nutrition experts go to attend various seminars and trainings to learn about up-to-date nutrition science information. We also get to learn about the latest in food technology and food trends. Sounds like fun, right? Well it does to this nutrition nerd. Too bad I wasn’t able to attend this year.  But that’s okay! There’s always next year. Besides with the magic of social media, it’s like I am right there attending the conference anyway. 

So why am I bringing this up you ask? I mean, I know you probably don’t care that it’s FNCE weekend and I get that – BUT – this year FNCE is being held in Boston. AND you know what Boston got me thinking about? Yup. Chowder. Or should I say – chowda.

What do you think of when you hear chowder? Probably clam, right? Understandable. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as ” a soup or stew of seafood made with milk or tomato with vegetables”. But you know what it also says? “A soup resembling chowder”. Hmmm. Okay – so that’s what I have for you today – “a soup resembling chowder”. 

But before I get to that, this got me thinking, what’s the difference between soup and chowder anyway? Well, soup typically has a thinner broth while chowder is thick and chunky. Um, okay. So wouldn’t that make “Manhattan Clam Chowder” “Manhattan Clam Soup”? Oh I don’t know. All I know is that cooler temperatures are beginning to set in and it was time to make some soup. Chowder. Soup. Oh whatever.

Anyway, I had a head a cauliflower and a sweet potato hanging around that were in danger of crossing over to the other side. You know –  I needed to use them asap! So I thought, why the heck not, let’s turn this into chowder soup!

In this recipe, the cauliflower serves as the “creamy” base and the roasting adds a nuttiness that steaming just doesn’t do. Throw in  that sweet potato with some diced up rotisserie chicken and there’s the beginning of a “soup resembling chowder”,  Cauliflower & Chicken Chowder Soup.

Oh and PS – this is a great way to sneak in extra servings of vegetables! Woohoo! 🙂 

What’s your take on chowder?




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Go Fish! October is National Seafood Month

Need a reason to eat more fish?

How about National Seafood Month? Who would have thought right?  At a time where we’re surrounded by everything pumpkin, it’s actually National Seafood Month!

It’s purpose? To highlight smart seafood choices, sustainable fisheries and the health benefits of including fish as part of a healthy eating plan. Ok, I’m ready to celebrate!

But wait.  What is sustainable seafood anyway? It’s when it’s caught or farmed in ways that sustains the use of the fishery and marine ecosystem for future generations. Choosing to consume sustainable seafood positively impacts the health of the oceans and the future of our ecosystem. In other words, what we choose matters!

So how the heck do we know if the seafood we choose is sustainable? There’s a really easy web-based tool designed  to help you make an informed decisions. It provides the most up-to-date info on seafood harvested or farmed. Just type in the name of the fish and viola all the info you need is right there. Or quick rule of thumb – think small.  Smaller fish (i.e. sardines, scallop, clams)  require fewer resources and tend to have much lower mercury levels. Mercury is a dangerous toxin that can affect brain function and the nervous system. It’s especially important for pregnant women to watch mercury intake. Read all about mercury content in  fish here

Okay, enough of that – on to the best part – the health benefits! Fish is a high quality protein that provides amino acids and a variety of vitamins and minerals. You know all that good stuff – vitamin A and D, magnesium, selenium, phosphorus and let’s not forget omega-3 fatty acids. Which means… eating fish can help your eyesight, teeth, skin, bones, immune function and metabolism. Oh yeah, it may also help decrease inflammation and your risk of heart disease. Phew – that’s a mouthful. 

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends the consumption of 8 oz. per week of a variety of seafood.  Did you know seafood includes both shellfish and fish? Yup. And did you know the most popular seafood in the the U.S. include shrimp, tuna and salmon. Not surprised? Me neither. Especially when salmon is slated as a “superfood” by some. And hey, if that means you’re more likely to eat it, well then call it a superfood. 


Confession time. I have a love-hate relationship with salmon. And by that I mean, there literally is only one type of salmon I like – Coho. Fortunately for me it’s a sustainable fish and less expensive than other varieties. So win-win for me. Salmon can also be tricky – it’s easy to overcook and then it just tastes – well – bad. Which is why I like Broiled Salmon with Arugula Dijon Cream Sauce. It’s pretty much a no fuss dish and your chances of overcooking are slim.  Oh and if you’re not a fan of salmon, I encourage you to try Coho, it’s much milder in flavor than other varieties. 

Anyway, however way you choose to celebrate National Seafood Month whether it be with Miso-Glazed Cod, One Pot Clams and Chorizo or Broiled Salmon with Arugula Dijon Cream Sauce, choose a sustainable fish and know you’ll be doing good things not only for your health but for the health of the ecosystem too!

What’s your favorite type of seafood?



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Lunch: Pack it or Buy it?

Let’s talk lunch.

Do you pack it or buy it? Maybe a little bit of both? Me? I’m a lunch packer. Always have been. Probably always will be. Sure there’s those one-off occasions when I may not have my lunch, but hey life happens. 

So let me ask you, if you buy lunch everyday – why? 

I know we all get busy. And now that it’s back to school, you may be busy keeping up with your kid’s activities. Or just busy at work. Or maybe you’re not a planner and don’t want to bother with what to bring for lunch. I know –  you’ll worry about it when the time comes right?!

Okay, I get it. But did you know bringing your lunch to work is actually good for you? Not to mention it’ll save you a ton of money. Really. Just hear me out. 

Did you know a recent study in the Journal of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that 92% of chain and non-chain restaurants exceeded recommended calorie requirements for one meal. One meal. And you know what else?  According to a Tuft’s University study, the so-called “healthier” choices aren’t that much better because they’re too high in sodium and fat. Sad face. 

Well, guess what? If you bring your lunch to work, you have the control. Yup. You control the type of foods, the variety of foods and portion sizes. And you know what? You may be more satisfied too because it’s catered to your taste – you’re not settling for whatever’s on the menu that day. Yes?

Okay, so I don’t really think I’ve converted you to eating out every day to packing your lunch every day. That’s totally unrealistic. How about try 1-2 times a week? Or if you already pack your lunch 1-2 times a week, increase it a day or two. Think you don’t have time? You could take some time on the weekend and spend an hour to two prepping your meals for the week. This works for many people. But you know what? That may be a bit overwhelming and may not work for you. Maybe try making your lunch when you make dinner the night before. Or maybe just plan for leftovers. Do what works for you – there’s no right or wrong answer!

Lunch: Mediterranean Chickpea Spread

I usually do a combination of both. Sometimes it’s leftovers (super easy!). But now that the weather’s getting cooler, I’m more likely to spend a little time on the weekend to prep for the week. It’s easy to whip a big batch of Coconut Curry Pumpkin Soup or White Bean, Kale and Sausage Soup. I also like to make  this Mediterranean Chickpea Spread. It’s easy to make, makes a great sandwich and super full of fiber goodness!

What do you like to bring for lunch?




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