When the yard gives you blueberries, make blueberry syrup!

My husband’s mother has a blueberry bush- and it produces more blueberries than one person may know what to do with it. Luckily, she knows how to make jams and other fun things. However, there are times when we visit and are sent home with a very large tub of blueberries which we put in the freezer until we can find a use for them.

Alas, I found that not only can I use them to make blueberry pancakes (typical mix, just add some blueberries in) but I can now use a LOT to make the syrup as well.

What you’ll need

2 Cups blueberries (any type, just make sure you get rid of the stems and wash them properly before using)

1/3rd Cup pure maple syrup (not the fake stuff if you want to make sure it is gluten free)

1 Small saucepan

What you’ll do

  1. Put the small saucepan on the stove over low to medium heat
  2. Put in the blueberries (especially if frozen) and let them get warm. Stir them around and gently squeeze their juices out.
  3. Once you feel you have most of the yummy juice squeezed out, add the maple syrup.

Now you have a mushy blueberry syrup. Please see below for the next steps I take:

Optional

  1. Use a strainer to remove the blueberries so you just have a syrup left. Pour that over your pancakes.
  2. If you haven’t made the pancakes yet, you can take the blueberries and put them into your batter. Double blueberry goodness!

Let me know what you think!

Julie Conant Wallace

UG Dietetics Student

Breakfast Burritos

I don’t know about you but for me, breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day. When I wake up, I’m starving- which makes sense since the word itself, breakfast, implies a break from fasting from the last meal (or late night snack for some of us). Breakfast or brunch, if you are enjoying the luxury of sleeping in, is a meal that can help propel you through the rest of the day so it’s important for this meal to be nutritious! Some, myself included, believe that breakfast should be the larger meal of the day instead of dinner- but I believe it based on personal preference.

And so, I am sharing a very simple breakfast burrito recipe that is probably very common and extremely easy to adapt to your personal taste.

Breakfast Burrito (Vegetarian)

This version is aimed to be a good source of protein, a source of healthy fats, and low in sugar. Remember to check food labels when grocery shopping if you want to watch the calories, etc. for each ingredient item below:

What you’ll need: 4 servings

  • 4 whole eggs (personal preference: organic, cage-free vegetarian with omega-3 or from a local farm)
  • 4 egg whites
  • 4 tortillas (gluten-free options are available such as rice or corn tortillas; personal preference is a flavored wrap tortilla such as habañero lime from Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 Tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 oz. can of green chilies
  • 1/8 avocado slice for each burrito or 1 oz avocado, mushed, or guacamole
  • 1/2 Cup of shredded cheeses such as Cheddar, Monterey jack, etc.
  • 1/4 onion

Other options:

  • Plain, non-fat, yogurt (personal preference: greek yogurt) in place of sour cream
  • 1 Cup of fajita-style veggies: green and red peppers, serrano or poblano peppers, olives, mushrooms, spinach, or any vegetable you enjoy
  • Salsa to taste (tomatillo salsa also known as salsa verde, corn salsa, or even a mango peach salsa can add flavor to this dish)
  • Seasonings or herbs such as Adobo seasoning, cumin, pepper, or salt to taste.
  • 3 ounces of lean meat or lean sausage (just make sure to cook it through properly first!)

How to make:

  • With low to medium heat, warm up a medium sized skillet and spray with canola oil spray. If you do not have canola oil spray, just use the canola oil or 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter (personal preference is to use Smart Butter brand)
  • Chop or dice up vegetables to desired consistency and place in medium skillet on low to medium heat until warm- about 5 – 10 minutes for fresh vegetables.
  • In a bowl, you will combine the eggs (whole and whites), green chiles, onion, cilantro, any seasonings you would like such as Adobo seasoning and whisk.
  • Add the egg mixture to the vegetables, stirring until the eggs are cooked through like scrambled eggs.
  • While the eggs are cooking, heat up your tortillas as desired: some people like to put them on a place, put damp paper towels in between, and heat them in the microwave. Another option is to place them in the oven and bake them. You can also warm them up on a skillet.

That was simple! Enjoy and let me know how it turns out for you!

Julie Wallace

Nutrition/Dietetics Student

I claim no credit in this recipe- it’s just healthy ingredients thrown together by trial and error as all of my meals are if made at home. = )

Do you need a Probiotic?

By writing a short paper for my Microbiology class on how nutrition and microbiology are correlated, I developed an interesting post! Read on for information about Probiotics!

Research is skewed on whether or not taking probiotics are actually beneficial. Research does however indicate that gut microflora is affected by many medications such as antibiotics, birth control pills, and corticosteroids. Gut microflora?!?! What is that? The gut contains microorganisms (bacteria) that aid in many biochemical functions in the body such as digestion, training the immune system and defending the body against some diseases/pathogens. Basically, you need the “good” bacteria to ward off the growth of “bad” bacteria!

The main reason supplementation of probitoics has not been thoroughly proven is because there are no set guidelines on how to measure the benefits of probiotics or how much is safe to take per day. Probiotics are also widely abundant in yogurt with “live and active cultures.” The main strains are Lactobacillus (acidophilus) and Saccoharmyces bouldardii (bifidobacteria). These are the strains that have been shown to help avoid infections, reduce yeast overgrowth in the gut, aid in digestion, and enhance immunity.

If you have ever taken medications such as antibiotics, birth control pills, or corticosteroids, especially long term, chances are your gut microflora may be unbalanced. If you are experiencing any type of digestive discomfort, you should speak with your doctor about trying probiotics first to see if they are safe for you.

IBS sufferers may greatly benefit from probiotics! It is all about finding what is safe and what works for you!

  1. Ezendam, J, & Loveren, H. (2006). Probiotics: immunomodulation and evaulation of safety and efficacy. Nutrition Reviews, 64(1), 1-14.
  2. Edwards, C. (2003). Interactions between nutrition and the intestinal microflora. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 52(1), 375-382.
  3. Turner, N. (2005). Probiotics or prebiotics. Alive: Canadian Journal of Health & Nutrition, (277), 50-51.

Carrot Cake…Carrot Cake Salad that is!

I love salad. All kinds! But not ones smothered in mayonnaise!

I especially love when a salad that taste like Carrot Cake. The traditional Carrot Salad is a simple mix of shredded carrots and raisins smothered in mayonnaise. That is taking something healthy and putting it in something not so healthy. The typical American Diet.

So what if you replaced the mayonnaise with yogurt and added a few more ingredients to make it tastes like Carrot Cake?

Now you are talking! This carrot salad is a wonderful concoction consisting of carrots, raisins, pineapple, walnuts, coconut, yogurt, and spices! It is great as a side dish or my favorite is to incorporate it into overnight oats (muesli) for breakfast! It is super healthy providing 100 hundred calories per serving, 4 grams of protein, about 3 grams of fiber, and 100% of your Vitamin A requirement for the day, which is necessary for cell growth, healthy vision, healthy hair, and healthy skin! And yes, it can make just about anyone like salad :)

Carrot Cake Salad

2 ½ cups of finely shredded carrots

1 6 oz plain Greek yogurt

1 ½  TBS of honey or maple syrup

¾ tsp of ground cinnamon

¼ tsp of ground nutmeg

1/3 cup of chopped and toasted walnuts, pecans, or almonds

1/3 cup crushed pineapple with juice

1/3 cup of raisins

¼ cup shredded coconut (optional)

Combine yogurt with spices and honey. Mix in all other ingredients. Refrigerate for at least 5 hours.

Now a salad you can enjoy that is delicious + healthy!

If you want to try it in overnight oats, soak 1/3 cup of raw certified gluten free oats in a 1/3 cup milk overnight. The next morning add 1/3 cup of yogurt, cinnamon, 1 tsp maple syrup, sprinkle of gluten free granola (for crunch), carrot cake salad and any other toppings you can think of! This is my all time FAVORITE breakfast!!!

Date Night

So my last weekend in South Georgia before I had to start back to school, my hubby and I had to go out on an adventure. We had been at home all weekend, him studying for a certification exam (something Cisco, he is a networking guy) and I had been packing and cleaning all weekend. I’m at Life University four days a week so I stay with family when I’m in school and then in our home in middle GA, 3 days a week. When I first started Life U, Will worked from home and lived with me as well. He had to move back to our home town over the summer because of work which I don’t mind because now I get to go and see my family more often!

Back to our adventure, Will had a Bass Pro gift card lying around from his birthday. He didn’t have quite enough for the boots he wanted so I made a deal with him that if he took me out to dinner I would pay the little extra for the boots! Hands shaken! So to Bass Pro and to my favorite BONEFISH GRILL we go!

He is like me in the mall at Bass Pro!

And guess where I had a free drink to?

You didn’t even have to guess did you? Tall nonfat iced 1-Pump Pumpkin Spice Latte! Wish I would have gotten a hot drink because it was freezing at Bass Pro!

As far as Gluten Free options go, Bonefish is amazing! They have a selection of wood fired grilled seafood such as: shrimp, scallops, salmon, white sea bass, grouper, lobster, etc with a choice of four different sauces: mango salsa, chimichurri, lemon butter, and pan Asian (not gluten free). They also have a separate gluten free menu so be sure to ask for it if you need it. As far as desserts go: gluten free heaven! A flourless brownie with raspberry sauce, macadamias, and ice cream or cream brulee!

I ordered the appetizer of saucy shrimp: lime tomato garlic sauce, Kalmata olives , and Feta cheese as my meal along with an order of steamed veggies. Delicious! Will got their ever famous Bang Bang Shrimp: fried and tossed in a creamy, spicy sauce along with a Caesar salad. Appetizers are plenty enough food for us without having to order a full meal and helps save the $$$. We didn’t even finish what we had.

We skipped dessert tonight in favor of stopping for….ICE CREAM!

Living in the country now, we don’t get out much anymore because trips to nice stores and restaurants are 30 + miles. T’was a great date night!

Nutrition for Healthy Hair

This is an excerpt from an article I did about a year ago for Vital Source, Life University’s on campus newspaper. I thought a lot of you may enjoy!

Nourishing the hair with a healthy diet:

  1. Protein: The hair is made of a particular type of protein known as keratin. Consuming adequate protein is necessary for growth and strength. The best high protein sources include but are not limited to eggs, fish, poultry, lean cuts of beef, and low fat dairy.
  2. Biotin: The body needs biotin to for a healthy scalp and growth. Deficiencies in Biotin are actually rare so contrary to popular belief supplementation is not necessary. Great sources include eggs, peanut butter, almonds, walnuts, wild salmon, and avocado.
  3. Other B Vitamins: These are all important for red blood cell production which carries oxygen to the scalp promoting hair growth. Sources include fortified cereals, garbanzo beans, wild salmon, tuna, eggs, cheese, and oatmeal.
  4. Vitamin C: Vitamin C is necessary for the absorption of iron which also delivers oxygen with red blood cells to hair follicles for proper growth. Vitamin C is abundant in bell peppers, kiwis, strawberries, oranges, and broccoli.
  5. Beta carotene: Beta Carotene is converted to Vitamin A in the body, which is necessary for all the stages of cellular life giving the hair body and shine. Sources include sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, apricots, and red bell peppers.  
  6.  Zinc: This mineral gives stability to the oil glands of the scalp allowing for proper growth and prevents dry scalp which can lead to dandruff. Great sources of this mineral include crab, pork tenderloin, peanut butter, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, and pine nuts.
  7. Omega 3 fatty acids: Omega 3 is excellent for adding moisture to the hair follicles allowing the hair to grow with that beautiful luster! Sources include salmon, walnuts, ground flaxseed, mackerel, and sardines.

 

Shampoo Basics

  1. Always choose shampoos free of harsh chemicals such as sulfates. Sulfates have a poignant drying effect that can lead to breakage, lack of shine and even hair loss! Sulfate free brands include Burt’s Bees, Alba, Organix, and L’Oreal Ever pure.
  2. Do not wash your hair everyday. I know this is very hard for many people who have naturally oily hair or who get sweaty working out. Washing the hair every day leads to dry, dull, lifeless hair because it strips the hair of its natural oils. The follicles do not have enough time in twenty fours hours to secrete proper amounts of oil for healthy hair growth. Experiment with up dos that can be sporty or even elegant.
  3. A great way to avoid washing your hair is using a dry shampoo. These can be purchased or home made, which is a plus because it is cheap and natural! Mix equal amounts of baking soda and cornstarch. Dip a comb in, tap, and brush around roots or dry hair to stop that “greasy” look. Repeat as necessary. Use a dryer to blow away excess powder. Style as usual.

 

Conditioning Treatments

  1. Treating the hair to a nice conditioning treatment once a week is essential for adding much needed moisture for shine and softness. Try using an all natural deep conditioner such as Burt’s Bees. Shampoo hair as usual and apply conditioner. Allow to sit at least ten to twenty minutes. Depending on how dry your hair may be, you can leave it on even longer! If you have oily hair, focus on applying the conditioner to the ends.
  2. For a nice homemade conditioning treatment apply a mashed avocado to clean wet hair and follow directions above. Another great home made conditioner is applying a mashed banana mixed with plain yogurt to clean wet hair. Allow to sit as above. 

 

Boosting Shine

  1. Always use only slightly warm water on hair because the hotter the water is, the more it can dry out your hair by removing moisture. A quick shine booster is to simply rinse hair with cold water after you have conditioned it.
  2. Tea treatments are excellent for shine. Use cooled brewed tea the matches your hair color such as chamomile tea for blonde, rooibos tea for red hair, and black tea for brunettes. Apply to wet hair, allow to soak for approximately ten minutes, shampoo out, and condition.
  3. For a home made hot oil shine treatment apply warmed (but not HOT) olive oil, avocado oil, or any other carrier oil to wet hair. Allow to sit for about two minutes, shampoo out and condition.

 

Hopefully these tips will get you well own your way to having not only beautiful but healthy hair as well. You do not have to spend large amounts of money on hair products to attain the hair you want. Eating a healthy diet and following healthy practices with shampooing and conditioning can greatly improve those locks!

1) Bauer, J. (2007). Food cures. New York: Rodale Inc..

I don’t like Gyms….

I like to exercise but I have never been nor will ever be a gym person. I just can’t do it. Granted I will attend fitness classes like Zumba, pilates, and yoga but only with a friend: Thanks for always accompanying me Julie!

I don’t like to enter public places where people might be watching me fall off the treadmill. I’m basically illiterate when it comes to operating gym equipment. I’ll just stick to the dumbbells, thank you. Maybe it is a bit of social anxiety but I just feel like I’m going to do something wrong….

Is this an excuse not to work out? Of course….NOT! So what do I do? Exercise DVD’s! Jillian Michaels and my all time favorite Denise Austin! I also like to walk/jog when the weather is nice and I can talk my husband into going with me: Usually not. Hiking is always great too when we are vacationing in the mountains, such as my favorite 8 mile round trip at the Ramsay Cascades in Gatlinburg, TN. Even though it started pouring rain, thundering, and lightning when we reached the waterfall, 3.5 hours from any type of shelter! We had to hang under a tree (smart right?) and then run for it.

Safely returned:

So back to the DVDs, I have quite a collection and continue to buy new ones to stop myself from getting bored. I need direction you know. Like my own personal trainer on TV telling me exactly what to do. Perfect. Even though I know I’m missing out on staring at the wall for 30 minutes on a treadmill. Yeah, really missing out.

My favorites are Jillian’s Black Pack, 30 Day Shred, banish fat boost metabolism, no more trouble zones, and her new YOGA meltdown! That’s right Jillian did a yoga DVD and quite a good one if you ask me. All of her DVD’s make me feellike I have done a good workout and usually sore the next day. Speaking of, has anyone tried her new SHRED IT WITH WEIGHTS?

Equipment….well I don’t need much….

Area (with some rearranging of course- rugs under the couch and coffee table on the couch)

I like to work-out about 4 to 5 times per week for approximately 30 minutes first thing in the morning while also trying to make some of the rest of my day active: cleaning, walking to classes (lots of stairs), etc. Since Jillian’s workouts sometimes leave me sore, I alternate with Denise’s DVDs. My favorites are her Boot Camps, personal training system, cardio blast, and power zone. Her workouts are all about 20 to 30 minutes and are surely enough to get your heart rate up. She has multiple cardio based and strength based workouts as well. Think about how long she has been a fitness instructor? She knows her stuff!

What I want everyone to know is that everyone can have fun working out. You don’t have to go to a gym, do a DVD, or run a marathon if that is not your style. Just find what you like to do and do it! Make exercise a priority along with eating healthy and you are sure to be happier! I always feel at optimal functioning level if such a thing does exist when I get a work out in first thing in the morning a few days a week. Nothing can happen later in the day to keep me from working out and I have so much more energy!

So find something you like and quite simply just stick to it!

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