Monthly Archives: March 2012

March Foodie Penpals Reveal

The Lean Green Bean

From the second I found out about the Foodie Penpals program, I was super excited! Who wouldn’t love to receive a box full of goodies from a different food lover every month?

This was my first month doing the program, and I couldn’t wait until the end of March so that I could receive my package. I just got back from Spain, so my package arrived while I was away. Since I had literally no food in my apartment, it was perfect timing to have some treats for me to nosh on before going grocery shopping.

My foodie penpal for March was Megha Kalani. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts and sent me a box full of YUM! She wanted to include both healthy and not so healthy treats. I approve!

She did such a good job wrapping up everything. I couldn’t wait to open it up!

My eyes immediately were drawn to the Tate’s Bake Shop cookies. They are seriously my favorite cookies. How did she know?? 🙂 I’ve already enjoyed one or two of them, but who’s counting?

I was also excited to see the raspberry jam made by Sidehill Farm in Brattleboro, Vermont. I’m really on a jam kick right now, so I cannot wait to try. It’s such a cute little jar, too!

Bolthouse Farms has SUCH yummy smoothies, and I love blueberries. I’ve never tried this flavor, so this is the perfect opportunity.

I loved the packaging for the split pea soup by Fig Food Co. It’s BPA free! I’ve never tried this brand of soups, but it looks delish!

I almost forgot to mention that besides the food, Megha also generously included a beautiful bowl! How classy of her to include all of my treats in such a nice bowl.

Thanks Megha for an awesome March Foodie Penpals package! 🙂

Check out what I sent to Willow this month on her blog My Own Trail!

Interested in joining Foodie Penpals?  Here is some information describing what the program is all about:

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
-Foodie Penpals is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!

If you’re interested in participating for April, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

You must submit your information by April 4th as pairings will be emailed on April 5th!

Stay tuned for my next Foodie Penpals reveal post on April 30!



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Vamos a Espana!

It’s been in the works for nearly 5 months, but it’s finally here! I’m heading to Spain tomorrow evening. I survived tons of quizzes, tests, case studies, hospital shadowing, presentations, etc., and now I’m ready to enjoy my spring break!

I’ll be meeting my husband in Barcelona (who has been there for a few days), and we’ll stay there for a couple nights. Then, we’ll travel to Valencia (the birthplace of paella!), and finally, we’ll end up in Madrid. I’ve been to a few European countries, but never Spain! It’s always been on my list of places to visit.

I’m excited to eat tapas, snap photos of the amazing architecture (especially of Gaudi), explore some of the best museums, and just enjoy a nice vacation with my husband. I’m also looking forward to flying British Airways for the first time.

I’ll be back later on next week, so no updates until then. But I’ll be bringing my DSLR camera, so expect lots of photos upon my return!!

Hasta luego!


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What’s been going on?

I’ll be the first to admit it. I’ve been neglecting this blog the past couple of weeks, but I think once I explain what’s been (and is still) going on, you’d agree that school comes first and blogging comes last!

It’s been midterm week (which actually feels like it’s bled into two weeks). Once one test or quiz is over, it’s onto study for the next one. I’ve also had to complete two case studies in the past couple of weeks (both at least 15 pages each!) Taking 17 credits of all science based courses is anything but easy.

Besides actual schoolwork and studying, I also started shadowing at a hospital this month. It’s been SUCH an eye-opening and educational experience for me. The first week of March, I was in the kitchen of the hospital learning about food service. I helped on the tray line and saw all of the different diets that patients could receive. It’s really important to understand what these diets are since, as an RD, you’ll be helping to decide which diet is most appropriate. Last week, I was shadowing an RD on the long-term acute care floor. I cannot begin to tell you how much I learned! We calculated TPN and enteral feedings, calculated IBW, BMI, and energy needs, went over patients’ charts and determined what the medical issues were, and so much more! Needless to say, it’s a lot of math, but once you get enough practice, it’s not so hard. If you think that being a clinical dietitian is solely deciding what food people should eat, you are completely wrong. There is so much involved in their jobs, and I really respect the work they do for their patients. I’ve already learned so much at the hospital, and still have this week left!

My classmates and I looking like real RDs!

Last week, I was inducted into a national scientific honor society, Beta Kappa Chi. I honestly never thought I’d be saying those words, since I never used considered myself a “science” person, but I’m quite proud to been a member and look forward to meeting others in the scientific community.

Besides that, I’m just trying to get through this week. I finished my cardiovascular case study last night (it’s due Wednesday, so I’m early!), I have a test and presentation tomorrow, another test Tuesday, a presentation Wednesday, more school Thursday, and then guess what? SPRING BREAK!

I’ve never, ever gone anywhere for spring break before. But this year, I’m going to SPAIN! I leave Thursday night for an amazing adventure and absolutely cannot wait. In between studying, going to the hospital, and trying to have somewhat of a social life, I’ve also been trying to plan out what I’ll be doing in Spain. I have a rough idea, but still more planning needs to happen between now and Thursday night (how is that going to happen??) I also need to start packing at some point, but I’m sure I’ll wait until the very last minute.  Anyway, I’m super excited, and hope to blog one more time before my trip.

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National Nutrition Month®: What’s on Your Plate Day

Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month®? Sponsored annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formally the American Dietetic Association),  National Nutrition Month®  was actually first started as National Nutrition Week in 1973. By 1980, they turned it into a month-long observance!

The purpose of the month is to promote awareness of making informed food choices, as well as encouraging sound eating and physical activity habits. This years key message is Getting Your Plate in Shape. What a great idea to coincide with the recent introduction of MyPlate (no more food pyramid!)

How can you get your plate in shape? You should aim to make half of your plate fruits and veggies, make at least half of your grains whole, switch to fat-free or low-fat milk, vary your protein choices (protein doesn’t mean JUST meat!), cut back on sodium, and be physically active (10 minutes a day is a great place to start!)

Check out tons of nutrition education resources here courtesy of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Now that you know all about National Nutrition Month®, you should know that today is actually What’s on Your Plate Day! It’s a day to help spread the word about MyPlate, SuperTracker, and portion control. Did you know that SuperTracker can actually give you a personalized nutrition and physical activity plan? Best of all, it’s free! Go ahead. Create your own profile today!

Has MyPlate changed the way you build a meal? Tweet about it! Use the hashtag #MyPlateYourPlate today to help spread the word. You can also tweet all month long about National Nutrition Month® by using the hashtag #NNM.

Happy National Nutrition Month®!

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My Trip to Smucker Farms

When I first heard about Smucker Farms of Lancaster Co. opening in DC, I thought, “How freakin cool!” Growing up in Baltimore, I used to frequently go up to Lancaster County, PA with my family and we’d buy lots of local produce and goodies from Amish and Mennonite Farmers. Smucker Farms was conceived by Eric Smucker as a way to bring his Lancaster heritage to us urban-dwellers in DC.

Although Smucker Farms has been open since December, and I literally live 7 minutes away, I still hadn’t paid a visit. However, I found the perfect excuse to shop! I’ll be writing about this later on in the month, but I joined a group called Foodie Penpals where we are matched once a month with a fellow foodie, and we send up to $15 worth of goodies to our new friend. I could have gone to Whole Foods or Trader Joes, but I figured I would find some really awesome, local food at Smucker Farms (and I was right!)

I’m not going to talk about anything I purchased for my foodie penpal because that’s still a surprise, but I wanted to share some of the great products they offer that I’ll definitely be returning for. When I entered, I noticed it was such a cute shop with a lot more products than I had expected!

I LOVED these jars that have the ingredients for making your own cookies. What a great gift idea!

I also really thought their selection of flours and grains was great. I recently bought some whole-wheat pastry flour from Whole Foods, but next time I need some more, I’m definitely going to try Daisy.

I was also excited to see Soupergirl products, which I’ve also been meaning to try! I decided to buy the whole-wheat peanut noodle salad, and it’s delicious! I’ll need to try out some of her soups next time.

They also have a wonderful selection of meats and dairy, including Trickling Springs Creamery, which I love and decided to buy one of their ice creams. 🙂 Smucker Farms also has lots of sweet treats and even some body products and candles for sale.

They even had a cute kids section with toys! What kid wouldn’t love?

What a nice trip to Smucker Farms! It totally lived up to my expectations and cannot wait to return. I had such a fun time selecting goodies for my foodie penpal (it was so hard to stop shopping, but I had to keep to $15!)

After shopping, I built up an appetite and remembered that Fast Gourmet was right around the corner. I’d been a few times with my husband, but it had been awhile since my last meal there. Fast Gourmet is located in a gas station. No joke.

But they have delicious food! What gas station do you know that offers cuban sandwiches, empanadas, lamp wraps, and lemongrass coleslaw? Yeah, I thought so.

All-in-all, I’d say I had a fun little afternoon full of yummy food finds!


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Shadowing RDs at the Speciality Hospital of Washington

This month, I’ll be spending every Tuesday and Thursday at The Specialty Hospital of Washington at Hadley (SHW) learning all about being a clinical dietitian as well as food and nutrition services. As part of my Therapeutic Nutrition class, we are getting hands-on, practical experience as we shadow RDs in the clinical setting. I hope to update at least once a week about my time at the hospital!

Last Thursday, we had our orientation and learned all about the hospital. SHW is a Long Term Acute Care Specialty Hospital (LTAC). This means that the average stay for a patient is around 25 days, as opposed to 4-5 day average in a hospital. As a result, you really get to know your patients and their families. SHW is also a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF), commonly known as a nursing home.

Since we are only there for the month of March, they are trying to expose us to as much as possible. I start my first rotation in Nutrition Services on Tuesday, where I’ll learn all about the food service aspect to the hospital. After that, I’ll rotate with an RD on the LTAC floor, and then rotate to the SNF. Have you lost track of the acronyms, yet? 🙂

For most people who do the dietetic internship, I think they have the most trepidation with the clinical rotation. I’m not even in an internship yet, and I’m intimidated! However, I think this month long experience will be a real eye-opener and will hopefully ease any fears I have about clinical dietetics. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a critical aspect that every future dietitian must have experience with.

Towards the end of our orientation on Thursday, they stressed the importance of hand hygiene. I never really thought about it before, but you have no idea how critical it is to not only wash your hands, but wash them the right way when working in a clinical setting. They showed us this great video about hand washing, and we promised to them that we’d learn the dance moves by the end of the month. (Watch the video to know what I’m taking about–it’s awesome!)

I’ll be sure to let you know how my first week goes!

Tell me about any clinical experience you’ve had, before, during, or after your internship!

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