How is it August already?! I feel like the summer has just flown by. We have been getting rain almost every day in Colorado, which has been amazing. It has kept the temperatures cool and the grass green. I don’t ever remember the grass/fields being this green all the way to August. As the summer has flown by, so has my first dietetic internship rotation. I have completed over 260 hours of the 400 food service management hours I have to do. I have improved the nutrition education programs for the dining halls, written a food allergy policy, attended chef interviews, made over 40 pounds of pasta (at one time!), learned how to ice a cake and make focaccia bread, made some gluten-free baked goods in the special gluten-free bakery, and more! I have already gotten so many great experiences, I cannot wait to see what else I end up doing in the 1,000 hours I have remaining. Since my internship is keeping me busy and somewhat out of the kitchen (I am able to eat at the dining halls for lunch), I haven’t been experimenting with new recipes as much. Instead, I have been obsessing about a few other things…

Running. In less than 5 weeks I am doing my third half marathon (second trail half marathon). I am doing the Black Squirrel Half Marathon in Lory State Park just outside of Fort Collins. With 13.1 miles of singletrack and close to 2,000 feet of elevation gain, I have been doing most of my training on trail with some hills. This weekend I ran 10 miles with a good friend, and next weekend I am easing up before I ramp up to 12 miles before the race. I am loosely following this training plan.


Baking bread at home. Since bringing gluten back into my diet a little under a year ago I have been thoroughly enjoying all of the things that were forbidden while I was following a gluten-free diet. I’m talking beer, bread, tortellini, and tortillas galore! Rather than wasting my gluten on store bought bread, I have been experimenting with making bread at home. And when a friend gave me a liquid yeast starter he has been keeping alive since the 80’s that really fed the fire. So far I have made a few soft breads (similar to a sweet bread), yeasted banana bread, yeasted waffles, pizza crust, King Arthur’s No-Knead Crusty White Bread, and NY Times’ No-Knead Bread. All of them need some work, but I hope to be a self-taught crusty artisan bread master sooner or later.


Chickens. After I successfully defending my Master’s thesis in May, the husband gifted me with four cute little chickens. It has been such an adventure learning how to care for them (which isn’t that hard) and watching them grow. We have an Ameraucauna (named Goose), a Red Star (Laverne), a Barred Rock (Maverick), and we used to have a Wellsummer (Shirley), but that one turned out to be a rooster. Unfortunately, roosters are not allowed within Fort Collins city limits, so we had to give her (him) up, but we think he found a good home where he can make over 30 hens real happy. As the three hens have grown, and still have more growing to do, we began to feel a little uncomfortable keeping them in the small coop we originally got for them. The husband did some research, found The Garden Coop, bought some plans, and spent a few weekends building this amazing new coop for them in our back yard. Now that we have more space we hope to get some more hens. I’m crossing my fingers for a Silkie.


Slow Cooker Whole Oat Groat Porridge. With the warm summer temperatures I struggle with making stovetop oatmeal or mixed grain porridge for breakfast even though it was I crave every…single…day. Instead, I have been making this Slow Cooker Whole Oat Groat Porridge. I enjoy it warm on the first day and cold as leftovers (mixed in yogurt or kefir). It would be a great breakfast for those that aren’t morning people or don’t have a lot of time to make a hot breakfast. Just mix it up in the slow cooker the night before and wake up to a delicious ready-to-eat breakfast.


Whole Oat Groat Porridge

Serves 4 | Recipe by Lauren Larson | http://newestobsession.com

Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 8 hours

Cooking spray

¾ cup whole oat groats

¼ cup whole rye berries (or more oat groats)

¼ teaspoon sea salt

4 cups unsweetened almond milk

¼ cups chopped pitted dates (or other dried fruit)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

1 whole cinnamon stick (optional)

4-6 whole cardamom pods (optional)

2-3 star anise seeds or pieces (optional)

Toppings (e.g. milk, kefir, yogurt, nut butter, and/or fresh fruit)

  1. The night before, spray the inside of a slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Add oat groats and rye berries (or more oat groats).
  3. Sprinkle with sea salt and pour in almond milk.
  4. Sprinkle in pitted dates (or other dried fruit).
  5. Add remaining ingredients (if using) and give it a quick stir.
  6. Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours.
  7. In the morning, serve topped with warmed or cool milk, kefir, yogurt, nut butter, and/or fresh fruit.

Instead of reheating leftovers try mixing them with about ½ cup of yogurt for a cooling summer breakfast.


Guess what I’m having for breakfast?!

Approximately 17% of American children and adolescents aged 2-19 years old are obese (1). Teaching today’s kids to eat right is essential for the health and wellbeing of future generations to come. To emphasize the importance of healthy eating and active lifestyles for children and families, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics have launched the first ever Kids Eat Right Month for the month of August. Shopping smart, cooking healthy, and eating right are all cornerstones for eating healthy.

  • Shopping smart. Getting kids involved in selecting the foods that appear at the table or in their lunch box will increase the likelihood that they will eat it. And, no, this does not mean getting them involved in choosing packaged foods and sweetened beverages—I am willing to guess they have no problem eating these types of items. Instead, take them to the produce section and allow them to choose one or a few items of their liking. If this doesn’t work out, don’t get discouraged and keep trying, kids may need over a dozen exposures to a new food to try it and decide whether or not they like it.
  • Cooking healthy. As with getting the kids involved in selecting foods in the grocery stores, getting kids involved with cooking connects them with the meal and increases the likelihood they will eat it or at least try it. Allow them to tear the lettuce for the salad, snap off the heads of broccoli, measure out and add the spices, and even stir. Make it fun!
  • Eating right. After selecting healthy foods at the grocery store and cooking a healthy meal out of them, take the time to sit down at the table as a family to eat together. Take the time as an opportunity to talk to each other about one’s day. It can be breakfast, lunch, or dinner, but try to aim to sit down for at least one meal a day together—with no TV or other distractions. Kids with families who sit down and eat meals together are less likely to be overweight or obese, eat healthier foods, do better in school, have improved psychological well-being, and reduced risk for eating disorders, substance abuse, and violence (2, 3). Aim for three or more meals together as a family each week!

The best way to develop healthy eating habits in your kids is to serve as a role model. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables, choose whole grains, low fat dairy and meat products, and drink water instead of sugary drinks. And, finally, it is all about balance – calories in and calories out. Get active with your kids on a regular basis. Exercise also helps build strong muscles and bones, decrease risk of developing type 2 diabetes, have a better outlook on life, potentially lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, improves sleep, and increases the ability to focus in school (4).

For those of you who know me personally or have been reading this blog for a while, you know that I used to volunteer with the Growe Foundation in Boulder, CO. Their mission is to educate children about the benefits of healthy eating and caring for the environment.


While volunteering with Growe I helped teach a few nutrition lessons for myself. Read more about each one by clicking the links.





Learn more about Kids Eat Right here: http://www.kidseatright.org/. Find articles, recipes, tips, and videos for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, gradeschoolers, and teens. You can also follow them on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Google+. For more health and nutrition information for preschoolers, including tips on developing healthy eating habits, help for picky eaters, as well as sample meal plans and snacks click here. For nutrition related games for kids click here.

How do you get your kids right? Or how did your parents/guardians get you to eat right as a kid?

I am currently obsessed with this smoothie. No protein powder, just creamy, tangy goodness.


Creamy Yogurt Smoothie

Serves 2 | Recipe by Lauren Larson

1 cup plain lowfat kefir (Nancy’s is my favorite)

1 cup frozen mixed fruit (e.g. mango, peach, strawberry)

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

2 tablespoons hemp seeds

2 teaspoons honey (optional)

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth, using a tamper/turning off the blender and pushing down fruit as necessary. Add more almond milk/water to thin if necessary.
  2. Pour into two glasses and serve.


Approximate nutrition information per serving (excluding honey): Calories – 165 kcal; Carbohydrates – 17 grams; Fat – 7 grams; Protein – 10 grams.


Perfect for an afternoon snack on a hot summer day.

Sweet potatoes are pretty much the best food on the planet. They are sweet, nutritious, and extremely versatile. On top of that, their texture cannot be beat!


We recently had some turkey burger patties left over from a party we had, which led me to come across this Spanish Roasted Sweet Potatoes recipe to serve on the side.


Spanish Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Serves 4 | Recipe by Lauren Larson | Print here!

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 45-50 minutes | Total time: 55-60 minutes

2 tablespoons coconut or neutral oil (canola, grapeseed, sunflower)

3 tablespoons tomato sauce

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

½ teaspoon salt

1 ¾ pounds sweet potatoes, cut into ½” pieces

4 garlic cloves, crushed and left whole

Juice from ½ lemon

¼ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. If using coconut oil, place on a large rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven until just melted. Remove carefully. Otherwise, just pour 2 tablespoons neutral oil on a large rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine tomato sauce, paprika, and salt. Set aside.
  4. Place sweet potatoes on oiled baking sheet. Pour tomato mixture over potatoes and toss to coat. Spread out evenly in a single layer.
  5. Place smashed garlic in a few different spots on the baking sheet.
  6. Roast for 40-45 minutes, flipping half way through, until potatoes are fork tender and crisp on the outside.
  7. Sprinkle with lemon juice and return to the oven for 5 minutes.
  8. Serve topped with parsley.


Serve for dinner on the side with grilled chicken/tofu/tempeh or burgers, for breakfast with two over easy eggs on top, or mix with a can of black beans (drained and rinsed), 3-4 cups cooked quinoa, 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, juice from 1/2 lemon, and salt and pepper to taste and have for lunch.

What is your favorite way to enjoy sweet potatoes?

Summer is here! If you are looking to plan the perfect dinner party, I have got the recipes for you!! Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Bourbon-Peach Barbecue Sauce served on slider buns with a no-mayo coleslaw and steamed corn with Peach Upside Down Cake for dessert. Ask your guests to bring the coleslaw to make things even easier, or make either this one or this one yourself. Everything is prepped ahead of time so when your guests arrive you can spend more time welcoming them and socializing and less time in the kitchen finishing up cooking.

In the morning: Prep the pork for the slow cooker.

Go about your day, get a workout in, lay by the pool or in the yard, etc.


In the middle of the day: If your guests aren’t bringing coleslaw, prep the coleslaw now and refrigerate. Also, prep the peach upside down cake…eating the ends of the sliced peaches in the process.

Clean the house, get showered, etc.


Peach Upside Down Cake

Serves 12 | Inspired by Real Simple | Print here!

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 peaches, sliced

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled

½ cup granulated sugar

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon fine salt

2 large eggs

¾ cup low-fat buttermilk

3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon canola oil

2 tablespoons plain yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Rub an 8-inch square baking dish with butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar and top with a layer of sliced peaches.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs then add buttermilk, oil, yogurt, and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.
  3. Pour batter over peaches, spreading evenly if necessary. Tap the bottom of the pan on the counter to remove air bubbles.
  4. Bake until a knife comes out clean when inserted in the center; 35-45 minutes.
  5. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Run a knife between the cake and the pan to loosen. Turn cake upside down onto a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before serving.


About 30-40 minutes before guests arrive. Finish up the pork, shredding it and making the sauce. Place it back in the slow cooker (tossed in sauce) on warm until ready to serve.

Shuck the corn and break in half. Place in a large pot in a single layer and cover (just slightly) with water. Cover.

About 5-10 minutes before guests arrive. Turn the heat under the covered pot with the corn to high. Bring to a boil. Boil for a few minutes then turn off, leaving the lid on. Allow the corn to steam until everyone is ready to eat (20 minutes or so)!

Serve shredded pork on top of slider buns with coleslaw and corn.


Be sure to save room for dessert! Top it off with a dollop of honey noosa yoghurt for a touch of creaminess.


There you have it! Serve everything with a delicious, refreshing cocktail on the side, such as a cucumber mojito (reduce the amount of sugar for a less sweet drink).

All of these recipes would be PERFECT for the 4th of July! Please enjoy them responsibly.

The last and final leg of our trip up the coast from San Francisco, CA to Portland, OR. Click for first, second, and third legs.


And that’s a wrap! I hope you enjoyed our photos.

Miss the first and second leg of our road trip from San Francisco, CA to Portland, OR? They can be found here and here. This was the third leg of our trip…


Loved this beer! I really only took a picture of it so I would remember it. Hopefully I can find it in Colorado!


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