Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup The Dietitian Diaries

Don’t mind the picture. It sure is hard to get tortellini to float when you’re taking a picture. And the picture sure doesn’t do this soup justice. I’ve made this soup twice for guests and both times it was raved about. It was also super easy! Another great thing, this soup is meat free and provided just in time for Good Friday. I just hope it isn’t considered too indulgent. 

Speaking of Lent, how’s your Lent going so far? My Lenten “fasts” this year were a little bit different than other years. I didn’t completely fast from one thing or another, but just tried to decrease the media in my life to better “re-sensitize” myself to the stuff on TV and the radio. It’s been on my heart for a while just thinking about how well I use my time. I do think some media can be used for relaxing and not all of it needs to be cut out, but some of the time I spend with media is just wasted and in life in general, how is it helping me? 

I’m also more and more aware of how much Gemma is picking up on a daily basis. She copies things we do that we don’t even know she’s aware of! Last Sunday at Mass she genuflected! We didn’t even try to teach her that, she just started doing it on her own! Therefore I don’t really feel like explaining songs or TV shows to her as she picks up on them. Yikes. 

About a week ago I finished reading a book called The Art of Eating In. This girl decided to “fast” if you will from eating out in New York for two years. I love reading about food, but reading her story was especially fun as she really learned how to cook. The more I’m in the kitchen, the more I learn about food and cooking and the more adventurous I get.

Whether you choose to fast from food or other things, I pray your fasting is fruitful. 

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup
Serves 4
Write a review
  1. 2 whole large cloves garlic, minced
  2. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 2-103/4 oz cans condensed tomato soup
  4. 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  5. 2 cups whole milk
  6. 2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock, if going meat free)
  7. 1 teaspoon onion powder
  8. 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  9. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  10. 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  11. 1- 9 oz package cheese tortellini
  12. 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, for garnish
  1. Saute garlic with olive oil in a large pot until golden brown. Keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn!
  2. Add the soup, tomatoes, milk, stock, and seasonings. Bring to a simmer.
  3. Add tortellini and cook according to package directions.
  4. Serve soup with Parmesan cheese as topping.
Adapted from Key Ingredient
Adapted from Key Ingredient
The Dietitian Diaries

Nutrition News 4.15.14

Women’s Body Types. I will say I do use BMI just to help me understand weight, but BMI does not define you and I use it in consideration with the persons eating and exercise lifestyle. I do like how this article shows how much women can differ! We are always comparing ourselves with others! 

Is Organic Better For Your Health? Great article with research to back it up!

6 Food Labels That Don’t Mean What You Think They Do. 

Butter Vs. Margarine. Pretty good article with good advice at the end. 

Mini Sweet Potato Muffins

Mini Sweet Potato Muffins . The Dietitian Diaries The Dietitian Diaries . Mini Sweet Potato MuffinsWhew! All this warm weather and fresh air leaves me more worn out at the end of the day than usual. Gemma and I have been soaking up at least an hour everyday outside and it’s sure passes the time fast! She is just longing for the snow to be melted so she can go play on the playground across the street. 

I don’t know about you, but when I’m tired at the end of the day…and additionally if I have a headache, I want to reach for some chocolate or something sweet. And after years of mindful eating, I can actually make the conscious decision not to. Some nights it’s okay if I do enjoy something sweet. But other days, I’ve already eaten my sweet thing for the day…my empty calories, if you will (see this post). On those days, I just have to find something else to work as a pick me up. Sometimes it’s reading a good book, sometimes it’s watching TV, if I can talk Zach into it some days I get a massage and other days, I just go to bed early. If I am hungry, I do allow myself a snack, usually fruit. (A recent study encourages 7 fruits and vegetables per day! Perfect time to get them in!)  Other days it might just be a healthier snack. Either way, it’s taken me years to get to this point, to overcome emotional eating. It’s worth it though and as the years tick on, my body will thank me. It’s a small way to stay healthy and keep the extra weight off. So keep practicing and when you need a snack, enjoy these mini muffins, made healthy with some substitutes

The Dietitian Diaries - Mini Sweet Potato Muffins Mini Sweet Potato Muffins - The Dietitian DiariesThose are little Gemma bites. That little stinker was stealing my muffins while I was taking pictures. 

Mini Sweet Potato Muffins
Yields 4
Write a review
  1. 1 cup all purpose flour
  2. 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  3. 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  4. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  6. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  7. 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  8. 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  9. 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  10. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  11. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  12. 2 eggs, beaten
  13. 1 cup mashed sweet potato
  14. 1/2 cup water
  15. 1/3 cup canola oil
  16. 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the first eleven ingredients. In another bowl, combine the remaining ingredients until well blended. Add wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just blended.
  3. Spray mini muffin tins with non-stick spray and fill wells two-thirds full.
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes, then remove and cool on wire racks.
  1. If you don't have a mini muffin tin, make normal muffins! Enjoy that you can truly call these muffins and not cupcakes without frosting!
Adapted from Taste of Home magazine
The Dietitian Diaries

Nutrition News 4.8.14

Coconut Oil Verses Butter. Coconut oil is all the rage right now. Research is showing it can have some benefits, but keep in mind it has 12 grams of saturated fat compared to butter’s 7 grams of saturated fat. Saturated fat is directly linked to heart disease! Some cultures that use coconut oil have a low rate of heart disease, but we need to keep in mind, we are Americans and have an entirely different culture and lifestyle!

When Eating Completely Healthy Can Go Bad. 

8 Habits of Highly Fit People. I am definitely a routine, habitual person and I do think it aids in my health. 

White, Brown, Organic, or Cage Free Eggs. People are always confused on the difference of these. Good article!

Exposure to Morning Light Can Help Reduce Body Fat. More study is needed but I thought this was intriguing. 

Common Behaviors of People Who Lost Weight and Kept It Off. 


Butternut Squash Bites

Butternut Squash Bites - The Dietitian DiariesBaking Substitutions. I constantly use them while I’m baking. Some are the healthier ones, replacing butter or oil for applesauce in quick breads, and some are the essential ones, replacing buttermilk with a milk/vinegar mixture. In general, all of my baking substitutions come out correctly. Here and here are handy websites for these things too!

What about life substitutions? Using cheap shampoo instead of the good stuff. Doesn’t cut it. Cheap lotion however doesn’t matter either way for me. Name brand clothing verses Target. Target all the way! Huggies verses Pampers. Huggies wins out in this household!

Gemma definitely notices differences too. Watching videos of herself on the computer verses the camera. Not as fun. Looking out the window instead of watching TV. Not the same either. Pouring water on the kitchen floor instead of keeping it in the sink. Definitely a situation in which she needs to instill her fake crying. 

I learned substitutions with this recipe also. Don’t use acorn squash instead of butternut. It ends up being mushy little pieces of squash instead of squash bites. Glad I learned that lesson for you, aren’t you? Shout out to Amanda, who made these for us at our Snowflake Sister Weekend! 

Butternut Squash Bites
Serves 3
Write a review
  1. 1 butternut squash
  2. ~2 tablespoons olive oil
  3. ~1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. ~1/4 teaspoon pepper
  5. ~1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  6. pinch or two of cayenne pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Peel squash, scoop out seeds and cut into bite sized pieces.
  3. Toss with oil and seasonings. I used approximations and generally don't measure, but sprinkle until it looks good for my preference.
  4. Spread out on cookie sheets (I generally have to use two) with space between bites. If they are too close they will steam each other instead of crisp up.
  5. Cook for 40-50 minutes, flipping about every 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Enjoy plain or with your choice of dipping sauce!
The Dietitian Diaries

Red Beans and Rice

Red Beans and Rice - The Dietitian Diaries

I believe I’ve mentioned this book before, but I immensely enjoyed the book Rediscovering Catholicism. I’ve seen a lot of parishes giving out free copies and hope many fruits come to Catholics reading this book. We got a couple copies at an ordination last summer and have given away all of them. 

My favorite part of this book were the Seven Pillars of Catholic Spirituality. I thought it was such a great reminder of what we do what we do. One of my favorite chapters of those was the one on fasting because being so into food myself, I really think food can be connected with spirituality. See my Discipline Challenge and Good For Your Soul posts.

So in honor of Lent, I wanted to provide you with a meatless meal and some nuggets of gold from Matthew Kelly’s book on fasting. 

“One of the prime purposes of fasting is to help us become aware of God’s presence in our lives and in the world around us. Fasting also makes us aware of God’s absence in different areas of our lives.”

“It is important to note how different the reasons for fasting are from the reasons for dieting. Fasting is by its very nature a statement of humility, while dieting is usually linked to ego, vanity, and pride.”

“In 1966, Pope Paul VI warned of the dangers of a legalistic approach to fasting and offered some new direction…He reminded Catholics that the outward expression of fasting should always be accompanied by the inner attitude of conversion.” 

The Dietitian Diaries - Red Beans and Rice


Red Beans and Rice
Serves 3
Write a review
  1. 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1/4 green bell pepper, chopped
  3. 1 small onion, chopped
  4. 1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
  5. 1 small can tomato sauce
  6. 1 envelope Sazon Goya with Coriander and Annatto
  7. 2 cans kidney beans
  8. Tabasco or hot sauce, as desired
  9. 4 cups brown rice, cooked
  1. Saute green peppers and onions in olive oil until onions are translucent.
  2. Add garlic, tomato sauce and Sazon seasoning and bring to a boil for a few minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce heat.
  3. Add undrained kidney beans and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  4. Serve over rice and flavor to your liking with hot sauce, as desired.
The Dietitian Diaries

Nutrition News

12 “Unhealthy” Foods Nutritionist Eat. I definitely eat these!

Tips To Control Cravings. Great tips. For me it’s managing my blood sugar, getting enough sleep and honoring my cravings, in moderation, of course. 

Why Runners Can’t Eat Whatever They Want. I notice exercise is often an excuse for people to eat whatever they want. Sure, they can eat more calories, but like always, everything in moderation!

Do Gluten Free Diets Benefit Everyone? Oh, gluten, always a hot topic!

Science Compared Every Diet and Real Food Won! 

Being Underweight is Even Deadlier Than Being Overweight. Extremely interesting research and evidence of the health of living a balanced lifestyle.

Coconut Banana Bread

Whole Wheat Coconut Banana Bread. The Dietitian Diaries

Some days you just need some banana bread. Can I get an Amen?! 

Actually these last couple days have been a little rough. Gemma, dear, is struggling with her naps. Or maybe I’m struggling with her naps. I’m not sure which one it is. Even though she’s rubbing her eyes and yawning, she’s trying to be as energetic as possible to try and fool me. And sometimes she does win. I crumble and let her continue running around the house, climbing chairs and stepping on crayons. Today though, today I laid down the law. The rule is, she must lay down in her crib, even if she isn’t sleeping. Because it sure is hard to fight sleep when you’re laying down. And sleep won over. 



This isn’t the first time she’s fought it. She did it last night too. It seems it is partially a separation anxiety thing too. Who knows. Anyway, in the middle last night she was crying and standing in her crib, so Zach decided to just lay on the floor until she fell asleep. She feel asleep kneeling looking at him with her hands still gripping the railing. Then he propped her up against the corner and she fell asleep sitting up. Oh boy. The stories from the middle of the night. 

So it’s just one of those days. Eat some banana bread. 

Coconut Banana Bread
Yields 2
Write a review
  1. 1 cup sugar
  2. 1/2 cup coconut oil
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 3 ripe bananas, mashed (~1 1/2 cups)
  5. 1/2 cup buttermilk
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  7. 1 cup whole wheat flour
  8. 1 1/2 cups bread flour
  9. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  10. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  11. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  12. 3/4 cup shredded coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 9 x 5 loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a bowl mix together coconut oil and sugar, use a pastry cutter or knives to cut coconut oil into small pieces. Stir in eggs until well combined. Add bananas, buttermilk and vanilla and mix well.
  3. Add flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Mix until just combined.
  4. Fold in shredded coconut.
  5. Divided batter evenly between two loaf pans and bake for 40-45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Let cool for 5-10 minutes and remove bread from pans to cool on a rack.
  1. If you do not have buttermilk on hand, combine 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar with a 1/2 cup milk and let sit 5 minutes before using.
Adapted from Dinner, Dishes and Desserts
The Dietitian Diaries

Nutrition News 3.25.14

Got a craving? Play Tetris instead.

How to tell nutrition facts from fiction. The media can make things so confusing. I thought this was helpful!

TV time, feeding habits that set babies up for obesity. Having a young one, I always finding infant nutrition studies interesting. As for Gemma, I had a really hard time seeing any hunger cues, although I didn’t feed her every time she cried. I kinda just followed a schedule. As a first time parent, it’s always hard to tell what’s right!

Water Myths Revisited. Surprisingly, water does have a lot of myths surrounding it!

Higher BMI is healthier for those over 65 years. When I worked at a nursing home all the little old ladies were concerned about gaining weight. Being obese is definitely not healthy, but having a little extra weight on you can be a good thing!

Foods for Hot Flashes. 

Homemade Ranch Dressing

The Dietitian Diaries. Homemade Ranch Dressing

I recently watched the movie Dive. It’s a documentary about dumpster diving, which I must say, is on my life list of things to do. Some people call it a bucket list, I like to call it a life list of things to do. Side note: another item on that list is jumping a train, although Zach told me last week that he secretly hopes I never do that. I can understand, it is dangerous. Although, I never said I wanted to jump on a fast moving train. A slow moving one is good enough for me. Anyway, back to Dive. The movie was really interesting for many different reasons. One part that stuck out in my mind the most were the reflections on where our food was coming from and if we really appreciated that.

One of the men in the film was reflecting on how the cow was raised, gave it’s life to be our food, and then that beef just ended up in the garbage. It was about more than just the waste of the food being thrown away, but the waste of meat from a cow who was killed for it. When I was in college, we read a book on this same idea. The author had taken his daughter to McDonald’s and the Happy Meal toy was a cow. He wasn’t sure if his daughter even realized a cow was what her hamburger was made out of. 

The question is: do we really think or know about where our food comes from? I can’t claim that I know exactly where all of my food comes from or even that I think about it at every meal. But I am trying to get more in touch with how foods are made. I feel like being that close to the meal process helps provide balance and moderation in eating. Anyway, that’s what I thought of when I made this. It’s not something I make all time, but I enjoy knowing exactly what’s in this dressing when it’s often a condiment we don’t know much about. Not to mention it is super easy to make!

Homemade Ranch Dressing. The Dietitian Diaries

Homemade Ranch Dressing
Yields 2
Write a review
For the dry mix
  1. 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  2. 2 1/2 tablespoons parsley flakes
  3. 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  4. 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  5. 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  6. 1 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  7. 3/4 teaspoon dill weed
For the dressing
  1. 1/2 tablespoon dry mix
  2. 1/2 cup mayo
  3. 1/2 cup buttermilk
  4. 1/3 cup sour cream
  5. 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
  1. Mix dry ingredients in small container. I like using an old spice container and shaking it up with the lid on.
  2. Mix dressing ingredients in medium sized container. I used a mason jar and shook with the lid on also. Store in the refrigerator.
  1. For the buttermilk, I added 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar to 1/2 cup milk and let sit 5 minutes before using.
  2. Dressing is good until the expiration date on the sour cream or mayo, whichever one is sooner.
Adapted from The Crafty Blog Stalker
The Dietitian Diaries

1 2 3 7