Officially a Dietitian + Goodbye!

Two pieces of news today!

First, last weekend I passed the licensing test to become a Registered Dietitian.  After 6 years, I'm officially a RD!  It was one of those moments in life where the backdrop falls away, life zooms out, and I realized how many people I have to thank.  Professors, classmates, colleagues, family, and friends....I'm grateful for each of you!

Second, I'm saying goodbye to Coconut Crumbs. It has been an incredible journey for the past few years in Boston training to become a dietitian, working on a masters degree and finding scraps of time in between for this blog. I'm thankful for the opportunity to try these blogging skills and look forward to applying social media lessons to my career, wherever it takes me!

Celebration with my friend Anna!

Thanks to all my readers and God bless.


New England Dessert Showcase!

This month was the 2011 New England Dessert Showcase in Boston, a exhibition featuring designer chocolates, ice cream, and sugary concoctions.  I obtained a press pass to attend, but couldn't go at the last minute.  Fortunately my friend Grace gladly stepped in to make good on this sweet opportunity.  Enjoy the pics!

 My friend loved the display from Kueh, South East Asian producer of dessert, snacks and pastries!  

Thank you to the Anthem Group for the press pass!

Ostende-The Belgian Coast

The finicky rain and cloudy skies did not deter us from a quick trip to Belgium's North Sea coastline.  Our destination was Ostende, which according to trusty Frommer's tour book, used to be "the Queen of the Coast and prestigious 19th-century royal vacation spot."  We found the town a little sleepy, but seeping with charm nonetheless!
Belgian chocolate?  Yes please.
 First pasta in Europe.  Lovely.
(Below) Chocolate from Estonia.  Snack for the train ride.
The internship at the European Food Information Council continues to go well.  I'm still working on content for the Food4U campaign, a healthy food video competition for adolescents funded by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture.  However the highlight of the week was a visit to the European Parliament for a brief lecture on food security in the European Union!

Canal Tour of Brugge

 Brugge, a small town tucked in the northwest corner of Belgium, stands unravaged by time.  Cobblestones line the streets of this Medieval Gothic city, and horse-drawn carriages clatter beside the automobiles. However the most charming view of Brugge is captured aboard a small boat, drifting along the canals, pondering bygone days of chivalry.
My first week of work at the European Food Information Council has gone well.  Briefly, I've been working on a project called Food 4U, a competition where adolescents can express their view on food and nutrition through short videos of their own creation.  Funded by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture Food and Forestry Policies, the competition is open to all teenagers from all 26 nations of the European Union, plus the Netherlands.  I think using multimedia (especially videos) is a relevant way to engage adolescents in the food-health conversation.

Au revoir!

Les Frites

I am thankful to report a safe arrival in Brussels, Belgium!  After settling into the small room that I now call home, I spent the rest of the weekend greeting the city and getting lost on the subway.  While traipsing through the downtown marketplace, I indulged in the touristy street-side vendor selling frites.  Unfortunately I neglected to get the mayonnaise sauce, for which frites are simply incomplete.  I'll have to go again!
(Above) Place Royale
(Below) Dinner at home-I have no kitchen! 
I was anxious to try the white asparagus which is in season here.
Today was my first day at the European Union Food Information Council (EUFIC), where I will be interning this summer.  EUFIC is a non-profit organization which provides science-based information on food safety and nutrition to media, health professionals, and educators.  I will be a Science Communications intern, and I anticipate lots of research interpretation and writing.

Cheers to les frites!

Graduation and Beyond!

May 22nd marked the Tufts graduation ceremony.  I salute my colleagues at the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy (holla for my Nut Comm class!), and I have a special tribute to the Tufts dietetic interns.   
Tufts Dietetic Interns, Class of 2011
Ladies, working with you these past two years has been an honor.  
Registered Dietitian and MS...We did it! 
DI Orientation, August 2009
Alanna.  All elegance and poise.  Your fortitude and strength has inspired me.  I appreciate your dedication to do all things well.
Adrienne.  My sunshine friend!  Always ready to greet with a smile, and help me put things into perspective.  You think beyond dietetics, and I like this.  Let's meet in Austin!  
Nathalia.  Natural leader, fantastic MSDA president, and ever ready to provide comic relief.  "We R Who We R"-Whenever I hear this, I'll bust a move for our song.  Go Nat Attack!
Lauren.  My very first Boston acquaintance; thank you for subletting your Brookline room, and welcoming me to the city!  Good luck in St. Louis!
Inpatient rotations, August 2010
Renee.  Hey DJ, your enthusiasm is contagious!  You converted me to PBB sandwiches, and when I'm feeling down I'll remember to recite, "One day at a time, one patient at a time, for the win."  Thank you!  Sauce on.
Vicky.  My fabulous rotation partner, and "twin"!  Ah, such memories together: Korean bbq at Koreana, red bean buns from Chinatown, instant coffee in dialysis clinic, Whole Foods lunches at MGH.  Thankful for you.  Rooting for you in California!
Erin.  Succinct, sassy, and never too flustered.  Love it.  Long live your grape salad and chocolate chip cookies!
Nikita.  This classy gal is truly the Queen of Spice (please open an Indian restaurant someday!).  Roomie, you are a kindred spirit.  I miss you already.
What's Next?  Belgium!
Yup, I'll be heading to Brussels from June through August for a summer internship at the European Union Food Information Council (EUFIC).  EUFIC is a non-profit organization that provides nutrition and food safety information to media, industry, educators, and health professionals.  This is my first taste of Europe!  I'm eager to continue this unique opportunity, which was trail-blazed last summer by fellow Tufts colleague Kelly Dumke.

In September I'll return to Boston for one last semester of grad school.  Turns out I'm not officially graduated yet. *wink*  But wanted to walk with my class nonetheless!

Stay tuned this summer for updates and pictures.

Spicy Soba Noodles with Edamame and Shiitake

I heard about this dish from a friend, and realized that it was the perfect opportunity to use up my soba and dried shiitake.  Pretty tasty!  However after comparing my pictures with the original SmittenKitchen recipe, I chuckle.  Apparently I've lost all ability to follow directions, as somehow I managed to substitute red cabbage instead of Napa, and regular onions instead of green onions.
Spicy Soba Noodles with Shiitake and Edamame
recipe from SmittenKitchen
For Sauce:
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce
2-3 Tablespoons gochujang (Korean hot-pepper paste)
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
For noodles
3 Tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons finely chopped peeled ginger
1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
10 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced (I used dried v)
1.25 pound Napa cabbage, thinly sliced (I used red cabbage)
6 green onions, thinly sliced (I accidentally used regular shallots)
9 ounces soba/buckwheat noodles
1 cup frozen shelled edamame
  1. Stir together all sauce ingredients until brown sugar is dissolved.  Set aside.
  2. Toast sesame seeds over stove, in skillet over medium heat.  
  3. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat.  Add ginger and garlic.  Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add shiitake mushrooms and saute until tender and starting to brown, about 6 minutes.  Reduce heat and add cabbage and scallions.  Cook until cabbage is crisp-tender, about 6 minutes.  Add sauce, and simmer for 2 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile cook soba in boiling water until noodles are just tender (don't overcook!), about 6 minutes.  You can add edamame to the boiling water.  Drain soba in colander and rinse under cool water.
  5. Transfer soba to large bowl and toss with sesame seeds and vegetable mixture.  
  6. Enjoy!  Serves four.
It's three more weeks until the end of the dietetic internship, and the to-do list grows at an alarming rate.  But instead of writing, studying, and being a productive little engine, I find myself wandering in grocery stores and daydreaming recipes; by the end of the day I habitually default to the kitchen.  There over steamy pots, the stress simply dissolves.   Mental resolve has floated away too, or maybe it is just bobbing above my head like a balloon on a string, still attached but distant.  Come back!

Well, goodnight to you.  
I hope you are well, wherever you are.

Caramel Matzoh Crunch

Last week I attended my first Passover seder.  With wonder I nibbled the sweet charoset, fell in love with homemade unleavened bread, gasped on a spear of fresh horseradish, and recited the 10 plagues while flicking drops of red wine onto the seder plate.  I received an intellectual and gastronomical education, for which I am most grateful.  I brought this easy matzoh dessert.  Perhaps they lacked the elegance and tradition of the other elements, but these crunchy squares proved dangerously addictive.  Beware. 

Absolutely Magnificent Caramel Matzoh Crunch
Recipe from Marcy Goldman via Epicurious
4-6 unsalted matzohs
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup coursely chopped chocolate chips or semi-sweet chocolate
  1. Preheat oven to 375.  Line large cookie sheet with foil.  Cover with baking parchment-on top of the foil. (Mixture becomes sticky during baking.)
  2. Line bottom of cookie sheet evenly with the matzohs, cutting extra pieces to fit any spaces.
  3. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine butter and brown sugar.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil (about 2 to 4 minutes).  Boil for 3 minutes, stirring.  Remove from heat and pour over matzoh, covering completely.
  4. Place baking sheet in oven, immediately reducing heat to 350.  Bake for 15 minutes, checking often to make sure mixture is not burning.
  5. Remove from oven and sprinkle immediately with chopped chocolate or chocolate chips.  Let stand 5 minutes, then spread the melted chocolate over matzoh.  
  6. While warm, break into squares or odd shapes.  Chill in freezer, still in pan, until set.
Later in the week, my roommate and I discovered that matzoh crackers also make for easy mini pizzas.  Have you tried it?  Hurry and buy it, while it is on sale!  : )

Wishing you a fabulous week, 

5 Week Countdown

Only five more weeks until completion of the dietetic internship!  This week I'm back at the hospital to start rotation in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; I'm very excited to see the little ones.  Coming next is bariatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital.   As classes finish and rotations draw to an end, I try to disentangle from the flurry of work and appreciate the mentors, professors, colleagues, and friends who have made the Tufts Dietetic Internship such a fabulous experience thus far.

Pictured above: Winter has finally switched to spring, so I'm changing up my lunchtime routine to fresh salad.
What are you packing for lunch these days?
Best of luck to Molly, Melissa, and all my other friends who are running the Boston Marathon tomorrow!


Gingersnaps from the Book Basket

Candied Ginger
It has been a while since I spilled the contents of my book basket, but I have to share my latest read.  It is delicious in more ways than one.
Have you heard of Amanda Hesser, American food writer and cookbook author?  Her memoir Cooking for Mr. Latte originally started as a column for The New York Times Magazine.  Later it turned into a skillfully fashioned chronicle of a food lover's courtship.  Best of all, Hesser's witty prose is mixed with accompanying recipes.

I think you will love it.  I reserved this book from the library and patiently waited for 23 days until its arrival.  After retrieval, I immediately stuck a post-it note on the inside cover for notes and scribbles.  By page 50 I had jotted down plenty of recipes to photocopy, including this new version of my favorite cookie.  They turned out quite well!
Mountain Honey Gingersnaps with Candied Ginger

What is your favorite cookie?
What are you reading now?
Cheers to a new week.

Restaurant Review: The Friendly Toast

The Friendly Toast
Address: 1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts 
Tucked away in the heart of MIT-land, The Friendly Toast is the ultimate 1950's diner.
I recommend it with all my heart and stomach.
 Costa Rican 
Black beans and plum tomatoes under melted provolone, two sunny side eggs,
sour cream, potatoes and homemade oatmeal toast.
Pumpkin Pancakes
"Just like pumpkin pie, with Raisinettes inside and neat whipped cream on top."
I had the lucky opportunity to brunch at The Friendly Toast several weeks ago.  Plan for a healthy appetite and a little patience, because the portions are large but the wait can be long.  Prepare for a groovy atmosphere, complete with Buddy Holly tunes and a life-size vintage Barbie model.  Need I say more?  Next you will be ushered into the vibrant dining room, bursting with the cacophony of clinking glasses, scraping plates, boistrous laughing, and all the natural sounds of happy people chowing down.

Now to the food.  I've discovered that syrupy bites of pumpkin pancake dissolve easily when mixed with homemade whipped cream.  The experience only gets better when you unsuspectingly chew into a Raisinette. The Costa Rican eggs were equally scrumptious, offering a wholesome feast of savory black beans mixed with runny yolk, complimented with crunchy oatmeal toast.

Aren't the photos gorgeous?  A special thanks to Alan for his DSLR camera!

The toast was indeed friendly.

Hats Off to National Nutrition Month!

To celebrate, the Registered Dietitians and Dietetic Interns at Tufts Medical Center teamed up to present  "Myth Busters: Fact vs. Fiction of Carbs, Protein and Fats."
Renee, one of the intern coordinators, answers questions at the Carbohydrate Table.
Due to the hard work of the planning committee (applause to Renee, Nikita, and Nathalia!), the event featured a fabulous line-up including food displays, a Trader Joe's raffle, and Black Bean Brownie samplers.  
Myth Busters:
Our event featured an interactive "Nutrition Myth Busters" quiz, written by dietetic interns Nikita and Renee.  Here's a teaser of some questions.
1.     True or False?  Protein's main purpose is to build muscle.  False!  Protein has a myriad of functions, including building cells, repairing cells, supporting the immune system, providing lasting energy when consumed with carbs, maintaining muscle mass, and strengthening hair, nails, and skin.
2.    True or False?  Honey is more nutritious than other sugars.  False!  You would have to eat a minimum 1/4 cup of honey to get any other type of nutrient other than carbohydrate.
3.    True or False? Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.  False!  A high sugar diet does not cause diabetes.  The biggest risk factor for diabetes is being overweight.  However if someone is diagnosed with diabetes, sugar and carbohydrate intake does have to be kept in check to manage blood sugar levels.
4.    True or False?  The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend that Americans consume 20-30% of calories from fat.  True!
5.    True or False? All saturated fat is bad for you.  False!  One saturated fat, stearic acid, has been shown to have a neutral effect on LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, and can increase HDL (healthy) cholesterol a boost.  Stearic acid is abundant in beef and chocolate.
Black Bean Brownies
Never before has nutrition occupied such a large slice of public attention.  This month the American Dietetic Association's national slogan is "Eat Right with Color," a tribute to the health benefits of a varied diet.  Aim to color your plate with a rainbow of whole grains, lean proteins, healthful fats, fruits, and vegetables.  Enjoy the palette of nutrients found only within whole foods.

Hats off to wholesome eating and healthful living!
How are you celebrating National Nutrition Month?
I'm Blogging National Nutrition Month
Disclaimer. I am not a Registered Dietitian yet. I provide nutrition information intended for the general public, not for the treatment of a specific medical condition. I try to use scientific research and reliable sources when forming my opinions and messages.
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