Back to the grind!

Houston was such a fun weekend away! We finished off the weekend with the AIDS 5k walk. Here’s some shots. There was such a great turn out for this event, I was really impressed!!

And as soon as I landed back in Tulsa, it was back to the grind. With just a brief evening before the start of the work week, I spent time preparing. I made Yogurt Carrot Muffins to take for breakfast this week and Mediterranean Barley Salad to take for lunches. I sampled both, and yummmm! Feeling ready for the week now! And trust me, grocery shopping and meal planning was the last thing I wanted to do after a weekend getaway, but success entails planning and if that’s what you gotta do…that’s what you gotta do! And come tomorrow morning, I’ll be really glad I did 😉

Yogurt Carrot Muffins adapted from Cupcakes in Paris

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour + 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
2/3 cup agave syrup
2 cups grated carrots
1/4 cup canola oil (was out of applesauce)
2 beaten eggs
½ cup plain Greek yogurt (non fat)
¾ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 325°F.  Mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the agave syrup and carrots.

Beat in the oil, eggs and yogurt and stir in the walnuts. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool the muffins in the pan for 15 minutes.

Yield: 12 large muffins

Nutrition Information (per muffin): 162 calories; 4.9 g. fat; 35.8 mg. cholesterol; 136 mg. sodium; 26.5 g. carbohydrate; 2.5 g. fiber; 3.6 g. protein

Mediterranean Barley Salad from Cooking Light

2 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup uncooked pearl barley
1 1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 cup thinly sliced fennel bulb
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
8 pitted kalamara olives, halved
1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted


Bring water and barley to a boil in a saucepan. Cover, reduce heat, and summer for 25 minutes of until tender and liquid is almost absorbed. Cool to room temperature.

Combine lemon rind, lemon juice, olive oil, and mustard in a bowl; stir well with a shisk. Add barley, fennel, and next 6 ingredients (through beans); toss gently. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Garnish with walnuts just before serving. Yield: 4 servings

Nutrition Information (per serving): 313 calories; 16.1 g. fat (1.9 g. saturated fat; 7.5 g. monounsaturated fat; 6.2 g. polyunsaturated fat); 6.6 g. protein; 38.9 g. carbohydrate; 8.2 g. fiber; 0 mg. cholesterol; 2.9 mg. iron; 643 mg. sodium; 79 mg. calcium

And all ready for lunches this week…


Today’s NNM Topic: Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia

Ideally, we want to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, the 7th leading cause of death in the US.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are diagnosed based on groups of systems which show intellectual and social decline that interfere with their standard living, along with memory loss in most cases.

Risk factors for dementia and Alzheimer’s include many nutrition-related factors, including: alcohol intake, atherosclerosis (heart health), blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, homocysteine levels, and exercise.

Among individuals diagnosed with dementia, a balanced, healthy diet is important to maintain energy and proper nutrition. A high-fiber diet to prevent constipation is also recommended. During meal times, distractions should be eliminated so that the individual can stay focused on their eating. Eating should be at a slow pace with small pieces to chew and swallow for safety reasons.

In my experience, as dementia procresses individuals can disassociate food from eating — they no longer understand that food is to eat and many people need full feeding assistance. For some, swallowing ability declines and a modified texture is required — chopped, pureed, etc. This helps the individual safely swallow foods and prevent aspiration. Most individuals would not expect dementia patients to require extensive nutrition modifications, but it is not the case. Dietitians are in great demand in nursing homes and dementia units.

Looking forward to catching up on everyone’s blogs this week. :) Sorry I’ve been a bit MIA with my weekend travels!

Question #1: What’s for breakfast today? And lunch…? 😉

Question #2: Do you know someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia? What symptoms do they display showing their disease?

Make it a healthy one!

P.S. I’ve received several Q&A questions for this week! Send your questions on over –!! 😀


  1. says

    Planning is definitely key to maintaining a healthy weight. It’s when you let yourself get too hungry that hte cravings start to hit and the bad choices start to be made! I love the sound of those yogurt carrot muffins…amazing. And I’ve recently become a barley addict. I like the texture it has as compared to brown rice!

    Congrats on the 5K walk! Sounds awesome.

  2. says

    I’m so glad you had an awesome weekend! Love the photos from the 5k! :-)

    Both of your recipes sound amazing – I’m definitely going to fix both this week! Thank you for the healthful yumminess! :-)

    My grandmother had dementia, and primarily has trouble with short term memory loss, which is gradually getting worse… It’s tough for her at times. Thank you for the great info…

  3. says

    I love making food and then prepping it in individual containers for lunches all week. It makes it so easy.
    Glad you had a good time in Houston.
    Breakfast today was cereal, and lunch was a yogurt, a kiwi, and some leftover rice. My mid morning snack was baby carrots and my afternoon snack was a piece of my leftover omelette. Who knows what will be for dinner.

  4. says

    Sounds like such a fun event! Group energy like that always feels so amazing. Those muffins sound good…I’d like to top them with some cream cheese icing! I had some GoLean cereal, soymilk, and an apple for breakfast…not too exciting, but not bad.

  5. says

    Hey Nicole…glad Houston was fun!! :) I just finished lunch and not ashamed to say I busted out the old kiddo standby..PB&J on gluten-free bread! Who says you have to be a kid to eat that?! NOT ME! Happy Monday!

  6. says

    Those yogurt carrot muffins look great!!

    Breakfast was yogurt, fiber one cereal, 1/2 banana, strawberries, grapes, and pineapple. Lunch was a low carb wrap with a veggie burger and broccoli on the side. Been a little lighter – not too hungry after eating too much this weekend… :-/

    My great grandmother had alzheimers and she had a lot of childlike behaviors and didn’t really know who any of us were. She asked questions constantly and had a very blank stare. So heartbreaking. :(

  7. says

    Glad to see Houston was so fun!! The muffins and barley salad look great.
    That info on Dementia is so sad, but very interesting. Food is essential, losing the ability to eat and understand eating is scary.
    I firmly agree on the mindful behaviors you encourage here…..carefully chewing our food is essential.
    The oats I am giving away are the same ones. They sent me 50 packs and I couldn’t handle mailing out 50 packages, so I split up the giveaway!! :)

  8. says

    What a great turn out for the AIDS walk!

    Today I had OIAJ for breakfast and a yummy wrap filled with beans, cheese, avocado, and salsa for lunch

  9. says

    Smoothie for breakfast and lunch as normal:
    1/2c yogurt
    1/3c oatmeal
    1/8c sunflower seeds
    1/2c strawberries
    1sc protein powder
    1c water

    I really love the sunflower seeds in my smoothies now!

  10. says

    What a great cause to walk for…and it looks like it was so much fun! One of my mom’s (much older) friends has Alzhiemer’s…she was always such a sweet lady, but she’s lately she’s been not herself…more short-tempered. It’s really very sad to watch because she’s not her sweet, happy self anymore.

  11. says

    Congrats on the 5k walk!

    You are always cooking up something that always looks so good.
    I agree about planning. I have been journaling everyday and it seems to be helping.

  12. says

    I do not plan out my breakfast or lunches.. however each morning I tend to have the same breakie because I LOVE IT: oatmeal, cream of wheat, pb & banana with a side of coffee/soy milk :o). Lunch depends on the day and what I have going on!

    As a graduate student for Speech Pathology I know a LOT about dementia and Alzheimers due to their cognitive-communication deficits. Thankfully this does not run in my family.

  13. says

    That’s so great that you made time to prep for the week! You’ll be so happy you did. I usually put a serving of leftovers in tupperware for the next days lunch. It saves me so much time in the morning.

    My grandmother passed away with dementia. It was sad seeing her deteriorate. I know that her health wasn’t the best since she had diabetes too.

  14. says

    My grandpa just passed away and he had Louie Body Disorder – which includes dementia. Eating was a struggle for him these past few years.

    What a huge turnout for the race! :)

  15. says

    Hey Nicole!
    Thanks for featuring my muffin recipe on your blog! This is so cool! I think the small changes you made to the original recipe are great! I was actually thinking of trying that recipe again without the oil! Probably made the muffins more airy!

    As for Alzheimer’s… None of my relatives have ever suffered from it. But being a neurologist, I have met a lot of patients suffering from dementia…

    • says

      I actually forgot the oil completely on accident! I was thinking “Oh gosh…I botched them?” but they are deeelicious! I had one for breakfast!

  16. says

    Love your website I can not wait to make the doughnuts! Just curious, did you add applesauce instead of oil? or completely get rid of that entire step?

    • Nicole, RD says

      Hi McKenzie! Thank you! Um, great question on these muffins…I’ve made quite a few muffins since March 2010 😉 However, I believe I omitted the oil/applesauce all together. Between 2/3 cup agave and 1/2 cup Greek yogurt that seems like plenty of moisture for a batch. If they seem really dry – I guess add a bit of applesauce or oil. Muffins are VERY forgiving, so it should be an issue…but I am pretty certain it’s just the agave and yogurt! :) Sorry for the confusion…now I know why I don’t cross out text now :)

  17. Audrey says

    Hi, I was wondering if whole wheat flour can be substituted for whole wheat pastry flour, or will that mess with the results??

    • Nicole, RD says

      Hi Audrey! I apologize for just getting to your commment now. I would use half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose, personally. You can definitely use whole wheat in a 1:1 with all-purpose and whole wheat pastry flour, but it is much more dense. Try looking for “white wheat flour” — it’s also a great option for whole wheat baking without making baked good dense and dry like traditional whole wheat flour. Hope that helps!

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