Home ยป Digging deep for the jolly

Digging deep for the jolly

It seems like the closer we get to Christmas the less jolly I feel. Quite frankly, I am beat. I haven’t been sleeping well with the anxiety I’m feeling towards my new teaching job. Obviously I am well-versed in nutrition, but I have never lectured 5 hours a week…while balancing a nearly full-time job and a growing private practice. I feel like my to-do list leaves me feeling like nothing ever gets accomplished and there’s always so much on my plate yet to get done. Don’t get me wrong, I am very excited about my new teaching gig…I just hope I do well and give my students the best dose of nutrition ever!

My schedule come January is going to be…insane. I work 34 hours a week in dialysis, teach 5 hours + prep and grading, spend time in private practice and meetings with my partners as much as possible, and love to spend time cooking, exercising, playing ice-hockey, and blogging. I feel like there’s about 8 million balls in the air and I’m trying to keep them all from colliding or crashing to the ground. I thrive in busy environments, but this impending schedule is simply stressing me out.

In order to keep blogging a hobby that brings me enjoyment, I will have to see what my schedule allows as far as posting. While I hope to continue blogging most every day, that may no longer be realistic. As much as that saddens me, I hope you understand…a girl has got to do what a girl has got to do!

Today I am working a short day before picking up Lily at doggy daycare and we make the trip together to Chicago. Mr. Prevention is off on a “Poker Run” today in Illinois with his high school friends. Imagine 30-year-old men in 80’s workout clothes, running around the University of Illinois campus collecting poker cards from various bars for drinking certain beers, shots, and cocktails. As imature as this sounds, it’s a blast….and I will be stuck working. Bitter much? You betcha! The excessive alcohol doesn’t interest me, but not being able to witness this event this year is a shame! But really, I just miss having an actual “Christmas Vacation”…or any substantial amount of time off for the holidays. Oh well. I am very thankful for being employed, there is no doubt.

On a completely unrelated note, several of you have asked me about the new PointsPlus plan from Weight Watchers. As familiar as I am with Weight Watchers, I am not familiar with the new plan. I did, however, find out that my company reimburses 100% for Weight Watchers and so I have plans to attend a meeting very soon to get the skinny (pun intended). With my company, however, you sign-up for either a 13 or 18-week package and are then reimbursed if you attend all the meetings (you can miss up to 3). Several coworkers are taking the plunge to join and I figured it would be a great opportunity to learn about the new program (and give my honest feeback to you all, of course!) and to possibly take off some weight that I have commonly referred to as my “PCOS weight”. Being the go-getter that I am, in addition to feeling as heavy as a boulder with all the Christmas eats, I went all out for the 18-weeks of Weight Watchers. Sure, it will be a challenge to take that time out for meetings, but it is a part of my “me” time that I require for sanity.

It will certainly be interesting, as a dietitian, to sit in on a Weight Watchers meeting. It’s been a long time since I attended Weight Watchers AND lead Weight Watchers meetings. I have heard bits and pieces of the new program — good and bad…from media and members alike. The information regarding PointsPlus found online is very vague and I hope to bring you all information on the new program from my perspective.

Well, that’s a wrap for the most whiny and random post…ever (?) on Prevention RD. I will be glad to pull into Chicago this evening and spend some time with the family, and hopefully a good night’s rest!

I’ll leave you with a recipe for some tasty Pumpkin French Toast with Light Pumpkin Butter, inspired by our hosts in Albuquerque. Their pumpkin french toast was delicious!!

Pumpkin French Toast with Light Pumpkin Butter

1-16 ounce loaf challah, cut into 8 slices, about 3/4 to 1-inch thick
1 cup of Egg Beaters or egg substitute
1 cup + 3 Tbsp pumpkin puree, divided
1 cup of skim milk
1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
3 Tbsp Smart Balance Light or Earth Balance
1 Tbsp brown sugar
non-stick spray


For the butter, combine 3 tablespoons of pumpkin puree with the Smart Balance Light and brown sugar. Combine well.

Cut bread into 3/4 to 1-inch thick slices. In a large bowl, whick together Egg Beaters, 1 cup pumpkin puree, milk, and pumpkin pie spice. Soak bread in milk-egg mixture for 1-2 minutes.

Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Place the soaked bread in the skillet or on the griddle, flipping after the bottom has browned. Cook the opposite side until browned. Serve immediately. Serves 8 with ~1 tablespoons of pumpkin butter.

Nutrition Information (per slice with 1 Tbsp pumpkin butter): 221 calories; 6.6 g. fat; 17 mg. cholesterol; 340 mg. sodium; 35 g. carbohydrate; 3.4 g. fiber; 8.2 g. sugar; 8.2 g. protein

Result: Carb-o-licious! It’s hard to limit to just 1 piece, but they are rather large. I splurged and had 2 one morning and I ate the leftover pieces one at a time with an over-medium egg. Delicious! Pumpkin is never out of season in my kitchen or belly!!!

I may not be 100% jolly (just yet!), but our neighborhood is sure all decked out! Our block all decorates our trees the same and it really does look festive and beautiful!

Question: Does the hustle and bustle of the holiday season make you giddy with glee, or do you get a bit overwhelmed and stressed?

I think working adults need sanctioned holiday vacations like kids in school. I remember the days of a full MONTH with nothing but sleeping in was of concern! College, I miss you!

Tis the season,

Share With Your Friends!


  1. December 23, 2010 / 6:21 am

    Nicole, you are like a supergirl! I won’t be able to keep those schedule. But I know you will be ok and enjoy this busy schedule. To avoid holidays cooking stress… my family planned to take the vacation to the nearby warm beach and eat wherever our stomah take us.
    I wish you had a happy holiday and get full of jolly ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. December 23, 2010 / 7:39 am

    I think my stress is finally being put aside because I have two days off in a row, followed by work tomorrow, then two more days off, which is totally unheard of. My Next three months will be jam packed too, with little time to blog. I think it’s best to take blogging out of your life, compared to anything else. It was hard for me at first, but now I’m used to it and I realize that just because I blog less doesn’t mean people don’t read my blog. And certainly that will be the case for you. Let’s face it, the jobs that PAY mean more, as well as family…and friends ๐Ÿ™‚

    Mark’s poker run sounds like a blast!! What’s with you guys and running with alcohol?! lol, I don’t think I could do it! Especially that Guiness run.

    Love the recipe above. The people who inspired you to make it must have been WAY COOL….

    Have a merry Christmas Nicole!!!

  3. December 23, 2010 / 8:53 am

    Wow, your schedule really is crazy! But I’m sure you’ll be able to manage it because you love what you do so much. Have a wonderful holiday! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Oh, and I’ve always heard that challah makes the best french toast!

  4. December 23, 2010 / 9:08 am

    My stress is finally starting to wind down! You really have a lot going on professionally. I used to post everyday but it became too much with a full-time job. Quality time with the husband began to suffer. Now, I post a couple times a week and feel a much better balance.

    Hope you have a wonderful trip!

  5. December 23, 2010 / 9:57 am

    If you’re new schedule is going to stress you out, then I think the most important thing is to make sure not to cut out your favourite “stress-reducing” activity, be it hockey, or cooking, or hanging with Mr P and Lily, or whatever.
    That’s how I keep stress out of my life.

  6. December 23, 2010 / 10:02 am

    I miss all the extra time off for holidays too! Your street looks so pretty. I wish ours looked that way.

    Hope you have a great time with your family this weekend and am awesome Christmas!

  7. December 23, 2010 / 10:11 am

    this time of year ALWAYS stresses me out…always. Jolly is for when you are a kid…and all you worry about is if Santa is going to bring you what you asked for….lol

    Change is exciting, but stressful as well. I sure you will eventually settle into a good routine with your new job…but it will undoubtedly take time getting to that point. Make sure to take a moment or two to do that things that make Nicole happy….soooo important!

    As for WW, I will be looking forward to hearing your prospective of the new program. I am finding though, even at the meetings, not a whole lot of science behind the system is being divulged, and that bothers me….I don’t want to be told “the experts figured it all out, now just do it” mostly because I like to know exactly why and how things work, and I don’t really like to be told what to do…haha but that’s me. Maybe you will get more info coming your way in your area. I am kind of ticked at WW right now, and how they decided to launch this program right before Christmas, as if we aren’t stressed enough this time of year. Who has the time to look up every little thing right now? And the resources for the new program pretty much suck. So that’s my take…haha Going to go at it full force next week though…we will see.

  8. December 23, 2010 / 10:40 am

    I can get stressed pretty easily around this time, but it is normally more relaxing for me due to slowness at work (and coworkers all taking off) and having a break from grad school. I’m still not sure what to do with myself. This year has been great due to online shopping–I’ve had the time to do a ton of baking!

    As far as WW is concerned, one thing I would be interested in hearing is how this new system handles processed v. fresh food. I always felt like they pushed processed foods too much (especially for snacks and baking–margarine?!? no thanks!). That is the main reason I just can’t bring myself to go back to it yet.

    Good luck with all the busy-ness!

  9. December 23, 2010 / 11:06 am

    Oh my gosh, Nicole….you DO have a lot on your plate! Obviously we all understand if you have to cut back on blogging. Even though it’s a hobby you enjoy, it’s probably also the easiest thing to cut back on, ya know? Hopefully it’ll be one of those things, once you get in the midst of it all (with teaching, especially), your stress will go down….sometimes I find that I just get stressed when I’m anticipating how stressful something will be – if that makes sense!

  10. December 23, 2010 / 9:19 pm

    Sorry you are a bit stressed! I hope you get a chance to relax and enjoy your holiday!

    This french toast looks delish! I just love pumpkin! yum yum!

  11. December 23, 2010 / 11:29 pm

    Wow…that is one jam packed schedule!!! No matter how often you are able to post in the new year, I look forward to your updates!! Have a wonderful holiday season!! (and I’m looking forward to hearing what you think about the new weight watchers plan!!)

  12. December 24, 2010 / 8:06 am

    Sounds like you’ve got a seriously full plate this year! Good luck with everything Nicole. You are such an awesome person that I have no doubt you’ll succeed at whatever you do! Plus, you teach us something new here every day so I know you’ll do a GREAT job with your students!

    Quite frankly, the holidays are just making me feel anxious about FOOD. I’m really trying to lose a few pounds that I gained this year from not being able to run/being slightly depressed and overeating because of it. That, combined with the fact that I’m baking all of the desserts for the family…let’s just say. Oy.

    This pumpkin french toast looks wonderful! I would definitely love to wake up to this tomorrow morning! Have a great holidays!

  13. December 24, 2010 / 9:35 am

    The French toast looks awesome. Your busy schedule is starting to sound like mine. Strangely I think I am up to 7 jobs with maybe 5 employers. I know that sounds crazy and sometimes it is hard to keep track of, but they are all part time and I like to stay busy here on the island when I can’t really work clinical. Hang in there and you can juggle everything even those WW meetings. I am curious to hear your thoughts from an RD perspective of WW. Have a happy holiday.

  14. December 25, 2010 / 1:38 pm

    Just blog when you feel like blogging. We will all still be here!

  15. December 26, 2010 / 3:33 pm

    My goodness lady! You have so much going on! Which is AWESOME!!! You could use a little blogging break! And nothing will suffer because your blog rocks! Just spent the last 30 minutes reading all I’ve missed! xo

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