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I Am What I Cook Entry

The other day I was perusing the blogs I follow and was completely fascinating with a challenge Sophia of Burp and Slurp posed to her readers. Below is an excerpt from her post:

Question of the day: What does your name mean? Do you define your name? How do you define yourself right now?

And here’s a challenge for you: Cook a dish that defines you. It can be the person you dream to be, like I did. Let’s call it the “You Are What You Cook” Challenge. You can post it on your blog, and I might do a round-up of all your creations, linking to your recipe and posting your pictures. I think it’d be fun!

Nicole is my name and it means “Victory of the People”. Do I define my name? I think so! Of course, my initial thought goes straight to health and nutrition…not only because that is what I do as a dietitian, but it’s also what I AM. I am a woman who has lost weight in the past (and could stand to lose a few pounds in the present) and who wants to make a difference in the world — most specifically in fighting the diseases (diabetes!) resulting from our nation’s obesity epidemic. A reader just last week pointed out the fact that my LIFE is nutrition — work, home, blog, you name it!

Since beginning this blog, my skill in the kitchen has blossomed. I am becoming more creative and original in the things I make. Yet my ultimate goal will remain good taste + solid nutritional balance = SCOOOORE!

The theory of “if it tastes good, don’t eat it” doesn’t fly in my kitchen. I wish nothing more than to PROVE that that statement is nothing short of blasphemy!

In keeping with the challenge, “You Are What You Cook” I had several criteria I wanted to meet:

  • Appearance — I LOVE beautiful food that calls my name just from the looks of it!
  • Color — color = vitamins and minerals…I want lots of those!
  • Bold — What can I say? I love bold flavors and things that make my mouth dance!
  • Mexican-like — If you know me, you know Mexcian food and I go together like peas and carrots (Forest Gump reference…)
  • Balance — protein, carbohydrates, fat…you know, the works. Balance.
  • NUTRITIOUS — Duhhh. 😉

Final Product: Prevention Seafood Tacos with Black Beans and Guacamole

The whole shuuuh-bang

Prevention Seafood Tacos
serves 4

4 corn tortillas
*4 wild salmon fillets (approx. 3-4 ounces each), raw, thawed
*1/2 lb jumbo shrimp (pre-cooked), thawed
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 + 1 Tbsp cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
fine sea salt, to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 onion, sliced
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 red cabbage head, chopped (garnish)

*Either salmon of shrimp can be used alone. Tofu would be a great substitution for either seafood selection and would marinade beautifully.


Combine honey, soy sauce, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add shrimp and salmon. Marinate salmon and shrimp for 20 minutes (or longer, if desired). Transfer salmon and marinade to a skillet. Cook salmon over medium heat until cooked on one side. Flip salmon and add shrimp. Simmer the seafood in the marinade until cooked through.

In a separate skillet, saute onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and balsamic vinegar until edges begin to brown.

Serve salmon and shrimp on corn tortilla topped with onion and red cabbage.

Discussion of dish: This taco is combining my favorite Mexican dish — tacos — with a bold, savory flare combining vinegar and onion with the crunch of cabbage. Nom nom nom!

Nutrition: Utilizes salmon which is high in omega-3 fatty acids versus high saturated fat steak. Topped with a sauteed onion and cabbage garnish versus high-fat sour cream and spicy salsa. A corn tortilla is lower in calories and fat than its flour counterpart…plus, it’s more authentic!

Prevention Black Beans with Papaya Salsa
serves 4

1 can lower-sodium black beans (no rinse!)
1 tomato, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp cumin
1/2 jalapeno, diced
2/3 cup papaya, diced
1/3 cup red onion, diced
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped


In a small pot soften the bell pepper over medium heat for several minutes. Add black beans, cumin, garlic, and jalapeno. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add tomatoes and simmer another 2-3 minutes.

Combine papaya, red onion, and cilantro in a separate dish.

Plate the black beans and garnish with the papaya salsa.

Discussion of dish: A spicy-sweet combination. The flavor is good, especially with plenty of papaya salsa. The texture of the green pepper was a little off — I may omit that next time. Overall, it was an okay dish and pretty cost-effective.

Nutrition: High in fiber and loaded with color. Papaya is a somewhat scary-looking fruit great substitution for mango in something like a sweet salsa. These black beans are essentially fat-free and contain various vitamins and minerals (colors purple, green, orange were all used!).

Prevention’s Homemade Guacamole and Chips
serves 4

1 large avocado
1 Tbsp salsa
2 tsp plain 0% fat Greek yogurt or low-fat sour cream
1 tsp olive oildash of garlic salt
dash of pepper
1/4 lime, juice only
6 corn tortillas
canola oil cooking spray
sea salt


Preheat broiler to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Cut tortillas into quarters like a pie. Arrange tortilla triangles in a single layer on the foil-lined baking sheet. Spray tortilla triangles with cooking spray and sprinkle with sea salt. Broil 5-6 minutes or until they begin to brown.

In a small dish, combine avocado, salsa, yogurt/sour cream, olive oil, garlic salt, pepper, and lime juice until smooth. Serve with tortilla chips.

Discussion of dish: Delicious! An all-time favorite.

Nutrition: Avocados are high in monounsaturated fat (good fat) and a great source of vitamins and minerals. Olive oil is rich in good fats, as well. When served with saturated and trans fat-free tortilla chips, this is a great addition to any party or meal.


This was such a fun challenge and a great way to spend President’s Day! I hope some of you decide to take Sophia up on her challenge!

Question: Even if you don’t plan to enter into “I Am What I Cook” — what’s one initial thought on what you would create?

Random question: Do YOU know what YOUR name means?

P.S. Don’t forget to enter to win the Vitalicious Super Sampler Giveaway ($35.99 value!)! Ends Wednesday, don’t delay! 🙂

Share With Your Friends!


  1. February 16, 2010 / 8:06 am

    Great post and I love all your recipes!!! Mexican food is the way to my man’s heart… I’m going to have to try these out for him! Have a great day πŸ™‚

  2. February 16, 2010 / 8:45 am

    You really thought that one through…what an awesome choice and a pretty meal as well! I love fish/shrimp tacos!

  3. Kenya
    February 16, 2010 / 9:01 am

    I am not exactly sure what I would cook, I haven’t decided on a ‘favorite type’ of food just yet!

    Oh, and my name literally means “animal horn” – I do NOT define my name! LOL!!

  4. February 16, 2010 / 11:07 am

    Love all these recipes Nicole – except I would leave out the onions!

    All I know is that my given name of Elizabeth has 152 variations!! I go by Beth in real life, but my nickname is Biz! πŸ˜€

    My husband calls me Bazey Mae though! πŸ˜€

  5. February 16, 2010 / 12:26 pm

    My name is actually my middle name.

    My first name is “Blanca” version of “Blanco”

    My middle name is “Estela” version of “Estrella”

    Translation is White Star.

  6. February 16, 2010 / 12:32 pm

    My name means honeybee. Maybe that’s why I like sweets so much? Your recipe looks delicious!

  7. February 16, 2010 / 12:33 pm

    What a wonderful creation! The seafood tacos look so delicious and especially with the black beans and papaya salsa! Love it!

  8. February 16, 2010 / 1:26 pm

    What a cool concept! And those tacos look SO good…shrimp/fish tacos were one of my absolute favorite meals before going veg!

  9. February 16, 2010 / 1:31 pm

    Your YOU dish sounds so delicious! I’m pretty sure my name is a flower but I don’t know about any other meaning.

    If I created a me dish it would probably include a bunch of Brussels sprouts cause it’s my favorite and I love good for me foods… Cheese because i’m from Holland and they have yummy cheese and be Italian-ish or an egg dish. I’ll have to think about this some more and maybe create something fun over the weekend.

  10. February 16, 2010 / 1:48 pm

    you definitely do live up to your name!! i love sophia’s idea, you picked some great food to showcase. i agree wholeheartedly: β€œif it tastes good, don’t eat it” does NOT flyin my kitchen either!

  11. February 16, 2010 / 2:32 pm

    wow…if you really cook who you are…then I’d totally want to eat you in real life! hahah I’m LOVING the explanation, the honesty, and how perfectly your personality shines through in the dish you created. I saw Sophia’s challenge and was…honestly, a tad lazy to embark on this challenge. GO YOU! for doin’ it and pulling it off so darn well!

  12. February 16, 2010 / 3:17 pm

    Love this, Nicole! Thank you so much for entering!
    I would totally eat you up, and smack my lips and lick my fingers! lol. Loved your analysis of this dish, too. You are one jazzy, wholesome gal! πŸ™‚

  13. February 16, 2010 / 3:27 pm

    Love this creative and fun post!! You sound quite delicious, hehe!! πŸ˜‰

  14. February 16, 2010 / 4:54 pm

    Everything looks delicious…shrimp tacos, salsa and guacamole…prefect meal πŸ™‚

  15. eaternotarunner
    February 16, 2010 / 5:40 pm

    Love seafood tacos, all of your recipes look great πŸ™‚

  16. applec
    February 16, 2010 / 6:13 pm

    Fantastic post, Nicole. I love how your define yourself and how the food represents you. So full of health and good living.

  17. February 16, 2010 / 6:34 pm

    I actually have no idea what my name means.
    It would have to be a toss between an Italian or Mexican dish. I love both types of foods so much. I am Italian and always seem to make Italian so that would probably fit.
    I love the addition of greek yogurt to the guac. I might have to try that out. Thanks!

  18. February 16, 2010 / 8:46 pm

    Those recipes look great! I enjoy Sophia’s blog very much – what a great idea. I’m not sure what my name means, I think it’s for a Greek Godess (maybe!)

  19. February 16, 2010 / 9:09 pm

    I love this idea, and now I really want to think what fits my name (there’s so many things I think that could fit “Grace” but what truly fits it the best?). Great idea Burp and Slurp! What you made is beautiful…and sounds soooo delicious! I love fish tacos, so I think these are meant for me to make!

  20. February 16, 2010 / 9:29 pm

    I love all of these recipes. Mexican food and I also go together like peas and carrots. Now I am craving guacamole, which is not an unusual occurrence for me. I thought this was a great idea on Sophia’s blog but have not had the time to think of a recipe.

    Great job!!

  21. February 17, 2010 / 12:45 am

    What a great idea!! I actually don’t know what my name means! mmm everything looks fresh and tasty, may have to try that challenge πŸ™‚

  22. February 17, 2010 / 1:45 am

    I love Sophia’s challenge, and you did a fabulous job with your meal and the thought you put into it!!!

  23. February 17, 2010 / 7:00 am

    Fantastic recipes Nicole!! The guacamole especially. Can you believe I have never made my own guac? I should be ashamed of myself. I am doing a post on our work blog today about fish and the benefits of different fish, perhaps I’ll throw in some idea of how to utilize fish, other than just eating a fillet. People need to know it can be incorporated into SO MANY fun dishes, like tacos! Who doesn’t like a good taco?! Love the salsa too, great substitution for the mango.

    Have a nice day Nicole!

  24. February 17, 2010 / 7:57 am

    I totally agree with you that there’s no reason delicious food can’t be the most nutritious! I really like the sound of your YOU dish and would probably choose most of the same criteria for me – colorful, bold flavor, balanced & nutritious, and I’d add to that “unexpected”. Because I love to surprise people in all kinds of ways – with gifts, with sides of me they’ve never seen. things I’ve done they may not believe, and of course, food they wouldn’t expect to be SO good πŸ™‚

  25. February 18, 2010 / 7:39 am

    Excellent description of “you are what you cook.” Your mexican dishes here look great. Never would have thought to put honey with the shrimp…nice flavor twist. I love your exuberance and passion for everything food and life πŸ™‚
    Not sure what my name means. My daughter Leela, hers means purple in spanish.

  26. February 18, 2010 / 7:22 pm

    you say: “The theory of β€œif it tastes good, don’t eat it” doesn’t fly in my kitchen. I wish nothing more than to PROVE that that statement is nothing short of blasphemy!”

    I love love love it!
    This is my mission too! Whenever I have people over, I make it a point to make healthy AND delicious food. And most of the time, our friends love it!

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