Q is for Quinoa

Quinoa makes a great base for many recipes and can be served as a main dish or side dish. Besides being a flavorful ingredient in many dishes, quinoa also provides many health promoting nutrients.

So, what is quinoa?

According to the Whole Grains Council, quinoa is a gluten-free, whole-grain carbohydrate, as well as a complete whole protein. Which means it contains all nine essential amino acids.

The Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council states that quinoa is made up of 15 percent protein – making quinoa a good source of plant-based protein. Other benefits of quinoa include fiber, B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin E.

Red and Golden Quinoa with Sweet Potato, Zucchini and Yellow squash


  • ½ cup red quinoa
  • ½ cup white or yellow quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup sweet potato diced
  • ½ cup zucchini diced
  • ½ cup yellow squash diced
  • Water to cover
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground pepper
  • Fresh parsley rough chop
  • 2 Tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsps. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsps. Italian seasoning


  • Rinse the uncooked quinoa in a mesh strainer under cold water for a minute.
  • Bring 2 cups vegetable broth and both the red and golden quinoa to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover and simmer until quinoa is tender, making sure the vegetable broth has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Next, spread quinoa on a baking sheet, refrigerate until cooled, about 30 minutes. Rinse saucepan.
  • While quinoa is simmering, chop sweet potato, zucchini, and yellow squash into small, diced pieces keeping them uniform in size for best cooking result. Place vegetables into the saucepan and add enough water to cover by 1 inch; season with pepper. Cover saucepan and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium then simmer until vegetables are cooked through but still tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain water, rinse vegetables under cold water; refrigerate until cool, about 10 minutes.
  • In small bowl, whisk together extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Italian seasoning and fresh ground pepper, set aside.
  • Mix quinoa, sweet potato, zucchini, yellow squash together in a large bowl.
  • Add contents from small bowl to the large bowl of quinoa mix and toss to coat. Sprinkle fresh parsley on top and enjoy!


This dish can be served warm or cold.

Guest Blogger: Dawn Renee West

Dawn Renee West is a free lance writer with a bachelor’s degree in communication with an emphasis in public relations. She is currently a food and nutrition student at the University of Alabama. She has a passion for community nutrition and is experienced in nutrition education and public speaking. Dawn Renee currently lives in Georgia.

P is for Peanut Butter

This no-bake dessert is a different take on a rich, classic dessert. In the classic recipe, the peanut butter is blended with cream cheese and powdered sugar. In this recipe, greek yogurt is used instead of cream cheese and it is sweetened with maple syrup. Greek yogurt contains lots of protein and other nutrients such as Calcium and Vitamin D.

This recipe is gluten-free as the crust is made with almonds (or any nut of your choice). There is also oat flour in the crust so be sure to use oats that are labeled gluten-free, for anyone with sensitivities or allergies.  Of course, you can always use a traditional pre-made pie crust as well.

Have fun with the toppings. You can customize it for any occasion.  See the notes for some suggested toppings.

No Bake Peanut Butter Pie

No Bake Peanut Butter Pie



  • 2 cups nuts of your choice I’ve used walnuts and almonds, you can also use a mix
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • ½ cup cocoa or cacoa powder unsweetened
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup honey, or preferred sweetener
  • 2 tablespoons milk or plant milk
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  • 2 cups plain reek yogurt
  • 1 ½ cups peanut butter
  • ¼ cup maple syrup honey, or preferred sweetener
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt



  • Grease your pie plate/pan
  • Add nuts to food processor and pulse until broken down into chunks.
  • Add in the rest of the ingredients: oat flour, cocoa powder, maple syrup, milk, and salt. Pulse until thoroughly combined.
  • Add this mixture to a pie plate/pan and press down and up the sides.
  • Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.


  • In a large bowl combine all the filling ingredients: greek yogurt, peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt. Blend until smooth.
  • Add this filling on top of the chilled pie crust and spread evenly.
  • Top with chocolate chips, if desired.
  • Chill for at least 1 hour, then enjoy.


If you don’t have oat flour, you can make this yourself by pulverizing some oats in your food processor or blender.
Buy a pre-made pie crust to skip this step all together.
Adjust the amount of sweetener to your taste. I found the amounts in this recipe to be a bit too much, but I prefer desserts that are not very sweet.
You can decorate the top with any chocolate, candy or topping of your choosing (think M&M’s, pretzels, peanut butter chips, whipped cream, graham crackers, pecans, etc.)

Guest blogger: Amber Lineweaver

Amber Lineweaver is a second year dietetics student living in West Central Florida. My favorite foods are: black cherry popsicles, Beyond Burgers and Impossible Burgers, fruit smoothies, and of course coffee. And yes, coffee is definitely a life-sustaining food. My hobbies include: working out, embroidery, and going to/watching baseball games. Go Rays! I’m interested in many areas of nutrition but have narrowed it down to a few categories: pediatrics, sports nutrition, retail dietetics, and research. I find human biochemical pathways fascinating and always want to explore them further.

O is for Okra

Guys… I have a secret to tell you… okra doesn’t have to be slimy! This recipe is adapted from traditional crispy Indian okra (bhindi).

Okra is a great source of vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, magnesium, thiamin, vitamin B6. Paired with the serrano pepper, the dish is also a great source of dietary fiber and vegetable protein. You can adjust the spices to taste. I tend to add a lot of spice to my food so feel free to add more or less depending on how spicy you like your food.

Crispy Indian Okra


  • 12 oz fresh okra
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 serrano pepper minced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ inch ginger minced
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp salt adjust to taste
  • 2 Tbsp oil


  • Slice okra in half. Toss with oil, serrano pepper, and spices, making sure the okra is evenly coated.
  • Transfer okra to making in preheated oven on 400F for 15-18 minutes or until okra is crispy. You make have to bake the okra slightly longer than 18 minutes if the halves are large.
  • Eat and enjoy!

M is for Mushrooms

Ever wonder if mushrooms are a fruit or a veggie?  Actually, they are neither!  Mushrooms are fungi. However, they are often put in the vegetable group for the purposes of dietary recommendations.  Mushrooms come in many varieties, but most mushrooms in nature are not suitable for human consumption. Those that are edible include white, crimini, shiitake and portabello.

Although they are small (with the exception of the large portabello mushroom), they are packed with nutrients. Mushrooms are a good source of selenium – a trace mineral with antioxidant benefits. A serving of mushrooms also provides B vitamins and potassium.

Probably to most interesting nutrient found in mushrooms is vitamin D. This fat soluble vitamin is most commonly found in animal derived foods such as salmon, sardines, and oysters, as well as, fortified foods like milk, orange juice, and cereals. Mushroom growers can actually boost the vitamin D levels in their crops by provided ultraviolet light.  Just like a similar process in human biology, mushrooms are able to covert ergosterol to vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.

Beyond the nutrient benefits of mushrooms, they make a great savory addition to a variety of dishes.  They are great in soups and gravy. They can add flavor and moisture to vegetarian burgers. You can even enjoy them raw as a salad topper.

IMPORTANT TIP:  Be sure to clean your mushrooms first.  Check out this short video from Martha Stewart’s website on cleaning mushrooms.

Like I said, there are many yummy ways to enjoy mushrooms. Below is a family favorite from Pioneer Woman.  Hope you like it too!

Pioneer Woman photo of Spicy Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

Spicy Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

Servings 8


  • 24 oz White Mushrooms
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 whole Medium Onion Diced
  • 1/2 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • Salt And Black Pepper To Taste
  • 8 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup Sour Cream
  • 1/2 cup Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Grated Monterey Jack Or Farmer’s Cheese
  • 1 pkg Chopped Spinach Thawed
  • 8 dashes Hot Sauce


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Wash and dry mushrooms. Pull the stems off the mushrooms, then chop the stems finely. Heat olive oil and butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and chopped mushrooms stems and saute for several minutes, or until soft and starting to turn golden. Add panko crumbs, salt, and pepper. Stir and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  • Squeeze excess liquid out of thawed spinach. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, add softened cream cheese, sour cream, grated cheeses, and the cooled mushroom/onion/panko mixture. Fold together to combine. Add spinach, a dash of salt, a little pepper, and hot sauce to taste. Fold together until combined.
  • Using a spoon, mound the mixture into the stemmed mushroom caps. Use the spoon to round the mixture on top. Place on a baking sheet or in a baking dish and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the mushrooms are cooked and the filling is hot. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Episode 1 – Introduction

We are excited to bring you this introductory episode of the Nutrition Anthropology Podcast. In this short episode, we introduce you to the host, discuss the unique name of the podcast and talk about our unique approach to health and well-being.

The podcast will soon be available on all your favorite podcast apps including Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Please subscribe and gives us your feedback. Also, if there is a particular topic you would like us to address through the podcast, please let us know in the comments.

Let the journey begin!

Listen here:

N is for Navy Beans

Navy beans are small white beans that are a variety of the common bean. They originated in the Americas and are also called Boston beans, pea beans, or pearl haricot beans. The beans are called “navy beans” in the U.S. because they were a staple food item for the U.S. Navy beginning in the mid-1800s. These beans are very high in fiber and are a nice source of plant protein. These beans appear in a variety of dishes including baked beans, soups, stews, and bean pie. They are also a delicious addition to the stew recipe below!

Navy Bean Stew

Navy Bean Stew


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 oz. mushrooms sliced
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 1 cup celery chopped
  • 1 cup carrots chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ cup red wine I used a cabernet sauvignon
  • 2 russet potatoes cubed
  • 1-14 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1-32 oz beef broth
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cups navy beans cooked
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


  • Sauté mushrooms and onion in olive oil over medium-high heat in a dutch oven (or regular pot) until some of the water from the mushrooms evaporates (about 5 minutes).
  • Add celery and carrots and cook another 5 minutes.
  • Add garlic and red wine and cook until the smell of alcohol is gone (about 5 minutes or so).
  • Add the potatoes, tomatoes, broth, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, parsley, and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil.
  • Cover and reduce heat to simmer for about an hour, or until potatoes are tender.
  • Mix the water and flour in a separate small bowl to make a paste.
  • Add peas, navy beans, and flour mixture to the pot. Increase heat to medium or medium-high to bring back up to a slow boil and cook uncovered for another 20 minutes.
  • Add Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to serve.


You can use either can or dried beans in this recipe. If using dried beans, cook them first (recipe below)
Another quick note: this stew recipe can be made vegetarian by using vegetable broth instead of beef broth.

Navy Beans (dried)


  • 1 pound dried beans
  • 8 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ½ onion
  • 2 bay leaves


  • Add all ingredients to Instant Pot (or other pressure cooker)
  • Cook for about 10 minutes
  • If they are too hard after 10 minutes, cook them for an additional 5 minutes


You can finish cooking them in the stew by adding them to the pot earlier than mentioned in the recipe. I cooked a whole pound of dried beans so I could use them for other recipes throughout the week.
Woman with shoulder length brown hair smiling

Blog and recipe courtesy of Seena Curry. Seena is a dietetics student at University of Alabama and expects to graduate in December. She hopes to find a career as a Registered Dietitian that combines her passions for food, nutrition education, and serving her community. Seena is a hobbyist food photographer and has an Instagram dedicated to her favorite recipes (sc_balancedeats).

L is for Lentils

Did you know that Canada is the largest producer and exporter of lentils? Canada began growing lentils in the 1970s and has over 5,000 active lentil farmers today! Lentils are produced in pods attached to the lentil plant, which are planted in May and harvested in mid-August.

Lentils are legumes with many different varieties: whole green, whole red, split red, French green, and beluga/black lentils. Split lentils typically cook much faster than whole. They break down quickly and are great to use as thickeners for soups, in curries and purees. Whole lentils, which are used in the chili recipe below, keep their shape and give texture to dishes.

Lentils are very high in fiber and protein. One serving, or ½ cup cooked lentils, contains about 8 grams (g) of dietary fiber and 9 g of protein. Fiber is important for gut health. It slows digestion which helps control blood sugar levels and keeps us feeling fuller for longer. Daily recommended amount of dietary fiber is 25 g for women and 38 g for men. So one serving of lentils will give you about 21-32% of your recommended daily intake! Lentils also contain several important vitamins and minerals: potassium, folate, iron, and manganese. Potassium is involved in regulating blood pressure. Folate helps support proper nerve function. Iron plays an important role in carrying oxygen to the cells so they can produce energy. Manganese helps regulate blood sugar levels. These vitamins and minerals are key players in major functions of our bodies, which make lentils a very nutritious food choice!

The Lentil Chili and Macaroni Skillet recipe below is a one-pan meal that is super easy to make. This comforting chili is perfect for a quick weeknight meal. For more delicious lentil recipes, check out!

Lentil Chili and Macaroni Skillet


  • 1 lb bacon chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper chopped
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh corn
  • 1 ½ Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups cooked green lentils
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup elbow macaroni I used Banza chickpea elbows
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 ½ cup extra sharp white cheddar


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Cook bacon over medium heat in large oven-safe skillet until desired level of crispiness. If you don’t have an oven-safe pan, you can transfer to a baking dish before putting in the oven. Take bacon out with slotted spoon and set aside on paper towel lined plate.
  • Add onion, bell peppers, and corn to skillet and cook until onions are translucent. Stir in chili powder, cumin, coriander, dried oregano, salt, sugar, pepper and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Add lentils, crushed and diced tomatoes, macaroni, and water. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to medium low. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes until macaroni is cooked all the way through, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in the bacon pieces. Top with cheese. Bake for about 5 minutes until cheese is melted. Broil for a few minutes to get the top extra bubbly, if desired.


Recipe adapted from

Woman with shoulder length brown hair smilingGuest blogger: Seena Curry is a dietetics student at University of Alabama and expects to graduate in December. She hopes to find a career as a Registered Dietitian that combines her passions for food, nutrition education, and serving her community. Seena is a hobbyist food photographer and has an Instagram dedicated to her favorite recipes (sc_balancedeats).

K is for Kimchi

Kimchi jjigae simply means “kimchi stew.” Cabbage kimchi is a fermented dish that is served with almost every Korean meal. Kimchi is a great probiotic that adds vitamin A, vitamin B, calcium, iron. The fermentation process makes kimchi a great probiotic that helps to keep your intestinal flora healthy.

During the winter, I make this dish about once a week. I recommend buying kimchi from your local Asian market as these stores tend to have cheaper, better quality kimchi than what you find at a supermarket chain. You can also make your own kimchi with the Easy Kimchi recipe below.

If the process of making your own kimchi seems daunting at the moment, there is a local (Orlando) restaurant I recommend where you can try it.  The kimchi tots at King Bao in Orlando are quite yummy.  The national chain of P.F. Chang’s also has an interesting version of kimchi that you can ask for on the side of most dishes.

Easy Kimchi


  • 6 pounds napa cabbage
  • ½ cup salt
  • 8 diagonally sliced green onions
  • 1 cups Asian chives
  • 2 cups matchstick cut Korean radish
  • ½ cup matchstick cut carrot


  • 3 cups water
  • ½ sweet rice flour
  • 2 Tbsp turbinado sugar or brown sugar if you can’t find turbinado

Kimchi paste:

  • Cold porridge see above
  • 1 cup fish sauce
  • 2.5 hot pepper flakes “gochugaru” = 고추가루
  • 1 cup crushed garlic
  • 1-2 Tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • ***Optional: ¼ fermented salted shrimp saeujeot, chopped


Step 1: Prepare the cabbage

  • Cut cabbage into quarters, remove cores. Chop cabbage in to bite size pieces. Soak in cold water. Sprinkle salt over the cabbage and water.
  • Soak for a total of 1 ½ hours.
  • Every 30 minutes, mix cabbage to evenly distribute salt.
  • After 1 ½ hours, rinse cabbage thoroughly to remove salt. Drain cabbage, set aside.

Step 2: Prepare the kimchi paste

  • In a small pot, mix together 3 cups of water and ½ cup of sweet rice flour. Mix well and bring to a boil.
  • Add ¼ cup sugar. Stir in, cook for a few more minutes until the mixture is translucent. Allow mixture to cool before proceeding.
  • Add mixture to food processor or blender.
  • Add 1 cup fish sauce, 2.5 cups hot pepper flakes, 1 cup crushed garlic, 1-2 Tbsp minced ginger, 1 cup minced onion. Blend until well combined.
  • Pour the well combined mixture in to a large bowl. Mix in green onions, Korean radish, carrot, and Asian chive.

Step 3: Combine paste and cabbage

  • Add cabbage to paste mixture. Mix thoroughly.
  • Pour mixture in to gallon size (or 2 gallon size bags if you can find it)
  • Put filled bags in air-tight plastic container or large glass jar.


Read through all of the steps before you start. Steps 1 and 2 overlap slightly.

Kimchi Jjigae (김치찌개)

Servings 2 servings


  • 2 cups fully fermented kimchi cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 0.5 lb pork belly sliced in to bite sized pieces
  • ¼ cup kimchi “juice” if there’s enough in the jar to spare
  • ½ white onion chopped
  • ½ block tofu cubed (medium or soft depending on your preference)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ tsp fresh ginger minced
  • 1 Tbsp gochujang Korean hot pepper paste***
  • 1 Tbsp gochugaru Korean chili flakes***
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 green onions sliced
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 cups beef chicken, or vegetable broth


  • In a cast iron pot (or large soup pot) on medium heat, sauté pork belly in ½ Tbsp sesame oil for a few minutes.
  • Add kimchi to pot, stir fry for 5 minutes
  • Add remaining oil (1/2 Tbsp), onion, garlic, gochujang, gochugaru, and soy sauce. Mix to combine.
  • Pour broth in to pot, turn heat to medium high to bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes, add tofu, simmer for an additional 10-20 minutes.
  • After cooking, add scallions as a garnish.
  • Serve with steamed rice.


For vegetarian/vegan kimchi jjigae: Replace pork belly with shiitake mushrooms Substitute vegetable broth for chicken or beef broth ***If you do not like spicy food, cut down the gochujang and gochugaru to your taste. Start with 1 tsp of each and add more until you read desired spiciness***

Image of woman short brown hair with glasses Guest blogger:  Shelley Palmer is a senior Food and Nutrition major at The University of Alabama. She aspires to become a Registered Dietitian working in long term geriatric care. As a military spouse, she has traveled all around the world with her husband. Shelley enjoys making kimchi from scratch, spending time with her dogs, and working as a cook at a Continuing Care Retirement Community.

J is for Jam

Just wanted to pop in for a quick post this Easter Sunday to continue our Food Fun from A to Z series. Today, we are talking about jam. A running disagreement in my family is whether or not there is a difference between jam and jelly. Time to settle this once and for all!

Actually, yes, there is a difference between jam and jelly and it lies in the form of the ingredients. Jam is made with whole fruit crushed or chopped. Jelly, on the other hand, is made from the juice of the fruit. So you can think of it in terms of this food’s buddy, peanut butter – chunky (jam) or smooth (jelly). There is definitely a difference!

Looking for a new fun way to enjoy jam?  Here’s an idea:

Make your own fruit on the bottom yogurt. Top 2 tablespoons of your favorite fruit jam with 6 ounces of plain or vanilla yogurt. For a beautiful (and yummy) addition to Sunday brunch, layer jam, yogurt and granola in mason jars or other dessert dish.

So are you team Jam or team Jelly?  Let us know in the comments below.

F is for Figs and I is for Ice Cream

Today’s blog is a combo of the letters ‘F’ and ‘I’ in our Food Fun from A to Z series. Most people are familiar with figs only from the popular cookie – the Fig Newton. However, figs are a fun fruit that can add a sweet taste to a variety of foods, including ice cream. Figs are sweet like honey with a slight berry taste. Figs also serve as a source of fiber, B6 and potassium.

You scream! I scream! We all scream for ice cream!

As the weather begins to warm up, ice cream is a great way to cool down after a long day (or in the middle or at the beginning – really anytime!).

We are a Girl Scout family. When my girls were young, we would often go camping and participate in other outdoor activities like hiking and orienteering. The outdoor culinary skills we gained often come in handy during hurricane season here in Florida. They can make pizza in a box oven, walking tacos and, of course, s’mores for days. Above all, their favorite Girl Scout memory is making ice cream in a bag.

The recipe below is fun for all and the end result is yummy ice cream. What could be better? This recipe is super flexible. You could add chocolate chips, chopped walnuts, strawberries, etc. The possibilities are endless. Grab the kids and your gloves (the bag gets cold) and make fun family memories of your own.

Fig Ice Cream in a Bag

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Servings 2 servings


  • 3-4 figs
  • 1 c. half-and-half
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 c. ice
  • 1/3 c. kosher salt or rock salt
  • Toppings of your choice


  • Cut figs in half, scoop out pulp and chop into small pieces
  • Sprinkle figs with 1 tbsp. sugar and toss to coat. Let sit 5 minutes.
  • In a small Ziploc bag, combine half-and-half, sugar, vanilla and figs.
  • Push out excess air and seal.
  • Into a larger Ziploc bag, combine ice and salt.
  • Place small bag inside the bigger bag and shake vigorously, 7 to 10 minutes, until ice cream has hardened.
  • Remove from bag and enjoy with your favorite ice cream toppings.


Depending on the weather, it may take longer to set-up. If still soft, place small bag in freezer until set. Tossing the large Ziploc bag back and forth between friends adds to the fun. You can also make it a game of hot (or actually cold) potato(es) with a group of friends in a circle.