By Kathleen Kinder, Texas Woman's University Dietetic Intern
Happy National Blog Posting Month! Also called, “NaBloPoMo,” it was started as a response to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). The blogging forum, BlogHer, heads up the promotion, and there are writing challenges every month. But November is still the “official” month for the promotion of blogging.
It is only appropriate that I dedicate my first blog entry to my passion, my profession, and what I know best… food, nutrition and weddings. I’m not married- I’m not even engaged! However, I am at that age where people are making serious decisions about which man or woman they want to commit to for a lifetime, and that usually results in the exchange of an engagement ring and all the joys that go into planning a wedding to celebrate the love two people share for one another. I’ve done the math, and I have attended 14 weddings in the past 2 years, 7 of which I have been a bridesmaid. Being a bridesmaid is a huge honor, but along with bridesmaid status comes great responsibility. I am certain there is nothing in the world that sucks more money out of a poor graduate student’s bank account than being a bridesmaid. Brides need presents. Bridesmaids need dresses. Brides need showers and bachelorette parties, organized and funded by you, the bridesmaid. Bridesmaids need shoes. Brides need to have their weddings somewhere you do not live. Bridesmaids need hotel rooms and sometimes plane flights. Despite all this, I am also certain there is nothing more pleasing to the ear than a room full of laughter from a closely-bonded group of intelligent, beautiful women. And from experience, I know that these women like to eat.
My friends and I have come up with a way to save a little money during our trips around Texas for these showers and events we help host, and it’s as simple as assigning a meal to a pair of girls or a dish to each girl hosting (with the exception of the bride, of course). For weekend-long events, we each save an average of $76 by cooking food for each other instead of going out to eat! As a future dietitian, I’m very aware that others await my presentation of foods of nutritional substance, but also those with delicious taste and vibrant color. I’d be lying if I said I don’t feel a little pressure to meet their culinary expectations. The truth is, I am always promoting the dietetics profession through my actions, my words, and my cooking, especially in social settings, so during the past couple of years I’ve gladly accepted the challenge of finding aesthetically pleasing and nutritionally fulfilling recipes that feed the frenzied flocks of girls touched by wedding fever. And for those crazy-busy brides and bridesmaids who barely have time to squeeze their wedding to-do check marks in among the rest of real life, this might be a bit of good advice where you really need it. Here are two of my biggest hits, sensible and cost-friendly for any girly-get-together!
Chinese Cole Slaw
1 bag angel hair coleslaw (preferably with purple cabbage and carrots!)
Chicken Ramen Noodles, crumbled
3 green onions, chopped, including tops
1 cup small sunflower kernels
1 cup small sliced almonds
Ramen Noodles seasoning packet
¼ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons vinegar
Mix all ingredients, except Ramen Noodles and dressing, in a large bowl. JUST BEFORE SERVING, add Ramen Noodles and dressing. Toss well and serve!
5-Layer Mediterranean Dip
Source: WhatsGaby Cooking.com
3 tablespoons hummus
3 tablespoons store bought tzatziki sauce
¼ cup chopped cucumbers
5 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion
1. In an individual serving cup, layer the hummus on the bottom, followed by the tzatziki sauce, making sure to smooth out each layer as you create it.
2. Add the chopped cucumbers on top of the tzatziki, followed by the tomatoes and then the feta cheese.
3. Sprinkle the top with the sliced green inions and serve alongside raw vegetables or pita chips.
Both of these recipes provide a multitude of colorful foods, and research shows eating a wide array of colors every day is the best approach to getting all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. For example, the orange carrots in the coleslaw are high in beta-carotene which helps support the immune system and maintains healthy eyes and skin. The red tomatoes are rich in the phytonutrients lycopene and anthocyanin, which greatly benefits the circulatory system by helping build healthy cell walls and protects the skin from harmful UV rays.
So go dominate that walk down the church isle in your $300 bridesmaids dress that you’ll never wear again with your beautiful, hydrated, nutrient-enriched skin! And be proud knowing that with these recipes, you’ll make magical new memories during a truly sacred time in life with the girls that you love most.
Kathleen Kinder is a graduate student from Texas Woman's University, nearing the end of her dietetic internship and eagerly anticipating a career as a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). She is enjoying life in the big city of Dallas, but is always loyal to her West Texas roots and her alma mater, the Texas A&M Aggies. Kathleen will be wearing her 8th bridesmaids dress at her brother's wedding on November 29th!