the good the bad and the dairy.

June is National Dairy Month.  That makes some of us excited!  But lately, I've been feelin' bad for dairy because dairy's gettin' a bad rap.  People are running around saying how dairy is bad for our bodies and we should stay away.  A common question I get as a dietitian-- back when I worked professionally in a hospital and now when people find out that I'm an RD-- is "why is dairy bad?"

I've never been someone who's strong suit is gentleness.  So I manage to bite my tongue long enough to gain some composure, before answering [in a long-winded way] why dairy isn't bad.  Some people think dairy can slow down our bodies and that we weren't intended to eat cow products in the first place.  There are several common diets and "fad" diets out there that recommend avoiding dairy.  They make claims that dairy products pass on hormones, antibiotics, and all kinds of chemicals that our bodies don't need.  We could have a long discussion on this, along with ethics, farming practices, and the works but that's not what I'm getting at today.  Today I want to share that I think dairy is an important part of our diets.  If you don't, that's ok, let's still be friends.  Just know if you ASK my opinion, I will share with you that I think dairy is OK.  That I feed my toddler dairy every day.  Like ANYTHING it needs to be consumed in moderation or else you will quickly fill up on fat.

Here are some of the good things about dairy:  

-  good source of calcium which is important for bone health and our teeth  [dairy is the best source of calcium] 
-  good source of vitamin D which in necessary for the processing of calcium 
-  good source of potassium
-  good source of protein 
-  studies have shown dairy intake is linked to better cardiovascular health as well as improved weight loss

*In all fairness, there are a lot of points that I have left out of this short blog post that are presented well by people on both sides of this issue.  This is my opinion as an individual, mom, and dietitian-- that doesn't mean my opinion is right for everyone. 

drinkin milk, eatin cheese  


the greatest pork i've ever had.

As I've mentioned before I found this pork recipe that is out of this world good.  I am OBSESSED with this pork for 2 reasons:

1.  It's deliciousness.
2.  It's so stinkin easy to prepare.

I call it my 4 x 2 recipe because it has 4 ingredients besides the pork and the measurements are all 2's.

What you need:

-  1 1/2 pound pork [I usually use a loin but whatever you can find works and trim off the excess fat]
-  2 cups salsa [I use store-bought]
-  2 T dried oregano
-  2 T chili powder
-  2 T cocoa powder [unsweetened]

Combine the ingredients and stir them together in the crockpot.


Oh yeah, did I mention it's a crockpot recipe?  Even easier.

Then add the pork and flip it to make sure it's coated.  Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8-9 hours.  Easy peasy.

The recipe suggested pork tacos so we usually do that because who doesn't like a good taco night.  It's also awesome over rice.  Cilantro lime rice.  Really awesome that way. 

*This recipe is approved by all members of the Morgan Family. 

This recipe is from Real Simple and can be found here.


happy wednesday.

hello from down here! 

This is his new favorite trick, and he has captured our hearts with it.  It cracks us up EVERY TIME.  

My little stud is awesome at brushing his teeth. 


waste not want not.

I'm learning a lot these days.  Waste not want not is one of the big things, and I am learning it through food.  I believe God can teach us through anything, and He knows me and He's speaking my love language-- FOOD.  We started this beautiful CSA where we truly have a bounty of the FRESHEST food EVERY week.  I feel spoiled.  How awesome it is that we get to do this.  One of my goals with this adventure was not to be wasteful with what we have.  You see, I'm that person who buys a shopping cart full of produce only to remember it's in my fridge 3 weeks later and to dig the rotting pieces out, having to clean out my fridge of rotten produce juice-- not even knowing which produce item it came from or how long it's been there.  I do love produce, but I think I buy so much I forget about it all.  I hate it.  I hate that I waste that money.  I hate that I waste that food when there are people right here in my city going hungry right now.

So part of the deal when we signed up for this CSA was that we'd get fresh produce-- whatever it is they give us-- and I'll fix it for us.  I knew we wouldn't always like it.  I tried the radishes, really, I don't.like.them.  But we'll try it.  It's taken me awhile [a month] to get the hang of this, but I am getting it.  For the sake of transparency I thought I better share the whole truth here.  I'm doing better with using it all, or giving it to someone who will use it [enter those pesky radishes again, turns out my mother-in-law and sister-in-law love them.  win!]  But the first few weeks I wasted.  Especially week one.

Back here I wrote about week 1 and what I did with the swiss chard.  Glad I used that-- bummed I wasted a lot of it.

Week 1  

The Stats Week 1:

Broccoli -- wasted
Radishes -- wasted
Bok Choy -- wasted
Garlic -- wasted
Lettuce -- ate, delicious!
Swiss Chard -- made it, tried it, bleh.
Strawberries -- a.w.e.s.o.m.e.

Week 2  

The Stats Week 2:

Lettuce -- ate, delicious!
Squash -- ate, delicious!
Garlic -- wasted
Cabbage -- still in fridge, keeps well... I hope
Eight Ball Squash -- ate, delicious!
Spinach -- ate half, delicious!  wasted other half
Strawberries -- a.w.e.s.o.m.e.

Week 3  

The Stats Week 3:

Radishes -- wasted
Turnips -- made it, tried it, not bad!  [turnips get the Most Surprising superlative]
Broccoli -- ate, delicious!
Napa Cabbage -- made it, tried it, delicious!  [awarded Best Dressed superlative... you'll see why when I post this recipe]
Lettuce -- ate, delicious!
Strawberries -- a.w.e.s.o.m.e.  [I had already eaten them before I took this picture]

Week 4 [night picture]

 The Stats Week 4:

Cauliflower -- made it, tried it, bleh.
Potatoes -- in the fridge. excited to make!
Eight Ball Squash -- oh.my.goodness.  greatest veggie dish I've ever made.  recipe soon.
Cucumbers -- so fresh. so delicious.
Squash -- ate, delicious!
Radishes -- tried a bite of one.  gross.  gave to family.  glad they found a good, loving home.
Lettuce -- ate, delicious!
Arugula -- ate some, some still in fridge.
Kale -- still in fridge.  plans to make this soon.

Now that I'm at the end of this post, I think this  must be really boring for people to read.  If anyone has stuck around, do you have problems with wasting food?  Any tips for me?


recipe: black bean deliciousness.

Back here I posted about my black bean cake fail.  The flavor was awesome, but because I didn't use an egg the cakes didn't hold together very well.  I used Emeril's recipe which you can find on this website.  It is really super easy and doesn't take much time! 

photo via 

 I didn't use his Essence or Seasoning because I don't own them, and the flavor was still fantastic.  Enjoy!


it's the most wonderful time of the year.

It's the season for fresh from the farm produce, and it makes my heart oh so happy!  This year for the first time we joined a CSA.  I've wanted to ever since I saw how great they were in DC a couple of years ago.  If you don't know, CSA stands for Community Share Agriculture.  You buy a share of the farm and thus support a local farm.  You pay a fee for the whole season [ours is 25 weeks long!] and you get produce once a week from this farm.  It's really cool because you're forced to try some things that you normally wouldn't [bok choy and swiss chard anyone??], but you also get some delicious favorites like fresh-picked sweet-as-summer strawberries.  The idea is that the community shares in the bounty and struggles of that farm-- not to mention the farm-to-table benefits, the delicious food, and the connection of knowing the family who grew the food you feed your family.  That also makes my heart very happy.  As you know, I'm a huge farm-to-table fan!  I don't think a CSA is right for everybody, but for my produce-loving, fruit and vegetable consuming family-- it's a good fit. 
We found a great farm down here.  It's about an hour and a half away from where we live, but it's actually very close to Tommy's work.  We pick up on Thursdays just five minutes away from our house.  Thursday has come to be my favorite day of the week! I so look forward to what we're going to get each week, and it kind of feels a little bit like Christmas each week.  [I know I'm a huge nutrition nerd but I can't help it.]

 Week 1's bounty!  Oh I was so excited.  I have to confess, I wasted some of this by not using it.  It makes me very sad but I was not prepared to handle all of this produce.  We got broccoli, radishes, bok choy, garlic, red lettuce, swiss chard, and strawberries.  Can you see how red and beautiful those strawberries are??!  Be still my heart. 

I decided we had to use everything we got.  I'm done being wasteful.  [That was before I wasted half this week's produce].  So I googled swiss chard-- I learned about it and I found what looked to be a decent recipe.  It was actually really easy to make and the recipe included garlic, lemon, and top it with a little sea salt.  Sounds pretty good, right?  Honestly, it wasn't half bad, but I'm not a fan.  We tried it with the whole family.  Yes, I invite my who family to participate in my cooking adventures-- lucky them!  It got a surprisingly good response.  Tommy actually did like it; I would eat it if forced to.  But we're all glad we tried it.  

 This pork, however, is the greatest thing I've ever put in my mouth.  Ever.  And so super easy.  I should post that recipe sometime soon. 

I added some produce from the grocery store to my red leaf lettuce to make the most amazing salad ever created.  I had never had red leaf lettuce before and honestly, y'all, it tasted like it was coated in butter.  It was the sweetest, softest lettuce I've ever come in contact with. Bet you didn't think you would feel so uncomfortable  reading my blog, huh? 

We're in week 3 now, and you know I'll be blogging about this A LOT.  Happy FRIDAY everyone! 


giving up on good: my phone.

I'm linking up with this lovely blog today to talk about one of the ways I'm giving up on something good to make room for other good things.  As we all know, too much good gets to be a bad thing.

I'm giving up on my cell phone.  Not entirely- I still use it often.  I still text and I still call people and sometimes I will even answer a call.  But for me, texting someone right back and answering every call takes up way too much of my time with my sweet boy during the day and my sweet husband in the evenings.  I LOVE talking to people and staying connected with them.  I WISH I was someone who you could easily get in touch with.  I WANT people to think "Oh, Lauren's so good at getting back to me.  She always answers my calls."  But the truth is, that stresses me out just thinking about it.  [No, I don't get that many calls or texts during the day, by the way.  This makes me sound like I have tons of people talking to me.  I don't.  I'm just not good at responding whether it's one person or 3.]

I often don't even keep my cell phone on me.  I'll find it hours later and find that I've missed 3 calls from my husband.  This drives him crazy.  Or I'll wake up in the morning with that panicked feeling because I forgot to text someone back the day before.  It's happened often, and I hate that feeling.  So I'm giving myself permission to be OK with being bad at communicating.  I want to spend my days focused on my babe, not attached to my phone.  My one year old picks up our phones and holds them to his ear like he's talking on them.  If that's not a wake up call, I don't know what is. 

image from: The Tiny Twig 


*Please still text me and call me.  I will answer you-- maybe not right away but at some point-- I promise!