Turkey Enchiladas

Turkey Enchiladas

Last but not least for my Thanksgiving 2020 meal edition are these turkey enchiladas! Fun and different, right? I mean, most of us love tacos, burritos, and anything wrapped up, so why not combine Turkey foods into an enchilada then bake it!?

Prep time: Varies Cook time: 10 minutes

Serving size: 2 Serves: 3


  • Tortilla wraps
  • Cooked turkey breast, shredded
  • Pumpernickel stuffing OR your stuffing of choice
  • Turkey gravy
  • Cranberry chutney OR cranberry sauce
  • Swiss OR goat cheese (if you like tangy flavors, goat cheese is awesome, but it can be overpowering with the cranberries)
  • Thyme


  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line baking pan with tine foil.
  2. Ideally, everything will be cooked by the time you’re ready to assemble these. To do so, lay out a tortilla wrap. Drizzle gravy (may 1-2 Tbsp) down the middle. Add 4 oz of turkey, then top with 1/4 cup stuffing and 2 Tbsp cranberry chutney/sauce. Roll up and place fold at the booth to stay secured.
  3. Continue doing this for all tortilla wraps. Top with Swiss or goat cheese, fresh thyme, and extra cranberry sauce.
  4. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes, or until cheese melts.

Pumpernickel Mire Poix Stuffing

And the holiday recipes just keep on rollin out! Here is a simple stuffing recipe that I then used to make turkey enchiladas. We usually make Ina Garten’s Leek Bread Pudding recipe every year as our staple stuffing (yes, stuffing) go to. But that recipe is a little more complex, and I wanted a stuffing with a slightly different flavor. Well, the pumpernickel bread definitely delivered on that flavor punch! Try it out. It’s so easy!

Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes

Serving size: 1/2 cup Serves: 4


  • 1 Tbsp ghee
  • 1 thinly sliced yellow onion
  • 2-3 stalks chopped celery
  • 3 large chopped carrots
  • (you can buy mire poix, which is onion, celery and carrot mix)
  • 1/4 cup turkey stock
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 Tbsp fresh or dried sage
  • 1 Tbsp fresh or dried thyme
  • Optional: I used the “Everything But The Leftovers” seasoning from Trader Joes too. I like A LOT of flavor. If you don’t have this or go to Trader’s, this is what’s included: dehydrated onion, sea salt, yeast extract, salt, ground black pepper, dried yeast, turmeric, celery seed, ground sage, rosemary, thyme, and parsley
  • 2-3 slices cubed pumpernickel bread (depending on how “bread” you like your stuffing)


  1. Melt ghee over medium heat in a sauté pan. Add onion, celery, and carrots. Sauté for 7-8 minutes.
  2. Add turkey stock, salt, pepper, sage and thyme. Bring to a boil, then lower and simmer until liquid mostly evaporates.
  3. Add cubed pumpernickel and stir. You’ve got yourself a stuffing!

Mashed Potato Hush Puppies

Mashed Potato Hush Puppies

The theme of Thanksgiving this year was taking traditional staples and giving them a fresh look. Insert: Mashed Potato Hush Puppies. They’re basically mashed potatoes with a sprinkle of goodness then baked- yummmmm! I didn’t make the gravy from scratch, but I did purchase the turkey gravy from Trader Joe’s then infused it with fresh sage to add an herby kick. I hope you enjoy them as much as my husband and I did!

Prep time: 32 minutes Cook time: 50 minutes

Serving size: 4 hush puppies Serves: 4


  • 1 lb baby red potatoes
  • 3 Tbsp ghee (or butter)
  • 3/4 tsp salt (use 1/4 + 1/2 tsp separately)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • Optional for seasonings: dried or fresh thyme and oregano
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese (use 1/2 + 1/2 cup separately)
  • 2 eggs
  • olive oil spray
  • Optional: pre-made or homemade gravy with fresh sage


  1. Fill a large pot halfway with water. Bring to a boil. Add a generous sprinkle of salt and whole potatoes after washing. Boil for 30 minutes.
  2. Once you can easily stick a fork in the potatoes, remove from heat. Pour into a colander then transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Mash the potatoes well (with skin intact) with a masher or fork. Add the melted ghee or butter, 1/2 cup parm, salt and pepper. You can even add herbs inside if you’d like too!
  4. Stir well, then place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or until cool.
  5. Preheat oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Remove from fridge. Form into little balls, perhaps 1/4 cup in size. They should maintain form.
  7. Grab two small bowls. Break two eggs into one and mix. Add the breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup other parm, and a touch of salt, pepper or other seasonings as desired in another small bowl.
  8. Cover 1 potato ball in egg. Let drip being transferring to other bowl and coating with breadcrumb mix. Continue to do this until complete.
  9. Add potato balls to sheet. Liberally spray or coat with olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes.
  10. Check 15 minutes in to see if breadcrumbs are turning golden. If they aren’t, add another coat of olive oil.
  11. Remove from oven. Let cool. If using gravy, heat up with freshly chopped sage to add flavor. You can either pour the gravy over the hush puppies or dip the potatoes in the gravy.

Nom nom! Enjoy every hush puppy bite!

Cranberry Apple Chutney

Cranberry Apple Chutney

Cranberry sauce- people love it or hate it.. I personally do not like the overly sweet goop you find at the store, but that’s just me. I grew up with my family making cranberry relish, which is basically minced fresh cranberries, orange peels, and sugar. I adjusted this recipe to use less sugar over the years, and even substituted the cane sugar with honey (still sugar btw, just a different taste). I knew there was an opportunity to really elevate this side dish, so I took advantage this year to brainstorm on what that could be and look like. I came to the conclusion that cranberry chutney would offer complex flavors with less sugar while also remaining simple to whip up. It also highlights a cultural staple from India, but obviously utilizes different fruits, spices, etc. It’s always fun to infuse traditional American dishes with other ethnic foods. 🙂

Here’s the recipe for those interested in trying it out this holiday season!

Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 10-15 minutes

Serving size: 1/3 cup Serves: 4 (Adjust ingredient measurements accordingly to serve more people)


  • 1 small shallot or 1/2 med-large
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 green apples
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/4 cup orange juice (fresh or bottled)
  • 2 tsp ACV (apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup water (you can start with 1/2 and add more later if you need it)
  • 2 Tbsp grated orange rind


  1. Mince shallot. Add 1/2 Tbsp olive oil to sauté pan over medium heat. Add shallot and sauté for 2 minutes.
  2. Add whole fresh cranberries and diced green apples.
  3. Add all spices, honey, orange juice, ACV, and water.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until most of the water evaporates and a sauce like consistency is formed.
  5. Cool before serving, which may be done the day of or stored in the refrigerator and served cold at a later time. It’s really personal preference.
  6. Upon serving, grate 2 Tbsp fresh orange peel/rind on top.

Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Clinicals: Week 1

I started my clinical rotation at Swedish Hospital for my dietetic internship last week. It’s my last of 4 rotations, and it was the one I was looking forward to the LEAST. Why? Well, healthcare workers are normally under a lot of pressure, but they are stressed more than ever due to the COVID pandemic and in the midst of a second surge. I was so nervous to enter a medical facility, especially a hospital, and I was unsure of what to expect and what my preceptors (mentors) expected from me as an intern. I asked myself… “Was I ready? Am I competent? Would I be safe from exposure to COVID?”. My mind was reeling the week leading up to my first day. Then, my first day arrived, and a wave a calm and excitement washed over me. Somehow I knew I was ready.

Me on my first day of clinicals.

On my first day, my preceptor met me in the waiting room. I was brought to the dietitian’s office and soon after, I got a tour of the hospital. As we were walking through the units and floors, I realized these bright red signs on the doors with photos of masks and other PPE wear. I was told that these were for droplet pts (patients who are high risk) and/or COVID patients. “Wait, WHAT?!” I thought to myself. “I’m on a floor with COVID patients?”. I was stunned because my impression was that COVID patients were quarantined to their own wing within the hospital. I was then told that they are staying on floors that correlate with the level of care they need and require (i.e. CCU vs ICU). Makes sense, but it was still a surprise because I wasn’t aware that I’d be working in close proximity to the virus. This immediately made me reevaluate seeing my family and friends for the next 10 weeks, the duration of my rotation. I had a discussion with both close friends and family members of whom I regularly see. I told them that I didn’t feel comfortable seeing them for their own protection and safety and that we’ll have to stay in touch virtually for now. They understood, thankfully.

Put COVID aside, I started learning Swedish Hospital’s EMR (Electronic Medical Record) system, Meditech. Yaaaa….so I was VERY overwhelmed navigating this portal to say the least. The medical jargon, abbreviations, and correct entries were a bit much. Plus, there are about 15+ areas I need to know to pull information from. It’s a tedious system to get to know intimately, but it’ll just take time, practice and patience (my new mantra). I really wish my DPD courses integrated medical terminology, nutrition-related medications, and prepared me more for charting. I understand that learning hands on and in the field is best, but there is something to be said about feeling prepared with an introduction to this knowledge. Luckily, my preceptor is amazing and patient. She had me observe her screen patients several times before I attempted to do so. She created a scavenger hunt to help me navigate Meditech, and she even had me conduct a mock NFPE on her to see what I felt like prior to performing one on an actual patient.

My first NFPE was the highlight of my week. It was on a woman with Down’s syndrome. We struggled to gather information during her assessment due to minimal verbal communication, but we successfully carried out the NFPE. During it, she extended her hand to me. I instinctually clasped mine in hers. We held hands for a bit before I moved down to her legs. My heart cannot tell you how sweet and memorable that moment was for me. It embodied the need and desire for human contact for our patients, especially in a time of distress.

I did another NFPE later in the week on an elderly man. He kept urging my preceptor and I to take care of ourselves so we wouldn’t end up like him. He said he wished he knew how to take care of himself earlier in life so he wouldn’t be like this man. That was tough to hear and respond to while then trying to ask about his frickin bowel movements…These are things we don’t talk about in our classes. Someone is in pain, whether mentally, emotionally, and/or physically, and we must relay our empathy while still carrying out our job in a concise time frame. This comes with good mentorship and practice. Luckily, I have both right now.

Besides screening, assessing, conducting NFPEs and writing notes, I listened in on two inservice webinars. One was on COVID Nutrition Interventions re critically-ill patients. This was super interesting! I’m going to do follow-up research then write another post on this to extend my COVID nutrition tips/sources. The other was on a food insecurity initiative Swedish Hospital is rolling out. Many of you reading this are probably aware that I started a food pantry at Dominican’s campus last year, so you know I’m super passionate about minimizing hunger. I was asked to create a flyer insert of tips on how to utilize foods being distributed to patients who discharge. That was fun!

All in all, my first week was overwhelming and a learning curve, but I am looking forward to staying open-minded and positive over these next 9 weeks. I know that I’m going to learn so much from the incredible and experienced dietitian team, so I plan on absorbing as much information as I possibly can.

For my future dietitian friends, I thought I’d share some medical terminology and abbreviations I wasn’t familiar with that may help you for your clinical rotation and practice. I also suggest researching nutrition-related medications to be familiar with these names. The hospital you intern at should also have a food drug booklet to reference should you need it (which you will).


  • Dyspnea- shortness of breath
  • Vasopressors- medication used to raise blood volume and pressure when BP is low
  • Laminectomy- removal of the lamina (part of the vertebrae)
  • Oophorectomy- removal of the ovaries
  • Cachexia- muscle wasting that can include fat loss


  • PMH: Past Medical History
  • PTA: Prior to Admission
  • A&O: Alert & Oriented
  • N/V: Nausea/Vomiting
  • C/S: Chewing/Swallowing
  • C/D: Constipation/Diarrhea
  • RVR: Rapid Ventricular Response
  • HL: Hyperlipidemia
  • AMS: Altered Mental State
  • CKD: Chronic Kidney Disease
  • ARF: Acute Renal Failure
  • Times to administer a supplement/day:
  • QD: 1/day
  • BID: 2/day
  • TID: 3/day
  • QID: 4/day
  • IC: Indirect Calorimetry
  • PI: Pressure Injury
  • DKA: Diabetic Ketoacidosis
  • CABG: Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery

There are more terms and abbreviations, but I’ll have to do a better job of remembering and jotting them all down. Did this help? If so, let me know if the comments below or shoot me a DM on Instagram! I plan on writing a reflection and summary of each week during my clinical rotation. I think it’ll simultaneously help me process and review while hopefully relaying ym experience and pertinent information that can help you along your journey.

Have a great weekend!

Protein Pumpkin Mug Cake

Protein Pumpkin Mug Cake

This recipe can be used as a snack, post-workout meal, or dessert. It contains fat, protein and carbs and surprisingly contains no added sugars. 🤯 Although, if you like sweeter things, I recommend adding 2 tsp maple syrup.

Dry Ingredients
🔸1/4 cup almond flour
🔸1 scoop vanilla protein powder
🔸1/4 + 1/8 tsp baking soda
🔸1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
🔸pinch of salt

Wet Ingredients
🔸1/8 cup whole fat Greek yogurt
(organic and grass-fed if possible, but not required)
🔸1/4 cup pumpkin puree
🔸1/8 tsp vanilla
🔸Optional: 2 tsp maple syrup for sweetness

1. Use a 10oz coffee mug.
2. Add dry ingredients, and mix well.
3. Add wet ingredients. Mix extra well, checking bottom of mug for hidden dry ingredients that haven’t been incorporated yet.
4. Microwave for 2 minutes. Stick knife in center. If no batter comes off, it’s done. If it does, microwave for 30 more seconds.

Top with Greek yogurt, whipped cream or ice cream and sprinkle with pumpkin spice. Eat up, mug cup!

Pumpkin Turkey Chili

Pumpkin Turkey Chili

This is my all-time favorite fall recipe, as it’s a twist on a classic and serves as delicious comfort food. I used this original recipe from Larissa Another Day blog and put my own twist on it (along with J.P.’s influence). I’ve been making it every fall, at least 2-3 times per season, for the last 6 years now. The pumpkin puree and spices are very subtle, so they don’t alter the traditional chili flavor profile too much. If anything, they ADD creaminess and warmth to the dish. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Servings: 4

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 70 minutes

Total time: 75 minutes


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 chopped yellow onion
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 Tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup bone broth
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Optional toppings: sour cream, goat cheese (or another variety), chopped jalapeños, cilantro, green onions


  1. Warm a large stock pot over medium heat. Add olive oil, followed by the chopped yellow onion. Toss to coat and cook for 2 minutes.
  2. Add ground turkey and spices. Cook for 6 more minutes, or until turkey is nearly cooked (but not all the way). Occasionally break up and stir.
  3. Add halved grape tomatoes (or can of diced tomatoes). Cook for 2 minutes, stirring as needed.
  4. Add the bone broth, kidney beans, pumpkin puree, and hot sauce. Stir until combined. Bring to a boil then simmer, covered, for 60 minutes.
  5. Serve 1 cup with toppings of choice (goat cheese is incredible!), then sprinkle with black pepper.
  6. Cozy up, put on a fall flick, and enjoy every bite!

Let me know what you think please! I value your feedback on my work and recipes, as I want to grow and adapt as needed. Thank you for the follow and read!

All my best, ❤ Danielle

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

You know those meals that just taste like the season you’re in? Well, I know this dish doesn’t contain the popular kids at the moment (apples or pumpkins), but this Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash absolutely oozes autumnal flavors! The cranberries, sage and maple infuses the quinoa mixture that you then stuff the roasted acorn squash with- just heavenly! Did I mention I added cumin spiced ground turkey as a protein? Oh ya! This is optional, of course. I will definitely be making this again before fall is over, and I hope you enjoy it just as much as I do!

Servings: 4

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

Total time: 50 minutes


  • 2 acorn squashes
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup dry quinoa (any color- I used tricolor)
  • 1/4 cup sliced yellow onion
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • Fresh sage (about 10 leaves)
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp vegan chicken-less seasoning from TJs (or a blend of sea salt, onion and garlic powder, turmeric, celery seed, ginger powder, and pepper)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta


  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat with oil.. Cut the very ends of each squash, but not too deep. This is meant to stabilize the squash to sit upright in the oven. Continue by cutting the squash in half, parallel to the cut you just made. Scoop out the middle with seeds- enough to stuff but not too much so you have enough squash to dig into!
  2. Brush the squash liberally with olive oil, then season with a few pinches of salt and grinds of black pepper.
  3. Roast for 40 minutes, or until a fork easily breaks the meat.
  4. While that’s cooking, bring a medium sized pot with 2 3/4 cups water to a boil. Rinse 1 cup quinoa then add to boiling water. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or whatever the package instructions reads. Once done, drain in colander and transfer to a large bowl.
  5. Warm 1 large sauté pan over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil. When warmed, add the sliced onions. Cook for 3-4 minute before adding the ground turkey, followed by the cumin, chicken-less seasoning (or alternative), and cinnamon. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Cook for about 7-8 minutes (or when turkey is nearly cooked but not completely), stirring occasionally.
  6. Add the sliced (chiffonade) sage, cranberries and garlic. Let cook for 2-3 minutes longer.
  7. Add this turkey mixture in the quinoa, along with 2 tsp maple syrup. Mix well.
  8. When the acorn squash is done. Remove from the oven. Stuff each squash with quinoa mix. Crumble feta on top of each before serving (I also added a few pieces of fresh sage for an elevated kick!), and you’ve got yourself an amazing fall dish!

*NOTE* Acorn squash vary in size, and the room you have for the quinoa mixture also depends on the hole you scooped. If the well is smaller then you’d like, add some quinoa mixture on the side for more bites! Omgosh it’s soooo good. Bon Appetit!

Balancing Hormones

The phrase “balance your hormones” is trending right now, but which hormones are people referring to? I must acknowledge that this popular go-to phrase may be used for a few reasons:

  1. People aren’t familiar with different hormones and their functions, and that’s okay!
  2. Some cases may very well be referring to most of their hormones.

I felt compelled to write this piece because I had to clear the air and pronounce that not all hormones are interconnected and not all hormones need to be balanced! You may have low or elevated levels of one hormone, while another is within the normal range. However, left untreated, an imbalance of one hormone can very well impair other endocrine glands (organs that secrete hormones).

Let’s backtrack to what hormones are. Hormones are chemical messengers that deliver job duties to other parts of the body to carry out. For example, the hormone ghrelin signals hunger and when we need to eat, while leptin is the satiety hormone that tells us when we’re full. Yep. Not all hormones are related to our reproductive system or make us crazy!

So, I’m wondering if we need to change the dialogue from uber general and switch it up. If you’re stressed, maybe recognize that cortisol is the hormone you need to balance. If you have PCOS and acne, perhaps androgens are the culprit. If you don’t know, once again, that’s okay! That’s what medical professionals went to school for, but definitely consult with a professional (whether that’s a gastroenterologist, a functional medical doctor, a Registered Dietitian, etc. They can actually measure your hormones through a blood or urine sample and educate you on what hormones need some TLC.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you think I’m being hypercritical of the phrase, or do you also think we need to adjust our verbiage when saying we need to balance our hormones?

Caramel Apple Muffins

Caramel Apple Muffins

Caramel apples are so nostalgic for me, as I’m sure they are for many of you. As a kid, I remember the air start to cool. When that happened, those caramel apples in the plastic containers would start lining the produce stands at the grocery store. Man, I loved those things- with peanuts and without.

Well, it’s fall again, and just because we’re no longer those kids begging our parents for that caramel treat, you can get whip up these delicious muffins that deliver the same flavor profile. And guess what? They are healthy! These babies contain only natural sugars provided by the dates and apples in them. There are a few prep steps, so I hope you don’t mind and love these fall babes as much as I do!

Yields: 12

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes


Dry Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 cup packed medjool dates, about 13-15 depending not the size (instructions on how to make the date syrup below, or you can buy date syrup instead!)
  • 1/4 cup date water (if you use date syrup, just add regular ‘ole water)
  • 1/4 cup ghee (or butter, but I used ghee, and YUM!)
  • 3 eggs


  • 2 medium apples
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Optional: 1/2 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. If using walnuts, toast for 10 minutes then let cool.
  2. Next, remove the pits from the medjool dates. Boil water and pour over dates to soak for 20 minutes.
  3. While those are soaking, add the oats to a blender or food processor and pulse until a flour forms (should be only 15-30 seconds).
  4. Add all of the dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk until mixed well.
  5. Add the eggs to a separate smaller bowl and whisk. Add the ghee and 1/4 cup of the water the dates were soaking in. Stir then pour on top the dry ingredients.
  6. Use a rubber spatula to mix until all of the dry ingredients combine with the wet ingredients (double check the bottom, where the extra flour tends to hide).
  7. If the dates are ready, blend only the dates in a blender. Add 1/8 cup of the date water and blend until it forms a caramel.
  8. Put aside. Heat up a sauté pan over medium heat . Add 1 Tbsp olive oil, add diced (small) apples, and sprinkle generously with cinnamon. Stir, cover and let cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally or as needed.
  9. Now you can add the walnuts (if you used), apples, and date caramel to the mix! Fold in well with rubber spatula- the date is where the sweetness comes from, so you want it to be evenly distributed.
  10. Oil or line the muffin tin. Use 1/3 measuring cup to add batter in wells. Level out the top of each and bake for 30 minutes.
  11. Cool for 15 minutes, and you have yourself some caramel apple muffins!

Fun tip! You can just make the date caramel to dip apples in as a healthy alternative snack snack!

Dry ingredients

Dry Ingredients