I hope you are all surviv…errr…enjoying this holiday season! I haven’t yet been able to get in the spirit over here with final projects and exams, but I am happy to say that the semester is now officially over and I AM DONE WITH MY DPD CLASSES!!!!!!!! If you’re getting the impression that I’m really freakin’ excited, you are very perceptive. For those who aren’t familiar with DPD classes, they are the series of courses that are required before you can apply to a dietetic internship and sit for the registered dietitian exam. This has been 3.5 years in the making and, while it doesn’t mean that I’m done with school and stress, it is a major hurdle in this career-changing journey. The next step is to apply to dietetic internships in February and continue to take classes for my master’s program. If all works out and I get matched with an internship program, that will begin in late August and will take 9-12 months to complete. In summary, I’m not done, but I’m making progress and I’ll take it.
Other big news in Buttercup-land is that my BF is moving away temporarily to complete training for his career, so we are going on a road trip! While I’m not excited to have to live thousands of miles apart for any amount of time, I am excited to have some good quality time on the road, checking out parts of the country neither of us has ever seen. If you follow me on Instagram (@eatupbuttercup.blog), I’ll be sure to post some pics along the way. They will probably include food. Oh, who am I kidding? They will definitely include food.
But, now that school is out and we’ve mapped our trip, I can focus on getting jolly. For starters, we put lights on Milo the Moose (the papier mache moose head on our living room wall), and I made Christmas cookies for co-workers. And today at around 4:30 pm, a light bulb went off in my head and I finally realized that Christmas is just a few days away. Yikes! So this is as good a time as any to talk about holiday eating strategies. Some people think they have to fast all day until the big dinner. Admittedly, I have done that in the past (before I began studying nutrition, of course). You really should eat a good breakfast, and lunch or a snack or two if your holiday meal is on the later side, for at least a couple of reasons. First, you’re going to be starving by the time dinner rolls around, and you’re likely to eat 5 times as much as you normally would. While I don’t think a holiday is the time to count calories, nobody wants to eat so much that they are in pain from overeating. Second, eating at regular intervals is necessary to maintain stable blood sugar, which helps with both weight management and mood. I don’t know about you, but I get HANGRY, y’all! You will be eating for the sake of those around you, and they will thank you.
I made this breakfast strata for Thanksgiving and it was just what we needed to start the day off on the right foot. Lots of veggies and protein to fuel a full day of festivities. I assembled it the night before so that the bread had a chance to soak up the egg mixture, then in the morning I threw it in the oven without having to even think about it. We also had enough left over to eat for lunch and dinner the next day. And it was delicious. Win, win! This would be great for Christmas morning, New Year’s Day hangover breakfast, or hosting weekend brunch. Enjoy!
Italian Sausage & Veggie Strata
Serving Nutrition: 282 calories, 19.7 g protein, 12.9 g fat, 24.7 g carbohydrate
1/2 loaf sourdough bread
1/2 medium red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium jalapeno, minced
2 bell peppers, diced (I used one red and one yellow)
1 cup spinach, roughly chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cooked Sweet Italian chicken sausages, chopped
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
6 large eggs
1-1/2 cups low fat milk
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1. Cut or tear bread into 1-inch pieces and place in a 9” square baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
2. Add ingredients 2 through 8 (onion through sausage) plus 1/2 of cheese and stir.
3. Whisk eggs with milk, oregano, salt, and pepper.
4. Pour egg mixture evenly over top of bread mixture.
5. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top.
6. Chill in refrigerator for at least an hour; overnight is preferable.
7. When ready to cook, pre-heat oven to 350°.
8. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a fork poked into the center of the casserole comes out clean.