January Sunshine.

I walked out of class today to be greeted by glorious sunny skies and unbelievable January temperatures.  Too bad I couldn’t enjoy it for longer, because I had to head to work.  On my way, I snapped evidence for my friends and family back in chilly Ohio – not to to rub it in or anything… :)

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Seventy degrees in January is not hard to get used to!  Usually I walk to the Uptown Blynk location for work, but today was my first day on my new job!  I joined the Blynk team back in October, and after just three short months, I’ve been asked to be their Catering Manager!  Just goes to show that if you put your dues in for a bit – in my case serving sandwiches in the mall food court and wearing a baseball cap! – hard work will be rewarded.

It’s a huge opportunity for me, and I’m really excited to see what I can do for their catering program.  At the same time, change is always scary, and I’m a little nervous too.  The first day went well, and I spent most of my time getting situated at the computer and figuring out my next steps.

After a very long day and getting home late, I wanted to throw something together quickly for dinner, but still have a decent and nutritious meal.  I turned to something purchased during our weekend grocery shopping adventures.  Something not seen very often in healthy blog-land – the WHITE POTATO…

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(Actually it’s a red potato, but you know what I mean).  Somewhere between creamy mashed potatoes, french fries, and loaded baked potatoes – this poor veg got a really bad rep.  Now I’m not saying we need to go crazy and eat gobs of potatoes, because they are high in starches and sugar.  But they are also really high in potassium and other important vitamins and minerals. 

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As long as you watch your portion, the basic potato is nothing to fear.  One of my tips for getting the maximum enjoyment out of something that demands portion control, is to pay attention to how you slice it.  I used my handy dandy mandolin to create loads of thin potato slices that I laid out on two cookie sheets.

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By cutting them thin, it creates the illusion that you have a LOT of food, while this is actually just four small potatoes – 440 calories total, so only 220 a piece split with Casey!  I chopped up some more of my fresh rosemary and sprinkled it on top, along with some salt and pepper.  I also chopped up a small bowl of grape tomatoes and kalamata olives, to go with the bulgur that I dumped into my rice cooker, along with salt, pepper, and a bay leaf.

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I knew our plates needed more vegetables and protein, so I threw a frozen combination of cauliflower and lima beans into a sauce pan.  Even culinary students have to rely on frozen food from time to time! 

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When the rice cooker sang to me that it was finished, I stirred in the tomatoes and olives to produce a fabulous Mediterranean Bulgur Salad

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And after 15 minutes of roasting at 400 degrees on each side (30 minutes total!), we had perfectly softened, but crispy Rosemary Red Potato Rounds

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A delicious way to end a very busy day!  Off to bed for 5 short hours before I do it all over again…