Roanna Martin

"make [food] simple and let things taste of what they are." {Curnonsky}


1 Comment

It’s Really Happening

After two years of graduate school, this Friday is a day that I have been eagerly awaiting:

I’m going to be defending my thesis. 8 AM. If you’re in the area, you’re more than welcome to come! The more the merrier. There might even be a delicious snack. No promises, but it’s a good possibility.

Here’s the official announcement. Because I’m WordPress illiterate, I couldn’t manage to figure out how to embed a PDF in this post. Apparently I need to install a Plugin, but I can’t find that in my administrative dashboard, and I was driving myself crazy trying to figure it out.

And trying to have a beautiful high-resolution image to share with the blogosphere is probably one of the least of my worries at the moment. So you’ll have to settle for this smaller jpeg image, and click on the link below if you want to see the beautiful PDF. That’s all for now- wish me luck!

 

Screen shot 2013-04-02 at 9.16.13 PM

Click here to view PDF: Defense Announcement

Advertisements


1 Comment

Deviled Chicks…

It’s the end of spring break here at WVU, and well, I’m getting ready for something New. Fitting, isn’t it, with Easter being tomorrow?

I didn’t make any big plans because I knew it was going to be crunch time for me on thesis and end-of-semester things. And I’m sure glad I didn’t! However, I was able to visit a friend in Maryland, where she had a SNOW day- she’s an elementary teacher- and we got to spend all day just hanging out. Well, mostly just hanging out… I was working on my thesis for most of it, but regardless, it was still good to be with her.

The remainder of the week has been a bit quiet at my house without my roommates here, but it’s been great to focus and really work on the tasks at hand. (And I’ve been doing things to mix it up too- going running with friends, playing a game of Settlers of Catan with a few others, working at a coffeeshop, sitting on the porch to study, etc…) 

I’m completely done with my 1200 hours of rotations for my Dietetic Internship- it’s hard to believe that after rotating since last June, I’m FINALLY DONE! I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet.

But there are things that remain between me and graduation…

First priority has been my thesis defense presentation, which is scheduled for next Friday. At this point I’m really looking forward to giving it- I’ve been studying home food gardening and kids’ fruit and vegetable intake for the past two years, written a thesis on it, and I’m ready to talk about what I’ve learned. I’ll share more about that with you in a future post.

I also have a few paperwork odds and ends to finish up for my internship.

And, oh yeah, the something “New”:

 

I’m  working on curriculum development for my new JOB. Which is so exciting. I’m going to be teaching cooking classes to little 2-5 year olds and their parents until the end of September. How cool is that? I have the freedom to put together my own curriculum, so I’ve been researching other programs, and pulling from my past 6 years (!?!) of study in Nutrition and Dietetics to create a fun, interactive program. 

I plan to share more with you about that experience as it unfolds, but for now I’m just going to share one of my recipes for the class. I gave it a test run tonight, and I’m taking it to an Easter potluck at my church tomorrow.

IMG_1175

I got the idea (through Pinterest) from this website. 

I hard-boiled eggs using the method described in the America’s Test Kitchen cookbook that my roommate has. It’s super simple: put eggs in a large pot. Cover with cold water, place uncovered on high heat until the water comes to a boil. Remove from heat, put the lid on the pot, and set your timer for 10 minutes. Then place eggs in cold water (iced works best), and commence shelling.

To make these super cute little chicks, lay each egg on it’s side, and cut about 1/3 off the end. I highly recommend cutting on the broader (not pointed) end of the egg, as this is most likely where the yolk will have settled. 

Then pop out the yolk, and put in a small plastic bag, with a bit of yogurt, a squirt of mustard (I used dijon), and a dash of salt and pepper. 

IMG_1172

 

Seal the bag, mash with your hands, cut off a corner, and squeeze to fill the crater remaining in the white. 

 

IMG_1173

Ok, so it looks a bit gross. But trust me, it’s scrumptious. 

After you’ve filled the egg, cap with the remaining 1/3 of the white, and insert a little carrot triangle for a beak, and something little and black for eyes. I used coriander seeds, because that’s what I had in my kitchen. You could also use whole black peppercorns, or a small piece of black olive- whatever you have that works!

Recipe for a pair of chicks:

2 hard boiled eggs (see method above)

1 tablespoon yogurt (the recipe called for greek- I used regular and they were a bit runny. I would definitely use greek next time)

1 teaspoon mustard

salt and pepper to taste

bit of carrot

coriander seeds (or other small black edible objects)

Cut 1/3 off the end of egg. Pop out yolk and place in resealable bag with remaining ingredients. Squeeze out air, and mash ingredients until smooth. Cut a small hole in the corner of the bag and pipe filling into larger piece of the white. Top with remaining white, and give the little chick a nose and eyes.

Yogurt is seriously one of my favorite foods. It’s so ridiculously versatile (sweet, savory, and everything in between!), has a great texture, and is really great for your digestive system. I make my own, and go through at least a quart a week. In this recipe, using yogurt instead of mayonnaise for the deviled eggs cuts way down on the fat, and you hardly even miss it.

I hope you enjoy!


1 Comment

WIC in Words

         I just wanted to share with you loyal readers a bit more about my experience at WIC (Women, Infants, and Children). 

            After learning about WIC in classes, it was extremely beneficial to be present in a clinic where I could see policy in practice. Throughout the 80+ hours of my rotation, I was able to learn about the “big-picture” policy, and shadow a large number of nutritionists in both the main Lancaster City clinic and in the smaller county clinics in Columbia and Ephrata.

            The busy clinic in the city was able to serve a large number of participants each day, and the demographics were notably different than in the county clinics. In both Columbia and Ephrata the nutritionists were responsible for more of the visit (i.e. lab work) than in the main clinic. I was also able to engage with other community agencies that provide services to low-income women and children such as Healthy Beginnings Plus and HeadStart.

            I learned a variety of practices and techniques specific to WIC, such as the contents of the supplement packages, and the VENA (Value Enhanced Nutrition Assessment) model. Although my rotation was too short to develop a firm grasp of the utilization of the QuickWIC (electronic documentation) system, I was able to become competent enough to perform nutrition evaluations and issue checks with the supervision of a nutritionist. I truly enjoyed sitting with each of the nutritionists (14 in total) and learning their style of nutrition counseling. Each one brings strengths to counseling that I was able to learn from.

            I developed a basic understanding of WIC policy, and refreshed my knowledge on maternal and child nutrition. In particular, the developmental stages of infants and the recommended timeline for introducing new foods and feeding practices was a good review. The opportunity to practice my Spanish language skills and enhance my vocabulary- particularly the colloquial “Spanglish” spoken in the region- was beneficial.

            I need to continue to develop my nutrition counseling skills, and I believe that this will come with more experience. In particular, I would like to continue to strengthen my ability in helping the client to share what motivates them to make change, and help them to identify ways that they could make a change.

           While it has it’s flaws, I see a lot of benefits of the WIC program for low-income, nutritionally at-risk mothers and infants.  


Leave a comment

Text4Baby

At the beginning of this month I attended a joint intern class day on Nutrition Informatics at the National Agriculture Library in Washington, DC. Various speakers were discussing ways that technology is being used to distribute health information.

One of the presentations was about the national program text4baby a completely free program that provides health information directly to the cell phones of pregnant women and mothers of infants up to one year old. And by free- I really mean free- major cell phone companies have agreed to not charge recipients of the text messages, even if they don’t have a texting plan! It’s a really neat concept, and I was eager to learn more about it.

One of the presenters suggested that we sign up for the program and receive messages, just to see what kind of things mothers are receiving. So I did, setting my graduation date as my false “due date”- and I’ve been getting reminders to take my prenatal vitamins, and visit my doctor, and even info about access to health insurance! 

Last week at my WIC rotation, I was able to sit in on a webinar where I learned that text4baby is partnering with WIC to offer free appointment reminders to WIC clients. Like anything, it’s not perfect- it does take a minute or two for a mom to sign up for the program (but that is a small amount compared to what a lot of people spend on their phones), and she has to text the system every time she wants to schedule her next appointment.

So, as one of my projects for WIC, I made a brief powerpoint that can be used as an inservice for nutritionists- to help them share about the program with their clients.

 

 

My experience at WIC has been really great so far. I was able to personally do nutrition education and issue checks for about 15-20 families in the past few days. I needed an experienced nutritionist beside me, though, because I am still learning the computer system!


Leave a comment

Just Rotating Away…

 I have been quite occupied recently- with events such as the GoRed Day (so beautifully documented by my fellow intern Emily) and working on my masters thesis.

I don’t remember if I’ve shared with my blog readers or not, but my masters thesis is looking at the relationships among families having home food gardens and preschool children’s intake of fruits and vegetables, and their weight status. The data is finally coming in, and my time has been filled by playing around with STATA- a statistical software that speaks a completely different language than what I’m used to. Let’s just say that I’m learning a lot, and I’m also glad that I didn’t choose a computer or math-related field of study! 

The plan is to present my research at the Experimental Biology conference in Boston at the end of April, and I am submitting my abstract for the conference tomorrow. I have a few more weeks to finish up writing the rest of my thesis, so my laptop and I are becoming even more acquainted than ever before. Exciting results are pending- kiddos in the study who had a home food garden ate more dark green and deep yellow/orange veggies!

Thesis work aside, I am also currently doing a community rotation at WIC- Women, Infants, and Children, a “federally funded program that provides healthy supplemental foods and nutrition services for pregnant women, postpartum and breastfeeding women, infants and children under age five in a supportive environment.”

Since this is a nationwide program, I am really excited that my internship was flexible enough that I am able to complete my WIC rotation at the Community Action Program of Lancaster.

 

cap

Since I’m originally from Lancaster, I’m able to live with my parents for a few weeks and get to know some dietitians in the area (and spend some time with my 6 adorable nieces and nephews). One of the most exciting things is that I have been able to use my Spanish skills on a daily basis.

Contrary to popular belief, there are actually more Latinos than Amish in Lancaster County, according to a December 19, 2010 article in the Sunday News. Many are bilingual, but a number of the clients that I have seen in the past week prefer to use Spanish, and I love being able to communicate directly with them without the use of a translator. To be sure, my vocabulary needs a little augmentation, but if I don’t know a specific term I can at least describe it enough to get the point across. 

I will try to post soon a bit more about some of the things I am learning, but in the meantime if you want to find out more about WIC, you can check out the USDA (US Department of Agriculture) information, or my friend Mary’s blog on her WIC rotation in West Virginia.

A quick summary of interactions with clients: we encourage mothers and their children to eat more fruits and vegetables. Honestly, that’s really what it comes down to! 

bigstock-Heart-of-fruits-and-vegetables-184383741

As a side note, people often do a double take when I tell them that I am currently a student at West Virginia University- but then I explain that I am originally from the Lancaster area, and then it makes a bit more sense. I like being able to spread some Mountaineer Pride to my home state!

 


Leave a comment

Farmers’ Market Gleaning Project

As a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, I get to choose a state affiliation. Since I’m living in West Virginia for grad school, I am currently a member of the West Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (WVAND), and it’s been a fun way to get to know other dietitians in the state.

At the 2012 WVAND meeting, I committed to supporting local foods in my community, and I met that challenge by coordinating a gleaning project from the Morgantown Farmers’ Market.

I enjoyed coordinating this pickup and subsequent distribution to the local Salvation Army soup kitchen. 

My project description was just posted on the WVAND Website, and I thought I’d share it here as well!

“This past summer, after a suggestion from RoundRight Farm, and in collaboration with a graduate student in Ag Economics at the Davis College of WVU, I coordinated a market gleaning program from the Morgantown Farmers’ Market to the Morgantown Salvation Army Soup Kitchen.

Every Saturday as the market closed, myself or another volunteer walked around to each stand at the market to ask vendors if they had extra produce would like to donate. At the beginning of the summer, when there were just a few bags of greens, it was easy to walk the produce down the street to the soup kitchen. However, as the season progressed and beans, beets, tomatoes, and other hefty veggies were abundant, a car was necessary to transport the bounty.

The vendors were glad to see their produce being put to use, and the soup kitchen was creative in their use of the veggies. When I stopped by to see what they had made, they were serving green beans with sliced radishes!

We would love to see this project continue in the future, and are in the process of making plans to formalize, improve, and expand upon our current model. Perhaps this is even something that could be replicated around the state in other farmer’s markets.

If anyone is interested in providing future assistance in this program, either by helping with pickup, or potentially making a special dish out of the produce to serve at the kitchen, we would love to hear from you! 

Much thanks to Jessica Kozar, a WVU Human Nutrition and Food major, for her assistance with the pickup and delivery!”

Produce on its way!

Produce on its way!

And one of the creative dishes:

Green Beans and Radishes

Green Beans and Radishes


Leave a comment

Family Mealtime

“It’s dinnertime!”

What does that mean for you? Is it grabbing some food and eating in front of a TV, is it picking up take-out on the way home from Junior’s late basketball practice, or is it dinner around the table with your family- perhaps chicken with mac & cheese and broccoli and a glass of milk?

Increased frequency of family meals has been associated with increased intake of fruits, vegetables, grains, and calcium-rich foods, and decreased soft drink consumption (1). In addition, having more meals together as a family may reduce chance for disordered eating behaviors (2), and curtail other high-risk behaviors among adolescents (3).

The kitchen table is a wonderful place to build relationships, nourish the body, and rewind after a long day.

As part of my graduate program, I am working with a West Virginia early childhood obesity prevention project called Choose to Change

A few weeks ago, we hosted a “Family Fun Night”, where families simply came to a community center for a free meal, and engaged separate activities for kids and adults, promoting the importance of family meal time. 

The tables were set and waiting for families to arrive. 

The benefits of family meal time aren’t about a beautiful table setting or fancy courses. It’s simply having people together, talking and sharing life with one another.

However, we did put a bit of extra effort into creating some masterpiece centerpieces- turkeys crafted out of melons, grape skewers, and pepper slices.

Fruit and Vegetable Turkey

After the meal, I hung out with the little preschoolers. We had fun activities like a relay race to set the table, and bean bag games where some colors were “healthy foods” and others were just “sometimes” foods.

Choosy, the mascot for the program, showed up. This was a huge hit with the kids. I managed to get a picture with him too!

Celebrity Shot

Family meals were always a priority in my home growing up, and I’m incredibly thankful that my parents chose to make these evening rendezvous an essential part of our day. I learned a lot around the kitchen table.

As a college student, family-style meals can’t always happen, so I’m even more thankful when they do occur.

These past 6 weeks I have been completing a clinical rotation about 2 1/2 hours from where my apartment is. I’ve been blessed by living with a great couple here, who have graciously opened their home to Emily and I.  Here we are, enjoying a family-style meal together. A bit of Thanksgiving dinner and sparkling cider at the dining room table- this didn’t happen every night, but we did enjoy eating dinners together when able.

Late Thanksgiving Dinner

It’s hard to believe that this clinical rotation has come to a close already. Good-bye, Charleston!

The Gold Dome of the West Virginia Capitol Building