Roanna Martin

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

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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.


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. 



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



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!



4-H Day Camp

Each age group of students requires a different approach. Through Extension, I have had the privilege of working with populations across various spectrums of age and  socioeconomic status.

This week, we are teaching 5-8 year olds.   Attempting to educate a group of children about a topic as complex and as nutrition is an exciting challenge.

The first day this week, we did not have enough hands-on activities to keep the children engaged. After teaching, we took some time to go back to the office, and came up with the following teaching tool.

We were already planning to teach about “Go”, “Slow” and “Whoa” foods, but decided to create posters where the children  tape on examples of different foods to reinforce the concepts. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute provides the following explanation of this categorizing of foods:

GO Foods are:

  • Lowest in fat and sugar
  • Relatively low in calories
  • “Nutrient dense” (rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients important to health)
  • Great  to eat anytime

Examples include:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
  • Lean meat, poultry, fish
  • Beans, eggs, and nuts

SLOW Foods are:

  • Higher in fat, added sugar, and calories
  • To be eaten sometimes/less often

WHOA Foods are:

  • Highest in fat and added sugar
  • “Calorie-dense” (high in calories)
  • Often low in nutrients
  • To be eaten only once in a while/on special occasions, in small portions


This interactive teaching tool was a hit among the children.

In addition to teaching a nutrition lesson, we spend some time making the afternoon snack for camp. Here’s the recipe we used today:

Extra Easy Hummus 

1 Can (15.5 ounce) Garbanzo beans, drain and reserve juice

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 Teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 Teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon olive oil


In mixer or food processor mix the beans until smooth. Add garlic, cumin, salt and olive oil. Blend together. Paste may be thick, so you can add reserved juice until desired consistency is reached.

Yield: makes 6 servings.

Source: Family Nutrition Program, WVU Extension Service.

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Literacy and Lesson Plans

This morning Kaitlin and I spent time at a summer literacy program for kids, run by Extension Service. It was the last day of the 6 week program, but the children still seemed to be having fun. Throughout the course of this program, kids have 20 minutes of one on one reading time each day. So this morning I read with 4 different children. Literacy might not be the first thing in your mind when you think of children’s nutrition, but I would argue that working in community nutrition requires a comprehensive approach to education and people. By caring about more in their lives than simply educating them about healthy foods, I demonstrate that I care about them as whole people.

We spent this afternoon in the office, doing computer work and planning.

Our lesson plans have been developed, our materials have been gathered, and our food shopping list is made- we are ready to start 4-H Day Camp next week!



Basic Quesadillas and Broccoli Chicken Frittata

Two days of cooking class have come and gone, with only one trip to the camp nurse for a bandaid.

After spending the majority of last week designing curriculum, it has been ridiculously fun to actually hang out with the kids, and watch them take on the cooking class. We have two groups of students, both of whom really seem to enjoy the class.

Yesterday we learned about what a cast iron skillet is, and talked about dairy and whole grains. After a brief lesson on cooking safety, we made simple quesadillas by grating cheese and using whole grain tortillas. We topped them with salsa, and talked about how we could add other things to the inside to make them even more delicious.


Today we started off by learning some basic measuring skills, knife skills, and a lesson on proteins. To be honest, I didn’t know what a frittata was before preparing for this class, but it’s basically an omelet that you don’t flip. The kids paired off to cut broccoli, chunk chicken, mince onion, grate cheese, “punch” and then cut peppers, and crack eggs. I am a firm believer in getting kids involved in the process of preparing food, and it was so gratifying to see them take ownership of the meal they were preparing.


I think my favorite quote of the day went something like this, “I don’t like eggs or chicken or broccoli, but this was really good.” As we sat around the table talking about the textures and flavors of the food they were eating, the kids came up with some great suggestions of other things they could put in with a frittata. We played a revved up version of “Rock Paper Scissors” where everyone starts out as an egg and progresses to a chicken, and then a dinosaur with “claws”.  This was a great fit because of the eggs and chicken in our dish, and the “claws” reinforced the lesson on knife safety- how we curve our fingers to avoid cutting them.


Here’s the recipe for the Broccoli Chicken Frittata, adapted from the WVU Extension Services Dining with Diabetes curriculum:

Broccoli Chicken Frittata

  • 2 tsp margarine
  • 1 cup finely chopped, fresh broccoli florets
  • 1 cup diced red pepper
  • 6 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and finely diced
  • 1/4 cup diced onions
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/3 cup grated reduced-fat cheddar cheese
  • 8 eggs

In a large skillet, heat margarine over medium heat until melted. Add broccoli, red pepper, chicken, onion, thyme, oregano, and black pepper, sauteing until vegetables are tender and chicken is heated through.

Sprinkle grated cheddar evenly over surface of vegetable mixture.

Pour egg evenly over all ingredients.

Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes or until firm. Cut into wedges and serve.