Friday, December 28, 2012

Happy Holidays: An Update & My Favorite Winter Food!

Oh geez, I miss you!!  I hope everyone is having a super great holiday season. Thought I would stop by and post a little update about what's been happening and why I fell out of the blogosphere for a few months. 

My first term of grad school was fantastic!  I did really well and I'm very excited about my future career as a family nurse practitioner.  My goal is to tie together my future practice with health promotion, disease prevention, and a healthy plant-based diet. It's going to be awesome!

My favorite winter food:

Acorn squash.  I am so in love with this vegetable right now.  I associate it with comfort food from my childhood because my mom made it for us often in the winter time.  My method of preparing it is very simple. 
  • Heat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Cut in half and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and goopy stringy stuff.
  • Place cut side up in a baking dish or on a sheet pan.
  • Brush with olive oil, coconut oil, or earth balance.
  • Sprinkle with brown sugar or agave or maple syrup. (Stevia is good, too!)
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon, sea salt, and black pepper.
  • Bake for an hour or until the edges start to caramelize and the flesh is tender when poked with a fork.
My favorite way to make this into a meal is to serve it with quinoa and steamed kale.  Sometimes I make a mushroom miso gravy to pour over the quinoa and kale.  It's very hearty and filling and warming and comforting. 

After 11 weeks of nose-to-the-book I've been able to spend some time with my family and it's been wonderful. 

 me, sister, grandma, mom

boyfriend's knee, chloe the cat, me

I miss blogging as well as other activities that are not school related.  One of my goals for the new year and next term is to find some balance between school and life activities.  Last term I really focused on learning to be a good student again.  Now I'm looking forward to incorporating the rest of life back into it.  My boyfriend, family, and friends have been so supported of my new adventures.  I'm very lucky to have a great support system and to be able to go full speed ahead following my dream.  

I'm also looking forward to catching up with my favorite blogs and blog-friends.  Thanks for still being here.  xo :)


  1. The squash sounds delicious...especially with mushroom miso gravy.

    1. I've been "perfecting" this mushroom gravy recipe for a while now and I'm almost ready to post it. You're right, though, it's delicious :)

  2. Yay for vegans in the medical arena! :) Glad that grad school has been kind to you. Acorn squash isn't something I grew up eating (my mom hates the stuff), but it is probably my most favorite winter squash now! It's nice that you've had a chance to chill out over the holidays too, hope it's been a great break!

    1. Aww, thank you for stopping by Allysia! I've had a very relaxing holiday.

  3. Glad to see you back! Glad you did so well with grad school so far - looks like yr enjoying the holidays in good form :)

    1. Yes, the holidays have been very good!

  4. Congrats for finishing up your first term and welcome back!! We missed you! Thanks for the update, it's so nice to see that you are doing well! Looks like you've been having a great time with your family and friends and your squash looks delicious :) ENjoy the rest of your break!

  5. that's exactly how my mom made them growing up!

    1. I can't get enough of them right now. It helps that it takes almost zero effort to make :)

  6. Your mom and grandma look great, you've got some excellent genes! :) happy holidays!

    1. Thank you, Lauren. They are wonderful ladies!

  7. Way to go! We need more people like you in the health profession. :)

  8. Nice to see you back Nikki. Good job on grad school; it's tough I know. I'm seriously going to have to try acorn squash that way because it looks delicious!

  9. Thank you, Rachel. Yes, try the squash, it's very tasty :)

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