Weekly Wisdom and Top 5 Nutrition Noshes

Nutrition Nosh One. Wisdom.

Inspirational Question

When was the last time? 
Are you creating "first" times in your life?

Let's face it, nothing is like our adolescence when we have a plethora of first times. Many of those experiences happen, not by choice but by chance. Many of those experiences are great and many of them are not. All of them are part of our life journey and it should not stop as we advance in age. 

Nothing good ever came from comfort zones and not having more first times. 

Think back to a memorable first time. There is no feeling like something happening you have not experienced before. It's only occurs if you put yourself out there. Will you do it again or not?

 Is there something you have always wanted to do?  Is there a place you want to visit?  Is there a person you want to meet? Is there a food you want to try?  Is there a song you want to write? Is there a hobby you want to explore? Is there a goal you want to accomplish?  

Don't you want to know?
Nutrition Nosh Two. Weekly Conversation. 

Conversations with Anne Elizabeth Podcast, Amber Pankonin/Stirlist

My conversation today is with Registered Dietitian Amber Pankonin.

My conversation today is with one of my favorite boss ladies. She owns StirList and is known as RD Amber in our social media world. Amber is passionate about food, nutrition science and agriculture as a Nutrition & Agriculture Communications Consultant and adjunct instructor. In her bio she writes, “when I grow up, I’d like to be a photographer or maybe a backup dancer because Amber has always had a creative side. She initially was a music major in college. Amber and I talk about her non-traditional route to dietetics and her first jobs, how she became inspired to own her own business, recipe development and how important the art of communication is for dietitians.

Connect with Amber:  amber@stirlist.com | stirlist.com

Nutrition Nosh Three. Week in Review.

I was all about trying new restaurants this past week. FIRST TIME FOOD!  I am not sure there is anything better than that? 

Goldfinch Restaurant Des Moines

My first time adventure to Goldfinch Restaurant did not disappoint. Goldfinch is a contemporary Mexican-South American dining experience in downtown Des Moines. It is beautiful on the inside. I love the colors of orange/rust and hues of blue/navy with an open and airy feeling. 

Goldfinch Restaurant Guacamole

Goldfinch Restaurant Seasonal Salad

Goldfinch partners with Sunstead Farms in my little hometown of Waukee, Iowa to create a menu highlighting dishes prepared with seasonally inspired ingredients with Iowa-based partners such as The Cheese Shop, La Quercia, La Mie Bakery, Milton Creamery, Picket Fence CreameryRinehart's Family Farm and Wilson's Orchard.  The freshly made-to-order guac was a must for me because I have heard wonderful things about the flavors, ability to add fresh vegetables to my order and the delicious freshly made tortilla chips. I got a half order for myself so I could enjoy the signature Goldfinch that had me at Watermelon Radish. Yum! I will be going back to try some other menu items catching my eye like the Lobster Mac and Cheese or the Baked Cheesy Kale Dip. Who wants to join me? I am always looking for a date!

Ronco EZ Rotisserie Review

My next "first time" of the week was using a Ronco EZ Rotisserie.  Set it and forget it!  I agreed to do a product review on this handy kitchen tool. I love rotisserie chicken and the color red, so it was hard to pass up the opportunity. What I didn't realize is I would have to buy a whole chicken, touch it and maneuver it to be cooked in the rotisserie. I know. I am ridiculous but touching raw meat is not really my thing, so I gloved up and made it happen. I purchased my favorite chicken in the world, a Smart Chicken Whole Chicken, rubbed it with some lemon zest, cracked black pepper, garlic powder, fresh thyme and a little sea salt (absolutely no recipe, just mixed it all together an rubbed it in). I tied it up with my stellar twine skills and skewered it onto the rotisserie. 

Rotisserie Smart Chicken

Walla!  Check out this bad boy! Beauteous and friggin delicious! It kept its moisture perfectly and once it was in the machine, I didn't have to do a thing!  It comes with gloves so I didn't burn the shit out of myself (which is a common Anne in the kitchen issue), a carving stand and a rack to use for other types of food. Would I used this all the time?  No. But I did like the ease of the cooking process, minimal buttons and options, simple directions and the taste of the food. If it just came with a human to handle the "touching the raw meat" part of the cooking process, I might use it more, but for now, my oven will do the trick. 

St. Kilda Cafe and Bakery Des Moines

First time #3 of the week was a dining stop at St. Kilda Cafe and Bakery, a new restaurant in an up and coming neighborhood in downtown Des Moines. Des Moines is booming with new construction in their downtown area with tons of new hip and very cool condos/lofts and unique residences. I think Des Moines is such a cool city and I really do love living here. St. Kilda was buzzing with all the cool kids (aka millennials) living in the hood and the decor has a mid-century bright, white and full of light modern feel. It is named after a beach community in Melbourne, Australia where the owner, Alexander Hall, used to live and work.  It is a full-service Australian cafe and bakery with healthy eats, indulgent freshly made bakery items, artisanal coffee drinks and one of the best ice teas I have ever had. 

St. Kilda Avocado Toast

I was debating between salad (Tomato and Burrata Salad was speaking to me), a Basil Parmesan Scone or the Avocado Toast, which I chose the latter and added a scrambled egg and bacon.  Avocado toast is not a ground-breaking dish, but it was goooodd. Very light and not covered in oil or butter. My next visit will be extremely carb and caffeine friendly, hello Banana Pain Perdu and espresso. Oh and did I mention they have cocktails too?  Very dietitian approved!

Nutrition Nosh Four. Workout Playlist of the Week. 

I needed some new jams to try new things with this week, because I also am trying out some new strength training workouts to get buff this summer. Enjoy my new beats!

iTunes Workout Playlist of the Week

Nutrition Nosh Five. What I Love Right Now. 


I love these pretty flowers in my kitchen right now. 

Mocu Health Multivitamin Mix

Every morning I have a nutrition-rich smoothie/shake and I am very excited to toss my multivitamin pill and use this Whole Food Multivitamin Mix by Mocu Health. Now I can get my vitamins and minerals from food and not some crazy pill that I have no idea what is even really in it. They customize this blend with a combination of nutrient dense foods like herbs, fruits and green tea to get 100% of most vitamins/minerals in 1/4 tsp added to my shake in the morning. This 90-day supply would be a great first-time thing to try in your daily routine and if you visit Mocu Health you can get 20% off your order by entering in the code Anne20. I HIGHLY recommend it and I know you will love it as much as I do. 

Get out there and experience something for the FIRST TIME!



Top 5 Nutrition Noshes and Weekly Wisdom

Nutrition Nosh One. Wisdom. 

Funny Quote About Gardening

Who out there loves to garden?  What about gardening do you love?  I have recently been testing out my green thumb and have kind of caught on to the thrill. My reasoning for gardening might be a little non-conventional, hence my weekly wisdom quote, but I am enjoying the process. There is just something amazing about planting a teeny tiny seed and a beautiful and bountiful plant is the result. The colors, the structure, the flowers, the food and the life a plant takes on, is stunning to me (so is the fact I could actually keep something alive). All funnies set aside, the most fun thing about gardening is ANYONE can do it, ANYWHERE. One little pot, some dirt, a seed, sun and water can grow something providing you nutrition, blooms a colorful flower, feeds bees and butterflies or just adds beauty to your patio. But it will not exist without you. 

This summer, I challenge you to grow a plant, anywhere and any type you choose. Test out your green thumb by getting dirty and wearing a pair of cute pants. If I can do it, anyone can. 

Nutrition Nosh Two. Weekly Conversation. 

Conversations with Anne Elizabeth Podcast

My conversation today is with Registered Dietitian Lisa Nolting.

My conversation today is with a new friend of mine and I absolutely enjoy talking with her every time I see her. We met through the Iowa Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and I found Lisa’s passion for food service and management to be inspiring, since it is something I have always been a little scared of. In our conversation, Lisa takes me through some her of her bravest moments as a new dietitian and what brings her joy in being a dietitian in a K-12 school system and in her current job with Iowa State University. At Iowa State she has a wide variety of responsibilities, including helping students with food allergies navigate the college dining halls and meeting their nutritional needs. And this is just the beginning...

Nutrition Nosh Three. Week in Review.

This summer, I am holding true to what I told you above in my weekly wisdom. I planted this summer with a couple of different projects. My first being a community garden at my work. The picture below is when we started the garden. How cute are all the little plants?

Newly Planted Garden

And here is the garden to date!  Proud I am! It has gone bonkers and it has been great seeing it all come together!  The community garden is open to any customers of my store, the Fleur Drive Hy-Vee. I want everyone to take what they would like to eat something delicious at home this summer. I, with the help of my co-worker Michelle, planted all different kinds of lettuce, Brussels sprouts, eggplant, cabbage (my background for my weekly wisdom quote), broccoli, cauliflower, a variety of herbs, kohlrabi, tomatoes, carrots, beats, radishes, onions, peppers, bok choy, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. 

Garden Photo Mid Summer

I had to share my favorite veggie, the pretty-in-pink radish. I tried to pick them early because the spicier the better and were these babies spicy!  Radishes are so satisfying to plant because they grow very quickly from seed. 

Garden Radishes

Variety of Garden Greens

My mom came to town for other planting events for the weekend and we scheduled a little dinner date with friends on their new deck, so I thought I would harvest some greens from the garden. My friend Jason grilled steaks and we had a fresh garden steak salad with blue cheese and cocktails. My friend Lindsey was crushing on my salad creation. She almost got some. 

It looks so good I want to eat it!

It was a great Saturday night with friends and great food. There is nothing like fresh vegetables from a garden. These veggies are what summer tastes like. We did get home a little later and I knew we had a big day ahead on Sunday. Because....

Repotting Large Plants

This was happening. The re-potting of the two VERY large plants in my living room. I have had these plants since I moved in 9 years ago and they were starting to bust out of their pots. I was in denial they needed to be replanted because I knew it was going to be quite the task. The plants have been in our family for a long time. The Bird of Paradise (on the left) actually came back with us as a little baby bird when we moved back to Iowa from Hawaii. The Ponytail Palm (on the right) was a gift to my Dad when he started his new job in Iowa after we moved. We are talking 35+ years. I was gifted them from my parents and have managed to keep them alive this whole time but it was time to give them a comfier space to live in. 

Large pot for plant

If you recall my blog post from a little over a month ago, I had lovely surprises of pots in my garage when I got home from a trip. It was now time to put them into action. Mom was so gracious to come and help me. First, I know nothing about repotting plants and secondly, have I said before these plants are ginormous?

Repotting large plant

The Ponytail Palm was the one I knew would be the most challenging because the base of the tree pretty much was touching the outside rim of the pot. First, Mom started with trying to loosen up the small amount of soil that was left on the sides of the pot. Yep, it didn't work. 

Repotting large plant

Then we tried to roll it, turning it on its side to shake it out. Yep, that didn't work. It was now hammer time and we busted the bad boy free. This was all taking place in my living room, mind you. Lil g was a tad bit confused but enjoyed the flying objects to go after during the process. The roots were crazy large and Mom gave them a haircut. Off with the old, so the new can grow!

Ponytail Palm and Bird of Paradise

Look at these happy plants!  It took us the whole day, my mom vacuumed for a few hours after wards, we were dirty and tired, decided to shower and then both passed out on the couch. It was a success, but only thanks to my Mom for being patient with my minimal gardening/planting patience. 


I ended the week with a great segment on KCCI morning news on my new favorite summer fruit, Dewlicious Melons or Golden Honey Dew. They are from Arizona and harvested by Martori Farms. I don't know about you, but I never know which melon is good when I am in the grocery store. Watermelons, Cantaloupe and Honey Dew all look the same from the outside. With Dewlicious Melons, they are picked by hand by the farmers when they are perfect, giving you a sweet, velvety flesh. The rich golden color of the melon indicates it is ripe. I like mine soft and juicy, so I keep my melon on the counter top until I am ready to eat it. If you like a crisper melon, refrigerate it. It will keep in the refrigerator for 6-10 days to enjoy it. 

Nutrition Nosh Four. Workout Playlist of the Week.

Of course I would have a garden/plant inspired playlist this week. Music makes my muscles grow and my plants grow. Click here for my Green Thumb playlist

ITunes Workout Playlist

Nutrition Nosh Five. What I Love Right Now. 

Sweet and Savory Summer Melon Skewers

Since I have discovered how sweet and yummy the Dewlicious Melon is, I have tried it in a few recipes. Hy-Vee also has this great recipe for a summer BBQ or party. It is great as a lunch or snack. The saltiness of the prosciutto pairs perfectly with the succulent sweetness of the melon. I topped it off with basil from the community garden. I think this recipe will "grow" on you!

Sweet and Savory Melon Skewers
Serves: 6

All you need:
½ medium Dewlicious golden honeydew melon (about 1 lb)
6 thin slices prosciutto or ham, sliced in quarters (about 1½ oz)
12 small fresh mozzarella balls (about 4 oz)
6 leaves fresh basil (about 2 tbsp), chiffonade
2 tbsp balsamic reduction
¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper

All you do:
Cut melon in half.  Using a melon baller, form 24 melon balls.  Thread a melon ball, a slice of prosciutto, a mozzarella ball, another slice of prosciutto and another melon ball on a mini skewer.  Repeat with remaining skewers and place on a platter. 

Top with basil.  Drizzle with balsamic reduction and sprinkle with black pepper.

Nutrition (per serving):  130 calories, 5 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 340 mg sodium, 14 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 13 g sugar, 9 g protein, 15% Daily Value (DV) for calcium, 20% DV for vitamin C.

Recipe courtesy of www.hy-vee.com

Vegetables and fruit

And the other thing I love right now is sweet text messages from my mom. I didn't even tell her to purchase a Dewlicious Melon but she did!  I also love being "her dietitian."



5 Nutrition Noshes and Weekly Birthday/4th of July Wisdom

Nutrition Nosh One. Wisdom.

Friendship Quote

How many memories have you made with your friends?  I don't know about you, but mine are endless. I forget as many as we have made. This past 4th of July weekend, I celebrated my crazy beautiful friend Brenda on her birthday. We had an amazing day boating at the lake and it was just an amazing day. It was while I was sitting on the boat on a beautiful sunny July day in Iowa, that I realized I need to do a better job of being in the moment. Being in the moment is when you really take it all in and make a memory of a wonderful day.  

When you find yourself feeling joy, this is when you need to be in the moment to make a lasting memory.  Put your damn phone down for a few minutes, take a mental picture and ask yourself these questions:

What are you wearing?
What is the day like? What is the weather?
What is the location? Look around and really take it in.
What was your mood?
Who are the people surrounding you? 
What is the occasion?
What food did you have and what did it taste like?
Did you have a special conversation?
How often did you smile?
How often did you make someone feel special?
Why is this something you never want to forget?

Memories stay with you forever if you take the time to really feel the joy during the days you never want to end. Do not take them for granted and always be grateful they happened. 

Nutrition Nosh Two. Weekly Conversation. 

Conversations with Anne Elizabeth Podcast Photo

My conversation today is with Registered Dietitian Tanya Hargrave-Klein

When I moved to the Des Moines area, about 9 years ago, I started working with a project involving wellness interventions at elementary schools in the area as a contractor with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation. The project had a group Registered Dietitians providing the education to the students and this is where I met the wonderful and Tanya. Tanya and I worked together on this project for a couple of years and we connected during that time. We have somewhat stayed in contact over the years until recently, we started working together again with the Iowa Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Tanya has always inspired me because when I met her, she was an entrepreneur and had her own business, TAVi Health Incorporated. I love the tag line of her business:  TAVi Health is your partner in wellness and health promotion. Combining the resources of an exercise physiologist and registered dietitian, a therapeutic recreation specialist, and a quirky creative director, we develop unique and innovative wellness incentive campaigns.”  If you are thinking of starting your own business, this is a must listen!

Connect with Tanya: twist@tavihealth.com

Nutrition Nosh Three. Week in Review.

Every year on July 1st, I get the privilege to celebrate this crazy beautiful friend of mine! Brenda and I met when I was a dietetic intern and then worked together for a number of years. It wasn't until I moved away to Des Moines (so silly) that we became great friends!

Woman in Boat

Brenda and her main squeeze Jason, have a kick ass boat, so we were off to Lake Manawa for some sunshine, water, cocktails and great company. Brenda's sweet boys Brady and Jake joined us too!

girls in swimsuits

It was the most perfect day! I also enjoy meeting all of their friends out on the lake. Over the years, it has been great getting to know them, especially Tanya!  She is a blast and I look forward to seeing here every time! We had so much fun, we didn't quite make it to the rest of the festivities and fireworks that evening, but we did get a good nights sleep (wink wink). 

Women on a lake photo

The next day, I headed to my Mom's house and we made our way out to my cousins Denis and Christine's house for a little BBQ to celebrate the fourth. 

Outdoor Bar

They had quite the set up on the patio with this very cool bar made by Denis. 

Making Cocktails

And Denis is a great bartender. We had everything from Moscow Mules to beer. They are truly great host and hostess when it comes to any get-together. 

Popcorn and cherries with sunflowers photo

Christine spoiled me with my two favorite snacks, popcorn and cherries. I think I may have eaten almost all of them myself. She even made a snazzy batch of popcorn with truffle butter, so indulgently creamy, full of flavor and delicious. 

BBQ photo

After cocktails and snacks, we all hopped in the kitchen and helped make dinner. My Mom made a loaf of homemade bread and pattied the hamburgers, I made salad with romaine, spinach, avocados, blueberries, pears, candied walnuts, onions, feta cheese and poppyseed dressing (this combo was soo good, I text myself the ingredients so I could re-create it at home), Christine kept us all in line and made the beans while Denis grilled the PERFECT burgers. Putting it all together was one of those special memories I was talking about. 


As nightfall came, we went outside to the perfect fire on the patio with our warm tea and coffee and I had planned a special finally for our delicious evening. But we needed sticks!  Our resident horticulturist ventured out and gathered the appropriate utensils for our holiday sweet treat. 

Smashmallows and Hershey Chocolate

I could not pass up these unique marshmallows up at work. Smashmallow makes these tasty flavors in a marshmallow. So fun!  I couldn't resist the mint chocolate chip and the cinnamon churro and a few packages of good old Hershey's milk chocolate bars.  We did run into a bit of a conundrum. We forgot the graham crackers!  Well, I forgot them.  Good thing I can be inventive with my snacks, so we substituted some Belvita Cinnamon Brown Sugar crunchy breakfast biscuits. 

fire pit and marshmallows

And let me tell you, that was a damn delicious substitution. I personally LOVED the mint chocolate chip. The marshmallow actually had chocolate chips in them that got all melty when roasted so it made it even more oooey and gooey. I would highly recommend finding these at your local grocery store. I know I will be getting them again because who doesn't love s'mores. 

Nutrition Nosh Four. Workout Playlist of the Week. 

Of course my playlist had to be inspired by my girl!  

iTunes Workout Playlist

 Nutrition Nosh Five. What I Love Right Now.

Blanket and Life Cereal

What I love right now is what my Mom gave me before I left on Monday evening, two pretty great memories from my childhood. My Grandma Jose made this blanket for my sister and I when we were little girls, AND it is ALL done by hand. I didn't quite remember it at first and then my mom said, "if you look back at pictures, you will see the blanket in a lot of them" and she was right. This blanket was always with us. It will be a lovely little lap blanket to cozy me in and remind me of my Grandma and my sissy. The Life Cereal is also one of the foods with great memories and she gave me two boxes. My sister and I would always love to watch Saturday morning cartoon in our jammies with a big bowl of cereal. Two little girls watching Bugs Bunny and munching down a yummy bowl of Life. This memory makes my heart happy. 

Memories stay with you forever if you take the time to really feel the joy during the days you never want to end. Do not take them for granted and always be grateful they happened.