Paris Favorites

Paris Collage

Piggy-backing on a work trip to Milan, I took the opportunity to spend a few days in Paris – my first time ever to this enchanting city. Over the span of three days, I was able to visit so many memorable museums, monuments, and parks: The Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, The Musee d’Orsay, Napoleon’s Tomb, Sainte-Chapelle, Monmarte, the Latin Quarter, Ile Saint-Louis, Sacre Coeur, Place des Voges, Tuileries Garden, Jardin du Luxembourg, Notre Dame, Champs-Elysees, and more…

However, the food experiences in particular were especially memorable. Here are a few highlights from the trip:

La Cuisine Paris French Market Cooking Class

French Market Cooking Class at La Cuisine Paris // To satisfy all of my French gastronome fantasies and channel my inner Julia Child, I could not leave Paris without taking a cooking class. I settled on La Cuisine Paris after David Lebovitz suggested it in the New York Times. The class began with a walking tour of historic French markets, where a Parisian chef worked with our intimate class of eight to come up with a dinner menu based on the seasonal ingredients.

We then made our way to the cooking school, where we worked together to prepare the meal, absorbing tidbits of French culinary wisdom along the way. On the menu was Magret de Canard, Sauce a la Figue (duck with fig sauce), Oeuf Cocotte (creamy egg casserole), and Crème Caramel (a custard-like dish with caramel), which of course, were accompanied by a cheese platter (Comte, Camembert, and a creamy goat cheese), sliced baguettes from a local boulangerie, and a generous serving of white wine. The magic of the evening carried all the way over to the dinner table, where we enjoyed the fruits of our labor in a charming dining room overlooking the dreamy Siene river.

Merci in Paris

Lunch at Merci // After spotting the dreamy red Fiat and handsome wall of bookshelves on Instagram several months ago, a visit to Merci got upgraded to the top of my Paris wishlist. Merci is a large store selling trendy home goods, decor, and clothing, and is great for picking out souvenirs. But the deceptively large building also houses three charming cafes. We ate in the Merci Canteen, a bright and airy dining room that features a healthy, vegetable-forward menu (see top two photos). There is also a used book cafe (bottom left photo) and a cinema cafe.


Dinner at Piroutte // The grainy photos don’t do this place justice. This dinner was arguably one of the very best meals of my entire life. We made a reservation online about 2 or 3 weeks in advance, after seeing the positive reviews on Paris by Mouth (so grateful for online reservations when dining internationally!)  Every dish we ordered was superb (the 3 course tasting menu ran for 42 euro), and the elegant yet rustic dining room was absolutely charming.

Other can’t-miss food experiences in Paris were the warm crepes (the ham-cheese-egg combo became a breakfast ritual, as little croissants can’t tide me over in the morning) and the ice cream from Une Glace a Paris.

Other Paris Tips

  • Youtube is Your Friend: I never took art history in college, but I certainly didn’t want to wonder through one of the greatest art collections in the world without appreciating what I was looking at. A few days before visiting the Louvre, we watched a BBC documentary special called “Treasures of the Louvre” on YouTube (a little over an hour long). It was such a great look at the museum, that we took a similar approach for the Musee d’Orsay. And yes, there was a mandatory Midnight in Paris viewing before we left the states.
  • Get a Museum Pass: If you’re planning on visiting multiple museums or attractions (and why wouldn’t you?) be sure to pick up a museum pass. It allows you to cut the line at the Louvre and a few other museums, which is worth the price alone.
  • Google Maps: At the risk of sounding technology dependent, I am so grateful that I was able to use Google Maps on my phone. Directions aren’t my strong suit, and throwing a foreign language into the mix certainly doesn’t help. If you’re able to swallow the upfront cost of getting a temporary international data plan (I used AT&T Passport Silver: $60 for 300MB), it will make your trip so much less stressful. (Note: for a data-free map option: I recommend City Maps 2Go Pro, which runs for $4.99 in the App store). Google Maps was also great for trip planning, as I was able to create a custom map with different colored pins for different categories (restaurants, attractions, etc) and create layers within the map (one for each day, with the capability to map out a route between attractions). To learn more about custom Google Maps, see this tutorial.

What are your Paris favorites?

– Kelly

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10 Healthy Apple Recipes

Apple Picking at Green Mountain Orchard in Putney, VT

This weekend I ventured out to Vermont for an afternoon of leaf peeping and apple picking. The first stop was Green Mountain Orchards in Putney. They aren’t organic, but at least they practice IPM (integrated pest management). Next up was a late lunch in Brattleboro. We ate at Whetstone Station Restaurant and Brewery, a fun biergarten (the red building in the photo below) that overlooks the Connecticut River. Vermont never disappoints, but the fall foliage this weekend was especially stunning.

Brattleboro, VT

After coming home with approximately 30 apples (and that was just my half of the haul!) I am excited to get in the kitchen and start experimenting. Have you stocked up on this ubiquitous fall fruit? Here are ten healthy apple recipes (obligatory apple pie not included)…

Slow Cooker Apple Sauce

1. Slow Cooker Apple Sauce // The Kitchn

I’m always looking for ways to get more use out of my slow cooker, so this recipe was a no-brainer. Apple sauce isn’t usually a pantry staple for me, but these fragrant, stewed apples have been great to stir into my oatmeal in the mornings. For a snack, I like to stir a spoonful of natural peanut butter into my applesauce. You can also layer it with yogurt and granola, or use it to sweeten baked goods.

Overnight Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oatmeal

2. Overnight Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oatmeal // Monica Matheny, The Yummy Life

This is a great recipe that I’ve turned back to over the years. These days I don’t use nearly as much sugar as the original recipe calls for, and I tend to up the flax seed as well.

Teff Porridge with Apples, Dates and Pecans

3. Teff Porridge with Apples, Dates and Pecans // Aube Giroux, PBS Food

For those that haven’t tried teff (a porridge-y , African whole grain with undertones of cocoa), this recipe is a great way to familiarize yourself with a new healthy ingredient.

Apple, Almond and buckwheat muffins

4. Apple, Almond, and Buckwheat Muffins // Green Kitchen Stories

These muffins are filled with a sweet surprise: a gooey, applesauce center. I don’t usually bake gluten free, but I love that this recipe is heavy on healthy, wholesome ingredients.

Israeli Couscous and Apple Salad

5. Israeli Couscous and Apple Salad // Delish

Crunchy apples and tangy feta are a winning combo. For a more flavorful, nutritious twist, swap out the Israeli couscous for whole wheat couscous, bulgur or quinoa.

Whole Wheat Bread, Apple and Cranberry Dressing

6. Whole Wheat Bread, Apple and Cranberry Dressing // Martha Rose Schulman, New York Times

Thanksgiving in a bowl. Need I say more?

French Lentil Soup with Parsnip & Apple

7. French Lentil Soup with Parsnip and Apple // Dana

Hearty lentil soup is one of my absolute favorite foods, so I’m dying to try this apple and parsnip studded stew.

Lentil Walnut Apple Loaf

8. Glazed Lentil Walnut Apple Loaf // Oh She Glows

While some of my friends and family will undoubtedly be turned off the idea of a veggie loaf, this nutty lentil loaf looks deliciously hearty to me. They’ll come around to meatless mains soon enough!

Roasted Acorn Squash and Apples with Quinoa, Kale, and Tahini Maple Dressing

9. Roasted Acorn Squash and Apples with Quinoa, Kale, and Tahini Maple Dressing // Edible Perspective 

I am on a huge tahini kick lately, so this autumn squash bowl is calling my name. For those that haven’t experimented with tahini (outside of its supporting role in hummus) prepare to be amazed.

Butternut Squash Apple Pear Crisp

10. Butternut Squash Apple Pear Crisp // Edible Perspective

I love that this recipe incorporates rich winter squash into the classic apple crisp, for a welcome boost in both flavor and nutrition.

– Kelly

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World Hunger: 10 Myths

Frances Moore Lappe and Kelly Toups with World Hunger 10 Myths

World hunger is not a traditional area of study for dietitians, but one thing I love about dietetics is that it has allowed me to explore food and nutrition issues from so many different perspectives. Following a passion for food and nutrition policy, I landed at the Small Planet Institute in 2013 working as a research fellow on Frances Moore Lappé’s newest book, World Hunger: Ten Myths.

For those of you not familiar with Frances Moore Lappé, she is often credited with being one of the early pioneers of the food movement. Diet for a Small Planet, her 1971 classic that has sold over 3 million copies, was among the first works that helped people make the connection between the food we eat and the health of our planet.

Today her latest book, World Hunger: Ten Myths, is finally being released! I am so grateful to have been a part of this project, even if only for a year. Anyone interested in hunger and food insecurity, food justice, food and nutrition policy, sustainable agriculture, GMOs, and more should definitely pick up a copy. You can order it on Amazon here.

World Hunger 10 Myths Cover

– Kelly

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Blueberry Oatmeal with Greek Yogurt and Almonds

Blueberry Oatmeal with Greek Yogurt and Almonds 1

Blueberry Oatmeal with Greek Yogurt and Almonds

Blueberries, oats, Greek yogurt, almonds… the gang’s all here! These are basically all of the go-to “superfoods” in a dietitian’s arsenal, so naturally I had to combine them into one recipe.

Instead of my usual splash of milk, thick and creamy Greek yogurt offers more protein and probiotics, and helps keep you full. I usually hesitate to add refined sweeteners to porridge, but the scant ½ teaspoon of maple syrup here (yes, I got out the measuring spoons) is just the right touch of sweetness to tie the ingredients together. This is a prime example of “everything in moderation.” I don’t necessarily say no to sugar, but I insist that it be used with care.

This recipe was inspired by my mom, who always cooks her oats with a large handful of frozen blueberries. We’re obsessed with these particular oats from Bob’s Red Mill, so she sent me home with a large package the last time I was in Houston. The texture is what makes this Scottish oatmeal unique; it’s somewhere between steel cut oatmeal and cream of wheat. But just like my tried-and-true rolled oats, this creamy breakfast is microwave friendly and ready in a flash. Plus, if you do it my way, you end up with purple oatmeal. How’s that for a Monday morning?

Blueberry Oatmeal with Greek Yogurt and Almonds 3

Blueberry Oatmeal with Greek Yogurt and Almonds


  • 1/4 cup Scottish Oats
  • 1/3 cup frozen wild blueberries
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used nonfat Organic)
  • 2 tablespoons almonds (about 16 almonds)
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup


  1. Combine the oats, blueberries, and water in a large microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute. Then stir the mixture, and microwave for an additional 2 minutes. (Trust me about the large bowl.)
  2. Let the oatmeal sit in the microwave for one minute (this is the hardest part). Then, transfer oatmeal to a serving bowl if desired.
  3. Stir in the Greek yogurt, drizzle the top of the oatmeal with a scant 1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup, then top with almonds and serve.

Nutrition per Serving: 350 calories, 11g fat (1g saturated fat), 22g protein, 40g carbohydrates (11g sugar*, 8g fiber), 6mg cholesterol, 42mg sodium, 1% Vitamin A, 2% Vitamin C, 21% Calcium, 16% Iron

*Only 2g added sugars, all of the rest are naturally occuring

– Kelly

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Summer Harvest Linguine with Cannellini Beans

Whole Grain Linguine with Wheat Beans and Summer Vegetables

A somewhat unlikely duo, beans and pasta are an odd sounding but much loved combination in my repertoire. The beans contribute protein to an otherwise carb-heavy meal, offering a delightful change in texture, and a rich, hearty flavor. This Italian inspired dish uses creamy cannellini beans and whole wheat linguine as a canvas for sautéed summer vegetables (heirloom tomatoes, eggplant, and Tuscan kale). Grated parmigiano reggiano and fresh basil round out the meal.

Late Summer Farmers Market Vegetables

^^ Fresh from the farmers market! Pro tip: Pick up your eggplants and tomatoes now, before they retire for the season

Sauteed Summer Vegetables

Whole Grain Linguine with Tuscan Vegetables

^^ This recipe is great for entertaining, and was the first meal I served on my new roof patio

Summer Harvest Linguine with Cannellini Beans

Serves 4


  • 8 oz whole wheat linguine
  • 2 tablespoons plus one teaspoon olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium to large eggplant, chopped
  • 4 large heirloom tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 15 oz can cannellini beans (or other white bean), drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, cut or torn into ribbons


  1. Cook linguine according to package instructions. After draining, toss the pasta with one teaspoon olive oil (to prevent noodles from sticking) and set aside.
  2. Heat the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and eggplant.
  3. While the onion and eggplant are softening, chop the tomatoes.
  4. Once the tomatoes are chopped, add them to the skillet (the eggplant will have absorbed all of the oil by this point, so the pan will need the liquid from the tomatoes).
  5. Add the garlic, salt, oregano, and cannellini beans, stirring occasionally.
  6. While the vegetables are cooking, remove the kale leaves from their stems and tear or chop into bite sized pieces.
  7. Add the kale to the skillet, stirring until kale is wilted.
  8. Dive the pasta among four plates, then top each plate with the vegetable mixture. Garnish each plate with one tablespoon each parmigiano reggiano and fresh basil.

Whole Wheat Linguine with Summer Vegetables

Nutrition per Serving: 510 calories, 12g fat (2g saturated fat). 23g protein, 86g carbohydrates (20g fiber, 15g sugar*), 4mg cholesterol, 435mg sodium, 233% Vitamin A, 250% Vitamin C, 31% Calcium, 37% Iron

*none are added sugars

– Kelly

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Current Obsessions

Long time, no see, my friends! As summer craziness flickers out and we settle into fall routines, here are some of the things that I can’t get enough of lately.

Tomato Ricotta Toast

Tomato & Ricotta Toast

Toast is definitely becoming a “thing” now, but mashed avocado aside, this seasonal combination is definitely my favorite. Forget the cold, flavorless orbs you find on salad bars year round. Cherry tomatoes fresh from the garden are a food like no other, and their puckering sweet flavor promptly puts an end to the fruit vs. vegetable debate that haunts this ubiquitous crop. The best way to enjoy these summer gems is to pile them on crusty whole grain toast that’s been slathered with part skim ricotta, lightly drizzled with olive oil, then topped with a handful of fresh basil and a tiny sprinkle of salt and dried oregano.

Fastachi Mixed Nut Butter

Fastachi Mixed Nut Butter // $7.99- $15.99

Different nuts and seeds each have a unique nutrient profile, which is why it’s important to have a variety of these superfoods in your diet. This is also why I get paralyzed in the nut butter aisle at Whole Foods every couple of weeks. Thankfully, I came across this mixed nut butter, which boasts an impressive lineup of roasted nuts (hazelnuts, pecans, almonds, pistachios, peanuts, cashews, and walnuts), without the unnecessary added oils or sugars. All of the women that sit near me at work keep a stash of it, as it’s conveniently sold at the Copley Farmers Market (Tuesdays and Fridays) and at their charming Beacon Hill storefront. For those outside of Boston, you can also order online, or try making your own.

Biking in Back Bay, Boston

Biking to Work 

Yes, I wear a helmet; yes, there are bike lanes (most of the way); and yes, it can be scary. But it’s also really, really fun, not to mention the fastest way to get around the city. I got my bike in July, but it wasn’t until I moved to Brookline this September that I really started getting brave about riding on Boston roads. Now it’s my primary mode of transportation to and from work, and increasingly for other trips as well. If the FitBit registered pedaling, we’d be golden.

Produce Candles

Produce Candles // $20

Pretty much anything produce themed is an instant hit with me, and these charming candles are no exception. I first spotted them while browsing Milly & Grace in Nantucket, but was delighted to find them at my happy place (Brookline Booksmith) at a slightly cheaper price. The rhubarb scent smells phenomenal, although I’m also smitten with the earthier ones like kale (how could I not?!) and mint.

What’s on your radar lately?

– Kelly

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Chocolate Cherry Overnight Oatmeal

Chocolate Cherry Overnight Oatmeal

Don’t let cough syrup give cherries a bad rap. One taste of these juicy, summer rubies, and you’ll be declaring a new favorite fruit in no time. Fresh cherries have a pretty short season here in New England (peaking late June through mid July), but they are so deliciously addicting that most people can put down several weeks worth of cherries while simply standing in front of the refrigerator. Not that I know anything about that.

Delicious enough to enjoy straight out of a bowl, cherries are also the perfect natural sweetener, and that’s how I’m showcasing them in this chilled, chocolately recipe. These succulent little stone fruits eliminate the need for added sugars, while tangy yogurt and rich cocoa deepen the flavor. Overnight oatmeal is usually a breakfast pick, but I like to keep a bowl of this chocolate cherry concoction in the fridge for dessert, especially on hot summer nights.

Chocolate Cherry Overnight Oatmeal

Serves 1


  • 2/3 cup fresh pitted cherries (Don’t buy a cherry pitter! Use this trick)
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used nonfat organic)
  • 1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons chia seeds

Optional garnishes: sliced almonds, fresh cherries


  1. In a small mixing bowl, mash cherries with a potato masher or a large fork, under cherries are smooshed and juices are released.
  2. Add all other ingredients to bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Transfer mixture to a mason jar or a breakfast bowl, and set covered in the refrigerator overnight.
  4. Serve cold, after mixture has chilled and the porridge has thickened (at least 8 hours).
  5. Top with optional garnishes, such as fresh cherries or sliced almonds, if desired.

Nutrition per Serving: 260 calories, 5g fat (1g saturated fat), 44g carbohydrates (10g fiber, 16g sugar*), 15g protein, 4mg cholesterol, 30mg sodium, 16% Iron, 12% Calcium, 1% Vitamin A, 12% Vitamin C

*all sugars are naturally occurring, none are added sugars

– Kelly

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Summer Flatbread Pizza

Summer Flatbread Pizza with Blueberries, Corn, Squash, Goat Cheese, and Basil

Summer Flatbread Pizza

As promised, I put my hand-picked blueberries to good use. While my head said “whole grain muffins” and “fruit salad,” my heart said “pizza.” Heart, I think you were on to something. I shared this recipe on the Oldways Table Blog, so to view the full recipe, head on over to my post.

– Kelly

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Blueberry Picking + 10 Healthy Blueberry Recipes from the Web

Blueberry Picking at Parlee Farms

Gloomy (and thankfully, exaggerated) forecast aside, I started my Sunday with a blueberry picking double date to Parlee Farms, about an hour north of Boston near the New Hampshire Border. The pick-your-own prices were reasonable ($3.99 per pound), which means I now have three pounds of fresh picked, local blueberries to work through (kid stuff compared to Ashley and Josh’s ten-pound haul).

Whether you also have a plethora of fresh blueberries at your disposal, or you just want to take advantage of current sales and seasonal abundance, I’ve gathered up plenty of meal ideas to kickstart your culinary creativity. See below for ten healthy blueberry recipe ideas from around the web…

Ambitious Kitchen Muffins

^^ Healthy Blueberry Zucchini Muffins from Ambitious Kitchen // I love that this recipe works in whole wheat flour, zucchini (another abundant summer ingredient), and applesauce.


^^ Turmeric Breakfast Muffins from Green Kitchen Stories // I’ve been dying to try this recipe for months now. These muffins are gluten-free (not what I usually lean towards), but luckily I have whole grain buckwheat flour (and plenty of blueberries!) on hand.

peach blueberry oatmeal (4)

^^ Peach Blueberry Oatmeal from The Oatmeal Artist // So simple, yet so delicious. I had a similar dish (“slow cooked oats with chefs topping”) at The Willow Rest in Gloucester, MA a few weeks ago, and have been craving this combo ever since.


^^ Baked Blueberry Oatmeal from Nutmeg Nanny // This oatmeal bake is a tried-and-true recipe in my kitchen. (I’ve featured it here and here).


^^ Blueberry + Avocado Detox Smoothie from Jillianastasia // When in doubt, throw your berries in a smoothie!


^^ Berry Zinger Smoothie from The Crunchy Radish // Lemon and ginger can elevate a common berry smoothie into something special.


^^ Brain Power Salad (Spinach Salad with Salmon, Avocado, and Blueberries) from Gimme Some Oven // Salmon and avocado pair wonderfully with nearly any fruit, but antioxidant filled blueberries keep this “brain food” recipe on theme.


^^ Grilled Chicken Salad with Feta, Fresh Corn, and Blueberries from The Pioneer Woman // It’s not often that I link to a Pioneer Woman recipe on this site, but the grilled chicken and fresh summer produce are a refreshingly nutritious foundation.


^^ Blueberry Pizza with Honeyed Goat Cheese and Proscuitto from In Sock Monkey Slippers // I will definitely be using blueberries on a flatbread pizza this week. If things go well, you might even have a recipe post coming your way!

Healthy Cheesecake Made with Greek Yogurt

^^ Lightly Sweetened Greek Yogurt Cheesecake from Kelly Toups // I couldn’t end this list without sharing a recipe from my own collection!

What’s your go-to blueberry recipe?

– Kelly

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Chocolate Cranberry Milkshake

Chocolate Cranberry Milkshake (No sugar!)

Like any self-respecting locavore, I aim to feature seasonal farmers market produce whenever possible. But alas, my penny-pinching food budget has the final say, which is why I tend to avoid picking up groceries until every scrap of food in the cupboard has been eaten.

That brings me to this chocolate cranberry milkshake. More indulgent than fresh fruit, but more nourishing than a chocolate milkshake, this cocoa-cranberry beverage is the perfect balance of nutritious and delicious. Cranberries may not be popular this time of year, but if they’re in my freezer, they’re fair game. Eating healthy need not be expensive; so if you’re out of fresh fruit, don’t hesitate to use up what you have on hand (frozen fruit, dried fruit, or fruit canned in water or juice). Par for the course with my other milkshake recipes, this one is sweetened with fruit alone, meaning you don’t have to worry about nutrient-empty added sugars.

Chocolate Cranberry Milkshake (Healthy! No sugar!)

Cranberry Chocolate Milkshake

Serves 1


  • 1/2 cup frozen cranberries (unsweetened)
  • 1 ripe banana, frozen
  • 1 date, pitted and chopped (or 1 Tbsp date paste)
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used organic nonfat milk)

Method: Add all ingredients to blender, and blend to combine.

Chocolate Cranberry Milkshake (Secretly healthy! No added sugar!)

Nutrition: 280 calories, 7g fat (1g saturated fat), 59g carbohydrates (9g fiber, 43g sugar*), 9g protein, 4mg cholesterol, 80mg sodium, 8% Iron, 26% Calcium, 10% Vitamin A, 29% Vitamin C

*none of these sugars are the dangerous added sugars – all are naturally occurring

– Kelly

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