Roasted Vegetables: Sweet Potato & Zucchini [Recipe]

by Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD on November 21, 2014

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When I first started cooking, I experimented with roasting veggies and quickly became hooked. I like making a huge batch for dinner and then using the leftovers all week putting some in packed lunches, pasta dishes or scrambled eggs.

Lately, I’ve been making this colorful combo of veggies I found on My Recipes. The original recipe calls for eggplant which I don’t add but I’m sure it would be great. When roasting, I have found not skimping on the oil is key. Also, I try to cut veggies somewhat uniformly so they cook evenly. Happy Friday!

What is your favorite vegetable (or combo of veggies) to roast?

Roasted Vegetables: Sweet Potato & Zucchini [Recipe]
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 6-8

  • 2 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small or ½ large onion, cut into fourths and sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary chopped or 1 tsp dried
  • ¼ to ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Prepare the vegetables and place in a medium bowl.
  3. Add oil, rosemary, salt and pepper to the veggies and mix well.
  4. Place on a large roasting pan and cook for about 30 minutes or until tender and lightly browned.
  5. Add more salt and pepper to taste.



Why I Take Notes When My Kids Play

by Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD on November 18, 2014

My kids are bored, begging for TV or computer time.  After saying no, and point out their screen time is done for the day, they each go play.

Big A usually goes in her room and plays with her dolls or draws.  She’s always had an artsy flare.  Little D will usually stay in the living room playing some type of ball game of his own making. I’ll hear things like “that’s incredible,” “Going, going, gone,” or “touchdown.”

They think I’m not watching or noticing but nothing could be further from the truth.

What Children Show us If We Notice

Last summer, I read Mastery by Robert Greene. This book details how famous people in history (Benjamin Franklin, Charles Darwin to name a few) became masters in their profession. While they all chose different crafts, their processes to achieve success share similarities. It’s a fascinating read and one that got me thinking about my own kids.  Greene says that when people choose what he calls a “life task,” they should think back to what they were drawn to as children:

You possess a kind of inner force that seeks to guide you towards your life’s task — what you are meant to accomplish in the time that you have to live. In childhood this force was clear to you. It directed you toward activities and subjects that fit your natural inclinations, that sparked a curiosity that was deep and primal. In the intervening years the force tends to fade in and out as you listen more to parents and peers, to the daily anxieties that wear away at you.

I believe parents can give kids a huge running start by noticing what creates that spark in their children.  While classes and lessons have a place, I believe this force is more likely found in children-led daily activities and interests.  So later, when my kids ask about what they should do, I will remind them of what they once did when no one was watching.

Do it for the A or becoming a lifelong learner

I’m not a huge “you have to get good grades” parent.  If my daughter comes home with 100%, I make sure to acknowledge the work that went into it.  I also reinforce that understanding and learning are by far more important that any grade. The same way I don’t want my child to eat her veggies to get a reward, I don’t want my kids studying only to get an A.

Greene states that picking your life’s task is only the first step to mastery.  It takes a lot of hard work and learning to cultivate one’s potential.

…you must value learning above anything else. This will lead you to all the right choices. You will opt for the situation that will give you the most opportunities to learn, particularly with hands-on work. You will choose a place that has people and mentors who can inspire and teach you. A job with mediocre pay has the added benefit of training you to get by with less — a valuable life skill.

Health is Not Just About Food and Exercise

I used to have a very closed-minded view of optimal health which included eating right and exercising.  Now I know personal happiness and satisfaction are important keys to longevity, and research backs me up on this. In fact, flow, doing enjoyable activities where the time passes quickly, plays an important role.  If my children grow into adults feeling unfulfilled they may be more likely to reach for something else — food, material goods, you name it — to fill the void.

So I notice what gets my kids excited, encourage them to work hard and help them make the connection between learning and all the things they enjoy.

What do you notice when your kids play?


Meat and Veggie Lasagna [Recipe]

November 14, 2014
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It dawned on me that I didn’t have a “go to” recipe for meat lasagna. I mean, I had recipes I tried but none of them really stuck. So I messed around and came up with this combination. What I like about lasagna is that you can make it ahead of time and then just [...]

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End Your Child’s Candy Obsession with This Simple Technique

November 10, 2014
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On Halloween, my kids went trick or treating, came back to the house and ate until they were satisfied.  Big A ate more than her brother, although he’s picky when it comes to candy.  Two days later, my kids’ bags of Halloween candy sat on our couch untouched until I offered some of it for [...]

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Introducing My New E-Book: From Picky to Powerful

November 5, 2014
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After a weekend of formatting, staying up late and acting cranky to those around me, my first e-book is published: From Picky to Powerful: Transform Your Outlook on Picky Eating and End Food Battles Forever! I’ve been writing about picky eating since I started this blog over 5 years ago. It’s a topic near and [...]

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11 of the Biggest Cooking Pet Peeves of All Time

October 30, 2014
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I have a love-hate relationship with cooking.  I have come to enjoy it much of the time, but I experience these little annoyances that are a constant.  Here are my top 10 pet peeves: 1. Missing that “key” ingredient: I begin to make muffins and I go to get some eggs and, surprise, I don’t [...]

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5 Healthy Products I’m Dying to Try (and more about the 2014 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo)

October 23, 2014

As I’m writing this, I’m on a flight from Atlanta to San Diego.  I spent two nights and three days at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE). Just in case you don’t know, this is the annual meeting for dietitian and nutrition professionals. The first night I connected [...]

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Transform Your Relationship with Food by Doing This One Simple Thing

October 14, 2014
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There’s a package of chocolate chip cookies sitting on the table at work. Six different people have six different thoughts about it. Person A, who is trying to avoid gluten to lose weight, thinks of how every food on earth must have gluten. Person B, who is watching fat, tries to guess how many grams [...]

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Monthly Meal Plan (October)

October 6, 2014
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It’s been really hot here and I’m hoping the temperature finally drops so it feels a little more like fall.  The mornings and evenings have been cooler though. Regardless of the weather, I love this time of year. Although it always makes me nervous to see Christmas decorations out already!! Big A’s birthday is Friday [...]

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How (and Why) I Feed My Family with Respect

September 30, 2014
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This is The Feeding Diaries, an ongoing series about the feeding escapades in my house. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Lately I’ve been thinking about how the golden rule applies to feeding my family. For me it boils down to R-E-S-P-E-C-T for all.  Mom. Dad. Daughter. And son. And here’s how [...]

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