Disclosure: My attendance at the Blog Brûlée is partially sponsored. I have received a registration discount for my attendance in exchange for writing this pre-event post. Opinions expressed are my own, I was not compensated for my time.

This weekend I am embarking on a first of its kind, blogging for dietitians, adventure – I’m attending Blog Brûlée: Setting Fire to Better Blogs Conference !  It’s kind of like I’m heading back-to-school – but in a super fun blogger kind of way.

blog brulee


Here’s the math (back-to-school, remember?):  

20 dietitian bloggers +

4 nutrition communications dietitians who founded this brand new conference +  

1 really cool backdrop, Vermont’s Smuggler’s Notch +

10 top notch speakers on everything from food styling, food photography & branding +

8 amazing sponsors =

1 excited dietitian who is honored to have been asked to attend this event!


My back-t0-school supplies are ready:

  • Since I take all my food photos on my iPhone, my phone will be charged and the charger will be handy.  Follow my photos on Instagram.
  • I am still a person who loves to write things down, so I packed my journal and my favorite pen. Don’t worry, I will share a ton on Twitter too! 
  • My number one strength according to Strength Finders 2.0 is Learning – yep, that will be packed for sure.
  • A hunger for fantastic food from some of my favorite food and beverage sponsors like Cabot Cheese (my favorite cheese hands down - disclosure, I’m a cheese board blogger), Davidson’s Safe Eggs (using these pasteurized eggs makes me feel good about sharing cookie dough with my kids), Welch’s (favorite grape juice and jelly since I was a kid), Kashi (tasty cereals that fill me up for breakfast) and The Soyfoods Council (last year I stepped into the soybean fields of Iowa on a sponsored trip to learn more about the versatile soybean and brought some recipes home to share with my family).  Can’t wait to learn and taste more!
  • And I can’t forget an enthusiasm for hanging out and learning from some of the smartest, most innovative dietitians in the country!

I am still in awe that I will be spending time with the best nutrition communications dietitians in the biz, learning a ton of new things to set my blog on fire…plus wine and cheese tastings and even a chocolate class? It’s going to be a fun weekend.

I will share highlights after the event on my blog - stay tuned!



The number one way I like to spend time with my kids is with them in the kitchen creating nourishing food.  It’s sometimes about the food, but its mostly about the time together we share that I love.  I think of our kitchen as a classroom. The countertop is our learning desk, cookbooks are our school books and of course there is the teacher (usually me) and the students (my kids).  Of course, good teachers never stop learning which means we learn a lot together!  And while Labor Day weekend is upon us, make a plan to spend time with your kids in the kitchen.  Use this really cool infographic from my friends at Cabot Cheese to try three different recipes to make with your kids.  Preschool – elementary – tweens/teens!  Cabot has it all covered.

Cooking With Kids Infographic
Presented By Cabot Cheese

Share what recipe you are making with your kids this weekend!


More and more, schools across the country are hiring registered dietitians (i.e. nutrition experts) to support and create healthy options in the schools, provide interactive nutrition education and encouragement in the cafeterias and classrooms and support wellness programs in schools. I’m proud to say that I am now a part of that trend.

After a lot of thought, I decided to make the change from being a supermarket dietitian – where I’ve been the last 6 years – to a registered dietitian working for Austin (MN) Public Schools. I love new challenges. I love learning something new! (Strength Finder 2.0 revealed this.) This opportunity presented itself at the perfect time. (I believe God had a hand in that!) I am excited to focus my energy on kids in our community. And with my new schedule and focus, I believe I will be a better mom to the two most important kids in my life.

Change is never easy. And it can be anxiety-provoking.  But here’s a great tip I received from a friend: Write down all the reasons why you want to make the change and refer to it when those crazy thoughts appear.  Clarity provided.

I’m learning a lot as this is the beginning of my third week in my new role (I’m literally going back-to-school!). And I’m reminded of all the reasons I need to eat breakfast to boost my learning and of course, this is a great reminder to make sure our kids eat breakfast before school too.

Back to School 2014-Chalkboard
Here’s why:

• Breakfast boosts brain power. Research shows that kids who eat a morning meal have better memory, attention and behavior; and score higher on tests. Check out this full report: The Wellness Impact.

• Breakfast leads to better nutrition. Children who skip it don’t typically make up the nutrients they miss at other meals throughout the day. In fact, numerous studies suggest children and adolescents skip breakfast more than any other meal of the day. For some, skipping breakfast means going 15-17 hours without food. Check out my grab-and-go breakfast basket.

The best food groups for breakfast: Dairy, whole grains, and fruit. Dairy is essential because:

• Dairy and breakfast go hand in hand. With so many types of milk, chees and yogurt available, it’s easy to find breakfast combinations for everyone to enjoy.

• Dairy is a must for breakfast. It delivers a unique package of nine essential nutrients in a variety of tasty options. Dairy boosts protein in breakfast making us feel fuller longer too.

Many schools offer grab-and-go breakfast options as kids are getting to school. If mornings are crazy at home, take advantage of school breakfast. It’s healthy and will fuel your child’s day of learning.


Egg and Mozzarella Breakfast Pizza
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Total Time
13 min
Total Time
13 min
  1. 1 whole wheat English muffin
  2. 2 mushrooms, sliced
  3. 2 green onions, finely chopped
  4. 4 tablespoons diced green or red bell pepper
  5. 2 eggs
  6. ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  7. dash oregano or Italian seasoning
  8. 4 teaspoons pizza sauce
  9. ½ cup shredded low-moisture, part-skim Mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat oven broiler to low.
  2. Split English muffin in half and toast; set aside.
  3. Heat small non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, green onions and bell pepper. Cook, stirring continuously for two minutes or until vegetables are softened. Stir in eggs, black pepper and oregano into vegetable mixture. Cook, stirring continuously until eggs are set, about two minutes.
  4. Spread 2 teaspoons of pizza sauce onto each English muffin half. Spoon a quarter of the egg mixture over pizza sauce and top with a quarter of the cheese. Spoon the remaining egg mixture and cheese evenly on top of the muffins. Place the muffins on a baking sheet and broil for 3-5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
  1. Make it even quicker by using frozen vegetables!
Adapted from Midwest Dairy
Adapted from Midwest Dairy
Jen Haugen RD http://www.jenhaugen.com/


Really Good Guacamole

by Jen on August 21, 2014

in Lunch, Recipe ReDux, Recipes, Snacks

For this Recipe ReDux back-to-school lunch bites themed post, I want to introduce my intern, Megan.  Going back to school, i.e. college in Megan’s case, requires the right mix of passion and fun, and a lot of great food.  Learn a little about why she decided to pursue nutrition and try her favorite guacamole recipe!

Here’s Megan’s story: As a junior in high school, I was taking a careers class and we were given an assignment to research a career of interest to us. Having no idea what I wanted to do, my teacher suggested that I research dietetics. Never did I think that 5 years later I would be declaring my major in dietetics. Dietetics is a lot of chemistry and I asked myself, “How in the world would I get through college chemistry when I had to drop out of high school chemistry?”I came to find out, my high school careers teacher knew me better than I knew myself. I grew up, built some self-confidence, and realized that I am capable and smart enough.

Me and my dog

I have always had a passion for food. I love to cook, garden, and if I could travel around the world sampling different foods, I would. Health is also of huge importance to me. In my earlier years of college, I would find myself googling how the foods I ate was beneficial to my health. I had a desire to learn what happened to food after I ate it, and I wanted to know how I could maximize my health through what I was eating.

On a more personal note, I also have issues with food. I have struggled with binge eating in the past. I often times found myself eating to the point that I was uncomfortable on a regular basis. I would eat dinner and then continue to snack all night even though I wasn’t hungry. This led to feelings of guilt.  I am a runner, so I could totally get away with it and still be skinny, but it wasn’t necessarily good for me. I have friends and family members who have similar feelings and issues. One of the things that I would like to do as a dietitian is help people with similar issues, develop a better relationship with food.

I would love to one day work in a clinic doing outpatient work. I have job shadowed a couple of dietitians who work in outpatient and I loved seeing the different personalities of the patients. I loved listening to how and what they eat, their struggles and motivations, and everything else they had to say.

I am going into my senior year of school and then I have to do an internship before I can take the national exam to become an RD. I look forward to seeing where these next two years take me and what route I go with dietetics. There are so many possibilities.


Here is a favorite recipe of mine that my brother shared with me. I was never a fan of guacamole until I tried homemade guacamole. I like it extra spicy so I use two Serrano chilies instead of one.

Really Good Guacamole
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  1. 2 avocados
  2. ½ red onion
  3. 1-2 Serrano chilies, minced
  4. 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  5. 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  6. ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  7. A dash of black pepper
  8. ½ ripe tomato, seeded and pulp removed
  1. Mash the avocado. Add onions, chilies, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and black pepper. Add tomatoes right before serving.
  2. Note: To keep fresh, place saran wrap on top and punch it down on the guacamole so that the two are touching, leaving no air in the container.
Jen Haugen RD http://www.jenhaugen.com/


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There is one special restaurant my husband and I try to get to once a year. And when we do, we definitely order: Cranberry and Walnut Greens. The ingredients include baby greens, sun dried cranberries, spicy walnuts, balsamic vinaigrette and amablu cheese. Amablu cheese is a local creation. It is the first blue cheese made and marketed nationally here in America –  and it’s cave-aged!  

But the star of that salad is the cranberry. And did you know all these fun facts about the little cranberry?
• Scientists have shown that flavonoids give fruits, like cranberries, and vegetables most of their antioxidant properties and that a flavonoid-rich diet may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease?
• Drinking 8–16 oz. of 27% original, low- or no-calorie cranberry juice cocktail each day is recommended to maintain urinary tract health and prevent urinary tract infections?
• Dried cranberries are a good source of fiber?
• ¼ cup dried cranberries is a serving and equal to ½ cup of fresh fruit?

Cranberry Spinach Salad with Avocado 2


Here are some fun salad combinations that include cranberries. A must-have ingredient for any summer salad.
• Dried cranberries, garbanzo beans and carrots
• Dried cranberries, orange slices and chopped broccoli
• Dried cranberries, cucumbers and feta cheese
• Dried cranberries, green peppers and black beans
• Dried cranberries, black beans and corn kernels
• Dried cranberries, chopped pears and celery

And thank you the The Cranberry Institute for a few of the ingredients in this recipe along with the fun facts!

Cranberry Spinach Salad with Avocado


Cranberry Spinach Sald with Avocado
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  1. Dressing Ingredients
  2. 4 Tbsp. cranberry juice
  3. 2 Tbsp. dried cranberries
  4. 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
  5. 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  6. 6 Tbsp. canola oil
  7. Salt and pepper, to taste
  8. Salad Ingredients
  9. 3 1/3 cups fresh spinach leaves
  10. 1 small head of frisée lettuce
  11. 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
  12. 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  1. Place cranberry juice and dried cranberries in a small pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Stir in vinegar and Dijon mustard. Gradually whisk in canola oil so the mixture becomes a dressing. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. Rinse spinach and frisée; spin dry. Remove thick stems and cut larger leaves into bite-size pieces. Add avocado and onion slices.
  3. Gently toss salad ingredients with the dressing and serve.
  1. A quick and easy way to mix up the dressing is to use a Mason Jar, just put a lid on it and shake.
Jen Haugen RD http://www.jenhaugen.com/