guest post! kristin r.

by Janetha on November 8, 2009

in meals

Hey Meals + Moves readers!

First off I want to say a big Thank You to my girl Janetha for asking me to do a guest post!

I’m Kristin from Kristin’s Nibbles . I’ve been blogging for almost two years now- I started after I found a couple foodie blogs online during Winter break of my freshman year of college as a nutrition major. I couldn’t believe there were other people out there who were just as excited about food and health as I was, and I instantly knew I wanted to share my experience with others.

I was chubby in high school, mostly due to my slowed metabolism as I got older- I couldn’t eat as much as I did when I was younger without packing on the pounds. It wasn’t until Junior year when I was training for my black belt that I finally got fit and lost the weight, and I became extremely health conscious- too health conscious. I went from chubby to thin, and then to too thin. I knew that, when the scale dipped to 80 pounds at 5’1”, I was beyond what was considered healthy. I did what I though was right to gain most of the weight back, but I was still restrictive. It wasn’t until I jet off to Europe for a 6-week long study abroad program in Italy I finally started to realize what healthy eating really was.

In Italy, the food was fresh; produce that was picked that morning and delivered to the store bright and early, meats that came from the farm down the road, cheese that was made from the milk from your neighbor’s cow. Olive oil, and lots of it. Bread that was baked at two in the morning. No preservatives, no chemicals, no artificial anything. Good, natural foods.

The thing I noticed was that the people in Italy were carefree- they walked everywhere, ate what they wanted, drank wine by the bottle and didn’t worry about their weight. And they were thin, for the most part! Sure, there was the odd old Italian Mamma who had a few too many biscotti after dinner, but for the most part, these people were slim, fit and many looked far younger than their years. If that doesn’t prove the power of red wine and olive oil, I don’t know what does.

Most of all, these people were happy. Eating was a social event, it was treasured and they did not restrict themselves- but they didn’t overdo it either. And I was happy too. I gained seven pounds in Italy- but I can attribute that to the extra desserts and cones of gelato every day. I am sure that if I had not overdone it on the treats, I wouldn’t have gained weight at all. But the weight gain was good for me. Leaving Italy I was heavier, but happier- and in now way big, and I had a much healthier outlook on food and eating.

In the last year and a half, I haven’t restricted myself, counted calories or worried about exact portions in the way I did before Italy. I have fallen in love with food in a way I didn’t know I could before I lived in Europe. I have a passion for cooking, and eating- and I plan on going to culinary school to pursue my passion.

Here’s one of the easy dishes I have created, inspired by my trip to San Demetrio Corone, Calabria, Italy in July 2008.

Gnocchi with Pancetta and Spinach

Serves 4

1 serving easy sweet tomato basil sauce (recipe to follow)

1 package fresh or frozen potato gnocchi

¼ pound pancetta (Italian bacon), diced

2 cups fresh baby spinach

¼ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

olive oil

black pepper to taste

1. Sautee pancetta in a small amount of olive oil

2. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a rapid bowl. Drop gnocchi in and cook until they bob to the top of the water; this means they’re done. Drain and set aside.

3. When pancetta is slightly browned, add spinach until wilted.

4. Add 1 cup sauce, stir, as well as parmesan cheese.

5. Stir in drained gnocchi and pepper to taste

6. Serve hot (a nice glass of Tuscan red might be nice alongside) and enjoy!

Sweet tomato basil sauce

2 8-oz cans no-salt-added tomato sauce

1 14-oz can diced tomatoes, half drained

¼ c granulated sugar

¼ c sweet onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, diced

large handful of fresh basil, coarsely chopped

extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

In a small saucepan, sautee onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent

Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, sugar, a drizzle more olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, and boil 1 minute.

Add basil, stir and reduce to a simmer. Simmer 30 minutes-1 hour until flavors are melded to your liking.

Thanks for reading, and come visit me anytime at Kristin’s Nibbles!

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VeggieGirl November 8, 2009 at 6:53 pm

Been following your blog for years, Kristin! :)

Marissa November 8, 2009 at 7:11 pm

That basil sauce sounds so good!!!

Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) November 9, 2009 at 12:17 am

That’s a great story about finding your balance in Italy. I just recently stopped counting calories and measuring too and it’s liberating. I’m still trying to find the balance but it’s nice to see that others can do it, so I figure that I can too.

Thanks for sharing your story and the amazing recipe- and good luck in your culinary adventures!!

julie November 9, 2009 at 7:04 am

awww great story girl! italy sounds amazing AND super delicious :) thanks for the guest post!

Diana November 9, 2009 at 8:04 am

Awesome post. :)

Yum Yucky November 9, 2009 at 2:24 pm

Wow. I’m hungry for this recipe. It sounds sooo good!

Jen (Running With Cake) November 10, 2009 at 10:36 am

All you Foodbuzz festival-goers are making me so jealous!

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