Tag Archives: jessica fishman levinson registered dietitian

Apple Tart For Beginners

This past weekend I found myself in the kitchen yet again. I really love to cook (especially when it’s for pleasure), so I was happy to be cooking up a storm for some company. I think I’m a pretty good cook, but baking has never been my forte, so I usually buy ready-made desserts — even though I know they aren’t as nutritious as if I made my own. (You can see from the few dozen recipes I have posted that I don’t try my hand at dessert too often.) For some reason this past weekend I decided I would try to make dessert myself. We had a pie shell in the freezer, so I figured I could use that as a base for a dessert and do the rest myself. I normally like to make everything from scratch, but sometimes it’s okay to have some help! After looking at a variety of tart, pie, and tarte tatin recipes for some inspiration, I came up with my own apple tart recipe.

Apple Tart
Serves 8apple tart recipe


  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons apricot fruit spread
  • 1 frozen pie crust


  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  2. In a large saute pan, bring the water to a boil. Add in the sugar and stir over medium-high heat until the sugar is fully dissolved and the mixture looks like it is getting a caramel color. Add the apple slices and cook over medium heat, turning occasionally, until the apples are tender and the pan juices are syrupy. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool for 30 minutes.
  3. Spread 1/4 cup of the apricot fruit spread on the bottom and sides of the tart. Next, arrange the apple slices in concentric circles in the tart pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Brush the remaining 2 tablespoons of apricot fruit spread on the apples and bake for another 30 minutes, until the apples are tender and the tart crust is golden brown. Allow the tart to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts (per 1/8 slice): 273 calories, 46 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 10 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 1 g protein, 0 mg cholesterol, 140 mg sodium

Snow Day Workouts

It’s a snow day in New York City! (For many of us at least.) Take advantage of the day off and the snow to burn some calories without going to the gym. Here are some snow-related activities and the calories per hour you’ll burn doing them*:

Shoveling Snow 408 calories
Snow Shoeing 544 calories
Ice Skating 150 calories
Cross-Country Skiing (moderate effort) 544 calories
Downhill Skiing (moderate effort) 408 calories
Building a Snowman 285 calories
Having a Snowball Fight 319 calories
Making Snow Angels 214 calories
Sledding 476 calories

*Calories burned are based on a 150-pound person

What are you doing on this snow day?!

Caramelized Onion Dip

Yesterday I told you about the versatility of Greek yogurt, and what an especially good replacement it is for sour cream. As promised, and in honor of my husband, here is a recipe that generally uses sour cream (and one of his faves!), but comes out great using Greek yogurt instead. Plus, you won’t feel the least bit guilty indulging in it because of how nutritious it is (especially compared to the original!).

Caramelized Onion Diphealthier onion dip
Serves: 12; Serving Size: 3 oz


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 small to medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons salt-free garlic powder
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sugar and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden brown and caramelized, about 40 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
  2. While the onions are cooking, mix together the yogurt, garlic powder, and salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. When the onions are room temperature, add ¾ of them to the yogurt mixture, transfer to a bowl, and top with the remaining onions.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 68 calories, 4 g protein, 8 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 2 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 56 mg sodium, 36 mg calcium

(Nutrition info for 3 ounces of traditional onion dip: 172 calories, 3 g protein, 9 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 13 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 600 mg sodium, 0 mg calcium)

Food Meets Fashion

The following post was written by nutritioulicious™ intern Jo Bartell

As I shared in my intro post, I used to work in fashion, and I hope to combine my career as a dietitian with my love for fashion. Fashion and food have always been among my favorite topics, and lately it seems I’m not alone! Food and fashion are coming together in pop-culture and in Hollywood, where food and restaurants are becoming as trendy and fashionable as the newest clothing designers and runway shows. Chefs are even becoming the newest celebrities.

This concept became even more evident this season at Barney’s New York, where the holiday windows read, “Have a Foodie Holiday.” I went to check out this perfect depiction of the foodie/fashion combination last week and I wanted to share some pictures with you.  Renowned chefs from Julia Child and Jamie Oliver to Paula Deen, Rachael Ray, Daniel Boulud, and Bobby Flay are featured this holiday at Barney’s in an elaborate, whimsical display that is undoubtedly attracting attention from fashionistas and foodies near and far.  Enjoy!

holiday windows at barney's

Trail Blazers: Julia Child, Thomas Keller, Jamie Oliver

rachael ray holiday windows at Barney's

Paula Deen & Rachael Ray

daniel boulud holiday windows at Barney's

Bobby Flay, Mario Batali, Daniel Boulud

Do you have a favorite celebrity chef?

A Taste of Italy — Dinner at Il Buco

The following post was written by nutritioulicious™ intern Megan Kian
Imagine entering the rustic home of a small Italian family. This is exactly how I felt when I was seated at my table at Il Buco on Bond Street in New York just last week. The dim lights, the cozy atmosphere, and the rows of handmade pottery created the perfect ambiance for an Italian dinner.

il buco italian restaurant new york city[Photo credit: IlBuco.com]

Eating out in the city can be tough. With over 24,000 restaurants to choose from, it’s hard to know where to go for the freshest and healthiest meals. Il Buco enters the category of a restaurant that is both nutritious and delicious.

As I was handed the menu, I noticed something especially unique about Il Buco’s dinner menu. If you flip to the back of the menu you can find a list of all the main ingredients that the chefs at Il Buco use in their various dishes. We, as patrons, aren’t usually privy to where the ingredients in our meals come from. Il Buco’s philosophy is that they use only the freshest ingredients in their simple, yet elegant dishes. I began to salivate as I eagerly awaited my Cachi con Finocchio (a salad of persimmons (cachi), fennel (finnochio), hazelnuts, mint, and parmesan). Once I finally delved into my unusual salad, I could see the philosophies of the restaurant coming to life. The luscious and fresh ingredients of the salad created a refreshing, yet mouth-watering combination.

My next course consisted of a moist grilled halibut with perfectly charred tomatoes and fingerling potatoes, topped with aioli, a sauce consisting of garlic and olive oil (olive oil is a great source of monounsaturated fat!). Although fish has never been my favorite, I couldn’t help but like this halibut dish when it was accompanied by such appetizing vegetables. The charred outside of the tomatoes added another level of flavor to the dish, revealing a smokiness within the cherry tomatoes. The fingerling potatoes were perfectly cooked with a flaky skin that when cut into revealed the soft white inside of the potato.

As I finished my last bit of halibut, I realized that Il Buco had proved to me that you can indulge in a healthy, yet wonderfully tasty meal while dining out.

Read about Il Buco’s philosophy and the ingredients they use on their website.

*Note: Opinions expressed in this post are solely my own and I have not been compensated by anyone for this post.

Nutritioulicious Oatmeal

I love oatmeal for breakfast. As soon as the cold weather hits, I am all about warm, comforting foods, and oatmeal is definitely one of them. When I was younger, I didn’t have the healthiest diet and I ate sugary packets of oatmeal (my fave: Maple & Brown Sugar). As I got older and started to enjoy the natural flavor of foods (I definitely have a sweet tooth, so it was no easy feat!), I began to like plain oatmeal with some fruit, cinnamon, and a touch of brown sugar — not too sweet, but just enough to give it some flavor.

I’m sure you’ve heard about the nutritional benefits of oatmeal — it’s a whole grain, good source of soluble fiber, helps lower cholesterol, keeps you full and satisfied, and maintains your blood sugar levels. To increase the nutritional value of my oatmeal, I make it with skim milk so I get a dose of calcium and protein. Here’s the bowl of oatmeal I ate for breakfast yesterday:

healthy oatmeal for breakfast
Nutritioulicious Oatmeal
Serves 1


  • 1/2 cup dry quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup nonfat milk
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries (can use fresh fruit if on hand)
  • sprinkling of cinnamon sugar


  1. Combine oats and milk in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for about 1 minute. Remove from microwave, stir, and continue heating for another 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Remove and stir again.
  2. Top with cranberries and a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar (or cinnamon and brown sugar)

Nutrition Facts: 283 calories, 13 g protein, 51 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 3.5 g fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 129 mg sodium, 505 mg calcium

Do you like oatmeal? How do you prepare it?

Harvesting Walnuts

I’m back with more about my time in Sacramento for the 2010 walnut harvest! After the amazing dinner Thursday night I was very excited for what was to come all day Friday. The morning started with a great walk around the capital building, followed by some light yoga with fitness guru Petra Kolber (who I loved meeting and getting to know over the course of the day!).
Petra Kolber fitness guru Post-workout we all met for a lovely breakfast at Old Soul Company, where we were fueled for the morning ahead. Then we were off for the harvest! The harvest began at Fedora Farms, a family-owned walnut farm that uses the most up-to-date, high tech equipment for all parts of the harvest. Walnuts are harvested once a year, between September and November. Here is what a walnut looks like on the tree:

walnut tree

Walnut in outer casing

The harvest on the farm is composed of five parts:

  1. Shaking — walnuts are shaken off the trees using a mechanical shaker. The machine can shake 7 trees a minute! Each tree is shaken once per year.
  2. Sweeping — another machine sweeps the walnuts on the ground into rows to prepare for the final step of the farm process.
  3. Cleaning — mechanical harvesters vacuum the walnuts and dump them into the truck, which is then taken to the processing facility.

    It’s amazing to see how the back of the truck gets filled with walnuts: 

    harvesting walnuts


    Harvesting walnuts


  4. Hulling — an aspirator gets rid of insects and then the walnuts are flushed with water to separate the walnuts from debris. Since walnuts float, water is used to sink the debris.
  5. Drying — the walnuts are dried in their shell in 108 degrees F. Here is what the dried walnuts look like:
    harvested walnuts

And that’s the harvesting process in a nutshell (pun intended)!