Cranberry Pistachio Bark

The other day I was reading through blog posts from my disordered eating days. It was hard to ignore the tremendous amount of guilt and shame I had for consuming one of my favorite treats- chocolate.

As I read through those writings, I was transported back. Transported to the feelings of isolation and loneliness. Transported back to the toxic relationship and unfulfilling job. Transported back to feeling as if my life was out of control.

The rigidity and rules I created around chocolate backfired to the point I no longer enjoyed it without feeling instantaneous shame.

I wrote about chocolate a lot during that time (14 times to be exact). I wrote about ways I was distracting myself from thinking about eating chocolate (by publishing 14 blog posts about it), ways to consume “enough” but not “too much” chocolate, ways to substitute chocolate with foods that were not chocolate, the list goes on and on.

You see, the mental and physical deprivation led me to feel out of control at the sight of chocolate.

The freeing thing about being an Intuitive Eater is that I am now able to enjoy food for it is- food. I’m able to do this because I have made peace with food.

The crazy thing is- when you give yourself unconditional permission to eat the foods that held so much power over you may begin to realize it wasn’t about the food.

Making peace with food to me meant seeking out professional therapy to help guide me through feelings of isolation and loneliness. It meant saying goodbye to a relationship that was unhealthy. It meant leaving a job to pursue my passion.

Today, I am able to enjoy chocolate and move along with my day and I hope that today and every day you can do the same.


Cranberry Pistachio Bark

Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword chocolate, coconut, cranberry, pistachio
Prep Time 45 minutes


  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup pistachios
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut optional


  • Prepare a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Place chocolate in a clear glass bowl so that it's easier to keep an eye on it. Microwave for 30 seconds on high- the chocolate will look shiny. Remove from microwave and stir. Return back to microwave and for 30 seconds. Remove and stir. Continue microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring after each, until totally smooth.
    1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • Mix in pistachios and cranberries. Spread onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with coconut. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes or freezer for 15 minutes to set. Break or cut into bark.
    1/2 cup pistachios, 1/2 cup dried cranberries, Unsweetened shredded coconut

Fluffy Lemon Ricotta Breakfast Pancakes

Only a person studying for the RD Exam would know that evaporated milk can be reconstituted with water and used as a substitute for regular milk. You’re welcome.

I tell you this because, for the first time in a long time, this household was out of milk and pancake mix. Okay, I lied, we weren’t entirely out of milk. My spouse left about three tablespoons of milk in the jug. Seriously, who does that? And why?

I love him so much.

Today, I bring you Fluffy Lemon Ricotta Breakfast Pancakes. I know you’re asking yourself, how is a household out of milk, but they have ricotta cheese? I wish I knew the answer to that. I really wish I did. The only answer I can give you is to introduce you to this wonderful recipe.

Ricotta cheese adds incredible fluffiness and tenderness to this pancake mix. If the dietitian in me had to guess, I would say the acid from the lemon juice and the ricotta curds react with the baking powder to help tenderize the gluten in the batter. If I had to guess.

Ricotta cheese is not only a good source of calcium and minerals such as zinc and selenium, but a 1/4 cup serving of ricotta cheese provides 6 grams of protein.

Go on now and put this on your brunch menu this weekend.


Lemon Ricotta Breakfast Pancakes

adapted by Kylee Cooks
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword easy, kosher, lemon, ricotta, simple
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 8 pancakes
Author Krystal


  • Cast-Iron Skillet


Dry Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Wet ingredients

  • ¾ cup evaporated milk* *mix 3/4 cup of evaporated milk with 1/4 cup of water to reconstitute or use 1 cup of your choice of milk
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon zest
  • butter


  • Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl until combined.
    1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1 Tbsp. baking powder, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tsp kosher salt
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together evaporated milk, water and ricotta until well combined. Add in eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest.
    3/4 cup evaporated milk*, 1/4 cup water, 1/2 cup ricotta cheese, 2 eggs, beaten, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 lemon, juiced, 2 Tbsp. lemon zest
  • Using a wooden spoon or spatula, gently fold wet ingredients INTO the dry ingredients. Making sure the batter gets wet. DO NOT OVERMIX YOUR BATTER! Small lumps in the batter are fine.
  • Turn on burner to med-high.
  • Melt about a teaspoon of butter on your cast-iron.
  • Using a ladle or small measuring cup, pour batter on hot cast-iron. Pancake will be ready to flip when you see a lot of tiny bubbles on to the surface (about 3 mintues). Flip and cook other side for about 2 mintues.
  • Garnish with powdered sugar, lemon juice, maple syrup or fresh fruit.

Thank you for Dumping Me.

Originally posted on March 7, 2016 on my blog at MovingWrightAlong. Edited March 10, 2021.

Thank you for dumping me.

Because when it comes down to it, I wasn’t brave enough to dump you.

We were great together. We had fun. We traveled. We loved. We started to dream and plan our future together.

In the end, you decided we were better going our separate directions. And you know what?

Thank you.

I mean that in the most genuine way.

It wasn’t fair of me to expect more than you could give.

I have baggage. It’s buried so deep and instead of leaning on you as my partner in crime, friend, and lover, I expected you to fix the hurt you didn’t cause and couldn’t fix. That you shouldn’t fix.

It wasn’t fair to you. 

I gave up things that made me happy and expected you to do the same. I expected each of us to sacrifice everything. Instead of uniting together, the suffocation tore us apart. Slowly. And I was the last to realize it. Our dreams dissolved and faded into distant memories.

I clutched on while everything around me was crashing down. Instead of being the one by your side or leading the way. I was the one behind you pushing. Forcing things in a time and place that neither of us was ready for at the time.

Not together, at least.

Life has changed for us both. A life not meant for us to be together.

There is no closure, just moving on. And you know what? That’s okay. As long as I’ve grown and changed, I can put pieces together again.

For the times we had together, I will cherish forever.


Dietetic Internship Must-Haves

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Edited January 18, 2021

So, you’re about to start your dietetic internship? I am sure several dietitians and RD2Bes have given you ideas of what you need to be successful.

Between the immunizations, internship handbooks, eNCPT, and everything else in between, I wanted to share some of my dietetic internship must-haves with links.

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell. I recommend you read or listen to this one before you start. While it takes the whole book to see how everything is tied together, I thought this was an important read to learn how to communicate with people who are from different backgrounds than myself.

Clever Fox Planner Premium Edition. This is seriously the last planner you’ll need. I’ve ALWAYS been a pen & paper type of gal. I like how Clever Fox has un-dated calendar pages so you can start your planner any time of the year. During clinical rotation, I like to write down how many patients I see each day so I can see how much I’ve improved day-to-day. Clever Fox helps guide you to set goals every quarter, reflect each month, and track progress.

Clarks Women’s Sharon Dolly Loafer. Do you like walking on clouds? Because the only answer is yes. The style I purchased is out of stock, but these are my everyday clinical shoes because they are equally comfortable and functional! I get so many compliments wearing them.

The Essential Pocket Guide for Clinical Nutrition” target=”_blank”>The Essential Pocket Guide for Clinical Nutrition. This is a great reference guide for interns. I keep this on my desk and it helps guide my ADIME notes. It fits perfectly in my lab coat pocket and I love that each chapter includes sections on disease process, treatment and nutritional intervention, and patient education.

Lintelek Smart Watch. You need a watch! Don’t rely solely on your phone because… you’re the intern and being on your phone is kind of a faux pas. So, just get a watch and save yourself the trouble. This is not as fancy as an Apple Watch, however, if you’re on a tight intern budget, it’ll do. This watch gives you the capabilities to receive text notifications and calculates your steps.

Fruit Lanyard. Who doesn’t need a cute fruit lanyard?

Hydro Flask Tumbler Cup. I need coffee every morning to get me going, and my Hydro Flask keeps my coffee hot for up to 6 hours.

Other Essentials:


Uni-ball Signo Inks Pens

Face Masks depending on the hospital, these may be provided, but sadly, I wouldn’t count on it (interns aren’t always privy to “employee benefits”)

Notebook – You won’t remember everything. May I suggest, writing it down? I like to use the notebooks with blank pages so I can draw pictures and diagrams, if I need to.

Shoe In-soles – You need these for management rotation.

Best of luck on this fantastic journey! What are some items you would add?

Anything that’s Mentionable is Manageable

It’s hard for me to let go of 2020.

I fear letting go because it means letting go of the year I last saw Nathanael alive. Every year now, I have to refer to him in the past tense.

It has taken me most of 2020 to use the word ‘died,’ when talking about Nathanael. The word ‘died’ sounds violent. Young Black men die at disproportionate rates, but his death was not an act of violence or an accident. I oftentimes say “passed away” or “loss.” Words that are less uncomfortable and more palatable. But the truth is: He did die. We didn’t lose him. I know exactly where his physical and spiritual bodies are.

The first time I told someone my brother died was around September. A colleague was convinced they have seen Nathanael somewhere before. I knew this could not be true. So I said, “nope, you couldn’t have, he died.”

The words passing through my lips, while truthful, had felt like a betrayal.

As much as I prayed for 2020 to end, I wanted it to stay. I wanted the time to stand still. I wanted the day Nathanael was awake requesting Starbucks “sick tea” and s’mores Girl Scout cookies to come back.

January 21, 2020, exactly one month after Nathanael’s 19th birthday, his medical team told us they’ve done everything they can do. My brother was no longer a candidate for any further treatment due to his deteriorating condition. All chemotherapy was being stopped. All clinical trials discontinued and that further treatment would be unethical. All treatment going forward was for comfort. I couldn’t understand it all, but I understood enough. Nathanael was dying.

My body shook uncontrollably in my chair. I hugged myself to self-soothe. Dad sat on my left side, removed his glasses from his face, and massaged the bridge of his nose. My older brother sat across the room from me and wept. My mom refused the news. On the inside, my actions mirrored those of family, but I felt my nerves unraveling and all I could do was tremble.

Up until this point, Nathanael had spent nearly a month in ICU battling pneumonia. It was now we were being informed leukemia had come back and it was aggressive.

I walked back to his hospital room held his hand and fought back tears. I told him how much I loved him, as I tried desperately to hide the quiver in my voice and hold in tears welling in my eyes. My pain was merely a drop in the ocean to what he was going through.

It’s an affliction clinging to hope, faith, and reality in the waiting room of a cancer hospital. The families I’d watched in the waiting rooms for the last 21 days were now us. We were now the family that was waiting for a miracle. I passed some the time Googling, “when do medical miracles happen?” I called friends. I talked to anyone that would listen.

On January 30, 2020, Nathanael died.
On Christmas Day 2019, we went to see “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” We sat in the theatre and my mom asked, “Does Nathanael know who Mister Rogers is?” I turned to Nathanael and asked. With his Icee straw to his lips and Buncha Crunch and popcorn in his lap, he shook his head no.

I laughed.

In a later scene of the movie, Mister Rogers arrives at Lloyd’s home. Llyod’s father is dying and no one in the family wants to address the elephant in the room. Mister Rogers speaks gently, “You know, death is something many of us are uncomfortable speaking about. But to die is to be human. And anything human is mentionable. Anything mentionable is manageable. Anything mentionable is manageable.”

Those words stuck as if they predicted a future I didn’t want to accept. AML was always “life-threatening,” but I didn’t want to update the definition when Nathanael’s life was actually becoming threatened by this disease.

I’ll never stop talking about Nathanael’s life or death. And as a family, we’ll get through this. The tears of grief I still shed, even writing this, are tears of love because to grieve is to love. His presence didn’t die with his body.

I hope 2021 is good to us all and I hope that my family’s grief becomes less debilitating. Life is always going to hit hard and how you manage the hard is how you manage it all.

Happy New Year,

Love Krystal