Part 3 in our 4 part series is our brand new mom, Allison! I mean, can we just talk about that adorable, squishy newborn totally stealing the show in that photo? Adorable! Everyone meet Allison!
1.Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a military wife married to my hero and new mama to our sweet baby girl who we welcomed to the world this February! We are originally from Georgia, but currently live in northern Virginia with our two big lovable mutts. But only for a little while longer before the Marine Corps ships us off to our next duty station and we start our next chapter in Hawaii!
I earned my Bachelors degrees in Dietetics and Consumer Food Science at the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!) where my husband and I were college sweethearts. I had actually been a pre-med major originally, but our human cadaver lab for Anatomy & Physiology quickly changed my mind about that and I had to redirect my ambitions! I had always been interested in food and health well before that, so switching over to Dietetics was such an easy decision. Ever since I was little I had been in the kitchen with family members learning how to bake and cook. At one point I even had my little sister filming my little “cooking show” with one of those giant 1980s camcorders. So naturally our culinary and experimental foods courses were my favorite in school.
You can often find me in the kitchen cooking up new recipes, whether I am transforming traditional comfort food fixes into healthier versions, recreating something delicious I tried at a restaurant, or just creating something entirely new. I love variety and so I’m always excited about making something fresh, new, and delicious to share with everyone.
2. How did you find CCN?
I met Cara in 2013 when my husband had just returned from a combat deployment to Afghanistan and we were stationed at Camp Pendleton. We were new to the area and I was looking to continue to pursue my passion in food and nutrition. I literally googled “Orange County Nutritionist” and my search came up with Cara. I reached out to her, we had a meeting shortly thereafter, and the idea for the very first CCN challenge was born. The rest is history!
3. Briefly describe your role at CCN.
I am the lead Nutritionist and recipe developer on the CCN team. I keep us up to date on the latest research in food & nutrition science, ensuring we are working with the latest evidence-based information. I’m constantly in the kitchen coming up with new meal ideas, recipes, and meal plans. As soon as a new challenge begins, I’m already working on recipes for the next one! I also take on individual clients from a variety of backgrounds.
4. What is you favorite CCN meal?
What a hard question to answer… almost like asking someone which child is their favorite!
I’m such a big fan of Mexican food that we always include Taco Tuesday in every challenge. A favorite lately has been our Blackened Shrimp Tacos since they’re so quick and easy!
5. What is your favorite food indulgence?
Good dark chocolate and wine (preferably enjoyed together)
6. What do you do for exercise?
I love to switch it up and enjoy a wide variety of different workouts. HIIT, strength training, and dog walks/hiking are always a part of my regimen. I also love yoga, PiYo, barre, and spinning. I’m always up for trying something new!
7. When not being totally awesome and working at CCN, what are you up to?
Lately its been all about our baby girl all the time…just adjusting to life as a new mom with our little family!
8. Why do you love CCN?
Because we provide an approach to food and nutrition that focuses first on wellness, making a healthy lifestyle doable and sustainable. We don't believe in "diets" which mean deprivation and restriction. We focus on an a lifestyle that starts with feeling good from the inside out, and all the other goals tend to fall into place when you make that happen.
There's so much noise and misinformation out there in "diet" culture, and quite frankly its so destructive (to women especially) in so many ways, which is unfortunate and quite frankly gets me so upset sometimes, especially now having a baby girl. The truth is you don't have to starve yourself, eating boring miserable food, and kill yourself exercising 4 hours a day to look and feel the way you want to. Instead, you can learn to love and listen to your body, fuel it properly, enjoy delicious food that just happens to also be healthy, and feel your best from the inside out.
Allison's Favorite Blackened Shrimp Tacos with Chipotle Lime Sauce
For the shrimp:
1 Tablespoon avocado oil
1 ½ pounds medium/large wild shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed (use thawed from frozen that have already been cleaned to save time)
½ red onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1-2 Tablespoons Blackening spice mixture (enough to dust the shrimp on both sides) *Optionally use purchased salt/preservative-free spice mix)
Blackening spice mixture: 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika + ½ Tablespoon garlic powder + 1 teaspoon cumin + 1 teaspoon dried oregano + ½ teaspoon onion powder + ¼ teaspoon cayenne + ¼ teaspoon each pink Himalayan sea salt & black pepper
For the chipotle lime sauce:
Whisk until well-mixed— Juice of 1 medium lime
¼ cup avocado or coconut oil mayo (ex: Chosen Foods or Primal Kitchen brands)
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ - 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (to taste, depending how spicy you like it)
For the slaw: Toss together in a small bowl— 1 (12 ounce) package broccoli slaw
2-3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
½ Tablespoon raw honey or pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 green onions, chopped
Sea salt & black pepper, to taste
To serve: Lettuce cups (Boston, Bibb, Romaine lettuce work well), avocado slices
To prepare: Pat the shrimp dry and sprinkle with blackening spice on both sides until coated. Heat the avocado oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté for about a minute until fragrant and onions have softened a bit. Add the shrimp and cook for about 2-3 minutes on both sides. To serve, place 3-4 shrimp in each lettuce wrap, top with slaw, drizzle with chipotle lime sauce, and top with an avocado slice.