iCook Recruitment CONTINUES!

If there is one thing I have learned these past few weeks it is that recruiting human subjects for any research projects is HARD! No matter how excited the kids are about joining that doesn’t mean that their parents are going to pick up the phone and enroll. We have had to extend the recruitment process for this study and continue to recruit an extra week or two to hopefully meet our target! We are currently about 1/3 of the way there… with only 1 week left IT IS CRUNCH TIME!

We hit the schools yet again and decided to sing a song that Erin Smith and her dad wrote! Here is the video of us with an entire lunch room of 5th graders singing the tune after we have described the iCook study!


It has been fun speaking with thousands of 4th and 5th graders but at this point… I am just ready for us to reach our goal and start the actual instruction component of this research study! Below are some silly pictures of Erin and I as we toured the schools!


Healthy (and easy) Gourmet Breakfast!

As you learned in my previous post (found here) as part of my personal improvement project I developed multiple healthy recipes. You have seen some of the recipe so far but as I create new ones and try them I will post them!

This recipe is called – Peanut Butter Apple Stacker.


  • 1 Small Apple (I used a small Gala apple)
  • 1.5 T. Peanut Butter
  • 1 T. Granola
  • 1 t. Mini Chocolate Chips
  • 1 t. Butterscotch Chips
  • 1 t. Unsweetened Coconut Flakes

All you do is slice the apple horizontally into about 4 pieces and cut out the center core as needed. Then cover the slices with a thin layer of peanut butter and then reassemble the apple! By squeezing some of the peanut butter from the middle to the edges you can then roll the apple in the selected toppings.

This recipe is so simple and a good way to combine food groups for a fulfilling snack full of fiber, protein, and healthy fats for satiety! This is a great snack or a great breakfast! The possibility for toppings is endless!

Peanut Butter Apple Crunch

iCook 4-H Nutrition Education!

This past week of my rotation I primarily spent time focusing on preparing with the team for the iCook lessons. We focused on learning the material, preparing the recipes, and practicing delivering the lesson to children! When teaching children is important to remember who your audience is and know how to keep them engaged. By practicing these lesson we solidified the materials we will need and test all of our equipment. These lesson will start the first weekend of August and continue through November for a total of 6 lessons. This is awesome program that targets children between the ages of 9-10 that emphasizes family meal time, physical activity and nutrition/cooking. Below are just a few snap shots of the team and pictures of the mock lessons!

To learn more about iCook please refer to my previous post found here.

Next week will be our final week of recruitment so stay tuned for more pictures and information about iCook!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Personal Improvement Project

This past month I have rotating under the supervision of the director of our program with the main focus being community nutrition primarily through iCook. In spite of all the chaos with the recruitment and preparation for iCook we were asked to complete a personal improvement project. For this month long project we were asked to develop four breakfast recipes, create and follow an exercise plan, and develop goals and really focus on ourselves.

For the recipes I decided to create a few smoothies and a few different oatmeal recipes! I have yet to actually test my ALL of proposed recipes so I will just share the few of them that I have tasted with you. (Pictures will soon follow…)

The first smoothie I created includes lots of fruit, some vegetables, protein, and healthy fats! The following recipe makes at least two servings but it tastes just as good leftover!

Smoothie Recipe #1

  • 4 oz. Carrot Juice
  • 4 oz. Orange Juice
  • 2 Apples
  • 1 Kiwi
  • 1 Frozen Banana
  • ¾ cup Pineapple
  • 6 oz. Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 1 cup Ice
  • 1 tsp. Flax Seed

This next recipe is more of a protein drink that uses Carnation Instant Breakfast to add protein and vitamins and minerals!

Smoothie/Drink Recipe #2: Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Drink

  • 1 Package of Chocolate Carnation Instant Breakfast Powder
  • 1 Banana
  • 6 oz. Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 2 T Peanut Butter
  • 8 oz. Skim Milk
  • 1 cup Ice

The next few recipes focus on using oatmeal. This is an amazing way to avoid having to ever cook oatmeal and having an instant breakfast all ready for you to grab and go!  The basic recipe for the foundation is listed below! All you do is mix the basic ingredients together is a jar or any container and leave in the fridge for at least a few hours (I typically just make it the night before) and then add any additional toppings (like granola) that you don’t want to get soggy just before you eat it!

Overnight Oats

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • ½ banana
  • ½ tbsp. chia seeds
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of cinnamon

In addition to this basic recipe you can add just about anything you want to it!

  • Addition Suggestions:
    • Peanut butter
    • Almond butter
    • Apple butter, apples, cinnamon
    • Honey
    • Berries
    • Maple Syrup
    • Coconut
    • Fruit
    • Granola
    • Hemp Seeds
    • Flax Seed

These are the recipes that I have tried so far!

Overnight oats made inside of a peanut butter jar that just has a bit of peanut butter left!

Overnight oats made inside of a peanut butter jar that just has a bit of peanut butter left!


Overnight oats with blueberries and hemp seeds!


Overnight oats topped with granola and extra cinnamon!

In addition to creating recipes I have created an exercise prescription for the next month that will increase my cardio and strength training!

August Calendar

September Calendar


This project served as the perfect platform to spend some time on myself and focus on goals that I have for myself.  I am looking forward to spending some dedicated time and learning through the process how to better counsel patients who have similar goals!

Why Fire Makes Us Human

For my community nutrition rotation I was given the assignment to create a bulletin board display based of the Smithsonian article “Mind of Fire.”  The article describes a fascinating theory that really makes you think!  Can you imagine life without fire?  I sure can’t!  I have attached the power point version of my version below with an image of my actual bulletin board that is currently hanging in the Ag Science Building on the West Virginia University Campus.

Mind of Fire Display

iCook 4H Nutrition Assessments

For my current rotation I will be dedicating my time to working on the iCook 4H Nutrition Research Study. This study is being conducted in 5 different states: West Virginia, Maine, Tennessee, Nebraska, and South Dakota. This is an awesome opportunity for children between the ages of 8-10 and a caregiver/parent to be able to attend nutrition and cooking related classes while focusing on physical activity to improve their overall well-being.

For more information about iCook click here – and make sure to “like us” on Facebook!

This past weekend we packed up our research lab and traveled to Martinsburg, WV to conduct assessments for the families we have enrolled there. This process involved collecting data such as blood pressure, height, weight, waist circumference, tanner stages (to assess biological maturity), and surveys to assess dietary and physical activity habits. At this time the children/parent pair were also randomly assigned into a control or an intervention group. Each child was given an accelerometer to wear for 7 days; this will assess their physical activity and monitor it continuously for an entire week. This next week we will be recruiting more in Morgantown and conducting assessments starting on Thursday! Stay tune for more posts about iCook – Don’t forget to like us on Facebook!

iCook Logo