vitamin C

Orange is The New Black: The Savory Version

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jalapeno corn cakes with black bean and orange salsa

I had to delete everything I wrote for this post and start over. Curious? I had been feeling a little meh about writing it and only had 2 short, sad paragraphs. For inspiration (and to see some gross teeth) I decided to google-image “scurvy,” a disease caused by vitamin C deficiency, when I came across a gem. Something so awesome I had to revamp everything. There is a website,, dedicated to eradicating scurvy. On top of that, May 2 has been designated International Scurvy Awareness Day. That’s THIS FRIDAY!! On top of that, there are funny pictures of cats wearing oranges and limes on their heads. Maybe it’s the dietitian in me, but this really tickled my funny bone.

jalapeno corn cakes with black bean and orange salsa

Scurvy used to be seen in sailors on long voyages that lacked access to fresh fruits and vegetables. While it’s a rare disease in the 21st century, there are still reported cases. Groups at higher risk include smokers, alcoholics, infants that are fed cow’s milk, and those without access to fresh fruits and vegetables. A classic symptom is bleeding gums and loose teeth, as well as wounds that won’t heal. The reason is that vitamin C plays an important role in collagen synthesis, a protein that helps hold the body together. Without vitamin C helping form collagen, body tissues start to break down. Don’t want your teeth to fall out? Eat some fruits and veggies every day!

black bean and orange salsa

I know, scurvy is generally a disease of yore, but I had to talk about it since there’s a day dedicated to it. Besides wound healing and keeping your teeth attached, vitamin C does some other cool things. Most of you probably know it’s an antioxidant, which means it helps neutralize free radicals that can cause damage over time and are associated with aging and various diseases. With regard to cancer prevention, a diet rich in fruits/vegetables is recommended, however vitamin C supplementation alone has not shown definitive proof that it reduces cancer incidence. The common cold has a similar story. Research has not shown that vitamin C reduces your risk of catching a cold.

corn cakes

Enough of the science lesson, let’s talk food. Sure, oranges are great for breakfast alongside a hardboiled egg and toast, or, for you fancy folks out there, these delicious crepes, but how can we incorporate them into something savory? It’s easy to get into a food rut, where you find yourself eating the same things in the same ways, and I hope this recipe can help shake up your routine and broaden your dinner horizons. This is a great weeknight meal and easy to whip up. These corn cakes work for anyone out there who is gluten-free, or, if you’re like me, want to try something new. I topped them with this black bean and orange salsa, but you could also add the salsa to some fish or chicken, or just eat it out of the bowl like my mom did.

Now run to the grocery store, pick up these ingredients, and make this recipe Friday to celebrate International Scurvy Awareness Day!!

jalapeno corn cakes with black bean and orange salsa
jalapeno corn cakes with black bean and orange salsa


  • Jalapeno Corn Cakes (makes 4 large or 6 medium cakes)
    • 2 Tbsp canola oil
    • 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
    • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 1 cup corn meal
    • 5 Tbsp non-fat milk
    • 2 Tbsp honey
    • ½ jalapeno, diced
    • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Black Bean and Orange Salsa
    • 2 Tbsp olive oil
    • 2 garlic cloves, diced
    • Juice from 1 lime
    • ½ tsp cumin
    • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 14 oz can black beans, rinsed
    • 1 large orange, peeled, chopped
    • 1 red bell pepper, diced
    • 2 green onion, chopped
    • ½ jalapeno, diced
    • 1 avocado, cut into chunks
    • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped


Corn Cakes:  Mix the corn, eggs, corn meal, milk, honey, jalapeno, salt and pepper. Heat oil in large skillet. Add batter, you should be able to fit 2-3 cakes depending on the size. Cook 2-4 minutes or until set. Flip and cook other side.

Black Bean and Orange Salsa:  Mix first 6 ingredients (dressing) in small dish. Taste and adjust seasonings and/or lime juice based on your preferences. Combine beans, orange, bell pepper, onion, jalapeno, avocado, and cilantro in a medium bowl. Toss bean and vegetable mixture with dressing. Top corn cakes with the salsa.

Nutrition Facts

Corn Cakes (based on yield of 4)

  • 308 calories
  • 8 g protein
  • 49 g carbohydrate
  • 4 g fiber
  • 11 g fat
  • 90 mg sodium

Salsa (divided into 4 servings)

  • 279 calories
  • 10 g protein
  • 35 g carbohydrate
  • 10 g fiber
  • 12 g fat
  • 318 mg sodium
Yes, I put an orange peel helmet on Hugo. So?

*Notice my vastly improved photos? It’s all thanks to my dad. I have terrible lighting in my apartment and no fancy camera equipment, so when I was home around Easter I enlisted my photographer father to help me. Using his tripod and lights really helped! Now I have to devise a way to “borrow” them long-term…




Orange is the New Black: The Sweet Version

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Fun with citrus!

This week I’m shining the spotlight on oranges. Who doesn’t love a good orange? Sweet, juicy, and really fun to peel, oranges are one of the most consumed fruits in the US. Their biggest nutritional claim to fame is the vitamin C content. One medium orange has about 70 mg of vitamin C, and the recommended intake for men and women is 90 and 75 mg, respectively. Don’t want to remember numbers? Yea, me either. Just remember that eating an orange plus almost any other fruit/vegetable will provide you most of the vitamin C you need in a day.


What about juice or those vitamin C lozenges you might buy when you start to feel sick? When it comes to juice, there’s nothing inherently wrong with it. The issue, however, is that most juices have added sugar, and even those that don’t are lacking fiber that’s found in the whole fruit. This means you’re drinking calories but not feeling full because your body doesn’t have to take any time to break down food. As for vitamin C lozenges or powders, I still say eat the fruit instead. Your body can only absorb so much of the vitamin, so whatever your body doesn’t need is excreted in your urine. The whole fruit will always be your best choice because it has all kinds of goodness within its peel.


I love oranges because they’re so low-maintenance. Just throw it in your bag on your way to work or school and you’ve got a snack ready to go. Oranges helped me through many lectures during grad school. I really enjoy peeling all the white stuff (pith) off the fruit, so when I started to feel sleepy in class, I’d pull out an orange and start peeling.


Although the orange can stand alone, that doesn’t make for an interesting recipe post:

Ingredients: orange

Directions: Peel. Eat

I turned this low-maintenance fruit into an arguably high-maintenance meal. Crepes may seem like something reserved for Sunday brunch at a restaurant, but I assure you that it’s possible in your own kitchen. The most time-consuming part of this recipe was cutting the pith from the peel since we will be eating the peels! How fun is that?! I used some wonderful in-season Cara Cara oranges, and while researching I came across this cool chart from Sunkist that shows the growing season for various citrus fruits. The crepe recipe comes from Whole Foods and the orange compote was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. I reduced the simply syrup because I felt it was too sweet and used a honey tangerine instead of a grapefruit, although any citrus would work.


Whole Wheat Crepes with Vanilla-Infused Citrus Compote
Whole Wheat Crepes with Vanilla-Infused Citrus Compote


  • Crepes (makes 6 crepes)
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 egg whites
    • 2/3 cup non-fat milk
    • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
    • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
    • Pinch of salt
    • 1 tsp canola oil or unsalted butter (for cooking the crepes)
  • Vanilla-Infused Citrus Compote (makes ~2 cups, enough for 4 crepes)
    • 1 orange
    • 1 honey tangerine (or any in-season citrus fruit you like)
    • 2 Tbsp water
    • 2 Tbsp sugar
    • ½ vanilla bean, split and scraped
    • Pinch of salt


Crepes:   Combine and mix the eggs, egg whites, milk, and butter. Add the flour and salt, mixing until the batter is smooth. I used my Kitchen Aid mixer, but a hand-mixer would also work. Cover and refrigerate the batter for 1 hour.

If you have a crepe pan, awesome! I’ll venture to say many of us (including                                                               myself) do not, so a flat skillet will DSC_6388also work. Heat your pan over medium-high and add a teaspoon of oil or butter to coat the pan. When ready, pour ¼ cup of the batter into your pan and swirl it around to form a thin circle. Cook until you see the edges start to brown and the top has set, then flip and cook until golden brown. Crepes cook very quickly, so keep your eyes on it. I stacked my crepes on a plate and put a piece of parchment paper in between each one. You can store any leftover crepes for 1-2 days in the refrigerator.

Compote:  Begin by removing the peel from your fruits. I use a technique where you “supreme” the orange:  cut the peel and pith, then remove the segments from the membrane. Confused? Here’s a Youtube video to demonstrate. Place the fruit segments in a bowl and squeeze the juice from the membrane into the bowl. Next remove the pith from the peel and cut the peel into thin slices.

Bring a small saucepan of water to boil. Add the peel slices and cook for 1 minute then drain. Heat the 2 Tbsp water, 2 Tbsp sugar, and vanilla seeds and pod in the saucepan over medium-high until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat and add the juice, peels, and salt, cooking for 2 minutes. Cool completely, discard the vanilla pod, and toss with the fruit.

Add ¼ of the citrus compote to a crepe and top with some flaked coconut.

Nutrition Facts

  • 145 calories
  • 18 g carbohydrate
  • 5 g protein
  • 6 g fat
  • 117 mg sodium