Saturday, August 29, 2009


42 miles into the inagural Pelotonia fundraising tour! It's lunchtime at Amanda Clearcreek High School. Good food, perfect weather, no Lance sighting yet! We have about 58 miles left to Athens and the hills have just begun. Our average is right around 18-19 mph (not bad for so little training), but that will surely drop as we head further south. Right now it's really important to refuel - high caloric-density foods with a good balance of carbs and protein, and plenty of fluids with electrolytes to replace those lost to sweating. On the menu today: wraps, donut holes, Gatorade, and Myoplex (which isn't bad for a protein shake)! Don't forget that you can still donate at!

Friday, August 28, 2009


This is a test! The Pelotonia Opening Ceremony just wrapped up. The cyclists (myself and my husband included) leave on a 25-180 mile tour tomorrow morning at 7am. 100% of the proceeds go to The James Cancer Hospital and Research Center at The Ohio State University. If you'd like to donate, please visit I'm hoping to post from the road, so let's see if this works...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Back To School & Bloody Mary's

The party starts early on the first day of school...

You might think the kids are excited to go back to school, but imagine how the parents feel! Ask my friend Amy, and she’ll tell you it’s an occasion to celebrate – so she threw a party on the first day of school, just like she has for the last several years. The event has become something in and of itself – it has grown from a small gathering to a huge, all-day affair, with elaborate menus and celebratory drinks shared!

The kids were dropped off just after 8am, and the party began around 8:30am, when each guest was handed a Bloody Mary or Mimosa…

Food was passed, souvenir cups were kept full, the guests were happy, and the host could relax knowing that everything was being taken care of!

The morning menu included:
Tomato Tea Sandwiches
Mini Omelets
Monkey Bread
Cucumber Sandwiches
Deviled Eggs

The tomatoes... they're an heirloom variety called Roman Candle, and I bought them from The Sippels. I made southern-style tomato sandwiches with them – soft white and wheat bread, cut into tea sandwich slices with a biscuit cutter (perfect size for the tomato slices), Duke’s Mayonaise (Amy’s insistence – she’s a southern gal, and it's the “secret of great southern cooks,”) and a thick slice of tomato. I prepped the ingredients the night before and kept them separate so the sandwiches didn’t get soggy. On party day, I assembled them quickly and neatly using a piping bag for the mayo. The Roman Candles were a perfect choice for this – bright red, not overly juicy, but packed with fresh tomato flavor.

For my own twist on finger food omelets, I adapted a recipe from a magazine. The size was perfect for a quick, light bite. They’re easy to make ahead of time, refrigerate, and then keep warm in the oven on party day.

Mini Ham & Cheddar Omelet

1-1.5 lbs. deli ham, sliced to medium thickness
6 whole eggs
½ cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper

Mini Turkey, Spinach, & Swiss Omelet

1-1.5 lbs. deli turkey, sliced to medium thickness
6 whole eggs
½ cup milk
½ cup frozen spinach, liquid squeezed out
¾ cup shredded Swiss cheese
Salt and pepper

Grease a mini muffin pan with butter.
Cut deli meat into 3” rounds using a biscuit cutter. Save the scraps for sandwiches!
Carefully press each round into muffin pan, taking care to prevent holes.
Beat eggs and add milk.
Gently stir in remaining ingredients. Fill each muffin cup with egg mixture.
Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown on top.

I left after breakfast was served and the kitchen had been cleaned, but I hear the party continued long into the day. I think I also heard the remark “what happens at Amy’s, stays at Amy’s…”

Names and identities have been concealed in order to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent…

If you would like assistance in planning or managing your next party, contact me!

Monday, August 24, 2009

In The News: F.A.N. Club!

There's an exciting article in The Columbus Dispatch today! It highlights F.A.N. Club, a program that I'm involved with and very passionate about. You can read the article here...

The newspaper has been highlighting a number of health initiatives that are taking place in the Columbus City Schools. Last week, they highlighted the new food service plan, which includes more fruit and vegetable options. I had the chance to see the new cafeteria decorations highlighting healthy lunch choices and brightly-colored banners of fruits and vegetables, and the staff at Lincoln Park Elementary School was busy assembling the new salad bar!

The article in today's paper focuses on vending machines and after-school programs. Columbus City Schools has taken a drastic measure in their schools by eliminating all soda, juice, and sports drinks vending. Water is the only drink option available. When it comes to food, the empty calorie options will gradually be phased out in favor of healthier choices.

The plan is drastic, because the schools stand to lose thousands of dollars when they discontinue contracts with junk food and soda manufacturers. In the past, schools sought additional revenue by signing on with big corporations, who sponsored schools in exchange for the privilege of marketing to kids and students.

By removing the vending machines, Columbus City Schools has acknowledged that they have a problem... They have a problem with obesity, hypertension, and diabetes.

That's where F.A.N. Club comes in! F.A.N. Club stands for Fitness and Nutrition Club, and is a part of Nationwide Children's Hosptial pediatric obesity initiative. I have had the privilege of leading the program at Lincoln Park Elementary School for the past 8 months, and nothing could be more rewarding! We "aim to increase participation in physical activity and healthy eating behaviors in children" through educational activities and games. While the program is still young, we're hoping to expand to new schools through generous support, so that we can continue to offer the program to students and their families at no cost.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

You Say "Tomatoes"… I Say "MORE TOMATOES?!"

It’s August in Ohio, and that means bountiful summer produce – corn, melons, zucchini, peppers, and TOMATOES!

Yesterday I was helping out my friends Ben & Lisa at their farm, The Sippel Family Farm, and I picked tomatoes for several hours! I can’t take credit for much of it, (they had been picking all week long), but at days end we had hundreds and hundreds of pounds of tomatoes packed up. The best/worst part (it depends on how long you’ve been hunched over picking in the fields) was looking up and seeing rows of tomatoes, still untouched, the vines weighed down with bright red, yellow, and green globes of ripe fruit!

As a CSA member (more on that at another time), I go up to their farm in Mount Gilead and help out every other Friday throughout the spring, summer, and fall. I primarily help pick the produce that they deliver to their CSA members and sell at the Clintonville Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings.

This morning I came home from the market with 4.5 pounds of tomatoes. Our CSA share this week also included a watermelon, 1 pound of edamame, 4 zucchini, 2 yellow squash, 2 cucumbers, 2 eggplants, 1.5 pounds of tomatillos, 2 hot peppers, and 2 huge red onions…

Add those tomatoes to the 4.5 pounds that we got in our share last week (along with a bunch of other yummy things!)…

and the tomatoes we picked from our own garden the past couple of weekends…

and the 10 pounds of tomatoes I bought from the Sippels for a party on Monday…

and we’re up to eyeballs in tomatoes!

But no worries, we have plans for them – tomato and mozzarella salads, salsa, and fresh pasta sauce! I’m using the 10 pounds of Roman Candle heirloom tomatoes to make southern-style tomato tea sandwiches with Duke’s Mayonnaise for an upcoming party.

I might even buy some more from the Sippels and try canning for the first time… we’ll see…

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Recap: Living Well, Eating Well - Back To School!

The second Living Well Nutrition Education & Cooking Class was a great success! Thank you to those that participated!

This class was definitely more education, less cooking. Parents and their children were invited to talk, eat, sample, create, and learn! Nine eager participants helped me read labels, discussed healthy alternatives to processed foods, created balanced and nutritious lunches, and then chowed down! My friend and neighbor, Rita, came over to take a few pictures...

A few of the topics included:

  • Limiting Processed Foods, Fats, and Sweets
  • Eating The Rainbow
  • Wholesome Lunch Choices
  • Strategies For Success

We tried out a really exciting product called a Bento Box Set made by Laptop Lunches, and one winner, Arabella, has a stylish new back-to-school accessory!

I already have some other ideas specific to packing healthy lunches, and for more general nutrition topics as well. I would like to include more discussion of the food pyramid. If it is not new information, it is always good to review, and I have a lot of fun ideas for food pyramid activities for kids. If you would like to schedule a Nutrition Education course for Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, a school classroom, or a sports team, I can tailor the topics to suit your needs! Please contact me.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Anniversary Weekend

This past weekend, Ben and I celebrated six years of being married. That seems like a lot for two people still younger than thirty, but we've been hanging out together for a long time - thirteen years to be exact!

I, of course, loved every aspect of planning our wedding, right down to the last detail. For some it's maddening, but I loved scouring the design and fashion magazines, searching websites for the perfect vendors, planning a menu that would keep people talking for years to come, and of course putting our personalized touches on everything. Despite the torrential downpour that flooded the near east side of Columbus that steamy August afternoon, just as our guests arrived (yes, that has kept people talking for years to come too!), everything was perfect - but who wouldn't say that about their own wedding. As long you're married at the end of the day, nothing else matters!

Photo: Banks Photography

So this Saturday, we celebrated with a fabulous meal at G. Michael's in German Village. We shared a bottle of Merlot and Fried Green Tomatoes, I stuffed myself silly with the Wild Pacific Salmon, Ben mmmed and ahhhed over the Grilled Pork Tenderloin, and then as if that wasn't enough, we topped of the night with a giant brownie sundae with Jeni's Ice Cream! (Did I mention that it's ok to indulge for special occasions?!)

It was late when we left the restaurant, but we decided to visit the place where we were married six years earlier anyway. Franklin Park Conservatory is a true gem of Columbus, and easily one of my favorite places to visit in the city. At least, we figured, we'd be able to walk through the gardens, the night sky lit by the illuminated Palm House. As it turns out, another couple also thought August 15th would be a great day to get married - we could hear the roaring party inside! And the front door was unlocked! Yep - for our sixth anniversary, we wedding crashed! No worries, we didn't hit up the buffet, bum a drink from the bar, or break it down on the dance floor! We just poked around the exhibits, and happened upon an empty rooftop terrace that we had all to ourselves!

In many ways, planning our wedding really fueled my passion for planning parties and entertaining – so much, in fact, that I had a bit of wedding planning withdrawal when we returned from our honeymoon. Perhaps one day I’ll share more of the details that made our wedding unique and special…

Entertaining is about celebrating and sharing an important moment in your life with friends and family. A party should highlight a moment in time, share a piece of yourself, and surround the setting with personalized touches that make your guests feel welcome.

Living Well can help make your next party special and memorable. Throw a surprise party, celebrate a milestone, amaze with a meal, or make a great first impression with a beautiful and unique invitation.
Contact me to begin planning your next occasion!

Later this week, I meet with a client to plan an annual Back To School Brunch. Stay tuned for a complete summary with all of the details!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Back To School!

It’s the end of summer, and that means it is time to go back to school…

At most schools that means eating those sometimes loved (tater tots!), sometimes hated (canned green beans, anyone?) school lunches. But the lunch lady has disappeared, and what has replaced the hot meals cooked on-site has turned into copious amounts of processed food and junk food, pre-packaged and re-heated meals, beverages and snacks packed with high fructose corn syrup and preservatives, vending machines, and fast-food delivered to cafeterias. Even with the National School Lunch Program, meals offered at full-price, low cost, or free are required to include ⅓ of the Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamins and minerals, but they lack the fresh fruits and vegetables that are so important to childhood growth and development.

As a result of the low quality, non-nutritious food offered at many schools, childhood obesity has become an American epidemic, and health problems such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and sleep disorders are not far behind. You can find a well-written article and staggering statistics here:

Make sure that your child has the healthiest food possible by packing their lunch for school. Turns out, packing a lunch is cheaper than a full-price school lunch too – especially when you figure in the expensive a la carte options that tend to be the unhealthiest choices anyway!

Living Well, Eating Well – Back To School!

The Nutrition Education and Cooking Class this month will feature kid-tested and parent-approved ideas for creative and healthy school lunches! Breakout of the PBJ rut and lose the fruit snacks – this class will completely change the way you think about school lunches!

Monday, August 17, 2009 (one week of summer left!)
$15 per adult, kids are free
$5 more will help a less fortunate parent and their child attend the event
Class size limited to 12 adult participants and unlimited kids – we need a tasting panel!
RSVP (name, email, phone number) to by Friday, August 14th

More "Back To School" features to come - I'll be helping my friend Amy with a Back To School brunch that should be off the hook!

Sunday, August 9, 2009


I’ve been talking about this for a long time… many friends and family members have encouraged me to start this… and I even had a domain name at one point. But I just couldn’t muster the time and energy, and frankly the guts to “do it right.” But lately I’ve been really busy – really busy “Living Well” – and it seemed like the perfect time to take the plunge, time or no time! So here it goes – we’ll see where the ride takes us!

Introducing my new venture… Living Well!

The aim of Living Well is to help you live your life to the fullest, with vitality and meaning. It is not a static goal, but an ever-changing and dynamic process of growth and discovery. Make decisions, spend your time, and direct your attention and energy with purpose and meaning. Make your dreams come true, and love every minute of it! Live Well!

The services offered include:

Personal & Group Fitness Training
Nutrition Education & Cooking Classes
Meal & Menu Planning
Grocery Store Tours
Cooking Lessons
Party Planning & Event Management
Invitations & Announcements
Home & Office Organization
Green Living Consultation
Interior Design Consultation
Home Improvement Concierge
Personal Shopping
Errand & Concierge Services

I am the daughter of an engineer and a home economics teacher, I have an eye for detail, a passion for teaching others, and a love for all things domestic and healthy. Since childhood, having fun has meant organizing and decorating, playing in the garden, cooking healthy gourmet meals with family, entertaining friends, art and craft projects, and physical activity. I love to share my joy with others and teach these skills as well. I have a background in education, and I believe that learning is a lifelong process. I look forward to getting to know my clients and sharing my wealth of ideas, knowledge, and skills to help you maximize your life experiences. My passion is truly and simply to encourage Living Well, and all that it means to you!

I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas, and I hope to hear from you soon!

Live Well,