Wednesday, August 7, 2013

5 Quick Questions with Carolyn Nichols of The Church Health Center + The 40 Days to Better Living Cookbook

We grew up with Carolyn and her sweet family, so when we heard about all that she and the folks at the Church Health Center in Memphis are doing to help people get their home cooking on the right track, we had to know more. She and the staff at the CHC have a new cookbook out with some recipes we really want to try, including Carrot Souffl√©, White Cheddar Herbed Grit Cake over Mixed Greens with Honey-Fig Vinaigrette, and also the Whole Grain Breakfast Quinoa, for starters.  Learn more about and order the 40 Days to Better Living Cookbook HERE and check out our interview with Carolyn below! Here's more about the cookbook straight from the source.

Carolyn Nichols: Basically, our cookbook puts a healthy spin on traditional favorites.  We try to use items and products everyone has heard of, and everything we purchase comes from Kroger, so it's easily accessible to all. We put the the nutritional analysis and the cost on each recipe. There is no author listed for the book because it was truly a group effort. I came up with about 70% of the recipes, the other 30% of the recipes are from other CHC staff members and interns, our dietician did the nutritional analysis, lots of staff tested and proofread the recipes, and our PR team took on the task of working with our publisher.

1. TCV: What do you do at the Church Health Center here in Memphis?

CN: I teach healthy cooking classes to adults, teenagers, and children. I health-coach new and established CHC Clinic patients.

2. TCV: What are a couple of easy changes folks can make to their diets for a big impact when it comes to health?

CN: We talk about easy changes daily in our classes. Some of our favorites: use less cheese, switch from whole milk to low fat or skim milk, measure your fats, switch from salt to herbs and spices, drink more water, eat fruit or yogurt for dessert on the weekdays and save the ice cream/cake/cookie type treats for the weekends. The main thing we want our participants to take away from the class is the proper serving size of a food item. We focus on serving size because even though a recipe is healthy, it still has calories, so we don't want to eat the entire dish!

3. TCV: Favorite healthy dinners for people who are in the middle of busy August back-to-school time?

CN: Favorite healthy dinners for back to school: quesadillas,  easy pasta dishes, and stir-frys! There are several in the cookbook.  All three of these items can be made quickly, and lots of veggies can be thrown in. My favorite from the cookbook: shrimp etouffee, grilled eggplant quesadillas, and the tomato and eggplant pasta.  All 3 of these recipes can be done in 45 minutes or less.

4.  TCV: What was it like to work on the 40 Days to Better Living Cookbook -- and do you and your family (or your co-workers) agree on a favorite recipe in it?

CN: It was a learning experience for sure working on a cookbook. I didn't know what all went into preparing one. It was fun, though, and made me closer to my coworkers.  It was fun having testing days in the kitchen were we would invite staff, family, and friends in the kitchen to test recipes. Those days were my favorite days of getting the cookbook ready. My family's favorite recipe is the shrimp cakes with avocado salsa. It's a light and fresh recipe that's great for summer. My kids' favorite is the banana bread and the delicious granola with cherries and raisins.

5. TCV: Okay, just as soon as I heard you talk about it, I had to know more: how do you make your to-go breakfast, oatmeal in a jar?

CN: Oatmeal in a Jar

1/2 cup oats (not instant)
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I use Fage 0%, but you can use a fruit flavor if you want it sweeter.)
1/2 cup fruit (1/2 a banana, 1/2 cup blueberries or 1/2 cup raspberries)

Place items in a jar and stir well. Cover and let set in the refrigerator overnight. Stir and sweeten with honey in the morning if desired.  (Sometimes I'll add a spoonful of nut butter or almonds or walnuts if I know it's going to be a while before I can eat again.)


Virginia Metcalf said...

This is a great cookbook full of easy, quick, healthy and delicious recipes! I highly recommend this cookbook!

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zaenal said...

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