Friday, September 27, 2013

What's for dinner?

Before sharing more recipes with you, I want to emphasize the fact that what I'm writing on this blog is my own opinion and not necessarily the greater Oak Hill Community, and that no offense is intended to any reader. 
Our goal is to share with you the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle. It is important for us, and we would love to inspire you. That is as simple as that.

Thank you for support!

I was at school yesterday evening listening to Bernadette Noll, author of the book "Slow family living". She gave us good advices on how to slow down our days and enjoy our time with family. Big thanks to her!

And truly, where is the time going? We are so busy nowadays that we often don't take the time to cook anymore. 

Coming from another country, I had a different education and a different way of living. My mom used to cook from scratch every day and that is what I do too. I do it because I enjoy cooking but also because I want to know what is in my plate. I use the most natural ingredients but I find it difficult to buy everything organic, as it gets pricy quickly. I just try my best and using simple ingredients makes it easier.
I really would like to convince you that cooking can be easy and cost effective. At first, if you really never cooked, trying a difficult recipe may not be the best way to go. 

Instead, choose something simple. It doesn't have to be perfect at all and follow the recipe step by step until you are comfortable enough to let your creativity take over.

So what's for dinner? 
I chose something for beginners and tried to list it step by step. It is a simple tomato salad with hard boiled eggs, pork chops with tomato sauce, homemade mashed potatoes, fresh fruit salad. These portions are for 4. 

Tomato salad:
Cut 3 tomatoes in thin slices. I like them peeled. To do so, boil some water in a saucepan. Plunge it in hot water for a minute. Make sure to take it out of the water with a spoon and start to peel from the bottom. 
Watch out because it will be hot! Arrange the slices on a plate. In the middle, I like to add a 1/2 diced cucumber. I usually take the seeds out, it is easier to digest. Boil 2 eggs (in hot water for 10 minutes) and let the eggs rest in an ice-bath to “shock” them. That way, they are easier to peel. 
Another thing to know is that fresh eggs will be more difficult to peel. It is better when they are a week old. I cut them in four pieces and put them on the plate. I like to add parsley and basil as the green color makes it more interesting. For the dressing, I make a vinaigrette. I do not pour it on the plate because if there are leftovers, it is easier to conserve without the dressing.  

In a bowl, put salt, pepper, one tablespoon of vinegar. I prefer the red wine or the balsamic but apple cider is great too. I personally would not use the white vinegar. Add a teaspoon of Dijon mustard and 3 tablespoons of olive oil, or grapeseed oil. Any kind of oil will do. Then you can add some garlic or shallots... or not.

Pork chops:
Take 3 pork chops and cut them in small pieces. Only three will be enough as I noticed that we have a tendency to eat less when it is cut in small squares. Not sure why.
In a large nonstick skillet, quickly brown the pork chops. Reduce skillet heat to medium, and add an onion previously chopped, cook for 2 to 3 minutes. In a small bowl, combine a can of tomato sauce (I like the brand Cento) with 2  garlic cloves finely chopped, some oregano if you have (parsley, basil or tarragon will work too). But if you don't have some, it will still be good. Add salt and pepper. Pour over chops. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender. I like to add 2 tablespoon of heavy cream just before serving. But you don't have to. 

Mashed potatoes:
I like to make it with red potatoes. Place the potatoes cut in four in a large saucepan and cover with water. I add one packet of  chicken bouillon (I use Herbox sodium free). It gives a nice flavor. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook until tender (10 to 15 minutes). Drain.
Place potatoes in a bowl; beat until smooth. Add 1/2 cup of warm milk and 1 tablespoon of butter. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper.
There are many ways to make mashed potatoes and your recipe may be different. 

Fresh fruit salad:
Mix fresh raspberries with 2 pears and 2 kiwis. 
This is just one recipe. My favorite is strawberries with blueberries and raspberries. 
I make a special one for adults and add 3 tablespoons of Grand Marnier and a tablespoon of sugar. Let it set for an hour in the fridge.
Again, this is not for children!!!

I hope this meal inspired you to cook with your family. Let me know what you think and if you have any questions, please contact me at:

Friday, September 20, 2013

The portion size matters!

How many portion do I have in my plate?
Eating out can be very fun and yummy. The trick is to make sure we are aware of how many portions we are actually eating, if we finish our entire plate of food.
For that reason, I have been reading about ways to cut portion when eating out. During the course of the last 40 years, servings are in average 3 and sometimes 4 times bigger than recommended. 

There is no way you can ask your child nowadays to finish their plate, and as much as you’d like to, neither should you try to finish it for them. Instead, ask for a doggie bag and enjoy it later.
Short-term studies show that people eat more when they are confronted with larger portion sizes. The actual size of the plate you eat out of also influences your decision of when to stop eating. One way to avoid the temptation is to eat out less often.
Some studies have shown that a number of American families eat out 4 to 5 times a week and spend about $2600.00 a year. Believe it or not, it costs between 2 and up to 10 times more to eat out than to eat a homemade meal. And an added benefit is that, while cooking at home, you are in control of how much is on your plate and what is in your food for happy family tummies!

Here are some good advices from

Cutting back on portion sizes is the easiest way to trim excess calories, fat and sugar from your diet, but it can also be quite challenging. Restaurant and fast-food portions are far larger than those appropriate for a healthful diet. Learn to identify healthy portion sizes, then create new eating habits by using techniques that help you feel full while eating less. Getting used to eating smaller portion sizes is a matter of practice and knowledgeable attention to what is on your plate.

Step 1

Set a deck of cards, tennis ball and four dice on your table or kitchen counter. Compare the portion of food on your plate to the size of these items at each meal. Any serving of meat should be no bigger than the deck of cards; no serving of cheese should be larger than the four dice; and pasta and vegetable portions should be about 1 cup, or the size of the tennis ball, according to Columbia University Health Services.

Step 2

Use a smaller luncheon plate instead of a dinner plate for all of your meals. Fill the plate once and do not return for seconds.

Step 3

Place crackers, chips, popcorn or cereal for snacking in a small cereal bowl rather than eating out of the bag. Do not refill the bowl after you have eaten its contents.

Step 4

Ask for a doggie bag with your meal order at restaurants, and immediately put half of your restaurant meal into the bag before eating. Eat the meal remaining on your plate, and take the bag home and put it in the refrigerator for lunch or dinner the next day.

Step 5

Increase the number of servings of fresh fruits and vegetables in each meal. One serving of vegetables is about 1 cup, the size of the tennis ball, according to the American Cancer Society. The high fiber content of fresh fruits and vegetables will help create a feeling of satiety without conveying many calories.

Step 6

Eat slowly. It takes 20 minutes for the brain to signal satiety, according to the University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County. Sit down to a meal and eat slowly, giving the brain time to signal the body that it is full.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

School lunches

School lunch ideas
Here are some ideas of what you can put in a lunch box. Don’t forget to avoid plastic container, especially if it needs to be reheated. Also, as a general rule, try to stay away from processed food. The closer to nature we stay, the better we will feel!

Salmon sandwich 
Combine chopped boiled egg and canned salmon. Mix with ½ mayo- ½ sour cream. Add chopped celery or tomato or lettuce and spread on your choice of bread.
Pasta salad 
Mix cold cooked pasta with cherry tomatoes, diced smoked turkey or chicken, chopped celery, pecans or toasted almonds. Add a little bit mayonnaise.
Rice salad
From the recipe above, replace the pasta with any kind of rice. As a variation, you can add a boiled egg.
Homemade Meatballs and tomato sauce 
Mix organic ground beef with finely chopped garlic and onion. Make little balls when still uncooked. In tomato sauce, add ½ onion, and a shredded carrot. You can even add a zucchini, the kids won’t taste it. Serve with pasta or rice.
Leftovers are great!
Fresh fruit salad 
You can mix any fruit you like together. Blueberries, strawberries, kiwis, raspberries, bananas, grapefruit, and oranges are some examples.

A yogurt is handy. However, they often contain a lot of sugar. Adding fresh fruit or jelly to plain yogurt can be an option to replace the sugar.

Blueberry Oatmeal Squares 
Because we all need a little treat sometimes! 
In a large bowl, mix the following:
  • ½ cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1½ cups quick oats
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda                                                          
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons applesauce
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
Butter a cooking pan (8x8) and pour the mix you just combined. Place in the oven preheated to 350 F. After 20 minutes, insert a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean, it’s cooked. Wait 5 to 10 minutes to cool down and cut into 9 squares and enjoy! 

Flourless Zucchini Brownies
1 cup almond butter
1 1/2 cup grated zucchini
1/3 cup raw honey
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
i tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips (our favorite chocolate combo is 1/2 cup dark chocolate
chips and 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chips)
Cooking Steps
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
3. Pour into a greased 9×9 baking pan.
4. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
This makes 16 nice sized brownies.

(I personally did not try this recipe, but I will soon. If you try it before me, I would love some feedback.)

We hope you like these ideas and please, share your recipes with us. We will include them in our posts.

Here are a few websites that are full of great ideas for a healthy lunch:

Monday, September 16, 2013

Stay active

Because it is challenging to stay active, here are some tips for your daily activity.

Choose activities that you enjoy and can do regularly. Fitting activity into a daily routine can be easy – such as taking a brisk 10 minute walk or playing with your child(ren), shooting baskets, playing toss and catch, and going on a bike ride are some examples. Keep it interesting by trying something different on alternating days. Every little bit of activity adds up and doing something is better (and healthier) than doing nothing.

Make sure to participate in at least 10 minutes of activity at a time, shorter bursts of activity will not have the same health benefits. Consider keeping some comfortable clothes and a pair of walking or running shoes in the car and at the office so you can be ready for activity anytime.
*Tips taken from ACTIVE LIFE Nutrition and Physical Activity Informational packet.

Since school resumed, it means some of us have to prepare lunch for our kids. Packing a healthy and balanced school lunch is a daily challenge! We quickly run out of ideas, at least I am! We will include some ideas in our next post.

Try to avoid plastic containers, especially if the food needs to be reheated. If you do, make sure they are PBA free. 
However, I read not long ago that even if it is BPA free, there is BPS and it is not better!
Here is a link to an article about BPA:

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Welcome to the Healthy Living Corner

Welcome to our blog!
We are 2 moms on a mission! 

My name is Marielle. I am a mother of 2, Thomas 10 and Charlene 23. She is a mom of 2 already which makes me ... a grandmother!

I moved about 20 years ago from Blois, 2 hours south from Paris, in the Loire Valley. It is close to a famous castle "Chambord". I spent my first 2 years in Louisiana (very small town called Winnsborro) and I have to say that coming from France, it was a cultural shock at first! But I survived.

Kristen and I met about a year ago. I hesitated to take on this mission because, as you will notice, I'm not much of a writer. But my desire to make a difference and help somebody is greater. If I can inspire just one person, then I will have succeeded. 

My name is Kristen.  I am a mother of 2 children as well.  Alexis is 16 and Travis is 12. I started my career as a Physical Educator 20 years ago with the primary focus being on the physical component.
It makes sense that I would be interested in fitness and active lifestyles being a P.E. teacher. When I became pregnant with my first child, I started for the first time to really think about what I was eating and the nutritional benefits of healthy choices.

My nutritional journey has continued through the years and I have learned so much and would like to share some of what I have learned with other families.

I notice that in my teaching there has been a shift to focusing not only on the skills and activities, but spending more time on the health component.

I am enjoying teaching our OHE students the values of a healthy lifestyle and look forward to taking it a step further and share some information with our adult Eagles.

But what is a "healthy life style" really? 

According to a study by Michigan State University, you live a healthy life style if you do not smoke, you keep your weight down, you eat right and you exercise regularly.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Move Your Body – Eat Healthy – Feel Wonderful!
We want to share and exchange tips about healthy choices with you!
Our mission is to inform and help create a healthy lifestyle for you and your family by providing nutritious, healthy meals and encouraging your family to be physically active every day.
Let's exchange tips on organization, recipes, nutritious lunch ideas, and any idea that can help us make healthy choices in the kitchen and in our life.