Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Nominee for the Chicago Innovation Awards

Entered my Microentrepreneurs for a Healthy Body, Home, Community and World program and curriculum for the 2012 Chicago Innovation Awards competition. Check my previous blog entries below for a brief description of the mission, goals and objectives. For more information about the nominees, go to For more information about me, go to my company website,

Also of note, a few weeks ago I was awarded the Outstanding Community Activist Award by Congressman Danny K. Davis, for the 7th Congressional District of Illinois. Next step, getting the support to put my program into action. Need your votes! Thanks.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Only 2 days left to vote and why you should vote for me

For more than 35 years, I have tracked the major food trends and issues; how our food is grown, processed, prepared, marketed, and sold by the food industry to both children and adults, regulated by our government, and consumed by the American population. I know the barriers to losing weight, why our children keep getting more obese, and what needs to change in our political, educational, economic, and food supply system to reverse this obesity and hunger epidemic. I also know the barriers and challenges preventing more economic development in urban cities and rural areas in America and how new, healthy food enterprises and small businesses could be the economic driver to create more economically sustainable communities.

As a stakeholder and contributing member of many health, economic, educational, and social-based community organizations, I have spent years being passionate and dedicated to fighting the childhood obesity, hunger, education and economic problems facing America today. As an American citizen, businesswomen, entrepreneur, and educator, I believe it’s our duty and responsibility to invest in the future prevention of these epidemic problems and to work quickly, diligently, and collaboratively to find innovative, visionary, cost-effective, sustainable solutions to these growing problems before the American economy and future citizens of our country are too broken or too unhealthy to fix. 

Throughout my life and career, I've been an innovator, problem solver and change agent. With your votes, I can make the difference in the lives of students, their families, and their communities. I can give them the tools, inspiration and mentoring needed to pursue the American Dream and create more succesful and profitable small and growing food businesses -- the backbone of the American economy.

I know it's the beginning of the July 4th holiday weekend and some of you have already started your vacation, but please take a minute to vote for me at and select Culinary Connections. Help me put Microentrepreneurs for a Healthy Body, Home, Community and World into action now. I'm fighting to make America and the population of our nation healthy and strong!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I need your vote by June 30th. Thanks for your support.

I am writing to ask for your help. Chase and Living Social are offering twelve $250,000 grants to small business owners. Many of you know I've been trying to find funding to pilot my Microentrepreneurs for a Healthy Body, Home, Community and World program.

Each business needs at least 250 votes to be considered for a $250,000 grant. Eligible small business applicants will then be judged by a panel of business experts. If Culinary Connections can collect 250 votes, I will be considered for the grant. The deadline to collect the votes is June 30th.

Please ask everyone one in your network (family, friends, business) if they would please support my vision and vote for me.

To support my vision go to:


SCROLL DOWN AND ENTER Culinary Connections,ILLINOIS, Chicago


Thank you for your vote!

Wish me luck,


Microentrepreneurs for a Healthy Body, Home, Community and World, is targeted to help low income, minority and disadvantaged youths from underserved areas become the gatekeepers of their health, create the next generation of healthier foods and businesses, graduate high school, compete in the 21st century global economy, and succeed in life. It can also be adapted for a workforce development program for youths/adults or for start-up, small and emerging entrepreneurial, minority and immigrant owned food enterprises, to create jobs and economically sustainable communities.

Microentrepreneurs for a Healthy Body, Home, Community and World

Microentrepreneurs for a Healthy Body, Home, Community and World, targeted to low income, minority and disadvantaged youths from underserved areas.  


Break the cycle of obesity and malnutrition through innovative, motivating, interactive, media enriched entrepreneurial food programs that will create a healthier population and new generation of healthier food products and businesses in the profit and nonprofit marketplace.

Execute pilot program, strategically designed to become a sustainable, reproducible, and cost-effective model for combating the obesity, education, and economic epidemic in Chicago and America.  

Philosophy of Learning: 

 “Teach them how to fish so they will have food for a lifetime”.

Description of Project Goals and Objectives:

Empower and inspire students to improve their eating behaviors, lose weight, make healthier food choices, and become the gatekeepers of their health for a lifetime.

Develop marketable, competitive, achievable, lifelong skills for students in health, education and business and empower them to be socially and economically responsible.

Increase the self-esteem of students and sense of accomplishment/achievement, especially for minority, inner-city, and disadvantaged students, through entrepreneurism.

Create opportunities to provide affordable, convenient, delicious and healthier foods in the schools, homes, communities and workplace.


1/3 child/teen population, 2/3 adult population are obese or overweight in U.S. Chicago is 4th highest in U.S. childhood obesity. U.S. health care cost of obesity is $147 billion/yr. Illinois obesity costs are $3.4 billion a year and projected to rise to $15 billion by 2018 if trends continue (Illinois Public Health Institute).

Overweight kids are at risk for poorer academic achievement, increased absenteeism, health-related diseases, shorter life span. 1/3rd drop out of U.S. high schools/yr = 1.2 M kids/year; about 50% for African American and Hispanic/Latino kids. Only 55.8% CPS high school students graduate within 5 years.

Disconnected youths and high school dropouts more likely to be unemployed in adult life, require public assistance, create crimes, and become a permanent burden to society.  

Bottom Line:

Invest now in youth obesity prevention, innovative learning, and world-class education or pay later with poor health, chronic diseases, dropouts, crime, incarceration, and rising government debt.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Food Your Children Eat Could Change Their Lives!

Read the newspaper, flip through a magazine, turn on the TV or radio, or surf the internet and you'll be bombarded with marketing messages, research studies, or statistics about your health and weight.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), two-thirds of the American adult population is now overweight or obese. That's 127 million overweight adults, 60 million obese and 9 million severely obese. Equally disturbing are the one third or 26 million children who are also overweight or obese. Since 1980, obesity among children ages 6 to 11 more than doubled while the rate among adolescents aged 12 to 19 more than tripled to 17.6 %. In some states, the rate of childhood obesity has exceeded 20%.

Unfortunately just like adult obesity, childhood obesity increases the risk of obesity-related diseases (together now estimated at $147 billion annually) including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and bone and joint problems. Obese children are also more likely to suffer self- esteem issues and become overweight or obese adults. Even more alarming is the prediction that children born in the year 2000 and after will be the first generation in America's history to die at a younger age than their parents!

WHAT CAN YOU DO? MAKE YOUR HEALTH AND YOUR CHILDREN'S HEALTH YOUR NUMBER ONE PRIORITY. Healthy food habits start at home. Be a role model for more positive eating behaviors. Eat healthier foods. Healthy foods lead to healthy minds and bodies. Better nutrition leads to better academic performance too!

Start Now. Show your kids how eating healthier foods can be fun and delicious. Teach them to be TasteFit - how to master the art of tasting - to develop a discriminating and discerning palate, one that knows how to distinguish quality from mediocrity, authenticity from artificiality, and foods that deserve their calories and foods that don't. The more you get your children away from processed foods (high in fat, sugar, and salt), the healthier they will be when they're young and grown.

Teach them how to use and develop their five senses - taste, smell, sight, touch and hearing. Start with their taste buds, the 10,000 they are given at birth. Teach them to become a connoisseur of great food instead of a collector of wasted calories. Select and prepare a variety of colorful foods that are sweet, salty, sour, fruity, spicy, and savory naturally, without added sugar, salt, fat or calories. Let your kids touch and feel the foods in their hands and mouths. Grill, roast, steam, stir-fry or sauté them and let the aromas and sizzling sounds fill your kitchen.

Show your kids how to make better food decisions. Take them to the farmers' market or favorite food store when you go shopping. Let your kids choose a variety of brightly colored and textured fruits and veggies each week, ones that are grown locally, regionally, and from different parts of the country or from around the world. Train your children's taste buds when they are young to love fruits and vegetables and they will love them for a lifetime. Buy an assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables to make sure they get their daily recommended servings -- at least 5 servings daily or 1 - 3 cups veggies and 1 - 2 cups fruits daily; check for recommendations by age and sex -- and vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Less than 25% adolescents eat enough fruits and veggies a day. Make sure to buy them when they are ripe and in peak season so they will taste their best.

Make food tasting a fun adventure. Have tasting parties with your kids, their friends and family. Taste testing is a wonderful way for you and your kids to explore and discover new foods to enjoy that can become part of your family's daily meal plan. Experiment by tasting different fruits and vegetables raw, especially different varieties of the same food, like apples, pears, peaches, plums, grapes, tomatoes and peppers. Then prepare them using different cooking methods so they can taste the difference between ones that have been steamed, poached, grilled, roasted, baked, pureed or sautéed. Let them taste the food by itself and then in combination with other foods. Try popping their flavor with different herbs, spices, sauces and dressings that will add variety and taste without adding too many more calories. Broaden their horizons and experiment with ethnic and world cuisines. Keep test tasting activities to itty bitty bites and small sips to keep their calories in check.

Give your kids a vocabulary to describe the foods they taste. Or let them come up with their own fun descriptions. Words like crunchy, crispy, creamy, buttery, fiery, spicy, tangy, tart, fruity, smoky, fizzy, silky, smooth, mellow, sharp, lemony, and garlicky are just a few of the words that can make food tasting more fun and interesting.

Stock your home with healthy snacks and tasty, healthier foods. Be prepared and plan ahead. The best offense is a good defense. Keep your kitchen stocked with a supply of delicious, healthy snacks and foods to satisfy their taste. Keep on hand bowls of fresh fruits, peeled and cut veggies with healthy dipping sauces, and mixtures of dried fruits, nuts and seeds. Look for beverages made with low-fat or non- fat milk, soy milk, yogurt or 100% fruit juices. Beware of foods marketed as "healthy" or "better-for-you".

Read the list of ingredients and nutrition label carefully. ALWAYS check the calorie, fat, sugar and salt content and avoid foods with trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, additives, food coloring, pesticides and hormones. Read the FitDelicious LabelFit chapter to learn more. Avoid snacks that will pack on the pounds. Limit junk foods, fried foods, and foods low in nutritional value. Check the FitDelicious Healthy Snack Chart for recommendations or test drive and prepare the hundreds of FitDelicious recipes that are great for snacks, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert too.

Make sure your kids eat breakfast. It's one of the most important meals of the day. Short on time, try making some of the FitDelicious breakfast recipes the night before, refrigerate and reheat (microwave) in the AM for your kids or take the 5 - 10 minutes to make them fresh in the morning. Smoothies can be put in a cup to go, omelets wrapped in a tortilla or stuffed in a pita to take along.

Increase your Kid's Activity Quotient. Make a list of fun "motion" activities to get your kids more active and fit. Don't let them sit in front of a computer or TV when they could be active instead. Let them walk or ride their bike whenever possible. Find physical activities you can share together and ones they'll enjoy. Get involved. Volunteer for school projects that will get your kids moving. There are plenty of schools and recreation centers that could use the extra help. Show your kids you care.

GIVE YOUR KIDS THE GIFT OF HEALTH, A GIFT THAT WILL LAST THEM A LIFETIME. Remember, obesity prevention and eating healthy starts with you. Give your kids the best start in life you can give them. Feed them foods that will help them be fit, healthy, and smart!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Don’t Quit

Still Just January

It’s hard to sleep when I’m worried. I go to sleep, wake up, go to sleep, wake up … how will I ever get through this night? How will I finish this book? How much more money is it going to cost that I don’t have? All my fears seem to surface late at night. Then I go to my refrigerator. Not to get something to eat, but to read one of the messages that’s scotch taped to the door. I started taping inspirational quotes and messages from friends … anything I read that I thought might help get me through one more day, one more night. Tonight is one of those nights. So I’m reading the poem given to me by my friend Donna, a poem her mother gave to her, author unknown. It’s called Don’t Quit.

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low, and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh.

Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is strange with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,

And you can never tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,
It’s when things seem worst…
That you must not quit.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Still January 2008

It’s been a very long week. I’ve had to retest about 25 recipes with no one to help. This is not what I thought it would be like when I decided to write my book. But I can’t stop now. I have to keep going. There’s too much at stake. There’s no turning back.

While I’ve been waiting for my chicken to finish roasting, I’ve been reading my nephew’s latest blog. He sends one every week. This one is called “Why I love life”. He’s traveling around the world living his dream while I’m here counting the minutes until my chicken is done. What’s wrong with this picture? Do I really have to ask?

There are three video clips on this week’s blog. He’s in Argentina. Video one - some guy is playing a flute at the bottom of this incredibly beautiful canyon while my nephew’s girlfriend is waving. It’s so surrealistic. Next video is a couple dancing the tango. Third one is my nephew taking a polo lesson riding a horse. It’s like a scene out of a movie. And here I sit with bits of food stuck to my arms, my hair and apron. Again I ask myself, what’s wrong with this picture?

It’s 1 AM and the oven buzzer just went off. Finally the chicken is done. There is something very primal about pulling the meat from a roasted chicken with my hands. It’s also incredibly messy! I stuffed the chicken with a few lemons and rubbed it all over with my rosemary spice rub. I started with a four pound chicken tonight. Two hours later, I ended up with one and a half pounds of succulent, roasted boneless chicken. I’ve been nibbling at the bits of chicken on the bones. The rest has to be refrigerated for tomorrow’s day of recipe testing.

I’m tired but I still have to clean the kitchen. I’m also my own clean up crew. I thought at my age I wouldn’t have to do the grunt work anymore but it has to get done and I’m the only one here.

My fingertips and hands feel like sandpaper because I’m constantly washing pots and pans, trying to keep the mess to a minimum. It’s too hard to wear rubber gloves because I’ve got too many things going on at once. I have to take things off the stove, out of the oven, chop, prepare and assemble foods, take photos, write, and work on the computer and whatever else needs to get done throughout the day. Not even slathering my hands with hand cream and wearing cotton gloves to bed seems to work. Maybe I should have tried using the chicken grease? Don’t think so! And don’t even ask me what my nails look like. I can’t remember the last time I had a manicure!

Ah bedtime, finally I’m done for the night.