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  • 2017_3_20

Celebrate National Strawberry Day with our fav Strawberry Schaum Torte Pie

Celebrate National Strawberry Day with our fav Strawberry Schaum Torte Pie

Unless you are from Wisconsin you probably have not heard of Shaum Torte. My childhood is filled with fabulous memories of my sweet Grandma Lily baking Schaum Torte for special occasions. And, I thought  there is no better way to celebrate National Strawberry Day than with juicy strawberries drizzled over one of my favorite desserts – Schaum Torte. Elsewhere this dessert is called Pavlova.  

Schaum Torte

3 to 4 egg whites
¾ cup sugar
¼ tsp cream of tartar
Sugared strawberries

Slice strawberries and gently toss with some sugar and refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

Place egg whites in a large bowl and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 275°F.

Gradually beat in sugar, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, and cream of tartar on high until stiff glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved.  

Spread into a greased pie plate and bake for 50-60 minutes or until very lightly browned.

Turn off the oven and let cool in the oven for at least one hour.

Slice into 8 servings. This is so delish you may only get two giant servings  out of it. I have been known to stand at the kitchen sink and just eat a slice or two.

Yield: 8 servings

Serve each slice with a scoop of ice cream, sugared strawberries and a dollop of whip cream.

Tip: When you separate your eggs, make sure not even one baby speck of yolk gets in there. The teeniest speck of fat will prevent your egg whites from whipping up properly.  You also need a really clean mixing bowl.

If you are out of time one of my favorite ways to enjoy strawberries is to slice strawberries and top with half and half and sprinkle with a little sugar and serve with some warm conversation. Gary loves this dessert and you will too!


Do You Know What The #1 Obstacle to Living a Happy Life Is?

Mom celebrating her 87th birthday. She always likes to hold hands in the pictures. How sweet is that.

Negative thinking.

If you are like me, you can over think and over think some more. For instance, I over think and dwell on the fact that my 87-year-old mom does not call me but she calls my sister Laurie.

My mom lives with my caring and kind sister, Michele. On the way home from my morning swimming class at Lifetime Fitness, I call my mom. I know it is a good time to reach her as it is not during her favorite TV shows (I think it’s still General Hospital). When the kids were little I called my mom every Monday and Friday from 7:45am to 8:00am. Back in those days the long distance phone rates increased at 8am. One Christmas, I even gave her a little crystal telephone with the note that she was my “telephone angel.” There is something special about a mother’s unconditional love and support. No matter what. No one else cared that Danielle got another Girl Scout badge or that Brett aced his spelling test.

My dietitian sister Laurie mentions that mom calls her.

One day Laurie mentioned mom called Laurie three times because she kept on forgetting things to tell her. Mom never calls me. I felt bad. I wrote Valentine’s cards to both parents and even wrote in their cards, “call me.” I never heard from dad. He is hard of hearing and does not like to wear his hearing aid so phone conversations are very difficult. I was so sad that mom calls Laurie and not me that I cooked up the plan that I would not call mom several times a week and see if she would notice the missing phone calls. I almost wanted to get “back” at my mom. Well, that lasted for two day. I brought up the fact that she calls Laurie and never calls me. I asked mom, “Why don’t you call me?” She said, “because you always call me.”  I felt like screaming, “you mean Laurie is not your favorite daughter?  You mean you like me as much as Laurie?  You mean you care about me as much as Laurie and the other sisters even if I know I push your buttons?”

What a simple answer. Mom does not call me because I call her!

My beliefs and wrong assumptions the last few weeks were robbing my days of joy, inner peace, and even gratitude. Everyone wants their mother’s love. Did she love me any less than Laurie? No. At this grand old age, I still desired to be treasured by my mom no matter what.

We like to make life more complicated than it is. Our beliefs are not a fact, just our belief. The problem is we get stuck on the same old negative beliefs that rob us of our daily joy.  Our thoughts become words and our words become action. So pick your beliefs that create your best life.

Another grand way to dump negative thinking is to become more grateful.

We cannot have a negative and positive belief or thought in our head at the same time. Whatever we focus on gets bigger and bolder. We can focus on what is not working or what is working in our life. We can focus on abundance or lack. So become grateful for everything in your life. Notice the beauty in your life in your relationships and in your environment. Remember why you are grateful for those special people in your life.

Decide today that you are no longer willing to have the consequence of negative and disempowering beliefs. Replace your negative beliefs with positive beliefs and be grateful for what has blessed your life.

Shakespeare reminds us, “Nothing good or nothing bad…it is our thinking that makes us so.”  The bottom line is you are what you think.  Make sure that you understand that your thoughts, words and actions in this very moment are creating your next one. Your life won’t change unless you change your thinking first.

Chere, Laurie, Michele, Michael and Rachele all love celebrating with our mom.

Call your mom! Life is not getting longer. You have one life to live, just imagine it was one you truly loved.

We can’t wait to hear your mom stories or how you have changed your beliefs to live a happier life.

Love Chere




Celebrate National RDN Day with RDN Spouse Food Stories

What better way to celebrate RDN Day than to share our beloved spouse food stories!!

Has candy ever hit you in the head?  

Almost every year, my beloved husband Gary buys Halloween candy and does not want me to see the amount he buys so he hides it in his workshop cabinet.  The first year, I opened the cabinet and Almond Joys hit me in the head. Gary was busted. It continues every single year and now he buys Halloween Candy “on sale” for his November hunting trips.

Gary met me as a dietetic intern at my Milwaukee County Internship.

He knew what he was getting into.  It used to drive me nuts when he ate ice cream in bed when we first got married. I shut up and woke up to the ice cream bowl stuck to our vanity counter! Kidney stones ended that evening adventure!  Every night we have a salad or soup or both and then an entrée. I am always trying to fill him up. And, we always use placemats and light candles. I try to make dinner extra special. I asked Gary, “What is your favorite part about being married to a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. He replied, “Your attention to details for meals.” I then asked, “What is your most difficult part being married to a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist?” He replied, ‘Your attention to details for meals.”  Like I said I thought when he met me in that little white uniform and hairnet at Milwaukee County Hospital, he knew food would be extra special in our house!

At least 25 years ago, he wanted to start the “SAD group.”  Spouse. Of. Dietitians.  He even had a T-shirt designed. He thinks it is hard to be married to a dietitian! I just remind him how lucky he is to be married to a dietitian as I cook him yummy meals and I tell him I keep him alive. He thinks he could write a book!  So could I.

I asked my fellow dietitian friends what food habits their spouses have that drive them nuts and also how being married to a dietitian helped their spouse. You will enjoy reading these answers!

Madeline Basler MS, RDN, CDN

Ok, what aggravates me (and I shouldn’t let it, I means it’s not like he’s eating fast food haha), but he mixes everything together in one plate and also eats pasta with strawberries and blueberries and salad all together. Drives me insane.  Looks disgusting!

I think it’s helped him as we have eaten really well since he had a heart attack 5 years ago.  Now since becoming an RDN I am even more aware of what we are putting into our bodies! 

Good for you Maddy!

Twitter: @RDNMaddy

Jen Flachbart, MS, RD 

Jen’s husband before and after he lost 50 pounds!

My husband calls himself “patient zero” now! He was the first of my “weight loss clients” (not by choice!) After we got married and I started doing most of the food shopping and cooking he went from having access to a lot of processed foods all the time to just about none and ended up losing 50 pounds! We both encourage each other to make good choices in our diet these days and I love that he has become almost as passionate about food and nutrition as I am! He now eats a whole food plant based diet, has way more energy, runs all the time and feels great! Although that doesn’t stop him from occasionally inhaling an entire pint of dairy free Ben + Jerry’s Ice Cream, but I choose my battles! 🙂 Here is a before and after picture!

Wow Jen what a success story!  

Twitter: @JenFlashRD 

Sonja Stetzler, MA, RDN, CPC

This picture is from our Blue Ridge bike trip.

It’s the night-eating that drives me nuts! After dinner, after everything is cleaned up and put away, he’ll sneak back into the kitchen and start munching on something like chips or ice cream. 

As far as being married to an RD…yes, his eating habits have certainly improved. He’s eating more fruit and veggies, and sometimes he’ll make a fruit smoothie for dessert instead of eating ice cream.

You are a great influence Sonja!   

Twitter: @sonjastetzler

Kim Kulp, RD

My husband Jack says I’ve taught him to enjoy a greater variety of vegetables and grains, and even the occasional tofu. He’s learned to stop eating when he’s full, not stuffed, especially at restaurants. However, the lesson he likes best, is that dessert can be OK, just not every night!  

I love the cereal box in the bookshelf Kim. And, wow, getting your hubs to eat tofu is admirable. I tried that in our house without success!

Twitter: @KimKulpRD

Mary Lane Carlson

In March of 2015, Ken and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary celebrated by doing the Santiago Pilgrimage. We walked about 70 miles to Santiago, Spain from Tui, Portugal.

As my husband and I transition from child rearing to the empty nest, we are experiencing a surge in our life to be healthier.  That is, getting more physical activity and eating foods that promote health.  We accomplish this by exercising together whether it is walking or trimming trees and by cooking together.  We discuss the upcoming week’s menu (review recipes) and go grocery shopping together.  When time permits, we even take cooking classes together.  When we go out to eat, we split the dish and perhaps order a side salad. This has not only improved our health but also strengthened our marriage. 

What a beautiful way to start the next stage of your life together Mary. 

Karla Moreno-Bryce, MDA, RD

A food habit that my husband has is that he gets carried away with certain snack foods at home and eats more than he intends to. We sometimes have dark chocolate, pretzels, trail mix, or tortilla chips and he sometimes needs a reminder to portion control! But this is also a reminder to myself, which he always tells me too, is to not bring home foods that may be tempting.

According to my husband, being married to a dietitian has helped him have a more balanced, nutritious plant-based diet. Since I do the grocery shopping, meal planning, and cooking in our household, this has made it easier on him to make sure he is meeting his nutritional needs.

Karla you are both helping each other. What a team!

Twitter: @kmorenord

Gisela Bouvier, MBA, RDN, LDN

Every time we go out to eat, Richard “HAS” to order a minimum of 2 appetizers. He states we should “wine and dine” every time we go out to eat and doesn’t realize how all of our healthy eating during the week can go down the drain in a single meal. Whether it is the fried calamari, tuna tartar, or appetizer sampler, he always orders one and then some. He then of course likes to eat the largest entree and drink a glass of wine or two. 

Although I complain about his luxury dining, I know that it has significantly downsized since we have been together over the past 7 years. Further, although he always ate relatively healthy, portion sizes, the amount of fat used in his cooking, or lack of fiber weren’t always considered. I help him stay more on track throughout the week. We cook more meals at home and always make certain to include a fresh salad or cooked veggies, lean protein, and high fiber complex carbohydrates at dinner time. He is a food service director and eats very similarly at breakfast and lunch at work as well. 

I definitely know that being married to a dietitian isn’t always easy, but I am sure he would agree it is completely worth it!

Sounds like a food love story to me Gisela!

Instagram: @bnutritionandwellness.

Julia Robarts, MS, MPH, RDN, LDN

Julia and her husband celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary in Puerto Rico.

My dear husband has come a long way since 1987 when we first started dating J The only food habit he has that drives me nuts is his knee-jerk reaction to buying many, many of one item when it’s on sale – leading to 17 boxes of cold cereal, 20 boxes of white pasta, etc. But I can’t fault him for shopping frugally and supporting our bottom line, even if it doesn’t support our other ‘bottom line’ haha.

How has being married to an RD changed him? One word – VEGETABLES. He packs his lunch every single day and has for 25 years. When we were first married he would not put any vegetable of any kind in his sandwich. Now he slathers on avocado, and layers with tomato and lettuce. He pretty much can’t eat his chicken sandwich without it J So, I’ve made him more high-maintenance, but in a GOOD way.

Julia his sandwiches are impressive…all because of you!  

Twitter: @jugglingjuliaRD

Hilary Raciti RDN CDN

So from me (the dietitian) to him- it drives me nuts when he leaves raw meat out in the kitchen for hours to defrost or puts it on the second or third shelf in the fridge… all I can think is contamination and bacteria. He is learning though!  

From him to me: Jared cannot stand when I sometimes eat “darkened” or what he calls “rotten” guacamole. I explain it’s just oxidation but he thinks I’m just disgusting. 

Jared tells me almost daily how much I’ve helped him since we started dating 6 years ago. When I met him he was overweight, but beyond that weight (I believe health at every size) he lived a lifestyle heavy in drinking, take out/delivery and little to no exercise. As we spent more time together I showed him the beauty of home cooked meals, vegetables, physical activity and just cherishing your body. I cannot take all the credit though- jared taught me how to be more flexible and to try various new cuisines.  Sometimes I do get caught in my dietitian head. Together we have gained balance and happiness in this crazy hectic world! 

Instagram: trucenutrition 

Courtney Ferreira, MS, RD, LDN


Dustin’s and Courtney’s adventures always involve food!

Habit that drives me crazy: Dustin doesn’t like to have his veggies touching his other foods!! If it’s green it needs its own plate and for packed lunches they need their own tupperware. 

How has he benefited: He eats out significantly less and has cut down on processed/ convenience foods. Believe it or not, living with him has improved my relationship with food and eliminated some restrictive habits I didn’t even realize I had! Way to go Courtney!   

Twitter: @f00dCOURT

Here’s to putting your best fork forward!!

What food habits bug you? And how has being married to a RDN helped your spouse? We call can’t wait to hear.

Happy Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day!





3 Tips to Help You Be the CEO of Your Morning Routines

This post was creatively prepared by Drew Thomas, a nutritional science grad from the University of Minnesota.

It’s no secret that having a consistent morning routine plays an integral part in setting the tone for the rest of your day. Having an effective routine can boost your energy and motivation levels first thing in the morning, while also laying a solid foundation for the rest of your day- allowing you to be at your best as you encounter whatever the day brings you!

There are tons of resources all over the internet claiming to have the perfect morning routine, but the truth of the matter is that there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to morning routines. Finding a routine that works best for you may take a little trial an error. Once a routine is developed the most important thing is to maintain consistency, especially for that first initial time period after starting, until it becomes a habit and something you automatically do every morning.

Making your routine into a daily habit is no small task and is where the majority of people end up failing and giving up. So today I’m going to be sharing 3 key tips for helping you turn your morning routine into a daily habit and hopefully make it something you not only stick to but hopefully something look forward to each night before you got to bed!

Tip 1: Think Big 

Oftentimes people will embark on an activity without considering their motivations or what they even hope to obtain from the given activity. Before even planning or beginning to think about the specifics of your routine you should be asking yourself 3 questions:           

  1. Do your mornings energize you and set you up to be your best each and every day? – Think about how you spend your mornings and how these activities influence your day.
  2. What would be the best result from a successful morning routine? Would it give you more energy, help you be more mindful during the day, Increase your focus at work? Know what you want from your mornings.
  3. How will this end result benefit what’s most important to you? Will having more energy allow you to increase your physical activity and meet fitness goals, or will it allow you to focus better and get that promotion at work, will it make you a better mother, father, brother, sister, etc.? Make sure that what you want from your morning routine aligns with what’s most important to you.

Looking at the big picture, and how an effective morning routine fits into this picture, will give you a clear understanding of why you’re trying to get into a new morning routine, how the routine is going to benefit you, and how it will set you up to better achieve the things that are most important to you. When you have a clear picture of these things it’s much easier to stick to a morning routine that, at first, might be hard and unenjoyable, but once it becomes part of your every day will benefit you greatly!

Tip 2: Prep

Extra motivation in the morning is often a hard to come by, so making your routine as easy and accessible as possible upon waking will play a huge role in whether or not you’ll stick with it. If working out is part of your morning routine, then set your shoes, clothes, iPod -anything you’ll need, out and ready the night before. If your goal is to journal each morning then open your journal to a new page, set the pen out, and have it on your desk and ready to go before you go to bed. If eating a healthy breakfast is part of your routine, prepare and set out as much as you can you can the night before.

The point here is to make it as easy as possible for you to achieve your morning goals and accomplish your routine. The less barriers in the way of your routine each morning, the more likely you’ll be able to stick with it and make it a positive every day thing in your life.

Tip 3 Make Adjustments

It’s unlikely that you’ll develop the perfect routine right off the bat so it’s important to gauge and evaluate each part and allow for changes when necessary. If something isn’t working don’t be afraid to take it out. If you find something that sounds interesting to try, don’t hesitate to throw it into your routine! The only way you’ll truly know if something works is by testing it yourself, and remember, just because something works for someone else, doesn’t mean it will work for you.

You’re the CEO of your morning and you have the ultimate power in deciding what the best routine is for you. Keep and implement what works, toss what doesn’t.

No matter how you spend your mornings, or whatever you choose as your routine, these three tips can be used to help you find and stick with a routine that works best for you. You can become the CEO of your mornings!

Drew Thomas was my fabulous, “can do” dietetic intern.

He is fortunate that his job marries his passions of nutrition, business and technology.

Sprig is an on-demand health/wholesome food company that allows consumers to have a hot, healthy meal delivered to in about thirty minutes by ordering from an app on your smartphone.

Land’s End park in SF

Golden Gate Bridge from Fort Mason. 

In Drew’s free time he loves to explore all the sights, sounds, and tastes that San Francisco has to offer. On weekends you can find Drew exploring up and down the California coast, skiing in Tahoe, or backpacking in the Sierra’s. 

His goal is to bring Sprig to a city near you.

What habits help you master your mornings? We cannot wait.


How to Forgive, but Maybe Not Forget

How to Forgive, but Maybe Not Forget

I have held a grudge for 43 years. My life has been sweet but this grudge was always in the back of my mind. My spirit needed a boost. I needed to forgive. Each year it got harder and harder.

1973 Nathan Hale High School, West Allis, Wisconsin. Check out my saddle shoes that I adored and the pleated skirt. Thought I was so cool!

It all began in high school! We were the fearsome four – Debbie J, Cyndie, and Peggy. Inseparable! We spent a lot of time in Peggy’s bedroom scheming how to get boys to notice us and like us. I was a wallflower and did not go to one dance or one prom. I just wanted to be noticed. I went away to UW Stout in Menomonie, Wisconsin for college. I wanted to go to Berkley but it was too liberal for my dad and I could barely afford Stout, let alone Berkley.

I came home for Christmas break and was invited to Peggy’s brother’s house for a New Year’s Eve party. (Ironically, his apartment was on the same road that I got stopped for speeding years later). I was at the party for probably 10 minutes when drunken Peggy pushed me down the basement stairs. She did not even remember. I tore my cartilage and needed arthroscopy. It was decided I would wait until May when my semester ended to have surgery, which meant I needed to walk around campus all semester on crutches. The most challenging was climbing the stairs to the dining hall. My cartilage would get stuck and my knee would lock. It hurt. In winter, it was really challenging holding my school bag (that was before backpacks) and climbing over snow banks to get to class on time.

I thought my life sucked and thought this was supposed to be one of the best times of my life. No. Way. I had surgery in May by the Milwaukee Brewers physician. In the 70’s they removed your cartilage, which has created my need for a total knee. (The good news of the surgery was my mom used to literally put me on a blanket in the backyard to eat lunch. I met the garbage man and dated him for a while…but that is another story).

Negative thoughts of Peggy have been with me all these years when my knee held me back. When I ran my first and only 5 K race. When I was hiking the Napoli Coast in Kauai, Hawaii with my family. When I am in pilates. The list goes on and on. After all, it has been 43 years of my life.

So, I decided I have about twenty good years left to live. I am doing a life reset before my next big birthday! Part of the reset was claiming my spirit back. Being the old Chere. She has been missing for 43 years. I want my head full of abundance and without negativity. Time. To. Forgive. But how?

For years I have done the Forgiveness Room with clients. I could do that but knew I needed more. I was really upset I wanted to talk to Peggy about it but she passed away last summer.

I knew I needed a quiet, calming place to sit and reflect. If it was summer I would go to a favorite park or beach. I went to the adoration chapel at St. Hubert parish. I sat there as other women were praying and reading their books. My life coach, science-brain kicked in and I told myself to do decisional balance by making a pro and con list of forgiving Peggy. It was very apparent my spirit was being crushed which was taking energy away from my life. I thought WHY do I want to forgive Peggy? I want to live my life bigger and bolder NOW. At that moment I realized I was living in my past. The past is over. My dreams were waiting. My dreams are too important to waste being upset with one person and not forgiving her. 

I needed to be done with it once and for all. I can choose. Do I choose positive feelings or do I choose negative feelings? We cannot hold both at the same time in our heart. When I realized that my past was blocking my future, it was easy to forgive.

Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future. – Paul Boese

Forgiveness brings our spirit peace and calm. It does not mean our hurt is minimized as we can still be hurt. It does not mean we have to forget the incident. Forgiveness is not something we do for the other person. Forgiveness is a matter of accepting the reality of what happened and finding a way to have resolution with it. It is not something you do for the other person, it is something you do for you. You have to be willing to forgive. You can’t forgive someone until you release your anger towards that person. Sometimes you will need a great therapist to help you with this.

My Forgiveness Actions

In the adoration chapel, I read the following prayer several times from Emmet Fox in his book “Power Through Constructive Thought.”  

“I fully and freely forgive (mention the name of who you are forgiving). I let him/her go. I completely forgive the whole business in question. As far as I am concerned, it is finished forever. I cast the burden of resentment on the God within me. (Name of person) is free now and I am too. I wish him/ her well in every phase of life. That incidence is finished and God has set us both free.”  

When this event crosses your mind (and it will) simply say, “I release this event.” And then move your thoughts to something beautiful!  

Then I entered the Forgiveness Room

The Forgiveness Room
So glad you could come to this special room.
Get comfortable.
Relax. Just be here.
Imagine that you are in your home or outside in a meadow.
Call this area the forgiveness room.
Whatever happens there is just perfect for you.

Invite someone into your forgiveness room.
See their face.  Hear their voice. Feel their presence.
There is no right or wrong way.
However it happens is just perfect. Just be with this special person.

Next, talk to this special person about what you wish to forgive them for.
Say all you need to say. Tell them what is in your heart. Speak with gentleness, kindness, and care.
But, speak your truth. You will know when you are done speaking to this person.
Inhale in some energy.

Come back to present day life and reality.

Know that you can go to your forgiveness room any time you wish.

Take another breath and feel new energy and life into your being – because you have been to the forgiveness room.
And, always remember you can visit this room any time you wish.

Source: Unknown

So how do you start to forgive?

First, decide you are done living in the past.
Second, decide you are going to actively engage in healing and forgiving so your life can move on again. But only when you are ready. (This took me 43 years)

What do you need to do today to clear up negative feelings with someone who has hurt you?

We don’t get to the end of our lives and say, “I wished I had worked more or I wished I would have stayed angry longer.”

Life is too short for regrets. You will never regret that you have forgiven. 

You have one life to live, just imagine it was one you loved, but only if you forgive and move on with your life. Remember Mahatma Gandhi says, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Be. Strong! Your life is waiting!

If you forgive someone please drop me a note so I can celebrate with you.


13 RDN Hacks to Celebrate National Wine Day

Am I lucky or what to have National Wine Day land on my birthday! And BONUS… it falls on a Saturday this year too! Here is a roundup of hacks for what you need to know about wine from my favorite peeps my RDN (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist) friends.

The Rebel Dietitians

The REBEL Dietitians are a team of 8 compassionate Registered Dietitians in Maryland that provide personalized and effective nutrition recommendations who answer the question, “Is there such a thing as healthy drinking?” There is so much buzz regarding spirits and wine lately but is there such a thing as healthy drinking? The Rebel Dietitians provide you the “need to know facts” with their tips on Healthy Drinking. Thanks Rebel Dietitians! @rebeccabitzerrd

Chef Stephanie Green, RDN

Chef Stephanie loves BBQ cookouts and reminds us it is important to select a wine that accentuates the flavor of your barbeque. Her fav is Inconspicuous a Zinfandel produced in Sonoma County, California which costs less than $20 a bottle. 

Thanks Stephanie! @greenscookery 

Caroline Susie RD/ LD

Caroline remembers from the time she was little girl, wine was always on the table being shared with family and friends. So when she was finally 21 she was excited to partake. Her dad took her to Napa for her 21st birthday and she fondly remembers it as the most special and educational experience. Since then she has fallen in love with wine. 

It is hard for her to pick just one but if she had to pick only one, it would be a “BIG bold in your face” Napa Valley Cabernet Calafia. She is also enjoys   Cabernat France and Vin 29’s. Her fav merlots are Pride or Duckhorn.

What does Caroline love most? How wine does brings people together! I agree! Thanks Caroline! @carolinesusieRD

Allison Boyd, RDN, CYT, CDE

Allison who is a certified yoga teacher hosted Yoga in the Vineyard. Afterwards a chef and the winemaker discussed wine and food pairings. A fabulous time was had by all who attended.

Allison’s favorite is Old Vine Zinfandel. She considers herself lucky as she lives next to  Lodi, California “The Zinfandel Capital of the World!”  Her favorite wineries are Watts Winery and Heritage Oak Winery. Thanks Allison! @AllisonLBRD

Joan Trute  MA, RD, CDE 

Joan seconds Allison’s love of Old Vine Zins from Lodi, California.

Joan, the world traveler also adores Primitivo’s from the Pugia region of Italy. She shares that Trader Joe’s has a decent Primitivio.

And Joan recommends you sample Cannonau Sardinia, Italy and Capitel De Roari Amarone della Valpolicella Classico. Thanks Joan!


Manju savors red blends like: Elyse, Michael David, and Elizabeth Spencer GPS. Her favorite Syrah is Two Hands.   

Manju reminds us we need the right glass for the right wine. Thanks Manju!  @manjukarkare 

Dale Kline, MS, RD, LD

When Dale used to live in Southern Oregon she had 100 wineries within an hour of her home and tasting rooms she could walk to. (Dale’s heaven!!!)

One of her favorite Oregon wines is Willamette Valley Whole Cluster Pinot Noir. They ferment the wine with the whole grape at the beginning of the process, not just the juice. Another one of her favs is Tempranillo, from southern Oregon.  Although not a widely known, it is a great red wine she wants you to try. 

She enjoys doing wine tastings with friends. You select one wine varietal and taste a number of different wineries or you can taste various varietals from the same winery. She also recommends having your guests taste wine, eat cheese or some other food and then drink the wine again and notice the flavor changes.

Dale reminds us to forget about what anyone tells you, if you like a wine, drink it! And it does not have to be expensive to be good. There are a lot of good bottles of wine for $10 to $15 a bottle or less. I agree with Dale! Thanks Dale!  @DklineRD.

Megan Ware, RDN, LD

Megan reminds us that winemakers aren’t required to list their ingredients because alcohol is regulated under a different governmental agency than food. While the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) requires nutrition and ingredient labels, the Department of the Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) does not. She did some undercover nutrition work to help you learn why you may have a hangover the next day. What’s in my WineThanks Megan!  @meganwarerd

Kelly Jones MS, RD, CSSD, LDN

Kelly was recently in Italy and ate at a cute restaurant in Rome and they bought over this giant wine list. She tells us this was ONLY the red list. Wow Kelly!

Her go -to wine is Montepulciano as she loves medium to heavy bodied reds. Recently though, she has been veering towards an Italian sparkling red Lambrusco. She reminds her clients like Megan that if they feel puffy or swollen or have headaches from wine to look for wines with no added sulfites or sulfite free. Thanks Kelly! @eatreallivewell

Laura Chalela Hoover, MPH, RDN

Laura shares that she is lovin’ Naked Wine club. It’s a membership-based site where you can order a huge variety of top-rated wines. As a member, you are essentially helping to directly fund independent winemakers from around the world, in return for wines at wholesale prices. She enjoys receiving emails directly from the winemakers and hearing more about the stories, values and mission. And as a bonus, members get a free bottle of wine every month. What’s not to love? Thanks Laura! @smarteating4kid

Courtney Millen, MNSP, RD, LD

Courtney’s favorite wine is Educated Guess Cabernet Sauvignon. For a simple and delicious date night with her husband she pairs it with a grass fed beef tenderloin, baked sweet potato, and roasted Brussels sprouts.  It’s a simple and delicious date night meal that she can enjoy from the comfort of her home.

Courtney is expecting a baby so she is swapping wine for seltzer topped with pomegranate seeds in a wine glass.  The sparkles, sweetness, and stemware make it feel like a treat! Thanks Courtney! @palatetheory 

Stephanie Brina-Herres, MS, RDN, LDN

For decades, Stephanie and her family enjoyed the almost 10,000 acres of vineyards in the Finger Lakes Wine Region of New York State with 70 different grape varieties. The vintners at each of the many wineries on each of the lakes determine which varieties are best suited to their microclimate and then tailor their offerings of exclusive wine blends accordingly.

She recommends you check out the New York Wine and Culinary Center on the northern shore of Canandaigua Lake which features prix fixe menus with wine and food pairings. Be sure to check out Stephanie’s wine tips on

Sensory Perception and Wine Evaluation and Sensory Perception and Wine Pairing with Food

Thank you Stephanie! @nutriserious

Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN

Lauren fav is Pinot Grigio.  Learn about the three types of Pinot Grigio. Lauren says she is not a red wine  lover anymore due to the fact that she drank WAY too much Beaujolais on her post-internship trip across Europe when she spent the night in a Beaujolais winery. Sounds lovely to me Lauren!

So by now, after reading this post, you will want to try and drink every single wine that was recommended. Am I right? Lucky for us, Lauren answers the question, Can I drink alcohol and still lose weight?” Thanks Lauren! @LaurenPincusRD

Thanks to my special nutrition friends for sharing their favorite wines and wine tips. Wine is all about savoring the wine and your relationships you cherish. You have one life to live, just imagine it was one you loved! Salut!

What are your favorite wines and tips?

Please share below. I would love to hear from you.


3 Aphrodisiac Foods To Zest Up Your Love Life

February is here and love is in the air. Did you know the foods you eat can create more love in your life? Chris Shuff, RD, a Sexual Health Nutritionist, registered dietitian and chef is here with a guest blog post with creative ways to spice up your love life just in time for an extra special Valentine’s day.

He is sharing this easy quick dinner menu with 3 easy recipes that highlight the 3 aphrodisiac foods; red peppers, roasted beet, and chocolate.

Passion Salsa


1 red bell pepper (small), diced into 1/4″ cubes
1 mango, diced into 1/4″ cubes
1 avocado, chopped into 1/2″ cubes
Tortilla chips or lettuce wraps
1/8 tsp Salt
Pepper, to taste
1/4c red onion, diced (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
1/8 tsp chili powder (optional)


De-seed and chop the bell pepper, mango, avocado and the optional onion and garlic. Place ingredients into a bowl and mix. Season with salt, pepper, and optional chili powder. Pair with chips or lettuce wraps.  Serves two. 

Fun facts:

  • Red bell pepper provides 280% Vitamin C. That’s almost 3 times the amount of a Florida orange. The vitamin C is great for healthy veins and proper blood flow long into our later years of life.
  • This recipe balances sweet, acidic, crunchy and creamy flavors for good love life balance.
  • Pairing with a California Merlot is most desirable.



Power Couple Salad


3 red beets, chopped into 1/2″ cubes
3 oz spinach
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 tsp. pear vinegar (or other fruity vinegar of choice)
1/2 lb organic chicken breast
Salt and pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 425°F. Preheat sauté pan to medium heat.

Trim cut the top and bottom off each beet, peel and then chop into 1/2″ cubes. Transfer the beets onto a baking sheet, drizzle with ½ Tbsp olive oil and mix to coat the beets evenly with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Place into preheated oven, bake for 15 minutes, stir and bake for another 15 minutes. Once cooked let the beets cool for 3 minutes and toss with 1 tsp vinegar.

Meanwhile, trim the chicken of any visible fat. Lay your hand on atop the breast and slice lengthwise to make two identically sized 1/4 lb breasts.  Gently rub with ½ tbsp. olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the chicken in preheated sauté pan for 3-5 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked throughout. 

To finish, place spinach into a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil and toss that salad good. I mean it. You want every leaf to have a very light layer of oil. The oil coating will help prevent the vinegar from wilting the leaves prematurely. Then and only then is it ok to drizzle in 2 tsp vinegar. Toss the salad once more. Once the beets and chicken have finished lay them atop the plated salad and enjoy. Serves two.

Fun facts:

  • The beets and spinach are the power couple here. Each can naturally increase our nitric oxide levels that are needed for improving circulation on date night.
  • This recipe provides a balance of earthy, sweet, and savory flavor to keep your love grounded.
  • Pairing with a sauvignon blanc is most desirable.



Dipped Forbidden Fruit


1 big banana
2 peaches, sliced
1 pound strawberries, whole
1 pound  dipping chocolate (you may not use all of this)
1/8 tsp (heaping) ground cayenne pepper


Peel and slice the banana across the middle into 2 pieces.

Split the peach, remove the pit and cut into 6 slices.

The strawberries are perfect just the way they are.

Heat the chocolate using a microwave or double boiler.

If using the microwave, place the chocolate into a light colored microwave safe bowl.  Load the microwave with 8 minutes worth of cooking time on medium-high power. It won’t need that much time. It will just make things a lot easier. Start with an initial burst of 60 seconds followed by 20 second increments making sure to stir between each to determine consistency. Once it’s  melted, add your cayenne pepper, stir, and quickly dip your forbidden fruits. 

If using a double boiler, add 1 inch of water into the bottom pot. Place chocolate into the top pot and begin heating. Stir the chocolate frequently. Once it’s melted just enough, turn the burner to very low, add the cayenne pepper, mix well and dip your forbidden fruits. Enjoy these hot or refrigerate until the chocolate has set.

Whatever method you use; take your time and don’t rush things. Chris promises it’ll be worth the wait. You can always heat the chocolate more but you can’t take the burnt flavor out.

Fun facts:

  • Chocolate is one of the most well-known aphrodisiacs. It has many powers. The taste and thought alone are powerful aphrodisiacs that put anyone in the romantic state of mind.
  • This recipe uses a combination of sweet and spicy for an opposites attract approach to date night.
  • IMPORTANT: save this dessert for the end of the night or make sure not to eat too much! Belly aches are the opposite of romantic on date night.



Meet Chris Shuff, RD

Chris loves surfing and wakeboarding! They are the primary reasons he lives healthy and stays fit. Well, that and he loves feeling his best.

Tell us about your path to becoming a Registered Dietitian

Well, I was interested in architecture for a long time as a kid and had even taken a number of college level courses in high school. Then I took an introductory nutrition course in college. After that it was all over. I saw the progression of obesity and knew it would be a burden on Americans for a long time to come. I wanted to help, knew there was a secure future in it, enjoyed learning the material and was good at the science behind it. I decided to switch my major to dietetics during the course.

Tell us all about your practice, Love & Fire Nutrition! What is your approach to care?

In one sentence, to ignite sex lives and strengthen relationships through health and nutrition! In longer form, I am a hopeful romantic. I believe love and life passions can help save lives, change lives and enrich lives. When someone is pursuing health with a primary motivation of achieving some form of sexual health that’s where I enter the picture. The client goals can vary but I find that the deep set motivations are almost always selfless.

I’m a bit new to the field of sex nutrition. Can you tell me a little about what your professional experience has been like in this field? 

First of all, who’s ears don’t perk up when they hear the term, sex nutrition? The funniest response I get is, “I’m sorry, what did you say?” as if they think they heard me wrong. The next biggest questions I get are, “what is that?” and “what can you do as a dietitian to actually help with that?”. To answer the first, I generally describe sex nutrition as having to do with fertility, libido and sexual performance. To answer the second, I share that it hasn’t been easy but the evidence is there. It all started while I was working with a my career coach and dietitian, Chere Bork. I was contemplating what the next step in life was and it turned out I liked sex and nutrition. Shocking right?! We both agreed the topic sounded fun, unique and right up my alley. I began looking into whether the idea of sex nutrition was actually a valid avenue to pursue. There’s a lot of bogus theories out there but when you’re truly looking there are many efficacious strategies as well. It’s hard but they’re there. As I explored, I found that many people were struggling with these issues. Worst of all, they were struggling quietly. Love, sex and fertility are things we all desire but few people are comfortable talking about them personally, let alone professionally. They are so tied to our identity, especially when they’re dysfunctional, but no one is talking about it. That’s when I knew I had to help.

I noticed on your blog that you have a lot of great advice on how nutrition can improve your sex life, what is your favorite tip? 

Wow, that’s a big one. Honestly, I don’t think I can pick a single favorite but I am really interested in nutrition’s ability to increase nitric oxide levels which are needed for sexual performance. I’ve been following the work of a lead researcher in the nitric oxide field, Dr. Nathan Bryan, who is dedicated to increasing awareness about the subject. Our ability to produce nitric oxide reduces with age and other factors. On top of that, nitric oxide is pivotal for successful arousal in both males and females. For example, a majority of males who don’t respond to the drug Sildenafil (Viagra) are most likely not producing enough nitric oxide and therefore the drug can’t be effective. By improving nitric oxide levels through targeted nutrition approaches the underlying deficit can be corrected and the male can once again enjoy intimacy on a regular basis

For more information and to connect with Chris!


Dietitian Approved Pizza Recipes (Many Gluten Free)

I never met anyone who did not LOVE pizza!

These pizza ideas from my Registered Dietitian Nutritionists are sure to score a touchdown at your Super Bowl party. Think beyond the traditional sausage and cheese pizza with these yummy and healthy options including many that are gluten free. You will love these recipes so much that every day you will want to be a pizza day!

Image by Jen Haugen on her blog. 


Kelly R. Jones MS, RD, CSSD, LDN

Kelly loves love this recipe for Garbanzo Flour Flatbread and Pizza Crust over traditional crust because it is so filling, helping with portion control. The garbanzo flour provides much more fiber and protein than a grain-based crust and, since it is gluten-free, you don’t have to worry about dietary restrictions! Plus, you can make the “dough” in one minute versus a rising crust that takes hours.

The flour she uses is Bob’s Red Mill (no sponsor ties). She finds it at Whole Foods, and her local natural foods store.  In regular grocery stores it usually found in the natural section or gluten free section. @EatwRealLiveWell

Garbanzo Flour Flatbread and Pizza Crust


1 Cup (120 g) garbanzo flour
5.5 ounces water
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
dash salt


Heat oven to 350 F.

Stir until well mixed with no lumps. If mixture seems too thin, let sit for 10-15 minutes.

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray lightly with olive oil spray.

Pour batter over paper and spread evenly into pizza shape with rubber spatula.

Bake for 10 minutes if making pizza, 12-14 if making flat bread.
-If making pizza, after removing from heat*, add pizza toppings of your choice and place back in oven for 5 minutes.Slice and serve!


Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD

Mary has a great vegan, gluten free pizza crust recipe website.

She loves this recipe because it can feed everyone in her family. Her husband has Celiac disease and he gets to still enjoy pizza and her kids love it! And the fact that she can mix it all up in her bread maker makes it super easy.



Kelli Shallal, MPH, RD, CPT, CLT  

Kelli Schallal the blogger behind Hungry Hobby reminds us to think beyond the traditional pizza crust.

Check out her many pizza options! @HungryHobby

Pizza Stuffed Peppers

Polenta Pizza Bites Gluten and Yeast Free

Pizza Turkey Mini Meat Loaves

Cauliflower Pizza Casserole

Mini Pizza Quiona Quiches

Jen Haugen, RDN, LD

Jen Haugen who is the Author of The Mom’s Guide to a Nourishing Garden says pizza is her favorite food. Check out her Chicken Sausage Sauteed Bell Pepper Pizza recipe that won rave reviews from her kids; even the kid who does not love veggies yet.  @jenhaugen

 Chicken Mole Mini PIzzas

Hope you enjoy these pizza favorite recipes from my dietitian friends. Here’s to creating healthy food memories with the ones you love.

What is your favorite pizza recipe? We can’t wait to hear!


The Greatest Weapon Against Stress & Negative Thinking

Conditions were perfect! Scenery gorgeous! I was enjoying the outdoors with my favorite human being on the whole planet! What was wrong with this picture?  My “Negative Nelly” thoughts. Let me explain.

Gary and I snowshoed the north shore’s Tettegouche State Park High Falls Trail. The falls were beautiful and as usual Gary wanted to get closer to the falls which meant climbing down a dangerous, slippery slope not meant for snowshoes.

I decided to stay behind. All. Alone. (Standing on the bridge) As I stood there (timing how long he was gone) I thought, “What if he has a heart attack down there? How will I bring up his body? I don’t think my cell phone even has service! Stop it Chere. Notice how tall these gorgeous trees are. These are the most beautiful trees topped with snow you have seen in ten years. I should have learned how to use the AED. There is not even an AED with me. I should buy an AED for home. Why am I worrying about bringing up his body as I don’t even know if he is dead or alive? Your fingers and toes are getting cold so jump up and down (I jumped up and down.) How long will he be down there? I am starting to freeze. I am cold but glad Gary loves to exercise so much and does not have a beer belly. I should really research what can be done for high calcium scores in the heart. I do not want to be a widow. You tell your clients, what you focus on gets bigger and bolder. Gary is fine and you will have a long retired life with him.  But what if he has “his event” today. I should have told him I loved him before he left. Wow the forest is so still. Be grateful for what is working in your life not what you are scared about… But what if he doesn’t come back… Next week you will regret not enjoying these beautiful woods. Stop the negative stinking thinking Chere.”

Moments later…Gary came back on the trail and hollered the usual, “Hello darling…” and we finished our snowshoe adventure for the day. I kept my thoughts about his “death on the trail” to myself.  My heart races when he leaves me on an adventure when I am standing alone in the woods or on a river by ourselves.

A woman celebrating her birthday popped out of nowhere to take our picture!

Our thoughts are powerful and create our day.

Our thoughts evoke powerful negative or positive emotions which create actions. Paying attention to our positive emotions expands our world while focusing on negative feelings shrinks it according to the renowned positivity researcher Barbara Fredrickson.

But it all starts with our thoughts. They are not a fact. Every event can create a positive or a negative belief. Do we choose negative? Or do we choose positive? The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one belief over another!

Use the Triple A Approach:

  • Awareness
  • Analysis
  • Action

Awareness: Notice your thoughts.
Analyze: Are they negative or positive?
Action: Make a vigilant effort to take your negative thoughts and make them positive.

And, stay focused on the gratitude of the present.

Make sure what is in your mind is what you want your future to create. You will manifest what you think about. What you focus on gets bigger and bolder – positive or negative.

As James Allen reminds us, “You are today where your thoughts have brought you. You will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.” This is your secret to your best year ever. Here to help!

PS I am going to take another CPR course and focus on how much fun we have now that Gary is Mr. Relaxed Retired.


A Colorful Vegetarian Dish for the New Year: Harissa Roasted Carrots and Chickpeas

Guest post by Stephanie McKercher MS, RDN 

This simple plant-based recipe is equal parts colorful and nutritious, making it a great way to kick off the New Year. 

This dish may be a bit lighter but it certainly isn’t lacking in festivity or flavor.  Try serving with your favorite cooked whole grains (I love farro) or pile it into a whole wheat pita pocket if you’re looking for a meal that’s more portable!

Harissa Roasted Carrots and Chickpeas
Author: Stephanie McKercher, RDN

Serves: 3
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes



  • 1 (15 ounce) can drained, rinsed, and thoroughly dried chickpeas
  • 20 small peeled carrots (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon harissa (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 teaspoon honey (or maple syrup if vegan)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup pomegranate arils
  • 1 tablespoon runny tahini
  • 1 tablespoon dukkah seasoning (I used Trader Joe’s)


  1. Preheat oven to 400º F and spread chickpeas and carrots on a baking sheet and set aside.
  2. Whisk together harissa, honey/maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, sesame oil, and salt and pepper. Pour over chickpeas and carrots and toss lightly until fully coated. Place baking sheet on center rack of oven and roast until carrots are tender, and chickpeas are golden brown, about 30 minutes.
  3. Remove baking sheet from oven and transfer carrots and chickpeas to a serving dish. Add pomegranate arils, drizzle tahini over top, and sprinkle with dukkah before serving. Enjoy!

Stephanie McKercher MS, RDN is a private practice registered dietitian and virtual nutrition coach based in Denver, Colorado.

Steph creates delicious plant-based recipes and shares mindful living advice on her healthy food blog, The Grateful Grazer, where she strives to prove that nourishing food can look mouthwatering and taste great too.  Connect with Stephanie on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

When I’m not in the kitchen, I’m happiest outside, especially now that my husband and I made the move from the Midwest to beautiful Colorado.  In the winter, I love spending sunny days on the ski hills but really, I live for warmer summer months spent camping, practicing photography, and hiking new mountain trails with our dog, Neil Young.  I call my blog The Grateful Grazer because gratitude has been one of the biggest game-changers on my own path toward health and wellbeing…and I also just really love Jerry Garcia. 🙂

Harissa Roasted Carrots and Chickpeas
Serves 3
A Colorful Vegetarian Dish: Harissa Roasted Carrots and Chickpeas
Write a review
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
  1. 1 (15 ounce) can drained, rinsed, and thoroughly dried chickpeas
  2. 20 small peeled carrots (about 2 cups)
  3. 1 tablespoon harissa (I used Trader Joe’s)
  4. 1 teaspoon honey (or maple syrup if vegan)
  5. 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  6. 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  7. Salt and pepper
  8. ¼ cup pomegranate arils
  9. 1 tablespoon runny tahini
  10. 1 tablespoon dukkah seasoning (I used Trader Joe’s)
  1. Preheat oven to 400º F and spread chickpeas and carrots on a baking sheet and set aside.
  2. Whisk together harissa, honey/maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, sesame oil, and salt and pepper. Pour over chickpeas and carrots and toss lightly until fully coated. Place baking sheet on center rack of oven and roast until carrots are tender, and chickpeas are golden brown, about 30 minutes.
  3. Remove baking sheet from oven and transfer carrots and chickpeas to a serving dish. Add pomegranate arils, drizzle tahini over top, and sprinkle with dukkah before serving. Enjoy!
Taste Life, with Chere Bork http://cherebork.com/blog/