I graduated from college about five years ago with a degree in business administration. After graduation, I traveled in Australia and worked in fine dining. That’s where my love of food really started. Later, I returned to the states, lived Lake Tahoe for a couple of years bartending at a mountainside resort and ended up moving to St. Louis, MO to be closer to home and help out with family. I realized that finance wasn’t what I was interested in, so I decided to go back to school to become an R.D.
When did you first become interested in nutrition?
I started eating healthy and working out in St. Louis and really experienced an “ah ha” moment. I felt better than I had in 5 or 6 years, and realized it was because I was eating natural, unprocessed foods. I became really curious about the science behind the changes I was feeling.
How did you first start volunteering with Cooking Matters?
I got involved in St. Louis. A regular at the bar where I was working told me about the program. I wanted to volunteer in some way related to nutrition or food and not take food and nourishment for granted. I was also interested in providing a way for people to help themselves when facing food shortages.
Have you noticed any big differences since you moved and started volunteering in Detroit?
Nothing huge. Everyone has that base level curiosity. Everyone all over the country is looking for the same thing. They want to eat healthy and feel better. So many people want to change, they just need to learn how.
What is your favorite thing about being a Cooking Matters volunteer?
For me, it’s seeing the students take in the information one week and come back the next with really awesome, insightful questions. It’s so amazing to know that they are taking it to the next level.
What’s your favorite vegetable?
Beets. I love how sweet and versatile they are.
Do you have a recipe that you’d like to share?
Here's one of my go-to recipes. I LOVE making soup in the winter because you can easily make a ton of it and then freeze the leftovers. When I freeze it, I will freeze it in 2 serving units in plastic bags so I only have to defrost enough for one person when I am ready to eat it again.
Southwest Chicken Soup
|1 tablespoon olive oil1 onion, chopped3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (28 ounce) can canned crushed
1 (14 ounce) can low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chiles
1 (15 ounce) can black beans
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups shredded chicken
Optional toppings: crushed tortilla chips,
shredded Monterey Jack cheese, sliced
|1.||In a medium stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic in oil until soft. Stir in chili powder, oregano, tomatoes, broth, and water. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.|
|2.||Stir in corn, chiles, beans, cilantro, and chicken. Simmer for 10 minutes.|
|3.||Ladle soup into individual serving bowls. Serve with optional toppings, if desired.|