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Cooking Matters Michigan

Empowering families with the skills, confidence and knowledge to prepare healthy and affordable meals

Filtering by Tag: registered dietitian

Volunteer spotlight: Janice Gardler

dorothy hernandez

Meet Janice Gardler, a registered dietitian with an impressive resume full of a wide-ranging positions in the field. Also, check out her recipe for her Nana's Pasta Fagioli soup. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Born and raised in the southeastern suburbs of Philadelphia, I’m a true “Philly girl.” I grew up in a household where education was very important. Through college, I studied at Catholic schools. Eventually I earned my master’s degree. Fifteen years ago, my husband and I moved from the Philadelphia area to metro Detroit with our three young children. In moving, I left a job I loved at a teaching hospital that was like family to me. It was where my three children and myself were born. I had most recently worked there as an outpatient nutritionist/registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator. Arriving in Michigan, I focused on settling my family in their new environment. I quickly became involved in my children’s schools, Girl Scout programs and sports activities.

What led you to go into nutrition and become a registered dietitian? In my early high school years, we had a career center at school that was staffed with women who listened and offered good direction. Back then, I knew I liked working with people, had always enjoyed studying science and had thought about a teaching degree. That combination added up to dietetics/nutrition science. My various work experiences in high school and college continued to strengthen my passion for and interest in the nutrition field.

Tell us about your career in dietetics. Where have you worked? Before working in hospitals and even studying dietetics in college, my work in the health care field began young – at the age of 16. After graduating from college, I spent a year in a dietetic internship in New York City. All those experiences helped me become a motivated young professional. As a young clinical dietitian, I had an insatiable desire to provide my patients with the best nutrition care I could offer. At the same time I began my master’s degree, I took a job at a teaching hospital where I engaged in experiences I had been seeking – such as, teaching medical interns and residents, dietetic interns and staff, and classes of inpatients. I moved into an outpatient nutritionist position after a few years. I worked with a wide variety of patients and taught various group classes for specific needs. Before our family’s move to Michigan, I helped start up our hospital’s accredited Diabetes Education Program, and I became certified as a diabetes educator.

How did you hear about Cooking Matters? Why did you decide to volunteer? I first heard about the program at the March 2011 SEMDA meeting. Sarah Mills, a registered dietitian from Gleaners Food Bank, had a table with information and encouraged registered dietitians to sign up for training. I decided to volunteer because I knew teaming a chef and a registered dietitian could make a strong impact with a clear message. And it would be fun!

What do you like best about volunteering for us? I enjoy seeing a new class bond throughout the weeks and form a strong connectedness. We all share our knowledge with each other. I always learn so much from the chef, coordinator and participants.

Can you give a specific example of a highlight from class? The Cooking Matters participants enjoy the grocery tour and they are amazed about the content of packaged foods that are presented during the tours. The grocery tour gives the participants a great experience where they can pick out specific food items and we can discuss the nutrition significance of the products that they are interested in knowing more about.

What do you like to do in your spare time? How I use my time has changed in recent years since my youngest children are away at college. I enjoy hiking, biking, gardening, traveling, reading, watching movies and weaving reed baskets for family and friends. My favorite pastime is planning, preparing and enjoying a good meal around the table with family and friends.

Nana’s Pasta Fagioli Soup

INGREDIENTS

    3 tablespoons olive oil ½ -1 pound ditalini pasta -whole wheat 1 onion, diced 1 tablespoon dried parsley 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 ½ teaspoon dried basil 1 – 29 ounce can tomato sauce 1 ½ teaspoon dried oregano 6 cups water 1/3 cup grated cheese 1 – 15 ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed 1 – 15 ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

DIRECTIONS 1. In a large pot over medium heat, cook onion in olive oil until translucent. Stir in garlic and cook until tender. Reduce heat , and stir in tomato sauce, water, parsley, basil, oregano, cannellini beans, kidney beans an d grated cheese. Simmer 1 hour. 2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Stir into soup.

Volunteer spotlight: Emily Hulscher

dorothy hernandez

Editor's note: The original recipe had a couple of errors so Emily made some revisions.

A desk drawer is typically not the place where you would find opportunity, but that's exactly what happened to Emily Hulscher.

Emily, a registered dietitian who works at Health Emergency Lifeline Programs (HELP) , says she stumbled upon an old Cooking Matters book that someone left behind in the desk. Lucky for us, she reached out to us and we put her to work quickly. Emily has taught two classes so far and is working on a class for her clients at HELP.

The Canton native lives in Royal Oak now. She graduated in April 2011 from the Eastern Michigan University Coordinated Program in Dietetics, earning a bachelor's degree. She took some time out to answer some questions about her career and her plans with us.

What led you to go into nutrition and become a registered dietitian? I started at Eastern with intentions of finishing a degree in psychology, and I actually didn’t even know what dietetics was at that point! One of my required health classes was taught by a dietitian and through conversations with that professor, I realized I was actually much more interested in nutrition than psychology. In fact, I realized that nutrition had been a major interest of mine for a long time, but I always thought it was just a part of living, not necessarily the workings of a career path. I didn’t stray too far from my roots—I completed a minor in psychology to supplement my counseling skills.

What are your long-term career plans? I have plans to get a master's degree in public health or dietetics. In the long term, I hope to stay working in the Detroit community, empowering citizens to take charge of their health through nutrition.

How did you hear about Cooking Matters? Why did you decide to volunteer? I came across a Cooking Matters booklet that was left in a desk drawer at my work. I did a Google search to find out more and this put me in touch with Sarah Stephison ... I decided to volunteer because I wanted to improve my public speaking and teaching skills, as well as to hopefully bring a Cooking Matters class or two to my clients at HELP.

What do you like best about volunteering for us? Can you give an example of a highlight from class? There is so much that I love about Cooking Matters. On the basic level, I love the Cooking Matters curriculum & program in general. Each class is broken up in a way that is easy for clients to grasp. I also love being able to team teach with CM staff and other chefs. I think it is a real benefit to the participants to be able to pick the brains of both a registered dietitian and a chef … plus, it really helps to have someone to fill in the gaps of my culinary knowledge, and vice versa. Hands down, the best part about volunteering with Cooking Matters is hearing that I’ve actually been successful in encouraging individuals to change their lifestyle habits. There couldn’t be a warmer feeling than that! (Emily is so modest; in October, she sent me an email saying two ladies in her Cooking Matters EXTRA for Diabetes at the Reuther Older Adult and Wellness Center told her, "You are really enthusiastic and you make us want to actually change how we live." -- dorothy)

What do you like to do in your spare time? In my spare time, I like to spend time with my boyfriend Adam, work out, and experiment with new recipes. I’ll be the first to admit that I am somewhat of a novice in the kitchen, but I’m definitely improving!

What is your favorite healthy recipe? My favorite recipe to bring to any event would have to be Fruit Salsa & Cinnamon Chips. A friend of mine shared this recipe with me in high school, and I have used it about 100 times since then. The best part of this recipe is that it sounds fancy, but it’s really just a bunch of cut-up fruit. Also, you can use any kind of fruit for this recipe, as long as it’s cut up small enough. I try to make my choices as colorful as the season allows.

Fruit Salsa & Cinnamon Chips Serves about 10

Fruit Salsa: 2 kiwis, peeled and diced finely 1 Golden Delicious apple - peeled, cored and diced finely 1 Red Delicious apple - peeled, cored and diced finely 1 pound strawberries, stems removed and diced finely 1 orange, peeled and diced finely (with as little pith included as possible) Seeds of 1 pomegranate (all the other fruit should be cut to the size of a pomegranate seed) Juice from 1 lime

Cinnamon Chips: 10 (10 inch) flour tortillas Cooking spray 1 cup sugar 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions In a large bowl, thoroughly mix kiwis, Golden Delicious apple, Red Delicious apple, strawberries, oranges and pomegranate seeds. Add fresh lime juice and coat fruit. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat one side of each flour tortilla with cooking spray. Cut into wedges and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle wedges with desired amount of cinnamon mixture. Bake in the preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes, watching them carefully. Repeat until all tortilla wedges have been cooked. Allow to cool approximately 15 minutes on a baking rack. Serve Cinnamon Chips with chilled Fruit Salsa.