Mantra for the healthiest/fittest version of YOU


I’ve been searching for my New Year’s message to you for several weeks. It finally came to me three days before Christmas while I was having dinner with my son and his good friend from elementary school, Andrew. I have known this young man since he was in the third grade. He has many winning  attributes; I knew  Andrew  was destined for great things. I was right, Andrew is now a cadet in the Naval Academy. Here’s the conversation we had that inspired my New Year’s message.

Me: Andrew, how is life at the Naval Academy?

Andrew: Great. I am in my third year now and have much more freedom. I can go to town without wearing my uniform. I wish we could have done this as freshman.

Me: You have to earn it.

Andrew: Yep, that’s what they keep telling us.

“You have to earn it.” There it is in black and white, my 2013 mantra to help you become the fittest/ healthiest version of yourself in 2013!  Inherent in this message are 3 important elements, the first is YOU. Nobody can do this for you and it doesn’t come from a store.  You alone must take responsibility to integrate healthy habits into your everyday life. You will need to make a genuine, self-motivated commitment to change your eating habits, give your bad habits the boot and get moving.

The second element fundamental to this mantra is work and discipline. That’s right,  the word earn suggests effort and work done.   There are no short cuts to better health/fitness. They  come only from the effort you put forth. You must learn to balance food and exercise in a sensible daily routine that you can sustain over the long term (in other words,  for the rest of your life).

The word earn also implies  the  last essential element in this mantra: the payoff or reward for your efforts. In the end, you reep the benefits. But it gets even better; success breeds success. Allow your achievements to further your passion to maintain your accomplishments.

The new year holds promise for endless opportunities and the prospects of new possibilites. I hope each and everyone of you, works toward the promise of a better you. Whether it’s a reduced BMI, a better relationship with food,  or a faster race time, we all have room to improve. Let 2013 be the beginning of a new you!

Happy New Year!

Mantra for the healthiest/fittest version of YOU

Roasted Red Pepper Risotto +(Favorite) Gadget Gifts


Roasted Red Pepper Risotto


There are only four shopping days left before Christmas. If you need last minute gift-giving inspiration for someone who loves to cook, you landed on the right page! The Recipe Redux is ready to help our thousands of readers with the theme of: gadget gifts plus a favorite recipe prepared with the gadget. So, if you decide to give one of the gadgets described in this post or the links below this post, you can personalize your gift by also including a recipe made with the gadget. I love this idea!  (Thank you Regan, Serena and Deanna.)

I bet you can’t wait to find out what my favorite kitchen appliance/gadget is? LOL!  Before I reveal this personal information, I  want to be perfectly clear, I am not being paid to say any of this. It’s my opinion, and I have not been influenced by anyone, even my closest friends don’t know what I am posting today. As a matter of fact, just 5 days ago… I didn’t know what I was posting today.  I must confess, I had a difficult time picking one favorite. I quickly realized that the gadget would change, depending on the criteria I considered.  For example, if I consider the appliance I absolutely cannot live without, it would be my coffeemaker. (When I get up in the morning I feel about 100 years old, but after a few sips of java, miracles start to happen!) It’s my coffeemaker, right? No, because there is the recipe part of this challenge, and no one cares how I make a cup of coffee!

You get it, I  had a hard time choosing just one and having a good recipe to share is also important. When I tell you the food mill is my favorite, it doesn’t mean that I am not still in love with all my other kitchen gadgets. It’s just that the  food mill is  my newest gadget and we’re still,… well,  in the honeymoon phase! Yep, I am still as excited about this gadget as the day I purchased it in  October (2012). Yet I haven’t had the chance to explore all the possibilties of what we’ll be making together. Last month I used my food mill to make mashed potatoes and I finally caught on; it’s the first time I’ve made them and they were actually good!  Having mastered mash potatoes this year,  in 2013, I hope to become competent at making sauces.  Today’s recipe is a step in that direction. This week I made a  roasted red pepper sauce that I used to prepare a risotto. I am smiling because the results exceeded my expectations!

Merry Christmas! Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year complete with nutritious and delicious food!

If you had to pick a favorite kitchen gadget/appliance what would it be? What do you like to make with it?

Roasted Red Pepper Risotto


Roasted Red Pepper Risotto

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients (serves 6)

for roasted red pepper sauce

  • 6 red peppers, washed

for the roasted red pepper risotto

  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups red pepper sauce (previously made)


for the roasted red pepper sauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place peppers on foil covered cookie sheet and place in oven. Roast peppers, turning occasionally for about 30 minutes, or until skins puff up and they are almost blackened. Remove from oven and place in a bowl covered with plastic wrap. Allow peppers to sweat for about 5 minutes. When they are cool enough to handle, peel and deseed them. Place peppers and their juices into a food mill. Using the largest disk, force the peppers through the sieve into a large bowl. Save for next step.

for the roasted red pepper risotto

Simmer vegetable broth in a saucepan. Heat olive oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir over medium heat about 3 minutes or until grains are separate. Stir in wine and cook over medium heat stirring constantly. When the wine is almost evaporated, add 1/2 cup of simmering vegetable stock. Cook stirring often until the stock is just absorbed. Add another 1/2 cup liquid, this time using the red pepper sauce. Again cook stirring often until the rice is almost dry. Continue cooking over medium heat  and adding 1/2 cup  of liquid, alternating vegetable stock and red pepper sauce, for about 25 to 30 minutes. The rice is done when it is tender and liquid is absorbed.

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