Meet The MealDiva

photo courtesy of Jennifer Miller

photo courtesy of Jennifer Miller

Hot From The Kettle is pleased to introduce you to our new bi-weekly contributor, the MealDiva, Jennifer Miller.  Check in tomorrow for Jennifer's first review of the Tewksbury Inn on Hot From The Kettle.  For today, let's become acquainted with our new foodie friend, and give her a big cyber-hug. 

Read on to learn more about Jennifer and her food philosophy: 

"I worship food. Beautiful food. Food is admired and cultivated in my house on a daily basis (of course, on occasions, our family grabs fast food on the move). While I’m busy thinking and planning the next fantastic meal in my house, I have come to discover that the majority of people, including some of my very close family and friends don’t.

So how did I, the Meal Diva, suddenly become concerned about helping other people learn to choose food wisely, meal plan, grocery shop and cook? It all started one day when a friend of mine told me that I shouldn’t eat pasta because it would make me “fat”. “Fat”, I despise the word. My girlfriend and I got into a conversation about food and healthy eating and my “program” started right then and there. She was simply confused by the variety of information out there from no-sugar, low carbohydrate diets to the all Vegan diets to the “Juicing Cleanse” diets. Stores sell “sugar free” and “fat free” items and people buy them assuming that because they are “fat free” that they are healthy. “Fat Free” doesn’t always mean healthy. I went through my friend’s fridge and realized that she was not only avoiding bread and pasta, she was also stuffing her kids full of chicken nuggets, canned soup and Mac & cheese from a box or microwave. Did she lose 5 pounds? Yes! Did it come back in a month? Yes! Did she feel great? No.

I truly believe that if you listen to your body and feed it well that it will provide it’s own rhythm. When you are no longer consumed or confused by the food you should or should not eat, you will have peace.

Then the challenge was on: I took a list of what my girlfriend and her family would and would not eat (no pork except bacon, no turkey products, no beets and her son was allergic to tree nuts). I designed a weekly “Meal Plan” including breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner as well as a grocery-shopping list. Turns out she had never peeled an avocado or chopped fresh garlic before so I showed her how.

Here’s how it worked: she would approve or disapprove of the weekly plan I created, I would adjust the meals and then she would email or text me with questions as she went. A few weeks into the program, I got a hug from her husband when I ran into him at Starbuck’s, his comment was “ Thank you for bringing dinner back into my house! We all feel great!” She lost 16 pounds in 12 weeks, and started waking up to exercise while her kids discovered that they still hate spinach but like salad and cauliflower puree. One year later, she and her family are still on the right track!

Next, I have to tell you also that I am not a chef, nutritionist, nor dietitian. I am simply a person who has read every diet book out there (almost) and realized that the best way to loose weight and feel better is simply to have a healthy, tasty, yummy plan.

A little background

I live in New Jersey with my husband and three small children, who for the purpose of this blog will be called:

  • Peanut, she’s 7
  • Spud, she’s 5
  • Stew, he’s 2

Yes, these are all nicknames that they have had since birth. My children and husband are mentioned in many of my posts because they are the reason I started cooking: they are my challengers, my critics and my cheerleaders. All of my recipes are “kid” approved and packed full of healthy flavors!

To be honest, I wasn’t always a cook. I have a BA in both English and Woman Studies but have always worked in sales. On the home front, I stocked my fridge with frozen, organic french fries, a bottle of hot sauce and maybe a bag of pre-made salad. It wasn’t until I became a mother that I started to read about food and learned how it can either nourish or harm our bodies. Take fries for example: turns out, organic or not, they aren’t really that good for you unless made from scratch. I learned how important it is to feed our bodies right. The more I read about food and nutrition, the more I wanted to make sure my family was fed the right things. It became my personal mission to read almost every cookbook/diet book out there. As a result, I started cooking at home and learned that it’s super easy!

Now, I love to feed people and entertain. I’m starting this blog to help people put simply delicious meals on the table. It pains me that most of my friends and family know so very little about reading a food label and basic nutrition. I’m shocked at how some people order out or eat processed food 5-7 nights a week. I really believe that you are what you eat. If you plan correctly, eating from scratch is not only healthier and cheaper but it’s SO EASY!

Follow me and I’ll show you how."

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