A Chat with Catherine Winn

Hello my faithful readers! I hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend! Today I wanted to share about my recent encounter interviewing the lovely Catherine Winn of Cooking Winn, in my home of Tuscaloosa, AL. Some of you may remember me mentioning my volunteer opportunities writing restaurant reviews for The Planet Weekly and Druid City Living. I recently had the chance to interview Catherine about her side business, Cooking Winn…{fun fact: Catherine is actually a PhD student in Renaissance Literature!} What I love about helping with publications and writing is meeting people just like Catherine and getting to know the story and person behind the name.

catherine winn articleAside from getting to talk with Catherine herself to prepare my article, I also received a flood of emails from her faithful customers. As a talented woman providing International flavors in a profile of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free varieties, she has become quite the popular woman in Tuscaloosa.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from her customers:

“Every time I get something new, it becomes my new favorite. I really like her variety of dishes and the fact that she uses local ingredients. I don’t always have the time to cook and it’s great to know that I can get healthy food from her (and have some frozen in my freezer) in order to live a healthy life! ” – Mary Meares

“From the first bite of a korma handpie from Cooking Winn, I was sold. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve tasted from this business, but those will always be my favorite. I am not a vegan or vegetarian; I am, however, someone who likes delicious food, and Cooking Winn delivers that every time.” – Terri Roberts

“Especially for a vegetarian with a busy work schedule like myself, Cooking Winn has been phenomenal.  It offers a global range of tasty dishes–all prepared with fresh ingredients from local farmers markets & the like, to the extent possible.  Even more, all of these wide-ranging meals are available on a flexible, per request basis.  In that way, Cooking Winn is able to offer a much wider selection of vegetarian meals than any single restaurant would be able to do.” – Stacy Morgan

“As a busy single person, I find it difficult to find the time to cook, plus I hate having too much leftover food.  Catherine’s dishes are great, both because of her variety and because the portions are just right- one or two servings at most.  For convenience, I especially love her tomato tarts, which I can just heat up in the toaster oven for a quick snack or light dinner.  And it’s so wonderful to have so many options, especially for cuisines- like Ethiopian- that are not readily available in Tuscaloosa, or even Birmingham.” – Grace Lee

After reading the flood of raves and praises of Catherine’s food, I knew I had to try some of her dishes myself. The hubs and I had the opportunity to try her vegan potato kale enchiladas and her vegetarian tomato tart. Getting to warm up her dishes and eat them in the the comfort of our home was the icing on the cake. I can’t even begin to describe the symphony of flavors and textures from the enchiladas while enjoying the savory goodness of the tomato tart. I would boldly have to say that Catherine has made me a believer in delicious vegan dishes.

potato enchiladas SgreggOur potato kale enchiladas right before we warmed them up!

tomato tart SGreggSay hello to my little friend, the delicious tomato tart!

If you’d like to see my write-up on Catherine in its entirety, feel free to visit the fabulous Planet Weekly website. Many thanks again to Catherine for allowing me to interview her, hear from her fabulous customers, and try her delicious food!

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A Filipino Foodie goes to A Filipino Party!

Hello friends! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend doing something fun and delicious. This past weekend I had the pleasure of coming back to my hometown of Fort Payne, Alabama to celebrate my aunt’s 70th birthday. Many friends and family including my mom and dad worked hard to create a special surprise event for a landmark occasion. Though I only live two hours away from my family, I’ve found that I don’t get to visit as often as I’d like so having an opportunity to see so many friends and family PLUS chow down on some Filipino favorites was incredibly exciting. The color theme for this party was white and khaki:women in all white, men in khaki and white…we had a black and white party a year ago for my other aunt during her 50th birthday (our family LOVES birthdays!). My mom had been working diligently to create the perfect centerpieces and overall decor for the party. Below is one of her creations using coffee filters, painted branches, and a revamped vase. What do you think?

vase

My aunt was definitely surprised upon entering the house full of old friends and family!

photo by Jesar Quizon photography

photo by Jesar Quizon PhotographyWe thought an “07” would look much cuter on the cake than “70” 🙂

On top of the excitement of my husband and I getting to see so many of our Filipino friends and relatives, we got to enjoy some of my favorite childhood dishes. Between an hors d’oeuvres table, a dessert table, and a buffet of various Filipino delicacies, we had quite the spread. My photographer cousin Jesar Quizon took some gorgeous pictures of our food selection…check it out!

Photo by Jesar Quizon PhotographyAh fruit!

10538064_10152678281337927_8790287291428846717_oA creamy Alfredo pasta with sun-dried tomatoes and roasted chicken

10838259_10152678279522927_3551597531357317356_oMy cousin Happy made these puto flan cakes…OH MY LANTA…delicious.

10854465_10152678278422927_5509912970962003008_oMy talented Aunt Gayle who also made my delicious wedding cake created these delectable caramel maracons.

10927862_10152678279367927_4851310331995055826_o

10955015_10152678280942927_2214983393392635779_oGorgeous butter lettuce leaves for lettuce wraps with the ground chicken and mushrooms seen below.

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11008813_10152678280757927_8524095545649533705_oIt’s not a party without fried rice!

11016793_10152678279087927_1957488489216933595_oMy Aunt Gayle’s famous carrot cake

11021330_10152678281742927_8597322713573752558_o

11033069_10152678277932927_4336291857299983686_oMy cousin Ashley made some incredibly tasty white chocolate bars (worth every calorie!)

11034321_10152678279752927_8626966579090001676_o

11038109_10152678280042927_4715430861833728115_oOne of my favorite Filipino dishes…ASADO!!

11038696_10152678280327927_4586791690413506870_oBaby cucumbers in a rice wine vinegar and sesame seed mix.

11041925_10152678278922927_6127576121760501219_oUbe cake!

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11043412_10152678282397927_9103019565826316596_o

11043433_10152678277817927_818920416459381166_o

11044584_10152678278792927_5991039727298948241_o

10955015_10152678280457927_784410524930748753_oAnd last but not least…pancit: the pinnacle and definition of all Filipino get together foods.

 As you can see, we’re all about food in my family. It’s actually inspired me to make some pancit and asado here in Tuscaloosa soon (future post ALERT!).  However, no Filipino party is complete without some singing and line dancing!

11016130_10152678299047927_2539784957184882014_oMy dad rocking out!

11063809_10203278859885969_72576554953388386_oA little cha-cha slide

Until next time!

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Me and my hubby with my mom, dad, and little brother


March is National Nutrition Month {Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle}

NNM

Hello friends! I can’t believe it’s already March! As a registered dietitian nutritionist, this is one of the most exciting months of the year because it’s National Nutrition Month! I still have some things to share with you as a recap from National Eating Disorders Awareness Week last month, so be sure to come back and visit this week! This year’s theme for National Nutrition Month is “Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle” which can be a great motivator for any health goals you’ve set for yourself this year.

My personal goal for National Nutrition Month this year is to be very purposeful about planning meals and snacks this month, not only for nutrition purposes, but also for budgeting purposes! If you’re up for the challenge with me, be sure to comment and keep me in the loop! If you need some additional inspiration, one of my favorite RDNs and one of my first mentors and preceptors, Paula Gonzalez Rothschild, has some wonderful advice and resources on her website : Plan, Prepare, Portion.  I first met Paula, along with my other preceptor, Monica Montes, during my independent study experience in Pasadena, California. Monica and Paula founded N.E.W. Health Consultants, a Nutrition, Exercise, and Wellness business with dietitians, a naturopathic physician, massage therapist, family therapist, personal trainer, and personal chef to meet all needs of wellness. I’d certainly like to say that they were my first set of mentors that really inspired me to be the RDN I am today!

plan prepare portion

Monica Montes (left) and Paula Gonzalez Rothschild (right), summer 2006 during my NHM 491 Independent Study Experience in Pasadena, CA

As far as dinner tonight, I thought my hubs and I would start National Nutrition Month off right with a vegetarian plate. Roasted red onions, sweet potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, brown rice, black beans, and baby kale salad made up our meal. As far as tomorrow goes, I’m planning a spinach and strawberry smoothie for breakfast, yogurt as a snack, leftover whole wheat spaghetti with sausage at lunch, and roasted veggie leftovers for dinner.

Sound off with your plan for Monday! Happy National Nutrition Month!

I'm Blogging National Nutrition Month