Food and Friends

Today is June 18th

What I have learned from my friend, Ann

Ann: “If you are going to be naughty, you must exercise!”

Lesson: If you are going to eat excess calories, you must be more active.

Ann, oh Ann. We’ve had a myriad of philosophical discussions, but oh what a FUN friend. Ann has taught me that you can have fun, but still run a tight ship. Her outbursts of singing, wit, humor and thoughtfulness has made a difference in my life. She has also taught me to be discrete in giving as well as a cheerful giver. I barely knew Ann when one day I found her cross necklace that I admired the previous day, adorned on my office door clip. Ann is a special person and many people may not know what I know, because I saw with my own eyes … her selflessness.

Tip or quote of the day:

“Just whistle while you work (whistle)

Put on that grin and start right in

to whistle loud and long

Just hum a merry tune (hum)

Just do your best and take a rest

and sing yourself a song”

                                   -Frank Churchill

Take Action Today:

  • Think of happy tunes at work or home today.
  • Move more if you eat more than usual today.
  • Be a cheerful giver

Food & Friends: Meet Vikki

Today is Monday, June 2nd

The Topic of this month is:

Meet some of my Friends

Please visit the blog daily this month and meet some of my Friends who have made a difference in my life in reference to food and/ or life lessons.  You will learn from them too and I encourage you to think back on your friends and what they brought into your life.

I believe God uses certain friends in our lives to mold and make us “will to will His will.” I would like to introduce some of my friends, ranging from 18-96 years old, along with their knowledge, wisdom, and joy they have brought into my life along with some truths and tips about intelligent thinking and eating.

My spiritual journey and interest in food started in my childhood, but these particular blogs are intended to fast forward my life from 1958 to 1982 and express my thankfulness and gratitude to God for placing these wonderful friends into my life.

Friend # 1 “What I learned from Vikki”

Vikki: Her spaghetti sauce (Gravy) cooked all day is like experiencing Italy in Jersey.

Lesson: Cook sauces long and slow for the best results with plenty of fresh herbs.

In 1987 God placed the Nencheck’s into our life. Our children Margaret and Brian attended kindergarten together in Califon, New Jersey. Tommy and Vikki have been an inspiration to me as we crossed paths. Vikki D’Apolito Nencheck is pure Italian, a great cook and her gift is making things beautiful and happy. She has amazing patience and a beautiful spirit. I am inspired by her creativity and wit. Her sense of humor and remembrances of particular occasions make you feel special. Vikki helps you remember good times!

Quote or Tip of the Day:

When someone would ask Vikki’s Uncle Addie if he needed anything … He would respond, “Just a few kind words”. Vikki was full of kind words. Do you have a friend like Vikki?

Take Action Today:

  • Send a few kind words to someone today.
  • Next time you make spaghetti sauce or “gravy” cook it long and slow.
  • Call your friend and remind her of good times!


Critical Thinking

Today is Saturday, May 24th

The Topic of Today is:

Critical Thinking

We ought to realize that recommendations for diet and exercise are not for everyone. Each human being is unique and has different needs. I keep hearing blanket statements of what a person needs to do and eat to stay healthy. I received a pamphlet in the mail yesterday from a University that prides itself in their nutrition program. The recommendations were almost comical for most of us and I imagine, of the 313.9 million people living in the United States, not very many can eat as the brochure suggested every day.  Most of us have good intentions, but eating perfectly everyday is not going to be a reality. I think each of us ought to examine how we feel after eating and exercising, and not worry so much about living to 100. There are some things we just have to accept.  If you feel good after a walk, by all means walk. But, if your feet or back painfully hurt, walking may not be a good idea. Be smart and think things through.

There was an article in the Wall Street Journal from a British journal called Heart that discussed two studies saying, “extreme amounts of exercise may be detrimental to your health.” Did we really need to conduct a study to learn that? Are we not all “thinkers” and realize anything we do in excess is probably harmful? I often think back to my older relatives, my Aunts (Mil, Dorothy, Elaine, Joyce, Toots, and Mert) my Uncles (Chuck, Frank, Joe, Keith, Gay, and Henry) who all lived vibrant lives. The only “exercise” I saw them doing was taking care of their lawn and keeping the house (laundry, floors, cleaning, etc). I doubt they ever got their heart rates up to their VO2 max. Like I said, they all lived vibrant, long lives.

Quote of the Day”

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference” – Reinhold Niebuhr

Take Action Today:

  • Think back to your relatives growing up, and reflect on their activities of daily living.
  • Once again, keep a list of the things you eat and do that make you feel good.
  • Reflect on the Serenity Prayer. (We will come back to this on Monday)



That’s Amore!

That’s Amore!

     “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” is an old saying that has been revised many times.   In the book Eating with Uncle Sam, American statesman John Adams wrote in a letter; “The shortest road to men’s hearts is down their throats.” Food and love often go together like Lady and the Tramp sharing Italian spaghetti and meatballs at a bistro on a moonlight evening.

     Italian love songs even compare food and love.  “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie that’s Amore.”  For Valentine’s Day, there are countless “love” recipes to try on the people you love such as Matrimonial Brownies, Love Letters, Wedding Cookies, and Love Potion # 9. 

     Sweets are sure to bring a smile to those you love and care for in your life but they do not have to be huge to say. “I love you”.  For many people, this day can be problematic such as those with diabetes, kidney disease, and those struggling with weight loss.  Valentine’s day often is a day of food and confection indulgence that leaves a sense of guilt or a back ache from overeating.  Try sharing your meal and remember the phrase often repeated in this blog, “The first three bites taste the best, give away the rest”.

      The West Virginia heritage cookbook of 1976 quotes: “A smile is a light in the window of your face to show your heart is at home.”  Use your smile today and brightens someone’s Valentine’s Day.  A smile can be much better than chocolate!

Tip of the Day:


That’s Amore!
Caring for the needs of others.

Love God who is love, Love people,  Love smiles, Love food, Love chocolate!  

Take Action Today:

Try this recipe.  

Love Potion # 9

2 cups skim or low fat milk

2 Tablespoons cocoa

2 Tablespoons sugar

2 ½ Tablespoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons vanilla extract (can use other extracts such as hazelnut, almond, or coconut)

     In a glass microwaveable dish measure 1 ½ cups of milk and microwave on high for 3-4 minutes until milk is scalded

     In a small bowl combine dry ingredients. 

     Stir in remaining ½ cup milk and mix until smooth. 

     Stir cocoa mix into scalded milk until well blended.

     Cook on high for 2 minutes, stir and cook another 2 minutes until thickened.

     Let rest 1 minute and stir in vanilla or a combination of vanilla, hazelnut, almond extract.

     Serve warm or cold.  Serves 4, approximately 100 calories, 15 g carbohydrate.  


Live to Eat or Eat to Live

Today is Monday, January 6th

The topic or question of the day is:

 Were humans meant to Eat to live’ or ‘Live to eat?’

 Actually, my answer is both.  Surprised?  Food has been given to us from God for pleasure and sustenance.  We ought to enjoy our food in one sense and eat only what we need for sustenance in another sense.  Not to take either to the extreme.  Food, Fellowship and Feasts are what makes much of life so enjoyable and we look forward to the holiday feasts.  They are gifts from God.  But, we are not supposed to feast all the time.  This is where ‘eat to live’ comes in.  His principles show us how to eat and tell us how He provides food for our health.  The phrase ‘eating to live’ reminds us that certain foods, amounts and times foods are eaten are important for our health.  This year we will be looking at foods that sustain us and also foods for special holidays and feasts.   Tomorrow we will begin learning how to begin eating intelligently.

Deuteronomy 14:26 – “and spend the money for whatever you desire – oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves, and you shall eat there before the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household.” (Pleasure) (Before the Lord meaningGod knows everything, how we eat and drink, our motives, and how we spend His money.  We can’t hide from God)

 Psalm 147:8, 14b – “He covers the heavens with clouds; He prepares rain for the earth; He makes grass grow on the hills” “He fills you with the finest of the wheat” (Sustenance)

 Acts 14:17 – “Yet He did not leave Himself without witness, for He did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons satisfying your hearts with food and gladness” (Sustenance and pleasure).

 Eating to live and living to eat:  The healthy balance

Problems with health today:

  1. Eating too much.
  2. Eating too fast (Processed foods that do not require much chewing.  They are too easy to eat and are usually combinations of sugar-fat-salt.)
  3. Overeating foods containing enriched white or wheat flour (Read labels).
  4. Drinking liquid sugars (Beverages containing added sugar such as soda, sweet tea)

 Sarah Hale said in 1830, “Our bodily health and the consequences thereof along with our happiness and usefulness in domestic and social life depend on:

  1. The proper quantity of food we eat.
  2. The speed in which it is taken.
  3. The circumstances in which it is taken”

 Tip or quote of the day:

 “Food that does not digest cannot nourish, but rather weakens our bodies”

                                                                        – Sara Josepha Buell Hale

 Take action today by:

Eating 20% less of what you normally eat. (Leave food on your plate)

Slow down and chew your food until it is like applesauce in your mouth.

Try eating with your less dominant hand.

Consider your motives for eating.  Are you tired, bored, upset, lonely, truly hungry?

* If you have diabetes, and/or low blood pressure, you must check your levels to see how your blood sugar or blood pressure is affected by eating this way.

Stay tuned tomorrow to start answering the question:  How then shall we eat?









Food Philosophy

Today is Sunday, January 5th


The topic or question of the day is:

 What is your food philosophy and who do you get your ideas, thoughts, and thinking from when it comes to food and eating?

 Philosophy pertains to answering the tough questions like who is God? Who is man?  Why am I here? Where am I going?  Everyone has some kind of food philosophy whether they know it or not.  Developing your personal, positive food philosophy is important, because what we think and believe about food and our diets is what we will put into action.  For example, Vegans have their own food and life philosophy while Lacto-Ovo vegetarians believe in the addition of eggs and dairy to their vegetarian diet.  Biblitarian’s believe the Bible contains all the necessary principles for healthy eating and Ozatarians follow Dr. Oz in everything he promotes on his television show.  Pescatarian’s eliminate all meat except fish in addition to being vegetarian and Omnivore’s eat everything.  A person can also be a combination of different food philosophies as well.  I consider myself a combination Flexitarian and Biblitarian.

 All humans are as different as their fingerprint and throughout their lives have had a plethora of positive or negative food experiences, may have contracted some kind of disease or have had an accident that alters the way they can eat.  These will shape their philosophy on food.  I trust as you journey through this year with the Food Thinkery, you will develop a firm food philosophy of your own.

 Tip or quote of the day:

 Life changes when the mind and heart changes.  “This very moment we can change our lives.  Sit down and start doing the work” – Steven Pressfield

 Take action today by:

 Purchasing a journal to document your journey and begin by writing down your thoughts about food, health and life.  Be sure to date each entry.