Monday, April 23, 2012



This edition is all about healthy green living in the kitchen and home.  It features my interviews with two extraordinary celebrity chefs that are definitively passionate when it comes to healthy cooking and eating.  In addition to my interviews with Chef Cat Cora and Chef Curtis Stone, I’ll talk a bit about their exiting new cookware lines and cookbooks.  Also featured will be information and reviews of “Gadgets, Gizmos & Other Stuff” from the recent International Home+Housewares Show.
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We’re all striving to live a healthy lifestyle, which includes being mindful, green and sustainable about the environment.  Research and development plus technological advances all remain at the forefront of the related trends that include recycling, farming, manufacturing and consumer needs, such as clothing, shelter, food and culinary.

I recently attended the International Home+Housewares Show. Throughout the show there was a major presence of exhibitors showcasing their latest innovative and technology-based products conducive to both the industry and consumer commitment to green and sustainable.  While it makes sense to do whatever is possible to achieve sustainability, businesses and consumers that do also realize cost savings because of changes; for businesses, those cost savings are realized in operational methodologies, while for the consumers, cost savings are realized in various aspects of their personal lives.  The environment wins, businesses win and consumers win.

In this article, I want to share with you some innovative products that will give the individual a definite advantage in their quest to do more for the environment while being aid in their quest for a healthy lifestyle.  The products will include gadgets, staples, food preparation and even some food related.  I’ll also be including reviews of two cookbooks by individual celebrity chefs, Cat Cora and Curtis Stone.  Additionally, I had the extreme pleasure of sitting down with each of these inspiring chefs to interview them on their attitudes toward healthy cooking, food preparation, and how their cookware lines will benefit the home cook.

While I was able to take in a great deal of this four-day enormous trade show, I barely scratched the surface.  With over two thousand exhibitors and over sixty thousand global attendees, it was understandable why I couldn’t facilitate covering the show in its entirety.  That being said, what I’m presenting here will give you a glimpse into this extraordinary event.


During the IHA, I had the privilege of interviewing two iconic celebrity chefs, Chef Cat Cora and Chef Curtis Stone.  We discussed their new cookware lines and their philosophy on healthy eating and healthy cooking at home.  Each of these new lines makes kitchen prep organized, stylized, beautiful and functional, while elevating cooking from an inconvenience to something enjoyable pieces.  I was also fortunate enough to get an autographed copy of their cookbooks.

CHEF CAT CORA ~ This busy mother of four young boys (need we say more!) knows all about the key to a healthy lifestyle, and that’s having balance in one’s life.  When it comes to healthy cooking and eating, it’s also about balance between the foods prepared and how they’re prepared.  Having good cookware that allows you to “work smarter, not harder” is key, as well as being mindful of measurements and portion sizes.  And, while she’s aware of the emphasis on healthy eating, she also recognizes that sometimes busy parents don’t always have the time to prepare a totally from-scratch healthy meal, and shouldn’t feel guilty about using healthy substitutions from a local market, like a market cooked organic or free-range chicken, and then serving it with a fresh made salad.

Cat Cora for Startfrit Cookware is a comprehensive line of beautifully designed must-have 18/10 stainless steel cookware pieces.  Since home cooks aren’t all the same, their individual preferences in appearance and overall design of staple cookware will also varies.  The Cat Cora for Starfrit Cookware collection offers various stylized designs to appeal to all interests and likes. Each one is unique and practical and also beautiful in appearance.  These designs include Cook ‘n Serve, Tri-Ply, Stackable, Hard Anodized and Non-Stick. I especially love the Cook ‘n Serve line; these varying sized casseroles are made of an 18/10 stainless steel cooking chamber with a separate bamboo server that the casserole fits into; the bamboo server insulates the casserole chamber, while maintaining the food’s temperature; the bamboo server also doubles as a stylized and beautiful tabletop piece.  All items were Chef inspired and designed, and rigorously tested for ease of use; the easy grip slanted and generously sized handles and cooking chambers are all durably constructed and weighted for stability, while optimizing efficient heat disbursement and maintaining its temperature consistency.  Other items included in Chef Cora’s line include bamboo-cooking utensils, acacia cutting boards, cutting knives, thermal lunch carryall, pantry staples like olives and olive oils, plus various wines.  Everything in her line is functionally beautiful, while emphasizing simplicity in food prep and cooking.  Lastly, Chef Cora’s passion transcends cooking with her committed involvement with the charity, Chefs for Humanity.

Cook ‘n Serve 1.5 qt. Casserole ~ I made lamb stew (my own throw-together recipe) in this Casserole pot the other day.  It’s the perfect size for individuals or small families; it's stylish, functional and compact, too.  I loved the sturdiness of the pot, which didn’t add any weight to the filled chamber.  The large curved handles fit easily into the palms, making it easy and safe to remove the pot from the oven; after letting it rest for about twenty minutes, I placed in into its beautiful bamboo server; the overall appearance of the presentation was impressive.  Made of double-walled 18/10 stainless steel with a reinforced bottom, easy grip generously sized angled solid riveted handles; there are also interior fill markings in both U.S./metric measurements; fill capacity is approximately 2 qt./2 L; cleans up easily and stores compactly; stackable with other pieces from line. 

Cat Cora’s Classics With A Twist: Fresh Takes on Favorite Dishes (with Ann Krueger Spivack) cookbook offers the beginner to the advanced home cook a journey into simple, delicious, quick and healthy dishes.  The cookbook’s Introduction presents a glimpse into Chef Cora’s background and motivation to transform many traditional foods and recipes she grew up on.  She wanted to simplify and make healthier many of these dishes, as well as others that are popular to most palates, while keeping in mind the demands of busy parents who may not have a lot of time to prepare a full meal that’s healthy, but want to provide healthy food for their loved ones everyday.  The cookbook is full of easy to follow recipes with a simplified list of ingredients.  The cookbook is full of beautifully photographed finished dishes that realistically illustrate what the dish will look like.  Sections include recipes on Appetizers and Drinks, Soups and Salads, Main Dishes and Sides and Desserts.  There’s also a Good to Know section that is a primer of how-tos on making kitchen staples like soup stocks, homemade mayonnaise, infused oils, salsa, roasted garlic, southern corn bread and Herbes de Provence mix.  There’s also a Resources section that lists companies that sell some of the ingredients used in some of the recipes that might be a bit difficult to find in some areas.  The recipes, like the chef, are honest, simple and uncomplicated, down to earth and refreshing.

CHEF CURTIS STONE ~ This new dad also knows about the key to achieving a healthy lifestyle in one’s life and lives his tagline with panache, “Don’t just cook to live – live to cook.”  While he also recognizes the push by others to work towards achieving a healthy lifestyle, he’s also a strong advocate of approaching this goal as a journey and having balance in that journey.  He believes in starting out with small steps, like walking, and gradually expanding the daily routine to include other healthy lifestyle choices; these are all part of the journey.  Also included in the journey is being conscious about eating healthy and nutritious foods, since controlling what’s in your food, such as choosing natural or organic foods, will invariably lead to a better control of the types of foods going into your body, which translates to a healthy lifestyle.  Another element to achieving a healthy lifestyle through healthy eating is also having the right cooking accessories and cookware that makes food preparation effortless.

Curtis Stone Kitchen Solutions offers a comprehensive line of all-things needed in the kitchen, including bamboo-cutting boards, prep ware, bake ware, serve ware and cook ware.  Each piece is designed ergonomically for ease of use, ease of grip and stability, and they’re lovely to look at as well. I love the artistic flowing line of many of his pieces, but especially his Go With The Flow Oil Can; it could easily qualify as a display piece in MOMA; it’s that beautiful.  Prep ware pieces have stylized over-sized handles that make gripping easier and more logical, making the gripping action more confident and stable.  I also love the clever design of his bake ware pieces.  The bottoms of each item are designed to with a silicone bottom and a reinforced stainless steel inset piece for stability and heat disbursement.  As soon as baked goods are done, no more worries about removing the cooked items in tact; a few gentle taps of the bake ware bottoms on the counter, and voila, the prized recipe pops out; real sweet.   All pieces throughout his line were designed by Cookware pieces are made of 18/10 stainless steel and very durable.  His Workbench cutting board includes a drop hole for waste and a removal inset drawer for easy disposal of the trim; very clever.  His playfulness is exemplified in his Bump & Grind mortar and pestle sets; they pretty much sum up this chef – he makes food prep time playing with food a fun time.  Lastly, Chef Stone works closely with various markets on ways to improve and up their game on the quality and types of seasonal produce and healthy foods to offer to the market’s customers; he also creates recipe cards for their customers with an emphasis on seasonal, fresh and healthy goodness.   

Relaxed Cooking With Curtis Stone: Recipes To Put You In My Favorite Mood is like having the chef right in the palm of your hands.  The cookbook’s Introduction provides insight into the chef’s passion for food and how it’s transformed his life and how he wants it to transform others.  The cookbook takes you on a playful excursion of meals and include sections that are loaded with fresh and healthy recipes, like First Thing in the Morning, Brunch That Will Blow Their Minds, Weekend Lunches, Something to Eat on the Sofa, Daily Dinners, Crowd-Pleasers, Sides to Share and Sweet Dreams

CHEF TIDBITS ~ Chef Cora is the only female Iron Chef of America (Food Network) and is a regularly featured guest chef on numerous television programs.  She is also a successful restaurateur (CCQ and Kouzzina) and Executive Editor of Bon Appétit MagazineChef Stone recently hosted the popular “Take Home Chef” program (TLC) and is also a regularly featured guest chef on numerous television programs.  These two iconic chefs have now become the new dynamic duo in chef-dom and have paired up to host what promises to be a new sizzling reality cooking show, “Around the World in 80 Plates”.  The clever twist on two popular television themes, reality and cooking, will premiere May 9, 2012 on BRAVO cable television,


Aladdin Insulated To-Go Food Containers ~ From refrigerator to microwave in a safe BPA-free sturdy double-walled insulated take-with container, will keep foods hotter or colder for longer periods of time; leak-proof and dishwasher safe.  Economical, since it reduces spending money on costly and unhealthy fast-food fare.

Go Picnic Ready To Eat Meals ~ This company has found a wonderful way to offer non-refrigerated packaged healthy meals that cater to all dietary needs.  I tried one of their newest varieties, All-Natural Sunbutter + Crackers Meal.  This delicious product is “all-natural, gluten-free and vegan” low calorie, low-fat and high in fiber and protein; handy-sized take-with food items included their Sunbutter Sunflowerseed Spread, Crunchmaster Multi-Grain Crackers, Enjoy Life Seed & Fruit Trail Mix, Niagara Natural Tropical Fruit Bites, Enjoy Life Double Chocolate Cookie.  With these types of healthy taste treats, no one needs to feel “deprived” because of their dietary restrictions.

Marie’s Chef’s Soap ~ Made from pure saponified plant-derived oils; contains no fragrance, synthetics, or additives.  The hard-milled soap comes in a handy one-pound brick that most find lasts a year.  Great for cleaning soiled hands, as well as all kitchenware, serve ware and utensils without any harsh or toxic chemicals; gentle on hands and non-drying.

Mastrad TopChips ~ This non-stick microwavable tray is designed with a raised and pierced silicone top; a single tray or double stacked trays accommodate thinly sliced firm fleshed fruits or vegetables.  No oils or cooking sprays are required, which makes for a natural and healthy crispy taste treat.  In three minutes, crispy potato chips are ready and definitely healthier than the deep-fried versions.  Included with the tray is a mini-mandoline slicer that assures the perfect uniform thickness of the vegetable or fruit.  I love the simplicity of this ingenuous product, and the chips taste delicious.

Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag ~ Made from bamboo charcoal and contained in a fabric bag, this product naturally and safely purifies the air of odors, bacteria, pollutants, toxic particulates, allergens, mold spores, mildew, and humidity; because the product is natural and doesn’t contain any type of toxic or artificial ingredient, it’s safe for humans and pets.  Bags are easily purified and rejuvenated by leaving them in direct sunlight outside for at least one hour a month.  Life expectancy is approximately two years; afterwards, the bamboo charcoal can be reused and spread on top of plants or around the base of trees.   Extremely cost-effective when you consider how expensive on a year-to-year basis other natural type air purifiers cost.   

Olde Thompson Spices & Seasonings ~ Since 1944, this company has been the iconic purveyor of fine spices and seasonings.  The natural ingredients add just the right amount of flavoring enhancements to prized recipes for the home cook, elevating their creations to gourmet dishes. Products tried included Mediterranean Sea Salt (clean and fresh tasting), Himalayan Pink Salt (clean and fresh tasting), Pepper Supreme (mélange of aromatic and subtle intense peppers: Tellicherry Black, Muntok White, Black and Pink peppercorns), Malabar Pepper (aromatic with intense flavor), and Rustic Tuscan Rub (a gourmet blend of rosemary, roasted garlic, bell peppers, basil, lemon and oregano).  All products are available in decorative mill and grinder sets, rack display, disposable grinder, or individual jars.  The salts contain minerals and the peppers contain anti-oxidants; both the minerals and anti-oxidants are nutritionally beneficial.  There is definitely a difference in food preparation when using the finest salts, peppers, spice blends and seasonings.  I thoroughly enjoyed the fresh, sweet, clean and aromatic taste properties of these products.

Original Spaghetti Scrub ~ This may look like a bunch of spaghetti, but its spaghetti-like strands are made of recycled materials such as corn cobs, peach pits and walnut shells.  The recycled materials are fabricated as a reusable scrubber that’s naturally abrasive (coarse or gentle) for tough cleaning jobs; requires less detergent for cleaning.  The fabrication is extremely strong and rarely requires replacement compared to conventional sponges and scrubbers.

Paper Shower ~ A great on-the-go product that is more gentle to skin than antibacterial gels or moist wipes.  Comes as a compact two-pack; one pack contains a pre-moistened towel for wiping down soiled body parts (legs, arms, hands, face and feet), and the other pack is a soft dry towel for wiping the wet cleaned areas includes recycled materials.

Primo Sport Bottle ~ Although this BPA-free bottle is meant as a part of this manufacturer’s beverage system, the bottle can be ordered separately.  I enjoyed the sturdy ergonomic tapered design and found it ideal as a take-with in the car; it fit easily into the glass holder and was easy to grip.  Reduces the waste of single-use plastic bottles. 

Reusable Produce Bags ~ Made from recycled material, these reusable produce bags are ideal for marketing and cut down on the waste of plastic or paper bags; breathable fabric with drawstring closure; comes in a handy five-pack. 

Skrub’a Glove ~ While these may look like loofah mitts, they’re actually nylon gloves designed to give a firm grip for holding and gently cleansing the exteriors of firm-skinned fruits and vegetables, without stripping away any of their nutrients.  Very hygienic and keeps any hand bacteria from touching the produce. 


Smith Village, the premier senior retirement community in the Chicago Beverly Area, has been at the forefront of providing the finest in skilled nursing, rehabilitation, caregiving and independent residential living for seniors since 1924.  At any given time, Smith Village residents have numerous opportunities to participate in field trips to destinations that are stimulating, informational, educational or cultural; many of the activities also involve a front row seat for in-house presentations.  At Smith Village, residents are never at a loss for activities that dynamically engage, nurture and stimulate the mental process, which is vital to the wellness equation.  On May 8th, Smith Village will be hosting Chicago’s very own Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh.  The two noted celebrity chefs, cookbook authors, caterers and restaurateurs are also stars of the Food Network’s “Party Line With The Hearty Boys”.  Residents and guests will be treated to a fabulous cooking demonstration by these two celebrity chefs.  Featured will be nostalgic and retro-food dishes, sure to conjure up memories of iconic dishes of the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and even 80s, which residents and guests will recall with fondness.  A tasting of these culinary bits of nostalgia follows the cooking demonstration.  The event will be more than delicious and entertaining; it will also be an opportunity for attendees to recall bygone days and sharpen their mental acuity with these creative reminders.  For more details on the event, call 773-474-7303

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I hope this edition has inspired you towards striving for a healthy lifestyle with these products.  While there are many more fine products available in the market today to help one on their green and healthy journey, I hope the products I’ve presented in this edition will be just the right ones for your healthy lifestyle.  Make it a healthy and green one…for yourself and those you love!

By Terry Herman

Terry Herman is a recognized expert in the industry, and regularly covers issues that include business, management, operations, customer care, treatments, products, and trends. In addition to writing and reviewing, she is also a management consultant and motivational speaker.  She also serves on EXPERIENCE | PREMCHIT Journeys In Retreat To Wellness Advisory Board, which is comprised of ten international experts in various fields of wellness and spa.  She also serves as a Group Manager for the popular LinkedIn group, The Spa Buzz.  You can email her at


(Photo credits as represented from the specific brand.)

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