Take The Pantry Challenge! Are You As Healthy As You Think?

Tina Ruggiero
Try the pantry challenge

There’s nothing I love more than inspiring people to adopt healthy habits; motivating them to eat better or teaching them skills that provide kitchen confidence. That’s why I enjoy giving cooking lessons. At the end of a session, my students have learned something new that will benefit them for a lifetime.

Lately, I’ve been busy giving cooking lessons. From private to group classes, there’s no limit to the courses I’ll provide. Last week, a wedding shower involved the ladies learning to make romantic meals for two; I had a one-on-one session with a student who just wanted to get comfortable cooking fish, and a local men’s group requested a beer and food pairing night, and so it went.

For those of you who I can’t cook with, you’ll enjoy my new book, The Truly Healthy Family Cookbook. My recipes provide guidance along the way and will turn you into a healthy, confident cook in no time. It’s like taking a virtual class we me by your side!

See the below book recommendation to get you into shape!

10 Years Younger: The Amazing 10-Week Plan to Look Better, Feel Better & Turn Back the Clock


On My Nightstand: Ten Years Younger: The Amazing Ten Week Plan to Look Better, Feel Better and Turn Back the Clock, by Steven Masley, M.D.

It’s not quite the Fountain of Youth, but Ten Years Young by Dr. Steven Masley sure comes close. We are a rapidly-aging society with life-threatening conditions like heart disease and diabetes occurring earlier then ever before. Dr. Masley, former director of the Pritkin Longevity Center, offers a plan to help you take back your health and turn back the clock.

Divided into 10-week sections, each week of his plan offers an age-busting outline for over-hauling your nutrition, fitness and stress levels. By following Dr. Masley’s plan, you will lose weight, boost energy levels, rejuvenate skin, and enhance brain functions and more. Among a sea of questionable health books available today, this one’s a beacon of light.

Get into the mood for a festival during this Christmas period.

The South Beach Food & Wine Festival


Miami’s South Beach certainly boasts its share of models and buff, beach bodies, but this weekend, they were outnumbered by Foodies from all over the world who came to the metropolis to be part of the Eighth Annual South Beach Food & Wine Festival.

On Thursday, I drove down to South Beach (which is just a few hours from where I live) to take part in the festivities and see the likes of Tom Collichio, Emeril Lagasse, Rachael Ray, Guy Fieri, Paula Deen, Bobby Flay and a host of others.  As always, it was a terrific showcase of star-studded talent, amazing food, and impressive event planning.


What I enjoyed most was the third annual Burger Bash, held outside on the beachfront of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.  It was relaxing, entertaining and the perfect opportunity to enjoy a cold one along with an amazing variety of burgers.

More than 1,000 people packed an eye-popping tent filled with nearly two dozen TV Food Network chefs grilling their favorite burger creations and vying for the “People’s Choice Award,” or the best-loved burger of the night.


Chef Michael Psilakis of restaurants Anthos, Mia Dona, and Kefi, all in New York, made a lamb burger that just melted in your mouth; Chef David Walzhog of SW Steakhouse in Las Vegas made a truffle-infused burger served on a mini muffin that was my favorite, and a host of other chefs including Rick Bayless, Thomas Connell, Jeremy Fox, and Katie Lee Joel pulled out the stops with burgers made with a variety of cheeses, herbs, and creative bread.

If you’ve never been to the South Beach Food & Wine Festival, it’s a destination event you must attend at least once.  If you have participated, I’d love to hear from you and learn about your most memorable or inspiring culinary moments at the festival.

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