Category Archives: Interview

Healthy Valentine’s Day Treats for Kids

Valentine’s Day is all about showing loved ones how much you care with… sugar!  This morning I had the opportunity to share 4 healthier Valentine’s Day treats for kids on our local news, TMJ4.  These treats would be perfect for a class party or afterschool snack. 

 What are some of your favorite Valentine’s Day treats?  Leave them in the comments below!

Strawberry Sweetheart Smoothies


  • 2 cups frozen strawberries
  • 1 fresh banana, peeled
  • 1 cup milk (I prefer almond milk in this one)
  • ½ cup low-sugar apple juice
  • 1 cup Ice


  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Divide between 2 glasses and enjoy!


Be Mine Trail Mix


  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup granola or cereal of choice
  • 1 cup pretzels
  • 1 cup Valentine’s Day M&Ms


  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix by hand. Divide into small bowls or Valentine treat boxes and enjoy!


White Chocolate Strawberry Muffins


  • 2 ½ cups old fashioned oats
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 3 brown, ripe bananas
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries


  1. In a large bowl, combine the oats, eggs, bananas, baking powder and baking soda. Fold in the chocolate chips and chopped strawberries and scoop into 12 muffin tins.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and bake muffins for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown.


Cupid’s Taco Cups


  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp garlic salt
  • 2 cups salsa
  • 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced
  • Red tortilla chips


  1. Pour the rinsed pinto beans into a medium bowl and mash. Add the lime juice, cumin and garlic salt and mix well.
  2. Scoop 2 heaping tablespoons into the bottom of a shallow, clear glass. Top with 2 tbsp. salsa, 1 heaping tbsp. Greek yogurt and 1 heaping tbsp. shredded cheese. Repeat with all glasses.  Serve with chopped red bell peppers and red tortilla chips.


For more Valentine-inspired recipes, check out my Valentine’s Day Breakfast roundup and the DDD store!


Pairdd Review

Pairdd Review

If you’re anything like me, you love to cook, but could do without all the prep work… grocery shopping, measuring, chopping, peeling garlic (yuck).  There’s something so relaxing and satisfying about spending a sunny Sunday afternoon preparing food that I know will nourish me and my family.  I’ve been curious about trying a cooking kit delivery service, because it seems like the best of both worlds – you’re still cooking a great meal, but only focusing on the fun part.  I reached out to Pairdd, a gluten-free cooking kit delivery service here in Wisconsin, and was thrilled when they sent me one of their latest dinners to try.

Pairdd Review Pairdd takes all the fresh, measured ingredients needed to cook a gluten free meal for 2-4 people and delivers them straight to your door!   The ingredients arrive in a special insulated bag with ice packs (and I love that they have a recycling program for the containers) and take 30-40 minutes to prepare.

Pairdd Review Our Pairdd meal could not have come on a better day.  I was exhausted from a long day at work, stressed (and feeling guilty) about picking Charlotte up late from daycare, and was way behind on a writing project.  Tim was also working late, so once we put Charlotte to bed (I plan to keep her 7pm bedtime until she’s 16 – it is so glorious), I poured myself a glass of wine and opened our Pairdd meal.  We were given Flank Steak with Chimichurri .  All the ingredients were cold and fresh when the package arrived.

Pairdd Review   Pairdd Review 

I loved that the recipe card included the detailed instructions with pictures.  From start to finish, I think it took me about 40 minutes to prepare, which kind of sounds like a lot for a weeknight, but it was so worth it!  This was seriously a restaurant-worthy meal, so to be able to make it at home was amazing.  Tim and I were both blown away by the quality, and I hope to continue to work with Pairdd and will be submitting a recipe for them to test! 

Pairdd is available throughout Wisconsin and is currently offering your first week (2 meals) free - just pay $5 shipping!  Click here to learn more!

Pairdd Review 

Interview with Chef Ryan Hutmacher

Photo credit: Centered Chef Food Studios

Photo credit: Centered Chef Food Studios

In a little under 6 months, Diet Deep Dish has brought me so many amazing opportunities, from improving my cooking skills to partnering with brands to meeting new friends, and now an interview with an amazingly inspiring chef! 

Chef Ryan Hutmacher is a chef and “wellness ambassador” in Chicago and was recently named the first Weight Watchers chef.  I was excited when his publicist reached out to me, because I wanted to learn more about how he is making a difference in Chicago.  He also had his own weight-loss journey, so he truly understands the barriers to wellness and how to overcome them.  His cooking style is described as “clean, simple and sexy,” and he strives to combine the culinary arts with nutrition.  To learn more about Chef Ryan, visit the Centered Chef and read on!

Sesame Roasted Asparagus

Congratulations on being named the first Weight Watchers chef!  What will this new roll entail?

As the Weight Watchers Chef, my job is to show people that eating healthy isn’t about deprivation, but an opportunity to use fresh, delicious ingredients prepared simply. I believe that learning how to cook is a fundamental skill to losing weight and living a healthy life. For me, healthy cooking always incorporates three main concepts:

    • Healthy doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice flavor or comfort.
    • It’s important that food is not only delicious, but practical and simple to prepare. That means ingredients that are widely available with simple techniques that don’t require a huge time commitment.
    • We eat with our eyes first and I believe in preparing food that not only tastes delicious but looks amazing too.

I love your transformation story!  While you were making all these healthy changes, how did you find the motivation to keep going?

Rather than looking at my struggles as a point of shame, being vulnerable helped me to learn more. I saw others going through the same thing and their success inspired my success. I also realized this is not going to happen overnight. My mantra is practice makes permanent. Now, these healthy habits are just part of my everyday routine.    

Diet Deep Dish 586

What tips do you have for people trying to cook healthy food on a budget and/or time crunch?

My approach is to keep it simple and focus on building your plate. Start with a lean protein, a veggie and a starch (whole grain). Focus on salt, pepper and the right amount of oil to be your guide.

One way to stretch your budget is to reimagine your leftovers. I often think “supper, salad, soup.” For example, for supper tonight I’ll make a grilled pork chop with brown rice and grilled asparagus with a yogurt sauce. Tomorrow, I may use some of those leftovers to create an amazing salad. Chop up your leftover pork chop into small chunks and incorporate extra brown rice and asparagus to your salad. Then use your yogurt sauce as a base for the dressing. Just add lemon juice and a little light mayo to give it body. For the third meal, add any extra pork chop and rice to chicken broth. Add your favorite herbs and veggies lying around to build a simple yet filling and flavorful soup.

What is your favorite spring dish?

During the spring I love cooking with cherries! For cooking, I pick firm, bright cherries with stems attached to make sure I use the freshest ones out there. Ripe cherries must be carefully handled to avoid bruising and should be used as soon as possible or frozen for future use. You can store cherries in the refrigerator for up to 7-10 days, as long as stems are intact and they are uncut.

I love to take pitted cherries and sauté them lightly in some grape seed oil. Once they’ve given up some of their juice and softened, I turn off the heat and sprinkle some brown sugar, kosher salt, balsamic vinegar and fresh herbs like thyme into the pan. Once it’s cooled, I can use this condiment for everything from roast pork loin to a salad topper.

deLITEful Deep Dish

What are some of your favorite healthy activities in Chicago?

I do triathlons and am actually participating in one in Hammond, Indiana in early June called, Leon’s World Fastest Triathlon. I often train with a lot of charity running groups in town. I’m also a big soccer fan and can’t get enough beach volleyball.

I also love going to weekly Weight Watchers meetings! As a member, it’s a great place to recharge and refocus on healthy habits. It helps me stay accountable and I learn about so many cool foods and restaurants from other members that complement a healthier lifestyle.  

How do you incorporate “clean, simple & sexy” food into your everyday life?

To me, clean is synonymous with fresh and non-processed; the type of food I like to focus on most of the time. In my free time, I want to make it simple like everyone else and use practical ingredients. Sexy is just making the food look attractive on the plate.

 For more great tips and recipes from me and Weight Watchers, check out, along with the Weight Watchers Pinterest page.


Thank you to Chef Ryan for taking the time to share some great tips with the Diet Deep Dish community!  I hope you enjoyed the interview!

Applesauce Cake

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