Events – This Mama Cooks! On a Diet™ Healthy recipes & lifestyle tips for busy moms & their families Wed, 28 Jun 2017 01:17:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Events – This Mama Cooks! On a Diet™ 32 32 Happy National Drink Watermelon Day! #DrinkWatermelonDay Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:59:00 +0000 Happy National Drink Watermelon Day! #DrinkWatermelonDay at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet -

According to the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, NC, July 24th is the hottest day in the contiguous United States. That’s why the National Watermelon Promotion Board has declared today the first-ever “National Drink Watermelon Day”!

Since watermelon is 92% water, it’s the perfect ingredient to make refreshing beverages or dishes that boost your hydration. You can check out my watermelon recipes for some ideas or find more recipes and serving ideas at or on their Facebook page.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy watermelon?

Facts about watermelon nutrition at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet -

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Hugh Acheson’s Turnips and Their Greens Risotto at the Buick Lifestyle Event Tue, 22 Jan 2013 20:03:47 +0000 Hugh Acheson's Turnips and Their Greens Risotto at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet -

Last month, I attended the  Buick Encore Lifestyle Event in Atlanta as the “plus one” of my friend, Eileen Calandro, the Chief Mom Connector of Mom Central. She was invited to test drive the new Buick Encore before it hits dealerships in February, 2013.

Buick Encore Lifestyle Event

I was looking forward to spending time with Eileen while driving a luxurious crossover around the Atlanta metro area including a stop at a local Toys “R” Us to shop for the Toys for Tots program. However, I was just about out of my mind that we would meet celebrity chef and Top Chef Season 10 judge, Hugh Acheson at his restaurant, Empire State South, and tour the Love is Love urban farm. Have fork will travel!

Love is Love Farm at Gaia Gardens

Love is Love Farm

Driving through suburban Decatur, Georgia, you’d never know the Love is Love Farm at Gaia Gardens is there. Yet over 15 years ago, the housing development East Lake Commons was built to include a working, organic farm. The farm grows a surprisingly wide diversity of crops, enough to accommodate a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.

Joe Reynolds at Love is Love Farm

Our Buick Encore Lifestyle group met with farmer, Joe Reynolds, who showed us around while explaining how the farm manages planting, irrigation, composting, and crop rotation. Joe also told us that the Love is Love farm has a close relationship with many Atlanta restaurants that provide the vegetable scraps for their impressive composting piles. In turn, the farm sells them organic, hyper-local produce, big bags of which we loaded into our Buick Encores to be cooked up for our dinner at Empire State South.

bags of produce from Love is Love

The farm tour was fascinating and I loved Joe’s passion for local, sustainable organic farming. It made me wish I lived closer so I could take advantage of their CSA.

Dinner at Empire State South

After a quick stop back at Twelve Atlantic Station at our gorgeous suite (complete with a full kitchen), Eileen and I were driven in one of the Buick Encores to Empire State South for dinner. Our group hit the bar for cocktails, appetizers and charcuterie. I had two unique cocktails, Orchard Punch, a bourbon drink, and Death on the Moon, made with absinthe. The charcuterie was marvelous, and I’d order it again as a meal, along with a glass of red wine.

Empire State South

Then it was off to a private dining room for a cooking demonstration from Hugh Acheson! He was as funny, personable and down to earth as he appears on Top Chef. He told us a story about appearing on a food panel with Paula Dean. While he likes Paula a lot, he doesn’t agree with her that Southern cooking means fried foods and tons of butter and sugar. Instead, his philosophy is cooking with traditional foods grown in the South, in a modern, sophisticated way.

Hugh Acheson cooking demo at Empire State South

While he demonstrated his Turnips and Their Greens Risotto (recipe included below), Hugh told us about the Southern goodness of Carolina Gold rice and making your own chicken stock in the slow cooker. (Loved that tip!) We sampled the risotto along with our dinner.

First course was Local Lettuces with roasted Brussels leaves, beets, pickled carrots, ESS fromage blanc, and served with a crisp sourdough. Second course was a choice of Roasted Georgia Trout, Chicken Roulade, or Prime Ribeye. (I had the rib eye, which was served rare with celery root and bread gratin, roasted kale with shiitakes, and a shoyu vinaigrette.) For dessert, we had Meyer Lemon Parfait clementine, bergamot brioche, candied cranberry, and sweet potato sorbet.

Eileen and I agreed it was a fabulous meal. I can’t wait to go back to Empire State South with my husband!

Hugh Acheson's Turnips and Their Greens Risotto at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet -

Turnips and Their Greens Risotto


  • 3 small hakurei turnips
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup minced yellow onion
  • 1 cup Caroline Gold Middland's broken kernel rice
  • 4 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 2 cups finely chopped turnip greens
  • 1/2 cup finely grated (rasp) Parmagiano
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon finely cut bias cut onion top for garnish


  1. Very thinly slice the turnips. Drizzle with olive oil and sea salt and set aside. These will finish the risotto.
  2. Warm your chicken stock in a pot and place a ladle in it. Keep this on the back of the stove. Place a good pot on the stove over medium to medium high heat and add the remaining olive oil. Add the minced onion bulb and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon until the onion is translucent but not charred at all, about five minutes.
  3. Add the rice and lightly glaze the rice. From the moment the rice goes in, the is about 17 minutes to completion, so keep an eye on the clock. You should be stirring a lot but no need to stir all the time.
  4. Start adding the stock, about a cup at a time and stir and cook until the stock is absorbed. Then add more. Repeat. After a while you will see this luxurious, starchy liquid surround those little rice kernels. This is good. After about 15 minutes taste your rice. it should have a slight crunchiness to it but you have to soothsay what it will taste like after two to three more minutes as it sits in the bowl before consumption.
  5. Let's finish this up. Add the butter and the parmesan - and stir well to fold those beautiful finishes into the risotto. Then add the turnip greens to wilt them into the risotto. It's done. When it gets in that bowl it will set up well. Spoon into shallow bowls and garnish with the raw turnips and some more Parmagiano.
  6. EAT.
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour
Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes
Servings: Serves four as a lighter supper
  • Serving size: 1/4 of recipe

More about the Buick Encore Lifestyle Event

Eileen posted about the Buick Encore and our Toys “R” Us shopping spree for Toys for Tots at Luxurious, Affordable Design with the New Buick Encore at Mom Central’s blog. If you love cars and auto design, you'll love her post.

Don't forget to check out the Buick Encore, too! My favorite color is Ruby Red with the Saddle interior. What’s yours?

Disclosure: I was invited to an all expenses paid editor’s trip by Buick. I also received a signed copy of Hugh Acheson’s cookbook, A New Turn in the South, and some promotional items. All photos except for the Empire State South collage were provided by Buick. All experiences and opinions are my own.

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Happy New Year! Tue, 01 Jan 2013 11:11:00 +0000 vintage New Year's postcard

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2013!

Picture courtesy of The Texas Collection, Baylor University on Flickr.

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Join me TODAY at 3 PM ET for a FAGE #PlainKitchen Twitter Party Mon, 24 Sep 2012 17:48:29 +0000 yogurt

Join me and @MomCentral  for the #PlainKitchen Twitter Party TODAY from 3-4 PM EST. We’ll be chatting with celebrity chef Bobby Flay about how to make every meal extraordinary, your favorite yogurt recipes, and the FAGE Total Plain Kitchen recipe contest!

I’ll be co-hosting along with @StacyDeBroff, @DadCentral, @MomCentralChat along with special guests @FAGEUSA and @bflay. You can use the Tweet Grid at

Not only will it be a fun chat, but you’ll have a chance to win a prize pack consisting of a $25 AMEX gift card and $25 voucher redeemable for FAGE Total. Also, if you tweet this from now until the #PlainKitchen Twitter Party, you’ll be eligible to win one of the FAGE prize packs, too!

Hope to see you soon!

Disclosure: I received a promotional item to thank me for my participating in the chat.

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Want to know how to “Get Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling?” #invisalignMAB Wed, 15 Aug 2012 12:34:00 +0000 Want to know how to "Get Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling?" #invisalignMAB at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet -

Yes, you can get kids to listen without nagging, reminding or yelling! To learn how, join me on Thursday, August 16 at 9 PM EST when I’ll be co-hosting a FREE PARENTING WEBINAR with Amy McCready of Positive Parenting Solutions. Just RSVP here! (You can also sign up for a 2 PM EST webinar if you can’t make the evening one. However, I won’t be co-hosting that one.)

If you’re like me you NEED THIS WEBINAR. I can’t tell you how many times I tell the kids to do something and they just don’t listen. It drives me crazy! I’m tired of being tuned out and I’m sure you are, too.

Who Should Attend: Frustrated parents of kids ages 3 to 16 (Please encourage your spouse or other caregivers to attend. Parenting is a lot easier when everyone is on the same page!)

What You’ll Learn: Amy McCready, Founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and a TODAY show contributor, will present a strategy-packed, interactive, LIVE online webinar designed to teach you:

  • why kids really misbehave – it’s probably not what you think!
  • how your personality may actually fuel misbehavior
  • the 5 R’s of Fair and Effective Consequences so kids listen the first time you ask
  • training resources to reduce your parenting stress and stop nagging, reminding and yelling

Get ready to end the cycle of remind-nag-yell-repeat as you try to get them to listen! To learn more, RSVP at

I can’t wait to attend this seminar and use some of Amy’s techniques and strategies. Hope you can join me!

Disclosure: I’m a member of the Invisalign Teen Mom Advisory Board. I’m receiving complimentary treatment from Invisalign, but all opinions and experiences expressed are my own. Invisalign is sponsor of the Get Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling webinar.

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Why can’t these kids get along? Join me for a FREE webinar about ending sibling squabbles #invisalignMAB Mon, 18 Jun 2012 19:13:56 +0000 Why can't these kids get along? Join me for a FREE webinar about ending sibling squabbles #invisalignMAB at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet -

You know why I send my kids to summer camp? Sure, it’s for them to have fun with kids their own age and to keep them busy during summer vacation. However, it’s really to give me a break from the constant fighting that Lucie and Nathan engage in from the time they wake up until they fall asleep.

Their fighting makes me sad as well as frustrated, which is why I’ll be joining TODAY Show parenting expert, Amy McCready and Invisalign Teen as a co-host for a FREE webinar, “Why Can't These Kids Get Along? Solutions to End Sibling Squabbles” this Thursday, June 21 at 9 PM ET. (You can also attend at 2 PM ET).

If you’re interested in joining us, please RSVP  here. 

In this interactive webinar, parents of children ages 5-17 will learn:

• why siblings make the best rivals

• how well-meaning parents make sibling rivalry worse

• three top strategies to minimize sibling rivalry in your home

I’m looking forward to co-hosting as well as learning some tips. Hope to see you there!

Disclosure: I’m a member of the Invisalign Teen Mom Advisory Board. I’m receiving complimentary treatment from Invisalign, but all opinions and experiences expressed are my own.

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Get #uncorked for Father”s Day! Twitter chat with the California Wine Club on June 5 at 8PM ET Wed, 30 May 2012 11:45:02 +0000 happy-familyJoin me and @CAWineClub on Tuesday, June 5 at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT for a discussion about Father’s Day and what to get for the dad who has it all (like maybe a Premier Membership to California Wine Club!)

Does your dad like reds? Or maybe he prefers whites? Maybe he’s new to wine and needs a little guidance? Or maybe he’d like some wine accessories? Whatever the case may be, Jon from @CAWineClub and I’ll be there to answer questions and give gift suggestions to make Father’s Day 2012 the best ever.

Win a prize from the California Wine Club

Besides sharing ideas for Father’s Day gifts, we’ll also be giving away six-bottle wine totes, California Wine Club T-shirts, and a three month Father’s Day gift membership. We’ll also be releasing a special discount code just for chat attendees, so you can save on your Father’s Day wine gift or maybe treat yourself to a bottle or two!

So get #uncorked, grab a glass of your favorite red or white wine, and prepare to join us on June 5 at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT. We’ll be using the hashtag #uncorked, and you can RSVP at

Looking forward to our chat!

Disclosure: California Wine Club  provided compensation for my time and efforts on their behalf. All opinions and experiences are my own.

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Learn how to eat healthy on a budget at the LiveWell Colorado Twitter chat on May 17 #HealthyCO Thu, 10 May 2012 12:55:40 +0000 family diningWhen I ask people why they aren’t eating healthy foods, usually the first thing I hear is that it’s too expensive to do. That’s why I’m hosting a Twitter chat about Eating Healthy on a Budget on Thursday, May 17 at 8 PM MT with experts from LiveWell Colorado.

We’ll be sharing:

  • Myths and facts about eating healthier
  • Tips for making better choices at the supermarket
  • Money-saving hints for family meals
  • Budget-friendly recipe suggestions to put these new ideas into practice

Join the chat by following the hashtag #HealthyCO and make sure to follow @amnichols (that’s me!) and @LIveWellCO.

RSVP for the #HealthyCO chat and get a free entrée from Qdoba!

If you RSVP here in advance (and provide your mailing address) you’ll receive a Qdoba Rewards Card with one free entrée from the #HealthyCO Twitter Chat sponsor, Qdoba Mexican Grill.

We’ll also be giving away healthy prizes, such as yoga mats, courtesy of LiveWell Colorado, to those participating in the chat. Hope to see you there!

Disclosure: As a chat host, I’m compensated for my time and efforts on LiveWell Colorado’s behalf.

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