Thursday, June 30, 2011


SALT LAKE CITY —Kids will be cooking up cuisine from Mexico and Italy during the Fantabulous 4-H Cooking Camp sponsored by Salt Lake County 4-H and Utah State University Extension. Camp will be held Thursday and Friday, July 7 & 8 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. The fee is $20 per camper, due Friday, July 1st. Register online ( or by calling 801-468-3179.
With seasonal produce so plentiful this time of year, consider learning the ins and outs of food preservation and storage. Food safety is a big concern and USU Extension SL offers publications, classes and resources to guide you.
“If you’re interested in preserving your own wholesome foods this season, consider attending one of our many class offerings. We have two Home Canning 101 classes and the Grow It, Eat It, Store It Series this summer,” said USU Salt Lake County Extension Assistant Professor Melanie Jewkes.
Free Service Mondays, continue throughout the summer where Plant and Pest Diagnostic and Pressure Canner Gauge Testing services will be provided free, from 1-4 p.m., except holidays.
All USU Extension Salt Lake County classes are listed below. For further information on class times, location and registration, visit or call 801-468-3179.
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Monday, June 27, 2011


Those who wish to remember the glory old days at the Hotel Utah can enjoy pieces of its past at another Salt Lake City landmark  — The New Yorker. 

 Many people might not know that the beautiful banquettes (upholstered seating) in The New Yorker were originally from the Hotel Utah Sky Room. 

And the stained glass ceiling panels over the New Yorker's cafe area came from the Hotel Utah's Grill Room. They have been part of The New Yorker since it opened in 1978.

I had heard about this a few years ago from Mary Anne Farrier, spokesperson for Gastronomy, Inc. at the time. (Gastronomy, Inc. owns The New Yorker and the Market Street and Oyster Bar restaurants.) I tucked it away in the "Interesting Trivia" part of my brain until the Hotel Utah's 100th anniversary celebration came up, and a chat with Mary Anne reminded me about it.  In fact, Mary Anne had a photo of the banquettes at the Hotel Utah, circa 1961.
When the New Yorker purchased the banquettes from the Sky Room, they were candy- apple red leather.  Constructed in the 1940s, they are solid walnut with a metal railing. During a Hotel Utah remodel, Izzy Wagner, who was then on the Hotel Utah Board of Directors, made the banquettes available to the New Yorker, according to John Williams, president of Gastronomy, Inc.
The banquettes (since re-upholstered so they are no longer candy-apple red!) are a major focal point of the dining room at the New Yorker.
The stained glass ceiling panels came from the Hotel Utah's Grill Room, located on the lower level of the Hotel Utah, and were part of the original hotel construction in 1911, according to Williams.  The design of the Grill Room was embellished with stained glass panels placed between the columns in the room.  During a subsequent renovation, the panels were covered over by sheet rock.  Many years later during a remodeling project, the panels were discovered by the architect (Bob Fowler) who removed them. The panels were then purchased by the New Yorker and used in the ceiling over the Cafe section. 
In honor of Hotel Utah's anniversary, The New Yorker is displaying a poster that tells their patrons about the history of the banquettes and stained glass ceiling. The New Yorker boasts some history of its own, since it is located in the 1906 New York Hotel and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 



Bambara, a Kimpton restaurant in downtown Salt Lake City, is announcing new "Powers' Hours" in its adjacent club, The Vault, beginning July 1, with new half-priced Bar Bites throughout the work week from 3 - 5 p.m.
 Offering a proper welcome to the hundreds of finance workers that recently arrived in the downtown Salt Lake City neighborhood, Executive Chef Nathan Powers is offering a selection of half-priced appetizers just as the East Coast financial market closes. 
"When the closing bell rings, the Bar Bites begins, " Powers said. 
 The Powers' Hours menu includes Morgan Valley lamb sliders with cucumber slaw, mint pesto for only $5.50 with frites for an extra $1.50; crispy calamari with chipotle tartar sauce, cilantro and limes for $6 and Bambara's signature house-cut blue cheese potato chips for just $4.
I can't help but notice how chef Powers' name lends itself to these fun food experiences.  Bambara also has a Powers lunch special every day during the work week. Now we've got Powers Hours.  All he needs to do next is lead us in a bit of Powers walking when we're finished eating.
 For more information, check Bambara is located at 202 South Main Street.


I recently interviewed Deni Hill, Sarah Nitta and Justin Pope, contestants on last season's "The Biggest Loser," for a story that ran in the Deseret News. I have shared weight loss tips from Sarah and Justin in previous posts.  Here are some of  Deni's favorite weight loss tips: 
1. Fit in some movement at work. “If you have a desk job, see if you can use a large exercise ball to sit on instead of a chair,” said Hill.  
While sitting on a ball, your body has to continually work to balance it, which strengthens your abdominal muscles and improves your balance. 
“And climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator!” Hill adds.
2. Run or walk first thing in the morning, before breakfast. “This gets your metabolism going,” Hill said.
3. “Interval training really revs up your metabolism,” Hill said. “Here’s something I learned from our trainer, Brett Hoebel, when you are on a stationery bike: Pedal at a high wattage (high intensity) as fast as you can for 30 seconds, then pedal at a low wattage for 30 seconds. Repeat this 10 times, for a total of 10 minutes. Then bike at a normal pace for five minutes before repeating the 30-second intervals for ten more minutes.”  
4. Cross train. “Mix things up!” said Hill. “I like to take different classes at the South Davis Rec Center and Skills Fitness, such as Zumba, spinning, step, Body Jam and Body Pump. If you can’t afford a personal trainer, go to classes. They are almost as good as having a personal trainer.”
5. Find a walking partner. “It makes your walks so much more fun when you’re with someone to talk to!”
6. Don’t shy away from the gym because you think you’re too heavy. "That's what the fitness center is there for. I was so intimidated going to a gym, but they are for heavy people, not just people who are already in shape. Find one that will show you how to use the machines and give you a program to follow, so you don't get intimidated.”
7. Keep healthy foods on hand so you don’t succumb to fast food. While she was competing at home, Hill received weekly deliveries of The Biggest Loser Meal Plan by eDiets, a gift given to all of the contestants.  
"I didn't use them all the time, because I like to have a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables," she said. "But it really helped once in awhile when I didn't have time to cook for myself and I was dashing out the door."
She developed a Black Bean and Quinoa Salad that is hearty, satisfying and packed with nutrition. Quinoa (pronounced kin-wa) is a grain-like seed which has a high protein content.  
Hill also learned to make flatbread wraps filled with either the salad, or a lean protein. She adds guacamole (“avocado is a good fat”) and a yogurt dip, and packs it with lots of veggies.  
To satisfy that sweet tooth, Hill devised a treat using a low-fat bran cracker spread with fat-free cream cheese and spreadable fruit. “This is as good as cheesecake to me!” Hill contends. 
The Utah raspberry grower, Cornaby’s, makes stevia-sweetened fruit spreads that are 10 calories per tablespoon. “It’s the best spreadable fruit I’ve ever tasted,” said Hill. “You can buy it at Macey’s.”  (You can also find it at

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Dining outdoors in the summer is always fun, but sharing a table with about 1,500 other people is an unforgettable experience! 

 Park City's annual Savor the Summit took place Saturday night (June 25).  Highlight of the event was the Grande Table.

Main Street was closed to traffic, and tables and chairs were set up in the middle of the street to become a mile-long table.

Each participating restaurant offered its own set menu and created its own table setting.    

Talisker on Main's table featured a leafy bowery.

Deer Valley's Royal Street Cafe table.

was a guest at the Royal Street Cafe's table, easy to find along the street because of it featured the signature dark green color of Deer Valley Resort.

My daughter, Amy, and I came early so we could browse some of the shops and admire all the tablescapes. I made my annual stop at the Deer Valley shop to buy a jars of the resort's Oomph! seasoning and Cilantro Lime Glaze. Amy made her annual stop at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for a truffle to enjoy tomorrow.
Amy finds a friend on Park City's Main Street.

Here's one of appetizers we enjoyed: BLT & A, which featured house-smoked maple peppered bacon, Boston bibb lettuce, seared tuna and avocado, with Green Goddess dressing.  Quite a step up from your usual tuna sandwich!  
 I loved the the grilled asparagus appetizer, wrapped in  shavings of Rockhill Belvedere Tomme cheese, and Prosciutto (which, unfortunately, I didn't think to photograph). 

The first course was a pan-seared sea scallop, large and meaty, with a pool of two sauces: roasted red pepper and black bean. There was also a crunchy salad of grilled frisee, chayote and heirloom cherry tomatoes. 

 The entree was a Bear River Lamb Loin Filet, resting on risotto with peas and morels. I forgot to take a photo of it (hey, this idea of photographing everything I eat is still new to me.)

Dessert was  Payson Cherry Tart — cream-filled almond shortbread, sweet-tart cherries and sorbet. Pastry chef Letty Flatt told me she got the super-flavorful cherries from McMullin Orchards in Payson. Makes me want to make a "fruit run" to Utah county in the near future.


Justin Pope of Logan, Utah  lost 173 pounds during the last season of the reality series, "The Biggest Loser."  The  39-year-old bail bondsman, bounty hunter and gym owner went from 365 pounds to 192. Of all the eliminated contestants, only Deni Hill of Bountiful, Utah lost a higher percentage of weight loss, winning the $100,000 prize.  
Pope isn’t a sore loser, though.  “If I was going to lose to someone, that was definitely the person I would want to lose it to,” Pope told me  in a telephone interview.

“And my ideal would have been if we had tied,”  Hill told me. 

I recently interviewed Pope for a summer-shape-up story that ran in the Deseret News.  

Most people can’t be on a reality series where the focus is on working out all day and your diet is carefully monitored. But Pope  gained valuable knowledge to incorporate into his life now that the show has ended.  

“It’s changed my life 100 percent,” he said. “The negative side is that it’s a long time away from  home and a lot of change you go through without your family.”  He noted that he was away from home nearly six months.  “You come home and you not only look different, but in every way I am a different person.”  

While competing on “The Biggest Loser,” he spent much of the day exercising.  He's cut back his personal workout time to two hours a day. 

Known on the show for “calling out” any slackers, now teaches “Callout” classes of about 60 people. He was teaching  at Rulon’s Elite Training Center, which he owned with partner Rulon Gardner. But two weeks ago, he signed papers selling his share of the gym to Gardner.  “So I’m, looking for another place,” Pope said.  

Here are some of his fitness tips:

1. Be accountable with your food. “That’s the first thing I do when people come to my class.  I say ‘I don’t care how many calories you eat, I just want you to write them down every day.‘  After awhile, you start making decisions such as ‘Oh, I don’t want to eat that because it has so many calories in it, I’d rather have this instead.’ Making a choice based on that accountability is when I made my turnaround.” 

2.  Vegetables offer lots of nutrition for very few calories.   In a frying pan, he will saute lots of fresh vegetables together, such as summer squash, red peppers, zucchini, “any kind of vegetable that looks good,” along with egg whites, adding jalapenos, salt and pepper and srirachi sauce for flavor.
  “There are only 13 calories in an egg white, so you can do ten egg whites and you only have 130 calories.  With all the vegetables, I have a big fat plate of food and I have only got 300 calories, if you count really hard. Sometimes I’ll put in a whole egg, but I have to decide I’d rather have the taste of an egg, or the fullness of fullness of six egg whites.”   
3. Another easy meal:  Take 200 calories of whatever your protein of choice -- shrimp or steak or chicken or burger, and fry it with beef stock. Take about 4 cups of beef stock, and add lots of vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots, and flavor it with some sriacha sauce. On the Biggest Loser, we didn’t see very many carrots because they have a little more sugar in them.  But at home, I will use them. I love making a big pot of that for supper, it’s warm, soothing and if you eat the whole pot, you are only 400-500 calories into it.” 
4. Pope recommends eating 1,500-1,600 calories per day.  “Some people don’t eat ENOUGH food,” he said. “They don’t have enough energy and your body doesn’t know what to do, it’s saying ‘Are you feeding me today or starving me?’ ”

5.  Simple, easy math. Divide the day’s calories into about 400 for each meal, and the remaining 400 into two 200-calorie snacks, so you’re eating consistently throughout the day.

6. Use “good” fats, such as olive oil and avocado. “What I didn’t realize is that you have to have good fat in order to burn fat,” said Pope, who became a fan of Wholly Guacamole, a “Biggest Loser” sponsor.  “Yes, good fats still contain calories, so you have to be careful with that.”
   One of his favorite meals is Coconut Chicken — brown some chicken breasts, add a can of coconut milk, and sriracha sauce and fish sauce to taste. “And then load it up with vegetables. It’s my favorite food.”

7. Eat most of your carbohydrate foods before noon, and stick to healthy carbs such as vegetables and whole grains.  “When I was on the show, you would get most of your carbs in before noon. Brett (trainer Brett Hoebel) was big on that. It has to do with burning fat.”

8.  Do your first workout in the morning on an empty stomach. “Brett was also big on that. He said your body is looking for sugar. If you are not giving it any sugar, it will go to burn your fat reserves.”

9. “I believe in protein shakes, for longer, leaner muscle,” Pope said. “We mix them the right way and drink them at the right time. There is a window of maybe 45 minutes after a workout.  You have to put a little sugar in them so that your body grabs it and takes it directly to the muscles. I did it the whole time I was at the ranch. It gets addictive.” 

10. Group exercise helps you work harder. “There’s a certain energy level, you are feeding off of everyone’s energy,”  Pope said. “And it makes you feel accountable. I am demanding on people if they don’t show up for class.”

11. Use a heart-rate monitor (found in sporting goods stores) to let you know how hard your body is working. “It doesn’t lie to you. You might think you’re really working hard, but you look down and the monitor tells you exactly how hard you’re really working.”

Friday, June 24, 2011


 Golden Braid Books, 151 South 500 East in downtown Salt Lake City,  is holding a book signing by local author Rhiannon Lawrence on June 30 from 6:30 – 8 p.m.
 She will be signing her book “Eat Free – No  Gluten. No Sugar.  No Guilt.”  Her cookbook features recipes that are both gluten-free and sugar-free and has more than 80 recipes for breakfast and brunch dishes, sides and salads, entrees, soups and sweet desserts. From Moroccan lamb burgers to enchiladas to cheesecake, the recipes are simple to prepare, and healing to both the mind and body.

Lawrence focused her cooking creativity on gluten-free and sugar-free recipes when she discovered that she as pre-diabetic and allergic to wheat. She uses various nut flours (such as almond flour and coconut flour) for their added protein and fiber. Instead of refined sugars, she uses either Stevia or organic agave as sweeteners.

Lawrence works with several non-profit organizations and is an advocate for health and nutrition. She lives with her husband, three children, and hiking companion, Lola the boxer dog, in Bountiful, Utah. More of her musings and creations can be found at

More info on Golden Braid Books at 

Thursday, June 23, 2011


1. One reason people avoid buying cheaper bagged cold cereals is because they're hard to store and pour. Store them in a plastic pitcher with a pour spout. 

2. Consider how much you can save by cooking whole grains such as oatmeal or cracked whole wheat for breakfast instead of cold breakfast cereal. (Just run a cup of whole wheat through your blender for about 30 seconds to get cracked wheat.)

3. Buy whole-grain cereals and breads. They're more filling, so you are satisfied with less. And they're better for you.

4. If you have buckets of wheat in your food storage, pull out a bucket and start using it.  Grind it into flour and use it, half-and-half, with regular flour when you make baked goods such as brownies and cookies. 

5. Go '90s retro and pull out your old bread machine. Besides bread, it can be used for rolls and pizza dough.
6. Make croutons or bread crumbs from day-old bread or hotdog buns. The crumbs can be seasoned and used as a "shake-and-bake" chicken coating.
7. Seek out day-old bread "thrift" stores. But be wary of the temptation to overbuy empty calorie items such as cupcakes, potato chips and doughnuts.
8. Bake a batch of muffins from scratch for on-the-go breakfasts. Even if you use a mix, you'll still save over the cost of bakery prices.
9. Don’t ever pay full price for cold cereal  It’s one of the most common types of discount coupons found in Sunday newspaper inserts, mailers, online, or in the store. And cold cereal goes on sale frequently. So wait until it’s one sale, use your coupons and stock up.

What are your favorite money-saving tips?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


 Jimmy John's Sandwich Shops are celebrating the company's Salt Lake City pressence by throwing a Customer Appreciation Day tomorrow, June 23. At all Northern Utah locations, sandwiches are just $1, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.  Limit is one $1 sandwich per person, which includes sandwiches 1-6 on the Jimmy John's menu (

Market Street Fish Markets are hosting their annual July 4 Weekend Lobster Sale. Whole live or cooked Maine lobsters are $11.99 each (regularly $20).  Offer is good at Cottonwood, South Jordan and University markets (

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Sarah Nitta was on last season's "The Biggest Loser" reality TV series. She supplied me with  favorite weight loss tips and recipes for my story that's running in the Deseret News. In future posts, I will be running tips and recipes from Sarah's mom, Deni Hill, and Justin Pope.
Sarah told me that while on the show, she developed a love of hiking. 
“I LOVE it! I love backpacking and fun things like that that keep me super active and challenge me without needing to be stuck on the treadmill,” she said. “When I do really intense things like backpacking, I am able to eat with a little more freedom because my body is burning so much more. I make much healthier choices now and am very aware of what I am putting into my body. I know understand that food equals energy now, and that is awesome!”

Deni Hill and daughter Sarah Nitta
Sarah's tips:

  1. “Keep moving! Walk even between workouts. When in doubt, walk!” 
  2. “No injury should ever stop you from exercising. There are always modifications that can be made.” 
  3. "Every excuse is a choice to fail! That's the famous Sarah Nitta quote! You have to be honest with yourself and realize the excuses that you are making. Then cut them out and get to work.” 
  4. “Don't be afraid of the weights, ladies! The more muscle you have the better your fat-burning engine!” 
  5. “Drink LOTS of water! Water is necessary to break down fat, so drink up!”
  6. “Carbs are your friend! But better in the morning and early afternoon.”
  7. “Always couple a carbohydrate with a protein when you eat. If you are going to eat an apple, eat a string cheese with it.” 
  8. “You have to eat to lose weight. Don't skip a meal.”
  9. “The greener the better! Eat lots if fruits and veggies.”
  10. “Become an intuitive eater. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. But you must listen to your body!”

Sarah's Roasted Asparagus     Photo by Valerie Phillips

Asparagus spears, washed
Cooking spray
Garlic powder, to taste
Dried onion flakes, to taste
Mrs. Dash Onion And Herb Seasoning Blend, to taste
Lemon juice, to taste
Parmesan cheese, to taste
Preheat oven to around 400 degrees.  Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.  Lay asparagus on on  In oven around 400 degrees lay asp on sheet with cooking spray. Sprinkle with garlic, chopped dried onion, Mrs. Dash, lemon juice and parmesan cheese. Cook to desired crispiness. I like them crisp!
— Sarah Nitta

“Best ever.  While on the ranch, we named it the Sarahbear after me.”
3/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup almond milk (vanilla sweetened)
Sweeten to taste with Truvia (my favorite sweetener)
Mix in the blender.
— Sarah Nitta