Monday, April 27, 2009

Woman's Story: Hillary and "Healthy Girl Cooking"

March was Women's History Month and every day I posted about a different important woman in our world's history on my Facebook status.  Those of you who know me HAVE to know how much I love women, love being a woman, advocating for women's rights and education, etc.  I had thought about posting here on the blog about fabulous women in MY history but alas, I am lame and did not do it.

Now it is April (poetry month anyone?) and I am just now sharing with you about a fabulous woman in my life.  Oh goodness, I met Hillary in middle school... and no, I will NOT be posting pictures of our good times in 6th grade.  Trust me, no one wants to see that.  Hillary has started a blog, "Healthy Girl Cooking", where she gives awesome tips, shares yummy recipes and keeps you entertained as you read.  

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I share this with you not only because I love a creative woman, but also because when I got married one of the things we struggled with figuring out every day was- "Hey what are we eating for dinner?" , "I don't know what do you want?", "What can we cook for just the two of us?", etc.  You have got to head on over to her blog and get some awesome ideas!

Hillary working on a pie project with a friend :)

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Here is the story on Healthy Girl Cooking....

Ashley: What made you decide to start the blog, "Healthy Girl Cooking"?

Hillary: Over the past couple of years, meal-planning and cooking have become more of a hobby than a chore for me. Like most people I know, however, I don't have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen or enough money to splurge on fancy or experimental ingredients. I'm always looking for ways to get the most bang for my buck and trying to stretch my ingredients so that nothing goes to waste. Learning about nutrition along the way makes cooking and eating more rewarding, I think; we're constantly told what NOT to eat and why we should be afraid of it. That information is important, but it's more fun and constructive to put a positive spin on it. I love to exchange cooking ideas and nutritional anecdotes with friends, so I thought it'd be fun to create a public forum to do the same thing. 


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Ashley: What made you decide to start the blog, "Healthy Girl Cooking"?

Hillary: Over the past couple of years, meal-planning and cooking have become more of a hobby than a chore for me. Like most people I know, however, I don't have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen or enough money to splurge on fancy or experimental ingredients. I'm always looking for ways to get the most bang for my buck and trying to stretch my ingredients so that nothing goes to waste. Learning about nutrition along the way makes cooking and eating more rewarding, I think; we're constantly told what NOT to eat and why we should be afraid of it. That information is important, but it's more fun and constructive to put a positive spin on it. I love to exchange cooking ideas and nutritional anecdotes with friends, so I thought it'd be fun to create a public forum to do the same thing. 

Ashley: It is so brave of you to talk about the eating disorder of your past and encouraging women to take control of that- you even blogged about it!

Hillary: For me, learning not to fear food and to appreciate all the amazing things my body can do when I treat it right is a constant project. Learning about nutrition has really helped me to refocus all of the energy I used to funnel into calorie-counting, starving and hating my body. Most of the women I know have struggled with an eating disorder at one time or another, but because it is such a private experience, it can be a difficult topic to discuss without feeling like you're either prying or unloading. I want that to change. Struggling with an eating disorder--whether it manifests itself in a way that others can see on your body, or remains in your head as disordered thinking, which is just as terrible--is not something anyone should have to go through alone. Sharing our experiences and encouraging each other to heal is the best medicine. I would love for Healthy Girl to act as a safe forum for that support, because sharing experiences on the internet can be as public or as anonymous as you wish. 

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Ashley: What are your favorite foods?  Favorite guilty pleasure foods?

Hillary: Right now I'm on a pesto kick; I've been making big batches and adding it to everything! But really, my heart belongs to cheese. There are so many amazing kinds! A serving size of cheese is a one-inch cube--I could put away 10 or 12 of those, no problem. I've learned that choosing strong-flavoured cheeses like parmesan or gorgonzola is the best way to get my fix without going overboard. Leafy greens are probably my favourite food from the produce department, and they're so good for you. Sauteeing a big bunch of kale in a little garlic and olive oil until the edges start to turn crispy is really satisfying in an almost popcorny way.

Dessert is amazing too, of course--the chocolatier, the better. The hardest part about indulging, for me, is being reasonable about it. Actual serving sizes look totally different from the giant portions we're handed in restaurants, and when I dish up half a cup of ice cream at home, it's more disappointing than exciting. I try to trick myself by doing things like vamping up a little ice cream with a banana and walnuts and eating it slowly. Indulging in moderation is definitely my biggest challenge.

Ashley: What are your goals for the blog?

Hillary: Starting a dialogue about nutrition and healing from disordered eating is really important to me. The recipes I develop are meant to be functional rather than fancy, though the two needn't be mutually exclusive; I want the ideas on my site to be accessible to busy women who can make them using everyday ingredients and feel good eating and feeding them to their families (and packing the leftovers for lunch the next day!) Ultimately, I hope that the blog can grow into a cookbook that promotes healthy eating as a lifestyle rather than a diet. There are far too many diet cookbooks out there--and really, how exciting are they after the first week or two? Learning a little about nutrition as you go can make healthy eating a no-brainer. It's important to me that the blog is useful and accessible, and I love hearing my readers' thoughts and constructive criticism; comments and emails (healthygirlcooking@gmail.com) are always welcome!

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* Hillary is currently living in Boston, so I was unable to photograph her gorgeous face myself- maybe I will get my hands on her next time she is in Raleigh?!  Photo credit for picture of Hillary, Chip Joffe-Halpern.  Photo credit for corn chips and quinoa cakes by Seth Drury.

3 comments:

hillary said...

woo hoo! thanks for the interview, ashley! it's so fun to see healthy girl featured on your fabulous site!

jinglchelle said...

awesome!! i love this!

the.indie.image said...

i'm hungry!