What’s Up, Jessie? … and a Book Review!


Hi everyone! LTNT: long time, no type! So what have I been doing the last few weeks instead of blogging? A selection:

(1) Enjoying two smoked Thanksgiving turkeys (yes, TWO) – Peter-prepared, of course. He wanted to compare a turkey smoked in an electrical smoker to a Big Green Egg-smoked turkey. Don’t ask me why. I just know that his Big Green Egg cart is dubbed the “Egg Cartin’” (no, I’m not kidding).

With his remotely-adjusted temperature control device in front.

Check out here, here, and here for other THIH posts featuring the BGE. And no, Gary aka LeQuan‘s Hungry Hubbie, you can’t have the BGE 😛

The embroidery on Peter’s “smoking shirt”, a Christmas gift from Peter’s brother (thanks a lot, Dave):

(2) Moving. A few of you have heard about our “adventures” moving to a townhouse down the street: for several reasons, we recently decided to move out of the apartment we’ve lived in for over 1.5 years. Peter and I have moved many times, but it struck me this time how much stuff we’ve accumulated since our last move. I’m not sure when this epiphany occurred – I think it’s a tie between when I hauled the seventh box of kitchenware down to my station wagon and when I saw the same station wagon filled to the brim – with just plants.

(3) Playing with Peter’s dad’s DSLR camera. I had a few successful shots:




Maddies, pre-bath:

… and, some not-so-successful photos:

(4) Finally, I’ve been enjoying a good book:

Remember my FNCE encounter? I finally had the chance to sit down with the new edition of “Fueling the Teen Machine” and I’m so glad I did! As I wrote in the FNCE post, Ellen Shanley and Colleen Thompson are two University of Connecticut dietetics professors. Ellen is also a member of the American Dietetic Association‘s Nominating Committee and Colleen is the president of the Connecticut Dietetic Association. Talk about experts in their field!

Colleen signing my copy:


Displaying my very own signed copy at FNCE!

(Before I begin, I want to emphasize that I am not being paid to write a review – you know, free will and all that 🙂 )

Fueling the Teen Machine” is an excellent resource for teens AND parents. Colleen and Ellen take teens seriously: they refuse to talk down to their readers, instead providing practical information in a fun and engaging manner.

The book begins with an overview of the basics: food groups, physical activity, and weight management. Next up are chapters with intriguing titles, such as “Find Your Fuel”, “Vitamins and Minerals”, and “Let’s Move” – all written with the modern teen in mind. They offer up-to-date suggestions for healthy living, such as texting to help encourage exercise and mobile phone apps for everything from meal tracking to activity-logging. Did you know you can even download a pedometer app to keep track of the number of steps you take per day? I particularly liked their charts that condense info into bite-sized portions: for example, the many “to do” and “top ten” lists offer a lot of info in a short time, which is perfect for busy teens. I know I’ll be using their “10 Ways to Stay Motivated to Move” list!

The book has a helpful BMI chart on page 55 that requires no calculations: all you do find your weight and trace your finger up to your height to estimate your BMI. Ellen and Colleen emphasize the fact that a teen’s healthy weight may be different than his or her friends’ healthy weights or the healthy weights of other people they know. This section is great for teens who often compare themselves to others and may help with self-acceptance. In addition, they emphasize that even if a teen’s BMI is high, he or she may be at healthy weight if, for example, he or she is muscular (great for student athletes!). It’s not all about the numbers, folks!

Colleen and Ellen also do a great job talking about special issues for teens, such as body fat and adolescent girls, and athletes who want to “make weight” (and who might harm their bodies at the same time!). In their “Eating Disorders” chapter, they give clear explanations of different eating disorders, ways to identify them, and where to get help. I love the term “Twinkie vegetarian” in the “Vegetarianism” chapter – you’ll just have to read the book to find out what it means! 😉

Athletes will enjoy the “Sports Nutrition” chapter and its guide on what to eat before, during, and after exercise, as well as the section on performance supplements, like creatine and sports bars. The book even has a “Funky Foods” chapter about herbal remedies, superfoods, and functional foods, including the dos and don’ts of using herbal remedies (which are increasingly popular these days). Check out the chart of functional foods (such as carrots, oats, broccoli, and yogurt) and their health benefits on pages 121-122.

The “Fast Facts on Fast Foods” chapter is important for teens who often eat out at fast food places. Instead of swearing off fast food, which is unrealistic for many teens, the authors help teens make healthy choices when they go out to eat. The chart on page 128 gives healthy choices at specific fast food joints, like McDonald’s and Wendy’s. By giving them knowledge, Collen and Ellen empower teens to make their own choices.

The book ends with chapters on meal planning and cooking that offer quick meal suggestions, as well as break down the Nutrition Facts label. The book contains a concise Food Label Terms chart on page 161, explaining what terms like “low-calorie” and “high fiber” actually mean. There’s even a section on food safety – a subject that I knew very little about until I started studying nutrition! Finally, the book gives nearly 75 pages of simple healthy recipes for teens and adults. How many teen nutrition guides have a whole cookbook in them?

“Fueling the Teen Machine” is a great for everyone, even adults! It offers a helpful overview of everything you wanted to know about nutrition, including what to eat and how to move. I can see teens using the book as a jumping off point to read more about the topics in which they are most interested. If you’re looking for a fun, informative nutrition and physical activity book for your teen, check this book out! You can buy the book on Amazon here.

Until next time, have a great week!

Q: What’s the most interesting thing you did over the past few weeks?


  1. Sounds like a great book, and as for interesting, I would say everything that happens on this island is interesting. I passed a man riding a horse drawn carriage and he was serious about his mode of transportation while I felt bad passing him with my update version of a car. I would say there is never anything less than interesting around here. It is Hanukkah right now so I have been getting good gifts each night.

  2. J,

    First off, best of luck with the move and the new place. Now, what a well-written review. Fantastic job. It is imperative to improve the youth’s healthy living habits. The longer we let young people develop bad habits, the harder it will be to break them. I am amazed at how many people know so little about proper nutrition.

    Best thing I did the last few weeks? Make my mojo jelly, that was amazing!

    Be Good

  3. Yay, glad to see you posting, Jessie! We missed you. 😉 Both of your turkeys look mighty delicious! (Smoked turkey, mmm…I think I need a smoker, lol!) Hope your move is as hassle-free as possible…and I hope you enjoy decorating your new place!

    Great review! It definitely sounds like teens and adults alike would benefit from this book…I’m pretty interested in the sports nutrition chapter, actually. (I enjoy working out in the morning, pretty much within half an hour of waking — so basically before breakfast. For the longest time I wasn’t eating anything before my workouts. Not good, I know. 🙁 My workouts usually left me feeling ravenous and lightheaded. I just wasn’t really sure what to eat before a workout, because on the other end of the spectrum, if I eat a regular meal before a workout I feel nauseous. About 6 months ago I started having something small — like a date and a small handful of almonds or an apple and an ounce of cheese — before my workouts and it’s made all the difference in the world. I would absolutely love to learn more about this topic though! Thanks for sharing the book with us, I’m definitely going to check it out!)

  4. Well watching tennis players chow down bananas in between sets I would guess that when working out one needs something that releases energy very quickly, and also lots lots of fluids to make up for lost water through sweating.

    Dear Jess your Thanksgiving sounds like it was a great experience with two smoked turkeys!! I’m not a turkey fan in general (I find the meat too dry and tasteless once it’s cooked as much as I like it) but smoked anything is always better than plain anything. 🙂

    The book sounds very interesting, and something that might have saved me the cost of going to a diaetician for a year had I known about it! Great review!! You should do more of those 🙂 (and maybe not just books about food and healthy eating?)

    The most interesting thing I did in the past few weeks hmmm… well, as I celebrate no Thanksgiving or Hanukkah there was no major celebration for me, just work work work and waiting waiting waiting for answers,I guess the most interesting thing I did was cook an old favourite for the first time! My very first pasta Bolognese! And surprisingly it was so good I wish I my mum would taste it!!!

  5. Hey Jessie,

    Definitely LTNType! Figured you were busy with moving. Gary and I have moved many times too and know what chaos things can be in.

    What? Was just offering a nice place for your big green egg to stay during all the chaos of moving. We wouldn’t want you to misplace such a gem like that. Just know that we’ll always have a special place for it in our home if you ever get tired of moving it :-D. By the way, you never did mention which turkey you liked better.they both look great. Oh, and I’ll always see it as a big green golf ball…teehee.

    Great book review, Jessie. Now you’ve got me curious as to what a twinkie vegetarian is. Seeing that it’s a health book, I don’t that it would refer to one who only eats twinkies? At least that’s the first thing that popped into my mind. I really liked the fact that this guide even has a whole cookbook in it. A lot of the times teens eat out because they don’t know what to make at home. The cookbook is a great idea to guide them in the right direction. This book would be a great gift or stocking stuffer for anyone looking to start a healthier lifestyle. Thanks for introducing me to this book, Jessie!

    I’ve been really wanting to take the kiddies out for sledding but am still trying to get over a nasty cold…sigh. So cookie making with Valerie couldn’t have come at a better time. Hope to get my post up soon, but this cold is really draining me. Good luck with the rest of the moving and unpacking!

    1. I guess I never did say which turkey was better, did I? Good catch! I think the BGE smoked turkey was unanimously voted the best (except by Peter – go figure).

      Get lots of rest if you can! I hope you feel 100% better soon!

  6. Yay for a bigger kitchen space! I assume you would have a bigger kitchen space coz that’s a reason of moving right? hehe

    Wow that’s a serious smoked turkey! Hey, I have the DSRL myself and I love it. HOwever, i’m no good. I use mostly auto mode! Great book review by the way and good luck with the move, Jessie!

  7. Cool Jessie! I bet the Turkeys were tasty! We deep-fried again this year. Not as grandiose as an operation as last year for us – so we’re gonna put to rest the deep frying for a while.

    Most interesting thing… I went out for the first time in a while and I got a girl’s number, hahahah. Oh I do have to tell you she’s half-Japanese and told me I’m a hot Asian, she guessed that I’m Korean, and told me I’m too hot to be Chinese. Sorta insulted, but very interesting XD, and this happened in the bathroom of a club.

    Oh, so something that’s been on my mind that I thought you might have some expertise from class. Do you know the proper protocol on safe food handling and storage. Like do you have to to let food cool before putting it away? My google searches I’m not too sure and government websites a little fuzzy.

    1. Haha, oh Sandy. Only you 😉

      Food safety is such a huge topic. In terms of storing leftovers, letting your food cool down a bit before putting it in the fridge is a great idea. Putting really hot food into a fridge will heat up the area around it and make the fridge work harder to stay cool. It’s also bad for the food around it! You don’t have to wait until your food is completely cool before putting it into the fridge – just not blazing hot.

      Here’s a website with a great food safety guide if you’re interested: http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/index.html

  8. Great review – I agree with Samantha and I wish I’d read something like this when I was a teenager. But nope, we had useful classes like Calligraphy instead. 🙂

  9. Wow! You have been busy! Turkeys..moving! Wow! I hope you’re enjoying the new place! The book sounds fabulous, by the way!

  10. Well someone has been crazy busy lately! So much BGE fun. And awesome photos. And moving (ugh moving. Hate it.). But I’m glad to hear you’re doing okay!

    Loved the book review. It’s really good to have a resource like that for teens. I remember thinking I knew everything about what was healthy but really knowing nothing. Good stuff.

  11. I always love when you include pics of Maddie! I am crossing my fingers for a DSLR camera for Christmas. I am sure it takes time to get taking good pictures down.
    That book sounds great! I love how they mentioned that teens shouldn’t compare their weights to their friends. That is so true but something I am sure most teens do not do.

  12. Wow! You’ve definitely been busy! I think you’re extremely lucky to be married to such a great chef. And I also bet you’re one of the few people who enjoyed a BGE smoked turkey on Thanksgiving. I hope it was delicious!

    Congrats on the big move…and good luck! I know that moving and unpacking/re-organizing can be a bit stressful. I hope that’s all going well and you are starting to feel more settled in your new place.

  13. You’ve definitely been busy.. especially with TWO turkeys 😉

    Hope you have settled well into your new home too, I usually dread moving but in the end it’s such a great opportunity to give stuff away I donä’t need and re-evaluate all my stuff, it’s like a new beginning in life.

    I think the most interesting thing I did was London.. what a GREAT city!

    Enjoy your weekend and thank you for your lovely words on my blog, I appreciate it! 🙂

  14. I hope you are settling in well with your move 🙂 Great review and now that my teen niece is living with me I just may need my own copy 😉
    The most interesting thing I have done is fight with my computer and blackberry simultaneously 🙁

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