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Cook's Corner

  • Juice shop owners have big dreams
    Dani McGuire and Julia Haller are excited about Friday. The two will celebrate the grand opening of their business, Jai Juice and Cafe, of which they are co-founders. It’s located at 1301 Lafayette St.
  • Juice shop owners have big dreams
    Dani McGuire and Julia Haller are excited about Friday. The two will celebrate the grand opening of their business, Jai Juice and Cafe, of which they are co-founders. It’s located at 1301 Lafayette St.
  • Baker feeds customers, family from the oven
    Krysta Young of Fort Wayne has been baking cakes out of her home for a while.
I still want to learn…
A. To preserve stuff from my own garden.
I can’t wait to…
A. Run outside, and I’m anxious to go on vacation with just my husband this fall. We’ll celebrate our 10th anniversary.
Diana Parker | The Journal Gazette
LeAnn Nome of Fort Wayne serves healthy meals and treats such as a Purple Superfood Smoothie.

Mother offers healthier choices for family

– LeAnn Nome leads an active lifestyle with her husband, Jeff, and three children.

When she decided to extend those healthy habits to the kitchen, the 31-year-old Allen County woman started doing research and came across the website 100 Days of Real Food.

“I used to think that all those fake food ingredients we needed, and I learned they’re in there because it’s cheap,” says Nome, whose daughter Kaia is 5 and twin boys, Spencer and Jase, are 3.

The a stay-at-home mother decided to eliminate processed foods from their home and document the journey on her blog,

“Because I knew sharing it with others would help keep me accountable, especially in the beginning. I hoped to inspire others to make changes, as well,” she states.

Since changing what she feeds her family, Nome is finding her children often ask for healthier food choices. As she says this, Jase asks his mother for raisins to snack on.

“My kids love the fruits and vegetables and cheese,” she says, handing him a few raisins.

“Because they’re young, I tell them what I put in the smoothies,” she says. “They don’t associate colors with healthy foods. I don’t think I could do it if they were teenagers.”

Nome says she chooses organic when cooking and baking.

“Simple swaps are easy,” she says. “If a recipe calls for sugar, I use honey or maple syrup. I don’t use vegetable oil or canola oil. I only use coconut oil and olive oil – on occasion, sesame oil. As far as flours, I use white whole wheat. I have not bought a loaf of bread for almost a whole year. I make a loaf of sandwich bread every three days. I try to avoid the white sugar and flour.”

Nome is happy with the results from the blog.

“Along with my blog being a creative outlet for me, it’s also been very motivational. The positive feedback I receive on the blog and on specific recipes is so exciting for me and it definitely keeps me going. Also, I try new foods and new ingredients more often because of my blog. It’s been fun and very educational. I’ve enjoyed every second,” she says.

She’s also enjoys the feedback she receives from others.

“There’s nothing more exciting to me than they’ve tried a recipe and their picky 2-year-old would eat it. And they’ve thanked me. It’s rewarding when people tell me that they’ve made changes,” she says.

Q. What’s your favorite cookbook?

A. I have a few. I do look at my Betty Crocker to get the basics. I find most of my recipes online. Most of the time I get (recipes) from other blogs. I’ll find a recipe that looks good, and I’ll clean it up. But a lot of the smoothies, I just make up. I see an idea for corn bread and I’ll tweak it so much that it becomes an original of mine.

Q. What’s your favorite vegetable?

A. I don’t know if I have a favorite. Lately, it’s the red and yellow bell peppers. But it might change in a few … .

Q. What’s your favorite cooking utensil?

A. Oh, my olive oil sprayer.

Q. What’s something people would not find in your refrigerator?

A. Store-bought salad dressings. Skim milk. We only drink whole milk. I’ve got homemade ice cream in my freezer, frozen fruit and homemade foods I’ve made. Nothing artificial.

Q. What one word describes your cooking style?

A. Simple. Yes. I don’t like a lot of fuss in my recipes. I have three small children. My recipes are pretty basic. I don’t do gourmet meals. I do easy-to-put-together meals.

Q. What advice would you give beginner cooks?

A. To not be afraid to try new recipes and read labels. If you see something on the label that you wouldn’t cook with, put it back on the shelf.

Purple Superfood Smoothie

2 bananas (1 frozen, 1 fresh)

5 cubes of frozen pomegranate juice (juice frozen in ice cube trays)

1 to 2 large handfuls (2 cups) of organic baby spinach

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

2 handfuls (about 3/4 cup) of organic blackberries

2 tablespoons chia seeds

Blend together and enjoy. Makes one large or two small servings.

Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix

4 tablespoons chili powder

4 teaspoons ground cumin

4 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Shake together in container. Makes 4 (2-tablespoon) servings. To use: Brown one pound of ground beef (grass-fed is ideal). Add 1/4 cup water and 1 to 2 tablespoons taco mix (depending on if you want more or less spice). Stir until well blended. Use as indicated in recipe.

Green Breakfast Smoothie

1/4 cup apple juice (only ingredient: organic apples)

4 cups organic spinach – fill the blender all the way to the top

Handful (1 cup) of frozen mango chunks

Handful (1 cup) of frozen pineapple chunks

2 ripe bananas

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons chia seeds

Splash of milk, as needed, to achieve desired consistency

Add the juice and spinach to the blender. Blend together. (This will help to break the spinach down to very small pieces.) Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Makes 2 servings.

Oatmeal Pancakes

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1/4 cup oat flour

3/4 cup rolled oats

1 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

2 cups organic whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients. In a smaller, microwave-safe bowl, whisk together milk, maple syrup, vanilla and almond extract. Warm slightly in the microwave. Add melted coconut oil and whisk together. Pour wet ingredients into dry and thoroughly mix together. Pour onto hot griddle. Cook until edges start to look dry and top is bubbled. Flip and cook other side. Serve with maple syrup, if desired. Makes 18 pancakes.

Graham Crackers

2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup organic butter, melted

1/2 cup honey

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon molasses

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place a large sheet of parchment paper (or a silicone baking mat) on a cookie sheet. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Stir together the wet ingredients in another bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until a ball forms. Place the ball on cookie sheet and roll with a rolling pin until you have a large rectangle, just less than 1/4 -inch thick. (Note: Nome used a piece of wax paper on top so the dough didn’t stick to her rolling pin.) Using a pizza cutter, cut the crackers into 2 1/2 -by-2 1/2 -inch squares. Pierce the tops of the crackers with a fork to create the graham cracker look. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes or until edges just start to brown and then turn off the oven. Keep the graham crackers in the oven, with the door cracked open, for an additional 5 minutes. After they’re out of the oven, re-cut and let cool on a wire rack. Makes 2 dozen.

Cook’s Corner is a weekly feature. If you know of someone to be profiled, write to Cook’s Corner, The Journal Gazette, P.O. Box 88, Fort Wayne, IN 46801-88; fax 461-8648 or email