Cheryl Forberg is hanging out in my kitchen today, chatting about her good old Midwest food favorites, and why she’s jumping on the backyard chickens bandwagon.
Cheryl Forberg, RD, is the nutritionist for The Biggest Loser and co-creator of the eating plan. A James Beard Award–winning chef, she is the author of Positively Ageless (Rodale, 2008), The Biggest Loser: 30-Day Jump Start (Rodale, 2009) and The Biggest Loser: 6 Weeks to a Healthier You (Rodale, 2010). She is on the Advisory Board for Prevention magazine and is a graduate of the University of California–Berkeley. You can find out more about her at Cheryl Forberg.com.
Why is living organic important to you?
Organic living is a statement of who I am personally and professionally. My platform and my motto are “The quality of our calories is as important as the quantity.” I know that I am in a very powerful position to influence the food choices that thousands of people make, and I take that responsibility very seriously. Choosing and recommending foods that are nutritious for our bodies and our health goes hand in hand with living an organic lifestyle.
What was your favorite food growing up?
Being raised in the Midwest (Minnesota), I was not nearly as spoiled as I am now in Napa, California. Our fruit and vegetable varieties were very limited (Delicious apples and Iceberg lettuce!), and one of my favorite memories was having freshly picked raspberries, enjoying the natural sweetness, from my grandmother’s garden in Wisconsin.
What’s your go-to comfort food now?
I still love raspberries—who doesn’t? But now that I’m a chef and enjoy cooking whenever and wherever I can, I would have to say that many of my favorite foods contain barbecue sauce—I love it!
Here’s a recipe for it from Positively Ageless (one of Cheryl’s previous books)
Makes 16 servings (2 Tablespoons each), or 1 quart
This flavorful sauce is a snap to make and keeps well in the fridge. Slather it on chicken or turkey breasts or use as a condiment. If you can’t find fire-roasted tomatoes, canned or fresh tomatoes work well. They just won’t have the smoky tang.
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
3 cups (28 ounces) finely chopped fire-roasted tomatoes
½ cup fresh lime juice
½ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup agave nectar
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1. Heat the oil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes, or until soft and translucent.
2. Stir in the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened; do not brown.
3. Add the tomatoes, lime juice, vinegar, agave, and chili powder and simmer for 20 minutes. Cool.
4. Transfer to the jar of a blender or bowl of a food processor and blend or process until smooth. Transfer to a glass jar and refrigerate.
Chili factoid: Compounds found in chili powder have antioxidant effects and may be helpful in controlling blood sugar for diabetics.
Nutrient analysis per serving: 69 calories, 1 grams (g) protein, 14 g carbohydrates, 2 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 1 g monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams (mg) omega-3s, 1 g fiber, 10 g sugar, 49 mg sodium
What’s the one thing in your kitchen you just couldn’t live without?
I think I would really be in trouble without my food processor. It seems that I use it several times a day—it’s such a time-saver.
What magazine, website, book, album, or product are you most obsessed with right now?
My BL coauthor, Melissa Roberson, gave me a book called Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens by Gail Damerow [Storey Publishing, 1995] for my birthday this year. I am really excited about it, as I just bought my first farm and can’t wait to have fresh omega-3–rich eggs for breakfast. Yes, I’ll be feeding the chickens flaxseed or whatever it is I need to do to enrich their yolks with antiaging omega-3s!
Where do you get your news?
As much as I love reading an old-fashioned newspaper now and then, I must admit that I am an Internet news junkie, and I have lots of favorite bookmarks I use to catch up on the latest each morning with my coffee. Some favorites are CNN Health, Web MD, The New York Times, Huffington Post, and Forbes.com.
All you need to do to get eggs with lots of healthy omega-3-fatty acids is raise them out on grass! No special food-supplements needed. Tests by both Mother Earth News and Penn State confirm this. An easy way to give hens access to fresh grass and weeds while keeping them safe and out of trouble is to keep them in a bottomless pen you can scoot onto fresh grass every day or so. Pens like this are colloquilly known as a “chicken tractors” and you can buy some nice ones readymade or build one yourself. Maria can give you my contact info if you’d like more details
Thanks Cheryl for stopping by to my kitchen! I’m definitely going to try that BBQ sauce recipe.
But Jean, I would have told her to talk to you about where to find a chicken tractor! 🙂
And here I am, the frustrated chicken wanna-be owner. But living in a New Jersey condo, I am going to have to get my chicken thrills vicariously through my friend Cheryl. Loved this blog.
Good Morning Maria!
Thanks again for inviting me to your kitchen! Hope to meet you on one of my upcoming trips to New York
Happy Day – Cheryl