Cassie Tucker

An Amazing Girl Who Does Good

November 10, 2011 at 10:29 am , by

Photo credit: Taylor Family

It’s hard to preach positivity when you think about the state of our economy or the rising cost of gas (don’t even get me started)! Yet here at LHJ, we like to spend our time commending people who make a positive impact on the world. I am inspired by fifteen year-old Hannah Taylor from Canada. At age 8, she started the Ladybug Foundation to help the homeless and “connect even more hearts in caring for each other.”  Today, Hannah’s Ladybug Foundation supports over 50 shelters, missions, soup kitchens and food banks across Canada. The most remarkable aspect of Hannah is her humble nature. As she told me, she hopes “to be remembered as an ordinary human being who believes in the power of caring.”

To learn more about this amazing girl—and maybe inspire your own kids to do good—grab your teenage daughters and sons and check out the documentary Hannah’s Story, which airs this Sunday, November 14th at 10:00 p.m. EST on the Documentary Channel. [For more information or to request DOC in your area, you can visit]. It is impossible not to be inspired by Hannah. She’s proof of how much impact one little girl can make when she has a big heart.

Get in the Kitchen for a Healthier Heart

October 7, 2011 at 11:49 am , by

I never cook. I’m a busy college student—between classes and commuting to New York City for my internship here at LHJ, I just don’t have time. But this week, LHJ sent me into the kitchen. I got to go to the American Heart Association’s launch event for the Simple Cooking with Heart campaign. The AHA partnered with celebrity chef Marc Anthony Bynum (that’s him in the middle, with me on the left and editorial assistant Amelia Harnish on the right), a winner on the Food Network’s Chopped, to give a group of journalists a cooking class. After a quick lesson in knife skills, we made two of the easy, tasty and healthy recipes from the campaign to get families back into the kitchen.

On the menu was Asian-style noodles paired with Asian coleslaw. We started with the dressing for the coleslaw: low-sodium soy sauce, red pepper flakes, sugar, olive oil and vinegar. Then I learned how to seed a cucumber and the easiest way to chop a red pepper: just slice the sides off and throw away the rest. I felt like a real chef!

After that, we moved on to the noodles, which just took mixing ramen, chicken broth, a little bit of garlic, mixed vegetables (a bag of frozen is fine) and a lean cut of pork in a skillet. Bring to a boil. You can substitute any protein you want—chicken, beef, shrimp—and it’s still heart healthy. The whole thing took a little over 30 minutes.

Easy! After the cooking fun, I was able to bask, as well as feast, in my accomplishments. I wolfed down the meal I created and I realized I should definitely be cooking more. It felt good knowing that I had made something myself. If I can do it, you can, too. It’s fun, and a good way to slim down.

“Just getting back to home cooking can lead to healthier diets because restaurant foods are always higher in fat and sodium,” says Rachel K. Johnson, Ph.D., professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont and an AHA spokesperson.

Here are Dr. Johnson’s tips for getting back into the kitchen:

  • Try new things to find good, simple recipes that the whole family enjoys.
  • Make a shopping list to save time.
  • Get your kids involved. They’re more likely to eat healthy food if they’ve participated in the kitchen.

You can find lots of quick, good-for-you recipes at the Simple Cooking with Heart website to get started (Click here and here for the recipes we made at the event). Head to their website, and commit to cooking more. It’s the first step to a healthier heart!