I am a busy working mom, and like everyone, I want and need to eat good food for health, energy and well-being. As a personal trainer and fitness instructor, I also want to set a good example for my members and clients. But I also really love to eat. I love to try new foods and share food with others, and it’s one of the ways I show my family that I love them.

Gone are the days of leisurely grocery shopping and sipping a glass of wine while chopping and sautéing. Now I work until 5:30 p.m. or later most nights, and then the kids have sports, which means we have a very small window in which to prepare and scarf down supper. 

Like most families, we are on a budget, which means that eating out every night just isn’t in the cards. So how can we feed our families healthy food with time and budget limitations?


When we arrive at Forager Brewing Company, Trivia Night is well underway. The Kutzky Market room is filled with small groups bellied up to tables, pens and answer sheets ready. The wait staff is bustling back and forth with drinks and food. A second room has opened up to handle the overage of trivia enthusiasts waiting to find a seat. The air is awaft with anticipation as our trivia master hurries between rooms announcing each question.

“What is a monophobe fear?” he asks. I smile at my teammates and grab the pen. I know the answer to this one. 


The idea of hosting a trivia night at brew pubs and bars began in 2006 in Minneapolis. It originally took place on Sunday nights, and the event enticed so many participants that it grew into the largest bar trivia company in the Midwest. 


As we head into National Children’s Dental Health Month in February, it comes time to set the record straight about dental health. Katie Post, DDS, of Northwest Dental Group says only 60 percent of the population goes to a dentist on a regular basis. With the remaining 40 percent uninformed, there are some dental health myths to correct.

Those teeth-whitening toothpastes? Not the answer, Post says. Duration of brushing your teeth, two times per day? Two minutes each session. Gatorade? Worse for your teeth than Mountain Dew. As for when kids should start brushing, Post says the earlier the better so children get accustomed to “you being in their mouth.” Once older, there’s no great time to introduce teeth brushing. “As soon as they can run from you, they will,” Post remarks.


Post promotes Children’s Dental Health Month by going to several elementary schools and daycares to talk to kids. She tells them how to properly brush their teeth, talks about the “mean” sugar bug that causes cavities, and allows kids to play with dental instruments and tools. She also discusses what path kids should follow if they’re interested in the dentistry field.


The legendary Pandora’s Box may be one of the most recognized sagas from Greek mythology. Pandora opened the forbidden box given to her by Zeus and, in doing so, unleashed countless ills and catastrophes upon the world. 

What if the worst and final devastation still remained within The Box and, together with Pandora, had survived the generations? Such is the premise of Rochester author Amy Hahn’s newest novella, “Pandora’s Passion.” With this unique premise, Hahn imagines a world where Pandora has survived to modern day and lives out her days in northern Minnesota cursed to guard the last contents of The Box. When the safety of The Box is threatened, she is visited by her immortal love, Prometheus, and together they join forces to protect mankind from the evil-doers who would release its contents. 


The idea to write a love story between Pandora and Prometheus came easily to Hahn, whose interest in Greek mythos led her to take a mythology course in college. She thought, “What if these two tragic characters were passionately in love and had been for centuries? How would that relationship be tested? After all, Pandora nearly destroyed mankind by opening The Box and unleashing evils onto the world, and Prometheus loved mankind so much he gave humans the gift of fire, defying Zeus, the king of the gods, in the process.” 


Villa Bellezza Winery and Vineyards, offering award winning wine and gourmet food, is worth the hour drive any time of year. Make a day of it and get some fresh air and exercise while you’re there this winter.

Villa Bellezza Winery and Vineyards is located in Pepin, Wisconsin. “Bellezza” is the Italian word for “beauty,” which aptly describes Villa Bellezza’s architecture and the surrounding valleys and scenic bluffs. The sprawling southern European-style building includes the tasting room, piazza, catering kitchen, reception hall, generously sized foyer, great hall or ballroom and luxurious apartments, perfect for pre-wedding preparations.


Eighteen years ago, Derick Dahlen, owner and winemaker at Villa Bellezza, met restaurant owners Rosette and Maria in Minneapolis. Rosette and Maria, originally from Calabria, Italy, loved creating savory meals for their customers at Sorrento Cucina. Over the years, the Dahlen family developed a friendship with Rose and her husband, Umberto. Through Rose and Umberto, the Dahlens met the owners of a small farm and vineyard in Zagarollo, Italy. They experienced the delight in handmade things and wanted to create their own legacy.


Participation in the sport of cross-country skiing has increased for high school girls in the last several years. Of the 178 students registered with the Rochester Nordic Ski Team (RNST), 110 are female.  

Paul Ehling, district representative of RNST, says most girls on the team pursue lettering with their high school athletics department, a symbol of commitment and hard work for students. Cross-country skiing is one of the sports a high school girl may letter in after meeting requirements, which include attending practices and competitions, participating in community service and demonstrating proficiency in ski techniques.  


With RNST, students from Rochester area schools in grades 7-12 learn a form of cross-country skiing known as skate skiing. Along the trail they often develop a love for the sport that can be enjoyed for a lifetime.

RNST was founded in 2001 by Henry Walker, Darald Bothum and Michael O’Connor.  It was originally a community education offering, but because interest in the sport grew, the team is now hosted by Rochester Active Sports Club.



A Day in Decorah with or without Kids

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Written by Gina Dewink

Just 70 miles southeast of Rochester sits an alluring town with heritage so rich that it’s gained national notoriety. Thanks to its Norwegian-American charm, “Forbes” magazine named Decorah, Iowa one of “America’s Prettiest Towns.” Whether you’re interested in its natural beauty or its thriving art scene, pack up the family (or leave them at home) and spend a day in Decorah.


“When I’m asked to describe Decorah, I tell visitors it’s vibrant, historic, quaint and filled with energy,” says Charlene Selbee, executive director of Winneshiek County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Selbee’s admiration for the town of around 8,000 residents is clear when asked to name her favorite thing about Decorah. “The art community,” she replies immediately.

Decorah’s main street, Water Street, is lined with local shops. Agora Arts features fine crafts and art created by over 250 American artists. Ace Kitchen Place is a proud supplier of Scandinavian heritage cookware made in Iowa. As their website explains, “If you need help with kransekake, krumkake or lefse, head to Ace Kitchen Place.”



Hugs are Important for your Health and Someone Else

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Written by LuAnn Buechler

"We need 4 hugs a day for survival, 8 hugs a day for maintenance, 12 hugs a day for change, 16 hugs a day for transformation." – Jack Canfield, Author, "Chicken Soup for the Soul"

There is scientific evidence that a hug a day can save your life. “Scientists are increasingly interested in the possibility that positive emotions can be good for your health. Support from a partner, even in a hug from a loved one, can have beneficial effects on heart health,” Dr. Manny Alvarez wrote for Fox News. Hugs may (or may not) be your norm with friends and family, but everyone could use a hug from time to time. 


Everyone I meet knows that I am a hugger, more so now than ever. For the last three years, I have been wearing a pin that says iHug™. It is an experiment to see how people react. Some look at it like it is promoting some type of technology. You can see the wheels turning in their mind…iPad, iPod, iHug? As they say it to themselves, it hits them, and they will throw out their arms with a big “I hug too” for a warm embrace. In other cases, it is a warning to people that I am coming in for a hug. If you wish to avoid it, you’ll need to stop me. 



I Am Grateful For My Friends

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Written by Jorrie Johnson

I appreciate my work-from-home business and lifestyle, but as telecommuters and home-based business owners understand, isolation can become depressing. When my boys went back to school this fall I decided to combat the loneliness. I invited friends and readers to join me for coffee at Dunn Bros. Coffee on Mondays from 9-11 a.m. Thank you to all of the women who came to talk with me about RochesterWomen magazine and your business and life.

I also co-hosted Women Wisdom Workshops with Adrienne Sweeney of the Commonweal Theatre at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Assisi Heights and Madonna Towers. Combined, we talked with more than 100 women about relationships, choices/decisions, aging and memories. The conversations we had with women were real, sincere and meaningful. 



Spreading Light and Joy: B'nai Israel Synagogue Hanukkah Celebration

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Written by Gina Dewink Photography by Alex Lupu

Traditional songs, community gathered together, candlelight—these are some of the major elements of the annual Hanukkah celebration at B'nai Israel Synagogue (BIS), Dan Abraham Jewish Cultural Center In Rochester.

Rabbi Michelle Werner defines Hanukkah as a “minor holiday in the cycle of the Jewish year.” So, why all the fanfare and festivities? Congregation member Ana Folpe explains, “Hanukkah falls into the time of other solstice and 'light holidays' and has become popular as a result.” This year the annual Festival of Lights celebration runs from December 24 to January 1, the eight days and nights of Hanukkah.


Hanukkah, which means “rededication” in Hebrew, is a celebration of the Maccabees regaining control of Jerusalem and rededicating the Second Temple. Despite having only enough altar oil for one day, the Temple's flame continued to burn for eight days. 


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