Grow Your Own Herbs!

24 Apr cutherbs_scissors



Tuesday was Earth Day!  I love this day for lots of reasons. One reason is that it reminds me spring is here, and warmer days are ahead.  With the arrival of spring, I planted herbs over the weekend.  Herbs are easy to grow. It is hard for even me to kill them!  By growing my own, I save money and avoid waste. Purchasing fresh herbs can cost anywhere between $2.00 to $3.00 a package, and they may spoil before I can use them.  I planted marjoram, parsley, oregano, thyme, cilantro, rosemary, and basil.  Choose anything that you like. You may purchase herb plants with your SNAP benefits at local farmers’ markets or you can grow your own from seeds. Herbs grow well in your yard or in a pot if you live in an apartment.

Getting started:

Pots (6 to 8 inches)
Potting soil
Small hand shovel or spoon
Rocks, gravel, or broken clay potsHerb-Window-Sill-Garden-5-550x368


  1. Place a few rocks in the bottom of the pot. This help with drainage.
  2. Using your spoon or shovel, fill the pot with soil (leave two to three inches at the top).
  3. Place four or five seeds in each pot.
  4. Cover seeds with ½ inch of soil.
  5. Moisten with water.

cutherbs_scissorsONIE Tip: Harvest leaves by cutting with scissors.

To help plants grow and stay healthy, water regularly and place in an area with plenty of sun. It may help to turn the plant pots to keep plants growing evenly on all sides.  When the plants reach about 6 to 8 inches, you can begin to harvest the leaves for cooking.  Herbs are easy to use in cooking, and pair well with many different foods. For example, marjoram pairs well with chicken, carrots, corn, green beans, and peas.

Karla and the ONIE Project

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Healthy Easter Muffins

16 Apr IMAG0240



At my family Easter potlucks we always have a lot of tasty and wonderful desserts. Because my cooking skills have improved since I started at ONIE, I decided that I would like to add to the dessert menu at our family potluck this year. I knew I wanted to bring something that was sweet yet good for my family as well. Here at the ONIE Project we created a healthy Easter treat that you can share with your family and friends that includes bananas, apples, and strawberries. They are both yummy and nutritious!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 12 muffins



  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped strawberries
  • 1/4 cup of 1% low fat milk
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose white flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 6 tbsp of mashed banana

Cream Cheese Icing (Optional):

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • .5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 4 oz. fat free cream cheese



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl mix ingredients. Stir ingredients in bowl until completely combined.
  3. Pour mixture into muffin pan. Fill each muffin cup a little over half way full.
  4. Bake for 35 minutes.

Icing (Optional):

  1. Mix cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and water in a small bowl until smooth.
  2. After muffins are cool top with icing. Add extra strawberries to top to decorate!

Note: If you prefer your muffins to be more moist and gooey reduce baking time.

I hope you and your families enjoy this recipe and have a wonderful Easter!

Jade and the ONIE Team  ONIE_logo_tagline small


This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). To find out more, call your local Department of Human Services (DHS) Office at 1.866.411.1877. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.



Let’s Get Ready to Walk a 5K!

9 Apr IMG_2229


 8 Week 5k/ 3.1 Mile Training Plan for Walkers

Registration has opened for the Let’s Get Midwest City Moving Splash Dash 5K on June 22, 2014 at Regional Park. The race is a complete, not compete race; every finisher receives a medal. If you and your family would like to join us, register online. Most people complete the race by walking or by both walking and running. The ONIE team has prepared an easy training plan for walkers; so Let’s Get Moving!

Week 1: Walk 15 minutes (min) at an easy pace 5 days this week.
Week 1 Goal: 60 to 75 min

ONIE Tip: Spread out rest days, an example would be walk Monday and Tuesday, rest on Wednesday.

Week 2: Walk 20 min at an easy pace 5 days this week.
Week 2 Goal: 75 -100 min

ONIE Tip: Stretch before and after each walk.

Week 3: Walk 25 min at a moderate pace 5 days this week
Week 3 Goal: 100-125 min

ONIE Tip: Expect breathing to be heavier but not out of breath.


Week 4: Walk 30 min at a moderate pace 4 days this week (short walk). Build mileage on the 5th walking day by adding 10 min to your walk (long walk).Keep your long walk to an easy pace.

Week 4 Goal: 125-150 min

ONIE Tip: Remember to bring water, sip throughout the walk to stay hydrated.

Week 5: Walk 30 min at a moderate pace 4 days this week (short walk). Build mileage on the 5th walking day, by adding 15 min to your walk (long walk). 
Week 5 Goal: 145-165 min

ONIE TipBuild speed on your shorter walks by focusing on your form. Stand straight, extend your leg as you step forward to make each stride longer, and step forward by rolling from the heel of your foot to the toe. Pump your arms back and forth to push yourself forward.MOTWalkWay225

Week 6: Walk 30 min at a moderate pace 4 days this week (short walk). Build mileage on the 5th walking day, try walking 60 min at an easy pace (long walk).
Week 6 Goal: 165- 185 min

ONIE Tip: Congratulations! At this point in your training, you are able to complete the 5K. Keep walking at this rate and race day will be easier, and more enjoyable!

Weeks 7-8: Train 5 days a week with 4 (30 min) short walks, and 1 (60+ min) long walk. Continue to build mileage by focusing on your speed, and your form. Remember to space out your rest days.
Week 7 Goal: 165- 185 min

ONIE Tip: It is a great feeling to know you can complete a 5k, try to keep this up throughout the year!

 IMG_2229You got this! Let’s do a 5K (3.1 miles)!!

If you would like to download and print this training plan click here.

See you on June 22, 2014!

 YMCA and ONIE Logo Photo





This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). To find out more, call your local Department of Human Services (DHS) Office at 1.866.411.1877. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


April Recipe of the Month

2 Apr


Cracker Catfish Sticks

(15 minutes)         Servings:  4 to 6             

In just 15 minutes, you can throw together a quick meal for your family. These catfish sticks are tasty, and healthy. In my kitchen, I have most of the ingredients on hand already which makes this recipe a winner for my budget as well.


DSC_0280Non-stick cooking spray
1 lb boneless, skinless catfish fillets, cut crosswise into 1-inch strips
¼ cup 1% low-fat milk
2 Tbsp mustard
2 Tbsp honey
1 cup whole-wheat cracker crumbs (about 28 crackers)
½ tsp dried thyme
1 tsp paprika, divided
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp ground chili powder

Preparation:Cracker Catfish Sticks Label Cropped

  1.       Preheat oven to 450° F. Cover a large baking sheet with foil and mist with cooking spray.
  2.       In a small bowl, mix 1% low-fat milk, mustard, and honey. Coat catfish strips with mixture.
  3.       In a large plastic bag, combine cracker crumbs, thyme, paprika and cayenne.
  4.       Place coated strips into crumb mixture, shake bag to completely cover.
  5.       Place catfish on baking sheet and mist tops with cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.
  6.       Refrigerate left overs within 2-3 hours.

ONIE Tip: Serve catfish with sautéed greens. Rinse, tear leaves away from stem, and chop leaves to prepare fresh greens. Spray a large skillet with cooking oil and heat on high. Add chopped garlic, a pinch of pepper flakes, and greens. Cook 2 to 5 minutes or until tender. Serve.

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From the ONIE test kitchen with love and all kinds of well wishes for you this spring.



Stretch Your Food Dollar!

26 Mar SNAP Benefits


The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP benefits is designed to help your family stretch the money it has to pay for food.  We all need food that is healthy and good for us. Yet, sometimes we make trade-offs to pay the rent, utilities, or other expenses. Things can get even tighter when faced Sick child wiping his nosewith unplanned expense, like your child getting sick or a flat tire. To ease the stress, SNAP benefits are paid monthly, and are placed on an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card. At the grocery store, the card is swiped just like a credit or debit card to pay for the food items such as vegetables, breads and cereals, fruits, milk, and meat. SNAP benefits can also be used to purchase plants and seeds used to growFood-Stamps---Generic1-jpg food. SNAP benefits can also be spent at your local farmers’ market where locally grown fruit and vegetables are sold (Stay tuned for future posts, and we will let you know when the Oklahoma markets open)!

The truth is that many people qualify for SNAP benefits, but do not know it. You can receive SNAP benefits if you own your home, car, or if you SNAP Benefitsget paid in cash. The amount of SNAP benefits vary depending on the size of your family, and your income. The application is on-line or at your local Oklahoma Department of Health and Human Service (DHS) office. You can avoid waiting in a long line by calling for an appointment with a caseworker. When applying, a social security number is required for everyone in your household that will receive benefits.

Here is a free on-line calculator can help you determine if you might qualify for SNAP benefits or other resources like Sooner Care, reduced or free school lunch, and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children’s nutrition program). To get started, you will need the amount of income from wages, child support, or other sources, as well as household expenses like rent, utilities, and phone. You can find out more information about SNAP by going to the Oklahoma DHS website, calling the state DHS office at 405-521-3646, or going to the ONIE website. 

We all need a little help sometimes, let SNAP benefits help keep your family healthy and strong.

From your ONIE project team.

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Change it up!

19 Mar IMG_4652

National Nutrition Month Celebrates Good Nutrition All Year Long!

March is National Nutrition Month, one of our favorite holidays; we wanted to share a few new tricks and tips for every day eating!  One of my favorite tips is that small changes can make a BIG difference! You don’t have to have a “perfect” diet to be healthy. In my opinion, a “perfect” diet does not actually exist.  Rather, make a few simple substitutions that fit your life.  Those small savings add up over time to make a big difference.  Whether it is calories, saturated fat, sodium, or another nutrient that you want to limit, every effort counts.

First let’s talk about some simple substitutions that are easy, comparable in price and don’t alter the taste too much! Below you can see our Change it Up, A healthy twist to favorite family recipes, handout.

Change it Up

Choosing lower fat versions of foods such as low-fat dairy or leaner meats is a simple way to make any dish healthier without changing the overall recipe.  Other changes such as using bananas when baking cakes and cookies in place of butter can lower the calorie and fat in a big way.  From my family’s experience, no one can even tell I made the change to bananas. Let’s face it; some foods are never going to be an essential part of a healthy diet.  But, it doesn’t mean we can’t try to make a substitution!

Take mayonnaise for example, a serving size is just 1 Tablespoon and regular mayo provides a whopping 90 calories and 10 grams of fat.  For the same price and no big change in taste you can use olive oil mayo instead. Olive oil mayo only has 35 calories and 3 grams of fat.

Below you can see a common recipe we all know, Tuna Sandwich, and see the difference a few changes can make with keeping the same taste!

Tuna salad comparison 3

Look at that difference. Almost 100 calories less and half of the fat! This is for just one meal.  If we all did these little changes each day, it could make a big difference!  What I’m trying to say is it is not always about the big changes in what you eat. Instead, take on small changes that are doable for you. It is important to remember not to get bogged down by the numbers. Look at the numbers, see the benefits of trying a healthy substitute and make a decision! Only you can decide what is doable for your life!  Remember, diet is what you eat every day, not what you restrict.  So look at your current diet, look for a few healthy modifications that are simple to do and let the good nutrition begin!

Hope you have a healthy National Nutrition Month!


P.S. Another way to make the tuna sandwich even healthier, swap out the bread for celery sticks or use non-fat Greek yogurt instead of mayo.

Spring Forward

12 Mar Let's Get Midwest City Moving - Spring Forward 5K

Let's Get Midwest City Moving - Spring Forward 5K

More than 560 racers, 90 volunteers, 24 sponsors, and 18 vendors joined together on March 9th, 2014 to make the Spring Forward 5k and Wellness Expo a success. This was the second of a three part race series for the Let’s Get Midwest City Moving initiative. The event was presented by the ONIE Project and the MIDWEST CITY YMCA. It was located in the heart of Midwest City at Joe B. Barnes Regional Park. Almost half of the participants had participated in the first race called the Harvest Hustle. We had a very encouraging group of participants; everyone came proudly wearing their Spring Forward 5k race shirt sponsored by Variety Care. It was inspiring to see all the families, friends, and co-workers cheering everyone on to finish the race; even people they did not know.  Let’s Get Midwest City Moving initiative has such enthusiastic supporters!

Spring Forward 5K Wellness Expo

Before the race began, we had an interactive wellness expo that was an enjoyable experience for all ages.  An assortment of vendors from the Midwest City area put on fun games and activities, gave out helpful health information, and provided wellness screenings. Those attending the Wellness Expo won a “blackout bingo” prize if their bingo card was signed by nine of the vendors. The prize was free first aid kit donated by Walgreens.  Many children and families jump roped with volunteers from the Midwest City Metropolitan Library, and others played with colorful hula hoops. The OU Nutritional Sciences department led a fruit walk; winners chose their favorite fruit as a prize. The American Lung Association helped people exercise their lungs with free balloons. Midwest Regional Medical Center gave blood pressure checks and passed out plastic footballs kids (throwing a football is a fun way to get your heart pumping). Also, there were many wonderfully painted mustaches and other designs worn by those who stopped at the ONIE Project‘s face painting table. All 18 vendors had a unique activity they created to show how being active and healthy is doable and fun!

Spring Forward 5KCollage

Everyone had a great time warming up before the race with the YMCA’s Zumba instructor. The warm-ups was entertaining as well as worth while. After the Zumba warm-up, we gave out awards for the largest group registered-Run Junkees; largest volunteer group- UCO Dietetic Students; most life experienced racer- Denise Foster; youngest racer-Leighton Bryant; and best dressed- the neon-clad Patterson family and spring fairy sisters,  Torie and Jennifer Fuller.

Wellness Expo 2

Participants finished the event with a race medal and a post race celebration hosted by Midwest City Jazzercise. Many participants stayed after they completed the race for a chance to win a prize from the many donated items thanks to Hibbett Sports and Dick’s Sporting Goods. We also had 3 grand prizes: 2- two week unlimited sessions to MWC Jazzercise and 1 six month free family membership to the YMCA.

Spring Forward 5K Volunteers

The Let’s Get Midwest City Moving initiative has been full of fun, excitement, and encouragement. It was no surprise that the Midwest City community and area wellness expo vendors would take on the challenge to show everyone that being healthy and active can be enjoyable!

We want to say thank you again to our sponsors, volunteers, vendors, and of course, our participants for helping make the Spring Forward 5k and Wellness Expo a success!  Hundreds of pictures are on Facebook; we encourage you to tag yourself and your friends and family.We are looking forward to Splash Dash on June 22, 2014. 


  • Variety Care
  • St. Anthony’s Dermatology – Dr. Shelbi Hayes
  • Vision Source Midwest city
  • Buddy’s Produce
  • Great Plains Coca Cola
  • City of Midwest City
  • Addtronics
  • Crest Fresh Market
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods
  • East Word News
  • Hibbett Sports
  • Homeland
  • Jersey Mikes
  • Metro Family Magazine
  • Midwest City Jazzercise
  • Midwest City Library – Metropolitan Library System
  • Midwest Regional Hospital
  • Oklahoma City 7-11Stores
  • ONIE Project
  • Ozarka – Eureka Water Company
  • Panera Bread Company
  • Wal Mart – Del City
  • Walgreens
  • YMCA – Midwest City YMCA

List Wellness Expo Vendors:

  • American Lung Association
  • CASA of Oklahoma County, Inc.
  • Health Source Chiropractic
  • Midwest City Fire Department
  • Midwest City Jazzercise
  • Midwest City Metropolitan Library
  • Midwest City Police Department
  • Midwest City Police Department
  • Midwest Regional Medical Center
  • ONIE Project
  • OU Nutritional Sciences
  • OUHSC Physical Therapy Student Association
  • Spencer Family Dentistry
  • Variety Care
  • Vision Source
  • Walgreens
  • YMCA

YMCA and ONIE Logo Photo

9 Tips to Have a Great Time at Spring Forward

5 Mar

Text Logo HR

IMG_0025It’s race week; just 4 days until Spring Forward.  On March 9, 2014, it is time to set your clocks forward and get moving at MWC Regional Park!

What should I wear?

The weather forecast is the 50s with no chance of rain-perfect for an afternoon in the park. The best advice is to not overdress. Dress as if the weather is 10-15 degrees warmer than it is because you will warm up on the course. By dressing in layers, you can stay warm while hanging around before and after the race. On the course, you can take a layer off and tie it around your waist.

IMG_8921What time should I get there?

The festivities begin at 12:30 p.m.  Show up early and enjoy the games and activities at the Wellness Expo. For those who came last time, expect many new and exciting activities.  The group warm-up begins at 2:30 and the race starts at 3:00 p.m.  Also, if you did pick up your packet on Friday or Saturday, packet-pick up at the race is at 12:30.

What should I eat for lunch?

They key is to avoid any heavy food.  Bagels, bananas, and peanut butter are good choices. These foods give you both a carbohydrate and a protein that will give you energy throughout the whole race; energy that will last. Foods like cheeseburgers, pizzas, and fried foods can give you a stomach ache when you are active; not good.

What should I drink?

Drink water before, during, and after the race. Please bring your own water bottle so you have plenty to drink all day. Drinking water and staying hydrated are an important part of your race day. We will have a couple of water stops on the course.

How fast should I go?

There is a big temptation to start off fast when the whistle goes off, and lots of people are around. If you start too fast you can run out of energy. The best strategy is to pace yourself and save energy for the finish line. IMG_9097_motherdaughterfinish

What if I come in last?

It is not a compete race. You have succeeded by showing up and completing the race. Congratulate yourself for beating the thousands who are on the couch, and missing out on the great fun you are having with your friends and family.

What if I get separated from my friends and family on the finish line?

Create a plan before the race, and agree upon a place to meet friends and family after the race.

IMG_8890How do I dress up in a costume?

Let’s Get Midwest City Moving will give a prize to the best costume. No worries, there is no need to spend a lot of money getting a special costume. Fun, creative costumes can be made from what you have on hand.  We have a few hints on how to get started:

  • Start with your closet.
  1. Do you have clothes on hand that you can turn into a theme, like green for a leprechaun.
  2. Do your children have some stockings and a big shirt? Blow up a bunch of balloons and pin them on to go as a grape.
  3. Tear up the legs of some old pants, and splatter some red paint onto a shirt. Add some face paint, and a ghoulish zombie emerges.
  • A good costume is often about being clever, it does not need to be a time consuming project.
  1. Old t-shirts can be shredded to make a decorative head band.
  2. Create a Lego costume by taping pieces of cardboard together; spray paint the cardboard to decorate.
  3. Add a tail to black sweat pants, and go as a cat.
  4. Grab anything in your closet that looks like the 1960s or 1970s, add a headband and go retro.

The last and best tip!

It is all about having fun and spending time with your friends, family, and community. We will have tons of encouraging signs and people along the course to help keep you on route and cheer you on as you finish!! Have a great time andIMG_9998 enjoy the music, games, and activities at the Wellness Expo. Have your picture taken at the Family Fun Photo Booth. Also, you are invited to bring a donation of a non-perishable food item to the Midwest City Food Pantry.

We can’t wait to see everyone at the race on Sunday!

YMCA and ONIE Logo Photo

The ONIE’s Team Walking Soul Mates, and a Turtle Too!

26 Feb IMG_4432

photo 3

Pets provide a variety of health benefits. Yup, these animals improve our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Benefits range from keeping us active to connecting with other people.

1962745_10203412336605946_545275765_nFor us at ONIE and our families, our dogs are walking and running soul mates. Meredith, Stephanie, Susie and I always have a buddy to go for a run or walk with us; they are always there for support. Having Beju motivates me to get outside when I just don’t quite feel like it; I know that he needs the exercise. Afterwards, I feel better. If I go in the morning, I feel focused and ready for my day. In the evening, it helps me wind down. Pets are not just walking soul mates for us at ONIE. Research has shown that children and adults who have dogs spend more time doing moderate to vigorous physical activity than those without dogs.           ???????????????????

Yall, Meredith & Jessie love a 5K!

Pets make it easier to connect with other people, and the neighborhood where we live. Our pets lead us into conversation with strangers, and foster feelings of mutual aid. During IMG_4432the tornado season last spring, a neighbor knocked on my door. He and his wife invited me and my pets to join them in their storm shelter. We did not “know” each other but were familiar because we passed each other on the street walking our dogs. We are good friends now. We also venture into places where we might not go because of our pets such as the neighborhood park, a dog park, or the lake.


We form a bond with our pets; pets of any kind, even turtles. Jade takes Porkchop, her pet turtle, on turtle walks. It is hard to even explain the attachment but we talk about our pets, we talk to our pets, and change our schedules to meet their needs. Spending time with pets IMAG0022-1-1has a calming effect. This bond is powerful. It reduces feelings of loneliness, stress, and anxiety, leading to lower blood pressure and risks of heart disease. While I don’t think about these health conditions on a regular basis, every day I enjoy the bond that I have with my pets.

72265_10200222871431310_110466040_nSpring is approaching, and there is no better time to adopt a pet. There are pets of all kinds and sizes that are ready to become a member of your family. Check out your local animal shelter for more information. Here are a few in the Oklahoma City area: Oklahoma City,  Midwest City, Edmond, Moore, and Norman.

My beloved, Beju ,was adopted

Karla and the ONIE Project team. ONIE_logo_tagline small

Rice you’ll love!

19 Feb 20140215_201515

cilantro and lime juicerice

It is February, the month of love. Today, I want to share my secrets on how to make rice you will LOVE. I am a rice person and I have been eating it for almost a quarter of a century. It has been an important and constant part of my meals, birthdays, and holiday dinners. When I don’t have rice, my meal feels incomplete, and I am a little sad that those delicious little white or brown grains aren’t on my plate.

While I love the taste and texture of rice, cooking it is a different story. I began to learn to cook rice by watching my mom, and trying to follow her techniques. I perfected cooking rice by practice. My earliest memory of cooking rice is not a good one.  I cooked the oil too much, and  the house filled with smoke causing the smoke alarm to go off. My family had to throw open all the windows and doors to air out the house.  I have improved but in the process have made tons of salty, soggy, bland, and under-cooked rice that my family had to eat.

cheeseandpeasrice I appreciate rice even more now that I cook more often. It is nutritious, inexpensive, and the perfect side to just about any meal. Also, you can do a lot with rice and its leftovers. One of my favorite things to do with left-over rice is spice it up by throwing in peas and low-fat cheddar cheese while it is reheating in the skillet. As you can see with the picture to the left, I don’t add a lot of cheese.  Another thing I like to do is add cilantro and lime juice. This combination gives the rice a fresh and light taste.

I hope you are now dying to start cooking. Follow the steps below to make the perfect pot of rice!



1) Measure out 2 cups of rice.
ONIE TEST KITCHEN TIP: Rinse rice 3-4 times until water is clear; drain water.

2) Place pot on stove, turn to high.
3) Add 1 tbsp. of oil to pot.
4) Add rice to pot when oil is hot. (To check if oil is hot, throw one grain in. If it sizzles, it’s hot). Sauté rice for 1 minute.
100_04995) Add 1 tsp. of salt. Mix well with rice.
6) Add 2 cups of water.
7) Place lid on pot and leave on high for 10 minutes.
8) After 10 minutes, reduce heat to low. Cook for 10-15 more minutes.

*Serving per person: ¼ cup

You can take the same steps for cooking brown rice. The only difference is in the amount of water added and timing.  It takes longer for brown rice to cook. The benefit is that brown rice is a whole grain.

1)   Follow steps 1-5 to cook white long grain rice.
2)   Add 3 cups of water.
3)   Place lid on pot and leave on high for 10 minutes.
4)   After 10 minutes, reduce heat to low. Cook for 30-40 minutes.

Rice is easy to cook once you get the hang of it. Keep practicing and make the rice cooking process your own!

Veronica and the ONIE Team ONIE_logo_tagline small

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