Oct 23

Simply Spooky – DIY Halloween Floral Arrangements

Simply Spooky DIY Halloween Floral Arrangements - www.cobornsblog.com

www.cobornsblog.com - Stop and Smell the Roses with Dar

Dar

Fall is here! The leaves are turning colors and the nights are getting cooler. I love the warm colors of autumn and as I drive through the back country roads, I see fields of pumpkins and make a mental note as to where they are. Each year my family picks a new pumpkin patch to visit and after we find that perfect pumpkin, we begin the carving. Everyone loves creating their unique jack-o-lantern for Halloween; some are cute and some are scary and they are all very cool.

With that creepy, scary holiday right around the corner, we have a fall crazy daisy bouquet available for the month of October for only $4.99 and you’re saving $3.00 from the original cost of $7.99. They are long lasting flowers that have a great pop of color. You can arrange them in so many different ways like: in a pumpkin, a painted tin can, a seasonal tumbler or a vase. You can give them as gifts to your friends, relatives, daycare providers or even a co-worker. It’s an inexpensive way to make someone’s day or you can just treat yourself to a bouquet and create your own masterpiece. Here are 4 simple steps to make the arrangements shown in this blog.

  • Four simple steps to make a Halloween Floral Arrangement with a Cash 'N Carry Bouquet. www.cobornsblog.comPurchase plastic tumbler cups from the Coborn’s General Merchandise Department.
  • Place water soiled piece of green floral foam into tumbler cups.
  • Cut crazy daisy stems to desired length. (Note: These do not need to be cut underwater or at an angle, just simply cut with a scissor.)
  • Place stems in green floral foam to create desired arrangement.

Did you know that Halloween is the second-largest commercial holiday, with Christmas being the first? With that being said, I invite you to check out our Halloween giftware, fall mums and bouquets. We have a lot of fun Halloween goodies here at Coborn’s!

Check out Coborn's Floral for FUN Halloween Flowers and Decor! www.cobornsblog.com

I hope you take time to enjoy this season with friends and family. If nothing else, take a drive with your windows down and enjoy the colorful trees and the beauty that surrounds us. Maybe stop at Coborn’s and pick up a pumpkin to carve or set out on your step. Have a Spooktackular Halloween!

Dar
Coborn’s Floral Manager, Sauk Rapids, MN

Click Here for more blog articles written by Dar.
Stop and Smell the Roses Blog with Dar - www.cobornsblog.com

 

*Prices shown are available through October 31, 2014.

Oct 21

Creepy Treats for Halloween

Creepy Treats for Halloween - www.cobornsblog.com

www.cobornsblog.com - Fun with Family with Rebecca

Rebecca

Every great once in a while, someone reminds me that I tend to go overboard when I need a good creativity fix. This is one of my favorite examples. After attending a most over-the-top Halloween party for grown-ups a couple years ago, I took many mental notes on all the well-thought-out details and decided to integrate a little bit of that fun into our family time.

We decided to make an array of creepy sweet treats to sneak into our office break rooms and one for the teachers’ lounge at school, too. Many of my colleagues were too grossed out to taste my confections, but those who were brave enough to try were in for a real treat, as these decadent candies were divine!

Doggie Doo Doo

Doggie Doo Doo
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Cups Peanuts
  • 2 Cups Mini Marshmallows
  • 1 Cup Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Chips
  • ½ Cup Milk Chocolate Chips
  • Wax Paper
Instructions
  1. Roll out a large piece of wax paper onto your table.
  2. Combine chocolate chips in a Pyrex bowl.
  3. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, then stir. Microwave in 30-second increments, stirring in between, until the chocolate is smooth and shiny.
  4. Mix in peanuts and marshmallows and stir until everything is covered in chocolate.
  5. Drop spoonfuls of the chocolate mixture onto the wax paper and let them fully cool to set.
Notes
To take the easy route, stop in the Candy aisle and picking up a bag of chocolate nut clusters or a bag of mini Baby Ruths.

 

Crusty Q-Tips

Crusty Q-Tips
 
Ingredients
  • 60 Mini Marshmallows
  • ½ Cup Butterscotch Chips
  • 30 White Sucker Sticks (or Q-tips with the cotton ends cut off)
  • Wax Paper
Instructions
  1. Roll out a large piece of wax paper onto your table.
  2. Poke each end of a sucker stick halfway into one end of a mini marshmallow (two marshmallows per stick – one on each end).
  3. Pour the butterscotch chips into a small Pyrex bowl.
  4. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, then stir. Microwave in 30-second increments, stirring in between, until the butterscotch is smooth and shiny.
  5. Dip the marshmallow end about a third of the way into the butterscotch and don’t worry if it looks a little messy.
  6. Flip the sucker stick over and dip the other end into the butterscotch, then gently set the crusty Q-tips on the wax paper and let them fully cool to set.
Notes
To add some drama to the presentation, serve these in an empty Q-tip box.

 

Armpit Clippings

Armpit Clippings
 
Ingredients
  • 3 Cups Shredded Coconut
  • 1 Cup Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Chips
  • Wax Paper
Instructions
  1. Roll out a large piece of wax paper onto your table.
  2. Spread coconut out in a jelly roll pan, then bake at 350°F for 5-7 minutes to toast it. Check it after 5 minutes; it will go from toasted to burnt very quickly.
  3. Pour the chocolate chips into a Pyrex bowl.
  4. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, then stir. Microwave in 30-second increments, stirring in between, until the chocolate is smooth and shiny.
  5. Stir in the toasted coconut until it’s completely covered in chocolate.
  6. Drop spoonfuls of the chocolate mixture onto the wax paper and let them fully cool to set.

 

Watchful Eye Truffle Brownies

Watchful Eye Truffle Brownies - www.cobornsblog.com

Watchful Eye Truffle Brownies
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Pan Brownies
  • 1 Bag White Chocolate Lindt Truffles
  • 1 Tube Red Decorating Gel
  • Decorative Candy Eyes (or you could use mini M&Ms)
Instructions
  1. Slice truffles in half, slowly, so they don’t crumble.
  2. Cut pan of brownies into square pieces.
  3. Place truffle halves on brownie squares, dome side up.
  4. Make a dot of decorating gel in the center of each truffle, and then make squiggly lines down the sides to look like broken blood vessels.
  5. Place a candy eye on top of the dot in the center of each truffle.
Notes
To take the easy route, use a premade pan of brownies from the Bakery. Another variation I’ve seen is to skip the brownies, leave the truffles whole, then stab them with a plastic fork and decorate them to look like eyeballs. Eww!

 

While part of the fun of this project is preparing the candies, don’t forget to enjoy the presentation. I’ve seen people put similar creepy treats into single-size snack baggies and then staple on a label using card stock folded over the top. However you choose to present your treats, be sure to invite the family to get involved. While, yes, it’s kind of crude, they sure do have fun putting it all together. The most fun for each of us was sneaking the treats into break rooms/teachers’ lounges and claiming to have no idea who would have such obnoxious humor. I guess now that this is going on the blog, the secret’s coming out. Boo!

Rebecca
Coborn’s, Inc. Communications Manager

Click Here for more blog articles written by Rebecca.
www.cobornsblog.com - Fun with Family with Rebecca

Oct 18

Weekly Ad Recipe – Slow Cooker Garlic and Mushroom Beef Roast

Coborn's Weekly Ad Recipe - Slow Cooker Garlic and Mushroom Beef Roast www.cobornsblog.com

Slow Cooker Garlic and Mushroom Beef Roast
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 3-4 Lb. Beef Rump Roast, boneless
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
  • 8 Oz. Small Whole Mushrooms, fresh
  • ½ Cup Sun-dried Tomatoes in Oil, drained and chopped
  • ½ Cup Italian Dressing
Instructions
  1. Spray electric skillet with cooking spray.
  2. Sprinkle beef with salt and garlic.
  3. Place beef in skillet; cook over medium-high heat for 5 to 6 minutes, turning occasionally, until brown on all sides.
  4. Spray slow cooker with cooking spray.
  5. Place mushrooms in cooker.
  6. Place beef on mushrooms and spread tomatoes over beef.
  7. Pour dressing over mixture in cooker.
  8. Cover; cook on low heat setting for 8 to 10 hours.
  9. Remove beef from cooker; place on cutting board and slice beef.
  10. Serve mushrooms and juices with beef.
Notes
Suggested Wine Pairing Trapiche Oak Cask Malbec

Want to impress your guests? Just place the sliced meat on a plater with the mushrooms surrounding the roast. Add any left-over sun-dried tomatoes on top of the roast for added color. This recipe is also awesome if you slice the meat thinly and use the beef for hot sandwiches. My favorite way to serve this roast is to make some roasted baby red potatoes and a Caesar salad on the side. Enjoy…I did!

Jayne
Coborn’s, Inc. Meat and Seafood Merchandiser

Oct 18

Weekly Ad Recipe – Roasted Red Potatoes

Weekly Ad Recipe - Roasted Red Potatoes www.cobornsblog.com

Weekly Ad Recipe – Roasted Red Potatoes
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 12 Small Red Potatoes
  • 2 T. Olive Oil
  • 2 Medium Green Onions, sliced
  • 2 tsp. Dried Rosemary Leaves, crushed OR
  • 2 T. Fresh Rosemary, chopped
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In ungreased 13 x 9 inch glass pan, place potatoes.
  3. Drizzle oil over potatoes, turn potatoes so all sides are coated.
  4. Sprinkle onions and rosemary over potatoes; stir.
  5. Roast uncovered about 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender.

Here is a great recipe to serve with a roast, steak or even chicken. It has lots of flavor and the potatoes are moist and very tender. The best part of this recipe is the fact that it is so easy to make. Enjoy…I did!

Jayne
Coborn’s, Inc. Meat and Seafood Merchandiser

Oct 16

DIY Mummy Cake

DIY Mummy Cake Header - www.cobornsblog.com

www.cobornsblog.com The art of Cakes with Amanda
Amanda

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”Oh, excuse me; you caught me in the midst of my singing and twirling. You know what that means. Halloween is approaching! Ghosts! Pumpkins! Monsters! Spider webs! Oozing things! Mummies! It’s a great time of the year to be a cake decorator.  Please, join me in the spooky fun and make this simple but cute (or creepy if you want) mummy cake. It doesn’t take much sculpting skills or even piping knowledge. If you can draw a somewhat straight line you are ready for this.

Getting Started

DIY Mummy Cake Header - www.cobornsblog.comFor this cake you’ll need a few basic supplies:  An icing bag, an oversized basket tip 2B, and cake. I used two 6” round cakes for my basic mummy and a third for my bonus version. You could use 8” rounds for a bigger mummy. Also pick up some chocolate sandwich cookies. For my cake I used brown M&M’s. You could also use jelly beans or chocolate chips or a bit of dark colored icing. And most importantly you’ll need white frosting. I used about 2.5 lbs to make my basic mummy cake.

First step cut your round cake in half, making 4 half circles.

Next, your cakes are all going to be placed next to each other in a row, forming a half cylinder shape. You’ll need to put some frosting between the layers to make them all stick.

Now ice your cake. Don’t worry about making this part beautiful. You are going to be covering it with mummy wrappings. If the two ends and the eyeball area look nice, then you should move onto the next step.

Spooky Eyes

DIY Mummy Cake - Making Mummy Eyes - www.cobornsblog.com

Let’s make the eyes next. Get your sandwich cookies (if you haven’t eaten them all by now) and separate the two wafers. Hopefully you can twist them apart and leave the filling mostly intact. If not, eat that one and try again. The eyes are kind of my favorite part of this cake. There are so many ways to give your mummy personality on this step!

By scraping the filling off in different ways and changing the pupil placement you can make so many faces! Happy, dopey, evil, confused, sad, scared, bashful… It’s all up to you!

Once you figure out your eyes, go ahead and place them on the cake. You know where eyeballs go on a face. Then we start piping the wrappings. Get your bag set up with that big basket tip and start piping stripes.

Mummified

When you are piping, go left to right, go right to left, go straight, go crooked, leave gaps, overlap, just don’t wrap up those eyes. When you get done, he should be thoroughly mummified.

Finishing Touches

Finish him off with some pupils for those big eyes. I went with M&M’s. Why? A) It’s easier than having to make a little bit of black frosting. B) Oh no! You’ll have to eat the rest of the bag! Trick or treat to you! Why did I do the pupils last? They bring your cake to life! It’s like throwing the switch on Frankenstein’s monster, “It’s Alive!” Plus, as you go you might find that your mummy wrappings change the eye area shape and you might need to place the pupils differently.

And with that, Mummy Cake! I threw on eyebrows with leftover cookie for his beauty shot. It gives it a little more expressiveness beneath all that frosting. This cake is crazy cute and so easy to make, with this mummy the only curse you might experience is a bellyache from eating too many cookies.

Bonus Round!

Do you want more mummy? Are you ready for an extra trick to sweeten up this treat? Okay, let’s do this.

First, I made him bigger and added another 2 halves using one more 6” round.  In all you use three round cakes. I wrapped up it just like the top part. For a little more depth, I added some loose wrappings and a few tails. Then the feet – for me, they are my favorite part. When you draw them, think of a kidney bean shape with the top a bit larger and then add the 10 toes.

This is a great cake for kids and adults; he’s humorous and filled with Halloween character but not gory if you are faint of heart. Although with some strawberry glaze you could let your creative imagination run wild.  I’ll let you decide.  Have fun! And Happy Halloween!  Soon, I’ll be running through a pumpkin patch with my arms outstretched for the next month!

- Amanda
Coborn’s Cake Decorator – Sauk Rapids, MN

Click Here for more articles written by Amanda
www.cobornsblog.com - The Art of Cakes with Amanda

Oct 14

Tailgating Tips and Recipes

Tailgating Tips and Recipes - www.cobornsblog.com

www.cobornsblog.com - Family, Friends & Food with Jayne

Jayne

We all have some kind of hidden talent.  When asked to do a blog on tailgating recipes, I jumped for joy and did a little happy dance!  My forte is appetizers.  I love making them, I love serving them to my family and friends, and I definitely love to eat them.  In fact, every few months I don’t make dinner,  I announce to my family that it is “appetizer night” and they love it.  What makes it even better is when you add a theme to the night like “tailgating”.

Since we can’t go to the game, we can plan a tailgating party right in our own backyard.  If the weather doesn’t cooperate, I set up in the family room, kitchen or even the game room or garage.  So, let’s get started.

I don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen preparing food, because I don’t want to miss a minute of the game.  I have a few recipes that are easy & can be prepared in less than 30 minutes.  Let’s start off with a simple recipe for a Bloody Mary.  Next is the appetizer, soup as the main entrée and a quick sweet treat.

Bloody Mary Recipe - www.cobornsblog.com

Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ Cups Clamato Juice, chilled
  • 2 T. Dill Pickle Juice
  • 1 T. Worcestershire Sauce
  • ¼ tsp. Celery Salt
  • ¼ tsp. Pepper
  • ⅛ tsp. Hot Pepper Sauce
  • ¼ Cup Vodka, optional
  • 2 Celery Ribs
  • 2 Pepperoini Snack Sticks
  • 2 Dill Pickle Spears
  • 2 Pitted Ripe Olives
  • Lime Wedges
Instructions
  1. In a small pitcher, combine the first six ingredients.
  2. Stir in vodka if desired.
  3. Pour into two glasses filled with ice.
  4. Garnish with celery, snack sticks, pickles, olives and lime wedge.
  5. I have also garnished with cocktail shrimp and asparagus.

 Brat Nachos - www.cobornsblog.com

Brat Nachos

Brat Nachos
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 16 Oz. Fully Cooked Smoked Bratwurst, sliced
  • ½ Cup Onions, sliced
  • 1 Small Red Pepper, sliced
  • 3 Cups Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 2½ tsp. Flour
  • 1 T. Olive Oil
  • 1 Clove Garlic, minced
  • ¾ Cup Beer
  • Tortilla Chips
Instructions
  1. Sauté bratwurst for one minute in a large skillet.
  2. Add onions, peppers and garlic clove.
  3. Cook 4-5 minutes longer until vegetables are tender.
  4. Set aside and keep warm.
  5. In a large bowl, combine cheese and flour.
  6. In a large saucepan, add beer and cook over medium heat until bubbles form around sides of pan.
  7. Reduce heat to medium-low.
  8. Add a handful of cheese mixture, and stir constantly.
  9. Continue adding cheese, one handful at a time allowing cheese to almost completely melt between additions.
  10. Arrange tortilla chips on a large serving platter.
  11. Spoon cheese mixture over chips and then top with bratwurst mixture.
  12. Serve immediately.

 Chili with Cheese - www.cobornsblog.com

Chili with Cheese

Chili with Cheese
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs. Ground Beef
  • 1 Medium Onion, chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 3 10 Oz. Cans Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies, undrained
  • 28 Oz. Can Diced Tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 4 oz. Cans Chopped Green Chilies
  • ½ tsp. Pepper
  • 4 Oz. Velveeta Process Cheese
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, cook the beef, onions and garlic until the internal temperature of meat reaches at least 160 degrees.
  2. Drain.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, chilies and pepper.
  4. Bring to boil.
  5. Reduce heat.
  6. Simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Stir in cheese until melted. (You can add more cheese if you like it cheesier.) Serve immediately.

 M & M Snack Bars - www.cobornsblog.com

M & M Snack Bars

M & M Snack Bars
Serves: 36
 
Ingredients
  • 2½ Cups Pretzel Sticks, broke in half
  • 2 Cups Corn Chex
  • 1½ Cups M & M’s
  • ½ Cup Butter
  • ½ Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 5 Cups Miniature Marshmallows
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine pretzels, cereal and M & M ‘s.
  2. In a large saucepan over low heat, melt butter and peanut butter.
  3. Add marshmallows; cook and stir until marshmallows are melted and mixture is smooth.
  4. Pour over pretzel mixture.
  5. Stir to coat.
  6. Press into a greased 13 x 9 inch pan.
  7. Cool until firm, cut into squares and serve.

Here are a couple extra hints to make your next tailgating party a success with your guests.

  • Keep the menu simple and the recipes quick and easy.
  • When planning the menu choose food that is easy to eat while standing.
  • Choose food that can be made ahead of time.
  • Don’t forget those special decorations like, your favorite team colors for plates, napkins and tablecloths, football dishware, balloons, etc.

Last but not least…..GO VIKINGS!! And enjoy….I did!

Jayne
Coborn’s, Inc. Meat and Seafood Merchandiser

Click Here for more articles written by Jayne
www.cobornsblog.com - Family, Friends & Food with Jayne

Oct 11

Weekly Ad Recipe – Slow Cooker Beef Sandwiches

Slow Cooker Beef Sandwiches Recipe - www.cobornsblog.com

Don’t you just love to walk into your house after a long day of being away and dinner is waiting for you?  Well that is exactly what is going to happen when you prepare this recipe. I loved it! Just serve in buns and we were done eating in 15 minutes. This recipe is so easy to throw together before you leave in the morning and waiting to tantalize those tastebuds when you get back home.  Enjoy…..I did!

Jayne
Coborn’s, Inc. Meat and Seafood Merchandiser

Slow Cooker Beef Sandwiches
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Large Onion, chopped
  • 1 Cup Barbecue Sauce
  • ½ Cup French Dressing
  • ½ Cup Condensed Beef Broth
  • 3.5-4 Lb. Boneless Beef Chuck Roast
  • 12 Burger Buns, split
Instructions
  1. Spray slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Mix onion, barbecue sauce, dressing and broth in slow cooker.
  3. Add beef and stir to coat.
  4. Cover; cook on low heat setting 8 to 10 hours.
  5. Remove beef from slow cooker; skim fat from sauce.
  6. Shred beef with 2 forks; stir beef back into sauce.
  7. Serve in burger buns.
Notes
Suggested Wine Pairing: Save Me San Francisco Hella Fine Merlot

 

Oct 11

Weekly Ad Recipe – Simply Caramel Apple Bars

Simply Caramel Apple Bars - 6 simple ingredients that you probably already have in your cupboards - www.cobornsblog.com

Nothing says fall like a huge variety of fresh apples. This is one of my favorite recipes because it is so simple to make. I love adding caramel to the recipe but it is also great adding some ice cream to the warm bars along with a drizzle of caramel on top. Enjoy….I did!

Jayne
Coborn’s, Inc. Meat and Seafood Merchandiser

Simply Caramel Apple Bars
Serves: 36
 
Ingredients
  • ½ Cup Cold Butter
  • 1 Pouch Oatmeal Cookie Mix (1 lb. 1.5 oz.)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Cup Apples, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 Cup Caramel Topping
  • ¼ Cup Flour
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Spray bottom of 13 x 9 inch pan with cooking spray.
  3. In large bowl, cut butter into cookie mix using fork or pastry blender.
  4. Stir in egg until mixture is crumbly.
  5. Reserve 1-1/2 cups cookie mixture.
  6. Press remaining cookie mixture into bottom of pan.
  7. Bake 15 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle apple evenly over crust.
  9. In small bowl, mix caramel topping and flour; drizzle over apples.
  10. Sprinkle reserved cookie mixture over apples.
  11. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  12. Cool completely, about 2 hours.
Notes
Suggested Wine Pairing: Riondo Spago Nero Prosecco

 

Oct 9

Cider Beer – The Fastest-Growing Beer Category

Cider Beer - The Fastest-Growing Beer Category. www.cobornsblog.com

Coborn's Blogger - Wade

Wade

Craft beer’s growth in the U.S. has been amazing, rising from 11.5 million barrels brewed in 2011 to more than 15 million barrels in 2013. Over that same time period, production of Hard Cider has tripled. The growth of cider has been in the works for years, hitting a hot streak lately.

Big brewers have joined the trend, introducing cider brands of their own, with campaigns for beverages that are sweeter and more gender friendly. American Cider is having its trend movement with exciting new producers and varieties, from funky barrel-aged styles to dessert ciders. Even as cider has been enjoying a sharp rise in sales, cider makers expect much bigger things to come. A 2012 Nielsen report stated that the “relatively small cider segment is poised for great growth,” in part because ciders “attract a younger, more affluent consumer.”

American Hard Cider Styles

Farmhouse

These ciders demonstrate the true potential of the apple by blending French, English, and American varieties, and the best are the most wine-like in style.

Flavored

An ever-expanding category, producers both big and small are constantly pairing new flavors with the apple from honey to pumpkin to cinnamon, highlighting the fruit flavor of the apple.

Beer Inspired

In the craft beer craze, cider makers are borrowing brewing methods such as whiskey-barrel aging, and the latest craze, adding hops.

Commercial

The most popular, these easy sippers are effervescent and straightforward, with pronounced sweetness and candied-apple flavors.

And remember… An apple a day keeps the doctor away!
Cheers!

- Wade
Coborn’s, Inc. Liquor Category Manager II

 

Oct 7

A Journey to Better Health

Eat Healthy, Shop Smart with Ashley. www.cobornsblog.com

Ashley

Well, it has officially been two years since I joined Coborn’s as their supermarket registered dietitian!  I can honestly tell you this has been such an amazing position to have; my favorite part; I am able to work with a variety of people in the community, like YOU.  So, instead of me writing another one of my blogs, I thought it would be a nice change to allow someone like YOU to write a guest blog for me on the ups/downs, challenges and ultimate successes with eating right and dieting.  I was so inspired by the story below and I know you will be as well!

I met Leni as he was cruising thru the aisles of his local Coborn’s scanning food items using the “lose it” app.  I introduced myself as the supermarket dietitian and asked him if he needed any help.  He was very excited to hear that I was a registered dietitian and began telling me about his current health situation and how he wanted to lose weight. After discussing his current eating habit, we set some obtainable goals.  I took Leni on a shopping tour pointing out the most nutritious foods and explained how we all should be eating at every meal.  Leni kept track of his daily intake with his app and would check in on a very regular basis, updating me on his progress throughout his weight loss journey. It was very motivating to see Leni not only reach his goals, but to see a more cheerful and happy person breaking through the wall of being overweight.  Now, that was incredible!  Leni wasn’t just focused on eating healthy, but living a healthy lifestyle that included regular exercise and being surrounded by positive people encouraging him along the way!  Now, that whole package was nothing but a recipe for success!!

Let’s give it up for Leni, here is his story…

A Journey to Better Health – by Leni DiMancari

A Journey to Better Health by Leni DiMancari - www.cobornsblog.com

I never in my wildest dreams thought that I could influence so many people to take better care of themselves and become healthy. I thought the only thing I could do to influence people was to be a better guitar player and manager. I didn’t realize that I was on the road to a shorter life because of the foods I was eating, the life I was living and not caring about what I put in my system. Here is my story that led up to my decision to live.

The choice to get healthy or die. www.cobornsblog.comIn the beginning

My journey to better health began in October of 2013 after finding out that I was on the road to heart issues and diabetes. There is a history of heart ailments in my family; my father and two sisters were both diabetic. I had consulted a physician about a lack of sleep and series of health issues that were starting to plague me. I was experiencing twitching, body aches, numbness in my fingers and shoulder, snoring, waking up every two hours, and not being able to focus at work. I was lethargic, unmotivated, and eating without thinking. At one point, I was drinking eight cans of Mountain Dew a day and eating fast food eight times a week with salt on everything. The doctor and I dug deep to find the root of my problems.

I didn’t realize what I was doing to myself physically until I found out that I was battling a lot of demons back then; I was swallowing a lot of depression. I began hating life and not caring if I lived or died, slowly poisoning myself with unhealthy foods, seasonings, soups and sugary treats. I didn’t realize that my eating was the problem until I went from a size 32 waist to a size 36 in just seven years.             

Over the course of 10 years since a divorce and quitting smoking, I had put on 60 lbs. I would un-tag myself in photos on Facebook, I would hide pictures of me on my timeline, and I would constantly graze. I would hide in my apartment with a case of Mountain Dew, a bag of chips, the TV, my PC and too much time on my hands. I would rarely go out in public.

 A turning point

It wasn’t until August of 2013 that I had a long talk with my sister about the negative effects of certain chemicals in food that could be a cause of the health problems I was starting to develop. She reminded me of her, my sister and Dad battling diabetes and heart issues, and after a long talk about the things I was eating and drinking, she thought I should talk to the doctor about how I was becoming. The doctor basically told me to “fix it or die.” I was depressed, lonely, and fat.  

I was overweight and on the road to the end. I had no idea of the amount of garbage I was putting in my system because you don’t think about the foods you eat sometimes; in turn, you just eat. I was physically inactive. My clothes were all oversized to hide my gut. My socks would tear, my pants didn’t fit, and my face was round. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with my food choices at the time, but I was wrong.

Quit Soda. Quit Liquor. Quit Smoking - www.cobornsblog.comI decided to make the changes. The doctor and I had a long discussion that really helped. He reminded me that I had already proven I was a strong-willed person when I had given up alcohol and cigarettes. If I could make those changes, I could certainly take on this challenge and win. Without health insurance, I was basically on my own and had to figure it out.

Meeting Ashley and beginning my journey

I then discovered that we had a registered dietician for free available through our grocery store. I went out to the store and met with her, and in two hours, I learned more about the negative influences of our food. I decided then that it was time to take the challenge head on and I did. I had a long talk with one of my close friends about smart phone apps, and then I downloaded the LoseIt.com program. 

I registered with the service, I picked up a mixed martial arts DVD, and I set out on a ten-month journey to a better life. The app keeps you in check, plus gives you a plan to work and goals to reach. It also sends you email stickers and awards for you when you reach peaks.

Ashley (the supermarket dietician) and I would look at the foods that had the worst issues on my list, and soda was the first to go. I tapered it down to zero soda by October 1st. I had no idea that the chemicals in soda were having such a negative effect on my health, until I had my first eight hours of uninterrupted sleep in years. I had no idea that my hypertension was caused by the amount of sodium I was ingesting daily. OMG, I was digesting over 4000 Mg a day; no wonder I was such a wreck. I cut my sodium levels down to under 2200 a day (less than the RDA). I was wide awake in the morning and I liked it a lot.

I eliminated the trans-fats and fried foods, too. I was starting to see changes, little by little. I also realized that I wasn’t getting enough fruits and vegetables. V8 doesn’t count; it’s too high in sodium. With the help of our dietician, the Lose It program, and a newfound confidence, I was ready to try and reach my target weight of 170 lbs. I was at 230 lbs. 

My goal

I wanted to be at that weight where I felt most confident (I wanted it to be the 1980s all over again). It was a huge goal, but I knew if I stuck with the program, dieted, exercised, made healthy food decisions, and eliminated the garbage foods, I could reach it within 8 to 10 months. Here’s what I did: I listened to our dietician. I took all of the high-sodium foods out of my diet and dumped the soda.

Coborn's Customer, Leni, shares his Journey to Better Health. - www.cobornsblog.com

The changes I made

Here’s what I changed from my diet:

I started my body furnace moving with breakfast: eggs, toast, turkey sausage, low-sodium cheeses, spinach, low-sodium tomatoes, flax seed, onions, and jalapenos. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

In the graphic below is the short list of foods that will never be in my house again.

13 Junk Food Alternatives - www.cobornsblog.com

You have to be willing to end your relationship with bad food, in order to appreciate all of the good food. I kept five foods that I still love in the mix, knowing now that my metabolism furnace can handle it now: Five Guys little burger, Culvers mushroom and Swiss, Ciatti’s (Because I’m Italian and it doesn’t taste corporate), La Casita (Mazatlan burrito with pulled chicken, artichoke and spinach), and my treat is the Dairy Queen small chocolate malt (high calories, but still high in protein). 

I calculate every meal based on calories and intake, along with a solid exercise program. I started slow to get into the groove so it became a routine daily, beginning with 15 minutes of cardio, and 30-second body planks to tighten my core. Since then, back aches are non-existent. I now do a routine of 30-45 minutes a day of cardio and kick boxing/MMA training, and I can plank for up to 25 total minutes, combining the first 15 minutes starting at a 5-minute hold, and going downward at 5-4-3-2-1. Then 5 minutes cool down planking (2 @ 2minutes, 1 at 1 minute.) The final 5 minutes is a combination of a circular plank that uses forearms, sides, back, alphabet abs and a mountain climber.  

In ten months, I’ve now lost 61 lbs. and have a new confidence, a girlfriend who works out with me, an entire new wardrobe (I was happy to donate all of the oversized clothes to charity) and a better attitude. To think back to where I was and to see where I am today, I will never relapse into food problems again. My biggest advice is to not be afraid to fix it and ask someone for help. READ THE LABELS on everything. If you slip, its ok, just get back on task, and always believe in yourself that you can do this, and you will feel great about yourself. There is nothing better than to have people you haven’t seen in a year tell you that you look great.

Here is the workout routine I use six days a week, with a light workout on the off day. I walk everywhere and I usually park far away from the door when shopping, rain or shine.

Mixed Martial Arts 30-40 Minute Workout Routine - www.cobornsblog.com

Leni DiMancari
Coborn’s Customer

I hope that Leni’s story was able to inspire you to make some positive changes in your diet and workout routine. Remember, if you ever need anything from me, I’m just an email away. Click Here and click on the “Ask Our Dietitian” button to connect with me today!

Peace and Wellness, Ashley
Coborn’s RD Supermarket Dietitian

Click Here for more articles written by Ashley
Eat Healthy Shop Smart with Ashley - www.cobornsblog.com