Secret Valentine + Guest Bender: Meghan from Spreading the Health

by Jenn (eating bender) on February 17, 2010

Hi friends! Happy Wednesday! The week is flying by thanks to that holiday.

First of all, I have a recipe for you brought about by popular demand 😉 Remember that soup from my last post? If not, here’s a delicious reminder:

Some of you asked to see the recipe so I emailed Papa Bender. Here’s what I got back from him :)

Chicken Bean Soup for those brutal Arizona winters

I think this is what I did, but, it just sort of “happened.”

  1. Poach 2 chickens (instructions in that link) with skin and bones in about 5 quarts of water. Cook on low heat for about 2.5 hours, until chicken is very tender.
  2. Add one orange (cut in quarters) to the water at beginning. This will provide very tender chicken meat for the soup, plus allow you to make your own chicken “stock.”
  3. Pour the liquid stock through a strainer and put in a container to refrigerate overnight.
  4. The chicken should be very tender and you can remove the skin and easily separate the chicken from the bone in bite size strips. Refrigerate overnight as well.
  5. The next morning, skim any fat off of the top of the broth and discard it, pouring the liquid broth into a large soup pot. Taste the broth to make sure you have a chicken stock taste with a bit of a bite (result of having added the orange). Set aside for now.

Once that’s complete, move on to the next step. In a skillet, add the following:

  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup green onions
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1 cup finely diced red pepper

Add 2 tablespoons of butter and sauté the vegetables on medium high heat for 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the contents of the skillet to the soup pot. Then add the chicken and the following:

  • 3 cans of navy beans with liquid
  • 2 cans of chili beans or kidney beans with liquid
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans with liquid
  • 1 can of sliced mushrooms , drained
  • 2 15 oz cans of chicken broth (low sodium recommended)
  • Pepper to taste (recommend 1 tsp at minimum)

Simmer on low heat for 2 hours until it reaches a gentle boil. Serve hot over dumplings or egg noodles.

Recipe will serve a small battalion 😉

Love, DAD


Gotta love Papa Bender! Thanks for providing the recipe — if you decide to try it, let me know what you think! I’m going to have to whip out my crock pot soon and give it a go!

Next up, I just want to thank Miss Jennifer from My Fashionable Affair. She turned out to be my Secret Bloggie Valentine!

How awesome is that package? Jennifer gave me some fantastic goodies, including some super cute notecards, Pocky, milk chocolate, candies, cookies and an AMAZING record bowl that was homemade by her! Girl, I have no idea how you did this but it’s super cute!

Thank you SO much, Jennifer! Love your name, by the way 😉 Check out her blog!


Now the time has come for another Guest Bender! When Meghan first approached me about discussing how to eat healthy in college, I knew it would be the right fit. After all, that was what Eating Bender was originally created for! It’s still hard for me to believe that I am no longer on campus, so I decided to live vicariously through her and picked up some great tips. I hope you enjoy!


Spreading the Health

First of all, thanks to Jenn so much for letting me guest post! :) I’ve been a fan of Eating Bender for a while, and it is just the coolest thing that I get to post here.

When Jenn asked for guest bloggers, I wanted to seize the opportunity and thought of the old adage, “write what you know.” Since I blog about healthy living in college already, that might as well be the subject of my guest post! Spreading the Health documents my life as a healthy college student who’s running a marathon with Team in Training. Go check it out! Actually, read this post first and then go check it out.

Oh, college. :) It should be the best four (or five…) years of our lives, but that doesn’t mean that they have to be chock-full of sleepless nights, inactivity, alcohol, and poor food choices. I find that keeping track of these healthy habits helps me live my college life to the fullest. For example, I know I can dance the night away on a Friday and still get up early to run on Saturday by keeping my energy up with healthy food and making sure I get enough sleep!

That being said, here are my top four tips for living a healthy life in college (and beyond!).

  1. Be prepared. This is probably my ultimate healthy living tip: learning how to adapt to many situations is essential, and it only comes with practice. Stock your dorm room with healthy snacks! Whole grain cereal, nuts, yogurt, apples, peanut butter, bananas, baby carrots, hummus, etc. This way, you are less likely to be tempted by vending machines or fast food.
  2. Sleeeeep! The benefits of sleep are way too numerous to count. There have been studies showing that adequate sleep is linked to maintaining an appropriate weight and happiness, plus it just makes you feel better! Make sleep a priority in your life and strive to get seven to eight hours each night.
  3. Alcohol. The decision on whether or not to drink alcohol is everyone’s personal choice, but keep in mind that alcohol packs in plenty of calories–and then you have to add on whatever you ate because you were tipsy! Alternate drinks with big glasses of water, and you’ll feel a heck of a lot better in the morning.
  4. Take advantage of your surroundings. Chances are, if you’re in college you have the opportunity to walk everywhere. Take advantage of it! I probably walk for over an hour every day, just going around from class to class, and I love it. (Just don’t forget the sunscreen!) Also, most colleges have super-fancy gyms that are free for students. Dedicate time to going to the gym, and make it a fun escape from work: read magazines, watch trashy TV, or listen to awesome music while you work out. Take group exercise classes, as well! Most college gyms offer them for free or for a cheap price to students.

So there are my top tips! If you like what you read, jump on over to Spreading the Health and check me out. Or follow me on Twitter @spreadinghealth. Thanks again to Jenn for the opportunity!


I think we could all benefit from some of those tips! I know that sleep, for example, is something I am constantly working to get more of. I still have a long way to go on that one 😉

Hope you all have enjoyable Wednesdays! What’s one “healthy” step you’re taking today?


1 skinnyrunner February 17, 2010 at 8:46 am

love your healthy living tips, simple and to the point.
sweet record bowl too. i want one!

2 mirandanr February 17, 2010 at 9:23 am

Your papa’s soup recipe sounds delicious! I’ll have to try it! And your guest’s post was very nice – something a college kid like me could definitely use! ;0]

3 Angela @ A Healthy FIt February 17, 2010 at 9:30 am

OMG! I LOVE that record bowl. Some people are just so creative. I want a secret bloggie valentine!!

Great guest post! Wish I had done some of those things while in college. Mainly, drinking less!

4 Whit February 17, 2010 at 10:04 am

Oh Meghan is such a sweetheart. Love her guest post.

CUTE BOWL!!! ♥ it.

5 Stef @ moretolifethanlettuce February 17, 2010 at 10:18 am

#4 definitely! i’m in college and there are TONS of ways to take advantage of the perks of being a student. i include power walkin my ass around campus to be one of them, but our awesome gym is pretty sweet too. whoa jenn that record bowl is so cool! i’ve seen stuff like that but it’s always crazy expensive in stores, i have no idea how she made it but it looks greaT!

6 jenngirl February 17, 2010 at 10:52 am

Great guest post! I love reading people’s healthy college living tips, and I can agree with these for sure! Especially drinking water between drinks. It’s something NO ONE does, but I know that for me, it makes such a difference in the morning!

Also, when I have long days on campus I pack snacks and lunch to get me through. Saves money, time, and I know I have healthy options that will keep me energized to get through the day!

7 eaternotarunner February 17, 2010 at 11:18 am

Love the record bowl!

8 The Brunette February 17, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Oh man, the picture of your Valentine’s gifts makes me really miss Singapore. Pocky sticks and Pandas are good, but Hi-Chew are AMAZING! If you haven’t opened them yet, do it now. They’re yogurt based and really creamy. After tryin them, you’ll never be able to eat a starburst again. Really, they are that good.

9 adrienmelaine February 17, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Great guest post- and fantastic V-Day prezzies- I’m just a bit jealous- I got a load of chocolate which I probably shouldn’t have eaten, but I did- and I’m not that sorry about it!

Happy Hump Day Girl!

10 ksgoodeats February 17, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Oh my goodness!! Those Hello Panda cookies are one of my favorite things from childhood – I can’t find them anywhere! I hope you enjoy them!!

I love you dad’s little disclaimer of the recipe just kind of happened. I think that’s why I’m not a big cook, I can’t let things just happen. The baker in me needs instructions and measurements 😉

11 Julie @ Pickley Pear February 17, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Great post, I wish I had known about healthy eating in college. 8 years later I still struggle. Thanks!!

12 BroccoliHut February 17, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Cool record bowl! I am all about funky dishes:)

13 Leena February 17, 2010 at 6:00 pm

thank you so much for the recipe! it sound’s delicious! and i love that record bowl! such a neat idea :)

14 Can You Stay for Dinner February 17, 2010 at 7:27 pm

Great to have that recipe! And what a cool record bowl!!

15 apartmentnearchinatown February 17, 2010 at 8:11 pm

Guess who else got their Bloggie Valentine today!?!

ME!!! Jenn, you’re the best! I freakin’ love the mug! I opened in front of my boyfriend and I was jumping around, super excited! He didn’t understand, but that’s ok!

Thank you soooo much! Of course, I already ate a chocolate covered strawberry…chewy and sweeeeeeeet!

Thank you Jenn!!!!!

16 Misty February 17, 2010 at 8:24 pm

A friend and I made record bowls like that a few years ago – you warm them up in the oven and then mold them. There’s an Instructables on it:

17 Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) February 17, 2010 at 8:34 pm

Wow, who knew Papa Bender was a chef? That soup looks ridic. In a good way!

The advice above is great- for college AND beyond is right! :-)

18 Hangry Pants February 17, 2010 at 10:47 pm

Yes, yes. Cool bowl!

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