News: New Concept Cooking Club Kick-Off

We are excited to launch the New Concept Cooking Club at the Forward Focus Wellness Center. The purpose of this cooking club is to have fun while we learn how quick and easy it can be to prepare tasty, healthy food at home.

The first project of our new cooking club is to kick off a recipe contest that will culminate in a New Concept Cooking Club cookbook at the end of the calendar year. We will divide the year into quarters. Each quarter we will have a new contest.

  • January – first quarter – Soups
  • April – second quarter – Smoothies
  • July – third quarter – Plant Based Entrees
  • October – fourth quarter - Desserts

There will be a panel of judges who will prepare, taste, and rate the recipes you submit. The 1st & 2nd place winner will be chosen each quarter and will be announced at the start of the next quarter. It is our hope to bring the New Concept Cooking Club members together for an end of the year celebration. All of those who submit recipes will receive a complimentary cookbook. Everyone else will pay for the cookbook with the proceeds going to the Northern Illinois Food Bank. New Concept Cooking Club T-Shirts will be provided to all of you who submit one or more recipes throughout the year.

The New Concept Cooking Club orientation is scheduled for Monday, January 24 at 5:30 pm Central Time via Zoom. Please rsvp to Marti at by Friday, January 21st. The Zoom link will be sent out the day of the orientation to all who have rsvp’d. You do not need to attend the orientation to participate.

1st Quarter here we go……………………….
Healthy Soup Contest

What is it about a piping hot soup ladled into a bowl that feels so comforting???  Can it be the aroma of a blend of herbs & spices; or the colorful blend of vegetables beautifully displayed in the pot as they are in a garden; or it is the smooth & velvety texture. In addition to the soothing power of soup, these bowls also can offer a wealth of Nutrition.
Recipes must meet the following nutrition criteria before entering the Healthy Soup Contest.

  • Quick & Easy Prep-Time

TIP: Save time by using convenience items the grocery stores offer such as pre-cut vegetables, low sodium broths, fresh or dried herb/spices blends.

  • Low Sodium Content

TIP: Focus on using herbs & spices to replace sodium – Should be able to taste or smell flavor other than salt such a tangy, herby, earthy, etc.

  • Variety of Vegetables 3 or more

TIP: A nutrient-rich soup contains lots of vegetables. Vary the colors of your vegetables to add nutrition & color to your soup.

  • Lean Proteins – Lean Proteins (chicken, fish, turkey) or Plant Based (beans, tofu, quinoa).
  • Healthy Grains – Fiber

TIP: Whole wheat pasta’s, barley, farro, brown rice or beans add fiber and texture.
January 31st Healthy Soup Contest Recipe Deadline – please submit your Healthy Soup Contest recipes to Sheryl Gray, MS, RDN, LDN at