Freeze Home-Cooked Food, Save Money!

Imagine a frozen TV dinner consisting of seasonal vegetables, a hearty soup and a homemade entrée ready in 5 minutes —that you made!

Convenient food? Check.

Fresh food? Check.

Healthy and Budget-Conscious Food? Of course.

Cooking and freezing foods in bulk allows for easy, inexpensive, and healthy eating throughout a hectic workweek. Try these following tips and meal ideas instead of wasting money on store-bought prepared foods, other convenient foods with questionable ingredients, or soon-to-spoil foods in your fridge.

#1: Base your cooking around seasonal foods.

Buy fresh vegetables and fruits during their natural harvest season for optimal taste, texture, and nutrient levels. I, myself, am learning which foods are best during which season. For seasonal food lists, try online sources or visit your local Continue reading

HealthCorps Proven Effective in Preventing Obesity in Children

Last month, HealthCorps founder Dr. Mehmet Oz (author and heart surgeon) presented findings of a recent study on the impact of HealthCorps Coordinators in their communities.

Dr. Oz, HealthCorps Founder

Dr. Oz, HealthCorps Founder

A new study on HealthCorps—a school-based educational and mentoring program modeled after the Peace Corps—shows that its students are “reducing soda consumption, exercising more and developing a better understanding of healthy behaviors.” The study looked at 971 high school students enrolled in 11 New York City high schools (although HealthCorps operates in 50 schools in nine states across the United States).

The two-year study was conducted by Professor John Cawley, Ph.D., in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University. Cawley’s research includes a range of topics connected to the “economics of obesity” like the “effect of body weight on labor market outcomes such as wage rates, unemployment, employment disability, and the transition from welfare to work, and  “the role of body weight in adolescent behavior, such as smoking and sexual activity.”

Dr. Oz said, who presented the study’s findings in June, said:

“These findings underscore the effectiveness of our peer mentoring program in our mission to stem child Continue reading

Changes at

The America Serves section of the presidential transition website contains some new information.

There are short descriptions of Classroom Corps, Health Corps, and Clean Energy Corps. These programs are pretty much as you would expect. My big question had to do with Veterans Corps, as I wasn’t sure if this program would be made up of veterans or provide services to veterans. From the website, it appears to be the latter.

Another big development: According to the website, “…college students who engage in 100 hours of community service [are] to receive a fully-refundable tax credit of $4,000 for their education.” That’s pretty cool. One-hundred hours is easy enough for most students to be able to accomplish that goal, and $4,000 is enough to buy a good chunk of school (more than half of a full year’s tuition at most state schools).

I’m looking forward to hearing more!

Update 12/10: is now Open for Questions! Vote on issues most pressing for you and your family; submit questions of your own.

I checked out the presidential transition website today to see if I could find much about national service. Yikes, it’s a high enough priority that it even gets its own tab (“America Serves”) across the top of the page! There isn’t that much content yet (but that might change by the time you click your way there. I am hopeful that national service will be less of a White House pet project than one of the primary solutions to the many problems affecting the country.

To read more about Obama’s service initiatives, check out his pre-election stance. To read more about service programs currently available, including teaching corps, conservation corps, etc., check out our side bar — “corps and coalition,” categories, and tag cloud.

Obama, McCain, and the future of national service

Major party candidates and their plans for national service

(Update on 9/11/08: this article from Chronicle of Philanthropy about the two Senators records on national service.)

Whatever you think of Senators Obama and McCain and their political parties, you probably hope that each of them has something valuable to add to the conversation about national service — after all, one of them will be president soon, and service corps alumni stand to fill the looming public service leadership shortage created as the Baby Boomer generation retires.

Register so that you can vote on November 4.

Barack Obama on National Service

Obama’s plan is listed as an issue on his site, and is expansive: tripling AmeriCorps and doubling Peace Corps; creating new service corps on education, health care, clean energy & green jobs, veterans, and homeland security; and engaging baby boomers on a larger scale. Reading the plan, you get the idea that the stereotype of a national service participant will no longer be that of someone young and inexperienced, and in fact, that stereotypes no longer apply. Participants will represent a wide cross-section of the United States, people who come to a term-of-service opportunity for many reasons. Read more on his web site, or download the plan (PDF). (His plan also addresses military service.)

Note that some service corps programs such as Peace Corps are currently shrinking number of participants due to budget restrictions.

Video from Service Vote ’08:

Here is Obama speaking Sept. 11 as part of the Service Nation Summit:

John McCain on National Service

McCain‘s plan has not been easy to track down, though he has been supportive of AmeriCorps, and was the first of the two candidates to agree to speak at the Service Nation Summit. In 2001, he published this article in The Washington Monthly explaining his views on the topic. McCain worked with Senator Evan Bayh (D-Indiana) in 2001 to try to expand national service, but has said that the war in Iraq has pushed these efforts to the “sidelines.” And in 2003 McCain worked to ask President Bush not to cut funding of AmeriCorps. (For some analysis of McCain’s history on the topic of national service, read “Service Interruption” by Washington Monthly‘s Paul Glastris. Also check out Steve Benen on “McCain, Obama, and National Service.”)

Video from Service Vote ’08:

Here is the first part of McCain’s interview on Sept. 11 at the Service Nation Summit: