Recipes you will LOVE: Today’s Featured Chef: Matt Wright

Click here to read Foodie Patty’s introduction to this series.


Aha! Connection Recipes you will LOVE

Matt & Allison Wright

Matt & Allison Wright

A common thread that most of our “chefs” share is Murphey Candler Park. Matt is no exception. He coaches all four of his sons in baseball, serves on the men’s board and coaches on the football side too. As if that isn’t enough, Matt is the co-owner of Wright’s Gourmet in Dunwoody with his father. Everything I have tried on their menu has been scrumptious, but if you take the advice from my BFF, Susie Neel, the chocolate on chocolate cake is truly sinful. I will look forward to trying the chocolate if I can pry myself away from the lemonade cake.

FYI, Matt had no idea I was going to plug him or his business. I got the entire scoop from Susie N.

~ Patty

The following recipes constitute one of my wife’s favorite meals that I cook for her and I hope you enjoy it as well.

By the time you are done cooking  you should’ve had your favorite wine poured and some music on and now you’re ready to enjoy Valentine’s Day Dinner.

Bon appetite!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Matt Wright    

Recipes you will LOVE: Today’s Featured Chef, Alan Mothner

Click here to read Foodie Patty’s introduction to this series.


Aha! Connection Recipes you will LOVE

Next up in the batting order of local chefs is Alan Mothner.  Many of you might know Alan from Murphey Candler Park or perhaps from one of his photography classes or quite possibly from the Dunwoody Nature Center at which he is the Executive Director!

I am so impressed by all the upgrades that Alan has brought to the DNC both structurally and socially.  It is one of the favorite places my family likes to visit.  If this recipe is as good as all the work he has done with the Dunwoody Nature Center, it is guaranteed to be amazing.  Alan and his wife Karen are fun, creative, talented and a great family to call neighbors.

BTW, Alan didn’t ask me to plug him, I’m just a fan! ~ Patty

Artichoke & Shrimp Risotto in 10 EASY steps

Recipes you will LOVE: Today’s Featured Chef, Josh Nazarian

Click here to read Foodie Patty’s introduction to this series.

Even though Josh spends a lot of time at Murphy Candler coaching football and watching his kids play baseball, softball and more, he still takes the time to treat his wife, Jaclyn, to some good eats at home.

Aha! Connection Recipes you will LOVE

So rack of lamb is my go-to for Jaclyn on holidays and special occasions.  We’ve all become acclimated to family friendly staples…chicken, steaks, pasta, etc…, easy to make on any weeknight and after a long day of work and homework/practice(s)…and while my kids actually love this dish it’s a good one to pull out at special times (we just had it at Christmas).

Sauteed Green Beans

Garlic Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb

Recipes you will LOVE: Today’s Featured Chef – Mike Casey

Click here to read Foodie Patty’s introduction to this series.


Aha! Connection Recipes you will LOVE

mike caseyRecipes, for me, have never been an “etched in stone” kind of thing.  Whether I’m following a recipe in a cookbook/online, trying to recreate something I’ve eaten at a restaurant or simply making something up, I rarely repeat a recipe verbatim.  I attribute this somewhat to culinary curiosity and creativity, but more to the strong likelihood that I won’t have all of the ingredients necessary to replicate a recipe, as well as my general unwillingness to precisely measure ingredients (especially if the cooking process includes an adult beverage).  But the variety (entropy) that results just means I can have a dish more often without getting tired of it.

That said, I have done my best to present a “standard” recipe for two mainstays at the Casey household: 


Mike Casey

Recipes you will LOVE: Today’s Featured Chef – Matt Kern

Submitted by Patty Moncrief

Aha! Connection Recipes you will LOVE

matt kernMy first featured chef is dear friend and neighbor, Matt Kern.

Hello to all you AHA Connection followers! I have the pleasure of sharing with you some recipes that I hope you will enjoy this Valentine’s Day.

I grew up in Atlanta, so many of my culinary influences come from Southern Chefs and the Southern comfort food my mother made when I was a child. Everything from smothered pork chops to chicken fried steak and grits could often be found on our dinner table. 

In the summer of 1980, my mother sent me off to a Summer School focused on Home Economics – I guess she was getting tired of cooking for me and thought it time that her 11 year fend for himself! Believe it or not, that was the beginning of my passion for cooking!

As you prepare for Valentine’s Day, I give you two of my favorite recipes – one appetizer and one main course. Enjoy and if you have questions, please feel free to reach out to me personally.


First Course:  Polpette

Main Course:  Paul Prudhomme’s Barbecued Shrimp


Matt Kern

NYE Bubbly Picks from Michael Bryan at Vino Venue

bubblyHere are three great NYE bubbly picks from Michael Bryan of the Atlanta Wine School.  All are available at Vino Venue in the Georgetown Shopping Center

Affordable Bling

Cuvee Deor Prosecco, Italy $20

This solid gold bottle will certainly garner 2nd looks at a gathering!  Perfumy, soft in the mouth, with an ever-so-slightly touch of fruit sweetness.  An affordable crowd-pleaser.


Class Never Goes Out of Style

Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve Champagne, $39

This medium-bodied bubbly has a plush richness that imparts a certain aristocratic comfort to your guests.  It is one of our favorite Champagnes for the money.


When Only the Best Will Do

Henri Giraud “Hommage a Francois Hemmart” Brut Champagne, $79

Full bodied bubbly, both elegant and meaty at the same time.  It tastes like money–an impactful wine while you roll into 2015.  

Recipe of the Week: Lucky New Year’s Day Menu

In my family Mama always had the exact same menu every New Year’s Day for lunch.  I pretty much follow my Mom’s traditions and this is what I prepare and serve every New Year’s Day:

Turnip Greens
-Representing Money…eat more greens, earn more money in the upcoming year!

-I think we make cornbread simply because it is so yummy with turnip greens but somthing I just read says I’ve been eating it because it represents gold.

Black-eyed Peas
-Representing Luck….eat more peas…and be luckier all year long!

-I never knew why but just discovered that Pigs are a lucky symbol because they root forward signifying progress….eat ham and have more forward progress in the New Year!

Here are some articles I found regarding lucky New Year’s Day Menus…each contain recipes that you can use to bring good fortune to your family in 2015!

7 Lucky New Year’s Eve Foods

Lucky Foods for the New Year

Southern New Year’s Day Menu

Southern Perspective: New Year’s Day menu is key

Don’t Fah-Lah-Lah Off the Wagon (10 Holiday Tips from UFC Gym)

Don’t Fah-Lah-Lah Off the Wagon

The holidays are typically filled with family, friends, and fitness pitfalls. While it’s perfectly ok to let loose a little, here are 10 tips to help you stay at the top of your game this holiday season.

  1. Don’t skip meals. If you skip meals before a party or big family buffet to try to save calories, you are far more likely to overeat at the main event. Not only that, but by eating small meals or snacks throughout the day, you’ll be keeping your metabolism revved and ready to deal with the monster feast. Eat a high protein snack (like Greek yogurt or a handful of nuts) about an hour before the big meal to ensure you don’t arrive starving.
  2. Don’t skip workouts. Speaking of a humming metabolism, by maintaining a consistent workout schedule, you’ll be lighting that internal fire that keeps calories burning even when you’re at rest. In fact, since we all tend to eat more during the holidays, it’s even more important to fit in those workouts whenever and wherever we can. If you have family or guests at your home, suggest taking walks together or have them join you as guests at your gym.
  3. Drink water. Drinking water throughout the day will not only keep you hydrated, but it will also keep you feeling more full. One of the best times to down a glass? Right before you dig in to a big meal.
  4. Be choosy. Only eat the things you REALLY want and that you have waited all year for (your aunt Edna’s stuffing or cousin Kyle’s deep fried turkey). Skip the stuff you aren’t craving or that you can get all year long.
  5. Weigh the options. While you probably won’t find raw kale or quinoa salad at the party buffet, you can still make smart choices, or at least smarter Opt for the healthier options (broccoli versus green bean casserole, sweet potatoes versus white potatoes). And skip the rolls!
  6. Mix it up. By alternating alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages,

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Jennifer Williams
(404) 445-8324

Recipe of the Week: Roast Pork Tenderloin with Dried Cherries and Rosemary

roast pork tenderloinFall is my favorite time of year and it is also the season when I reconnect with my inner foodie. I must admit, recently I’ve been a little obsessed with the Dunwoody Green Market. (I enjoy browsing much more when it isn’t sweltering hot.) My favorite finds are flavor-infused oils and vinegars by Alta Cucina Italia. I was inspired by my purchase of the cherry balsamic vinegar to find a good fall recipe to use it. If you don’t have cherry balsamic – no worries. Just use any good quality balsamic and the recipe will be delicious!

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Dried Cherries and Rosemary Read More »

Healthy Lunch Box Ideas!

healthy lunch box ideasThough my mind and my electric bill still say, “Summer,” it’s time to wrap our heads around the back-to-school routine, like it or not! With the start of school also comes the daily challenge of packing a healthy lunch that your kids will actually eat. My kids, though not especially picky at home, have strong preferences for what can and cannot go into the lunchbox. In particular, they are not sandwich eaters.

Back in January, Audra asked for your lunchbox ideas and y’all provided a lot of great suggestions! I thought I’d build on that by exploring some non-sandwich fare. Here are some of the ideas that I have in mind for my kiddos. I’d love to hear your ideas too!

Just remember some simple guidelines when putting together a balanced lunch: About half of your child’s plate should be comprised of fruits and/or vegetables, one quarter lean protein, and one quarter whole grains, with lowfat or nonfat milk, cheese or yogurt on the side. You can go to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s for more information on your child’s nutrition needs.

Lunchbox Ideas:

Peanut Butter and Fruit Roll-Up: Spread 2 tbsp peanut or almond butter on a whole-wheat tortilla. Sprinkle with chopped banana, apple or strawberries. Add 1-2 tsp. of mini chocolate chips, if desired, then roll and slice in half. Serve with a granola bar, baby carrots and a low fat yogurt.

Pasta Salad with Tortellini and Pesto: Cook any type of tortellini according to package directions. Toss with green peas and pesto. This can be served hot or cold. Include a piece of fruit, ¼ cup of almonds, and a pudding cup.

Lunchbox Pizza Quesadillas: While heating a whole-grain tortilla in a pan over medium heat, top with pizza sauce, turkey pepperoni, and mozzarella cheese (you can also include veggies!) followed by another tortilla. Heat on both sides until cheese is melted and tortillas are lightly browned. Cut into wedges. Serve with edamame and sliced apples.

Bento Taco Bar: Along with 1 or 2 soft taco tortillas, include a healthy assortment of taco fillings, like ground turkey, cheese, lettuce and pico de gallo in separate compartments. Your child can assemble the meal at school and avoid the soggy taco problem. Add some diced pineapple and nonfat milk to complete the meal.

Nancy Anderson, MPH, RD, LD is a registered dietitian at Nutrifit, Sport, Therapy, Inc. She works with individuals and families to make healthy eating a way of life.