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Livvey and I will be switching over to a site so that hopefully people can find us more easily.  Please follow us at



The Ladaire Pair,

Melissa and LIvvey


Food Network Rachel Ray Judges Contest That Lets Kids Demonstrate How to Cook


The Food Network’s Rachel Ray will be one of the judges for an Uncle Ben’s healthy cooking contest for kids.  The grand prize winner will receive an appearance on the Rachel Ray Show, $20,000 in cash, and a $50,000 cafeteria makeover for their school.  Ten year old Olivia Ladaire, aka Livvey plans to win, but not for the reasons you might think.


“This is exactly the type of opportunity that we have been waiting for “, exclaims Livvey.  Livvey has been eating fresh healthy food since she was a baby but was horrified to find out how most of her new friends ate when she transferred to a public school in 3rd grade.  “It’s crazy what most of my friends eat, and it’s really sad what they won’t eat. I’m actually not even sure how some of these kids survive and grow with the junk that they put in their bodies on a daily basis” says Livvey.

Livvey attests to the fact that many of the parents try to pack healthy lunches, but the kids are so stuck on eating junk food that many of the them simply refuse to eat them, and instead dump them, untouched into the trash, so they can head to the play ground faster.  Other parents seem to have decided that getting something into their children’s bellies is better than nothing, so they give in to the “parent pressure” as Livvey likes to call it, and give their kids whatever they will eat.  “One of my friends literally gets a bag of marshmallows in her lunch every day of the week!” yells Livvey. “It’s this kind of behavior that got my daughter and I talking about how we can start trying to change the way kids think about food.” chimes in mom, Melissa Ladaire, who entered the contest with Livvey.  “We really want to make a difference in how these kids think about food”, she continues.


or going to the Uncle Ben’s Beginner’s contest website and searching for Olivia Ladaire.

About a year ago Livvey and Melissa came up with an idea.  “What if we had a mother/daughter talk show where teach how to cook healthy recipes.  We could encouraged kids and their parents to make healthy choices about what they put into their bodies and at the same time encourage open communication between kids and adults by talking about things that they both enjoy?  Think, Rachel Ray, meets, Oprah and Ellen Degeneres!”  Livvey and her mom both loved the idea, but didn’t want to make the show just about cooking.  “We wanted to encourage all kinds of healthy lifestyle choices, like getting out and exercising and being good to our planet.”

They began talking to their local cable company about the show and working on ideas of how they could get their message across when last March Melissa was diagnosed with breast cancer.  “I am very lucky, we caught it really early.  It was the strangest thing, I was lying in bed one morning and I felt two little tingling pains in my right breast.  They were very subtle and I didn’t feel any  lumps, but I knew I had to be checked.”  A mammogram revealed calcium deposits in the same two spots she felt the sensations, an early sign of cancer cell activity, and later, a tissue sample revealed DCIS.  Melissa, with the encouragement of her family, decided on a bilateral mastectomy as a course of treatment.  Although their plans were temporarily side railed, the two of them never stopped talking about their idea.


Now healthy, but short of funds after a long recovery period, and even more serious about what goes into their bodies, Melissa and Olivia have been trying to figure out how to make their dream a reality.  “The original idea was that we would be on the talk show together.  Livvey is really smart, really funny and really talented, she can sing, (check out her video on youtube),

she can dance and I think kids and their parents would get a kick out of our banter and our different points of view given our age difference,” says mom. But with no budget, Melissa had to operate the camera, and Livvey had to do her cooking alone.

Check out this short video or Livvey demonstrating how to make Kale chips for Paula Deen.

“We are really just getting started again.  We have made a few sample cooking videos and posted them on Youtube and sent a few to Cox for review.  So far, their advice has been to keep at it… lol, and our videos on Youtube have gone almost unnoticed, but we are far from being ready to give up.  We definitely have a lot of work to do to get our show to where we want it and $20,000 would really help.”  If Livvey and Melissa were to win this contest, they say they would use the money to create a pilot of their talk show idea and see if they could get some cable stations to pick up the show.  “Even if we don’t win the contest, we feel this is a great opportunity to have a chance to begin to influence people to make better choices about what they eat.”



and search for Olivia Ladaire

“As adults, we are always telling kids that they should eat right, but most of us are horrible examples.  We know that the American diet is literally killing us and if we want it to change, we have to start teaching our kids how to think about food differently.  Food is not just something you put in your body to fill it up when you feel hungry, or a sugary reward for a job well done.  It is our energy source and our body’s productivity is dramatically affected by everything we put into it.  The message is really very simple, keep eating junk and you will look and feel like crap!  Pardon my potty mouth”, “Moooom!”  Livvey laughs.

Livvey and Melissa really think they have a shot at making cooking and eating healthy food fun, entertaining and hip.  Livvey says, “One of the things that my mom and I  like to do to do together is watch popular cooking shows on tv like the Rachel Ray Show or Paula Deen and when we find something that we think would be fun to make, we like to figure out how we can improve the recipe by making it healthier.”  The duo often use non-dairy beverages like rice milk, coconut milk or almond milk instead of cow’s milk, flaxseed meal in baked items instead of oil or butter, and fruit such as apple sauce, raisins and prunes for sweeteners as well as carrots and beets.  There are a lot of creative ways to cut down on fat and sugar when cooking and not take too much away from the taste.

“The truth is, that as you start eating healthier, your taste buds change.  You actually start noticing more subtle flavors and stronger flavors become even more delicious and intense as you get away from overly processed, fattening and sugary foods.  Kids and adults alike begin craving these healthier foods as they get used to eating them and will start noticing that when they eat a lot of food that is not healthy, that they don’t feel very good.  For me, the pleasure of eating a huge slice of white flour cake loaded up with frosting is just not that enticing anymore, knowing that thirty minutes later, I’m going to feel horrible” admits Melissa, “I had to learn this, Livvey seemed to instinctively know this or at least learned her lessons a lot quicker, because she is really good about not over eating sweet stuff, not that she never indulges.  I want her to experience some of the things that her friends do and enjoy treats.  The problem is most Americans have gotten to the point where treats are so easily accessible, that we eat them frequently throughout the day in large quantities and seldom eat nutritious food and that is a recipe for disaster with our health.”


search for Olivia Ladaire

“We are really excited that Uncle Ben’s and other major corporations are beginning to understand that changes need to be made, and are making an effort to send better messages and even clean up some of the ingredients they are adding to their products.”

The contest encourages a child and his or her parent to cook a meal or dish on camera using Uncle Ben’s rice and showing the audience how they did it and what they learned.  The judging will be based on the following criteria.

Personality and ability to engage and inspire the audience (20%);

Level of enthusiasm for the recipe and cooking (20%);

Demonstrating a basic knowledge of food and recipe (20%);

Creativity in responding to the questions posed by You (20%); and

Votes: the total number of votes that the Video received on Facebook during the Public Voting Period (20%).

Four finalists will be invited to New York to appear on the Rachel Ray Show and demonstrate their knowledge of and passion for cooking.  After the show, another online judging period will commence and a grand prize will be awarded after judging, which will be based on

Personality and ability to engage and inspire the audience during the filming of the Rachael Ray show (23%);

Level of enthusiasm during the filming of the Rachael Ray show (23%);

Creativity during the filming of the Rachael Ray show (23%);

The number of votes that the Video received on Facebook during the Public Voting Period 2 (23%); and

The Rachael Ray show’s Vote (8%).

Melissa and Olivia hope you will click on their link to view their video submission and if you like what you see vote for them.  You can vote once a day, every day during the first voting period that end March 11, 2012.  Please forward the information to your friends and post on your Facebook wall and Twitter.  Help spread the word that you care about health and the way we eat.  You can copy and paste the text below.

Mother/daughter duo encouraging healthy eating habits. Vote for them in the Uncle Ben’s Beginner’s Cooking Contest at

And search for Olivia Ladaire

Or use this short link to vote

Also look for our new blog coming soon at http:/ for more healthy recipes and learn how to cook with you children.  You will also get lots of  mother, daughter talk from Melissa and Olivia.

You can also visit us on youtube channel at


Westminster Dog Shows Proves to Be Entertaining

I forgot how exciting it was to watch the Westminster Dog show. I caught the end of it last night with my daughter after Valentine’s Day celebrations, and for dog lovers it is really a kick to watch. Of course I have my favorite breeds that always stand out, I am a big fan of the working group and the Doberman Pincher, FiFi was my pick for this year. They are such regal animals and she was an absolutely amazing example. It is fun to discover also the dogs that awe or steal my heart away that I wouldn’t expect, this year it was the Irish Setter, working mom of 15 puppies for the hound group. The winner of course was however a Pekingese, ok not my favorite dog, looked to me a little bit like a dust mop with legs and a Furby head, but hey what dog isn’t cute! Please remember to support your local shelters, by always adopting first and donating time and supplies to our furry friends in need. The love you give to an animal with always be given back to you ten fold, no 100 fold!

When Livvey gets home from school we will be watching the final round together as shown on the link above and giving you our reactions in a video blog.  Teaching your children to love and respect animals is extremely important and big commercial events like this, as obnoxious as they are on many level can help remind us to love and pay more attention to all of our pets, those that live with us and those that need good homes.

Clean Energy is the Answer Not More Oil

Robert Redford helping to encourage all of us to reduce our dependence on oil and praising Obama for not giving in to pressure from oil companies.  Our environment and our people are our most important resources and we need to work hard to protect and nurture them.  Here what Robert Redford has to say about the importance of preserving our environment.

The life cycle of the plastic bag.

Some things we can’t ignore even though it is easier to look away.  I hate watching nature films because they are so real and hard to watch.  Here is another one that needs to be watched.  Humorous but so true.

An Emotional Appeal for Gay Rights by a Republican

Life is complicated.  Let’s keep it simple.  Everyone on this planet deserves to be respected and loved.

Rolling in the Deep, Livvey 10

Like many elementary schools, Livvey’s school puts on an annual talent show to give the students an opportunity to display their talents in front of their friends and family while helping to raise money for the school’s PTA.  I think it is a great thing to encourage kids to participate in events like this whenever possible for all the wonderful things it can do for a child’s self confidence, given that they have support from family, friends or mentors in preparing for their act so that they can step onto the stage feeling prepared, and that the school and families have created a safe and nurturing environment in which the kids feel they can perform without peer criticism.

This was the third year that Livvey participated in the talent show and this year, she decided she would do a solo act.  She would sing an Adele song that she has been singing around the house for months, Rolling In The Deep.  Under no circumstances, would I have considered doing such a thing at her age, or been able to pull it off, but I can tell you know I wish I had.  The experience did so much for Livvey’s self esteem.

I believe because of the popularity of shows like America Idol, Dancing with the Stars, The Voice, and all the other popular talent shows these days, the number of applications in this year’s talent show was twice what it was last year. In fact, there were eight girls that wanted to sing Rolling in the Deep, a testament to Adele’s popularity.  In the end, Livvey and one other talented girl were allowed to sing it, because they both got their applications in on the same day and before all the others.

I am very proud of the job Livvey and all the kids did.  They were just amazing.  The acts ranged all over the board.  Of course many of the kids sang and danced, played piano and guitar, told jokes, one girl even recited The Gettysburg Address, all with cool confidence on stage, or so it appeared.  Apparently, according to Livvey, the real drama was back stage. Kids were crying, shaking, throwing up and hyperventilating.  There was such a big disconnect with how they acted on stage and with how they acted behind stage that it almost seemed fabricated and I had to wonder what was really going on.  Where the kids acting out the drama that they thought was suppose to happen based on all the reality tv shows they watch or were they feeling so much pressure to be great based on watching the drama on shows like American Idol, or was it just normal jitters of kids not used to performing?  Adult are expected to perform so much in business life, running meetings, giving talks etc. that I think any time we can encourage our children to get up in front of an audience can be a valuable learning experience.  I just wish that kids could get a more balanced message that a single performance doesn’t mean everything and it is alright to error, be human.  My wish for all kids is that they can learn to be comfortable with who they are, embracing all of their silly little quarks that we adults find so endearing.

Please give us your thoughts and I hope you enjoy Livvey’s performance.  If you do, please be sure to like and share with others.

Vegan Hauler Girl Shopping for Healthy Ingredients

So I was completely geeking out at Mother’s Market the other day.  They are our local health food store and they do a very good job of supplying a large variety of healthy food supplies.  I could have easily spent $1,000 there on new products I had never seen nor tried before, but I controlled myself and came home with a small bag for under $50.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring.  I have been stuck in a rut of just eating salads and steamed veggies because it’s easy and gets the job done, but there really isn’t a need when there are so many wonderful products out there.  I will show you just a few new things I found.  Xylitol, is a natural sweetener made from American Hard Wood of all things.  Yes go figure, and it tastes amazing.  I picked up a brand called Xyla and I was so excited after trying it that I immediately made a cake using it.  Since it was the first time I had ever tried baking with it, I was being a little conservative and decided to use half Xyla and half cane sugar.  The cake tasted great!  I loved it and thought it must be too good to be true.  A sweetener that tastes great, doesn’t cause teeth decay and is safe for diabetics!  About 4 hours later, I discovered the downfall.  Yes, those of you who have already tried it probably know.  “Farty Butt!” Like you can’t believe.  I was miserable for two days.  Hardly worth the 10 minutes of bliss while eating cake.  So much for, “you can have your cake and eat it too”.

Please be sure to give me your comments about my blog and my youtube channel.  There are plenty of videos there to watch and some recipes made by Livvey.  We are still getting our voice here so your feedback is welcome.

Salmon Recipe with Pomegranate Salsa and Wild Rice

A facebook friend who noticed some of the cooking videos that we have been posting to our youtube channel sent us a link to a contest that Uncle Ben’s Rice is putting on.  The challenge is for you and your child to make a healthy recipe together using Uncle Ben’s Rice.  The prizes for winning this contest are pretty amazing, $20,000 in cash, a $50,000 make-over for your child’s school cafeteria and a trip to New York where the four finalist will appear on the Rachel Ray show!  Pretty cool indeed.  Livvey and I  missed out on a trip  to go on a trip to New York a couple of years ago when our dog was invited to participate in an infomercial for a dog bed sponsored by Montel Williams.  We were all set to go when flights were canceled and roads were closed due to a big storm.  To make a long story short, the producers lost a chance to rebook our tickets and the tickets were wasted.  They ended up using local talent instead.  Livvey has been dieing to go to New York ever since and was pining away this year while watching the ball drop in Time Square.  But, we have a much bigger reason for wanting to win this contest than the much needed money and desired trip.

Livvey and I have a goal of helping turn around childhood and adult obesity in this country by inspiring families to cook together and make better choices about the food and products they put into their bodies.  That is the reason that we have started posting our cooking recipe videos and one of the main reasons we are passionate about this new blog.

We made our first attempt at creating our video for the contest over the weekend.  We are not going to submit this video because we feel there are a lot of problems with it in terms of quality and content that we are working at improving, but we loved the recipe and enjoyed eating it and think we will use the same recipe when we make the video again.  We would like to share this video with you now and encourage you to give us your feedback.  Try not to be too mean, we are both a little sensitive, but would like your constructive feedback.

Please check out the video and let us know what you think.  Thanks

This recipe is absolutely amazing! We first had the dish at a dinner party and it was one of those recipes that we couldn’t wait to make. Livvey doesn’t usually like salmon but the fresh pomegranate and spicy jalapeno flavor make this recipe burst with flavor. Best of all this recipe is easy enough for you, or a ten year old to make in less than 30 minutes and is a complete meal.

Shopping Hauler Girl Livvey Hits Sale at H & M

One of the great things that have come out of this horrible economy for both me and my ten year old daughter Livvey is to value money a lot more than we used to and watch very carefully how we spend it.  Naturally I have become friends with a lot of my daughter’s friends and their parents and because we live in an affluent area, many of these families are used to very nice things but have had to cut back because of the economy.  I hear the complaints from the parents occasionally about how tight their budgets have become and how their kids just don’t seem to get it.  I also witness how some of these kids relate to price tags on items they want and often times the price tag for them simple seems to be just a measure of the amount of effort they will have to put into manipulating their parents into buying the item for them.  Sad, but true.  There seems to be a very large disconnect with what the price tag really means and what has to be given up in order to take home the item.

I believe it is important to shield my child from much of my adult stresses I experience in life.  After all, she has enough stresses of her own.  Growing up is challenging enough, but I don’t believe it is healthy for her development to shield her from everything I am experiencing and why I have to make the choices that I have to make.  It seems to me that a much better strategy is to have open communication about the challenges I face and discuss positive things we can do to overcome them.  Therefore I have open communications with my daughter about how much money is coming into our household and some of the necessary expenditures that we face each month.  Because of this Livvey has gained a much more mature attitude towards money and is very good at self regulating her expenditures, in fact, often she even will keep me in check.  She has stopped me in a store on several occasions and asked me, “Mom, I know you want that, but do you really need it.  It’s kind of expensive and I don’t think it is really important.”  Wow, reality check from my ten year old.

Having said all this, I am proud to allow my daughter to put up a hauling video on our youtube channel so that Livvey can share some of the great bargains she has found with her hard earned and saved money.  She gets so excited when she finds a bargain.

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