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A Food Network chef + mama obsessed with Aperol spritzes, travel, and mouth watering food. I also own a gorgeous cooking school in Italy. My mission? To share the secrets of La Dolce Vita so you can create a healthy, beautiful, delicious life filled with joy!

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They label food as good or bad and cause you to obsess about eating. Throwing out your scale is the best thing you can do. Embrace balance rather than restriction.

DIETS DON’T WORK

They label food as good or bad and cause you to obsess about eating. Throwing out your scale is the best thing you can do. Embrace balance rather than restri…

As a chef the question I get asked the most is “How do you cook for a living and stay so thin?”

The question I get asked the most as a mother is “How do you find time to cook?”

The truth is that both questions can be answered with one simple philosophy….. It all begins with what you put in your shopping cart each week. This should change depending on what is in season and what is freshest at the time. Nothing boxed or prepackaged

I like to do my big shop on a Monday. I stick to the perimeter of the store where all the healthy unprocessed food is and I build my meal plan with a loose list in mind. But I am guided by what looks best when I am there. The produce in season is not frozen and not overpriced and specials going at the time will affect choices.

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I am looking for a meat, chicken and fish for 3 of the nights and the last night will be some sort of grain, sandwich or pasta. It is also important to involve your family in the decision. You might give each member of your family a chance to pick the weeks meals. By involving them they are much more likely to eat the dinner on the table.

I also like to get my marinating done at the start of the week before I pack away my shop so it is easy to throw dinners together the rest of the week. When I get home I usually throw each of the proteins into a bowl /ziplcok bag. I make all the marinades at the time pulling from basic pantry items, family member requests and what I have bought that week.

I like to use the grill a lot because it is a healthy option and a lot of the excess fat burns off.

We sit down for dinner every night as a family and catch up on the day. I find that if I have a delicious home cooked meal my husband will rush to get home on time even if he has to go out again to clients

I like to get my daughter to help make the meal. I find that she is more willing to eat & try new things if she is making them. I also use this time to bond with her and teach her about different ingredients and cooking techniques so that she will make healthy choices as she gets older and one day cooks for her own family. The lessons we teach our youth about healthy eating stay with them for a lifetime.

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I always make a huge big salad and make sure at least half my plate is veggies and greens. No bottled dressings.  It is so easy to make a dressing using the basic ratio of 1/3 oil, 1/3 vinegar, 1/3 sugar/mayo/mustard, and lots of salt and pepper. Citrus zest and juice also adds tons of flavor.

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I'm Melissa, your host & tour guide.

A Food Network chef, author, mamma, eternal optimist, wannabe-mermaid, spice mixologist, and “dough therapist” (yep, it’s a thing)—

I'm also the founder of Susina Cucina, the gorgeous, Italian cooking school I manifested into my reality. I’m obsessed with Aperol spritzes, travel, and mouthwatering food… especially pizza and pasta.

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