Robyn Stuart of Frankfort is deep into chocolate, getting ready for her biggest role as a candy maker.
Stuart, owner of DB Bourbon Candy, will take 3,500 bourbon balls to California next month to be presented to celebrities in the gifting suite at the 85th annual Academy Awards, Feb. 24 at the Kodak Center in Los Angeles.
"I've never been to L.A.; I'm so excited. I'm going early to spend a few days enjoying L.A. before the big event," said Stuart, who is taking best friend Michele Harper with her.
Stuart started the business in 2002, shortly after her mother died. "She did bourbon balls at Christmas to give away to everybody. After she passed, everybody said, 'I'm going to miss your mom's candy.'"
Stuart decided to continue her mother's tradition "as a way to remember her." For the name of her company, she chose DB, which stands for Doodle Bug, her mother's nickname for Stuart.
Each candy is rolled and dipped by hand, and Stuart makes about 35,000 a year. She hires someone to help for the orders for weddings and large events, but small Internet orders are all made by Stuart. She makes thousands for Churchill Downs each year for the Kentucky Derby.
Stuart's candy will be in the swag bags presented to celebrities at the Academy Awards, and she will have the opportunity to personally offer samples to the guests.
"We'll get an immediate response to our products, and see that they like it," she said.
Stuart's product line, including bourbon cheesecakes and chocolate-dipped fruits, is available at DBbourboncandy.com.
Snack cart needs a name
The Lexington Tweens Nutrition and Fitness Coalition is getting a food cart so volunteers can take healthy snacks to places where people play.
The "Better Bites — Snack Strong" program provides healthier food choices including fresh fruit, veggie dippers with light ranch dressing, yogurt parfaits, sunflower seeds, string cheese, Popsicles and popcorn. The cart, which will be at pools, schools and sporting events, needs a name.
The name-the-cart contest ends Feb. 15; you may submit a name to Name the Better Bites Cart Contest, 291 Lafayette Parkway, Lexington, Ky. 40503, or email it to Jocelyn.firstname.lastname@example.org. The winner will receive $100 and two season passes to Lexington public pools.
A delicious duo
Woodford Reserve Distillery is serving bourbon and chocolate Feb. 16.
Chef-in-residence Ouita Michel and Midway School Bakery pastry chef Carrie Warmbier will discuss how to judge quality in chocolate,and they will present a chocolate flavor wheel. They will serve liquid chocolate and three small chocolate desserts, and they'll make a specialty chocolate cocktail and a Woodford Reserve cocktail.
The event will be 1 to 4 p.m. Cost is $50. The distillery is at 7855 McCracken Pike, Versailles. Call (859) 879-1953 or go to Woodfordreserve.com.
If one of your goals in 2013 is to eat healthier foods, you can adopt these healthy-eating strategies from Real Simple magazine.
The staff at Real Simple asked the country's top dietitians and nutritionists to explain which super-powered ingredients we should incorporate into our diets regularly. Here are their combined picks.
Almonds. Packed with monounsaturated fatty acids, which keep blood vessels healthy. The plant fibers help lower cholesterol.
Avocados. You'll get nearly 20 percent of your daily dose of fiber in one 1/2-cup serving, plus cholesterol-lowering monounsaturated fats.
Barley. A high-fiber cholesterol fighter. On weeknights, use the pearl or quick-cooking variety. More time? Give hulled barley, with its extra layer of bran, a go.
Black beans: These burrito mainstays boast antioxidants and magnesium, which helps maintain nerve and muscle function.
Blueberries. Packed with fiber, this superfruit was one of the top antioxidant-rich picks in a U.S. Department of Agriculture study.
Broccoli. A vitamin C gold mine — 1/2 cup of cooked broccoli satisfies 80 percent of the USDA's recommended daily dose. It's also a key source of vitamin K, which helps blood clot properly.
Bulgur. Made from wheat that has been steamed, dried and cracked, this delivers more fiber than brown rice, plus you get a boost of potassium, B vitamins and calcium.
Chard. Supercharged with nutrients — think calcium, B vitamins, and beta-carotene — this leafy green fuels your body with fiber, too.
Chicken breasts (boneless, skinless). A dinner staple from the leanest part of the bird: Half a breast has just 2.5 grams of fat and more than 22 grams of protein.
Edamame. These young soybeans pack more fiber per serving than shredded-wheat cereal and have the same amount of protein as roasted turkey.
Eggs. The whites offer protein with minimal calories (and no fat or cholesterol). Egg yolks get a bad rap, but don't skip them — they are awash with vitamin B12 and vitamin A, and they contain choline, a nutrient that's particularly important for pregnant women.
Kale. The payoff from this leafy green: loads of vitamin C, beta-carotene, calcium and antioxidants. Kale is also a good source of lutein, an eye-friendly nutrient that might slow macular degeneration by more than 40 percent.
Kidney beans. A chili essential, these were found to be one of the most antioxidant-rich foods in a USDA study.
Kiwi. Ounce for ounce, this fuzzy fruit contains twice the amount of vitamin C as an orange and almost as much potassium as a banana.
Lentils. A protein powerhouse, these are flush with folate, a nutrient that might prevent certain birth defects.
Skim milk. It offers nine essential nutrients: calcium, of course, but also B vitamins, which help neurological function, and vitamin D, a potential cancer fighter.
Mushrooms. Meaty and filling, as a stand-in for beef they can slash as much as 400 calories from a meal. They also might protect against breast cancer by helping to regulate a woman's estrogen levels.
Oatmeal (steel-cut or old-fashioned). Holds cholesterol in check, helps fight heart disease and keeps you full until lunch, thanks to its soluble fiber.
Extra-virgin olive oil. An outstanding source of monounsaturated fats. When used in moderation, this tasty Mediterranean staple might even cut the risk of heart disease.
Oranges. Your go-to source for vitamin C, which, among other useful traits, can help the body burn fat. And in addition to helping prevent colds, vitamin C might stimulate collagen synthesis to keep skin looking supple.
Whole-grain pasta. Contains three times the amount of fiber per serving as the typical semolina variety. Skip pasta labeled "multigrain." It might be made with a number of grains, but they aren't necessarily whole ones.
Peanut and almond butters (all-natural). Heart-healthy monounsaturated fats abound in these protein-rich spreads. Opt for those with just two ingredients — nuts and salt.
Pumpkin. The antioxidants in this winter squash keep skin healthy; its potassium helps lower blood pressure.
Quinoa. It might cook like a grain, but quinoa is an herbaceous plant. It's a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids, and it offers the same energy and satiety you would get from meat, sans the fat or cholesterol.
Wild salmon. Its omega-3 fatty acids might improve your mood and keep your skin glowing. Why wild? It's exposed to fewer toxins than the farmed Atlantic variety.
Sardines. This protein-rich winner is an acquired taste for some but totally worth it. Chocked with vitamins D and B12, it is also an excellent source of calcium and omega-3 fatty acids.
Spinach. You'll get iron (for healthy hair), plus folate and at least a dozen flavonoids — compounds loaded with antioxidants.
Sweet potatoes. The darker the color, the richer these tubers are in the antioxidant beta-carotene.
Walnuts. A surprisingly good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Those are the fats that lower the bad-for-you cholesterol (LDL) and raise the good-for-you kind (HDL).
Nonfat Greek yogurt. Rich in probiotics (bacteria that might improve digestion and increase immunity), this extra-thick yogurt can contain 8 grams more protein per serving than conventional yogurt.
Sharon Thompson: (859) 231-3321. Twitter: @FlavorsofKY. Blog: Flavorsofkentucky.bloginky.com.