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Women's Expo draws large crowd

Brian Korthals/Daily Globe Julie Wieneke (center) pours a taste of wine for guests during the third annual wine tasting event near the conclusion of Saturday's Women Expo in Worthington.2 / 2

WORTHINGTON -- Visitors entering the Daily Globe Women's Expo Saturday were greeted with a smile, handed a plastic bag and told to have a good time.

Newcomers to the event may have been puzzled by the bag, but after visiting several booths, it became very apparent what the bag was for -- goodies and giveaways.

Most people left with their bag bulging from a variety of interesting items, from an American flag to a sweet-smelling rose. Product samples, literature and other fun trinkets were popular and plentiful.

Besides the giveaways, Expo guests stuffed their bags with a wide array of purchased items they couldn't pass up -- purses, gifts, jewelry, cooking supplies, and an assortment of other intriguing things.

There were things, and then there were the things to eat. Popcorn, bakery items, chocolates and a tasty cross-section of prepared samples were nibbled or gobbled with a smile.

Guests were also able to learn more about healthy eating and lifestyles.

"All About Food" columnist Sue Doeden led two seminars about easy-to-prepare meals that are as pretty as they are healthy.

"These things are healthful and flavorful," she stated as she began making fresh salmon patties cooked in lime juice.

Working as she spoke, she led the audience through the steps of taking a new twist on an old favorite.

Throughout her presentation, she handed out simple kitchen tips such as the best way to sharpen knives, care for fresh parsley or prevent patties from sticking to a cook's hands.

During her second seminar, she demonstrated how to cook shrimp in a low-fat Caesar dressing she whipped up in a mini food processor.

"This really is easy to do," she told the audience, proving her point by using Daily Globe Sports Editor Aaron Hagen, a novice at cooking, as her shrimp sautéing assistant. "You can do this -- they'll be done when the shrimp starts to curl."

His slightly puzzled, slightly panicked expression and attempts to hand his utensils back to Doeden had the audience chuckling, but she was correct -- the aromatic shrimp was cooked to perfection.

Dietician Michelle Poppen may not have been cooking, but she shared her vast knowledge of healthy eating choices, breaking down different foods by color to explain their health benefits.

She talked of the red foods -- tomatoes, strawberries and watermelon, for example -- as a great source of Vitamin C, whereas the yellow/orange food group such as apricots, peaches and yellow peppers promote good vision and fortify the immune system.

Onions, chives and garlic, members of the white and light green food group, are full of allicin and were once used as a natural antibiotic, Poppen explained.

When it comes to the darker greens, "the darker the green, the better," she told her audience. "Broccoli, Romaine lettuce -- these are rich in cancer-preventing antioxidants and luetin."

Blue and dark purple foods like blueberries, red wine and cherries have been shown to have anti-cancer properties, and also improve memory function.

"They also contain vitamins that strengthen blood vessels." Poppen said.

Black and kidney beans, she explained, are high in fiber, calcium and iron.

"There isn't a lot of research to document these things, as no one spends much money researching it." she stated. "Most research is done by pharmaceutical companies."

But results show that eating foods rich in vitamins and natural antioxidants is a healthy way to live.

"Just go ahead and do it," she suggested.

The last seminar of the day -- a wine tasting event -- draw a curious crowd that was happy to participate in the vino sampling.

The last event of the day was the drawing of the door prize winners. Janet Adolph of Worthington won a $500 gift card from Hy-Vee, Marlis Anderson of Worthington won the diamond necklace from Johnson Jewelry and Darcy Kellen of Rushmore won the 5-piece living room set from Slumberland.