Growing up under Romania’s communist regime, Nora Pullen was accustomed to empty shelves and long lines when food shopping. Fortunately, her grandparents lived in the country and provided her family with meat and vegetables and her mother taught her to cook healthy food with limited resources.
After she immigrated to the U.S. at 15, Nora was astounded by the variety of healthy and unhealthy options in grocery stores. She also was introduced to the wide variety of ethnic cuisines available here.
In her 20s, Nora worked as a chef crafting Italian and Mediterranean dishes. Later, during her corporate career in California, long work hours required her to be efficient with her food prep, while still enjoying a variety of meals.
After she and her husband, Quentin Pullen, aka Coach Q, a physical therapist and fitness expert, moved to Fayetteville to be closer to family, they decided to use their skills to help others get healthy. The couple runs several wellness businesses that focus on a holistic approach to health—The Fitness Ranch, Inc., a non-profit fitness program for kids, and Body by Q Fitness, LLC.
Nora’s business, In the Kitchen with Nora, focuses on quick and nutritionally dense meals. Through cooking classes and meal prep, Nora teaches clients to prioritize healthy eating with streamlined dishes prepared at home. Utilizing herbs and spices, locally sourced produce, and quality pantry staples, she said these dishes can be prepared in the time it would take to go through a fast-food drive-thru.
“If we take care of our health, we're able to perform at a higher level in every aspect of our lives,” Nora said.
For more information about In the Kitchen with Nora, visit www.inthekitchenwithnora.com, or for the Pullen’s other programs visit www.thefitnessranch.org and www.qthecoach.com.
Vegetarian Power Salad
- 1 can Great Northern white beans (you can use other beans too such as chickpeas, black beans, pinto, etc.) – drained & rinsed
- ¼ medium red cabbage
- 2-3 carrots
- 3-4 red, yellow & orange mini peppers
- 1 avocado
- 3 small Persian cucumbers
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
- ½ zucchini
- 1 tbsp capers
- 2 shallots
- roasted pepitas/pumpkin seeds (to taste)
- Italian parsley (to taste)
- sharp white cheddar cheese (to taste) – cubed
- 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- kosher/sea salt (to taste)
- herbs & spices: herbs de Provence + This Little Goat Went to Belize spice mix (you can use other herbs or spices to your taste)
Clean & cut all veggies. Stage in a bowl. Put all of the dressing ingredients in a mason jar and shake it up! Then pour over your veggies and enjoy this healthful salad. You'll love how satisfying it is and your tastebuds will thank you.