Category Archives: Rising Stars

Hip New Jersey sits with the state’s up-and-comers before they hit the mainstream. We’ll find out what motivates them on their journey to the top!

Diane Henderiks: Fresh to Frozen and Back

#HipNJ’s Maria Falzo was joined in the studio by Diane Henderiks; Chef, Nutritionist and Host of “Fresh to Frozen and Back.” This show teaches viewers how to properly prepare meals, freeze them and then bring them back to life later. The result is flavor-packed food that hits the table quickly, saving time and money – a winning recipe in our book!

In this segment Diane discusses one of her secret weapons for infusing flavor: marinades! They are super easy to prepare and freeze. Together, Diane and Maria put together a Curry Yogurt marinade and a Citrus Lime marinade – is your mouth watering, too?Both recipes come together in under three minutes and they go great with any protein. We envision these recipes being a hit at your first summer barbeque, whether as a sandwich, on a salad or just on their own.

Aside from being amazingly simple, these recipes taste great and encourage re-using left overs instead of letting them go to waste. Our favorite part is that you can prepare the meals on your own time, whenever it works best for your schedule!

To learn more about Diane and “Fresh to Frozen and Back” go to or check out her show on Roku TV! Be on the lookout for Season Two, which will also be on Amazon Prime and iTunes.

Vaishali Chandrashekar’s Chopped Asparagus Coconut Soup Recipe

Written by Vaishali Chandrashekar

Asparagus: The Gift of Spring

I wait eagerly for Spring, not just for the warmer temperatures, singing birds and color all around, but also because it is asparagus season! Yay!

I had never tasted asparagus while I was growing up in India. But once I did, it was love at first bite. Its unique nutty taste, bright green color, and crunchy texture are some of the reasons why I absolutely love it. The fact that it is full of health boosting vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, C, E, K, and B6, as well as folate, iron, copper, calcium, protein, and fiber is just the icing on the cake.

I find many ways to include it in my daily diet. I grill it and add to salads and pasta dishes, roast it with other veggies, stir fry it with ginger garlic and spring onions, steam it just a little bit and eat with a dip. 

One of my favorite things to cook with it is the Chopped Asparagus Coconut Soup. This light and wonderful soup has been one of the student favorites from my cooking classes. I absolutely love it and my mouth is already watering as I share this recipe with you.

Chopped Asparagus Coconut Soup (Serves 6)

  • 1 lb asparagus, washed and trimmed to remove the hard bottoms: about 2 inch and then chopped in ½ inch pieces. Keep the top spears whole.
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, cut in small pieces
  • 1 hot Thai green chili, optional for heat
  • 3 cups frozen shredded coconut – available at Indian stores in many brands. I like “Daily delight”. You can substitute this with 1 cup of coconut milk.
  • 5 cups hot water
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a blender, add ginger, lemon grass, chili, coconut and hot water. Blend on high speed till everything is pureed. Now, strain out the mixture using a strainer. Make sure you squeeze all the liquid out by pressing with the back of a ladle. Keep this aside.*

In a soup pot, add chopped asparagus, ¼ cup of water and some salt . Cover and cook on high heat for 2-3 minutes until the asparagus is cooked but still has a bite. Reduce the heat to low and add the extracted coconut/lemongrass liquid. Heat the soup through on low heat. Taste and some salt and pepper if required. Shut the heat off and add the lime juice. Serve immediately in soup bowls.

*Note: If using coconut milk, just blend well lemongrass stalk and ginger with 2 cups of water. Then strain the liquid out and add coconut milk and 2 more cups of water to make the soup base.






Vaishali Chandrashekar is a former architect, spiritual advisor, holistic health coach and founder of Cook Consciously with Vaishali, a cooking school in Short Hills, New Jersey,  where she shares globally- inspired, creative and healthy recipes, teaches clever techniques that will make cooking easy and stress-free, and most importantly, helps her clients cultivate a true passion for health and cooking.

Cara Di Falco’s Easter Food Guide

Jelly beans and chocolate bunnies may be Easter staples, but we’ve got some delicious ideas from none other than Cara Di Falco.

HipNJ’s Maria Falzo gets a quick culinary tour of Italy, courtesy of Cara’s amazing Easter dishes.

Our first stop is Nonni’s Spinach Torta, which was introduced to Cara by her great-grandmother from the Piedmont region of Italy. This dish bursts with green colors and herbaceous flavors, meant to symbolize the beginning of spring. With hearty flavors like spinach, sautéed onion and parmesan cheese, this dish will quickly become a favorite for your family. If you need a gluten free option, you can omit the bread crumbs!

Next, we head to Southern Italy and are making Grammy’s Pizza Gain or Pizza Rustica. After fasting for Lent and not eating a lot of meat, this dish rewards you with ham, pepperoni, sweet Italian sausage meat and fresh cheeses. Cara’s recipe makes two, but can easily be modified. Trust us, you’ll want to make two.

Our last stop is a bit on the sweeter side. Cara’s opting to keep it light and fresh with her Strawberry Compote with Whipped Ricotta. This dish is perfect for a lighter dessert or a sweet appetizer, but it really shines as part of an Easter Brunch.

For these recipes and so much more, like a FREE healthy meal plan, visit