March 25, 2013

Baked Veggie Chips

In the world of attempting to eat healthier, drink healthier and simply just BE healthier...
it just made sense to make some veggie chips.
I certainly like healthy food but I'm not a super health fanatic either. 

I decided to take a sweet potato, some parsnips (carrots's cousin with a kick) and some beets
and bake some veggie chips.

I simply took my hand dandy mandoline and sliced the veggies on the thin slice setting.
I laid them out on a paper towel to soak up any extra moisture and then brushed on some
olive oil with some sea salt. I then laid them on a cookie rack in the oven on bake at 350 degrees.
It took about 35-40 minutes. 

They were pretty tasty. The sea salt gave the chips that extra salty flavor everyone enjoys in a chip.
The negative is that I'm not quite convinced yet that baking veggies whether it be sweet potatoes, beets
or even Kale is worth the 40+ minutes of time to eat a small bowl of veggies.
But! nonetheless... these veggie chips were pretty tasty!

Zestfully, Let's Cultivate Food

March 20, 2013


Thank you.

Although I started my food journey and venture years and years ago... (too long to count)
I started a food blog that has turned into a food blog/website exactly 2 years ago in March.

It has certainly been an adventure and a venture for sure!
From co-deciding whether to expand a restaurant or to sell it and once the decision
was made to sell it... being sold in 10 days FLAT!     (2005)

---to making food for friends and families especially some crazy yet AWESOME cakes
(6 layered Rainbow cakes to "Pumpples" and "Blupples" where pies are being baked inside
of cakes, to everything on the menu being skewered bridal showers, 30 birthday cupcakes in the shape
of the number 30 to doing restaurant consulting where restaurants asked for what I thought
of this or that (confidential)... to Charity dinners to teaching cooking classes at local high schools and
township organizations to In Home Cooking Classes.

Meeting all the different people I have met so far has been truly humbling and an
awesome experience.

At this point- almost every other day I get an email requesting if I can make food for a party
or teach a cooking class of some sort for this or that...
even companies requesting to write food posts for them along with...
oh yeah-- and being sold at an auction!
How many people can say they were sold at an auction especially for a great cause.

some stats I'd like to share simply because I actually can't believe it myself...
50,000+ page views
8000+ followers in the US
Blog visitors from 131 different countries  (I can't even name that many countries!)
309 blog posts... wait, 310 including this one! haha

Thank you to all the people who read and follow what I have to share and post about.
It's really not all that exciting what I have to say... it's the people that actually read it
that are cool and awesome for taking a few minutes out of their day to see what I wrote.


Zestfully, Let's Cultivate Food

March 18, 2013


Did you know that avocados grow on trees?  Ok, so you already knew that.
Did you know that they don't ripen on the tree like the way most fruit do?

Avocados are purposely harvested prior to ripening.
So, almost like the way florists have to plan for their event arrangements as far as
carefully considering how long it will take the flowers to come to full bloom or not full bloom
depending on the occasion and style... chefs have to do that as well when it comes to
the produce being just right!

When I go to the supermarket... I will search the produce items carefully through the bins.
When I want that perfect avocado I want one that is not green but black. I also
feel them gently pressing on them to see if there is one that is soft. I also want one that has no
cracks or sunken spots for those will be areas that are going to be black and going bad.
For those of you that feel like you have to shake everything--
if you happen to shake your avocado and you hear rattling... don't get that one for if you hear
rattling it means that the pit has pulled away from the flesh and it will be waaaay over ripe.

If you don't need your avocado right away and want to ripen it at home---
make sure you don't put it in the refrigerator because they will never ripen in cold temperature.
Place it in a brown bag so that the gas that is released that helps it to ripen basically gets trapped.
This should take about 4-6 days.
If you want to naturally ripen it even faster... you can throw an apple, banana or tomato
in the brown bag with the avocado and it should take anywhere from 1-3 days depending on
room temperature etc..

You can refrigerate avocados but only when they are finished ripening.
They should last up to 5 days in the refrigerator after they are ripened.

Zestfully, Let's Cultivate Food

March 6, 2013

Strawberry Iced Tea with Basil

Boil  a kettle of water and steep 8-10 green tea bags.
Add 1 pound of strawberries hulled and halved.
Cut leaves off basil stems (about 1 cup)
Add 1/2 cup agave nectar or liking of sweetness
Lastly, add a cup of cold water and a cup of ice.

(good to freeze some strawberries with a little tea in the ice trays to serve with)


Zestfully, Let's Cultivate Food