Hi friends and foodies! Are you a server, barista chef or cook who may be lookin for something funky and fresh to sport? Are you looking for some new threads AND also interested in supporting me? I’ve created a BRAND new shop on Threadless, filled with amazing merch with my Logo (and art!). What about a tshirt, a mask, or…a grocery tote bag?! I’ve got it in my shop.
Click here to access the link to my brand new shop. Thank you so much for supporting a small business like mine…you mean so much to me! <3
This chocolate avocado mousse is rich, creamy, and oh-so decadent!
I <3 Chocolate
I REALLY love sweets. Especially dark chocolate. It’s so velvety, yet not too sweet. The bitter and somewhat savory-nutty notes of this precious delicacy makes my taste buds smile. But you know what else I love? Avocados.
What do avocadoes and chocolate have to do with one another? Well, at first glance…nothing. Often times, Western culture associates avocadoes with savory dishes. But when you think about it, avocadoes are fruits, and fruits are commonly tied to desserts or sweeter delicacies. The smooth and silky texture of avocadoes lends perfectly to the rich flavors and subtleties of chocolate.
I wanted to find a dish that would lend well with chocolate, and believe it or not, avocado and chocolate go so incredibly well together. For this tutorial, I am going to show you how to create a very simple yet mouth-watering chocolate avocado mousse. Eating this felt like biting into a really creamy and buttery chocolate truffle-no joke! This recipe is vegan and minimally processed, as well. You won’t even be able to taste the avocado! Feel free to adjust the maple syrup or swap it out for another sweetener of your liking. Also, if you have kids, this is the perfect type of recipe to create with them!
Alright kiddos, let’s move into the recipe now, shall we?!?
Do you like salty crunchy snacks? Me too! I’m going to show YOU how to prepare delicious crispy green bean French fries in three unique flavors. Even your picky kiddos will love these!
I LOVE junk food…but most of all…I LOVE potato chips and French fries. Yes. I’m incredibly guilty. One of my weaknesses is a nice handful of salty crispy savory goodies that I can munch out throughout the day. Am I the only one who feels this way? I really hope not!
As much as I love my crispy snacks, I have to admit that they are not always the healthiest food options. Potato chips from the store are often loaded with sodium and preservatives. French fires at restaurants are delicious and sadly, often full of excess fat, on top of all their salt.
I wanted to create a delicious treat that would satisfy my never-ending craving for salty savory crunchiness. After doing some brainstorming, I thought about utilizing green beans in this creative way. Green beans are not only low in carbs, but they are inexpensive and are a rich source of Calcium Iron, Vitamin K, and Folate. Green beans are also significantly lower in carbs than potatoes (if you’re keeping track!).
Did I mention that Green beans are also versatile?
In case I have not mentioned this fact about green beans, I’m here to tell you that they are. For my latest recipe, I show you how to create really delicious crispy ‘French fries’ by swapping green beans for potatoes AND baking instead of deep frying them. As you see, this recipe has three different flavored seasonings, which include garlic parmesan, sesame sriracha and salt and pepper. You can bake the fries with all three of these marinades, focus on one of these, or do your own thing. It’s really up to you! These fries are also a fantastic treat to serve to your kiddos.
Alright my friends. If you’re ready to learn how to prepare these, I will be quiet and let you focus on this recipe!
Do you like salty crunchy snacks? Me too! I'm going to show YOU how to prepare delicious crispy green bean French fries in three unique flavors. Even your picky kiddos will love these!
Keyword: low-carb, Snack
1tbsp.grated Parmesan cheese
1tsp.dried parsley/oregano mix
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven 300 Degrees F. While the oven is preheating, rinse and cut the woody stems off of the end of your green beans.Set aside.
In three separate bowls, you will combine all of each of the respective marinade ingredients into each of the three bowls. You should have a bowl with the garlic Parmesan marinade, one with the sriracha sesame, and one with the salt and pepper mix.
Split your green beans into three equal portions. Place each portion of green beans into each of the marinade mixes and gently combine until each of the green bean batches are generously coated with the marinades.
Place all of the green beans in a single layer on 1-2 baking sheets. Afterwards, place beans in the center rack of the oven and allow to bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the green beans look like crispy French fries.
Nutrition information per servings:
107 Calories | 4.4 G Protein | 4.6G Fat | 5.1G Fiber
On a tight budget, but want your family to eat healthily? Check out the following tips and tricks on how to source affordable produce year-round!
Times are tough. And this is true for so many households across the country (and heck, for the world!). Unfortunately, the pandemic had resulted in a global recession. The pandemic has resulted in many either getting reduced hours or even experiencing layoffs. We definitely count our pennies in this household!
I wrote this blog post over a year ago, but wanted to update this original post with more detailed information that’s especially relevant to our current economic climate. As a disclaimer, these are tips based off of my own experiences and should not be used as a sole source of money-saving authority. Nevertheless, I hope that this article can serve as a resource and even source of inspiration for some ways to save extra money on your groceries.
If you are ever looking to stock up on AFFORDABLE produce, you can do the following:
1. Word of Mouth
One of the BEST ways to find out about the best deals is to ASK members of your own community! But with social distancing in place, it’s not always easy to just wander around your block. Thank goodness for the internet! Speaking of which, did you know that there may actually be a Facebook group or the Nextdoorapp that focuses on all things local in your community. In fact, many passionate residents and associations have created online forums for other residents in their cities, towns, and neighborhoods. These types of community groups serve as a great resource to not only get to know one another but can also serve as a springboard for different resources. I am a part of three online community groups dedicated to my town, and I can’t tell you how often I have seen posts from thoughtful residents who announce sales and discounts around town.
If you are especially privy to wanting to learn where the nearest farmers markets or produce stands may be located, this will be one of the best types of platform to reach out to! Heck, you may even find that you have a neighbor down-the-road with a surplus bushel of cumquats to give away-for free!
2. Go Wholesale!
Purchase WHOLESALE produce…seriously! There are wholesale stores that specialize in selling bulk produce for restaurants and other foodservice operations. Many of which are open to the public. The beauty of purchasing in bulk is that the price of your produce will often be significantly cheaper than what you would find at your neighborhood grocery store. The biggest wholesale suppliers include Costco and Sam’s Club. Now, if you are local to the Lakeland/ Tampa region, consider these smaller, locally operated establishments:
Sanwa: This Tampa-based wholesale market has a rich array of produce varieties from around the world, and specializes in Asian specialties. Whether you are looking to stock up on oranges, or are interested in trying goodies, like fresh jackfruit or durian, then you will be in luck! Click here to learn more about Sanwa.
Plant City Farm & Flea Market: This market is one of the best-kept secrets of the area. If you are an early riser then I recommend going here first thing in the morning because many of the produce vendors sell out by noon. Although they are open 6 days out of the week (except Sundays), Wednesdays are their busiest days. So if you are not into big crowds, you may want to avoid hump days! Click here to learn more about this market.
3. Farmers Markets
Maybe buying wholesale produce isn’t your thing (no judgment here!). If you’re still interested in buying local, maybe a farmers market might be up your alley. Depending on where you live, farmer’s markets will operate on a seasonal basis. Nevertheless, Farmers markets are my favorite because 1) It’s a great excuse to get out of the house; 2) Farmers Markets are a fantastic way to get to know your local farmers and growers in person; 3) The goodies you purchase from a local vendor will often be sold at a much more affordable price than what you find at a grocery store. This is because produce is typically grown locally and seasonally.
One reason for this is because farmers markets eliminate the consumer from the ‘middleman’, which is often a distributor. Also, what a cool way to get to support your local economy! And don’t let Covid-19 deter you. Many farmers markets are still open (many with extra social-distancing precautions). There are many farmers markets (including our local ones) that are ALSO EBT-friendly, and offer incentives that allow you to DOUBLE your produce intake. If you are from the Tampa Bay/ Lakeland area, consider supporting the following markets:
Tampa Bay Markets: This Network of vendors has monthly farmer’s markets throughout the bay area. Click here for more information on their locations and hours.
Temple Terrace Farmers Market: Click here for more information.
Lakeland Downtown Farmers Curb Market: Click here for more information.
Ybor City Saturday Market: Click here for more information.
St. Petersburg Saturday Morning Market: Click here for more information.
4. Eat Seasonally
What exactly does eating seasonally mean? Think about it this way. Do you ever notice that there is usually an abundance of produce at your grocery store during certain times of the year? For example, for those who live in Florida, ever notice that stores, such as Publix, will often sell and display an abundance of juicy, luscious strawberries, marked at affordable prices? That’s because these produce varieties are usually grown during certain seasons of the year. You see, when a variety of produce is in season (i.e. strawberries) and the weather, climate and soil conditions are favorable, the supply is typically abundant, and therefore, due to a high supply, prices typically drop.
Unless you are actively growing food or are involved in the food industry, it may seem daunting to try to figure out what and when certain foods are in season. Fresh from Florida has a fantastic user-friendly resource that helps to inform the public about the different crops in season year-round. Click here for more information.
For those who are especially money-conscious, purchasing and eating produce grown on a seasonal basis can actually be one of the most affordable options. For example, the months of December-March are typically when Central Florida experiences strawberry season.
5. Go Frozen…or Can it!
Depending on where you live, you may not always have access to fresh produce. When that’s the case, try purchasing produce that’s either frozen or canned. Fruits that are either canned or frozen are typically picked at their peak ripeness, so their nutritional qualities are often intact (relatively speaking!). Ripeness aside, a household can often save a significant amount of money on purchasing this variety of produce. However, if you’re watching your sugar or sodium intake, please be sure to check the nutrition labels. There are some canned varieties that pack their fruit in corn syrup, as opposed to water. Similarly, there are some canned tomato varieties loaded with extra salt.
6. Grow your own produce, or join a community garden!
Maybe you were naturally born with a green thumb. Or, you may be interested in developing one! If you fall somewhere within this spectrum, perhaps growing your own produce may be of interest to you. There are countless benefits to growing your own produce, including the ability to become self-sufficient, becoming more connected to the Earth, and of course, fostering a deeper sense of appreciation to knowing that you harvested the fruits and veggies on your plate.
What if your property is too small to garden or plant on? You may consider wanting to join (or even establish) a community garden. Community gardens typically consist of a couple or a few acres of land where community members have the ability to lease out a portion of the grounds to grow their own plants. Community Gardens can either be run by a church, a Parks and Recreation Department, a school, a neighborhood association or a grassroots organization. Many community garden networks also offer workshops or events, such as community potlucks, for their members.
Yes…if you’re into camping or love the outdoors, foraging may be of interest to you. Heck, doing so can also equip you with some rad survival skills. The only thing that you may have to pay for when foraging for food is your time and maybe a little calorie-burning energy. There is a great variety of plants that are located in nature that are either edible upon picking-or after boiling them down. Some edible plants abundant in Florida’s nature include dandelions, mulberries, loquats, and Maringa-the list goes on! However, I strongly advise that you do plenty of research and use precautions before you begin picking beautiful berries from trees and luscious leaves during your next hike. Many plants are still poisonous and unsuitable for human consumption! Florida Foraging and Eat the Weeds are fantastic resources for those who may be interested in learning more about foraging across our state.
A safe alternative to foraging in the wild is to visit and support local food forests, spaces intentionally created for the picking of food, edible for human consumption. There are food forests open to the public in located in Plant City, and if you’re up for the trip…visit the ECHO’s food forest located in Fort Myers.
I want this particular article to serve as a resource to our Central Florida/Tampa Bay community. Therefore, I intend for this to be a living document. Also, as a disclaimer, not all of the aforementioned resources contain locally-sourced produce. As a final disclaimer, many of the entities that I listed may have abnormal hours or temporary closures as a result of Covid-19.
Do you have any other tips on how to obtain affordable produce?? Are there any local establishments that I accidentally left out?!? Please comment below!
What’ better than a serving of yummy, juicy baked chicken thighs?!? Well..when some spicy honey is in the mix! In this video, I am going to show YOU how to prepare These spicy honey-baked chicken thighs are a beautiful dance filled with sweet, bold, and juicy flavors that you and your family will love!
Did you create this dish? What do ya think? Please let me know in the comments, below! ;D
Expect a new video from me every Wednesday on my YouTube channel. Subscribe to my channel for the latest content! <3
Whether you’re in the process of moving, or just don’t feel like getting a lot of dishes dirty, I am going to show YOU how to prepare a deliciously flavorful curried chicken dinner that can be 100% prepared in YOUR rice cooker!
Turning a New Leaf
So far, these past 8 months of my life have been pretty darn eventful:
I quit my cushy Urban Planning job & changed career paths to teaching and pursuing this blog.
I got married!
I became a very proud cat momma…and…
Us moving is a long story, but life gave us an opportunity to change pace and embark upon a new life chapter. So now, my husband, our cat Sweetheart and I recently relocated and are now establishing our roots in Lakeland, Florida. If you are not from Florida, Lakeland is a very charming mid-sized city nestled within the hart of Central Florida. Lush trees and hills amass the landscape, and breath-taking lakes dot the landscape. Lakeland is also located in Polk County, which, for a very long time, has had a long footing in Florida’s Citrus industry. There’s a whole lot of learning and exploring I will be doing around my new town, but I sure do look forward to sharing my new journey with you!
A Moving-Friendly Chicken Dinner?!
Let’s get back to the purpose of this post. For the majority of the month of May, our former apartment was surrounded by boxes that contained the tangible aspects of our life. As a result, most of our pots, pans and cookware were also packed. So what was I to do? As a way to address this dilemma, I turned to my handy-dandy rice cooker as one solution to help ensure that my husband and I could still enjoy a nice, home-cooked meal with a fuss-free touch. I used our rice cooker, because I knew that it would not only be able to cook our rice effectively, but due to its high cooking temperature, could also cook up some chicken pretty darn well. And also, who wants to do tons of dishes?!?
So folks, I bring you with a complete rice cooker chicken dinner recipe. This recipe is so delicious and easy to make, that you could probably even prepare this in a hotel (or even in your office!).
Whether you’re in the process of moving, or just don’t feel like getting a lot of dishes dirty, in this video, I am going to show YOU how to prepare a deliciously flavorful curried chicken dinner that can be 100% prepared in YOUR rice cooker!
Did you create this dish? What do ya think? Please let me know in the comments, below! ;D
P.S. Expect a new video from me every Wednesday on my YouTube channel. Subscribe to my channel for the latest content! <3
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