Tag: Cooking

Chocolate Vent’s Question of the Day – What ‘buy it for life’ items do you still have?

Coffee Cups Up! – The March Issue Is Here!

The latest edition of Coffee Cups Up! is finally here! I was able to get an interview with the Editor-in-Chief, Ms. Yolanda Bradford, who is a cooking extraordinaire! She opens up about her life, her cooking experience and also offers valuable advice to everyone. Read her interview below & be sure to click on the magazine to enjoy this month’s edition of Coffee Cups Up!

My name is Yolanda Bradford.  I’m from Houston, TX.  I graduate from Grambling State University with a degree in Office/Business Administration.  I work for an oil & gas corporation as a Senior Travel Consultant.  I’m married and we have a daughter in college at Florida Atlantic University.  I love softball, music, drawing, writing and cooking.  I love to travel and explore new things.  I’m a free-spirited person and God is head of my life. What I’ve come to learn, it is never too late to for-fill your dreams and goals, even when you think you don’t have any. That is how I have live my life up until now, not knowing what my purpose in life. I now have a vision. I now have purpose.  My life is for-filling, overwhelmingly gracious and joyously prosperous.  I would like to dedicate this interview to my father, Freddie L. Stewart, Sr., who recently lost his battle to cancer. He believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. He was my motivator and he gave me strive to accomplish any and all.

1)      What made you start ‘Coffee Cups Up!’?

   I’m a very spiritual person.  When I say spiritual, I don’t mean religious.  I mean “spirit guided”.  My husband can tell this story better than I can.  He tells it to me all the time. You see, I had first started a website that hosted all of my cakes but I was not getting the amount of traffic/views to the site that I wanted.  So I began to brain-storm ways of how I could market my cakes/my brand.  I slept on.  The next morning, right before awakening, a voice came to me and said “create a magazine”.  When I woke up, I turn to my husband and said, “I am going to create a magazine for my cakes!” Of course, he looked at me strangely but by the end of the week, “Coffee Cups UP!” was born.

2)      Where did your love of cooking come from? How long have you been into the culinary arts? 

“Culinary Arts”?  I would love to be in the Culinary Arts education but unfortunately I haven’t had the chance. My skills, I consider them talents given to me by God.  I love cooking, baking, and the art of it.  I see food differently. I’m passionate about my work and I take pride in every cake I bake, every dessert I make and every meal that I prepare.   

3)      What is your favorite dish to cook? 

    I really don’t have a favorite dish.  I just love cooking.  I’ve always had the “knack” for cooking but I never have put a stake into it.  Not until now.  Cooking comes natural for me. I love to watch cooking shows and learn new things.  If I had to make a chose, I love seafood. I love crabs!  Fried, boiled or sauté.  

 4)      What do you think is going to be the next big thing in the food world?   

   I believe International foods will take over the food world.  People are getting bored with the ‘usual’ U.S. foods.  The food world is so broad, there’s not one simple ingredient to pin-point the food world.  People love to eat and food will always be of second nature.  What I would like to see in the future are healthier fast food chains like boiled or baked meats. Instead of the fried food restaurants, let’s see boiled, baked, grilled or sauté type of fast-food restaurants that will serve 2 veggie sides and a crystal light drink.   J I’m just saying!  You shouldn’t have to only get that kind of food at home or at a high-end restaurant.

 5)      How many dishes do you think the average person should know how to prepare (whether they’re single or married)?  

    They say the way to a man’s heart is through to his stomach. I normally don’t like to cliché responses but I believe this one is true.  When I first met my husband, I had made gumbo.  I invited a few friends and family over, he was among them.  Well, unbeknown to me, my husband had told his [then] roommate that I was going to be his wife and he didn’t know me from Sally Sue. LOL… we laugh about it to this day. Of course his roommate thought he had one too many bowls of gumbo by then; but we are a true testimony to this day.  So to answer your question, a person needs to know at least 3 dishes:  Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner!

 6)      Outside of cooking (and publishing), what are some of your other interests? 

I have recently formed a ladies’ group called the “Glam Girls”.  It’s a good group of ladies who come together to “Relax, Release, and Relate”. The 3 R’s.  We share news, accomplishments, target goals and achievements.  We just want to make a difference in life. We’re like a support group for empowering women.  We also celebrate birthdays and give back to the community. 

 7)      Where do you get your inspiration for your articles?

My inspirations come daily.  I never have a set format for the monthly issues. I like the freedom of expressions without limitations. I will publish newsworthy events, positive role models, information that you never thought would change your way of thinking.  I’d like to think that each publication will bring about a change. My purpose for the magazine is to give recognition to everyday people.  I want to use “Coffee Cups UP!” as a beacon for the average “Mary” or “Joe”.  It takes all kinds of people to make the world go around and you don’t have to be a Pop Star, a millionaire, a famous person or the President to get your 5 minutes of fame in “Coffee Cups UP!” magazine. 

 8)      Is there anybody you’d like to interview? 

    That’s a loaded question.  The first answer comes to mind is, “no”.  Then retreating back, I will say that I love people.  All people are interesting to me.  No one person stands out in my mind because success is an open playing field. We all can achieve it, if we believe it.  So to interview any particular person would be a blessing within itself. I don’t alienate. If you say “yes”, the interview is on. 

 9)      What do you think is the most challenging aspect to running your own magazine?

     Time! The most challenging aspect is having ample time to formulate and publish the magazine… and the second most important that I don’t have much time for anymore is “baking”.  My soul purpose for creating the magazine was to showcase my cakes on every advertising page, but my time for baking and publishing has become very limited.  So I sacrifice, which then puts a load on me.  I just pray to grow old… beautifully.      

 10)  What’s your best piece of advice for someone who can’t cook at all

     The best advice that I can give to someone who can’t cook is to learn how to cook. God gave us 5 senses and the ability to learn reflects in all of them some kind of way.  The second advice I could give is shopping at the grocery store.  All of the stores, nowadays, make it so easy for even the “challenged” cook. They have everything they should need.  You see, “Cooks” will shop counter-clockwise in a store, from wall to wall; from the produce, to raw meats and then the dairy section. The “non-cooks” should shop at the deli where everything is pre-made like salads, sandwiches, pizzas, and soups or in the frozen section. They can even chance it in the aisles for can goods or box meals.  But if all else fails, the least favorite is take-out. If you are trying to impress with a meal, order take-out, take the food out of the cartons, platter it up and throw the boxes away!

 11)  What are your future plans for ‘Coffee Cups Up!’? 

     I want my brand to expand, gain notoriety and recognition as the next new magazine to hit the stands. I want to transform from “the new online magazine” to the” new paperback” print.  I want my magazine to sit next to “O” on the magazine rack!


Portion Contortion

Don’t Fall Prey to Portion Distortion


According to the National Institutes of Health, a “portion” is how much food you choose to eat at one time, whether in a restaurant, from a package or in your own kitchen.

A “serving” size is the amount of food listed on a product’s Nutrition Facts.

Sometimes the portion size and serving size match; sometimes they do not. Over the past few years portions have grown significantly in fast food and sit-down restaurants, as has the frequency of Americans eating out. Subsequently, waistlines across the U.S. have grown right along with this trend. 

Big portion sizes can mean you’re getting more food than your body can stomach to maintain a healthy weight. Learn how much to put on your plate to help control how much you eat.

Consider these statistics from the American Heart Association study “A Nation at Risk: Obesity in the United States”:

  • Adults today consume an average of 300 more calories per day than they did in 1985.
  • Portion sizes have grown dramatically over the last 40 years.
  • Americans eat out much more than they used to.

Take a look at the examples below and see how easy (or difficult) it is to choose accurate food portions.


Here’s another kernel: In the book “Mindless Eating,” Brian Wansink, Ph.D., found that people who were given larger buckets of popcorn ate 44 percent more calories than those who were given smaller buckets — even when they thought the popcorn didn’t taste good! Bottom line: An overloaded plate can lead to an overloaded stomach.

Making good choices

Tracking your calories helps you monitor your weight. It helps to know what the appropriate serving size is so you can correctly estimate the calories in your portions, especially if you dine out a lot. Portion sizes that are typically offered in restaurants are often double or triple the standard recommended serving sizes of most foods. Using a food diary can help you pay closer attention to what  you’re eating, how much and how often.

Take time to learn the difference between a portion size and a serving size. You may see that the portions most people consume are often more than what they need to eat to keep their bodies at a healthy weight. Of course, eating larger portion sizes at one sitting will not cause weight gain unless it contributes to a total eating pattern in which a person regularly consumes more calories than he or she expends in one day.

Learn more:

Answer Key: A = Medium banana, B = 1 cup vegetables (cooked or raw), C = 1/4 cup nuts, D = 3 oz. lean meat, E = Small baked potato

For more information visit the American Heart Association.


The Fun Of Cooking For One

If you love good food as much as I do, you probably love quality dishes whether you are eating out or eating in. But many of us single ladies don’t cook as often we could. For many, we are just too tired after working all day and we don’t have husband or kids that require us to cook. But before you grab some takeout or order that pizza, cooking for one can be easier than you think. Trust me ladies, there is nothing more liberating than eating restaurant quality food at home, in your pajamas. Add to that the satisfaction of preparing that meal with your own hands.

Sure there is the challenge of downsizing recipes and the dreaded clean up duty… but chef Joe Yonan, author of Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes For The Single Cook, has some easy tips that will make cooking for yourself easier than you ever imagined.
Tips for single cooks

New Take On Leftovers

Rather than making a large batch of, say, soup or chili and eating it for days on end, instead make the building blocks of dishes. That is, use your time on the weekends to make a big pot of beans or a pan of roasted vegetables, freeze them in individual-size portions and then draw from them to make a variety of quick weeknight dishes as you see fit. For example a big pan of roasted veggies can be a side dish one day, a sandwich ingredient the next and tossed in a salad the next.

Become A Freezer Queen

You will often have leftovers, so learning to freeze is a must. Freeze in ziptop bags and squeeze out the extra air by leaving a corner of the bag unsealed and then immersing all but that corner in water, which will push out the air, then finish sealing. Lay the bags flat in the freezer, and mark their contents and the date. The shallower the frozen product, the faster it will thaw.

Spice Spice, Baby

Spices are the key to most great meals. Buy spices in small quantities and buy them whole, not ground. Ground spices lose their potency more quickly than whole spices. Grind spices right before using, in an old coffee grinder set aside for just this purpose.

Green Thumb

There is nothing like fresh herbs for recipes. If possible, grow herbs in pots on windowsills or outdoors in season if you have space. Otherwise, to store sturdy herbs such as basil and parsley, cut their stems like you would fresh flowers, strip off lower leaves and store in small water glasses or jars on the countertop. Recut the stems and replace the water every day or two. For more delicate herbs, such as cilantro, oregano, thyme, and dill, wrap the herbs in barely dampened paper towels and store in open-ended or perforated plastic bags, such as newspaper delivery bags, and refrigerate

Farm It

Shop at farmers markets rather than grocery stores if you can, because the market will give you more opportunities to buy smaller quantities — usually as little as you want — rather than forcing you to purchase, say, an entire bunch of celery when you need just stalk. Ask the market vendors or grocery store produce managers to split up large packages; if they won’t do it, at least you’ll be registering the opinions of single folks, and perhaps eventually they’ll take notice. At the grocery store, look for smaller versions of your favorite items, such as shallots instead of onions, Brussels sprouts instead of cabbages, loose-leaf lettuce (especially if you can buy it by the quarter-pound) rather than whole heads. If you need an especially small quantity, look at the salad bar, where you might find, say, chopped red pepper or celery — but watch the price; you might be paying a premium for the convenience.

*This article was found on Single And Living Fab

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Joe Yonan’s book Eat Your Vegetable: Bold Recipes For The Single Cook on Amazon.