Tag: Cooking

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!

CCU

Portion Contortion

Don’t Fall Prey to Portion Distortion

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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.

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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.
http://www.joeyonan.com/

The More I Stay In, The Less I Spend (Part 2)

Another weekend is here! Do you have plans?! Are you having company?! Are you going out?! Or are you like me – staying in & watching movies on your couch? Well, if you’re not like me & you will be getting out of the house, great! But if you’re more like me, here are some activities you can do from the comfort of your own house –

  1. Listen to the radio and sing along – I love to sing when I’m all by myself.  I think I sound better than Beyoncé & Barbara Streisand combined =). Crank up your stereo & let your voice rip!
  2. Meditate – This may sound boring but it’s a great way to kind of “relax, relate & release”. Focus on something (or someone) in your mind and tune everything else out for a little while
  3. Create a meal from your leftovers – Every Friday night I like to raid my refrigerator to create new dishes. This allows me to use up my leftovers without spending money on additional groceries
  4. Go shopping in your own closet to create new outfits – Just like I do in the kitchen, I like to create new pieces from existing garments I already have. This makes me feel like I just went shopping without spending any extra money
  5. Plan your next trip – Now that the holidays are over, travel season has really begun. Have you already booked your airfare, reserved your rental car or purchased your train ticket to get out of town? This is definitely the time of year to book vacations before prices go up too much, so plan now
  6. Create a bucket list – No one wants to think about when they are going to kick the bucket but it’s still nice to prepare. What are those activities that you are just “dying” to do? (no pun intended. Actually yes, the pun was intended)
  7. Find lots of great ideas and projects to do on Pinterest – Pinterest is so much fun for DIY projects or to develop different creative ideas. Click here – Pinterest.com
  8. Create a collage from your photos – Remember pictures? I mean, actual pictures – like 35 millimeter photos that you had to get developed & take home with you. Well, if you have any of those tucked away then the weekend is a great time to dig them out and create a collage or scrapbook
  9. Catch up on the latest news – It’s nice to catch up with old friends & find out what’s going on in their world, but don’t forget to learn about what is going on in the world. Check your local listings for CNN, MSNBC, C-SPAN and even PBS
  10. Create an online photo gallery to send to loved ones who are far away – I know almost everyone uses Facebook to post their photos, but trying giving other sites a chance to host your online photo albums, such as Kodak, Flickr, or Dropbox. These site offer a ‘cleaner’ photo-sharing experience and allows people to access your pictures without having to scroll through a bunch of B.S. to get there

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It Doesn’t Take All Day To Eat A Turkey

Another Thanksgiving Day is almost here. There won’t be any turkey at my family’s house this year, instead we’ll be eating out but I know a lot of other families will be preparing large Thanksgiving dinners. That’s all well & good, but I hope that those people don’t lose sight of what’s important during this holiday – the season of giving thanks.

Personally, it’s been a rough year for me but I still have a lot to be thankful for. Don’t worry, I won’t get into that during this post. Maybe another time or even Thanksgiving, 2015. For now, I’d like to focus on other things you could be doing on Thanksgiving Day because let’s face it, it doesn’t take all day to eat a turkey! See below:

Volunteer – If you have food to eat & family to spend the day with, then you’re better off than close to 700,000 homeless people in this country. Before (or after) feeding yourself, find time to go & help feed other people tomorrow. Look for local volunteer opportunities in your area –  

Go shopping – We all know about the great deals that go on during Black Friday. But why wait? Why not start shopping on Thanksgiving? Click here to see which stores will be open on Thanksgiving Day. If you insist on joining the madness on Friday, be sure to coordinate all of your store visits by clicking here. You could even have some fun by setting up an early breakfast or luncheon after you’re done with your midnight shopping runs. Last but not least, if you’re not interested in hitting any stores this season, keep your computer running so that you can shop online. There are great deals online, some greater than what you would find in the actual stores. So stay inside where it’s warm and click away!

Get one last good workout in before eating – We all know that Thanksgiving comes & goes and leaves us with extra pounds that we didn’t ask for. Instead of waiting for the new year to begin working out why not start today? Here are some quick workouts that you can do from the comfort of your own home before you sit down for dinner on Thursday:

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Push-ups
  • Crunches
  • Squatting
  • Running in place
  • Lunges
  • Planking

Collect recipes now for leftovers – Nobody likes getting stuck with a bunch of leftovers. But since that’s what always happens on Thanksgiving, you might as well learn some new ways to handle all that extra turkey. Karen Temple from The Aiken Standard wrote some tips on how to handle all the leftovers –

The practice of eating leftovers has been around since man first discovered that food gathered or hunted today could be ‘preserved’ and safely eaten tomorrow. But that’s just the thing – you want to make sure the leftovers are safe and not going to make anyone sick!

  • Since you know there are likely to be leftovers from the Thanksgiving meal, safe food handling practices become even more important. Be extremely careful that you don’t cross contaminate, taking particular care to keep items that will be eaten raw away from uncooked poultry or meat while preparing the food
  • After the meal, package and refrigerate leftovers promptly. Do not leave items on the table or kitchen counter for grazing throughout the day! Large amounts of dense foods (mashed potatoes, stuffing, etc) will cool more quickly if packaged in smaller containers for storage
  • Most leftovers can be safely stored in the refrigerator for three to four days if they have been properly handled on the front end. After that, the risk of food poisoning increases
  • If you will not be eating the leftover food within three to four days, freeze it immediately. Bacteria do grow at refrigeration temperatures (just more slowly than at room temp) so don’t store the food in the refrigerator for days before deciding to freeze it
  • Lastly, when in doubt, throw it out  

 

Clink on some of the links below for ‘leftover recipes’ –

 

Happy Turkey Day everyone!!

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My Couch And My TV Have Become My New Best Friends (Just Another Friday Night)

Another weekend is upon us. Do you have plans? Or are you like me – staying in & watching television on your couch? I hope you plan on getting out this weekend, but in the event that you don’t below are some activities you can feel free to do from the comfort of your own home –

  1. Webcam with someone far away – This is putting technology to good use. If you have family across the country like I do the little camera on your computer is the next best thing to a plane ticket. So fix your hair, throw on a nice top and get to webcamming!
  2. Invite friends over – Why not have a good ole fashioned house party?! Call up some friends & have them bring over some food and drinks and just have some fun!
  3. Sort your items to give to Goodwill – The year is coming to a close so now is the perfect time to start gathering the things you don’t want to bring into the new year. Get that plastic bag out & start collecting those clothes that don’t fit, toys that aren’t played with or those books which are collecting dust & give them to charity
  4. Listen to a podcast – These iPods are good for more things than just listening to music. Find a good podcast & learn something new
  5. Photoshop your photos – How many pictures have you taken with an ugly outfit on, a bad hairdo or your eyes were closed? Now is the perfect time to use Photoshop and fix all of those errors. And once you do fix your photos don’t forget to repost them on Facebook
  6. Write reviews on Yelp – If you’re anything like I am, you love to give your opinion even when you’re not asked. Yelp is the perfect place to rate any business, restaurant or professional provider that you’ve dealt with in the past. Just try to give as many good ratings as you do bad ones
  7. Give yourself a manicure and pedicure – I’m not good at doing manicures or pedicures. Sure, I can clip my own nails and polish them but they still don’t look that professional. However, practice does make perfect. So this weekend I think I will work on “pushing back my cuticles” (or whatever it’s called)
  8. Create a playlist of your favorite songs – Speaking of iPods, why not select & sort songs on your playlist. This is a good time to group the songs you want to hear for various occasions like working out or relaxing
  9. Research your ancestry online – Do you ever wonder what part of the world your ancestors are from? Do you ever wonder where you got all of your features from? Well if so, now is a good time to research your family history. If you don’t know how to look for your relatives, go to Ancestry.com for further information
  10. Bake cookies – As silly as this may sound, there is nothing greater than a room that smells like good food. Cookies not only smell good but they are also fun to eat!

Have a great weekend!

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