Tag: Eating

How To Work A Food Buffet

This past weekend, my father treated my family to an all-you-can-eat Mother’s Day buffet at a nice hotel. I am not a fan of buffets – some people use their hands (gross!), food can fall into the food container next to it and there are always too many kids running around. However, if you show up early enough or if the buffet is “expensive” enough you can usually avoid all of that. Needless to say, we went to a more upscale buffet (if there is such a thing) on Mother’s Day and I had a good time.

Since I have not been to a buffet in a while, I was completely lost as to where to begin, what I should eat, or how much food I should put on my plate at one time. After I got home and took a nap I thought I would write down how to work a buffet in the event I ever go back. And in true Chocolate Vent fashion, I thought I would share these rules with you!

  1. First, you gotta circle around the entire buffet at least once. You have to know what is available, what is fresh, and more importantly, what is still hot. This also allows you to be nosey and look at what other people are eating to see if you want what they have. Plus, you need to get a good mental picture of how many times you think you’ll be able to go back.
  2. Once you know what is there, you can start on your first course. I recommend going for the starter dishes, like soup, because they are not filling and it gets your stomach ready for what’s to come.
  3. Then I recommend sampling everything that you’ve ever wanted to try before but haven’t been able to. On Sunday, I tried something new myself. It was called a “pea shot”, which was basically about 5 tablespoons of pureed peas with a dollop of whipped cream and caviar on top. As you could imagine it didn’t taste all that great. It was my first & last time ever taking a “pea shot” (still can’t believe I chugged baby food). Only at a buffet would I have been able to experience such a thing!
  4. After sampling you should go for the delicacies, the seafood or anything that you wouldn’t normally (or can’t afford to) eat. Since everything is all-inclusive, you might as well take advantage of the ‘finer foods’ that the buffet has to offer. And even though some people think that ordering a drink will take up unnecessary space in their stomach, I say, be sure to order a beverage. It will definitely help wash all the food down that you’re about to eat.
  5. The next course is when you can get down to business! It’s now time for the meats, the potatoes and everything else that you would normally eat. You’re done with experimenting for the day, so go ahead & eat what you like.
  6. After you’re finished with everything that you like, you should go for a salad or even some fresh fruit. This will help cleanse your palate and settle the food in your stomach (I’m no doctor, but it sounds right to me).
  7. Finally, it’s time to indulge in a dessert or two (or three, or four). At this point, you’re probably stuffed so know that it’s okay to stop & take a break.
  8. The final & most important rule of all: Repeat steps 1-7  🙂

Happy Buffet-ing!

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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.

Talk To Me, Baby: What Type Of Phone Call Are You?!

Life keeps us so busy that it gets difficult trying to catch up with family and friends. There are some people that I love talking to & some that I can’t stand to talk to for more than a few minutes at a time, so I’ve categorized my phone calls. Here are some examples of what I’m talking about –

  • Bathroom phone call: Sitting in the bathroom is usually one of the most peaceful times of day for me (don’t laugh) so what better time than to call someone that has stressful conversation? This way when I’m done with my “business”, I’m also done with the phone call. Sometimes I wish I could flush certain people down the toilet (lol!)
  • Lunch break: These phone calls are usually pretty quick since lunch breaks are only an hour long. Because I have to eat and possibly do other things during my lunch break people I call during this time are usually just acquaintances, business calls or family members I don’t really want to talk to for very long.
  • Making dinner: This is where I get to multitask – I call people who are not that interesting.  This way I don’t have to give them my undivided attention and once dinner is ready (usually 30 minutes or less) it’s time to get off that phone.
  • Eating dinner: While I’m eating, I usually call people who like to talk a lot. It’s not good to talk with food in my mouth so during this time I can be a really good listener. And if I go for seconds, then they can really keep talking!
  • In the car – These phone calls are reserved for people I really like because sitting in the car is the largest chunk of time I use up. Traffic can get really bad and driving a few miles can take anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour, so this is truly the best way to kill time. I can connect with friends that I love talking with while I get to my destination safely.

I’d like to hear from you…..what type of phone call do you think you are?


Eat, Pray, Love? Nah, Eat, Spank, Love.

So, I’m not understanding why parents allow their children to tell them what they will & will not eat. When I’m in a restaurant I can’t stand to see kids start acting crazy because they don’t want to eat what’s on their plate. When I was little (back in the 80’s) I had to eat everything on my plate or I wasn’t allowed to leave the table. And when I tried to act slick by trying to “outsit” my parents at the dinner table, my mom would just put it in the refrigerator & the same food would be put in front of me to eat the next day (and the next day, and the next day until I ate it). Nowadays kids get away with things like this by throwing a temper tantrum.

I remember when I was younger my little cousin refused to eat the peas that were on her plate. My aunt didn’t say anything but took the plate away and let my little cousin go off to watch TV. My grandmother, who was in the kitchen with us, asked my aunt why she allowed her 7 year daughter to leave the table without eating her vegetables. My aunt said, “Oh, she doesn’t like peas so I don’t make her eat them.” My grandmother simply replied, “So which one of you is the parent and which one of you is the child?” For me, that was enough said.

Now admittedly, I am a little bit of a picky eater. For example: I don’t like my food touching, if it’s a liquid like gravy or syrup because I don’t want my other food to get soggy. Also, I won’t eat mushrooms and not a fan of most green vegetables (except greens & broccoli). But I am an adult, so I can decide what I put into my body. But children shouldn’t have that privilege.

So adults, please “man up” and stop letting your children run things (especially when it affects their health)….