Sunday, February 23, 2014

What happens with a professional baker goes VEGAN!

Going vegan is, well, hard. Going vegan-detox-Engine 2 diet is even harder (What is Engine 2 diet: Planet-based, vegan diet with no added oils or refined sugars). Going vegan-detox-Engine 2 diet is even harder when you work in a BAKERY!

Recently I was given “the opportunity” to attempt 28 solid days  going Vegan-detox/Engine 2 diet. Why not? Why not learn about a new lifestyle, learned more delicious recipes, and see how my body feels. Plus, it was less than one solid month...I can do it.

The days off of work were easy-peasy. Quinoa with dried fruit and almond milk for breakfast; Sweet potato veggie patties for lunch; Kale salad with nuts for dinner. LOTS of fresh fruit, veggies, and cashews to snack on whenever I felt hungry…which was ALL THE TIME.  The diet was  difficult while working. The aroma of freshly baked chocolate cake lingered in the air, while samples of buttery croissants taunted my taste buds, and don’t forget about cream cheese icing, which I can happily lick off any spoon.

This posed a challenge: How to satisfy my sweet tooth without any refined sugars, only natural sugars like brown rice syrup, dried dates, and fresh produce.  Gathering my foodie thoughts and flipping through my pile of cooking and baking books, I made a mad dash and bought a new food processor. My mind raced with new and fresh ideas I have never thought of before: “If I puree it, it will have the body of solid food.” Thus, variations of banana ice-cream was created (Chop up bananas, freeze overnight, and  puree until smooth. Eat happily); “Power bites” were invited using dried dates, walnuts, cashews, chia seeds, and brown rice syrup; A fellow co-worker made “Vegan cheesecake” by soaking nuts overnight and pureeing them with almond milk, coconut oil, and fruit.

 

Below are my ramblings: My feelings, thoughts, and ramblings through each week and a tip how to survive IF you dare to challenge and take a 28 day Vegan diet-lifestyle.

WEEK ONE: The hardest 7 days! I felt tired, sleepy, hungry, quiet, and not myself.  I was burning too many calories and not consuming enough.  All I wanted to do was nap and eat delicious, fattening, and overly sweet FOODS. TIP: Having snacks on hand is key. Meal planning is key. I set aside an afternoon every week to prep condiments, sauces, veggies, and “Power bites.” My overly large tan purse was always filled with a “ little pick me up” when needed in emergency.

WEEK TWO: It is getting easier…. Meal planning helped. Snacks helped. Grocery shopping and dining out SUCKED.  I rarely dined out because the most I could get was a plain salad with no dressing or protein or cocktail. TIP:  When in doubt about food or if you are in a pinch with time, go natural and unprocessed. Produce is handy, raw nuts are quick, quinioa takes less than 30 minutes to cook….

WEEK THREE: I see the light! Almost finished and how do I feel? Better, lighter, my energy level is at one level instead of bouncing all over, and I feel like I am glowing from the inside out.  Right now, the power of food and how you consume it, truly amazes me than before.  TIP:  Ask around for recipes from fellow foodies, friends, family, and co-workers. I got so many delicious and healthy vegan recipes that I will continue using, even after the diet ends.

WEEK FOUR: The afterparty. On the first day of “back to normal” eating, what did I have? Pork sandwich….extra spicy with a couple (natural) energy drinks. Plus, a couple of adult beverages after a crazy busy work day. Did I feel different than before? You bet.  Sluggish. Tired. My stomach huuuurrrttt.  My taste buds changed. Salty food tastes even saltier and sweets taste over the top. TIP: I love eating healthy, but also love to indulge. Keep it a balance, folks. Being a big time foodie, I truly cannot see my life without enjoying oysters on the half shell, fresh almond croissants, bulgogi, chicken liver pate, or a rich Malbec. Moderation, natural, real, and unprocessed is key.

 

Being healthy and happy is neccessary to living a fresh and natural lifestyle. The more natural and unprocessed I eat, the better I feel, the better I smile, the better glow I have.

Are you up for a 28 day Vegan – detox challenge? Try it, You will amaze yourself!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Seattle/Bellevue Community: Fun, family-friend, and foodie Event this Saturday 14th at Bellevue Whole Foods Market!

'Tis the season. The chilly weather is here! Lights are up! Peppermint mochas are everywhere! What is a very sweet way to start the holiday season: decorate your very own gingerbread house! Whole Foods Bellevue Bakery Team is hosting a gingerbread decorating event this Saturday 14th.
Perfect event for families, little ones, and die hard foodies.




The Details…

TIME AND DATE: Sat. Dec. 14th at Bellevue Whole Foods Market (888 116th AVE NE Bellevue WA), 10:00 AM – 1:00PM. Feel free to arrive at any time to start decorating!

WHERE: Front and center of Bellevue Whole Foods Market. There will be tables set up when you arrive on Dec. 14. Still can’t find the event day of? Ask a helpful Whole Foods Team Member who can assist you in the right direction. (Free parking in our spacious lot right off of 405, by the hospital. Minutes from downtown Bellevue.)

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST: $19.99 gets you one gingerbread house to decorate, all the frosting and candy décor, your entire parties admission (no matter how people you bring), and fun drinks and snacks to munch on. Plus, Bakery Team Members will assist you on decorating your house!

HOW DO I RSVP? Easy! You can 1) Pre-pay  inside Bellevue Whole Foods Market at the Bakery Counter  (Recommended! This event is popular) or  2) Call Bellevue Whole Foods Market  (425-462-1400), connect to the Bakery Team, reserve a spot, and pay on December 14th when you arrive.

WHAT HAPPENS ON December 14th: Come on inside with your party, decorate your beautiful gingerbread house (everything will be ready for you), eat snacks, check out the sales happening at Whole Foods, and take your house home with you! Don’t worry, we will deal with the clean- up and mess.

MORE QUESTIONS? Call Bellevue Whole Foods and ask to be connected to the Bakery Team. We will happily answer any questions or concerns you have.
 
See you Saturday!
Kimm
 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Seattle Happy Hour with dishcrawl: This Wednesday (9/18) at Capitol Cider!

What is best part about having a food blog? Meeting fellow foodies and going to tasty events around my beautiful home city, Seattle. Dishcrawl is a nation-wide company that host fun, foodie events around big cities, like Seattle. I, luckily, met Julia and Melissa, two local dishcrawl ambassadors through social media and I am pairing up with them to help promote their fabulous events.






The next dishcrawl event? It is happening this Wednesday the 18th, from 6:00-8:00pm, at Capitol Cider (http://www.seattleciderbar.com/) in Capitol Hill. Tickets are only $5 and you get to try and assortment of their new menu as well as be eligible for killer drink specials.

Buy tickets here --> http://www.dishcrawl.com/capitolcider/

 


Come meet new foodie friends and hang out with me and the local dishcrawl team for a relaxing evening at Seattle's newest cider shop, Capitol Cider.

 



See you Wednesday,
Kimm

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A letter to the young, aspiring baker/pastry chef.

Hello,

First off, in life you should do you what love, and love what you do. If it is baking bread, teaching third graders, creating websites, or fixing computers that you love doing then do it. We spend numerous hours and time AT WORK...... unsure what to do? Great, I love it when people say this. Why? Because you get to TRY NEW THINGS IN LIFE. Try a new hobby, sport, or activity. Met new people, go out to a new restaurant/bar/coffee shop, and find out about new industries, companies, and positions in your community.

Now, you have settled it: you want to cook/bake for a living. Good news: WE NEED FOOD TO LIVE, thus there will ALWAYS be positions/jobs for you. Bad news: The food industry can, well, be crazy and hectic. Most restaurants/cafes/bakeries are open 24/7 and require hard work and long hours.

My advice?  My top 5 tips…..

- First off, find a company/business that you truly like and care for. Note: most food small businesses are so small, they cannot offer health benefits, paid time off, or 401(k) plans, keep this in mind when searching for jobs. Note: some cooperate food businesses, can get very cooperate and less artistry is required for the job.

- Second, find a position that you like doing and can expand. Doing anything over and over again can get monotonous and boring. Can you learn new skills? Move up? Possibly learn something besides cooking and baking delicious food? On a better note, ask your brand new co-workers if they like working there. They will be honest.

-Third, get used to wearing a chef uniform: chef pants, non-slip clogs, hat, and chef jackets.  Oh yes, and working on weekends and major holidays. (Boo.)

-Fourth, to all the young women: From a girl’s girl point of view, working in professional kitchens is a very masculine industry, but I never let that change me. I am who I am, and still enjoy the color pink, 4 inch high heels, and lip gloss after working nearly 8 years in the industry. Your hands and nails will become very dry, you will have oily skin, and your feet will ache after work.  This just means you have to take extra special care of yourself , don’t let the job GET YOU. You are better than that.

-Finally, find an outside hobby outside of cooking/baking. Why? This will keep you sane, I promise.

 Don’t limit yourself to just restaurants for food jobs. There are numerous outlets for us: cafes, bakeries, gourmet grocery stores, cooperate dining, catering,  wineries, coffee shops, etc.  Find what fits YOU, not the person sitting next to you.

I find it very rare that a person cooks/bakes their ENTIRE career. Most of us move on: management, admin, sales, etc. We are still dedicated to food, but our lives, dreams, and goals change. We desire softer schedules and lifestyles. Keep this in mind while you are young: don’t be afraid to learn a new skill set beyond culinary and pastry.

Don’t let anyone get to you because that is their problem, not yours. Keep your chin up, positive attitude, and everything will come in place.

Best,

Kimm

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

MY LATEST SWEET INTERVIEW: With Lesly, co-founder of WOW Chocolates in Seattle.

On one of my recent visits to my yoga studio, Bikram Yoga Redmond (http://www.bikramyogaredmond.com/), I met a lovely young woman named Lesly. Quickly, I found out we had something in common: Not only are we dedicated Bikram yogis, we both loved creating and making delicious sweet treats. Lesly informed me about her local (Seattle-area) chocolate business, called WOW chocolates (http://wowchocolates.com/).

After seeing, AND tasting, WOW Chocolates, I was highly impressed by the decorating details, quality of chocolate, and unique flavors. Lesly, and her sister (co-owner) Maire, use tropical and exotic flavors not normally founds in typical chocolates. Banana-ginger, jalapeno-mango, and raspberry-cabernet (my personal favorite!) are a few fun selections you can choose to buy from their website.

Check out my sweet interview with Lesly:

Lesly, on right, with her sister/co-owner, Maire.


A brief bio on WOW chocolates:

After completed a degree as an interior designer and gained experience in the field for several years before discovering chocolate was not only passion but my calling.  I began making bonbons as a gifts for friends and soon word spread.  It then became something else entirely...a business WOW! Thus I pursued my passion for food, combining my background in design and a knack for creativity, and the result can be seen every chocolate creation.

 
Maire (sister) learned about the art of making truffles and bonbons from her sister.  She is an accomplished artist who works with many different materials - from acrylic paints to clay and wood.  Maire has always shared a passion with her family for food and now she strives to combine the worlds of art and edible every day.

 

WOW Chocolates will captivate your senses and take you on an extraordinary journey through our world of delightful, exotic and colorful bonbons.  Our passion for these delectable delicacies is infectious and is reflected in every bite.
 
WOW Chocolates.
 


Questions:

1) Describe WOW CHOCOLATES for people who are unfamiliar.


WOW Chocolates is a new and local company  run by two sisters.  WOW Chocolates crafted bonbons with unique flavors. 

2) What made you want to start WOW?

What really made us to start WOW was our passion for the amazing cocoa that Venezuela produced.  WOW Chocolates was created in Margarita Island - Venezuela and brought our confectionary art to the United State in 2012.  

3) What's the most popular chocolate you make?

Our most popular flavors right now are:  Mango-Jalapeño,  Tamarind and Chile de árbol,  Passion fruit and Strawberry-Basil.


4) What's your personal favorite sweet treat?

My favorite sweet treat is my mom's squash cake with strawberry jelly on top ,Yumm! 

5) Where can people go to purchase your delicious chocolates?

You can purchase our chocolates online through our web site.  You can find all the services that we offer,  like weddings, corporate and more.


WOW Chocolates for Valentine's Day.
 
For more information on WOW Chocolates, check out:
Main website --> http://wowchocolates.com/
"Like" 'em --> https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wow-chocolates/301095963288041?id=301095963288041&sk=photos_stream
"Follow" 'em --> https://twitter.com/WowChocolates

I look forward to seeing WOW Chocolates growing in Seattle's chocolate world! Best of luck to Lesly and Maire.

Happy Baking,
Kimm

Monday, June 24, 2013

Cooking a new recipe? My top 3 tips for foodie success!

I love, love,  cooking and baking new food and recipes. Gathering ideas from Pinterest, fellow foodies, bloggers, and tv shows, I enjoying creating a new dish that I can blog and tell my friends about.

From a new Sunday Supper meal, to a sweet breakfast treat, or a easy breezy lunch, there are helpful rules I easily follow before I start my chopping, dicing, and slicing. With my 3 easy tips, I know I can have a successfully happy tummy and meal.

Tip #1: Check your pantry!
-Find the ingredient list in your new recipe and check your fridge and pantry. This will avoid any last minute trips to the grocery store. If there is a special or hard to find ingredient, check your local specialty shops for their inventory. Avoid the miles on your car, and call the store to see if they carry it.

Tip #2: Check your cookware/bakeware!
-If you are baking spiced banana bread, you will need a loaf pan. Cupcakes require a muffin tin and paella needs a special paella-pan. Making a large batch of chili? Make sure you have a large pot or dutch oven for the job. You don't want to be in the middle of your tasty brownies and realize you don't have a rectangle cake pan...

Tip #3: Check your heat/oven!
-This is key. Double check what the recipe suggestions for the baking/cooking temperature and, well, use your common sense. If a chocolate chip cookie recipe says to bake 'em at 450 degrees F, I know better to turn down the heat to a nice 350 degree F.

All in all, go into a new recipe with confidence and ease. Double read your new recipe and don't b e afraid to ask a fellow friend, family member, or co-worker for help or advice.

Happy cooking!
Kimm

Monday, June 10, 2013

Why you should toss away your pure aluminum cookware!

Just like cell phones, technology, and care, the cookware industry is rapidly growing and changing....for the better. Cookware manufactures WANT you to have success with their products and cook delicious meals in them.

Back in the day, people used pure aluminum cookware. Why? It is: Abdundant, conducts heat pretty evenly, and is soft to mold into a variety of shapes and sizes.
Now, aluminum goes through a process called "anodizing." What is it exactly? Think: electro-chemical process to make aluminum STRONGER and conduct heat better. It turns into a dark gray, porus material versus the light, super shinny apperance.



It is rare that you will see pure aluminum cookware, for sale, in the domestic field today. It is either: hard anodized with a protective non-stick coating over it or combined with stainless steel.

Here are my top 3 reasons why it is great time to toss out your used aluminum cookware and upgrade your set:

1) Pure aluminum over time, it "worps." The pans "titer-toter" and become uneven on the bottom over time. It will not "sit flat" on your cooking range.

2) Aluminum reacts with acidic and citrus foods, causing a discolor in the pans. Watch out for food like tomato sauce and lemond curd to stain aluminum cookware.

3) Aluminum cookware is just...unattractive. Cookware is getting "cosmetic" and there are a variety of colored and bronze-toned cookware on the market. Not only should cooking and baking be fun, your pans should be, too!

Happy cooking,
Kimm