“Pour some Maple Syrup on me” via Foodstand

Salad dressings, smoothies, pan sauces, coffee, tea, marinades, and glazes are just a few things I have and will continue to use maple syrup in. As a Personal Chef for the busy professional, you must continue to bring something new to your clients’ homes and dinner tables to excite their palate. Maple syrup is that something I bring to mine. Check out what Foodstand has to say about it! – CHEF FLO

Maple Roasted Pumpkins and Sweet Potatoes (minus walnuts and raisins)

“Maple syrup – it’s not just for pancakes! We have seen this sweet stuff popping up in unlikely recipes everywhere- and we’re loving it.  You don’t have to be Canadian to indulge your maple syrup obsession either (although Canada does now produce 80% of the world’s maple syrup!)

Maple syrup is trending on Foodstand because of its versatility and ability to bring a unique kind of sweetness.  As a natural sweetener, we can take advantage of maple syrup as a replacement for sugar, while reaping health benefits too. In moderation, maple syrup can keep you looking young and it shares similar health benefits to wine. It contains 54 antioxidants that keep eyes and skin in good shape, and 5 of these antioxidants can’t be found anywhere else in nature.  An added bonus: the maple syrup tapping process doesn’t hurt the maple trees or affect their lifespan at all, so no need to worry about our tree friends. =) “

Blog — Foodstand.

Shopping Is Half The Battle #pickingupthepieces

Eating healthy is a big part of trying to lose weight and reducing your risk for disease. Having a daily workout regimen aimed to increase your heart rate and burn fat (or calories) is detrimental to getting your body in the shape that you desire for optimal health. Combining these two practices make for one heck of a journey towards a healthy future. As a personal chef, I know that preparation before execution is everything.

Having your mise en place means to have everything ready in its place.

In every professional kitchen, all cooks have their mise en place ready to go before creating a dish, jumping onto the line to start dinner service, or even to test out a new recipe. We try to make sure everything is sorted, washed, prepped, cut, chopped, and sliced ready to be used in the final cooking process. I teach all my clients, learning how to cook, to make sure their mise en place is in order. This means planning a weekly menu, researching recipes, making an ingredient/shopping list then going to the grocery store and buying the right kind of ingredients to use for the week. This may seem like a ton of work at first. But if you think about it, doing this sets your week up with planned dinners and meals. All your thinking for the week has been done all in one day or weekend.

Now when you go to the grocery store I advise you all to keep your eyes open when shopping. Don’t go in there like robots picking up the first item on your list right off the shelves without “shopping around.”




Here are a few Successful Shopping Tips:

1. Look for deals or sales. Usually marked with bright colors, most grocery stores have sales every week. This will help out with your grocery budget and ultimately keeping your finances in check. Cooking at home for you and/or your family is not expensive if you shop smart.

2. Pre-cut and pre-prepped fruits and vegetables are usually more expensive. Buy whole produce and do the prep yourself. You may more because you are being charged extra for doing all the work for you. Sometimes this can help you out but if you plan your week accordingly, doing all the prep yourself can save you ton of money.  

3. Another key thing with fruits and vegetables is that every ingredient has its prime season for the best flavor and ripeness. When shopping for produce, buy seasonal ingredients.  Apples and squash are best in the fall to winter. Melons and tomatoes are incredible mid summer. Buy seasonally assures ripeness, full flavors, and inexpensive prices.

4. Along with shopping seasonally, purchasing products from local growers and producers not only save your a buck or two but help out your community. Locally grown produce and made products are most often cheaper than items brought in from more than 100 miles away. This not only assures fresh tasting foods but also promotes supporting businesses and farms in your neighborhoods and state.

5. Buy in bulk! The bulk department is my favorite department because you can buy as much or as little as you want. You can control the costs of the products you buy. You can reduce your costs in half because you don’t have to pay for packaging or the limited size and quantity. You will also eliminate any potential waste at home. Buying some packaged products for some recipes are great. However, if you only need a little bit for one recipe, your product may expire or go bad before you ever use it again. You’ll end up throwing out an entire container of spices or dry ingredients meaning money in the trash…something we don’t want!

This past weekend I set up my own mise en place for a detox that I was going to start. It is the Beyond The Resolutions: 11-Day Winter Clean Eating Program run by Portia Joyce Wellness. It is a detoxifying meal plan set in place to help remove toxins and waste from your body that it has acquired through the air and especially through what we eat. It is also a great way to a healthy recovery and start on a clean state. Detoxing before making any drastic changes, such as altering your diet, makes a whole world of difference. Check out my links if you have a chance and if you think this is something for you.

So I went shopping for the week. I actually designed my groceries for two people. I brought my mother along this journey in hopes to lower her Triglycerides and increase her HDL levels. If anything, she’s definitely more excited because she doesn’t even have to lift a finger. I have shopped, prepped, and I packaged and serve her meals everyday. She has no excuse and now that I have done the same for her, I don’t either. Here are the results of my shopping experience at my local Whole Foods Market.

Detox Week 1 Shopping List & Totals

Detox Week 1 Shopping List (1 of 2)

Detox Week 1 Shopping List (2 of 2)

I visited Whole Foods Market in Paramus, NJ and not to my surprise I was able to find everything I needed. As you will see, with much preparation and organization, you can pre-plan and shop for your week with ease. Then, once you have everything you need, take another hour or two washing your produce, chopping and prepping them all and pack them away in reusable containers. You’re week is basically all set and ready for you to cook. So believe me when I say,

“A few hours today will save you double the amount of time throughout the week. Planning your week out and then taking your time to organize yourself, well you’ve done the hard part. SHOPPING IS HALF THE BATTLE…now the cooking part, well…GIVE ME A CALL! :-)”

Healthy Recipe: Spinach Pesto

Yum dee lish! Simple, quick, and tasty…a perfect formula for a tasty recipe!

Enjoy…I know I did!


-Chef Flo

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia!! (via Portia Joyce Wellness)

Must Try Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Pudding

Posted on September 12, 2013

Mmmmmm….Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Pudding

Yes, you probably want to start singing the jingle from the commercial: Ch-ch-ch-chia (pet). And yes, you can eat this seed! Who would have thought it was so healthy back in the day? This recipe is so easy to make it’s almost too good to be true.


Check out more info on Chia Seeds and the recipe for this amazing Chia Seed Pudding and more healthy recipes and foodie facts by visiting www.portiajoycewellness.com!

– See more at: http://www.portiajoycewellness.com/blog/2013/09/must-try-ch-ch-ch-chia-pudding#sthash.1aR4jRts.dpuf

It Works!

So it’s been thirty days since the new year has come upon us again. We all decided to start that resolution to change our lives. How has it been? Did we even start? Have we jumped off already? Do we feel like it was too ridiculous of a resolution to keep on going? Well I’m hoping you all are on top of your resolutions or at least started them.

For two and a half weeks after Christmas, I was in NY/NJ enjoying a vacation with my daughter. Other than sightseeing and enjoying time with family, my most favorite thing to do on vacation is eat! Who doesn’t love to eat? Well, knowing that in a few weeks I’d be on a very rigorous and strict diet, I thought why not indulge? Well indulge did I do! Authentic pizzerias, traditional Filipino food, diners, fried foods, and White Castle were on my list to enjoy while on vacation. Hey, they were all foods I missed living out in Las Vegas and all food I’ll most likely miss once I start my diet. Mind you, two months prior were the holidays, so I definitely have had my share of calorie-filled foods and a diet was what was inevitable.


So on the 16th of this month, I began my Engine 2 Diet from author and firefighter, Rip Esselstyn. Rip is the son of the highly acclaimed, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, a pioneer in heart disease prevention as well as an advocate for a whole food, plant-based diet. Well, I jumped into the Firefighter 28-Day challenge where I eliminated meats (animal protein), dairy, cheese, and processed oils from day one. I thought, “If I’m going to be extreme, I might as well jump in head first!” Well, along with about twenty team members and a handful of customers at the Whole Foods Market in Henderson, NV, we started this challenge head-strong. Everything, burgers, pizza, sushi, traditional pasta, traditional salad dressings, and all I loved to eat and cook was out the door.


Now, up until now, I read the books, watched the documentaries, and understood the lifestyle. I knew what I was getting myself into. But do we really know what we get ourselves into until our lives were immersed in it? So needless to say, it’s been a hard two weeks. I have had major cravings, feelings of hunger, and just frustration with it all. But that’s what a “challenge” is, isn’t it? Hard, frustrating at times, maybe even…challenging? Haha! However hard it has been, I’ve been moving forward head-strong and living it up. Whole grain everything, oil-less vinaigrettes and “stir-frys,” large salads filled with green leafy vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, Rip’s Big Bowls in the morning and baked tofu and vegetable sandwiches for lunch, I do it all!

Diet is defined as the sum of food consumed by an organism.

Now like I’ve been telling everyone, this is NOT a weight-loss diet. This is a heart-healthy, disease-preventing, and cholesterol-lowering diet. It’s a whole foods, plant-strong diet that changes your lifestyle for the better. Will you see a dramatic weight-loss while on this diet? Well if you incorporate active daily workouts, of course you will. But it’s needs to be supplemental to what you eat. You need to add both activity and plant-based food in order to see the best results from the Engine 2 Diet. My next question going through my mind was “Is this really working FOR ME?”

On day ten of this challenge, I decided to take a simple cholesterol and triglyceride blood test because I haven’t done so yet. In order to see the best results from this diet, it’s all in the blood! After a 6-hour fast (and a Sonic dinner the night before), I took my test. I felt that let me try and produce a horrible test so at least I’ll definitely see how good this diet can be. Being that it has only been ten days on this challenge I didn’t expect much. Well was I wrong! I won’t share the exact results but let me put it this way, never, in my wildest imaginations would I ever think my total cholesterol would be that astonishingly healthy. In less than two weeks? No! Remember, I ate all that crap in NY/NJ before hand and I had all the turkey, prime rib, sides, and desserts during the holidays. Other than me having to work on my triglycerides and HDL, it was still at a “average” rating. It was minimal work that I had to do in order to get those two scores better. Now I won’t share the results with you, I just want you to believe me. This darn diet WORKS!

I am currently at 244 pounds (6 pounds lost since the 16th) I am clinically obese, have a BMI that would have doctors worried, and have a family history of Type 2 Diabetes. I am definitely unhealthy and need a change. I will have to advocate that THIS IS THE CHANGE I NEED! And if these results are what I am looking forward to at the end of this, maybe even for the rest of my life, why not? I can’t wait to share my final results with you all. I’m excited to know that you will all be shocked. If you’re interested in this diet and all the results that a whole food, plant-based diet has to offer, contact me. I can provide you will all the materials to better inform you and hopefully change your life. It has changed mine for sure!