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! :-)”

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!

– See more at:

The Hardest Part is Finding Support

What’s going on folks?! Thanks for the much needed time off. Honestly, I’ve missed you all!

I have been working with McCormick for the past three months. I was in their Consumer Affairs department working in an outsourced office here in NJ. It was great. They are such an amazing company to work with. Great people, great products, and honestly an amazing learning experience. Now that 2013 has (almost) gotten through its winter season, it was time for me to focus on what I knew and loved the best. Serve M.E. Now and the much needed healthy eating lifestyle I kinda threw away ever since I moved to NJ back in June 2012. I never forgot but just kinda fell victim to New Jersey’s immense amount of tasty treats, however unhealthy. I don’t regret falling to the wayside, my decisions were mine alone. If anything, it is making me stronger because I know how eating healthy helps, revitalizes, and strengthens my body. And guess what, I’m ready!

We all have a time that we fall behind. We’re human, face it, we give into temptations easier than following a healthy eating lifestyle that most would roll their eyes on. That’s why it’s so imperative to have the proper education and support in this AMAZING way of life!

So queue the flashing lights and welcoming red carpet. Someone near and dear to my heart has joined the healthy eating community not so long ago. She has adapted a new way of eating and living that supports the body’s strive for health and natural energy. She’s been a friend of about 10 years and definitely growing strong. (PlantStrong ;-P Haha) She is not only a credible healthy eating partner but what I call, “Good Family!” She’s my daughter’s awesome godmother. At least I know I have someone else on my team that won’t administer my daughter any dairy. Haha. that’s for another post. Anyway, I would like to introduce you all to Portia Joyce Festejo of Portia Joyce Wellness.

2012-08-12 18.03.19

She has just launched her website and newsletter this past week. Now I wouldn’t send you just anywhere. I’m definitely sending you to someone I trust with my own healthy eating life. She has been pursuing her Health Coach certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition for the past year and is now practicing out of the comfort of your home. She has been trained over 100 dietary theories that can help in sculpting a specific nutritional and wellness plan for your body. Everyone is different. Everyone responds to health in their own way and Portia is the best person to help direct you down the right path.

I advise you, no I DEMAND you, to check out her website and sign up for her newsletter. Trust me, I know you’ll love it and keep wanting more. Tell her Chef Flo aka “King” sent you her way. You won’t be disappointed. The best part, she’s offering a FREE 50-Minute, initial consultation. WHAT!?!? How can you say NO to that? Now immediately after you COMMENT, LIKE, and/or SHARE this post, say “Hi!” to Portia Joyce for me!

Good Luck and Happy Eating!