5 ways to outsmart snack cravings


First of all let’s get one thing straight:

Struggling with food cravings doesn’t mean your weak…let’s kick that notion in the butt, straight off. Most often, the foods we crave are processed carbohydrates, which change the brain’s chemistry by increasing the level of serotonin, our feel-good neurochemical.

food-cravingsOur brain will remember how that food made you feel and create neural pathways that trigger addictive cravings when you experience a similar stimulus.

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How to Grow Your Own Garden Indoors

Indoor Gardening

How to Grow Your Own Garden Indoors
Marcela De Vivo, Guest Blogger for hautemealz.com

Those living in apartment buildings, townhomes or suburban areas where grassy space and good ground is hard to come by, have few options when it comes to planting their own food.

The only real solution is to move your garden indoors.

If you have the extra space, an indoor garden can be an incredibly fun and successful endeavor, and will save you the work of having to till up an area of land or go outside to take care of it.

In order for an indoor garden to be successful, you need to spend a little bit of money and make sure you have the right equipment and items on hand (as well as a little bit of extra space in your home).

Having a garden inside your home still requires the same amount of work and attention that an outdoor garden would take, therefore, make sure that you are prepared to commit a reasonable amount of time and resources before you start the process.

Once you’re ready, here’s how to get things started.


1. Pick a Location

No matter how big of a home you might own, space always seems to be at a premium. Typically, a basement or porch would be the best place for an indoor garden, but just make do with what you have and choose the area of your home that is best suited for the job.

You might consider picking a spot where you can open a window to allow fresh air in or an area that gets a healthy amount of sunlight from a window.

Sunlight will be more necessary if you don’t plan to buy indoor lightning for your garden, but just take that into account ahead of time.


2. Things to Buy

Once you have a location established, you’re going to need to invest in your indoor garden project. How much you need to buy will ultimately depend upon what you already have at your disposal and what you can find around the house.

Regardless of how you obtain them, make sure you have the following items on hand for when you’re ready to start your garden:

  • Light — As mentioned earlier, light may or may not be necessary, depending on where you have your garden located. If you’re going to keep the garden where it won’t get much sunlight, you’ll need to invest in a few heat lamps or some plant growth lighting.
  • Potting Soil — Potting soil is effective for growing seedlings and not tremendously expensive. If you’ve already got dirt, you can still use it, but a mixture of regular dirt and potting soil is still advisable.
  • Seeds — This is one of the more obvious items on our checklist. Be discretionary about what seeds you buy based on how much space you have. Anything that grows really tall or spreads out (like corn or cantaloupe) probably isn’t going to work well indoors, so stick to the basic veggies and flowers.
  • Containers — You’ll need two different size containers; a small one for seedlings and larger containers for transplanting once the seedlings mature. You will likely already find these around your home, so just make sure you have both sizes available before you start.
  • Support Beams or Shelving — You’ll want to have your plants raised so you can easily tend to them, which is one of the biggest advantages when gardening indoors. How advanced this system is might depend on your lighting situation, but just make sure you can keep everything raised and adequately supported.


3. Transplanting to Larger Containers

Once your seedlings start to mature, you’ll need to get them into deeper containers with more soil so that they can grow and begin to bear fruit.

The depth of those containers will depend on what kind of plants you’re growing and what they require in terms of space. Plants will usually have space requirements that include depth for rooting and space between other plants.

Putting in the Work

Once you have everything in place, it’s just a matter of consistent watering, nurturing and caring for your plants. Growing a garden inside can be tough, but if you’re willing to put the work in, you can see a lot of success and bag a lot of fresh vegetables.

Since a garden can be such an enjoyable and rewarding experience, it’s worth a try at least once, even if you don’t have much of a green thumb.

Either way, don’t let the limited space of urban living be a deterrent!


MarcellaMarcela De Vivo is a freelance writer whose writing covers a wide range of topics, including everything from tech and manufacturing to fitness and beauty. In addition to sharing her tips on how to improve home gardens, she also writes content for ProcessSensors.


Q & A: The Healthy Foodie

Angel asks:

Q: Regarding dieting, healthy eating, and shopping…I’m curious if you find special challenges on this endeavor since your a chef or if your knowledge of food helps.

I’m not a chef, but I do love food and my knowledge of nutrition has been very slowly expanding since I had my son. I find myself often wishing I knew more about the taste dynamic of different herbs, spices and foods that would help me to come up with more tasty versions of healthy dishes. Any tips?

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What food defines your childhood?

I had an interesting conversation with a friend this morning, talking about foods of our childhood, and dishes really optimize a time and place for us.

For my friend, it was local chile peppers, grown everywhere around his home town in New Mexico, and finding their way into almost every dish. He claims that he can’t consider something comfort food, if it doesn’t include some hit of those chilies.

For me, as strange as it may sound, it was probably the Burger King Whopper.

(I know…that’s sad…read on…)


I grew up in what the current PC lingo refers to as a “food anxious” home. Back then we just called it “poor”. I’m sure many of you grew up in the same place, where the last days/weeks of the month were punctuated with ramen noodles, baked potatoes, and government cheese…and sometimes not even those.

Between the ages of six and about twelve (when I got my first dish-washing job), when my mom’s disability check would arrive on the first of the month, we would celebrate surviving another 30 days with a big time splurge, really blowing out all the stops and walking six blocks up Burnside to the Rockwood Burger King, for a whopper (heavy onion/heavy pickle), small fries, and a chocolate milk-shake.

We’d eat slow, really savoring our meal, and reveling in our temporary wealth.

photo7I’ve eaten some nose-bleed expensive dinners, in some very nice restaurants in the three decades since, but I gotta be honest…I’m not sure I can say that I’ve ever felt more anticipation, or experienced more pleasure from a first bite…that I did when biting into one of those big, drippy burgers, after a particularly “anxious” month.

So, when I think of my childhood, from the standpoint of a specific food item, I think about the Whopper, which represented, for us, a good day.

And yes…a couple of times a year, when I’m feeling nostalgic, I’ll pull into the local BK, and order my old combo (assuaging my guilt with a diet coke instead of the shake, lol)….and, you know something? I still feel a little of that old rush, as I walk back to my table…and that first anxiety-free bite still tastes wonderful.

What about you? In the encyclopedia of your childhood, what one picture would top the “Food” page?

Tell us about it…

Chef Perry


Grocery Budget Questions


Okay, I know that this is a somewhat personal request, so please feel free to send me your responses privately to hautemealz@gmail.com if you’d rather not comment below.

I’m gathering data for our upcoming outreach meal-plans and cooking classes, and I need some info…

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Preparing to cook when the power is out

Usually in emergency situations, the power goes out and your refrigerator, freezer, and oven become useless.

Stocking your kitchen with the right ingredients and equipment ensures that you’ll be able to prepare healthy meals even in times of crisis.

Fresh water is number one on the list. Keep a minimum of one gallon of water per person, per day, and an extra stash for pets. “If stored water was bottled at home, we recommend replacing it every 6 months, and if it was commercially bottled, it should be replaced each year,” says  the Red Cross.

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7 Rules for Perfect Wine Pairing

photo by Food & Wine

Food & Wine’s Ray Isle simplifies the task of pairing food and wine into seven mantras; Test Kitchen Supervisor Marcia Kiesel creates enlightened recipes for each.

Pairing Rule #1: Serve a dry rosé with hors d’oeuvres
Pairing Rule #2: Serve an unoaked white with anything you can squeeze a lemon or lime on
Pairing Rule #3: Try low-alcohol wines with spicy foods
Pairing Rule #4: Match rich red meats with tannic reds
Pairing Rule #5: With lighter meats, pair the wine with the sauce
Pairing Rule #6: Choose earthy wines with earthy foods
Pairing Rule #7: For desserts, go with a lighter wine

For more details, recipes, and suggested wines for each of these tips, see 7 Rules for Perfect Wine Pairing