Green Juice

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Golden sunset on the Moulin de la Galette.

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Quince Almond Cake

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Ginger and Dill Coleslaw

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Cuillier Coffee Shop at 19 rue Yvonne Le Tac in Paris' 18th arrondissement.

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Juices and Smoothies: My Best Tips

Green Juice

I have been the proud owner of both a juicer and a blender for a while now. I’ve had a bit of a learning curve with both and I imagine I’m not alone, so let me pass along some of my best tips for juicing and smoothie-making.

If you want to report back on your own experience and share tips of your own, I would love for you to do so in the comments! I’ll be interested to compare notes with you, and other readers will benefit as well.

When is a good time to drink juices and smoothies?

My initial resistance in adopting juices and smoothies was this: I couldn’t quite see how they would fit into my daily eating habits. I wasn’t really looking to consume more food than I already was, and wasn’t too keen on trading any of my favorite eats (vegan lunch bowl, anyone?) for a tall glass of anything.

But! Those tall glasses quickly won me over and they are now most welcome, on three occasions in particular:

  • Smoothies as a standalone breakfast, which I can sip on while getting ready for work, or sitting on the couch watching my kids punch each other — mostly in good fun — with my boxing gloves. (I took up boxing, people! It’s so fun! Have you tried it?) Because I add filling elements (see below), a 7am smoothie holds me over until lunchtime, even through pretty active mornings.
  • Cold-pressed juices as a complement to my lunches. I love my weekday lunch bowls and they are typically vegetable-heavy, but some days it’s faster to make myself a quick sandwich, and round it out with a green juice.
  • A smoothie or a juice is an amazing afternoon pick-me-up. It’s energizing and refreshing, and serves the double purpose of feeding and hydrating me.

I don’t, however, make it an obligatory or daily thing. Some weeks I crave them every single morning, other times I feel like eating other things instead. Or my schedule gets busier and I can’t get my act together to prepare them. It’s all good.

Pink Smoothie

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Well Fed Weeknights: A Giveaway!

Well Fed Weeknights

{Scroll down to enter to win Well Fed Weeknights.}

There is no one-size-fits-all in nutrition. It isn’t a popular thing to say because we all prefer quick fixes and overnight transformations. But the truth is, health is highly individual, and self-experimentation and self-discovery are the only pursuits that will get you anywhere.

I myself have an inclination toward vegetarianism; I turn to plant-based foods by default. However, when I have leaned too far in that direction, I have noticed I don’t do well relying so heavily on grains and legumes. And when I dabbled at a paleo style of eating* I realized that it may, in fact, be closer to what my system needs to thrive. (This explains all the paleo-friendly recipes in my archives.)

I am, however, an omnivore by taste and by trade, and I strive to find a happy middle ground between what my brain tells me I want to eat, what my body tells me I need to eat, and what the world tells me is available to eat. Day by day, meal by meal, I follow my appetite and try to stay in tune with how I feel.

But the common theme woven throughout is my insistence on real food, and no one is more on board with that than Melissa Joulwan, whose paleo blog is based on that very premise.

Burgers Well Fed Weeknights

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Chocolate Chip Brioches

Chocolate Chip Brioches

It has been entirely too long since we last discussed French brioches, and I really don’t know why because they are a passion of mine.

Brioche is a yeast bread enriched with eggs and butter, the very one that Marie-Antoinette didn’t actually encourage her starving people to eat*.

It is one of those treats that most (normal) French people leave in the hands of their boulanger. But if you’re the kind of person who, like me, likes to see magic at play in the kitchen, or you have no French baker handy, it is completely within your reach to produce perfect little loaves to serve and devour for breakfast, brunch, or an afternoon snack.

Chocolate Chip Brioches

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Perfect Roasted Potatoes

Perfect Roasted Potatoes

I strive to master simple dishes. I don’t aspire to be a person of whom one says, “What an ambitious cook!” or “She should really open her own restaurant!”

No. I want to be someone who can be trusted to prepare a good, well-rounded, home-cooked meal. A meal that has personality, yes, but one that doesn’t try too hard, and relies chiefly on good taste and good technique.

This is why I had long been frustrated by my limited potato roasting skills. Oh, I’d roasted my share of potatoes, but I had never been able to make perfect roasted potatoes, golden and generously crusty on the outside, moist and tender on the inside.

By the time the chunks had developed enough of a crust, the flesh had begun to dry up inside, and I was left with something a bit cardboard-y. Not inedible — it takes considerable effort to render a potato inedible in my book — but not my platonic image of the roasted potato, either.

And then some years ago, my friend Pascale* shared the recipe she uses for pommes de terre rôties, which she learned from her British mother-in-law. I have blind kitchen faith in Pascale — she has never steered me wrong — and I was very excited about her technique, a classic in British cooking that was unknown to me at the time.

Here, let me show you in this video:

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13 Years of C&Z: 13 Lessons for Blogging and Life


Hey, you know what I did thirteen years ago, like, to the day? I went ahead and created a blog! About food! And I called it, wait for it, Chocolate & Zucchini. Because it had a nice ring to it, and I liked chocolate, and I liked zucchini (and fortunately still do).

It has been an utterly amazing thirteen-year ride, and most of my life’s blessings have stemmed directly or indirectly from that single decision.

Where and who would I be if I hadn’t created C&Z? It’s anyone’s guess and it makes me a little dizzy just thinking about it, but I can’t imagine how I could possibly have found a more fulfilling, happier life path. (It’s a pretty good feeling.)

I want to thank you, whether you’ve been reading for thirteen seconds, thirteen weeks, or thirteen years. None of this would make sense, or even be possible, if it wasn’t for your interest and your readership.

I will be organizing a Paris meet-up soon, to celebrate with those of you who happen to be in our fair city. (It will be free; the idea is just to get together for a drink and a chat.) If you’re interested, please fill out this form and we will notify you when we’ve arranged the details of date and venue.

I have done a lot of learning, thinking, and growing over the past thirteen years, and I want to pass on these thirteen lessons for blogging and life. I hope some of these resonate with you. I’ll look forward to hearing your thoughts if they do!

Basket of produce at the market

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