Tips & Tricks

Snapchat and Facebook Live for Food Bloggers: 5 Reasons to Get Started

Facebook Live and Snapchat

I’ve been having so much fun with Snapchat and Facebook Live that I wanted to report back on my experience. If you’re a food blogger too, this should help you decide whether these new platforms are for you; and if you’re a reader of food blogs, you’ll learn what’s in it for you!

Wait, what’s Snapchat?

Snapchat is a smartphone application* that was originally used by teens to exchange photos, short videos, and text messages that disappeared as soon as the recipient had viewed them.

The app has gradually gained features, and as it did, attracted a wider following with more grownups. The most significant change is the possibility of adding your photos and videos to your public “story”, which lives for just 24 hours before disappearing. Any snapchatters who adds you (I’m clotildenet!) can then view your daily story, get a feel for what you’ve been up to, and send a quick comment if they want to.

The general aesthetic of Snapchat is very unpolished, and the tone is light and fun. On your images and videos you can add text captions, emoticons, and very basic drawings made with the fat tip of your finger on your tiny screen. The idea is not to worry about lighting and the perfect frame, nor is it to labor for hours over prettification and curation. The idea is to just shoot and share, shoot and share, knowing it will live for just 24 hours** so if you’re not 100% happy with what you put out, well, tomorrow’s another day.

The result is a marvelously refreshing social media platform that is undemanding and unthreatening, through which to share daily nothings and just be yourself. (I enjoyed this related article.)

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Seasonal Produce Calendar

Seasonal Produce Calendar

Shopping seasonally is the very first step to cook flavorful, healthy meals for your family and your friends, and save money doing so. But since pretty much everything is available year-round these days (hello carbon footprint!), it can be hard to know what’s really in season and what you should be looking for when you shop.

I’ve put together this handy guide to seasonal produce to tell you what fruits and vegetables are in season when, but also how long they will stay fresh, so you can minimize waste. With this information in mind you can compose a smart selection of produce on your weekly market run, with a few fragile items to eat within a couple of days, with sturdier ones that will last until the end of the week or longer.

To download your FREE seasonal produce calendar, fill in the form below!

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10 Kitchen Resolutions for a Happy, Delicious 2016

10 Kitchen Resolutions

Happy new year! I’ve always loved the blank-slate feel of early January: while it’s a great time to reflect on everything you’re already doing right (you rock!), it’s also an invitation to form new and better habits to shape the year ahead and improve our lives.

So I offer you 10 kitchen resolutions, inspiring but approachable, to make you a better cook and eater this year. Please add yours in the comments below, or share on social media with the hashtag #cnzresolutions, and I will retweet and repost my favorites.

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Food Blogger Pro: Why I Joined and You Should Too

C&Z Loves Food Blogger Pro

If you’re a Chocolate & Zucchini reader, there’s actually a high chance that you have a blog of your own, or are thinking about starting one.

And whether you’re just in this for the fun of it, or have ambitions to turn your talents into an occupation that pays the rent, I’m sure your number one goal is to grow your food blog: blogging is such an engrossing, time-consuming activity that it’s natural to want the greatest number of eyes on the fabulous content you strive to create.

This means working really hard to hone your craft and put out content you’re excited to share (if you lie sleepless because you can’t wait to hit publish in the morning, you’re doing it right) but it also means staying in the game in terms of social media and, for those with professional goals, monetization.

But when it’s just you and your computer, these considerations can easily throw you into overwhelm mode. Analysis paralysis, anyone?

But when it’s just you and your computer, these considerations can easily throw you into overwhelm mode. There are dozens of avenues you could explore and research and experiment with, but you only have so much time in your day (or your nights and weekends, if you have, you know, a regular job) and these strategies take time to put in place and evaluate, so it can all feel very spin-your-wheels frustrating and discouraging. Analysis paralysis, anyone?

I know. I’ve been there. Multiple times. Twelve years of food blogging certainly don’t mean I have everything figured out, so I try my best to devote time and resources to the site’s growth. And I’ve recently found something that has made the process considerably easier, more efficient, and more fun.

Food Blogger Pro in Review

Food Photography Course on Food Blogger Pro

It’s a membership site called Food Blogger Pro that is run by Lindsay and Bjork Ostrom, the couple behind the crazy successful blog Pinch of Yum. They have always been generous with their advice and (quite amazingly) transparent about their process, going so far as to publish monthly income reports for others to learn and draw inspiration from.

But Food Blogger Pro takes this coaching to another level, providing members with a whole slew of video courses that take you through everything from getting your blog set up and building traffic, to improving your food photography and editing your photos, to playing the social media game, generating income, and publishing your own ebooks.

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A Better Way to Slice Zucchini

How to Slice Zucchini

Have you ever noticed how cutting the same vegetable in different ways has a significant effect on the flavor and overall eating experience?

I’ve written about grated carrots in this regard, and have recently adopted a new way of slicing zucchini that I wanted to share with you.

It all started with a plate of fish I had at Le Bal Café, one of my favorite lunch spots in Paris. This delicious dish came with thickish slices of zucchini, cut at a steep angle and roasted. I was instantly taken with this shape, which I thought was quite attractive, and very successful in terms of texture.

I played around with the idea in my own kitchen, and ended up with a slightly different technique, in which you work your way down the zucchini from side to side, as shown on this animated image:

How to Slice Zucchini

The slices are just as steeply angled, but have one skinless edge to them. Not only does it look lovely in the plate, but it makes for a great textural balance in every bite, from the firm, skin-side rim to the soft flesh in the middle.

It works particularly well if you’re going to roast the zucchini — my cooking method of choice these days, with a healthy glug of olive oil and a good coating of garam masala –, and it is quite fun to do, too, especially if your knife is well-sharpened.

So if you’re stuck in a rut with your same old zucchini half-moons, I hope you give it a try!

Join the conversation!

Do you share my interest in knife technique, and how different cutting styles produce different results? Do you have a favorite vegetable-slicing trick to share?

How to Slice Zucchini

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