Thank you all for stopping by! Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we get about healthyfeels.
reading a recipe - where do I start?
Here are some things to keep in mind before you start cooking:
prep (short for preparation) aka mise en place
There is a prep list table for each recipe post because that's what I use when cooking for family/friends and professionally. It helps to save time and get organized if you finish all the necessary preparations first before you start cooking. In other words, have your mise en place ready. This is one of the best things I learned from culinary school and cooking in professional kitchens, so I hope it helps you too! It might be a bit untraditional to set up recipes that way, so I also include the usual recipe card too.
I try really hard to make these recipes foolproof by testing them at least 3-5 times, but there are so many details that can influence your final results. For example, maybe you want to make easy fresh tomato sauce but ended up getting tomatoes that aren't that sweet. This is when you might want to use the tomatoes in a recipe that requires roasting or cooking them instead or adjusting the seasoning accordingly. This is why it's important to taste throughout the cooking process, and just so you know, I have made plenty of mistakes cooking too! It's so frustrating when that happens! Though, looking back, that's part of the fun and how I learn. The favorite Chef that I worked under used to say something along the lines of, "making mistakes can be the best part because now you can learn how to fix it."
Luckily, since I've made a lot of mistakes, I can offer tips on what to look out for in each recipe. That way, you can make adjustments if needed as you cook and hopefully end up with a delicious meal.
Keep in mind that ingredient substitutions might change how the recipe turns out. I try to be as clear as possible with the types of ingredients I use (such as kosher salt vs. table salt).
salt and seasoning
Unless specified otherwise, I use kosher salt since it's slightly coarser than table salt, so I find it easier to control the seasoning.
Salt really helps to bring out the flavors of food, and it's good to season as you go to build up layers of flavor unless you're reducing a liquid (sauce) on the stove. Taste, taste, and taste! I'm constantly tasting things as I cook, even when following a recipe because you never know if the sweet potatoes you got are as sweet as last time, or if the stock you're using is different.
Adding a bit of acid, like fresh lemon juice or a good vinegar, can really help to enhance the flavors. I'll often add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to some dishes right before serving. It helps to keep some fresh lemons and a pile of tasting spoons around when you're cooking.
If you're worried about oversalting your food, dish out a little bit of what you're cooking and slowly add salt to that. That way, you can taste it with salt added to see if that's what you really want without ruining the whole dish.
Ground white pepper is one of my favorite ingredients, especially in Taiwanese and Chinese cuisine inspired recipes. Use it sparingly if you don't like spice, but if you do, it'll add a whole new layer of beautifully subtle spice to your dishes. Cook's Illustrated has a great explanation of the difference between black pepper and white pepper.
If you have any specific questions, ask away! Leave a comment in the recipe post so I'll be able to respond asap.
how do you come up with recipes?
This may sound weird, but I sometimes wake up with a recipe idea and rush to jot it down. Then, I test it out. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it's a flop. I've been doing this since I was little, like the time I thought I invented steamed egg when I was 5. Other times, I get inspired by shopping at the farmers markets or grocery stores when an ingredient catches my eye.
Greg and I do go out to eat on a regular basis too, which will sometimes inspire me to make a different take on a dish like this tri-color cauliflower, lentils, and cherry tacos. I also moved around a lot as a kid and got to live in North Carolina, Philadelphia, Taiwan, California, and New York, so I like to play around with different flavors and cuisines from my past. Traveling also gives me inspiration for different flavor combinations!
There are tons of recipes out there and if I get inspired to create a different take on someone else's recipe, I'll always note where the inspiration came from. Oftentimes, baking and pastry dishes will be adapted from another recipe since baking is a science in itself and I wouldn't want to mess with tried and true ratios. In that case, I'll write "adapted from…".
Just like how I didn't invent steamed egg when I was 5, I also didn't invent the best way to make fresh noodles or pasta. I'm able to come up with some of these recipes without referencing anything because of my training from culinary school and my experiences as a professional cook, but I'm definitely not the inventor.
If you have any great recipe ideas that you think I would enjoy, send me a note and I would love to chat about it!
what training do you have?
I went to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY and cooked in various NYC kitchens while also working as a food stylist, recipe tester/developer for cookbook authors. I also cooked for special events (such as weddings and meditation retreats) and taught public and private cooking classes before becoming a private chef for families in NYC and Los Angeles, CA. I have been cooking for families with young children for 6 years and sometimes teach cooking and nutrition education classes to families as well.
My dad was also a chef and restaurant owner back in the day, so I grew up running around in restaurant kitchens (yup, I'm lucky to not have any major burn scars).
I have a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Irvine and am now pursuing a masters degree in Clinical Nutrition, working on becoming a Registered Dietitian (RD) to combine my love of food with science and nutrition. To read more, check out our about page.
how many times do you test your recipes?
I usually test each recipe at least 3 times, but may test some up to 10 times or more depending on the complexity of the dish or how well the final product turns out. Any recipe involving a dough will usually require more testing.
If a recipe on healthyfeels didn't work for you, there are so many factors that could be the culprit. Oven calibration, ingredient substitutions, or the temperature of your ingredients (room temperature or straight from the refrigerator) before cooking are a few common factors that can affect how a recipe comes out.
I try to be as clear as possible with the types of ingredients I use and any important factors you should look out for in specific recipes, but most importantly, you should taste as you cook (read more in the "reading a recipe - where do I start" section). Our cooking videos are at a more realistic pace and hopefully easier to follow. Feel free to ask me any specific questions in the comments section of the recipe post, and I'll get back to you asap!
what is your favorite oil to cook with?
I get asked this question a lot by friends. In general, I like to use a variety of oils when cooking since research on the health benefits of specific oils/fats may not be as conclusive as I'd like. Though, from what I've seen from peer-reviewed scientific journal papers, extra virgin olive oil does have good substantiation for positive health benefits when used at the right temperature. It has a lower smoke point of 325-410°F (163-210°C) so I use it for quick sautés or salad dressings.
When sautéing, you want to heat the pan first, then put the cooking oil in once the pan is hot and immediately add the first ingredient. This prevents the oil from burning as much. For higher temperature cooking where I know the oil will be heated for a longer time, I use grapeseed oil or avocado oil. Canola oil is good to use when you want a lower cost oil that has a neutral flavor.
what are some of your go-to pantry items?
Here are some of my most used pantry items:
- kosher salt
- finishing salt (Maldon or Jacobsen Sea Salt Flakes)
- ground white pepper
- black peppercorns
- extra virgin olive oil
- grapeseed oil
- canola oil
- sesame oil
- champagne vinegar
- sherry vinegar
- apple cider vinegar
- dijon mustard
- low sodium soy sauce
- Taiwanese rice cooking wine
- cooking sake
- ponzu sauce
- dry white wine
- dry red wine
- low sodium vegetable stock
- low sodium chicken stock
- tomato paste in a tube
- tomato puree
- Dave's marinara sauce
- King Author's all purpose flour
- baking powder
- baking soda
- 00 flour (for making fresh pasta)
- cane sugar
what are your favorite kitchen tools and cooking essentials?
I'm working on creating a resources page on my favorite kitchen tools, but for now, you can see some of my most-used and loved items in each recipe post.
do you have a recipe for...?
The best way to search for recipes is using the search bar on the bottom of the site navigation menu (when accessing on your phone) or at the top of the right sidebar if you're accessing on a computer. You can also browse recipes by categories here, where you'll be able to find recipes by season, course, or some special diets. Send me a note if you have a specific recipe in mind that you would love for me to try and I would love to chat about it!
why are some of your recipes more complicated?
I wanted to include a mix of easy recipes and more involved recipes for the days you're feeling inspired to tackle and learn something new. Cooking can be a form of meditation or a relaxation technique for some people, including myself. On the days when I need a break from daily life, making pasta or dumpling skins from scratch gives me time to reflect while enjoying the textures of flour and dough in my hands. I also love to share useful cooking techniques that I learned from culinary school and from working in professional kitchens.
can I use your recipe, photo, or videos on my website?
I'm flattered and appreciate you asking! I put a lot of hard work into each recipe and ask that you only include a brief excerpt (up to 120 characters), the recipe title, and one photograph or your own picture of the recipe, given that you provide full and clear credit by including a link back to the original recipe post and identify healthyfeels.com as the place you found the recipe.
Please do not use our cooking videos on your site, but feel free to link back to the original page so others can see the full post.
what does it mean when a recipe is "adapted from" a source?
I will always note my original inspiration source if I got an idea for a recipe from another author or chef. As mentioned above in the "how do you come up with recipes?" section, I often get inspired from shopping for fruits and vegetables (my favorite form of shopping!), from my past experiences, and from eating out.
I do have favorite cookbooks and food blogs that I browse, and will definitely mention the original authors if I read something that sparks an idea. Even if I do credit an original recipe, I will always change many details based on testing the recipe and cooking techniques I learned from working as a chef.
what's a Registered Dietitian (RD) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and how is it different than other Nutritionists or Nutritional Therapists?
registered dietitians / registered dietitian nutritionist
Registered Dietitians (RDs) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDNs) have been through extensive academic and hands-on training and use evidence-based practice. This means they review scientific literature and peer-reviewed scientific journal papers as a basis for their recommendations.
nutritionist / nutritional therapist
The "Nutritionist" title is not protected by law, and therefore anyone can call themselves a Nutritionist or Nutritional Therapist. The laws vary state-by-state, but you can read more on the Academy of Dietetics and Nutrition site.
RDs/RDNs vs. nutritionists
Nutritionists / Nutritional Therapists don't go to a university for their qualifications and might have taken some classes in a certification program or online if any, and they may not necessarily use evidence-based practice.
RDs have to be trained to at least a bachelor's degree level, though many have an MS or Ph.D. along with more specialized dietetics certifications.
According to the Academy of Dietetics and Nutrition, "RDNs are food and nutrition experts who have met the following criteria to earn the RDN credential:
- Completed a minimum of a bachelor's degree at a US regionally accredited university or college and course work accredited or approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
- Completed an ASCEND-accredited supervised practice program (a typical practice program will run 6 to 12 months in length).
- Pass a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).
- Completed continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration"
dietetic student college coursework
College coursework for dietetic students covers a variety of subjects, including food and nutrition sciences, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, anatomy, chemistry, foodservice systems, pharmacology, culinary arts, behavioral social sciences, communication, and business.
why don't you include nutritional information or calorie counts on your recipes?
We believe health isn't just about physical well-being. Overall health should also encompass emotional, social, mental, spiritual health, and more. Food not only provides energy and nutrients but also fulfills a comforting role and has a cultural and social value. In other words, our goal is to inspire more family meals and help to cultivate a positive relationship with food. Although most of my recipes are created with nutrition in mind, I don't think the amount of calories is as important as other factors when it comes to health.
why are the sound of cooking videos so long and not sped up?
Our cooking videos are meant to be instructional and show each recipe step real-time. The Sound of Cooking series shows each step at a slower and more realistic pace because that's how I would teach cooking classes in-person. Inspired by the film Eat Drink Man Woman, we wanted to highlight a sensory that is often overlooked in cooking. Just like visuals and smells, sounds can trigger strong connections to specific memories such as your parents or family cooking when you were growing up. The sounds and natural light are used to showcase the vibrant textures and colors of food and hopefully entice us all to make and eat more home-cooked meals together.
how long does it take you to shoot a cooking video?
On average, each recipe takes us about 5-8 hours to shoot. This includes the time it takes to prep the ingredients, style the shoot, plan props and recording each step. Since we're just a team of 2, oftentimes a mistake can set us back 30 minutes to an hour since I have to prepare the ingredients and show a cooking step again. On good days, we might be able to wrap up a shoot for an easier recipe in 4 hours. Since we use natural lighting and try to get clean recordings of cooking sounds, we'll sometimes have to redo a shot when a neighbor's dog barks or the clouds change in direction.
what kind of camera equipment do you use for videos?
We use this Rode mic that hooks directly to our Canon 7D to capture the sounds of cooking.
can you unsubscribe me from your newsletter?
If you signed up for email updates on our latest content and want to unsubscribe, click the "click here to unsubscribe now" link at the bottom of any of the emails received from healthyfeels. This will remove you from our mailing list.
can I use your recipe, photo, and/or videos on my website?
I'm flattered and appreciate you asking! I put a lot of hard work into each recipe and ask that you only include the following listed below, given that you provide full and clear credit by including a link back to the original recipe post and identify healthyfeels.com as the place you found the recipe.
You can include:
- a brief excerpt (up to 120 characters)
- the recipe title
- one photograph or your own picture of the recipe
- with a direct link back to the original recipe post and clear credit to healthyfeels.com
Please do not use our cooking videos on your site, but feel free to link back to the original page so others can see the full post.
I modified one of your recipes. do I still have to list healthyfeels.com as the source?
Yes, please. You can mention something like "recipe adapted from healthyfeels.com". It would also be great if you could include a link back to the original recipe post. I would really appreciate it!
general copyright notice:
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any material on healthyfeels.com without express and written permission from this site's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. One photograph and a 120 character excerpt may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to healthyfeels with appropriate and specific links back to the original content.
who takes the photos seen on healthyfeels?
Both Greg and I take the photos for each recipe.
what kind of camera equipment do you use for photos? what lenses?
how long does it take to make one of your animations?
A 2- to 3-minute animation takes us about 3 to 4 weeks to make from start to finish. This includes coming up with a story concept, script writing, creating storyboards, design, editing, and animation. Greg does most of the design and animation, but many of our animations couldn't have been completed without the help of other artists.
why do you make animations for healthyfeels? isn't this a food and recipe site?
We love fruits and vegetables and wanted to share this through recipes and animations that celebrate different fruits and vegetables in a fun way. Our animated stories are meant to be viewed as a family with a parent/guardian present because we think educational media should still be paired with in-person interactions.1 2 3 Our recipe posts also include Cooking with Kids steps that provide ideas on how kids can get involved with cooking together as a family.
Not to mention, according to the Dietary Guidelines 2015-2020, approximately 75% of the U.S. population’s fruit and vegetable (FV) intake is below the nationally recommended amounts and the average preschool-aged children’s intake of FV in the U.S. does not meet the recommended minimum of 5 daily servings. Additionally, television food advertising has been shown to affect eating behaviors of both adults and children. The average person will have seen approximately 2 million advertisements on television by age 65, with a significant proportion of advertising promoting foods.4 Energy-dense foods of poor nutritional quality such as sugar sweetened beverages, sweetened cereals, fast food, and candy account for over 50% of all advertising targeting children.5 Previous research has shown that exposure to commercials advertising unhealthy food products has influenced children’s preferences for those food items,6 which doesn't seem fair to all the delicious fresh produce out there.
Some research has also shown positive results from counter marketing strategies where commercials promoting vegetables favorably influenced vegetable preferences of preschool children.7 8 Young children (up until age of 7) are more attentive to visual and audio cues such as animation, auditory changes, and high-energy music, which is often used in advertising targeting children.9 So we thought the use of a combination of visual and audio cues in the form of animations may be a good way to introduce and celebrate different fruits and vegetables.
what's your favorite food?
I'm a bit obsessed with hot pot (火鍋 - "fire pot" as a direct translation) because I love hot soups, noodles, and vegetables and hot pot is a great way to incorporate all of those things into one meal. Hot pot is also usually enjoyed with family and friends gathered around the dinner table where everyone takes their time to cook, eat, and talk, which is one of the main things that first sparked my love of food and cooking.
Greg's favorite food is marinara sauce. When asked why he says, "it's good on spaghetti or any type of pasta really, and great with pizza. I like the balance of sweet and savory in a good marinara sauce and it's just so comforting to eat."
why is this site called healthyfeels?
Our idea was to combine the word healthy with feels, as in an indescribable wave of emotions like how the month of December gives me all the Christmas feels. "Healthy" can mean a lot of different things to each individual; healthy feels different for everyone.
The word "healthy" has been used to describe restrictive diets and lifestyle changes, but we hope to restore a more well-rounded meaning behind the word because health should include physical, emotional, social, and spiritual aspects of life as well. Our goal is to inspire family meals through storytelling, recipes and the celebration of food, and hopefully help to cultivate a positive relationship with food in that process.
I have a question about one of your recipes.
Awesome! I'd love to hear from you. The best way to reach me regarding a specific recipe is to leave a comment on the recipe post. I'll get back to you asap!
for media inquiries:
We are located in Santa Monica, CA. Please feel free to email us. We would love to connect!
footnotes and references
- Lauricella, A. R., Barr, R., & Calvert, S. L. (2014). Parent–child interactions during traditional and computer storybook reading for children’s comprehension: Implications for electronic storybook design. International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction, 2(1), 17-25.
- Lauricella, A. R., Barr, R. F., & Calvert, S. L. (2009). Emerging computer skills. Journal of Children and Media, 3(3), 217-233. doi:10.1080/17482790902999892
- Levine, S. C., Ratliff, K., Cannon, J., & Huttenlocher, J. (2012). Early puzzle play: A predictor of preschoolers’ spatial transformation skill. Developmental Psychology, 48(2), 530–542. doi:10.1037/a0025913
- Herr, N. (2004) The sourcebook for teaching science. Retrieved from http://www.csun.edu/science/health/docs/tv&health.html
- Wiecha, J. L., Peterson, K. E., Ludwig, D. S., Kim, J., Sobol, A., & Gortmaker, S. L. (2006). When children eat what they watch: Impact of television viewing on dietary intake in youth. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 160(4), 436-442. doi:160/4/436
- Borzekowski, D. L., & Robinson, T. N. (2001). The 30-second effect: An experiment revealing the impact of television commercials on food preferences of preschoolers. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 101(1), 42-46. doi:S0002-8223(01)00012-8
- Gonçalves, S., Ferreira, R., Conceição, E. M., Silva, C., Machado, P. P. P., Boyland, E., & Vaz, A. (2018). The impact of exposure to cartoons promoting healthy eating on children's food preferences and choices. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 50(5), 451-457. doi:10.1016/j.jneb.2017.12.015
- Nicklas, T. A., Goh, E. T., Goodell, L. S., Acuff, D. S., Reiher, R., Buday, R., & Ottenbacher, A. (2011). Impact of commercials on food preferences of low-income, minority preschoolers. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 43(1), 35-41. doi:10.1016/j.jneb.2009.11.007
- Calvert, S. L., & Gersh, T. L. (1987). The selective use of sound effects and visual inserts for children's television story comprehension. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 8(4), 363-375. doi: 10.1016/0193-3973(87)90027-X.