“One of the smartest things you can do on ‘Chopped’ is to take one of those ingredients and make a pickle out of it, because almost every dish benefits from that. I’m feeling like those intuitions are becoming more natural.” – Ted Allen

Hey there – hope all is well!

I’ve definitely been enjoying my summer and I hope you have too!  Wedding plans are coming along well.  The ceremony is going to be at St. Thomas More Church where Siena Catholic Academy is located and where I used to go to school.  The reception will be at Oak Hill Country Club… A country club!  Not really me, I know, right?  Well, when we found a sponsor and able to see the inside of the place, I fell in love.  Oak Hill is gorgeous!  And it’s where the PGA is this year.  Also, the priest that baptized me and was with me throughout all my Catholic sacraments is presiding at my wedding!  It’s nice to have a priest that you actually know – the ceremony will feel more personal that way.

I got another job since my dietary consulting job is just part-time and I am not going back to school next semester.  I have to pay loans =(  Oh well, it’s not too bad.  I’m just so glad they’re from MCC and not from a four year school – would be a lot more.  And I’m very glad that Alex has no school loans… Oh the joys of being an A+ student… Which I am far from, haha!

I am extremely excited for my new job – assistant coaching for McQuaid Jesuit crew!!  I’ve missed crew so much.  I don’t care if I’m not rowing, at least I am involved with the team and back in that type of environment – I can’t wait to teach those boys.  It’s going to be so much fun!

McQuaid Alumni boat

McQuaid Alumni boat on the Genesee River

My arm workouts have definitely been paying off and I can really see a difference.  Now I just want to get my legs more toned and I have the perfect way of doing that – ergingMy wonderful fiance purchased an early birthday gift for me – Concept2 Model D!


What is an erg, you say?  An erg, or ergo-meter is an indoor rowing machine.  Yup!  I can row indoors.  Granted, it’s not like Pittsford crew where they basically have an indoor rowing pool, but it’s something!  I haven’t been on an erg in so long – it’s going to hurt, haha, but I’m still excited =)

My garden has been growing like crazy!  I’ve already had a couple zucchini, super-chili peppers, cucumbers and this weekend the eggplant and cherry tomatoes will probably be ready to harvest!  I’m so excited for my eggplant, it’s a Japanese type of eggplant that is skinny and has a thin skin – sounds tasty.

Growing Japanese eggplant

Growing Japanese eggplant

It's blurry because I was too excited to stay still - my first picks of my garden - cucumber and zucchini!

It’s blurry because I was too excited to stay still – my first picks of my garden – cucumber and zucchini!



Remember me talking about Back to the Roots and the mushroom kit and AquaFarm?  Well, I can’t remember either but they came and they’re awesome!  This mushroom kit grows so many freaking mushrooms it’s amazing.  It’s fast, easy and clean!  You also get quite a bit of mushrooms out of just that one box.  My AquaFarm is pretty cool too – it’s a self-cleaning fish tank.  The fish feed the plants with it’s poo and the plants clean the water. I have a few seeds sprouting and my beta, named Reuben, loves how big it is.  And it comes with 3 packets of free seeds from Seeds of Change.  I just can’t wait to have kids so I can show all this fun stuff to them!

Just a few days after opening!

Just a few days after opening!

In as little as 10 days, you could be harvesting you’re own Oyster mushrooms!  They grow FAST!

This is just ONE DAY after the previous picture. I told you, they grow really fast!!!

This is just ONE DAY after the previous picture. I told you, they grow really fast!!!

Saute them with some onions, chicken and wine and you have a delicious main course!

Anyway, that’s enough about me – I’ve got a delicious cucumber pickling recipe to share!

Anyone watch Portlandia?  Check out this video…

My cucumber plant has been producing so many and I never know what to do with them.  I asked Alex if he likes sweet pickles and I decided to make some of my own.  My Gramma used to make deliciously sweet pickles when I was little.  This is not the same recipe but it’s just as tasty.  All I did was look at a few recipes online and added some spices that I’ve had with other things that were pickled in restaurants (I recently had pickled peaches and they were DE-LICIOUS).  It’s really very simple – slice the cucumbers and pour everything else over it in a big jar.  Doesn’t get easier than that!

A messy jar of pickling things

A messy jar of pickling things

Refrigerated Quick-Pickle Cucumbers


1 – 32oz. mason jar

3 small-medium cucumbers, sliced thin

1 medium-large shallot

3 small garlic cloves, peeled & whole

10 small allspice berries, whole

6 cloves, whole

1/2 cinnamon stick

1/2 tsp. mustard seeds, whole

6 Tbsp. sugar

3 Tbsp. Kosher salt

4 1/2 shot glasses (~6-7oz.) of distilled vinegar

cold water


  1. Wash cucumber.  Take a fork and scrape long marks down the cucumber – all around it.  Slice thin, then toss in the mason jar.
  2. Slice shallot and add to jar along with the garlic cloves.
  3. Add spices, sugar and salt.
  4. Add the vinegar then add cold water until everything is submerged.
  5. Give it a good SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE until the sugar and salt dissolves.
  6. Store in fridge for 24 hours before eating.
  7. Check on it every once in a while.  If the cucumbers have absorbed some of the liquid you may need to add more vinegar (at least I had to).
Top left corner:Just spices. Center:Added sugar&salt. Bottom left:Finished product.

Top left corner:Just spices. Center:Added sugar&salt. Bottom left:Finished product.

I actually just made this yesterday so I haven’t tasted it yet.  But, I did try the brine and it tasted like sweet-salty-tangy-vinegar… YUM!  Also, I didn’t have a cinnamon stick on hand but if I did I would have added it.  Maybe I’ll get some today and add it to the jar.

Interesting fact – The phrase “in a pickle” was first introduced by Shakespeare in his play, The Tempest. The quotes read, “How cam’st thou in this pickle?” and “I have been in such a pickle.”

Pickles are seriously one of my favorite snacks ever.  My friend Kelly and I used to talk about how much we love pickles in high school, hahaha, weird, I know but that’s just how Mercy girls are.

Let me know what you think of these – and I’ll do the same!

What’s your favorite food to pickle?

What type of pickle do you prefer – dill or sweet?



About cookbravissima

Hello there! Thank you for visiting my page! =) ****BLOG UNDER CONSTRUCTION-PLEASE COME BACK SOON**** My name is Maria. I am a babysitter, Our Lady of Mercy graduate, 25 years old and a dietary consultant for 33 Definitions Health and Wellness Education. I started this blog with the intention to share my healthy food creations with the everyday person, like myself! I do not consider myself a Chef. I believe a Chef is someone who went to school for culinary and/or works in a restaurant kitchen. Me, I am not a Chef, just an average person who loves to cook healthy! I am currently majoring in Culinary Arts but I still do not consider myself a chef. In 2008, I was going through a really tough time, physically and emotionally. My depression and anxiety had such a strong grip on my mental/physical health it was taking control. I wasn’t treating myself right in every category; example, not eating all day then having one large meal at night, and it wasn’t a healthy meal. I also wasn’t working out anymore; I used to be such an avid rower, co-captain of my high school team. But I was depressed, I couldn’t drink, eat or sleep. I was dehydrated and eventually lead to my body basically breaking down on me. I lost 40 pounds in just a couple months; my body was forming a substitute carbohydrate which was making me dry heave, all due to not drinking and eating. I thought to myself, how the hell does one throw up from not eating? No idea, but that’s what my doctor told me. I should have been in the hospital hooked up to an IV. Anyway, after I was able to walk without feeling like passing out I scheduled to see a psychiatrist and vowed to treat my body better. I grew up in a house where my mother had a healthy homemade meal on the table every weekday, so I just followed that while doing my research on what exactly is “healthy” food because everyone has their own definition (which is perfectly fine). Being healthy is not a diet, it is a lifestyle! It includes both physical and mental self, which is why I say a diet makes no sense! Everyone has their own lifestyle and many people that eat healthy vow by eating a certain way while others may not agree. Well, I say they’re all wrong! It should be whatever one believes is healthy for them, inside and out but do your research first! If whatever you are doing keeps you healthy and happy, then you are doing something right! #EatFreshCookBravissima
This entry was posted in 30 minutes or less, DIY, Fitfluential FOOD, Gardening, No-cook, Rowing, Seasonal, Snacks, Summer, Sustainable, Wedding and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s