Meet Wanda from My Sweet Zepol
What’s the best cure for when you’ve moved to a new place and you’re feeling a little homesick? For some it’s phone calls or Skype sessions with a loved one and for others it might be comforting food. For Wanda Lopez from My Sweet Zepol, it was the latter. After she was diagnosed with cancer, Wanda, her husband and their 2-year-old daughter moved from Puerto Rico to Florida. Feeling homesick, Wanda turned to baking to keep herself occupied – cupcakes, cakes, cookies, biscottis, scones — you name it! The idea to start a food blog was actually her husband’s. He thought it would be a great way to share her recipes and meet new people with common interests.
Wanda was pleasantly surprised to learn that the food blogger community in Florida was pretty expansive and full of beautiful people from all around the world. They may be online friends, but they often get together to collaborate and build each other up. We asked Wanda a few questions to get to know her better.
Read on to find out what her favorite kitchen gadget is and who her favorite food bloggers are!
What is your favorite food to eat?
Wanda: “My favorite comfort food is Boeuf Bourguignon, I get so giddy every time I make it. It’s like dancing to your favorite song! It reminds me of a beef stew my mom made for me every time I got sick and as a meal every year for my birthday. The smell takes me back into her kitchen — oh those memories.”
What is your favorite food to cook?
Wanda: “My favorite food to make is dessert. Especially if chocolate is involved, like these Gooey Salted Caramel Brownies. I always make dessert first. There is just something special about sharing a sweet treat and cup of coffee with a friend. The stories told during that time are always precious.”
What is your favorite cooking hack?
Wanda: “Use fresh seasonal ingredients as often as possible and meal plan. Weekly meal planning makes a huge difference; it’s a time saver.”
What is your favorite kitchen gadget?
Wanda: “Zesters. If I am not zesting citrus fruits for fresh salads, baked goods or to top a meal, I am grating nutmeg for hot cocoa or for baked goods.”
When it comes to ingredients, what will you always splurge on?
Wanda: “Good quality chocolate, good quality vanilla extract and fresh ingredients. It makes a huge difference.”
Have you ever had a food fail?
Wanda: “My mom loves meringues and I am always looking for different flavors and colors to make meringues to send to her. I have to say that I think meringues are a treat from another world. If we have a rainy day or even if it’s humid they just don’t bake well. I learned that the hard way. One time I baked as many unsuccessful meringue batches as I could until I called my mom and she highlighted my mystery problem. The humidity will keep the meringues wet and they won’t bake dry and crispy as they should. I was heartbroken to see the many meringue cookies I had to toss.”
What’s your most favorite recipe that you’ve posted on your blog?
Wanda: “This is a hard question to answer. I have a big love for every recipe; they all have a reason to be, a story, a memory. I have a few and for different reasons, too. One of my most favorite recipes is Grilled Peach Shortcake drizzled with Raspberry Sauce and topped with chopped Pistachios. This recipe was created to benefit Feeding America and sponsored by Produce for Kids and Publix. As a mom I can’t stand the thought of kids and families going to bed hungry; with such a rich community, there is no reason why that has to happen.
Another favorite is Rich Chocolate Chip Cookies. I know there are hundreds of chocolate chip cookie recipes on the web, but this one is special because it’s my family’s favorite. The smiles these cookies bring to my daughter’s and my husband’s face is priceless.”