Category Archives: Miscellaneous

How To Cook Nachos At Home

How To Cook Nachos At Home

Happy seis de Mayo!

Nachos are my favorite bad food. You can get them anywhere(and I have), especially anywhere worth going. After a few drinks there’s nothing else I’d rather have–not even Reese’s cup brownies.

Making them at home, though, has never been as simple as it out to be. You can’t put them in the microwave or the chips get soggy. I’ve literally set a pan on fire in the oven not understanding how a burner works. Bad bad bad.

Skillet Nachos

These are the most satisfying nachos I’ve made at home. They’re warm and melty on top while the chips stay hot and crisp–not soggy. It’s easy to make and you can eat it from the pan so you don’t have to dirty dishes. What could be better?

Skillet Nachos

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

  • 1-2 Tablespoons oil
  • 4 handfuls of tortilla chips
  • 1/2 cup refried beans
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese*
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup guacamole

*Make sure to use a cheese that melts well since you don’t want this on the burner for too long. Avoid processed shredded cheeses with lots of added ingredients and stabilizers.

Method:

  1. Rub a pan with a cover with oil to make sure the tortillas won’t stick or burn.
  2. Add the chips into the pan. Add the beans and cheese around on top evenly.
  3. Turn the burner onto a medium heat and cover immediately with a pan cover.
  4. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the cheese has melted and remove from the burner immediately.
  5. Add the salsa, sour cream, and guacamole and enjoy.

20 Times I Loved As A 22-Year Old

Tomorrow’s my birthday. If I have the energy I might make a carrot cake or a flourless chocolate cake. More likely I’ll yelp a bakery where they sell gluten-free cupcakes and call it a day.

Here are 20 times I’ll miss from being 22, but I know there are 40 more waiting for me at 23.

1. Moving to New York

2. Every time I’ve found a bar with drinks under $8 in New York

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3. When I visited The Today Show for the first time

4. When I became sort-of-kind-of Pinterest-famous

5. The day Buzzfeed quizzes started

6. The day I graduated college

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7. Every moment that involved Reese’s

8. Whenever I met new friends

9. Whenever I re-met old ones

10. Whenever this song played

11. When I wrote a viral Buzzfeed post

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12. When I found this gif

13. When I found Nutella for $3.29

14. When I discovered Freaky Eaters on Netflix(Watch all of the episodes. Right now)

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15. The day I discovered Elderflower liqueur

16. The two weeks spent on my couch watching athletes compete in Sochi

17. When I found out how easy making caramel sauce is and vowed to do it more often(I haven’t done it since)

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18. When General Mills invited me to the NYC Wine & Food Festival

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19. And also any time I stuffed my face with Chex mix

And of course

20. That one time Starbucks spelled my name right

Let there be cake.

Cowboy Caviar

Cowboy Caviar

My favorite recipes all have two things in common: They’re easy and they’re delicious. This one’s both.

This dip’s about as easy as it comes. There’s no cooking or processing. Just mix all the ingredients and voila! (Or whatever the Mexican equivalent of voila is.)

Make sure to soak the onions before adding them to the dip. Soaking them takes away the sharp bite that raw onions have so they don’t overpower the rest of the ingredients. You can add some diced avocado in as well for an added touch.

Cowboy Caviar

Cowboy Caviar

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Ingredients(Serves about 6 people):

  • 1/2 large red or white onion
  • 1 cup black beans
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 3/4 cup corn kernels
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Method:

  1. Dice the onion with a sharp knife.
  2. Soak the diced onion in cold water for 5 minutes to remove the raw onion bite.
  3. While the onion’s soaking, mix the rest of the ingredients together in a large bowl.
  4. Strain the water from the onion and add it to the mixture.
  5. Mix well. Serve at room temperature.

Creamy Avocado Onion Dip

Creamy Avocado Onion Dip

Stonyfield partnered with Late July this month to challenge their Clean Plate Club members to make a perfect dip recipe using Stonyfield Greek.

When it comes to dips, sour cream and onion is a clear winner for me. It’s just the right amount of sweetness and tag. But it’s also probably as unhealthy as you can go. This is a dip that’ll treat you just as nice and that you can really fill up on.

Using Stonyfield Greek in this dip gives you the creaminess and tang of sour cream but with protein instead of fat. The avocado and olive oil add richness but are both fats you can feel good about dipping into.

My favorites with the dip were the Mild Green Mojo and Red Hot Mojo tortilla chips. The Mild Green Mojo have a slight tang from sour cream powder that pairs well with the creamy Greek in the dip. The Red Hot Mojo’s the spiciest of their flavors(which automatically made it a favorite of mine) and adds a kick to the dip’s sweetness.

Creamy Avocado Onion Dip

Creamy Avocado Onion Dip

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 1 minute

Ingredients(Serves about 4 people):

  • 1 medium-sized avocado
  • 2 Tablespoons plain 0% Stonyfield Greek
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons minced onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Method:

  1. Pit and seed the avocado and put the meet in a small mixing bowl.
  2. Mash the avocado with a fork until it’s smooth and uniform in color.
  3. Add in the Stonyfield Greek, salt, and olive oil and mix.
  4. In a small pan, heat some cooking oil and sauté the minced onions quickly until they turn brown(this shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds). Keep the pan moving so that they don’t burn.
  5. Add the onions and onion powder to the dip and mix until smooth.
  6. Transfer the dip to a serving bowl and serve with chips and crudités.

Storytellit For Social Media

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I usually avoid blogging reviews and non-food topics these days but this one’s a little different. The company I work for, Likeable Local, recently launched a new app called storytellit and I’d love to share it with you and get your feedback.

Storytellit is a free social media tool you can use on your desktop or on your phone. It was designed to make social media fun and easy for people who might have a hard time understanding more complex apps like Hootsuite or Buffer.

We give you content or prompts to post with the click of a button while making sure it stays personal and relevant. Using the app is extremely simple; you can break it down into 4 steps:

  1. Sign up and link your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and LinkedIn accounts.
  2. Pick a post or prompt and fill in the blank.
  3. Choose what accounts to send it to.
  4. Schedule it to post later or right away.

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Besides using a premade post, you can also write your own and upload a photo using the app. For every action you do, you get points and unlock badges that are meant to guide people less familiar with social media towards good practices in a fun and easy way.

Signing up is free. All you have to do is submit your email address and you’ll get a password sent to you. There are currently 11 small business professions with content you can opt in on but there’s plenty of general content for anyone to use, too.

Now for the nitty-gritty disclosure: We’re having an in-office competition to see who can get the most people to sign up and use the app. All of the sign-up links I shared are tracking links that give me points in the competition. But at the end of the day I’m sharing it because I think it’s a great app that will only get better with more people using it. I’d love for you to sign up, try it out, and if you have any suggestions send us feedback in the comment box on how we can make it better.

#NYCWFF 2013

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Unpictured: Anne Burrell, Sunny Anderson, a stocked swag bag, a wine glass necklace, some Instagrams, a handshake with Justin Warner, a ton of sampling and 3 trips to Tito’s Vodka’s booth.

Thanks so much to Shelly and Erin and the Big G cereals team at General Mills for the invite and showing me around the festival! It was a great reminder of why I love food blogging and I can’t wait to get cooking with some unique ingredients.

A Q & A With the No Meat Athlete

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Last week I got the chance to meet up with Matt, the No Meat Athlete, in New York after getting an early copy of his new book(!!). The last time I met up with Matt was when he was running the Boston Marathon; since then he’s run a 100-miler and started plans to run a sub 3-hour marathon, so it’s safe to say he’s been busy.

The book covered a lot of the same topics you’d find on Matt’s blog from running/workout advice, recipes, anecdotes and more. I’ve taken a hiatus from running recently and have plenty of pages bookmarked to go back to when I get my next fitness itch.

Of course I was drawn to the recipe section, including the easy peanut butter sauce shown above. The book advocates a plant-based diet, a flexible term which means different things for different people. However you eat it’s a good reminder that you can always use more fruits and vegetables(this definitely rings true for me).

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I got the chance to ask Matt a few questions about food, fitness, and the topics in his book.

A lot of the recipes in your book are more like math formulas; why is that?

I think the obvious answer is that it’s because I studied math in grad and school and my mind just works that way, but the real reason is that food for me is more about practicality than it is art. With ultrarunning and kids and writing and everything else, I have less time for cooking than I used to, so it’s helpful to have a template you can use, say, to throw together a veggie burger with the ingredients you happen to have on hand. I think a lot of people find themselves without a whole lot of time or energy to spend on food, and having formulas that you can use over and over with different ingredients, is really convenient.

I once had a blog with the very hokey name “Food Makes Fun Fuel.” What would you say is your most fun fuel for your workouts?

Fresh dates! The ones with the pits in them, so they’re still soft and have an incredible flavor. They taste like candy, but they’re nutritionally very similar to energy gels and are compact, too, so you can carry a few with you when you run and know that you’re fueling with something far healthier than processed gels.

What’s your favorite indulgence food?

Does beer count? Assuming it doesn’t, then pizza. It was the hardest thing for me to give up when I went vegan, but as much as I hated Daiya vegan cheese at first, I eventually got used to it. Now I can make or order a vegan pizza with Daiya and honestly I don’t enjoy it any less than I used to when it had real cheese. It’s so easy to make dough at home, too, and a lot of times I change it up with BBQ sauce and red onions, or even homemade Caesar dressing as the sauce and lettuce and grilled tempeh to top it.

What’s been your biggest sense of joy from your years of blogging?

Wow, great question. I’ve come to really appreciate how important it is that blogs allow anyone to pick themselves (as Seth Godin put it), instead of sitting around waiting for the publisher or the record label or whoever else to “pick” you. You can just start writing, sharing your ideas, your food, your music, etc. And then it’s just up to the audience to decide if your work and your message are good enough. The gatekeepers don’t have the power anymore, and if you want to do something special, it’s up to you to do it and you don’t need to wait for someone to tell you it’s okay. And blogs, as simple as they seem, are the most important tool for doing that.

What food, lifestyle, or fitness blogs do you check most frequently?

Zen Habits (zenhabits.net) and Tim Ferriss’ blog (fourhourworkweek.com/blog) are some of my favorites; both are more in the “lifestyle” category than anything else. For food blogs and recipes, I’m a huge fan of Oh She Glows (ohsheglows.com) and Choosing Raw (choosingraw.com) — they almost always have a healthy, vegan version of whatever it is I’m trying to make.

What 3 ingredients should everyone who’s reading this add to their weekly grocery list?

1. Baby kale. It’s not as bitter and tough as the regular stuff, so it works really well raw, in smoothies, in salads, and on sandwiches, and it’s one of the most nutrient dense foods you can eat.
2. Hummus. Spread it on a bagel, dip broccoli, carrots, and cucumbers in it, make a simple sandwich by spreading it on sprouted bread and topping with some kale, or use it in a wrap or pita for long run fuel.
3. Raw trail mix. It’s not really an ingredient, I know, but I eat it all the time — it’s a great way to get in a bunch of nutritious calories while you’re traveling or for between-meal snacking. If I’m in a pinch for breakfast on the road, a few big handfuls of trail mix with a banana or apple gets me by.

 

 

Congrats Matt on the book and for being an inspiration to so many!

10 Signs I’ve Moved To NYC

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1. I no longer go to the M&M store every time I’m in a 5-block radius.

2. $8 for a drink seems like a good deal.

3. The hardest commitment I’ve made in the past 2 weeks was deciding which gym to join.

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4. I Instagram photos from the Today Show(but am not working for them(yet(I’m coming for you, Matt Lauer))).

5. I check in everywhere incessantly on Foursquare and get upset when I forget.

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6. I take more food photos with a camera phone than a DLSR.

7. I tweet about people on the subway.

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8. I get lost on average 3 times a day.

9. I have no idea what the price of gas is these days.

10. I’m not even sure I know how my oven works anymore. 

Now Better With Ziplist

I’ve had a really great time with this blog for the past 3 years—obviously I wouldn’t still be posting if I didn’t love it. But there’s only been so much I could do with a blog, a camera, and minimal knowledge of technology(seriously, you don’t learn enough about html coding when you get a degree in Ancient Greek and Latin.)

So I may not be smart enough to know what I’m doing half the time on my own website but I was smart enough to partner with Ziplist

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Ziplist is an online recipe box that automatically saves a recipe to your own personal account with a simple click of the button. That’s why you’ll find a “Save this recipe” button at the top and bottom of every post now and a “Recipe Box” tab on the navigation bar with drop down options. Create an account, tap it, and you automatically have access to a recipe box, automated grocery list and coupon database.

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BUT(and here’s my favorite part), this doesn’t just apply for this website. It applies for every website Ziplist is affiliated with that has “Save this recipe” buttons, which includes a huge list of big food websites as well as other food blogs like Simply Recipes and Recipe Girl. One account gives you access to an internet of recipes—how cool is that?

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I think it’s safe to say I’m excited about this. The last time I did something techie for this website was adding a “print this” button to every recipe, and I think we can all agree that this is way cooler.

I hope you guys will make an account and use it, but if you choose to ignore it completely that’s fine, too. It’s all meant to add to the recipe-reading and experience and not take anything away. Have fun with it and happy cooking :-)

Ina Garten’s Caramel Sauce

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I like to think I can make most things without looking up a recipe. I can’t. More than a few first attempts end up in the garbage or down the drain. I don’t think it’s a waste though whenever you try something new and learn from it one way or another. Cooking’s an art, right? Mistakes are meant to be made.

I tried to make caramel sauce with what I had on hand(butter and 1%). That was a mistake. I didn’t really know what I was doing but I figured Ina Garten did and I tried again with her recipe which called for heavy cream and just a few other ingredients.

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I’m sure Ina used pure Costa Rican sugar, organic grass-fed cream and homemade Madagascar vanilla bean extract—none of which I had on hand—but this came out pretty good even with store brand ingredients. It didn’t have as thick a body as store-bought caramel sauce because it doesn’t have any thickeners or stabilizers, but it tastes very simple and fresh.

I added a 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt after it had cooled which made the flavor pop a lot more. Caramel sauce should always be a little salty so you can taste how sweet it really is. Besides that I followed Ina’s original recipe. Oh and when she says “a warm chestnut brown” she just means a light brown for all of us who haven’t toasted fresh chestnuts over a log fire in Vermont. Silly Ina.

Here’s an Instagram video of the different stages: