Monthly Archives: January 2016

Plan Ahead Meals

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How goes it my dears?

Today marks the first day of classes of my second semester at graduate school. Woooo (kind of). Break was awesome, but now it’s time to get back to work.

As I may have mentioned in the past, I’m not really that into “New Years Resolutions”, but I try and set goals whenever the occasion seems to arise to better myself. So far this year, I have two: 1) not to shampoo my hair everyday and 2) plan my weekly meals ahead of time. I’ve been doing smashingly for #1, but since I spent the last month traveling, I haven’t started #2 yet. I figured the start of classes was as good a time as any to start!

To keep up with that mentality, here are two links that a co-worker shared with me… and I plan to utilize it at least a few times. Here is the vegan option, and here is the carnivorous option.

Now, I must get to work; my papers will not read themselves. Cheers!

Raising the New York state minimum wage to $15 by July 2021 would lift wages for 3.2 million workers

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Raising the New York minimum wage in several steps to $15 would restore its value to a level that ensures full-time work is a means to escape poverty—and would provide more than a third of New York’s workers with a long-overdue improvement in their standard of living.

Source: Raising the New York state minimum wage to $15 by July 2021 would lift wages for 3.2 million workers

You’re Doing It Wrong

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First and foremost, I suggest you Google that phrase (“you’re doing it wrong”). People these days…

Also, for a second I would like to admit that I have gained an appreciation for audio books, while at the same time becoming in love once more with the library (why did I ever stop?!). I work walking distance from my town’s library, so I have now made it a habit to stop by at least once a week and a) check out many, many beautiful books, b) rent movies, and c) gain an appreciation for books on tape. Don’t get me wrong, reading is still superior – when you are actually reading the words on pages, but audio has its place in the world. I spend a lot of time in my beloved car – especially commuting to campus – so audio books are sort of a win-win for me. The time passes much quicker, and I get to have a story read to me! It’s fantastic. So far I’ve listened to a crap ton of Stephen King novels (see my “books” section for a full list). There’s no explanation for the random King binge; it’s just happening and is long overdue.

Now. The point of this post is to share with you all 10 foods that are commonly ingested in the wrong way; hence the title. So pay close attention as this will only be of benefit.

Note: Doing It Wrong is derived from the work of two registered dietitians who addressed the biggest mistakes, which are preventing the public from extracting the most vitamins and minerals from certain foods.

  1. Asparagus. Don’t zap it! Aka cook in the microwave. First of all, microwaves are mildly sketchy to begin with, so avoid them if you can. This method has also been found to deplete this vegetable’s vitamin C content due to being water-soluble. Try steaming or stir-frying instead, and eat when it is tender and crisp and not mushy and soft. Also, save the leftover water! It happens to be rich in vitamins and minerals and can make a great addition to sauce or soup.
  2. Grilled Meat. Apparently, grilling meat at high temperatures over an open flame may increase cancer risk; but honestly, what doesn’t these days? The worst method of meat cooking seems to be char-grilling, so maybe stick to a less intense heated grille. They also recommend you use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of your meat instead of relying on looks.
  3. Tomatoes. In order to maximize the absorption of lycopene (a phyronutrient in these bad boys that is supposedly cancer and heart disease fighting), it’s best to cook them. This will also increase their antioxidant content. Honestly, though, I like ’em raw.
  4. Flaxseeds. These puppies are high in fiber, rich in lignans and heart-healthy omega-3s, BUT you only reap these benefits if they are ground! You’re body can’t digest them otherwise. They sell them pre-ground, but it’s also easy to do it yourself.
  5. Black Tea. Don’t add milk; just don’t do it. First of all, it taints the flavor (*gasp*), but more importantly, milk – or any dairy – has been shown to negate any cardiovascular benefits; the protein in milk binds to the catechins in tea, making it much harder for your body to absorb this beneficial compound.
  6. Broccoli. Try not to boil or fry them (but really, who fries broccoli?), because much like asparagus, these methods will not keep the Vitamin C, chlorophyll, antioxidant and anticarcinogenic components intact. Instead, go for the steam method.
  7. Strawberries. Try not to slice them; or at least avoid cutting them for as long as you possibly can… nutrients within these tasty morsels such as Vitamin C are sensitive to light and oxygen and deplete rather quickly. Frozen fruits and veggies are not a horrible idea, too, since they harbor the majority of their original nutrients.
  8. Garlic. I LOVE garlic; I love it in my food, in my juices, and just overall in my life. The allicin (cancer fighter) in garlic benefits from air exposure, so try letting chopped garlic sit out for a few minutes before utilizing. This makes sure the compound can become fully activated.
  9. Whole Grains & Beans. Soak ’em overnight to help release the phytates, increase absorption of nutrients such as iron and zinc while also giving your digestive tract a break.
  10. Yogurt. Honestly, I wish I liked yogurt, and I’ve really tried to get myself to love it; I just can’t. At least not yet. Anyway: don’t dump the watery substance you often find atop your Greek yogurt – stir it in! It is called whey, and it contains protein and vitamin B12, along with minerals like calcium and phosphorus. *Fact* You’re not going to get yogurt’s probiotic benefits if you’re cooking a heated dish, because live and active cultures can’t stand up to heat and become destroyed in the cooking process.

There you have it, ladies and gents. I’m off to rest and read a little bit before an event tonight down in Tucson, Arizona. 😀

 

 

Hot Peppah Jelly

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Bonjour Babies –

Fact: I love hot pepper jelly. I first came to know about this delicious dip/spread a few years ago when my friend’s mom sent him a few jars of her homemade jelly. From that point on I was hooked; a little sweet, a little spicy is the combination for me!

When I shopped at the URI Holiday Bazaar this season, there was a local company – Terry’s Tasty Treasures – where this powerhouse woman makes a variety of different delicious jellies. I bought a few different flavors, and they all kick ass. I also snagged a hot pepper jelly recipe card, which is what I’m going to share with you meow (more can also be found on her website via link):

Pepper Jelly Cheese Cake
Ingredients: 8 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
1 egg
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
4 ounces hot pepper jelly

Directions: Mix all ingredients in food processor.
Spray individual pie pan or 6″ spring form pan with nonstick cooking spray or 4″ spring forms divided into 2.
Pour mixture into pan(s).
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes.
Cool in refrigerator for several hours.
Spread with more pepper jelly. Serve with crackers.

Red Pepper Habanero Pepper Jelly Chicken over Kale
– Red hot habenero pepper jelly mixed with soy sauce, honey, pour over boneless skinless chicken thighs- bake 425 for 25-30 min, serve over kale sautéed with chopped bacon and shao Shing rice vinegar

Mini Philo Shells with Goat Cheese
Fill Shells with Cranberry, Apple or Peach hot pepper jelly. Crumble Goat cheese over each and top with a candied walnut.

Crescent Roll Bake with Brie
Spread out the Crescent Rolls on a baking sheet; do not pull apart.
Put piece of Brie in the center; cover with your pepper Jelly of choice.
Fold over the crescent rolls and bake according to the instructions on the package. Serve with crackers

I’ll stop there, but there really are many more recipes on the website, so click the link and take a gander. Go local, lovelies.

Whiskey Girl

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Hey hey heyyy

My friend Devyn is coming into town today for a quick visit… I’m so excited! To show her a good time, I am taking her to Point Street Dueling Pianos, which I think I have mentioned on here before. It’s awesome and unique and beforehand we will be attending Buck-a-Shuck, so you know it’s going to be a great day.

Anyway, after my time spent in NYC (I know, more on that visit to come), I realized that my drink of choice is Whiskey. Am I badass or what? However, I didn’t think I knew too many whiskey drinks, so in preparation for the bar tonight, I did a little research. The funny thing is, all the main whiskey drinks I came across are pretty much the only drinks I enjoy ordering (besides beer, wine and Bloody Mary’s)… so it looks like I know myself better than I thought. BOOM.

To recap my research though, I wanted to share a little whiskey knowledge with you fine folks. If anyone has any recipes to recommend as well… I’m all ears. And lips. Mmmm.

Whiskey Facts: All whiskeys are distilled liquors made from fermented grain mash, except in the event that they’re made from corn. They’re almost always aged in wooden barrels, except for “white dog” whiskey, aka moonshine. The aging process mellows the bite of the drink and imparts those caramel notes. Canada and Scotland drop the “e” when spelling out the word.

Whiskey Types:

  • Scotch is only made in Scotland and can range from smooth and a bit sweet to smoky, a distinct flavor imparted by smoking the grains over a peat fire. Old scotches are typically not mixed, but there’s no rule against it.
  • Irish whiskey is basically any whiskey aged in either Ireland or Northern Ireland. There’s a lot of diversity in this pool, leading to whiskeys that are sweet or spicy or citrusy or earthy.
  • Bourbon is generally sweeter than Irish whiskey or scotch. Wheated bourbons like Maker’s Mark are particularly mellow, and 95% of the world’s bourbons are made in Kentucky.
  • Tennessee whiskey is effectively bourbon made in Tennessee. Jack Daniel’s is Tennessee whiskey, and it’s mellowed through sugar maple charcoal before aging; some say this makes it a bit sweeter than bourbon and slightly sooty.
  • Rye is trickier: American rye whiskey must be at least 51% rye in the grain bill, whereas Canadian rye just has to have any rye in the grain bill. Ryes are spicy and sometimes “bready.”
  • Canadian whisky is considered, by and large, the most versatile mixing whisky — it’s a mellower and lighter flavor than most other types of whisky.

Classic Whiskey Drinks:

  • Hot Toddy. Perfect for this time of year. Ingredients: 2 oz water/3 cloves/cinnamon stick/.5″ ginger piece, peeled and sliced/1 strip lemon peel/2 oz whiskey/2 t honey/1-2 t lemon juice/nutmeg. Directions: Put the water in a small pan along with the spices and peel over a low heat. Bring to a gentle simmer. Meanwhile, rinse a heatproof glass with hot water and dry. Pour the whisky into your warmed glass, then pour over hot water and spices. Stir in the honey and lemon juice and taste for sweetness. Top with a little nutmeg and sip slowly, breathing deeply.
  • Manhattan. So classy, oui? Ingredients: Ice/2 parts whiskey/1 part sweet vermouth/1-2 dashes bitters (ex: Angostura)/orange peel. Directions: Place ice in a cocktail shaker. Add the whiskey, vermouth, and bitters, and stir well. Rub the orange peel around the rim of the cocktail glass. Strain the drink into the glass. Add 1 or 2 cherries.
  • Whiskey Sour. Yes please. Ingredients: 2 oz whiskey/1 oz fresh lemon juice/1 t sugar/1 egg white (optional). Directions: Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker, fill with ice, and shake for 10 seconds; if using the egg white, give it a little extra muscle and a little extra time. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, or into an ice-filled Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with a cherry, a slice of orange, all of the above, or nothing at all.
  • Mint Julep. This was made for me wayyy back in the day. Ingredients: 1 oz minted simple syrup/2 c crushed ice/2 oz bourbon/fresh mint sprig (garnish). Directions: To a highball glass or silver Julep cup, add minted simple syrup, then 1 cup crushed ice, bourbon, and splash of water. Add enough of remaining ice to almost fill glass. Stir well and garnish with mint sprig.
  • Sazerac. I had this for the first time two weeks ago, actually. It was awesome. Ingredients: 1 sugar cube/water/1.5 oz rye whiskey/2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters/1 dash Angostura Bitters/Ice/1 barspoon-full of absinthe/lemon peel. Directions: Put the sugar cube in a mixing glass with just enough water to moisten it. Use the back of a barspoon to crush the cube. Add the rye, both bitters, and ice and stir until chilled, about 30 seconds. Add the absinthe to a chilled Old Fashioned glass. Turn the glass to coat the sides with the absinthe, then pour out the excess. Strain the rye mixture into the absinthe-coated glass. Twist and squeeze the lemon peel over the glass. Rub the rim of the glass with the peel, drop it into the cocktail, and serve.
  • Old Fashioned. A classic. Ingredients: 2 oz whiskey/.5 oz simple syrup/2 dashes Angosturn Bitters/1″ orange peel (no white)/1 candied cherry (optional)/ice. Directions: Chill a cocktail glass. Fill a mixing glass to the top with ice. Measure out your booze and your sugar, and dash in the bitters. Stir. If a drink is all alcohol and no juice, it’s stirred and not shaken. If there’s juice, go ahead and shake. Strain into the chilled cocktail glass over fresh ice. Squeeze the orange peel over the glass and squeeze; drop the peel into the glass. Add a cherry if you wish.
  • Green Gimlet. This one is new to me, but sounds awesome. Ingredients: 3-4 basil leaves/60ml Scotch whisky/30ml lime juice/20ml sugar syrup/ice. Directions: Basil leaves in shaker, pour in liquids, muddle. Add ice and shake vigorously until cold. Strain into tumbler over large ice cube and serve garnished with basil leaf.
  • Blood & Sand. Another new one to me, wooo. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add 30ml Scotch whisky, 20ml Peter Heering Cherry Heering (NOT cherry brandy!), 20ml red vermouth and 20ml orange juice. Shake hard until cold. Strain into a glass and garnish with a strip of orange peel.
  • Pickleback. I’ve heard of this recently but haven’t tried it. However, I feel as if I will be in love. All you need is a shot of whiskey (they recommend Irish) and then a shot of good pickle juice. Voila, perfection.
  • Bryn Collins. Fill a tall glass with ice. Pour in 50ml Penderyn whisky, 25ml lemon juice and 10 ml sugar syrup. Stir well to combine and top up with soda water. Garnish with a slice of lemon and serve.
  • Irish Royale. Place a sugar cube in the bottom of a champagne flute and douse it with a good couple of dashes of Angostura bitters. Add 45ml Jameson’s Irish whiskey, and top up with cold, cold champagne. Some people chill the whiskey by stirring it in a mixing glass over ice before they strain it into the flute. This takes a little edge of its alcohol. So, really, it’s up to you.
  • Walking Earl. Infuse 1 dessertspoon of Rare Tea Company’s Earl Grey tea in 500ml of cold water. Place in the fridge for EXACTLY 1 ½ hours. Henrietta is very precise. Strain the tea infusion, then mix 100ml of it with 25ml Johnny Walker. Henrietta recommends their platinum whisky, but black or red will suffice. Sweeten the mixture with a drop of good Scottish heather honey. Stir to dissolve. Then pour into a tall, ice filled glass and garnish with a twist of orange.
  • The Thistle. In an ice-filled shaker, mix 30ml whisky with 30ml dry vermouth (I recommend the Aperitivo Cocchi Americano). Add a couple of dashes of Angostura bitters and shake like hell. Strain into a cocktail glass, and serve.
  • Scotch Rickey. Pour 60ml scotch whisky into an ice-filled high-ball glass. Squeeze in the juice of half a lime. Stir them together, and then top up the glass with soda water. Garnish with a half slice of lime if you so desire.
  • Rob Roy. Stir 45ml scotch, 25ml sweet vermouth and a good dash of Angostura bitters vigorously over ice. Then strain into a cocktail or over ice into a tumbler, and garnish. To make it “dry”, replace the sweet vermouth with dry vermouth. To make it “perfect”, make up the 25ml of vermouth by mixing equal parts of sweet and dry.

That’s all I’ve got at the moment, folks. I’m going to try a few of these tonight, wish me luck! Teehee.