Monday, April 21, 2014

12 Things Everyone Should Do More Often

I couldn't agree more!

You probably already know the things that make up a good, healthy, happiness-filled life. (And you’re pretty sure it’s not Cheetos, checking email in bed, or gossiping.)
But we all need occasional (or even daily) reminders. And the good news is: you don’t have to do these things five times a day, every day to see a big shift in your life. Even just a few times a week or five minutes a day can make a big difference. Promise!
With that in mind, here are 12 things that all of us—myself very much included—should be doing more often.
1. Disconnect from technology.
Let’s turn our phones off, especially at dinner. Institute a "no phones on the table" rule. We don’t need to spend all our time documenting our lives for social media. Contrary to the popular saying, yes it did happen, even if it’s not on Instagram.
2. Spend time in each other's company.
Physically being with people is the only way to get that sense of human connectedness. Yes, it’s lovely to video chat with your grandma every weekend, but that’s not the same as standing in her kitchen, working through her famous recipe for cinnamon rolls. Commit to making more time for in-person interaction with the people you love.
3. Put your well-being first.
Many of us have a tendency to let our egos and bank accounts make decisions for us. If we don’t go to that party, they won’t invite us next time. If we say no to that client, they won’t put us on retainer. If we don’t order a cocktail and appetizer, they’ll think we’re boring or broke.
Our emotional and physical well-being often falls to the wayside. Take those personal days, drink water and eat a salad, turn down things that feel wrong.
4. Call family members just to say hi.
Your mom would love to hear your voice and your sister would love to hear all about your trip to Mexico. So call them! Don’t save phone calls for those "figuring out travel plans" or "what should we get Dad for his birthday" situations.
5. Read real, actual books.
I love the feel of books and the smell of the pages. I love to write in the margins, fold the pages, and crack the spine when I open them for the first time. Books are a treasure box of words in your pocket. Spend more time with them.
6. Think before responding.
Since we’re constantly returning texts and replying to emails within five minutes, we’ve gotten into the habit of responding to situations immediately. And that’s fine when your friend is just emailing to say she’ll be 10 minutes late. But when you receive important news, good or bad, sit with it for a while. Give yourself time to work through it and feel your feelings. You’ll probably be much happier with your response if you give yourself some time.
7. Get more laughing done in a day.
The average 4-year-old laughs 300 times a day, the average 40-year-old laughs four. How can you up your laugh quota? Surround yourself with funny people, learn how to tell a joke, subscribe to some hilarious podcasts, or just search YouTube for funny videos.
8. Write by hand.
Write letters to your family or friends, write notes to lovers, lists for the store, goals for the week, or thank you notes. Digital communication is fantastic and convenient but there’s a huge difference between texting someone to say that you love them and writing it on a note and leaving it taped to the front door or bathroom mirror.
9. Go to sleep one hour earlier.
When we’re well rested we’re more productive, happier, and we make better decisions. Those emails will still be there in the morning, as will Netflix. Close the screen and go to sleep.
10. Make time to do nothing.
Yes, even if you have to actually schedule it into your calendar. Doing nothing could be going for a walk, cuddling your pet, taking a long bath, or just laying on the sofa and staring into the middle distance. Down time is required if you really want to recharge your batteries.
11. Get dressed up.
I know that leggings-as-pants are incredibly comfortable. But sometimes we need to take the time to shine our shoes, put on some red lipstick, and get out of our yoga clothes. Even if it’s for no good reason! Make your own reason—drinks with the girls, a gallery opening, dinner at that cool new restaurant.
12. Wander. Without your GPS, without a destination or purpose.
Take a walk around a new neighborhood, pull over when you see a cute shop you’ve never noticed before, let your dog lead the way on his daily walk. You never know what you’ll find or who you’ll meet.
Now, I bet that you already know that these simple steps will make your life more amazing. Consider this a loving push to really, actually do them a little more often.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Chocolate Chip & Banana Baked Oatmeal

(yield is 2 servings, baked in 3-inch ramekins)
  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 medium/large bananas (or 2 small ones)
  • 1/4 cup* nondairy milk of choice
  • 2 Tbsp. cacao
  • 1 scoop chocolate plant-based protein powder, or 1 more Tbsp. of cacao
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • Warmed coconut oil to grease ramekins or baking dish
  • Optional: 2 packets stevia (for sweeter, brownie-like flavor)
  • Optional: 1 Tbsp. nondairy chocolate chips
*If you intend to eat these warm out of the ramekin, use only 1 banana and 3/4 cup almond milk; it will be more like chocolate bread pudding, which is obviously a good thing.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and grease ramekins or baking dish with warmed coconut oil.
Mix all dry ingredients — oats, protein powder, cocao, stevia, baking soda and powder, and sea salt.
Blend all wet ingredients — banana, applesauce, nondairy milk.
Mix wet and dry ingredients, optionally adding in chocolate chips.
Pour into ramekins, it should fill to the top or almost overfilling. If you don’t have ramekins, you can pour it into 1 baking dish, and adjust the time to 45 minutes, checking on it before taking out.
Place ramekins in oven, bake for 30-35 minutes. They should be hardened on the top but are still gooey on the inside.
1. Let cool for at least 30 minutes, then eat straight from the dish with a spoon. Your taste buds will be pretty much be blown, so leave ample time to process.
2. Let cool for 8-12 hours (overnight is usually best), then pop them out and eat it with a fork or with your hands like a pastry if you don’t mind getting a little messy.
They're great to bring with you on the go if you work out in the morning and want a hearty, chocolaty treat waiting for you afterward, or sliced in half as a delicious, nutritious midday snack.
Enjoy and experiment if you’d like, as well! I’d love to hear where your baked oatmeal adventures take you.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Make-ahead Oatmeal

I really need to try this one of these days. There are so many days that I would rather have oatmeal but I settle for a bagel or cereal due to the cooking time.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Truth about Your Bread

Great article on modern bread. Here's a clip.

The Truth about Your Bread

However, thanks to commercial yeast varieties, bakers don't need to wait 18 hours for a loaf of bread to ferment. They can mass-produce loaves in a matter of minutes. But without the benefit of bacteria predigesting the gluten, modern bread puts a strain on the body's ability to handle gluten, he writes. Is it any surprise, then, that as many as 1 in 100 people now suffer from celiac disease, in which their bodies can't digest gluten, or that a growing portion of the population is considered "gluten sensitive," not suffering from true celiac disease but suffering all manner of side effects like stomach upset, migraines, and fatigue when they eat gluten?

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Many Benefits of Miso

I had no idea that Miso was such a good thing. I will be stopping at the store to pick some up over lunch. I've always enjoyed Miso soup at Kobe. Now I hope i can reproduce it.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Basic Sweet-Roll Dough


  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/4-ounce packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled, plus more for brushing
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (optional)


Warm 1/2 cup water and the milk in a saucepan over low heat until a thermometer registers 100 degrees F to 110 degrees F. Remove from the heat and sprinkle the yeast on top, then sprinkle with a pinch of the sugar; set aside, undisturbed, until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Whisk the melted butter, egg yolk and vanilla into the yeast mixture until combined. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, the remaining sugar, the salt and nutmeg. Make a well in the center, then add the yeast mixture and stir with a wooden spoon to make a thick and slightly sticky dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until soft and elastic, about 6 minutes. Shape into a ball.
Brush a large bowl with butter. Add the dough, turning to coat lightly with the butter. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until the dough is doubled in size, about 1 hour, 15 minutes.
Turn the dough out of the bowl and knead briefly to release excess air; re-form into a ball and return to the bowl. Lightly butter a large piece of plastic wrap and lay it directly on the surface of the dough. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Lemon Cream Icebox Cake

From The Kitchen

Serves 8 to 10
Tender layers of nutty graham cracker, holding up lemon-spiked cream with swirls of intensely tangy lemon curd—this cake’s vibrant lemon flavor never fails to delight. "This tastes just like lemon!" is a common reaction. 
1/4 cup (56 g) unsalted butter, very soft
3 cups (720 ml) cream
1/2 cup (50 g) powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large lemons, zested and juiced (about 2 tablespoons zest and 1/3 cup / 75 ml juice)
25 to 30 graham crackers, from about 4 sleeves
1 cup (240 ml) Lemon Curd (store-bought or homemade - see our tutorial here), slightly warmed, divided

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a large bowl and a hand mixer), whip the butter until very soft. Gradually whip in the cream. When it has been smoothly combined with the butter, add the sugar, salt, and lemon zest. Whip until the cream forms firm peaks, then slowly beat in the lemon juice. Continue beating until completely combined. The cream should still hold soft peaks.
Smear a small spoonful of the lemon cream in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) baking dish. Lay down a layer of graham crackers and spoon 3/4 to 1 cup (180 to 240 ml) of the whipped cream over the top. Drizzle with 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the lemon curd. Repeat three more times, finishing with a top layer of whipped cream. (You will have four layers of graham crackers, and four layers of whipped cream.) Drizzle the final 1/4 cup (60 ml) lemon curd over the top of the cake in three straight lines, then draw a knife through these lines perpendicularly, creating a streaked checkerboard pattern.
Refrigerate the cake for at least 2 hours, until the crackers have softened to a cakelike texture (test this by inserting a thin knife along the side and bringing up a few crumbs). This can be made up to 24 hours ahead of time, but it is best consumed within a day or two, as it will get soggy if it sits too long.

Cake Mix Cookies

Not sure how many times I've posted this but here it goes again.

Cake Mix Cookies

Any cake mix
2 eggs
1/4 cup oil

350 for 10-12 minutes

Grilled Herb Potatoes

From Epicurious.

Grilled Herb Potatoes

yield: Makes 4 servings
active time: 20 min
total time: 25 min

2 pounds large Yukon Gold or other yellow-fleshed potatoes
1/4 cup chopped mixed herbs such as parsley, chives, rosemary, and oregano
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon wedge plus additional for serving

Prepare a gas grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-high heat; see Grilling Procedure .

Cut potatoes into 1/2-inch-thick slices and cook in a large pot of well-salted boiling water 10 minutes (potatoes will not be cooked through).

Meanwhile, stir together herbs, garlic, oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large shallow dish.

Drain potatoes well and transfer to herb oil, tossing gently to coat.

Transfer potatoes to grill, letting excess oil drip into dish (reserve oil in dish). Grill potatoes, covered, turning once or twice, until tender, about 5 minutes total. Return potatoes to dish and toss again with herb oil. Squeeze lemon wedge over potatoes. Season with salt and serve with additional lemon wedges.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

50 Grilled Cheese Ideas

I'm a big fan of the grilled cheese sandwich. Actually, after getting a George Foreman grill at a garage sale, I can't say I've had any type of non-grilled sandwich since.

Here are some great ideas from The Food Network.

How to make grilled cheese:

1. Heat 1 tablespoon salted butter in a cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-low heat.

2. Press the sandwich slightly and place it in the skillet. Cook until golden on the bottom, 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Flip, adding more butter to the pan if needed, and cook until the other side is golden and the cheese melts, 3 to 5 more minutes.

1. Classic Sandwich 2 slices cheddar, monterey jack or Swiss cheese between 2 slices country white bread; cook, flipping once, until golden.

2. Bacon and Tomato Make Classic Grilled Cheese (No. 1), adding 3 slices crisp bacon and 1 slice tomato between the cheese.

3. Triple Cheese Make Classic Grilled Cheese (No. 1), using 1 slice each cheddar, muenster and Swiss cheese.

4. Spicy Nacho Sandwich 2 slices white bread with 1 slice monterey jack or American cheese, some pickled jalapeño slices and 1 slice cheddar. Cook, flipping once, until golden.

5. Crunchy Nacho Make Spicy Nacho Grilled Cheese (No. 4), adding 1 tablespoon crushed corn chips with the jalapenos.

6. Goat Cheese–Peppadew Mix 1/2 cup cream cheese with 1/4 cup goat cheese and 8 chopped Peppadew peppers. Sandwich one-quarter of the mixture between 2 slices multigrain bread; cook, flipping once, until golden. (Use the remaining cheese mixture for more sandwiches.)

7. Grilled Cheese Fingers Make Classic Grilled Cheese (No. 1). Cut off the crusts and cut the sandwich into strips.

8. Diner Sandwich 2 slices American cheese between 2 slices white bread. Spread mayonnaise on the outside of the sandwich and cook, flipping once, until golden. Serve with ketchup.

9. Spicy Diner Mix 1 tablespoon mayonnaise with 1/4 teaspoon Sriracha. Make Diner Grilled Cheese (No. 8), replacing the mayonnaise with the spicy mayonnaise mixture.

10. Cheddar and Pickles Make Diner Grilled Cheese (No. 8), replacing the American cheese with aged white cheddar and adding sliced pickles between the cheese.

11. Havarti and Chicken Salad Sandwich 2 slices potato bread with 1 slice havarti, 2 to 3 tablespoons chicken salad and another slice of havarti. Cook, flipping once, until golden.

12. Garlic Ham and Cheese Prepare 2 thick slices frozen garlic bread as the label directs. Sandwich with 2 slices each monterey jack and ham. Cook, flipping once, until golden.

13. Pesto Spread pesto on 1 slice white bread. Top with 1 slice each provolone and mozzarella. Top with another slice of bread and cook, flipping once, until golden.

14. Avocado Toss 1/4 sliced avocado with lime juice and lime zest to taste. Sandwich 2 slices white bread with 2 slices pepper jack and the avocado. Cook, flipping once, until golden.

15. Potato Chip Spread yellow mustard on 1 slice whole-wheat bread; top with 2 slices American cheese and 8 potato chips. Top with another slice of bread and cook, flipping once, until golden.

16. Swiss-Mushroom Spread 2 slices rye bread with Thousand Island dressing. Sandwich with 1 slice Swiss cheese, some sautéed mushrooms and onions, and another slice of Swiss. Cook, flipping once, until golden.

17. Bagel Spread a split bagel with mayonnaise and spicy mustard. Sandwich with 1 slice muenster, 2 slices salami and another slice of muenster. Cook, flipping once, until golden, pressing to flatten.

18. Cajun Sandwich 2 slices country white bread with 2 slices provolone. Cook in butter with a pinch of Cajun seasoning.

19. Muffuletta Make Cajun Grilled Cheese (No. 18), adding 1 tablespoon deli olive salad between the cheese.

20. Roasted Tomato Toss 4 halved plum tomatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Roast at 350 degrees F, 1 hour; mash. Spread 2 slices sourdough bread with one-quarter of the tomato mixture and sandwich with 2 slices cheddar. Cook, flipping once, until golden. (Use the remaining tomato mixture for more sandwiches.)

21. Blue Cheese and Onion Sandwich 2 slices marble rye bread with 1 slice each muenster and soft blue cheese, some caramelized onions and another slice of muenster. Cook, flipping once, until golden.

22. Italian Sandwich 2 slices sourdough bread with 1 slice provolone, 1 slice mortadella, some chopped pickled vegetables and another slice of provolone. Cook, flipping once, until golden.

23. Fontina and Sage Fry 4 sage leaves in a skillet in butter and olive oil until crisp. Sandwich 2 slices crusty bread with 2 slices fontina and the fried sage. Cook in the same skillet.

24. Mediterranean Spread baba ghanoush on 2 slices whole-grain bread. Sandwich with 1 slice monterey jack, a few thin slices grilled zucchini, 2 tablespoons crumbled feta and another slice of monterey jack. Cook in olive oil.

25. Gruyere and Sauerkraut Spread dijon mustard on 1 slice crusty bread. Top with 2 slices gruyere, 1 tablespoon sauerkraut and another slice of bread. Cook, flipping once, until golden.

26. Roast Beef and Brie Spread 2 slices sourdough bread with dijon mustard and brie (remove the rind). Sandwich with some caramelized onions and 1 slice roast beef. Cook, flipping once, until golden.

27. Inside-Out Bun Sandwich 1 slice each pepper jack and Swiss cheese on an inside-out seedless hamburger bun. Cook, flipping once, until golden.

28. Patty Melt Cook a thin hamburger patty to medium doneness. Sandwich an inside-out seedless hamburger bun with 1 slice cheddar, the hamburger patty and 1 slice American cheese. Cook, flipping once, until golden.

29. Hot Dog Halve a hot dog lengthwise; brown in a skillet. Spread a hot dog bun with ketchup and mustard, then sandwich with the hot dog and 1 slice American cheese. Cook, flipping once, until golden, pressing to flatten.

30. Meaty Macaroni Spread 3 tablespoons warm macaroni and cheese on 2 slices potato bread. Drizzle with hot sauce and sandwich with ¼ cup warm pulled pork. Cook, flipping once, until golden.

31. Spanish Olive Sandwich 1/4 cup grated manchego cheese and 1 tablespoon sliced green olives between 2 slices white bread. Cook, flipping once, until golden.

32. Fig and Olive Make Spanish Olive Grilled Cheese (No. 31), spreading the bread with fig jam before building the sandwich.

33. Bacon-Waffle-Cheddar Sandwich 2 thawed toaster waffles with 1 slice cheddar, 2 slices crisp bacon and another slice of cheddar. Cook, flipping once, until golden. Serve with maple syrup.

34. Egg in a Hole Cut out a 2-inch round from the center of 1 slice country white bread; place the bread in a hot buttered skillet and crack an egg into the hole. Cook until the white sets, then flip and top with 1 slice cheddar. Meanwhile, add another slice of bread to the skillet and top with 1 slice cheddar and 3 slices crisp bacon. Sandwich the two halves and cook until golden.

35. Pear-Camembert Spread 2 slices multigrain bread with camembert (remove the rind). Sandwich with thin pear slices. Cook, flipping once, until golden.

36. Ham–Apple Butter Spread 1 slice country white bread with apple butter and another with dijon mustard. Sandwich with 1 slice Swiss cheese, 1 slice ham and another slice of Swiss. Cook, flipping once, until golden.

37. Hawaiian Spread 2 slices Hawaiian sweet bread or challah bread with pineapple preserves. Sandwich with 2 slices each monterey jack and ham. Cook, flipping once, until golden.

38. Taleggio and Broccoli Rabe Sandwich 2 slices crusty bread with 2 slices taleggio and some sauteed broccoli rabe. Cook in a mixture of butter and olive oil.

39. Ricotta-Garlic Mix 1 cup shredded mozzarella, 1/2 cup ricotta, 1/3 cup grated parmesan, 1 small grated garlic clove, and salt to taste. Sandwich 2 slices sourdough bread with one-quarter of the ricotta mixture and cook, flipping once, until golden. (Use the remaining ricotta mixture for more sandwiches.)

40. Fried Mozzarella Whisk 1 egg and 2 tablespoons milk in a shallow dish. Mix 1/4 cup flour and 2 tablespoons grated parmesan in another dish. Sandwich 2 slices white bread with 2 slices fresh mozzarella. Dredge in the flour mixture, then dip in the beaten egg. Cook, flipping once, until golden.

41. Open-Face Cutouts Cut shapes out of sliced white bread using a cookie cutter. Cut matching shapes out of sliced cheddar. Broil the bread until lightly toasted, then flip, top each with a piece of cheese and broil until the cheese melts.

42. Open-Face Caprese Broil a split ciabatta roll until lightly toasted. Drizzle with olive oil and top each half with 2 slices tomato and 2 slices fresh mozzarella. Broil until the cheese melts. Top with chopped basil.

43. Pizza Spread 2 slices Italian bread with marinara sauce and sandwich with 1 slice provolone, 2 slices pepperoni and 1 slice mozzarella. Cook in a mixture of butter and olive oil.

44. Open-Face French Onion Broil baguette slices until toasted. Top with caramelized onions and shredded gruyère; broil until the cheese melts. Top with chives.

45. Open-Face Pastrami Spread Russian dressing on 1 slice pumpernickel bread. Top with a few slices pastrami and 1 slice Swiss cheese. Broil until the cheese melts.

46. BBQ Roast Beef Spread 1 slice country white bread with 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce. Top with 2 slices each cheddar and roast beef, then top with another slice of bread. Brush melted butter on the outside of the sandwich and cook on a grill, turning, until golden.

47. Truly Grilled Cheese Toss 1 thick slice haloumi cheese with olive oil and chopped oregano. Rub 1 thick slice crusty bread with garlic and brush with olive oil. Cook the cheese and bread separately on a grill, turning, until marked. Rub the bread with a halved tomato and top with the cheese; sprinkle with salt and lemon juice.

48. Brie and Marmalade Spread 2 slices cinnamon-raisin bread with orange marmalade. Sandwich with 2 slices brie (remove the rind) and cook, flipping once, until golden.

49. Creamy Quince Spread 2 slices brioche with quince preserves; sandwich with 2 slices triple-cream cheese, such as Saint André, or brie (remove the rind). Cook, flipping once, until golden.

50. Nutella and Banana Spread 1 slice challah bread or brioche with ricotta; spread another with Nutella. Sandwich with sliced bananas and cook, flipping once, until golden.