Friday, May 24, 2013

Bad at Blogging, Good at Potato Salad

I'm really only breaking blog-silence to post this potato salad recipe. Because it's mothafuckin' Memorial Day, so you should be celebrating it with some damn potato salad, like the troops would want you to. It's really friggin' good, and I'll be making it for a glorious block party shindig tomorrow.

Super Suburban Potato Salad

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  • 6 strips center-cut bacon
  • 5 pounds russet potatoes (about 8 medium russets)
  • 1 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup mustard
  • 3 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. celery seed
  • 1 small white onion, finely diced
  • 3 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 5 whole green onions, sliced
  • 8 small sweet pickles, chopped + pickle juice
  • 4 whole hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 cup green peas, thawed from frozen


Cook bacon; reserve drippings; chop bacon. Cut potatoes in halves or thirds, then boil until fork tender. Drain. Mash half of the potatoes with the bacon drippings; cut other half into chunks and toss with 2 tbsp. pickle juice. Mix together mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, sugar, salt, paprika, pepper, and celery seed. Fold potatoes together with onion, celery, bacon, and green onions; toss with dressing. Fold in pickles, eggs, and peas then taste for seasonings, adding more salt, mustard, or mayo as needed. You may also splash in juice from the pickle jar if salad needs a little moisture.

I drew upon the following recipes to craft the above:

Monday, September 17, 2012


Re-posted from its original location on the blog You Plus Two, where it ran as a guest post.

Remember that scene in Finding Nemo, when Nemo sits in on the shark’s support group? And their mantra is “Fish are friends, not food”? Well, here’s the thing: Foods are friends, not foes.
 (I may have already exceeded the recommended number of words beginning with F in a single post, but I promise this won’t turn into a giant alliteration.)

It’s hard to remember this sometimes, with the seeming barrage of calorie counts and health studies and the words obesity epidemic being thrown around every 5 seconds… but food is not the enemy. But while it’s also easy to go into a hyper-utilitarian argument that food is just fuel for your body and you need to only put in the good stuff for optimum performance (gee thanks, health magazines), the fact remains — food is also DELICIOUS.

Like, cheese?
So good. And it’s things like those (says the unabashed food dork) that make life so much fun. At the same time, I know that if I ate nothing but those kinds of food all the time, I’d feel physically (and probably psychologically) awful. Which is why it’s so convenient that many foods that I know are great for me also happen to taste awesome. It’s all about being able to strike a balance between logic and joy.

It’s actually kind of awesome, the ways in which food can fuel your body. I confess, I put cheap gas in my car, because I don’t really know how my car feels when it runs on better fuel vs. the budget stuff I buy. Now, you may already suspect this, but I am not a car. What I DO know is how I personally feel when I eat lots of veggies, whole grains, fish, water, fruit, healthy fats, etc. vs. how I feel when I eat junk food on the regular. Luckily, I’m a bit of a supermarket floozy, in that I’ve been around the block (aisles?) a few times and have figured out what works best for me all-around.

Example: I love spinach. Not just the way it tastes — which is fresh, mild, and wonderful — but the fact that it’s AMAZINGLY nutrient-rich, loaded with vitamins A, C, and K, folate, iron, fiber, and other essential nutrients. But because of those things, it’s not just good for the inside of you body, but the outside too. Due to its high content of anti-aging minerals and antioxidants, spinach is frequently cited as one of the best “beauty foods” around. Plus, the fact that I can eat a big ol’ bowl of the raw leaves, blend a handful into a smoothie, or wilt some quickly with pasta makes it even more appealing. Y’all, I can wax rhapsodic on spinach for hours (don’t test me), but the point is this: finding foods you love that love you back is HUGE. (Need a good resource for nutritious foods? Read up at The World’s Healthiest Foods.)

However, knowing that I get nutritious foods into my life on a fairly regular day-to-day basis, this allows me to give myself a pass when it comes to those special treats I want. If it’s Saturday night and all I want is some PIZZA, guess what I’m gonna eat? If it’s my friend’s birthday and there’s a cake, I’m having a slice. Because I know that a) I eat smart most of the time and b) if I deprive myself, I’m just going to turn into an angry, bitter curmudgeon who no longer gets invited to those birthday parties. These things happen as a part of life, so rather than fight it, you might as well enjoy in moderation. Balance, yo. BALANCE.

Staying mindful about what you’re eating can also be super helpful, not only in terms of your enjoyment, but also in terms of how much of it you end up eating. If you’re having something that you know is a special treat food, don’t just wolf it down. Appreciate every bite, savor the flavor, chew, and swallow. Allow yourself to REALLY enjoy what you’re eating. This not only keeps you focused on “OMG, how good is this delicious morsel I’m eating?!”, but it also gives your body time to respond when it doesn’t really need anymore. So often, we eat too fast, stop when we’re full, and then go on to feel EVEN FULLER several minutes later. Your digestive system doesn’t work as fast as you can eat, so it makes sense to slow your end of things down whenever possible. (For more on mindful eating, check out this piece by Darya Pino, PhD.)

The biggest (BIGGEST!!!) rule of all? If you DO indulge and eat more than you ordinarily would, DO NOT stress out about it. Stay smart and stay mindful — come on, you know you don’t do that all the time! Give yourself a break. Just because you had that indulgence does NOT mean you might as well go all out and keep eating badly as a consolation or whatever. It also does NOT mean you should beat yourself up about it; you don’t deserve that. Instead, focus on the positive — how good it was, how much you enjoyed it, why you decided to eat it in the first place, etc. Then proceed as usual with your normal eating habits. In short, keep calm and carry on.

Don’t fight your food. Just think before (and while) you eat — no regrets!

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Best Damn Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever**

**subject to personal opinion

I recently officially wrote all this down after a couple years of just making changes to my favorite cookie recipe as I went along. This is my go-to, my failsafe, and I cannot guarantee that I make them exactly this way every time... because I'm fickle like that. I pretty much never actually measure the chocolate/seeds/nuts and am prone to using whatever nuts I have on hand or none at all.

The Best Damn Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever
Adapted from David Lebovitz's Salted Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe

Makes about 40 cookies (depending on how small/large you make em)

4 ounces (1 stick) salted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup packed dark or light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup flax seeds

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or by hand, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar just until smooth and creamy.

2. Beat in the egg and the vanilla.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

4. Stir the flour mixture into the beaten butter until combined, then mix in the chocolate chips, the nuts, and the seeds.

5. Cover and chill the batter until firm. (For best results, at least chill overnight.)

6. To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.

7. Roll the cookie dough into balls about the size of a large unshelled walnut. Place 8 - 10 balls evenly spaced apart on the baking sheet.

8. Bake the cookies for twelve minutes, until the cookies look barely browned and are still very soft. (They'll firm up as they cool; the key to good chewy cookies is undercooking them!)

9. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on the sheet for a minute before transferring them with a spatula to a cooling rack. Repeat cooking process until all your dough is cooked.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Mmm-MMM! That is one tasty muffin!

These muffins got their profane name after I described the muffins I was about to make as being "all fuckin' full of grains and fruit and yogurt and shit." (Note: Reading this sentence off the page makes these muffins sound more disturbing than they are.)

These are selections from an actual IM conversation with my boyfriend after he tried the muffins in question:

"Are these just whole-ass blueberries up in these motherfuckers?"


"Holy fuck! Moist. Squishy. Blueberry-y. But with a hint of millet crunch. Pretty goddamned fantastic muffin."

I think the millet really helps to keep it not become over-moist and provides necessary texture. And fucking blueberries rock. And there's flax seed pureed into there too, so there's all that healthy Omega-3 shit inside!

"OH MY FUCK! So healthy!"

So now without further ado...

Healthy Motherfucking Muffins

[photo to come]

1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup quinoa flakes
1/4 cup millet
1/2 cup raw sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
zest of 1 lemon
1 apple, cored and roughly chopped
1/4 cup flax seeds1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cups 2% Greek yogurt
1 cup blueberries, fresh

sliced almonds for topping, optional


Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease the cups of a standard muffin pan; or line with paper baking cups, and grease the paper cups.

Mix together flour, quinoa flakes, millet, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and lemon zest.
Place apple and flax seeds in a blender with 3/4 cup water, and blend until smooth. Add in the yogurt and vanilla, and pulse blender until mixed.
Pour the blender contents into the dry ingredients, stirring just to combine. Fold in blueberries.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them nearly full. A slightly heaped muffin scoop of batter is the right amount. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with almonds, if desired.
Bake the muffins for 25 minutes minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean.

Remove the muffins from the oven, and after 5 minutes (or when they're cool enough to handle) transfer them to a rack to cool. Serve warm, or at room temperature.
Yield: 12 muffins.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Seedy, Cheesy, and Just the Way I Like It

I love me some savory pastries. Especially ones with cheese. Sweet jesus, YES CHEESE. But I also recognize that I need to balance out my own personal cheese-loving tendencies with healthier ones. Hence, this recipe was born.

I cobbled together a few different recipes, using this one from the NY Times as a base while adding in elements I liked from other recipes (quinoa flakes and, of course, cheese). And since I was adding cheese, I slashed the sugar considerably and cut the vanilla. And lo 'n behold, they turned out pretty goddamn awesome.

(Note: When I made these, I added more water than I needed, resulting in a need to add a BUNCH more flour when rolling out the mad-sticky dough. I have adjusted the amount accordingly and the 2 tbsp. listed below should be just peachy.)

Seedy Cheese Scones

2.5 oz AP flour (plus more used while working)
2.5 oz cake flour
2 oz quinoa flakes
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons raw sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
2/3 cup yogurt + 2 tablespoons water
6 tablespoons mixed seeds/grains (I used sunflower, poppy, and millet)
2 oz. grated cheddar

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
2. Sift together the flours, flakes, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. Place in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly.
3. Combine the yogurt and water, add to the flour mixture, and pulse processor til mixed. Stop the machine and add the seeds. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the cheese; pulse to mix.
4. Flour your hands as well as your work surface, and scrape out the dough. Gently shape into a rectangle 1 inch thick. Cut into 6 squares, then cut the squares diagonally to give you 12 triangular scones. The dough may be sticky; add a little more flour as needed to make it workable.

5. Place the scones on the baking sheet about 1 inch apart and bake 15(+) minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, or serve warm.

Yield: 12 scones

Next time, I'll likely try using a tad less butter, actually use the amount of water listed above, and have whole wheat flour on hand to swap out for the AP stuff. But considering how fast and loose I played with this recipe without having tested it, I'm pretty pleased with myself.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

In response to my aforementioned feelings...

I've been feeling the need to detox, as many of us do after the holidays, as much as I can while we're in book development at work. (This is a process that requires me to make semi-regular trips to the kitchen to taste a new recipe or two and weigh in on whether it's good, what it needs, etc. Yeah, it's a rough life.)

Being the Francophile I am and knowing that I'd surely become a crazy person on a juice cleanse and that I'd be unlikely to keep anything going longer than a couple days, I made a choice that was food-like and brief. Mireille Giuliano (of French Women Don't Get Fat fame) has a Leek Soup Kick-Off Weekend plan which is kind of a lead in to eating better in general and flushing your system to get you started off right. While her extremely spartan Magical Leek Soup recipe looked a bit TOO extreme for my purposes (NOTHING BUT LEEK BROTH AND BOILED LEEKS FOR TWO DAYS?! See, I got crazy just thinking about it), the Provencal-inspired Mimosa soup seemed a bit more my speed.

Here's the recipe. The following words, until indicated, are Mireille's... my notes will be in red.

[begin Mireille]

Mimosa Soup Recipe
1 head of lettuce
½ lb. carrots
½ lb. celeriac
½ lb. turnips
½ lb. cauliflower
1 lb. leeks
2 hard boiled eggs chopped
½ cup chopped parsley
Water to cover in a large pot

[TRUTH TIME: I added about 2 tbsp. of miso paste to the very large pot because I just couldn't bear the idea of all that unseasoned soup. But even still...]

1. Clean and chop all ingredients in rough pieces and, except for the cauliflower and parsley, put them a pot. Cover with water, bring to boil and simmer unlidded for 40 minutes. Add the cauliflower and cook for another 15 minutes.

2. Pass all the contents through a food mill. (I used an immersion blender; worked just dandy.)

3. Serve in a bowl and add more parsley and pieces of chopped boiled eggs.

Eat a cup every three hours (room temperature or reheated) or so all day Saturday and Sunday until the same Sunday dinner of fish or meat, 2 steamed vegetables with a dash of butter or olive oil and 1 piece of fruit. Somewhat less liquidy [thank god] and magical [I'll take that to mean maddening] than the leek soup it nevertheless is an effective and tasty alternative.

Both versions are so good [read: bland but tolerable], and an adventure for most palates [read: an exercise in deprivation], that you will have a very hard time seeing them as prison rations. Especially if these tastes are new to you, jot your impressions of flavor and fragrance in your journal. In time, this exercise will intensify your pleasures [read: cravings], and you may want to keep a regular diary of your experiences gastronomiques [read: psychotically maddening cravings for things like bread and cheese], including some wine notes (just as serious oenologues do).

[end Mireille]

I just had my first bowl, and I should be able to keep this up all weekend, due to the fact that I have a pretty rigid and demanding rehearsal schedule that will keep me from going out or having dinner with my boyfriend. I can be pretty sure, though, that my "Sunday dinner of fish or meat, 2 steamed vegetables with a dash of butter or olive oil and 1 piece of fruit" will stray a bit away from the prescribed meal.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Old and Fat

I feel old and fat and no amount of other people saying "Dude, you're not fat" or reminding me that I'm only 29 can quell it.

(Sidenote: Has this ever helped? Has the response ever been, "Whew! Thank goodness!" I'm not saying I AM fat; I'm saying I feel fat. I know it's in my brain and not my ass but I can't shake it -- the feeling, not my ass.)


I'm blaming the new year.

For some reason, the impending New Year (spellcheck says it should be capped, y'all) has me in a state of self-doubt I haven't seen since my birthday (*cough only 3 months ago cough*). I think this whole year leading up to my 30th birthday is just going to be one long string of anxiety over feeling like I'm aging but not growing up.

Not that this is even outside the norm these days. One of my very favorite websites is written by a group of ladies who appear to always be barraged by others deeming them immature, irresponsible, etc. Which is probably why I love it all so much. Then there's "Young Adult," with Charlize repping for all the lady-girls out there.

But back to me. (FOCUS.)

When I hit 29, I was like "This is it, homes. Last year of your 20's. You better look hot while you can because it's all downhill from here." I can practically feel my metabolism slowing down as I type these words. I've begun to notice a permanent crinkle in my face that isn't related to speaking or smiling (them lines ain't going NOWHERE) or raising my eyebrows in surprise/disdain; it is an inner eyebrow crinkle that is distinctly from excessive squinting and brow-furrowing, much of which I blame on the years I spent avoiding wearing my glasses. Now I'm stuck between my deeply-ingrained lazy ways and my desire to retain my youthful (?) good looks (??) -- I'll obsess much of the day over whether or not to start using a night cream, eye cream, serum (I don't know what serums do, WHAT ARE THEY?), but by the time I'm zonked enough to crash, I'll usually fall asleep with a full face of makeup as per usual.

By the way, I feel like the people who market those face creams are FULLY aware of this kind of paranoid insecurity and how much sway it hold over us when they come up with the pricing. I'm super-cheap and still youngish, so when I look at these creams, I think "Yes, I'm concerned about this, but I'm not $40-a-jar concerned yet." I'm pretty much under-$20-concerned right now. I'm also embarrassed to purchase these items, mostly because I don't want anyone to comment on my selection. I would rather buy a pile of scandalous underwear, tampons, lube, and condoms than walk up to a register with a jar of something marked "anti-aging."

And as for exercise, I really haven't found something that falls in with my Midwestern frugality (read: brutal cheapness), my inability to stick to a routine, and the aforementioned lazy ways. I tried taking a morning walk around my neighborhood, but after a while I got SO BORED with my stupid neighborhood! So I stopped. I've tried workout DVDs which was OK until a) my stupid, newly-motivated boyfriend started getting up earlier too and puttering around while I follow instructions from the television like an asshole (I should mention at this point that I REALLY HATE having other people watch me exercise, mostly because I'm sure it's hilarious) and b) I got SO BORED with the DVDs. I have one of those trainer-things for my bike, (which looks a bit funny, since it's a cruiser with a basket), so I can bike in my living room -- biking while reading was actually working really well for me, until I started having to spend my early morning time waking up to work on other stuff. (Hey, holidays? Let's get this shit over with already.)

Today I keep seeing mentions of pilates. Pilates? Is that something I want? I don't know. I have a pilates DVD I used for a while, and the best thing I learned from it is that pilates was created by a guy named Joseph Pilates. THERE WAS A JOE PILATES. As in "Who do you think you are, Joe Pilates or something?" That doesn't even really work as a burn because Joe Pilates was a real person. Not to mention the fact that the name Joe Pilates sounds like it belongs to a dude who runs a pizza shop in Queens.

If anyone reads this and has actual suggestions as to what might work for my cheap, lazy, self-conscious, easily-bored self in terms of exercise, tell me.

Enough of this for now...