How do Genetics Affect Your Chocolate Bar + Other Must Reads + Recipes

Pour a Cup and Read

Pour a Cup and Read

Hola, como esta? Mi muy bien. Pour a cup and read about what you need to read.

I’m sharing with you today links that I believe you can’t go any further in life without reading. This has been a weekly series for over a year but I can’t decide what to call it. Past iterations have included Really Great Things and Links I Love. Still tinkering, bear with me.

Chocolate!

Do we all agree, well with the exception of Mr. 12 who is a vanilla baby, that chocolate is a major food group? Then you’ll want to read this piece in Newsweek about the genetics of chocolate.

I hope reading this will give you all of you chocolate snobs, you know who you are, a reason to buy the occasional Snickers or Milky Way bar.  The Mars Company is funding massive amounts of research in the name of chocolate lovers everywhere.

How was May weather where you are? It was gorgeous here in Maine, a bit dry but sunny and pretty warm. If you’re in the U.S. you might want to check out this summer forecast. Of course, I know many of you are not in the U.S. (Hi Brazilian and Russian readers:) )

No matter the weather, it’s always a good time for a mojito. I’ve never tried this version but it uses one of my favorite fruits.

How many times a day are you checking Facebook or Twitter or Instagram? Here are 7 Reasons Why You Should Take a Break from Social Media. The first and foremost being the quote below:

“Sometimes social media makes us less focused on our own lives and more focused on what others are doing.” —-Moose A. at Elite Daily

My makeupandbeauty blogger and fellow crazy cat lady, Karen, informed the world about a new, rare perfume, which contains benzoin tears. Google it. Those tears are a real thing. Then read what Karen had to say about the scent.

And while you’re at it, check out her boss Tabs’ new blog. You’ll be mewling with jealousy.

Further proof that Amazon is indeed taking over the world. Would you like a bowl of Amios?

red wagon

Living in Maine exposes one to a fair amount of country music. I must say it’s not my first choice when I turn the dial but I do like that Little Red Wagon song by Miranda Lambert. In fact, I’ve found I like many of her songs, especially Gunpowder and Lead. She’s all about women’s empowerment :) Then I found this post on ways to repurpose a little red wagon. I like the bar cart idea and once 12 and 46 give up their little red wagon, I’m snagging it. You can listen to Little Red Wagon while you’re refurbishing one.

I’m really more about the cookie than the cupcake but this is the cleverest idea I’ve seen in a long time.

Your turn, please tell me what you think we need to read this week. Leave a comment below.

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Have a great week,

Jennifer

 

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What I Cooked This Week

What I Cooked This Week, what did you cook?

What I Cooked This Week, what did you cook?

Hi friend, what’s going on wichu?  Let me tell you, I’ve had all manner of technical difficulties. First, my site went completely down for a day due to a problem with my web hosting company. Then there was something wrong with the dashboard. And before all of that started, I was blogging with an aging netbook while my laptop was in the shop.

I tell you, if it isn’t one thing, it’s another.

I began writing this missive to you on my iPhone but it just wasn’t working for me. And I tried using 12’s iPad. But I really need a solid laptop for posting. #firstworldproblems

Anyhoo, my site is now operating on most of its cylinders and my laptop was ready today. Boy have I missed it. :)

Let’s talk food, what’s everyone been cooking or thinking about cooking?

Here’s what I’ve cooked:

Our favorite beer can chicken

This is our favorite recipe right now. The chicken is rubbed a spicy sweet blend, butter and canola oil. Then slices of lime are stuffed under the skin. The whole bird is planted on an open can of beer and roasted for 75 minutes at 425 degrees.

This is our favorite recipe right now. The chicken is rubbed with a spicy sweet blend, butter and canola oil. Then slices of lime are stuffed under the skin. The whole bird is planted on an open can of beer and roasted for 75 minutes at 425 degrees.

which led to lots of leftover chicken, which led to Cast Iron Skillet Nachos:

Cast iron skillet nachos

Cast iron skillet nachos

And,

Pasta with Asian Peanut Sauce and chicken

Pasta with Asian Peanut Sauce and chicken takes ten minutes to prepare. This is a kid, clock and budget friendly meal. Did I mention it’s also delish?

The pasta with Asian peanut sauce and chicken is my secret weapon recipe. Everyone enjoys it and it comes together quickly if you’ve got leftover chicken or a rotisserie chicken. We like it topped with chopped peanuts, cilantro and shredded carrot (not shown). But, really any chopped vegetable would be a good topping. Although, I would implore you not to skip the cilantro, which pairs nicely with the peanut sauce. You get double extra brownie points if you make your own peanut sauce.

Here’s one of my secrets: I buy bottled peanut sauce at Target. I really love their Archer Farms brand of Thai Peanut Sauce. Before you tell me how good and easy it is to make homemade peanut sauce, I’ll tell you that I’ve tried several peanut sauce recipes and haven’t liked any of them. The Archer Farms sauce is a tad sweet for me but it works where homemade does not.

Have I ever told you about my peanut cooking escapade before I knew I was pregnant (13 years ago!!!!!)? It was crazy I tell you. I got a really intense craving for anything with peanuts so I decided to make chicken skewers with peanut sauce for dinner. This was back when I was still confident of finding a homemade peanut sauce recipe I liked. So I was cooking away. Meanwhile I decided to make a batch of peanut butter cookies while the chicken was on the grill and I was shoving spoonfuls of peanut butter in my mouth. It was Cray Cray (that’s crazy for all you non-millenials).

That afternoon should have been my sign something was awry in my uterus but it took several more weeks of weirdness and intense sickness before I thought to take a pregnancy test.

So, back to what I’ve been cooking this week, I also made a slow cooker lasagna, which Mr. 46 declared as “perfect,” because it had lots of meat and lots of sauce and the recipe for which I’ll post soon. I’m going to do a price breakdown too. I think, if I’m remembering correctly, I made this lasagna for less than $10 and it made 12 or 15 servings when paired with salads on the side.

Slow Cooker Lasagna

Slow Cooker Lasagna

I love making a slow cooker lasagna like this one.  When lasagna noodles are cooked in the slow cooker, they turn out perfectly, there aren’t any crispy bits or dried out edges. Plus, a few minutes of work yields several meals. You can’t beat that with a stick for a lazy cook like moi.

A slice of slow cooker lasagna

A slice of slow cooker lasagna

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Tell me what you’ve been cooking this week in the comments.

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Links You Need to Read #42

Links You Need to Read to be Smarter, Faster, Greater.

Links You Need to Read to be Smarter, Faster, Greater.

Hello friend! Welcome to issue #42 of Links You Need to Read, also known as, ‘the be patient with Jennifer and typos edition.’ See I’m drafting this post on an ancient, slow, dinosaur of a netbook because someone cracked her laptop screen over the weekend. :)

Look at this itsy, bitsy, tiny screen

Look at this itsy, bitsy, tiny screen on my netbook

 

As luck would have it, today was the first day of a murder trial I’m covering for my somewhat pay the bills job and I’m expected to file updates on the trial at least every hour. So, it was a ridiculous time to be without my laptop. I was lucky I hadn’t sold this netbook yet, I had been planning to. But, it really has issues and it’s so small and my vision is getting so bad that I can’t see what I’ve typed without holding the netbook up to my face about an inch away from my eyes. Talk about something that makes you feel like an old geezer.

I was really hoping to pop into Geek Squad during the lunch break to see how quickly and cheaply they would replace my laptop screen but it just wasn’t in the stars with the court schedule and traffic and timing. So I think I’m going to be working with this old machine through the week. #firstworldproblems

But I digress.

On to the links you need to read to be faster and smarter and able to chat people up at cocktail parties:

Summer is the best time of the year to make salsa since you can get so many fresh ingredients for a minimum of expense and fuss. However, I do get stymied when faced with all kinds of hot pepper choices. Do you know a jalapeno from a Scotch bonnet. This poster should help.

Dinner ideas:  Pan seared salmon with Mediterranean Salsa Fresca and Toasted Couscous

White Ricotta Pizza

My friend Karen’s clever twist: easy enchilada casserole.   No need to spend all that time filling and rolling up tortillas when you’re going to cut them up anyway, right?

Breakfast idea:

Muffins are not my favorite breakfast choice. I would much rather have a scone. But I’m willing to try this variety of muffin.
 Okay, so I’m ending it here. I had other things to share with you people but what usually takes a half hour with my laptop has taken three hours with this netbook. That’s how slow and riddled with operating problems this thing is.
So tell me what your links are this week :)

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Links You Need to Read #41

Links You Need to Read to be Smarter, Faster, Greater.

Links You Need to Read to be Smarter, Faster, Greater.

Hi doll! How’s your week going? Mine is okay. I had a really productive start to the week, which always makes me suspicious. I can’t figure out what the magic was for my productivity. It could have been the multiple iced coffees, could have been the yoga, could have been the mountain climb. It’s anyone’s guess.

So, here we go, the Links You Need this week to be Smarter, Faster, Greater :)

Upgrade your barbecue for National Barbecue Month:

Try this twist on potato salad.

If you’ve got patience and a bit of time, put the stale tasting hamburger buns back on the shelf and try this recipe from Real Butter (p.s. how great is that blog name?).

Move over pork ribs, The Meat to grill this summer are beef ribs.

Put down the barbecue sauce for one weekend and try this one. You probably have all the ingredients in your pantry.

Produce It:

What are you doing with all your fresh strawberries? I like to shovel them in as is or dip them in chocolate but I could totally eat a pan of this cake.

Here are ideas for the green garlic that should be in your farmer’s market.

Caffeine:

It’s time to surrender your coffee guilt.

You can never have enough of these in your kitchen, especially if they’re cute and homemade.

Food as Art:

File this under  I bet he doesn’t have any fingerprints.

For fun:

Let them eat cake, especially if it’s this easy.

Have you heard of this French wardrobe? Not sure why it’s called five pieces, I count a bunch.

Do you know your Tylenol from your Advil? Did you know one of those drugs can affect your emotions?

A mom from my hometown of St. Louis, Wendy Sondov, created a food blog out out of her practice of sending a care package to her son at college every week. How cool is that? Plus she’s in the aforementioned cake link. If you’re sending care packages to anyone, check her out.

Must Watch:

grace_and_frankie

Have you seen Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda’s new dramedy Grace and Frankie? I’m only three episodes in but I’m so enjoying it. It’s a funny show, which touches on family relations, addiction, aging, all with a light hand.

Well, thank you so much for reading :) Now tell me, what are your links you think everyone needs to read this week? Leave a comment.

Webbishly Yours,

Jennifer

 

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Rock Your Meals and Cocktails with Infusions

The secret to rocking your meals and cocktails is just a mason jar away.

infuse_cover

A mason jar, fresh herbs, fruits or vegetables and a medium, like oil, spirits or water are all you need to create an infusion to pour over pizza, pasta, grilled meat or use in a homemade salad dressing. Or, to combine with other spirits for a cocktail.

An infusion is something greater than the sum of its parts, according to the authors of a new book, “Infuse.”

“Whether it was a spicy chili oil drizzled over homemade pasta, a mason jar of roasted pineapple-infused mezcal passed around a ‘Friendsgiving’ part or a citrus-infused water stored in the fridge for an especially hot day, we couldn’t resist the 1+1=3 magic of infusions.”

–Eric Prum and Josh Williams, “Infuse”

Prum and Williams also wrote “Shake: A New Perspective on Cocktails,” which showed readers how to craft cocktails at home.

With “Infuse” the former college roommates explain tools, ratios and provide ideas for infusing fresh fruits, vegetables and spices in oil, spirits and water as well as recipes for using said infusions.

What I liked about “Infuse” is its simplicity. Prum and Williams explain concisely how to make your own infusions and what tools are needed.

I’m most excited about trying “Overnight Limoncello.” Making limoncello has been on my list of recipes to try for a couple of years now. There’s a certain Italian food chain whose food is just okay but their frozen limoncello drinks are out of this world. But, the traditional method of making limoncello entails letting the vodka and lemons mingle for several weeks. That doesn’t work for my inner 21-year-old who likes Immediate Gratification.

There is a recipe for Olio Santo, a spicy Calabrian chili oil that I want to try. Spicy chili oil can be drizzled over pizza or pasta.

The book is laid out in four sections with The Basics first. You learn what tools you need for making your own infusions, most of which you probably already have. They include a muddler, vegetable peeler, strainer, peeler and cheesecloth.

Basics also gives you the lowdown on what sizes of mason jar are best for which infusions. Think oil in an 8-oz, spirits in a 16-oz and water in a 32-oz or quart mason jar.

Infuse is further laid out with sections on oil, spirit and water with recipes interspersed.

Infuse

I’m so intrigued about exploring infusions I’m ready to give up my self-imposed ban on mason jars. That came about because I was going to shred my yoga mat if I saw another wannabe hippie or anatomically correct hipster sipping herbal tea with a metal straw in a mason jar. Just over it I tell you, but I will purchase a few jars in the spirit of creating infusions to amp up meal time and summer drinks.

If you’ve wanted to add flavored oils to your pantry but your budget hasn’t allowed it, creating your own basil infused oil or rosemary mint oil to drizzle over bread or salad or grilled meats is much thriftier than buying them at a gourmet food shop. And, the oils will taste so much fresher. “Infuse” gives you recipes for all of those as well as sage oil. You can use the ratios in those recipes to create other flavors, depending on what vegetables and herbs you find at the farmer’s market or in your garden.

With flavored oils at your fingertips you can transform even the most basic of grilled meats and vegetables with just one pour.

“Infuse” has gorgeous photos so if you like visuals, this is the book for you. It isn’t clear from looking at the book jacket who shot the photos.

I have just two criticisms. I would like the book to have included recipes or lists of suggested dishes for using the infusions. I was also a teensy bit disappointed in the pair’s recipe for “essential vinaigrette,” which seems like every other vinaigrette recipe I’ve ever seen.

Tell me about your experience with infusions. Have you made any? What kinds? How did they turn out? How did you use them?

From the authors of Shake- A New

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