Whole30 Week 3: We’ve Got Tiger Blood in Our Veins

It’s week three of Whole30 – halfway to cheese! Are we still surviving? Read on to find out.

:Week 1:

:Week 2:

Day 15

Molly: After my through-the-roof grocery bills at the start, I’m in a comfortable place now because some meals stretched longer than I thought, and others didn’t use up all of their ingredients. Since last week’s made-up frittata was a dud, I was glad to use some leftovers in a breakfast that I’m actually enjoying: sweet potatoes with baked eggs, with a side of sauteed kale, tomatoes, red onions and orange pepper. Hello, color!

These harissa portobello mushroom tacos are a hard recommend. If I make them again, I might go for the extra credit and make cashew cream to go on top.

Yes, that’s romaine, and yes, I spent a few hours crossing my fingers that I didn’t get e.coli (I didn’t).

This weekend somebody asked me if eating on the Whole30 is boring, and it’s a mixed bag. I’ve had so much fresh, delicious food that I couldn’t call that part boring. However, constantly thinking about what I have to make, and spending hours on meal prep, IS a bit of a drag.

Traci: I didn’t have to work today, so I’ve put off cooking until now. By cooking, I mean it’s a light day since I only made hard boiled eggs, made some breakfast sausages, cut up items for salad, and cooked the other Blue Apron meal of Togarashi chicken lettuce cups. So. Much. Meal. Prep.

And like Molly, I too spent an arm and leg on groceries the first week, and now I just have food/meals that are lasting a while. Including the kale avocado salad I made with the Blue Apron box, which apparently will last me a month.

Day 16

T: Also worth noting that I made mini fritattas too, and still eating those for breakfast. Also for breakfast – taking a whiff of my co-worker’s cinnamon sugar donut like it’s crack.

I also risked everything and watched “Somebody Feed Phil”, a new Netflix docuseries featuring Everybody Loves Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal. I loved his first show, “I’ll Have What Phil’s Having”, and the premise is similar for both – Phil goes to different places all around the world and eats their local cuisine. Most of which I can’t have on W30. But let’s be honest, it’s also barely plausible that I will be getting pad thai from a vendor at Bangkok’s floating market anytime soon. Point is that I watched it. Well, most of it. And didn’t crave non-compliant food! Little victories.

Molly and Tori were talking about the reintroduction phase once day 31 hits. I didn’t read the book. Am I not supposed to shove my face with cheese?

M: I put off reading about the reintroduction phase until this week and I’m a little scared I’m going to say screw it and eat all the cheese. What they DON’T tell you is the Whole30 is really a Whole40, with like one non-compliant thing every few days for the last 10 days. I don’t love it.

Somebody Feed Phil sounds amazing – food travel is one of my favorites! –  but I’m not sure if I can handle it as well as Traci did.  Just seeing Call Me By Your Name last week (and smelling everyone’s popcorn) had me missing living with a European family when I was young, in Spain, and allowed to eat grains, sugar and dairy.

Day 17

T: I finally ate the last of the kale avocado salad. With balsamic chicken I’ve had since last week. Honestly I have an overabundance of food. And 80% of it I’m only half interested in eating.

I will say that I feel like not eating all the things that aren’t compliant is becoming second nature to me. Dare I say, easy?

M: This week I ran across the phrase “tiger blood” and couldn’t stop laughing. TIGER BLOOD. These people are serious about the phrase “tiger blood.” That sounds like a disease you’d get in the jungle if you don’t get the right vaccines before you go.

Anyway, “tiger blood” hits around this phase of W30, when you’re feeling fresh, energetic, and like it’s – dare I, too? – easy. I think we’re both there! I’m used to what I can and cannot have, I’m more or less in a rhythm with cooking, and I’m not buying all the groceries in the world.  I’m really enjoying all of the stuff I’m making. It’s starting to feel like I can more or less eat this way when I’m done, bu, t with the addition of bread, pasta, oatmeal, quinoa, barley, cheese and the occasional sweet. So, nothing like this and exactly like I ate before. Never mind.

Day 18

M: We’re well past the halfway point (!) and one thing we haven’t brought up is alcohol. In fact, when people ask what the Whole30 rules are I always forget to mention it. I don’t know, both of us will have a drink or two socially but have definitely gone a month without alcohol without meaning to. And at 31, our social lives don’t revolve around going to bars like they did 10 years ago. Plus we don’t, like, Olivia Pope it with a tumbler of wine after work. Anyway, if you’re wondering why we haven’t brought it up, it’s just because it’s really a nonissue. Now, if I had to give up coffee and tea instead we’d have some Real Problems.

T: I’ve had to explain W30 multiple times to people over the past few weeks and every time, I forget alcohol. It’s an afterthought, and TBH it’s only been a problem when I realize I can’t have it when it’s an ingredient in certain dishes, NOT because I want a giant vat of sauvignon blanc.

Today’s self-debate: which of the things I’m not supposed to have will be the first thing i reintroduce into my diet? It’s like Sophie’s Choice. Dairy is winning by the way.

Day 19

M: I’m late to the game with this one, but I went to Chipotle and it was great for Whole30! I ended up with a salad with raw fajita veggies, probably 2-3 kinds of salsa, and a solid cup of guacamole. When I go to peoples’ houses I’ve taken to just bringing a container of leftovers and hoping I don’t seem crazy. This probably only works with family and close friends.

T: Look, we both said it’s getting “Easy” and #TigerBlood and all, but here’s another difficult thing that I faced today: i am starting to get sick of the food I’m eating.

Because I’m starting to get over cooking, it’s led me to only cooking dinners on Sundays, which means breakfast is basically hard boiled eggs, avocado and a breakfast meat of choice. And again, because I’m a rebel, I don’t lunch but rather snack, and there’s only so many roasted plantain chips (i’m not supposed to have) to be eating.

I JUST WANT THE OPTION TO EAT AN ENTIRE LOAF OF BREAD WITH BUTTER. I’M NOT ACTUALLY GOING TO DO IT. BUT I WANT THE OPTION.

M: I’m getting testy because I’m realizing that this is not that different from how I eat regularly, except with the ENTIRE LACK OF OPTIONS for “sometimes foods.” It’s important to note that neither of us like feeling bossed around, and I am feeling VERY BOSSED INDEED.

Day 20

T: Today I ate out TWICE! First, I had lunch after the Women’s March, but had to do extensive research for places that had W30 options in downtown LA. We ended up at a generic European place that opened one day before the Women’s March last year. The owner was our server and kept giving us free items like a jelly candy, charcuterie plate and tiny macaroons. I had two slices of the ham and ordered poke on greens without soy sauce. All very delicious.

Then I went out to dinner before seeing Disney’s Aladdin (the musical, not the movie, obvs). We usually eat at a place near the Pantages, Greenleaf, which is a lot of salads and the like. I did a build your own salad (with this great almond-crusted chicken) and my friend and I split an order of baked sweet potato fries and an avocado pesto dip (which we had to obnoxiously ask for an itemized list of ingredients).

Both of us (she is also on W30) were on our way back home and were still hungry. How. Anyways, it’s possible to eat out, just not as many choices.

M: I’m finding it really hard to eat out on the vegetarian version and I’m largely disinterested in the options available to me, like Some Broccoli or A Sad Bare Salad. Maybe that’s what W30Couple wants (I get that it’s Melissa and Dallas but I’ve taken to thinking of them as Melissa and Doug, of wholesome wooden children’s toy fame).

Day 21

T: Second round of Blue Apron cooking today, and it included a seared salmon & harissa vegetables with roasted red onion vinaigrette and then crispy chicken and italian tomato sauce with potatoes and collard greens.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. The fact that I have to cook two meals in the middle of my Sunday is annoying to me. But this is what I signed up for. The Whole40.

M: OK, so not only is it a for-real Whole40, but I somehow deluded myself into thinking of it as 4 weeks instead of 30 days. As in, over the weekend I thought to myself “okay, heading into week 4! almost there!”  I was celebrating my last shopping trip of Whole30, then remembered that I’m not done until next Wednesday (plus 10 after that…). Staying positive here, friends.

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Whole30 Week 2: “It’s My Whole30”

We made it another week! What did we learn now that we’re seasoned experts? Read on to find out!

: See Week 1 here:

Day 8

Molly: I should probably mention that I’m doing the vegetarian version of the Whole30. I haven’t eaten meat since some time in high school, which was so long ago that there are now period films about it (Lady Bird, I’m pulling for that Oscar nomination). The W30 description of the vegetarian diet sounds like it was written by Regina George. It’s basically, “you’re a nonsense person who has chosen a garbage lifestyle, but here’s a way you could ruin your diet less I GUESS.” The difference is mainly that I don’t eat meat (obviously) but can eat some legumes. Whole milk organic pasteurized plain yogurt is OK but I’m not going to do it. I mean there were 4 modifiers before I even got to “yogurt.” This is actually the first day I’ve had any legumes – for the most part, I’m doing the regular W30 but with an almost obscene amount of eggs – but I realized my protein intake was a bit low so I made lentil soup and a roasted beet salad with edamame.

Peeling roasted beets is pretty gnarly, huh?

Traci: RX Bars – what is the consensus on these? I had one that contained egg whites, dates, almonds, blueberries, other items and it was super dense. I couldn’t even finish it.

Since I’m on my regular meat-eating diet, for dinner, I had pork chops with Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute that you can put on pretty much anything and it will taste like you actually put an effort into cooking. I had that with roasted broccoli and cauliflower rice, and it felt the most like a regular dinner since start this a week ago!

M: I’m not buying RX bars or Lara Bars. I make my granola bars in real life (real life being when I’m not doing W30 I guess?) and switching to premade ones would probably feel like dessert. #Sexpants. [Update: toward the end of the week I had a Lara bar in a pinch. It was OK but not great. I’d treat it as a backup food but not a regular thing.]

Day 9

M: Here’s something I’ve noticed: getting hungry makes me feel way more panicky than normal.  I was at the hardware store tonight and felt famished as I looked at the junk food by the register – and buying snacks on the go isn’t even something I do! But I couldn’t have it, was the difference.

They announced a snow storm for Friday into Saturday and I immediately knew I’d push my weekly shopping trip up to Thursday even though I avoid grocery stores the night before a storm. The idea of being trapped in my house with just a bag of frozen spinach and a dwindling egg supply was terrifying.

T: Do you guys know how hard it is to find a breakfast meat that doesn’t include sugar? 99% of all bacon (not a real stat) includes some kind of sugar, specifically brown sugar. Our friend Tori, who is also doing W30, suggested Pederson’s brand for all my breakfast meat needs. I went to Whole Foods since it’s the only local place that carries it – and a pack of uncooked no sugar hickory smoked bacon is $7.99!!! Gonna have to ration this shit out.

A lot of people at my work are sick, and since I’m paranoid, I felt like I needed to act before those germs could strike on me. But my usual plan of attack is to down Vitamin C and gulp a lot of orange juice. But can’t do that this time around. I’ve been eating a lot of oranges, but it doesn’t seem enough to me. Which is why I went to Whole Foods in the first place. They carry these wellness shots by Kor that are supposed to help the immune system. My friend also told me about these Elderberry & Zinc lozenges that I also purchase because this bitch isn’t getting sick. Especially not on W30.

My friend invited me to an impromptu W30 dinner, since 4 of my friends are also doing it, and 2 others just went along for the ride. They made baked waffle fries and this slow cooker chili (but added sweet potato and sliced carrots and used low sodium chicken stock, not beef). It was so freaking good and again, didn’t felt like it was a typical “W30” meal.

Day 10

T: You know what you shouldn’t do? Take the Kor wellness shot while you’re driving. I knew it had cayenne pepper in it but a greatly underestimated how it was going to effect me. It’s straight up ginger, cayenne, lemon juice, coconut juice, and tiny tiny little shivs made into particles that go down your throat. I had to get rid of the burn by grabbing some cashews originally rationed for lunch. But am I sick? No. Worth it? I guess.

Today I got halfway from the parking garage to my office and realized I forgot my lunch bag in my car. I couldn’t just leave it because it had my breakfast and all my W30 approved snacks for the day! I couldn’t survive off the things from craft services and the commissary – which I obviously would have to spend money on. I walked all the way back. Extra exercise, I guess?

Relatedly, besides all the cooking, my other complaint about this is how much money you spend. Between organic foods and items like coconut oil or ghee, it’s a lot of stuff I don’t usually buy that costs nearly twice as much as my regular groceries. Here are some super helpful tips on how to save money on W30 from 40 Aprons (home of the delish crockpot carnitas from last week) if you can relate.

I also just want to give a shout out to Simply Organic Dijon Mustard – it is giving me life through W30. It’s surprisingly delish and I’m maybe putting it on everything moving forward.

M: I donated blood today because there’s a shortage, I’m 0- (universal donor), and someone in HR specifically emailed me telling me there were cancellations and she noticed I had donated before. Hello, guilt trip. I have a super-low resting heart rate and tend to get woozy after donating, which is admittedly like … two times because I used to be ineligible. I was worried that I’d feel even worse being on the W30, but it was fine! I did have raisins and apple juice (no added sugar or weird stuff in either) right after because I know how I get.

Day 11

M: My Whole30 Mantra, because I have a Whole30 mantra, is “it’s my Whole30.” I use it when I read Whole30 commentary about the ideal way to do things, like not snacking and going full-egg if you’re a vegetarian. I’m doing this to reset my dietary preferences and habits. I know I’m not sensitive to legumes so I’m not stressing about doing the version that allows them. I’m also not trying to lose weight so – Whole30 controversy alert! – I’m still weighing myself since I know I won’t quit if I’m not losing. I don’t know what I’d do if I gained – back off the fruit?  No. “Back off the fruit” is the diet plan of a crazy person.

I really want, like, a single square of chocolate at night, but I am also deep enough into W30 to appreciate the total restriction approach. Until February. Then gimme me that 80% cacao.

T: I totally agree that “It’s My Whole30” should be everyone’s motto. It’s probably against everything the founder talked about in her book we didn’t read, but I still stand by it.

Here’s a good snack I’ve enjoyed at work: carrots and an individual cup of Wholly Guacamole. It feels like guac shouldn’t be compliant, but thank god it is.

Day 12

T: I was 3/4 of the way through eating my hard boiled eggs, avocado, and chicken sausage breakfast topped with Trader Joe’s Chili Pepper hot sauce when I thought to myself, “Hmm this hot sauce tastes a little sweet”. Then I looked at the ingredients. Right there, listed second, was SUGAR. Lit’rally an hour before, I was texting Molly and our friend Tori, and said “I decided if sugar sneaks in i’m going to pretend it didn’t happen.”

WELL IT DID, TRACI. IT DID. How much sugar is in it, exactly? 1 gram. OK FINE. IT’S BARELY ANYTHING, BUT STILL. This is how sugar just comes out of nowhere. We eat too much sugar as a society, y’all.

Anyways, I’m pretending it didn’t happen and moving forward with my life. Because I’ve been super careful up until then.

I’d also like to point out the dessert I just whipped up like a contestant on Chopped. If the contestant was given a basket of non-weird food items that go together.

M: While I’m avoiding anything dessert-y (including nut butters), that looks amaaaazing. I made a cereal that was the first sweet food I’ve had other than plain fruit (food processed walnuts, coconut, chia and raisins) and it was just like Traci with the RX bars – I  couldn’t even get through a serving because it was so dense, like fruitcake cereal.  I only made the damn fruitcake cereal because I have been powering through this frittata I don’t like for about 3 days and I need a break. I spend so long cooking that I can’t bear to waste perfectly ‘good’ food.

Update: 3 hours later my mouth still feels sugary and gross from the ‘cereal.’ There’s a reason the serving size of raisins is one box that fits perfectly in a dollhouse pantry. They’re TOO SWEET. Back to eggs and veggies for breakfast.

Day 13

T: I went to go see Call Me By Your Name and the smell of popcorn was wafting in the air as i watched my new favorite couple fall in love on screen. I just sat there and drank my smuggled in bottle of water.

I also received my first Blue Apron box! they’ve paired up with W30 to provide compliant meals and i thought what a better time than any to finally try it out! i got some kind of deal where i got $50 off (split between boxes) so it works out to be about $10/meal, which provides 2 servings. First up was Mexican spiced barramundi with kale, roasted sweet potatoes and avocado salad. there’s a step by step guide that times everything perfectly, so it’s basically cool proof. It wasn’t too laborious and tbh i wasn’t even sure if it was going to taste good. especially bc i’m so picky with kale. But let me tell you – it was DELISH. Like i was surprised at how good it was. And the kale salad? I went back for another heap of it bc it was that good.

The thing that’s always attracted me to Blue Apron (and similar boxes) is there you’re provided w the exact amount of ingredients and nothing more. EG a bag of Mexican spices. a sachet of pepitas. so much better than having to buy a full container of cumin that i’m never going to use again.

M: The Blue Apron W30 box is non-veg, but based on my friends’ reviews I am signing up for it once I’m done with W30. Most of the expense of this has been buying pricey ingredients that are bigger than I need. Like, why do fresh herbs come in bunches the size of my head?

T: Additionally, I went to a party/movie night where there was cheese, brownies, s’mores, and even tempted my then offer of an ice cream sundae to my face but i said no sir. again what’s super helpful about this is that four of my other friends there are also on W30 so it’s not as bad when other people are eating bell peppers and disregarding the moist brownies on the table.

M: The hardest thing about W30 for me is the fear of seeming rude or bratty for refusing things. It goes back to the vegetarian thing: I feel so sorry for how it inconveniences hosts that I will eat literally anything else somebody is serving. That’s harder to do on W30 – at restaurants too! – because vegetarian options usually contain grains or cheese. I was at a baby shower this weekend where fortunately there were some vegetables, nuts (thank you, charcuterie boards!) and a fruit salad, and I loaded my plate with those so you couldn’t tell I was skipping the assorted brunch foods. I had visions of being that annoying girl listing off all the things she doesn’t eat while everybody internally rolls their eyes. All I wanted was for people to not notice.

It was also my goddaughter’s birthday, and fortunately she chose Friendly’s as her dinner of choice. Their lunch/dinner menu is so bad (so, uh… we’re not getting that Friendly’s endorsement, huh?) that sitting there sipping a tea was fine.

The easier part for me: I couldn’t care less about skipping cake, ice cream, pizza and snacks, and when they talk about ‘trigger foods’ you can’t stop eating, it doesn’t compute. I don’t even keep snacks in my house in ‘real life’ (non-W30) except fruit and plain popcorn, and I’ve never related to not being able to pass up dessert.  Sometimes it feels like the W30 is written with this assumption that we all eat things like cookies regularly.

Here’s a legit vice of mine, though: in real life I drink diet soda even though I know it’s poison water pushing me into an early grave or whatever. I just think a cold fizzy drink tastes more refreshing than a cold-non-fizzy drink. Luckily I enjoy club soda and La Croix just as much, I just don’t usually buy them (to be fair, I wouldn’t usually have diet soda at home, but I’d order them out and sometimes pick one up as a treat when I’m grocery shopping … or to push through a mid-workday energy slump). Now I really wish it was easier to buy club soda/sparkling water on the go because I’d like to keep choosing these post-W30.

Day 14

T: Not to dwell on Blue Apron again (but I am for the rest of the W30, so deal with it), but I went to TJ’s today and barely had to buy anything. It was fantastic. Most of the stuff I was buying for dinner, but I pretty much have that covered thanks to Blue Apron. I’m their spokesperson now, it’s fine.

M: You could copy/paste Traci’s paragraph about Call Me By Your Name here. All of it. Just like last week, I don’t ever get movie snacks but when I can’t have them all I can notice is how everybody else is enjoying popcorn and what I can only assume is cold, delicious diet soda. I never said I had a refined palate, y’all.

That said, here are some recipe recommendations! This curried cauliflower rice kale soup was delicious and ACTUALLY spicy, unlike the disappointingly bland lentil soup I made earlier. I ended up doubling the broth and milk to cover all of the kale, but I think I used a bit more kale than it strictly called for. If you don’t want to use almond milk, I think you could substitute broth and add some more cauliflower, then puree some of the broth/cauliflower mixture and add it back in.

I’d also recommend this cauliflower tabouleh. It loses some of its ‘crunch’ after the first day, but on day 1 I found the cauliflower a little crispy for my tastes. If you want a softer cauliflower to mimic couscous or bulgar, you could roast and rice it like in the soup recipe. I’d also add some chopped olives – green or black – next time.

Coachella Chows Down

OMG can you believe how crazy Coachella was this weekend? I’m so mad I didn’t see Kanye but I DID get a glimpse of Leo trying to pretend he wasn’t just whispering in Rihanna’s ear.

I can believe how crazy it was, mainly because I wasn’t there despite all those things above being true.

While a lot of Angelenos made the exodus out to Indio/Palm Springs over the weekend, I happily spent #NoChella at home blogging, finishing Fuller House and stalking the significant others of Gilmore Girls actors on social media. Which activity is better ? Who’s to say?! However, during my Instagram and Twitter stalking, I also found out that apparently there has been a reason for me to go to Coachella all along, and that reason is food.

I’m not actually sure if these top notch food stands have been at thing at Coachella for forever, but thanks to social media and the Internet, I know now. In my mind, Coachella is a sea of people on top of a mound of dirt in hot hot heat (not the band) and living on port-a-potties and mediocre pizza. Apparently only some of that is factual.

This year, the fest features 40 different vendors + pop-ups + three full-service restaurants. Suprisingly fancy, no? Basically, the Coachella food line-up is made up of a handful of the trendiest and most popular restaurants in Los Angeles that make the journey to the trendiest and most popular music festival in the U.S. and set up shop. If you’ve ever wanted to know what the food culture is like in LA, Coachella represents it well. First of all, you have a variety of different cuisines available to you that aren’t just funnel cakes and turkey legs. Second, a lot of those cuisines take traditional dishes and modernize them with another genre – e.g. Canadian Poutine with Indian Chicken Tikka Masala (see below) or comfort foods with a “California flare” – e.g. ice cream in a “milky bun” (see below).

However, the main requirement for cool food in LA is that it’s super Instagrammable because if no one posts pictures on Instagram of Coachella, does Coachella even exist? Here are just a few of the foods that took over Insta during Weekend 1, and prepare to feel FOMO for a festival based on food alone.

Ice Cream

Here’s said ice cream – a milky bun is a product of Afters Ice Cream, where they take the ice cream of your choice, add a topping, and put it inside a modified glazed donut. Then they put it through some kind of top secret iron which makes the bun warm but keeps the ice cream cold because it’s literal magic they’re making.

The #MilkyBun invades @coachella ! 📷: @dailyfoodfeed

A post shared by Afters Ice Cream (@aftersicecream) on

 

And here we have regular ice cream, which seems less exciting than ice cream in a hot bun.

Vegan

Apparently vegan ramen is a thing, and it’s super popular

My favorite part about vegan foodstagrams is trying to figure out just how much of it looks truly edible

Korean

LA’s Koreatown is a hot spot for foods and late night entertainment, so it’s no surprise Korean BBQ and bibimbap made its way to Coachella Valley.

Burgs

Still don’t know why this bun is red, but given the amount of burger joints in SoCal, you have to stand out somehow.

Can't miss this at @coachella ! #gdbroburger | 📷: @goodeatzco

A post shared by GD Bro Burger (@gdbroburger) on

Mexican

What is California without Mexican food? A pit of guacamole-less despair.

Poke

I feel like poke bowls are making their way from Hawaii to LA slowly but surely after seeing a whole lot of poke restaurants popping up. I ain’t mad about it.

Donuts

Gourmet donuts are huge in LA. These particular ones are vegan, because, duh.

Fries

All the fries. All the toppings. All the time.

Hot Dogs

How you even eat this without feeling ridiculous in public, idk.

The full package 😏🌭 #sumodog #coachella

A post shared by Lesley (@misscutiefoodie) on

Sandwiches

Probably one of the most convenient foods at Coachella, you can grab one and go save a spot so you have a good view of Purity Ring later. Give me one of everything, please.

Bowls

From acai bowls to quinoa bowls, it’s like the best of West Hollywood in the desert.

Popsicles

Because it’s 90 degrees in the desert and you’re jumping around next to sweaty humans.

Dessert

Camping is a thing people do at Coachella, so obvs you gotta have gourmet s’mores.

Juice

Welcome to California, where you drink alcohol all day and go on a juice cleanse for the rest of the month.

refreshed, rehydrated 😁🌴💦

A post shared by ALINDA WANG (@thatfitfoodie) on

 

 

Success or Fail? A 30 Before 30 Update

Hi team. Last year, I wrote about making a 30 Before 30 bucket list, which was comprised of a whole bunch of goals, activities, etc. I wanted to do before I turned 30. Well, I turned 30 in January, and I’m proud to report I checked off 22 out of 30 items on my list! Not too bad, and to be honest, I’m not even upset I didn’t finish them all. By even making the list in the first place, it forced me to do things I don’t think I would have otherwise, so getting any of them done is an accomplishment in itself.

In my post from last year, I highlighted some of the tasks on the 30 Before 30 list, so I’m revisiting them and seeing how I did. Obviously, I don’t have all 30 of them listed, but just imagine they’re all here.

Learn to make 3 new dishes

2015: When I cook dinner, it’s not really anything special. The less ingredients the better. I blame this on account of my frugality and laziness, but I’m hoping to change that (the laziness, at least I can control). I figure if I master at least 3 good dishes, it can be my go to for parties and what not. Sushi is probs my favorite food, so another one of the things on my list is learn how to make sushi. And conveniently, I would also like to have a dinner party, so all this just fits right together.

Status: Accomplished! While sushi making was fun and I didn’t die from eating the raw fish, I think I’ll leave it to the professional sushi chefs to provide me with much better rolls.

Go somewhere I’ve never gone before

2015: If I won the lottery today, I would use it to pay off all my debts, do some other things with it, and then travel. Anywhere my heart desires – possibly even in first class! Living in LA, you kind of get stuck in the… LA-ness of it, and it’s good for your sanity to get out every once in a while. I usually spend my vacation time in the same places, mainly back home on the east coast. But there are so many other places to go that won’t break the bank. Although I said I would start this thing on my birthday, I’ve cheated on a few things already, this being one of them. A few of my friends and I recently went up to Napa Valley for a brief, yet completely successful and fulfilling weekend, and it was glorious. It was my first time in that area, and let me tell you – Napa is everything it’s cracked up to be, folks.

Status: Accomplished! I went to multiple new places in 2015, including the Temecula wine country and Grand Cayman Island and Castaway Cay (thanks to a cruise I went on). However, I tripled up on a trip by driving down to La Jolla, about two hours south of LA. The city is right on the edge of the Pacific and is exactly what you picture when you think picturesque California coast. Also, they’re known for seals, as seen below. They had cute stores and great food and highly recommend – 10/10.

Travel somewhere by myself

2015: Speaking of which, I feel all Eat Pray Love/Wild about this, in that going on a trip by yourself is necessary in life. I’m an only child and independent by nature, so the thought of this doesn’t sound scary or intimidating, as I imagine it would be to some people. This sounds delightful to me and I have yet to figure out where said trip will be.

Status: Accomplished! Like I said, I tripled up on La Jolla by going solo bolo to a pimp ass resort called Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa. I got free champagne when I arrived, had a huge bed to myself, a bathroom with marble floors and a complimentary bottle of wine. Again, highly recommend – 10/10.

Get a massage

2015: I’m gonna be real with y’all – I don’t necessarily find it appealing when complete strangers touch me, especially if I’m half naked. Is that completely unreasonable? But I’m going to try to let that go in favor of comfort and relaxation.

Status: Accomplished. And my gut was right. The final triple threat of that La Jolla trip was getting a massage at the resort. While it was luxurious and I got free cucumber water, I don’t think I would ever do it again. I didn’t feel as relaxed as I thought it was going to be, and that’s all my fault, not the fault of my masseuse, who was lovely. I didn’t take a pic of that, so here’s the view I had while sitting near the saltwater whirlpool and reading a Dawson’s Creek novel at the spa.

Photo Jul 08, 2 11 44 PM (1)

Volunteer 20 hours

2015: I used to volunteer a lot growing up. Forgetting the fact that in high school a lot of it was required, I actually enjoyed volunteering, and did it throughout college. For a while there I even wanted to work for a non-profit. I really want to get back into it, and I’ve had some attempts in the past couple of years, but I’m actually making a goal of 20 hours to fill, which is really not even that much.

Status: Big Fail. This was one of the items I was most bummed about not accomplishing. I wanted to find one organization that I cared deeply about, then exclusively volunteer for them, but I just kept putting it off. It’s still on my list!

Go see at least 5 movies in the theater

2015: I am a TV person. I watch all the TV. And like I mentioned earlier, I am a frugal person. Unless it’s a movie I really want to see in the theater, I will wait until it comes to Netflix and I receive it as part of my subscription. However, working in entertainment news, it’s usually helpful to know what I’m writing about, and not just basic facts about them. I’m not gonna lie to you – I already have my first movie lined up. And it’s the Backstreet Boys documentary, which comes out on Friday.

Status: Accomplished! I ended up seeing MORE than 5 movies!!! Ironically the BSB movie I ended up buying on iTunes it was released in the theater, so I cried in the privacy of my own bedroom. The other films include but are not limited to: The Last Five Years, Spy, Inside Out, Magic Mike XXL and Trainwreck. All movies that were A+++

Watch 5 “classic” movies

2015: To go along with that, I’ve written about my Pop Culture Blind Spots before, and I’m going to make an effort to actually sit down and watch some of them. We’ll start with the black and white classics… Star Wars will have to wait.

Status: Accomplished! Again, I was an overachiever on this one and did way more than five, some which which I did as a Pop Culture Blind Spot for this very blog (Star Wars or Dirty Dancing, anyone?). Some other faves include Bridget Jones’ Diary, Top Gun and Back to the Future.

Donate clothes I haven’t worn in a year

2015: I have been meaning to do this for years, and now’s a better time than any to actually follow through. Part of this involves re-organizing my closet, which I’ve already done and am super excited about. But this whole – I’m saving this just in case I need it for a Halloween costume – thing, isn’t working.

Status: Accomplished! And I’ve donated twice!

Read 3 new books

2015: Again, I am a TV person. I watch all the TV. Thus leaving me with little time to sit and read. Hell, I barely have time to catch up on my Entertainment Weekly issues. As for reading actual books, I find that I read the most when I’m traveling, since there’s nothing else to do. I used to read all the time when I rode the subway in Boston, but now, I have to like pay attention to the road when I’m driving and stuff. Also, I have a tendency to just re-read books – I don’t need to read Harry Potter again (I mean I could and should, but I shan’t). But I’ve set a realistic goal for myself and hopefully I can finish three new books by 2016.

Status: Accomplished! Luckily, I know myself well enough that a total of three was risky, but I read FOUR! Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham, Dawson’s Creek: A Capeside Christmas (that novel I was reading in La Jolla) and two books by fellow Emerson alum and one of my friend’s BFFs, Katie Cotugno, whose two YA books, How to Love and 99 Days, I devoured.

Go to 10 new restaurants

2015: Like my go-to books, I have go to restaurants, and it’s time to change that. I’ve been compiling a list of eateries in LA that I’ve been wanting to go to, and 10 seems like a reasonable number. I will just have to force my friends into going to all new venues.

Status: Accomplished! After I hit 15 I stopped counting, but one that is an LA staple that everyone needs to go to is Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. Ugh I dream about it still.

Photo Jan 09, 7 14 03 PM

Explore 5 new places in LA

2015: LA’s a big city, and while I’ve lived here for just over five years now, there’s still plenty more to see. You get stuck living in the bubble of your home neighborhood and work neighborhood, and any little pockets that your frequent. I never make it down to the West side or like Venice (as seen above) or Santa Monica or anything over there, mainly because there’s no reason for me to. Sans Dunkin Donuts, of course. But it’s time I start taking advantage of what’s around me.

Status: Accomplished! I’m not a big sports fan but it was still exciting to go to my first Dodgers game with a real Dodgers fan who could explain pretty much everything to me. Plus I got a Dodger (hot) Dog which was as good as everyone says it is.

Photo Aug 14, 7 25 47 PM (1)

Clean out email

2015: I’m at 19% of 15 GB used on my Gmail, which I’ve had since 2006. That number may seem low, but you should see my inbox (don’t). It’s time I start cleaning shit out.

Status: Accomplished! Plus I have all the tabs now and the Gmail app on my phone, which I didn’t have before. God bless.

Pay for someone’s coffee 5 times

2015: Pay it forward. Be kind to one another. All that jazz.

Status: Fail to humans everywhere and to Ellen DeGeneres. Let’s be real, if anyone’s buying coffee, it’s for myself.

Take a photo or video each day

2015: This is not a new thing. I’m going to see if I can keep it up. Instead of posting it every day, I’ll hopefully keep it up and compile everything into a handy video/slideshow on my 30th.

Status: Accomplished! And I just finished putting it all together in one 13 minute long video! You’ve been warned.

 

Fall 2015 Pumpkin Spice Roundup

Now that it’s officially fall, we’re well into every white girl’s favorite time of the year – Pumpkin Spice season. I don’t know how it got to the extreme level of obsession, it’s like you really enjoy Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks one day, and the next thing you know, they’re marketing it as “PSL”, which is obviously the acronym for it and also the code baristas write on the cups. It’s gotten so crazy this year, that Starbucks tried to make it seem like PSL was available to VIPs, and if you wanted to get the bev 1 week early, you needed to know the secret code. There was a secret code to get a $5.75 PSL ONE week before it was released in stores. This is where we are now.

Last year, we covered the PSI (Pumpkin Spice Items, obvs) currently on sale, and because apparently this is an ever-growing market, I decided we needed to dig into this year’s offerings. Now, to be honest, I haven’t tried most of these things, so these comments are purely based on conjecture, but if you’ve taste tested any of these, feel free to chime in!

Pumpkin Pie Mochi

Pumpkin Spice Meter: 2. Mainly because it’s pumpkin pie flavor and not pumpkin spice.

Is it necessary? Maybe. OG Japanese ice cream mochi has flavs like chocolate, vanilla and AZN ones such as grreen tea, but I feel like pumpkin may be too out of the realm of normal. But that doesn’t matter, I bet this is good, anyways.

Pumpkin Waffles

Pumpkin Spice Meter: 9 – the perfect amount.

Is it necessary? Yes. This is the only item on the list that I’ve actually tried. These waffles have just the right amount of pumpkin spice in them that it’s not overwhelming and tastes like autumn in your mouth.

Pumpkin Spice Peeps

Pumpkin Spice Meter:  4 – based on the “flavored marshmallow” and overwhelming white fudge.

Is it necessary? No. I get that the Peeps company is trying to get consumers to buy their items year-round, and not just for Easter. I get that. But that doesn’t mean use the ziestgesty flavor of the season, dip it in white chocolate, and sell it to sugar heads.  Maybe just still to the original recipe and do a different color.  Rainbow, perhaps?

Pumpkin Spice Mini Wheats

Pumpkin Spice Meter: 7 – those pumpkin spice granules can easily get lodged in all those mini-wheat nooks and crannies.

Is it necessary? Sure. I feel like pumpkin spice goes well with breakfast foods (waffles, bagels, oatmeal), so why not with the Frosted Mini-Wheats. Does pumpkin have fiber in it?

Pumpkin Spice Latte M&MS

Pumpkin Spice Meter: 4 – the PS flavors are artificial so I’m guessing not the PS goodness that we expect.

Is it necessary? No. These are the flavors that only need to exist in M&M world: original, dark chocolate, peanut and peanut butter. I don’t want your crispy or pretzel or lemon lime (not real) and I don’t want your pumpkin spice.

Organic Pumpkin Spice Kale Chips

Pumpkin Spice Meter: who cares this sounds disgusting

Is it necessary? Absolutely not. Can we stop trying to make kale more than it isn’t? It’s fine in salads and ok as chips, but why does it need to be added with pumpkin spice??? Just stop.

Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses

Pumpkin Spice Meter: 3 – again, artificial PS flavor, real gross flavor

Is it necessary? No. Does anyone else just not like all the other flavored Hershey Kisses? I still would pick a million other candies over a Kiss, but if I had to, the plain chocolate is the way to go. Also do people actually just want a lil but of pumpkin spice in their bellies? If you’re hankering for that flavor, just get a PSL.

Pumpkin Spice Milanos

Pumpkin Spice Meter: 5 – not real pumpkin spice flavor, but good enough to be edible.

Is it necessary? Perhaps. Pepperidge Farms usually does really well with their different flavors. I used to be obsessed with the mint ones. The mini mint milanos? Forget it.

Pumpkin Spice Terra Chips

Pumpkin Spice Meter: 8 – yeah, I’m in support of this

Is it necessary? Yes. I fel like this would be a great mix between sweet and salty. Also Terra chips are bomb, so they usually don’t do wrong.

Boom Chicka Pop Pumpkin Spice

Pumpkin Spice Meter: 7 – I can’t imagine this using artificial spices on the kettle korn

Is it necessary? Yeah, okay. It’s another case of sweet and salty, so it’s probably good.  But we need to draw the line somewhere.

 

Gwyneth’s Goop Kitchen: How Fast Would You Die?

I’d love to live like Gwyneth Paltrow, but it would probably kill me. We’ve reviewed the ridiculous prices for, like, a plain white t-shirt on Goop. We’ve also looked at how to beautify your “conscious uncoupling” with a mock divorce Pinterest board. I surely couldn’t afford that sort of lifestyle, but what if Gwyneth tried to live more like us plebes? This week we learned the answer, when Gwynnie tried to buy a week’s worth of groceries on a $29 SNAP budget. Here’s what she came up with:

Yo. That looks like the food version of being grounded. It is the dinner world’s answer to being in-school suspended. It’s like if a spin instructor was in charge of the menu for a jail.

This hurts me more than it hurts you: I’m about to do some math. Let’s do some good old-fashioned calorie counting! Word problems! For anyone currently muddling their way through Common Core, feel free to draw a spirograph or make a hand-turkey or however it is that you do math now.

12 eggs, at 80 calories per egg: 960 calories

Black Beans, 16 oz: 1552 calories

Frozen Peas, 12 oz: 264 calories

Whole Grain Brown Rice, 16 oz: 1609 calories

1 medium sweet potato: 115 calories

1 head romaine lettuce: 108 calories

1 medium white onion: 50 calories

1 green chili pepper, I think: 18 calories

1 avocado: 320 calories

Roughly 10 scallions, at 8 calories per scallion: 80 calories

1 ear of corn: 100 calories

1 tomato: 25 calories

1 head of garlic: 50 calories

1 bunch of kale: 140 calories

18 Guerrera flour tortillas, at 130 calories per tortilla: 2340 calories

1 bunch of cilantro, if you’re into that: 23 calories

Seven limes. SEVEN limes. Seven LIMES: 140 calories

Want to add it up? You don’t have to. It’s 7,754. There are seven days in a week. That’s easy to remember, because that’s how many damn limes Gwyneth bought. Okay, 7,731 divided by 7: 1,107.7 Let’s round up to 1,108.

Let me just write that for you again.

1,108.

That’s how many calories a person is supposed to eat in a day, according to Gwyneth. I’m just assuming this is for one person, because otherwise we’re at something like 553 calories a day for two people.

I think Gwyneth’s point was supposed to be that eating healthy on food assistance is hard to do, but ultimately possible. Instead, she proved what a lot of people already know:

  • you can never have too many limes?
  • you CAN have too many limes, but that point is somewhere in the double-digits for a week?
  • a lime a day keeps the macrobiotics away? (Still not 100% on what a macrobiotic is, sounds like maybe a transforming food-monster action figure.)
  • roughly half of your food should be from the onion-and-garlic family (no wonder Gwyneth and Coldplay got consciously uncoupled)?
  • there’s no better afterschool snack than 1/7 of a juicy red tomato?
  • That if you have a very limited food budget, you may as well buy 10 Totino’s pizzas for $8 or a loaf of day-old white bread for a few bucks so that you don’t wake up in the middle of every night with food nightmares.

Oh, Gwyneth, Gwyneth, Gwyneth. You seem like a nice gal just trying to spread the word about something you care about. But I can tell you first-hand that writing about things you care about on the internet is the surest way to get insulted by strangers. I can also tell you that this diet blows. As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. And the road to an electrolyte imbalance is paved with a menu of multiple scallions a day with a side of 1/7 of an avocado.

 

Documentaries That Consumed My Life on Netflix Instant

Over the past few years, I spend the time off during the holidays catching up on TV series I have been meaning to watch, but hadn’t had time to before. For instance, I watched Call the Midwife one time, because it was only one season, or my greatest accomplishment in binge-watching: all seven seasons of The West Wing in one month. That’s an hour-long (42ish minute) program, y’all. This year, I decided to watch Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown and couldn’t stop watching. To preface, I usually reserve my documentary watching for when I’m sick (idk why, tbh), but I was on this kick of following Tony to places I probably will never be able to go to otherwise, and are usually off the beaten path.

My addiction to Parts Unknown led to a spiral of watching the documentaries on my Instant list that had been waiting for me to press play for months or even years, and I finally got around to it. So, I’m here to share them with you. Whether you’re sick or need to pause from your Friends binge-ing, here are a few of my favorite documentaries I’ve watched over the past few years that you can watch on Netflix Instant right now.

Undefeated

Watch if you like: Friday Night Lights, football, underdog stories, Oscar-winning movies, crying

Elevator Pitch: A small, predominantly black, high school on the outskirts of Memphis has a football team with the worst record. A white coach who volunteers his time helps them to possible victory. But like FNL, it’s not really about football at all.

First Position

Watch if you like: Dance, ballet, seeing kids do things better than you

Elevator Pitch: The journey of six kids on their way to one of the biggest most important ballet competitions in the world. You’ll leave impressed with their dedication and inspired to do something with your life.

Ballerina

Watch if you like: Dance, ballet, First Position

Elevator Pitch: As opposed to aspiring young dancers, this one features four professional Russian dancers – and you’ll be glad you didn’t grow up in Russia.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Watch if you like: Sushi, Japan, food, elderly people

Elevator Pitch: If you love sushi, you’ll love this 85-year-old sushi master in Tokyo, who owns a world-renowned restaurant and the interesting relationship he has with his son and eventual heir.

Kings of Pastry

Watch if you like: France, Top Chef, pastries, cooking, stressful situations

Elevator Pitch: The French take the art of cooking seriously, and even hand out special medals/collars to distinguish the elite chefs from others – and the competition to win said prize involves years of dedication and endless amounts of patience.

Craigslist Joe

Watch if you like: Humanity

Elevator Pitch: A guy gives up pretty much all he has and travels around the country making money and sleeping in homes all found off Craigslist. The result is a surprisingly moving story proving that despite the fact we live in a diverse country with people who have vastly different views on life, it’s not hard to find the good in people.

Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present

Watch if you like: Art, performance art, any modern museum

Elevator Pitch: Marina Abamovic has been a top performance artist for decades, and this movie follows her acclaimed The Artist Is Present exhibit at New York’s MoMa, which is a retrospective on her career. It shows how she connects with new people through her piece in which she sits and stares at visitors, and also reconnects her with one of the biggest loves of her life.

Mitt

Watch if you like: Politics, Mormons

Elevator Pitch: It doesn’t matter that you know how it ends. It also doesn’t matter if you voted for Mitt Romney or not. What matters is that this movie gives you an inside look of the day to day life of a Presidential campaign over the course of six years – and how it can all come crumbling down in one night.

Anything North Korea

Watch if you like: Asia, secret societies, investigative reporting, hidden cameras

Elevator Pitch: From Lisa Ling’s faux eye surgery documentary to Frontline‘s secret hidden cameras, these specials give you an inside look to one of the world’s most secretive and oppressive countries. Forget The Interview, these are the only North Korea movies you need to see.

Jesus Camp

Watch if you like: Fascination with Scientology, The Duggars

Elevator Pitch: These kids aren’t just regular kids – they’re kids who think they have prophetic powers and attend a Christian summer camp to learn how to become the next “Billy Graham” and “take back America for Christ”. Go into it knowing because of this movie – the camp closed.

Things I’m Thankful For: 2014 Edition

HAPPY THANKSGIVING Y’ALL!! Hope you’re having a great day so far with your loved ones and stuffing your face with all the foods. There’s something about Thanksgiving that kind of makes me sentimental, since it’s one of the only major U.S. holidays that all Americans celebrate no matter what your background is (shout out to July 4th!). Of course, like previously mentioned, Thanksgiving IS about the majahh feasting that happens, but of course it’s a time to be reflective and thankful for all that we have. So here are just a few things I’m thankful for this year. Dig in!

  • Friends Thanksgiving episodes
    • For the past few years, I’ve started my own holiday tradition in which I watch all 10 Thanksgiving-themed episodes as part of a mini-marathon. I think I partly do this because Friends feel like ‘home’ to me, and since I’ve spent the past five years in LA and not back east for the holiday, it makes me feel like there’s some kind of longstanding tradition. Also, these are some of the best episodes of television ever (I ranked all the eps here!).

  • Portable iPhone travel charger
    • Guys, I finally bought one and it has changed my life.
  • Julian Morris on New Girl
    • I never thought I could ship again after Jess and Nick broke up but OHMYGOD freaking Julian Morris. And his face. And his accent. And his charmingness. Like I feel like I am actually Jess Day when she’s flustered around him. It’s insane. 
  • Chris Pratt finally getting the attention he deserves
    • PRATT!! He went from Andy Dwyer to mega movie star and I feel like a proud mom!
  • Coffee ice cubes
    • My favorite coffee shop has optional coffee ice cubes that you can add to your iced coffee (my fave bev) and that way, when the ice melts, IT’S STILL COFFEE.
  • Gilmore Girls on Netflix Instant
    • We love GG here, and the fact that I can now jump from all the Luke/Lorelai episodes and completely shut out April Nardini without having to get up and change disks is the best thing to ever happen to me.
  • Leggings
    • Because comfort, y’all.
  • Deciding not to go to our 10 year high school reunion
    • Molly and I chose to go to New York City the same weekend as our “10 year high school reunion”. After stalking pictures of the “event”, there were approx 10 people who went to the bar, all of whom we’re not friends with, so good call, past Molly & Traci.
  • GIFs
  • Nick Jonas-issance
    • I mean, God Bless America. 
  • Vanilla Almond Butter
    • So I started making flourless pancakes (one ripe banana, 2 eggs, mix and pour on skillet like pancakes) and I usually have a side of Justin’s Natural Vanilla Almond Butter and it is so ridiculously delicious. Why did I just find out about this recently?
  • #TGIT
    • Shondaland on Thursday nights has made appointment television a thing again, and it shows in both their Neilsen ratings and Twitter ratings. Basically, don’t even try to reach me between the hours of 8pm and 11pm on Thursdays – unless you tweet me.
  • Lupita Nyong’o
    • What did we ever do before you, Lupita???
  • The first Dunkin’ Donuts in Los Angeles
    • After years of waiting, LA is finally running on Dunkin’… now if they can just open one that doesn’t take me like 30-40 minutes to get to.
  • Tumblr tags
    • #the best part of tumblr is sometimes the tags #so much subtext
  • Amy Poehler’s Book, Yes Please
    • You think I was going to make a list of things I’m thankful for without mentioning our Queen??
  • YOU GUYS!!
    • Probably the most important item on this list – thank you all so much for reading, whether you’re loyal followers or if this is your first time visiting our site, we sincerely appreciate anyone taking time out to read the crap we put on here. We love you internet.

 

Just Give Up And Make Your Entire Thanksgiving Dinner Out Of Jello Molds

In years past, Thanksgiving dinner had to meet two benchmarks: it had to be delicious, and it had to be sufficiently Thanskgiving-y. If you served traditional foods and they weren’t entirely awful, you were doing okay.

But now, depending on your audience, your Thanksgiving may be expected to meet the following criteria:

  • vegan
  • raw
  • raw vegan
  • “intermittently vegan”
  • freegan
  • macrobiotic
  • dairy-free
  • lacto-ovo vegetarian
  • gluten free
  • gluten intolerant
  • Instagram-able
  • Pinterest- worthy
  • nut free
  • tree-nut free
  • peanut free
  • low carb
  • low fat
  • things a caveman would eat
  • under 20 Weight Watchers points
  • ready after the parade
  • ready before the game
  • organic
  • local

Good luck and godspeed! Cooking Thanksgiving dinner is a game with no winner. Things are tougher than they used to be. Honestly, they’re tougher than they have to be. Once upon a time, you could make an entire Thanksgiving dinner out of Jello molds. And friends? YOU STILL CAN.

Potatoes

I’m of Irish descent. I like to believe that somewhere out there in the universe, my ancestors know that I have access to so many potatoes –  so many damn potatoes – that I can mutilate them into the shape of a giant, awful donut and the texture of Gak if I so please. Now, the potatoes are going to have to be a potato salad instead of a traditional mash, but I think you could also add plain gelatin to your mashed potatoes and set it into the mold.

Stuffing (Dressing if you’re nasty)

This really captures the essence of stuffing but without the bread and without having been inside a bird’s tushie. You have your carrots, your celery, your little bits of meat… basically everything but your will to live and your breakfast. Because if you’re eating this, you’ve probably lost both.

Cranberry Sauce

Do you serve can-shaped cranberry sauce? Then you have been letting Big Cran dictate the shape of your cranberry sauce-loaf for far too long. It CAN be shaped like a jello mold and I’d argue that it SHOULD be, too.

Squash

The thing about squash is that if served it in its skin and cut lengthwise, it already is compactly and neatly shaped and suitable for consumption by the toothless. That is exactly the kind of thinking that killed the jello mold. You can eat your squash as a jiggly square and you should never let anybody tell you differently.

Turkey

For a gentler turkey-carving experience, replace the revving of an electric carving knife with the gloppy, sloshing thhhwaaaack of a slotted spoon moving through Jello.

Brussels Sprouts

For many palates, Brussels sprouts are a veggie that needs a little gussying up. What could be more gussied than letting your sprouts go for a dip in a egg noodle and cheese sauce swimmin’ hole?

Green Beans

Usually green beans enter the Thanksgiving table not because anyone loves them, but because at some point you look at all of the beige-y brown stuff you’re ingesting and realize that you should probably add something green. Voila – this ring of algae-looking green bean crud! If you’re a green bean casserole traditionalist (the recipe from the Campbell’s soup can), you can still top this with a drizzle of cream of mushroom soup and a sprinkling of freeze-dried onions (aka “astronaut onions”).

Pumpkin Pie

If you can shape your turkey like a dessert you can 100% also shape your dessert like a turkey – through the magic of jello molds!

Coffee

Want some coffee with your pie? Sure, we can do that.

Eggnog

Go ahead, spike it.

 

Ramen Donuts: WE HAVE TO GO BACK

Last week, I came across an article which featured someone’s experiment of combining ramen with a donut and this is what it looks like:

Now, I’m all for creativity and innovativeness, but the first thing that came to my mind when I saw this was WE HAVE GONE TO FAR. Were regular donuts not enough for us? I don’t know about you, but donuts are just fine as they are. I mean, the fact that there are donuts out there topped with bacon and cinnamon toast crunch and snickers bars is, like, pushing it, but still, they’re donuts. They’re delicious. Do we need to improve on it with ramen? RAMEN. In its defense, I have no idea if these ramen donuts are good or not, but to me, they don’t look appetizing at all. And I blame the cronut (which I do find appetizing).

Chef Dominique Ansel may not have started this hybrid craze, but he certainly brought it back to the zeitgeist thanks to his flaky croissant-donut. Fact: when Molly & I went to NYC in September, we failed to realize that cronuts are still a thing and got to Dominique Ansel’s bakery too late and they were sold out. Still got good food there, so I suggest stopping by. Anyways, experimenting with hybrid food is like what Glee did with song mashups and now I fear that we’ve gone too far (just like Glee’s sixth season). Look, I’m all for letting your creative juices flow, but maybe things like ramen donuts are a one and done thing. Here are some other hybrid foods people from the internet and businesses alike have conjured up. You decide if we need to go back or not…

Spicy Tuna Sushi Corn Dog

In full disclosure, the ramen donut was made by a blogger who is a bro. Like a college athlete, hates hipsters, drinks excessively at frat parties bro. But his blog is like, actually really good and his food presentation is fantastic. So props to him. His thing is creating hybrid foods (that are usually not the healthiest). Enter this giant fried sushi roll. The fact that he calls it a corn dog turns me off. Basically I just want that spicy tuna roll.

Ramen Poutine

We’re continuing with the bro’s recipes because I’m seriously impressed. Look at that egg tho. It actually makes this ramen poutine look edible. I am a product of a Filipino mother who sometimes didn’t feel like cooking me a real dinner and made me ramen soup a lot. It was never really a college thing for me, it was a childhood thing for me. Which is why I think I don’t want to associate ramen with hybrid food that could possibly ruin my idea of childhood ramen. But poutine tho – if you’ve never had poutine – don’t start with this.

Spaghetti and Meatbwaffles

No, that wasn’t a typo. Blogger bro actually named this dish Spaghetti and Meatbwaffles. He basically took a chunk of meatball and put it in a waffle maker and came out with this. Is it sad that my only complaint about this is that the ratio of spaghetti to meatbwaffle isn’t equal?

Ramen Burger

Alright, enough of the bro dude. We’ve seen this one before. It came after the cronut and I still don’t understand how this is any easier to eat than a regular hamburger. Also why do people tend to put more shit in ramen burgers than regular burgers??

Ramen Pizza

Again, like donuts, pizza is fine as it is. Stop trying to make pizza better.

Cragel

Did you know that a bagel is the equivalent to eating five slices of toast? Well it is. And IDK what the croissant equivalent is but when you have half a croissant and half a bagel you get a whole stinking loaf of bread.

Pizza Cake

Remember this from a few months ago? And how you said you were going to try to make it? Did you? Okay.

Lays Flavored Anything

 

In all fairness, I’ve never tried any of these. But that’s because they all sound disgusting. A *kettle cooked* Wasabi Ginger flavor?? Those are the two things I avoid (ok, maybe a little wasabs) when eating sushi. Why would I want the FLAVOR of those two things on a potato chip. A POTATO CHIP.

Chocolate Eclair Hot Dog

WHAT HAPPENED TO US, AMERICA???

Mac and Cheese Pancakes

 

I’m still debating whether or not I think this is a good idea. On one hand, I love pancakes. On the other, I love mac and cheese. However, I’m not quite sure if I put them together, I’d love them as a whole. It’s like the time Rachel screwed up the Thanksgiving trifle and it tasted like feet. Custard? Good. Jam? Good. Meat? Gooood.

Pizzabon

 

Sometimes sweet and savory things belong together. Like chicken and waffles good lord, chicken and waffles. But again, pizza is fine on its own. And don’t even get me started on cinnamon buns. Anyone ever been to a Holiday Inn Express? Those cinnamon buns are worth every penny.

Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe

 

Just… no.