Posted by: Kelsey Avers | May 1, 2010

Amazing Recipe #8: Side Dish: Never-Mushy Homemade Rice

Ever since I moved out on my own, I haven’t really been a huge fan of cooking rice in a pot/saucepan. It always either came out extra mushy, burnt, or undercooked. Soon I just gave up and started buying boil-in-a-bag rice packs.

But then I stumbled across The Red Kitchen Project, where the blog’s author, Gracie, posted this magic gem of a post titled, “Never-Mushy Homemade Rice.” What convinced me to try it was when she said that after being spoiled with this recipe throughout her entire childhood, she ordered rice at a restaurant and was disappointed in what was served to her, in comparison to “Never-Mushy Homemade Rice.”

Sorry, Uncle Ben. You're services are no longer needed

I’ve made this rice twice now, and Gracie doesn’t lie. It’s simple, delicious, and there isn’t any waste as long as you cook it correctly, unlike a lot of other white rice cooking techniques, where 1/3 of the rice is left stuck to the bottom/sides of the pot. Not to mention, the onion flakes and melted butter add a great flavor to white rice.

Never-Mushy Homemade Rice

Serving size: About 5 medium-sized servings
Cook/Prep Time: 35-40 minutes

Ingredients (the ratio amount of rice-to-water ratio can be changed, but just remember: for every 1 cup of rice, put in 2 cups of water)
– 3 Tbs. butter or margarine
– 1-1/2 cups white long-grain rice
– 1/4 cup dehydrated minced onion flakes
– 1 tsp. salt
– 3-1/2 cups water

Dehydrated onions are good for many other recipes as well

– Place 3 Tbs. butter or margarine in the bottom of a large saucepan and set burner heat to MEDIUM.

– Measure 1-1/2 cups dry, white, long-grain rice and dump over the melting butter.

– Add 1/4 cup dehydrated minced onion flakes and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir all ingredients over burner heat for 10-15 minutes, or until brown flecks begin to appear here and there in the rice.

Keep an eye out for speckles!

– Once rice mixture has many different shades of brown speckled here and there, add 3-1/2 cups water and cover saucepan.

The delicious, non-mushy result

– Cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rice is mostly tender.

– Remove from heat and keep covered until all liquid has been absorbed into mixture and rice has completely tenderized.

Serving suggestion: Serve with soy sauce, under any of your favorites meats or sausages, or along with a veggie side dish, such as Sweetie-Time Carrots.

Freezing the rice
If you follow the ingredient measurements for this recipe exactly, you’ll find that if you’re cooking for one, you’ll have a lot of extra rice in the pot.
Solution: Freeze it. Yes, you can freeze rice using freezer-safe plastic bags.
My suggestion would be to put the rice in small bags in portion servings before putting in the freezer.
If you only have one large plastic freezer bag, put all of your rice in there and flatten it out as much as you can.

Posted by: Kelsey Avers | April 28, 2010

Quick reminder: 31-cent scoop night!!!

If you haven’t heard already, TONIGHT, April 28, is 31-cent scoop night at Baskin Robbins! Click here to view the event’s Facebook page.

The lines may be long, but the wait is worth it – at most locations you can get as many scoops as your little hands can hold!

From the event’s Facebook page:
“As part of the event, the Dunkin’ Donuts & Baskin-Robbins Community Foundation will make a $100,000 donation to the NFFF. Participating Baskin-Robbins stores will help raise additional funds for local firehouses by inviting fire departments to the event to collect donations.”

Click here to learn more about 31-cent scoop night!

Posted by: Kelsey Avers | April 26, 2010

Local markets more cost-effective for college students

Jeff Bautista, a frequent customer of New May Wah Asian Supermarket in San Francisco’s Inner Richmond district, talks for a bit about New May Wah Supermarket and why he chooses to shop there while on a grocery budget, versus popular grocery store chains. Read review on New May Wah on Yelp, which has averaged at a positive 4 stars!

Posted by: Kelsey Avers | April 25, 2010

Amazing Recipe #7: Side dish: Sweetie-time Carrots

Growing up I was always told that eating carrots will be good for my eyes and would prevent me from having to wear glasses like my dad. Well, I ate a lot of carrots, and I still had to wear glasses eventually. But that doesn’t mean they don’t work! And even if they don’t, carrots have plenty of other benefits, as you can read in this article, 25 Facts About Carrots.

This recipe is great for college students. I would recommend getting your carrots at small marketplaces instead of big chain grocery stores; you’ll find that they will be a lot cheaper in bigger quantities, which is great if you’re doubling the recipe for a multiple-person dinner. Not only is it a great side dish, but it could also serve as a quick, sugary, mid-meal snack.

Sweetie-time Carrots

Sugary goodness

Serving size: 2 side servings
Prep/Cook Time: About 15 minutes from start to finish

– 4 medium carrots (can use baby carrots or whole, uncut carrots)
– 2 tablespoons butter
– 2 tablespoons white  sugar
– 1-teaspoon mint or thyme (optional)

– Wash and peel carrots
– Cut carrots (If you’re using whole carrots, slice them. If you’re using baby carrots, you can either keep them whole or slice them)
– Cook carrots in boiling water until tender
– Drain carrots, put aside
– Melt butter in saucepan
– Add sugar to melted butter, mix
– Add carrots to mixture until glazed/slightly brown
– Add teaspoon of mint, thyme, or other preferred seasoning if desired

Serve as a side dish in any meal where the element of veggies are needed. I served mine with Magic Potatoes Version 2.0 (quickie recipe for one), and a NY Strip Steak, which I bought for just $3.00 on Manager’s Special!

The fabulous result!

A meal fit for college royalty!

The inspiration for this recipe came from my dad, who often makes a potato side dish with dinner that he would call “magic potatoes” since we were kids, and to this day I still call them that. While his magic touch and exact ingredients make this a great side dish, I started making it on my own and realized that the ingredients could vary and it would still taste great. So this recipe is sort of the cheap ‘n lazy version of Magic Potatoes, thus dubbed “Magic Potatoes, quickie version 2.0.”

Potatoes are a very popular staple item to have in the house, and they do last a while. But don’t think “a while” means forever! Read up on How to Know When a Potato is Rotten.

The ingredients and recipe instructions below are for one large side serving of this side dish, so if you are making food for more than just yourself, feel free to increase the ingredient amount!

Magic Potatoes
(quickie version 2.0) (for one)

Yield: 1 large side serving of Magic Potatoes
Time to prepare: 5 minutes
Time to cook: 30-40 minutes (give or take some time; it all depends on your oven)

– 1 red or yellow potato
– 1/4 cup butter
– About 2 tablespoons (give or take, depending on your taste) of any seasonings you prefer (I use Thyme, Italian Seasoning, crushed Parsley and some crushed Basil)

Cut 'n Season

Cut 'n Season

– Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
– Get a oven-safe brownie tin/glass dish; you can choose to line this with foil or not, it doesn’t matter)
– Cut potato into bite size pieces, put into small bowl
– Melt butter, pour on top of potatoes
– Add the seasonings you would like
– Stir mixture with potatoes (the butter will kind of stay at the bottom of the bowl)
– Pour all ingredients into your baking dish, pouring any mixture on the bottom of the bowl on top of the potatoes (take this time to put any extra seasoning you would like on top of the potatoes)
– Bake 30-40 minutes or until browned, stirring every 10 minutes or so to mix up the potatoes in the butter mixture/keep the potatoes from sticking to foil if you’re using it (sometimes I remove the foil in the last 10 minutes; the potatoes get a nice, quick crunch to them real quick)
– Serve as a side dish with any meat such as steak or burgers, and a veggie side dish such as Sweetie-Time Carrots!

Magic Potatoes 2.0 (bottom left) shown with Sweetie-time Carrots and NY Strip Steak

Posted by: Kelsey Avers | April 18, 2010

Having trouble sleeping? The culprit: your late-night diet.

Eat spicy foods before bed, and you might feel like this every morning.

This post can be utilized by two different types of college students, the first one being the student that has trouble getting a decent nights rest after eating late dinners, and can’t figure out what the problem is, and the second one being the student that finds themselves pulling frequent all-nighters to finish that 12-page research paper they totally procrastinated on. Either way, it’s useful information.

If you’re the latter, then the even-more-perfect read for you would be my post, “Snacking through the all-nighter.

Following is a list of foods and drinks that you’re eating that could result in a restless night of sleep. But first, a quick quip of science:

Foods that keep us awake contain tyramine, an amino acid that causes the release of a brain stimulant called norepinephrine, which can keep us wired all night long. Tyramine foods include:
Bacon, Sausages
Red wine
Smoked meats, Fish

He obviously did not read #2...

5 food/drink-related reasons you can’t sleep very well at night:

1. Spicy foods
That curry can lead to some serious heartburn, which results in a rude awakening every few hours. Try eating heavy, spicy Indian takeout meals at least four hours before bedtime.

2. Caffeine
This one should be obvious, Avoid any food or drink that contains caffeine (i.e. coffee, tea, soft drinks, energy drinks, chocolate) several hours before you hit the sack. Caffeine is a natural chemical that activates the central nervous system, which means that it revs up nerves and thought processes. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, you’ll start to feel jittery and sometimes a little ill, so stop drinking or eating anything containing caffeine at least eight hours before bed.

3. Alcohol
Yeah, some people might drink that glass of red wine or that bottle of beer to help them relax after a long day. But the problem is that even though alcohol relaxes you, that effect can wear off at the worst time: in the middle of your deep sleep. This results in a restless night; so try your best not to use it as a sort of “sleeping pill” of life.

You DON'T want  this to be you

You DON'T want this to be you

4. Eating large meals right before bedtime
If you just ate a huge dinner an hour before you are going to head to bed, you might have to unbuckle your belt and lie back to relax, but don’t get ahead of yourself. Eating a dinner that has too much more than 600 calories will slow down your digestion and make you feel uncomfortable in a few hours. No one wants to wake up in the middle night with an icky tummy ache.

5. Drinking a lot of liquid right before bedtime
I would strongly suggest that you stop drinking liquids about an hour and a half before you go to sleep. It takes 90 minutes for your body to process liquids, and I doubt you want to finally snooze into la-la land, only to be awakened by a potty break.

Posted by: Kelsey Avers | April 18, 2010

Snacking through the all-nighter

Did you totally procrastinate on the final draft of that 12-page research that’s due tomorrow at 10 a.m., and now you need to pull an all-nighter? For the technical and planning side of your problem, read MegaNerdRun’s post, “How To Pull An All-Nighter.”

But alas, this blog is all about the food aspect of anything and everything, so here is a list of five snack-and-drink rules to follow when trying to stay up all night and focus on schoolwork (that SHOULD have been done last week!):

Water = Good.

Caffeine and candies are not your friend
Instead of sodas and energy drinks, drink two full glasses of ice water every 30 minutes. The cold will keep you awake, and you will be able to keep active and alert by having to pee every hour or so. Eating candy might taste good and keep you awake for a small bit, but you’ll start to feel drowsy eventually.

Protein stays up with you
Eat protein-rich foods during your cram session. Sandwiches, cheeses and other dairy products are good snacks that will keep your energy level stable.

Eat and drink apples
If you are snacking on cheese, drink some apple juice with it, or munch on some sliced up apples. This will help your blood sugar stabilize so you can stay awake longer.

Snacks are greater than one large meal
Snacking will be your friend during your all-nighter, whereas a large meal will make you full and drowsy.
Good snack choices include: Cottage cheese with fruit, low fat cheeses, low-fat yogurt, celery and carrot sticks, sliced bell peppers, broccoli, grape tomatoes, oranges and grapefruits and whole grain crackers.

Water isn’t the only thing you can drink
There still are some good beverages you can drink if a night full of drinking only water just isn’t cutting it for you. Sipping on iced tea (keep light on the sugar), club soda and natural fruit juices will also help your eyes stay open.

Chew gum
It has been studied that gum helps you concentrate and focus, and also reduces stress and anxiety. So get to chewing!

Did you get all of your work done and find that you have a few hours left to sleep before turning in your book report? Time to spoil that tummy with bread, cereal, pasta or any other carbs. But before you start indulging, make sure to read “Having trouble sleeping? The culprit: your late-night diet” to learn about foods that will result in restless sleep.

This blog post is not encouraging procrastination or all-nighters as it is not a healthy habit to get accustomed to. But sometimes, finals come way faster than expected, and it’s necessary, maybe 2 or 3 times per year. But really, the best gift you can give your body is sleep, so try to remember to do your work on time; your body will be happy, and your grades will be great!

Posted by: Kelsey Avers | April 10, 2010

San Franciscan’s drunk off chocolate

The 4th annual San Francisco Chocolate Salon at the Fort Mason Center on March 20 was filled with 50,000 square feet of  wine, confections, and well…chocolate! Click the photo below for an audio slide show that will present to you the culture of chocolate and the different variations in which it is made.
Project completed by Kelsey Avers

Click photo for audio slide show

Posted by: Kelsey Avers | April 9, 2010

Top 20 Happy Hours in San Francisco

Happy hour is the best hour!

The map below will take you to places filled with wonderful food and drinks, all at discounted (and in some cases, free) deals. This list of the top 20 places to go for happy hour in San Francisco consists of different bars and lounges that offer some great appetizers, pizzas, sushi rolls, cocktails, beers and more! Click on each martini glass to see when the happy hour for each restaurant takes place, and what amazing deals are offered.

So, where did the map take you???
Do you have a favorite happy hour location in San Francisco? What are the deals there? COMMENT letting me know!

Posted by: Kelsey Avers | April 8, 2010

Amazing Recipe #5: Damon’s Surprise

Whether your hung over in the morning, or just plain hungry at any time of the day, this quick breakfast recipe is quick (takes less than 10 minutes) and cheap.

Damon’s Surprise (or what I like to call, “scrambled eggs made better”) requires only four ingredients at its simplest state, all of which are pretty much staple products, so it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll have them in your fridge or pantry.

Watch the following audio slide show to hear Justin prepare Damon’s surprise; Damon being his neighbor that showed him this recipe when Justin stumbled over to his place, hungover and in need of coffee…and food.

Serving Size: A little more than 1 serving (or two if you are the sharing type)
Prep Time: About 5 minutes
Cook Time: About 10 minutes

– 4 corn tortillas
– 3 eggs
– 3 tablespoons butter
– Olive oil
– Salt and Pepper or other spices for seasoning

– Lightly coat the bottom of a 12-inch nonstick skillet with olive oil over medium to medium-high temperature.
– While your olive oil heats up, stack your tortillas and start slicing by either cutting or tearing into pieces (triangles, strips, whatever – the smaller they are, the faster they cook; the bigger the pieces, the more crunch they have, depending on how much time you have to cook them)
Tip: (To check if the olive oil is ready, put your finger in water and let it drip into the oil; when it sizzles and pops, your olive oil is ready.)
– When olive oil reaches temperature, put your butter in the skillet and let it melt and mix with oil around the
– Set the tortillas sit in the oil/butter until they are browned/crispy. Stir frequently to prevent burning.
– Add desired seasoning or spices if you choose.
– Crack your eggs in a separate bowl. Stir/scramble with light salt and pepper.
– Pour eggs right over the oil/butter/tortilla mixture. From here, it becomes a scrambled eggs recipe; keep stirring/folding your eggs until they are scrambled in the skillet and mixed in with the tortilla mixture.
– Serve on a plate or in a bowl with a couple of slices of toast, and enjoy!

Serving suggestions:
– Serve on toast
– Drizzle with Tapatillo sauce
– Sprinkle your favorite shredded cheese on top

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