From the first time I saw Hercules, I was obsessed with Megara. She’s more than just a Disney princess–she’s a complicated, sassy, femme fatale. And “I Won’t Say I’m in Love” is in heavy rotation when my friends and I go to karaoke. So when Elhoffer previewed their “Damsel in Dis Wrap” Dress right before I left for a trip to Greece, I knew my dreams of becoming Meg were about to come true.
I brought the dress to the beautiful island of Skyros and took these photos on a breezy summer morning. While I didn’t have my own Greek chorus, I still felt the part, and I’m not afraid to say that I am in love with this dress. The fabric is magic–it’s stretchy, hardly wrinkles, durable, can be machine washed, and dries in an instant. The dress is a bit heavy, like all Elhoffer wrap dresses, but not enough to keep the wind from moving beautifully through it. I look like a sculpture! Plus, IT HAS POCKETS.
Need the dress in your life? Act fast. Supplies are limited post-SDCC. Get it at Elhofferdesign.com.
Do you have any Elhoffer pieces? Are you as in love with them as I am?
If I gave you the chance to commit some crimes–pickpocketing, theft, and fraud to name a few–and get away with it, would you?
I had the opportunity to do just that a couple weeks ago, and while it wasn’t technically real (I am posting about this publicly, after all), it gave me the same thrill I assume criminals get.
Cat and Canary Co. reached out to my friend Kristina about a new experience called The Confidence Game, and we were instantly intrigued. The experience lets you and three friends turn into conmen for the night. You meet up with contacts in bars, break into hotel rooms, steal diamonds, and sell them to diamond dealers. It is extremely realistic and there are a few fun surprises throughout the night, but if anything gets “too real” for you, you’ve got a safe word at your disposal. They split us up into groups of two: The hustlers and the thieves. Joe and I took on the roles of rogues, while we let our counterparts Alexander and Kristina do the sweet talking.
I learned a few things about myself that night: I’m a horrible pickpocket and liar, and while I can pretend to be a hardened criminal, my lawful good side comes through when you try to make me jaywalk. For now I think I’ll keep the lying and stealing to my D&D characters and continue to live a lawful life. But the next time Cat and Canary comes out with another adventure, you know I’ll be ready to suit up and play evil for the night.
In addition to doing specific experiences, Cat and Canary can also create something custom for you. You’ll go around your city, interacting with amazing actors, and doing things you’ve only seen in movies. I would absolutely recommend you do this. I’m already imagining the most epic birthdays, proposals, and more. If you end up doing something with them, let me know what you think!
Would you let a group of strangers turn you into criminals for the night?
I have a few shows I re-watch whenever I need a pick-me-up, and Brooklyn 99 has started to become one of those. And while I’m an Amy all the way, I often feel for Boyle and his ridiculous food obsession. In the episode “The Negotiation” Boyle decides to open a food truck called “The One Thing”, where he will create and sell only one thing and do it perfectly. He decides to use Nana Boyle’s meatball sub recipe. I decided to emulate it using a classic meatball and sauce recipe, but add a few details (like fennel and fresh mozzarella) that I think Boyle would approve of.
Just be careful when you cut the bread. You don’t want it to slope.
Tonight is the series finale of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the most amazing musical comedy that deals with super important conversations about mental health and relationships. And pretzels. Rebecca, the main character, loves soft pretzels (as everyone should) and ends up owning her own pretzel shop in season 4 titled “Rebetzel’s”. In one of the episodes, I was able to catch a glimpse of the full Rebetzel’s menu, and holy cow. I want ALL of these pretzels. So, I decided to make them.
As a heads up, pretzels might take you a try or two until they’re pretty. The batch I made for this recipe were UGLY. So so delicious and ugly in the “mess of food that I want to eat right now” way, but still too ugly to post. So, instead, I leave you with this video of pretzels from the show. But believe me: this recipe is legit.
(Did you catch all of the puns in there?)
I’ve been a fan of this show from the beginning, and I was so thrilled to get tickets to the taping of their “Yes, It’s Really Us Singing” concert special that will be airing after the final episode tonight. Cosplay was encouraged, so my friend Makenzie and I did our best Heavy Boobs impression. (Check out my Instagram post to see how we did!)
We were seated smack in the middle of the balcony. I’m hoping one of the sweeping audience shots got us–look for the two ladies in white! Anyway, I look forward to celebrating the final episode and the concert special while emotionally eating ALL of these delicious pretzels. Use the base recipe and then top it with any of Rebecca’s signature flavors below. Which one is your fave? (I loved the pizza pretzel and the lemon poppy seed, and you can never go wrong with the classic Rebetzel with sea salt!)
Rebetzel's Pretzel Recipe from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Place the yeast, warm water, and sugar in a mixer bowl. Let dissolve together for 10 minutes.
Add the kosher salt and melted butter to the mixture.
Add flour, one cup at a time, into the bowl, mixing with a bread hook attachment between each addition. Continue to add until the dough is not sticky.
Shape the dough into a ball, place it in a bowl, and cover for 30 minutes.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Boil the 12 cups of water and baking soda together in a large pot.
Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll out into a long rope, and then twist to make a pretzel shape.
Drop each pretzel into boiling water for 20 seconds.
Place the boiled pretzels on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet.
Mix the egg and 1 TBS water together and spread over the pretzels.
Sprinkle with kosher salt or other optional toppings.
Bake for 12-14 minutes or until browned.
Let cool for a few minutes and enjoy!
Classic Rebetzel with Salt: Sprinkle chunks of sea salt on the pretzels before baking.
Garlic Salt: Sprinkle garlic salt on the pretzels before baking.
Honey Bacon: After baking, drizzle with honey and sprinkle crumbled up bacon on the pretzels.
Salted Caramel: After baking, drizzle with caramel sauce and sprinkle salt on the pretzels.
Jalapeno Cheddar: Sprinkle shredded cheddar all over the pretzel and top with 3-4 canned jalapeno slices before baking.
Coconut: Sprinkle with shredded coconut before baking.
Chocolate Peanut Butter: Place 1 TBS of chocolate chips, 1 TBS peanut butter, and 1 TBS butter in a microwave safe dish. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir, and then microwave another 30 seconds if it needs it. Stir until fully mixed. After baking, drizzle the chocolate peanut butter mixture over the pretzels.
Pizza Pretzel: Lightly cover the top of an unbaked pretzel with pizza sauce, and then top with shredded mozzarella cheese and slices of pepperoni. Bake.
Pecan Vanilla: Make a glaze with 2 TBS powdered sugar, 1 tsp milk, and a dash of vanilla. After baking, drizzle the glaze on the pretzels and top with pecan chunks.
Caramel Popcorn: After baking, drizzle with caramel sauce and place caramel popcorn pieces on the pretzels.
Lemon Poppy Seed: Make a glaze with 2 TBS powdered sugar and 1 tsp lemon juice. After baking, drizzle the glaze on the pretzels and sprinkle poppy seeds on top.
Cereal Glaze: Let a bowl of sugary cereal sit in its milk until the milk changes color. Make a glaze with 2 TBS powdered sugar and 1 tsp of the cereal milk. After baking, drizzle the cereal glaze over the pretzels.
The second episode of Life is Strange 2 launched today, so I thought I’d celebrate by remembering the one part of the first episode that didn’t make me cry–the dad’s delightful pasta recipe.
This recipe was found on the side of the fridge–it’s meant to be an easy recipe for the kids to make on days they’re on their own for dinner. I love that the recipe has a casual, humorous feel. It’s very much the voice of their dad. …and, I’m crying again.
If you’re looking for a fast and delicious meal that doesn’t take much skill, this is for you. If you want to amp it up a bit, I’d recommend sauteing the tomatoes with some garlic and other veggies (I do onions and zucchini) and then mixing it with the olive oil, Parmesan, and black pepper.
As a heads up–this “recipe” tells you to boil the pasta for 5 minutes. My pasta bag recommended 10-11. Stick with the instructions your pasta gives you!
Have you played the first episode of Life is Strange 2 yet? Do you also need to drown yourself in a giant bowl of pasta and tears before continuing? (The game is fantastic, I swear! I just cry easy.)
The start of a new year is the perfect time to evaluate your life: what do you love and want to keep doing, and what do you want to stop or start doing?
If cooking, meal prep, or eating healthier are things you want to start, you might enjoy some of these recipes. These are my tried-and-true favorite meals when I’m looking for something high in protein and low in carbs and calories. They taste better than takeout and most can be made in 30 minutes or less.
Click through and give some a try! Then let me know some of your healthy standbys in the comments!
These are based on the PF Changs chicken lettuce wraps, and I like them even better than the real thing. They’re surprisingly easy to make–the toughest thing is not eating the whole thing by myself! (Also, Damn Delicious is one of my fave food blogs. It is accurately named.)
This is a great meatless option that’s also extremely flexible. I usually use veggies I have around (swapping the sun-dried tomatoes for cherry tomatoes, for instance) and I use Israeli couscous instead of millet.
Ok, this one is barely a recipe. Cook up some Banza pasta. While it’s cooking, sautee some veggies and/or grill up some chicken sausages. Mix it all together with pesto and top it with parmesan or feta. This is the lazy-too-tired-to-cook meal of choice in our house. It lets me give into the pasta cravings with something a bit better for me. If you haven’t had it before, Banza is amazing. It’s pasta made from chickpeas, so it’s high in protein and fiber, low in carbs, and gluten free. It’s available in most stores, and they’ve also just launched some mac and cheese boxes. I always keep some of their pasta in the pantry!
I don’t know if it’s the recipe itself or if it’s because it’s from Food and Wine, but I feel so fancy when I make this recipe. It’s so tasty! I use kalamata olives instead of Sicilian, and I usually make kale or broccoli instead of the spinach. Serve with some rice pilaf and greens!
Today is the day! It’s The Minecrafter’s Cookbook‘s birthday! I’m beyond excited.
I’m celebrating with one more recipe from the book. This white chocolate bark is extremely simple to make and can be customized any way you choose–add sprinkles, different fruits, or even some peppermint extract. This one is based on the Ice Plains Biome in Minecraft. I think it perfectly captures the white, blue, jagged landscape, and it’s super delicious! Plus, it’s a great treat or host gift for upcoming holiday parties.
Want to check out some other Minecraft recipes? Try:
We’re one week away from the launch of The Minecrafter’s Cookbook! I still haven’t seen the book in person, it should arrive any day. I can’t wait! In the meantime, I wanted to share another recipe from the book with you.
Today I’m sharing a recipe that sounds gross, but is actually quite delicious. This “not-so-rotten-flesh” is homemade beef jerky, and I promise you won’t take any damage eating it. This is great to make before a long gaming or Netflix session, to bring on a hike, or just to have on hand as a nice protein snack. I thought beef jerky would be super intimidating, but this is actually fairly easy! Just takes a bit of time and patience. Give it a try, and then check out the other Minecraft recipes:
To cut your steak into strips, freeze it for an hour and then have an adult with a large, sharp knife, cut it into as thin of strips as you can manage, less than ¼ inch thick. Cut with the grain is you want traditional chewy jerky, and against the grain if you want the jerky to be a bit more tender and brittle. Cut off any large pieces of fat you see on the slices. (A butcher may be able to do this slicing for you when you initially purchase the steak. Just ask!)
Place the steak slices into a large, resealable freezer bag.
Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl until the sugar has dissolved.
Pour the contents of the bowl into the bag, seal, and move around the steak so it's fully covered.
Let the steak marinade in the refrigerator overnight (or for at least 3 hours).
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees F (or as low as your oven will go) and cover two baking sheets with aluminum foil. Place a wire rack over each baking sheet.
Remove the steak from the marinade and gently pat with a paper towel to remove extra marinade.
Lay the steak out on the wire racks and place into the oven.
Cook for 4 hours.
Check on the meat. Is it dry and leathery? It should crack when you bend it, but not completely break. If it's not dry enough for you, place back in the oven and continue to check every 30 minutes. (The time it takes to fully dry will depend on the thickness of your meat, temperature of your oven, and your personal preferences. It may take a couple more hours!)
Let cool. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one month.
My very first book, The Minecrafter’s Cookbook comes out on November 27th, and to celebrate, I’m sharing some recipes from the book for the next few weeks!
The book is for kids and families that want to learn how to cook the items they see in Minecraft. There are recipes for all of the food items you see, including steak, salmon, porkchops, baked potatoes, and more, and there are plenty of fun recipes to make food that looks like your favorite non-edible items. This is one of those. This delicious brownie recipe includes semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips and is topped with some bright green frosting. They look like the grass blocks you find everywhere in the game. Not a frosting fan? Keep it off for some more simple dirt block brownies. Whether or not you’re a Minecraft fan, I can guarantee you’ll enjoy these treats!
Melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips and butter in a large sauce pan over low heat. Stir until smooth and then remove from heat. Let cool for 2 minutes.
Stir the sugar into the chocolate butter mixture.
Add the eggs to the mixture one at a time, stirring between each egg.
Stir in the vanilla.
Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and mix gently.
Stir in the milk chocolate chips.
Pour the brownie batter into the greased baking pan.
Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean (just a few crumbs).
Cool in the pan for 30 minutes.
While cooling, make the frosting: beat 1 cup of unsalted butter in a mixer until light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, ½ cup at a time, mixing fully each time. Add the salt and vanilla, and mix for 2 minutes or until everything is light, fluffy, and the texture of a thick buttercream frosting. Add a few drops of green food coloring and mix until the color is even. Add more food coloring until you get the color of green you wish.
Place the frosting into a piping bag with a grass or star-shaped pastry tip on the bottom. Pipe the frosting onto the top of the brownies. (Don't have pastry tips? You can also frost the brownies with a butter knife or spatula!)
It’s October, and I am ready for spooky stories and rich, warm comfort food. I was able to get both at the same time with Hungry Ghosts, a new horror graphic novel written by Joel Rose and Anthony Bourdain before his death. The graphic novel centers around a version of the Japanese Edo period game of Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai–where warriors would gather in a room with 100 candles. Taking turns, they will each tell a scary story and then blow out a candle, until all of the candles are out or they’re too scared to continue. (Think of it as the orginal, much more bad-ass “Are You Afraid of the Dark”.) The stories in Hungry Ghosts focus around food and Japanese spirits and demons and they’re as dark and gory as you’d hope.
The novel includes a guide to the spirits mentioned in the stories and includes five new recipes by Anthony Bourdain inspired by the tales. I’ve been allowed to share one of them, a recipe for delicious, creamy saffron risotto. I always assumed risotto would be difficult to make, but it’s actually fairly simple. It is a bit laborious, as you’re stirring the rice almost constantly throughout, but it’s worth the effort. This risotto warms up your insides and makes you feel ready to take on anything spooky that may come your way. Check out the recipe below:
Combine half the chicken stock and the saffron threads in a small pan and bring to a simmer to draw the flavor, color, and aroma from the threads into the stock.
In a medium-sized pot, gently heat the oil and stir in the onion, taking care to get each piece coated with oil. Cook gently, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and translucent; do not let it brown. Add the rice, stirring carefully so that it’s well distributed with the onions. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes, to gently toast the rice. Stir in the wine and take the heat back down to medium-low. Continue to cook, stirring regularly, as the rice eventually absorbs all the wine and the alcohol smell can no longer be detected.
To this mixture, add a ladleful of the warm saffron-infused stock. Continue to stir and add more stock as it becomes absorbed, eventually also adding the reserved, non-infused chicken stock, a ladleful at a time. Once or twice before all of the stock is absorbed, check the rice for its state of doneness: at the end, it should yield to the bite and be cooked all the way through, but still maintain its structural integrity.
Now, assess the texture of the risotto. Is it runny enough to cover the bottom of a bowl without coaxing? If not, stir in a little more stock until it’s the correct consistency.
Now, add the butter chunks and the cheese and beat it with a light hand into the hot rice, incorporating some air and lightening the consistency somewhat as you go. Taste the risotto and season with salt if necessary. Serve immediately with the osso buco (see recipe in book).
Serves 6 as a side dish.
Are you a fan of creepy stories? Which ones are your go-tos in October?