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?
I’m a huge fan of game nights, but have gotten stuck in a rut. I’ve been playing a lot of legacy games with my friends, and while I love SeaFall and Time Stories, I wouldn’t mind changing up the game and the group I’m playing with occasionally. That’s where UnboxBoardom comes in. It’s a board game subscription box that delivers a new game to you monthly. You can choose to be surprised with a random game (with an average value of $35 or more) or you can choose between three options, allowing you to pick the type of game you want–something more strategic, family friendly, or more party-focused.
UnboxBoardom signed me up for a month of their service so I could check it out. I loved the email I received showing me my options: Each title includes the number of players, the average play time, and how family friendly, strategic, and party ready the game is. Each game has been vetted by the UnboxBoardom staff and includes their recommendations. Here are the titles I got to choose from:
I don’t know a whole lot about football and have played (and enjoyed) King of Tokyo before, so I chose Prowler’s Passage, a game I hadn’t heard of. It’s a strategic two player game, which made for a perfect game night with my husband.
In Prowler’s Passage, you and your opponent are rival thieves, claiming underground passages for yourself and stealing goods while bending the districts to your will. It’s highly strategic and math focused: Do you focus on making your passage the longest? Stealing all of the statues? Focusing on just one color district or all of them, or do what the additional achievement cards encourage you to do? It’s quick to learn the basics of the game, but I’m still learning all of the strategy. Each game only takes 25 minutes, so it’s something you can play multiple times in an evening.
I really enjoyed getting the opportunity to learn a new game and love the idea of getting the gift of gaming at my door each month. Wanna give it a try? Head to UnboxBoardom.com and sign up for a new game every one, two, or three months. Prices are between $29.99-31.99 a package and UnboxBoardom donates a board game to kids who can’t afford them for every 10 they sell. You can’t go wrong!
Have you been playing any new games lately? Let me know in the comments!
While working at Xbox, I’ve started a tradition where I bring in cupcakes after we do an event. I pick one of my favorite aspects of the event and let that be inspiration for the flavor. At PAX West, we had a super cool area for Fallout 76 where people could guess the amount of bottle caps in an atom bomb and put their guesses into a replica Fallout computer. Those who completed this task were rewarded with Xbox and Fallout-branded bottle caps. I instantly knew I’d have to do a Nuke Cola cupcake!
For those not in the know, Nuka Cola is a blue cola available in the Fallout universe. It claims to be made with a variety of fruit flavors, but come on, it’s called a cola. So I ignored the fruit and made Coke-flavored cupcakes. I don’t think anyone minded. 🙂
I used blue cupcake liners and made a cupcake with a Coca-Cola reduction, but you could use cola flavoring or a cola concentrate/syrup you might have for your Soda Stream instead. I also brush the tops of the cupcakes with some Coke and incorporate a bit of the reduction into the buttercream frosting as well. The flavor is still fairly mild, but you get a good cola aftertaste.
If you’re like me, you love games AND you love cooking. No game night is complete without a few snacks or treats themed around what we’re playing. But what if you could combine both things into one and actually play a game with your food?
Jenn Sandercock did just this when she created the Edible Games Cookbook. She designed 12 different games centered around food and put it together into a beautiful 300 page hardcover book. And starting today, you can pledge for a copy of this book on Kickstarter! The book itself contains recipes, game rules, and modifications for both. Are you a beginner cook? A vegan? Playing with kids? Playing with grown-ups? There’s something for you. There’s even a game completely centered around getting kids to eat their veggies in a fun way!
I sat down with Jenn to talk a bit about the book and what led her to create it:
Why edible games?
It’s more like why not? It just seems so natural to me. As soon as I got into game design I was always trying to think of different ways to push games or use other things in my life I like, like dancing and food. Whenever I showed people the ideas I had around food games, people thought they were amazing, so I wanted to keep doing that. A cookbook is the best way to let other people play these games, because I just want other people to have fun.
What’s your favorite game in the cookbook?
The Patisserie Code. It’s the most annoying to make (it takes the most amount of time) but it takes cream puffs or profiteroles. My family, we called them petit choux. We ate them from quite a young age. My mom got them from a nearby bakery and when it closed, she started making them. I knew I wanted to make a game with cream puffs and I’m really happy with the game that ended up coming out of it.
What would you say to someone who’s intimidated in the kitchen?
A lot of the games don’t require cooking at all, just go to the market and buy some ingredients. Even for the more complex games (like The Patisserie Code), I’ve got a lot of cheat ways you can get around it, like you can buy things from the store. Even if somebody’s a total amateur, I ‘ve got options to help people be able to make them.
When you’re not playing with food, what are your favorite games?
At the moment my favorite tabletop/card game is Just Desserts, so staying on theme! I bought it because I wanted to see what other people were doing around food games, but I really enjoyed playing the game.
In terms of digital games, I was recently playing a game on my phone called Hexologic, and that’s a really lovely puzzle game.
I’ve been playing through LA Noire on the Switch, I worked on LA Noire and never had the time to finish it, so that feels really good.
Check out the Kickstarter today and download a sample chapter of the award-winning “Order of the Oven Mitt” game. Let me know in the comments if you back it!
Yes, yes, I know we all had the same reaction to those new creatures in Star Wars: The Last Jedi: They looked positively delicious! Chewie had the right idea when he decided to roast one up. Porgs are abundant on Ahch-To, have plump little bodies, and I have a sneaky suspicion they taste just like chicken when crisped to a golden brown. Give it a try yourself with this recipe. It’s a bit fancier than roasting over open flame, and would make the perfect main course for any early-April feast. (Star Wars-themed Easter dinner, anyone?)