Category Archives: Food & Recipes

The best of all kitchen related good-ness!

Where’s the Beef? NOT HERE!

I’m always looking for fun and creative ways to change up my nutrition. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have friends who are super knowledgeable about the stuff either.  As a self-proclaimed foodie I try pretty much everything.  Avocado brownies anyone? Trust me, they’re way better than they sound!

Anyway! Now that the sun is shining again and Spring weather is upon us I’ve already starting thinking about the opportunities I will have to grill this year. And right now, in front of you all, I’m going to make an effort to cut out even more beef!  While I don’t eat much of it as is, grilling season often gets a little out of control with all the burgers and hot dogs. This year I’m making a concerted effort to try some different recipes and I’ve found some good recipes to try, so I made a collection of them.

In my collection below, 10 Bold Beef Burger Alternatives, you can find some of my favorite picks for grilling season. From sweet potato to salmon to falafel burgers, I’ve got plenty of variety to choose from. After all, variety is the spice of life right? No bored taste buds for me.

Some of my favorites recipes included in the collection are:

  • Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers
  • Fabulous Un-fried Falafel Burgers
  • Paleo Jalapeno Chicken Burgers
  • Lamb Burger!

Check out 10 Bold Beef Burger Alternatives

by Jor-El at Mode

Check out the full story for more beef burger alternative options. Who knows, maybe some will take over your #MeatlessMondays for the Summer too.


THE Super Bowl 50 Recipe Guide

2.7.16 is the big day! Almost everyone in America will be glued to their tv screens watching the biggest game of the year, Super Bowl 50!

Who’s going to take that trophy home in the big game? The Carolina Panthers who have had an amazing season (GO NC!) or the perennial favorite the New England Patriots? Probably neither if Arizona or the Denver Broncos have anything to say about it.  For more on predictions you can read more here.

No matter who is ending up at the big game in a few weeks, you can’t wait to plan your party menu. Your friends will be counting on you to deliver some of the best, game day food ever. This means you’ve got to get ready!

Luckily for you I’m obsessed with all things food and have done a little bit of research on your behalf. From kitchen novice to expert chef, you’re definitely going to appreciate some of the delicious recipes I’ve put together in The Ultimate Super Bowl Sunday Recipe Guide.

Get your shopping lists ready, this one’s going to be a blow out! Some of my personal favorites in the collection are:

  • Sticky Asian BBQ Boneless Oven Baked Wings
  • Homemade Black Pepper Potato Chips
  • Slow-cooked Shredded Pork
  • Beer can chicken (grilled)
  • Pimento Cheese and Bacon Crostini
Check out the full collection below!

Check out The Ultimate Super Bowl Recipe Guide

by Jor-El at Mode

A Sweet Throwback with Coffee-mate

Compensation was provided by Nestlé Coffee-mate® via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Coffee-mate®.

coffee mate choc chip

In my previous post, The Sweet Life with Coffee-mate, I reminisced a bit on my childhood and teenage years and the ways in which Coffee-mate helped me revisit some of those great memories.  This past week, I decided to take a little time to recreate those old memories with friends and we had a great time!

I first developed a love for coffee back as a kid with my parents on slow Sunday mornings.  Unfortunately my folks are hundreds of miles away in NC so having Dad whip up an especially strong pot of coffee, French toast and bacon wasn’t exactly in the cards. I’ve lost touch with a lot of high school friends too.  But luckily, some local friends were all too happy to help me enjoy Coffee-mate with some chocolate chip cookies courtesy of yours truly.

Back in my high school days, one of the things that me and my friends most enjoyed doing was going out to dinner (and a movie) and spending hours talking about all the interesting facets of life over cups of coffee, chocolate chip cookies and a variety of other pastries.  I guess we weren’t too careful about our calorie intake back then, but who was in high school?

When I discovered Coffee-mate Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie creamer it took me back to those times when the only cares in the world I had were someone else’s.  As a teenager I was very idealistic and my friends and I would try and think of ways, in our all-knowing teenage wisdom, how to solve the worlds’ problems.  Unfortunately, adulthood has graciously taken over my life, and I’ve lost touch with many of my high school friends. Like most of us, many, many miles now separate us. But, that didn’t stop me from bringing a little bit of my North Carolina practice to NYC when I re-created some of these memories with my friends in the Big Apple.

With Coffee-mate Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie creamer in tow, we indulged on chocolate chip cookies, some coffee, and board & card games, a lot of conversation about the issues — both personal and political.

Despite our ongoing battle with Peter Pan syndrome, I’ve grown up and noticed that many of my late night coffee conversations now include a lot of talk about who’s running for the presidency in 2016 (and who probably shouldn’t be!) and how work can be just as stressful whether you’re actually in the office or not.  And, does anyone really understand Roth IRAs? Ah, grown up problems!

But no matter what, I know that whenever I need to vent or just enjoy some good times with friends, a pot of coffee and some Coffee-mate will always get the job done.

This summer, Nestlé Coffee-mate® is celebrating the sweetest form of nostalgia with their exclusive range of fun, exciting flavors that evoke delicious memories and emotions of the past. These sweet throwback flavors include Toll House® Chocolate Chip Cookie, Caramel Macchiato and Classic Vanilla.

coffe-mate logo

Sounds of Summer with Wild Turkey American Honey®

Compensation was provided by Wild Turkey American Honey® via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Wild Turkey American Honey®.

This past Thursday, summer was in full effect as I attended a Hudson RiverRocks concert at Pier 84 in NYC while I enjoyed some good tunes and delicious Wild Turkey American Honey® cocktails!

After a long day at work, there’s not much better than live music, new friends and a cocktail or two to relax. And that’s exactly what I got to do this past Thursday right along the Hudson River in NYC.

Hudson RiverRocks is celebrating its 17th season of live entertainment in New York City this year. The series has been hosting free concerts for NYC workers and commuters on Thursday evenings. And as I learned, not only do these events offer up some live music and cocktails, but food stands and trucks are all around to make sure that no one goes home with an empty stomach.

AHoney collage

When I arrived at the event, the scheduled bands Waxahatchee and Speedy Ortiz weren’t on stage yet so I headed back to the VIP lounge where I got to enjoy an adult version of Wild Turkey Jenga while sipping on a delicious cocktail of Wild Turkey American Honey® Lemonade. That was where I ran into Nadia of and talked shop about all things blogging, NYC and bourbon.


Soon thereafter, the bands Waxahatchee and Speedy Ortiz took their respective turns on stage to a pretty decent sized crowd. If you’d like to join in on some of the fun with Wild Turkey you can join them at further Hudson RiverRocks concerts on 7/23 and 8/6.

Once there was a short break, I had to start making my way home. Luckily I made it into a cab just as the rain started to pour. Lucky me! All in all, I had a pretty good time with my blogger pals and Wild Turkey American Honey Lemonade. I’ll definitely be looking to recreate that drink for my next summer barbecue!

American Honey is the original honey bourbon, made with real honey and real bourbon. Serve up your summer with American Honey! Follow American Honey at



The Sweet Life with Coffee-mate

Compensation was provided by Nestlé Coffee-mate® via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Coffee-mate.  

coffe-mate chocolate chip

As a young boy I was someone who really liked to emulate my parents and one of the things that I enjoyed most was drinking coffee with them. I don’t know why I liked it so much as a young person; it was just something that I enjoyed doing and I think that in some way it helped me feel more like an adult.  And truth be told, I was always too big for my britches.

My love for coffee started pretty young. I actually don’t remember the exact age I tried it because it was always a part of my upbringing. There were plenty of times that I was concerned that it would stunt my growth as the rumors suggested, but I got over that pretty quickly.  Luckily, in high school, I had good friends who enjoyed watching a lot of movies and we would often head to a strip mall to get coffee and cookies or pastries before or after. The Coffee-mate Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie creamer reminds me of those times spent with friends as we threw caution to the wind and absorbed an enormous amount of late night calories of chocolate chip cookies, coffee and pretty much any other pastry we could get on our hands on.

There was something about the bitter and sweet taste of coffee that always felt so comforting to me, and I think that’s one of the reasons why I still drink it today. There’s not much better than a tasty cup of hot coffee.  While I have had some times where I cut back, coffee is still one of my favorite drinks in part because it largely reminds me of the mornings I spent with my parents and those late nights with friends that often included coffee and some pretty deep conversations about life, love and what we wanted to be when we grew up.

I remember watching my father make coffee religiously. I used to watch him with this sort of Zen-like focus because he was the only one who was allowed to make coffee in our house. My mom always complained that she couldn’t ever brew it strong enough, so my dad was always responsible for making the coffee every morning.

Out of all the times that we enjoyed coffee, one of the most vivid memories I have with my family was of Sunday mornings. Everyone slept in a little late, and waking up to the fresh smell of coffee was always really great for me. In addition to that, I knew that the smell of coffee also came with the lovely smell of buttery French toast and crackling bacon. You can imagine that Sunday breakfast quickly became one of my favorite things.

So as I would get up for breakfast, even as a young kid, one of the things I would do was engage in this ritual of making my own cup of coffee. We were a house that always drank it with sugar and creamer and one of my favorite creamers was the Coffee-mate Classic Vanilla. For me, Coffee-mate offered that extra touch of silky creaminess that always goes with the perfect cup of Joe. And while there’s nothing like enjoying a cup of coffee on a Sunday morning, I can’t help but also remember the friends that I’ve lost touch with and the many hours we spent embroiled in teenage angst contemplating life.

As I think about my long love affair with coffee, I can’t help but think about the meaningful times I’ve spent with loved ones either over bacon or chocolate chip cookies or other tasty treats. Maybe I should re-create some of those times pretty soon with Coffee-mate.

This summer, Nestlé Coffee-mate® is celebrating the sweetest form of nostalgia with their exclusive range of fun, exciting flavors that evoke delicious memories and emotions of the past These sweet throwback flavors include Toll House® Chocolate Chip Cookie, Caramel Macchiato and Classic Vanilla.

coffe-mate logo

A Little Taste of Manhattan Moonshine

One of the great (and fun) pleasures of being an adult (read: grown ass man) is cocktails!  Once you hit the ripe age of 21 you can enjoy them freely, and legally, but I’m a firm believer that it’s not until you past the quarter of a century mark do you really appreciate a well made drink.

Spirits, libations, cocktails.  All are variations of some liquor infused drink but they’re not created equal and depending on your exposure you may find yourself into a bit of a comfort-zone with certain drinks or spirits depending on your friend group at different life stages. Vodka has been a well documented spirit in many of my late nights exploits, but I’ve tried to branch out from time to time to see what other tasty cocktails await.  That’s why I was more than happy, albeit a little concerned, to try out Manhattan Moonshine, a “prohibition-style whiskey”.

Again, I’m not a whiskey guy so my main focus in bringing this review to you was to try out a mixed beverage that I thought I could actually handle/like and that some of you might want to try too.  I ended up making my own twist on a “Bessie Smash”.  Here’s the altered recipe I tried:

  • 1 1/2 oz of Manhattan Moonshine
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz Liber & Co spiced tonic syrup

It ended up looking a little something like this!

Manhattan Moonshine
Not too shabby, eh?













It turned out so good I might have had more than one!  Manhattan Moonshine is a pretty clean spirit so it lends itself to mixing well with a variety of cocktails.  The term “moonshine” is a bit misleading as people often think of moonshine as a harsh spirit but I think this whiskey is smoother and cleaner than even I expected.  It’s a great substitute for vodka or gin which is why I think I have the curiosity to dabble again in the whiskey end of the liquor spectrum.

To find out more about Manhattan Moonshine check out the website at


Disclosure: Product for review was provided courtesy of Manhattan Moonshine.  All opinions listed herein are mine and mine alone.

Brrr! Cold Weather Drinks for Those Who Like It Hot

Check out Brrr! Cold Weather Drinks for Those Who Like it Hot

by Jor-El at

There’s nothing more comfortable than a warm drink on a cold winter day, right?  Well today, I’m sharing with you some of my favorite winter drink favorites in the hopes they’ll hope you make it through this winter with your sanity firmly intact.

It seems like almost every winter I struggle with at least one horrible cold and/or sore throat which makes me reconsider my love affair with all things winter and layered clothing.  It’s incredibly frustrating and what I would consider in the depths of my cold-ridden days as a personal tragedy.  You know, I’m just a little dramatic at times.  I’m not alone in this, I’m sure, but it was those days with sore throats as a kid that I really hated because my parents’ remedy used to be patience and hot tea.  Ain’t nobody got time for that! Especially, not a 9-year-old, but I digress.  And I don’t know about you, but as a kid, I hated hot tea. Thankfully, my grown up taste buds have saved me from myself and I’ve enjoyed some pretty tasty hot tea since.

These days it’s not only a simple hot tea with honey that gets me through these brisk days, but also a super Hot Toddy or an extra hot Chai Latte from Starbucks.  If you’re looking to get a bit creative this winter and want to try your hand at making some new beverages, then you may want to explore my collection on, “Brrr! Cold Weather Beverages for Those Who Like it Hot.”  The recipes included are as follows:

  • Almond Tea Latte
  • Peppermint Hot Chocolate
  • Homemade Chai Tea Latte
  • Classic Hot Toddy
  • Hot Buttered Rum
  • Tequila Mint Hot Chocolate
  • Mexican Hot Chocolate
  • Traditional Mulled Wine Recipe
  • Hoppin’ Hot Scotch Cocktail Recipe
  • Warm Mulled Cider
  • Spiced Irish Coffee
  • Earl Grey Tea Latte
  • Kentucky Hot Toddy
  • Green Tea Latte
  • Hot Pumpkin Buttered Rum Cocktail
  • Hot NoChado

So, the question remains, which one(s) are you making this winter?


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by The collection is of my own creation and represents some of my favorite hot drinks for the winter months.  Give them a try for yourself!

YUM! Delectable Cookies & Bars

Check out Delectable Cookies and Bars

by Jor-El at

In my spare time one of the things that I enjoy most is cooking. Preparing food and making things for friends is a really fun way for me to experiment in the kitchen with a willing group of guinea pigs.

In all seriousness, food has always been a big part of my life and that’s why I love being able to share with you my collections of recipes on  I routinely use the website to discover new recipes and get inspiration for ideas to bring to my own kitchen, so it’s definitely a treat to share with you all some of the things that have piqued my interest.

This month, I’m sharing with you a collection of cookies and bars, which are among my favorite things to share with my family and loved ones.  I have to highlight one of the recipes on this list because it inspired me to make a revamped version of it earlier in the summer for a cookout with my friends.

brown butter sea salt caramel bars - mane man








These Brown Butter Sea Salt Caramel Bars were a BIG hit.  I’ve basically been told that I won’t be invited to any potlucks unless I bring these to every occasion!  These bars are based on the below recipe of Sea Salt Brown Butter Snickerdoodles.  I only have one big warning though, the smell of these things in progress is HEAVENLY.  If you love salty-sweet desserts these are basically perfection and I’m pretty sure I’d want them at my last meal.

Other recipes in this collection include:

  1. *Brown Butter Salted Caramel Cookies
  2. Piece of Cake-Mix Cookie Bars
  3. Snickers Blondies
  4. Salted Caramel Apple Bars
  5. Pecan-Pie Bars
  6. Triple Chocolate Pretzel Brownies
  7. Red Velvet Cheesecake Cookies
  8. Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
  9. Homemade Luna Bars
  10. Funfetti Gooey Cake Bars
  11. Date Pecan Bars
  12. Ginger Cheesecake Bars
  13. Muddy Buddies Bars
  14. Superhero Cheerio Bars
  15. Lemon Bars
  16. Gingerbread Cookie Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
  17. M&M Shortbread Cookies
  18. Apple Cider Snickerdoodles
  19. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
  20. Chocolate Turtle Cookies

Bon appétit!





Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by The collection is of my own creation and represents some of my favorite desserts to eat and prepare.  Give them a try for yourself!

Crushing the Midday Lull with barkTHINS


Workdays are notorious for that mid-afternoon, post-lunch crash right around 2:30-3 PM. Most people try to battle that midday crash by drinking yet another cup of coffee, but what if you could enjoy an all natural treat like barkTHINS? Well, if you’re anything like me you’d probably be a pretty happy camper.

barkTHINS are all natural treats featuring snacking chocolate that provide a satisfying midday crunch. With a lot of varieties under their belt, the barkTHINS family of products offers a balanced way to snacking mostly using rich dark chocolate paired with things like pretzels, sea salt, pumpkin seeds and other goodies. I have had the chance to try a few varieties and they’re pretty good!

By far my favorite combination is the Dark Chocolate Pretzel with Sea Salt bag featured in the picture above. The salty sweet combination is a little taste of heaven. And the dark chocolate flavor is rich, dark and full which made me feel a little less guilty about eating a couple of bark slabs during the middle of the day.  Dark Chocolate Almond with Sea Salt came up second in my list of favorites with Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed coming in a very distant third.  It might just be my personal preference, but pumpkin seeds just don’t do it for me.  But all in all, the barkTHINS line up is a pretty nice way to indulge.

Other varieties include:

  • Dark Chocolate Mint
  • Dark Chocolate Toasted Coconut with Almonds
  • Dark Chocolate Peppermint Pretzel with Sea Salt
  • (Dark Chocolate) Blueberry Quinoa with Agave

Overall, I would say that if chocolate is a bit of a vice for you, then barkTHINS is likely going to slowly wrangle you in. I found the varieties I tried to have pretty good quality chocolate even though the pumpkin seed variety is not on my list of favorite things to snack on. That being said, I’m definitely eyeing a few of the other varieties and they might even become part of some holiday gifts for loved ones, because what’s better than gifting snacks you can’t feel bad about?

barkTHINS are available at many major retailers and the listing can be found here.


Disclosure: Sample products for review were provided courtesy of barkTHINS.  All opinions listed herein are mine alone and have not been influenced by any party.

Simply Delicious Fall Recipes

Check out Simply Delicious Fall Recipes

by Jor-El at

Contrary to my recent post “What I Hate Most About This Time of Year” I actually love fall, especially when it comes to food.  I recently joked on Instagram that everyone had made their first pot of chili a few weeks ago when we all felt the first chill in the air.  It turns out I wasn’t too far from the truth!

One of my favorite things to do outside of work is cook so I’ve teamed up with Foodie again to share with you some of my favorite fall recipes in this newest collection.

Some of them are absolute standouts that I have to make every fall, like Sweet Potato Pie.  As a born and bred Southerner (and NYC transplant) I make Sweet Potato Pie almost intuitively but the recipe included in my collection is pretty close to how my mother made it. I’ve added a tweak or two over the years but it’s still doesn’t compare to what mom makes!

Here are the other recipes included in my Simply Delicious Fall Recipes collection:

  •  Libby’s Pumpkin Bread
  • Pumpkin Spice Monkey Bread
  • Hot Cinnamon Today
  • Blue Cheese Crisps
  • Frozen Yogurt with Poached Peaches
  • Pumpkin Quesadillas
  • Simple Savory Beef Crockpot Chili
  • Halloween Candy Bark
  • Greek Yogurt Herb Dip
  • Sweet Potato Pie
  • Roasted Brussel Sprouts
  • Pumpkin and Cream Cheese Muffin with Walnut Streusel
  • Roasted Root Vegetables
  • Pumpkin and Ginger Soup
  • Simple and Easy Apple Crumble

Happy cooking!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by