Tag Archives: food

Cooking 101: A Guide to the Perfect Steak

We all know that summertime means it’s grilling season.  And who doesn’t love a perfectly cooked steak when you’re drinking beer with friends on your backyard patio? Summer’s great isn’t it?!

Some of us out there are more adept at preparing steak than others. Well, today’s post can help with that.  If you’re a newbie to the grill this season then you probably think you have a lot to learn about meat doneness and preparation.  Making steak for a gang of friends isn’t necessarily the easiest thing, especially as people can be very particular about their steak is cooked. For me personally, I’m a medium rare kind of guy but I know friends of mine who balk at the idea of any bit of pink in their steak. That’s alright I judge them too 🙂

But, there’s no reason to fear with the “Complete Guide to Steak”, which has been shared with us from the folks over at ereplacementparts.com.  Check it out below!

Click on image to enlarge

Tips for Choosing and Cooking Steak Perfectly

Source: eReplacementParts.com blog

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

Carb Overload! Perfect Pasta Dishes

Check out Pasta Overload: Perfect Pasta Dishes

by Jor-El at Foodie.com

Have you been looking for the perfect pasta recipe to try?  Look no further! Here are 12 Perfect Pasta Dishes that you should make tonight!

Like most people, I’ve long had an unhealthy obsession with pasta. Sometimes I try and convince myself that I’m due pasta because I try to run regularly but I know in my heart of hearts that’s usually just a silly excuse to go into full-fledged carb-beast-mode. But that’s neither here nor there.

Today, I’m sharing with you some of my favorite pasta recipes, which include everything from light summery salads to incredibly rich and indulgent cheesy-pasta fests.  Hey, they both have a perfectly valid place in the world, right?!

I’m a Southern boy at heart so I would be remiss not to include a classic southern mac & cheese recipe although since relocating to NYC years ago, I have to say I don’t eat it nearly as much as I used to. Yes, there are restaurants that serve it here, but there’s nothing quite like mom’s mac & cheese that has way too much butter and cheese, right?  Nonetheless, it’s still my much welcomed go-to for pot luck dinners so I must be doing something right.

Here are some of the best/most intriguing pasta recipes around. While I haven’t made all of them, several have found their way into my tummy over the years and the rest, well, they’re on my short list of things to cook up.

Here are the recipes included in my collection:

  • Artichoke Spinach Cannelloni with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
  • Chicken Picatta
  • Missouri Toasted Ravioli
  • Roasted Vegetable and Spinach Lasagna
  • Ranch BLT Macaroni Salad (SUPER easy and good!)
  • Rotini Salad with Kalamata Olive Dressing
  • Easy Lasagna
  • Classic Macaroni Salad
  • Baked Ziti Casserole
  • Classic Southern Macaroni and Cheese
  • Creamy Philly Beef Stroganoff
  • Pesto Pasta
  • Pasta Salad (made with Rotini)
  • Easy Tuna Casserole


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post from my friends over at Foodie. Check out their site for a plethora of recipes that you can collect on your own.  There’s tons of inspiration!

It’s party time…by the pool!

Check out Poolside Party Foods!

by Jor-El at Foodie.com

With summer comes the anticipation, for some of us, of throwing a pool side party.  It’s definitely one of things that I’ve missed since moving to NYC years ago, but with nice rooftops and parks galore, the city is no slouch either.

Today, I’m sharing my collection of Poolside Party Foods! that are good for any party, whether it’s a poolside cookout or park picnic.

Here are some of my favorites from the Poolside Party collection:

Years ago I had the chance to visit Chicago a few times for work and discovered what many Chicagoans know and love, Portillo’s.  I was introduced to the Chicago-style hot dog that is a far cry from the flavors I experienced in North Carolina.  With a toasted poppy seed bun and kosher pickle spears, the Chicago style dog is definitely one of my personal favorites.  And the recipe is easy to make!

I consider myself a little bit of an amateur baker so pigs in a blanket are definitely a personal favorite of mine.  The only problem is, once you’ve had one, you’ve pretty much had them all.  And that’s why I included this recipe of Jalapeno Cheddar Pigs in Blankets that offers that comforting taste with a little bit of an edge.  For those who love spicy food, add more jalapenos if you’re feeling adventurous.

The Poolside Party Foods! collection also includes the following:

  • Watermelon Summer Salsa
  • Margarita Chicken Skewers
  • New England Lobster Roll
  • Adobo Ranch Bacon Dip
  • Handmade Corn Dogs
  • Wasabi Seared Tuna
  • Grilled Potato & Arugula Salad
  • Crunk Juice
  • Cold Vietnamese Spring Rolls
  • Joanne’s World Famous Tuna Pasta Salad
  • Creamsicle Punch
  • Mint Julep

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the folks at Foodie.com.  Visit that site for a collection of awesome recipes and take them with you everywhere with the Foodie app available in the Apple  App Store.

Snack Time with Harvest Snaps

harvest snaps line up
Image source: Google Images

Disclosure: Products for review were provided courtesy of Harvest Snaps.

First things first, Harvest Snaps are designed to give you some tasty flavor while delivering essential nutrients such as Vitamin B, calcium, potassium and fiber.  But, as most of us already know sometimes “healthy snacks” end up tasting like a cardboard box sitting at the end of the block.  That’s where Harvest Snaps tries to really deliver.

The two varieties, Lentil Snaps and Snapea Crisps are the brands two types of snacks that offer gluten-free nibbles in a few different flavors.  So how does the brand actually stack up?  Here’s my run down of the flavors:

Snapea Crisps

  • Caesar:  Pretty light flavor overall with a satisfying “chip” taste.  The flavor combination here works and was pretty satisfying overall.
  • Lightly salted: Generally bland and flavorless, in my opinion. This would be a good snack for those who like really simple and clean flavors as opposed to layered or complex ones.
  • Wasabi Ranch: The snapea with wasabi and ranch flavor was actually relatively tame to my taste-buds, but then again I tend to favor strong flavors overall.  Not bad, but definitely nowhere near my personal favorite.
  • Black pepper:  ZESTY.  SPICY. Those were two of my initial thoughts when I tried the black pepper variety.  This was by far my favorite snapea crisps while Onion Thyme took home the cake for the lentil snaps.

Lentil Snaps

  • Tomato Basil: Not a bad choice with pretty standard flavors, the tomato basil lentil snaps are a safe bet in a pinch.
  • Onion Thyme:  For the old school hot fries fiends, this one is a pretty good (and healthier) substitute. This one is tied with the Black pepper snapea crisps for my personal favorite.

Overall, I personally think that the lentil snaps are a bit more flavorful but certain varieties of the snap pea crisps were pretty tasty too.  To track down Harvest Snaps in your hood, use the zip code look up on the Harvest Snaps web page.

Motown Philly!

This past weekend I got the opportunity to hang out in Philadelphia a bit to visit with friends.  I had loads of fun, but I did not appreciate that it was super cold and the wind was blowing like we had mistakenly boarded a train to Chicago.  Side note, why do people in Philly not wear real coats?  I know us NY’ers are notorious for our heavy coats and fancy scarves, but since when is it OK to wear a polo shirt in 20 degree weather?!  Who knows…

Center City Philadelphia (Sorry for the shadows!)

Unfortunately, it was seriously too cold to take off my gloves to snap any cool pics but I had a pretty good time.  On our way out of town on Sunday, we stopped by this highly regarded sandwich shop (apparently Bobby Flay likes it) called Tony Luke’s for cheese steaks.  Last time I was in Philly I damn near starved to death and ended up with a cheese steak that did not even equal my childhood foray with Steak-Umms.  Yeah, they make me cringe a little now too but hey, live and learn.  Tony Luke’s was OK, but definitely not worthy of Flay’s endorsement in my opinion.  That being said, dinner at Magianno’s the night before was pretty indulgent so I didn’t complain too much!

Outside of Tony Luke's

With that, I’ll leave you with quite possibly my favorite Philly related thing ever…Boyz II Men’s Motown Philly!