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Jan 9 / bryn

888. How to carry your pies in style!

Happy New Year!  Yes, I’ll admit I fell off the proverbial “blog wagon” but it’s a new year and I’m going to continue with my useful things.

My friend, Kelly, tipped me off on this site…..and I was again reminded by Hostess with the Mostess!

It’s a pie caddy!  And it’s even cuter when you close the lid!

You can find it at Vonny.com.  They also carry casserole totes, farmers market totes and other fun and cutely patterned totes!

**Photos from vonny.com

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Oct 10 / bryn

889. How to make a quick, healthy and delicious sandwich!

Yes, it’s been a few weeks.  Actually, more than a month.  It’s not that I’ve got nothing useful….it’s just a lack of pictures to go along with the usefulness.

Ok, here’s a good one.  I made this the other day and I thought it was tasty and I’m pretty sure it’s good for you – or at least not bad for you.

It’s a new twist on a BLT (one of my favorites)

Ingredients

Sandwich thin
Laughing cow (I used the swiss, but you can use your favorite)
Tomato
Avocado
1 strip of peppered turkey bacon (TJs)
Basil

1.  Stick the sandwich thins in a toaster and start frying up your bacon

2.  Slice your tomato (I used 2 slices from a beefsteak tomato) and about half an avocado, also sliced

3.  Remove the sandwich thin from the toaster and spread 1 laughing cow on it – you can either put it all on 1 side, or a little on both sides.  Personal preference.

4.  Layer it up!  Add the tomato, basil, avocado and bacon.  Slice and enjoy!

The sandwich thin is 100 calories, the laughing cow is 35 and the bacon is 40.  I don’t count the others because they are vegetables.  And you’re suppose to eat those anyways :-)

PS I didn’t use the tomatoes pictured, but they were pretty….so I added it into the collage.

PPS and when I say “healthy” I mean healthier than the bacon, white bread, mayo version.

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Sep 6 / bryn

890. How to dance in New York!

I should rephrase that.  How EVERYONE can dance in New York.

If you’ve had dreams of dancing on broadway or as one of the Radio City Rockettes…..this post won’t help you.

But if you’ve ever wanted to pretend like you’re one of the girls in Center Stage, this is for you.

While in New York a few weeks ago, I decided to take a few classes.  I did a TON of research before heading to New York.  And I had a long list of places to take from.  Unfortunately, timing and transportation made it difficult but I was able to visit 2 on my list, Broadway Dance Center and Alvin Ailey.

Broadway Dance Center has a great website that lays out the schedule each day – classes/teachers/rooms etc.  It’s a little strange walking up to a small door with a BDC sign where you get buzzed in and climb a few flights of stairs….but just get over that part.  The studios range in size with some of the larger studios having columns in the middle – sort of annoying.

I took an advanced/beginning ballet class with Yuka Kawazu.  I found it to be sufficiently challenging and still fun.  Yuka is a Japanese lady and made sure to instruct us when we were doing moves “too sexy.”  It’s ballet, “not too sexy.” She hasn’t seen my pole dancing skills 😉

After ballet, I tried my hand at some beginning hip hop.  I swear I had more swagger….but alas….the ballet girl came out and I was only so-so.  But it was still fun and a good work.  The beginning class is perfect for anyone trying to learn or just wanting a fun and entertaining class.  They encourage lots of questions and go through the moves very slowly.

Later in our stay, I got to take class with Kat Wildish at Alvin Ailey.  Yes.  Alvin Ailey.  The studios are gorgeous and they had LIVE piano players.  I took another advanced/beginning ballet class and again, it was a good level.

Kat is an awesome teacher.  She helped me once and I swear my leg almost touched my ear while she helped me stretch.  I wish I could have taken more, but the timing just didn’t work.

Other places I looked at:

Mark Morris

Joffrey

Ballet Arts

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Aug 30 / bryn

891. How to make compost cookies

The delicious cookies we had in NY were called Compost Cookies.  They are sold at the Milk Bar, a Momofuku restaurant/cafe.

If you like some salty with your sweet (think salted caramel or french fries in ice cream) you’ll love these!  And they really aren’t anymore difficult than your typical chocolate chip cookie!

Here’s the recipe, adapted from Amateur Gourmet’s site! Originally by Christina Tosi.

Printable Version Here!

I need to tweak the recipe a bit.  Change up the proportions of chocolate/butterscotch chips and pretzels/potato chips.  You can basically pick whatever sort of sweet baking/junk food items you like for 1 1/2 cups and your favorite salty/savory snacks for the other 1 1/2 cup.  I used the above proportions and they turned out pretty good.  I got 1 suggestion for a little more butterscotch and I may try a little crisco instead of butter on the next go round (makes for a fluffier cookie).  If you’ve made these (or even if you haven’t) what sort of tasty treats did you add to your compost cookies?  Rice krispies? Nuts? Kale?

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Aug 29 / bryn

892. How to find recipes

…with pretty pictures.

Found this site recently.  Let’s you put in ingredients and spits out pictures of all the possible dishes you can make with said ingredients.  This is how I found the recipe for the sour cream blueberry scones that were d.licious!

Gojee

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Aug 15 / bryn

893. How to make Kettle Corn

Have you had kettle corn?  The delicious-ly salty/sweet combination commonly sold at farmer’s markets and ballparks?

I’ve had it, and I love it.  I liked it so much, I figured out how to make it at home.  Yep, that’s right.  Kettle corn whenever you feel like it!  But let me warn you, a bowl of this stuff doesn’t last long in our house.

The first thing you need is a popcorn popper.  Like this one.  You can find similar ones here and here.  The one I used was a 4 quart version, and it’s just big enough.  Anything bigger will be fine.

If you really want to make kettle corn and you don’t have a popcorn popper, you can use a large pot and lid and shake it instead of turning the handle.

Kettle Corn, 4 qts

2 Tbs vegetable or canola oil
1/2 c popcorn kernels
3 1/2 Tbs Sugar
A few pinches of fine salt

1.  Before you start have a large bowl ready.  If you have one with a lid, even better.

2.  Put the oil and kernels into the popper over med-high heat.  Start stirring.

3.  Once you hear the popcorn start to pop,  quickly open the lid and pour in the sugar.  It’s best to pre-measure the sugar and put it in a small cup.  This will make it much easier.  This step can be a little tricky.  You may lose some kernels, but that’s ok!

4.  Continue stirring until the kernels are all popped!  Sometimes the popping rate will temporarily slow down after you’ve poured the sugar.  Don’t worry, it’ll start back up.

5.  When the popping is finished, grab a pot holder and pour the popcorn into the large bowl.

6.  Sprinkle with the salt and then mix!  If your bowl has a lid, install the lid and shake.

Enjoy!

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Aug 8 / bryn

894. How to take full advantage of your birthday!

Birthday’s are fun, but they are even more fun with presents!  During college I signed up for A LOT of birthday programs.  All free.  I’m still reaping the benefits of some of these programs.  Here’s a list so you can get all sorts of fun gifts on your birthday!

Totally Free!

Sephora

Become a beauty insider at sephora and get a free gift, redeemable 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after your birthday!  Last year it was a pack of travel lip glosses.  This year was a bottle of philosophy shampoo.  Sign up to become a beauty insider!

Red Robin

I have fond memories of Red Robin.  It was the main high school hangout and the original was only a few blocks from my college dorm.  They just started the Red Loyalty program where you use a card to log the $$ spent at Red Robin.  You have to visit a store to pick one up (although they mailed me one) and it gets you a free burger during the month of your birthday!  It also gets you a free appetizer within 14 days of registering the card.  Burgers are around $10, so this could be a super cheap date night if 1 burger is free!

Coldstone

Coldstone use to give you a free creation on your birthday.  Now it’s buy one get one free.  Not as good as it use to be, but hey, who’s going to turn down free ice cream?  Sign up here!

Starbucks

I’ve told you how awesome the strabucks reward program is, right?  You register your gift cards and starbucks takes care of the rest.  If you have starbucks even once a week, put $20 on a starbucks card and use that instead.  You’ll be getting points!  You also get a free drink on your birthday (it’s actually a coupon good for about 2-3 weeks around your birthday).  Register your first gift card and you’re set!  The iPhone app is also pretty awesome, so I’d suggest loading that on your phone as well.

Anthropologie

I like the clothes at anthro, but my wallet doesn’t always agree.  You get a coupon for 15% off during your birthday month!  Since it’s anthro, they make sure to fancy-up the discount card.  Last year it came with a candle necklace and this year it came in a little blue pouch with stars.  Super cute!  I signed up in the store.

Dukes

On your birthday, get your choice of chowder, fish & chips, Mahi tacos or a cheesburger!  Join the email club and they’ll send you something around your birthday!

Redbox

Redbox sent me a code for 1 free movie rental good for 1 month after my birthday.  Sign up here!

Macaroni Grill

Free dessert.  I think you get it by signing up for their email here!

Purchase get’s you a freebie

Auntie Anne’s

Buy one get one free, sign up for Pretzel Perks here!

Melting Pot

Free dessert for 2 with purchase of big night out (this is an expensive meal….so this isn’t an awesome freebie in my opinion).  But you can sign up here!

Space Needle

Join the club and get a free entree when dining with a friend (buy one get one free).

The RAM

Free mud pie with your purchase of entree.  Join the MVP club to make it happen.

I’m sure there are more out there!  If anyone has any to add, leave a comment!

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Aug 2 / bryn

895. How to ride BART from the Oakland Airport

I’ve provided these instructions to numerous people and I end up re-writing it every time.  So I’ve {finally} gotten smart about it!  I’m putting it on the blog!  So any of your NorCal people who make their friends/family take BART or anyone flying into OAK to visit SF, now you can give them these handy, dandy little instructions.

What is BART?  It’s like the monorail only useful.  Many people commute on BART, including my good friend @neillayton.  Follow him on twitter for you daily BART musings.  DISCLAIMER – he tweets about other stuff too…..

So here’s how you take BART from OAK

  1. Walk out the front door at the Oakland Airport….that was easy
  2. Cross a couple streets until you see the sign for AirBART.  That’s right, BART doesn’t actually go to the airport.  A bus takes you from the airport to the station.   
  3. Did I mention you need $3/adult in exact change?  That’ll be $1/child.  There is technically a way to pay with a credit card, but it’s a little annoying, so just bring exact change.
  4. Take a lovely ride from OAK to the BART station.
  5. Exit AirBART, enter the BART station and turn to your left.  There will be a bank of ticket machines.  Don’t be fooled, these are some of the most confusing machines you’ll ever use.  Whoever designed the user interface should probably be shot….but I digress.  These machines will take you credit cards.  Each rider will need his/her own ticket (kids 4 and under ride free, lucky little chumps!).  Common questions….and answers
  6. How much do I need to put on the ticket?  There will be a taped sign on the ticket machine.  You are at the Oakland Coliseum Station.  Look at the different destinations and figure out how much it will be from the Coliseum.  Double that if you want a roundtrip ticket.  These things work like debit cards.  You could put $100 on there if you wanted….I wouldn’t suggest it, but you can.
  7. Can I get multiple tickets in a single transaction?  Yes.  I recommend choosing the number of tickets you want first.  Then adjust the amount you want to put on each ticket.  FYI – you can get multiple tickets but they will have to have the same amount on each of them.
  8. So now you have your ticket.  Yay.  Head towards the turnstiles.  Stick your ticket in the machine.  It will pop out on top.  Grab it and walk through.  You’re in.
  9. Head upstairs.
  10. If you are headed East, face the stadium.  If you are headed to SF, look away from the stadium.
  11. At this point, you need to know where you are headed and the final destination of the train.  If you are headed to SF, you’ll get on a SF/Daly City Bound Train.  If you are coming to visit me, get on a Dublin/Pleasanton bound train….etc.
  12. Get on your train and enjoy the ride.  The people watching is typically fantastic.
  13. When you reach your destination, you’ll need your ticket one more time.  If you purchased a one way ticket, the ticket machine will keep your ticket.  Just keep walking.  If you purchased a round trip ticket, the machine will spit it back at you.  Hold onto it until your return.

If you have questions or corrections, leave a comment.

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      Jul 28 / bryn

      896. How to listen to music

      You’ve heard of pandora.  It’s music for lazy people.  I’m lazy too, sometimes.  I’m not knocking it, I’m just saying that it has a particular purpose.

      I still have no idea what spotify is about, not cool enough to get an invite yet.  And to be honest, I’m a little overwhelmed by all the new things coming out these days….I’m looking at you, google+….I’ll save that for another day.

      Grooveshark!  My sis turned me on to this.  It’s like pandora, only you choose every song.  You make a playlist from all their songs.  I’m pretty mainstream with my music choices so I haven’t found anything they don’t have.  But if you’re into undiscovered bands and stuff like that….you may or may not have luck.  You can create and save playlists and if you do get lazy, you can always listen to the “Radio.”  Pick your genre and they play a bunch of songs (Although I still think Pandora is better for this feature.)  Enjoy.  And if anyone has spotify and wants to give a rundown on what it’s all about, I’d love to learn.

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      Jul 27 / bryn

      897. How to make apple pie

      Not just any apple pie.  A sour cream apple pie.  This is a STAPLE at our yearly Thanksgiving shindig.  And I never turn down a slice or 2 or 3 to take home and have for breakfast the following morning.

      Pie Filling

      6 large granny smith apples (or other tart apple), peeled and sliced
      1 egg (beaten)
      1 cup sour cream
      1/4 cup flour
      1/2 cup sugar
      1 tsp vanilla

      Stir it all together!  Put your favorite pie crust in your favorite pie dish.  My favorite pie crust is any kind I don’t have to make :-)  I count on pillsbury from the refrigerated section.  Pour the apple mixture into the pie crust and make at 400F for 30 minutes.

      Crumble Topping

      1 stick of butter softened
      1/2 cup oatmeal
      1/2 cup flour
      1/2 cup brown sugar

      Mix all the ingredients together and put it on top of the pie after it’s been baking for 30 minutes.  Then return the pie to the oven and bake at 350 for an additional 35 minutes.  Remove from oven, cool and serve.

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