Wolfram Alpha is
an eccentric genius trapped in a small box known as the internet a completely non-human computational engine. It can do your calculus homework–I mean, it can help you learn math, statistics, physics, culture, geography, music and even…help you cook?
Wolfram Alpha, in addition to apps for music theory, calculus, chemistry and a bunch of other things I didn’t really study in school (coughfilmmajorcough), also has an app to help the culinarily minded and curious amongst us: Culinary Mathematics (sorry Droids, iOS only at the moment).
Why this is cool:
Where you can get it:
This cocktail sounded like something new and interesting. I mean, most champagne cocktails have flavors like ginger, mint, lime, berries or citrus. This one had coconut! And grapes! And vodka. Vodka’s not a flavor, really, but it is vodka.
However, I have to say, I wasn’t a huge fan. It just tasted like champagne with more champagne. I was a little disappointed. If someone has ideas for improving the flavor of the basic cocktail, suggest it. I will try it and if it is indeed amazing, or at least improved, I will name a marshmallow after you. Seriously.
But if you’re interested in trying something out, the recipe is below.
Get the recipe for the Red Grape & Coconut Refersher at Food & Wine magazine.
Evernote Food is a great app that you’re not using because you just haven’t figured out what to use it for. I understand. Evernote is already so awesome, how could you possibly need any other app?
I myself wondered the same thing. For a second.
And then I opened the Evernote Food app for the first time and all the cool things I could do with it came flooding to my brain. If I hadn’t already been sitting down at a table eating dinner, I would have had to sit down at a table and eat dinner.
I’ve detailed four of those awesome reasons (with pictures and Skitch annotations!) on Chad Williams‘ awesome fitness site, Anthrophysique. Pop on over and take a peek:
4 Reasons You Should Be Using Evernote Food on AnthroPhysique
Depending where you live, June is a month where the weather starts to get a lot nicer and more people are getting outside. Walking is a great way to get your day started or even finih it off so you can burn those “desert calories”. Fortunately for most, walking is a pretty simple activity that requires little equipment. In a way, you just get up and go!
As an online fitness coach, I’m always looking for ways to use technology to help people be more active. Since most people nowadays have a smart phone and carry it with them everywhere, it can be a great too for tracking your fitness. Do a quick search in the app store and you’ll find many apps that are great for tracking your walking and even steps throughout the day.
One if these apps I’ve been testing out lately is called Moves. It uses the accelerometers of the phone to track your steps and the GPS to track where you go. It connects Foursquare, a location tagging program, that allows you to check in and get recommendations for the places you visit. This combination allows you to accurately track where you go each day. They’ve also done a pretty good job with their display, so at the end of the day you see where you’ve been, how long it took, how many steps you took and even how far you’ve travelled. Like magic, it even seems to know when I’m cycling!
However, tracking where you’ve been and how many steps is only great if you’re actually walking and going places. The key is how will this app motivate you to keep moving?
When it comes to motivation, it’s all about goals. If you don’t know your destination, how motivated are you to get up and start walking? I suggest setting a daily, weekly and even monthly goal for your tracking in Moves. This can be the minimum steps or miles you want to achieve daily. I suggest aiming for at least 5000-7500 steps per day to start. Once this goal is set, check in to the app daily to see how you’re stacking up. Some days you’ll find that you blow your goal out of the water, while other days may require a late night walk just to get your minimum.
Bottom line, apps can be great tools for tracking your fitness, but if you’re not setting goals, you won’t stay motivated to use them and push yourself.
Have you used Moves? What do you like most about it?
I didn’t use to like ginger much, but then I started making cocktails and now it’s one of my favorite ingredients ever. I blame my friend Jim, who I shall refer to henceforth as The Ginger Champion. The Ginger Champion loves ginger. Ginger in food. Ginger syrup. Ginger beer. Ginger cocktails. Ginger on Gilligan’s Island. I mean, she was way more interesting than Mary Ann. The Ginger Champion is correct in all these things.
Ginger root is the epitome of simplicity. It’s just a rhizome, or a plant stem essentially, and it’s not very pretty but that’s because it has discovered it doesn’t need to tart itself up and be all flashy like that attention-whoring pomegranate. It may not look like much but it has substance, it has flavor and a little bit goes a long way.
I really wanted three things this week: some ginger, a cocktail, and a cocktail with ginger that wasn’t complicated. This Ginger Sparkler from Martha Stewart fit the bill. Yesterday in particular was one of those days where it seemed like everybody needed something at all times. So cocktail time was much needed.
It might be needed again tonight. It looks like there might be a raccoon living in one of our attics. Or maybe he just came for the cocktail too?
And while the Ginger Sparkler was the official recipe for this week’s Champagne Wednesday, I didn’t follow it truly myself. It was late before I got to it and I was tired, so I improvised and created a hybrid, sort of, between this cocktail and a classic champagne cocktail. Both recipes are below. Hope you get to enjoy this week!
I blame Emily Dingmann. A day after looking through this interesting Learnist board she’d created on fancy nut butters, my husband brought home, completely on his own, a jar of spicy peanut butter. Today, I had nothing in the house to make a real dinner with except a package of chicken, some butter lettuce, bell pepper and….that jar of spicy peanut butter. Clearly, the universe was compelling me to make peanut chicken wraps. Clearly.
Sadly, I don’t have an actual recipe to share with you. I can tell you that I heated canola oil and a tablespoon of Chinese 5-spice powder in a pan and then fried died chicken in it, added half a diced onion and one diced bell pepper, and a couple chopped leaves of basil. Then I added a big scoop of spicy peanut butter, thinned it out a bit with chicken stock until it coated the chicken mixture without being too runny, and served it in lettuce cups with chopped peanuts and some chives from my garden. That was about it.
Despite what this blog and my Evernote recipe notebook might lead you to believe, most of my cooking doesn’t involve recipes at all. It just involves me saying, “Hm, what should I eat?”, perusing the refrigerator and cupboards, finding a few ingredients and thinking, “Yeah that seems good” and just sort of throwing things together. I never think much of it; chances are you do the same thing. But I do often get questions and exclamations of wonderment from friends and acquaintances who aren’t as comfortable just throwing culinary paint at the wall, as it were. “How do you know what to put together? How do you know how much? How do you know it’ll taste good?”
The answer is, I don’t always, except I sort of do, and it usually works out. Part of it is knowing what individual ingredients taste like (raw and cooked), which comes with experience; part of it is being able to imagine how they’ll taste together, which comes with experimentation; and part of it is being confident in your instincts, which comes down to trusting yourself a little bit.
Maybe you’ve never considered trying a spicy peanut butter; maybe you’ve never thrown a scoop of peanut butter into a dish with chicken; maybe you’ve never imagined spreading peanut butter on a grilled cheese sandwich, but you should because it’s delicious.
Unless you have a peanut allergy. I mean, it’s delicious but it’s not worth anaphylactic shock.
I can’t really think of anything that is worth anaphylactic shock, off the top of my head. Unless you’ve been in the desert for months without the slightest bit of chocolate and some desert mirage offers you an Almond Joy. Then you eat that sucker.
No, seriously, don’t do that if you have a nut allergy. I’m just kidding.
Anyway, for the rest of you, if the Universe gives you a nut, use it to make something delicious and new to you. The Universe wants you to experiment. It wants you to be happy. It wants you to make delicious food.
Also, it thinks you should check out the following Learnist boards on peanuts and things you can do with them.
Also, it said you look really cute today, so kudos.
Somewhat surprisingly, my backyard is not overrun with mint. Sure, it’s overrun with dogs, various weeds and oregano (so much oregano!) but not mint. I do have a healthy mint plant, though, and usually I use it for mojitos, or as I like to call them, “Other Water.”
But anyway, I rarely use mint for savory dishes, generally just drinks and garnishes for ice cream. Today I was on my own for dinner, since Josh had to do some freelance work, and all I had in the fridge (that wasn’t calabrese, anyway) was ground beef. One of my go-to meals for myself is meatballs. I like meatballs. I mean, my twitter handle is chickenmeatball, after all. This time I thought I’d use some traditional flavors from Greek cuisine—like mint and feta.
I also thought that instead of a traditional tomato sauce, or a heavy bell pepper sauce, I would use up a bag of peas I had in the freezer, thaw them and make a mint-green pea sauce to pour over my meatballs. So I set about making the meatballs (recipe below) and it was all well and good until the meatballs were almost done and I went to make the sauce…..and realized I’d already used those peas up last week. Oy.
Always check to make sure you have ingredients before you begin cooking. Yeah, yeah I know. One of those days.
But I recovered nicely, I think. I just went all-in with the mint. I made a flavored oil with fresh mint, garlic cloves, lemon juice and olive oil, and drizzled it over the meatballs, which I ate alongside some prepared fattoush salad I had leftover from Hiller’s market. Not a bad finish.
Serving sizes will depend on your ice cream scoop, but I got 6 large meatballs out of mine. You could serve 3 people two meatballs each.
Grilling Around The World – An infographic by the team at Kalamazoo Gourmet
Pssst. You. Come here. It’s ok, I just want to talk for a second. Look, we’re friends, right? Good. Cause I need to tell you something. And I feel that since we’re friends, I can be honest and direct with you.
You look like you could use a piece of cake.
And not just any cake either, but a piece of cake that practically radiates sunlight, or rainbows. Like the unicorn of the confectionary world.
Now I don’t know what’s going on. Maybe you’ve had a bad week. Maybe you’ve had a fabulous week. Maybe you just look a little hungry, I dunno. But you need this cake.
So here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to lay out the recipe below. You are going to read it, make a grocery list, go to the store, buy the items you need, come back to your house and bake this cake. When it’s done and cooled, you are going to cut yourself a slice and then you are going to eat it.
I know. Crazy right?
Cake recipe adapted from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice
This makes a very tall, dense but soft cake. You can adapt this into two 8" cakes, a couple dozen cupcakes if you prefer.
This week I bought my first bottle of grenadine. Do you remember where you were when you bought your first bottle of grenadine? Probably not. It’s a weird thing to remember. However, I remember it quite clearly because it was less than a week ago. I was in Hiller’s market, I stopped to get a little four pack of tiny champagne bottles, as is my usual to-do before a Champagne Wednesday, and the grenadine was right where I thought it would be, near the bitters and other cocktail accoutrements, in a tall dark bottle.
‘Now that is a bottle of tasty looking syrup,’ I said to myself. I may or may not have made a mental note to try it on pancakes sometime. It’s not important.
What is important is this: this week’s Champagne Wednesday cocktail is delicious. Tart, beautiful, tasty and you can get 3 servings out of a 187ml bottle of sparkling wine. I know this because I did. Aaaaand I drank all three. I was on my own! Josh was away at a gaming convention this week. And besides, they were only champagne flutes. And I drank them while making dinner, so it hardly even counts at all.