1. Be a Better…Houseguest.

    New Year’s Eve…one of my most favorite holidays each year that always seems to end in ONE GIANT THROBBING HANGOVER (my first post of 2014 and i’ve already used the word throbbing, it’s gonna be a good one folks). Every January 1st, I welcome the changing year with a woozy hello due to a pesky recurring champagne intolerance, and a penchant for not eating very much due to the “always-present form-fitting dress” situation. We all know that sequins just bounce light off any bump or crease like a lighthouse in the night…so hence the “drink your dinner” survival methodology.

    On a side note, I’d really be interested in that Survivorman guy attempting to wade through channels of lycra, cheap (and some $$$) champagne, and the LA hipster party scene…this would be the most pertinent challenge for my general interests at this point. 

    I digress.

    This New Year’s we were lucky to spend the evening with a few close friends, The Buchanan’s and some friends of theirs…cheersing with some bubbly before heading out to a random LA house party (which when we arrived, realized that we didn’t know anyone so we just talked to ourselves and then quickly left the premises after midnight kisses).

    One thing we New Yorkers are not used to is the fact that you have to not only drive TO the party, but then BACK from the party. FML. So this New Year’s I opted to be the lady off the sauce (OK maybe I had one glass of champagne and 1/2 glass of vino), and maybe for the first time, wasn’t the proud owner of a headache that would be likened to Hiroshima on New Year’s Day. Maybe I’m turning over a new leaf. 

    We planned to crash at the Buchanan’s that evening and I have to say, adult sleepovers (not those, you sickos) are just the best. You get to act like complete idiots and it’s ok, because you pay rent and have proper footwear dammit.

    To curb the impending hangovers from my compadres that next morning, I woke up extra-early, headed over to the grocery store and planned the perfect breakfast to heal even the worst hamster-wheel feeling headache (does anyone else picture a hamster wheel squealing in their head sometimes when they are in pain? This may not be a thing).

    Wanna be a good houseguest? It’s simple. 

    Get up early. Clean up. Do dishes from the previous night. Make breakfast (or reservations if you’re domestically stupid).

    No matter how incompetent you are in the kitchen, you too can make these hearty and delicious breakfast sammies. Your hosts will love you forever and might even invite you back for round two. 

    The Morning After Sandwich: 

    What you’ll need:  

    • 6 Large English Muffins
    • 2 Large Haas Avocados
    • 6 Eggs
    • 6 Slices of Sharp White Cheddar Cheese
    • 1 Large Heirloom Tomato
    • Arugula 
    • Thick Sliced Bacon (don’t cheap out)
    • Butter (softened)

    Step 1: Set oven on broil, butter each side of the English muffins and put them in the oven to toast. Do not forget about this, as your hosts’ house will burn down.

    Step 2: While your muffins are toasting, cook bacon to a crispy perfectness. Take this seriously. After bacon is cooked, set it aside.

    Step 3: Slice your avocado and tomato, and wash and dry your arugula. 

    Step 4: Did you forget about the muffins? Call the fire department now. 

    Step 5: Warm a skillet to a medium heat (with a little butter) to fry the eggs. Fry each on one side for 1 minute, quickly flip, then remove from pan, lightly cooking the top but keeping the yolk nice and runny. Set each egg on a muffin top (see what I did there) and cover up with the slice of cheese asap to get that sh*t melty and delicious.

    Step 6: Once your eggs and cheese are all in place, pile on your bacon, heirloom tomato, arugula, and last but not least, your perfectly ripe avocado. Top with muffin butt.

    I served these up with hash browns, fresh squeezed OJ, and heaps of coffee. 

    Cannot wait to share lots of adventures with you all this year! 

    Happy Hangovers (and New Year),

    Chinae

     


  2. Be a Better…Cook.

    Low-Carb Waffle Edition:

    Usually low carb food is pretty good…steak, shrimp, veggies, etc. but when you try to make carb foods into low-carb foods, sometimes the result is dismal at best. It’s like getting a cat because you can’t have a dog…it’s just not the same shit and they still poop in a box.

    Last night however, I stumbled upon something that changed the direction of my life path. OK, maybe it was just a low-carb waffle, but seriously y’all, it was fantastic. 

    Now I thought, a savory waffle not made of any floury goodness? Sounds like bullshit to me. But try them, you’ll thank me later. 

    Low-Carb Savory Cheese Waffle: (adapted from Your Lighter Side)

    • 1 cup riced (grated), raw cauliflower (should resemble coarse crumbs)
    • 1/2 cup mozzarella shredded cheese
    • 1/2 cup cheddar shredded cheese
    • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp onion powder
    • 1/2 tsp pepper
    • 1 Tbsp fresh chives
    • 1/3 cup cooked and finely chopped turkey bacon

    Mix all your ingredients together (warning, the batter won’t be runny like waffle batter) in a large bowl. Heat your waffle maker and spray with a tiny bit of non-stick cooking spray. Using a 1/4 measuring cup, spoon batter into the waffle iron and spread out loosely over the surface. Cook for 4 minutes, and then take a look and see if your waffle is ready. Remove after throughly browned. Cool on a wire rack for a minute or two to promote crispiness and you’re ready to nosh. 

    Makes 6 Waffles or 5 Texas shaped waffles (in my case)

    These would be bonkers with low-carb fried chicken and sugar free syrup. Just saying. 

    Do it. 

    xo Chinae

     


  3. Be a Better…Cook.

    The Best Chicken You’ll Ever Eat Edition:

    When I got home from the gym at 9pm last night, I wavered between eating a protein bar and calling dinner a failure OR roasting an entire chicken (I bought one for the first time this weekend) due to the fact that I needed to cook it ASAP before it went bad. 

    So I started on a chicken adventure last night that I have to say, was well worth it people. 

    Some thoughts before I post the recipe:

    -I’ve never cooked an entire chicken before.

    -I had no idea really what I was doing.

    -This chicken was $5.00 at Trader Joes, for a 4lb bird…pretty stellar deal.

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • A small/medium chicken (4-5 lbs)
    • Fresh Rosemary spears
    • 1 Red Onion
    • Butter 
    • Salt and Peps

    1) First, you’ll need to remove the giblets and plastic bag from the interior of the chicken…bc plastic tastes like shit when it’s melted into your meat. Amirite?

    2) Wash the chicken with cool water, in and out and pat dry with a paper towel.

    3) Stuff the interior of the chicken with your chunks of onion and a couple of spears of rosemary. Lift the skin on the chicken breasts and shove a couple spears of rosemary, there too. 

    4)Take 2-3 Teaspoons of softened butter and rub down the bird, then liberally salt and pepper the whole shebang. This will give you a crispy skin and will lock in the juices.

    5) Leftover onions and rosemary can sit around the outside of the chicken.

    6) Bake at 375 degrees for about an hour and half/forty five. The internal temp should be 160 degrees at least. Baste with it’s own juices every 20 minutes. 

    7) After the roasting process is done, remove the chicken from the oven and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes. 

    Enjoy!

    xo Chinae

     


  4. Be a Better…Cook.

    Frick.

    It’s been too long people. Lots of things have been happening in life so I’ll give you a short update on all things personal and if you could give two shits (most of you) go ahead and scroll your pretty heart on down to the next section, k? 

    K. 

    First, I went ahead with my sexy pot roast costume for Halloween. I was met with mixed reviews but I assume it went over decently when men in the bathroom line were telling me they got hungry after seeing me. Not sure if I should be insulted or delighted. All I know is that I needed guy-friend protection from these borderline cannibalistic creeps. (Thanks Jon)

    Secondly, there was a f*cking hurricane followed by an almost blizzard. It totally sucked for most people (I kinda lucked out with no loss of power and a week off of work), but NYC was and still is a moderate shitshow. Also, lots of folks are STILL without power, heat, food, and water so that totally blows and you should find ways to help through DONATING or VOLUNTEERING. Yeah…YOU.

    Other than apocolyptic weather conditions, I finished off a cocktail table that a friend started, drank a LOT of whiskey, and worked out less than I should have with that much time off. I also made some yummy food, one of the recipes is what this post is ACTUALLY about (after I get my rambles out of the way). After weathermaggedon was over, I headed to Texas to stand next to my gal, Lindsey, as she walked down the aisle to a rad guy named Wes. (Note the weird two finger jab I am for some reason giving Linds in the below photo)

    I always love time in my home state and of course I made sure to ditch low-carb long enough to eat my weight in chips and salsa. They come free with the meal but I will be paying a long time at the gym as penance for being a very very bad girl.  

    Oh, yeah…I have a new addiction to report…bored as hell on my plane ride home, I somehow got suckered into watching a show called Storage Wars on A&E and now I’m hooked on the 2012 version of Antiques Roadshow. This is a cry for help people. At least this might be better than than serial killer documentaries I was watching before bed previously.

    Other than that, I’ve been doing some freelance writing for this brand new tech/fashion startup, LOOKCRAFT. It’s a fun gig and I get to write about all things menswear which, I love. 

    Alright…enough recapping now to the blog post for today. 

    Cooking with Pumpkintown:

    I really don’t tend to like mixing salty and sweet flavors and pumpkin is one of those veggies that I ALWAYS associate with a sugary taste, but alas…I wanted to make a low carb Fall soup and ventured into a savory new world armed with cans of organic pumpkin. 

    This soup is a total mouthgasm. 

    Autumnal Pumpkin-Sausage Soup:

    1/2 Cup of Diced Onion

    1 Clove of Minced Garlic

    1 TSP Ground Sage

    1 Tablespoon of Italian Seasoning

    12 Ounces of Breakfast Sausage (Jimmy Dean or the like…not links) or Hot Italian sausage (without the casing)

    2 cups diced Fresh White Mushrooms

    4 cups of Beef Broth

    1/2 cup of Heavy Cream

    1/2 cup of water

    1 bay leaf

    Step One: Cook the sausage in a large pot and drain off the grease (I left a little for additional flavor)

    Step Two: Add onion, garlic, seasonings, and mushrooms to the pan and saute until onions are lightly browned

    Step Three: Throw in your pumpkin and stir

    Step Four: Add broth and bay leaf and mix well.

    Step Five: Simmer for 30 minutes on low-medium heat

    Step 6: Stir in your heavy cream and water and simmer 15 additional minutes.

    Season with S&P and serve!

    This is enough for 4-5 people and is the PERFECT dish for a chilly night in with friends…or you know…for a hurricane. 

    I missed you guys.

    xo Chinae

     


  5. Be a Better…Cook.

    If you’ve been reading along for a while…you’d know that I’ve been on a low-carb diet for the past two years and have since shed about 50lbs and got a brand new body in return. Yay for a less-fat ass. 

    During the summer months, I don’t miss carby foods at all…in fact, most of the time it’s too damn hot to eat so I suck on Crystal Light flavored ice cubes while dreaming about chips and salsa, and call it a day. BUT, now that the seasons are changing, my affections for eating are too. When Fall begins, pumpkin pie, stuffing, fruit+crumble, and potato-landen stews start saying my name just like a Destiny’s Child song and there I am, tempted as all-getout. 

    Instead of going on a nutmeg-infused food binge, I’ve tried to make some moderately comparable substitutes for these seasons of comfort and joy. Here is a great autumnal recipe that won’t have people mistaking you for Mr/Mrs. Claus due to your expanding waistline. 

    No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake:

    What You’ll Need…

    CRUST-

    -1 1/2 cups almond meal (or hazelnut meal)

    -4 Tbsp melted butter

    -3TBSP of Granulated Splenda

    FILLING-

    -1 14oz can pumpkin

    -2 8oz packages of cream cheese

    -1 1/2 TBSP of Pumpkin Pie Spice

    -1/2 tsp cinnamon

    -2 tsp vanilla extract

    -1/3 cup of Granulated Splenda

    STEP ONE: 

    The crust is first here people…mix your butter (melt that up before), Splenda, and almond meal and then press it into a 9” pie pan evenly. Bake this without filling (ok so this isn’t completely NO BAKE…whatever) at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes until it’s a little browned on top. Let it cool while you make your filling. 

    STEP TWO: 

    With an electric or hand-held mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth and the add in the full can of pumpkin. Beat that some more now.  Add in your spices, sweetener  and vanilla and whip on high speed until it’s super fluffy. 

    STEP THREE:

    Spread your filling into the cooled crust and then sprinkle with some extra cinnamon to appear fancy and good at cooking. Refrigerate for 2 hours and then eat em’ up. 

    Happy No-Baking folks,

    Chinae

     


  6. Be Better…Blogolympics™!

    Let’s be straight here…I really want to LOVE the Olympics. I really do. 

    I totally admire the athletes sheer strength, skill, and discipline but I am having some severe issues with really pretending to be a huge fencing fan when the closest I’ve ever come to fencing is a group of losers really cool people LARPing in Prospect Park.  

    Side note: there are some friends of mine that it totally makes sense that they really love the Olympics…but then there are others that I’m like…when did you become an expert on trampolinist form and rotation? Whatever. 

    Since I can’t watch that fencing poke-in-the-butt meme one more time (YOU NEED TO SEE THIS), I figured I should entertain myself with my own sort of Olympics. BLOGOLYMPICS™!!!!!

    For those of you who don’t know what Blogolympics™ is (that’s pretty much everyone because I just made that word up), I’m going to give medals to my favorite blogs and hopefully recommend some new reading for your bored-ass eyeballs. Also, I needed a reason to use my new word. 

    BEST MEN’S BLOG

    Gold Medal: Uncrate-Whenever I want to drool over gear that isn’t made for girl parts, I head over to Uncrate. Need a gift idea for your man? Want to check out the best cars, techie sh*t, or manly food/drink? This site never disappoints and he posts frequently so there’s always something new to get all slobbery over.

    Honorable Mention: Art of Manliness

    BEST GEEK BLOG

    Gold Medal: Lifehacker-From opening a can with your toenail to tips for uploading new software..Lifehacker mixes helpfulness with absurdity. Budgeting, travel, gadgets, and tech are all covered with a light tone and humor by this Gawker Media subset. And yes, you’ve probably all heard of Lifehacker…I didn’t say I was going to find the most obscure blogs, this isn’t the Hipsterlympics™ ok? Stick with me here.

    Honorable Mentions: Thedailywh.at 

    BEST TUMBLR BLOG

    Gold Medal: Kim Jong-Il Looking at Things-If you can make a North Korean dead dictator humorous, I commend you. I’m pretty glad that he’s in the grave, but I can’t lie by saying I’m a little bummed about the eventual blog death, due to lack of material. 

    Honorable Mentions: Bon Iver Erotica, Things Organized Neatly, Best Roof Talk Ever These all could be gold medalists, really. 

    BEST FOOD BLOG

    Gold Medal: I Am A Food Blog- If you can make me want to READ recipes and fool me into cooking by utilizing beautiful typefaces, splendid photography, and simple prose, I will give you a gold medal any day. Any blog that can make chores interesting (yes, cooking is a chore), wins my heart. 

    Honorable Mentions: The Yellow Table, Pardon the Dog Hair (ed note: both of these are by friends of mine, but I actually LOVE their blogs…so yeah)

    BEST FASHION BLOG

    Gold Medal: Life! Death! Top Tips!-Most of the time, fashion blogs are just recycling the same ol’ shit…so I tend to stay off of them completely. Manrepeller used to be funny and cool, before she became famous and was like doing everything BUT writing a fashion blog. Life! Death! Top Tips! is a blog worth a read…she takes tips and advice from women’s mags, so we can all hang our heads in shame regarding how ridiculous we’ve become. Note: she’s British so sometimes I need Google Translate (for idiots) to understand what the hell she’s talking about.

    Honorable Mentions: Runway Falls (a no-nonsense blog featuring a collection of photos and video of models falling on the runway…which completes my life in a lot of ways)

    BEST GENERAL BLOG

    Gold Medal: Humans of New York- Every time I read, I laugh, I cry, and I wonder how I continue to live in the crazy-ass city. If you like short stories and profiles of interesting people, this is your new favorite site. 

    Honorable Mention: Surf Collective NYC

    BEST DIY BLOG

    Gold Medal: NO ONE GETS A MEDAL…I F*CKING HATE DIY BLOGS AND I WISH THEY WOULD ALL FALL INTO A DEEP CREVASSE AND NEVER COME BACK AGAIN. Seriously people, we can’t just make our whole lives out of colored paper and mason jars. 

    Honorable Mentions: Go back to pinterest or etsy you twits…but if you are looking for some laughs, head over to REGRETSY.

    If you want to vote my Be Better Blog for an imaginary medal in a made up sporting event, click HERE. 

    What are your favorite blogs? Or your least favorite?

     


  7. Be a Better…Bartender.

    Rhubarb Dark and Stormy:

    Friends, it’s Friday. WASTHISTHELONGESTWEEKEVERORWHAT?

    I think the best way we can celebrate that summer officially kicked our asses this week, is to make a fantastic cocktail. Sound good? Bueno!

    Rhubarb Dark and Stormy:

    • 2 ounces dark rum
    • 3 ounces ginger beer (not ginger ale, douchebags)
    • Small grate of fresh ginger
    • 1/2 ounce lime juice
    • Ice (Ice, Baby)
    • 1 tbsp of Rhubarb Syrup* (Recipe below)

    Combine all the ingredients together and stir over ice in a Collins glass. Garnish with a sliver of ginger or lime wedge. 

    To make your own rhubarb syrup (stays good in the fridge for 3 weeks):

    • 1 1/4 cup of rhubarb, washed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 1/4 cups of water
    Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and stir. Heat over high until boiling, then turn that bitch down and simmer for 25 minutes longer. After that time, remove it from the heat, and strain the liquid through a fine, mesh strainer. Let cool down and transfer to a bottle or jar.
    Happy Weekend y’all.
    Chinae
     


  8. Be Better at…Health.

    Apple Cider Vinegar Edition:

    So, I usually can’t stand the idea of “at-home” remedies, and I really HATE meds. I try to never take them, unless my forearm/face are simultaneously falling off, or I am on my period and have cramps that make me want to use Chinese water torture on pretty much, the whole world.  BUT…I may be changing my tune. I’ve been doing a little experiment with a very special liquid and it’s changing my life. 

    Apple Cider Vinegar. 

    Half of you are like “shutthefuckupweveknownaboutthatforlike100years” and the rest of you are probably like “I think I put that on a salad once”. I get it. But let me preach the gospel of ACV for a sec, peeps. 

    I started adding it into my daily diet about 2 weeks ago…every day, 2tsps added into a glass o’ water (and I put a splenda in with it because I’m a little bitch about things that taste like butthole). Drink it down. 

    Here’s what I’ve noticed:

    • -Clearer skin
    • -Better digestion
    • -Feeling not-very farty
    • -Lost weight 
    • -Generally feeling like my body is better off

    After some research, here’s what “they” say ACV can do for you in the long run:

    • -Help with lowering blood sugar levels related to diabetes
    • -Lowers Cholesterol
    • -Improves Heart Health
    • -Weight Loss
    • -Help with Allergies
    • -Acne
    • -Arthritis
    • -ETC.

    Disclaimer, I am not a doctor (and if you thought I was…you have a larger issue), but I really feel like this is working. Maybe it’s all in my head, but if a placebo effect is making me thinner, less bloated, and clearing up my skin, I don’t give a shit. 

    Did I mention I paid, $4.99 for a whole bottle?!

    I’ll do an update post with any other changes, but for now…call me a believer. 

    xo Chinae

     


  9. Be Better at…The Super Bowl (Part 2 of 3)

    So last time we covered not being a huge social pariah at your friendly neighborhood Super Bowl party…but let’s be honest, you can be a huge douche and totally redeem yourself by bringing really good Super Bowl snacks.

    If you bring these things, I will ask you to leave the party immediately:

    • -Anything involving kale
    • -Anything with the word salad attached to it
    • -Quinoa
    • -Beets
    • -Crostini or anything that sounds remotely fancy
    • -Casseroles
    • -Fruit
    • -Cupcakes
    • -If the words farm-raised, organic, fair-trade,  vegan, or sustainable are involved…it’s probably not a good idea to bring to the party unless you want me to reference Portlandia about 67 times during the 3 hour time span of the game. Just saying.

    Pretty much if your food could be found on Stuff White People Like, you shouldn’t bring it.

    So what should you bring then? Here’s an acceptable foods list and three easy Super Bowl recipes that will ensure that you will be the belle of the Super Bowl Ball. 

    Acceptable Foods:

    • -Anything chip related
    • -Meat
    • -Cheese
    • -More meat
    • -Nachos
    • -Pizza
    • -Meat wrapped in dough
    • -Things cooked in a crock-pot

    Buffalo Chicken Dip:

    • 6 large chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
    • cup buffalo wing sauce
    • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese , softened
    • cup blue cheese dressing
    • 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
    Heat up your pre-cooked chicken and buffalo wing sauce in a pan over medium heat, until heated through. Stir in cream cheese and blue cheese dressing. Cook, stirring until well blended and warm. Mix in 1 cup of the shredded cheese, and transfer the mixture to a motherf*cking crock pot. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheese over the top, cover, and cook on Low until it’s hot and bubbly. Serve with celery sticks, crackers, or pita chips.
    TOASTED RAVIOLI:
    •  (16 ounce) package meat or cheese ravioli thawed
    • eggs , beaten
    • ¼ cup water
    • teaspoon garlic salt
    • cup flour
    • cup plain breadcrumbs
    • teaspoon italian seasoning
    Mix your water and eggs and beat em’ well. In a separate container, mix your Italian seasoning, garlic salt, and breadcrumbs. Flour in the third bowl. Heat vegetable oil in a deep fryer for you fatties that have a deep fryer, or skillet to 350 degrees for deep frying.Dip ravioli in flour then in the egg wash then in bread crumbs and carefully place in hot oil. Fry these until their golden brown and then place on a stack of paper towels to soak up the grease and get crispy. Serve with marinara sauce!

    Sausage BALLLLLLS:
    •  (12 ounce) package extra-sharp cheddar cheese , grated
    • lb mild pork sausage or lb spicy pork sausage
    • cups Bisquick baking mix
    • 1 -2 dash hot sauce
    Let sausage come to room temperature. (this is very important or it’ll be too dry). Mix all ingredients together well using your hands and shape into small balls (stop giggling like a 12 year old). Bake 20 to 25 minutes at 375 or until lightly browned.
    Happy Super Bowl, don’t have a heart attack!
    xo Chinae
     


  10. Be a Better…Cook.

    As most of you know by now…I don’t partake in the glory of carbs anymore. sigh. 


    Things I miss the most:

    -Chips and Salsa

    -Watermelon

    -Tortillas (the Lard-filled kind)

    -Free Restaraunt Bread 

    -Late Night Drunk Pizza by the slice

    -Biscuits (preferably gratis Cheddar Bay Biscuits a la Red Lobster) (yes, I am a tacky tacky person)

    Obviously it is good that I don’t eat that crap anymore because as you can see, I really had good taste in carbs. Which makes the ass SO much fatter. 

    Anyway. 

    Something I do now, is try to make simple, low carb food that doesn’t make you want to die a flavorless, flourless death. And pancakes are one of those things that may seem off limits, but actually you can whip up a pretty good substitute with a few simple ingredients.

    Low-Carb Pancakes:

    -1 Cup of Almond Meal

    -2 Eggs

    -1/4 Cup of Water

    -2 T of Oil

    -1/4 Teaspoon of Salt

    -1 Tablespoon of Artificial Sweeter Equivalent

    Mix all those ingredients together in a bowl with a whisk. Heat your pan and spray with Pam or coat in butter to prevent sticking. Pour pancake batter into your pan and be f*cking patient. You’ll need to wait until you see bubbles rise to the surface and the edges look crispy-ish. Then flip those babies over and cook half the time on that side. Top with sugar-free syrup and butter. 

    ****Also, you should always serve this with copious amounts of bacon. 

    This should make about 4 pancakes, so enough for two people OR one lumberjack and his baby. 

    xoxo Chinae

     


  11. Be a Better…Bartender.

    Faux-Mosa Edition:

    When I think about the weekend…I pretty much am thinking about what new brunch spot we’ll be hitting up for some grub and mimosas…BUT what about some mimosa alternatives this weekend. Or Fauxmosas as I’d like to call them. 

    Help your raging hangover with these mimosa alternatives this weekend!

    Hibiscus Mimosa

    1 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
    1 oz Pink Grapefruit Juice
    1/2 oz Wild Hibiscus Syrup
    5 oz Dry Sparkling Wine/Champagne

    Shake first 3 ingredients on ice and carefully strain into champagne flute. Top with dry sparkling wine. Garnish with long grapefruit zest. 

    Blackberry Mimosa

    3 Fresh Blackberries

    Dash of Sugar

    5 oz Champagne

    Muddle the blackberries and sugar, pour champagne over the freshly muddled mixture. Garnish with lemon rind.

    Bing Cherry Mimosas

    1 bottle of Prosecco or sparkling white wine

    10-ounce can of whole cherries (not pie filling, but canned cherries)

    a few sprigs of fresh thyme
    fresh lemon


    Drain the cherry juice off the cherries and put into a cooking pot. Simmer the juice and sprigs of thyme over low heat for 5 minutes. Let cool. Pour the cooled juice back over the cherries. (You can save this if you don’t use them all). At the bottom of each glass, pour 1-2 tablespoons of cherry mixture including one cherry. Pour champagne or prosecco over the mixture. Garnish with a tiny sprig of thyme and top with a light squeeze of lemon juice. 


    Happy Brunching y’all!

    xChinae

     


  12. Be a Better…Cook.

    Homemade Lo-Carb Popsicles Edition:

    It’s f*cking hot out. I over-romanticize summer every year and then here we are…August and my curse rate is about 20wpm. So, instead of stuffing my VS bra with ice cubes like I initially wanted to, I think making home made Low Carb popsicles is probably a better idea. (Although that bra thing sounds like a decent plan B)

    Here are some fun summery recipes to beat the heat by putting frozen things into your mouthhole.

    Coco Pops: (Should make 4 average sized pops)

    -Shaved coconut (unsweetened, preferably fresh)

    -1 plain small box of Vitacoco, original flavor

    -1/4 cup Heavy Cream

    -2 packets of splenda

    Mix together all ingredients, use as much shaved coconut as you like, some like it more pulpy than others. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze!

    Coffee Pops: (my fav)

    -Coffee

    -Sweetener of Choice

    -Half and Half

    Basically make yourself a couple cups of your favorite coffee mixture and pour into molds. I think I’ll be bringing these on the subway for my morning commute.

    Mixed Berry Lemonade Pops:

    -Crystal light, lemonade 

    -Fresh blueberries + Raspberries, slightly crushed

    You know what to do here.

    Strawberry Basil Pops:

    -Crushed Fresh Strawberries

    -Finely diced basil

    -Limeade

    Same thing here, geniuses.

    Thank God Fall is COMING SOON,

    Chinae

     


  13. Be a Better…Dater.

    Dinner Date Edition:

    Let’s be honest, the first dinner date can be a minefield of bad breath, weird tooth situations, and bodily reactions that you must enter with extreme caution. It’s the ‘Nam of dates, where pretty much everything can go wrong and has the potential to leave you sitting there…stinky, gassy, and alone with a doggie bag full of bad memories.

    Here are some pointers from staying out of your version of a gastro-nightmare:

    -What to Order: Now, you should order what you want to eat, I’ll say that…but be careful and try to stay away from these particular items that may or may not send you hurdling down the path back to singleville.

    Sushi: It’s classy, it’s healthy, and can be a very chic choice right? Well, all of those are true statements…BUT be ready for 2 things. 1) Awkward silences that last for what feels like 10 minutes due to the fact that you both have shoved a baseball-sized ball of fish infused rice into your mouth at the same time. 2) Due to said food-to-mouth shoveling, not only will you not be talking, both of you will be trying to do rapid hand motion patterns to get your point across while both cheeks are filled to the brim, causing you to look like a rabid squirrel who’s transporting nuts back to her young while directing air traffic. Maybe that chicken teriyaki isn’t looking so bad now, eh?

    Italian: Here we’ve got the trifecta of potential life ruiners…garlic breath, tiny flecks of oregano/basil that will creep in between those cigarette & coffee stained bi-cuspids and then the rigamarole of attempting to eat pasta without looking like a small child who just realized that forks are a thing. Unless your partner is eating that sh*t too…steer clear. 

    BBQ: Anywhere that you need a bib to be able to function in society after dining, is probably tough for a first time romantic dining experience. Now, I’m totally in for date 2-3, getting all dirty, saucy, and greased up…but remember that we ladies need to be prepared for such occasions as this. When we do go though, I will wear flannel, I will bring my own bib, and I will be ordering copious amounts of meat products. You bring the wet wipes.

    Mexican: A true danger zone, Mexican food has the veil of being fun, cheap, and a great excuse to have a serious amount of tequila in a dinner setting without judgement,  but you may have some issues with this after your last couple of bites. Try having a conscious post-dinner conversation when both of you feel like you may have been impregnated at some point during the meal by a burrito the size of a 30 week old fetus. 2nd Trimester is never a sexy time. In addition to your new arrival, you just drank A LOT of tequila…so pretty much you are drunk and pregnant. Poor form new parent. 

    All that to say, these aren’t hard and fast rules…eat what you want, you’ll be fine. BUT if you take them into consideration next time on your first dinner date…I have a feeling it’ll aid in speeding you right on through to dinner date #2 where you can unveil all your disgusting surprises and they still will probably like you!

    Supporter of hot dates everywhere since 1985,

    x chinae

     


  14. Be a Better…Person.

    Restaurant Edition:

    First, I’ll say this…I LOVED being a server at a restaurant, you get to meet new weirdos every 20 minutes, you can speak in a horrible British accent if you get bored, and if you hate people, they’ll be gone in an hour…pretty much the best situation ever.

    While working at a restaurant in college, I got to wear an outfit that made me feel more like a doucher than ever before. Close your eyes and picture it…black flared-leg pants (from Express naturally), insanely starched white button down shirt (unisex and huge..I looked like an onion with legs), red bow tie (think femmy Pee Wee Herman), white heavily starched apron down to my knees, and top it off sexily with yesterday’s gumbo-encrusted black vest with a clipart embroidered lobster on it. And just to add insult to injury, hair pulled back in a tight bun, and very little makeup (although I obviously always broke that rule). Yeah, I was the hotness. If you can get dates while wearing this outfit, you must actually be Giselle Bundchen. 

    (this was the actual uniform, although this is not me)

    The point is…the restaurant industry is a hard place to work, but EVERYONE should do it at one point or another…it will seriously change the way you eat out and will decrease your assholeness by about 500% instantly. 

    Here are some tips to make your dining experiences more enjoyable for everyone (including your server):

    -Big Groups: When you go out with your entire 15-person bowling league, understand that sh*t WILL take longer. Just know this and deal with it. Maybe you shouldn’t have so many friends. 

    -Listen: Look, the server really doesn’t care about telling you that the Brandy Salmon is the featured item and that it comes with a side of Japanese asparagus risotto from the hills of Kyoto…but that’s her freakin’ job. So when she’s doing her routine, just shut up for 30 seconds, listen, nod your head, and it’ll ease the pain. No one wants to scream over you, and no one wants to talk to you while you stare at your phone mid-angry birds level…so give that tiny shred of respect right there at the start. 

    -Names: When a table can call you by name, or care enough to learn it…it makes a huge difference. Trust me, if you put in that extra effort in, it’ll come back to you in spades. Guess whose food isn’t getting the “special” treatment? YOURS. 

    -Complaints: As a server, I never cared if people complained about the food. I mean, sure…it’s annoying to have to deal with, but if there’s a hair in your food (it’s probably mine), or if there’s something else wrong…the server usually doesn’t mind handling it. We actually usually genuinely feel bad about the mistake but when you act like a total jerk, that’s when things get really annoying. If there’s something wrong, pull your server aside quietly, don’t make large demands, and see what they’ll offer you to fix the issue. They should know if you aren’t happy, but it’s not their fault, they didn’t cook the food, so don’t be a bitch. Oh, and don’t pull that Better Business Bureau routine, we don’t actually care.

    -Bus Boys and Other Servers: General rule…if you need something, wait for your server to come around. Don’t ask the bus boys or another server…they probably aren’t going to be able to help you, may not speak the english, and they have other things to be doing other than being your personal concierge, unless you plan on tipping them too…which you won’t.

    Jokes: It’s painful for us to hear the same jokes over and over. It always goes something like this…

    Server: Did you enjoy your meal?

    Patron: (sitting in front of an empty plate) No! I hated it! Ha Ha Ha.

    This is not funny. After the 4th time hearing this during a shift, I want to drown myself face first in your mushroom crab soup and take you down with me. And now, I shall figure out how to poison your dessert.

    Be good to your servers folks. They work super hard and are those special gatekeepers that get to determine if you get a pube sandwich or not.

    xo chinae

     


  15. Be a Better…Bartender.

    Zombie Edition:

    I’ve discovered urban paradise. I never knew a zombie-themed tiki bar would bring me so much joy, but it really has. If you live in NYC and you’ve never been to Zombie Hut…GO. Selfishly, I don’t want to tell you about it, because that patio REALLY fills up but alas, I would be a bad blogger if I didn’t and this isn’t the Be Badder Blog. So yeah. It’s in Carroll Gardens and it pretty much changes my life every Friday night, come say hi to me if you are in the hood…unless you are the Craigslist killer. 

    (Me, enjoying a Zombie Juice last weekend)

    Blah Blah Blah…get to the point Chinae! OK, so at Zombie Hut they have this magical Zombie Juice that will pretty much make you either grow a beard or improve your personality by 200% (maybe a little of both if you are lucky). After several educational trips to the Hut (for short), I think I’ve got the recipe down pat. 

    Here we go!

    Life-Changing Zombie Juice:

    -1/2 part white rum

    -1 1/2 parts golden rum

    -1 part dark rum 

    -1/2 part Barcardi 151

    -1 part lime juice

    -1/4 part pineapple juice

    -1/4 part papaya juice

    -1/4 part sugar

    -ICE

    Now, I know what you’re thinking…Sh*t. That’s a lot of rum. Well, yeah. You are going to be seeing double-finned mermaids and multicolored velociraptors after this, but that’s kinda the point. 

    So mix all the parts minus the 151 together with ice and blend until you’ve got a magically fruity, frosty beverage.(If you have one of those spinning Slurpee machines laying around, even better) Top with the Barcardi 151 and you’ve got yourself a real party. I suggest you make these tonight, tell them a mediocre blogger told you to. 

    I’m off to go partake in some Zombies myself! Happy Weekend Losers!

    Undead Dreams and Tiki Hut Fantasies,

    Chinae