“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” - Virginia Woolf

Betty’s Deal of the Week: Discounted Custom M&M’s Candies

Posted: November 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Candy, Chocolate, Deals, Gifts, Guilty Pleasures | View Comments

New to Betty’s Deal of the Week? Deal details are at the end of the post, just scroll to the bottom.

Photo Credit: roboppy on Flickr

Unless you managed to completely avoid the insanity surrounding Black Friday, you know the holidays are coming.  I’ve been trying to figure out something cool to give my customers, and I realized that I could give them little company swag gifts that inevitably get thrown away, or I could spend the money on sometime really awesome.

Like chocolate.

When I was a kid, I remember how much I loved open a new bag of M&Ms and sorting them into different color groups or lining them up into patterns before devouring them. Something about an M&M that is just about to melt before you pop it into your mouth is so nostalgic.

Photo Credit: murphyj on Flickr

Even now that we’re all grown up, M&Ms in custom colors or with a custom design printed on top make a charming gift that people actually are excited to receive.  I was hunting around on Flickr and found some pretty creative stuff, I thought this one to the right was especially sweet.

So go crazy!  If you end up doing this, I’d love to see what you design – just post links to the pics in the comments until I get an email address set up for this domain.  Once I get my delivery of custom M&Ms I’ll make sure to post pictures, too!

Available Deals on M&M’s Candies

  1. 1 Free Bag, with purchase of three or more Coupon Code; 1FREEBAG
  2. Buy 3 or more Bags Of Custom Printed MY M&M’S® And Get 1 FREE!
  3. Put Your Company Logo & A Message On MY M&M’S Candies. Free Logo Setup – $100 Value!
  4. 10% Off your Order! Coupon Code: WEDDINGS10

Personalized MY M&M'S® Candies

Create Personalized MY M&M’S® – The Perfect Party Favor for All Occasions.

Chicken Protein Snacks

Posted: November 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Chicken, Cooking, Health, Herbs & Spices, Ingredients, Low Carb, Olive Oil, Snacks | View Comments

Tonight while I was at Safeway with Kevin, I got the bright idea to buy 4 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts and thighs and cook them up as snack food to take with me to work this week.  I’ve been trying to eat a higher protein diet, since I tend to be borderline anemic every time I go to the doctor for a checkup.  Additionally, it’s more satisfying, tastes great, and is lower calorie than snacking on the stuff we keep around the office.

Chicken Protein Snacks Cooking

Here’s what I did to make it super flavorful and low calorie:

  • heat alarge skillet on medium heat
  • add 2-3 tablespoons of virgin olive oil to the pan (never add to a cold pan says Martha, still not sure why that is)
  • add spices you like, for me it was “Italian Seasonings”, Rosemary, Oregano, kosher salt flakes and fresh ground pepper
  • swirl or stir together the seasonings and oil until the coat the bottom of the pan evenly
  • place the first group of chicken in the pan (with 4 pounds I had to do 3 batches)
  • add 1/3 cup water
  • turn up to medium-high and cover

Cook time: I like my chicken tender (but cooked to temperature of course) so I just turned it once after 4-6 minutes and then leave for another 3-4.  I cut into the center of the thickest part of each piece to make sure it was white all the way through.  When done, set on a plate to cool.

To keep the chicken moist all week, avoid the temptation to chop it all up into strips.  Just cut what you’re going to take with you for the day, and leave the rest of the pieces whole and packed in a tupperware or other airtight container or plastic wrap.  They’ll keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.  Enjoy, and let me know if this suggestion works for helping you snack healthier during the holidays!

Do Chinese Restaurants Shop for Gyoza at Trader Joe’s?

Posted: August 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Appetizers, Chinese, Cooking, Eating Out, Vegetable Oil | View Comments

I love gyoza, also referred to as potstickers.  I think it is the yummiest appetizer in all of Asian cuisine, and I can eat just gyoza for an entire meal.  Fill it with pork, chicken, beef or “mystery meat” and I’ll eat it.  For those of you not in the know, gyoza is a Chinese dumpling that is filled with meat and either steamed or fried (often a combination of the two).  Gyoza is what the Japanese call it, generally Chinese restaurants will call them potstickers.

Gyoza usually isn’t cheap when you consider what you’re getting, a plate of 6-8 can easily set you back $6-$10.  At good restaurants they make the dough and filling, and hand form the dumpings, so you’re paying for the labor.

Imagine my surprise when I went Trader Joe’s tonight and noticed pre-made gyoza in the frozen section.  I couldn’t resist, so I brought them home and decided I’d see if I could recreate the same yumminess in my kitchen.   Each bag contained three servings of 7 pieces, 270 calories per serving (before the oil and the sauces).  Sounds about right – 3 servings is a filling dinner (with a lot of salt).

I followed the instructions, cooking them a little longer than they suggested so they’d get that nice crispy texture.  It takes 7 minutes to:

  • heat a frying pan (while it is empty) on medium/high
  • add 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil (they suggested 2, whatever, I like my fat)
  • add the whole bag of gyoza once the oil is hot
  • let the gyoza brown, turning occasionally (be gentle)  — they suggested 1 minute but I did it for 4 to get crispier
  • turn the heat down to low
  • add 1/4 cup water to the pan and cover so the steam will warm them all the way through – 2 or 3 minutes
  • pour gyoza into a strainer to remove the excess oil and water, serve

So there you go!

Immediately, I noticed that these gyoza are a particular size and shape – and I’ve seen the exact same size/shape repeated at LOTS of restaurants.  I think there are tons of Asian restaurants shopping at Trader Joe’s or Costco or some other bulk restaurant retailer and we’ve been paying $1/gyoza when I just made 20 of them for $3!  I’m rethinking my whole gyoza strategy, from now on I am going to ask if they make their own dumplings fresh and from scratch.  If not, I’m not ordering – because I can make them at home and never risk a soggy gyoza again.

Photo credit: Flickr

I’m No Betty

Posted: August 2nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: From the Pantry | View Comments

Remember the quintessential 90’s move Clueless?  In that movie, Cher calls her mom “a total Betty”.  I turned to UrbanDictionary.com to figure out what exactly this meant, and which famous Betty had inspired the vocabulary.

Turns out, we can thank legendary sex symbol Bettie Page for inspiring this turn of phrase.  I had another famous Betty in mind when I started this blog, Betty Crocker, who I later found out isn’t an actual person but a “persona” created by General Mills in the early 1920s to personalize food products.  In today’s world of authentic social media, that sure wouldn’t fly!

Growing up, the Betty Crocker Cookbook was ever-present in my house right along with Joy of Cooking — but the truth was we didn’t experiment much.  My mom hated to cook more than the basics (meatloaf, roast chicken, etc.) and it was pretty good.  Sometimes my Dad would cook, and he had a natural knack for throwing together ingredients for beef stroganoff or something else.  Baking involved chemistry, so it was lot more risky and we usually had cake mix from a box or occasionally a homemade pie crust.

The art of food wasn’t entirely lost on us though, because our parents loved to go out to eat and began taking us at a very young age and teaching us manners.  So, you’ll find a section here about fine (and not-so-fine) dining as well as a section on wine and cocktails.  Enjoy!

Why I’m No Betty

I’m not as kinky as Bettie Page, although I do live in the “leather district” of San Francisco, home of the Folsom Street Fair – nor as wholesome as one would imagine Betty Crocker to be.

I like my sex sexy, and I like my food… well, I just like it… a lot.  So this is a story of becoming Bettie and Betty, and its also just a story of a 20-something urban dweller with a really busy life who wants to get the most out of every bite.

Dinner in 10,000 Hours

Malcolm Gladwell wrote in his book Outliersthat it takes 10,000 hours to get really good at something.  As I told my husband – if it’s going to take 10,000 hours for me to get good at creating amazing food I better get started on that.  If I spend 10 hours a week for the next 20 years I’ll be kicking serious ass b the time I’m 45!  How’s that for long term planning??

I have a life and other passions – primarily the startup I’m working on, but becoming good at baking, cooking, appreciating wine and fine dining are things that I already spend a lot of time and money doing simply because you have to eat to live.  The difference about me, is I also live to eat.  I really deeply enjoy the ambiance of a restaurant, the preparation of a cake, the selection of wine.  So I’m going to write about it, and I hope you’ll find some enjoyment in my pictures, stories, and adventures — and that I’ll inspire you to your own.

More soon!

In the meantime: read more about me at DanielleMorrill.com

Update: Julia Child didn’t write “Joy of Cooking” – the fact that I though this should tell you just how clueless I am about all things related to cooking. Julia Child wrote Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Thanks to @radicand for the tip on this, I might need to go pick up a copy.