That’s a Lot of Lights – McDonalds in the US

All I can say is wow.  And cry.

A light map of all the McDonalds in the US

A light map of all the McDonalds in the US.

(via GOOD)

Coolest Way To Publish Sandwich Recipes


I really prefer cook books with plenty of pictures to go along with their recipes. Often it feels like 95% words, 5% photographs. The folks at Scanwiches, however, have completely flipped this around in a very clever way. Instead of a recipe they give you a cross section of a sandwich. The only words, the name and the ingredients. Brilliant!

Big Scanwich

Reviewing POMx Iced Coffee

A few weeks ago I got an email from the marketing people at POM Wonderful. They’re rolling out a new product – POMx Iced Coffee – and they wanted to send us some samples to try.


The iced coffee drinks come in three flavors – Cafe au Lait, Chocolate and Vanilla. While the POM Wonderful products are known for their use of pomegranate, from what I gather, the iced coffee drinks contain all-natural, ultra-potent antioxidants derived from pomegranates… but there are no actual pomegranates and it tastes nothing like them.

I am a self-proclaimed iced coffee junkee. The only unfortunate part about my method of making iced coffee is that it has to be done overnight. If I’m sleepy and forget to get it started before bed, I’m out of luck. The thought of having a tasty and reliable ready-made alternative was pretty thrilling.

Unfortunately I didn’t love the POMx Iced Coffee drinks. I thought Cafe au Lait or Vanilla would be my favorites, but it was actually the Chocolate that had the least noticeable aftertaste. I don’t know what the extra taste was, but it was pretty off putting to me.


I tried using the Chocolate Iced Coffee in a brownie recipe and the taste was fine but didn’t knock my socks off. I also thought the packaging, while definitely different looking, wasn’t the easiest to transport with the rest of my things on my way to class.

Have any of you tried the POMx Iced Coffee products? I’d love to hear your take on it. I really wish I enjoyed the product more because they seem like a neat company! Check out POM’s Recipes page, for example.

Food Photography – Ribs and Cactus Fries

Ribs, Baked Beans and Cactus Fries

While on my vacation, abandoning my flexitarian ways (when you’re eating meat every meal, that label doesn’t realy work), I had some stellar dining in Sedona. The ribs were great but the highlight was the cactus fries. It was definitely a new experience!

Ribs, Baked Beans and Cactus Fries

Alton Brown Coming to DC and Virginia!

That’s right! The food scientist extroidinaire is coming to our little town (I guess DC isn’t that little)! In support of his latest book, Good Eats: The Early Years, Alton is on a small tour; stopping in Arlington, Virginia and the National Museum of Natural History in DC.

Alton Brown

Good Eats has been on the air for ten years now and this book is to commemorate this mile stone. It’ll have everything you love: the recipes, the science, his corny wit, along with behind the scenes photos. Now, it just came out and I haven’t read it yet (hint to all those wondering what to get me for christmas) but I am very excited and can assure you I will be there in DC (possibly detained by security for trying to hug him or something).

You can find a list of Alton’s stops here.

Wednesday, October 14
Arlington VA
Sur La Table – Pentagon Row
Wednesday, October 14

Washington DC
Baird Auditorium,
National Museum of Natural History

Inventive Ideas With Green Beans?

Green Beans

I’ve got some leftover green beans sitting in the fridge and I have absolutely no idea what to do with them. The only thing I know to do with green beans is as follows:

  • Steamed/boiled by themselves with butter and seasoning
  • Green been casserole
  • Used in stir fry
  • Very few soups

That’s it! This veggie has to have more potential. Anyone have any great, inventive green bean recipes they’re sitting on?

Yogurt with Honey, A Natural Immune Builder

It’s true – I am a little crazy this week. Tomorrow I’ll be taking a few finals/tests for a class in my nursing school program, and in just six days I’ll start giving [supervised] patient care. Eep!


It’s safe to say I’ve been spending a lot of time on school, so it’s great when foodie things enter the discussion – last week one of our graduate advisors mentioned that her husband is a bee keeper, and one of the things they do in the fall and winter to boost their immune systems is mix some plain yogurt with raw honey.


I use plain yogurt for cooking and baking (see Tandoori Inspired Chicken and Red Potatoes, Spiced Chicken Kebabs and “Dad-approved” Blueberry Lemon Loaf), but I’m not a fan of just plain yogurt. The honey makes it sweeter and less tart, and I feel like I’m doing something reasonably good for my body (I guess snacking on bittersweet chocolate chips doesn’t help my immune system…).


I didn’t want to spend the money on raw honey or organic yogurt, so yes, I stuck with store brand and low-fat yogurt.. but feel free to dress this up with fancy organics as you see fit! Greek yogurt would probably be most yummy of all and raw honey really is a must if you want the full health benefits. Raw honey may help people who suffer from allergies, is a powerful antioxidant, contains natural antibiotics and is thought to stimulate the immune system into action.


The best part? It’s simple! Take a small serving of yogurt and drizzle on about a tablespoon of honey for flavor. Mix and enjoy!

I never saw the movie Ratatouille when it came out, despite its rave reviews and the insistence of my friends. “You love food! Why haven’t you seen it!?” Add it to the long long list of movies I’ve never gotten around to. After insisting I see the movie, many people insisted I make the actual dish it’s named after, believing the veggie maniac in me would love it. Oh, how little they know me!

Anti-Zucchini Ratatouille With Rice

The dish in the movie was not actually ratatouille (gasp!). It was in fact a dish called confit byaldi, which is a variation of the original French dish (actually, it’s a variation of the classic confit byaldi, so really it’s a variation of a variation, but I digress). There were a bunch of tweaks here and there to the recipe but one of the most notable for me was the prominent role zucchini played. Summer squash and I, we’re not friends. You add that sucker to just about any dish and it’s a good chance it’ll ruin it for me. I once made a vegetarian chili with a good deal of this foul ingredient and it was so bad I had to throw it out (and I hate wasting food).

Mmmm Veggies

I do, however, enjoy winter squashes; being far less bitter than their warm weather counterparts. I decided to try a variation because the idea of a meal so rich in delicious vegetables was very enticing. So I threw in acorn squash and while I was at it I replaced the juicier tomatoes with cherry tomatoes (which, I acknowledge, is a bit of a pain in the butt to chop when you have a pound of them) so the individual ingredients could have a chance to express themselves. Maybe it’s just me, but often I feel like tomato sauce is just too strong to play nicely with mild flavors. Don’t like your meatloaf? Drown it in ketchup!

Buncha Cherry Tomatoes

I was pretty pleased with the results, though I doubt this could be considered any more authentic than the movie version. The vegetables definitely kept their identity and the versatility of this dish is a big plus. You can use it as a side, the main course, over rice, over couscous… If you prefer a more “wet” dish, just replace the cherry tomatoes with plum or canned.

Onion and Cherry Tomatoes Anti-Zucchini Ratatouille

Anti-Zucchini Ratatouille

1 eggplant; chopped into 1/2-1 inch cubes
1 acorn squash; cut into fourths
2 bell peppers of any kind (I recommend at least one sweet: red, yellow, orage)
1 lb cherry tomatoes; chopped
2 onion; chopped
4 garlic cloves; minced
Leaves from one sprig of thyme; chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 bay leaf.

Preheat the oven to 450. Place your eggplant in a bowl with about 4 tablespoons of oil and a teaspoon of salt (this is approximate, assuming a pound of eggplant) and mix to combine. Spread onto baking sheets so they have a little space between them. Using a brush (or your hands), lightly coat the acorn squash with olive oil and place in its own baking pan. Deseed and cut in half your beller peppers and place in their own baking pan. Roast everything for 15-20 minutes until the bell pepper skins are beginning to loosen. Leave the acorn squash in for another 10-15 minutes until the flesh is tender. Let everything cool until it can be handled.

Chop the bell peppers and place in a bowl along with the eggplant. After removing the skin from the squash, chop and add to the bowl. Set aside.

In a large (LARGE. Everything’s gonna end up in this sucker) pan under low to medium low heat, cook your onions and garlic with the herbs and spices with two tablespoons of oil until the onions are very soft; approximately 8-10 minutes. You’re cooking under low heat to avoid browning, so be sure to watch and stir on occasion.

Add the tomatoes, raise the temperature oh so slightly and cook until the tomatoes have begun to soften but still have their shape; approximately 10 minutes. Add your bowl of vegetables along with the salt and pepper to taste. Cook to reduce some of the liquid out and so that all the ingredients have a chance to mingle; approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat, server and enjoy.

More Michael Pollan – Your Dietary Dos and Don’ts

Michael Pollan’s favorite food rules that were posted in the comments on Tara Parker Pope’s health blog.

Dog Food Quandry Follow-up

Hey gang!


Thanks for all the great comments in our dog food discussion from Tuesday. Here are the collected links that were shared in case you missed it – a lot of good information was exchanged both here and on Facebook:

I decided on Chicken Soup for the Puppy Lover’s Soul – Large Breed. The ratings I found for it were consistently strong. Consumer Search ranks it as one of the top four best foods and dog food analysis gives it a thoughtful four star rating. It’s also very reasonably priced – I just bought a 35 lb. bag last night for $38 including tax.

Sweet Biscuit

Once we decided that we liked the food, then it had to pass Biscuit’s test. Thankfully, Biscuit loves it. We did a taste test where I held the Chicken Soup chow in one hand and Purina in another. I repeated the test, and also did one where I held Chicken Soup and Science Diet in another hand. Chicken Soup won every time.

Unfortunately it can be a little difficult to find in stores. The only store in Charlottesville that sells it is Pet Supplies Plus, and they were out of stock earlier in the week. Ordering online is an option, but I shudder to think of what the shipping costs would be for such a heavy item. Hopefully our 35 pounder will last us a little while!

Even though our vet recommended Science Diet, after reading the above links I feel confident that the food we decided on is healthy and nutritious for our pup. I’m sure I’ll be visiting this topic again in a few months when he moves to adult food!

Have a great weekend!