Food and the City | a food + life & style guide for the 20' something

July 28, 2014

Everyone Is Getting Married Besides You

Have you ever taken a good look around yourself and realized that a good portion of your friend group was either married, engaged, or basically on the verge? I’ve recently had this realization, that when you lose something, you suddenly start to see everybody else obtain it. Love is just one of the many things that I see this sort of circumstance occur over and over again.

It’s almost as if there is this sort of radar going around, a laser on your back if I may, that targets you the second your relationship ends. New, beautiful relationships blossom out of nowhere, and before you know it - your friends are married with two kids that match perfectly in every photo. How did this happen? When did this happen? And why the hell were you not aware of it?

You want to feel happy for them, you really, REALLY do. You want to believe that the binding of their words creates hope for happiness, and hope for that one day, you too will find that perfect mate. You want to forget what’s his name, or what’s her name, and stop dwelling on the fact that that could have been you. Those could have been your satin and lace wedding invitations, or your dress appointment at Kleinfelds . That could have been your cushion-cut engagement ring or your tulip flower arrangement. 

I feel as if we create this world in our minds, one that we so desperately want to become a reality, that when it doesn’t happen, we become so utterly disappointed. The plan in your head had you married by 25 with your first baby by 27, all wrapped up in a pretty bow, signed by The Awesome Ideas I have In My Head Association. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, you know?

Sometimes we take a look around ourselves, and yes, all of our friends are getting married. All of our friends are happy in stable, loving relationships, and we’re at the end of the single person spectrum, eating a microwaveable pizza for dinner because why the hell not. Sometimes the jealous feelings you experience have little to do with being insecure with your relationship status, and everything to do with your own personal plan that you setup for yourself. It’s not that you have to be with somebody to feel complete, you just want to be with somebody, and the realization that you’re not can be somewhat of a lonely one. It takes a while to truly accept the fact that you’re married to yourself until you marry another human being. If that does end up happening, after all.

Why is it that when you lose in the game of love, everyone else seems to be winning it?

July 23, 2014

Simple Grilled Asparagus

One of our absolute favorite things to make in the summertime is grilled asparagus. There's something about tossing fresh asparagus spears with a little bit of garlic, then grilling to perfection that really gets our gears going. 

That's the thing with summer. You can pretty much grill anything, and not only will it taste amazing, but you're also saving some calories in the long run. With the help of a great cooking spray (ours happens to be PAM), you can cut out most of the oil without worrying about your meal sticking to the pan. How's that for easy cleanin'?

So without further ado, let's talk about our favorite summertime side dish: grilled asparagus.

Simple Grilled Asparagus 

1 bunch fresh asparagus 
1 tablespoon olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, smashed and minces
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
PAM cooking spray
salt & pepper to taste

Cut the bottoms off of your fresh asparagus spears and rinse them under cool water. Pat dry then add them to a shallow dish. Combined olive oil, minced garlic, and red pepper flakes in an additional bowl, then pour marinade on top of asparagus. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and let sit for 30 minutes.

Heat your grill pan on medium-high, and spritz deliberately with PAM cooking spray. When pan is hot, add your asparagus spears in a single layer and allow to brown on the first side, about 3 minutes. Turn each spear over and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Serve along side some grilled chicken and brown rice, and you have yourself a summer power meal! 

You might also like: 14 Summer Potluck Ideas

“Leaving up to 99% less residue, PAM is your ally in the kitchen and allows you to save time during prep and clean up.”

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by ConAgra via Mode Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of ConAgra.

July 22, 2014

Kitchen Basics: Roasted Broccoli

I remember years ago, when I first started getting into cooking, roasted broccoli was always on the dinner roster. I hadn't yet figured out how to balance cooking an entire meal, with multiple pots and pans going at the same time, so the oven always seemed to be my easiest escape.

Luckily, pretty much everyone loves roasted broccoli, and even more luckily(er?), my status in the kitchen has risen significantly since those days. But hey, sometimes I still just love to throw some florets in the oven and call it a day.

Roasted Broccoli 

1 head of fresh broccoli, rinsed & cut into smaller florets
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, smashed & minced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Preheat your oven to 425. Combined all ingredients in a bowl and toss to fully coat. Spread out the florets evenly onto a greased baking sheet, and bake for 10-12 minutes.


July 21, 2014

23 Things It's Important To Know By 23

1) Your dollar is only as good as your intention. Money can’t buy you class. Remember that.

2) In order to be happy with somebody else, you must first be happy with yourself. It sounds a little corny, and sort of Mr. Miyagi-esque, but it couldn’t be more true.

3) Life is short, so while you’re saving up, don’t be afraid to splurge a little bit. Buy the shoes you’ve been wanting or that plane ticket to Florida to visit your grandmother. Reward yourself for staying within budget and living within your means. (Most of the time.)

4) Realize that you’re older relatives won’t be around forever. Cherish every moment possible with them. Talk to them; listen to their stories; soak it all in. You never know which moment will be your last with them.

5) There’s more to life than having the latest iPhone or the newest gadget that’s circulating social circles; ruining friendships since 2008.

6) In order to maintain a friendship, both parties must be willing to take the initiative to keep in touch. If you feel like you’re the only one trying to make plans, or bringing anything to the table in a friendship, move along. Dedicate your free time to those who value your friendship as much as you value theirs.

7) Every once in a while, a night completely by yourself, with your favorite playlist and favorite stretchy pants, can save you loads on therapy. Bonus points for crying a little bit. Let it all out.

8) You’re the prettiest/most handsome when you’re comfortable. Stop wearing certain things just because they are on trend. If you don’t like crop tops or slim-fitting suits, well, fuck crop tops and slim-fitting suits.

9) Nothing good can come out of Facebook stalking after 11pm. Your mind will wander and so will your search bar. You’ll scroll through pictures of people you swore you’d never speak to again, and it just won’t go well. In fact, delete those people all together.

10) Nothing in life is permanent. Embrace change.

11) Accept people for who they are, and not who you want them to be. That’s a one-way ticket to Disappointment Land.

12) You’ll probably be #broke for a while, but hey, at least Ramen noodles are delicious. Plus, walking to burn off all of those carbs is free!

13) Don’t ever stop asking questions. Question everything. Twice.

14) No one actually knows what the hell is going on or what the hell they are doing. Everyone is kind of just winging it, making their own way through life, and figuring it out as they go along.

15) It’s always that last shot of tequila. Always. Stop drinking so much.

16) Never date someone and treat them like a lump of clay that you can mold. Frank will always be an asshole and Lisa will always be a drama queen. The only thing you can do about it is decide if you still want to have them in your life.

17) If you want to know where you stand with somebody, ask them. Lay all of your intentions out on the table before either one of you gets hurt. Make it to clear to somebody if you’re only in it for the booty, or if you’re in it for long term. Nobody likes to have their heartbroken, especially at the hands of something that could have easily been avoided.

18) Hangovers are real, and they’ve been sent by all that is evil to torment you forever. This isn’t college anymore, folks. This is the real-deal, 24 hour pounding headache that no amount of Advil can subside.

19) Never, not even for a second, rely on somebody else for your happiness. You may have already learned this the hard way (I know I have), but moving forward know that only you are in charge of your own happiness. You shouldn’t invest every last inch of yourself in another human being, especially if they aren’t doing the same. Coming as one in a relationship is one thing, but completely losing your identity is another.

20) Things won’t change unless you actually put in the effort to change them. Sitting there and hoping that your business takes off, or wishing that your apartment wasn’t so messy doesn’t do a dang thing. Get up and do it.

21) Exercise, eat right, and take care of your body. Your early 20’s is when your metabolism slowly starts to pack up and leave. It’s all “peace out, see you never!” and you’re all “But wait, one more slice of pizza?” No. Watch your eating habits and what you’re putting into your body. (I’m looking at you, soda.)

22) Try not to regret things, but instead ask yourself “what did I learn from this?”

23) You have time. There is no rush to have your life figured out. As short as we say life is, in actuality, life is the longest short-time that there is. Embrace it.

*This originally appeared on Mel's Thought Catalog

July 18, 2014

3 Ingredient Nutella Brownies

Ready for the easiest, most delicious brownies of your life? If you're like most of the human population - you're a fan of Nutella. And I'm not saying just a fan. You live, you breathe, you think naughty thoughts. Nutella is life, and today, we're making Nutella Brownies.

If you have these 3 ingredients, and a little self-control to not just eat the batter right out of the bowl, I highly suggest you make these for every upcoming event in your life. Even if that just means Monday.

3 Ingredient Nutella Brownies 

1 box Brownie Mix
1 Egg
1 1/2 cups Nutella

Preheat your oven to 375 and grease a baking dish. Combined all of your ingredients in a bowl and mix until full combined. Depending on what temperature your Nutella is left in, you may need to add a tablespoon of two of water if it is too thick. 

Add batter to the baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes or until brownies are cooked through. Note: these are pretty ooey gooey because of the Nutella, but they do firm up as they are left out.