How to Eat Wings Like a “Lady”

I have recently joined a dodgeball league with a few coworkers. After our first game, we went to a local bar for some super delish wings (just 0.39 cents per wing!).

Ironically, I randomly found this funny video by soon after. I think it’s one of those videos you cannot take seriously. And it might be a tad bit suggestive in the beginning.  Obviously, it’s pretty sexist to say that only ladies should eat this non-messy way.

Anyways, while this might be an ….interesting way to eat wings, no thank you! I think that making a mess is just part of the territory when consuming wings.  No guts, no glory! Besides, how can you call them finger licking good then???

Plus, when I’m done with wings, you will know it! I clean it right to the bone! No sauce left behind in the aftermath. I personally think that the messier you get into it, the more satisfying the meal is. Just remember to clean up after, you cave man.

So, say what you want, but I will always love food 🙂 But are you surprised? I freaking wrote  about a Chipotle Burrito Dating Rule.

buff-chik

Figure. via Tumblr!

The yummy truth.

Breaking Bad Cupcakes

A quick baking project in honor of the premiere of the final 7 episodes of Breaking Bad on AMC! I just thought of doing this last minute, but it only took me about 30 minutes to make. I really wanted to make cupcakes with shards of blue on it, resembling the infamous Blue Sky crystal meth that Walt and Jessie cook in the show.

o-BREAKING-BAD-FINAL-EPISODES-570

Figure. Image source of awesome poster: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/25/breaking-bad-poster-walter-white_n_3497339.html

Step 1: GATHER THE SUPPLIES!

The the things I used: Red Velvet cake mix, some cake liners, a normal pan with foil, a cake pan, some blue Jolly Ranchers, and cream cheese frosting.

2013-08-11 20.16.26

Figure. My lab equipment for the night.

2013-08-11 20.26.19

Figure. I cannot believe this is all the blue I found in this family pack of Jolly Ranchers.

After separating all the blueberry blue ones, I smashed up those candies and placed them on that foil covered baking pan. They were in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 5 minutes since I didn’t have much to work with.

2013-08-11 20.44.05

Figure.Science at work: the phase change from solid to liquid. Not as complicated as drug making, but at least it’s pretty

The easy part! Mix and bake some lovely red cupcakes. Box, eggs, oil, and water is all you need.

2013-08-11 21.07.09

Figure. Godbless cake mix.

2013-08-11 22.53.10

Figure. YUM. Pre-decor. 

Why red cupcakes? Let me answer with a Breaking Bad’s premiere episode tonight: “BLOOD MONEY.”

2013-08-11 22.53.33

Figure. My final “product” haha, get it?

I’m not entirely sure how I will eat these, but I will say this quote is appropriate: “TREAD LIGHTLY.”

Hope you guys enjoyed my little creation. And even more importantly, hopefully you are all up to date on Breaking Bad! I am so excited to see what is in store for the season finale.

hNXPF-cover

P.S. Here is a cool name generator from the show: https://www.facebook.com/BreakingBad/app_541868445869371

The Science of Brain Freeze

With summer being whisked away so quickly, and school starting soon for colleges, this seemed to be an appropriate post. I don’t know about all of you, but I absolutely love frozen sweets. Ice cream, frozen yogurt, popsicles, slurpees, you name it!

However, if one consumes their delicious frozen delights at rapid speeds, one will experience the phenomenon known as “brain freeze.”

Brain-Freeze-Ice-Tray_3509-l

Figure. I love puns. Image source: http://www.neatoshop.com/product/Brain-Freeze-Ice-Tray

Also known as Sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia, brain freeze can be characterized by sharp pains at the temples or front side of your head. A common remedy is to place your tongue against  your palate the top of your mouth.

So why precisely would this be a solution?

“The scientists believe the increased blood flow could be part of a temperature-regulation mechanism. When it detects intense cold, the body pumps more blood to the brain to keep it functioning in a warm environment. But that activity may also be raising pressure inside the skull, producing the headaches we call brain freeze. Recovery happens when the artery returns to its normal size.”

— Direct quote about a Harvard medical study from: http://www.thekitchn.com/the-science-of-brain-freeze-the-atlantic-171476

So it seems that your tongue can act as a heat source so that the neurons in your palate that sense temperature and cause this increase in blood can flow stop adding pressure to your skull.

As pointed out by this blog, there could be a possible correlation of this temperature sensing mechanism between what causes migraines and triggers brain freeze: http://thebrainbank.scienceblog.com/2012/09/23/the-science-of-brain-freeze/.

Be sure to check out those blog links and hope you have an ice cream filled day!

gelatos

Figure. Holy mother of YES. Capogiro’s delicious gelato selection. Image source: http://www.uwishunu.com/tag/capogiro/page/2/

Dragon Ball Z Creme Brulee Cakeballs

Introduction:

It’s been such a long time since I have baked anything! To get back into my baker’s groove, I decided to try out the Dragon Ball Z creme brulee cakeballs recipe by Ro Pansino from the awesome YouTube show NERDY NUMMIES! It’s a rather long process, but I needed a fun project to keep me awake as I try to adjust my sleep schedule for my graveyard shifts. Plus, it’s always been my dream to gather the DRAGON BALLS to save Earth!

Dragonballs

Figure. Wish-granting dragon time!

I followed the video pretty much step by step without any deviations, but Ro makes everything look so easy! Maybe I’m rusty from my pro-baking days, but I had a few problems, which I will be sure to highlight just in case anyone else needs a bit of help.

Working Notes:

Part I – Making the Creme Brulee

I thought making the creme brulee would be the hardest and most stressful part! People would think otherwise, with such simple ingredients, including cream, vanilla, sugar, and egg yolks, and a name literally translating to “burnt cream,” you would think it would be so easy and effortless to make!

2013-07-27 18.58.36

Figure. My almost curdled creme brulee in the bain marie. This type of set-up according to Wiki is also used for science experiments!

Ro teaches you set up a “bain marie.” You just put your liquid creme brulee in it’s cooking bowl. Then, lay a towel down in a baking pan and fill halfway with hot water that had previously been boiling. Finally, you put the entire thing in the oven to bake.

The key to good creme brulee is making sure that it doesn’t curdle, which  can be difficult.

curdle: (verb) to form a coagulated layer

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/curdle

A curdled creme brulee can be denoted by bubbles forming on the top while baking in the oven, and sometimes some brown spots. It can be caused by a couple of things.

  1. Adding the hot cream mixture to the egg yolks and sugar too quickly
    Not allowing the temperatures to adjust or “temper” ends up cooking the eggs and creating a non-homogenous mixture. So you may have a firm layer on top, but liquid past that top layer when you are done cooking.
  2. Cooking it too quickly in the oven.
    This almost happened to me. This is the first time I am baking in my new apartment, and I did not realize that my electric oven heats up much more quickly and aggressively than previous gas ovens that I have had in the past. Luckily, I was able to get away with just a few bubbles on the top of my creme brulee. Cooking too quickly can be caused by too high baking heat or the water being too hot for the bain marie (believe it or not).

Part II – Making cakepop mix!

I haven’t used a cake mix in a box in YEARS. I had been exploring from scratch recipes since for the past few years that I almost forgot how awesome and convenient these cake mixes are, especially when you want to save some time so that you can experiment on non-traditional things, like this one!

2013-07-27 19.54.05

Figure. My slightly browned and lop-sided insta-cake!

After the cake is made, all you have to do is crumble it up with your creme brulee.  Ro had said to not worry about making perfect circles because after freezing you can reshape them. I sorta agree with this, but I found that removing wrinkles is pretty hard when they are frozen.

Part III – Sugar Dip!

Making caramel is pretty easy, but it took me three tries to do it right!  I almost gave up and was going to buy chocolate melts to eat the rest of the cake balls before they went bad, but I was determined to succeed!

First attempt: overboiled/burnt caramel and almost set a fire alarm off at 3am when it started to smoke

Second attempt: made caramel fine, but it was too viscous! Also, I was dumb and put them on a plate to dry, and of course they got stuck. Then when trying to remove caramel covered cakeballs, I smashed the coating and cut multiple fingers with the sharp caramel shards. My right thumb is still upset with the gash I got. Plus my kitchen floor was sticky for days.

Third attempt: FINAL ATTEMPT.

Things I have learned about caramel making:

  • Make sure sugar is dissolved before allowing mixture to go to a boil.
  • A pain to clean later, but try to ocassionally mix the caramel as it cooks so you can evenly see the brown color (your indicator to stop cooking it and throw it into an ice bath).
  • Be patient and keep your eye on it! It too me way longer than 10 minutes of boiling, which the video instructed.
  • If I were to make this entire recipe of cakeballs in one sitting, I would probably need to multiple the recipe by 1.5 to get good dipping stuff.

2013-07-28 02.05.49

2013-07-28 02.38.43

Figures. Making caramel!

Just in case you care curious about this awesome color change of sugar as it’s heated, here is a bit of science:

Like all things, sugar is made up of elements: Carbon, Hydrogen, and Oxygen to be exact. When heat is applied, a reaction occurs where the sugar grabs and combines with oxygen in the air. This is is an exothermic reaction where heat is released, and the result is a color change from white to black.

A great link for this science experiment in action: http://www.education.com/science-fair/article/heating-sugar/

Back to the recipe!

2013-08-04 19.20.00

Figure. My cake balls ready to be frozen!

Things I have learned about dipping:

  • Try to have the balls frozen when you dip! I had a lot of casualties fall of their sticks. Unfortunately, frozen cake balls will probably form little bubbles in the caramel coat. Also, as the cake balls thaw, they will pull away from their pretty caramel coat.
  • I didn’t have styrofoam when I did my final try of this recipe (when I did have styrofoam, it fell over form the weight of the cake balls). I was able to get away with using some tall mugs and empty pasta jars!
  • Also, I decided to get extra long sticks. I was going to originally cut them in half, but then after almost burning myself with caramel during the unsuccessful attempts, I decided to take advantage of the length!

2013-08-04 23.16.36

Figure. My creative solution for allowing my caramel to harden, undisturbed.

2013-08-04 23.18.48

Figure. Lol you could tell that was the last one. I was getting impatient and my caramel was hardening 😦 If this happens to you but you still have to cover some cake balls, remember you can always throw the dip on low heat to get it all liquid-y again!

Part IV – Decoration!

I found this groovy multi-sprinkle dispensing device at Walmart for $5.

2013-08-05 00.17.46

Figure. All I wanted was the red stars, but I guess I had to get them all!

And the final product!

2013-08-05 00.27.39

Figure. TA-DAAAAAAAA!

And, if you are not a fan of Dragon Ball Z, this type of baking project could probably be applied to other things. Like if you were to have a Jurassic Park themed party, why not use this to make the fossilized amber? Just a thought!

Conclusion:

Overall, this was a fun experiment, but I don’t know if I will do this again unless someone willingly asks me too haha. To be honest, I don’t even like caramel that much. And if I am going to eat creme brulee, I’d rather have it as a potent custard 🙂

Still, Ro is awesome for coming up with this video, and I had a lot of fun. She must also have an amazing dentist and some hard teeth because she was able to chomp right into those caramel covered cake balls. I have to flip them to the underside where the stick used to be  (the most vulnerable spot!) and smack it with a spoon so it can explode into bite sized pieces (as if dismantling a hard shelled beetle. EW).

Anyways, go and start your YouTube Geek Week right and try some Nerdy Nummies recipes!

References & Troubleshooting:

Baking idea: 

http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjwmbv6NE4mOh8Z8VhPUx1Q

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrKjIvuDEOM

Creme Brulee:

http://indirectheat.blogspot.com/2009/11/creme-brulee.html

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/38412/creme-brulee-help

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bain-marie

Caramel Dip:

http://www.wikihow.com/Caramelize-Sugar

http://www.dominosugar.com/bakers-circle/newsletter-archive/sugar-heat-caramel

BzzReview: Green Giant Veggie Snack Chips

Introduction:

Long time no post about Bzzagent, hm? Well no fear! This time I had the opportunity to talk about Green Giant’s new Veggie Snack Chips for free thanks to Bzzagent.  I really love chips. They are a godsend, especially when studying. However, they can get really salty, and I know they are bad for me. So who wouldn’t want to try a veggie snack with the potential to satisfy my cravings while being a bit healthier?

Figure 1. The official Bzz campaign image for Green Giant’s Veggie Snack Chips.

2013-04-09 13.03.04

Figure 2. The Bzz package containing two large sample bags, a few small sample bags, and a bunch of coupons to share.

Results:

I got to try two flavors: 1) Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips with Sea Salt and 2) Veggie Tortilla Chips Zesty Cheddar. I wish I could go into detail about what I thought about each of the flavors, but my parents actually devoured all the snacks within a day or two! I was really happy considering my Daddy is a diabetic who hates diet foods, even though he needs to watch what he eats, and my Mommy is a cardiac patient who is fussy with snacks because she doesn’t like even a small amount of salt on her food.

Apparently both flavors passed the palate test for both my parents, along with myself. In terms of appears, the chips are very appetizing like any other chips out of a bag. I feel like they are more light in weight as compared to normal chips. I really liked the Sweet Potato chips with the Sea Salt out of the two because they remind me of sweet potato fries haha. These are definitely not too salty and has a simple taste. As for the Veggie Tortilla Zesty Cheddar, I was surprised how much it looked like a Dorito. Of course, it didn’t taste like a Dorrito exactly, but it definitely had a stronger seasoning than the Sweet Potato chips.

Conclusion:

From someone who really loves eating SunChips, I think it would be worth a shot to try out these Green Giant chips, especially if they are on sale in your grocery store or if you are on the hunt for a new healthy snack.

Dangers of Canned Tuna

Introduction:

I’d like to preface this entry with my strong recommendation to read “Slow Death by Rubber Duck” by Rick Smith & Bruce Lourie. I talked about reading this book for my Toxicology I class back at the end of October. I had finally gotten the chance to finish it before the term ended in December, and I really loved what I learned about the classes of common chemicals in consumer products. It also really emphasizes the point that while we cannot avoid completely the dangerous chemicals we have synthesized and incorporated into our daily life, it does not mean that we should not be aware and attempt to limit the amount of contact we have. A large amount of control can be done by checking the contents of what products we are buying.

slowdeathbyrubberduck

Figure 1. “Slow Death by Rubber Duck: How the Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Life Affects Our Health” book cover.

Chapter 5: The Tuna Feast Experiment

Chapter 5 entitled “Quicksilver, Slow Death,” examines the dangers of mercury and how easily its levels are increased. The author who took this challenge, Bruce, monitored his mercury blood levels for several weeks while eating a diet consisting heavily on fish. This means a lot of sushi, sashimi, tuna steaks, tuna salads, tuna sandwiches, ect.

tuna

Figure 2. A nice, wholesome tuna sandwich.

During the tuna feasting experiment, the author was surprised to find how easily tuna levels had doubled after just 24 hours of his meals. What is even more alarming is that as the experiment went on, mercury levels continued to increase rapidly at an exponential rate, far above the “safe” level of mercury in the blood. It seemed as though mercury is easily accumulated in the body fat, but is not easily cleared out of body via metabolizing factors or excrement.  This results in a chemical build up, which consequently changed Bruce’s normal personality and mood.

Relating to My Own Life

This chapter is  is a prime example of how awareness can help prevent getting sick.  The chapter starts by quoting an actress who went on a Mediterranean diet, which was built around eating tons of fish, including tuna. She started having fits of dizziness and fainting, and later she  realized it was linked to the high mercury content due to her diet.

TunaFork

Figure 3. Cans of tuna…yuck.

Firstly, I think that this brings up a good point of why diets that emphasize eating only one type of food is bad. A key to a healthy life is a balance of many types of foods, and a diet could lead to a build-up of something that can harm you. In this case, it was mercury. In fact, I have had a first-hand experience with this. During my internship over my summer, I had eaten tuna with cucumbers and crackers every single day for lunch for a quick meal between lab experiments. I would attribute my headaches and ill feelings to the humid and hot weather, but when I had gotten so bad that I was going back and forth to the doctor constantly for a recurring UTI (something that has never, ever hit me before). After taking Tox I class, I now know that metals in high concentrations can act as an immuno-repressant, leaving your body highly susceptible to foreign or “bad” bacteria invasions.

Solution & Conclusion

A point they bring up in this chapter is about bioaccumulation. Larger fish live longer and eat smaller fish that also contain mercury. Because of this, large fish accumulate a lot of mercy. Being on the top of the food chain, human beings consume this large fish and get the highest dosage of the deadly mercury. Especially in a society where bigger is always better, we need to be aware of the build-up of these harmful substances in our food or else it will immediately make a large impact on our health.

Because of the biomagnification of mercury in larger fish, the authors suggest to try to eat smaller fish as suppose to larger fish as a possible preventative action.

mercycle

Figure 4. Infographic of a mercury cycle

Hope you enjoyed this! If you do not have time or are not interested in reading all of “Slow Death by Rubber Duck” below is a link to chapter summaries. Perhaps they will intrigue you to pick up the book or download the eReader version.

LINK: “Slow Death by Rubber Duck” Chapter summaries

The Chipotle Burrito Dating Rule

Just my two cents on this issue. I have a Chipotle near me on campus, and I absolutely love it. The chicken burrito is one of my favorites, especially on days where I only get to squeeze in one giant meal.

200px-Chipotle_Mexican_Grill_logo.svg

(image from Wikipedia Chipotle page)

A Christal Classic Chicken Burrito Order? White tortilla, white rice, black beans, grilled chicken, tomato, lettuce, sour cream, cheese, hot sauce, topped with tons of smoked Tabasco chipotle sauce.

However whenever I go there, I feel like everyone is judging me while I eat! Most normal people forgo the messy burrito and instead squeeze out the contents into a bowl so it can be consumed with a fork. BLASPHEMY I SAY! But let’s look at the pros of each meal to be fair.

Good stuff about the Burrito Bowl: Less messy, easy to clean up, can easily take to go if can’t finish in one sitting, more food given actually, and tortilla still included!

menu_burrito_bowl

(image from Chipotle website)

Good stuff about the Original Burrito: Some how it just tastes so much better to me when everything is piled together and squished into a steamy tortilla wrapping!

menu_burrito

(image from Chipotle website)

I always joke with my friends that a guy must be able to handle me eating a burrito if they want to continue dating me. Who the hell looks sexy stuffing their face with burrito goodness oozing out at the seams??? I am not saying I am caveman when I eat, but burritos are difficult meals to conquer gracefully.

man-pigging-out-cartoon-illustration

Now, I just used the Chipotle Nutrition Calculator, and it says that my typical  burrito order is 1000+ calories.

http://www.chipotle.com/en-us/menu/nutrition_calculator/nutrition_calculator.aspx

This makes me feel a bit guilty for being a fat kid, but I still stand by my Chipotle Dating Rule. I love Chipotle burritos and any potential love interest of mine has to at least tolerate that.

End rant.

P.S. Happy supposedly end of the world day! 🙂