Thursday, August 1, 2013

A sad goodbye to blogger...

After several years of using Blogger, I've decided to change my blogging. Since I am putting my content on my own domain, this site will look under construction for a while...because it will be under construction!

Exciting times. I am going to try to keep as much previously published content as possible.

New home? Trulyepicurious.com. Simple as that. See you there!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Muffin Project

As most of my family and friends know, I am living in Boston and working as one of America's Test Kitchen Interns. Each intern rotation, they assign the infamous intern project: develop a muffin recipe of your own and write a story in the style of Cook's Illustrated Magazine (one of their publications). 

I'm embarking on research, and am exceptionally excited about this challenge! I have already picked a flavor to do: lemon thyme. I will have the final working-in-progress recipe ready for testing in the next couple days, so if you want to be a tester let me know! You'd have to complete the recipe (yields 12) and give a little feedback which I will prompt you on. Sound fun? Leave your contact info in a comment, or email me at melissalbrinley@gmail.com


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Quick Tips to a More Healthy Diet

While on internship at a healthcare company, I have found many of my projects to be recipes exceptionally good for a maintaining a balanced diet. If you have an interest in this, or your doctor is pushing you to develop an interest in eating more healthy, here are a few quick tips to get you started!

1. Watch the amount of fat you intake. 
     -use less oil when cooking foods, and  
      stock to help deglaze pan or help    
      keep from burning rather than using 
      more oil. 
     -don't use butter or heavy cream to 
      thicken a sauce. Instead, use a    
      vegetable purée to thicken and add 
      extra flavor!

2. Eat whole foods! Mostly fruits and vegetables. 
      -Limit or eliminate processed foods 
       from your diet. A good tip to go by 
       is, "if you can't pronounce all the 
       ingredients quickly and explain what 
       the ingredient is in the nutrition list, 
       don't eat it." 

3. If you choose to eat carbohydrates, make sure the majority are coming from fruits and vegetables. 
      -if you're craving starch, eat a 
       complex carbohydrate like quinoa, 
       bulgar or farro that have whole 
       grains rather a white rice that 
       doesn't have additional nutritional 
       value. 

4. Portion sizes are key. 
      -even if you eat a balanced meal, it 
       isn't good for you to ingest 2 pounds 
       of food at a time, so ease up on the 
       plate-filling! 
      -if you're not satisfied, try eating five 
       smaller meals each day while 
       continuing to eat balanced diet of 
       mostly plants.

5. If you choose to eat meat, make sure it's from a sustainable source. You are what you eat eats! 
       -some farmers do not keep their 
        animals in proper living conditions, 
        and that affects the quality of the 
        protein you get. 
       -look for "free range" or "grass fed" 
        on protein packaging.

My final thoughts...Do your research! 
       -know where your food comes from. 
        Decide for yourself if you want 
        GMO-free produce (genetically 
        modified organisms) and learn the 
        details of the industry and how 
        buying a GMO product affects 
        farmers. Make educated decisions, 
        because each decision affects the 
        industry. Either positively or 
        negatively. 
       -eating mostly fruits and vegetables 
        is exceptionally affordable from 
        farmers markets or CSA 
        (Community Supported Agriculture)
        organizations rather the 
        supermarket. Find a close one near 
        you to support! More info at 
        www.localharvest.org. 
    

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Internship Update

As part of my culinary arts program requirements for Johnson & Wales University, I must complete an internship. After several interviews, job offers, discussing pros and cons with myself and the family, and bottles of Excedrin...I finally made a decision. 

So where's my new temporary home? Atlanta, Georgia at Morrison Healthcare working in the R&D department as a test kitchen chef. Research and development is the area of the industry I'm wanting to first pursue. Morrison is the healthcare advocate company of Compass Group, a large world-wide food service company. Many projects I work on involve healthy living, alternate cooking options, stealth health methods and such. Recipes we test are then implemented into WebTrition, then accessed by the appropriate accounts around the world.
  
As with many positions at corporate companies, employees aren't permitted to share company information with others or publish it online. However, I can discuss random things I learn--be it from work or personal research

Keep and eye out for fun facts in the future :)



Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Value of Intellectual Property and Such

I feel my eyes welling up as my mind races as to where to start with this post, so here it goes...

As of February 21, 2013, I am finished with my culinary labs at Johnson  and Wales University. How bittersweet of a statement is that?!

While I do not miss waking up at 5:30 am to rush to class by 6:30 am and working side by side with some world renowned chefs (as well as some class-A idiots straight out of high school that I'm surprised JWU trust them with a knife..) in a kitchen until 1 pm, to go straight to academics till 4 pm, then take a super quick shower, take my dog outside, and race to work by 5 pm and work till the wee hours of the next morning...all to come home to start my homework and study for the next day and sleep to get up and do it all over again. I was chronically exhausted and hopelessly addicted to caffeine 99.9% of my time in Charlotte. I busted my butt to get through school, and I should be relieved that the hard part is over. But as I enter my internship, I realize how near the end I am, and I'm starting to get graduation glasses. I'm starting to look back and reflect on all I have learned, and will miss some aspects of culinary school and living in Charlotte. 

While it wasn't a requirement for my program, I decided to take an English course during my last term of classes at JWU: Food Writing. If you know me at all personally, you will not be surprised that I did. I feel that it was a nice class to get me back into the swing of writing again, as I embarrassingly put it on the back burner for several months to get through school. One of the many things I learned in this course was to make time for writing each day, no matter how long or what quality you think it is. Do it. I tend to be very hard on myself, seriously my worst critic. So I need to set the OCD editing and pride aside and just word vomit my thoughts and see what happens, according to my wise professor. She has been writing for a Charlotte publication since early 90s, and I trust her judgement. During the one-on-one meeting with her at the end of her class, she became quite a mother figure to me: pushing me to write about food more often and not to get lazy in my free time. She also taught me something else I hadn't thought about in regards to this blog, in fact. As I asked her about my blog content and whither or not I should continue if magazines do not buy my stories, and she responded with a discussion about the value of intellectual property and the importance of persistence in my writing career. After all, that is my ultimate goal: to write about food. And preferably get paid to do so in some capacity. That's what I love, as much as I love cooking and developing recipes. I'm very thankful to have the opportunity to do what I love, but she taught me to be smart about it.

So, I am transferring this blog (AGAIN) to something I previously promised I would never do...I am going to post about my daily activities in my internships and such so my friends and family away from me can keep up with me better. Yes, I have Facebook, but I don't always like to write everything on there.

*HAND ON BIBLE* I PROMISE TO WRITE DAILY ABOUT MY INTERNSHIP EXPERIENCES. I WILL NOT BECOME LAZY IN MY NEW-FOUND FREE TIME. I PLEDGE TO WRITE THE WRITTEN WORD MORE OFTEN, IN A POSITIVE CONTRIBUTION TO THE FOOD WORLD AS I KNOW IT.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Paleo Project Recap

On August 20th I flew to Buffalo, New York for a week of vacation! Sorta. Still complete with a daily itinerary for my boyfriend's best friend's wedding. What a mouthful. A week outside of Charlotte is still nice. However, it does put a kink in my project plans. 

After talking to friends and family, I have decided to cut the project short. It would be foolish of me to be on vacation for a week and limit what I'm allowed to eat. Honestly, I really decided this so I can enjoy a piece of the wedding cake! Haha I'm only halfway kidding. 

Why I really decided it was okay to cut it short is because I have already found the answers to my questions for the project. Yes, I hosted an efficient experiment.  

Here's some notes on my findings about eating Paleo: 
  • lose weight
  • intense hunger cravings at beginning 
  • personally had to eat more often
  • more expensive to buy food
  • feel healthy, feel good
  • more energized! no caffeine and didn't miss it (after headache went away on the 4th day of the experiment. oh detox...)
  • my hair fell out less (in shower, when brushing)
  • personally bruise less (I used to bruise wicked easy, but I got hit with a hockey puck and it didn't bruise immediately like it normally would have. unexpected)
MY FINAL WEIGHT: 117. total loss of 11 pounds in two weeks during the experiment.   

Today is day three of not officially doing the experiment, and I have noticed my eating choices have changed. For example, I went to Jims Steakout in Buffalo with the boyfriend and instead of getting a greasy sub like I did the last time I was there, I chose to get a salad. Not because I felt like I should, but because that's what I was craving. Eating Paleo for a couple weeks altered my preferences, and I think I'm a little healthier for it. Overall, I consider the experiment a success. 

Now on to tomorrow...who knows how this experiment will further change my perspective on life and eating...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Days 10 - 14: Paleo Project

This week, I sat down and read through my project blogs and I discovered something. It was pretty repetitive. Realizing my life right now is a bit busy and I am stuck in a specific schedule right now, I decided to combine days in an attempt to save you from any confusion. So here's what I ate on the days; you can assume I went to work and back each day haha

Day 10:
breakfast: four slices mango, 1/2 C. blueberries and three spears pineapple
lunch: spinach salad with sliced tomato, pork tenderloin, broccoli slaw, shredded carrots and sliced almonds. 
dinner: veggie salad with sliced cucumbers, carrots, celery, salami and tomatoes, topped with Chiavetta's. 

Day 11:
breakfast: banana and a semi-failed almond flour waffle experiment (I didn't use enough egg and it completely fell apart...became breakfast for my shiba inu!)
snack: sliced mango
lunch: grilled steak with steamed carrots, squash and broccoli with a saute of okra from Tennessee garden.
dinner: spinach salad with pork tenderloin, carrots and broccoli slaw with Chiavetta's. 

Day 12:
breakfast: two oranges
snack: one peach, two plums
lunch: two apples with almond butter
dinner: spinach salad with sliced carrots, broccoli slaw, Chiavetta's baked chicken breast and veggie salad (cucumber, carrots, celery, salami and tomato)

Day 13:
breakfast: two oranges, two plums
lunch: spinach salad with sliced carrots and broccoli slaw
dinner: ten strawberries, one apple with almond butter

Day 14:
breakfast: 1/2 C. mandarin oranges
lunch: spinach salad with sliced carrots and broccoli slaw
dinner: one apple and almond butter