Saturday, November 9, 2013

Recipe: Roasted Cinnamon-Sugar Pecans

At some point a few weeks ago, I decided it was a brilliant idea to live tweet my recipe for Pumpkin Pie. I had fun doing it and decided that I would do it once more, this time with the Roasted Pecan recipe my coworker gave me. For those that don't follow me on Twitter, or that just want the recipe for use later, here it is in all it's glory.

Roasted Cinnamon-Sugar Pecans

Preheat oven to 275°F; Makes 1lb Pecans.
1lb (16 ounces) Raw Pecan Halves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 C sugar
1 tsp salt
1 egg white
1 tbsp water
Step 0 and 1! 
Preheat the oven to 275°F and line a baked sheet with either foil or parchment paper.

Step 2!
Mix the cinnamon, sugar and salt in a small bowl.

Step 3!
Whip the egg white and water together in a large bowl until frothy.

Step 4!
Toss the pecan halves in with the egg white mixture in the large bowl until all the pecans are evenly coated.

Step 5!
Gradually mix the cinnamon sugar mixture into the pecans. The key to getting the powder evenly distributed is by doing it gradually.

Step 6!
Spread the coated pecans out on your lined baking sheet. Try to get them all to one layer.

Step 7!
Bake the pecans at 275°F for one hour, mixing the pecans every 15 minutes to ensure even cooking and that they don't stick to the pan.

Step 8!
Once the pecans are toasted and the sugar is starting to brown, remove them from the oven and transfer the nuts to a clean parchment paper to cool. If you leave them on the baking sheet, they're like to stick to the sugar there.

Step 9!
The pecans will cool quickly to a temperature that you can eat, so if you're serving them then go ahead dish them out! If you're storing them for later, make sure that they've cooled completely before putting into an air-tight container.

That's it! Pretty straight forward, right? Feel free to tweak the recipe as you like, such as using less sugar or adding in some vanilla.

Friday, September 13, 2013

GenCon & Beyond: Vlogs, Interviews and Reviews

I obviously haven't posted here in awhile. I feel I need to explain.

I launched a YouTube channel at GenCon 2013. Like, literally at the con. I recorded footage every day of the con and would go back to my hotel room every night, just to sit and edit until the sun rose again, then posted my videos to YouTube whilst shoving down breakfast before I raced back to the con. It was exhausting and a bit crazy and I definitely came down with ConCrude because of it.. but I would not go back and do it differently for anything.

I met fantastic people while shooting for my channel. I interviewed unlikely game designers and very likely ones. I shadowed an elite group of Adventurers into the unknown perils of True Dungeon. I talked to moms who spent days making their kids the most amazing cosplay outfits ever. I listened and watched musicians perform fantastic music. I was the pilot of a starship and the programmer of a very silly robot. I played games until I was falling asleep at the table – and I was lucky enough to be able to record it all on video. The best part of all of this, though, the thing that really gets me, is that I was just a girl with a video camera. I was a stranger among thousands and everyone I talked to was more than happy to let me record them to put it on the internet. I love that they trusted me with that power and I feel so very honored to be given that trust.

Ahem. Right. So, that's my rant on my tiny little soapbox of an OP. I guess I should link the videos now, huh?

I've organized all of my GenCon videos into a playlist, which you can see here: GenCon 2013 Playlist

There you'll find my 5 daily vlogs, interviews with the designers of Dungeon RollEminent Domain, and In the City: Origins, a behind-the-scenes look at True Dungeon, and some extra footage that I cut together of me just being silly.

If you want to see something here and now, may I recommend the first of three videos of me being, well, me:

I'm still editing all the footage I got at the con, and have even more footage that I took at PAX a couple weeks later. I have video ideas overflowing my brain for table top reviews and interviews and tutorials and just so much that I want to create. So.. you know, if this kinda thing interests you, Subscribe and Like and all those things. And/or follow me on Twitter. Warning: Contains Me.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Recipe: Spaghetti Squash Salad

It's no secret that I love me some veggies, especially veggies that can be used to fill in for other foods.

This month's recipe post (because apparently these are monthly) is for a vegetarian salad that's perfect for summer, and using up whatever leftover spaghetti squash you may have from last night's meal.

So honestly this recipe was born less as a conscious effort and more of a "what can I do with what's in my fridge." The answer was of course, "a lot," but I restrained myself. Instead I made a basic cucumber, tomato, feta salad with spaghetti squash as the center of the dish, to make it a full meal as opposed to a simple side. I had cooked and prepped a large squash the day before, so my squash noodles were already chilled. This is a great recipe for using up those leftover noodles and will likely be a quick default in my arsenal of meal ideas.

Spaghetti Squash Salad

3 C Spaghetti Squash (cooked, prepped, and chilled)
1 Medium Cucumber
2 Tomatos (on the vine type)
1 C Feta
1/4 C Red Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Dice your cucumber and tomato into quarter-inch chunks; mix with your chilled spaghetti squash, feta, vinegar and oil. Bam! Dinner's served.

Note: I used chopsticks to evenly mix my ingredients and it worked out pretty well.

And that, folks, is how I didn't starve last night ;)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Board Stiff with Travel Games

I was still on the road last week and only had a quick train ride to whip up something for Board Stiff. I decided to take a look at a couple of the travel games I had with me and write up some fast reviews.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been traveling along the Northwestern Coast of the US, collecting a varied assortment of travel-friendly games to help pass the time. Now I’m trapped on the 508 Cascades with nothing but a bottle of Eastside Distillery Bourbon, my laptop, and a few hours. Let’s see how many travel games I can review before my train pulls into the station, shall we?
Jump on over to see my quick reviews!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Board Stiff with Escape!

Who are we kidding, the fourth Indiana Jone's movie was a total crock. So how about we just act out our own version with a board game, hm? Enter Escape! a ten-minute co-op about, well, escaping a temple that's collapsing on your head. Sound fun? Let's get to it!
There are no turns or even a sense of order in this game – you just roll and then roll some more. Everyone rolls whenever they want, all the time, doing whatever they want with their dice, within reasons of decency, at any time. The first game you and your friends play will likely resemble a releasing of 100 preteens into Disney World: everyone in every direction, screw you, I’m going to ride Space Mountain. This definitely helps you get the map explored quickly, I’ll give you that, but it doesn’t get everyone to the exit quickly, which you must do.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


Mom sits on the small private deck in one of the two rocking chairs, her feet propped up on the other. A barstool from the in-studio dining set has been employed as a table for her wine, her beads, her yarn. The pattern she's trying to follow lays on her crossed legs. Quiet mumbles of stitch counts and pattern repeats escape from her bubble and leak into my own. I sit at the desk, just inside the sliding door, pecking away at the keys. My position implies I think slouching over my computer might aid the writing process in some way.

It doesn't.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Travel by Starbucks

Anyone that follows me on Twitter knows that I'm no stranger to Starbucks. It's not that I particularly like their coffee (it's okay), it's just that it's so gosh-darn convinent. They're flipping everywhere, and they all have exactly the same things to offer. It's the same thing that the 60's did for McDonald's: a consistent name brand that you can get anywhere and that you trust. Except now instead of mediocre excuses for food, it's mediocre excuses for coffee – and food.

On my lastest jaunt across the country via car, I made a point to pit-stop only at Starbucks (and gas stations) whenever I could. I'm all for supporting local mom-and-pop places for meals, but for just a quick in and out, they're not very convenient. Let's look at what Starbucks gives the wise road-tripper:

Clean bathrooms

Seriously, Starbucks has the nicest restrooms on the highways. Their staff is held to a higher standard than most fast good places, and their clientele seems to be a bit more high-brow as well. Nothing says "Buy Our $4 Cup of Coffee" like clean restrooms.

Free Water (Cold or Hot)

As someone that tends to travel with a water bottle strapped to my belt and packets of tea (or instant coffee) in my pocket, free water is a must. Starbucks will give you as much water as you like – within reason – for free. You can get hot, iced, or tap water as long as you hold the lid for the container yourself (they're trained not to touch customer's used lids). If you don't have your own container, they'll give you the water in the size cup you request. The hot water is extremely convenient if you've got an instant meal to "cook" and don't want to boil your own water in the parking lot.

Free Wifi

In theory, all Starbucks offer the same free wifi services. In truth this isn't always the case, as sometimes a store's unit it broken or so laggy it's not worth your time. But it still stands that Starbucks has free wifi. No purchase required and you can sit in their lobby, or just outside the door, for as long as you like to use it. What could be better than that?

(Mostly) Free Coffee

This one isn't as straight forward as the water or wifi, but it is still possible. If you put the time and effort into getting a Starbucks card on your phone and using it until you earn yourself Gold Status, you can earn free refills on drip coffee. What this means for you and your road trip is that you can purchase a grande cup of coffee at pit stop #1 and simply cash in on free refills at all the rest of your stops. The option to give out the free refill is in the hands of the Starbucks you're stopping at, but I've yet to be refused a free refill when I present my rinsed out Starbucks cup and scan my Gold Card.

Decent (If Not Expensive) Food

Starbucks has recently been expanding its food mart to have a wider variety of food and snacks available. This includes the normal unhealthy pastries, but also a variety of fresh fruit, yogurt, salads, and sandwiches. They also have hot sandwiches sold all day (though some people assume they're only for breakfast) and a good selection of vegetarian options (the Spinach Feta Wrap is my fav). Everything is more expensive at Starbucks, though, so don't expect a bargin on the food items. Just appreciate their speed and quality of delivery. If you want cheap food options, head into the grocery store that is very likely nearby for some fresh produce and snacks.

There ya go, there's the break down on why I have adopted my policy of "Travel by Starbucks."  It's not as quick as a dash into the truck stop, which has its time and place on any road trip, but I like to think it leads to a happier Tiffany on arrival.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Board Stiff with Flash Point: Fire Rescue

I'm on fire in this week's Board Stiff with a look at one heated game for  summer, Flash Point: Fire Rescue!
The game starts out easily enough, I’ll grant you that. Assumedly someone’s called 911 about a fire in some residence on some street. You and your crew of skilled firefighters arrive, quickly assess the situation, and get to work saving everyone and everything you can. For the quick-start, “family” version of the game, the fire’s started in the middle of the structure – supposedly in the oven or on the stove: A fun lesson of why you shouldn’t let your six year old cook.

Sunday, June 30, 2013


It seems like getting myself on my feet and out the door becomes a chore every so often. It doesn't matter how many miles I've gone or how many races I've finished, I still end up in these funks.

They're silly funks, pointless.

There's no one saying I can't run. Just me.

There's no one telling me that I'm slow. Just me.

There's no one whispering that I don't belong. Just me.

After I ran the San Francisco Half Marathon, I was gun-ho about my next half in October. I was so pumped, I signed-up for a 3rd half in Denver, two weeks after the San Jose one. And yet.. two months after I hit my SF goal time almost exactly, I'm literally dragging my feet around, mopping about how I'm not a runner. What kind of mental flipflop is that?

I have a lot of excuses, do you want to hear them? They're all very good. Very convincing. They must be, if they've kept me off the streets for this long. (In my defense, one is legit – my tendon issue in my foot is back – but I'm not actively doing all I can to make that better so it is still an excuse.)

Rawr. Frustration. If I would just start, I know I would fall in love again.

Starting is the hard part. It always is. So many what-ifs.




Friday, June 28, 2013

I'm a Broccoli Lover..

Don't call the cops. I swear, it is me writing this post. I haven't been kidnapped and replaced with a malfunctioning clone. At least.. I don't think so...

Oh god, all of my hair's gone! And it's.. it's colored?.. What if I have been replaced?!

How do I figure out if I'm a robot clone? And better yet, do I care?... I seem to be quite happy to be me, clone or not. Hm, this will require more investigations. In the mean time, Broccoli! Yes, Broccoli! That wipes the worries of potentially being a clone away.

When I was a kid, I hated broccoli. Hated, hated, hated. My parents tried everything to get me to eat it – smothering it in cheese and sauces had no effect. I fought the disgusting rubber trees regardless of topping. Now that I'm older though, I think I may have solved the problem. Fresh broccoli, steam or grilled it amazing. None of that frozen and nuked crap. Sautéed with parmesan or baked with spinach, nom nom nom.

My latest experiments with broccoli has wielded delicious results.

This is a lazy dish, where I basically toss a head of broccoli florets in with some garbanzo beans and then top with parmesan. The general recipe that I follow can be found here.

For a more involved meal, I went with the Cauliflower and Broccoli Flan from Epicurious. Amazingly delicious, though quite a bit of work.