HOLIDAY REVERSE S’MORES & 2010 in Retrospect

Stupidly Simple Snacks 2010 episodes
(Photos: Stupidly Simple Snacks on YouTube.)

I RECEIVED AN EMAIL FROM MYSELF THIS WEEKEND. For those unfamiliar with FutureMe.org, it’s a website that lets you write and schedule an email to yourself far into the future. Sure, you can schedule the message to send next Thursday, but that defeats the purpose of reflecting on where you are today in, say, a year from now. Here are a few notes I wrote to myself in December 2009:

“I had a driving lesson at noon and did pretty well. My road test is on Monday and I’d really like to pass this time…” and “By this time next year, I hope I will be working at a company with which I’m utterly in love.”

It took three tries, but I did finally get my driver’s license – only to not drive at all in the past twelve months. As for that job I was looking for – I found it in Stupidly Simple Snacks and Foodspotting. I had other hopes for the 2010 me, of course, which included: Visit India and Italy, learn French, and buy a DSLR camera – none of which I did. Despite the lack of travel to the eastern hemisphere, however, it was fun to look back at the old, slightly younger Amy who wanted – and still wants – to learn French, to see the world, and capture it through a big lens. Some things don’t change, which is great. Otherwise, what would I have to aspire to in the next 365 days?

At this time a year ago, I had only six snack videos. Today, there are thirty-five Stupidly Simple Snacks floating in web space and, because of them, I’ve made new friends, began working for a company with coworkers I cherish, and have come across great individuals who love food and can’t cook either. Luckily, I’ve met talented chefs, restaurant owners, bakers, and bloggers who have shown me that good food doesn’t have to be complicated too.

To celebrate the holidays and everyone I met through Stupidly Simple Snacks, I present my latest video with my new friend Mari Tuttle, the owner and chief baker of Mari’s New York. Mari makes artisanal treats like fudgy brownies and other decadent sweets that you can find online, at the Limelight Marketplace, and in upscale department stores around the States. We make HOLIDAY REVERSE S’MORES for the first time here. I think my second attempt might involve larger marshmallows, but you get the idea. After all, there’s always next time! This philosophy extends to chocolate-covered confections and new years. amy • december 13, 2010

HOLIDAY REVERSE S’MORES

SERVES 1 or many

WHAT YOU NEED
1 bag of marshmallows
1 chocolate bar (3.5 oz) or 1/2 cup of chocolate chips
4 crushed graham crackers or crushed peppermint candy
frilly toothpicks

MUSIC Ike Turner Kills Fascists • City Lights

CLICK FOR MORE HOLIDAY CHEER…
Amy Blogs Christmas Reading Wish List
Stupidly Simple Gift GuideReal Simple magazine giveaway

Advertisements

December 13, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . brownies, Dessert, Stupidly Simple Snacks, videos, YouTube. 3 comments.

STUPIDLY SIMPLE GIFT GUIDE + GIVEAWAY

Stupidly Simple Gift Selection 2010

I BOUGHT JASON A CHRISTMAS SWEATER YESTERDAY. I didn’t set out to get one, but the opportunity to make him look ridiculous presented itself and I couldn’t resist.

In the spirit of last minute gift shopping, I present to you my Stupidly Simple Gift Guide. (See my Reading Wish List too.) Nearly everything here can be ordered online, so you needn’t leave your apartment for anything. Plus, I’m hosting a Real Simple magazine giveaway because you deserve gifts as well. See what you win and read the rules after the gift guide…

1. CHAMBRE DE SUCRE {fancy sugar}
I don’t add sugar to my tea or coffee, but your sugar addict of a friend might. These handmade sugars are beautifully packaged and imported from Japan. They’re the perfect complement to a gift of coffee beans or box of Kusmi Tea. FIND THEM online.

2. BREW-IN-MUG {no fuss mug + infuser}
I prefer tea brewed from loose leaves over teabags, but loose leaves are a hassle when you’re not brewing a whole pot. With this mug, you essentially brew a mini pot for one. It’s understated, easy to clean, and, truly, the vessel of choice for smart tea drinkers. It comes in many colors; mine is red. FIND IT at Sur La Table.

3. LIDDABIT SWEETS {chocolate + candy}
Liddabit‘s candy creations are masterminded by two culinary school friends who make their concoctions out of a Brooklyn kitchen with a small army of sweets makers. I just learned how to make caramel sauce this year (watch the video), but Liddabit lollipops, candy bars, brittle, and more are made with local and seasonal ingredients for a sweet snack that’s hard to recreate at home. FIND THEM online and in stores.

4. FOODZIE.COM TASTING BOX {surprise food package}
After seeing photos of these tasting boxes on Foodspotting, I wanted them for myself. Each box contains hand-selected food samples from Foodzie producers who are hand-picked themselves for producing superior products with care. If you love an item in the tasting box, you can visit Foodzie.com to order the full-size version at a discount. FIND IT online.

5. CULINARY INSTITUTE OF AMERICA BOOTCAMP {learn to cook in 5 days or less}
In the fall, I was invited to experience culinary boot camp for two days at the Culinary Institute of America. While it kicked me in the ass, I picked up some chopping skills and learned to make burrata! In addition to boasting graduates like Anthony Bourdain, the institute offers a wide range of courses for those who wish to expand their kitchen skills without committing to longterm training. Ranging from two to five days, boot camps ran the gamut from PastryMexican Cuisine to Flavors of Wine Country. Plus, there’s no denying that scenic Dutchess County, where CIA is located, is the prettiest setting for a food-centred weekend getaway. They also have locations in St. Helena, CA and San Antonio, TX. LEARN MORE on their website or call (800) 888 7850

6. TELL TALE SOCIETY {treats from a soon to open San Fran shop}
To prepare for their Spring 2011 store opening, Tell Tale Preserve Company is inviting food lovers to join Tell Tale Society to receive monthly deliveries filled with “seasonally influenced preserves, confections, cookies and cakes, both sweet and savory” to get a taste of what’s to come. Take a peek at the December bag. Given shipping costs, it’s pricey, but the presentation and artisanal goodies will win over anybody. FIND IT online.

7. GROVE BAMBOO {iPhone 4 case}
People gravitate toward Jason’s Grove Bamboo iPhone 4 case like moths to a flame, so I’d be remiss to not recommend it for the iPhone nut in your life. Jason becomes a pseudo celebrity when he takes his phone out at brunch (for Foodspotting purposes, obviously) and when he plays Angry Birds on the train. Everyone asks: Where’d you get that? The case is slim and lightweight, so it’s not clunky like most plastic cases can be. The best part? You can customize the etching to show off your own artwork or favorite quote. FIND IT online.

And now… for you! Enter my Real Simple gift bag giveaway and ten randomly chosen winners will receive:

Stationery from ABCD Design
Sugar gifts from Chambre De Sucre
Assorted caramels from Liddabit Sweets
Real Simple 869 New Uses For Old Things book
Real Simple Best Recipes: Easy, Delicious Meals book
Essie “Real Simple” nail polish
Pottery Barn frame and more…

The rules are simple: 1. Live in the States and 2. Tell me which Stupidly Simple Snacks is your favorite and what other snacks – or guests! – you’d like to see. Leave your comment in the comment box below. Ten winners will be chosen at random and announced on December 17. Good luck and happy holidays! amy • december 10, 2010

CLICK FOR MORE HOLIDAY CHEER…
Amy Blogs Christmas Reading Wish List
(video) Holiday Reverse S’mores & 2010 in Retrospect

Photos from, in order: Chambre De Sucre / Puritea Lounge / Liddabit Sweets / Valentina Vitols on Foodspotting.com / me / Tell Tale Preserve Company / Grove

December 10, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Holiday, specials for abc readers. 41 comments.

MY UNCONVENTIONAL SNACK SHOW

The Art of Non-Conformity cover“Shoot For The Moon. Even If You Miss, You’ll Land Among The Stars.” – Mary Poppins, The Musical. (I saw it twice in London. Don’t laugh at me.)

After following Chris Guillebeau‘s blog for two years, I finally met my hero at his book launch in New York this fall. Chris is a traveler, writer, entrepreneur, and now book author of The Art of Non-Conformity with the goal of visiting every country in the world by April 7, 2013.

I’ve been following Chris online since 2008 when my best friend Jenna Meister, whom you may remember from my ceviche video, introduced me to his site. While Chris updates his blog everyday, it’s his thoughtful newsletters that I find most valuable. Like clockwork, an email from Chris arrives every Monday and Thursday with a gem of advice exactly when you need it. (My latest favorite is “Who You Are And What They Say.”) Sharing insight on travel hacking to advice on how to think for yourself, Chris covers more ground in a week than I do in a month. Surely, no one’s perfect, but Chris is my reminder that everything will be alright as long as you give it your best and, whenever possible, do something extra ordinary. Or take on a task that scares you senseless. Taking this to heart, I emailed him to ask if he’d like to guest star on Stupidly Simple Snacks. He did.

The day after we met at his book signing, Chris and his lovely wife Jolie stopped by before they had to jet to the next stop of Chris’s Unconventional Book Tour through ten Canadian provinces and 50 states.

In my excitement, my brain skipped this step in the recipe: Keep the dry ingredients separate from the wet. Into the same bowl everything went before I realized my mistake. On my own time, I forgive myself – generously – for oversights, but to screw up with a guest and limited time is a catastrophe. (No, not really.) There was no time for a redo, so we improvised and remained optimistic. Chris named our honey, oat, and rice krispie concoction Unconventional Snack Bars, though “snack blob” would have been more fitting…

Later, I re-shot the video and tweaked the recipe taking inspiration from Mark Bittman’s almond-apricot granola bar recipe. According to Jason, this is my best Stupidly Simple Snack to date. I think it’s one of my best-edited videos too. It wouldn’t have been the same without all those mistakes. amy • november 29, 2010

To keep up with Chris, follow @chrisguillebeau on Twitter and sign up for his email newsletter. I have been subscribed to The Art of Non-Conformity for two years and have cherished every story he’s shared. Also, buy the book here. It’s the best gift you can give for under $10 this Christmas.

UNCONVENTIONAL SNACK BARS

SERVES 4 or one Jason

WHAT YOU NEED
1 cup rice krispies
1 cup instant oats (Quaker oats work great.)
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
generous sprinkle of ground cinnamon
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract

MUSIC Julian Bachlow • Stars in the Moonlight / YouTubeFacebookMyspaceTwitter

November 29, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Blogs, people, Stupidly Simple Snacks, Travel, videos, YouTube. 3 comments.

STUPIDLY SIMPLE Dexter SANDWICH

HAPPY FEBRUARY! I’m not one to indulge in wistful reminiscing, but it feels like just yesterday I spent seven nights in a row catching up on four seasons of Dexter. (more…)

February 1, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . sandwiches, Stupidly Simple Snacks, videos. 10 comments.

BOOZY CARAMEL SAUCE with Kumquat Cupcakery

THOUGH WE MAY BE HALFWAY THROUGH JANUARY, I continue to wish friends a happy new year. Sometimes we need the reminder, I think, way beyond the first week. To help ease you into the next 350 days – or at least through winter – I joined forces with Keavy Landreth, the heart and brain behind Kumquat Cupcakery, in my first Stupidly Simple Snacks video of 2010! You may recall how I gushed about meeting Keavy at the Brooklyn Chocolate Experiment and then, of course, there was more enamored emoting on “Kumquat Cupcake Wednesday“. We got together earlier this week to make caramel sauce with a shot (or two) of whiskey to liven cupcakes, ice cream, and tart, green apple – not the worst way to start the year. amy january 15, 2010

WHAT YOU NEED 3/4 cup heavy cream | 3 tbsp unsalted butter | 1 cup granulated sugar | 1/4 cup water | bourbon (but whiskey will do just fine if you forget to buy bourbon) | 8 minutes to cook | 2 hours to cool

OPTIONAL apples, ice cream, mini cupcakes

MUSIC Peter Bjorn and John Young Folks

January 15, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Brooklyn, caramel, cupcakes, Greenpoint, Stupidly Simple Snacks, videos. 7 comments.

Goodbye & FRITO PIE • YouTube

IT’S NEW YEAR’S EVE and I’m flying back to New York today. It’s always hard to believe how quickly holidays and whole years pass us by. Like many of you, I’ve been revisiting and assessing what I’ve been finding down Memory Lane ’09: A+ for Amy Blogs Chow; big fat F for Full-Time Writing and the list goes on… Certainly, I have much to reflect on (last ten days with Jason included). But in true Amy fashion, I have yet to pack so should sign off to do that now…

In the next three hours, I’ll tie up loose ends, consolidate things I’ve accumulated, say thank you, and goodbye to my wonderful hosts. I’m not looking forward to the journey back to Manhattan in the middle of New Year’s Eve festivities, but trudging through the cold and crowds to get home – Home! in New York City! – seems like a good goal for the final day of the year. Before I go, here’s one last Stupidly Simple Snacks video to wrap up 2009. I made FRITO PIE, a popular dish in the South that combines chili and cheese with corn chips. It reminds me of movie theater snacks on steroids, but the bowl of hot, crunchy goodness actually made for a satisfying lunch. You’ll have to eat it to believe it, I suppose. Here’s hoping for more eating and believing in 2010. Happy New Year! amy december 31, 2009

Share Frito Pie On Facebook!

WHAT YOU NEED 2 cups Fritos | chili | cheddar cheese | microwave-safe bowl | microwave | 2 minutes

MUSIC Belle & Sebastian For The Price Of A Cup Of Tea

December 31, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Stupidly Simple Snacks, Texas, videos. 4 comments.