Browsing Tag

Food

The Uncommon Life

Celebrating International Shipping with our 6 Favorite Foods from Around the World

July 26, 2013

We’re always getting questions from fans of our products from around the world wondering when they’ll be able to make purchases and have them shipped from our home in Brooklyn to their homes outside of the United States. For a few years, the answer was “we’re working on it.” It took some time to work out the details, but it’s important to us to be able to get our goods across the pond (any pond) to those who want them. Now, we’re thrilled to announce that international shipping is finally here!

Our team is super excited to share our designs around the globe, so we had to do something fun to celebrate. In honor of the special occasion, team members brought foods from their favorite countries. Some brought dishes to represent their heritage, some contributed the cuisine of lands they’d like to visit, and others made the choice simply based on the food’s deliciousness!

international_foods

Our HR team made our international foods potluck even more special by decorating our break room and busting out a Scratch Map to mark the places from where our food “traveled.”

decorations

We loved devouring these tasty treats, so while we’re spreading the word about our new shipping options we decided to share the love and spread the recipes for our favorite potluck foods.

chokabollar

Alisha, or Director of Purchasing rolled up some scrumptious Swedish chocolate balls, AKA Chokladbollar.

lefse
Sarah, our Senior Product Development Associate, also contributed a Scandinavian favorite, Lefse.

eggplant

HR Manager Mindy whipped up a batch of fantastic Eggplant Caponata.

hamentashen

Transportation Manager Victoria (who worked hard to make international shipping happen!) supplied us with a big batch of Hamentashen.

macaroni

Summer Analytics Intern Andrew got in on the fun with his homemade Haitian-style Macaroni Au Gratin.

strawberry_shortcake

And the last delicious dish in our roundup of festive foods from near and far, Senior Merchandising Manager Heather’s strawberry shortcake was the icing on the cake. Actually, her cake was complete with homemade whipped cream, which made it extra delectable.

These are just a few of our favorites from the celebration. What’s your favorite international food?

The Uncommon Life

Our Homemade Beer Tasting Brew-haha

June 13, 2013

Some believe that Plato said, “It was a wise man who invented beer.” While Plato probably never actually said that, and we don’t know who exactly came up with the ingenious idea to turn cereal into booze, we do know how to make beer. Or I should say, we learned, thanks to our exclusive Craft a Brew Beer Brewing Kits.

To make sure our educational experience was comprehensive, we decided to test each of our new home brew flavors by comparing them during an in-office beer tasting; but first, we had to wrangle some brewers.

The Brewers

Warehouse Operations Coordinator Bradley cooked up a batch of Southern Bourbon Stout, Product Development Associate Sarah celebrated her home state with the Texas Chipotle Amber, Marketing Analyst Kira revisited beer making by giving the West Coast IPA a try, and Marketing Analyst Matt tapped into his inner lumberjack by bottling some Vermont Maple Porter.

The goal was to keep this competition fair and balanced, but Brad did make an attempt to pick up some bonus points by adding a personal touch to his finished product. Kira went another route and, knowing that the way to a beer judge’s heart is through the stomach, brought some homemade pretzels. (She insists that these were for the purpose of palate cleansing between sips, and were no way intended as a bribe.)

There is also some suspicion that two of the contestants may have been in cahoots.

While it wasn’t too hard to get the brewers on board, recruiting judges was almost too easy. (Apparently, people jump at product testing opportunities when they involve delicious adult beverages.)

The Judges

Copywriter Stephanie, Director of Marketing Brian, and Systems Administrator Paul agreed to sample the goods.

With beer flavor checklists in hand, the judges tried each carbonated creation. Here are some beer basics discovered during the tasting.

West Coast IPA
Kira’s brewing tip: “Be Tall. It’s hard to pour things!” You have to place the strainer on top of a funnel on top of the carboy, so a step stool (or a short table) may be required to help shorter folks make beer with ease.

Judges’ Notes: Stephanie said “it definitely smells like an IPA,” but upon tasting said that this IPA “isn’t super hoppy.” She commented on notes of “citrus” and described the flavor as “75 degrees and sunny.” The beer was served cold, though. Just for clarification, the IPA could be described as tasting like a summer’s day.

Brian agreed that the beer “tastes like California,” and said that it may be a good choice for someone who doesn’t love IPAs, since it’s not too “IPA-ie.”

Texas Chipotle Amber
Sarah’s Brewing Tip: “It’s a weekend project, because it does take a while to set up.”

Judges’ Notes: Brian called this brew “ridiculously good,” “smokey and spicy,” and “interesting.” Paul agreed with the interesting comment, and added that it was “fresh,” and had “a hook…not a gimmick.”

Stephanie also called out the unique spiciness of the beer, and said she was a fan of the “big, bold Texas flavor.”

Southern Bourbon Stout
Bradley’s Brewing Tip: “Malt, grains, and patience.” He also reminded us that his kit took a little longer to brew, on account of the extra step of soaking oak chips in bourbon to infuse the beer.

Judges’ Notes: Paul was near-ecstatic about the subtle, unexpected sweetness of this stout. He described it as “almost like eating cookie dough.” Brian agreed that it was sweeter than expected, but said that though the smell was intense, like a “shot of vanilla,” the actual taste held a “multitude of flavors.”

The judges agreed that the bourbon taste was there, but it wasn’t overpowering.

Vermont Maple Porter

Matt’s Brewing Tip: “Read the instructions before you start, and make sure to sanitize everything.” Matt’s tip came about after a bit of a brewing faux pas. It turns out, that his inner lumberjack was actually neglected–he forgot to add the maple syrup.

Judges’ Notes: “It’s hard to judge accurately without the syrup,” said Stephanie. But, despite the porter’s syrup-less-ness, she called it “creamy,” “very malty,” and “smooth drinking.”

Brian didn’t appreciate the deviation from the recipe. “Matt’s renegade style often gets him in trouble,” he said. “This is another example of that.”

Paul was also unhappy with the not-maple porter, and decided to add some syrup after the fact. This improvisation is not recommended.

When the flights were finally empty, the judges all agreed on a favorite. While the Bourbon stout was a close second and “equally as good [taste-wise as the winner],” according to Brian, the champion was the Texas Chipotle Amber, which is “more memorable.”

Sarah took home the prize (which is the knowledge that she chose the beer kit the judges liked best) and all involved in our brew-haha finished the remaining spicy chipotle, (sans) maple porter, subtly sweet stout, and refreshing IPA.

Gift Guides

Gift Lab: How to Stay Chill & Kick Back Cold Ones

June 11, 2013

Research
I was already familiar with the Corkcicle, but was excited to hear of the introduction of the Chillsner— a stainless steel tool you freeze and then put in your beer, juice, or soda.

Hypothesis
My hope is that my beverage remains cold, even if I get distracted playing video games.

Experiment
I have to admit I was a little skeptical about using the Chillsner. Also I was a little nervous my lips would get stuck to it, due to the Chillsner’s time in the freezer. So on the first night, I put the product in the freezer for an hour. (The instructions call for 45 minutes.) I took it out and stuck it in the bottle, but not following the instructions, I spilled some of my beer because I didn’t take a sip first. Stupid physics.

The first attempt worked pretty well, even though I purposely put the Chillsner in a warm beer, and it cooled it pretty quickly. Yum.

The next night, the Chillsner had been in the freezer for 24 hours. My lips still didn’t get stuck. Also I made sure not to spill my beer. It kept my chilled beer chilled as I nursed it for an hour and a half. Normally I don’t take this long to drink a beer, but sacrifices must be made in the name of science.

Conclusion
Overall, I was pleased. My beer stayed cold for much longer than I was used to. I look forward to using the Chillsner this summer.

The Uncommon Life

Summer Salsa with Roasted Corn by Bonnie of Going Home To Roost

February 25, 2013

salsabol



Hello everyone, it’s so nice to meet you! I’m Bonnie and I love to roost, which to me means nesting in my home and doing the things that I love. I strive to lead a simpler way of life, full of simple beauties, creative projects and inspirations, all of which you can find me sharing about on Going Home to Roost. I’m also so happy to have recently launched the Roost Tribe, a community for creatives where members receive exclusive premium content each week that includes recipes, creative tutorials, printables, tips on blogging, designing and more. When I’m not blogging or sketching, you can find me in the kitchen, traveling with my husband or playing with our sweet pup, Toaster.

We love eating fresh, simple, plant based foods and this salsa is all that and more! Full of fresh garden veggies and healthy ingredients, it tastes light and refreshing and is full of flavor. We used organic ingredients and heirloom tomatoes which really brought out all the flavors. As a huge fan of anything-avocado, we of course added some here which makes the recipe slightly reminiscent of guacamole. Feel free to play with the recipe, substituting what you have on hand and changing up the spices. With salsa, just about anything goes!


Summer Salsa with Roasted Corn

Ingredients:
2 cups corn
1 Tbs Olive Oil
2 Large Heirloom Tomatoes
1 Medium Onion
2 Bell Peppers
1 15oz can of Black Beans, Rinsed
2 Cloves of Minced Garlic
1 Tbs Vinegar
1 Tbs Cumin
1 Tbs Chili Powder
1 Tbs Sugar
1 Tbs Lime Juice
1 Tsp Salt
1 Avocado

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss the corn with olive oil and roast until slightly blackened, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, finely chop the tomatoes, onion and bell peppers and place them in a bowl. Add the black beans, minced garlic, vinegar and all the spices. Toss to combine. Add sliced avocado just before serving.

To vote for Bonnie’s salsa recipe, visit our Facebook page.

The Uncommon Life

Mango Ginger Salsa by Colleen of Inspired to Share

February 25, 2013

salsabol



Hi there! I’m Colleen, a blogger, stylist, photographer, and all around creative. I write about food, DIY, lifestyle, and I love to find joy and creativity in each day. I’ve worked in marketing, event planning, design, and photography, but I’m now a freelance blogger sharing my journey on my blog, Inspired to Share. I live in the Midwest with my husband, where we enjoy flavorful home-cooked meals and simple living.

Now I love a good salsa…so this was a fun challenge for me. I’ve been enjoying fresh fruits so much this winter that I thought it would be fun to create a delicious fruit salsa. This recipe is incredibly fresh and has an unexpected twist with grated ginger. It works especially well with the mango, tomato, lime, and sweet peppers. Adding some cilantro, onion, and jalapeno gives it a kick, while the creamy diced avocado brings a nice balance! The key to this recipe is the freshest, perfectly ripe ingredients and while there is a good amount of prep required, it is worth every sweet and tangy bite!

Mango Ginger Salsa
(serves 4; 45 minutes)

Ingredients:
4 sweet peppers, diced
1 jalapeño, finely diced, seeds excluded
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
4 roma tomatoes, diced, seeds excluded
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
1/2 lime, freshly squeezed, plus a few extra wedges
1 avocado*, pitted and diced
1 mango*, pitted and diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

*for ripeness, the mango should be soft (but not mushy) and the avocado should be slightly soft to touch

Directions:
Combine all prepared ingredients (see above), excluding the avocado. Toss the mixture thoroughly. Add diced avocado and toss a couple times, gently. Serve salsa immediately with lime wedges, corn chips, tacos, or really any Mexican dish. Enjoy! 🙂

To vote for Colleen’s salsa recipe, visit our Facebook page.