A beginner’s guide to wine

A beginner’s guide to wine


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Hot and Healthy September: The perfect breakfast scramble

Hot and Healthy September: The perfect breakfast scramble

It’s been proven that there is no better way to start your day than with a solid breakfast. It will help you pay attention better, give you more energy and help you kick the rest of your day in the butt. But there are so many breakfast options—the fried egg, the burrito, the omelet…what do you choose?

Chop your potatoes into even cubes

Most likely if you’ve made a scramble, you tried to make an omelet and you screwed up. At this point, I’ve screwed up enough times to know that I should just go straight for the scramble. It makes an extremely filling breakfast that will make you start your day feeling like you can do anything (except for maybe flipping an omelet).

Ingredients in a scramble are up to you (or up to what you have in your fridge). I usually just stick with the basics:

1 potato (leave the skin on)
2 Oz Jimmy Dean Pork Sausage
2 eggs
Shredded cheese
Frank’s Red Hot Original (optional)

Begin by cutting the potato into cubes. Then put the cubes in a frying pan with some olive oil. Add a little bit more than a quarter-sized drop of oil so that the potatoes will get nice and crispy. Stir those around, put them on a medium heat and cover with a lid.

Potatoes before they’re cooked and after. Add salt and pepper to season as well.

The lid will help heat the potatoes up faster. You will want to stir them every once in a while so that they don’t burn, but leave the lid on as much as possible. Once they turn from a clear color to a more opaque white, they are done and you can move on. But don’t be stingy with this—good potatoes can take about 10 minutes to cook. And there is nothing worse than crunchy potatoes in a scramble.

Next, add your sausage to the pan and cook it until it’s brown. Try to break it up into pieces that are similar to the sizes of your potatoes.

After that, add in the eggs and stir until they’re cooked. Turn off the heat and mix in some shredded cheese, and your scramble is complete.

This scramble is best served with Frank’s Red Hot on top and accompanied by a cup of coffee and a glass of orange juice. You can also add any sort of vegetable or meat to spice it up.

But no matter what, this breakfast will leave you ready to tackle whatever the day has in store and maybe even train you so some day, you can flip that omelet.

Bon appétit!

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Know your drink: become a beer expert

Know your drink: become a beer expert

A lot of students come into college only drinking the cheap stuff. Sure, Natty Light is easy to chug, but every once in a while don’t you want to enjoy a beer? There are a ton of varieties besides water-flavored, and most everyone can find a type of beer that they enjoy. So look through our guide, and next time you head to the bar, consider something with more flavor and less chug-ability.


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Infographic: Gay Marriage in the United States

Infographic: Gay Marriage in the United States

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Growing the mid-Michigan zine community

Growing the mid-Michigan zine community

Growing up in the information age, many of us in our 20s can’t imagine a world without the Internet as a place to write about the music we like, our social views or our cultural interests.

Hanging from the ceiling of the Michigan State University’s Residential College of Arts and Humanities (RCAH) LookOut! Gallery in Snyder-Phillips hall is the original personal blog—the zine.RCAH Zines

Entry Points: An Incomplete Guide to Zines [Then & Now] showcases these individually produced magazines can include everything from fan fiction, music reviews, art, politics or social commentary and are all handed out by the person that created them.

Zines are independently produced and self-published publications focused on whatever the writer is interested in. Zines are usually given away or sold directly from the producer.

Ethan Tate, RCAH senior, helped create the exhibit. He said zines are a way to get your work and interests into printed form so you can distribute it to others.

“It’s a very accessible medium and it’s not highbrow at all—the whole point of it is to make it about whatever you want to,” Tate said. “For that weird passion you have, you can write about it or draw pictures about it, make copies of it and share it with people in a really cool way.”

Zine shelf

Tate built the exhibit with MSU Librarian Joshua Barton, who drew zines from the MSU Library’s special collection. Barton said his interest in zines came from capturing the marginalized voices that mainstream media would gloss over.

“We have zines dating back to the ’70s—UK punk, the genesis of punk—and then some fanzines going back to the 30s with science fiction, where zines all emerged from,” Barton said. “It’s part of the popular culture and radicalism emphasis that we put on collecting in the special collections library.”

Barton said the MSU Library has been collecting zines for a while and has a rather large collection compared to other universities. Most of the zines in the exhibit were drawn from the special collections library, but Barton said about a quarter are from Tate’s personal collection and some that Tate made himself.

Tate said he has been making zines for about two years. He said started out making photo zines, which are devoid of zine’s usual text, when he discovered them online.

“A lot of photographers that I liked were making zines for their photographs and I thought that was really cool,” Tate said. “But the first real zine I did that I made actual copies of and distributed was a zine showcasing the work of greater Lansing artists.”

It was Tate’s involvement with producing zines that connected him to Barton. However, the Entry Points exhibit is just leading up to something bigger—the Mid Michigan Zine Fair that Barton, Tate and a group of other zinesters are organizing at the end of this month.

“We’re using the same model as most zine fests, so the main thing is that there’s a bunch of zinesters with tables, and they have all their works out. You stroll around and you can go look through everyone’s work and trade zines with them or buy their zines,” Tate said.

“You get to see everyone’s weird quirks and talk to them about it.”

Michigan Zines

This direct contact is something that Barton said is even more important now that almost all media has moved online.

“Zines are never going to change; it’s completely unmediated,” Barton said. “It’s you and a piece of paper and some words on that page, that have been handed directly to you probably by the person that made them because that’s how direct zines are—how personal they are. They elicit an aspect of human communication that is lost in the Internet.”

In the end, Barton and Tate are organizing events like these to create a stronger zine community in the Lansing area.

“Doing things like the zine fair are a way to cultivate the community that’s here, because we really see the benefit to that and the power to it,” Tate said. “It gives a lot of people a voice that they wouldn’t normally have to share their stories and connect to others.”

Entry Points: An Incomplete Guide to Zines [Then + Now] is at the LookOut! Gallery until October 26. The Mid Michigan Zine Fair is taking place on October 26 from 12 to 6 p.m. at the East Lansing Hannah Community Center.

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Hot & Healthy April: Grilled Chicken Breast with Avocado Salsa

Hot & Healthy April: Grilled Chicken Breast with Avocado Salsa

Let the avocado salsa sit for a while to add flavor

We’ve finally made it to summer again. After all the classes, projects and finals, why not relax by making yourself a nice meal? Okay so for a lot of you this doesn’t sound relaxing, but maybe tuck this recipe aside and make it sometime after you de-stress. It’s a great meal to kick off summer.

Unlike last month’s dish, I did this one all by myself and I didn’t screw anything up. That means it’s pretty easy, because even after months of cooking food I’m still not the greatest. But if you can chop things up and grill some chicken, you will be just fine.

The ingredients you need are:

1 cup halved grape tomatoes

1/2 cup vertically sliced red onion

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

3/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 avocados, peeled and diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped

2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce

2 teaspoons dark brown sugar

4 chicken breasts

Just a word of warning before you chop anything: do not, I repeat, DO NOT chop jalapeños without some sort of glove on. Jalapeño oil stays on your fingers for a very long time and I ended up getting it in my eyes. The CIA could invent a new form of torture called “jalapeño contacts,” I’m telling you. So do your best to avoid that issue all together.

That being said, the first part is easy. Combine the first nine ingredients into a large bowl and mix them up. Let this sit for a while so you get the best possible flavoring.

Grill the chicken breasts while coating them with the soy sauce-brown sugar mixture.

Next, mix together the soy sauce and the brown sugar until the brown sugar is dissolved. Put the chicken breasts on the grill and brush them with the soy sauce-brown sugar mixture as they cook. I used a George Foreman-type grill to grill my chicken breasts, but I’m sure cooking them on a real grill would be better (even though the George Foreman is a lean mean fat-reducing grilling machine, but whatever). I ended up making more of the sauce and adding it to the chicken, just to add more flavor.When those are grilled, you’re done! It’s really that easy, and this meal turns out to be healthy and tastes really fresh.I ended up making this meal for a bunch of my best friends, and I have to say that food tastes better with people you love. More than anything else while writing this column, I’ve learned that cooking isn’t all about making something delicious, but about the joy that is created when you finally finish cooking a dish, the laughter that comes when you fail and the conversation that happens over a good plate of food. So have a good summer MSU, and thanks for great times, bad dishes, good friends and good food.

Bon appetit!

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Hot & Unhealthy March: Melting Chocolate Cakes

Hot & Unhealthy March: Melting Chocolate Cakes

So I’m going to admit it, this was my first cooking failure. Usually I have someone supervising me in the kitchen like a toddler, but this time this toddler was running around in the kitchen by herself, cracking eggs and spilling chocolate everywhere.

The recipe was simple enough, and the instructions seem straightforward. In the end it was the cooking that screwed me over.

So the easy part first, ingredients. Let me preface by saying that this time, this recipe is by no means healthy. These things just sounded awesome, so I made them.

You need to get:

7 ounces of semisweet chocolate (usually 7 of those little cubes)

2 sticks of butter

6 eggs

½ cup of sugar

½ cup of flour

Mixing this up is pretty easy. Start by melting the butter and the chocolate in a saucepan. In another bowl, whisk half the eggs and the sugar together. When those are whisked, add the flour and the rest of the flour and mix well. Then combine that with the melted chocolate.

Okay, here’s the hard part. These are mini cakes, so you’re supposed to put these in ramekin cups. Before this recipe I had never even heard of ramekin cups, and definitely didn’t have them just sitting around.

So I Googled to figure out a solution. The Internet said instead I could use coffee mugs or a muffin pan instead. Honestly, I would go with the muffin pan looking back on this. But I didn’t. I chose a darker road, and that road was the mugs.

At my house I have 5 oven-safe mugs. If you’re going to go the mug route, make sure you use oven safe mugs or they WILL shatter. This recipe will make 8 little cakes, so I started dividing it up into four of the mugs, figuring after that I would bake the other four.

Here’s my first screw up. As I was cooking the first four, I realized that with the ramekin cups, you leave the cake in the cups and eat it out of there. Crap. I figured it would be fine though, I would just take the cakes out.

That was wrong. Or maybe it was right and I just cooked the cakes too long. You’re supposed to cook them at 390 degrees for 15-20 minutes. I learned that the liquid-y bubbling on the side of the cakes shouldn’t put you off, because if you bake them for 23 minutes they turn into rocks. I should have remembered that they’re called “melting cake”, but again, I’m a toddler in the kitchen by myself.

So the cakes stuck to the mugs and I had to scrape them out with a knife. They still tasted fine, but they look like little chocolate nubs and were extremely heavy. Not bad, but they definitely weren’t what they were supposed to be.

So moral of the story: watch these puppies. You can probably make them right if you leave them in the dish you bake them in or just be wary of the cook time. I hope my story will help someone out there (who is not a toddler in the kitchen) make these the way they’re supposed to be made.

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Hot & Healthy February: Chili

Hot & Healthy February: Chili

Winter is coming to a close (hopefully) so for those last couple weeks of cold, cozy up with some chili. If you watched the video or are looking at that list of ingredients, don’t freak out. Getting the ingredients is the most work you’re going to have to do. So go to the store and pick up:

2 pounds ground beef chuck

1 pound bulk Italian sausage

3 (15 ounce) cans chili beans, drained

1 (15 ounce) can chili beans in spicy sauce

2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with juice

1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste

1 large yellow onion, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2 green chile peppers, seeded and chopped

1 tablespoon bacon bits

4 cubes beef bouillon

1/4 cup chili powder

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon white sugar

Brown the meat, drain the beans, and dump it all in a pot. Cook it on a low heat for two hours, stirring occasionally.

See? A child could make this. Or a college student with the cooking skills of a child.

This recipe makes a TON of chili too. I had a couple of leftover containers of it, so I stuck it in the freezer to have later. Also you can make a ton of things with chili, such as:

Chili nachos

Chili dogs

Chili and mac & cheese

Chili with rice

Chili in a breakfast burrito

Chili on taco salad

The list could go on forever. By making this chili one time, you’ll have meals for a week. It fills you up, is fairly good for you, will last you forever, and most of all tastes wonderful.

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Hot & Healthy January: Pork Chop Milanese with Arugula Salad

Hot & Healthy January: Pork Chop Milanese with Arugula Salad

All right boys, this one is for you.

While I was making the recipe for this month, I was thinking, “Some guy could totally make this for his girlfriend and earn unlimited back rubs or something.”

Guys, do you want unlimited back rubs!? I would suggest making your girl some fine food.

But okay, before I even start, I know. This dish sounds too fancy to be true. It sounds like something that a woman with a 10k rock on her finger would order at a restaurant in New York while sipping Pellegrino water. But it’s actually really simple, and tastes amazing. Granted, I was really hungry when I first ate it, but even three hours later out of a Tupperware container it was great.

Can you use a hammer? Can you dip chips into dipping sauce? Can you flip pancakes? Can you count? If yes, then you are capable of making this meal my friend. I believe in you.

The ingredients to this elegant dish are:

  • 4 bone-in pork chops
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups arugula
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 12 fresh basil leaves

That seems like a lot, but remember your skills. You can do this.

First comes the hammer expertise. Place your pork chops on a cutting board and cover them with a piece of plastic wrap. With a rolling pin, a meat mallet, or if all else fails, a hammer, pound the meat until it is ¼ inch thick. Then season the meat with salt and pepper.

Then you are going to set up a breading station. If you’ve never done this before, you have three bowls, one with flour, one with egg, and the third with breadcrumbs. Make sure you whisk the eggs together. Next, stir in the Parmesan with the breadcrumbs.

This is where you need to know how to dip. One chop at a time, plop it into the flour and coat both sides. Take it out of the flour, and plop it in the egg. Take it out of the egg, and coat it in the breadcrumbs. It’s that simple.

Breading Station. Photo credit: Andrea Raby

When those are all coated, heat up a large sauté pan (a pan you would make pancakes in) and add the olive oil and butter. Let that heat up for a bit and then add the pork chops. Cook those babies until they’re golden brown, usually about 4 to 6 minutes per side.

Now it’s time to make that fancy arugula salad. In a large mixing bowl, combine the garlic (remember, mincing means really tiny pieces), lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt. Then add the onion, toss it around in the liquid, and let it marinate for ten minutes while you go feed your cat.

Photo credit: Andrea Raby

Oh did Mr. Whiskers scratch you while you were feeding him? I don’t care, your ten minutes are up and you have a dinner to finish.

Add the arugula, tomatoes and basil to the dressing and mix it all together. To serve it, put the pork chop on a plate and the salad on top. It looks sophisticated but all you did was drop it on a plate.

Men, your ladies are ready to be wooed through the sweet taste of pork chops. Go get yourself some unlimited back rubs.

Photo credit: Andrea Raby

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Hot & Health December: Oreo Truffles

Hot & Health December: Oreo Truffles

So all of our parents think we live on our own and eat nothing but Ramen Noodles and frozen pizza. Okay, most of us do, but what if when you go home you could make your parents something easy and delicious? Who knows, maybe you’ll get a little extra food cash because you have to “go by the recipe.”

I know I’m supposed to write about healthy things, but it’s the holidays. We all just finished a tough semester and it’s time to treat ourselves. And believe me, these truffles are a treat. Every single one of my friends, and my parents, were raving about these puppies.

But first, here’s what you need:

1 package of Oreos

1 8-ounce package of cream cheese

1 package (1 2/3 cups) of dark chocolate chips

2 tablespoons of butter

1/3 cup of white chocolate chips

Okay, the original recipe I found for these said to put the Oreos in a food processor to crush them up. But where’s the fun in that? My friend and I split the Oreos up in two gallon sized bags. Then, hit them with a hammer. Really, I’m not joking. Or a rolling pin works just as well too. Hit them until they have been crushed into very tiny pieces. After finals, it’s really satisfying.

Then empty that into a bowl and combine it with the cream cheese. I used a mixer, but you can probably mix it by hand too. That’s the inside of the truffle, so try not to eat all of it. It’s really good. Roll that mixture into little balls. You should end up with somewhere around 40 of these suckers, so make sure they’re not too big.

Then, heat up the dark chocolate chips in a large saucepan. Add in the butter and stir until it’s smooth. Then dip the balls into this chocolate until they’re fully covered. Place these on some wax paper or tin foil and stick them in the freezer until they’re hard.

While those are freezing, heat up the white chocolate in a saucepan until it’s smooth. Then put this into a quart-sized baggie. Time to make them pretty!

Once the balls are hard (I know, this sounds like a bad SNL joke), then you can put some pretty little white design on top just like mine. Note: my friend actually made these designs. She is much better with food than I am and my design looked like poop. Literally.

Put them in the freezer again so that the white chocolate hardens and they’re done! But a word of warning: these truffles are rich. As soon as I bit into one I was already yearning for a glass of any liquid imaginable. I got a glass of water, chugged it, and had another.

So if you want to impress any relatives or friends this holiday season, give these truffles a try. They’re easy, don’t take too long, and are great with a glass of milk.

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