Create: Breakfast chilaquiles


Guest post by Adam Miller

Total score on GHG today: Adam Miller has shared his recipe for breakfast chilaquiles. Stirring up a dish of these would be an excellent way to say thanks to someone for putting you up at their place. Years ago, over a weekend getaway at a farmhouse in Wisconsin, Adam threw this together for our group. The just-foraged eggs from the hen house were a bonus that morning, but I’ve requested this several times since and it never disappoints. In fact, I think it only gets better (but the chips are super important). Plus, it’s a surefire hangover cure – a miracle one at that.

Aside from knowing his way around the kitchen, Adam is a writer, editor, curious traveler and the guy to stay up way too late with talking about music. Thanks Adam! Follow Adam around on Twitter and read more of his food writing here.

Adam’s Chilaquiles
When we have house guests staying, chilaquiles is my go-to dish to prepare for brunch. It’s quick, cheap, and everyone seems to love them. If you don’t know, chilaquiles are eggs scrambled with tortilla chips. There are dozens of other ingredients that could be added but at its most basic, it’s eggs and chips – the Mexican-American version of the Jewish-American classic, matzos and eggs, if you will.

The quality of the tortilla chips is key. Tostitos and Fritos turn to mush. And you do not want Cool Ranch up in your chilaquiles! I’m spoiled in Chicago because these are plentiful and cheap. Outside of Chicago, El Milagro work nearly as well. If you can’t find either, just find a  salted chip that’s made with less than 10 ingredients and looks like something you would actually see in a Mexican restaurant (not Taco Bell).

It’s hard for me to come up with a measured recipe for this—especially since there’s so many adjustments and additions depending on taste. I feel that onions are absolutely necessary for this dish. A few of the following will only make it better: garlic; bell pepper; jalapeno or other spicy pepper; cheese; tomato or a fresh salsa added during cooking.

The ratio: as a guide, go for 2 eggs and 1 big handful of chips per person. Following is how I would make this for four people:

8 eggs, whisked
4 big handfuls of good tortilla chips
1 medium onion sliced as thin as possible
1 bell pepper sliced as thin as possible
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
Pico de gallo (fresh tomato salsa)
Olive oil,
Salt, pepper to taste

Over medium heat add a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a large pan. Add garlic and onions and cook for 2 minutes. Add jalapeno and bell pepper and cook until fairly soft. (Add some salt to the vegetables while they’re cooking.) Add eggs and slowly mix in. If there’s a tricky part, it’s here: Add the chips one handful at a time, and fold into the eggs. The idea is to create a range of textures so the chips added early on will be softer than those at the end. Continue to add and mix in the chips, until the eggs are cooked.

I like to serve these in a large bowl with a selection of condiments, such as good tomatillo salsa and/or fresh pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream, live wedges, and extra chips. Try it out and adjust to your own taste. Personally, I don’t think cheese adds much to this dish but I know people who disagree!


Create: Tea breaks

tea time good house guest

GHG posts have been scant, and this tea tableau in an indication of what’s been distracting me. No, not idle afternoons spent with a cuppa and scones, but rather, I’ve taken a new editor post at Mr & Mrs Smith, a UK-based travel site of hand-picked boutique hotels that are researched by discerning scouts and then anonymously reviewed. I spent a week in London, along with my remarkably talented co-editor, Kate Thorman, under the tutelage of the sharp and whip-smart edit team there. A group who, aside from being all that professionally, take their tea breaks very seriously, and a few times a day.

It’s such a friendly, convivial ritual, and for the first time I understood the importance of this act. More than a routine gesture, it’s all about the act of slowing down to share something other than work banter during the busy day. Taking a moment – even to step away from your desk for lunch – can be rare in the U.S. working world. But deadlines always loom and that to-do list will grow either way, so I’m going to try and remember to stop and take a few minutes for a mind-clearing cup of tea. Care to join me?

Create: Insta-NYE Party

We’ve lived in Brooklyn for five years and never once spent a New Year’s Eve in town. So this year we stuck around and gathered with a few friends who also weren’t traveling or otherwise engaged to greet 2013 with a lucky pot-luck. I’ve gotten into the communal  spirit of the pot-luck as of late, plus the collaborative effort makes pulling off a last-minute bash possible.

Having just interviewed Tori Hendrix of Sitting in a Tree Events about throwing a sparkling NYE event, I was brimming with ideas. However, I was short on time so unfortunately there were no sparklers (they are banned in NYC), wish paper ordered ahead of time or spray painted branches here. Instead I picked up gold and white balloons, paper crowns, glittery tiaras, black and gold noise makers and metallic confetti to give our place a NYE feel.

The spread and infamous cranberry shrub.

We had an abundance of incredible food: the eensiest roasted Brussels sprouts; a gorgeous onion and goat cheese tart; ginger cake; delicate mushroom pinwheels, potatoes gratin and savory puffed pastries to name a few. And everyone contributed something thoughtful to the bar too. Including a batch of cranberry shrub, a fruit and vinegar syrup which mixes well with everything from tequila to vodka. Too well, actually was my thought the next day as I nursed my aching head.

We live a block away from the Grand Army Plaza end of Prospect Park which is Brooklyn’s answer to Times Square for ringing in the new year. Moments before midnight our little group of revelers (two toddlers too) bundled up and, with bubbly in hand, joined the procession of neighbors gathering for the fireworks countdown.

At the start of 2013 we were all a-glow beneath the twinkling, popping bursts overhead. We returned to our place for the one night cap which led to talking, listening to music and laughing-unitl-we-cried on a repeat loop into the wee hours. Uncontrollable laughter is an auspicious start to the year ahead. And when this next year gets tough, amazing, dark, scary or too-good-to-believe, I’ll remember that night and know where to turn.

Happy New Year! Where did you welcome 2013? Wishing all peace when you need it, joy where you can find it, lots of wonder and plenty of comic relief in the year ahead.

Welcome to Brooklyn: Believe the Hype! Borough President Marty Markowitz pouring the champs at Prospect Park. Photo Credit:Angie Chait.


Create: Sugar Spun Gifts

We’ve been baking, roasting and stirring at our house in a mad dash to get treats off to friends and family. The common ingredient among the cookies, nuts and body scrubs I made is sugar. So if you need some sweet, last minute gifts here are three easy ideas.

Soren made his very first batch of Christmas cookies this year by following my new favorite holiday recipe for Chocolate Thumbprints. We started with a double batch of dough–half which was used to form the chocolate thumbprints (tip: baby spoons make the perfect dent), and the other half we rolled out to make shortbread shapes with our mini cookie cutters. A classic sugar cookie dough would have been better for shaping and sprinkle adherence, but as a last minute baker with a two-year-old pastry chef I only had time (and the patience) to follow one recipe.  The buttery mixture mimicked play-dough, so Soren had fun re-rolling and manipulating it. And chocolate thumbprint or not, they were still incredibly delicious.


A big hit from last year was the spiced nut recipe which Adam Miller shared on GHG. I roasted a batch of his family’s savory/sweet traditional gift and packed them up in decorative cones I found at Ikea. You can’t go wrong with these any time of the year.


I also made a sugary body scrub concoction based on an easy tutorial from Prudent Baby. The lavender and grapefruit essential oils I picked up seemed a bit weak, so I just kept adding aromatic drops to the jars. I’ll have to await feedback on this one to find out if I went overboard on the fragrance.

Create: DIY Dishware

My friend (and the designer behind this little blog), Susan, is about to embark on a  kitchen renovation project. As a pre-demolition kick-off, she had a little “before” brunch at her place. While we weren’t pressed into service with sledge-hammers, she did have some  work in mind for us.

Susan set out stacks of simple, white side plates, black permanent markers and directed us to grab a plate and draw–anything, whatever doodle sprang to mind. Inspired by James Victore‘s “Dishes Dishes” series, Susan plans to display these mini works of art in her newly renovated kitchen.

Even those claiming zero artistic ability had fun with it. And no need need to be gutting your kitchen as reason to take pen to plate either. This would be a perfect project for artists of all ages. Pick up small plates in various shapes and sizes. You can add pop with permanent colored markers. Design keepsake dessert or appetizer plates to use all year, or pack them away for special occasions. Or, give your kitchen a mini-update by displaying your very own dish exhibit. Insta-artwork!


Create: Grateful Pie

This “rustic” apple pie, with visible fault lines and less than impressively crimped edges, is my first attempt at a crust from scratch. I was emboldened enough to finally try and make my own crust after seeing this detailed (without being intimidating) post on Design Mom.

While straightforward, it was still a process. But then, so is the entire prep and build-up to a Thanksgiving feast. It’s a labor of true love. With that in mind, I wanted to make something special, to move beyond my comfort zone and express in some sugary, buttery way how grateful I am for those I’ll be sharing Thanksgiving with this year.

If I could, I would cut cold butter into flour well into the wee hours to yield enough pies to fill tables miles long. I’d gather all of the family and friends whom I am lucky enough to know, love and who remind me on a daily basis all I have to be grateful for.

So, until I figure out where to host my grateful-pie-fest, Happy Thanksgiving to friends and family wherever you sit, and thank you.

cell phone spy software reviews


Create: Wild Things (and other characters)

Are these the most incredible paper bag puppets you’ve ever seen? I thought so too. Our friends Sarah (creative visionary with a deluxe craft room) and Justin (artist and musician) kindly made them for Soren. He was amazed when S+J arrived with two of his favorite Where the Wild Things Are characters in 3D. Max’s private boat is a reoccurring theme in our sidewalk chalk drawings, and we’ve read the book so many times that Soren recites Max’s lines as if they were his own. As great as his affinity is for this classic tale, the reading with supporting puppet show that night might have been even more fun for us adults.

The DIY power couple claim that the puppets inspired by Pinterest boards were easy to make. They used heavy duty paper craft sacks, foam trimmings, felt, fur and lots of imagination. A paper bag character (Curious George, Madeline, Babar) coupled with a favorite book really brings a story to life, and would make for a perfect shower, birthday or holiday gift.

cell phone spy


Create: Community

I (Heart) NY concept sketch, Milton Glaser, 1976

I was grounded under clear Midwestern skies while Sandy was grinding her way like a flinty toothed saw through entire communities, slicing power lines, felling boardwalk traditions generations deep, and sloshing down streets and into living rooms. Having not witnessed the fury it was surreal to return to a subdued and stunned New York City.

Other than my sister’s car pinned beneath an uprooted Oak tree, we returned to a home and neighborhood otherwise intact. We had heat, power and a roof still firmly over our heads. But you didn’t need to travel far to find neighbors experiencing a completely different reality. A reality which nobody around them could deny. And they didn’t.

I returned to a New York where every person I knew was baking, cooking, pumping out homes and businesses, shoveling debris, providing warm clothes, carrying cases of water up flight after dark flight of stairs in powerless buildings, taking shifts at shelters full of evacuees and using their last gallons of precious gas to deliver supplies. What’s more amazing still is that many of these efforts were self organized as people connected over social media and sprung up with a force to rival the storm itself.

At the Park Slope Armory, a temporary shelter for 600 adults evacuated from three assisted living facilities in the Far Rockaways and lower Brooklyn, I bumped into many neighbors and friends (and made new friends among the residents too). But what really surprised me was meeting so many volunteers from outside of New York. Like the group of kids who drove for four days from Washington state to help round-the-clock and Rebecca from Philadelphia who was stuck here without gas so she decided to just pitch in.  I asked Nicole, a young woman from Rio, why on her vacation she chose to volunteer. Her very matter of fact reply: “I love New Yorkers, they are my neighbors too.” Such a decent, kind and human perspective.

So neighbors, with Governor Cuomo estimating that anywhere from 10,000 to 40,000 people have been displaced due to the storm, efforts will be ongoing to help our neighbors not just rebuild but to feel at home again too. Here are a few organizations helping to do just that, let me know of other effective, reliable ones you’ve found too.

Rockaway Help

Occupy Sandy

Brooklyn Recovery Fund

Food Bank for New York City

New York Cares

Red Hook Initiative



Create: The Scene

Bash Please Movie Night// Photo by Brandan Kidd

I recently had the chance to interview the two brilliant event planners, Paige Appel and Kelly Harris, of Bash, Please. They shared their smart, original ideas with me for a Martha Stewart Living series about party tricks. You might want to check out the story before your next event.

These two inspired me to think about making something more of my next gathering, and they also got me thinking about two people who knew how to throw a really great party: my parents. My mom would always weave a cohesive theme (farm trip, day at the movies, aerobics/workout–hey, it was the 80s!) throughout all of our birthday parties. Even family gatherings like a First Communion had all-tied-up-with-bows details that made it more than a get-together, but an event. Not flashy or extravagant either, just thoughtfully planned and creatively pulled off.

However, it was the imaginative parties thrown for their friends that had me up all night spying, peeking around corners and marveling at serious grown-ups having so much fun. I loved when my parents rented a jukebox loaded with 60s and 70s hits for a nostalgic summer dance bash on the patio. And the more elaborate Valentine’s Day 1920s costume party, a play on the 1929 St. Valentine’s Day massacre in Chicago, a shoot out between Al Capone’s South Side Italian gangsters and a North Side Irish gang.

Women came as flappers, there was a cigarette girl and one woman channeled her elegant great Aunt. The men rented zoot suits and a couple even tricked out a flower box to disguise a toy-machine gun. All this roaring 20s pageantry transformed our suburban home into a stage for one very memorable night.

I would love to have attended that party as an adult; maybe I’ll just have to re-create it myself someday.

Create: Apple Everything

Here’s the thing about a day spent eating cider doughnuts and plucking apples: you will end up with several sacks of the rosy cheeked beauties that you then need to consume. I remember my mom boiling up countless batches of apple sauce in a effort to lessen our teetering piles of fruit, and assuage her guilt about letting it go to waste.

Despite the many hours of labor, we never ate all that apple sauce. Which is why I thought it was really brilliant when my friend Sarah showed up for dinner and gifted us with her homemade applesauce.  The presentation in a mason jar with a hand-stamped tag made such an elegant, simple treat for fall.

Sarah adapted this recipe from the canning blog Food in Jars by leaving out the sugar and sweetening the apple sauce with a teaspoon of honey. Just perfect.

I’ve been grabbing apples at the greenmarket and baking crumble based on this Bon Appétit recipe. I use the one cup of the sugar for the crumble and sprinkle a little sugar (not a 1/2 cup) on the cut fruit. I’ve mixed plain and flavored oatmeal (maple, cinnamon) which went over well. Also, because I can’t resist all the apple names, I use a jumble of varieties and slice just enough to fill the baking dish, which is certainly less than the four pounds called for in the recipe.

professional writing