Health and Nutrition

What 2000 Calories Look Like

The concept of visually comparing how different types of food add up to a certain number of calories isn’t new. But this is really simple but well-made video showing 2000 calories in different commonly eaten foods, so I thought I’d share it with you. Read more about it here.

Man, I want to do more video work! Here’s another food-related video I’ve enjoyed recently, produced by Joy the Baker. I don’t want to know how many calories is in that shake.

Happy Hour Hot Fudge Milkshake from Joy the Baker on Vimeo.


I Need Your Help!

brazil 01

I need your help, readers! I entered this contest to win 6 months free travel. I worked really hard making my first video ever, teaching myself how to use iMovie and facing my fear of getting in front of the camera! Even if I don’t win, I’m really happy to have made a tribute to Queens–the place I’ve called home for the past 10 years. As you may or may not know, I am leaving the country soon, so filming this was all very bittersweet.

If you could spare a couple minutes of your time, I’d be SUPER grateful if you could visit the link below and vote with your different social media accounts. (Each tweet/pin/etc is one vote). There’s no limit to voting, I don’t think. Also, feel free to watch my video and laugh at my on-screen awkwardness :) Here’s the link!

Thank you soooo much <3

Vote for me

Eating Out in the Dirty City

My Blog’s One Year Anniversary!

ice cream

Yesterday was Eating Clean in the Dirty City’s first birthday, yay! It’s been one year since my inaugural post about rediscovering Brussels sprouts. You know, I really thought I would have figured out my niche after a year and run this website like a well-oiled machine, but nope! Everything still feels disorganized and haphazard, even with my readership growing. Oh well. I can’t control and perfect everything in life, right?

I’ve definitely come a long way since last year–my photography is much better (hello, natural light), I’ve developed more cooking skills and instincts, I’ve been more creative in the kitchen, and I’ve even dared to write my own recipes. I’ve also expanded my knowledge of nutrition and fitness. Even though I see my eating habits as a work-in-progress and still haven’t learned how to moderate my sugar intake (working on it, promise!), I actually did cut way back on alcohol. Without any real intention, it kind of happened organically ever since I pondered when I would learn to just have one or two drinks. In fact, having “one too many” now sounds difficult for me to do!

Even if I’m not going to box myself in with a niche or a shtick for this blog, the one year mark has gotten me thinking about how I’m going to move forward. I’m going to put more time and effort into fixing all the little things that bother me, like the design. I also want to take a stab at creating some video content and learning how to better market my blog so i can reach more people. But the most important thing for me to focus on is getting back to the core message of Eating Clean in the Dirty City. I may post a lot of desserts and recipes that include bacon, so maybe my mission to help people eat delicious and nutritious food has been lost. That is about to change. I’m going to talk a lot more about clean eating and how you can eat your way to health, without depriving yourself of treats like dessert and bacon!

I want to take this chance to thank my readers for being so supportive. You made this a great year. I look forward to an even better year of eating clean with you guys <3

Most popular posts in the last year:
The Chinese Takeout Cookbook: Beef Chow Fun
A Blogger Event: Whole Foods, Local Food, and a YouTube Celebrity Chef
When You’re Too Lazy to Make Thanksgiving Dinner, Make Turkey Burgers

My favorite posts in the last year:
What a Mug Cake Has To Do with Clean Eating
An Apple
10 Guidelines for a Wonderful Life of Eating
No Hearts of Darkness Here! My 2013 Valentine’s Treats

Party Food

Feeding A Crowd: Smoky Bacon Mac And Cheese

smoky bacon mac and cheese

I’ve been lurking on the community-driven website, Food52, for a long time now. I’ve found some wonderful recipes there and have enjoyed the editorial content, but I never participated other than leaving a comment or two. But the other day, I noticed their recipe contest for Your Best Cheap Feast. It was high time I submit my own recipe, even if it was just as an excuse to put it in writing.

I came up with this Smoky Bacon Mac and Cheese when I was competing in that All-American Cook-Off with Paula. I was inspired by A Cozy Kitchen’s Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese, but thought bacon and scallions might make it even better. And then at the last second decided, oh what the heck, let’s throw in some smoked paprika too and take the smokiness to the next level. It worked out really well! Even though I didn’t win the actual cook-off, I received many compliments on the mac and cheese.

So if you ever need a simple, inexpensive dish to serve a lot of people, here it is. My Smoky Bacon Mac and Cheese. Or if you’re already on Food52, you can save it here. It’s sinfully delicious…just don’t be like me by eating it in place of a balanced meal. I’ve been trying to avoid buying food before I leave for vacation. San Francisco, here I come!

smoky bacon mac and cheese dish

Smoky Bacon Mac and Cheese

Adapted from A Cozy Kitchen

1 lb package elbow macaroni
5 slices bacon, cut crosswise into small strips
5 scallions, white and green parts chopped and separated
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
8-oz sharp white cheddar cheese, grated and divided (about 2 cups)
8-oz smoked gouda cheese, grated and divided (about 2 cups)

Preheat oven to 400. Lightly grease an 8 x 11 x 2 baking dish.

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

In a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon until it is browned and the fat is rendered, about 10 minutes. Throw in the white part of the scallions with the bacon for the last 3 minutes of cooking, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and set aside.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Continue whisking while gradually adding the milk one cup at a time. Cook for 5 minutes until thickened. Reduce heat to low and stir in salt, black pepper, and most of the cheese, reserving about a cup of cheese. Once the cheese has melted, remove from heat and stir in the bacon and scallion mixture, as well as the green part of the scallions.

Pour the pasta in the greased baking dish. Spoon the cheese sauce over the pasta, stirring to even out the sauce in the pan. Sprinkle the remaining cup of cheese on top, then sprinkle the smoked paprika over the cheese. Bake for 20 minutes until hot and bubbly


Another Useful Infographic: The Shelf Life of Food

You know I can’t help sharing silly infographics with you.

shelf life infographic

I’m really paranoid about how long I can keep food. This is a concern of mine ’cause when you’re cooking for one, you end up with a lot of food you’re not going to eat within the next 2 days. And I don’t have the stomach to risk it. created a handy infographic of the shelf life of your food in the pantry, fridge, and freezer (if it should be there at all). Check out Foodbeast’s post for the full graphic.

Happy Friday!

Lunch and Dinner

I Need A Hug From My Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is a crazy time in my life. There’s so much going on that it’s a little too much to take in at times. I put in my notice at work last week. While I still have two months to go, I am starting to pack up everything I’ve acquired in my ten years in New York City to return to a faraway city I haven’t lived in since I was a teenager. I’m talking opposite-side-of-the-earth far. I’m ready to start a new chapter but I’m not ready to leave all the people I love, even if it ends up being temporary. It’s bittersweet.

I’m not doing the best job of processing all my different emotions, the change, and my never-ending to-do list. Or how to balance productivity with spending time with the ones I will miss the most. All I can do is try. Sometimes I just need a hug. May it be in the form of a physical cuddle, encouraging words, or a box of cookies warm bowl of soup.

I’ve actually only had chicken tortilla soup once but it was the most delicious, comforting thing I could have eaten on a cold winter’s night. I’ve been craving it ever since. And while I don’t make as good a version as La Esquina, this is exactly what I’ve needed the past few days.

chicken tortilla soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Makes about 6 servings

Adapted from Eat, Live, Run

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced (remove seeds if you don’t deal well with heat)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoon salt
6 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
1 14oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes

For serving:
corn tortillas, cut into strips
a squeeze of lime juice
a few chunks of avocado
chopped cilantro


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the chicken breasts and simmer for about 20 minutes, until cooked through. Drain and set aside to cool. Then chop into cube-sized pieces.

Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a large pot. Once hot, add the diced onion and jalapeno and cook for five minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the chili powder and cumin and mix until well combined.

Pour in the chicken stock and add the diced tomatoes, black beans, diced cooked chicken and salt. Bring to a boil for a couple of minutes. To serve, ladle out your desired portions and add tortilla strips into each serving. Lightly stir each so that the tortilla can start to soften in the hot soup. Top each serving with lime juice, avocado, and chopped cilantro.