Comfort Food Confessions (+ Ooey-Gooey Mac & Cheese with Roasted Brussel Sprouts!)

Smile – we made it! This is the final full episode of Season 2 – Comfort Food Remix. Many thanks for tuning in and being so supportive on this journey. Aside from using this season as an excuse for me to eat a lot of carbs (lol), I’ve really appreciated everyone’s support as I’ve opened up to share more personal parts of my story. Thank you!!

Click here to watch the video (recipe below)

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 12.05.29 PMTo show my appreciation, I am divulging a secret to you all; while I framed a lot of this season around getting over heartbreak, it was a cover-up of sorts. All my reflections and advice about getting over hard times are really about another battle I’ve been fighting. It’s about how I learned to manage a bad bout of depression that knocked me down from about April – October this year.

I wrote the following article on my 26th birthday in September, from the pit of one of the lowest points of my life. I never thought I’d share this until way in the future when I was “ready,” but if there was ever a time for real talk, it’s now.

I want to show you that it’s possible to overcome great defeats. I’ve talked a lot about moving forward in the last few posts, but I know one of the biggest struggles can be getting up after a really bad fall. If you’re going through rough times, here is some comfort I wanna feed you:

  • You are not alone.
  • There is hope. There is purpose in the pain (Frankl, 1946)*.
  • Things will get better, often sooner than you could have ever imagined.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with depression, I want to help. I truly believe that the purpose of pain is so we can in turn help others through our compassion & understanding. I wrote some lessons about my experience below and am more than open to having a conversation or assisting you out in any way I can. We’re in this together.

September 8, 2014

“Today I am 26. Like every year, I’ve had significant experiences. I met a lot of people, travelled to new places, and learned many lessons. I had my ups and downs, endings and beginnings. During the happiest of highs, my catch phrase would be  “Twenty-Five, Feeling Alive!”  Little did I know that just a few months later, my life would plummet in the opposite direction.

I’m pretty open about my depression and anxiety. It helps a little bit to express myself, and more importantly, I want to encourage others struggling with mental health troubles to move past any shame, embarrassment, or fear and get help like I did. I actually wish I’d gotten help much sooner, because it was almost too late. 

I spent my summer contemplating whether or not I wanted make it to my 26th birthday.

I’m not here to talk about where my depression stemmed from
– It’s in the past and there’s nothing we can do about that now
– It’s multi-faceted, and if I truly understood it all myself, I’d probably be a lot better by now. 

I’m here to elucidate the process of “getting help.” This is not the happiest of articles, but it’s the truth. And being real is helpful, I think.  

1. Deciding to get help is a step in the right direction. But only one step of many. 

Just as we can’t just inject a patient with diabetes with gallons of insulin and call it a day, healing from depression takes more than quick-fix doses of happy times. Therapy and medication helped, but by the time I got them, my condition was pretty severe. The deeper you sink into the depression, the harder you’ll have to fight to get out. 

Finding the right treatment can be a complicated process. You won’t get along with every therapist, and not every medication will work for you. Try to stay patient, and if possible, ask for help with getting help. Trying to sift through databases of treatment centers adds even more stress to your condition. 

There is no instant gratification. Sources of relief can be fickle and transient. So, be prepared for a tiresome journey.

2. Especially because your depressed self will resist everything that everyone tells you to do. 

From my experience with mental health professionals, being a counseling student, and extensive online research trying to figure out depression relief, I found that these are the common suggestions:

a. Eat well
b. Exercise
c. Maintain a good sleep schedule
d. Surround yourself with friends and loved ones
e. Try to think positively 

We all know these are great things to do (even if you’re not depressed). Logically, it makes so much sense. But it just feels nearly impossible because the above steps are the exact inverse of our toughest symptoms.

a. Depression will cause you to lose your appetite, or crave really bad food. (Real talk: I gained close to 20 pounds in 2 months because all I wanted to eat was donuts, cocoa swirl cookie butter, and chocolate covered pretzels #AllCarbDiet #TheseSweatpantsAreTheOnlyThingsThatFitMeRightNow)

b. Exercise? I can barely get out of bed.

c. Speaking of which, my body wants to sleep all the time for lack of energy; my mind wants to stay asleep to escape the pain.

d. I don’t like myself very much most days, so I don’t don’t expect other people to either. This makes the idea of socializing scary – a foreign phenomenon for me. And the considerate part of me doesn’t want to be a drag of negative energy for whomever I encounter. Even texting people back is unbearable; with that, I’m really sorry to everyone who didn’t hear back from me this summerI’ll try to be better. I’m trying to get better.

e. All of the above lead to those feelings of guilt and worthlessness they always talk about in the Zoloft commercials.
3. You’ll feel very alone, even with the best support system.  
To add to those feelings of guilt, no matter how much your family and friends love you, they can’t make it better. The warmth from their comforting and encouraging words and deeds will wear off much quicker than you’d wish.  And then you’ll start to feel bad for not being able to feel better. You start to feel inadequate for getting to this point despite having a good life. You’ll hope that no one will take it personally like you have something against them. You’ll hope that they don’t think they failed or are at fault. No one knows the right thing to say to someone that’s depressed. But trust me, they’ll remember that you tried and that’s what matters.

They can surround you with love, but learning how to love yourself comes from within. In the times when your craving for isolation takes over, when you succumb to the darkness, it’s up to all the will and faith that you can muster to keep a grasp on to that speck of light.  

4. And so, the only thing you can do is look forward, even if you’re just barely inching by. 
Everyday contains one personal struggle after the other, as sleepless nights melt into daytime darkness. On the worst of days, even the simplest tasks of the day are unbearable. Getting out of bed, deciding what to wear, making cereal. It’s demoralizing, really. I’ve actually had multiple days straight where I didn’t leave my room. It’s been a few months since I stopped replying to messages. 

I don’t know if I’ll be back to my old self again. Accepting that fact removes some of the pressure to not only heal, but get to 110% again.”

As you can see, I was still in a very bad place in September. Shortly after writing this article, I seriously contemplated dropping out of school and giving up on this whole YouTube thing. It’s only been three months and I’m happy to report that a lot of the above steps really do work and I’m feeling better and stronger than ever. My faith at the time was, like, mustard seed status, but I’ve experienced the joy of seeing it grow into something more fruitful than I ever thought possible:

“32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” – Matthew 13:32

I still have days when I feel down in the dumps, but getting over depression isn’t about making all the negativity go away; it’s about learning how to find the ooey-gooey positivity in the situation, no matter what.

Recipe: Ooey Gooey Mac & Cheese with Roasted Brussel Sprouts


– 1 box of whole wheat macaroni

– 3-4 cloves garlic

– 2 tbsp butter

– 2 tbsp flour

– 3/4 cup tangy orange cheese (such as sharp cheddar!)

– 3/4 cup creamy white cheese (such as monterey jack!)

– 1-2 cups brussel sprouts

– 2 cups of whole milk (I like organic)

– 1-2 pieces boneless skinless chicken breast
– 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

– olive oil

– salt & pepper


  1. Prep veggies

– Set oven to 400 F

– Roughly chop garlic & set aside

– Cut off ends of brussel sprouts & cut in half

– Toss brussel sprouts in olive oil, salt & pepper. Place on a cookie sheet (line with parchment paper or foil to make cleanup easier).

– Roast for 25-30 minutes, but after about 15 minutes, toss with 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar & flip them all over.

– If the brussel sprouts finish before the mac & cheese, leave it the oven, but turn it down to 200 F.

  1. Mac & Cheese, please! 

– Boil pasta according to package instructions.

– Make a roux – cook garlic in butter medium heat until light brown. Add flour until light brown as well.

– Turn up the heat to medium-high & add the milk. Add a bit of salt & pepper. Whisk until well incorporated & heat until it starts to bubble.

– Turn the heat off & add the cheese. Stir until smooth and melty. Oh yes.

2.5 Do the Chicken (optional)

– Soak chicken in balsamic vinegar for at least 10 minutes

– cook in olive oil on both sides for at least 5 minutes on each side.

– Chicken is done when internal temperature is 165 F (No thermometer? Just slice it open & make sure there’s no pink. Rare chicken is NOT a thing, lol.)

– Remove from heat & let rest.

  1. Put it all together. Impress your friends. 

– Mix the cheese into the pasta.

– Add most of the brussel sprouts into the pasta & stir it in.

– Cut cooked chicken into bite-sized slices & mix those into the fun as well.

If you’ve read this far, here’s another oz. of encouragement:

*“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Thank you again for stopping by. Praying for hope & joy for you and yours this Christmas season!

With love,

Tiffany R.

Dining At Tiffany’s


Takin’ it Slow – Slow Cooker Adobo Pulled Pork Poutine with AC Boral

Hii everyone!

I hope you’re doing well! Me? Honestly, I’m actually feeling pretty crummy, lol. It’s another wonderful Wednesday where I get to share my cooking videos with you, but I got sick last night & was basically bedridden all day. Ick. Still gotta keep sharing the good food & good conversation with you, so here we go!

So far for Dining At Tiffany’s Season 2 – Comfort Food Remix, we’re talked about:
– getting over breakups/ rough times (& made Chicken Adobo)
– moving on & moving forward (& made delicious sweet potato rosemary pasta sauce)
– using up “residual love” in positive ways  (& ice cream cake happened!)

In this episode, we’re talking about something similar to my situation right now– when life slows down. As we’re going through the daily grind & chasing success, there’s inevitably a part of our story when we’re forced to slow down, sometimes even to a screeching halt. Sometimes we are faced with down time or delays during which we have no choice but to play the waiting game.

Por ejemplo:
– getting sick/injured
– unemployment/ waiting to hear back from interviews (more about that & my cover letter writing guide here!
– little things, like missing the bus or waiting for someone to finally text you back (lol)

In times like these, it’s really a test of patience, & even a test of resourcefulness. Sometimes you’ve gotta make do with what you have, taking the situation given to you in stride. As you grow up, you start to develop a positive attitude & not let it phase you when you’re forced to slow down. You realize that no matter what, it’s all gravy! 😉

Plus, sometimes that gravy is ladled onto french fries, accompanied by some melty cheese, & finished with some Slow Cooked Adobo Pulled Pork in Canadian-style Poutine with a Filipino twist! Chef AC Boral with So Good & Delicious food teaches us how to make this delicious comfort food dish & opens up about taking it slow:

Click to watch! 

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Just like AC advises, stay persistent & keep your head up. Our context & situations may present challenges, but at the end of the day, you’re still you & that’s what matters — hold on to that! For example, last week I stumbled upon an old tumblr account from five years ago that I totally forgot about ( It’s reassuring to see that while I’ve grown up a lot, I still have the same values & aspirations as I did back then; it all just materialized through a different recipe than I expected.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Adobo Pulled Pork Poutine

By AC Boral for Dining At Tiffany’s

Makes 4 servings

Poutine is a simple dish originating in Canada. All that’s needed to make poutine is pommes frites (French fries), cheese curds, and gravy. We’re twisting this recipe by making a hearty adobo pulled pork to top the fries before finishing with some gravy and mozzarella cheese. The pulled pork recipe leaves you with a lot of extra pork which can be eaten in so many other ways, like with rice or in sliders or even for more poutine!


2-3 lb. Pork shoulder

5-7 Garlic cloves

2 c Yellow onion, sliced

1 tsp Black pepper

3-4 Bay leaves

½ c Soy sauce

½ c Cane vinegar

½ c Chicken stock

  1. Layer the bottom of slow cooker with onions, followed by pork shoulder.
  2. Add pepper, garlic, bay leaves, soy sauce, vinegar, and stock to slow cooker.
  3. Set on LOW for 8 hours.
  4. Let cool with lid off and carefully remove pork shoulder from slow cooker and place in a large bowl.
  5. Separate large pieces of fat, chop finely, and reincorporate some for moisture and flavor if you wish.
  6. Take two forks and shred pulled pork.
  7. If desired, add ¼ c of drippings from the slow cooker and reincorporate into shredded pulled pork for extra flavor and moisture.


2 Tbsp Butter

3 Tbsp Whole wheat flour

2 c Drippings, reserved from slow cooker recipe above

8 oz Mozzarella cheese, in small cubes

1 bay leaf, optional

4 garlic cloves, optional

  1. Start the butter and flour in a saucepan on LOW heat.
  2. As butter melts, stir with flour to combine and let cook together for a few minutes as the raw flour taste cooks out.
  3. Add the drippings (and bay leaf and garlic if you like a stronger adobo flavor) and whisk together.
  4. Whisk continuously until gravy thickens.
  5. Let gravy come to a simmer and add cheese curds.
  6. Turn off heat and whisk together so cheese melts slightly.


A nice big plate of your favorite fries

6-8 oz. of Slow Cooker Adobo Pulled Pork

½ c of Adobo Gravy with Cheese

Chopped scallions

  1. Take your nice big plate of fries and top with pulled pork and gravy.
  2. Garnish with scallions and enjoy!

Let us know if you made this! For added fun, you can tag us & use our hashtags!

AC: @sgdfood / #sgdfood / #TheBestThingsInLifeArePork
Me: @DiningAtTiffs / #DiningAtTiffs / #HungryNotThirsty (lol!)

Thanks for stopping by! Toodles!
With love,

Tiffany R.

Dining At Tiffany’s

After the BAE – Residual Love in Yo’ Ice Cream Cake

“Hues of blues and greens surround me.
Knowing you have found another love
has turned my world to sorrow.

Green with envy for another
fearing she may be the one to soar
Through life with you, can’t lose these
hues of blues in green.”
– Blue in Green by Miles Davis (background music sample from this week’s episode)

Hey everyone!!

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend. I sure did! I made a turkey & I think people liked it. 😀

photo 1 (1)photo 3

Wish you could’ve all come over! I’m thankful that I was surrounded by my wonderful family and had some time to spend with my awesome friends in San Diego as well! This helped to distract from some not so yummy thoughts in the back of my mind, especially since November was not so fun for me last year.

Around this time last year, I was not only finding new ways to use up Thanksgiving leftovers that were taking up space in the refrigerator; I was also getting creative about redirecting unrequited feelings that were taking up way too much space in my heart & mind. I had to figure out how to use up all that residual love.

residual love (n.): the leftover affection carried inside after the object of said affection is gone.

After squeezing out all the tears, shameless comfort food eating, reminiscing, and self-rediscovery, there’s often still a few drops of lingering feelings to wring out. ..& that’s perfectly normal. But my question for you is, what are you going to do with that? What are you going to do with that residual love?

Here’s some of my ideas PLUS a how-to for making ice cream cake:

Click to watch:

.Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 8.20.36 PM

The truth is, you can’t always control what happens to you, but you can control how you react. It can be tempting to sop up those feelings and dip into someone new. But we’ve been through this already (see venn diagram). Take some time to wipe up the last those feelings neatly and celebrate a brighter you! Ice cream cake optional, but recommended. 😉

Recipe: Ice Cream Cake with Chocolate Ganache 

– 1 box of chocolate cake mix*
(plus whatever it says on the back, usually
– 3 eggs
– 1 cup milk or water
– 1/2 cup oil)
– 8 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
– 1 cup heavy whipping cream
– 1 tbsp. butter
– at least a half a tub of your favorite ice cream that goes with chocolate (cookies & cream, girl scout cookie, moose tracks, etc.) slightly thawed
*you can use any flavor of cake mix and whatever ice cream you feel would match — do yo’ thang!
1. Bake Cake 
– Mix together the cake batter according to package instructions
– Spray two 9-inch round pans
– Put 2/3 of the batter in one pan & 1/3 in the other pan
– Bake according to package instructions for two round pans.
– Remove the pan with 1/3 batter about 5 minutes before the other, or when a toothpick inserted in the  middle comes out clean

– Let cakes cool down & remove from pan

2. Assemble ice cream cake!
– place larger cake on a platter or cardboard cake circle lined with pieces of wax or parchment paper
– Hollow out the center of this cake by scoring a circle about 3/4-1 inch from the edges and 1 1/2 inches deep (without cutting all the way through)
– Scoop out the center of the cake and set aside or discard
– fill the hollowed out center with ice cream and smooth out the top
– place thinner cake on top like a sandwich
– freeze for at least 1 hour
3. Make chocolate ganache & glaze it!
– place chocolate in a medium-sized bowl
– heat heavy cream & butter on medium high heat until it just starts to bubble (do not let it boil or else it will curdle)
– immediately pour over the chocolate & whisk until smooth
– Pour chocolate ganache over the cake, using a spatula to smooth out & covered the sides
– Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
– Decorate (if you want), slice, & serve!
Enjoy! Let me know if you make it via instagram/FB/twitter @DiningAtTiffs/ #DiningAtTiffs. 🙂

With love,

Tiffany R.

Dining At Tiffany’s

Getting Cozy w/ (Carb) Lovers & Friends – Sweet Potato Rosemary Pasta Sauce

Hey everyone!! Thanks so much to those of you that tuned in & watched Chicken Adobo for the Soul. From what I’ve heard, many of you across the country made adobo last week! How’d it turn out?? (If you missed it — click here!)

Last week, we talked about moving forward after hard times. This week we are talking about the next step, moving on — especially in terms of relationships. How do you decipher the distinction between a meaningless rebound and your next significant other?

Before figuring out if someone is the kind of person you want to be with, you must first figure out what kind of person YOU want to be. Period.

Before entering a relationship with anyone, friendship or romantic, it’s crucial to know yourself fully; it’s important to be a whole person. Be the purest version of yourself, unadulterated by what you think others want you to be. Get comfortable with yourself.

To illustrate this process, tonight’s episode is about how whole, natural foods can teach us lessons about being whole, pure people! Plus, we get to get nice & cozy with some carbs. 😉

Click to watch!Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 8.51.16 PM

In times of vulnerability, it can be tempting to find or complete yourself in another person — they can become your safety blanket, your hiding place, your source of approval. This can seem satisfying, but in the end, it’s not fulfilling. In fact, it can be downright dangerous.

Getting comfortable with yourself isn’t an easy feat — it’s a process that can feel like a war. So, if we are fighting to find ourselves while simultaneously trying to pursue a relationship with someone else, everyone gets hurt — you are distracted from conquering the battles you must face, while the other person is put at risk of becoming a casualty.

That sounds dramatic, but it’s a theme I’ve noticed lately about the relationships unraveling around me.

If you’re a visual person, think of a healthy relationship as a venn diagram. Each person should have a whole circle & share some with their partner. If one of the circles is incomplete, their unique characteristics will fall out & their existence will be dependent on that space they share with the other person. Eventually, that broken circle will have to fuse into the other. No bueno. Everyone needs some space & love for themselves, too!

I know a lot of my closest friends & dear family are all about serving & giving in relationships — it’s a beautiful thing. But I want to leave you with a quote from one of my favorite books that can keep us in check about loving others from a place of wholeness:

“When you are overgiving, you are not living in abundance, but in scarcity. When you give from a place of service, honesty, and fullness, you are left feeling revitalized. When you give from a place of responsibility and obligation, you negate the gift and nothing changes. You may in fact be left feeling resentful and drained.”

“What lack are you trying to fill in yourself by overgiving?”
– 29 Gifts, Cami Walker

Sending good vibes & prayers to you all as you find fulfillment. For me, wholeness is about serving from an inner place of faith. My circle would be pretty broken without it. God bless <3.

With love,

Tiffany R.

Dining At Tiffany’s

Sweet Potato Rosemary Pasta Sauce Recipe (Vegan)
I love this recipe because it’s a good framework for other recipes. For example, I created a similar recipe back in the day when I worked at the San Diego Food Bank: Carrot Sauce – 2 Ways! Feel free to vary the herbs & spices. I imagine sage or thyme would make a good substitute for the rosemary. Get creative! & let me know if you want any suggestions based on those spices that have been hanging out in your pantry!

If you’re not vegan, you can also serve it with meat! It tastes particularly delicious with pork tenderloin. Chicken works too! If you’re not into carbs (no one’s mad..) you can use roasted spaghetti squash or just slap this sauce directly on meat, you primal thang! 😉


– 2 large sweet potatoes (or yams. the orange ones)
– 2 tsp. fresh chopped rosemary
– 2-3 cloves garlic
– 1 can of all natural coconut milk
– light oil (like olive oil or grapeseed oil)
– 1 box of whole grain rotini pasta
– 1 tsp. ground cumin
– 1 dash (or MOAR if you like spicy) ground cayenne pepper
– 1 tbsp. korean pepper powder (if you don’t have this, try smoked paprika)
– 1/2 tbsp. ground coriander
– salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste


1. Prep ingredients
– Bring water to a boil & cook pasta following directions on box
– Chop garlic & rosemary finely
– Poke each potato with a fork about 4-5 times to vent
– Place potatoes on a microwave safe plate and top with a damp paper towel
– Microwave for 5 minutes, flip them, then microwave for 5 more minutes
– Cut potatoes in half & let them cool for a bit

2. Get Saucy! 
– Heat oil to medium/medium high heat
– Saute garlic & rosemary until the garlic is golden brown, then transfer to small bowl
– In a blender or food processor, alternate adding sweet potato, coconut milk, & garlic/rosemary mixture
– WARNING: Don’t overcrowd the mixer. Also, make sure that the sweet potatoes are completely cooled down. Trust. (I may or may not have broken a few blenders back in the day, lol!)
– Once the mixture is fully blended & smooth, transfer back to the saute pan. (If it’s too thick for your liking, add a bit of water and/or oil)
– Stir in spice mixture & reheat on medium high for 4-6 minutes

3. Put it all together!
– Ladle the sauce onto the pasta
– If you want to get fancy, garnish with your leftover rosemary (or just put on your sweatpants & get down with your bad self ;D)

Enjoy, carb lovers! ❤

Season 2 – Comfort Food Remix is now on YouTube!!

Hello folks!

It feels like a lifetime since my last post, but I am back after a hiatus that was much longer than I anticipated.

I was supposed to film on April 1 and release this trailer soon after. APRIL FOOLS, that didn’t happen, lol! My dear film producer got sick, so we had to cancel filming that day.Given my grad school life, I had to wait another few weeks before I could find time for filming.

Aside from being bummed about the delay, a lot of sucky things started to happen to me and within me, one after the other. As a result, I experienced high levels of anxiety and very low levels of happiness. I didn’t feel like myself at all.

Before we proceed, lemme take a selfie:

As painful as it was, somehow I feel that the timing is meant to be. I wrote Season 2 over a year ago; little did I know I’d be the one who needed the comfort food the most. Every day, I reflect on methods to build strength and get through the mire. Everything happens for a reason, and I have faith that it will be revealed with time.

So Season 2 is more than just my recipes & musings — it’s my heart healing on camera. I hope it gives YOU (1) hope, (2) a reminder that you’re not alone in your struggles, & (3) some much-needed laughter along the way!

(Click photo below to watch the Season 2 Trailer!)

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CLICK photo to watch Dining At Tiffany’s: Season 2 – Comfort Food Remix!!

Here’s to dreaming that my belief is true — when you find/return to your passion, everything falls into place better than you could ever imagined.

Enjoy the trailer & I’ll see you next week!!

With love,

Tiffany R.

Dining At Tiffany’s