Jeff’s Favorite Chili


1 Onion (diced)
1 Green Pepper (diced)
2 cloves Garlic (minced)
1 Jalapeno (diced)
28 oz Can crushed or diced tomatoes
15 oz Can tomato sauce
1 can original rotel
1-1.5 cans of water (15oz)
1 can black beans
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 can pinto beans

2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp Oregano
2 Tbsp Chili Powder
1 Tbsp Cumin

Optional Garnish & Serving suggestion:
Green onions
Sliced black olives
Tortilla chips


Add all ingredients EXCEPT the beans to a large dutch oven and simmer for 1 hour.
Add the beans (with their juices) and cook for another hour.
Check on it and stir periodically as you may need to add more water during cooking.

We like to garnish it with green onions and sliced black olives. Scooping it with tortilla chips is also tasty!

Spinach Lasagna


8oz Lasagna noodles (look for the no boil kind)
12oz package frozen chopped spinach (thawed)
4 cups thick spaghetti sauce (I used Kroger’s Chunky Mushroom & Onion)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
2 cups Ricotta cheese
3 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Mix spaghetti sauce, spinach, water, salt, and seasoning in a bowl.
Spray 9 x13 pan with cooking spray and put 1/3 of the sauce in the bottom of the pan.
Place 1/2 of the uncooked noodles on top of the sauce, then add a layer of 1 cup of Ricotta cheese and a layer of 1 cup of Mozzarella cheese.
Repeat layers of sauce, noodles, Ricotta, and Mozzarella.
Top with remaining sauce, then remaining cup of Mozzarella, and then the Parmesan cheese.
Bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes. (You may need to cover it with foil near the end if the cheese gets too brown).
Let stand 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

The Protein Project: Spreading Awareness that Plants have Protein

“If I didn’t eat meat I don’t know where I’d get my protein.”

Has anyone ever said this to you? Or have you wondered this yourself? Or maybe you’re a vegan and have heard that “as long as you eat a variety of foods you’ll meet your daily protein needs”, but have your doubts… I have generally accepted that the vegan community knew what they were talking about and that I could trust people who have been living this lifestyle far longer than I have. BUT, instead of just repeating what I’ve heard or trusting others that I am eating a healthy diet, I prefer to do my own research and back up what I’m saying with hard facts. So that’s what I did.

So how much protein does a person *really* need to consume? According to Harvard Health, for each pound of body weight you should consume .36 grams of protein per day. This means a 140 pound woman needs to get around 50g of protein per day from her 2000 calorie diet. And a 200 pound man needs 72g of protein per day from a 2500 calorie diet. To simplify this into smaller units let’s look at how much protein these people need on average from every 100 calories they eat. 50 grams of protein from 2000 calories translates to 2.8g of protein from 100 calories. 72 grams of protein from 2500 calories translates to 2.88g of protein from 100 calories. This means for every 100 calories of food you eat, you should be getting just under 3 grams of protein. Of course, this is on average! Fruit tends to fall under that number, but many veggies pack close to 3 times that amount! Take a look at the list below of common foods and their corresponding grams of protein per 100 calories of that item. I’m including lists of animal products for comparison, but you’ll find that there are MANY plant sources that contain above and beyond the ~3g/100cal average. So if you’re a vegan or are interested in a plant based diet, you can rest easy that as long as you incorporate a variety of foods each day you will meet or exceed your daily protein requirements. If you have any other foods you’d like to see included on this list please let me know in the comments below!

Source: NutritionIX Database
*All values are grams of protein per 100 calories


Tuna 22.5
Salmon 10.7
Pork 10.9
Chicken 10.7
Beef 8.9
Bacon 7.5

Dairy & Eggs

Parmesan Cheese 9
Eggs 8.8
Yogurt 8.3
Mozzarella Cheese 7.4
Milk 6.8
Cheddar Cheese 5.7


Tofu 12
Tempeh 10.2
Soymilk 7


Almonds 4
Peanuts 3.4
Cashews 2.2
Walnuts 2.3
Macadamia Nuts 1.1
Pecans 1

Beans & Legumes

Lentils 8
Black Beans 6.7
Peas 6.4
Pinto Beans 6.1
Chick Peas 5.6
Green Beans 4.5


Spinach 12.9
Romaine Lettuce 7.3
Kale 6.9
Cabbage 5.3


Portabella Mushroom 11.3
Button Mushroom 8.8
Shiitake Mushroom 6.2


Asparagus 10.6
Cauliflower 8.3
Zucchini 7.6
Broccoli 6.7
Tomato 5
Cucumber 4.3
Corn 3.5
Onions 3.2
Green Pepper 3.1
Carrots 1.9


Blackberries 3.6
Canteloupe 2.5
Strawberries 2
Watermelon 2
Kiwi 2
Oranges 1.9
Pineapple 1.2
Banana 1.2
Grapes 1.2
Avocado 1
Apple .5


Gold Potatoes 2.7
Red potato 2.6
Sweet Potatoes 1.8


Wheat Bread 4
Quinoa 3.7
Oatmeal 3.6
White Bread 3.4
White Rice 2.1
Brown Rice 2.1

Things to Know for Technical Interviews

Google style interviews are becoming commonplace. If you are in tech and are in the job market you may need to brush up on your skills or revisit some of those things you learned in college 12 years ago (space and time complexity I’m looking at you). The following list was compiled based on this video from Google about how to prepare for one of their interviews:

  • Data Structures: Hash tables, Stacks, Arrays, Linked Lists, Trees (construction and manipulation, traversal)
  • Algorithms: Dijkstra, A*, etc
  • Space and Time Complexity
  • System Design
  • Object Oriented Programming
  • Testing: Unit testing, interesting inputs, corner and edge cases, integration, load and performance, security
  • NP Complete Problems: Traveling Salesman and the knapsack for example
  • Math: Basic discrete math: Counting, Probability theory, Combinatorics, n choose k
  • Recursion
  • Operating Systems: Processes, threads, concurrency issues (semaphores, mutexes, locks), resources allocation, context switching, scheduling
  • System design: feature sets, interfaces, class hierarchies, distributed systems
  • Internet: Routers, DNS, load balancers, firewalls, search

How To: Build a Trello Power-Up for YouTube

In this “How To” I’m going to show you how to build a Trello Power-Up that will allow users to search for and embed YouTube videos in their cards. We’ll be using Trello, GitHub, and YouTube. When we’re done, you’ll be able to create cards that look like this:

Trello card with YouTube Power-Up enabled and an embedded video

I’ll walk you through the process step by step, but you can also see the full code for the project on GitHub. I also recommend you refer to the Power-Up documentation before you begin.

GitHub Set Up

Let’s get started with GitHub. If you don’t have an account, you can create one at Once your account is created and you are logged in you will also need to set up your GitHub Pages website since that is where we’ll be hosting our Power-Up. Follow the instructions at to set up GitHub Pages. Now when you create a new GitHub repository it will be hosted at Pretty cool, right?

Fork the Power-Up Template

Now that GitHub is set up, let’s get started with the Power-Up! The easiest way to start building a new Power-Up is to fork Trello’s template project which is a full featured sample Power-Up. Go to the power-up-template repository and click the “Fork” button in the upper right corner of the page. I gave my fork a new name (youtube-power-up) and description. Then clone the repository to get a local copy. I like working with GitHub Desktop.

Update the Manifest

Next we’re going to edit the manifest to reflect that this is a YouTube Power-Up. Open up manifest.json in your favorite editor. We’ll edit the name, description, details, icon, author, and capabilities. Notice that I changed the url of the icon, that’s because we’re going to use the official YouTube icon instead of the icons that came with the template. The other section to pay attention to is the “capabilities”. I recommend reading more about capabilities here, but for now you need to know that we’ll be using attachment-sections, card-buttons, and callbacks. My finished manifest looks like this:

    "name": "YouTube",
    "description": "A Power-Up for integrating YouTube content in your cards",
    "details": "This Power-Up is used for integrating YouTube content in your cards",
    "icon": {
        "url": "./images/yt_icon_rgb.png"
    "author": "Amber Ream",
    "capabilities": [
    "connectors": {
        "iframe": {
            "url": "./index.html"

Be sure to add the YouTube icon to your images folder. When you’re done with your edits, push your changes to the manifest and the new icon to GitHub.

Create a new Power-Up in Trello

Now we’re ready to create the new Power-Up in Trello. If you don’t already have a Trello account, sign up for one at Since Power-Ups are associated with teams, you’ll also need to create a new team. You can do this by clicking the “Create a new team…” link underneath your boards.

Click the

Now you’re ready to create a new Power-Up from the Power-Ups Administration Page. Under “Teams” click on the team you’d like to add the Power-Up to, then choose “Create new Power-Up”. Give your Power-Up a name (I chose YouTube Power-Up) and then enter the path to manifest.json. If you’re using GitHub Pages, the url will look something like this:

Click save and your new Power-Up will show up in the list of Power-Ups.

Add the Power-Up to a Board

Now that our Power-Up has been created, let’s go to our boards so we can add our Power-Up and see it in action! At this point it will have the template functionality, we’ll implement the YouTube code later. To add the Power-Up to a board, go back to and if you haven’t already created a board for your team go ahead and do that now. Then click on your board to open it. To add the Power-Up, go to your team’s board and choose “Power-Ups” from the menu.

Open the menu on the right hand side of the page and select the

Scroll down and you should find the new “YouTube” Power-Up in the list (it is sorted alphabetically). Note that the name, details, and icon you see in the Power-Up list are all coming from manifest.json. Click “enable” to enable this Power-Up (if you are using the free version of Trello only one Power-Up is allowed per board so you may need to disable another Power-Up first). I’ve noticed it can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours for the Power-Up’s icon & description to show up in the list, so don’t worry if all you see is the name at this point! Likewise there is some lag before the Power-Up is available in your cards. In the meantime, we can get started on other parts of our project.

YouTube API

We will be using the YouTube Data API to search for videos. Before we can connect to the API, we’ll have to set up credentials and grant access to the YouTube Data API. Make a note of your API key because you’ll be using it soon, and please remember to restrict your API key! For example, I chose to only allow YouTube requests coming from my GitHub Pages site.

YouTube credentials accepting referrers from my github pages site

Implement client.js

Now it’s time to make our Power-Up do something! But first, a little set up. Since I like to use jQuery for ajax requests, I’m going to import it in index.html.

<script src=””integrity=”sha256-hwg4gsxgFZhOsEEamdOYGBf13FyQuiTwlAQgxVSNgt4=” crossorigin=”anonymous”></script>

Next, since I have a custom icon that I would like to display for the YouTube Power-Up on the back of the card, let’s drop the gray play button icon in the images folder.

You may remember defining card-buttons, attachment-sections, and callback in manifest.json. Let’s take a look at how those are used in client.js. We don’t have to define anything specifically for “callback” here, but you can read more about why we need the “callback” defined in the manifest here.


We’ll start by adding a button to the back of our card. In client.js, find the ‘card-buttons‘ function inside TrelloPowerUp.initialize. We will need to define a button that will trigger the YouTube Power-Up. We’ll give it an icon, text, and a callback function that will be called when the button is clicked. This button will be using the gray play button icon, so you’ll need to update the GRAY_ICON constant at the top of the file to refer to the gray icon you just added to the images folder.

var GRAY_ICON = './images/yt_icon_gray.png';

We can also remove the template code since we won’t be using it, so when we’re finished, our card-buttons function will look like this:

'card-buttons': function(t, options) {
    return [{
      // YouTube!
      icon: GRAY_ICON,
      text: 'YouTube',
      callback: youTubeButtonCallback

Now we need to define the youTubeButtonCallback. This is where we’ll display a popup so the user can search for a video on YouTube. We’ll make requests to the YouTube Data API as the user types and then return a list of results that will get displayed in our popup. In the code below we’re using jQuery to make a request to the YouTube Data API to get a list of results based on what the user has typed into the search box. Each result contains “text” and “callback” properties. The text is what gets displayed in the list, and the callback is the function that gets called when an item in the list is clicked. In this case, we want to attach the YouTube video to the card. Remember to update the YouTube key to your own key which you created above or searching will fail!

var youTubeButtonCallback = function (t) {

    return t.popup({
        title: 'YouTube',
        items: function (t, options) {

            // use which is the search text entered so far
            // return a Promise that resolves to an array of items
            // similar to the items you provided in the client side version above
            var response = $.ajax({
                url: "",
                data: {
                    maxResults: '25',
                    type: 'video',
                    part: 'snippet',
                    key: 'AIzaSyCawso6-SQJS2JAw7FCXQD-sNeLtzDPxE0'
                success: function (data) {
                    //                console.log(data);
                error: function (jqXHR, textStatus, errorThrown) {

            // when the response is finished, then return a list of items
            return response.then(function (data) {
                //                console.log(data);
                var ret = new Array();
                var items = data.items;
                for (var i = 0; i < items.length; i++) {
                        text: items[i].snippet.title,
                        callback: (function (item) {
                            return function (t, opts) {
                                return t.attach({
                                    name: item.snippet.title, // optional
                                    url: "" + // required
                return ret;
        search: {
            // optional # of ms to debounce search to
            // defaults to 300, override must be larger than 300
            debounce: 300,
            placeholder: 'Search',
            empty: 'No results',
            searching: 'Searching'



On to "attachment-sections"! This is what defines how the YouTube url we are attaching in the YouTube callback will get displayed on the card. There are three files that need to be updated, let's start with section.html. In this file we're simply defining a container to hold our YouTube videos:

    <div id="content">
        <div id="videos"></div>
    <script src="./js/section.js"></script>

Notice the section.js import. This is the next file we need to edit. Let's look at the render function:

t.render(function () {
    // make sure your rendering logic lives here, since we will
    // recall this method as the user adds and removes attachments
    // from your section
        .filter(function (attachment) {
            return attachment.url.indexOf('') == 0;
        .then(function (youtubeAttachments) {
            var urls = (a) {
                return '<div class="video"><iframe src="' + a.url + '?rel=0" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe></div>';
            document.getElementById('videos').innerHTML = urls.join(' ');
        .then(function () {
            return t.sizeTo('#content');

Since we are interested in embedding YouTube videos, we're filtering for urls that begin with "". For each video we find, we're adding a new iframe and adding it to the videos div that we defined in section.html. Finally, we need to update the "attachment-sections" function in client.js.

    'attachment-sections': function (t, options) {
        // options.entries is a list of the attachments for this card
        // you can look through them and 'claim' any that you want to
        // include in your section.

        // we will just claim urls for YouTube
        var claimed = options.entries.filter(function (attachment) {
            // claim youtube urls
            return attachment.url.indexOf('') === 0;

        // you can have more than one attachment section on a card
        // you can group items together into one section, have a section
        // per attachment, or anything in between.
        if (claimed && claimed.length > 0) {
            // if the title for your section requires a network call or other
            // potentially length operation you can provide a function for the title
            // that returns the section title. If you do so, provide a unique id for
            // your section
            return [{
                id: 'YouTube', // optional if you aren't using a function for the title
                claimed: claimed,
                icon: YOUTUBE_ICON,
                title: 'YouTube Videos',
                content: {
                    type: 'iframe',
                    url: t.signUrl('./section.html', {
                        arg: 'you can pass your section args here'
                    height: 230
        } else {
            return [];

As in section.js we need a filter for urls that begin with "" because these are the only urls we want to include in our YouTube attachment section. The "id" will be the name of the attachment section, and the "icon" will show up next to the name. We are using the standard YouTube icon here, so we'll need to create a constant at the top of our file that points to the red YouTube icon.

var YOUTUBE_ICON = './images/yt_icon_rgb.png';

Code Cleanup

You're done with the hard part! Since we cloned this project from the sample codebase there is a lot of code we don't need, so let's delete it. Starting with client.js, there are several hooks defined that we're not using. You can delete everything except "card-buttons" and "attachment-sections". In client.js we can also get rid of the callback functions we're not using (just be sure to keep the youTubeButtonCallback).

All done!

That's it! Go back to, open up your board, and if you don't already have a card you should create one. Then when you edit your card you will see the YouTube button on the right side of the card under "Power-Ups". When you click the button, the search popup will come up and you can start searching for a YouTube video. Click on the name of the video you want to embed, and Voila, it will appear near the top of your card under the YouTube heading.

Congratulations on completing your YouTube Power-Up!

Favorite Recipes

If you’re like me you love surfing the internet and finding new recipes to try out – heck, maybe that’s what brought you here. But every now and then I’ll find a recipe that I can’t get enough of and it becomes part of my regular rotation. Here are a few of those yummy dishes:

Black Bean Burgers These work great with a flax egg. Last time I made these I added 4 tsp. of pickled diced jalapenos for some extra kick.

“No Tuna” Chickpea Salad Great alone or in a sandwich.

Red Beans and Rice

Traditional Greek Salad I leave out the feta and sometimes add marinated artichoke hearts. This is great by itself or served over pasta or in a pita pocket with some hummus.

Greek Potatos The first time I made this I forgot the lemon juice/peel so I have never bothered to add it.

Quinoa Taco “Meat” I especially love this in Amber’s Famous Burritos!


New Orleans is at the top of my bucket list of places to travel. I would love to taste a hot fresh beignet and some real Louisiana home cookin! In the meantime… I found a recipe for vegan gumbo that that I intermingled with a “real” gumbo recipe. I think you’ll enjoy the result.


1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/2 cup All Purpose Flour

2 cloves Garlic (minced)
1 Onion (diced)
1 Green Bell Pepper (chopped)
3 stalks Celery (chopped)
1 28oz can Diced Tomatoes
2 cups cut Green Beans (I used frozen)
1 cup chopped Okra (I used frozen and some fresh from my garden!)
4 cups Vegetable Broth

2 Bay Leaves
1/2 Tbsp Tony’s Cajun Seasoning
1/2 Tbsp dried Thyme
1/2 Tbsp Pepper
1/2 Tbsp Salt
1 tsp Cayenne*** (I used slightly more than this when I made it and it came out very spicy – you may want to decrease the amount or leave it out all together if you don’t like spice!)

1 cup Rice
2 cups water


1. Make the roux by whisking together the oil and flour over medium heat, whisking constantly for about 10 minutes or until the roux turns a dark brownish gray (the other recipes describe it as a used copper penny or dark caramel).
2. Whisk in the garlic first, then add the onion, green pepper, and celery. Then add the seasonings and keep stirring for 3 minutes.
3. Stir in all remaining veggies except okra and add the vegetable broth and bay leaves.
4. Saute the okra with a bit of oil in a skillet until it starts to brown (about 5 minutes). Then add the okra to the pot with everything else.
5. Bring the pot to a boil, then turn down low and simmer for 1 hour.
6. Make the rice by bringing 2 cups of water to a boil, add the rice, then cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed.
7. Serve the gumbo over rice.

Amber’s Famous Burritos

Mexican food has always been my favorite (with pizza coming in a close second). There was a restaurant called Tumbleweed in Lexington that was always my first choice on the occasion that I got to pick where my family would eat. The chips and salsa were amazing, but the “Burrito Deluxe” is what kept me coming back for more. That’s what inspired my original famous burritos, but since going vegan I’ve had to tweak the recipe a bit. Honestly, I think I might like these even more than the originals. Oh, and what makes them famous? Anyone I’ve made them for has always requested them a 2nd time!


Qunioa Taco “Meat”
8 Tortillas (burrito size)
2 15oz cans Refried Beans
2 8oz cans Enchilada Sauce (I use Old El Paso)

(For serving)
2 Roma tomatoes (diced)
1 Avocado (diced)
Shredded lettuce


1. Prepare the quinoa taco “meat”. Between cooking the quinoa and then baking it in the oven this can take close to an hour so sometimes I’ll prep it ahead of time.
2. If you did the quinoa ahead of time you’ll need to preheat the oven to 375.
3. In a large baking dish, spoon 2/3 of a can of enchilada sauce over the bottom – be sure to cover the bottom so the burritos won’t stick!
4. Fill each tortilla with 1/4 can of beans and 1/8 of the quinoa taco meat. Roll it and place it seam side down in the baking dish.
5. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.
6. Serve warm with toppings. I like tomatoes, avocado, and lettuce.

Italian Pasta Salad

If I had to choose only one thing to eat for the rest of my life it would be pasta in some form.  This pasta salad would be a top contender!  I love it because it’s easy to prepare, colorful, and delicious.  I’ve taken this to a few potlucks and it’s always a crowd-pleaser.


8 ounces Cooked Pasta (I like rotini)
1 Cucumber, quartered lengthwise, then chopped into bite sized pieces
14 ounce can Whole Medium Olives, halved
16 ounce package Grape Tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup Red Onion, diced

6 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Salt


Whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.  Toss the pasta and veggies together in a bowl.  Pour the dressing over the pasta and veggies and stir it together.  Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour so all the flavors meld together.

Greek Supper Club

It’s my turn to host supper club again.  A group of 8 of us have been doing this for 4 or 5 years now.  The idea is that everyone takes a turn making a 3 course dinner based entirely on new recipes.  It gets us in the kitchen practicing our cooking skills and gives us a chance to host or attend an awesome dinner party once a month.  I love Asian food and have cooked up a bunch of noodles and curries in the last few weeks.  I was trying to find a way to tie it all together into one dinner party, but really just ended up with a strange, in-cohesive mess of a menu.  Thankfully I was reminded last night after a dinner out with my Aunt and Uncle how much I love Mediterranean food.  I’ve never tried making it before, but wouldn’t it be nice if I knew how to made home made hummus and falafel? Yum!  Here’s what I’m planning for my menu.

Appetizer: Pita & Hummus, and Falafel & Tahini

Main: Greek Salad, Veggie Kabobs/Roasted Veggies, Lemon Rice, Greek Potatoes

Dessert: Oreo Stuffed Brownies topped with Vegan Ice Cream