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A mom's job gets harder around dinnertime, especially when she's cooking. Not only does she want to make healthy choices, but she also needs to keep the kids' stomachs from grumbling while she's making a meal.

Roni Proter, who created Dinner Reinvented after she discovered the challenges of preparing dinner as a busy working mother, is full of good advice. In this episode of Cup of Content, she shares a dinnertime trick she learned from her own mother.

When the meal includes broccoli — perhaps in the form of steamed florets side dish — she turns the oft-overlooked broccoli stalk into a nutritious pre-dinner snack for her kids.

The stalk has a milder flavor than the crown, and cutting up the stalk for snacking means you don't waste any bit of the vegetable. Just remove the tough exterior with a peeler, cut it into sticks, and serve.

Want more videos like these? Learn how to make a 60-second breakfast sandwich, easy roasted vegetables, or a faster-than-pasta side dish.

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Learn fool-proof techniques for chopping fresh herbs

Cup of Content

Fresh herbs enliven any dish, whether freshly prepared or leftovers from last night’s dinner. The latter is how Roni Proter likes to use them, and in this installment of Cup of Content, she shows you how to properly clean and chop them.

She starts by rinsing them gently and patting them dry with a towel. (Wet herbs are much harder to chop.) Then she demonstrates two techniques.

The first works for dill, parsley, rosemary, and thyme — essentially anything with small or stiff leaves. Gather them in a pile, then rock the knife back and forth while keeping the tip on the cutting board.

For herbs such as basil and mint, Proter likes to stack the leaves on top of each other, roll them up like a cigar, and slice thinly across.

Want more videos like these? Then watch previous episodes of Cup of Content or Proter’s other series, Dinner Reinvented.

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Watch how a little marinade in the morning means dinner is almost done

Cup of Content

Looking for ways to trim time off dinner prep? In this episode of Cup of Content — a video series chock full of cooking tidbits — host Roni Proter admits to using bottled marinade.

She marinates chicken in the morning, before she starts her day, so there is less to do come dinnertime. She begins by trimming raw chicken breasts (or thighs) of fat, then places them in a bowl.

She pours on a few “glugs” of bottled marinade — she likes Kikoman teriyaki — then pierces the chicken with a fork so it absorbs lots of flavor.

Then she covers the bowl, places it in the fridge, and lets it sit until she’s ready to cook. “When I get home, all I have to do is put the chicken in a hot grill pan on each side for a few minutes, and dinner is practically done,” she says.

Want more videos like these? Then watch previous episodes of Cup of Content or Proter’s other series, Dinner Reinvented.

Using a bottled marinade saves precious time.

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Using a bottled marinade saves precious time.
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Trim time in the kitchen on meal preparation with this simple trick

Cup of Content

Cooking meat can be the most time-consuming part of preparing dinner. But it doesn’t have to be. In this episode of Cup of Content, host Roni Proter explains how she trims valuable time off meal prep with a few slices of a knife and a little plastic wrap.

By cutting and pounding chicken breasts in advance, the smaller, thinner cutlets are ready to use any time she needs them — and for any recipe that calls for them.

First she removes the fat, then slices the breast in half diagonally. After covering the chicken with plastic wrap while still on the cutting board, she pounds it thin.

She recommends dredging the chicken pieces in a favorite coating, or just wrapping them up tight in plastic and freezing as is. Then there is meat at the ready for the next time you need to cook a meal for the family. The smaller, thinner pieces thaw more quickly than the whole chicken breast, saving you precious time in the kitchen.

To see all of the steps, watch the video.

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Whip up this tasty side dish instead of pasta for easy weekday dinners

Cup of Content

In this episode of Cup of Content, host Roni Proter shares her go-to side dish: couscous. When a busy mom has to keep an eye on the kids while cooking, pasta may take too long to prepare.

Quick-cooking couscous works wonders for weekday dinners when you want another kind of "starchy" side. Proter likes to boil two cups of water in her electric kettle, then pour it over one cup of couscous she has waiting in a bowl.

Stir in the water with a pinch of salt, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit for five minutes before forking and serving. What could be simpler? And it's only 10 minutes from start to finish.

If only raising kids were that easy.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Luxe plastic surgery center injects River Oaks with cutting-edge techniques, posh recovery suites, secret access, and more

A-list treatment

With the holiday season in full swing and many prepping for a new look for the new year, image-conscious Houstonians have a new option for cutting-edge cosmetic treatments and plastic surgery in one of Houston’s most elite neighborhoods.

Nuveau Plastic Surgery + Medical Aesthetics, a local leader in cosmetic medical procedures, has quietly opened a sleek new facility in River Oaks (3720 Westheimer Rd.). Owned and operated by renowned (and board-certified) plastic surgeon Dr. Edward Lee, the facility offers myriad reconstructive surgeries for men, women, and children, as well as beauty treatments, touch-ups, and more.

Aside from top-of-the-line technology, instrumentation, and treatments, the boutique center has personalized service and features to the tony RO crowd. A secret entrance ensures privacy for discreet clients, much like similar operations in Los Angeles and New York.

Another top-drawer feature: Tastefully appointed pre-op and post-op suites keep patients in-house, rather than having to leave posh treatment centers and head to crowded hospital rooms for recovery.

In keeping with Lee’s insistence on a medicine-first approach, anesthesia for patients is provided by Medical Anesthesia Associates, an MD-only group.

A cut above

Notably, the center places a primary focus on plastic surgery, which, for the uninitiated, has a clear distinction from cosmetic surgery. Randy Rakes, managing partner, tells CultureMap that it’s important for clients to understand the difference.

“You have to understand, you have to go through hundreds of hours of training and cases — face and the entire body — to get that board certification, and go through rigorous testing in order to meet that specification,” he says.

Why is that important? The industry, Rakes notes, is rife with practitioners such as “OBGYNs or dermatologists or people who have not really been trained in the art of plastic surgery, who take a class somewhere and learn how to do liposuction or a fat transfer — and then they're ‘experts’ in aesthetic surgery.”

That’s especially key when selecting a provider for highly invasive — and potentially serious — procedures such as facelifts, eyelid surgeries, tummy tucks, liposuction, rhinoplasty, breast lifts and augmentations, breast reconstruction, and more, Rakes adds.

In an era of Instagram beauty demands, more choosy clients are opting for streamlining facial features. To that end, Lee is one of a select few surgeons in the U.S. who regularly performs “V-Line '' surgery. The set of procedures, popularized in South Korea where Lee honed many of his skills, aim to narrow the width of the jawline and the face.

Aesthetics with an expert eye

Lee’s elegant, 5,500-square-foot center is adorned with CASA Houston designs, Italian-influenced finishes, and soothing elements evocative of a modern art museum or luxury spa. The facility houses a Visia Skin Analysis Studio and seven treatment suites aesthetic work such as Botox, microneedling, VI peels, Halo Laser Resurfacing, Moxi Non-Ablative Laser, Broad Band Light Photofacials, Coolsculpting, Emsculpt, and more.

Rakes says that his registered nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and estheticians are elite, by design, as he and Lee insist on credentials. “All of our injectors are licensed in the State of Texas,” he says. “Most places don't have that, the reason being is that they are much more highly skilled than a traditional, regular nurse injector. So they have a much higher skill set. The people who do our lasers and things of that nature have 10 to 15 years of experience, so clients know that they're getting the best possible treatment with the best possible devices — we own every medical device that's considered cutting edge in the industry.”

Facing forward

Rakes, a longtime medical industry processional with a keen eye for trends and technology, says that his clients aren’t just looking for traditional services, but new technologies and treatment, such as PRP and other regenerative therapies. “I think patients are kind of moving a little bit away from the traditional Hyaluronic fillers like Restylane and really looking for something with a more natural approach.”

His treatment teams stimulate collagen with fillers such as Radiesse, “and then we combine that with energy-based devices to even further lift the tissue and work as a synergy between using the injectable and the device, because the combination of both of those things give the patient the best possible results,” Rakes notes. Lee and Rakes also focus facial care on medical-grade skincare brands Alastin, Revision, and Elta MD.

A global scope

Aside from his board certification in plastic surgery, Lee has also trained in craniofacial and pediatric surgery. His medical mission work has taken him to Thailand, Haiti, and Cambodia, where he has performed surgeries for nonprofits such as Operation Smile and Smile Train for those in need.

Those in need of non-traditional treatments can also trust Lee, says Rakes, who points to Lee’s work in the cosmetic and plastic surgery-obsessed Korea. “Some of the Korean techniques are much more advanced than the techniques that are available here in the United States,” says Rakes. “Dr. Lee does a lot of things that other physicians here just don't do.”

Those interested should book early, Rakes advises, as the holiday and new year rush is in full swing. The center offers “pre-buying” slots where clients can reserve space and time. “We’ve been very busy,” says Rakes, noting the local celebs who’ve shared the work they’ve received there on social media. “I think people come here because they know they’re getting the very best treatment and results available.”

Photo courtesy of Nuveau PlasticSurgery + Medical Aesthetics

Nuveau's sleek River Oaks center boasts designs from CASA.

Beloved Houston urban farm toasts local culinary legend with new cooking courses and classroom

peg-approved

For longtime Houston food insiders, Peg Lee needs no introduction. A lifelong local culinary instructor, she has been a fixture in the food scene since the 1970s, where she (often humorously) led cooking classes at Houston Community College.

She was a no-brainer to found and direct Rice Epicurean's cooking school. And the newly launched Central Market made waves in 2001 by enticing her to launch its now wildly successful cooking school, which, thanks to Lee, has lured top national and international chefs and food names.

Along the way, Lee mentored now well-known chefs such as Robert Del Grande, Greg Martin, and Mark Cox.

Quite apropos, the Houston legend is now the namesake for a new cooking school in one of the city's most beloved urban green sanctuaries, Hope Farms. The Peg Lee Culinary Classroom in Hope Farms' Gathering Barn now hosts field trips, classes, tastings, and free cooking demonstrations for children and adults.

Locals can also book the charming space, spearheaded by Recipe for Success/Hope Farms founder Gracie Cavnar, for cooking parties and cooking classes for anywhere from four to 24 students. Those interested can find more information on classes, which center on Cavnar's passion for healthy eating, and more here.

As for the classroom, visitors can expect a white, farmhouse-style kitchen with custom cabinets and high-end appliances, all reflective of a home kitchen. Butcherblock countertops, matte black accents, and farm-made tables and more adorn the space, while a Wolf Induction cooktop, A GE Café Smart Five-in-One Wall Oven, and other state-of-the-art appliances get folks cooking.

Fittingly, classroom water is tied into the farm's new rainwater capture system for the ultimate in sustainability.

“Peg was one of my earliest mentors in the imagining and crafting of what Recipe for Success Foundation would become,” Cavnar noted in a statement. “Then, when we began programing, she rolled up her sleeves and got to work, helping us teach children to cook and bringing her many resources to help us raise money and awareness for our efforts. It is my deepest honor to pay her tribute with the naming of our classroom.”

New craft brewery bringing 'bold American beer,' Texas comfort food, live music, and more to Sugar Land

Sugar land's new craft brewery

Houston’s growing craft brewery scene will add a new outpost in Sugar Land. Talyard Brewing Co. recently began construction on a 15,000-square-foot production and tap room that will open in early 2024.

Located in Imperial, a massive mixed-use development on the site of the former Imperial Sugar refinery, Talyard will occupy a three-and-a-half acre site that will include a beer garden with shaded seating areas, pickle ball courts, a playground, and a stage for live entertainment.

Principals Keith Teague and Chuck Laughter are Sugar Land natives and neighbors who bring experience from the business world to Talyard. In a release, Teague says that intend to serve “bold American beer” paired with a food menu of Texas comfort food made from locally sourced ingredients.

“We want to push the boundaries of style and tradition by combining old practices and new,” Teague added.

Ultimately, the brewery’s 20-barrel brewhouse will be capable of producing 10,000 barrels per year. For now, brew master Sean Maloney is dialing in recipes on a test system. Formerly of 8th Wonder Brewing, Maloney has been working on the West Coast and recently finished the World Brewing Academy’s Master Brewer Program, administered by the Siebel Institute in Chicago and the Doemens Academy in Munich.

“As I’m sure is the case for many ventures like ours, the idea of starting a craft brewery was hatched over beers in the backyard,” Teague said. “Sean attended high school with Chuck’s son, and over the years, we’d see him at family gatherings during the holidays when he was visiting from the West Coast. Those backyard beer sessions turned into area brewery tours together, and eventually the idea of sharing our passion here locally was born.”

Talyard will add to Imperial’s extensive entertainment options. The area also includes Constellation Field, home to the Sugar Land Space Cowboys, a weekly farmers market, and the Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center.