Week 4: From Broke College Student to Chef

Background

Can’t Go Wrong

Going to the Arizona State University for the last six years, I have had my fair share of pizza. While most of it has been after a few dozen adult beverages, pizza, because of it cheapness and greasiness( who knows if that’s a word), just screams college. Don’t forget the part of 4 am delivery. So why not learn to make it well the more adult way. This week I turn to my Aunt Norma’s baked from fresh pizza with pepperoni and olives. For those who have not met my aunt is not only missing out, but have missed some of the best meals of their life. Throughout college, Norma has feed me and some of my friends with her amazing cooking on days we probably would have starve. So who better to not only learn how to cook from, but have her recipe feed my friends than my Aunt Norma.

Pepperoni and Olive Pizza

Pepperoni and Olive Pizza

Before you start this…it will take you awhile. My aunt’s recipe is more of a estimation from her. If you feel the need to add more of whatever you chose, do it.

Ingredients

3 Cups of Flour
2 Packages of Yeast
1 tbsp of salt
1 tbsp of sugar
2 tsp of olive oil
Bottle of Rago (Classic)
1 lb Mozzarella
A lot of pepperoni
Canish of Olives

How to make the Dough:

  • Preheat oven to 375
  • Take the two packages of yeast and put them in a luke warm cup of water for 10 minutes until it appears milky.
  • You then take all the ingredients except  your toppings and mix it into a large bowl.
  • When the mixture is mixed into a smooth  dough you will then knead the dough. If the dough is sticky, pat more flour onto it and mix it up. Your dough should not look like this:

    How your dough shouldn't look

    How your dough shouldn't look

it should look more like this:

how dough should look

how dough should look

  • As you knead the dough, start spreading it out into the shape of pizza you would like. A rolling pin will do wonders for you. Do not be discourage if/when the dough doesn’t stick in the position. Rome was not built in a day, your dough will not take a minute. Be patient.
  • After you get the dough in the shape you want, cake it with sauce cheese, pepperoni, and olives. Make sure to spread evenly.
  • Put in oven for about 35 minutes. Look back every 5 minutes because sometimes it takes shorter longer and what have you.

And there you have it. Somewhat grown up pizza. Serve with salad and fruit, and it may keep you away from the doctor

Pizza, fruit, and salad

Pizza, fruit, and salad

Watch Jessi’s review of the meal below, and for the record I was not sucking up to her lol. Thank you for all those sending in recipes, and keep them coming

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Week 2: From Broke College Student To Chef

Background

Make Sure You Come Prepare

I am not sure what is more shocking: That I am actually following through with this whole cooking , or my kitchen has not burned down. For those who know me know this not out of them realm of possibility.

This week I had my roomie, bfffla, and partner in crime Cristalle help me cook, provide today’s recipes, and be the tester. For those who don’t know, Cristalle loves cooking, especially baking (I blame her for the extra poundage…okay not really, but she is a hell of a baker). She also has a style of her own when it comes to well everything which includes cooking. One time she made strawberry flavor shrimp for dinner, and let’s just say she never made it again, but at least she brought her own flavor.

This time is no different when it comes to this week’s dish of Butternut Squash Enchiladas and Sauteed Swiss Chard with Parmesan Cheese. Before starting this, make sure you read ALL of the recipe to make sure you have all the ingredients in your cabinets. Don’t assume because it makes an ass out of you and me or something of that sort. You will see why in a second.

 

Butternut Squash Enchiladas and Sauteed Swiss Chard with Parmesan Cheese

Butternut Squash Enchiladas and Sauteed Swiss Chard with Parmesan Cheese

For obvious reasons,but needs to be said, cook separately and mix at the end.

Butternut Squash Enchiladas

Ingredients

  • 8 (5 inch) corn tortillas (Did not read that it was corn instead of flour until oh when we started cooking. If you are serving more than two people, use corn, but big flour tortillas is alright as well. Use 4)
  • 1/2 unpeeled butternut squash, seeded
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 4 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (We did not use tomatoes for two main reasons. One, we did not have any. Two, I hate them. However, it might have added to the flavor)
  • 1 cup enchilada sauce (While cooking with Cristalle, we don’t really measure all the time. Therefore if you just so happen to use the whole can, which is like 2 cups, what the hell?)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup crumbled cotija cheese(Safeway does not carry this, or at least the one I went to. However Queso Fesco works just the same, and is hell of addicting. We may or may not have used it as our other side dish)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream, for topping (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Lay the tortillas flat onto a baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven until crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Meanwhile, place the butternut squash half into a microwave-safe dish cut-side-down, and pour in the water. Cook in the microwave until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and dice; place into a mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and onion; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and sun-dried tomatoes. Continue cooking until the spinach wilts. Gently fold the spinach mixture into the diced butternut squash.
  4. Arrange four crispy tortillas on the baking sheet. Divide the squash mixture among the tortillas. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of goat cheese over each tortilla, then top with the remaining tortillas. Pour the enchilada sauce over top, and sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of cotija cheese.(we did two large flour tortillas)
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until hot, about 10 minutes. Garnish each enchilada with chopped cilantro leaves and a dollop of sour cream to serve.( not a fan of the sour cream, but hey go with it)

Sauteed Swiss Chard with Parmesan Cheese

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced (we used white because we did not have red, but still good)
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems and center ribs cut out and chopped together, leaves coarsely chopped separately
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (red works pretty good especially if you drink it while you cook)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste (could have added flavor, however not a huge deal if you forget to buy it)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt to taste (optional)

Directions

  1. Melt butter and olive oil together in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the garlic and onion, and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the chard stems and the white wine. Simmer until the stems begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chard leaves, and cook until wilted. Finally, stir in lemon juice and Parmesan cheese; season to taste with salt if needed.

Even though it was just the two of us, we thought it turned out well especially if you add a glass (bottle) of red wine mixed with some Queso Fesco and Greys Anatomy. Cristalle did not want to appear on video to give her review, and because she helped me cook and my bfffla, we can give her this pass this one time. No one else. She did offer this review, which has been translated in some way or another:Meal was good. 8 out of ten.

I guess very simple. Keep sending recipes.  Until next week.


Week 1: From Broke College Student To Chef

Background

Kitchen Did Not Burn Down

Week One: Steak and Arugula

So week one sort of went off without a hitch. I did almost forget, and my motivation lapse to post this due to nap time, but here we are. My first week, and who better to be a tester than my baby brother Nathan. I offered it to other people, but for some reason they were all busy, or had already ate. I found my recipe in the latest People Magazine. Who knew my obsession for trashy magazines would benefit in the end? The recipe goes as follows:

Steak and Arugula

Rumor has it that this is suppose to serve four people. Orginial chef clearly not from a Mexican family.

What you need:

1 12oz boneless sirloin steak
2 (1/2) tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. coarsely ground salt (hell if I know what this is. It tasted great regardless. If you know, I guess more power to you)
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
4 cups arugula
1/4 cup of Grana Padano, Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese.any cheese would work if you have no idea what any of these cheeses are. I used feta)
Balsamic vinegar to taste(remember to check to see if your roommate used it all up before you are done preparing the meal. Sad face. Italian dressing works just the same)

What you do next

1) Preheat Oven to 400
2) Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil and garlic in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat(Be sure to pay attention to the pan because you may burn the garlic. This may or may not have happened)
3) Coat the meat with about 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Season both sides of meat with salt and pepper.
4) Sear meat in hot skillet 3 minutes per side, moving as little as possible.
5) Using an oven mitt (a towel will work just as well)transfer meat to the oven and cook until medium rare, no more than 3 minutes
6) Remove meat from oven, let rest 3 to 4 minutes and slice against the grain (shout out to those who listen to Dan Patrick) into 1/2 in. thick pieces.( you can also do it before you cook. I wouldn’t recommend it. Actually don’t do this, and follow directions. Cutting raw meat is gross. Learned this the hard way)
7) Divide arugula among four plates and top each with 4 to 5 slices of steak
8 ) Top each plate with 2 or 3 cheese shavings and drizzle (love this word)with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste

And there you go. My first meal went off without blowing up my kitchen. I did burn a few things, and my brother hated the salad, but at least he is still alive as of yesterday. He gives his review below, and remember I am still looking for recipes.



From Broke College Student To Chef

9)Learn to Cook

So here’s the thing: I am not a good cook.

It’s not because I am truly bad at it like say my driving, I just never found it fun or interesting, and I truly never really had to learn. I can read directions, depend on the kindness of others, or I am fabulous talking on the phone.

So far in life, it has feed me pretty well. Have you seen my butt? I could continue on with this, but  while making my list of 25 things I want to do before I turn 25 it hit me, I don’t know how to truly cook, and while I can depend on others, what if I move away from my family and friends? Who is going to cook for me then? And even then, most people won’t think the broke adult thing is as cute as the broke college thing, therefore lack of food.

So what is a girl to do while trying to complete her list and become adult? Well I decide to turn to social media. Being a former reporter and current student, I am really good at deadlines, therefore if I give myself a deadline then I will more likely follow it.

So here it is, every week starting with the first full week in January, I will post what I learned to cook that week with recipe, review, comments from the peanut gallery what have you. I will do this probably until I turn 25 on November 18, maybe longer. Maybe fun, may get food poisoning.

But I need recipes. They can range from starters to main meals to desserts, whatever you can think of. You can post the recipes here, email, Facebook,Twitter, or whatever.

So please send me what you got, and I will do my best not to burn down my kitchen. Thank You and Happy Holidays.

Creativity in Social Media

It can be said that Henri Lefebvre, a French sociologist, was a bit of a romantic at heart. While he viewed capitalism as ruining how society lives in the everyday by alienating and isolating ourselves, he stated that if we saw what it was doing to our lives and profession, we maybe to still see life’s creativity and things may turn out differently.

In a weird way, the everyday of Social Media can be seen this way. Never before in the history of communications have there been so many owners and producers. Everyday people log on to sites like Facebook, Twitter, and other sites, and everyday there is something new for them to explore and possibly produce. It might be for selfish reasons to see how popular they are. It might be to share pictures. It might be to produce a video. And yes, we may make money from it. Whatever their reasons, people are participating and adding their own content to the world, however big or small. That content is needed in order for Social Media to even exist. All users have their own level of creativity and reasons for why they participate in social media, and the numbers show that people from all walks of life are doing it, because, I think, people have, and will always have, that need to connect and feel a part of something. Those who participate are allowing their own words, their own production, and their own piece of history to be documented. Yes, they may be contributing to what is seen as the evils of capitalism; however we do that outside of Social Media. Within Social Media, creativity can blossom and change how we connect and communicate.

There is some evidence in how Social Media has effect and transformed everyday practices, but it will be years before researchers can fully and accurately determine social media in what ways social media has changed us. The research maybe based off soon to be outdated websites, social networks, and tools because how rapidly the medium is changing. But the main ideals and concepts will be able to emerge, and give a better understanding.

What can be determined at this time is the there is a market and audience who use Social Media and networks on a daily basis. The numbers, as well as the interactions, can not be denied, but rather should be embraced. Users are now creating content and sharing it, which has changed the ways in which communications is currently being conducted. It is no longer simply the broadcast model of yesterday. There is still a sender with a message, but now there are multiple receivers who are also the many senders of content. As of now there is no set model, and if Social Media continues in the same direction as it is, there will be no set model. There is no need for one. This trend may be beneficial for a diverse group of users for the various social networks because it does not appeal to simply one person or group. Social Media as a whole can reach millions of people because it can fit to anyone’s needs and/or wants, and become a part of its everyday practices. It has been shown to help people being stay in contact while still building meaningful relationships. And at the same time, it will give into what seems to be the need and want for instant gratification and distraction.

Where Social Media will go, and what its capabilities will be, is still unknown. As the technology grows, and more information emerges, the more society as a whole will know and understand Social Media and its everyday practices. In fact research of Social Media is being created by its users more than researchers because users document is growth and use just by logging on. It helps create a history of our communications, and with it, it will help create evidence for its present and future impact in the next coming years. It will be at this time when Social Media’s impact can be truly measured.

 

25 things to do before I turn 25

 

Yep, that is me 20 years ago

That time of year again. In the next couple days this 23 year old will be turning 24. And although 23 has been a great year, I believe it will only get better from here. So here is my list of this time of 25 things I want to do before I turn 25.

Let’s start with the things from last year’s list that I didn’t get to:

1) Donate my hair to locks of love

I promise I will do this before next year. I am trying to grow my hair out really, really long so when they cut it, I will still have some hair.

2) Go Zip Lining

In the state of Arizona, we were only able to find places where you had to do zip lining as a group, therefore I need to travel somewhere else to find zip lining. If you know of anything, please let me know.

3) Write a funny story about my Grandpa

I think this one has been the hardest because of how personal it is. However if there is a will, there is a way

4 ) See the Suns win a championship…*cross fingers*( might change this before I die)

Considering how there have been tons of trade rumors for Steve Nash, I am not sure if this will happen. I have faith in my time, but this will be on the list until there is no need for it.

5) Buy a lottery ticket when the jackpot is 100 million

I have never been a gambler when it comes to money. The rush I get when I gamble is not a fun one,therefore I rather avoid it. However maybe one dollar could change the world.

6) Take an unplanned trip

After not writing the story for my grandpa, this is the one I had wish I had done.

7) Learn how to ride a bike

I will admit it, I am clumsy as hell. I fall just simply walking. However, when someone goes “well it’s as easy as riding a bike,” I can never nod in agreement, just more in awkwardness.

8 ) Go to a Cardinals game in their new stadium

I have not done this, but if anyone has extra tickets, I am more than willing to fill that seat.

And now the new things:

9)Learn to cook

Listen, I am the greatest at calling in food orders, reservations, etc. However, sometimes even that can get boring. And while it can be fun, I want to enjoy cooking.  I can make the basics, but with grad school, it is often hard to find time to eat, little lone cook it. I am hoping as it winds down it will be easier.

10) Visit a new country

Last year I got to see some great new states, but it is time to broaden my horizons. Time to see more of this crazy planet.Maybe somewhere in Asia. Maybe Costa Rica. I got a travel bug.

11) Finish my applied project

So far, my project has been a pain in the butt. From getting it started to what I want to accomplish. Hopefully it will get off the ground because I need it to:

12) Graduate from Grad School

To be honest, grad school has been the hardest, most rewarding thing I have done. I have written about three novels worth of papers and essays, read millions of pages, and slept very little. Lost a couple things from its effects, but in the end the gain will be worth it….I think.

13) Find a job that fits my career, and that I love

At the end of May, I will have two shinny pieces of papers that will tell the world two things. One: I spent a lot of money. Two: I am qualified. So please hire me. *fingers crossed*

14) Sing in front of a crowd

I am not talking like Karaoke because that is more fun and off key. But maybe with a band or seriously even just one time. I by no means want to make a career out of it, just something that would be fun.

15) Donate Blood

I hate needles. In fact, I hate blood. However, with recent family and medical events, you start to realize life is short. You have to live it and give back. Here is one way i can do it.

16) Learn to change a tire

I will admit, I am kind of dumb when it comes to my car. It is almost like I completely zone out anytime someone talks about cars, therefore I want to learn some basics.

17) Improve and strengthen relationships.

A lot will be changing during my 24th year. People will leave, some will stay, and some will enter my world I never thought would. I want to keep those relationships close to my heart, no matter where the world will take me or them.

18) Take a dance class

I know some of you maybe shocked to know I haven’t taken classes as an adult. Shocking I know. Therefore I would like to take a class, and see how it goes. Maybe my new thing.

19) Learn Spanish

I joke a lot about this, but I am really upset at myself for not being fluent in Spanish. I kind of took it for granted, but I don’t always want to be like this. I want to be able to speak, write, and communicate Spanish.

20) Run a 5k without stopping

Not sure how I am going to do this because I hate running, but hey let’s try this

21) Move

This maybe one of those things that can wait until the next year, but here is a brief summary of my moving experience. I lived in the house I grew up in for 18 years, then my current local for almost 6 years with a brief break down under. I love having one steady locale, but I do feel it is time to move. Just not sure when

22)Try a new restaurant  where I have never eaten that type of food

I am not sure where to go with this, but maybe like Ethiopian or something like that.

23) Take an Improv Class

I may really suck at it, but hey at least I tried.

24) Streaking?

Maybe not that per se, but do something out of character that is fun and excited/ Life is about enjoying it, not going through the motions. Sometimes I have gone through the motions, but lately, I am trying to to take chances.

25) Make 24 the best yet. 25 will then be better


2 Months to go

Everyone makes lists whether it be a top ten, bucket, or grocery. The list making process is what we do either to be organized or make it appear so. About 10 months ago, I contributed to the list making world by putting together 23 things I want to do before I turn 24.  In about 61 days(but really who is counting) I will be turning that awkward age, and while I have thought about the list, it took a few of my friends to make me actually go back and look at the list. So here is my update. And here is to hoping I can accomplish this all:

1) Spend more time with family and friends that have your back. Do not waste time with people because you feel bad when they wouldn’t do the same.

My family has definitely changed this year. With good, bad, and ugly news, however we are still a family. I love them more than they will ever know, but I do express it to them as much as I can.

As for friends, in the past year,my circle of friends have become smaller. This is not bad thing, but instead of spending time with people who I truly can’t stand sober, I spend it with people who truly matter to me and I to them. I can obviously work on this more, but as is life.

I say accomplished

2) Donate my hair to locks of love

Ummm…yea has not happened. Not going to lie, I love my long hair, and it is really hard for me to part ways with it. This is a we will see if it will be done in the next 61 days. If not, going on the list next year.

3) Be more direct, not passive aggressive. I sometimes don’t say things to make sure people don’t get mad at me. However somethings need to be said.

Still a work in progress, at least to myself. Some would argue that I have accomplished this, but there is always room for improvement. I will say accomplished, but always can do more.

4) Go Zip Lining

My good friends Carissa and Jen looked this up, and did you know there are no zip lining places in Arizona that are for individuals, only groups. So if anyone knows of any, maybe even ones I can drive to out of state, please let me know ASAP

5) Loose ** lbs and change my eating habits

Done and done. This last year I have lost a good amount of weight. I am not going to post how much, but let us just say that it more than my age, less than 100. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud and feel accomplished, but let’s move on.

6) Learn the secret to my nana’s chocolate chip cookies…

Yes I did. And no I am not telling you.

7) Write a funny story about my Grandpa

Let me start by saying, this hasn’t been done. With a subject like my grandpa, I have tried hundreds of times to do this, and I feel a constant brick wall in my way. I am not sure why,but it seems that way. Of all the things I need to accomplish, I hope this is one of them.

8 ) See the Suns win a championship…*cross fingers*( might change this before I die)

Every year, I think this is the year. This is the year the Suns are going to win it all And every year I am more disappointed than the last. And every year I think, why am I do this to myself? But then every year I am excited to watch them kick some butt and try to win it all. It is a cycle, a bad cycle. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Actually I would like them to win.

Oh yea, almost forgot. Spurs suck it!

9) Kiss in the Rain

It doesn’t rain a lot here, but I sure as hell got that kiss. And it was worth it.

10) Start my applied project for grad school

It has been started. I can’t talk too much about it, but I am uber excited for it.

11) Travel to a new state or country

I will like to welcome the sort of great state of Maryland to place I have been.

12) Buy a lottery ticket when the jackpot is 100 million

To be honest, I am not sure why I put this on my list. But it is something easy to do. This will surely get done. And when I win, I’m going to Disneyland.

13) Maybe update my blog more…maybe

Guess what I am doing right now? *Evil laugh*

14) Clean my closet out of clothes I never wear. Also clean out things I don’t need. Donate both.

For those who don’t know, my friends and I go shopping in my closet. It is true, I have a habit of buying clothes, and seeing them months later, forgetting I bought them. I do have a problem. I get it.

However, I did accomplish this goal. I cleaned out 3 bagfuls of clothes, had friends take them, and donate them. My closet looked rather bare for like a week, and it looked good for a week. But soon it was filled again. You can’t hate on a girl and her clothes

15) Take an unplanned trip for a couple days.

I have an issue with lack of time, and planning things. Most would not see a problem in this, but it would not hurt just to take off somewhere on a whim. I will keep everyone posted.

16) Eat something new that I have never ate before. Deer Maybe?

Alright so it wasn’t deer, however I did eat some amazing Maryland Crab. It is so good, I may have to update the sort of great state to the great state of Maryland. It will have to go through committee first.

17) Redesign my bedroom

Has it been redone in the last year? Yes. Has it been finished? Not really. A work in progress, but I say accomplished nevertheless.

18) Ask a guy out on a date

According to the boy, yes this has been done. He says because I plan everything out, this counts.

19) Learn to ride a bike

Same boy says he will teach me this before my birthday. While I believe he will try, I am not sure if after 23 years I will be able to. Keep your fingers crossed that I am able to do this and not hurt myself too bad.

20) Having an amazing St.Patty’s to make up for the lack of one when I was 22

I had a blast this last St.Patty’s day thanks to my loves. No I didn’t get to consume any of the Irish kinds, but dancing my butt off was good enough.

21) Go to a Cardinals game in their new stadium

I have not done this, but if anyone has extra tickets, I am more than willing to fill that seat.

22) Let people know I love and appreciate them. I would not be who I am without any of them

I do try to do this all the time, and I will continue.

23) Make 23 better than 22. Do not be depress about it. Wait until you are dead.

It has been an amazing year, and with still two months to go, it can only get better.