Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas Eve! Hope everyone is having an awesome holiday and enjoying their time with family and friends.

I hope I win at cards tonight...and then I can get these awesome New Years shoes! The only problem is New Years in Garden Valley usually entails I am not sure if I'll actually be able to wear these puppies - but so gorgeous.

Enjoy your holidays :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Quinoa Chili

My mom first introduced me to quinoa and I love it.  I am surprised how many people have never even heard of it - when I bring it to lunch, I get all sorts of quizzical stares and questions about what I am eating.  My mom and I both like to buy our quinoa from Costco.  I didn't want to drive there the other day, so I ended up buying my most recent batch from the bulk foods section of Fred Meyer ($3.99/lb).

This recipe for Quinoa Chili came from

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water

1 pound extra lean ground beef *Optional

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced (2 teaspoons preminced)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced - use a serrano pepper if you prefer more heat
1 Tablespon chili powder
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
2 19oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon dried parsley (or 2 tablespoons fresh parsley)
black pepper to taste
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1) Bring the quinoa and water to a boil over high heat.  A good rule of thumb for cooking quinoa is a 2:1 water to quinoa ratio.  Reduce heat to a medium low, cover, and simmer until tender, about 15-20 minutes.  FYI I also cook quinoa all the time with no cover and it turns out fine.  Quinoa is pretty difficult to mess up.

2) If you are using meat, cook over medium high heat until the beef is crumbly, browned and no longer pink.  I like to ensure the meat is cooked throughly, so you don't have to worry about getting sick if you taste the chili while it cooks.  Drain the grease and set the meat aside.  If you are not using meat, skip this step entirely.

3) Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat.  You can use a soup pot or a big stirfry pan - pick a pan big enough to make all the chili in as well.  Add the onion, garlic, and serrano pepper* and cook for five minutes or so. 

*A note on the pepper - the store was out of jalapeno peppers so I decided to be adventurous and try a serrano pepper.  I was really scared to use it because a) I hate food that is too spicy and once the spice is in, you can't take the spice out and b) I always manage to get spicy-ness in my eye and it burns.  I was really careful this time and removed all the seeds from the middle, then chopped the pepper into tiny pieces.  It wasn't too spicy at all, so don't be too afraid to try a new kind of pepper! Next time I would even consider leaving the seeds in.

4) Add the cumin and chili powder and cook a minute more.  The onion mixture may look a bit thick - this is fine. 

5) Add the black beans, tomatoes, green and red bell peppers, zucchini, oregano and parsley.   Season to taste with salt and black pepper.  Simmer until the bell peppers are tender, about 20 minutes.

6) Add in the quinoa, beef (if using), and corn kernels.  Return to a simmer and cook five more minutes. 

7) To serve, stir in sour cream and add cheese if desired.

My recipe (meatless) made 8 cups of chili.  I calculated the calorie content and that is approximately 271 calories per cup.  This soup is CHOCK FULL of vegetables and I can't imagine many meals you can make that would be more healthy or delicious.  The beans add substance and there are all sorts of veggies and healthy spices (I especially love the addition of zucchini).  Ease off the cheese and lay off the meat, and you have an even healthier meal. You could also use Greek yogurt rather than sour cream. 

One other bonus?  The chili looks really awesome - it is very colorful.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Kale Chips

Kale is one of those vegetables that seemed foreign to me for quite some time - in the same vein as parsnips, brussel sprouts, collard greens, etc.  I used to have no idea what people did with kale, but now that I use it more often, I have realized how wonderful kale can be.

I always considered kale to be a lettuce, but it is actually part of the cabbage family.  It can come in green or purple, but I have only ever found green. 
Isn't the purple kale pretty?  [this photo is from]

Kale is very healthy - it is high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and has some calcium.  It also contains anti-cancer properties, due to it's sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol content.  Basically that means it is really healthy for you, but if you are curious what each of those nutrients do, here is a short run down:
  • Beta carotene - provides Vitamin A; helps protect cells from damage
  • Vitamin K - allows blood to clot normally; helps protect bones from fracture. *Kale has 531 mcg of Vitamin K per half cup; romaine lettuce only has 57
  • Vitamin C - needed for growth and repair of body tissue (like healing wounds)
  • Zeaxanthin - defends cells from damaging effects of free radicals; protect eyes
  • Lutein - similar to Zeaxanthin; anti-cancer and anti-aging; reduced risk of cataracts
  • Sulforaphane - Targets prostate and other hormone dependent cancer lines
  • Indole-3-carbinol - Used for prevention of breast cancer, colon cancer, and other types
So basically, you should be eating kale! One of the best articles I ever read framed eating healthy in a different way for me.  Rather than telling me what I should eat, it talked about what I was missing out on every time I didn't eat something healthy.  Eat a hamburger for lunch?  Okay, that's fine, but you just missed out on the opportunity to eat all sorts of cancer-fighting, age-slowing, body-enhancing nutrients.  Your choice :)

The other reason you should be eating kale is because KALE CHIPS ARE OUT OF THIS WORLD DELICIOUS!

My mom sent me a recipe for kale chips, and to be honest, I didn't think they would be that impressive.  I would surprised by all the positive reviews so I decided to give it a go.  Holy cow, they are one of the tastiest things I have ever made, and they do indeed taste similar to potato chips (better, I would venture).  The texture is outstanding - the perfect thing to make if you are craving something salty and crunchy.

Kale (mine was starting to get wilt-y and I was worried it wouldn't work.  It worked; no problems)
Olive oil or cooking spray
Seasonings of your choice
Parchment paper

1) Preheat oven to 350*.

2) Separate the leaves from the ribs. I do this by flatting the leaf and running a knife down both sides of the stem/rib.

3) Wash kale and thoroughly dry.  It is important the leaves are very dry if you want them to crunch up. 

4) Break the kale into bite size pieces.

5) Cover a cooking sheet with parchment paper.  Lay the kale in a layer over the sheet.  I did one layer only - I am not sure if you can stack the kale on top of each other and have it turn out, but you probably could.

6) Spray the kale with cooking spray or drizzle with olive oil.  I prefer the cooking spray - less calories and easier. Then, sprinkle with flavoring of your choice.  Here, you can get really creative.  However, I thought a heavy amount would be a good idea - I was wrong.  Try to season a bit sparingly.  One I tried with Italion Seasoning, which was great.  Another I tried with Lawry's seasoning salt and curry powder - way too salty.  Sea salt would be good and I think next time I will try ranch powder.  I'll update this post if I find any awesome new combinations.

7) Cook the kale for five minutes.  After that, I like to take it out and flip the leaves over and spray the underside with cooking spray as well.

8) Cook for about another five minutes but be paranoid about it.  I burned mine quite a bit the first time by overcooking only two minutes or so.  If you are worried, err on the side of taking them out too soon and keep taste testing as they are cooking. 
                                                 Those above are BAD kale chips :(
                                                 And these are GOOD kale chips :)

9) ENJOY! They are absolutely amazing and very low calorie. One cup chopped has only 34 calories. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Sentry by Robert Crais

If you are like me and find the holidays are a great time to curl up and read a book, get this book.
I think that book is the reason I didn't get much done this week.  It was no coincidence the day after I finished reading it is the day I finally took some time to clean my messier-than-usual house.

This book is a book in the "crime thriller" category - yes, your typical murder mystery.  However, there are a lot of twists, a dash of weird, and characters you can fall in love with (aka Joe Pike and his friend Elvis Cole!).  It was a pretty quick, easy read, but also kept me on my toes. 

I think I am off to Garden Valley this weekend, so between now and New Years, I imagine my posts will be pretty slim.  Can't wait to celebrate the holidaysa and see my family soon!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Veggie Quinoa

My mom was the first person who got me interested in quinoa, and I have her to thank for my big Costco-sized bag of quinoa (which is almost on its last legs!).  I prefer quinoa to rice, and I was even more excited to discover I can cook quinoa in my new rice cooker.

My favorite way to use quinoa is as the base for one of those days when it is time to clean out your fridge.  You can stir fry veggies, chop up herbs, throw in meat, use almost any sauce, add nuts, etc.  Quinoa goes good with almost anything.

Today I was feeling lazy (even too lazy to take pictures) and I had a bunch of extra herbs in the fridge.  I spent some time earlier in the week chopping the herbs, so they were all ready to go.

All you need to do is cook the correct amount of quinoa for your needs - I like to cook a cup at a time, so I have leftovers for the next day.  When cooking quinoa, a simple rule of thumb is to have a 2:1 water to quinoa ratio.  For instance, 1 cup of quinoa needs two cups of water.  Then, bring the quinoa to a solid boil and boil for fifteen minutes.  When done, wait five minutes and fluff.

Then I add my herbs - this time I added cilantro, chives and parsley.

After that, you can add your dressing - I usually do a drizzle of olive oil and some balsamic vinegar.  Hoisin sauce is great with quinoa, soy sauce goes well, and most viniagrettes would work too.

Then, throw in some chopped nuts, feel free to melt some cheese and ENJOY!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Balsamic Rosemary Turkey

*My original inspiration for this recipe came from the January 2012 edition of Cosmopolitan, but I changed it to suit what was available in my kitchen.

I wanted to make something delicious (besides just lettuce) using my new Raspberry Lime Balsamic.  I picked up turkey cutlets at Fred Meyers on Friday, and decided this would be a good way to use them.  This recipe was more of "a dash of this and a dash of this," adding what I wanted, but I will try and explain what I did. It was also very cheap - I had almost everything in my cupboards.

  • 5 turkey cutlets
  • Minced garlic (to taste)
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves removed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • Juice from half a lemon* My lemon was VERY juicy so you may want to use an entire lemon
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Dried thyme

1) Whisk together the garlic, rosemary, balsamic, olive oil, lemon juice and dijon.  I used half normal balsamic and half raspberry lime balsamic, but you could use whatever you have.  It really didn't taste very different to me.

2) Poke holes in the turkey cutlets with a fork, all over the front and back.

3) Put the turkey in a gallon zip lock bag and pour in the marinade.  Massage the turkey through the bag so the marinade soaks in.  I marinated for 3 hours, but that was just because I wasn't ready for dinner.  I am still figuring out marinades, so I am not sure how long you *should* marinade.  If you don't have a lot of time, you could always pour the sauce over and cook in the sauce instead.

4) When ready, heat up a big pan on medium.  Add the turkey cutlets and cook until done.  Mine were very thin cutlets and took about 7 minutes to cook through (and I like my meat very well done).  I also was cooking five cutlets, so I cooked three first, then the other two.

5) When done with the meat, remove and add mushrooms.  Add splashes of balsamic as necessary to cook mushrooms.  I used dried thyme (that used to be fresh) but you could use dried or fresh thyme - sprinkle over mushrooms to taste.  Cook at least five minutes, but I find the longer they cook, the better they taste.

6) Plate the turkey and cover with the mushrooms.  Serve with a lemon wedge.

The best part of this meal is the turkey with marinade is under 200 calories per cutlet (depending on the size of your cutlet of course).  The marinade is 325 calories total (so 65 calories per cutlet) and my packaging said each cutlet was about 120 calories.  This is a very filling meal with lots of flavor but low on calories.  Also really simple - I only had to use one bowl for mixing the dressing and another pan for cooking.

I think I will be cooking with turkey more in the future.  I don't know if it was because my cutlets were so thin or what, but it didn't have a trace of that bloody flavor chicken sometimes gets.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Dream Power

I just got this book from the library - Dream Power by Cynthia Richmond.
I thought this book might be a bit boring, as I imagined it would only contain a bunch of dreams and interpretations of them.  However, it was much more than that, and even though I am not finished reading the book, I have found it very motivating. 

The introduction to the book may be a bit hard for most to swallow - Cynthia talks about an idea that sleeps is like "recess for our souls."  While we sleep, our souls gather around with other souls, talk, experience, and basically play.  Dreams are how they communicate important information to us.  Like I said, hard to swallow, but her ideas about dreams did motivate me to start paying more attention to my dreams.  I have some crazy ones but never really think twice about them.  It will be exciting to try and see if I can uncover any information in them.  Even if it is a bit wacky, I don't think there will be any harm in becoming more in tune with myself.

Cynthia says her method for remembering your dreams works for everyone in two weeks. 

Here are her instruction for remembering your dreams:
  • Create the intention to remember your dreams.  When you go to bed, tell yourself you will remember your dreams because they are important to you. Also tell yourself, "When my alarm clock goes off, my dreams will come vividly to mind"
  • Make sure your environment is comfortable - nice temperature, comfortable bedding, non-restrictive pajamas
  • Use a gentle alarm clock if your body will wake up to it - soft music, quieter sounds, etc.
  • Keep a pen, journal, and small flashlight near your bed to write down your dreams as you have them (like if you wake up in the night and/or when you wake up in the morning)
  • Date each entry in your notebook
Here are her instruction for recording your dreams:
  • Lie still when you first wake up and then immediately write everything you remember in your dream journal
  • If you can't remember the whole dream, write down any fragments you recall.
  • If nothing comes to mind, ask yourself what feeling you woke up with and record that
One of the most interesting parts of the book so far has been on recurring dreams.  I have some really weird, random dreams, but I haven't experienced many recurring dreams.  Here are some dreams and her interpretations of them, to help you get started on your own.

Recurring dreams:

Cynthia says recurring dreams are urgent messages from your unconscious and a gift, as they can provide important information we are yearning to understand. 

Grace's dream:

I was in a bad relationship that started off great.  My husband made me feel beautiful and I throught the universe was rewarding me.  After a few months, my husband changed and started talking about his past relationships, in a negative way.  He got really moody and was verbally abusive.  We would have bad days and good days and it was very confusing - it felt like a roller coaster I couldn't get off.  I didn't know what to do and I began to have recurring dreams.

I dreamed about bathrooms and needing to find a bathroom - urgently.  Sometimes I would go through a maze, thinking it was leading to a toilet, but when I opened the stall door, there was no toilet.  Or, the toilet would be filthy or some primitive hole-in-the floor toilet.

Cynthia's interpretation:

This dream was Grace's unconscious trying to provide a strong warning.  Bathrooms represent cleansing and where we go to let go of what is no longer benefiting us.  It was time for Grace to let go, but she was having trouble doing that. Once she broke up with Earl, she stopped having the toilet dreams.

Andre's dream:

I have had this dream for at least 5 years now.  I have wings like an angel and am flying through the sky when a flying red devil starts chasing me.  The devil gets closer and closer, gaining on me.  I worry about what will happen when he finally catches up to me.

Cynthia's interpretation:

This is a dream depicting conflict between good and evil.  Andre sees himself as good, free to fly or proceed with his life unobstructed.  However, the flying devil represents temptation and evil.  We are all constantly put in a position of deciding for ourselves how we want to deal with temptation.  Sometimes we are a little tempted to do something we may later feel bad about (in Andre's dreams, these may be times the devil gets particularly close).  However, temptation and evil serve an important purpose in our lives, forcing us to define ourselves by rejecting them.  As long as Andre continues to have this dream, he may feel insecure about whether he can resist temptation that, at time, hovers near.  Asking "What do I find tempting or threatening" and "How can I reinforce my commitment to what is right," could shed light on any insecurity and help squash his flying devil.

Jenny's dream:

Jenny is a busy woman in her thirties, up for a promotion that she hopes to get (even though it is not her dream career).  Her boss heaps extra duties on her, and she worries if she even has time for vacation, let alone a date.

In my recurring dream, the details vary but the gist is the same.  I come across a birdcage with a bird I have forgotten to feed.  I never seem to get around to feeding this bird, as I can't find any food.  Then my dream goes on to something else.

Cynthia's interpretation:

Birds generally represent freedom. A pet represents a living thing within our care and responsibility.  The cage represents being cooped up, a loss of freedom, but is also a trap we can see through.  Food is required to sustain life and is symbolic of nurturing, love and spiritual sustenance.  So this suggests Jennry is not nurturing her free will and feels part of her is locked up, unable to express itself. Asking a question like "Where in my life do I feel trapped" could help her decide what to work on.

Those are just some quick snapshots from the book, but I wanted to give you an idea of how Cynthia goes about interpreting dreams.  I am going to try and start recording mine, and see if I come across anything interesting.  If anything, it will be a fun experiment to try.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Magnetic Oven Mitts

This is so easy it shouldn't even be considered a craft.

Yesterday I was going through my closet and found one of the big boxes of kitchen stuff I got when I was moving.  Inside were two snowman pot holders.  I hadn't used them because I already had pot holders, but I decided these would make for easy, free Christmas decor!

I already had magnets and a hot glue gun.  All I did was glue the magnets to the pot holders, and voila! They hang on my oven and look festive.  In fact, I might do this with all my pot holders - not sure why I didn't think of it before.  It is easier having them hanging there than trying to rummage around in a drawer when a pan is hot and ready.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Olive and the Grape

I went to the mall with my friend yesterday (in search of rainbow colored skinny jeans - that is a whole different story) and we stumbled upon a new store called "The Olive and the Grape."  We thought it was a wine store, and her husband and I like wine, so we went over to check it out.

We were pleasantly surprised to find it was a gourmet vinegar/olive oil store!  They have samples of almost everything and we were giddy with excitement tasting them all.  There were gourmet olive oils (I wouldn't pay more for plain olive oil so this wasn't that exciting), about 10 flavors of balsamic vinegar, 4 or 5 flavored olive oils, and about 10 viniagrettes.  They also had two of the best dips I have ever tasted, what looked to be homemade pastas (or fancy at least) and stuffed olives (garlic, habanero, and jalapeno).

The main brand of the vinegars was Gianni's Fine Foods.

Here are the flavors of balsamic:
  • Chipotle Garlic Balsamic
  • Classic 18 Balsamic
  • Dark Chocolate Balsamic
  • Healthy Berry Balsamic
  • Peach Lime Cinnamon Balsamic
  • Pear Lime Cinnamon Balsamic
  • Raspberry Lime Ricky Balsamic
  • Sassy Citrus Balsamic
Here are the viniagrettes:
  • Asian Persuasion
  • Classic Cabernet
  • Classic Chardonnay
  • Garlic Blue Cheese and Toasted Walnut
  • Classic Italian
  • It's All Greek to Me
  • Liquid Pesto
  • Six Mushroom White Truffle
  • Sun-Dried Tomato Caprese
  • Tuscan-Herb Roasted Garli
Here are the olive oils:
  • Meyer Lemon
  • Triple Spanish
  • Roasted Garlic
  • Chile
  • Orange
I wasn't a fan of dark chocolate balsamic by itself (but can imagine it would be good with fruit/ice cream) but when the salesman mixed it with orange olive oil, it was amazing.  It tasted just like one of those dark chocolate orange chocolate candies.

Other delicious ones of note were Liquid Pesto, Sassy Citrus Balsamic, Healthy Berry Balsamic, and Raspberry Lime Ricky Balsamic.  However, almost each and every vinegar/viniagrette was fantastic.  The only one I wasn't a huge fan of was the pear/peach lime cinnamon vinegars.  They would be good on the right food though, I am sure.

I ended up buying Raspberry Lime Ricky Balsamic.  Right after purchasing it, I ran out and bought lettuce, chives, cilantro, rosemary, dill, thyme and parsley.  I tossed together a big salad, and eagerly drizzled the balsamic and some olive oil over my salad.  TO DIE FOR.  The vinegar is very thick and rich - it is obviously good quality.


Tonight I am going to try marinating turkey cutlets in the balsamic with some olive oil, then sprinkling with rosemary. I'll let you know how it turns out.

My biggest problem?  I think I have already used about half the is not going to be cheap if I become addicted to this stuff. I have been mixing olive oil and the vinegar in a little dish, then using lettuce leaves to sop it up (the healthy version of a bread dish).  I have totally ignored all other cooking because this is so delicious. 

I have two other issues - this stuff is healthy, but not as healthy as normal balsamic.  Also, a little voice in the back of my head keeps telling me I could make this.  Yes, I might be able to get close, but I don't think it would be such exceptional quality. 

Here are the nutritional facts for my bottle, in case you are curious (for 1 Tablespoon):
40 calories (calories from fat: 0), Total fat: 0g, Trans fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0g, Sodium: 0mg, Total Carbs: 10g, Dietary fiber: 0g, Sugars: 6 g, Protein: 0g.

For the ingredients, it only says 18-year-old balsamic vinegar, puree of red raspberries, and lime juice (another reason I think I can make it myself).  I am going to look into it if I get a chance, and will let you know if these end up being easy to make (some, I am sure, would be easier than others).

Which one sounds the tastiest to you?  I think when I get another for myself, I will try out the Healthy Berry Balsamic.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Perfect Baked Potato

I live in Idaho now, so it is only fair I share my favorite recipe for baked potatoes.  They sure are a cheap way to get some nourishment - $1.29 for a five pound bag. I got my baked potato recipe from Jacques Pepin and Julia Child.  Here is how they, and I, recommend cooking baked potatoes...quite possibly one of the easiest things to make. Sometimes if I don't have a lunch ready for work, I pop the potatoes in when I wake up in the morning, and they are ready to grab and go when I head to work.

1) Preheat oven to 425* and set the rack in the bottom third of the oven.

2) Scrub your potatoes under cold running water and cut off any parts that look sketchy.

3) Place the potato directly on the rack (no dishes!).  Bake for 45 minutes - pierce with a knife to ensure they are done.

4) When the potatoes are done, remove them and cut a 2 inch slash lengthwise.  Press the two ends toward each other to make room for salt and pepper and your choice of toppings.  Here is where Julia and I diverge - I understand what she is getting at and can visualize cutting a 2 inch slash and pushing the ends together.  However, it never seems to work for me.  What I do now is cut the potato in half and separate the two halves.  Then I cut a bunch of slashes widthwise and a bunch lengthwise so my entire potato looks like a crisscross.  Then I mash in my toppings.

My favorite potato is lots of pepper, sea salt, a bit of olive oil, chives, parsley, a shake or two of grated parmesan cheese and a big huge side of ketchup.  Absolutely delicious and without all the butter/sour cream, bacon etc. it really makes for a healthy dinner.  Try to add as many herbs/vegetables as you can for an even healthier meal.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Mindless Eating

In honor of Thanksgiving, I wanted to post a few really interesting excerpts from one of my favorite nonfiction books, Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink.  The book is meant to be a lifestyle book - it explains all sorts of influences that affect how much we eat, how much we enjoy what we eat, and more.  It also works as a diet book, because the premise is if you can make little changes that result in eating less without even noticing, then you can lose weight without noticing.  They call this the "mindfulness gap." Essentially, eating 100-200 calories less per day can add up to losing 10 pounds in a year. Also, that means eating 100-200 calories extra per day can add up to gaining 10 pounds in a year - yikes.

I love food, I love books and I love research related to food, so this is one of my favorite books.  I reread it all the time.  Here are some of my favorite research anecdotes from the book, and ways you could consider applying it to your Thanksgiving meal (let's be honest - would you really notice eating 20% less on Thanksgiving??).

1) Popcorn Study - Eat your food on smaller plates or use only one plate at a time.

The experiment: Researchers gave movie-goers free popcorn - half were given a medium popcorn and half were given a large.  The catch?  The popcorn was five days stale. Both popcorn sizes were designed to be large enough that neither group was able to finish all of their popcorn.  Then, when the movie ended, researches weighed how much popcorn was left.  Interestingly, upon exit of the movie, the people with the large popcorns were certain that the size of the container had no effect on them.

The results: The big popcorn group at 173 calories more popcorn - an average of 53% more than people with the medium bucket.  Keep in mind this had nothing to do with the popcorn being delicious - it was STALE.  But, the size of the bucket influnced the eating behavior.
2) North Dakota Wine - Environment sets expectations, so set your environment.

The experiment: Half of a controlled restaurant was given wine from "North Dakota" and half was given wine from "California."  It was actually the same wine - Two Buck Chuck/Charles Shaw.

The results: Both groups drank the same amount of wine, which was not surprising because they were only given one glass.  However, those with the California wine ate 11% more of their food and stayed 10 minutes longer at the table.

The findings showed that those receiving the California wine told themselves something along the lines of  "Oh, this meal is going to be good," while the North Dakota drinkers convinced themselves the meal was going to be a disappointment.  The takeaway?  People are making subconscious decisions about the meal based on their first impressions.  Make your surroundings beautiful and consider your display.  It will affect how people enjoy the food.

3) Chicken Wing Experiment- Leave yourself visual clues of how much you have eaten

The experiment: 53 MBA students were invited to a Super Bowl party.  They were allowed to take all the wings they wanted.  The waitresses were in on the experiment, and only cleared off half of the tables.  That means piles of bones were growing on some tables, while others were sparkling clean.

The results: Those with their tables constantly being bussed ate an average of 7 wings.  Those with the reminders of bones on their table ate an average of 5 wings (28% less!).  Therefore, whenever possible, leave yourself reminders of how much you have eaten.  If you go back for seconds and use another plate, leave the old plate on the table.

4) Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ornament Magnets

I went to the Dollar Tree today and OMG I am not buying anything without checking there first!  I didn't find everything I was looking for, but  I found tons of things I would have bought at the normal store, for a higher price, without even thinking twice.  Things like holly berries, glass jars of all shapes and sizes, flameless candles, cleaning supplies, baking supplies, ornaments, and even food items (canned/bottled only) like vinegar, soups, broths, etc.  I am definitely planning on being more strategic with my future purchases and keeping the Dollar Tree in my thoughts.  However, they sadly did not have white pillar candles for me to buy and glitter stripe.

Even after all that, all I ended up actually buying was a tube of seven ornaments and 4 rolls of toilet paper (a quarter per roll!!!).  The ornaments are silver and gold - I went to the University of Idaho, where our school colors are silver and gold.  They were totally perfect and I have basically nothing Vandal colored (besides my gold pumpkin) so I was excited to get something Christmasy but also school-spirited.

Then I went to Fred Meyer and bought 10 little round magnets for $1.99.  These were in the crafting section - the area with stickers, pins, wooden letters, etc. near the glue/tape/office supplies.

All you have to do is use a hot glue gun to glue the magnets onto the back of the ornaments.  Stick them on your fridge and voila! Cute Christmas decor that is cheap ($3) and easy (3 minutes).  I like the way the round ones look, but I think it would look even cuter with other Christmas ornaments, like angels or trees or whatever Christmas ornaments look like...if you have a bunch of random ones, you could spray paint them first so they are uniform in color.
Even better, the silver matches my kitchen color!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Name is Memory

This is my new favorite book, written by Ann Brashares, the author of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.  My weekend was basically spent reading this book :)

The main point of the book is everyone is reincarnated throughout their lives, but only a few very select people are able to remember each of their lives, and the main character, Daniel, is able to do this.  Souls tend to be reborn around each other, so the same people keep running into each other (a husband may be reborn as a brother or a sister may be reborn as a wife, etc).   However, the girl Daniel is in love with, Sophia, does not remember each of her lives. So, Daniel spends most of his lives looking for Sophia and trying to get her to remember him.

The book is really cool because it switches back and forth between past lives and current lives, so you get a chance to hear about other adventures as well.

As a caveat, I haven't gotten to the end yet, and a lot of reviews say the end is not satisfying and is basically a cliff hanger providing for a sequel.  There seems to be rumors that a sequel is possible, but one is not created yet.  So, we will see how disapointed I am when the book comes to an end.

I think I am so drawn to this book because I have always been really fascinated by reincarnation.  I would love to try past life regression, and one of the characters actually does this, which made me really excited.  I think reincarnation would explain SO much.  Maybe the concept is actually too simple.  It would explain fears, passions, talents, relationships...all wrapped up in a neat little bow.  Oh, you are afraid of water?  Well of course, you drowned in a past life!  Oh you have a love of planes?  Well of course, you used to be a pilot!

Mom- I think that needs to go on our to-do list.  Past life regression!

And now I am off to finish up this book in the bathtub - reading, candles, and peppermint/raspberry spiked hot cocoa.  Wonderful!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mediterranean Chicken

My mom gave me this recipe for Mediterranean Chicken, and it comes from

It is really delicious, healthy and low calorie.

Ingredients (supposed to serve 6 mine would probably serve 3-4 as I used less chicken)
  • 2 teapsoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine + 1/2 cup white wine (I used Tisdale Pinot Grigio)
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves - I used 8 tenderloins
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced - I used 3 teaspoons minced (roughly double)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion - just used 1 small onion, didn't measure
  • 3 cups tomatoes, chopped - Like a dumbass, I bought sixteen Roma tomatoes.  For the record, 6 is plenty :)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme - I used 8 sprigs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil (I used three big leaves) - you could use more here and it would only improve the flavor
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives - I omitted these completely.  I hate kalamata olives, but the comments on the recipe say this makes the dish, so decide for yourself.
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley

1) Heat the olive oil and 2 tablespoons white wine over medium heat.  Add chicken and sautee on each side about 4-6 minutes each.  I ended up deciding to cut my chicken into bite size pieces, which would be best if you were using this over paste or rice.  If you have chicken breasts, it would be good to leave them whole and use as an entree by itself.  Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.

2) Leaving drippings in pan, add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Then, add onion and saute 3 minutes.  Add tomatoes and bring to a boil (which is hard to see because there is not much liquid - look if the bits of liquid seem to be bubbling).  Lower heat, add 1/2 cup white wine, and simmer 10 minutes.  I like to simmer on a fairly high heat (like medium low not low) when cooking with wine so it thickens up better.  Add thyme and basil, and simmer 5 more minutes.

3) Return chicken to skillet and cover.  Cook over medium-low until chicken is no longer pink (using tenderloins, mine were already fully cooked from the first step). Add olives and parsley and cook for one minute.

This would be really great over spaghetti, with or without the chicken.  You are essentially making a delicous tomato sauce.  Also, grated parmesan cheese makes this even tastier.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Christmas Pointsetta and Vases

I decided to try and make those yarn wrapped wreaths that have been all over pinterest lately, but put a Christmas spin on them so I could have some more cute Christmas decor.

My original inspiration:

I got lucky and asked my friends, who are great at recycling, if they had any glass beer bottles.  They had 12 and I took 6 with the promise I may return for more.  I used all the same kind of bottle (Pyramid beer) but you could also use different sizes and get a different kind of look.

Supplies for the vases:
Glass Bottles
Hot glue gun
Dish soap
Spray adhesive (optional)

Supplies for the flowers:
Fake flowers (or real) - I got a white poinsetta bunch
Fake filler (or real) - I used holly

Instructions for the vases:

I used red and green to make these Christmas colors, but you could do any combination you want.  After making them, I think multicolored yarn would also make a cool look.  The darker the color, the more visible the glue, so keep that in mind.  My pastel green vases have less visible marks than the red.  If you are a perfectionist and the glue marks would bug you, your best bet would be to use white.

The colors I picked were Tea Leaf green and Cherry Red.

1) Fill your sink basin with warm soapy water and let the bottles sit for 10 minutes or so.  The labels will peel right off.  Don't worry about the sticky stuff left behind - you won't be able to see it behind the yarn.

2) Start from the bottom of the bottle, where the is a slightly rounded edge.  Put a line of hot glue about 2 inches long along the bottom, and place the end of the yarn in the glue.  Continue as you move around the bottom of the bottle.  I suggest a 2 inch line because if you do too much, the glue will lose it's stickiness by the time you get the yarn to it.  I used hot glue on the first two rows.

3) Continue winding your yarn around the bottle.  I found it worked well and was much faster to haphazardly wind the yarn around the bottle five or six times, and then push the rows down.  This works until you get closer to the top.

3) The biggest pain in the ass is when the bottle starts to change shape about two thirds of the way up.  You will find the yarn keeps slipping up and is almost impossible to keep in place.  I found two different ways to deal with this, and if anyone else has any other ideas, I would love to know.
             First way: Dot hot glue every two inches or so and stick the yarn in it as you go.  I used scissors to push the yarn into place if it wasn't cooperating. Do this all the way up until you reach the neck of the bottle and the yarn stops wiggling out of place.
            Second way: Still dot hot glue for the first few rows when the bottle changes shape, but then spray the lower part of the bottle neck with adhesive spray glue.  Wait at least 30 seconds until this glue gets tacky, and then start winding the yarn around the bottle. Again, I used scissors to push the yarn into place.

The first way is much more time consuming, but the second way leaves more glue marks, so you will have to pick which you care more about - saving a bit of time or looking a bit cleaner.

Also note that I did not find a way to make the bottle neck as tightly wound as the rest of the bottle.  Even with these techniques, it still look a bit looser, but I think it looks fine.  Plus, your flowers will probably cover most of it up.

4) When you reach the very top of the bottle and everything is covered, it is easiest to put a dot of hot glue, lay the yarn in it, and then cut the yarn.

Follow these steps for as many vases/colors as you want.  I did two red and three green.

Instructions for the flowers:
I bought my flowers at Walmart.  It was $3 for the poinsetta bunch which had 5 flowers, and $3 for the holly bunch.  I would recommend getting large flowers, because the flowers cover up any imperfections from gluing the bottle neck. Make sure you pick flowers that look nice and do not have crushed leaves.

You will also need wire cutters - I got these in the hardware section of Walmart.

Then, use the wire cutters to cut the individual stems that have the flowers on them.  You can adjust the length of the stem for what looks best in the bottle.  Do the same to cut individual rows of holly or whatever you chose as filler.

For display, I chose to do a V-shape pattern, alternating green and red vases.  I put three poinsettas in the middle bases, and holly on the two end vases.

I also thought about hot gluing the vases together in a particular shape, but I wanted to be able to move them around as I please.  However, if you have a particular shape you love, I think it would work well to hot glue the vases together in that pattern.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I am loving wreaths and every time I look at my door, I think how much cuter it would look with a wreath.  They seem fairly easy to make and are so festive! I also love how you can dress them up for just about every season and holiday.

Here are some of my favorites.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Christmas Limes, Apples and Candles

I have never been much of a decorator, but now that I have my own apartment, I enjoy doing little things to decorate for the seasons.  I would love to do even more, but I am taking baby steps.

With Christmas getting a bit closer, I decided to do a cute take on the traditional red and green.  I wanted to use real fruit, but I decided that would be expensive and would eventually go bad.  Instead, I ended up buying plastic miniature limes and red apples.  Each container was $6 (from Fred Meyer) but I got more than enough and they will last forever.  I filled up my hurricane jar with them, and it looks adorable.  Great for winter, but isn't in-your-face Christmas-y.

My hurricane jar also has a candle holder on the top, so I decided to jazz up a plain candle.  To do so, I bought a white pillar candle ($5.50), permanent double stick tape, and gold glitter.  Whilst DIY-ing, I was also watching GLEE and drinking white wine/cranberry juice, so it is safe to say it was a great night.

I added the double stick tape to the candle in stripes.  If you are a perfectionist, it would be better to measure out the spacing of your stripes, but I just freestyled it.  Different sizes would also look great and would help disguise any mistakes because the spacing would be less noticeable.

From there, I held the candle over a large bowl and poured the glitter over it, turning the candle as I did so.  I manually added glitter to spots that looked a little sparse.  It would probably be easier to put some paper in your bowl, so you can fold the paper and pour the leftover glitter somewhere.  I lost a lot transferring from bowl to container.  After that, I set the candle on the counter and used my finger to wipe away any glitter that had remained not stuck to the tape - this part was surprisingly easy.

Now I have my candle displayed on top of my hurriance jar and I think it looks really festive and store-bought.  You can barely tell I made it.  The really cool thing this is you can continue to customize your candle to match different holidays/seasons by using different color glitter and/or different colored candles.  The tape comes off just fine.

I also think this would be really cute if you used a hot glue gun to draw designs and stick glitter into the glue (like stars).  You wouldn't be able to change the design, but I think you could make some really awesome stuff.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Asparagus Guacamole

Do yourself a favor and make asparagus guacamole.  It is made almost entirely of unprocessed food (besides 2 tablespoons of mayo) and tastes delicious.  Try to be open minded - don't expect it to taste exactly like guacamole.  However, it does taste similar, and looks just like it, except a bit thinner.  I ate mine with naan and baby carrots, but it would be great with tortilla chips, pita bread, other veggies, etc.  This version is really low calorie for "guacamole" too.

1 lb fresh asparagus, cooked
1 small chopped onion

2 teaspoons minced garlic (divided)
1 can diced tomatoes
2 tbl mayonnaise
Juice from 2 lemons
One bunch minced cilantro
1/2 tsp chili powder
Salt and Hot Sauce, to taste

1) Cook asparagus.  I boiled mine in a big pan of water for about 10 minutes.  You want them really soft because you are going to be blending them.

2) Dice up one small onion.  Blend the onion, asparagus, and 1 teaspoon garlic until smooth.  Pour into a bowl.

3) To the asparagus mixture, add mayo, lemon juice, cilantro, chili powder, tomatoes, hot sauce, salt, and another teaspoon minced garlic.  I love cilantro so I may have used a lot - you can adjust accordingly.  Stir to mix.

There you have it - very easy, very delicious, and very healthy "guacamole" to eat guilt-free!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Topshop Blazer

I love this blazer...trying to decide if I should buy it.  Has anyone else boughten something from Topshop?  I have heard great reviews, but I still hate deciding sizes via online shopping!
It looks like a great fitting jacket.  I imagine putting it over some cute dresses or casual shirts and wearing with jeans... going to have to ponder if it is worth a purchase.

Also, I think this shirt has a lot of potential.  I might be crazy because it doesn't look that great on the model...but I just love red. Seems like the hem might fit oddly though.
Red denim? Yes please.

They look like the perfect fall pants.  All the reviews say they fit great, but I am a little concerned they might fit too tight.  I haven't jumped on the leggings bandwagon yet, but these ones sure are convincing.

Also love this purse - but so expensive for a lil' guy!

So there you have it - after a red top, red pants or red purse?  Now is the season to hook yourself up. Which one (if any??) would you pick?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Peanut Butter and Jelly Tiramisu

Peanut Butter and Jelly Tiramisu - kind of mind blowing.  It literally just tastes like one of the fanciest, most decadent peanut butter and jelly sandwiches you have ever eaten.

This recipe comes from the Food Network. My friend had cut it out and put it into her recipe book.  Here is how we made it.

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
8 ounces room temperature cream cheese
1 and 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
1/3 cup framboise (raspberry liquer) or raspberry juice.  We used Torino's Raspberry Syrup (like what goes into coffee drinks)
*14 ladyfingers (took my friend awhile to find them - look in the bakery section)
4 cups raspberries (we got one of the big clamshells)
9x5 loaf pan (looks like a loaf of bread)

*A note on the lady fingers - you can typically find lady fingers in the bakery section of your grocery store, near where they sell bread, angel food cake, pound cake etc.  I haven't been able to find them at my local Albertsons but do find them at Fred Meyers.  The second time I used this recipe, I replace the lady fingers with torn up angel food cake.  Not only did it provide a bit more substance, it tasted even better! It worked just like the lady fingers but there was more of it plus it was overall much cheaper.
1) Beat the peanut butter, cream cheese, confectioners sugar, vanilla extract, and cream in a large bowl with mixer on medium until smooth and fluffy. 

2) In a separate bowl, whisk raspberry jam, raspberry syrup, and 1/3 cup water in a bowl until smooth

3) Spread about 3 tablespoons of the jam mixture on the bottom of the pan - enough to cover the bottom.

4) Cover with half of the lady fingers, arranging them lengthwise.  Cover with half of the remaining jam mixture.

5) Spoon half of the peanut butter over the lady fingers.  I thought that there was a bit too much peanut butter, so don't feel bad if you don't end up using it all.  Use the spoon to spread it around so it covers the whole loaf pan.

6) Top with half of the raspberries. 

7) Adding the rest of the jam mixture, then spoon on the rest of the peanut butter mixture. 

8) Here, the instructions say cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 8 hours, then top with the additional raspberries. We wanted to eat it immediately, and that was really no problem.  However, if you let it sit for 8 hours, the ladyfingers soak up the raspberry liquid, and it tastes even better.

Here is a picture from the Food Network - I forgot to take one.  We aren't professionals, but ours looked pretty similar! We didn't bother with the additional garnishes of shaved chocolate and powdered sugar though.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Eggplant Ricotta Bites

Last night I went to my friend's house, where we made a feast and watched movies. 

Here was our menu:
  1. Eggplant Ricotta Bites
  2. Chicken Chili Stew
  3. Cornbread
  4. Peanut Butter and Jelly Tiramisu
  5. Sparkling Red Wine
It was awesome! We also watched Bad Teacher and the Twilight movies (but I feel asleep right when Twilight started).

The recipe for the Eggplant Ricotta Bites came from the Food Network.  Here is how we made it.

1 medium eggplant
All purpose flour
3 large eggs
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Olive oil
3 plum tomatoes, diced
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar - I think it would be better with balsamic
1 cup ricotta
Shredded fresh basil, for topping

1) THINLY slice the eggplant into rounds and season with salt.  You can use a heavy hand with the salt.

2) Set out three bowls.  Fill one with flour, one with the beaten eggs, and one with breadcrumbs mixed with parmesan.

3) Dredge the eggplant in the flour first, eggs second, and breadcrumb mixture third.

4) Heat up a tablespoon or so of olive oil over medium heat.  Wait a few minutes to make sure it is really heated up, which will improve your first batch. Working in batches, cook the eggplant until golden on each side - this took me about a minute per side.  Add olive oil between each batch. Drain eggplants on paper towels and season again with salt.

5) Finely dice the tomatoes and toss with two teaspoons of olive oil and two teaspoons of red wine vinegar.  If I were making this again, I would do 3 teaspoons of each, and try it with balsalmic instead of red wine.  I individually added more vinegar to each of my bites as I ate them.

6) Spoon some ricotta onto each eggplant slice and spread out with the spoon.  Top with tomatoes and shredded basil.

Note - these are NOT good left over, so only make as much as you plan to it, and don't expect delicious leftovers the next day.  The eggplant got a lot more eggplant-y overnight, and was harder to bite into.  It just got soggy overall.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Curried Pea Soup with Sun Dried Tomatoes

Here is all I had to buy at the store to make pea soup - peas, an onion, and a few carrots.  I think pea soup is one of the simplest and tastiest soups out there, and it doesn't hurt that it is really inexpensive to make.  Below is my favorite way to make pea soup. 

Olive oil
1 large onion,  diced
2 medium carrots, sliced in rounds
16 oz (or 2 and 1/4 cups) dried split peas
9 cups water, plus more as needed
apple cider vinegar, to taste
Tablespoon minced garic
3 teaspoons curry powder
3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes

1) Warm two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot.

2) Add garlic, carrots and onion to olive oil, and cook for 10 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

3) Add split peas, sun-dried tomatoes, curry powder, and water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Leave pot uncovered and let cook for 90 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

There you have it - curried pea soup with sun dried tomatoes.  The cooking time takes awhile, but it is not a very needy recipe.  It basically cooks itself and is a great way to get your daily required vegetables.

Peas never look the prettiest, so don't judge a book by it's cover :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Vegetable Beef

Well I have been quite the negligent blogger - long nights at work, tons of good TV, time well spent with the boyfriend...all great excuses, trust me.  But now it is time to get down to business and I declare the first week of November, Soup Week.

Start with this one.  It's easy - so easy, I am not even going to include pictures.  Tomorrow, we can tackle a soup a teeny bit harder but only harder because it involves more than one step (Pea Soup).

Tonight, just throw this stuff in the crockpot and get excited you can eat delicious vegetable beef soup while cuddling up at watching Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice tomorrow.  Or your show of choice.

Vegetable Beef Soup
In a crockpot, combine the following:

28oz can crushed tomatoes
Beef stew meat (I got the prepackaged kind, not even sure how much it weighed)
1 or 2 potatoes, cut up into chunks
16oz frozen mixed vegetables
5 or 6 beef boullion cubes
dried basil - approximately 1 tablespoon, but can adjust to your liking
2 cups water - more or less depending on how thick you like it.  This is a good medium amount

If you are feeling extra crazy, this is delicious with a few carrots chopped up, the addition of a chopped onion, and a big juicy roll on the side.

Let your soup cook in the crockpot on low for 8 hours, or on high for 4 hours.

ENJOY and be thankful for the delicious foods of Fall.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Baby Lips


I am not a big chapstick person - I never carry chapstick around.  I usually put a bit of gloss on in the morning, and it wears off a few minutes later, and that is that.  However, I was at Walmart yesterday, strolling through the makeup and came upon this stuff.  There were only two flavors left and it was clear this was a popular item.  Even better, it only costs $2.97.

I picked peppermint, which is a totally clear chapstick.  Baby lips is perfect - it is like a mix between chapstick and lip gloss.  It goes on as chapstick, but doesn't feel waxy and instead feels smooth.  It gives a bit of shine like a gloss.  The peppermint flavor is awesome because it is slightly tingly.  Also, this might seem weird, but the chapstick doesn't taste TOO good, which I think is great because it doesn't have me licking it all off.

I would absolutely recommend Baby Lips.  In fact, I am probably going to buy more so I can keep them in various places.  This is the one chapstick that might have  finally made me a chapstick convert, and I love how affordable it is.

Also need to point out - the packaging is super cute too.  Plus, it has SPF 20!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Peas and Proscuitto

Yesterday, someone asked me what I usually eat, and it took me awhile to respond.  It threw me off, because I cook almost every day but I didn't have an immediate answer.  I began by telling them "vegetables mostly."  Then I realized that might sound weird, so I tried to throw out other options - "Oh you know, pasta, rice, that kind of thing."  In reality, I rarely eat either.  I try not to eat rice and instead use quinoa, and I typically save pasta for when my boyfriend makes it for me.  My main staple is a lot of vegetables, olive oil, vinaigrettes, eggs and soup.

I am in love with vegetables, and this isn't anything new.  I was always the one, even at a young age, hovering over the vegetable tray at Christmas and other holidays.  I begged my Mom to buy me heads of red cabbage to snack on.  I ate canned asparagus and sweet pickles with my Dad. I was ecstatic when Grandma brought kohlrabi from the garden.  I ate peas from the freezer.

Meals mean a lot to me. I sometimes agonize over what I am going to buy at the grocery store.  It is a process for me.  I plan out each of my meals and I research, decide, and then go on a mission. In fact, I am even a bit sad when I get invited out to dinner with friends, because that means I miss the opportunity to cook something.  When I was younger, I would look up recipes and then try to figure out ways to get my mom to buy the ingredients (not always to high success).

This morning, I woke up naturally early at 7:45 am which I think is one of the first times that has ever happened and I was VERY excited!  Waking up so early had my stomach grumbling around 8:30 and I wanted to eat something that wouldn't take too long to cook but I also wanted something healthy to offset all the sugar I ate yesterday.  I decided on Orangette's Peas and Proscuitto.

I have never had proscuitto before.  I have always associated it with fancy - appetizers wrapped in proscuitto? You know that must have been a fancy party.  It is usually really expensive at the store, and not being a big fan of meat, I haven't been able to justify the purchase.  However, yesterday I was at Fred Meyer and proscuitto was on sale for $5 for 3.53 ounces.  Still not cheap, but affordable. Also, you get very little meat for your money, so at least I didn't have to worry about wasting it.

So on to the recipe.  See the link for the original recipe - I changed things a little bit (biggest change: olive oil, not butter).

Here is what I made.

1 or 2 tablespoons olive oil
Garlic, to taste
3 green onions
1 pound peas
4 slices proscuitto
pepper, salt, turmeric to taste

1) Turn the stove to medium.  Add olive oil to the pan - enough to swirl it around and cover the whole pan.  Let the oil heat up, and add one diced green onion and about a teaspoon of garlic.  Let cook for thirty seconds or so - I let mine brown a bit because I love browned crispy garlic.

2) Add the peas, salt and pepper to taste, and cook for ten minutes.  You can add the peas frozen if you didn't have a chance to defrost.  About halfway through, add two more diced green onions and more garlic, to taste.  I found that the original cooked onions/garlic weren't as flavorful as fresh, which is why I added more.  After ten minutes, some of my peas were nicely browned.

3) Cut the proscuitto into little pieces.  I tried to make things easier and stack the four slices on top of each other, then cut them.  Don't do this - it was really hard to separate the little pieces.  Instead, cut each slice separately.  Turn off the heat, but leave the pan on the same burner, and add the proscuitto. Cover and let sit for five minutes.

To eat mine, I added salt (I didn't add salt during cooking) and turmeric.  SO TASTY!