Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: BEST PASTA EVER

I'm sorry I don't have pictures, but just trust me that this pasta is pretty and DELICIOUS!

B.P.E. (Best Pasta Ever) -my own recipe
Serves 1

1 cup uncooked TJ's Brown Rice Penne Pasta
2 slices prosciutto-chopped into small pieces
1-2 Tbs. butter
1/4 white onion chopped
1 clove garlic chopped ( I use the frozen pre-minced kind at TJ's)
Grated Parmesan-to your liking ( I use about 4 tbs. to make this into a sort of garlicky mac and cheese)

Okay, this recipe is by no means healthy, but it is delicious!!! Yum! Yum! Yum! Eat it when you want to indulge!

Cook the pasta in boiling water for 10 min. This seems to be the perfect temp for brown rice pasta.

Let the onion sweat over medium heat in a saute pan. After a min. add the prosciutto so it can start to crisp up.

Add the butter and garlic and keep over medium heat until the onion start to brown slightly.

Drain the pasta and pour the whole butter/onion mixture on top. Add the parmesan and stir to create the best gooey, garlicky pasta ever!

I now make this about once a week! And I should probably start eating salads on the days I decide to have this for dinner.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tasty Tuesdays: Steak Involtini


In an effort to actually use my cookbooks and learn how to cook (one of my goals for the year), I've decided to implement Tasty Tuesdays. I'll post a new recipe that I tried to make each week and what my finished product looked like.
First up, Giade de Laurentis' Steak Involtini (recipe courtesy of foodnetwork.com)


Ingredients

Breading:

  • 1 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Filling:

  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (8-ounce) London broil steaks, trimmed and pounded 1/8-inch thick
  • 1 (26-ounce) jar marinara sauce
  • Special equipment: 4 (4-inch) skewers

Directions

For the breading: In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Set aside.

For the filling: In a large bowl, mix together 1/4 cup of Parmesan, mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup olive oil, basil, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cut the steaks in half crosswise and place on a work surface. Spread the mixture evenly over the steaks. Roll up the steaks and secure with skewers.

In a medium skillet, heat the remaining 1/4 cup of oil over medium heat. Roll the steaks in the bread crumb mixture until coated and add to the skillet. Cook the steaks until brown on all sides, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the marinara sauce to the pan. Bring the sauce to a simmer and scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Simmer, turning occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes for medium-well.

Remove the skewers, place the steaks on a cutting board and slice thinly. Arrange the steak slices on plates and serve with the marinara sauce.

So here's what I did differently:

  • Nixed the breadcrumbs since I'm not supposed to have bread and just rubbed the whole thing in parmesan.
  • I used a really big flank steak because I couldn't find London Broil. I sliced it in half (and my finger with it) and after getting a band-aid, I stuffed the whole thing with the filling and rolled it up. Since it was so big it looked like this:
  • So after browning all of it I realized the middle was never going to cook all the way through. I took the whole thing out and put it all in my pretty Le Creuset pan and sliced it.
  • Then I heated my oven to 400 degrees and put it all in for 20 min.
  • It came out looking like this:
  • It's not the prettiest thing to look at, but it is darn tasty! Nice mellow tomato flavor and yummy parmesan and garlic-y taste as well. Plus, I was able to make 6 servings out of it. Serve with a side of Trader Joe's Balsamic Butter Veggies and it would be a delicious meal!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Yummy Basil Dip on Glamour

Just discovered Glamour magazine has a whole set of blog posts dedicated to Afternoon Snacks! Look at their latest here!

Thought I would give you the pic to show you a taste!
0816-basil-dip_vg.jpg
Picture courtesy of Glamour.com

Top 40 Martha Stewart Good Things!

It's like the best, of the best, of the best of Martha Stewart! Her 40 favorite "good things" and while there are a couple of snoozes in there, overall its a great list!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hanging out in groups

Recently a post was published on the Boundless blog about the issues that now come with hanging out in mixed groups. I myself have had conversations with a number of friends about the problems that come from hanging out in groups. Does anyone really need to date anymore when they're getting the attention they desire from not just one, but a number of people? But if you don't hang out in groups you miss out on all the fun and are sitting at home by yourself. Plus, that guy you like isn't going to be missing you because, as already stated, he has plenty other girls vying for his attention.
I honestly have no idea what the answer is to this. I just kind of find it sad that this is the turn our culture has taken.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Calling

I've been thinking all week about the idea of having a "calling". I think this is something I've always been somewhat obsessed with but maybe just never used the actual word "calling". I will say I've known for a long time that I was called to work in entertainment, but I do sometimes wonder if callings can change. Like can you have multiple callings for different times in your life?
An article was written for Boundless Webzine and it was called "Career vs. Calling" (their site is down right now so I can't link to it, but I'll update it later). In the article the author states, "The call of God is both universal and personal. He desires an intimate relationship with all of his creation-a universal longing that none would perish. Yet, when you heed that call, there is a deeper plan to discover-a specific assignment only you can complete; 'The Lord has assigned to each his task(1 Cor. 3:5)."
I love the idea that God has a plan specifically designed for me. I think the thing that gets me is that a calling should be one specific thing and if you aren't doing that thing then you are in the wrong. Does that make sense? Like you're missing out because you aren't doing what you are destined to do.
The article discussed how so many college students simply seek out a career and not a calling. He then walks through how to find your calling. This is something I think I'm really going to explore and seek in the next year. It was interesting timing since I was already thinking of exploring some new options in a couple of months and I kind of have a plan in place, this goes right along with it.
So what about you? Do you know your calling? How was it made clear to you? If not, have you even tried to find your calling? I'd love to know!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Yogurtland

How did I follow up my trip to get my teeth cleaned? By going to Yogurtland of course! And... they now have Root Beer Float yogurt and it is DELICIOUS! I'm seriously in heaven. Except they need to get rid of the cookie dough topping because I just keep eating it and can't stop! I honestly need to just get my float yogurt and keep on walking! But still, I love the whole concept of Yogurtland. I mean, c'mon they started in Fullerton! So, is it time to head out and get dessert?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Chicago

For anyone headed to Chicago anytime soon, these are my favorite things...

Magnificent Mile
Yes, its basically just a bunch of stores, but it’s a pretty street and much is located off of it, so I’m suggesting you see it. In fact, most of what I will reference is nearby.

Giordano’s Pizza
GO! There is no questioning. Do not listen to those who say Uno, or Gino’s, or any of the other deep dish establishments is better. They are not. I have done taste tests. This is THE best, quintessentially Chicago deep dish pizza. Their thin crust is actually good too, but get the deep dish. We have no deep dish in L.A. that is like this. I they have many locations but I suggest this one:RUSH STREET(312) 951-0747730 N RUSH ST.www.giordanos.com

Garret’s Popcorn
If you feel like a snack I recommend Garrett’s. They make this amazing combo of cheddar and caramel popcorn which sounds disgusting, but is phenomenal. Even there plain, buttered is good. Oh, and they’ll let you sample before you make a decision.Neighborhood: The Loop4 E Madison St(between Holden Ct & State St) Chicago, IL 60602(312) 263-1108www.garrettpopcorn.com

As for things to do, I love the Art Institute. I highly recommend it. It’s honestly one of my favorites. And look at their schedule because I think one night a week it’s free; although I paid and it was totally worth it.

Also, the John Hancock building. Oh and here’s my cheap-o tip. Don’t pay for the trip to the top, just go to the lounge that’s one floor beneath it and order a drink. That’s what we did. And use the women’s restroom. It’s ridiculous because it next to the gigantic windows. We went and came out and were freaking (especially me with the fear of heights, who had purposely avoided being close to the edge all night long) and we thought it was just us who thought it was strange. I come home and tell my friend Adam I went to the Hancock Building and he goes, “Did you go in the women’s bathroom?” Then I read in Real Simple magazine that they suggest exactly what we did (going to the lounge instead of paying to go to the top) and they too say, “Make sure to check out the women’s restroom.” So, check out the women’s restroom.

Lastly, my hotel there, The Palmer House, has the most amazing lobby I’ve ever seen. Seriously, not even going to describe it. Google if you wish, but if you need a place to just rest for awhile, go to The Palmer House and sit in the lobby. They also do tea in the afternoons, and I want to say it’s close to the Art Institute.

Boston

I was in Boston a year ago and am TOTALLY craving it right now. Here are my favs:

Stephanie’s on Newbury Street
Newbury Street in general is just fun to walk up and down, but Stephanie’s is THE lunch place. Really nice outdoor seating. Great lobster roll. Ignore the Euro-Trash and know that the service can be slightly slow.www.stephaniesonnewbury.com

Flour Bakery
Known for their Sticky Buns. The owner beat Bobby Flay in a “throwdown” with it. I’ve had it and it is really good. Everything at the bakery looked good, but that’s the only thing I tried.http://www.flourbakery.com/

Beacon Hill
This is the really nice part of Boston. Kind of their Beverly Hills. Really pretty brownstones and cobblestone streets. It looks very much like what you expect Boston to look like. Charles St. is the main street in this area and has great restaurants. I ate at Todd English's restaurant Figs. It was good, but there are so many great looking spots on the street you could probably go anywhere and it would be good. But, I say just walk the street if nothing else. It’s just really pretty. Cool market on the corner too.

Boston Commons
It’s their Central Park if you will. If you walk Newbury St. you end at the garden side of the Commons and it’s really pretty. And they have a pond with those cheesy swan boats. PLEASE take a ride in one of those cheesy swan boats! Send me a picture!

Other tips
The airport is anywhere from 10-30 min. from the city depending on what part of the city you are entering at. Oh, and there is NO SALES TAX on clothes. They count them a necessity. They really are smarter in Boston.

New York

So I posted a bunch of travel guides on my other blog, but decided it was time to move them here. We start with New York:

So I could actually write a whole blog on just New York, but here are some of my favorites and some things I am looking forward to doing next time. There will be many more New York recommendations to follow...

Risotteria
Gluten-free and you’d never know. Their ceasar salad has a dressing so amazing that we asked if we could buy it. Plus, its on a great section of Bleeker and up the side street are a bunch of other amazing restaurants. Look up their address just so you can be in an awesome section of town if nothing else. But seriously, the salad and the gluten-free breadsticks are amazing!http://www.risotteria.com/

Magnolia Bakery
Yes, yes, I’m sure you’ve been. I will say they have now opened multiple locations and the new one by Rockefeller Center is great. I now get the Banana Pudding. It’s better than any cupcake. Seriously. I loved it so much I went back the day we left to order it just one more time.
Northern Central ParkOkay, I didn’t do this, but I think you should. At the top of Central Park there is this beautiful garden I never knew existed. I saw it in a book when we were there last time and I was sad it was just too late in the day to trek it up there. It looks gorgeous! Go and tell me how fabulous it is!

John’s Pizza
I still say this is the best pizza in NY. And though the Bleecker location is the original, I still think the 44th St. location is the better one. Great architecture and right in the heart of all the theaters.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Take a Risk

Do you take risks? I'm not a very brave person-definitely not one who would be called a "risk-taker", but I'm trying to change that. Actually, it's been a year and a half process so far of learning to put myself out there. There are certain things though that I probably will never risk, simply because I have no desire to do them. Like sky diving. People think sky diving is risky and it is, but I have a major fear of heights and no desire to sky dive. Why risk it?
To me taking risks is more about putting yourself out there in a way you've always wanted to, but never thought you could. Like Improv. I'm currently in my second session of improv classes and every week it is scary to me. I'm a girl who loves a plan. I like to know what's coming. Now the only thing I know on Sundays is that I have no clue what will happen during the 3 1/2 hours I'm in that room. It's scary as all get out. I'm intimidated and have to give myself a pep talk every week that I will suck and to just face it. But then, most days you get at least one good laugh. And that sticks. You hold onto it dearly and it feeds the hunger for more. Even now, 6 hours after class ended, I would love to be in that room again trying more 185 jokes.
I think that's the great thing about risk, no matter what I find it rewarding. If it pays off it is a much greater feeling of reward than something you didn't have to try at. And if you fail at the risk, well, at least you were brave enough to try.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

My Broadway Revue

Yes, this is something I actually think about. If I had a cabaret show, what would I sing? Well first off, if I sang everything I wanted to it would go on for 3 hours. But hmmm…. There are certain songs I would definitely sing. Here they are (I know you care):

  1. “New Philosophy” from You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown–not the most beautiful, but great character piece.
  2. “Don’t Tell Mama” from Cabaret-umm, once again a great character number and it’s Cabaret. Get it?
  3. “Home” from Beauty and the Beast-this was the first song I ever imagined singing on stage. In 8th grade all I wanted to do was be Belle on Broadway
  4. “Think of Me” from Phantom of the Opera –it was the first song I challenged myself to sing when I took voice lessons in high school. It feels like it’s my roots in some sort of way.
  5. Ragtime, Ragtime, Ragtime-most likely “Your Daddy’s Son” because frankly, I’m not black and will never get to play the role. (Yeah, ‘cause that’s what’s stopping me) Oh, and also “Our Children” and Josh Groban can sing the male part. You know, because we’re friends.
  6. “Don’t” from Martin Guerre-Josh will have to stay out on stage and sing this with me was well. It’s one of the most beautiful songs ever from the most underrated musical. Plus it’s a double entendre, which is fun.
  7. There has to be something from Rent because frankly it would just not be me if there wasn’t one song, but honestly there are very few songs in it that would be appropriate for just one person, and I can’t make Josh come onstage again. That would be too much.
  8. “On My Own” from Les Mis. Yes, it’s been done a lot, but who doesn’t want to sing this song?
  9. “I’m Not Going” from Dreamgirls. Because I can.

There is definitely more, but I’m stopping there. Seriously, I’m going to go to bed tonight and think of ten more. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if one day I actually got to do this? Aren’t you intrigued to hear it now?

Does Age Matter?

I had breakfast with a group of girls this morning and one girl just started dating a guy many years younger than her. We started discussing what everyone thought of dating a much younger guy. My personal opinion has completely changed over the last few years. I used to always assume I'd date and marry someone older, and would NEVER even consider dating someone younger. Now though, my joke has been I'll meet him at his dorm as long as he treats me nice. Seriously, as long as he acts like a man and can take charge, I don't care how old he is. So what do you all think about this? Would you date someone younger? Significantly younger? What about significantly older? What's your limit?

Lorac is GENIUS!

So, I'm kind of a makeup fiend and I am constantly on the hunt for the next best thing. Well, today I found it. Lorac's new Evening Out Complexion Kit is genius!!! Genius! Genius! Genius! It's an oil-free powder foundation on top and on bottom there is a little drawer that pulls out two shades of concealer so you can custom blend! BUT, the BEST PART is the foundation pulls up to reveal a sponge and a brush to apply the concealer. Now, I love my Trish McEvoy Little Black Books with their two concealers, but Trish doesn't give me a brush! I will now never leave my house without this compact. Oh, and did I mention the foundation feels like silk? Yeah. It's spectacular!
This will totally save me if I have to go from work to meet people for drinks or a class or whatever. Just very excited by this new product. Go check it out!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Cheated Again...but I'm Okay with It

So I'm watching TV as we speak (write). I just haven't felt good all day and frankly, I kind of need to laugh, so yeah, I'm watching "How I Met Your Mother" reruns. Robin Sparkles can always cheer you up!
I will keep this up though-the trying to go without TV. I knew I'd cheat a little, but I figure over time I will be fine with less and less TV. I really do want to use my time to do other things-like write a treatment for a TV show, study for the CBEST, and workout. Seriously, at some point this has to happen!

No TV-Day 4

So I cheated on Tuesday night and watched my DVR'd "Army Wives" and a half hour of "The Rachel Zoe Project" ( I had to know what happened to Taylor!). I was also so tired that I couldn't read, but not tired enough to go to sleep. What was I going to do? Stare at the ceiling?
Yesterday my mom came to visit and have dinner so it wasn't a long evening of nothing to do. Tonight will be the first night all week that I will come home from work with nowhere else to go. In other words, tonight is the first real time to fill in the gap between parking my car at 7 and going to sleep at 10. I think I'm going to do laundry and workout. And hopefully write. I really need to write more.
Even though this has not been the easiest I will say this has definitely been good for me. I am more focused on other things to do and trying to actually get them done. I think Saturday is going to be the hardest. I might allow myself to watch two hours that night-but only if the stuff that has to get done is completed. That's really the main point of this. TV was keeping me from being productive. As long as I don't use it as a distraction from what needs to be done I think it's okay-just no 5 hour marathon sessions of sitting on the couch!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

No TV for a Week

So I decided that television is the key to my lack of productivity. I love television. I will never be a person to say you shouldn't watch TV, but I know the amount I watch is probably unhealthy and maybe to the point of addiction. I've tried in the past to allow myself only one hour a day, but when I do that I just end up leaving it on. So, I decided to go cold turkey.
I have been off my TV drug for approximately 36 hours. The last thing I watched was Mad Men on DVR yesterday morning. Since then, nothing. I will say this morning was the hardest so far because I'm used to the "Today Show" being on while I get ready. Tonight when I get home from work will definitely be a struggle. I'm tired and my eyes are tired and all I want to do is lay down on the couch and watch re-runs. But I will stay strong! Let's see how I do in a few days!

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