Thursday, October 28, 2010


There is always that one time of year that most people look forward to: GIRL SCOUT COOKIE SEASON! This is the season that could match an other holiday season's amount of weight gain. Me being enrolled in Girl Scouts as a child was my mother's excuse  to support the Girl Scout Nation by buying about a million boxes of girl scout cookies. The amazing thing about these delicate morsels is that they will satisfy nearly anyone's taste buds. The flavors of these cookies can range from a sugary perfectness, to a peanut-buttery heaven, or even to a chocolate fantasy. When I was young, I was always shy, but for some reason I could always step up to that doorstep and sell those cookies like it was my job; it was my duty to deliver what these hungry customers anticipated all year for. 
My personal favorite is, and will always be, Thin Mints. They are the perfect combination of flavors mixed into one dessert that makes it impossible to stay away from every year. Throughout all of the 3 years that I was a Brownie (1) and Girl Scout (2), beginning in 3rd grade, the flavors had never changed. The only thing that changed in those glorious cookies was the PRICE. When I first began Girl Scouts, the cost was two dollars a box; how cheap!! At the time, of course, that sounded rediculously expensive. However, as my duty dragged on, it became tougher and tougher to sell those cookies for three dollars a box. Get this though-- the year after I threw in the towel, the price bumped up to FOUR DOLLARS A BOX! I could not believe my eyes... what once was an innocent fund raiser helping millions of little girls across the entire nation has become something that has corrupted these young girls to meet up to the failing economy's standards just to sell a box of cookies. And if you thought the price was rediculous, let's discuss the competition. Each year there was always a rush to sell the cookies at a local grocery store before another troop got there. If too many Girl Scout troops were concentrated in one area of the city, then it was tough to get people to buy the cookies. Another thing that made it tough to sell cookies for me was the fact that I lived in the same neighborhood as most of the girls in my troop! It was always a tough contest to get to the neighbors before the other girls did. If I took too long to get out on the streets selling them, then I would have missed my chance to sell anything. My biggest hope of selling the cookies would end up being my family. However, every year the cookies got sold in one way or another, and families would no doubt be stocked up for the holiday season with their fix of cookies. In the end, everyone wins.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Never Thought I'd Say This, But...

So, after eating in the dining hall constantly for the past couple of weeks, there comes a point where I truly start to miss the little snacks that I had the convenience of eating when I lived at home. There are only so many types of  foods I can bring into my dorm before the ants start to march in. The only food that is truly safe is those foods that I can leave in my mini refrigerator, or canned food (soup, for instance). Other than that, any pantry food is fair game for the ants. As I walked through Ralph's the other day to buy cookie dough, I strolled down the aisle of canned food on the way to the refrigerated section in the back of the store (This is very dangerous, especially when you're hungry, because you'll end up putting half of the store in your basket before you even get what you originally came for). As my eyes wandered amongst the shelves, they quickly halted at a can of SpaghettiO's with franks. My first instinct told me to buy them, not even caring if I had the appropriate tools to prepare them when I returned to my dorm. So this morning, a week after purchasing them, the can sits in the center of my desk (still un-opened) as I stare hungrily in my chair without a can-opener. 

Today, I acted upon my suffering and drove home (which is about 20 minutes away). My mother was fond of my dilemma via facebook, so she told me to take our canopener from home; gratefully, I did! As my mom and I were getting into the car to drive away for lunch, my brother frantically runs out of the house and hallows, "Where is the can-opener?!" I made a face as though I had been caught red handed. He then shouts, "I knew it!! I knew it was you!!" (he had seen my facebook posts as well, which ranted on about how desperate I was for a can-opener). They let me take the much-needed can-opener back to my dorm, and when I walked into my room, I quickly opened and heated up the can of SpaghettiO's, and enjoyed them once and for all. I don't think I have ever been so reluctant and grateful to have a bowl of SpaghettiO's before... and it was the best bowl of SpaghettiO's I have ever eaten in my life.

Monday, October 11, 2010

My Personal Favorites

Throughout my life I have become extremely fond of certain restaurants that I cannot help but constantly return to. So, I have created a list of some of my favorite restaurants:

1. Lucille's BBQ-- the food is absolutely to die for. They are most famous for their Ribs and other barbecued meals. Another must-have on the menu is their grilled artichoke. It is not a true Lucille's experience if you don't order the artichoke! It is grilled and marinated with their famous barbecue sauce and another spicy mixture to create the perfect artichoke. Also, their before-dinner bread rolls are pretty tasty!
2. Outback Steakhouse-- Outback is similar to Lucille's, but with a touch of a Australian, down-under atmosphere. The food is extremely flavorful, ranging from the famous Blooming Onion, to delicious steaks and marinated chicken. By far, Outback Steakhouse has the BEST dinner rolls of all time. I can always expect a delicious, hearty meal when I visit Outback.
3. Mangia Mangia-- Located in Huntington Beach, Mangia Mangia is my favorite Italian restaurant. The atmosphere is very friendly and the food is authentic and unique. Mangia Mangia (meaning eat, eat! in Italian) is a place that my family always finds pleasuring in coming back to. My favorite dish from there is an original plate of angel hair pasta!

There are so many other restaurants out there that I have made notable, but these three are restaurants that never fail me for an amazing meal on any given occasion. 

(I'd truly have to say, that one of my favorite places to dine is my own house on Christmas Eve. My relatives always come together on Christmas Eve and cook one big meal to enjoy together. Nothing can replace the spirit of a blessed, loving family sharing an amazing home-cooked meal!)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Family Tradition

Ever since I was a very young child, I always took a large interest in cooking and baking with my family for the holidays. My grandma and dad would always show me what they were cooking and how to make it since I was always so interested. They taught me how to make many different meals, but the one recipe that stuck around was meatballs. For some strange reason, it is a tradition for my dad and I to occasionally make meatballs. I passed it on to my best friend, who is basically family, and sometimes we'll get together and make a batch. Since I moved out to go to school, and everyone else is busy carrying on with their lives, it is rare that we get to come together and cook, but when we do it's always a good time. My Italian family always appreciates time spent together so it's always comforting to get to come home to that warm atmosphere. It's funny, because when we go to Italian restaurants we order meatballs to see how they compare to our homemade meatballs.. and on a rare occasion will one even remotely compare with our recipe. It's a fun and ongoing tradition throughout our family and I will probably end up teaching my kids how to make authentic meatballs too! 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Perks of Cafeteria Food...

One of the things that I was a little curious about going into college was how I was going to get through the year eating cafeteria food five times a week. I knew that it wasn't going to be absolutely delicious, but I wasn't sure whether or not it'd be manageable. My first time walking in there, I was amazed at how much the foods varied. I didn't expect to see an international food bar, which featured different cultured food each day. For those of you who have never dormed before or been to our school cafeteria, the food changes from breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. Sometimes, you'll get the best luck of finding a good-tasting meal by getting a little of everything served that meal and finding what tastes good. A lot of times the food is pretty good, but every once in a while you'll come in on a day where nothing is good at all. No hard feelings on the cooks, but there are some meals out there that are not satisfactory when cooked in mass quantities. However, my favorite thing that I have eaten at the dining hall so far is their plum-sauce meatballs. This may sound a little strange, but trust me, they are to die for. Overall, the cafeteria food is definitely not my favorite, but compared to other cafeterias I have eaten at, this one isn't all that bad.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Oh, the holidays...

So, all month I have been anxious for the holidays to come around. My favorite thing about the fall and winter holidays is PUMPKIN! Pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, pumpkin frappuccino, pumpkin bagels with pumpkin cream cheese, pumpkin seeds... virtually ANYTHING that had pumpkin flavoring in it. I am not sure what it is about pumpkin that I'm in love with, but it just tastes so delicious! I came into Noah's bagels this morning and realized they just brought back their seasonal pumpkin bagels with pumpkin cream cheese! (I was just there last week and they didn't have it yet). Seeing that made me realize how close all of the holidays truly are. My three favorite holidays are the 4th of July, Christmas and Thanksgiving, mainly because of the spirit that comes along with them. I am most excited for Thanksgiving because each year I make something with pumpkin in it. I'll usually make pumpkin bread, but I'll occasionally cook up some warm pumpkin soup. The flavor is so rich and sweet, yet can be mixed with so many different flavors to make it that much tastier! As a matter of fact, I am typing this in Starbucks and just ordered a Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino, DELICIOUS! :) I highly recommend it... Happy Holidays!