Some people are just jerks

“Stop thinking you’re a special casebecause someone was mean to you. It happens to everyone.”

whyimconservative

I have read a lot this year about racism and sexism. It’s kind of a big deal, right? Definitely, if there is inherent, systematic, foundational racism (or sexism) ((or homophobia)) that is keeping certain races or genders (or sexual orientations) from accomplishing everything they could, that’s something that should be dealt with. If you read something exposing racism, and think, “That’s not racism,” then you’re being racist. Or privileged. Because you don’t understand. And I’m not black, so there is no way for me to ever known how it would feel to go to the store and be treated like a black person, or drive my car and be treated like a black person, or attend school and be treated like a black person. Because I’m not black. So I’ll never know. And that means, that as a white person, I have to accept and believe everything that is said…

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Silver Wire Ring

I recently began making jewelry to focus on some much-needed relaxation.  I showed a bunch of my friends at work, and some offered to buy some from me, so I decided to open an Etsy store.

blue bead ring

I’ll be adding more in the future, but please stop by my Etsy and take a look around! 🙂

Chicken Enchilada Soup

My mom runs this fancy little Facebook page called Cucina Facile, and she posts recipes all the time. It’s mainly for Italian dishes that she and her friends and family cook, but they’ll often share other kinds of foods.

One of the gems she shared was a recipe for Chicken Enchilada Soup. She got the original recipe from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice, and it was so delicious! I knew I had to share it with you!

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 small bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small can Ro-tel/diced tomatoes & green chiles
4 cups chicken broth
1 package boneless chicken breasts
2 cups corn (my mom accidentally put in two cans!)
1 can black beans
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano, crushed between fingertips
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese or Monterrey jack
1 cup sour cream

NOTE: My mother did not cook this in a slow cooker. She just used a pot and took 1/3 the time to cook this. You can either do that, throw everything in at the same time (saving the sour cream and cheese for the end), or use the following directions from the original recipe.

Directions
1. In a medium skillet heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, peppers and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened, stirring often, about 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile to your crock-pot add the Ro-tel, chicken broth, chicken, corn, black beans (if using), chile powder, cumin, oregano and 1 teaspoon coarse salt or 1/2 teaspoon fine and about 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Mix in the cooked onions, peppers and garlic.
3. Cook on high 3 – 4 hour or low 5 – 6. Remove the chicken breasts to a cutting board. Stir the cheese and sour cream into the soup. Shred the chicken or cut into bite-sized pieces and add back to the pot. Taste and season as needed. Cook 1 more hour on low heat.
4. Serve garnished with more cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips and avocado if desired.

The entire house smelled like a restaurant when Mom made this. I can’t stress enough how delicious this was! I can’t wait to make it when my boyfriend moves here!

Bacon Bowls

We’ve all seen them. The weird Bacon Bowls that look really gross yet delicious at the same time?

I don’t like bacon, but I love trying new things, so I’m sharing my method with you!

What You’ll Need:
1 package of bacon (that’s good for about 8 bowls)
a muffin pan
a knife
a cutting board
whatever you want to put in your bowl*

*I made scrambled eggs with peppers, sausage, and onions, but you can literally put whatever you want inside.

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven according to box directions. Each pack of bacon is different.
2. Turn your muffin pan upside down and begin wrapping each hump with bacon. What I did, as you can see in the image, was cut a piece of bacon in half, place the two halves onto the top, then placed one or two bacon slices around.

When you cook it, the grease is what keeps the bacon together.


3. Cook the bacon bowls according to box directions. As I said, each pack of bacon is different. Ours said cook for twelve minutes, but I ended up putting it in for longer because they weren’t crispy enough.
4. When your bacon is done, to take your bowls off the pan, all you need to do it use a fork to wedge the bowl slowly off. Here’s an image to see what I mean:

5. Fill with whatever you want and serve!

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Olive Garden Copycat Salad Dressing!

If Olive Garden has perfected anything on their entire menu, it’s definitely their salad.  I love veggies, but I’m not a huge fan of salad because to me, it’s pretty boring.  However, I find myself scarfing down three plates of salad at Olive Garden before I even realize where it went because it’s so absolutely tasty.

I looked all over Pinterest and recipe sites for a recipe that sounded the best.  A lot of them were the same, so I threw a few of them together and adapted this one here.

Ingredients
1 packet Good Seasons Italian salad dressing and recipe mix
4 1/2 T water
1/3 cup vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp mayonnaise
1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Directions
1. Mix everything in a bowl and whisk. You can use a blender, but who wants to clean all that oil from blades? Not me!
2. Place dressing in a jar or bottle. I used a handy mason jar.
3. Chill completely before eating. Believe me, it tastes way better when it’s cold.

It tastes just like the salad dressing from Olive Garden!  To make the salad, throw some romaine lettuce and spinach together, then add in some red onions, tomatoes, croutons, and even some pepperoncini and top with Parmesan or Romano cheese!

Our Christmas Dinner!

We practice many Italian traditions in our house, and two of them are our meals on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  On Christmas Eve, my mom makes schiacciata (scah-cha-tah), which we eat at night, and then there’s our made-from-scratch macaroni with sugo on Christmas Day.  However, because we’re in a tiny apartment and didn’t have our tools or enough room to make macaroni, we elected to make gnocchi (ni-oh-kee).

Mom made her famous sugo with polpette, beef chunks, braciole, and sausage.  After letting the dough rise, she cut them into thick strips, then cut them again into quarter-sized cubes and rolled them onto a fork to get their special texture.  She has the actual tool to make gnocchi, but it (like everything!) is in storage.

Quite the treat for us on Christmas!  My mother is a champion cook, and I know I want to adopt every one of her skills in the kitchen!

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and enjoys their New Year!

Chinese Chicken and Vegetables

My favorite dish is the chicken and broccoli, so I decided to revamp it with a bunch of vegetables because I didn’t have enough broccoli for all of us 😦  It was SO good, and my parents devoured it quickly!

There are two parts to this recipe. One is for the chicken marinade, and the other is for the actual sauce.

Ingredients

Marinade:
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon rice vinegar*
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 chicken breasts, sliced thinly
1 bag Sechuan style vegetables

*I didn’t have rice vinegar, so I substituted it with a little less than 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and mixed it with some sugar.

Directions

1. Mix all the ingredients for the marinade together, and marinade the chicken while preparing the sauce (I marinated it for about an hour).
2. Steam vegetables, either in a steamer or in the microwave.

3. Cook chicken with its marinade for a few minutes, then add the sauce.  Once it is thoroughly cooked, add in vegetables.  Cook and mix for a few more minutes until your veggies are soft and covered with sauce.

This was a pretty simple dish, it just took some time to prepare everything.  Hope you enjoy!

Cajun Macaroni & Cheese


I was really craving macaroni and cheese, so I came up with this yummy dish!

Ingredients
1 box of pasta
2 chicken breasts
1 can of Ragu cheddar cheese
1/2 cup of milk
1/4 cup of flour
1/2 tablespoon Cajun season, more to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Directions
1. First, prep your chicken. Cut them into small chunks or strips (mine were a little too big). Coat chunks with flour evenly.
2. Begin cooking your pasta to package directions.
3. Heat oil in a skillet, and begin cooking the chicken on medium heat. Once the strips are almost fully cooked, add the jar of Ragu into the skillet. Pour milk into the jar, give it a nice shake, and add to skillet. Add Cajun seasoning.
4. Once your chicken is fully cooked and the cheese sauce is ready, add to pasta and viola!

Tomato & Basil Pasta with Scallops

It’s been a while since my last post.  Classes and homework have caught up with me, and I’ve finally managed to take my tests and catch up completely.

That being said, I’ve actually had a chance to cook for the first time in a while!  I bought a bunch of scallops forever ago, so I was more than thrilled today when cooked them!  I threw together something fast, and it turned out pretty dang well!

Ingredients
1 box of long pasta (I didn’t have linguine, but that’s preferred)
1 large can diced/petite diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons (separated) olive oil
3 cloves garlic
2 package of small scallops OR 1 package of large scallops
1 handful of fresh basil, sliced
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions
1. Start off with your sauce.  In a large skillet, saute garlic with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Pour in diced tomatoes and mash them with a spatula.  Fill the can 1/4 of the way with water and pour into the pan.  Season with salt and pepper.
2. Add basil and about a tablespoon or so of oil to your sauce. Allow to cook for five to eight more minutes while you begin cooking your pasta to box directions.
3. Add scallops and cook to package directions.  For me, that was ten minutes.
4. Mix pasta and sauce together and serve!

Healthy Peanut Butter Bars!

I don’t like making desserts very much because in order to make really good ones, it usually calls for sugar, sugar, and more sugar.  I try to stay away from sugar as much as possible, so I was very happy to see this post from Heat Oven to 350.  Of course I made a few changes, so here it is!

Ingredients
1 cup peanuts
2 tablespoons sugar-free honey
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar substitute
4 1/2 cups cheerios
1 giant dark chocolate Hershey’s bar (6.8 oz)

Directions
1. Put cheerios in a blender and blend them finely. Put them in a large mixing bowl.
2. Put sugar substitute in the blender and blend until very powdery, then mix that into the mixing bowl.
3. If you want the peanut mixture chunky, use a blender (which is what I used). If you want it smooth, use a food processor. Anyway, blend the peanuts, water, and honey together until you like the texture of the peanut butter.
4. Mix this with your sweetener and cheerios and add melted butter.
5. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt your chocolate bars. While waiting for this to melt, mash your peanut butter mixture into a baking dish or long, flat Tupperware container. Pack it like brown sugar.
5. When your chocolate is melted, pour it on top of the mixture and put it in the fridge to set.

This was quite the success! It was annoying not having the food processor to make the peanuts into peanut butter, but my parents really liked the chunkiness of the peanuts, so I’ll make it like that from now on. I’m not a peanut lover, myself, but even I enjoyed the chunks!