Friday, February 17, 2012

Cilantro Bunches

Don't you love the smell of Cilantro on your hands? I do! But here's the only ever use like a few tablespoons of Cilantro for most recipes, but it is sold in a huge bundle. The bundle is such a small price, you can't turn down buying it and then you are stuck with a bundle of Cilantro that ends up going brown and slimy before you can ever use it all. Yes, I am speaking from experience. I tried very hard this week to make a least one meal a day with cilantro and I still had to throw out my slimy bunch of Cilantro today. Tsk. Oh well. So if you happen to have a bunch of Cilantro in your fridge and have no idea what to do with it, here are some ideas!
I have to preface that practically all of these recipes came from a wonderful cooking blog I've been following, so if you want the recipe just follow the link!

1. Cilantro Lime Shrimp ( I made this at least 3 times!)

It is super easy and quick to make, but the lime and garlic are delicious together. I actually substituted garlic powder for the actual garlic cloves and it turned out just fine. Get the Recipe Here

2. Black Bean Salad 

Prepare your mouth for an explosion of red onion deliciousness! Once again, I tweaked the recipe a bit to work with my college food supply (I used canned corn, can of diced tomatoes, no avocado or scallion) Get this recipe here!

3. Coconut Cilantro Brown Rice
This recipe just adds a hint of flavor to the rice. I actually like to eat it with the Lime Cilantro Shrimp on top! You can find this recipe HERE

4. My actual creation was just a simple chicken breast fried up with lemon pepper seasoning and olive oil. Then I just tossed it with some cilantro. Nothing fancy.

I enjoyed my cilantro week and maybe one day I will actually be able to use all of the cilantro before it goes bad. If you have any great Cilantro recipes...feel free to share them!

Oh and P.S.- THANK YOU to all of you who contacted me through comments, emails, phone calls, or texts, to let me know that you thought I was a good writer. I had a bit of a writer's identity crisis this week, but you've all repaired me and lifted my spirits...I thank you for that!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Real Life Love Stories

In honor of Valentine's day, would you mind if I told you a few love stories?

"Falling For You"
Once upon a time there was a beautiful girl. She was so beautiful that she was known as the "Sunshine of Scipio" in her hometown. One day she went rollerskating at a local amusement park with a strong young man. As graceful as she was, the two shoes on wheels got the better of her and she fell flat on the rink. The handsome man looked down at her and said, "Well, I knew I'd fallen for you, but I didn't know you'd fallen for me." 
That lady was my Great Grandmother and her witty fella-my Great Grandpa!

"Keep Going"
The couple was attending their first grandchild's wedding reception. The DJ had called all the couples to the crowded dance floor. The white haired man took his wife's hand as they danced. While the music played, the DJ would ask all the couples married under ten years to leave the dance floor. Twenty years, thirty years, forty years...the once crowded dance floor now held only two or three couples. The white haired man and his beautiful wife continued to bounce along. The DJ looked astonished. "Fifty years?" The white haired man raised his voice over the music, "Keep Going" The DJ continued to guess and the white haired man continued to shout "Keep Going" even after they were the last couple on the dance floor. They won a floral centerpiece for being married the longest, but I think the fact that their love "kept going" after so many years was the real prize.
My Grandma and Grandpa were married 66 years before he passed away, and their love keeps going.

"The Little Things"
It had snowed quite a bit the night before this cold Saturday morning, but Choir practice stops for nothing.The couple hustled into the car, the wife taking a little longer to get out the door, and drove slowly down the street hoping the snow tires would do their duty. The Church parking lot was dusted in a fluffy cloud of snow that crunched under the weight of the car. The car came to a stop in what the man hoped was a parking spot. "Wait one second" the man said to his wife as he opened his door out into the cold air. He proceeded to open the trunk, take out a shovel and plough a small path from his wife's car door all the way to the door of the church. That path was not covered in red velvet, but he was treating her like a queen with such a little thing.
He also ploughed a little path for his daughter sitting in the back seat. Thanks Dad!

I feel like often we look to fairy tale books and movies for those heart-wrenching love stories, when sometimes there are real life love stories all around us. So this Valentine's day I want to say THANK YOU to the elderly couple sitting on a bench in Edinburgh holding hands and watching people pass by. Thank you to the man in my neighborhood, who even in his old age, takes care of his wife who is in a wheelchair and no longer carries on normal conversation. Thank you to my friend's parents who still hold hands and cuddle when they watch movies together. Thank you to the boy who once threw pebbles at my window in order to give me a bouquet of flowers "just because." Thank you to all of you who've reminded me that love exists outside of books and movies. Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Cheers to 21 Years!

I officially turned 21 on January 31st. Since I am a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints, the excitement of being able to legally drink alcohol or go gambling doesn't hold much sway for me. However, I am a bit excited that I can now buy certain wines for cooking and maybe stop at a karaoke or piano bar sometime. Not to mention, I could linger in a Vegas casino without being yelled at! 
The theme for this year's birthday was BLACK and WHITE - no specific reason, I just thought it could be pretty fun. The day started off beautifully as I gave myself the gift of fifteen extra minutes of sleep. I walked groggily out of my bedroom to the sight of an explosion of beautifully colored signs taped on our vanity mirrors. "Happy Birthday Jenny" and little signs of validation such as "Wow, that shirt looks great on you" immediately made me smile. 
Continuing into the Kitchen, I was greeted with our  "Complimentary Cereal Bowl," a bright ginormous green bowl that we put out for every girl's birthday to remind her how wonderful she is.

After delighting in my birthday cereal, I noticed a large sign above the kitchen sink. I am kind of a dish duty dork and find great joy when the dishes are done. Each of my roommates and I have a designated "dish day" where we are responsible for unloading the dishwasher. My birthday happened to land on my dish day. I laughed at this sign from my roommate.

The rest of the day went stupendously as I sported a bright pink bedazzled button with the words "Cheers to 21 Years" on my shirt. I received many phone calls, texts, and facebook messages to remind me that this was MY SPECIAL DAY! 

As another present to myself, I made Chocolate Chip Scones (a new favorite recipe from a new favorite cooking blog - These are super delicious - I've made them twice just this week alone.

To top the evening off, my roommates and I got all dressed up in black and white garb and heading down to Spark - a lounge / restaurant in Provo that serves non-alcoholic beverages. We took all of our pictures in black and white to continue with this little theme of mine.  
Note my "21" button on my dress
My delicious three berry martini 

The best part is my birthday did not end at midnight. A few days later my roommates and I indulged in some deluxe Ice Cream sundaes while watching one of my favorite Black and White movies "Naughty Marietta" and then I spent the weekend celebrating in Salt Lake with my Family. 

Birthdays are wonderful. I have a tradition with my family that on someone's birthday, everyone goes around and says what they love about that person. Sometimes funny stories and memories surface or my mother will pull out the video of the birth. I love this tradition because not only does it make me feel good, but I feel it is super important to tell people that you love them as often as possible. I would hate for someone to leave this life and not know how much I loved them. 

Another tradition that I started with my roommates is for the Birthday girl to say one thing she learned in the last year and one thing she is looking forward to in the upcoming year. My problem is I can never pick just one thing. But here's my best try...

#1 - This last year was the year I learned the most about myself. I went on a Study Abroad, which somehow instilled a deep passion and romanticism somewhere in my gut that just will not go away. I learned to love myself more through eating healthier, fitting into jeans I had given up on, and doing Zumba twice a week. I learned that family is all about love: No matter what!

#2 - I am excited for many things this year. There is a boy who I have not seen in 2 years and I am SO excited to see him again in March. My roommates and I are planning a road trip to California the day after Finals that is bound to be full of adventures. I will be returning to one of my favorite destinations - The Outer banks in North Carolina- to spend a week at the beach with my favorite people (My family). I will be beginning an Internship with the Utah Humanities Art Council and getting that much closer to graduating!

I am thinking twenty one is going to be super fun!