Sunday, November 30, 2008



I am so grateful for my cousins, especially Derick Gines. He's 10 days younger than me, but he's always been my example. He is so kind and righteous--no matter what! He comes over to keep me company while I'm all alone in the vacation house, and I don't know what I'm going to do when he goes on his mission in a couple months.

I'm thankful for Slurpees. I've never had one before, and the aforementioned cousin introduced them to me last Tuesday. Cherry and pina colada never tasted so delectable! I am thankful to be able to act, sometimes, like a child again.

I am grateful for truth. I've been working on a scripture chain about "the word" of God and its implications: scripture, prophets' teachings, Jesus Christ, truth and light, and the power thereof. So many in our world do not believe that absolute truth exists. I am thankful that I can know that something is true- without a doubt, without one discrepancy or condition.

However, I am most thankful, I think, for gluten-free banana cream pie. Yum!


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Stress Factor

“Mom, I am having a terrible day! The HUGE English essay is due on Wednesday, and I’m feeling sick, and I REALLY should be studying for that Chem test this week, and don’t even get me STARTED on Comms, and what if I lose my scholarship? I don’t even know why I’m AT college! Why am I even here?! I don’t even know what I want to do with my life! … blah, blah, blah.”

When I have kids who are in college, I will be sorely tempted to set up a permanent busy tone during the month before finals.

She simply said, “Dia, you’re having a bad day. Yesterday (and all month before that), you loved college. Just find something to laugh about and stop stressing out!”

Yeah, right. So I was on looking for something to laugh about (it’s full of them, go check it out), and I found this cake (ha HA! Now this relates to food! YES!):

These were the words I lived by during what should have been an insanely stressful senior year. Junior year had just been too crazy, and though I was taking even more AP classes and had more responsibilities senior year, I decided to just stop freaking out and realize what things really mattered. I got to see my family, and sleep, and my blood pressure probably went down. Somehow, things just worked themselves out—and my GPA didn’t even (somehow?!) suffer.

I’m reminded of Count Rugen’s ironic response to a stressed-out Prince Humperdink as they’re going in to torture Wesley: “Well, get some rest. If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.”

In the GRAND scheme of things, college will matter. But freaking out over every assignment, class, grade, professor, activity and responsibility will NOT. I can find peace in laughing about it.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Revision: an edited version of a project, paper, or diatribe. To "see again".


I'm sick of leftovers.

Leftovers in college have whole new meaning than they did at home. Sure, Mom always made enough food to feed an army, but there was AN ARMY TO FEED.
Here, I make food in the same proportions... and I eat the same thing for a month.

Therefore, revision. The rice dish yesterday becomes a chicken base today, becomes a taco soup tomorrow, will be Spanish casserole next week.
My creative tendencies and "thrifty" (read: CHEAP) tendencies combine to help me create all kinds of things from... all kinds of leftovers.

Just today, I ruined pumpkin muffins. Don't ask me how, they just didn't work (OK, you asked, and I think it has to do with not pre-heating the oven... oops). BUT the point is, How will I make something new out of this dish that probably should've been tossed straight into the trash as it exited the oven?

Revision... gotta love it.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Recipes Cramp My Style

"And garnish it with a slice of lemon and a sprinkle of parsley...beautiful."

Some chefs cook with precision. Some cook with love. Some cook with only the best ingredients, while others prefer making something out of nothing. Some cook in minuscule portion, and some barbecue five turkeys for Thanksgiving. Some chefs cook with flair, some with ease, some with hard-won intuition.

Some chefs cook with audacity.

My cooking style is courageous. By necessity, sure (when you can't just "grab a p b & j" ever again, all kind of innovative possibilities open up) (how about peanut butter and jelly... on a corn tortilla?!) but it's also my personality. My reckless, impatient self has had an uphill but ever progressing battle all my life in overcoming my cautious, careful tendencies. Just recently, in my high school years, I've realized that perfection is for boring people-- and (just like in cooking) all kind of possibilities opened up.

As I was contemplating my cooking style, my roomie reminded me of a recent experience with a certain pot of onery taco soup. Upon trial run, I had to pronounce that it tasted "like mud," and sat there looking at the offending dish for a straight 2-seconds.
Then it was off to the cupboard.
I added a couple of the usual ingredients (beans, corn, tomatoes, taco seasoning) and then, when that didn't work, some... others (garlic, onion powder, cheese powder, frozen stir-fry veggies, beef, chicken, rice, and the shimmering contents of a strange, unmarked container waaaay in the back of my cupboard). "Heck, even if it tastes bad, at least it will TASTE," I decided. And you know what, it did (taste, or taste bad? I'll never tell)!

I don't try the same thing twice, because then... how would we learn? No, really, I don't try the same thing twice (and I don't use recipes, they cramp my style!) because that would involve planning ahead. How on Earth am I supposed to know what I'm going to want to eat TOMORROW NIGHT while I'm standing in the grocery store today?

Better to improvise than to organize!

Thus, akin to Disney movies, every meal requires a little imagination. Recipe calls for sour cream? Mayonnaise works just as well (don't stick up your nose until you've tried it). No mayo... AH HA! Let's try yogurt! OK, slighly different consistency... but that's what makes it fun!

I have so many examples... I can't even begin to name them. No potato masher, but Dia wants to make mashed potatoes? Let's try a whisk. Nope. Blender? NOPE. Erm... wooden spoon?

No ____ flour (fill in: teff, quinoa, potato, rice, or pretty much anything else)? Let's try... _____ flour (again fill in your choice of flour type. Or corn starch)!!!

No ice cream? Freeze plain yogurt in an ice-cube tray. Out of sugar? Honey works just as well, or better. No eggs? 2 tablespoons of ground flax boiled in water.

Sure, it doesn't work sometimes (the same roomie asked, "So where do you get your gluten-free recipes?" the other day while I was gnawing on a " personal pizza" --sauce, pepperoni and mozzarella on guess what? A CORN TORTILLA!-- and I had to think, "Stop mocking me. Recipes?? Who in their right mind would advise you to make a pizza on a corn tortilla on PURPOSE?")... but college students get to eat EVERYTHING, whether it works or not (I tell myself as I stare down at my newest try--I think I'm at #8-- at that constantly evading final product, "yogurt").

Besides, if you made the same thing every time, cooking would be like math.
2 + 2 = 4, blah, blah, blah.
Where's the adventure, intrigue, and STYLE in that?