A College Girl's Guide to a Happy, Healthy Lifestyle!

Tag: experience

A Brief Photo Diary of Missed Recipes!

Well hello there viewers! Welcome back to my blog. Today I’m just writing a very brief post that I promised to write. Though I continued on my journey with the cook-through challenge, I began to post less and less. These following pictures are of recipes […]

A Single Recipe with Multiple Lessons | Kotosoupa | One Cook, Two Books

Of all the recipes in this book, this is the one that I have been waiting the most anxiously to do.   The first time I ever had Kotosoupa, was just within the past year. I was visiting my dad’s family in long island. There, […]

Dinner Party Round Two | One Cook, Two Books

After yesterday’s meal prep, I was quite terrified to dive into tonight’s cooking. Though the family explained it was okay for us to eat out, I was determined to cook them yet another delicious dinner. I knew that nothing would match up to how laborious the meal prep was yesterday, so I was quite confident in my skills that I would be able to make them two simple dishes: Makaronia Me Kima, and Early Spring Salad with a Tangy Sour Cream Dressing.


I actually planned out the production of this meal in an incredibly _____ way. It was so well planned, in fact, that I was essentially done by the time my family came back from being out!


Let us begin, shall we?


Part 1 – The Meat Sauce

Makaronia Me Kima is also known as Cinnamon and Clove Meat Ragu. The recipe was incredibly self explanatory. I also had a little helper read it to me (thank you, little brother Jake) while I stayed by the stove to ensure that everything went as fast as possible.

Easiness: 4/5. The onions literally killed my eyes as I sliced them, and it took quite a while for me to slice the onions. Those are my only complaints though!

Taste: Absolutely phenomenal. I ended up reading the intro of the book again before cooking. Mina Stone is described at one point as eating very slowly, almost in a trance as she ate her food. I decided to try out this “slow eating” taste test and it actually worked very well! I was able to catch the subtle flavours of the meat that I don’t taste when devouring it super fast. Pretty. Dang. Delicious.


Part 2 – The Salad Dressing

So as the meat cooked, I decided to work on the salad next since I knew how fast the pasta would cook. I was too nervous to set up the entire salad all at once, so I thought that I would start out by just making the dressing and letting it sit there. I originally intended on making a Green Goddess Spinoff dressing, but instead stuck with the original Tangy Sour Cream Dressing recipe in the book because, well, Master Mina says that’s what is best! It was super easy to make. I did not have sour cream, so I used the remnants of my buttermilk and some plain yogurt instead.

Easiness: 5/5. Mix three ingredients together then add salt and pepper? The only way this could have been difficult is if… wait… oh yeah. There is no way.


Taste: Really good! It was a very simple lemon yogurt dressing. I almost convinced myself to add poppyseeds and make it a lemon poppyseed dressing but didn’t want to alter the recipe too much. Maybe I’ll make another salad tomorrow and just add some poppy seeds to that dressing…


Part 3 – The Salad

Meat still cooking, dressing done. All that was left was to prep the salad and cook the pasta. Still knowing how fast the pasta was going to be, I decided I would set up the salad. I decided on the Early Spring Salad because, well frankly, the picture looked absolutely beautiful. It was rather easy to make, and took up the perfect amount of time to prep all of the vegetables. It was all very simple and very therapeutic. Plus, this recipe gave me a chance (like with the olives) to try something new! I got to try all different sorts of delicious vegetables in a salad, something I don’t normally do since I do not normally eat salads.

Easiness: 4/5. It was a little time consuming to cut all of the vegetables, but even so it all worked out since I spent just the right amount of time with this dish.

Taste: This was an absolutely delicious salad. Especially with the dressing. After a while of eating it I even threw some blueberries in because I thought it needed something a little sweet to offset the tang from the dressing. Best. Decision. Ever.




Part 4 – The Pasta. Easy Peasy. No Description Needed.

But I’ll give a description anyway. Boiled some water. Cooked some pasta. Put it in some pretty bowls. Bam.

Easiness: 5/5


Oh! Speaking of which, I did another really fun layout for the dinner. Besides dividing the pasta into two beautiful bowls, I also laid out a whole bunch of sides: pesto, snap peas, radishes, blueberries, cauliflower salad, and my dad’s famous garlic bread. It was all absolutely delicious.


Mina, you did it again. Your recipes created one heck of a dinner party! I thank you.

I Semi-Hosted My First Dinner Party, and it was the Most Stressful but Amazing Experience

Today is the first time in my life that I made a dinner for a group of people. This dinner happened to be for our family of eight (out of towners and an extra guest), and I could not have been more overwhelmed.   I […]

FINAL STRETCH! | Shortbread | One Cook, One Book | Little Beach Street Bakery

I can’t believe it. This is the end of the challenge. Already.   Today is the last day that I am cooking for my challenge One Cook, One Book. The last recipe? A staple. Shortbread.   I expected to cook this earlier in the day, […]

Focaccia | One Cook, One Book | Little Beach Street Bakery

“Once you’ve mastered the [basic recipe], the options when it comes to toppings are endless” – Sara, owner of “Don’t Feed After Midnight”, on How to Make Basic Focaccia Bread


I have been planning on making this recipe since last Sunday. Literally. Last. Sunday. Every day I put it off because it was cold and bitter, or cloudy, or rainy. All of those cheerless weather conditions meant that I could not spend time outside in my herb garden.


“But Annie, what does your herb garden have to do with making focaccia?


Well I’m glad you asked, you lovely stranger you! I remember when the bakery I work at used to make focaccia every day. The base, aka the dough, was always really good, but there was one baker in particular that would choose the BEST TOPPINGS! For me, the toppings are what make the focaccia so absolutely delectable. And there was a particular topping in my garden that I have been anxiously waiting to use…


Chive Blossoms.



That’s right. Chive flowers. Apparently those things are edible! I had absolutely no idea about that until just a few weeks ago when my chives started sprouting their lovely blossoms. I panicked, because I was always told to remove the flowering tops off of herbs. Keeping the blossom takes the energy away from the plant itself, and then focusses on the flower head. That’s not ideal for herbs, especially because (in most cases) the herb is not the flower, but the leaves and roots. It was this past school semester that I came to realize how much we waste, and decided to look up if chive blossoms are edible. That way, they would have a purpose in this dish and would not end up with the chickens.


Turns out, they are absolutely edible! Chive blossoms have an oniony flower the way the stalks do. They’re very good as garnishes, but I’ve also seen many “chive blossom vinegar” recipes and some “pickled chive flowers” recipes as well. I haven’t personally tried any of those recipes, but I’m very excited to in the future! In this case, we are using these beautiful blossoms as a garnish on the focaccia.


Let’s rewind now, and talk about the wonderful process of making the dough.



I have to say that making dough is one of the best things ever. I love working hard to create this dough, only to come back after letting it sit to see that it’s aged and grown! Is it weird to say dough is like my baby? I watch it grow up and mature……. And then I eat it.


Okay. Actually, let’s not say it’s my baby. That’s weird.


Though the Goddess only knows that in future blog posts I’ll be calling dough my baby again. Let’s cross that bridge when we get to it.


Anyways, one thing that I did after letting the dough sit is press my fingers in it to push the dough down. Why do you do this? Well… I have no idea. Let’s take a moment and research it.


(Okay, first thing’s first. I should have cut my nails before dimpling because you can see my nail marks all over the place!)


So this process here is called ‘dimpling.’ It’s when you press your fingertips into the dough to create cute little holes. These are little ‘pooling’ areas for excess olive oil because why should you let it go to waste? You shouldn’t. Keep it in those holes so you get that explosive flavor while you bite into the focaccia!


Sorry, I’m a little excited tonight.



Anyways, here is what the focaccia looked like pre-cooking! We first brushed oil all over the focaccia. We used the oil from my packed sundried tomatoes, because it was a way to use up some of that oil that would have ended up just sitting around! We then cut up some sundried tomatoes for tang, and spread chipped oregano and chives. The last thing we added were the bits of the purple chive flowers.


Look at how beautiful and glamorous it looks with all those blossoms!



When it came out of the oven? We didn’t even give it a few minutes to sit. We cut right into it and dug in!



The texture of the dough is absolutely fantastic. It reminds me just of what I used to eat weekly at the bakery, so it was almost nostalgic in a sense. Definitely a very successful recipe!



Price talk time! This is super important, right? So to make one focaccia bread, which made about 12 servings, cost me about $3.32

After researching some alternatives:

  • Standard bakery slice: $2.25
  • Italian Herb and Garlic Focaccia Bread Mix: $4.59
  • The Prepared Pantry Tuscany Tomato and Herb Focaccia Bread Mix: $10.76

It was actually a bit difficult to find alternatives. Apparently it’s not common to find focaccia anywhere! I compared my bread to that of a nearby bakery focaccia that is sold by the slice, and then two different mixes found on amazon. You can see that the price is all over the place! What I enjoy about the recipe that I have made here is the minimal list of ingredients, many of which were grabbed from my back yard! It was a super fun afternoon activity as well. I definitely see myself making this again in the future.


Onto the question of the day!


Would you like to live in a town like Mount Polbearne? Why or why not?

I would absolutely live in a town like Mount Polbearne! I love the closeness of all of the inhabitants and how they all help each other out. It also is so fascinating that they’re essentially stranded there during high tide… It just makes it seem so secluded, but in a good way! It just seems like an amazing paradise to escape the reality of growing suburban and city life. Sounds like just the place for me!






Cinnamon Rolls | One Cook, One Book | Little Beach Street Bakery

“Anyone who gives you a cinnamon roll fresh out of the oven is a friend for life” – Lemony Snicket   Today, June 2, 2017, is National Doughnut Day here in the United States. Instead of going out and buying myself a doughnut with goodness […]