Growing up in South Florida, I had the opportunity to grow up being exposed to people from many cultures. Moya Brown from the Bahamas, Maylise Santaro from France, Luciana Corte from Brazil, Dennis from Turkey, Monnica from Ecuador, Dennis Ochoa from Japan, Deanna Crispino from New York, Ashley Wolfe from Maryland, and of course my Mormon family, The Ottings, from Colorado. I could go on forever. It was great! and I didn't even know it until I moved to Southern Utah.
I love Utah, but the culture is COMPLETELY different. We can just say that I went through a lack-of-culture culture shock. Not too much to choose from. Native-Americans, Mexicans, and Native-to-Utah-Mormons pretty much cover everything. I'm used to it now, but every once in a while someone will say something, or not know what I'm talking about and it catches me off guard.
For example, yesterday I had some sweet potatoes and I wanted to make some Latkes with them! Yum! But it didn't take long before I heard the words, "What is a Latke?"
! ! ! ! ! !
I  know that the bulk of the Jewish culture is FAR from being close Utah, and so when I though about it, it really wasn't much of a surprise that none of my roommates knew about Latkes. As I am sure plenty who are reading this don't know either. So I will explain!
A latke is a potato pancake! Fried up shredded potato, egg, flour, onions and spices. It's pretty simple. This lady will tell ya

I also made some last night with sweet potatoes, using this recipe >

Try 'em out if you'd like!
Also, post some of your favorite cultural recipes so I can try them out!

Without a Trace

Making something in a kitchen shared with 5 other girls is sometimes a challenge. Often times we're all in a hurry, and there are multiple people trying to make something at the same time before each has to run off to school. This results in piled up dishes, spills on the counter, and food left out. I've created a list to help cut your time in the kitchen and leave the place as if you never entered.
  1. How much time do you have? If you only have a 30-50 minute break between classes you're not going to be able to make lasagna for goodness sakes! find something easy and fast. If you're lost, get online and check out some quick, easy recipes! I like to use I can save my favorite recipes on my account, and quickly search for recipes according to the number of ingredients, main ingredients, or time to prepare.
  2. Save yourself time, use as little as possible. If you really find cleaning up your mess a pain, try to use less utensils and dishes. If you want to get really anal about it you could even eat out of the pot you cooked in. This saves on clean up time.
  3. When there's time to lean, there's time to clean! When I'm baking or cooking something, the second I sit down to relax it seems like all my energy is GONE. So instead of sitting, I get to doing my dishes that are waiting to be done. Even if I have a few seconds while I'm waiting for my food to cool off, I'll wash a pot or two. To me, it's better to get it all done and THEN relax, than to rest now, get nagged by the roomies, and then have to do the dishes unwillingly.
Try it out! It's a pretty nice feeling not having those dishes in the back of your mind.

If you Give your Cheesecake a Bath

Some spring form pans allow water to seep through and RUIN your cheesecake! Usually it is recommended that you use tin foil. My tin foil, however doesn't cover the entire diameter of my spring form pan, so it STILL lets water seep through because of the seam. Something I've found INCREDIBLY useful, though, is an oven bag. Oven bags are wide enough to slide your spring form pan in, and you can just cut it down to the height of your pan. SUPER HANDY!

Iron Deficiency?

Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency and the leading cause of anemia in the United States. This is especially common in women, and, in pregnant women, it is associated with an increased risk of Low Birth Weight infants (LBW) due to the fetus not getting enough oxygen! There is something we can do! 
Sources of Iron include; red meats (best), organ meats (best of the best), leafy green vegetables, iron fortified cereal, and, (something to help us bring it into ALL of our foods) cooking in a cast iron skillet.

Though it's important to get enough iron, we don't want too much! If you're taking an iron supplement, make sure it's less than 200% of the RDA (recommended dietary amount). Iron toxicity can result in Hemochomatosis, causes oxidative damage, reduces zinc absorption, and is the number one fatal poisoning in children under six years old.

Cake Trimming!

Trimming a cake is crumbly, time consuming, and inconvenient. I have found an alternative! After your cake is done baking, take a CLEAN kitchen towel, or oven mitt (the smoother the better), and press firmly on the top of your cake until it is level. That's it. You're done.

Not Another Ramen for Lunch

I had an hour between classes today, I really wanted to make something TASTY. But I only had so much to work with. This recipe calls for only 6 ingredients, and I made it up, cooked it, ate it and cleaned everything up  in about 40 minutes. I'm even now blogging about it in my minutes before I have to go!

The problem with only having so much time is that I didn't measure anything... but I will make an estimated list of ingredients for you.

Spaghetti with Spinach, Sausage, Peppers and Cheese

Spaghetti Noodles - a handful. (really, I only ever cook for myself. This amount made enough for my lunch now, and then two more servings later. I love leftovers,)

Sausage - 1/3 lb (I used Jimmy Dean Italian Spiced)

Evaporated milk - 1/4 cup (I would recommend cream, but this was all I had. It worked out really well)

Cheese - 1 cup, I happened to have a mix of Mozerella and Parmesan. I wouldn't recommend any other cheese, but it's up to you ... or your fridge.

Baby Leaf Spinach - 3 oz

Crushed Red Pepper - Desired amount (I like it spicy!)

Put a pot of water, for noodles to boil, on high. 

(If your sausage is not already defrosted, do so now in microwave)

In a frying pan with maybe a centimeter of water, cook spinach on medium heat until it's lilted. This will only take a couple of minutes, and the spinach should still be bright green. Drain spinach in colander. (If you are as scatter brained as me and forgot to put the noodles in the boiling water, IT'S PROBABLY BOILING NOW! turn down the heat to medium high while you're at it.)

In same, dried frying pan, cook sausage in some olive oil.

While that is cooking, cut up spinach.

When sausage is done, drain out fat, bring down the heat, and add evaporated milk and half of the cheese. Stir, adding cheese until at your desired consistency. Add spinach and peppers, and you're ready to eat. 

Apologies for the wretched cell phone picture, camera left in Forrest's car. He's up the mountain snowboarding today. I'll work on my picture skills.