Bucket List: 30 Before 30

10 Apr

On August 22, 2010, I will turn 30 years old.

A couple months back, a buddy of mine challenged me to come up with a list of 30 things I want to do before I turn 30. Below is the list of things I came up with. A couple of the items are “big deals” and although I had already accomplished them, they were on my unofficial list of things to do.

The biggest sacrifice so far has come by the way of sobriety. I think this can help me with item#2 under “Not Completed”. It’s going to be a tough road.

It’s always a good idea to start off with accomplishments…so here goes…


  1. Run a marathon
  2. Go camping
  3. Learn how to gamble.
  4. Begin writing a cookbook
  5. Tell someone I like, how I feel about them, regardless of the outcome
  6. Begin writing a book.
  7. Watch a movie I’ve never heard of before.
  8. Make someone feel special.
  9. Sleep in until Noon for once
  10. Figure out a system for managing my socks.
  11. Write a song
  12. Surprise an old friend.

To Accomplish

  1. Learn how to properly swim
  2. Get to under 200 lbs.
  3. Change someone’s life for good.
  4. Attempt to grow a plant
  5. Roadtrip through California by myself..visiting friends, breweries, wineries.
  6. Make someone laugh till they cry.
  7. Cook a complete meal for someone other than myself.
  8. Do a real pullup or ten.
  9. Properly cook an artichoke.
  10. Learn to dance
  11. Learn to skate (ice or rollerblade)
  12. Show someone the Grand Canyon
  13. Go to Moab and visit Arches National Park
  14. Brew beer at home.
  15. Buy a new computer (PC)
  16. Use my job skills to help someone outside the workplace.
  17. Ride in a helicopter
  18. Skydive

Memories of Italy

15 Mar

I’m not going to re-hash the memoirs from my 2007 trip to Italy, but today I was going through some old belongings, and I found a card file. Full of business cards that I have collected over the last 10-15 years. Old credit cards, my student ID from the University of Utah. You name it, and it’s in there.

I stumbled upon the business card of “Il Vecchio Dado”. IVD is a restaurant in Pisa, Italy. I kept the business card, because it’s easy to forget the name of a local joint, in a country, far, far away.

When I went to Italy with my parents, I had this mission. A mission to find the best Italian food in the world. Seems pretty simple, right? Well, it was a bit more challenging than I thought. I started off my culinary adventure in Venice, and then ventured into Rome.

Now, if there is anything to know about me, it’s that I LOVE FOOD. I know where to look for good food. It’s not a mystery to me. Not even in foreign countries. I struck out in Venice and Rome. I figure, food in two very well-known cities should be amazing, but since I didn’t find it, I had given up. Before my trip ended, I did venture out to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Pisa seemed like one of those cities at first. You know the type. An economy that revolves around one or two tourist attractions, with nothing left outside of what you “know”.

Down on my food luck, I did the unthinkable. I asked the hotel for some restaurant suggestions. The only name that came up, was IVD. I reluctantly walked in with my folks, and enjoyed the best Italian meals of my life. We actually ate here twice.

I remember eating “Pizza Frutta De Mare”. A lovely pizza that shattered any notion of a typical pizza. I ate the toppings first, and I was treated to an array of clams, mussels, shrimps and calamari–all atop a crust that had the most subtle hint of garlic. It was to die for!

On my second trip, I had a gnocchi that was beautifully paired with a porcini mushroom sauce, and much to my liking, red pepper flakes adorned the top.

Upon my own research, I’ve come to find out that this restaurant is over 200 years old. I have no doubt in my mind, that I will return to Italy, and the very first place I will go, is Il Vecchio Dado.

Turkey Noodle Soup

3 Jan

First off, I’d like to wish all of you a very HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope this year brings all of you all of life’s good things.

Today, I’m making Turkey Noodle Soup. It’s almost done…another 45 minutes of simmering to go. In a large stock pot, I filled with water–I put in one turkey thigh, one leftover thigh bone from last night, loosely chopped celery, garlic, onions, carrots, peppercorns, a lemon slice, salt, and let it simmer for one hour. Then I took the meat off the bones and put it back into the soup. Since then, it’s been simmering for an hour.  A few minutes ago, I quartered up some whole wheat spaghetti noodles, and threw it in.

I can’t wait to see how this turns out!

Korean Mung Bean Pancakes

28 Dec

I woke up this morning feeling adventerous. Yes, I decided to once again cook with Mung Beans. It may seem that I have become obsessed with these little guys, but they are amazing, and so versatile. Also, they are packed with protein and fiber!

I made Korean Mung Bean Pancakes. I took shelled and halved mung beans, soaked them in water for a couple hours. Threw them into the blender with some water (and rice flour). Once I got a nice batter consistency, I mixed in some cole slaw mix, thinly sliced onions, chili powder, garlic and salt. Then I put them on the griddle with some olive oil.

Separately, I made a lovely dipping sauce out of vinegar, soy sauce and lightly toasted sesame seeds.

The pancakes came out a little thicker than I thought they would, but delicious, fluffy yet firm, and full of lovely flavor!

Tilapia for Dinner

27 Dec

Someone once told me that food should make me happy. As the days go by, I am pleased to report that I am happy and my meals are to blame! The food I am eating, tastes great and is made with a sincere effort for a fantastic meal.

Last night, I cooked up a very simple meal for myself. Baked Tilapia (seasoned only with Montreal Seasoning and a dash of Lea & Perrins), a side salad (chopped cucumber, celery, mung beans, olive oil, vinegar and topped with cilantro), and a healthy serving of brown rice.

This meal took all of ten minutes to make, and required no recipe. Just dashes and dabs of whatever I found in my kitchen. A great meal after a hard workout at the gym!

Mung Beans

26 Dec

Ok, so the word “mung” isn’t the sexiest in the english language. Beans also have the connotation of being something magical. What I didn’t know is that mung beans are high in protein, and can be high in flavor when prepared the right way.

I found some soaked mung beans in a plastic bag that was sitting in my Mom’s refrigerator. Since I was in the mood for some sort of salad, I set these aside. I busted out some cole slaw, threw it in a bowl with some chopped red onions, shredded Daikon (carrot shaped mild radish), a dash of sesame oil, and a dash of vinegar. Topped with mung beans and garnished with some cilantro. Amazing!

This fantastic little salad offers a diverse mix of textures with the cole slaw mix, daikon and mung beans. You get that lovely crunch that reminds you of a crisp Utah morning in march. One of my favorite experiences. Also the red onions give you a kick to remind you that your sinuses are clear and free.

Poached Eggs

26 Dec

It’s the day after Christmas and I woke up with a hunger for something delicious and healthy(ish).

Ever have that feeling where you are craving something specific, but something you’ve never had at the same time? That’s exactly what I felt this morning. I was craving a poached egg. I’ve devoured all kinds of egg preparations in my 29 years , but never…NEVER a poached egg.

So I hopped to it. Filled up a frying pan with water, a pinch of salt and a dash of vinegar (to help keep the egg together). I carefully placed an egg in the middle of the pan when the water started boiling, then reduced the heat. Put in some toast in my toaster, and a few minutes later, sprinkled some montreal seasoning on the egg and POW! Breakfast.

The simplicity of this breakfast was the best part. From start to finish, it all took ten minutes. Perfect for those mornings when you want to eat something delicious, healthy and simple. I plan on making this more regularly.