Indoor Tailgate

A few weeks after starting this blog, we ended up one ticket short for the Penn State Hockey team game at Citizens Bank Park which was iced-over for the Winter Classic.  In an attempt to be a good girlfriend (and keep myself warm) I gave my ticket to Dave’s friend and let the boys go to the game together.  I spent the time in McFaddens, the bar attached to the park and watched whatever sporting event was on.  Besides being totally bored and alone, I was bundled up head-to-toe having expected to be outside all night.  It sucked.  

I had just started dieting, so I didn’t want to order any food.  Why when you’re dieting does everyone around you eat french fries?!  WHY?!  I remember the smell literally torturing me as I sat there alone with a Diet Coke watching everyone around me eat their fries and get rowdy.  I was starting to hate the decision to be a nice girlfirend.  

The table next to me was occupied by a group of six college-aged kids.  Since when did I get so old that I would look at these kids and automatically become irritated?  Ew.  Anyway, one of the girls at this table did NOT look okay.  I sat there observing her, and she could hardly hold her head up.  Swaying trying to keep herself upright while texting, (so super important at the moment, I’m sure) she looks up at me then back down at her shoes and pukes ALL over the place.  You’ve GOT to be kidding me.  The smell of fries was soon replaced and I had to get out of there.  Dave received a not-so-sweet-good-girlfriend text and we left for the night.  

I proceeded to bitch for the next twenty minutes of our car ride home, first about Dieting, then about French Fries, and finally ending with Drunk College Girls.  F*** it all!  Dave suggested to me that my new blog should have a section for “Rants”, where I could say F*** whatever I wanted and get out all of my frustrations.  Here you are, Dave and friends… my very first RANT on It’s Good to be the Cook:  Gym Bathrooms.

Dear Ladies at the Gym,  

Could you please learn how to LOCK your bathroom stall door?  I’d appreciate not walking in on you (and I’m sure you would too) at least once a day.  While you’re at it, you should also learn how to flush the toilet and take a lesson or two on making it into the toilet, not just around the general area.  Thanks!  -Beth

UGH!  That feels better.  

Now I feel like I can move on and tell you about the most fun indoor tailgate ever (well it was my first and it was awesome).  Mer and Mike of Moho Creative- your trusty wedding videographers (see this and one of their highlight videos, I dare you not to tear up!) threw a pretty sweet indoor tailgate in their apartment last weekend for the Penn State v Temple football game.

Not only did Mike put up a tent inside their apartment, but we had a ton of great drinks (how many bottles of rum?!) and grub.

Did I forget to mention the ice-globes?! Balls of ice… very cool.

Mike & Mer cooked up a batch of their chili which we topped off with some sour cream and cheddar.  It was perfect!  I’ll be stealing that recipe sometime…

They also made Sweet and Sour meatballs.  MMM!

If you remember, Dave made some guacamole and we put together this Jalapeno Popper Dip!

Heather brought over deliciously addictive Iced Pumpkin Cookies too.

We not only celebrated the big PSU win, but we sang Happy Birthday to Tracie and Mer with a Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake.  MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!

Mike and Mer have the most gorgeous views of some Philly landmarks and we had a mini-Instagram battle #PhillySunBattle.  Fun.

We’ll be watching this week’s Penn State game at their apartment again, but without Mike and Mer!  They got a puppy this week and Dave, Stella, and I will be puppy sitting :)  His name is Marty and I can’t wait to show you pictures of my new Puppy-In-Law?  (he and Stelly will get married soon. Obviously.).

Pizza: State College

A co-worker of mine from my Trader Joe’s days is moving to the Happiest of Valleys to State College to open up the first TJ’s in the area.  First of all… I’m insanely jealous.  State College is the best place in earth, and I wish IIIIIII were moving there!  Second of all… I can’t believe they’re getting a Trader Joe’s there, WHY couldn’t this happen during my 4 years at Penn State… WHYYYY!

Anyway, Chris is moving from New York and asked where to get good pizza.  While obviously nothing is as good as NYC pizza (I’ve only had it ONCE believe it or not), you can totally get a great pie up in Happy Valley.

Canyon Pizza:  No good SC pizza list would be complete without discussing Canyon.  Canyon Pizza is located in the center of “Beaver Canyon”, the main drag of apartment buildings off campus on Beaver Ave.  Starting at about midnight, you’ll find a line of 100 post-frat party drunk freshman standing outside waiting to get their $1 slice with Ranch Dressing .  You absolutely want to stay away from this whole scene.  The pizza itself is not bad, it’s thin crust and large slices.  They aren’t anything special but they are $1/slice and I’ll admit, you can’t say you’ve lived in State College without partaking in this tradition.

Canyon pizza:  5/10 Pizza Points

College Pizza:  Just down the road from Canyon on Locust Lane is another $1/slice establishment.  Talking in terms of $1 slice joints, I personally always have preferred College >Canyon, but that might just be me.  It also might be my lack of patience, because the College Pizza line is NEVER as long.  I’ll give College Pizza an extra point for knowing how to get the crowd movin’.

College Pizza: 6/10 Pizza Points

Bell’s Greek Pizza: I’m not sure what’s “Greek” about Bell’s, but it is probably the most unique pizza place in the area.  You can get slices here and actually have more choices than just plain or pepperoni.  Bell’s is greasier and has a thicker crust, so you’ll probably appreciate it (if you’re drunk)  if you’re into that type of thing.  I’m not.  Bell’s is my boyfriend Dave’s favorite and he still insists on grabbing a drunk slice when we’re visiting (I go to Pita Pit next door instead!).

Bell’s Greek Pizza:  6/10 Pizza Points 

Gumby’s Pizza:  While I’m still on the “drunk” pizza topic, I had to mention Gumby’s Pizza.  This place was always my least-favorite.  Friends always ordered Gumby’s because of their buy-a-pizza, get-a-pokey-stick deal.  This place is just a wannabe Pizza Hut, and the pokey sticks are just pizza without sauce.  The Pokey Sticks can be delicious if (like I mentioned…) you’re drunk, but the pizza will most likely make you sick with the tons of grease and thick crust.

Gumby’s Pizza:  4/10 Pizza Points

Inferno Brick Oven & Bar:  Okay so this restaurant was “Hi-Way Pizza” when I was in college, but I’ve been here several times visiting since then.  Inferno does NOT belong in State College.  With that being said, it’s probably the nicest pizza place you can find in the area.  The pizzas could be considered “artisan”, they’re small Brick-Oven style with the charred bottom crust and some interesting ingredient choices.  Great atmosphere and Inferno’s “Sin” drinks are amazing- so strong, delicious, and $5 on special.  Go here to drink!  Pizza comes 2nd.

Inferno:  7/10 Pizza Points

Faccia Luna:  While Faccia Luna isn’t in walkable distance from Downtown SC, it is totally worth the drive.  One of my favorite restaurants in State College, Faccia Luna’s pizza is fabulous.  Thin brick-oven style crust is the Faccia way, so don’t overload with toppings or it’ll get too soggy.  Other favorites here are their Chicken Caesar Salad and Pesto Bread app.  Great atmosphere and date-night spot.

Faccia Luna:  9/10 Pizza Points

Brother’s Pizza:  Another drive-worthy spot on Benner Pike (Take College Ave East until just before the Nittany Mall) is Brother’s Pizza.  While they have other locations, I think this is the best one.  Brother’s is your typical thin-crust pizza, nothing too special about it besides it being really consistently good.  This is your best take-out pizza bet, if you can get out there.  If you lived anywhere else, the 5-10 minute drive would feel like nothing but in State College, this will seem SUPER out of the way.  Suck it up and try it.  Dee-lish.

Brother’s Pizza: 9/10 Pizza Points

Margarita’s Pizzeria:  Saved the best for last.  Margarita’s is hands down my favorite pizza place in State College.  It was always a gamble if they’d even be open, but once you figure out their schedule (and they happened to be sticking to it), you will never want to go anywhere else!  Crispy-thin crust, well seasoned sauce, not too cheesy, not too greasy, just-perfect pizza is what they have here.  They also make the best Chicken Parm sandwich ever.  LOVE Margarita’s.  It’s close to Atherton on Beaver Ave so it’s never too crowded either.

Margarita’s Pizzeria:  10/10 Pizza Points!!!  Ding ding ding, we have a winner!

For your enjoyment, The School Philly’s post about the Top 10 Late-Night State College Joints

To my State College/PSU friends:  What is your favorite pizza and why?

To everyone else:  What type of pizza do you prefer?  Deep Dish?  Thin Crust?  Brick Oven?  Let the great-pizza debate begin!

 

Trader Joe’s Mushroom Tortelloni

Did you almost forget about me?  I have been MIA!  I have been taking a mini-blogging break, since I’ve been sick for almost a whole week now.  Don’t feel too bad for me… I just had a pretty bad cold/sore throat.  I am the worst sick person ever though… even just a cold will have me complaining for days and days!

I am starting to feel better now, and although am not 100% wanted to come back and say hello!

What you’ve missed:

1.  My sister graduated from Penn State.  WOW!  Where has time gone?  We had a fabulous time celebrating her graduation last weekend :)
The fam after our delish graduation dinner at the Tavern… A Penn State classic!
2.  While at PSU for graduation, we GOT TO GO ON THE FIELD AT BEAVER STADIUM!  OMG!  This was a huge, amazingly awesome thing for us and I cannot wait to get our pictures developed!
a dream of mine!
3.  Post-sick Friday Happy Hour in Manyunk with Dave & Adam.  Had to have a nice big drink after my hard week!
TGIF!
The boys & I had perfect spring weather for a table outside
4.  Mother’s Day Bread Pudding… o.m.g.  Recipe to come very soon, but here’s a little sneak peak!

5.  I learned how to ride a bike.  I know, I know, did I really not know how to ride a  bike?  Well, no, I didn’t know… so close your mouths and stop asking!  I finally learned.  It was really hard but very exciting.  I had a great teacher- Dave!

Look at me go! Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

And what does a sick girl eat for lunch at work when she isn’t up for cooking?  Today, it was Trader Joe’s Mushroom Tortelloni.  I started eating these when I worked at good ol’ Trader Joe’s, and havent’ had one since!

You can pick it up at Trader Joe’s in the refrigerated section, near the hummus and dips.

Hope everyone had a great week and wonderful Mother’s Day…!

… had to throw in a new picture of Miss Stella, she’s just too cute!

THON 2012

As expected, this past weekend at Penn State was one I’ll never forget.  My best friend Julie and I packed up our car on Friday morning and took the 3 hour drive up to State College to witness this year’s THON.  THON is the world’s largest student-run philanthropy, raising money for the Four Diamonds Fund which supports families affected by childhood cancer.

Every year I was a student at Penn State, I was involved with THON.  My first two years, I participated in many fundraising events with my sorority, including “canning” on the street, collecting every penny we could “FTK” (for the kids).  My last two years as a student, I was involved in THON at work.  We made phone calls day and and day out during the weekend of THON… so much so that I lost my voice both years I did it!  I also had the opportunity those years to keep my friends who were dancing company on the floor, experiencing the event in a whole new light.

This year, Julie, my sister Melissa and I had the most unbelievable experience at THON.  Besides having so much fun together during the weekend, we were able to see both the beginning AND the end of THON.  The end of the event, is notorious for being the most intense, sad, happy, and fun four hours of a Penn State student’s college experience.  Having never been able to make it to the event for the end, we were determined to get there this year.

Something you have to know about THON, is that the dancers are not allowed to sit at all during the 46 hours.  To be fair and show respect to the dancers, no one in the stands is allowed to sit either.  We arrived to the Bryce Jordan Center on Sunday morning at 7am… much earlier than the last 4 hours of THON in order to snag a few of the coveted “seats” left in the stands for the main event.  I don’t know how the dancers do it because after standing for 9.5 hours we were absolutely exhausted.  It was worth every minute.

We got to see the line dance 9 times… which I still couldn’t reenact it for you.  It was so complicated this year!  We got to hear Jay Paterno speak to the crowd for the first THON event since his father, our coach’s death just last month.  We then got to hear “family hour”, stories of families who have been helped and their children cured of cancer thanks to the Four Diamonds Fund and THON.  Their stories were truly inspiring and reminded everyone just what they were there for.  After lots of hugging and crying… a local cover band took the stage for the final hour and a half.  They played fun dance music and the ENTIRE crowd and all of the dancers picked up their energy as if it was Friday and they had just arrived.

After the band and a few THON kids sang and danced to LMFAO, it was time to announce the totals.  In their typical dramatic fashion, they raised up cards to reveal the record-breaking total of $10,686,924.83 raised.  It was an unbelievable $1.1 million dollars more than last year’s record and the crowd just went wild.  It is really something to be proud of, especially in a time where the entire country turned their backs on the students at Penn State.  They were able to rise above and show the world what they’re WE’RE all about.

THON 2012 Total, photo courtesy of Onward State

I couldn’t be more proud to be a Penn Stater as I was this weekend.

Julie, me, and Mellie during the final hours of THON

The entire BJC throwin' up their "diamonds" for the Four Diamonds Fund

Penn State Pasta

One day. One day until Julie and I get to go up to Penn State for THON.

For those of you who don’t know about THON, it is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world! THON is a 48-hour dance marathon that raises money for families affected by childhood cancer. To date, THON has donated over $78 MILLION dollars to the Four Diamonds Fund. To learn more about it, you can click here.

Feeling reminiscent of my own experiences with THON and excited to visit my alma mater, last night when we had nothing to eat… I made us my Penn State Pasta dinner. This pasta isn’t blue and white, shaped like the Nittany Lion, or made in Happy Valley… rather it was my favorite thing to make for dinner when I was busy in college. It’s cheap, simple, light, and of course… tastes so good!

Penn State Pasta (w/ Mango Chicken Sausage)

2 servings Whole Wheat Linguine

1 tsp Olive Oil & Salt (for boiling the pasta, if desired)

1 Lemon

2 Tablespoons Light Butter

1 teaspoon – 1 Tablespoon Spicy Montreal Steak Seasoning

¼ cup Reduced Fat Parmesan Cheese, grated

2 Mango Chicken Sausages

Directions:

1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box, using olive oil and salt to boil if you choose to. I do.

2. Microwave the lemon for 15 seconds, roll it around, then slice in half.

3. When the pasta is done cooking, drain and put back in the pot to keep warm.

4. Add the juice from half or the whole lemon, the light butter, the seasoning, and parmesan cheese. Serve!

Optional: For this time, I sliced two chicken sausages, sautéed them with some cooking spray and added it into the pasta. You can remove this from the recipe, use chicken, or really anything!

I can’t wait to come back this weekend and tell you all about this year’s THON. Last year, they raised $9,563,016.09 for the kids. I bet they will beat it this year!

A very talented friend of mine, Meredith, was able to snap an amazing photograph of Beaver Stadium lighting the night sky in memory of Coach Joe Paterno. She and her husband are donating 100% of the proceeds of this picture to THON and have already raised just under $6,000. If you’re a Penn Stater, check it out and buy yourself one… I did! It’s beautiful!

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