Simply Satisfying – Cacio e pepe with lemon

You don’t have to be Italian to cook like one – although it helps!cacio

Once again when “glamping” we try to keep it simple for obvious reasons while coming up with restaurant quality dishes as often as possible.  This is one of them.

Don’t you love the elegant name of this dish – which is simply a glorified sounding Italian staple synomymous with Pecorino Romano –  but Pecorino clumps when cooked.  Add it at the end, instead, which also makes the most of its sharp flavor.  Lemon adds spunk – that is, acidity and freshness.  Before assembling please see note at bottom for the distinct differences when using Pecorino and Parmesan.  I guarantee you will love this.


8 ounces thick spaghetti or linguine

½ stick unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, softened or at room temperature

2 ounces Grana Padano or Parmigiana Reggiano cheese grated (1 cup)

2 tsp. freshly cracked pepper (use a mortar and pestle or the coarsest setting on a grinder), plus more for garnish.  Pepper flakes for finish (optional)

¾ ounce Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (1/4 cup)

1 small lemon (preferably Meyer)

High quality extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

 1)      The first thing is to undercook the pasta (al dente).  Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil.  Add pasta and cook until very al dente – about 2 minutes less than called for in package instructions.  Reserve 1 cup pasta water before draining.

 2)      The key to a lush, silky sauce: Transfer pasta to a 12-inch skillet (preferably non-stick).  Add butter and ¼ cup pasta water.  Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.  The heat helps the starch in the water meld with the fat from the butter, which prevents the Parmesan cheese from becoming stringy in the finished dish.

 3)      Parmesan (either GP or PR): Reduce heat to low, and mix in whichever grated parmesan you chose with the cracked pepper.  I use Parmigiano Reggiano in all my pasta dishes as a personal preference.  Both are softer than Pecorino Romano.  It will melt into the butter water, creating a sauce as the pasta finishes cooking.

 4)      Toss and Simmer with tongs to thoroughly coat it with the sauce.  Keep everything at a gentle simmer just until the cheese melts and sauce thickens slightly, about 1 minute.

 5)      Pecorino and Zest: Remove from heat, then stir in the Pecorino Romano.  Always add Pecorino off direct heat: it clumps when cooked.  Zest lemon over the pasta to catch any extra.  Any type will do but a Meyer is particularly nice in this dish.  It’s sweeter in flavor and aroma, with back notes of orange and lime.

 6)      Finishing Touches: If pasta looks dry, toss it with a bit more pasta water until it has a glossy coating.  Divide between 2 warm (preferably) bowls.  Drizzle each with oil and lemon juice and garnish with more cracked pepper & red pepper flakes. Top with fresh basil leaves or flat-leaf parsley for added presentation.  Serve immediately.

And know that sometimes the dishes with the least ingredients are also sometimes the most satisfying.

Parm vs Pecorino – these hard cheeses enhance nearly everything, making them both winners in the kitchen.  Knowing their differences will make you a smarter shopper and a better cook.

 Try to buy the block verses “already grated” unless you’re in a super hurry.  Grated is more convenient so if you must then buy it from the refrigerated section.  The blocks are more versatile as you can also shave it into salads.  It can keep for several months wrapped in parchment and plastic.  Bonus: when the cheese is gone, Parmesan’s rind can be used simmered into soups to add rich flavor.

 Parmesan                           vs                  Pecorino Romano

 Made from Cow’s Milk                             Sheep’s Milk

 Rich, Nutty, Salty                                       Sharp, Earthy, Robust

 Pricey but worth the splurge                    A bit more budget friendly

Parmesan: domestic varieties are available but classic Parmigiano-Reggiano is  made only in a certain region of Italy.  A stamped rind lets you know it’s the real deal.

Pecorino: Feeling fancy?  Go for Locatelli  brand *Pecorino Romano, a famously delicious pick imported from Italy. *Use this strong cheese sparingly.   To use in place of Parmesan use less than the recipe calls for.

glamping” is a glamorized version of regular camping – camping with flair (plus I don’t like to sleep in a tent).  But you can make this any old time.

Inspirational quotes on Life and LIVING

because they’re really two different things………….

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. – Dr. Seusslife

The joy of life consists in the exercise of one’s energies, continual growth, constant change, the enjoyment of every new experience. To stop means simply to die. The eternal mistake of mankind is to set up an attainable ideal. – Aleister Crowley

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing. – George Bernard Shaw

In the end, it’s not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away. – – shing xiong

It’s true that we don’t know what we’ve got until we lose it, but it’s also true that we don’t know what we’ve been missing until it arrives.

It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone, an hour to like someone, and a day to love someone-but it takes a lifetime to forget someone.

Dream what you want to dream, go where you want to go, be what you want to be.  Because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.

The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything, they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.

Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, ends with a tear. When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so that when you die, you’re the one smiling and everyone around you is crying.



B Grateful – Moving Along

In the last couple of months I was lucky enough to escape the cold by going to places like California and Arizona.  You can’t beat the heat!  I live in a mostly damp environment so it was a welcome change for winter.  But I also managed to gain a few pounds and go up at least a size.  Even one size makes a huge (no pun intended) difference when you’re not so tall to begin with.  Then my running suffered because it was either too hot to run, not convenient or I was feeling the worse for wear from the night before or just plain didn’t feel like it (on vacation after all).  That combined with eating everything in sight and partaking in happy hours (which always makes me happier) did not make me a happy camper on the return home.

Now I have to start all over again – back to square one and not only that but my sister signed me up to do the annual 10K Sun Run right after I got back and I tried to figure out how to get out of it.  I was feeling anxious and sorry for myself.  My first yoga class in almost 3 months was a disaster and my “starting to get back into shape” run started out with me eating a freebie (although tiny) bag of promotional potato chips handed out at Granville Island within the first 10 minutes.  I could have said No but I weakened. They were pretty good.  

Then something happened to put everything into perspective.  We found out that our lives can change in a Boston minute.  Life is full of ups and downs but sometimes it’s not even in OUR own hands.  What happened in Boston was tragic and unthinkable and lives were lost and many more could have been.  Innocent people died or were maimed.  This should NEVER have occurred and it hit home for ALL.  The fact that it took place at an event where people trained for months on end to run for hours on end to cross a finish line at the world’s most renowned marathon is even more difficult to fathom. It makes you stop and think –  about life and the stupid little pressures we put on ourselves.  At least we can change them.

We have to WALK before we can RUN and not take that for granted (that we’re able to run in the first place is something).  So…

If we’re healthy enough to begin with we can work a little bit harder to lose those measly extra pounds (even if it means pushing ourselves), eat healthily, laugh lots and just ENJOY LIFE.  Because……you never know what’s around the corner.  Moving on

After all that I did a lot better than expected - 1 hr. 4 min.
After all that I did better than expected (even though in the past it’s been well under one hour) at  1 hr. 4 min.  I’m pleased.

life quote

INtrigue INsider – Beauty with Benefits

eyes_1 shadowsMICA BEAUTY

MINERAL   Eye Shadows =


Glamorous 100% Pure Mica & Minerals FOR THE LOOK YOU WANT

Mica Beauty Mineral Eye Shimmers are extremely gentle, free of any preservatives, chemicals, dyes, talcs, oils or other fillers.  With this unique formula your shadows will look ultra smooth and last for hours without creasing or pulling the delicate eye area.  PLUS they come in over 100 amazing colors from natural to dramatic.  I use them mostly for lining the lids with an angled Mica Beauty eye liner brush just dipped in a bit of water.  Simply put – THE BEST!Eyeshadow

**I will on occasion do other beauty product reviews that are not necessarily mineral based or from this company so when I endorse something from my website it’s because I really believe in it – that it works on a personal level so that I can comfortably recommend them.  There’s so much out there but for natural, mineral makeup that actually stays put and feels good this is it ladies.  Link below:


MAKEUP is Essential, MUSIC is My Therapy, TIME is Uncontrollable, FASHION is My Life, FRIENDS are Precious,  INDIVIDUALITY is Everything.

Does SIZE really MATTER?

Because I always thought that great Style has No Size.  Go Figure – you don’t have to be Twiggy to be stylish.

I think attitude has a lot to do with it too. Kate Moss might say “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” but I think it should be “nothing feels as good as feeling good about yourself.” Let’s have a look at some stunningly SEXY….smallish PLUS sized ladies comfortable in their own skin who can give any of us a run for our money in the style “with attitude” department.

The "Queen" herself.  Photo from Images
I would curtsy to the “Queen” herself.  Photo from Images.

Of course there’s a PLUS side to being thin in the advantage that clothes drape well on smaller sized bodies.  That’s why almost every model you see strutting down the runway is stick thin (except for Giselle who has an amazingly toned body).  But that doesn’t make you a stylish person.  It makes you a fashion(able) person.

Amazing Adele - beautiful dress at the Grammy's.
Amazing Adele – rocking a beautiful dress at the Grammys.

So could skinny finally be on its way out? Realistically, no.

Even Supermodel Lara Stone who is, by normal standards, very slim, admitted: “A lot of people say it’s nice to see someone who won’t break in half when you touch them.  But I am still a woman and a person, and if you’re compared and confronted with your colleagues and they’re half you size you think, “F***, I’m really fat!”’

But is seems that the fashion world is slowly making progress by beginning to accept more varied body shapes (it’s about time – women come in all shapes & sizes), and that there remains plenty of opportunity to embrace women that really look like women.

Photography: Solve Sundsbo
                                                    Photography: Solve Sundsbo


Simply Satisfying – Fish Chowder

fish chowderThis recipe came about while on a camping trip to Canada’s East Coast including Newfoundland.  The East Coast is known for its fresh local seafood and  particularly chowder.  It started off as a seafood only trip as we were sampling the best all over the Maritimes.  Scallops & Clams in Digby, Lobster in P.E.I. & Nova Scotia and chowders everywhere.

I wanted to make a chowder with some nice fresh Cod we bought from a local fishing boat in Newfoundland but keep it simple and still have the consistency and flavor of a hearty meal.  We camp in a Eurovan not a tent and have two stove top burners.  You have to be somewhat creative. So while this is cheating with adding the can of prepared soup, don’t laugh because you’ll find it pretty close to an original without a whole lot of work.  It only takes about 10 minutes.  This serves two for a meal (along with fresh bread) or four as an appetizer.  Looks like the real deal and tastes very close – well we thought so.


Put a 10 oz (284 ml) can of condensed cream of potato soup (I used Campbell’s) into a medium size pot.  Heat gently.

Add ¾ cup (175 ml) of milk (whole or skim) & stir until smooth.

Add 1 chopped celery stalk

Two diced plum tomatoes

Pinches of Tarragon or Oregano (I used both)

*You can add 1 Tbsp. of butter and a little dry white wine (optional)

Simmer, covered for about 5 minutes or longer depending on how crisp you like the celery.

Then add 1 lb. (500g) fresh cod, halibut or any white fish fillets (or a combo of) that tend not to fall apart, cut into chunks.  Cook until done – about 5 minutes uncovered.  Garnish with Tarragon leaves.  Season to taste.  Hope you enjoy this condensed (pun intended) version of the real thing.

This is a *glamping tested recipe.                                                                                            When we do not stay in hotels with spas we *glamp on occasion which is camping with flair.

Scene in the City – Up in Smoke!

SUPER, Natural British Columbia (the ads say this)  Vancouver is a cultured city and marijuana is a BIG part of our culture.  On Saturday we celebrated (in the best way we know how) an event called 4/20 Vancouver but I only went to LOOK, that’s all.  A lazy, hazy Saturday afternoon so what’s a girl to do? And If you didn’t know exactly where you were going once downtown you could just follow your nose.  Also a great way to catch up with many friends and acquaintances you haven’t seen for a while.  Well if you missed it there’s always next year.

Photo from VanCity Buzz
Photo from VanCity Buzz
 What is it ABOUT?

Every year on April 20, thousands of people gather on the north side of the Vancouver Art Gallery to celebrate the marijuana culture. This year’s celebration took place on a Saturday with record breaking crowds in the neighborhood of  20,000 but it was hard to tell exactly with all the smoke in the air.

The very first celebration in this town was held in 1995. Each year 10,000 to 15,000 people actively participate (ha, the magic word) in this event, making it one of the, if not the largest 420 celebrations in North America.  The food trucks were smart and got set up in droves around this event.  But many brought their own munchies.  Next year I plan to have a little kiosk selling cookie dough and potato chips and think I’ll do just fine.


I ran the Vancouver Sun Run.  Many people registered at the last minute that weren’t originally intending to run in support of what happened in Boston and so the theme colors were that of the Boston flag – Yellow & Blue.  There must have been about 50,000 people.

crowd just before getting started
Just before the START – Georgia & Burrard.


The Vancouver Sun Run is Canada’s largest running event. 


Silly Quotes by Smart People

If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask?           Do they get smart just in time to ask questions? – Scott Adams.


It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer. – Albert Einstein.

Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose. – Bill Gates.

Be as smart as you can, but remember that it is always better to be wise than to be smart. – Alan Alda

A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them. – John C. Maxwell.

It takes a lot of things to prove you are smart, but only one thing to prove you are ignorant. – Don Herold.

Smartness runs in my family. When I went to school I was so smart my teacher was in my class for five years. – Gracie Allen.

I wish my name was Brian because maybe sometimes people would misspell my name and call me Brain. That’s like a free compliment and you don’t even gotta be smart to notice it. – Mitch Hedberg.