Sunday, February 27, 2011

Birthday Dinner

Last night I made my bf a belated birthday dinner! His birthday was earlier in the week but he had a lot of work to do so we decided to celebrate this weekend. This was the third time I've made this dinner for him and I think I'm closeeee to perfecting it.

Menu:
-Sparkling apple cider
-Mashed potatoes & gravy
-Ham
-Corn
-Cheesecake

The ham glaze recipe I follow is very simple. Honey, brown sugar, and orange juice. Depending on the desired thickness of the glaze, add more or less OJ. I tend to add more OJ so that the ham absorbs more of the flavor. I typically do 1/4 honey 1/4 brown sugar and 1/2 orange juice. Pour it over the ham and rub brown sugar over the top Smile This ham was pre-cooked, so I just warmed it up in the oven while I made the dinner sides.

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I boiled 5 medium red potatoes for the mashed potatoes! I left the skins on and added almond milk, butter, and salt&pepper. Luckily, the butter and gravy disguised the slight vanilla flavor from the almond milk….luckily it was unsweetened. Winking smile


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Finished product! I found this gravy in the organic aisle and was very pleased with the ingredient list. I think the brand was Simply Organic? They make a lot of good, relatively inexpensive, spices! Smile

The cheesecake wasn’t pictured and was semi-disappointing. I went with the one that the grocery store makes in the bakery, which is usually great, but it didn’t have a strong cream cheese flavor! It tasted like sugar with a cream cheese after taste Smile with tongue out A million apologies to my love, but the next time I get my hands on some cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory, he’ll forgive me! Haha. We watched the movie The American last night. I thought it was pretty good, but it was very slow. I thought it would have had a little more action.

I’m off to finish some homework. Have a great night!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

About Me

Ok, this is so 6th grade...but because every blogger is doing it I figured I would too...

A. Age: 24

B. Bed size: Full

C. Chore you dislike: Putting away my clothes after drying them and taking out the trash

D. Dogs: None right now :(

E. Essential start to your day: Coffee + breakfast + time to relax

F. Favorite color: Blue or purple, I can't decide

G. Gold or silver: silver

H. Height: 5’9''

I. Instruments you play(ed): piano- 1st-6th grade I think...I'm going to count singing as an instrument and I did that until college

J. Job title: graduate assistant and graduate student

K. Kids: none
 
L. Live: Harrisonburg, VA currently

M. Mom’s name: Tammy

N. Nicknames: Linds, Nanaw (like grandma...see T below), Lee Lee, Little L, L$ (in high school)

O. Overnight hospital stays: None, except when I was born

P. Pet peeves: people who don't clean up after themselves (especially in the kitchen), people who talk with food in their mouth/chew with their mouth open, people who come sick to class/work, small talk when I'm trying to get work done, and people being late

Q. Quote from a movie: "We got no food, no jobs... our PETS' HEADS ARE FALLING OFF!"- Dumb and Dumber

R. Righty or lefty: Righty

S. Siblings: Kramer (21) and 3 step-siblings

T. Time you wake up: between 6 & 7am every day...including weekends! I absolutely hate sleeping in...I feel like I'm wasting my life when I do that haha. I think it comes from years of my Dad and Uncle telling us we were "burning daylight" if we slept in.

V. Vegetables you don't like: I used to hate tomatoes but I like them now! I am picky with them though...so I guess I wouldn't like a mushy light pink tomato...but who does?

W. What makes you run late: It is a rare occurrence if I am truly late. So if I'm late for me, which means leaving my house at 8:40 instead of 8:30 (even though I still get to work on time), it's due to listening to music. That ALWAYS slows me down! At least it makes for a relaxing morning:)

X. X-rays you’ve had: Teeth- I had braces and got my wisdom teeth out..plus the yearly x-rays at the dentist.  Brain- I think I had a CT scan because I had almost daily migraines for about a year. Foot- MRI and a ton of X-rays...they eventually figured out that I fractured a bone in my foot. Back- I have scoliosis so growing up I had to get yearly back x-rays to measure the progression of it.

Y. Yummy food you make: chocolate chip cookies!

Z. Zoo animal favorites: not the biggest zoo person

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I’m back!

Hey everyone, sorry for the hiatus! After my interview/travel extravaganza, I really needed some time to unwind. Plus, I was a nervous ball of energy and couldn’t do anything but compulsively check my e-mail. Don’t pretend like you haven’t done that before…Winking smile

This post will be a bit of a mish mash to catch you up on what’s been going on!

1st up…here have been some common “eats” on the home front:

Salads!: Black beans, cheddar, & salsa with corn bread muffins….and black eyed peas, carrots, cucumbers, and celery…yum!

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These were probably my favorite salad combinations ever! I absolutely love black eyed peas Smile

I’ve also eaten a TON of protein smoothies…sometimes I call this concoction protein ice cream when served in a bowl:

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I had such a great time in Northern VA visiting family before and after my interview. I got to see my cousin’s cute puppy Guinness!

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Cutest.dog.ever. He is a handful, but who could ever get mad at a face like that?! Smile

My Dad made me my favorite breakfast food: cheesy grits, toast, eggs, and this AMAZING local sausage…

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Onto the interview/traveling adventures! The interview went fantastic and I loved the school/program. I’m on their high end of the wait list so I’m hoping to hear great news soon Smile I ate a ton of chocolate between Saturday and Tuesday night while I was waiting to hear my admissions status:

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My Dad sent me off with a nice little package of goodies that included that Trader Joe’s chocolate bar. It is possibly one of the best chocolate bars I’ve ever had. Think…raisinettes meets toblerone? YUM!

I’ve been pretty lazy with photographing my eats lately. But, I did make something!

Ingredients
-2 chicken breasts
-1 container grape tomatoes
-1/2 box noodles
-olives + olive juice
-2 handfuls baby spinach
-olive oil
-lemon pepper
-pepper

Directions
Cut up chicken into 1 in cubes. Saute in EVOO and lemon pepper until fully cooked. Add grape tomatoes (cut in half), olives, and a few spoonfuls of olive juice. Saute all of this plus some pepper until you can mash the tomatoes! Right before it’s done, add 2 handfuls of baby spinach. While this is simmering, boil the pasta. Pour pasta back in the pot after you drain the water. Add the skillet mixture to the pasta pot and mix! Tada:

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The flavor was amazing! The lemon pepper and olive flavors mixed together really well! I’ll definitely be making this again soon. So fast and so easy Smile

On a totally random note, I had a dinner of a 5 year old last night. DISNEY PRINCESS soup, carrots, and bread with butter:

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What’s that? I think it’s a crown?! Smile

I’m off to work on homework. In case you’re curious…here’s a previewWinking smile:

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Heck yeah I took that picture in class. Sadly, the sound was on while taking the picture, so the sound of the picture being taken was a little embarrassing. Either way, I’ve got a great example and didn’t strain my hand/wrist by rushing to write it all down! Thank you technology!

Have a great night!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Amazing Soup

Hey bloggies! I figured I’d try to squeeze a post in between homework and packing! I didn’t want to disappoint y’all by going MIA, right? Winking smile This is a post about this amazing soup that I made last week. When I saw Angela from Oh She Glow’s make the Holiday Soup for the Soul, I immediately saved it for later use. I finally got around to making it last week! Let me tell you, it’s definitely a winner. SmileThe only changes I made to the recipe were: regular quinoa, no cinnamon/nutmeg, frozen kale (defrosted) not spinach.

These are pictures taken from the first night I had it. The broth was still light, but after a day…the broth was so much richer and all of the flavors mixed together wonderfully!

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I highly recommend this soup when you want a healthy, yet hearty, soup on a chilly day! I made cornbread based off of a recipe in The Joy of Vegan Baking cookbook. I used whole wheat flour instead of all purpose flour because I ran out. What a mistake! While they didn’t taste horrible, the whole wheat flour made them taste “earthy.” Luckily, the earthiness is undetectable if you crumble them into the soup!

I’m off to pack and review a few more things before hitting the hay early! I probably won’t post until Sunday night at the earliest. I’m sure I’ll need a little R&R after so much traveling. Have a great weekend! Smile

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine’s Day Wrap Up

Hey everyone! Sorry I’ve been MIA for the past few days. I’ve been busy doing hw and preparing for my interview at the end of the week!Smile

I finally saw Black Swan on Friday night! I liked it a lot, but I think it was hyped up a little too much. Also, it wasn’t as much of a thriller as I thought it was supposed to be? People couldn’t stop telling me how bizarre and crazy the movie was, but honestly none of it was unbelievable or shocking to me. I guess when you’re in the psychology field, nothing surprises you? All in all, I’d definitely recommend the movie!

Saturday the bf and I spent the day in and around Charlottesville at a few vineyards! We hit up Pollak Vineyards, Veritas, Sugarleaf Vineyards, Kluge, and Blenheim Vineyards. We only did tastings at Pollak and Sugarleaf this time around. Pollak is definitely my fave VA wine! Veritas and Blenheim were too crowded with early Valentines. We’re definitely making a trip to Blenheim when the weather warms up, they have a beautiful deck and an amazing view! Here are some pictures from Sugarleaf:

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The drive to Sugarleaf was on a mile-long one lane dirt road…glad I wasn’t driving!

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The stash…

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I don’t think we’ll need wine for a while! I guess I should be extra nice to him because he bought it all Winking smile

We also got some popcorn from Great Scott’s Gourmet Popcorn in Charlottesville. We got dill and loaded potato flavors. Both were great, but the flavor packed quite a punch!

I’m off to do some work, have a great night!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Hummus Dressing!

How many of you enjoy pouring hummus on top of your salad beasts as a dressing replacer?! I sure hope I’m not the only one out there. The only problem with dumping gooey hummus on a salad is that it doesn’t mix well and coat all lettuce pieces and veggies evenly.

Solution: Hummus Dressing!

Zesty Hummus Dressing 

Ingredients
-1 can garbanzo beans
-1 T tahini
-1 T cumin
-1/2 T garlic powder
-1 T curry powder
-1/4 cup-ish lemon juice (didn’t measure)
-dash salt

Directions
Pour entire can of garbanzo beans, juice included, into a blender or food processor. Add lemon juice and tahini. Blend until smooth. Add cumin, curry powder, garlic powder, and salt. Blend until well mixed!

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Friday, February 11, 2011

TGIF!

TGIF! Do y'all have any fun Friday night plans? :) Sadly, tonight won't be spent in front of the TV watching Boy Meets World while sipping on strawberry soda and eating popcorn (hello, 5th grade TGIF). I'm sure I'll find something just as fun to do though. Haha.

Today marked the fifth and final day of my breakfast challenge. I will say it was a success! BUT, it was really hard to come up with new ideas toward the end of the week. Yeah yeah yeah, there are endless ways to make oatmeal, but that doesn't mean I'd want to eat all those different varieties.

Today's Ingredients:
-1/2 cup oats
-1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
-1 mashed banana
-handful of blueberries
-1 T almond butter
-sprinkle of Bear Naked's Fit Vanilla Almond Crunch Granola

This may have been the best combo of the week...

Juicy blueberries...


Chewy granola and oats...


Soooo delicious! I enjoyed these oats with a cup of coffee. Cup of coffee = mug that holds 4 cups...haha. That's a "cup," right? :)

I used the last of my almond milk in my oats, so I had none to add to my coffee this AM. Shhhh...don't tell my Dad. He already has a hard time accepting the fact that I don't use half and half in my coffee, so the fact that I added no "lightener" would be so disappointing ;) Speaking of my Dad, he ever so kindly volunteered to drive me to the airport next Thursday! Seriously, that took all of the stress out of that trip. It's funny that I'm more stressed about driving to an airport than a PhD program interview. I guess that goes to show you that I have a poor sense of direction;) I definitely didn't inherit that from my parents, they are navigational pros!!

Today was a fun/exciting day on the Textbook front. The Department of Graduate Psychology had an "intellectual feast" of sorts that included a guest speaker and a panel discussion. The panel had a representative from each of our graduate programs and they answered a predetermined list of questions about the field, tensions among the sub disciplines, etc. It was very interesting and promoted a lot of good discussion afterward. After the events, I was informed that my face, along with a few others, was plastered on the CISAT (College of Integrated Science and Technology) website. Yes, that is a FAKE smile. I think my face was worn out from smiling all night that I couldn't keep at it. Check out the link next to the picture for the article. This is about that research event I went to in Richmond, VA last week.

I'm off to veg out and catch up on TV shows I missed this week (and last week). Have a great night everyone!! :)

p.s. Check back tomorrow for the hummus dressing recipe!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Breakfast Challenge- Day 4

Hey everyone! Can you believe it’s almost Friday? I’m so ready for the weekend! While I love waking up at 6am every day, not kiddingSmile, it’ll be nice to have 2 free days to do school work and prepare for going out of town next week!

This morning I woke up to this:

Snow!!
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Luckily, it wasn’t a lot…I had important meetings on the agenda today that really couldn’t be rescheduled!

This morning, I had no idea what I wanted to make for breakfast. Every idea that came to mind involved strawberries, and because it was too early to hit up the grocery store without looking like a weirdo, I improvised.

Chocolate PB

Ingredients
-1/2 cup TJ’s peanut butter flour
-1 T cocoa powder
-1/4 cup-ish unsweetened vanilla almond milk (I eyeballed it)
-salt to taste
-add agave nectar (or sweetener)

Directions
Mix PB flour, cocoa powder, and almond milk in a bowl with a fork until the lumps are gone. Add salt and agave nectar to taste.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter & Banana Oats

Ingredients
-Chocolate PB (~1-2T)
-1 banana
-1/2 cup oats
-1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Pillowy

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Chewy

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Chocolate & Peanut Buttery…

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Oats!

I liked the Chocolate PB, but didn’t love it. I will say that it’s definitely nice to have PB flour when you run out of regular PB or AB!  As you might be able to tell by the bowl, I ate breakfast *at home*! Thank goodness. I didn’t have anything until 9am so I was able to enjoy a nice and relaxing morning at home.

Tonight I’m going to try a new soup recipe so be ready for that post tomorrow! Also, I made a hummus “dressing” this week that I need to share with you! Enjoy your night Smile