Soaking Up the Slumber

I have goosebumps.

It’s been a little bit chilly here in Boston this week! But man, is it lovely. We have been blessed with sunshine and ~perfect~ temperatures.

Classes start again in just 4 days, so I have given myself guilt-free permission to soak up as much slumber and relaxation as I can before all hell breaks loose (← drama queen).

For example, on Monday I set my alarm for 8 am, but I closed my eyes for two seconds… and the next thing I know, it’s 10 am. LOL. It’s still been a productive week of getting some errands done, catching up with friends, praying, and (yes) even a little bit of studying to prepare for classes.

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Here are some random thoughts and things from the noggin on this Friday:

1) What is your all-time favorite fudgy brownie recipe? I made some for my friends and myself last weekend using this recipe from I Am Baker, and they were delicious, but I’m open to recommendations!

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2) The Super Premium French Vanilla ice cream from Trader Joe’s is RIDICULOUS. It is the most luxuriously creamy and dreamy ice cream I have ever purchased from a store.

3) Shoutout to my friend Evan for poaching eggs for avocado toast. We ran into each other at Mass on Sunday and decided to catch up over lunch. I offered to make us avocado toast instead of going out to eat (yo girl has been spending so much $$ recently), and we both appreciated the decision.

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I think making avocado toast is my love language to all my friends.

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more egg toasts this week (one with cheese, garlic salt, red pepper flakes and cumin + one classic avocado with sriracha)

4) I had some random determination to make a vegetarian meal for this week’s dinners, so I made this chickpea and spinach curry. The full-fat coconut milk in it warms my heart and clogs my heart all at the same time, and I love it. This was also my first time using garam masala! It only took me TWENTY MINUTES to find it at the grocery store.

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5) The BEST thing I made this week was peach blueberry cobbler — a summer necessity in my book! I doubled this recipe and obviously added blueberries.

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buttery biscuit goodness enveloping saucy sweet fruit YES

Undoubtedly had to eat it a la mode (hot out of the oven, might I add). More of that dreamy vanilla ice cream from TJs.

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I got to share it with many friends the day I made it, which made me very happy.

6) I ate out for three meals in a row, and although I felt a little “blah” from all the heavy food, it was so worth the company and conversation. The food was also fabulous.

Meal #1 was at Audubon with my dear friend Casey. We hadn’t caught up one-on-one in so long, so this was much needed.

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love this girl so much

We shared the polpette (meatballs that they made with venison and beef) with asiago, tomato sauce and the most delicious charred hunk o’ bread.

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And then I had the roasted vegetable salad, which had delicious things like sweet potatoes, beets, fennel (did not realize how much I liked fennel ’til that night!), brussels sprouts, fennel, arugula, and pine nuts. Look how pretty this stack is!

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It does’t look like much in this photo, but there were SO MANY vegetables in there. I had to take some home.

Meal #2 and #3 do not have photo documentation because I didn’t feel like whipping out my phone in the middle of conversation. Yesterday afternoon, Fr. Barnes (our Catholic Center chaplain) kindly treated me to a burger and a beer at the Sunset Grill and Tap as a belated birthday gift to me. Both the burger and the beer (I got the Great Divide “Roadie” Grapefruit Radler) were superb.

Late at night, my friend Elayne and her parents generously treated me to dinner at Barcelona Wine and Tapas, since I helped Elayne move earlier in the day. We shared four bomb tapas + seafood paella + crepes and ice cream. Oh my goodness.

Full of many good things indeed.

7) I am convinced that my current training goals include move-in and move-out. I work out so that I can move furniture and boxes up and down stairs efficiently and safely. #FunctionalFitness.

8) This burpee box jump workout is killer if you ever need something to get the heart rate up. I subbed 12 heavy over-the-shoulder slam ball throws for the wall balls. Your soleus might be extremely sore the next day, to the point of wanting to strangle a small animal when foam rolling them.

This is also a short and sweet 16- minute workout that will make your butt sore for days.

4 rounds, 30 seconds on, 10 seconds off:

  • goblet squats (35# KB)
  • dive bomber pushups
  • box jumps (25 in)
  • side jump lunges
  • pushup burpees
  • KB swings (35#)

9) I just enjoyed a very green smoothie, because my veggie intake yesterday included lettuce on my burger and a couple mushrooms smothered in goat cheese. And many many potatoes.

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10) I hope my American/Canadian friends have wonderful Labor/Labour Day weekends! And good luck to all my fellow college students starting the new semester. If you’re anxious…

Can any of you by worrying add a moment to your lifespan? If even the smallest things are out of your control, why are you anxious about the rest? – Luke 12:25

These words have been giving me a lot of peace amidst the worry of a very busy semester ahead.

BYE FOR NOW!

So tell me:

What is a classic summer dessert that you love to eat/make every year?

What is your favorite store-bought brand of ice cream?

Favorite brownie recipe?

What are you doing this weekend?

College students: How does the schedule look like this semester? Mine makes me a little nauseous looking at it, but we shall overcome!!

 

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Am I Smarter Than a 5-Year-Old?

Hello, hello!

Can I just thank you all so much for your well-wishes on my post about my family’s near-death experience? We are feelin’ the love. ♥ We’ve just been taking it in these past couple of days, but we’re a-okay!

I’m sorry that I was MIA from MIMM yesterday (I’m not even trying sound cool), but I was spending some quality time with my aunt, uncle, and cousins who spent the night at our house. Getting to see them is so fun, and you’ll see why when you read on about my cousins. I also always love talking with my aunt (my confirmation sponsor) and uncle (my godfather).

Mom and I got to cooking and baking while we were waiting for our guests to arrive. I love any excuse to bake, so I decided to make brownies (using this recipe) that everyone seemed to enjoy (thank God— I’ve never used anything but box mix before).

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Hors d’œuvre spread.

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Yum.

Our guests (which also included my great-aunt, who lives near by) arrived Sunday night at around 5 PM. My 5-year-old cousin, Angela, and I did not hesitate to start getting crafty with some Do-a-Dot art and drawing. We had a contest to see who could make the most pictures, and she cranked out about five while I only had four. She doesn’t mess around.

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This cutie, Joseph, was the biggest ham for the camera. He really knows how to work it! Just point the camera to him and he is all smiles for ya.

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Before we knew it, my mom had set out a feast for all of us. We decided to go Sandra Lee-style with the semi-homemade method. 30% of the food was made by my mom and the other 70% was takeout from a Chinese restaurant. 100% of the food was fantastic.

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It’s like Thanksgiving again.

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Spoons ready!

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We were all like happy, full babies.

We had to opportunity to have a very technological conference with my other aunt, uncle and cousins through FaceTime while our grandparents were on the phone line.

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Angela slept in my room for the night, so we had a super awesome slumber party looking at the glow-in-the-dark stars on my ceiling, admiring my multi-colored night light (listen, those are just conveniently there from like, 5th grade), and talking about not being able to sleep and other deep things such as what we would wear to the princess Grand Ball. And let me tell you, Angela is one of THE most intelligent 5-year-olds I’ve ever met, so I can seriously converse with her about this kind of stuff. She speaks more articulately than a lot of my friends even. Juuuust sayin’. She was hyper on half a brownie too, so we talked until 11:30, which is pretty late for Angela. Girls just wanna have fun! 😉

Some tidbits from 5-year-old Angela:

“I want to go get socks from my mom’s room, but I don’t want to go downstairs and bother her…I guess I’ll just have to manage.”

“I was up for an hour after midnight and I just couldn’t go back to sleep so I prayed a decade of the rosary… I also helped Mommy and Daddy clean up the kitchen, open the curtains, and move the shepherd closer to the stable….Yes, I know it’s so frustrating that I couldn’t go back to sleep!” 

“You know what? If you want to fall asleep, DON’T have chocolate before bed…The only time you can drink hot chocolate is if it’s super cold that not even ten blankets can keep you warm! You’re so cold that you HAVE to drink the hot chocolate and then put another blanket on top of you.” 

Do you see how bright this child is?  I definitely did not know how to use “frustrating” in context or how to pray a rosary at five years old. Her parents are fabulous teachers.

I woke up bright and early to make breakfast for everyone. I also will take any excuse to make big breakfasts for other people. ‘Tis my absolute favorite meal to make AND eat!

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Waffles or pancakes? (This recipe for the waffles + this one for the pancakes)

Eggs, fruit, and congee were also included in this bed & breakfast service. 🙂

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You know they’re good when you have pancake on your nose!

We immediately used up our energy from breakfast for running around the house playing bus driver and tag and walk-the-baby. The Game of Life also happened. And yes, Angela played— counting money and all.

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After a while, we were hungry for lunch! My mother just threw together another feast in about 10 minutes flat. Typical madre.

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The woman can do wonders with leftovers.

I so wish our guests could have stayed longer, but they have other family members to visit this Christmas— they’ve gotta spread the love! Every minute spent with them is such a blessing.

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Lazy eye.

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The one time Joey doesn’t look at the camera!

Goodbyes were sad, but hugs and kisses make everyone feel better.

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Today is Christmas Eve! *jumping of excitement* We’re taking advantage of our vicinity to NYC today by going down to see the tree and other festive sights of the season!

So tell me: What are some funny/thoughtful things you’ve heard from a child? What did you do this weekend? 

On Cloud Coconut {MIMM #3}

Good morning!

How in the world is it September? I kinda shiver when I think of September because I immediately associate it with school. BUT I should probably look at the bright side since it’s the month of so many birthdays in my family!

This weekend has been a lovely mix of productivity and leisure, which is such a blessing. It’s been fun hanging out with my family and friends before we get down to business for the start of the school year (next Monday–gah!). I also did quite a bit of cooking and baking this weekend! I can still smell the flour, bananas, and cinnamon. ‘Twas marvelous!

MiMM

Thanks again, Katie, for hosting!

Marvelous is…

THIS:

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Saturday afternoon, I baked and indulged in the most delicious banana coconut muffins from Cookie & Kate. I am still amazed at how good they are. Wow. Literally–moist clouds of not-overly-sweet banana coconut goodness with a kick of lemon/lime zest and a crispy topping of toasted coconut. (I feel like I could make the descriptions for menus at fancy restaurants…Oh there’s an idea!)

Swoon. 

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My mom and dad really enjoyed these too. I will definitely be making these again!

Marvelous is…

Nine hours of sleep on Friday and Saturday night! Haven’t gotten that much in a while. Very grateful indeed.

Marvelous is…

Toast + avocado + smoked salmon=winning comb.

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Three li’l piggies fishies.

Marvelous is…

Finishing all my summer homework, woohoo! Now it’s time for college essays. Oh boy.

Marvelous is…

More baking! My mom requested some kind of treat that incorporated her chocolate protein powder for when she goes to the gym. Thus, I made Taralynn’s Protein Brownies. They have a strong banana flavor, but we’re cool with that!

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Marvelous is…

Soft boiled eggs + toast (a.k.a. “Eggs and Soldiers.” All I need is Ben so I can speak in a British accent!)

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Marvelous is…

Ciao Bella deliciousness. I shared a little bit of coconut sorbet and pistachio gelato with mom. Oh how I love frozen treats.

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Marvelous is…

This new-to-me Chobani flavor–lemon! Chobani was on sale at Stop and Shop, so I got five flavors that I’ve never tried before. To be honest, lemon Greek yogurt sorta turned me off because I was afraid of eating sour with sour, but this was awesome! It was kind of like lemonade.

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Marvelous is…

Oats 🙂

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Note: I found the perfect spot to take pictures of my food when it’s light outside! My mom has this little table on our front steps that she painted white, so it helps create a rustic, yet clean background for my photos. I’m definitely FAR from a pro, but it’s better than taking pictures of my food on the kitchen floor next to the back door. Although now the neighbors will regularly see me in my pajamas taking pictures of bowls and plates of food. There are weirder things I could do.

Marvelous is…

Mom and Dad having a date-night-in watching What to Expect When You’re Expecting. They were laughing a lot! I admire my parents for still devoting quality time to each other (even though I totally squeezed in on the couch to watch too). I hope to have a relationship like that one day if God calls me to be wife!

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Adorable.

Marvelous is…

Making buckwheat pancakes for the first time!

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I used this recipe from Edible Perspective, making some slight changes based on what was available in our pantry and fridge. They were fantastic! The buckwheat flour made them dense and fulfilling, and the hint of cinnamon was perfect.

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I highlighted the cinnamon with some vanilla sunflower seed butter (which has some cinnamon in it), Greek yogurt, and a drizzle of maple syrup.

I got kind of excited with my camera around my neck, phone held by my chin, and plate in hand. So this happened:

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Fail. I said it.

The ‘rents enjoyed the waffles as well!

Marvelous is…

A random workout yesterday!

It began with 10 minutes on the elliptical and 5 minutes on the treadmill again! But there’s some sad news. I tried a different treadmill to see if the other one was defective and I was going at speed 7.0 again. Boo. However, I will continue trials at this empirical experiment (nerd alert) because today my legs were more sore than they were on Friday, so maybe that affected my speed as well. We shall see.

Then I loosely followed this arm workout from Julie and did some ab work that burned.

That’s all for now, folks!

PS: I updated my About page yesterday! It gets a little raw and you can read about my more personal story. *Suspense*

I also added a Blogroll page so you can see some of the super spectacular blogs I follow!

Have a great week! (Good luck to those starting school this week.)

So tell me: Have you baked anything recently? Do you like waffles? What did you do this weekend? What are you doing today?

Dance Company Picnic

Hey there!

I hope you had a wonderful Thursday! It started out as a gloomy one around these parts, but now it’s clear and be-a-u-tiful. Just in time for dance company’s first picnic!

First and foremost, my day started with a messy, but delicious breakfast:

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Finished off a container of 2% plain Greek yogurt. Topped with half a peach, some banana slices, cereal, and vanilla sunbutter.

I also had a dentist appointment, and I’m happy to report that my teeth are lookin’ just fine! However, apparently my wisdom teeth are coming in…so hopefully that doesn’t become an issue. Also, I floss every day pretty thoroughly (some days more so than others), but I do my best. Yet for some reason, my dentist keeps suggesting, “You could actually start flossing, ya know…” Like, really? I even do it the exact way he’s shown me to floss. *Shaking my head*

Next was a quick lunch eaten in the car before going to an awesome, sweaty ballet class:

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A two-egg omelet stuffed with spinach, mozzarella, tomato, and basil that I cut in half and put between two pieces of bread. AKA an egg sandwich. ‘Twas quick and tasty!

Then came the super fun part of the day–company picnic! This is dance company’s first formal get-together during which we eat, chat, share our “me” posters, and get to know each other more (since some new company members enter every year).

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A lovely spread of finger foods, including homemade Oreos by my friend Susie! They were a hit, girl!

I’ve been in dance company for the past two years, and although the members change slightly from year to year as some people graduate and others enter high school, I can honestly say that every company member I’ve been with is like a sister to me. We obviously share our love of dancing, but we also share so many fun (and crazy-weird) experiences, stories, emotions, and jokes that make the company bond so unique and special. They’re a big part of my life, so you’ll probably be seeing more of these lovely ladies on the blog throughout the school year!

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Company 2014! 

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Seniors. Already?! Can’t even think about it.

We had a blast, and I learned some fun (and HILARIOUS) facts about each of them. I’m so excited for the dance season to start!

Have a nice evening, and I’ll see you tomorrow for Fascinating Friday Links 🙂

So tell me: Do you have a group of people with whom you share a unique friendship/bond? Do you floss? (<–Random question. I won’t judge.)