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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WIAW: Then and Now

You wanna know what’s pretty darn cool?

These photos of Pluto.

Wanna know what else is pretty darn cool?

Looking through my blog and seeing progress in my health, faith, and maturity. I’ve only been blogging for {almost} two years, but what an eventful two years they have been!

I’ll save the teary-eyed talk for my actual blogiversary (which I have not even memorized), but today for What I Ate Wednesday, I want to do a little “then and now” comparison of my eats. The “then” photos are from early 2014, and the “now” photos are from yesterday. So this is comparing my eats between a 1.5-year period.

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What I am taking away from this comparison of eats is that:

a) The eats don’t look all that different between then and now.

b) The volume of eats is more or less the same between then and now.

c) The caloric density of my eats is much greater now. (My eats last year were very “clean” with minimal sugar and oils.)

d) I’m doing much less activity now.

e) I’m pretty sure that I feel more energized now.

Breakfast

THEN

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plain 0% Greek yogurt with a crumbled banana muffin, banana slices, and nut butter

NOW

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full fat Greek yogurt + chia seeds with a crumbled berry banana muffin, banana slices, and giant scoop of nut butter

Snack

(In this instance, my “then” snack was more calorically dense than my “now” one.)

THEN

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Coconut nut bar

NOW

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finished off a bag of Enlightened wasabi crisps*

Lunch

THEN

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grilled chicken on undressed spinach + grapes + carrots + BelVita

NOW

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two fried eggs with goat cheese and honey on an English muffin + zucchini sautéed in sesame oil

Snack

THEN

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plain 0% Greek yogurt with banana slices and nut butter // I would often only add the nut butter if I had just worked out

NOW

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handful of almonds and the last Quest bar from Blend (finally!) // not post-workout, just hungry

Dinner

THEN

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farro with baked salmon and steamed greens // little to no oil or sugar

NOW

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quinoa with turkey meatloaf (included eggs and panko, topped with a sweet ketchup maple glaze) + salad dressed in a homemade maple mustard vinaigrette

Dessert

THEN

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Greek yogurt with dried figs // I still eat this and love it, but today there’s a lot more of this…

NOW

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peach blueberry cobbler a la mode + some unpictured 2% milk

Like I said, the eats may not look that different, but when I keep in mind the caloric density of my foods today and the absence of formal, intense workouts lately, I have to say that I’m proud of my progress.

And guess what. I feel so much better now. I don’t agree with those who say “clean eating” makes you feel better than ever. Yes, eating nutritious foods most of the time makes me feel great, but getting rid of sugars and oils from everything makes me feel crabby, not better than ever.

My goal in this comparison is not to judge my past self or ridicule myself for being a little restrictive, because that time period was just another part of my journey. I’ve learned that recovery seems to keep unfolding itself, even if you think you’re just about done, which is why I say I’m 99.9% recovered.

So tell me:

Do you notice any differences between your eats now and your eats a year (or two) ago?

What did you eat for lunch yesterday? That goat cheese, honey, egg sandwich hit the spot.

Do you like meatloaf? I LOVE MEATLOAF, and the one I made last night was fantastic.

*My friends at Enlightened sent me more of their crisps because I’m in love with them and I blogged all about it. Honesty = best policy.

Old-School Things That I Hope Never Die

Look what went down in our kitchen last night.

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PeachBlueberryCobblerICannotContainMyExcitement. !!!!!!!!!!!

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I used this recipe as a guide, which is different from the one I used last year. This one is more of a biscuit-topping-cobbler, while the one I made last year was more of a cake-like-cobbler.

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I used a little too much fruit, because the cobble to fruit ratio was a little low for my liking. (I was seriously considering making another batch of the biscuit topping but decided not to be so greedy.) I also used lime zest instead of orange zest, and added ground nutmeg and ginger to the fruit, which made it somethin’ special. Dad and I enjoyed it a la mode of course.

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Something about baking peach cobbler makes me feel like I should be wearing a 50s housewife dress and a white, lace-trimmed apron. That sounds so anti-feminist, but frankly, I think making something delicious by hand that brings a smile to someone’s face is anything BUT lame.

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[source]

After baking fresh peach cobbler— a classic Southern dessert— I started thinking about some other old-school things that should never go out of style. For the record, this list does not include long-haired slick backs, white T-shirts, good girl faith, or tight little skirts.*

Old-School Things That I Hope Never Die

1. Sit-down dinners with family members.

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Sitting down for dinner with family members is a privilege. I find that having dinner with loved ones not only encourages good conversation and slower eating, but it also helps foster greater gratitude for the food and people I have in my life.

2. Snail mail.

Seriously, there is no feeling like getting a letter addressed to you in the mail that is from a loved one and has nothing to do with bills, coupons, or local politicians.

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During the summer I love taking the opportunity to find a couple pen pals and write back and forth a few times. It’s exciting receiving a letter and equally as exciting sending one, especially if he/she isn’t expecting it!

3. Late nights at the diner.

Diners seem to be more of an east coast thing if I’m not mistaken, but I love the casual, family-style atmosphere, as well as the comfort food (fries, milkshakes, pancakes, HIIIIII.)

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Diners on rainy nights are quintessentially classic. Like, cue some Grease music, please.

4. Real books.

I know a lot of people would agree with me on this one. As much as I love reading blogs and I love the environment, you absolutely cannot replace the experience of reading a book with tangible, dog-eared pages and that glorious smell of…paper…when you flip through.

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Although, I have issues taking care of my books, because I always tend to get them wet and wrinkly. The way I see it, the water damage adds character and vintage vibes to the book.

5. Ballroom dancing.

Secret sharing time! I used to take ballroom and latin dance lessons, and I would dance with my tall, skinny Russian instructor in shows (and in one competition).

Oh. Look what I found from six years ago…

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So there’s that.

Anyway, amidst the grinding, twerking, you’re-a-jerk-ing, and pop-lock-and-dropping of this era, I like to think that ballroom dancing remains a respected art that displays romance in a classy manner. I think it would be a sad day if no men knew how to properly frame a woman for dancing (not the prom-style hands on hips, arms around neck thing).

Wait, have we already reached that day?

6. Sleepovers.

Not that I think this will go away anytime soon…for young girls at least.

Is it socially acceptable to have sleepovers with my girl friends when we’re out of college? (I could say “adult sleepover”, but that connotes something quite different.) Like, if/when we’re married and my husband is out of town? Can I invite my gals over for pajamas, nail painting, face masks, cookie baking, chick flicks, and TMI talk?

Imma do it.

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Call me a retro-wannabe, but I think some things are called classic for a reason!

*Reference to Taylor Swift’s song, Style, in case you didn’t know what was going on there.

Hope you cool kids have a groovy day! 😉

So tell me:

What is your favorite summer desert?

Are there any old-school things that you hope never die?

Do you agree/disagree with any of the things on my list?