First Friendsgiving

GUYS, I HAD AN AMAZING DATE THIS WEEKEND.

Actually, I had many dates!

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I didn’t fall in love with an Irish boy, but I did fall in love with these luxurious Medjool dates that a patient brought into work last week. What have I been doing without these things my whole life!? They taste like caramel and maple syrup!!!

My supervisor at work told me to take the box home on Thursday, since they knew I had a big Thanksgiving feast that night where I could share the bounty of dates.

How was your Thanksgiving, American friends? I¬†don’t¬†feel like it happened, since it’s not celebrated here in Ireland, and this weekend was the first time I really missed New York. My family mom was sending me lots of photos of the Macy’s Parade and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, which tugged at my heart a little bit. New York is the BEST place during the holidays!

But my friends and I here got down with the holiday spirit here in Dublin too! Two lovely ladies in our program took it upon themselves to organize an epic Friendsgiving on Thursday night, and the event totally surpassed everyone’s expectations.

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all out with the decor and table settings!

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the masters behind the night: Edna and Becca

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In true Thanksgiving fashion, there was so much food. Edna and Becca cooked a lot of it, others contributed more dishes, and the rest made monetary contributions. It worked out quite well! I contributed sausage and apple stuffing (my favorite Thanksgiving food) using this recipe.

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The only thing that put a damper on my night was that I was not hungry AT. ALL. My stomach had been in a funk in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, so as much as I wanted to eat all the delicious food, I had zero desire to put anything into my stomach. Fortunately, though, the night proceeded very slowly, so I had time to slowly digest appetizers…

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…before the main course. By then it was only a little bit uncomfortable to eat, so I got to try a good number of dishes!

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turkey (possibly pork though?) with sausage and veggies + cranberry sauce + brussels sprouts galore + stuffing + goat cheese pomegranate salad + roasted carrots + butternut squash + mac and cheese + mashed potatoes + mashed sweet potatoes

I nearly cleared that plate. #Perseverance. Everything was delicious.

There was also an immense dessert selection, so I told myself: “Choose wisely. You have limited space even in your dessert stomach.”

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apple pie a la mode + cake (that our program director bought for us!)

Sufficiently stuffed.

Even better than the food, though, was the company. I am beyond grateful for the wonderful people in my study abroad program. They are all gems.

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last four photos compliments of my friend, Cassandra

Thank you to everyone who made the night a complete success!

The rest of my weekend largely involved reading Harry Potter, watching Harry Potter, working on an essay, and eating leftovers. Megan and I are on the fourth HP book, and we are falling in love with the wizarding world more and more.

(Side note:¬†I took the sorting quiz again, and I’m actually a Hufflepuff. I don’t know how I feel about it. I was starting to embrace¬†Slytherin.)

I have all this leftover celery from my stuffing, and since I don’t love celery by itself, I tried ants on a log.

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I don’t really get it. It’s like…why would you ruin peanut butter with celery?

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leftover pork and apple sausage + caramelized onions with sage and thyme (I have way too many herbs left over) over spinach

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the best leftovers

Megan and I made some new food yesterday too ‚ÄĒ pancakes! We used this recipe and¬†finished the whole batch between the two of us. “Four servings” is a suggestion, right?

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banana pancakes for me, chocolate chip for Megan

As always, I ate my pancakes with plain yogurt, peanut butter and maple syrup.

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Me: “Don’t judge me for this weird thing I’m about to do.” *puts yogurt and peanut butter on pancakes*

Megan: “It’s just not my ideal pancake, but I respect that. Peanut butter isn’t weird. The yogurt is a little weird. But as long as you enjoy it.”

Thanks, girl!

Our plethora of pancakes was breakfast and lunch. At night, we ate more carbs in the form of pizza at Independent Pizza Company.

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mozzarella, parma ham, arugula, tomatoes, and parmesan¬†‚ÄĒ perfection

And now I have pizza leftovers for dinner tonight ūüôā

Moves and grooves have¬†been a little less intense recently because of my¬†mild bursitis, but I’m still doing some fun HIIT with lower impact exercises. I miss all the walking I normally do around town, but now I get to focus on stretching, which I have not been doing enough this whole semester. I’m paying for it now.

Hope you all have a great start to the week! I thank God for you ‚ô•Ôłé

So tell me:

Your three favorite things about this Thanksgiving weekend if you celebrated!

Do you like Medjool dates? 

One thing you’re excited for today.¬†Less than three weeks before we go back to the States, WHAT!? (Not that I haven’t been loving it here, but I’m excited to go home too.)

Quiet and Cozy Thanksgiving

I’m such a procrastinator.

But that’s not news, right? I have yet to do any significant studying¬†for my two exams or any additional¬†preparation for my seven-page paper due next week. I’m telling myself that something WILL get done today.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. ‚ÄďMark Twain

^^^It’s so harddddddd.

Instead of complaining any¬†further though, I should embrace the attitude of gratitude. ‘Tis the season! It has been a relaxing and lovely two¬†days spent with my family so far, but I started off my holiday break in Boston with a¬†breakfast date!

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My dear friend Emma invited me to her apartment to make some FlapJacked pancakes (that I still had from BLEND!) and eggs. We finished all the pancakes and were pretty embarrassed when her apartment-mate asked if there were any left. #shame.

I arrived home with mom late Tuesday night, and since then I’ve been¬†eating, hangin’ with my family, and procrastinating catching up on social media. Because I’m¬†never on social media during school…

Wednesday involved eating, clothes shopping, grocery shopping, eating sushi, cooking, eating, gym, and eating.

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Kylie’s simple paleo pancake (SO FREAKING FLUFFY!) with copious amounts of peanut butter and pomegranate seeds + glass o’ milk

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late sushi lunch with mom mid-shopping

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gym with Pop

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homemade crab cakes! + plain Greek yogurt + sriracha

Ben came home late that night, so I stayed up late chatting with him. My eyes were nearly glued shut getting up for church the next morning, but it was worth the QT with the bro.

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starting Thanksgiving Day thanking God from whom all things flow

After Mass, we headed home to get cookin’! I fueled myself with overnight oats in a jar before transforming into a wannabe Barefoot Contessa. I was in charge of all the side dishes, and I asked mom to be in charge of the turkey so that I wouldn’t overcook it again.

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my love¬†‚ÄĒ¬†stuffing¬†

In addition to bread, we used some leftover buttery croissants for the stuffing. Go big, friends.

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best roasted sweet potatoes

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rosemary thyme roasted baby potatoes

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honey balsamic roasted brussels sprouts and string beans

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cornbread muffins

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da bird

We actually ended up¬†undercooking the turkey at first, so it was a fiasco trying to cook the parts that were still raw while keeping the perfectly-cooked parts separate. You’d think we would have this down after 15+ years, but…guess not.¬†Nevertheless, the turkey turned out delicious and juicy!

I also went on a nice walk with Dad at the park after I finished cooking. It was the perfect, brisk weather for a Thanksgiving walk.

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Then we came home with a hefty appetite and dug in!

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The stuffing, rosemary potatoes, and cornbread muffins were my favorite. I know you know the carbs are the best part.

Speaking of carbs. Best for last!

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apple pie a la mode

We finished at around 6pm, so the rest of the night involved watching Chopped, writing this post, and¬†just appreciating the presence of family. (Imaginary audience: “AWWWWWWW.”)

I feel fortunate that each year, Thanksgiving becomes a lot easier, mentally speaking. This year, I didn’t feel nervous about the amount or density of food that would be available to me, and I think that is because I allow myself to eat heavy foods outside of holiday occasions. I was definitely stuffed by the end of the night, but it just felt like a bigger meal, which is probably a monthly/biweekly occurrence.

As Julia so beautifully wrote, we just need to be kind to ourselves.¬†I didn’t finish every bite on my plate, and I didn’t have pie immediately after dinner with the rest of my family because I wanted to digest for an hour or so. I still ate a lot of delicious food, including pie, but I didn’t feel (self-imposed) pressure to eat or not to eat.

As for working out, I joined my dad when he went to the gym the night before, but I just did a fun strength workout without focusing on calorie burn. On Thanksgiving day, we walked. We went with the flow.

I did not get to this point overnight, so I implore you to not be discouraged if you still struggle with restrictive temptations or anxious feelings during the holidays. In fact, there are many non-holiday instances during which I still feel anxious over food. Recovery is always a work in progress, but every effort to combat disordered habits and thought processes is valuable.

Tonight we’re going out to NYC to eat more. Not before I get some work done though!!!

So tell me:

How did you spend {American} Thanksgiving?

Favorite food from the feast?

Three non-obvious/random/quirky things¬†you’re thankful for!¬†yoga pants,¬†clean public bathrooms, and towels that absorb really well

Is Boston Home Now?

Monday funday! (ha.)

We’re back to the grind here at Boston University, and I’m kind of happy about that.¬†Although we only drove back and forth between Boston and New York, I felt wonky and jet-lagged back at home. When I arrived back in Boston last night, I couldn’t help but feel like¬†BU was “home.” It’s where I have a routine, most of my belongings that I use on a regular basis, lots of friends, work, school‚Ķ

It’s just weird to think that I’ve become attached to Boston already. I don’t know how I feel about that, but I’m¬†just goin’ with the flow.

Nevertheless, I had a wonderful time in New York as I got to take naps, cook, eat some scrumdiddlyumptious breakfasts, and see family and friends again. I didn’t see everyone I wanted to see, but five days goes by a lot more quickly than you would think! My first reunion was with my fellow former dance company member, Susie! We caught up on life over some dang good peppermint tea. The tea warmed my belly as the conversation and company warmed my heart. ‚ô•¬†{it’s easy being cheesy}

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It’s also easy being green. I thoroughly took advantage of the avocado toast, green smoothies, and brussels sprouts at home. Mm mm good.

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My favorite smoothie: Amanda’s oatmeal cookie dough smoothie with spinach added

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Oh and Madre’s cooking¬†hit the spot every single time.

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She’s my hero.

On Friday I met up with the one and only “core four” for breakfast at the exact same restaurant as where we said our goodbyes before going off to college. How precious!

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Brunch in the exact same place as where we left each other.

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I ate a huge meal there because I was hungry and it was delicious. I had a big, fat¬†Greek omelet that included spinach, tomatoes, and feta. It came with breakfast potatoes and whole wheat toast, and I pretty much housed all of it. I don’t play when it comes to my favorite meal of the day.

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Later on Friday night, I found this idea of placing leftover stuffing + egg in waffle maker. B.r.i.l.l.i.a.n.t. (I have no idea why I put periods in between each letter there, but I already did it. So be it.)¬†But seriously, which one of you stuffing lovers wouldn’t absolutely adore crispy-on-the-outside stuffing in the shape of a waffle??

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C’mon now.

And if you don’t have a waffle iron, I would still approve of stuffing muffins. The real goal is to just maximize¬†the surface area of crispiness.

I saw Daliza on Saturday and it didn’t even feel like a reunion because of her epic surprise two weeks ago. But we had a lovely time together as we always do!¬†We don’t even need to take a picture together for proof. ūüėČ

Sunday morning breakfast. Amanda’s¬†banana bread breakfast bake OMG DO IT.

Then Sunday came and it was time to drive back up to Boston in some dreadful traffic. We rewarded ourselves with rockin’ ramen and bubble tea once we arrived after the 5.5 hour drive though!

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I miss home in New York, but I’m happy to be back in Boston, and I’m torn as to which place I really want to be at right now.¬†Home is where I’m with people who make me smile and thrive, so I guess I am blessed to say that both NY and Boston are my homes.

I hope you all have a marvelous day! Hug a bunch of people…just because.

MiMM

Linking up with Katie!

So tell me:

One thing you did this weekend!

What is your favorite green food at the moment?

How did you use up some of your Thanksgiving leftovers? 

I Failed at Thanksgiving

Although I did have a minor Thanksgiving cooking fail (which I will melodramatically get to in a second), yesterday was wonderful in every way, and I am incredibly thankful for the family time and delicious food. I hope you all had relaxing and love-filled Thanksgivings as well!

My Turkey Day started earlier than I preferred after going to sleep at 2 AM. But sleep is for the boring, and it was time to go to Mass and be thankful, dangit! ūüėČ

Breakfast was calling my name when we got home from church, so I made an old favorite that I had been missing in college‚ÄĒGina’s cookie dough cereal. It hit every point of peanut butter-oat-banana craving in my body (aka the perpetual craving).

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I contemplated doing a quick workout before the cooking commenced, but my body was feeling tired and sore so I opted to work out in a more casual way. I spread out 5 sets of 20 air squats, 20 pushups, 20 sit-ups, and 20 burpees throughout the day for a total of 100 reps of each exercise. I went on a quick walk with Pop as a cooking break later too.

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Then it was time to tackle the food! I was in charge of the cornbread, stuffing, and brussels sprouts, so I started with the one that took the most time and the one that is the star of Thanksgiving in my eyes‚ÄĒ the stuffing.

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Now in your mind’s eye, multiply this amount of stuffing by ten. I kid you not, that’s how much stuffing I made. Mom and I thought it would be a good idea to overshoot and double this stuffing recipe¬†(totally recommend the recipe by the way!), so that’s what I did.¬†If any of you stuffing lovers out there have a second wind, please hit me up. We have three large containers completely full of the stuff‚Ķing.

Veggies were also in the works! I’m not even trying to be an overzealous, healthy living, hip hip hooray person right now, but the vegetables probably tied with the stuffing for best dish¬†in my opinion.

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Mom roasted sweet potatoes and butternut squash with just olive oil at 400F for 45 min.

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Brussels sprouts halved and pan roasted in coconut oil // salted and peppered with // tossed with walnuts and dried cranberries.

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I later ended up being responsible for taking the turkey out of the oven, but that was apparently a bad idea on everyone’s part because I left it in the oven for a weeeee bit too long. I was just waiting for the thermometer to get to 165F, but somewhere along the line I allowed the turkey to cross the line from¬†juicy and tender¬†to kinda dry. What’s with me and overcooking meat?!¬†

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Connecting to Mulan even more on this day.

At least it looks pretty.

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It really wasn’t bad¬†either. It was on the drier side, but not terrible.¬†Pop even said it was his favorite part of the meal, but that’s such a dad thing to say. Thanks anyway, Pop ūüôā

I attempted to drown my disappointments in cornbread until I spotted the jar of honey on the counter‚ĶI forgot to put honey in the cornbread batter, and I didn’t realize until the cornbread came out of the oven. The recipe is sweet honey cornbread. #AlisonRuinsThanksgiving2014

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I quickly remedied the situation by pouring a generous drizzle of honey on top of the cornbread when it came out of the oven, which formed a sweet crust on top as the bread cooled. Then a small extra drizzle of honey on each slice made all things new. Phew!

My cooking job was done after that (thank the Lord), and after mom finished the mashed potatoes, we said our prayers of thanksgiving and feasted!

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At 4 PM, we had a laid back Thanksgiving dinner. I loved that there was no feeling of¬†“stress” to eat ALL THE FOODS. There was enough room in my stomach for a late night snack even!¬†Oh, and dessert of course.

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Classic apple pie a la mode. Perfect!

We got the apple pie at a church fundraiser (which got the pies from a bakery), and it was on point. The flaky crust was the best part because‚Ķcarbs!!! I don’t need turkey. I just need stuffing, cornbread, veggies, and pie.

The rest of our evening involved cleaning, relaxing, snacking, and watching¬†The Help. It’s one of my new favorite movies. I laughed and cried, which is a sign of a winning movie to me!

‘Twas¬†a lovely Thanksgiving indeed.

Oh hey, it’s Black Friday. But Black Friday started on Thursday apparently, so I’m a day late? I’ll be spending my day catching up with some of my high school best friends at breakfast, homework, and maybe a workout.

I hope you all have a fabulous Friday!

So tell me:

American friends‚ÄĒWhat was the best thing you ate for Thanksgiving?

Turkey or side dishes?

Did you go/are you going Black Friday shopping?

International friends‚ÄĒ What did you eat last night?¬†

What It Feels Like To…

College is all about new experiences. We have the big ones like moving into the dorm, joining new clubs, passing those incredibly difficult exams, and graduating (whoa, far into the future, eh?). But we also have all the little ones in between. This weekend I reflected on some of the small, new things I experienced, both good and not so good.

After this past week, I now know what if feels like to…

Have Thanksgiving dinner before Thanksgiving day.

It feels kinda wrong, but oh so right. Thank you, dining halls!

Stuffing ♥ ♥ ♥ 

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pumpkin pie + white chocolate cranberry cookie!

Cook a steak.

I felt so flustered. Have you ever thought about how you might feel if you were thrown into the show Chopped and you got choked up? Yeah, this was that feeling.

The people for whom I work asked me to cook up two steaks that they had in the freezer and I agreed since they had so much faith in me. LOL.

I was looking up “how to cook steak” and “how to defrost frozen steak” on my phone and trying to decide the best/safest ways to do both and ahhhhhhhhhh. I think I did okay with the defrosting and the initial sear on the steaks, but then I overcooked the steaks in the oven. I gave them well done when they requested rare and medium rare. *facepalm*

They said it was really good, but I think they were being nice. Maybe the baked potatoes and tuna salad I also made for them redeemed me.

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This was actually delicious!

Be at a hockey game where Boston University Terriers pull out an awesome win!

So much pride.

We won 3-2 against University of Maine at overtime!

Watch a quality romantic comedy.

ALL THE FEELS. I watched About Time with a bunch of friends on Saturday night, and it might be one of my new favorite movies. Watch it if you have not yet!

Have America’s Next Top Model as a roommate.

It’s fantastic for the self-esteem, really. (jokes jokes.)

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© Christina Chu

(I also know what it feels like to basically have a pro photographer as a friend!)

She might not actually be America’s Next Top Model, but she totally could be, right?! She modeled for a fashion show this weekend and I heard many rave reviews that she killed it on the runway. Evidently. I live in the same room as this beautiful person!!!

Run five miles.

Besides feeling kinda uncomfortable because I needed to go to the bathroom the whole time, I felt amazing! That’s the longest I’ve run without stopping to date. Yay!

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I started the GPS about¬†¬Ĺ a mile into my run, so the 5 miles were hit, I promise!

Oh, and for the record, a “running high” is quite similar to a burpee high… But the view and fresh air that comes with running is a wonderful bonus ūüôā

Pay over $3.00 for just the dry cycle for my laundry.

That feeling would be rage-y.

One extra long cycle apparently wasn’t enough for my load of laundry (which wasn’t especially large or anything), and I was still left with¬†super damp clothes by the end of it. I contemplated air drying it all, but there’s no space in the dorm for that and all the clothes were too wet anyway. Thus, I bit the bullet and paid for another full dry cycle.¬†That totaled to¬†$4.75 for laundry.

Life.

So there you have it! Some of my latest and greatest new experiences!

Something I’ve been thinking about doing is posting shorter¬†yet more frequent¬†update/musings kinds of blog posts instead of longer, spaced out dump-my-life-on-you posts. I don’t want to sacrifice quality for quantity, but I’m hoping to spark interesting conversations about things that pop up during my day that I find worthwhile putting into a post. Does that make sense?

Basically, I want to try to post more often with less content (unlike this lengthy, random post) while having a more specific focus in each post. If that still doesn’t make sense, then we’ll just see how this all unfolds, won’t we?

Have a marvelous Monday, friends! I’m going home for Thanksgiving tomorrow what whattttttt.

So tell me:

After this weekend, I now know what if feels like to_________.

Do you like tuna salad?

(I can post the recipe for the tuna salad I made if ya want! It’s pretty bomb if I do say so myself.)

What is your favorite romantic comedy?