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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Firsts

I’ve been kickin’ and screamin’ on this planet for 21 years!

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real still frame from a home video circa May 1997

Today I’m celebrating 21 years of life, legal consumption of alcohol in the United States, aaaaand the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary!

Besides my first legal drink in the US though, this weekend has been filled with many firsts.

First time…

…listening to Harry Styles’ new album. I love his song, “Sweet Creature”!

…being seriously concerned that I could need hip surgery. When I was walking in pain yesterday, I thought I could very well have a labral tear (which would be pretty bad), but the more I moved, the more I ruled that out. I’m going to guess that I just strained some inner thigh muscles, but I’ll report back after a few more days of rest.

…doing a workout in my summer apartment. I made it low impact for my legs + for the downstairs neighbors.

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3 rounds:

  • 20 alternating single leg slide out bridges
  • 20 split squats each leg
  • 20 decline plank kicks
  • 10 single leg bench sits to twist each leg
  • 10 elevated pike pushups

…eating at Pino’s Pizza and White Mountain Creamery! I had a lazy day with Ben and Casey all Memorial Day since it was pretty dreary outside. When we finally got hungry for real food, we took a walk for pizza and ice cream, because #America.

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split a Napoli pizza (grilled chicken, broccoli, garlic)

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apple pie + banana oreo (← sounded weird, but it was SO TASTY!)

I am a big fan of White Mountain Creamery now. Not a fan that it’s filled with Boston College pride (Boston University’s arch nemesis), but that can be overlooked when it comes to friggin’ good ice cream.

…watching John Mulaney standup comedy and Zootopia. I really liked both!

…showering in the gym. I’ve been going to the campus gym for three years now, and I’ve never showered in the locker rooms. Since I live kinda far from campus now, I can’t just go home and shower in a snap, so I packed a huge duffel bag to carry around all day and finally showered at the gym.

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this has nothing to do with my gym shower, but this is what I ate yesterday morning — Kylie’s banana pudding for breakfast

…handling cadavers. For our first gross anatomy teaching assistant meeting yesterday, we had to take care of the cadavers a little bit, and it was quite an adventure! Fluids. Fluids everywhere.

…eating tapas in Boston. For my birthday celebration, my friends joined me at Barcelona (the restaurant, not the Spanish city) for tapas and sangria. The tapas were ON POINT. Perfect for sharing with a big group!

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My favorites were the beef empanadas, croquetas (fried balls of ham and melty cheese WOW), and spiced spinach and chickpeas.

…drinking [almost] legally! Ben apparently told the waitress to bring me a celebratory drink at midnight, but she brought it at 11pm without carding me, soooo I just drank it before my official birthday. Thus, turning 21 at midnight was rather anticlimactic, but it was still fun!

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sparkling wine with a little candle at the bottom woohoo!

I drank ~1/3 of the sparkling wine. Me: “Alcohol makes me too full. I’d rather just have room for more tapas.”

…drinking white sangria. We ordered a pitcher for the table after we finished our tapas, and holy smokes this was the best alcoholic beverage I’ve ever consumed (I’ve drunk legally in Canada and Ireland before)! I don’t love alcohol in most forms, but this was delicious. The hint of pineapple perhaps?

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…taking a shot of brandy. Ben, Casey, Lauren and I had a short, low-key after party at Ben’s place, during which we grooved, ate cookie dough and each took one brandy shot before going home.

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Immediately after, I said, “HATE THAT.”

I’m happy to report that I remember absolutely everything that happened last night. Thank you so much to my friends who came out late on a Tuesday night to celebrate with me! ♥︎

…making a smoothie in a Ninja blender. This morning (read: a couple hours ago at 11 am), I blended an overnight oat smoothie in Christie’s huge Ninja blender. What a powerful machine!

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oats, chia seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, pinch of salt, yogurt, almond milk, peanut butter, spinach + cereal and sunflower seeds


Thank you to everyone who has wished me a happy birthday and for all those who pray for me. Most of all, thank you to all those who have touched my life in some way during these past 21 years. God is good. ♥︎

How rare and beautiful it is to even exist. — Sleeping at Last, “Saturn”

So tell me:

What is the best thing you ate this weekend? (← did I already ask that on Monday?)

Any “firsts” this week?

What is your favorite alcoholic beverage if you drink?

Behind the Scenes #17: Just…Food.

Thinking-Out-Loud

Reflecting on food with my fellow food lover, Amanda!

1. We’re finally home! After visiting several cities for the admitted students’ days at University of Maryland and University of Virginia, I’m so happy to be chillin’ out back at our house. Except for the fact that there were patches of snow on the ground when we arrived…Excuse me?

2. Remember how I said I despise driving in DC? Well, I meant it. I meant it with a deep burning passion, because getting out of that city was a pain yesterday. It’s a good thing I had this brunch at Busboys & Poets beforehand, which made things a whole lot more bearable 😉

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Mom and I shared the Oaxaca omelette that had black beans, pico, cheese, and GUACAMOLE. Served with the best home fries and whole wheat toast. So, so delicious.

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I had to take a picture of the men’s restroom sign. Had to.

3. After this amazing breakfast and almost a week without my usual breakfasts at home, I had some sort of enlightenment: I might be okay with savory breakfasts. I’m as shocked as you are, but I think I’ll start introducing some eggy, toasty-type breakfasts into my rotation! Sweet breakfasts will always have a special place in my belly heart though 🙂

4. I drove the whole 4.5 hours back home from DC yesterday, which has resulted in major tightness in my neck today. Luckily, we made a stop for Naked Juice and Cinnabons by the highway, so it’s all good.

5. After I attended altar server rehearsal at church for the Holy Thursday and Good Friday Masses last night, I met my parents and Victoria and her mom for dinner at a fancy tapas restaurant called 42. We had to wait a little while for a table to open up, but it was definitely worth it. We shared everything, and everything was divine. (A lot of these are small plates! Others aren’t 😉 )

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Crispy calamari, shrimp, and jalapeño with lemon tartar sauce

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Spring salad with arugula, grapefruit, asparagus, radish, pecans, and house balsamic vinaigrette

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Beef and pork pastry with burrata cheese and egg-yolk sauce

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Macau pepper steak with soft egg, burnt scallion chimichurri and brioche

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My dish: Halibut with mango pepper sauce, pickled mushrooms, zucchini, squash, and mint

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Mom’s dish (my FAVORITE of the night): whole wheat tortellini with black truffle, ricotta, parmesan, and herbs

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Victoria’s dish: Vegetable paella

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Dad’s dish: Branzino with lemon jam and roasted peanut potato

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Wendy’s (Victoria’s mom) dish: Kale caesar salad

6. Yeah, I’m not done yet. You didn’t think we wouldn’t leave room for dessert, did you??

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Cutest little plate of milk and cookies ever. Coconut macaroon, double chocolate chunk, snickerdoodle, and peanut butter cookies!

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Creme brûlée doughnuts. YOU READ THAT FLIPPIN’ RIGHT.

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“The Bar”: Ovaltine mousse, peanut butter crunch, dulce de leche, vanilla ice cream

I don’t know where all this food went, because looking at all these pictures, it looks like it was meant for 20 people. We didn’t finish the desserts, but we cleaned up our plates pretty darn well!

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This was before the food came. If we took a picture afterwards, we would have been slouching with our eyes closed…but still smiling 😀

7. I did have some MUCH needed house-made food for lunch yesterday though:

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Salad with homemade honey mustard dressing and a soft-boiled egg

Plus some fruit and snap peas with hummus. The freshness of this simple meal made my belly so happy…before I filled it with all those tapas, which also made my belly very happy. Tooooo happy.

8. Surprisingly, I was hungry for breakfast this morning. I was also craving oats and nut butter, so I had some cookie dough cereal and it hit the spot! Since we don’t have any ripe bananas currently, I ate it with kiwis, but I ended up eating those separately. Kiwis + nut butter is not my combo of choice.

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9. Of course, my hospitable mom set up a huge bed+breakfast spread for our guests:

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Because we obviously don’t have enough food in our lives.

10. I had a dream last night that I had a super cute piglet as a pet!!! I want him back.

Happy Holy Thursday! May we remember to serve others as the Lord has served us. 🙂

So tell me: 

When was the last time you really craved light, fresh food?

Sweet or savory breakfast?

Would you want a pet piglet?

WIAW: A Dinner of Small Plates

It’s Wacky Wednesday in the world of high school (or at least my high school)! It’s homecoming week right now, so all the days are themed, all the students are a little more wild, and some teachers are a little more annoyed. All in good fun! Yesterday was “Retro Tuesday,” but apparently everyone wanted to change it to pajama day this past weekend, so most people donned their adult onesies and subsequently burned all day inside their warm felt suits. I and a few others kept the Retro Day theme. I actually just threw together the outfit Monday night, because pajama day just seemed bland on my end since I don’t own a onesie.

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Don’t ask me which decade I’m from, because I’m not sure myself.

But I’m sure you all know what else is going on today….the most amazing food party on the web! Thanks, Jenn for hosting another fabulous What I Ate Wednesday! I’m going to be showing some random good eats in no particular fashion (not all from one day, as some of my friends thought) until I decide to move onto the most amazing dinner that my mom and I had in Washington DC. (Also, I totally owe you a Maryland recap. Coming tomorrow hopefully!) So here we gooooo:

what i ate wednesday october breast cancer awareness halloween button

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A quick breakfast before teaching Sunday School: Honeycrisp apple with yogurt+pepita sunseed butter dip

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Random but delicious dinner: Grilled cheese and tomato, salad with homemade honey mustard dressing, grapes

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Three part lunch before hitting the road to MD: Leftover veggie and egg quinoa/brown rice, Greek yogurt with pineapple, veggies with hummus. I’m not efficient with dish and utensil use. 

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Pumpkin oats with sunflower seed butter. This time I didn’t add banana, and it tasted more pumpkin-y! 

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Spinach, egg, salsa, sauteed onions, and sweet potato (yam?)

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Classic: Avocado toast, two sunny eggs (that became hard because I let them cook too long 😦 ), sauteed onions and spinach underneath

And now onto the absolutely fabulous dinner at Zaytinya in DC! It’s a pretty upscale Greek, Turkish, and Lebanese small plates restaurant (called mezze instead of tapas, which are Spanish small plates) by chef Jose Andres, who owns several other popular restaurants in DC. This place is so incredibly popular, guys. We called in to make reservations at around 7 pm and the earliest opening for two people was 8:30. Once we got there, the place was packed and we still had to wait a few minutes to be seated. The clean, modern, open ambiance made the wait much more bearable despite our growling stomachs.

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Zaytinya has been gracious in helping out the furloughed workers in DC by giving away free sandwiches from 3-5 every day! How awesome!

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We were seated in the upper level of the restaurant, giving us quite a nice view of the restaurant and the urban streets.

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The friendly servers gave us hot-out-of-the-oven pita bread that was SO puffy and delicious! Served with olive oil + balsamic and hummus.

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Then it was time to order. If you’re not familiar with tapas or mezze, each person is supposed to order a few dishes, or small plates, instead of one appetizer/entree. My mom and I were starving, but we had to make sure our eyes weren’t bigger than our stomachs, so we settled for six mezze. Boy am I glad we didn’t order more, because we were stuffed by the end! But so happily stuffed. 🙂

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Red lentil patties with yogurt sauce. Tasted like falafel, but not fried!

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Crispy brussel sprouts with coriander and tangy yogurt sauce. ONE OF THE BEST DISHES OF THE NIGHT. Surprising, right?! We knew we had to try them after raving reviews for them on Yelp. Glad we did!

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Spanikopita. Fresh and delicious. And shaped like an egg roll. How could you go wrong?

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Mushroom pearl couscous. Creamy and tasty. One of mom’s favorites.

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Baby crab cakes! Yummy, but nothing super wow-ing.

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Potato-crusted snails. Another hit!! The potato crust was spiced perfectly, and these little bites were just so unique and delicious.

It may not look like a lot since the plates were so small, but we were so full after we finished these. However, our dessert compartments were still calling the sweet selections 😉 The desserts luckily came in mezze-style (mini) and full portions, so we each ordered a mezze-style.

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For me: “Turkish Delight” Walnut ice cream, yogurt mousse, honey gelee, phyllo pastry, and pine nuts. Oh so divine.

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For mom: “Chocolate Rose” Rose ice cream, chocolate mousse, spiced berry compote. The rose ice cream was amazing!! She wished she had just ordered that by itself since they actually had that flavor available. Next time, next time. She still enjoyed the chocolate though.

And that concludes our culinary adventure. The dinner was pricey, but if you want some fabulous and unique Greek, Turkish, and Lebanese food whenever you’re in DC, definitely check out Zaytinya! You won’t regret it.

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A note for the staff 🙂

Happy Wednesday!

So tell me: What yummy things have you been eating? Have you ever tried tapas/mezze before?