If anyone has been to Bell's Market in NE Philadelphia you can attest that they have the cheapest produce. Anthony thinks it's a cover up for the Russian Mafia. I don't care what it is, just keep on making those incredible half sour pickles. I treked all the way out there for my favorite pickles and grabbed a couple of unexpected items because I just couldn't pass them up. I was so proud to get a mini personal watermelon for $1.79. WHAT A DEAL. I brought it home and cracked into that thing like a pinata. I love chopping watermelon, there's a funny side story here...
Nate and I took a quick trip to DC to visit some of his college friends. He hit up a Beer Fest and I tackled the Smithsonian Museums. I was able to gaze fondly at Julia Child’s kitchen an informative exhibit. LOVED IT! There were so many cool things to check out at the museums. All the museum walking had worked up an extreme appetite in my belly. Luckily there was a newly opened Shake Shack around the corner from the museum. It was packed to the gills. Stupidly I asked for my meal to be dine in instead of take out. There were no tables anywhere and I was a party of one. I was able to find a table without any seats but crafted a chair out of a window ledge and dug in. SO GOOD, I love that place. Later that afternoon I met up with Nate and his homeboys at a DC United soccer game. Nate and I like to drink but it’s never to the point of being crazy. I only get white girl wasted when I’m reliving my college days with Heather and her friends or when I’m in VT with my friends. Usually my hangover is so epic I swear off drinking for a day or two. I also don’t really want Nate to see me in my krunk state of mind. Imagine my surprise when I met up with Nate that afternoon. After drinking all afternoon I can honestly say I’ve never seen Nate so drunk and I was completely sober. I now understand how some of my friends must have felt while being DD’s on epic weekends while I was pickled with booze. It was a different experience. Next time we both need to be wasted. Regardless I had tons of fun. DC is a cool city to visit but I could never live there. Similar to the fun I’ve had in NYC. Good for visiting but not for living.
Life as a Nurse
All I can say is I haven’t killed anyone yet. Knock of wood that doesn’t happen anytime soon. I have just finished my orientation period and am flying solo on the floor. Our unit is unique in that there is a floor side and an ICU side of the unit. We are crossed trained to both sides. After spending a month of the floor side I was starting to think I had the hang of things and then they put me on the ICU side. DISASTER. Sure you only have 2 patients but they are critical patients that seem so much more fragile with accessories I was not used to. A-lines, ventilators, cardiac monitoring and we are responsible for all blood draws. YIKES! On top of all this there is a crap load of charting. It doesn’t sound hard to chart urine output every hour but when you’re giving meds, doing assessments Q4 hours, checking on restraints and other beeping machines it seems just about impossible. For the first week of ICU orientation I cried every night. I felt like I was all thumbs and there was so much I didn’t know. I thought I was going to kill someone. I called home and hearing Mom and Dad’s voice made it worse. I don’t think Dad could understand what I was saying over the sobbing. Luckily this period passed after a few weeks. I had a pow wow with my Nurse Manager and she assured me all of my concerns were completely normal and expected. Apparently I have the "Magical Gift" of self awareness. It feels more like a burden to me. She explained that there are many New Grads who are over confident or don't ask questions and those are the ones that are often making major mistakes. Me on the other hand am just asking questions non stop and refuse to do anything that I haven't attempted before unless I have a second set of eyes in case disaster strikes. If that's considered a gift, I guess I've got it. I still hate the ICU but at least I think I can cover the basics and call out for help when I am clueless as to what is going on. Thank goodness all my co-workers are so understanding and nice.
The Gory Bits
Katrina you may want to stop reading at this point, I have a way of painting a picture with words.
I have seen so many cool/gross things. Luckily I have yet to pass out or toss my cookies. There are so many things that MD’s do at the bedside that I didn’t realize until I saw it with my own eyes. I was able to sneak a peek at them insert a chest tube into someone, essentially it’s a flexible tube they poke in-between your ribs to suck out air/blood/pus and then add a couple of stitches to keep it in place. I also saw my first escharotomy. When pt.’s have circumferential burns (around their whole appendage) the body swells and the burnt skin doesn’t stretch and expand like healthy tissue. If the pressure isn’t released you will lose blood flow and eventually that limb. To relieve the pressure they take a cauterizing pen that will cut and burn the tiny capillaries to relieve the pressure. They’re just slicing people open. EWW and so cool. I also lended a hand in a new admit. The pt. had an extensive chemical burn to the entire body. When patients come into the unit they are taken to our hydrotherapy room nick named “The Tank Room” with shower nozzles in the ceiling and big metal beds. They get hosed off and scrubbed down with dial soap and dressed in whatever dressings are chosen before being taken to their room. It’s not unusual when scrubbing a pt down to have layers of the burnt skin peel off or pop water blisters that have formed. Unfortunately this pt was burned everywhere. It’s similar to when you get really bad sunburn and a few days later your skin peels. This is just a tiny bit thicker and it’s in places you’re not used to peeling off. Eyelids, lips, scalp, palms of the hand. I was peeling skin off of EVERYWHERE. This process can take a long time. After leaving the tank room and removing your PPE you look like you’ve run a marathon in a rubber suit. Sweat soaked scrubs are the norm. This is why when I leave work I feel like the life force has been sucked out of me.
Another fun part of my day is wound rounds. Doctors and their teams of people will come around to assess how well your patient’s treatment is working. They start at 9:30 and all you need to do is make sure your patient’s dressings are all removed for when the doctor comes in. If they’re not down when they come in apparently some of the doctors are not friendly about it. I had one patient scheduled for wound rounds and I was attempting to be organized with my charting. I did all my charting and meds for one patient and started my take down for patient number 2. At 9:35 I had my patient ready. The doctors hadn’t even started rounding yet, while I was waiting for them, the wound care nurse found out that the doctors had decided that all of the staples needed to be removed from this patient. SURPRISE! This patient had grafts all over their abdomen, arms, hands and parts of their legs. The grafts are 2-inch strips of cadaver skin (allograft) that are stapled on; it looks like a skin quilt. I am not exaggerating when I say it took me and 2 other nurses 3 hours to remove all of these staples. I don’t mind removing staples but I do get a bit of the heeby geebies when I have to pluck them off in-between fingers, finger pads, etc. If I’m ever burned just leave me for dead. This has got to be the worst. Then we needed to dress all the grafts. I walked into this room at 9 and didn’t leave until 2. This patient pooped 3 times, I had to give them their 8 and 12 o’clock meds, hang antibiotics and then try to catch up with my poor patient I had abandoned. Just as I’m about to step out of the room PT was stretching this pt and noticed they had ANOTHER BM. Just shoot me now. I’m am ready to chew off an limb, I am so behind in charting and med administration and now I need to find people to help me turn this 300lb patient so that I can clean them up again. After I had this patient settled I ran around for another hour and finally snuck out for lunch. While I was eating lunch my other patient that I had not seen all morning went into respiratory distress and then needed me to help out while they re-intubated them. Can someone throw me a bone? C’MON! Even though it was busy I learned gobs of new stuff and it made the day fly by. So glad I became a nurse. Wish I had done it sooner.
The South is riddled with Good Will EVERYWHERE! In Winston Salem where I work there are 4. Plus all the surrounding towns have a couple. I have recently started seeking out mason jars. I use mason jars for everything. Lunch and leftovers are stored in there, pantry essentials, drinking vessels and most importantly canning. Unfortunately mason jars can be pricey when you use so many. Often when I give out my culinary treats to friends and family I don’t always get the jars back. At approximately $1.50 a jar including a new seal it can get steep pretty quick. That’s when I discovered that thrift shops are full of mason jars that people don’t realize are GOLD for canning. I’ve been able snag lots for anywhere from .25-.75 cents a jar plus some of them are older versions that have different shapes and markings on them. I can’t wait to use them this summer. Since Heather doesn’t share the same passion for thrift shop hunting I have made a new companion in crime, Nate’s Mom. She loves Good Will just as much as I do if not more so I am in good company on random weekends.
My First VT Visitor
Finally someone from VT has decided to visit. Truth is I am homesick and ready to see some friendly familiar faces besides Heather and Anthony. Matteo was working NC for a week and decided to extend his travel to Carrboro to spend less than 48 hours with the super fun Socha Sisters. We perfected the art of day drinking on a gorgeous sunny 70-degree Saturday. It happened to be St. Patty’s weekend so we go our fill of green beer and local brews in Carrboro. We then stumbled back to Heather and Anthony’s apartment to introduce our guest of honor to all of Heather’s friends. We then added more booze to our already full tanks by partaking in some of my favorite drinking games; Beer Pong and Flip Cup. All I can say is we had 3 people vs. 4 in an epic VT vs Non VT game of flip cup and WE STILL WON. YESSSSS!!!!! I love winning. After that things got a little bit blurry. Heather acquired some weird carrot top look alike wig, corned beef was devoured and at some point drunken phone calls were made to my BFF Katrina in VT to settle an argument Matteo and I were having. From what I hear Matt doesn’t remember much from this part of the night. Somehow he made it back to his hotel in one piece. Sorry I couldn't escort him but I was too boozed to be walking around outside. Epic Weekend.
Heather loves my Mom’s Sauerkraut. Apparently it’s easy to make and I’ve always wanted to dabble in the fine art of fermentation. Mom said all I really needed to do was massage some shredded cabbage with salt and pack it into a container till it’s juices cover it. Let it sit on the counter for a few weeks and voila you have sauerkraut. Not as easy as she made it sound. I got it started out all right but then it started to take on a weird smell, not like sauerkraut. Funk started growing on the top and I was worried the skunge would taint the cabbage on the bottom of the jar so I tossed it. I will attempt it again in the future but I need watch someone do it first. I’m too much of a visual learner.
I realize I have been slacking on my blog since I got a job. Now that I don’t have gobs of free time this page has suffered. I am feeling a bit more motivated to put some new stuff up here. There are tons of adventures and cooking disasters I have experienced but have been pinched for time in putting them up. Here are some of the highlights of my life since I have moved down to North Carolina. I've split it into 3 parts because there's so much stuff!
I started my adventures in nursing and living in the bible belt of the country. People are really friendly down here but I’m realizing they’re a bit different than the people in Vermont or New England in general. Religion is everywhere, everyone goes to Church, everyone prays for you and most social activities and friends involve church based groups/parties. My roomie explained all social activities around here revolve around church. Maybe this explains why everything is closed or has limited hours on Sundays. Nope I'm not living in Spain, it’s the South where Sunday is the day of rest. All of the girls on my unit are super nice and friendly but there seems to be a common thread in many of them. Over ½ of the nurses are in their 20’s and 30’s. Either engaged or newly weds and it seems they all can’t wait to get pregnant and become housewives. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing; I’m not trying to start drama at work I’m just usually around ladies with this desire. Strange that they worked so hard for their degrees and have such a strong desire to stay at home and be Moms. Whatever floats their boats. Another Southern thing is I find everyone refer to complete strangers as “honey, sweetie, sugar”. I’ve even found myself doing it with patients. “Sweetie can I just grab your blood sugar for a minute.” And don’t get me started on the food down here. AMAZING. I didn’t realize I liked biscuits so much. I LOVE THEM. Okra is my new favorite veggie. I’m sure eating them deep-fried kills the nutritional benefit of eating them. BBQ is everywhere and it tastes delightful. Oh yeah, did I mention how much I love biscuits? But I have to limit my intake or I will soon have a biscuit basket hanging out in my mid section. Even though the food is great it can be harder to find local restaurants around here because this place is swamped with fast food chain and other chain restaurants. Golden Coral, Cracker Barrel, Sage Brush, Arbys, Hardees, Taco Bell, Biscuitville (yum) and Bojangles is EVERYWHERE. I don’t know how a large majority of the women down here are well dressed, fashionable and eat this delicious food and still look so svelte. TELL ME YOUR SECRET!
Adventures with Heather
Since I haven’t really made a solid friends yet, Heather and I have been chillaxing and hitting up some fun activities while her husband lives in the lab on the weekends. We went to our first UNC Chapel Hill college basketball game. I don't really get to hyped up for sports, much less college level sports but I guess around here it’s a big deal. People dress up, paint their faces, have special cheers. It’s a big deal. It was so much fun to see everyone so pumped up, watch the marching band and learn some basketball facts from Heather. I didn’t know she had so much ESPN game knowledge. Maybe it’s common sense or she actually listened to what our Gym teachers said during the basketball unit. Either way it was a blast. My favorite part was the half time show. They have a cheer team AND a dance team that supports the teams during games. They also had the special jump-roping group that did all sorts of tricks. AMAZING. I still don’t know how they managed the tricks but I LOVED IT. Teach me to double dutch, PLEASE!!!!
I have been slacking on my canning since I’m not really set up for preserving but I was able to make a quick batch of pickled asparagus and attempted my first batch of creole pickled okra. Both were delightful and I was able to show Heather a little bit about canning. I also busted out my pressure canner for a second time thus far and make turkey and chicken stock out of all the carcasses Heather has been stashing in her freezer for such an occasion. I think Anthony was getting rattled by the lack of freezer space so we had to make quick work of the bones before he threatened to toss them. It was delightful and I think Heather has used up all her jars so far. I’ve also started freaking out looking at all of the jam and pickles I’ve got in the cupboards of NC and PA. I made all of these treats and have been squirreling them away to enjoy as special treats but now the summer is creeping upon us I need to make room for new pickles and jams. I have started eating jam and Greek yogurt everyday but I don’t know if it’s enough. Luckily it won’t be much work for me to knock off the pickles. I can easily eat a jar in a sitting. I’m currently looking for baked treats that incorporate jams and jellies that I can pass off on my co-workers to help me nosh on the last bits of jam goodness that I possess.
I’ve been running into a bit of a breakfast conundrum lately. I need to prepare breakfast for work so that I don’t pass out during dressing changes while in my plastic gown (i.e. sweat suit from hell) and I don’t have a lot of time or energy at 5:00am to cook up something hearty. I wake up with just enough time to thrown on the clothes I picked out the night before (hmmm, which blue top and bottom do I want to wear to work…so many endless fashion choices…) brush my teeth and grab my pre packed lunch from the fridge. Whatever I'm eating for breakfast needs to be ready in 5 minutes or less, preferably something I can eat in the car. If it’s something I’m not really into I won’t eat it. I also don’t do sweet breakfast things. That eliminates cereal, pancakes, waffles, oatmeal and so many other common breakfast foods. I also want it to be healthy. SO PICKY! I was content eating oatmeal with savory toppings mixed into it like cheese, scallions and ham cubes. But I’ve been eating that for the last 3 weeks. I need something new. That’s when I thought of my Dad.
At some point in my Dad’s life, either shortly before meeting my Mom or during their first years of marriage he was a vegetarian. I happen to love meat and will never become a vegetarian but I do enjoy eating Tofu. I can imagine while my Dad was a bachelor his cuisine didn’t stray far from what he eats at our house when Mom doesn’t make dinner. Essentially anything that will transport cheese and onions into his gut. Cheese and onion nachos? Cheese and onion rolled into a tortilla? Onion and cheese on Triscuits? Cheese and onion sandwich? All of the above and more. And lets not forget my Dad doesn’t finely dice or chop anything. Takes too much time and effort so these “meals” have HUGE hunks of raw onion. This is one reason why we would fight over who would sit next to Dad at school functions. He was always late and reeked of onion. As a kid Dad only made a handful of signature dishes. One of my favorites was his tofu scramble. It’s cheap, easy and pretty healthy. Dad would make us this scramble with onions and cheese with some celery tossed in. We would then coat it in ketchup, voila! I'm pretty sure Melissa and myself still eat this but the rest of the fam has tossed this recipe to the wayside. And when I say “recipe” it’s a pretty loose one with room for additions.
Dad’s Tofu Scramble
Firm Tofu, Drained
1 Small Onion Chopped
2-3 Stalks of Celery Chopped
1 tsp. Cumin
In a pan on Medium heat cook up onion and celery with a tablespoon of water till them become soft and translucent. Take your block of drained tofu and crumble it in the pan. Heat through and sprinkle with cumin and cheese. Turn off heat and add lid to help melt the cheese. Done.
I had just cooked up a couple of pieces of bacon for sandwiches so I just sautéed my onion and celery mixture in the bacon grease. My roomie comes from a family of farmers and her Dad dropped off the most amazing mushrooms I’ve ever eaten in my life. I sliced some of those and added them into my veggie mix. Once everything looked translucent I added the crumbled tofu. Seasoned with extra sharp cheddar and cumin. I like to top this dish (any everything else I eat) with hot sauce. YUMMMMMM!!!!!!
These mushrooms are the best I've ever eaten, if this is some ploy for my roomie to kill me with poisonous shrooms, you can all start looking in my undigested stomach contents when the autopsy is performed for the cause of death.
I'm glad to be away from the cold and snowy spring season that New England is experiencing right now and lavishing in the semi warmth of North Carolina. But with that warmth comes my greatest fear. Let me tell and tale of my youth.
Growing up in VT eventually the weather got warmer and the snow melted away and everything started to thaw. That's when trees got buds, the ground was soft again and Ladybug awoke from wherever they were sleeping. They were delicate creatures that couldn't bear to slumber outside so they would gather along ceilings, window sills and corners of all rooms. They would gather in masses. TONS OF LITTLE LADYBUGS, Ewwwwww! I don't mind seeing one or two hanging around but to see a million little ANYTHING gives me the creeps. To terrorize me when we were younger my sister Melissa would take a pen and mark up the palm of her hand with what looked like a million little ball point pen marks. She would proceed to chase me around the house threatening to touch me with the hand as I screamed in terror. I just hate the sight of masses of little things. GROSS MAKE MY SKIN CRAWL HEEBY JEEBIES (sp?) I took the same point of view with the ladybug infestation. I went so far as to draw a few comic strips in High School where the ladybugs had acquired fangs and were hungry for brains.
Luckily in previous apartments and living in PA I didn't have to encounter these vile creatures during the spring thaw. Now that I'm dwelling in an old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere and spring is upon us I have become reacquainted with my enemy. There are ladybugs EVERYWHERE! All over the windows, ceilings, dead ones crunched in the carpet (Did I forget to mention the bathroom is carpeted?) I was standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes and all of the sudden I felt a slight plop on my head... LADY BUG DROPPED FROM THE CEILING! I was shaking my whole body like the harlem shake dance. I woke up this morning to find a couple of sleepy ladybug crawling at the foot of the bed. EWEWEWEWEEEWEWWEE.
I think the ladybugs must be on the verge of a nervous breakdown (much like myself) because I find them committing Hari Kari, essentially finding creative ways to end their tiny little lives. Maybe they can hear my inner thoughts....
I know it's been ages since I posted on this site but I have been way too busy, I barely have time to call home to let them know I am still breathing (cough, cough, Mom I think I still have the black lung). Since I became employed in January (Hallelujah) I have been swamped with real life problems. One of those being going to work for 12 hour shifts. I am not a morning person, so to get up at 4:30am to go to work and be functioning by 6:30am was an accomplishment in itself. Then after running around like a chicken with her head cut off all day (All that crap they talked about in nursing school about learning time management was true, but to accomplish everything in a day you need super hero powers as well. Where was the course on that? Did I miss it while studying for NCLEX?) Then I give report, hop in the car and drive 75 minutes home, go straight to bed and do it all over again the next day. Did I forget to mention that I was crashing with Heather and Anthony in Chapel Hill which is 75 minutes away from work. The only reason I was staying with them was because they were nice enough to let me, I was broke beyond belief and my only other option was to sleep in the car. THANKS HEATHER AND ANTONIO YOU'RE THE BEST! Even though I was beyond grateful to have a place to sleep and food to eat but the commute was killing me. That's when I started looking on Craigslist. I found a nice gal who was my age living in an old farm house out in the country with a room for rent that was only 25 minutes from work. I"ll take it! Luckily I found something that worked out but I discovered a variety of CREEPY roommate ads on Craigslist. One was looking for a potential sister wife who liked to swing both ways, another was an old man looking for a roommate but was willing to pay her room and board if the "right situation/agreement" could be arranged and then there were a few ads with weird selfies of old guys and no pics of the rooms for rent, NO THANKS! I have been living in my new casa for about a week and my roomie has yet to make me into her new skin suit so I think I'm safe here. That doesn't mean that I don't create boobie traps around my room just in case she were to bust through the lock and I sleep with my cell and kitty claws within reach. I've included a few shots of my new pad for those who are curious.
I am spending the final days soaking up the best of my roaring Twenties by thinking about all the fun stuff I did. If you know me well, you know how EXCITED I get for holidays. My birthday is the BEST HOLIDAY because it's ALL MINE!!! (and Abe Lincoln's but he's pretty quiet, doesn't steal too much of my thunder) Most of my friends don't experience the same thrill and excitement that I do. In fact some of them are pretty lack luster about it. I can only blame my parents for my love of holidays and celebrations. From a young age Mom and Dad made birthdays a big deal. When I was younger they would sing "Happy Birthday" once I woke up and there was one special gift to open up in the morning before school. Mom also started the favorite tradition of the birthday royalty picking out whatever they wanted for dinner and dessert. I tended to go for unconventional menus that didn't always have a lot of success such as Tropical dinner (Mom butchered her first mango) or Jewish Heritage dinner (Boxed Matzo Soup is like eating chalk balls). Heather always stuck with the basics almost every year. Steak or shrimp. Even though I'm an adult, Mom and Dad still call me at the crack of dawn and sing me the birthday cheer song, send me goodies and on my first opportunity to travel home I get to pick out something for Mom and whip up in the kitchen. (Sauerbraten this year?)
Most birthdays have been FANTASTIC! Especially milestone birthdays.
16th- Brandy threw me a surprise birthday party. I HAD NO IDEA! It was really cool, Mom and Dad also gifted me my first piece of adult jewelry.
21st- Cocktail party at my parent's house. It was my first experience with booze and Katrina's first experience using her newly acquired bar tending license. Jump to the end of the night, There was red jello vomit everywhere and I was crying like someone had just shot my dog. The next day I cried some more because I was experiencing the worst hangover of my life (it was my first, I had nothing to compare it to) and I swore I would never drink again. 2 weeks later I was spewing red wine and pasta all over the floor and spoke the same words the next day. I just can't make the phrase stick.
25th- Melissa and I had a combo birthday celebration. So much fun and the best part was Dad joining in all of our crazy shenanigans. He stayed out to last call at Rasputins getting his groove on in the grossest dive bar in Burlington.
30th- I don't know what will happen but I have a feeling this will be an AWESOME birthday celebration with Heather, Anthony, Nate and a bunch of my closest friends that I will be meeting for the first time that night. CAN'T WAIT!
To ring in this new decade of my life which I am excited for, I have decided to copy Heather. If there is ever a good idea it is probably because she said it/made it/offered it, I will be doing 30 things to do when I turn 30. I'm hoping to keep track of these momentous experiences on here as my own virtual scrapbook.
1. Visit Graceland. I'm living closer to TN than I have in my entire life. I can't wait to see this tourist trap.
2. Roadtrip to visit Grandparents. I love driving :)
3. Cruise. Nate and I need a vacation and I am already dreaming of tropical drinks and cheesy couples portraits.
4. Quilt. I need to figure out how to use my sewing machine and make something to keep me or someone small warm.
5. Grow something that I can eat from a seed. Herb/Veggie/Fruit but nothing illegal.
6. Master the art of sourdough. Tackle the process of making/maintaining a starter and turn it into bread that doesn't taste like a hard, dense brick.
7. Learn how to tame my eyebrows. I need some tweezers and a good DIY guide instead of relying on my BF Sarah to tame them every 6 months when I go home. How hard can it be.
8. With that being said, this is the year I learn how to use my curling iron. It must be able to do something useful. All I can get it to do it make my hair hot. There must be instructions or something on Youtube to help me become better at styling my own hair. Ponytails are getting boring.
9. Enter some 5K races. 3 would be my goal, anymore than that is icing on the cake!
10. Visit the Land of Oz amusement park in NC. There is a link on my Pinterest board. It's sounds so cool, it's been shut down for years but they have one weekend in the fall where previous employees give a tour and work on preserving it.
11. Check out Mount Olive. It's a real place in NC that hosts the pickle factory. They don't give tours but they do have a gift shop. I LOVE PICKLES. I wonder if they have sample or oddities there. I will investigate.
12. I need to visit Emma and Pat and Mongie in Boston before any of them leave.
13. Make some candles. They cost too much to buy. I know I can make them, it can't be that hard. I got a block of wax at GoodWill for $2.00. It's a sign from the universe that I should make these.
14. I have started crocheting again. I need to branch out and try to make something circular like a HAT. I have too many scarves and nothing to keep my ears warm.
15. I did get a degree in Spanish, it would be nice to refresh myself on the language. Hoping to take an intro class or Medical Terminology in Spanish at a local community college. Especially since the hospital will pay for 50% of it. Why not? OLE!
16. I am new here, I can't rely on Heather and Anthony for everything and I can't use the excuse of school. I need to make some FRIENDS.
17. Food Festival. There are a lot of them around here. I like Beer and BBQ, I can try Bourbon even though I think I will hate it. Opening up my palate to some new experiences.
18. Hot Yoga.
19. Join a Book Club. I like to read and maybe I can make some friends. 2 birds in one stone.
20. Volunteer somewhere. I like the idea of Meals on Wheels or some place with an older population. Put out some good karma into the universe.
21. Bike Trip. Not like the one Emma and Pat are doing. I'm thinking something more like a day trip. Supposedly NC has the largest bike path interstate system in the country. I'm hoping I can find something related to that and take off on 2 wheels.
22. Do a couple of REAL push ups. Not the girls version, the real way. I want some pipes for arms, ggrrrarrrrrr! I'll be RIPPED! Or at least a little stronger than I am now....
23. Watch Gone with the Wind. I have not seen the saga from start to finish. It's a classic, I'm in the south, Scarlette and I have a similar dramatic flair, why not?
24. Read 10 books. I know Nate is reading 30 but I'm busy doing all this other stuff too!
25. Hike something scenic around here.
26. Visit Asheville, NC
27. Try Chicken and Waffles. Apparently there are some places around here that do it pretty well. Clog my arteries!
28. New Ink, on my body (Sorry Mom!)
29. Learn how to make homemade sausage. I've got Katrina's Grandmother's meat grinder, I need to put it to good use.
30. Go to the North Carolina State Fair. Anything you can imagine battered and deep fried is probably there.
Some of my greatest recipes are a result of stalking Marisa McLellan's blog Food in Jars. I had searched through her entire recipe index and noticed that she had a page of blogs that she recommends and that is when I found the blog CakeWalk. The author of this site does lots of canning/preserving/baking and hails from the cheese capital of the USA, Wisconsin. I just made up that factoid. I'm not even sure if it's true but it sounds plausible.
While I was poking around her blog I found this recipe for Pao de Queso. The pictures looks appetizing and the description had me geared up try this out. Apparently this is a popular snack in Brazil. Since Nate spent some time there in college I was excited to recreate some culinary delights from his travels. Unfortunately he had never heard of them. I also got another lesson in pronunciation. Using my Spanglish I thought I was making. POW DAY KAYSO but I guess those crazy Brazilians have to add their Portuguese flair to it and Nate informed me I was making POW DAY KAY-JEW. Pshh, I'm still going to make them. You can attempt to make your own mix or you can buy pre-packaged mix. I went with the easy way out so that I knew what I made was close to tasting like the real thing. Once I knew what I had to imitate I could fiddle with recipes from scratch.
One of the perks of living in a big city like Philadelphia is that it is easier to find some of these ethnic goodies. I have no idea where I would get this mix from in Vermont. You can order it from Amazon or try and hunt it down at your local Latino market. I knew a market in NE Philly that sold Brazilian soda and candy so I headed up there in hopes that they would carry it. JACKPOT! They had more than one brand. It was cheap so I bought a couple and gifted one to my Mom since I knew she wouldn't be able to find it in VT. It was pretty hectic since it was the weekend so I parked in a bank parking lot so I wouldn't have to search for street parking. As Nate and I were walking towards the mercado we were behind this woman who was not tiny or young but was wearing skin tight nude colored leggings like they were pants. You could see all her contours and lines, Look lady, nobody can pull of nude leggings, not even Beyonce so don't even try it. C'mon! It was a sight to behold.
I digress yet again. It took me a couple of weeks to get the enthusiasm to make these. Once I pulled it out of the cupboard I realized all the directions were in Portuguese. I was able to get the basic info with my broken Spanish skills but was able to find a translation online to confirm. They were SO GOOD! Took 15 mins to prep and once they came out of the oven they were a dream. Cheesy, chewy and delightful. A bit addicting, I gobbled a boatload of them. I will say that they are best warm out of the oven. I ate the leftovers for the rest of the week and they were kind of like hard rocks but I didn't care because I liked them so much. You can roll out the dough and pop the balls in the freezer. Once they are frozen you can pull them out of the freezer and stick directly into the oven for fresh baked treats. I have included the recipe to make it from scratch (HERE) if you can't get a hold of the pre-made mix but I have yet to test it out. Oh and did I mention, they're GLUTEN FREE!
I LOVE PINTEREST! I could lose myself for hours on Pinterest. Recipes, ideas for my future house that I haven't started saving for, how to be super fashionable, workout routines for when I feel like I might workout (someday...) and other countless ideas. It does no good to pin these ideas and then never try them. I mustered all the energy I had and selected an easy recipe to try out. It was so simple, DELISH and my sister sampled it and agreed that it was delectable. You can eat this like cereal or I like to mix it with yogurt. Sweet and salty which is right up my alley. I often wake up hungry for breakfast but want eat what I don't have. If I've made a batch of egg cups and cottage cheese for the week I will crave muffins, pancakes and fruit. Likewise if I make french toast, granola and fruit all I want to eat is eggs, meat and toast. This has the sweet and salty aspect so my minds and tummy aren't at odds with each other.
SALTY OLIVE OIL GRANOLA
Makes about 8 cups
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 ½ cups pecan halves, broken into pieces
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
½ cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt (I go a little heavier on this)
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup dried cherries, cranberries, or raisins
Preheat your oven to 300°F.
Combine oats, pecans, and pumpkin seeds in a large mixing bowl. Add maple syrup, sugar, olive oil, salt, and spices and toss until everything is evenly coated.
Spread mixture out on a large baking sheet with rims on all sides. Bake for about 30 minutes, then give it a good stir. Bake another 15 minutes or until the granola is golden brown and smells amazing. It will still be slightly soft and will harden as it cools.
Let granola cool completely. Add dried fruit and transfer to gift jars. (Don’t put it in jars before it’s totally cooled or it will get soggy.) It will keep for a few months in an airtight container at room temperature. Let's get real, it won't last that long. You will eat all of this in a week because it's so good.
I am an aquarius who likes long walks on the beach and the flicker of candle light. If you haven't noticed yet, Just kidding! I'm a Vermonter who has left my beautiful home state in search of adventure. This blog contains all of my favorite things, mostly food so that my family back home can keep tabs on me. Mom & Dad I'm still alive!!!! Side note: I am terrible at spelling and grammar. There are bound to be typos all over this blog. It's like Where's Waldo. If you look hard enough you will find an error.