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Monthly Archives: May 2011

reunited and it feels so good…

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Way back when I was in college, during a time when Facebook was new and reserved only for college kids, there was an option on the burgeoning social network to put in what classes you were taking. And like all the other cool kids, I put in my schedule. Shortly thereafter, I found myself with a handful of new adds from people I’d not yet met but who I’d be having class with that fall. It was actually a pretty clever function; we could set up study groups and such and communicate missed assignments. I remember noticing one girl in particular who added me and who I’d never seen around.

n156803730_30318231_7048 On my first day of PR Writing at JSU, I sat in the back. I saw a vaguely familiar head of hair sitting in front of me. I tapped her on the shoulder. “Excuse me, but are you Kristin?” I asked. The beautiful girl nodded and smiled at me.

And the rest is friendship history!

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Kristin and I became fast friends, and as I remember it, that very first week, she invited me out to dinner and drinks with her friends. She was not only the most gorgeous girl I’d ever seen in real life, she was also super down-to-earth and funny. We spent many a late night drinking wine, eating cookie dough and laughing our asses off.

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We were study buddies, drinking partners, and karaoke queens. Kristin and I, along with my friends Kevin and Kaitie, became a very close-knit group within the communications department.

In 2007, Kristin moved to New York for a fabulous internship, and it was a big change that soon became semi-permanent. We kept in touch, and no matter how infrequent our conversations may have been, she was still one of my very best friends. I swore I’d come for a visit, but the money and time were never available.

The next year, Kristin moved home for a little while, and we were able to see each other a little more. But before I knew it, she’d found a new job and new place to call home: Washington, D.C. (Virginia, to be more correct). A lot closer, but still so far away. We continued to have sporadic visits as she returned home to see family, including a fantastic whirlwind trip last fall when we attended our alma mater’s homecoming festivities.

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This past March, I decided to check out flights on AirTran, on a whim. Kris had told me she’d been able to find reasonable tickets between two smaller airports, and I just had to see. As luck would have it, I found a round-trip ticket over Memorial Day weekend—for just under $150 total.

I bought it immediately.

So in less than 24 hours, I’ll be DC-bound and reunited with my BFF Kristin. We’ve been looking forward to this trip for a very long time, and I foresee a lot more wine and late-night chatting on the agenda.

And if we’re lucky, maybe a little karaoke.

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Take a few minutes to make a phone call to someone with whom you might have lost touch. I’m sure it’ll brighten both your days. I hope you all have a fantastic Memorial Day weekend—see ya on the flip side!

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we can’t keep meating like this.

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So as you know, I’m gradually dipping my toes back in the meat-flavored water after a short hiatus during the season of Lent. One my first meat-centric recipes back on the wagon was this delicious turkey-spinach-feta turkey burgers. Jonathan and I decided to take the leftovers and recreate one of our favorite restaurant dishes at home: chile rellenos.

We started out by roasting the Poblano peppers on the grill, along with ears of corn and skewered veggies.

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To roast the peppers, we blackened them on the grill, then put them in a bowl and covered them with plastic wrap and let them sweat it out a while.

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(Emily would be so proud!) Then we just peeled off the skin. Easy peasy 😉 Or easy pepper-y.

While these guys hung out on the grill, we cooked the ground turkey in a pan with some leftover mushrooms and taco seasoning. (No pictures…it’s just boring ol’ meat.)

The next step was a little more involved, but not necessarily complicated. We rolled the peeled peppers around in some flavor to get them ready for the “batter.”

DSC09438 For the batter, I whipped one egg white (into a frenzy, of course), then folded in the yolk.

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 Then I dipped the floured and stuffed peppers in the mix, and from there, it was a trip to a nice, hot olive oil bath.

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Look how crispy! Just like the pros.

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With a side of homemade guac and some chips, it was the perfect Mexican feast. Not too shabby for my first try, if I do say so myself.

happy weekend!

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Hello all! It’s been such a busy week, with work and volunteering and everything else. I’m packing up to head to Huntsville to visit my sister and my mom, and oh yeah—run my first official 5k since I injured my foot back in January. Wish me luck!

Also, for those of you in the Birmingham area: My friend Jason is partnering with Alison Lewis of Ingredients, Inc. to host the 2nd Annual National Food Blogger Bake Sale for the state of Alabama (there are participants from coast to coast). They’ll be offering up delicious treats baked up by area bloggers and local businesses like Urban Standard and Dreamcakes. (OMG, cupcakes!!!1!) Head down to Homewood near Urban Cookhouse (across from Trak Shak) to pick something up and support Share Our Strength, an organization devoted to ending childhood hunger in the U.S.

I’m contributing mint chocolate chip cookies! There was a moment where I freaked out when the mixture didn’t look quite right—it seems that the trouble with making up recipes is when you don’t really write it all down…you think you’ll remember, but alas, that’s not always the case. But a quick sample proved to be pretty darn good (in my humble opinion, that is).

If you’re not in the Birmingham area, check the main page to see if your state is on the list and find a bake sale near you! Whenever I think of bake sales, I’m transported back in time to when we used to fundraise for band trips and church trips, and also when I was so geeked out over 4-H that I entered (and sometimes won, holla) the cooking competition every year.

Check that sweet outfit!

Have a great weekend!

who wants man meat?

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Then my man meat he shall have.

Name that show! Or…click on that link, and then giggle, and remember the name of that show!

Can I just say thanks for the awesome, well thought-out responses yesterday?? Vegetarianism is a super hot topic these days. I’m glad to have people with whom I can have a good conversation about it all. Something Jaclyn said about “losing the identity” really resonated with me, and I’ll touch more on that soon.

So, as I mentioned yesterday, I haven’t really been eating meat since Lent ended. I mean, I’ve dabbled, but I haven’t really jumped back aboard the meat train, so to speak.

Last week, Jonathan and I decided to have a low-key, cook-at-home evening. I wasn’t sure what I was in the mood for, but then it just came to me: burgers. I saw a recipe on someone’s blog earlier (I can’t remember whose, I think maybe Rachel?) this year for burgers with feta and spinach. The thought invaded my brain and wouldn’t let go.

Burgers it was!

We decided to go with lean turkey, spinach, feta, mushrooms and onions, and oven fries with olive oil and dill.

It was fairly simple. I chopped up the mushrooms and sauteed them in a skillet for minute or two, then mixed them in with the meat along with ripped up spinach and about half a cup of feta cheese, maybe a little less. We pattied them out and cooked them on the grill while the potatoes roasted in the oven.

DSC09376 Perfection! I had mine on half a whole wheat bun with a generous pile of ketchup.DSC09377

Closer…

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Closer…

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In your face!

These burgers were perfectly juicy and the flavors all mixed together very well. I added a little feta to the top of my hot burger. I think next time I might add some garlic into the mix. Other than that, they were amazing. Pretty delicious for my first main meat meal back on the wagon. Will it last?? Time will tell…

Lent and what it meant.

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So as you may remember, I gave up meat for Lent (except for seafood). I had been abstaining from meat for a while, but I decided to try and make the big change over Lent. Verdict? It wasn’t that hard. The worst was going to events/places where there were absolutely no options. And the only real time that was a problem was when I went to a fraternity event with Jonathan and it was allll BBQ. And mayonnaise. (Ick.)

I was able to get all kinds of creative in the kitchen.

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So much good stuff…and recipes to come.

I ate good food at various restaurants…

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The last one would be veggie Chicago-style deep-dish from Tortuga’s. Oh, how I love Tortuga’s. I was able to find good options pretty much everywhere I went. Of course, it helped that I was still eating seafood.

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Oh, and I went to three weddings while I was a vegetarian. Above is a plate from my favorite. So many fresh, delicious options!

The main question now, at least for me, is will I continue on with the vegetarian diet? And my answer is a little tricky. I was considering becoming vegetarian for a while, and for several reasons. I’d felt a strong urge to stop eating meat, and it intensified after watching the movie Food Inc.

The movie doesn’t use scare tactics like some others do, but it basically makes you feel more informed. And it opens your eyes to a lot of dirty practices in the food industry. It made me want to make better choices.

I had thought that when I finished abstaining from meat, I’d go from there. And my thoughts were that if I decided to eat meat, I’d make smart choices.

And I think I still feel that way, but I’d be lying if I said all the meat I’ve eaten since Easter has been organic, grass-fed, and so on. It was really hard to actually get used to eating meat again. I had ham on Easter, and then I think I had it twice that first week. Since then, I’ve not really gone out of my way to order, cook or eat meat.

Well, I did last week, but more on that later.

I think I”m eventually going to transition back into the pescatarian lifestyle. In the end, what you eat is very personal, and it’s nobody’s business how I choose to eat. I don’t want to label myself.

Sooo…as I said, I tried a lot of delicious recipes, and I can’t wait to share them all with you in the coming weeks! Now tell me—have you ever experimented with meatless eating? Thoughts? I know Jaclyn just ended a long-term relationship with vegetarianism, and she couldn’t be happier. One word: bacon!

this is a man’s world…

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…but it would be nothing without a woman, or a girl.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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My mom truly is the best. Anything I’ve ever wanted, anything I need, she’s right there. I recall crying phone calls at 1am after I moved to Birmingham, desperate pleas on how to make the perfect meringue, more crying phone calls after getting my heart broken…she’s always there, telling me what I want to hear, but also what I need. There’s no better place to be than curled up in my mom’s bed, just talking, laughing…or even just sitting in silence. I may not have been the best child, and I may not have been the ideal daughter—but my mom has never let me down.

6129_266227215156_673970156_8622263_4032529_n Check out my hot mom at her prom 🙂 I happen to think my dad’s hair is pretty sweet.

I think one of the reasons why my mom is so fabulous is because she learned from the best:

222887_10150573187025083_628705082_18367581_1429687_n My mom’s mom is the perfect grandmother: She makes the best biscuits and whips up pie recipes right off the top of her head; she has the softest skin and gives the warmest hugs.

I know everyone thinks that their grandma is the best cook ever….but mine really is. She did win an award for her chocolate pie, you know.

DSC07357 I snapped this photo in an album last Christmas—she served that pie at dinner, and I barely managed to snag a slice! I only hope that one day I make as many delicious treats as she.

Another fun picture from that album:

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My ma and her sisters. That’s her on the far right!

cinco de reago!

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Last Thursday, our friends gathered together to celebrate a very special holiday: Cinco de Reago!

Also known as the anniversary of the birthday of this lovely lady:

181528_588139029079_156801991_32791118_7421141_n Reagan requested angel food cake and strawberries for her birthday (“since it’s healthier than other options”), and I was more than happy to comply. After calling my mom for advice, she told me to just go with a box mix to simplify things; she assured me it would turn out delicious.

She told me I would need a specific type of pan, a tube pan. I couldn’t find one anywhere, so I decided to go with loaf pans. The directions seemed simple. Mix, pour, bake. Easy peasy right?

Sigh. Nothing is ever easy.

DSC09382 Looks can be slightly deceiving. While this may not look that bad, I had some problems. The cakes puffed up beautifully…and continued to puff up until they spilled over and onto the burners in my oven. And consequently caught on fire.

It was all good, though. I managed to get it under control.

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  Not so bad, eh? We’ll just ignore the metal tin of disappointment off to the side.

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Oops.

We headed out to Jim ‘N Nick’s for dinner, then to karaoke for drinks and entertainment. Some shots from the evening:

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Dresses with pockets rock!