Maybe this time it’ll stick.

Hello Blog. Long time, no see. Really. a year has come and passed and a lot has happened   But for now let’s just pick up with where we are today and assume we’ll make it to the middle a parts at some point.

That time came. I left my love in a far away city. Far deeper south than I’d ever been before. Hotlanta.

We are stupid.

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So now it’s me. Living in Raleigh. Working in pharmaceuticals. Commuting. Taking phonecalls and sending emails. Eating popcorn and dried mango pieces for dinner every night.

Getting buff. Like, way more fit than Miley Cyrus in her nude bikini.

Daydreaming of my future puppy.

But back to buff. Strength training is doing wonders for me. Really. I thought the hype was overrated–what is wrong with me? But I feel them. My abs. They’re there and they’re ready to come out. So lets see where this goes. After my 4:00 am workout tomorrow.

Hence why I need to go to bed and why I’m going to publish this last ditch effort of a blog post even though its a jumbled mess and makes approximately no sense.

Night ya’ll. (see, there really is some southern girl in me)

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New Adventures in a New City

So it has begun. My new life in my new city. I started working this morning bright and early. After waking up at 5:00 I left my house by 6:10 to make the 50 minute commute to Rocky Mount. I was twenty five minutes early for the 7:30 start time but was glad I got an idea of how long it would take me to get to work in the mornings. The sun streamed directly in front of my windshield the entire ride but was a nice welcome beacon to new beginnings.

Lets rewind. Yesterday morning I packed up my car bright and early after a wonderful day with my family on Saturday. Left my house by 7:00 and made it to my apartment in just over six hours.

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(After a stop at my favorite Wawa in Virginia. Can you believe those gas prices??)

ImageMost of the roads I’ve encountered in Raleigh look something like this:

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Ran some errands, mainly shopping. Trader Joe’s in Raleigh apparently restocks EVERY SINGLE DAY. This is so foreign to me because my old TJ’s only restocks on Monday nights so you have to go on Tuesday to get really good stuff. (Kale). I made a pretty big deal about it and I’m pretty sure the employee I was discussing this with got a little uncomfortable with my enthusiasm. Came home and whipped up some de-fricken-licious veggie burgers.Served with half a red pepper that didn’t go in the burgers and about three sips of Shiraz.

ImageI chose only to take three sips of the wine because I decided instead I needed a run around my new complex at sunset. This town really is gorgeous. With a little instagram action.

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You’re In The South Now Veggie Burgers

Makes 4 burgers
Time 15 mins

1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1 can black beans
1/2 red pepper (eat the other half as a side)
2 stalks celery
1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
one crushed red pepper (about 1/4 tsp)
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper
8-10 seaweed snacks (optional)

Mash half of the beans in a bowl with a fork. Sautee celery and red pepper in a skillet until softened. Add crushed red pepper. Mix veggies and the rest of beans into the mashed beans. Add rice, pepitas and cumin. Crush seaweed snacks into mixture and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste (though if you use the seaweed you shouldn’t need salt).

Form into patties and fry on a skillet or bake in the oven (350F for 30 mins).

The seaweed in these vegan veggie burgers provides much needed iodine. Seaweed is the only vegan source of iodine so adding it to simple recipes assures sufficient iodine consumption.

I ate the leftovers as a salad today mixed with broccoli slaw and kale. It doesn’t have to be a burger! Enjoy!

Back to enjoying the City of Oaks…

Home Goods Goods

I’m not good at doing nothing. I start my new job in my new city in exactly one month and must do my best for that next month to keep myself busy. Its harder than you would think when you’re a poor former college student with zero current responsibilities. That is why, when the weather this week defied the weathermen’s forecast I took my chances and headed off to the beach.

For my graduation, my cousin gave me the key to “The Animal House.” The house with thirteen bedrooms, three kitchens, and a mere three baths. Maybe four. Each bedroom belongs to a family member who has waited their turn and paid their dues. Well, my family has not, and will not ever be privileged to make the cut but I’ve been given the honor of using my cousin’s bedroom when it’s free.

As per my expectations the weathermen were once again wrong and the skies were blue and gorgeous.

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But today I again woke up at home. Wondering what to do with my time and my boundless energy. After making some homemade “Thank You” cards, catching up on Modern Family, and watching Midnight in Paris, I had to get out of the house. So I made a trip to Home Goods. And by a trip, I mean an afternoon. I inspected each aisle to find the hidden gems it always has to offer.

Three gems I did find. All food. Much to my mother’s dismay.

ImageAll good food, mind you.

I’ve been looking to find a good way to prepare the shiritaki noodles my roommate donated to me after she decided she hated them. This thai peanut sauce caught my eye as the perfect solution. I already opened it and dipped a little bit of kale into it to taste it. Perfect blend of spicy and peanutty and I sort of can’t wait to try this with my noodles. Which I’m a little intimidated by. But I will conquer the shiritaki noodles. I will.

The next item caught my eye when I spotted “Cacao Goji Maca” through a mess of other snacks on the shelf. Anything with these stellar superfood ingredients had to be given a chance. These “Snackaroons” from Laughing Giraffe Organics. They’ve got a pretty impressive ingredient list and taste absolutely spectacular. (Obviously I had to open them in the car to get a taste. I like my instant gratification.)

Lastly, White Truffle Oil Spritzer. Because I attest that the best kind of Kale chips are the kind made with just a bit of truffle oil and sea salt. I find all my white truffle oil at Home Goods because its world’s cheaper than anywhere else and I was ecstatic to find it in a spritzer bottle for ease of use.

I did, of course, have to stop myself from buying up half of the store, including a set of wine glasses and glass tupperware containers. But the more I buy now the more I have to pack into that tiny Uhaul truck to make my trek South. And my closet is already going to give me enough of a challenge.

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To Be Or Not To Be… Vegan

This question has been on my mind for a while now. After watching Forks over Knives, Food Inc., Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead, and countless other documentaries about food and the food industry on Netflix I’ve wondered if I could take it all the way to lead a life free of animal products.Vegan.

The word “Vegan” has a lot of connotations associated with it, “Granola,” “Hippie,” and “Naturalist,” are all words stuck to the vegan lifestyle by Omnivores and often by Vegans themselves. Sure, it takes a certain kind of person to eat chia seed pudding and goji berries, but what about everyday foods that everyone enjoys? It’s usually simple enough to make them vegan as well. So why the stigma?

But anyway, I’ve been wrestling with the idea for a while now and have come to the conclusion that I’m going to stick to as much of an animal-product-free lifestyle as I can while I’m at home especially but I’m not going to beat myself up about having the occasional frozen yogurt or even a crab cake when I’m out to dinner. For now I’m going to be as creative as I can with my meals and explore all that Veganism has to offer. I could go more into the way I eat but that would be a very long post. I’ll get to it eventually.

So, as far as vegan cooking goes, lunch was quite a treat. I found this recipe on Pinterest last night and tweaked it for my lunch this afternoon.

Spiced Lentils with Kale, Shiitake, and Fiddlehead Ferns

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I overheard one of the Trader Joes’ employees talking about Fiddlehead Ferns today and had to give them a try. I love new green things. So I scooped them up along with some shiitake mushrooms and a couple bags of kale (I go through them way too fast) and whipped this meal up in under 30 mins.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup lentils
1 package shiitake mushrooms
1/4 cup veggie broth
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Salt to taste
half a bag of kale from TJ’s (basically as much as you can fit in your skillet)
About 15-20 Fiddlehead Ferns (can be omitted if you cant find them)

  1. In a small saucepan, cover the lentils with 2 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat half of the veggie broth. Add the shiitake and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender and starting to brown, 5 minutes. Add the remaining veggie broth along with the garlic, cumin, and pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the greens and cook, stirring, until wilted, 2 minutes. (Kale took a bit longer because it is so hearty)
  3. Add the lentils and their cooking liquid to the mushrooms and simmer for 3 minutes. Add up to 1/4 cup of water if the lentils are too dry.
  4. To the pot that the lentils were cooked in, add the Fiddlehead Ferns and cover with water. Boil approximately 8 minutes or according to package instructions, strain and add to the saucepan.
  5. Serve and Enjoy!

I found the Fiddlehead Ferns had a softer texture than expected but they still held their own in the dish. They complimented the kale very well as another green element and added some whimsy as well!

Off to grab the last thing from my house before saying goodbye to it forever… homage will be paid at a later time.

The Real World Awaits

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So it’s happened. I’ve graduated college with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. It was not easy, I’ll say that much. And it’s certainly not easy now to leave the place I’ve called home for the past four years of my life.

The past day, week, semester, year, years, have been the best times of my life so far. I’ve been privileged to become friends with some of the greatest, smartest, most fun, and most supportive people in my life. 

ImageI am not the same person I was four years ago when I started this journey and undoubtedly I will continue to grow throughout my life experiences. The people, lessons, and experiences I’ve been exposed to have made me the person I am today and have allowed me to be the person I know will find great success as I enter “The Real World.” I love you all, I couldn’t have done it without you.

Hello world!

My life can basically be described by this photo.

I guess I’m technically a “vegetarian” but I think the phrase “VEGETABLEarian” is more suitable. I love trying new foods and preparing foods in new ways. I am moderately obsessed with Kale and have been known to chomp on a cucumber straight up… and in the parking lot of the grocery store no less. I’m a slave to veggies.

I’m graduating from college with a degree in Chemical Engineering and will soon be relocating to North Carolina for a job in the Pharmaceutical industry. Upon arrival I’ll probably aim to become the next Miss North Carolina and obviously the next Miss America. (Kidding, mostly.) I’ll at least pick up a little southern accent to increase my (already overwhelming) charm.

Adventure calls to me and I do my best to never pass up an interesting opportunity. I love a spontaneous trip or a good hike.

In addition to food, adventure, and engineering, I have a passion for fitness, specifically yoga and running. Though I’m currently recovering from some sort of sports injury in my leg I aim to run my first half marathon by October of this year. (Arbitrary goals set to assure I make progress towards the finish line. Pun intended.)

We’ll see how this goes but for now, enjoy.