10 Random Thoughts

I love reading these posts on other blogs and I have a lot of random thoughts and no where to express them so I’m going to start sharing some random thoughts here and there on the blog.

Hope you enjoy!

1. I Realized It’s Kind of Useless to Peel Carrots

I love eating big raw carrots (they taste way better than baby carrots IMO), and it recently dawned upon me that peeling them is unnecessary. This was a DUH moment. I mean, yes, removing the peel means it’s fresh and dirt-free, but it also takes time and wastes a lot of carrot.

Now I just rinse the carrot well and eat it all. A revolution for me.

(Okay truth time: sometimes I still peel them and feel the peels to Millie.)

2. This Recipe was the top post on the VeganRecipes subreddit for a hot minute on Tuesday.

I’m new to Reddit. It still feels foreign and weird to me. But this was exciting. Especially because this was my first ever food video. Also, you should make these.

3. I keep holding off on watching the season 4 finale of Great British Bake-Off on Netflix because I don’t want it to end.

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Also, I’m stubborn and don’t want to watch the 5th season with the new hosts. I can’t imagine the show without Mary Berry and Mel and Sue. I want to be friends with Mel and Sue. And Mary Berry. But I tried to follow her on Instagram and her account is private and she never approved…maybe it’s not her real account? lol #wishfulthinking. Still love her!

4. I can’t get enough plantains lately.

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Why have I not bought these before last week? They are SO GOOD. I let some of them ripen even more than I did the first time and decided this is key.

Last night after I got home from our department’s holiday party, I knew even though I ate a bunch of snackies and nibbles at the party, I still needed a meal to satiate me physically and mentally.

So I simply sliced a super ripe plantain, microwaved it for 2-3 minutes, tossed it in a bowl, cubed up an avocado and dumped on some black beans and mixed it all together with salt and a little cayenne pepper. I served it with a green salad. Didn’t take a pic cause I wasn’t thinking it would be anything special and also I was impatient. But it was like, incredible and took me less than 5 minutes. For a real recipe, click here.

Also, anyone else feel this way about eating meals even if you’ve snacked a ton? For some reason even if I’ve nibbled on appetizers (I know people make a meal out of them often!) I still mentally need a sit-down meal to feel satiated mentally. Even if it’s a light dish. I ju

5. I am so ready for holiday break.

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This has been a rough semester for me. First, with the housing clusterfuck, and even though I’m feeling less stressed now that I have a stable safe place to live, I have had a recent surge in anxiety and feeling a bit down/depressed that has really been effecting me.

For some reason, I’m just quickly and easily overwhelmed by socializing lately. I’m not sure why. Perhaps my mom’s health is weighing on my mind a lot (she’s really not doing so well), but I am having a hard time just socializing in person, especially in big groups.

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Lately I’ve also been frustrated by some work stuff and am also a little irritated by some administrative stuff at school preventing me from getting research opportunities. Sigh. I’m just trying to give myself some breaks where I can and not stress over little stuff.

ALSO I can’t wait for break because I deeply miss being creative and want more time for projects. I have a few on my horizon; two in collaboration with a sustainability Media hub I’m a correspondant for, and others just for me and you :).

6. We’re Supposed to Get a Lot of Snow Today

And I’m excited. The above is a photo I literally just took out of my window (at about 10:40am). When I don’t have to shovel it, drive in it, or stand outside in -20 degrees (it doesn’t get that cold on the east coast….at least in the tristate area it rarely drops below 20) I can really get into a good snow storm.

Snow storm on a Saturday = the perfect excuse to not put on pants all day, drink all the hot chocolate (click link for my go-to recipe), and be extra extra cozy and antisocial. Maybe I’ll even bake if I have enough stuff in my pantry.

7. After making these chocolate banana penguins I am humbled and also inspired to make something else way more yummy.Screen Shot 2017-12-09 at 10.31.58 AM

As you may know, I host “Vegan Bites” on @SpoonUniversity instagram stories every Thursday night. I made these chocolate banana penguin things and used carrots as feet/nose instead of orange candies because I was too lazy to go to the store and also I’m reallly low on cash monies these days and Spoon doesn’t pay me to host vegan bites and I buy the groceries for all my recipes.

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So I used carrots. And I had this weird AHA moment like “OMG this is weird all raw but carrot cake banana bread would be dank.” Also, the photo above is my “Little Moe with the Gimpy Leg” penguin. I love him.

So now I can’t wait to play around with that idea! Stay tuned!

8. I bought 2 avocados for $1 from a fruit stand yesterday

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And I am PUMPED about it. Can’t wait to gobble up with TJ’s everything bagel salt. Manhattan fruit stands for the win.

9. Yesterday was a fun day at school.

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Minus stats lecture. But we had a party in stats lab and that was followed with my department holiday party. They really went all out! I bought an ugly sweater for it and it’s getting delivered today (:() so I couldn’t get dressed up, but still had a good time for the brief period my social anxiety/anxiety to go home and let my dog out let me stay!

10. Speaking of school, my classmates are the nicest people.

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I can’t say this of every academic experience I’ve had, but almost every student and TA I’ve interacted with at Mailman is so down to earth, kind, and compassionate and really cares about what they are pursuing in life. I feel so safe among them. Yay nice people!

 

Happy weekend, y’all! What are you up to this weekend? I’d love to know. 🙂

Update and Eats Lately

Hello! How are you? I’ve been MIA for a while, even though I promised not to drop off the blog space no matter what.

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Well, here’s what happened: I ended up getting screwed over a bunch by a management company and got my keys September 12 even though I paid all September rent up-front. Then I moved in finally and got sick. Long story short there was a serious mold issue in the unit that the management refused to take care of and I proceeded to couch surf for about 5 weeks while in a legal battle trying to break my lease and move.

Eventually, everything settled. I lost some money, endured a TON of stress, and was reminded just how harsh and unforgiving renting in NYC can be. I had a lot of low points, tears, and was at times completely and utterly overwhelmed.

I know many people have it far worse than I did and face housing insecurity on a daily basis, but to me, figuring out where I was sleeping on a nightly basis, half-resting on couches through nights filled with tossing and turning, and trying to stay on top of my health, legal battles, and full-time grad program proved wearing.

The hardest part for me was that Millie was in Wisconsin for 9 weeks while I tried to resolve things. It was so so hard to be away from my rock. She is my joy and I really questioned if I truly wanted to do this. Honestly, I still do sometimes, but that’s another story.

On top of that, my mom’s health is really not in a good place, so I felt an additional layer of stress from that.

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I have emerged from the whole situation a bit wiser and more wrinkled (from stress lol) but relocated to New Jersey (view from Jersey City above) to a mold-free apartment with my doggo back at my side and feel marginally better about life and much more appreciative of what I have.

I’m going back to a regular posting schedule now that I’m settled and have some projects on my horizon. I’ll spare you promises about frequency of posting since I failed you last time I did.Screen Shot 2017-11-30 at 7.04.41 AM.png

On a lighter note, I thought I’d share some eats lately. These are all random but hopefully may give you some mealtime and snack inspiration. Hope you enjoy!

Baked Pumpkin with Sea Salt

And a dash of cumin and cayenne pepper. I bought my first ever sugar pumpkin to make a pumpkin pie from scratch on Thanksgiving and ate the leftover cooked pumpkin which triggered a new appreciation of the fruit.

I feel like we (at least I personally) often forget that pumpkins are another squash you can eat. And now I feel like I should make up for lost time. So roasted pumpkin has been a thing lately.

To cook I just halved the pumpkin and roasted at 425 for about 45 minutes until it was soft.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Waffles

To make these I googled “pumpkin vegan waffles,” found this recipe, and replaced the flour with oat flour since that’s what I had (and also I love the texture and flavor of oat flour). Paired with pecans and real maple syrup.

Van Leeuwan Ice Cream

The best non-dairy. The above is “one scoop” peanut butter cherry bon bon and “one scoop” cookie crumble strawberry jam. I use quotes because each scoop was like 8 scoops.

So rich. Left me very very full lol.

Vegan Halo Top

Okay hear me out on this one. I have long disapproved if Halo Top’s marketing strategies and am a fan of eating full-fat full-sugar over artistical ‘light’ versions when a craving hits.

That said, I was curious when vegan Halo Top hit the shelves and bought a few under the impression that I would be reimbursed to review it for a Spoon post. The post fell through, but I ended up liking the Halo Top a whole lot more than I thought I would. Not as ice cream, but more as a substitute for cool whip, which is really more what it tastes and feels like to my palate.

I’m going to write a full review on them later today which I will link here when it’s finished. But yeah, I kinda dig it lol.

Whole Me Snacks

This brand sent some samples and HOLY yum. It’s like a chewy granola top muffin. My favorite flavors are almond coconut and cinnamon banana chip. DELISH plain, dipped in almond milk, or in yogurt. I’m obsessed. You can get them on Amazon and probably in some health food stores.

(Please note for strict vegans some flavors do contain honey).

Thanksgiving Dinner

What do vegans eat on Thanksgiving you ask? All of the sides, of course! I made two kinds of sweet potatoes, soy ginger glazed shishitto peppers, vegan stuffing (which turned it SO good), roasted delicata squash with pecans and pomegranate seeds, a green salad, rolls, baked tempeh, Lemon broccoli salad, and of course….

Pumpkin Pie from Scratch

Using a sugar pumpkin. I adapted this recipe and it turned out fab. I made half with regular crust for my mom and half with walnut-date crust for me, since regular pie crust does not and never has done anything for my taste buds and I much prefer other kinds of crusts, like graham, cookie, or nut crusts.

Muraski Sweet Potatoes

Anyone else love these purple-on-the-outside, white-on-the-inside potatoes from Tjs?! To me they taste like chestnuts and this potato gal can’t get enough.

Also I’m p sure they are the potato behind this emoji: 🍠🍠🍠🍠

Banana Bread Oatmeal Bites

I made these on Vegan Bites (which is back, btw! Now on Thursday nights) and they’ve been a good easy snack lately. Will post recipe later today/ this week.

Salted Chocolate PB Cup Brownies

Same caption as above lol.

Delicata Squash

Roasted with a drizzle of olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper and served with pecans and pomegranate perils.

That’s all for now but I will share more soon! Sorry for the CRAPPY quality phone pics. My phone is on it’s way out and barely works.

If you read this, I’d appreciate if you commented and said hello! And let me know what kind of content you like seeing (day in the life, recipes, nutrition/health).

Signing off for now; I’ve got recipes to post and homework to do. Missed y’all!! Now go eat something yummy for me. 🤗

Weekend in Pennsylvania + Whole Foods Salad Bar Hack

Another weekend in the books! I found out late last week I still couldn’t move into my apartment (that was supposed to be ready 9/1…WTF) so I went to PA to visit a friend because I figured might as well!


Friday:

Friday I had class pretty much all day. Made better by free coffee and a bagel. 


After class, I was hungry and needed a good meal. I didn’t know what I wanted but knew I wanted all of the things. Not having access to a kitchen has been stressful AF these past few weeks. 

Anyways, I hacked the salad bar and posted about it on my Insta stories and a lot of people seemed to like the idea so I’m sharing it again here:

I ate this at Whole Foods and was stuffing my face across the table from a super cute guy drinking kombucha and reading like a civilized human. Lol. What can I say I’m a savage.

After that, I visited my friend Joanna in BK for a few hours, then headed to my friend’s apt where I’ve been staying for a few hours of sleep. 

Saturday:

Saturday I was up bright and early to visit my friend Amanda in Pennsylvania. We took a lot of the same classes at NYU and she’s basically the best. I was so grateful she let me come visit this weekend.


I nommed on a banana while waiting for the bus. I also redeemed a free drink from some online promo thing from DD. 


Naturally, since it said I could select any size, I was super gross and picked the biggest size. #somuchcoffee


I got into Philly around 10:30 and popped my head into Reading Terminal Market. Yum!




My friend graciously picked me up and drove me to her house. 

Once we got there, we headed out to her epic garden to gather some goodies. She’s quite the gardener. #goals


Using some fresh tomatoes and cucs, I made a hummus lunch (with some pb for dessert) and we enjoyed the noms while watched Bravo. #perfection


After that we took her doggos on a quick nearby. It was beautiful! PA reminds me a lot of Wisco.


Back at her place, I showered and fell asleep for a few hours. Holy cow a real bed felt so nice.


Post shower/nap, Amanda picked a butternut squash from her garden and started roasting it to make butternut squash black bean burgers. 


She also made a farro salad with fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, artichoke heart, oil, vinegar, and salt & pepper. Yum!



A movie was next on the agenda. I fell asleep during it on the couch, then went up to bed around 12 and went straight back to sleep.

Sunday:

Sunday I slept til 8 which is super late from me but I think my body really needed the sleep. Breakfast with cinnamon apple oatmeal with almond butter. 


We decided to go apple picking at a nearby orchard next, which was fun. 


Applesss!!!


Lunch was delicious leftovers with a side of more Bravo.


Now I’m on the mega bus back into the city. Womp womp. Wondering if I can ever move into my apt…at this point I’m so frustrated I can hardly stand it. 


Bleh. New York is kinda the worst tbh. I was really apprehensive to move back here and after a lovely weekend in PA  am kinda like…what am I doing?

Anyways, I’m going to finish some readings for tm but thanks for stopping by! What’d you do this weekend? Comment below I love to hear from you!

Long Weekend in MKE Recap

As I mentioned Saturday, I spent the weekend at home. Yay home!

Friday


I was overwhelmed with anxiety, discomfort, and insecurity and didn’t have a place to live still, so I spontaneously booked a flight home on Friday evening and was home in bed with my nugget around midnight. I was SO happy to see her, even though it’s only been a week. She freaked out and peed on me. It’s true love.

Saturday

Saturday after sleeping 9 hours (#bless) I woke up feeling way more sane. I made banana bread, went to the park with Millie, worked out, and hit up Target. A perfect morning.


I spent the afternoon working on some freelance work and reading.


In the evening I headed to a wedding at the Urban Ecology Center. Great to see so many people I love!


I left the wedding around 11:30, and got home around midnight, realized that my flight back never was officially pruchased so called Southwest to get it sorted out, and ended up being awake until like, 2:00am. Boo.

Sunday


Sunday I got up, drank a lot of coffee, did a lot of reading, went to a barre class (The Barre Code in MKE has free classes Sundays at 10:30am) and took Millie for a long walk. Another wonderful morning.


In the afternoon, my sis and her husband stopped over on their way to a baby shower to drop off their doggos for a few hours.


Millie was SO excited to see her auntie, uncle, and cousins!!


They came back about 90 minutes later, hung out for a while and let the pups stretch their legs, and then they packed up and hit the road for their 16 hour drive back to Denver.


Sunday night I went out to Panera with my mom and Millie. I don’t know why but the Panera in Brookfield literally ALWAYS messes up my order. Like, every single time. This time, my salad I specified not to have chicken on it came with chicken on it. I mentioned I ordered without chicken and they proceeded to reach in the bowl, take some out (but there was still a ton left in the greens) and reserve it. WTF.


I was like um….no. And then they actually fixed it. It was weird. I felt bad about it, but honestly, they more often get it wrong than right, and that half-assed attempt to fix it was just super unprofessional and weird. Anyways….


After that Millie got a froyo treat and I passed out in bed early.

Monday

Monday I got up early because my tummy hurt. I spent some quality time on the toilet (TMI?), felt anxious for most of the day, did a bunch of reading and work, packed, filmed something for Spoon (for Vegan Bites, which usually I film in real time, but I still don’t have a place in NYC so…I filmed the night before. PS you can grab the recipe for this easy peasy fruit crisp on my Insta), and had dinner with my mom.


Then, I spent more time being anxious and went to bed since my flight was at 5:00am the next morning. #fun


That was my weekend…I felt all the feels. Good to see people and my puppy, and got sad/uncertain about leaving. WOOF.

Have a good short week, y’all!

Columbia Mailman Orientation +Vegan Eats in NYC

Oy! It was orientation week. I thought I’d blog through a wee bit of the past week for ya, in case any of you are interested.

Saturday + Sunday

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I flew into NYC early Saturday morning, and got straight to apartment hunting. Apartment hunting in New York City is among the worst activities one can put oneself through on earth. Anyone who has done it can vouch – it is literally the most ridiculous, stressful, and upsetting processes of all times.

I ran around the city all day, ate a bunch of snacks (apples, bananas, nuts, nut butter packets, chocolate covered nuts, etc) and eventually grabbed Just Salads for dinner. I have a weird obsession with Just Salad.

 

Everyone I know prefers sweetgreens. But I’m a Just Salads gal FO LYFE. I got kale + romaine mixed, double roasted sweet potatoes, apples, chickpeas, organic roasted tofu, beets, and jicama, with a side of each spicy avocado dressing and agave mustard dressing. And bread, because bread.

I passed out, and did the whole damn exact same thing the next day. And repeated dinner. Good times.

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Monday

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Monday was day one of orientation. Lunch was a buffet style of yummy food. The quinoa salad had chickpeas, cranberries, herbs, and a lemony (I think?) dressing. Wrap was white bean dip and grilled veggies. P impressive.

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Swag:

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There was also a reception that night with lots of appetizers and snacks. I made a plate of fruit, crackers, nutty bread, guac, hummus, and nuts. Yum.  I was pretty impressed by the food selection at Mailman. They did a good job of providing healthy, yummy, filling options. Bravo!

I had a bad day that day for personal reasons. Really bad day. My anxiety is out of frickin’ control. I found out some icky stuff about my mom’s health issues, and was rejected from an apartment, because as a student in NYC, you need a guarantor who makes 64-80 times the annual rent to co-sign your lease. My mom was rejected, because she can’t provide proof of employment (since she doesn’t work since she is disabled). I found this frustrating; I understand that renters want to be sure rent will be paid, but I find this is also somewhat discriminatory. So if you aren’t wealthy or know someone who is, you can’t get a place? #annoying.

I ended up at my friend’s place in Brooklyn late that night, where I ate a banana with peanut butter and some of his leftover kale salad. And a bunch of chocolate. And went to bed.

Tuesday

Tuesday was day 2 of orientation. I’m bad at orientations. We got boxed lunches (I went with that day’s vegan option), and then we had a long 5 hour small group discussion thing on diversity and privilege. Tough conversations, etc. I was having another bad day with anxiety, and probably came off as emotionally unstable to other people since I was being overly emotional. Oh well. Just gotta move on and not obsess.

Bathroom signs at Mailman:

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For dinner, I stopped at Whole Foods out of fatigue and convenience. I got a salad with roasted sweet potatoes, lemon roasted tofu, and some vegan dumplings. I also got a ‘power’ bagel (whole wheat with cranberries and seeds) on the side because my body wanted CARBS baby. Eaten with a vegan cookie. Noms.

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Wednesday

Wednesday was another day of orientation. I had some errands to run in the morning, then headed up to Mailman. I had a hummus wrap and grapes and chips for lunch, but didn’t snap a photo. After orientation, my friend Raag made us some yummy Indian food for dinner.

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He also taught me some cooking tips. Apparently, many Indian dishes are prepared by first browning onions and tomatoes together. This was new to me. Usually, I add tomatoes much later. This was a fun new tip! He also taught me I should rinse my rice before I cook it. I was happy to learn his tips. He’s so kind, and an awesome cook!

Thursday

Thursday I ran some errands around the city and sat around like a crazy anxious person waiting to hear back about an apartment and catastrophizing my life in every way imaginable. At some point, I stopped and enjoyed an organic peach in Bryant Park.

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I swear my anxiety has been peaking this week. I have really been struggling to get through normal daily activities. I know I have to get it under control, but this week has been so busy I haven’t had time to deal with myself. I am VERY thankful to my supportive friends and aunt for being there for me this week.

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A bit later I once hit up Whole Foods for lunch. I got a Justin’s almond butter packet (on sale for $0.50 WHAT UP), another bagel (because I really enjoyed the last one, and for $1.00, it’s a lot of filling carby goodness), a banana, and some salad and hummus from the salad bar. I think the cashier rang up my order wrong, because this lunch ended up costing me $2.77 which I didn’t even notice until I looked at the receipt while eating? Okay. I’ll take it.

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My friend Caty let me come over and sit on her bed and watch dumb videos on my laptop while she went on a run with a friend. I had been pinning out at coffee shops all day but needed to like, not be sitting in real pants around humans. THANK U CATY.

We grabbed a late dinner at Peacefood, which is one of my favorite restaurants in NYC/the world. We split the Asian greens salad (with greens, jicama, tempeh, carrots, and a yummy spicy peanut dressing), and the vegan cheeseburger. Pardon the crapy pics; that place has dim *~*trendy romantic*~* lighting.

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This cheeseburger. You guys. It is my FAVORITE vegan cheeseburger on earth (and I’ve had a lot of veggie burgers in my 17+ meat-free years). It’s a house-made vegan patty with cheese, guac, pickled peppers, caramelized onions, and some sauce or something on homemade focaccia. It is messy and hearty and flavorful and delicious. LOVE.

After dinner, the Van Leeuwen truck was parked right by Peacefood. Van Leeuwen makes the most delicious, rich craft ice cream I have ever had. Their vegan base is a blend of coconut, cocoa butter, cashews, and extra virgin coconut oil. It is OUTSTANDING.

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I ended up with “one scoop” of vegan strawberry jam, and one scoop of vegan cookie dough.

One scoop ended up being more like a pint. And I ate it all because it was FRICKIN’ delicious. I was really glad I sampled the strawberry jam, because it was honestly one of the best ice creams I’ve ever had! And not something I would normally think to order (I tend to be a chocolate/nut ice cream over fruit kinda gal).

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But it had a rich base with swirls of housemate strawberry jam and pieces of biscuit that were like crunchy and sort of soft simultaneously. And the vegan cookie dough was obviously amazing, with big chunks of vegan cookie dough. My fav flavor there is vegan banana nut, which tastes likes straight up banana bread, but they didn’t have it at the truck. Which probably turned out for the better, since I tried the strawberry!

We ate in Union Square Park, then headed back to BK. I went to bed at my friend’s apartment, and she went out with some friends.

Regarding the large amount of ice cream…I DEFINITELY ate past the point of fullness. In fact, I felt a little TOO full about 30 minutes later. I inhaled it because I think I really needed a good meal after so much walking the previous few days, but the stuff is soooo rich I think I overate beyond my needs. Yes, I was a bit uncomfortably full. But you know what? You live and you learn. Yup, I probably inhaled like, a day’s worth of calories in the form of vegan ice cream in like, 2 minutes, but it is NOT worth obsessing over. I went to bed with a very full tummy and decided to slow down on my ice cream inhalation next time (also, usually they don’t give me THAT much, even when I order two scoops instead of one…I think the guy just was feeling generous).

Friday

Friday I woke up early, went on a run (hadn’t exercised besides walking all week and figured it may do my anxiety some good), showered, and got brunch with Caty and one of her friends.


She called me around 10:40am asking if I wanted to go to Champs, which is a vegan diner. I was bummed I had LITERALLY just finished a bagel with nut butter and banana and wasn’t super hungry but decided to go anyway. I’m glad I did.

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Since I wasn’t super hungry I got a pancake with berries. And syrup. Champs was fun. It’s like an old school diner with classic diner entrees, but all vegan. And with fun art.

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The pancake was yummy. Tasted like a straight up diner pancake, if that makes sense. Like that unique, griddle-cooked taste.

After that, I spontaneously booked a plane ticket for that night and decided to head home for the long weekend, since I learned the apartment I was approved for wouldn’t let me move in until Thursday, and I was quite frankly in need of some real sleep on a bed (not a couch) and some alone time.

I’m quite the introvert, and not having any personal space, especially during an orientation week, makes me feel anxious and overwhelmed. I literally often feel like I need to be alone and calm down to get back to baseline when I’m overwhelmed with anxiety, and having no place to just sit and be by myself has increased my stress, anxiety, and panic.

Also, I MISSED MY FRICKIN’ DOG who has been in Wisconsin until I’m settled with a place.

Thanks for reading! Sorry I’ve been absent this week. Haven’t been in the headspace to blog. But feel much calmer home and with my doggo and with a good night’s sleep in me.

Can any introverts out there relate to feeling super overwhelmed when you don’t have your own space? Any tips for crippling anxiety? Let me know and stay #blessed!

Weekend Update/Life Update (My Next Step)

Hey there! I haven’t written a post like this in a while so I figured it was time. I thought I’d share my weekend and what I’m up to next!

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This weekend I was actually supposed to be in Denver, but life was too hectic with a move coming up this week (eeeeep) and with zero packing done and no apartment yet I decided I’ll go to Denver in January instead. My anxiety hasn’t been serving me well these days. Sometimes it does, other times it’s a messy butthole that gets in the way. Right now it’s the later. #anyways #movingon

Friday:

Friday I took my brand new MacBook Pro to the Apple Store because after shelling out a boat load of money for it, it came with a broken “D” key. How irritating. The guy was also totally not nice about it and didn’t believe it came that way (he kept saying Apple Care would cover the damage this time…and I’m like this isn’t damage….it came messed up). Anyways, now I don’t have a computer I can use Adobe on until Friday which is SUPER annoying because I was in the middle of editing several videos. Ugh!

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Also on Friday, it was announced that Millie’s photo in the TJ’s contest won us a $500 giftcard. I AM SO GRATEFUL AND HAPPY. Thanks to all who supported us! Here’s the photo from Millie’s Insta:

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I actually found out about this on Thursday and took Millie out to dinner and froyo at Panera to thank her for her cuteness lol.

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She got the chicken that would have come on my salad.

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Can we be real for a moment? I frickin’ love Panera. Like I know it’s nothing phenomenal but it’s consistently good. I just love their salads and soups and bagels! Tho their bread is kinda meh IMO. Bring back the actually yummy sourdough roll days!

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Saturday:

Saturday I made peanut butter cookies (because I love to bake when I’m stressed; recipe coming soon), sort of packed, took Millie to the park, and was in a meh mood for most of the day.

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At the park, Millie made friends with a bee! Curious nugget.

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I met an old co-worker for dinner at Odd Duck. If you ever find yourself in MKE, go to Odd Duck. It’s small plates, different menu almost every time you go, and more often than not, very yum yum.

I got a quinoa salad (yes this photo is AWFUL, the lighting was dim) with greens, quinoa, apples, onions, golden raisins and a cumin vinaigrette. The golden raisins in it were MONEY. The cumin dressing could have used a hint more acid/salt to be a slam dunk IMO, but I tend to like very acidic/salty things so perhaps I’m biased.

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I also got this grilled cauliflower dish. It came with hunks of grilled Cauliflower (obvi) Guajillo Purée, Plantain Chips, Fingerling Potatoes, Poblano Jelly, Chili Oil “Powder”, Nopal Aioli. This was MONEY.

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After that I stopped by a friend’s in Bayview since I was nearby, did an errand, and headed home for sleeps.

Sunday:

Sunday I hit up Trader Joe’s bright and early to get in on some of their deals for their 50th anniversary. I got avocados and organic French baguettes for $0.50, and $93 of other stuff. I utilized the avos + baguette for an epic $1 lunch (with some everything bagel salt, of course).

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I also went to a barre class that morning, and ran another errand or 8. I also got stressed about my computer issues preventing me from getting work done so I made more cookies.

Levain Bakery Style Vegan Cookies

While I was baking I looked up and saw two wild turkeys and two deer in the backyard. Gotta love Wisco (political policies here aside)!

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Sunday evening I met my aunt for dinner at Beans & Barley, which is a Milwaukee health food institution that’s old school and charming in the best way.

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This was one of the first healthy diner type places around here, and it was nice to visit it since I haven’t been in a while. I love how old school certain things about it are. Like they put whole cherry tomatoes and alfalfa spreads in salad and serve everything with these cute tiny rolls and a pad of butter.

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Dinner was chips and guac with 3 kinds of salsa, a large greens salad (with all of the veggies, sunflower seeds, cashews, etc) with balsamic marinated tofu (yum), and of course, a wee little roll. Their balsamic dressing, BTW, is money.

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We also got dessert. German chocolate cake for her and vegan peanut butter chocolate cake for me. Yummo. Their cakes are good because they are not too sweet! #bless

It was a nice evening. I really enjoyed spending time with my aunt. She’s pretty awesome. After that I headed up, chilled with the weiner, and headed to bed.

What’s Next:

In an attempt to be more open about my life on my blog and not just post recipes, I’m going to share that I’m moving back to NYC for more school (yup). I’m starting at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health in the Environmental Health Sciences department, with a focus on Climate & Health. My goal is to focus on how climate change is impacted nutrition/food systems.

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Yes, I’m a mega-nerd. If you know me IRL closely, you’ll know this year was kinda tough for me. I moved cross-country and started something that I knew in my gut just wasn’t right. Lesson learned: ALWAYS trust you your gut, not your logical brain or what anyone else tells you should do.

Anyways, after realizing what I definitely DON’T want to do, I revisited an urge to enter this program. I took classes in this department while at IHN of Columbia, and was blown away by them. I felt so moved, and motivated. Also throughout that entire program, I realized my strength is not in basic lab science. I can do it, but I truly excel at social sciences and public health.

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I actually didn’t want to do this program since I’m wary about moving back to NYC after being there for so long and really enjoying a break from it, but accepted students day sold me. Hard. The department I’m in seems so awesome. The professors are amazeballs and very caring. And it seems like the students do such neat things!

I want to help communicate public health messages to the public and be an advocate. Eventually, I think, I want to be a professor. I have taught at U of MN and at Marquette, and really enjoy it! I’m excited to share my journey of life in NYC, public health, nutrition, and climate health. I hope you’ll join me; I’m legit VERY excited about this curriculum! And plan to NOT do what I did last time I was in school and stop blogging. No no. This is happening. HOLD ME TO IT.

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Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way, especially in this last weird/icky/bumpin’ my head around the world year. I feel truly humbled and blessed for this upcoming opportunity.

Thanks for reading!!! Comment about your weekend; I love hearing from readers!

10 Phrases to Remove from Your Food/Exercise Vocabulary

Greetings! Just have some things on my mind I wanted to share over here on this blog thing.

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This is a post I’ve been wanting to write for a while, but after traveling and listening to the way some friends talk about food/eating/working out, and the way the Real Housewives of Orange County (side note:why is it this group that does it the most? Real Housewives of NY seem to eat normally…) talk about food/eating/working out, and the way some of my fitness-hyped friends/gyms talk about food/eating/working out, I’m at my breaking point. Time to write!

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I wanted to discuss a few things that I continually hear that are NOT HEALTHY behaviors. Sadly, society has made them ‘normal,’ so I can’t classify them as NOT HEALTHY NORMAL behaviors. Maybe some day.

Anyways, society has warped people’s ideas of what it means to be healthy. Even in the nutrition world, I see people I know take it too far. Nutritionists I follow on Instagram post their daily workouts and show all their pristinely healthy foods.

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I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with regular exercise or black bean brownies, but like, it’s okay (actually, healthy) to have a bit of flexibility in your diet. Eating too healthy  and working out rigorously all the time isn’t healthy; in fact, it’s quite the opposite.

It can cause stress, anxiety, food-fear, guilt, and tumultuous relationships with food that can spiral into an eating disorder, or cause people to flirt with disordered eating thoughts and behaviors for years.

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Admittedly, this is a lesson I learned with time. We all make mistakes, grow, and learn. So here are phrases I have banned from my vocabulary, or, at the very least, phrases or thoughts that I recognize as unhealthy if they creep up in my brain or in conversation. I encourage you to read them and assess your relationship with food:

1. ‘I’m banning sugar/fruit/carbs from my diet.’

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Are you? That sounds difficult, sad, and downright impractical. Glucose is your body’s preferred source of energy, and it needs it!

I have no idea who decided bread and pasta are like, the worst thing ever, OR who decided that that the only ‘acceptable,’ sources of carbohydrates are quinoa and sweet potatoes, but it’s time to recognize that carbs are an important part of a healthy diet, as are sources of fat and protein.

So important, in fact, that it’s recommended you eat a majority of your calories from carbohydrates. So embrace that bread baby! And the fruit. All the fruit. And unfollow anyone on Instagram who tells you fruit is bad for you. They are bad for your mental health.

2. ‘I feel so guilty if I eat ____.’

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Eating should never make you feel guilty. You are a freaking living organism for crying out loud. Do you feel guilty drinking water if you’re thirsty? No, you probably don’t.

So why on earth would you feel guilty giving your body fuel when you are hungry? Eating when you are hungry is the same as drinking when you are thirsty. Give. Your. Body. What. It. Needs.

And if you have guilt or anxiety around certain foods, perhaps you need to assess your relationship with eating. Food is just food. If you want an apple, eat an apple. If you want a cupcake, have a cupcake. Your body will break it down, digest it, and give you energy. So eat food. Enjoy it. And move on with life.

3. ‘No food after XX:00pm.’

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Hey just another reminder that your body is a living organism, not a clock or a machine. You should eat when you are hungry. Period. Want lunch at 10:00am? Eat it. Want it at 2:00pm? Also cool.

Clocks don’t always match up with your hunger cycle, and every day is different. Instead of judging when you want to eat, or setting up windows when you can, start listening to your hunger/fullness cues instead of eating on a schedule.

4. ‘I didn’t work out today, so I can’t eat any __________ or go out to dinner/dessert.’

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That sounds like a rigid, unhealthy relationship with food and movement. If you’re moving your body with the sole intention to burn calories, OR you feel you do not ‘deserve’ certain foods if you haven’t worked out enough, you may have an unhealthy relationship with exercise.

Here’s a fun fact: you burn calories all the time. When you’re sleeping, when you’re digesting food, when you go to the bathroom, even when you think – all of those things burn calories.

The human brain consumes roughly 420 calories per day, so you should be eating enough to fuel your brain, organs, and body enough to live through each day with ample energy and mental clarity.

Exercise should make you feel good; it should make you feel stronger. It isn’t a box you have to check off your list every day in order to eat appropriate amounts of food.

I don’t want to look back on my life and regret missing fun dinners or desserts out because I didn’t work out enough that day.

5. ‘Never miss a workout! #Noexcuses! #MotivationMonday.’

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No excuses? What if you’re sick, tired, sore, or having a really stressful day where adding exercise to your routine will greatly increases your stress level? Those sound like darn good excuses to me…

Exercise should enhance you, not stress you out. And you should be able to ride with the ebs and flows of life and skip exercise when you aren’t feeling it or it isn’t convenient and not feel guilty or anxious about it.

Overexercising can increase stress hormones like cortisol, and cause all sorts of nasty impacts on your body/health. Making overexercise unhealthy.

If you think it’s more important to burn calories every day than to maintain your health, you should seriously check your relationship with food/eating.

6.  ‘I was so bad last night….I ate  _____.’

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If you are labeling eating behavior as ‘good,’ and ‘bad,’ you may be flirting with (or have a full blown) disordered relationship with food.

People ask me all the time “Is X food or Y food better?” To which, I always respond, “Foods are very complex and everyone is different and in need of different things, so that’s a very complicated question.”

Try not to view foods as ‘good,’ and ‘bad.’ Sure, there are foods that have more fiber or protein or vitamin whatever than other foods, but just because a food is high in sugar or lacking trace minerals doesn’t make it ‘bad.’

Sometimes you gotta eat for your mental health or to enjoy social experiences. For example, if you choose not to eat cake on your friend’s birthday even though you want to eat it, simply because you think it’s ‘unhealthy,’ you are doing yourself more harm than good. And sometimes you just need a damn cookie after a long day because you are craving it.

Same goes with travel. Tasting new foods while traveling should enhance your travel experience, not cause anxiety. EMBRACE IT.

7. ‘I feel insane if I don’t workout every day.’

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Do you? Because that is a little insane, and sounds a bit like exercise addiction, especially if missing exercise causes you to have anxiety. See numbers 4 and 5.

8. ‘I’m at my calorie limit for the day, so I can’t have any.’

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If you count calories or track macros, I urge you to stop.

Can I ask you a question? Is your body a calculator? No. No it is not. So why are your treating it like a math equation. Every single day is different, so your needs are different each and every day to reflect that.

Some days you may be crazy hungry and need 5 meals and 4 snacks. Other days you may have less of an appetite. Both are totally normal. So why would you try to achieve a specific number each day, you’re actively disengaging from your hunger/fullness cues and REALLY messing with your body’s ability to naturally maintain homeostasis and body weight.

Do yourself a giant favor, and skip the counting. You’ll feel free, and more in tune to what your body wants, and what it actually needs.

9. ‘Earn/Sculpt Your Body.’

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This is something I often hear at gyms or boutique fitness studios. Even at a boutique fitness studio I really love and have a membership to, I see/hear this all the time and it bothers me.

Here’s why: I just don’t think you should feel like you have to treat your body like it’s a goddamn piece of clay for some art show or something. Your body breathes. It digests food. Your brain thinks. It helps you learn, create, share information, and interact with others. It also helps you be able to exercise, and do all other amazing tasks you may need to do throughout the day.

Your body is FREAKIN’ AMAZING. So instead of viewing it as something to manipulate, how about showing it some gosh darn well-deserved appreciation?!

10. ‘I’m on a cleanse/doing a non-toxic lifestyle thing.’

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Lol…I have no idea what people mean by ‘cleansing’ or ‘detoxifying foods.’ These are sexy phrases that have no scientific backing/evidence. No food has shown significant evidence to cleanse or detoxify you…your liver and kidney remove any real toxins so you can consider yourself all good on that front.

All of these cleanses and detoxifying powders and pills and potions and are simply a way for unregulated supplement companies and the ‘health influencer’ Instagram stars who promote them to make money off vulnerable people who are innocently looking to improve their health. Which is pretty shitty and irresponsible of them, if you ask me.

Same with ‘giving your digestive system a break.’ Hey guess what, you still digest things like juice. And your digestive system is designed to digest food on the regular. Like I said in #9, your body is FREAKIN’ AMAZING.

Would you put your pet on a cleanse? No, you probably wouldn’t. Because you’d think to yourself “No, that’s not normal. My dog is supposed to eat every day and would be grumpy if they didn’t.” Well then. Same goes to YOU!

So skip that cleanse, and buy some delicious groceries and EAT. Because eating is satisfying, delicious and fun.

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I challenge you to recognize when these phrases come up in conversation, on TV, on a magazine cover, on an Instagram ‘health influencer,’ star’s stories, or on the wall at a fitness boutique and ignore them. You have the power to do so and it is oh so very freeing.

This takes time and practice to do so be patient and forgiving with yourself. But your brain and body will thank you!