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!

brains n food

I haven’t posted in a few days as i have been fortune enough to participate in a Human Brain and Spinal Cord dissection! The course was all day every day and was exhausting but exhilarating. You could even say it was mind-blowing, although that seems a bit crass given the circumstances.

Photographs were obviously prohibited for HIPPA reasons and out of pure respect, but I do have this one crappy iphone photo, which depicts my morning ritual of bagels and brains:

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The good life.

What an opportunity to be able to partake in such a humbling experience. I was nearly speechless (a rarity for a chatty Kathy as myself) when I was presented with a human brain. It’s something I’ve studied for years and there it was, in front of me. While I can’t do the experience justice, I can tell you that it is one thing to learn about the brain on paper but it is quite another to explore it with your own two hands. I am still in awe of those few days. Peering into the interconnectivity of the brain, not to mention the vasculature and vast complexity, I was shocked that any of us work at all. Your body is freakin’ amazing –undoubtably the most fine-tuned machine on earth. This course was a good reminder of this, and really shifted many things in my life into perspective.

The course also included some great lectures and classes. I learned a lot, and some of it I will be blogging about soon – particularly an interesting seminar about the brain and your body and what you put into it.

Speaking of food, since this is a food blog, I must mention the following aspects of the course reminded me of food so foodies may get a better grip on the experience:

  • A lot of the brain pulls apart like string cheese. #onwisconsin
  • Speaking of cheese, when the brain is sliced by a large knife (we literally used kitchen knives for this – see below) it gives as if it was a hard provolone.
  • When you peel apart parts of the cerebellum, it looks like clementine wedges connected by the stringy things that pull apart when playing with turkey.
  • The scent a bone saw produces on the skull: burning doritos (VOM)
  • Dissecting is much like pastry work: using your hands and fine tools to shape and carve. It’s a bit satisfying.

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The course has now ended and I must admit, throwing away the shreds of cerebral cortex among others – felt a little sad. Someone’s whole life, all of their memories and stories and knowledge had been reduced to shredded piles on my dissection tray. I am so thankful for people who donate their bodies to science so people like me can benefit from learning from them!! Big shout out.

Short, random post, yes, but the take home here is:

GIVE YOUR BODY A HUG. It’s doing amazing things for you! Take care of yourself. Go eat a piece of fruit or drink some water or floss your teeth or do some yoga or something. Appreciate the millions of processes going on inside you.

I, for one, am totally inspired at the moment. Which will hopefully bring some more food posts very shortly.

#namaste everyone.

-kbakes

PS – A HUGE thank you to all of the Biomedical Sciences staff at Marquette University for letting me be a part of it!