WIAW: Hashtag Apostrophe

Whoa eaters!

I almost forgot that I promised you a WIAW post. And since I hate to break a promise…


Pre-Crossfit: apple and pb.

WOD: front squats

3-10-3-20-3-30 rep scheme. I got my 3-rep weight up to 98lbs, which pissed me off because a 100lbs front squat has been a goal of mine for months and I would have had it had I remembered that our bars are 33lbs, not 30lbs, meaning that I only had to go up 2lbs instead of 5lbs.

Weirdo breakfast:

Bacon with a side of my version of cold German potato salad.

Bacon with a side of my version of cold German potato salad.

Errands:

Gap.

Gap.

Gap, also. And don't my arms look solid here?!

Gap, also. And don’t my arms look solid here?!

I’m attempting to find business casual attire. Would either of these dresses plus a blazer count? I didn’t get either.

Lunch & snack:

Blackened chicken wrap.

Blackened chicken wrap.

I forgot to pack a lunch so I picked this up at Whole Foods between shopping and class and ate half as lunch in the car. Then I ate the other half after my classes as a snack.

Two part dinner:

Steamed artichoke.

Steamed artichoke.

Salmon and quinoa.

Salmon and quinoa.

There was also a glass of wine and a small handful of trail mix in there.

I have been running around like crazy lately and that won’t stop until I finally get a day off next Sunday. That’s a full two weeks without a day off.

But at least I’m being productive, right?

#EverydayImHustling

(Fyi, the lack of an apostrophe in that hashtag annoys me so much, but it’s such a necessary hashtag in my life and I don’t want to look like a grandma/stupid celebrity that wrongly puts punctuation in hashtags, so I let it slide.)

Your turn, eaters:

What’s a food you’re looking to bring back now that it’s warming up?

What’s something from social media that annoys you?

Later eaters!

Thesis Eggs

Holy mole-y, eaters!

I just finished my thesis. My 106-page, sweat, tears, and butter-filled work of foodie, neurotic passion is done.

Last night I edited out the last typos and checked all the margins and now I’m done. It’s bizarre that this thing that I’ve been thinking about and scratching out for almost a year now is finally complete. It feels too easy.

And since I know that I have been dangling this vague project in front of you for months, peppering my posts with off-handed references and talk of my “thesis recipes,” I have decided to give you a little taste of what has consumed so much of my time for months.

This is the first story in my thesis. Please excuse me if this is self-indulgent of me. If you’re not interested, check back on Wednesday when I will actually be doing a WIAW.

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scrambled eggs1

“What if I don’t make it,” I often asked myself in the days after I graduated high school, when graduation and getting into college were no longer gleaming gems floating over my head like in a video game.

“What if I screw up? What if I can’t do it? What if… What if… What if… What if…”

All the probable, improbable, awkward, terrifying, and fantastical possibilities that could/would become the life I was creating for myself in that 11’ by 10’ off-white cinderblock dorm room that I would share with one other girl who I’d never met, circled in my head like water that won’t go down a drain. No number of self-help, college survival books that I read while trying to fill that last, hot, endless summer gave me answers to sink my teeth into.

“Be outgoing.” “Don’t steal your roommate’s food and confront them if they steal yours.” “Join clubs.” “Take whatever classes interest you.” “Don’t feel bad if you don’t know your major the first day.”

All of it rang more phony and cheap than the Ramen noodles they encouraged me to buy by the boxful.

I wanted to know that I was going to be okay. I wanted to know that this new life that I had purposely chosen to make so far away from everyone and every thing I had ever known was going to be a good one. I wanted to know that I wouldn’t look back on College — that weighty and oft-recalled time in so many people’s lives — and regret anything, while also not looking back and thinking they were the best days of my life.

I wanted to know.

But I didn’t, so I set about preparing myself for everything that could happen by buying a wireless printer and a new backpack with lots of pockets and a duvet cover that matched the little rugs I bought and several eclectic-looking plates and bowls and a rice cooker and a decorative trunk for my shoes and and and and and and and. Until I was sure not a single thing else could fit in my half of the 10’ by 11’ off-white cinderblock room that I was going to be sharing with another girl that I’d never met, who ended up bringing a black light and a chair and few other things.

Somewhere between buying two sets of cream colored twin extra long sheet sets and picking out the extra large mini-fridge, I started to know I knew something.

I knew how to feed myself. I knew how to do my own laundry. I knew how to get myself up for class in the morning. I knew how to write papers with appropriate MLA citations. I had a car and I knew how to fill it up with gas and when to get an oil change.

These things I deemed the basic, fundamental life skills that I would need to survive. Because of these things, I convinced myself that I wouldn’t die or in any other way totally fuck up College.

I knew that even though I’d never met the other girl with whom I was to share the 10’ by 11’ room, I had talked to her online and she seemed nice enough. So I knew I was going to be friends with her and eat in the dining hall with her, at least until I had found other friends. I knew that I wanted to write for the newspaper and that someone could help me figure out how to do that. I knew that I had enough money to not have to turn down social invitations for dinners and lunches out or movies on rainy days or shopping trips. I knew that I could offer to drive and that people would like that. I knew that I was showing up to College with a small amount of liquor, so I didn’t have to worry about finding someone of age immediately.

These things I deemed less basic and fundamental, but almost equally important in my pursuit of not screwing up College.

So whenever the “What if…” started circling and circling, but refusing to drain, I poured these facts that “I knew” in like Drain-o. I poured and poured and repeated and rephrased until the “I knew”s so far out-measured the “What if…”s that the crippling, anxiety-producing, all consuming blockage was forced out and the drain could drain and the sink emptied and I could breathe.

Inhale. Exhale.

Inhale. Exhale.

Feed. Myself.

Inhale. Exhale.

Feed. Myself.

Feed. Myself.

Inhale. Exhale.

Feed. Myself.

 

Scrambled Eggs

Yields 1 serving

Scrambled eggs were the first thing I ever learned to cook. Before I could do anything I could scramble an egg. And while the method I use to make scrambled eggs has changed pretty drastically over the years, it still remains one of my most made, most fundamental recipes.

Ingredients:

2 whole, fresh eggs

salt and pepper

oil/non-stick cooking spray

Heat a (teflon) pan to medium-low heat. Crack both eggs into the pan, wiping out the inside of the shells to detach all of the whites from the membrane.

Quickly break the yolks and whisk the eggs together using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Whisk quickly, taking care to scrape the bottom of the pan, every 30 seconds or so, until the eggs start to set up.

Turn off the heat of the stove, leaving the pan on the burner. Add salt and pepper and whisk continually until the eggs have reached the desired consistency.

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Thanks for indulging me. You’re wonderful, eaters.

Pastrami

Hiya eaters!

I think North Carolina’s three week spring is over and we are in full on summer mode.

I even have the sunburn to prove it.

I have been waiting for summer to start for so long. In my head I have a running bucket list of all the things I’m really excited to do this summer.

Walking down to Best Way, the extraordinary beer grocery store in my neighborhood (on Walker Ave in Greensboro, for all you natives), with Leon and Charlie to buy expensive, hoppy beers and drink them in the kitchen while we snack.

Going to Virginia Beach for a weekend of big, comfy couches and washers and dryers and beer on the beach and Charlie digging in the sand and crab cakes and fish tacos.

Improving my Toms tan.

Wearing sundresses and eating froyo with extra gummy worms (because cold gummies are the best thing ever).

Going to Georgia for Brady, my brother, and my graduation party where we’re going to get my mother to drink out of a keg.

Buying lots and lots of fresh fruit and making pies and cobblers.

The list goes on and on. And Sunday, on a gorgeous sunny day that was supposed to be cloudy, Leon helped me cross another thing off my list — barbecue.

A few weeks ago Leon snagged a cheap beef brisket and decided to smoke it. Of course, I’m always up for a big hunk of smoked meat.

So we set up camp on the front lawn.

pastrami05

pastrami06

Charlie played in the grass. Leon sunbathed.pastrami02

I sat in the shade and tried to do homework.pastrami04

And we smoked a big hunk of meat.pastrami01

It was supposed to be pastrami. It’s been a while since I’ve eaten pastrami, so I don’t know how spot on it was. But I do know that after a few solid hours on the smoker this hunk of meat had a gorgeous crust. It was absolutely dripping juice between the cracks in the crust.pastrami07

pastrami08

In a word: it was meat perfection.pastrami09

Leon sliced a bunch off and we stacked it high on homemade bread with provolone cheese, sauerkraut, and lots of brown mustard.

This stack created a sandwich of amazingly epic proportions. And while I normally would never leave any part of a sandwich behind, even I couldn’t finish this giant beast.pastrami10

pastrami11

And while normally I would consider not finishing a sandwich to be a sign of failure (c’mon, my blog is called FoodBaby for a reason), I know that having a quarter of it in the fridge just means I get a midnight snack. And that there’s still a whole summer of big hunks of smoked meat ahead of me.

Barbecue chicken is on the menu for this weekend.

Your turn, eaters:

What are you most looking forward to this summer?

What’s your favorite kind of sandwich?

Later eaters!

Science and Beans

G’day eaters!

How have your lives been?

It still feels a bit weird to me that I only post once or twice a week now. But now that I have cut back I marvel at the fact that I used to come up with things to post about 5 days a week.

But then again, I’m doing a lot less experimenting and recipe creating these days. I’ve gotten busier and dinner has to be on the table every night, so playing and picture taking has taken a back seat.

I did get to play a little yesterday, though, which was…interesting.

Actually, the words I used to describe dinner when I texted Leon was that it was a “science experiment.”

Doesn’t that sound appetizing?

Yeah…

My plan was to make a big pot of black beans similar to these delicious ones and serve them along side some tofu tacos.

Doesn’t that sound like a really great dinner? I sure thought so. And I’d been excited for it since I planned it out on Sunday.

Unfortunately, I had a little bean hubris.

As I was draining and rinsing my soaked beans I kept thinking to myself, “Wow, I’m so glad I cook my own beans. I don’t know why everybody doesn’t cook their own beans. It’s so easy.”acid and alkaline beans1

I totally jinxed myself, because at 6 o’clock (we eat around 8 o’clock), after literally multiple hours of boiling my beans, the beans were still hard.

They weren’t little rocks, but they were far from the soft pillows that these black beans are supposed to be.

So I Googled. And here’s where the science comes in.

Did you know that adding acidity to beans stops them from tenderizing? You’re supposed to fully cook beans and then add wine or lime or vinegar or whatever acid you’re adding.

Did you know that adding something alkaline (like a pinch of baking soda) to the cooking water speeds up the tenderizing of your beans?acid and alkaline beans2

Did you know that if you totally screw up your beans by adding the juice of a whole lime after only boiling them for a few minutes you can add a couple of pinches of baking soda and it will help (but not totally save) your beans?

Did you know that since I learned this I have been obsessively looking up the alkaline levels of foods? And doing that has confused me a lot, which is just one of the many reasons I’m not a scientist. (Another reason is that I got a 25/100 on the botany exam I was studying for in that original black beans post.)

Yeah…

Now we know!

And luckily, Leon claims to like his beans a little crunchy.

Isn’t he sweet?

Your turn, eaters:

What was the last cooking trick you learned?

Are you any good at science?

Later eaters!

A Berry Vibrant Glaze

O’m’gah eaters!

I kinda feel like my head is about to explode.

School and work are kicking my ass — three huge assignments all due the same week and 25 boxes of shoes we don’t sell and weren’t expecting arriving after I gave the stock guy the day off.

Yeah, I’m a wee bit stressed.

But there will be a time, soon, when I’m not stressed. And there was a time, not too long ago at all when I wasn’t stressed.

And during that time when I wasn’t stressed I hosted a little dinner party.coconut pound cake with berry glaze3

And there were appetizers and festive napkins.coconut pound cake with berry glaze4

And there were fresh flowers (as opposed to the half dead ones I have now).

And there was cake.

Isn’t that cake gorgeous?coconut pound cake with berry glaze1

Oh, and it was so delicious.

And while the prudent thing would have been to make a recipe from my thesis (though I did make my version of engagement chicken, which is from my thesis) because I have a couple of cake recipes that need testing and never feel like having a whole damn cake around the house, I decided not to.

I decided not to stress about making a two-layer vegan chocolate maple cake or a big peach cobbler or…um…any of the other dessert recipes I wrote.

I decided to keep it amazingly simple instead. And amazingly vibrant.

Because there is nothing that makes you feel more capable and accomplished, more like a sexier, less khaki Martha Stewart than uncovering a cake that took you no time at all to make and having a handful of grown ass men “wow.”

So while I’m literally pulling my hair out and charting out (and then ignoring) my days in 10 minute increments on post-its, at least I know that in the not so distant future, there will be more cake.

(Or in this real life situation, beer. And Jell-o shots. And a rock wall and inflatables.)

Coconut Pound Cake with A Berry Vibrant Glaze

Cake

1 c butter, softened

1 ½ c sugar

1 t vanilla extract

5 eggs

1 ½ whole wheat pastry flour

1 c AP flour

1 t baking powder

½ t salt

1 c canned coconut milk

Put the butter, sugar, and vanilla into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on low until smooth. Continue beating on low while you add each egg separately.

In a mixing bowl quickly whisk together the flours, salt, and baking powder.

Add half the dry mixture to the bowl with the wet and, using a rubber spatula, gently mix in the flour until mostly incorporated.

Add the coconut milk and fold everything together.

Add the remaining flour and mix gently until there are no clumps.

Pour the batter into a well greased bundt cake pan. Bake in a 325^F for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let the cake cool completely before removing it from the pan.

Glaze

1 c frozen mixed berries

1 T sugar

1 c water

½ t lemon juice

½ t vanilla extract

1 ½ c powdered sugar

Put everything except the powdered sugar into a sauce pan over low heat. Stir slowly until the mixture forms a kind of sauce.

Once the berries have broken down strain the mixture through a fine strainer or a cheese cloth to remove seeds. Mix the seedless sauce in with the powdered sugar until all the clumps are gone and a smooth glaze forms.

Drizzle the glaze generously over the top of the cake. Serve any remaining glaze in a bowl on the side.

Trust me, people will want more of this sauce.coconut pound cake with berry glaze2

Your turn, eaters:

Got any tips for handling stress? I’m sure we could all use some.

What are you looking forward to?

Later eaters!