Saturday, February 26, 2011

still alive

I know I’ve been horrible at blogging lately! Life has been pretty crazy and stressful with the new job and getting to know Ann Arbor. I also just found a lease takeover and am moving into a different apartment this weekend, which is one of my least favorite things to do, but it’s a small price to pay for getting my own space.

So, my weekend started with this fantastic coffee, which is also sold in Ann Arbor, thank goodness.

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If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that baking = a form of stress therapy for me. Needless to say, it was pretty wonderful to come home and make (and eat) cinnamon rolls for breakfast.

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I don’t think my family minded too much either. I’m just trying to make sure everyone’s in a good mood when we unload box after box of vintage dishes on Monday.

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I also experimented with combining 2 random ingredients we had in the house: eggplant and polenta.

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I know it sounds like an interesting combination, but the recipe I used is actually Martha Stewart’s, and it was pretty good.

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Anyway, I foresee many culinary adventures and dinner parties in the future. And I’m excited to explore Ann Arbor’s local food scene, especially when it gets warmer.

Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend…

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

bear with me, please…

So, with all of the craziness going on, my blogging might become slightly sporadic for the next couple of weeks. I’m currently on orientation overload…after sitting for 8 hours on day 1, I am now an expert on all types of fire extinguishers and cultural competency.

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I’m also back to working early hours, which means 7 am start times. It is so fortunate that I am a morning person. And yes, I do pick out my clothes and pack my lunch the night before…anything to save time.

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I can’t do much cooking right now (moving to my own apartment in a couple of weeks!). Soon, I will have a ton more space, including a special counter spot for my beloved Kitchen Aid mixer, but until then I’m living on tortillas and hummus. And green smoothies.

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But I’m really craving a bowl of this right now…if anyone wants to send some soup this way, you’d definitely be my hero.

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Are you a morning person? If not, how do you function in the morning?!

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

hometown farewell…for now.

This weekend is the move to Ann Arbor. It’s not a huge deal to me because it’s only 3 hrs away vs. my 8 hr commute last year. Moving back home was a hard transition, but I’ve learned a lot these past few months.

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Even though my hometown is not very progressive and struggles with embracing sustainability, I have found that I love being part of that struggle. There are certainly more opportunities to talk with people about my passion for local food, and I’m constantly reminded why I do what I do because it’s not the norm here. And it’s been cool to see other people get excited about the same things…

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I ate at the only local food restaurant in town today with my parents. So good. I will miss this little place and will definitely be back again. Their purple cabbage, fennel, and apple slaw is amazing. I also like their egg BLT (without the bacon, so I guess it’s an ELT?).

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And…a couple of recipes for your weekend. Smitten Kitchen’s chocolate chip cookies (because it’ll be V-day pretty soon, which is just an excuse to eat more chocolate, in my opinion).

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And homemade pita chips, which are great if you get tired of eating vegetables with hummus. I like splitting whole wheat pitas in half and brushing them with olive oil, garlic, and Italian spices. Bake at 400 until crispy (7-10 minutes).

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Serve with hummus. I foresee a lot of hummus being made in the near future because I really like homemade pita chips…

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As I was taking my “last run before I leave” this morning, I got sprayed by no less than 2 snowplows. Nothing like a good ole goodbye from West Michigan…

Happy Weekend! 

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

cookies, fennel, and….noodle pillows?

Thanks for all the congrats on life’s latest change. I started packing yesterday…I hate packing, but fortunately I am bringing mostly clothes and books at this point. And my blender.

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Cranberry oatmeal cookies ala Smitten Kitchen made things go a little more smoothly. These are the real deal. No substitutions. This cookie is a cookie.

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I’ve only eaten fennel in salad form, but last night we ate it braised and sprinkled with parmesan cheese and homemade croutons [recipe here]. It was surprisingly good.

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We also ate vegetables on noodle pillows (I wish I were making that up, but that’s what they’re called). I wasn’t a big fan of the crunchy noodles, so I think I’ll just stick to plain soba or rice noodles next time.

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It’s zero degrees (literally) here today, but I’m going to attempt a run anyway. Michigan running is always an adventure…at least we aren’t currently having a blizzard!

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

changes

I had a lovely weekend of running, eating vegetables, and adventures in the snowy and freezing Michigan weather (yes, I do wear flats all winter, thank you very much).

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At the risk of isolating myself from the entire blogging community, I will also say that lately I’ve been leaving oatmeal behind for delicious omelets with cheddar cheese and mushrooms. And lots of black pepper.

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I’m teaching another cooking class tonight, and we’re making blueberry parfaits. The recipe calls for crumbled ginger cookies for one of the layers, but I decided to make my own to avoid the food dyes and GMO corn in the packaged version. Fantastic.

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The biggest news in life is that I am moving to Ann Arbor, Michigan to work in pediatric nutrition. It will be a big change, for sure, but I’m trying to embrace all opportunities and adventures and to be open to using creativity and innovation in an often straitlaced environment.

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Change can be really hard, but I know that the growth that comes with it is important. Reaching outside yourself to do things that are new and slightly scary can open opportunities to make a difference, and that’s valuable to me.

This is also a little rough because I’m a Buckeye, but I’ll be sure to talk lots about our winning record over the Wolverines. If you live in A2, let me know!

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p.s. did anyone see this article about the class action Nutella suit? My thoughts:

1) Duh, we all know Nutella isn’t healthful or a great idea for children as a breakfast staple.

2) Yes, their commercials are annoying, but I’m not sure that warrants a lawsuit?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

back in the mitten

You might not be able to fully grasp how crazy the snow was in Chicago from this photo, but any car parked on a side street got completely buried. Most people had already taken a shovel to their vehicles at this point…

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I can tell you that after living for almost a week on hotel and restaurant food, I was craving fresh vegetables like crazy! I think I chopped up every single vegetable in the refrigerator when I got back today.

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Roasted with a little bit of olive oil, parmesan cheese, and pepper at 450 F for 30(+) minutes, I couldn’t have asked for anything more…

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Except homemade [vegan] peppermint ice cream. If it’s zero degrees outside, why not make myself even colder by eating ice cream. It makes perfect sense.

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I’m exhausted! Another cooking class coming up next week…plus some big changes ahead.

Does anyone else crave vegetables after being on the road?

I can’t be the only one!

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p.s. Happy 55th Birthday to my dad!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

snowpocalypse 2011

Well, friends. As much as I’d like to have a fun nutrition-related post for you, I’m currently in Chicago waiting out a super nasty winter storm…that will hopefully not mimic this image from the blizzard of 1967.

At least some enjoyed the snow of the 1967 blizzard. Twenty-three inches of snow, the largest single snowfall in Chicago history, covered the city and suburbs. Children frolic among buried cars in the Edgewater neighborhood, on Chicago's North Side. (Tribune archive photo) ..OUTSIDE TRIBUNE CO.- NO MAGS,  NO SALES, NO INTERNET, NO TV, CHICAGO OUT.. "Chicago Days" 00288152A 150 year images

This was prettymuch a last minute, unplanned trip, but I managed to grab a few breakfast essentials before leaving.

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Desperate times call for desperate measures. This probably would have worked better with instant oats…oh well, just trying to be resourceful.

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Free oatmeal vs. $7 oatmeal (hotel food prices are seriously astronomical).

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Oh, I may have eaten some of this, too…before we got buried in snow. I definitely prefer homemade pizza, but Chicago-style pizza holds a special place in my heart.

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It seems like half the country is closing down…who has a snow day today?!

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