The reason for my inability to stop sleeping over spring break…

The week of projects that came before finals week made me long for a week where I could sit back, relax and study nonstop for tests. I hate studying for test, so this tells you how intense the week was. I think I ended up having 45 billion projects due, and about 360,000 presentations. Or at least that is what it felt like.

On top of some awesome school work, I also ended up in charge of the catering for an event for 150 people. (I said I would make the menu which transformed into me heading up everything) This meant getting the volunteers who would be cooking organized, communicating with DU (where the event was being held) and everyone in charge of the event, planning the menu, getting the budget, doing some MAJOR shopping,

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I think everyone was a little confused as to why three young girls were buying so much food. It was a bit scary paying for that bill and loading the car… Image

We started at about 8:30 on Friday morning (well Giorgia and I started with coffee… Starbucks would have to do for a day like today) I got some regular coffee in my cup with my decaf. This was crazy and again tells you the state of mind I was in by that Friday because I NEVER do caffeiene (out of fear I will never sleep again in my life…)

We soon found out that we wouldn’t be able to get into the kitchen on campus that we would be working in until noon, so we got to work at school making tarts. We then delivered all the food to the event. I had to ditch my car which was packed with loads and loads of groceries and borrow my friends car so that I could run over and teach my elective.

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I was a bit out of sorts when all the 3rd-5th graders arrived but I explained what was going on that night. They were excited and said they would be more than willing to come back to DU with me and help cook for the event. Sweet…but no. Like never in a million years no. I told them that that would be great, but unfortunately, I just didn’t have room in my car for all of them…After tasting lettuces, making vinaigrete, and then building some delicious salads (twice in a row, both groups did an awesome job) I was back at DU to make lasagnas, check everything was ready, transfer the food and serve.

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The menu was as follows…

Rosemary soft rolls with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

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Salad with mixed greens, goat cheese, pomegranates, sugar walnuts and avocado with a champagne vinaigrette.

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Vegetarian Option- Butternut Squash Lasagna…my fav from my other fav Giada

Side: Broccoli with parmesan cheese

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Main: Chicken Marsala with spaghetti (I would pass on the recipe but this one was all in the hands of the wonderful Julia!)

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Dessert: Wonderful Chocolate Tart with HAND whipped cream (no mixer….gotta do whatchya gotta do….)

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strawberries and powdered sugar. (This was incredible. Giorgia had made chocolate tarts before so when I asked her questions about the recipe at the grocery store and she replied “oh I don’t know I have never made this particular recipe before, it just looked good on foodgawker” I nearly strangled her. As much as I like to find out the night before we feed 150 people that we will be making a tart we have never made successfully before….BUT alas, it all turned out wonderfully…

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It was a crazy night but really fun and exciting. We felt like it was our little baby, which was exciting. I am so thankful for all the help.

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I had a LOT of energy at the end of the night. I think I recall running circles around the parking lot…or something like that. I had a hard time sleeping, I knew I shouldn’t have gotten that caffeine. Or maybe it was just all the excitement after plenty of build up. Over at last.

Here is my great grandmother’s recipe for sugar walnuts. Super easy and wonderfully delicious…

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I need a waiting room…

Last weekend (I am playing catch up here, I will get to this crazy past weekend soon!) I watched Downton Abbey for the first time and I loved it.

Giorgia and I had been planning on having a sushi night for quite sometime. I teach a cooking elective at a local elementary school and I made spring rolls with the kids last Friday. This inspired Giorgia and I to finally order some sushi and roll our own spring rolls and watch some Downton Abbey. We ordered some salmon and avocado rolls and shrimp and asparagus rolls. We also got this wonderful crab salad with avocado, tomatoes and an awesome dressing. We were both rolling some spring rolls when we hear a knock at the door. We were surprised to find the delivery man on the otherside (how he got into the apartment building I don’t know, but I don’t mind seeing as this made for the ultimate lazy gourmet sushi night without having to change out of my pjs or leave the apartment.)

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In case you have never made spring rolls…here is what you do.

Take your rice paper and put it in a bowl of warm water until soft and pliable (about a minute)

Lay on a cutting board and fill with lettuce, jicama, cucumber, carrot, mint, cilantro, basil, mushrooms…or whatever you would like

Roll up tight like a burrito.

Slice in half, dip in soy sauce or sweet chili sauce, or peanut sauce or whatever you want sauce and enjoy!

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Once we started watching we were hooked. I think our favorite part is the fact that they sit in a waiting room before being called to dinner. Oh to be rich in England in the 1900s. When (If) I do finally buy a house, it will need to have a waiting room.

The next morning was Meg’s birthday and we celebrated at the most wonderful coffee shop around town. STELLA’s. I finally got my fill of amazing milk foam…it had been too long.

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Their foam makes for the best mustaches

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And paired with some delicious birthday cinnamon rolls, you just can’t go wrong…

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After that it was off to Church. The perfect Sunday!

Going Bagless

So I made the decision a while ago to stop buying plastic baggies and only use tupperware. I also gave up paper towels and use cloth napkins. I have loved it and feel like I am helping the environment (every bit counts right?) It has also saved me money by not having to keep buying bags (which ended up being more expensive than the few containers I bought) The only problem I am finding is…Image Tupperware takes up a bit more space. But hey, I can handle holding one more bag, I just have to work to make a little more space in the fridge at work. 🙂

As for the things that can fit into that wonderful little lunch baggie…

ImageI am a huge fan of the Rudi’s bagel thins. With almond or peanut butter they are delicious. Also, my favorite yogurt ever is Cascade Fresh (Don’t worry…Chobani is still my favorite Greek Yogurt, although I have to be honest, it is kind of the only one I have eaten, I suppose I will eventually have to give the other brands a chance.)

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I heart salad

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I am a bit obsessed with my salad container. It is even better now that I can fill it with goodies from Trader Joe’s sent by my lovely bestie Emily. I love their marinated mushrooms and their whole grain mustard literally makes everything taste better. It is somehow creamy, almost mayonnaise like but with the fun whole grainy texture and mustard flavor. Yum. I love adding brown rice to my salads and an herb always adds that extra flavor!

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Oh and my new favorite….

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Remember how I talked about those delicious corn and flour tortillas? My new favorite thing is spreading that delicious whole grain mustard all over one, layering on some applegate sliced chicken breast, sliced tomato, mixed green, garbanzo beans and parsley. YUM. So good. I highly recommend.

Ok more food later. There is something fun about packing your lunch for the day. Especially because lately I feel like I leave for school early in the morning and don’t get home until bedtime. I like knowing I have a good lunch and some fun snacks to get me through.

Oh and speaking of snacks (ok, I know I just said more on food later, but I am pretty sure everything I have to say will somehow revolve around food), I tried this the other day,

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It was a raw bar and I really enjoyed it. It was this thin little bar made with pumpkin seeds and dates. It was perfect as a little pick me up to get me through to lunch. It is only 60 calories so it really just acts as that little burst of energy you need to keep you going (especially when sitting through biochemistry)

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Nothing like using candy hearts to learn about glycolysis.

And that pretty much sums up my valentine’s too. I guess biochem was my special Valentine this year…;)

What did you do for Valentine’s day?

What is your favorite thing to pack in your lunch?

Last Minute Trip to CaLi…why not?

This past weekend was my Grandma’s 87th birthday and for the first time in forever the whole family was flying/driving up to the Bay Area to be together and celebrate. On top of that, my oldest sister, brother and law, and nephews were moving to a new house about an hour away. This meant that they were exhausted and losing their minds, and the kids would be taking up residence at our house for a few days. My parents decided to call in reinforcements…enter Auntie “Barah” (Caleb is recently into rhyming, so goodbye Sarah and hello Barah)

I got a text on Tuesday explaining the weekend’s events and asking if I would like to come home because the whole family getting together might not happen again, or at least not for a long time. And let’s be honest, they really needed some help with some riled up boys that they would be watching over the weekend. After figuring everything out I booked a flight and arrived in Cali on Friday and had a whirlwind of a weekend, and caught a 6am flight back to Denver Monday morning.

I had an awesome weekend that actually felt like a week home rather than two days but left me rather exhausted. Though everything that went on was a blast, the best moment happened on Saturday morning. Friday night Hol and Mike stayed at the new house and the boys stayed at ours. On Saturday morning at about 6:50am I heard my door creaking open. I looked at the door and saw a very small little boy standing in the opening. It was my little 2-year-old nephew Luka. I don’t know what made him come to my room, but he did and I am so glad. I called him over and lifted him up and held him. He ended up falling asleep for another hour or so. I stayed awake, thinking about how much I love that little boy. I felt such protectiveness over him and kept holding him tight thinking how I would never let anything bad ever happen to him. I love being an Aunt! It was a super special moment that I will never forget.

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 Once they were both awake, the chaos commenced. Blueberry pancakes, play, play, playing, running around, cookie making, and some more playing.

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 Finally, Hol and Mike got back and I went with them to see the new house…

Which has this little beauty sitting in it…

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We then played some more in the backyard which contains

This…

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How can you go wrong??

Oranges for dayzz!

That night was the party, which was super fun, but went really quickly. The next day I got to spend relaxing with my mom, walking through town, and enjoying the day.

It was a lovely weekend and I am so glad I got to go!

Done anything spontaneous recently?

Mind Blown

So I ended up taking a quick trip back to California this weekend…but more on that later. First, I need to talk about a few things I tried today that I L-O-V-E!

So I have tried freeze dried fruits before. They are great, tart and fun, but nothing I feel like I need in my life everyday. That is, until I tried Trader Joe’s freeze dried GRAPES! So good. Basically candy. They kind of stick to your teeth in a fun way and are tart but still sweet and they don’t have that chalky texture that freeze dried fruits usually have. I am in love. We went back to TJ’s today to grab some for me to take back to school (because…sigh…we don’t have TJ’s in Denver…YET!) and I had to try the freeze dried bananas. Which I also love, and they happen to pair perfectly with the grapes, yess! The bananas are a bit more chalky, but they are super flavorful and fun. Like eating bananas without getting sticky and gooey hands 🙂

So, just in case your mind has not been completely blown by the above, enter the most amazing corn tortillas I have ever had.

I apologize in advance, because I have absolutely no idea as to whether these are sold at all Whole Foods and grocery stores, but if you see them, please buy them. They are thick and doughy and chewy and soft and moist. They are a mix of corn and wheat so they aren’t super dry and they hold up, bend without cracking and are strong. I tore off a piece of one and immediately had to make lunch with them. It ended up being turkey, tomato, guac and mixed greens in a tortilla and it was incredible. Quite frankly though, I could have just eaten them plain (as in the whole bag of them… 😉

Sit tight, one more life changer to come. I might be a little late to the game with this one…

Thank you Cheerios for making a sweet and peanut buttery deliciousness that I will now need to have regularly around to snack on. Or I may need to prohibit them from entering the house due to the fact that they may not last more than two minutes. I will be snacking on these for dessert tonight…

#ilovecereal

What’s your favorite cereal?