Monday, February 27, 2012

My Life the Food Blog

Meet my newest deliciousness.  A chicken tender, cut in half and pounded flat, coated in a mixture of flour, panko, and Special K Multigrain Oats and Honey Flakes.  This particular beauty of a chicken was fried in a sundried tomato olive oil that I got from Meijer (shoutout to my favorite store!).  I didn't even use butter, and my roommate would vouch that that in and of itself is a rarity :).  It is on a delightful bagel thin, whole wheat flavor, with olive oil mayo and spinach leaves on top.  This is without a doubt my new favorite chicken sandwhich. 

Let me reiterate something.  This chicken samich is made entirely of ONE chicken tender.  Tender.  Not breast.  Which is why my roommate and I have decided I am the master of meats.  I have made big bowls of mexi rice with a fourth of a pound of ground beef or less in them that you wouldn't know that's all that's in there. 

I always separate my ground beef into 1/4 pound sections, and most times flatten it out before freezing it.  This allows it to thaw out faster, which is really nice since I almost always forget to set it out of the freezer before I leave.  There is no dish that I make that I would use a whole pound for, and I tend to get 2-3 meals out of most big things I make (like mexi rice) or I split the browned beef between two meals in some cases (like noodles and ground beef one night, and seasoning it for mexi rice the next).

I am SO convinced that a lot of people just don't really realize how far a pound of ground beef can really go, and I attribute this mostly to hamburger helper.  You always hear those commercials touting that you need 1 lb of ground beef.  I happen to think that a few cups of pasta, a 1/2 (if it's a family of 4 since most of my meals easily could feed 2), and some block cheese or (if you must) velveeta could get the exact same results and maybe even better ones.  There is absolutely no hamberger helper meal I would want over my cheeseburger pasta with fresh shredded colby jack and a sprinkle of bacon bits (the real hormel ones not those creepy crunchy fakes, Bac-O Yuck-O).

I am fairly certain that cheese powder is NOT better for you than cheese.  Just saying.

Now, off the hamburger-helper-hating soapbox again, back to my dinner.  I ate this delightful chicken samich with mashed sweet potatoes (butter, cinnamon/sugar, a bit of milk, and brown sugar) and my mom's home canned applesauce.  It was really fantastic. 

I love being able to cook.  I have thoroughly enjoyed getting the opportunity to learn to cook and develop my own style and creative ideas. 

So, next time you have a chicken breast or tender or beef, split it up, see how it goes.  Thin chicken samiches still give you all the flavor, and a breast sliced thin will make that original single chicken breast turn into two. 

This is what I have to take away from cooking this year:
  • Waste not, want not.  Plan meals and get creative.  There is no reason things should go to waste when we have freezers, an online mecca of recipes, and countless appliances to cook with.
  • Cutting back on usage cuts back on spending.  If you can stretch your beef or chicken twice as far, you buy it half as often.
Maybe school really can teach you life lessons.  Maybe I will get the hang of this sustainability thing after all :). Pin It Now!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I Refuse to Cook Like a College Kid

In this year of being in an apartment I have learned to make delicious roasted tomatoes, a cheesecake, yummy pasta dishes, and really anything else I could concoct or see on the food network.  I have had a blast learning how to cook different things, peppering my mom with questions, and finding recipes online. 

Tonight's dinner was no different.  I COULD have just got a burger at McDonald's.  But that is for the typical college kid.  And if you have read my recent posts, you know I pride myself on being nothing less than a green zebra in a sea of black and white.

So here we go:
To make this delightful burger, I started with that DELICIOUS 90/10 sirloin meat.  This is without a doubt the absolute best for burgers it is freaking amazing, not super fatty but not too lean- it is burger perfection.  I seasoned it with a little bit of seasoning salt, some pepper, and there is a pretty good chance I added in some butter during its cooking process.

Sue me, Paula Deen does it all the time.

So I toasted some focaccia bread, in the skillet (with butter) because that, in my opinion, is the ONLY way to toast things when you really want something to take it to the next level.  This delightful burger specimen also included colby jack cheese straight from the block...

Random tangent.  Does anyone else ever notice that bagged cheese takes forever to melt these days and it melts unevenly?  Or cheese on pizza even.  34 seconds in the microwave used to get the cheese really hot and bubbly and now I can put it in for like a minute and a half and it still isn't all that stringy/melty/perfect.  What is up with that? What have they done to cheese?

So yes, I almost always use cheese that I shred myself because I am a cheese snob.  I don't like this plasticky crap and I rarely will get near velveeta. 

The burger also had bacon bits and spinach leaves (mini tangent- I hate iceberg lettuce its existence does not impress me with its lack of flavor and nutrients).  I wish I had nicked some mayo packs from panera when I was there earlier in the day because it really would have made it absolutely perfect.  They have that fancy kind of Mayo made with olive oil. Mmmmmm.  I have got to plan better when I am around condiments.

As for the rice, it was leftover rice which is my absolute favorite thing to have as a leftover.  You can make it mexi rice, chinese rice, plain ol rice, or (as seen above) yummy mushroom pseudo-fried rice!

A technical name mind you.  Pseudo...because I have no idea what really constitutes fried rice.

I sauteed the mushrooms in butter, steamed them in the skillet a few minutes, added more butter and tossed in my leftover rice.  I stirred it around, added a teeny tiny bit of water to let it steam up, and left it on low while my burger finished cooking. 

For dessert I ate one of my nutella no-bakes and quite frankly, the meal was just fantastic. 

Just because you are at a college, does not mean you have to live on easy mac and fast food and those icky one dollar frozen pizzas.  Disgusting.  If you plan meals, plan ingredients, and get crafty you can make some legitimately delicious meals...even if your oven is barely wider than your hips and your kitchen can't fit you and your roomie in it at the same time (we are both pretty small humans width-wise, it is like a hotel kitchenette). 

So cheers.  Cheers to watching the food network, stealing their tricks, and making college meals something worth blogging about.  :) Pin It Now!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Weekend, Blog-Style.

Alright, after many months of saying I really didn't want to go to Grad School....Yea you guessed it, now I really want to go to grad school.  I stumbled on this Urban Planning idea and it sounds amazing.  And that brings me to the topic of my entire weekend.

First, I visited Ball State on Friday.  My mom and I hopped in the car and drove to Muncie, IN, to tour around campus, drive around town, and see what all this place had to offer.  I was a little skeptical going up there, thinking I probably wouldn't be all that impressed or something I guess...but boy was I wrong.

You see, I always thought my buildings at Indiana State were pretty cool.  I liked the look of buildings here and loved our fountain.  Then, I get to BSU, and lo and behold they have far superior architecture, beautiful brick crosswalks, crosswalk signs that chirp (long story), and a HUGE clock tower...much bigger than our fountain.

And let the record show, I am officially a building snob.  I loved it.  I loved everything about it.  The admissions building has this gorgeous sparkly terrazzo floor, beautiful red leather furniture, chrome was amazing.  Not to mention how many gorgeous statues are around campus, and the overall brilliant architecture and details on their buildings themselves.

Oh, and did I mention the ginormous geothermal field currently under construction?  Ya, that's right.  While my college is considering drilling for oil, BSU is putting in one of the largest geothermal systems in college existence.  And quite possibly one of the larger in North America.  Talk about being biased.

The building where my department is isn't necessarily structurally beautiful inside but it is actually really cozy.  It welcomes you in there and beckons you to stay.  And it is beautiful in the fact that it is simplistic.  Easy to navigate-you take to it like a fish to water.  And some of their classes are in the library, which is even more fitting for a book worm such as myself. 

In an even more interesting turn of events, on our way home from BSU we stopped in Anderson to get food.  We are driving down the road there and I am pretty nonchalant about what I want.  I was in one of those typical no food preference things because I was suddenly hit with this intense fear that I won't get a Grad Assistantship to BSU which is really the only way I can afford to go (anywhere for that matter).  So I am being all mopeydopey and not caring until suddenly I see something that looks so familiar I cannot help but perk up...


There are probably 3 of those in Terre Haute and my friends and I are obsessed with it.  They have the most amazing food unless you go there on a really bad day (my fam and I went when I moved in to the apt and they sucked, which was really bad timing as my sister loves mexican and doesn't understand now why I am obsessed).  So I literally yell out that I want to go there and we do and oh it must have been a fantastic day in the kitchen because in no time I was in Real Hacienda heaven. 


A few days later I went to visit the University of Louisville for a visitation event,  It was a nice event and the food was good, but my department building left a lot to be desired.  This kind of knocked me off my grad school high, along with the fact that their department is getting ready to go through a lot of budget cuts.  Which is not exactly what you want to hear as a prospective grad student.  It can be a little worrisome. 

I did really like the people in both college's departments and I really think it helped cement my interest in this type of program.  It has a lot of potential to be involved in so many aspects of the future that I really think it is the right time to get in to Urban Planning.  I just have to get in a good funding situation.

In other not-so-weekendy news, the Asian, mentioned in one of my first couple blogs, officially ponied up and asked me for my number.  Now usually, as has been the case multiple times this school year, I want to so badly say no and I still say yes and cough up my number.  But somehow this time I managed to squash that people pleasing compulsion and said no. Politely of course.  But seriously. I wear earbuds almost every time he is in the room.  I literally do not get why he doesn't get it.  I have made super stupid excuses every time he has asked me out. 

Makes no sense.

But hopefully within the next months I will have good news about grad school...and if not...mopey blog it is hahah!

Until next time, humans. Pin It Now!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I'm a Green Zebra in a Sea of Black and Whites

If I had one piece of advice to give to the youngins, I'd tell them to stick to your morals at all costs.  You rarely ever find yourself truly happy after you have gone against something you believe to be right. 

I am a not so normal college kid, and probably an even less normal 21 year old girl.  I never bought in to the sleeping around with people, and in fact never bought in to sleeping with someone period unless it was an extremely serious relationship to the point where I could at least see myself marrying them (which none of my relationships lasted over 6 months).  I also have never been a partier.  I do not get the point.  Life goes by so incredibly quickly that I want to remember every possible moment that I can, not drink so much that I can't remember a single thing about hanging out with my friends.  And furthermore, why on earth would I want to do something that makes me feel awful the next day? 

Characteristics like this are why I say I am a green zebra.  All the plain zebras can drink and slut around and whatever else, but green zebras are different.  I am looking for another green zebra.

This all came around because in a weak moment (possibly one where I was a tad bit bored) I made out with a frat boy.  Frat boys are not really my style and I probably should have seen it coming that he was a plain zebra.  Anyways, as I like to get in to conversations early about virginity and not wanting to sleep around, we got to talking on the subject.  Naturally, being the frat boy that he is, he tried to make something that I can only assume was his case for why you should fool around, and told me that sex is a lot like smoking, and that I'd be hooked once I started....

Yes, thank you for relating sex to a cancer causing habit that turns your lungs papery and black.  That TOTALLY makes me wanna do it now. 

Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to downplay sex and its potential to be amazing, but is it really all that amazing if you are just doing it with anything that has the opposite parts as you? I think things like that should be incredibly special and should only be shared with someone that you truly love.  Plain zebras fool around.  I am a green zebra.

He also went on to say that for my birthday we should go out so I could get trashed.  At this point, I was really wondering if I was having one of those moments where I apparently don't speak english.  I had told him I didn't drink or party.  But apparently I said it in some foreign language.

Or just green zebra language.

The point is, I hate that society has taught us to downplay the specialness of sex and has made it seem cool to go sleep around willy-nilly.  That should not be what "all the cool kids are doing".  Girls are taught to wear low cut tops and tiny shorts, and then they wonder why ever boy just treats them like a piece of meat.  Uh, maybe because you are dressing and acting like one?  I sport the occasional low shirt, but it should not make up the whole of your wardrobe.  And those tiny two sizes too small Soffe shorts were NOT made for everyone.

My mom once told me that she heard Dr. Phil say you teach people how to treat you.  I think that is inherently true.  And whoever it is that I fall in love with someday will treat me like a green zebra.  And I hope that some day more of the youth will learn that being a green zebra is far more rewarding in the long run, and that this whole push for drunken drug induced sexfests is really not the best way to go in life. 

Hopefully, somewhere out there on the horizon, is a good lookin male green zebra (don't judge, even green zebras appreciate beauty).  Until then I will continue to be this solo green zebra in a sea of black and white. Pin It Now!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Books That Change Your Life

Every now and then, I come across a book that changes my life.  And not just your standard the Bible changed my life story.  Which, don't get me wrong, it did.  But lately I have come across two books in very unconventional ways that have changed my life.

Book the first: "Heaven" by Randy Alcorn.  I had mentioned this book in earlier blogs and I will mention it in future blogs I am sure.  This book is fantastic.  It not only offers you someone's view on Heaven but provides scriptures to back them up, scriptures to refute other misconceptions, and explanation of times and meanings for things that people tend to misconstrue in scripture today.  Alcorn gets down on such a blatantly simple level to appeal to your mind in the sense of "why would you think that when the whole rest of your life does not follow that".  For instance, the strange belief that we will not know other people or remember our past lives once we get to Heaven.  Alcorn offers up scripture on why he thinks this is completely without merit and also makes the reader think about how little sense that makes.  We are creatures so inherently tuned to know others and to make memories and bonds because each of us is made in God's image.  We bond with others because we were made to bond with God, and through others we see pieces of his whole.

I discovered this book thanks to twitter.  A lot of people have made fun of me for being on twitter, most likely assuming I do it because it is the "cool thing" to do.  But that is not the case.  I am on twitter for multiple reasons:
  • To be more likely to be able to talk to people I will probably never have the honor of meeting
  • To get up to the minute updates from all types of news sources
  • To follow subjects and people that interest me or that I look up to
  • To always know which players are in and which are out of the football games for the weekend so I can rearrange my fantasy football accordingly.
Yea, fantasy football started all of this believe it or not.  Regardless, one night as I was having a raging panic attack after contemplating the vastness of the universe, the unimaginable thought of being around for eternity, and an intense fear of just not being able to really wrap my mind around anything with all the competing principles on Heaven I had heard over the years, I did what any technologically advanced human would do:

Tweet to Lee Strobel.

Lee Strobel wrote books that began the big change in my life.  I look up to Lee Strobel, and I rarely look up to people.  "The Case for Faith" and the "Case for Christ" spoke to both sides of me that I could never get to speak to each other: my side craving religion, and my side adoring science.  That, however, is another blog in and of itself.  So I tweet to Lee Strobel and explain that I have fears about eternity and ask for a book suggestion (in less than 140 characters of course).  He suggests the Randy Alcorn book and so sets the ball in motion for what may be my most interesting round of thought and journey to date.

As I have said before, I have my skeptic moments.  I will not for one minute pretend that every day I wake up and am fully convinced of ANYTHING in life.  I have a full ride scholarship for academics and there are still days I question whether I am smart enough to make it in my courses.  I am a natural skeptic for whatever reason, and incredibly hard on myself.

But I digress.  I buy the book on amazon and eventually started reading it.  I was almost scared to read it honestly it seemed because I was just so unsure of how my mind would react.  But I am nearing the last 1/4 of the book (it is a bigger book and takes a while to really get through) and I must say it has really helped answer questions that I had.  It has made me think of so many different ideas and question my own skepticism, but again those are stories that will need to wait for another blog.

The second book that is changing my life is "Blue Like Jazz" by Donald Miller.  If I was ever going to start a movement of buying every person I know the same book it would be this book.  He is so incredibly honest about his journeys, struggles, belief, and issues in Faith.  I love it.  He says things that I feel like every single believer has had to deal with or continues to struggle with but never wants to admit it. 

Parts of his book talk about how superficial and self centered that faith and believers can get sometime.  For instance, are you on some mission just to be on it or do you legitimately care about what you are doing?  It's like protestors.  Do you even know what you are protesting for, or are you doing it because it is cool?  That is just the tip of the iceberg of all the things he calls attention to and it is so refreshing because these are the things we need to talk about these are the things I think we inherently want to talk about but no one wants to own up to them.  He says in his book "the whole world is falling apart because nobody wants to admit they are wrong".  And its true.  We are all wrong on something I guarantee it but no one wants to admit it.  Every single person wants to think that their way is right but is that even possible?

To anyone who may read this blog today I am begging you to buy and read this book. It is $11 or less on amazon and I promise you it is not a Bible beating holier-than-thou book.  It is also not a faith-bashing-Christians-are-terrible book.  It is something along the lines of "this is my journey and what I came to know as real Faith".  I just started it today and I am on page 113 after not being able to put it down at lunch.  I already bought it for my friend for her birthday and shipped it to her and her birthday is not for weeks.  If I was running for president, I'd make my whole campaign about people reading this book, it is that interesting. 

Oh and the weird way I ended up with that book was buying it for my cousin and then her mom telling me she had already got it for her for her birthday, and so I kept it.  And I am so glad I did.  There will be more blogs about this book sure to follow.  But seriously, buy it, check it out, read it on your kindle, anything.  Just read the book. Pin It Now!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Warning Labels and Caution Tape

Everyone always jokes about the infamous McDonald's case where the lady sued them for her coffee being hot and burning her.  You know, the reason that now they have to label the fact that your coffee is hot because it burning through the cup and requiring you to use one of those cardboard things wasn't enough to give it away in the first place. 

Regardless, in light of the obvious labels that now have to take up excess space on packaging and increase prices for that whole extra inch of print, I have decided to make a few of my own labels that I think should be on various objects that one may encounter in daily life.

On shave gel:
  • WARNING: Standing like a flamingo in the shower may cause injury, broken bones, muscle sprains, and blows to your ego.
  • CAUTION: Using product in drafty bathrooms or with bipolar showers may cause skin to get goosebumps, leading to razor burn, bumps, cuts, and possible loss of confidence in dating situations.
  • DO NOT attempt to shave legs during episodes of hiccups, coughs, or in any instances of shaking.
Seriously, shave gel is dangerous.  And that is without the thought of the five blades giving you the closest shave or largest scar ever.  You practically have to be a gymnast or a contortionist to safely shave in the shower, especially in a college apartment.  There is no such thing as one of those fancy seats that you can sit on, there is always a breeze no matter what you do so you have to stay under the hot water and creatively stand on one leg and fold yourself up like an accordion to get all the angles.

But talk about a great workout.

Other warning labels I would add to life:
  • WARNING: Consuming Jenna's Italian cheese ball may lead to over indulgence, obsession, and possibly sickness if consumption of the whole ball occurs.
  • CAUTION: Sliding down a narrow hallway in socks may result in dizzyness, nausea, and potential bruises.
  • DO NOT attempt to use mascara when sick or prone to sneezing.  Mascara brushes to the eye will result in intense pain, possible cursing, and starting all over on your eye makeup.
  • NEVER try to argue with a girl to convince her something is a date.  If she says it isn't, it isn't.
  • IF you value your lungs, do not buy hairspray such as AquaNet.
Every day items, they will getcha.  I can see why a lot of women stop shaving after they have been with someone for a long time.  It is an accident waiting to happen.  You could slice a serious vein here.

Dear Scientists of the World, forget about the gene that can make chickens more like velociraptors, and find the gene that can switch off leg hair.  I'M BEGGING YOU! Put that crazy grant money to good use.  Pin It Now!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Oh Happy Day

Well since this is my little corner of the ever widening web, I can do with it what I will.  And that includes throwing my own little celebration and letting out all of my excitement over my recent news!

First, I won an iPod Shuffle.  I was so excited!  I don't win things all that often, so it is pretty exciting, even though I could have bought my own for like $50 bucks.  But it is so much nicer when someone else wants to give you a $50 present.  Especially since I don't have $50 to blow on an iPod Shuffle...

WHICH does relate to the fact that I bought 2 pairs of shoes on, but they were buy one get one free.

I was celebrating for winning a $1000 scholarship a few days ago.  I was not sure I was going to get it and then out of nowhere they emailed me back and they gave it to me! It is for doing an internship, and the internship is unpaid, so it definitely evens out.  It doesn't require all that much paperwork or anything so it should be pretty nice.  I just have to remember to do a short blurb tomorrow that they may use in their ads or whatever.  My 15 minutes of fame, yes?

Next celebration.  I also found out today that I can go on an expenses-paid trip to DC and surrounding places with my Honors group. I am on a full ride here at school and have been a part of this group all four years, though I have not been nearly as active in it as I should have.  So the mere fact that they are extending the offer after I could not go last year is amazing.  My best friend was getting married during the trip last year which was out west to the Grand Canyon.  And you just don't miss your best friend's wedding.  The GC will wait.

This DC thing works out great though, I might not have ever really gone there using my own money as there are other places I'd prefer to visit first, but this is amazing! I am super excited to see the capital and everything and if we fly it will be my first time on a plane (which I wish I had not just realized because that is kind of scaring me). 

So YAY!! Celebrate! WOOHOO! I am very happy.  Now if I can just get some graduate assistantships and my Master's degree paid for, it will be the perfect cap. 

As for the inevitable buzz kill, I have a mountain of cleaning to do.  A mountain.  So tomorrow, I will internship, video blurb, and clean clean clean the night away.  Intermixed with copious amounts of yummy food and good cooking.  Of course.  You can't just not have that :).

Is anyone else getting messed up by this crazy weather? It has been insanely warm here comparatively.  I figured that my skin would be fine with this.  You see, every winter my legs break out extremely bad and get ultra dry and chapped so to speak and it sucks.  SO I figured that with the warmer weather they would hold their moisture and I would not have to deal with this.  But for some strange reason my legs are on fire, I swear I am havin hot flashes or something, or else it is just because it is warmer outside and the heater in the complex is still on no doubt.  But mountain dew doesn't even taste as good as usual and I have been drinking tons of water.  And my skin on my face looks like it is wrinkling.  So I must be somewhat dehydrated.  But I don't see how with all that dumb water and tea and whatnot.  I don't think my body understands how much it needs to like the taste of dew again. 

Yea, yea you probably didn't wanna know all that.  But that's the beauty of blogging, you never had the chance to tell me to shut up :).

Live long and prosper, yes? Pin It Now!