Something to know about me - I am a picky eater. If I don’t like something, I won’t eat it. However, I am very open to trying new things and new experiences. Just because I hate seaweed and know this does not mean I have never re-tried sushi in different rolls to test it, even though the seaweed is still what usually gets me about it. With this I have tried a lot of different foods in restaurants or when cooking and I am pretty open to trying most things (excluding tomato pastes). This is an important disclaimer before I start the story below.
I was eating at a restaurant in Stillwater with a few friends on early summer evening. It was a Japanese Hot Pot style restaurant where the hot pots of liquid sit at your table and you cook the meat yourself called Tokyo Pot. This is one of my favorite restaurants, and I was quite excited to show it to my friends who had never been. It is important to recognize that this is not the place for everyone, and some people can be turned off by cooking your own food and the raw egg/meat openly at the table. One person in our group felt this way. She was very polite, but you could tell that she really was not enjoying the experience.
The owner of Tokyo Pot, a kind man named Dean, was known at the time for often visiting guests and introducing new ways to try different combinations of ingredients and cooking strategies. Dean came by our table to introduce himself and could immediately see our friend’s skepticism and distaste for her meal. He tried to help by offering to cook the meat in different ways, showing her techniques, and even attempted to make a prime rib taco with cooked meat and a lettuce leaf. My friend wouldn’t try it and kept saying she felt as though it was not sanitary and that since her mom is a biologist she just doesn’t want to risk salmonella poisoning, etc. It was then that Dean said something that will stick with me for the rest of my life. He said, “No, no mam, just try it! Don’t be a… hibiscus! While the hibiscus flower is beautiful, it will wilt in the rain. No, no… Be an orchid! Orchids are strong.”
Now, this was an extremely embarrassing experience for my friend, and I hate that she felt pressured, but I still felt like as a group we took a lot away from what Dean said. All teasing aside, as young women there can be a lot of pressure to act or be a certain way, and while society is moving towards encouraging strong women, it is still often expected of us to have a “softer” side that will wilt under pressure. I've thought about this interaction a lot, and I can see it from both sides. On one hand, my friend was being strong because she was standing by how she felt and not allowing herself to be pressured into doing something she didn’t want to. On another hand, I think we could all (myself included) benefit from being more adventurous at times and not wilting away from a challenge. What are some of your thoughts? Different people have different take-aways and perspectives, I am curious on what some of yours might be!
Hello and welcome to my blog! Today I wanted to give a highlight to my adorable 14 week old Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Ace. My husband and I introduced this sweet puppy to our family when he was 10 weeks old and have overcome many obstacles including thunder, hookworms, training, meeting new dogs, meeting new people, and getting to know our first born son, an orange tabby cat named Leo. Here is a short summary of the first 4 weeks and how Ace has integrated into our home and gained a permanent place in our hearts <3
Week 1 - Age: 10 Weeks Old
Ace came in as a happy ball of pure joy! He has a very expressive face and is not afraid to give a little side eye. I slept on the kitchen floor next to him the first night as we introduced crate training. We also wanted him to feel welcomed and to bond with our family. The first 30 minutes of Ace entering our home my cat attacked him. This is something that I had a hard time finding any information about online, but my “sweet” Leo started out with a sniff and immediately followed it with hissing, biting, and aggressive chasing. Poor Ace hid under our ottoman. This showed us that Leo was not ready so we kept him in our guest bedroom/bathroom area (it is rather large and has always been “his” room) while Ace adjusts.
Due to this, Ace was under a lot of stress and started vomiting a lot, as well as refusing to eat. I stayed up with him until past midnight when he finally ate and fell asleep. The next morning I was not feeling well so I stayed home to both get better and to help Ace adjust. All morning he was great; we played, we trained, and we really bonded. Unfortunately, by mid-afternoon Ace was vomiting again, all of his stool was runny, and he’d stopped eating. I called the vet and they had my husband and I rush him in to get a parvovirus exam.
Ace *thankfully* was parvo-free, but did have some hookworms and generally bad bacteria. They put him on an antibiotic, a probiotic, and a new food to help him heal. Adam and I kept working on crate training, play time, and started feeding Ace and Leo at the same time on opposite sides of Leo’s bedroom door. As the week went on Ace continued vomiting up the antibiotic almost every other time he was given it and the runny stool continued. On Saturday morning, there was blood in his stool and he vomited twice, so I full-on panicked. I called our vet, the emergency vet hospital nearby, and really anyone I could to get some advice. The emergency hospital said they believed it could still be the parvovirus and wanted us to come in with a ton of additional weekend fees. We were so grateful that one of the veterinarians at our regular office offered to come in that afternoon to see Ace and re-run the parvovirus exam. He came back negative, but the hookworms were still very prominent. Worms can cause blood in stool and for him to feel lethargic so they stepped up the antibiotic and the regulated food. We also changed how we gave him the food, and thus concluded a very stressful week 1.
Week 2 - Age: 11 Weeks Old
Week 2 was the light at the end of the tunnel for us. Ace started feeling noticeably better, he was still sleeping 6 hours through the night, and Leo had finally come around. After using tips on slow introduction Ace and Leo had become fast friends within a week and a half, and now play together regularly. The medicine seemed to be working for Ace and we started working on introducing him to new noises, sounds, people, terrain, and other things recommended to desensitize puppies.
For starters, we took Ace to work with us one afternoon to meet the office. They adored him and he behaved very well! He didn’t jump on people but also showed them attention, he also seemed less snippy than he sometimes gets when playing at home. We took him on longer walks during this week to walk on many different areas, as well as tried a whole mess of ideas to introduce him to the world! Here is a file of what we did:
Lastly, Ace was introduced to a new feline friend this week. A very skittish cat named Little Man was introduced when we visited a friend’s house one evening and Ace responded very well. He allowed Little Man to smell him and then went about his business, almost ignoring the cat completely. One thing to keep in mind - most puppies, but (whether due to breed or personality) my puppy chews on EVERYTHING. Nothing is off limits in his world from the leg of the coffee table to our living room rug, and even as far as the cat’s mice toys. This has been a big focus with training through re-directing attention and encouraging chewing on specific toys/treats. I’m hoping if we keep working on it he’ll move out of this phase, but has probably been the most trying part of raising a new pup.
Week 3 - Age: 12 Weeks Old
Ace is having a blast this week! He still has hookworms so a new medication was needed, but we had an appointment for 12 week shots so we knocked out two birds with one stone. We also really stepped up our training, shout out to Zak George and all of his tips and tricks! His new series about training his own puppy has helped us immensely. It really aided with Ace’s first bath as well as his first large event. Adam and I have a dream of helping Ace become a therapy dog that can join OSU’s Pete’s Pet Posse and help students on our campus, so taking him to the Welcome Week event Library Lawn Party was a perfect practice/exposure night. I went with two friends and we walked him around the outside of the library where Ace probably meet over 100 people that wanted to stop by and pet him. He did wonderfully! He seemed to really enjoy it but also stayed rather calm.
Week 4 - Age: 13 Weeks Old
This has been an incredible and almost entirely potty accident free week! The only kicker - Ace has stopped sleeping through the night as well and now wakes up for potty breaks every 3-4 hours. While this is what we expected for the first week and have been spoiled, we have adjusted accordingly and have shifts for who takes him out when. We’ve been able to help Ace slow down when he is eating (Corgi’s are very food motivated and will just gobble up their whole bowl of food at once if you let them) and using it to our advantage to teach him how to “lie down”. He has learned the “sit” command to the point that we can tell him with distractions around and he will respond (most of the time), but lie down has been a slower process.
We have also started working on introducing Ace to other dogs. He has up-close met 3 dogs as of this week including: Leo - the very large but gentle rottweiler/lab mix, Sadie - A medium-sized terrier mix, and Winston - a miniature Australian shepherd just over 7 months old. While Ace still barks at other dogs upon first meeting them, he is starting to be more relaxed overall during interactions and is becoming more respectful of their space.
While there is still a ton of training to do, a lot of learning for Adam and I as well as Ace to be had, and plenty of adventures to come; this is where we are currently! I hope you’ll enjoy the occasional post as we continue this adventure!
My friends call us hipsters, our families call us weird, but my husband Adam and I prefer the title “Coffee Snobs”. We drink coffee. A lot of coffee. Maybe in less quantities now than we did while we were both in graduate school, but definitely in a larger variety of ways. We currently have a standard drip coffee maker, a french press, a pour-over, an espresso machine (with milk frother), a cold brew maker, and (our personal favorite) a whipped cream canister we have started making nitro-brewed coffee with.
Our love affair with nitro cold brew coffee came from Starbucks’ promotions this summer. We found ourselves spending over $150 a month getting ourselves each a grande nitro-brew with sweet creme almost every other day. We realized we either needed to cut back completely or learn how to make it ourselves, and as self proclaimed “coffee snobs”, we decided to do some research.
Ronnoco actually has a great mini history to the nitro brewed coffee and how it was first created in 2013 by Nate Armburst, a food scientist in Portland, OR. The concept is simple, infusing nitrogen gas (N2O) into coffee for a thicker, smoother drink. It also reduces the acidity of the coffee and has a natural sweetness with no added milk or sugar. Generally the process is viewed as fairly expensive, considering the added cost of nitrogen canisters and the extra steps involved in brewing; especially since you will want to use cold-brewed coffee in this process. We started to ask ourselves what it would look like on a more individual level, and if making it for only 2 people would be worth it or crazy expensive.
The answer is, it is so worth it to nitro brew at home. This past month we have saved so much money doing it ourselves now that we know how. To start, we looked for a stainless steel whipped cream dispenser canister that could hold at least 1 pint at a time. This way we knew that we could fill a full coffee tumbler for work in one go. We also bought a pack of 50 N2O Cream Chargers to go with the whipped cream canister. To really get into it, we also bought a cold brew coffee maker.
Now for the “how”. You will want to start with cold brew coffee, so follow the instructions on your cold-brewer for this part. We typically add in coffee grounds to the cold brew coffee maker, and let that sit for 12-24 hours at room temperature before we plan to drink coffee (so the morning or night before). We have found that using a course/french press grind does a better job of keeping sediment from being in the coffee.
Once you have your cold-brewed coffee, it’s go-time. We follow the recommended instructions to put the cold coffee into the whipped cream canister, screw the lid onto the main base of the canister, and crack the N2O cream charger into the lid of the canister, which is so satisfying. Then we simply invert the canister, and spray the coffee out of the nozzle into our cup or tumbler. I have found that adding a sweet creme flavored creamer (or any creamer of your choice) to the bottom of the cup/tumbler and dispensing the coffee over it has given it the exact “starbucks” flavor I was going for; but you can also add it in afterwards. The longer the coffee sits the more it loses the bubbles (like a soda going flat) that make it smoother, so enjoying it promptly is highly recommended. Be careful when unscrewing the canister lid, you should release all of the remaining N2O before doing so, preferably over the sink since a small amount of remaining coffee may still spray out.
While the start up fee was approximately $105 ($15 for our favorite coffee beans to grind, $27 for cold brew coffee maker, $27 for whipped cream canister, $30 for a 50 pack of N2O cream chargers, $3 for coffee creamer) it still saved us almost $50 the first month having it. Comparatively, it costs us around $1.50 per person for every home use, versus the Starbucks cost of $3.95 per drink. The amount of money we have been saving by doing it at home is crazy, and we’ve also loved how easy it is to just have iced coffee at home in general, even without nitro brewing it. Plus whenever I make cakes now, I can easily make great homemade whipped cream!
For more information behind why Nitro Cold Brew Coffee has truly boomed in the U.S., check out: https://www.thrillist.com/drink/nation/what-is-nitro-cold-brew-coffee-trend.
So, I am a big eggs for breakfast kind of gal. They are packed with protein and you can mix a ton of ingredients with them, which is a huge plus. They can also be pretty low-calorie if you try hard enough. I love that one quiche can serve my husband and I a quick and delicious microwave breakfast Monday-Thursday after a quick meal prep Sunday evening. It cuts down on cooking time and helps us get out the door.
Below I have my own favorite quiche recipe, but you can spice yours up any way you want! Add or change some vegetables for others, a lot of my friends prefer bacon or ham to turkey, I’ve even gone as far as to add chicken and mushrooms to go for a really different flavor. A key ingredient I’ve found though, is when you are adding in your preferred spices a small splash of maple syrup can really bring out a sweet flavor in the eggs that is phenomenal. I’ve also done weeks where I’ll go for 4 eggs and 3-4 egg whites to increase the protein intake.
1/4 cup Milk (I used unsweetened almond milk but any milk will do)
Chopped Deli Turkey
3 Slices Thin Cheddar Cheese
3 cups Spinach
1 Pie Crust (I used the Pillsbury ready made pie crust)
Pinches of Garlic, Salt, Pepper, Rosemary, Maple Syrup, McCormick BBQ Powder, Sriracha, & Curry (this is all truly to taste/preference, add or remove any spices you like)
I had some spare red onion slices and orange bell pepper so we threw those in for fun
Bake pie crust for pie crust recommended amount of time and then let cool.
Whisk 6 eggs and milk in a bowl, then add in spices of choice and stir in
Put spinach in the pie crust
Put the turkey in the pie crust
Throw in other ingredients (onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, bacon, etc.)
Pour egg mixture evenly on top
Place cheese slices to cover all ingredients
Bake for 25 minutes at 425F (or until eggs are no longer runny inside)
Let cool, then serve or refrigerate.
26 may seem like a weird age to have a “bucket list by” type of post, but as someone about to turn 25 I wanted to set reasonable, attainable, and timely goals; “SMART” goals if you will. My golden birthday is going to be my 26th birthday, so I thought now would be a great time to really think about what goals I have for the next 13 months. So here is my 26 by 26 list:
You may start to notice that some of these overlap with my “summer goals” list, and that is ok. I did accomplish some of my summer goals, but I think giving myself a little over a year may make them more attainable. I’m also going to try to make posts as I accomplish different ones about them to hold myself accountable. What are the things you would add if you were making your own bucket list?
As school is starting back at Oklahoma State University it has been bittersweet to not be starting any fall classes. While it sparked a fun conversation between some of my friends from graduate school, it has become very real that we are starting our first school year as full time professionals. I’ve always loved working and typically had a hard time prioritizing my classwork over my jobs/assistantships because I loved them so much. I’m in a new role that I love equally as much but I’ve found myself missing the assigned reading and creative process of being in a class. This has challenged me to stay up to date by checking The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, as well as look up research articles about topics I’m interested in learning more about. With this, I’ve started assigning myself reading and a project to work towards for this fall semester.
Along with my “books for fun” list, I’d like t o read The First Amendment on Campus by Lee E. Bird, Mary Beth Mackin, & Saundra K. Schuster. I chose this book because Dr. Bird taught my higher ed law class at OSU and gave me the opportunity to be her intern for her last semester at OSU. Higher education laws and policies have become a passion of mine, so I’d like to read a few books to learn more about it.
As for a project, I realized this year that I serve a population of students in which a good percentage of them are heavily involved in Greek Life. This is an area that outside of class discussions, the participation of my friends & relatives, and general media, I don’t know much about. I have had students feel failed by the process, and I’ve had students love Greek Life and all of the opportunities it gave them. I’ve had fellow classmates pass away from the horrors of hazing, but I’ve seen my sister grow and become a leader because of Delta Zeta. It’s an area that I’d like to research. Specifically at OSU and our recruitment process, I would like to have a research study that measures the general self esteem of our female students who start the process. Ideally it would have surveys they’d take before the process starts, during the process, after bid day, and a few weeks into the semester. It would also be interesting to gain some qualitative information on why some students choose to leave the process and how that affects their self esteem. Another add on would be looking at the grades of students who went through recruitment at the end of the semester and comparing the overall to students who did not participate, as well as students who stayed vs. students who left.
To learn more about this area, I am looking into the research others have done and am trying to create an intense literature review this semester. Maybe if at the end I’m still interested I could use it to write a research proposal of sorts and see ask our Greek Life department if I’d be allowed to perform it. They might not, but I’m going to do some reading up on that area nonetheless. If anyone has any recommended articles or books, let me know! I’d love to learn more about this population of students.
I love buttermilk pie. It is a southern staple, not to be confused with a chess pie, that I became obsessed with when moving to Lubbock, TX in 2013. The Slaton Bakery in Slaton, TX as you drive in from Highway 84 is incredible, and makes a mean buttermilk pie. While this is where the love affair started, it only grew when I discovered Biti Pies in Amarillo, TX. The pies were already worth driving a two-three hour round trip on a friend’s birthday, but when they started selling their smaller pies on the Texas Tech campus I became obsessed. This may have resulted in what I called the Senior-10-pound weight gain that I blamed on a stressful graduate school search, but they were worth every bit of it.
After moving to Oklahoma I went two years without a slice of buttermilk pie, and I started to really miss it. I used to love grabbing a mini pie or splitting one with my friends when we were having a rough day or just wanted to treat ourselves. After becoming homesick for Texas, specifically Lubbock, I started trying to make a buttermilk pie to satisfy my cravings. I also took the extra pie to work and my coworkers loved it so much they finished the whole pie before lunch. This recipe in particular makes two pies, and while I did not make the pie crust from scratch I think I will next time to see what it adds to the dish!
This summer has been filled with what I at first considered to be impulsive decisions, but to be more positive, I have decided to consider them to be “spontaneous” instead. While these words mean similar things, there are different connotations I carry with me when I think of them in different ways. To be impulsive is to act without thinking at all and (for me) usually results in poor decisions made on the fly. But, to be spontaneous (by my own inner definition) is to think quickly and to make a semi-educated decision I’ve been choosing not to make. Knowing this, it is also important to know that google defines them as:
Spontaneous - performed or occurring as a result of a sudden inner impulse or inclination and without premeditation or external stimulus.
Impulsive - acting or done without forethought.
As a person, I usually have a lot of forethought. I think or “manifest” something for a long time, convincing myself I don’t need it or that the timing is wrong. Then, one day, I will suddenly decide “today is the day and I am doing this!”. For instance, this summer I adopted Ace, my adorable and sweet pembroke welsh corgi puppy.
I’ve wanted a dog for a long time, and Adam and I have debated a second pet (cat or dog) for months. We moved into a new apartment that is much larger, own our own furniture, and with graduate school ending I’ve had a lot of free time. On top of that, I’ve honestly just been lonely since a lot of my friends from graduate school have moved away. Meeting new people takes time, and I’ve been missing the extra responsibilities work, an internship, and graduate school combined brought me. So, one night, Adam and I decided to adopt a puppy from an ad we found near the mailboxes at our apartment.
One week in, it felt like an impulsive decision. We were sleep deprived, sweet Ace was having tummy trouble and bad hook worms that resulted in multiple vet visits, our cat Leo did not like Ace, and we had not spent an evening together as we took turns watching the dog and working or hanging out with friends. I can proudly say that two and a half weeks in, I realized that our spontaneous decision has been SO rewarding. We love Ace, Leo has also grown fond of his presence, and it has encouraged us to live a healthier lifestyle. We get up significantly earlier and take multiple morning walks before work, we meal prep more consistently, we go to bed earlier, and we have found a much more set routine for our lives.
Next impulsive decision - I decided to surprise Adam with a trip to Portland, Oregon for his Birthday/Christmas because I found a crazy good deal on Southwest for flights. Ever since we met over 3 years ago Adam and I have wanted to visit Portland. Neither of us have ever been, and every 3-6 months or so we’ll look at flights together and decide “it is too expensive” and “we really can’t afford it right now”. But (also 4 weeks ago) I found a flight deal and I could not resist. I booked the flights for January and jumped all in!
For a few days I was filled with excitement of looking at things to do, where we will stay, and how to tell my husband. Once I did he was thrilled as well! But after a week passed I started having buyers remorse. My bank account was hurting even with the deal, and I wondered if I’d made an impulsive mistake. Thankfully, as I sat down and really focused on my finances, I realized that our plan is very doable, and that we can afford it. I also really focused on the realization that we do deserve to take this kind of trip. We work hard throughout the week and we should travel while we still have the time.
Overall, I’ve learned that perception can change everything. It is not worth giving myself anxiety over decisions that I’ve already made, and most of the time the decisions end up being positive after some time passes. Anyway, here are some cute pictures of my dog:
This summer I made a promise to myself to read more books. I have always loved to read, but since starting my junior year in high school I gave up reading for fun because of all the assigned reading material. I’ve been in college classes every summer since beginning my B.A. in 2013, and this was the first summer I truly had the time. A close friend recommended Book of the Month to get started, and I may have went overboard and ordered waaay too many books, but it has been so worth it! So far I have read:
Beyond the Point by Claire Gibson,
A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum,
and I have started The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger
as well as Dominicana by Angie Cruz.
So far, it has been great! Beyond the Point gave me an incredible insight to West Point, our female veterans that are deployed as well as on base, and the experiences of people who attended West Point during 9/11. A Woman is No Man has moved up to one of my all time favorite books, and gave me an incredible insight to a culture I did not know much about. The great thing about it is that because of the book, even though it is focused on the experiences of three women and that can’t speak for an entire population, it has helped me relate with my international students that are coming from Pakistan. I’ve used the book as a conversation starter and have been able to learn so much from my students and what their lives are like at home as well as their experiences coming to the U.S.
If you are interested in Book of the Month, you should definitely check it out! If you use the link below you can get two books your first month for the price of one:
I also bought (to add to my reading list):
The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen
The Reckless Oath We Made by Bryn Greenwood
Recursion by Blake Crouch
If you've read any of these books, or have any reading suggestions, let me know!
So, I have not posted in a while. I've had a million different thoughts on what to post about throughout this summer, but settled for adding a post every day this week to catch up. To start - here are some updates on my summer cooking projects!
Above is a picture of my attempt at biscuits from scratch. This was my third and favorite attempt! While they turned out a little dark on top for some, it was because I added a butter honey glaze before baking, so they are not burned. An official recipe to come!
Brie and Jam croissants were another fan fav for this summer. We baked thinly sliced brie with fig jam and sprinkled almonds inside and on top. They were phenomenal!
We made a delicious duck for dinner! The small duck thighs were pan fried with apples and carrots to compliment the wild game. We soaked the duck in milk for over 24 hours to really get the gaminess out of it and it worked out very well.
And we made bread! So. Much. Bread. We made chocolate chip banana bread, beer bread, and homemade white bread as pictured above. It was amazing! And so so delicious. But... my husband and I both put on about 7 pounds over the course of June, so we had to cut back on the new recipes for a while and try a new diet regimen. This sparked a variety of new dishes!
One of our favorites is breakfast quiche! We use almond milk, and more egg whites than full eggs. This really gave us a chance to pack it with yummy veggies, and try some new cheeses!
The diet also inspired some chicken skewers.
And a chicken salad that replaces mayonnaise with blended cashews! The texture was different, but it was delicious! We got the idea from Basics with Babish on Youtube.
Even with all of these healthy ventures, we couldn't resist ending the summer last night with a delicious Carbonara. We used bacon as the protein, and a wonderful egg and Parmesan cheese combo for the sauce. It was the perfect way to end the summer!
Feel free to inquire about any recipes you'd like, I would have shared them in this post but it would have made it extremely long with all of the food I wanted to cover. Happy back to school month everyone!
I am a student affairs professional, an amateur chef, and an adventurer at heart.
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