week 4

Grad school continues! (And continues… I just finished week 7 and this is my week 4 update. Going to have a bit of a time warp to catch up on posting!)

We begin week 4 with a fabulous weekend. It started with a relaxing getaway to Jordan Lake.

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Steve and Adrienne (his super cool work friend) grilled away. I, rocking my usual sunlight induced headache and nausea (because I am a vampire?), sat on a blanket in the shade chatting with people.

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It was a great barbecue with the tiniest of hitches that no one remembered plates. Fortunately, we’d all perused the Free Will Astrology column in the Indy paper (which is a hoot) and had newpaper plates/utensils. I had a Paleo lunch, hahahaha.

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Later that day, I was a baby matchmaker! We have friends with a 14-month-old little girl and friends with a six month old little girl and I went BUT THE BABIES MUST BE BEST FRIENDS!

It worked pretty well. Little T was enthralled by big A. A is getting to be soooooooooo mobile. I spent most of the time chasing her around to give her mom and dad a break. It was lots of fun; she just wandered around (we were on the lawn of Weaver Street Market, where the entire town of Carrboro hangs out when the weather is nice). She’d go up to random tables of people, throw open her arms, and exclaim “Heeeeeeeeeeeeey!” like a teenage girl 🙂

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The next day Steve and I had a nice lunch at a pizzeria in Hillsborough and the people at the table next to us HAD BROUGHT THEIR TWO PARROTS TO THE RESTAURANT WHAT?! Yet another advantage of outdoor dining (though I think about bird flu and still shudder a little when I see this picture)

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Parrots like pizza. These were the most entertaining dining companions I have ever had.

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Lunch was great, too!

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This was a white pizza with lobster (swoon) and scrambled eggs, given some zippiness with green onions and herbs.

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Nice crisp crust, too. Man, home pizza just can’t top restaurant pizza.

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And this vegetable side dish, which the nutrition girl forced us to get, was actually SUPER good too! Parmesan helped, for sure 🙂 But I always appreciate when restaurants appreciate seasonal vegetables and don’t do too much to them (these were still al dente!)

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WHAT a treat we had in my Nutrition Counseling, Communication and Culture class this week! We went to Mama Dips, the most critically acclaimed soul food restaurant in Chapel Hill (if not all of North Carolina) and got a talk about traditional Southern food from Mama Dip herself!

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So great to see someone older who is just 100% with it with so many great stories to tell. It’s also interesting, we hear so much about unhealthy Southern food, but a lot of the elderly folks from this area I’ve talked to have really emphasized the importance of vegetables (ideally ones you’ve grown yourself) in the diet.

That is not to say there weren’t cookies. These were made by her granddaughter, Tanya (who grow up with playing with my professor, who was the one who got us the introduction) and they were the lightest, airiest, richest wonders. In pecan praline, chocolate mint, and (my favorite, for the melty chocolate morsels within) chocolate. YUM!

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As for home cooking, I tried to get a little creative this week. Steve and I had gotten some spring roll wrappers to use for ravioli, and we had a whole leftover pack with which to experiment.

First I made… spring rolls! I chopped up raw cabbage (in the future I’d cook it a bit; I like my spring rolls crunchy but this as excessive) and tofu and then drizzled it in a yummy peanut sauce (coconut milk, peanut butter, soy sauce, Sriracha, garlic powder, rice vinegar… think that was it?). Then baked off. Execution wasn’t perfect but they were still good.

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The real highlight, though, I have to say were these.

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I’d also had some leftover ricotta after our ravioli making, so I browsed the Internet for ideas and came upon DESSERT RAVIOLI! Here’s what I did:

– Made the filling: mashed up banana, plums, ricotta, stevia, a little lemon zest, and mixed together.

– Cut the spring roll wrappers in half and filled each with a tablespoon or so of the filling (this wasn’t very runny so I could fill them with a decent amount of filling; I hate ravioli with too little filling)

– Fried the ravioli in a little coconut oil on both sides, then added a little water to the pan and covered to let them finish steaming and heat through.

DELISH! And not terribly unhealthy!

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While that was a culinary triumph, I’ve become too reliant on buying “a little something” on campus…. most days! Yes, Umpqua oats are awesome, but they’re like $4 for $.50 of ingredients.

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Truth: the last time I was a full time student I was in the throes of some seriously messed up eating habits. So, I didn’t spend a great deal on spontaneous snacks because the food I ate was devoid of spontaneity (or, largely, joy, but that’s another post). I’d measure out my apple slices and 7 almonds and that was the snack, period. Actually responding to hunger cues now (what a concept) marks a healthy transition for me personally, but it can’t work this way if my current spending habits and current income (aka none) continue. 

Also, there is a certain sense of shame that comes with being a master’s nutrition student and bringing something wholly artificial to class. However, being a master’s nutrition student often entails needing caffeine to get through it all. C’est la vie.

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