Moved

Hey bloggies- visit my new site at workoutsnweekends.wordpress.com. I’m actually going to be regularly chronicling my meals over there, so if that suits your fancy- hit it up!

Nashville bound

Next fall I will be headed to music city usa. WOOOOO. Thanks for sticking with me/not jumping of a building after reading my posts!!

Alternative to Pumpkin Bread Needed!!!

Ok… I’m going to confess- I have an addiction. A serious one. One that I will need the support of many to overcome.

That addiction being my complete devotion to pumpkin bread. I guess you can throw zucchini bread in there too, but ’tis the season for that delicious, warm, sweet, soft, fall snack. Yes, a snack, not a dessert as it often is eaten morning, noon, and night around here.

So, here’s the problem. I baked a single batch on Friday that made three regular sized loaves. Within one day, an entire loaf was gone (minus the heel which made a wonderful addition to oatmeal Sunday morning). Let me just say, I was the only one eating it. I ate an ENTIRE loaf in just about 24 hours. And I don’t even feel bad about it. I just feel like I may need to find a way to satiate this desire when I run out of pumpkin bread (which will be soon, as only 1 whole loaf is left).

In attempts to not eat the last slice of loaf #2 that is staring at me asking to be eaten, I mixed up some canned pumpkin puree and a little Fage 0% greek yogurt. I added a sprinkle of cinnamon and brown sugar but, much to my dismay, it simply is not the same. So, after painfully admitting my situation, I am asking for all of your help. Any suggestions for pumpkin bread alternatives that will keep me happy without the cups of oil, eggs, and flour? Anything, and I mean anything, will be good.

 

Sincerely,

About to turn orange.

(Meaning: this morning I had pumpkin oats, for lunch/afternoon snack I had homemade butternut squash and carrot soup, then mucho pumpkin bread. Maybe an orange complexion will help me look more tan??)

At Last…

Finally, I think things have calmed down. I will submit my early decision application to Vanderbilt in just a few hours. I’m excited and nervous about this decision. I think I have a pretty good chance of getting it, so it was really a huge decision to apply ED (meaning, if I get in, I HAVE to go there, I’m bound to the school). But lets be honest, Vanderbilt is a great school. Nashville is a great city, its seems small to me since I live near Chicago, but I don’t want the hustle and bustle of city life that I’m used to. I love how Vanderbilt seems kind of secluded from the city- the campus is so quiet in the morning! You would never know you were in the heart of Nashville. Also, their facilities are great. I know I’m going to be so happy there.

Funny story- I decided to apply ED a week ago. The apps are due tomorrow. I had no essays written. But, in a week, I have them all written and I’m very pleased with them. Hopefully, the admissions officers like them enough to take me :)

School has calmed down. The quarter ended, so for some reason their was a nice break in homework this past week allowing the perfect opportunity for me to complete my college apps.

Now onto food…

I obviously haven’t had much time to photograph what I eat, but I’ll tell you what I’ve been doing on schooldays. You all are probably going to get mad at me. Let me preface this by saying THIS IS NOT FOR WEIGHT LOSS. It is the only thing that fits in my schedule and doesn’t require me to eat the nasty, high fructose corn syrupy, hydrogenated oil cafeteria food.

Breakfast: Either oatmeal topped with cinnamon, or, more frequently due to time crunch, a Luna Peppermint Stick bar (OMG so good!)

Lunch: … ummm… see… this is where it gets a little difficult. I dont have time in the morning to pack my lunch. So I either throw a little snack in my bag for lunch (my lunch period is around 12:30), or if I forget, I don’t eat at that time. I do, however, eat when I get out of school at 2:40. These lunches have included turkey and cheese with lettuce on whole wheat bread or arnold sandwich thin with 0% Fage, some lettuce/spinach, topped with a Sunshine Falafel burger (delish!). I often eat a ton of random stuff, so don’t worry that I’m not eating enough. I much rather be able to prepare a fresh, healthy meal in my home than eat whatever I can scramble together at school.

Dinner: Whatever mommy makes :) I really haven’t had any desire at all for steak for the past two months, so I generally don’t eat that when she makes it. My mom is great though and will sometimes throw an extra chicken breast on the grill for me.

Dessert: Halloween candy needs to get away from me. Its dangerous. I’ve been trying to eat less chocolate in hopes that my acne will clear up, but I’m pretty sure its coming from all the stress I have on me. I hate acne. Mine has never, ever, been this bad. Yuck.

I did make peanut brittle on a whim yesterday! And its really good too! I was watching Down Home with the Neely’s for like 5 minutes, and in the 5 minutes they made Cashew Brittle. It looked easy enough, so I just went right into the kitchen and cooked some up with peanuts.

Here’s how it went:

1/2 white sugar

1.5 tbs of agave nectar (I didn’t want to use corn syrup like they did)

Cook that up with a candy thermometer. They said wait until it reaches 310 degrees, but my candy thermometer wouldn’t stay so I did it all by sight. When the candy reached a nice coppery color, take it off the heat. Don’t just turn off the stove, actually move the pot to either another burner or the counter. I then added some Planter’s Salted Peanuts (we didn’t have unsalted), about .5 tbs of regular unsalted butter, and about 1/3 ts of baking soda. Stirred it all up, and spread it out on a cookie sheet topped with parchment paper and sprayed with PAM. I let it cool for a good hour or so before I cracked it into little pieces. It was so good! It has just the right amount of hardness to it. I’m not sure how the salted peanuts affected it, I think with unsalted it might be a little bland. Maybe future experiment???

So, I implore you all to try making it. I know it may not be the healthiest thing, but it sure beats all those Snickers and Reeses calling your name.

Also, a cool trick Michael Chiharello showed on his TV show is to fill the pot you used to cook the candy with water. Since the caramel sticks the the sides and won’t come off, boiling some water will dilute the sugar and therefore get your pot caramel free!

 

Calming down… Kind Of.

After my mental breakdown which I managed to capture in my last blog post, I’ve slowly, but surely calmed down. That stupid essay is done (I’ll admit, not my best work) but I’m still struggling with college stuff. After a college counselor meeting on Saturday though I feel much better about my essays. No worries. All college things will get done. I’m no longer as stressed.

In other news, cross country is officially over :( I’m really going to miss it. I made some great friends this year across all of grades and it was so fun. My coach was awesome and I’m sad that I’m a senior and will no longer have the chance to run on the team anymore. Luckily though, my group is going spinning on Wednesday because a friend’s mom owns a spin studio! I’ve spun probably 4 or 5 times and its so fun/hard/amazing. My new work out schedule now that xc is over will definitely include spinning and more cross training work since my shin splints are still hanging around. Anyone have good ideas for workouts for me to stay in shape? I might join Lifetime Fitness, a gym around our area (I’m not sure how far the span from the Chicago area, but maybe the exist around you!). Tons of high schoolers belong there so I’d always have friends to go with and they have classes which is something I’m looking for. My family actually used to belong but my family canceled the membership since I couldn’t drive at the time so it was pointless for everyone but my mom.  I’m excited to start doing some new work outs though!

In other news, my heart goes out to a family who lost their daughter in a hit and run accident. The daughter was in college and was hit while crossing the street. Such a horrible, horrible thing to happen. I’m acquaintances with the brother and have been in classes with him, and I can honestly say he is one of  the nicest and sweetest guys I’ve ever met. I’ve said that even before this awful event occurred. I wish I knew him better so I could be there for him right now. For a moment I considered writing him a note or something telling him that, and in some ways I think it would be a good thing and a bad thing. We’ll see. I don’t see him at school (and obviously he’s won’t be here for a little while) but I hope one day I can be there for him.

I feel like a lot of things going on right now aren’t the greatest, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. First quarter ends this week and after that I hope things will get easier. Who knows. Ok, I’d try to make a decent ending to this post, but I’m so distracted/saddened at the moment that its hard to focus.

Night ya’ll

Frustrations

Each night this weekend has been getting worse and worse. I just want to cry for days. Up to this point, I’ve easily managed my way through life. School has always been easy for me. Sure i’ve had those late nights working on big essays or studying for tests, but never have I had those nights as consistently as now. I thought senior year was supposed to be easy, a breeze.

That is not true. Never have I had more to do at one time, never have I felt this awful about my abilities. At the end of junior year I thought I was set. I had made it through one of the most well-regarded public high schools in the country with straight A’s. Now, I’m beginning to question if I can simply scramble together the bare minimum requirements of each assignment. I don’t understand why teachers are doing this to us. I have never had more assignments to do. Part of the reason I decided not to apply early decision anywhere is because I simply have NO TIME to write the essays or prepare the application. This is NOT how the college process should be. College is more important that a stupid 6 page research essay on the spread of Proto-Indo-European language. Honestly, wtf. The fact that assignments like that paper, or 10 poetry journal entries, or a 5 page participation paper, or a four hundred page book could mean the difference between ending up at a school I want to go to vs ended up at a school I reluctantly choose after not getting into any of my top choices is just so stupid.

You all are probably thinking, why not just not do the assignments and do the college stuff instead?  But I simply cannot do that. Its impossible for me to not do my homework. Up to this point it was been a blessing, but now I’m finding it to be a cruel gift.

Im just so confused and dont understand how I can be making one of the biggest decisions of my life right now. I’m not old enough. I don’t know enough. I can’t think clearly. I don’t know what to do with my life. Everything is falling apart before my very eyes. I just want to be in college, out of high school, in a new place, with new people, not high school.

Something weird has been up with me since the start of the school year. I feel less passion for school, which is bizarre because I’ve never been the type to hate learning. I enjoy it, I know how important it is. Now, however, I much rather be with my friends. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing, but I just want to be around others. Even with everything I just said about being so frustrated with my schoolwork, I still enjoy going to school. I love seeing the people in my classes. I love chatting with them, I love being a part of my school. I’ve been more outgoing and social this year, less reserved and awkward which is such a huge step for me. I’m so happy about this and this is what has kept me going.  Even just writing about this has dried up my tears and put a slight grin on my face.

As much as I just want to say f*** it, I know I have to keep going. I need to push through the remaining quarter (plus two weeks) of first semester. My grades still matter. But so does having fun. I need balance in my life. Ughhh that brings me to the whole other topic of what college I should go to. I’ll try to keep this short but basically I’m a good enough student to have a fair shot at getting into some of the country’s best schools. However, this means entering the pressure cooker of what is the ivy leagues or slightly lesser universities. While there is a social scene at all colleges, with my plans on studying engineering I feel like at the most prestigious schools I won’t have a life. And I don’t want that to be the way it is. I want balance. This is why I couldn’t decide anywhere for ED. My dream school is Dartmouth… well, kind of. It used to be. Now i’m beginning to question everything. Do I want to go to Dartmouth now? I think maybe. I really don’t know. Its so hard. I know, I know, welcome to the thing called life. Still, I’m seventeen. I don’t even feel seventeen, I feel like I shouldn’t be making these important decisions, I just want life to return to the way it was in my (wonderful) childhood: horse back riding, lizzie mcguire, and sleep. I miss sleep.

Ok, I think i’ve ranted enough. I’m not trying to throw a pity party, I just needed to get all my thoughts out there. Goodnight.

Blah Day

You know those days where you just feel like… blah? I had one of those. I’m so tired, overworked, stressed, and the light at the end seems so far away. Maybe its the gross weather- a constant drizzle and its dark and depressing.

However, I managed to have a productive day from 8:30-11:00.

I took my car to the dealership for its initial check up (VW Tiguans rockkkkk, no problems at all!), then I had some time between that and the oral surgeon so of course…. I went to Trader Joe’s! They changed up 2 of the aisles on me, it was weird! I could only get non-perishable items, but that didn’t stop me from spending $57… Woopsies. While there I discovered the meaning to life whole grain chocolate chip cookie bites.  If you go to TJ’s, I highly recommend them. They come in a smaller container, like 1.5 times the height of the container of the other meaning to life mini peanut butter cups.  They have this browned butter/sugar, almost like caramel, taste that is unbelievable. You wouldn’t know they where made out of 100% whole wheat flour. There are also some oats thrown in there too. Yummy! I also purchased some pumpkin butter. Which was then turned into the weirdest yet most delicious dinner.

I threw some carrots, cabbage, yellow bell pepper, and onion into a skillet with a tsp of canola oil. Cooked that up for a few minutes with salt and pepper then added soy sauce and yes. PUMPKIN BUTTER. TJ’s variety is thinner than regular canned pumpkin so it made a nice glaze, kind of like adding hoisin but instead of plum its pumpkin.  It was delicious! Try it, I swear you’ll enjoy it. I ate it alongside some quinoa and spinach. Healthy, eh?  Plus a few TJ’s heaven cookies.

Alrighty now I’m off to hang out with some friends and maybe get some work done later, who knows. I’m quite the procrasinator.

See ya!