A Little Story About College and Food

As the newest semester begins, I return to my campus up in the Niagara Falls area. I think the hardest thing college kids have to go through is the nutritional change of college food. Gone are the days of being sent to school with a sandwich and snacks from your parents and having a set lunch time everyday. Time to break the cold harsh truth to all of it, time to play with the big kids.

There is no set lunch time. If you want food, you buy it or use your meal plan. 

This means you’ll be on your own to find a meal, find time to eat said meal, and maybe relax for a few moments. For college students, some professors are even nice enough to allow food and drinks in class as long as it doesn’t disrupt the entire class. And as a student, you begin to loathe that person who brings a bag of chips to class and crunches away while you’re taking notes through the semester.

Unfortunately, these are the cold hard facts. If you live at home, that’s fine and dandy! Living at home takes away most of the temptations of eating your stress away in french fries, chicken fingers, pizzas and coffee. But the temptation is still there. Luckily, schools like mine are starting to realize this pattern too. They are instilling some healthier and lighter meals for their students. So while the slice of pizza is okay for lunch a few times a week, especially if you’re running to class at around noon, sandwiches and salads are now available for students on the go. I learned a phrase from a person very close to me that I want to share with anyone who reads this blog.

“Everything is good in moderation, especially moderation!”

So I’m not saying give up the pizza and the chicken fingers. Hell, I love pizza and I often crave french fries when I’m stuck reading 200 pages for my blasted computer course. But remember that you can substitute foods on occasion. One thing I do is one night I will have a little bit of fries with my salad when I go to the resident’s dining hall. Not a plateful but a handful. The key to eating healthy in college is balance. If you’re having a bad night and you want pizza, have pizza! If you want soup, salad and a sandwich while you study, for the love of all that is good in this world, have at it! Take it from someone who loves her food, sometimes the best way to make it through the day is to make the tummy happy.  

Happy tummy, happy student, happy life!

So that’s my food for thought for today! Thank you for reading, and I hope to post again soon!

XO,
Christy B

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There and Back again… A Story by Christy B

So, firstly, allow me to apologize for not writing these past three weeks. Between the County Fair, work and up coming school year, to say things have been busy is a bit of an understatement. But on the plus side it’s been a wonderful trip to California and back to Buffalo.

So for those of you who may have not read the past few blog posts, here’s a brief synopsis of the 3 month trip to California. I went out to California and lived there for three months in sunny San Jose. I got a chance to live there, see and meet new people and learn a little bit more about food each day. I originally started out working for a cupcake company but unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be. So, before I left the company, I began working for a second company called “Movable Feast”, a killer food truck organization that plans some awesome food truck events with rocking music and lots of fun! I lived at my boyfriend’s house and had some time to get to know his family better. It was absolutely wonderful! I enjoyed the brief hiatus and miss California terribly already. I can’t wait until I go back!

Now, I’ve started back as a barista/latte ninja in the Barnes and Nobles cafe. It’s definitely a new thing compared to my nice office job I had for Movable Feast. But I’m glad to be back with my cafe crew and ready to keep things going. While we’ve gone through quite a bit, I am so proud to work with such a strong group of girls who are dedicated to work hard and continue to help keep sales going in whatever way they can. We’re not just a team, we’re family. And that makes me so proud to be a part of that team!

On a plus side, I came back to Buffalo with my wonderful boyfriend who stayed up until this morning (August 20th). It was a  nice 100 days together and being together solidified all the feelings I’ve had for this wonderful man. He’s gone through quite a bit but he is still one of the sweetest and most vital people that I can lean on even if for just a few moments. He is returning home to continue his job and finish up his final year in college! I can’t wait until I can go out and celebrate his accomplishments with him and his family this upcoming May. I am so very proud of all of his hard work!

While I’ve had some ups and downs, I plan on making this semester at school a very productive and hard-working one. Back to the days of a studying schedule, work out and yoga routines to help hone the body and some meditation to calm the soul. Also, more tea… less coffee… maybe more chocolate…. and good food…. less wine..? Nah, can’t do that! So here is my new semester resolution! Make sure to make time for me, my school work, and work. Eat, drink, be merry but in the right quantities. Work hard, play harder. Love myself and others.

 

Until next time,

XO,
Christy B

My Summer in California: Update #5

Well, to be honest it’s been an interesting week or so.  It started off with a wonderful offer to a new job. I was offered an office position by the company Movable Feasts where I get to file paperwork, organize to my hearts content and get to hang out with some of the people who make the company function at full speed! So far I have been able to enter files into the system and helped organize some important sales documents. It’s good to feel useful! After filling out my paperwork to work there, my boyfriend and I ended up traveling out to Santa Cruz to spend a wonderful weekend celebrating a friend’s birthday.

Out in Santa Cruz we were lucky enough to spend a few nights eating, drinking and swimming away all of the responsibilities of the work week.  I was able to experience boogie boarding for the very first time. It was absolutely exhilarating as I road small waves to the shore. While I had fun, I learned some important lessons especially the lesson of wearing one pieces while boogie boarding. Then you won’t risk losing any portion of your bathing suit. Upon returning to San Jose, I started my new job and worked a 7 hour day, filing papers and working hard.

The other day, as a company, we were able to go to the San Francisco Giants game at AT&T Park. It was a great game even though the Giants got beat pretty badly. I have to say, the only bad thing that happened that day was that my camera walked away to have it’s own adventures. While this is sad, it isn’t a terrible thing. Cameras can be replaced. And I hope that he takes the photos of the game and says “We had a good time but BOY we wanted them to win!”

As the week went on, good and bad things happened here and there. I was laid off at the cupcake company due to not enough shifts and too many employees. While I’m bummed that I’m not longer working there, I wish them the best and now have a job where I can focus all of my organizing talents! I also get more hours at the new job and don’t have to work in an inadequately ventilated kitchen so it’s kind of a win-win for me. The experience and life lessons I learned from it were fantastic and I couldn’t ask for anything more!

The rest of this week and previous weekend was filled with helping some of my boyfriend’s friends move as well as a few other events that kept us busy. I’m getting pooped out! A small pet update: Penny and Bernadette are doing  fine! They are wonderful companions and keep me on my toes. Penny has enjoyed bringing me pencils at night and leaving them at my door before hopping into bed with me. Bernadette continues to be adorable and cover me in kisses!

But I had a fantastic time! And I  have about 4 more weeks of fun ahead of me! I miss my family back home but I’m having the time of my life!

Can’t wait to see what else is in store!

XO,
Christy

California Fun!

Here are some of the fun highlights from my trip so far! Enjoy!!

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A delicious meal from the Chinese Restaurant, 4-5-6: Beef and Tofu Rice Lunch Deal

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Beautiful tree decor from Japantown in San Jose.

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A delicious medium rare filet minon with sweet potato fries, green beans and Shock Top at the San Jose restaurant, Black Angus.

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A snap chat of Penny the lovable kitty!

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Having some fun in the toy aisle at Le Target ;D

 

So here is a few of the photos of what I’ve been up to! I hope you enjoy them!!

XO,
Christy B

My Summer in California: Update #4

Well, firstly allow me to apologize for the delay in posting this. It has been absolutely CRAZY! All sorts of things have been going on and I can’t wait to share them all with you!

Since my last update some changes have happened. Due to a shortage in business activity, my hours at the food truck I work for have been severely cut back.  So one week I may work, the next I may have a mini-vacation. And while that’s all good and everything, it has taught me to meditate, remain calm, and actually hope things get better. Not only does it make me a bit agitated, I end up missing my job back home.  I even told my boyfriend one night, “You know what… this whole not working thing makes me miss my cafe girls even more! I NEED SOMETHING TO DO!” It has even gotten to the point that I will spend my days off reading and organizing comics, doing laundry, excessive cooking and yes… I may even learn how to “be a girl” and watch make-up and nail videos. But, with a puppy and a cat jumping all over me at all hours, I can’t say it’s boring.

Also, I’ve now been able to take up a little space in my boyfriend’s office while he’s there. His co-worker in the office has openly allowed me to come in, sit at the back table, make puns, play games on my laptop and do some stuff in order to keep busy. She is a wonderful person. I like her, she can stay. 😀  Along with this, I have gotten more time to spend with my boyfriend’s family and friends. I have been able to create bonds and help make the transition away from my family and friends a great deal easier. Between all of the time cooking with my boyfriend’s father, having nice talks with his mother and sister, and all sorts of shenanigans with his friends I’ve been able to keep myself happy, healthy and BUSY!   I’ve been able to celebrate wonderful occasions such as my boyfriend’s birthday, our anniversary and even Father’s Day!

For my boyfriend’s birthday, as talked about in other posts, we went to Kubla-Con, a gaming convention. And when I come home, I bring a game that is appropriate and fun for kids of all ages! I plan on making family/friend game night a new thing since I was able to have one out here. It’s a great bonding thing so I think we’ll all have a good time. For our anniversary, we went to the wonderful fondue restaurant called La Fondue, which was absolutely divine and romantic. For Father’s Day weekend, I had the wonderful experience of going up to Truckee, California to the Family’s cabin. After a five hour drive and climbing to 7000 ft in altitude, we were able to do a clean up and enjoy the historic town of Truckee.  The cabin and scenery was absolutely GORGEOUS! I mean, if my camera wasn’t dead, I would’ve taken SO MANY PHOTOS it was disgusting.

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The view from my sleeping quarters at  Truckee, California!

 

It was nice to spend time in California’s forests and to relax and work in the sun. I was also able to cook dinner for the family, so of course I made my family’s staple of pasta, sauce, meatballs, Tomato Caprese salad and good company. It seemed to have been a hit! I was so excited and happy that everyone was able to enjoy a meal and have a good time!

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Tomato Caprese a la Truckee

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Saturday Dinner at Truckee: Pasta with Vegetable Vodka Sauce, Home-made Meatballs and Garlic Bread from Scratch

I was able to call home, in the limited cell service I actually had, to wish my Dad a happy Father’s Day and got to catch up with him. It was sad not being home and it made me question my intentions at first. But after a pep-talk from my coach of all my sports teams from years past, I was able to get back on the horse, wipe my frustrated tears away and get on with my day. Little does he know of the chaos I will be sending him. Dad- I now have a box. I have most of the things for the box. You will take these gifts and you will like them! The end! ❤

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Awkward Throwback Thursday photo of me and my dad! ❤

 

But on top of that, there has been SO MUCH FUN! I get to spend my days waking up with Penny, the kitty daredevil, who likes to run around, attack my wiggling toes under the sheets, lick my nose to wake me up, protects me from bugs, and cuddles with me at all hours of the day. After waking up, I go and spend some time with the puppy torpedo, Bernadette, a 7 month old pit bull mix love machine who enjoys playing with her rubber fetch rings, sitting on my lap when my legs are crossed, knocking me over to sit on my lap or chest which causes me to break out laughing, giving cuddles and kisses all day long and greets me every time I walk through the door as if she hasn’t seen me in forever even if it was only for a twenty minute walk to the store! She also has an uncanny fascination with any article of clothing that is usually worn from the waist down.  So we’ve all learned fairly quickly that if we don’t want shorts, socks, or under garments to be waved around as flags to whoever is present, hampers and high counters for laundry are essential.  Usually, every portion of my day is spent with my wonderful boyfriend. Although work keeps him on his toes with being a catering manager, he always takes time to be with me, take me to fill my coffee shop needs and makes sure I feel like I’m the only girl in the world. We have learned that while entertaining everyone and every pet around takes a lot out of us, we also need to take care of us. So we’ve been making sure to spend time alone to catch a movie, to cuddle up on the couch watching food television shows and have the occasional meal out together.

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My boyfriend while we ride home from Truckee with his family

I feel like as a person, I’ve begun to grow a bit more and learned to let loose. IT’S OKAY TO LET YOUR HAIR DOWN. I never realized how tense and stressed I was with things all back-to-back all the time. And while I miss having a regular schedule, this is nice too. It keeps me on my toes.

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Sending our well wishes and love from San Jose!

XO, Christy

My Summer in California: Week 3

Well this week was a very relaxing one. Due to all sorts of complications with schedules, hours got cut. Badly. And while that sucks, it means I had time to research and find some cool FREE things to do in San Jose. I’ll be putting them to good use very soon, so I’m very excited!

But this past week was lots of fun, not only did I get to cook a wonderful Italian dinner for my boyfriend and his family, but I also got to join him, his grandmother and his family for a memorial day cookout. The food and atmosphere was great as we spent the day outside playing bocce ball, eating great food and enjoying each other’s company. I felt truly grateful for the wonderful people I’ve gotten to know while I’ve been out here and feel truly blessed. Also during the week, I had the pleasure of going to one of my boyfriend’s friend’s apartment where we made some AMAZING home-made peanut butter. While I just observed and stayed out of the way, it was a wonderful experience to just watch and smell the entire process. Words cannot describe the awesomeness of this peanut butter

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(Me and my wonderful man)

While those were the big things this week, it was mostly a relaxing week. Which was good for everyone. Sometimes it is hard to sit back and remember that relaxing is a good thing. But some things have changed since I’ve gotten out here. Firstly, I have actually tanned. Yes. I did! Anyone who knows me well knows that when I go in the sun, I usually burn bad enough that it hurts to sit. I am glad to report that due to the surplus of sun and nice weather, I have turned a shade darker than my normal skin color. I sent my picture to my family and they have already noticed a difference. Second, I now have a room mate. Now, people shouldn’t jump to conclusions because this little lady is the sweetest thing ever! Penny, my boyfriend’s cat, has decided that she wants to be in the same room as me for most of the day. My boyfriend’s sister recently moved out of the house and to her grandmother’s for a few months and graciously offered me her room to me so that my boyfriend could sleep in his. As a result, I found that Penny also saw this as an opportunity to join me as well. So now, I enjoy  a bed with a furry little ball that apparently likes sleeping under the covers with me. It’s like having a living, breathing teddy bear until she wakes up. Then she becomes the alarm clock.

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(Penny falling asleep under the covers of the bed)

But other than that, things are going well and it’s never a dull moment here in California and I cannot wait for the next few weeks to come!!!

Italian Food Fest!

Late last week, either Thursday or Friday, was another night where I had the joy to be cooking for the people that have let me into their homes and tolerated with me for the entire two plus weeks that I’ve been in California. For me, the best way I can show my thankfulness and appreciation, besides thanking them over and over, is by cooking them a wonderful dinner at least once a week. This week I made an Italian feast! I began the meal with a tomato caprese salad. I began with some fresh tomatoes, sliced them thinly, placed some mozzarella  on top, a little bit of fresh  basil, some salt and pepper and then topped with another tomato slice with more fresh basil and a little bit of olive oil and pepper.

TomatoCaprese

 

Then it came to the vodka sauce. Now, what I am going to tell you is going to mortify most home cooks. I do not use recipes. There, I said it. 98% of the food I make RARELY comes from a recipe. And if it does, it usually gets modified and usually a lot of modifications are made. I can give you a general listing of ingredients to make said sauce but you would have to use your own palate to make sure it fits your taste.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 Fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 32 oz can Contadina tomato paste or sauce.
  • Green onions
  • 1 Bulb garlic
  • Vodka, any type you drink will do
  • The following herbs and spices, to taste:
    – Oregano, Parsley, Basil, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Salt and Pepper.
  • Heavy Cream.

Basically it is like any sauce recipe. Saute up the diced tomatoes, green onions, and garlic.  Splash a little bit of vodka in before you add the tomato paste. Add your herbs and spices and allow it to simmer for a little bit. Once you’ve checked the flavor a few times as your sauce cooks down, add a little more vodka and some heavy cream. I only use enough heavy cream in order to change the color of the sauce a tiny bit. Once its to your liking, serve it over pasta and meatballs (And if you’re vegetarian, you can use this sauce in a variety of ways because it is meat-free!!!).

I know it is a very slap dash sauce but the flavors are extraordinary and are great for a nice summer time meal!

Cheers and enjoy!
XO, Christy B