MAKING A MEAL: Roasted Dill Salmon, Sweet Potato, && Brussels Sprouts

One of the easiest AND delicious meals I’ve made in awhile, this series of recipes will blow you away. It’s so simple, but so f*cking good, I don’t know how to explain it.

Anyways, I’m going to give you these recipes in paragraphs rather than my normal style just to keep it short and to the point. I highly recommend reading before you start cooking, but you do you, maybe you like living on the edge.

This meal is perfect for two for dinner, or just for one loner (like myself) for a lunch and a dinner

So that I don’t get sued, and so that you’re fully aware, the salmon recipe is not mine. I’ll post a hyperlink and give credit where it is due because I’m not a thief (except when I’m stealing your heart with my cooking…. that was such a bad joke just lock me up now).

For the sweet potato:
  • Preheat the oven to 400F degrees and lightly oil a small roasting pan (maybe like a tablespoon of oil). Make sure the bottom is coated completely. Take a sweet potato and peel that sucker. Rinse it. Grab a cutting board and cut it into small chunks (not like super small, but smaller than a golf ball idk). Put the sweet potato chunks into the roasting pan. Sprinkle salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes all over those suckers (more salt than anything). Put them in the oven and cook for about 20 minutes, shaking the pan once of twice to turn em. You should be able to easily cut through them with a butter knife, that’s how you know they are ready.
For the brussels sprouts:
  • Preheat oven, if not done already, to 400F degrees and again, lightly oil a small roasting pan with a tablespoon of oil, fully coating the bottom. Take about a 1/2 pound fresh brussels sprouts, rinse them in a colander, and cut off the stems of each little, delicious sprout. Then, slice them in half and place each half flat side down in the pan. Try to pour a little oil on top, then sprinkle with salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Cook them in the oven, shaking the pan occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until the sprouts are browned, even slightly blackened on the outside.
For the Dill salmon: 

The original recipe is at this link here. I am just reiterating it for convenience, but it’s not my recipe!

  • Preheat the oven to 475F degrees, after you’ve cooked the veggies above. Take some fresh dill and chop up about two handfuls of it (you should take the “leaves” off the stems and put them in a pile, then take a knife and continually chop through them). Put a few large chunks of butter into a roasting pan, along with the dill. Place in the oven and let cook until that amazing mixture is sizzling. Take out the pan and place the salmon skin side up (if there’s no skin, just whatever side is good). Cook for 4 – 6 minutes. Grab the pan out of the oven (peel the skin off the salmon if there is any). Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then flip, and sprinkle again, and place back into the oven for an additional 3 – 5 minutes.
  • Serve it with some lemon juice and fresh slices!!

And that’s it! This ridiculously easy series of recipe makes an amazing meal for you and a date, or just for you! Treat yo self.

 

Power Hour Salad

Alright, listen up. You have a limited income (probably, if you’re a college student and literally go around singing about not wanting to check your bank account), and you may not eat very healthy all the time because of it. That’s ok though, we are going to change that.

Making this salad is just another little step you can take to eat healthy and not be broke at the same time. It is vegetarian, but it’s packed with protein and good shit (I want to stress that a protein-packed vegetarian meal is not an oxymoron. It’s absolutely a thing). So, to not bore you further, here it goes, the Power Hour Salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of cooked grains such as quinoa, barley, etc.** (I used the “Super Grains” blend from Whole Foods, it’s pretty dope and relatively cheap)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained, rinsed and DRIED!! with a paper towel**
  • A few slices of a red onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 – 3 handfuls of mixed spring greens or baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup (of handful) of cherry or grape tomatoes (I really love zima, they are orange and sweet and ugh so good)
  • 1/3 of a large cucumber or 1 baby cucumber, seeded and chopped (explanation at the bottom)**
  • 1 spoonful of hummus, whatever you like (I love this hummus, it’s magical)
  • 2-3 spoonfuls crumbled feta cheese

Optional Salad Dressing**:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, the greener the better
  • Juice of half a lemon (use the other half for tea or lemon water. Be pretentious, not wasteful)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon salt, really to your liking
  • Black pepper, again whatever you like

Instructions:

  1. Just to help you out if you’re new to this, cut your red onion and your garlic right now. All the other veggies can be cut later, but if you want to you can cut them now. It saves you a lot of time if you follow the directions in the ingredients list first.
  2. Make sure you do this first or ahead of time; cook your grains. Pick something like quinoa and read the package to tell how long it will take to cook it. Usually, it will take you about 30 minutes to  cook them from start to finish (aka from putting the pot on the stove till the point you let them sit). If you do choose to cook quinoa, try to make sure you rinse it through a fine mesh strainer before cooking. So, get that water boiling before you do anything else.
  3. Once you have begun cooking your grains, get a frying pan, heat it to medium-high heat, and add the 1 tablespoon olive oil. Next, add the onion to the pan and cook until they have a slight yellow look to them (but not browned).
  4. Now to add the garlic and chickpeas! Stir it on up and cook for another two to three minutes. Take off the heat and place into a bowl.
  5. If you didn’t already, cut your veggies!
  6. Take out a large bowl and add the salad greens you are using. Start to assemble everything by adding the tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas and onions (not all of them, save some and make a pita wrap!), the cooked grains, hummus, and feta cheese.
  7. If you would like to add a simple homemade salad dressing, keep reading. Otherwise, mix it all up and you’re good to go!!
  8. For the salad dressing: Get a small bowl. Whisk together the oil, lemon, and honey. Next add the oregano, salt, and pepper. Mix it all together and there you have it! You may choose to add other herbs or maybe vinegar if there wasn’t enough lemon juice. It’s really whatever you prefer.

Side Notes:

**It may be easier to make a whole cup of cooked grains and reserve the rest for another recipe!! That’s what I do.

**You need to make sure whenever you fry anything with oil that you limit the amount of water in contact with the item. Please make sure after you rinse the chickpeas, you dry them too to prevent yourself from being burned

**To seed a cucumber, you cut it in half lengthwise, or hot dog style as we said in like second grade. Take a spoon and scoop out all those seeds you see in the center. The, place each half flat side down and slice. They should look like little half moons or smiley faces I guess? Maybe frowny faces if you’re that kind of person.

**I also think this salad is great with tzatziki, which is like a yogurt sauce that is so delicious, but it’s a little expensive and takes awhile to make at home. I prefer it though.

Oddly Dating: Lauren and A Disturbing Lack of Apple Cider Donuts

There are so many other things I need to be doing right now. If I look at my planner right now, I’m probably going to have to pencil in when I’m allowed to breathe….. Yet here I am!

Let me just say, I am very disappointed with this previous autumn season. From the heat, to the cold, to the heat again, or the leaves only changing color now at the end of November instead of early October, it was a what the f*ck moment each day. No one was all that excited for Halloween; I didn’t even carve a pumpkin with liberal shit on it to piss of Trump supporters. The biggest travesty though was the absence, the whole in my heart, that was the lack of apple cider donuts that were consumed.

Not for lack of trying though. Almost every day I checked the local bakery near my house in Columbia, leaving with nothing but emptiness in my soul (I mean stomach, but they are basically one in the same) each time I left. All of this culminated to the morning I woke up in College Park and said “f*ck this, I need them NOW.” Scrolling through my phone, I found a farm; thirty minutes away from me were, apparently, the best damn looking cider donuts in the region.

Naturally, I had to invite the one person I had complained to about the situation, and the person who 100% suffered as much as I did without these delicious explosions of fall goodness in ya mouth; Lauren was my date for sure.

Before I explain this surely saddening story, I must say that Lauren is easily one of my best friends, but also one of the most amazing people I know. She’s a kind and generous soul, who is sarcastic as hell, and comforting when you need it most. Lauren won’t hesitate to tell you she’d rather be drinking a glass of wine and petting a dog than dealing with your shit though. Her hobbies are the coolest on this earth (SHE’S A CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHER).

All my friends are more talented than me, that’s just the rule I guess. I sit there in awe at how much they have their shit together in terms of their passions, and then laugh my ass off at how much we all can’t get it together for real, graded classes.

Truly, I couldn’t have asked for a better someone to better suffer wit. After that thirty minute drive to the little farm we had found, and about fifteen minutes of searching the shop, “all the apple cider donuts were sold by noon today, sorry” was the end product, told quite blatantly by the girl behind the cash register. I was about to lose my shit (internally I did for sure, I’ve never cussed so much), but then I realized this was a cute venue. A very cute miniature orchard was the perfect place to take basic white girl autumn photos and pretend like that’s what we meant to do in the first place.

Lauren is going to hate me for posting these, but she’s a babe so I have to. They’re great.

We pretended to pick apples, but there were bees around the apples as we found out half way through photos. I was quite excited as you can see.

 

and then for the best part. Me and my artsy self (not really artsy I just try hard to be), started taking pictures of a barn, and specifically this cute as heck cat we found roaming around the farm. They were great photos, or so I thought. After reevaluating, I came to the conclusion that I should give up on doing anything ever again. Sure, we got some good photos of the fake apple picking, hiding our despair and disappointment, but I managed to ruin that when I realized I took a bunch of pictures of a cat licking its balls in front of an artsy barn.

It was time to go home. With no donuts and only a few good photos that Lauren still doesn’t want me to post, I felt defeated. And then Lauren said the best thing she could.

Let’s go pick up some wine and binge watch Netflix.

So we did, and I had the brilliant idea of making apple cider donuts at home….I didn’t have apple cider though (of course, I’m a f*cking genius for that). With an alarming lack of anything I needed in my life besides the lovely glasses of wine the two of us had, we managed to whip together baked cinnamon sugar donuts and invite a few others over to enjoy in the donuts made with frustration and anger and tipsiness. Might I just say, we did a damn good job of making it seem like these donuts were an acceptable substitute.

And this is why I date my friends.

Odd Thoughts: November 5th on Caring

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve cared a lot. When I say “cared”, I mean I wanted to help everyone. Definitely got that from my mom, who works helping people on a daily basis at work and at home. I also just gave way too many fucks about how people thought of me and how my actions impacted others to the point that I just did whatever I thought would make everyone happy.

slight excuse to include Halloween and how cute my mama is in this post

But let’s start with caring through helping. I really love helping people; I sound like a fourth grader telling class on the first day about herself. It’s such a simple phrase, but it’s so essential to who I am. To me, it’s giving a shit about what matters in this world, and dedicating my time to it all. It started once my parents divorced, when I started caring for my brother and sister. All the nights I spent trying and failing, over and over and OVER, to cook dinner were to feed my brother and sister when my single mom was working across the country. That practice made me the mediocre, and slightly cocky, chef I am today (who am I kidding, I’m a bad ass in the kitchen). Giving a shit has brought me to having this blog you could say. I care so much for my friends and people around me (even though they know that I should be taking care of myself as I freak out over having five papers due the same day LOL I’M TOTALLY FINE). Through it all, the act of caring has always given me more than maybe I have given others. It has gotten me involved in community service, non-profit internships, working in an assisted living home, and even protesting in the sweltering heat in front of the White House.

I don’t say this to make myself sound better; it’s great to care but it’s also a fatal flaw at times. I’ve cared about people who don’t give a shit about my existence, or causes that just keep getting worse (aka climate change, but the bees aren’t dying at an alarming rate anymore WOOOO). There are instances, if culminated it would be days worth of time, that I have done things out of caring for something or someone that I’ll never get back.

And that goes with caring about what others think of me. When I was thirteen, I used to be so involved in what my “friends” thought of me, I’d do anything to please them. I gave up all the nerdy things I loved, wore makeup I didn’t even like, listened to some terrible music. For real though, I think we are kind of little balls of anxiety and wanting to please others at that age. It continued though into my relationship of four years when I would sacrifice the values I had to make it work, to make his parents like me, to appear normal. I was so enveloped in making everyone else happy towards the end of high school and the beginning of college that I didn’t do what I wanted or needed to do to make myself happy. My self-confidence wasn’t the best (not a shocker there, have you been on Instagram and seen those booty pics and started wondering if your booty will ever look like that and damn? no? ok….). I didn’t even dance; me not dancing is like me being dead. It’s my favorite thing to do on a Friday night and I suck at it, and I was keenly aware of this back then. I even used to care SO much about upsetting someone when I bumped into them, or when I would say my political opinion that they clearly disagreed with (I will you straight now, don’t worry; Trump is an asshole and so is Scott Pruitt).

Obviously, I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I have decided the best way to deal with caring about what others think is to just not care. 

I’m not perfect; I still sometimes care about things I am too good for, that we all are too good for. Sometimes, it’s about what others think. I’m not going to run around butt ass naked because I’m a free spirit child with no social boundaries, but I care if my friends think I look bad in a dress or if I’m being rude to someone. There are parts of me that care if my old friends ever gave a shit about me. I care about my ex-boyfriend’s well-being and his family, even if he doesn’t deserve it.

Just because I don’t care about what people think of me does not mean I don’t care about people.

I firmly believe caring, compassion, empathy are the only things we should be expected to do and contribute in this world. That includes taking action and showing that I truly do give a shit. There is nothing that can make me stop caring about people or the issues that matter to me. It makes a difference, in your my own life and hopefully someone else’s. I have always made the involuntary decision to give a shit about human beings and I don’t expect that to change.

A Letter to My Best Friend: Holly, I Miss You

Yes. I am supposed to be a food blogger, but I have rarely been talking about food lately.

Yes. I am writing this instead of doing my homework.

And yes. We haven’t talked in a long time Holly. I’ve been really busy, and I bet you have been as well. I hope your grandma is doing well and I hate you because it’s cold here and you’re probably on the beach half the time (or running away from alligators and trump supporters because isn’t that the entirety of Florida?) It’s been a long time since the moment I thought of writing this to actually getting around to it, but here it goes.

I miss you

I don’t mean to make this about me, but you are about the most constant thing in my life and I miss you all the time. When I was made fun of in middle school by my other friends, you stayed by my side no matter how fucking weird I was (and still am). We walked to Tratorias (a local pizza shop where the owner definitely thought we were a lesbian couple, nothing wrong with that) to eat and do homework every day of our sophomore year. The two of us got into Harry Potter WAY later than everyone else, and you put up with me never shutting the fuck up about Spain the first time I went. We went through many spirit weeks, homecomings, proms, parties, and reaaalllllyyyyy strange nights bumping Juicy-J in the car while driving around doing nothing (what can you really do in the suburbs at 17 years old).

Do you remember when we used to watch Doctor Who all night, get milkshakes, or when we used to *play* soccer on the football field and pretend like we were staring in the World Cup? Or when we would spend hours in the library at our community college messaging each other stupid photos on Facebook instead of actually doing work?  What about the days we would hike and nearly get lost and die except we were probably only 10 minutes away from home? How about Halloween when we dressed up together as literally the same person? (If you haven’t watched Doctor Who, gtfo, get woke, and read this all over again)

I’m being too nostalgic, I know. I’m like an old woman recounting her good days to her house full of cats (totally not my future….)

I know I disappoint you because I make bad decisions; kiss boys I shouldn’t, and tell awful jokes that make you cringe every time. I realize I should make an effort more to actually tell you this in person but here it is right now (and I can’t make any promises to do anything on time, you know who I am as a person and it’s just not possible).

Things haven’t necessarily been easy, and you know that. My home, my college, friends, boyfriends, area of study, career choice, plans in life in general, understanding of the universe?!?! , my writing ability (whattttt) have all changed; hopefully for the better. Sometimes, I feel like I’ve changed completely over, maybe even a few times. I wish you were here right now so I could tell you all about how my life got twist turned upside down….. no? not funny?  Honestly, I can never tell if the change is for the better until I see you. It’s quite possible you feel the same way. Life is funny that way, but I will tell you one thing;

I will never change so much to the point where you’re not my best friend. It’s just not possible.

I have never met anyone so brave, unique, and honest to who she is as a person, and no matter how we both change, I’ll respect you forever because of it. Not only that, but you’re just an amazingly understanding and patient person. You’ve been there for me through some of the most difficult times in my life and made me feel like there was a future when it seemed like there was nothing but darkness. I love you Holly and sometimes I wish we were both born liking vagina because we would be perfect wives together, but I’m so happy to have you as my best friend.

Please come home soon.

Oddly Dating: Tianxin and La Pupuseria

First of all, I just want to say I think it’s a beautiful thing that a Norwegian/Irish white girl and a Chinese girl can walk into a Salvadoran restaurant to get food without even the thought of how none of this would be possible without globalization and how we are all beautifully connected, especially by food. I mean, all of the waitresses still looked at us like “what are these non-latino bitches doing in here?” but still, beautiful.

Okay, I’m done trying to be deep and philosophical. Let’s talk about MY DATE, one of the most amazing people I know and truly one of the best friends I’ve ever had, Tianxin. This girl is the whole package, and I am not just saying that (actually super jealous low-key but now it’s high-key).  She’s going to hate me for writing this because she’s incredibly modest, but this female is amazing at everything she does. Her artistic talent touches upon every aspect of her life, whether it is her photographic eye, cooking videos on her snapchat, her bomb ass outfits; it doesn’t matter (she’s also a sassy hoe but we will get to that later).

Naturally then, she had to be my first date. The two of us go to University of Maryland, making it incredibly easy to get to Washington D.C. I’m not sure if you know this, but there are a lot of amazing restaurants there that I never shut up about. However, that’s not where we went. College Park, Maryland may not be the same type of cultural hub with vibing lunch spots, more like hungover college students in line for Bagel Place repeatedly saying “I want to die” and “what did I do last night?” (I can’t honestly say that hasn’t been me… on numerous occasions). But the two of us really appreciate authenticity… and cheapness, and for that I knew just the place. La Pupuseria.

Authentic Salvadoran pupusas and chicken tamales on a beautiful, hot as hell fall day

just a side note, the weather in Maryland has been so hot I’ve woken up questioning where I am, if I will survive (because my A.C. is broken), and also how people can be so not woke as to deny climate change. I’m here sweating my ass off and it’s October; that’s not okay, I should be freezing my ass off.

If you don’t know what pupusas are, I’m so sorry. It’s not too late for you to enjoy life. Go out and get yourself one of those

tortillas stuffed with cheese and goodness ASAP. Our waitress approached and guess who didn’t speak Spanish because her date ordered for her?! (I’m dying to practice my Spanish, it is so weak after coming back from Spain).  Tianxin and I sat by the window. “Good natural light, great for pictures,” she told me. Chicken tamales, pupusas with beans and chiccaron (pork, SO GOOD). And these were enjoyed along with the wonderful conversation. People probably think we hate each other. There’s no end to the sarcasm and bitch fest between the two of us if we are being honest. Tianxin tells me straight when I’m being a whiny bitch, or when I really need to stop trying to drunkenly cook for everyone on a Saturday night (unless of course she’s just as gone as I am, and none of my friends say no though so this is going to keep happening). Tianxin is a real friend and a fucking pleasure to be around. 

We waited for our food among the sounds of Spanish music and the Barcelona game on the television. It all seemed to be drowned out as the two of us talked about school (or maybe we were crying?), my drama filled life (as you can tell from my blog), and how much it sucks when someone is attractive but their personality isn’t.

My birthgiver (my mom, that’s what I call my mom) always told me, “looks are only the price of admission.” What she meant was, attraction is only the first step towards engagement. It’s not having your cake, or eating it, or both. Not even close man. It’s cool if you’re really cute, but if you don’t care about anything, if you don’t have interests or any sort of passion, I think it should be pretty obvious where you’re going with someone who does; nowhere.

So we babbled on, but I still wanted to practice my Spanish. If you hadn’t already seen from my blog posts, instagram, snapchat stories, facebook, literally everything I do, I really love speaking Spanish (AND ALSO, I went to Spain. I know, I never talk about it…never). When our food came out, the waitress forgot to bring two forks. I went up to the counter and said in plain Spanish, “Do you have a fork?”

She answered in English. All of them looked at me confused, gave me the fork, and watched me walk back to my table super salty and disappointed. As Tianxin can tell you, I didn’t let this go, not even after eating the most amazing five dollar meal I’ve ever had. I don’t know if I can accurately describe in detail the feeling of eating something this good under $5. All I will say is,

It was fucking delicious.

I don’t think I could have asked for a more perfect date. And the next day, she didn’t even ghost me. She even listened to me complain again about my Spanish-less encounter. If that isn’t true love and luck, I don’t know what is.