Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July!

Photo credit

Hope your day is filled with fun, friends, fireworks, grilling, and maybe a few adult beverages 🙂 Here are a few ideas of things to do if you haven’t decided yet:

P.S. Fourth of July means ten days until my birthday!

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recipe: cinco de mayo casserole

Nothing says Cinco de Mayo more than cilantro + jalapenos + lime…besides Coronas and margaritas, obviously.

In light of the fact that Cinco de Mayo is my all-time favorite holiday, I whipped up this gluten-free pasta casserole the other day.

Prepare noodles {gluten-free or not} according to the instructions. Caramelize half an onion. In a casserole pan, layer noodles, chopped cilantro, caramelized onions, sliced cherry tomatoes, chopped jalapenos, a bit of lime juice, and sliced Al Fresco jalapeno chicken sausages. Cover with mozzarella cheese and bake for 20-30 minutes at 350. 

Ole!

 

P.S. Check out my Hosting Ideas board on Pinterest. It’s basically just a compilation of Cinco de Mayo ideas!

off to a good start

This weekend was crazy! There were several mishaps, but overall, I had a great time because my friend was in town! We indulged in pork nachos and PBR at Raleigh Times, brunched with his Chapel Hill friend {and my new friend!} at Irregardless, imbibed during the St. Patrick’s Day parade and consequent celebration in Moore Square, met some of my neighbors, and watched Friends and Scary Movie 4 {such a ridiculous movie!}.

After he left, I played a long round of tennis with my partner {such an amazing feeling to get back out after hibernating during the winter months}. Our tradition is to play an intense hour or so and then reward ourselves with Gatorade {my new favorite is the Tropical Mango…which contains 0% juice haha}.

I then whipped up two interesting spins on pasta casserole {both gluten-free}: tuna zucchini dill {based on this recipe} and sweet potato mac & cheese with caramelized onions and roasted orange peppers.

Afterward I spontaneously invited a new friend to the $2 movie theatre {long gone are the days of the $1.50 movie}. We saw Man on a Ledge, which was a fun watch. Every time they showed the edge of the ledge, I had a mini panic attack though!

This week is off to a good start- I woke up early, did a short run, and ended up {on purpose} at Starbucks for a grande iced coffee. Later, within 10 minutes of arriving in the office, my friend gchatted me about a relay race, which got me inspired 🙂

How do you start your week off right?

Source: Uploaded by user via Jennifer on Pinterest

Source: undressedskeleton.tumblr.com via Trish on Pinterest

Source: google.com via Becky on Pinterest

lovin’ right now

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image

Trader Joe's advertising in the freezer section

Zappos ad bin security at the airport. Genius!

Candles

Gluten-Free Cookbooks

Another Christmahanakwanza present from my sister- Gluten-Free on a Shoestring. How perfect for me!

Footie Pajamas

I'm the proud/ashamed owner of the pink ones on the right. The girls and I had a footie night the other day- just hanging out and sipping wine in our onesies!

Seasonal Teas

Candy Cane Lane and Nutcracker Sweet are my absolute favorite teas. I have to hunt them down early every holiday season so they're not all gone! They make great gifts too 🙂

Party Themes

The Raleigh Forum is hosting a party on January 26 but I can't tell you the theme quite yet. Want to be sure you score an invite? Contact me!

Photo credits: here, here, here, here, and here

holiday pinspiration board

I logged into Pinterest recently and was inspired by all the pictures posted by my Pinterest friends- so much so that I decided to make a “holiday pinspiration board” to keep track of all the things I want to do/make/appreciate over the holidays!

{To see all the photos I pinned, click on the image below}

P.S. Remember when I blogged about “Ask and You Shall Receive“? In my recent review of Garden Lites gluten-free souffles, I half-jokingly asked the company if they wanted to give me some free products to sample. Well, I did one better- I got a response on Twitter offering e-coupons for YOU, my readers! I’ll do a little giveaway in mid-January 🙂 I heard great things about the zucchini marinara, so I’m excited about trying that out.

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This Day Last Year: My observation about being a perfectionist and always striving to be better instead of just allowing yourself to appreciate your many accomplishments. I recently sent this post to my sister to remind her to just think about all she’s done instead of stressing herself out to do more!

girls can grill 2.0: corn on the cob edition

Happy {belated} Memorial Day! I grilled in the early afternoon and then went a-wandering to the Georgetown Waterfront for some sun, water (as in the Potomac River kind), good company…and maybeee a few Coronas. Hope yours was equally as relaxing 🙂

For yesterday’s cook out, I decided to test all the corn theories that I’ve been reading: Is leaving the husk on better? What is the best way to flavor corn? Does soaking the corn in water make any difference?

By the way, as I write this, I’m listening to Luke Bryan’s “Rain is a Good Thing” because it aligns with the blog topic 🙂

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Verdicts

  • Plumping corn: The theory is that soaking your corn- after it has been husked- in cold water will make it more plump and retain more moisture so that it steams better. I did this with 3 of the 4 cobs, and I couldn’t tell much of a difference.
  • Husk on or off: Grill enthusiasts wax lyrical about the benefits of grilling corn with the husk on or off. According to my research *pushes glasses up on nose* keeping the husk on helps steam the kernels. It tasted slightly more smoky to me, so I preferred husk off, but my friend liked it with the husk on the best.
  • Flavoring: now to my favorite topic- seasoning the corn! In my culinary rampage,  I decided to make not 1, not 2, but 3 different kinds of butter- basil butter, jalapeno lime butter, and cumin butter. Lo and behold, we actually liked the butters in that order, which was the order we tried them in. As my friend declared, “They just keep getting better!” {I almost just typed butter haha}. The basil butter was nothing exciting, but could be improved by adding fully ground fresh leaves to diffuse the flavor more. Despite my aversion to mixing fruit with savory foods, I loved this one! It might help to grind the jalapeno and let it sit in the butter for longer, so that the butter soaks up more spiciness. The cumin butter was so incredibly simple but amazing- just ground cumin mixed with softened butter and spread over the grilled corn.
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Intrigued by the differences between “grilling” and “barbecuing”? Check out this explanation.

recap: last week of undergrad

Four whole days since my last post! Sorry for slacking; I’ve been busy livin’ up my last few weeks of undergrad!

Highlights

  • Last exam ever (until grad school), including my last night studying for hours in the on-campus Starbucks
  • Two Nationals game (one with friends, one with co-workers)
  • Cinco de Mayo roof party
  • Washington Diplomat golf tournament (grilling, driving golf carts, delivering beers to ambassadors. You know, the usual)
  • Hours on the roof with friends and/or books!
  • A bajillion emails to potential GW Bites investors
  • Summer trip to Norway booked
Coming up:
  • Patio grilling (today!)
  • Last Arganica produce box AND $25 worth of random, awesome stuff
  • Mothers’ Day (how do I send flowers to Rwanda?!)
  • LivingSocial Adventure- Sunset Kayaking and Tequila Sunrises
  • Babysitting for my two favorite babies
  • Launch party for theStrEATS
  • GRADUATION- a whole weekend with family and friends 🙂
P.S. Did you notice that I added pages to my blog? Check out the “Mentions” tab and the “Connect with Me” tab!

spring arrived this weekend!

And I made the most of it 🙂

  • St. Patty’s Day celebration in Chinatown with co-workers
  • Several long runs/walks around the city [Exorcist stairs, C & O Canal, 14th and P, Rosslyn, U St, etc]
  • Two Carolina games [we won both, naturally]
  • A long evening spent in the “Chill Pad,” a makeshift lounging area on my friend’s fire escape, which overlooks Pennsylvania Ave
  • Brunch up on the roof [peach mango mimosas, banana pumpkin walnut muffins, & shakshuka]
  • Planning an upcoming camping trip
  • Sunday Adventure Day with a friend

goodbye miami, hello raleigh

At the last minute, I decided to forgo my planned spring break trip to Miami and stay in DC. Although some people think I’m crazy for passing up my last college spring break ever, I think I made the right decision.

I came to North Carolina for a few days, which has been amazing [as always].

I’m back in DC now, where I’m going to put in extra work hours, have several meetings, and relax- enjoy my city without any (okay, many) time constraints. It may sound boring to some, but I am really looking forward to getting back in touch with what I love about DC without thinking about racing off to my next obligation.

North Carolina recap:

  • Sushi dinner & a beer at our favorite sports bar, Tobacco Road
  • A wild St. Patrick’s Day celebration, including the most redneck parade you could imagine and a benefit party for St. Baldrick’s
  • A morning in the park in 77 (yes, 77!) degree weather
  • Carolina/Duke game
  • Girls night (3 hour Bachelor finale, wine, and spaghetti- and yes, I’m embarrassed to admit this haha)

I get this recurring feeling when I’m with my sister in North Carolina. Everything we do- no matter how trivial- feels novel and fun. For example, cuddling in bed with the 3 girls (my sister and my “nieces,” her 2 dogs) in the morning makes me so happy. Driving to get our morning coffee at the local Starbucks feels fresh. Even running “boring” errands isn’t boring. It got me thinking about if I would have that feeling living here after school…

last week’s recap

Monday

  • Photography class: check plus on depth-of-field photo assignment 🙂
  • Work: scheduled several meetings for Thursday and worked on a new project

Tuesday

  • Slow morning of a luxurious breakfast and blog reading before class
  • A fun geology lab (yes, I said “fun” and “geology” in the same sentence!)
  • A quick run- it’s been awhile!
  • Study date with a friend on the roof over homemade lunch and iced coffees
  • Class (with an interesting guest speaker from a community foundation)
  • Fixed a gas leak in my apartment (with some help from Washington Gas Company!)
  • Celebrated Mardi Gras at Bayou (25 & Penn) with old friends and new friends

Wednesday

  • First GW Bites meal in awhile! The menu is carrot ginger soup, spinach feta quiche, and toffee bark
  • Studying for geology

Thursday

  • Geology exam
  • Great day at work (including a meeting with my boss and a brainstorming session with one of the teams)
  • Lounging on the couch with Veronica Mars (my favorite TV show in the world, other than Friends)

Friday

  • Train to NC (as one person on Twitter said, “trains are society in motion.” Very true!)
  • ….the rest to come in my North Carolina recap post!