Every now and again, I like to post some sort of an update on the foods I’m buying and how I’m preparing dishes for the week ahead. This past weekend has been a great opportunity for me to cook some delicious things, and Nathaniel even helped me to cook as well! I hope you find some inspiration from this article and enjoy these fall-themed food ideas.

Breakfast: Overnight Oats

It’s hard to go wrong with overnight oats, and whenever I prepare them, I feel like I really have my life together. I love everything from brainstorming the different ideas for customizations, prepping them, and of course, eating them! I’ve been sticking with strawberry banana overnight oats this week because that’s what I picked up at the grocery store, but next week I’d like to try pumpkin oats and PB & J oats. Ellie Krieger has a great recipe on her website for the pumpkin oats, so I’ll have to think about giving those a go! 

Bread: Soft ‘N’ Sweet Dinner Rolls

Like I said, Nathaniel and I did some cooking together last weekend, and one of the things we made were soft ‘n’ sweet dinner rolls. I have to say, this bread baking experience was a lot different than my other bread experiences because this one required activating the yeast and kneading the dough. Our rolls were delicious, but they were definitely much denser and biscuit-like than the recipe intended them to be. I’ve been pairing them with my dinner soup, which I’ll get to soon. I’m really happy with how they came out, and I hope they come out even better the next time.

Lunch: Fall Apple Salad

Keeping with the seasons, lately I’ve been enjoying prepping this easy fall salad. It’s a common variation of a salad I’ve made a lot and talked about on my blog: sweet kale base, apples, walnuts, craisins, and poppy seed dressing. I really like crunchy, fruity salads, and this dish definitely offers me the perfect combination of both. It’s super easy to whip up in big batches, and several of the ingredients are fairly cheap and easy to find (if not all of them.) My favorite poppy seed dressing to use is the Panera variety, as I find the creamier versions don’t quite pair as well with the other ingredients.

Dinner: Butternut Squash Soup

Lastly, I’ve been burning through my homemade butternut squash soup all week, and there’s still a ton left in my fridge! This was the other dish Nathaniel and I made together, and I think it was an absolutely perfect choice. I was surprised because the recipe called for two cups of apple cider, but once it was incorporated into the actual dish, it actually tasted really good. I think this is one of those dishes that tastes better as a leftover, too, so I’ve been really enjoying eating a little bit every day and observing different notes in the flavors. 

So, that’s everything I’ve meal prepped to eat for this week! I really wanted to choose dishes that I felt celebrated the fall season, and I also made sure I picked ingredients that are cheap (and fresh) as well. I already have a lot of ideas for what I want to cook next week, so I’m looking forward to sharing that with you guys. I’ve been meaning to make pumpkin bread for forever now, so maybe that will be on my agenda next.

Since moving into my new apartment, I’ve been spending a lot of time discovering new hobbies, recipes, and tv shows while in quarantine. I’ve certainly had a lot of time on my hands, and I’m so excited to share everything I’ve been loving this month with you!


Music | Grateful Dead

Grateful Dead on Amazon Music

First of all, let me preface by saying that Nathaniel is the biggest Grateful Dead stan on planet earth, so it’s impossible for me not to like them. In the past three months, I’ve probably listened to about 100 hours of the Grateful Dead, and I’ve genuinely grown to love the band dearly. It’s definitely an acquired taste for some, but there are a handful of songs that I always have stuck in my head. Usually, I cycle through the same six songs when I’m making my dinner every night, starting with “Sugar Magnolias” and ending with “Touch of Grey.” I think my favorite Dead song right now is “Hell in a Bucket,” but I honestly can’t pick a favorite.


TV & Movies | American Horror Story

Pepper in AHS: Asylum - YouTube
Honestly, Pepper is an icon

Considering how much I enjoy watching dark, twisted television, it was a shock to even me that I never really got into American Horror Story before now. If you read my Apartment Tour article, then you know that Erin and I have been watching the show almost every single night. I just finished watching Asylum last week, and while it was absolutely gripping and outstanding, I’ve also been joking that I think it “damaged my psyche.” If you’ve watched the season yourself, then I’m sure you can agree with what I’m saying. I think I’m going to watch 1984 next, though I’m open to other suggestions. 


Food | Overnight Oats

How to Make Overnight Oats - 4 Ways | Eating Bird Food

I’m pretty sure my friends and family are sick to death of me talking about overnight oats. I’m sorry that oats make me so happy, but the possibilities with this recipe are endless. You can customize them with tons of produce, from frozen fruits to ripe bananas, or you can make dessert-like flavors using yogurt cups and dry toppings. My personal favorite overnight oat recipes are strawberries + creme, mint chocolate chip, and s’mores. Tune into my meal prep article next week to learn how I make them! It’s quick, it’s fun, and it’s easy to prepare an entire week’s worth of oats in just a few minutes.


Health & Beauty | Eylure ProMagnetic Liner + Lashes

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After I saw Jenna Marbles use magnetic eyelashes in her “Get Ready with Me to go Nowhere” video, I knew I had found my new holy grail makeup product. I love wearing false eyelashes, but I hate all the gluing and mess that comes along with it. Then, when I went to Target a couple of weeks ago with my boyfriend’s mom and his sister, I knew I had to pick up a pair while I was there. I mean, they were only about $15, and considering you get an entire tube of liquid liner as well, I thought it was a pretty great deal! They work relatively well for only 15 bucks, and I’ve been wearing them almost every day since I bought them. Definitely a worthy purchase.


Hobbies | Painting

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Like I said, I’ve needed to get back into a few hobbies now that Boston is in quarantine and I don’t have a job at the moment. I’ve always loved painting, but a few weeks ago, I had the idea to paint a jean jacket and I haven’t looked back since. I LOVE painting clothes! After I painted the jacket, I also went ahead and painted a button-up (which is on my Etsy shop, by the way,) and this secondhand suede jacket. It’s a great way to individualize your clothing, especially secondhand items, and I’ve really loved the way everything has turned out!


Food | Fruity Salads

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I think I’ve officially reached peak suburban mom energy: first the overnight oats, and now this. I wasn’t really a huge salad lover until recently, but now that I’ve realized you can put fruit in your salad, I’ve been preparing them every single week. For a while I was mimicking the Panera strawberry poppyseed salad (blueberries, oranges, pineapple, and strawberries,) but for the last couple of weeks I’ve been really enjoying an autumn-themed salad (apples, craisins, kale, and pecans.) Probably not very interesting to people who aren’t foodies, but for me, I really love coming up with new salad recipes and meal-prepping for the entire week.

Anywho, that’s going to be my monthly favorites for the month of May! I hope you guys found some inspiration from my list. Stay safe during these strange times!

It’s been a while since I’ve published any unpopular opinions, so today felt like the right day. I did one of these articles in the past, and I have to say, it’s a bit terrifying to put such unpopular views out into the world! That being said, I don’t think any of these unpopular opinions are particularly polarizing or problematic. Enjoy reading and let me know if you agree with any of my opinions!

Who is Billie Eilish?: The 17-year-old pop star ruling the ...

Celebrities

Singers I don’t care for/haven’t listened to much: Beyonce, Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, Billie Eilish, Harry Styles, Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello, Selena Gomez, and Travis Scott. In fact, I think Billie Eilish is extremely overrated.

Lifestyle

I much prefer at-home workouts as opposed to going to the gym.

I’ve never been on TikTok or even downloaded the app. All the TikToks I watch are from Jenna’s Marbles compilation videos.

TikTok is the best place on the internet. We should all delete it ...

I love caking on a full face of makeup instead of following the dewy, natural, ‘glowy’ trend I’ve seen popping up in 2020. My skin is just way too textured and red for a ‘natural’ face!

I’d much rather stay in and watch a movie at home than go to a movie theater; movie theaters are boring and uncomfortable.  

Surfacebook Pro > Mac.

America should get rid of tipping culture and just set a fair minimum wage instead.

Making the bed is NOT a pointless chore!

Food

Milk chocolate is better than dark chocolate.

Coffee tastes best black.

All fast food hamburgers taste the same; I’m not sure why some people so strongly favor a McDonalds burger over a Burger King burger, and vice versa. 

TOMATOES RUIN SANDWICHES.

Other

Going on a hike or spending the day in a forest is much more fun than going to the beach or going somewhere tropical.

New England travel | USA - Lonely Planet

New England is definitely the best place to live in the US!

Everyone has the potential to be a good singer with practice.

Kids who succeed academically deserve scholarships over kids who excel at sports.

Cold better is MUCH better than warm weather.

College grads deserve to be paid a liveable wage.

And finally, babies should be banned from movie theaters.


I hope you guys enjoyed this article! Do we share any unpopular opinions? Let me know in the comments below!

items organized on shelves
Photo by Mehrad Vosoughi on Pexels.com

Even though I consider myself fairly healthy and conscious of what I put in my body, there are still positive steps I can continue to make in my life, diet-wise. One particular aspect that I’ve been thinking about often is “brain fogginess,” and the lack of having a sharp focus. In a nutshell, some foods just really mess up our memory and our mentality.

Obviously I’m not a doctor, and I’m also not saying nobody should ever eat these foods, but these are the things that I (and many others) have discovered cause brain fogginess when consumed too frequently. There is a scientific reason for why this can happen, so I’m going to go into that in more detail as well. 


Soda & Sugary Drinks

Now, I’m not saying I think people should never enjoy these foods (in fact, I definitely eat at least half of them,) but they have given me something to think about in regards to my own health and how I can cut back in moderation. Unsurprisingly, soda, fruit juices, and other sugary drinks are linked to dementia and the reduction of brain function, even with people without diabetes. I’ve personally never been a huge soda drinker myself, but I would agree that I tend to feel sluggish after consuming too much sugar (particularly in sports drinks and fruit juices.) One way I like to incorporate fruity tastes into my drinks is to make my own low-sugar smoothies, or, even easier, just add raw fruit to your water. Strawberry water is one of my all-time favorites, and it’s a great health alternative to artificial fruit drinks. 


Refined Carbs

Again unsurprisingly, refined carbs are yet another culprit of brain fogginess and sluggishness. Similarly to sugary drinks, refined carbs (such as white flour) can spike your blood sugar and cause you to crash shortly after consuming them. Conducted studies have shown that refined carbs can indeed have a poor effect on your memory, and long-term, it can even increase your chances of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. That doesn’t mean I intend on cutting pizza out of my diet any time soon (nor would I expect anyone else too,) but it is inspiring me to think more critically about the alterations I can make. Vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains are all healthier alternatives to refined carbs, and honestly, I think whole grain bread tastes pretty damn good. 


Artificial Trans Fat

You’re probably noticing a trend here; foods that are highly processed or full of sugar and carbs are probably not the most brain-healthy foods. This includes all the typical junk foods; chips, instant noodles, microwave popcorn, etc. Even ready-made meals that market themselves as being natural and full of wholesome ingredients can be highly processed and full of trans fat, so just keep that in mind when grocery shopping. I still enjoy a Lean Cuisine from time to time, especially since they’re cheap and easy to prepare, but I still try to remain mindful of how eating these foods will mess with my focus in the days that follow.


Aspartame

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener, often found in food and beverages under the brand names “NutraSweet” and “Equal.” Even though the market likes to push artificial sweeteners as a weight loss aid, this particular sweetener is actually extremely controversial. Consumption of aspartame has been linked to behavioral and cognitive problems, although there’s no conclusive research on this product. Nonetheless, unless you have a pressing medical treatment such as diabetes (which forces one to utilize artificial sweeteners,) consider opting for natural, raw sugar instead. 


Dairy

Unfortunately, but probably unsurprisingly, dairy is one of the most notorious foods to cause brain fogginess, tiredness, and inattentiveness. While many of us are not allergic to us, there’s a fairly good chance you may be sensitive to it. I definitely think I am sensitive to dairy products, especially cheese, since I completely cut it out of my diet for a full year and then suddenly resumed eating it again. While I still love cheese and plan on continuing to eat it, it’s a good idea to remember that there are healthy alternatives, too. Little switches, such as drinking almond milk instead of cow’s milk, can make a huge difference in how you feel and how you sustain your energy.


What can I do about brain fog?

Even though you’re bound to experience brain fogginess from time to time, there are still steps you can take to keep yourself sharp and happy. One important thing I like to utilize is my intake of vitamin B12. Because it’s predominantly found in meats and eggs, us vegetarians have to ensure that we are still maintaining a healthy B12 intake to sustain or energy and focus levels. Another way to keep your mind feeling sharp is to eat dark, leafy greens, such as spinach and kale. And, of course, make sure you’re getting enough sleep and keeping your brain stimulated!

Sources: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/worst-foods-for-your-brain

I’ve been in college for three years now, and during that time, I’ve had to learn how to navigate my food spending habits through trial and error. I’m very fortunate to have come from a family of home-cooked meals and groceries bought for me, so I never really had to think about money management until I got to college and started living more independently. If that sounds like you, then you’ve come to the right place!

strawberry smoothie on glass jar
Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

The first thing I’m going to talk about is saving money on food delivery and social eating; then I’ll give you some of my tips for actual grocery shopping. If you’re a college student in a suburban area, you’re probably familiar with delivery apps such as Grubhub, Postmates, UberEats, and DoorDash. I personally visit these apps often, because I live in a great area where lots of amazing restaurants can deliver right to my door. There’s only so much dining hall food you can have before your tastebuds demand something a little more flavorful. 

I try to keep my delivery habits limited to one order a week, but this month in particular, I’m trying to avoid spending any money on delivery. It does get extremely expensive! One of the best pieces of advice I can offer to you is to do the same and try to limit the amount of food delivery you order in college. It can be tempting to go overboard, but those delivery fees are expensive and you’ll drain your wallet in no time.

However, there are ways to get around the excessive fees and cut your bills, especially if you’re a new member. Most delivery apps will offer a discount code, or some other incentive to first-time users of the service. Additionally, apps like UberEats and DoorDash will actually reward you for referring other people! Every time a friend signs up for DoorDash through me, I get a $10 credit added to my account, which is really helpful. Another helpful tip to build up delivery credit is to scour coupon websites like RetailMeNot and Coupons.com to see if there are any codes you can snatch up, especially  around Black Friday and the holiday season.

Now, moving into groceries. My number one tip for saving money on produce is to shop in season, because it’s generally cheaper and better for the environment. Shopping in season will also allow you to incorporate a variety of fruits and veggies into your diet, because each season brings a variety of delicious produce to try. I’ve published various produce guides before on my blog, along with recipes to try using what’s in season, so make sure you check those out!

Another helpful grocery tip is to buy the “ugly” produce, which is usually cheaper but exactly the same in nutritional values. Think things like ulta-ripe bananas, bruised fruits, and mutated-looking vegetables. Dented cans are also usually cheaper than the untouched variety, even though the contents are exactly the same. It’s little things like this that can make a difference in your spending habits, without having an impact on the quality of the food you eat. Try looking in the sale section or clearance section of your grocery store to see what “ugly” items are currently on sale.

Lastly, buying in bulk is a great way to utilize groceries. Yeah, you can get a twenty-pack of instant ramen for super cheap, but there’s other options, too. I love to buy granola/protein bars in bulk, such as Clif bars, along with things like fruit snacks, crackers, and yes, the occasional cup noodles. You don’t have to buy everything in bulk, but if you’re going to go through a particular snack quickly anyway, why not?

Anyway, those are my tips for saving money on food, especially for those of you who are also in college! I hope you find these ideas helpful, and if you have ideas of your own, drop them down below so I can read them. 

With so much clashing information about the foods we put in our body, it’s hard to know what to believe. As a vegetarian, I face a lot of questions about plant-based protein, such as soy, and whether or not these processed replacements are adequate for my health. Today I’m compiling a list of the top six foods I hear controversial information about, and how I personally feel about putting these foods in my body. This story is going to be a combination of facts and opinions, so I encourage you to do your own research to form your own thoughts about these foods!


Soy

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The pros: Like I said, eating soy-based products is a huge part of my ovo-vegetarian diet. So many of the food staples in my fridge are soy-based, including vegan burgers, hot dogs, deli meat, cheese, yogurt and of course, tofu. Vegan meat replacements are a great way to get in your daily dose of protein, and because soy has a very mild flavor, it can be easily manipulated to take on the flavor of something new. Soy replacements are also easily accessible at supermarkets, and many restaurants are starting to offer plant-based entrees as well.

The cons: Soy allergies are common, so it sadly isn’t an ideal meal replacement for everybody. Soy also contains isoflavones, which can mimic the effects of estrogen and can thus disrupt your body’s natural hormone balance. For me, the best way to eat soy is to eat it in careful moderation, and ultimately balance the sources from which you receive your complete proteins. 


White Rice

black and white black and white monochrome pasta
Photo by arianna signorini on Pexels.com

The pros: There is no conclusive research that shows white rice can cause weight gain, so you can stop worrying about that. White rice is also extremely easy to digest, making it ideal for anyone struggling with nausea, heartburn, or vomiting. If you’re dealing with any of these symptoms, white rice can be an excellent food to alleviate those uncomfortable systems. White rice can also be beneficial for pregnant women, due to the extra folate found in enriched white rice! I personally prefer brown rice over white rice, but I don’t think there’s anything detrimental about eating the latter. Again, it’s all about moderation.

The cons: Unfortunately, white rice is stripped of many nutrients and minerals found in brown rice. White rice is much more processed than brown rice, because it is stripped of its protective coating (called the hull). In a nutshell, white rice is just an empty carb, and doesn’t contain nearly as many nutritional benefits as its brown rice (which is a whole grain). That being said, white rice does have a longer shelf life, so it’s really your call. If you’re not too worried about your carb intake, then bring on the white rice.


Eggs

egg forks food
Photo by Omran Jamal on Pexels.com

The pros: As a vegetarian, eggs are my absolute favorite protein source. They’re cheap, easy to prepare, and are generally really nutritious. Although one large egg only contains six grams of protein, it’s still an excellent source to due the presence of all the essential amino acids (Or should I say, egg-sential). Eggs are easily accessible to me on my campus, and it’s usually a safe breakfast option for me. I’m glad I decided to reintroduce eggs into my diet after not eating them for a year, because my energy levels and overall health has definitely improved. 

The cons: While eggs are a great source of protein, they’re also very high in cholesterol. High cholesterol can be a leading factor in heart disease, so most nutritionists say limit your egg consumption to one a day. Eggs can also cause food poisoning if not cooked correctly, so make sure you cook them properly to avoid any illness. In general, scrambled eggs are less likely to make you ill than eggs with runny yolks. That’s not to say you can’t enjoy eggs, but make sure they’re properly cooked and safe to put in your body!


Coconut Oil

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The pros: For a while, it seemed like everyone was talking about how amazing coconut oil is. And then… everyone suddenly changed their mind? Coconut oil is often found in vegan snacks and baked goods, which is why so many people love it. I personally consume a lot of products containing coconut oil, because it works as a great filler for butter and lard. It also has a light, non-detectable taste, hence why it’s used in so many products. 

The cons: Unfortunately, although it is natural, coconut oil is extremely high in saturated fat. Similarly with high cholesterol, this can lead to heart disease and other serious issues. It’s been argued that consuming coconut oil is actually worse for you than butter, but again, if you’re a vegan, that’s usually your only option. I like to think of coconut oil in the same light as butter- it’s not healthy to eat all the time, but in a baked good or a sweet treat, a little bit is okay. One vegan cupcake will certainly not kill you.


Zero Calorie Sweetener

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

The pros: Zero-calorie sweeteners were introduced for consumers seeking to limit their sugar and calorie intake. These types of sweeteners, both natural and artificial, can be useful for people with certain allergies who need these types of substitutes in their diet. Zero-calorie sweeteners will also not raise your blood pressure, making them ideal for folks with diabetes.

The cons: I personally do not consume any zero-calorie sweeteners, because I believe the cons outweigh the pros in this case. These sweeteners can cause a variety of problems down the line, including, uh, CANCER. Some sweeteners can also have a laxative effect, and can cause bloating, gas and diarrhea. I’m personally not a big soda person, but I always choose the real deal over the “diet” variety. I’d rather deal with a few extra calories than diarrhea and cancer, personally speaking. If you are looking for an alternative sweetener, try fruit juices/nectar, honey, molasses, or maple sugar.


Dairy Milk

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The pros: Drinking dairy milk during childhood has been linked with preventing childhood obesity, and can help to promote healthy bones and weight management. The high calcium in milk is what makes it so great for bone health, and that’s a leading reason why some people choose it over nut milk. Cow’s milk is also a great source of potassium, which can reduce high blood pressure. 

The cons: I am a little bit biased with this viewpoint, because I personally do not consume any dairy (no butter, cheese, ice cream, and certainly no milk). I primarily do this for ethical reasons, but I also abstain from dairy for health reasons. To put it simply, cow’s milk is not designed for human consumption. Excessive amounts of calcium can cause an influx of mucus and kidney stones in your body, which certainly doesn’t sound pleasant. I personally just feel healthier and lighter drinking almond milk instead, and I don’t notice a significant difference in taste, either. In a NUTshell, to each their own!


Sources: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/is-white-rice-bad-for-you

https://woman.thenest.com/advantages-disadvantages-eggs-2077.html

https://www.cosmopolitan.com/health-fitness/a10160379/coconut-oil-pros-and-cons/

https://milk.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000656

Coming up next: News Flash: The Lisa Frank Kickstarters Still Haven’t Received Their Products

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Monday, September 23rd  

It’s unbearably hot in Massachusetts right now, and the flimsy window fan in my room isn’t helping. It looks like the rest of the week is going to be just as hot, so I’m trying to brace myself for that and seek out all the AC’s placed on campus. 

Over the weekend, I spent a lot of time thinking about my future, and what type of life I would eventually like to fall into. One thing I know for certain is that I do not want to become a corporate drone. I do not want to wake up every day and dread my useless 9-5 life. I know that nobody enjoys working boring 9-5 jobs, but I would especially despise it. In order for my life to feel meaningful, I need to do work that matters to me and sparks passion. It’s my ultimate goal in life to help people, and lessen the emotional burden we face in the stressful environment of my country. I want to make people laugh, smile, and relax, in any way I can. Even if it means I’m working 14 hour days and just scraping by, I will work those hours tirelessly and with so much joy in my heart. All I want in a career is to be my own boss, make my own money, and do what makes me feel meaningful.

I’m also very focused on working with animals. I adore ALL animals, with the exception of bugs and other creepy-crawly insects. But everything else? I am READY to devote my life to you. As a sensitive person, I’ve always felt extremely connected to animals and wanted to spend time with them. I volunteered for a short while at a farm over the summer, and then spent the rest of my time pet-sitting in my apartment building. My life goal is to have a pet cow; not even for agricultural purposes, I just want to have a cow to hang out with and take care of. 

This is a really long-winded way of saying I want to live somewhere with tons of animals: cows, goats, horses, chickens, dogs, cats, and small animals, like rats. I’m reluctant to call it a farm, because like I said, I’m not using it for agriculture. But I want to open up my land to the public, and allow guests to get close-up to the animals and learn how to handle them. I want to open up my land to cow-cuddling, so people can learn how affectionate and gentle these creatures are. Obviously, I would have to monetize this business to get by, and I would also want to blog about my animals, sell merch, or open up a Bed-and-Breakfast. In a nutshell, I want to start a community where people can come and just spend close-up time with animals. I mean, it would be the best of both worlds. I get to hang out with animals, and, I get to help people while working from home! (Future wife: I hope you’re on board with this.)

I recently re-took an assesment on MASScis called Career Cluster Inventory, which is a resource I’ve been using for years now. It’s free and extremely easy to find, so I highly suggest it to all of you. Basically, you are provided with a list of activities, and rate how much you would be interested in each of those activities. At the end of the assessment, the website generates which industries, in best-to-worst order, are ideal for you. My number one industry is Business Management, my second is arts, and my third is human services. I just wanted to throw that tidbit in there for you guys, because I think it’s a really amazing resource. I’ll leave the link to MASScis at the bottom of the page, if any of you are interested in that.

By the way, I am still using a lot of my Fab Fit Fun products regularly! I used up all of the delicious-smelling sugar cubes, and today I used my lunchbox to carry my food. More to come on that tomorrow!


Tuesday, September 24th

Like I said, I’ve been using my lunch box frequently since I received it in my Fab Fit Fun box. Because my diet is very specific and somewhat limited (my choice), I do have to make time in my schedule to order groceries and prepare meals. I have free delivery from Whole Foods because I’m an Amazon Prime user, so that definitely helps me tremendously. I prefer to have my groceries delivered because I don’t have a car, so literally walking to the grocery store is a hassle and a waste of time. I feel lucky that I live relatively close to a Whole Foods (within four miles), so I can have my groceries delivered within two hours.

This week I ordered some kitchen staples, like vegan Deli meat and vegan cheese, to make sandwiches with. The packages are small and compact, so they fit in my fridge perfectly, and one pack can last me up to a week. Every night I swipe a couple of pieces of bread from the dining hall, and assemble the sandwiches in my room before bed. Then I pack my sandwich in my lunchbox, and stash the whole bag away in the fridge until the next day. It’s convenient to have a meal to take with me, especially one high in protein and fiber. 

I also got a couple tubs of vegan cashew yogurt, which tasted surprisingly authentic and delicious. I was only able to buy the unsweetened variety, so I swiped a few teaspoons of sugar from the dining hall and added it to the tub to sweeten it up a bit. This is what I’ve been eating most mornings, usually while I do my makeup and get ready.

I also ordered a few other comfort foods this week, as my college obviously does not provide dairy-free and meat-free alternatives for things like that. I let myself buy a pint of dairy-free ice cream from Ben and Jerry’s (finished immediately), and the best vegan boxed macaroni and cheese I’ve EVER had. Seriously, if you’re looking for amazing vegan mac-and-cheese, you have to try the cheddar style by Modern Table Meals. I’m definitely buying that in bulk the next time I order my groceries!

Anyway, that’s pretty much what I do to get by here at college and still enjoy food that tastes good. Although it may not sound like much, it really is enough to get me through the week until I order groceries again. It’s expensive, yes, but that’s the price we have to pay for having specific diets. I’m hoping in the future my college will expand to offer more dairy-free staples, like vegan cheese and almond milk. I’m getting pretty tired of drinking my hot coffee black in humid September.

Moving on, today has already been quite busy. I had to leave my Human Services class early because my professor started talking about lobotomies, and I do NOT fuck around with that kind of stuff. Especially since I hadn’t eaten anything yet, I was feeling really squeamish and didn’t want to risk passing out in class. I’ve been pretty tired since then- panic always makes me feel lethargic for the rest of the day. It must use up a lot of energy. 

I decided to go ahead and write for my school’s fashion/lifestyle/culture magazine, so the rest of this week will probably be spent focusing on that. I love having writing projects and deadlines, so I’m looking forward to it! And, of course, I’m going to be working hard to punch out three articles a week on here, plus my weekly catch-up. This is the kind of work that makes me feel happy and fulfilled, so I’m really excited to tackle these various projects. I would say I probably spend 2-4 hours per day writing, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. 


Wednesday, September 25th

My anxiety has been somewhat heightened for the past few weeks, and it seems to come in waves. Sometimes I am able to keep it under control, because I’ve learned a variety of coping mechanisms along the way, but other times I just have to ride the wave. 

I had two instances of bad anxiety yesterday; the first was in my Human Services class, as I said, but I was able to leave the situation and go take deep breaths outside. Last night I had another bout of anxiety, but this one wasn’t the direct result of anything in particular. I was watching a show (a murder mystery actually), which obviously heightened my emotions and kept me on the edge of my seat. But then I suddenly started to feel a little anxious. And then, it just snowballed from there. Having anxiety at night can be the worst because there’s no one you can call or talk to; in this case it was 2:00am and everyone is asleep. I was extremely lucky because one of my friends happened to be awake at that time, and I chatted with her on the phone until I was calm again. Now that it’s the next morning, I’m absolutely exhausted. I do owe my aromatherapy rollerball some credit, because after I added some drops to my pillowcase, I started to slowly calm down and get sleepy. It’s never fun to have serious anxiety, but when it interferes with sleep, that’s especially not fun.

I also had some weird dreams; not quite nightmares, but tense and anxious in nature. I’m sure it’s all connected in some way. The good news is, I woke up today feeling fine (albeit tired). I have three classes today, so I’m hoping they go by relatively fast. 


Friday, September 27th

I didn’t get any writing done yesterday, not even for classes or homework. My mom and my dog came to visit, so I was primarily preoccupied with that. We sat in the grass and I caught her up on all of my life happenings, and in general, it was just really nice to see her. We’re also planning on getting dinner next week with my brother, so I’m looking forward to that!

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So good to see my favorite boy this week!

 

Afterwards, I felt pretty drained, so I didn’t end up getting any work done. I don’t think it has to do with the visit, I think it’s because I’m approaching my 4th week in my pill pack and I’m generally fatigued around that time. I’ve gotten a lot of texts from distant friends, but I haven’t replied to many of them. I feel like I just needed a little break from talking to people and helping them with their needs, so I could focus on my own needs for one night. 


Saturday, September 28th

Yesterday ended up being really fun, but I didn’t end up writing any more because I was actually off campus! My good friend and I went to Playa Bowls in Boston for an early dinner, which was a lovely time and the banana bowl I got was delicious. If I had a steady income, I would be spending my money at Playa Bowls constantly! Afterwards we went to the Museum of Science to use the telescopes (also in Boston), and finished off the night at The Cheesecake Factory. It was a long night with a lot of walking, but we had tons of fun. Lily is someone I can laugh with all day, all night, and her personality is so vivacious. By the way, for those of you who don’t know, The Cheesecake Factory has the Impossible Burger!

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Two absolute snacks in one picture

I’m so happy that more restaurant chains are offering more plant-based options, including KFC, Subway, and Burger King. I will say that I’m not a huge fan of Impossible Foods due to their business practices, but if that’s the only thing on the menu I can eat, obviously I’ll take it. I respect Beyond Meat a lot more as a company, and love that you can even get their products at the supermarket! What are your favorite vegan menu items? I’d love to try the vegan chicken being tested at KFC, but it hasn’t caught up to New England yet.

I’ve been focusing a lot more on internships lately, because I need one to graduate in May. I will almost definitely be taking on a Spring internship, and it’s surprisingly hard to find something that appeals to me. Like I’ve said many times before, I’m not a corporate-oriented person. I’d love to find something that allows me to be creative, oral, and visual, rather than feel like a drone or a personal assistant. The unique thing about my degree (Digital Media + Social Justice) is that it applies to almost all industries, so hopefully I will find the perfect fit somewhere!


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Coming up this week:

9/30- Yes, Your Mental Health is More Important Than a Good Grade

10/2- Six Controversial Foods and My Opinions on Them

10/4- News Flash: The Lisa Frank Kickstarters Still Haven’t Received Products

If you’ve been keeping up with Taco Tuesday, then you probably remember the monstrosity that was Tofu Tacos. Let’s just not talk about it, and move on.

I have much higher hopes for vegan spicy beef tacos- I generally like vegan beef tremendously more than vegan fish. The flavor somehow feels more authentic. For this recipe, I am going to be using the Gardein ground “beef”, because I’ve used it many times in the past and I know it to be a reliable staple in my vegan dishes. I’m going to be combining the “beef” crumble with onions, chili powder, garlic powder, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper. I’m also going to throw in about a cup of tomato sauce, just to give the crumble some additional flavor. You could certainly make this much spicier by adding cayenne pepper, but I’m personally going to skip that.

 

To make the “beef”, I recommend cooking the crumble first (about 4-5 minutes), and then add in the tomato sauce and onions. Make sure you mix the crumble really well to break it up a bit more, otherwise you’re going to have chunks rather than…crumble. I added the spices last, and then just let it simmer for another five minutes.

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Photo by Julia on Pexels.com

I didn’t know it was possible to mess up taco shells until I did it two weeks in a row. For whatever reason, it didn’t occur to me that I should probably heat up the shells so my tacos so they don’t taste like cardboard. Rather than microwaving the shells (that never worked in the past), I’m just going to pop them in the oven for five minutes are so. This definitely helped to improve the crispiness of them, and it doesn’t take long at all to heat them up. This was actually overall a really quick meal to make, despite the fact that it may appear to have a lot of components. 

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Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

Obviously, the toppings you can put on your tacos are endless, but I’m going to keep it as classic as possible. For veggies I’m going to add lettuce and baby tomatoes, and sprinkle on a little bit of the onions we used earlier. You can add cheese and sour cream if you want, but I personally didn’t have a dairy-free alternative on hand. Nonetheless, the tacos tasted fine without them!

Yes, that’s right- I finally made tacos that didn’t suck! (not that the spaghetti tacos were horrible, but they were definitely lackluster). They also tasted surprisingly authentic- if you eat a plant-based diet and you miss spicy tacos, you’re sure to adore this concretion. Finally, we have a success!

Coming up next: My Favorite Conspiracy Theories About The Shining

 

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I’ve been an avid Sims fan since I started playing it in high school. Now that I’m going into my senior year of college, I’ve locked in well over 2,000 hours (and the end is nowhere in sight!). The Sims definitely is a detail-oriented game, and I love all the little fun touches that the developers included (and continue to include) in the game play. One thing that I really enjoy about The Sims is that you can create vegetarian-specific dishes in the game – like vegetarian chili or “tofu stir fry.” And thus this blog idea was born- I want to make the “tofu tacos” that are featured in the game, including all the ingredients and steps for preparation. Do I think they will taste decent enough? It’s hard to say. I mean, it’s a simulation video game, these tacos only have about 4 ingredients.

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Even though this digital recipe clearly isn’t formulated for practical application, I’m up for the challenge. So without further adieu, let’s make some tacos.

To learn the preparation of said tacos, I went into the “sim cam” mode in the game so I could have a realistic view. It looks like the first thing I need to do is get my vegetables, which looks like bell peppers, tomato, onion, and…lettuce? What is that vegetable?

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Now that I have chopped all my vegetables, it’s time to figure out what I want to use as a vegan fish replacement. This “recipe” is obviously meant to be a replacement for fish tacos, so I’m going to need to use some type of vegan fish replacement to fry. Firm tofu has a similar consistency to fish, and a very mild taste, making it perfect for this recipe. I actually own some vegan “fish sticks” (made from tofu and some sort of vegetable oil), so that’s what I’m going to be using for this. 

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I was immediately worried that these tacos would suck because it just feels so…lackluster. Actually, just the 3 vegetables are lackluster, and the vegan “fish” sticks are way on the other side of the spectrum- too powerful and flavorful to go with the bland veggies. Obviously I KNOW it’s just a video game and not supposed to be hyper-realistic at all, but I ended up being right. These tacos were NASTY. You poor vegan sims, I’m sorry y’all have to settle for these vegan tacos.

First of all, I was right about the flavors not meshing at all. I’m not saying the vegan fish sticks are bad, but they definitely would have tasted better paired with ketchup and fries, rather than in a cold taco shell with some veggies. I just couldn’t do this recipe justice, and I tried.

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Maybe vegan fish tacos just don’t work in general. There is something about meatless fish that I can understand being sketchy, and that probably contributed to why I hated the recipe so much. If you want to give it a whirl, by all means go for it! Maybe you’ll be able to revamp this recipe into something delicious. However, don’t replicate this recipe unless you want to waste a whole lot of food. Trust me on this one!

Next Tuesday I’m going to be making vegan spicy beef tacos, and I have much higher hopes for that than I did for this recipe (and the cursed spaghetti tacos). I look forward to sharing more food adventures with all of you!

Coming up next: Taco Tuesday: Vegan Spicy Beef Tacos

If you also grew up in the mid 2000s as a die-hard Nickelodeon fan, then I’m sure you remember the iconic television show, iCarly. And if you watched it religiously, like I did in middle school, I’m sure you remember the carbilicious glory that is the spaghetti taco. 

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Admittedly, I have tried to make spaghetti tacos in the past with my good friend, Eli. We had pretty high hopes for the recipe, but I have to say, the spaghetti tacos tasted TERRIBLE. And to this day, I have to wonder how we could make something as simple as spaghetti tacos go wrong. How could pasta in a crispy corn tortilla taste bad? Somehow, it sucked, and we couldn’t even finish the tacos. 

Looking back, it was a pretty hilarious experience, but then again, anything with Eli is a hilarious time. He’s unfortunately out of state for the summer, so I will have to carry out the spaghetti taco legacy without him. Hopefully, the spaghetti tacos will be better this time around, so let’s get into it now!

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Preparing for the delicious monstrosity with my friends!

This isn’t going to be a particularly informative or exciting article, because the recipe is as basic as it sounds. Boil some spaghetti, add in your favorite sauce, and boom, stuff it into a taco shell. One thing I will say is that it probably would have been a better ideal to toast/bake the taco shells, because eating them straight out of the package definitely tastes a little blah. I found that seasoning the pasta with a lot of salt and pepper really helped to flavor it and make it more appealing than the last time I made spaghetti tacos, and it also wouldn’t be a bad idea to add seasonings like oregano, thyme, rosemary, etc. I’m also curious how the spaghetti tacos would taste with more “taco” toppings, such as cheese and some sort of spicy beef. Of course, I live an ovo-vegetarian lifestyle, so I would have to use vegan cheese and meat to amp up my spaghetti taco game.

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Glamorous.

This time around, the tacos were waaaay better than the first time. I don’t really know why- I used essentially the same ingredients and steps, but for some reason, the first spaghetti tacos tasted like I cooked them in toilet water. This time around, they tasted flavorful, delicious, and smooth with a crunchy twist. This dish is an ode to the legendary iCarly, and it’s hard to hate something as basic as a spaghetti taco. I myself am a pretty simple eater, and would be satisfied to have spaghetti tacos again on a day that I feel like “cooking.” I put “cooking” in quotations because, like I said, it doesn’t take much to whip up a batch of these goodies.

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Not my picture, but come on- tell me this doesn’t speak to your soul.

I have three more installations of Taco Tuesday planned, and next week, I will be tackling the very unique “tofu taco” from The Sims 4. I hope you guys enjoyed today’s article, and I have some really exciting articles planned for August. I can’t wait to fill you all in on what I’m doing!

Coming up next: What’s in Season in August?