farewell 2014

Hello2014_image

Oh 2014, you were so good to me. I found a great job, I started cooking real food, I moved into an amazing apartment with an amazing kitchen, and I finally graduated from grad school. But beyond all of that, I am happy, much happier than I was on December 30th, 2013.

This time last year, I was fighting back tears during my hour-long commute to a job I was grossly overqualified for. I was bitter and resentful at everything and everyone, three months after being laid off. I took my anger out on Johnny, yelling at him and treating him like he was the source of my anger. My plans were messed up and I couldn't accept it. I also ended up losing my closest friend over something that happened during New Years' Eve, but I wouldn't realize the gravity of the situation until much later. Needless to say, I was happy to say goodbye to 2013.

In January, I got the offer to move to my current job. I met so many amazing people and I've learned so much more in 10 months than I have throughout the entirety of my career before.

In February, I completed my first 5k ever in 52 minutes (and while still recovering from the flu).

In March, Johnny and I made the decision to move and found the perfect place for us.

In April, I was lucky enough to be part of my company's move into its own office space, a huge moment for the organization.

In May, we moved across the county to the perfect apartment.

Over the summer months, I upped my cooking game beyond belief.

In August, I started my last semester of grad school.

In September, I finally said goodbye to the most transformative year of my life and happily welcomed my 26th year.

During the fall months, I handled medical situation after medical situation (thyroid issues, TMJ, and a crazy reaction to muscle relaxers) while dealing with the most stressful group project ever.

In December, I finally graduated and said goodbye to USF after 9 years and 3 1/2 degrees.

2014, you treated me so well. You helped me learn how to be happy again, you gave me so many opportunities, and you showed me that all can be right again with some work. When I think back to 2014, I will always remember it was the year I matured into an adult through a crazy series of events that (unfortunately) needed to happen. As sucky as those events were, they needed to happen for me to have this year and to move on from where I was stuck at in 2013. I will always remember 2014 fondly, but I'm ready to embark on a new journey in 2015 (more on that later).

recipe: slow cooker korean barbecue short ribs

Photo Dec 14, 5 30 45 PM

This is the dish you serve when your best friends come over for a dinner party. It's so amazingly delicious, and it's so simple to throw together if you have a slow cooker. Short ribs can be pricy (my three pounds should have been around $20 if they weren't on sale), but it's worth the investment when you're cooking for people you like. Throw everything in a crock pot, watch some Netflix, and be prepared for everyone to be amazed.

Keep in mind that this takes a whole day (9 hours), so you'll be to plan ahead accordingly, You can serve this with rice, but I found that just the short ribs and broccolini were enough for me.

slow cooker korean barbecue short ribs
makes enough for 2 large servings and 1 smaller leftover

3 pounds beef short ribs
1 can korean bbq slow cooker sauce (I use Archer Farms for convenience, but check out the note below to make your own)
1 bunch broccolini
drizzle of olive oil
2 garlic cloves
seseme seeds, for garnish
1 cup white rice, dry + 2 cups of water (optional)

Place short ribs in a slow cooker with the entire can of sauce and set on low for nine hours. If making rice, start cooking with ~20 minutes left. When the short ribs are done, blanch the broccolini for 2-3 minutes, until bright green. Drain and sautee with the olive oil and garlic for an additional minute. Plate verything and sprinkle some seseme seeds over everything before serving.

Note: A traditional Korean BBQ sauce uses soy sauce, sugar, garlic, rice vinegar, chili sauce, ginger, and seseme oil. Check out recipes here. Making your own sauce should only add 5-10 minutes extra to this.

i’m still here

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I'm still lurking around here, super busy as I try to squeeze three weeks worth of worth into five business days before my holiday schedule kicks in. I'm not even going to go into a rant about how much I despise people who shove all of their work on someone else at the last second. I'm just going to accept it and keep on doing what I do (with a slightly grump face).

But while I'm here, let me give you a preview of what to look forward to in the next few weeks:

Graduation
More goal setting
Recipes galore! Short ribs, roasted chicken thighs, delicious drinks…
Book reviews
Year in review
The year coming up

how to make any breakfast fancy

I've been in a breakfast rut. Scambled eggs and toast is just dull now. I was shopping at Fresh Market this weekend to help give me inspiration when I ran across a package of smoked salmon. You can find smoked salmon at any major grocer, and it is definitely worth the price if you're a huge salmon fan like me. It's an instant breakfast upgrade!

Photo Dec 09, 6 53 26 AM

You can add it to an everything bagel with cream cheese (above), you can have it on the side of scrambled eggs, you can top avocado toast with it. If you're feeling extra fancy, you can poach an egg and eat the two on an english muffin (an almost benedict). If you want to expand outside of breakfast, you can eat smoked salmon with cripsy potato cakes or make homemade sushi. Pinterest is loaded with ideas for this awesome and versatile food.

This was such a great purchase, and I think I'm going to always have a package on hand.

What's your instant breakfast upgrade?