Category Archives: Passion
I’m not exactly sure what’s gotten into me lately… in a good way. After flying back to Texas from my Arizona Thanksgiving, I suddenly had the urge to COOK. It must have been those delicious home-cooked meals and hearing about my best friend Ryan’s cooking escapades. Those that know me know that this is not an area I usually dabble in, but I felt the need to give it a whirl.
Baking, yes. I love baking. Muffins, cupcakes, cookies, cakes, bread… you name it, I’ll bake it. But for some reason, cooking has never really appealed to me. I look at recipes and see ingredients like “shallots” and think to myself, “What in the world is that?” I couldn’t even begin to guess.
I have recently discovered that it’s not so much the cooking that is unappealing. It’s actually shopping for the ingredients. I tend to get extremely lost in grocery stores, wandering down multiple aisles two or three times because I usually miss an ingredient or two… or five. I know that, eventually, this will get better with time. The more time I spend in one grocery store, the more likely I am to familiarize myself with the exact aisles and locations of everything I need.
On Monday evening after work, I decided to brave the traffic and crowds and stroll over to HEB. My grocery list was all over the place and it took me awhile to figure out where everything was, but eventually I found it all. I rushed home and started cooking right away because I was starving. Note to self: Shop for ingredients the night before so you have everything you need for dinner the next evening.
Now, I will give myself credit for one thing. I am great at multi-tasking (or as my coworkers know it as, rapid-toggling) which allows me to cook a number of things at one time without the mess of overflowing pots and a burnt smelling stove-top. This came in handy for this particular recipe because you have to do a few things at one time in order for it to turn out right. It does take 45 minutes to cook, but trust me, it is well worth the wait when it’s done. Thank you to my Mom for providing me with this wonderful recipe
STUFFED SHELLS (makes 18)
You will need:
- 1/2 package of Barilla jumbo pasta shells
- 1 jar (27 oz) tomato basil spaghetti sauce
- 1 egg
- 1 container (15 oz) of ricotta cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella
- 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 box of frozen chopped spinach (or half a bag)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cook jumbo pasta shells and drain.
- Cook spinach in water (about 5 minutes) and drain.
- Stuffing: Beat egg in a bowl, then stir in the ricotta cheese, 1 3/4 cup mozzarella, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, and spinach.
- Spread tomato basil spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a clear, glass Pyrex rectangular baking dish.
- After shells have cooled off a little, fill them with the stuffing (in step 4) and place them in the baking dish.
- Pour the rest of the sauce over the shells and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the shells.
- Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
- Uncover the dish and bake again for 5 minutes.
& Voila! You have yourself a delicious meal. This truly is every cheese lover’s dream. And if you’re a lovely, single lady (or chap) like myself, you’ll have plenty of leftovers for lunch and dinner. If you want a less vegetarian version, try adding meat or sausage in the stuffing mix. I prefer it without meat, it tastes quite delicious. Happy Cooking!
I must say, even though I’ve gone through daylight savings twice before, it still seems equally as confusing. It’s only 9pm, but my body is telling me it’s 10. Don’t get me wrong, the extra hour is nice. But I know I’ll be feeling all sorts of jet-lagged this coming week.
Last week wasn’t the best of weeks. It was very hectic and completely exhausting. I fortunately had the chance to partake in a fun and life-changing activity. Junior Achievement.
For those that have known me since 2nd grade, it was pretty apparent how much I loved (and still love) school. I had amazing teachers from elementary classes to college courses, and for the longest time, I really had my sights set on being a teacher.
But of course, as time passed, many things changed and I was brought down a different path during college. Good ol’ supply chain. To this day, I still believe I’d truly enjoy decorating classrooms and being around 3rd graders all day every day. There’s something so incredible just being around a child’s energy. The innocence and pure happiness make me nostalgic. How I wish my cares & troubles in the world could be as simple as a 3rd grader’s.
Luckily, I was presented with an opportunity to teach 4th graders for the rest of the year. Obviously I jumped on this opportunity- who wouldn’t? Even though it’s only 5 sessions (and I’ve already got one down), I am completely confident it will make the remainder of 2011 overly pleasant.
My class is one of about 24 students. The classroom is lovely and much more advanced than when I was an elementary tot. Thank you, technology. I’m slowly learning that kids are much more “in tune” to things that I definitely wouldn’t have kept tabs on as a youngin’. Instead of giving examples like Barbie Dolls and Tonka trucks, they were much more interested to talk about iPhones and the Kardashian sisters. My my, how times have changed.
Either way, it feels good to be a kid again.
Today I got to thinking about success. Sure, this may seem like an odd concept to suddenly cross my mind. But as I sat at my desk today shooting hundreds of emails off to countless recipients, I caught myself wondering- what truly defines success? What does this word really even mean?
Does it mean you have numerous material possessions? Ones worth more than your mortgage or rent payment? Or a bank account the size of Europe? Does it indicate that you’re simply better than someone else because you have more? Or are those who are successful considered conceited, yet envied among thousands of hopeful successful-to-be’s?
As always, there’s undoubtedly more than one answer. Everyone defines success in their own individual way.
I say… forget the fancy, luxury cars and jewelry that costs tens of thousands of dollars. Forget the status quo and your “place” in society. Forget the monstrous CEO paychecks when we have teachers educating our future getting paid way less than they deserve. Forget everything material for just one second. In a lot of ways, I sometimes think we’d all be better off without it.
A world without jealousy. Now there’s something to think about.
I think the saying “Happiness isn’t having what you want, but wanting what you already have” goes a long way. If you couldn’t tell already, I’ve been embarking on quite the soul-searching adventure lately. I’m eagerly learning what makes me truly happy by constantly immersing myself in new & different situations. For Pete’s sake, I moved to a completely different state where I knew not a single soul. And dare I say, it was the best choice I’ve ever made.
I just hope that more people will be able to see what’s shining on the outside of this box they’ve seemed to trap themselves in. To miss out on something new & exciting, something that could potentially bring complete and utter happiness? Well, I’d just never forgive myself.
I remember as a little girl growing up in my small hometown in Indiana. My friends and I would frolick around outside until we exhausted ourselves and were finally called to dinner. After dinner, I would go up into my room and pull toys, clothes, shoes, and other do-dads out of my closet. I would then sit indian-style inside my closet, the clothes on hangers slightly brushing the top of my head, with my doll Lela. After sitting there for a few moments, I would crawl into bed and hide under the covers. I believe as human beings, this is a natural feeling to yearn for. The feeling of a safe haven.
As we get older, it may seem unreasonable and childlike to yearn for that feeling of safety, that feeling where nothing and no one can hurt you. I don’t find this silly, I actually find it quite comforting. We have countless more emotions (some that we understand and some that we don’t) as we get older that without a place of safety, where do you go to experience them all? It feels unnatural to free these feelings in the open.
I have found that the one place I feel most comfortable is soaked up in a bubble bath. It’s a time where I can shut the shower curtain, light some candles, and just relax with my thoughts and feelings. The scent of lavender is incredibly soothing, and once you throw some Stacy Clark on, the result is one of pure bliss. It’s the perfect time to get away from your phone, laptop, TV, and the never-ending hustle & bustle that somehow takes over our lives. We all need a moment or two to relax.
After all, we are only human. We can’t be perfect and have it completely together all the time. It’s okay to have imperfections. And what better way to let out these imperfections in a place of safety and comfort? Learn to love your safe haven. You’ll soon discover that it loves you right back.
Routine. We all have one.
I hastily turn off my alarm clock at 5am, hit the gym, hop in the shower, and start my daily mantra before work, “Today will be a good day.”
I grab a shake from the refrigerator, turn on a single light for Lacy, and lock the door, triple checking to make sure it is indeed locked. OCD much?
I believe I have a routine for every activity I engage in. I also believe I’m not the only one. As comforting as routines make our lives, how do we know when we need a change? Do routines limit us from trying new things and exploring our adventurous side?
I can understand both answers “yes” and “no” when it comes to this question. On the one hand, routines may seem limiting. We get so caught up in our day-to-day doings that we sometimes forget how much more is out there. It is entirely possible to lose that sense of being adventurous and carefree.
On the other hand, routines have the ability to open up new possibilities. Maybe an activity in your normal routine can lead to what may seem like an insignificant moment, when really it is one to get your mind revved up and your carefree spirit rolling. For instance, if you enjoy running (as I so do) and the weather is beautiful, you may decide to run outside. This small change allows your routine to continue uninterrupted, just with an adventurous kick.
So the next time you feel bored or like you’ve fallen into a rut, pick yourself up and try something new. The least you can do for yourself is explore what life has to offer. In the end, what do you really have to lose?
If there is such a place as Baker’s Street, I undoubtedly should move there. Although I do not cook (ever), I absolutely love to bake. After the hitting the gym everyday this week (sometimes multiple times per day), I realized how hungry I had become. While salads and veggies are healthy and quite filling, sometimes what you really need is a delectable, fluffy treat. Sunday is the perfect day to write and to bake. Looks like I’ve got both down.
Last week I made crepes. Today I made banana bread. And let me just tell you… it is DELICIOUS. I wish I could say I made it from scratch, but then I’d be lying. I found this amazing mix from the Central Market down the street from my house. I’m guessing it is organic because everything in the store is labeled so. All you need are 2 eggs, 1/3 cup of vegetable oil, 2/3 cup of water, and the banana bread mix. Spray some non-stick spray in a loaf pan, pour it in, and stick in the oven for 50 minutes at 350 degrees. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself eating the most moist, rich banana bread.
In other news, my mother is coming to visit me in late February! I honestly could not be more excited! I have missed her so much and am thrilled I get to show her around my lovely little city. Now, if only the month of February could fly by…
More later. Ciao.
Nineteen days late, but… HAPPY NEW YEAR! I have been absolutely horrendous when it comes to updating my blog. Even though it is a top priority on my New Year’s Resolutions List, I find myself getting swept up in the day-to-day hustle and bustle that has somehow become my life. Any chance I get to sit down and write, I take it. Trust me.
Speaking of New Year’s Resolutions, one of mine is to learn how to cook. Sounds stupid, I know. But after watching Julie & Julia, I really felt inspired to cook at least one meal a week I have never tried before. This should be easy since I’ve cooked close to nothing. Oops.
Unlike my usual blog posts, this one is going to be a little different. I need to take a break from business, finance, and work, and write about something unique and different. And no, I am not going to start blogging about cooking like in the movie, but I must share something delicious I made a week ago. I have pictures to prove it.
Last week, I found myself drifting into a sweet memory from two summers ago. In Paris. Europe isn’t exactly known for having the most amazing food, but they do have one little gem I most enjoy. Crepes Specifically, nutella and banana crepes. YUM.
I had quite the urge to go buy as many cookbooks as I could get my hands on. And I found the perfect one, with a fast and easy crepe recipe. How easy? Five ingredients within 15 minutes. Voila.
Well, hello there. It’s only been what, two months since my last post? I must apologize for this. Although I knew being in the working world was tiresome, I didn’t know that it would take away my urge to write.
Wait a second. Can I really attribute my lack of wanting to write because of work? Absolutely not. I realized today that the reason I haven’t been writing is because I have been fully and completely out of my element. (Not to mention I have a hard time sitting at my desk because it’s a cheap little thing from IKEA with a plastic chair. So not ideal and so not comfortable). Hence, the first thing on my to-do list this week: buy a new desk and chair.
I was just home for the holidays & had quite a lovely time. My family’s Thanksgiving was amazing, with incredible food and even more incredible company. I couldn’t have asked for a better holiday to come home to… well, except for Christmas. Best holiday ever.
As I was sitting in Sky Harbor waiting for my flight back to Texas, I suddenly had the urge to write. Of course I didn’t have my laptop with me, which always happens when I finally feel the need to relieve stress and put everything on paper (or computer, in this case). Instead, I ended up jotting down some ideas for this blog.
Because I feel as though I documented my journey from college to the professional world in exquisite detail, I have found it difficult to keep writing about something that has already passed in my life. I hope that my journey through my entries inspired some (hopefully most) to get their lives on track and keep the faith. There’s a job out there for you- you just have to believe it.
I guess this blog will now lean towards issues that pertain to my life, which eventually could be issues you face as well. I’m excited for what’s to come and I hope you are too!