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chocolate festival 2014

The annual chocolate festival was on April 12th! :] As the name might suggest, it encompassed all things chocolate-related. 35 local shops/businesses make some kind of chocolate-related treat and you buy tickets (in increments of 5) at City Hall for “chocolate tastings.” There was also a 10k Chocolate Chase for HospiceCare, a chocolate brunch, bake-off, live music, pastry chef demonstrations, a chocolate mousse eating contest, and special chocolate-themed entrees and desserts at some of the restaurants throughout the evening.

I started my day off at the Lewisburg Food Locker handing out bags of food to people and decided to stop at the festival before going to church, lest they run out of all the goodies (I’d been given $5 from one of my friends to pick up some things for her since she was mandated to go help out at Habitat for Humanity for the Super Smart People club.)

As per last year’s tradition, our first stop was the Harmony Ridge Gallery because they tended to have really awesome things that ran out quickly (the line had already extended across the street and back by the time we left).

Dark Chocolate Pot de Creme with Yuzu Citrus Cream & Triple Chocolate Verrine (Parfait): white chocolate dulce de leche panna cotta, bittersweet chocolate mousse & milk chocolate Chantilly

I also got a Chocolate Brownie Smore with Salty Caramel Drizzle from Food & Friends, Chocolate Mousse Cake with Fresh Whipped Cream & Raspberry Coulis from Stella’s, Dark Chocolate Covered Coconut Treats, Maraschino cherry-infused brownie with buttercream topped with a cherry, Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods, and DeBrand Chocolate Truffles.

I stopped by church for the last half of the sermon and for lunch!

I went to go train/learn BJJ with Dan in the afternoon. I’m kinda sad that I have to leave also because it means I’m going to be losing him as a teacher. :[ He’s full of awesome.

There were several restaurants in town that were doing some kind of a special chocolate-themed entree, so Lynnlee, Elise, Dustin and I decided to go out for dinner. :D We chose Stella’s, a farm-to-table restaurant located inside a restored 1890’s Victorian home. We were sold on their rather enticing food descriptions and compared to most of the other restaurants, their pricing was the most reasonable. One of these days, I need to go there to try their brunch!

After very little deliberation, I decided to get the Rainbow Farms Half Hen with Butternut Squash Mash & Vegetables du Jour. :]

I split a passionfruit creme brulee for dessert with Lynnlee. :D My philosophy on ordering desserts in restaurants basically boils down to whether or not I can recreate it at home, and this is definitely one of the ones I can’t make. It was amazing. <3

Baked Yam with Apples

Earlier this year, I went over to a church friend’s house to help brew up some apple butter!

I’m really proud of myself for finding it because I pretty much went by, “After you go under the tunnel, follow the road for 4 miles. When you see the county sign, make a right and then drive for about 2 miles. Make another right there.”

This cauldron (kettle) is about a century old. :O

Anyway, a whole lot of apple butter was made that day and packaged into mason jars to sell for the school fundraiser. I bought two from the pastor’s son so I could bring one back here to share with my family/friends. Jun and I decided to use it as a topping for a dessert we wanted to make. I know yams and sweet potatoes are different things, but I tend to use them pretty interchangeably. :O Our Google doc basically consisted of 3 things per day (something with a bunch of protein, something with a bunch of veggies, a dessert) that we met up. :O

This is an excerpt from our Google doc. The green is Jun; the blue is me.

Baked Yam with Apples

Ingredients:
-2 yams
-2 apples
-cinnamon
-pecans, chopped
-drizzle of honey
-apple butter

Instructions:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Slice a yam 3/4 the way through in ~1/2 inch sections. Place sliced yam + sprinkle with cinnamon.
3) Dice an apple and place on top of potato. Drizzle with honey + finish off with chopped pecans.
4) Bake for 1.5 hours or until yam is tender.
5) Top with apple butter and serve!

too nice

Is there a fault to being “too nice”?

I love where I am right now. One could argue that it’s just because of the quality of the people I choose to surround myself with, and while I agree that there will always be the gems (…) that slip through the cracks, the overwhelming majority of the people here are truly amazing. During the open house, I signed up to be one of the greeters for prospective students and one of them asked me what I didn’t like about the school. I didn’t really have much of an answer for him. There are minor annoyances for sure (e.g. “I wish I’d gotten a better grade in this class”/”I wish the test had been scheduled on this day instead so I could go here”), but there will always be something to complain about, and on the whole, there are no dealbreakers. (Perhaps talk to me again about this after boards though.)

People smile at you here, ask you how your day’s going, and actually care about your answer. I’ve randomly befriended one of the guys who works at Kroger. The people I talk to in chorale remember things I told them weeks ago and remember to ask me how things went. The locals that I’ve gotten to know tell me to call them if I ever need anything at all (help with moving, food, company, anything).

When I was hanging out at a friend’s place over break and we were chipping in money to get pizza, they told me I didn’t need to pay.
F: But I eat a lot. :O
M: You have boobs, Farrah. That means you don’t need to pay. You’re gonna have to get used to that. :O
Sidenote: We had Halo night and watched Monday Night Football. (I have not watched football since I broke up with secondary ex, haha. I’m not even sure who won since I wasn’t really paying attention. :x ) We lost miserably at Halo (I got one whole kill! I’ve never played before.), and the other team eventually gave up on us and left.
T: Well, UNLIKE YOU, WE HAVE A GIRL HERE!

I’ve been looking after the cat shelter for the past week or so and what she texted me was really heartwarming. (“You are amazing and special, and you have a special place in my heart. Those people are rewarded on earth and in heaven. I’m the earth dudette.”) I think she’s an amazing lady and really admire her for everything that she does. For someone I really care about that I really look up to think so highly of me makes me feel all kinds of awesome. :]

One of the ladies at my church has offered on multiple occasions to make me food throughout the week so I wouldn’t have to worry about cooking anything, and the other day, I was meeting up with a friend to practice for special music. I mentioned that I was slightly low on gas so I was hoping we could meet downtown (less ground for me to cover on foot!) and he offered to get me gas.While I can’t bring myself to take them up on said offers because I’d feel really guilty, I am extremely appreciative of all the kindness I’ve been met with over here.

My friend was also working in the thrift store the day before I was going to head in there, so he asked me what I was looking for and scouted a bunch of awesome things in my size for me and texted me pictures with prices. I ended up getting a sweater, a really comfortable hoodie, a winter jacket, a warm vest, a genuine leather jacket, 2 pairs of black leather boots (ankle + knee-high), a pair of red heels and a pair of brown heels that I can wear to clinic. < $35. Yepyep.

Seriously, guys, what world have I stepped into?

Sometimes, I’m genuinely concerned that when I leave, I’ll be too spoiled to function in the real world. I do think karma exists and that a lot of the time, you reap what you sow. I try my absolute best to be nice to everyone, regardless of how they treat me (although if there are repeated incidents where they offend/hurt the people I care about [or me], I will generally just cut them out of my life if that’s a viable option). I think it’s worked really well and I’d love to believe that it’s how the rest of the world will operate, but I guess we’ll see. I hope I’m not in for a rude awakening once I step out of this bubble.

and it’s especially weird because when i talk to a lot of other people here, they do not have such experiences.

roughin’ it up

I mentioned in passing that I promised a date to one of the fighters at the competition last month, and I’m not one to go back on my word, so we made plans to hang out while he was back for Thanksgiving! He asked me what kind of activities and/or food I wanted to do/get so he could think up something special. I figured livening up my life with a bunch of stuff I’d never done couldn’t hurt, so I suggested going shooting (I’ve gone to a shooting range once in my life, but I’ve never fired a rifle before :O ) and going out on his 4 wheeler because that sounded rather intriguing. (I had no idea what a 4 wheeler was. ._.) :O He lent me a ginormous jacket, coveralls and gloves since I really only have just one warm jacket that gets me through the winters here and was somewhat hesitant about possibly murdering it.

I can probably officially say now that I’ve shown up to a date (of sorts) in clothes covered in mud (and possibly also dog poop).

What can I say? I’m awesome.

Kidding. But in my defense, it was because Mike and I went to the dog shelter the day before to take the dogs out on runs and I figured I’d wear the same clothes since I’d probably be getting all muddy anyway. And really, he’s already seen me parading around in a bikini. C’mon now. We bumped into his cousin along the way and he told us his wife was out tracking a deer, so he gave us a vest, which he put on me so the chances of me accidentally getting shot would somewhat decrease. (Whatta nice soul. :O )

I’ve since discovered that 4 wheelers are a type of ATV and holy effing crud, they are a ton of fun! :O! He used to race with em’, so that’s probably why we’re still alive and everything, despite blowing through the snowy countryside hills the way we did. I’m very glad that I didn’t fall off. I think that summer I spent taking horseback riding lessons and my rolling sessions with Dan and Mike definitely came into use there. It was super pretty out there (he says it’s even more beautiful in the summer, but hooray for seasons?). I will admit that it definitely made me enjoy the snow more. I wish I’d taken more pictures (when we were stopped, of course), but sometimes you just gotta enjoy/live in the moment! He also told me that his parents hold horseback riding workshops/lessons. Where was all of this during my childhood?! (Oh right. I lived in the suburbs. Although said suburbs = 4x more people than the biggest city here. It all makes sense now.)

It’s probably a little hard to tell, but there are a bunch of targets set up (with distances marked) off in the distance.

I actually hit the targets! :D To be fair though, it’s probably a little difficult to miss if you’re using the sights properly.

Still alive with intact limbs and all! Graininess because I resorted to using the front camera. I am not well-versed in camwhoring.

I sometimes wish I’d been raised on a farm. I feel like I have absolutely no practical knowledge or streets-smarts, and I don’t really consider myself to be very book-smart either (I just work really hard), so holy crud, there’s gotta be something. :O Would’ve been cool, but as it is, maybe I’ll just make a list of things I want to do before I leave WV.

In other news, my blanket fort (aka piles of blankets on the floor of my study room with the space heater aimed at said pile) has returned because it’s cold as shit over here.

Say hello to my best friend, the space heater!

Fall Community Harvest Dinner

And so my food adventures continue. This was the day after the pumpkin potluck.

I had a ginormous lunch at church (as per usual)… :x

The Lewisburg Farmers’ Market hosted a Community Harvest Dinner with locally grown + produced food prepared by all the market vendors. :D!

Bread! <3

Potatoes of all sorts!

Sage Mint Chamomile Iced Tea!

This was my first plate. (Venison stew, tomato + rice soup, sweet potatoes, various homemade breads and salads, chicken cacciatore, roasted potatoes…)

Pumpkin bisque, sage mint chamomile iced tea, vegetarian lasagna, more sweet potatoes (those were my favorite dish)…

I had about 3 more plates of food after this. :x The food was beyond delicious, and I’m really, really hoping they’ll have another one of these again in the spring.

I barely even made it to the dessert table because we made a couple communal plates (this is just a tiny representation) so we could try some of everything.

Food makes my world go round.

We stuck around afterward and Ross taught us the Virginia Reel. :D