It was my birthday last week, which is slightly bittersweet because it means that I now officially have to pay for my own health insurance (nooooo!!!). Parting is such sweet sorrow. :[! However, I have pretty much the coolest friends ever, so…three birthday celebrations later, I am finally actually writing about it. :O
On the actual day of, we had plans to go to the Chinese buffet in town because it was right after Easter and my friend was craving General Tso’s chicken (she gave up meat for Lent). Monika and Hira were about two steps from getting me a gift card to Kroger for my birthday (yes, such is my love for food and grocery-shopping), but decided instead to get me a curling iron for my “future cosmetic endeavors.” (They reasoned that I was much more likely to buy myself food vs. a curling iron, and they are indeed correct.) Mayhaps I can finally start learning how to do all of these hairstyles! <3 It’d be a great improvement from my current state (…I rarely comb my hair).
On Friday, the gang (our band) and I were going to head to Stardust Cafe, a farm to table restaurant that’s probably one of my favorite eateries here…but we neglected to remember that it was Friday and that reservations might have been a good idea. (Oops.) We tried Food & Friends, but the wait was equally as long and we were all hungry, so I suggested we go to When Pigs Fly, which was not downtown and thus, less likely to not have a wait. It’s another one of my favorite restaurants in town because the owners are super friendly and welcoming, and they have awesome portions. And pulled chicken. PULLED CHICKEN. <3 (Every other place on earth seems to serve just pulled pork, which I cannot consume, hence my enthusiasm.) When they heard that we were out to celebrate my birthday, they asked if I wanted them to sing for me, while including as an aside that I probably would not want to hear it because they couldn’t sing very well.
: How ’bout this? Why don’t we give you free ice cream instead? That’ll be better for your ears anyway.
F: Deal! :O!
(They have homemade ice cream that I’ve been meaning to try.) It was hard to decide on a flavor. I sampled the black raspberry, blueberry pomegranate, orange cream and strawberry cheesecake and they were all equally amazing. *-* After dinner, we went back to our respective study hovels and I eventually returned to what I refer to as my crazy kids (aka the 80-ish cats at the shelter). I completely embrace the term, “crazy cat lady.” I’m fast headed in that direction and very much love it here. :]
The next morning, I got in some studying before running off to church. (I’m the pianist about 50% of the time.)
I disappeared back into the catacombs to stuff in 5 lectures so that I could actually enjoy myself later on. My pastor invited a bunch of people over to his place to have a birthday party for me. :O!
Jennifer made me an amazingly delicious chocolate cake with shredded coconut and pecans. We ate it with sliced bananas. <3
I hadn’t played Settlers since grad school. We used to gather every weekend at someone’s house and play until we hated each other (for serious, this game gets pretty personal and breaks up friendships like no other–except Munchkin, which may well be the ultimate game of backstabbery). In spring semester, it got to the point where we actually brought the game to school to play during our study breaks.
I managed to win, but just barely! If Jennifer had not traded a card with me, she would’ve won right after my turn.
I am officially done with all performance-related events for the year and can retire to my study hibernation! :O We managed to raise $3k for the club and for the Family Refuge Center! :] The Follies Bake Sale went really well too (the red velvet s’mores bars I made got cleaned out! :O )
Last year’s Follies!
We managed to raise even more than last year’s international festival! $5000 from the auctions alone! Auctioning off one of our male professors for board review sessions sparked an all-out war between two groups of girls (he has many female admirers). He went for $800. Twas an awesome idea and I’m super happy for the club. :D
We also auctioned off a dinner with one of our really attractive female professors, but since guys are hella cheap, that went for $150. $5k pays for 1/2 the amount of medications and supplies that we’d like to bring with us on the trip, so if anyone has anything they can spare…
(Every bit helps!)
For the occasion, I made three different dishes to represent 3 different countries (from right to left).
They were all rather well-received and I ran out of food pretty quickly, although not quickly enough to be able to sample all the food from everyone else (sigh!).
(The tutorial for the belts can be found here!)
I’m waiting on the pictures taken by the photographer so I can add to my stash of “pictures where I’m not eating.” (That’s mainly all she has of me.)
The last of the series for what we made over the weekend! Fear not, because we have a couple more meals planned. I set up a Google doc and everything. :O So far, we have plans to make gluten-free fig & goat cheese pizza, a spinach cranberry salad, gluten-free cornbread (my friend is on an elimination diet), some kind of unique chili, and pear cranberry ginger snap crumble. :D!
Recipe adapted from here!
Wasabi Mashed Potatoes
-1 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled + cut into chunks
-3 tbsp butter
-3/4 cup soy milk
-1 1/2 tsp wasabi paste (or more to taste)
-freshly ground black pepper
1) Place potatoes in a large pot + cover with cold water. Add a little salt + bring them to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium + simmer until potatoes are tender (15-20 min).
2) Drain, then return to pan for 1-2 minutes to dry any retained moisture.
3) While potatoes cook, heat the butter + milk in a microwave until butter melts. Whisk in wasabi paste.
4) Add butter mixture to potatoes and mash with a potato masher to desired consistency. Add salt, pepper, wasabi paste to taste.
Continued from our hangout the other night! We didn’t broil this because we’ve uh, never broiled anything before. (I’ve broiled grapefruit before, but I was really paranoid about messing up the fish, so we decided to bake it.) Recipe was adapted from here! Next time, we’ll try actually broiling it.
Toasted Sesame Ginger Salmon
-1 1/2 lbs raw salmon
-1/4 cup EVOO
-2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
-2 tbsp rice vinegar
-2 tbsp brown sugar
-2 tbsp soy sauce
-1 tbsp ginger, freshly grated
-1/4 cup honey
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1-2 tbsp white sesame seeds
1) Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2) Combine EVOO, sesame oil, rice vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce and ginger in a small bowl. Whisk well. Add garlic and pour liquid in a ziploc bag. Add salmon, making sure that it’s covered in marinade + refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3) Heat oven to 425 and bake until salmon is almost at its desired done-ness (flaky and cooked through!). Add sesame seeds and bake for another 5 minutes.