Thursday, October 2, 2014

Recent Eats: Crab Cakes and Lemon Caper Baked Snapper

I've always been a fan of cooking, but with my busy schedule lately and lack of downtime, it's become outright therapeutic. 

Last night I had tennis practice, work to do, homework that needed to get done, laundry that needed to be folded, and a house full of things to be done, but I also had a refrigerator full of fresh fruit, vegetables, and fish that was just begging to be cooked. 

I mentioned in my Fresh Harvest post that they were sending me snapper and crab, and when it was delivered on Tuesday my mind immediately starting dreaming up all the ways I was going to use it, and last night I was a woman on a mission.

I spent a solid 45 minutes perusing Pinterest and various cooking blogs finding the perfect recipe, and I gotta tell you... I nailed it. 

I knew I wanted to make crab cakes, and in my past attempts the 'cakes always turned out too crumbly. I was on a mission to make the perfect cakes that didn't fall apart while cooking. I'm not sure which addition to my method was what sealed the deal, but these cakes turned out PERFECTLY. I modified it slightly and included my ingredient list and steps below!

For the Crab Cakes

  • large eggs
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • A couple shakes of Worcestershire sauce
  • A couple shakes of Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped zucchini, about 1/2 a normal size zuke
  • ~1/2 cup of corn, cut fresh off the cob
  • 8 oz lump crab meat 
  • 1 cup panko
  • Vegetable oil for cooking

Combine the eggs, yogurt, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire, Old Bay, and salt in a large bowl and mix well. Add the crab meat, zucchini, corn and panko; gently fold mixture together until just combined. Shape into crab cakes and place on prepared baking sheet. Cover and stick in the freezer for 20-30 minutes. Once solid, heat oil and wait until it's hot! Sprinkle some water in and if it sizzles, it's ready. Place the crabcakes in the pan and let them cook 2-3 minutes per side, flipping 3-4 times. I like to flatten mine a little after each side has been cooked. 

The original recipe only called for 1 egg, and after adding the extra veggies I just felt like it was going to crumble, so I added the second and a few more bread crumbs. Good call on my part. Same with throwing them in the freezer. I let them firm up while I worked on prepping the rest of the meal. 

Next up was this recipe for the fish. I used far more seasoning (all I had was Creole seasoning on hand but it worked perfectly!) than the recipe called for, and ended up needing more butter to actually create a sauce, but who complains about more butter? I also used the juice of a whole lemon instead of half, and I like a lot of capers so used more like 1.5tbsp but ya'll. The fish was out. of. this. world. Honestly, the whole meal was one of the best things I've cooked in a while. It could be re-created with any white fish, and crab can be found for ~$10 in your local grocery store. Pretty fancy stay-at-home meal for a date night or delicious treat for one!

Friday, September 26, 2014

A different kind of #100happydays, #100kinddays

I've been a shitty friend lately. It's been lingering in the back of my mind but not too long ago, I confronted myself and decided to do something about it.

As I was pondering writing a whole post about the crappy things I've done and the unfortunate things I've said, I stumbled across a post written by an old college friend, Matt.

I read Matt's blog whenever he posts the link on Facebook, and every time I read it, his words strike a chord with me. This time was no different. His most recent post reminded me that I have the power to change the behaviors in me that I don't like. I have the power to be the person I want to be, I just have to choose to do so. We choose our adventures and the people we become, and sometimes you choose wrong.

As of this week, there are ~100 days left in 2014, and on each remaining day, I've committed to doing or saying something kind to someone different. This project is in part my apology to the world, and in part a journey to go back to the person I want to be, a reminder that being a kind, thoughtful, generous person is who I am. I'm jumping in, eyes wide open, and I know I'll be a better person for doing so.

If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be? 

If you could make good on something you've neglected over the past year, what would you do? 

If you could dramatically increase the progress of a project, why not do it now?

If you want to join in, let Matt know here. The more the merrier, and in fact the better.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fresh Harvest: My New Favorite Thing!

A few weeks ago my blog friend Whitney posted about Fresh Harvest, and I knew I had to try it. Fresh Harvest is like a CSA, but seriously, seriously better. In fact, I'm now on my fourth delivery, and I can't imagine that I will end my subscription any time soon. 

Here's a peek into what I got in my first order: 

I scheduled my delivery for Tuesdays, and the Friday before I get an email reminding me to update my basket to ensure that I am getting only things that I want or like. +1 Fresh Harvest. No bananas or tomatoes for this girl!

On Tuesday, the basket shows up at my house (but you can choose to have it delivered somewhere else if you want!), and I leave the old one for them to pick up. This is what the "basket" looks like. It's really a tub, which is neat because the excitement of opening it... it's like Christmas morning. My concierge even looks forward to the deliveries now, because they love to see all the goodies that come!

2 pound of green beans! Fresh squeezed apple juice! A bunch of kale! Apples and oranges galore!


 Sea Salt Banner Butter! NY Strip Steak! Eggs, onion, peaches, zucchini, bacon, strawberries...!!!!!

And of course, no grocery trip order would be complete without a new canister of grits. I haven't dug into these babies yet, but I have a recipe brewing that I think may come out this weekend!

All of that produce, meat, eggs, and grains for $68. And the best part, I didn't have to lift a finger, go to the grocery store, or do anything other than click a few buttons on the internet. Worth every single penny of that $68. 

So that's it! I've been overly impressed with the produce, the meat, and the customer service. I posted a picture on Instagram and one of my classmates commented that he found the produce to go bad quickly, but I've had the opposite experience. I find it stays fresh much longer (I keep it all in the refrigerator)

Every week, the team has new products available for purchase and I'm so excited to already be on board. Next week I have grouper, crab, and a whole bunch more green beans on the way. I see a seafood smorgasbord in my future and I am sure it will be amazing! 

PS: I wasn't paid or in any way compensated to write this. I'm just a big fan, and hope you will become one too! 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Grownups doing grownup things!

Life has been really funny lately. It has a way of making you feel like you may still be 21 years old, and simultaneously helping you feel like the most responsible adult in the world. 

There's been a little spat between some friends and it's all settled in the dust now, but not without choice words being spoken and feelings being hurt. Earlier this week I was just fed up, and I said so. Like a grown-up, I voiced my concern and basically told my friends to stop acting like fools. It took a few days, but everyone came around and one big ol' burly dude even sent me an apology. It might have said "sorry I had my head up my ass" but hey... an apology is an apology, and to me that's a really grownup move. 

I also (finally) procured renter's insurance. Don't worry, I've only been living uninsured in my condo for 5 years, but the time is here. I also started meeting with a financial planner. I don't have a lot, but I want to make sure that I am doing the right thing with the money that I do have. He's been helpful in making my finances very tactical - put x% in your 401k, put another x% into a Roth IRA, and have $x in your checking account at all times. 

Things at work are also taking a change for the positive. I was frustrated for the better part of this year, and when I finally spoke up and voiced my concerns, it was a matter of weeks and things have changed dramatically. The biggest change I have noticed? My own attitude. I've spent hours and hours detailing out why and how much I love my job, and that hasn't changed, but my overall satisfaction with my role within a team, my career potential, and the trajectory I was on was changing. Whining about it to all the people who couldn't do anything didn't get me anywhere, so I finally owned up to my own frustrations and met with a few people who could help me. And they did! I walked away from those conversations feeling empowered and appreciated, and my general work ethic has improved as a result. I wasn't slacking before, but there does seem to be a little more pep in my step!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

That Time I Decided to go to Graduate School: I FINISHED MY FIRST YEAR

For as long as I'm in school, this blog will continue to be neglected. There are so many things I want to talk about and so many things I want to say, but so little time to do it. 

I finished my first year. I look back over the last 12 months and it's unbelievable to me what I've accomplished. What we, all of my classmates, have accomplished, collectively. It's incredible. We've learned about topics that have no relevance to our careers. We've made incredible new friends. We've lost family members. We've had children. We've gotten new jobs, bought new cars, purchased homes. We've spent hours upon hours upon hours together studying and not-so-studying. And I've never in my life received so many Snapchats as I have since starting business school. 

In hindsight, I can speak really eloquently about the program and how it works, but I had no idea what I was doing when I started. For the first year, we're kept together as a class. All ~100 of us take classes together every Monday and every Wednesday for a year. We're divided into 2 sections, and those change each semester. We cover Marketing, Data & Decision Analysis, Finance, Operations, Accounting, Economics, and Strategy, all in a year. Additionally, each semester has a mini-consulting project that we work on in teams. 

Each semester had it's own challenges. The first semester, we were figuring out. The classes were a little easier. Case studies were used to deliver content, and a lot of the homework was group work. We were still learning how to be back in school. Second semester was a brutal wake up call. Accounting was HARD. We had to keep up with weekly homework and reading, on top of our other classes and our full time jobs. We came out on the other side of accounting and figured it was smooth sailing from here. The joke was most certainly on us.

Summer was, well, summer. School was not meant to be done in the summer. Not only that, the challenge with the summer courses wasn't the content so much as how they were taught. It was yet another different style, and another challenge to overcome. I kept reminding myself that it was good practice for surviving in the real world! And before we knew it, we were taking mid-terms and then final exams and giving final presentations and BAM. Summer was over, our first year was over, and I know I certainly have the exhaustion to prove it.

So that was my year in a nutshell. Except not really, because I also maintained* outside friendships, continued to work 50-60 hours a week at a job that I love, and I signed up for a second term as our class's Social Chair. I continued to travel regularly for work, and for pleasure. I didn't get to spend any time doing anything else that I love, except tennis and oh yeah, I completed a half marathon. no half marathons ever again, but tennis is not something I'm giving up any time soon. I joke that I am tired of telling people I'm busy when they ask how I am, but it's the truth. 

We have 3 glorious weeks off from school before the first semester of electives starts. I'm taking three classes, and I'm really excited about the content of all of them. I'm also doing more work travel this fall than I expected, and I now have these awesome friends that I want to hang out with all the time. But it's all worth it. That's what I realized. 6 months ago I was seriously contemplating whether or not I'd made the right choice to go back to school, and now that I'm on the other side of my first year, the answer is yes, 100 times yes. These are memories, people, experiences that I will remember forever. My work is already better because of school, and evidenced by the photo dump strewn throughout this post, my life in general is better because of the people I've found. Cheers, Class of 2016! 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Crazy Bag Lady

Ever since I can remember, I have been purse crazed. I just love them. My favorite purse of all time was a Coach purse I got from the family I nannied for in college. The kids picked it out for me, and it was exactly what I would have picked out for myself. While not the most flattering picture, it is the best I have of that bag. Unfortnately, the strap started ripping and Coach didn't have any replacements so they gave me another new purse... RIP, teal blue Coach bag. I still think of you fondly. (And that door... it was the door to our apartment in Spain that I loved, loved, loved.) 

So, while I have found bags here and there that I liked, nothing really spoke to me like my Coach bag. I pretty much stuck to using a Longchamp because I could schlep around all my shit (pardon my French) without really worrying about anything. My computer fit, my notebook fit, my giant wallet fit...I had not a worry in the world, except that my bag wasn't exactly fashion-forward. Whatever.

Then, in Croatia, Amanda spotted a perfect bag that we both ended up buying and LOVING! I bought it in gray and she in white. I've been using it for the last 6 weeks that I've been home and am still a huge fan. I somehow found this picture online of a Forever 21 knockoff, so I guess it's not as "unique" as I wanted. Either way, the bag is completely functional and I love it. The zippers allow it to expand or not depending on use. The leather and straps are very sturdy and so far nothing has really seemed to damage or disrupt it. Fingers crossed that it continues to be as durable as it has been so far... I would love to keep it forever!

AND THEN... this morning I was in line at Starbucks and the girl in front of me had an awesome, huge SACK that also worked as a purse. I told her I loved it, and she let me in on her secret. She'd gotten it for $68 from Free People and it was vegan leather. I was instantly sold, and looked it up on my phone while waiting for my coffee. As soon as I got to work, I placed my order, and it'll be here a week from today! I'm so excited. Free People doesn't usually have free shipping on orders under $100, but if you sign up for the newsletter and use the code "FREESHIPPING" you can avoid the $8 in shipping cost. I ordered it in black but was seriously debating some of the other colors. Apparently it comes with a couple smaller satchels as well... I haven't been this excited about the mail in quite some time! I'll be checking religiously until my bag has arrived (and hopefully it will be here right in time for a trip down to the Caribbean...!)

Have you had amazing luck with any purchases lately? I've been trying to spend less on unnecessary items since I have so many exciting trips coming up, but I couldn't help myself with this one. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Trying to remember it all...

I was sitting in class this week and started giggling about something stupid and couldn't stop. It was nothing funny at all, but I kept laughing until tears were rolling down my face and I couldn't catch my breath.

In that moment, I had a flashback to a ski trip in high school. We had just finished with dinner and were sitting around the kitchen table talking like and a buddy and I started laughing about something, and then we just couldn't stop. We laughed and laughed and laughed, until we were red in the face, couldn't breathe, and everyone was looking at us like we'd lost our minds. I remember thinking in that moment and right after that I wanted to remember it forever, what that very minute felt like for me. I knew deep down that I was happy, carefree, loved, and I felt like the world was at my fingertips. It truly, really was.

As I giggled uncontrollably in class, I somehow conjured up that memory, and it really hit home for me. So often I want to ingrain every single moment into my brain, commit it to memory and be able to draw on it forever. Every moment is that precious to me. What I'm learning, over and over and over again, is that keeping every memory within arms reach is just not possible.  Tonight was a good reminder to me that it's the little moments that matter and define me just as much as the big ones. It's giggling in class and at the dinner table with my favorite people for practically no reason at all that I want to carry with me for a lifetime.

Pictures totally unrelated (and 5+ years old) but are super happy memories captured on camera.