Spicy Peach Salsa

Hey, y’all! It’s been a minute since I’ve written a post. Actually, it’s been almost 2 months…eek. To say I’ve been busy would be an understatement. I recently started working part-time at one of my favorite breweries as part of their event staff. I also just finished up teaching a six week summer class (after teaching a six week online class at the beginning of the summer). Normally, I would still be procrastinating on my dissertation during this busy season, but I actually have been hard at work collecting *good* data. Of course the moment I finished collecting survey respondents, my computer crashed. Thus, I have not been able to write a blog post because I had to use a loaner laptop for 20 days. Last week, I received my laptop (with a new hard drive) back from ITS.

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Magic Cookie Butter Bars

After a day of grading papers, working on my never-ending dissertation, and catching up on emails, I enjoy relaxing in front of the TV at night. However, I am trying to get back into reading because I sleep better when I minimize screen time, and so far, my efforts have been semi-successful. I’ve been slowly making my way through Anthony Bourdain’s books, but I long for the days when I had the time and energy to reread the Harry Potter series every summer. The characters and their many adventures continue to comfort me, as they transport me back to the days of my youth. I may pick up a few of the books this summer, as the stories are truly (*cheese alert*) magical…just like these cookie butter bars.

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Wei Better Orange Chicken

People often ask me how I manage to stay on top of my dissertation, teaching, etc. while spending lots of time cooking, eating out, and going to foodie events. I joke about procrastibaking, but the truth is running my Instagram account and writing on this blog help me add some needed structure to my days. I’m currently teaching online for the first summer school session and working on my dissertation, and I have no actual work schedule at the moment. I’ll soon resume teaching everyday in person, but until then, I have tried to establish a routine that allows me to maximize my efficiency and still maintain a healthy level of sanity.  I’ll occasionally work at night when I have writing to do. Otherwise, I mostly work during the day, so I can explore the Triangle food scene or cook a semi-elaborate dinner at night.

When a representative from Pei Wei reached out to me and asked if I wanted to try their new Wei Better Orange Chicken, I happily obliged, as I knew a trip to one of the locations in either Raleigh, Cary, or Apex would motivate me to check off items on my to-do list before 5 or 6 pm. While these cities are less than an hour drive from Carrboro, I always feel the need to make the most of my time outside the Durham/Chapel Hill area, so I asked my friends if they wanted to join me for dinner and drinks afterwards at a nearby brewery. They, too, were eager for an excuse to leave the UNC area.

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Spring Vegetable Gnocchi

Spring is in the air here in North Carolina! As I discussed in a recent post, the semester ended the first week of May, and I am loving this season of life…for the most part! While I and other college and graduate students may think it’s summertime, the current weather forecast has reminded us that summer is not due for another few weeks. The only time I appreciate rain is at night when I’m trying to fall asleep (I sleep terribly, and rain seems to help me relax), so this week full of showers has not been my favorite. I have slept more soundly, though, which caused me to leave my house on Saturday morning to go to the local farmers’ market, an uncharacteristic activity if you know me.

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Procrastibaking, My One True Love

Y’all, I’m crying right now. I was just quoted in the New York Times, not about political science but about procrastibaking, my one true love. Here’s the link to Julia Moskin’s awesome article devoted to procrastibaking, featuring quotes from procrastibakers across the country!

Why Work When You Can Procrastibake?

I realize this is not even a humble brag; it’s a down-right brag, but I just had to share. Hope y’all are having a wonderful week! I sure am now!

Charleston Weekend Recap

Hello, internet friends! It’s been a minute since I’ve written a blog post. The last few weeks of the spring semester were full of challenges, some expected and others unexpected, just like most semesters. Anyway, I try to minimize talk of graduate school in this space for two primary reasons: 1. This blog serves as my escape from the ivory tower life I’m living. 2. Grad school is an incredibly stressful experience for us grad students, but it’s a particularly boring subject for most people in the real world.

Prior to the shit show that defines the end of every semester, I managed to take a long weekend getaway to Charleston with two of my best gal pals. After I read John T. Edge’s The Potlikker Papers last summer, I vowed to visit Charleston at least once while I live in this part of the country. Edge explains that New Orleans and Charleston are the main Southern “foodie cities,” so I obviously had to experience them both. I was fortunate to present some research in the Big Easy in January of 2017, and I fell in love with the city. NOLA seems like a polarizing place, especially after Katrina, yet I loved every part of my trip from the rich cultural heritage of the city (e.g. street art, architecture, jazz music) to the delicious dishes and strong drinks I consumed while taking in the sights of this progressive place. While New Orleans is not a favorite among some groups, I had never heard of anyone who disliked Charleston. Thus, I could not wait to explore Charleston to enjoy more classic southern fare and see if the city lived up to the hype!

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Oreo Blondies

The week before Spring Break, my parents surprised me with the Kitchen Aid standing mixer of my dreams as an early Easter gift. It’s a beautiful blue, almost Carolina blue, but a bit darker! While I’m a sucker for jelly beans, Peeps, and other Easter candy, this was a million times better than a traditional Easter basket. As soon as I returned to North Carolina last week, I began experimenting with different recipes, so I could experience the true power of this new appliance (I sound like Emperor Palpatine explaining the dark side of the force, but I’m ok with that?).

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You Gotta Risk It for the Biscuit

Keeping a planner and handwritten to-do list (as opposed to emailing myself multiple messages at 1 and 2 am) were two of my 2018 New Years Resolutions. I can’t tell you after managing these goals for three months how satisfying it is to check off an item on this list. I felt the same adrenaline rush after my friends visited, and I checked two places off my Triangle Biscuit Tour 2018 list. Granted, this to-do list isn’t directly helping me get any closer to that pesky PhD, but y’all, it’s allowing me to remain semi-sane during the tumultuous dissertation/job market stage of my program.

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February Favorites

Although I was born in January, it is without a doubt my least favorite month of the year. I always am inspired by those who craft ambitious New Years Resolutions. However, the first of the year always ushers in an air of melancholy, with the short days and long nights. It also brings an anniversary that I never enjoy celebrating. My sister Callie passed away on January 27th, 2010, after courageously battling a malicious muscle cancer for two years. Thus, this month always proves challenging for my family and me, as we face our own fight against the inevitable wave of sadness that creeps up after Christmas. I breathe a huge sigh of relief when we reach February 1st, and regardless of whether or not the groundhog sees his shadow on the 2nd, I know spring and the sun will come eventually. Sorry to be a downer here, but I promise this post is full of positive vibes and fun…just keep reading!

Overall, this February in North Carolina has been fantastic. My friends visited me for a few days at the beginning of the month (Read about my staycation with them here); I’ve made some new friends (mostly through food-related gatherings); the weather has been warmer than average; and obviously, I’ve eaten some delicious food. I’m dedicating this post to my February foodie faves. Hope y’all enjoy! Comment below if you’d like to see more posts like these at the conclusion of every month.

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