Happy Birthday, Grandma!

Today would have been my maternal Grandma’s 91st birthday. To say I miss her would be an understatement. Aside from my parents, she was the family member to whom I was closest, and since her passing, I’ve had a really hard time adjusting to life without frequent phone calls and visits to her house when I go home. I pitched the following essay to INDY back in October for the DISH issue, but it didn’t get picked up for its lack of mentioning specific NC BBQ places. I thought today would be a good time to share it with y’all. This one is for you, Grandma. I love and miss you so much! Continue reading “Happy Birthday, Grandma!”

Life Updates

Hey, y’all! What’s up? I haven’t written on this blog since my New Year Goals post. 2019 has already been a whirlwind of a year, and it’s only March. I’ve written several freelance food articles this year, but I haven’t been active on this site much. Y’all responded to my Insta Poll and voted for a life update instead of a recipe for this post, so I will do my best to try to fill in the gaps from these past few months. I’m going to write this post in list form mainly because I feel like it, but also because I think it may help me organize my thoughts a bit more efficiently and thus make for a better read.

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New Year Goals

Hey, y’all! Happy Holidays, and (almost) Happy New Year! While NYE isn’t my favorite holiday, I do make resolutions every year, and I inevitably fail at accomplishing them. I know I’m not alone in that, so this year, I am going to set goals for the New Year that are more tangible than some of the resolutions I’ve made in the past that involve changing myself in ways that are unrealistic. See last year’s blog post about keeping a planner…that lasted for a few months, but my free-spirited self wasn’t having it by March. Bullet journaling sounds like a nightmare to me, but I digress.

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Gingerbread Chess Pie

Happy (almost) Thanksgiving, y’all! I have been feeling all warm and fuzzy today, which may be due to the glass of wine I just consumed while baking for the big day tomorrow. More than likely, though, my gratitude results from the amazing support and encouragement I’ve received from real-life friends and online friends alike regarding the recent name change of my Instagram account from @gradschoolfoodie to @politicaljunkfoodie. I thought of this name last Friday when I was writing the first draft of my most recent article for INDY Week, Your Thanksgiving Food is Political. I spontaneously changed it after hearing from friends and my mom that it was not, in fact, stupid, and it was in fact, clever and arguably more representative of me as a person than my previous handle. The name change was inevitable, though, as I plan to finish grad school sooner rather than later.

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Thai Green Curry: Fall Edition

Last Monday felt like Christmas morning…for more reasons than one. I was absolutely exhausted after staying up until 3:30 am finishing up a draft of my first dissertation chapter. I also received a present in the form of a box of “rescued” organic produce from Hungry Harvest, a produce delivery service based in Maryland that has expanded to serve the Triangle area. My box included a variety of goodies from apples and oranges to kale and summer squash. This company’s mission to reduce food waste is admirable, and it is cost-effective, as the price of these boxes save customers money they would spend on “prettier” fruits and vegetables at the grocery store. I honestly do not understand how  stores throw away produce like this, as my box full of less-desirable items was a sight for sore eyes. I admire Hungry Harvest’s efforts to save these delicious treats, and I was so excited to brainstorm recipes involving the contents of my box.

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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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