And now I can’t get enough of this song.
But at first: I HATED ITS GUTS. My mother can attest to a physical reaction of detestation the third time I heard it: I almost started to cry in the car I hated it so much.
And now I’m obsessed.
Today’s dinner was brought to you by Texts with Mom.
Me: I need dinner ideas. Vegetarian. Healthy. Low-carb.
Mom: Vegetarian supper! Onion, garlic, green pepper, beans, zucchini, tomatoes, cheese, brown rice.
Me: Oh yum. Yes! Is there a recipe or should I guess?
Mom: Can you call me?
Me: Nope, learning about SIDS. I’m in class. Bad girl.
So here it is. The vegetarian super supper. Why is it super? Because kidney beans contain iron, and iron is best absorbed with vitamin C. That’s where those tomatoes come in. Boom.
[Recipe originally from Pillsbury.]
- 4 cups cooked brown rice
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 green pepper chopped
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 1 can kidney beans, drained, rinsed
- reduced-fat cheddar cheese for topping
- Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat, add onion and garlic; cook about 5 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring frequently. Add bell pepper, oregano, salt and pepper; cook about 5 minutes or until bell pepper is crisp-tender, stirring frequently. Add tomatoes, zucchini and kidney beans; mix well. Cook about 5 more minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with cheese, and serve over rice.
*Some of the details in this post have been changed to protect the innocent.
The Thursday before my final final, a night when what I really wanted to do (unbelievably?) was study proper breastfeeding techniques and treatment of post-partum hemorrhage, I went on the Grouper with the two single girls I had convinced to join me.
I honestly don’t know where to begin to tell this story. I guess I’ll start with the fact that my two very pretty friends and I met at a bar down the street from the one chosen by Grouper (Old Glory, an astoundingly awful locale) at 8:00 p.m. to prepare for this mysterious experience. It was pouring rain. We had a glass of courage each and then walked down the street in our high heels, stumbling over the cobblestones of Georgetown and trying to avoid the puddles on the sidewalks.
We arrived. The table wasn’t ready, but the other half of our party was waiting for us at the hostess stand. First impressions: a dark-haired crew of people shorter than all of we ladies—and y’all know how much I hate a shorty.
It was immediately apparent from the hand-shaking introductions that this group was international. We had three men from three very different European countries. One had an accent so thick that M on the date couldn’t understand a word he said. Although the three of us were open-minded, it was pretty clear from the get-go that this group wasn’t a great match for us—for any of us.
We were finally guided to a table in the back of the un-airconditioned, humid “restaurant,” and as we were seated, the table next to ours stopped talking and staaared at us. Like, really stared. I think they even pointed. It wasn’t difficult to figure out that the six very attractive, laughing, good-time-having people next to us were also enjoying their own Grouper. This wasn’t fun, or cute, or awesome — it was AWKWARD.
Time to order drinks! Oh, guess what, you can only get Bud Light, Stella, or rail liquor. (That’s not so great for the glutino over here, or the fact that we weren’t told that ahead of time and single lady #2 ordered wine.) But that’s fine, since, guess what? Only one of the gentlemen drinks. Lightly. The other two abstain. Our group started chatting, slowly. Travel! Let’s talk about that. We’ve all traveled. OK, what’s next? FOOD! From your respective countries. OK. Moving on… um….
It wasn’t a great evening. As someone who has been on her share (and possibly everyone else in the world’s share) of first dates, this was a very low ranking. The dynamic is too bizarre: 3-on-3 doesn’t really work, and if I did make a connection with someone across the table from me, it would have been weird to flirt openly (especially if any other single lady also found him attractive). I would be surprised to hear that this is ever a success. Even the good looking table next to us ended their encounter awkwardly, and I didn’t see an exchange of numbers or any real romantic connections made.
In principle, the idea is a good one. But in reality, the “social club” did a terrible job matching us, and an even worse job coordinating a location and its corresponding details. (Shouldn’t there be some sort of deal-breaker section? Aren’t language, religion, and drinking habits a big deal to some people?) An overall GIANT disappointment, especially from me, although the other two single ladies did say they would try it again. [Again, I implore, why weren't we matched with the hotties to our left??]
I did receive a text message the next day in another language from one of the boys. Priceless. But Grouper? I’m never again spending my money on it. That $20 goes toward a month of Match.com, which I think—for anyone seriously looking—is a much better option.
Well, a stay-cation. Sorta. I’m at my parents’ place, so … I’m staycationing in PA. I get five days off, of which today is the first, and I’m working out, reading books, cooking food, and relaxing.
(Read: being super, super lazy.)
What am I reading first?
A book for people with Downton withdrawal.
What did I do so far?
I visited the Sandy-torn Jersey Shore for the first time since September. It’s very upsetting to see the destruction in the homes of neighbors and friends; you don’t realize how anxious and on-edge you are until you snap at something random because you’ve been holding emotion inside. We lost everything—every single thing. From bath mats to decorations to silverware to pillows and bedspreads and bath towels and…oh, well, you know, the carpet, kitchen, appliances, countertops, couches, chairs, beds…
We’re putting it together, but slowly. It’s frustrating, but we’ll be back in it this summer, even if it’s not perfect (or close) yet. It’s still our little house.
Oh, and you know what? Cheers to me. I’m halfway done nursing school.
I swear by my Keurig, especially since the advent of those Starbucks K-cups. The convenience cannot be beat and if I happen to need a cup at 4 p.m. it takes me 30 seconds to achieve caffeinated bliss.
I usually make a full pitcher of coffee and stick it in the fridge for the week, since getting the iced coffee out of the Keurig is a little more labor-intensive (or requires a bit of fore-thought).
I got these K-cups…
Brew with a crap-ton of ice. That is the best way to describe it — you need a big thermos or glass, because as the ice melts it dilutes the coffee (which you actually want, since this formula is blended knowing it will turn into about two cups total).
So to recap this pointless post: the trick is to use a really strong K-cup that can stand to be diluted by the inevitable ice melt situation. And if you want to add some milk that is cold, or cold creamer, that will help the cooling process even more.
(And if you don’t like the idea of the ice in your coffee, make those coffee-cubes I told you about.)
One Saturday later: I was drinking vodka martinis and listening to a boisterous accordion player across from a smiley, intelligent, and interesting guy who makes me laugh and has so far treated me to two separate and very awesome dates. Soon to be a third.
But I can’t talk about that here, because that’s bad…luck.
I had a beautiful weekend, with some babysitting, some baby showering, some sunburn and some genomics studying thrown in. Three finals down, and two to go.
I was introduced to this life changing beverage:
…and got to manhandle (see: leopold’s) my sweet friend Carolyn’s 28-week baby bump.
I bought myself a treat for nurse’s week:
(makes my skin smell so nice I want to eat my own arm.)
And now here I am, Sunday night, preparing for my second-to-last final and thinking about how nice a break will feel. I get 5 glorious days off from school—a break from the 11th to the 19th with weekends added in. What will I do with myself? I’ll be so rested, so bored, so full of pleasure reading, Game of Thrones, and happy thoughts.
And then we begin again.
But not yet.
I’ve been on a lot of first and (well, fewer, but still a large number of) second dates in the last few months. They obviously haven’t been going too too well, or I would be living happily ever after by now, or…something. But the good news is that I’m not dating because I’m lonely or because I want a boyfriend. I’m dating because I like to have fun, meet new people, and by this point, I’m scarily good at it. Apparently I can fake a connection with people, since they never realize there isn’t one between us until I break it off.
I hope that didn’t sound conceited; I’m just trying to make the point that I’ve had a few experiences in the “breaking it off” phase, and I’ve been surprised at how mature people have handled things. Each time I’ve been up front and honest with people, they’ve returned that gesture with a polite, honest, and understanding response. Because don’t we all just want to be treated with a little bit of respect?
My favorite line to use—mainly because it is true—is: “I’ve enjoyed getting to know you, but unfortunately I feel more of a friendship connection than a romantic one.” It’s easy, it conveys that there is nothing personal about it, and you can’t argue with chemistry. It’s just a flat-out honest statement, no matter how hard to hear.
I can only hope that by putting out that good dating karma, someday a guy won’t blow me off or never respond to texts, and will have the courage and courtesy to do the same for me. Because, as the guy I saw last week put it: “No worries about not feeling a romantic connection…that’s why they call this dating, right? I appreciate you being upfront and honest about it. Best of luck to you too.”
Wham. That’s a pretty great guy, right there, even if he wasn’t for me.
So the Grouper was canceled, and I heard from Single Lady #2 (who went on a Grouper last week, the same day I was supposed to, but in NYC) that the 3-on-3 dynamic is kind of weird, and it might feel a bit like competition with friends if there is actually a dude in the mix who is worth fighting for. I’m still hopeful about my upcoming rescheduled one (in a few weeks), but I dont think I’ll be meeting the Lurve of My Life.
And as for the fellow with no butterflies, well, I am going to call that one DOA. He is VERY nice. He’s a sweet, good-natured guy. But he had two separate opportunities to make me laugh, and wasn’t able to come through. Conversationally, I was pulling teeth. I asked so many questions I was practically The Riddler, and he wasn’t able to think of anything to ask me in return. The only times I laughed last night were at my own (terrible) jokes. I can handle some missing qualities in the big 4 (Nice, Attractive, Smart, and Funny), but the funny one is apparently more important than I previously thought. If you can make me laugh, you can make me do anything. And it’s a quality I’m not really looking to sacrifice.
In addition to the missing qualities, there were a few deal-breakers that came up along the way that I might be willing to look past, but in combination, were just…well, deal-breakers. [If you want to know what they were, I'll tell you privately.] It’s not cool to sacrifice some of my values for the sake of “maybe he’ll capture my interest on the third date,” so I’m not going to go. After talking to many of you through blog comments, emails, and texts, I do totally believe that these elusive butterflies can spontaneously arise. But in this case, no. And that’s OK.
I can say with confidence that every person I’ve dated in the last year (and in hindsight, good lord, there have been a lot), I’ve learned a bit more about what I’m looking for and who I want to be with. From realizing I’m not interested in people shorter than I am (and, in related news, people who blatantly lie on their dating profiles), to not wanting to date someone who works 80 hours a week, to recognizing quickly a type of witty that is mean-spirited, to wanting to walk out of dates with guys who are completely self-absorbed, I think I’m getting somewhere. This dating thing is really like finding a needle in a haystack, and although my frustration is mounting, I promise myself and my future husband that I’ll keep reaching in the pile.
I’ll leave you with a sentiment from my girl C-Juice:
Juice: Someone that makes you smile and laugh is a must.
Me: WHERE IS HE.
Juice: He’s just lost. You know how men hate to ask for directions.
Hey, future huz-B? Get out a map. Come find me. I bet we’re gonna make each other laugh.
If you’re wondering why you don’t see too many food posts round these parts lately, it’s because I’ve actually been on a “diet.”
It’s mainly a rigorous exercise plan, which is rigorous in that it’s the opposite of the exercise I was doing before, which was nothing. Do you follow?
Here’s what I’m up to:
- I’m watching portions.
- I’m eating mostly fruits, vegetables, and healthy proteins.
- I haven’t had pasta in 20 days. Not that I’m counting. [Why is quitting excess carbs so hard?]
- I’m still eating my daily oatmeal [I made it 35 days in a row!], but I’ve (almost) dropped the need to add any brown sugar. In fact, I’ve cut down on sugar all across the board: no more desserts, no more morning breads or muffins [except the bread I just made yesterday, see below, OOPS], and no more sugary Greek yogurt: plain for me, all the way.
- I’m not subscribing to anything specific, just a less is more philosophy, and one of my mom’s standby rules: “If you half it, you can have it.”
Let’s hope I can keep it up with this loaf of bread around. I took this recipe from Shopgirl and am pleasantly surprised at how it turned out. I’m definitely going to be looking for more recipes that use Greek yogurt or applesauce instead of butter.
- 1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- Just a tinge less than 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 large bananas)
- 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 and spray Pam in the loaf pan. Combine eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixture and beat until smooth.
In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix until they are well combined. Add in the mashed bananas and Greek yogurt and mix. Lastly, add in the chocolate chips and stir using a wooden spoon. Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan, and bake for about 50-55 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool on a rack before slicing or eating.