Rewind

Soooo I have some catching up to do. Who wants to know what I did for Thanksgiving?!

I thought about foregoing the whole catch-up sesh and skipping to the here-and-now…but then I realized that the point of this whole blog deal is to document my Washington life. So, back we go to November ’12…

IMG_1363Yes, that was what it looked like a week or so before Thanksgiving. So green! Don’t be confused, though- that brightness was rare.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before or not, but my school has the best cafeteria (Click here to read about it!). So, Thanksgiving at school was delightful.

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That is cashew gravy, and it is amazing. So amazing that I almost made some for my own Thanksgiving. Speaking of my own Thanksgiving(!), my roommate and I hosted it at our house…for ourselves and my friend Ingrid. We had quite the spread for three people.

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I was in charge of the turkey and gravy (for the first time in my life, might I add), and it turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself. I think I made my mom proud, anyway. My bigger foodie project though was a salted caramel pecan pie.

Homemade crust!

Homemade crust!

Hot Cakes salted caramel, of course.

Hot Cakes salted caramel, of course.

The finished product! Obviously a million hours later. And obviously beer was in order.

Obviously finished a million hours later. And obviously beer was necessary.

My first time as co-host of a Thanksgiving was a success, I’d say. Amy (my roommate) and I were in the kitchen pretty much all day (Macy’s parade on TV in the living room in the morning though, obvi), and she made us kale chips and crepes to snack on. We had a good time. The evening continued with additional friends, champagne, wine, pie, ice cream, and conversation. And then I think I ate pie for breakfast for a week.

The next day I helped prepare a meal for Teen Feed, which feeds homeless youth of Seattle.

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My friend/classmate, Rebecca, and I are co-leads of a Meal Team that plans for, shops for, and prepares a meal for this non-profit bi-monthly. It really is a good time (and a good thing), and someday I will blog about it exclusively. Really, I will.

They needed pecan pie, too!

They needed pecan pie, too!

I think that night I also attended a live music show at a really interesting place with my friend Andrea. I should’ve taken photos of that. ‘Twas beyond interesting for various reasons. Anyway.

The next night (it’s the Saturday after T-giving now, folks) was spent at this gorgeous house on Mercer Island that my friend Jena (from school) house-sits. It was dark when we got there, so photos were kind of difficult, but Jena, my roommate, and I enjoyed Thai food, wine, and good conversation for many hours.

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Good, good times with good peoples. 🙂

(I’m aware that this post is becoming an out of control play-by-play and food photo overloaded. Bear with me!)

It is also worth mentioning that post-Thanksgiving I made a turkey stock, which turned out great and which I was a little proud of.

Yummas!

Okay, Thanksgiving is over. I promise.

After that, it was a sprint to the end of finals/going home.

I decorated my house for Christmas (even though no one would really be there to enjoy for long). Thanks, Mom, for the old Marshall fam decorations.

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I visited my beloved Hot Cakes for some holiday cheer and to buy an outrageous amount of gifts to take home.

Still the cutest place on the planet, FYI.

Still the cutest place on the planet, FYI

And then! And then! FINALS WERE FINALLY OVER. This means that my first quarter of actual graduate school (last year was science prerequisites) was done with. Big deal, y’all.

Cheers, INDEED.

Cheers, INDEED.

This was also in order.

OMG. So good.

I don’t remember what this was called (Ingrid, help me?!), but it involved Red Velvet, cream, and candied pecans. Yummas!

So, there is the playback of November-December 5, 2012. On December 6, I flew home and enjoyed a glorious few weeks there for the holiday. That playback will hopefully be comin’ at ya sooner than later. 🙂

On Bonfires, The Black Keys, and (Awesome) Black Socks

I had a kind of busy few days last weekend/the beginning of this week. Saturday was Cinco de Mayo, so obviously there was a little fun to be had. That day also happened to be the birthday of a school friend, so that was just more reason for fun. The birthday boy hosted a casual bonfire at his home, complete with Mexican-inspired cuisine. I love being in a nutrition program. Social gatherings are always accompanied by awesome food…which I did not photograph. Oops.

Back to the bonfire.

‘Twas a good time. It was a really nice evening, and there was a variety of people there, so we pretty much just sat around and talked random things. I allowed a naturopathic medicine student to palpate my radial artery (i.e. take my pulse) for a solid minute in an attempt to guess my dominant Dosha, as determined by Ayurveda. … I’m not kidding. And he was spot on. How do I know this? Because my curiosity caused me to research Ayurveda and figure out my dominant Dosha ages ago. Don’t act like you’re surprised.

Also while around the bonfire, we kept our eyes toward the sky to analyze the Supermoon, which I’m still a little confused about. We had a hard time seeing the “super” part. Oh well.

Andrea and myself sitting entirely too close to the blazing bonfire

Backdrop of a bonfire, Washington style

So that was that. Happy Cinco de Birthday was a good time. I’d like to note that Andrea made some phenom(enal) specialty cupcakes, for which she had to reduce raspberries and such, and I made some phenom specialty cookies. Word on the street was that the birthday boy went into a sugar coma the next day due to consumption of leftovers. I call that baking success.

On Sunday I found myself at the Lake City Elk’s Lodge for an event at which I volunteered. It was called Empty Bowls, and it was to benefit North Helpline–a food bank that I have volunteered with on a semi-regular basis since moving here. My friend/classmate, Rebecca, volunteered with me, and we had a pretty okay time.

Basically, a bunch of local artists donate (a ton of!) ceramic bowls, and ticket-purchasing patrons get to pick a bowl that they keep and which they can also use to eat soup that is donated by various local restaurants/cafés. The full lunch included soup, salad, bread, dessert, and beverage. There was also a gigantic silent auction, a wine raffle, a quilt raffle, and live music–local bands, of course.

The photo below was taken pre-event. The centerpieces were basil plants, which were for purchase. Cool! Rebecca and I contemplated buying one. They were huge.

So that was a noteworthy event. A lot of volunteer things we participate in are way smaller and less exciting. I think Empty Bowls is a pretty huge fundraiser for North Helpline, so it was cool to be a part of that. Also, side note on Rebecca friend: I asked a fellow volunteer to take a photo of us (for blogging purposes, obviously), but it turned out horrible. Sad. Rebecca will undoubtedly make a blog appearance soon. She is a solid member of my crew here and fully supports this blogging habit. She even encouraged me to take iPhone photos in biochemistry lab today. Haha. (Hi, Rebecca. :))

Anyway. Moving on. On Tuesday night, I practiced a little irresponsibility again and attended The Black Keys! With Arctic Monkeys! In Seattle! It was a really good show. Andrea and I decided to go kinda last minute and purchased tickets last week. She is a longtime fan of The Black Keys, and I hinted to her that we should go because I heard they put on an amazing show. Our seats were far away, but the show did not disappoint.

The Black Keys

The Black Keys

I’d say The Black Keys were all they’re cracked up to be. I’m hooked for sure. Also, Arctic Monkeys were awesome. I was familiar with them, but that’s about it. Andrea had no prior knowledge, but we both concluded that they were really impressive. Definitely fun to watch, too.

So that was my busy few days. The day after the concert was marked by an 8:00 am quiz, followed by a three-hour-long Whole Foods Production cooking lab, and then a biochemistry lecture from 3-5:00 pm. Andrea fell asleep during biochem lecture. Haha. Sorry, Andrea- it was sort of hilarious. While I did not fall asleep during biochem, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t majorly struggling. I also realized during biochem that I had forgotten socks for my planned post-biochem workout. Good one. Be proud of me, though: Instead of bailing on my workout (like I really, reeeealllyy wanted to), I decided to just rock my tall socks.

Be jealous of my awesomeness.