On Saturday, March 2 I completed my final exam for my last MBA course (Economics). It was extremely memorable, because it was a timed, online exam and the power got shut off with 30 minutes left to go. I ended up going into total survival mode and rushed out the door to use the free restaurant wifi down the street. I barely changed out of my pajamas and didn’t even stop to brush my teeth properly. It was really gross, but I knew every second counted. I got the exam done with about 2 minutes to spare, so I guess that’s all that really matters!
Technically my graduation will be in May. The courses in the MBA program are 8 weeks long, where normal undergrad classes are 16 weeks. So MBA students can complete two sessions in a single semester. My classmates are in their second Spring 2013 class right now and they will finish in early May. Therefore, I have to wait.
I did not want to wait to celebrate though! I’ve been taking classes for my MBA (or undergrad pre-requisites) since summer 2009. So I rented space from a lovely local restaurant and threw myself a dinner party and invited a bunch of friends. It was fabulous and I am so happy I got to hang out with some awesome people and eat delicious food. I often lament the difficulty of making adult friends, but I realized that basically everyone in the room (aside from 3 family members, and one friend from middle school years) was a friend I’d made post undergrad.
Today while I was driving, I had an amazing thought. I had fresh strawberries I picked on Sunday. I had a bottle of whipped cream flavored vodka. I wondered what sorts of delicious beverages I could make with these ingredients.
Well it turns out the company that makes the vodka had already thought of that. Here’s a PDF of several recipes using fruit added to their flavored vodka.
I made strawberry-infused whipped cream vodka, but it won’t be ready for about a week.
I got this idea from seeing several variations on Pinterest. I’m a huge fan of breakfast, often waking up hungry and ready to eat. I’m a huge fan of things that save me time and money. This is a great recipe for breakfast on the go, breakfast at work, or even breakfast for a large group since everything is done at the same time.
I didn’t like any one recipe perfectly, so I made up my own, but this is the one that got me started with the idea: Cooking with My Kid. After a few batches myself, I’ve decided on my favorite below.
- Shredded Potatoes (I buy the pre-shredded)
- Egg Beaters (or another liquid egg product. I’ve also had good results with egg whites only)
- Shredded Cheese (or sliced cheese)
- bacon or sasuage
- salt and pepper
You’ll notice my ingredients list leaves room for a lot of options at every step. The recipe is really flexible. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a muffin pan with Pam or another non-stick spray. Make sure you use a medium-sized muffin pan, the smaller ones won’t hold enough and the jumbo muffins will take longer to cook.
Sprinkle in about two tablespoons worth of shredded potatoes, just enough to get the bottom decently covered. You’ll have holes, that’s okay. Don’t worry about pressing the potatoes down, but try to keep them contained in the muffin holes.
Pop the pan into the oven for about 5-10 minutes until the potatoes start to brown and get crispy. This helps the texture of the finished product, although the potatoes won’t retain their crisp to the end.
Next, I just pour the egg product directly from the container into the muffin pan. I leave about 1/4 inch or so from the top, but you can fill them fairly high without worrying about spillage.
If you want to add veggies or other goodies, now’s the time. Add about a tablespoon or two. I opt for bacon at this point. Three to six strips of bacon, chopped into tiny pieces, usually works for me.
Then I sprinkle as much cheese as I can fit on top. The more cheese, the better! Sprinkle salt and pepper on top.
I bake them for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees. You want the egg to be cooked all the way, but not rubbery.
They might puff up as they cook, but will normally deflate a bit as they cool off. Once they are cooled down, I wrap them individually in plastic wrap and put in the freezer. If you are going to eat them within a few days you can just store them in the fridge. If frozen, it takes me a good 2 minutes or more to heat in the microwave.
If you decide you use real eggs, you will need about 14 to fill 12 muffins, unless you plan on loading them up with a lot of add ins. This explains why I had to use a regular cracked egg (unbeaten) in the photo.
The main difference in my recipe and the one linked is that this one doesn’t use any flour. I’m trying to cut out white flour, so this adaptation is good for that. This variation is also gluten free!
Even though cartons of egg substitute (or egg white) and pre-shredded potatoes are not very good food values, I found I like the convenience much better in this case (that’s sorta the point) and each product will produce two batches of this recipe (buy the large size of the egg substitute) so it averages out to very little cost per serving.
Ideas for add ins:
- bell peppers
- green onions
- hot sauce
- pepper jack cheese
- Canadian bacon
- veggie sausage
Harry and David pears are super expensive and if you’ve never had them you might just roll your eyes. But once I ate one I was a believer. They are amazing.
I found them online for 3 different prices (WTF?) but this one is the best deal, and it comes with free shipping.
Normally $30, on sale for $20. Use the code FREEFSD when you check out to get the free shipping. A good alternative to sweets, awesome for people out of town. Buy one for yourself, too.
What do you call a change in the way you plan to eat? The word “diet” makes it sound like I’m doing some fad thing for 30 days to slim down for vacation.
I recently met a nurse (she’s a PhD candidate) who has spent the last 30 years working out a diet for people with IBD. She’s got Crohn’s disease herself, and she follows the diet. Plus she just finished a study on the diet out of UVA. I’m always wary of programs that claim if you only eat THIS, or in this COMBINATION, then you’ll be cured/healthy/magic. Another woman I know was actually in the study and she did really well.
So after lots of thought and lamentation, I decided I would give it a try myself. You need to realize that Candy and Bread are my two favorite food groups. I’m a big snacker and I’ve always got some kind of candy around (sugar-based, like Skittles or Haribo gummies).
This is how it works:
- No white sugar
- No white flour (or anything refined, like white rice)
- Eat 1/2 cup of Bran Buds cereal each day (they are some other health food store brands, but basically it’s a super high bran-content cereal with a ton of fiber)
That’s it, those are the only rules and restrictions.
So it’s not as bad as being low carb, or gluten free, or trying to keep my blood sugar low…
I can still have bread or pasta as long as it is whole wheat (real whole wheat, which is harder to find that some of the bs the grocery store sells) and doesn’t have added sugar. I can still have starch like potatoes, and rice as long as it is brown rice or similar. I can still have sweet things, as long as I use honey, or agave nectar, or maple syrup.
I’ve been making a batch of brown rice every few days. I’ve found peanut butter that is sugar-free and a few jams that are just sweetened with fruit. I bought a bunch of fancy honey that is good just spread on whole wheat bread. I can still have cheese, and nachos, and potato chips. I’m trying to eat more veggies so I don’t gain 100 pounds from all the sodium I’m eating instead of sugar.
I bought a few cookbooks, but I haven’t had time to try anything yet. I’m hoping to try to bake something this weekend, because I need more carbs back in my life!
Some berries I bought at the store last weekend were starting to get a little ripe, so I decided to make a pie.
I used Deb’s pie crust recipe from Smitten Kitchen. It is really easy. If you’ve never made pie crust from scratch and assumed it was hard to do, don’t be scared. Try it.
I used this recipe for the filing, but I split the berries, using 4 cups of blueberries and 2 cups of cut up strawberries (because I didn’t have 6 cups of blueberries).
I had people over to celebrate my birthday (which was last month). My friend Justin showed up unexpectedly and brough fancy cupcakes from Charlottesville.
They were from Cappellino’s Crazy Cakes which is apprently pretty well known in that area. The cupcakes were way better than the famous DC area cupcakes I’ve had, like Georgetown Cupcake or CakeLove. I am not a big fan of either of those, but if someone gave me a free cupcake, I’d probably eat it anyway. Capellino’s is the real deal though. I even ate one of the leftovers for breakfast!