Time warp

Today, while out on a story about a teenager killed in a car wreck, I ended up talking for a half hour to a 92-year-old man named Cleve who was in World War II. We sat on his porch swing and just talked. He was so sweet. I kept thinking about how odd it must be to have been born when he was (1921!) and have lived through the Great Depression and all these wars…and then to hear him on the phone with his 65-year-old daughter talking about text messages. Total time warp.

Making time

Went hiking today with Ally at New River Gorge. Forgot how much I like hiking (add it to the list…biking, guitar, reading, etc.). Reminding myself to make time for things I really love! So tired I might collapse in the next two days, but worth it.

Looking back from the future

Just thinking as I lie here on my bedroom floor…some day, when I’m a reporter in Boston, I’ll look back at these days and smile. Remembering my apartment room in West Virginia, the size of a postage stamp. Eating beans and rice, shopping at Aldi, putting $10 of gas in my tank at a time. Livin’ the dream! But I’m doing what I want to do. :)

Shrimp & Penne Pasta Salad

I pack lunch most days, so I try to keep things interesting and mix it up. Usually it ends up being a salad (different ingredients every day)…reliable, but boring. Dan suggested I try pasta salad, so I cobbled one together for lunch today and it was such a nice change.

Shrimp & Penne Pasta Salad


  • 6 medium size shrimp
  • short pasta (I used Barilla PastaPlus penne) — any amount
  • diced green bell pepper
  • broccoli
  • kalamata olives
  • tomato
  • salad dressing (I used balsamic vinaigrette)
  • EVOO
  • garlic salt, white & black pepper
  • pecorino romano (or any grated cheese)

Cook a random amount of pasta until al dente, then measure out desired amount (I used 3/4 cup cooked pasta) and rinse under cool water. (NOTE: don’t ever do this for pasta you’re mixing with a sauce & serving hot! Rinsing totally ruins it). Leftover pasta can just be put away — or you can make it all at once.

Steam or saute shrimp (I let mine thaw in a colander and then dropped them in the pasta water toward the last minute or so of cooking). Cut into small pieces.

In a bowl, combine cooked pasta, cut shrimp and all veggies. I made my veggies fairly small — not minced, but diced or a bit larger.

Add dressing and mix well, then add a large drizzle of EVOO, along with garlic salt, white pepper & black pepper. Other spices might be good too — garlic powder, cayenne, anything really.

After the entire thing is mixed together, you can grate some hard cheese over it. I grated Pecorino Romano from a block, but I think parmesan would work as well. I’d recommend grating it fresh if you can instead of getting it pre-grated…tastes better!

It feels like the weekend…

I’ve been absent from the blog for a loooong time. I spent my winter break interning in Boston and had a great experience (not to mention a lot of fun). Back in the ‘Cuse now, and definitely going to be updating this more with recipes. I don’t have class two days a week, so I’m spending that time doing things I love, like cooking more.

Dan is here visiting for the week (!) and I’m using that as a great excuse to cook more exciting things (since it’s easier to try out a new recipe on two people). First, my dinner creation last night:

Peanut Soba Stir-Fry (note: recipes are mine, but credit given for direct inspiration/adaptation)

  • veggies: carrots (cut like matchsticks), white button mushrooms, broccoli, kale, fresh ginger, onion
  • canola oil
  • buckwheat soba noodles
  • extra-firm tofu (cubed)
  • peanut sauce (adapted from Cooking Light): water, natural PB, sriracha, rice vinegar, citrus soy sauce, brown sugar)
  • blanched slivered almonds

After cubing the tofu, spray a baking pan with cooking spray and place tofu in it. I seasoned with garam masala and then sprayed again, but you could just do salt & pepper (or whatever spice you want). Bake in 350* oven until crispy (30-60 minutes).

Cook soba noodles in boiling water (as you would with pasta) for just a few minutes (usually about 4-5) until tender, then drain.

For peanut sauce, combine a small amount of water with a large spoonful each of brown sugar and peanut butter. Squirt in sriracha, rice vinegar and soy sauce, then stir all of the ingredients together and add more of any of them to taste.

Toast the almonds in the microwave — spread them on a small plate in a single layer, then microwave for around one minute.

Cut veggies into very small pieces. Drizzle canola oil into skillet (~1 tbsp) and add all veggies. Once kale cooks down, add in tofu and noodles, then slowly add the peanut sauce and the almonds.

I served it with sliced comice pear on the side (sort of tastes like a hybrid apple/pear, with very porous flesh).

And then…brunch today also turned out worthy of a recipe post on here.

Coconut French Toast with Caramelized Bananas

  • 2 egg whites
  • ~1/3 cup one-percent milk
  • splash of coconut milk (unsweet)
  • cinnamon, vanilla, maple syrup
  • 3 slices of Ithaca Bakery oatmeal whole wheat
  • bananas (2)
  • canola oil & cooking spray
  • walnuts
  • raspberry jam
  • Greek yogurt

Combine egg whites, milk and coconut milk, a few shakes of cinnamon, vanilla and maple syrup in a bowl. Soak each piece of bread in it, but not for too long or it’ll get too soggy to put in the pan.

In one skillet, add a big drizzle of canola oil and put slices of banana in it to cook on low heat until they caramelize (as a topping for the french toast).

In another skillet, spray very well with cooking spray (mine is EVOO spray but canola works also). Add in the pieces of bread (one at a time is easiest in a small-ish skillet). Flip the toast once it’s browned a bit.

Top each piece with the caramelized bananas, pieces of walnut and either maple syrup or jam (both are yummy). I had my piece with plain Greek yogurt and a cafe au lait on the side.

Buon appetito! :)

A guide from beyond

“The Guest House,” by Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.