22.6.16

Checking in


Hey friends! I'm sorry for the long absence. I thought I would be able to post at least occasionally during the first part of bar studying, but I underestimated how all-consuming studying would be.  This will probably be my past post until August, but I wanted to check in with a few recipes and restaurants that I'm loving lately. 

Despite spending most of my waking hours studying, I've managed to find time to check out a couple new places around town.  A new favorite is Honeysuckle Tea House, where I got the beautiful smoothie bowl above. This one had banana, dates, mango, coconut milk, bee pollen, and edible flowers!


Adam and I have also become obsessed with Ponysaurus, a new brewery in Durham.  It has a great outdoor space, including this rooftop with string lights. It's a great place to watch the sunset, sip a beer, and maybe work on making notecards.... 

They have sweet and salty snacks on hand and a local food truck is usually there too.


Because most of my mental energy has gone toward studying, I haven't attempted any new recipes lately, but we're still making our favorites.  A big hit recently was my panang curry recipe served over rice noodles instead of rice. It's SOO good. Please try it.

I've also made greek chicken pitas (with grocery store rotisserie chicken) and my favorite chopped salad.


I'm so excited for later in the summer when some of the veggies from our garden are ready for harvest. So far we have lots of baby squash (aren't they the cutest??) and some green cherry tomatoes. Watering the garden everyday has been a good study break for me, and I think it's helping my sanity just a little bit.


What recipes or restaurants are you loving this summer? Any favorite squash recipes? I think we're going to have a lot. . .

Happy Summer!  

22.5.16

Small Batch Kettle Corn (with video!)


If you've been reading for a while, you know that I have a tendency to become obsessed with particular street foods and then seek to recreate them at home.  First it was arepas, then soft pretzels. Today, it's kettle corn. 


I've always been a fan of kettle corn.  It's my go-to at the state fair and the air show, and any other event with vendor food.  Adam and I have been on a homemade popcorn kick for the past few months, but I neglected to make kettle corn until just recently.  I assumed it required special equipment or long baking times, but it doesn't!

Now, because I don't have a real kettle or specialty corn kernels, this isn't exactly like the kettle corn you'd buy at the fair, but I think the favor and texture is pretty darn close. 

Also, because we're nerds, and because I have one more day of freedom before bar studying starts, Adam and I made you a how-to video: 


I call this small batch kettle corn because it makes enough for 2-3 servings, which is perfect for us. Enjoy!



Small Batch Kettle Corn


Ingredients:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup corn kernels
2 tablespoons sugar
salt for sprinkling

Directions:
Add canola oil to a medium-sized saucepan with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat.  Add three corn kernels and place lid on the pot. Listen carefully.

Once one of the kernels has popped, quickly add the remaining corn kernels and sugar. Shake the pan to evenly coat the kernels in oil and sugar. Continue cooking over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Once the popping slows, remove from heat quickly to avoid burning.

Spread popcorn out over parchment paper and sprinkle with salt. Let cool and dig in!

8.5.16

Thoughts on the Law School Job Search


When I finished teaching, I had all sorts of profound thoughts about how teaching had shaped me for the better.

I don't have quite the same feelings about law school. While teaching made me a better and stronger person, law school has helped me to know myself better, and to think critically about what really matters. (Mostly by rejecting what law school has told me I should value.)

In short, I've faced a lot of rejection and self-doubt over the past three years.  I think where I've grown the most has been through the agonizing job search process. I hesitate to share any advice, because I know everyone's experience is different.  But many of my brilliant classmates are still in the midst of their search, and for those who will be job-searching in the future, I thought I'd share what I've learned. 

1. Relax. 
Finding a job is important, but it doesn't have to be EVERYTHING. When I was feeling stressed about not having a job yet, I would think about all the other wonderful things in my life that I was thankful for and that, in the big scheme of things, are way more important than securing employment.  This calmed me down. 

Also, don't let other people's success make you feel frantic. I was one of the last of my friends to get an internship for 1L summer, 2L summer, and in securing a job for after graduation. During each of those periods, I was happy for my friends who got great offers for internships/jobs, but I also felt increasingly discouraged as more friends got jobs while I remained jobless.  I think this feeling is natural, but it's also not productive. 

2. Network.
Ugh, do you hate the idea of networking? I do too. I remember at one of our first career sessions, a career counselor emphasized how important networking would be, and I rolled my eyes thinking, "Nope, I won't need to do that."  Wrong. 

A small percentage of people find their jobs through on campus interviews and a few more find them through postings on the law school employment page, but I think most people end up finding jobs through networking--myself included.  It's hard, and it can be awkward at first to reach out to people that you don't know, but it's worth it.

My main take-away from this experience was that genuine connections with people make a difference. This could be a connection with someone that you've worked with in the past or a connection that you form with a new person over coffee.  Also, never underestimate the power of a kind email. 

3. Don't let rejections affect your self worth.
We have a very dangerous tendency in our culture to equate our jobs with our worth as individuals. I say dangerous, because once the number of rejection letters you've received nears 20, you start to go down a bad path. (me)

I believe that as human beings, we each have unsurpassable worth.  Because we exist in the world, we are worthy of love and belonging. This is not affected by anything we do or accomplish.  It's helpful to remind ourselves of that when we're in the midst of a difficult season.

4. Pursue what you are passionate about.
I was nervous at various points throughout law school because I realized that all of the practical experiences I had were in one particular area of law that I happened to be really interested in.  I feared that this would limit my marketability to employers, and it probably did.  But it also made me more qualified for the jobs I really wanted, and for me, that trade-off was worth it in the end.

5. Don't be afraid to turn down an offer that isn't right for you. 
Law school career counselors would be horrified that I'm saying this, but I think it's true.  In November I received an offer for a prestigious position in another city.  It was an amazing opportunity that I was very fortunate to receive, but I wasn't sure if I wanted to move to that city.

I agonized over the decision for weeks. On the day I was going to send an email declining the offer, I called my mom sobbing. "What if I regret this decision later?  What if this is my lean in moment and I'm missing it?  What if this is the only job offer I'll ever receive?"  My mom told me that she didn't believe in regrets, and that all I could do was make the decision that felt right for me in that moment.

During that time, I also thought a lot about an advice column I'd read by Sheryl Strayed entitled The Ghost Ship That Didn't Carry Us.  In the column, Sheryl gives advice to a 40 year old man deciding whether or not he and his partner will have children.  Sheryl says that when we're faced with such an irrevocable life choice, there's no way to know exactly how our lives will pan out.  She quotes Tomas Transtromer, who wrote that that every life "has a sister ship" that follows "quite another route" than the one that we choose to take. This was helpful imagery for me as I imagined the life I would live if I accepted the offer and life I would live if I rejected it, which was still very uncertain at that time.  Ultimately, Sheryl's concluding words gave me much comfort:

"I'll never know and neither will you of the life you don't choose. We'll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn't carry us. There's nothing to do but salute it from the shore."



For those of you still searching for a job, or for your life path, I wish you clarity, courage, and perseverance.

Also, happy Mother's Day to all the mamas out there!  I'm especially thankful to mine for her wisdom and unending encouragement.

24.4.16

Green Kitchen Tips for Earth Day


via

My poor friends. So many of my conversations these days begin with, "So I listened to this really great podcast about....."  

I'll admit it.  I'm a bit obsessed with podcasts. Particularly The Lively Show.  So many of Jess's episodes have given me tidbits of wisdom, spurred self reflection, or changed my perspective.

About a year ago, I listen to this episode about a zero waste lifestyle.  It really challenged me to think about ways to eliminate waste.  Over the past several months, I've taken some small steps to reduce the amount of stuff that I throw away.  Although I still have a long way to go, in honor of earth day, I thought I would share some of the steps I've been taking along with my future goals.


What I'm doing now: 

1. Replacing paper napkins with cloth napkins. Cloth napkins are so pretty!  And this method saves money. It does add some extra laundry, but since napkins are pretty much the easiest thing to fold, it hasn't felt like a lot of extra work.

2. Reusing ziplock bags, aluminum foil, and plastic wrap. As you'll see down below, I want to eventually eliminate all of these items from my kitchen, but for the time being, I've been reusing them as much as I can to limit how much I throw away. 

3. Using plastic or glass containers instead of aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Another easy swap! The small plastic containers are great for snacks. 

4. Recycling.  You're probably doing this one already too. It's easy, especially if someone collects your recycling. When we went on vacation to the mountains over Christmas, the place we stayed did not have recycling. So, like the crazy person that I am, I brought 4 trash bags full of recycling in the car home with us. 

5. Using reusable grocery bags. I keep the grocery bags in the trunk of my car. Although I initially forgot them almost every time, I would make myself walk back to the car to get them. The more you do it, the more easily you will remember.




Future Goals: 

1. Replace plastic wrap with this bee's wrap. It's washable, reusable, and compostable. (I was inspired by this post.)

2. Replace paper towels. I need to buy some cheap washcloths and keep them under my kitchen sink to start to replace paper towels. There's more helpful info about that process in this post.

3. Buy reusable snack bags.  I want these pretty ones

4. Buy a silpat silicone non-stick baking mat for cookies. This will eliminate the need for wax paper when making cookies. :)

5. Start composting. This is hard if you're a renter like me, but I'm going to start doing some research. 

I think to avoid being overwhelmed, it's good to implement these changes one at a time. As you become comfortable with one, you can add in another.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on any of these methods/products. 

Happy belated Earth Day!

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