Class with Titina and a Capri Menu Preview! + School Update

Thursday, August 27

Listening to "Vegetable Car," Joshua Radin.

Thanks so much for all the encouraging comments!
It really seems like everyone's hit that wall where, suddenly, they feel like they may have signed up for a liiiittle much. But I'm over the wall, people-- scaled it without looking back. It's going to be a great semester, and I'm just going to do my best to keep my head above water. All they can ask for, right? Thanks again :)

Tamela, that to-do list idea was great. I've been organizing my tasks with the most important ones on top, and it helps me focus (and avoid procrastination...)! Haha and Pegs you're right, three classes has felt different than last semester's two classes. JeremyandGirls-- your comment was so sweet. It definitely gave me a big smile. When I get stressed I just need to remember my dream of being a professor. It always makes me feel like the hard work is worth it! Stephchows-- haha I know; where did the summer go?!?! Kim-- I can't even tell you how excited I get when I think about us both going through these crazy academic experiences together :) DuoDishes-- the high school I used to coach lacrosse at, Laney High School, is the same high school MJ went to!! Cool, huh?! But... I never did meet him. Did get to see his locker :) If I ever run into him I'll tell him y'all said hello. Samantha-- I feel like everyone needs a Connie!!! Your Mom sounds like an amazing example. ACE-- hahaha loooove lowly (or should we say lovely!) blog stalkers :) Karine-- the age thing is weird! I've found it makes me feel better if I wear nice "teacher" clothes haha. Chadski-- always nice to not be the only one freaking out :)

Thanks again, everyone!

Class with Titina

Tomorrow, Matt and I have a dinner date with Titina.

Titina Vuotto, chef de cuisine & author
of "Aromas and Flavors of Capri"

Last December when I graduated from UNCW, Matt bought me a gift certificate for two to take a cooking class with Titina. But it was hard, with CFP and my classes and his work and all the other blah, to schedule a great night!

But we'll be there tomorrow, and here's the menu:


Lemon Liquor

Bomboloni Capresi
Friters Filled with Mozzarella and Ham

Pollo alle Castagne
Chicken with Chestnut Sauce
Cavolfiori al Gratinati
Cauliflower Gratin

Torta Caprese
Almond and Chocolate Cake

Are you drooling?? I'm totally excited.

I won't tell you too much about it, since I'd love to do a review when we're finished... but I will tell you that I CAN'T WAIT, and that unfortunately, I already know how much I looooove limoncello. Mmmmmmmm.

Also, Titina encourages couples to bring their own bottle of wine to the lesson, so that there is lots of merry drinking and cooking.

Titina, I think we're going to get along fantastically!


Grad School Update:

OFFICIAL. Except the ID girl thought I
was a freshman lol, tried to get me to pay for a
new undergrad card...

I'm almost finished with my first week--- and I've survived!

. There is a lot to read.


But I knew that... it's just a matter of getting it done :)

Speaking of... back to work!

I will say that I really love my classes, and that meeting my professors, talking over the syllabus, and having time to think about all the projects has actually helped me feel like I can handle it.

I miss you guys, though; I feel like this week I've been awful at catching up on the blog world. But I have tomorrow off and plan on doing a lot of catch up :) ...and homework, of course!

Enjoy your almost weekend!


Your capri-anticipatin'
New Girl Blogger

I wanna be Like Mike! Graduate School Freakout

Monday, August 24

Listening to "Homecoming," Kanye West ft. Chris Martin.

Hi blog.

You're a little behind on my life.

See... last week I had orientation, and then the first day of class, and now I'm reading a million pages of required readings... throw work into the mix, and you'll see why didn't update you at all!

I'm so sorry. Last week feels like a million years ago and 2 seconds ago all at the same time.

But, ladies and gentlemen, I have a small, semi-interesting post prepared if you have time :)

So last Tuesday was the big New Graduate Student Orientation at NC State...

...I walked in to the conference-style McKimmon Center, tightly balling my fists with excitement. The overwhelming number of people and insane amount of air conditioning hit me at the same time, so I took a deep breath as I searched for a seat. I had barely chosen a pen from my new pencil pouch before someone got up to speak. Projector screens lowered, and over 1,000 graduate students looked to the same podium...

The speakers were nice, quasi-inspiring and, at some points, speaking precautions. Manage your time. Don't take on too much. Establish a good relationship with your Advisor. Manage your time. Manage your time...

At lunch I found a couple friendly girls in the excessively long bathroom line. We swapped stories about our soon-to-be graduate programs, our undergraduate experiences, our boyfriends... it was nice to meet new people. Most of the girls impressed me with what they'd been doing over the summer, from internships to taking classes... What had I done over the summer?

After lunch we split into groups. The graduate students with TA positions were herded into one room. We had a great speaker who regaled us with tales of his teaching experiences. He was fun, energetic, and you could tell he gave everything he had to his teaching profession. He was my hero, the best of the best... to me his name was Mike--- I really wanna be like Mike.

After he spoke we had a young woman who had just finished her Teaching Assistantship last May. She was really great as well. She opened up the floor for questions, allowing us all to reveal some of our fears.

How do I get the students to take me seriously-- I'm barely a year older than they are!

Do they call me by my last name or by my first?

Should I allow them to add me as a friend on Facebook?

After some of the questions were out of the way, she told us about her experiences. How she managed it all, some of her tough situations, advice... it was great and I was taking notes. I was so impressed.

After it was all over, I left the murderously cold air conditioning, took my new knowledge and new notes, and drove home. But something happened on the way.

I freaked out.

Seriously, I freaked.

I started thinking about my laundry list life. All the things I have going on. I thought about school, the classes, the readings and the papers, the teaching assistantship, work, the new marketing program, tutoring... it all hit me at once. When will I sleep? When will I cook? I just finally met all these nice people... will I have time to have a life???

Sometimes, all a freakout needs is a little organization. A little de-cluttering. It's worked for me before. I got home and straightened up the apartment, putting schoolbooks here, new notebooks there. It didn't help.

I sat down at the kitchen table, armed with my planner, and tried to plan out my semester. It didn't help.

I talked to my Mom and Tom a little, who both called to see how my big day had went. I let them know a little about how I was feeling. They both said similarly wonderful things, about how I had managed in undergraduate and how I would again, and both times I really did start to feel better. But then I would look at my planner... and those time constraints were still staring me in the face. Only 24 hours in a day, only 7 days in a week.

Matt got home, and we talked about everything in a roundabout way... eventually he just sat down with me and my planner and asked me to try and tell him how I felt. And like a total baby, I tried to say it but cried instead.

Big 'ol crocodile tears.

I tried to explain through my blubbering... I was scared. I had signed up for too much! Everyone thinks I can handle this and I can't. It's too much. I'm not as smart as everyone thinks I am. There's no way.

NO way.

He calmed me down, and very pragmatically went through my schedule and the next two years. It was nice.

If you have to, you'll quit your job, he says. We'll make this work.

I start to feel better. When I comment on my immature tears, sheepishly wiping my face with a kleenex, he smiles.

That's why this is going to work, he says. You care so much, that you're crying on your planner. You're going to make this work.

I felt better immediately, and got my excitement back as the night went on. And then I thought of my inspirations.

Sure, I wanna be like Mike. He was amazing, captivating, inspiring... but is he really my idol? I want to be a great teacher, but I'm going to be my own great teacher. I thought of my real inspirations, and came up with a pretty good one.

My friend Connie.
Actually, she's my best friend's Mom. She just went back to school this past year. She also has a son in high school and a brand new granddaughter (Abby!!). She's still working full time, but has received ALL A's in her classes so far. She's on track to complete her graduate degree by this April, because she's refused to take any time off school since the day she started.

I think it's great to have heroes in your profession, people to look up to, characteristics that you may strive to embody. But in the end, it's your real heroes, your family and friends, who help remind you that you can achieve. That an everyday goal can be accomplished with everyday courage and everyday fortitude. That you don't have to be a superhero to do it all-- you just have to care. To really want it. And I do.


Now, this wouldn't be a Class and Coffee post if I didn't say something about knitting or cooking. And I haven't touched my knitting needles all week! But, I can share something about cooking:

The Sunday Sandwich Maker!

When I was babysitting on Sunday night (yesterday!), Matt made all our sandwiches for the week. They're here wrapped up and just waiting to be grabbed so that we'd save time. He made mine with American cheese, my favorite :)

Life is good.

Next post: My first day of school!


Your no-longer-freaking,
New Girl Blogger

Just to make sure you heard me... more about BREAKFAST!

Monday, August 17

Listening to "Hide and Seek," Imogen Heap.
(Impossible to get sick of this song)

You crazy breakfast-skippers!!

So many of you commented about busy mornings filled with granola bars or--WORSE--nothing!!

And, of course, others of you acknowledged the awesome power of breakfasts :)

And other comment notes... Ali-- that award was for you too! Thanks for all your great comments! And April, from JeremyandGirls, CONGRATS!!!!! GOIN' BACK TO SCHOOL!! YOU'RE AWESOME!! Don't be nervous; you're going to be awesome and I can't wait to read about it. Congrats again! Debby, I definitely think this quiche would be a good lunch dish as well :) Brett Alexandra-- I have a canon digital rebel xt that I loooove. And Kathy-- You're a busy Mom!! Get someone to make this quiche for you :-D

Cooking Update

So, for all you breakfast skippers, I thought I'd tempt you one more time.

Quiche, Take 2

Meet the cheesy potato-onion quiche, with a strawberry & blueberry side.
MMMmmm, right?!

Sunday Preparation for Cheesy Potato-Onion Quiche:
-Chop 2 medium-sized potatoes; try for smaller, square pieces. No need to peel or cook first! Easy-peasy!
-Chop 1 white onion
-Dice up some scallions / green onion (aren't those the same thing? I'm never sure)
-Mix onion, potato, scallions and 1 cup shredded cheese (pick your fav! We used cheddar) in sprayed pie pan/dish.
-In separate bowl, mix 3 eggs, 1 1/4 cup milk. (No need to add biscuit mix this time; potatoes help to bring balance to the dish)
-Pour mixture over potato/onion mix in dish.
-Top with a little salt and pepper, then add a top coat extra cheese
-Bake at 425 for 20 minutes; cut "X" in the top cheese (which should be baked hard), then bake for additional 10 minutes.


Fruit Tips:
-On Sunday, grab some of your favorite fruit from the grocery store.
-Clean, and chop into bite-sized pieces. Put into freezer bag and store in fridge.
-Each morning, take out a cup of your mixed fruit!
-Like it sweet? Sprinkle fruit with a half packet of Splenda or Equal!

Now if that's not an easy, yummy morning... I don't know what is!


Now, this week is jam-packed for me.



Just picture me jumping up and down.

I'm so excited.

On Sunday morning I made Matt look at my binder and all my hole-punched syllabi.

CAN'T wait!!

On that note-- off to do some more reading :)



Your running-around, breakfast-obsessed
loving-orientation, smiling-for-my-new-student-ID,
New Girl Blogger

Attention Breakfast Skippers!! Also- Pictures with Grandma, Vol. 2

Tuesday, August 11

Listening to "I'm Not Over," Carolina Liar.

An award, another Grandmother visit (this time, Matt's grandmother!) full of pictures, and yummy breakfast dishes. Think you're up for it all?


But first--

Thanks so much for all the great comments!

To answer some questions... Amy, I used a pork tenderloin. It was very easy to marinate in the fridge and then to cut into pan-sized pieces! LK, I have seen those binder clips!! I went to Staples after my school-supply splurge and had to seriously control myself... I wanted everything! :) Burpandslurp, no worries-- I will definitely be updating my blog full of TA stories once everything gets underway. Brett- I haven't seen Julie & Julia-- YET! My Mom and I have big plans for that one. I know I'll love it! We've been YouTubing Julia Child lately haha.

ALSO: Sounds like I'm not the only school supply fan :) Don't you wish they had lunchboxes like that back when we were kids?!?! And as for the Asian-style cooking advice-- seriously appreciated :) Thanks!! Oh and Chadski-- first meal in the apartment sounds great! I'm always looking for easy pasta sauces that don't require much effort or much money (Alfredo sauce is so expensive at the store!). That sounds like a keeper!


I didn't fulfill my award responsibilities last post! Sorry! So here it goes!

Thanks again, Ace!

Here’s how it works: USE ONLY ONE WORD!
Tricky, tricky!

1. Where is your cell phone? hiding
2. Your hair? chameleon
3. Your mother? bright
4. Your father? Army
5. Your favorite food? carbs
6. Your dream last night? strange
7. Your favorite drink? coffee
8. Your dream/goal? happiness
9. What room are you in? living room (compound noun should count as one word, yes?)
10. Your hobby? myriad
11. Your fear? loneliness
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? teaching
13. Where were you last night? kitchen
14. Something that you aren’t? mathematician
15. Muffins? Mmm.
16. Wish list item? Wii
17. Where did you grow up? Everywhere
18. Last thing you did? eat
19. What are you wearing? Comfortables
20. Your TV? Matt's
21. Your pets? Soon!
22. Friends? lovely
23. Your life? starting
24. Your mood? excited
25. Missing someone? Madden...
26. Vehicle? tired
27. Something you’re not wearing? contacts
28. Your favorite store? Target
29. Your favorite color? ambivalent
30. When was the last time you laughed? today
31. Last time you cried? Unsure
32. Your best friend? Many
33. One place that I go to over and over? Mom's
34. One person who emails me regularly? Bookstore
35. Favorite place to eat? out

Pass the award on:

Hey, commenters! Thanks again for all the great comments! Feel free to accept the award!

Or, just enjoy some one-word contemplation and try the word challenge!

Ashley, Ali, Amy --- Just A Titch, Samantha, Kym, Trina, Ace (Feel free to re-accept! :-p ), Kim, Mary, Peggy, Sarah, Amy, The Duo Dishes, Chow and Chatter, LK - Healthy Delicious, Tony, Ron, Thegamerswife, Clelia, LiLu, Ella Everywhere, burpandslurp, Iva, stephchows, nora@ffr, Brett Alexandra, chadski


All About Breakfast

What are your breakfasts like? Enjoyable? Rushed? Coffee-drenched? Or, (hope not!) SKIPPED???

If you're anything like my boyfriend, you just may be busy in the morning. Trying to sleep in till the last possible second, then breezing out the door with office files and a game plan for the new day, some busy-bodies skip breakfast in attempts to save time.

No more, I say!

I love breakfast. I love cereal, bagels, fruit cups, muffins, eggs, sausage, bacon, and yes-- coffee. Breakfast is my favorite meal! I don't skip breakfast for anything. If I wake up at 2pm (Promise, that hasn't happened since college! But IF...), then lunch may get skipped. But NEVER breakfast!

BUT Sarah! I have no time!
I can't make breakfast in the morning!

Well... then don't make breakfast in the morning :) Make it on Sunday, and enjoy it all week!

Delicious, Nutritious Quiche!

Version 1: Veggie Quiche with red and green peppers, onion, and scallions.
adapted from recipe found on


Simple Sunday Preperation:
Preheat oven to 425. Chop veggies and put in sprayed pie dish. Should be enough veggies to really fill dish! In separate bowl, mix milk (1 1/3 cup), biscuit mix (2/3 cup), and 4 eggs. Pour mixture over veggies. Top with shredded cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, then poke holes in top crust and bake for 10 more minutes (keeps quiche from being too runny by allowing moisture to escape. Learned that the hard way...)

Why I Love It:
  • Easy to grab and heat a slice before work; you can even tupperware some and eat at work! Or, enjoy at home! Dress it up with sides of salsa or sour cream, or even wrap it in a warm tortilla!
  • Filling, but healthy! Energy throughout the day!
  • Adding biscuit mix-- sometimes I find eggs to be a little... unsettling on the stomach. I don't know why, but I just can't handle too much egg in the morning. But, by adding the biscuit mix, it makes the dish a little less "egg-y" and really, really yummy! Also, you can afford to add the calories since the dish has no high-calorie crust.
Next Post- Version 2: Potato & Onion Breakfast Quiche!


With that, here are some fun pictures of our weekend with Matt's grandmother and parents!


Your hair-dyin, quiche-enjoyin,
school-supply-organizin, sore-after-tubing,
New Girl Blogger

Pork Suey! + Lovely, Unnecessary School Supplies & Blog Award

Thursday, August 6

Listening to "Talk of the Nation," NPR.

I have heard that it's bad to tie shopping to emotions.

You shouldn't shop to celebrate, or shop to cheer yourself up... you should only shop when you need things.

I've heard the same argument about eating ("Don't eat when you're upset!").

And I understand the argument.

But... once a year, before a very important time, I shop on emotion.

The emotion of pure excitement.

I buy school supplies.

Silly, colorful, frivolous school supplies! I love them.

School to me is... a sweet return to normal (think Tom Hanks in You've Got Mail... "bouquet of newly-sharpened pencils"), an enjoyably difficult task to conquer (definitely Hermione in Harry Potter), and something I've always loved to do, and probably always will... (maybe Diane Court in Say Anything... but I totally wouldn't have broken Llyod Dobler's heart...)

And I celebrate the start of a new academic year (sometimes even the start of a new semester...) with new school supplies.

Even when I don't need them.

And this week, I bought these:

Oh, that isn't all I bought. But here are
the most fun/frivolous things...

1. The Multi-Colored Pens, Highlighters, and Fun Mechanical Pencils: Do I need that many? No. Do I love and cherish them? Yes.

2. The Polka-Dot Pencil Pouch: Also holds cute, tiny-sized post-it notes to mark textbook pages. Love it.

3. Color-Matching Desk Set: Small clock, stapler, paper clip holder, and miscellaneous boxed supplies. I mean... do they need to all match? No. But will that look really cute in my tiny TA cubicle? YES.

4. THE BEST OF ALL-- Is it a purse? No. It's cute enough to be a purse, but that polka-dot bag in the back, ladies and gentlemen, is a LUNCH BOX. That's right. A lunch box. So cute.

I bought other things as well... binders, tabbed dividers, a new planner (LOVE new planners...), loose-leaf paper (college-ruled, baby!), and some spirals.

But thought I'd show you the silly ones.

Didn't break the bank or anything (thanks, Wal-Mart)... but I definitely consider the whole thing to be a treat for myself.

You know how it is... everyone has different splurges, yes? You have one, right? Maybe yours is a big night out, a fancy new pair of shoes, or even just an ice cream cone after a hot summer day. My splurge just happens to be school supplies.



Cooking Update:

Pork Suey!
(From Quick & Healthy)


Quick Instructions, if you're interested:
Brown pork cuts (1/4-inch thick) in non-stick sprayed skillet. Add celery (2 c.), onion (1 c.), soy sauce (1 tbsp.), beef broth ( c.), and salt (dash), and let simmer 10 minutes.

In separate bowl, mix corn starch (2.5 tbsp.), ginger (1/4 tsp.), molasses (1 tbsp.), and water (1/4 c). Stir into hot skillet. Allow to boil and thicken; serve over noodles or brown rice.

I slipped in too much corn starch, and you can definitely taste that (oops!), but still tastes good overall :)

I definitely recommend!

I do have a questions, though: If you're making a dish with soy sauce or another Asian influence, do you have a favorite pasta or rice type? I'd like to cook more with soy sauce, since I looooove it, but I don't know which pasta/rice to serve with it. Advice?

Matt was working late when I fixed this; it was a yummy, filling meal that paired well with wine and some lazy television :)

!*!*! AWARD !*!*!

Thanks SO much, ACE!

What a cute award-- I'd never seen this one!

Looking forward to fulfilling the award duties (a one-word challenge-- I LOVE word challenges!) in my next post. Thanks again!


Back to the daily grind of this crazy week... it's actually been a great week, just busy. I hope your week has been great as well!

I've been doing a lot of planning for the TA position :) I can't WAIT to get started!!

Twitter and Facebook Users: How about that crazy down-time episode today?! They're saying it was hacker-driven. Interesting story about that here.

I'll be gone this weekend-- going to visit Matt's parents and grandmother!! I can't wait to meet his grandmother; I've never met her before since she lives far up north. Plus, seeing Matt's parents is always fun: they're great, their lake house is beautiful, and his Mom is quite the prolific knitter.

See you soon!

Your snackin-on-Cap'n-Crunch,


New Girl Blogger

Pickin' Crabs, Teachin' Grandma, Cookin' Fish. + Prego Update

Monday, August 3

Listening to "French Song," Kate Walsh.


Apparently, I used to blog when Matt was studying.

Because since Matt's taken the CFP exam, he hasn't been studying.

And I haven't been blogging.

But! I think it was just that initial honeymoon-phase week, where I'm so glad to have him around (instead of the study zombie that I had before), and was thus way too excited to pay attention to my computer.

Schedules are slowly getting back to normal, but it has been a fantastic week of fun :)


Grandma's House

My grandmother's house was so relaxing.

Need I say more?

My grandmother is in Maryland. So is a lot of my family, and naturally I've been picking crabs since before I can remember.

(Pickin' Crabs: (verb phrase) To eat the crab meat from a steamed crab (most often the Chesapeake-area Blue Crab) that sits on top of newspaper, on a picnic table, covered in Old Bay spices. Crab meat is picked from the crab and then is often dipped in melted butter or simply enjoyed. The process is a slow one and typically considered a social event. Common side dishes are Corn on the Cob and Corona.)

Matt is from Detroit, and had never even had Old Bay (the traditional East Coast seafood spice). He had definitely never picked crab, and described his limitless crab experience as confined to Red Lobster.

Definitely not good enough for my family.

So we went ahead and gave him his first experience.


He did a great job, though! It can be an interesting experience if you've never done it before. I don't recommend doing it on your own or with a group of other inexperienced pickers. Always helps to have a guide :)


Knitting Update

This ties into my visit with my grandmother.


I taught my grandma to knit!

I gave her a knit kit for her birthday-- a knitting bag, some yarn, lots of needles, and a guide book-- and promised to teach her sometime this year.

She's crocheted before, but had never knit! She really took to it very quickly! She's going to try a scarf with that fall-colored yarn and then maybe I can teach her some more by Christmas.

Not to brag or anything... but is my Grandma a cutie or what?! Getting older in my family isn't so bad; we've got good genes :) I think we get it from the red wine...

I frogged it once, and won't again! I've been knitting slow and steady for the past couple weeks and am now just beyond where I was when I had to pull it all out. Slow and steady wins the race, people! (Plus... I'm afraid if I mess it up again I may just throw it out a window. Defeated? Defenestrate!)


Cooking Update:

I tried Phoo-D's Poached Samon with Dijon Cream Sauce!

This recipe was BANGIN. Seriously.

We were ravishing hungry by the time it was made, so we dug in and I thought, "Eh, I'll take a picture for the blog tomorrow."

...then Matt ate the leftovers before I got a chance. Good sign though, yes?

So here's PHOO-D'S PICTURE, not Class and Coffee's picture, totally PHOO-D'S, so be amazed by HER PICTURE, not mine:

Photo Credit: Phoo-D
Mine definitely didn't look this good.
Tasted phenom, though!

Had a little trouble finding the "thyme sprigs," but definitely don't just sprinkle in thyme because you have to pull the thyme out of the simmering pan before you make the cream sauce. Just a tip ;-)

Would definitely recommend this recipe!!

Recipe Blogroll Future:

I only have 5 recipes left to make off the blogroll!

Once their done, I think I'm going to have my first blog contest.

You know, ask people to submit recipes, either their own or others that they've seen on blogs, and then have something fun for the winner (who will probably be chosen randomly, but maybe I can think of something...).

Yes? No?


Other Updates:

  • Prego: My stepmom Maranna is still pregnant with twins and the babes are doing great. I was hoping they would change their mind about not finding out the sex of the babies, but no. And I looked at their black-and-whites and could not decipher a thing that would give me a hint. So I guess it'll be a surprise... it's totally killing me and I can't wait to find out!

    I've asked about names but they're still not sure about that either. Too much suspense!!!!! I already have like 3 names for my kids.

  • School: STARTS in 10 DAYS!! I can tell it's getting close because I'm starting to have those nightmares where I'm failing a final or rushing around hallways without being able to find the right classroom... haha oh the dorky nightmares of a dorky dork.

  • Matt and I have a 3-year anniversary tomorrow :) We're not going to do any celebrating (it's a Tuesday!) but we will be in Wilmington this weekend, so we'll have fun talking about that crazy party three years ago that started it all.

    I'm making him a gift (just paid student fees, people), but can't tell you juuuust in case he has time to check my blog before tomorrow!

Your summer-storm-lovin,
Kate-Walsh-listening, behind-on-reading,
Crab-meat-missing, Shark-week-obsessing,
New Girl Blogger