A Trip into My Kitchen: Sharing My Favorite Recipes

A Trip into My Kitchen: Sharing My Favorite Recipes

My childhood home was always full of the most wonderful smells.  In the morning, I’d often be awoken to the aroma of fresh chocolate-chip pancakes or French Toast.  After school, I’d often walk into my house to the sweet smell of my mom’s special apple cake in the oven.  At night, I cherished catching a whiff of my mom’s homemade tomato sauce bubbling on the stove top.

When I got to college, I missed these familiar smells and the conversations I would have with my mom in the kitchen.  Cooking became a comfort to me– it was my connection to the home I was away from. As it connected me to my home, it also made wherever in the world I was start to feel like a home.  If I could sit down with a home-cooked meal in front of me, it felt like I could belong there.

Today, I’m sharing an altered version of my mom’s chicken parmesan, which I call chicken parm tenders.  

Ingredient List for Chicken:

1 cup of flour

1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce (I use Trader Joe’s three cheese pomodoro sauce)

1 beaten egg

2 chicken tenderloins (not breaded)

1 cup of Panko bread crumbs (I use bread crumbs with Italian seasoning)

½ cup of shredded mozzarella

Cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. Place your flour, egg, and bread crumbs in three separate bowls next to each other.  Take each piece of chicken and first put it in flour, then the egg, and finally the bread crumbs.
  3. Once your chicken has been breaded, spray a frying pan with cooking spray and set the pan to medium-high heat.  Fry both your pieces of chicken until golden brown and you can see that they are cooked through.
  4. Place your pan-fried chicken onto a tray and spoon tomato sauce onto the pieces of chicken so you are covering the entire top of the chicken.
  5. Top with shredded mozzarella– you can put on as much or as little as you want.
  6. Bake your chicken for 5-7 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
  7. Serve with your favorite side.

I served my chicken parmesan with my favorite simple pasta dish which I call parmesan pasta.  It’s light while still being filling and takes no longer than thirty minutes to make.

Ingredients:

1 cup of your favorite pasta shape (I used linguine)

1 cup of parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon of Olive Oil

¼ teaspoon of garlic powder

¼ teaspoon of ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Boil your pasta.
  2. Set your heat to medium-high and drizzle a frying pan with your olive oil and add your cooked pasta to the pan.  Move the pasta around so all of it is covered by the olive oil.
  3. Add your garlic powder and ground pepper.
  4. Add a touch of your parmesan and stir through.
  5. Gradually, add more parmesan, stirring through each time.  Your goal is to get the pasta slightly crispy.
  6. Once you have the pasta at your desired crispy level, serve.

I hope you enjoy these recipes that have helped me feel at home no matter where I am.  They may not be my mom’s amazing recipes, but they are great quick meals that will be done within forty-five minutes of starting.

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Where I’m Meant to Be

Where I’m Meant to Be

Sometimes, we just feel stuck.  There’s no way around it: we feel like our life has hit a point where nothing is moving.  Maybe, we’ve become complacent and stopped trying or maybe, we keep trying to change things but end up standing in the same place every day anyway.  No matter what, it’s frustrated when you wake up one day, look around, and wonder if this is your life now.

It’s okay to be unsatisfied when you feel stuck, even when you acknowledge that your life is good the way it is.  It’s okay to still be searching for something else. Life is a journey and part of that journey involves accepting that sometimes, we won’t be happy even when we feel we should be.  Listen to yourself and trust your feelings. If you feel you need to travel the world to change your life, then travel. If you are working and feel called to go back to school, do it.  Follow the path you feel you belong on.

This fall, I made one of the hardest decisions I have ever made: I chose not to study abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland, and instead, remain at Georgetown for the spring semester.  Studying abroad has been something I have wanted to do my entire life and I fell in love with the idea of studying European history at the University of Edinburgh. But when I looked at my life, I realized that if I chose to go study abroad, I would, in fact, be stuck.

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It seems that for now, the closest I will get to Scotland is Disney’s UK pavilion.

It sounds crazy: how would going abroad make me more stuck in my life than staying at Georgetown for the semester?  Well, it’s complicated. Last fall, I fell into college stress culture and when the opportunity to go to Disney knocked on my door, I grabbed at it and never looked back.  I will never regret that decision but knowing I was going away for eight months changed the way I looked at things for the rest of my fall semester. Everything felt like it was transient and nothing in my life felt permanent.

When I went to Disney, I often felt like I was living in a dream.  It was all just a break from my own reality. I remember on one of the final days of my program, I said to my roommate that I had loved this program so much but that I needed to get back to my life. I needed to go back to school and back to the organizations I loved.  

I went home to New York for the summer and then back to DC in the fall.  I came back to campus and felt like I had to play catch-up. Everyone’s lives had moved on, while I felt I had hit the pause button on mine.  The first few weeks back were hard– I had missed so much of my friends’ lives and it seemed in some ways, I couldn’t catch back up. Despite my belief that my life had been paused, it hadn’t been.  I had changed and so had my friends. Some of us changed too much to be compatible anymore.

I know: this all sounds like a reason to go abroad.  School was hard and Scotland was another dream of mine.  But, that’s the very reason why I couldn’t go abroad. In six months, I had lived in three different cities, each one being my home now.  Each one felt like I was there, the problems of the others faded away and paused. I could jump from world to world and never feel responsibility in any; in no world did I have real roots set to the ground.  And, not being tied down is nice except for when you long to have one place that when you think of home, you can picture.

If I went to Scotland, it would be four cities in one year.  It would be four different worlds for me to jump between. It would be two years of my life where I never lived in one place for longer than six months.  It would be another pause on my reality. And I knew that if I chose to go abroad, I wouldn’t grow because I would be stuck in my own personal cycle. I needed to try to set down roots for a little while, to make a place I call home.

This story is long, complicated, and hard for me to tell.  Sometimes, we just have to do what we know we need in our life at that moment, even if it’s a hard decision.  We need to think about how we can move our lives forward and keep bettering ourselves. We need to listen to ourselves, no matter how crazy our ideas may be, and follow through with the path we see set forth for us.

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For now, where I’m meant to be is right here in Washington, D.C.
My Fall Favorites

My Fall Favorites

The leaves are falling, the air feels crisp, and the holidays are starting to begin.  It is my favorite season– fall. After having had what feels like an endless summer since January, I am ready for these colder temperatures and cozy vibes.  To celebrate the beginning of fall, I’m sharing my top three fall items and fall activities.

Fall Items

  • A good infinity scarf.  I got my infinity scarf ordering off of Amazon Prime and I am absolutely in love with it.  I love scarves that are pretty but are really cozy and this is one of those.

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  • A chunky chenille blanket.  I love wrapping myself up into what I call a blanket burrito when I come home from class in the fall and this type of blanket is so perfect for that.  This type of blanket is so warm and comfortable and is perfect for staying home and cuddling up with a book (or netflix) and a cup of hot chocolate. My blanket is actually handmade by a wonderful family friend, but I’m linking to a similar blanket that you can find on sale at Pottery Barn right now.

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  • An adorable mug. I have a bit of a problem and it’s that I am absolutely obsessed with mugs.  I can never have too many, but I end up using the same one or two over and over again for my tea, coffee, and hot chocolate.  I’m currently using my Anthropologie Homegrown Monogram Mug from a few years ago, but I am eyeing this home state mug on their website right now.

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Fall Activities

 

  • Exploring the local area.  I think fall weather is the best weather to be outside in and I love going to places I haven’t visited before in the fall.  When I went home to New York a few weeks ago, I went apple picking with my mom and sister and then explored a local fall festival.  This past weekend, my family visited me and we went out to Mount Vernon to visit George Washington’s estate. Everything is prettier in the fall with the leaves falling so I think there is no better time to get to know where you are.

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  • Netflix Binges.  I might be jumping the gun a bit, but I believe Christmas season starts on November 1 so I’m already binging all the best Hallmark Christmas movies.  If you are more traditional in your take on when Christmas begins, then I suggest watching The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. It is such an addicting show and is only ten hours long, so you can easily do that in on a rainy weekend where you don’t quite feel like going out.
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My Friday afternoon Netflix binge feat. my La Croix

 

  • Drinking hot chocolate and tea.  I love iced lattes more than anyone, but in fall, I switch away from my classic drink and move towards hot chocolate and tea.  Recently, I’ve gotten really into grabbing a hot chocolate somewhere on campus and just walking around and enjoying the scenery.  It’s such a nice way to relax and find my center.