painting or procrastinating?

I spent my Sunday afternoon doing (what else?) arts and crafts projects.

Project A: I had some wallet sized photos of doors from my trip to Europe that were left over from a previous project.

I decided to put them to good use and spent the entire afternoon mod-podging and painting on blank notecards. I spent some time looking for quotes to put on the front, but didn’t find any that suited my fancy… it is good to have blank all-purpose notecards anyway. I made two sets, and I think they turned out nicely.

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a (vegetarian’s) greek feast

Vegetarianism is a new thing for me… I haven’t eaten meat since May 23rd, to be exact. Several factors went into my decision to go “veg”:

1. General health, weight loss and disease prevention. No meat= no animal fat, less cholesterol, lowered risk of heart disease, and less fat on me. Lots of veggies= lots of fiber, antioxidants, and a reduced risk of cancer. Considering my family history of cancer and particularly my mom’s recent battle with cancer (she kicked cancer’s tookus, btw), any act of prevention is worth the perceived inconvenience or sacrifice. And I’ve lost six or seven pounds in the past 2 months, a definite bonus (or primary motivating factor, if I’m honest).

2. The meat industry in the US will do anything to those chickens and cows to make more MONEY. And their profit comes at a high cost to consumers, including food-borne illness (resulting in ~5,000 deaths per year); consumption of chemicals, steroids and hormones; and harm to our environment. I’m really not against the principle of eating animals, but the conditions in which factory-farmed animals are raised are pretty yucky. If chickens were allowed to run around and act like chickens, I might still eat them!

So. Thats why I’m a vegetarian. It hasn’t been bad. There were a few rough weeks while I was at camp this summer where I really just wanted to eat some chicken strips. And I did eat too many potatoes and too many sweets overall… Camp fare is pretty limited in options.

Now that I’m home from camp, fresh fruits and veggies abound, and I’ve gotten to balance out my diet. Tonight, Mom gave me the charge of fixing dinner, and I opted for a Greek menu: spanikopita, patates fournou, and a Greek salad. See the recipes and notes below.

    • Patates fournou , roasted lemon-garlic potatoes: I followed this recipe and it filled an 8×8 pan (not 11×14 as the recipe says). And I lessened the olive oil to just a drizzle to coat the potatoes and lessened the water from 2.5 C to 1 C. They were delicious and tender!
    • Spanikopita, spinach pie: Don’t let the amount of spinach or the phyllo dough intimidate you. Add another drizzle of olive oil after cooking the onions/garlic and fill the skillet with spinach, cook it down, and add a bit more at a time. It definitely takes more than 2 minutes, and it (miraculously?) all fits! And be generous with the phyllo dough. It comes pre-made and frozen. Thaw it out ahead of time and layer more than four sheets on the bottom and top (its so delectably flaky… you want more!) And with the left-overs, I’m going to make baklava!

Super Spanikopita

  • Greek salad, yum! Using olive oil and not plain cooking oil would add a good dimension to the dressing.

 

Yummy colorful salad!

The potato dish had a long cooking time, so I started it first, then worked on the spanikopita while it cooked. Once they were both in the oven, I threw together the salad with Mom’s help chopping. I am definitely an “Aunt Neva”-style cook (check out cousin Melissa’s blog for more on that), and there were quite a few components to this meal, so clean-up took a good while for me. It was delicious and worth the time! Mom and Dad were both pleased (and they didn’t even miss the meat!)

14 miles and counting

Today I did something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. I got a bike! My parents are big into road cycling (Dad especially). I’ve long thought that, if only I had a bike, I would be in the best shape of my life. Well… with Atlanta’s traffic, my growing care for the environment, and the ridiculous cost of parking on Emory’s campus, it finally became a near necessity that I have an alternative form of transportation.
For graduation, the parentals gifted me with some money for a bike, and we had some preliminary conversations about what kind of bike I might need. At the bike shop, Dad showed me some options, I got to test drive a few, and the winner is…
Giant’s “Dash” . This bike is a hybrid style with the frame of a road bike for fitness (light weight, thin tires), but has straight handlebars which are more aimed toward comfort and commuting. For those who have been watching the Tour de France, I will not be leaning quite as far forward as those guys on my handlebars. So, it combines fitness and function and may or may not be turquoise blue and steel gray (ZTA hold tight!) Thanks Pedal Power Bike Shop for helping me find the right bike!
Of course, I wasted no time getting into the cycling scene in Lexington. The Bluegrass Cycling Club has a Monday night club ride that my parents have been riding for years. Mom and I stuck with the C ride for beginners, and we brought up the rear (almost). The C ride goes 21 miles, but there are turn-around spots for 17, 14, and 10 mile rides as well. We opted for 14 and headed on our merry way.
I’ve lived in Fayette County for my entire 22 years, and this evening I experienced the country-side from a fresh perspective, perched atop my bicycle, riding a leisurely pace. The ride, according to my dad, is considered “flat”… but it was a series of rolling hills that made me want to vomit at one point. Nevermind, I persevered, and it was gorgeous. The horse farms and hundred-year-old homes, white fences, all seen by the setting-sun’s light, filtered through the clouds overhead and the leafy green trees arching over the windy roads…
Tonight’s ride impressed upon me a new appreciation of the beauty of my hometown. That is refreshing.
We finished our 14 miles in about an hour and a half, at the exact same time that Dad finished his 25 mile ride (he’s a rockstar). It began to pour rain and lightning, and we made our way to QDoba. I have decided that naked vegetarian burritos with the tortilla on the side are best enjoyed after a long bike ride…

the end meets the beginning

It isn’t really a meeting point. More like a transition period. I’m in the no-man’s-land of time. After completing my undergraduate studies at Samford University on May 15 and saying goodbye to Birmingham, I spent 10 days at my parents’ home in Lexington before taking off on one of the biggest adventures of my life… being a summer camp director for Passport Kids! Camp. (More reflections on this later). My summer with Passport was something to look forward to after graduation and it has served as a buffer between college and the next thing. But the time has come. Camp is over, I am home, and on July 30, I will pack my things in a U-Haul and drive to Atlanta to begin the next three years of my life as a Masters of Divinity student at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology.

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