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28 // Adventures in Cooking, Part 2


I’ve continued my foray into healthy cooking tonight. Since my Mom is out playing Bunko, and my Dad is in North Carolina, the house is empty. Tonight seemed a good a night as any to give a new recipe a whirl. My friend Rachel told me about these pumpkin dumplings, so that’s what I set out to make.

The whole recipe calls for canned pumpkin, flour, nutmeg and eggs. Once I made the dumplings, I had to sauté them in some butter and then I sprinkled them with a bit of shredded mozzarella cheese and sautéed spinach. The spinach was an extra tip that Rachel told me about, and I’m glad she did. It really helped the taste.

All in all, I was pleased with how the dumplings came out. I ate half the batch tonight, and am bringing the rest tomorrow for lunch. I found that putting all the ingredients together helped me clear my head. It’s been a bit of a rough day, and I’m glad the kitchen was there for me to just try things and experiment. Even if I got things wrong, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. It would just be delicious.


11 // The Hunger Games series


The first time I heard about “The Hunger Games” was from my Dad. For a while there, he would often bring up this author named Suzanne Collins who had written some really interesting book. He wasn’t sure much of what it was about, but it was receiving a lot of buzz. Since I like to stay in tune to any kind of up-and-coming novel (especially one in the YA genre), I kept my eyes peeled for it on bookshelves.

I came across it originally at some discount book store at one of those outlet shopping malls. Looking at the cover alone, I wasn’t sold. In my mind, it looked like a ‘boy’ book. Now, obviously, that is a ridiculous notion because I’ve read lots of books that are probably geared in some way more at guys than girls (examples: Harry Potter series, An Abundance of Katherines, really any book with lots of boy characters and narration). So I took a look at the back of the book and read the blurb. It turned me off more. Made-up cities. Strange names. I usually shy away from novels like those. Which again, now that I think about it, is so stupid.

Fast forward to the summer when I took a vacation with my parents after my internship had ended. I knew we’d be driving for hours across a lot of terrain. I believe we were visiting the Maine area, and would be going to lots of national parks and such. Essentially, not the type of places where you could just watch TV or pop in a movie easily. I knew I’d need to stock up on some books for the road. I’d been hearing tons of good things, consistently, about Hunger Games so I finally broke down and bought a copy of the first book. At that point, the series was established and there were 2 books out by then. I only bought the first in the series though. I wasn’t sure I wanted to take a risk on two novels in a series I wasn’t familiar with.

So my family’s road trip began, and so also began my relationship with The Hunger Games series. I devoured the book in mere hours. I was so completely absorbed into the world, into the competition, into the characters. Katniss struck me as a very relatable character and I just thought the whole story was fascinating. After reading that first book, it reminded me a lot of “Battle Royale” for a younger set. And I was hooked. I bought the second novel in the series when we visited a bookstore in Bar Harbor. I was just so excited to keep reading. I really wish the third had been out then, because I probably would’ve bought it right on the spot.

It’s been at least a year and half since I finished reading those books. I still haven’t fully finished the third book because by the time I had gotten it, it had been quite some time since reading the second one. I’d forgotten what was going on with the story and couldn’t keep my focus on it. So today, I decided to just dive back into the series and read them back-to-back. I need to know what happens to Katniss and Peeta and Gale and everyone. I’ve enjoyed being pulled back into the world of the Games, of District 12, of everything. It’s also been a REALLY long time since I’ve sat and read for hours at a time. I’m nearly done with the first book after reading it incessantly all day today. I’m also very excited for the movie to come out. All I can hope is that they don’t stray a ton from the novel.

May the odds be ever in your favor.


9 // Having the House to Myself

I have been dying for an apartment for about a year. It’s one of those great life transitions that I feel I should experience, and I thought I had it worked out. I secured that elusive ‘real job’ after graduating college. I would stay with my parents until I saved enough money, preferably only a quick 6-month ordeal, and then I’d be off on my own in some fabulous apartment furnished with Ikea furniture and mood lighting.

Fast forward to a full year and then some since I started my job and moved back in with my parents. I’m still here. Laughing at my naievity in how the real world would be once I got that college degree.

Now. I have to admit it’s very nice to not have bills. I don’t pay rent, heat, water, any of that. But the wanting of my own space is so apparent. I’m almost 24. I need my own place to just be. I love my parents and it’s nice having their company, but I want that little slice of independence. Due to a myriad of reasons, the whole apartment thing just hasn’t happened yet.

But that’s why I like nights like tonight. I have the house to myself. My parents are off at some thing at Dave and Buster’s, and I’m alone. Sitting on the couch in my pajamas with my dog. I’ve got a sandwich with my name on it and I might watch some TV and just revel in the alone-ness of it all. I’m a little bit of a homebody. I’m very aware of it. But it’s nice to come home and clear your head. To just be by yourself for some time. No one asking you questions, no one trying to make you do things. Just you.

So tonight, for a while, I’m on my own. Miss Kelly Clarkson said it best: “Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone.”