Buffalo Family Time

Well Hello!

First off good luck to all of the students starting college this morning! There is a part of me that is very jealous of you, but then I remind myself it will be me next Monday starting my Junior year (Where did the time go!) Speaking of starting college, I visited Buffalo, NY for a couple days last week and got back early last night. I spent some great time with my family up there, especially my cousin Paige who will be beginning her Freshman year in college next week!

Here are my trip highlights!

Wegmans

Seriously this store is my heaven on earth. I woke up every morning looking forward to my walk over there. It is so great that my grandma lives in walking distance to TWO grocery stores- Tops and Wegmans. I just prefer to frequent Wegmans. I went about 5 times the first day 🙂 but in my defense it was because we had to go to a bazillion stores to find the right bread for dinner. But anyway Wegmans has all of these brands I never get to try unless I order online. AKA Siggis yogurt. I love it and can’t get the flavors I love here in my town. AKA Blueberry and Plain.This was one of my happy finds. I have yet to try it, but I have built up epically in my head. Looks like the perfect addition to a cold night in Blacksburg this year.Just a fun fact. Every morning I got a banana at Wegmans. Yes one banana. I am very picky about my bananas and like them a certain size, shape, and color. Well I guess I like them a certain weight as well. I kid you not every banana from the time in Buffalo was $0.29. I told you I was picky.

My Cousin

I have a TON of cousins, but only one of them is from my mom’s side of the family and only one of them is younger than me. That is Paige and I love her. We are complete opposites to be honest. I am obsessive and a worry wart, while she goes with the flow. I have no athletic ability whatsoever, and she does. But when it comes down to it we are cousins and grew up as only children together (states and miles away) and we know what it is to go to bars and play the megatron game thingy for hours, take trips to Niagara Falls with your grandparents and dress like twins the whole trip, bring playing cards to every restaurant, and coloring books to bars so we don’t get bored. So some highlights in pictures from our time together…

Paninis made by Paige’s mom. AMAZING Balsamic Portabello, Roasted Red Pepper on Ciabatta

Have you tried these?

Because they totally work and I love my new toe nail designs! And no drying necessary!

Coloring in the bar my uncle works at. Going to Buffalo and not visiting a bar is like unheard of in my family 🙂

Yeah it was a great time. We also shopped until we dropped for stuff for her dorm. I swear if I never set foot into a Bed Bath and Beyond for the rest of my life I will be good. That store is too confusing for me. Great stuff! But so confusing. I also got to go to the Galleria Mall. I love that kind of shopping! Highlight purchase? Two dresses from the store called Delias (never been before) and they were buy one get one free! Bargain Shopper!!! Plus we got froyo. I actually prefer real scoopable ice cream to froyo BUT I certainly didn’t pass up the chance for it! Strawberry, Marshmallow, and Neapolitan mix. It was just what I needed to fix a sugar low from lots of walking and shopping.

Backyard BBQ

We always tend to get together at my Uncle Grant and Aunt Kristen’s house for a little family fun. This visit was no different except that we had something to celebrate! Paige going off to college 😀 and we sort of combined it into the two September cousin’s birthday celebration in which we made PB Brownies by Betty Crocker and put 39 (18 + 21) candles on the brownies and tried to light them all. Fail. I got maybe 10 candles lit before the wax started going all over the brownies and we had to hurry and blow them out. As the grown up say, yes the children are our future and this was an epic fail on my part. But the brownies went over well. At least the ones that didn’t get wax on them. And the get together was great!Our first Hanley get together was on the day of some golf tournament so my Uncle said he needed to get an outdoors TV. Well we still use it so I guess it was a good buy 😉

 

Meet Scooter. This is my Uncle Grant and Aunt Kristen’s new puppy. He is so precious and well behaved! No begging at the cookout at all! And he likes beer… Must be a purebred Hanley according to my uncle. Now what is a cookout without food? This a part of our spread. Kristen made a great Greek pasta salad and a green salad to accompany the usual cookout out attendees. And we brought a veggie tray so the greens were prominent!My plate of veggies. I actually plated these right when we set the appetizers out (veggies and chips and dip). I knew I wanted veggies with my cookout meal and I have a tendency to worry that by the time we eat all of the stuff I want will be gone. Irrational? most definitely. Something I intend to work on? Yes. So it’s all good. Whatever makes me the most comfortable in the long run is best. My uncle was sweet enough to notice my plate of veggies just sitting there and offered to refrigerate them until the other food made an appearance.Now this was my highlight foodie thing. Salmon burgers from Wegmans. If you have been following me you know I just recently gave up being a vegetarian because I realized that my reasons were not ethically sound but eating disorder sound instead. So I shouldn’t need to bring a “Shannon” alternative to the Hanley cookout for the first time ever correct? Wrong. I am still very intimidated by eating burgers and hotdogs so I asked to bring the salmon burgers I spotted at Wegmans. My family is awesome and only made minor jokes at me. By bringing something I felt comfortable with I was able to enjoy my family time so much more. And there is nothing wrong with bringing your favorite foods. My cousin had her own “Paige” requests as well (cheese and pickles, special kind). The fact is we all don’t like the same things, but we all do need to eat and like what we eat. If you know you won’t like what is offered at a party ask if you can bring a dish. Most likely your host will be fine and dandy by it!

The party was filled with jokes and games. AKA Washers. Has anyone played this? It is sort of like Cornhole and games like it. I am terrible. I didn’t get a single point in the 3ish games I played. My excuse? You should play this game with a drink in your hand and alas I am not yet 21. We also have a family of iPhones… I am not apart of this family yet sadlyI cannot wait until December when I can get an iPhone. So many apps and games to play with my family! It will certainly close the distance between VA and upstate NY a tad!

It was a great trip and I am sad that it is over. School starts in exactly a week and this time next week I will be finishing up my Psych of Research Class… I am glad school is starting but extremely sad to see this summer end. This is weird for me because normally I am so ready to get out of summer mode. Not this year. I have discovered a ton about myself and made some huge strides in my life. But school doesn’t have to be the end of that! No school is just the beginning! So I am going to enjoy this last week at home in which I have nothing taxing to do but pack. I just bought the Hunger Games DVD and The Sims 3 and I am going to enjoy them! I also have a few blogs to write so be looking out for more posts as the week continues!

 

Can you say Bon Appetite?

Where Julia Child Trained!

Can You Say Bon Appetite?

Yes I can, because I have enjoyed the wonders of French cuisine in France. Something everyone can say? Nope, but I can and for that I will be forever in awe and grateful.

Now for an ambush of food photos from Paris!

Ham Omelet and a Croissant

Honestly I wasn’t crazy about the Omelet or the croissant, but I tried both. Plus I was in France! I had to try a real French Croissant!

Warm Goat Cheese Salad

This is the best salad creation I have ever seen and eaten. The goat cheese is on the toast, and yes those are potato chips (made right then and there I would like to believe). I would try to recreate this, but for some reason I think I’ll leave this to the French 😉 Just a little dietetic humor however, can you see the green ring around the yolk on my eggs? That is Ferrous Sulfide my friends. It is not harmful, but does tend to ruin the presentation of a hard boiled egg. The restaurant didn’t allow their eggs to cool correctly tis all. It won’t change the taste of your eggs though so do not fret!

One of many bread baskets

The French restaurants serve bread with everything! What I loved about both France and Germany was that they never specify what type of bread anything comes with or is served on. It is whatever they baked fresh that day. Now I am a huge advocate for whole grains, and know they are the best option for the most part nutritionally. But I did love that the French don’t know and don’t seem to care if their bread is whole grain or white, only that it is fresh and they enjoy what they want of it knowing another batch will be made shortly if they want more. Just something that left me pondering over my bread.

A beautiful cheese plate!

The French love to end a meal with cheese! And since visiting, so do I! We had cheese basically every day in France and I am not complaining. If I eat cheese for the rest of my life I won’t complain, in fact my bones will love the calcium! Sorry another anatomy/dietetics student fact I couldn’t resist not mentioning.

Chilled Asparagus Soup

Was this good? Yes. But would I have it again? Probably not. I am not a fan of cold soup…

Fresh perch with raw and cooked fennel

As you know I am flirting with a non-vegetarian diet. I can honestly say after tasting fish I will not give it up. My body seems to love it!

Our dessert at the Eiffel Tower

I have no idea what this is called, but it came highly recommended! I do know there was ice cream, cream cheese of some sort, a pastry (like a ice cream sandwich only freshly baked and a little more soft and doughy) all drizzled with chocolate upon arriving at the table. I am not a dessert girl unless it is either a special occasion or if the dessert is something I cannot get on another day. this was both and boy am I glad I had the opportunity to enjoy it!

Bananas covered with warm chocolate

Remember how I said I don’t have dessert often? Well in Paris I did! This was nothing extraordinary but then again it was for me! I have never done this before (no idea why!) and after dinner at this little Italian place I was still craving something. I wasn’t sure what is was until I saw this on the menu. I wanted a banana! Did I crave the chocolate? No (but that’s just because it is me and I lack chocolate cravings) but boy did it make this banana 10 times better! I’ll be recreating this again sometime soon!

Alas the food came to an end just as Paris did… 😦 But it was all so good (I didn’t even share everything! but I did share the best of it I believe) Now one more thing before I go.

I have been a law abiding citizen for a long time. That means, I am not 21 I am still 20. But in Paris and in all of Europe I am indeed a legal drinker. This was my first sip of alcohol EVER. A glass (and a half 😉 ) of champagne in France at the Eiffel Tower (Perfect right!) I also gave wine a sip and was not a fan of the wine my dad and Sherri chose (I tried to see if putting my champagne in the wine would help… Not too much and the French couple beside us gave me a laugh and a frown)

I enjoyed my first drink and I am so happy I waited to have it in a safe and enjoyable environment with my dad and cousin! Now back in the states I will look forward to my 21st birthday and enjoy my second drink (but first in America!) without fear.

Cheers! Wait how do I say that in French???

Here is to a good time with a great family!

No Plan B

No not the birth control… “No Plan B” was the ultimate point I got from today’s sermon. Our pastor spoke about how when David planned to build God a temple he was stopped by God, who had other plans for David. But that wasn’t a Plan B because the temple didn’t work out. In God’s eyes there is no Plan B, in our eyes we always see life’s struggles and detours and failures as a resort to Plan B.

I am very guilty of thinking like this. Take my dance career, when my body and mind started to resist dance, when an eating disorder took over I decided to go to “plan B” and go to school, work my butt off, and ultimately go to college. But what I am starting to realize is that my dancing, my eating disorder, and other life experiences are just preparatory steps to something bigger.

Another example? I had no real idea where I wanted to go to school or what I was looking for in a school but I knew William and Mary and The University of Virginia were highly prestigious schools so I set my mind on “the best.” but I didn’t get in, i got wait listed. So I chose “plan B” Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech was actually the only school i visited that I got that feeling of home. But I never gave it a lot of consideration because it didn’t have an elementary education track. Good thing God knew that the only place for me was VT because now I am no longer planning a career as an elementary school teacher. (I realized by doing that I would indeed enjoy my career, but I would be taking the safe road). I am in a top notch dietetic program that I didn’t even know existed until the second semester of my freshman year!

Plus I used to never watch football, I now hate to miss a Hokie football game 😉

But yet again i find myself trying to plan out my entire life. Graduate with my Bachelor’s in Dietetics, get that internship that is so coveted and so difficult to obtain, and help those suffering from eating disorders conquer the nutritional aspect of the disease! Good plan, but do I know that it will work? NO. I can hope, but God might have another plan. So as I worry for the next two years about whether or not I am doing everything I need to do to get that internship I will also be reminding myself that if I don’t it is not the end of the world and the next step is not Plan B. but is actually the plan set for me all along!

This day is going to be really great! It started off with a strange craving for breakfast, and just became amazing with church and that sermon.

BREAKING MY FAST 😀

I woke up craving Eggs, Peanut Butter, and Banana but was struggling to figure out how I would incorporate that into a meal I would enjoy. VOILA a truly Shannon moment. Egg pizza crust, PB “sauce” and banana “pepperoni.” This was a total success in my stomach’s and taste buds’ opinion! And really easy to create!

  • Mix the eggs (I used 2 whole eggs but you could use 1 egg and an egg white or two if you wanted) with a dash (or more) of cinnamon
  • Place on a heated frying pan (sprayed with nonstick spray) and allow the mixture to set
  • Flip like a pancake and cook for one more minute
  • Plate it, spread with PB (or any nut butter) and top with a sliced banana!

I hope everyone enjoys their Sunday! Mom and I are off to see Magic Mike!!!