Rodeo Houston, Y’all

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Hi, guys.

Yesterday, I had my first Rodeo Houston experience, complete with carnival rides, pig races, “mutton bustin’,” The Band Perry, and food.  Lots of food.  Lots of fried food.

It was definitely a cool experience that I can now check off my Texas bucket list.

But goodness gracious, you guys.  I’m constantly astonished with the stuff people manage to deep fry these days.  Red velvet cake?  Poptarts?  Nutella?  I’m not even sure how these things work.

Can we throw around some ideas for healthier rodeo fare?

How about these baked crispy chicken fingers?

Baked sweet potato fries are always a winner.  Butternut squash totally works, too.

Food on a stick is pretty much a must.  I think chicken fajita kabobs sound fantastic.

Using cauliflower or spaghetti squash to make pizza crust can lighten up the greasy classic.

Angel food cake with berries would be an awesome dessert.

Do you have any favorite carnival foods?  Any ways you can think of to lighten up the classics?

the waffle bus

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A happy accident.  That was this.

Whilst shopping in Rice Village on a glorious sunny Saturday, I saw The Waffle Bus perched conveniently outside Urban Outfitters.

Since I’m completely awkward, and I think lingering is weirder than slinking, I slinked back and forth in front of the menu a couple times to see what they had to offer.

(Pure bliss is essentially what they had to offer.)

The masterminds behind the Waffle Bus offer both sweet and savory sandwiches including a smores sandwich and a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich.

Most of the time when I check out a food truck, I ask whoever’s taking my order to give me a recommendation.  Then I go with that.  It’s never turned out negatively.

This time around, I went with their most popular sandwich, the buttermilk fried chicken because: 1) just let me live, and 2) there is room for everything in a healthy diet.

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My hangry photography is a lost cause, but you guys.  This combo ruled.

I have always heard of combining chicken and waffles, but had never tried it myself.  The sweet/savory action is a total winner.

What I liked about the Waffle Bus’s take was that their waffle was not overly sweet.  The flavor was mellow, yet enough for it to hold its own against the salty, savory chicken.

The sauce I got was a spicy mayo which was great, but they had 3 other options that I am sure would have been just as awesome.

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I may or may not be craving this right now.  At 9 in the morning.

This was my very first Houston food truck experience* and there’s no chance that it will be my last.  Seriously.  I have a legitimate ongoing list of trucks I’m dying to check out.  Bernie’s Burger Bus has gotten some rave reviews, and I’m all for fusion cuisine.

In other news, I’m a little less than 6 months away from graduating from my internship!  Some days I’m completely dumbfounded and left wondering where the heck the last 6 months went.

I’ve been having a blast.  Here’s to a solid next 6 months!

*Edited to add: Just kidding.  Totally forgot I tried It’s a Wrap when I was shopping at the Discovery Green flea market, but it was a tad underwhelming.  Certainly not bad, but nothing to write home about!

new year

As the Facebook resolution posts and Groupons for boot camp and yoga flood into my life, I want to really reflect on what a great year 2012 was.

This was a year for the books. Big things and little things that added up to big things are what made the year incredible. Let me reminisce real quick.

I ran my first 5k.  A goofy picture of me featured here.
158I got a managerial position at my favorite place of work.
rec centerI bailed on studying for my biochem final to take a 4th of July trip to San Diego with a couple good friends.  (No regrets.)
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I formed tight friendships with my classmates.
221I won at bingo for the first (and probably last) time ever.
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I graduated cum laude.
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I moved to Texas (and brought a little piece of Vegas with me).
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I started my dietetic internship. And grad school!
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2012 brought some of the most significant changes into my life thus far. If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that God’s timing is ALWAYS right. Anyone remember the E! True Hollywood stories when the celebrity would start the show off with saying, “You think you know, but you have no idea”? That’s how I feel about my own life sometimes. I think I have things figured out; a plan that I consider perfect for myself. But then I step back and remember that my life is in the hands of the Creator and whatever He has in store for me is lightyears better than any amateur plan I can concoct. God gives you things when you’re ready and not a second before.

Most days, my heart feels like it’s about to burst from the amount of joy the Lord has blessed me with.  The blessings have been constant.  I found out how truly different life can be when your focus is in the right place (hint: the right place is not yourself) ((note to self: always remember this)).

In the new year, I hope to dig in to the things that really move me.  Obtain and keep that can’t stop, won’t stop attitude.  Love and give unconditionally.  And maybe get a six-pack.  Just kidding.  Kind of.

quick trip

I just returned this morning from a nice week-long trip back home to Vegas. Here’s a small glimpse of what I’ve been up to.

1. First things first. In-n-out. That’s just life sometimes.  2. Khoury’s Mediterranean. My favorite place for shish kabobs, rice pilaf, and eating my weight in pita bread.  3. Getting stoked for Archi’s. I’ve told you guys about Archi’s before, right? Best Thai food ever. Not ashamed to admit I ate here twice in my 6-day stay.  4. Catching up with my Pittsburgh-dwelling bestie over tea at Sambalatte. This place is where all the cool kids hang out. I tried a French macaron for the first time here.  5. Breakfast for the kind friend who picked me up from the airport at the ridiculous hour of 630am. That girl deserved a prize. That prize was breakfast at the cutest joint called Java Java in the Houston Heights.

There are no pictures to show for the lovely thanksgiving dinner I had. My house was full to the brim of family and loved ones (complete with the cutest bulldog puppy known to man!). I loved just being able to hang out and enjoy the warmth of everyone’s company. And the warmth of my mother’s gosh dang homemade dinner rolls that I swear are sent from heaven.

I’m so very happy for the nice break and the chance to see my family and friends. God’s blessed this little lady with more than she deserves, that’s for sure.

Now I have to get my brain turned back on. Life doesn’t stop for my jet-lag.

wait. how long has it been?

Blogging has without a doubt taken the back-burner in my life.  I love blogging, but there are other things higher on the priority list right now.

16 credits worth of graduate courses, internship 7:30a-4p every day, enjoying time with the Lord, friends, and simply…myself, these things take up most of my time.

It’s crazy to think that I’m entering my 5th week of clinical rotations.  The way my internship is set up, there are 6 weeks of MNT 1 clinicals, 6 weeks of MNT 2 clinicals, and 4 weeks of staff relief where we basically act as the dietitian of a unit of our choosing!  (I’ll then move on to other rotations including community, food service, management, an elective, etc.)

So far, I’ve worked in the Community Living Center (CLC), which is basically a long-term care type of facility within the VA, and I’ve worked in the spinal cord injury unit.  My experience so far has been fantastic and, as expected, I’ve been learning non-stop.  It’s one thing to be able to study a book, take an exam, and get a good grade.  It’s another thing to be able to apply all that knowledge in a “real life” setting.

I’m loving it.

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In other news, Trader Joe’s has been making waves in Houston, having a new location open just a few weeks ago.  I shopped at Trader Joe’s often when I was in Vegas, so I was definitely missing it when I came here.  Now if only I can get a Fresh&Easy

This location happens to reside within an old movie theater and it’s one of the most awesome things ever.  On the walls are movie posters that are TJ’s themed, such as “Planet of the Grapes,” “Singing in the Grain,” and “Pastablanca.”

The lines were totally nuts upon my first visit there; they used the old movie line sanctions to wrangle all the shoppers.

Amidst all the tasks and busy work, I, along with my fellow interns, always try to make time to do fun things and just hang out.

After a surprisingly intense VA fitness center aerobics class.

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This Monday after school, we’re all getting together for a potluck and pumpkin-carving extravaganza!  Is it weird that I’ve never carved a pumpkin before?  I’m super excited.  I ventured to a pumpkin patch yesterday in search of the perfect pumpkin, but was way too picky and just ended up with a few baby pumpkins to decorate my apartment.  I’ll have to try again today!

I also plan to make these and potentially these.  I haven’t used my oven for anything other than savory foods yet, so here’s hoping they turn out well!

Love and happy Sunday to you.

Fiesta

I’m back and in action!  It’s unfortunate that my laptop broke, but I’m definitely a very blessed little lady for that fact that I was able to get a new one so quickly.

Topic of the day: grocery shopping.  Is it weird that I love it?  Cause I do.

It’s been interesting getting used to the different grocery stores that are out here.  I’ve switched from my beloved Sunflower Market, Trader Joe’s, and Fresh & Easy to H-E-B, Walmart Neighborhood Market, and a new discovery…Fiesta!

Any store whose name means “party” is probably going to be a good store.

As you might assume from the name, the store was largely Hispanic-influenced, which is completely awesome in my book!  (I tried a cactus fruit for the first time!  I guess they’re very popular in Latin America.)  However, what was even more awesome were the serious business ethnic food aisles in the heart of the market.

It was so cool to see rows and rows of items that you would normally have to venture to various international markets for.

Seriously.  Japanese, Thai, German, Indian, Mexican, Chinese, Italian, Mediterranean… The list goes on.  They had it all here.

Told you.  They had it all.  (Yikes.)

Ps – What do you do with flattened rice!?

I moseyed in and out of the aisles of the store for a while.  My aimless wandering must have made me look like a completely lost little lamb because a kind worker ended up asking me a couple times if I needed help.  (“Necesitas ayuda?“)

I know a fair amount of Spanish.  By no means am I fluent, but I can get by.  However, the moment someone begins to speak to me in Spanish, I choke and it’s all I can do to squeak out a little, “No, gracias.” or “Bien, y tu?”  Oh, 4 years of high school Spanish, where are you when I need you!?

The outside of the store was flanked with little stands that transported me straight to the streets of Mexico.  Random knick-knacks, children’s toys, knock-off designer clothing… I dug it.  They even had a stand selling tacos and another one selling fresh grilled corn on the cob!  The smells coming from the stands were mouth-watering.

I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Fiesta and definitely intend to come back.  Such a fun experience and such an easy way to soak in all the culture Texas has to offer.

Have a fantastic day!  I’m off to get myself Rosetta Stone or something. 😉

When in doubt, find a coffee shop

I’ve been in Houston for about two weeks now and if there’s one thing that I’ve learned it’s that when you’re in doubt, go find yourself a coffee shop.

Seriously.

Most coffee shops have something on the menu suitable for any palate, even non-coffee drinkers like myself.  (Tea for the win!)  In addition to this, a coffee shop is always a great place to hang if you need a break from whatever you’re doing.

I’ve gotten lost more times than I’d like to admit in my time here thus far, but I like to think of botched excursions as learning opportunities.  Optimism.  My learning is reinforced by mistakes. 😉

I’ve visited a slew of coffee joints so far and thought I might share with you!

The first I checked out was Antidote in the Houston Heights area.

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I enjoyed an iced chai latte.  They had a seating area inside, but also had ample seating outside on a terrace with big fans to help keep things cool.  Really nice atmosphere, really friendly people.

I had met up with a couple of my fellow dietetic interns and we ended up getting into a discussion with a stranger about nutrition.  Love it when random people ask questions about the field!

Second place up was Inversion Coffee House.

Chai latte.  Again.  This one tasted like cinnamon toast crunch.  In the best way possible.

It was pretty busy when I got there.  Not many seats open inside, so I kicked it outside.  I’ve been blessed with mostly nice weather here, save for sporadic downpours of rain (which I actually like).

Super hipster vibe going on at Inversion, but I expected no less from a place in the Montrose area of Houston right next to an art gallery.  Fun place to visit for sure!

Next up: Black Hole Coffee House.

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Again, we have a very hipster vibe and an eclectic, artsy theme (Lindsay Lohan art on the wall!?).

I grabbed a regular iced tea from here and split a peanut butter cookie with my friend.  We had just come from exploring The Jung Center and sought refuge here from the sudden onslaught of rain.  We chilled for an hour or two at a little table right by the window.

Definitely a cool place to check out while you’re in the Museum District.

Finally, this blog post comes to you from the wifi provided in Boomtown Coffee in the Heights.

I yelped this place as I was wandering through the Heights and I’m very glad I decided to come.  I ended up with a plain iced tea (I’m telling you… I’m a creature of habit) as well as a signature item on their menu – a fried egg taco.

My horizons are totally expanding because not only do I dislike egg yolks, I’ve always been turned off by RUNNY egg yolks.  It’s always been one of those things where I just think, “I’m not going to try it.  I know I won’t like it.”

Although still skeptical, I’m all for trying anything and everything at least once, so I decided to give it a shot.  It was good, but I still wouldn’t consider myself a fan of the runny yolk.  Aside from that though, the salsa was the bomb and anything with fresh avocado is bound to be yummy.

Anyways guys, the moral of the story is… if you’re lost, find a coffee shop.  If you’re not lost, find a coffee shop.  They’re always perfect places to hang, people-watch, work, socialize, and eat and drink!  All good things.

Have a blessed day!

[[Edited to add: I also visited Brasil!  My friend works there and as she was showing me around town a little bit, we swung by for a quick visit.  They had both indoor and outdoor seating, delicious looking baked goods (I was eyeing a carrot cake), and they have live music on certain days!

I think it probably goes without saying… but I had an iced tea.  Thumbs up!]]