Monthly Archives: March 2014

A Food Frenzy

When I was younger, I was a pretty picky eater. I never ate my vegetables and I would only touch meat if someone else had cut it up into bite-sized pieces for me.

Since moving to college, I’ve become less picky; I either eat what’s in Alliot or go hungry (and lemme tell you, I don’t deal with hunger nicely, so I’ve expanded my palate quite a bit).

This week was my turn to bring a snack for class. Since one of my classmates has a gluten intolerance, I wanted to find something tasty we could all enjoy.

For the first time, I made gluten-free brownies. I’ve always enjoyed baking, from cookies and pies to breads and cakes, but I’d never made anything gluten free before.

I was shocked at how difficult it is to find gluten-free foods in the regular grocery store. I searched the baking aisle in Shop Rite, but didn’t find anything. I ended up trekking to Hannaford to find a gluten-free brownie mix.

The next surprise was how expensive gluten-free foods are! Granted, stores have come a long way and these foods have become more accessible, but the journey to alternatives is just beginning.

The gluten-free brownie mix called for butter in place of oil, which made me a little wary about how the end product would turn out. In the past, I’ve only made batters that call for oil or water.

The mix itself was very grainy and you could easily differentiate the cocoa powder from the wheat substitute. After the dry ingredients, oil, and eggs were combined, the mix became very thick and formed a ball and barely stuck to the bowl at all, which was very interesting.

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In the end — after all my surprise and concern — the brownies came out perfectly. They weren’t as dry as other gluten-free baked goods I’ve eaten and you couldn’t taste a difference; they were still chocolaty and moist. My classmates enjoyed them, too!

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Sticking with the food theme, today I also went into Café Cheray for the first time. Café Cheray is conveniently located at the entrance of Cheray Hall, one of the academic buildings on campus. A variety of beverages, such as Speeder & Earls coffee, and quick-stop foods such as soups, sandwiches, and desserts are offered.

Today I purchased a pretzel and hummus combination. Earlier this year I fell in love with garlic hummus, so today I gave the roasted red pepper variety a shot. It was pretty delicious and I was satisfied with how crunchy the pretzel pieces were!

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I’ve tried a myriad of new foods since moving to college, something I didn’t expect to happen.

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Spring Break 2014

I’m surprised at how many different firsts I had this week.

For the first time, my brother and I had different spring breaks, so I had the whole house (mostly) to myself this week. I say mostly because my brother doesn’t have class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and his Monday afternoon class was cancelled, so he was home a lot more than I expected.

I was home so much because I didn’t work, this being the first break from school that I haven’t worked! Instead, I did lots of HOMEWORK! I never thought I’d see the day where I did school work at home, but since I have my thesis to write and three presentations to prepare for, I figured it would be worth my time to rest and get crackin’ on my academics instead of making bank.

This week I also tried a Dunkin Coolatta for the first time. My mom had a coupon to get any size for $1.99, so I got strawberry and she got orange. It was a little too sweet for me and the large was definitely more than I wanted, but it fulfilled my desire for a slushy!

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Yesterday was the first day of spring. To celebrate the near 50-degree sunshine, I ran on the Walkway over the Hudson for the first time. I’ve walked the 1.28-mile pedestrian bridge countless times. I’ve even biked across it and watched hot air balloons lift off from its elevation of 212 feet above the Hudson River, but I’d never jogged across it.

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It was chilly and very windy when I strode across in shorts and a t-shirt, but it felt good to be active. The river itself also looked pretty cool with snow-covered ice chunks floating everywhere. I’ll definitely have to try running again when it’s a little warmer.

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Spring break’s not quite over yet, so who knows what firsts this weekend will bring!

Surviving the Drive

For the first time, I made the 230-mile trek home with company in the car.

Earlier this month I’d asked around to see if anyone who lives close by needed a ride home for Spring Break; everyone had already secured flights or made plans to go somewhere tropical.

But after an 18-inch snowstorm hit Burlington this week, my friend Suze’s bus was cancelled. I offered to drive her home and was happy to have someone to talk to while driving. Last minute, my friend Shawn also agreed to carpool with us.

We left campus at 1 this afternoon, starting out on snow-covered roads. Driving on VT-22A was tortuous at times. Plowing over ice patches frozen to the road at 55 mph was anything but exciting.

Things only grew more grim when Suze’s mix tape refused to play. Instead of singing along with Beyoncé, we had to settle with lots of OneRepublic (which no one objected to!).

We didn’t see anything too interesting, and surprisingly we didn’t come across many cops or traffic, either. However, we did witness a Megabus pass a car on a back road, which I never would have expected to see.

As we drove closer to New York, road conditions started to get better. Halfway through our adventure, the sun was shining and the roads were clear.

We exited the Thruway just after 5, and on the way to meet up with Suze’s dad, I got to be a tour guide for my town. I pointed out my middle school, the hospital I was born in, and the Walkway Over the Hudson.

It was nice having the opportunity to share this tedious drive with friends. Now to bask in the 50-degree weather predicted for this week!

Correctional Volleyball

Wednesday night I ventured to the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility to play volleyball with some of the inmates.

I was a member of my high school’s volleyball team, but haven’t played since I graduated. Well, unless you count the occasional backyard barbeque, that is. I’ve considered playing on an intramural team, but can’t make a multiple night commitment. 

Correctional volleyball was something I’d wanted to try since freshman year, but the times never worked with my schedule, or all of the slots would fill up before I got a chance to sign up.

This year, I finally found an open slot that worked with my schedule. I was a little nervous when we got into the van and drove to the prison because I didn’t know what to expect.

There was nothing to worry about, though. It’s an all-female prison, and we’d only be playing with privileged inmates. As far as I know, none of them are convicted murderers.  

It turned out to be a lot of fun! I enjoyed being active and playing for fun; we hardly bothered to keep an accurate score.

One of the funniest moments came when I collided with an inmate as we both went for the ball. I fell down and she immediately lifted me up off the ground by hooking her arms under mine. 

It only took her a few minutes to realize that she was touching me and isn’t supposed to have contact with visitors. She couldn’t stop apologizing. 

Even though these women are locked up behind bars because of their past actions, they are just as human as any free citizen.

The inmates were very grateful that we came to play with them and enjoy every chance they get to socialize. I can’t wait to go back and play again!