Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Happy Mornings=Happy Days



120 calorie homemade chai latte to start the day. I thought it didn't get better than that, then I just found out that Oregon Trail makes sugar free chai latte mix--yippee!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Best Read From Your iPhone While Doing 10 Other Things

I find it only appropriate that this post, containing a random assortment of my current thoughts, stemmed from the topic and issue of multitasking that I have been giving a lot of thought to recently.
So what is the real definition of multitasking? Well our good friend Wikipedia always delivers...

Human multitasking is the performance by an individual of appearing to handle more than one task at the same time. The term is derived from computer multitasking. An example of multitasking is listening to a radio interview while typing an email. Some believe that multitasking can result in time wasted due to human context switching and apparently causing more errors due to insufficient attention.

As I pointed out, this term is derived from the function of computer multitasking. Unfortunately, humans are just not computers. I'm sure we can all see then how silly it is that we try to handle so much at once without many of the appropriate hardware for these capabilities.

After watching Digital Nation: Life on the Virtual Frontier, which is a Frontline series video, for an assignment we are giving my University 101 class, (that I highly encourage you check out) I can't stop thinking about the amount that I multitask. More so, I can't shake the fact that I couldn't be successful without the disgusting amount that I multitask. This coupled with my current behavior of listening to Coldplay's new album, Mylo Xyloto from dawn until dusk with the track Paradise on repeat, is leaving me with many thoughts.

"When she was just a girl, she expected the world
But it flew away from her reach so, she ran away in her sleep
And dreamed of Paradise"

I'm not sure when I had to become so busy in order to be successful. Another assignment with my U101 class was reading and writing about Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture. If you haven't done this--please do it immediately. You can finish the book in one night, or even watch his lecture online. One of Pausch's lessons is about the secret to getting ahead, which simply enough is...hard work. 

I know that it's pertinent to work hard and gain experience to be successful but when did this begin to mean getting to a level when you almost feel like you can no longer function? I absolutely love what I'm doing but cannot help but dream everyday about May 4th, my master's hooding day. I dream about a life when I don't get home at 9pm almost everyday. Where I can get back into personal activities that I enjoy. Will I get to a point where I'll be able to stop multitasking and running around so much that I'll actually be able to sleep at night with a brain that isn't so wired? 

While I heard the movie wasn't the best I can't help but cringe thinking about SJP's I Don't Know How She Does It film. Will this lifestyle continue? Let's hope not!

I multitask from the second I wake up, anxiously grabbing my iPhone to view my schedule for the day, scan email for anything serious and check the weather. I look at the shuttle schedule on my phone as I walk down to my car. On the shuttle I read through and delete emails that do not require attention or responses so that when I get to my office I don't have to spend the time to do this. I read The Gamecock while I have my coffee and then while I work I look at tweets popping up from news sources I need to follow for my Trends in Higher Education class. Throughout all of this I typically have a few Gchats open with friends and co-workers. 

Then it's off to class where while I try to pay attention and many times end up creating to-do lists for that night, the next day, the rest of the week, etc. When I get home I am reading for class the next day while on the elliptical, doing homework while catching up with my roommate and cleaning my room and getting ready for bed while talking to my significant other. Check the iPhone for any pertinent emails, check the next day's weather, set my alarm, go to bed. Repeat.

While I want to try and break this habit I'm not quite sure I could keep crossing off my to-do list and efficiently manage my time without it. The tasks I'm able to accomplish through multitasking give me extra time for the personal tasks in my life. For trying to remember to call my mom once a week, keeping in touch with good friends (which at this point in life includes quite a few people), and maintaining a healthy distance relationship. Oh yea then if there's a few minutes of extra time I enjoy blankly staring at my wall while listening to music or vegging out in front of Family Guy for a fun non-engaging activity.

My new personal challenge is to cut down on the multitasking. Get everything done, but don't act like a chicken with my head cut off. I know there's got to be some way that's possible. If not luckily hooding is six months and ten days away, not that I'm counting...

Side note: I know there has to be someone thinking how I could spend the time to write this novel of a post when I have soooo many other things to do? Probably because it's the first personal thing I've done today. In my challenge to stay sane my mantra is "Do one thing every day that makes you happy." Today, blogging is my happy. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Easy Breezy Pasta Caprese

For those who do not know me, I'm probably about 80% Italian. My father's parents immigrated to the US from Italy, him and his cousins are all first generation American. My maternal grandfather is also Italian. Christmas Eve is spent at a long table of loud relatives with huge platters of food and my dad's aunt continuously yelling "Mangia!"

While I do love my Aunt Silvana's ziti, I'm honestly not the biggest pasta fan. Maybe this came from eating it at least once a week growing up? If I do eat pasta it has to have pizzazz. Lots of veggies, maybe some meat, cheese and something other than Ragu. I believe that if you're eating pasta--it shouldn't actually be the main ingredient. Not only because I don't care for it all too much because the nutrition facts just don't lie...carb and calorie overload!

Though not a pasta fan I have become a huge spaghetti squash fan, and have been changing up typical pasta dishes using the delicious substitute. While I've been scouring over recipes I decided to come up with something myself. Also not being a huge sauce fan, caprese pasta is one of my favorite as it's simple and light but has a lot of I set out to make my own!
Anna's Easy Breezy Pasta Caprese
1 spaghetti squash (average size)
1 green (or color of your preference) bell pepper
1 medium onion
10 cherry or grape tomatoes (or cut a medium tomato into bite size chunks)
3/4 cup of shredded mozzarella
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 basil leaf (or more if you desire)
First task is to cook the spaghetti squash. There are several methods to do so, while I prefer the oven method  throwing it in the microwave definitely speeds up the prep time. Once your squash is cooked scoop it out into a big serving bowl.

Turn a skillet to medium high heat and once it's hot coat with a cooking spray. Meanwhile slice the bell pepper and onion. I left mine in longer thin slices but feel free to cut to your liking. Throw the chopped veggies into the pan and cook down until they're tender but not falling apart soft.

Cut cherry/grape tomatoes in half. Take your basil leaf and roll lengthwise, then slice for small strips of the herb. Thrown the tomatoes into the skillet for the last three minutes of cooking the veggies then remove from heat.
Add veggies into the bowl with spaghetti squash. Then add basil, mozzarella and olive oil. Toss all of the ingredients until they're evenly distributed, serve it up and enjoy!

Depending on the size of your squash and how many veggies you add this could vary. I split mine into three servings. A serving size of the mozzarella is a 1/4 of cup so if you're splitting four ways use a whole cup so no one get skimped on the cheese please!

Don't like peppers or onions? Then don't add 'em! They're some of my favorite veggies but feel free to throw whatever you want into the mix. Mushrooms and black olives could also be yummy in this dish. Try mixing with some lite Italian dressing instead of the EVOO. Serve it chilled like a pasta salad. Substitute fresh mozzarella...mmm! The possibilities are endless, however the most important suggestion is to serve with a glass of wine...
Planning to make this dish? Leave a comment and let me know how it goes for you!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I Just Can't Get Enough

Things I currently can't get enough of include...

Amazing 4 ingredient banana oat bars
The best thing is they really have 4 ingredients: bananas, rolled oats, chopped walnuts & chopped dates. And naturally a dash of vanilla and cinnamon for some added flavor! 

Get the recipe and try them yourself. I wasn't sure what "very ripe" meant for the bananas but I let them sit about 4/5 days after buying them and waited until they were speckled with brown spots. After baking them, keep in an airtight container to make sure they don't get dry.

 Honey & cinnamon as yogurt mix-ins
Greek yogurt + honey + cinnamon = NOM
Need I say more?
ps. this makes for a great dessert if you really just need that something sweet at the end of the day!

3initials iPhone app
Yes, I can now make custom monograms changing the font, size/placing of letters and naturally...colors. Holla if you would like a custom monogram picture for your phone because I can't stop playing around with the app to find the best combinations. 

Potentially an unnecessary purchase? Eh, I've gotten too much enjoyment out of it!

What's the number one thing I JUST can't get enough of? *Drum roll please*

Between work, school, teaching, working out, doing homework, visiting Mr. Charming and attempting to maintain my sanity--sleep has come in last. Good thing for me my new motto is "You can't change the world from your bed now can ya?"

Early mornings are taking a toll...but counting down until the end of this semester! Happy almost hump day y'all!