Off to Italy!

My family and I are leaving today for a vacation to Italy, Greece, Turkey and Croatia! I am so incredibly excited to see these countries and to also visit my sister Rachel who lives in France and is meeting us there.  I will be gone for the next 2 weeks, returning on August 10th so I wont be posting till then.

But so much has happened in my life, that when I get back, you can expect:

  • Studying Strategies for the RD Exam
  • Engagement Party Festivities
  • My Birthday
  • Vacation Recaps!!!

I plan on taking an obscene amount of photos so get ready for some history, art, beaches and more!

greece1

Arrivederci, αντίο, veda and zbogom!

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

I have officially made the move back to CT and am now a resident of New Britain.  I have acquired some wonderful new roommates including Eric (the fiancé) as well as two of our really good friends, Pete and Henry.  I have known these guys since high school so I’m super excited to live with them!

This whole living with boys thing is pretty new to me as I grew up with 2 sisters.  So far, everyone’s first concern has been about cleanliness.  No worries, these are probably the 3 neatest boys I’ve ever known.  Now I have to make sure I am as tidy as them….

In the spirit of new beginnings, I made the apartment a “family dinner”.  And when I asked for requests, I got a very man-answer: Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese.  Should have seen that coming.  Now, definitely not the healthiest, but this dinner was about fun.


Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 13.25 oz. box whole wheat pasta (shells, penne or rotini)
  • 1 lb. cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 small bell peppers, red and yellow, seeded and diced
  • 8 oz. 1/3 less fat cream cheese
  • 1 cup  light blue cheese dressing
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup Buffalo Hot Wing Sauce
  • 3 cups shredded cheese, divided (cheddar, mozzarella or a blend)
  • 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

I decided to make my own hot sauce and used about 1/2 cup of Franks Hot Sauce and a couple tablespoons of butter.  For the chicken, this is either a good opportunity to use up some leftover chicken, but I made some special.  I just cut up about a pound of chicken breast, drizzled the pieces with hot sauce and cooked them for about 10 minutes. 

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Boil the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and transfer to a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
  • Add the cooked chicken, chopped bell peppers,  and 2 1/4 cups of shredded cheese to the baking dish. Mix well.Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
  • Place the garlic, cream cheese, blue cheese dressing and 1/2 cup hot wing sauce in a food processor. Puree until smooth, taste and add another 1/4 cup hot wing sauce if needed. Pour over the pasta and toss.Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese Collage
  • Mix the remaining 3/4 cup cheese and the Panko together. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta
  • Bake until golden, approximately 30-40 minutes.Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese Collage 2Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese Nutrition

Because I couldn’t help myself, I whipped up a salad to have on the side and dinner was served!  It turned out really good and was mildly spicy.  the boys were pleased and it was a nice way to celebrate our new roommate-ness.

The recipe makes plenty so it’s a good dish to make over the weekend and have lunch leftovers for the week.

Another aspect of sharing a kitchen with boys is that there was no need for me to buy a new bottle of hot sauce.  There were already 4 in the pantry.  I guess I’ll be using a lot more spice in my cooking!Hot Sauce

What other man-isms should I expect?

Whoa, I’m Done – Graduation

After 4 years of college and 10.5 months of my internship, I am officially done with all of my education needed to become an RD!

minions

It has been a steady journey and now that it has come to an end, I can see how far I have come.  During my internship, I have learned so much.  Obviously a lot about nutrition, but also working with people, getting used to having legitimate job responsibilities and balancing life and work.  There were times when I got frustrated that I couldn’t just start working for real, but looking back, I can truly appreciate how valuable all of this experience was.

To celebrate the end, we had a couple of events.  The first being a pool party!  The interns were able to come over to our place and just relax before our elective week.  All of our assignments were over and every piece of paperwork was handed in.  Most of the day we spent just chatting. Topics included food, races, weddings and jobs. 

For a bit of fun, we had intern superlatives!  We voted ahead of time and Mavis and Melissa C made us some fabulous swag sashes.  Drumroll please!

  • Maria – Top Chef – read her blog, you’ll agree
  • Nikki – Most Sassy
  • Melissa G – Queen of Social Media
  • Me – Most Resourceful
  • Mavis – Worst Driver – to be fair, she was just the newest driver and did very well all year
  • Amy – Best All-Around
  • Jenn – Most Outspoken
  • Melissa C – Most Creative + Class Comedian
  • Bethany and Margery – Best Intern Duo

Everyone fit their title very well.  And although I think that Melissa and I are an excellent pair, when you see Margery and Beth together, it totally makes sense.  Smile

Pool Party Collage

Our next celebration was a bit more formal: graduation!  Appropriately, it was held at the National Agriculture Library where we spent plenty of time through our FNIC rotations and class days.  It was a brief ceremony (easy to do with only 10 graduates) and it left plenty of time to meet each others parents and significant others (finally met Allan, Margery’s BF).

Graduation Collage 1

Graduation Collage 2

As a memento, we had some tank tops made with all of our names, the UMD turtle and the phrase #quack.  Quick shout out to Dario, Maria’s husband for designing them for us!  The # is an homage to Phyllis, our director.  Her cellphone ring is a duck quack that we will always associate with her. 

Quack Collage

Fun Fact: 4 of the interns have sisters that are 3 years younger them, one of the many things we bonded over.  Naturally, we had to take a photo.  I love how each sister pairs are so obviously related.

Sisters graduation

It was an awesome day because it means we are all one step closer to being working professionals.  It was a sad day because I moved back to CT that weekend.  I already miss all of the other interns so much, and it has only been a week.  We have discussed it and we will absolutely make plans to visit.  I think think it was Melissa’s plan all along to get me into running so we can have reunion races.  And to her I say, “Well done.” 

Clapping

Now I am back in CT, reunited with my old friends, family and of course, Eric (the fiancé).  It is really great to be home, but I know that Maryland and the other interns will always have a special place in my life.  

Now, onto bigger and better things as I dive right into the job market.  Wish me luck!