Short and Sweet (Spring Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette)

Let me get to the point.

I’ve got a salad. It has an awesome vinaigrette. It’s basically the essence of spring tossed into a bowl. It also uses some extra candied orange peels from my last post. It’s quick, it’s resourceful, it’s intensely flavorful. It’s awesome.

Go make it for lunch. Now. Enough said.

Hey, pecan! Get back in there!

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Time (Candied Orange Peels)

Time.

So much time.

Time dragged on like no other while I was cashiering today, at least. What with 3rd quarter of Senior year ending and Spring break beginning, time seems like an immense void in front of me. As the college acceptances roll in, I can see time extending into different directions, paths, possibilities, extending itself into whole different lives of which one I can be a part.

For some reason, this picture reminds of fish. But that's not very appetizing. Let's just forget I said anything.

When the first out-of-state acceptance letter arrived, it nearly knocked the wind out of me–not because the acceptance surprised me (it was a safety school), but because of the realization that I’m officially moving on across the country. My life will soon extend outside my familiar Southern-California-centric bubble. Yet as time stretches before me, it suddenly occurs to me that time is ticking away faster than I ever thought possible in the only moment that really matters: the present.

Cliché as it may be, there is no time like the present. If there is one lesson I have learned after the trials and tribulations of the year past (perhaps a certain post I wrote a few months back will be a refresher to you all), it definitely is that. Soon, I’ll be away from the comfort of my cozy room, sleeping in a twin bed, sharing a dorm with some other stranger who may become a new best friend. Soon, I’ll be saying “see you soon” (never “goodbye”) to coworkers, to friends, to Girlfriend, to Mom. Soon, I’ll be wishing that I was back in high school, back in college, back in medical school, back in my twenties, my thirties, forties, back in some state of being or another, wishing that time would reverse itself if only for instant–or at least, it will seem like it was soon when it comes.

See that hand? It's about to deliver that orange peel to a very happy mouth.

For now, I’ll take everything that comes to me in stride, one step at a time; and as I look forward towards the immense journey in front of me, it’ll be nice to take those moments to stop, think, relax, perhaps make something time intensive that I’ve never tried making before (see recipe below 😉 ). As I have said before, cherish the moments and people you have now–jump forward when you’re ready.

But for me? Not yet. All in due time.

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Fudge in the Restaurant Business (Orange Banana Bread)

After reading this blog, you probably understand that being a full-time student takes up a lot of my life—I typically spend, including rehearsal time and extracurricular activities, 45-55 hours a week at school. Even with all that, I manage to work on the weekends at the restaurant down the street from my school as a host and cashier.

Yeah, I know, it still doesn’t even make sense to me how that all goes down, but it does, so I just roll with it.

The walnuts are just spilled around for the photo–I’m not that messy when I bake, people.

I love working in the restaurant business as a teenager. I get to develop great people skills by meeting all kinds of customers, customers ranging from the super nice and absolutely polite to the quirky crack-ups to the…well, we’ve all seen those certain kinds of patrons at restaurants, so I’ll just leave up that up to your imagination.

All jokes aside, though, my restaurant is great. My waiter, cashier, and host co-workers and I are like a big family. We’ve got the motherly waiter who always bakes and takes care of the rest of the staff, the kooky uncle-cashier who you always want to hang out with, and the rest of the clan, all ending up with me: the little kid of the whole bunch :). I think that spirit that patrons see is what keeps them coming back for more. Well, other than the scrumptious food, that is.

One side zesty orange, the other sweet and wholesome banana.

One perk of working in a restaurant? The cooks sometimes give me the old bananas from the week to take home! They’re overwhelmingly brown and black on the outside and mushy on the inside, but I think they’re beautiful. Do you know why?

Well, I can make this out of them:

This bread has your name all over it, people.

Old bananas are the best bananas to use for baking bread, I’ve found. The peels are brown and unattractive, but the inside is mostly in tact, so by no means are the bananas inedible. Since the bananas have over-ripened, I can cut down on the sugar in the recipe I use them in while replacing the lost sugar with the natural sugars that are present in the ripe bananas, making what could have been packed with empty calories into a healthy snack or part of a healthy breakfast.

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