Hi there. It’s been a while.

But guess what – I am alive – yay!

And I miss this page, and I have so much to share. So I’m coming back, with good eats (can I FINALLY put my cooking classes from NOLA last year to good use and pull off a Mardi Gras dinner party with crawfish étouffée and seafood gumbo and bread pudding?!), and photo documented wanderlust, and a snippet into the perfectly ordinary but celebrated moments of my life.

2016 is going to be a good year for me. It really has to be, because I’ve been saying for YEARS now that I’m meant to reach my peak at 24, and then will just maintain that until menopause. Was speaking about my physical peak, of course, but after lots of quiet self-reflection these last few months, I’ve decided that I want to really push myself to be the best version of me that’s ever existed! I turned 23 last month, so it’s time to kick it into high gear…

Ideal me – I want to be kind to others, and be an especially good friend. Be involved in the community. Nurture my mind, broaden my perspectives, and be engaged. Reconnect with my hobbies (hellooo knitted afghan, finishing you may be my loftiest 2016 goal yet!). Find the opportunities to travel and make the best memories!!

To that end, here’s the plan –

  1. Form some good and lasting exercise habits. Like seriously… More concrete goal – run a half marathon this year in 1:55. Seriously… Looking at you, Chicago Rock ‘N Roll Half. Coming for you.
  2. Read two books per month. Obtained a Kindle about 10 days ago, and have not been able to put it down since, so this should be easy. Started with My Life on the Road, Gloria Steinem, per Emma Watson’s new book club! Continued with The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins, psychological thriller. Couldn’t be more different, obsessed with both. Now reading another fluff thriller while waiting for the next 5 books on my list to become available for checkout from the library!
  3. Volunteer Friday evenings 7-8pm at Liberty Plaza, handing out hot food and drinks and packets of groceries and donated clothing items (especially warm, in the winter!)
  4. Join Ann Arbor Meet-Ups. The first one I did was awesome, what a fun community!
  5. Keep up with the little things. Make Hunter’s days for no reason. Make friends’ days for no reason.
  6. Hobbies – finish my afghan!!! Blog!!!
  7. Full steam ahead with my travels, and never lose my sense of gratitude for having the means and opportunity, and amazement for how big and exciting and marvelous this world of ours is.

Okay sorries for the long, text-y post. Will be the last of this kind for a while.

Stay tuned!


Healthy Broccoli Salad


Nothing like a good, creamy, bursting-with-flavor broccoli salad dressing to fatten up an ordinarily good-for-you vegetable… Except, what if you could make the same delicious result and STILL be healthy about it? Could subbing the normal amount of mayo with whipped cottage cheese possibly work…? This recipe is actually the result of not having very much mayo in the fridge, not feeling like shopping, and whipping together something that turned out really well with a bunch of ingredients that I already had.

Easy, tasty, healthy, flavorful broccoli salad. I may not want to eat broccoli any other way ever again.



Healthy Broccoli Salad

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 30 min
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 2 heads broccoli
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds, toasted (about 10 min at 350 degrees)
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries (I used Craisins)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (I used scant 1/2 cup milk + lemon juice)
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese, slightly strained using cheesecloth, beaten with whisk
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • ground black pepper to taste

  1. Trim the broccoli, and chop it into large chunks. Then cut each chunk into thin slices. I cut the stems into thin slices, stacked them and cut the other way (makes thin matchsticks). I cut the florets vertically into thin slices, slicing from the stem up to the floret top (this helps them stay together).
  2. Toss the sliced broccoli with the toasted almonds and cranberries.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk, cottage cheese, vinegar, brown sugar, and salt until smooth.
  4. Stir in the onion and let marinate at least 10 minutes (to mellow out the raw flavor).
  5. Pour the dressing over the broccoli mixture, and add black pepper to taste. Stir the salad until the broccoli is evenly coated wit the dressing.
  6. Serve and enjoy! (Leftovers can keep covered in the fridge for 2-3 days)

Margherita Pizza


Hunter picked up some beautiful flowers from the farmer’s market last week (I wish I had a picture of them in their full glory!). Lovely blues and oranges, perfect for fall. Extra awesome bit – there was a bunch of basil in the center of the bouquet! Smells great, and deliciously useful.

Tonight, now that the last of the flowers have wilted away, we plucked out the fresh basil to make some homemade margherita pizza. Which I’ve incidentally been craving for weeks. Yum.





(Throwback to 2013 when Hunter and I were living together in Amsterdam and didn’t have an oven. How to make pizzas in a pan.)

Margherita Pizza

  • Servings: 8ish slices (we finished the whole thing in one sitting)
  • Time: 30 min
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 cup (plus up to 3/4 cup extra) flour, we used whole wheat
  • 1 packet yeast (1/4 oz)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp honey
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2/3 cup very warm water
  • toppings: olive oil, freshly sliced mozzarella, tomatoes, basil

(A couple other fun topping ideas: (1) pesto, shrimp, garlic, sautéed mushrooms, parmesan; (2) sauteed/smashed anchovies, capers, roasted red pepper, garlic, parsley, parmesan)


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, and line a baking sheet with lightly greased parchment paper.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, mix together 1 cup flour, yeast, and salt.
  3. Add the honey, olive oil, and warm water. Bring dough together with your hands, slowly adding extra flour as needed.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough (HARD) 6-8 minutes, until the dough is nicely pliable and stretchy!
  5. Flatten and stretch out the dough with your hands (optional: throw and spin it like they do in the movies) and spread it out on the baking sheet.
  6. Bake for about 8 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven, drizzle with olive oil, and top with the sliced tomatoes and mozzarella.
  8. Bake another 8-10 minutes, until crust is firm and cheese is a melty gooey mess of deliciousness. Sprinkle fresh basil on top.
  9. Slice and serve hot!

Monthly “Make It Happen” List – October 2015

  1. Horror movies, haunted house. It’s officially October and October is the one month a year where I actually really enjoy being scared! Attempted to have a horror movie night last week, but after watching a dozen trailers trying to pick the SCARIEST, we accidentally picked a parody – Drag Me to Hell. Um, best horror movie ever? Or…?
  2. Apple picking and cider mill visit. Now that I have my list of apple-things-I-want-to-make ready to go… need apples! We’ve of course already gotten our first cider + doughnuts fix at our local Dexter Mill, but still need to visit Erwin’s for our giant sack of orchard picks.
  3. Cedar Point Halloweekend. Unsure how likely this is to actually happen, but it’s Cedar Point (aka best theme park on the planet)! I’ve never gone during Halloweekends, but how can you possibly go wrong with thrill rides and monsters combined?
  4. Get Carrie Underwood’s new album. Comes out this month!! I just love her. Always have. Even though I’m now officially using Spotify, I think I’ll still just get her album to show my support. (You know what? I should really plan on going to see her live sometime. Probably much less expensive and much more doable than a Taylor Swift concert…)
  5. CHEER ON THE #13 NORTHWESTERN WILDCATS as they take on #18 Michigan in Ann Arbor! If we can manage to beat Michigan, that would likely catapult us into the top ten?? Has that ever happened?? I wouldn’t know. I just know that we’ve never beaten Michigan since I started cheering for the ‘Cats in 2010, and it’s been heartbreaking every year, and I JUST WANT TO WIN ugh. Will be wearing purple in the student section sea of maize and blue (lol).
  6. Visit Ann Arbor’s Palmer House. Most everybody who knows me at all knows that I seriously love Frank Lloyd Wright designs and have gone out of my way to visit his houses. Turns out, there’s one right here in Ann Arbor! Located right by the Arb, this could make for a really fun Wednesday “happy hump day” date.
  7. Have an Oktoberfest bier. I think I’ve pretty much already missed the Oktoberfest things… but ah well, can still feel festive downing a pint or two or some fest bier right?

Bake: MACARONS, apple pie cookies
Read: Just Mercy (Bryan Stevenson), Women Don’t Ask (Linda Babcock)

How’d I do in September?
Okay, but not great haha. I have yet to learn proper songs on the guitar (I HAVE learned some chords, but it’s hard to play songs without being able to sing while playing). Running is going hilariously miserably – add a twisted ankle and persistent lingering cough to the mix. We did not learn how to belly dance. Going for a more successful October…

by MPD, March 2011

Hi Sunshine,

A short philosophical digression from your crazy Dad … your mileage may vary.

It’s all Issac Newton’s fault. His formulation of a “clockwork universe” as a infinitely large machine that operated according to natural laws in absolute time, space, and motion provided the intellectual fodder for other elites in the Enlightenment to apply those same principles to societal issues. For surely, if one can explain the movements of the planets and stars mathematically, one can discover, by “rational” thought, similar mechanisms in other areas of human behavior – be they political, economic, or philosophic.

Alas, two problems arose – neither of which are admitted to by the practitioners of these disciplines. First, is the problem of scale. Sir Newton’s mathematics applied to very, very large systems (i.e. the Universe). While the scale of human endeavors is, by comparison, the proverbial “grain of sand on the beach”. Anomalies occurring on the scale of the Universe are totally subsumed by the primary effect and thus, mathematically, disappear. On the human level, those anomalies may actually predominate and overwhelm any mathematical model. The second problem has to do with the nature of systems of explanation.

For a system of explanation (say a school of economics) to be valid, it must satisfy two requirements. It must “explain” the phenomenon it seeks to model and it must be predictive. If it cannot predict, it is merely history. If it cannot explain, it is glorified roulette. To model and predict, you must know: all the important variables; the relative importance of those variables; how those variables interact; and, the starting conditions of your model. If this sounds like chemistry – there is a reason.

For the Social Sciences in particular (and I’d class the “dismal science” of Economics as one), despite centuries of rational thought and study, what the important variables “are” is still being debated and how they interact is pure conjecture. You can see this in the manifold competing “Schools” of each discipline and in the absolute failure of any “School” to predict significant events such as our current recession. There is no “Chicago School of Chemistry” in competition with a “Harvard School of Chemistry”.

I’ll offer my own conjecture that Social Sciences will never successfully model their associated systems. Not just because of our friend Gödel, but because, even on their limited non-Universe scale, the number of system variables and their interactions approach the infinite. To which I will add my own guess that many of these variables, like the protein shell of a virus, change unpredictably over time.

When I sorted this out – during my sophomore year I think – I found it very liberating. It reinforced my belief in free will (some of the Enlightenment philosophers would be happy) and I began to see the Social Sciences as fascinating artistic expressions of Man’s attempt to understand himself in terms of the cosmos. So I studied them as one would Impressionist or Cubist painters – no one would argue that the works of either artistic school represent an objective reality, but each captures a fascinating dimension of that reality.

For what its worth …


Thursday Thoughts – 9/24/15

  1. Got my Nando’s sauces in the mail. Thank you Nando’s <3. The peri peri saga continues...
  2. Started a new, fun “tradition” this week! Happy Hump Days (with Hunt). We’ve decided that we’re going to set aside about an hour every Wednesday to do something special together, even if small (like a long walk)! Just to be able to put away and turn off everything else, and enjoy each other’s company. It’s a nice way (after all this time, and now with us living together and seeing each other all the time) to continue treating our relationship as something really special to us. Don’t forget folks – if you love, love openly, often, and well! Plus Ann Arbor has really awesome happy hour specials hehe. This week we went and indulged on half off glasses of wine and sushi rolls. Will never, ever say no to sushi rolls. Or wine.
  3. These potato latke waffles by smitten kitchen were fun to make, and reminded me of the winter markets in Europe! And I love smitten kitchen.
  4. I’ve been watching Criminal Minds again… ever since Netflix started relentlessly reminding me that Season 10 came out for streaming… HOOKED ALL OVER AGAIN. Matthew Gray Gubler is my #mcm on this Thursday, whatever. His twitter is my absolute favorite. Also, this show has started making me cry during episodes sometimes… don’t remember if it used to?? I JUST LOVE THESE CHARACTERS AND THEIR STORIES.
  5. Kroger pleased me this week! The one we shop at had a nice display of moon cakes, just in time for the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival this weekend! Of course, I already have a beautiful box of moon cakes ready to eat, gifted from mama. Just need to gather some friends to share them with.
  6. Daydreaming about my next trip(s) already. Looking at California for next on my radar. One of my best friends in the whole world just moved there, and I can’t wait to visit.
  7. Am I the only person who isn’t super digging the Ryan Adams 1989 cover album?
  8. Starting my DSLR education! Sort of. Via WhatsApp and Snapchat directions haha. We’ll see how this goes… I’ll really try to make a greater effort at learning how to use this thing.
  9. Excellent reminder that I can’t not smile in photos. If you try to direct me to do ANYTHING else or make ANY other kind of expression, this is what might happen… (photo credit and direction by Sijia, June 2013)









Cheddar and Chive Biscuits


Also inspired from my trip to Charleston, these yummy little biscuits are the perfect quick fix for a bite of Southern comfort, or for when you have a little extra time in the morning and feel like treating yourself. Much fancier of a breakfast than milk and cereal, but without too much extra hassle!

The best part is, you can take the basic biscuit ingredients and add pretty much whatever you want to them to create whatever biscuit suits your mood. This morning, I chose to go savory with cheddar and chive, PLUS topped ‘em off with bacon and avocado slices!

Now, where’s my sweet tea?




Cheddar and Chive Biscuits

  • Servings: half dozen biscuits
  • Time: 30 min
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 cup flour (I used half all purpose and half whole wheat)
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 cup finely cubed cheddar
  • 1 tbsp chives (I used freeze dried, but fresh would be even better!)
  • 3 tbsp cold (or frozen) butter, finely cubed or grated
  • 1/3 cup milk + some additional as needed
  • optional: bacon, avocado slices, cracked black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees, and prepare a lightly greased baking sheet.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cheddar cubes, and chives.
  3. Cut in cold butter using your fingertips (I grated in frozen butter). Work butter in with the biscuit mix quickly to avoid it warming up too much. Texture should be crumbly.
  4. Pour in milk and knead the dough several times with your hands. Add small amounts of milk as necessary to just bring the dough together.
  5. Grab a small handful of dough and stretch and fold in half 4-5 times. This helps create layers in the biscuits. Shape the sides to create round biscuits and place on baking sheet. Repeat until dough is gone.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom and a toothpick or fork comes out clean.
  7. Optional: While baking, cook bacon and slice avocado
  8. Serve warm, and enjoy! I sliced my biscuits in half and added bacon, a slice of avocado, and some black pepper. Yumm.

Pickled Shrimp Toast

Gotta boast in this post… this toast with the most (inspired by Edmund’s Oast)… is just awesome.


I ate at Edmund’s Oast the first night that I was in Charleston, and the place was so me! The menu features EO’s own house-brewed beers, artisanal and creative small plates, and beautiful charcuterie boards. I sat at the “chef’s counter” in front of a large, open kitchen, and it was so much fun to watch all the action of these chefs at work. Plus the best part – sitting at the chef’s counter entailed getting little presents from the chefs!

And the beers were great. I’m always a fan of craft home-brews, and was perfectly pleased with my Edmund’s Oast Olde Ale, a malty, caramel-y brown aged in a cognac barrel for 6 months. Also enjoyed their Farrago No 2, a blend of four distinct beers imparting notes of blackberry, orange, cocoa and oak!

But if the beers were good, the food was UNREAL… I treated myself to their cornbread with rich honey butter (yumm), and their “Pickled Shrimp, EVOO rye bread, aioli”. It was ridiculously delicious. Yelpers agree with me. And you definitely will too, after giving this adapted recipe a try!


Now this recipe has a lot of ingredients… but when I decided that I was going to be making it, I realized that I pretty much already had EVERYTHING I needed at home! (Just needed to buy fennel, lemons, and rye bread.) If you’re like me and live with a fairly standardly well-stocked kitchen, the process is a breeze, and the final product is finger-licking good. If you’re not, you might be able to get away with skipping some of the herbs/spices or using substitutes. It’s worth it. Mmm as I type, already wanting more of that rye, sturdy and crisp, topped with a makeshift garlic aioli… the shrimp, plump and seasoned… the veggies, adding a nice crunch, some beautiful color, and a bright freshness… Enjoy!




Pickled Shrimp Toast

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 45 min prep, 24 hour inactive, 5 min assembly
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print


  • 8 cups water
  • 1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 yellow onion, halved
  • 2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used a package of frozen shrimp)
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, roughly chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • lemon peels, grated from 2-3 lemons
  • 1/3 cup EVOO
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed parsley leaves
  • large pinch allspice
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • rye bread slices
  • optional: fresh dill sprigs, or dried dill for garnish

  1. STEP ONE: POACHING In a large pot on high heat, combine the water, 1/4 salt, yellow onion, Old Bay seasoning, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to medium low and add the shrimp. Let shrimp cook about 3-4 minutes, then drain and remove the onion and bay leaves. When the shrimp are cool enough to handle, slice each piece in two, lengthwise.
  2. STEP TWO: VEGGIE PREP In a large bowl, combine red onion, fennel, red bell pepper, celery and sprinkle the teaspoon of salt on top. Let sit in room temperature about 30 minutes, tossing the veggies several times. Rinse the veggies and return to the bowl.
  3. STEP THREE: PICKLING PREP To the veggie bowl, add the shrimp, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, lemon peels, EVOO, parsley leaves, allspice, red pepper flakes, and cayenne pepper. Mix thoroughly to combine. Tightly pack mixture into airtight jars (I used four mason jars) and top off each container with some of pickling juice. Leave in fridge for around 24 hours.
  4. STEP FOUR: ASSEMBLY AND SERVE Take shrimp mix out and let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before you want to serve. Remove the lemon peels. Using olive oil, lightly heat rye bread slices in a pan until hot and crisp on both sides. I also threw in my minced garlic to cook them a bit. Mix garlic and mayonnaise (tada! quick and easy makeshift aioli). Top each slice of bread with mayo mixture and a generous portion of your pickled shrimp and veggies. Garnish with fresh dill sprigs, if you have them. Enjoy!

Thursday Thoughts – 9/17/15

  1. Tonight for dinner, we cooked and ate our second attempt at Peri Peri Chicken. THIS time properly with bird’s eye chili, a little bit less garlic, and a little bit more lemon. Second time was better than the first! Still, cannot wait to have my third time cooking peri peri chicken be with actual Nando’s sauces!!

    Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 9.58.31 PM

    Shoutout to Nando’s.
    My favorite chicken ever.
    Nando’s is the best.

  2. Tomorrow, the University of Michigan’s Museum of Art (UMMA) is hosting an after hours event featuring the art of Tyree Guyton! He’s the creator behind Detroit’s Heidelberg Project, literal street art at its best with an inspirational message that never fails to spark discussion. The Heidelberg Project is near and dear to my heart because of a couple of visits in high school, and I’m excited to check out the UMMA event and show my support for an awesome artist and leader!
  3. Speaking of Detroit, I just watched this short documentary called “The Detroit Graduates” yesterday, which peers into the lives of five kids in their senior year of high school, and again a year and a half later. It was real. Just real people and their stories. It’s good.
  4. I caught up with someone I knew in high school the other day, and it was so nice. It’s got me really thinking about trying to organize some kind of reunion this holiday season. Everyone is scattered everywhere, and we’ve all grown so much and so differently, but people still come home to see their families during the holidays right?
  5. Relatedly and unrelatedly, I miss the days when we’d all just pick up our phones and call people randomly, maybe just because we didn’t have anything better to do, and talk, maybe for hours. Now I feel like if I were to do that, the person on the other line would definitely think that I’m super weird. Or probably just not pick up and text me back later. Sigh.
  6. Fall Ball is this weekend (the med school’s fall dance). I’m excited! Hunt missed out on going last year because he was in Chicago visiting me that weekend, so we decided we’re going to check it out and have a blast at this year’s. What to wear, what to wear…
  7. I’m thinking about getting back into tap dancing! Again! Kelly wants me to do a hip hop class with her (lol), but the dance studio that class is at ALSO offers tap. I am not good at hip hop and that’s going to be a disaster/hilarious when we go next week, but tap, I love tap!
  8. I’m doing miserably on my September reading list. The two books that I wanted to read are apparently REALLY popular(??) because there are like a million requests on the copies at the library and none available. Guess I’m skipping over them for now. But today I picked up “The Invention of Wings”, and I’m excited to read it after my trip to Charleston. “Sue Monk Kidd’s sweeping new novel is set [in early-nineteenth-century Charleston], and is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday in 1803, when she is given ownership of ten-year-old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. The Invention of Wings follows their remarkable journeys over the next thirty-five years as both strive for lives of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement, and the uneasy ways of love. This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at one of the most devastating wounds in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.”
  9. Apple things to make: apple pie, apple sauce, apple onion chutney (pork chops), apple gruyere caramelized onion bites, apple grilled cheese, apple bacon burgers, apple popovers, apple cinnamon pancakes, apple butter, apple slaw… READY FOR MY ANNUAL APPLE ORCHARD TRIP! Conveniently, the local Northwestern alum club is hosting at my FAVORITE orchard (Erwin’s). Will be thanking NU for the free cider and notes.
  10. Donald Trump saying “China” drinking game? “People from China, they love me!”

Charleston, SC – grits, gators, gardens galore

DO: walk through the city market full of sweetgrass baskets and southern bites, relax at a beach (I went to Sullivan’s, which was really, really nice, but Folly’s is the place to go for more “fun”), stroll along east bay and the waterfront – gorgeous water on one side, gorgeous colorful houses and mansions on the other, white point gardens and the battery, Magnolia plantation and gardens
SEE: french quarter cobblestone streets and architecture, all these locations where they filmed The Notebook! – American Theater, King St, the intersection where they laid down in the street, Boone Hall, Calhoun Mansion… gators swimming and sunning!
EAT: Edmund’s Oast (awesome for craft beer lovers, and if you sit at the “chef’s counter”, they give you little presents!); Husk (homey feel, excellent southern comfort); The Ordinary (best. fresh. seafood. excellent rum cocktails); Magnolia’s (slightly more upscale, inventive); Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit for delicious and fresh biscuits on the go!
MISC: if you’re not from around the south… beware of mutant buggers! giant venomous spiders in the plantation gardens (as well as several species of venomous land and water snakes, although I didn’t see any of these), ridiculous mosquitos (got so many bites that I ended up taking antihistamines). know that much of the “tourist” experience is steeped in Charleston’s slave history.















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