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Get Angry

I always have an intense desire to create. Birth beauty. 
I want to put things out into the world that make me happy, in the hopes that they also make someone else happy. That is why I write, post poetry, and work in content creation.
Diving deeper though, it may even be for unified solidarity. To know that someone is feeling exactly the same way I’m feeling about something. That I’m not alone. We’re together in this. 
That is somewhat the point of this...

How cliche is it that we live in an actual world where we are not surprised when someone is raped. I realized the other day that when I hear that someone has been sexually assaulted, there is no more shock factor for me. I think, “That’s awful, yup, another one.” 
I didn’t even realize this until I heard Joe Biden speak at my alma mater the other day and state, “This is NOT ok. This NEEDS to end” when referring to rape culture.  
Something inside of me snapped- and sadly, it was because I heard a man say it for the first time.

In September of 2014 I was sexually assaulted.
I don’t want your pity, I don’t want your apologies. I don’t even really care if you look at me differently. I’m not here to get into the gory details, I’m not here to tell you about how I almost failed every class that semester because I could not enter the classrooms with male professors; how the thought of a male authority figure in control of me in any form made me shake. Because, if you’re still reading this, you also probably know that same feeling. The loss of control. The vicious anxiety that you constantly attempt to wrap your finger around but somehow gets knotted in your throat choking you. 

I was in a hot yoga class last week, everyone in the room was female, except for the male instructor. I had a panic attack. It’s been almost four years and being in a room with a man “controlling” me made me have to lay down on my mat for a moment in child's pose and practice my breathing exercises not because my body was killing me, but because my mind was attacking me.
I am not some debilitated human being now. I like to think of myself as somewhat successful, somewhat driven, a lot of adventurous spirit. I’ve lived in different countries, I’ve dated other men, I got a cat. I am a normal 22-year-old who thinks brunch is not actually brunching unless there’s alcohol involved. 

I remember the first time a friend told me she was raped. I can’t tell you verbatim what she said, or really even where we were when she told me... But I remember the way it made me feel. I was angry. I wanted to hold her. I wanted to help her and I wanted justice. I was in complete disarray that there was another human being who could do this besides the human being who did this to me. 

Last week, a co-worker opened up to me about her sexual assault. I looked at her, said I was so sorry that happened, that I understand, and we discussed it a little bit. Later, I went home, fed my cat, sprayed lavender mist on  my pillow, and went to bed. 

I feel guilty for that sleep. I feel guilty for not being angry. At first, I thought my lack of anger was due to the years of therapy after being diagnosed with Rape Trauma Syndrome. The countless “letters to burn” I wrote to him. The amount of forgiveness training I received. I do not hate him. I really don’t... Did all of that counseling make me numb to my anger towards assaulters? Knowing that you must forgive in order to begin to heal?

No. That is not what didn’t entice anger. What did was that almost every damn woman I am close with had been assaulted. That I realized I now subconsciously assume every woman has. Because almost every woman I know has. 
One friend is too many. One coworker is too many. I am too many. 

I don’t open up about my assault easily. I don’t want people to look at me differently because of it. I used to see this guy and at one point felt it was important to bring it into our dialogue because if we continued seeing each he should be aware that my RTS is something that may or not affect us in certain ways. He was not shocked, he did not ask questions, it was not discussed further. 

Why is nobody shocked anymore about rape? Why has #MeToo become something to joke about? I’ll tell you why. Because it’s almost laughable how many damn women can say #MeToo.
Men turned the #MeToo movement into another way of displaying women as competing in a popularity contest and seeking attention. 
This isn’t Miss America. We’re not getting on stage and announcing our assault, something so many view as a weakness and embarrassing, to gain popularity. Say that out loud, please. It sounds ridiculous. 
You don’t make a Facebook status about your small penis size to gain more notoriety. 
(Side note: I know many men who do not joke about the #MeToo movement and put women on the same level as men and do not view gender ever as a disadvantage, but I know more men who aren’t like that.)

I don’t want to be angry, but I think we need to be. We need programs that educate women and men at a young age about consent. We need to stop it with this bullshit dress code crap. If you get turned on by a 12-year-old in a tank top that sounds like a personal problem. 

I got mad at my mother once because a few years ago she told my little brother to, “man up” when he had to take gross medicine. She still to this day doesn’t understand why that bothered me so much. "It's just a saying," she said. It's not. It’s because it’s the little things. Their subconscious impact. It’s these little things that we can start to instill in the youth, these values, that can cause a ripple effect. 

I’m not saying I’m here to solve gender equality and prevent all sexual assault. Jeez, I more often than not am too lazy to wash my face before I go to bed. 
I’m looking to open a dialogue. Maybe alter one opinion. (This also has just been very self-therapeutic and I’m not sure if I’m even going to post it.) 

Get angry.

Trump promotes rape culture.

The End. 

PCOS & Food: The frenemy you never knew you had

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or a nutritionist. I am a 21-year-old who has been suffering from PCOS since she was 13, & sharing what works best for me. All stats and sources will be hyperlinked. This is a blog post for my Food Writing course. 

PCOS is short for Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. According to WebMD, PCOS, "is a problem in which a woman's hormones are out of balance. It can cause problems with your periods and make it difficult to get pregnant. PCOS also may cause unwanted changes in the way you look. If it isn't treated, over time it can lead to serious health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease."

 

Here is quick & quirky video from nutritionist, Melissa Ramos, who really breaks it down well:


 

Who suffers from PCOS?

It is estimated that around 10- 15 percent of women have PCOS. Though, many are not even diagnosed until their twenties or thirties. Girls as young as 11 could already start to suffer the symptoms of the hormonal imbalance without even having their first period. 


 

My PCOS Journey: How becoming a woman forced me to change my diet.

My mom always jokes about how I came home from basketball practice in the 4th grade and how when she asked how it went my response was, “Good. I made five baskets, got my period, and learned a defense play.” She still laughs about that to this day. Women who have PCOS normally get their period at a young age, hence, me being in the 4th grade. Though, that was the only time I had it that year. And only once again in the 6th grade, and once again in the 7th. Sounds like a dream, right? My mother didn’t think so. She was concerned so she took me to the gynecologist. It was there that after hearing my symptoms and having the blood work done that I was officially diagnosed and started on birth control.

So, how does food come into play for this? I had always been very thin growing up. Actually, too thin. I ate anything and everything and never gained weight. Though, around the time of the 7th & 8th grade, when my PCOS was worsening, I gained a significant amount of weight in a short amount of time. Not to say I was ‘big’ by any means, but I wasn’t used to the fast growth of my body (which also caused a lot of stretch marks.) I felt like every time after I ate or put something in my body that I would become bloated. My mother told me I was crazy, but I knew that something was not right. I thought it was just my own body. The bloating was painful and embarrassing. I started skipping meals if I knew I had to cheerlead that night or had an event because I did not want anyone else to see my ‘food baby.’ 

At an early age I learned that if I did not want to bloat, I had to avoid the enemy: bread and all forms of cards. 

This still holds true to this day. The only form of ‘bread’ intake that I consume are whole wheats and gluten free. Doughy carbs like soft pretzels and pizza make me feel as if I’m pregnant with triplets. 

All throughout high school my weight fluctuated. I have learned about myself that I have an all- or- nothing personality throughout my journey of learning about living in a PCOS body. When I was eating extremely healthy, to the point where it may have been unhealthy, I would consume as low as a 900 calorie intake per day focusing on only vegetables and whole grains (I’m also a vegetarian.) Although, my ‘unhealthy’ diets were not necessarily ‘unhealthy’ to the normal teenage girl. Unhealthy was having the cafeteria mozzarella sticks I loved so much at lunch. Or going out for pizza with my cheerleading team after a winning game. All normal things like this took a drastic toll on my body, and there were times where I would be fluctuating 5-7 pounds every week. 

My friends and family saw my obsessive calorie counting as signs of an eating disorder, but really it was just a trial and error process to learning what works for me and what doesn’t. When I was diagnosed at 13, I was never even informed of how food would affect my body. In the 8th grade I was being told about how I may have trouble getting pregnant one day, that I would have terrible acne my whole life, and also be growing facial hair due to my high levels of testosterone. 

My intent for this post is to give insight into the diet of a 20- something suffering from PCOS, so that maybe if a young girl, newly diagnosed, was to stumble upon it, she would not have to go through all the pain and anxiety I went through a young age and could adapt a healthy diet for her PCOS body early on. 


 

What NOT to eat with PCOS...

  • The Golden Rule: Only certain carbs are your friend. Avoid all white breads and almost all pastas. They don’t mean to hurt you, but your body will not process them normally like other foods. 
  • Vegetables & fruit that are considered ‘high glycemic.’ I’m talking dried fruit, tropical fruit, corn, & potatoes. These contain more sugar and starch then most and will sit like rocks in your stomach. 
  • Sugary candies sadly do not make the cut- they are the true frenemy. Actually, anything that contains a lot of sugar, not even just candy, is not our friend. These can be disguised as protein shakes, pressed juices, or even ‘healthy’ cereals. I have created a golden rule that if I follow, my body and I get along just fine. Do not consume anything that’s sugar is more then double the protein. Let me explain: if the protein is 8g and the sugar is 14g, you are in the clear. 8+8= 16, therefore, it is not double. You’ll find that you will become very constricted if you follow this rule, and it’s okay to cheat every now and again, though I wish someone had told this to me in my early teens. Our bodies already produce high triglycerides (sugars) as it is, the last thing we want to put in ourselves is more of it. That being said though, everything is good in moderation. 
  • Dairy. I am so sorry to say this. Not only because I know my professor who’s grading this is the cheese lover & blogger, Madame Fromage but also because I love myself a nice big slice of NYC pizza. Things like milk & yogurt have also proven to love to hate PCOS bodies also. (They are all also terrible for our skin, which we know can already be pretty bad as it is.)
  • Avoid fried foods. Just do it. They do not like your body and your body does not like them. No other explanation needed. 
  • Creamy dressings will upset your stomach. They are rich in dairy and high in sugar also. A great alternative I’ve found is just using salsa, whether it be flavored or not, on top of your salads. It gives the same type of ‘creamy’ aspect but is a MUCH healthier option. Most salsa is only 25 calories for two tsps. also!

 

What you CAN eat with PCOS...

Now that I have ruined most of your favorite foods I am going to try and redeem myself with my go- to substitutes. These are items that are always on my shopping list. (Please keep in mind that I am vegetarian.)

  • Almond- based mozzarella cheese: Trader Joe’s brand. There is hope! This alternative is, that I’ve found, better than the soy- based cheeses. Very tasty, and has a smoky undertone to it. Goes with almost anything. 
  • Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk: Trader Joe’s brand. Almond milk is the new fad that everyone, especially health guru’s are falling in love with. The vanilla flavor is not over- powering, though it does not have the chalky taste that almond milk usually carries. Unsweetened anything is always the smarter alternative with PCOS. It has less sugars (especially the processed ones.) 
  • Cauliflower rice may be my new favorite thing in the world. Rice, even the whole wheat, can sometimes cause painful bloating depending on how many carbs I have been consuming recently. I’ve found that just buying a frozen bag of riced cauliflower (almost everywhere sells it now) is a great base for when I’m making things like burrito bowls or need a side to a protein. They also can be flavored with either a little bit of salt, some buffalo sauce, or even garlic powder. 
  • Lactose- free coffee creamer. My favorite is the hazelnut or vanilla flavors from Trader Joe’s. Dairy, personally, can be fine in moderation, and I’ve found this is the only creamer that doesn’t make me bloated afterward. A lot of nutritionists recommend not drinking coffee at all, but personally, if I’d do that it would be a disservice to humanity. 
  • Himalayan salt (the Kirkland/ Costco brand you get the most bang for your buck.) Remember the whole thing about the bloating? It’s real, and salt can be a major contributor to that. Though, it’s unrealistic to not use salt because it’s called for in many recipes and sometimes it just gives food that extra kick you needed. Himalayan salt is a great alternative because it has more nutrients than regular salt, doesn’t make me feel as bloated as most, and it’s a gorgeous pink color. (Not that that’s a factor, I just really like the color.)
  • Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Tortillas. I am serious: if you have PCOS you need to go out and buy these right now! I use them for everything, peanut butter sandwiches, almond cheese quesadillas, toasted with hummus... I’m not kidding I put everything on them. Besides times I’ve eaten out, I can’t tell you when I’ve used regular bread on my own. These are only 110 calories, very thin, and do not make you feel like you just ate a load of bricks after! Seriously, go purchase these now. 
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: One table spoon of this a day in a cup of water will help your digestive system. I personally do it about every other day, but I will notice the difference when I go a few days without doing it. (Also washing your hair with it will make it super shiny.)
  • Better n’ Butter: Peanut butter can hold a really creamy base that will upset your stomach. This vegan butter is dairy free and lower in calorie! I’ve found it is also a lot sweeter than most peanut or almond butters so it can be used as a quick snack or dessert, or even in a smoothie.
  • Oatmeal has become my best friend. I usually purchase the plain Rolled Oats from Trader Joe's and then will but in the Better n' Butter, or just cinnamon. Fills you up in the morning without the terrible stomach pains after.

Recipes for PCOS

Here are some recipes from various sites online that I have found, tried, and loved. 

Fall In a Bowl: from PCOS Diva

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 4 cups chopped  
  • onions (3 large) 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg 
  • 5 pounds butternut squash (2 large), peeled and cubed 
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet apples, such as McIntosh (4 apples), cubed 
  • 4 cups chicken stock (if you don’t use homemade use Kitchen Basics) 
  • Salt and pepper to taste. 

Saute onions in butter/oil until soft and add spices.  Add peeled and cubed squash, pples and chicken stock.  Bring to a boil and then simmer until apples and squash are soft.  Cool on stovetop and then blend using immersion blender or in a conventional blender.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  This soup freezes well. 

 

Tofu Bean Salad: from Young Women's Health

  • 1 package extra firm tofu, cubed
  • 2 cans kidney beans or chick peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small can sliced olives
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons oil (olive, canola, or other)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice or cider vinegar

Put all ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Chill for a few hours and serve. Makes 4 servings
Add-In: Toss in ¾ cup sliced almonds for extra calcium and fiber.

 

Cauliflower Crust Pizza: from PCOS Nutrition 

  • 1 small head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 2 cups kale, chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup prepared pizza sauce
  • 4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Place a medium sized cast iron skillet in oven while it heats.
Pulse cauliflower florets in a food processor until it resembles rice. Measure 3 1/2 cups of the riced cauliflower. Place in a microwave safe bowl and cook on high for 6 to 7 minutes. Remove from bowl and wrap in paper towels, pressing to remove excess water. Allow to cool 5 to 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix cauliflower, almond flour, cheddar and parmesan cheeses, oregano, basil, garlic powder, black pepper, half of salt, and eggs to form a dough.
Remove skillet from oven and spray with cooking spray. Press dough into bottom of skillet. Bake 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven.
While crust cooks, heat oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add kale and season with remaining salt and crushed red pepper. Saute 5 minutes or until leaves have softened. Set aside.
Top crust with sauce, leaving 1 inch uncovered at edges. Top with mozzarella and kale. Return to oven and cook 10 more minutes or until cheese is bubbling. Allow to cool slightly before serving.


PCOS is something that caused me a lot of hardships in life. I've had to go on Accutane, a medication for cystic acne that causes depression, for my terrible skin. I've had to come to terms with the fact that I may not be able to have children one day. I've also had to learn how to eat for a body that does not agree with the typical American diet.  PCOS is not easy, not fun- but it is possible to lead a semi- normal life with it as long as you commit to keeping your body healthy. There are support groups online that have helped me a lot. One thing that keeps me in check though the most is my diet plan. Food is unavoidable, and it has taken a lot of trial and errors to get to where I am now- happy & comfortable in my body. I hope if there is a young girl out there struggling like I was, that she can read this and find some sort of relief earlier on then I did. 

The final piece of advice I am going to leave you with: when in doubt, peppermint tea.

The Ginger & The Sweet Potato

    I am the sweet potato. I can remember running my tiny fingers across the delicate lace table cloth in my Nanny & Poppy’s dining room, the place where my nickname was born. The little old Italian couple loved having their family over for Sunday dinner every week. In the sea of dark hair and skin sitting around the elegant lace I, with my fire red hair, stood out like a sore thumb. My guidette, Brooklyn born and bred, mother was a rebel for marrying an Irishman- and I was the result of that. Through even he had black hair. Hence, my nickname was born- “Little Irish Sweet Potata.”

    The sweet potato is home. What started out as a joke soon became a comfort. Even after my Poppy passed away and my Nanny developed Alzheimer's I would find that every time there was a family event, someone would make sure to make a sweet potato dish for me. I don’t even think I ever stated I liked sweet potatoes- it was just assumed. Now, 21 years into life, they’re my favorite food and I think addiction is a word that purely describes my relationship to the particularly orange potato. 

    The official vegetable of North Carolina is in my opinion, one of the most versatile, easiest, and healthiest options you can incorporate into your diet. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene). They are also a very good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6. Additionally, they are a good source of potassium, dietary fiber, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and phosphorus. According to theLos Angeles Department of Public Health, sweet potatoes contain magnesium, the go-to mineral for distressing. It promotes relaxation, calmness and a good mood, as well as artery, blood, bone, muscle and nerve health, according to Psychology Today.  They’re also fewer calories then your run of the mill white potato. They’ll help your eye site, lower your blood pressure, help your skin, hair, and digestion- and they taste damn good.

    If I haven’t sold you yet, you should also know they can be eaten for every meal of the day. When I tell you that there is a sweet and savory recipe in every color of the rainbow to match any type of craving your having- a sweet potato can satisfy that. Period cravings? Forget the chocolate. Bake a sweet potato for 45 minutes at 450 degrees and add some cinnamon- might as well be pudding. 

    My sweet potato journey may have started at a young age, but that doesn’t mean that yours had to as well. Over the five days I will be blogging, just for you, about the starchy yet sweet, mouth watering, divine, savory, and rich food that just happens to be the same color as my hair. 


Day 1

    I woke up in a terrible mood. It was raining, I had work at 9am, and all I wanted was to slip back into sleep in my warm bed. Also, I was out of K- cups, every college student’s nightmare. While mid- curling my hair and brushing my teeth at the same time, I remembered I had a baked sweet potato in the fridge from the night before. I had 30 minutes and a determination to not go to work hungry. 

    I ran into the kitchen, grabbed the sweet potato with such vigor I almost fell over, and I started to heat a skillet. This vegetarian was planning on not getting hangry any time soon.

    Not only is this recipe quick and easy, but it’s also healthy as hell and made me feel like I just had a shot of expresso. I went to work and gave tours as a Hawk Host full of energy and, thankfully, not hangry. 

Sweet Potato Egg Frittata
Serves
: 1 

Ingredients:
1 tbsp Coconut oil
1 baked potato
1 egg
Sprinkle of vegan almond mozzarella cheese
Shake of salt & pepper

Instructions:

1. Skin the sweet potato
2. Place in hot skillet and wait till it browns on bottom
3. Crack egg on top of sweet potato
4. Add salt & pepper, then sprinkle on vegan cheese
5. Wait until egg is fully cooked, then enjoy!


Day 2

    Let me paint a picture for you: it’s Saturday, the sun is shining, the leaves are finally changing color, the air has a beautiful brisk bite to it, and the zit on my chin finally went away. I was ready to go apple picking, or pumpkin throwing, or getting a PSL at Starbucks, or even just going outside and stomping on leaves or something. 

    Instead, my roommates and I went to Trader Joe’s and I forced them to help me make sweet potato cupcakes. 

    Not only did these sweet potato cupcakes taste like the perfect fall afternoon, but they paired perfectly for a roommate night in watching Halloween Town.

Sweet Potato Cupcakes
Serves: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 17.2 ounce can vacuum-packed sweet potatoes (unsweetened), mashed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 recipe Cream Cheese Frosting

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spray cupcake pan with coconut oil
3. Mix together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in medium size bowl
4. Mix butter with electric mixer (or enough vigor to make up for being a college student who lacks an electric mixer) then add sugar and stir for two minutes.
5. Add the three eggs, sweet potatoes, and vanilla. Beat until all combined, then add the flour and repeat. 
6. Put batter in divided cupcake trays, place in oven, and bake for about 20 minutes or until fully cooked.
7. Once cooled, add cream cheese frosting. 


Day 3

    Well, the perfect fall afternoon turned into a rainy Sunday. And my zit was back. Not that I was getting sick of eating sweet potatoes, but I wanted to change it up a little bit. Variety is always good in life, so I figured it’d be good for sweet potatoes too. 

    So yes, I did rub sweet potatos all over my face.

Sweet Potato Face Mask
Serves:
1 face

Ingredients: 
1 sweet potato
1 tbsp of honey
1 tbsp of milk

Directions:
1. Boil sweet potato until it is soft enough for the skin to be peeled off. 
2. Remove from water and drain.
3. Blend sweet potato in medium sized bowl with honey and milk.
4. Let mask cool and then apply to face for 20 to 25 minutes.

   I found this “recipe” online from a brain cancer survivor, Indie Lee, who started her own line of natural skin care products. This mask not only soothed my skin, but because there’s so many antioxidants in the sweet potato it repairs damaged skin cells and and hydrates it. My zit did not despair out of thin air... But it did shrink it in size and I felt fabulous after. Basically, 10 out of 10, would recommend. 


Day 4

    On this gloomy Monday morning I woke up stressed about school and ready to eat the most unhealthy thing in my kitchen. Though, I made this commitment of having sweet potatoes for 5 days straight so I sure as hell was going to stick with it. Another benefit of sweet potatoes is you can fool yourself into thinking your eating junk food, but really you’re being super healthy! So of course I made sweet potato fries.

Sweet Potato Fries with “Dip”
Serves:
2

Ingredients
1 tbsp Coconut oil
2 sweet potatoes
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp brown sugar

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Skin the sweet potatoes and then cut into thin slices
3. Spray pan with coconut oil and then place the sliced sweet potato and put in oven. Cook for 45 minutes.
4. While sweet potatos are cooling, place butter and brown sugar in bowl, microwave for 30 seconds.
5. Dip your fries and enjoy!

    Maybe the dip wasn’t all that healthy, but I really didn’t feel as bad as I would have if I drove through McDonalds, and I certainly was equally as satisfied. Baking them for 45 minutes gave them the perfect crispiness. If you try this recipe, don’t be afraid of them getting dark or burnt looking- that’s normal! 


Day 5

    It’s my last day and I’m going all in. I’m making ice cream! This one took a little bit more prep then expected, but so worth it. You will need to prep the night before, and oat milk is hard to find, but just visit your local Whole Foods and you are set!

Sweet Potato Ice Cream
Serves:
4 cups

Ingredients:
1
large sweet potato, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick pieces
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 cups low-fat, unsweetened oat milk
1/2 cup raw honey
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place potato in baking dish. Pour maple syrup all over.  Bake for 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how long it takes to soften.
2. Remove from oven and immediately put in refrigerator. Refrigerate overnight to further soften potato.
3. In the bowl of a food processor (or in a magic bullet if you’re a broke college student pt.2), purée potato until creamy, about 4 minutes. Scrape bowl to prevent syrup from settling on the bottom. 
4. Add milk and blend. Then add honey, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice and process until mixture turns from dark orange to light orange in color and becomes creamy, about 4 minutes.
5. Pour mixture into a 9 x 9-inch metal cake pan and freeze for 12 hours, until solid. To serve, remove from freezer and let rest for about 5 minutes, until scoopable.


    Now that my 5 days of sweet potatoes is over, I wonder if I still would have done this if it hadn’t been for my nickname growing up. I like to think that I would have found my way to them eventually. Every time they’re mentioned or anytime I have them I remember sitting around that lace table cloth with my family every Sunday, and a little part inside of me feels like I’m at home.

New Years Day

I have a lot of expectations for this upcoming year. A lot of traveling and a lot of new experiences.
I'll be a fellow for a non- profit communications course at my university. This honestly is the best thing that could ever happen to me. I'm not only going to be working in the non- profit field which is something I love and want to do in the future, but I'll also be teaching other students what I've learned from my work with Invisible Children and Intercultural Journeys.
Then this summer I'll be studying in Greece- the number one place on my countries to visit. I'll be taking Ancient Green Religions there which is a course I'm really interested in. Just the idea of travel is so exciting, and I know I'll be somewhat of a nervous mess as the trip nears. My goal before I leave in May is to prepare myself and work on coping mechanisms for my anxiety. I want to make sure I'm in perfect shape so that I can fully appreciate my travels.
My New Years Resolution for 2016 is to continue what I'm doing. Staying true to myself, staying healthy, and strengthening friendships. Building a foundation for my future. I'm so proud of everything I've accomplished in 2015, and I can't wait to see what 2016 has in store.