My Anxiety Will Not Control Me

The weight on my chest is suffocating, the crushing pain of it working up through my throat. I can feel the air getting trapped and my lungs pumping harder. The edges of my vision blur till I can only see what’s right in front of me. I feel like everything is moving closer, ready to crush me in seconds. Then it’s done. Everything zooms out and I’m back sitting on my bed. My anxiety attack is over.

I’m going to my dream college pursuing a degree in a major practically made for me so I can get a dream job in science communication. So why am I panicking?

Over the summer, as graduation day neared, my anxiety attacks were more frequent and usually unprovoked. And they happened everywhere.

In the shower.

On the bus.

Watching a tv show.

But I’m on a path to getting better.

I’m fortunate enough to have a supportive network of family, friends, my girlfriend, employers, and professors who all want to see me succeed. I would not be where I am without their unconditional love and support even at my lowest and, to quote Meredith Grey, “dark and twistiest.”

I’m also beyond lucky to have excellent mental health services through my university, and I was able to talk to someone to work out a plan to help me gain control of my anxiety. Because my anxiety will never be cured. It will never magically go away. As frustrating as it is, my anxiety is a part of me. So instead of fighting it till it exhausts my physically and emotionally, I’m going to take the steps I need to control it. Because I refuse to let it own me anymore.

 

My cousin, Kelsey, just started college this fall, and one of the pieces of advice I gave her was don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t wait till you’re drowning to reach out for a lifeline. I didn’t seek out counseling my freshman year until I was already skipping and nearly failing classes, and I still feel the repercussions of that decision nearly 4 years later. I’ve worked my ass off these last three years to help my mental health, and GPA, recover. I was worried I’d be the only one there. But when I first walked to UHS Mental Health Services and told the receptionist “I need help, and I need someone to talk to,” I noticed the whole waiting room was full. Full of students experiencing the same things as me. And I had been worried, no, ashamed to have to go to counseling.

I recently realized that I don’t write poetry anymore and it made me sad. I haven’t written since my senior year of high school. In a wave of nostalgia for a time before my poetic creativity was drained by the sleepless nights and anxiety ridden days of college, I found our creative writing anthology from senior year. It was one of the few books I’ve had on my shelf every year since moving to Wisconsin, always between the Black Dagger Brotherhood and Queens of Scotland series. As I read my poems, I realized they were more than the usual angst teens inject into their writing. They were the circumstances and fear and worries that followed me into college that eventually morphed into the fuel for the anxiety I have today. I should’ve paid closer attention to my own warnings to myself at the time. But you can’t live in a world of should’ve, could’ve, would’ve. Our anthology was called Baggage Claim. Nearly 4 years later, I’m finally picking up my baggage.

This post was a long time coming, and I think seeing it was Mental Health Awareness Day finally kicked it into gear. My blog isn’t usually my diary. Every time I sat down to write this, I would stare at the blank post format for a few minutes before shutting my laptop. Nope, wasn’t happening. It was infuriating to me as a writer. Writing has always been my most effective way of expressing myself, no matter if I’m at my highest or lowest point. Why is something that so many people suffer from so hard to talk about, let alone write about?

We need to normalize talking about this. We need to stop worrying about what people will think. I know that’s easy enough to say, but it’s the bottom line. I won’t lie, it was terrifying to hit publish on this post. But it was also relieving.

My name is Josie Russo. I’m a Dean’s List student. I’m Vice President of my sorority. I have two incredible internships doing what I love. I’m graduating with my Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences Communication this December. And I suffer from anxiety. I will succeed after college.

My anxiety will not define me. It will not control me.

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Cracked Black Pepper Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes

When I was in the grocery store, this cracked black pepper cheddar cheese spoke to me (plus it was on sale).

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I love cracked black pepper flavored anything, but this cheese is perfect for tons of recipes. Cracked black pepper cheese on cracked black pepper Triscuits? #Inception. I posted a photo on my snapchat asking for ideas what to make with it like a grilled cheese or cheese fries, which I will totally try with the cheese I had left.

My favorite recipes are always the ones where I see an interesting ingredient like this cheese and then I build the recipe around it. I thought scalloped potatoes would be a good recipe to try, because this cheese seemed like it would make a great cheese sauce. You also really can’t go wrong with cheese and potatoes.

It’s funny how your food preferences change as you grow up, because I always dreaded when mom made scalloped potatoes as a kid. Now I’m trying to figure out how to make them homemade. These were delicious, and I’m glad I decided to give scalloped potatoes a try again. But don’t get any ideas Mom, I won’t be making ham steak or veggie lasagna anytime soon.

Don’t be intimidated by trying to make this restaurant pretty and trying to stack it perfectly. It’s actually super easy to make, and once you get it down, then you can make an easy side dish for tons of favorite dinners. The best part? They are still as delicious reheated, so they’re perfect to throw in your bag to take for lunch to the office or between classes.

Let me know what you think of these cheesy and yummy scalloped potatoes, or what some other fun or different cheeses I could try are in the comments!

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Cracked Black Pepper Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes

Serves 4

Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pounds of russet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 4 ounces freshly shredded cracked black pepper cheddar cheese, shred some extra to top it off
  • Salt and pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Scrub potatoes clean and put into the boiling water, skin still on. Cook for 20 minutes, remove, and let sit until cool enough to handle.
  3. While they cool, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour constantly until golden brown, then stir in milk until thickened. Remove the sauce from heat and stir in shredded cheese. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste.
  4. Peel potatoes and slice into thin rounds. Place 1/3 of the potato slices, overlapping, in a single layer in greased 13 x 9 inch pan, seasoning with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Spoon about 1/3 of the cheese sauce on top of the potatoes.
  5. Repeat for two more layers (I was cooking for one and could only make 2 total layers). Pour all of the remaining cheese sauce over the top layer of potatoes.
  6. Sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese and dust paprika on top.
  7. Bake in the 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until melted and bubbling.
  8. Garnish with parsley

Enjoy!

 

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Cheers, Josie

Josie Pozie’s Picks: El Grito Taqueria

El Grito Taqueria is one of the many food carts that dot Capitol Square during lunchtime. I usually head to Ian’s Pizza for a salad or Michelangelo’s Coffee House for a sandwich for lunch, but I finally visited after passing by the cart for nearly two months once my boss recommended it to me. She grabbed one for lunch and the whole office smelled amazing. I couldn’t resist any longer.

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While no one can deny that tacos are delicious, they don’t always make the best desk lunch. That is unless you want your notes and laptop covered in delicious taco toppings and drippings to save for later? To each their own, my friends. But let me say, these tacos are so worth the mess.

You’re always in for something new and delicious with a rotating menu every week, and you don’t stuck in a rut of ordering the same thing. You will definitely have favorites though.

While I haven’t tried any of their drinks yet, the pictures of the Watermelon Agua Fresca on their Instagram have put it on the top of my list. I’m not even into watermelon drinks and I want to give it a try. It looks perfect for warm summer days, though those will be few and far between as the Wisconsin fall lingers on the horizon.

My favorite taco is their Chipotle BBQ Taco with Cabbage Slaw. It is the first taco I tried and the best, in my opinion.

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The BBQ keeps it bold and tangy, with the chipotle in it giving a little bit of heat. I know people say food is mouthwatering a lot, but I seriously mean it when I say my mouth starts to water in anticipation while I wait in line for these tacos. When I walk into the office with them, everyone goes “Oh my god that smells amazing,” because the sauce smells as heavenly as it tastes.

Two thick corn tortillas are stacked on top of each other and keep all that amazing Chipotle BBQ juice from soaking through all over your hands. Seriously, look at that. You don’t want to waste any of that. No thin flour tortilla could save that. All I can say is thank god for corn tortillas.

What brings this taco together is the cabbage slaw. I could eat a bucket of this slaw just by itself. It’s sharp yet sweet, and adds the perfect bite. Every aspect of these tacos look like a work of art, and taste even better than they look.

Where to find it

El Grito’s food cart, the one I visit, is at Capitol Square at the top of State Street by the Veteran’s Museum from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Their food truck is found at various locations throughout the week, and the times and locations can be found on their website.

They’ll be on campus at Allen Centennial Gardens on September 7 from 4 p.m.-8 p.m.

Visit their Instagram or website to see their tacos beautifully photographed, showcasing just a few of the dozens of combinations they offer. It seems like their creations are endless, which also means more reasons to visit again and again.

Cheers, Josie

Sour Cream and Onion Mashed Potatoes

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Sour cream and onion is one of the classic flavors. Chips, dips, even crickets are found in this favorite. So why not mashed potatoes? Sour cream and green onions often go on loaded baked potatoes, so it makes perfect sense they could go in mashed potatoes.

I grabbed some fresh green onions and garlic from the Dane County Farmers’ Market this past Saturday that I used to make this. Nothing like making something that tastes delicious that also supports local farmers. The green onions were huge and only cost $1 for four of them. I ended up only using one for the whole dish they were that big.

This recipe was born from a craving for mashed potatoes and sour cream and onion chips. I didn’t have enough milk to make regular mash, so I used some heavy cream and sour cream. I realized I needed something to break up the intense richness of it, so out came the green onions and roasted garlic. The green onions give a sweet crunch to the creamy and buttery mashed potatoes. The recipe is simple but will bring something new to dinner.

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Side Note
With mashed potatoes, I think how much of each ingredient you use really comes down to personal taste and preference. These are the base amounts I started with for each ingredient, and adjusted as necessary to get the desired texture and taste.

Sour Cream and Onion Mashed Potatoes

Serves 4

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 2.5 pounds of potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons of salted butter
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 head of roasted garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Splash of heavy cream or whole milk

Instructions

  1. Peel the excess layers off a head of garlic, and cut the top off to expose the cloves. Place on tin foil and drizzle with olive oil, wrapping the tin foil loosely around the garlic and putting it on a baking sheet. Roast for about 40 minutes at 400 degrees.
  2. While the garlic roasts, boil the potatoes in salted water for about 20 minutes, or until they are tender. Drain the potatoes. I used red potatoes since that is what I had in the house, but use your favorite.
  3. Once the garlic is roasted, squeeze out the now soft garlic onto a cutting board. It should be soft enough where you don’t have to cut it, but I gave it a once over with my knife to get rid of any chunks.
  4. Add the butter, sour cream, splash of heavy cream, chopped green onion, and the then the black pepper, roasted garlic, and salt all to taste. I started it out with small spoonfuls of the roasted garlic at a time, adding until I got the taste I wanted.
  5. Using a hand mixer, mix potatoes until smooth. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed. If too thick, add another splash of cream or milk to thin out. Top with additional green onions and sour cream.

Enjoy!

 

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Cheers, Josie

Beauty, Botany, and Back to School

School starting in 10 days means two things: me freaking out over the fact this is my last semester at UW-Madison and stocking up on all my back to school needs.

After going to see “The Glass Castle” the other day, I stopped into a Lush for the first time in years. I didn’t even know there was one near us till I happened to see it on the mall directory. The very ecstatic guy working showed me the newest products, and seeing the huge selection of fun bath bombs made me wish I had a bathtub in my apartment.

While I couldn’t get bath bombs, I did decide to get some back to school shopping done for things I need and could use throughout the school year. Plus, I love getting new beauty products because it’s another opportunity to do some research to find the science behind what goes into them. Check out what I picked up below!

Mint Julips Lip Scrub

I’ve had chapped lips ever since I was on Accutane in middle school, and the Wisconsin winters don’t help that. I’m constantly use lip balms, and I use them so often I don’t mind spending a little more for the good ones. I do think some of it is just habitual since my lips were so awful and constantly dry in middle school. My lips really are awful in the winter though, and I’ve heard great things about the Lush’s lip scrubs, so I decided to pick up a proper lip scrub to see if it would work for me.

 

I picked up their Mint Julips lip scrub, which has peppermint oil as one of its most noticeable ingredients. Peppermint is a cross between watermint and spearmint, and is often used to flavor  gum, teas, desserts, and toothpaste. The smell is also known for its calming effect, and its use for various treatments goes back to the Greeks. The lip scrub smells and tastes so amazing from this oil that you almost want to buy it just to eat it.

The base is castor sugar, and you actually lick off the excess scrub once you’ve exfoliated your lips. My lips felt tingly, minty, and, most importantly, smooth afterwards. I’ve tried some homemade lip scrubs at home and my lips just always ended up feeling sticky. This lip scrub has jojoba oil and you can really feel it coat your lips to keep them hydrated and smooth, which is one of they key features of jojoba oil. I did skim through some clinical studies on jojoba and there was a few from the past couple years about it’s ability to treat wounds. It’s interesting and I’ll have to keep tabs on it.

Overall, I loved this product. Not only did it taste and smell heavenly, it actually did it’s job and left my lips feeling smooth and refreshed. The blend of peppermint oil, jojoba oil, and vanilla extract was perfect, and learning the properties behind some of the ingredients was cool.

Check out this awesome video about the power peppermint has in our  lives!

Sunkissed Lip Tint

Now that you’ve done the lip scrub, you’ve got to find a nice lip balm to go over it. I have a couple go-to’s, like eos Pomegranate Raspberry stick lip balm, Basin Sangria lip balm, and glominerals The Cherry Balm lip balm, which I’ve featured on Josie Pozies before. But, I’ve yet to find a tinted lip balm that really does it for me. I own a Burt’s Bees one, but it’s too grainy for me, and that’s a problem I run into with a lot of tinted lip balms since they have a glitter in them. I was wary to try one of Lush’s for that reason, but after testing some in store, I was sold.

 

The amazing tropical smell and subtle color and shimmer were the main reasons I chose Sunkissed from their selection of lip balms. They also have Strawberry Bombshell, a fuscia, and It Started With A Kiss, a bright red, but I decided to go with the nude for an everyday color. Some of the featured ingredients are oatmeal, bananas, and beeswax.

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The oatmeal and bananas are for soothing. Bananas are packed with vitamins and are often found in face masks for moisturizing. Oatmeal is used for its anti-itch and anti-inflammatory properties, and oatmeal baths have been a remedy of these for centuries. The age old remedy just got capped into a tube for your lips. Beeswax has “rich hydrophobic protective properties” so it’s a favorite in cosmetics and makes it perfect for a lip balm, and locks in all the jojoba oil leftover from the lip scrub.

I love the color and the smell of this lip balm, which also has cardamom, neroli and lavender oils. It looks great and smells great, so it will be a perfect addition to my pencil pouch as I run from class to class this semester.

No Drought Dry Shampoo

One of the biggest struggles when school gets busy is finding time to wash my hair. I have thick hair that takes all day to dry and needs to try up in a clip, so I have to shower early. I usually leave it to the last minute, and there are a lot of times where I push it. So, after smelling and feeling this dry shampoo, I thought I would give it a try.

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This dry shampoo is a cornstarch base infused with grapefruit and lime oils, so it smells like a citrus paradise in a bottle. Cornstarch always makes me think of that slime we used to make in elementary school, but I also used it to make my hair look white for Senior Day in high school. Fitting I’d be using it my senior year of college to make my life a little easier.

Cornstarch, listed as cornflour here, is a “carbohydrate extracted from the endosperm of corn” and used for everything from thickening sauces to coating medical latex gloves. Cornstarch is also included in a lot of oil removing remedies, so it would make sense it should do the same for your hair. I was worried to try it since I have such dark hair, but the employee, and website, assured me it blends in completely, even on dark hair.

The lime and grapefruit oils in the powder are used for scent, but also have their own properties. Grapefruit oil is used in aromatherapy for exhaustion, and lime oil can also remove grease.

All three of these ingredients combine to make an excellent dry shampoo. Run a bit through your roots, brush or shake it out, and you’re set when you need an extra day to get to proper shampooing and conditioning.

P.S. The guy at Lush suggested shaking it into your hand instead of squeezing the bottle, since squeezing will send the powder flying everywhere.

Cheers, Josie

Josie Pozie’s Picks: Gotham Bagels

Working on Capitol Square means tons of fun and trendy places to try for lunch. Gotham Bagels is tucked on a side street off Capitol Square next to the Children’s museum, and is one of those places I’ve heard about since I moved to Wisconsin three years ago but have only just got around to trying. It was during one of my usual cravings for Brooklyn Water Bagels that I decided to walk down to Gotham during my lunch hour.

I haven’t had a chance to sit and really enjoy the atmosphere of the shop since I usually run here to pick up something for lunch during work. You really get the deli vibe from the brightly lit case filled with deli salads, lox, and pastrami to the hand-chalked specials board. Their menu of hand-rolled bagels and cream cheeses hangs down above the counter where you order, with the bagels themselves stacked in baskets over the cooler case.

 

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Gotham serves cold sandwiches like deli salads and lox, or hot sandwiches like pastrami and piled high corned beef. I haven’t tried any of the hot sandwiches yet since I take my food to-go, but they sound amazing. There is an a la carte menu too, where you can get your favorite bagels, meat and deli salads, cream cheeses, and even their Gotham pickles to take home. They also offer catering platters for 10-15 people.

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The staff is friendly and the shop is inviting to come have a quick, relaxing lunch in just from what I’ve experienced just waiting for my takeout order. To-go sandwiches are beautifully wrapped with precision in paper that becomes the perfect makeshift plate for wherever you’re taking your lunch.

If you’re looking for a quick bite, but a comfortable and relaxing place to sit, Gotham Bagels is the place to be for breakfast or lunch. Check out my picks from Gotham Bagels.

Bagel with Cream Cheese  $3.25

 

I got an egg bagel and decided to be adventurous and give the chimichurri cream cheese a try. As much as I wanted to like it, it didn’t really do it for me. I love chimichurri, but it didn’t have the flavor I was looking for. The egg bagel was perfect, though it came plain when I asked for it toasted, but hey, not all days will be great. I think Gotham’s egg bagels the perfect base if you’re going to try one of their crazy cream cheese flavors. While the chimichurri cream cheese was a dud for me, I’m excited to try some of the other fun flavors. I think jalapeño/garlic might be my next shot.

Traditional Egg Salad  $6.00

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I’ve never had egg salad with celery in it, since Publix is my usual go-to for that and they use pickle relish in their egg salad and I don’t think Brooklyn Water Bagels has any “crunch” item in theirs. Still, I really enjoyed Gotham’s egg salad. I added arugula for an extra $1.00, but that’s worth it for me. I like greens on all my sandwiches. Getting this on a toasted everything bagel was the right idea, since it gave even more crunch and flavor to the egg salad.

Long-Guy-Land  $8.25

House-roasted turkey breast, fontina cheese, arugula, tomato, and mayo.

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This is one is my favorite so far. I substitute out the mayo for their spicy mayo, which is amazing with the bite of the arugula. The first time I tried it on an egg bagel so I could taste the spicy mayo and roasted turkey individually, but the second time I got it on a toasted everything bagel and it was to die for. I highly recommend giving this one a try.

Bonus

Lauren, a fellow intern, swears by the Yellow C.A.B., which has cheddar cheese, bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato, and mayo ($8.00).

Where to find it

Gotham is at 112 East Mifflin St., Madison, WI 53703. They’re open 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on Sunday.

Check out their full menu at www.gothambagels.com

Cheers, Josie

Wonder Woman Super Snacks

This summer, our movie screens were blessed with Wonder Woman. After reading the glowing reviews, I knew I wasn’t going to be disappointed with this movie I’d been waiting so long for. But, I didn’t expect it to have such a toll on me. I cried when Diana goes over the top of the tranches to take on no man’s land by herself and I saw her in the full Wonder Woman outfit. I was so moved seeing such a strong and powerful woman on screen. I walked out of that theatre feeling powerful and knowing I had found one of my new favorite movies.

So, of course I had to find some way to work Wonder Woman into my blog. I’d been looking to try one of those homemade ice creams that have been all over the internet recently, and since it’s summer I had to work in flavors like lemon and summer berries somehow. After some brainstorming, I’m excited to share with you my Wonder Woman Super Snacks!

Wonder Woman Ice Cream

The inspiration for the ice cream came from the sweet scene of Diana trying ice cream for the first time. It was a simple moment of Diana enjoying the little things in the midst of war. I couldn’t forget ice cream in my Wonder Woman inspired treats after this. Move over Superman ice cream, here comes Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman Lemon Berry Whoopie Pies

Whoopie pies were on my “to-do” baking list, and after seeing Diana wielding her shield in the movie, it was the perfect inspiration for these Lemon Berry Whoopie Pies. The lemon and berries are a perfect combo of summer flavors, while a little pinch of cayenne pepper giving it kick. I think it embodies the sweetness of Diana and her badass side.

Serve these up at your Wonder Woman viewing party once it comes out on DVD or whip them up whenever you need to get in touch with your Wonder Woman side.

Wonder Woman Ice Cream

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pint of heavy cream
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 and a half teaspoons of vanilla
  • Red, blue, and yellow food coloring
Instructions
  • Whip the heavy cream until peaks form, then add the condensed milk and vanilla.
  • Separate the mix into three bowls, and add one of the three food colorings to each and mix.
  • Layer the colored mix into a pan (I used a loaf pan)
  • Run a knife through the mixture to swirl the colors in any pattern you like.
  • Freeze for about 4-5 hours before serving

 

 

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Wonder Woman Lemon Berry Whoopie Pies

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1 cup and 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 and a half tablespoons of grated lemon zest
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla 
  • 1 egg
  • 2 and 1/4 cups of flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • Raspberry Buttercream
    • 1 stick of butter, softened
    • 1 tablespoon of whole milk
    • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
    • Fresh raspberries, rinsed
    • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • Blueberry Buttercream
    • same as above, substitute blueberries
Instructions
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Beat the butter, brown sugar, and lemon zest. Add the vanilla, lemon juice, and egg and beat to combine, scraping down bowl as needed.
  • In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt together.
  • Add in flour mixture and milk in small amounts, alternating between the two.
  • Drop batter in mounds on baking sheets with parchment paper. Bake about 17 minutes.
  • Set aside to cool on wire racks.
  • While the cookies are cooking and cooling, beat the butter, milk, and vanilla.
  • Once creamy, add the raspberries and beat until well combined. I eyeballed this, doing a small handful at a time till I got the color, flavor, and consistency I wanted.
  • Add the powdered sugar in batches until mixed in. Repeat to make the blueberry buttercream
  • Place the raspberry buttercream in a piping bag. I had to improvise with a plastic bag, so while it isn’t as pretty, it got the job done.
  • One cooled, flip the whoopie pies so the flat bottoms are facing up and pair the shapes the best you can.
  • Pipe a bit of raspberry buttercream onto one whoopie pie, and add blueberry buttercream to the other side. Stick em together like glue.

Enjoy!

 

 

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Cheers, Josie

Chicken Enchilada Chili

Sometimes keeping it simple and sweet is the best answer for dinner, especially when your schedule is jammed packed. With less than a month till my senior year of college starting, I’m stocking up on new slow cooker recipes. I will continue to preach my love for my slow cooker till the day I die, and I stand by my statement that college students should have them if they move to an apartment. They just make everything so much easier!

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This recipe came around as a “I have things in my fridge about to go bad, what can I make with these ingredients?” situation. My chicken and jalapeños were getting ready to turn, so that opened up to a lot of recipe ideas. And so came the Chicken Enchilada Chili. The only thing I had to go out and buy for this recipe was the enchilada sauce, since all the other items are staples in the apartment. Easy ingredients make for an easy dinner. Even kittens can’t resist this chili.

This is my half recipe, and since it’s hard to find half size cans, I put the remaining half of everything into a bag and put it in the freezer so it’s all ready to go next time I want to make this. I’m putting the ounces just in case you’re able to find smaller cans of these.

Chicken Enchilada Chili

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces red enchilada sauce
  • 7 ounces diced tomatoes with green chilis
  • 7.5 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 7.5 ounces corn, drained
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 3/4 of a pound of chicken breasts
  • cup chicken broth
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon and 1/8 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 tablespoon chili powder
Instructions
  • Add the enchilada sauce, tomatoes, black beans, corn, jalapeño, onions, uncooked chicken breasts, chicken stock, and all of the seasonings to the crock pot. Stir well.
  • Cover and cook on low for 5 hours, until chicken will shred easily.
  • Remove the chicken from the crockpot and shred in another bowl using two forks.
  • Cut the cream cheese into small cubes and put them in the crock pot. Stir well and cover. Let it sit for a few minutes on high heat and then whisk the cream cheese to melt.

  • Add the shredded chicken back into the crockpot. Stir and cover. Cook on high until all the cream cheese is completely melted. Stir.
  • Serve with toppings of your choice! I used sour cream, green onion, cheese, and a splash of fresh squeezed lime.

    Enjoy!

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    Cheers, Josie

Door County Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies

In July, my parents and youngest sister took a road trip up from Florida to visit me, and while they were here we took my first (and hopefully not last) jaunt to Door County. The area is known for its cherries, and we were there right before they went in season. Passing the cherry orchards and seeing the bright yellows fading into the deep reds for the upcoming season was beautiful and something I’ve never seen before.

Of course I had to bring some cherry souvenirs home, so I went for the dark chocolate covered cherries. They were the best I’ve ever had, and I made sure to grab an even bigger bag of them (and one to send to my lovely girlfriend Brigid) before I left. And as someone who loves new recipes, the second I got them home I started wondering what else I could do with them. Then it hit me: Door County Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies!

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Let’s be honest, fresh chocolate chip cookies are some of the best things in the world, and you can’t go wrong adding delicious dark chocolate covered cherries to them. This is a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe you can find on the back of any bag of chocolate chips, but I just make a few little changes to make it my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. Using flaky sea salt instead of table salt gives it a little extra salty bite that I love. Yes, I love salty chocolate chip. I know it’s weird way to describe it, but I swear it’s good. Everyone at the office loved them when I brought them in, so I promise there are other people who like it. Trust me, the sea salt is great, especially when paired with the tartness of the cherries.

I thought I’d give a new recipe format a try, with a PDF version available here. I’ll still include the gallery of step-by-step photos on each post. Let me know what you think of the new layout and if you’d like to see more like this. Enjoy!

Door

 

 

 

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Cheers,  Josie

 

My 6 Best Finds at the Lands’ End Warehouse Clearance Sale

My roommate, Maria, and I took a drive to Dodgeville on Friday to check on the Lands’ End Warehouse Clearance Sale. My mom was an intern for Lands’ End, which has it’s headquarters in Dodgeville, when she went to school here and made the 45 minute drive from Madison everyday, sometimes in the snow. I honestly don’t know how she did it, it felt like forever. That’s about the same time between where I live back in Florida to Boca Raton and that drive never feels long. I’m also not used to long stretches of farmland in between destinations, but this was worth the drive.

The sale is at Ley Pavillion in Harris Park and goes for six full days, with the stock rotating everyday. The last day is tomorrow from 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., so try to make it out there and get some deals while you can. Apparently the last day is the best deals, going up to 70 percent off.

 

I’d never been to a warehouse sale before, so it was a little overwhelming when we first walked in and saw the rows and rows of clothing racks, boxes, and tables. They give you a huge, clear garbage bag when you walk in to fill with things you find. For a Friday afternoon, it wasn’t super crazy crowded. It was mostly old ladies fighting each other for things, and Maria and I couldn’t help laughing at the passive aggressive remarks they kept making to each other. Only a couple other groups of people our age were there, but the deals here are great for college students, so I’d really recommend trying to get out there if you can and bring a whole group of friends. The coolest thing to me was they have everything that was a mess up or returned monogram or embroidered name heavily reduced. It’s cool seeing what was returned and wondering why they were. You might even luck out and find your name. I found one that was only a letter off from my monogram. Damn, so close.

My haul consists of six pieces, much less than the people walking out with two or three filled garbage bags of stuff. Everything I got was discounted extra for being “Not So Perfect”, which ranged from discontinued items to catalog returns to physical mistakes. A couple of mine say it’s for fabric damage or mess ups, but I certainly can’t find or see them. I got major savings, and would say the little day trip out to Dodgeville was a success. Take a look at my finds below!

Side note: I apologize now for the awful lighting in my room. A basement apartment doesn’t make for a great photo shoot.

Women’s Explorer Down Parka in Black

  • Originally: $199.00
  • Marked Down: $119.00
  • Extra 50% off: $59.50

 

Women’s Polartec Aircore 100 Fleece Half Zip in Lavender Pink

  • Originally: $34.00
  • Marked Down: $17.00
  • Extra 40% off: $10.20

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Women’s Active Crop Pants in Classic Navy

  • Originally: $45.00
  • Marked Down: $31.50
  • Extra 40% off: $18.90

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Women’s Starfish Leggings in Black

  1. Originally: $35.00
  2. Marked Down: $24.50
  3. Extra 30% off: $17.15

Acrylic Throw in Blackwatch

  1. Originally: $25.00
  2. Marked Down: $6.00
  3. Extra 30% off: $4.20

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Plush Fleece Throw in Blackwatch

  1. Originally: $24.00
  2. Marked Down: $14.00
  3. Extra 30% off: $9.80

Original Total: $362.00
New Total: $119.75
Total Savings: $242.35

With huge savings on items from a company I know has reliable clothing that’ll last me a while, this event will be on my calendar from now on. Take a trip to Dodgeville and see what steals and deals you can get for yourself. Let me know what cool things y’all find!

Cheers, Josie