Sleepy Study Buddy

As I studied for my midterms this past weekend, this is what I had next to me. 
Talk about a total motivation sap.


{Over The Weekend} Cooking School, Cakes and Cat Tipis

I know it's already Monday again, but I wanted to share my past two weekends with y'all. {This post is weekend #1.} A friend of mine gave us tickets to a Market District Cooking School Class {as her husband was sick and couldn't go}, so we headed out to Robinson Township two Friday evenings ago. The class was structured around tasting the intricacies of wines and beers with food. 
Just Starting
We arrived in the large classroom above the wine and beer area of Market District, and sat down among approximately 30 people. A good size class, I thought. {If the class is too small, it can seem awkward at times!} We were offered appetizers of grapes, cheeses, lobster and red pepper dip, and water crackers.
It's a bit pricey at around $35 a ticket, but you get food, drinks, information and good company. {Go Pittsburgh food community!}


A Stone Among Trees

Bottom line, graduate school is a back-to-basics experience for me, and I would guess most people who took time off between their undergraduate degree and pursing their next step would agree with me.  It's not the subject matter itself or lengthy number of assignments.  The classes are {mostly} stimulating, full of topics I am interested in learning more about.  But, the true difficulty lies in the feeling of being behind the 8-ball. The overwhelming amount of knowledge I must 'catch up on' is the unnerving part of the equation, just as I knew it would be.

Last night during my leadership class, we were completing a role-playing exercise in small groups, mainly to discover our style of interaction with peers.  I was chosen {and partially self-elected} to be scribe, which then turned into 'the voice' for the group. When preparing to give a 30-second elevator speech on our strategic vision, I flubbed and made a mistake on a type of hospital stay versus outpatient care {sorry for those readers who aren't into health care}. This error was recognized by all in the group, and brushed away when I shyly claimed, "I'm sorry, I'm new to all of these things."
In this learning process, I can't forget to be humble.

Three classes per week, several homework assignments, group projects and discussions, hundreds of pages to be read...it's all about gleaning as much information as I can from each and every situation.

However, there are other, smaller details that make the program somewhat difficult.  I am three to five years older than most of my classmates, and nearly all of my starting cohort; I've mentally created a sense of soft ageism among us.  I'd been removed from the formal education system for more than 4 years, generous time for someone to earn their undergrad degree and safely gain entrance into graduate school.  At times, it's easy for me to feel like a stone among trees.


Super Bowl Menu 2013

I don't know about you, but our game day was centered around the eating opportunities {just like last year}. Some of the things we served were health-oriented, and others I'm a bit ashamed of.  I'm sure we all feel the same, right? Right.
Our menu:
Knock-off Boneless Buffalo Wings, seasoned with Quaker, Steak & Lube's 'Louisiana Lickers' sauce;
Carrot and Celery Sticks with Husband's homemade Blue Cheese Dressing;


{PGH Dining} Eleven

In an effort to clean out my queue of 'to-be-blogged' PGH Dining posts, I'm pulling this one out on my dining experience at Eleven Contemporary Kitchen from a Friday night last October. Eleven is right on the cusp of downtown, at the very tip of the Strip District on Smallman Street.  We'd chosen to dine at Eleven on a friend's request - she was in down visiting family, which happened to include a family friend on the Eleven staff. {Let's just get this out of the way - no, our dinner wasn't complimentary, and we picked our selections for all dishes.} Before we even sat down to dinner, Husband and I noticed how beautifully lit the restaurant was, and the gorgeously dark decor. Super sexy. But, seeing as this was a family event, we'll forget that!
Our party of 7 was seated in one of their alcoves, which is perfect for hearing everyone speak in a busy restaurant.
Charcuterie Plate with Spiced Pears.
We started with a plate full of meats, creamy cheeses and punchy pickled vegetables. A few spiced pears rounded out the plate.


{Recipe} Popovers

How are you starting your Super Bowl Sunday this weekend? Perhaps with a ritual or two?
Or, if you're like me, I'm thinking of the food I'm planning to make. With my extreme success of finally making popovers a few weeks ago, I know my menu will feature these beauties.

The foolproof recipe comes from our Air BNB host in upstate New York, Jayden. She was a fantastic host, and was generous enough to share her recipe with me.