black bean


May 31, 2015

I may not "meal prep", however, I do sometimes make a big batch of something and have it multiple times throughout the week. That was my plan with these delicious sweet potato black bean burritos!

In my post about my vegan journey blog post, I mentioned that one day, the vegan gods of the dining hall shown down on me. Chartwells was serving sweet potato black bean burritos. I decided to make my own version with fresher, healthier, ingredients, of course. I basically put my Dollar Store Diva spin on them. 

The dining hall has to feed a bunch of starving college students on a budgets, so they had to use white tortillas and other shortcuts, of course. However, I only had to feed one broke, starving college students. I in this recipe, I used whole wheat tortillas, Green Giant niblet corn, mozzarella, sweet potatoes, and Bush's low sodium black beans.

Oh, sweet potatoes, how I love you. However, you're just too hard. Could you maybe soften up a bit? Just for me?

Sweet potatoes, when you buy them fresh, are very hard. You can't just mash them right away. I cut them into small pieces and microwave them for 5-10 minutes until they're a bit more soft.

After they softened in the microwave, I sautéed them in a pan with some maple syrup to give them a maple flavor. I put this pan on medium heat and covered it to finish the "make sweet potatoes mushier" mission."

While that mission was in progress, I sliced my mozzarella.

 After microwaving it according to the package instructions, I added the niblet corn along with the black beans. Time to mash this burrito filling together!

My mighty masher!

I'm many things, but not a great burrito artist. Chipotle would fire me ASAP. However, this is me trying to fill these puppies before letting them heat up in the oven. I also added the mozzarella, which will melt in the oven.

There they are in their glory!

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burritos

  • Whole grain tortillas
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 2 can of low sodium black beans
  • niblet corn
  • maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese


  1. Boil sweet potatoes to a soft consistency
  2. Preheat the oven to 350
  3. In a pan, sauté, sweet potatoes, maple syrup, niblet corn, band black beans
  4. Mash the mixture with a masher or a fork
  5. Spread the mixture in the tortillas and wrap them into burritos
  6. Bake the burritos for 10 minutes
  7. Let sit
  8. Enjoy!

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May 28, 2015

Every summer, I make a new playlist on iTunes called "Summer (year here) No Regrets!". It's been that way since 2011. The past few years, I haven't really been following the no regrets part, however, this summer I feel like I already have. Summer is definitely my favorite part of the year. Sure, I miss my friends at school. I miss the ease of walking down the hall to visit my friends. However, I needed this time to decompress, reunite with old friends, and work on some projects. I've comprised two bucket lists for this summer: projects and no regrets. Here are my two bucket lists, let's see how much I accomplish at the end of the summer!


"No Regrets" Fun Bucket List:

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May 25, 2015

There's the whole "white after Labor Day" baloney, however, what about pastel and Memorial Day? Should pastel only live between the strict weeks between Easter and Memorial Day? Or is it a summer staple? With bright colors of all hues being embraced this season and seasons past, why should we let a time of year restrict what we can wear?

I thought I'd play with different shades of my favorite color - blue - and my favorite metal - gold - for this look. I'm obsessed with this scalloped blue crop top from TopShop, and equally as obsessed with these mediterranean sandals from Payless. 

These embroidered high waisted shorts from Forever 21 add a mix of texture. I tied in the mix of blue and gold with my gold elephant bracelet, my blue bracelet from Greece, and various Alex and Anis.

Makeup was simple today with just lotion, highlighter, blush, eyeliner, mascara, and a pink lip.

Crop Top: TopShop
Shorts: Forever 21
Sandals: Payless
Bracelets: Alex & Ani, Boutique shops
Lips: Covergirl

What are you up to this weekend? I did a mix of fun things: a concert, a red sox game, cookouts, and running. A good time with friends and family. It was a good time to relax before diving head into the internship/work life during the week again.

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What's Love Got To Do With It? NEW SERIES

May 20, 2015

Ah, love, like, being smitten, catching feelings, name it whatever you'd like. No one can escape it. No matter how under the radar you try to fly, you're either going to like someone, someone will like you, or you will have multiple suitors/ multiple suitees. Love is one of the best and the worst things. Since January, I've been in a constant struggle between trying to avoid men and trying to pursue men. I wished that the things I had going on would magically end, but at the same time I would be sad if they ended. Why do we feel this constant need for companionship? Why is the normal comforting words "someone else will come along", not "now you have some time to focus on yourself." Why can't we just be happy to be single?

All of these questions I have been struggling with along with some "boy drama" these past few months. Talking about this kind of stuff with my mother and girlfriends is great and therapeutic, however, I thought it would be even better to talk it out with my girls on my blog! I'm starting a new Love/Romance series on my blog called "What's Love Got To Do With It." Because I've learned that love has a LOT to do with it, most of the time.

What's Love Got To Do With It 1: Your First Relationship Is Not Your Last

This post may gear towards a younger crowd. Actually, it does. This post is a PSA to teenage girls to college undergrads. YOU'RE SO YOUNG! Do you know how long your parents have been together? Probably like 25+ years, that's a long time! Yes, I understand the concept of high school sweethearts. Sometimes, they do last. Those high school sweethearts that last, however, stayed together because they actually fit together and truly love each other. The couples that stay together merely because they don't know anything else, or don't think they can find anyone else, are the relationships that eventually end, and not in a good way.

There's such an epidemic out there of these types of relationships. You know when you see one, too. Just like when two people have been "shipped", an outside source can sense the chemistry between two people way better than the two people actually can. This works both ways. I've been in both ends of the spectrum. When it comes to matters of the heart, others know me way better than myself. The same people have told me to break up and get together with someone. I've followed their advice both times, and both times it's worked out.

You are young, independent, millennial men and women.  If a relationship is dragging you down, and you question why you're with that person, just end it! Your future self will thank you for the breath of fresh air it just took. We are barely even a quarter done with our lives. We are in the supposedly best time of our lives. If a family is your priority, then fine, that's your priority and more power to you. I know that my career is my main goal right now, and I won't let anyone stop me. 

My freshmen year of college, I was in a bad relationship that really put a strain on my experience at school: socially, academically, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I got to really dark places in my head sometimes, all because I was constantly told I wasn't good enough. I was stopped from attending many social events and I was even doubting my career goals. However, I just couldn't leave. The pain was subtle but strong. I almost broke free during last summer, however I was convinced otherwise.

However, I was finally realizing that I was tired of the sneaking around, mood swings, late night crying sessions, self-doubt, and time taken away from other priorities. However, like said before, someone else had to tell me to leave. After almost two years of being unhappy, I finally left. It was a very hard thing to do, however it was worth it. I'm still taking breaths of fresh air every day.

The main reason I stayed was because it was my first relationship, and I thought it was forever. I spent my time imagining my miserable life with this person, and preparing myself for it. After that relationship, and unfortunately still now to a point, I saw relationships as a trap. To me, they either ended in peril or never ended in lukewarm love for each other for the rest of your life. However, once I got back out in the game, I realized that relationships are a lot more expendable, especially in college. Life is short, and so are relationships.

What's the story of your first relationship?

What are your thoughts on this?

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May 18, 2015

On Mother's Day, across many households, it's a tradition that the kids and husband make breakfast for Mom. Sometimes, she even gets breakfast in bed. I've made frittatas in the past, so I figured why not repeat the tradition. So, on the Saturday night before Mother's Day, I was up at midnight making this frittata. Best daughter award, am I right?

I just got back from school that day, and I wanted to eat some nutrient-dense veggies to cleanse myself of all of the dining hall food and midnight pizza orders. After my recent trip to Trader Joes, I had recently acquired heirloom tomatoes, spinach, kale, mushrooms, and broccoli. 

Like the other frittata recipes, I chopped up all of my veggies and put them in a medium sized skillet on medium heat, with some EVOO of course.

After my fillers were nice and wilted, I added the eggs to make the body. Since the all of the veggies took up a lot of room, I decided to use eight eggs instead of the six. I also added feta cheese to the mix. I think veggies and feta go wonderfully together.

Again, Jackie was no help, but she sure was cute!

Into the oven it went!

This cooked for 10-12 minutes. After, came out this delicious, bubbling creation!

Everything blended together so perfectly. 

I've always called frittata's an egg pizza, but sometimes I think of it more as an egg salad. Not like the sandwiches, but a hot salad with eggs, cheese, veggies, and meats. Anyone else?

Jackie wanted some... and she eventually got some.

We had turkey bacon and greek yogurt almond poppyseed bread as our sides!

animal by-products


May 13, 2015

One of the the four values of healthy eating, according to the American Heart Association, is variety. Eating nutrient-dense, clean foods is great. However, if you're only eating bananas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you'll be overloading on potassium, and missing out on other nutrients that bananas do not contain. Sometimes, I find myself in a rut where I just want pizza... or enchiladas... or bacon. Deep down, I know I truly love the taste of foods that will fuel my body better than those, however I get bored. I was reaching one of these moods around the time of lent. So with the push of my friend, who also promised to do this, I attempted to go fully vegan for the 40 days and 40 nights of Lent.

It made sense for me to make such an intense Lenten promise. With being busy at school, and not being in a religious club like I had been in the past, I found myself not making my religion a priority in my life. I figured, what better way then to remind myself every time I wanted to eat something? Here I will write my "vegan" story, what I ate, my favorite dishes, and if you choose to be vegan, how to go about that. 


What I do like about veganism is that it's not only about health and wellness of the person who partakes in it, but it's also about the greater good of animal treatment. I am totally for this cause, I love animals. If you need a reminder, just count how many pictures of my dog I have on my snapchat story (n_vergak) daily. However, I love my animal products too much. I also like trying different dishes and restaurants (I like to call myself a lowkey foodie), and I don't want any restrictions when trying new food! However, I really respect what these vegans are doing here.

Vegans have a much longer list of things that they CAN'T eat than a list of what thy CAN eat. No animal by-products means no dairy-based anything: cheese, yogurt, sauces, sour cream, cream cheese, ice cream, etc. No meat whatsoever, or anything prepared in meat oil. Two unfortunately banned items that are more inconvenient than you thought are eggs and honey. Also, they have to be really careful with how their bread, pastas, and grains were prepared, processed, and packaged. They CAN eat veggies, rice, quinoa, barley, fruits, legumes, fungi,  nuts, oils, hummus, etc. 

There's different versions of veganism. My version was a broke college student version. Basically, anything that didn't outright have meat, cheese, or dairy in it, I allowed myself to eat. I knew that the bread and the pasta in the dining hall were probably prepared with animal by-products, but I ate them anyways. Yes, I did have many times where I did cheat, I'll admit it. I always had a hint that they put cheese in their veggie burgers, however, I needed to eat SOMETHING. Also, sometimes I allows myself to have greek yogurt here and there if I knew I wasn't going to get enough protein that day. Here's a menu of what a vegan may eat for a few days. This was not my menu, as my options in the dining hall were limited. I would've LOVED to recreate this menu, however. Maybe next year in my apartment!

My Diet
I discovered a love for many delicious foods during my vegan journey. I'll go through my typical vegan day here:

Breakfast: Flaxseed vegan microwave waffles topped with strawberries and light agave nectar.
Lunch: Sandwich on a multigrain baguette with pumpkin hummus, apples, and greens.
Dinner: A blackbean veggie burger atop a bed of rice
Snacks (could include but not limited to): pita chips, popcorn, fruits and veggies, pretzels and hummus, nuts.

Here are some of my favorite dishes I ate while I was vegan.

"Vegan Sandwich": The sandwich listed as "lunch" above is actually what I ate at A&J King artisan bakery in downtown Salem. I was very pleased that they had a vegan section of their menu, this was DELICOUS! I would get it again even not as a vegan. 
lots and lots of burritos: Together, rice and beans make a complete protein, seeing as both rice and beans separately do not contain all amino acids, however, when combined, all amino acids are present. That being said, I HAD A LOT OF BURRITOS. I ate a vegan, gluten-free microwave burrito almost daily for lunch. Chipotle and The Howling Wolf were my saviors. 
Indian food: Not only did I discover Indian food is delicious, but it's also vegan-friendly mostly. Their unique ways of combining chickpeas, grains, peas, and more are delicious. Samosas and aloo matar wraps contain peas, chickpeas, and potatoes, and are delicious.
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos: One day, the vegan gods were in my favor. The dining hall served mini burritos filed with just maple-glazed sweet potatoes and black beans. I swear I ate five... I plan on remaking these this summer and next year.

On the surface, I can say that I accomplished the health and religious goals with this. Of course, there was a few days (including Easter day) when I went a little animal by-product crazy. I think there was a point where I ate pizza for five meals in a row. The newfound freedom was invigorating. However, I was very much looking to discovering this freedom. If you really think about it, I never would have been able to enjoy that freedom if I didn't commit to 40 days of veganism.

The only complaint I had about veganism was the stretch of days I was sick of eating the same thing. I loved my indian wraps and cereal with almond milk, however I craved chicken salad sandwich, or anything different. However, this wasn't because of the roles of veganism. This was due to my situation: broke college student in a dorm living off of microwavable and dining hall food. If I had my own kitchen, I would have had more variety.

I loved discovering new ways to eat. Obviously, there are multiple ways to get your protein for the day. I was pleased to play around with polenta, tempeh, tofu, soy-based cheese and milk, soy-based yogurt, etc. I think some people think on a too-small scale when it comes to food. Broaden your horizons! Variety is a key to healthy eating.


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dollar store diva

OOTD: Wedding Bells

May 11, 2015

Yesterday, May 10, was my cousin's wedding. It was my first wedding I've been to in a very long time. Just like any Pinterest-loving millennial woman, I love weddings. I don't plan on getting married for a very, very long time, but there's just something about planning a wedding that interests me. It definitely got the gears in my head grinding.
 Necklace: Forever 21
Dress: Elle at Kohls
Shoes: TopShop
Cross-body: Francesca's Collections
Eyeshadow: Bare Minerals
Macscara: Benefit
Eyeliner: Victorias Secret
Eyebrows: Bare Minerals
Lipstick: MAC

I really love the two-tiered dress style. When I saw a bunch of them at Kohls, I knew I wanted to rock one. I liked this one the best because of the contrast between the black and the bright pink flowers. White, pink, and black. I love that it was nice enough out to rock sandal-ish heels. These shoes from TopShop are my go-to.

The wedding has held ay Promises to Keep in Derry, NH. It was a nice mix of outdoors and indoors, both were a beautiful setup. The gazebo was adorned with their initials. A bonus part of the ceremony was a "sand ceremony", where they blended different color sands to represent them becoming an intertwined family.

The cake was so cute, it looked like their initials carved into a tree. Surprisingly, it was raspberry-vanilla flavored. It was the best tree bark I've ever tasted!

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May 06, 2015

Monthly Goals

This is part of the monthly link-up at

Goals definitely aren't my top priority right now. I just finished two huge projects and papers, another paper, and another project. I just have one final left. Basically, everything is wrapping up for the school year and I'm what you would call "burnt out." I've been focusing on relaxing and rejuvenating myself this weekend. I'm mentally checked out, however I'm content with myself for picking up my grades from earlier in the semester and finishing strong.
However, now when one door closes, a window opens. This window is summer. I plan on relaxing, running, working, blogging, traveling, and catching up with all of my friends this summer. I've definitely noticed that my blog has not been my main focus these past few weeks, however, I'm ready to focus on it again. Here are my goals based around all of that!

How This works:
  1. Follow your hosts My So-Called Chaos and A Peek at Karen's World to keep up with this link-up.
  2. Write up a post recapping last month's goals and setting goals for next month.
  3.  Make sure to include the button in your post by grabbing the code above.
  4. Link up your goals post with the monthly linky which goes live on the first Thursday of the month.
  5. Visit other links in the party to show support and offer advice for other goal setters.
  6. Have fun and make some new friends!

April Goals

  • Don't fall off of good eating habits just because lent is over Success
  • Make the transition for the new PRSSA e-board smooth and welcome them wholeheartedly Success, great mixer dinner on Monday.
  • Learn about your role as VP of PRSSA In progress
  • Conduct all your research for both of your research projects SUCCESS! FINALLY!
  • Pass in your World Music paper research paper early YESSSSSS
  • Keep posting twice a week Fail...
  • Run outside twice a week Success

May Goals

  • Run outside twice a week
  • Get a story ran from a press release at my internship
  • Start renovating my room  - move my bed and buy storage bins
  • Get a sponsored post posted
  • Write the vegan reflection post
  • Present at Undergrad Research Symposium

Let's hope May is as promising as April was!

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