February 3, 2018
by Brittany

Cheeseburger Wraps


1 pound lean ground beef
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon dried minced onion
pepper and salt, to taste
5 large flour tortillas
shredded cheddar cheese
tomato slices

Brown ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drain any grease. Add Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, minced onion and salt and pepper to beef. Stir to combine.
Reduce heat to low and let mixture heat thoroughly, about 5 minutes or so.
Sprinkle some cheddar cheese down the center of each tortilla. Add a few heaping Tablespoons of the beef mixture on top of cheese. Drizzle a little mustard (and more ketchup, if desired) on top of the beef, and then add a couple tomato slices. Roll up each tortilla burrito-style.
Place wraps, a couple at a time, onto a preheated indoor grill and grill for 3-5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Carefully remove wraps from grill and place on a plate. Gently unravel wrap to add some lettuce. Re-roll wrap and then cut in center diagonally. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Recipe originally found at

January 27, 2018
by Brittany

Chicken Alfredo Stuffed Shells


• 1 lb. jumbo pasta shells
• 2 c. Shredded chicken
• 1 c. ricotta
• 3/4 c. shredded mozzarella
• 3/4 c. grated Parmesan
• 1/4 c. freshly chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
• salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 4 tbsp. butter
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
• 2 c. milk

1. Preheat oven to 350º. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook jumbo pasta shells according to package directions until al dente. Drain and return to pot.
2. In a large bowl, combine shredded chicken, ricotta, 1/2 cup mozzarella, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and parsley and season with salt and pepper.
3. Make sauce: In a skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 2 minutes, then add cream cheese and whisk until completely combined. Stir in milk, remaining mozzarella and
Parmesan, and bring to a simmer. Season with more salt and pepper. Let thicken over low heat, 3 to 5 minutes.
4. In a baking dish, spread a layer of sauce. Stuff shells with chicken-ricotta mixture and place in baking dish. Spoon more sauce all over shells.
5. Bake until warmed through and bubbly, 15 minutes.
6. Garnish with parsley and serve.

January 20, 2018
by Brittany

Sweet and Sour Chicken


• 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to ½ inch thickness and chopped into 1 inch pieces
• ⅓ cup corn starch
• 2 tablespoons oil
• 1 red bell pepper, chopped
• 1 green bell pepper
• ½ white or yellow onion, chopped
• ¾ cup sugar
• ½ cup apple cider vinegar (may sub white vinegar)
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• ½ teaspoon onion salt*
• ¼ cup ketchup
• 1 tablespoon cornstarch + 2 tablespoon cold water

1. First prepare the sauce. Add sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic powder, onion salt, and ketchup to a medium sauce pan. Stir and bring to a boil. In a small bowl whisk together the 1 tablespoon corn starch and cold water until dissolved. Add to sauce pan and stir until thickened, then reduce to low heat.
2. Add chicken pieces and corn starch to a large ziplock bag. Seal and shake to coat chicken. Drizzle a large pan or skillet with oil. Add coated chicken. Saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add peppers and onions. Continue to saute over medium heat until chicken is browned and cooked through.
3. Add sauce to chicken and peppers. Stir to coat well. Serve warm with cooked rice if desired.

*Recipe originally came from

January 15, 2018
by Brittany

Rigatoni with Italian Sausage


• ½ pound uncooked rigatoni
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• ¼ pound ground Italian sausage
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• ¼ cup finely chopped onions
• ¼ cup beef broth or red wine
• 1 can petite diced tomatoes
• 1 8-ounce can tomato paste
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
• 1 cup parmesan cheese

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
3. Add garlic and onions. Sauté for about 2 minutes, just until the onions are translucent.
4. Add ground sausage to skillet and stir until fully cooked, about 5 minutes.
5. Add beef broth/red wine and scrap browned sausage bits off the bottom of skillet.
6. Add tomatoes and tomato paste, stir all ingredients well, turn heat down to low-medium and simmer for at least 10 minutes.
7. Add cooked pasta and ¼ cup reserved pasta water to the skillet and stir all ingredients until the pasta is coated with the sauce. If needed add more reserve water to create a sauce consistency to your liking.
8. Remove from heat. Sprinkle Parsley and/or cheese just before serving

Our Tips:
• Cut back on either the tomatoes or the tomato paste, unless you are a huge fan of tomato sauce.
• Add additional sausage

*Recipe originally came from

April 19, 2016
by Brittany
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Blog #77

Today was no special day. The sun rose the exact same way this morning, in the East, shining through her front bedroom window, leaving a silhouette of the blinds on the wall. The alarm went off at the same time and for once, the bed didn’t feel so empty for some reason. It was warm and comfortable. She put her feet on the floor and started her day. Just an ordinary day. Time ticked away the seconds just like it does every minute, every hour, every day. She poured a cup of coffee, added some sugar, and sat on the couch with her laptop to check Twitter. She took a shower and washed her hair the exact same way, conditioner first. She brushed her teeth with that same toothbrush, the one that always sat beside his. As she finished, she picked up his toothbrush, and without thinking twice, she tossed it in the trash. She put on that black top and her favorite pair of jeans. She checked her appearance in the bathroom mirror, the one with all the extra lights, put on that pink lip gloss that she never wears because he prefers chapstick, and walks out the door. She had a meeting at 10 so she left 20 minutes early to get a blueberry muffin, her favorite kind. In the backseat of her car, she noticed that old t-shirt that still smelled like him. Like it was nothing at all, she tossed it in the dumpster that sat in the Starbucks parking lot on the corner of Jefferson and Eighth. She had lunch with some friends from her office and she never mentioned the emotions she had been fighting, didn’t mention them at all. She left work and stopped at the grocery store for some dinner and for once, she didn’t have to spend the extra $10 on frozen pizza, she hates frozen pizza but she ate it anyway so many times just for him. Instead she bought some organic strawberries. She stopped in for a haircut on the way home. She got it cut short, about shoulder length, even though she had been told so many times before not to cut her hair because he prefers it long. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, her favorite show, came on tonight, and for the first time, ESPN was not anywhere to be found.

Today was just like any other day, but today she let go. She let go of him and she let go of the past. She let go of the future and all the intentions. She didn’t read articles on the steps for moving on and she didn’t ask her best friend for advice. She didn’t wonder what she did wrong, or what she could have, or should have, done different. No one honored the success. No one threw her a party, there were no balloons, no rocky road ice cream, and no congratulations from her friends. No one said they were pleased or happy for her. Bells didn’t ring, whistles didn’t blow, and there were no fireworks. She didn’t tell him, she didn’t even think about telling him, she just let go. She didn’t second guess it and she didn’t worry about what he thinks. She didn’t write about it or make a public service announcement. She didn’t tell anyone, not a single person. There was no documentation, no time stamp, or no definite moment.

In all of the normalcy, in all of its entirety, she just let go. She moved on. It didn’t hold her back today, and it sure as hell won’t hold her back tomorrow.

February 17, 2016
by Brittany
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Blog #76

I remember the day we first met. I walked out of my office and there he was, leaning up against the wall looking so handsome in his grey sweater and blue jeans that he took my breath away. I introduced myself, he smiled at me, shook my hand and that was it. I was hooked. Suddenly I was on a mission to find out everything I could about “the new guy”. He was the one I would sit and stare at during staff meetings, the reason I was even at those meetings in the first place. And now he’s still the one I want to know everything about. The biggest lie he’s ever told, the saddest song he’s ever heard, his darkest secret, and his deepest thoughts and fears. I even want to know all about the girl before me, the one he swore he would never leave. He’s the one I want to tell all of my secrets to, read all of my writings to, and share all the small details of my day with. He’s the one I want to learn all about Aristotle, Cicero, and all of the other philosophers from. The one I want to help me when I don’t understand something. He’s the one who helped me become comfortable with my body, the one I stopped perfecting my makeup and hair for because he makes me laugh and I can’t resist his eyes and the way he looks at me. He’s the reason I came close to failing Theories of Counseling because as soon as I sat down to write that paper, which was forty percent of my final grade, I got a text from him that just said “Hey” and suddenly the paper could wait. He’s the one I lay in bed with at night talking about the future and what we want to do with our lives while we still encompass the optimism of college. He’s the one I’ll become an adult with. The one who makes being on my own not so scary. He’s the one I’ll learn to cook with, and the one I’ll learn to enjoy documentaries and old movies from. He’s the one who will rub my feet after a long day and the one who takes care of me when I am sick. He is teaching me what is worth fighting for and what is not. But most of all, when all of my dreams come true, he is the one I want standing right beside me.

November 22, 2015
by Brittany
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Blog #75

I think a lot of people don’t understand what true love is. Anyone can buy you flowers, candy, and jewelry. Anyone can say I love you and take you to a nice dinner. And anyone can kiss you at the top of a ferris wheel and teach you how to drive a stick. That’s romance, not love. Love is found in the little things that life has to offer. The little things you do every day to show that you care and that you are thinking of them. It’s going out of your way to make them happy so you can see their smile. The way you hold her hand when she is scared, or the way you save the last piece of pie for him. It’s the random text in the middle of the afternoon just to say “I love you” or “I miss you” and the way he stops to kiss you when he passes by. It’s dedicating her favorite song to her, and letting her eat your fries. Or telling her she’s beautiful, even when she’s wearing a t-shirt, hair in a ponytail and no makeup. It’s putting your favorite show on pause so she can tell you about her day, and laughing at his jokes, even when they are really lame. It’s slow dancing in the kitchen, and kissing in the rain because you don’t want to say goodbye yet.

But more than that, love is happiness. It’s waking up in the middle of the night for no reason, shifting under the covers and feeling the heat of the person next to you. You turn over and see them in their most peaceful, innocent, and vulnerable state. They breathe as though the weight of the world is on anyone’s shoulder but their own. You smile, kiss their face in the gentlest manner so as not to wake them. You turn back over and an involuntary grin forms across your face. You feel an arm wrap around your waist, and you know it doesn’t get any better than this.

Falling in love with someone happens in the moments when you never even notice it’s happening. It happens when you are watching them, sleeping in bed, curled up and silent with their chest rising and falling with their own rhythm. It happens when you see them reading a book, with their eyes fluttering and glowing. It’s when you see them looking at you and you can feel the love and care inside their heart. It happens when you see them smiling and laughing with happiness leaking out of them.

Suddenly, you realize that you want to know more about this person. You want to know what song they listen to at 2 am, sitting in their bed, laptop on their lap, screen dimly lighting up their face. You want to watch them quietly pace through the their kitchen barefoot on a Sunday morning, humming as they make their coffee, carefully turning the pages of that new book they just started reading. You want to know what that one line from that song is that makes their heart drop into their stomach. You want to hear about that time when they were six that makes them grin uncontrollably, and about that time when they were ten that makes their eyes water. You want to watch them in a room with nothing but white walls and an acoustic guitar. You want to know what it is they see right before they fall asleep at night. You want to know what gets them by, what makes them mad, what makes them laugh, and what makes them cry.

And you want to know everything about their past. You want to know about that time when they were five and tried to run away from home. You want to know about their old dog that died when they were eight. You want to know about their toy soldier collection and you want to see the pictures from little league. You want to know what class they always skipped in high school and all about their senior prom and the awkwardness of their first time. You want to know what they were really feeling on graduation day and you want to know about college. You want to know about the girl he swore he’d never leave. And about the last girl he kissed on New Year’s Eve. You want to know the most they’ve said with just one word, and you want to read that letter they never sent.

You want to know about their future too. You want to hear about that three story, five bedroom house they want to have in the mountains one day. You want to know about the kids they want someday and what they will name them. You want to know about that job that they will love. You want to know where they see themselves at fifty, and you want to know their biggest fear about growing old.

And you deserve someone who wants to know all of this about you. You deserve someone who loves you when you wake up in the morning. Someone who stops you from running to the bathroom to fix yourself before they can even get a glimpse of you. Someone who tells you how beautiful you are, not just in the way you look, but in the way you hold their hands and laugh at their jokes. You deserve someone who sends you messages when they don’t know whether to get coffee or tea at Starbucks. Someone who shares their cookies with you when they only have one left in the jar. You deserve someone who buys you pizza when you’ve had a bad day and who listens to you complain about the lyrics in a song that do not adhere to your logic or the script of a television show that didn’t go according to your plan. You deserve someone whose kisses make you forget you were even upset in the first place. Someone who holds you like an antique vase. Someone who sees your face first in a crowd and someone who finds you in every person they meet.

You deserve someone who will give you wings to soar and then decide to fly with you. You deserve this because this is love, and you deserve love.

August 18, 2015
by Brittany
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Blog #74

Saying goodbye is hard. Whether you are saying goodbye to a person, a place, or the past, it’s something I don’t think you can ever be prepared for. It sends you on an emotional roller coaster down memory lane that is filled with mental pictures of moments that have somehow sculpted you into the person you are today.

A few weeks ago I said goodbye to my first apartment, but more than that, I said goodbye to the person I was in that apartment. I said goodbye to the life that I created and the life that I lived in that apartment. It was the first time I had ever lived by myself, and more than that, it was the first time I lived in a city where I knew no one. A part of me grew up in that apartment. I discovered who I am and what I want out of life in that apartment.

Iranian author Azar Nafasi once said “You get a strange feeling when you leave a place, like you’ll not only miss the people you love, but you miss the person you are at this time and place because you will never be this way ever again.” I find this to be very true. I have never felt so far from myself as I have since I moved back to Rocky Mount. It’s weird. It’s as if I don’t fit in here anymore. I decided to move back in with my parents now that I have graduated and I couldn’t feel more out of place. The house I grew up in, no longer feels like home. I look around and, while everything is familiar and comfortable, it’s not mine. It doesn’t have my furniture, my sounds, or my decorating style and it isn’t filled with the smells I love; the scents that made my apartment unique. I feel like I’m on an extended vacation in someone else’s home.

I don’t feel like myself either. It’s almost like I feel trapped in this place and I’m fighting my way out. After living on my own for a few years, having alone time is something I got use to, something I fell in love with, and something I will crave for the rest of my life. There is something serene about the peace and quiet. There’s no better healing powers. It’s just me and my thoughts. I have lost that since I moved back home. There is always someone around. Always. And they can’t just let me be. They always have something to say. I wake up in the morning and all I want to do is have some tea and think about the day ahead. Instead I’m followed into the kitchen by someone who wants to have a conversation with me that it is way too early to have. I get home at the end of the day and it’s the same thing. And there is no such thing as quiet. From the time I wake up in the morning until the time I go to sleep at night there are TV’s blaring all over the house, phones ringing everywhere, and someone constantly calling my name. And sometimes it just gets too much and I just want to scream. And sometimes I do yell. It’s not that I mean to, it’s that I can’t take it anymore and it sort of just happens. I love my family more than anything in the world, that’s why I moved back home, but I’m not the same person I was before. Going to college, surrounding myself with people from all different walks of life, learning new things, having new experiences, and not going home and being subjected to my parents ways of thinking every day has allowed me to form my own views and my own opinions and I’m starting to see that they don’t always coincide with the views and opinions of my parents. Things that matter to me don’t necessarily matter to them. I also began doing things my own way, and now I like those things to be done a certain way; a way they do not do them. And it drives me crazy. And sometimes I get the feeling that living at home is pushing me backwards and that scares me. It scares me because I know that staying where I’m at will not help me grow into the person I am meant to be. And I now realize that sometimes growth is painful, and so is change, but nothing is as painful as being stuck somewhere you don’t belong.

March 18, 2015
by Brittany
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Blog #73

He was a storm I got lost in; a hurricane that just spun me around and around until nothing was familiar but him. A storm so strong, I was always struck down by the lightening. He was a tornado and I was a tree, snapping in half at his intensity.

He introduced me to a game I never had any intention of playing. A game he was the master of, and a game I never had any chance of winning. It was a game of checkers, one where I was always backed into the corner surrounded by black buttons. It was monopoly, only he owned all the property. We were a crossword puzzle so complicated that none of the letters lined up to make sense; they were just blocks of mixed signals. We were color by number when we were both colorblind.

Loving him was like flying down the highway in a new Camaro before realizing you just passed a cop. It was like changing your mind when you have already jumped out of the plane. It was free falling without a plan to land. It was like picking daisies and then getting stung by a bee. It was a day at the beach that ended in sunburn.

He made me feel strong and yet weak. Tall yet short. Wanted and yet not needed, all with his blissful arrogance. I was his umbrella that he only needed on rainy days. His life jacket that he only wore when the boat was sinking. He was a fire, one that always left me wondering whether he was going to warm my heart or burn down my house. He was the danger sign that never kept me from diving off the cliff. He was a drive I took a million times, one that always resulted in going the wrong way on a one way street with nowhere to turn around.

Missing him came in waves, and on the nights when I was drowning, he was always there to rescue me. He never broke my heart; he just turned it into a compass that always pointed me back to him.