April 4, 2016

Gluten-Free Breakfast Tacos

Bagels, Pancakes, Waffles. Many of the breakfast foods we know and love are enemies to those of us with gluten intolerances or allergies. While the range of gluten-free products available in stores has expanded to include some of these delicious foods, sometimes you want something that will give you a boost of energy without the carb overload. This recipe is friendly to gluten-free followers and low-carb dieters alike. So get ready to say "OlĂ©" to the start of your day!

Eggs are my go-to breakfast food. Scrambled, poached, hard or soft boiled, and even fried. There are so many methods of preparation. But they can get a little boring just on their own, so it's important to spruce them up! Eggs are a great source of protein, but whole eggs (both the white and yolk) do have a greater amount of cholesterol; it's important to eat no more than 3-4 eggs a day. 

For this recipe, I chose to use scrambled eggs and substitute coconut oil for EVOO or Pam. I whisked the eggs together with a little bit of milk and salt/pepper and added a mix of diced orange and red peppers. I scrambled the eggs in a frying pan with a little bit of coconut oil and placed them on the side while I prepared the rest of the ingredients.

After the eggs were finished, I popped some breakfast sausages into the pan. I used organic ones from Whole Foods, but any brand or type of meat is totally fine! I moved on to the taco toppings once the main ingredients were cooked. I threw together a quick guacamole and added that to my taco. Avocados have become one of my favorite foods to eat, especially at breakfast time. They are a sort of superfood and their health benefits include:
  • Great source of Potassium, Vitamin C, and Folate
  • Made up of monounsaturated fatty acids (the "healthy fat") 
  • Loaded with fiber 
  • Can lower cholesterol levels

I finished the tacos off with some salsa, shredded cheddar cheese, and sour cream and built them up inside gluten-free corn tortillas. The tacos are a great source of key nutrients for the day and super delicious! The excess can always be saved to heat up the next day or turned into a yummy second-day recipe (which is perfect for broke college students like myself or those on a budget!). 

Ingredients: (makes around 4-5 small tacos)

Taco Filling:

+ 3-4 eggs or equivalent egg substitute

+ 2-3 tbsp fat free milk

+ 3 mixed peppers, diced

+ 1 tsp coconut oil

+ 3-4 organic sausage links (or any meat/meatless option of choice), chopped 

+ 4-5 Mission gluten-free white corn tortillas

Easy Guacamole:

+ 1/2 of an avocado, mashed

+ 1/2 medium sized tomato, chopped

+ 2-3 tsp lime juice

+ salt and pepper to taste

+ optional: onion, garlic, or cilantro

Taco Toppings:

+ 2 tbsp salsa 

+ 1 tbsp low-fat sour cream 

+ 2 tbsp low-fat or fat-free shredded cheddar cheese

*The measurements above are merely my own estimates, but toppings are entirely customizable to taste. Any brand of topping is okay, but in keeping with the "health conscious" approach I've taken to the recipe, lean towards finding fat-free or low-sugar options if available.


1) Wash hands and clean countertop space! :)

2) Crack eggs and place in a small bowl. Whisk with a fork until yolk and white of eggs are combined. Add milk and salt/pepper.

3) Dice peppers into preferred size of cubes. Add peppers to egg mixture.

4) Place a medium-sized frying pan over low-medium heat. Add coconut oil to pan and wait until melted. Add egg and pepper mixture.

5) Keep an eye on the eggs, stirring occasionally. Be careful not to overcook or burn, as egg can be a pain to get off of cooking equipment.

6) Once egg is scrambled, transfer to a clean dish and place on the side. Chop up sausage links (or substitute meat) and place in frying pan. 
 *look on the packaging of meat or meatless option to find specific cooking instructions and timing

7) Place sausage in another dish alongside the eggs.

8) Remove pit from avocado and scoop into a medium-sized bowl. Mash avocado with a fork until broken down. Dice tomato into small cubes and add to the avocado. Juice half of a lime (or use store-bought lime juice) into the mixture and add salt and pepper to taste. Mix ingredients together. 

9) Lay tortillas out and stack the ingredients beginning with the eggs and followed by the chopped sausage, guacamole, and toppings of choice (sour cream, salsa, and cheese). Alternatively, the sour cream and salsa can be placed on the tortilla itself with the rest of the ingredients following.

10) Eat, eat, eat!

Thank you so much for reading! Next up in the food world, suggestions for maintaining a gluten-free diet on campus!

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March 2, 2016

A New, Blessed Brit

Wow. It has been a long time.

You know for a while I debated pulling this blog down, or giving someone else the domain because I felt so awful that I had not kept up with it. My first semester of college was so different from what I had anticipated. I had this view that it would go great, that my grades would be perfect, and that I would feel one hundred percent that it was where I was meant to be.

Well, I'm sitting here in view of beautiful Jordan-Hare (which is eerily quiet post-football season), so it's safe to say one of those things is true. But this post isn't for me to whine about how school is so hard and life's never going to get better.

Because I made a change. Er, not just one, but rather a few.

First semester I was excited (and anxious). I joined clubs and activities, I started attending a church, I made friendships, and I started my first round of college classes. But something wasn't right, I should have been feeling happy...or at least looking forward to the next activity or class or whatever. Yet, every day that I continued to do the same routine, I hated it. I felt that despite my best efforts to not want to change myself during college, I was shaping a life around me that just didn't feel like my own. It didn't feel genuine and it didn't bring me joy. Things started happening at home that were out of my control from 17 hours away and I didn't really know how to cope with it. I started to make mistakes and find problems in things I never had in the past. I allowed the stress from near and far to mess with me, to turn me into an anxious person I never wanted to be.

Here I was at a school I had worked tirelessly despite the odds to get into, it was my dream school since sophomore year, and I felt like I was not the person I wished to be.

Now looking back I know I can't be too hard on myself. College is a transition, and unexpected things occurred back a home that really swerved my path from what I had thought it would be. I look around at my friend group here at Auburn and think "Wow, did I luck out!" The friends that surround me went through many equally, if not harder, trials. They are so strong, bright, and some of the most passionate and driven people I know. Despite my inner anxieties or worries during those first few months, it truly was the people around me that reminded me why I was here.

But there was one thing I had been continuing to neglect. And that, was me.

This a new semester, and a new me. 

Change is not a bad thing. It is what drives life. But I had been trying to initiate the wrong type of change, one that didn't give me fulfillment or happiness. And in doing so I forgot to reflect and think about what I truly needed, rather than what I thought I should become.

One of the biggest areas of my life that I am focusing on is my overall health. Too many late nights at the library and all-nighters began to take its toll on me last semester. I was exhausted all the time and felt like I was spending endless hours studying for tests that I did "just ok" in. I started slipping on my food choices, eating things that were contrary to the gluten-free diet I needed to follow, simply because I didn't have the energy to spend on truly planning and thinking through my choices.

I also wasn't pursuing things that made me emotionally happy. I was stuck with a church that was great, but not for me. I was stuck participating in clubs and organizations that, again, were amazing, but not for me. I hadn't read a book in ages, nor had I sat down and taken time to do some hobby or something in general that I enjoyed. I was focused on school, but not really studying in a way that seemed to be working.

I have chosen to change. I am unwilling to be content with life if it makes me unhappy and unfulfilled. 

So the person typing now is a different, much happier, and a still continually blessed person. I am now (currently) sitting with all As in my classes, but more than that, I am truly spending time on myself. I've been eating gluten-free for almost a month now and feel exceptionally better. Not only am I making choices in light of my gluten intolerance, but I feel as though I've finally had one of those "a-ha!" moments when it comes to health. I want to eat good things that in hand make me feel and be the best I can be. I want to exercise and put up with the 20 minute walk to the gym. I want to find enjoyment in every day and not feel like other things, whether that be food, people, or grades, affect my happiness. 

I feel for the first time that I have a sense of control over my life. Not a control that rivals God's, but one that has allowed me to take full advantage of the gifts He has given me and the life that He wants for me.

And I want that life for me too! I'm returning to a place where I truly believe in my own abilities and a renewed confidence and self-esteem. I'm not allowing the setbacks I'm encountering to rule how I live my life, because they are part of it, but they are not all there is to it. Disappointments and hardships are important, because they enable me to fully appreciate the good. But I'm fed up letting things continue on if I have to power to change them.

I'm very optimistic for the future. I am planning to truly commit to this blog and use it to share advice and insight into my life here at Auburn. I will be posting tips to eating gluten-free on campus, workouts that I will be (attempting) doing, and random stories about everyday life here on the beautiful rolling plains. 

I owe a huge amount of gratitude towards the friends and family both here and at home that continue to uplift and support me. I love you all so very much and a day doesn't go by that I reflect on how lucky I am.

And of course I owe it all to Him.

To a new and Blessed Brit,

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September 20, 2015

Joining a Sorority: The Ups and Downs

Hey Y'all!

I know its been a while since I last posted. School has been getting busier and my schedule is becoming more and more packed, but exciting things have been happening! As many of you know, this summer I moved to Auburn a week early to participate in formal recruitment. Having had no prior knowledge as to the process and no legacy status, I spent a large part of this summer working hard with my Mum to gather recommendations and attend Recruitment 101 sessions. After all this preparation, I was set! I waited anxiously the days leading up to August 7th, reviewing my outfits and watching last minute Youtube videos for advice. Then the long-awaited day came! I met my Pi Chi group and received my schedule. The next few days were a blur. I experienced highs and lows. On the third day I learned that my #1 had dropped me, but I regrouped and proceeded into Sisterhood day with my 2 and 3. I loved their parties and that night when we went back to our dorms I was full of excitement. There was one day left of recruitment and then I would be greeting my sisters for the first time! The two houses I was going into Pref with were amazing; they were kind and down-to-earth and service focused. I had connected so well with girls in every round. I went to sleep anxious and optimistic of my final day of rush!

And then the call came at 5:30 in the morning.

I nodded my head and spoke in calm tone. We agreed to meet later in the day to discuss everything. But when my Pi Chi hung up the phone, leaving me with the news that I had just been completely released from recruitment, I sat in silent awe.

I didn't understand.

I had put so much effort into my preparation for rush. I had known I was at a disadvantage, with my being out of state and my family's lack of legacy due to the absence of sororities in the UK, but I was also confident in who I was and all that I had accomplished during high school. I had earned my scholarship to Auburn through hard work. I had good grades and a high ACT with multiple honors upon graduation. I lead service groups, was actively involved in my high school, and had held two jobs for over two years. I have always thought of myself as outgoing and a people-person. I love making new friends and being kind to others.

So why was I not wanted?

What made me so different from my peers? What made me become one of the less than one hundred girls dropped from recruitment out of group of more that 1,500 underclassmen?


I decided to write this post because it is a subject that needs to be talked about.

This post is for anyone, any girl or guy, who will inevitably experience rejection and disappointment. It will hurt. Don't try and pretend that it doesn't, as this will just lead you down a road that you don't need to follow. 

You need to accept that it will be hard the first couple days. It is human nature to feel pain, and to want to fit in. But you need to make an effort to lessen the blow of rejection as much as possible. For me it was deleting my Instagram and Facebook apps on my phone so that I wasn't tempted to scroll through the endless pictures of my classmates on Bid Day. I also made myself get up and leave my dorm room. I went to the library and read. I sat on Samford lawn and doodled. I swam laps for a couple hours in the afternoon and then that night I made the decision to join my Pi Chi group for dinner. These girls had made me laugh and smile as well as supported me throughout the process and it was important to me that I be there to encourage them and share my happiness for their journeys that lay ahead with their new sisters. I worked hard to be the mature and compassionate woman I have grown to be in light of disappointment.

And God worked in his mysterious ways.

Because that night, as I was scrolling mindlessly on my laptop, something prompted me to search the words Phi Lamb. And that split-second decision has lead me to a huge blessing.

When I showed up on the first night of recruitment, I felt sick to my stomach. What if I hated this? Worse, what if they hated me? Was I making the right choice? But I went forward with the process anyways. And guess what? It was fun! 

These girls were beautiful and encouraging. They had a genuine warmth and friendship that couldn't be faked. They were silly and uninhibited in their fun. 

The third night I was hooked. As vice-president Anna finished her testimony, I wanted to jump for joy. The authenticity and honesty shown through her words. This wasn't a place where everyone had everything together. This was a place for girls to bond and grow. This was a home.

For me, Phi Lamb represents all that is so wonderful and awe-inspiring about our God.

They accept me for who I am, and when I looked across the room during our new member retreat this past weekend, I saw a group of girls so different in their personalities and looks but firmly rooted in one key similarity: Christ.

So God works in crazy but perfectly laid out ways. Because of my faith in Him and my confidence in myself, I was able to embrace the blessings that He had in store for me. Rejection is hard and it hurts. But remember that God made you with a purpose and a love for you that is beyond our humanly comprehension. 

He knew what he was doing when I got that call Friday morning. He had amazing plans for me when I attended recruitment for Phi Lamb that first night, nerves and all. 

And He has placed an amazing Phi Lamb Phamily in my life to encourage and support me. I am surrounded with sisters who are passionate in their love for the world and others, who are hard-working and optimistic, and who will change the world for the better.

And although formal recruitment didn't work out for me, I firmly believe that He has his hand over all 17 Panhellenic sororities located on campus who are full with equally wonderful ladies.

But for me Sigma Phi Lambda is my home.

"You are God’s masterpiece, created for a purpose (Ephesians 2:10). 
When you and I find our identity in Christ, we can put aside the world’s definition of beauty and worth and remember the beauty and worth. 
He has already created in each of us. 
The world’s love and affirmation will fail, but His love never fails."
- She Reads Truth

Running with joy to meet my incredible Big!

Couldn't have hoped for a better Big 

My New Phamily 

Some of my gifts from Courtney 

Some new artwork for Sabrina and I's door :)

First home game with my first (and one of the best) friend!

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August 28, 2015

Dorm Life

This week has been a total whirlwind of activity! My family and I have been preparing to move me into my dorm at Auburn University. With so many things to think of, it's extremely easy to forget necessary items for living on your own! So I'm excited to introduce my checklist and guide to dorm shopping which will also feature pictures of my completed dorm room :)

Dorm Shopping: The Basics

1) Have a list: This is so important. I can not stress how invaluable it is to have a organized list you can refer to amidst the chaos of shopping. You might think (like I myself did) early on that it will be really easy to keep track of what you have to buy. I had a mental checklist of the items I required, but when it came time to actually purchase them, I completely blanked! Having a list on hand can save a lot of added stress! I would suggest either having a list on your computer that you can easily access and print (Google Documents is a great option because you can type up your list and view it from any computer, wherever you are, simply by logging into you google account!) or handwriting and making multiple copies that you leave in your school bag, purse, or car. You never know when you may be out and about and spot the perfect desk lamp you've been searching for for weeks! You're going to want to have a list handy to make a record of what you have purchased! One of my biggest suggestions is searching for college supply lists on sites like Pinterest (I personally used the one featured below and it was so helpful) and obtaining a school list from your college or university. Most stores that carry school and/or dorm supplies have copies available that you simply have to ask a sales associate for. The official school lists usually include measurements for bedding and furniture which is really important! You don't want to arrive at school with sheets that don't fit and an oversized curtain!

2) Coupons and Sales: Your Best Friends: Here's a spoiler: shopping for a dorm isn't cheap. But it doesn't have to break the bank either. It's important to put some thought and planning into your trips to the store. Be on the lookout for coupons in the mail and deals online. Often times in the summer, stores will throw college deals leading up to move-in. Make the most of the summer months! Figure out what you need at the start of the summer so you aren't scrambling last minute and so you have time to pursue the cheapest options of things you need. I found a lot of times that something I really wanted in one store was available in another for $10-$20 cheaper! That may not seem like a lot right now, but once you're in college you will learn that a little money can go a long way! One option I would really recommend is to check and see if any nearby stores are throwing a college deal day. Our local Bed, Bath, & Beyond threw an event geared specifically towards college students. They configured the store so that you would visit different stations that had items you would need for school, such as bedding, towels, and coffee makers. Someone from the store was available to help you find what you needed.  It took a lot of stress out of dorm shopping because everything was so organized and spread out! My mum and I bought the majority of my dorm stuff here apart from my quilt and decorations. The event included 20% of the ENTIRE order! We saved over $200 at the end of the day!! Make the most of events and deals like these!

3) Ship your Stuff: This is pretty self explanatory but I had a lot of friends who didn't even think to ask. If you are going somewhere out of state that either requires you to drive long distances or fly, talk to a manager or sales associate at the store you are purchasing your supplies at about shopping items directly to your school. Since I moved to a state over 15 hours away, I wasn't really in a position to be able to bring all my dorm decor down with me in the car. A couple of the stores we visited were able to ship our items for free to my grandparents who live near by, or better yet to the school itself. Having your items shipped to your college or available for pickup at a local branch at the store can take a lot of hassle out of your journey. Be sure to ask!

• • • •

And here comes the fun part.....

My Dorm
I am so excited to share the completed look of my dorm for freshman year. I spent a lot of time discussing back and forth with my roommate Sabrina our ideas for colors and decor! We had a mutual board on Pinterest where we pinned ideas for our dorm (I totally recommend you do this, especially if you live far away from one another and can't discuss/shop in person). That being said: don't feel the need to perfectly match your roommates style. A lot of my friends who have just moved in have very different styles from their roommates. Don't feel like you have to plan everything to match and don't force your roommate to run with what you want. Respect each other's wishes and most of all discuss!!  Talk about what your ideas are for the dorm and whether matching and color coding is the plan for the two of you. My roomie Sabrina and I wanted to match our two sides enough that there was cohesion in the room (we're both a little anxious over conflicting decor in the same room) but if that's not what you want to do then don't! You have to remember that your dorm is going to be your new home for the next 8-9 months or however long your school year is. You want to feel comfortable and relaxed in your space. Which brings me to my next point: DECORATE. DO bring pictures of friends and family so that they're close by in heart and mind. DO pursue crafting and decorating your dorm with personal touches (you never know, you may fall in love with canvas-ing or pinterest). And DO bring a few items that are special or important to you and put them somewhere in your dorm, whether that be a book, painting, coffee mug, or blanket. I hope you embrace this fun time and the experience of making a new home for yourself. Hope these tips help you on your wonderful new journey!

The canvases and flower letter I crafted for my dorm :) 

My Polaroids and decorations hung up on the wall along with the "Sweet Pea" sign my Mum bought in reference to my nickname.

The completed look :)

And finally my amazing roomie Sabrina and I!