Gratitude and Giving Thanks

10 days… Oh. Em. Gee…. 10 days?!  TEN DAYS!!

In just over a week, I will wear a black gown, place a golden colored stoll over my shoulders, and walk with approximately 600 other students across the stage of the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center to receive a diploma in Food Production from Fox Valley Technical College.  What an amazing journey this has been for me!

It’s fitting that I’m penning this post on Thanksgiving eve, because I have SO much to be thankful for this year.  Among my list of personal reasons, I am so incredibly thankful to have had the opportunity to better myself over these past 2 years.  I’m filled with gratitude for the financial assistance I’ve received in the way of scholarships, grants, and student loans.  Without them, a college education would have been impossible for me.

I’m grateful for the amazing instructors I’ve had, whose knowledge, passion for teaching, and compassionate demeanor encouraged me to work hard at getting the most out of every educational experience I was given.

I’m equally blessed to have had some amazing mentors and advisers along the way.  Chef Jeff, Barb Dreger, Casey Britten, and Shiela Kahler…God bless each and every one of you for your support and encouragement.

I’m thankful to have had employment opportunities during my schooling, that helped to keep a roof over my head and food on my table.  Many students aren’t aware of the opportunities for extra cash during their schooling that are right inside of the walls of the school!  I spent time and was compensated for being a student ambassador, a peer tutor, a student blogger, an administrative intern, and for assisting with food prep and catering events through the culinary program.  If you’re interested in learning more about any of those programs, I encourage you to click through the links I’ve attached below and learn more about them.

STUDENT AMBASSADOR

PEER TUTORING

STUDENT INTERNSHIPS

WORK OPTIONS TO HELP PAY FOR COLLEGE

Fox Valley Technical College is truly a one-of-a-kind, amazing place to gain the knowledge that can help you live out your personal passion and career-related dreams.  I am SO thankful that I will soon be spreading my wings and soaring to heights of greatness in my career!

In closing, I want to share a recipe with you that I feel is very appropriate.  I named it “Bountiful Harvest” and the name is quite fitting for the bounty of gratitude that I feel at this time in my life.  Enjoy…and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones.

BOUNTIFUL HARVEST DRESSING

Ingredients

1/2 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries

1 pound ground sausage

6 cups dried bread or stuffing cubes

1 medium onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh sage1 pinch fresh thyme

1/3 teaspoon celery seed

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup diced celery

1/2 cup diced apple with skin on

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (325 in a convection oven).

Place cranberries in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover, and bring to a boil. Cook just until skins pop. Drain, and cool.

Place sausage, onion, and celery in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, and cool.

In a medium baking dish, mix cranberries, apple, sausage, bread cubes, onion, and garlic. Season with parsley, oregano, sage, thyme, celery seed, ground ginger, salt, and pepper. Stir in chicken broth to desired consistency.

Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until surface is crisp and lightly browned.

Fox Valley Tech’s Best-Kept Secret

You may have noticed that I’ve been a little quiet on the blogging front lately.  I took a hiatus to tend to some urgent matters. I hope you haven’t missed me too much! Sometimes it’s a healthy thing to step away from the keyboard (or phone, or iPad, or whatever device you choose) and just live your life.

As I wrap up my semester (and hopefully my college career), I thought it might be helpful to talk a little bit about one of the best-kept secrets at Fox Valley Tech: Student Employment Services.

Many of us are approaching graduation, and that means FINDING A FULL-TIME JOB!  That thought is a bit daunting for me right now. I really don’t have much to fret about though, because free job placement services are available just for being a student at Fox Valley Tech!  Awesome at its best!

First of all, Student Employment Services has a website called Wisconsin TechConnect, which is a job search site EXCLUSIVELY for students attending WI technical colleges. You can get statewide job listings that are directly related to your program. Once I applied for graduation, those job listings started showing up into my email inbox.  Truly, how much easier could it be?!   There are other job search sites they can direct you to as well.

Student Employment Services also offers mock interviews, to help get the jitters out for the real thing. They also have an expert who will take a look at your resume, to make sure it’s up to par with the competition.

If you really want to get serious, there are 2 very cool programs to help you in your job search: Job Search Investigation and Job Seekers Network (http://www.fvtc.edu/jobsearchprograms).

Here’s a video:

And the best part to all of this? It’s all completely FREE.  Even if you’re NOT a student at FVTC, you are welcome to take advantage of some of these services.

Here’s the website. Check it out. Right now. Go. http://www.fvtc.edu/ses-students. (Seriously…What are you waiting for? Get movin’ further towards success!)

That’s a Wrap!

SCENE ONE:

Next week marks the end of another college term for me. WOW!  When I reflect on how quickly this year is flying by, I start to wig out a little… especially considering all that’s going on in my life. Some of you have heard me having hysterical crying hissy fits share about all of it on my Twitter and Facebook pages, likely to the point of nausea, so I won’t bore you with the details again. Besides, I have too much to do and not enough time to do it…so I refuse to focus on the negative stuff.

Instead, I’ll focus on the embarrassing stuff…like the video that I had to create for the final project of my sales presentation class.

SCENE TWO:

I wouldn’t call myself very photogenic to begin with, and whoever said that a camera adds 10 pounds to you was 125% correct! Good grief, Charlie Brown… I watched that video repeatedly, hoping to find SOME way to make myself look respectable. No such luck. I looked like a human cupcake… which probably explains the saying “You are what you eat.”   The only thing that could have possibly made me look prettier and lighter would have required me dragging a 600 pound elephant into the room so that I’d look thin in comparison.

Don’t believe me? PROOF… You’ve been warned!

Me on a good day:

Me in the video I filmed over the weekend:

OK, maybe I didn’t look THAT bad. After all, I cast a wonderful, handsome man in my video, whose charm and good looks will hopefully distract my instructor away from the “sales gorilla”. Yep …my boyfriend volunteered to be my “customer”. Wasn’t that sweet of him? I excitedly accepted his offer. What girl wouldn’t want the opportunity to star in a video with the man she loves? Wait… not THAT kind of video! Get your mind out of the gutter!

SCENE THREE

So the goal of the sales presentation video was to convince Brian to buy my cupcakes. CONVINCE HIM?! Who am I kidding? On any given cupcake baking day, I’m usually prying Brian’s fingers off of my creations. You need proof of that, too? *sigh* If I must….

One of my cupcakes:

I made these for the 4th of July… Aren’t they cute?! You can get the instructions and recipe on how to make them HERE.

Anyway, here’s what the scene in our house looks like once Brian finishes manhandling my cute cupcakes:

(Adorably messy baby feet found at MiddleofJuly.com)

As they say in film production… THAT’S A WRAP!

However, I’m a food-crazed girl. MY idea of a wrap for today is compliments of Betty Crocker. I hope that you enjoy it… and I hope that you’ll visit me here again soon!

Turkey, Bacon, & Guacamole Wrap

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