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Monday, June 27, 2011

Twice Baked Potatoes

Emily, Libby, Michelle, Megan, Jessica, Lorna, and me at a TCU football game
When I first applied to the University of Texas, I applied as a psychology major.  One of my best friends in high school, Katherine Hooton, had died due to complications from eating disorders when we were sophomores, and I had decided that I wanted to help young girls in her predicament.  I thought that, with a psychology degree, I could help young girls like Katherine who needed someone to talk to about their problems before the turned life-threatening.  In addition to psychology, I was also interested in photography, so I tried to enroll in a photography class.  As it turned out, the photography class was only available to students in the Communications School, and I was currently in the School of Liberal Arts.  So, being the too-quick-to-make-a-decision-before-I-take-time-to-think-about-it freshman in college that I was, I applied to the Communications School and changed my major.

Me, Jessica, Chris, Karen, Erin, Jessica, & Lorna at Megan's Wedding
Well, despite being raised by a journalist, it turned out that journalism wasn't all I thought it was cracked up to be, so I switched back to psychology.  I figured 'You can always teach a psychologist how to write, but a writer can't just up and counsel people on their own free will,' so I thought it was a sound decision.  I loved psychology, and I knew I was doing something that would make a difference in the world.  Then there was the decision of how I was going to help children- by becoming a lawyer for juveniles or becoming a psychologist or counselor?  The summer after junior year of college, I had two internships- one at the Travis County Juvenile Public Defender's office as a law clerk and one at the Austin State School where I was the head psychologist's assistant.  I wasn't sure that going to law school was right for me because I wouldn't be able to work with children the way that I wanted- it just didn't feel like a right fit.  I was certain, after working in a house full of girls who were diagnosed with both mental retardation and behavior disorders, that counseling was the route I wanted to take.

MJ, Mika, Jackie, Freek, Jessica, Brad, and me at MJ's apartment

I applied for TCU's School of Education, specifically to earn my Masters in Education with an emphasis in School Counseling.  I always made decent grades in school, but in graduate school, it just clicked.  I was (for the first time ever) acing every single class, but it was because I loved what I was doing and what I was learning.  I also became really close with the other students in the counseling program- Jessica, Megan, Chris, Erin, Courtney, Diana, Karen, Jessica B, Hayley, Sarah, MJ, Jackie, Mary, Brad, Libby, Michelle, Ginger, Mika, Monica, Freek, Herman- I wouldn't have made it through graduate school without you all! I'm sure there's someone I'm forgetting, but seriously- y'all are amazing.  I am so so proud of every single one of you.  People were juggling children, newborns, jobs, volunteering- all while in grad school- they were troopers and taught me so much.  I easily learned as much from my peers as I did from my professors.

Megan, Jessica, and me at my 2nd Annual Holiday Cocktail Party
I knew I'd made the right decision, but I also knew I was on a long, long path.  After graduate school, even with a M. Ed., one can't just say, "I'm a counselor- how can I help?  Let's talk."  The process goes about like this: undergrad, grad school, 12 extra hours of classes including a second practicum class, apply for the National Counselor Exam, study your butt off for the huge test, pass the NCE, accrue 3,000 hours of supervised work (1,000 of which has to be face-to-face with clients) as an LPC-I (Licensed Professional Counselor- Intern), and THEN you can, officially, be a counselor as an LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor).

Megan, Jackie, Emily, Jessica, MJ, me, and Lorna at Jessica's house
The NCE is a four hour test that comprehensively covers every single thing we studied in graduate school.  I prepared for a grand total of six months before taking the exam, and I was super stressed out about it.  If you don't pass, you have to wait three months to retake it, and I did NOT want to have to stress for three additional months.  Well, on Wednesday, June 15th, I took and passed the National Counselor Exam! All my hard work had paid off!!  Now, only more fees, more applications, and 3,000 hours of supervised work to go.

Jessica and me (with Herman photo-bombing) at MJ's apartment
The same day I passed the NCE, Andy got a new truck.  He had had his old one for seven years, and it was on its last leg.  Well, his patience with his old truck definitely paid off because he bought one that is pretty great.  Complete with remote control start, a back up camera, blue tooth, and much more room than his old one, the new truck is prettttyyy sweet.

Andy's new truck! 2011 Ford F-150 FX4

We decided to celebrate both his new truck and my NCE passing the other night by having a nice dinner at home.  To drink, we opened one of the bottles of wine that we bought in Fredericksburg on our Valentine's Trip (story to come soon!)  I googled wine pairings, and was informed that merlots or cabernets go best with sirloin.  We had top sirloin steaks that were on sale at Central Market (by the way, when they have these sales- just buy whatever it is!  The meat freezes great, and you can't find deals like $5.95/lb for top sirloin just anywhere).   We seem to have baked potatoes a lot, so this time I tried twice baked potatoes.  I have had the full-fat version of twice baked potatoes a billion times, but this time, of course, I was on a mission to find a low-fat recipe.  I found this one on  Originally, it listed ingredients that were low-fat, but in true KITK style, I bought all fat-free ingredients.  So if you're looking for a twist on the traditional potato side, try these out!

Twice Baked Potato
Servings: 2 halves, 1 whole potato; Weight Watchers PointsPlus Value: 9

Twice Baked Potatoes, top sirloin, and Fredericksburg wine

  • 1 large baked potato (click here for the recipe for a Baked Potato)
  • 1/4 c fat free cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp fat free sour cream
  • 1 tbsp fat free cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp light margarine (like Smart Balance Light)
  • 2 tbsp bacon bits
  • 1 tsp chopped chives
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • paprika
  1. Bake potato
  2. Cut baked potato in half, lengthwise, and scoop out flesh, leaving a 1/4 in. border
  3. In a medium bowl, mash potato with all ingredients except paprika until smooth and creamy
  4. Spoon mixture back into the potato skins
  5. Sprinkle with paprika
  6. Bake at 350° for 25 mins until hot and golden brown on top
Top sirloin and Twice Baked Potatoes

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