My Go-to Recipes

Ever wonder what it’s like to work in a meat market? Even though that answer is most likely no, I’m here to answer.

I’ve spent the past two summers behind a 50 foot long display of pork, beef, fish, and chicken. The meat counter has a huge variety of cuts that can be very intimidating. 

Most of my job is serving customers, which can get pretty stressful at times. When I first started, I knew nothing about meat or cooking in general. Answering questions or knowing what was what in the counter was a challenge. 

I still get questions that I don’t have an answer for, but it doesn’t happen as often. Customers would always ask me, an eighteen years old, how to prepare what they were buying.  

Thanks to the job, I am now able to explain how to prepare the majority of items that the market sells. 

This past summer I’ve finally started to cook for myself, and learned some solid recipes. Here’s a few so you can move past frozen pizza, ramen, and microwavable meals. 

Sirloin Steak Burritos

Even though this meal takes a while to prepare, the end result is very much worth it. For two people, all you need is a pound of sirloin, taco seasoning, flour tortillas, queso, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, and other toppings. 

Cut the sirloin into strips and place on a skillet on high heat for the minutes or until you have a nice sear. Then place into a slow cooker along with a cup of water and taco seasoning. Stir and cook on low for 5-6 hours.

Wrap up the steaks and toppings tightly in a tortilla and throw it all on the stove top for a minute or so each side. Enjoy.

Smash Burgers

The easiest method for making burgers is also the best tasting. Ground beef, buns, and cheese are necessary. 

Simply smash a quarter-pound ball of ground beef as flat as possibly, and season to your liking. I like to use a dry rub from Famous Dave’s, but salt and pepper will work just as well.

Put a skillet on the stovetop set to medium heat and toast your hamburger buns. Once the buns come off, place your burgers and flip after roughly two or three minutes each side. Place cheese on the patties, turn off the heat, and wait one minute before placing them onto the buns.

T-bone Steak

Some steaks are hard to mess up. All you really need to season a nice t-bone or porterhouse steak is a generous coating of salt, pepper, and a little garlic powder. 

Grill to your liking.

Developing film negatives for beginners

A couple weeks ago I did something that I had been wanting to do for almost six months now. I bought chemicals to develop three rolls of film I shot throughout the summer. Those chemicals were the first step I took in trying to develop at home. 

There’s a lot more to developing though. A light-proof changing bag, light-proof tank, thermometer, and a scanner are some of the other pieces of equipment you’ll need to produce images. The scanner wasn’t completely necessary because photo labs can cheaply scan negatives with much better quality.

What you’ll need:

The expenses add up pretty quickly, but considering that you’d be paying upwards of $12 to develop each roll, it’s worth the cost if you plan to shoot film consistently. The cost to develop a roll with your own chemicals and equipment averages out to about $2.50 a roll. 

When I finally had everything I needed, I proceeded to attempt my first roll.

Developing film in a fraternity bathroom brought about a plethora of challenges. The first one I encountered was maintaining the temperature of my chemicals. The lack of a funnel was also a problem. However, this was solved by pouring the liquid into solo cups (which can also be used to measure). 

Despite these setbacks, I was able to produce a few somewhat presentable images. 

When finally had my developed negatives, it was clear to me that I had made some mistakes in the process. 

The obvious one to me was that the temperature of my developer was too cold. My pictures had a blue tint to them, but it was easy to correct. 

Before color correction.

My scanner’s color correction surprised me. The scan came out much better than the negative. 

After color correction.

What I found out about film is that the physical imperfections often look like popular filters or edits. This is really good for me, because the first two rolls I’ve developed on my own have been full of imperfections like light spots, 

My personal favorite.

I have a lot more practice to do, but now that I know the process I can’t wait to shoot with film more.

My Favorite Albums of 2020

Most years I would say something cliche about how quickly the year has gone by, and how it’s crazy that it’s almost over. This year is different, 2020 has felt like an eternity and frankly I can’t wait for it to be over. There have been some good things to come out of 2020 though, mainly being music.

Circles by Mac Miller

Released: January 17

I’m not going to outright call this the best album of the year, but I thought I’d start with my personal favorite. 

There’s some albums or songs that I wish I could listen to for the first time again. This posthumous work is one of those albums. There’s so much heart that you can hear. 

This was the perfect ending to Mac Miller’s discography.

Notable songs:
  • Circles
  • Complicated
  • Blue World
  • Hand Me Down
  • Surf
  • Once a day
  • Circles
  • Complicated
  • Blue World
  • Hand Me Down
  • Surf
  • Once a day

Listen to Circles here

Limbo by Amine

Released: August 7

I’ve been a fan of Amine for a while, so this was a highly anticipated release for me. 

The album never dies down from Burden, the first and in my opinion best song.

Notable songs:
  • Burden
  • Woodlawn
  • Shimmy
  • Mama 

Listen to Limbo here

Savage Mode II by 21 Savage & Metro Boomin’

Released: October 2

For some reason, 21 Savage projects rarely disappoint me. Savage Mode II is no exception. 

This album is great for workouts, bringing high energy beats from Metro Boomin’ and high energy raps from 21.

There isn’t a boring moment, making this one of the better albums that’s released so far in 2020.

Notable songs:
  • Runnin
  • Mr. Right Now featuring Drake
  • Many Men
  • Said N Done
  • Runnin
  • Mr. Right Now featuring Drake
  • Many Men
  • Said N Done

Listen to Savage Mode II here

Halfway Off the Porch by AG Club

Released: January 25

AG Club is one of many artists I found during my quarantine summer. 

Memphis is one of my favorite songs that I’ve heard this year. I didn’t hear any songs that I liked more than Memphis, but I was surprised at the quality of their debut album. 

AG is the next A$AP, and I can’t wait for what’s next. 

Notable songs:
  • Hngover
  • Memphis
  • Paprika
  • Hngover
  • Memphis
  • Paprika

Listen to Halfway Off the Porch here

HAPPY 2 BE HERE by Ant Clemons

Released: February 28

Ant Clemons’ debut EP made a great impression. His voice and production are amazing, and this project is a taste of what’s to come. Considering this EP, I think he has the potential to be huge.

Notable songs:
  • Mama I Made It
  • 4 Letter Word featuring Timberland
  • Excited featuring Ty Dolla $ign
  • Aladdin featuring Pharrell

Listen to HAPPY 2 BE HERE here

The Last 3 Things I Bought on eBay

Life moves a little bit slower in quarantine. Here’s how the last three items I’ve purchased on the internet’s original Walmart adequately explain my quarantine lifestyle.

This Garfield flag for my room.

You can buy this beauty here.

This flag currently hangs above my television. At $16 shipped, there are some corners that have been cut. Garfield looks suspiciously yellow and and the cartoonist’s signature has been edited to the point it looks like random scribblings. Neither of these things bother me enough to not display it. 

The flag is very insightful about my coronacation. While school is very important, I’ve found I’ve had the opportunity to relax and focus on the important things in life. What I like about this one in particular is that it is more than just your typical frat college glad. Garfield is an icon. 

Just call my school and tell them I died.

A Minolta 50mm camera lens 

You can expect a lens like this in good condition to sell anywhere between $30-60.

This past spring, I bought a cheap point-and-shoot 35 mm film camera. That camera left me wanting to dive deeper into the world of analog photography, leading to the purchase of my first big boy camera; a Minolta X-370..

The X-370 was released the same year that Ronald Reagan won his second term, 1984. Outside of automatic shutter speed, this camera doesn’t offer much assistance in ensuring a quality image. 

Thanks to hours of Youtube videos, I felt comfortable with the camera by my second roll of film. If you’re just starting to shoot with film and have a little background with digital photography the X-370 is a great camera to start with. I actually learned how to use a camera in manual settings on it. The image quality of film is comparable to a modern digital camera, and the process is a lot of fun. 

A pleasant introduction to photography.

When a 36 year old camera takes images that look better than a phone, it becomes clear that a camera is a tool that’s capable of anything when in the right hands. 

Your lens is just as important as your camera though, and this lens is a great addition to my 300mm lens. I have three rolls of film worth of photos from the summer shot with this lens that I can’t wait to develop. Walgreen’s charges $15 to develop film, but that includes prints and digital files.

A 50mm lens is a must-buy for any photographer.

A plain Champion hoodie

Who doesn’t need more loungewear? You can buy this sweatshirt here, but waiting for a sale is a good way to buy.

I’ve worn sweats abnormally often the last six months, so this $20 buy is well worth it. A hoodie is one of the most versatile items of clothing a person can buy and Champion is a reliable brand.

Comfort can be so affordable some times.