She Has Returned! Almond Butter Chocolate Banana Overnight Chia Oats
I can't believe it has been nearly three years since my last post. I'm sure I'm not alone in the fact that the pandemic has shaved quite a lot off my lifetime. With stress, panic, more stress and more panic...I'm happy to say, I have somehow survived through it all.
For two years of that life stifling vortex, I was waaaaay up north Wisconsin. Well, first I bounced around. I was in the process of moving to Maine for a job relocation when my job, and cabin that was tied to my employment fell through. Suddenly, I was not only unemployed, but homeless. And in the middle of a pandemic that at the time felt like, the end of the world. Sometimes I feel like, I'm overdramatic. But in this case....nah. I think I was right on.
Then I had to move close to Fond du Lac for 5 months. That's a whole other chapter, I'd be happy to gloss over. After interviewing for months all over the country, I finally picked up work a few hours north of Milwaukee. I was released. I meant to type, relieved, but really...I did feel like I had been released. But with that, came many many challenges the following two years.
I was on the peninsula, and the "Cape Cod of the Midwest" in Door County. Living in a resort area gave me quite a few really hard life lessons. First lesson, any place being referred to as a "resort" town is a huge red flag. Resort Town = Seasonal work. And employers up there can really be assholes. Promises and contracts don't exist.
An employer promises to employ you year round with a set number of hours. Lies.
You are hired for one job, but are now required to do two, three and maybe even four for the price of one or even less than one sometimes. And I'm not talking about being a helpful employee. I am more than happy to do things not in a job description. But working in several different departments as a lead is not normal.
Benefits? Sure! If you want to pay $400 a month for health insurance just for yourself.
Tips? Great, that will help supplement my lower income in the off season! Nope, the owners of Thorp House Inn, will go into the rooms before you and swipe your tips. Or even fellow employees at Eagle Harbor Inn will be stealing each others tips, while they don't "have time" to clean the whirlpools in their suites.
You could work at one of the small boutiques up there like, City Sailor who hired 4 store managers for one store and played The Hunger Games to see who could survive. Not to mention, buying wholesale clothing illegally from the franchised store Apricot Lane Boutique and marking it up 3-4x what it's being sold for at their personal business store.
Or you could work at the new fancy hotel in Sister Bay, where tips are also getting swiped. Or even better, work in one of their closets prepping food in 95 degree weather with other employees that are getting additional employees wages on their paychecks because they're illegal.
But there's, wineries! You know I love a good winery! But the biggest one up there isn't even making their own wines. Buying cheap bulk wines from wine factories, dumping some chemicals in, slapping their Bailey's Harbor label on it and calling it their own. Cool. They also like to belittle their employees and turn one against the other just for the sport of it. It's normal.
I quite quickly started to refer to Door County as, "The Twilight Zone".
I have never in my life experienced so much deceit, trauma, abuse, and illegal activities as I did up in Door. What would be normal working conditions, employer/employee laws, prior expectations (of anything), and human decency go out the window in Door County. J1 student visa applicants are treated the worst and I'm sure they have even more horror stories. You want to vacation a couple times a year?! Cool. You''l love it. But to work there as a resident is a whole other experience I wouldn't wish in on my worst enemy.
Thankfully, I have moved on from that and am getting settled in Washington State. I'm trying to make it out to the San Juan Islands, but it has been a struggle. I'm getting severe déjà vu with employers on the islands and am worried it will be another Door experience that I refuse to repeat again. However, I am finishing up my IT classes and may go that route instead. The problem is the pay versus cost of living is Insane in Washington State.
I'll be lucky to find an apartment less than $1,600. But, it is the west coast. I have to toughen up with my Midwest Nice and politeness. The west coast has proven to be very expensive and a bit flakey. Adventure Time.
I have been cooking quite a lot since I came out here last month and thought I should catch everyone up and post a recipe. Nothing super fancy, but simple, easy and delicious.
Almond Butter Chocolate Banana Chia Overnight Oats
1 Can Coconut CREAM
1 Cup Almond Milk
1 Ripe Banana
2 TBS Almond Butter
3 TBS Maple Syrup
1 Cup GLUTEN FREE Old Fashioned Oats
1 Scoop Chocolate Protein Powder (I used Orgain Organics)
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Salt (or more to taste)
1 Cup Chia Seeds
Extra Almond Butter
In a blender, blend all the ingredients together EXCEPT the chia seeds and the Extras. Blend till smooth. Place in bowl and stir in chia seeds by hand. Taste. Salt and sweeten to preference. Place in fridge and chill for 30 minutes. Stir every 15 minutes. Then, place in individual cups and garnish with more banana, cacao nibs and almond butter. A tasty treat awaits you the next morning that is Vegan and Gluten Free. Packed with super foods, potassium and protein! It will stay good for several days. However, I would hold off putting the extra bananas in there if you go that route.