Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wi-Fi Zone

Great news, everyone! I am in a free wi-fi zone. Isn't that just fabulous? So there are lots of new things going on for me.

1. My roommates are still disgusting. This isn't new, but I thought I would continue to point it out, the new part is that I only have a month and a half left living with them. I am thrilled.
2. The heat outside is fantastic. It has been sunny and stupendous.
3. I folded my all of my clothes! So productive.
4. I went on a few adventures with boyfriend and some by myself.
5. I have experimented with new foods.
6. I have had two epic fails at baking sourdough bread. I am, however, an expert so far at making bread that is so dense it could be used as an anchor for a cruise vessel.

 Looks so innocent, doesn't it? Really that is the bread that refused to rise. Read: PURE EVIL.

7. Despite all of the food consumption and (excessive for me) sugar consumption, all of my clothes still fit. This is good.
8. I have a job. I am surrounded by books at this job, so it is perfect.
9. I am going to Portland, Maine with my family in two weeks! I am psyched.

So with these new things, I have some pictures. Some are of food experiments, others are of adventures:
This is an absolutely delicious sandwich. 
Arguably the MOST delicious sandwich in the whole entire world, even.
This sandwich is from Box Lunch on Cape Cod and Boyfriend brought me here because he is the best boyfriend in the world. It's called the 'Bean-Vee' and basically has re-fried beans, dark leaf lettuce, onions, red hots, tomatoes, and sprouts wrapped in this moist and most delicious pita. It is the best, and they also have a sandwich called the 'Hum-Vee' (the same except it has hummus instead of re-fried beans).

After fueling up at Box Lunch, Boyfriend took me to a farm near his house. It is a free range farm, so the animals do not spend their days caged in with little room. Visitors are encouraged to cuddle with the animals, as they are incredibly friendly. We participated in this activity with enthusiasm. I love animal cuddling.
You can't tell by looking at this picture, but the horned white goat is standing on the back of the goat Boyfriend is petting. Totally adorable and probably uncomfortable for the bottom goat.

This kid (baby goat) tried to nibble on our fingers! Can't lie to you, readers. I let him. And I enjoyed it.

This picture makes me laugh. Goat startled Boyfriend as he was trying to take pictures. 

This whole day made me smile until my cheeks were hurting. I kept referring to it as 'the BEST DAY EVER' because it honestly felt like that. It was so peaceful, social, and intimate at the same time. I really really loved hanging out with those goats. They really know how to show you a good time. There were sheep there as well (there are not as many pictures of the sheep as they were not nearly as interested in the camera as the goats). 

I did manage to catch a picture of this one sheep, though. Looks like he's grinning, doesn't it?

The farm also has workshops for elementary schools. This moth hatched right out of a cacoon! 
The quality of the picture isn't so great because I took it with my phone, but they are so fuzzy and beautiful!

 Another so-so quality photograph, but that is Boyfriend ducking behind the OLDEST TREE ON CAPE COD!
It is a Beech Willow. Gorgeous and wise with the craziest roots!

The day was finished off with Boyfriend and his friend Keith lighting off some fireworks on the beach. They managed to pack quite a punch despite their small size. We found a tubular sort of pipe-thing on the peach and stuck one half in the sand with the other pointing to the water. It made a tiny grenade launcher!

I know, I know. Fireworks are dangerous, and the big fourth of July ones scare the daylights out of the animals. These were not nearly as loud though, I promise.

Speaking of INDEPENDENCE DAY I did, unfortunately, have to spend it working. At least I made a decent amount of money out of holiday pay, but I had rather hoped to spend the fourth in Provincetown with Boyfriend like we did last summer. Oh, well. There will be other Independence days to do just that. Specifically next year. This whole working-on-the-fourth will not be happening next year :)

Now that you have had a peek into some adventures, you should really see what I have been working on in the kitchen.

 Bite sized Cherry Tartes! Delicious and super fun to make.

Fiddle-heads! I needed to try them. Word on the street is they have a kind of asparagus-y flavor. True that. 

They were so good! Not that I am completely surprised by that, I just was a little nervous. I just sauteed them in some olive oil and threw some salt and pepper on them to keep it simple so I could actually really taste them. I will definitely be having these again during fiddle-head season next year, especially since my mom told me they grow near our house!

Bean salad! I made this with Veganaise, leeks, sunflower seeds, red beans, and a dried cherries/raisin mixture. 

This reminded me so much of this chicken salad I used to eat way back when. I made some when I went home to visit my family and my omnivore sister gobbled it up! She's a pretty tough critic, so that definitely made me feel pretty good.

I turned THESE bruised apricots into.... *drumroll please*

APRICOT JAM! Isn't it beautiful? It is seriously tasty as well.

I kind of felt a bit like my grandmother. She REALLY knows how to stretch a dollar, and I saw these apricots in the waste section of the grocery store. I was able to buy them for mere cents (usually they are upwards of $2.49 a lb.) Besides saving money, everyone knows the best jams are made from bruised and squishy fruits. 

I can't wait to try this with other fruits! I'm thinking maybe strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries next time. Maybe even apple or plum. Who knows? We'll have to see what the supermarket wants to categorize as 'waste product'!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Some we love... Image Heavy!

I have been incredibly busy living life! Lots of pictures of things to fit into this post. Mostly food, since now I actually have more time to eat some of it. Warning: with the arrival of the summer months this blog will become MUCH more image heavy. And craftsy. And beach-y. Beware.

In typical list-obsessed fashion, I made a list of things I want to accomplish this summer (not including the adult things like pay my rent, pass summer classes, and get a job). I thought I would share some of the things on my list with you. Just so y'all know, they aren't in any particular order.

1. Get to the library more... (already been preforming this quite well. I have been at least 8 times since school got out)
2. Eat even MORE dark greens
3. Make my own sourdough bread
4. Organize my iTunes (a daunting task with 76 GB of music...)
5. Sew a dress
6. Fold my shirts
7. Brush my hair at least once a day (I am bad at this)
8. Go to the beach with Boyfriend. A LOT.
9. Visit with my friends. Yeah, Nick, that means you too.
10. Find every fun thing to do in Portland with my family and DO IT.

Those are just a few of them. Trust me, there is an endless list made of post-its on my wall that keeps being added to. Even on vacation, I still manage to drown myself in lists.

Time for pictures! I haven't been big on drinking soda lately. I was never a serious soda drinker to begin with, but lately I kind of feel like I've been a little bit sensitive to the chemical taste in my diet drinks. This led to my tasting this weird 'hi-ball' natural drink that is in the natural section of the supermarket. It came in a cool bottle, and I am a sucker for marketing.

Tasted nice, only I realized once I tasted it that I could replicate this flavor with seltzer and raspberry green tea. 

Reading snack... To Kill a Mockingbird has always been my favorite book. Sometimes when I can't sleep I pick it up and head to the kitchen for some applesauce.
Now that I have found the perfect fizzy drink to satisfy my carbonation cravings, I was able to cross that off my earlier summer-list post it. Only thing is, I tried putting this concoction into my snapple bottle but I lost a good amount of the carbonation by the time I was settled in the library. Guess it doesn't travel too well; that's why we have water.

The other night I got so carried away at the library I came home with 4 new movies (including Charlie Wilson's War, which I shall be holding out to watch with my dad when I go home to visit), the first volume of The Walking Dead (graphic novel), a beading book, the Planet Earth soundtrack, and this awesome book about anthrozoology (the relationship between humans and animals). It's called Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat. It is very interesting and funny at the same time, especially when reading about specific case studies of people like Nicole Richie giving her dog hair extensions made from her own hair (weird much?) and the author's snake trying to ingest his son's hand. What a life, huh?

Anyways, the library closed at nine, so I got home around nine forty five. I hadn't eaten dinner and it was very hot. This led to one of those lazy dinners. You know, the ones where you don't want to be standing over a hot stove (Read: eating ANYTHING hot).

I grabbed a bag of frozen edamame and one of frozen strawberries out of the freezer and threw the strawberries in a blender with some water to make a strawberry slushy-thing while I ran the edamame under some water to thaw them. Tossed them with some dressing and voila! Paired with a refrigerated sweet potato it was perfection: cooling AND tasty.

I have much more to say. I didn't realize how much I run off at the mouth until I saw how long this post was. Crazy! Anyhow, This is going to be a two-part post. The second portion shall come tomorrow when I get back from Cape Cod (helping Boyfriend move more things back to his home). Look forward to some crazy Cape adventures! For now I shall leave you with a picture of this berry flavored Oreo the two of us (Boyfriend and I) found in his rather unassuming package of Oreos.

It was INSIDE out! Hah! Look at it! The surprisingly dairy-free filling has been branded by its own cookie!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Friends don't let friends attempt higher education.

Dear College,


Finals Week!

Okay, folks. We are one final down, three to go. By six o'clock tomorrow evening I should be feeling like a whole new person...or maybe Wednesday morning after I have gotten some sleep. I needed a break from studying, so I thought I would share some recent photos and a brief update of this weekend.

Would like to begin this post by making sure you all know that vegans can eat "normal" food...or whatever that means. This includes plain potato chips. Do you know why? Because they are made of potatoes, salt, and oil. Not particularly healthy, but that's really the gist of it. I attended a family reunion of sorts (my cousin got married) in Gloucester on Saturday. This was very exciting for me, as it gave me a break from cramming my brain full of archaeological terms and also gave me an opportunity to see my family!

Look at the pretty puppy my sister and I played with at the wedding reception! It was the cutest, though it was named after 'Twilight'...so....yeah. *cough*

My sister, Shannon, is the pretty blonde.  
I am the brunette being swallowed by my grandmother's parka.

I miss them always.

Anyway, I have a thirty nine year old cousin who was quite insistent that potato chips cannot be vegan. To that, good sir, I say 'shaddup'. No, vegans don't only consume kale chips, though they are delicious.

My daddy took me to Whole Foods after the wedding reception, and there I got many delicious things. One of the exciting purchases was a block of vegan mozzarella by Follow Your Heart. I proceeded to make a pizza with this for dinner, lunch the next day, and there will still be some for dinner tonight. It was large. I topped it with some mushrooms and crushed red pepper!
If you are thinking it looks 'fuckawesome', that's because it was.

I was and still am very happy with the result. Aside from testing the frozen Tofurky pizzas (which were luscious), I haven't really had any in months. I'm also a product of my mother's cooking, and we had FRESH pizza every Friday night. Not to brag, but it was pretty sweet. Nobody beats Momster's pizza, but this definitely hit the spot. It also helped to have a comfort food around after having to say goodbye to my family. My favorite parts of the whole day were the car rides to and from Gloucester with my parents, sister, and brother. Too fun.

It was a good thing my dad was amenable to some grocery shopping after the day's events, because I was definitely out of food. As you can see from my breakfast picture way back from Wednesday, I was at the very end pieces of my wheat sourdough loaf and scraping the bottom of my raspberry jam. Will take a picture of the new goodies once finals are over, though some of them have already been enthusiastically consumed.

Welp, that has to be it for now, folks. Time to get back to studying for the next onslaught of finals. Hope I don't get crushed under my huge pile of books!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The LONG Delayed Post!

I know. Awful...SHAMEFUL, even. There is really no excuse for my not updating in over two weeks except for me to say that I have been incredibly busy. It has been absolute craziness with school and I couldn't be happier that there is an end in sight.

There is also quite a lot that has gone on in the last two weeks. For one, I have a new phone. My old phone was stolen straight out of my pocket on the subway, and while that was sad it has also paved the way for a newer and far more fuckawesome phone (excuse the language, but if you have even touched a motorola droid you will completely understand). It blows my mind how far technology has come. I still have memories of my first cell phone when I was in eighth grade. My brother and I had twin phones; they were these chunky Nextel phones and I remember thinking it was so cool that I had a phone I didn't even care what it looked like. I have since become more picky (read: spoiled).

Now I am having a relationship with my droid. It comes everywhere with me and I make sure I take it out to play a few times a day. The last few days it has made me realize that one of my favorite parts about having a smart phone is that I can take pictures with astoundingly good quality without having to carry around my huge camera. Perhaps now there will be more photos of Boston and other adventures on this blog now...

In the last two weeks I have finally begun to see the signs that spring is back. This is thrilling, because I have really had quite enough of winter for the next few months. This has led to the return of jean shorts and cowboy boots, sandals, bare feet, and short sleeved shirts. I am in heaven. The leaves are coming back on the trees (my favorite part) and I get to sleep with my window open!

The blossoms are in full swing! This is right outside my apartment...

This is the fountain next to the Prudential center in Boston. Over the winter it is depressingly empty, but they filled it back up this weekend! Doesn't it look beautiful with the trees?

Food has still been delicious, but definitely more haphazardly thrown together with my lack of time. I've found myself eating spring mix out of the bag and more canned beans than dried lately. It has been a little bit odd, but I was super proud of myself last night for managing to sautee some vegetables with some buckwheat soba noodles. 

In case you had any doubts, it was delicious.

I am a little sad to admit my posts will still be a bit sporadic until May 18th. By then I will have finished the last leg of this semester and will have a nice break until my summer classes start. Be excited, because I definitely am.

As a parting gift, I shall leave you all with a photo of the smoothie I had for dinner the other night. I was feeling a bit ill, definitely wasn't up to cooking, and was craving something sweet. It has frozen peaches, mixed berries, strawberries, almond milk, vanilla, spinach, and some cinnamon. Rocked my world, I'm telling you.
Until next time!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I know! Another one...

This week has been incredibly busy. I know that's no excuse, but it has gotten down to crunch time with the college-work, and in the next few weeks it will likely get even worse. I can't wait for the summer so I can try a whole ton of new recipes with more pictures and adventures! For today you might just have to settle for another blog-electronic interview.

What is one food you thought you’d miss when you went vegan, but don’t?

Definitely cheese and yogurt. I wasn't really a big milk drinker so that wasn't a big deal at all. I really thought being vegan was going to be difficult but it has turned out to be shockingly simple. The alternatives out there are plentiful, but I've surprised myself by not feeling the need to lean on them.

What is a food or dish you wouldn’t touch as a child, but enjoy now?
Kale maybe? I was never a terribly picky eater (I'm like a dog...I'll usually eat anything) but there are things I can guess I wouldn't have eaten but don't know if I had even had such an opportunity. Up until recently I reallllyyyy didn't like tofu.

What vegan dish or food you feel like you “should” like, but don’t?

Eggplant. I try, and I'll eat it if I'm served it but I would never seek it out. It feels like I am chewing on a sponge. Also...the dreaded dinosaur kale. I LOVE red kale, green kale, etc. but dinosaur kale? Yuck. I have to choke that stuff down.

What dish are you “famous” for making or bringing to gatherings?
I'm not famous for anything, but I know my mom really likes my stir fried buckwheat soba noodles and Boyfriend really loves my homemade pico de gallo. Generally my brother enjoys my cookies, and my sister likes things that I make that don't taste nasty.

Do you have any self-imposed food rules (like no food touching on the plate or no nuts in sweets)?
I loveeeee when food touches. Besides the obvious lack of animal products I can't really think of any, except sometimes I get obsessive about my need for color balance in a meal. It's kind of weird. I also like most sauces on the side. I'm a dipper- it makes me feel like I'm more of an active participant in my meal.

What’s one food or dish you tend to eat too much of when you have it in your home?
Definitely green peas (I go through at least 2 bags a week on my own), granny smiths, sweet potatoes, and granola. The answer used to be pasta but I feel like I've been leaning more towards other things lately...

What ingredient or food do you prefer to make yourself despite it being widely available prepackaged?
Hummus and salsa/pico de gallo. Also, a lot of desserts. Beans, too! I like to buy them dry and soak/boil them myself. Oh oh and oatmeal. I really don't like the texture instant oatmeal. I feel like I'm eating rubber.

What ingredient or food is worth spending the extra money to get “the good stuff”?
Refrigerated miso (dried miso doesn't have the live enzymes in it), Veganaise, Field Roast sausages (I don't get them often though...super pricey), agar, sea vegetables, and brown rice/maple syrups. Certain vegan brands can cost less (e.g. Smartfood vs Field Roast) but I've found that, generally speaking, the more expensive ones make up for the price in flavor, health benefits (shorter ingredient list, active cultures, no preservatives, etc.), and they actually last longer because I ration them. Also, cheapy sea vegetables can be super gross.

Are you much of a snacker? What are your favorite snacks?
I love snacks. I seriously dig a big bowl of peas with some sea salt and pepper. Same with a plain baked sweet potato. I LOVE dates, carrots or pita chips with hummus, and last (but definitely not least) SOUR PATCH KIDS. those clearly don't fit in well with the rest of this list.

What are your favorite vegan pizza toppings?
My mom raised me with sauteed garlic and onion on my pizzas. I also really love salad pizza, which is basically what it sounds like. A cheeseless pizza with salad on top. It sounds weird but is super tasty.

What is your favorite vegetable? Fruit?
Toughy. These are my two favorite food groups so... I guess my favorite vegetable would have to be peas? I really love sweet potatoes too, though. Oh and tomatoes! Gah! Favorite fruit if I had to choose would be raspberries, I think. Maybe strawberries. I love berries!

What is the best salad dressing?
My mom's balsamic vinaigrette. It's homemade and delicious. Sometimes I like to mix umeboshi plum vinegar with mustard, maple syrup, and soy sauce. It's fantastic.

What is your favorite thing to put on toasted bread?
Hummus with sprouts, hands down. I do also love a good open faced peanut butter and jelly sandwich or guacamole.

What kind of soup do you most often turn to on a chilly day or when you aren’t feeling your best?
Barley and mellow miso with daikon, mushrooms, broccoli, shredded carrot, and soba noodles.

What is your favorite cupcake flavor? Frosting flavor?
Chocolate with vanilla frosting that is dyed pink.

What is your favorite kind of cookie?
Gah! Oatmeal chocolate chip! It has to be soft though. If this is a hard cookie I would have to say cranberry orange oatmeal or peanut butter cookies.

What is your most-loved “weeknight meal”?
When I'm home it's my mom's pizza. Every Friday night growing up she used to make homemade pizza (even the dough!) and we got to choose our own toppings. Then we would watch a movie together as a family. It was the best!

What is one dish or food you enjoy, but can’t get anyone else in your household to eat?
Probably sea vegetables.

How long, in total, do you spend in the kitchen on an average day?
Well I have specific days of the week I dedicate to cooking since I get very busy, so on average I would say about 3-4 hours a week at least.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Since today is ridiculous....

Eugh! The weather today! I am so disappointed, as Monday was so lovely and yesterday was at least warm. Today, here in Boston, we are treated to ass-degree weather with a side of pouring rain. At least this allows me to truly appreciate my warm bed and pajamas.

I'm going to blame the weather on today's generic post. I found this 'Blogger ABC's' thing and thought I would fill it for today's post:

A. Age: 21

B. Bed size: Full

C. Chore you hate: Cleaning bathrooms and super dirty dishes (moderately dirty ones bother me less).

D. Dogs: I grew up with Jeb. It's hard for me to really say much about him without getting too sad but he was the greatest, and he passed away when I was four and a half. We also had a dog, Shelby, soon after we lost Jeb until I was 11. Now we have Sergent Sophie. She is the cutest, bestest dog in the whole world! Look at a picture of her eating a raspberry sorbet!

E. Essential start to your day: BIG glass of water, a good stretch, and lately homemade pickles. So strange but so delicious.

F. Favorite color: It varies depending on the day and my mood, but usually it is an earthy green.

G. Gold or silver: Definitely silver. It compliments my translucent skin.

H. Height: 5'1". I know. Teeeeny. I also have disproportionately...no...FREAKISHLY small hands and very small feet.

I. Instruments you play: gee-tar. I'm very rusty (there's no room for it in my room here in Boston) but I do remember everything.

J. Job title: Hobo.

K. Kids: Another picture!

L. Live: Boston, Massachusetts. I also sometimes reside in Connecticut. Depends on my mood when you ask me.

M. Mom’s name: Linda Lee! How cute is that?

N. Nicknames: Mo and Shortstack.

O. Overnight hospital stays: When I was a junior in high school I fell gravely ill after taking the SAT. I blame it on the test. Anyways, I spent the entire night doped up, drooling, wiggling my toes, and naming my socks while they tried ran numerous tests. Also, I'm pretty sure I spent a few overnights in the days following my birth.

P. Pet peeve: People who talk about what good friends they are, rude men outside the train station, my current roommates, and people telling me I'm going to die because I'm a vegan.

Q. Quote from a movie: "Here's looking at you, kid."

R. Right or left handed: Mostly right. Depends on what I'm doing with it.

S. Siblings: Bestfriendinthewholeworld younger sister Shannon and my older brother Chrissyfur (or just Chris).

T. Time you wake up: Depends on the day. It's rare that I sleep past 10 on any given day, on Tuesdays/Thursdays it's between 5:30 and 6:30 am. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays it's 8 am.

U. Underwear: I LOVE UNDERWEAR. I would wear it every day if I could! Oh...wait...

V. Vegetables you dislike: I recently discovered that I don't love okra. I DESPISE dinosaur kale. Regular kale is a daily occurance on my plate but dinosaur kale? Absolutely disgusting.

W. What makes you run late: My brain and I'm a slow breakfast eater. Sometimes that causes a problem. Also flossing...

X. X-Rays you’ve had: My back when I was younger (mild case of spina bifida) and more recently of my teefs!

Y. Yummy food you make: That's a tough one... I'm prone to making food I like since I'm usually only cooking for me and I make what I enjoy... My favorites depend on my mood, but I love a simple sweet potato with salt and pepper. I like green peas with salt and pepper, hummus, and I make fantastic cakes. Boyfriend also can never get enough of my homemade pico de gallo.

Z. Zoo- favorite animal: I haven't been to one in awhile, but if there are elephants there I would like one please. I also went to Gator Land in Florida with my family about 6 years ago and ohhh my goodness. What I would give for a pet alligator.

If you liked reading this please share your answers on your blog or tell me a couple of things about you in the comment section.