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. 
 Like....THIS:

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,

BBBBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

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.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Fasting Day!

 Before I get into why today is fasting day, I need to let you all know how absolutely delicious this vegan macaroni and cheeze is. There are tons of recipes to make vegan mac 'n cheeze from scratch, but when I passed the shelves of Annie's boxed mac 'n cheese I found myself missing the simplicity of that bit of boxed deliciousness. Naturally, anything boxed with a long shelf life is not nearly as good for you as simple foods, but sometimes the macaroni connoisseur in me needs to be acknowledged. 

I stopped and sighed for a moment, reminiscing on all the delicious memories, and as fate would have it I looked up. Oh my goodness, am I glad I did! There, on the top shelf in the macaroni section at Whole Foods, was a VEGAN brand of mac 'n cheeze! I had to try it. Here is a picture, though I didn't take it. I found it online...

For those of you who aren't understanding the purposeful misspelling of 'cheese' both on the box and in this blog post, it is in reference to it not being actual cheese. It is a quick and easy way to tell when something has vegan cheeze in it instead of dairy, and it also eliminates the possibility of false advertising. Anyways, back to the point of how amazingly mouthwatering this was. I haven't been big on eating cheeze since becoming a vegan. I've generally been introducing other things into my diet and there hasn't been much room for it. Sometimes, however, exceptions must be made.

I have heard when you go without dairy/meat for long enough, your taste-buds really open up. I suppose this is really true, because honestly this tasted like the real deal to me. If the Vegan symbol in the bottom right corner wasn't so heavily advertised I would have been worried. It was luscious, cruelty free, creamy, and loaded in B12 vitamins (hooray nutritional yeast)! Definitely recommend this to anyone and everyone. While delicious and cruelty free, though, it is still heavily processed and this leads me to my discussion on today being fasting day! First, though, a picture out of the window I'm sitting in front of at school!

After the sour patch kids episode of this weekend, drinking on Saturday night, and that DELICIOUS but heavily processed vegan mac 'n cheeze yesterday, I was definitely ready to detoxify my body. I could feel the stirrings of a rebellion and knew I had to placate my cells with a cleansing. I also haven't fasted in quite some time (a few months, at least!) and I think every once in awhile it is important to feel real hunger.

There are many different kinds of fasts. The one I used to do the most? The maple syrup, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper fast. That one is interesting, but without a buttload of cayenne pepper or lemons I had to compromise. Instead I went with a fast found on Diary of a Frenzied Vegan with some creativity. Using a ball jar, Frenzied Vegan fills it with warm water, a teaspoon of sea salt, and the juice of half of a lemon. I didn't have a lemon, so I used the juice of half of a lime. I thought it would be unpleasant tasting, but it really wasn't so bad. I made sure I drank the whole thing before leaving to go to school.

I can eat/drink nothing today. Not until I get home, at which point I shall be consuming another jar full of that marvelous concoction, going to Boyfriend's house, doing some homework, and sleeping. In the morning more lime/salt water and a banana shall be consumed. Maybe even some kale. Who knows!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Man Alive!

This can be a laughing matter, or you can just shrug your shoulders and assume I am a freak. Just so you all know, I am an incredibly difficult person to sleep with. I have been told I am a fan of flailing in my sleep, talking, laughing, crying, and/or making sudden jerky movements. Boyfriend obviously has the patience of a saint, because he spent most of last night quarantined in the smallest section of the bed while I occupied the rest of it in a position I can only liken to doing the YMCA dance.

Poor soul. It must have been all the high fructose corn syrup and sugar I ingested yesterday. I discovered that sour patch kids (an old favorite of mine) are vegan! This led to me purchasing a huge bag of them and consuming most of that bag while watching Frost/Nixon with Boyfriend. This was an unusually large amount of sugar for my fragile mind to handle, and it resulted in dreams of me swimming in a large tub of moisturizing lotion.

Boyfriend survived the night, and I suppose that's what is really important. When I got home today I realized I had never made it to the grocery store at any point this weekend and I was out of kale and a few other choice items. I grabbed my bag and headed for Whole Foods AND Trader Joe's! It was a double whammy, and I enjoyed the walk/shopping trip immensely, especially because it was so nice outside. I took some choice photos of my purchases!


I also wanted to take a picture of my new re-usable water bottle! My trusty Nalgene was stolen at school (boo!) and I was distraught for quite some time. I finally recovered/got sick of drinking out of water fountains and sinks, so I made a new one out of an old Snapple bottle! It's the perfect size, it's glass with no BPA's (hooray), and it doesn't make my water taste like plastic! Took me forever to get the glue off the side of the bottle, though...


In other news, I have a paper due tomorrow. This means I will be cutting this post short in favor of finishing my work and then posting again tomorrow after school! Until then, my precious readers.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Marlon Brando used to be cute...

I spent a decent amount of time in the kitchen yesterday. I'm not saying this to impress you, it's just the truth. This was originally because I needed to bake some cookies for Boyfriend. It was a little bit of a rough start to the week for all of us, and sometimes the only thing that can make it better is a delectable, soft cookie.


I went with chocolate chip, a classic. Naturally these needed to be vegan cookies, not because Boyfriend is vegan (he isn't) but because I don't have any fat-laden animal products to work with unless we are bringing my roommates into the equation. Recipe is as follows:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees! Hooray!

1.5 cups of whole wheat all purpose flour
3/4 cup of whole rolled oats
1/4 cup of brown rice syrup
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1 cup of vegan chocolate chips (the more the better!)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup of safflower oil
2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup of unsweetened dried coconut

I wisked together the wet ingredients and then gradually added in the dry (except for the chocolate chips). I prefer to add my chocolate chips in after my cookies are spooned out onto the baking sheet. This way I can count out exactly 6 chocolate chips per cookie. It tastes better that way, trust me.

I also finally got around to getting some cheese cloth. You should all know that I love pickles. All kinds except the perverted ones. Those two things may seem unrelated, but I actually acquired said cheese cloth with the intent to make my own pickles.

They're just regular pickles, nothing too special: chopped dill, apple cider vinegar, and English cucumbers. Finally they have finished fermenting and can go back into the refrigerator. Am terribly excited to eat them.

Also in kitchen news: made my first juice yesterday! I got a free food processor and juicer from my bank (part of a rewards program) and I hadn't gotten a chance to use the juicer yet! I was home for a quick minute, trying to figure out how to use up the daikon radish in my fridge. Juicing it was the perfect solution, as it was a little bit sorry looking. What a good decision. I added a carrot for some color, beta carotene, and a slice of lime for good measure.

 Doesn't that look amazing? It was tangy and spicy but still a little bit sweet.

Aside from the kitchen, yesterday was my brother's birthday. I can't believe he is already twenty three. I couldn't be there since I have school, but I did get to video chat my whole family during cake time! It was a happy time...I miss them all and it kind of made me feel like I was there.

I also had an exam today. It was awfully difficult. I studied for it for the past two days, but this professor asks some pretty tricky questions. I think I did a pretty good job, though. I also finally got my archaeology midterm back and found out I got a B+! I'm definitely happy with that.

This afternoon was spent at a graveyard in Quincy. I needed to finish my cemetery analysis project for my archaeology class, so boyfriend and I took a drive there to analyze some head stones. Creepy! It was also very chilly, so I enjoyed spending the entire drive home with my fingers against the car heater. Successful day, wouldn't you say? Hey, that rhymes!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

IMAGE HEAVY POST!

Weekends really are the best. Especially ones filled with friends and adventures. As I mentioned in my last post, I went to Cape Cod! For those of you who don't know me very well, I spent my beginning college years on the cape. I met my two friends Nick and Joe there (as well as Boyfriend), and I'm extremely happy to say we are still friends even after excessively long periods of separation.

Before the three of us separated to go home at the end of our freshman year we took some photos. We still weren't sure at that point who was going to be coming back the next year and we wanted some photo documentation of our time on Cape Cod:


 We decided to take some similar pictures this year to see how much we had changed (IF we had changed). It was quickly discovered that nothing has changed in almost three years...not even most of the facial expressions.


I discovered this weekend that there are two new TV shows for me to watch. Blue Mountain State and Kyle XY. This is perfect timing, as finals will be coming up and I can now fight myself over whether or not I should study or watch TV (ha-ha...I'm obviously going to study). I got to go into a liquor store for the first time as a legal customer on Saturday too! It was exciting, but I was obviously carded because I look like a child.

The weekend was over faster than I thought it would be... Boyfriend had to make a trip to the cape on Sunday morning to visit his family, so he picked me up on his way back and we went to this place on Cape Cod called 'the knob' since it was such a nice day out! It was absolutely beautiful! Boyfriend took a few pictures, unfortunately he isn't in any of them.

Background information on 'the knob': Since I didn't know the cape very well when I moved there, that is where Boyfriend  wanted to take me on our first date. We have gone back a few times since then, but it is a rather long drive and can get very cold

Beautiful, isn't it? This place is usually pretty quiet. It a pretty desolate area of Falmouth. Boyfriend also took a picture of me; unkempt and unshowered. Enjoy.


After our little excursion it was 'back to reality'...or Boston. Both? Anyways, we headed back to his apartment for dinner and a display of the Nordic god mask he made for school. It had a yarn beard! I love it, and as a special treat for you all I am going to post a picture of him wearing it.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Just breathe...

Sometimes I really have to remember to just breathe. I can lose myself, forget what I'm even doing, and get easily frustrated sometimes, but if I just take some deep breathes things already seem less catastrophic.

I got my macbook back! I am so pleasantly surprised by the whole experience. It was fixed not eighteen hours later and they had replaced the entire keyboard/facepad while they were at it! It is such a pleasure writing on a brand new keyboard, and my computer is running smoothly and much faster! Funny story, though. I had to use my own power supply at the genius bar in the apple store and promptly forgot it once I left. I got back home just as it began to snow/sleet/rain, realized I had left my power chord in the apple store, and had to walk all the way back to boyleston street to get it back. A bit embarrassing. I didn't end up having walk home from the apple store in the rain, though, as boyfriend happened to be close by and offered to pick me up.

I did figure out exactly how much music I had lost... pretty sad, but I went from approximately seventy eight GB of music to just over fifty six. That is really the only truly disappointing part of this. I've definitely learned my lesson on backing up my files. I already erased everything from the external hard drive and am working on running Time Machine to back everything up again in a more organized fashion.

In other news? I am going to Cape Cod this weekend! Back to my original college roots, I suppose. I'm so excited. I haven't seen my friend, Nick, since October and it has been even longer since I have seen my other friend, Joe. This will be a fun weekend indeed.

Also, apparently had a spastic fit in my sleep last night. Obviously, I have no memory of the incident but boyfriend insists that poking my elbow while I'm unconscious leads to excessive flailing. I'll bet that happens to everybody, and really all that comes to mind when I hear my elbow was poking is the expression 'punching a sleeping bear'.

I need to make good food choices. Aside from the obvious lack of money, when I don't plan ahead I make crappy food choices and then I don't feel great. I've made quite a few poor decisions in the past few days and this has led to me suffering from a low-grade sugar hangover. Clearly I have a problem. Back to the point, once I get out of class I need to sacrifice gym time to go home and make some ready-made meals to bring with me to the cape. I shall be getting picked up around eight thirty. I'm so excited! Expect updates AND pictures!

How did they do this before?

This is horribly pathetic, I know, but not having my laptop feels so lonely! I'm suffering from phantom limb syndrome, I think. My laptop and I used to have such a great relationship... full of laughter, good times, and web browsing. Then things soured, the hard drive crashed and corrupted a bunch of my files, and I find myself in the computer lab at school trying to recover from the heart break.

Laptop will be back... it should be back in my arms in a few days, but I think the hurt and damaged trust from this experience might last a lifetime. I don't need to give you all the petty details of the three grueling hours I spent in the apple store last night, but I will say that the nice people working at the genius bar certainly made up for the horrible situation.

The upside to this whole situation is that it led to my discovery a mac computer lab in one of the lower levels of my school's library. It houses an ENTIRE room full of those HUGE screened Mac desktops. How cool is that? It even has one of those nifty slender keyboards. I'm actually really enjoying making use of it right now.

 I also wrote an entire essay by hand when I got home last night (it was due today and I had no other way to write it) and I think it really built some character. It threw me back to the days where computers weren't so terribly common and handwriting essays was something I did all the time. It did give me a chuckle... how dependent I had become!

After the harrowing experience with my laptop, by the time I got home and finished writing that essay I was ready for a good sleep. Unfortunately, my roommate is so remarkably unintelligent that he managed to set off the fire alarm AGAIN. In less than a week. So impressive, so irritating, and I really shouldn't be so surprised. Instead of a little bit after three a.m. like last time, this incident occurred at 2:51 in the morning. I'm not sure which point he walked away from the burning hot dogs, but that's about the exact moment I woke up choking on hot dog stench and failure. The blaring fire alarm didn't help matters either. I'm sensing a pattern, and the rest of the neighborhood probably is too.

Shout out to anyone in my classes: if I smell like hot dogs today, feel free to go blame my roommate. In person. Preferably with some kind of blunt object.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Must repeat!

 Okay, well the thing about tonight's dinner is that it was amazing. I was really in the mood for something with a whole lot of flavor. I needed to blow my taste buds away, and I had no idea where to begin. I opened the fridge to being exploring the possibilities. Asparagus is in season now (and totally delicious) and my dad had given me some to take back to Boston with me. I only had a few stalks left...maybe five or six. Just enough to throw into a sauté pan with some onion, garlic, and the last handful of sweet peppers in the fridge (also brought from home).

While that glorious combination sizzled away I began searching for a grain. Quinoa! The perfect solution. Brown rice is probably my favorite grain but sometimes we are at odds because it takes too long to cook if I'm absolutely ravenous. Quinoa cooks in about 15 minutes, is chock full of protein, and has an amazing nutty flavor. I urge you to try it if you haven't already.

While the quinoa simmered, I added some balsamic vinegar to the vegetables in the pan and then cut up some fresh tomatoes, grabbed the last bit of spring greens for garnish, and grabbed a carrot and some peach soy yogurt for dessert. Will most definitely be making this again. I mean, just look at the picture! Does that not look amazing?



It was also the weekly Whole Foods grocery trip this afternoon, and I went with a few of the usual staples: carrots, romaine lettuce, daikon, almond milk, peas, granny smith apples, millet, and tomatoes. I also did something unexpected today. Sometimes I like to put something I usually get back on the rack and get something different. Today that something different was a jícama.

Jícama is actually a kind of fruity Mexican turnip, often referred to as a 'yam bean'. Strange. Anyways, I have been lusting after them for quite some time, feeling an insatiable need to experience their flavor. I had read on the sign that the jícama is very tasty when dipped in salsa. Well it just so happens, as my readers know, that I make fresh pico de gallo (pretty much salsa) every single weekend. I also now have a jícama sitting in my kitchen! You had better believe when I finally get to slice this bad boy up there will be pictures documenting the experience...the WHOLE experience.

The other news is that there may not be an update after tomorrow for a bit. My beloved macbook needs to go into the shop, as it has been giving me an incredibly hard time. The hard drive is beginning to collapse into itself, and I am unable to open anything save for Firefox (with inconveniently shuts itself down ever half hour), iTunes, and iPhoto. Luckily those open, but I'm not enjoying this. I can't open Microsoft word, I can't reach any of my documents or applications folders, and the computer is running so slow it's actually closer to crawling than running. I might have to leave you at the edge of your seats for the next update, so cross your fingers the laptop comes back from the hospital quickly!

It's actually with impressive consistency that my dad is saving me from impending doom. Within minutes yesterday he had an external hard drive headed to Boston for me to back up my stuff. I honestly don't know where I would be without him. Probably drooling in a gutter somewhere eating chapstick, I don't know.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Try not to laugh if I've left anything out...

I'm grateful for having a best friend, a sister by blood I can count on always.
I'm grateful for a mom who will kick my ass because she loves me enough to be that person to me.
I'm grateful for a dad who is proud of me and is forever looking out for me, even when I make mistakes.
I'm grateful for a brother to laugh with, who almost always understands what I'm saying.
I'm grateful for having someone to sleep next to, to roll over and kick in my sleep.
I'm grateful for having people to hug me, and people for me to hug.
I'm grateful for having someone to be with, and to do absolutely nothing with.
I'm grateful for having friends to laugh with until my ribs hurt.
I'm grateful for having a dog and kitties to shower kisses with, who are always happy to see me.
I'm grateful for having an opportunity for education, to learn new things every day.
I'm grateful for having elders and people in my life to learn from.
I'm grateful for having sunshine, trees, water, and green grass.
I'm grateful for having food and the opportunity to eat when I am hungry.
I'm grateful for having a warm place to go when it is cold.
I'm grateful for having my health and that my loved ones do as well.
I'm grateful for having the same eyes as my brother and sister.
I'm grateful for having lots of fruits and vegetables.
I'm grateful for always having so many people to be happy about and to be grateful for always.
I'm grateful for having people that read my blog.
I'm grateful for music, for pictures, and for stories in all forms.
I'm grateful for eyebrows.
I'm grateful for razors.
I'm grateful for bandaids and eyeliner.
I'm grateful for chocolate.
I'm grateful for belly button rings and interesting socks.
I'm grateful for letters to write and phones to call people with.
I'm grateful for ALL OF YOU.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sushi!

Okay, so yesterday I fell in love. With Chinatown.

It started off as a quest for inexpensive sea vegetables and udon noodles but it turned into so much more! It was terribly exciting, diving headfirst into the kind of market where every single label is either in Chinese or Japanese and not a single soul speaks a lick of English.

Granted, it did take me a long time to find what I needed given the whole 'labeling' situation, but I was in heaven. So many different things in such a small space! So much inspiration for new things to try! Surprisingly, there was also a Vegan Cafe right outside of the Chinatown T-stop! Offered that little nugget of information up to Boyfriend, and he's down to try it.

So. Dinner. After my new experiences, I wanted to go for an interesting dinner. Naturally, dinner ended up including Pico de Gallo as an appetizer, but its so delicious one really can't complain. We made sushi! Enough brown rice was made for two vegetable rolls, so Boyfriend and I chose our fillings easily. I wanted a regular vegetable roll with avocado (my favorite), cucumber, and carrot. Boyfriend wanted a slightly less conventional roll: he chose cucumber, carrot, and was hell bent on putting the Mexican flavored Pico de Gallo into the sushi roll. Go figure.

I took a picture of mine, as time was running out and we were both very hungry.


They may not look like much, but trust me when I say they were both filling and delicious. Anyways, its not breakfast time and we were definitely thinking IHOP. I'll take some pictures and you can drool over them later!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fat Head...at least he got something right...

Another roommate related post. I know... poor form. Really, though, if you met them you would understand. Not one to usually use names when calling someone an idiot, we shall spend this blog entry referring to this roommate as 'Jim".

I am not in the practice of telling people how to eat. I clearly have my opinion on what foods bring optimal health, but I am also the only vegan, much less vegetarian, person I know (internet friends don't count). It may be because of this that I am particularly unsettled by my obese roommates informing me that the way I eat is wrong. This is an interesting proposition, as I feel that, by being the only person in this apartment that doesn't have to shuffle my body sideways to get down the stairs, my meal plan wins by default.

I understand that life (and Hollywood) can throw us some confusing curve-balls. As I was making dinner the other night one of my roommates ("Jim") decided to scoff at my soaking beans as inadequate fuel. My response, in as flat a tone as I could muster, was to point out that this was cheaper and healthier than a double cheeseburger. Jim then begin attacking the documentary 'Super Size Me'. That's a very interesting approach, as I hadn't brought up that particular movie in conversation. Nor had I used that in any arguments with Jim to support my choice of beans and greens over meat. Why are some people so easily threatened?

For those who haven't seen 'Super Size Me', you really should. It, like most other independent documentaries, has its flaws. Changing two variables that are fundamental to one's health, Morgan Spurlock makes a radical dietary change overnight from a largely plant based diet and stops exercising. This would automatically cause someone to gain some weight, but once you look past the exaggerations present in the documentary you can still see some incredibly valid arguments.


1. McDonald's does not care about the health of the consumer. They are a business, interested in what turns a profit. Cue their incorporation of what are quite possibly the world's highest calorie yet nutritionally weak 'salads' into their menu in the midst of a "health craze".

2. The average American does NOT go out of their way to read the nutritional information. Yes, if you try hard enough you can come across it but how many of you are actually doing that? The general behaviorments are usually as follows:
"I know it's bad for me, I don't need to look at the nutritional information to know that. Geez, are you some sort of dummy?"
or
"I don't care."

3. Morgan Spurlock questions where the line between personal and corporate responsibility lies. He doesn't answer that question, instead he leaves it up to the viewer to decide.

That is generally what I, personally, took from that movie. I didn't see it as Morgan Spurlock necessarily blaming McDonald's for the obesity crisis, but simply calling attention to our country's poor eating choices.

Jim has apparently read about a movie called 'Fat Head' that supposedly (and this is a direct quote) "destroyed everything Mogan Spurlock said in 'Super Size Me'." I hadn't seen it, so I decided to take a gander. Jim insisted that the creator, Tom Naughton, doesn't diet or count calories. Apparently he ate whatever he wanted and still lost weight. I can't lie to you, my friends, I was intrigued. This man must be some sort of medical marvel! I questioned his blood test results (not simply choleterol, but vitamin levels, etc.) and Jim proudly informed me they were perfect.

Jim's false sense of pride makes me a little bit sick, so we can gloss over the fact that he has not made ANY personal victories through Naughton's documentary. He is still a fat ass who now, thanks to Tom Naughton, believes he can finally begin to shed those two hundred extra pounds by eating his daily hot dogs. I have to say I am curious at the logic being used here... if he hasn't lost weight eating in what seems to be preparation for a long standing pie-eating contest then what makes him think the weight loss is going to start now?

I decided to figure it out. I signed onto Netflix and immediately searched for 'Fat Head'. Like most documentaries, they had already moved it to instant-watch. I have many thoughts on this movie. Steady yourself, because quite honestly, I hadn't mentally prepared myself enough.


'Fat Head' opens with creator Tom Naughton discussing the possibility for one to lose weight while eating fast food. At his preliminary doctor's appointment before he starts his new 'diet', Naughton is informed that his beginning cholesterol is over 230. This number is already above average, and when compared to his weight (over 200 pounds) and the fact that he is 31.2% body fat one can see his is already the anti-Morgan Spurlock.

This whole opening scene was interesting for me to watch, as everyone complains that because Spurlock was so radically healthy he suffered from more side effects because of his new diet. Is Naughton's debut really so different? He's simply at the other end of the spectrum. Medically considered 'obese' with high cholesterol, Naughton's solution is to eat at fast food joints for one month and lose weight by eating a low carbohydrate diet and by consuming less than 2000 calories per day while ramping up his exercise routine. I suppose Jim must have just glossed over that part.

In contrast to Spurlock's arguments, Naughton's are as follows:

1. Carbohydrates are the enemy. His consumption of fewer calories will lead to weight gain. This is simply REVOLUTIONARY! I'm not quite sure I can understand what is supposed to move me by his elimination of fries and less than 2000 calories a day paired with daily exercise. It's been done before with the same results, but honestly how many Americans are successfully utilizing the golden arches as a dietary supplement?

2. Health food stores are the enemy. Their attempt to sell us 'vegetable oils' are causing huge problems in our diet. How about screwing the oils, Naughton, and eating the actual vegetables? Oh wait. They don't sell those at McDonald's.

3. Fat people who exercise are healthier than naturally thin people. This seems skewed. Gasp. It is! In a quickly glossed over moment, Naughton conceeds that this is only geared at thin people who don't exercise. So what we're really getting here is that PEOPLE who exercise are healthier than those who don't? Shocker.

4. Spurlock exaggerated the lack of nutritional information. If you wanted to walk to the next McDonald's to get the nutrition facts you could. Another laugh. How many of you would actually do that? I like exercise and I'm totally into reading about what I'm eating, but I wouldn't even go that far. Though I'm just one person, so considering the average American is absolutely swimming in free time, I'm sure they would love to.

5. It's the vegetarian's fault. No, really. Naughton credits his weight gain to having been "talked into" being a vegetarian. So much pasta! Well, Naughton, stuffing your face with processed carbohydrates really isn't the fundamental platform of vegetarianism. We can sound it out together if you want 'vegeta-rian' sounds like it has at least PART of the word vegetable in it, doesn't it?

Copious amounts of pasta will make anyone gain weight. Instead maybe consuming whole grains with those vegetables and beans you probably weren't eating at the time would have been a healthier choice. Just sayin'.

According to Naughton, radical vegetarians are uneducated when it comes to the effect carbohydrates and sugars have on the body and instead blame all health issues on meat. I actually snickered. Vegetables are clearly famous for giving people their high levels of cholesterol, and vegetarians are forced to guzzle bowl after bowl of pasta to feel sustained! It's amazing I've lasted this long without developing diabetes or getting fat!

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association makes more money off of telling you that meat is essential to health than actually being honest with you. Will it kill you? Probably not if you eat it in moderation, but I can't make any promises.

At least we can all agree on something: eating too much of anything will make you gain weight.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Deliciousness!

I have to preface this entry with a thanks to my friend, Nick, without whom there might not be an entry and there definitely wouldn't be such an interesting meal. Today was a busy day, and last night was date night so (obviously) there was no dinner prep done in advance for tonight. This lack of forethought doesn't happen often, but when it does it leaves me severely crippled in terms of dinner options.

I buy dry beans. This means that they need to be soaked the night before, rice takes at least an hour to cook, and I had eaten all of the kale. I was also out of balsamic vinegar, my default salad topping. Tofu was living in the fridge, but I hadn't had the chance to marinate it. What to do for dinner? I didn't leave school until 6:30 tonight, and by the time I left I was starving. My mind was running through ideas on the subway ride home (the most popular one being consuming two luna bars and maybe some carrots) and was texting my friend Nick. He reminded me of my blog, and I realized that I really do have the capabilities learned from my parents to make something delicious out of nothing. I need to stop being such a big baby sometimes.

With a renewed sense of purpose, I plowed on home and created THIS! I looked into the pantry and pulled out a jar of sunflower seeds, a jar of flax seeds, a can of stewed tomatoes, a box of Trader Joe's whole grain sesame crackers, some nutritional yeast, and some whole wheat flour. I grabbed the tofu and some almond milk out of the fridge and got to work. It immediately got pressed with a towel (to get the extra water out) and cut into six pieces.

I then grabbed a ziplock bag and put a handful of each of the following: sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast, sesame crackers, and flax seeds. This was crushed with a rolling pin until it was mostly crumbs. I then dipped the tofu pieces first in some flour, then the almond milk, and then the ground seed/cracker mixture I created (it was meant to resemble breadcrumbs). I put it on a tray and baked for about 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.

While the tofu "cutlets" were baking, I dumped the canned tomatoes onto a saucepan and added some minced garlic and diced Spanish onion.

Normally I prefer fresh things to canned, but aside from the obvious save in a pinch, tomatoes are an exception to this rule. Contrary to their year-round availability in the supermarket, tomatoes aren't really in season all the time. Usually they start reaching full potential in the summer/early fall. When making a sauce any other time of year it is better to use canned tomatoes. They pick the tomatoes for canning when they are actually ripe, as opposed to picking them while they are still green and ripening them with ethylene gas like they do with out of season tomatoes.

The sauce simmered away on the stove, and with nothing but time and excitement on my side I was then seized with another surge of creativity. I grabbed some umeboshi plum vinegar, soy sauce, maple syrup, and Dijon mustard from the cabinet. A salad would go great with these "cutlets", and who needs balsamic vinegar anyhow? I'll be damned if I let that ever stop me from having a salad again. The maple syrup may sound strange, but umeboshi vinegar is very bitter. Delicious, but bitter. It goes great with soy sauce, but some sweetness really helps to balance out the acidity when consuming it raw like I was about to, so I threw in the maple syrup to tone it down. All I really had for salad were some mixed greens, three small peppers, and some cucumber so I chopped those up and threw them into the bowl with the homemade dressing. It was AAMAAAZINGGGGGG!!!

By this time, my stomach was about to eat itself and the "cutlets" were finally ready. I threw two of them onto a plate with a sizeable portion of the sauce, took a picture for you all, and went to town. This may not seem like a crazy meal by looking at the picture, but the taste was incredible and the tofu cutlet was baked to perfection (crispy but still moist on the inside). I'm glad I wrote this all down in the blog so I could remember what I did.


It also tasted even better because of the effort, I think. The whole meal was a big experiment, and it worked out so freaking well I can't believe it. You'll notice a chocolate soymilk there. I know. I shouldn't. BUT I was rewarding myself for not being such a turd. So what did YOU have for dinner?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

In the news...

Okay, so something super-duper awesome happened last night! I was talking to a friend from my Roman civilization class and I showed him by blog. This wouldn't normally be a huge deal, except that he has offered himself up as a guinea pig in what will be a pretty cool experiment: the vegan for a week challenge.

I have already begun compiling a grocery list, a list of dos and don'ts, and some elementary information for him to start with. I am so excited! The challenge will begin on Monday and it will be very well documented on this blog.

In other news: I get to see boyfriend tonight! Date night, and it starts in about nine minutes so the rest of this update must be brief.

I FINALLY got to get back in the gym today. I was dying! It really made my day. You know what else made my day? Scoring a one hundred and one on my Western civilization midterm. How crazy is that? I was freaking out all this morning while I was waiting to get into class so I could just find out how I did. I definitely wasn't expecting that, though!

Cleaned my room up a bit this morning. I hadn't finished unpacking my clothes since I got back from Connecticut, and they were taking over my room. Clean floors now dominate, and my yoga mat has room to stretch out!

Well! It is that time. Phone rang, boyfriend is outside. More updates tomorrow. Ciao!

Monday, March 21, 2011

I know, another post!

I just had a sudden surge of energy! I was fairly tired today (I'm blaming the weather and my early morning wake up call), so I am actually very surprised by this.

This sudden surge of energy might be attributed to my having just ingested a sizeable amount of grained wheat pasta topped with nutritional yeast and some raw green onion. I hadn't intended to be up this late and had meant for the pear, hummus, and carrots I was munching on while skyping my parents to be dinner. Life had better, tasty plans for me. I hadn't had nutritional yeast in almost two weeks and was going through a withdrawl of sorts, especially since my mom and I talked about it a few times while I was home.

The only challange with this meal was the green onion. Lately I've been trying to be good and eat the whole thing. The funky looking roots at the end are absolutely action packed with nutrients, and I'm trying to take full advantage. I haven't really had many texture issues with food. I love mushrooms, sauteed green leaves, tempeh, and (more recently) tofu. This should speak volumes. There are two things on this earth I've been struggling with texture-wise. Eggplant and the roots of green onion. Eggplant feels like I'm eating a sponge, but more importantly we need to address the green onion root. Why does it have to look SO weird? I feel like I'm eating miniature fingers. The good news is, the roots look less strange when I mince them, but I know they're in there!

I need to grow up at some point. I've done a good job eating them anyway, but I felt like if I wrote it out on the internet maybe it would psych me out a little bit less. Also, I've learned that waiting to put my snacks away when I'm done eating them is better than leaving them on my bed. The bag of carrots I was munching on earlier was neglected and took a nap next near my pillow. The result? I flopped onto my bed and face-planted into a bag of beta carotene. Whatevs.

Back in the swing of things...

Nothing gets you out of the vacation mindset like a huge dose of reality, right?

I slept through my alarm by two hours this morning! This almost NEVER happens to me. The good news about the whole situation is that I had set my alarm two hours early the night before, so it didn't do much damage aside from being a general fail. Hooray! Aside from being defeated by an alarm clock, I looked out the window and noticed it was snowing. You heard me. Snowing. This is what I call a lose-lose. The snow loses because it has to be here knowing nobody likes it, and I lose because all I've been dreaming about for weeks is sunshine and green grass. I'm just so glad the weather feels comfortable enough in our relationship to cover my dreams in an avalanche.

The next dose of reality came about as abruptly as being smacked across the face with a slab of ham. I have roommates. Who doesn't, right? Smart people, that's who.

My roommates like to eat. A lot. Cool. Specifically, they like to eat things that I don't eat (meat, dairy, heavily processed things, dog shit, hamburger helper, etc.). As long as you're not shoving a fifty cent hot dog smothered in chili that both smells and looks like diarrhea down MY throat, I don't really care. At least...usually I don't care. The circumstances in which do I care are very few, but they do include particular episodes like the one that occured this morning. I was trying to sleep like a normal person and instead I was woken up around three in the morning by billows of thick, putrid smoke and a screeching smoke alarm. Turns out, one of my roommates thought that he would cook his nightly dose of hot dogs in a pan instead of boiling them (what he usually does). What clearly didn't occur to him was that once a hot dog goes on a pan it needs to be closely watched and turned consistently. Yes, even me, the vegan, knows this.

Instead, he decided to go watch some T.V. while he waited for his food to hop off of the stove and climb into his mouth. This resulted almost immediately in an apartment filled with smoke, destroyed hot dogs, and disappointment. So glad I came back, can I move into one of the supply closets at school now?

I'm not bitter about it. I'm sure this will all be but a painful memory to be repressed in about eight years.

Lunch today is barley and lentils sauteed with onion and a green salad. A delicious and uncomplicated way to begin the week! I'm going to go, because my sister aka bestfriendinthewholeworld just facebook chatted me!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Post-Birthday, I'm Back!

Craziness! I can't believe it has been over a week since I have updated! I just got so into being home, then it was my birthday, and then I had to make the trip back to Boston. It was a fun filled week and the good news is that means I have lots to say!

Let's begin with my sister making it safely to France! As soon as my dad got to the train station to pick me up my sister called his cell phone to let him know she had made it to her host family's house. It was truly perfect timing because I got to talk to her! When my dad and I finally got home I got to mom, my brother, and my dog! I haven't seen my dog or my brother since I moved to Boston a few months ago and my mom since she visited me a couple weeks before, so it was all very exciting. My dad and I spent the afternoon doing the weekly grocery shopping and chatting, and I made fried udon noodles with cabbage for dinner. It was delicious and even my older brother enjoyed it (he's a skeptical eater). It was a perfect first evening home, and my dog got to lick my plate when I was done so everybody was happy.

The next night I recreated Olivia Wilde's vegan bolognese recipe, and this was a big hit (especially with my parents). I tried it the first night on some fresh spaghetti squash and then a different night I spooned it on some actual pasta like a real human would. Spicy and full of awesome.

Onto the rest of the week! As some of you may know, it was my birthday on Thursday so now I am old. Twenty one! I hope you guys can believe it, because I am still having trouble wrapping my mind around the whole thing. I spent Tuesday night and Wednesday morning making chocolate vegan cupcakes and coconut frosting. They were absolutely delicious, and I used some green food dye to tie in the whole 'St. Patrick's Day' theme. 

My original intent was to find a vegan cake at the Whole Foods near my nana's house, but they didn't have any! They did have a larger produce section than the one I frequent in Boston, but I wasn't terribly impressed with their bakery section. Win some and lose some, I suppose. This led to the creation of my own birthday treat. I love cake, but having an entire cake sitting in our kitchen is never a good idea. 

The perfect idea was then suggested: bake a batch of cupcakes, set aside four for our family on my birthday, and bring the rest to my mom's school and feed her class! It was fan-tab-ulous. Only thing was, I made six more cupcakes than I needed and this resulted in their immediate consumption. I have no self control and ended up with a serious sugar-hangover. Though I did get to see my friend Steve, so that made the whole thing incident fade into the background a bit.

Cut to my birthday! I don't mean to make this moment all about me, but it kind of is, right?
So this is me...using my dad's shoulder as a birthday snack. If you thought my turning twenty one was going to signify my debut into adulthood you are going to be sorely disappointed. So we spent the first part of the afternoon after returning from my mom's school lounging, taking pictures, and discussing how I am now decrepit.

Now once you look past the fact that I am so pale I look dead, this is actually a cute picture! That's my mom on the right, and my daddy on the left. Aren't we cute? I am totally wearing my sister's prom dress, but I will attempt to justify this by explaining that I couldn't bring any clothes home with me since I took the train.

Since I know you're all here to read about me getting drunk on my birthday. I'm not sorry to report that drunk isn't quite the word I would use. Pleasantly incapacitated might be more appropriate. According to my family, it is incredibly difficult to tell if I am drunk or just being myself. I can't tell if that is good or bad. We went to P.F. Chang's for dinner, as that is definitely one of my favorite restaurants.

 Chris (my brother), me, and my dad in front of the restaurant.

I tried the stuffed lettuce wraps for the first time. I didn't used to be a tofu person, but the chefs there have really turned me to the dark side. It is spicy, flavorful, and totally delicious. Plus, anything wrapped in lettuce automatically gets five points. Interestingly enough, this was my brother's first experience with P.F. Chang's. I am happy to report he enjoyed it, and also that I ordered a Mai Tai for my first drink.

Me, still deathly pale, consuming my first [legal] alcoholic beverage!

The party continued after we left Chang's. We relocated to a bar near my house called 'the Ancient Mariner'. It's a small place and has been around since before I was born! It was there that I came to meet my new favorite drink: the whiskey sour. Ohhhh my goodness. I love sweet and tart, and this drink definitely didn't let me down. I had a few...maybe more but it was so worth it. It was honestly the most fun way I could have spent my birthday. It has been brought to my attention that most people wish to spend their twenty first birthday passed out in an alley, but I'm fairly certain my family is about 500 billion times more fun than that. Boyfriend couldn't make the party (he wasn't on vacation so he had to stay in Boston) and my sister was still in France, but aside from that this was definitely one of my better birthdays.

We made our way back home after a while and then popped open a bottle of Nihonshu (Japanese sake) my dad got me for my birthday. We sipped on this while I opened my presents! My parents and sister got me a book called 'Clean Food'. I know, perfect. My parents also made me a photo album with pictures from every birthday I've ever had. It was the best! I'm glad I enjoyed the night so much, because I hear that it all goes downhill after twenty one. 

As I'm writing this I feel the need to address the above saying for a quick minute: isn't going downhill better than going uphill? I don't mean to shine a spotlight on my natural laziness, but really... That expression seems so misplaced.

My last night home we went to the Applebee's bar for a few drinks before going to see the new movie Paul. I tried my first non-virgin piña colada. Consensus: seriously sugary, very delicious. Due to the extreme sugary nature of the drink, for my next drink I traveled a slightly lighter route with a 'Hurricane'. It was rum mixed with pineapple juice, sweet & sour mix, orange juice, and grenadine. Eughmygod so good! Very strong, though. I have to say, Paul definitely lit up the evening. It was witty and had great references, so comic book reading dorks (me) and anyone born before 1990 would definitely enjoy it.

So I'm back in Boston now. The morning following the trip to the movies was filled with whirlwind packing and squeezing in a breakfast with my friend Chelsea. I hadn't seen her since Christmas break, so it was really fun. After a prolonged farewell, Chris and I headed for Boston. I quickly unpacked the goodies my mom sent me and hopped on the subway to see boyfriend. It was a joyful reunion, filled with dinner at Panera, a pit stop at Newbury Comics, lots of hugging, and a walk outside featuring the biggest moon seen from earth in twenty years. It was SERIOUSLY huge and gorgeous, everyone! I hope you all got to see it... Thankfully the night was devoid of anything alcoholic. I'm not a big drinker to begin with, but I think I'm boozed out for at least a week :)

When I got back to my apartment this morning I munched on some kale and mochi for breakfast (still feeling the aftereffects of all the drinking/sugar) and then walked to Whole Foods to restock on some perishables. I needed apples, garbanzo beans, edamame, and some arame (for those of you unfamiliar, it is a sea vegetable). The second I got back from Whole Foods? Created a sizeable tub of edamame hummus. Is hummus not the best thing ever? I don't ever forget that I like it, but I do forget just exactly how much I enjoy it. I always make mine a little extra garlicky and throwing some edamames in there gives it a really interesting and fresh flavor. I meant to go to school to update this blog and to do some work, but it was already three o'clock and apparently the shuttle to the school closes earlier on Sundays than usual, so it didn't end up being worth the trip. The good news? I had that extra time to make this update extra long! Will be updating on a more regular schedule now that vacation is over, so fear not. This is not the end.