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 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


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.