Monday, February 28, 2011

Lazy pasta!

Since I'm going out of town later this week, I'm resisting buying groceries as much as possible. When I looked in my fridge today, I saw some romaine lettuce and a jar of pasta sauce. Pasta would be a perfect excuse to use my new food scale... So a dinner composed of items that I bought as buy one get one deals at Publix would be on the menu tonight: whole wheat penne, roasted garlic and herb sauce, and a side salad. To jazz it up, I added some Nate's zesty Italian meatballs that I got a while back at a local health food store. I baked them to make them crispy. I can't find a website for Nate's, but you could order the meatballs online here and here.


I really want to make some stuff from Meet the Shannons' Mardi Gras post and veganize Paula Deen's doughnuts.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

What a weekend!

My graduate program has been hosting prospective students this weekend. This is one of my favorite times of the year - you get to meet a ton of new people with similar scientific interests, great conversations, free food and drinks, etc. My student was a little shy but she seemed to really enjoy her interviews and some time on the beach. Overall, I was extremely impressed with the weekend. Everything seemed to run smoothly and the recruits were impressed by everything. Our student committee definitely deserves some kudos (and a nap) for all of their hard work.

Recruiting recap:
Thursday - meet and greet dinner at Yard House - I love having dinner here because they have a varied menu, including a Gardein section, and huge drink menus for wines, beers, and specialty mixed drinks. I ordered the crispy chick'n with an orange sauce, served with baby bok choy, tiny corn, and brown rice. I've enjoyed the chick'n fingers and sliders in the past, so I wanted something different.
Friday - interviews and poster session - We had an informal buffet for dinner at the poster session. It was catered by the cafeteria. The food was shit. Clearly all frozen convenience foods that were deep fried to cook. Yuck. I did score some nice cuts of fruit though. :) It was surprising that dinner was so terrible because the lunch was decent. The lunch included wraps and cookies. I got the mushroom and veggie wrap and requested a big bowl of fruit for dessert. Anyways, we went to Square Grouper at the end of the day for drinks on the intercoastal. Another student and I took some students to Jumby Bay when Square Grouper closed so they could get food.
Saturday - boating and West Palm - Most students went deep sea fishing during the afternoon, but I took my student out on the beach because she had an early flight. For dinner, we went to BB King's in City Place. The live music was rockin' so we definitely had a blast.

After such a long weekend, and the fact that I had to work some both days, I took it easy today. I ran some errands and got birthday gifts for my roomie. Her birthday is Thursday, so I wanted to get her gifts before I leave for Mardi Gras. I also want to bake her a cake in the Hello Kitty pan I bought her last year. I had dinner with friends - vegetable soup and Hungarian potato dumplings with a piece of baked plum in the center. Very tasty. My friend's new girlfriend did the cooking. Can't be any lazier than that!

My roomie also gave me a late birthday gift. I love it! She gave me a digital food scale from Williams Sonoma! (Photo directly from link)


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lazy Tacos!

What a long weekend! I worked 22 hrs over the holiday weekend (Saturday through Monday), so I didn't get to enjoy ArtiGras. I did manage to get out of work at 4 PM on Monday to check out Coral Cove park in Tequesta.

Yesterday was one of those days where I just wanted to cook with what I had in the cabinets, since I am not going to cook this weekend (dinners with work people all weekend) and I'm going out of town next week. No use in buying a bunch of fresh ingredients if I won't use them all before they go bad.

I thought about making tacos using chickpeas, but alas I didn't have any chickpeas! I've seen the recipe on Happy Herbivore before and used it as an inspiration to use chickpeas in soft tacos. I turned to my reserve of Boca ground crumbles in the freezer and my taco dinner kit in the pantry. (Totally scored a buy one get one deal on the taco kits at Publix a while back!) My first thought was, "Man, I wonder how much salt I'm about to eat." I think about that when I turn to convenience foods, but it usually doesn't deter me since I eat reasonably well the rest of the time. I sauteed the crumbles with a tiny bit of olive oil, sprinkled on the taco seasoning, and spooned it into heated hard taco shells. I added some salsa and fresh lettuce. I served the tacos with fat-free refried beans (more salt!) and diced pears. When I typed this into My Plate, I chuckled at the high salt content. Surprisingly, it said the salsa was by far the saltiest thing in the meal. Not what I was expecting. I honestly wonder if there's an error in the salt content. Maybe it's just that particular brand? I didn't use salsa when I had the leftovers, because I ate all of the salsa in the kit in the first dinner.


Yesterday was also National Margarita Day! I used up the last of the limes from my birthday, purchased some triple sec, and mixed that with the Dos Lunas tequila that my mom bought me. When I typed my very strong margarita into My Plate, I went from slightly over my daily recommendations to waaaayyyyy past it. Epic win.


At least I worked out hardcore in the morning and a little more in the evening to burn nearly 800 calories....

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Weekend of Work

I was downloading photos from my camera when I realized I had one on there that didn’t make its way to the blog yet. I made the one of VeganDad’s most popular recipes – seitan hot wings! I shaped my seitan into giant nuggets and stuck it on the skewers, instead of making them leaner like the original photo. I would not make the hot sauce again, instead opting for my favorite tangy BBQ sauce by Organicville.


I knew I had to work most of the weekend, so I prepared some dinner in the Crock-Pot. I've worked 14 hours this weekend, meaning I'm at a 55 hour work week. Yuck. Anyways, this was the first time I’ve used the Crock-Pot since buying it in December, so I was a little concerned it wouldn’t work or would cause a fire. Yeah, paranoid, but you never know with electrical things. I have been eyeing the potato and pea curry in The Vegetarian Slow Cooker since I bought the book because it is the cover photo. However, I added some coconut curry pre-marinated tempeh for protein. The tempeh was pre-marinated by Turtle Island Foods. I’m trying these pre-marinated tempehs to see if I like any of them. So far, I am not overly impressed with any of them. Tempeh is a bit bitter, so I can still detect the hint of bitterness in these pre-marinated tempehs.


Jess and I have been working out in the mornings at 6:30 AM! I'm slowly adjusting to the morning routine, but I'm still trying to figure out the right weights to use. Since I took a hiatus for the holiday season, I was unsure if I would have lost a lot of strength. Apparently not! :) Jess wants to track calorie intake this week, so I said I would give it a try. I'll be using MyPlate at I am guessing that I eat an average of 2000 to 2500 calories per day, so it will be interesting to see what my totals and averages are at the end of the week.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Interesting Quotes

Here are some interesting things that I've heard lately:

If you accept someone's apology, you're giving him/her license to do the same thing to you again.
I have never really thought of accepting someone's apology as a giving him/her permission to hurt you again, but it makes sense. If you can get away with doing something wrong, you will probably try to do it again because you know you can just smooth it over with an apology. Sometimes we make mistakes and we apologize, promising ourselves we won't do that again. That works most of the time for big fuck-ups. But for smaller things, I can see how someone would keep repeating the hurtful action knowing that things can be smoothed over with an apology. I heard this quote a couple months ago, but I finally saw an example of it recently. I have one friend who repeatedly says mean things to another friend and then apologizes later for it. Well, the friend getting crapped on finally said "enough!" and the other person is shocked. No one wants to be an emotional punching bag for someone else, so it shouldn't be a surprise that the person being insulted finally ended the friendship. I didn't give much thought to this quote when I heard it initially, but now I can see it holds some truth. By accepting the apologies so many times, the friend let the other person keep being mean. I guess the best thing would have been to say how unappreciated the remarks were the first time and then they probably would have stopped.

You know you're really happy when you can be happy for other people.
With Valentine's day just occurring, this is definitely true. I watched my friends celebrate their relationships. Some are starting new relationships and that's always the best time in a relationship! Although I'm not that close to them, I'm happy that they are happy. It was an interesting realization that I am happy after all. It took a long time to reach this point, but the last couple months have been sooo much better than the last year. Guess I turned a corner in my life and didn't realize it as it was happening. I knew I was trying, but I didn't realize it worked, haha.

Love is making yourself vulnerable and trusting the other person not to hurt you.
I am a guarded person. I know this is just a reaction to the break-up, not my natural character. But when I meet the right person, the shields will slowly come down. I haven't built walls around myself that completely block people out, but there's a little barricade there to deter people from getting close to me in a romantic sense. One day, I'll remove the barricade and be ready to date again. That day is just not today. I'm happy being single and I'm going to relish this opportunity in my life to live how I want to without worrying about considering someone else. I have complete and absolute freedom and I love it.

And now one for humor...
I want to lose weight, but I don't want to change the way I eat.
Yes, someone actually said that out loud. Well, without changing the way you eat, you'll stay heavy. Exercise is only part of the battle. Eating better plays an important role in weight loss and maintenance. You can eat shit and lose weight, but you'll probably gain the weight back slowly as you continue eating poorly. If you're not genetically predisposed to have a high metabolism that allows you to eat whatever you want without worry, you will have to change your diet and exercise to get results. Now if only science could tease apart what allows people to eat whatever without concern and turn that into a therapeutic! :-P

Anyways, enough quotes! Has anyone else been keeping up with the news? Protests are now occurring in Bahrain, Libya, Yemen, Jordan, and Algeria. It is really awesome that people are standing up for what they want, instead of being oppressed by their governments. There seems to be a lot of class issues involved. When there is a huge disparity between rich and poor, there will eventually be problems as the poor getting tired of struggling while others prosper (possibly through corruption).

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It's a Soy Day!

I can't even begin to explain how much soy I consumed today! I generally don't eat more than one soy item per day, unless I use soy milk in smoothies. At lunch, I enjoyed my leftover tofu with panang curry sauce from Thai Grand Palace. The restaurant doesn't have a website, but the menu is online here. It's convenient and delicious. With my tofu leftovers, I had some fruit and a soy yogurt from Whole Soy & Co. For dinner, I made an alfredo sauce to serve with whole grain pasta and peas. I was a little nervous to try this recipe, but VeganDad gave it a positive review. I didn't really like alfredo sauce as an omnivore so I was second-guessing why I decided to make this recipe as I was stirring the sauce. The texture looked freaky (tiny, tiny tofu particles) before I added the cornstarch. It was surprisingly not gritty in texture. I sprinkled a tiny bit of nutritional yeast and red pepper flakes on top of my pasta. The taste was pretty good, but I don't know if I'd make this again. That old bias against alfredo is still there... Anyways, I had some peanut butter blondie bars for dessert. The recipe comes from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Quarter Century Crisis

My mom came to visit me this weekend, like I mentioned in the last post. She arrived on Saturday and we enjoyed a very tasty dinner at La Bamba, my favorite Mexican place in the area. On Sunday, we went shopping and she bought me a few new clothing items (a gorgeous dress, a purple tunic, a houndstooth skirt, and a bright houndstooth hoodie). I also got some cooling racks for when I bake and some things to hang up in my room. We had brunch at Christopher's Kitchen with Jess, as described in the last post. I was hoping that Cristin would be able to go as well, but our friend GG needed a ride to the ER to get his knee stitched up.

On Monday, I had a small party at Rum Bar. Cristin designed the invitation for me and it is priceless!


I got to wear my new dress, but unfortunately this was the only photo taken!


For gifts from friends, I received a bottle of SoCo and a bottle of Cream (alcohol-infused whipped cream), an icing spatula, some crazy shorts and a water bottle for kickball season, and several free drinks. I actually wasn't expecting anyone to offer to buy my drinks, so I brought my wallet with me to the bar. I would say my most unexpected gift was the flower bouquet delivered to my desk at work from Cristin.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Christopher's Kitchen - Palm Beach Gardens, FL

In the spot that used to be occupied by my beloved Pizza Fusion is a new restaurant called Christopher's Kitchen. It's a high-raw vegan restaurant with its own fb page. Since it's raw food, the breads are made by dehydrating instead of baking. My mom came to visit me this weekend so we went to Christopher's Kitchen for brunch today. Three meals, three drinks (juice, coffee, and a smoothie), and three desserts with tip was ~$100... A little pricey for a regular day, but we were celebrating. :)

My plate - Malibu Roll

My mom's plate - French toast with a cream made of nut milk

Jess's plate - Nori "tuna" pate (nut-based) with onion bread, Mediterranean hummus, and tabouli

Dessert case
We got a dark chocolate bar with a caramel center, a mint chocolate heart, and a "milk" chocolate heart dipped in dark chocolate.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Rock Climbing

Last weekend, I went rock climbing with some friends. I only knew one of the girls really well, but it was a great time meeting new people. Most of the girls were vegetarians too. We bought coupons for 4 sessions (1 hour each) for T-3 fitness off Living Social. We went last Saturday for the rock climbing appointment and the instructor was ~30 minutes late!! He did show up and let us goof off on the fitness equipment in the gym in between turns climbing. Afterwards, we went to Mellow Mushroom for pizza. I knew Mellow had tofu options, but they also have Daiya cheese and tempeh! We ordered a huge veggie pizza with Daiya cheese, homemade pretzels, and hummus with pita triangles. Yum!

Group shot

Me - at the top of the difficult wall

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Curry & Naan!

I know my last post might have seemed harsh, but I'm tired of looking at that eyesore. I can give my roomie credit for doing a better job at picking up and cleaning her dishes. Now if only she'd wipe down counters, empty the food catchers in the sink drains, and make sure garbage lands in the trash bag and not in the trash can... Baby steps, baby steps. Although, thankfully, the last couple days, she has shut the door to her room so the mess is not visible. Hopefully that contains the smell too. I'm sure the cats miss sitting on their cat tree in her room, so I might ask for her let me put it in my room. I did pay for it, so I don't think it should be a big deal asking to move it.

On to non-filth related news.... Last night, I had dinner with Jess and Cristin. :) It felt like all was right in the universe again. Everyone has been very busy so it's been tough picking a time that everyone is available. Jess had a coconut that Elliot cracked open for her before he moved. She used it to make fresh coconut milk, which she then used in a cauliflower and lentil curry. Both recipes are from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, but the curry originally called for potatoes instead of roasted cauliflower. Jess sauteed some zucchini for the side dish and I made naan bread (with the vegan substitutions recommended by vegandad here). I wish I could make the bread into the beautiful oval shapes you see at restaurants and stores, but the dough is sooo difficult to work with that I get long ovals and funky circles. Oh well, still tastes delicious. :)


Monday, February 7, 2011

326 Days to Go

The title is a reference to the number of days left in my lease. I'm hoping to graduate next May and I've started considering living alone while typing my dissertation. This was just an idea that I had been tossing around in my head, but the last couple weeks have made it clear that I should probably move. Two weeks ago, I asked my roomie to clean her room because it smelled extremely bad, literally stinking up the living room. I think she's become immune to the odor, but it smells like really, really dirty laundry.

This was what her room looked like on the day I told her that it smelled, that she needs to clean up her dishes instead of leaving them around or in the sink, and other such cleanliness comments. I was texting a friend who thought I was exaggerating the extent of the filth so I snapped this photo as proof that I was not exaggerating. The sad part is that this is what you can see from the living room, so her closet and bathroom area could look much worse.


She went in her room for about 20 minutes saying she would clean it up some. This weekend she commented about wanting to clean it. Clearly, she did not because it looks like this. Yes, it's much dirtier now and it still smells.


So, in 326 days, I think I'll be packing my things and moving into a single bedroom place where I can keep it as clean as I want.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Happy Chinese New Year!

It's Chinese New Year today! I had originally planned to have dinner with Cristin and Jess, but we decided to re-schedule for tomorrow. That is better for me, because I got to make an Asian-styled dish to celebrate the holiday. Since this week's cookbook for the challenge is VwaV, I chose to make the cold udon noodles with peanut sauce and seitan. I used this recipe for the seitan, since one is not provided. (There is one in the book, just not with this specific recipe.) This recipe called for black sesame seeds as an optional garnish, but I did not buy any when I was at the Asian market the other day. Such a dummy. I couldn't remember if I needed them for a recipe or was just looking at a recipe that called for them. This recipe had a ridiculous amount of veggies, literally overwhelming. It also made a ton of dishes, but that doesn't deter me! Please don't judge me for using a mixing bowl as a dinner bowl.


In other news, it is my turn to cook for supper club tomorrow. Since I just booked tickets to Louisiana for Mardi Gras, I am in the mood for Cajun-themed food. I am making red beans, jambalaya from Veganomicon, and King Cake. The cake is in the oven right now. Can't wait! Also, I ordered re-usable produce bags to quit using the plastic baggies at the store.