Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I'm Still Alive!

After being MIA for weeks on this blog, I'm finally uploading some photos. My MacBook had to be sent out for repairs, but it took forever to hear back from the Apple Store that this was needed. I'm updating from work since I don't have my computer back yet.

On the Sunday before Thanksgiving, I had dinner at a friend's house for Friends' Thanksgiving, a yearly tradition of the host. I brought the 5-cheese baked mac & cheese from Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites, which went over quite well. Another vegetarian girl brought a Tofurky, so I enjoyed a big plate full of veggie-rich sides, Tofurkey, and mac & cheese. I used Follow Your Heart brand vegan cheese, since the other vegetarian girl is allergic to coconuts and Daiya uses coconut oil. I didn't snap a photo, but someone else did of the entire group in our paper bonnets and hats (yes, pilgrim hats were mandatory at dinner). I drove home on Monday and spent the entire week at home, working a little and spending a lot of time with my family. I made dinner for my parents on Monday, making the celebration stew with pumpkin biscuits from FatFreeVegan. The stew wasn't as thick as I expected, plus the color was really gray. Tasty enough to eat, but not something I'd make again. Didn't snap a photo since it was the last thing on my mind as I tried to spend time with both of my parents.

I saw my best friend on Tuesday and spent Wednesday with my sister. I was shocked to see how thin my sister is. She's always been a little heavy, but gained a ton of weight through her pregnancies. She's lost 115 lbs total and is almost my size! It was awesome to hear her say that she is eating a lot more fresh produce, plus her husband has lost 40 lbs too! Will definitely try to get a photo at Christmas, we were so busy that I didn't even grab my camera!

On Thanksgiving day, we had brunch at my grandma's house. We normally have brunch with my grandpa, but he's dying so he got the big dinner in the afternoon. My grandma wasn't particularly happy that she was hosting the brunch, but my sister made sure to take my grandma to dinner with my sister's in-laws. Anyways, at the big dinner, my vegetarian aunt made a tofu, red potato, and onion dish with miso gravy (likely from Vegan with a Vengenance, I saw it lurking in her kitchen) for our main dish (while everyone else enjoyed turkey), then all vegan sides of cornbread stuffing, green beans with mushrooms, roasted cauliflower with Kalamata olives, and the vegan pumpkin cheesecake for dessert (also likely from VwaV).


Since I didn't get any leftovers to bring home, I made my Field Roast (stuffed with hazelnuts and cranberries and wrapped in puff pastry) on Friday. I served it with mashed potatoes (since they were loaded down with dairy at Thanksgiving, courtesy of my other aunt's "famous" recipe), peas, and creamed corn. The Field Roast didn't seem to cook through the stuffing very easily, but that could have been due to my attempts to defrost it in the microwave. Overall, I enjoyed the Field Roast, but find Tofurkey to be easier to cook. I also got to enjoy cooking in my mom's recently remodeled kitchen. It was gorgeous!


After playing with our new baby goats and enjoying the LSU-Arkansas game on Black Friday, I made pumpkin spice donuts instead of going out shopping. I didn't add the apple, so I followed the suggestion for more pumpkin and less flour. These were so good that I made them twice during the week I spent at home to use up all of the pumpkin. I used 1 Tbs oil instead of flax seed the second time, since I didn't bring 2 Tbs of flax seeds with me. They held up fine. This was the first time I've used my donut cutter.


So after avoiding shopping on Friday, I spent Saturday morning with one of my aunts, my grandma, and my mom. We spent a few hours at their house just talking. My mom and I headed over to Bed Bath & Beyond to use up some coupons. I bought dark purple sheets and a pillow for my new daybed. I think I'm going to repaint it over Christmas, since I don't like the antique off-white color of the bed frame. I also took down all the heavy metal posters that have been on my bedroom walls since 1999 with the hopes that my mom will buy some paint to repaint the walls. The gray is getting a little old, since it's been on the walls since I was 12 or 13. I put up the Christmas tree on Sunday afternoon and then made the boring drive back to Jupiter, so I could prepare for my data meeting on Friday. I think my committee will be impressed and let me schedule my defense, but you never know with them...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

MacBook is in the shop!

I spilled water on my MacBook, then frantically hit the power button, causing the screen to die. The technician said there doesn't appear to be major water damage, so they're ordering a logic board for the easy fix. My Apple Care covers this $526 repair thankfully. If the logic board replacement doesn't make my screen turn on, then the MacBook will shipped off for repairs. Let's hope the logic board replacement will be enough! It's weird not having a computer at home, plus I have to be stuck at work to make slides for my presentation on December 2nd. Almost done with the slides, but I should finish them by Saturday night, so I can send them to my boss for review. That leaves the holiday break for writing up my 3rd manuscript for publication and a script for my presentation.

To cheer myself up after leaving my MacBook at the Apple Store, I found this LOLCats picture.


Monday, November 14, 2011

String of Bad Luck

After having a series of tissue culture experiments completely fail, I finally got some great data on Friday using mouse liver extracts. (Totally gross, I know.) I was so happy! On Saturday, I took my car into the dealership to figure out why the check engine light came on. I was just there last weekend to replace a vacuum hose, so I couldn't understand why the light came on again. After sitting there for 4 HOURS, the rep said that the shop was short-staffed and had not yet diagnosed my car. They weren't even going to try, but they claimed a part that helps the timing belt move along was loose, which made the car unsuitable to drive. I left it there, frustrated as could be. My mom basically ripped me a new one about how I need to buy a new car. Yeah, with what money? I make grad student pay and I spend 50% of my income on my rent. Hmmm, yeah, let me squeeze a car payment in there too. Then, on Sunday, I spilled water on my MacBook. I was able to get it to start, but later on, the screen would stay black even though the start up chime sounded. Great. Let's hope something isn't shorted out, because water damage usually isn't covered under warranty/Apple Care. Once I get my car back, I'll take it in for an inspection if it doesn't start up in a few days. Perfect timing, right? I'm trying to read papers at home to email potential postdoc advisors and I need to start making slides for my thesis content approval meeting, where my committee and I will schedule my defense and discuss what is left to be completed before I can defend.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thunder Thighs

I saw this Nike ad online and loved it. It says, "I have thunder thighs. And that's a compliment because they are strong and toned and muscular and though they are unwelcome in the petite section they are cheered on in marathons. Fifty years from now I'll bounce a grandchild on my thunder thighs and then I'll go out for a run. Just do it. NikeWomen.com"


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Simple Curry

Because I've spent the last several days perfecting my application materials for potential postdoctoral positions, I just wanted an easy dinner last night. I popped some quinoa into the rice cooker (so quick and easy, if you've never tried it!), then diced a pepper and an onion. I steamed some cauliflower to bulk up this dish. I tossed the pepper and onion into the skillet, then added cubed tofu (bought the cubed kind for lazy days like this) and fire roasted tomatoes. I used a boxed mix for curry seasonings, just sprinkling it in until I liked the taste. It was filling, healthy, and flavorful. After sending out three emails today, I was happy to come home to the leftovers of this meal.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Last Couple Weeks

In my attempt to finish Mofo, I didn't post much about social events. Obviously, with Halloween weekend, I have a couple photos to post. On the Thursday before Halloween, I went to SunLife Stadium with two of my friends from work. We watched the Miami Hurricanes play football against the Virginia Cavaliers. Miami lost, so my friend was bummed. I graduated from FSU, so I can never root for Miami; they're our conference rival. I didn't get any photos of the three of us unfortunately.


Then on Friday, I went to a costume party with a bunch of my coworkers. I took some items from the theme section of my closet to pull together an 80s' rocker look. I finally got to wear my pleather-y leggings from Macy's. I can't believe I paid $35 for them, but I had to have them when I saw them months ago. Glad I finally wore them to justify the expense. (That's me on the far left, for any readers who may not know me in real life.)


On Saturday, I met up with some friends, thinking we'd head downtown to MoonFest. However, that didn't happen. I ended up being super annoyed with the MINORS that were with one of my friends, so I came home early. I thought about driving downtown and meeting up with another group of friends, but I figured by that time, I'd be stuck on the off ramp and never actually make it to Clematis Street. So there are no photos of my Army-themed costume. On Halloween day, I watched Paranormal Activity with a friend after work.

This weekend, Cristin hosted a farewell party for our friend, Jeff. It was nice to see everyone, because it's been forever. I've been working a lot, including weekends, and spending my weeknights reading papers for potential postdocs and being a hermit. So much work, so little time. I'm presenting the data for my thesis on December 2nd, so I can ask my committee to schedule my thesis defense. I didn't get any photos of the party itself, because the group headed to Duffy's to watch the LSU vs Bama game. I ended up going to another friend's for the game, because I have to head to work in a little bit. I knew that being the ONLY LSU fan at Duffy's would end in a shit-show, so I decided to be responsible. (Lame!) For the game, I made red velvet cupcakes with Tofutti cream cheese frosting and golden vanilla cupcakes with purple buttercream frosting. In the red velvet cupcakes, I did not use all of the oil, instead I used a 50/50 split of oil and apple sauce for the same total volume. I used the recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World for the vanilla cupcakes and buttercream.


Cristin's sister was sweet enough to bring me a delicious piece of raw vegan coconut pie from Juice Therapy Cafe. Yum! I had that for breakfast today. Healthy, I know. It's my day off from the gym. ;)


OK, time to head to work!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Taco casserole thingy and raspberry jam-filled donut from Whole Foods. Yum.



Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Mofo Recap & Flore in LA

Mofo was great! I discovered so many new blogs and spent many nights clicking through randomofo.com.

Look at all this traffic:


I rarely receive comments, so I was surprised by the amount of visitors and comments I received. I went from having a couple regular readers, who are my friends in real life, to having several readers and regular commenters!

I was also nominated for a Liebster award by CraftyEarthMama. You can see the nomination here. She lives in California, so she nominated me because I went to so many of the local vegan eateries on my trip to LA. I managed to eat at Real Food Daily, The Vegan Joint, Native Bowl, and Flore. I just noticed that I never did a write-up for Flore! What a shame. I really loved the burrito named for the shop, it had some of the best tempeh bacon I've ever tried. My friend, Eric, ordered the potato tacos. We split a raw Neapolitan shake for dessert. I feel like a dummy for not posting this during Mofo! I uploaded it into Photobucket, but somehow skipped past it when writing posts, even though it was uploaded to fb.


I recently joined the pen pal project at Vegan Machine. I just checked my mail today for the first time in weeks and received my first letter! Woohoo!