First meals in the new place.

Day two of school is down. And only three more days of this week left. I cannot believe school is here! I am not having a hard time adjusting to my new location a bit further from my campus (a whole 4 blocks). The walk is nice and breezy as of yet. Come November, I will be screaming in agony over the cold and the LOONG walk. I still do not have internet set-up in my apartment. I applied through the school for a 'discount' rate. So they only make so many appointments for us kids. Its been 10 days since I applied and I am getting antsy. That's probably why this post will not get up til Thursday or Friday.

I don't have much work yet for my classes, but the large organization fest for campus is on Thursday. It's a great event for new students to check out all the organizations on campus, all 250 of us. I remember going to it last year when I transferred here. It was mind blowing. And its where I found out the club that I am now a director. It is called WYSE, Women and Youth Supporting Each Other. We are a curriculum-based mentoring program for middle school girls that are at-risk. I love my mentee and its so great to really see how she has flourished as a person this past year. I feel I have grown so much due to being a mentor and it has been the major shaping for my college experience.

Tonight I wasn't really up to cooking. I was going to make a great feast of Chinese Bbq'd tofu, but it was 7pm by the time I was able to start cooking and I was bent over sick to my stomach hungry. I am not joking. I had no idea what was wrong, but after I ate my big bowl of Annie's Tuscan Bean soup with toasted pita bread, I felt tons better. I also had a kiwi and apple with peanut butter for desert. So delicious.

My first two meals in my apartment were also not too extravagant. But they were monumental! My kitchen is fully baptized mine. The small size will not bring me down. I have everything a little more organized than a normal kitchen, that's all. It makes the small size a bit easier to bare.

The first meal I decided to make was Fatfree Vegan Kitchen's Chili Mac. A simple chili recipe that looked delicious. I didnt have any kale on hand, so I replaced it with green peppers. And I had a taste for black beans over kidney. But that didnt make any difference to the meal. It was so quick to make and so easy. It's definitely a recipe Id come back to when I was starving or running out of time. And it was so delicious. I used rotini pasta, so the sauce clung to every bite. It had all the right flavors with the nutritional yeast being only a small component of the recipe. I was so full after eating even half of my bowl. Even all by my loansome I felt like I was at home with this meal.

My next meal was just trying to pull together some of the leftovers I had. I brought some white rice from my going away dinner with my family, we had a thai feast, it was deeelicious. Even my grandparents ate a ton. But anyways, the rice was sitting for a few days and it needed to be used up. Then I used the leftover black beans, onion, green pepper, and then frozen corn. So pretty much all the veggies that was in the chili mac. I threw it all in a bowl, added a bit water to recook the rice, some chili powder and diced jalapenos. Took me a whole 5 minutes to prepare and it was so good. Really good. Yay for quick, easy meals. Ill be living on them once the semester gets tough.

I didnt just cook, but I finally got around to baking. We dont have AC, so I never wanted to bake, I couldnt even imagine how bad it would have been. I waited til one night was extremely cool and made Dreena's homestyle cookies. This is my sad little stove, yes it is as tiny as it appears. It is not a normal sized oven. But the pans do fit all the way. Ive never cooked with a gas controled oven, we have electric at home, so this was a pure experiment to see if I could even make anything without sending us all flying out of the building in alarm. Do notice we have a fire extinguisher, just incase anything like that happens. I got us an oven thermometer just because I do not trust this little oven at all. It took 10-15mins to pre-heat but it seemed like it was off 50 degrees. So I turned the oven to 400 F for my cookies. I kept checking them every 2-3 minutes, but then at 6 minutes I got so involved in the clean-up process (we don't have a dishwasher either) so I forgot to check before the timer went off. When I went to get them out, they were not burnt, but they also were like GOLDEN GOLDEN brown. They were crispy, but still did have a chewy texture. Dreena's recipe is flawless, so they were obviously amazing. My roommate adored them, she couldnt believe they were vegan. Definitely pretty successful so far.

As I said, I knew this would take forever to get online. Its now Friday, Organization fest is over, and we got over 200 names that are interested in our mentoring program!! And all my classes are going off without a hitch. It seems like the it will be one of the first semester I can relax and breathe a little...hopefully.

This weekend is the Harley Davidson 105th anniversary. And since my city is the birthplace of Harley we are being taken over by bikers. A good 8000 of them to be exact. There is a huge festival for them down by the lake, but my ears are permanently screaming from the roar of their engines revving and screeching by. Ill be very glad when we get our streets back. But I guess Happy Birthday Harley? haha Have a greatweekend, and for all the Americans, enjoy the long weekend!


Summer is Over

At least, the school year summer is over. I have one last day to prepare for the new school year, but I also have only one last post to finish with all the summer blog entries. I really thought that summer would prove to be a good time to blog. All the time in the world to relax and enjoy the weather. But that did not happen. I am still pale as a ghost and I was not able to de-stress too much. I did though have some great moments and it was overall a pretty good summer. Of course, no more carefree world of childhood where we played in the sprinkler and swam at the pool every waking hour.

A few weeks ago, I saw

The days that I am not working, I normally roll out of bed at noon and have no motivation to make anything delicious. Even so, I still want something delicious. I had been reading my new cookbook Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan and noticed the amazing sounding burrito mix from the recipe Veggie-Sizzle Burritos. I had all the ingredients except for the tortilla. So I used my fresh pita bread I got at the farmer's market instead. I also forgo the mushrooms and put red bell peppers in the mix instead. Fresh zuchini, red bell pepers, black beans, and onions were all delectably seasoned with chili powder, paprika, and tamari. I ate every bit of it. They were so good.

I cannot believe I am all updated for the summer. But that does not mean I am out of food to talk about. I have a cooked a bunch in the last week in my new apartment. I have yet to use the oven, but I am thinking about making some of Dreena's home-style chocolate chip cookies tonight. Oh my, heaven in a cookie.


Breakfast Galore

I am all moved into my new apartment, so no more running around hustling and bustling. Since I had surgery on my toes last week, I have no doubt my feet are glad I can just do absolutely nothing. Well other than eating and watching the Olympics ;) The last week and a half I watched every single one of Michael Phelps' races and interviews. Not only was I amazed by his pure talent, but damn his body is ripped. It was so thrilling to watch the races live, I was freaking out mad during the 100m Butterfly. I used to swim a ton, I was on a team in jr high and all. But then I chose to take running to high school with cross country and track. Im also watching a ton of the track bits. But since I am not allowed to run for 4-5 weeks, I just get so jealous, hah.


Now that summer is 'over', I am able to look back and see the few times I woke up in time for a normal breakfast. If I was awake, it normally meant I was being forced. And a forced breakfast in my book is a quick bagel or fiber sticks and fruit. But there were a few occurrences where I would wake up at a decent hour on my own and be so amazed that Id cook a feast.

This day I had woken up around 6am. I dont get why, normally my bed time is around 5am, this was a miracle, in other words. I got up went running at the lake, went to the farmer's market, and came home ready to make something delicious. I ended up on one of my favorites...pancakes. I had gotten a ton of fresh fruit from the Farmer's Market. But we had some lingering blueberries in the fridge. My mom and dad still were not allowed to be eating any fruit because of their South Beach Diet. I normally dont like them, but I always love when they are cooked. Blueberry pancakes it is. They turned out amazing, I ate every little piece. It was Isa's recipe from Vegan with Vengeance. I havent tried any other yet, since I love hers so much. I paired it with some of the nectarines I got from the farmer's market.

This next morning I was alive for the morning hours was when I was still reading the Twilight Saga. I had fallen asleep while reading the book, and actually went to bed at a decent hour. I woke up starving, but could not decide on any food to eat on. Well then, make it, of course! I just got Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan so I decided to make a recipe from there. I decided on Zucchini Spelt Muffins. My only issue was I didn't have spelt flour, that was solved by looking online to see that the ratio between all purpose and spelt is the same. They were extremely easy to make and turned out amazing. MY entire family loved them. The fresh nutmeg and cinnamon were the perfect combination for a slow morning. After I baked them, I went straight to my bed and read the rest of the second book.

I will be all caught up with my entries by the end of this week. I only have one more before I am at present time, finally! Im going to go work on some more organizational projects for my room. Have a good one!


Check out my friends music show blog!

Awhile back I told my friend that Id give him a shout-out to the good people of my blog.

Michael is already a hot shot at a radio station in the good 'ol midwest, but he is putting out some of his favorite music on his own blog radio program. Its a great 30min-ish radio show with great recommendations. A great collection of music that house all types of styles.

Here is his explanation of the show from the blog:

Thanks for taking a moment or two to visit our page. We work at a public radio station in the Midwest. I'm the morning on-air guy, Suzanne is the producer of one of our talk shows, and we both are into music in a big way. I'm also the music coordinator at the station so I get new sounds sent my way all the time. One day an idea occurred to me: why not share the tunes with others that are also into music in a big way? So Suzanne and I put our talents together and came up with The Mailbox, an offering of some of the things that are found in ... say it with me, people ... my mailbox, yes. Most of what you hear will be music that has come to me at the station or at home, but I'll add a few things now and again that might have some cohesion with the song before or after - or maybe I'll just play something because I can, dammit.

We hope you like what you hear, and we hope you'll tell your friends about us. We aren't doing this for riches or fame, we aren't receiving any special considerations from artists or labels. Not that we're against special considerations, mind you. If someone - let's say maybe someone like Sia or The Cinematic Orchestra, just to pull a couple artists' names out of thin air - wanted to send a poster or an autographed guitar pick our way, that would be swell. Just be sure to send two, I don't want to have to fight Suzanne for any of the cool swag. She'll kick my ass.

We're doing this because the idea of sharing cool music with cool friends and other cool people is kinda cool. Enjoy the tunes, and if you like them as much as we'd like you to like them, tell your friends about us, go out and buy a CD, catch the artists in concert, and let them know you appreciate their work. And if it's not too much trouble, ask them to send me an autographed picture.

Again the link is at: http://www.freewebs.com/themailbox/audioandplaylists.htm

Check it out. Every time he comes out with a new episode I listen to it while I surf my blogs.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend all!


Chickpea Cutlets and Mac n' Cheese

So the summer is coming to a close. It makes me realize I really need to catch up with my blogging. Tonight I read all 200 entries from my blog roll on my google reader. Took a few hours, but that is okay as I was upset when I finished reading my book today, because it was the last in the series.

Last Friday, a few of my friends and I decided to support our friend at a book opening party. It was for the last book in the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer. I was at work and had no plans for afterwards, so why not? I had no idea what the book was about, just that I have always loved the Harry Potter book launch parties that I had attended. (I attended every single one...yes, Im that HP fan)

Here is evidence of me and my copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows from last summer. I was shaking and freaking out, to the point where I had to calm myself down for a few hours before I could start reading.

Anyways. My friends tried to sell the book to me a few years ago, and I realized why I wasn't interested. They told me it was a love/adventure/teen story between a human and a vampire. I am really not into fantasy worlds, aside from HP. So we get to the opening, and I realize I should know what Im getting myself into. There were girls EVERYWHERE, like 12 year old girls. And they were all dressed in prom dresses, vampire teeth, bite marks, and etc... I was a bit scared. My friends and I were really the oldest there, aside from the parents with their pre-tweens. But everybody was telling me to just read the first page and give it a chance, so I did. While we waited for midnight I read, and really did get into it. I decided to buy the first book. There was also a costume contest, trivia, and other events. It was fun, and people were so excited.
Well I read the book, and was HOOKED. I had to run out that next night to get the second and at least the third book to keep me occupied. Sadly while my mom and I went on our shopping trip to the bookstore and Filene's the rain turned into tornado watch to warning. We had to sit in the back of Filene's for 40 mins while the storm went overhead. No storm funnels formed near us, but it was scary outside. Such is life...
Now less than a week after the book premiere, I have read all 2500 pages of the series. Even though I feel like a giggling pre-teen while reading the book. I absolutely adored the books. They were filled with a world that I had never thought to enter, pages filled with cute teen romance that did turn to adult relations, and adventure after adventure. I highly recommend the series, if you are looking for a quick, giggly, page turning adventure.

Lately I havent felt like cooking much. With work and all. But! I had my last day of work a few days ago, so Im hoping Ill soon want to get back into the kitchen. Today I just had minestrone soup and made a pizza from some left-over dough I had in the freezer.

So let's get back to food from earlier in the summer.

I got Veganomicon for my birthday, so I knew I had to sift through the recipes to find some delicious eats. My mom had already started dinner, and most of it was vegan-friendly. So I wanted to find something for a whole protein. I found Isa's recipe for Chickpea Cutlets. This recipe was so damn easy. Just mashing chickpeas and kneading a couple ingredients with the beans. Isa as normal had a few variations for prepartion, and due to the heat I just heated up a skillet and grilled the cutlets. They were ready in less than 4 minutes. And holy shit, they are amazing. Im so glad I made a full batch, because I ate them for a few days after at work. Made great sandwich meat. And also great conversation, I got a few girls at work to try some of it and they were freaked out at how good this gluten meat was. That night they were paired with brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cannelloni beans in a tomato base.

My next adventure in Veganomicon was Isa's mac and cheese. It was a pretty lengthy recipe, involving a lot of pots and pans and also baking. It called for you to make her Cheezy sauce to pour atop crumbled EF tofu, lemon with the noodles. Her recipe was for 8 people! So it took a bit to size it down for one person. My portions were still off, and I had enough to feed at least 4. Well, for all the work...I wasnt that impressed. I really forced myself to eat it. I hated the pieces of tofu in the sauce. I didnt like the citrus bit from the lemon juice, and the cheezy sauce's flavour was dependent on the nutritional yeast. Let's just say I was more excited about my roasted vegetables and just ate way more than my fair share of asparagus, broccoli, and red pepper. I feel guilty, but I threw out all the extras I had. So much for all that work...

That was the last bad experience I have had with cooking. All the rest of the food Ive made has been amazing, so I wont count that against Isa or Terry. I think Im still learning to like nutritional yeast, and really needing to realize that mac and cheese will never be the same without that gross powder shit.


Birthday Weekend Part 2.

Well my birthday month has come to a close. So it feels necessary to update with the rest of my birthday weekend. I have been extremely busy with work and getting ready to move. I thought that the summer would allow me more time to just write and be carefree. Well, those summers I remember as a child/teen are over. Summer proves to be just as stressful as the school year.

But one weekend I felt like nothing was stopping me, on top the the world feeling, was my birthday weekend. The day of my birthday was so relaxing, almost as if I knew Id need it for the adventure to come the next day. My friends and I set out to see Jenny Owen Youngs at a venue downtown. We were going early so we could have a nice dinner at the Chicago Diner.

The four of us piled into my car to get to the train station. Had the most hilarious, yet sad train into the city. A woman obviously on many assorted illegal drugs was our entertainment. Her hair was everywhere and she wore these great pink bath slippers. At first she was very angry and yelling at this man who tried hard to pretend he wasn't hearing. Then she started to laugh and sing. Her lyrics went something like this:

"My momma was a drug dealer who kept me up. My daddy was a drug dealer who kept me up" "Im 5 days old, 5 days old. Gonna bring me up" "Pissin, pissin, pissin in a cup" "Singin, singin, singin for rock. Singin, singin, singin for crack"

All were to the same little beat and tune, a guy on the train was recording her. The lady sitting across from her had the hardest time trying to keep a straight face. We sadly had to get off before her concert was over.

So while waiting for our transfer train to arrive, we all were extremely giddy and excited from the funny train trip. After we made the transfer and
got up to the north side of the city, we trekked on over to the famous diner. I recognized it the minute I laid eyes on the building, right next to abundant sex shops, which got my friends even more giggly. There was a 10-15 minute wait to sit outside, but the day was gorgeous and we did not want to be inside on such a lovely day. So we waited outside for maybe 20 minutes, but once we got our table the service started immediately. The garden was so sweet and beautiful. I had a bit of a heart attack when I realized they didnt have any diet coke products. So I settled on getting my caffeine fix with a large glass of ice tea. We all decided we wanted to try the Cheesy Artichoke Calzone for a starter. It was a little small for sharing, we each got a small piece. But it was an appetizer so we all decided that was fine. It was very delicious, very creamy and cheesy and the pizza dough was fabulous. It came with piping hot marinara sauce, a really delicious little treat while we all were stilll deciding on what to get.

We did finally decide on our meals. All my friends were omni, but wanted to get all vegan options so we could all try each other's meals. I was soooo excited and all happy to see them trying some different foods and really embracing the full experience. I had been so worried that theyd all hate the food. My friend Teage settled on the diner's Reuben. I have heard great things about it, and now I know why. The seitan meat had the perfect thinness, crispiness, and flavor of a corned beef. Teage thought it was even better than a meat version. The thousand island dressing was delicious and it was just the perfect sandwich. She paired it with their Spanish rice. Next time I go, Im really tempted to get this again.

My friend Kim was torn between a few different entrees. She decided to try the Portabello Caesar Wrap. It was filled with long strips of 'chickin' seitan strips and portabellos, cabbage and lettuce, melted cheese, and creamy caesar dressing. Served in a spinach flatbread. She liked it, it was HUGE. It was impossible even with all of us tasting it to even finish half of it. I am not a fan of mushrooms, so Id probably not choose it myself, but the caesar dressing was delicious. I miss caesar and ranch dressings the most, I love creamy paired with crisp greens. She paired it as well with the Spanish Rice.

My friend Christina and I both chose the Chickin Ranch Sandwich. It had 'Chickin' seitan milanesa, guacamole, cucumbers, onions, large pieces of fresh lettuce, and their creamy ranch dressing. My oh my, was this a mouth full. It was so delicious. The ranch dressing was very good, I wish I could just bottle it up and take it home. It was tangy and sweet and extremely creamy. The seitan was delicious. I LOVED this sandwich to pieces. I forced myself to finish it, since I knew I wasnt going to be carrying it around at the show. Christina also enjoyed her sandwich, without guacamole, tomatoes, and onion. Our waiter asked if she was sure she even wanted the sandwich. I think its funny since normally at restaurants I have to just say what I DO want on my choice. Always have to say no this, no that, and so on. But this time I didnt have to do it!

Even though we were all extremely full, we had heard so many good things about their dessert menu, we had to venture on and try. So we planned on splitting, yet we couldnt decide on one to split. So instead we got two. Christina and I got the Cookies n' Cream cake. A mix of chocolate and vanilla cake with cookie pieces within the filling. It looked AMAZING. So beautiful presented. But I fel the cake was a bit dry, I like my cake moist, and it was lacking. The flavors were there, so I bet it was just our one cake. Maybe next time.

Kim and Teage's cake was a different story. They shared the Lemon Raspberry Cake. Moist yellow cake with raspberry filling and lemon custard, topped with frosting. Holy shit, this was to die for. It was so sweet, but since it was a yellow cake the sweetness wasnt overpowering with richness. It was heavenly. We were able to finish the entire cake and probably could have taken a full one home with us. Very delicious for such a lovely summer night.

After we emptied our wallets and slowly tried to even get up, we walked to Schuba's Tavern to see Jenny play. I was like in a mad rush to get there so we didnt miss anything. I was quite determined. Once we got there, I felt a bit more relaxed seeing that the starting act hadnt even gone on stage yet. We took a bathroom break, and caught the first song of Caleb Engstrom. His good looks matched his performance. My friends fell in love with his lips and lyrics. Kim bought his cd and it really is great.

After Caleb finished his set, it wasnt long til I saw Jenny come from the audience up to the stage and start setting up her one-woman show. She had no supports, just her and her guitars. I was so squeamish with excitement. We were second row, in such a nice intimate venue. She started off telling us how she lost her car keys and spent the last 4 hours of the day with a locksmith and shelling out 400 dollars to get car keys. She said she was really upset, but glad to be playing for her favorite city :) So things got started off and it was amazing. She said she didnt have a set list, so we were able to request any song we like. And she played every song from her album and a few new songs. It was just a beautiful show and I was beaming and laughing the entire time. She really is funny. I was so happy when she said she'd be selling her own merch after the show. So I went to the table and got in line. She was taking pictures, signing autographs, and more. So I was patient and anxious. But my time arrived and I got to meet her. We probably had a good 5 mins of time together. I got to ask her about her decision to go from veganism back to eating meat. She said it had to do with always being on tour and having to try and eat healthy and how all the soy in her diet was causing her vocal cords to be sore and inflamed. After she switched to a less soy-based diet, she said she saw results almost instantly. I also got to tell her how I had called in to a radio show she was on earlier in the day and ask her more. We took a photo, did some signing, and she even tape a video for my friends who are also HUGE fans of her. You can check out my videos from the show and the message to my friends on my youtube account.

I had the most amazing birthday weekend. I was beaming and freaking out from all the fun I had over the weekend. I could barely sleep that night. It was definitely a birthday I will remember forever. Im so glad I got to share it with my family and friends and of course, you guys :)