Rainy Day Lentil Soup and 'Neat' Balls

Well first grouping of exams are over. I had 3 exams and a paper all within the span of two days... Yes you read correctly. How am I still functioning? Well, first I had an amazing professor, and he let me take my physiology exam a day later. And, I have spent the entire weekend so far just lounging and watching tv. I mean like A LOT. 90210, America's Next Top Model, PROJECT RUNWAY, Grey's Anatomy, The Cho Show, and more. I told you! I even watched a magic bullet infomercial at 3am and was highly entertained. So yes, my brain is in need of a lot of rest. It was a hard week, really stressful, no sleep, and so on. But no matter the grades its over. I have to say the more time I am in school, the less I care about grades. Freshmen year I was miss perfect 4.0, second year I freaked over Cs on exams, and this year Im like whateeever. Im not sure if it is because I am in a more homey setting, or am just away from a lot of the drama that surrounded the dorms, but I am so glad I am a bit away from campus.

Lately, I have not made a thing. I have no juices, pop, or food for that matter in my house. So Ive been ordering my favorite chinese, or eating lunch on campus. Which is fine, but my pocket is obviously getting more and more empty.

So awhile ago I was craving a nice warm, hearty soup. So I made one. I found Rainy Day Lentil Soup on Fatfree Vegan. The recipe name was entising enough. It is quite simple, just all delicious things, like lentils, carrots, potatoes, celery, and spinach. It was very easy and quick to make. My lentils cooked in less than 40 minutes. But, sadly. I was not prepared for that to happen. So I started to smell crisp... Sadly, I burnt what sat at the bottom of the pot. It wasnt to the point I had to scrap the entire dish. And I had made the full recipe, so I could freeze it. Ooops. I got out most of the really badly burnt parts and salvaged it. Added a bit more salt and cumin to cover up any 'burnt' flavors. But there werent really any to begin with. Even with my little burning session, the soup was delicious. It was just what I was looking for. Nice rich flavors, thick consistency, and just all the vegetables added in just the right proportions. But, as you can see from the picture, I was unable to get alll the burnt pieces out. Though, after reheating it, I haven't noticed really. Its great to have the soup sitting in the freezer, so if I am really lazy or have no idea what to eat, I have it as a back-up. I have one serving left, so after that I'll be making a new soup :)

I made Dreena Burton's Neat Balls from the Everyday Vegan. Everybody that has had them have raved about them. Well I made the sweet and sour sauce first that went with the recipe. I really did not like the smell of it, it was really tangy and just did not smell right. I asked my roommate if she thought it tasted good, she didnt think it tasted like sweet and sour, but was okay. I obviously ended up scrapping it. I just did not like the smell. Next time, Ill try a different recipe or buy pre-made. So after scrapping the sauce, I made the neat balls. Tofu, veggies, spices, and some sauces to make them. They looked like a meat patty before baking. But I had some trouble with these guys too. Im not sure if I didnt keep them in long enough, but the outside was about to burn and the inside still was extremely mushy. They were good, but really soft. I ate it with some rice and a little soy sauce. Its not a recipe Ill be grabbing for anytime soon. They werent terrible, but even the left over balls sat in my fridge til I had to throw them out.

Well, I will eventually catch up with all my food from September. Im going to try and post them all within the next week. Have a good week to all of you. Hopefully Ill find some motivation to do work since I spent my Sunday watching Hannah Montana and played a virtual golfing game. Oh dear.


Chinese BBQ Tofu and Veggies

Okay, really really crazy round here. School is finally picking up. Next week, I have a large batch of 3 exams and a book report. Eeek!? I just have to keep on top of things and not allow myself to fall back. I also have two weeks til my internship forms are due, but I am getting close to finishing all that. My organization WYSE (Women and Youth Supporting Each other) just had our fall mentor recruitment, and I'm happy to say we accepted 15 amazing girls to the program! We have training in two weeks and it is going to be long and lots of work, but we want to give these new girls the best training possible, so it is worth it.

All this is a lot to take on, but Im glad to announce, I dont feel too stressed...this is like a first ever!! Hooray. I got to go home this weekend, the bus was 4 hours late (2 waiting at bus stop + 2 in traffic) it was pretty dramatic, but I did finally get home. Though, in my area we had really bad flooding due to Ike's after effects. Chicago might go into a state of emergency. Both of our basements were flooded, but luckily it did not head to the main floors of the house. I know many homes have had 4-10 feet of water from this weekend. The rain didn't ruin my weekend, I got to see my parents and DOGS!, hang out with some of my friends, relax, and just get away from the school environment.

It was nice at home having someone cook my meals. I definitely appreciate my mom and the dishwasher now that I don't have either at my apartment. But I have been doing a good job at cooking healthy, fresh meals.

I've got 9 different recipes I tried lined up for the blog. AND a recipe of my own.

Today I have to tell you all about Fatfree Vegan's Chinese Barbecued Tofu and Vegetables. I have been using a lot of her recipes lately, and for good reason...they are all so good! I made this recipe while my friend was over helping me make the WYSE logo banner for our recruitment process. The sauce was a bit complex with: tomato sauce, hoison, Worcestershire sauce, molasses, soy sauce, and spices. But it really didn't take that long to make, as normal, I left out the mustard that was suposed to go in it. The auroma from the sauce saturated my kitchen as soon as I mixed it all together. It was just the right amount of each ingredient. Then peppers, broccoli, zucchini, and tofu were the main bits. I made a full recipe for once, and so glad I did, as three of us were able to scarf it all down. It wasn't too spicy, but it had the zing after effect that I love so much with spicy foods. The sauce, I cannot tell you enough how delicious it was. Even if you dont want to try the recipe itself, but use the sauce by itself or with another recipe...do it! It was so satisfying and delicious. I obviously will be making this one again. Perfect in all ways.

Well, I might go back to missing for a bit. Until next week's exams are over, I will be swamped.
Hope life is well.


Pasta Primavera and Snobby Joes

Well I finally have internet! So here I am. It took the cable company a month to finally get their shits together. Take that back, finally took me a month to bitch them out about it. I am so happy to be back! And I will get to comments in due time, school is preventing me from spending tooo much time on blogging. 3 weeks in and I have my first exam on Thursday. It will be extremely easy (elementary statistics) but that is obviously not the point. I am studying a bunch, but I am trying to stay sane this semester and realize school is not rule over sleep and a bit of relaxation. So today, I will be watching the new 90210 and getting to bed at a decent hour. I will be getting a fresh breath of air this weekend and I will be going to my home sweet home. I am so excited to see my family and my dogs! I hate being gone for long periods of time, since Mack is now 13, and for a boxer that is off the charts old. I know he doesnt have much time left. His heart is healthy as can be, so we keep praying that it'll continue that way. I'll also get to see some of my friends from home, yay!

I am getting a bit behind on my meals. I have a ton to share, and a recipe, so stay tuned for all that.

Right now, I have to tell you how amazing Susan's Fatfree Pasta Primavera. I am madly in love with this recipe. The sauce is really what makes it special. Just a little milk, seasoning and spices, garlic, and cornstarch. But somehow when they all come together, they make the best vegan pasta sauce. Creamy, but not heavy. Halving the recipe makes just enough to coat the veggies and pasta in it, but thats all it needs. The flavors are immense. I've made the recipe a good 3-4 times already. Just plop your choice of veggies, beans, and pasta to boil. Mix the sauce, and viola. I cant tell you how much I love this recipe, you just have to try it for yourself. If you are short on time, or just want an amazing pasta dish. I vote for this one.

While looking at Happy Herbivore's blog, she had declared Isa's Snobby Joes the sole reason she bought Veganomicon. Well this I had to try, right then and there. I was already in search for something for dinner, and saw I had all the ingredients (well I used a red pepper over green). My roommate asked if she could have some of the meal too, so I made the full recipe. Again, very easy to make. Just boiling lentils and cutting a few veggies, and then mixing all the ingredients together. I seem to find that many of Veganicon's recipes are just too long for me to be able to successfully make on a school night. But this one, definitely is do-able. And AMAZING! Yes, it needed the caps. It was sweet, yet had a nice kick from my chili powder. All the ingredients were subtle, making it a really great meal to just savor in the flavor. I had no buns, well I still havent found a brand at my supermarket that is vegan (and Im lazy), so I opted for my Italian sourdough toasted. Just as delicious. I paired it with green beans. I had my leftovers the day after with some left-over rice. It was just as good atop the rice. My roommate also adored the snobby joes, she wanted the recipe to make for her mom. Such a great, versatile recipe for anyone, vegan or not.

Ill be back, now sooner than last time. Im so enjoying having internet again!