Awesome with a Capital “A”

Hiya eaters!

Before I get to the nitty gritty I just want to say once and certainly not for all that you guys are Awesome with a capital “A.” You’re Awesome for several reasons, but most currently for all the great advice you guys gave me. It’s been a while since I’ve been really hung-over so I have to get back used to reigning in my eating. And I’m rather new to this whole buying my own food (with my own money) and feeding myself thing so all the tips and tricks will definitely come in handy. I’ve already started picking up the weekly sales fliers.

Hooray for baby steps!

Okay, now to business:

Alarm went off at 8:30 this morning despite not having class till 2:30. Can you tell I was determined to be ridiculously productive today?

Breakfast:

Pink oats! Brought to you by frozen mixed berries, oats, water, and South American Crofter’s jam, with a spoonful of chunky peanut butter, for texture, of course.

Eaten out of one of my “K” mugs because I have several.

These oats were also Awesome with a capital “A” for 2 reasons—this completely satisfied my love of pretty food and because I cooked these oats twice as long as I normally do, resulting is rich and creamy rather than chewy oats.

I still like chewy oats, but this made them feel almost like eating pudding for breakfast.

After a brief digestion/blog reading period I hit up the gym big time. You know how I mentioned that total butt-kicking workout I did over the weekend?

Well I did essentially the same thing, just minus a bit of the cardio, and it was also Awesome. The fact that I was still sore from my first go around is a great sign!

I would post the workout (because it is just that Awesome), but frankly I never know the actual name of the moves I do so I just make up names instead. And I doubt any of you would know what I was talking about if I told you to do 30 roxburries on each side with a 15lbs weight.

I took a much needed shower after and then dived head first into some reading.

I eventually broke for a very quick, very familiar lunch:

Amy’s lentil soup with spicy mustard, carrots, Wasa sesame flatbread, and roasted pepper hummus, served on a paper towel, which made it feel like a picnic.

Yes, productivity won out over creativity today. I promise to do better tomorrow.

And for dessert:

Free trade dark chocolate with orange, to cleanse the palette.

The rest of the afternoon was spent working a petition to get a civilian review board to oversee the police department, attempting to speak French without a Spanish accent, and camping out at Starbucks to finish my reading.

Then it was dinnertime, though there will be no pictures from that meal since I ate in the dining hall. Frankly, the food in the dining hall is neither particularly good nor particularly pretty. Are any of you are actually interested in seeing those meals? If you are, please speak up and I’ll start documenting those as well. Just don’t expect artfully arranged eats.

So in lieu of pictures I’ll simply tell you that I ate tofu sticks in BBQ sauce, steamed yellow squash, and some marinated artichoke hearts.

As usual, it was nothing to write home about.

And now I’m buckling down big time in order to finish enough work so that I can guiltlessly go see one of my favorite local bands, The Bronzed Chorus, play downtown at one of my favorite coffee shops, The Green Bean.

I’ll catch you eaters on the flip side.

(Yup, I really did just say that.)

She’s Alive?!

Hi eaters.

Bet you didn’t think I was still alive, did you? Well, I am (barely).

Sorry for the absence, but this weekend just got ahead of me, and next thing I knew it was today. Needless to say, the past few days have been a blur.

Which reminds me—can any of you current or past college kids tell me how in the heck I can avoid eating like straight shit on the weekends? Sure there were some fruit, oats and a few veggies in there, but there were also far too many chips, mini Tootsie Rolls, and bags of popcorn swimming in Texas Pete. It was a beige, carby parade. Though I did manage to get the greatest workout ever yesterday. An hour and a half of butt kicking!

Okay, here are the eats:

My “I over slept” working breakfast:

Apple and peanut butter.

My “I’m trying to get my body to stop hating me” lunch:

Salad with spinach, sautéed veggies, half a Garden Burger, and a blob of roasted pepper hummus.

My “I’m massively dehydrated” snack:

Melon.

And my “I’m starving and want this day to be over” dinner:

Amy’s lentil vegetable soup with spicy mustard (don’t hate, it’s good), steamed broccoli, and 2 Wasa sesame flatbreads with roasted pepper hummus and Texas Pete.

I love steamed broccoli to unusual extents. I blame my mother.

But don’t just think today was completely miserable. There was one very bright, shining bit of joy in the midst of feeling like crap:

My first trip to Earth Fare!

I had never heard about it before last year when it was described to me as “Fresh Market, but organic.”

And oh m’gosh, I was in heaven.

I knew I was in love the second I walked in and saw the soft lighting, beautifully arranged produce, and the hint of a salad bar sign peaking around the corner.

Other things I loved:

You can’t tell, but that is a giant wall of plant-proteins. They had every kind of tofu and tempeh imaginable, including herbed tofu garden veggie tempeh, which I want to try.

Wall of nut butters.

Vegan fluff! I didn’t buy any, but just knowing that I could have made me ridiculously happy.

And an unpictured, but oh so scrumptious prepared food counter that was chock-full-o-chik’n dishes.

Yup, it was love.

After Earth Fare I had to run over to Fresh Market to pick up some of their sale items and I’m sad to say, it paled in comparison.

Fresh Market loot:

Peaches ($0.98/lbs), Wasa flatbread crackers (2 for $4) and Brussel sprouts.

Earth Fare loot:

Organic spinach, sesame Ezekiel bread, organic apples, red onion, frozen berries, frozen edemame, pesto in a pouch, dark chocolate, Annie’s bunny grahams, broccoli, tonic, and a packet of Justin’s chocolate peanut butter (because that’s what bloggers eat).

I spent entirely too much money (I won’t tell you because it is mildly embarrassing), but I’m entirely happy.

^Look mom, I’m not starving.^

Can any of you eaters give me some budget tips, also? I think I’m heading straight towards broke as a joke, which is NEVER a laughing matter.

So re-cap:

Weekends hurt. Earth Fare is great. How do I eat healthy while hung-over? And how do I not go broke eating?

Please and thank-you, eaters.

Slow and Low/Everything I Love

Yes, this post has 2 titles. It’s not because I’m indecisive. These were the 2 things going through my head as I was cooking.

Love this adorable baby eggplant.

And so did one of my ‘mates, so I let her play with it while I chopped the rest of the veggies.

Love The Knife, and how perfectly it sliced through the slippery purple skin.
And just Love chopping in general.

Love my big bowl of veggies ready to be cooked.
(Free) Mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini, red onions.

With these at my side I drizzled the wok with olive oil and started the
slow and low cooking process.
Love how amazing something as simple as onions smell while cooking.

Love these colors.
Confession—I buy red onions simply for the color. I like pretty food.

Love when I put each vegetable in at the right time so everything cooks evenly.
Love the cumin, cayenne, 4 peppers, garlic, and salt I seasoned this with.

Realization—I always knew eggplants were like sponges, but I thought that only pertained to liquids. But they are also ridiculously amazing at soaking up spices. Each bite was like a wonderfully intense flavor explosion.

Love big pots of anything, but especially when they’re veggies (I also tossed in the last bit of my leftover tofu, just got kicks).

Love plates of warm, spicy veggies (and the hoisen sauce I so un-ascetically plopped on top).
Love that I’m about to go over to my professor’s apartment with the rest of the ed board, where some of us may or may not be drinking margaritas while we listen to crazy stories from back in the day.

Love you, eaters.

I Heart Condiments

G’morning eaters.

I know I normally post at night, but last night I unexpectedly got very thirsty. So here I am today.

Breakfast:

Applesauce, Kashi Go Lean, the last raspberries and a plum.

Workout:

I was a cardio queen yesterday. While I waited for an elliptical to open up I did something stupid—I got on the treadmill.

Why was that stupid?

Because apparently, a week or so of rest (as much as you can rest your shins while walking up and down 3 flights of concrete stairs multiple times a day) and stretching like it’s my job is not enough to rid myself of these horrid shin splints.

5 minutes on that thing and I was in a considerable amount of pain. Luckily for me I only had to endure another 10 minutes before an elliptical opened up. And I was happy.

Lunch:

Giant pile of leftover tofu, 2 servings of baby carrots, and Teeter’s roasted pepper hummus.

And yes, as you can see, my compartmented plate did come with me to college.

I clearly am an adult.

And I clearly love condiments.

A lot.

The next few hours were filled with class and paper responsibilities. I have a lot of both, if you haven’t heard.

And they make me hungry…

Dinner:

Weird salad.

I realized something about salads—unless you’re in a fancy shmancy restaurant, a salad usually needs a lot of things in it (several veggies, beans, doo-dads, etc). And to make a salad with a lot of things in it you have to buy a lot of things, which I don’t want to do. So instead, I’m just going to swipe them from the dining hall.

Because, as Rizzo from Grease says, there are worse things I could do.

So, in my lovely Pyrex bowl (because apparently, we’re a Pyrex family) I do believe there is spinach, pepperoncinis, carrots, cabbage, cucumbers (which were not in any way in the same league as the one I’ve been eating all summer, just saying), baby corn, and a Gardenburger.

Oh, and my love of condiments clearly did not diminish throughout the day.

With a belly full of burger salad I headed out to restock my pseudo kitchen a little. And since Michael Pollan still has me scared, I’ve decided that I need to start actually buying good food, which just means I know have an even better excuse to give Fresh Market all my money.

Loot:

Garden of Eatin’ pita chips (a small bag, because I can’t be trusted around crunchy things as Mother and Stepfather know all too well), licorice, organic tofu, dark chocolate, a baby eggplant, and mushrooms.

Awesome thing about the mushrooms is that they were free! The cashier didn’t know what kind they were so after ringing them up as morel ($29.99/lbs) and having to void it she just gave them to me. Clearly, that is a sign that I need to shop at Fresh Market more often.

Then, like I said, I got thirsty. Probably a little too thirsty. Oh well.

I’ll catch up with you later to show you the deliciousness I’ll be sure to create with my free ‘shrooms.

Until then, stay hungry eaters.

Tofu, love

Initial side note: I mentioned how I did the kettelbell workout from Women’s Health, right? Well, you should do it. I switched between 10lbs and 15lbs kettlebell and only did 2 circuits, but I’m still feeling it today. So I did it again, of course.

But enough of that…

Hi eaters!

How was your humpty-dumpty day? Mine was beyond awesome, all made possible by a package I got yesterday.

And within this remarkably small box was…

another even more remarkably small box.

And within this second box was…

My Tofu Xpress!

That’s right, eaters. I finally bit the bullet and bought one. Because frankly, my ghetto tofu press from home just was not going to work in the dorm. (And not just because we don’t drink gin.)

I knew it would be tiny, but this thing is freaking adorable. I love it already!

So this morning I started the process.

7:45-alarm.

8:00-begin pressing tofu

Then eat breakfast:

Applesauce, raspberries, Kashi Go Lean Crunch

8:30-11:15-class

11:30-take tofu out of the fridge and marvel at how much water it pressed out.

For those of you who can’t read that, it’s over ½ c. Amazing!

Then I marinated the tofu in leftover restaurant salsa and a little bit of Mrs. Renfroe’s habanero salsa.

11:45-12:45-gym. More almost killing myself with kettlebells, in the best possible way.

1:00-Saute tofu in my wok with olive oil and a little bit of spinach. Serve with steamed asparagus (that I steamed in a Magic Bullet cup in the microwave, because my pseudo kitchen now has everything).

The tofu got a little broken up in the cooking process, but I certainly didn’t mind.

And topped with some corn and black bean salsa for extra protein.

I devoured this plate like it was my job (I’ve been starving these past few days). And I even have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

G’night eaters.

Rethinking, Rethought, Rethunk

Hi eaters,

No meal recap today. For some reason (lack of sleep already?) I just didn’t have the desire to photograph my food. It wasn’t terribly exciting, though, so you didn’t miss anything.

Instead of recapping everything that passed my lips today, there’s something I want to chat about—my veganism.

As you old time readers know, I’ve been vegan since March, which means…almost 6 months now.

Not a terribly long time, but in this time I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and talking about veganism.

I’ve been asked many questions about what I eat, how my new diet has affected me, and why I do what I do.

To answer the first question I say that I don’t eat animal products. So no meat? Right. What about yogurt? Only non-dairy. And yadda yadda yadda. (But sometimes, when people are critically joking about it I say that I just chop on the grass from my backyard.)

My answer to the second question is always that I feel great. While I never exactly felt bad eating cheese steaks, I can say that I’ve seen plenty of positive side effects—almost no bad breath, much more stable blood sugar, less colds, and improved asthma. My hair isn’t as thick as it once was, but I certainly don’t mind that at all.

And for the final question I usually give 2 answers—my health and my excitement. I got bored with food, so I decided to do something drastic. And it worked.

But not too long ago I got asked another question that really got me thinking—What about honey?

What about honey, I wondered. I don’t eat it anymore (not like I really did before, though) because it is an insect-product. But then I wondered if I really cared.

Don’t get me wrong, I care about the birds and the bees and all the other little creatures, but honestly, they’re bees. And it’s honey.

And this is when it dawned on me that in some cases I was eating the way that I was because people told me to, rather than actually examining things for myself.

My week of vegetarian-rather-than-vegan eating in Paris also helped spur this line of questioning.

With the exception of the cheesy pasta I ate on the plane, I didn’t feel bad once. Not after my oh-so-delicious lemon pastry.

Not after nibbling on an impressive amount of brie and apples. Not even after eating an entire serving of fro-yo.

So for the past few weeks I’ve been re-examining my food choices, and here is what I’ve come up with:

I’m going to eat honey. I’m not going to drink it or start added tablespoons to my tea (because honestly, I’m pretty indifferent), but if it is in something (like the box of Kashi Go Lean Crunch I just bought) I’m not going to sweat it. Hell, I may even buy a box of Annie’s Honey Bunny Grahams.

I like chocolate. And baked goods. I’m not going to start beasting on white chocolate or cheesecake, but if I want a piece of chocolate that has a little milk in it (like the new M&Ms; I’m still yet to try) or if I’m offered a bite of a delicious dessert I’m going to have it.

Or if I order something in a restaurant and there is a little cheese on it (like the little bit of cheese that was probably in my pesto sauce the other night) I’m not going to freak out. One piece of chocolate or one bite of cake or the possibility of a little cheese isn’t going to kill me (or hurt many animals). And even the healthiest of eaters get a freebie (because I refuse to call it a “cheat”) every now and then.

I love whole foods (and Whole Foods). With the exception of a bar of chocolate (dark chocolate with cayenne and other spices, love) and my Gardenburgers, all I really have are whole foods and condiments (those aren’t whole foods, are they?). And it’s great. Instead of trying to limit myself (and probably failing) around the big bags of chips I ate all summer I’m snacking on pistachios and raspberries and carrots. You don’t have to worry about crazy, unpronounceable ingredients in whole foods. Which brings me to my next point…

Michael Pollan has scared me away from high fructose corn syrup. I’ve known for a while that it is bad, but it wasn’t until reading In Defense of Food that it really started worrying me.

So bye-bye crazy corn goop.

And last, but not least I’m considering reintroducing eggs into my diet. I’m no longer having the meat-themed dreams I had when I first went veg (dreaming about cheap meat like hotdogs and the pepperonis off frozen pizzas), but I did recently have a dream I announced my return to eggs. I know the Skinny Bitches wouldn’t approve, but Vegan Godfather (VG) certainly would (as long as they’re cooked properly, like in the drool-inducing recipe he just sent me). It’s not something I’m going to do anytime too terribly soon, but it’s an idea I’m rolling around. Ironic that I announce this in the middle of a massive egg crisis, but as VG reminded me, no local organic eggs have been mentioned.

So that’s where I stand on what does and doesn’t pass my lips. I welcome any thoughts, opinions or advice on all this. As I said, I’m still figuring things out, so anything you have to share feel free to throw it out there.

But for now, eaters, the only thing I’m throwing is myself onto my bed.

G’night.

Maybe Because

Hi eaters.

Quick questioncan I die now?

After my first day of classes I am way past dead on my feet. Not only are Mondays going to be my hellish days (8:30am-8:30pm, with only a couple hour break in the middle, so Monday may be my post-less day), but due to some extenuating, but in no way unwelcome, circumstances last night I got very little sleep.

But somehow it turned out to be a great day.

Maybe because it started with a big, comforting bowl of oats:

Oats, cocoa powder, water, Crofter’s South America jam (love, by the way), raspberries, and salt and pepper pistachios.

So many things (cocoa powder, the slight peppery bite from the pistachios, my new jam, etc) elevated this bowl from the oatmeal I hated as a kid to just plain awesome.

Maybe because I got my giant beanbag.

This thing weighs 45lbs and came tightly packed in a box smaller than a mini fridge. But it is so unbelievably comfortable.

Maybe because I got to use my wok for the first time to make lunch:

Red onions, asparagus, and spinach stir-fried with Mongolian fire oil and five spice and tossed with some rice noodles.

The entire time I was cooking this I was freaking out about the little bit of smoke setting off the smoke alarm. Luckily, it didn’t. But after all the burned popcorn from last year, I doubt those things are very sensitive.

My ‘mates were walking in as I finished up and they said they could smell it from outside and it smelled good.

And it tasted damn good, too.

Maybe because (with the help of a strong cup of coffee) I was able to work out for the first time since Thursday.

Today is the first day the gym has been open and boy was I excited!

I did an elliptical sandwich (still no running) with a kettlebell filling (via an article from the most recent Women’s Health).

The kettlebell workout was challenging, but a little awkward. I still got sweaty, though, so it was a success.

Maybe because I’ve been snacking on the most delicious (and I think, quite embarrassingly, my first for the year) raspberries all day.

2 for $5 at Teeter, you can bet your bottom dollar that I’m buying 2. There’s no doubt I’ll finish them way before they go bad.

Maybe because tonight was my first night of editor activities. Mondays mean 2 ½ – 3 hours of straight newspaper business. I was a little fried by the end, but it was rather exhilarating.

Maybe because I filled my very empty belly with my excuse for a salad:

Lots of spinach, red onions, Gardenburger patty, and 2 kinds of salsa.

Does that count as a salad?

Possibly. But it sure did count as hot. As you can see, I went a little crazy with the salad—

which just meant that I far surpassed my minimum water intake for the day.

Or maybe because I’m finally done with all necessary things for today.

Whatever it is, I’ll take it.

Later, eaters.

Pseudo Kitchen

Long time no speak, eaters. Did you miss me?

Please don’t answer that.

So you’ll be happy to know that I’m happily settled into the Boro and loving it. While the settling in process meant a few days of crappy eats and no exercise (unless you count carrying too many boxes and the biggest allowable mini fridge up 3 flights of stairs, because I, apparently, an a high-rise girl) it was worth every second.

So, without any more gushing about my new digs and all-carb diet, let’s get down to business—the kitchen.

While some dorms are apartment-style (meaning individual rooms and real kitchens) mine is just crazy (meaning 4 double rooms coming off a common room and one shared bathroom). So what kitchen could I possibly be talking about?

My pseudo kitchen, of course!

I’ve hinted about it a time or two, but here it finally is in (almost) all its glory.

You have big fridges, I have a mini fridge—which, for once, is chock-full-o-healthy foods.

The produce drawer is over flowing with produce rather than beer.

And I have condiments out the wazoo.

A new bottle of Texas Pete and sriracha is my way of starting the year off on the right foot.

You have kettles and cabinets to store your tea products, I have a microwave and a Pyrex measuring cup

I guess the Pyrex is a remnant of home (because that’s how my mother always made tea), but it works. And if you can’t tell, we do have 4 different kinds of rooibos tea.

Can you tell I like it?

You have cabinets and pantries, I have 2 carts—

the cart on the right is full of kitchenware, including my massive Tupperware collection and my 6 mixing bowls (because I guess Mother thinks I mix things a lot). The cart on the right is full of food, which isn’t much right now, but does include something I’m dying to make:

Moosehead-shaped whole-wheat pasta from Ikea. Is that not the greatest thing?

You have a stove, I have a rice cooker and an electric wok

Hooray! I’m Asian!

I don’t remember if I mentioned the electric wok, but ever since I learned they existed I’ve wanted one. I love stir-fry. And it can work as a regular skillet and even boil water. So pretty much it does it all.

You have counters, I have the top of my 2 carts

armed with my new big cutting board and every fork, spoon, knife, and kitchen utensil known to man I have my own little cook station. Here is where I will chop things and grind things with my Magic Bullet and, with a little rearranging, stir-fry good things and cook grains.

So that’s my set up.

Pretty sweet, right?

I sure think so.

Wino

Hi eaters.

Today has been long and I’ve had a few glasses of wine I am tired, so bring on the pictures!

Breakfast:

Because I honestly enjoy Cliff Bars.

After:

I had my last Cain class today. So I asked him to challenge me. And believe me, I was challenged and sweaty by the end. I’m going to miss my tough, very attractive trainer.

(Did I mention the wine? More on that later.)

Lunch:

Stir-fry pizza.

I invented it. Thai chili sauce, sriracha, and tomato sauce with stir-fry, tofu and Daiya.

I love Daiya. So very much.

Afternoon:

I half-packed my car. Wrestling a 40lbs beach cruiser into a Corolla by yourself is not something you should do. Ever.

Snack:

I wanted to get my fill of the kitchen today (more on that later, too) so I used up some random ingredients and created:

PB&Everything; cookies

3/4 cup chunky peanut butter

1/4 cup brown sugar


1/2 cup sugar


1 mashed banana


1 ½ rice flour


1 teaspoon baking powder


1 pinch salt


1 T maple syrup

2 T vanilla protein powder

2/3 c coconut

Combine and bake at 350 for 5-8 minutes.

Dinner:

Amy’s microwavable dinner (some kind of dal with tofu)

Note to self—microwavable rice is never good.

And I finally got my wine.


I’m sure there’s a better way to pick wine than by the prettiest label, but I don’t know it.

But this was a great cabernet sauvignon.

After:

Mother, as a prominent art advocate in the community, has been selected to cook for a fundraising party on Saturday. She decided to use my red lentil lettuce wraps for her dish. And since both of us have very busy days coming up we decided to cook the filling tonight.

For 150 people.

Thank deities for wine!

And now I’m tired.

G’night.

Good and Crappy

Hiya eaters.

How have you been doing these past few days? Mine have been a mix of good and crappy.

Crappy: I was awoken this morning to my dog coming into my room…and peeing.

(But he’s old and I don’t remember when he last went out so I can’t totally blame him.)

Good: I used my time in bed to read my new book: And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks by Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs. I lovelovelove all things Beat so a book written by 2 of my favorites was right up my alley.

Good: A classic, filling, yummy breakfast–

Ezekiel toast with pb&apples;&cinnamon;, with blueberries on the side.

Crappy: My shins were already hurting. It appears my shin splints are back with vengeance. So I stretched and iced them.

^You know you’re in a house full of athletes when there are bags of peas in the freezer for injuries rather than eating.^

Crappy: All the ellipticals were taken when I got to the gym so I had to resign myself to the recumbent stationary bikes till one opened up. Boo.

Crappy: There wasn’t too much food in the house for lunch so I made a weird bowl—

Baked beans, roasted carrots and Brussels, and spicy mustard.

–and I started feeling sick halfway through.

Good: I found some very ripe bananas in the fridge so I made Susan’s (Fat Free Vegan Kitchen) banana-blueberry bread. And for once I barely changed anything (maple syrup instead of agave and plain almond milk with ½ t vanilla extract instead of vanilla soymilk).

^It’s like banana bread and a blueberry muffin had a delicious baby.^

I had a slice warmed and topped with cashew butter, which is my new definition of mouth sex.

Crappy: My shins were hurting again, so again I iced them.

This time with 2 bags of ice. Can any of you most wonderful eaters with shin problems recommend any remedies? After talking to Brother he’s got me a little scared it’s a stress fracture.

Crappy: I was supposed to go to ATL this afternoon, but the reality of moving back to college on Friday set in so I skipped it.

Good: I started packing all my clothes and in doing so I decided to be ruthless with what I took, kept and donated. Not only do all my clothes fit in one suitcase, but I’ve also filled another bag for Goodwill.

Good: I finally ordered a Tofu Xpress! So once I move into my dorm it will be out with the old…

in with the new.

I also ordered a beanbag,

because no dorm is complete without one.

Good: I made one of my favorite, classic dinners—stir-fry!

Red onions, Brussels, carrots, orange pepper, snow peas, edemame, and mung beans with garlic and ginger, and sauced with Thai chili sauce, sesame oil and a splash of soy sauce. Served over thick rice noodles and drizzled with sriracha.

I love lightly sauced crisp stir-fry, especially ones with tons of onions. And I love that wok.

And now I’m craving a glass of red wine. If only…

G’night eaters.