I’m in College

Hiya eaters!
Woah boy, today has been another crazy one. I’m not physically exhausted, but mentally I’m beat. I’m more than ready to kick back and enjoy some 16 and Pregnant. But really, by now you shouldn’t be surprised that I’ll be watching it tonight.
Want to know something I am surprised about?
That today is the last day of November. That means it’s the last day of MOFO (but, of course, we’re always MOFOs, right?) and that I only have 17 days left until the end of the semester. Holy fuck, right? That’s 17 days until dorms close, not until classes and exams are over. 
Where has the semester gone? Really? I need an answer, please.
So in honor of 1) reminding all you eaters that while I may seem infinitely wise and amazing mature (HA!), I am still a college kid and 2) acting like a card-carrying vegan, I bring you tonight’s dinner:
Quesadilla!
So you remember the little tale of my craving, right?
Well, it turns out that while that pizza was certainly scrumptious (both hot and cold), it didn’t quite scratch my itch. I knew that there was only one thing that would do the trick. So I got reacquainted with my summer love…
This time in cheddar!
And since I refuse to eat a meal without a fruit or veggie (and since I just discovered that I like them raw)…
Some green pepper.
All together now…
Atop a big sprouted grain tortilla.
A little time in the microwave (yes, I know some of you are gasping, but I reiterate—I’m in college) with a glass on top for some weight (that’s the secret, really), and I get this…
It melts!
And one more time
It stretches!
Yup, that’s porn for me.
Add a huge dollop of black bean and corn salsa and you have a complete, college kid meal.
Salsa is a vegetable.
And you have a very happy ‘Baby and a very satisfied craving.
But now I’ve got to run. I’ve got baby mamas to watch.

G’night eaters!

Got Brussels?

G’evening eaters!
I’m beat beyond belief right now. Tonight was more hellish than normal because of an extra hour and a half of meetings. Sounds super fun, right?
Oh yeah. It was.
Actually, I don’t entirely mind. I really do enjoy my job and my routine. Especially this month, since I think I’ve only had one normal week. Between the Big Apple, Louisville, and now Thanksgiving, I’ve been running around quite a bit. So I thoroughly enjoyed being able to make a leisurely trip to the grocery store. I didn’t make the farmers’ market, but this was better than nothing.
I went to Earth Fare, as usual, with my little list and cell phone calculator in tow. And for the first time I found a fault with meal planning.
Loot:
Honeycrisp apples, soyogurt, green bell pepper, lemon, broccolini, black bean and corn salsa, ginger chews, cheddar Daiya, chocolate
Navy beans, sauerkraut, red cabbage, Booch, tortillas, tempeh
So what’s the fault, you ask?
Well, originally I was supposed to have Brussels sprouts instead of broccolini and red cabbage. But for some reason there wasn’t a Brussels in sight at Earth Fare or Fresh Market. So I had to make a snap decision.
I’ll let you know how the meal turns out. Hopefully well, since it’ll be my big one for the week.
But I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. For now, I’m going to watch another episode of my latest Netflix addiction—Dexter. I just started season 2. Is anyone else hooked on it? Does anyone else catch on to shows late? I almost kind of prefer being late to the game.
G’night eaters. 

The Thanksgiving That Wouldn’t End

Hiya eaters!

Okay, by now are you sick of leftovers? Do you even have any left? I missed out on a lot of the leftover fun this year, so I never actually got sick of them.
Are you sick of posts about Thanksgiving recipes? Or am I the only person still writing them? Oh well. These sweet potatoes are worth a post.
Last year I made mashed sweet potatoes. I enjoyed them, but next to super sweet and creamy sweet potato soufflé (which is not, in fact, an actual soufflé, but more like a…pudding/casserole/mass) they weren’t too popular. But this year I was determined to bring sweet potatoes that could adequately rival the Southern classic.
These seemed to fare nicely.

Chili-Spiced Roasted Sweet Potatoes
4-5 medium sweet potatoes
1 orange (1/2 T zest, 1/3 c juice)
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t chili powder
olive oil
1 t onion granules

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Chop the potatoes into bite-sized chunks. 

In a large bowl drizzle the potatoes with oil (about 2-3 T), cinnamon, onion, and chili powder. Toss with a big spoon.

Spread on a baking pan and slide it into the preheated oven. Bake for about 20 minutes, tossing once half way through.
While the potatoes are roasting zest and juice one orange, which should yield about ½ T zest and 1/3 c juice.

Once the potatoes are done roasting transfer back into the large bowl, pour the orange stuff over the hot potatoes and toss.

These can be served right away, warm, or tepid (you know I love my roasted potatoes tepid).

Not too spicy, not too sweet. And they’re wonderful as leftovers.
Especially atop some leftover kale salad.

Cinnamon-tastic 

This is good, but let’s be honest, it doesn’t rival the leftover sandwich. I guess I have my goal for next year…
But for the immediate future I have another goal—homework. And bed. And maybe some knitting. Not in that order.
G’night eaters.

Kale for Papa

Hi eaters!

I’m back in the ‘Boro, settling back into life with the ‘mates and the communal shower. But luckily, I still have tomorrow to relax before the super hellish days start. And luckily for you, I still have a few recipes to share.
As I mentioned, I brought a salad to Thanksgiving. Blasphemy?
To some, it certainly is. To me last year, it might have been. But this year, it was more than welcome. And frankly, it should be a welcome addition to every Thanksgiving table for one very important, practical reason (besides that it’s healthy)—it’s easy!
While your oven is occupied, all burners are blasting, and your fridge is full, you can make a salad. A delicious, nutritious, simple salad. Oh yeah, and it’s pretty damn tasty.
Roasted Chickpea Massaged Kale Salad
1 bunch kale
3 t honey
2 T apple cider vinegar
I can chickpeas
1 small onion, chopped
½ t cinnamon
1 T olive oil
salt
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Add the onion, chickpeas, oil, cinnamon, and a light sprinkle of salt to a plastic container.
Put the lid on and shake. Then spread the mixture on a lined baking sheet in a single layer.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, shaking once half way through.
(If you want to make this ahead, like I did, just put it back in the plastic container and heat it slightly in the microwave before serving.)
Wash the kale and tear the leaves into small bite-sized pieces, discarding the stems. Sprinkle a few generous pinches of salt over the leaves and massage quickly.
Whisk honey and vinegar in a small bowl until it’s reached an even consistency. 
Cooking show bowls.
Then pour it over the kale and massage again.
This requires two hands, two very soft hands…
Once you feel that everything is evenly distributed top with the warm, cinnamon covered chickpeas.
Papa, who has quite a list of vegetables he won’t eat (and a childhood trauma to go along with each one), even ate some. And liked it (as much as he could).
Is that convincing enough that a salad needs to have a place on your table or plate next year?  If not, let the fact that Papa and I both ate some leftover for lunch today be the deciding factor.
Yeah, it’s that good.
Later eaters.


*A note about the apple cake—I used 1 banana and 1 c applesauce, instead of 1 ½ bananas. And I used dark brown sugar instead of light brown. The result?

A denser, darker, still damn delicious cake.

Thanksgiving, MOFO

Happy Thanksgiving eaters!

I hope all of you have had a day full of yummy eats and family, whoever you define family to be.
I meant to catch up with you guys yesterday, but there was a bit of a mini crisis. Last night when I went over to Mother’s to check on the dog (she’s out of town for the holiday) he was nowhere to be found. We called and called. Nothing. We scoured the nearby neighborhoods. Nothing. We left the kitchen door open all night, hoping he would find his way home. Nothing. 
When we took up the search again this morning I was more than frantic. But then Brother went in his room. 
Five minutes later Brother and Papa were lifting the huge metal cover over the steps to cellar. And there was Rocky. Somehow he had escaped his yard, run around, and then gotten stuck under the house. And Brother heard him barking under his floor this morning. Luckily he seemed completely unfazed. Just hungry. 
I swear, my dog is either an idiot or a genius. 
Kibbles, bacon, cheese. Nom.
Okay, now onto my big meal.
More than just my wild dog chase, this whole Thanksgiving was a little untraditional.
More family from more far-off places came. Some family didn’t make it.
Stepmother didn’t take any awkward posed family photos.
And I didn’t eat turkey. Or creamed corn. Or stuffing. I also didn’t eat any ham.
Because, yes, we do have both.
No, this year I didn’t indulge in any of the usual food that makes a Southern Thanksgiving a truly life-changing experience. 
But you know I’m not the kind of ‘Baby to gnaw on celery while everyone else is eating yummy things. Oh no!
But rather than try to reinvent the wheel (and get my family to embrace soy cream and Earth Balance), I decided to step into the kitchen and play with the big dogs (by which I mean that I decided to contribute some of my own dishes to the potluck).
When figuring out what to make I was more than a little tempted to test my skills and veganize green bean casserole or make a seitan loaf. I mean, after spending most Thanksgivings eating the rich, gooey, decadent food of my (step family’s) roots, it was a little hard to imagine a Thanksgiving lite.
But then I realized that they would all probably laugh at my vegan versions. While my versions would have undoubtedly tasted like pure mouth sex to me, they wouldn’t pass muster with the true blue Southerners.
So I went the other way. And thus I introduced them the few people who tried some, to massaged kale salad.
In addition to my salad I offered up Big Apple Cake, Thyme Beet Biscuits, and Chili Roasted Sweet Potatoes (recipes coming soon).
Some were hits. Some were misses for others. I was well-fed.
Because while there are endless tips and tricks for how to eat less on Thanksgiving, honestly, I didn’t want to. 
And after spending the afternoon with my two step GREAT grandmothers (and hearing about all the funerals they’ve been attending), I realize that being able to eat a big, amazingly delicious, and wonderfully healthy meal is quite a privilege.
And after my second piece of cake, I was sporting a Food Baby. I named my Food Baby MOrton FOrd.
I hope you all enjoyed every single minute and bite of your Thanksgiving. And now I hope you’re enjoying the leftovers.
See you tomorrow eaters (for recipes). 

WW: A Yes and A No

Ello eaters!
I’m coming to you from the Dirty Dirty. The buckle of the Bible belt. My humble hometown. More specifically, from the kitchen of Papa’s condo. I’m currently waiting for a little early Thanksgiving prep to come out of the oven. But more on that tomorrow, because you all know what today is, right?
Why, it’s Wednesday, of course! Workout Wednesday!
And this WW is a very special one. I woke up bright and early this morning to be reunited with m’dear dear buff trainer-friend Cain. You all remember how I got thoroughly hooked on his fitness classes this summer. I’ve been incorporating a lot of what I learned from his classes in my own workouts, but no matter what I do, it’s never as good as having him there counting down the seconds and telling me what to do. So I was quite overjoyed when he told me he could fit me in for an hour training session this morning.
Unfortunately, though, this didn’t go quite as well as I’d hoped. You know how you always forget something when you’re traveling?
Well, in anticipation of my kickass training session I brought home my mixer bottle that I use for Shake-n-Shakes. The only problem was I forgot to bring protein powder. And for some reason, Brother (how loves his protein drinks more than me) didn’t bring any either. So what’s a ‘Baby to do when she needs protein for get jacked (which, as I had to explain to Mother last night, means to get big muscles)?
Protein bar for breakfast!
This flavor comes highly recommended by VG. And it just so happened to be the bar toting the most protein. Sounds great, right?
No. Bad. Coffee and a bar is a horrible breakfast. More on that in a minute.
So I ate half and headed downtown. I was greeted by a very familiar site as I crossed the street.
Who needs an awning or sign when you can have a giant portrait to greet your clients? Oh Cain!
Check out his seasonal display in the window. How cute!
Don’t be fooled by the smiling face, though. This man is brutal.
The normal Cain hour starts with 10 minutes of cardio warm-up followed by weights and at least one 5 minute cardio session. But that wasn’t the case today.
Today’s session started with 7 minutes of cardio followed by 53 minutes of weights. Lots of weights. Weights of varying sizes. Weights working every muscle imaginable.
By the time we were in the home stretch I started feeling my crappy breakfast. And with about 15 minutes left I was borderline nauseous. Not to mention that all my muscles were screaming that they had turned to Jell-o.
I feel pretty. Oh so pretty.
It took me a while after class to shake the queasiness in my stomach. And I know that my muscles (which were still a little sore from Monday) are going to be killing me tomorrow.
Was it worth it, you ask?
Hell yes, eaters. Hell yes!
Sure, I’ll be dead for the next two days. Sure, I’m now a little broker. But I learned how not to fuel for a workout. And I learned a few more weight moves that will help spice up my workouts and keep my muscles confused (and thus growing).
And honestly, sore muscles just give me a better excuse to sit at the table and not move tomorrow. Pretty convenient, right?

I think so, too, eaters. 
Happy Thanksgiving, eaters. I’ll try to be back tomorrow.

Excitement

Hiya eaters!
As I mentioned yesterday, today is a crazy one. I’m finishing all the last minute things before going out of town—taking out the trash, eating all the perishables, washing dishes. You know, super glamorous and exciting things.
But I don’t mind doing them, because I’m going home!
I’ll be in my humble hometown today through Saturday and I honestly can’t wait. Part of my excitement is to get a break from my ‘mates. 
While I certainly love living with them, sharing a space—a small bathroom, one common room, a thermostat—with 7 other people, all of which have very different sleeping patterns and definitions of cleanliness, is quite a trying experience. I’m thrilled to have a shower to myself (one that I don’t have to wear flip flops in) and a TV (only one ‘mate has one). Those may sound silly, but try giving them up for a few months and see if you don’t get excited.
But it’s more than creature comforts I’m excited for.
I’m excited to see a certain creature—my pup Rocky!
I’m excited to see Brother, Mother, Papa, Sister and Stepmother. I’m even pretty excited to see all 15-20 members of Stepmother’s large, loud, always exciting family for Thanksgiving.
I’m excited to see my two best friends from high school.
While I may begrudge my humble hometown, and while I absolutely love all my college days, there is something so wonderful about going home. And I am endlessly thankful that I get to go home, if even for just a few short days. And I am endlessly thankful for you awesome eaters, for oogling my food porn and letting me babble day after day.
So eaters, I leave you with these warm fuzzy feelings as I fly through the air. I’ll be back tomorrow with another installment of Workout Wednesday.
G’bye for now, eaters. 

Protein Goo

Hi eaters!

I hope all of you have had a lovely weekend and Monday. My weekend was…interesting, as those of you who follow me on Twitter may know:
Yeah, it’s a long story. Moral: I have no clue.
And now I’m running around trying to finish last minute things before heading home for the holiday. One of the things that I did today was track my food intake.
This is something that I do every now and then just to figure out about how many calories I get, but more importantly, to figure out my protein to carb balance. It really is easy to eat oatmeal for breakfast, rice for lunch, and a veggie burger for dinner (that is actually what I had for dinner—so damn tasty). But that would leave me looking and feeling like a bald ball of dough (bald because I’ve realized that when I don’t get enough protein my hair is the first thing to suffer). 
Protein is a little bit of a constant struggle for me. I’m getting better at it, but it’s not second-nature yet. I’m constantly finding new ways to add it to my diet. And my new best friend, the best friend that has been making my breakfasts great, my snack time even more exciting, and has been upping my protein, is…
No, I don’t have a TJ near me. Stepmother indulged my strange wish and sent me some. Yes, I may be a little spoiled. Don’t hate.
So if you, like me, don’t understand the powdered peanut butter thing then this is the perfect way to become acquainted. Compared to PB2, peanut flour is relatively cheap. And it can be used for baking (though I haven’t tried it yet). You simply mix the flour with a little water and voila! A peanut butter roux of sorts.
This stuff really is quite addictive. 
It doesn’t taste like regular peanut butter. But it’s damn good in its own way. Trust me.
This little bowl of good goo has been making an appearance in quite a few places.
Like oatmeal.
Ying-Yang
Gooey banana cinnamon oatmeal.
I dip my bread in it.
I even do this with it…
Yes, that is soyogurt, pumpkin puree, and peanut flour topped with cinnamon and raw oats. 
You’re such smart eaters.
And for all you crunchy/chunky peanut butter lovers out there, I found a lovely little trick to satisfy your need for a bite:
Quinoa!
Oh yeah, I went there. Toss some cooked quinoa into your goo and your have a protein-packed bite. Trust me. I’m a very trustworthy ‘Baby.
And, as we all know, protein is an important factor in keeping you satiated. And that means I have more time to get stuff done. Like right now as I run off to paint my hands so I can model for one of my ‘mates’ photography projects.

To-ta-loo, eaters. 

The Little ‘Baby that had a Craving

G’evening eaters.
Let me tell you a story. The story of the little ‘Baby that had a craving.
Once upon a time there was a little ‘Baby who loved to eat vegetables. She happily munched on broccoli and greens and carrots all day. She also loved fruit, especially oranges and pomegranates. Rarely did this happy producing-eating little ‘Baby want anything else. But then one day she did.
She wanted cheese. Hot, melty, gooey cheese was all she could think of. Immediately, the little ‘Baby thought out going out and getting cheese and tortillas to make a quesdilla.
But I can’t, thought the little ‘Baby. I’m going home in a few days and surely couldn’t eat all that cheese in so little time.
So the little ‘Baby resisted her urge and sat with her craving. And the longer she sat with it, the bigger it grew.
And then one morning (more like early afternoon) the little ‘Baby woke from her slumber with only one thing on her mind—cheese.
Her craving had grown so large that it couldn’t be ignored any longer. The little ‘Baby needed cheese!
But she didn’t know of a single Mexican restaurant or burrito bar that had vegan cheese. What was a little ‘Baby to do?!
Eat something else cheesy, of course! But what else has tons of hot, melty, gooey cheese, she asked herself?
Pizza!
So the little ‘Baby called the closest pizzeria she knew because she heard that they had her beloved cheese. But it wasn’t long before her hopes were dashed. No vegan cheese!
Distraught, the little ‘Baby become desperate to satisfy her craving. So desperate, in fact, that she was even contemplating driving to a pizzeria far far away for some of their coveted cheesy pizza.
But then the little ‘Baby had another idea—Pie Works!
Yes, the seldom-mentioned little restaurant that she first discovered so long ago. They had the cheese that would satisfy her craving and make her a very happy little ‘Baby. And they delivered!
A few minutes later the little ‘Baby had placed her order and was waiting patiently for her prize—a Garden Fresh pizza with bell peppers, red onions, mushrooms, black olives and tomato chunks, red sauce, and tofu mozzarella on a dark wheat crust.
Right when she thought she couldn’t wait any longer, the little ‘Baby’s phone rang. It was her princely delivery man! And he was waiting outside for her.
We’re not supposed to deliver to colleges,” he told the little ‘Baby, almost breaking her heart. “But I’ll do it for you.”
The little ‘Baby’s heart swooned. And the entire little ‘Baby swooned when he opened his magic black bag and handed her the hot, greasy cardboard box she had been dreaming of.
Oh thank-you, delivery man. Thank-you. Thank-you. Thank-you,” the little ‘Baby chirped as she pranced up the stairs.
When she finally opened the box and lay her eyes on the beautiful pie she was breathless.
It was more perfect than she could have imagined.
When she took her first bite the little ‘Baby couldn’t hold back a sigh.
Her craving was satisfied and everyone lived happily ever after.

(And the little ‘Baby will probably have pizza for breakfast.)

Friday Lunch: Boba House

Hiya eaters!
Happy Friday. Damn it feels good to be Friday. While this week wasn’t too strenuous, I still enjoy a good Friday. I especially enjoy a Friday where my only class was canceled.
So what better way to celebrate the end of a week and the over halfway mark of MOFO than with the return of Friday Lunch.
Remember that? When my friends and I would go out every Friday for lunch? Well, Maddie and I did it again today!
And since part of this little lunch celebration was for MOFO, there was only one place I could think of: Boba House.
It’s a bit of a shame that a town as great as Greensboro only has one vegetarian restaurant, but it is a really good one, so I can let it slide.
Every time I go I seem to flip between two appetizers—crispy spring rolls and lettuce wraps. 
Today crispy spring rolls won.
With their cute little garnish flower.
These were extra hot and flakey today. And I extra appreciated it.
And then came the thing I’d been waiting for…
Udon soup.
A big, steaming bowl of broth and noodles and veggies all swimming together nicely.
Can you believe I’ve never had udon soup? Me either!
Quick questionWhat kind of mushroom is this?
No clue what it’s called.
And what better way to end a yummy lunch than with a little dessert.
Vegan chocolate espresso cupcake from Simple Kneads bakery?
Yes please.
A very good way to end a not bad week.
And now it’s time to track down some wine and start a good night.

Later eaters.