Monthly Archives: December 2009

Tough Times

Hi, guys. I know I’ve been gone for a little while, and sadly, it’s gonna be a little bit longer. I just finished school (and turned in the bound copy of my thesis!), but two days later my hard drive crashed. It’s my brand new MacBook Pro, and I’m pretty devastated. The only back-up I have is my old MacBook that I switched from in August (so I’m still losing 4 months of stuff), but it’s at Pomona, and I won’t be back there until mid-January! :(

Hopefully, I’ll get a new computer soon (I’m not sure if Mac will even do that for me–I have a feeling they’ll screw me over), and I’ll try to catch up on blogging then (although I won’t be able to edit my photos without the Aperture software that’s on my old Mac).

I’m currently on the East coast for the holidays, still recovering from my sickness of a week ago. I had to take an incomplete in my English class because I was too sick to write the final paper last week too (and I lost some of it in the crash). I’m just having a rough time right now. I guess I should be thankful that my hard drive crashed after I turned my thesis in, and that most of my photos are backed up on Flickr, but I’m still super frustrated.

Sorry for the Debbie Downer post. Happy Holidays, everyone, and I promise I’ll be back as soon as I can to make up for this lame post.

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Sick Days

As it often happens, my rainy day was followed by a sick day, or two (maybe three–we’ll see how I feel tomorrow). Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure that my current bout of sickness has a lot more to do with my sick–yet wonderful!–suitemate and extreme levels of stress than it does the rain, but I like having a natural sequence to my posts. :)

I have a super sore throat, and last night I was running a bit of a fever, as far as I could tell. I hate, hate, hate taking conventional medicine unless it’s absolutely necessary, so I’ve been doing what any antibiotic-weary, holistically-minded vegan would do: loading up on vitamins and stuffing my face with ridiculously healthy food.

When I first woke up yesterday morning, I knew I’d need a fresh veggie juice. I basically asked for everything except for fruit, and ended up with kale/spinach/dandelion/parsley/garlic/ginger/lemon/bell pepper/cucumber/carrot juice! Whoa! Lotsa great cold/virus-fighting ingredients in there–especially the garlic, ginger, and lemon!

I followed that up with a Raw Greens Salad, to go.

It’s almost like my juice, deconstructed! Dandelion, kale, collard greens, cucumber, green onion, carrot, lemon, olive oil, garlic, and sea salt. Fresh and invigorating.

I really miss not having my leafy greens in the dining halls, so every once in a while, it’s nice to splurge on an overpriced salad like this.

I also picked up some Amy’s Split Pea Soup, because who wants anything but liquefied food when it feels like your throat is being shredded from the inside out? Even my raw salad was a bit hard to get down.

Anddd, more garlic and ginger. I’ve been taking garlic in the form of minced raw cloves for its antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties, and making lots of fresh ginger tea for its anti-inflammatory properties. Wow, can you tell I worked for Dr. Weil much? I’ve also been drinking more than my fair share of coconut water (vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes!) and hot water with lemon.

Finally, I couldn’t resist buying a kabocha squash at the health food store. Besides soup, roasted squash has to be the perfect sick day food. Comforting, warm, and filling, but still light and easy to digest.

I sliced it up, slathered it in coconut oil, sprinkled it with sea salt, and popped it into a 400 F oven for exactly 40 minutes. It came out perfectly.

And yeah, the only thing better than roasted vegetables is roasted vegetables with hummus! (Well, peanut butter is better than everything, but that’s besides the point).

I just puréed some chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, lemon, cumin, sea salt, and a splash of water in my Magic Bullet, and voilà! Fresh hummus! (I stopped eating the hummus in the dining hall when I found out from my friend who did a “Real Food” assessment of our school for her thesis that its ingredients include a ton of weird additives and modified food starches–blech!)

If you haven’t tried roasted vegetables (especially squash, sweet potatoes, and potatoes) with hummus, you’re seriously missing out. It’s one of those food combinations that I wouldn’t mind living off of. I just love the contrast of the warm, chewy veggies and the cool, creamy hummus. Broccoli and cauliflower also rock with hummus because the florets soak it all up!

The last delicious bite.

Spent on Rainy Days

I wish I saved up for rainy days
because they’re the hardest to stay dry.

I got no self control,
I’m always begging into telephones.

I think I’ll print it in the personals that I’m looking for a match–
Someone to light me up,

…Someone to burn the proof of the things that I’ve done.

It’s an extreme dark chocolate day. As in, Endangered Species 88%.

Lyrics by Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes.

Three Completely Random Eats

So, I know I went a little crazy in the kitchen for Thanksgiving, but my foodie exploits didn’t stop there. You see, I miss cooking and baking so much when I’m at school, that when I finally have a well-stocked kitchen and the entirety of my cookbook library at my disposal every break, I literally can’t stop! It’s my favorite de-stresser, and that’s what breaks are for, no?

As I was sitting in front of my laptop at the kitchen table the Saturday after Thanksgiving, struggling to find a new way to procrastinate on my thesis, a solitary squash on the counter caught my eye. My mom had accidentally purchased an extra butternut squash for T-day, and I had a feeling that if I didn’t take charge, that plump little guy would just languish there until my parents got sick of looking at it and threw it away. Sorry, mom–I know you can roast a squash, but I could just tell that, post-holiday chaos, it wasn’t going to happen.

500 Vegan Recipes to the rescue! I’d just ordered Celine and Joni’s newest book a few weeks before, and had brought it home with me, itching to try it. The butternut’s fate was decided: Curried Butternut Squash Hummus.

Oh my curried God! This hummus was amazing. But what else would you expect when you blend an entire roasted butternut squash with chickpeas, a tablespoon of curry powder, and other yummy things? The sweet & savory combo at its finest! Great texture too–I’m a thick, chunky hummus fan (except for when I’m not, and I want smooth, creamy hummus, but whatever).

I also made another tester recipe for Celine & Joni’s new book, Vegan Substitutions. The ridiculously simple, but according to my mom for whom I made it, equally delicious, Cinnamon French Toast.

Can’t give away the recipe since it’s a tester, but I think it speaks for itself.

Finally, I made the Peanut Apple Pretzel Drops from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar for our dear friends, the Hillebrands. I think these are so adorable.

According to someoneee in my family, they’d be better with chocolate, but I disagree. Chocolate and apples? I donno. I mean, I’m sure it’d still be good, but I like them the way they are. Yes, chocolate is possibly the best thing ever in any dessert, but does that mean it should be in every dessert? I don’t think so. Sometimes, we need to let other ingredients shine. :) I’m not a sweetist!

Second Thanksgiving, 2009

Well, it took me long enough, but I’ve finally gotten around to my actual Thanksgiving post! So here it is–Thanksgiving, Part II.

I drove back to Phoenix from LA with some friends on Wednesday, and stayed until Sunday night, so not only was it a lovely holiday, but a nice mental vacation from school as well (Yeah, I worked on thesis at home, but it just didn’t feel as painful…)

I didn’t get a chance to plan my menu until Wednesday night, which kind of stressed me out (not the least because I’m still trying to avoid gluten and sugar for digestive problems), but I eventually got a good group of recipes together!

First, my sister and I made Dreena’s Festive Chickpea Tart. Well, Liv made the filling, and I attempted my first gluten-free pie crust to go with it. I used the Cornmeal Pine Nut Crust from Flying Apron’s Gluten-Free and Vegan Baking Book, which I acquired recently. I used coconut oil instead of palm oil, but besides that stuck to the recipe. It was delicious, with a delicate, crunchy texture, and, surprisingly, the corn/coconut/pine nut flavor combo really complemented the chickpea/spinach/cranberry/walnut mixture. Sadly, we burned the outside of the crust and had to scrape it off, but it still looks pretty, I think. Kind of? Maybe?

I also made the Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Garlic from Vegan with a Vengeance. Prior to these babies, my mom actually had the nerve to think she didn’t like Brussels sprouts. and Liv hadn’t even had them before! I was glad to be able to remedy both of these unfortunate situations.

I loved the crispy, just-burnt enough-to-be-amazing stray leaves–kind of like mini kale chips, no? Liv ended up liking them, I guess. :)

I also made two tester recipes for Celine & Joni’s new book, Vegan Substitutions. Pumpkin Sage Bread “Rolls” and Green Beans with Toasted Pecan Gravy.

I wasn’t able to taste these “rolls,” but they were very well received! The pecan gravy for the green beans was delicious though. You can see the green beans next to the mashed potatoes a few pictures down.

An entire wall of our living room is a sliding glass door, which connects it to our backyard and pool area, so, given the lovely mild weather we had in Arizona that evening, we had a slightly alternative table set-up. Half in, half out!

Here’s the spread! (Oh, did I mention that we had 9 people over besides the 4 in my family? That explains the giant table above and the buffet style arrangement below). Our entire Thanksgiving was vegan except for the turkey and gravy (oh, and my mom’s pumpkin pies) that our friends brought for the omnis. Of course, it sucked to have a turkey there, but I count it as a win that every single side dish was vegan–and that there were THREE vegan gravies! (two that I made and the Tofurkey one).

Here’s my poorly lit plate! In front: Garlic Mashed Potatoes from the Real Food Daily Cookbook (my mom made ’em) with Rich Brown Gravy (that I made) from Vegan Vittles.

We had a wonderful time–as usual, we went around the table to say what we were thankful for, and then we dug in! Here’s my dad enjoying the company:

Even though I couldn’t have dessert, I still had to make some vegan ones for everyone else! I chose the Pecan Pie from Real Food Daily and the Gingerbread Apple Pie from VWAV.

Pre-baked:

Not as pretty baked, but still:

What’s the BEST part of Thanksgiving though? Um, leftovers! Brunch next morning:

In the front you see the Caramelized Onion-Butternut Roast with Chestnuts from Veganomicon, which was definitely my favorite thing I made (I didn’t mention it earlier because there were no good pictures of it on my actual T-day plate). I followed the recipe, using gluten-free brown rice bread crumbs for the topping! This dish was kind of heaven on earth. Just pure comfort food. I think I ate like 1/3 of it myself. I’ve never had chestnuts either–it was really quite fun to roast my own! One of them actually exploded in my mom’s hair, and she made a gross joke about it. ;)

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm, squash.

Anddd, obligatory sister shot. My dress = thrifted. Score.

First Thanksgiving, 2009

First of all, I have to apologize for my extended absence. I’ve had so many things worthy of posting, but so little time! The rough draft of my thesis was due today, and I just emailed all 93 pages of it to my two readers! It’s currently conclusionless, so I’m guessing it will clock in at around 100, but the worst is over! Plus, 100 pages on veganism is 100 pages well spent, I say.

I lurveee me some Thanksgiving, so I can’t complain that I got two this year!

The first–and more unique–one was at Animal Acres Farm Sanctuary in Acton, CA. The first time I went to AA (no, not Alcoholics Anonymous) this year was for my friend Stephanie’s birthday, and it was just our group, but this time, it was a full-fledged event of a couple hundred people: the Thankful Turkeys Celebration!

For the first hour or two, we just got to walk around, and hang out with the animals. This is Regina (or Regina’s cute little butt), the baby of the sanctuary.

Pretty pink piggies:

And we got to feed the horses. This is my friend, Dawn, with her lovely hair the same gorgeous auburn color as the fella she’s feeding. :)

Then it was time for the main event, the “Feed the Turkeys Ceremony!” All the kids lined up at the end of the yard, ready with the turkeys’ (and the other birds’) Thanksgiving feast.

They smell something:

First course, salad.

Also, plenty of “stuffed squash,” a.k.a. pumpkins filled with seeds. Oh, and cranberries!

Also, pumpkin pie. But–and I know this is a shocker, folks–turkeys apparently don’t like pie, and prefer salad and seeds. After being completely and utterly neglected, this pie’s smile turned upside down.

The funniest part was that some of the kids who got tricked into holding pies got really frustrated that their goods were undesirable (squash envy?). Hence:

Having fed the turkeys, it was time for our feast, catered by LA’s One World Vegetarian Cuisine.

Some sort of savory roast with stuffing and a frighteningly skin-like skin, mashed potatoes with (excessively oily) gravy, and roasted vegetables. The roast was One World’s own recipe, and it was absolutely wonderful. I couldn’t believe how soft and chewy the “meat” was, and the stuffing was carby comfort food at its finest. And the potatoes and vegetables were, well, potatoes and vegetables. Simple, but good.

Stephanie and Dawn at dinner (or whatever the 3 ‘o clock meal is called):

And then…a chicken tried to eat someone’s leftovers.

The end.

Be back soon with my second, real Thanksgiving!