Thursday, December 30, 2010

Montreal or bust

Adrian and I are taking off for the great white north. Why did I agree to go to Canada in December/January?!?!?!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

eating poorly

I've been eating really poorly since finals started. I haven't really cooked in weeks and I am really feeling it. The boyfriend made something delicious though, so that's the recipe I'm posting. Dating him is making it hard to stay vegan. He buys delicious cheeses. I'm going to try to stay strong though.

Mushroom Risotto-
1 cup arborio rice
4-5 cups vegetable broth (you probably don't really need that much, but it's better to have too much than too little)
1 onion, chopped
1/2 package of baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1/2 package of porcini, sliced
1 dry morel, sliced
1 sun dried tomato, chopped up

1. Bring the vegetable broth to a boil, then reduce heat and leave to simmer.
2. While water is heating, lightly saute the fresh mushrooms
3. Put the dry rice and onions into a large skillet or sauce pot, and put over low-medium heat.
4. Add one ladle of broth to the dry rice, cook until most of it is absorbed into rice, stirring frequently. Repeat twice.
5. Add the mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes.
6. Add another ladle of broth, and repeat until rice is cooked.

Anyway, despite not eating well, I've been having a great week. This weekend was particularly great: I finished my first semester of my PhD, saw Tron Legacy completely stoned, went to Northampton where I saw Abby and Charlie, bought Adrian a watch, saw Harry Potter 7, got a blender for x-mas, and got a hair cut. It was a great weekend, and then today I discovered peppermint chocolate soy milk and it blew my mind.

I also made delicious smoothies and pesto in my new blender.

1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup frozen mangos
2 bananas
1 tbsp vegan vanilla ice cream
1 1/2 tsp powdered spirulina
1 cup water or vegan milk

Put it all in the awesome blender that Adrian got me, and liquify. Warning: It will be green.

3 cups basil
5 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup sun flower seeds or walnuts
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt

Put the basil, garlic, sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast, salt in the food processing attachment on the awesome new blender I got, and process first on a low setting and then move up. After the other ingredients are well processed, add the olive oil and process again for a short time. Freeze the pesto you don't end up using (which should be almost all of it).

Happy Holidays!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

You can take the girl out of Texas... and you can take Texas out of the girl, too, actually...

Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like if I had never left Texas. I miss it, sure, but I don't really like to think about that.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

comprehensive exams

they are the bane of my existence right now.

plus, I have a not fun cold.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

every little thing's gonna be all right

This last week was insane. I wrote a 10 page paper for Tuesday, wrote a 4 hour essay exam Thursday, had my final presentation on Friday for my seminar, and now I have 1 more 23 page article to read for my systems class before I start studying for my neuroanatomy exam next SATURDAY. Suffice it to say that I was stressed. I went to therapy Tuesday a complete mess. My therapist told me that it was painful to watch me talk. He really wants to put me on drugs, but I don't want to take them, so I went to the gym this morning like he has been trying to get me to do for months. I feel great. Exhausted, but great. Less anxious about everything I have to do. I might go again tomorrow. I'm very happy right now.

In other news, grad school is a weird place because the people you work with are kind of your friends/school-mates and very definitely your colleagues, so maintaining a professional relationship with them is very difficult especially when you're dating one of them and the others want to gossip about it and ask questions. I don't want to share this with all of my colleagues. It's not their place.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

This is why I've gained 5 pounds

A scale at Ikea (I furnished my room/apt finally!!) in one of the bathroom models says I've gained 5 lbs. I imagine it's because I've mostly been eating pie, peanut butter and chocolate chips...

oatmeal, peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies from

1/3 cup smooth nut butter (I used peanut)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup soymilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup rolled oat
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 425°F Oil a large baking sheet; set aside.
2. Whisk together first five ingredients until very smooth. Mix together dry ingredients, then add them to the wet.
3. Drop batter by large spoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until tops just begin to crack. Remove sheet from oven, and wait 10 minutes before transferring cookies to a plate or wire rack.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

thanksgiving, conference, papers and more

A lot has happened since my last blog post. I saw a ton of science in San Diego, wrote a couple of papers, sorta kinda of started a relationship with a good friend (hence the last blog post), missed a therapy appointment which cost me $150, and decided to make thanksgiving dinner for the left behind misfits like myself.

I'm using Thanksgiving break as a way to catch up on my life. I have a paper that is long over due to write, I need to buy a bureau, a desk, a nice sized table, cushions and a few odds and ends, I need to do laundry, I need to clean my apartment, I need to wash my dog, I need to unpack boxes, and I need to sleep.

Here's some of the stuff I've been eating and some of the stuff I'll be making for tomorrow.

2 cups chopped onions
2 cloves minced garlic
3/4 cup H2O
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 cup of salsa
1 red/orange bell pepper
1 pablano peper
1 jalapeno
2 cups black beans
1-2 cups diced stewed tomatos
2 cups corn
salt, pepper and cilantro to taste

1. Cook the onions and garlic int he water on high for 5 minutes.
2. Add cumin and coriander, gook 1 minute
3. Stir in salsa and chopped peppers, lower heat and simmer covered for 5 min.
4. Add the black beans and tomatoes, simmer 10 minutes
5. Add the corn, simmer 10 minutes.
6. Add salt, pepper to taste
7. Serve with cilantro optional.

Creamy Butternut Squash Penne from Chef Chloe

1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups roasted butternut squash or 1 14-ounce can organic pumpkin
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons agave or maple syrup (optional for sweeter flavor)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Crispy Sage
2 tablespoons canola oil
8 fresh sage leaves, whole
sea salt

1 pound penne pasta, cooked according to package directions
1/2 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

Butternut Cream Sauce
Sauté the onions with oil, salt, and pepper until they are soft and translucent. Add garlic and let cook 2 more minutes. Remove from heat. For the cream sauce, puree the onion mixture, butternut squash, tomato paste, non-dairy milk, nutmeg, agave, and 1–1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a blender until smooth. Add black pepper and more salt to taste.

Crispy Sage
Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a small skillet until a small piece of sage sizzles when added to the oil. Fry the remaining sage leaves 4 at a time, flipping once, until crispy (about 1 minute total). Watch the sage leaves carefully to make sure that they do not burn. Let them drain on a paper towel and season lightly with salt.

Toss hot pasta with Cream Sauce, toasted pecans, and fresh sage. If you like your pasta a little creamier, add more non-dairy milk. Garnish with crispy sage and dig in!

Harvest Stuffed Mushrooms from Chef Chloe

1 large yellow onion, small dice
1 cup cashews
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cooked brown rice (or grain of choice)
1 can lentils, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves plus extra for garnish
6 portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed
1 tomato, sliced in thin rounds
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In large skillet, sauté the onions and cashews with 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and sauté until onions are soft and lightly browned. Add garlic and let cook a few more minutes.
3. In a large bowl combine onion mixture, brown rice, lentils, breadcrumbs, vegetable broth, basil and thyme. Mix together and season to taste with salt and pepper. (The stuffing can be made up to three days in advance and stored covered in the refrigerator.)
4. Brush both sides of mushroom caps lightly with olive oil and place top-side down on an oiled sheet pan. Stuff mushrooms with about 1/2 cup lentil cashew stuffing, then press one tomato slice on top of the stuffing. (The mushrooms can be stuffed and assembled on a baking tray the day before you plan to bake and serve them.)
5. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until the stuffing is browned and the mushroom begins releasing juices. Garnish with extra fresh thyme leaves.

Roasted Cruciferous Vegetables from Chef Chloe

brussel sprouts, colorful cauliflower and broccoli
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon (or 10 grinds of) black pepper
2 tablespoons maple syrup
½ cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)

1.Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2.To prepare the brussel sprouts, remove any yellow or brown outer leaves, cut off the stems, and cut in half.
3.In a large bowl, toss the brussel sprouts, olive oil, salt, and pepper together. Once all of the brussel sprouts are coated in oil, spread them into a 9x13 (or larger) baking dish or sheet tray to roast. Note: You may want to line your sheet tray with foil for easy cleanup because the caramelizing process leaves a sticky residue.
4. After 15 minutes, stir the brussel sprouts around with a spatula or large spoon to even out the browning. After 30 minutes, stir in the maple syrup.
5. Continue to roast the brussel sprouts for about 15 more minutes, or until they are fork tender (about 45 minutes total roasting time).
6. Toss the roasted brussel sprouts with the hazelnuts and devour!

Pumpkin Pie from
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Have ready, one 9" unbaked pastry crust

Blend in blender:
2 c. solid-pack canned pumpkin (if you use home-cooked pumpkin, drain it for
several hours hanging in a cloth bag, so it's thick like canned pumpkin)
1 c. non-dairy milk (preferably a rich soymilk)
3/4 c. brown sugar or Sucanat
1/4 c. cornstarch
1 T. molasses or blackstrap molasses
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. EACH ground ginger, nutmeg and salt
1/4 tsp. ground allspice or cloves

Pour the filling into the pastry and bake 60 minutes, covering the edges with foil if they begin to brown too quickly. Cool on a rack, then refrigerate overnight before serving.

Pecan Pie from tablespoon
preheat oven to 350

1 pie crust
2/3 cup barley malt syrup
2/3 cup maple syrup
5 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons ginger
1/2 teaspoon cardamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups pecans
1 tablespoon golden flax meal

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Poke the pie crust all over with the tines of a fork. Pour pecans into the crust and pre-bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven to a rack.
In a medium saucepan combine the barley malt syrup, maple syrup, non-dairy milk, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and salt. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes and remove. Whisk in the golden flax meal. Pour the mixture over the pecans.
Place the pie on a cookie sheet and bake at 350F for 30 more minutes. Remove from the oven, place on a rack and allow to cool before cutting with a sharp knife.

Monday, November 15, 2010


I am having a fabulous time in San Diego!!!!! It's sunny and warm and beautiful. I do NOT want to go back to the east coast where it's freezing and awful. The science is overwhelming. There are soooo many posters.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I'm stress eating Coconut Bliss Mint Galactica, straight chocolate chips, and chips and salsa. I have to write a 10 page paper, finish my grant proposal, and GO TO SAN DIEGO at 6:30 am for the Society for Neuroscience meeting. AHHHHHHHHHH.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I'm leaving for a conference in San Diego on Friday and it's cold, so I needed to make something that used all the vegetables in the world. I think I might bring my kale with me because I might not have anything else to eat for 5 days.

Tonight I made the french peasant dish mmm. From "Vegetarian" by Linda Fraser

1 eggplant, roughly chopped
2 zucchini, roughly chopped
1 yellow pepper, roughly chopped
1 red pepper, roughly chopped
1 sliced onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
1 sprig of rosemary
1/2 tsp coriander
2 skinned plum tomatoes
4 basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste

1. Sweat the eggplant and zucchini for 30 minutes (put a lot of salt on them in a colander covered with a plate).
2. Saute the onions in the oil for 6-7 min and add garlic.
3. Rinse the salt off of the eggplant and zucchini and pat them dry, add them to the pot and increase heat for a while.
4. Add coriander and rosemary, cover, simmer for 40 minutes.
5. Add the tomatoes and salt. Cook for 10 more minutes, add the basil and turn off heat.
6. After a few minutes of cooling, enjoy!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

homework and pumpkin bread

Tonight, I'm reading "Molecular Anatomy of the Development of the Human Substantia Nigra", "The pars reticulata of the substantia nigra: a window to the basal ganglia output" and "Differential short-term plasiticity at convergent inhibitory syapses to the substantia nigra pars reticulata". I'm also making pumpkin bread, which came out surprisingly well despite the fact that I only put in about half as much oil and twice as much pumpkin as is required by the original recipe.

Pumpkin Bread (adapted from the PPK)

1/2 cup chopped pecans
1.75 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 can pumpkin pie filling
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup soy milk

1. Preheat oven to 365 degrees F. Grease and flour a 8″ x 4″ loaf pan.
2. Toast the pecans in an ungreased skillet. Set aside to cool.
3. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, white sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add the pumpkin puree, oil, and soy milk, and mix until all of the flour is absorbed. Fold in toasted walnuts. pour batter into pan.
4. Bake for ~1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven, and cover loaf tightly with foil. Allow to steam for 10 minutes. Remove foil, and turn out onto a cooling rack. Tent loosely with the foil, and allow to cool completely.

I should probably mention that I'm on a "I want to quit graduate school" kick right now. I'm half in love with the idea of working for a food policy NGO and being a freegan. I wish I had more time for cooking and gardening. I'm really really stressed here.

Monday, November 8, 2010

baby's first winter

My dog Heart is from Florida, and this morning she saw snow for what I presume was the first time. She FLIPPED out. She started jumping around like crazy and doing mini dashes to-and-fro. It was super funny and adorable. I wish I could have taken video. Maybe next time.

Breakfast this morning:

Pear spice oatmeal!

1/2 cup oats
3/4 cup water
1 pear, cut into smallish pieces
maple syrup to taste

put the oats and water together in a small sauce pan, cover, and put on medium-low heat. When it's almost absorbed all the water, add the pears while it finishes cooking. When it's done, add maple syrup and cinnamon to taste. enjoy

Sunday, November 7, 2010


I'm in a weird state. My overall level of anxiety is exceedingly high, but my happiness is not so low. I'm still not sleeping much. I'm barely able to focus on my school work. I feel pretty terribly alone. I feel panic about getting all my work done (which is a lot. And I mean, A LOT). My skin is breaking out. I'm convinced that I have a million different diseases (multiple sclerosis or lupus, definitely ADD, possibly cancer of some type), and I'm only sort of kidding. But I don't think I'm sad. Not being sad is a good thing: at least I have one less thing to panic about.

Tonight, I had a special make up session for my seminar in cell fate (self-hate. hahaha) and Brown University generously provided us all with Thai food from our class budget of $700. I had vegan pad thai (it was actually written "VEGAN Pad Thai" on the menu under a special section!!) and mango sticky rice.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

uh oh.

I just found out (link starting around minute 40, other link) that non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) kill the microvilli in the small intestine, thereby reducing my body's ability to discriminate incoming nutrients (the bad ones that get thought that shouldn't prompt an immune response), putting me at greater risk for autoimmune disorders, which my family is prone to... I'm going to have to be more diligent about my stretching for my sciatica and stop taking my anaprox.

cheese is gross.

Cheese is so bad for you. Don't be fooled by advertisers/governments who tell you to eat it! Dr. Fuhrman knows where it's at.

Every now and then I wonder if I'd still like cheese if I ate it. I'm not sure I would. I've gotten to the point where vegan stuff tastes normal to me, and I can't really imagine eating something as fatty and carcinogenic as dairy (this link too). When I hear the name of a cheese I used to love, I definitely remember it as being delicious, but I very seriously question whether I could consume it again.

Dinner tonight: PIZZA!!!

1 purchased Pizza dough- whole wheat from whole foods
1/2 cup tomato pulp or stewed diced tomatoes
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
3 cloves of garlic diced
1/2 a small onion diced
2 cups chopped mushrooms (I used baby bellas)
1 bunch of spinach
salt, pepper, dried chili flakes
some flour for dusting work space

Preheat oven to 400. Roll out dough to your preferred thickness and put it in the oven to do a little precooking (crust takes longer to cook than veggies do). Saute the garlic and mushrooms together and then add the spinach to wilt it a little. Take dough out of oven. Spread tomato pulp across the crust, sprinkle with salt, pepper and chili pepper flakes. Cover with nutritional yeast, then add veggies evenly across surface. Bake for 20 minutes?

This morning I made oatmeal blueberry pancakes for me and Adrian.
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup oatmeal
1 tbsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup soy milk
2.5 tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix together the dry then add the wet. Pour onto preheated skillet. Serve with Earth Balance and maple syrup.

Friday, November 5, 2010

best thing ever

Cinnamon sugar popcorn is the best thing to happen to me since coffee this morning.

step 1- pop some popcorn on the stove
step 2- melt some earth balance (I used 1 tbsp because of the amount of popcorn I was making)
step 3- put brown sugar in melted earth balance
step 4- pour sugar/margarine over popped corn
step 5- smother with cinnamon
step 6- mix
step 8- EAT

Monday, November 1, 2010

detox fail

I have an exam tomorrow for my neuroanatomy class, and I pretty much just finished off a box of kashi autumn wheat. so much for only eating more greens. I did well for my other meals though. Lunch was a kale, watercress and avocado salad with a bit of humus and pita on the side

Sunday, October 31, 2010


My body feels really gross here lately, and I've realized that I've been eating a lot of bread products and fewer green leafies. So for the next few days I'm committing myself to eating like a good vegan. That means beans and greens. Tonight I'm having refried beans and red chard. Nothing fancy, but healthy and yummy on this cold night. It's kind of silly to post the recipe, but in case anyone wants to know what I do to my beans, here goes.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic
1 can of refried beans
1/4 cup water
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a skillet and saute the onions and garlic. In a bowl, blend water and beans. Once onions are translucent, add the beans and more water if they are too thick. Stir in onions until fully incorporated. turn heat way down and allow them to heat on low.

I left the beans to cook on low while I sauteed the chard in a separate skillet. I like to eat them together.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

it'll never happen

I can't wait until my life settles down, I get on top of my shit, and I actually get to volunteer or clean my apartment on weekends.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

stealth vegan restaurant?

I wonder if I could get away with starting a vegan restaurant and not advertising it as vegan and be really successful.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sweet potato and black bean quesadillas

Tonight for dinner, I'm making these.

1 baked sweet potato, peeled (Eat the peel as a snack while you cook!! It's good for you!!) and cubed
15-16 oz of cooked black beans (1 can)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1 tbsp water
6 large tortillas (I used half the recipe)

Heat oil in skillet. Saute onions, 3 min. Add coriander and garlic, 1 min. Add cumin and water, 2 min. Add sweet potato 1 min. Add the black beans, cook until warm. Mash a bit to your liking.

Place a bit of the mixture on half of a tortilla and fold the other half over. Cook in a skillet with heated earth balance. I highly recommend serving with salsa and avocado. These are seriously delicious!!!


One of the thousand page papers I have to read for my lab/grant. AHHH grant is due in less than a month.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

how it goes

I've been very unproductive because of the stress of the end of last week. I feel foolish for reacting poorly to everything, but I can't help it if every little thing seems like the absolute worst thing that could possibly happen. I can't help it if I'm always on the verge of tears even over things like having to get lunch or my bangs not drying right. It all seems insurmountable, even if I do always seem to surmount it. It's the same as always though, which I'm now pretty used to, so at least I know that I can let this run its course and I'll be able to deal in a little while. I'm doing what I have to to refresh my coping skills and that's really all I can ask of myself. I went to yoga yesterday, which was important. I had a hard time recognizing and stopping my internal chatter, but I did my best and I felt more relaxed afterward. I had stir fry last night, and tonight I went for comfort food and had vegan mac and cheese which I got from my friend Abby's blog. It was delicious and just what I wanted.

Stir fry (adapted from Veganomicon)

1-2 tbsp peanut oil (olive oil works too)
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 a bunch of collard greens or 1 whole bok choy (I prefer collards), sliced in ribbons 1-2 inches thick
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, sliced and then slices cut in half
1 portabella mushroom or some baby bellas, sliced
1 stalk of broccoli, chopped
a splash of apple cider vinegar
a splash of tamari
buckwheat soba noodles

Start by beginning to cook the soba noodles.
In a skillet heat the oil and garlic. After a minute or so add the broccoli. Cook for 2 minutes or so (I like my veggies really raw). Add bell pepper and mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are almost soft (2 min?). Add greens, cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the tamari and vinegar, stir 1 minute. Add cooked soba noodles, stir 1 minute. enjoy.

Mac and Cheese from Good to Think and Eat with a few changes
2 tablespoons earth balance
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tiny pinch turmuric
cayenne pepper
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2-3 cup cooked macaroni
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Melt butter or margarine in a small oven-proof skillet.
3. Whisk in flour and let it darken to a golden brown.
4. Add 1 cup water, soy sauce, garlic, turmeric, and cayenne pepper to taste. Continue whisking.
5. Add nutritional yeast and more water if necessary. You want the mixture to be a thick but saucy consistency.
6. Add macaroni. Toss to coat with the sauce.
7. Sprinkle bread crumbs and cayenne pepper on top. Bake for 10 minutes.
8. Broil for a few minutes so the top gets crunchy and delicious.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

good feelings gone

Well, I've done a big 360 today. I felt great this morning, and now I feel like shit. I haven't been able to write my assignment for advanced systems which is due tomorrow, I didn't clean my house, and I haven't heard from someone I've been hoping to talk to.

I made the pasta I had in Philadelphia for dinner. I don't have precise directions for a recipe but I'll try.

100 grams of fettuccine per person
baby bella mushrooms, sliced
baby arugula
sunflower seeds

Begin boiling well salted water. Toast the sunflower seeds in a heated skillet without oil or anything, set aside. Put the pasta in the boiling water. Saute the mushrooms (about 10 minutes), add the arugula and saute for a few minutes until wilted. Add the toasted sunflower seeds and then cooked pasta, stir. After 1 minute, eat it!

joys and concerns

This week went much better than last week. I've reminded myself that I'm capable of breathing and I was sooo busy that I didn't have time to fret. It was pretty crazy. Needless to say, I got it all done cause as all Smithies know 'done is better than good'. So Friday evening Meg came to visit from Northampton, which I am sooo happy about. We had Thai for dinner, went to the GCB then went to Steve's house. Saturday morning was a hard morning, but to help us get through it I made pancakes and vegan scramble. We went shopping and Meg found more j-brands for me at TJ Maxx, which was awesome. For dinner, we made soft tacos with homemade tortillas.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cardamom or cinnamon
1 cup soy milk
2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix together the dry then add the wet. Pour onto preheated skillet. Serve with Earth Balance and maple syrup.

Vegan Scramble
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion (1/2 of a white onion or 1 smallish yellow onion)
1/2 package of tofu (drained, pressed and chopped into small cubes)
1/2 tsp tumeric
chopped veggies- bell peppers, mushrooms, eggplant(must be sweated first)
salt and pepper to taste
red chili flakes (optional)

Heat oil over medium heat and saute onions. Add tofu, tumeric and eggplant, if using. Cook for ~20 min. Add chopped peppers, mushrooms, salt, pepper and chili flakes, if using. Cook until mushrooms and peppers are fully cooked ~10 min).

Soft Tacos (enough food for 3 people)

Tortillas (makes 12)
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
5 tbsp vegetable shortening
3/4 cup warm water with 3/4 tsp salt

With your hands, incorporate the vegetable shortening into the flour until it looks a bit like corn meal. Add 1/2 cup of warm water and mix. Add more water as needed until dough contains most of the flour. The dough should not be sticky wet. kneed the mixture. Split into 12 portions making 12 balls. Cover and let sit for ~30 min. Roll out each ball with a rolling pin, stack them, putting a little bit of flour on each one so they don't stick together. Heat ungreased skillet. Cook each tortilla on both sides (they should bubble a little)

1 tbsp olive oil
2 cans of black beans, drained
1 tbsp spicy taco seasoning mix (from whole foods)
1/2 tsp salt

Heat olive oil in a skillet, add black beans. Mash the black beans to a consistency that you like. I like them a bit more mashy because they don't fall out of your taco/burrito, while Meg enjoys more whole beans for textural reasons. Add the seasoning mix and maybe a little water depending on how dense it is.

Putting the Tacos Together
2 tomatoes chopped
2 avocados sliced
1 diced onion
arugula or other lettuce like green

On an open tortilla put beans down the middle, add tomatoes, avocados, onion, arugula and salsa as desired. Add salt if needed. Fold end of tortilla up over beans, then fold sides to each other. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

sound of the night

perfect music


Tomorrow, I have a 2-3 page (single spaced, 1 inch margins all around, so really 5-7 page) paper and a presentation due. I also have 3 papers to read for my seminar at 3 pm, a friend coming into town, no food in my fridge, no clean clothes, a paper due Monday, a paper due Tuesday, a final exam on Tuesday, and a midterm on Nov 2nd. To top it off, I have a 10 page final due shortly, while I'm in San Diego, and a 6 page grant to finish right before Thanksgiving. How am I dealing with it? Writing this and making molasses cookies (adapted from hellyeahitsvegan!).

2/3 c vegetable oil
¼ c blackstrap molasses
2 tbsp ground flax seeds whisked into 3 tbsp warm water
1 c brown sugar
1 tbsp granulated sugar
2 c flour
½ tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350. Combine oil, molasses, flax seeds mixed with water, and sugar. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger and salt then add the wet ingredients. If the oven isn't yet at 350, put your dough in the freezer until it's done preheating. When the oven is ready, make 1.5 inch balls and flatten them on your ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 6 minutes. They won't seem done, but I promise they are.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Well over due

I set up this blog some time ago to chronicle my vegan experiment, and I never actually got around to using it. Now I've started my Ph.D. in neuroscience at Brown University, and I've decided it's high time I try to put it to use.

I went vegan sometime late last spring (I think April/May) after being raised vegetarian from birth. As a vegetarian, I took plenty of liberties in trying different foods when I got older. I've tried rabbit, wild boar, beef, pork, prosciutto, pheasant, bacon, chicken, and all sorts of sea food. Most of my meat experimentation occurred while I lived abroad in Italy. I had many long periods in my life where I could have been considered a pescatarian, and a few weeks at a time during and after Italy where I would happily consume prosciutto 2 or 3 times a week. Each time I verged on omnivorism, I got disgusted and reverted back.

When I got back from Italy in January, I started to consider going vegan. I was reading a lot of info from Dr. Neal Barnard and looking at various vegan blogs. I wrote it off at first because I've pretty much always thought veganism was dumb. I think mostly because I thought it was difficult enough to eat vegetarian, why would you make your life even more difficult? I was also a huge foodie, and it didn't help that I L-O-V-E-D cheese. I don't mean I just liked cheese, I mean I would consider myself something of a cheese connoisseur. I loved gorgonzola, roquefort, fontina, you name it, I loved it, and I used it in all sorts of recipes. I was definitely addicted to cheese.

The more I read, though, the more I couldn't ignore the fact that a vegan diet was the best thing I could possibly do for my body. So, I did it. I had a rocky first few weeks. I jumped in headfirst making vegan croissants, vegan cinnamon rolls, sushi, vegan pizza, but it was hard. I gave in a few times to simplicity and ordered food with animal products in it when at restaurants. I was lucky that I started dating another vegan, who definitely inspired and motivated me to stick to it. Now six months in, sans said boyfriend, I can't imagine ever doing that on purpose again.

From the beginning, I've felt great. I am no longer sluggish during the day. I have no fatigue; I actually have increased energy. I no longer get stomach aches from all the dairy I would consume. And as a bonus, I've dropped a couple pounds.

A lot of people ask the same question: Where do you get your protein? The answer is easy: daily consumption of beans, nuts, seeds, a variety of grains, and VEGETABLES. Vegetables have a surprising amount of protein! Calorie for calorie, broccoli, spinach and several other vegetables have more protein than steak! I hope in the blog to keep a ledger of what I eat so that people can see that it's not so hard to eat delicious food that is healthy and animal product free!

Being my own vegan chef is a full time job in itself, and now I've added graduate school and a dog on top of it! This is my life. Uuugghhhhh.