Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A note to Mom.

When I was accepted for a summer internship in LA, my mom 

was kind enough and crazy enough to agree to drive across the country with me. 

We laughed; we cried (really). 

We left in one car 

and arrived in another.  (As seen in the reflection.)

We made friends with a firefighter (and secretly snapped a photo).  

We spent five hours in Mason City, Iowa. 

We played 20 questions quite unsuccessfully by mixing up East and West relative to the Mississippi. (Good thing we were relying on the GPS for the actual trip.) 

We drove around Omaha. 

We searched for Ogalalla.

We took pictures of our feet.

We celebrated in a complementary upgraded suite in Vegas after a 15 hour day of driving. 

We gambled, rather, she gambled.  

We ate vegan donuts.  

We made friends at WB.  

We had a much needed drink in LA.  

Despite tow trucks, rampant rain, and little sleep we had a good time.  And it wouldn't have been such a good time with anyone but you, Mom.  Thank you.

A short food rant.

I abandoned ship... 6 months ago.  But last night I had a post-worthy experience.  So I'm back on board.

Food Inc.  Such a powerful movie.  It's amazing to me how many people are content with being ignorant about where their food comes from.  Like most vegans, I'm often asked WHY?  "WHY would you give up meat and dairy?"  As soon as I begin to talk about where these products come from and the treatment of animals, I often hear "NO!  Don't tell me!  I don't want to know."  Everyone seems to have a sense of the cruelty of slaughter, but the neatly cut and cleaned, plastic wrapped animal meat at the grocery store hides these realities.

As soon as we left the theatre, B said, "But they didn't say what you SHOULD eat."  And I think that was the point.  The movie won't tell you to be an omnivore, a vegetarian, or a vegan.  It simply tells you to know where your food comes from.  Be accountable.  Don't be complacent.  We make important choices about our health, the well being of animals, and the well being of the planet three times a day.  Eat veggies.  Eat animals.  Eat whatever you want.  But eat wisely rather than ignorantly.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Oh happy day.

Today I "om"-ed for Obama. After watching the live stream of the inauguration address in a coffee shop on campus, I went to yoga. During most classes, there's a point when everyone closes their eyes and thinks of a selfless dedication. Today our dedication was guided by the instructor:

"Whether you're a democrat or a republican, today let's send some love to Obama. Let's set an intention of change and hope."

And with that the room vibrated with three oms that sounded like one big smile.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

It's been a while.

I'm blogging from a local coffee shop where I just overheard the owner comment: "Above zero temperatures sure do great things for business."

In the past week temperatures here in MN have dipped far below zero, and today the "feels like 11 degrees" reported by feels downright tropical. Instead of stepping outside and feeling the insides of my nostrils instantly freeze upon inhalation, the air today felt comfortable, livable, even enjoyable. Ah, the frozen tundra.

The cold is no excuse for my lack of blogging, especially since it has spanned much longer than a week. Thanksgiving to Chanukah/Christmas is a blur in my mind. During winter break I was lucky enough to escape the cold and vacation in Las Vegas and Palm Springs with my family. One of the highlights of the trip was a cheap, but uncommon thrill: vegan donuts.

On our way to the Hoover Dam, we made our way to the outskirts of Las Vegas to Ron's Donuts. The small white building was unimpressive from the outside, but the rows of freshly baked vegan donuts more than made up for the appearance.

The raised glazed, raised chocolate, long john, and bear claw are all vegan. (About 2/3 of their donuts were vegan.) My favorite, though, was the donut holes. Those were gone long before we made it to the dam.

After a long car ride and a $100 game of 20 questions (thanks again Z for sharing your winnings; no thanks to W for almost losing our shares), we finally made it to the magnificent Hoover Dam.

(Mom and Sha: I hope this made you happy!)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Long time, no blog.

I finally found a camera cord! Not the one that came with my camera, but it works nonetheless.

It's midterms. Again. One down, and one to go. My food hasn't been all that interesting lately. Salads and fruit packed for lunch at school most days. Lots of mac n' cheese n' broccoli has hit the spot many nights now that the weather has turned cold. If I can tear myself away from my toxicology book tonight, I'll make a big pot of soup to eat over the next week or so.

Since I don't have any pictures of my food, I'll just share a funny one. My youngest brother turned 4 a couple weeks ago. Our sister is 2. When asked what kind of cake he wanted for his party, he said, "Chocolate." She said, "And I'll have a Dora cake." Despite many explanations that it was his birthday and his cake, she continued, "Yes. And I'll have a Dora cake."

The argument was futile. If you knew her, you'd understand.

My dad said if I whine enough, I can have my own cake next time, too.

French Meadow = Yum.

I had dinner at French Meadow with my aunt last weekend.  A year ago when I my dad and I ate there, I had a phenomenal risotto from the daily specials menu, and it was so good that I've been dreaming about it ever since.  To my delight, risotto was on the menu again, so I was able to make a decision much quicker than usual.

The risotto was different from the last time I had it, but it was just as rich and flavorful.  Black barley, oven-roasted tomatoes, squash, cauliflower, marinated tempeh, and spinach.  The dark restaurant and my eagerness to dig in made it difficult to get a good picture.

I also indulged in a piece of turtle cake, but that was long gone before I even thought about my camera.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

October Daring Bakers Challenge

This month I joined the Daring Bakers, a group of bloggers that take on a baking challenge every month.  This month's challenge was homemade and hand-tossed pizza dough.  Coincidentally, I'd been wanting to try making my own pizza dough for weeks.  This was the kick-in-the-butt I needed to actually do it.

The recipe made enough dough for 6 medium-sized pizzas.  I prefer to use whole wheat flour as often as possible when baking.  For this challenge, I decided to use white whole wheat flour. It's 100% whole wheat, but has a lighter taste and texture that traditional whole wheat flour.  It gave the crust a slightly nutty taste, which I didn't mind.

I tested the first three with my brother, Z, and his friend.  Tough crowd.  I bought the necessary non-vegan toppings for them: cheese and pepperoni.  The funny part was that when I went to the grocery store, I couldn't remember where these items were kept.  I also picked up Davanni's pizza sauce and spinach for myself for a simple pizza.  Unfortunately, between my nervousness and my appetite, I forgot to take pictures.  However, the verdict was good: we all enjoyed the pizzas.

Having completed the challenge so early, I tossed the 3 extra dough balls in the freezer and forgot about them until last night.  So I tossed one in the fridge to defrost last night, and I set out to make myself dinner tonight.  I borrowed my mom's pizza stone and heated the oven to 500F.  Then the trouble began.

I split the dough in half to make two small pizzas.  I then tossed the dough and topped the first pizza with some of the leftover white bean and walnut bruschetta topping.  At this point I realized that I had no means of transferring the pizza to the stone in the oven.  So, using my hands and a spatula I clumsily dropped the pizza onto the stone.  It turned out great.  

Then the fire alarms started.  First in the kitchen.  Then in the hallway.  Then in my roommate's room.  I frantically ran to each one, flailing a towel in front of it to fan away the smoke.  As soon as I had one off, another would start again.  I opened my roommate's window, which I'm sure she'll really appreciate when she gets home.

So I took to my second option: the toaster oven.  This worked surprisingly well.  I turned out a perfect, albeit oddly shaped, pizza with tomato sauce, spinach, and basil.  Next time I won't push my old oven to 500F.

Vegan MoFo: Chocolate chip scones

I've been craving scones ever since attending a high tea event last weekend. I watched all of the non-vegan scones go by, wishing I had made some of my own. Well, today, with the help of my mom's kitchen, I finally got around to it.

These won't last long.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Vegan MoFo: Pièce de résistance

After trying my first piece of vegan cheesecake last week, I was in love. Before becoming vegan, I loved cheesecake. I was wary of trying vegan cheesecake because I didn't want to be disappointed. Now I'm hooked.

I made this double layer pumpkin cheesecake from FatFree Vegan for our dessert last night. This, of course, is not a fat-free recipe. Regardless, this is the perfect for Thanksgiving or any other day of the year.

The picture doesn't do it justice. And according to my grandparents, it could even fool non-vegans.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Vegan MoFo: Dinner for three

Tonight I made dinner for my Grams and Papa John. Other than a poker night and some meals for B, this was my first time entertaining at my apartment. I was inspired by (or copied) a meal that B made for me this summer. White bean and walnut bruschetta and lemon garlic pasta from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan. I also added a salad with living caesar dressing from the same cookbook.

We started with the bruschetta. I have some leftover topping, which will be tasty in a toasted sandwich tomorrow.

I LOVE this salad dressing. It's amazing how a blend of raw nuts can mimic the cheesy taste of caesar dressing. Check out the recipe here.

After an appetizer and salad, this light, simple pasta with lemon, garlic, basil, and pine nuts hit the spot. Yum.

I think we all would agree that dessert was the best part of the meal. So I'll save that for tomorrow...