Friday, December 31, 2010


I try not to stress myself out with resolutions. I feel that putting a lot of pressure on myself either goes really well or really badly. This year, I'm setting some goals for myself, with mini goals to help me attain them.

1. Get back to this weight.
 (at the beach in march 2007)

This is something I've been working on since October, and I know I can do this. I got down to that weight from far heavier than where I'm at now! Mini goals: eat healthy, unprocessed foods and cut back on drinking. Which leads me to this:

2. Cut back on drinking.
I just found this old photo and it cracks me up because one, the bottle was empty when I did that and two, I was the one who emptied the bottle. My problem with drinking is I tend to overdo it - not in the hopes of getting drunk, rather I'm just having a good time. And then I pay for it with headaches, bloating, upset tummy. I'm going to cut down to just a couple of beers (or drinks) a week. I did this a couple of months ago and could feel a difference in my mood and how I was feeling overall. But, I should say, I really, REALLY love beer. Good beer. Local beer. I love the experience of sitting in the brewpub with a good beer.

3. Exercise.

I really don't want to become one of those that starts out at the gym all pumped up and slowly tapers off. I've done it before. I want to break that cycle. I want to exercise because it makes me feel good, not because I have to. I have a plan for this: my classes are every Tuesday and Thursday and I have a 2 hour break in between two of them. No reason for me not to go!!

4. Connect.

I miss all of my friends and spent a lot of this year reconnecting with them and meeting new ones. I'm going to scale up my efforts to keep in touch. Meet ups, mini road trips to Seattle, written letters.

5. Read.

With school, this could be a little harder. I would like to read at least one new to me book a month, more if possible. Over the summer I went through the Harry Potter series, the Hunger Games series and more and I loved it. I realized how much I missed reading for pleasure.

6. Germany, Austria and Italy.

I WILL go in June. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Last night, rice saved my life.

I swear the song goes something like that.

The other night, the redhead and I went to dinner. He had a stir-fried rice & veggie bowl with the fluffiest rice I have ever tasted. My own rice is usually ok, but I wanted that rice for my own. So last night I set out to recreate it.

I read up on several different methods but ultimately chose this one, which I will recreate for you!

First, put your rice into a bowl. Run some water over it, swirling the rice around with your fingers until the water gets cloudy. Carefully pour the water out and repeat the process about 4 times or until the water stays clear.

Next, fill the bowl with water again, but don't drain. Let the rice soak about 30 minutes.

Drain the rice after soaking and cook however you normally cook it with the ratio being 1 cup rice to 1.5 cups water. I used a rice cooker that I've had for years and years. Stovetop method for the uninformed is boil water, add rice, simmer for 15 minutes with a tight lid - no peeking!

Devour fluffy rice and praise the rice deities.

I like pepper. What?

p.s. for those on WW Points Plus, the refried beans in Viva Vegan! are 2 pp when you make the recipe with one tablespoon of oil and figure it would serve 8!

Monday, December 27, 2010


I have an amazing opportunity to go to Germany, Austria and Rome on the super cheap in June.

How in the world does this happen to an incredibly broke student? My father. This man quit his day job 6 years ago to build tracks and lead motorcycle expeditions to Mexico. He got a cheap flight to Austria last year to see the Erzburg Rodeo (some giant motorcycle event) and wandered all over the cute little towns in Germany and Austria. The only planning he did ahead of time? I had to force him to buy a train ticket from Frankfurt to Munich so that he could meet up with a friend! He's offering to buy our (standby, blergh) tickets if we get the rental car and food.

Obviously, this is a HUGE deal for me. The trip would knock off about half of our wishlist of places we're dying to see. If we are actually able to get over via standby, the trip would cost us next to nothing. Also, I really, REALLY want to drink beer in Germany.

I'm suffering from a little trepidation that this will actually happen, though.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve!!

Love, Steff, Jeff and the Catz

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cookie Monster

The other day, my mother-in-law asked me if I could bring dessert to Christmas dinner. She asked because she "knew I liked making desserts."

Well, it's not just because I like making them. Sure, I'll make people cookies for no reason, bring baked goods to an event and always have dessert on hand when people come over. But, it's for selfish reasons, really. I have a baked goods tooth. This tooth only got bigger when I went vegan, resulting in unwanted pounds and a new found appreciation for Oreos. I get excited for thick clouds of frosting and soft, fresh from the oven cookies. None of this goes well with my WW plan, of course, but I've been careful.

I only had to think for a minute about the dessert I'm bringing. Ever since a blogger posted a picture of a pumpkin roll, all I can think about is that creamy, delicious filling. Christmas Dessert will be a vegan conglomeration of:

 A holiday tradition - the yule log

A childhood favorite, the Swiss roll
I used to LOVE Swiss rolls. Seriously. For the construction, I'll use the Fauxtess cupcake recipe for both the cake and filling and then cover it in a chocolate ganache and add Christmasy accoutrements. I feel the need to do a test run, right now.

Finally, I share a photo of my Christmas tree.

My late grandmother used to use these trees for all kinds of holidays. I didn't want to drag in a dead one and then deal with it after the holidays, so I improvised. I have a giant box of Christmas ornaments that didn't make the cut and are jealous.

Friday, December 3, 2010

I'm Here! I'm Alive!

Hello gentle readers. I have not abandoned you, although I did abandon the end of MoFo. I think I got into the "fuck it" mentality and took a break.

Also, I got this all this learning stuff going on.
The majority of that stack is for my final paper on Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray" in case you couldn't tell. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Oscar Wilde now, and I wish that I had known about him (at least, more than a name) when we were in Pere Lachaise. I am starstruck. I am so thankful to have landed a professor that did her dissertation on him and just exudes so much excitement to her students. I have one last final paper other than this one and then fall quarter is done!

Something new also happened this week: Weight Watchers unveiled their new PointsPlus plan. I like to think that I accept change readily and with open arms and this is no exception. There are some members that are up in arms about the "free" fruit values, about the higher daily point values and the higher values on their processed foods. I think WW took a huge step in the right direction. The plan encourages members to reach for fruit or vegetables or other healthy unprocessed foods and how is that a bad thing, exactly? Look, here I am enjoying a snack with homework:
And you know what? It was delicious. I love the idea that I can reach for a banana or frozen blueberries (my favorite frozen fruit! It's like candy!) when I'm low or empty of points. When I take stuff like this to work or school, I'm not spending money or points on some Luna or Lara bar (which are delicious, don't get me wrong!) and I'm not starving, either. I think that the members that are upset about the change aren't realizing that yeah, you can eat 5 bananas, but you WILL hurt later. I know it wasn't fruit that put me in the position of having to re-join WW, and I'm sure the majority of members will have to agree with me.

Now I think I will go make some Mexican hot chocolate snickerdoodles (and eat only a couple!) and work on these blasted papers.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksvegan Recap, Photo Heavy!

I missed my first MoFo post yesterday! I was really on a roll, too! It wasn't even because I was busy or lacking ideas, I just forgot.

I'm ok with it, though. I'm proud of myself for only missing one day! Onto Thanksvegan!

The dinner went over really well. I had a total of 17 people (a total of 4 vegans, including myself) in my apartment and plenty of food, spirits and laughs for all. I feel so lucky to have so many people in my life that are so accepting and curious about vegan food.
 I made shamrock shaped sweet potato biscuits, just because.
 Don't Eat Off the Sidewalk's pumpkin cinnamon rolls, pre-icing.

 Apple sausage stuffing, delicious sweet potatoes.
 BCG seitan tofu roast, FFV green bean casserole, roasted brussels and leeks, roasted squash and roasted potato dishes in the back.
 Rosemary olive focaccia, whole wheat rolls and my little shamrocks.
New Farm mac (which went over SUPER well with the non-vegans!), mashed butternut squash, mashed potatoes

My plate of awesome.

Friday, November 26, 2010

In Preparation.

My fridge, emptied of science experiments and half full bottles of liquid in preparation for tomorrow. My awesome Thanksgiving is two days late and I don't care.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Crackberry Pie

I had great plans for this pie.
 (that weird shape was supposed to be a shamrock, the cookie cutter was bent)

It's my aunt's blackberry sour cream pie aka crackberry pie. I haven't had a piece of this baby in years and finally got around to veganizing the beast. It is not in any way or form healthy, just so you know.

Aunt Bridget's Crackberry Sour Cream Pie

1 recipe pie crust, enough for a top and bottom crust (I used the crust in this post)
4 cups blackberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup vegan sour cream
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt

Heat oven to 450F. Place bottom shell of pie crust in pie plate. Top crust with blackberries. Mix remaining ingredients together and spread on top of blackberries. Layer top shell of pie crust on top. Bake for 10 minutes at 450F and then 30 minutes at 350F or until brown.

Look at the blackberry juice!

We were having dinner at my sister's house, so I dropped a couple pieces off at my sister in law's house beforehand. I couldn't resist trying a bite.

It was tart. Very, very tart.

My sister in law asked if I added any sugar. No, my aunt didn't include sugar in the ingredients, I replied in dismay. Maybe we could just chow down on the blackberries and the crust?

The pie solved the problem itself, though, by falling off of the top of another pyrex container and shattering all over the driveway.

Tip of the day: don't forget the sugar in the pie!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Roastin' We Will Go

My food intake today has been weird and I'm kind of embarrassed about it. I mean, chips for lunch? BAD.

Right now I have a half recipe of Bryanna Clark Grogan's tofu+seitan roast in the oven in preparation for tomorrow. I had to do a trial run and what better use than to have my own protein at my sister's house? Tomorrow will be spent making my aunt's blackberry sour cream pie, one of my absolute favorite pies ever. It's taken me too long to veganize it, really.

As soon as that baby is out of the oven, I will have pics and a recipe for you!

For now, I give you another random food pic. This is pizza with roasted squash as the base and a pizza cheeze I found on the internet. It's smoky and one of my favorite toppings!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Taters Be Constant.

It's cold in Portland.

Apparently it's the coldest November day in 13 years. Today, my bus was 20 minutes late after school and my mittens did jack shit to combat the cold from getting to my fingers. I'm missing a toe and a pinky.

I told Jeff no more big cooking until Saturday, and he agreed. And asked for twice baked potatoes. I agreed.

So, so good. And the recipe is all over the internet and easy to customize. I used a wee bit of oil total (maybe 1/2 tsp?) so that I could enjoy some wine and chocolate and not go over my daily points. A favorite recipe of mine (though not used tonight) is the Samosa stuffed baked potatoes in V'Con. Mmmm.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksvegan, Take 2!

Today was pretty uneventful. My husband has the week off and we spent today playing Donkey Kong Returns on the Wii (it came out yesterday!!) and I wrote some papers.

Thursday will be pretty uneventful, we're visiting my sister in law for a short while and then spending Thanksgiving with my mom and sister. Saturday is the day for me. I'm hosting my second Thanksvegan and I'm really excited. I wrote about the first one here: My very first vegan Thanksgiving.

My menu as follows:

Pomegranate Glazed Seitan Roast (ala Bryanna Clark Grogan, I am attempting to shove that deliciousness in the crockpot!)
Fat Free Vegan's Best Green Bean Casserole
Roasted Leeks and Brussel Sprouts (I totally only had the sprouts originally, but saw a post today for the leeks and sprouts and am intrigued)
Sweet Potato Biscuits
Pumpkin Cheezecake Pie (which may be changed to Ginger Roll - a tasty take on the pumpkin roll)
Pumpkin Cinammon Rolls
Blackberry Sour Cream Pie (a family recipe veganized!!!)
Mac N Cheeze Cups

I also hear that stuffing, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, rosemary & kalamata olive bread, cranberry sauce, pumpkin butter and chocolate green tea pudding will be running rampant.

I'm hoping that my lovely friends will bring tupperware for the abundant leftovers!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Kung POW!

Tonight I talked my husband in Chinese takeout.

I called Green Wok, a vegetarian Chinese place that I've written about here and one of SW Portland's redeeming qualities. In fifteen minutes it was chow time.

We got the kung pao chicken and potstickers. It totally hit the spot on this rainy/snowy day.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Broccoli + Potatoes + Cheeze

Growing up, my mom used to make us steamed broccoli or cauliflower, cover it with cheese and sprinkle sunflower seeds on top.

This is still my favorite thing to eat.

Today, I roasted two small potatoes and a head of broccoli and smothered it with the Cheesy sauce from V'Con. I like to add a little extra mustard to the sauce, I am a fan of the tang. Lunch was so good.

While my lunch equaled 12.5 points, more than I'm usually comfortable allotting towards the daytime meal, I've had a weird day and will gladly eat greens for dinner.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Accio Pasty!

I remember when I was in high school, a somewhat international type of restaurant opened in my somewhat hick hometown. They were advertising pasties on their windows. Always the giggly types, my friends and I laughed and laughed. Because a pasty was dirty, dude.

Then I grew up and visited the UK and learned that a pasty is actually a delicious type of pie. And Americans always have their mind in the gutter. Especially those in and around Portland, the strip club capital of the world.

But pasties aren't the only amazing thing to come out of the UK. Take J.K. Rowling. She wrote about this boy, you see, and built something incredible out of his life. It was a series that made reading cool again, the series that was heartbreaking and amazing at the same time. The series has inspired tattoos and costumes worldwide and made us ordinary people believe that we all have a purpose, whether it's defeating a man built of pure evil or simply giving a hand to someone less fortunate.

Of course, I'm talking about Harry Potter.

I first started reading Harry Potter right after the first book came out and my cousin left it at my house, but I didn't pick up any more until 2004, when I made it through the fourth book. This summer I read the entire series and caught up on the movies to be prepared for today, the release of the first part of the final movie. The final book made me tear up. The trailers make me tear up. The actors promoting the movie on the Today show make me tear up. I'm going to be a stupid emotional wreck in the theater today.

But that's ok, I made these.

Kris' pumpkin pasties. The crust is so light and buttery (thank EB!) and the filling is sweet, but not too sweet. My fellow moviegoing friends are gonna love them.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

MoFo Survey

Tomorrow, I will have special treats to mark the release of a special movie. But tonight, we dance! Or, um, answer questions.

What is one food you thought you’d miss when you went vegan, but don’t?
Cheese! This was a huge surprise, I was addicted to the shit. I do miss fried eggs, I'm not afraid to admit it.

What is a food or dish you wouldn’t touch as a child, but enjoy now?
Lentils! The texture used to gross me out, but I think I've gotten past that!

What vegan dish or food you feel like you “should” like, but don’t?
I really don't like Tofurkey slices.

What beverage do you consume the most of on any given day?
You want me to say beer here, right?

What dish are you “famous” for making or bringing to gatherings?
I'm not really sure, I'm varied in what I bring! I had mucho compliments on my kabocha squash and tempeh bacon risotto for Fakin' Fest, though!

Do you have any self-imposed food rules (like no food touching on the plate or no nuts in sweets)?
Unless it's soup, my food can't be liquid-y. This can be a problem when it comes to casseroles.

What’s one food or dish you tend to eat too much of when you have it in your home?
Pasta. I am a carb-o-holic. I can't stop eating it, so I make my husband put the leftovers away.

What ingredient or food do you prefer to make yourself despite it being widely available prepackaged?
Gnocchi! I make a bunch and freeze it for pennies of what it costs in the store.

What ingredient or food is worth spending the extra money to get “the good stuff”?
This may stem from my carb leanings, but bread. There's a brand local to Portland called Dave's Killer Bread that's mostly vegan and so, so worth the $4+ splurge. I don't get it all the time though.

Are you much of a snacker?  What are your favorite snacks?
I have a small problem with Oreos.

What are your favorite vegan pizza toppings?
Extra sauce, mushrooms, tomatoes and artichoke hearts.

What is your favorite vegetable?  Fruit?
My favorite vegetable is squash of all kinds, and my hands down favorite fruit is raspberries.

What is the best salad dressing?
Tahini + lemon juice + soy sauce + salt + pepper.

What is your favorite thing to put on toasted bread?
Smart Balance (the vegan one, obviously!) and nooch.

What kind of soup do you most often turn to on a chilly day or when you aren’t feeling your best?

What is your favorite cupcake flavor? Frosting flavor?
I'm a huge fan of chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting. Simple and sweet.

What is your favorite kind of cookie?
OREOS! Homemade, I love chocolate peanut butter pillows.

What is your most-loved “weeknight meal”?
New Farm Mac & Cheese, get sconed Style. I'm kind of ashamed by how much I make it.

What is one dish or food you enjoy, but can’t get anyone else in your household to eat?
Eggplant! Jeff tries it each and every time I make it but still hates it. He's such a trooper <3

How long, in total,  do you spend in the kitchen on an average day?
Maybe an hour as of late, and that's pushing it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Just a photo, the sequel.

 It was requested that I explain this photo.
It's kind of a love story, I think. I was invited to a birthday party that included pizza. Pizza Hut, to be specific. So a friend that was also going suggested I bring dough and just build my own pizza for myself and another girl who has to avoid dairy.

In some cases, this would be an annoying request, but I was gung ho for the task, and excited to share my most favorite dough recipe. I made an amazing sauce (tomato paste, water, garlic, agave and spices) cut up some mushrooms, broccoli and onions and bought Daiya on the way.

The girl that I was supposed to share with didn't come, so my friend Maria jumped in and built her self a mini-pizza. She proclaimed her excitement over the broccoli. And offered to buy sauce from me if I made it in bulk. Another friend tried a bite and seemed to love it (Crystal, I mean you!).

The party also included Planter's Punch, which I may have had a tiny bit of. It was delicious.

The end.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A single random photo.

I just found this floating around in my photo folders. It looks really damn good. I have no idea what was involved.

Monday, November 15, 2010

WW Mofo.

 Oh hey, I finally hit 100 posts! Technically, this is my 112th post. Yay me!

I know I've touched upon my weight struggles before. And you may wonder how this might tie in to the vegan month of food? Well, had I not started Weight Watchers, I may have never tried eating a vegetarian diet.

The year was 2004. I was struggling with two years worth of weight gain stemming from a pretty bad break-up and subsequent "the world is my buffet" thought process. I put on 80 pounds in 2 years, and I hated it.

Some coworkers were signing up for Weight Watchers, and invited me to come with them, knowing I was pretty unhappy. Stepping through those doors and onto that scale was the most frightening experience of my adult life. I had no idea how bad I had gotten, I was in denial about my clothes ripping and fitting badly. That first meeting was a major wake up call. I had always been on the lean side from working with horses and riding my bike miles and miles during my teenage years.

I stuck with Weight Watchers for about two months and then stopped, citing the price. But I stayed "on plan" on my own. I decided to try vegetarianism in November of that year, just in time for Thanksgiving. I went to a close friend's house for the holiday, a friend that knew of my decision to stop eating meat. For some reason he tried to tell me it was ok to eat the turkey, for this one day. What was so weird about that, though, was that he was vegetarian himself and not eating the turkey! As soon as I stopped eating meat, the stomach troubles I had suffered my entire life up until that point disappeared. Sure, there were times when I subsided on beans and rice and instant couscous, but I was losing weight.

Four years later, I was down 80 pounds and had reached the weight I should be at. I felt great about it! I played indoor soccer once a week (I miss it so much!). My work had started a "healthy living program" and included two weekly training sessions for employees and I took part in them. I was honored at a safety meeting for losing all that weight safely and keeping it off. I decided to try veganism for the first time in 2008, also in November. I was one of the few that put on weight after going vegan, but I'm pretty sure it's because I *had* to try the new-to-me cupcakes, cookies, scones, etc. But I wasn't worried about it.

And then, in 2009, days after we returned from this amazing trip to Europe and spent ALL OUR MONEY, I got laid off. I had to quit the soccer team, we couldn't afford it. During the summer I did some yard work and rode my bike, but I was bored. And I have this tendency to eat when I'm bored. So I quickly started putting on weight that summer, and I was very unhappy. I re-joined Weight Watchers in an effort to curb the gain, but I couldn't stick to it. I ended up cancelling my membership when my unemployment ran out and haven't really given a shit since.

Until now.

I'm back on the plan and determined. One of my big steps is cutting out drinking, or at least cutting back. I really love beer, it's obvious. And I don't want to stop drinking forever, but it's a huge roadblock for me. I haven't had a drink since Thursday and I'm itchy about it, and I don't like that. I don't get sugar cravings all that often because it makes me feel like shit, but beer cravings? You betcha.

The plan works if you stick to it. The plan works if you stick to fresh, whole foods. I can do this.

But I gotta have lunches like this:

This whole thing, tahini sauce and all, is 6.5 points.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Just a photo.

Two little vegan pizzas against the world.