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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Scouting for Veggies!

WOAH! This past week was a whirlwind of adventure and advegture and I am exhausted! I spent the week as an adult volunteer at the Girl Scout camp I have attended since I was nine years old! It was a great tenth year of camp, although it wasn't what I was expecting. Goombah and I knew all year we would be returning to the camp we love as adults, but we had no idea we would be the leaders of the boys dragged to camp. I was nervous. In total, Goombah and I were in charge of around 20 boys twelve and under throughout the week. Surprisingly, the week ended up being (mostly) fun and made me want to return again next year. I definitely need a year to recoup from the week though. After a day of camp in the middle of a heat wave, I spent the night either at work(At the Waukesha Public Library) or in class(College Algebra at UWW.). By Friday my only energy source left was the caffeine rushing through my system. 

Luckily, I thought ahead and spent Sunday preparing two delicious veggie lunch options. At work the previous week, I ventured into the vegetarian cookbook section and picked up Better Than Peanut Butter & Jelly by Marry Mattare & Wendy Muldawer that had great veggilicious lunch ideas for kids! I picked out Veggie Salad and Where's the Tuna? Salad. I will be posting Where's the Tuna? Salad once I remake it, it was good, but it needs something else before I share it with the world!

Veggie Salad
(Serves 6)

1/2 red pepper-diced
1/2 green pepper-diced
1/2 onion-diced
1 cup broccoli in small florets
2 carrots-diced
1 tomato-diced
6 mushrooms-chopped
1/8 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1 can chickpeas- drained and rinsed
8 oz cooked macaroni (I used rotini)
1 tbls vinegar
3 tlbs low-fat plain yogurt (I used sour cream)
pepper to taste

Do'in It:
1. Combine all the veggies, herbs, chickpeas, and cooked pasta.
2. Drizzle oil and vinegar over ingredients. mix well.
3. Plop sour cream or yogurt and mix well again. (You can also put cottage cheese through the food processor and use that in stead of yogurt)
4. Add pepper to taste.
5. Refrigerate.
6. Pack in your lunch, or your veggie loving child's lunch.
7. Eat it at lunch. Love it. Refuse to share.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Chick'n (Kinda) Parmesan!

Chick'n (Kinda) Parmesan 
(because I used Mozzarella.)

5 Gardein Crispy Chick'n Tenders
Pasta sauce
Mozzarella (Or Parmesan)
                               Makin' It
1. Start making the tenders according to the "conventional oven" instructions on the package. (You know, preheat the oven and all that madness)
2. With about 5 minutes left on the timer, take them out and put about a spoon-full of pasta sauce and a pinch of mozzarella (or parmesan) on top and put them back in the oven for the remaining 5ish minutes. 
3. Take them out and eat them, I shouldn't have to explain that! 

Nature Walk -Veggie Style

The view from the tower
Goombah and I went on another adventure! We went to Lapham Peak and discovered the fantastic natural beauty that is just next door to where we live. It was unbelievably hot- 95 degrees!- but luckily the park has plenty of shady areas to hide from the heat. Before we begun, we climbed on top of the park's tower, it was such a beautiful site. We could see the entire park and beyond, so much green, leafy, nature! Goombah & I always joke that we are modern-day hippies because we love being one with nature and exploring the outdoors in every way possible! We discussed how much fun it would be to go back-packing through Europe, and/or to camp and hike by the Grand Canyon. Our traveling dreams sometimes outreach our financial capabilities, (We are the definition of broke college students) but I do hope one day we will be able to go on such splendid vacations. As for being an advegture, I packed myself a fo-turkey sandwich with cranberry wasabi sauce.And Goombah enjoyed a pb&j, so we both had a vegetarian meal! We stopped at a bench in the shade to enjoy our veggie-licious meal! It was such a great day!
My wonderful day did not end there! I met up with a friend from college-Lou- in Madison! We ate at Noodles&Company, which is slowly becoming my favorite vegetarian place! I don't think there is anything there that is not perfectly delicious. To prove this point, every time I go there I've had a different meal. This time I had Whole Grain Tuscan Linguine, with their organic tofu, of course! And, proving my point, it was as delicious as always. I would expect nothing less from Noods! We then adventured around State Street. I decided, and Lou agreed, that State Street is what a lovechild between Downtown Minneapolis and Dinkytown would end up being. It has a low-key feeling mixed with the high-paced city life. A great mixture, but I still am in love with Minneapolis through and through! 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Daddy's Day

Wayne's Drive In!
Happy Father's Day to all the Dad's out there. Especially The One & Only Dad! Today for Father's Day, The Family and I took a trip to The Parentals's home town of Manitowoc, WI for a nice lunch with The Mom's side of the family.  We ate at Charcoal Grill. The family enjoyed the meat-filled brunch buffet, I opted for a stone-fire grill vegetarian pizza - one of the only veggie-friendly things on the menu. It was quite delicious, but I did have to wait at the table alone while they all walked up to the buffet, which was slightly awkward, but nothing I couldn't handle.
 We continued on our Father's Day Fun and ate dessert at The Grandparentals' house; a strawberry pie and a peach pie. So delicious. One of my rules of life: If The Grandma makes it, it's worth eating.
Noods' Pasta Fresca
On the way home we took a detour to avoid construction and ended up in Cedarburg, WI. We took a visit to Wayne's and got milkshakes! I devoured a chocolate-peanut butter shake, it was so scrumptious. I was surprised to find that Wayne's offered a Boca Burger option! It was a place I would take the detour to visit again!
On other Veg-related news, I had the Pasta Fresca at Noodles&Co. with their organic tofu. If you are vegetarian or not, you would like the tofu available at Noods. It has a great flavor and doesn't have the awful texture that some tofu has. Even The Mom tried a piece and deemed it edible!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Pizza Pizza!

I have had to different vegetable pizzas this week and they were both scrumptious. The first of which was bought at Pick N' Save by The Dad. It was a personal veggie pizza. I made it on the grill due to the fact that we don't have a central air-conditioning system and it's been a hot week! It was cooked to perfection in minutes and was a fantastic dinner for one. I ate it out side on our lawn chairs and read The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards (So far a superb read) as I munched. A perfect solo summer night! 
Tonight, The Mom and I used our fresh basil to make a Margherita Pizza! We bought a pre-made whole grain pizza crust, mozzarella, and marinara sauce and used the fresh tomatoes in our fridge and home-grown basil from our garden. We heated up the grill, and made the mistake of letting the pizza stone heat up a bit too much before we rested the uncooked pizza on top of it. Needless to say, it was quite a crispy first bite! Although it was burnt, it was still so wonderfully fresh and delicious. We ate it up so fast that I forgot to take a picture of it! Shucks! Next time I will make sure we don't burn the pizza and make sure I get a picture! YumYum!

Monday, June 11, 2012

"Turkey" Grilled Sandwich

Ok, before I get to the recipe I have to complain a tad. First of all, going out to dinner with The Parental has become a unexpected challenge. We sit down to eat and suddenly they both scavenge through the menu for something that I can eat. It is very nice of them to be thinking of me, but I can't help but think, "Yes, I can, in fact, read." My inner sass (I was voted Sassiest of my senior class in high school.) became unleashed at our last outing at Pallas Resturant in West Allis. The Parentals kept reciting things from the menu and I snapped, "Can you just find things for YOU to eat!" My sincerest apologies, my hanger (hungry-anger) got the best of me. When the waitress arrived I ordered the Vegetable Panini. It sounded great; mushrooms, peppers, onions, cheese, the veggie-works. I was hoping for something similar to the sandwich I had gotten in Boulder. I was mislead. This sandwich was disgusting. As I lifted the sandwich to my mouth, it became apparent that the pickle placed as a side had been leaking. The bread was half grilled, and half pickle-juiced and soggy. Not a very appetizing feeling, but still, I gave it a chance. At first bite I was disgusted. The mushrooms were like thick pieces of rubber, and the pickle juice had given the sandwich a horrible flavor. Still, I thought it may just be the first bite that was so horrific. I gave the sandwich a second chance. I was incorrect. It was disgusting through and through. I decided to order a Caesar Salad instead, it wasn't impressive, but hey, it was food.

Now on to the fake turkey sandwich!

The Goods:
4 pieces "Turkey"
2 slices provolone cheese
6 slices cucumber
1 tbls hummus
1 handful lettuce
2 slices multi-grain bread

To Create:
1. Spread hummus on bread. 
2. Pile the goods on the sandwich.
3. Place top slice..on top...duh.
4. Grill it. If you are lucky enough to have a Panini Maker, use that. Otherwise I used our good ole' George Forman. It only takes a few minutes to get to be golden brown. YumYumYum.
5. Eat it! Eat it! Shove it in your face and eat it! (To the sound of Beat It by Michael Jackson)

Fun Fact: I was cautious about the "turkey." Its texture is similar to the real deal turkey, but the "turkey" itself has little flavor. The added flavor of hummus and the cheese was nice. I think it would be even more delicious with a pepper-y hummus. The Mom got the "turkey" at Target.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Green Thumb

The Parentals and I did some light gardening on Thursday. (5 weeks of being a vegetarian! Yahoo!) We pulled the weeds out of the flower garden and spread new mulch. Exciting, I know. The more exciting part was planting tomato and herb plants! The Dad fixed up our old aquarium to be the perfect planting box, big enough for the tomatoes to spread their roots deep into the soil. We also planted basil, mint, cilantro, and dill. I am hoping to post a recipe with one of those splendid herbs soon.
Our next outdoor adventure will be turning our box garden into a wild flower garden, hopefully bringing in some beautiful butterflies. Fun Fact: I love butterflies. One of my favorite reference to butterflies is The Goldfish Song by Kina Grannis.(Shown below) The lyric is "I know what you've been thinking, Too soon to empty my cocoon. This butterfly is not ready. Wouldn't she know better than you?"
Speaking of music! Yesterday, Goombah and I went to Friday Night Live in Downtown Waukesha. It was a blast. The streets were blocked off completely; music, and art, and food was all around. Our eyes were sucked into the street art, we were drawn into the small downtown studios. I couldn't help but daydream about a day where I can purchase such amazing art for my home, or apartment...when I am an awesome author/writer/editor/employed to write. Anyways!, Goombah and I ran into two people from Minneapolis, One artist from Random Twigs and a former University of Minnesota student from PlowShare Gifts. I am amazed by how small this world we live in truly is every day! After meeting these great Minneapolis-ians, we stopped by the Divino Gelato Cafe and got a scoop of cake batter gelato and a scoop of chai tea gelato. Combined, it tasted just like the cupcakes I had made for Goombah on her birthday! So yummy!
Other vegetarian related news, The Mom keeps finding new things for me to try. Yesterday she got Veggie Turk'y burgers and veggie sandwich "meat." I haven't tried either, I will post when I decide to dive into that advegture. I won't lie, the veggie sandwich "meat" does not appear tasty, it looks rather disgusting. It has a grey-ish brown, rubbery, "I taste like dirt" look to it,  fingers crossed its appearance is deceiving.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Veggin' in Boulder

Back from Boulder! It was a beautiful trip with wonderful people and a great experience overall. Driving to the conference proved to be one of my favorite parts. I had gone on a road trip to Myrtle Beach, SC with my friends a few years before, and I thought that part of the country was beautiful as well. I especially loved seeing the mountains on both trips! If you have the means to do a road trip I would strongly suggest it. Traveling through the United States always makes me realize how truly majestic this country is. I  loved seeing the vast farmlands on either side of the road. I enjoyed the feeling of looking around and seeing nothing but nature. It was a refreshing scenic vacation!
The University of Colorado-Boulder was a beautiful college, I could see the mountains from the room I was staying in! I wish I would've gotten a chance to enjoy the fresh mountain air more. I would've l-o-v-e-d LOVED to go on a hike! Unfortunately, the conference did not allow a lot of free time. But it was still a blast! We seemed to never be without something to do. It was non-stop cheering or listening or chatting or doing some type of  fun filled activity. It was a very exciting, although exhausting, adventure! I will definitely be making another trip to Colorado and hopefully have the time to adventure through the mountains and spend more time in the fresh air!
Throughout the conference I almost always had lovely options for a vegetarian friendly meal. The first few meals were in a buffet style dining area. This type of dining always make it a lot easier to choose what you want to eat, especially if there are lots of labels so you can make sure it is all veggie-friendly. My favorite meal from the conference was at the CU's Farrand Hall. This dining hall has near 100% organic and local cuisine that is DELICIOUS. There were various veggie options to choose from. I made the right decision when I picked this roasted vegetable sandwich. It was on delicious toasted bread slathered in a basil pesto sauce with roasted zucchini, green peppers, onions, and mushrooms. It was a great sandwich and it fueled me for the rest of the day! I will be attempting this sandwich for myself sometime soon! YUM!
 The only negative meal of the conference was the World Market Banquet. There were five different stations with three bite-size options at each station. Two were main dish foods and one was a dessert. Unfortunately, at two of the stations, the only thing I could eat was the dessert, and that's not healthy at all. The three main dishes I had to choose from were veggie dumplings, vegetable curry, and some disgusting spinach dish I never got the name of. Needless to say I ate a lot of veggie dumplings. Although they weren't horrible, they didn't really fill me up and I left the meal still feeling hungry. Other than that, It was very near a perfect trip! I cannot wait to see what other advegtures my summer and year have for me! I loved Boulder! Where will I be headed next?