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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

To Grandmother's House We Go

This past Sunday The Fam. and I took a trip over the highway and through the woods to The Grandparents house. Where I was delighted to find a Grandma made lunch for The Fam and I that included vegetarian options for me! YIPEE! While my carnivorous family devoured steak (I'm pretty sure The Mom's fairly rare stake still had a pulse) I enjoyed a veggie burger with vegetable soup. The veggie burger was a good protein source, but the soup was fantastic. The Grandparents have a large garden where they grow kohlrabi, corn, potatoes, carrots, basil, green beans, cabbage, and many other wonderfully fresh vegetables as well as raspberries. The soup was filled with these superbly fresh veggies and prepared with the German spaetzle noodles on the side. I want to find a way to can soup so that I can have some of this saved up wonderfully fresh and delicious soup when I get home-sick away at college. I had The Grandma pack up some of the soup and spaetzle and had  a small cup of soup for lunch today. YUM!
Another great thing about Grandma's in general, is how good they are at making desserts! The Grandma had prepared zucchini bread with cream cheese frosting and a cool-whip-wafer-berry tart. What is a cool-whip-wafer-berry-tart? Only the most simply delicious of The Grandma's wonderful desserts. She crumbles vanilla wafers (The ones that come in packaged with chocolate and strawberry and are slightly orange colored) on the bottom of a pan and flattens them so that they become the crust. She then adds a thick layer of fresh raspberries, a thick layer of coolwhip, and another thinner layer of raspberries and a crumbling of vanilla wafers lay gently a-top. She also added a sprinkling of blueberries on the top to make a simple and light summer dessert. Yay for Grandmas!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Go USA! Cupcakes

Inspired by cheering on my favorite team in the 2012 London Olympics, (Team USA, duh.) I decided to make red, white and blue cupcakes for my friends as a tailgating dessert. Because nothing is better than a delicious cupcake before you take the mile hike up to your nosebleed cheap seats! Are those ants playing down there? I don't know but I am sure glad I ate a few cupcakes and veggieburgers before I got up here, it would be a long hike to the concession stand!

GO USA! Cupcakes

The Goods:

1 box white cupcakes
10-15 Strawberries (diced)
1 & 1/2 cup blueberries

The Super-Easy-Yummy&Delicous-Vanilla Frosting:

1 package vanilla pudding
1 container cool whip (thawed)
1 cup cold milk


1. Make cake mix according to box.You can do it. I believe in you. Don't forget to preheat the oven to 350!
2. Add the berries. I didn't really count out how much I put in. Just eyeball it until it looks like you have a good mix of berries to make it really red, white and blue.
3. Bake according to box. My oven took 22 minutes, which was odd because it usually takes a shorter amount of time, but I am thinking the extra moisture of the berries extended the time a bit.
4. While your cupcakes are cooling, start preparing the frosting
5. How do you make the frosting? I'll tell you! You beat the cold milk with the package of pudding for 2 minutes, then fold in the cool whip. 
7. Leave the frosting in your fridge for an hour. Go watch the Olympics while you wait. This is a completely necessary step. Do not skip it.
8. Spread the frosting all up on them cupcakes. Because its a lighter frosting, I added a bit more than I usually do. 
9. If you'd like you can use the extra blueberries and strawberries as a garnish. I made adorable little flowers on a few of my cupcakes. It was a cute touch, if I do say so myself.
10. FEAST. They are very moist cupcakes, and because of the cool-whip frosting and berries, they are very light. So its totally fine if you eat 10 of them in one sitting. The berries make them good for you, right?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sending My Love

Instead of my normal advegture blogging, today I’d like to use this platform to reflect on the recent tragedy in Aurora, Colorado. My heart truly goes out to all those affected by the horrible event. While watching The Today Show in the last two days, I couldn’t help but feel the heartbreak along with so much of the nation.
 It is times like this that we should take time remember how truly united we are not only as the peoples of the United States of America, but also as an entire globe of human beings. We are so alike despite all the physical difference in the fact that we are human. All though we deal with pain in all sorts of ways, it is impossible not to feel a sense of hurt after such a horrible tragedy.
Although it is difficult not to be afraid, impossible not to have a sense of worry, it is important that we remain brave. Life will, and must, go on. Instead of becoming fearful of living, we must reflect after tragedies such as this, that show us just how fragile our lives are. We hear so often to live everyday as though it is your last, yet too many times we forget the honesty in that statement.
After watching the tragedy unfold, I’ve come to realize I don’t appreciate the ones I love enough. So, from now on, I will try to, in general, be a better person. A tragedy such as this can and should teach us a valuable life lesson. It has given me an enlightened sense of love for the people in my life.
I’d like to take the time to say thank you to all those who are a part of my life. To The Mom & Dad, who have supported and believed in me since the day I was born. To my extended family who are always a delight to see and who I wish I could see more often. To those who watch over me and my family from heaven, who I think about and miss every day. To Goombah, who has been so much more than my best friend, especially over the past year. To all the friends who I’ve come to know at Minnesota, who I am so excited to get to know better in the years to come. To my friends from home, even those who have become distant and aren’t a significant part of the present time, but will always have a place in my heart and whose memories will always bring a smile to my face. Thank you.

Again, I send my love to all those affected by the Aurora tragedy. As George W. Bush said in his eulogy for the space shuttle Colombia’s Astronauts, “The sorrow is lonely; but you are not alone.”

Thursday, July 19, 2012

No Eggs? No Problem!

I have been having some wicked dreams the last few weeks. Everything from driving to the ocean (which is a long way from Wisconsin), to learning how to create greeting cards, to the peculiar dream I had last night. I was at an airport on my way to the East Coast. I am not sure where I was going, all I saw was a map with the plane shown heading that general direction. In said dream, I decided I was hungry and traveled through the airport in search for food. I stumbled upon a little fro-yo/cafe place. They had a giant selection of ice creams, coffees, and baked goods. I decided on a psychedelic rainbow fro-yo. When the cashier rang me up, she charged me for two muffins as well. She couldn't get the muffins to drop off of the payment, so I decided I was hungry and told her to bring me a apple-cinnamon muffin and a surprise muffin. The apple cinnamon muffin was so freaking delicious that I woke up wishing it was real, and I still have no idea what that surprise muffin was, because I woke up craving the muffin I was munching on in my dream. With my muffin-craving pushing me through the day, I decided that I wanted to bake when I got home from class. I searched through the fridge, and saw that we did not have eggs. I just about broke down in tears, and then I realized, HECK, vegans make no-egg baking goods all the time. And searched the internet until I stumbled upon THIS! Which I slightly modified and turned into Yummy Vegan Cookies!

Yummy Vegan Cookies
(makes two dozen)

I sadly, do not have a picture 
because my phone isn't working.
and neither is my camera.
or my webcam.

The Goods:
2 cups whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
3/4 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil 
1/2 vanilla almond milk

To Do:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix all the ingredients together. I used a fork followed by smushing it together with my clean hands. It worked out pretty well. And you don't even have to worry about eating the raw cookie dough because you can't get salmonella! SCORE.
3. If you like, you can add chocolate chips, or nuts, or whatever you fancy. I think its pretty good plain. But I added chocolate sprinkles to a few of them, because I simply wanted some chocolate.
4. Place a tablespoon of cookie rolled into a ball a few inches away from each other on a baking sheet. You know the drill, I am assuming you've made cookies before.
5. Bake for 9-12 minutes. My oven took 12. Your oven may take 15. I don't know your life.
6. Eat them. Eat them all. Refuse to share. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dark as Night!

Today, Goombah and I went on a search for Henna. We went to the Namaste Plaza (an Indian grocery store in Brookfield, WI) and met the owner, Rita, who was delightful and extremely helpful. She told us that she had recently taken over the store, and was restocking everything, and the henna powder will be there on Friday. I am searching for a Indian vegetarian recipe so I can purchase more than just henna powder the next time Goombah and I return to her store! 
After our somewhat unsuccessful henna search, Goombah and I went to Panera. I was craving soup, and since I couldn't get my favorite-broccoli cheddar soup-because they use chicken stock, I got the vegetarian friendly black bean soup! I was so surprised by how truly black it is. The picture to the right proves I am not over exaggerating, it really was dark as night! I was expecting black beans in light colored veggie-stock. Nope. It was black beans through and through. It was very good, but it could use some Mexican spices to really play up the authentic Mexican flavor of the black beans. After our delicious lunch at Panera, we traveled across the parking lot to  Yo Mama!, a frozen yogurt shop. Frozen Yogurt can never be anything but superbly delicious. I love it. 
I then, decided to go for a night run. To preface, I usually avoid running at night at all cost. I get paranoid in the dark, I constantly think someone is going to jump out of bushes, or a passing car will kidnap me. Which isn't completely illogical. If you have ever read the book Room by Emma Donoghue, or Lovely Bones by Alive Sebold, you would probably understand my fear. So usually, I run in the morning or around dusk to avoid darkness of night, and the extreme heat during the summer days. But, because I slept in today, and had class during dusk, I made the choice of running at 9 pm, in the dark. This made me run very, very quickly. Don't get me wrong, it was a great workout. My heart was constantly racing and my legs were moving just as fast. I was constantly on guard. I cannot wait to get back to a relaxing morning run tomorrow. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Making My Own Rain!

This drought is killing the herbs The Mom and I planted this summer! They are drying out so fast it seems a waste to even try and water them. Hopefully it will start to rain soon so that I can continue to use the yummy fresh herbs while I am at home for the summer. I love using them to add a fresh, fun flavor to my veggie meals! It needs to rain!
Creating my rain!
Unfortunately, mother nature is holding out on the rain. It's been hot and dry for weeks! So when Goombah and some of our friends were inspired by the one-and-only Pinterest to do some crayon art, I had rainfall on the mind! When I was sitting in math class, they ran to JoAnne's to get canvas, and it was on sale! Score! They then bought crayons, but I decided to bring the old crayons The Mom has kept since my elementary school days. I would suggest buying new crayons, some of the old crayons melted in chunks, and some didn't melt at all.
I then decided to create my own rain scene, including a silhouette of a person with an umbrella with the words "You can turn of the sun, but I'm still gonna shine" (from the Jason Mraz song, The Remedy) I started by taping off where the words and the umbrella silhouette would go. I then unwrapped a mix of blue, purple, teal, and white crayons. I would advise unwrapping the crayons, they melt much faster! Next tip, put a strip of hot glue on the canvas and then set the crayon on top of that, don't try to put hot glue directly on the crayon, it will just melt the crayon and create a mess.
all of our crayon art!
 Once I had a few burnt finger tips and the hot gluing madness was over with, the fun part began. Blow drying the crayons to make them melt! Fun Fact: In case you didn't already know, trying to use multiple hair dryers at once is not advised, we did blow a fuse trying to do 3 at the same time. Bad idea. Stick to one, avoid going into your basement or garage or whatever other creepy place circuit breakers are always in to reengage your fuse. I would also suggest blow drying your creation outdoors or in a place that can get randomly splattered with melting crayons. The drips fly everywhere. 

After the melting was complete, I used a permanent marker to fill in my silhouette, then used puffy paint to outline the image. I then used glitter on the umbrella, the rain boots, and the words SUN and SHINE to put an emphasis on those objects. It ended up looking really great! I cannot wait to put it in my dorm!

I realize its hard to read-but again, it says, "you can turn of the SUN but i'm still gonna SHINE"

Monday, July 9, 2012

Straight Out Of Asia

Italian Pomodoro
I took a bite before I thought of
taking a picture. Couldn't resist.
 I'd like to being this post by talking about my new found love of a few Asian things. First of all, I have been drinking green tea like I am parched and sweet green tea is the only thing that can quench my thirst. I freaking love it. I searched through The Mom's tea stash, and found Lemongrass Green Tea by Good Earth. It is so delicious. Then,  Tazo Tea was on sale at the one-and-only Target. (Whats not to love about that place? ) The Mom picked up a few of their Organic Iced Green tea with spearmint and lemongrass. It is the freaking bomb. I cannot get enough of it. I, in fact, am drinking one as I am typing this blog. I want to drink it constantly. I wish I could get an IV drip of it into my mouth, in constant intervals. Obviously, I am a bit obsessed. I admit it. It's totally fine. 
Henna Vases
Anyways.... This burst of new found tea-love encouraged Goombah and I to go to The Steaming Cup where, despite my new green tea ways, we both got our usual Chai Teas and split a Italian Pomodoro- which sounds really fancy, but is actually a really simple sandwich with tomatoes, onions, pesto, and cheese on a tomato focaccia bun. YUM!
 While at the steaming cup, Goombah found a few temporary tattoos in her purse, which inspired a chat about henna. This sparked my inner crafting spirit and I rushed home to start a new craft. I took a plain old vase, and one of the Tazo tea bottles, and spiraled into a henna crafting heaven. I swirled and dotted and created Indian inspired henna designs all over them with puffy paint! I was so excited about my new Asian inspired moments that I just had to blog all about it! I Googled where to find actual henna, and I sense an adventure into a Indian grocery store with Goombah in my near future. Maybe I'll grab a veggie meal while I am there!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Sayonara Heat Wave!

Today is suppose to be the last day of this smothering heat wave. I am hoping the weather-men are correct because this week of extreme heat has been a week of extreme failures for me. To start, I spent 8 hours doing math homework on Monday, because my online assignment was due Monday night at midnight, and I had about a week of work to make up. I did it! And had another 2 hours and 45 minutes to spare. So it ended up not being a major fail, but I nearly had a breakdown in the midst of this math madness fiasco.
 Next fail, I was searching in the fridge for something to munch on, and found the fridge smelling fowl. I decided to reorganize the fridge in my search for whatever was causing the epic stench. I stumbled upon a package of opened veggie dogs that were covered in mold. As I held back my urge to vomit, I threw them out and took the garbage outside to avoid getting the entire kitchen smelling of moldy veggie dogs. Once again, not exactly a failure, but most definitely not a positive moment of my week.
To add to my list of almost failures, this morning I decided I would show the heat wave who is boss and make a green smoothie to cool off. I put a half package of frozen mixed berries, a handful of spinach, and a 1/2 glass of water into the blender. I let the blender roar for a few moments then took a spoonful to taste and found my drink disgustingly bitter and not quite cold enough, I decided to add a cup of ice to cool it more and a few squeezes of honey to sweeten the drink. As you can see by the picture, my smoothie ended up being purple-ish-red-ish brown instead of green, and the taste matched its rather unattractively bland color. I gulped it down, as not to waste the food I had put in it, but I won't be making a duplicate smoothie anytime soon. To end today's blog, I am letting out a big Hooray! for this heat wave being (hopefully) almost over, it will not be missed by me.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I (think) I can!

I need to see more of this!!! 
With my two month anniversary of becoming a vegetarian only a day away, you'd think the last thing on my mind would be dropping my new found veggie ways. I don't know if its just due to my lack of sleep and the stress of class and work after day camp week, but I just have lost all motivation for sticking to veggies. I am trying my best to struggle through my time of doubt. It is just getting boring and I am getting sick of having the same things day after day. I may get a few more recipe books from the library to try and reignite my veggie loving spark. It doesn't help that so many restaurants aren't veggie-friendly. The other day The Fam and I went to dinner at Texas Roadhouse. On our way there, I knew there wouldn't be many options for me, as Texas  Roadhouse advertises its superior ribs and steak. I had no idea the only thing on the menu that would be meat-free would end up being the Country Veg Platter-where you pick 4 side options from the menu and its actually considered a meal. I ended up eating a Caesar Salad, carrots and broccoli, applesauce, a Sweet Potato, and about every delicious roll I could get my hands on. Although the rolls were divine, as always, the carrots and broccoli weren't cooked enough, the Caesar Salad was drenched in dressing. I just wanted to have a good meatless meal! Is it so difficult?! I never realized how difficult it would be to go out and eat a healthy veggie-filled meal. Too many times I find my self eating a bowl full of pasta or a family-size order of bread rolls, not exactly a well-rounded meal! I of course, will try my hardest not to quit anytime soon, but I better get some good veggie food soon or I am gonna jump off the veggie wagon. Ugh! I can do this! I think?