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Friday, August 31, 2012

It Has Begun

The near restless nights, no time to run, junk food, dining hall buffets, and the crazy life of a res. hall CA have all begun. I am running off coffee and free food. That's right, free, one word college students cannot wait to hear. But none-the-less I am still exhausted. Last night was my first night on Duty. Only one phone call, announcing to meet the other CA on duty in the lobby, woke me up from my slumber but, unfortunately, it was enough to make me toss and turn all night long. This  morning the normally somewhat peaceful sound of my alarm clock made me rush for the duty phone. I thought for sure another incident had occurred. To my avail, it had not, and my morning has thus begun. Today we feed the first-year-students lunch in the Great Hall. That means another day of half-asleep smiles and enthusiasm. I can preserver on, I will power through. But in the back of my mind I will be awaiting the sweet reunion between my bed and I. For now, my drama-filled writing and I are OUT.

Friday, August 24, 2012


This week was full of CA duties. I had to make a few bulletin boards, and door decs, and I had to learn all about my CA position. And I am glad this week is over! 
One exciting moment I had this week was making a board that dealt with Health & Wellness. Of course I used my new found veggie-ways to inspire my board! Along the way, I also learned a lot about veggie-dom. Did you know that choosing a vegetarian diet can lengthen your life by 13 years. You are also less likely to suffer from diseases like heart diseases, some cancers, and food-borne illness like salmonella or mad cow. Being a vegetarian also prevents the pollution of various streams and rivers due to animal waste runoff. AND its good for your wallet too! An average American spends 10% of their food cost on meat, so cutting meat from your diet can increase your bank account by 4000$ a year! (all this info is from HERE)That's about sixth of my tuition! I learned a lot, and realized that I have changed since my change into veggie world. I feel that I have a more sustained energy throughout the day, and I am having an easier time maintaining a good weight. Plus, in general, I feel amazing. How can you not when you end up eating the recommend amount of veggies for a day? It feels fantastic. I would suggest everyone give it a try, at least for a week. Who knows, you could love it as much as I do, and it would benefit you in so many ways!

ALSO. I have started a love affair with Einstein Bro's Bagel Sandwiches. They are freaking fantastic. On one day  this week (due to my crazy days I have no idea what day it was) I had a whole grain bagel thin egg-white sandwich with spinach, Swiss cheese, and the one and only asparagus. If I haven't said so already, I enjoy asparagus. I could devour it daily. Its just the best flavor and crunch and its so good for you. I want some now. Yum. On Friday, I had a Veg Out sandwich on a bagel thin (which is like the love child of a whole grain bread and a bagel, and its less calories than either and as delicious as both). My Veg Out sandwich was so refreshing and filling at the same time. It had some kind of spicy hummus, and alfalfa sprouts (which I haven't had in a while due to the California Sprout Recall) It also had the veggies you would assume to be on a veg sandwich, tomato, cucumber, lettuce. There may have been others but I was so famished, and the sandwich was such a hunger-crusher that I didn't take the time to look at it, I just ate it. Bite, after bite, after bite. Can't wait until my next date with Einstein's!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Freaky Fast Veggies

In the last week, CA training has begun to stuff me with more food than I have been used to eating. In the past week. I've had fast food twice. That never happens! I don't even remember the last time last had fast food before this week! My first fast food experience was at Qdoba the day before training. If you've ever had a Qdoba burrito, you know its the size of a new born baby. My one grilled veggie burrito lasted me three days. [RANT ALERT:] I don't know why all places have such large portions. We have such a problem with obesity in this country, you think someone would realize that its portion control. One burrito at Qdoba is at least 600 calories, and some can get over 1000. That is half the calories you need for the day. Its not only Qdoba. SO many places have out of control portion sizes. You do not need a heaping pile of french fries with every meal. You do not need a serving size plate of pasta. COME ON. [conclusion of rant] Besides the fact that my burrito was enough food for a trio, it was really delicious. I found out that Qdoba has whole wheat tortillas. YUM! I would recommend asking for it, its healthy and delicious. Also, the service at Qdoba was excellent. The man making my burrito was extremely attentive and friendly. If I wasn't a broke student with nothing but a Qdoba gift card, I would've given him a tip!
The other fast food experience I have had here at the University, was Jimmy Johns today. I got the vegetarian #6 on wheat bread. (I like wheat, if you haven't noticed) I got my sub without mayo or avocado. I really just don't like those two things, for whatever reason avocado makes my stomach feel funny, and mayo is just kind of gross. My sandwich was scrumptious, but I only ate half of the sandwich and I was feeling very full. I think it was just the wheat bread. It fills you up so fast, which is a good thing! Some my fellow CAs got lettuce wraps, which would have been a lighter, refreshing meal. I might try that next time I order JJs! I didn't even get a chance to begin to eat the Jimmy John's Chips. But that's OK, I added them to my cupboard for a later day. You never know when you are going to need a snack.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The First Sushi Advegture

One of the pieces of art available at the
Floating World's Website!
Ok, so I have been meaning to blog about this experience for the past few days since I moved in, but with unpacking and CA training, I've been a tad bit busier than I anticipated. But, without further a due, my first advegture with sushi....

My first meal in Minnesota (YAY!) was the most advegturous meal I've had in quite a while. The Dad and I went to Floating World Cafe on Lake Street in Minneapolis. It was a sushi place first and for most, and I have to admit, I was a bit nervous to try vegetarian sushi. I wasn't really sure what it would entail. Am I going to be eating weird sea plants? I was concerned. As we entered, my eyes immediately flew to the walls, which where covered in unique paintings. On further inspection, I read that the pictures were all created with in the walls of the restaurant, as it served as a sushi restaurant/art studio. Needless to say, it was a peaceful ambiance to begin my first veggie-sushi experience. Once I peeled my eyes from the paintings on the walls, I captured my first look at the menu and my inner veggie-worries was immediately silenced. There were multiple veggie friendly options, such as veggie tempura, shiitake broth, and a few vegetarian sushi options, none of which included weird sea plants that I'd never heard of before. I settled on the vegetable sushi lunch which came with a bowl of the shiitake broth, and the chefs pic of vegetables.
This is a pinyin
(picture from Wikipedia)
The first thing brought to the table was the shiitake broth. I have to admit, its been a while since I've had a eat-in Asian cuisine experience. When I saw the soup spoon, followed by the spoon rest, I got a bit confused. For those of you who are now as confused as I was then, a Chinese soup spoon (or what I believe is called a pinyin) is a flat bottomed spoon that is most commonly made from ceramic or porcelain. One the chunks of meat (or in my case shiitake pieces) are eaten from the soup, the soup rest serves as a place for your spoon while you begin to drink the soup directly from the bowl. I didn't use my spoon for long, after my first spoonful, I went straight to slurping it from the bowl. It was delicious. It was just this simple delicate Chinese flavor that is almost impossible to really describe in enough detail so that you could understand the wonderfulness happening on your palate. I would just suggest that if you see it on the menu, you eat it, you will not regret it. I want some now. I wonder if its sold in cans?.....

Anyways! The next thing to make it's way to the table was the Vegetable Sushi. I really wish I would have a picture, because the sushi chef made my plate beautiful. It was a perfect arrangement of colors and was honestly a plate of art. To be frank, at first bite I was a bit underwhelmed. After the broth and the presentation of the sushi, I was expecting a much more advegturous taste.  It was mainly different vegetables seaweed wrapped onto a roll of sticky rice. I was expecting  more spices and flavors, but it was fairly bland. I tried to add a kick to my meal with some wasabi. This was a tragic mistake. I put a pencil-eraser sized chunk of wasabi paste on my chopsticks, which was much more than suffice. My esophagus was crying in agony, my tongue was a raging flame inside my mouth. On a positive note, my sinus cleared up nicely, I didn't sniffle once in the next few days.
Aside from the wasabi incident, The meal was relatively enjoyable. I deem my first vegetable sushi experience a success, and I wouldn't stray away from going to another sushi place further along in my veggie-filled year, though I plan on staying far, far away from wasabi for a while.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Last Taste of Summer

As I prepare to leave my hometown, Waukesha, and my home state of Wisconsin, I have had a few last minute wonderful summer adventures. They began this past Friday.
To preface the first adventure, I'll have to explain one of my duties as a CA in a residential hall at UMN. I have to make door decs. If you have recently spent any time in a residential hall, you would see the names of the residents decoratively placed upon their room doors. One of my duties is to create the decorative door flourishes for the residents I will be looking after in the next year-a total of 75 people. I also have to make another 19 door decorations for my fellow staff members. If you do the math-or if your math handicapped like me and used a calculator-that is a grand total of 84 door decs. Thinking of a way to display the names of the 84 co-ed residents was fairly challenging. I was searching for ideas on what to do when the lovely Goombah said, "Why don't you just write their names on paint samples?"
 At first I was a bit against this idea, but the more she suggested it, the more I liked the idea. I finally decided the enhanced paint samples would be the perfect door dec for my floor. Wonderful. "But wait," I said to Goombah, "I leave for school in four days. What are we going to do, go to Home Depot and casually grab 84 door decs." And this, my friends, is where the adventure begins.
We began at a Home Depot on one side of town. As we entered we found it difficult to look like we actually belonged there. Lets be honest, what the heck can two college students actually afford at Home Depot? A bunch of free paint samples, maybe a pack of gum. That is just about it. I could tell the Home Depot employees were on to us.
 "Goombah, maybe we should, I don't know, look around a bit?" We started walking casually through the power tools isle. Great idea, right? Of all isles to walk down, this is the one where we look the least bit suspicious.
We slowly meandered back to the paint supplies area, and found ourselves in front of a wall of samples. "If we both grab about ten or eleven, then if we go to four different places we will have enough!" Goombah suggested.
We divided the wall in half, as to not grab the same colors, and began our paint sample snatching. Once we had collected our goal amount, we nodded in approval of our paint sample seizing abilities. As we turned I saw them. Two ten-year-old(ish) girls with their mother. "There on to us." I whispered to Goombah. The Mother laughed as she realized we knew that she knew, and Goombah and I ducked out of the paint area and out the Home Depot doors.
The same routine continued until we got to Menards, our fourth and final paint sample destination. Menards paint samples were not as out in the open as the previous places. As we began grabbing samples I refrained from counting how many I had grabbed, suddenly I had a large handful of paint samples. A whopping 43. I had exceeded the goal amount. "Uhm, in case I make a mistake?" Goombah and I laughed and headed out Menards' doors.
On a less adventurous, but more advegturous note, The Fam and I went out to dinner on Saturday night for The Rents 27th wedding anniversary. (Congrats to The Mom&Dad!) We went down the street from The Dads work, a grand little place called The Packing House. The Dad had looked up the menu in advance and saw that there were two vegetarian options, not a grand selection, but a selection none-the-less. We started with an appetizer. A sampling of fried eggplant, mozzarella sticks, fried onion strings, and bacon wrapped water chestnuts (which I obviously did not eat.) But the fried eggplant was surprisingly the best part of the meal! It was splendid. It was so good that I would honestly recommend going there just to get them. I then got a plate of vegetable alfredo. Although it was delicious, I found myself disappointed because the waitress had stated that asparagus would be part of the dish, but my plate was asparagus-less. And it would've been just that much greater with a few spears of asparagus. What a shame! Overall though, it was a great dinner and a fantastic final Wisconsin restaurant meal!

Thursday, August 9, 2012


I just realized today that I should have celebrated my 3 months of veggiedom last five days ago! How  exciting. It has gone by so crazy fast. I feel like I blinked and it was over! I will be heading back to Minneapolis next week Tuesday! I am currently in the midst of packing, and getting everything ready to go. Including myself. Two days ago I got my hair cut, nothing anyone would notice, just a nice trim. I love the way it feels to have just cut healthy hair! Today, as in about twenty minutes ago, I dyed my hair medium golden blonde. I am still awaiting my hair to dry to see the results, but it wasn't too crazy of a change, so I am sure it will look good. I love being blonde. I love to show up the stereotype and be a blonde girl with a good head on my shoulders. Dumb Blonde? Not this girl!
With more veggie news, Today I attempted to create a healthy mid day snack. I cut kohlrabi, (its called the German Turnip. Its a type of cabbage. It tastes kind of like the stem part broccoli, but has a crunch similar to cucumbers. The Grandparents grow them in their garden. The Grandma usually cooks them up in soups.) I cut it like a potato chip and sprinkled seasoning salt on top of make-shift, healthy chips. It sounded really delicious, but I took a bite and couldn't take another. I added WAY to much seasoning salt, it tasted disgusting. Ops! I decided to eat cool ranch Doritos and Tazo Green Tea instead, less healthy, more yummy. Oh well!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Technology Fail

Ever since I got my first cell phone, way back in 2007, I have been a victim to sudden phone damaging tragedies. I've seen my phone suicide jump from my pocket into the toilet. I've seen my phone free fall from my palm, bouncing off the concrete. Every phone I have ever used has been terminated from its position as my phone because of such events. This summer, my newest phone was a victim to the humidity, and experienced water damage. My back up phone then kamikaze-d into the pavement. I have been using various phones throughout the summer attempting to fill the void my newest phone left open. The Dad ordered a new(ish) phone for me online. Although it is a bit old-school, it has a keyboard. Which is a plus. Although this seems to have nothing at all to do with my veggie-ways, it does! Sort-of. 
Let me explain. I have been taking pictures of most everything I eat in case I decided to blog about it. Yesterday, I made Chick'n Fried Rice. I took various photos, But because of the recent phone switch, I failed to e-mail the pictures to myself. 
So I will try to paint the picture of the fried rice, so you can imagine how scrumptious it looked. It started with vegetable oil and onions in a frying pan. A perfect simmering sound filled the air, along with the pleasant aroma of a meal starting to take form. I then added frozen peas and corn, its frosted edges sizzling on the frying pan. Next were the fresh veggies, chopped mushrooms and broccoli. I stirred the colorful blend of veggie-goodness as I added an egg. Its yellow fluff added a perfect flavor and texture. As well as the ever important protein. I then started to fry the Chick'n. As it turned a golden brown, I piled the rice in with the veggies. mixing it with soy sauce, watching it brown slightly. I chopped the Chick'n and my veggie meal was complete. A perfect mix of all colors. A great veggielicious meal. 

Friday, August 3, 2012


Yesterday was the opening day of the Wisconsin State Fair, and I was there! It had been years since I took the adventure to the State Fair. When I was younger The Fam lived in West Allis and The Mom used to drag me along in a red wagon the few blocks down to the State Fair Grounds. I traveled to the fair again this year with The Mom but not only to attend the fair, but also to help Hunger Task Force collect non-perishable food items for reduced admission to the fair. Although we received a lot of donated items for the local food pantries, the head-haunchos said it was a significantly smaller amount than previous years. Unfortunately, because of the teen riots from 2011, it seemed people were fearful to come to the fair, and those under 18 were not allowed to enter without an adult after 5. It is such a shame that a few hooligans had to ruin it for so many people! Still, it was great to give a helping hand and donate our time to a good cause!

After we volunteered, we wandered into the fair searching for a vegetarian friendly dinner. We were on a mission for a non-deep friend veggie meal. It was near impossible. We got side tracked a bit, and got some roasted mixed nuts. Which are always delicious and somewhat nutritious, they have some protein in them! We then found the A Wok Around the Park stand which had a eclectic mix of Asian choices. I had the Spicy Veggie Singapore Noodles, and The Mom had Tikiayki Bourbon Chicken. My meal had a bit of a curry flavor, and a few peppers mixed in with Indian style noodles. Both The Mom found our meals a little underwhelming, but it still quietened our rumbling stomachs. We ventured through the fair a bit more, and got ice cream cones from Cedar Crest. I devoured Elephant Tracks, and The Mom got some rendition of a coffee/toffee ice cream. Overall it was a great day at the State Fair, but I wouldn't recommend going there looking for a somewhat healthy vegetarian meal.