Friday, June 27, 2008

Chickpea Sandwich and Stirfry

A few days ago I made a delicious chickpea sandwich for lunch. I took half a large Ezikiel tortilla and filled it with lettuce, cold chickpeas, and alfalfa sprouts. It was simple, but very satisfying. The picture sucks, I know.

I also made a tasty stirfry using some eggplant and zucchini from the farmer's market. Here is the recipe:

Cherry's Zucchini Eggplant Stirfry

1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 eggplant, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
3-4 large cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 15 oz can baby corn, drained and rinsed
1 cup of liquid of choice(water/broth/stock/vegetable steaming water)
1 T arrowroot powder or corn starch
1 T bragg's or soy sauce
.5 tsp. crush red pepper
7-8 oz tofu, cut into small trangles

Saute the onion and garlic in a little bit of liquid until onion is translucent. Then add eggplant, carrot, mushrooms, zucchini and baby corn and cook until carrots are easily pierced with a fork, about 10-20 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the liquid of choice with the arrowroot, bragg's and crushed red pepper. When the vegetables are done, add this mixture as well as the tofu to the pan and cook a few minutes until tofu is warm and the sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes. Serve with quinoa or other grain, if desired.

Yesterday I went to the Rec Center for the first time and worked out in the fitness room. I didn't do too much, I mainly wanted to see what equipment they have. Surprisingly, I actually enjoyed it! I will try to go there and strength train at least 2-3 times a week, in addition to my walk/jogs.

Monday, June 23, 2008

One Wild Chick Soup!

I finally got my hands on Eat Drink and Be Vegan by borrowing it from the library. Yesterday I made my first recipe from it: One Wild Chick Soup! It had chickpeas, wild rice, carrots, celery and herbs. It was a little bit on the bland side(maybe because I left out to salt), but in a good, comforting way, not in a disgusting tasteless way, if that makes any sense. I can't wait to try more recipes from this book!

A few days ago my family join the Pflugerville Rec Center. It has a weight room and an indoor(air conditioned!) track, and a basketball court. I've been wanting to start doing some strength training, so this is a great way to start. I've been doing pretty good with my walking and jogging, but what I really need is to tone and strengthen my muscles. And maybe it will help me get rid of the weight I've put on in the last 6 months. I'm not overweight, but I'm not thin like I used to be, and I have no muscle tone. I want to get in better shape.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Farmer's Market and Steamed Vegetables

Every Tuesday for the past month and a half, the Pflugerville Farmer's Market has been open. I was so excited about this because now are going there almost every week; before, when we had to drive all the way to Austin for a farmer's market, it happened much less often, only a few times a year. They have lots of delicious produce- berries, Fredericksburg peaches(which are THE BEST PEACHES, no contest), squash, tomatoes, peppers, and more. They have delicious herbal teas, live music, and VEGAN BAKED GOODS from Happy Vegan Bakery. When I first saw this, I couldn't believe it. Fresh vegan baked goods in Pflugerville? You mean I don't have to go all the way to Dhaba Joy? Sweet! The baker is a really sweet young woman from South Africa. She offers cupcakes, brownies, oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies, ice cream, and recently, bread, all vegan. This past Tuesday, I bought a Banana Carmel Cupcake, which was fantastic.

Last night I made a recipe from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch called Steamed Vegetables and Tofu with Brown Rice. But instead of the sauce they suggest making for it, I just seasoned it with a tiny bit of Bragg's and left out the pine nuts, since I didn't have any. Also, I used a yellow squash from the farmer's market instead of the broccoli, since we also had broccoli on the side(which I ate before taking the picture). I really like this recipe because it was really simple and really healthy, and the Bragg's gave it just enough extra flavor, but not too much.

Today is the first day of summer. HA! It's been 100 degrees for the past month or longer here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My first tag post!

I can't believe I've never done a meme before! Paulina of Veggie Delight was kind enough to tag me with this meme.

1) LAST MOVIE U SAW IN A THEATRE? I seriously can't remember, I don't go to the theater much, I'd rather just wait to rent them because I'm cheap like that. The last movie I rented was The Golden Compass. Not as good as the book, but still a great movie.

2) WHAT BOOK ARE U READING? Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America by Nathan Winograd.

3) FAVOURITE BOARD GAME? Chinese Checkers

4) FAVOURITE MAGAZINE? National Geographic

5) FAVOURITE SMELLS? Cinnamon, cedar and pine trees and fresh bread

6) FAVOURITE SOUNDS? My favorite songs, cats purring, and really, really hard rain

7) WORST FEELING IN THE WORLD? Not realizing you've made a stupid mistake until immediately after it's too late to do anything about it

8) WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU THINK OF WHEN U WAKE? Trying to get out the door for my run/walk before it gets too hot

9) FAVOURITE FAST FOOD PLACE? Ewww, no thanks, I don't eat that junk.

10) FUTURE CHILD'S NAME? I don't want to have children, but if I change my mind probably Marina for a girl and Joshua for a boy.

11) FINISH THIS STATEMENT—IF I HAD A LOT OF MONEY I’D...Use some to pay for college, give some to my parents and brothers, buy only organic food, travel all over the world, and give the rest to charities that I believe in.



14) STORMS–COOL OR SCARY? Mostly cool, except tornadoes and hurricanes

15) WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CAR? I don't have a car yet.

16) FAVOURITE DRINK? Water, of course.

17) FINISH THIS STATEMENT-IF I HAD THE TIME I WOULD…Go to the humane society more often.

18) DO YOU EAT THE STEMS ON BROCCOLI? Yes, I love broccoli stems.

19) IF YOU COULD DYE YOUR HAIR ANY OTHER COLOUR, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR CHOICE? Black or something weird like blue or green.

20) NAME ALL THE DIFFERENT CITIES/TOWNS U HAVE LIVED IN? I lived in Austin, TX until I was 3, since then I've lived in Pflugerville, which is just outside of Austin. How boring!

21) FAVOURITE SPORTS TO WATCH? I don't like sports.

22) ONE NICE THING ABOUT THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Paulina seems very smart and friendly and determined to achieve her goals.

23) WHATS UNDER YOUR BED? Dust bunnies and the carpet

24) WOULD U LIKE TO BE BORN AS YOURSELF AGAIN?? No, that would be boring. I would want to be a different person or even a non-human animal.

25) MORNING PERSON OR NIGHT OWL? Morning person, I'm always up before 7:00.

26) OVER EASY OR SUNNY SIDE UP? I didn't even like eggs before I was vegan!

27) FAVOURITE PLACE TO RELAX? At my computer.

28) FAVOURITE PIE? I don't like pie, so I've never tried to make a vegan pie.


30) OF ALL THE PEOPLE U HAVE TAGGED, WHO IS THE MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND FIRST? Probably aTxVegn, she updates her blog pretty often.

I tag:
Ruby Red Vegan of Ruby Red Vegan
Peggy the Veggie of Vegan Teen Cuisine
Freedom of The Raw Vegan Princess
aTxVegn of eat'n veg'n vegan food and recipes
Veg-a-Nut of Life on the Vegan Highway is Good!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Red Lentil Cauliflower Curry

On Sunday night, I made Red Lentil Cauliflower Curry from Veganomicon. It was very tasty and healthy, but it's one of those recipes that tastes better the next day. I ate leftovers last night, and they were much more flavorful, and the red lentils had thickened up a little more. It was mostly cauliflower, red lentils, onions and parsnips with various spices, including my favorite, cinnamon. I haven't had parsnips since I made this a year and a half ago, but really liked them in this dish. They have a starchy taste and texture and are slightly sweet, like a sweet potato, but white instead of orange, and probably less calories than a sweet potato.

Yesterday was my first day volunteering at the library. It was pretty fun, I helped out with this program for teens in the summer reading program, and then cleaned children's tapes. I'm going to volunteer there every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Have a great day everyone!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

No more high school!

A week before yesterday (June 6), I graduated from high school! My grandma came down from Connecticut on the Wednesday before it, and left three days ago. It was pretty
exciting! I have been waiting for high school to be over since I was a freshman, and now it finally is! Because my grandma was here, we ate out a lot. After picking her up on Wednesday, we lunch ate at Mother's, and on Friday after my graduation, we ate at Kerby Lane, since my older brother was with us. Then for dinner, we ate at Casa de Luz. I had never been there before, even though it's the only 100% vegan restaurant in Austin. The food was very tasty, but it was pretty expensive and it was a little confusing. It is sort of buffet style. You get your own soup and salad and can eat as much as you want, but everything else comes on a plate. We weren't sure if we were supposed to have more than one of these plates. Over the weekend, I stayed home with my brother while my parents and my grandma went to see some boring painted churches. I was happy to have some time away from my grandma, who likes to complain and b**** about everything. I was sick of her telling me to "do something with your hair" and saying that vegan food is gross and a million other things. When they came back on Monday, I cooked some scrambled tofu and pancakes for dinner. My brother didn't even try them, but my grandma liked them, even though they're vegan. On Tuesday, we went to San Antonio to go to the SAS shoe store and then we went to Green again, for lunch. I bought something for dinner too because on the way back, we were going to stop in San Marcos to eat with my other brother (he's 23), and the only vegan friendly restaurant there is Thai Thai Cafe, which my brother eats at all the time. For lunch at Green, I ordered cece's stir fry with brown rice and sweet potato fries. This was very delicious, with lots of sauce and lots of veggies and some crispy, breaded tofu. I ordered the Raw Deal Wrap with fruit salad and kale salad to save for dinner. The kale salad was kind of weird(too salty maybe), but the wrap was pretty good. The next day, my grandma finally left.

A few days before my grandma came, I made Brussel Sprouts Go Asian from FatFree Vegan Kitchen and served it on Tofu Shirataki noodles with steamed broccoli. This was my first time trying both brussel sprouts and Tofu Shirataki noodles. The brussel sprouts were okay, but some of the bigger ones were a little bitter. The tofu noodles had a weird taste and texture, but they were good enough. Other than that, this was a pretty tasty dish.

Last night and the night before, I had Creamy Curried Veggies from How it all Vegan. This was very delicious and healthy, after a week of eating out too much. I subbed unsweetened almond milk for the coconut milk to make it healthier. I've been wanting to make Indian food lately; I can't remember the last time I cooked an Indian dish.

While my grandma was here, I more or less stopped exercising, so now I have to get back into the routine and start where I left off, with walking 4 minutes and running 1 and repeating for an hour. I want to also do some strength training, because I'm weak and not toned at all, and I want to change that.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

School's Almost Over!

I just have one 4 day week of school left, and we're not really going to do any really work. Everyone has major Senioritis, so it would be pointless. And I don't have to take any of my finals because my school has this policy where you don't have to take finals in each class that you have an average of 80 or above and less than 3 absences. But my actual graduation isn't until a week after the last day of school. So I'm pretty much done with high school now, forever!

A lot has happened in the last 2 months. First of all, I know where I'm going to college-UT. I got rejected from both Stanford and UC-Berkeley, so I basically have no other choice. I was upset, but maybe it's for the best. I'll be able to come home whenever I want, and I'll be more familiar with the area. And UT's a great school too. And I'm going to live in Royal Co-op! Also, I did very well at the District and Regional UIL competitions, and made it to State in science! If you make it to state, you're eligible for hundreds of scholarships, with about a 50% chance of getting one! I won't know until July what, if anything, I will receive. I do already have $30,000 worth of scholarships from two different scholarships, but it would be great to get more.

I also finished all my AP tests about a week ago, all 6 of them- BC Calculus, Physics C Mechanics, Physics C E&M, English Literature, US Government and Macroeconomics. Calculus, Government and Macroeconomics weren't too hard at all, but both Physics exams and the Lit exam were brutal. I'm hoping to get 5's on everything except Lit, and a 4 on Lit.

Sorry that there's no pictures in this post, I having been cooking much at all lately, up until this past Wednesday, my life has been pretty hectic. After I was done with my AP tests, I had to work on this really stupid Scrapbook project that my English teacher made us do. So I had to work on that all last weekend and until Wednesday when it was due.

Last Saturday morning, I started a 10 day raw food cleanse. Not only am I eating only raw, unprocessed food, but I am also eating no high fat foods, like nuts, seeds, avocado, etc, and no dried fruits. So basically, that leaves fresh, raw fruits and vegetables. I've actually had little trouble doing this. I've been tracking my consumption on Nutrition Data, and I've been able to get at least 100% of the daily value of all vitamins and all but a few minerals(Iron and Selenium, and some days Phosphorus). My protein has been only slightly on the low side(31-46 g). Since this is only temporary, it's fine to be slightly low. So far, I've also lost 7 of the 12 pounds that I've gained since January(!), mostly by binging very often. The cleanse ends Monday night. I will end the cleanse gradually by eating some raw nuts on Monday night, then add in steamed vegetables on Tuesday, then add beans on Wednesday, and after that any other foods I have been avoiding(grains, bread, etc.).

I've been enjoying the simple, delicious foods that the start of summer brings-fresh, raw corn, ripe tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches, cherries.

Also, I'm going to be volunteering at the Library this summer, as well as volunteering more often at the Humane Society. I will probably get a job too, and start exercising more often. Today a went on a 55 minute walk/jog, and then did an hour of yoga. I'm going to gradually increase the percentage of jog I do during the walk/jog.

I almost forgot to mention, on April 17, I turned 18! I'm finally an adult.

That's all for now. Hopefully now that it's summer, I can update more often.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Back From California!

It's been nearly two months since my last post. Oh my! But this time I'm not going to apologize because I've been busy with things that are more important than keeping up with this blog. These past two months sure have been eventful. I don't even know where to start!

Well, I finished all my financial aid stuff for college in February. I went to the two dinners required for the House of Commons co-op. I think I prefer Royal co-op, but if I apply to both I have a back up in case Royal is too full. I'm not even sure if I'm even going to UT yet, so I can't reserve a spot in either co-op until I decide, which could take until mid-April. By then Royal might be full since it can only take 17 people. I've also gotten two rejection letters. One was from the UT Engineering Honors program and the other was from MIT. The rejection from the honors program was very disappointing because I thought it was pretty much a given that I would get in. But apparently it's very competitive, especially for chemical engineering, which I applied to. And it seems to me that their decision is about 90% based on SAT scores. You basically have to 1500 or more (math+reading). I was not the least bit surprise about the rejection from MIT. However, a girl in my class got in and another guy was put on the wait list. The girl has a lower gpa and class rank than me, less extracurriculars(as far as I know), similar or possible slightly lower or higher SATs. I think the reason she got in, while I wasn't even waitlisted was that she's Hispanic. Oh well. Where I really want to go is UC Berkeley. I will find out if I get in there on March 27 (this Thursday!). Then on April 1, I will hear from Stanford. I'm not too optimistic about Stanford after my rejection from MIT, since Stanford has an even lower admission rate.

I've also been busy with school work and UIL. The first six weeks of the semester ended three weeks ago(1 week before spring break). I was surprised when I got my report card, because I literally got a 100 in every class. I always make good grades, but never perfect in every class! I've gone to two UIL competitions since my last post, one on Feb. 9 at Wimberly and one on Feb. 23 at Westwood, and district is next Saturday. At Wimberly, I really cleaned up! Our school got 1st place team in Mathematics, Calculator and Science. I got 4th place in Science, 1st in Calculator, and 2nd in Mathematics. Then at Westwood, which was a larger tournament with 5A schools, our team got 1st in Science and 2nd or 3rd in Calculator(I don't remember which). I also got 1st in Science and 3rd in Mathematics, with a 300 and 214, respectively, which are both personal records! I didn't do so hot in Calculator, though, only 143. I usually get around 170's or 180's in Calculator. At school, I recently met two sophomores at lunch that are vegetarians and would be vegans if their parents would approve. One of them notice that I was wearing a vegan freak t-shirt one day. Now I eat lunch with them everyday. It's so awesome!

On this past Tuesday, I came back from my trip to California. I went there on Tuesday the 11th, which was during my spring break, and had to miss Monday and Tuesday after spring break. California was wonderful! I saw Berkeley and Stanford and even visited some of the co-ops at Berkeley. I think I fell in love with Berkeley, both the school itself and the town. I really hope I get in and can afford to go there! The out of state fees make it quite expensive, especially compared to UT. In addition to seeing the schools, we also explored San Fransisco and went to Golden Gate Park, Muir Woods and Point Reyes. It was very hard to park and get around San Fransico. While there, we went to their amazing farmer's market and ate at Herbivore. I can't remember if we did much else there...most of our time was spent looking for parking! Herbivore was pretty good, but I was hard to enjoy it when we felt so rushed, since our parking meter had a 1 hour limit, including walking several blocks between the car and the restaurant. I ordered vegetable kabobs with soy chikin and quinoa and soy ice cream for dessert. Other than that, we didn't go to any restaurants because we wanted to save money. We ate hummus and pita for lunches and sometimes dinner, and we made a simple lentil dish that lasted for two dinners. We also ate lunch at one of the dining halls at Berkeley, where they had almost as many vegan options as omni options! Vegan pizza with vegan cheese, vegan hot dogs, vegan sloppy joes, vegan tacos,a nice salad bar, even a daily vegan dessert! The Whole Foods in Berkeley sold a variety of vegan cakes, vegan donuts, vegan donut holes and huge chocolate vegan cupcakes. I tried each one of these on the trip.

We weren't at Golden Gate park long, but we did see the Golden Gate bridge:

We saw a coyote at Point Reyes:

Here is a lighthouse at Point Reyes:

We also saw elephant seals:

Elk, but you can barely see them:


Here's a picture from Muir Woods:

It was a pretty awesome trip!

Now here's a few food picture's I've taken.

This is a soup a made at the beginning of February. Sorry, I don't remember what it was!

These muffins are Susan's Berry and Spice Muffins. I made a few changes. I used date sugar in the topping and omitted the margarine, used all whole wheat pastry flour, and used an equal amount of agave nectar for the sugar. I also used unsweetened almond milk instead of soymilk. I asked Susan whether agave nectar could be substituted for the sugar, and she thought this might solve the dryness problem she had. It did! These were moist enough, but not too moist, and very delicious!

I made pancakes! I've never made pancakes before! These are the Banana Pecan Pancakes from VWAV. I used all w/w pastry flour, almond milk, omit the 1 T of oil, and used walnuts instead of pecans. I topped it with sliced bananas and pure maple syrup. My dad thought these were better than omni pancakes! At first I had trouble making these, but after the first few a got the hang of it.

I got Veganomicon from my mom for a valentines gift. I don't usually get valentines gifts, it was really just an excuse for her to get me this book since she knew I wanted it. I made the chickpea cutlets that everyone's been raving about and made a sandwich with Ezikel bread, lettuce, hummus, tomato, and a cutlet. I baked them it the oven. I really liked them, but my mom didn't because they were very chewy.

One Friday, I went to a Whole Foods "Eat-up" with the Vegans Rock Austin group. I've gone to one other meet up with them in January, to Mr. Natural. We ate at the flagship Wholefoods downtown this time. They have a buffet type area where you can get several different types of food and pay $7.99/lb. for all of it. I also got a sorbet and a slice of vegan Nutty Monkey Cake, and my Dad bought me Clif Nectar bars and a 365 brand vegan dark chocolate bar for Easter. Only my dad and I went, since my mom is very shy. Most of the members of the group are in their 20's or early thirties, so they were all older than me and younger than my dad. Despite the age difference, we still had a great time. It's great to meet other vegans in my area!
Well, I really have more to say, but I'll probably post about it later today or tomorrow morning before school. Have a great day everyone!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Rockport, a Few Meals and Other Happenings

My trip to Rockport was okay. We left on Friday the 18th and came back on Sunday. I had last Monday off and we were planning to stay until Monday, but by then we were ready to go home. The main reason was that it was too cold and wet to do anything other than sit in our tiny cabin and read. The first night we got there was rather unpleasant. We arrived pretty late, and the heaters in the place weren't working. We finally had to tell one of the managers about it. It turns out that the circuit was tripped. He was able to get them running. Meanwhile, it was pouring outside.

Saturday was a little better. It was still pretty cold, but it stopped raining. We went to a wildlife preserve and saw whooping cranes and armadillos. There were supposed to be alligators there too, but it was too cold for them to be out. On Sunday, we went home, but not without stopping at Green! It was so delicious (but not too healthy!). I ordered sesame chikin with brown rice and a salad. My dad had zucchini enchiladas, brown rice and sweet potato fries and my mom had the popcorn tofu po boy with french fires. My dish was fantastic! The brown rice was great also, and had lentils in it. I tried the sweet potato fries, french fries and tofu po boy, which were also great, though the tofu po boy was a little too salty for me. I did not try my dad's zucchini enchilada(dairy cheese!). I also got a soft serve soy ice cream for dessert, which wasn't very good. I prefer oatscreme from Dhaba Joy!

While we were there, we made Chickpea Ratatouille from Vive Le Vegan using Chickpeas we cooked in the crockpot. I didn't realize beforehand that it had to be baked, so we didn't have anything to cover it with, but it still cooked in the right amount of time. I left out the vinegar and oil. It was very tasty and we had leftovers that we had to haul home in our cooler.

A day or two after we got back, since we still had some chickpeas (we cooked two pounds!) and some spinach that was getting old, we made Chickpea and Spinach Curry from Vegan with a Vengance. My parents enjoyed it, but I found it rather bland and the spinach had a slimy texture. Maybe one reason for this was that the recipe called for 2 TB of fresh ginger, and we barely had 1 TB.

After that, we STILL had some chickpeas, so we made Curried Garbanzo Beans . If I was forced to pick a favorite recipe, it would have to be this one. I have made this recipe several times. It can be a lifesaver when I'm short on time but demand something flavorful. It can't get much simpler than this-heat some spices and garlic, add chickpeas, mash, cook for twenty minutes, cut up some lemon, cilantro and tomato while wait, then mix them in when it's done cooking; serve. That's it. You can even leave out the lemon, cilantro and/or tomato if you really need to. The spices make it very flavorful, and it has a nice, thick and mushy texture, sort of like a thick dal. After we finish all the chickpeas, we made Chipotle Corn and Black Bean soup again.

On Saturday, I had my first UIL competition of the year! Our team actually went to two before this, one in November and one in December, but I had to take the SAT 1 and SAT 2 and had to miss both of them! This meet had very difficult tests, and we had to compete against 5A schools. Normally we only compete against other 4A schools. I didn't place in any of my math events, but I got 4th place in Science. In fact, I tied with the 3rd place winner, but there was a tiebreaker. I have another competition in two weeks. There will be less schools, and no 5A schools, so hopefully I will do better.

Last night I had dinner with the members of Royal Co-op. Having dinner with them is part of their application process. If I go to UT next year, I definitely want to live either in this co-op or the House of Commons. It is a great alternative to the dorms. Most of the dorms don't even have a kitchen, and you're required to buy a meal plan if you live in the dorms. Plus, the co-ops are about $2000-$3000 cheaper a year, even if you have your own room! And, these two serve only vegan food! The only catch is you have to do 5-6 hours of housework a week. But that can include helping cook the meals, which I actually enjoy.

I was pretty nervous about the dinner, but it went well. I'm pretty shy. They seemed like friendly people, and since most of them are vegetarian or vegan, they probably have many of the same interests as I do. Plus, several of them are science majors! The meal served was delicious and pretty healthy- gumbo from Veganomicon, salad, brown rice. For dessert, they had pineapple upside down cake.

Friday, January 18, 2008


Despite the cold weather, I haven't had soup in a long time. Until now! The day before yesterday I made a lentil soup recipe from one of my mom's magazines. I would post the recipe, but I can't find it right now! The original recipe called for ham (yuck) and celery, which we didn't have, so I left these two ingredients out. It also had carrots (which I doubled due to lack of celery), onions, garlic, spices, spinach, and a dried chipotle pepper. I thought I was going to be bland, but I was quite tasty.

Last night I made the Chipotle Corn Black Bean soup from Vive Le Vegan. Although the recipe said to blend it with a hand blend, I didn't do that because I like chunky soups. I liked it, and I especially liked the lime wedges squeezed over it. If you make this, don't leave that out!

At around noon today, after my mom gets out of work, my parents and I are going to Rockport. We'll be back Monday afternoon. See you then!