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!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Lunch "Bowl" and Update on my Vacation

A few days ago, I made a "bowl" for lunch, inspired by Veggiegirl's bowl-meals. It had quinoa cooked with onions, garlic, cumin, italian seasoning, tomato paste and a little bit of pinto beans and topped with steamed brocoli and kale, raw carrots, and grilled eggplant. I didn't actually make the eggplant from scratch. At HEB they sell frozen grilled eggplant, so I heated some of that up in the toaster oven.

I liked the "bowl," but it it took longer to make than I expected, and I nearly burned the quinoa because my b(r)other wouldn't leave me alone and I was trying to make a one-serving portion of it. There was a layer of quinoa stuck on the bottom, just barely starting to burn, but the rest was fine.

I have a update on my California trip: we postponed it until spring break in March. The reason we wanted to go in January in the first place was that we got great deals on the plane tickets ($99/person each way!) and it wasn't available during spring break when we bought the tickets. But then my dad thought it might not be a good idea to go now because there are some pretty bad storms in California right now. So then we looked and saw that they now have tickets available for the same price during spring break, so we changed our tickets. And we can go for a few extra days now, since it will be during spring break.

So now what are we doing over the 5 day weekend coming up? We are going to stay in the HEB cabins in Rockport! It's free since my dad works at HEB.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Back To School

Today, in less than an hour, I have to go back to school. These past two weeks have gone by way, way too fast. Oh well, before I know it I'll be in California!

A few nights ago I made the Tomato-Olive Rice Bake from The Everyday Vegan. I left out the olives because I hate olives and the soy parmesan. It was tasty, but it was too watery and the top didn't brown, even after cooking it longer than it said to. Afterwards, I looked at the recipe and realized that I was supposed to drained the can of tomatoes it called for. Oh well. The next day we had leftovers, and when we reheated it, it wasn't watery anymore. This is definately one of those recipes that taste better the next day.

Last night, I made the Sweet and Simple Grain Pilaf from The Everyday Vegan. This was so easy to make! The recipe itself was flavorful, with lots of spices and sweet raisins. I used millet as the grain. I have never tried millet before. It was okay, but I prefer quinoa. I didn't really like the texture of the millet, it was kind of thick and sticky. But it only takes 20 minutes to cook, less time than brown rice.

Today is my brother's 20th birthday. I can't believe it! Now I'm the only teenager left in the family! Unfortunately, I'm not making him a vegan cake. He wouldn't touch it!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Happy 2008 From the World's Worst Blogger!

Wow, so I haven't updated for 5 months. Sorry about that. Things have been kind of hectic. I stopped updating in august because the computer wasn't working. Then, around august 26ish, it was fixed, just a few days before school started. I had a lot of pictures that it had been planning to post about once the computer was fixed, but by then, there were so many that I was too lazy to do it. Plus, the school year was about to begin...and not just any school senior year! Yeah! Finally! So, there has been a lot of crap to keep me busy and not cooking, like SAT 1's and SAT 2's and college applications and essays and scholarship applications, my UIL stuff, and schoolwork. I only have 5 classes this year, but it sure doesn't seem like it! Especially with AP Physics C. Oh how I long for AP Chem! So much easier and more fun than Physics.
Anyway, as of December 31, I was officially done with all my college apps. I applied to UT-Austin, MIT, UC-Berkeley and Stanford. I was all set on applying to Rice too, but I thought it over and realized that I would not choose it over UT if I had to choose between those two, and I've already been accepted to UT (they have rolling admission, plus if you're in the top 10% of your class, which I am, and you live in Texas, they automatically accept you). Since I can only go to one school, I'll eventually have to narrow it down anyway, so might as well start now and save my $60 application fee. Unless, of course, none of the other schools accept me...which is quite possible with that list. Honestly, it is extremely unlikely that I'll get into MIT or Stanford. Berkeley...maybe. Anyway, maybe I'll be able to cook and blog about what I cook much more often now that I'm done with that. I'll try to blog at least once a week from now on!
And guess where I'm going on January 16th, after midterms? California! Since there is a good possibility that I will get accepted to Berkeley, and I am also applying to Stanford, my parents and I decided that I should go and see those schools. Since I have Friday and Monday off, no midterms on Thursday, and can take a "campus day" on Tuesday, we will have almost a week to be there! It's going to be so much fun! I promise to take pictures and post them here! By the way, anyone have any good restaurant recomendations in the bay area? (Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco, Palo Alto)
I do have a few pictures from the past few days. One New Years day, I made some Blackeyed peas with onions, garlic, chipotle powder and freshly ground pepper. It was pretty good, not fantastic or anything. I don't like blackeyed peas that much. Here it is with some steamed kale:

Yesterday, I made some cupcakes! I've never made vegan cupcakes before. When I was little, I probably helped my mom make some omni ones though. I used the Vanilla Agave Cupcakes recipe from VCTOTW. I used almond milk instead of soymilk and replaced the oil with applesauce and used WW Pastry flour. I only made a 1/2 batch because I do not want 12 cupcakes that only I will eat sitting around! (each of my parents would probably eat one, then I would be left to eat the other 10!) It actually only made 5 cupcakes instead of 6. I made some delcious frosting by mixing together 2 T of almond butter with 1 T of maple syrup. It made enough to frost 4 cupcakes, with a little bit left over for the other one. Here they are fresh out of the oven:

And after frosting:

And here's some with the wrapper off:

Here's one I took using the new camera I got for Christmas in "food" mode:

And this is my new camera!

My parents got me a camera for Christmas because next year when I go off to college, I can't just take theirs! They also got me a spatula and umbrella for the same reason. I haven't gotten my laptop yet, though. But sometime between now and august I will buy my very own laptop!

I will leave you with a picture of my dog Maggie taking a nap. (in "pet" mode on the camera!)

That's all for now, I guess. I wish you all a happy and healthy 2008!