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!