Monday, February 27, 2012


As I was staring into my fridge last night trying to figure out what I'd make for dinner tonight, I was stumped. I had an onion, Tofutti sour cream, and some mushrooms. I remembered a friend making mushroom stroganoff a couple years ago with sour cream. I searched Google for some stroganoff recipes and selected this one for tonight's dinner. I only had 6 baby bella mushrooms left from making pizza, so I used them and a bag of Gardein beefless tips. I didn't use wine, instead I chose to use vegetable broth. I also cut this recipe in half, since I only had 1/2 cup of sour cream to use. Overall, it was pretty tasty. I topped the spaghetti with some broccoli (have to love that frozen broccoli stash from Costco!) and the stroganoff.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

What a week...

I had a slightly chaotic week. My boss is reviewing my thesis right now, so I'll have feedback next week. I've had several faculty members reply to my emails about postdoc positions, but only a few offered an interview trip quickly. I recently switched to lifting first then doing cardio and I'm loving it. I don't know why I didn't switch sooner, but I really hated cardio for a long time. I've been running outdoors - 6 miles in 65 minutes yesterday morning and 3.75 miles in 34 minutes this morning. I really enjoy running with my running partner, because he pushes me. We met up this morning after I rocked my solo run yesterday. He runs a 7 minute mile, so he slows down a little for me. It's a nice change, we talk and then get a meal afterwards. We had Mexican recently and this morning we grabbed brunch. I haven't done a ton of interesting cooking this week, but I did bake some awesome oatmeal-cranberries bars (veganized using Earth Balance for butter, Tofutti sour cream for dairy sour cream, and flax seed for egg). I really enjoyed these, but I didn't reserve quite enough of the oatmeal mix to fully cover the top. I made a pizza tonight. I was hanging out with another friend this afternoon when someone else ordered pizza. It smelled so, so good. I went to Whole Foods to buy some Daiya, pizza dough from the deli counter, and some vegetables... And a jelly-filled donut. Yum!



Monday, February 20, 2012

Simplified Gumbo

It's Lundi Gras and I wanted gumbo. I decided to take a shortcut though. I made a simple roux with 1/8 cup of olive oil and 1/8 cup of flour. I used my new garlic tools to mince some garlic, which I tossed in the roux. Then I added a bag of Publix frozen gumbo mix and a cup of vegetable broth. I knew the gumbo would need seasoning, so I turned to the internet to figure out what seasonings go in gumbo. I found this recipe, so I used these spices, but I should note that I didn't use sherry. I had some tofu that I had frozen, defrosted, and pressed. I tossed the tofu in with everything else to simmer, then started some rice in the rice cooker. This is definitely NOT traditional, but the elements are there. That's all I really wanted today. I walked around ArtiGras today, so I wanted a simple dinner after the sun exposure. :)



Sunday, February 19, 2012

Outdoor Running

I told a friend a few months ago that I wanted to start running outdoors more. He runs a 7 minute mile. Because he's faster than me, it's a nice challenge for me. I normally do elliptical in the mornings, but running outdoors might become part of my weekly routine. I cut my cardio back from the hour/day I was doing in 2010 to just 30 minutes/day in 2011 (well, I'd spend ~40 mins/day riding my bike to/from work in 2011, so that's still close to an hour but it's not the same intensity). I'd like to do more cardio, since I haven't been riding my bike to work lately *sigh*. Anyways, we ran a 9:30 average pace for 3 miles on Friday and a 9:27 pace for 2.75 miles today. Jess would be proud that I'm starting to run outdoors. :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Birthday Weekend

On Friday afternoon, I decided to surprise my mom at home for the weekend. Given that I'm considering postdoc positions outside of Florida, I've been making the effort to spend more time with my family. On Saturday, we had breakfast with my sister at her house and we watched my nephews for a little bit. On Sunday, my mom and I went shopping. I bought a new pair of jeans and a new pair of Under Armour workout capris. I was very happy, but wished that I could have found a nice top too. I made Louisiana red beans and King Cake for Sunday night dinner. My best friend came over to join us for dinner and my dad even came over for cake. On Monday, my mom had to work so my best friend and I spent the day together. We went to Whole Foods in Tampa for lunch. I took her out to dinner for her birthday a few weeks ago, so she treated me to lunch. I got the tofu tacos off the hot bar and some chocolate chip cookies from the bakery. I was secretly hoping the hot bar would have a new vegan entree, but the tofu tacos were quite good. We spent the afternoon goofing off, watching Hoarders, and then we ordered pizza for dinner. We had quite the funny looking pizza - half veggie without cheese and half with extra cheese, bacon, and grilled chicken. I really enjoy her company, we've known each other since 7th grade and we've never had an argument. :) On Tuesday, my actual birthday, my mom and I met my sister for lunch at Genghis Grill, a new restaurant in our town. It has a buffet where you select the items you want in your stir fry, then they cook it on a big grill and add your starch. I selected tofu, peppers, bamboo shoots, onions, mushrooms, broccoli, spices, and the 3G sauce from the buffet. They grilled it up and served it over brown rice. Yum! Quite a delicious lunch. We headed over to Target, where I bought some neon workout clothes. I was incredibly happy to receive some actual gifts, because there really isn't much joy to receiving a birthday check. My mom did write me a birthday check, but I was much happier to have something tangible. Loved the weekend at home, so I was little bummed to return to work today. Oh well, I have to submit the rough draft of my thesis in a month so I have to work, work, work. My slides are done, but I've only written about 75% of my thesis. I'll get it done on time though! :)



Saturday, February 11, 2012

Vietnamese Rice Noodles

I made the Vietnamese Rice Noodle "salad" from Appetite for Reduction. I put salad in quotes because I actually omitted the mixed greens and heated the other vegetables. It's cold so I didn't want raw vegetables or salad. It was a little unusual, so I don't know if I'll make it again. The mint in the salad with the chili sauce in the dressing is a bit odd.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

BOGO faux meats

Yep, you read that right! Publix is having buy one get one specials on Gardein and Morningstar Farms faux meats. All of Gardein's products are vegan, but only select Morningstar Farms items are vegan (shown here). If you sign up for Gardein's newsletter on facebook and/or go to their website, you can get a $1 off one item coupon. The Morningstar Farms site also has a $1 off one item coupon, but I didn't see that until just now (darn!). These are great to combine with the BOGO sale, because you save even more! :)

You know, I always feel like a "bad" vegan when I have a basket full of processed vegan foods because I feel like it makes the cashier and other customers think that vegans only eat faux products. I really do eat well most days, but I couldn't resist stocking up a little with this sale. There are always days where I just want to crash after work, so cooking for more than 15 minutes is out of the question. These convenience items are great for days like that. Like today, when I made some whole wheat pasta with the meatballs and made a salad while everything was cooking. I also snagged some Back to Nature chocolate chunk cookies, which are a slightly drier version of Chips Ahoy.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Irish Nachos

Yeah, these aren't exactly health food, but they were a fun meal. The last couple days have been rainy and dreary, ultimately making me feel blahhh. I'm spoiled by the Florida sunshine, so I get bummed out when it's gloomy. [Yet another reason why I'm having a hard time finding the perfect postdoc - I *need* sunshine in my life.] I decided to make these "nachos" from the Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites cookbook. Sweet potato waffle fries topped with a nutritional yeast-based cheesy sauce, Tofutti soy sour cream, fake bacon bits (you know, those crunchy Bac-o things you find by the salad dressings at the store), avocado, green onions, jalapeno slices, diced tomatoes, and some TVP flavored with taco seasonings. The TVP wasn't in the original recipe, but it seemed weird to not include TVP or beans. I just didn't have any beans cooked up to use.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Chili for a Rainy Day

It's not very nice out today, so I was happy to come home to the leftovers of this chili. The recipe was originally written by Nava Atlas, but it's featured on the fatfreevegan blog. I soaked my beans and cooked them in the slow cooker. I soaked 1 cup each of black, red kidney, and pinto beans. This came out to 6 cups, instead of the 9 cups called for in the recipe. I used one 15 oz can of tomato sauce and added a 15 oz can of stewed tomatoes. Otherwise, I followed the recipe's seasoning amounts. :)


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Garlic Lovers' Anonymous

I *love* garlic. It might almost be an unhealthy love. If I see 2 cloves called for in a recipe, I'll use 6. I'm addicted. Today, my institute had its annual community outreach day. The first year, which was 2009, was hosted on our brand new campus. The organizer, our education outreach coordinator, said she would never do it again. However, in 2010, the local mall requested that we hold our outreach event at the mall. The mall has been generous enough to give each volunteer a $25 gift card. In 2010, my ex and I combined ours towards a Breville blender purchase at Williams Sonoma. In 2011, I bought an oil and candy thermometer. I have yet to use that, but I would like to have one for double checking my deep fryer's temp and for the day I am crazy enough to try making homemade candy. This year, I bought a garlic zoom and a garlic peeler. Williams Sonoma is one of my favorite places to wander around, so it's no surprise that I've used all of my gift cards there. :)


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Quick & Easy Tacos

I made some tacos using the TVP and shells I already had. I only had to buy the onion, jalapeno, and some salad stuff to serve on the side. This recipe comes from Quick & Easy Vegan Comfort Food. It is pretty tasty, but I think I might like the American Vegan Kitchen recipe just a tiny bit more. I also sprinkled some nutritional yeast inside my stuffed tacos before adding the lettuce. Tasty & simple, just what I needed this week as I've been making edits on my thesis intro and preparing my defense slide set.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Photo-less SF

I went out to eat with potential advisors or their group members in San Francisco, so I didn't take photos of some of my meals. I figured it was easier to not explain what I was doing. However, I wanted to make a note of these other restaurants.

- Udupi Palace: I went to the Berkeley location with some postdocs. I ordered the potato and onion dosa. There are a lot of dosa places in San Francisco, but this chain is vegetarian and is apparently fairly authentic. The dosa portion was huge! I was hoping it would have been smaller, so I could also order the chana masala.

- Loving Hut: I went to the location near the UCSF Parnassus campus. We decided to order different things and share. I picked out the sweet and sour chick'n, which was quite good. The research associates ordered the lemongrass "beef" (a little dry), the eggplant and tofu dish (good, but I don't really like eggplant), and pho (which I didn't get to try). We skipped desserts, but they had a few that sounded good on the menu.

- Golden Era: There is only one location of this restaurant. I went to this restaurant with a potential advisor and we agreed to share the dishes. We split the spicy tofu (amazing!), the eggplant and mushroom dish, and pho (we didn't eat most of the noodles, but the soup was great).

- Cafe at Genetech Building at UCSF Mission Bay: I went here with two research associates. They assured me that I'd find something vegan here. I immediately selected the spicy Thai noodles and added tofu for an extra cost. This dish was actually spicy and hot! It was quite good and convenient for us coming from the Gladstone Institute.

- Thai place near UC Berkeley: I'm kicking myself for not remembering the name of this place. The food was just average. I had a red curry with tofu and vegetables. Not the best ever, but it was enjoyable after such a long day of interviews.