Friday, August 30, 2013

New Job!

Part of the reason I've been focused on using up ingredients I already had is my new job. This is the end of my 2nd week! It is starting to sink in that I'm in a new postdoc position and that I can probably be more successful in this new environment. My old lab was having some financial issues and I didn't believe the chances of getting new grant funding were high enough to stay. When my old boss said we'd run out of money in Spring 2014, I decided to start looking for a new position. Better to be proactive than reactive! I didn't want to wait around for the lab to close next year if funding wasn't obtained and the university didn't provide bridging funds to tide us over. Plus, the other labs in my old department were definitely going to fail. One relies on company money, but the biggest contract from a company was not renewed, and I honestly don't understand how the other lab does experiments because they don't have any incoming money source. I wanted to go back to an environment where essentially all labs are funded, competitive, and interesting. When I moved to Houston, I kept my new institute as a back-up plan in my mind. I didn't want to go to this institute to start with, because my graduate advisor had trained there as a postdoc. I wanted to be independent and find a job that did not rely, or appear to rely, on his reputation. I wanted my reputation to be the main factor. I know it's a bit stubborn and I've lost a year of time, but I am getting a co-authorship out of my old lab and I'm still on track with my life timeline plan. I was hoping to postdoc for just 3 years and be left with a 4th year available for adventures. I burned that extra year, but I can still try to publish and find a job by the year I turn 30. :)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Stir-Fry Shortcuts

I bought a frozen veggie stir-fry mix at Costco recently. It contains broccoli, green beans, snap peas, baby corn, peppers, onion, mushrooms, and carrots. It's super convenient to use frozen veggies for a quick stir-fry meal. I did use a little coconut oil to fry the tofu. I also had marinated some tofu in Isa's Asian marinade for about a day. I used the leftover marinade to make a sauce using about a tablespoon of cornstarch. I served this with some basmati rice (another bulk purchase from Costco). Yum!
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Monday, August 26, 2013

More Fridge Cleaning Meals

I'm on a kick to simplify my pantry and fridge. I had a pepper, an onion, and tofu in the fridge and the last bit of spicy PB and some quinoa in the pantry. I made a quick meal sauteing the veggies and tofu until it was golden. I made a sauce with spicy PB, soy sauce, water, and a few drops of lime juice. I took this photo before I realized I should make a sauce. I like plain tofu, but I generally prefer a little oomph. I was also glad to finally use up that spicy PB, it only took a year!
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Sunday, August 18, 2013

MoFo is almost here!

Vegan MoFo is just a couple weeks away! I need to start making an outline of posts. The minimum is 20 posts in the month, but I have done 31 posts in the past. I'm a little bummed that it got moved up to September because I feel unprepared! I guess it's better for my bank account because there are other fun things to do in October. I'm kicking myself for posting all my Austin stuff, that would have knocked out a huge chunk of MoFo posts! Oh well, I hope to make an outline tomorrow to start getting ready. Just wanted to remind people to sign up and join the fun! Click here for the MoFo main page.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Last weekend, I attended the monthly VSOP potluck. The group recently moved to a larger space, but the crowds keep growing after the June VegFest. I brought the coconut fudge from My Sweet Vegan. The guy I'm seeing helped me making the lemonade tartlets from the same book, but we used strawberry jam instead of raspberry jam in the custard part. After potluck, we went on a movie double date with another couple (the girl is vegan, the guy is vegetarian, just like us!). I got contact info for some new people and sent an email saying "hey where have you been?" to vegans that have attended one potluck and then disappeared. Gotta build that network!
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Friday, August 16, 2013

Clean Out the Fridge Curry

I had cooked some chickpeas in the crockpot the other day with no real use in mind. I made a curry! I have basmati rice and Indian spices all the time, so I sauteed some onion, red bell pepper, garlic, and ginger. I added some canned tomatoes, the spices, and frozen broccoli. I let everything heat while the rice cooked. I used cumin, coriander, tumeric, curry powder, and garam masala. This was a quick meal with 5 different veggies. Not too shabby for a meal made to use up leftover produce and pantry staples. :)
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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Vegan Shirts

I wish I could have worn one of my new shirts to volunteer with Farm Animal Rights Movement recently, but they prefer people to not wear message shirts. I ordered these shirts from Compassion Co. The one of the left says, "Anything you can eat I can eat vegan." The one of the right says, "It's OK to give a fuck" on the front and "Go Vegan" on the back. Love them! I also bought a metal cat shirt at a local boutique called La Camella. I wore the metal cat shirt to see Blackfish last week. Such a depressing movie, but everyone should see it. It airs on CNN on October 24th if your city isn't showing the movie in theaters.
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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Vegan at Costco

My newest find is Hail Merry raw vegan tarts at my local Costco. I thought they were chocolate mint, but they're just chocolate. They're OK, but I'll probably give most of them away.
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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Quack's 43rd St. Bakery - Austin, TX

Quack's is an adorable bakery and coffeehouse. One guy demanded that we go there before heading back to Houston because he really needed a coffee. He bought one of everything that was vegan - 3 types of nut butter cups, multiple cupcakes, and cake truffles. I bought some almond butter cups and a cake truffle. I'm normally a peanut butter gal, but I thought almond butter would be a nice choice since the guy I'm seeing has a mild peanut allergy. He could have one too that way.
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Monday, August 12, 2013

Rabbit Food Grocery - Austin, TX

Right now Rabbit Food Grocery is a pop-up shop in Austin. They're working to open their own store. I placed an order online after speaking with Jessica by email. She agreed to meet our group to personally deliver any orders we placed, so 3 of us placed an order. I got the last bag of Beanfield nacho chips (a vegan Dorito knockoff!), Bee Free Honee made from apples, Food for Lovers queso (an Austin-based business), and some Soy Curls. I also bought the Teese from Rabbit Food, but I accidentally included it in the last photo when I grabbed the cheeses from the fridge. I can't wait for this business to have its own storefront, since it's always cool to support local AND vegan businesses.
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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Wheatsville Co-op - Austin, TX

We stopped at Wheatsville Co-op solely for Treeline nut cheese. I got the garlic-herb variety. It's very garlicky, but I love it! The consistency is great to spread. Yum! I'd highly recommend this nut cheese. I also bought some Mahalo bars, since they're not on the shelves in Houston right now. The company, Go Max Go, is redesigning the packaging because it says dairy-free but they're made in a shared facility. There were some issues about that dairy-free claim, so I grabbed a couple bars when I saw them. I wanted to get the Thumbs Up, but that wasn't on the shelf. One of the guys on the trip loves Almond Joy bars, so he was elated to find these vegan alternatives. I also grabbed some Nacho Mom's queso, even though I've had it before, and a box of buffalo tofu. The tofu was great on sandwiches. They serve it on a po'boy, but we figured a sandwich would get soggy on the ride home. The Teese is actually from the online grocer that I'll mention in my next post, but I accidentally photographed it with this shot. I'm unsure if Wheatsville sells Teese...
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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Counter Culture - Austin, TX

We went to Counter Culture solely for the mac and cheese. They use a rice macaroni and a cashew cheese sauce, baked with broccoli and bread crumbs. Yum. We only ordered a couple ramekins to split among everyone, because we were still stuffed from lunch. I forgot to take a photo of the mac and cheese because I was about to burst at the seams. I did snag this photo from their website though. We got just the mac, but the plate includes two sides.
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Friday, August 9, 2013

Sweet Ritual - Austin, TX

Sweet Ritual is a vegan ice cream counter inside a juice shop. I got the Faux Butterfinger shake, which uses Chic-o-stix candy instead of a dairy-laden Butterfinger bar. This was soooooo good! This was my 2nd favorite thing on the trip. I got to be selfish with this dessert because everyone else was so involved in their fig-balsamic ice cream, "dirt" ice cream (crumbled cookies with gummy worms), and other sweets. I would definitely recommend stopping here for a sweet treat!
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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Casa de Luz - Austin, TX

Casa de Luz is a macrobiotic restaurant and health-focused community center. We went for lunch. There is no menu where you select what you want. They make one meal, so you just get whatever is being served that day. There was a serve yourself salad and soup station, but they brought the entrees to the table. We got a black bean enchilada thing with sun cheese, rice, steamed veggies, blanched greens with almond sauce, and pickled radish. This was a really mellow place and they had some great looking desserts in the case. They had a flan, but I didn't get to try it! This meal was well received. Everyone seemed to love it. Interestingly, at the bottom of the daily menu posting, it lists the workers preparing the food. Very cool.
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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Flagship Whole Foods - Austin, TX

While two of the guys on the road trip stopped for tattoos, the rest of us headed over to the flagship Whole Foods store. We browsed the store, snagging samples of Love Bean spread and picking up items that are hard to find in Houston. One girl bought kale chips because she is obsessed with a certain brand and couldn't walk past them without buying a bag. It set of a frenzy of kale chip chatter. I personally don't really care for kale chips, but several people were curious about the brand she was discussing. I bought some Earth Balance white cheddar crack puffs!, Ricemellow creme (for making rice crispy treats), Sprinkelz (sprinkles), Wizard Worcestershire sauce, and the Love Bean spread we sampled. I bought the Love Bean for the guy I'm seeing. It was the only item he picked out, so I just snuck it onto the conveyer belt with my items.
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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Bouldin Creek Cafe - Austin, TX

After arriving in Austin, we stopped for brunch at Bouldin Creek Cafe. It's not an exclusively vegan establishment, but the menu is very vegan-friendly. My friend always orders the Tofu Renedict and she said we should all try it. Since several people ordered that, I ordered the tamales. Yum! Both dishes were great. The tofu scramble has sooo much nutritional yeast and little crunchy bits of tofu. Nom nom nom. Now I know why my friend practically demanded that we eat brunch here. Several people ordered coffee and tea, which they seemed to enjoy.
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Monday, August 5, 2013

Red Rabbit Bakery Co-op - Austin, TX

Austin is the most vegan-friendly city in Texas and one of the top vegan-friendly cities in the country. It's about 2.5 hours away from Houston. I've only been once for Austin Veg Fest, but one of my friends recently organized a day trip. We had 7 people, mostly vegans, in 2 cars making the trek. We stopped at 6 restaurants, 2 grocery stores, picked up an internet order, and stopped by a tattoo parlor with vegan inks. This was 2 weeks ago, but I'm finally getting the chance to post the pictures. Life has been crazy lately - work, socializing, dating, playing sports, and dealing with the kitties. (Adie's special food gave Mischa bladder crystals!) I'm going to share the pictures of the best thing I ate on the entire trip - vegan donuts! When I lived in Florida, I could get vegan donuts at Whole Foods. I haven't found a single vegan donut in the entire city of Houston, so I made sure to request that the group stop at the Mueller Farmers' Market to get donuts from Red Rabbit Bakery Co-op. I bought the s'mores and raspberry filled donuts, but the guy I'm seeing bought a peach filled donut after having a few bites of my donuts. He went vegan for the month of July and saw his blood pressure drop 20 points! He's sticking with vegetarian for now, since he missed dairy. He eats vegan when we're together, so I think that's a positive sign!
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