Saturday, November 23, 2013

Bueller??? and Recipe For Life

Guess what I am going to say next as you continue reading. Here it is: I can't believe how fast this school semester has gone by. After finals, there is one more semester left, and I am done with grad school…for now.

A wise fictional character and my hero, Ferris Bueller, once said: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

I admit, I had a crush on Ferris.
Until recently, I have not been able to look around once in a while or ever, and I definitely missed out. For example, I used my struggle with social anxiety as the reason from getting to know people in school. I thought that it takes too much effort on my end to try, so why should I?

Now that I have been trying, I am going to tell you that it is worth it. There are awesome, and not so awesome - let's be honest - peeps out there. How will you know which ones are AWESOME if you don't try giving ALL a chance?

Recipe For Life

1/2 cup of bravery
1/2 cup of chance
Dash of humor
1 cup of trial and error, minced
2 cups of raw sweetness, to deal with challenges

Stop and look around to appreciate what you have. Use the ingredients to help you along the way. Happy living!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I Am Not That Cool! and Everything Indian Green Lentil Stew

I have misled myself all this time in thinking that I was somewhat cool. To my surprise, I have been proven otherwise, very recently. I refuse to name names...

Given my history of liking everything that parents do not typically like, including loud and angry music, dressing against the stream with a hint or two of rebellion, and let's not forget about being GOTH for quite some time, I have come to a conclusion that my idea of coolness differs from others immensely. 

I no longer know what's up, and yet I am ok with it, so there!

Stay Cool!  

Everything Indian Green Lentil Stew served over rice. 
Everything Indian Green Lentil Stew

1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil or vegan butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound (16-ounces) small green whole lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 (28-oz can) crushed tomatoes
7 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon crushed fenugreek
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 large bay leaves
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 large cinammon stick
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Cayenne pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon raw cane sugar

Not sure how Blue's picture got here. She's got the cool factor for CERTAIN. 
In a large soup pot, heat oil or vegan butter over a medium heat. Add all the spices, and toast for about 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Mix in lentils, crushed tomatoes, vegetable broth, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook until the lentils are creamy, for about 45 minutes.

Turn off the heat, remove the bay leaves and the cinnamon stick. Taste for salt, and serve over rice of choice.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Pantry Chick Pea Salad and Research Methods - you read it right!

Pantry Chick Pea Salad on a toasted bagel, served with a roasted red bell pepper. 
I had my favorite class today called… Darn, what was it? Research Methods...and I can't help but feel - !@#$%^&* - after each class I attend. I try to be positive and even practice Wonder Woman pose in the bathroom before I step into hell, but I simply cannot make myself interested in it.

Where am I going with all of this? Somewhere good actually. Sometimes the things we hate or fear the most, may be the solutions we seek. For example, I know that I hate Research Methods because I like the written word without numbers (italicized and bolded - I mean business!). At the same time, I think that working through difficulties, such as Research Methods for me at this moment, allows for reflection in regards to how one reacts to obstacles that are inevitable and natural in life.

I am still learning how to calm myself down when upset. How DO YOU handle loathing something?

Post Scriptum - I have gotten my midterm back today from the Research Methods class, and I was not crying about the grade I received. Although I wrote it the night before, I did well. I guess practicing Wonder Woman poses in the bathroom worked!  
Got bagels? Got Vegan Kitty Patrol (VKP) for life. 
Pantry Chick Pea Salad 

1 (15.5-oz can) chick peas, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon organic ketchup
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 to 2 tablespoons unflavored plant milk of choice or vegan mayonnaise
Lemon pepper to taste (I used lots!)
Sea salt to taste
1 tablespoon dried parsley (Add at the end)

Combine chick peas, ketchup, dijon mustard, onion powder, granulated garlic, plant milk, lemon pepper, and sea salt in a food processor, or a high-speed blender. Place in a bowl, add dried parsley and mix well. Taste for salt and serve. That's it!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pasta with Creamy Tomato Sauce and Frustration

Pasta with Creamy Tomato Sauce. I used whole wheat pasta because I am cool like that. 
It is hard to believe it is November already, and that I have not posted anything this month. Midterms kept me busy for quite some time. They also unleashed much despair and chaos onto my life. Well, that was then. Now I face another struggle, which quite honestly is a thorn in my side lately.

What is it? I can't get into much detail for confidentiality reasons, but let's just say that helping people who are not ready to be helped is a challenge. I know it is not about me, and yet me is part of the equation. As much as I try to remove me in efforts to think objectively, it sneaks in. It also takes things personally. I can't help it, I am human. There is a word I thought I would never use in regards to myself.

I am writing this to vent a ton and to also to draw some conclusions. The conclusions I have been able to gather in a neat pink bow thus far are: meet the person where they are, and ride it out with them, even if you sit in a room together, in silence. The wave will break eventually - PLEASE break.


Notice my feline friend Lilah in the background. I think she brings it all together, don't you? 
Pasta with Creamy Tomato Sauce

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 to 5 garlic cloves, minced (I like garlic!)
1 (28-oz can) crushed tomatoes
Freshly ground black pepper (I used lots of it)
Sea salt to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon or less)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon raw cane sugar (I used about 3/4 of a teaspoon)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 cup green peas, defrosted (optional)
1/4 cup raw blanched almonds, slivered and soaked overnight (This is your almond cream for the tomato sauce)

* Cooked pasta of choice. 

To make the cream, soak the almonds in 1 to 2 cups of water, in the refrigerator, overnight.

In a large pan, sauté the onion in oil for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, stir, and continue sautéing for another minute or so. You can add a splash of water instead of additional oil to prevent it from burning.

Add crushed tomatoes, pepper, sugar, oregano, basil, salt, and red pepper flakes. Stir, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to low, and continue cooking for about 15 minutes.

During this time, prepare the pasta of choice and make the cream.

To make the almond cream, drain the almonds, add a splash or two of water and process it in a high powered blender. The cream should yield about 3 tablespoons total. I used all of it in my sauce.

This is what the almond cream should look like. 
Once your tomato sauce is ready, use an immersion blender to make it smooth or if you like it chunky, don't bother. Add the peas, cream and mix well. Taste for seasonings, adjust accordingly.

Ready for pasta!
Serve over pasta of choice.