WIAW: Intervention + A Smile Experiment

In my post about the weekend I mentioned that with all the cakes, pies, cupcakes, cake pops, and other manner of sweet things around the house, I was the burgeoning owner of a MASSIVE sugar addiction.  I’ve never been quite sure why this happens with me; I only know that I seem to have a very addictive personality, and things like desserts and blog-reading and vlog watching are its downfall.

I’ve been trying to “get clean” all week; I’ve improved somewhat, in that I no longer uncontrollably beg for a second slice of cake after finishing a meal, but I still have a ways to go in conquering this craving.  Over this week, I’ve been trying to slowly dial back my sugar consumption–today, I was supposed to go completely no-added-sugar, but, alas, we had muffins in the freezer…

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The day started off well–I had a light (for me) breakfast of Chocolate Covered Katie’s 2-ingredient energy balls (in a lovely Tupperware container), followed by a banana and natural peanut butter.  True, the dates in the energy balls have a lot of sugar packed into their volume, but…I think running justifies this?  Even if one is only running 3 miles..?  Not sure.  Anyway, I needed an energy-packed snack that wouldn’t weigh me down while on the hamster wheel.

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Accompanied with some Celestial Seasonings African Rooibos tea!  I love everything about this tea–from the smell to the taste to the texture to the color.  It’s “red” tea; and, for the record, when the box bragged of cherry and toffee flavors, I thought it was too good to be true…but the stuff is truly like sweet dreams packed into tea bags.  And caffeine-free!  I’m addicted.

(And yup, I read food magazines over breakfast!)

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Lunch was simple–I’d like to say I was writing so much I didn’t really have time to put together a fancy lunch, but the truth is that I’d been telling myself I was going to work on novelling any time now for about the past four hours, and I really didn’t want any lengthy meal-prep to interrupt my procrastination.  So.  Leftover scrambled eggs + veggies in a whole-wheat tortilla it was.

(Afterward I was quite dismayed that I didn’t put any avocado in this, so I ate half an avocado on its own.  Also another tortilla.  Also some swiss cheese, and pickles.  I was HUNGRY, and craving eggy/cheesy/salty things!)

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At around 2 o’ clock, blood sugar levels must have dropped, because the intense sugar (and chocolate) cravings came back again, full-force!  They were quelled temporarily by a lovely (and oh-so-stunning, right? ;))  green–er, brown–smoothie made with banana, milk, spinach, and cocoa powder.  Thick, delicious, and easy to down while writing (which I was actually doing by this point!).
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But, of course, nothing gold can ever stay.  It was 5 o’ clock by the time my thoughts rolled around to dinner, and I was planning to make NeverHomemaker’s baked veggie pockets; alas, the dough required two hours of refrigeration!  I still went ahead and whipped it up as quickly as possible, but I needed something to tide me over until actual dinner could begin–I found solace in two banana-pb-chocolate chip muffins popped from the freezer (saved from breakfast at the Hatchday Party!).

DSCN3362Conveniently, by the time it was time to need to knead the dough (sorry–couldn’t resist!)  not only my blood sugar levels, but my serotonin levels as well, seemed to have dropped markedly, and I had, alas, worked my way deep into the heart of a Cloud of Foo.  (This is a term I coined a couple of years ago to describe the oh-so-lovely and horrific mood swings plummets characteristic of the adolescent brain, and also for the longer bouts of depression characteristic to my brain.)  I’m convinced that kneading, however, was invented by a furious baker, long, long ago, who sought a way to vent his anger without disfiguring the faces of his comrades.  Or perhaps a god of stress management.  At any rate, I felt much better after a heated 10-minute kneading engagement, and after about 20 minutes outside working on my volleyball skills with Family & co.

I was also smiling the entire time I was kneading–not because it had instantly lifted the dreaded Cloud of Foo, but because I, reader of things, had once heard that smiling, even if forced, releases immense amounts of endorphins into one’s brain, thereby instantly cheering them up even if they were formerly in a Cloud of Foo!  (Of course, I didn’t allow any members of Family & Co.  to see me at it; because, as you know, when one is battling a Cloud of Foo, one is too sullen to even attempt to be in an agreeable mood.  One becomes so stubborn that one doesn’t let one’s family see them attempt to smile, for fear that one’s family will think they are cheering up!  The last thing one wants when one is in a sullen mood is to be perceived as anything but sullen.)

Did my 10 minutes of forced smiling have any effect?  Marginally…I think getting my blood stirred up via kneading and volleyball was more efficient, though.  I also headed out to the garage/home gym a while after dinner to bang on the punching bag, and that was relieving.  Still, I think by then I was kind of resigned to feeling crappy for the rest of the day–I’m just looking forward to waking up in the morning, when my Cloud of Foo and I can “reset”.

A final, more WIAW-related line:  I’m drinking some more herbal tea as I type this up.  Partly in the hopes that it will soothe my frenzied mind, and partly because it tastes so awesome.  I think I might read some Bible before hitting the sack.  As I frequently remind you, my religion is as-yet-undecided and ever in flux, but I find it worthwhile for the philosophical value alone.  Nothing like pondering the meaning of life and morality to take your mind of Clouds of Foo.Dramatic Tea and Birthday Cake Baked Oatmeal 003

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MIMM: Hatchday, Pretty Light, Knees, and Insane Decisions

Hey everyone!  How’s your Monday going?

DSCN3124 DSCN3127 DSCN3137 DSCN3143 DSCN3160 DSCN3159Mine’s been pretty…pretty, to say the least.  As a Washingtonian, such flagrant displays of sunshine are something of a rarity, and you can bet your bottom dollar I’ve been taking full advantage of these picture-perfect summer days by frolicking about, soaking up the Vitamin D.

I’ve never really been one of those people who need an extra boost on Mondays to get through the week, even when school/activities are in session–I’ve just never hit the “Monday wall” that I guess so many people run into.  I’ve already confessed my nerdship to you guys–Monday is basically my favorite day of the week!  Not only is it usually pretty light on homework because teachers don’t like to take the time to concoct elaborate assignments over the weekends, school STARTS UP AGAIN and I know it’s going to be the beginning of a (potentially gruelingly) glorious week!

Still, it never hurts to get a little extra boost, even if your biggest worry right now is that the hammock that’s callin’ your name is gonna get lonely.

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The weekend was pretty enjoyable marvelous.  I hosted Citrus’ third hatchday party–I made sad-looking but still (IMO) cute cockatiel cookies and we bopped around outside.  There was a sleepover and we all got very slap-happy.  We were tired in the morning but there were muffins (with both lemon and seeds–perfect for a bird named Citrus!) made by me and a frittata made by Mother Dearest (with potatoes inside–tasted like hashbrowns!!).  I do so love hashbrowns.

Alas, we did not have a circular cookie cutter, so I had to shape the sugar cookie dough (nomnomnom) with a beer-can chicken prop-thing.  (My culinary vocabulary falters when it comes to meat…)

To make the cookies, I used the Savvy Vegetarian cookie dough recipe, this recipe for coconut whip as a frosting (tinted yellow with food coloring), Craisins for eyes, chopped up Watermelon Laffy Taffy for the beaks, and mangled “orange slices” candies for the orange cheek circles.DSCN3042 DSCN3052

This totally didn't happen what are you talking about.  Not straight from the beater, never.

This totally didn’t happen what are you talking about. Not straight from the beater, never.

I wouldn't recommend using A Taste of Thai coconut milk (pretty popular brand) for the whip--it has some sort of stabilizer added that prevents it from working too nicely.  I used...whatever this brand is.

I wouldn’t recommend using A Taste of Thai coconut milk (pretty popular brand) for the whip–it has some sort of stabilizer added that prevents it from working too nicely. I used…whatever this brand is.

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Beaks!  Haha

Beaks! Haha

Aaaaand the final result.  Bit homely, but that’s okay! 🙂

Citrus approves.

Citrus approves.

Other marvelous things today…

Can we talk patella bracing for a sec?  I’m in love.  I don’t think that’s hyperbole.  Anything that was enough to lift me out of the forced 8-month running break thanks to these dang knees is virtually a Messiah in my eyes.  (I think it was probably the braces in adjunct with my rest, stretching, physical therapy, orthotics, supportive shoes, and therapeutic ultrasounds, but hey, whatever works…)  To my surprise, I haven’t lost all of my (nonexistent to begin with) running prowess, and the braces allowed me to attend my first *OFFICIAL* XC practice last Friday!  I hope to attend two more this week!  We’ll see how that goes…alas, my mileage maximum right now is approximately 3.  (Maybe four on the hamster wheel?)  By the end of the summer we’re supposed to be easily running 8…

This brings me to my first INSANE DECISION OF THE DAY!  This one is way less insane than my other one, but it’s still a big thrill for me.  I signed up for another 5k!!  This one’s on August 24th, and, while running in the heat ain’t exactly my cup of tea, I’m beyond stoked!  If I can even get close to my time on my first-and-only 5k, then it will be a huge reassurance for me that, though my knees doth plague me, I can get my kickassery and (somewhat) speed back with enough motivation.  (To any “serious” runners out there reading this:  I know a 5k is not a huge distance.  It’s kind of a menial race.  But, alas, my body is NOT DESIGNED FOR RUNNING WHATSOEVER [sitting and blogging is more my speed, how ’bout you?] and a 5k is a big deal to me!)

Sweet Potato Chocolate Pancakes 009(Throwback to the morning of my first 5k, waiting in the starting line.  Pay no attention to the ominous disembodied hand on my shoulder; someone else is cropped out.  And notice the fear hiding behind the forced smile–the glazed eyes, the overall absent disposition.  I was convinced I was going to die that day.)

Incidentally, you know what’s harder than running a 5k?

………………………..Biking two hundred and two miles.

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Yeah, it’s insane.  We’ve covered this.  And it will require buying a new bike, and/or some road tires for my current trusty steed mountain bike.  But recently (yesterday-recently), la madre de una de mis amigas (I’m not sure why I phased into Spanish here, but I couldn’t think how to word it in English) participated in the Cascade Bicycle Club/Group Health Seattle-to-Portland bike ride, a one- or two-day event that spans a total of 202-point-something miles.  Which gave me a sudden and intense burst of inspiration.  It’s a recreational ride, not a race, but from my extensive Googling of the thing last night it looks. epic.  And everyone says you need to dream big and set high goals to keep your morale buoyed, right?  So.  I’ve got a year to train.  I post this to the internet so I can’t back down–next year, Daddio and I will be participating in the 2014 Seattle-to-Portland ride.  And we will rock that epic $#*@.

Much moreso than for running, my body (and quads) like biking.  While the farthest ride I’ve ever taken to date was just 40 miles with lots of hills, and I died afterwards–I’ve got a year.  Best get on this.

Ahh.  The inevitable foot selfie.  (For some reason I just tried to spell “foot” as “fut”…)  Daddio and I went on a short (10 mile?) ride today, and I plan to get some running on the hamster wheel done as well.  Fitness, here I come!

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And arrachgha, yes, I need to do a poemography post today, since I’ve skipped out on that for, what, three weeks?!  Problem is, I only have one line to work with… #poetictrialsandtribulations

“Rather than people who shine–

I like people who glow

is the line, but I’m not sure how to weave that into a poem.  Would it be all right if poemography was extended to flash fiction?  I know I made the rules, but you guys can change them.  I’ll luv ya forever 😉

Yesterday

(oh look, here I go again with the uber-creative titles!  Next one will be witty, I…er, promise…)

So here I am with that thing I said I was going to do that now I kind of have to do because I told the internet about it.  Funny how that works out.


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So yesterday I started off, perhaps slightly ambitiously, on this new thing by heading straight for the kale.  At least I stuck with traditional, refined pasta and swapped out good ol’ familiar steamed green beans for asparagus (I can’t even stomach the stuff–I know there are plenty of spear-savorers out there but I can’t get myself on board!)  And Mother Dearest likes tomatoes–I do, after something has been done to them (roasting, saucifying, drying, etc.)  Fun fact:  I cannot stand raw tomatoes!  Apparently, however, I (against my own free will) ingested about a pint of them per day in utero…I probably overdosed as a fetus, hence my aversion to those salty sweet fruit impersonators to this day.

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Such a glamorous pic, right?  Complete with the coffee-stained counter and ever-faithful geriatric Magic Bullet…he’s like a friend to me.  I love him so.

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I vant to suck your blood… *hisses*

There’s something so wonderfully ironic about fanged vampire garlic that a pic had to be posted.  Would it ward itself off?  
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Oh, look how purty!DSCN3005 DSCN3009

And here’s my failed attempt at a setup, thrown together in the midst of a gnawing-my-own-arm-off-so-let’s-shoot-the-dang-thing-quickly mania.  Look, there’s a prop!–a dessicated lemon!–so it counts.  Oh, dear, can we make that a hashtag?  #gnawingmyownarmoffsoletsshootthedangthingquickly

It’s even funnier more disturbing if you take it out of food photography context.

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Gettin’ all up in mah food’s business…

Happily, you don’t need a prop to get a nice close-up texture shot!  I felt all fancy-like and used the good dishes, and topped each serving with some sliced almonds and fresh-grated parmesan.

This actually went over pretty well, despite the (shhh, hidden) kale:  Mother Dearest approved, Daddio made a rather funny face and said “You got carried away with one of the herbs in this…fennel or oregano or something,” which was hilarious because there are absolutely NO herbs in this dish, save the garlic, if that counts.  😀 (But he did proceed to eat the whole bowl!) It was very lemony, though, and I think perhaps the EVOO flavor shone through a bit much.  At any rate, found it delicious, and am appreciating leftovers cold as lunches now.

So, overall, chalk up this Meatless Tuesday as a success!  I think the pasta and parmesan helped 🙂  Slowly but surely, we can work our way up to TVP…tofu…hemp seeds…Mwoohahahahahaha. 😉

Summer Resolutions

Resolutions are usually mystical entities declared by adults ’round the world come the beginning of a new year, in a champagne-, guilt-, and glitter-induced stupor–the doomed declarations that this year, this time, one shall finally “whittle their middle”, swear off the sweet stuff, wean away from Pinterest, and clean up one’s act.

This summer, I say hoshposh! to this madness.

I don’t recall making any New Year’s resolutions myself this year–stops, consults blog archives–no, whew, I didn’t.  I attribute this mainly to the midterms taking place around that time (exam stress can justify anything).  Honestly, I wonder if any student actually has time for such things.  The whole notion of a New Year’s Resolution seems rather pointless to me, as it is seldom followed through and often made simply because the resolver is under the influence of heavy peer pressure and one too many drinks…

But I am going to make some Summer Resolutions here, specifically summer blogging resolutions.  Much more practical notions.  Summer, at least for me, is the season of infinite motivation and willpower, as well as infinite free time (well, not really; but there’s more of it).  And I feel, at least up to this point, that I have not been making the best use of these resources.  So, behold the list:

The Girl in the Orange’s Summer Resolutions:

1.  Cook!  I don’t know how it happened–shall I attribute this, too, to schoolwork stress?–but somewhere over the course of the school year I decided that there was simply no longer enough time to cook dinner, so I resorted to such things as canned soups, frozen lasagnas and veggie burgers, and hummus/veggie/tortilla wraps…even on the days where I came home and blogged for hours.  I call myself a foodie–where was my pride?  Over the summer, I want to put this

Perks of being an aspiring cook, living in a kind vegetarian-packed city, and telling everyone you know about it.  (Most of these were free.)

Perks of being an aspiring cook, living in a kind vegetarian-packed city, and telling everyone you know about it. (Most of these were free.)

along with the farmer’s market’s current summer bounty, to good use–maybe even pick up a few new techniques or flex my recipe developing “skills” again.  Some blogosphere dishes I’m eyeing?  The Smart Kitchen’s TVP Cinnamon-Cocoa Mole; The Kitchn’s restaurant spin-off Beet Black Bean Burgers; Crock Pot Curried Lentils from Peanut Butter Fingers (not really the right season for this, but oh well); and, of course, all things Oh She Glows.  Basically, everything on my sprawling recipe Pinterest board.

Additionally, I want to get back to more food here on TGITO!!  I know I’ve kinda left it on the back burner, except for a few WIAW posts, in favor of writing-related entries, because that’s so much of what’s going on in my life right now–but, I assure you, I have not abandoned my voracious ways.

2.  Fit this Chick!  Ever since my knees said “Adios!  I don’t like you; I think you’re gross,” (you will be my new best friend if you get the song reference), exercise and healthy eating has also been on the back burner for me.  My thought process, upon injury, was something like Oh, woe is me–bring on the chocolate!!!  Unfortunately, 6 7 8 months of such thought patterns takes its toll on one’s body.  I have become rather…squishy.

I am currently working on scheming up a strict fitness regimen for the rest of the summer, based on other Summer Shapeup plans drifting around the blogosphere–because I want to actually go out for sports next year, getting into shape is going to be a huge priority over the next couple of months!  (And hey, here’s another, non-writing-related thingy to blog about, as a bonus!)

3.  Stop, savor, scribble.  I live in the 21st century–I do a lot of going.  Going online, going to the grocery store, going to get my priorities together, going to scream, going to the loo, going insane…  *WARNING**WARNING**IMPENDING CLICHE*  Our society, as a whole, doesn’t take nearly enough time to slow downsimplify, stop and smell the roses.  (Oh, I can attest an affinity for alliteration, what about you?)  For the writer that I consider myself, this pace is not an altogether agreeable one.

Last month, I took to carrying a little notebook and mechanical pencil around with me at ALL TIMES in my purse…*pats self on back* This was a wonderful decision.  I didn’t realize the HUGE amount of little observations and inspirations that zip through my mind on a daily basis–I could probably begin a new novel every day, with all the places my mind jumps to–it’s just a matter of capturing them.  If I don’t bother to take a few seconds out of my day to scrawl them down, they are ALWAYS gone by the time I am sitting in front of my laptop, waiting for inspiration to buzz through my fingertips and onto the keyboard.

So…this Summer I Solemnly Swear I will Stop, Savor, and Scribble Selflessly and Studiously!

4.  Achieve Equinox.

This is a little euphemism I thought up a few months ago, which I found rather clever at the time.  It translates to finish my current novel.

Allow me to explain: the title of my current novel is Thaw (and I’m sort of trying to keep most of the other details on the hush-hush until Equinox, so bear with me here [did I really just say hush-hush?])–when I complete this novel, it will mean that Thaw is completed, and when the thaw is completed, then you know what that means?

It’s obviously the Vernal Equinox.

😀

In my defense, I was never going to tell you guys about this.  I think I thought it up when I was very, very tired (similar to now).  Feel free to throw rotten tomatoes at your computer screen; to lessen your angst, I will once again provide you with this:Infographic

Might I remind you that I never claimed to be normal.

–ANYWHOS, yes, I am participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this year–first time ever!  I plan to achieve Equinox sometime before the Summer Solstice, and then I can get started on editing and all that jazz.  (And then I will need beta readers! Wink-wink).  Thus, my blogging during July will probably be salted with sleep deprivation-induced hysteria, much like this post.  That’ll be fun, right, guys??!

If I happen to connect with any other NaNoers through this post, and, even after all this blather, they’re willing to be cabin mates, message me on the Camp Site (ha-ha) @The Girl in the Orange!  (But I call dibs on top bunk.)

So…that’s all for now, folks.  What about you?  How are you planning on seizing the season of superlative motivation and surmountable time?  (Yes…I realize I’m trying much too hard now…)

Marvelous in My (May) Monday

I really, REALLY do not have time to post today.

Please try to pretend that my presence here makes complete sense.  Even nod your head in realization, or tap the side of your temple as though you have been struck with truth.  I appreciate your humoring of me.

I HAD to post today, because I feel like I am kicking off what is the biggest week of the school year (for me)–presentations, tests, and reflections galore…translation: STRESS.  Fitting in the time to also blog, be active, cook whole foods, and not turn into a ball of high-strung cortisol is going to be difficult.

The whole point of Marvelous in my Monday is to “infuse” the glory of the weekend (which was, incidentally, quite homework-infused as well) into the coming week…to level one’s head, remind them of the good times that are only five agonizingly long days away…

So.  Weekend things.

Spoken Word Night

Okay, so, technically this wasn’t during the weekend, but it was still the highlight of my week (year?) and I WILL RELIVE IT NOW, mmkay? 😀

DSCN1720One of the many benefits of poetry nights is that I feel completely justified in “eating” a smoothie for dinner (this was banana, milk, Vega Vanilla protein powder, and spinach)–no danger of getting food particles stuck in my teeth! 😀  One of the many benefits of green smoothies is that I feel no pressure to try to take an aesthetically pleasing photograph–just, why try?

I tried to commemorate the commute on the way to the library; I rediscovered how extra-ordinarily BAD I am at taking pictures of myself:

DSCN1727…Yeah.  Like…I don’t even know.

I tried to revert to the generic teenage girl “peace” sign, and that was funny.

DSCN1726I’m not really a generic teenage girl, okay?

On the way back home, the sunset over the water was gorgeous (does it say something ominous about my personality that I love sunsets much more than sunrises?):

DSCN1737Hello Spring, did you get work done?  I must say, you’re lookin’ mi-T-fine…

In terms of how the May Shapeup is going…

Well, we had a wonderful Trader Joe’s run on Sunday, with some money I’d earned a few months ago.  I really meant to take pictures of the actual trip, but alas!  As always, I was too flabbergasted by the sheer quantity of foods that make my tastebuds sing to remember much of anything.  Including the list Some extra stuff added up in the cart as well.

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Like Goddess salad dressing!!  Man, I’m addicted already.  I usually just go with EVOO + vinegar in terms of salad dressing, so this was my little splurge here; actually, it probably wasn’t even much of a splurge.  I’m noticing I eat more salads when I don’t have to make the dressing…especially when it’s as awesomesauce as this!!  Win.

did get some food prep on Sunday done, as well–a first!–which involved cooking up bulk batches of both quinoa and mixed beans (so versatile!):

I definitely consider quinoa a supergrain--it's delicious, full of protein and nutrients, and it always cooks up so freaking fluffy!!  Every time.  It can withstand even MY culinary wrath, so I'm pretty confident anyone can cook it.

I definitely consider quinoa a supergrain–it’s delicious, full of protein and nutrients, and it always cooks up so freaking fluffy!! Every time. It can withstand even MY culinary wrath, so I’m pretty confident anyone can cook it.

Beans, beans...please ignore the inSANE amount of clutter in the sink!

Beans, beans…please ignore the inSANE amount of clutter in the sink!

I was on a roll at this point, and decided to blend up 2 or three green smoothies to freeze into pops for after-school snacks:  into the blender (per smoothie) went 1 banana, 1 cup milk, 1 heaping spoonful natural peanut butter, 1 scant spoonful of unsweetened cocoa powder, and LOTS of spinach.

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I do believe that's an action shot right there!  Thanks tripod!

I do believe that’s an action shot right there! Thanks tripod!

Except, erm...I may have been a little too focused on the camera hand, rather than the pouring hand, here.

Except, erm…I may have been a little too focused on the camera hand, rather than the pouring hand, here.

Aw dang.

Aw dang.

Well, I got that cleaned up, and the smoothies got frozen (I enjoyed one after school today, in fact–it’s so beastly hot here).  Once I ran out of popsicle molds, I switched to making “smoothie poppers”–I took some reusable silicone muffin liners, plopped them into a muffin tin and froze for a few hours.  Once they were solid, I popped them out of the liners and transferred them to a freezer bag–this way I can just blend and sip on those mornings when I crave a smoothie ASAP.

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Note the planting potatoes chopped up in the background--a sure sign of Spring gardening ahead!

Note the planting potatoes chopped up in the background–a sure sign of Spring gardening ahead!

Last, but certainly not least, some sun tea was brewed!  I love it so, so much–I’m nursing a glass as I type this up.  Sometimes I get sick of water (though I do drink plenty of that, don’t you worry), and I think this is an excellent alternative to sugary juices!

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Livin’ the life.

What was marvelous in YOUR Monday? 😉

Monthly Recap: March 2013

March is always an exciting month.  Firstly, THIS year, it marks the 2-year anniversary of the month I went vegetarian! (Can’t remember the exact date…)  Without that fateful decision, I have no doubt that this blog would not EXIST right now…so that’s special.  🙂  Along with vegeversary, March contains Pi Day, the end of the second school trimester (accchhhh school year is almost over!), Pi Day, LOTS of birthdays in my social circles (I’m broke, folks), Pi Day, and, of course, that tantalizing prospect of Spring Break just…barely…out of reach.

March didn’t really “fly by” for me either, in stark contrast to what ALL MY OTHER monthly recaps tend to begin with.  Maybe because I’m not running..?  Anyway, while it was sort of a drawling month, I DID get a lot accomplished!  I finally started Physical Therapy, actually did something in the way of recipe developing, memorized 433 digits of pi, HAD MY KNEES DIAGNOSED, and, oh, yeah, WON A NATIONAL AWARD FOR MY POETRY and GOT SUPER PSYCHED FOR MY NYC TRIP TO RECEIVE IT COME MAY30th.  It was pretty exciting month, overall, for this girl and her future..!

Enough jabber.  I know no one reads the above overarching list anyway.  Onto the gist of things:

One month of The Girl in the Orange in terms of…

…food:

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Things were no less exciting in the eats department!  In addition to the new breakfast recipes (of course I’m going to start blabbing about this again…I’m just so dang tickled with myself!) added to the Recipes page this month, I certainly got creative with some snacks…

Exhibit A.  The above is a bowl of sweet cereal mixed with salty cheddar cheese…what can I say?  It was late at night, I was deep into a history-induced hysteric haze…and I was having a MAJOR sweet and salty craving!  And CHEESE!  I wanted CHEESE!  Somehow I figured sugar would be helpful to my homework efforts as well……like I said, it was late.  That snackage happened and it was a dynamite combination!  I now have a theory that one simply CANNOT go wrong with a sweet/salty combination…carrots and peanut butter, sweet potatoes and almond butter, pie, french fries and ice cream, CHOCOLATE AND PEANUT BUTTER, and now cereal and cheese…I can sense unlimited possibilities here.  Has anyone out there ever enjoyed other “unconventional” sweet and salty combinations? 🙂

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Ah, another memorable meal: salad beast.  Romaine lettuce, TJ’s broccoli slaw, peppers, shredded cheddar, TJ’s “chicken-less strips” and Italian vinaigrette…inhaled immediately after a one-hour strength training session.  Man, you know a workout was good when your arms are shaking too much to hold the camera steady for dinner photos! 🙂

 

…photography:

The above breakfast photos were really my favorites; there was this one as well

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which is okay, but my perfectionistic tendencies find fault with it.  I won’t tell you what it is, just in case you don’t see it yet!  But yes, it bothers me.

Mother Dearest also remarked “this is pretty!” upon seeing this new daffodil photo, so I had to include it again.

DSCN1111Success!  Parental approval!  Blogging is slowly redeeming itself as a profitable hobby in their eyes…

…things that made me smile:

I have a friend with synesthesia who this month told me that my name, and my voice, are like a bright orange streak.

*pauses for emphasis*

*pauses for emphasis*

*still pausing for EXTRA emphasis*

 

Have you processed it yet, guys??  I AM A BRIGHT ORANGE STREAK.

I mean, seriously.  This is like my dream. 🙂

On a more whimsical note, physical therapy has taken a weird but humorous note–have you heard of therapeutic ultrasounds?

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They’re quite relaxing. 😉  Also, there’s jelly on my knee.  There’s JELLYON my KNEE.  Also, there’s jelly on my knee.  Something about this… I just couldn’t stop giggling all through my last session.

WIAW: Clean out the Fridge!

Whew!  Hello beautiful readers!  Sorry for the radio silence over the past week; I was too busy living this awesome life I’ve been given.

^That’s my new standard excuse.  Who has the nerve to argue with that? 🙂

What I Ate Wednesday is the perfect catalyst to get back into blogging and this wonderful creative process…who doesn’t love a linkup?  This WIAW will also be UNIQUE, because of the happy proximity of Spring Break!–dontcha wish you were still in school, adults? :)–and thus, VACATIONS.  The only things I DON’T like about vacations are the plane descents–my Eustachian tubes always feel like they’re going to actually explode!  It doesn’t help that I recently read a story about a man whose eardrum “actually exploded (during a plane descent), spurting blood onto the white shirt of the passenger next to him”…

That unsavory prospect aside, I’ve been known to enjoy some atypical things about traveling.  For one: airports!  I was sharing this at school last week and was shocked to learn that other people don’t hallow these beautiful places like I do…I could spend all my life in an airport!  It’s so poetic; just a hub of diverse humanity, people arriving and leaving, people from here and people from o’er yonder, all mingling in one location with the awesome moving walkways… sorry, small-town-hick that I am, I never cease to be impressed by these things!

Second unconventional traveling love: clean-out-the-fridge eats.  Nothing encourages culinary creativity like having to use up EVERYTHING!  So, without further ado, today’s:

Breakfast

Heavy strength training yesterday for stress busting=EGGS for breakfast today!  I was craving both sweet AND savory, so I brewed up some chocolate tea and whipped up a scramble with sauteed onions and eggs, added in some spinach, and heaped it all (not the tea) onto a wonderfully overflowing Trader Joe’s whole wheat hotdog bun.  Accompanying the sammich was an unpictured apple.

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Eh…none too pretty.

Tupperware Time

The only thing I would do differently about WIAW if I hosted it would be to have it fall on a day other than Wednesday!  I mean…on the weekends, say, I can actually take the time to make my food look decent and presentable, whereas school days are a mess of mass microwaving, random combinations, and boxing things up as fast as possible.  Oh well…at least it’s more exciting..? 🙂

Like Laura, I consider it a personal failure if no one gives me a strange look when I take out my lunch for the day.  This has already happened twice this week with my latest combo…

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Yes, I plated this (or tried to) on purpose…the tupperware was killing me! No aesthetic pleasure WHATSOEVER…

A baked microwaved sweet potato STUFFED with almonds (for a lack of almond butter…) and sprinkled with mass cinnamon!  Dessert for lunch!

Oh, but don’t think that stopped me from packing a REAL sweet treat–

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That would be yogurt topped with sliced banana, cocoa powder and stevia.

Alongside these sweet-tooth-satiaters, I packed some leftovers of Oh She Glows’ Roasted Buddha Bowl I whipped up a few days ago…too bad I picked out and ate most of the chickpeas on the first night! ;P

Yummmm...

Yummmm…

Spork time! ;P

Spork time! ;P

Some mooching sharing of my friend’s chocolate occurred at lunchtime as well. 😉

Snackage

I’m always STARVING when I get home.  My after-school snack is usually something of a small fourth meal–I need ENERGY to power me through workouts, homework, cooking and blogging!  Today I was craving the cheese something fierce, so I whipped myself up a little quesadilla with shredded cheddar and spinach.

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See, you can tell my tortilla is healthy…it has seeds in it.

Dinner was the remains final leftovers of the Buddha Bowl…

Yummmm...Why, yes, that is the same picture as for my lunch serving…don’t look now, folks!

More yogurt and a handful of almonds (both unpictured) happened after dinner as well.

Now I just need to eat my way through one more head of broccoli, a carton of milk, some sour cream, some pumpkin, greens…we’ll be off without leaving a trail of food waste in our wake!  Man, if there’s one thing I absolutely HATE, it’s perfectly good, nutritious food going to waste…

 

 

–The Girl in the Orange

Healthy Pumpkin Pi Pancakes

I attend a school for nerds.

It’s the truth.  We all admit it.  We’re gifted and talented labrats with giant glasses and braces, skipping grades left and right, and heckyeah we’re proud of it.

Which is why the title of this post actually does NOT contain a typo.  I do sincerely hope you  realize the significance of this particular day of the year.  March 14; 3/14.  Also known as the first three digits of the ratio pi.  Also known as National Pi Day.  Also known as the best non-school-excusing holiday of the year.

Every year for three years in a row, preceding my school’s annual Pi Recitation Contest, I’ve done my best to memorize as many digits as possible and thus clinch Pi-Memorizer-Victory, and by extension, the grand prize: a whole homemade piE, all to myself.  The first year I competed it was cherry (won with 181 digits), the second year, apple (secured via 348 digits); and it was indeed apple again this year.

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😀

YES, PEOPLE: I HAVE ONCE AGAIN SECURED THE TITLE OF PI MASTER!!

I was really hoping to memorize 500 digits this year, since it seemed final and awesome and I’ll be leaving the school next year so I kind of wanted to “go out with a bang”, but sadly I forgot a “26” somewhere in there and ended up with a grand total of 433 digits past the decimal point.

3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841971 69399375105820974944592307816406286208998628034825342 11706798214808651328231664709384460955058223172535940812 84811174502 8410270193852 110555964462294895493038196442881097 5665933446128475648233786 7831652712109091456485669234603486 1045432664821339360726024914 12737245870066063155 881748815209209 6282925409171536436789259036001133105305488204665213 8414695194151160943315727036575959195309218611738193!!

But, this post is not about pi.  Well, it kind of is.  Happy Pi Day!  Mainly it’s about piE, specifically Pumpkin PiE pancakes that I’ve been enjoying for breakfasts all week…you know, for preparation. 😉  They’re super healthy and contain a #strangebutgood secret ingredient!!

When I saw Heather at Kiss my Broccoli playing around with including “riced” cauliflower in her pancake and dessert recipes, I knew my own recipe testing would not be far behind.  Before I even realized what was happening, I had whipped up THREE batches of these cauliflower pancakes (though without the coconut flour, alas), and was working my way toward my own modified version.  I managed to include the stuff of the gods, peanut butter (though any other nut butter would also work here [try almond or pecan!]), make it more pi(e)-like, and squeeze in yet another vegetable.  And yet, yes, it still tastes like a sweet breakfast! 🙂

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Recipe: Healthy Pumpkin Pi Pancakes  (1 serving)

-2T flour of choice (I used white-whole-wheat)

-Half-scoop vanilla protein powder (I’ve heard of something like cinnamon protein powder too…if you have it, try it out here!)

-1/4 t baking powder

-1 t pumpkin pie spice (or blend cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg)

-1/4 c riced cauliflower (pulse raw cauli in food processor until pureed, or the consistency of rice)

-1 egg

-splash almond extract

-3 T canned pumpkin

-2 T milk of choice

Instruction:

Coat a skillet with cooking spray, butter, or oil, and set over medium heat.

Mix dry ingredients (spice, flour, protein powder, and baking powder) together in a small bowl.  (You don’t need much bigger than cereal-bowl-sized).  Mix wet ingredients together in a separate bowl, and stir both mixtures together until incorporated.  Scoop picakes onto skillet (they will not bubble like traditional mixes), and cook for about 5 minutes on either side. Once plated, top/stack them with the aid of Peanut Butter Pumpkin Cream!:

Ingredients:

-2T peanut butter/nut butter of choice

-2T canned pumpkin

-2t maple syrup

-1t molasses (blackstrap, if you like)

-sprinkle of each cinnamon and nutmeg

Instructions: Mix 🙂

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Top picakes with more cinnamon, and enjoy.

DSCN1072That’s my orange pi shirt, and I quite enjoy it.  On the plate are my orange pumpkin piecakes, and I quite enjoyed them. 🙂

Happy Pi Day! 😀

Fauxtmeal Success: Sweet-or-Savory Cream of Quinoa

In my quest to fill the void that my necessary abandonment of oats (know them and love them, friends) has left in my soul, I’ve been experimenting with countless different takes on the hot cereal–“fauxtmeals”, if you will.  You name it, I’ve tried it–tofu fauxtmeal, egg white fauxtmeal, paleo fauxtmeal, and other hot cereals like cream of rice and wheat.  The sad truth is, nothing could live up to the nutritional and delicious legacy that oats had left behind.  The texture–oats were chewy and toothsome, my friends.  They blended so perfectly with runny nut butter and they lent themselves to endless flavor combinations and they were a wellspring of iron and protein and soluble fiber and they were oats

Hallelujah!

Hallelujah!

In the end, I couldn’t recreate oats.  My newest breakfast staple doesn’t taste remotely the same, but it retains that comforting warm creamy hot cereal aspect, it’s still scrumptious in its own right, and it delivers an equal, if not even more powerful, nutritional punch than its predecessor.  Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you…

Cream of Quinoa.

Cream of Quinoa is a little bit like polenta and a little bit like cream of rice, but mostly it’s like Cream of Quinoa and does not deserve to be pitted against other hot cereals in a quest for oatmeal resemblance.  It’s simply a nutritious and delicious quickie breakfast.

Cream of Quinoa tastes good drizzled with olive oil, cheese, coarse salt and black pepper like grits….

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…and Cream of Quinoa tastes good prepared with a sweetener and some fruit like “traditional” oatmeal (here, I’ve paired it with some cream cheese, honey, and blueberries).

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Recipe: Cream of Quinoa

-1 cup quinoa

-5.5 cups water

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and rinse quinoa in a sieve.

2.  Arrange quinoa evenly in an enclosed (edged) baking sheet and blot with a paper towel to absorb excess rinsing water.

3.  Toast quinoa in oven for ~12 minutes, giving it a good stir every five minutes or so.  (You could also probably toast the quinoa in a skillet!)

4.  Allow quinoa to cool, and send it through the spice grinder, food processor, or, in my case, the Magic Bullet (with the “grinding” blades, not the “blending” blades).  It should turn from the consistency of, well, quinoa, into a soft sort of flour…it feels and looks like golden sand.

This...

This…

To this!

To this!

5. Now two roads diverge in a yellow wood…

For a single-serving microwave breakfast:

Take 1/4 cup of your toasted quinoa flour, mix with 3/4 cup water (or milk of choice) in a deep bowl (it will poof), and microwave on high for 1 minute–stir WELL–and another minute.  Let cool and top!

To prepare a bunch of future breakfasts on the stovetop:

First, mix the full batch of quinoa flour with 1 cup of the water and allow to sit.  Bring the remaining water to a boil.  Combine the flour-water mixture with the boiling water, cover, reduce heat to low-medium and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Let cool and top!  There are endless topping combinations…let your imagination run wild! 😀

Monthly Recap: February 2013

Recap in a sec, but first:

HAPPY NATIONAL PEANUT BUTTER LOVER’S DAY, GUYS!!

On such a monumentous occasion, it is very tragic that my peanut butter jar is in such an (empty) state.

On such a monumentous occasion, it is very tragic that my peanut butter jar is in such an (empty) state.

I was so, so thrilled that I remembered to check the Hallmark every-holiday-ever calendar yesterday, especially since I missed the actual national peanut butter day.  (Good thing there’s a day just for the fans.)  I mean, seriously, why didn’t someone tell me?

Maybe you can celebrate by making something, special for tomorrow’s breakfast, like, say, Apple PB Baked Oatmeal. 😉  Or maybe, since tomorrow is National Banana Creme Pie Day, you will choose to whip up some 2-Ingredient Banana Creme and top it off with some peanut butter/sauce…!  The possibilities are endless.  Let your imagination run wild!

Onto February stuff. 🙂

So, during the month of February, I…

acted in a school play, didn’t run at ALL (still) and remained bitter about it, figured out a (somewhat) way to keep my fitness schedule on track even so (hello, strength training and yoga!), became even more enamored with oatmeal now that I can no longer eat it, practiced yoga in a real yoga studio for the first time evah, did a lot of…pondering, took a barefoot walk in the rain, wrote some things, and…acted in a school play.  Rather underwhelming, huh?; but what’re you gonna do.  It was a short month, somehow made even shorter by the lack of a breezy 30-minute run every day.  I told you.  Bitter.

(dramatic sigh) Anyway, now, the feature you’ve all been waiting for:

One month of The Girl in the Orange in terms of…

…food:

I did have some culinary breakthroughs this month, though I wasn’t as creative with coming up with my own flavor combinations as I would have liked.  Most recently, I went on a Trader Joe’s run a few weeks ago and ate the first tamale of my life.  I’m not quite sure why this seemed like as big of a deal as it did, but there you have it.  Sadly, it rather disappointed.  I was expecting it to be something like a Mexican dumpling, and instead all I get is this dry corn dough lumped together with a bunch of gooey cheese, corn kernels, and an attempt at jalapeno.  *Sniffs disdainfully*

Speaking of dumplings, I also made my first dumpling stew last month; a recipe from Allyson Kramer’s Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats.  Except that now that we’re fairly certain my knee problems are not being caused by a gluten sensitivity and that makes me very happy, I promptly re-glutinified it.  It was highly delicious and highly brown (highly NOT photogenic); the dumplings taste like big gobs of homemade pasta dough and I <3, <3.  Comfort food at its finest.

…photography:

*Hangs head in shame* What do I really have to say for myself here, guys?  That running has left me too scatterbrained to participate in any of my usual creative activities…?  (I’ve already used that excuse multiple, multiple times, for multiple, multiple things.)  That my food/life has not been very aesthetically pleasing as of late..?  I’m sorry.  I know I make a lot of promises here, but this time when I say I’ll work on it (it being the frequency/quality of my photography), I truly mean it.  As halfway-compensation, in lieu of a proper photography section, here are some snapshots from the month:

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I love this picture; but sorry for the smudged face.

Never in my life have I seen a dog that looks more like a walrus.

Never in my life have I seen a dog that looks more like a walrus.

Citrus does not take kindly to his head-scritching session being intruded on by a big ugly camera.

Citrus does not take kindly to his head-scritching session being intruded on by a big ugly camera.

A flub, obviously--I was intending to get the whole Citrus (only the Citrus, and nothing but the Citrus), but I rather enjoy how this mistake looks, with his feet on my shoulder.

A flub, obviously–I was intending to get the whole Citrus (only the Citrus, and nothing but the Citrus), but I rather enjoy how this mistake looks, with his feet on my shoulder.

…things that made me smile:

My poetry winning a contest that you can’t know about because it would tell you my name! 🙂  Ranting about my undying love for chocolate to my friends, on Valentine’s Day and beyond…I have made the resolution never to date a boy until I find one that makes me feel like chocolate makes me feel.  Chocolate makes me feel beautiful and respectable and appreciated and loved and YUMMMM.

I have to close with this since it's no longer my header. :)  Happy March.

I have to close with this since it’s no longer my header. 🙂 Happy March.