Let’s chat.

Have you ever seen those “coffee-date”-format blog posts, where you and the blogger are seated across a virtual table sipping on respective caffeinated drinks, and supposedly you’re talking to each other but really the blogger is just droning on and on about their lives while you stare at pictures of said drinks?

Well, aren’t you in for a treat.

Have a lovely, classy, monochrome cappuccino.  It tastes wonderful; warm, smooth, and a bit bitter–and you’ve got a brownie to wash down too, it’s just been cropped due to Instagram’s weird photo shaping lens.

Firstly, I want to say, thanks for the responses to my last post!  I really feel like I’ve been welcomed back with open arms.  Muchas gracias!! (As a side note, though: wth are you people doing commenting at 6:30 AM?? Sleep, sleep, my children.  We are on winter break!  Am I the only proper teenager here?  I myself only slithered out of bed at 10 this morning because I needed to get food in me and make sure that last post published.  I’m quite sure I could sleep all day if I didn’t get hungry.)

And obviously, since I’ve been gone for so long, there’s things that have happened since my last post that I need to fill y’all in on.  Not anything big or scary, just a bunch of mildly exciting pit stops on the road of everyday life.

  1. I performed my poem ‘The Professional Aimless Wanderer’ two months ago at the Washington State Poet Laureate’s reading.  The last word you all received on this endeavor was that I was having a hell of a time trying to write something.  I never succeeded, instead digging into my poem backlogs to scrounge up something suitable.  It went over quite well, though, and it was fun and a good experience.  Mother Dearest took a video…but due to her technological ineptitude, it’s mainly a video of the back of someone’s head with me off to the side, perched like a poetic shoulder-angel.  It’s also sideways.  😀  You guys want to watch it anyways?  Anyone know how to rotate it, at least..?
  2. Just 2 days ago we returned from a trip to see the extended fam in Klamath Falls, Oregon.  At Crater Lake we got a very detailed and lovely shot of a bird’s butt:IMG_0100
  3. IMG_0046 as well as this striking fisheye-effect shot of yours truly.  🙂  (NOTE, FOR CLARIFICATION: THIS IS NOT MY ACTUAL FACE.) We toured Captain Jack’s Stronghold (in Northern California), attempted to ice skate, and ate more hash browns than could possibly be healthy. Life was good.
  4. I got a new computer!  DSCN4325Its name is Cecil, he’s my birthday and Christmas present and probably blackmail material for this year and next, and he is just…the sexiest thing. Seriously.  So sleek and shiny and light and fast…I think I’m in love. Many thanks to the parental units.DSCN4327
  5. In way more recent news, today we took a day trip to Portland, Oregon, and visited the famous CITY OF BOOKS!!  Is it a bit drastic to proclaim that, post-high-school sometime, I really want to live in Portland, just for the sake of Powell’s?  Maybe I could work there as a supplement to the writing thing…I just really, really love this place, you guys.  For some reason it’s extremely comforting to wander around alone inside a huge building filled with books–like being swathed in stories.  Plus there was a cafe, with scones and chai lattes.  DSCN4328(Upon bringing out the camera to snap a picture of the lemon-blueberry scone, Daddio exclaimed from across the table, “You must be back to blogging!”) 😉DSCN4330

My haul.  Hyperbole and a Half is the…the greatest thing ever, you guys.  I cannot even begin to express my love for this comic.  If y’all aren’t reading her blog, get on it, stat.  Her dog-themed comics are the only thing that will guarantee me a 10-minute, laugh-so-hard-I-cry session, no matter how bad of a day I’m having.  I’m usually guffawing so loudly Citrus joins in (he knows how to mimic my laugh), and there’s no way my day can continue to go downhill from there.  Hyperbole and a Half, guys.  Seriously.

And now I hold the awesome concentrated humor in tangible, dead-tree form.  Nothing could be better.

Also…

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ohmigod I might be really dangerous with this book. 😉

Have a lovely day, y’all.  I don’t know why I’ve slipped into saying “y’all” within this post.  I don’t say it in real life.  It’s pretty fun to type, though.  I hope your coffee was enjoyable, and the brownie too!  We should really do this again sometime.

DSCN3111(Citrus says hi, btw.  He’s missed his adoring people.)

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I’m back! Have a health survey.

Insert fancy and outrageously witty intro here!  We have just returned from our weeklong Wyoming stay, and my brain is the happiest sort of mush.  It has been a whirlwind of a week, not to mention the drive home (have I told you yet that it’s 17 hours??) but I was left with lots of wonderful memories and mementos.  Time to resort to the oldest blogging trick in the book–it’s SURVEY TIME!  😀  No, they never end up being as easy-breezy as they seem, but at least my frazzled neurons don’t have to bother with the creative strain of coming up with a post topic.  I saw this healthy-living survey on Run2YourOwnBeat.  But first, since we have just returned from Wyoming, the obligatory horse picture:

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Whew.  Okay.  Onto survey!  This is such a brilliant transition.

1.  What did you eat for breakfast?

Grape-nuts and chia seeds.  As I’ve said before, my body is shunning oatmeal lately and I woke up too late to really fix something “fancy”, so cereal it was.

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Yay for recycled pictures! 😀

2.  How much water do you drink a day?

Too much.  A gallon or more, plus milk, fruit and veggies, etc.  I’m not sure why I’m so thirsty (we’ve done the diabetes testing, yes) but it hasn’t had any adverse side effects so far.  Other than constantly-full-bladder syndrome.

3.  What is your current favorite workout?

Running medium-distance, around 3 miles—I just wish I was better at it and that my knees favored it more.  I’m also looking into CrossFit…although at the moment, I am epically non-fit, cross- or otherwise.

4.  How many calories do you eat per day?

Heck, I don’t know.  A lot, probably.

5.  What are your favorite healthy snacks?

Carrots + peanut butter, pita + hummus, fruit, air-popped popcorn, cheese sticks, nuts, nut butter, etc.  The standard.

6.  What do you usually eat for lunch?

Carrot & peanut butter sandwich?  This seems to be my go-to lately.  #thebomb

7.  What is your favorite body part to strength train?

My wonderful legs, because cardio kind of counts as strength training them and also it hurts very much less than upper body.

8.  What is your least favorite body part to strength train?

Arms.  Back.  I’m weak.

9.  What are your “bad” food cravings?

Chocolatewhyisthisevenaquestion.

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First time ever trying Kona (coffee) Cake...I did a lot of worshipping the Dark Lord over this trip.

as is an Oh She Glows' Iced Mocha Green Monster

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Anti-inflammatory!  Anti-inflammatory!  Woot!

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MY handiwork!  MY handiwork!! (happy dances)

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I am woman, hear me roar.

10.  Do you take vitamins or supplements?

Often a multivitamin, a B-12 occasionally, and an acidophilus/probiotic supplement ever since my trip to Costa Rica and the ensuing gut bug. 😦  Bleh!

11.  How often do you eat out?

Rarely.  I think this is more based on lack of planning on our family’s part than disdain for outside eateries, however.

12.  Do you eat fast food?

Nope.  Actually, wait, hold on, I can’t really say this, can I, when I stopped at Burger King on our road trip just yesterday??  I ordered a veggie burger, sweet potato fries, and a large water.  So I guess I do—but once a year, or even more rarely than that.  I was hungry, you guys–beyond that, I was hangry.  You must really process this, understand how pressing the situation was.

🙂  (Source)

13.  Who is your biggest supporter?

Mah bad self.

14.  Do you have a gym membership?

Nope.  But I have a makeshift home gym in the garage!  It suddenly occurs to me that I’ve never showed you a picture of this, so here you are.

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It’s a bit roughhewn… 🙂  There’s a yoga mat in front of the TV for yoga DVDs, a few dumbbells/reistance bands, a dreadmill, a rowing machine, punching bag, weight cage, and pull-up bar.  Plus…a couch…for the Y-chromosome-havers of the house to play video games on (sigh).

15.  How many hours of sleep do you get a night?

Oh, 9, at minimum.  Coffee the next morning is a given if I’m up past 10 studying or something. Smile with tongue out I sure wish I could be one of those people who just lights-outs for like four hours and then pops up ready for a new day (pretty much every other teenager I know), but I likes my sleep.  I’m a zombie without it.

16.  Do you have a “cheat” day?

Not consciously.  I eat a lot of chocolate.  I’m not cheating on anybody with it, though, so my conscience is clear…

17.  Do you drink alcohol?

Hahahaha.  I’m younger than you think I am.  I have been known to get a little heavyhanded with the vanilla extract, though.

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35%!!!  What can I say, I’m just a rebel grrrl like that.

18.  Do you have a workout buddy?

Mah bad self.

Also, as aforementioned, Daddio and I are running a 5k this month and participating in next year’s Seattle-to-Portland bike ride.  We shall see how training intensively together goes.

19.  What is the best thing that has changed about your life since committing to a healthy lifestyle?

To be honest–I’m still working on that commitment thing.  I was really good for about two years, then with my knees, I fell off the bandwagon for 8 months and even though I’m not loving all the…changes…this forced exercise break put my body through, I’m finding it extremely hard to get back on said bandwagon.  You feel me? :/  I’ve tried multiple times to get back to my pre-fooey-knees exercise and health regimen, but no luck so far.  Lately I have discovered some new highly inspirational healthy living blogs, though, and they’ve helped a bit–also, my impending upcoming 5k is a huge motivator.  (I’m a competetive chickie.  What can I say.)  All I know is that I definitely want to get back to my old level of fitness, but it’s going to require a lot of mental stamina to do so.

20.  What was the last healthy thing you did?

Oh, I inhaled!  Inhalation is actually a really beneficial practice, providing oxygen to your entire body and providing a low-grade ab workout, while also serving to calm the body by reassuring it that it is not in a state of suffocation.  Winking smile  I jest, I jest.  No, once I really get up and at ‘em this morning, I plan to incorporate some form of strength training into my workout.  Been missing out on it lately in favor of running/exploring! Smile

Your turn!  Pick a question and answer it in the comments, or do the survey yourself! 🙂  Maybe you’ll be my healthy magic motivator.  Also, does your brain tend to turn to mush after travel?  I must confess I haven’t been exactly productive in the time we’ve been back…

Running While High

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7,434 feet above sea level, to be exact. 😉

How can you not enjoy your evening run when you’re enjoying the above scenery^^^ while mowing through it??  I really wish I could just move this mountain back with me as my own personal running field.  Alas.  No matter what Dr. Seuss and any number of inspirational speakers may say, it’s severely hard to move mountains.  I couldn’t even figure out how to get the rope around it.

I was a bit worried about the oxygen-related complications this much of a jump (hardeehar) in elevation would cause while exercising, especially with intense cardio like the tempo work the friend and I were doing on our run–but it was actually kind of nice.  🙂  Too focused on the burning and hacking in my lungs, I didn’t notice my legs or core muscles fatiguing at all, even on the largest hills! 😀  It was a beautiful run (and I was proud of this post title) and I felt immensely accomplished after cooling down back in the cabin.  We only did two miles, at most, but there were quite a few hills, there was a thunderstorm chasing us (insta-motivation!), and we booked it.

Afterward we were quite tired.

DSCN3819And I need an excuse to show you this ice cream picture from the amazing KENDRICK PARK ICE CREAM STAND–seriously, this ice cream is one of my favorite things about the yearly trek back to Sheridan.  It embodies summer and childhood and post-swim-lesson starvation relieved by sweet, sugary, crunchy, creamy heaven.  You can just taste the nostalgia, like they churn it into the ice cream itself, and I could swear there was a hint of chlorine about it somehow, a happy tribute to memories of swallowing gallons of pool water before indulging.  The taste of simple childhood.

Except they removed my favorite flavor, Bear Claw.  Don’t ask me about how it tastes, because I will yadda on about Bear Claw until you have the urge to break out the claws yourself and maul my face.  Anyway, this time I got Espresso Almond Fudge in a Sugar Cone.

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DSCN3881Sweet silky heaven on a hot summer day.

This post has not been cohesive because my thoughts right now are for some reason not terribly cohesive, but we’re cool (haha, ice cream pun) with that, okay?  Okay.

 

Pretty, pretty, pretty.

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Nobutseriously.  Say what you will about canyons and rain forests and glaciers; these are my ideas of stunning natural vistas.

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Let the Festivities Commence

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Great-Grandma’s Lemon Meringue Pie recipe, preserved in the physical, non-Pinterest family recipe archives…

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IMG_3847 IMG_3848Yeah, I’ve been in a bit of a sugar coma these past few days.  I’m usually pretty good about staying away from the point where my stomach actually starts to hurt, but this week…

IMG_3864As it so happened, it was Little Bro’s birthday and Daddio’s birthday and parental anniversary and…my blogoversary is in 10 days!  (That really didn’t have any bearing on this weekend’s festivities, but I felt like including another “and”.)

I was going to make you guys a special virtual layer cake for the blogoversary (DYING TO MAKE THIS RECIPE FOR LIKE THREE YEARS NOW WHY DOES NO ONE IN OUR FAMILY LIKE WHITE CAKE MMMRRRGAHAH), but to be honest, I think I’d rather the above baked goods carry over as catering for the weeklong blogoversary celebration I plan on doing.  I’m hoping to do a 7-day series of posts full of blogging tips and maybe some other miscellaneous writing tips as well…not that I consider myself in any way qualified to give either, but…

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I also made you butt-ugly cake pops from the leftover frosting + cake cuttings from the Minion Cake!  (No one in our family has any idea how to make cake pops, so we just globbed up all the leftover crumbled cake and frosting, shaped it into our best attempts at spheres, and popped them in the freezer overnight.  This can hardly be called technique, but they were still mighty tasty.)

IMG_3867(How could I pass this recipe up for Little Bro’s party??!  [We used this recipe from Smitten Kitchen to make the cake {aka the best chocolate cake my taste buds have ever had privy to} and a Rachael Ray buttercream recipe, so the entire thing {save black icing + candy} was homemade!])  Despicable Me FTW!!

(^^Pretty much me every morning when I go to make a breakfast smoothie.)

Okay, sorry for the memeion overload.  That last one wasn’t not rebloggable, though.  Hugs to all!

Random festivity pics…

DSCN3024Sparklers!  For some reason when I set it to “Fireworks Show” mode, my camera’s shutter speed gets reeeeeaallly slow, so I can capture trails like this when people wave sparklers around.

DSCN3025This one’s a “W”.  I feel like that’s an omen of some sort.  I guess if your name begins with a W, today is your lucky day!  (I suppose it could also be a cursive “Z” gone badly…)

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IMG_20130717_132138This is my friend’s froyo bowl from the hatchday party, and I still can’t get over how dang pretty she made it.  ^Skill.

DSCN31893rd place–my LASER tag game is improving.  (LASER is an acronym, standing for “Light Amplification through Stimulated Emission of Radiation”, did you know this?  I’m irked by the fact that the vast majority of the population doesn’t.  This is the reason why I am also irked when people spell it “lazer”, BECAUSE YOU CAN’T MESS WITH ACRONYMS, all right?)

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Minion cake, all suited up and ready for action!

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&pizzapizza.

Any celebration going on in your neck of the woods this weekend?  Thoughts on minions and/or the meaning of life?  (Bonus points if you can combine the two, and quadruple your score if you do it in verse.)  Would you be interested in me sharing my great-grandmother’s Lemon Meringue Pie recipe?  Things you’d like me to cover in my 7-day blogging tip blogoversary series?  Let’s take this party down to the comments section!

(WordPress is insisting that “blogoversary” isn’t a word.   I would have thought better from the best dang bloggin’ platform around…)

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. 😉

WIAW(hile I was in Mexico)

I know I probably bored you guys to death with my last post about my spring vacation, with pictures of turtles and zip lines, for goodness’ sake.  I know I almost fell asleep just compiling it.  The most important part of a vacation is OBVIOUSLY la comida, verdad?  Winking smile


Eating in Mexico was something I anxiously anticipated—in both good and bad ways.  I was excited to sample a new cuisine, one that wasn’t too “exotic” but certainly made staples of some new-to-me foods; on the other hand I had also heard that Mexican food is notorious for being prepared in not-so-sanitary conditions… :/  Sure enough, I’m still experiencing some, erm, gastrointestinal difficulties now, three days back in the states.  It could be residual motion sickness, but I have my doubts…

Breakfasts

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The resort we stayed at, for all I badmouthed it in my previous vacation post, had a quite abundant buffet selection at all restaurants—something GREATLY APPRECIATED.  I made a point of sampling all fare before concocting a relatively standard breakfast plate that looked something like this:

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That would be fried plantains, sauteed/smoked veggies, some papaya and pineapple slices.  This particular plate was compiled on our first day in the resort, when I really had no idea what options they had and just tried to sample all the vegetable matters (typical TGITO)—most days after that I also ate a bit of cottage cheese or yogurt, for protein, plus a bread roll with butter on the side for the lovely carbohydrate fullness factor.  There were also scrambled eggs and refried beans available daily for protein—but I wasn’t sure whether said refried beans were cooked with lard or bacon or whatnot (I think they often are), and I stayed away from the eggs completely except for two days, even though I consumed dairy, because—I know vegans will hate me for this (as it is, one of my vegetarian friends calls it bovine discrimination)— it vexes me more to think of a bird like a chicken being maltreated in a factory farm than a cow. *winces* I’M SORRY DON’T JUDGE!!  I’m still eating low on the food chain and doing my best to reduce my intake of animal products.

Over the vacation I discovered a DEEP affinity for fried plantains—I’m already trying to figure out how I can bring the tasty exoticness to me own kitchen! Smile

There were plenty of non-fried fruit options, too—I made a point to eat my fill of the more exotic fruits that aren’t exactly abundant in the Pacific NW: papaya, pineapple, mango, guava…

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And hey, I found some green at the juice bar! ;P  I think this was billed as cactus-pineapple..?  Bottoms up!

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THIS soupy atrocity was billed as oatmeal.

*sniffs disdainfully*

THIS soupy ABOMINATION tasted like oversugared milk with some ground flaxseeds thrown in and flavored with a healthy gust of cigarette smoke.

Never trust foreign oatmeal.  Bah.

Lunches

It has finally dawned on me why some vegetarians are just about medically sick of salad bars.

Mexi Salad Collage

MAN were those things abundant.

And that’s just the 2/7 of it.

Yes folks, I’m talking SALAD BAR FOR LUNCH SALAD BAR FOR DINNER EVERY SINGLE STINKING DAY OF VACATION.

The “authentic Mexican ensalada” (the largest picture) was better in terms of nonmonotony, because there were actually cucumbers and rice and tortillas and guacamole and pico de gallo and “blended beans” and things.  (Though by the end of the trip I even got sick of tortillas, pico de gallo, and guacamole.)

I put up with it for the majority of the trip, grateful there was food that I could eat and that I knew I could eat.  The salad bars weren’t short on variety, either—there were beats, roasted potatoes, cheeses, peppers, olives, spanikopita cubes one night (at a restaurant whose menu proudly dubbed it a “Mediterran Restaurant”…cringe city!  They had pasta.  And sauce.  And salad and bread.  I ask you, where’s the hummus??  The baba ghannouj?  The flatbread??), and, as mentioned, LOTS of pico de gallo and guacamole.  So I tolerated this until Thursday, two days before we flew back, and decided I COULD NOT. EAT. ANY. MORE. SALAD.  Unfortunately this proclamation also coincided with the night the family dragged me to a steakhouse for dinner…in the hopes of non-leafy food, I informed the waiter I was veggie…his response?

“Oh…oops.”

Oops indeed.

I ate two bowls of cream of tomato soup and lots of cake that night.

Proper (Non-leafy) Dinners

There were a grand total of three of these, one including the aforementioned soup and cake that did not manage to be photographed—the first was when we visited a Mexican restaurant (fancy that).  I’m just glad they were actually able to whip up something edible THERE…I would have had a bone to pick with them otherwise.  (You know, like, a Tofurky bone.)

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I enjoyed a plate of appetizer enchiladas filled with cheese, sauce, and creamed spinach for my main meal.  I visited the salad bar too—this was pre-Salad Independence Declaration. Winking smile  Mi abuelo ordered a plate of these as well, only filled with bell peppers instead of creamed spinach, which for some infathomable reason she could not finish—I was able to polish off half that in addition to my meal!  PROPER FOOD FOUND!

On Friday night, our resort hosted an “authentic Mexican feast”, in which I finally managed to find some things NOT leafy and some yummy desserts.  (A little disconcerting was the row of whole fish that were propped upright on the buffet table, empty eye sockets staring ahead while people picked at their flesh…*shudders*)

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Sliced melon, rice and beans, and a little fried corncake curiosity that seemed to be filled with cheese and shredded lettuce, but I couldn’t be certain.  It was dry but somewhat tasty…

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Dessert was flan (which was not as sweet as I expected—just tasted like non-savory eggs baked on top of a graham crust??), a buñuelo, and some rice pudding.  Honestly…I liked the rice pudding the best.  How exotic of me.

In-Betweens

which were snacks, desserts, late-night munchies, etc.

On the plane ride back, our airline actually had little squeeze-packs of hummus Open-mouthed smile, accompanied by pita chips and packages of olives.  I decimated two of these as a kind of makeshift dinner, along with some Trader Joe’s PB Granola bars.

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But BEFORE vacation was over, as I mentioned in my last post, lots of glorious chocolate happened!  This stuff is special Mexican chocolate, with the cacao beans grown right there to minimize bean-to-bar time…it wasn’t as good as I would have liked it to be. Sad smile

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The omnipresent banana—HAH.  I ended up stealing a lot of bananas from the resort buffet in order to take back to the room for later snackage…I had a jar of PB2 and a container+spoon to mix it up back there. Winking smile

Speaking of exotic fruits…

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Our fruit tray in our room contained more than the usual banana, peach and apple….I’m not sure what these things were, in fact, and there was nobody to ask!  The upper, yellow one was soft and creamy, and smelled a little bit like a boozy pineapple—I wasn’t sure whether you could eat the seeds, though, and boy were there a lot of those, so it ended up being scrapped. Sad smile

The orange one looked like this inside

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which was kind of disconcerting.  Mother Dearest said it was moldy—I didn’t think it was, but I couldn’t figure out how to eat it either!  Also trashed.  Food waste is bad times.

(Anyone??  Has anyone ever encountered these mystery fruits?  Anyone know the names?)

So, yes, there was the healthy dose of exotic; new-to-me foods sampled included fried plantains, jicama, papaya, mango, “corncake curiosity”, flan, buñuelos, and mole sauce.  Alongside all this, though, there was

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Some things never change.

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