Thursday, April 30, 2009

Food.... say what?

Hello peeps. In the past few weeks my backseat has had birthday/ wedding/ shower/ bachelorette/ confirmation/ baptism gifts, graduation regalia, large hats and craft supplies, books for finals, and a revolving door of suitcases. Unfortunately there haven't been groceries. I'm cringing over my sporatic vegetable/fruit/whole foods depletion over the past weeks. I didn't make anything new or fantastic to show the world. I thought i'd throw you a bone though so you could see what I was eating for breakfast this morning. Cranberries, Almonds, Raisins, and dates. Can we TALK about the dates? Medjool dates and I are in love. Simple as that. Too bad there weren't any fresh and I opted for a chopped, bagged kind with the intentions of doing some sort of trail mix thing. BIG MISTAKE. They came out of the box coated in sugar. yuck! They are nature's candy for crying out loud, they ARE sugar. It was a grainy, crystallized mess. Party foul date packagers... party foul.

This last weekend was a blur of fun, travel, procrastination (what finals?), FAMILY, and boozing. I was wearing shoes and I did eat.... so I can talk about it... right? My cousin is a bartender = brother and I enjoying the University of Iowa nightlife post rehearsal dinner. Good Idea? You tell it to my acid reflux the next morning. woof.

My aunt/godmother/birthday twin/roomie for two summers was the HAPPIEST and most fabulous bride there ever was. I probably have to stop claiming to be an emotionless non-cryer because I was choked up for the entire ceremony.... as was the entire church. These two are without a doubt going to make it, and everything about the day was so perfect and meaningful for both of them. :) This is them driving away in my mom's cousins rehabbed vintage convertable (he donned an old school tux with a cumber bun and laid out a red carpet for it... how cute is that?) and the newlyweds drove away into the sunset (okay technically it was early afternoon and sprinkling... but still). talk about happy endings!

The reception was fun. As dad was the semi official photographer for the event (he took 500 pictures.. no joke) I planned on stealing some shots from his memory card. However he gave it away the next morning to my aunt who has yet to post the pictures online (AHEM, sheila). Literally the only picture I took at the reception was of my dad, dancing in his suspenders. How adorable is that?

Meanwhile I am ALMOST finished with school (so.... close.... almost.. there!) But like the wrong-priorities kind of girl I am, I've decided to go to the kentucky derby this weekend instead of studying for finals. Good decisions, Lauren, good decisions.
Check out the hat I've been crafting. It's a sun hat I found for $2.99 that I'm trying to stiffin with stuff I found at a craft store. More bedazzlement and OBVIously a weekend recap with pictures to come.
I hope everyone has had a FABULOUS week.. filled with your... or my favorite things (re: the title of this blog)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day and Stonyfield awesomeness

So, it's earth day. This morning I tried to channel Al Gore and double checked to make sure the lights were turned off and the TV was unplugged on my way out the door. What a wonderful day to be a hippy...not that i am exactly, i'm clean, don't love animals, and don't do drugs... and am way too into shoes (reminds me of that time on Saved by the Bell that Jessie Spano was giving a speech about the environment and A.C. Slater told her that the oil spilled in the pond outside the school help make things like the plastic earrings she was wearing) but I digress. I could think of no better way to kick off the morning than with something organic. Did I mention that a week or so ago I got a package of goodies from Stonyfield? It was super exciting (i've used the spatula like twice already). I've already mentioned my love for greek yogurt, but coupons for multiple varieties of greek yogurt was just too exciting for words. It made me feel like a real food blogger... as opposed to the slacking remedial cook with unhealthy weekend tendencies that I really am. Plus despite me telling them that my reading audience mostly consist of all the same people I have tried to hit up for girl scout cookies, magazine sales, summer sausage, and any miscellaneous school fundraiser, (i.e. immediate family) they gave me the loot anyway... SCORE!

Actually yesterday on GMA, the Eat This Not That guy was touting the benefits of Oikos greek yogurt (yummmm) perfect with granola, I might add.... as pictured on my desk below.
blueberry swirls on the bottom... yummm. For those unfamiliar, greek yogurt is more like sour cream... it's super super creamy and you could probably eat it with a fork. Despite being crazy good for you, these puppies have like 15 grams of protein, which makes them about the most filling breakfast or snack you could possibly have. high five.
So I also tried my hand at the Hungry Girlfredo, of my beloved Hungry Girl emails. They're all about shortcuts and snacks, which gives them a special place in my slacking, craving of comfort food heart. I used the Tofu Shiratke noodles they love so much and was on the fence. They were kind of slimy. Truthfully, both the label and HG explicity say how much they need to be dried. However after like ten minutes of making a mess whilst attempting to rinse and then wring dry, pat down with a towel and then wring again (repeat, repeat), I gave up and ate them anyway. The HG thing is to combine sour cream with a laughing cow wedge which makes an alfredo sauce (with steamed veggies: broc, red peppers, asparagus, etc.). I was in like with this. I might make it again to see if I can further become attached.

The weekend included a dance party with Em... YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS

or.. nooooooo.
AND I hope everyone is having a FABULOUS hump day today :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hoppy Easter!

Corny? yes please. I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday weekend. (can you still call it that if you didn't get Friday off?) I have been having melty cadbury eggs in my morning oats and it has been GLORIOUS.

Minus not being able to have fish (tear) and the occasional mishap after drinking (re: street corn dog) giving up meat for lent only pushes me further towards the full time veg category. I'm a fan. I heart vegetables. I don't care what people say. We're in love and we're running away together.

Because both John and I had commented lately on how good manicotti sounds, I decided to make a variation using big shells (by the way, is it hard for anyone else to find wheat varieties of pasta other than spaghetti? just the midwest maybe?)

Lauren's The bomb Impromptu Cheesey Faux Meat Shells
  • 1/2 container part skim ricotta
  • 1/2 container low fat cottage cheese
  • spinach chopped
  • shells
  • organic spaghetti sauce (yeah, yeah, i'll make my own one of these days)
  • boca crumbles (SO could not taste the difference, texture, taste, everything was a dead ringer, i'm sold)

after this picture i put the meat sauce (and then more regular sauce) over the shells and baked. The shells had been pre-boiled and then dried a little on wax paper... and it STILL made for a soupy end result... what gives??

Irish bars on Easter weekend? that'll do.

For Easter at John's family's house (tear.... I missed my fam and the large gathering in IA!) I contributed with a couscous salad. I had wanted to make this vegetable one from a cookbook I had at home, but had left the recipe (oh iphone... where for art though iphone). Come saturday night, we are still out and about, and I have my sister get on the computer to google a recipe. This is what she found:
CousCous Citrus Salad with Olives: (eating well)
  • couscous (tried to find WW but didn't have it, yet again)
  • frozen O.J.
  • orange zest
  • orange
  • lemon juice
  • chopped calamato olives
  • fresh parsley
  • fresh thyme
  • EVOO
  • salt
  • mustard
  • red onion (i didn't have chives or scallions)

It didn't knock my socks off... but texture-wise i liked it, and it was the kind of dish that makes me want to branch out in cooking alternate flavors more often. John's family was sort of curious about it but not bowled over. His mom asked for leftovers to have for the week though, which made me happy.

............... and that's the cooking week in review.

I just signed up for MY LAST GRADUATE CLASS EVA. How awesome is that? Oh August, you can't get here soon enough! I hope everyone is having a fabulous week! Happy Hump Day :)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Surprise... I'm in San Francisco

Because the college roomie was SO FABULOUS in making my chi town bday bonanza all that it could be, I decided at the last minute to jump on a plane and head out there to surprise her for her very own bday weekend celebration. mwahaha (evil/mischievous cackle with hands writhing like mr. burns). She was WAY surprised (yesss!)
I got in Friday afternoon and as I waited in her hood for her to get off work, I walked to nearby Golden Gate Park, where I finished reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou on an overlook at the botanical gardens inside the park. Heaven. On a stick. Saturday we traipsed around the city, and saw some of the touristy sights!

Then we headed to her 'come as your hometown' themed party. Hilarious. Don't you just love theme parties? We were representing Missouri (check out my thrifted Frye boots!)Regional Party Snacks.... MO cake! While I wish I could have stayed in SF for the lovely company I'd have, and plethora of activities, but definitely one of the things I would've loved to experience more was the FOOD. As I was walking around friday, I stopped in some little hippy joints to get tofu wraps, check the selection, and in general resolve that I'd be a vegan if I could live in such a veg friendly place. But THEN I'd pass by some amazing sushi place and that idea would get thrown out the window (oh fish, how i've missed you... 3 more days until Easter!) Not to leave you all food neglected, I thought I'd share my recent adventure in produce. I've never had a JICAMA before. Okay, correction, I've had it before in salads in San Antonio (and undoubtedly other places/times along the way where I wasn't paying attention). However I've never purchased a Jicama before. Pronounced hick-a-ma, it's basically a mexican potato? It's in all sorts of mexican dishes (and apparently asian ones too). I feel there probably isn't too much nutritional value..... concentrated iceberg lettuce comes to mind (crunchy water).... but boy do i love a good veggie crunch to anything and everything i can eat. Therefore after much debate and little creativity, I decided to make another DIY pizza.
  • flat out multi grain wrap (a darling in the health food blog world, and seemingly only recently available in my neck of the woods.. hooray)
  • crushed tomatoes (a little too watery, i think i'd opt for tomato sauce or something a little more together next time)
  • broccoli
  • sprouts
  • red peppers
  • jicama
  • string cheese, strung out as mozz topping :)

baked for 20 minutes at 450 and VWALLA.... a perfect meal.

(we had sweet potato wedges with our pizzas... two shown, one for John

I had a trip to the grocery store last night (finally... it had been nearly two weeks!) and it was pure heaven. I'm all traveled out at the moment and SO READY to be in veggie bliss in my kitchen this week. Happy Thursday!