Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New cookbook!

Viva Vegan! arrived yesterday! I pre-ordered it so long ago that I had forgotten I even did it!

One glance was all I needed to know that I need to cook my way through this book. 200 recipes for things like arepas, salteñas, empanadas, feijoada, alfajores, batidos, arroz con leche, flan, bread pudding made with mango and guava! Oh man, I am in heaven!

Most of you may know this already, but I spend my real life immersed in all things Latin American. In my travels to the region, I often have a hard time finding food I can eat. Saying "I'm a vegetarian" will get you fish or chicken at dinner. "I'm sorry, I don't eat meat or eggs" just gets you puzzled looks that say "How is that possible??" at breakfast. I once ate papaya for breakfast and arepas and rice for lunch for an entire week in Venezuela. May sound delicious to you, but after day 3, I was dying for something else! One night on that same trip I went to a meal catered by a 5 star restaurant. I explained to the chef that I don't eat meat and he said it was not a problem to make something special for me. He returned with raviolis that were filled with something strange. When I asked what it was, he said, without batting an eyelash, "We made a special vegetarian dish for you. The raviolis have cazón". Yes, that would be baby shark! And in Cuba, EVERYTHING is covered in pork, even the rice and beans. I spent most of that trip hungry and grumpy. Guatemala and Mexico were a little bit easier, but mostly because I was with locals that knew where I should eat.

This book gives me a ton of options and will actually let me try things I haven't been able to try due to their ingredients. For example, Bolivian salteñas pretty much always have beef in them and often use gelatin to coagulate all of the ingredients. Yuck!

A lot of these recipes look like they will require a little work, so I think cooking my way through will need to wait at least until I finish my final paper for grad school, or maybe even until late May when I move. At that point I'll have a Latin grocery store a few blocks from my apartment and a captive audience as I force Jesse to try out my latest creations!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Eating my words.

Go ahead....do it. Call me a hypocrite. Because I am.

Back in July I ranted against the Kindle in a big way. I thought they were pointless and only added more technology to take care of and worry about to our lives. I thought they were destroying the relationship between book and reader. I shuddered at the mere thought of buying books of the paperless variety.

And so I continued and continued to buy books. I hate library books, if I haven't yet shared that quirk with you. And just when I thought I had no more space to put them, I bought some more books and made the room.

And then Jesse and I got an apartment together. And that apartment does not have the space for all of my books to come live with us. We would seriously look like an episode of "Hoarders" if I tried to make the space for them. So I went through and separated the "I want to have this for my collection" and the "This was signed by the author" books from the "I read this in two hours by the pool" and the "WHAT was I thinking when I bought this?!" books. I donated the latter two categories. I got rid of (so far) SIX bags of books. And I still have multiple bookshelves full.

Then I won a gift card to Amazon. My first thought was, "Man, there are lot of books on my wish list that I could buy with that!". Then I realized that was the addict speaking. So I sucked it up and got a Kindle. I'm not sure how much I like it just yet. It's light and I love being able to get books in 60 seconds but it's definitely not the same. It will be useful for travel for sure, especially when I finish a book and I am not near a bookstore, but also for chick lit, current events books, newspapers, etc. that I don't want to have forever. It will definitely save trees. And it will save a little bit of money since e-books are cheaper than the real deal.

But mostly it will save Jesse and I from drowning in paperbacks.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Shacking Up.

Jesse and I are moving in together!

I've spent much of the last week searching for and seeing a few apartments for rent in the area. Many emails and phone calls later, we have a place! It's cute, updated, near a metro and perfect for our first home together. It's especially wonderful because we've been long distance for quite some time. So that means that in the next month and a half, Jesse will finish his school program, move back to the DC area and start a new job, I will complete my master's degree, my office is changing locations AND we will be moving in together in a new apartment. Whew, that's a lot of change in 45 days. I'm excited and nervous and, frankly, tired, just thinking about it! I'm excited to have someone to come home to and to cook with on a regular basis.

So my questions are the following: For those of you that do or have lived with a significant other, or even if you've just thought about it for the future, what are some things you see as important to work out beforehand or that you wish you had talked about before moving in together? What things surprised you, either about yourself, your significant other, or you both as a couple, that you only noticed after living together? What adjustments did you have to make to your routine? Any general advice for us as we start this new chapter in our lives?

Posting here may be sporadic for the next month. My apologies in advance!

{Photo credit: modomatic}

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Happy April!

And just like that....it's April! I feel like I was just bundled up in my house as snowed literally poured down on the DC area. Now the sun is shining, everything is in bloom (my allergies can attest to this!), including the beautiful cherry blossom trees, and we've smacked into Springtime with full force.

So how was my month? Here were my March intentions:

1. Complete the 21 Day Vegan Kickstart Success! And it was great.

2. Try out at least 5 new recipes Yes! I made spicy tomato chickpea soup, sweet chili-lime tofu and crispy sesame kale from Vegan Yum Yum, banana chocolate chip muffins from The Joy of Vegan Baking, cran-apple muffins from 1,000 Vegan Recipes and last night I made the Happy Herbivore's chickpea tacos! I've also made about 10 different variations of a green smoothie over the course of the past month.

3. Get back into a gym/yoga routine This was going pretty well for the brief period there before I fell at Whole Foods and messed up my knee/hip/back. Just the thought of twisting into a yoga pose or making it through a spin class these past few weeks has been painful! I'm getting back on track this week (more to come on this in a later post).

4. Write in my paper journal on a regular basis Giant fail. I say I want to do this nearly every month and it's the first thing to go out the window when I run out of time. Any thoughts for making this more of an automatic habit?

5. Get a head start on my big research paper that is due May 3rd Hmm, on the one hand, I did write a three page paper proposal that helped me to consolidate my ideas. I also gathered a bunch of research. However, that research is sitting in a giant pile in my bedroom and I only have an introduction written, so that's not much of a head start. My goal is to read and get through writing 10 pages this coming weekend and then 10 more the following weekend. Then I will just need to add a few more pages, edit it and voila! My last grad school paper ever will be complete!

My April goals:

1. Finish my last class and paper for graduate school (preferably without going insane).

2. Get back into journaling!

3. Eat well/work out lots/lose some weight. I don't want to put strict parameters on this one but I do intend to get back on a healthy track. More on this in a later post!

4. Let go. There are a lot of things in my life that have the potential to change in the next two months or so. My type-A personality has me making list after list, over planning and trying to guess and/or control the outcome of all of those things. None of that is good for one's stress levels! Right now I feel on the verge of potentially an entire new life. It's scary and refreshing at the same time.

I wish you all a wonderful April full of flowers, time spent basking in the sun and fantastic new beginnings!

{Photo credit: *yasuhiro}