Wednesday, August 31, 2011

WIAW ¡numero uno!

Hello, hello out there!

Is anyone out there?

Eh, how would I know?

I am dying to break my way into the foodie blogger community, so what better way to wiggle my way in than to participate in my favorite, weekly, blogging event?!


Please excuse the over-enthusiasm, but I really have been dying to jump in here for weeks now. Yay!

I was lucky enough to have Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday off of work, so I took to opportunity to head home for a few days one last time before fall quarter starts. Luckily it’s easy for me to keep up my preferred eating style because I have parents who are supportive and who keep a pretty low-meat and healthy diet themselves.

After a handful of walnuts and a 2 mile walk with mi madre, breakfast was enjoyed out on the deck.

Oats cooked with strawberries and topped with lots-o-cinnamon. Side of green tea.

As always, when I make the trek back to Cincy, we had to do a Costco trip. All my faves in bulk? Yes, please!

The haul: multigrain crackers, flat outs, grapes, hummus, carrots, tomatoes, pasta sauce, and salsa. Oh, and some math teaching aids on the side.

For lunch, we headed out to Hyde Park to meed my broski and his girlie at Arthur’s, a great little diner with a gorgeous patio out back.

Mama Lou making her approach.

Perfect patio-eating weather.

Greek salad, hold the feta, with oil and vinegar on the side. Veggie awesomeness.
After lunch, it was time for some quality mother-daughter shopping time. I had a great day hanging with madre, and it culminated in the most exciting even of the day…

Duh, duh, duh, duuuuh!!


The loot: Puffins x 2, puffed kamut, larabars, earth balance, rice cakes, sunflower seed butter, Amy's soups, spaghetti squash, oats-in-bulk, tofu, and some unpictured kale, cucumber and zucchini. Ah-may-zing!

We made it home in perfect time for me to cook dinner for all of us. My dad especially likes it when I cook, and I make sure to cook at least one meal for them every time I come home.

Roasted potatoes and onions; broiled, marinated portabellos; mixed green salad.

Dessert: toast (heel of the bread/my favorite slice) covered in mushed, over-ripe banana and sprinkled with cinnamon. The only sweet, vegan option I could find, and boy, was it delicious!

It was a great day! And I am so happy to have been able to share it all with you in my firs WIAW post. I can’t wait to do this all again next week… during the first week of school, yikes! Luckily, I shouldn’t have to go grocery shopping for a few weeks. Thanks to my mom footing the bill on all of my green purchases today. Thanks, mom!
And to go with all of my great purchases today... Check out the 'rents's newest green purchase. It found another little hybrid friend to hang out with while madre and I were shopping  :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Weekend Wrap Up

This weekend was bussssy bussssy! I had some fun, and worked a lot. I had this master plan of two great blog posts:one about my Friday date night with Hunk and one about the amazing farmer's market we have here in Athens.

But... I failed a little. Friday, I got a little too tipsy to remember to take pictures and Saturday, I was too distracted by all of the amazing produce and people to get anything good. Damn, I'm not doing so hot at this whole blog thing right now. Oh well! I can only go up from here, right?

So, here is what I ended up with.

On Fridays this summer, I have been working the awkward open/half-of-dinner shift at the bar-restaurant that I work at. I get there at 3, do all of the opening stuff, and take any tables that come in before I get off at 6. This is usually close to big-fat-0 tables because no one goes to dinner before 6.

Even though I don't usually make too much money, I do get off at the perfect time to get home, change, and go on a date with the boytoy. This week, we hit up one of our favorite spots, Casa Nueva.

It's a great hippie-dippy Mexica Bodega/Cantina that features natural, seasonal produce and lots of veg options. Their mission statement from their website:
"We are dedicated to strengthening the environmental, economic and social well being of our community by promoting wholesome products, democratic participation and responsible business practices."

They are always packed, and we were welcomed with an hour wait. Luckily, they have a great bar with appetizers and funky beer on tap.
This is our first helping of chips and their hot salsa, and our second round of beer. After some Great Lakes on draft we opted for some other bottled goodies. Soooo yummy.

 When we were finally seated, we ordered another round of chips, this time with guac and black bean salsa. We were starving and starting to get a good buzz going, so no expenses were spared. The second appetizer was totally necessary.

When our main courses got there, we ordered some margaritas on the rocks. What is Mexican food without tequila?
Again, this is the remains of my meal, The Hills Deluxe: rice, blackbeans, and my choice of 2 salsas (chipotle habaƱero and salsa verde) topped with lettuce and served with a whole wheat tortilla. It's a fancy shmancy Chipotle burrito bowl, and it was deeeeelicious.
The night ended with a trip out with some friends to a few different bars, too much alcohol, and spending all of my tip money from that night. But it's ok, it was a great time.

On Saturdays, I work a double and the bar, so any fun stuff happens in the morning. This works perfectly because Saturday mornings mean the local Farmer's Market. The Athens Farmer's Market is the biggest one in southeastern Ohio, and it is always packed.
William's reaction to me waking him up early, with a slight hangover to go to the market. There was some talk about sweating his balls off? I don't know. The weather was perfect and it was a successful trip.

My favorite farm. Always chemical-free and organic. A must stop every time for squash of all sorts. This time, we picked up some spaghetti squash for dinner tonight.

Look at all those different peppers! Gorgeous. we had to get 4 different ones to try out.
Today is kind of bittersweet. No work (yay!) but the HunkMonster is moving out (boo!). Don't worry. No trouble on the home front. It's just the end of the summer and our roommates are coming back. we were both alone this summer so we decided to share some space, bills, and time together. It was great and I am sad to see him go. But, alas, summer has to end eventually. back to the real life of a college girl, I guess.

So, this morning I will much on some of this (baked apple oats topped with flax and Kashi GoLean) and enjoy my last few hours with the boyfriend before he moves all the way back down the hill. Ha. It's a 5 minute walk. I will survive.
 Until later! Have a great one!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

First food diary day!

One of my favorite things to read on my daily blog creep-age is everyone's daily eats. I am excited to share my first day with you! I have to admit that today's eats are far less exciting than yesterdays, but, of course, I forgot to take pictures yesterday after breakfast. Maj-oh fail!

But today... I forced myself to remember. There may or may not have been reminder alarms set on my phone. I'll let you all decide that one. So here is what today looked like.

I was going to wake up an run, my all time most loathed favorite exercise activity, but when my alarm went off, I heard the wonderful sound of a thunderstorm and took that as my cue that I just wasn't supposed to run today. I rolled over and forgot all about that.

When I finally made it out o bed around 10:30, I checked some emails and cozed around with my best friend:
My standard OIAM (oats in a mug- because what's better than being able to hold the handle while shoveling the tasty oaties into your mouth?) cooked with blueberries, with cinnamon and flax, topped with Kashi GoLean.
After getting dressed, cleaning the apartment- why do I have to do this every freaking day!?-, and running a few errands, the tumbly was grumbling for some lunch.
Un Monstru de Ensalda: spinach, romaine, garden tomatoes and cucumbers, marinated artichokes, a few Spanish olives, italian herb hummus, tomatilla salsa, and loads of nooch. Beyond delicious.
Followed by a freshly-baked-this-morning bananananana muffin and some homemade raspberry jam.
When HunkMuffin got off work, we went on an impromptu shopping trip. We have been trying to hold off until the farmer's market on Saturday, but I was dying for some fresh fruit, which I finished in the banana muffins this morning.

Fruit was purchased: apples, plums, oranges and grapes.

Along with a few unneeded necessities. I should have known we would come home with more than just fruit. The extras included not 1, but 4 different boxes of cereal which, obviously, had to be sampled as an afternoon snack.
A combo of Cheerios, puffed wheat, and Cinnamon Life, again, in a mug with unsweetened vanilla almond milk.
 Dinner was thrown together in an effort to use, in a single dish, the random produce we had left from our last shopping trip.
Another salad monster accompanied by a green pepper stuffed with brown rice, beans, onions, jalapeƱos, zucchini, and tomatoes and topped with bread crumbs and a dollop of guac. Deeeelish.
Unpictured Snackage:
~ a baby ramekin of sunflower seeds, shredded coconut, and dried cherries
~ dessert: half a nanner muffin and half a plum (split with the Big Guy)

I work 9:30 to 3:00am tonight (oh the joys of working at a bar in a college town), so there will be some sort of pre-work snackage to be done later.

Looking back, I would say that I was pretty successful at remember to take the pics today. Now, I just need to work on some interesting meals. New project!

Impending Ending

I hate to think that in just 12 short days, summer will officially be over and fall quarter classes will be starting. Oy Vey! I don't think I am ready for that. I just turned in my final paper for my summer class, I just checked my sched for fall, and yep, I'm registered for one busy quarter.  Now I have just under 2 weeks to really enjoy some free time before starting everything all over again: fitting together a double major, classroom observations, 2 (maybe 3) jobs, working out, and hopefully a social life. Whoa, buddy! Bring it on, senior year!

But wait! I still have 12 days to kill before all of that starts. 12 more days to relax and work on making it though the summer bucket list that Hunkster and I started compiling waaaay back at the end of spring quarter.

For those of you who are unawares... it is alist of things we wanted to try and do together before the end of the summer:
Please excuse the unsightly picture and the perfectly un-seasonal Santa Claus list paper.

 Obviously, HunkyBear wrote it. Here is some of what it includes and some pics of the things we have successfully crossed off.

Summer Bucket List 2011:
~ Louie Louie's (sic)- correctly spelled "Lui Lui's" its a delish Asian-fusion restaurant with lots of great, healthy veggie options. We have been twice now, and it is turning into a new favorite despite the always mediocre service. Next time, photos will definitely be taken.

~ Stephen's: still un-checked off, a swanky restaurant uptown... waiting for fatter bank accounts before hitting this place up.

~ New Market: an international market about a 5 min drive from home. We hit this up after the Farmer's Market one Saturday. So much fun! We are definitely going again when I run out of soba noodles.

~ Salsa Lessons: always been a dream of mine

~teach William to play guitar:  something he's been asking me to do for a while now... he officially knows 6 chords. I would say that is some progress

~ West Side Market: Cleveland's huge farmer's/gourmet market. You better believe we are making it there at some point in the future! 

~ Blueberry Picking: completed... but not with William. I went with his sister and mom. We picked almost 30 pounds of bloobs! Most are now frozen and waiting to be put to use in my frezzer. Yummm!

~ Captain America 3D: check! Such a great comic-book-nerdy good time!

~ Cedar Point: not done... boo! Still dying to go.

~ Winnie the Pooh Movie: bet you can guess who picked that one :)

~ The Red Barn: where Hunksauce worked in high school and one of Ashland's finest attractions.
No ice cream for me.. but I did have a scrumptios lemon-lime slush and some penny candies. Talk about sugar overload!

~ Learn the "Thriller" dance: a life-long goal for both of us... I mean, who wouldn't want that, right!

So, we managed to accomplish 6/12. That's 50%. Not to shabby, right? I think so. But that will definitely not fly in my future classroom. We have 12 more days to cross some more off the list. Too bad everything else would be hella expensive. I wonder about hopping the fence to Cedar Point...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What I'm Working With

Well, today is Wednesday, which I have realized this summer is by far my favorite day of the week. My work shift is short and doesn't cross over into the late-night madness at the bar. I know that the weekend is on it's way. I get a kick-but training sesh from the hunk-tastic boyriend. And.....

it's "What I Ate Wednesday" hosted by the lovely Jenn at Peas and Crayons!

Ever since I discovered WIAW, I have been totally hooked. I will literally spend all morning, stretching out my breakfast, creeping on all of the amazing foodie blogs out there. WIAW is how I found many of the blogs I have become addicted to, and it is one of the reasons I wanted to start this blog. I wanted to play too!

Bummer this week that I cannot totally participate and share my daily eats today. I am still figuring out how I want this whole blog thing to go, so I am going to hold off till next week.... but you can count on it, I will be there next week.

So, today I will, once again, just creep stare longingly at all of the delicious eats everyone is sharing to day. Brainstorming of the kinds of foodie goodness I want to share will definitely follow. I am so jealous of all of the culinary talent that is hiding out there in all of the bloggie bears. I feel like maybe I could be there one day. I mean, I definitely have the interest and passion for it. There is one obstacle that absolutely stands in my way, though...

My "kitchen". 

Why the quotations? Just look at this thing. Can it really be referred to as a kitchen?
Yep, that's it. All of it...sith my wonderful roomster, Reb, hard at work.

This was our first meal here over a year ago. When it was just the two of us that summer, everything was peachy. But this kitchen is now shared between 4 hungry college girls. It has required some tricky compromises.
  • One small fridge -> We each have to keep all of our perishables contained to one small area. fruit ends up staying on the shelves built into the wall. sad.
  • One measly pantry -> We each have one shelf for everything we want to keep in there. Poor Kayla is left with the floor. Luckily she eats mostly cold cereal, so she is ok with it.
  • Almost no storage space -> My random small appliances live in my room on the shelf in the closet (including rice cooker, air popper, coffee grinder, and mini food processor). Bedroom and kitchen combined... it's like being in the dorms again.
So, as I gawk admiringly at all of the gorgeous food on WIAW, I will stare disdainfully at the wall space that is my sad excuse for a kitchen. Oh the joys of being a broke college student. But, soon enough, in less than 1 year (eek!), I will have my own place with my own kitchen to play in. Maybe something like this?


Ha. Haha. Here's hoping...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Starting Off With A Big "Thank You!"

Ahhhh, finally! After months of spending far too much time everyday creeping on some amazing blogs for the past few months, I have decided to jump in and try this out for myself.  This has been an aspiration of mine ever since my time studying abroad in Spain when I blogged about my travels there (mostly to avoid having to send 17 of the same email every day to different family and friends). Now, it's time to start reflecting on myself in my real life- as opposed to the fantasy I was living out over there.
Me and my amigas, Val and Rebecca, hanging out in the Albaicin in Granada

So, let me introduce myself. My name is Rachel, and I am about to start my senior year at the wonderful Ohio University. I am double majoring in Integrated Math Education and Spanish Education. I absolutely love teaching! I can't wait to get out into the real world and really make an impact in the lives of my students. I chose math and Spanish because that is where my interest lies, and because I think they are the content areas that need the most attention in our high schools. Math because we need to catch up in terms of where we stand in comparison to the rest of the world, and Spanish because I think every student's mind should be opened up to new cultures and new perspectives.

In terms of school, I am completely "in it", meaning it's all or nothing. A's or I'm not happy. This is where much of my stress and anxiety comes from. I have been doing better, but it still is something that I struggle with. Sometimes, it manifests itself in some not-so-healthy ways.

Which brings me to this... I am a newly proclaimed vegan!!!!!!!

The over-use of punctuation here is totally necessary. After struggling for the past 5 years or so with an extremely unhealthy relationship with food, stemming mostly from me feeling out of control with many aspects of my life including school, I have finally reached a place where I am ready to get it under control. My solution was to adopt the healthiest eating practices I could find. I have never been a big meat fan, so switching to a completely plant-based diet was not a huge switch. For the first time in my life, I feel like the food I am putting into my body is actually nourishing it rather than poisoning it or making into something I hate. After nearly 6 months on this journey, I have never felt physically healthier. My weight has stabilized, I have stopped counting calories, I have begun to enjoy regular exercise (having a hunky, personal trainer as a boyfriend helps), and there is no longer a scale in my bathroom. I would say this is some serious progress.

I would be lying, though, if I told you that I still don't struggle with it sometimes. I still have bad days, but recently, the good have been far out-numbering the bad. I think I have the food blog community to thank for this. Though my diligent creeping following, I have seen what it looks like to eat a healthy amount of food every day. I have gotten some great tips and recipes for fulfilling vegan meals. And, most importantly, I have found support by reading all of the processes you all have been through. For the first time, I have felt like I am not alone in this. And that there are people out there who get it.

So, this is me saying one big "Thank you!" to all of you out in the blogoshpere who have unknowingly helped me though some tough shit. You have no idea how much it means.