Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Love List Number Eight!

Happy Monday my friends!

I had a very busy week last week so unfortunately I have less to share with you, but there's always something to love right?!

1. Yum Universe test drive

If you may remember, a few weeks ago I mentioned I had purchased a bundle of ebooks. This was one of those ebooks and I loved trying it out! It included a shopping list with five days of meal plans.

I actually had tried out a different meal plan the week before, which was not my favorite, but this one I really enjoyed!

This may not be something I would recommend to everyone, as it is a bit complex, but for someone who has been cooking and preparing vegan, plant-based foods for over a year it was enjoyable and had me trying some things I've never done before. Most notably was the soaking and sprouting that I tried. This included soaking grains and beans and sprouting lentils. I always love sprouts on salads and now I know how to make my own at home! Hooray!

As I had a busy week, taking photos was not on the forefront on my mind, but I did get some pictures of a couple dishes I made this week!

Taco salad before dressing with salsa verde
Post mixing and after eating a few bites, I couldn't resit
Kale and creamy millet salad
I had never made millet before and it was pretty awesome! It was overall a very tasty week. I will definitely be making many of these recipes again! Both of these recipes are available online, here and here

2. Feeling like a real adult

This week Morgan and I replaced our old (and broken) bed frame and got a new one with a headboard! We also got new, amazing, sheets in the mail so we have been living in luxury, and like real adults, this week! Having a headboard has been especially nice since previously not having one before always resulted in our pillows falling into the window behind our bed, no fun! 

All and all a very adult and comfortable development!

3. Over halfway done with summer quarter

I am really drawing on blanks this week my friends, I think because my week was so filled with school work. So, along those lines, I am very excited to be on week six of eight of summer quarter, almost there! It's been a lot of work, but it has also added an element of accomplishment to my summer that most in the past have been lacking. Again, making me feel like a real adult! Nothing wrong with that right?!

Alright, not much going on here, so how about a clip of surprised kitty? I always love watching that! 

I hope you all have had a wonderful Monday and I hope to have more time to do cool things and take some cool pictures this week!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Forgotten Connections

Hello all! I hope you have been having a wonderful week!

This summer I have been taking two classes to prepare for my master's program. One of these classes, nutrition, is online. However the other, a chemistry prep class, is in person and thus requires me to take a 15 minute bus ride each way to class. These bus rides have led me to experience the wonders of technology but also ponder how it could be hindering us.

While I ride the bus I normally always listen to my ipod, enjoying a podcast, lecture, or just some good music. Doing so is very socially acceptable, with most of my fellow bus riders staring intently at their phones or listening to music such as myself.

Hardly anyone on my rides engages in conversation with another human on the bus. Those that do are normally a) riding with someone they already know b) making a polite comment that doesn't develop into any sort of conversation or c) talking to another person but not in a way that is deemed socially acceptable.

As I have observed this behavior for these past weeks I have begun to think about how many connections are possibly being missed. In the past I have always heard about people meeting on the bus and falling in love, or finding a life long friend, or just making an acquaintance to sit next to every day. In fact my parents have such a story; over twenty years ago they met one of their closest friends on the bus.

However, I have realized that these connections seem to be forgotten. Smart phones with social media and countless games, texting so as never to miss what's happening anywhere but here and now, or the latest from that hot new artist have become the norm.

How I Met Your Mother just sums it up so beautifully!

As I sit with my earbuds in, of course realizing the irony of my situation, I wonder what it would be like to actually engage the man or woman sitting next to me. How would they respond to such an encounter? What might I learn about them or the world if we got to talking? Would my life drastically change in some way?

When I look up, thinking that maybe I will just talk to the person next to me, I am faced with replicas of myself, engaging in the same antisocial behavior. It seems that whatever is coming through the earbuds, or happening on social media, or that game of bejeweled, has taken over a situation once ripe with social potential, making it one where greeting someone with "Hello" and "How are you today" would be seen as abnormal.

However, what do I really know? I have yet to be bold enough to actually greet the person next to me, or attempt to engage them in a conversation. And while I have pondered all these issues, every morning as I put my earbuds in, it seems I have again forgotten the connections that could be made.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday Love List Number Seven!

Happy Monday all!

As I prepare for a very busy week ahead, I think it is all the more important to remember the things I'm loving right now!

1. Homemade Non-Dairy Milk and "Hippie Vegan Moments"

For my birthday one of my oldest and closest friends made me delicious homemade almond milk and also gifted me my very own nut-milk bag! I had never had homemade almond milk before and man did I love it! It was much creamier than store bought almond milk and was a beautiful bright white color.

Inspired by this wonderful beverage, I decided to use my new nut milk bag and make my own non-dairy milk!

I have been making oat milk myself for a while which gave me the idea of making an almond-oat milk blend! To do so I combined the oat milk recipe and the almond milk recipe from Oh She Glows and the result was amazing!

It was so good it's all gone already!
When I made this, I decided that it would be best to peel my almonds once they had been properly soaked. The original almond milk I had been gifted was made with peeled almonds and that was where the beautiful white color came from. Now, peeling almonds is not as hard as it sounds as the soaked almonds "pop" right out of their skin. However, it does require handling and peeling each individual almond.

As I was doing this, and rather enjoying it, I had a bit of a moment. A moment I self-labeled as a "vegan hippie moment." While I certainly do many things that your average Joe does not, and may not have ever heard of, I don't normally self identify my behavior as that far out or odd. But hand peeling a cup of almonds? I just had to laugh at myself for that one. Nonetheless, I think my almond milk was much better because of that peeling and I thoroughly enjoyed my "hippie vegan moment." I'm quite sure I will have many more in the future!

Now, once my delicious and nutritious almond-oat milk was made, I had left over almond pulp. As I loath wasting food I wanted to find something delicious to do with this pulp, so I made cookies! I used the vanilla almond sugar cookies recipe from Choosing Raw with a few modifications. Namely, I used oat flour instead of almond and sweetened with maple syrup instead of dates. I also baked them for less time than recommended to get more of a cake or macaroon like cookie. They were tasty!

These were gone in less than 12 hours
So, all and all, it's amazing what almonds and oats can do! I especially enjoyed making a combination non-dairy milk as the result tasted much less "oaty" or "almondy" than either milk does alone, instead having a unique and mild yet delicious flavor.

2. So Much Produce!

On most days, my small section of our very small fridge as well as my produce bin are completely stuffed to the brim with fruits and veggies. After my trip to the farmer's market this weekend this is especially true! For six dollars I got all of this produce!

Three different types of kale and one giant zucchini!
Yummy yummy! I have since made multiple kale salads made with all three types of kale! How cool is that?!

3. So Many Desserts to Make!

So many of the blogs I follow have been posting mouth-watering dessert recipes lately! I normally avoid making entire dessert dishes for myself as I will just eat the whole thing immediately, as we saw with the almond cookies. However, these recipes have made me question this decision!

Just today Keepin' It Kind posted adorable double chocolate truffles, along with an inspirational story about keeping things simple. Oh She Glows has also been posting intriguing dessert recipes including raw almond butter cups and dark chocolate pie. Stepping away from all the chocolate (although really when can you have too much chocolate!?), Healthy Bitch Daily just posted a collection of fruit popsicle recipes which look sure to cool down any hot summer day!

My only problem now is deciding which of these many recipes to try first!

Well, it seems I am loving a lot of food this week! But then again, what's wrong with having a love affair with healthy and delicious food?

On that note I should turn to my nutrition assignment and get working on all that stuff I have to do this week!

Happy Monday everyone, I hope you have a lot to love and lots of good food this week!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Massaged Kale Salad

Hi all!

I have yet to post any recipes or specifically food posts, so I thought where better to start than with a kale salad!

Kale can be kind of a scary vegetable. I know I didn't know what to do with it when I first encountered it. However, I have learned to love this leafy green for all its glory!

Behold the beauty of kale!
One of the most important things to do when eating kale, especially raw, is to massage it. What? you say, MASSAGE it? Like a day at the spa? Well almost.

Essentially, all you do is add some sort of dressing on your washed and de-stemmed kale and work it around in your hands for a minute or so, making sure to squeeze the kale and really work the dressing in. Here's a longer post about how to do this and why. 

You can do this with any dressing that you are planning on using on your salad or simply oil, vinegar, or lemon juice. I have also made wonderful massaged kale just by using avocado or hummus. By massaging the kale it takes the bitterness away and makes it much less chewy and dense. It also absorbs the dressing or whatever else you use really nicely, adding a burst of flavor. 

Once you've massaged your kale you are ready to go! Add anything you are in the mood for to make a wonderful salad. Not sure what to add? Try my very meticulous and careful method...

...pull everything out of the fridge and work from there! 

For my salad I added cucumber, onion, mushrooms, kalamata olives, arugula, and parsley. For my dressing as well as what I used to massage my kale I used tahini sauce mixed with some vinegar (I used the vinegar from the olives) to make it a bit more liquidy. 

I ended up with this beautiful salad!
Massaged kale is also great as a side to any entree you are having (steamed kale would be tasty too) and I love adding grains like quinoa to it to make a bulkier salad. Eating salads like this during the summer is awesome. They are quick and easy and don't require any cooking. Since you can make them however you want they are also great when you have a bunch of produce you need to use in your fridge.

There are many many kale salad recipes out there as well as lots of different ways to prepare this awesome vegetable, so if you are looking for inspiration check some of them out! 

Do you have any favorite kale recipes?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Monday Love List Number Six!

Hello my friends! I'm sure you know what day it is...MONDAY which means love list time!

I hope that everyone had a great past week and have some good things coming up this week!!

Here are some things I'm loving this week!

1. Productivity

After a couple speed bumps last week I managed to have a  really productive week, which was a good thing since I had quite a bit of work to get done! Thankfully this week will be a bit less demanding, but I am hoping to keep the momentum going and continue to get lots done!

2. Parks and Recreation 

I just started watching this show and I've been really enjoying it!

Normally I have so many shows to keep up with that I don't have time to try many new ones. So, what better time to do so than in the summer when I have more time and fewer shows are airing?! This show is also great because episodes (without commercials) are just over twenty minutes long, the perfect length for a quick break from work!

3. Despicable Me 2

Speaking of screen time, this weekend I saw Despicable Me 2 with my dad and sister and it did not disappoint! I of course loved the minions, I don't think I will ever get over their cuteness, and it was overall a great movie! We were some of the only adults in a theater full of children and their parents and I could tell it was a hit because the children stayed remarkably quiet, excluding of course the laughing, throughout the whole thing! If you are looking for a cute and funny movie I would definitely recommend seeing it!

4. New Music

I was listening to a playlist on Songza and one of the songs really jumped out at me, leading me to the artist Ivy Levan. It was her song Hang Forever which first hooked me, which unfortunately does not have an official music video out yet, but soon after searching on youtube I found her other songs and knew I had to buy her EP! I especially like her song Hot Damn, check it out! Her music just makes me want to get up and dance!

5. Digital Cookbooks Galore 

The site Vegan Cuts is having a special right now where a bunch of digital downloads of cookbooks, meal plans, and more are 90% off! I just downloaded 9 different ebooks for $14.99! Look how awesome!

I haven't had a chance to explore the books yet, but I am excited to do so! A couple of them I had been pondering trying out at the full price and the rest look super tasty, so I figured why not!

6. Re-affirming Articles

I came across this article about positive thinking this morning. Many of the reasons talked about there are why I love doing these lists! No matter what else is happening, especially on a Monday, there is always something to love and appreciate, the silver lining if you will.

In this article I especially like the mention of gratitude, something I am working on in myself. Whenever I find myself in a funk or bad mood that I just can't seem to get out of I like to think of at least 3 things I am grateful for, it really puts things into perspective!

So, what are you grateful for? I'd love to hear!

Happy Monday everyone, I hope you are having a great day!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Monday Love List Number Five!!

Hello everyone and happy Monday!

I can't believe I'm writing my FIFTH love list! Has it really been that long?

Well apparently it has and I still have a lot to love!

1. Family vacations

Over the Fourth of July holiday I got to spend a vacation with my family and Morgan in Vancouver, BC. I had a great time exploring the city, visiting with our family that lives up there, and having a lot of good food! Hooray for vacations!

2. Lots of great food

On our vacation we had a lot of wonderful food, feeling stuffed after practically every meal. Additionally I did not get poisoned by any of the food we had! Traveling is always a bit of a danger zone for me, especially when I am going out for all meals of the day. However, this trip I only had delicious food, without any bad stuff!

The first night of our trip we went to a Lebanese restaurant called Nuba. This place was amazing!
My falafel dish, which I started devouring
before I remembered to snap a picture. 

We also had a great cauliflower dish that we all loved!

The next day we went to Aphrodite's, an organic cafe in the Kitsilano neighborhood where we dined on brunch and amazing pie!

My vegan, gluten-free mac and cheese!
Mmmm, vegan, gluten-free pies? Yes please!
I had the chocolate pecan pie, which was likely
the most decadent pie I have ever had!
We had so many other wonderful meals throughout the trip, we were certainly well fed!

3. Coconut yogurt

I found this yogurt at Trader Joe's yesterday and I was thrilled. I've found other non-dairy yogurts I can have, but none in the stores I usually shop at. Needless to say I was happy to try this and it did not disappoint!

I was surprised by this yogurt! The texture was much smoother than I thought it would be and the coconut wasn't too overpowering! If anyone is looking for a vegan yogurt try this out!

4. This post and video

5. Sun!!!

The weather has been beautiful! I'm glad the heat streak seems to have passed for now, leaving us with pleasant and sunny weather. Even though I have been working for most of the afternoon I made sure to get out and run some errands just to get outside!

Alright, that is it for now! I hope everyone is having a wonderful Monday!

***Also, to anyone who subscribed to follow my blog before this posting, please re-subscribe! With the change of my blog title, I need to reset the widget that allows email following. Thank you!***

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Seattle Chickpea

Hello all!

I have decided to change my blog title to "The Seattle Chickpea," something I find much more fitting than the previous title!

If you are reading this you have made it to the new address, welcome!

What do you think of the new name? Love it? Hate it? Let me know!

And tune in tomorrow for another Monday love list! I've got a lot to love!

Happy Sunday, I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July weekend.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Monday Love List Number Four!

Happy Monday everyone!

It is beautiful, and very warm here in Seattle. I hope that everyone is staying cool!

Here is my love list for the week!

1. Cucumber water

I've just started drinking cucumber water in the mornings and it is sweet!!

I've been doing this as a replacement to having hot lemon water which is praised by many as a great way to detox and start the day. Unfortunately for me, citrus is a migraine trigger and as such I cannot consume lemon on such a regular basis. So, enter cucumber water!

Mmmm, yummy
This takes very little time to prepare. I have just been slicing cucumber, adding water, and letting it sit overnight. Then when I wake up I have a refreshing, energizing drink waiting for me!

As an added bonus, once I finish all the water I get to munch on the left over cucumbers, which are even more delicious than normal because they are so saturated from the water!

It's almost like the prize at the bottom of the cereal box!
I've also started playing around with this, for example last night I added some mint leaves to the water and man was it good! I think you could pretty much add anything you like! If you are not sensitive to citrus I would imagine a squirt of lemon or lime would be nice and any essential oils would also add a fun twist!

2. New straws and drinking lid

I ordered these from Vegan Cuts to supplement my mason jar collection and make smoothie and tea drinking super fun and easy!

This lid fits any small mouth canning jar, instantly making it a handy drinking cup! I also got three stainless steel drinking straws and a brush cleaner. What more could I need?!

Indeed, I have found that
"everything taste better out of a glass jar!"
The very entertaining packaging

3. DOMA being ruled unconstitutional and Pride!

Hooray!!!!!! I was so excited to hear that DOMA had been ruled unconstitutional. Unfortunately I was unable to attend this year's Pride Parade, but I'm sure it was a ton of fun! I was able to experience all the pride and support there was on capitol hill last week though, it was inspiring!

The banners that were all over Broadway
Me after Pride 2012
4. Weekend trips out of the city

This weekend Morgan, my parents, and I went to our river house in Rimrock Retreat (about 30 min out of Yakima) to get away from the heat in the city and have a relaxing time. On Saturday it seemed to be monsoon season as it thunder-stormed and poured down rain all afternoon and evening. This allowed us to get some things done around the house and play a lot of board games!

Carvings near the house
The Teiton river during a break in the rain
Fog on the river from all the rain
Sunday the weather improved and we got to spend some quality time outside!
 We also stopped on the way home just outside of Rainier National Park at Wapiti Woolies, a clothing and gift store with a coffee shop.

A ski chair!
5. Washington sticker

I found this glittery Washington sticker at Wapiti Woolies. Now I just need to find a spot to put it!

6. New makeup

I went out on a limb and ordered some makeup online from Lush as the store normally located in Westlake center is under renovation and I'm so glad I did! This vegan, cruelty-free, and natural makeup is awesome!!

I got their mascara "Eyes Right" as well as their "Light Pink" color supplement. Next time I can get to a store I also want to try some of their face masks, which look really nice!

Alright! That's a lot of love for the day. I hope that everyone can enjoy the weather and doesn't get too hot, try some cucumber water to stay hydrated!

Happy Monday!