Friday, March 28, 2008

Exciting News

Happy Friday, everyone! It's the weekend, finally! I had a busy week that included a few important decisions. First, my roommate and I figured out our living arrangements for next year. We will be living in an apartment--with a kitchen! I am so excited to have access to a full size refrigerator, a stove, and a toaster. Trust me, you won't realize how much you miss your toaster until you don't have it. I am so jealous of all you bloggers out there making those delicious looking waffle sandwiches for breakfast!

The second bit of important news is that I have been considering my future in the past few days, and I have decided to pursue a career as a registered dietitian. I have been interested in nutrition since high school (I did an independent study on it during my senior year). However, I was scared off by the science aspect, and my university does not offer any nutrition-related classes. My interest in the subject has obviously persisted, so I decided to take the plunge into nutrition. I still plan to graduate from my current university with degrees in English and psychology, but afterward I plan to return to Birmingham and get a bachelor's degree in nutrition. Ideally, I would like to incorporate writing--it is most certainly one of my passions. Perhaps someday I'll be the next resident nutritionist on staff at Self Magazine?

OK, now that I have babbled on enough about my future, I'll share some photos. On Wednesday evening, I was really not in the mood for campus food. So I pulled out a box of Annie's microwaveable macaroni and cheese, something I had never tried before. I loved it! I think I will have to eat these more often when I don't feel like enduring the tedium of tweaking campus fare. This was the white cheddar flavor; I added frozen chopped spinach for nutrition and color. I also had a huge salad from the salad bar with mushrooms, tomatoes, and artichokes, but the picture turned out blurry:( You can use your imagination though!

For breakfast one day, I started off fairly old school--a bowl of Cheerios. True to form, I added some less conventional toppings: unsweetened almond milk, sliced banana, and wheat germ. Not the typical way to enjoy Cheerios, but it was tasty, nonetheless.

For a snack last night I dug out a box of Kashi Mighty Bites that had been hiding in my "dorm pantry" (aka the top shelf of my closet). I consider this cereal more of a "snack" cereal than a breakfast cereal; it is sweeter and less fibrous than some of my normal breakfast selections. I think it is technically geared toward young children, but clearly that never stops me from sampling a food! I mixed it with some plain Stonyfield yogurt, Stevia, and cinnamon for a bedtime snack.


Today's high temperature is 82*, so for my breakfast this morning I chose to whip up a smoothie with my Magic Bullet blender (yes, I have two--one at home and one here!). I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk and frozen mixed berries. I thoroughly enjoyed it--except for those pesky seeds! Along with the smoothie I had a Cinnamon Raisin Gnu Bar and some raw cashews. I definitely recommend Gnu Bars if you have never tried them--very high fiber (12 grams!)--and whole grain. This variety tastes like a healthy version of a cinnamon raisin bagel--I bet it would be tasty with cream cheese on it!

Inspired by Jennifer over at Veg*n Cooking, I decided to make a Mexican-themed lunch. I guess you would call these tostadas. I had intended for them to be tacos, but I piled too much yumminess on them, so I ate them flat with a knife and fork--they lasted much longer that way! I used organic corn tortillas, chopped spinach, light string cheese, and salsa. It was good, but I wish I had some more spices on hand--some chili powder and cumin would really have hit the spot! I had some of the ubiquitous melon and water in my lovely Sigg water bottle.

I have been looking for good (vegan/vegetarian) cookbooks lately. Even though I have quite a collection at home, I have none at school. I decided I need a little motivation to get through these last few weeks before summer, so I was perusing Amazon's offerings last night (er, this morning--I think it was 1:30 AM...). Has anyone tried The Student's Go Vegan Cookbook? To go along with it, I was looking for some good dorm room cooking gadgets, but I couldn't decide among so many options. So, what are your favorite cookbooks and kitchen gadgets? Any and all recommendations are much appreciated!


Andrea said...

congrats on your decision! you would be a fabulous self-blogger for sure :) my fav book is 'veganomicon' obvvviously lol. i also love ED&BV and 'vegan microwave cookbook' - useful for college (without ovens grr!) i also can't wait until next year where i will have my (1) toaster (2) george forman and (3) oven! yay us

Jennifer said...

Wooohooo! Your own kitchen! You'll be able to whip up all sorts of delights then!

Congrats on your decision as to what type of education to pursue, deciding what you 'want to do' is the hardest part. Look at me, I have a degree in psychology and sociology and I'm an Institutional Research Analyst, which has nothing to do with either of those topics, aside from a proficiency with statistics.

Your 'tostacos' look really yummy! Add some beans to that and this girl is moving in, small dorm room or not!

Your fruit is constantly making me jealous.

I HAVE THAT SAME EXACT SIGG WATER BOTTLE! Same design and everything, how weird!

As far as cookbooks go, I've decided pretty much not to bother. I bought both Veganomicon and Vegan with a Vengeance and have not been impressed. The desserts are good, though I healthify them (will not use white flour and what's with all the oil). I get FAR better ideas from blogs and other recipe sources online. I love to veganize very non-vegan things too, always fun.

HOWEVER, if you ever come across a 'peasant food' cookbook, do let me know. That seems to be my favorite type of cusine irregardless of the culture it stems from.

Veg-a-Nut said...

Love you plan for the future. You go for it! I don't know where I would be without my toaster oven. I love it. Ok, now I am starving for cheerios. hehe :o) I am glad I found your blog!

Romina said...

Congratulations!! I really wanted to do the same thing for the past few years but I wasn't sure I could make it. Best of luck to you!!

Also, I'm LOVING the magic bullet pic. I'm obsessed with mine. I absolutely love the fact that you can blend and drink in the same container! And you've gotta have the cute little colorful screw-on thingy, hehe. =) Again, congrats, and I can't wait to hear more about your pursuit.

Ruby Red Vegan said...

Gnu bars are really good! I've tried the chocolate one, and I'm thinking the cinanamon raisin one has got to be next. Vegan with a Vengeance is the must-have vegan cookbook in my opinion, and my most-loved kitchen appliance is my Belgian waffle iron or my espresso machine (one of the two, anyhow!).

It's awesome that you want to become an RD! That's what I'm working toward too, if chemistry doesn't kill me first. Seriously, that class is practically a death sentence, ugh.

Alice (in Veganland) said...

Congratulations on your decision to become a dietitian! seriously, it is SO difficult to find out what you want to do in your life...but if this feel good, go for it!
My favorite kitchen appliance is my steam cooker. It has saved my life many times. Throw veggies in, set time, go away, eat perfect food. It can also cook all sort of grains, but really the best thing is being able to walk away, specially when you have a lot to study or work in!

Kath said...

Congrats on your decision to become an R.D.!!!! The sciences aren't really that bad :)

Lindsay said...

Yay for getting your own kitchen! I remember I loved having that in my senior year :)

By the way, I had the same Gnu bar yesterday too!!!

ChickPea said...

Andrea: Thanks for your suggestions! I actually recently purchased Veganomicon and ED&BV, but they're at home:( However, I think the microwave cookbook sounds perfect for what I am looking for--something to get me through these last few weeks at school! I am so excited for my kitchen next year--we must discuss all the appliances we'll need to outfit our kitchens!
Jennifer: My tostacos actually did have beans in/on them--black beans! I think those might be my favorite beans besides chickpeas. Oh, and YAY for being Sigg twins!
Veg-a-nut: Thanks for your kind words--I just discovered your blog too. I love it!
Romina: Don't you just love the Bullet?? I use it all the time at home, but here not as often because it can be a bit noisy for a dormitory. Do you have the blender attachment? It's great for when I make my HUGE smoothies at home. I haven't posted any pics of those yet, but I will in the future. What are your favorite Magic Bullet recipes?

ChickPea said...

Ruby: I love Gnu bars too! I just ordered a few more as a kind of sampler--I will let you know what I think of the chocolate brownie. Are they vegan?
Are VwaV recipes dorm room-friendly? I would like to invest in it at some point, but right now I am looking for dorm-compatible recipes.
I am scared of the chemistry classes I will have to take in the future, but hopefully I can survive!
Alice: What kind of steam cooker do you have? I have one at home that is good for steaming vegetables. I am intrigued by being able to steam grains...
Kath: Thanks! I have to say that reading your blog kind of inspired to me to pursue this career :)
Lindsay: I noticed that too--weird coincidence!

VeggieGirl said...

I cook from The Student's Go Vegan Cookbook all the time!! Its recipes have made appearance on my blog before :0)

Hooray for your living arrangements next year! That will be great, for sure, having full-access to a kitchen on campus.

Best of luck with your new major - learning about nutrition is definitely needed these days, so you picked a good focus for your studies!

I also recommend ED&BV, My Sweet Vegan, Veganomicon, Vive Le Vegan, and The Everyday Vegan. Great cookbooks, for sure!

Oh and my most prized kitchen tools are: KitchenAid food processor, BlendTec blender, cherry-pitter (haha, it's great for me, since I eat cherries so often!), and an apple slicer (ditto, like the cherries).

Ruby Red Vegan said...

Yep, the chocolate brownie flavor of Gnu is vegan! I've only had it once, but I thoroughly totally & completely enjoyed it and I hope you do too! I don't think VwaV is dorm-friendly unless your dorm has an oven (my old one did, even though there was no stove). Sorry about that!

You should totally come on my next family vacation! My sister gets really moody and crabby when she's just with the family, so you could be the buffer & she'd be on her best behavior! That would make any trip much more enjoyable. :) I found out today that we're probably going to California this summer, and that means DisneyLAND!

Happy Herbivore! said...

congrads on your own workspace!

the only cookbook I don't have buyers remorse with is "skinny bitch in the kitch" although they do rely heavily on processed foods, too... but what I have made has been spectacular... I prefer blogs for my recipes... although I am working on a fat free wholesome cookbook right now :P that I'll be giving to my readers via online... I dont aspire to be in a store :)

ChickPea said...

VeggieGirl: Thanks for the Go Vegan recommendation--I will have to check it out! I am also considering getting a food processor, like you mentioned. It seems like everyone has either a Kitchen Aid one or one by Cuisinart. Decisions, decisions...
Ruby: Yay for vegan Gnu bars! That makes them even better. Vegan snack bars can be hard to come by. Today I got so excited because I got another free sample (I review for VegFamily), and there were some sunflower seed snack bars that look delish--but I noticed they had honey in them:( Sheesh.
HH: More and more I am finding that blogs are the way to go--they take up way less space! I anxiously await your online cookbook!