Monday, March 2, 2009

Serendipitous Snow

OK, I admit it. I am a addict. I check it every day in order to anticipate what the coming days might bring, whether it be glorious sunshine or lame wind & rain. As per usual, I checked last night to see what the weather would be at 7AM, the time at which I usually make the trek across campus to the gym. Answer: "12*, windy and icy." Fabulous. A glance down the page indicated that no warming trend was expected throughout the morning. After much deliberation, I decided to deliberately skip my morning class, a transgression I rarely commit.

Lo and behold, I wake up this morning to my roommate rejoicing and announcing that classes had been cancelled! A rather serendipitous blanket of snow had arrived overnight. Hence, all guilt induced by class-skipping was successfully avoided. Sweet.

This weekend was pretty low-key around here; there wasn't much going on around campus, so my friends and I hid from the icy rain and watched a few chick flicks. I also managed to squeeze in another trip to TJ's with Alanna. Check out the eats that kept me going:

I wasn't much in the mood for cooking, so dinner ended up being a simple veggie bologna wrap with provolone and mixed greens. I'm with Kath--the taste of cheese is never pronounced enough when mixed into sandwiches and wraps, it seems. Anyway, I also opened up a new bottle of Annie's dressing after my beloved Woodstock disappeared. This time, I tried a classic, the balsamic vinaigrette. That's broccoli and a nectarine on the side.
The kind folks at Amazing Grass recently sent me some of their new Amazing Meal protein powder to review for VegFamily. You may remember when I tried (and reviewed) their Berry Greens supplement, but this time I tried out the Amazing Meal original flavor and combined it with soymilk, peaches, blueberries, and strawberries. Fabulous! FYI, Amazing Meal is a combination of hemp and rice proteins (soy-free!).
Continuing the simple trend, I had an old fave for breakfast: toast with PB & J. In case you're curious, I used Dickinson's organic all fruit blackberry spread. On the side I had some cottage cheese with banana and cinnamon.
For lunch, I made another Asian Bean Salad, this time using lightly steamed sugar snap peas, mushrooms, green onions, adzuki beans, and Annie's Shiitake Sesame dressing. More of those addictive crackers on the side, plus an orange.
After my trip to TJ's and a very necessary viewing of Bridget Jones's Diary, I made a late dinner out of Mexican Dip. In a glass bowl, I mashed some black beans and added layers of cheddar cheese, salsa, mashed avocado, and finally homemade tofu sour cream. I served all that goodness with some baked blue corn chips and a plate of greens. Definitely spawned a food fugue.
Next up in the Amazing Meal lineup: Pomegranate Mango Infusion. I just blended it with some frozen mango and soymilk, although in retrospect I could have added some POM as time.
With my Girl Scout challenge complete, I was left without inspiration for my oatmeal...and then I spied my pretzels in the cupboard next to the oatmeal. Bingo. I cooked my oats in rice milk and vanilla, then topped them with a few pretzels and a blob of PB. Just like those PB pretzels VeggieGirl sent me:)
As per usual, by Sunday I was left with a variety of beans and veggies in the I made another veggie-bean stew out of tomato sauce, black beans, adzuki beans, garlic, mixed veggies, cumin, turmeric, and curry powder. I dunked a mini bagel in all that tastiness and served it with grapes and greens with cashews.
I've gotten some great meal suggestions from blog readers, and this one is a new favorite. I stuffed a pita with a Bistro burger, mashed avocado, and melted provolone for a delectable hot sammie. Thanks to Jessica for suggesting this dish! I served it alongside some zucchini, salad, and peaches.
The final installment of the Amazing Meal journey involved a tasty chocolate infusion. I combined it with dairy-free vanilla ice cream (from TJ's!), lots of strawberries, and soymilk. A few Annie's chocolate bunnies decided to join in on the fun. SO GOOD. This was my favorite flavor!
After sleeping in this morning, I took advantage of my snow day by making a big bowl of choco-nana oat bran. Special dark cocoa powder, oat bran, rice milk, banana, coconut, and chocolate PB made for quite the breakfast treat. I am fast becoming an oat bran convert...
Despite the snow day, I still must venture out to my dining committee meeting tonight. We're discussing some new ideas for eateries to bring to campus. If you're in college now, what's your favorite place to eat on your campus? If you're not college-age, what kind of place would you frequent on a university campus? Outside input is always helpful!

Enjoy your Monday!


VeggieGirl said...

Hooray for no classes, soy-free protein powder, and for those pretzel oats of yours!! Thanks for the shout-out too :-D

Whitney said...

Ugh! Campus campus only really has dining options for freshman, but they also have a student union that sort of acts as a dining hall for the upperclassman. We have a Subway, a greasy Chinese fast-food place, a coffee shop, minature grocery store, and a pretty impressive vegetarian/vegan cafe. Obviously my favorite is the Holy Cow (veggie cafe...check it out online it's in Eugene) but despite all the options it still gets a little redundant...haha!

Jaime said...

wow girl! so many good eats- that tofu cream sounds yummy and that choc oat bran looks delish! enjoy the snow :)

carolinebee said...

my university had a few good options- la salsa for mexican, wolfgang puck cafe?? And a good chinese stir-fry place..but i opted for subway or chipotle nearby :D Or came home for some good meals! If you like munster or sharp cheddar, also pepper jack- i use those cheeses in my sandwiches and they seem to hold their own! I highly recommend the maranatha no-stir as well, it's my first time w/ AB but i love it!!

flower said...

I wish it would snow here. As for new places to eat that really depends on what you already have, my 2 favourite places would be a coffee shop that make proper coffee, cakes and sandwiches and a really simple resturant that would serve the kind of thing mum makes :)

shelby said...

Dayummm girl, those eats are amazing.

Love the PB Pretzel Oats! I make mine with both Dark & White Chocolate PB and it's heavenly!

ksgoodeats said...

Hope you enjoyed your snow day to the fullest extent!!

Your version of Mexican dip sounds utterly amazing!

Q for you my domestic goddess: when you make stews/soups do you only use tomato sauce as the liquid or do you add in some water/broth?

I don't live on campus but if I had to eat what was offered at ours (with the exception of the caf) my only choice would be Subway. Everything on our campus is a chain and frankly, not very good!

Marainne said...

PB & Pretzel oats, mexican layer dip, and chocolate coconut oat bran? A whole lotta good eats going on here!

And I can always taste cheese in my sammies. They would be naked without the cheese.

Ruby Red Vegan said...

Isn't it the best when classes are cancelled?!! Lucky you!

I so envy your nighttime shakes! I love when you put ice cream in! It would be awesome to be able to do that, but I can never save ice cream long enough for it to make it into a blender.

The coconut/chocolate/banana/PB oats look incredible! I too love that combo! I need to try your Thin Mint Oats one of these days.

Erica said...

WOW lots o snow! Glad you had classes canceled though- that is awesome! I want to try that protein powder- it sounds wonderful!

Jessica said...

Thanks for the shout out caroline!!!! All that was missing from that pita burger was SALSA!!! :)

At my school this place called "core" is really popular, it's basically a huge salad bar where people get served over 100 different veggies, meats, and toppings of their choice!- set up like subway, but with salad foods!

eatingbender said...

That is so great that classes were canceled! It seems as though Northwestern has a "no cancel" policy regardless of how many inches we get!

That Mexican Dip look scrumptious! Love that choco-nana oatbran, too! Perfect for a snowy day!

We don't have too many exciting places on campus, but near campus...definitely Panera, Einstein Bros., Cosi or Noodles!

CeciLiA said...

Oh gosh Caroline - STOP IT - stop making me drool helplessly on my precious laptop! Your oatmeal creations are seriously tantalizing!! Hrmmm ... any ideas on 'rocky road slice' oatmeal? :D

Olalala, pb pretzel oatmeal is SO yum! Sweet + salty = YUMMO combo .... Oh man, you should've put some of those pb filled pretzels into ya oatmeal *swoon*

As for campus eating ... I don't eat on campus much >> no point in spending money on unhealthy, overpriced food right?!! BUT there is this awesome SALAD/SANDWICH/SOUP (vegan FRIENDLY!) bar off campus, I love that place ... they have "WHOLE FOODS" type salad bar, love it, nuff said :D

Lauren said...

How's the tofu sour cream? Sounds interesting.

thecleanveggie said...

woah your oatbran looks SO GOOD :)
love the eats.

Danielle said...

Yay for no classes!
Love that mexican dip.

healthy ashley said...

That Amazing Meal stuff sounds great!

I love that youcheck the weather all the time because I never do! I never know what's going on unless someone around me mentions it :) I guess I like surprises!

luckytastebuds said...

oh man awesome eats! Let me come live in the broccoli hut with you! hahahah

I'm loving the interesting combos! And I've never tried oat bran, but it seems like it's the new cool kids breakfast these days!

When I lived on campus, I liked going to cheap, fast tasty restaurants serving food that I couldn't get in the dining halls. My favorite were Mediterranean joints and Chinese food restaurants like Joy Yees! :)

Hope you friday is going awesome!

ChickPea said...

VeggieGirl: yes, soy-free protein, PB pretzels, and no classes are all cause for celebration!
Whitney: Yikes, your dining options sound pretty limited. That Holy Cow place looks amazing though...I want to try some tempeh hot wings! I wish we had a place like that on campus, but I don't think there's enough demand:(
Jaime: Thanks! I hope you had fun in the snow as well!
CarolineBee: Ooh! Wolfgang Puck Cafe? That's pretty awesome. We have a Chipotle nearby as well...I go just for the guac!
I love Muenster! I should look for that at the store next time I go.
I will have to five that AB a try!
Flower: Believe me, we have LOTS of coffee shops...not sure about the proper coffee part though;)
Mom's cooking would def be nice to have at school!
Shelby: Ooh! I like the idea of mixing nut butters...I don't think I've ever done that. Pure genius.
K: Not gonna lie, the Mexican Dip was pretty awesome. I can't wait to make it again.
I do add water to the tomato sauce, usually in equal amount to the tomato sauce (~1/2 cup). Sorry for not making that clear in the post!
We have a lot of chains too: Subway, Chick Fil A, McD's, and most recently Panda Express. Ugh.
Marianne: Glad you enjoyed the post! Maybe I just need to get stronger flavored cheese.
Ruby: Snow days are pretty awesome--we don't get them too often!
Shakes with IC is the best way to go--it makes them so, well, creamy.
What kind of dairy-free IC do you like?
I must admit, I first got turned onto the choco-nana idea when I tried you "Ruby's Oats" recipe. It's one of my favorites!
Erica: Haha, sounds like you've got lots of protein powders to try!
Jessica: No problem--you deserved recognition for your fab creation! Core sounds like my kind of place. We have a similar place just next to campus called Green Tango--they even offer my fave ingredients, tofu and avocado!
EatingBender: Something tells me that NU would not have gotten a snow day had you gotten our measly 2 inches. I think there's a different standard down here...
I remember from my many visits to Evanston that there are lots of places to eat near campus--I am so jealous of your proximity to Panera!
Cecilia: You are a genius! I am totally adding rocky road to my oatmeal ideas list. That used to be my favorite IC flavor before chocolate chip cookie dough came along...
I thought about putting some of my PB filled pretzels in, but I decided I wanted to save them for another time--they're a precious snack!
Wouldn't it be awesome to have a WF on campus? Hello, hot bar!
Lauren: I loved the tofu sour cream...and I don't even like sour cream! That being said, I don't know if it really tastes like real sour cream since I don't eat it much, but the texture was spot-on.
thecleanveggie: Thanks! I love oat bran these days.
Danielle: Yes, it was a welcome surprise! Hope you're having fun abroad!
HealthyAshley: Haha, I am the queen of planning ahead, so I guess it is only logical that I check the weather should try the Amazing Meal!
luckytastebuds: You're welcome to shack up in the Broccoli Hut any time:)
I'd had oat bran before, but I just recently rediscovered it due to its food blogger popularity. It's pretty awesome!
MMm I would love to have an all Mediterranean place on campus!

Mel said...

PB pretzel oats?!? wowww, that sounds awesome!

there are really gross options on my campus... Wendy's, nasty chinese food, pizza hut. There is a subway and a random smoothie place though, but that's about as good as it gets :-/

ChickPea said...

Mel: You should def try the PB pretzel combo--I swear oatmeal has formed a new creative outlet for me!
Is it weird that I like Wendy's for some reason? Now that I'm a vegetarian, I can't enjoy their deliciously awful burgers, but I still really like their baked potatoes and Frosties:)
It seems like every college campus has a Subway!