September 26, 2011

(Not So Many) Happenings!

Not much has been going on lately.  I am heavily into my fall routine of early morning workouts, work all day, class all night then coming home to crash.  This past weekend I went to Montoursville, Pennsylvania (near Williamsport) and met up with my mother at my grandparent's house; it was a nice and relaxing weekend!

I have begun experimenting with more vegan meals and products (although I seriously fell off the wagon this weekend - but hey, it was vacation).  First up is vegan 'cheese'!  I found this at the Fresh Market in Latham and while it is not very good by itself it was not half bad when used in combination with other ingredients; I made a quasadilla!

Next up!  I made my first dinner with tofu!  I chopped up a bunch of vegetables and sauteed them and the tofu in a Trader Joe's General Tso's sauce, toward the end I added veggie pasta! 

Lastly, my grandmother made soup this weekend and it was absolutely delicious, I had to try and make it myself!  While not vegan by any means it is vegetarian.  

Broccoli Cheese Soup (with Noodles)

3/4 lb velveeta type cheese (cubed or shredded)
1 onion (chopped)
6 cups chicken broth
10 oz frozen chopped broccoli or fresh cut
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 lb sharp cheese - shredded
10 oz fine noodles
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp garlic powder or salt

Heat broth, add broccoli, noodles, onions, garlic.  When noodles are cooked add cheese, milk and butter.

This coming weekend we are sponsoring an 'Energy Smart in the Park' Day to promote energy efficiency in low income areas of Schenectady, we are even giving away a refrigerator!  I am pretty excited, but it has turned into a two man show for preparing the event, cleaning up the park and making sure everything happens, hopefully it'll go off without a hitch.

And to celebrate Monday... the top of my cube!

Cardboard bus disaster and plants Peter Parker and Kris Kringle!

September 11, 2011

My first completely vegan meal!!

I had been eying a recipe in 'The Kind Diet' for sometime; rustic pasta and I decided that tonight was the night!  I have been going strong with my (nearly strictly) vegetarian diet for about two weeks now and I am seeing some pretty crazy changes!  So back to the rustic pasta; since I went to the farmer's market (this time in Schenectady) I had a few extra veggies so I decided to throw them in even though the recipe did not call for it.

Sautee in a little EVOO:
Peppers (red and green)
Garlic powder
Crushed red pepper

Once all the veggies are good and hot add:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup marinara sauce

(In the meantime cook about 1/2 lb of pasta.  I chose garden vegetable fettuccine)

When the pasta is finished and the veggie/sauce mixture has cooked, mix it all together and voila!  It turned out to be pretty good! 

This weekend I also made some pretty delicious peanut butter cookies.  I froze the majority of the cookie dough and have been only making a few at a time.

So aside from making a delicious vegan dinner I have been quite productive today!  I ran my first 5K since the beginning of June in record time, went to the farmer's market, made two vegetable lasagnas (to be frozen and eaten later), cooked a pot of beans to eat over salad and throughout the week and I am currently working on writing my first paper of the semester!

September 4, 2011

Soup Sunday!

What better way to spend a lazy Sunday than to make soup out of fresh vegetables!!  I really didn't have a recipe and wasn't exactly sure what the end result would be, but the soup turned out amazing and I now definitely have some healthy meals for the upcoming week!

* * Side note - I have still been going strong with my desire to adapt a more plant based diet.  I have been eating (nearly) strictly vegetarian lately and have been discovering new recipes along the way!! * *

I started with a bunch of veggies from the Farmer's Market - carrots, celery, onions, parsley, peppers and sweet corn on the cob!  I copped up a bunch of the vegetables to make the broth and sauteed them with some olive oil for about five minutes.

Once they are good and hot I added water and brought the mixture to a boil.  Once at a boil I lowered the heat and allowed the mixture to simmer for about two hours.


Once the broth is ready I drained the cooked vegetables and placed the broth back in the pan.  (More often than not the broth may still be a little 'watery' so you may need to add some vegetable bouillon cubes to boost the flavor).  I then chopped the vegetables for the soup, I included - red and green peppers, fresh sweet corn on the cob, onions, carrots, celery and broccoli.  I also added a can of dark red kidney beans!  I brought the soup to a boil and allowed it to cook for about an hour, just enough to soften and cook the vegetables but still retain all the favor.

During this time I also cooked (separately) some mini spiral noodles.  Once the soup is ready I divided it into various tupperware contains, some to freeze for later the rest of eat during the week. 

And voila!  The final result!  Perfectly vegetarian (and vegan)! 


Tomorrow I plan on making some challah bread to go with the soup and cook up some more black and kidney beans which will mix perfectly with some freshly cooked rice later on in the week.

No work tomorrow because of Labor Day so I am staying up late and sleeping in tomorrow!  I feel like such a rebel!

Taking It Back

So I have a lot to take back... mainly two big things that I mentioned in previous posts.  

1.  The cable is still on and my attempts to convert to a cable free household failed.  After purchasing the digital converter boxes and antennas and installing them on the TVs, I discovered that the signals were so weak that I could get one channel clearly, 3 very fuzzy channels and NBC was no where to be found!  One of my few requirements when getting rid of cable was that I still be able to watch the local and nightly news, of which I prefer NBC.  I realized that the cause of this was more than likely that I live on the bottom floor (with the apartments opposite of me being 'underground') of a 4 story building.  So the cable is staying on!  However, I was able to negotiate my way to a lower monthly bill through my initial threat to Time Warner that I was planning on canceling.  

2.  In my last post I talked about how the hurricane was not really that bad and seemed to be a whole lot of hype for nothing and in some ways I was right, but in other ways I was very very wrong.  Thursday my boss (Dave) had planned to take the Career Development staff to the Saratoga Race Track for a 'staff bonding' day and more or less just eat, drink and blow off some steam from a stressful summer.  The night before Dave decided to go down to the Stockade area of Schenectady to help our company's COO who's house had apparently flooded when the Mohawk River crested the day after the storm.  I don't think anyone truly realized how bad the storm and subsequent flood was, but needless to say that instead of going to the race track we spent the day performing disaster relief in the Stockade!  We helped out a man named Todd who's 1st floor of his home was completely destroyed, everything was lost.

1st Floor Bathroom

Living room with an antique 'Singer' sewing machine.

The entire first floor was covered with about an inch of mud.

Front of Todd's house - everything on the first floor had to be thrown away.

In the immediate aftermath everyone seemed to focus on North Carolina and New York City and while both areas suffered damage, little had been reported and I don't know that anyone really understood how bad Vermont and upstate NY were hit until well after the fact.  There is so much need and it felt great to be able to help.