Wednesday, April 20, 2011

comings and goings


I've come to the conclusion that it's much easier to pack for a long weekend than it is for a work trip, especially when I get to go somewhere more fun than Oklahoma! Tomorrow I leave for Pittsburgh for four whole days to spend time with Amy and JP, two of my favorite people in the world, and getting everything in my suitcase was an easy feat. I am so incredibly excited to experience a new city with them, and to see my best friend that I haven't seen in two whole months! Now when I have to pack for another 2-month adventure in about three weeks, it'll be quite another story...

I'm ready!!!


It was 85 degrees and sunny yesterday, and I was feeling extremely motivated to do something outside. Running sounded fantastic, but it was almost a little too warm to go to the path at UAH that I frequent after work. So I decided it was the perfect day for my first trail run of the year! It's usually at least 10 degrees cooler up on Monte Sano, the mountain near my house, and my favorite trail (South Plateau Loop) was nice and dry. It was just as gorgeous as I expected, and I ran the 3.5 miles in about 42 minutes (slow? yes... my legs are about 2 feet long!)

Just to give you a visual of why I fall more in love with Monte Sano every time I'm there


My mom and I decided to go to my new favorite restaurant in Huntsville- 1892 East- tonight. Just about all of their food is locally grown and raised, and everything is made from scratch. They just came out with a new spring menu which I was very happy with, and tons of vegan-friendly items. Their bread is made from scratch and is served with an organic white bean spread instead of butter. I ordered the grilled tempeh and tomato sauce with a side of new potatoes and veggies... and I can't begin to describe how incredible it was. I've eaten my fair share of tempeh (if you've never tried it and are a little weary of tofu, eat some!) but I usually get the pre-marinated kind and just saute it for a second. This was an entirely new flavor and was much more filling and almost meaty! Amazing.

I'm still full.
*On a final and special note, my wonderful mother is deploying on Easter Sunday to Iraq for one year. Please keep her, Jeremy (who's in Afghanistan) and all the "kids" I love teaching so much, in your thoughts as you go about your days.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"pigs are filthy creatures..."


Even when I'm living at home and not a hotel, the truth is that I'm still far away from a lot of people I love. One of these is my brother, Tony. Aside from being an incredibly funny person, he's the smartest kid I have ever met. An animal nutrition major at Texas A&M, he generally prefers to work with cattle... and has his opinions on just all other livestock. During a conversation at work in the tornado shelter, my coworkers and I got to wondering why humans are so partial to cow  milk. Why not pig milk, I wondered? I found out.

He's not biased...

I had been looking forward to last weekend for the past few months- my favorite band, Coheed and Cambria, is playing an insane tour called Neverender, and was playing a weekend date in Dallas, TX. No opening bands, no unfamiliar songs- just their first album, in its entirety, as well as some extras and an entire acoustic set. This was my 8th time seeing the band, and was definitely one of my favorite shows. Not to mention, I got to go with my good friend Colin- we actually went to our first show together almost 5 years ago. Next weekend- a trip to see Mrs. Amy Gougler (and JP and Maggie) in Pittsburgh!

"And she screamed, 'Claudio...' "


Kudos to P.F. Chang's. I've always loved the restaurant, and since adopting a plant-based diet, I appreciate it even more (kind of like Panera Bread). Now I realize that nothing I have ever eaten there is really Chinese, but I really don't care- it's still delicious. Amber and I went during their happy hour last week (happy fact- vodka is vegan!), and I had yummy meal of edamame, brown rice and my favorite, Shanghai cucumbers, for around $10. Amazing.

Sooooo much food!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

my unpacking challenge


Time for another confession... I still have not finished unpacking from my trip to Oklahoma.

Let me rephrase... I haven't really started unpacking from my trip to Oklahoma. It's not that I don't want to- I REALLY, really want to- but I almost don't know where to start. The problem is, in my effort to keep myself busy, I've neglected to get all my crap out of my suitcases. In an effort to shame myself into getting it done THIS WEEK, I present the guest room I have taken over.

Embarrass. I promise to post the "After" photo... and yes, it will exist.

My day-to-day life is in a weird place right now, mostly because is extremely mundane. I'm on travel about 50% of the time, and though I'd been in Huntsville from November until February/March, I had Jeremy to keep me company. Needless to say I got spoiled, because we went from seeing each other every day, and even working in the same office for a few weeks, to not getting to see each other at all. Again, we're still spoiled- we get to talk every day, sometimes twice- and I'm so lucky to have amazing people in my life to keep my mind off things. I don't know what I would do without my phone dates with Ames, shopping with Amber and spending quality time with my dad. But inevitably, when I'm not doing something, I go back to worrying about the boy being overseas. Everyone I've talked to who have had their significant others away has given me the same great piece of advice- just stay busy. And trust me, it's helped a ton. In fact, it might have helped too much. Some things that I've been doing to keep myself occupied:
  • Start a blog
  • Crochet a killer blanket for my 4 year old cousin, Sofi
  • Redo the upstairs bathroom and guest room
  • Learn to make earrings
  • Try a new vegan recipe every day
  • Develop an intricate filing system for training records at the office
  • Paint our patio furniture

Sofi's blanket, about 1/3 of the way done
 Let's hope I don't run out of projects anytime soon.


There's been a whole week of amazing food in my life since my last post, so I'm just going to talk about my two favorites. The first was an experiment- after the semi-successful macaroni and cheese incident, I decided to tackle queso next. Going to college in Texas meant I got to eat amazing Mexican food whenever I felt like it, and I became somewhat of a Tex-Mex snob. That being said, believe me when I tell you that my vegan queso based of this recipe from VegWeb was AMAZING. Seriously. I made a few tweaks, as usual- rather than using 1 cup of water, I used a half cup of almond milk and a half cup of water. I used some habanero salsa instead of RoTel, and added some Boca crumbles towards the end (Chili's skillet queso was one of my favorites, so I wanted it to be kind of similar). I topped some chips with this and some leftover black beans, and... wow. I can't get over how great it was.

I can't get enough... this was incredible!

And finally, my dad and I went to dinner at Mellow Mushroom last night... Our waitress got a kick out of him ordering "The Meaty" and me requesting Daiya cheese with sun-dried tomatoes...

Can you guess which one's vegan?

So tell me...

  1. My biggest weakness is definitely procrastination. What motivates you to stop putting things off?