Thursday, March 31, 2011

March: A Summary

But before we talk about the successes and failures of the past month, I'm going to regress to the age of 5 and say, "Mom! Mom! - look what I made!" When I was 5, it was probably something made out of Play-Doh that I would proceed to smash into the carpet somewhere, but now...

Look at this bowl I painted! Yeah, I didn't actually make it, I just put on some glaze. 
About a month ago, we went to Color Me Mine and this is the finished product. 

Filled with an even better creation:
Maple Almond Butter Oats
In the mix:
1/4 cup milk
5 oz. water
1/2 cup oats
3 g flax meal
1 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp maple syrup

Other good eats today:
Awesome craisin/walnut/squash/spinach salad.


High-priced water. This is actually leftover from test week, I don't usually buy water like this. I have loans. 

And now, it's the end of the month; I want to recap some goals. Original goals, Week 1 Update, Week 2 Update and Week 3 Update.

1. Family: Talk to them every week.
   I'm going to get a little sappy now. Fair warning. 
   Here's the thing: the more you talk to the people you love, the more you want to talk them. I've loved staying in better touch with my family this month, and although I definitely did not succeed in talking to every member of my family every week, I was in much more constant contact with them. I think it really enhanced my ability to adapt to the challenges I faced this month, because I really felt their support. It also made me wish I could visit home more. I miss them.

2. Fitness:
  a. Keep up with runs: You can see the whole month (actually the past 12 weeks) over in the exercise tab. As we can see, I took a few off. This week I'm 2/3, hoping to be 3/4 if I go tomorrow. My pains have sort of been migrating, but nothing's too bad, and I'm hoping that I'll be able to enjoy the race in just 10 days. 
   b. Trim up a bit: My weight's been steady this week. I've been eating and fueling well and I'm trying to remember that's what's important. 

3. School
  Winter finals are done, and now it's just a crazy whirlwind to real finals and Boards. 

4. Boards
   I had a bit of a freakout today. I had to go outside, get some sun, take a few deep breaths. Responsible studying would have put me far ahead of where I am in my review. I ought to be most of the way through the first pass of my major review book (First Aid), and actively studying others. Instead, I'm maybe 1/30th into the book, I consistently perform well below passing on my practice questions, and I seem to be getting worse. 

In theory, I've kept up with my practice question and review question goals - my fear is that my goals were set far too low.

I'll be working out a new study schedule in the next couple days. I haven't much mentioned my love for schedules and lists, but I'm actually kind of excited to work it all out. 

I think I just need to get my ducks in a row and I'll feel less panicky. Ducks in a row, that's a phrase my mom uses. I kind of love it. 

Coming up tomorrow - some April goals (and hopefully a study schedule).

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Does Stiletto Walking Count as a Workout?

...because that's all I fit in today. Walking up and down across the medical campus. In 83 degree heat, that counts right? Apparently summer has come to us here in Southern California.

I really wish I actually needed a new pair of heels...I always look at lovely ones and think, "Someday when I have far fewer loans and an actual income."

Sometimes it feels like that day will never come. 

It's been a busy few days and it doesn't really feel like Wednesday.

Yesterday in clinic I actually heard a heart murmur that sounded exactly like the recordings we learned from in lecture - it was awesome. As second years, we only go to clinic about 8 afternoons over the whole year, and I always sort of dread it before I get there because it's an afternoon I lose and can't study, but I have to remember - clinic is the best studying possible. Actual patients - that's the goal isn't it? Sometimes the imminence of Boards really tries to beat that out of me, but it's true, it's what I'm working towards. 

It's Spring Quarter now, and as we're second years and taking Boards in a couple months, there's a major perk of Spring - no class on Fridays.

Technically, this just gives us more time to study, which I appreciate, but it also makes my weekends a little more flexible, since they're all 3 days long from here on out...

So that means that to me, it's basically Thursday, and my school week's almost done. This weekend I'm driving up the coast with Boyfriend for a wedding, so there are things to look forward to. 

Food this week has been basically leftovers all around, but that means I've been a very productive student, and I love leftovers, so that's all right. 

Yogurt bowls. 

Leftover enchiladas.

Leftover peanut butter tofu spinach salads. 

Leftover cashew carrot ginger soup. 

Forgive all these dark dark pictures.

Tomorrow's already the last day of March. Know what that means? It's almost April. And it's going to keep getting hotter...the forecast says 93 tomorrow. This is insane. I'm not ready for summer. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles

Or: There's how much cayenne pepper in your cookie?

Most of you are probably familiar with the Master Cleanse diet. Great for a couple days if you're going to walk the red carpet at the Oscars - like the woman of my dreams, Natalie Portman - not so healthy otherwise. Anyway, a central component is that awful blend of lemon, water, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. Apparently the cayenne pepper is supposed to boost metabolism. If that's true, have another one of these cookies...

These were actually made this weekend, and since I'm back to my normal study life, sometimes I like to think back fondly on happier times, like Sunday, when these cookies rocked my world.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles
Here are my notes - 
1a. When you add that much cayenne pepper, it looks like a lot, but the taste is SPOT ON. I'm a complete wimp when it comes to spice - I promise it's not overwhelming.
1b. I devoured like 5 of these no problem, but if you're stomach's sensitive to spicy food, 
you may want to cut it a little bit. 
2. The recipe says the dough should stick to your fingers to make it easy to put the topping on, but I had to just kind of pinch the side to flip it back over because it wasn't really that sticky. 
3. I baked these in a slightly sketchy apartment oven on dark roasting pans, because that's all we had. 
Solution to keep from burning: Make them small, and bake only 8 minutes. 
4. Total yield: 42
5. Nutrition: 72 calories each. 

The best part? I had a co-chef on this one - Thanks Evan!

Mix up the dough.

Scoop about this much. 

Roll it up.

Pat it into the topping. Flip it back onto the cookie sheet. Bake.

Pick up...

Devour with love.

Try not to eat them all. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Warm Peanut Butter Spinach Salad

This isn't so much a recipe as a truly amazing combination that I just devoured for dinner and must share with you.

It started with some stovetop tofu.

Followed by Emily's healthy peanut sauce. I think next time I would cut the soy sauce a bit, but it's a genius combination. 

A quarter of the tofu and an enormous bed of spinach. 

The heat of the tofu wilted the spinach just enough to make it a warm spinach salad, and the sauce is thick enough that it didn't need any extra dressings. So good.
And I have 3 more servings...I love that. 

On the side, a cup of Pacific Cashew Carrot Ginger soup. I love this one. Whenever I eat liquid soups like this I always get a spoon out, take like two bites, then end up drinking it from the side of the bowl. 

Mexican Meal: Spiced Black Beans, Veganomicon Potato Enchiladas

Let's talk about vegan enchiladas. As regular readers may know, I pretty much love the Veganomicon, and have never been disappointed when I follow one of their recipes. 

No surprise: these Potato Enchiladas were awesome.

If you don't own the book, I'll refer you to this post from another food blog, because it seems silly to type it all again. 

Here are my notes: 
The original recipe: Potato Kale Enchiladas with Roasted Chile Sauce
Our version: Potato Spinach Enchiladas (with Enchilada Sauce from a can...still delicious.)

1. The reviews I've read of this recipe say the sauce really makes it awesome and I have no doubt that's true, but these were awesome with a canned enchilada sauce as well, so you know they're good. 
2. The recipe is written for about 12-14 enchiladas, but we used the following:
  a. 2.5 pounds potato (about 2 large)
  b. 1 pound spinach
  c. All the spices etc. were multiplied 1.5 times. 
  d. Total yield: 20 enchiladas, using medium-size corn tortillas. 
        (2 enormous trays, 1 pan was 9x13, one was even bigger)
3. When I tasted the filling before assembly, I was concerned there was a little too much lime, but it turned out great once we put it with the sauce and tortillas. 
4. We used up one 28 oz. can enchilada sauce, but some people thought we should have used more. Personally, I like the top of my enchiladas with a little crisp, but not everyone does, so amp up the sauce if you're in that camp. 
5. We topped one tray with cheese when we took off the foil for the last 10 mins. This made a crispy cheese topping, but add it even later if you just want it melty. (Just my thoughts on that - I didn't actually eat any with the cheese). 
6. There were 6 of us and we had about 8 leftover enchiladas - about 2 a person is a great serving. 
7. Nutrition - (without cheese) 147 calories per enchilada. 

We served this meal with: 
   - Evan's awesome guacamole
   - Chips
   - Spiced Mexican Black Beans - this recipe from It was great, we just subbed vegetable broth for chicken, only used about 1/4 of a jalapeno, and no cheese. 
   - More cheese for the omnis (AKA everybody except me). 

Thanks to all of you who were willing to try this vegan enchilada experiment.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Stay Sane, Take a Vacation.

Or: Obama in a Coffee.

I was talking to a good friend on the drive back from Santa Barbara this afternoon, catching up, and when I started to discuss school, he told me I sounded exhausted. Maybe it's because I was an hour into a drive in the afternoon and who isn't exhausted with southern California driving? But more likely, it's because when I talk about school, I sound exhausted, whether I actually feel that worn out at the moment or not. The work to come overwhelms me and sometimes shows in my voice.

The point is: We all sometimes need a vacation. Though I sounded exhausted, I am in fact feeling pretty rested and ready for the next 2 crazy months while I study hard and take Boards. I'm glad I took this 4-day weekend.

Here's a couple highlights:

1. Saturday breakfast: Backyard Bowls.
Boyfriend and I used to go out to breakfast lots of places - then I became a vegan and started cramping his style. By nature of the standard recipes for lots of breakfast foods, I pretty much can only eat oatmeal and fruit at most mainstream restaurants, and some have it already made with dairy milk, so it's a challenge.

Enter: Backyard Bowls. They have breakfast bowls, smoothies, and Acai bowls, and they make their own plant milks and source locally.

Saturday I had the Hot Oatmeal with Blueberries and Agave, Boyfriend went for the same but with Strawberries and Brown Sugar. I've also had the Hot Quinoa, which was good, but I just really love oatmeal.

Creamy steel-cut deliciousness with nuts and raisins. 

2. We checked out a new coffee shop on upper State Street called Vices and Spices. [Check it out here.]
It was rather tiny, full of interesting jewelry, and completely hopping with people. There were also herbs and teas both available by weight, as well as a full selection of coffee and tea drinks. Boyfriend got a Decaf English Breakfast Tea Latte. I didn't try it because he chose regular milk, but he said it was great. 

I also found a perfume I loved - Tokyo Milk No. 12, Gin and Rosewater. I didn't buy it, but I may add it to my post-Boards celebration shopping wishlist. I just now decided to make said list. Yes, this will be the first item. 

The best part? They had a lot of pretty standard coffees, but wait, what's that on the left?

Obama! Kenya, Indonesia and Hawaiian. 

I thought it was pretty funny.

Seeing miss Kelsey Quinlan was another high point in my weekend. I wish she didn't live so far away, but she's visiting Santa Barbara and I feel very blessed have been able to be there at the same time. 

Workout highlight: 12.5 miles this morning with Boyfriend. Well, sort of with Boyfriend. He runs much faster and I don't like it when he goes my pace because I feel like I'm holding him back, so he'll run ahead and then wait a bit for me; it's like we visit each other intermittently while we run. Anyway, 12.5 miles covers a rather large amount of Santa Barbara, you forget it's not really that big. We went from Montecito up to the Mission and up State a bit more, then back down all of De La Vina for a jog by the Ocean, Bird Refuge and home. My legs were really tired but it was gorgeous.

There was also some very fun cooking experiments done this weekend, but I'll have to put it in another post as there are studies calling me just now. 

So coming up: 
An easy variation on Veganomicon Potato Enchiladas
Post Punk Kitchen Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles. 

I hope you all had good weekends and that no matter what you feel ready for the new week.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Freeway Yelp-ing and the Long Weekend.

All right, if talking on my cell phone while driving is bad/illegal/unsafe, I guarantee browsing Yelp at 75 miles per hour is a bad idea. However, yesterday afternoon as I was driving to Santa Barbara, I found myself in just that situation. 

I didn't leave home until about 11 am. I can't really explain why I got out so late - I just found myself in bed far later than usual. I guess one of my spring break mornings should be like that right? 

Anyway, it's a little over a 2 hour drive and I didn't eat breakfast because I just wasn't that hungry (this is an extreme rarity - it really was a weird morning), so around noon I was rather starving and too far away to eat in Santa Barbara. I typed vegan food and camarillo into Yelp on my iphone - carefully, and ended up finding a place called Thai and Chinese Food No. 3 right off the freeway in Oxnard. It was kind of divey, and packed, and I loved it. I got the tofu mixed vegetables. I didn't finish all the rice underneath, but I totally devoured the rest, with a side of studying. 

After this quick lunch, I made the rest of the way in great time. I spent some time visiting my undergrad chem department and the professors there and then picked up my lovely friend/college roomie Christina for dinner etc. We went to California Pasta. Unfortunately it's decidedly not very vegan-friendly, as the pasta contains egg. I ordered the greek salad, no cheese, but even the vinaigrette was kind of bland. I was rather underwhelmed.

Post-dinner we went to Jitters for coffee. It has a cozy upstairs and it was pretty cold and rainy out, so hot coffee was just perfect. 

Friday's activities have been pretty mild: walking, driving, a few TV shows. We went to Natural Cafe for lunch, surprise surprise. I got the Good Karma Burger with avocado and veganaise, and boyfriend went with the cup of Vegetarian Chili, which comes with cornbread. So perfectly healthfully satisfying. 

For now I'm pretending this weekend is going to last forever. I'm planning to see lots more friends and if I don't think past Sunday, I can just rest my brain for the madness to come.