Sunday, January 31, 2010


Hey everyone~

I had a great but exhausting weekend! It started with a few of these during happy hour on Friday with friends.
And ended with some homemade lentil soup tonight. After the below freezing temperatures this weekend, warm soup was all I was craving!
For tonight's bowl I added spinach which wilted from the warm broth. I divided the rest for meals later in the week and also froze a few servings.

Backing up a bit, after happy hour on Friday I ended up going to dinner with a few classmates at Chinese Mirch in Murray Hill. We ordered family style so I tried a bit of everything, well, all the vegetarian plates, which turned out to be most everything!

For starters we ordered crispy okra:

And Momo's (tibetan dumpling):
For entrees there was a lamb dish, I believe it was the szechuan:Zeeshan eyeing the szechuan vegetable fried rice:

Vegetable ball manchurian:Chinese eggplant in garlic sauce:
Everything was delicious and spicy, but a good spice, perfect food to warm you in the cold!

Saturday I volunteered with Don't Walk By, a campaign by the Rescue Alliance to give homeless men, women, and children an alternative to living on the streets. After walking in the streets for several hours we were able to convince one man to come back to a local church for a warm meal, the option for shelter that evening and a long term program to help get him off the street.

The experience was very humbling and physically exhausting. My fingers and feet were freezing after just 4 hours in the cold, I can't imagine what it would be like to spend the night in this weather.

I was beyond tired this morning despite sleeping for 8 hours, I'm sure it was the freezing temps and winds. As a result I took it pretty easy today, as in no work out.

I did meet up with a friend for brunch at Josie's East. I've never been to the east location for brunch and although I prefer West overall, I thought I would try East's once more. After today's meal I still prefer Josie's West and would opt for other organic/vegetarian options that are on the east side.

Ryan ordered the veggie omelette:

I ordered the Vegan "Denver Style" scramble, which included a tofu veggie scramble, tempeh, roasted veggies, and an english muffin. Tempeh is really growing on me and I thoroughly enjoyed it with my breakfast, however, I wasn't a fan of the tofu scramble. I ended up eating the veggies from the scramble but left most of the actual tofu. Thankfully the veggies were there, but a good scramble should be able to stand on its own.
I'm off to bed, not only am I ridiculously sleepy but I need to get to lab early!


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Battle of the Brothers

Hi guys! Nicole and I had a game night with some of our friends at my new, incredibly small studio last weekend. We didn't get through too many games, but managed to make it through quite a few bottles of wine. One of the wine highlights, provided by yours truly, was a Chardonnay comparison between Robert Mondavi and his brother Peter's winery (Charles Krug winery). Robert Mondavi has a special place in my heart since he was a huge supporter of UC, I've been reading his book, Harvests of Joy: How the Good Life Became Great Business...just because I'd like to figure out how to turn the good life into great business. Hmmm...I suppose that's a topic for another day. Anyways...

Both Robert's and Peter's wineries are located in Napa Valley. The two used to work together at Charles Krug, but Robert had a different vision for American wine and wanted to change winemaking at Charles Krug to reflect his ideas. Since Peter wasn't on board with this plan, Robert ended up starting up his own winery. When I went to buy wine for the party, both wines were sitting side-by-side and I knew it'd be fun to compare the two wineries side-by-side. At $19 a bottle, these wines fall into a higher price grade than your standard house white, but in my opinion, didn't taste any better than a dirt-cheap Chardonnay.

Charles Krug (Peter) vs. Robert Mondavi

The cover of Harvests of Joy

Robert vs. Peter

My apartment! I love it!


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Good Eats

Hey all~

It's been such a busy but relaxing Sunday full of great company and conversation. I met up with a friend for lunch at Curly's. It's one of the few vegetarian/vegan places that I had yet to try in NYC. The place was pretty small and we had a 20 or so minute wait, but once inside the servers were friendly and prompt and the food was amazing! We decided to each order an item and spilt. We ordered the Buffalo Blue Cheese Veggie Burger, which I forgot to face towards me in the picture, and the Santa Barbarella (with pumpkinseed pesto schmear, avocado, tofu bacon, jack cheese, cucumber, onion, tomato, lettuce and sprouts)! Both were great but the next time at Curly's I'm definitely getting another burger, it was out of this world!
For dinner Amanda wanted to try out a crustless tofu quiche that she recently sampled at a vegan cooking school where she volunteers. The quiche is amazingly delicious, especially considering how easy it is to make and how simple the ingredients are. The bulk of the quiche is made with a combination of pureed and crumbled tofu mixed with lemon juice, tumeric, dry mustard, and a little salt and pepper. The add-in possibilities are endless, and tonight we used mixed mushrooms and broccoli, which were sauteed with garlic, onion, and olive oil.

Baked in the oven for 30 minutes and served with spiced sweet potatoes "fries."


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Carrot Cake Pancakes

Hey all~

Long time no post, sorry about that, but it's been a rather uneventful week.

After the deliciousness that were my carrot oat muffins, and the leftover carrots that I had no interest in eating raw, I decided to make carrot cake pancakes for dinner one night this week.
The recipe was pretty easy-

For 6-8 pancakes:
1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
dash nutmeg
dash of salt
1 egg white
3 tblsp brown sugar
1/2 c milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup shredded carrots

As usual-mix the dry, add the wet:

I topped with plain greek yogurt and a bit of maple syrup, yum! This meal was so filling not to mention delicious. I ended up buying more carrots at Whole Foods today just so I could make them again!

In other news-Amanda and I decided to go to Austin City Limits, I'm so excited! After making reservations for the hostel where we will be staying, I looked to see if there are any hot yoga studios nearby. Sign I'm getting addicted? I hope so!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend,


Monday, January 18, 2010

Breakfast for Dinner


How was everyone's weekend? My plans as of Friday were to work all weekend, and when I woke Saturday morning I still had every intention of working in the lab all weekend. However, after waking up at the crack of dawn and reading the morning away, my brain was fried and I realized that mental breaks are necessary so I took the rest of the weekend easy.

The weather on Saturday was also amazing, 50* and sunny! I would have been a fool not to take advantage. Amanda and I decided to walk downtown to enjoy the unseasonable temperature and hit-up The Organic Grill for dinner. I love this place and they have a wonderful vegetarian/vegan breakfast menu offered all day! Their menu is also pretty hilarious and worth a read for laughs and giggles if nothing else.

We both ended up taking advantage of the breakfast option. I ordered the tofu rancheros with vegan cheese:

Amanda ordered the tofu omelette:
The thing was huge and full of fresh veggies!
We left with our stomachs full and happy!

Happy MLK day-


Friday, January 15, 2010

Vegetables where I can get them...

Hi everyone!

What do you think? Do carrots in my muffins count as a serving of vegetables? As I mentioned about a week ago, my mom and I are challenging one another with a fruit and veggie challenge, a way to make sure that we get back into the habit of eating 6-8 servings/day of fruits and vegetables. Originally I wasn't doing so great on the creativity side, mostly I had salads, but part of my goal for this challenge was to get cooking once more. This week I've done much better on that side of the challenge.
All the same, I guess the carrots in the muffins do not count, but they are yummy! In the mix for 10 muffins:
-1/2 c whole wheat flour
-1/2 c white flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
-3/4 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp cinnamon
-3/4 cup oatmeal
-3/4 cup brown sugar
-1/2 oil (I generally replace with applesauce, but I'm out!)
-1/2 tsp vanilla
-1 cup shredded carrots (about two medium carrots)
Mix the dry ingredients, add the wet. Pour 2/3 full in muffin pan and bake 15 min at 350.

Has anyone seen the New York Times series on meatless burgers this week in their Recipes for Health section? They've had some wonderful ideas, some I've had such as the portobella burger, but the Mushroom Burger with Spinach and Almond, I need to give that a try!

For a recent dinner I had at my house I adapted their recipe for White Bean Burgers.

2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped (I used a red onion)

Salt to taste

2 to 3 large garlic cloves (to taste), green shoots removed, minced

2/3 cup finely grated carrot

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used lime)

¼ cup finely chopped parsley

2 teaspoons minced fresh sage or thyme

½ cup fresh bread crumbs

1 egg, beaten

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Whole grain hamburger buns and the condiments of your choice

1. Heat olive oil in a medium-size skillet and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add a pinch of salt, the garlic and the grated carrot, and continue to cook for another minute or two, until fragrant and the carrot has softened slightly. Remove from the heat.

2. In a food processor, puree the beans with the lemon/lime juice. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the onion mixture, the parsley, sage or thyme, the bread crumbs and the egg. Shape into patties, ½- to ¾-inch thick. Set on a parchment-covered baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

3. Heat the remaining oil in a large, heavy skillet or on a griddle over medium heat and brown the patties for 4 minutes on each side, being very careful when you turn them over. An offset spatula works well for this. Serve on whole grain buns, with the condiments of your choice.

See adorned burgers in the background.
Along with the burgers I served roast butternut squash and apple casserole.

FYI-Best trick for butternut squash, poke a few holes into the squash using a fork and cook in the microwave for 3-5 minutes, depending on the size.

This will make the skin much softer and easier to peel. For the casserole, peel and cube the squash and apple (a tart apple is better for baking). Mix squash and apple together and place in a 2 qt casserole dish. In a small bowl blend together 1 tablespoon of whole wheat flour, 1/4 c brown sugar, 1 tablespoon agave nectar or pure maple syrup, and a few pads of butter. Sprinkle on top and bake for 45 minutes at 350.

Have a great weekend!


Sunday, January 10, 2010

It's cold outside ... Let's go for a run!

Hi guys! I know it has been quite a long time since I've done a post. What can I say -- I'm a better blog reader than a blog writer. I don't remember if I've mentioned it, but I'm a distance runner and have been since I started running 5k's at 10 years old. So 13 years later, I'm still a runner -- hopefully, what can be considered a seasoned runner. 2010 is the year of the half-marathons for me, and 2011 might just bring a marathon or two. We'll see. I tend to get WAY too competitive in races, which was a good thing when I was a cross-country runner, but I can get too intense even for myself! So I'm easing myself into racing again. Now on to the post!

Running in the cold. It’s exhilarating and so worth braving the elements! I grew up outside of Chicago, where the winter temperatures can go well below 0F and the snow can really pile up, so I’m used to running in winter conditions and have even come to enjoy it. The hardest part is always the first step out the front door!

Here are some of my winter running tips:

1. Try to run during daylight hours.

The sun (if there is any) will make you feel warmer. It’s really hard to muster the motivation for a run when it’s dark AND cold outside.

2. Get the right clothes!

Dressing appropriately will make the cold much more tolerable. There are many high-tech and expensive brands of cold-weather gear on the market now, but I’ve always been one to keep it simple when it comes to my running. I prefer to wear sweat-wicking fabrics as my first layer, and then layer on whatever else I need. Sometimes all I need is an additional cotton long-sleeve shirt or a cotton sweatshirt. On windy days, I layer on a wind-proof jacket, and if it’s raining, I’ll put on a waterproof jacket. Running with a waterproof jacket isn't very comfortable since you’ll heat up faster and sweat more, so I’ll only wear this if it’s too cold to just run and get wet. For your legs, a thick pair of tights is usually enough for me, but when the temperatures really drop, adding a pair of wind-proof pants does the job. It’s best to limit the amount of bottom layers you wear since you want to keep your legs flexible. Plus, your legs are going to be working hard and generating a lot of heat while you run.

I have a love/hate relationship with gloves. I wear fleece gloves that are breathable but thick enough to keep my hands warm. When it’s really cold, I’ll switch to ski mittens because I find my fingers stay warmer when they’re in contact with each other. I hate wearing a hat, but will wear one if it’s really necessary. When it’s really cold, the air can be painful to breathe in, so I wear a homemade knitted “neck warmer.” It protects my neck (so no need for a bulky scarf) and I can pull it over my mouth and nose so that I’m not breathing the cold air directly. Just remember not to wear so much on your head that you’re blocking your peripheral vision.

My last tip for running wear is to dress like it’s 10 degrees warmer outside – that way you won’t overheat right away.

3. Watch out for ice!

I’ve fallen so many times on ice, and it’s a bad way to fall. The fall is always so sudden that you can’t control how you fall – not good. It’s easiest to run on plowed streets, rather than shoveled sidewalks, when there’s a chance for ice on the ground. Usually the streets are salted when the weather creates dangerous driving (and running) conditions. So find a running route on streets with low traffic, and be safe!

4. Start warm and stretch!

Don’t give your legs a chance to get cold before you start your run. I start running as soon as I get outside to prevent the cold from making my muscles tight. When you finish your run get back inside as soon as you can. Stretch inside!

Happy winter running! I hope you come to love it as much as I do!

On a warmer note, I leave you with a picture from one of my favorite places to run. An olive grove in Davis, CA. Peaceful, beautiful -- makes every run a dream!


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Fire Burnin'

Hey all-

Ahh, lately me and the broiler are not friends! I place something in there, run to do something else (always trying to make the most of my time, or something like that) and then jump out of my seat a few minutes later when I've realized there is a burning smell. The latest victim, some roasting mushrooms, but I think they were saved in time.

Anyhow, I wanted to send along a few links I've come across this week and found pretty interesting.

1. I've been doing a lot of mindless task in the lab this week and started listening to a few different podcast to pass the time. I came across the Healthy Voyager not knowing what to expect, but figured I would give her a listen. Turns out the guest of the particular show was Tal Ronnen, author of The Conscious Cook, one of the vegetarian/vegan cook books I received for Christmas. He shared his journey to becoming a vegan, the process of making his cookbook (the recipe choice, layout, photo design, etc.), and the role he plays in Gardein products (food company that makes all natural meat substitutes).

2. The BBC has been slowly unveiling their top 5 artist from Sound 2010, a list of rising music stars which in the past have included Kid Cudi, Adele, Little Boots, and Mika. My favorites are Delphic, Two Door Cinema Club, and Stornoway. So far one has made it to the top 5, let's see if I can score any more! Also liking Rox, though I don't think she will make it to the top 5, she has incredible vocals and some blood too-half Iranian, half Jamaican.

I need to move back to London, it's calling in so many ways!

3. Finally got around to seeing Food Inc., and if you have not, it's definitely a must see! There wasn't necessarily anything new for me having seen several other documentaries on the subject and reading books such as The Omnivore's Dilema; but I enjoyed being able to see the organic farms and farmers describe in such books. Over a 100 years ago Upton Sinclair was able to rattle the food industry with The Jungle. Journalist, novelist, directors, are trying to do the same today, but I feel like there is so much more red tape. The meat industry is controlled by so few companies and they are able to keep so much of their practices a secret. The federal government is suppose to regulate these companies, but more often than not the law makers are coming straight from these companies. Enough from me, but do see the movie.

In other news, tomorrow marks a month long fruit and veggie challenge with my mom, the winner receives a pair of heels! We challenged ourselves back in May and I kicked her butt, but only marginally. I'm hoping to be as creative with my meals as I was in May, which will hopefully get me back into the swing of cooking as well. I'll keep you guys posted.

I'll leave with this quote I came across this past weekend:
I'm selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. I'm out of control at times and I'm hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worse, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.

I'm loving that! Would you believe it's from Marilyn Monroe?!


Sunday, January 3, 2010

I spent the first weekend of the new year mostly relaxing but also spent a few hours working and enjoying a quiet empty lab.

Saturday Amanda (friend from middle school) and I headed to the upper west side and made a stop at the Natural History Museum. I was hoping to visit the butterfly conservatory but it cost extra so we just wandered to sections I had not explored in the past.

Loved this christmas tree decorated with origami ornaments:
Afterwards I introduced Amanda to Josie's West. We went for the prix fixe dinner which included an appetizer, entrée, and dessert. I opted for the organic mesclun greens and seared Asian-marinated organic tofu stir-fry.

This was the best tofu dish I ever had! I need to recreated that marinade at home, it was amazing.
We were stuffed after dinner so we took our desserts, a huge slice of 3 berry pie, to go. By the time we ran some errands and walked back to the east side we were ready to dig in and could not have been more satisfied.
Look at the size of the strawberries in the pie!

Amanda (from this blog) discovered that Blossom opened up a cafe on the UES! So excited, we're going to check it out on Friday!!

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Eve Recap

Hey all!

I can't believe I have to get used to writing 2010 already, but before jumping into the New Year, let me recap my remaining couple of days of 2009.

I returned to the city Wednesday afternoon in a packed train with my friend Sarah. After the hectic ride we were well ready for lunch after dropping bags off at my apartment. We headed to Candle Cafe a vegan/vegetarian restaurant which isn't far from my place.

Sarah ordered the Indian Plate and ate every bit!
I tried the Cajun Seitan sandwich which consisted of avocado, steams greens, caramelized onions and seitan of course. So good and filling, I could only eat half.
After running errands and relaxing at home for a bit we decided Pinkberry was in store since Sarah had never been. I was also excited to try out their new chocolate flavor. In the end I opted to mix the chocolate and pomegranate. Unlike the other flavors the chocolate was not the least bit bitter so the mixture subdued the normal tang of their yogurts.

New Year's eve we woke to snow. Walking in the city with everything slightly coated seemed so surreal.
After grabbing coffee at Starbucks we went to MOMA to see the Tim Burton exhibition. Despite getting there at 10, we were not able to get Burton admission tickets until 12:30. It wasn't too hard to kill 2.5 hours, there were plenty of new exhibits and pieces to look at while we waited.

By the time we left the museum it was around 1:30 and we were starving. Sarah had yet to see New York's Chinatown and it had been awhile since I had Dim Sum so we ventured downtown to Golden Unicorn.
I think I remember why it's been so long since I've had Dim Sum, my options were very limited. In the end I only had a few dumplings, all of which had some degree of shrimp. I was excited when I saw the vegetable dumpling option, but the lady in the cart ran out and returned with a veggie and shrimp dumpling. In the end I ordered a plate of bok choy to satisfy my vegetable need.
So happy when this bad boy came out, unfortunately it was a huge plate and I only made a dent, guess I will be eating bok choy for the next week. :-/
After lunch we ran to the bus station to pick up our friend Amanda then back to my apartment to rest and set up treats for the night.
My roommate and I decided on a sandwich bar, so our spread included lots of cheeses, meats, roasted red pepper spread, hummus, olives and VEGGIES!

I began the night with a Black Velvet, Guinness and champagne. I haven't had this drink since London, 4 years ago! It was just as good now as it was then.
I also tried out this beer I came across at Whole Foods. Coffee and beer, I was intrigued. It was a very dark beer but smooth, and the coffee flavor was present but in a good balance. I'm a fan, and would opt for it over a chocolate stout which I have yet to find a version I like.
Amanda and I:
Sarah and I, yes I changed my outfit, but it was after 12 and time to go out!

Before leaving we tried out a German tradition, dropping candle wax into water and interpreting the image (which was suggested by one of my guest, she's from Germany and celebrated her first New York new year's last night).

My wax feel into the shape of a dancer, do you see it(I have the image sideways, so think the arm is over the head)? What do you think this means for my upcoming year?

Happy New Year!!