Monday, August 29, 2011

California and Yosemite

I lied in my last post, it wasn't my final California written post! The hurricane cancelled my flight- so I'm in the beautiful Bay until Tuesday night. I'm actually quite content with this, because not only do I get four days to have a work free "real" summer, but I also had the opportunity to climb in YOSEMITE!

I went to the valley once when I was younger, but I haven't been back since. Needless to say, there are no words that can describe the beauty of this area. In honor of that- here's all the pictures I took:

View of our climb from the bottom

First pitch of After 6!

View from the first pitch

Second pitch!

View from the second pitch

View of yosemite from the top of the climb. to the right side is El Cap- although you can't see it.

More views from the top.

Brian belaying Monica up the last pitch

More beautiful Yosemite! We climbed a classic route called After Six, which is 600 ft and six pitches. It was incredible! Besides the heat and exhaustion my favorite pitch was the last because you could see the entire valley on both sides.

I know there is none of this beautiful climbing in New York City (besides the boulders in Central Park), so I'm so excited to be able to get it in before I leave. Talk to you from NYC! I'm going to go enjoy my last 2 days of summer :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

bagels and goals

I'm not quite sure how to start this post.. Tomorrow I'm leaving the Bay Area for college, a day earlier than we planned. Originally I was going to leave Saturday, but because of the hurricane, mom and I will be there Saturday morning. I'm ok with that- just not mentally prepared for the early leaving. It'll be a fun last day though since I have work than a huge staff climb! 

The goal I was talking about was also given away in the title... pumpkin spice bagels!!! 

I've been wanting to make bagels since the beginning of summer- since I LOVE bagels, but will only eat them if they're whole wheat. Also, I love pumpkin if you couldn't tell.. 

I followed this recipe, but changed it to use whole wheat and zero sugar. Although the bagels are quite dense, they are delicious. I would highly recommend making these if you're a bagel person. They aren't quite NY bagels, but still delicious. 

Here's me (sporting my new haircut for locks of love) with my friend Caitlin shaping the bagels:

A bit blurry, but it works. Here's a picture of the shaped bagels pre-boil:

Half boiled and half un-boiled:

bagels cooked, sitting on cornmeal (a little to much):

Delicious! I'm off to go to sleep so that I can have a very energy-efficient last day in California. Talk to you from New York! :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

banana bread and goodbyes

It's no secret around here that I'm leaving for college in.... 5... days... FIVE! Seeing as I've never moved out of this house, it's a pretty big deal to me. I could be incredibly more excited, but it's coming up whether I want to leave the Bay or not. I've had to say goodbye to many co-workers, and it just doesn't get any easier. Friday is my last bay-area climb, and will for sure come with many a tears. I've grown to love the Touchstone gyms that I've worked at, not only just for it's amazing atmosphere, but for the many bonds and friendships I've made in the past 9 months. Really a beautiful thing to leave- but we all have to leave at some point.

To cheer myself up, and keep myself busy I made some banana bread from scratch. I was planning on making zucchini bread, but those went bad in the past few days. I made this recipe up from scratch, so hope you enjoy!

-3 ripe bananas
-1/2 cup applesauce
-1/4 cup maple syrup
-1/4 tsp cloves
-1/2 tsp cinnamon
-1/4 tsp nutmeg
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
-1/2 cup oat bran
-1/2 cup chocolate chips

-preheat oven to 350 F
-spray loaf pan and set aside
-mash bananas and place in big bowl
-mix in applesauce, maple syrup, and all spices
-mix in baking powder, flour, and oat bran
-fold in chocolate chips
-pour into loaf pan
-bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown on top

This bread was pretty good, just a little to sweet for me. I think I'd reduce the amount of maple syrup, depending how ripe your bananas are. Also feel free to add walnuts!

I don't think I'll be baking anything else, since I ran out of whole wheat pastry flour today.. That's ok since I'll be so busy packing, saying goodbye, and crying that I won't have time to bake anything else.  Tomorrow I'm going to San Francisco to say goodbye to my co-camp director. She's going to USF as a freshman, so we're the same age. I think we're getting delicious vegan food- so I'm excited!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

trad climbing and cookies

Today was an epic day. I woke up pretty early to go... trad climbing! It was AWESOME! Trad climbing stands for traditional climbing- which means you climb multiple pitches using cams or pitons placed in the wall to anchor you onto the rock face. I've never been trad climbing, as it is slightly scary, and very dangerous. Naturally, I went with people who know what they're doing; two co-workers. Here's some of the views from where we went:

View from the bottom of the first route.

View from the top of the first route, after three pitches.

Picture of the main wall at Lovers Leap. Starts at 5.7.

Brian led 5 of the 6 pitches we climbed, and Nicola led the last pitch of the first route. The first route we did was about a 5.4-5.5 Super simple, but we kept it light since it was my first time trad climbing. The second route was a 5.7, and slightly harder. Each route was three pitches, and came to a total of about 600 ft. Basically, the most exhilarating experience I've ever had. I can't believe I've never climbed like that before. I'm hooked- and can't wait until I can go outdoors next time. Sitting on a ledge 100 ft off solid ground, and way more from level ground makes your body pump the best kind of adrenaline there is. Although a very short trip, it was probably the best send-off to college from any of my friends/ co-workers.

I owe Brian a ton more than cookies for being the best guide for my first trad climb. He likes Macadamia  white chocolate chip, but it's very difficult to get vegan white chocolate chips- so I made him Macadamia nut cookies with semi-sweet chocolate.

-1/3 cup maple syrup
-1/4 cup applesauce
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/3 cup macadamia nuts
-1/3 cup chocolate chips

-preheat oven to 350 F
-Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside
-mix the maple syrup, applesauce, and vanilla extract in a big bowl
-add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda, and mix together
-stir in nuts and chocolate chips

-drop onto cookie sheet and bake for 9 minutes.

Happy climbing.. I leave in 10 days, so I might not have very many more posts! 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Castle Rock and routes

Although I haven't blogged for awhile, I've been extremely busy. I've been working like crazy, but also packing for college. 11 days till I leave my home for the first time! I better buy some froot loops or peanut butter cereal when I get there..

On Sunday my boss Ryan took myself and my co-worker Charlotte to castle rock, a climbing place out near  Santa Cruz. It was AWESOME! I've never had the time to really go outside before, but I'm so hooked. I couldn't get very many pictures, but I did get a picture of the rope climb we climbed.

It's pretty blurry, but that's about a 10.A 3 bolt slab. Castle Rock was very pretty, especially since the sun was out. After we roped we went and bouldered a bit. Outside climbing is totally different then gym climbing for not only the obvious reasons (no tape), but also for the feel of the rock. It's pretty rad though.

Of course I'll still climb in the gym, especially since there's a new route and Berkeley Ironworks called "N.Y.U." my friend "Cuz" (that's his set name) is a setter for touchstone, and told me that if I bring in purple tape before I leave he'd set me a route with it. They don't use purple duct tape, since it looks like blue and black. Regardless, I brought in the tape, so he set a 10.C with purple stripes, and then proceeded to name it N.Y.U. in honor of me leaving. I have yet to climb it, but I can guarantee that it'll be my favorite route ever.

There is the start holds. It may not look that purple, but check it out in regards to the blue that's next to it:

To say the least... It's BEAUTIFUL. I'm so psyched to get on it after Wednesday.

Speaking of Wednesday (tomorrow), Cuz, my other co-worker Nicola, and I are going out to the Lovers Leap in Tahoe, to trad climb. Trad climbing is where there are no pre-set anchors, and you use cams to get set in the wall. I'll take pictures for sure on this trip. I've never trad-climbed, so Cuz and Nicola are graciously taking me before I leave. Cuz (his real name is Brian) is an avid trad climber, and Nicola's just learning-which is super rad. I'm pretty excited!

There's no food this post, but like I've said, I've been pretty busy working and stuff. Today I have to try to finish dorm shopping as well as work 5 hours-then I'm off to spend the night near Tahoe so we can get an early start!

More later!

Friday, August 5, 2011

sugar free banana zucchini bread and facebook

Today I re-activated my facebook, unfortunately. I'm still undecided if I'll keep it or not. As promised, there  is going to be pizza today! Emily came over last night, and we made spinach pizza dough, pizza, and sugar free banana zucchini bread. We had a great night, for sure. 

First we made spinach pizza dough:

cut and stir fried some veggies

made mini pizza's

decorated them

with diaya cheese, roasted eggplant and zucchini, artichoke hearts, and red bell peppers.
Then we cooked them to deliciousness:

After pizza we enjoyed sugar free banana zucchini bread, which is also low fat and whole grain. Delicious! I actually made this recipe up, so here it is:

-1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
-1/2 cup oat bran
-1/4 cup uncooked oatmeal
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tbs cinnamon
-1/2 tsp nutmeg
-1/4 tsp ginger
-1 cup chopped/grated zucchini
-1 mashed banana
-1/2 cup applesauce
-1/4 cup agave/maple syrup
-1 tbs truvia

-preheat the oven to 350 F, and spray a baking pan
-mash the banana, and food process or chop the zucchini
-combine the banana, zucchini, applesauce, agave/maple syrup, and truvia in a small bowl
-whisk together all the dry ingredients in a big bowl
-combine the wet to the dry, and mix
-stir in raisins, nuts, or chocolate chips
-pour into baking pan and cook for about 30 minutes

Half of ours was chocolate chip, and the other half was raisins. I really enjoyed this bread, especially since it's sugar-free. My co-workers liked it too!

On a side note.. I leave California in 22 days, for COLLEGE. ah!

Monday, August 1, 2011

soul food and tahoe

I've had a very busy weekend. First, I went with my co-workers to a place called "souley vegan" in Oakland. It was DELICIOUS. I had a crispy burger (forgot the name?) I think. Whatever it was called, it was VERY good.. It was a whole wheat bun with pickles, bbq sauce tofu, crispy "chicken" tofu, lettuce, tomatoes, and vegan mayonnaise. So so so good. Huge, but delicious. I have to go back before I leave for New York.

You can see the bbq tofu, and the crispy tofu on top. So delicious!!!

Speaking of New York, I leave in 26 days... Eek! I have yet to pack...

This past weekend I took a weekend off life and went up to Tahoe with my friends Trevor and Matthew. It was awesome getting away from work and stress for a few hours. I've only been to Tahoe once, when I was really young. Anyway, we left after work on Friday, and didn't come back until Sunday night. It was a really great weekend. On Saturday, we went hiking... IN THE SNOW!! Although I'm a Cali girl, I've never "officially" been to the snow. I've seen snow twice, but both times in a t-shirt and with sun. Regardless, it was so so so exciting to walk in snow. I also have never seen snow fall, and I can't wait to see it in New York. From what I've heard, it's beautiful! We hiked 6 miles total, 3 up to the top of a 9,109 foot mountain, then 3 back down to the car. It was difficult for me since I'm so out of shape, and also since I'm not used to that sort of altitude. Here's a picture of me at the top of the mountain.

Photo credit goes to Trevor, who also gets credit for picking an awesome hike. Here's a picture of the snow from the top.

I'm working a ton this week, as well as house sitting/ dog sitting. I think on thursday my friend Emily (aka vegan buddy) is coming over to make homemade spinach crusted pizza. I'm so excited! I'm off to get ready for tomorrow, since I have another double day of work (and hopefully working out). Hope everyones weekend was as great as mine!