Monday, July 23, 2012

Tucson, Arizona

I love Arizona, and I always have. We've been coming to Tucson for my whole life, since my grandparents used to live here. Now, we come for vacation and to eat delicious delicious food.

We flew in Thursday, after class, into Phoenix. The drive to Tucson is about two hours, but we had to stop before going down there- at a vegan soft serve place. Yum!

After a two hour drive to Tucson, we set up the house and went to the best salad place on earth...

Although blurry, my salad from Choice Greens had spring mix, sprouts, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, and tofu - with Raspberry vinaigrette on the side.

On Friday, we enjoyed the morning then went out to lunch at Tucson Tamales, an amazing Tamale place.

I had a vegan "Berkeley" and a vegan "Austin". the Austin had spinach and mushrooms, and the Berkeley had black beans and corn.

After a filling and delicious lunch we headed up Mt. Lemmon to get away from the heat. There, we took an awesome hike and saw some great views.

After an amazing walk, and driving down during a Monsoon we were all pretty hungry.

We headed over to a new place, called Renees Organic Oven. This place.... AMAZING! It was dimly lit- but here are some great pictures of my vegan, gluten free pizza with a side salad, and some awesome lavender lemon sorbet.

Saturday morning my twin and I decided to go get some breakfast at the local vegan place, called The Lovin' Spoonful.

gluten free vegan pancakes with tofu scramble and gluten free toast... delicious and a perfect breakfast before yet another day of nature.

This time.. we drove up into the Monsoon to Coronado National Park. I didn't get much pictures of our hike since it was raining, but this park was absolutely stunning. It yet again showed me that all I want to do is be in nature. On the way back from the park we stopped at a mission, which was pretty impressive itself:

After a great day we were all pretty tired, so we got simple Japanese food for dinner

On Sunday we left Tucson after a trip to the farmers market, and on the way to the airport we stopped at The Ostrich Farm!

Potentially the best place ever... we fed all these animals! SO CUTE!
I had such a great weekend.. and always do in Tucson. Now it's chemistry.. and Colorado in two days!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

vegan Dal and cooking nights

A few nights ago, my vegan friend Emily came over to cook and hang out. Emily and I have been friends from high school, and we have cooked a lot together over the years. This time, I was super set on making Dal, an indian lentil soup. We also made baked asparagus and gluten free snickerdoodles (more on that later).

blurry Dal
I am going to make more Dal in the near future- so I will post a recipe then. The most successful dish of the night was definitely the red lentil Dal, which was a great consistency and made totally from scratch (even the tomato paste which had me yelping... I hate tomatoes...)

The asparagus was also delicious.. and quite simple.

baked asparagus and onion
All we did was spray a pan with olive oil, spread the asparagus and onion, crush garlic on top and bake for about 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees. yum!

The not so good looking, but delicious tasting dish of the night were the cookies. I've never made gluten free vegan snickerdoodles.... and they didn't turn out to be the right consistency.

They were really crumbly, and didn't stay together. Oddly, they tasted like churros... aka REALLY good. Not sure why or how that happened but it was pretty good... After we realized that, Emily and I tried to make a pan of just churro shaped cookies... it ended up like this:

woops! The cookie sheet still tasted great!

I had a really great time cooking with Emily, and I love trying out new recipes.. I'll be in Arizona this upcoming weekend, so expect a post about that!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Tofu Dip

Over the weekend I bought toby's tofu spread. After literally eating half the container (I got the lite version- so it's ok) I decided I had to make my own. So, I did.

-firm tofu (pressed)
-vegan mayonaise
-nutritonal yeast
-garlic salt
-anything else you want (I added zucchini to my last dip!)

-press your tofu until most of the water is out
-throw everything into a food processor and mix!
 -enjoy with chips, crackers, more celery, or by the spoonful

 I love this with celery and also with corn tortilla chips... delicious and so high in protein. feel free to play around with the amount of spices and mayonaise- I don't have exact measurements since I just keep adding in things until it tastes good.

So simple and easy, it takes less than 5 minutes- just make sure to eat it within 4 days... which won't be a problem :)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

University of Colorado at Boulder

I'm not sure how much I want to go into detail about the reason I'm transferring as I try to keep many personal things off this blog- but I think it'd be good to get it out there my thoughts so there is not any confusion as to why I'm transferring.

I posted about my father and my trip to Boulder, seen here, which was actually to see the school and the city and see if I wanted to attend. I didn't mention that in my post since I wasn't sure if I was going to attend.. but now that I am, I can share that we really only went to see the college.


There are many reasons I'm transferring Universities this year from NYU to CU. I do not dislike New York City, I just love mountains and nature more than I enjoy city life. If you know me in person, or have read my blog for awhile you may know that I'm really passionate about climbing, running, cycling, and love hiking and exploring. I do like the hustle and bustle of the city, as well as the opportunities they present, but I value peace and serenity more.

NYC with my dorm on the right

I'll miss NYC, but I'm excited to go to school in a city that offers a surrounding of mountains. While at NYU, I felt as if I was trapped in a bubble of people and had no space to myself or a place to be quiet. Simple things like running on pavement, breathing in car fumes when I cycled, and dealing with disgusting situations (such as the street dirt or people partying in the streets and leaving messes) really made me an unhappy and angry person (just ask my freshman year roommates). I came home four times throughout the year, and wrote posts about experiencing nature (running on dirttons of hiking for my birthday at homeYosemite when I came home for thanksgiving, and trad climbing in Yosemite). Just from those four posts alone, one can see that I am very very into nature and activities in nature. After those trips I was happier, felt lighter, and was more at peace. My escape while at school used to be climbing, and then after my shoulder injury became cycling- especially after I joined WE Bike.

WE Bike
WE Bike shirt worn proudly

To put it bluntly- I'm excited. I'm excited to have the opportunity of hiking, meeting people who share the same passions as me, and to be able to finally experience the typical college lifestyle (campus, sports teams, an orientation even!). When I was deciding whether or not to transfer, I kept telling my friends at school how many climbing clubs there were at CU compared to NYU- not that that number is a deciding point... but it was proof that there could be more people I would share interest with. (fyi- there are 3 clubs at CU, and 0 at NYU. that doesn't include clubs for hiking, cycling, backpacking... just 3 for climbing alone)

I will miss things about NYC, but hardly anything about NYU. I'll miss the friends I became close with, the food, my family on the East Coast, and feeling the rush of adrenaline while biking through 2nd Ave traffic. Going into my transfer, I know that Boulder is no where near "perfect" and I can and probably will find flaws within the process or the school- but overall I think I'll be a happier and calmer person when surrounded by a place I want to be in, and with people who also want to be there.

Lula's vegan ice cream.... you will be missed the most

Academically, I'm pretty set on studying sports nutrition, or a variation of that. At NYU I would have majored in nutrition as an undergrad. At CU I'll be majoring (possibly) in Integrative Physiology with a focus on exercise physiology (the study of how stress affects the body). With a degree in that I can go to grad school or dietetics school for nutrition, or focus on physical therapy or studying the body and possibly going into medicine. Essentially, I will undergrad in the "sports" side of sports nutrition, and go to graduate school for the nutrition side (just a plan... I may or may not stick to that!)

Another cool thing about CU and this program is that I can get a Bachelors AND a masters in 5 years total (4 years from now, since I've already completed a year), which is about the time length that multiple academic advisors told me that it would take to graduate from NYU with just a bachelors. How is that for awesome!?