Friday, September 30, 2011

Des Crêpes du Nutella

J'adore des crêpe et j'adore le nutella. Donc, j'ai partagé avec ma classe de la parole. Avant-hier, j'ai cuisiné avec mon ami. Et nous avons fait beaucoup de crêpes. Désolé. J'ai tendance parler français quand je fais des crêpes....I love crepes and I love nutella. So, I shared with my speech class. The day before yesterday, I cooked with my friend. And we made lots of crepes. Sorry, I have a tendency to speak French when I make crepes.So, yeah, that's what I did Wednesday night after workshop (which ends at 8:10 at night). I ended up staying in the kitchen until about midnight. YAY!But...I made crepes. Which is just so much fun to do because they aren't always successful, but they're almost always delicious.And I'm pretty sure everyone in my class loved them (I was giving a tribute speech to nutella...yeah, I'm a freak). But anyway, here's how to make crepes. They aren't necessarily dorm friendly by any means, but I made it work. Also, the recipe makes about 20 crepes, so this is something to do when you want to make friends.

You will need:

A frying pan
Pam or other spray oil, or butter if you so choose
6 eggs

1/4 Stick of Butter2 cups of flour
Sugar (the original recipe calls for 2 tsp of sugar in 20 crepes, but I probably used more like 4-8 tablespoons...anywhere between these to limits will work)
Salt (about 8 dashes worth...real specific, huh?...this is probably about 1/2 tsp of salt)
4 cups of milk (or 4 of the things of milk they sell at the cafeteria...they're the same amount)

KnifeForks (for mixing ingredients, though a wisk would be best if you have one)
Mixing bowl (I used 4 cereal bowls...which is a bad idea)
Spatula (unless you're one of those cool kids who can flip crepes in the air, in which case I hate you)
First, beat the eggs. This is pretty much the same thing as scrambling, if being done with a fork. Just stir it until the eggs are all one color.
Then, add the milk. Again, mix it until it's all one color.
Next, add the dry ingredients. Stir in the flour and add salt and sugar. It's gonna be a bit lumpy. That's only temporarily ok.
While you do this, melt your butter. Stir this into the batter. Seriously stir. Then stir some more. Keep stirring until it is all uniform. Stop for a moment. If anything at any point floats to the top of the batter, mix some more. Make sure there's no flour on the edges either. Really, it should be super thin and uniform.
Once this has finally occurred, heat up your frying pan (which should be greased) on a low to medium, but more like low, heat. As it heats, stir the batter even more. Really, this is an important step.
Put about 2 tbsp of batter into the pan and move the pan in a circular shape so that the bottom is covered entirely with a very thin layer of batter.
When the edges are golden brown, flip the crepe. Then, after about a 45 seconds, check the other side to see if it's done. Both sides should (hopefully) be golden brown. If it's too white, just continue to fry the crepe. Then, put it on a plate.

Repeat this about 4 times (putting something like paper towel between each crepe you put on the plate). Then, regrease the pan.
Do this whole process about 5 times.
And by this point you've wasted several hours and have a rather large stack of crepes.

Pez eyeing the crepes.

Now, you can spread the nutella on them. You can use other things to fill your crepes too (like apple pie filling and cinnamon, lemon juice and powdered sugar, strawberries and whipped cream, bananas pineapple and coconut, whatever you want). Since these are sweet crepes, you should not use meats and cheeses to fill it - it just won't taste right with this recipe. If doing a proper crêpe du Nutella, then be generous with the nutella because nutella is the best thing on earth and you can never have too much nutella.

When you are done with this, eat, share, enjoy, and for the sake of humanity and clenliness: CLEAN UP THE MESS! It's awful to clean up after it gets hard (I know from experience because I missed several spots which are not rock solid clumps of yuckiness). This might need to be done before you eat, share, and enjoy. It is seriously a mess, even if you clean up as you go.
Despite the mess and the fact that it takes several hours, this is so much fun and tastes so good. I recommend trying it if you are a) adventurous, b) not hungry at the moment, c) have a lot of friend, and d) have nothing better to do with your day.
I'm sorry, by the way, for not posting this yesterday. Yesterday was...awful. The fire alarm went off in the middle of the shower. My dr's appointment lasted 1 hour and a half and required getting another 2 vials of blood taken from my body. I couldn't eat anything (and still can't). And everything appeared to be collapsing. Then, when my day finally calmed down, I decided to self inflict personal drama that turned out not to be drama at all and instead was seriously just my imagination (perhaps I'm going insane...maybe that's why my stomach's been hurting so much...this would not be much of a surprise...anyone who knows me knows that I'm completely crazy). Anyway, now tomorrow I have to cross town to determine if my spleen is enlarged (which, if it is, could be a sign of just about anything from mono to infection to blood disorder...

hurray!). On the bright side, if I gain the courage to ask (which knowing myself, I probably won't...I never have the courage to ask questions), I might be able to see the inside of my body tomorrow (which would seriously be the coolest thing ever, ever). We'll see what happens with that.
Anyway, crepes. Yes. Very good. One of the few things my body lets me eat at the moment and I am oh so glad of it. Seriously. Delicious. Enjoy! =)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Something New

So, as you might have noticed, I decided to redo the design of my blog. It looks really cool in chrome, but I have no idea how it will work in other browsers, and especially how it will look in mobile browsers. So, let me know if this design doesn't work for you and I'll see if I can try a different one.
Also, today marks my 400th page view. Actually, as of today there have been 410 page views (24 today alone). This is excellent. My goal is 500 page views by the end of the month, though I'm not sure how realistic that is. So feel free to share this blog with anyone and everyone.
My food stories:
Yesterday, during history class, I decided I really wanted Chinese food (specifically sesame chicken). So, despite the rain, I decided to go to Panda Express. My friend David tagged along. Panda Express happens to require 6 miles of biking. Which was fine because it was raining and I'm from Washington and David's from Oregon and we both like the rain. But it also wasn't fine because that meant we didn't even get back to campus until about 8. And then we wanted to hang out, and we talked about our ed class that we both are taking (which is pretty much the same as studying) and then...I came back to my room at 11. I am seriously the worst roommate ever. I come home late, I leave without saying anything, and...there may or may not be a large pile of banana bread dishes and other assorted dishes from other meals, resting next to the sink...said pile that may or may not exist, totally has my name written all over it and has been staring at me as I sleep (my bed is across from the sink). And there may or may not also be a large pile of books and bags, just sitting on the floor by my bed, waiting to be taken care of. And my bed may or may not be covered with even more textbooks. Yeah, I'm kind of a horrible roommate. I'm surprised Anna puts up with me.
So, other than my awful roommateness and the fact that I went to Panda Express (which, by the way, does not have sesame chicken :( but it does have the best broccoli beef ever, so it was ok), I haven't been up to too much. I honestly don't know what I've done with myself today, since it obviously hasn't been cleaning, and it hasn't been homework, and it hasn't really been much eating (I actually never got around to eating lunch...I just had early supper at like 5:30). In fact, perhaps I should do some homework. Or clean my room. Or watch Glee!
hmmm...I think homework. I am, after all, paying to go to this school.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Vegan Banana Bread

Last week I bought a pound of bananas that became bruised on my bike ride home (perhaps because I put several cans and a half gallon of milk on top of them in my bag...). I ate 2 of the bananas over the week, but eventually they were too ripe to eat (the fact that they were already bruised allowed them to ripen much faster). So, the area around my bed (under which I keep all of my food) smelled of bananas these past couple days. But we couldn't eat them. So it came down to two things: either we could waste the bananas and throw them in the trash like so many unfortunate vegetables from our fridge, or we could make banana bread. I think we made the proper choice.

Anna being vegan, we decided to make vegan banana bread from scratch. This actually meant that we used fewer ingredients, which is always a plus in dorm cooking. And it actually tasted much better than normal banana bread. So, I will share the recipe with you.
Since there are so many ingredients, I will share with you ahead of time what they were.

4 very ripened bananas
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups of flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup of walnuts
Cooking spray
2 bread pans
1 fork
1 spoon
1 knife

First, in a large bowl (or sauce pan, in our case, since we didn't have a mixing bowl), mash the 4 bananas. We did this using a fork, which worked pretty well. They should be mashed to the point that it looks creamy. Then, mix in the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
Next, add the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Stir this well. This can be done with any spoon you happen to have.
Then, chop the walnuts into coarse pieces (into 1/2s and 1/3s). This can be done with a standard knife. Mix the nuts into the bowl. (If you are allergic to nuts or simply don't like them, you can of course skip this step.)
Now, pour the well blended batter into 2 greased bread pans. (As bread pans turn out to be quite expensive, we bought the disposable metal kind from the baking section for only a couple dollars, which worked just fine as a pan). If you are using walnuts, you can add some whole onto the top, to make a pretty design. However, they tend to crisp easily in the oven, so I do not recommend this.
Finally cook at 350 degrees (make sure to preheat the oven before you put the bread in) for anywhere between 45 minutes and an hour. We're not quite sure how much time it needs because we had ours in for an hour and the edges started to get quite crispy after 50 minutes, so we assume 45 minutes is probably a good time. Just keep checking on it every now and then.
Remove from the oven, and let cool. Then, you'll be ready to eat, enjoy, and clean up the wonderful mess (I recommend doing this as you wait for the bread to cook or as you wait for it to cool, as you'll have quite a bit of time to kill).

This recipe turned out really well. The inner part of the bread was super chewy and delightful. And the outer part of the bread was strong enough to keep intact. As it's not made with butter like the standard recipe, it does not taste buttery. Instead, you really get the natural flavors of the banana. It is a tad sweet, but it's banana bread, it's supposed to be sweet.
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS RECIPE. It was honestly so good. And as it was baking, people from all over the dorm kept coming by to tell us how good it smelled (you could smell it everywhere on our floor...we became quite the popular girls). If you want to, you could double the recipe and make enough to share with the rest of the floor, which would make you super popular. But, we didn't have enough bananas (or foresight) to do that ourselves.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Homesickness Soup

I'm not homesick. I feel guilty for two reasons:
  • I bought this soup specifically for if/when I become homesick, but so far I have not had this need. I have missed my boyfriend, my cat, and my friend-friends (in that order... apologies to everyone listed below my cat...), but have yet to miss my family, my hometown, my bedroom, or the other animals at my house. This makes me feel like a horrible person. But I just don't miss them. Like, at all. What kind of person am I?!
  • I also feel guilty. I just didn't feel like going down to the cafeteria after a rather long, sweaty, intense bike ride this afternoon, and I wasn't in the mood for, well, anything I have (which happens to include A LOT of food). So I made this soup.
The soup I made was on sale for 59 cents, so I decided to get it. It happens to be Grandma's canned soup (chicken noodle soup with the long, skinny noodles, thick chicken broth, and no vegetables). Just the smell takes me to my grandmother's dining room, where I have spent many a lunches eating canned chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese with cheddar cheese and wheat bread (which differed from my mother's American cheese with white bread...and only tasted good when Grandma made it). I wouldn't be surprised if the only reason we had this so much every time we spent a week with my grandparents is because it was the only thing they knew my little sister would eat (and now, she won't even eat the soup...seriously, she becomes pickier of an eater with age, though some parts of it I know aren't her being picky since she also gets sick eating certain foods, other parts (like her hating the "taste and texture of meat" and her distaste for any vegetables besides peppers) can only be summed up with one letter: Elle).
Anyway, I digress. So, I made this soup, despite the fact that I wasn't homesick, using the microwave directions. There were several off things about my soup (though it still tasted pretty good). The first was that the directions ask you to cover the bowl. The only thing I could think of that I had that could possibly be used for this was paper towel...but it fell into the bowl around minute 3 of the cooking process. The second, was that the soup was scalding hot. I cooked it for the lowest suggested cooking time, but still had to wait several minutes before I could eat it. The third was that there was something missing: the chicken. There were literally (and I'm not exaggerating) two pieces of chicken in my chicken noodle soup, making it, in essence, noodle soup with chicken garnish. Seriously. The final, and most important thing, was that it was missing something else: oyster crackers.
(insert family laughing here, other people not even caring). Oyster crackers in chicken noodle soup is just how it's done at Grandma's house. My sister does it. My older brother did it. Even my 6 year old cousin does it. It's just a necessity that there be more oyster crackers in your soup than chicken (though in my case, that only means there needs to be 3 oyster crackers...).
So, that was my diner tonight. It was...reasonable. It sort of reminded me of my grandparents' house, and wasn't used for a bout of homesickness. I feel full of guilt for the reasons I listed before, but also full in general because I ate 2.5 servings of soup today. But, hey, I haven't had any yogurt covered pretzels yet today. =)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Salady Salad

So today was a salad day. Mostly because I realized I have a lot of vegetables in my fridge that I haven't been eating yet. And because I really need to use up the salad dressing that's been in the soda can holder in the door. So, I decided to use all the vegetables I have (which isn't very many, sadly, as my mushrooms and green beans are off to a better place...aka the trash).
Salad making is pretty easy, so I really wonder why I don't do it more often. Anyway, this is my salad:
First, I created a bed of 50% mixed Spring Greens and 50% Spinach. This just happened to be what I had in my fridge, but it actually works really well for a salad like this.
Next, I rinsed some of my broccoli. This time, I think I used a full serving of broccoli. I then toor the ends off in punches and scattered them amungst my bed of greens.
Then, I rinsed my baby corn. Apparently you can get it fresh, which is healthier for you, but I have never heard of fresh baby corn (I just amused it grew from the ground into a can). However, canned baby corn tends to have lots of added sodium. And with all the yogurt covered pretzels I've been having lately, I don't really need more sodium. The can I got contained over 10% of my daily sodium intake, in just one serving of baby corn. After rinsing the baby corn quite a bit, I added it to my salad.
Then, I added a few Caesar Parmesan croutons. Not too many since the point of the salad is vegetables, not starch, and baby corn was already an added starch. Plus, I'm not terribly fond of the croutons I bought.
Next, I added just a bit of Caesar salad dressing. I have yogurt based dressing because a) it's half the fat and calories of normal Caesar salad dressing, and b) it's new, so it was on sale when I went to the store. Cheaper = better. However, since the yogurt makes the taste a bit sharp, it's actually kind of important to use less of it. Otherwise you won't be able to taste the rest of the salad.
Finally, toss it up. Eat, enjoy, and clean up the mess. All of the veggies and the dressing need to go into the fridge (even the baby corn). If your baby corn is in canned form, cover it with a bag and put it in the fridge. If you don't have sandwich baggies, it's totally fine, I don't either. I just use whatever plastic bag I can find (an old fruit and veggie bag from the store or a plastic grocery bag will work fine...I used an old Fuego bag, which worked great. The important part is just keeping air out).
Your final product might look like this:

I really liked this salad. I think my favorite part was the baby corn, followed closely by the broccoli and spinach. My least favorite part was the croutons. What's wrong with this picture? I kind of wish I had black olives for this salad though. This is two recipes in a row where I wish I had black olives...perhaps I need to invest in a can or two...
If you need further reasons to eat this salad, besides the fact that it is DELICIOUS, here are some health benefits of each ingredient. Spinach contains vitamin K, folate, iron, and beta carotene (spinach is one of the best sources for beta carotene, which converts Vitamin A in the intestines and liver). The mixed spring greens include quite a bit of antioxidants, as well as even more folate. The broccoli is a rich source of vitamin C, calcium, Vitamin K, and Vitamin A. Baby corn, which is not actually a vegetable, contains about 30% of your RDA of folate, close to 20% of your vitamin C, 15% of Vitamin B6, 10% RDA of riboflavin, and 10% RDA of fiber. The yogurt-based dressing contains a little less than 5% RDA of calcium and about 2 g of protein...which isn't bad for such a small amount. And a serving of Caesar parmesan croutons contains 1 g of protein and carbohydrates. Pretty good for something that actually tastes good, huh?

Monday, September 19, 2011

You Gotta Love Broccoli

I am truly sorry for those of you in this world who do not enjoy the marvelous flavor of broccoli. You are truly missing out with your cliche distaste. If you don't like broccoli, you probably won't like this recipe. But maybe you will, the flavor isn't terribly strong, anyway.
This recipe is actually a spinoff of my grandmother's recipe, which calls for olives and peppers. However, I don't have olives or peppers, so I decided to subsitute with broccoli instead. It would probably work with spinach, too, and maybe even baby corn or celery (I have all of these in my fridge, but have yet to try with this).
To make this, first, spread a thin layer of cream cheese over a flour tortilla. I'm not sure if it is acceptable to use whipped cream cheese, but I would assume this would work.
Next, wash your broccoli. You won't need very much for this, actually. Maybe a piece or two (about 1/2 a serving size, I would assume). Pretty much, just rip the dark green ends off and scatter around the cream cheese side of the tortilla.
Then, roll the tortilla up without folding in the ends. Slice it as you please.
Finally, eat, enjoy, and clean up the mess. Especially the cream cheese (it should be in the fridge, of course, and the knife used for it should be cleaned quickly as the cream cheese will get a bit crusty if left on).

I decided to try this today because, well, I ate a little bit too large of a snack after math class. As in 3 servings of yogurt covered pretzels and a banana. I'm becoming a tad bit too obsessed with these yogurt covered pretzels lately, but who knows, maybe I'll teach myself to make them and it'll be a whole new blog post on its own.
Anyway, this recipe was pretty tasty. The cream cheese and broccoli both provide calcium, as well as a plethora of other vitamins. Plus, the tortilla makes a great alternative to using a bagel with your cream cheese, since bagels tend to equal carbohydrate overrode...especially on a day like today where I've probably already eaten enough...though maybe a few more yogurt covered, no more yogurt covered pretzels today. Goodness they are a tempting snack. But I know to beware: just because they have yogurt in the name, doesn't mean they're healthy. These things are loaded with sugar, fat, salt, and every other thing under the "Use sparingly" category. But I love I will eat them anyway...just sparingly.
Anyway, back to the recipe again. This is quite delicious. Great for a light lunch (paired with yogurt covered pretzels) or a mid-afternoon snack. And rather healthy for you, as well. I STRONGLY RECOMMEND YOU TRY THIS RECIPE (and eat yogurt covered pretzels).

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Small Trip

Wow. So sorry it's been so long since I posted. It's been a while since I went to the grocery store, which means I couldn't make my own food. That, and my stomach has still been bothering me, so I haven't felt too adventerous in the whole food-department. I should be getting my lab results soon, to find out just what's been going on, but until then, I'm stuck in limbo.
So, today's blog is about trips. It's broken up into two categories: the first being yesterday's trip, the second being today's trip. That pretty much sums it up.

Yesterday's Trip:

My roommate and I decided to go to Target and Ikea yesterday. It took us about 2 hours to get there via bus and MAX rail system (since we missed the bus by literally seconds and had to wait 30 minutes for the next one). So, we went, and about five minutes before our stop, I get this text from my lovely boyfriend. It turned out, he was in the main lobby for my dorm. The guy had spent three hours of train and about half an hour busing from the train station to my college, just to surprise me! I was ecstatic. And also about an hour and a half away. But, of course, I had to go back right away, and that I did. I was just so happy to finally see him after being away for a month, and so surprised that he spent five hours of traveling and waiting, just to see me. He took the last train North out of Portland, but, of course, that was a 6, so we really didn't get to do much. But, much isn't what's important anyway. Goodness gracious, I am still in shock. But it is a super, duper positive shock, indeed. =) =) =)

Today's Trip:

Today's trip was nowhere near as exciting. I went to the grocery store. I bought bananas, raspberries, mixed green salad, and beans; bread, bagels, and two boxes of cereal; canned soup, SpongeBob EZMac, frozen pizza, and yogurt covered pretzels, ; milk, string cheese, and cream cheese. Oh, and purple duct tape. All for about $35. I am proud of that. I am especially proud of the yogurt covered pretzels, since they were the same price as my small baggie from the school, but contained a POUND of pretzels. I've also been eating these a little bit to much already. But a girl can't help loving yogurt covered pretzels.
Coming home with all of this was quite a pain. Since I was alone on this trip, I couldn't pawn any heavy item on some unsuspecting victim. The cereal boxes proved the most challenging to deal with, though the heavy cans and half gallon of milk were also difficult. I ended up putting the boxes on the back of my bike, tying them on as I had done with Anna's soda cans earlier. Here's what it ended up looking like:

Yes, I am impressed with my tying skills too. Who knew sailing knots could have any sort of value in everyday life? Oh, and should I mention it was raining on my bike ride home?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

International Chocolate

Happy International Chocolate Day! I know, I didn't know it was either until earlier today. But that's ok with me.
In celebration of the day, I decided to eat some chocolate. I should mention that all of my meals today were in the cafeteria because a) my fridge is still empty and b) I'm still sick or whatever. Today, in addition to the now 9th day in a row of stomach aches, I have a fever. I'm super happy about this, believe me. But tomorrow I should be visiting the Dr. to find out what's going on and I actually am excited about this.
Anyway, back to chocolate. I actually am not typically a fan of chocolate. But, there are two exceptions: brownies and German chocolate cake. My grandmother makes this and apparently the recipe involves like seven pans or something obnoxious like that. So today, when I learned that the cafeteria had German chocolate brownies, I was ecstatic and ordered one promptly. This extasy was quickly increased when I remembered that the company that now feeds several college campuses (including this one) began as a desert company and thus have incredible deserts. This is a true fact. The brownie was obviously made with real chocolate. Actually, they use only real, honest ingredients in all of their food. But still, I was pleasantly surprised with the real taste to these brownies. Like, seriously impressed.
I'd originally promised myself to eat it slowly (since I had already had a grilled cheese (that they make using cheddar, provolone, and Swiss cheeses) and chocolate milk and, though I was hungry, I knew I should slow it down). However, it lasted me maybe 20 minutes while I was walking around campus. It was seriously delicious. Each bite was like biting into bliss. That's the only way to describe it.
Needless to say, I was completely content with today's International Chocolate Day. For a while, my stomach didn't hurt; I didn't feel stressed; I didn't feel anything but chocolaty bliss. That is true happiness.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Yellow Fruit Salad

I went to the grocery store last week and bought a ton of fruits and veggies. Which is great. Except for one thing: I didn't eat them all. It's also been in the 90's all week and my fruit was left out of the fridge because I ran out of room. Thus, some of it started to rot. So, I decided to take what was salvagable and turn it into a fruit salad. Originally it was going to have kiwis and pluots as well, but that bag was completely rotted and starting to smell. Thus, what was left was a yellow fruit salad, which is pretty cool sounding.
1. Remove the skin and all the rotting parts of a pear. If you don't have a pearing knife, it's ok. I used a regular knife and was fairly successful. It might be better do do this on a softer pear (this was one of the hard pears the school provided us in our lunches last week...but it eventually became quite soft). It should look like this when you're done:

2. Slice the pear vertically into reasonable pear pieces. Avoid the core. It doesn't really matter what shape the pieces turn out to be because after this, you must cube the pear into half-bite-sized pieces. Put these pieces into an individual sized bowl.
3. Peal one banana (I used two because both of mine were going quite bad and only 1/2 of each were salvageable). Then, slice the salvageable pieces of the banana into cute little round slices. Avoid the stuff that sticks on a banana after the peel is removed (those darn stringy things make me so mad when I'm eating a banana). Add these pieces to the bowl.
4. Add pineapple cubes (I have so much of this...mmmm). Avoid the juice as much as possible because the pear and banana pieces are already soft and will become squishy and unpalatable if they're surrounded by too much juice. Use how ever much you want, but note that the acidic flavor will transfer quite a bit to the other pieces of fruit. Now it should look like this:

(I have no idea why this is turned like shouldn't be...sorry guys).

5. Eat, Enjoy, and Clean up. Remember, the pineapple is acidic so your dishes should be washed right after you're done. Also remember to put any leftover pineapple or other sliced fruit into the fridge.
This was a decent recipe. It probably needs some touch-ups but I have no idea what to do to it. Personally, I'm fine with just eating pineapple by itself, so I probably won't be making this too often. But, it is a good use of fruit that would otherwise just be thrown away.

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Not Quite a Burrito

Today's recipe is with much thanks to a friend that taught me this trick back in middle school. It's been a while since then, but I still remember how good this tastes. I've modified it so that it can be made in a dorm room, but it's only slightly modified since the recipe contains only three ingredients.
That's right, only three!
How's that for dorm food?
Before I tell you the recipe, though, I should specify. This is not a burrito. I'm not exactly sure what it is, but, it is not a burrito. It's not Mexican food. It has more of a Mediterranean taste to it than anything else. Or at least, that's how I feel.

Now the recipe for my not quite a burrito:
1. Place a tortilla flat on a plate.
2. Spoon about 2 spoonfuls of canned black beans onto one half of the tortilla. If you happen to have a straining spoon, that is perfect. Otherwise, avoid the juice as much as possible. Juices make your Not a Burrito sloppy and harder to eat.
3. Spread some mozzarella cheese on top. If you do not have shredded mozzarella cheese, here's a trick. String cheese is made out of mozzarella cheese. Use about half of one string cheese for each Not a Burrito and shred it by hand by tearing pieces apart. I happen to have a lot of string cheese lying around, so for me that's more convenient. You can buy individual string cheeses if you so desire, but if you eat it a lot, get the packages...much more affordable.
By this point, it should look a bit like this:

4. Microwave for 45 seconds. The black beans are cold. Especially if they came out of the fridge. So, this step is actually kind of important. Don't freak out if the mozzarella cheese isn't melted. It probably won't be.
5. Wrap like a burrito. Yes, I know. It's made with a tortilla and wrapped like a burrito. But this is Not a Burrito. The more skillfully you do this last step, the less of a mess you're likely to make. If you don't properly fold the ends of the burrito, this is what will happen:

6. Eat, enjoy, and clean up. Put the leftovers from your canned black beans in your fridge. Eat the left over string cheese if you have any. And do your dishes.
This recipe is a standard in my house. Great for a snack or for lunch, the fiber in the beans is sure to keep you full, while the cheese provides plenty of calcium. I HIGHLY SUGGEST YOU TRY THIS.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tummy Achin', Milkshakin', Test Takin' Wednesday

I feel like this week just sucks in general. I don't know if it's just because it's no longer the first week of classes so I no longer have the awesome excitement that I had last week. Or, it might just be one of those weeks. But today, the worst day of my week, is especially awful. I woke up with a stomach ache. I've had the same pain in my stomach off and on the past couple of days. I think it's just the heat and the physical activity of walking all over campus, and the climbing in and out of my awfully heighted bed, in combination with the fact that I bruised my abdominal wall a few years ago and my side just occasionally acts up. Whatever the cause, it's getting on my last nerve. Choir on Monday and today has been especially difficult because taking deep breaths physically hurts and this week in choir (especially today) we've been working on our breaths. Ugh.
But anyway, with a stomach ache and no appetite, I made myself some toast and forced myself to class. And then another class. And then to studying, finishing off the last of my yogurt covered pretzels. And then to choir practice. And then another class, which had a test I didn't know about. And then one more class, which had a quiz I did know about (I only got the chance to eat a granola bar before this class, but I really wasn't hungry anyway). And then, finally, I went back to my room and took some ibuprophen and...wait for it...went to my freshman workshop right after. Right now is the first real time that I've gotten to sit down in my room, and because of that, I have not made anything interesting today. But...some good news.
On horrible days like today, there are few foods that can make a dent in improving the day. Cookie dough, cake batter, greasy burgers, and smooth milkshakes. I got to have two of those today with my freshman workshop group. We went to this nifty burger shop in St. John's, and I devoured a cheeseburger sans tomates and a wonderfully textured vanilla milkshake. They were good enough to make me stop forgetting about my still aching stomach, but not so good that I'm going to make myself fat by going there every day of the week. Both of which are good things.
Although this blog post contains very little information about food, it contains one new thing. An off campus dinning experience. There's a first for everything. And probably a second and third time as well.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Homemade Soup on a Very, Very Long Day

Against all better intuitions, I decided to trek out to the cafeteria for lunch today. Perhaps I should go back and explain what my day has been today.
It all begins around midnight when I snuck back into my dorm room after hanging out with a friend all night (one of those you start talking at 9:00, then suddenly it's midnight type deals that I've always heard about but never quite experienced before...especially on a school night). Afraid to wake up my roommate (and also eager to go to bed), I got into bed without brushing my teeth, changing into pjs, or even feeding my poor beta fish. I seriously just walked in and got into bed.
Thanks to this late night, I woke up with very few hours of decent sleep (I'm still getting used to my bed). Luckily, I had class at 8:10 this morning! Hurray! So, I woke up slowly, got dressed even slower (unaware that it would be in the 90's today), and ate much quicker. Though I left with 10 minutes to spare, I was still one of the last students to reach class (the very last being the friend I had been hanging out with last night). Tuesday and Thursday classes are the longest classes, as they only meet twice a week, so the class lasted FOREVER.
As soon as it was done, I went back to my room to study (I have to have a history book finished by tomorrow's not going so's written in Old English). I fell asleep instead. It felt glorious.
When I woke up, I realized studying in my bed is not a good idea when I'm tired, so, around noon, I traversed to the cafeteria. And that's where this story begins to relate to food.
I am still lost in the cafeteria.
It' big and crowded and I don't want to look like a dumb freshman...but I am a dumb freshman. Luckily, I discovered soup today, so that's what today's blog is truly about.
My favorite soups in the whole wide world were, until today, as follows:
1. Miso soup (especially from Infinite Soup in Tacoma...where they include like three different types of mushrooms)
2. Clam chowder from the can
3. Brocolli cheddar soup (especially from Panera Bread, but I like it just about anywhere)
4. Chicken noodle soup with oyster crackers (I only eat this at Grandma's house, though).
5. Split pea soup
However, after today, split pea soup has proudly moved up to position number 2. Seriously, I loved the school's split pea soup. It had large chunks of actual ham. And, though you could tell it was from real peas, there weren't chunks of peas in the soup. The texture was smooth and creamy. And, best of all, there were hardly any spices. I could tell there was some salt and maybe a few other slight flavors, but, basically it was peas and ham. Soooooo gooooood. They don't seem to have it often, which is disappointing. But, I guess I'll just have to use it as a special treat. I am seriously in love with this soup. If it were possible to marry a soup, I'd marry miso soup and cheat on it with this soup.
In addition to soup, I had chocolate milk because I wanted milk (I didn't have choir today so I didn't have to worry about it coating my throat). And, after a bit of studying, talking to a fellow UP student who used to be in high school with me, and more studying...I ran into another friend and ate lunch with her. This time yogurt covered pretzels, which were expensive ($4 for a tiny bag), but oh so goooooood.
I went with this friend to class, ended up late for class, and then hung out with her and a bunch of other people after class. Then, I left the group to go with my roommate to get groceries (especially my missing cheddar cheese and some Ritz crackers). And now I'm back, and I'm blogging, and I still haven't finished the stupid book for history and I think my mind is going to either explode from all the stuff I have yet to do but don't want to do, or melt from the 90 degree heat (all my shorts are filthy and, since I still haven't done laundry, I am hottttt). I'm wearing pajama shorts but I'm still dying. I'm just not used to this crazy heat.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Why I Should Always Pay Attention to Warning Signs

Today I was in the mood for a hot meal, but not in the mood for walking all the way to the cafeteria to buy some (partially because it's Monday and I'm tired and I'm lazy, but also partially because it's so darn hot that I don't want to do anything). Thus, I took a look at my food stock. Again, too lazy to make any real food, I decided to make a pre-prepared meal. I happened to buy one such item at the grocery store last week. Healthy Choices' Steak and Portebello Mushroom Noodles sounded appetizing at the time, and it wouldn't take up any room in my mini fridge. This should have been my first warning sign. Anything that contains meat but does not require refrigeration should be banned from my list of delectable items. But, of course, I wasn't thinking about that when I bought it, nor was I thinking about that when I made it. Instead, I thought FOOD, FOOD, FOOD. And that's basically all it was.
I couldn't even finish the whole thing, which was disappointed because I'm still hungry, but my taste buds are ruined for all future food. Seriously, it was awful. The noodles were tasteless and the sauce was pretty much just onion sauce. I kind of hate onions, so I wish the packaging had been more clear about the fact that it included pretty much just onions, with a few pieces of dried steak and sliced mushrooms. Perhaps, too, I should have been warned because it is supposed to be healthy for me. Healthy food just doesn't taste good. But this was what was on sale and, let's be honest, I'm always in the mood for steak, mushrooms, and pasta. Just not in this form.
If you like onions and honestly care about how healthy your food is, then maybe this is for you. But, for me, this was not a pleasant way to end my day.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Nutella and Pineapple Toast

Yes, this recipe is exactly as the title implies. And yes, I know how ridiculous it sounds to combine the acidic flavor of pineapple with the rich flavor of chocolate and the starchy flavor of toast. Believe me, I was skeptical at first too. But, I’m the one who came up with the idea and I’m one to test every idea I come up with, before deciding that it was a bad idea. And this one? Not a bad idea, at all.
You’re still skeptical. And I understand that. But I urge you to give this a try, and I’ll explain why it tastes to good after I tell you how to make it.
First, toast your bread. I use Franz Columbia River Sweet Oat Bread. Partially because the founders of Franz went to the University of Portland and donated the building all but one of my classes are in; partially because they’re local and local food is always good; partially because it’s the sweetest bread and healthiest bread I’ve ever eaten; partially because it toasts really well; and partially because it’s what my family uses and it reminds me of home. I am no spokesperson for them, by any means, but, man, I would make a great spokesperson for them because I am becoming OBSESSED with their bread. Oh, also, I discovered that, while I am not allowed to have my own toaster in my room, there are toasters in our hall’s kitchens. The smoke detectors are super sensitive and there are eight floors in Mehling, so I decided to toast my bread on Level 2. I would recommend the same to any college student because, let’s face it, you don’t wan
t to be known as the kid who set off the smoke detector and made everyone have to evacuate the building. Plus, I like my toast warm and just slightly crispy anyway.
Second, spread Nutella on top of the bread. For best results, this should be done while the bread is still warm. That way, the Nutella slightly melts, which gets it into all the nooks and crannies of the bread and creates a nice texture.
Third, add pineapple chunks to the top. Try to avoid the juice by taking each chunk, one at a time, from a jar, can, or fruit cup of pre-sliced pineapple. I would suggest not using quite as large of chunks as I used (which you can see in the picture), because it made it a tad difficult to actually eat. If your chunks are too large, you can cut them into smaller cubes, again, avoiding juice by placing one cube at a time on top of your toast and Nutella.
Finally, eat, enjoy, and clean. Pineapple is acidic and Nutella hardens when it dries, so it is important to wash your dishes and utensils sooner, rather than later.

This recipe is sooooooo good! It might be my favorite thing I’ve ever made. And it’s so simple! Surprisingly enough, the chocolate and Nutella tastes combine really well. You know when you have a sundae and you use chocolate sauce and then add pineapple sauce or chunks on top? It tastes sort of like that. And the seeds in the bread kind of act to add some crunch, which I enjoyed. I really look forward to adding to this recipe. I can imagine adding bananas and strawberries (though not for a while because, as I grow my own strawberries at home, I refuse to pay for strawberries at a store) to this and having a super fruity, somewhat chocolaty, midnight snack. This is not your start-of-the-day breakfast toast because it is way too sweet to handle first thing in the morning. But it makes an excellent snack or dessert. And it’s so easy! Everyone should try this.

Friday, September 2, 2011

My First Trip to the Grocery Store

I finally went to the grocery store! It was marvelous. We ended up going to the grocery store that was furthest from our school. It was worth it for the experience, though. The store was huge. Like, two stories huge. I’m from a town where Fred Meyer is one story, contains a small selection of produce, meats, and dairy, has a decent bakery, and a basic supply of dry goods as well. Our Fred Meyer in my home town is literally the smallest Fred Meyer there is. But this one? This was huge. Like, sells food, toys, clothes, furniture, and fridges huge. Like, two floors of nothing but store. I was a little bit overwhelmed. So I bought a lot: a plethora of fruits and vegetables, bread, milk, string cheese (I somehow lost my cheddar cheese before I made it to the checkout counter, and didn’t realize it until I got back to my dorm), a can opener, tortillas, and rope. Why rope? Well, because I have this nifty rack on the back of my bike and I would like to be able to use said nifty rack to carry things. My original plan was to get bungee cord, but amongst all the overwhelmingness of the store, I got a little lost. Rope was all that I could find. I got about 300 feet of it. I think I should have enough.
On our way back from the grocery store, Anna (who had just about as much stuff as me) and I looked like fools. My wicker basket was full of milk, jars, cans, and everything else that was heavy. My backpack was full of fruit. On my handle bars, I hung two plastic bags (which cost ten cents each here in Portlandia), filled with veggies, bread, and miscellaneous other food items. Anna’s bike looked similar (minus the basket). However, we had one conundrum. Anna bought a six pack of soda. So, being the creative college students we are, we used the rope I had just purchased, and tied the soda to the back of my bike. Using 300 feet of rope, several sailing knots, and several minutes of patience, I tied the soda to my bike. And my back tire. So, I had to undo and then redo all of my tying. Eventually, though, we were off. It was a challenge steering all three miles back, especially with the bags falling off my handles every couple of blocks, but eventually, we made it back to the dorm. So, we untied Anna’s soda from the back of my bike, took the basket off the front of my bike, piled bags on top of said basket, and carried all our earnings all the way up the eight floors of Mehling (using the elevator, of course). We looked ridiculous, but when all was said and done, we had accomplished what we had intended. We had food. And, best of all, we had room for all of our food in our dorm.
I was kind of upset because I forgot to take a picture before I undid everything on my bike, but I can promise you, I will be doing this again. And next time, there will be pictures.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Non-Dorm Food

I almost skipped lunch today. And my stomach wasn't happy. My usual Thursday allotment of time between my two classes was shortened, as I had to venture to Vancouver, WA today. When I returned, I spent the remainder of my break studying and getting only 1/4 of one assignment finished...which is way less than I intended to complete. Thus, I was unable to eat until after my second class...which begins at 2:30. After class, my stomach was yelling at me to eat something and the rest of my tired body agreed, so I went to the nearest food...the cafeteria. I already knew this was a bad idea because a) it was in between meal times, so food was scarce, b) I have to walk past giant mint leaves to get into the cafeteria and the smell of mint makes me gag, c) the food there is really, really expensive...especially the to-go food that they sell between meal times, and d) to-go food is never all that good. Yet, knowing all of that, I still went because I have very little non-breakfast food items and because I really wanted something hot and was hoping there would be hot food (it's literally been several days since I had food that wasn't pre-packaged).
I was wrong to hope such vile hopes. The cafeteria had virtually no food. So, I bought the only things that looked good: an egg salad sandwich and a pear. This totaled to $6.25 (remember, Oregon doesn't have sales tax, then look at that number again. $6.25 for hard broiled egg and a couple sliced of lettuce on bread, and a pear). Still, knowing the price, I bought it, and walked the long walk back to my dorm. Too hungry to handle the stairs, I took the elevator up all 8 floors of my dorm, the entire time thinking about the money I had just wasted.
I decided to save half my sandwich for dinner because it was between meal times and why not split up the food...make all $5.25 of sandwich worth every bit. It was a tasty sandwich, don't get me wrong. And the eggs are only cage free eggs. And the bread contained no high fructose corn syrup. But still, it was expensive.
Worse than the sandwich, though, was the pear. For the same amount of money that I could probably buy several pears at the local grocery store, I bought one, single, crunchy pear. That's right, crunchy. I know what you're thinking, and that's what I was thinking on my first bite as well, Pears are supposed to be soft, not crunchy! I wasted a whole dollar that could have been used elsewhere on a single unripe pear.
This is why I'm experimenting with making my own food. Because at least when it's a waste of money and a waste of food, it's my fault.