I have been SUPER busy with this whole "Graduate School" business. Phew! My boyfriend is the one constantly training for 5Ks, half marathons, and marathons....but I have been exhausted from just the first week. Our advisors are always telling us that come December we will "collapse into happy exhaustion"
This does not surprise me one bit.
EXCELLENT things have happened, and some NOT so excellent things have happened.
Given my work that I selected (social work- ta da!), I have to always be mindful of how I am feeling, and try to care for myself.
1) Leaving home was REALLY hard. I have wonderful friends here, but very little can make up for the comfort of family, friends, my boyfriend, and my established sense of independence that I felt in my cramped little studio in Rogers Park. On the other hand, I really lucked out in NYC real estate, and found TWO veggie minded roommates within 10 minutes of campus. One also happens to be a veggie trained chef who works in Chelsea....what?!
2) It's taking a while for me to get my job solidified. This work-aholic is NOT used to this! I am getting a lot of homework done, which is wonderful considering that I have a tendency to procrastinate like CRAZY. (Especially at the beginning of the semester). Hopefully this barista will be serving the thousands of commuters by Madison Sq Garden!
3) I am finally getting the trains/buses here. Chicago= +5000 points for its bus system. NYC= -5000 points for its bus system. NYC= +5000 points for its subway. Chicago= -5000 points for the "el". It all evens out, I guess!
4) Holy vegan friend, Batman! NYC has so many cool vegan restaurants. Too bad that I'm now in a financially compromised position that I can't afford all of them! Oh bother! Candle Cafe and Sacred Chow have already had me, and Scotters and I did my favorite Spring St. Natural Restaurant where I indulged with what I can only describe as the BEST veggie burger I've ever had! EVER! Once the funds come in (and Travis and Jonathan!) I will probably report in more or less detail about these places. Especially Lula's Sweet Apothecary- YUM!
5) Cheese. Oh gosh. When you are on a supreme veggie/student/poor girl budget, it is hard to resist the canned soup and mac/cheese staples for nourishment. I was pretty good about having some hearty fruit/veggie/low fat good foods...until stress and long days came about. I also didn't realize how much I depended on a blender for my quick food smoothie fixes. Thank god for the Mexican fruit and veggie carts throughout the city. If the fruit is right in front of you, how can you NOT eat it?! And hey...PB &J is veggie! Huzzah!
6) My classes rock. I've only had 2 days of class so far (once a week classes....my favorite!), but I can tell that I will be challenged and simultaneously have the ability to thrive. Likewise my field work in Queens looks super cool.
7) I MET JONATHAN FRANZEN! Yep, I'm a book nerd. Always will be. For my birthday I was able to meet the author of Freedom, one of THE most anticipated books of the year- for me AND the NY Times- haha! I told Mr. Franzen my sister's suggestion of his running for Mayor of Chicago. He told me he'd put it on his to-do list. The experience rivaled meeting David Sedaris. Jon Stewart is coming to town as well. So is Jamie Oliver.....
Looks like I need to start writing a book! :D
I miss you all in Chicago, and I feel so welcomed by the NYC crowd.
Now to try to correct the Starbucks folks on what a REAL Red Eye is..... ;)
A challenge was set by a group of people bent on controlling what defines marriage, and the GLBTQA community stood strong and used not only superior intellect, but superior love to fight against the minority of people who don't support gay marriage. Enough was enough, and I extend all of my love to the state!
Anyhow, onto the main topic! TEA AND COFFEE!
I will soon be departing to Columbia University (YAY!) in NYC (double YAY), and I wasn't sure if I was going to transfer to another coffee shop or not. This got me to thinking off all of the coffee and tea that I've consumed in my short life, and which ones reign as my personal favorites!
So, while I was over-caffeinated at work yesterday morning (calibrating espresso shot you see...), I jotted down a few faves. Hopefully some of the categories will speak to you and inspire you to look into some others :)
BEST DARKS ROASTS:
Corsica Blend at La Columbe (NYC/ Philadelphia)
I visited this place when I was visiting my friend Scott in the Village. I believe its location is in SoHo, but I distinctly remember also hearing about a cortado, the barista's favorite drink. It's been a must-recommend in my cafe ever since.
French Roast & Komodo Dragon Blend at Starbucks (pretty much everywhere)
So I know it's Starbucks, and if I vote democratically I should probably be going off to hug trees instead of drinking from the silver chalice of Corporate America, but Starbucks make a damn good cup of coffee. They're also a part of a big initiative to make all of their coffee organic by 2012. Not bad!
Flourish Blend by Metropolis Coffee Co.
AH! Chicago is so fantastic, and I was so lucky to go to a school so close to this coffee shop. Flourish is a separate blend created for the Flourish cafe off of Bryn Mawr Ave. in Chicago. Too many cooks DEFINITELY don't spoil the coffee! Their vegan spice cookies are a nice touch...just sayin'!
BEST LIGHT ROASTS:
*shudder* normally light roasts are gross to me, but I make some exceptions! My parents love light roast coffee, so I try to do them right when I come home with a few pounds!
Columbian roast- Seattle's Best Coffee
It's light, it has flowers in it. I've brewed it several times....because I have to! (haha) Barely any acid, and a smooth way to wake up in the morning.
Anything from Intelligentsia! A bit more luxurious in taste (and price), but it's some of the most ethical coffee you can buy in Chicago. Lattes here are absolutely amazing!
In my limited travels of the world, of course I needed to add a Seattle locale! Caffe' Vita is amazing, and has some of the best brews you can find. Coffee in Seattle is like Wine in Italy...lots of tastes, and people coming in from all over to slurp and taste the best!
There is also Lavazza, an Italian import that just OOZES sexy Italian coffee. Make it a dubio ;)
And now for tea time...a very merry un-birthday to you! (unless it's actually your birthday- ha!)
Green tea... so metabolic, so controversial. Last year, I graced my boyfriend's presence with a box of Daily Green Tea from Republic of Tea. He didn't like it, so of course I was SHOCKED! The tea tasted SO good to me, so I thought there could be a number of things that happened.
1) Foamy tea. Don't be an impatient Polish woman like my mother warns against. The water has to be HOT HOT HOT or else a weird yucky foam comes on top of the tea. Boiling on a stove top instead of in a microwave will prevent this. Let the tea clouds fade away, and just make sure that your tea is immersed in good water!
2) You didn't let it steep enough, or it steeped too long. My dear co-worker Kat is always my go-to Tea Guru at work. We talk about everything from Obama to theater, but with tea I am never an equally informed conversationalist. Kat always recommends not steeping green tea more than 4 minutes! That way that light yummy flavor is there, without the bitterness that resembles my old drama club in high school. Leave the bitter for your lemon wedges! Kat would be proud!
3) You just don't like the tea! I am particularly a fan of tea, and I always have been. There are so many different kinds to choose from though, so if you're new to the tea game, just wait! There's plenty more where your first tastes came from!
TEA TEA TEA
Tazo China Green Tips
Tazo Green Tea Latte concentrated mix (so easy to make those lattes at home- some almond or soy and you have an inexpensive tea latte at home at a FRACTION of the cost!)
The aforementioned Republic of Tea is quite delicious! Very green-tea-i-fied!
For the people who WANT to like green tea (but just don't!)
Tropical Green Tea- Mighty Leaf Tea Company
I get this tea EVERY time I go to Union Station because it's offered at the Corner Bakery franchise. It's also at certain Jamba Juices too! It's kind of pricey, but if you divide up the cost per bag and the price at retail locations, it's at least 75% less than what you'd pay.
Sidenote: Paying for tea outside of the home will almost always be marked up this much. It's a standard. Don't shoot the messenger (aka fellow baristas who don't want to charge this much for tea!) Make tea in a reusable container and bring it with you!
Tazo Zen tea- Absolutely my go-to tea to relax and have a few sips on a cold day. One of my absolute best friends, Dana, remembered this and got it for me for Christmas! Such a simple gift, but it meant so much that she remembered. It's light and doesn't smell like pot like regular mint tea does after it's been sitting out a while (yuck!). DELICIOUS
Tulsi tea- Pomegranate Green Tea
I got my first taste of this at Chicago Green Festival. The taste is just so unique, and the "Original" flavor mimics an authentic tea my first roommate bought for me at a tea sale on Devon Ave (the Indian "district", if you will, of Chicago). Whole Foods has this tea at least on sale or with coupons. Channel your inner Dutch/Polish lady!
Chamomile: yeah also not my fave....but others LOVE it! :) One of my favorite quotes about chamomile regards an exchange between Mamita and Gaston:
M: Would you like a sweet?
G: No, thank you; but I would love a cup of your chamomile tea.
Then, of course, there's more dialogue about how cozy the life of the poor is....psh oh Gigi!
Tazo Calm tea- hit it up! The lemongrass is wonderful, and the "calm" is no joke. It basically makes you fall asleep!
Tulsi also makes a Honey Chamomile that is a bit sweeter. For those who know me, this is exactly why Chamomile isn't one of my favorites, but if that's your bag, go for it! It smells divine!
Non-Chamomile herbal teas:
Passion/Mambo from Tazo
ANY Rooibos Red Tea....Celestial Seasonings has quite a bit and it's CHEAP! I love steeping a bunch of bags in hot water, letting it cool, adding ice and popping it in the fridge. I finally found a good herbal tea that isn't so lemongrass-y!
I don't do a lot of specifically flavored teas, but this one had me SOARING.
After explaining to my dear friend Kelly that black tea was connected to helping people with diabetes lower and maintain their insulin level, she promptly took this opportunity to help a girl out! I have always loved Argo Tea (born and raised in Chicago- hehe!), but their Mango Mambo
flavor just reminds me of going to Chinatown for their Summer Festival, and using what little cash I had to buy tins of loose leaf tea. Strawberry was a good one, but my favorite was mango! Now I can get it all the time...and in NYC now too!
Hope this extensive list brought you guys closer to some sip-worthy beverages! HAPPY WEEKEND! :)
This came out on hardcover last June, and I believe stills proves to be a good summer thriller. A young mother disappears, the only remaining witness is her 4-year-old daughter. The husband is suspected, and both of the newlyweds come from broken pasts that created an ending that was just what the heart wanted. Cathartic, perhaps a little predictable, but completes the idea of the story in a way that left me closing the book with a long sigh...
I'm getting into some lazy territory, otherwise I'd post more books. I am however in the middle of Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections...very nice :)
I'll be the first to admit that vanity is what made me a vegetarian. After reading Skinny Bitch, a quote that stuck with me basically said something to the effect of "Why eat a dead carcass...unless I want to look like one" (or something like that)
YEAH! Why should I look like a dead animal? Alicia Silverstone is hot...and she's almost 40! All she does is be gorgeous and not eat animal products... ok- sure!
My obsession with Natalie Wood started in the 6th grade. My family and I had to leave after the 2nd act of West Side Story being performed on stage (tragic to miss it!) , so my dad of course had to rent the movie version. I WAS HOOKED! She was glowing, and beautiful, and even though she wasn't a Latina, she got the ingenue look down! Once I saw a few other films, and read every biography about her published, I grew more and more attached.
I also don't mind the "Oh...you kind of look like her!" comments I get when I tell people she's my fave....but you know! :P
In general I feel like our vanity is there for our confidence and for our self-protection. If we didn't think we were hot stuff, all of us would be in abusive relationships (and women wouldn't have nearly as many rights as they do now!)
Maybe that's a stretch...whatever!
I miss blogging, and I'm sure I'll get back to it once I get in the groove of things.
Until then, follow this blog!
I was referred to it from a male friend of mine- there are some great tips on etiquette and just general live-ability :)
I'm also trying to write some books...yep- plural! :)
-The Yupster/Vegan Mistress
I have many "boos" these days. I adapted the phrase from Michael, a coworker of mine in the cafe, who stole my heart with phrases like "kitten" and re-naming himself to BooshalayX (the X is silent). I felt the need to give some pics!
One boo is Vegan Drunk Puppy. It's kind of a joke between friends, but also something cute to alleviate the pressures of being a vegetarian/ vegan activist or supporter. So while we can say "Awww..Vegan Drunk Puppy- stop getting sick near the Seitan!"...I do know that there's more to it. :) Some of my other "boos" are the puppies in my neighbor who get walked all the time...SO CUTE!
Speaking of puppies...hipster puppies...you won't regret it!
Another is my friend, Kelly. Oh Kelly! This girl is going to California to live the dream. YOU GO GIRL! She is one of my inspirations: non-judgemental, and just wanting to do some good for the world. Very litle can go wrong when she's around...
Which brings me to a new project! After re-watching the tail end of Julie & Julia (with the lovely Meryl Streep- eep!) , I wanted to see what I could do to channel Julia Child herself, to bring the deliciousness of the French to the veggie community!
Step one was a sort-of creme brulee inspired cupcake. IT WAS DELICIOUS- and on a more egocentric level, photographed quite nicely (see I can still learn, Dad! hehe). I have such a love for food photography after seeing how it was done. YUM! My next step is to try Coq au Vin...veggie style! :)
The Yuppie's Vegan French Creme Cupcake!
Another shout-out to Dan Savage, the sex columnist for The Stranger in Seattle. Much like Anderson Cooper to Perez Hilton, Dan is my boo! He is so open-minded and just lets people get cold and unadulterated advice about their love lives, to the point that I am encouraged to NOT overanalyze my relationship. Seriously, there should be a Nobel prize for that :P
A special "thanks" to my Special Friend, who I'll be seeing in NYC at some point. We'll both be going away from Chicago soon, but we can help each other salvage our love of Chicago in the Big Apple. Vegan fraps for you, boo!
So it's been a ROUGH past few weeks. I've been working literally every day, and I have been in a vicious cycle of getting myself sick and tired. I'm very close to needing to make a decision on grad school, and very few have gotten answers back to me on financial aid. Columbia, for one, was not very helpful in the $$ department.
Oh well, I digress and I think I'll have some lovely choices coming to me soon! I just gotta have faith...and coffee.
In veggie news, Vegan Drunk Puppy has tried the DAIYA vegan cheese...and loves it! Certainly no replacement, but helpful on those rough nights when I can't get to a cheap grocery store to buy anything else (read: Amy's Vegan Burritos...such a college girl!)
I'm done in a few weeks, so I'll have more time to blog. In other news, I've been looking up more sustainable practices for being girly! My graduation dress contestants are flying in the mail from providers on ebay.com
I'm also in the market for vegan candles, and may have met my match on etsy. This Kenny CoOp looks just wonderful, pretty cheap, and has great reviews...YES
Vegan Drunk Puppy tried to steal my Trader Joe's edamame! It's less than $2.00 for a bag, and you just pop in in a pot of boiling water and presto! Not-super-processed soy for your day....delicious!
$8.00 for almost 2 pounds of Organic Coffee..um yes please!
I bought this candle from the Heartland Cafe in Chicago. I've always loved their food, but their adjacent store is always packed with fair trade and organic goodies! This candle isn't my favorite soy candle I've tried, but it did the job...and smelled wonderful!
My new favorite blog is Savvy Abby via VegNews! VegNews is absolutely one of my favorite mags, and this blog is a leading example of why. Recognizing their key demographics, this college girl likes seeing cruelty-free stuff for CHEAP! Excellent job :) Her most recent article talks about cheap makeup, and also features Pacifica, absolutely one of my favorite body-product companies. WOOT! $5.00 @ Sephora for cheap hand cream that smells like sorbet...yum!
[Drunk puppy yelling at my boyfriend to stop drinking the Kahlua- it's got milk!]
My how my last semester is turning into a journey.
My wonderful boyfriend is being absolutely wonderful about the changes in my life, and I feel like we're becoming maturing adults who argue and make up and still love each other at the end of the day. As my english teacher once said in high school "Love is NOT having the butterflies, but the knowledge that if you look across the room at a crowded party, they'll instinctually look back." Pretty soon he'll get me back in shape by making me run/walk...he's the one training for a marathon, so I'm a wee bit scared to just start working out together. I guess that's part of relationships- making yourself vulnerable...extremely vulnerable! (meep!)
As for other aspects of my life, I feel so blessed to have my good friend Kelly. Together we are participating in the 29 Day Gift Giving Challenge. The challenge comes at a good time, as pretty soon she'll be going to San Fransisco, and I'll be embarking on a trip to either NYC or Seattle. Check out the blog to see more!
In the spirit of giving (and spring weather), I'm trying to completely clean out my stuff. So, I'll be donating a lot of my clothes I don't wear, etc. Hopefully I'll be able to detox my room a bit.
Detoxing in general freaks me out, but I'm committed to my new mantra:
"Eat more green, don't spend it!"
Hopefully as a veggie I'll be able to feel back to my usual, healthy self :)
So my trip to New York was fantastic. I was lucky enough to get some feedback from Lindsay Wolf of the "Kiss Me, I'm Vegan" blog. She directed me to Sacred Chow, a vegan establishment close to NYU. ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. The menu was delicious, and the waiter was SUPER nice and adorable...he also reminded me of Harvey Milk! :) I love NYC, and I love the food. Most of the restaurants in the area had at least the option of doing some vegan schtuff (like Two Boots in Soho...vegan pizza that got Amy's seal of approval)!
The trip, along with my vegan pal Amy, really made me re-commit to the vegan-ish lifestyle. Again, I'm not 100%, but I'm making my way there!
And speaking of vegan...I had made a delectable wrap, featured in one of the photos up top, w/ whole wheat tortilla, vegan cream cheese, broccoli, and white beans (and rice and seasoning that I added after I took the picture) . Next up I may a yummy Vanilla Rooibos latte w/ soy (that I brought to my ever-outdated Human Sexuality class...ugh! waste of my senioritis time!) SO good, even my wonderful friend Kelly thought so. Kelly's basically my spiritual advisor...or part time therapist, I can't tell :P
My acceptance into Columbia University was a big deal, and now I'm just waiting on a few more. It was comforting to know that I could find a group of old friends, new friends, and even (gasp!) a job? It would be extremely difficult for me to let go of Chicago, but doable (especially for Columbia!).
But now for crazier news!
Now, drunk puppy is a creation of many, many inside jokes. First, my boyfriend and I deciding that if we ever got a dog (and sure enough will, if we stay together long enough to live together), we thought it would be so crazy that it would basically act drunk all the time. For a preview of such experience, "drunk _____insert random animal___" tends to have interesting videos of drugged cats and dogs after their surgery. Humane-ness is questionable, but most of the owners in the videos seem to have what it takes to be a good pet owner.
AND, my job at the local bookstore is what brought my guilt-driven purchase of our friend..Drunk Puppy.
This super cute Beanie Baby-type dog was displayed in a plastic case with a sign that my crafty co-worker had drawn up to say "Buy me, and I'll love you."
My guilt for trapped puppies ensued.
I HAD to buy this super cute fake dog! Normally I'm not a huge girly-girl, and I haven't so much as expected a box of chocolates from my boyfriend, but Goodness Gracious was I feeling some emotions for this puppy! A fake one, too!
So, I had a little chat w/ Drunk Puppy about my eating habits, and what do you know, crazy drunk puppy wanted a white bean wrap as a vodka chaser!
*Mind you, this is obviously not a real dog*
I'm hoping to catch some awesome pics of Vegan Drunk Puppy!
So for some of you veggies like myself who grew up in Polish households, perhaps you can commiserate with my constant desire to eat meat. Ok, maybe not constant, but on a quite frequent basis, I continually have to translate my meat cravings for an iron-rich veggie source. Problem: I was never really a salad girl, so what do I do about it now?!
Well, apparently I over-sugar myself. One of the big reasons that I went vegetarian is the overwhelming evidence that (if done correctly), being veggie is the way to go if you've got diabetes....and I was almost there!
The glycemic index diet is a good guide, but I'm hesitant to listen to something that tells me to eat a "deck of cards" worth of chicken rather than a banana. I'll add some peanut butter and call it a day.
I was so happy to meet Kim Barnouin in person! Ms. Skinny Bitch herself was definitely skinny, but there was nothing bitchy about her at all! She's definitely low maintenance, and encourages everyone not to judge each other...um perfect?
Their book was a significant factor in my decision to go veggie- and now more so for me to give up animal products when I can-which is quite often! I just need to moderate the diabetic-non-friendly-stuff!
TWO WEEK UNTIL NEW YORK! :) I've decided to try to cook Indian food..until then the Trader Joe's options sound good to me! :)
CHICAGO DINER ON SATURDAY- introducing friends to seitan and the like....exciting :P
Anyway, some new discoveries! My sister (the one who calls me a yuppie) is always joking about how often I go to Whole Foods. It's right by work, and I almost always need food, so it's just convenient. So like a blissful Jewish mother, I am so pleased to find how many coupons they have! My latest purchases have included Back to Nature products- the ones that I got were vegan (on accident)!! I was so pleased, as one of the treat boxes is their Classic Creme, basically a healthier Oreo cookie. SUPER bad for you, but I've been needing a mental health break, with all of the transitions in my work schedule and school schedule! I first discovered some of the Back to Nature stuff through a family I babysit for, one of the BEST ways that I've gotten health food ideas. Hopefully, I'll make an awesome mom one day who passes on good food to the nannies!
After all, it was through Kelly, the Food Allergy Mama herself, that I first discovered soy milk, and now I have it just about everyday! Her book is still a baking staple for me- she's coming out with a new vegan book and I am SO STOKED!
Onto my latest veggie news: I am so excited for friendly times this week! On Wednesday, one of my best friends from home is visiting me in the city! Ms. Dana is just amazing, and we've been writing letters (with ink and everything) to each other all throughout college. Just wonderful, and she's coming with me to see Kim Barnouin at my school! After reading Skinny Bitch a little over a year ago, I was struck by the logical nature behind keeping your body more pure by getting rid of meat. I will be unable to contain myself! Dana and I will more than likely be baking, too! I was thinking Babycakes NYC's blondies...in honor of Dana (the very non-stereotypical blonde- I LOVE HER!)
Talk about a crazy veggie time! Kim has a very cool website, Healthy Bitch Daily, which gives lots of cool eco-tips. I purchased 7th generation's laundry detergent the other day, to see if it would be any good, so I feel like I'm at least getting back to some of my green roots as well!
My other best friend Caitlin is visiting with her wonderful crazy friend Suzette! Their meeting the boyfriend, and we're visiting The Chicago Diner.I'm so excited! I also just subscribed to VegNews, so that will be an exciting subscription to start getting as well! After all, the chic Vogue needs a companion. I wonder if steak-eating Anna Wintour would ever consider seitan....
In addition to new nannying experiences (with the cutest baby in the world!), and subscribing to the Savage Lovecast, I have found myself in a predicament- I'm sick again!
I was already sick in January, so the idea of me being all-stuffed-up-getting-everyone-else-sick twice....not so good! My diet has been relatively ok, except for the occasional "whoa! too many carbs!" pre-diabetic business, but I think this is all linked to one thing: STRESS.
Ugh, that awful "s" word that hurts EVERYONE. My boo Travis got the heaping venting on my part, when he felt the desire to really share his interest in raw food. And I snapped! Yuck, no one wants that. I am still trying to eat what I can to be vegan(ish!), but when I am feeling weak, that's when the light foods sorta move away, and I make way for the dairy and egg. Just for a brief period of time though!
Babysitting has also reminded me of how little time I have. Luckily, I do have a home in which I could cook something for myself if I wanted, but rarely do I take the 5 minutes to think about what I should make for myself. In addition, I have night classes, which means little time to prep for din-din.
I've been surviving on Amy's vegan organic burritos, and new Nature Valley Dark Chocolate + Oat granola bars.
And now, Dayquil.
Time to rev up the engine by maybe taking some yoga...and multivitamins!
I hope you all are in good health! I am so happy with my new nannying job, so I hope those of you who are in stressful work positions find a way to relieve the stress! EEP!
Much love <3
P.S. One of the authors of Skinny Bitch is coming to school- yes!
I mentioned Ani Phyo's stuff earlier, but without a link!
She's fanastic, and I highly encourage checking out her YouTube channel as well! (She just recently friended me on Facebook-yes!)
Ahh Valentine's Day...It's my favorite! So many people get depressed, and whine and cry about not having a significant other, but even in my mostly-single-dominanted years, I loved this holiday. I just bought Super Natural Cooking, about a month and a half ago. Included in this beautiful, made from recycled paper, cookbook includes 2 major, holy crap I wish these could be made vegan desserts...panna cotta, and chocolate mousse! Delicious, now I just need some creme brulee! Mi amour and I decided to have a Valentine's Day in this year, and we'll more than likely be vegged out w/ some romantic candles and dark chocolate. What a wonderful year to have such a supportive boyfriend, who definitely TOLERATES my nagging about food.
He took me to The Chicago Diner, and upon one of my best friend's recommendations, tried the Country Fried "Steak." Amazing! Heartland Cafe, also in Chicago, has a delicious BBQ Seitan Sandwich. Pulled pork used to be an absolute favorite, so it was so refreshing to have a veggie version.
My craziness has escalated into my classes. During our mundane discussions about ourselves in my lab class, I mentioned that I had an extensive knowledge of speciality dies and would be happy to help anyone with questions. So, a girl that I used to work with pulled me aside after class and said that her grandmother was just diagnosed with celiac and was anxious about not baking bread anymore. BABYCAKES TO THE RESCUE!
I am very excited that I am getting more connected to the vegan lifestyle, even though I am not vegan myself. More posts to come...including a trip to NYC! :)
Amidst making coffee, studying, watching children, and occasionally applying to graduate school, I have indeed been researching the vegan lifestyle, as well as the eco-lifestyle.
The transition has been incredibly strange for me. Throughout the past year, the amount of time that's past since I gave up meat...cold turkey (hehe), I've felt like more and more people have switched to a veggie or moderated veggie lifestyle.
One of the best things about Chicago (and I suppose any urban city) is the amount of cheap European/Mexican markets. My friend Travis and I frequent our local Morse Market, and we're able to stock up on not only cheap produce, but ORGANIC produce. Trav is also experimenting with the Raw lifestyle, which means nothing heated over 100*F to help preserve the food's natural enzymes. I've also read some of Ani Phyo's stuff (and subscribed to her podcast), and in addition to ameliorating some of my dairy-based habits, I've made a larger effort to incorporate some of the raw foodist's dream foods. She makes a peach cobbler on her show that makes me want to convert...or move to Georgia?
My boyfriend and I decided to celebrate a bit of an earlier Valentine's Day, and he took me out to the Blind Faith Cafe (of which I've blogged about before, when first experiencing Ratatouille!) and I had the BEST pasta dish ever! It had sprouts, broccoli (a generous heaping amount too, none of this "Noodles and Company" mostly pasta bullshit), and handmade pasta and tomato sauce....with cheese. My chai was milk based as well, but my boyfriend without realizing it ended up having a completely vegan meal. AWESOME! He's so supportive, and even though he gets a little anxious about what would happen if he had a vegan girlfriend whom he had to introduce to his McCain-lovin' crowd, at dinnertime he's willing to try some animal-free dishes.
*Note about Blind Faith....they're awesome...but don't try the Rice Dream Latte, or any milk alternative latte, without an extra shot of espresso- that's just my coffee snobbery opinion*
So, overall, I've subsided to a 75/25 vegan diet. If I had the time/money to go all the way, I probably would. I think the reason that people are leaning towards this (especially in Chitown) is that it's so much better for the environment, and because it just makes you feel better! Anytime I eat dairy, without my probiotics or zinc supplements, my face BREAKS OUT. Acne is not a fun thing, kids, and when in college...dairy, meat, and alcohol (and stress..duh!) are all super fine contributors. Gross. I'd rather have a "easy, breezy, beautiful Cover Girl" face (a phrase I've gotten accustomed to using during the support group I lead...Travis says I'm getting gay-er everyday!)
There's lot of networking food sites, like Vegan Chicago, but I prefer just a simply yelp.com search.
I'm going back to NYC in March for spring break, and my awesome friend Scott (omnivore extraordinaire) is also looking into getting some vegan/ vegetarian cookbooks. Kiss Me, I'm Vegan is a wonderful blog, as well! Ms. Wolf (Mrs?) has been essential in helping me be less-cruel to animals and find cheap places to eat vegan in NYC (which will be crucial considering how much this veggie girl spent the last time she was there!)
WEEEEE! I hope everyone has a magnificent Valentine's Day. As I always say, don't be bitter on V-Day, eat bittersweet chocolate :)