Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Zombie Sightings!

Look around at your local college campus this week and you'll see zombies. Loads of them. Here at JMU there are approximately 18,000, and their numbers are multiplying faster than you can say "skim triple venti caramel machiatto, no whip, extra caramel" at Starbucks. Students are running around doped up on their Adderal and caffiene, holed up in the library for 24 hours straight and they look like they might pass out at any second.

Ah, yes. The Dreaded Finals Week. Well, technically it's not even finals week yet. Its still the week before finals week, also known as Hell Week in which you have 10-20 page papers, case studies, research projects and presentations due and then the next week you have 5 (or more) final exams for which you really need to study but don't have the time because you're too busy working on other things for other classes.

Well, I have a secret to beating that Hell Week. Food.

Brain Food. Delicious meals that will tide you over well into your late-night study session. Sweet treats that bring a smile to your face when all you can think about is how many hours you've spent in the Stacks. For me, the act of cooking itself is such a destressor, I can't imagine trying to get through finals week without a steady supply of super-food muffins, delicious and not-so-healthy sugary cupcakes, cookies, and healthy snacks.

This week, I've been on a baking spree. Not many pictures, though, because I was huungry and trying to get work done. I don't know how all of these college food bloggers do it, to be totally honest. I guess I just gotta learn how to be more effective at time management.

So, without further ado, allow me to present my favorite survival foods for finals week.

Lemon Gem Cupcakes from Veganomicon, which were good...but I thought they needed more lemon flavoring. I think next time I'll add more lemon zest, and maybe purchase a bottle of lemon extract to really kick the flavor up a notch. I made my own lemon-y icing which was surprisingly delicious.

Almost Healthy pancakes! Made entirely with whole wheat flour, flax seeds, bananas, and lowfat rice milk. Pretty much the only unhealthy thing about them was the chocolate chips, because they were absolutely necessary. Delissshhh.

Quinoa stir-fry aaand...Facebook? Ugh. I'm such a procrastinator.

But seriously, let's get a closeup of that beautiful veggie dish packed with superfood goodness


Ohhh how delicious does that look? It's just quinoa, lots of veggies, some jalapeƱo (leftover from last year's harvest--I just stick 'em in the freezer until I'm ready to use them!) some canned diced tomatoes and tons of spices (I think I used curry, cumin, tumeric, garlic, onion, and maybe some bay leaf) and then tossed in a few generous squirts of Sirachi sauce.

Anyway, that's all for now. I've gotta go to the library.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Come see how good I look!

That was an Anchorman moment, and if you don't get it than we aren't friends.

Yes, I'm alive. But just barely. The weeks before finals are always the most ridiculous. So I'm hiding away in the library until I finish my papers and whatnots and then I'll make an epic post of epic proportions, so sit tight.

To all you college kids out there: good luck with finals! It's alllmost summer!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

So many sweet things

And now, on to delicious sugary goods that are delicious and...delicious.

You may or may not realize this yet, but I have a huge sweet tooth. Honestly, I could eat dessert for every meal of every day and be the happiest clam on earth. People that don't like dessert confuse me. Also, people that don't like chocolate confuse me, and most importantly--people that don't like peanut butter make me utterly bewildered. I can spoon the stuff down my throat while casually surfing the internet and then look up a half hour later to realize I've eaten half a jar. It's happened. Not that I recommend this, because I always end up with a massive stomach ache later, although I never seem to learn to put away the jar.

I also love me some peanut butter pancakes. They might be one of my favorite foods to eat on a Friday night when I'm all alone in my apartment, taking a break from exam-cramming, as I did this past Friday.


I did try to keep it healthy with a large plate of steamed veggies as well...and please ignore the crispy edges of the pancakes, I wasn't paying attention to the skillet.

Not being satisfied merely with pancakes, I went on to go on a mini cooking baking spree. I made a quarter batch of Buttery Lemon Cookies from VWaV which turned out scrumptiously light and fluffy--despite all the margarine in them. I added some flax seeds in a pathetic attempt to make them a bit healthier. I then made up my own recipe for peanut butter crunch cookies, the crunch being supplemented by some crushed up rice cakes. They were pretty darn good, and I'm quite proud of myself for coming up with the recipe all by myself!


Whenever I'm stressed out about school, I make my way over to the grocery store (or farmer's market depending on the time of day) and browse the aisles, hoping to find the meaning of life in boxed goods. This time, I did. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Dark Chocolate Dreams--also known as Happiness in a Jar.


I have read about this stuff for quite some time, and finally found some in the grocery store. It's from the Peanut Butter Co. and is vegan (duh.), gluten free, trans-fat free, and some other stuff-free. Holllyyyyyy Cannooolliii is this stuff good. So good, in fact that this is what my jar looks like right now
yes, the jar is half empty...or half-full, I suppose. But when it's glorious peanut butter and it's disappearing before your very eyes, the jar is only half-full, trust me.

I might have a full-blown addiction, and you know what? I'm totally okay with it. I ate this on some bread I baked while visiting the 'rents for Easter (they have a bread machine!) and the combo was magically delicious. I generally just eat peanut butter straight from the jar using a knife (don't ask why) but I felt this was a special occasion that required some sort of vehicle for the peanut butter.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Avocado Adventure

...well, I thought it was clever...sort of.

Okay, moving on from my cheesy title, today's adventure was using up a half an avocado left over from last night's enchiladas (don't ask me how that happens, avocados are one of my favorite foods and I never seem to have enough--let alone left overs). While browsing, one of my favorite pastimes/ ways to kill time/ habits, I saw the recipe for Avocado Fudge. At first imagining some sort of sickly green quivering concoction, I was a little hesitant to continue reading the recipe; but I soon realized that this was a real, legitimate chocolate fudge recipe. Ahhh chocolate--the magic word.

Don't let the word "avocado" fool you--this recipe is anything but healthy. There's still enough sugar and margarine in it to clog your arteries right up.

After using my terrible, terrible blender to squish up avocado and margarine (which looked like some sort of horrific Dr. Frankenstein-type of experiment), I went to mix in powdered sugar when I realized that I was all out. So, being a great improvisor, I went back to the not-so-trusty blender and whizzed some regular sugar, hoping to come out with a fine, powdery substance perfect for fudge making. This did not happen, and instead I gave up and used some sort of half-powdered, half-regular sugar combination, giving my fudge the consistency of a gooey sand.

Not one to be detered by sand-textured fudge, I pressed the batter into a plastic container, swirled some peanut butter on top and stuck it in the fridge to chill for a few hours.

Ahhh, sweet delicious, creamy fudge. It is positvely sinful. Still a little grainy, but it is firm and very fudgey. Next time I'll use powdered sugar and will hopefully have better results, but this was still quite good.

And by "quite good" I mean that I've eaten half of it already.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies 'n Cream Ice Cream of Glory and Deliciousness

Last night I had the most insane craving for ice cream, but was too lazy/poor to go to the store to buy some. After stumbling across some glorious-looking recipes at Vegan Ice Cream, I made the command decision to make my own. How hard could it be?

Pretty freakin difficult, considering all it consists of is sugar, creamer, rice milk and vanilla. Actually, the recipe itself was glorious, but my lack of an ice cream maker presented some issues. First I tried the old bag-within-a-bag method favored by 7th grade science teachers everywhere.


For a while it seemed like all was well with my kneading method, until I no longer felt my hands because HEY! Bags of ice are COLD! My ice then proceeded to leak all over my sofa in the middle of watching Horton Hears a Who with my roommates so I transferred it to a bowl and stuck it in the freezer, hoping to speed up the ice-creamification process. After waiting a good oh, 15 minutes or so I went back to the freezer to check on the status of my ice cream aaaand it was pure liquid.


I suddenly came to the realization that I'd have to wait an entire day to eat delicious, creamy, sugary goodness and I really hate waiting. During all of my classes today I couldn't stop thinking about the glory that was awaiting me in my freezer and the first thing I did when I arrived home was to pop that sucker in the microwave for a few seconds and shovel it into my mouth.


I paused the heifering for a hot second to take a picture of it, but it melted super fast so the picture doesn't really do it justice.

Verdict? AMAZING! I can't believe I've never tried making my own ice cream before. There's no way I'm shelling out $4 a pint (or $6 depending on which kind I buy). The waiting sucks, to be sure, but the outcome's totally worth it.

My only suggestion would be to quarter the recipe instead of merely cutting it in half because lord knows I can't control myself.