Why Dropping Off The Planet is Needed… Sometimes

Sometimes you get caught up in the daily hub-bub of what it is to be a college student, or what it is to suddenly find out that in September you’ll be an aunty. Sometimes you start reading a really good book and realize a few months later, ho’shit, was I supposed to be writing somewhere?

And then there’s me. I decided to take 17 credits all at once. So let’s do a quick rundown on what’s been happening to me:

  • Got officially accepted into the Forestry program at MHCC. That begins this September.
  • Began EMT-Basic classes. I’m three weeks in.
  • I’ve begun some research on possible leads for my winter job I want to do in 2015. One of them includes being a camp nurse for Multnomah County Outdoor school, or a med assistant, or a program director. I’ll have the credentials needed to apply to anything so it’s just a matter of doing that.
  • My sister is pregnant. She’s having a girl in September and I am way too excited.
  • I have three backpacking trips I want to do. I’ll probably only get one, and if I get the other two I’ll be SO HAPPY.
  • Went on my first camping trip finally, to a place on the Rogue-Illinois River confluence in Southwestern Oregon. I will post pictures this week. 😀

So, that’s a lot, right? Right. I’ll be posting more now that I know what my work load is and how I’m keeping up with everything. Believe me, it’s a ton (about 51 hours a week spent in class or studying/doing homework… so…)

Anyway, don’t lose hope for me yet. I have a recipe I want to post over the next few days, some insider photos of the EMT program and some other stuff planned.

OH! And the man got a job! He’s been working full time for about a month and a half and doing SO well. Couldn’t be more proud 🙂

For now though… it’s back to the grind. Happy Monday everyone. ♥

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Vegetarian Fajita… Thing.

This morning was very productive for me. After two weeks with only one day off I’m finally hitting exhausted and the only way I can stay awake and coherent is by busting my ass in various endeavors. This includes, among other things, morning laundry, baking Jiffy blueberry muffins, and making dinner for work.

I’m at three days of work left before a day off, and the fact that my boyfriend has been visiting has made this week that much easier.

At this point I’ve neglected my cooking duties so today was the time to whip up something. I’ve been craving Mexican food for ages so this is what I ended up with. I’ll jot out a vague recipe later if you’d like to try.

Now, before we jump in, let me tell you about this stuff. Simple Truth brand Meatless Crumbles. If you’re a vegetarian because you can’t eat meat but still love the taste of meat, you go to the simple truth website right now and find a Kroger store. Why ypu ask? Because this stuff is godly. Not just holds its own, it TASTES good. In a pinch and want cheeseburger macaroni? Whip up your favorite box mix and throw about a cup in the microwave.

That’s right. The microwave. It doesn’t get soggy and nasty like the morningstar stuff. I’ve fooled my dad, my mom and my boyfriend using this and every time they’re floored. “This is fake!?” Yep. Fake.

First thing I started with was an onion, a green bell pepper, a jalepeno and then a tiny bit of seasoning. The first round was the fajita seasoning we had in our pantry buuuttt then I realized it was old. I ended up doing about a quarter teaspoon each of cumin, garlic powder, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. A tiny bit of oil and then sauteed it up into an amazing fragrant mess. Note for later, if you’re going to try this, add chipotle peppers in adobo. Most grocery stores that have a decent ethnic foods section should have little jars and oh man, they are great in fajitas.

That’s what about 30 minutes of chopping, cleaning and sauteeing looks like. Beautiful. The smell was divine. While this was cooking I threw a cup of rice into my rice cooker and cracked open a can each of black beans and black olives. This really didn’t take too long, and in hindsight I should’ve added the crumbles first and then the vegetables so the flavors could blend a bit more, but this ended up way better than I could have hoped for.

At this point I was kinda rushing to get out of the door, so I just threw the rice in a tupperware container, put a big helping on top of the rice, and added beans and olives. I ended up having about half of it for dinner tonight while the rest sits in the fridge at work along with a small bag of fresh Rainier cherries I got from one of my favorite grocery stores near my work location, Uwajimaya.

And while I could totally write a recipe…..

Ah hell, let’s write the recipe. Tweak as necessary/wanted to fit tastes & dietary restrictions.

LITS’s Vegetarian Fajita Bowl

Serves about 2 to 3 depending on portions.

  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow or white onion (white has the right tang of flavor for this dish), chopped
  • 1 jalepeño, diced finely
  • 2 TB Vegetable oil
  • 1 cup black beans
  • 1 cup Simple Truth Meatless Crumbles
  • 1 cup white rice, prepared
  • Spices (to taste); Cumin, black pepper, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt, cayenne pepper, chili powder

First things first, heat the skillet on medium low and add meatless crumbles straight from the bag into a warming skillet, moving it frequently so it browns evenly (as you can see from the picture to the left, I added the meat later, and got a lighter result). Add seasonings, onions, green pepper and jalepeño and saute until onions are soft and peppers are crisp.

Get bowl of rice. Add warmed beans. Add fajita mixture of deliciousness. Thank me later.

A note about the spices, my first trial run of this didn’t include the cayenne pepper or chili powder (I think I spend 10 minutes tossing the spice pantry upside down trying to find the tiny container of chili powder and gave up after finding the seventh half empty bottle of garlic powder… yeah, we have a spice problem in this house & sadly it’s perfectly legal), but it definitely does need some more oomph. While I had this by itself with the beans & rice as a whole meal (it was indeed filling for me), the carnivorous boyfriend also had this as well with tortillas and it passed his picky inspection. I also had a few of the girls from work get a whiff of this and my best work friend tried it, all approving of it… so I’m guessing I did something right with this.

I’m probably going to continue to tweak this recipe and update this post just so it shows a bit more variety and so I can get better at this recipe thing. Definitely going to be something I will be making again since vegetarian food can get extremely dull after a while.

Potato Leek Soup – the IDGAF way

For anyone who knows me, they know I love food. I especially love amazing food, that isn’t filled with what I deem “shit”. Shit translates to me, preservatives or lots of margarine. It needs to hold it’s own while still having good nutrition. Being in a swing of Vegetarian means it needs to pull double duty – tastes good and is filling. That’s usually my problem with smoothies is that they don’t fill me up and I’m still irking for something solid. Soup tends to be the most comfortable way for me to tackle my problems of needing food.

If you follow me on Pinterest, which I wholeheartedly recommend because you never know when something awesome will pop up, I recently pinned a soup from a good friend of mine to make later. It was only appropriate to try to make it today – and by golly, we had a winner.

[Original Recipe]
With that as my jumping off point, I started to tweak it just enough to fit my diet and my food preferences.

This was by far the most challenging part. I’ve never worked with leeks before, and it wasn’t until a week ago that I had eaten anything with leeks in it. They’re a member of the onion family, and are basically like a giant green onion with a much softer flavor. The original recipe calls for only using the white & light green part. But only buying one leek (it was about the size of my arm) meant trying to find a way to use the rest of it. A bit of research showed that if I started with the darker parts being cooked and then adding the rest, it would soften up plenty.

From there, everything vaguely followed the recipe… I think the only thing I changed was using two types of potatoes for variety and only using vegetable stock. It took a lot longer for it all to simmer down until I was ready to blend part of it, about an hour total on low, but I ended up having a much higher quality taste in the end than I would have with rushing it.

Now, at this point I tasted it and it definitely was missing something. I wanted to have it creamier, unlike the canned soup I had purchased last week. I added about half a cup of whole milk to what I was blending until it was completely smooth.

When it was reintroduced to the pot it was still a bit thin, so the lid was replaced for a good 20 minutes or so while it simmered down a bit more. Right about now was when I added roasted garlic (which isn’t on the original recipe), the listed spices and just a tiny bit of parmesan.

Looking back I did forget to add in the tabasco. Now I’m not overly fond of tabasco — it’s taste just doesn’t really roll with me. We have chipotle tabasco in the house but I normally reserve that for eggs – so I’m gonna experiment with the leftovers to see what sort of sauce will go best with it. I also have Sriracha in the fridge which could be good… I guess we’ll find out the hard way, eh?

And here’s the end of it — the soup with my choice of ale for the week, a Sam’l Smith fruit ale.