Adrenaline

I’ve been working very hard lately. My boyfriend is in town currently, I’m filling out school paperwork and items for my FAFSA and loan information, and throughout all of it…. I’m still vegetarian.

Usually by now I’ll have broken and jumped to the nearest meaty comfort food (my personal favorite is biscuits & sausage gravy, which I may post the recipe for soon because I want to make it Saturday morning), but for some reason I’ve been able to beat the craving. I’m going to blame the bounties of summer & her fresh vegetables and the promise of my own measly zucchini plant finally pushing out a single squash (did you know that? zucchini is a squash? yeah? oh..). The recipe I tried this week and totally spaced on taking pictures about was Eggplant Parmesan. I literally had no idea what I was doing but it turned out pretty decently. Well. Amazing enough that I had to put my foot down in order for there to be leftovers.

But that’s enough of that. There’s a bigger issue in all of this. Working full time (at minimum wage, no less) with a commute that adds another 20 hours to my work week that is unpaid for has finally taken it’s toll. I am exhausted.

I need something better. I need a new start and I need to focus on school. I can’t be distracted…

This short post is here for one purpose and that’s to alert the masses that for the first time since 17, I won’t be trying to work as many hours as I can. I won’t balance it with school. I either will be working weekends or evenings, but I feel there’s a big chance I will be attempting to ease myself out of working my current job to find something else to pay my core bills while I go to school.

I’m terrified. Let me say that again. Terrified. All of my friends have moved on to either university or are almost finished. I turn 22 at the end of the year and while that’s not that big of a deal, I’ll be older than the other freshman. I haven’t taken a math course in six years and I have never been through this scary process of applying for aid & loans. Not only that, I have my animals to worry about. I have that beautiful kitty Peaches and my wonderful little crazy ball of poo, Annie. I know there’s going to be bigger vet bills for the cat in the future and Annie will be reaching two this December.

This is me having a panic attack. It’s an irrational fear of the future and the small things that has me nearly hyperventilating as I sit at the kitchen table, waiting for my breakfast muffin.. things.. to finish baking in the oven before I run out of here in a whirlwind to replace my phone charger and then leave for another 1.8 hour commute and 7 hour shift and another 1.8 hour commute back. Run on sentences. Self loathing for run on sentences. Coffee gulp. Stare at the screen for a few minutes with a twisting feeling in my stomach. Yep.

This is what a panic attack does to me.

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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.