Sunday, December 18, 2011

Back in the Kitchen, and My Bed with Snowman Sheets

I'm back!!!

or should i say I'm home. 

but let me back up.

i logged my goal of 27 miles last week! for someone who always said, "i hate running, so i simply refuse to run," i think of it as a monstrous feat :)

the whole week went by very quickly, and for the first time in my life, someone made ME something vegan, a complete surprise! some awesome guys that lived in Halls made me vegan pancakes and melted vegan chocolate for them! one chocolate bar suffered from being thrown in the microwave for two solid minutes...haha boy did it seize. i explained later the general rule of melting chocolate:

if you are using the microwave, do 20 seconds on high, stir, 20 seconds more, stir, and continue this until it is nice and melty and gooey :D

the vegan pancakes were thrown together with soya milk, flour, and egg replacer. no recipe for these boys! they were pretty good, especially completely free-form! the consistency was more of a very eggy crepe (perhaps too much egg replacer? ;) ) but that worked perfect with the chocolate smeared on, and rolled up nicely :) 
the chefs were so surprised at how easy making this vegan treat was, and they even proposed vegan Thursdays! (wish i could be there!) but i also told them that i had a much easier pancake recipe, that didn't even require "special" expensive ingredients!

so if you're feelin' pancakes, this is my adaption of Oh She Glows pancakes:

Yummy Template Pancakes
Serves 2

  • 1 cup of Spelt flour (or really any other kind)
  • 1 1/2 cups of almond, soya, or even rice milk. but if you have none of that on hand and you want to try something different, juice works and adds a fruity flavour! (using soya milk will make the pancakes more full tasting however)
  • 2 T baking powder 
  • 2 T of cacao nibs (optional) 
  • 2 T coconut or flax oil (you can use vegetable oil instead though)
  • 1 T of sugar or a light sprinkle of stevia if your not a sugar fan (i'm thinking of one special vegan in particular :) )
  • 2 t of vanilla extract (vanilla essence)
  • 2 t of cinnamon
  • 1 t of garam masala (optional but recomended)
  • 1/4 t salt
  • oil for cooking (coconut oil adds a nice sweetness to it)
  1.  grease the pan or skillet, and heat on a medium temperature (about 3 or 4 in the Hall's kitchens)
  2. mix all the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl
  3. whisk together the wet ingredients (if using coconut oil make sure it is melted), and add them to the dry ingredients and whisk until any clumps are gone
  4. pour the batter into the heated, greased pan in 1/4 c measurements or about 60 ml measurements
  5. cook until brown on one side and flip to cook until brown on the other side
  6. continue until you have used up all the batter! if you want to know how i serve mine, check out the pancake picture and caption in this post 

on a side note, i broke my wheat-free and gluten free diet eating those pancakes they made, and i have unfortunately eaten gluten the four (including today) days since. but after today i am planning on being straight gluten free, as best i can :)

so Friday i did my 8 mile run. 

getting up at 7:20 after no sleep, a belly fully of pancakes and chocolate, when it is still black as night outside isn't easy.

and being met with the sudden emergence of snow from the sky the second you step outside...boy does that make it harder.

i ran from when the ground was simply dark pavement to when everything was white with a light layer of snow. 
it went something like this:
crazy snow flurries, slippery new snow, freezing rain, crazy wind. 

and i stuck it all out, and left Ireland feeling like a champ. i celebrated with a huge vegan gluten-free breakfast at Cornucopia.
it was a perfect little end.

of course saying good-bye to my wonderful roomates was very sad, but i've promised them i will visit eventually, and they are welcome to visit me :)

leaving Saturday was difficult, not to mention i lost track of the time and ended up rushing out the door. but it all ended just fine, and i got to both my flights, was met with a huge salad and fruit from my grandparents in O'Hare, and then at 8:30 Oregon time i got home.

it felt so good :)
we immediately went to New Seasons where i bought peanut butter, eggnog, and vegan cookie dough.

...i'm ashamed to say i have already eaten the whole container of cookie be fair i did have a little help.

im psyched to see my friends here again, genuinely thrilled. i missed them so much! and i get to see one of my oldest friends on a ski trip Wednesday, which is just completely savage. 

when i got home last night i couldn't wait to try out this recipe. in fact, it is in the oven with 30 minutes left right now! :)
(i adjusted the recipe to use more common flours in my house, if it works out, i will post my version)

but i got up at 5:22 this morning because of my "new" internal clock, and i couldn't wait around forever for yummy bread.

so i put some of that cookie dough in a glass jar to microwave with cinnamon raisin peanut butter and jam...haha YUM. that's when i finished my cookie dough.

my dad also showed me how to use the french press, so i will be drinking coffee nonstop now :D

and then i made this: 
welcome home to me

it is Quinoa Millet Porridge. very easy. my recipe?

 "Holiday" Quinoa Millet Porriage
Serves 2

  • 1/4 cup of millet
  • 1/4 cup of quinoa
  • 2 cups of water 
  • 1/2 cup of frozen berries
  • 1/4 cup of chopped almonds, dried fruit, or other nuts (i used a superfood mix)
  • 1/2 cup of Vegan eggnog for pouring over
  • 2 T agave or maple syrup 
  • peanut butter for topping (optional)
  1.  heat the water in the pot until it boils, then add quinoa and millet and cook for 12-15 minutes
  2. add the frozen berries and reduce heat, then cook until the liquid is absorbed and remove from heat
  3. add the agave and mixed nuts to the pot and stir
  4. divide between two bowls, pour over the eggnog and whichever other toppings you want and serve!

easy is beautiful. so is this bread:

i nibbled a bit...

i probably will start running again tomorrow, but mixing it up with biking. at least until Wednesday when i go snowboarding. ahh Christmas is so close!!!

Happy Holidays :)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Newgrange and the Hill of Tara

Hello everyone!

Well today concludes my last weekend in Dublin, very bittersweet to say the least. This past week has been pretty low key, and the highlights have often been my runs (WOW! Never thought I would say that!).

This past week:
Monday: walking in and out of school
Tuesday: getting up before sunrise to go for a 7 mile run
Wednesday: walked in and jogged the half mile from the Luas stop home
Thursday: 4 mile run
Friday: 3 mile fast run to school and then jogging the half mile home
Saturday: 5 mile new-route run. This was my best run all week – it didn’t feel that long after doing 7 miles! And I got a good short full sprint in during part of it, which brought back many memories of when I did track! I forgot how fun it is to get up on your tippy-toes  :)

And today I didn’t run, but got up at 7:00 (after a very un-restful night’s sleep), and went on a tour of Newgrange and the Hill of Tara!

Newgrange was really cool; basically it is just this ancient tomb 5,000 years old, older than the pyramids and Stonehenge! It’s a bummer you can’t take pictures inside, but it leads down a passageway to a cross-shaped tomb with three little rooms for graves. The actual “mound” looks gigantic, but the tomb only stretches about a third of the way through.  Crazy!

The tour I went on ended up being one giant history lesson in Irish history and about the Boyne area. I am not going to write up a lecture here, but especially the stuff on Newgrange and Pagan rituals on the Hill of Tara I would recommend reading a short wiki article about.

View of the River Boyne

ahh bridges! this one shook

side of Newgrange
River Boyne again

it's huge!


front stone to protect entrance. you used to have to jump over it to get in!

see the little window?

side view

i'm fascinated by trees

anything with trees eh?

which do you like better?

or this?

So here’s the deal with Newgrange, and why it is famous. As you can see in some of the pictures, there is a little window above the door that lets sunlight in. the window was built parallel to the horizon, and on the days around winter solstice, at two minutes to nine the sun brilliantly shines through the window and illuminates the whole tomb. See if you can find pictures online, it’s epic.

Not that I got to see it though :/

Anyway, the Hill of Tara was pretty gorgeous too just…wet and windy. Haha to say the LEAST! So I apologize for some of the blurry or dark pictures.

On a nice day, this would be such a fun place to just race around with a dog or a horse :) haha
on the way going through Slane. it's a private castle where they have rock concerts. U2, Madonna, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and many more have played here
this circular tower design originated in Ireland

cemetery outside the church in front of the Hill of Tara. see the blur in the corner? that's rain :P

it's basically epic openness 

i'm not sure why these pictures have an eerie glow to them...but i thought they all looked dream-like

these are from on top of the hill. on a nice day you can see nearly all the Irish counties 

the group hurriedly scurrying back to the bust

Well I can’t say anything really fantastical has occurred this week. Went to the Coop for the last time, packed up a suitcase of stuff (I still have an hour or so ahead of me), and I made baked oatmeal! Breaking my gluten free day, so right now I am up to:

Wheat free: 4 days
Gluten free: 9 days

Pretty good start?

Although nothing much happened this week, it has been a huge emotional roller coaster for me, and pretty depressing at times. Which was the primary reason I decided to make baked oatmeal :) I wrote the recipe in a larger quantity, because the pan I used was very small and more is better!

i served mine with rice milk and a bit of pineapple ginger jam i got!

Here’s the recipe!

Molasses Baked Oatmeal
Serves 4

  • 2 cups organic wholegrain oats
  • 4 cups of water or milk
  • 3 chopped up bananas
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup of coconut oil, chopped up small, “shaved”
  • ¼ cup ground flax seeds, or chia seeds
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ t baking powder
  • 2 ½ t fresh ginger
  • 1 ½ t stevia powder, or 2 T of sucanat
  • About 2 T of molasses for drizzling
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease an 8 x 8 baking dish
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl
  3. Add the wet ingredients besides the molasses and stir
  4. Pour it all into the greased pan, and bake for about 35 minutes
  5. Take out of the oven and drizzle the molasses on over the top. Then put the pan back in the oven and bake for another ten minutes

If you like molasses like I do, you will love this. Keep in mind I made this on my limited supply and college budget, so I would encourage tampering with the recipe until you find what tastes best to you! I like this one though, because I love ginger and molasses and bananas!

I probably won’t post again until I am home and get some awesome baking done! I can’t wait to see my family and friends again, and I get to go on a ski trip with one of my oldest friends on the 21st, so that is very exciting! Ahh even though I will definitely miss Ireland and my friends here, I CAN’T WAIT to get home! I can barely contain my excitement :)

But this week I do get to go Ice Skating, and hopefully see Capitalism: A Love Story. Nice ways to end my last week, not to mention I plan on enjoying the great vegan fare here as often as I can :D

Oh, and here is my hopeful running schedule for my last week of running in an area that isn’t littered with hills.
Monday: 6.75 mile run
Tuesday: walk in or out of college
Wednesday: 4 miles
Thursday: 3 miles
Friday: 8 miles!

This is once again a hopeful schedule. Wish me luck on the few early mornings!

Oh and a shout-out to the State Champs of Oregon in football! 'bout time guys ;)

Happy Holidays everyone :)