My life is full of in-betweens at the moment, so I feel as if I have nothing of significance to share (other than an awesome dessert, which I'll get to momentarily). I was home for one week before driving 13 hours across the Eastern US to Cornell for my chemistry TA training program (TATP), which lasted three weeks. I had an amazing time getting to know the incoming first years as well as revisiting the older students that I had previously met. Ithaca, NY is such a beautiful and surprisingly vegan friendly place. Sadly, I did not take many pictures to document my time there, but you can be sure that I'll do a better job when I return there for good in two weeks.
I was able to do some vegan cooking while at TATP because some of us were being put up in a dorm which had a common kitchen area. Along with many of the other chemists there, I joined a dinner rotation that we formed to help make things less chaotic in the kitchen as well as to get to know people better by eating dinner together. It was a little sketchy in the beginning, but people really stepped up in being accommodating for me since I was the only vegan and respected the fact that the knives and pots I brought were not to be contaminated with non-vegan things. I couldn't help but feel proud one of the last nights when one of my new friends commented to me at how surprised he was at how much he was enjoying the meals without meat. Kudos to not only myself but the other cooks whose dinner skills shined without the meat or dairy (or in the least, far less of it).
As you can tell, I like being a good influence or a way for people to look at their meals differently. I get so much satisfaction when I cook vegan for my family while at home, and it makes me feel as if I am doing something to help them eat healthier. In the past two years since going vegan, I've noticed small ways in which my eating habits have rubbed off on them (switching to whole grain bread and pasta, eating more veggies) and hope that I can continue to be a good influence. Now, I've actually got two dishes to share that I made for my family a little bit ago. The first, seen above, is the pineapple quinoa stir-fry from Veganomicon. You know it is good when my teenage brother insists on seconds and tries to claim the entire leftovers for lunch the following day.
What you see here is a dessert that I insist people try. I modified a recipe that was posted on the veglicious blog for strawberry quinoa bars and used raspberries instead since my parents' bush was overflowing at the time. The only other alteration that I made to the recipe was that I subbed agave for maple syrup in the filling and raspberry layers. This dessert is addicting, as I have become quite the fan of the raspberry and lemon combination recently. Because there wasn't too much added sugar and it contained oats, almonds, and quinoa, I felt as if this was quite the healthy dessert in comparison to other chocolate laden things that could have been made.
Hopefully other relatively simple summer treats will be in the near future as well. This week, I've enjoyed my fair share of fresh watermelon and blueberries, and this weekend my family is going on a vacation where we will be acquiring fresh Michigan cherries. Got to love the fruits of summer.