Monday, September 21, 2009

Walks, Vegans, and Fruits (oh my!)

(Yes, I'm wearing a dress underneath, but you'd never guess, right?)

Goodness, it seems like things keep getting busier as the summer winds down. Tomorrow I've got my first batch of organic lab reports to grade, later this week I proctor my first exam and then help grade it, and next week is my first exam as a grad student. *cue apprehensive music* Despite these things, I've got plenty of things to look forward to in the upcoming weeks.

In early October (over my fall break, coincidentally), I'll be participating in Ithaca's segment of the Farm Sanctuary's Walk for Farm Animals. I'm really excited about this as hopefully I'll get to meet some great people with similar interests as well as to raise money for such a great cause. In undergrad, I was very active in several organizations, and I really would like to continue doing various forms of activism in grad school as well. Despite being so close, I still haven't made an actual visit to the Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, but soon I should hopefully fix that. If you want to learn more or would like to contribute to my walk, go here.

Another upcoming activity is VeganMoFo (also known as Vegan Month of Food)! I participated in it last year and cannot wait as I am hoping it will help revive the lack of activity around here as of late (i.e. I've been cooking but not blogging...) It launches in October, and many of the participants can be seen listed on Kittee's blog.

And what is it about fruits that is making me excited? Several things, actually. This upcoming weekend is the Apple Harvest Festival in Ithaca. It is a three day event, and I've been told by the older grads that it is a lot of fun, so I can't wait to check it out! (And expect lots of pictures.) Tomatoes have still be in season (yes, they are a fruit, didn't you know?), and I've been subbing fresh tomatoes instead of canned in as many recipes as I can. Later this week I plan on making a huge batch of sauce to freeze, so that should be fun. (I'll probably be doing the lazy woman's version of not peeling them since who cares about a bit of extra fiber...) And lastly, I'm experimenting with making jam tonight. Sour cherry jam to be exact. So hopefully, I'll have full documentation of this foray later in the week...

Monday, September 14, 2009

I haven't disappeared, really

So, grad school has started, and I realized today that I haven't updated this quite as frequently as I would have liked. No need to fear; I have not turned into a starved grad student just yet. I've been doing a fair amount of cooking, stocking my pantry and freezer, and visiting the Farmer's market religiously. Actually, I have to plan my meals out for the week since I get so much produce.

But really, the lack of activity is just due to the fact that I forget to take pictures or think that the food I'm making hasn't been too notable. I've been doing a lot of baking. The cupcakes above are ones I made for a birthday this past weekend (the photo isn't mine). Mint cookies and cream based on the cuppers in Vctotw. They were quite the hit, and I still have a bit of frosting lurking in my fridge that I am trying not to eat by the spoonful. (But it tastes so much like the ice cream I loved as a kid!) Hopefully I'll be making graham crackers later in the week to get rid of it.

One thing that I have continued, however, is baking my own bread. It is so easy to do; I can always manage to toss a few things in the bread machine no matter how little time I have. Got to love the throw it in, go away, come back to delicious smells method. Since moving, I've been experimenting with adding spelt flour to things, and now, along with sunflower and pumpkin seeds, have included it as a permanent addition to my usual bread recipe. The seeds really remind me of some of my favorite breads that I would eat in Germany. For those curious, I'll include the recipe:

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
~ 1/4-1/3 cup raw sunflower and pumpkin seeds
2 tsp vital wheat gluten
1 1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp black-strap molasses
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp yeast

Hopefully I'll have more interesting things to share soon since classes haven't started to be too crazy yet, though I do have a few good stories already since I'm a TA for undergrads in organic lab. They are silly sometimes, and I can't believe that I was in their place just three years ago. My does the time fly.