In A Spaced Out Box

Good day ladies and gentlemen. I feel like it’s been awhile since I’ve posted although it’s only been a week. You know when you let more days pass by, and things keep adding up? That happens to me when I don’t update more often, because well… I cook everyday. So that means I have lots of things to share! That also means that I’m going to start condensing posts more often, sometimes highlighting one dish or a couple. We’ll see how it goes. But here’s a post that is not quite so compact, but fits quite nicely into the package.

From the night before I left for my Florida vacation…

The vacation I keep thinking about, trying to tap into the feeling I had while floating in the calm, blue ocean; just listening to the sound of my breath.

I decided to make a fondue spread for me and my roommates to enjoy

White chocolate (fortuitously scalding it a bit, giving it a caramelized flavor) with a giant diced and spiced fruit salad of bananas, pears, apples, and melon. Mustn’t forget the coconut muffin as well.

I randomly decided to pick up beets at the store…

but I love beets so maybe it’s not so random. Let’s just say it wasn’t on the list though.

Beet stains never get old to me.
I picked up the beets after I picked up the jicama, and thought they would contrast wonderfully…

and I remembered the carrots that I already had at home.

Sometimes I make things for the sake of color.

After I prepared the vegetables I had to leave to meet with someone, so I stored the vibrant vegetables in one container. However, before I left I took a bite, and thought: this needs some shredded coconut. Added some. Took another bite. Done.

One fish: two ways

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Sweet Memory

Remember all my excitement for graduation? Well… that eventful day happened this past Friday! It still hasn’t hit me, but right now I’m just celebrating life and the end of a 21-credit semester.

Thank you, Mom!
Thank you, Dad!
My support

I really appreciate my parents for trusting and having faith in my maturity and wisdom to help me make choices for myself in life. When I was in high school I didn’t take the SAT’s because I didn’t plan on going to college right away. Instead Germany was on my mind and I went there after high school, and while I was over there I took the SAT’s. Fortunately I did because when I came back to the states for a two week visit I decided to stay and put my portfolio together in three days, sent it to VCUarts. I didn’t have another plan, and I think that’s because I didn’t have any doubt I’d get in. My parents supported my decisions, and throughout my life they’ve helped me stay motivated–to have a passion for life
Well, here I am now and I got my BFA at the top sculpture program in the nation. Now I’m eager to discover the opportunities in the big, big world. I guess the point that I’m trying to make is to believe in yourself. Listen to your heart, embrace your confidence, and see the world through your very own eyes.

Let the commencement begin!
Each department in the school of the arts made graduation standards.
Katie and I–she’s one of the coolest girls on this side of the galaxy.
Check out the dream dress that my friend made for me!

Afterwards we went to a local Middle Eastern restaurant called Cedars, which we frequent, and the owner treated us with his very own recipes!

He made me the vegan version of what he calls “The United Nations”
And a wonderfully fresh salad with sumac!

Sumac is a spice that is often used in Middle Eastern cooking to add a tart flavor.

They got the dishes to satisfy their inner carnivore.
Enjoy!
Later on they gave us fresh Dolmas.
And we couldn’t leave without having his baklava!
Bahaha! Meant to be eaten with your hands of course.
We had some great company–Sam and the owner!
And one more with the folks!

The owner makes everything himself from the pita bread, grinding the spices, the sauces, cheeses, and garden grown herbs! Not just that but the love and kindness they share with us is something really special. Now get ready for a lot more sweetness…

A pancake omelette!

When I saw this on Rachel’s blog I knew I had to try it. I’m slightly allergic to eggs nor do I like them so regular omelets are not on my radar. However, when I saw the idea of using the omelet concept but in pancake form I knew this was my kind of thing.

Stuffed with strawberries, chocolate hazelnut butter, and dusted with powdered sugar.

Although next time I think I’m going to throw in some chocolate chips to the mix.

I definitely have plenty of it now!
My step-dad and I visited the chocolate store the other day… can you tell?

The Vosges Black Salt Caramel Bar was such a unique chocolate bar. It definitely takes you by surprise, but then the next moment you find yourself appreciating it and making sense of all the thoughtful flavors. I also loved Chuao Chocolatier’s Coco ChocoPod, which was a blend of dark chocolate, coconut, almonds, cinnamon, and coriander–definitely getting the full-size bar next time! The other chocolates I had already tried and are dear to my heart.

Oh Germans and their efficient packaging–gotta love it!
Raw Vegan Texas Pecan Pralines

I’ve been making raw vegan treats on a weekly basis now, and trying a new recipe each week has been a delicious affair.

Especially when I had my weeklong affair with these…

You must try Joanne’s recipe for this raw vegan version of pralines.

Next up, Vegan Sweet Potato Breakfast Cookies

There was a sweet potato that had been sitting in my kitchen for a little too long so when I saw Allie’s recipe for these breakfast cookies I made them right away! So instead of canned sweet potato puree I just mashed a sweet potato with some almond milk, and proceeded with the recipe. I also used rye flour instead of spelt, and walnuts instead of pecans. The last of my dried cranberries were also used up, so I’d say that I’m doing a pretty good job of using up my pantry nowadays. I’m glad because I don’t want to have to take as many things with me when I move out of my place. Plus, it just feels good to get some clear space.

These were especially tasty with some easy dairy-free icing.
Another batch of no-bake treats!

This time I made Averie’s No-Bake White Chocolate & Mango Cookie Dough Bites. Oh wow! I love white chocolate and mango. Not to mention this was definitely a unique recipe because it didn’t call for dates but it did call for white chocolate chips, which I think are underrated. Oh yes, I will be making these again… and again and again!

I had baked these for my dear friend that made my graduation dress for me (the one pictured above).
Honey and Toasted Pistachio Muffins
Aren’t pistachios beautiful?

The extra drizzling of honey on these muffins is like nature giving its own sweet kiss to them. I thought it would be a nice way to say thank you.

Now what have we got here?
When I saw a pint of these strawberries from a local field I got so happy!
Vibrant little red jewels that make their way back into when the weather starts to get warmer.
Here’s some more post-graduation celebration.
And someone special thought of having a nice “celebration of me” evening for the two of us to share–a picnic by moonlight.

Well, well, well… is your sweet tooth aching yet? I think mine is about to start aching. Actually, my cheeks are aching just from smiling so much lately! What’s your favorite way to satisfy your sweet tooth? 

Great Things Come in Small Packages

Photo 510

Bahaha an old warped picture from Photobooth - because it's Friday and everyone's smile should be that big!

Oats with bananas mashed in + Asian Pear + biscotti + cashew butter

Oats with bananas mashed in + Asian pear + biscotti + cashew butter

I am just going to do all my posts like this: breakfast-y foods first, then the rest just fall in place.

Waffle Pancake Wednesday

Waffle Pancake Wednesday

On the side is a chocolate protein shake I made with mixed berries and rolled oats for kicks.

I had pancakes for breakfast on Wednesday instead of waffles, Janetha.

These pancakes were HUGE! Almost the size of a plate. So I cut one in half and decided to do two different toppings. One side has coconut oil, apple slices, cinnamon, and confectioner’s sugar with nutmeg. The other half was just buttered, apple slices, cinnamon, and maple syrup. I sprinkled the last of my rolled oats on the whole shebang. I kept alternating between the two because I loved both sides equally. But which side was lucky enough to be my last bite?

Last week I received a package in the mail!

Last week I received a package in the mail!

I’m sure you guys have seen Late July at your grocery store, but have you tried their stuff out? They’re organic snacks and a very family oriented company. Companies that care are an A+ in my book. I was sent their new Mini Sandwich Cookies to try out. The flavors are: milk chocolate and white chocolate. The website says that they are melt in your mouth good, and I agree. I also enjoyed washing down these cookies with a warm glass of almond milk. Yes, these are tiny (my hands are just bigger now that I’m a “big kid”), but it’s so fun to feel little again. If any of you Mommies or Daddies out there are trying to shy your kids away from chemical-laden treats, but don’t want to eliminate sweets – these are worth trying!

Cute!

Cute!

“Seven different endangered animals are featured on the cookies and 10% of the profits go to the Jane Goodall Institute to help with their efforts in endangered animal awareness.”

My favorite grilled cheese sandwich!

My favorite grilled cheese sandwich!

I hope by now you all know what’s in this sandwich. Mango chutney + cheddar cheese. Rather than using pumpernickel bread -which I didn’t have- I used 2 slices of the Spelt loaf I bought last week. While eating this sandwich I realized this bread is the perfect grilled cheese bread. I’ve said it before, but bakery bread just tastes so good. But I’d imagine the best bread would come straight out of Mia’s oven! What’s that peeking in to the left of the sandwich?

Why hello there tasty salad.

Why hello there tasty salad.

While Kim and I were in the kitchen making dinner, she offered me some of her Lime tortilla chips. Then I thought, this would be awesome on my salad! I love edamame, and after seeing edamame hummus at Trader Joe’s I want to make some of my own.

Lately, I’ve been making myself a cup of agua de panela with a squeeze of lemon juice. What’s panela? It’s whole cane sugar, basically, unrefined sucrose. I just googled it, and this how someone described it, “a sweetener that tastes like a cross between molasses and brown sugar.”

I bought this box last time I went down to Colombia.

I bought this box last time I went down to Colombia.

Running low, uh oh.

Running low, uh oh.

I’m sure you can find this at a Latin food market. Who knows, with the international food aisles the chain supermarkets have now, you may even find it there!

A Jamaican inspired meal.

A Jamaican inspired meal.

While browsing the internet for tempeh recipes, I came upon one for Jamaican jerk tempeh. I’ve always wanted to try jerk something, so of course I decided to give this recipe a whirl. I found some others that asked for apricot juice instead of OJ. I think apricot is a better choice because of the sweetness. Since I didn’t have a lot of those spices on hand (crazy!) I used my tea masala. Tea masala has a bunch of Indian spices. I served it on brown rice I cooked with cinnamon, and once served I mixed in coconut oil. On the side I made a tomato, cucumber, and onion salad.

Since I baked the tempeh and it was rather dry, I spread on some tamarind-date chutney.

Since I baked the tempeh and it was rather dry, I spread on some tamarind-date chutney.

Such an exciting meal with an array of flavors. Sweet, citrusy, savoury, and a spicy kick.

I’ve been making more use of my toaster oven, now that I discovered that I can actually bake with it.

Toasted kabocha seeds with brown sugar and cinnamon.

Toasted kabocha seeds with brown sugar and cinnamon.

IMG_7986

I baked the kabocha with butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar then sprinkled some of it’s seeds for decoration. Then I assembled some Ak-mak crackers, spread some creamy gorgonzola, agave, red onion, Asian pear slices, and a sprinkling of more cinnamon. I haven’t had these Armenian crackers in so long! They’ve been sitting in my cabinet and I forgot all about them. It took me forever to finish this plate. An hour later I realized I was still eating. I find that when I eat alone, I finish rather quickly. But with this meal I took my time, and I didn’t even have to try.

So here’s my heart to heart for you guys:

The topic I want to share with you all is about “being on top of things.” There are responsibilities that I can’t ignore; like taking care of my beloved Matilda. I’m ready, but it’s hard when others around me don’t quite get it. Which is why I probably feel more at ease around older people because they don’t see my responsibleness as pooping on the party. But there is a crazy, fun-loving side to me as well! I’m starting to get it back. I think I explained before that I went through a period in my life where I became overly practical and cut out so many things. It was such a bleak moment, simply a moment… that I don’t want to go back to. I enjoy the feeling that I get from knowing that I’m flourishing again and walking down the street with my head up high and shoulders back ready to take on whatever is ahead of me.

Oh, and to fill you guys in on my school shtuff:

Not suppose to be eating in my studio!

Not suppose to be eating in my studio!

In that big tupperware I layered a lot of kabocha, brown rice + coconut oil, and leftovers from my Jamaican jerk tempeh with tamarind-date chutney. And a little jar of roasted seeds!

Next week is my first critique of the semester in my main sculpture class. I’m kind of nervous because I’m making a video for it, and I know that some people might be like… why didn’t she make a sculpture? Well, I might make one – I just haven’t really thought of anything yet. I don’t really search for ideas, they just come to me. Hopefully, as I’m editing the video I’ll be knocked out of my chair by an idea that hit me!

Staring contest crotch shot

Staring contest or crotch shot

Nanana booboo

Na-na-na-na-boo-boo, getting ready to do upward dog.

Stay tuned for the next post because I plan on featuring a culinary adventure I will be attempting tonight. Happy Friday everyone!