Spring Showers


Can I go back to spring break?

I mean more than just recapping the first part of it, which was spent frolicking around the splendid sights of Denver, Colorado.

Like, can I have another one? Please?

Whenever I break out of the Colorado Springs bubble and travel to other parts of Colorado, I am overwhelmed by the beauty of the state. It’s gorgeous! I never get tired of the breathtaking drive north towards Denver. Thank goodness I have a good friend just outside the city that lets me invade her house once in a while 😉

We’re just two hippies that like to explore.

Whether it’s chatting a hookah bar in which we were the only non-Arabs (win!),

grabbing a 1 a.m. meal at Pete’s Diner,

(we’re both vegetarians now, which made dining extra sweet this time around!)

snarfing down greek wraps

visiting the Denver Botanical Gardens on a free admission day,

My religion major mind was on vacation; I didn't try to figure out what this symbolized.

local ice cream joints,

Chai tea yogurt in a gluten-free cone. Why? Because it was an option! Tastes just the same.

walking in Washburn Park,

with her majestic great dane, Lucy

and a plethora of fruit and naan

baking banana bread

pasta,

and then, more cooing over animals which are not mine 😉Between when I got back home and leaving for Oklahoma, things got bland.

I did attempt to make cauliflower pizza.

Looks cool, but not so tasty.

Snackage was random:

and at the same time, completely predictable.

Green monster smoothie with banana, spinach, vanilla protein powder, soy milk, & cinnamon

Cereal, my favorite.

Raw cookie dough, made with almonds.

 

Apple-cinnamon-peanut butter oats.

Another green monster.

Leftover garden benedict and mushroom omelet.

Strawberry-peanut butter oats.

Sorry for the blah-ness of throwing food pictures at you. I’m just a little cranky from being sunburnt (not enough SPF), bruised (rugby), impatient (wordpress! grr), and stressed (class + tech week for a dance show).

But hey, despite the fact that I just walked home in a snowstorm, Colorado is showing signs of spring. That means summer is just around the corner, right? 😉

What’s on your plate for this week?


If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere


That title is referring to vegetarian dining in Oklahoma.

With carnivorous rugby players 🙂

Even though our coach excitedly informed me that there was “one of my kind” on the men’s team, I had already acknowledged that the meal dining-out situation could get hairy. But I am proud to say…I am one skilled menu-reader/order-changer/waiter-questioner. I survived!

The 11 hour car ride from Colorado to Oklahoma was nutritious enough:

Whole wheat bread w/ peanut butter, frozen strawberries

And then we stopped by a Waffle House by our hotel for dinner.

I know.

Usually I looooove an excuse to have breakfast for dinner, but I’ve had Waffle House waffles once before, and I feel sorry for truckers that think they’re the best. Not to be sassy…but there is a bigger, better world of waffles out there.

So what did I do?

May I introduce the “large dinner salad?” Better than nothing.

And two eggs over easy, for protein.

If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere. Yes?

Things went up from there! The next dinner at Saltgrass Steakhouse, I scoured the menu and ordered,

“the side spinach salad, the seasonal veggies, and a baked sweet potato, please.”

I made sure to be extra nice to the waitress, which wasn’t too hard when you’re dining with male rugby players 🙂 No pictures, though, because they don’t know me that well yet and didn’t want to freak them out.

And I had half of the sweet potato for breakfast the next day, with a smear of peanut butter on top! Yummy.

(I just wrote “swear” instead of “smear”. Merely typing “rugby” affects me like that…)

I also got a soy latte or two while getting my coach’s (mandatory) coffees in the morning.

(Her order is a Venti Toffee Nut Latte with Half & Half. I am glad to be a girl who enjoys the simpler things in life!)

Since we girl ruggers didn’t have games to play, our nights were spent terrorizing Norman, Oklahoma, including its late night munchie scene. My belly was often still full from the night before once the morning came, so I basically became a fruititarian (?) by day…

Along with these amazing gummy calcium supplements we shared 🙂 Too cute to pass up!

But the moment of truth was the dinner at…

“Ron’s Burger & Chili Joint.”

Oh dear oh dear. Was I up to it??

Mission accomplished!

Dinner salad (I picked off the horrendous amount of unmentioned bacon & cheese and requested extra black beans) and a grilled cheese, which I didn’t finish because it wasn’t too great. I did polish off some root beer floats, too!

Next time in Oklahoma (let’s hope that never happens), I wanna see what THIS is all about:

Yes, steakhouse sushi. Apparently it’s quite popular, and pricey!

Maybe my teammates and I can steal another pitcher of beer from a downtown bar.

(We never drank it, but kept it as a trophy in the fridge)

Oh, and I’m so done with burger joints.

(That’s fried zucchini and a german chocolate chiller. I’ve had better!)

Thankfully, there are worse ways to spend your spring break than being team moms for the men’s rugby team.

And there are worse ways to spend rainy days than watching the beautiful sport of rugby.

If I can make it in Oklahoma, I can make it anywhere.

But for now, I’m happy to be back in the state of Colorado, where flannel is acceptable evening wear, recycling is your code of living, and vegetarianism is far from a foreign word.

What’s the wackiest state you’ve ever been to? And what’s the weirdest thing you did there?

My Oklahoma highlight was dressing up the only not-21 girl with us to resemble a guy from the men’s team so she could use his ID. It worked, and we went to a strip club. What up, Oklahoma!


Here, there, and everywhere (in Colorado)


the theme of Spring Break 2011:

Have car, will visit friends all over state.

My coffee-fueled drives are over for now.

I’ll be back soon. Off to Oklahoma to watch men boys play rugby!

 


Ready? Break!


My college is officially on spring break. So exciting!

But at the moment, I’m particularly thrilled, because I made dinner for the apartment tonight.

Not only did they love it…

it was vegan!

An eggplant bake, to be exact. I just told them I was making eggplant parmesean.

First-class kitchen organization, obviously!

I started off with this recipe, but ended up making some substitutions.

For one, we were out of marinara sauce. What to do?!

“What’s red, saucy, and in my kitchen already?”

Salsa!

See? Looks the same. And that’s all that counts, right? Hehe.

I also used boxed bread crumbs instead of almond flour, and lemon pepper spice instead of italian seasoning. Worked great!

However, the veggie course took a turn for the worse, due a misjudgment on my part of how oven-safe the pan was…

My bad.

They were salvaged, nonetheless.

I made up for it with another dish of roasted asparagus with goat cheese.

Ok, so the goat cheese detail wasn’t vegan. But the main dish was, and the roommates were shocked when I told them!

One of the guys even made a remark along the lines of, “If we let Erica cook every night, we’d be much healthier, cut down on our animal intake, save the environment….”

damn right you would!

I think it’s safe to say they enjoyed it.

And if I had actually used almonds instead of bread crumbs, it would have been gluten free!

Some good eatin’ was certainly called for, after some questionable food choices during these last days of class. Example?

Boxed mac n cheese at 3 AM.

But today, after sleeping until 11, handing in my final paper before noon, and sweating all my stress out in the gym…

Green monster in the sunshine. The way it should be.

Have a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day! Any fun plans?

I don’t drink beer, but I want a festive grasshopper!

 


J’ai une confession.


Exhibit A:

Yes, that is duck.

Yes, I consider myself (mostly) vegetarian. So let me explain.

During my sophomore year of high school, my French teacher took our class out to lunch at the local French restaurant for a taste (littéralement) of culture. I was still at the stage in my life where steak au poivre was my go-to order at a schmancy dining establishment. That day, I had the duck, which was hands-down the best piece of meat I have ever tasted. It was salty. It was sinewy.

And apparently, it was irreplaceable.

So even with the norm of vegetarianism, I’m still tempted to find that kind of duck once again. And when my roommate’s Dad offered to treat 3 young college girls to a swanky dinner, at a restaurant with absolutely no limited vegetarian entrees, I conceded, “Pourqoui pas?”

So, oui. Le canard.

Sadly, it was not what I was looking for. C’est la vie.

In all honesty, I was pretty full already from appetizers!

Brie & blackberry chutney with flatbread

Calamari

And then, there was dessert…

Tres Leches Cake (my choice. not as good as I’d hoped!)

Bananas Foster (I polished this off for my friend. Hehe.)

Blackberry Creme Brulee

Bread Pudding (this didn’t stand a chance. I devoured the leftovers as soon as I got home!)

It was a lovely dinner, and I like to think that my roommate’s Dad was happy about treating us solely because I mentioned my pending job as a riflery counselor at camp this summer. Apparently, gun skills  make for passionate conversation.

4 days later…

Cristin, I attempted to make some collard wraps out of the leftover duck and potatoes. I tried, I really did!

But alas, leftover meat just doesn’t fly with me. (Hah! Fly! That’s terrible…) I couldn’t even finish a quarter of these. Ah well. Back to my veggies 🙂

Do you make “exceptions” on your food choices while dining out? How soon do you eat your leftovers, if any?

 


Life of Erica



Do you ever read or watch something that was popular years before, and even though it’s a good decade after it came out, you still want to chat about it like it’s hot off the press?

This is one of those times.

In a nutshell: An Indian boy survives 227 days after a shipwreck, while stranded on a boat in the Pacific Ocean with a bengal tiger. He happens to be very spiritual, practicing 3 religions (Hinduism, Islam, Christianity) all at once, and also the son of a zookeeper.

A good part of the book was filled with elaborate, technically detailed descriptions of the process of staying alive in a lifeboat. I did not like this. But I highly enjoyed the spiritual imagery.

What does this have to do with anything?

Well, this weekend, my rugby team spent 10 + hours in cars traveling to the southwestern corner of Colorado to play a game (which we won). In my opinion, both road trips and rugby games are a great time for reflection and revelation.

Uhhh…why?

Well, think about it. On a roadtrip, you’re passing new landscapes….

If you’re lucky, you’ve got a mix of old and new friends.

You may stumble upon familiar landmarks.

(If you’re me, you may not be hungry for tamales and end up eating an apple, a pear, an orange, and 2 apple-cinnamon muffins for dinner without complaint, over the course of 5ish hours.)

On a roadtrip, you may get to your destination to find that it’s better (or worse) than you expected.

Better: mountain views, fluffy grass, 60 degree weather in March

Worse: field is behind a bowling alley, the opposing team plays and talks dirty

Comparing this new location to home is ok.

(Conclusion: Colorado Springs’ mountain views are prettier.)

You may want to play around a bit in the sunshine.

(If you play women’s rugby, that just means you’ll emerge a bit more scuffed up at the end)

Then you can explore the local dives…

Thanking God/Allah/Krishna/whateveryouplease for vegetarian options at a brewery…

As well as for the appetite for ice cream to fuel the 5 hour drive back home.

You may even encounter some blatant messages along the way.

(some are not necessarily to be obeyed)

And though you may come home physically worse for wear…


The reflection and revelation takes hold, some way or another.


What’s a good book y’all have read recently? What did you learn from it?


Food Can Wait, It’s Time to Annihilate


Clearly I’m a little pumped for my rugby game tomorrow.

I’ve got lots of food to recap for y’all. There’s even meat involved. I know! Bad (vegetarian) blogger.

But y’all are a patient bunch, right?

I’m off to make a 5 hour drive with my team to kick some womens rugby butt. I’ll share my bruises with y’all when I come back!

 


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