Protein Power!

HOLY POTATO.

I mean, cow? Holy quinoa maybe? Potato just came out. Roll with it? Words happen.

So while there are eons of life happenings that I’ve been up to lately, I’ve done a pretty poor job of recording them- let alone any recipes. Or fun international pictures. So in the blog world, I think I failed. [Insert motivational turning point quote here] AND I’M BACK! I’ve risen from… Aw heck. I’m just trying to get more regular with this, and want to keep some interesting things around for those that do check in here. Which led me to plan a post, and several weeks later it finally materialized into this. Which I’ll break into several parts.

1. my plan. I’m going to try to get posts up here as regularly as possible. In accordance with that, while I’m in the US doing less exciting traveling, I’m aiming to try a new recipe every week. Leading me to one of many new things in my life: veganism. I know right. Reasoning? Because I can. It’s something I want to try out at some point, and for the first time ever I’m living on my own, with my own kitchen, cooking all my own food- and only my food, and in a wonderful part of VA that puts me close to  many many food options. I think it puts me in kind of a fortunate position, and really one of the only times that I know I’ll be able to accomodate necessary nutrition and not have to worry about family members having to cook me special foods. Which takes me to the rough part, being THAT friend. You know, that one with all the weird eating habits that nobody can keep track of. Post holidays I’ll let you know how that works out, in the mean time I’m making it work and giving something new a shot.

TWO. the recipe!!!

I’ve been eyeing this gem for about a week (http://onannasplate.com/2011/02/23/quinoa-pizza-balls/), but finally made my own masterpiece. Okay. That’s generous. Creation. In italics. Which means it’s more elegant than normal.

I know I know, not glamorous. And it’s only half because I have been using the same camera since 07. No lie (okay, I’ll wait while you do the mental calculations about how that year seems like yesterday, how holy guac it was five years ago now…. yes you’re five years older. Whatever. Age doesn’t matter… and we’re back). It’s mostly because- straight up- the food wasn’t glamorous. Don’t get me wrong it tasted like food done right, but it just wasn’t the most attractive item of consumption. So there aren’t many beautiful shots. And right- back to the recipe.

PROTEIN POWER … things?

No good title. But it yields about four medium servings, takes about an hour to make start to finish, and tastes like some pizza, veggie burgers, and a salad got together to make this lovely mess.

Ingredients:but there’s more.

  • -1.5 cup precooked lentils
  • -1 cup soy cheese
  • – 1.5 cup quinoa
  • 1 tofurky sausage
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/3 cup parsley flakes
  • 1.5 cup fresh basil
  • 1 cup red beans (I used the whole can accidentally, and lost the ideal consistency- but not the taste, it was still delicious!)
  • 1/3 cup tomato sauce
  • garlic salt to taste

Directions:

  1. cook quinoa, and preheat oven to 350F
  2. Go to town. Cut the sausage into baby pieces, and throw it in. Mash the red kidney beans along with everything else save the spinach. I found it was easier to add the spinach once the warm quinoa came in to help it cook down. Maximum spinach incorporation is one of my fundamental life principles.
  3. Add in the quinoa, and keep mashing.  Eventually you get this beautiful mix of fun smelling patty-like material.

When it was nicely mashed, I ran into some problems. As mentioned, I added a bit too many beans (and bean juice along with it) and didn’t have the ideal “ball consistency” that I was aiming for.  If you do, go for it and make burgers or balls or whatever tickles your tongue. If not, you could pull a Shannon and eat it out of the bowl saying the oven is for pansies. Or you could pull the Mature Shannon that made an appearance where I decided to get a bit more creative and take advantage of all the oven space I already heated up.  I put scoops into a greased muffin pan, and scooped some out cookie-style on a baking sheet.  They baked for about 40 min, but if yours is in better shape I’d keep an eye on it in the 20-25min range.  Yeee. And I ended up eating it with a fork, out of the pan and out of a tupperware day 2.  It wasn’t beautiful, but it sure was tasty and the lentils, tofurky, beans, and quinoa give a healthy helping of meatless protein. YUM. basically.

So enjoy this if it’s not too jumbled of a recipe to follow, or not. Your mouth, not mine.

OH. and now,

Part 3. To the handful of people (family especially!) that have been like, Shannon. We know you are doing crazy things. We don’t know what, but it’s probably crazy cause lately you’ve been hard to keep up with and kind of crappy at keeping people in the loop: this is your scoop!

Ah, summer was bittersweet. August in particular. I finished ochem, and it wasn’t really the end of the world- contrary to former belief. Within five minutes of finishing the exam I made it to the NorVA to meet a friend visiting for the weekend and see INGRID MICHAELSON! Soo much happy.  A wonderful weekend followed, and I chased that with a week of leading a summer sea camp for VB kids, kayaking and paddelboarding and hiking doing all kinds of exhausting, incredible outdoors activities with way too many kids. Followed that with a move into my new, my first, apartment. Started school shortly after, and let me tell you, THIS is a high point of my short life thus far. Oh, and I did a half marathon, saw O.A.R. from the front row, and started a new incredible job. Life has been rolling man, and I’m trying to keep pedaling.

And then that brings us to now. I’m currently working part time in the education abroad office at school, basically sharing everything awesome about travel with young people. And working with awesome people that share my love. It was slow this afternoon so the other advisor and I planned our Round the World (google that magic) trip for half an hour. I MEAN REALLY PEOPLE. And when the office is really busy? Then I just plan other people’s trips. Right? So right. Classes are also great. Loving this Medical Geography course that I did some fancy finagling to fit into my schedule. International public health is kind of the field I’m headed toward, preventative medicine and infectious diseases are really tugging at the part of my brain that’s supposed to be making those life choices. Cross your fingers guys, life is happening. September is rolling by too, I’ve got fun weekends planned pretty much back to back (including seeing SARA BAREILLES IN 12 DAYS. COME ON WORLD. TRY AND GET BETTER. I dare you). I’ve also been doing some trail running and hiking in my spare time, here’s a shot from Angel’s Rest looking out over the New River:

Living in a beautiful apartment off-campus and having a car have done wonders to my life here, all for the better. Minus getting locked out of both in horrible ways. But those are embarrassing stories for another time. Anyways, that was a lot of self-rambling, so thanks for being patient and I hope you are living with similar excitement levels.  It’s fall in the mountains, which means mostly good things for the ‘burg.  With any grace from the universe I’ll be able to sustain this level of enthusiasm once school gets harder and the leaves fall from the trees. Thanks so much for listening and sharing the excitement, I hope it’s coming off as more optimistic than narcissistic. In the meantime, here’s a sunset from my porch. Share this with me, and know how good life can be :)

scf (:

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