Roommate Life

Instant guacamole.

“I want to punch you in the face right now.”

This is my dear roommate Mitch-Mitch calling it like she sees it. And this after I made her instant guacamole (avocado + salsa) the other night. No matter, everyone should have at least one friend who will put you in your place when you’re being ridiculous. I love Mitch for this.

She’s kidding, of course, but only sort of and the sentiment is the same: stop saying you’re going to do things and then not do them and then complain about the consequences.

Fair enough. This is why I love my roommate. Also for the following photographic representation of our ridiculous shared life together:

Mine's the boring one.

Almond for me, coconut for her.

Guess which one is mine.

Haaahaha

And finally, our night stands…

Sir Winston

Not a frog butler.

Saturday night we rallied after a very long day of teacher training and embarked on a night out.

First, we tried on every single item of clothing in both of our closets.

Not my clothes.

And then we got cocktails at Smalls.

Mitch is the man in this relationship.

And then we bought a bottle of wine and bag of disgusting Pirate’s Booty (who eats this garbage? Note: I ate the whole bag) and crashed Adam’s party where we scavenged left over pizza and ate all his hummus. We are an unstoppable duo.

We have this master life plan to fall in love with best friends and/or brothers and marry them and move into houses next to each other and run a tin can string phone from my place to hers.

It’s gonna be great.

Spicy Peanut Tempeh Wraps

Spicy peanut tempeh lettuce wraps

“What do I do with tempeh?” is one of the most frequent questions I am asked.

While I’m perfectly happy to just gnaw on a cold, raw block straight out of the package, I realize most people are not, especially if just being introduced to it. Thankfully, tempeh has a mild flavor and firm texture that makes it versatile enough to accept and stand up to countless preparation methods.

Crumbled: Tempeh is typically sold as a solid block. While it holds its shape nicely, it can be crumbled by hand and used as a ground beef/turkey substitute. Crumbled tempeh can be mixed into pasta sauce, stuffed into peppers and formed into meat-less loaves. It’s also great for tacos.

Cubed: Tempeh is firmer and higher in protein than tofu so I like to use it to replace cubed chicken in stir fries and salads.

Sliced: Tempeh strips can be marinated and served as an entree or inside a sandwich. Spicy maple glazed tempeh and baked honey mustard tempeh are two of my favorite preparations.

Sandwiched: Of course, my favorite way to eat tempeh is simply sandwiched between a bread product and topped with with whatever is in the fridge. You can also fancy it up with a BBQ tempeh sandwich (that puts the McRib to shame) or a replica of Mellow Mushroom’s famous tempeh sandwich.

Another option is to make a mock chicken salad of sorts using crumbled tempeh, diced vegetables and something sticky to bind.

While you could follow a traditional chicken salad recipe and just replace the chicken with tempeh, you’d then be forced to consume mayonnaise and this is simply revolting. (Don’t try to convince me otherwise.) SO…

This recipe from Raw Food Kitchen (which I’ll post later today) uses a mix of peanut butter, soy sauce and chili powder to create a warm, nutty, spicy flavor that I find perfect stuffed inside romaine lettuce leaves. Or spread on a sandwich. Or eaten with a spoon. The creamy tempeh spread is punctuated by the crunch of cool, crisp red peppers and celery, and it’s high enough in protein (from the peanuts and soy) to keep you full for hours.

Want.

Tempeh Peanut Spread
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 2-3
 

From Gulin’s Raw Food Kitchen: “Even though 90% of people around me have never heard of tempeh and it is definitely not a traditional food, I still like to treat myself with its strong, spicy flavor once in a while since it’s so hearty, healthy and tasty. I’m happy that my tempeh comes from a producer nearby, and not all the way from Asia. If at all possible, try to find your own producer, and if the soybeans have been grown even a few hundred kilometres from where you live, you’ll be eating locally!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup tempeh, crumbled
  • ½ cup alfalfa sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons raw peanut butter
  • 4 tablespoons flaxseed oil
  • ¼ cup green olives, pitted
  • tamari (soy) sauce to taste
  • chili powder to taste
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons snipped chives

Instructions
  1. Put tempeh, sprouts, peanut butter, oil, olives, tamari and chili powder in a food processor.
  2. Process, adding a little water if needed, to reach a spreadable consistency
  3. Transfer to a bowl and add red pepper and chives
  4. Allow to stand at least 15 minutes before serving

NOTES: I used diced celery and red bell pepper instead of alfalfa sprouts, olive oil instead of flaxseed oil and omitted the chives. I stuffed my spread into large romaine leaves for lunch. This kept me full forever.

I’m off to study my life away. Microbiology final exam this afternoon. Can you tell I’m a little off today? I’m highly, highly distracted. I’m coming off a physically and emotionally intense teacher training weekend, furiously job and house hunting and trying not to fail this test in a few hours.

I sound like a bad Food Network Magazine article. “… creamy tempeh spread punctuated by the crunch…” Who says that? Go to bed, Katie. More coffee, please.

Caturday 4/28/12

I do nothing.

Happy Caturday, kittens.

I left the cats with one duty while I was away at teacher training, and do you know what they did? Watched America’s Next Top Model re-runs all day.

(And that was not the duty.)

I had asked them to please put together their review of Rejuv-a-Wafers, which Sun Chlorella so generously shipped to them this week. (Yes. These idiots are now receiving product endorsements. They also have more fans on Facebook than Sweet Tater does.)

Iz zis hearfy?

I knew, however, that this was not going to happen when I received a text that said simply: “Out of cheese.”

i.di.ots.

Never should’ve gotten Weaz that iphone…

Anyway, they promise to eat their superfood supplement this week and report back next Caturday.

This weekend, though, it’s nothing but cupcakes.

And Cheetos.

 

It Fell Apart, So…

Tea and cookies make my world go 'round.

It’s kind of funny.

This last year has been a real bitch of an existence for me. I’m in a good spot now (and by “good” I mean I don’t cry myself to sleep or think about driving my car into the median), but I don’t know that I’ve necessarily got it all figured out. Somehow that feels very ok.

In retrospect, looking back on the last year (or three) I’m beginning to feel like maybe I had it easy. Where I am now–nearing the end of my schooling and the beginning of whatever the hell is next–I’m starting to feel like all the crying and feeling sorry for yourself and playing the victim… that’s child’s play. Pulling yourself up off the ground, getting your life together and going after what you want? That’s the real challenge. That is now.

“It’s easier to burn than to build. It’s easier to hurt than to heal.” 

I feel like I have regained my footing. I’ve settled in to Charlotte. I have friends. I know shortcuts and street names and bartenders’ names. I feel like I belong, like I’m at home. But I also feel like I’ve lost a little bit of myself in the process, like in stripping off all these layers of muck I’m perhaps pulling away pieces of myself. As it turns out, that’s ok, too.

I was in meditation yesterday and this beautiful passage was read. It is something to the effect of:

“What I see, hear, smell and feel (physically and emotionally) constantly changes and only has a temporary reality. This is not real and thus is not who I am. I am unchangeable and eternal.”

This is huge. What this means, then (if it means anything to you), is that all the hurt, all the fear, all the doubt does not define who I am. These are just constantly changing emotions. I am constant. Period.

So yes. Maybe the breakdown, in the end, was the easy part. After all, it’s easy to shatter a glass into a million pieces, right? Far more challenging to put it back together. Putting it back together is where I am now.

So my life fell apart? So what. This is where the real work begins. This is the rebuilding. And it’s nothing but possibility.

Appropriately enough, that’s what my intention was tonight in Adam’s class: possibility. It’s just the first thing that popped into my head. Sounds about right.

Chinese chicken salad but with tofu.

Afterwards I went to dinner at Cowfish with Viva la Mitch and Adam. If ever you cannot locate me (and why couldn’t you since I live on the Internet?), you’ll find me with one of these two gems. They’re both failing miserably at Twitter so please feel free to stalk the living shit out of them until they learn to stop using Twitter as a verb. As in: “I’ll Twitter you later.” [@ashestoash and @adamwhiting. Get after it.]

We killed some sweet potato fries (as we do) and I crafted the world’s most perfect salad.

I need an iphone.

I usually get the Greek chicken salad with fried tofu instead of chicken, but tonight I went with the Chinese chicken salad with grilled tofu and IT.WAS.BOMB. Best salad I’ve ever had.

SO… last weekend in teacher training we had to bring in a playlist for a one-hour class. By popular demand, here is mine:

Glitter in the Air - This song is just pretty. If you didn’t know it was Pink you… wouldn’t know it was Pink. I love every word of it. So sweet.

I Won’t – This song crushes my soul. But I like it. The quote above comes from here. Takin it easy. Nice and slow…

I Would Die 4 U - While I swore I’d never listen to another Prince song so long as I live, this one is just too good. Movin a little bit…

It’s Around You - This song is everything. Flawless. It makes me feel invincible. Time build up a little heat.

Call Your Girlfriend – Robyn’s back and better than ever (and on this playlist THRICE). The lyrics are brilliant.

Dirt Off Remix – If there’s one thing I love more than Jay-Z, it’s a Jay-Z mashup. I hate Linkin Park (a LOT) but… ignore them. Listen to Jay with that beat behind him. BOUNCE. And we’re off.

Tightrope – Janelle Monae can do no wrong. Aaaaand… DANCE.

You Can Do It – No Doubt throwback, anyone? All the way to Tragic Kingdom. At this point I’m all “Standing split… HOLD.” And you’re all “Nope.” But Gwen Stefani’s all like “You can do it!” So you’re all like ” (BAM).”

Cold War - More Janelle Monae. It’s just a get-up-and-dance kind of song.

Change Clothes – Jay-Z vs. Prince mashup. YES. I can’t find a link to the version I have. Rest assured it is the best one.

Dancing On My Own – Kind of sad. Kind of awesome. Get it, girl.

Hang With Me – Robyn again?? Deal with it. This is kind of my life a little bit. Slowing it down.

Warm Whispers – Just a lovely song. Slow stretching and laying in pools of sweat. It’s beautiful.

Before We Say Goodbye – Remember 2gether? The fake boy band that MTV created at the height of the boy band craze? This spoof is hilarious. So that when I put you in frog you’re all like, “I’m in so much pain but this song is funny so I will let it go.”

Anthems for a 17-year-old Girl – I crashed my car to this song. It’s a trip, building into this beautifully numbing crescendo. I was seriously so far gone in my head I didn’t know what was going on until I was in somebody’s trunk. I feel like listening to it while laying in savasana is safer.

And that’s that. See you in class? Cool.

Mocha Maca Smoothie

Mocha maca smoothie

I have been doing a little spring cleaning on the blog this week.

Translation: I have been avoiding studying for my microbiology final this week.

Because I don’t already spend entirely too much time online, I have finally fallen off the deep end into murky waters of Pinterest. I don’t know how I feel about this, but you can find me here. Right now I just have a food board. It makes me hungry. I may or may not delve into the sharing of “fashion” photos. I consider this a slippery slope, though, as fashion blogging can be so very tragic when done incorrectly. My angle on fashion is pretty much that nothing makes me happier than the look on rich people’s faces when they go “OH MY GAWD I LOVE YOUR DRESS IS IT FROM (insert expensive boutique here)?” And I respond with: “TJ Maxx, girl. $16.99.”

Por ejemplo:

hip.ster.

Skirt: $9.99, Top: $12.99, Belt $2.99, Sandals: hand-me-down from mom, Michael Kors purse: gift from mom (purchased on mad discount at… TJ Maxx)

You just have to know how to work the retail floor in those discount places. I will teach you my ways.

Anyway, in case you’re confused about all the places I waste my time on the Internet, here’s a run down of where you’ll find Sweet Tater-related content:

Facebook: Sweet Tater and Ralph & Weaz

Tumblr: So Damn Good

Twitter: @sweettaterblog

Youtube: Sweet Tater Blog

Online Portfolio: katielevans.com

That list makes me sad for my life. I’m gonna go outside now and talk to human beings.

But first…

I’ve been living out of Dunja Gulin’s Raw Food Kitchen. In case you missed it, I added the raw breakfast bar recipe to yesterday’s post after getting the ok from the publishers. I’ll be sharing the tempeh lettuce wraps I ate yesterday for lunch soon, and this morning I made her mocha maca smoothie.

Goods.

Mocha Maca Smoothie
Author: 
Recipe type: Smoothie
Prep time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 2
 

From Dunja Gulin’s Raw Food Kitchen: “Coffee has never meant all that much to me. At college, most of my fellow students drank pots of Turkish coffee to wake up or stay awake, but the only thing I enjoyed was the subtle taste and smell of coffee in drinks like this. Don’t worry–a spoonful of not-so-raw coffee extract once in a while won’t do any harm to your raw regime. Maca is powdered Peruvian ginseng.
Ingredients
  • 1.5 cups almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds
  • 1 chilled banana, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon mocha/coffee extract
  • 1 tablespoon maca powder
  • 6 ice cubes
  • raw honey (optional)

Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth

NOTES: I used PB instead of almond butter, fully frozen banana instead of just chilled, 1 teaspoon instant coffee instead of extract and passed on the sweetener.

Chug.

The combination of flavors–nut butter + coffee?–made me a little nervous. Plus, I’m not a huge maca fan (I prefer mesquite if we’re talking weird expensive powders health nuts like to eat). But for some inexplicable reason this simply just works. This is such a good smoothie. All I know it says it serves two, but I totally inhaled the entire thing. Whoops.

I’m getting off the computer now.