Danielle becomes a Hoosier and a cat mom

I don’t know what else to say other than the last two days have been awesome.

As I think I said before, my weekends are on Tuesdays and Wednesdays which I am realizing is really, really nice since I can get a lot of things done during the day — i.e.: go to Whole Foods, go to Target, go to the license office and FINALLY take care of getting an Indiana license and plates for my car:

These are just temporary, the real deal comes in about 10 days.

These are just temporary, the real deal comes in about 10 days.

and go to the Humane Society and fall in love with a cat…

World, meet Alfredo.

World, meet Alfredo.

Yes, that’s correct: as of yesterday, I became the cat mom to an absolutely gorgeous little guy named Alfredo. I had been wanting to adopt a cat ever since I moved to Indiana almost a month ago and told myself to wait until I had been here a while and gotten used to my schedule and living here. I went to the Humane Society on Tuesday and turned in the application paperwork and got to meet Alfredo — I had actually had my eyes on him since I got my job offer in March. Meeting him in person was absolutely incredible and I instantly knew he was the cat for me. After a haul at the store getting food and a carrier and toys for him, I got the call saying I was approved and could pick him up the following day. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep much because I was too excited.

All we did yesterday was order food in and watch "Orange is the New Black"

All we did yesterday was order food in and watch “Orange is the New Black”

He did great on his first night here and I fell asleep and woke up with him on my bed, head butting me and meowing at me. What a cutie.

The 2B Family.

The 2B Family.

————————

I’ve also been cooking so much this past week, trying five new recipes (okay, three were breakfast, but whatever). Let’s go in chronological order, shall we?

Baked Falafel

There is this Mediterranean place in South Bend called Elia’s and every single time I try to go, they are closed. Their menu touts an awesome vegetarian and vegan-friendly selection, including falafels. I took matters into my own hands after stumbling across this recipe from The Vegan Stoner (okay, okay, it’s funny so get it out of your system now) for Falafel Pie. Falafel mix is one of those foods that is odd enough that you probably can’t pick up at any random grocery store, but can probably be found somewhere if you’re patient and look hard enough. Lucky for me, I had to go to Whole Foods for bread and “cheese” so I figured that would be my best bet to find it there. My Whole Foods isn’t as big as some of the others I’ve been to, but believe me when I say I scanned the aisles for a good 20 minutes before finding it hidden away by the rice and couscous. I suppose the search was worth it, however:

Falafel

Falafel

What you’re looking at is a six-layer slice of falafel heaven: falafel, hummus (I used plain even though I’m so partial to Roasted Red Pepper), fresh tomato, fresh cucumber, So Delicious coconut milk Greek yogurt with fresh squeezed lemon and fresh dill (the dill wasn’t on the recipe and was a whim decision on my end and I’m glad it happened) and kalamata olives. Yes it was delicious, yes I did eat it while sitting on my balcony watching Xavier Dolan’s “Les Amours Imaginaires” for the millionth time with a sangria in my hand.

Normally, falafel is fried but  I baked it instead and it turned out just fine.

Normally, falafel is fried but I baked it instead and it turned out just fine.

Throw the yogurt, dill, cucumber and lemon juice into a blender.

Throw the yogurt, dill, cucumber and lemon juice into a blender.

I think this was one of those dishes that could easily go two ways:

  1. Share the original recipe, which is vegan, with friends and it’s still pretty agreeable and doesn’t have any unfamiliar foods in it or…
  2. You could easily make this non-vegan and use dairy yogurt.

Either way, the first recipe from this cheeky blog didn’t disappoint and I may or may not have tacked the cookbook to my Wish List board on Pinterest.

 

Corn and Quinoa Chowder

I won’t go into crazy detail about my love with Panera’s Summer Corn Chowder because it isn’t vegan and it’s too painful for me to think about. I’ll never forget the first time I tried it, either — it was two summers ago with my Mom after she and I had done some errands all afternoon. Say whatever you want about how eating soup in the summer is silly — corn chowder in the summer is awesome and you’re missing out. Everything in the soup is finally in season, so even though it’s a sauna outside and the last thing you want to do is eat hot food, it’s all pretty worth it.

Eat your heart out, Panera.

Eat your heart out, Panera.

I found the recipe for this veganized Creamy Corn and Quinoa Chowder months ago and was so excited to finally try it, especially since it called for cilantro and the pot of cilantro I have on my balcony is growing like a weed and was more than ready to harvest.

As per usual, I followed this recipe to the T but omitted the onions. AND, I got to break in this thing, finally:

Le Creuset Mariner Star French Oven

Le Creuset Mariner Star French Oven

My parents got me an absolutely gorgeous Le Creuset French Oven as part of my graduation gifts — it’s a special, commemorative piece celebrating the company’s years of design and cookery. Only 1925 were made (a nod to the year the company was founded in France) and each oven was cast from a sand mold that will be destroyed after the ovens are sold. Not only is it just a beautiful piece of kitchenware, it’s really special and sentimental to me, so I was really excited to use it for the first time. I already can’t wait to use it again and again.

The soup itself was phenomenal and yielded quite a lot, so I had dinner to take to work for a few days.

If you don't like soup in the summer, I just don't know about you.

If you don’t like soup in the summer, I just don’t know about you.

ALL of the pancakes

I don’t know where this sudden need for pancakes in my life came from, but I’m sure glad it happened. The other night, I got home from work and couldn’t stop thinking about pumpkin spice pancakes. Why? For one thing, I never eat sugary foods at breakfast or really ever and, moreover, pumpkin spiced foods in June is a little weird. The most important takeaway from this is what I mentioned about eating soup even though it’s a million degrees outside: I just don’t care. If I’m hungry for it, I’m going to eat it.

— Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

Minimalist Baker has a gorgeous blog and a really awesome recipe for Vegan Pumpkin Pancakes that I wholeheartedly recommend. Let me preface this and the next two (yes, two) pancake sections as follows: there’s regular style pancakes and then there’s Danielle Waldron pancakes. I can’t say which one tastes better than the other, because I’m totally biased. With this recipe and every recipe to follow, I used oat flour rather than all-purpose or almond flour or pastry flour. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. I keep unbleached APF around but rarely ever use it. APF has no nutritional value and it’s a simple white carb that won’t leave you full … and you might get a carb crash. That sounds unappealing, but especially at breakfast. Oat flour is a great alternative that, once you get used to its consistency and how it cooks and bakes, is just as easy to use and also a lot healthier.
  2. I’ve used almond flour and other flours before and they’re great, but I also don’t enjoy paying upwards of $13 for a bag of flour that’s the size of a bag of coffee.
  3. I accidentally bought quick-cooking oats the other day at the store rather than my usual old-fashioned rolled oats and I didn’t realize it until I got home and was actually making breakfast the next morning. If there’s one other food I dislike almost as much as I dislike onions, it’s quick oats. It’s probably a little bratty and extremely elitist, but I don’t like their texture and they simply aren’t the same. There was only one thing to do: grind them all up in my blender and make my own oat flour. You can purchase your own oat flour but I think it’s easier and a lot more cost effective to just do it yourself. Although I do recommend investing in a good blender or food processor.

These pumpkin pancakes were amazing and you couldn’t tell a difference in texture or taste with the oat flour rather than whole wheat flour:

Pumpkin in June. Whatever.

Pumpkin in June. Whatever.

— Banana Pancakes

I’ve creeped The Simple Veganista’s blog quite a lot and couldn’t wait to try these banana pancakes. I had these the last two mornings for breakfast, one of the days it rained quite a bit and I couldn’t help but think of the Jack Johnson song. Again with this recipe, I didn’t use APF or pancake mix, but rather 2/3 cup of oat flour (the recipe calls for 1/3 cup of APF or pancake mix and another 1/3 cup of almond meal or almond flour). It tasted amazing, especially with banana on top:

Banana Pancakes

Banana Pancakes

With these, I got a bit better at making a more decent-looking pancake, but I still have a lot to learn. Apparently an electric griddle is the key to pretty pancakes, but I think I’ll stick to my gas stove. I don’t use Earth Balance or coconut oil to grease the pan, I just spray it.

Pancake mastery

Pancake mastery

— Blueberry Pancakes

I found this recipe yesterday by searching “vegan pancakes” and was so glad I did. With blueberry pancakes, you really don’t need a special recipe — a regular one would suffice and you could just throw blueberries in the batter (as many or as few as you wish). It’s also worth noting that I live alone and can’t eat more than two small (I’m talking the size of my hand or smaller) pancakes for breakfast, so it takes me a few days to eat through the batter. Instead of making all of them at once and heating them up, I make the two pancakes and then put the rest of the batter in an airtight container and stick it in the fridge. Since it doesn’t have eggs, it keeps very well. Because of this, I didn’t put all of the blueberries in the whole bowl because I think they’d get gross and mushy after soaking in batter for a few days (I’m disgusted just thinking about it) so I just put a scant handful of berries in the measuring cup I used to pour batter into the pan for a single pancake.

Blueberry pancakes

Blueberry pancakes

I could have used flaxseed meal or made an egg replacer for this as per the recipe, but I didn’t really see the value in it. Those are used for a binding agent and the mix bound together just fine (I think the oat flour is partially to thank for this since it’s thicker). I also didn’t use baking soda because I simply don’t have any in my apartment and keep forgetting to put it onmy list of things to get.

Best pancakes ever.

Best pancakes ever.

Getting much better at this pancake making gig.

Getting much better at this pancake making gig.

I can’t describe how delicious these were and how much I’m looking forward to having them for breakfast for the next two or three days. Super easy and absolutely wonderful.

———————

It’s back to work for me today:

When designing A1, the newbie gets to wear the hat. Score.

When designing A1, the newbie gets to wear the hat. Score.

and for the next few days. Alfredo is getting a check up at the vet tomorrow, so I’m hoping he does as good there as he did all day yesterday. I’ll be back next week or sometime soon to check in and hopefully have tried some new things in the kitchen. Maybe I’ll have kicked this pancake addiction by then.

By the time I’m back again, I’ll have been vegan for more than 300 days, which is certainly something to celebrate. It’ll be e year on Aug. 19 and what a year it’s been.

Have a good one.

 

 

 

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IN love.

Greetings from the great Hoosier State!

It’s hard to believe that this time just a month ago, I was just a week away from graduating and moving to start my new life and my new job two states away — the great unknown, or so it seemed at the time.

I’m super happy to say I am roughly 90 percent settled into my new address, give or take a few items that will be picked up on a trip to Ann Arbor’s IKEA in the not too distant future, unpacking a few boxes (pending the aforementioned furniture) and then getting a cat. I keep telling myself I can only get a cat after I become a full resident of this state and take care of the housekeeping that needs to be done: register my car, get new plates, get an Indiana license, register to vote…you get the idea. Fortunately, a lot of these items can be knocked out with most of the same paperwork, but unfortunately there’s about a million hoops that seemingly need to be jumped through. It seems daunting right now just because it isn’t done. But that’s not what I came to talk about today.

With the hours I work at my new job — which I am loving so very much, by the way — I have a lot of time in the daytime to do some cooking before going into work in the late afternoon. This, of course, also means I have a lot of time to enjoy the 723 square feet I pay for every month. Please believe me when I say I am taking full advantage of it:

Home sweet home! Endless thanks to my beautiful friend, Nicole, for sending me the cutest item that she found on holiday in Wales.

Home sweet home! Endless thanks to my beautiful friend, Nicole, for sending me the cutest item that she found on holiday in Somerset. 

 

It's a rough life, but someone's gotta live it.

It’s a rough life, but someone’s gotta live it.

Hands down, in case it wasn’t already clear, my favorite part of my apartment is my balcony — I’ve already spent countless hours sitting outside getting sunburned reading, watching a lot of movies and admiring/taking care of my herbs:

Tomato plant is finally flowering, which can only mean one thing — fresh tomatoes will soon grace my kitchen.

Tomato plant is finally flowering, which can only mean one thing — fresh tomatoes will soon grace my kitchen.

Following my Mom’s advice (she has a total green thumb), I cheated and bought plants rather than sprouting my own. They are getting HUGE: tomato, cilantro, jalapeño, basil and mint all in a line. I’ve never grown herbs before so it’s a great sense of accomplishment to see them getting tall and thick. I’ve already harvested some of my basil for a sandwich and it was delicious. I found two awesome recipes to try over the next few days, one of them using cilantro. I watered my plants this morning and couldn’t get over how awesome the cilantro was smelling. It’s grown a lot and so to give it some more space to grow — and to try a new recipe, AND to christen the beautiful Le Creuset Mariner Star French oven my parents got me for graduation, I’m trying this vegan corn chowder tonight. Panera St. Louis Bread Company has an absolutely fantastic Summer Corn Chowder which is vegetarian but, unfortunately, not vegan. After researching for months for an acceptable alternative, I’m excited to try this tonight.

I’m also going to try my hand at making falafel for the first time ever! Normally, this Greek dish is fried but I’m going to save myself the fat and grease spatters all over my kitchen by seeing how it fares in the oven. Wish me luck! I’m going to head out to Whole Foods in just a little bit to get some things that I’ll be needing. Pictures to come, to be sure.

Now that I’m finally settled in and am used to post-graduate life, I’m elated to get back to trying new vegan dishes rather than being a lazy twenty-something who still eats PB&J every day. Moreover, I’ll be celebrating my first whole year as a vegan in just over  a month! It’s time to switch some things up.

I would go on and on about how things have been with me and how much I love my job and my new state, but suffice it to say that things are going well for me. To any of my friends and family who might be reading: I miss and love you all so much and am so very blessed to have such a beautiful, supportive group of individuals in my life. Thanks for making this new journey that much sweeter for me. I’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness that has been given to me and I hope one day, I can express just a fraction of the gratitude I have for each and every single one of you.

 

Graduation + Indiana Life

I feel like life the last ~2 weeks have been so busy that I am constantly playing a game of catch-up. The brief timeline is I graduated, I moved out of one apartment and back home for a few days, moved two states over from Missouri to northern Indiana and started my new job two days after I moved. It’s been a huge amount of change in a not-so-huge amount of time, but I have been loving every minute of it.

That’s not to say, of course, that it has all been easy. In fact, saying goodbye to a few of my closets friends and moving away to an unfamiliar town/state and leaving my family has been one of the absolute hardest things I have experienced, but I’ve been given a tremendous amount of support and kindness along the way and I truly feel very fortunate for everything I am getting to experience. Following the trend of the last few posts, this probably will be less about vegan cooking and food and more about my experiences with graduation and moving thus far.

Graduation. I soaked up every minute of my last week of undergrad that I possibly could: I stayed out too late, had lunch with a lot of friends, fell in love with my school again and tried not to get too sad that the sketchy apartment and school that had been mine for a few years were about to be a thing in my past. College is a funny thing — you don’t really appreciate the time you have when you’re there but, in my case, you get homesick for it when it is about to be taken away from you…or you from it, rather. With each day, my apartment looked less and less like my own and more and more like a storage unit with carefully packed boxes invading every bit of closet space. I think I had gotten all of my goodbyes and tears out of my system before the Saturday of commencement, because  I made it through the whole of the day (until I was alone with my family and doing some moving out) without crying or getting overly emotional.

I survived.

I survived.

Apart from being in mild discomfort from the world’s worst allergies I have ever had and apart from it being extremely toasty outside (Mid-May in Missouri in the heat of the afternoon, on an Astrotruf field in direct sun, wearing a black polyester gown…not a winning combination), graduation was everything I could have wanted. I was sitting by some of my closest friends and even though I was sad to leave a school that, albeit quirky, I had grown to really love, I felt ready. I had done everything I had set out to do and knew exactly where I was going afterwards. I really can’t complain.

GRADUATED.

GRADUATED.

Leaving my apartment and Kirksville for the last time, however, was tough — especially not knowing the next time I’d be back. I had handed over my keys and watched out of the back of the car as my college town got smaller and smaller in the distance. Truman: thanks for being home for four years, teaching me, giving me a place to grow and introducing me to some of the most amazing people I have ever met. Miss the place already…stay beautiful.

Rather than marathon driving at some ungodly hour in the middle of the night to get to Indiana, my Mom and I drove up to my new city the day before move in and stayed in a hotel. We caravaned up here, but the drive was still wonderful and it finally felt real — my new job and my new apartment were FINALLY becoming a reality.

Made a pit stop in Terre Haute, right after crossing into the state.

Made a pit stop in Terre Haute, right after crossing into the state.

The next morning, it rained and was cold and I was still feeling pretty ill, but with the help of my Mom and Dad, had moved into my new digs with ease. Obviously I am still getting used to where things are, but it’s already starting to feel like home. My Mom even helped me plant some herbs and vegetables — so I am looking forward to wreaking some havoc in the kitchen once they have a bit more time.

Herbs on my deck...and isn't it cute?!

Herbs on my deck…and isn’t it cute?!

AND to top it all off, Mishawaka — a neighboring town — has a Whole Foods Market that I have already stopped at and can see myself frequenting whenever I am in the Mishawaka/South Bend area….

Happiest place on the planet.

Happiest place on the planet.

At my paper, I am a page designer and content editor, so I spend a lot of time reading stories and then placing them on the pages for print — both of which are things I immensely enjoy. Today was my third day and I have learned so much already from the really kind and extremely talented team we have over at the paper — even spent some time editing a page for today’s paper and writing a small story for the web. I have a lot to learn still, but I am already feeling right at home in the newsroom. In fact, two coworkers took me out for dinner + drinks at a local craft brewery — Iechyd Da — and a few others from the newsroom joined. It was a fantastic ending to a really good day and I am constantly overwhelmed by the kindness of everyone I work with. How did I get so lucky?

IN Love.

IN Love.

That’s quite enough for tonight, I think. My brain is still adjusting to the Eastern Time Zone and my eyes are ready to not be staring at a screen, so I’ll end on this positive note.

Now that I’m finally settled, I *hopefully* will get back to writing on a semi-regular (okay, okay…regular) basis and can try my hand at some new things in some awesome new cookware I was gifted. Good times all around.

Sending all of my positive vibes out to all of you — cheers!

My trip to Elkhart…and Naperville…and home etc.

If this post seems scattered, it’s probably because I am still really scattered. My brain still thinks I am somewhere along a highway rather than sitting in a solitary point back at school. This three-day weekend was so productive that I almost feel as if I did an entire week’s worth of activities. Needless to say, I am really tired and really intimidated by my list of things that need to get done between now and Tuesday.

This weekend — where to start? As you’ll likely recall, my purpose for getting out of dodge was to go apply for an apartment in Indiana since I am going to be moving in about a month (whoa). I left Kirksville on Thursday afternoon and drove home in some really nasty weather. Three hours later, I was pulling into my driveway in St. Louis as tornado sirens were going off…yes, really. Besides the horrendous weather, Thursday night was for unpacking and sleeping since my Mom and I had an early wake up the next day to start our trip up north. We left the house around 9:00 a.m., grabbed breakfast and got going:

Coffee and oatmeal every day — even on the road.

Coffee and oatmeal every day — even on the road.

Next stop, Naperville, Ill. My sister and my brother-in-law live just outside of Chicago and my sister came along to go to Indiana. My mom and I crossed almost the entire state and went up I-55 talking and listening to music and I napped a little bit. It was nice to be a passenger for once.

Crossed the whole state.

Crossed the whole state.

We got to Naperville in good time, picked up my sister, got lunch at Panera which was the weirdest experience I have had at one of those in a really long time and carried on. We crossed over into Indiana before I knew it:

Hello again.

Hello again.

The town where I will be working and living isn’t TOO terribly far from the state line — in fact it is just under two hours away from Chicago. However, you lose an hour somewhere between South Bend and Elkhart. After being in the car for so long and getting up early, I was ready to be out of the car. We checked into our hotel, relaxed a bit and started our quest for dinner. Since I am a vegan and my mom is a vegetarian, we researched a few places nearby and decided on a Greek restaurant in South Bend called Elia’s — I was dying to try the falafel. We got back on the toll road and get to South Bend by 9:00 p.m. As luck would have it, Elia’s closed at that time. Bummer. Found a place in a pinch in Mishawaka called Flat Top. I have been to places like Flat Top (Hu Hot…yum) but this was my first time at Flat Top. Besides being absolutely delicious, the website is extremely helpful and user-friendly with people with food allergies or restrictions. In fact, it even has a list of foods and sauces to avoid if you’re vegan. If that wasn’t already awesome, the waitress told us that if you are vegetarian or vegan, you put a white straw in your bowl so that the cooks will make it in a separate wok rather than on the grill with meat. It meant the world to me. I had quinoa with pineapple, broccoli, mushroom, cilantro, pakora tempeh, tomatoes and sriracha sauce and it was delicious.

Woke up with a requisite need for breakfast (as per) and had the usual. I was rejoicing over Hilton Garden Inn having Silk Soymilk available — even if it was sickly sweet (it seriously doesn’t take long to get used to unsweetened):

Good morning.

Good morning.

So began the hunt for apartments. We looked at four places and I applied at one that I fell in LOVE with. I find out this week if I was approved or not (please keep your fingers crossed for me!!!!) It was exhausting, stressful, exciting and productive. I think we were done by 2 p.m. and we started at 10:30 a.m. It was time for lunch and I was going to take the pair of them to The Moringa Tree — I was so excited for them to try it! As luck would have it AGAIN, Moringa Tree was closed after lunchtime and didn’t open again for a few hours. We did a quick search of vegan-friendly places nearby and went to The Rolling Scones in Goshen — the next town over. I had a pita and it was pretty good:

Lunch at The Rolling Scones.

Lunch at The Rolling Scones.

 

We got back on the road after lunch to go to Naperville but ended up taking a detour (not really that far out of the way, though) to Indiana Dunes State Park — it’s on Lake Michigan. It was cold but absolutely GORGEOUS. Like, gorgeous. Pictures can’t do it justice and I’m sure I’ll be back a lot.

Indiana Dunes — you can actually see the Chicago skyline across the lake!

Indiana Dunes — you can actually see the Chicago skyline across the lake!

Back to Naperville and I think we were all exhausted. My mom, sister, brother-in-law and myself all sat around and chatted for awhile before going to my favorite place ever for dinner — On the Border. Vegan eating is SO easy with Mexican food and I got a grilled avocado enchilada. A small tip for you: if you’re vegan and go to On the Border, order Cilantro Lime rice and black beans since Mexican rice and refried beans aren’t vegan. Or even if you’re not vegan, order them anyway because they are delicious. Either way.

On the Border

On the Border

 

It was the perfect end to a wonderful trip. We went back to their house and I fell asleep on the couch while watching “Day of the Doctor.” Sunday morning meant breakfast and hitting the road one of the last times to begin the journey home and then back to Kirksville — so many legs of this trip! Denise made me oatmeal and coffee, we all said goodbye and my Mom and I were on our way. I stopped over in St. Louis to unpack, gather a few things and then I got back to Kirksville in the evening.

It was a fantastic weekend and I am on pins and needles about the apartment situation. Please send good thoughts my way! Other than that, I was so excited to get some vegan goodies and find a few new places.

Have a lovely week!

Nomad Life // The Quest for an Apartment

I truly cannot and I partially refuse to believe that I only have 36 days left until I walk across the stage, flip my tassel and am handed a diploma. People always ask me: “Are you excited to graduate or nervous or sad?” And really, it totally depends on the day. This week the trend is all over the place — my answer changes hourly. At present, I am feeling ready. My remote work for my job is going great, I am finishing up my last few assignments and am even going back to Elkhart this weekend (tomorrow, actually) with my Mom and sister to visit a handful of apartment complexes and (hopefully) sign on one that I can call home for the foreseeable future.

 

See you soon, Indiana.

See you soon, Indiana.

 

While all of this is so exciting for me, my stress levels are at an all-time high. Trying to find a place to live while dealing with finishing up my degree is overwhelming, to say the very least. It’s also a really reflective time for me — while I am ready to leave and show the world what this soon to be alumna can do (that’s me, by the way) and make new friends at my awesome job (I am so in love with it, if you can’t tell), I am also really sad to leave behind the people I have gotten close with during my stay at Truman — with special attention to the people I have gotten close with these last two semesters. It’s so bittersweet and I know there will be many, many posts about it to come.

But, it’s also exciting because I get to explore a totally awesome and unfamiliar place and make it my own. That’s why I can’t wait to spend a little bit of time there this weekend and check out life outside of the newsroom. I got a small taste of that during my visit in March, as you will all recall, but most of my time was spent meeting everyone and getting acclimated to our office. Hopefully I can convince my Mom and sister to try The Moringa Tree again — I have been craving it since my visit weeks ago. Mmmmmm.

Okay, so ever since Rowen made those awesome fajitas a few weekends ago, I have not been able to get them out of my head! I have been on quite a kick and I 100 percent blame him:

 

Eating the spectrum for fajitas.

Eating the spectrum for fajitas.

 

I raided the store of all of its mushrooms, peppers, avocados, beans, cilantro, limes and salsa to make fajitas for myself and I am so glad I did. As mentioned in my description, I have an irrational, awful fear of onions and I have ever since I can remember. Like, I don’t even want to look at them. Don’t ask why, because I really don’t know the answer to it myself. All I know is something magical happens when you combine four types of peppers, mushrooms and spices in a skillet with olive oil and roll it up in a whole wheat tortilla.

Fajitas by Danielle...and inspired by #FoodByRowen

Fajitas by Danielle…and inspired by #FoodByRowen

I am not 100 percent in love with this photo for a few reasons: the first being iPhone photography in my kitchen is the actual worst and also WordPress seems to have changed its CMS a bit and I don’t have time to fiddle with resizing this at the moment — but I intend to figure it out! Anyway, I made my favorite homemade guacamole to spread on the fajita: lime, half of one avocado and cilantro to taste (I like a lot of it).

Coincidentally, a few friends from a class of mine and I went out to dinner at La Fuente, one of the Mexican restaurants here. I had, surprise surprise, a fajita and picked around the onions [shudder]. It was digustingly rainy and cold yesterday and after an especially long class, it was nice to laugh over fajitas and margaritas with some of the people I am going to miss the most after May 10. After dinner, we all went to Rowen’s house to have dessert, provided by my friend Scott. Scott was texting me the night before asking me about different ingredients and whether they were vegan friendly or not. So you can imagine my delight when he shows up with this beauty:

 

Delicious and vegan pie that Scott brought.

Delicious and vegan pie that Scott brought.

 

It was all vegan — key lime with homemade crust and fruit and it was spectacular. It really meant so, very much to me that he was so thoughtful to bring something vegan-friendly and asked me about certain ingredients to be sure. I am so lucky to have such supportive friends and family who can share in something I love so much. Thanks again, Scott!

So, the usual question: what’s next? I am leaving town in like four hours to drive back home, unpack a few things, eat and sleep. Tomorrow morning, my Mom and I are driving up to the Chicago area to pick up my sister and continue on to the beautiful state of Indiana. Saturday begins the apartment hunt and hopefully I will have an address in the 46516 by the end of the day that day. Sunday is back to Illinois for Denise and back to St. Louis for my mom and me  and FINALLY back to Kirksville for me. Let the marathon driving begin.

Stay beautiful and send good vibes for an apartment my way, please! You’re all lovely.