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Just three little things

It’s Monday and I am currently cramming for a Community Nutrition exam with the wonderful sounds of jackhammering right outside my bedroom window.

We’ve been having plumbing problems so the landlord has been bringing his work crew over at the delightful hours of 7:30 am to dig massive holes in our front yard, jackhammering away the wee hours of the morning and filling our neighborhood with the loveliest of sewage fumes you could imagine.

HAPPY MONDAY!

So, rather than give you a full recap of my weekend and the things to come this week, I’ll simply leave you with the three top things that are currently on this lady’s mind.

1. It has been decided. This upcoming Thursday the roommates and I will be acting as Easter goddesses, making Spring flower crowns, adorning ourselves in crystal and feather jewelry and tye-dying delicate little Easter eggs under our shady porch.

Forget the weekend. I am anxiously awaiting this magical Thursday.

2. Sunday Morning Breakfasts.

My boyfriend and his roommates have a bit of a Sunday morning household tradition where Michael cooks up this big breakfast and invites all his closest friends over for a gathering of delicious Sunday morning brunch. This weekend, the gathering happened at my place with a small group of friends and Michael doing his thang in the kitchen, as usual.

On the menu was french toast made with apple-cinnamon bread, served with homemade berry syrup and a side of sweet and savory sweet potaters.

and a little peak at the chef, himself…

sorry ladies, the cook is taken πŸ˜‰


Not sure what’s on the agenda for next week’s breakfast but I’m already looking forward to it.

3. I am obsessed with this treehouse…

…and this website, in general.

Why oh why can’t I just escape into the forest trees for a bit or into a meadow of greens and dandelions with little flickering balls of fireflies surrounding me as the sun goes down?

*sigh* it’s almost summer…

That is all bumblebees.

xoxo

MM

As part of my community nutrition class this semester, a few fellow nutrition students and myself were assigned a group in the Tucson community to go out and teach an educational nutrition lecture to.

Many groups in our class were assigned little league baseball teams or highschool girl’s volleyball teams or women’s gyms but we had a much more intimate and unique experience.

Pregnant teens and teenage parents.

This was my first time ever working with this age group, especially those who are parents and parents-to-be and never having been in this situation (aside from the occasional food baby induced from Thanksgiving dinners and Mexican food comas), it was a group I found harder to relate to but none the less more sympathetic to.

Our group from the university chose to focus on four main topics that we thought would be most-beneficial in the short amount of time we had to get our message across.

1. Balanced Diet

2. Important nutrients during pregnancy

3. Healthy weight gain and caloric intake during the three trimesters

4. Introducing solids to babies and possible allergens and choking hazards

The class consisted of about 4 pregnant teenage girls, 3 teenage girls who had already given birth to their babies and two teenage boys who were also already parents. It was a small, intimate group but also quite intimidating.

Sure, I used to be in high school back in my own cheerleading, straight-A student bubble of my ideal high school perfection where my biggest issue was deciding between cheese fries or nachos for lunch, I never dealt with any hard-knock reality issues.

These students were on a whole different playing field and, to be completely honest, they scared the hell out of me to begin with.

It was especially hard to grab the attention of the students for the first ten minutes. Many were text messaging, talking to one another and blatantly shutting us out among other things.

Then, we played a jeopardy game and all hell broke loose.

The once-tough teenage boys and hardening looks of the distrusting students slowly diminished and the lively, aura of teen spirit (not to sound like a Nirvana music video) surrounded us. The entire mood in the classroom changed and everyone felt a bit more relaxed and open.

Then the questions began…

“Why would I give my baby whole milk over skim milk when they stop drinking formula or breast milk? Won’t they get fat?”

“Is pizza healthy? I mean, it has cheese, bread and meat and sometimes vegetables so it can’t be that bad…right?”

“I really love hot dogs. Like they’re my favorite food ever. Can I still eat hot dogs?”

Oh and my favorite…

“Are hot cheetos really that bad? I ate them all the time when I was pregnant and my mom used to tell me I was going to give birth to a cheeto.”

Ah, yes the range of questions and concerns were endless but in the end, it was an excellent class.

I had never thought of working with this age group outside of possible eating disorder clinics and now, this has opened up an entirely new range of possibilities.

It was completely rewarding and I hope (and am pretty sure) that the students got to take something beneficial away from it as well, even if it was just the bag of fruit we handed out at the end.

I realize it might be clichΓ© to point out, but in reality you end up getting so much more out of an experience like this when, originally, you thought you’d be the one reaching out and giving something to the community.

I’d say it was all very much worth it, whether I get the A or not.

xoxo

MM

Halleluia

It is times like these that I feel there might just be a light at the end of the dark tunnel.

Having just completed my grueling GRE-prep course (AKA the class that eats my soul), I am slightly floating on clouds of studious bliss. I know the celebration is a bit too early since I have yet to take the actual exam and still have quite the many hours of independent study coming my way but, nevertheless, the end of three hour weekly classes is enough to put a grin on anybody’s face…

as well as the beauty of spring…

This is currently the view from my bedroom window. Something about tulips really make you feel like it’s spring, no?

I’ve held a smile on my face for quite a while now. I’ve been enjoying the simpler things and simply flowing with the tide. There are some things in life you take for granted but don’t realize, even if small, how much they may impact the happiness of your days.

Tulips on my windowsill, kitty cat cuddles, a spring drizzle on a saturday afternoon, morning bike rides to school with the boyfriend, coming home to freshly-baked vegan, raspberry bars from the roomie. Sometimes one must step back and break down the big picture into the little things, and then you find some peace of mind.

As for tonight, I am headed to a much-needed wanted yoga session with Seester. It’ll be my third one in three days and, as tight as these hamstrings are from overload on downward dogs, I am completely loving the sweaty sessions with my mat. It’s keeping me balanced and harmonious, even when my head may get a little dreamy during savasana.

Before I go, I believe I promised a recipe in my last post for a scrumptious Creamy Southwestern Vegan Polenta that I whipped up about a week ago. Word of advice: the picture doesn’t do this recipe justice.

Creamy Southwestern Vegan Polenta

Serves 1

Ingredients:

-1/3 roll of polenta

– 1/4 cup vegan cheese (I am partial to Daiya because it is soy-free and melts quite nicely)

-1 Tablespoon vegan butter

-1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened, plain almond milk for this version)

-2 Tablespoons diced green chilies (I used the canned version but fresh would be delightful)

-pinch of salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat up a small sauce pan to medium heat. Add about a tablespoon of oil to the pan and let warm while dicing the polenta into large chunks. Place the polenta in the pan and while heating, use a potato masher to mash up the polenta into (for lack of a better vocabulary) a ball of mush. Pour the milk on top of the polenta and stir until thickened. Add the butter, cheese and green chilies until all is incorporated evenly. Let the mixture cook for a few minutes until hot, stirring consistently. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

This recipe was something I created after an intense craving for grits induced by a late-night movie session with My Cousin Vinny. I made a larger batch and used the leftovers to mix with half a can of vegetarian chili. It was heavenly.

I hope everyone enjoys the end of the hardest day of the week!

Here’s a little song for the soul…

xoxo

MM

Cyclovia 2011

Welcome back boys and girls.

This little post was something I snagged pictures of a week ago but I saved it for a rainy day like today (which literally is a very hot, sunny day here in the Old Pueblo but I don’t have class so here we are)!

Last weekend my boyfriend, Michael, invited me and some friends to ride around on the back of his friend’s rickshaw through downtown Tucson for a big biking event called Cyclovia.

Perhaps you are thinking to yourself, “Why munching mamacita, I have no idea what a rickshaw is. Do tell!”

Exhibit A:

well, more or less...

Our rickshaw is not quite as, ahem, antiquated as this one and Michael rode a bike that was attached to the back passenger seats (or what I liked to refer to as the royalty seats while giving the queen wave while passing my minions). My friend Karlee and I were chauffeured around town amongst fellow bikers…

This kind of biker…

Nooooot this kind of biker:

Although, the latter would have been a very dandy experience as well, I’m sure.

Anyhow, we rode around for a few hours, making pit stops every-so-often for the essentials: homemade ice cream and bake sales. Obviously.

By the end of the route, we landed in Tucson’s lovely Armory Park where there was live music, grassy hills to squat on and sip a cool beer after that heavy bike ride (or cramping arm from waving queen-like) and a few local restaurants with food tents that sold tasty snacklings at the event.

We chose a local pizzeria’s booth and all got the vegan, hummus pizza.

I die.

I wish I had grabbed some photos of the pizza but, alas, I have failed again as the best food blogger in the world. Shucks.

I did manage to grab photos throughout the ride, though so feast your eyes on these…

 

My man and his rickshaw

Miss Karlee being cute as a button

 

Nothing like a little fun in the Tucson sun!

This weekend has lots of exciting things to come. It’s the street fair here in downtown Tucson with lots of vendors selling jewelry, art pieces, and all other things you could imagine! Also, the renaissance festival is in town and who can resist a jousting fight between two long-haired, grizzly knights while sipping on a gauntlet of beer while her boyfriends feasts on a turkey leg and curses medieval obscenities at the game? Clearly, not I. Michael and I will be joining my family for a day filled with medieval fun.

One last note: I’ve got a mean recipe for some Southwestern Creamy Vegan Polenta. Mmmm Mmmm MMMM.

Come back soon πŸ™‚

xoxo

MM

I’ve returned!

It’s been about a month (or longer?) since I last posted and took my break from the technological world but I am back and pumped to be back with fingers ready to fiddle around on the macbook and enlighten you all with the latest quirks and eats that go on in my world.

So much has been happening since I was last on here. In such a short period of time I’ve been meeting new people, traveling far and wide to the rocky mountains of Denver and Boulder, Colorado. I snowboarded, I snowmobiled, I ran around on St. Patty’s day on the snow-covered streets of Denver and woke up in 80 degree weather the following morning. I’ve been baking and cooking and been cooked for by the lovely man in my life and oh ya…

we got a cat.

Quite a month the past four weeks have been and there’s several things I’ve been loving at the moment…

1. Gardening

Perhaps it’s the spring weather that has sprung the intense urge for me to sink my fingers into some soil but, whatever the reason, I’ve been really into the beauty of barefoot, dirt-digging gardening. Michael (ze boyfriend) and I recently planted some butternut squash, green chilies and tomatoes in my yard that sits quite nicely next to the lovely sunflower he potted for me when we first met. His green thumb makes up for my lack of gardening knowledge but I’m learning a lot and loving every minute of it.

2. Avocados.

This is just one food I can’t put down lately. I’ve eaten it in salads, with cucumbers in rice vinegar and just plain chopped with a dash of salt. These heart-healthy, fatty fruits are keeping me addicted these days.

3. Ovo veganatarianism

Okay, so I don’t think this term truly exists but who wants to label themselves as one thing anyway? If you’ve followed the blog before you’ll know that I’ve dipped my toes into the vegan pool before and then traveled to Spain AKA the land of all things cheesy and meaty and although meat was still off my menu, I threw the rest of veganism out the window and ate greek yogurt and eggs to my heart’s desire.

Now that I’m back in the good ol’ US of A I’m finding myself slowly but surely heading back down the path of eating more foods with less animal products. I’ve discovered I’m not too fond of holding on to a strict, vegan diet but simply enjoy wholesome foods that don’t weigh me down and, for me, dairy has been the culprit of many tummy aches lately. Therefore, it’s back to skippin the cheese and milk and looking for dairy-alternative products that I used to love so much but were not available when I was abroad. Any new products out there that I should try? I’m super into Daiya soy-free vegan cheese right now but I feel like everyone jumped on that food blogging bandwagon product quite a while ago. Anyhow, I’m always up for new ideas!

P.s. guess who celebrated their 3 year vegetarian anniversary this past month? Yay for living meat-free! πŸ™‚

4. Camping

After sleeping out amongst the desert stars about a month back, my heart has been desiring the feel of leaves atop my head and dirt beneath my toes. Michael and I have a camping trip planned soon so I believe that could be a fun future post. I’ll keep ya updated.

5. My CATS! Meow.

My wildcats had an intense game against Duke last night and came out on top to make to it the list of the elite 8. GO CATS!

6. Tucson

My good ol’ hometown seems to be re-vamping it’s style in my eyes and for all those times I’ve down right bashed Tucson for having so little to do, I have begun to feel guilty doubting my dear city’s capabilities of providing me with a good time. From fashion shows to new bars and restaurants opening and a slew of plans every Friday night, I’ve been fully enjoying my college town to it’s fullest. For the first time in a long time, it feels so good to just be home.

As for now, I’m off to do a little crystal shopping with my roommate to make some fun jewelry then it’s dinner with the boyfriend and parents tonight before the rest of the weekend shenanigans ensue.

Snow in Arizona

Besides the fact that it SNOWED today here in Tucson, this video is a fairly accurate depiction of my everyday life, living with two beautiful and crazy roommates.

Enjoy.

xoxo

MM

Rainy, Vanilla Chai Sundays

This weekend was incredible.

I was surrounded by beautiful people with hearts, minds and souls that glow with the most positive of energy you could ever imagine.

Someone told me recently that nothing in this universe is meant to be forever so we have to love everyone as much as we can for as long as we possibly can and when the love for one person ends because the universe made it so, you will find yourself faced with other loves and challenges that will complete you and teach you the true meaning of love.

With this is mind, the past few weeks I’ve been deterring my energy away from any negativity and embracing life as much as I can. It’s been wonderful πŸ™‚

The past couple of days I’ve slept on a twig bed under the stars and danced around a campfire in bare feet with micah glitter on my face. I’ve woken up to a lovely, homemade french toast breakfast by an incredible cook who has also spoiled me with homemade mashed potatoes, homemade pasta with a homemade, vegetarian spaghetti sauce and copious amounts of vanilla chai tea.

I’ve sat on the floor of a living room, upon a bed of soil and potted seeds for cucumbers, onions, lettuce, watermelon, honeydews and many more.

…and I was given one of the most lovely gifts I think I’ve ever received.

A sunny sunflower to brighten up my day, everyday.

I hope everyones weekends were as relaxed, grounded and fun-filled as mine was.

A few recipe ideas are in the works. Check back soon πŸ™‚

Song for the evening:

xoxo

MM