Tuesday, September 27, 2011

almost halfway.

four tests in a week???
i swear my teachers are colluding against me.
"oh yeah - killing jess sounds like fun!"
"sweet let's do it!"

especially that hot guy in class.
yesssss please!

not all fairy tales turn out the way we think huh?

i'm going to admit it.
i have an obsession with pinterest.
it's baaaaaad.
(but oh so gooooood at the same time!)
you get my meaning?

one of my recent finds...
pumpkin pie shake!

for those who live in the frozen tundra (loving called iceburg rexburg) we have this amazing restaurant called sammy's.
their pumpkin pie shakes?
to diiiiiiiiie for.
especially when you get a piece of crust that survived the blender.
oh heavens... i might just die and go to heaven thinking about it!

anywho, in anticipation for one of my four favorite seasons of the entire year... a recipe! for pure deliciousness.

vegan, serves 2-3
(random side-note: i've always wondered what it would be like to be vegan or vegetarian... you'll probably be hearing more about this later.)

15 ounces organic canned pumpkin - 1 can (not pie mix)
1/4 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup non-dairy milk, vanilla (soy or hemp preferred)
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup vegan chai tea concentrate
2 tbsp soy milk creamer
2 dashes cinnamon
1 dash cayenne
2 dashes nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups ice (coconut water ice cubes approved for this pie shake)
optional: 1/2 frozen banana, pinch of flax seed oil/meal for added nutrition


1. add all your ingredients, except the ice, to the blender.

2. blend on high until smooth. yes the pumpkin will make this smoothie thick, so be patientwhile blending. if you need to add more 'milk' go ahead.

3. keep blending and slowly add in the ice. make sure it blends icy-smooth! again, if you need to add a bit more liquid, do it gradually. you can always do a taste test before pouring and modify as needed to suit your own tastes. i added in a few extra cashews because I liked the body and flavor that they added.

4. pour, sprinkle with cinnamon on top. whipped rice cream-optional, but yummy.

serve! delicious any time of day. dessert-friendly.

and yes, it will taste like pumpkin pie! 
bold... beautiful pumpkin flavor. 

notes and alterations:

table for One? just making this smoothie for yourself? you can easily halve the ingredients for a nice sized smoothie for 1.
creamier? if you want to turn up the 'creaminess' a notch, add in a bit more soy cream, non-dairy milk and even a spray of whipped cream blended right into the blender.
dessert please! you can easily make this into a delicious pumpkin-ice-cream style shake by removing 1 cup of ice from the recipe and replacing it with a big scoop of vegan soy/hemp/coconut/rice cream. vanilla flavor of course.
perfectly pumpkin: feeling super adventurous and cringe at 'canned veggies'. well OK, grab a 'pie pumpkin' roast it, puree it and chill the pumpkin puree in the fridge. use it in place of canned!

go do it!
(and tell me what you think.)


today is one of those days that i am so grateful to have a wonderful family.
simply because my sister makes me dinner when i am pushing to get a homework assignment done on time.
she's pretty much the bomb.com.
and even though i missed my mom's 4 phone calls, i still know that she loves me enough to call. 
even though i'm in class.
and my brother telling me about an acronym that his 8th grade teacher taught him to remember the first presidents of the united states. do i remember them? no. but i sure appreciated him telling me!

Friday, September 23, 2011

random (and unadulterated) musings of a friday morning...

just a few thoughts for the day...


(you can see that I am missing israel badly when i start looking at ethnic foods...)
recipe from bobby flay



  • 2 cups soaked chickpeas (chickpeas need to be soaked in cold water for at least 18 hours and up to 24 hours), add more water if necessary
  • Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 or 2 serrano chiles, chopped
  • 2 green onions (white and green part) finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 3 teaspoons coriander seeds, toasted and ground
  • Scant 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Piquillo Pepper Yogurt Sauce:

  • 2 cups thick Greek yogurt
  • 3 piquillo or 2 roasted red peppers
  • 1 teaspoon smoked sweet Spanish paprika
  • 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

White Bean Hummus:

  • 3 cups white beans, cooked, or canned, drained and rinsed
  • 6 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1 tablespoon harissa
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Tomato Relish:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 4 vine-ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Falafel:


Drain the chickpeas through a colander then place on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to absorb any excess moisture. Chickpeas should be totally dry.
Heat 4-inches peanut or vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until it reaches 330 degrees F on a deep-fry thermometer.
While the oil is heating, heat the olive oil in a small saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and serrano chiles and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.
Transfer the chickpeas to a food processor, add the garlic mixture, green onions, parsley, mint, cilantro, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, baking powder, salt and pepper and process until the mixture is finely ground, stopping to scrape the bowl every 30 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.
Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Form the mixture into balls the size of ping pong balls and place on a plate. Fry in batches at 330 degrees F until a pale blonde color, about 45 seconds, spooning oil over the falafel constantly. Remove with a slotted spoon to the baking sheet. Increase the heat of the oil to 350 degrees F. Return the falafel to the oil, in batches, cover the pan with a lid for 30 seconds and fry until a deep brown color, spooning the oil over the falafel constantly. Remove with a slotted spoon to baking sheet lined with paper towels, and immediately season with salt.

For the yogurt sauce:

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth; season with salt and pepper to taste and transfer to a small bowl. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, covered, to allow the flavors to meld.
Variation: Substitute 2 cups feta cheese for the yogurt, and add 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley.

For the hummus:

Place beans, garlic, harissa, lemon juice, and tahini in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

For the relish:

Whisk the oil, vinegar, and smoked paprika in a small bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss. The tomatoes should be lightly dressed.
Serve falafel with yogurt sauce, hummus and relish on the side.

my mission for this weekend:

and my mommy's coming up this weekend.
best. weekend. ever!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

just keep swimming.

i am not the type of person that goes broadcasting when i have bad days. usually, only those people really close to me are "privileged" enough to see that side of me. everyone else just sees the happy, smiling, bubbly person.
(today was a not-so-fantastic day)
just one of those days that you muddle through. 
one of those days when nothing feels good.
one of those days when you feel stuck. and unproductive...
one of those days that your bed is the only place in the whole wide world that you want to go, and yet it is the last place that you can be. because you are running in about a gajillion other directions. (yup. that was me today.)

so, in honor of those no-so-stellar days: 

i have a new obsession.
now i just have to figure out how to make them. (and possibly learn how to knit in the process...)

i am super ready for fall baking!!!
i love the smells, the tastes, the colors... pretty much everything except for the wind. (i can actually handle the cold. even in a wasteland such as rexburg. it's just the cold. i swear it seeps into your very soul...)
here is a perfect (and potentially healthy) snack to get you into the fall mood:

{Pumpkin Pie Dip} (from skinnytaste.com via pinterest)
  • 15 oz can pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (Splenda would work too)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or more to taste)
  • 6 oz fat free Greek yogurt
  • 8 oz cool whip free
  • cut up apples to dip (extra points)

Mix pumpkin with brown sugar, vanilla and spices, blend well. Mix in yogurt. Fold in cool whip and chill in refrigerator until ready to eat.
Makes about 6 cups.

tomorrow's gonna be a good one.
i can just feel it. :)

May you live all the days of your life.
Jonathan Swift

Friday, September 16, 2011

a little soothing music to put you in the right mood for the weekend. 
say bye bye school.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

reading and grilled cheese. two of my favs.

i really think that i had forgotten how hard {wednesdays} were.
today has been brutal! (good luck i don't have a lot of homework or i would be pretty much toast...)

i know i talked about the soul-searching aspect that always seems to accompany the beginning of each new semester, but some people can say it so much better than i can.

pictures from 365q.ca

so i am a pretty big quote geek. back at home, i have quote books from high school, i copy quotes and keep them on my computer, i type them in my phone and send them to myself so that i don't forget them... i love reading what people that are much wiser than me have to say about the world.
the last quote has always confused me. not that i didn't understand what it was supposed to mean, i knew what it was saying, i just didn't get it. i do now. having lived in a different country for even three months - leaving my family, having to fend for myself (ie not blow all the money that i had), meeting tons of new people was all part of an amazing adventure.
but coming home was special.
i don't know if i can quite explain it adequately, but it was an eye-opening experience to come home and see how blessed i am. and how often i take all of those blessings for granted.
like going for a walk by myself.
wearing shorts.
sitting on the grass under a crystal clear sky.
hearing my younger brothers fight. because i am with my family.
having to run errands for my mom, but getting to drive around in my car.
sharing my beliefs with others.
having so many clothes that i don't know what to do with them anymore...

on another note, i read something really cool from this awesome blog - i love reading it... it always makes me laugh.
it also made me feel justified in bringing home six books from the library today... (i have no idea when i'm going to read them - but don't judge me! i couldn't put them back!!!)

Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but...she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.

-- Rosemary Urquico

and it this weren't random enough already, we have to speak of food! the world would probably explode if i didn't...
this looks pretty much like the ultimate in grilled cheese.
i can almost feel my arteries clogging up looking at it, but it looks so good! 

and finally! 
a homemade solar oven to cook s'mores. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

me want fooooooood!

here we are, two days into the semester.
so far we haven't died! so i guess this is a good thing...

as with every semester, there are always the new (school) year resolutions, the awkward times that you are talking to your new roommates and there is that prolonged silence when neither of you can think of what to say............... and as always, a bit of soul-searching.
who am i?
why am i here?
is this really what i want to be doing for the rest of my life?

or better yet...
am i going to be able to handle this all without going completely crazy?
and finally:
why aren't there any cute guys in my classes? (ha ha ha... but seriously!)

life is finally starting to settle down again. i'm moved in, but unpacking will probably be occurring in stages over the next few days... in the meantime, i am excited that i only have two more semesters until i graduate! are you sure that i am ready to be thrown out into the real world? there are some days when i really feel like i just got out of high school. i mean, i'm actually in college??? weird.

i know that you really missed all of my cooking escapades this summer.
i'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!
and with a vengence. muahahaha!

i haven't tried these yet, but they are the next on my list of cooking to-dos.
indian summer stew

flourless peach yogurt tart
(going to that class a few weeks ago really opened my eyes to all of the things that you can make without flour... i sense a new obsession coming on.)

cucumber and tomato salad with cubed foccacia bread.

i actually just think that i am super hungry right now, cuz everything i'm looking at is sounding especially delicious. i guess i could go on posting pictures, but that might end up getting a little ridiculous. 
but it is definitely time for bed. 
nite all!

Friday, September 9, 2011

well hello sunshine!

i love waking up early and sitting on the couch with my chilly toes stuck under a gigantic mound of blankets, with my computer and a big cup of hot chocolate. 

ooooh yes, i am sooooo ready for fall right now.

i've decided it's been too long since you've gotten any music, and i've been feeling in a somewhat indie mood as of late, so here ya go.

beware. this is what happens when i am allowed to sit and surf the web uninterrupted. 

i listened to her version of elton john's song: your song this morning, and fell in love with ellie goulding's voice. 

i've been doing projects with my mom straight for the past few weeks that i've been home, so i've got major crafts on the brain. this is my next project:

and for the piece de resistance - i want to try this!
recipe here

my toes are warm, the hot cocoa is gone, and mom is finally up. time to start the day!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

a leisurely labor day

it's high time i update you all (if there really is anyone out there reading this sad, sorry excuse of a blog...) about what has been going on in my life.
you thought you had seen the last of me after i got home from jerusalem... bahahahaha!
i'm back.

other than the constant ebb and flow of daily life (consisting mainly of getting up, running errands for mom, checking stuff off of the mile-long to do list that she leaves on the counter for me... and possibly getting in the shower before everyone gets home from school...) we have managed to have a few adventures here in little ol' nampa. crazy thought huh?

my sister and i went camping before labor day - actually we were commissioned to head up there earlier in the week so that no one would take our spot! but the parents actually let us go... alone!
we did have one steak knife to protect us.
i'm pretty sure the mosquitoes were terrified of two young, knife-wielding girls.

lost lake.
but we found it!

what camping trip is complete without a fire dance?

i always knew she had magical powers.

dinner is on!

to be fair, it did make the fire nice and toasty...

hobo dinners.
and camping.
my summer is now complete.

we got home, i ran down to salt lake for one of my best-friend's-in-the-whole-wide-world's-wedding...

cheaters... they were all wearing 3 inch heels.
of course, i wore flats.

...and then back to twin falls to see my cousin's daughter get baptized! 
the rest of the family met me there, and then we cruised back on home, and back up to lost lake!
but this time we came with reinforcements. (not just the steak knife...)

it was noon and still cold.
so we went on a walk and ran from sunny spot to sunny spot.

feel the warmth!

good morning world!!!

i swear this stump is gonna collapse any second...

and don't forget the cliff jumping!

now after all that fun, i might just be ready to pack it all back up and head back to school.

or not.