Obsessed

Only 3 hours ago, I was a complete iPhone virgin. Now? I’m head-over-heels obsessed.

I’ve already set up an Instagram account, synced my Twitter, and downloaded the WordPress app. In other words, now I have no excuse not to say hello to all of you lovely people.

If you’re interested in hearing more from me, please follow my Twitter (@kabochavore) and Instagram feed (@kabochavore). Check out what yummy things I’m cooking up here!

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Back in Action & Ready to Go

Oh hello there, lovely people! How are you today?

After a longer than expected hiatus, I’m back and ready to blog it up. I’ve been so busy with work and college prep that I wasn’t sure I would be able to dedicate the amount of energy I wanted to my little part of the internet and to you, my lovely readers. I thank you all for your continued support and love. Thanks to Twitter, I’ve seen a few new faces popping up around Kabochavore, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. Welcome!

I have lots of new projects in the works, including writing for One Green Planet (check it out here) and hopefully launching my own little bakery business on campus. I look forward to sharing my college journey with you, as well as continuing to improve the blogging that you have all come to know. New posts will include more delicious recipes, how-to posts on food and life, and anything that inspires me (and hopefully you, too). I’m pumped, and I hope you are, too!

Although I’m ready to start blogging regularly again, I do have one slight problem. I host Kabochavore.com through WordPress, which has a set amount of memory. Unfortunately, I have almost reached my max! Are there any bloggers or web geniuses out there that can give me some advice? I don’t know if I should switch to a new platform (such as self-hosting on Bluehost, Dream host, etc.) or just buy more memory here. What’s your take?

 

Now that you know what I’ve been up to, I’d love to hear from you. How’s your summer been? What foods are you currently making you salivate? Where do you draw your inspiration from? 

 

Love. Encouragement. Bliss.

Mandiee

15 Years

After 15 years of late night study sessions, giggles with friends, and insightful discussions with teachers, I am finally saying goodbye to my school and second home.

Class of 2012, it’s been amazing. Next stop, California!

Happy Graduation 2012 to me and my greatest supporter + friend, my mom.

I’ve been savoring every moment and simply living life. Once I get back from California for college orientation, you can bet I’ll be back here for a recap and a return to normal blogging. But for now, I could not be happier just loving everything around me.

Wild Blueberry Lemon Muffins

You know what they say, you never forget how to ride a bike…

…err, I mean, bake. I’ve been making my usual staples time and time again (apple nutmeg muffins, I’m looking at you!), but this weekend I finally got back into the kitchen to experiment. I made vanilla donuts, two types of reduced-sugar and -fat frostings, gluten-free + vegan donuts, and wild blueberry muffins.

I just couldn’t help myself! Even though just the thought of turning the oven on the summer heat makes me sweat, the breeze that flowed through my kitchen made the rising temperaturse much more bearable. There’s just nothing like a warm summer breeze, sweet fresh blueberries, and good company. After all, part of the fun of baking is sharing with the ones you love.

Welcome back to you, summer! I see many more fresh salads, sweet berries, and tantalizing treats to come.

Wild Blueberry and Lemon Muffins

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  •  3/4 cup wild blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1-1/2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer + 2 TBS warm water, whisked together
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 TBS Earth Balance or coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp lemon extract (optional)
  • zest from 1 lemon + extra for garnish
  • oats (for garnish)
  1. Preheat oven to 350*F. 
  2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and wild blueberries. 
  3. In another bowl, combine prepared egg replacer, sugar, almond milk, earth balance/coconut oil, vanilla extract, lemon extract, and lemon zest. 
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. 
  5. Evenly distribute batter into 6 muffin cups. (If you have a 12-cup muffin tin, you can easily double the batter or fill half of the tin with water instead of batter to ensure even baking.) 
  6. Sprinkle oats and extra lemon zest on each muffin, if desired. 
  7. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into each muffin comes out clean. 
  8. Cool on a wire-rack. Enjoy with freshly squeezed lemonade. 

In the Dark

Yesterday, the day I usually photograph my What I Ate Wednesday eats, my house lost power. It was a complete shock because the weather was not very hot (which is usually the cause of power outages thanks to the numerous air conditions running). Consequently, I was unable to document my eats as usual. No power meant no oven, no microwave, no lights. It was time to get creative.

I must have been wearing a pair of crabby pants because the minor inconvenience made me quite irritable and grouchy. I was a complete grump—I’ll own up to it. Fortunately, I used it as a learning experience. Instead of giving into myself and just going to sleep early, I stayed up late (as usual) and tried to find things to do. Sure, cooking was a challenge by candle light and flashlight, but reading was actually enjoyable. I very rarely read without any other stimulation (music, lights, tv, etc.), and by the end I found myself more relaxed than ever. Surprisingly, all my anxieties were gone.

Once I realized that I really had no immediate need for electricity and could get along just fine, I wondered what was really bothering me. It came down to this:

  1. Fear. I am very routien-oriented and fear any kind of deviation. Although I did not need power to survive, not having it made me feel off balance and fear the unknown. Ultimately, I was afraid that a bigger problem was at hand. I felt unsafe and powerless.
  2. Hunger. Truth be told, my blood sugar was low, and I needed food FAST. Usually I can keep my hunger-induced grouchiness under control (relatively), but not yesterday.
The first reason, fear, was difficult to remedy. By reading quietly, I finally relaxed. However, I know that the problem is much deeper. I’m a work in progress! Luckily, the second problem was much easier to solve. Here’s some of the eats that the camera caught before the power went out:

Vegan + Gluten-Free Strawberry Scones (made with avocado instead of butter/earth balance)

Roasted Asparagus and Tomato Salad with Chickpeas, Basil, and Tomato Sauce (Nooch sprinkles on top!)

Vegan Ceasar Salad (Made with Raw Avocado Dressing)

Blacked Tofu with Crispy Kale, Roasted Red Pepper and Asparagus, and Eggplant Fries

In the end, I’m almost glad the power went out. It gave me a chance to relax completely and served as a learning experience. In the end, I’m just thankful to have power in the first place. I now realize that I often take this precious gift for granted.

What do you like to cook when the power’s out? What’s one thing you’re thankful for today?

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

Free At Last

Well, hello there! How are you on this beautiful Monday? It’s been much too long since we last chatted!

Now that senior testing week and AP exams are over, I’m finally free. I still have one month of school left before I graduate, but it is going to be pretty chill. Instead of going to classes like usual, I am doing an internship at my school’s early childhood center. I look forward to waking up each morning, knowing that I get to play with 16 loveable, sweet, energetic 4-and-5-year-olds all day long.

This weekend was devoted to recovering lost sleep (I’m still greatly in debt!), college shopping with my mom, and just enjoying the smile beauty of summer. Because of that, I haven’t been concocting anything too blog worthy lately. However, I would still like to share a few things I have been enjoying amidst studying.

Now that summer is here to stay, my salad cravings have been out of control. I enjoyed both of these salads (one with roasted asparagus, the other with roasted broccoli and carrots) right before AP exams.

There were the perfect light, fresh foods to keep me fueled through 6 (yes, SIX!) grueling hours of testing.

I was also lucky enough to enjoy big, succulent long-stem strawberries from my great uncle. For Christmas, he gave my grandmother a subscription to Harry and David’s fruit of the month club. Her and I look forward to sharing the box every month. It is honestly some of the freshest, juiciest fruit I’ve ever tasted!

We’ve had quite an abundance of strawberries in my house lately, so I decided to make showcase them in homemade scones.

I made these scones super healthy by using whole grain (gluten-free) flour, stevia instead of sugar, and even avocado instead of butter! These scones were definitely not the butter-and-sugar-laden bricks my great-grandmother used to enjoy with tea, but I’m sure she would have enjoyed them just the same.

 

What foods are you enjoying with the increase in temperature? Have you ever tried to health-ify one of your family’s recipes? 

 

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

 

Food from the Day [What I Ate Wednesday]

It’s hard to believe, but this is my last “real” week of high school. Ever. It also happens to be testing week (aka test + paper in every class week), AP week #1, and final club meetings week. Oh, and I have multiple pineapples sitting on my counter just begging to be cut. Doh.

If you see me running around like my head’s cut off, now you know why. Thus this What I Ate Wednesday is going to be a little different.

Included are a few pictures of food from the day, but as you can imagine, my camera was pretty far from my mind the past few days. My AP review book (complete with kabocha stickers!), however, has been attached at my hip.

Fortunately, I did have some escape this weekend thanks to time spent in the kitchen. I not only baked some vegan macaroons (bananaroonies!) to reward myself for studying, but I also prepped a special batch of cookies for a bake sale at school.

Yesterday, the senior class organized a giant surprise birthday party for a sophomore who is currently battling with an auto-immune disease that will eventually take over her body. It was so amazing to know that we were able to give her true joy during such a challenging time. My s’mores cookies may not be able to cure her of her disease, but hopefully they helped raise some money to help fund research for others in need. Every little effort counts!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to the pick-nick lunch because I had to take a test. However, I did show my support and even dined on sweet potato fries and other roasted veggies from my packed lunch in honor of the burgers+fries outside my classroom window.

For dinner, I made my favorite sandwich (open face, of course) that I haven’t had in ages. Every time I want to make it, I either don’t have a ripe avocado or roasted kabocha squash. Seriously, why are ripe avocados so hard to find? I can never find them at their peak ripeness… except for yesterday. Perfection: achieved.

But let’s be honest; isn’t everything better with avocado? From a former self-proclaimed avocado-hater, that’s saying a lot. Heck, now I even like avocado with my chocolate!

Well, that’s about it for me. Tell me, what have you been eating this week? Do you like participating in bake sales? 

I’ll be back in a few days with the recipe for the s’mores cookies. Until then, I have some serious studying to do!

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee