Welcome Back, Winter

One week ago: I went running in shorts and a t-shirt. It was a little cool for that, admittedly, but for running, it was comfortable.
Then, on Wednesday, this happened.

Almost all the snow had melted! We could see the grass! The snow mountain that shields our parking spot from the sun had disappeared! Of course, that's not as much snow as we used to have. On Wednesday we got about 3-4" of the heavy, wet kind of snow you get this time of year. It would melt easily in a day or two, if the temperature would just climb above freezing. We'll have to wait until next week for that.

Our semesters at Western are shorter than they were in Indiana - 12 weeks, vs. 15. The semester feels shorter to begin with, but it's a weird sensation for the weather to be this wintry and to know we only have 3 weeks of school left (AGH!). At least we don't have that feeling like, "It's summer weather! Who cares about school, let's go outside and play in the sunshine!"

Enough about the snow. Let's talk quesadillas!

John found this recipe on the New York times last week and we both immediately wanted to make it. A 1/4 cup lack beans, a 1/4 roasted red pepper (per serving), and an ounce of goat cheese. Delicious!

The recipe makes a single serving, but it's easy to adapt to whatever ingredients and number of servings you'd like. We made it again the next night and added some mushrooms, plus some grated mozzarella/provolone cheese, since we were running low on the goat cheese. As long as you've already made or bought the roasted red pepper, these babies only take 5 or 6 minutes to throw together. Perfect for a school night.

Here's a link to the New York Times recipe!


Vegan Chocolate Chip Scones

This week John and I hosted what has become a traveling supper club. A couple of friends of ours have each taken a turn hosting it at their houses, and this week was our turn. We decided to do brunch-for-dinner and we used recipes from Vegan Brunch - aka, my new favorite cookbook.

I decided to make chocolate chip scones. Since it was the day before St. Patrick's Day, one of our dinner friends requested something green, so I added a little food coloring.

It's a little tricky to add food coloring to what is essentially a biscuit recipe, since it's important not to over mix them. It would have made more sense to add the coloring to the liquid ingredients separately. They turned out kind of marbled.

The pilsner glasses are for the mimosas that Emilie brought.

Here's my plate:
  • Scones at 1 o'clock
  • Roasted sweet potatoes and parsnips with ginger and maple syrup (yum!), along the bottom, courtesy of Matthew.
  • Tofu scramble with red bell pepper, made by John.

It was a delicious combination of sweet and savory brunch foods. The scones turned out really well. I get nervous about vegan baking sometimes, but this recipe was very easy to do. Fun fact I learned in the process: you can curdle almond milk the same way you'd curdle cow's milk (by adding some vinegar). I'll definitely make these again; there are a lot of possible variations.

This berry scone recipe on the Post Punk Kitchen looks very similar to the one I used, only with berries instead of chocolate: click here!

The weather was amazing here this week, and it looks like we're going to stay above freezing for the next week or so. That means some spring recipes are on their way to our kitchen. Let asparagus season begin!
Do you have a favorite recipe for spring weather? If so, send it my way!


Red Velvet Cake Balls

Last weekend my parents came to visit. It was a pretty chill weekend, just a lot of hanging out, and studying in between the hanging out. The Tim Horton's 2011 Brier was taking place, which is apparently a curling championship. The tickets start at $14, and had that not been the case, I'm pretty sure we would have gone, just to check it out. Unfortunately, I don't think my attention would have lasted for $14 worth of the competition.

Instead, I had the official Tim Horton's donut of the brier.

Check out those maple leaf shaped sprinkles. You can buy them at Bulk Barn!

My mom's birthday was just after their visit, so we celebrated it one of the nights they were here. I tried to think of a chocolately dessert, and after considering several recipes, I decided on red velvet cake balls.

The only pictures I have of these are pretty blurry, but I think you get the idea. Here's how it works:

- Make a cake (red velvet in this case).
- Make cream cheese frosting for the cake.
- Crumble the cake and mix the frosting into it.
- Shape that mixture into balls and dip them in chocolate.

I used bittersweet chocolate because I wanted the chocolate flavor to be really intense. But I think semi-sweet would have been better (they were almost too intense).
I only made half the recipe - one 9" cake round and half the icing - and it made a HUGE amount of balls. Unless you're feeding, like, 20 people, I'd say halving it is definitely the way to go. I probably had 3 dozen; we sent some home with my parents and I brought the rest to school on Monday. They taste amazing - kind of like a moist, cakey truffle. I would definitely make them again!

There are lots of recipes for these on the internet. Here's the site I used:

Red Velvet Cake Balls
from Gonna Want Seconds.


Really Chilly 5K

Last Sunday was the Really Chilly Road Race out at the Western Fair Agriplex.

I was running the 5K and the race start was outside.

You can see me by my blue scarf and magenta head band, trying to stay warm in the 28 degree misty rain. All things considered, the weather was better than it could have been.

John didn't run, but he came along to take pictures and be supportive.

The course was mostly pretty flat and went by quickly. Thankfully there were only a few snowy spots and the roads were well salted. Though I had my concerns all week about whether the road would be too icy for racing, I was able to maintain the pace I wanted.

Almost to the finish!

The race ended inside. My glasses were really wet from the rain and then they sort of fogged up when we got inside, so I was a little confused about where the finish was at first. But I was able to finish with enough effort to sprint at the end.

My time was somewhere between 28:00 and 28:11. This was my first 5K under 30 minutes, and it's a goal I've had for over a year, so I was pretty pleased! When my glasses cleared enough for me to see the finish clock, and it still said 27:xx.... I knew I would finish well under my time goal and I think I said "YES!" to myself as I came up to the finish.

I find races in London are a bit pricier than the local Bloomington 5Ks were, but the swag is also nicer. For the Really Chilly race we got long sleeve tech shirts, in this extremely vibrant blue color. Here I am modeling it after my run on Wednesday.

I feel like my eyes look a little crazed in this picture. It's the endorphins, I swear.

My next race isn't until May, but it's a 10K, so I need to make up a training plan and get started in a couple of days. The last one I did was my first, and my only goals will be to run the entire time and to beat my previous time of about 64:00 (something I feel should be well within my reach). By then, who knows - maybe the snow will be gone and I'll be racing in shorts!