Quinoa Milk

Quinoa milk seems like an odd enough way to return to the blog!

It’s summer and the goal is to enjoy it but also to live as frugal as possible. With time on my hands, that means it’s DIY time. I ran out of almond milk and am reluctant to purchase any more because my favorite kind, which tasted like marshmallows, was recently discontinued. Rather than buy a different almond milk, which would probably taste like disappointment, I made a vegan milk of my own from quinoa. Using quinoa instead of almonds is ideal because this way I’m not expecting to taste my former almond milk love! It’s an entirely different flavor. 


All I did was cook a tiny batch of quinoa with water until it was perfectly fluffy. After it cooled, I filled the Magic Bullet blender with half quinoa, and the other half water. Then I added a tiny dash of sea salt, along with a few drops of vanilla and blended until it was all liquid. The next step should have been to strain the remaining sediments but I don’t have cheesecloth on hand, so I just poured it from one container to the next, leaving out the grainy bits that had sunk to the bottom. It’s best served chilled.

photo (8)


I’m keeping the quinoa milk in an old kombucha bottle. The above picture is after I shook it, so all the foam is at the top. 

photo (7)


I tried out the quinoa milk yesterday in my late night snack of granola and berries and found it oddly satisfying. This morning I was surprised to find that it went really well in my iced coffee! It wasn’t as grainy as I imagined it would be, in fact, it was actually pretty smooth. I like the nutty flavor and love that it’s a subtle way of adding protein.  I also like that it is frugal and easy to make- just quinoa, water, salt, vanilla and a blender. Give the cows a break and try quinoa milk! 

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Falafel Burger

I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner (by reading blogs<- see it can be productive!) and was inspired to make falafel. I think it was the simplicity of the recipe/ingredient list that had me captivated. I knew I had most of the stuff on hand so I set to work to make a couple of burgers.


^Don’t mind the sad broccoli- that’s what happens when you cook frozen veg without much thought!

I used the recipe above as a guideline and made mine with:

1 can chickpeas

handful of oats (for texture)

handful of panko breadcrumbs

lots of cumin AND curry

minced garlic

handful of ground flax

pinch of sea salt

Blended half the can, kept the other half in tact so there would be texture. Mixed it together by hand in a huge bowl, then made patties to cook in a pan for a few minutes til slightly golden/brown. SUPER SIMPLE!

It was so delicious. It took like 5 minutes to make, which is very cool and it’s pretty healthy. Severin loves falafel and enjoyed these! We had them with ketchup, fresh from the garden tomato and a slice of mozzarella on whole wheat buns. It did seem redundant to eat on buns but I think we’ll live. It cancelled out the kale smoothie I had choked down for breakfast (blech- that doesn’t blend well)!

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Summer Treat: Frugal Vegan Ice Cream


Or should I say vegan ice creme or ic’ream or some other variation of the word, since it is not actually a milk-based literal ‘ice cream’? I wonder if kids who grow up vegan are going to be under the impression that ice cream is spelled like “kind kreme” or that chicken is spelled “chik’n”. This is a serious matter…

Not that I’d know- it is a costly habit to buy vegan ice cream. So I stick with my 19cent bananas and make the most of them. I was about to have plain banana ice cream (just bananas with a splash of vanilla almond milk) as a snack right now but I craved something with more texture than the usual banana ice cream. My first thought was to scoop some chocolate hazelnut butter into the shake but then I realized I ate 3 whole jars in like a month awhile back, so my supply of that is nonexistent. Solution? Get to the root of things!

I threw some hazelnuts in the Magic Bullet, along with Whole Foods brand vegan chocolate chips and whirred away. The result was great! It reminded me of a Cookies n Cream Twister from Foster’s Freeze, which I am guilty of having on occasion since it’s a nice treat after walking the mile and a half up and down a huge hill to get from my house to civilization. Do make this for yourself so you can see how good vegan ice cream can be! I love that there are so many possibilities.

What’s your favorite?

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Filming around Northeast L.A.


*wrote this post awhile ago but never got around to publishing it til now…

Look where I was!! Severin+I took a short bus ride into Pasadena and stopped at City Hall. Pawnee City Hall! I am OBSESSED with Parks and Rec right now, even more so since Severin got me Season 2 for Christmas. So when I figured out that Parks and Rec shot nearby, I had to go check it out. I was insanely excited to be there!! Imagine if I had stumbled upon them filming- I am sure I would have passed out from excitement. 

Even more so had I been there during Li’l Sebastian’s Memorial Service!491

025^Recognize this building? I think it’s the library exterior, which would make sense since it’s located diagonal from City Hall, perfect for running to and fro.

Something else I saw prepping to shoot recently was a scene for the new Spiderman movie. I ran past it/through it early in the morning and later that night Andrew Garfield was there. I wish I had caught some web-slinging in action but I worked that night…


And something else that was shooting recently was The Gangster Squad. All early winter I had biked past crew parking and base camp on my bike rides to work in South Pasadena and I finally looked it up and realized what it was. A Ryan Gosling movie! *swoon* And they did some filming at my favorite place ever- the local $6 theater! I can’t wait to see the movie there, except I’m sure I’ll be wondering why they couldn’t have left the props up that made it look much nicer than it really is.

And on my way to work recently, I biked past Modern Family filming! They shoot in Pasadena often so I bet our paths will cross again, which would be fun.

I have lived in Los Angeles all my life but I still find the movie-biz stuff intriguing! Universal Studios is my favorite theme park and I do run into this stuff all the time so why not let myself be entranced with it? I’m pretty cynical but it’s fun to embrace the town for what it is most of the time.

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Hollywood Half Marathon and 5K

*hey there! Haven’t wrote in awhile because I’ve been super busy with school and work and whining about being injured for past couple months-but I think I’m better now! 

Saturday April 7,2012 was the Inaugural Hollywood Half Marathon, 10K + 5K. Inaugural meaning its-the-first-one-so-everything-was-a-big-confusing-mess (to put it nicely). It was very fun though!


Our day began a little after 3am. We were supposed to leave around 4 and I had just enough time to chug a ton of coffee and have a rice cake with chocolate hazelnut butter. Totally not enough food but I was so sleepy I just grabbed the first thing I saw. My dad and brother were race supporters for the day; my mom was running the half marathon and I was signed up for the 5K. We got to Universal Studios way earlier than anyone ever should. It was a very short ride over there but we arrived early to avoid chaos, which there was an abundance of!

The half marathon started at 6am. My mom had put in the hard work during training and was more than ready for the race. She and I had signed up for the run because it seemed really fun, especially since it was to end at Universal Studios/Citywalk. The reality is that did not happen- the race had many mix-ups: course changes, a huge absence  of necessary information, etc. Anyway, after paying $15 for parking (realllly!?!) we used the bathrooms at Universal Studios Citywalk (nice) and then did it again and again as runners tend to do before a race. We walked to the start of the race, shared a banana and waited in a long line for the porta-potties. We were lucky enough to witness a woman walk into an occupied porta-potty, scream and run away shrieking. Priceless reaction! It was still dark at this point- she must have thought it was a scary Universal Studios attraction (‘King Kong, is that you?!’). My mom went to the starting line and I went with my dad and brother to watch the runners run through Citywalk. It was a little weird how they only allowed a handful of runners to start at a time, but there simply wasn’t room for more since it’s a very narrow space. We saw some interesting runners- a guy with a watermelon on his head, Cat on the Hat, Batman, a group of Elvises, Sean Astin (of Lord of the Rings) and my mom as Hunger Games’ Katniss, Girl on Fire. 


Once we cheered everyone on at the start, we made our way down the hill where my dad and brother were going to wait at the Finish Line. I had thought my race began at CityWalk as well and I think originally it was supposed to but instead it was 3 miles away- seems lame that the races would be so far away from each other. I had planned on getting a ride over or taking the bus but there was no bus service since Hollywood Blvd. was closed and traffic was already insane. It would have been VERY smart to have brought my bike but I forgot…It was 3 in the morning and I had worked the night before- I was a little out of it. Sleepy smile I realized I had an hour til my race started at 8am, so I left my sweater and sweats with my brother and sprinted over to the start.

I was absolutely ravenous at this point, having been up for so long but all I had on me was a fruit strip. I was freezing cold and ran pretty fast to keep warm. In about 24 minutes, I had made it to Hollywood and Highland! I thought that was too early but retracted that thought when I saw the line for the bathroom. I exited with 10 minutes to spare and spent that time jogging the Walk of Fame to get into the rope-in race starting line. I love when streets are shut down to cars, and since it was right in front of the El Capitan Theater, it looked exactly like the final scene from The Muppet Movie!

I squeezed myself to the front of the pack because after all the crowded races I have under my belt, I know better than to stick in the back. Also, being 5feet I can easily make my way through a crowd, Tetris-style. I took a second to stretch, set my shuffle to cheery ‘Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard’, heard the National Anthem being sung and then it was time to go! I was more than warmed-up and excited to race, something I hadn’t done for year.

I took off and don’t remember much besides ‘oh man, this is gonna be over soon’!’ And ‘it’d be pretty lame, but can I just walk? I’m tired’. It was sunny out but it didn’t feel good; I’m grateful it was such a windy day because that wind was refreshing. The race wasn’t particularly pretty, just Hollywood touristy stuff, dudes in lab coats outside pot shops (‘I don’t believe that man’s ever been to medical school.’), and half-marathoners running towards us 5+10k’ers. I was preoccupied with trying to find my mom in the crowd and then it was the half-mile turnaround. At this point, I was running solo except for a few tall, older men I was trying to keep up with. A few blocks from the finish-line, I realized I was pushing my body way harder than it expected- my abs were killing me, I could feel the 5k I had already done in my legs and I was about to puke. I finished the race dry-heaving to the sound of the announcer congratulating me for finishing as one of the top 10 females.  And now here’s one of the best race pictures I’ve ever seen of myself…


thanks to action sports images for the pic!

I managed not to puke! But as soon as I crossed the finish-line, I had to sit and collect myself. The cold air did not help my weak gag reflex. I got my medal, ate half a banana, grabbed a water bottle and jogged back to Universal Studios to meet my family. Turns out my mom and I crossed our respective finish lines at the same time. Party smile Major congrats to her!


I’m pretty happy with my time too. Since I haven’t run much since the beginning of the year, I attribute this to my daily sprint workouts- running the half-mile to catch the bus every morning! Relying on my feet, my bike and public transportation to get around definitely has its benefits.

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Homemade Mexican Seitan Tacos


I ate the most delicious tacos ever last night! And the night before too, actually, since Plant Food for People was set up at the Art Walk. Those were the most delicious jackfruit tacos, these are the most delicious seitan tacos.

I was starving from the day’s activity- a 1 1/2 mile trail run (long run cut short by the worst cramps ever) followed by playing in the deserted playground at the Rose Bowl with my little brother (I guess all the other kids were still snug in bed at 7am on a Sunday morning? I wonder what that’s like…) while we waited for my parents’ to be done with their runs. When we got home, I did some kitchen prepwork to be ready for the week- I cleaned out the fridge, made some seitan and set out on a run to go get bananas from Trader Joe’s. It’s only 2 1/2 miles away and I made it there in 20 minutes! I walked back home with my heavy load (20 bananas!) while chatting on the phone with Severin, who has just returned to Berkeley for school. It was a nice walk; I love sneaking in workouts like that!

When I got home I couldn’t resist the enticing seitan aroma, so I organized it to make later cooking prep easier. I had baked it as a huge square so I was able to slice some (for sandwiches) and shred the rest (for tacos, stirfries). It looks so creepily meatlike, doesn’t it?


Let me tell you how I did this! I based my recipe off of Elise’s, to get measurements right.

Mexican Seitan

3 cups of vital wheat gluten

1 3/4 water

a generous squeeze of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos

a spoonful of nutritional yeast

a spoonful of garlic powder

lots of ground cumin! <—that’s what makes it Mexican

making things Mexican on The Office…

Mix everything together. Let sit for a few minutes while oven heats, then wrap in foil and cook at 350 for at least 45minutes- definitely check on it to get texture you want, i.e. not burnt!

Just 5 minutes to effortlessly mix some ingredients and you have yourself some very tasty faux meat. My favorite part is that it’s a whole lot cheaper than store-bought.

The Mexican Seitan Tacos I had last night consisted of toasted corn tortillas smeared with sour cream+refried beans, baby lettuce, hot sauce and sautéed seitan with bell peppers. It was really really good. I can see myself enjoying a burrito like this for a quick lunch after class/before work.

A fridge full of seitan is a good thing to have. Go make some!


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If Only: Kale Tacos


If only the ubiquitous taco trucks of Los Angeles (particularly around my hood of northeast LA) sold kale tacos. It would be as simple as serving up the carne asada ones they now serve. Okay, maybe it’d be more costly but at least it’d be a whole lot healthier! And in my opinion, tastier.

I’m currently obsessed with kale. Kale in Asian stir-fries, kale with toast for breakfast, and kale tacos for lunch and dinner. After spending many an evening at work cooking ‘Crispy Kale’ for kids according to my lovely employer’s specifications, I decided to do it for myself at home. And now I can’t stop. Crispy Kale (kale with salt and evoo on the stove in a pan) works well wrapped in a corn tortilla alone but also tastes excellent when consumed alongside lots of Tapatio, black beans and feta cheese when I can afford it. Some crimini mushrooms or sweet potato chunks bulk up this dish but to the point where you won’t want to eat this in company. But then again, if your company disproves of eating kale tacos with black bean juice and hot sauce dripping out of your hand, then what kind of company is that?

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