Sunday, June 20, 2010

First Shabbos!

I was so happy to set my alarm for 8 instead of 6:30 on Thursday night and strolled into breakfast with my fixins. I made oats with banana and walnuts which really hit the spot.
I also had some black coffee with a little sugar. Coffee is coffee at this point, know what I mean?
After doing some easy stretching and letting my breakfast fully digest, I threw on my workout shoes and actually went for a run around the campus. I came up with a loop around the school that starts uphill and finishes downhill. I did it four times and then cooled down on a shady grassy area behind some dorms. Then I did some circuits that I picked up from the Jillian DVD which included jumping jacks, push ups, bicycles, toe touches, high knees, butt kicks, and double crunches. Then I finished up with some more sit ups in my room (cause the grass was attacking me) and stretching.

I basically lazed around my room after my shower, anticipating seeing some of my favorite ladies for Shabbos from when I was here last winter. I knew there was going to be intense amounts of delicious food so I wanted to leave plenty of room. The cafeteria kitchen pretty much shuts down on Friday in preparation for shabbos but they do leave some potato kugel. I enjoyed a few pieces with some hummus,
and also and orange. It would be a long time before eating again and this little lunch did a good job holding me over.
The family who housed my roomie Chelsea and I were really nice and the kids were bundles of energy!
Meet my alarm clocks. These two came bursting in the next morning and it's a good thing I can quickly flex my abs because yes, there was stomach jumping.
Both our Shabbos dinner and lunch and third meal were wonderful and we got to spend them with some of our favorite people! As a reminder, part of Shabbos is that no electricity or electronics are used from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday so there are no pictures of the food. But trust me, I was wishing I could have snapped shots of everything because it's always a feast worth remembering!

When Chelsea and I got back to our dorm we met up with our much missed roomie Sam! We decided to go have a little fun in the downtown area of Jerusalem and meet up with Chelsea's boyfriend and some of the guys from his study program.
The girls!
Sam and I went Polish if ya know what I mean!
Chelsea and her boo. Aren't they adorable!?

This morning I was a little late waking up and just barely made it to breakfast. I was in such a hurry that I forgot my camera and I was forced out of my normal oats and had cereal with banana and walnuts and milk (I know, milk! Ahh!) But it's all good. I was just happy to have something in my tummy before classes.

During a little break between classes I snacked on these rice cakes that my friend Netanya and I went halvesies on.
I dunked mine in my hummus, a winning combo in my book actually.

Lunch today was brown rice, peas, and crazy salad fixings. I also had some veggie soup.
I got creative with my rice cakes and spread them with hummus and topped it all with cucumbers, onion, tomato, bell pepper, carrot, green olive and pickle chunks. It wasn't graceful to eat but it was tasty and afterall... it's an all girls school hahaha.
An ity bity green apple for a little something sweet.

I started a class today learning Hebrew, wooohoooo!! It's going to be tough since I have had no training at all and its seems like many of the girls have been to Hebrew school before. After class I has a little snack of more rice cakes and hummus and peach applesauce. Yum!
I totally forgot that I took the battery out of my camera when I went to dinner so there's no photo of dinner tonight sorry! I had flashbacks of my childhood at dinner tonight because there was rice and corn, a dish that always reminds me of my mommy. There was also veggie medley, soy patty, salad, and a really tasty soup that I suspect was made with beef broth....but who really knows.

Right now I'm in the internet room where those of us who were going into internet withdrawls bombarded directly after class. I'm having a weird crampy stomach ache right now and I can't figure out why! I was in a rush more than once today at meal times...maybe I ate too fast? Nothing a good night sleep won't fix.
It's weird to say good night when I know you're all still in the afternoon. It's also weird that Sunday was a school day for me and it's a rest day for you all! It's all backwards up in the Holy Land haha.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

I'm Back!

Hello blog world! I've missed you so much you don't even know!! I've been MIA on the web because there's been so much action going on for me that I literally have had no chance to report until now. It's been such a long time that I'm not going to even attempt to do a massive catch up but rather jump to my time in Israel!

First a little re-cap is in order. So not only did I have finals to worry about last week but I was also moving moving out of my apartment, packing for my six week trip to Israel, and grading about 600+ Human Sexuality finals. Luckily for me, my mom came down to help me and she really was the brains of the whole operation and I would not have been able to do it without her. I would have been so much more stressed out without her! So, in between studying, and helping mom with organization and packing, I would dash over to the house of one of the graders where all the finals were, whip out my red pen, and grade like a crazy person. While grading one of the graders, Dave, went for a food run to the Co-op and picked up a vegan turtle cup for me! As promised, it is being fully document on the blog as officially: amazing!
Dave, you made my grading that much sweeter. Thank you!
Carmel, puffed rice, and peanuts....soo good!
The packing was no small job. We spent at least, at least three days getting my life in a box. I know I have a lot of stuf... don't judge!

So, I don't know that the next few days that I'm about to post will be interesting to anyone at all but I figure, on the off chance that someone is interested in how a vegan would travel to Israel, I'll just post everything I can. I would mention that I think it's healthy that when I travel, I loosen up a little and am not as strict about eating vegan as I am at home. I go to new places to experience and learn new things and sometimes that has to do with tasting new things. I don't want to go crazy and start eating everything in sight but I also don't want to hold myself back from enjoying little things. With that said, I still will probably be avoiding eating meat as an entree.

Anyways, when I got the the airport I had a bit of a fiasco. I had an interview early that morning so I didn't eat breakfast. I figured I'd have plenty of time to get something at the airport and leisurely enjoy my departure. Alas, that is not at all how it went. Long story short, I was at the wrong terminal just long enough to miss the flight I was supposed to be getting on to make my connection in New York. Thankfully, the crew at El Al was kind enough to get me onto a direct flight! I was so happy that I wasn't going to have to stay in LA an extra night that it didn't bother me as much that by this point I was starving.

My mom grabbed an apple for me from the hotel which I gobbled as soon as I got in my seat.
Without me even noticing, my mom also slipped this bag of candied ginger into my bag and thank goodness she did! This little bag of sweetness been saving me left and right.
I like this kind of candied ginger much better than the crystallized.
When the inflight service started they served these little corn chips which I remembered really liking from the last time I flew El Al.

I was not aware that this meal was actually our dinner since I hadn't eaten breakfast and meals are always kind of crazy on long, international flights like this. I avoided the chicken and dug into the rest which was quite tasty to a starving girl like me.
I also throughly enjoyed this little dessert :)

After making a significant dent in my book The Alienist by Caleb Carr (which was getting crazy intense I couldn't put it down), and watching all the inflight movies I could handle, I slept for maybe an hour if that. I woke up starving again which is really not a fun way to travel. Luckily breakfast service came and I gobbled it up. Refined gobbling that is.

Again, my meal schedule was all mixed up and I arrived at Neve (the seminary I'm learning at) after lunch time. Dinner was couscous, salad, chicken broth soup with veggies, and potatoes cooked with beef. I avoided any chunks of meat, no worries.
Mini lesson: Keeping kosher involves never mixing milk with meat. All the food at Neve is kosher which means that a kosher kitchen must be kept. You may begin to notice that there is a color coding of the dishes that reveals the type of meal being served: Pink= meat meal Blue= milk meal. On shabbos I look forward to meat meals mostly because I know there won't be dairy in anything!
I finished my meal with an orange that was not the sweetest. I have a feeling I'm going to get good at spotting the tasty ones in the next few weeks.

Breakfast on Wednesday morning was a bit of a challenge but I remembered from last time that I would be able to make oats. Only problem I arrived towards the end of serving time and had to rush! I topped my plain oats with peanut butter and a little sinfully good chocolate spread.
I also had a slice of bread with peanut butter. On the way out I grabbed another half slice of bread and mistakenly spread it with the sweetened peanut butter. Regular peanut butter and sweetened peanut butter are not the same, let me tell you.

Snack time rolled around between classes so I enjoyed this little apple. The apples are much sweeter here in Israel. I wonder why?
At the next break I bought an iced coffee for 10 shequels which is about $3.50 US dollars. It's like a slushy iced coffee and it was soo good! I appreciated that there was a sign noting that one serving is about 190 calories. Better than I had estimated!

At lunch time I was ready to load up on all the veggies I could. You will probably begin to notice that each meal includes a soup of some kind, lots of veggies and salad, and a main course that is either meat or milk based. The soups usually have a lot of fresh dill which I didn't use to like but have grown to appreciate. Also, there is almost always fish at lunch but I haven't decided to cross that bridge quite yet. What do you think? Should I go for the fish?
For a little mid-day dessert I enjoyed one of these Rugala.
These things are so ridiculously good! They have a very subtle chocolaty flavor.

Dinner was a chicken broth soup with carrots, roasted potatoes (yaaaay roasted!), peas, cucumbers and peppers, a soy/corn patty with mustard that has more of a horseradish flavor, and for a super treat some summer melon.
On my way out I grabbed another slice of that melon. It was too good to pass up.

On our way to evening classes I snacked on my candied ginger. There's Sam, my awesome roomie in the back!
After class I had this juicy orange and then hit the sack! I passed out I was so tired. The jet lag is still affecting me.

Finally at today! This morning I was determined to make the oats situation happen. I decided to ad some of this yogurt to my concoction to make it a little creamier and topped it all with PB&J, reminiscent of oats at home. I also enjoyed a little coffee with sugar.

Lunch today was a dilly, veggie soup, and pasta with a bunch of mixed veggies.
After laying around in the grass for a bit and a cool shower some girls and I made the trek down the hill to the mini strip of shops. We hit the ice cream shop first of course where I got a scoop of strawberry sorbet and a scoop of lemon mint. Super refreshing in this crazy hot weather.

For dinner I had cooked squash, rice, a soy patty, and I'm happy to introduce to the scene: hummus!! I made sure to buy some when we went to the grocery. I didn't end up eating my soup because I found a hair in it. Yuck.

At the break during evening classes I snacked on this apple. They are perfectly small for snack size.
So, the internet situation was all mixed up until tonight so as soon as I got the chance, I jumped in the internet room and got working on this post! I actually just finished this bag of ginger :( Luckily we are probably going to the market tomorrow where I will definitely be buying trail mix.
I only have internet access after 9PM so my posts will be whole day posts rather than the daily ones I try to do at home. Also, tomorrow is Shabbos!! This means that I will not be using the internet (or any technology for that matter) until sun down on Saturday.

I am really enjoying myself here so far even though a part of me really misses home. I hope to be able to contact my family soon and I will be making facebook appearances when I can! For now, I am really tired and I wanted to try and catch a run in the morning. (we'll see what jet lag has to say about that!)

Good night (or good afternoon for most of you) and Good Shabbos!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Lindsay's Wedding

Zizzo's coffee didn't disappoint! I went for a soy hazelnut latte.

My drive to the airport flew right by because I downloaded a book to listen to from my dad's online library called "Endworld" by David Robbins. I got so into it at one point I started shaking my fist! I realized too late that the driver in front of me probably thought I was getting angry at him, whoops!

When I got to the air port I tried to get the internet to cooperate with me but failed. I consoled myself with this German Chocolate Cake Lärabar.
It was pretty good but not was I was expecting and had a sort of alcoholic flavor to it the way a rum cake with too much rum would. I happen to like rum cake but this was not like that.
I was getting antsy from waiting and a little hungry too so I grabbed an iced coffee with just a little soy milk to tide me over till I was with the fam.
Finally the plane arrived! My family was already on the plane since it was a connecting flight and my brother had a seat saved for me! Southwest peanuts are pretty good actually.

Snack Numba Two
After touching down in Arizona we checked in to the hotel where there was a gift basket of goodies waiting for wedding party guests. We chilled out in the room for a little and snacked on the chips and salsa that were in the bag.
Mom also brought some home grown apricots for me to try. So sweet!

By the time we rolled in for the Hawaiian themed Reherasal Dinner/BBQ, it was dinner time for us. Being the vegan that I am, I was quite excited when I saw that there were grilled pineapples! I loaded my plate up with a bunch of fruit and veggies and enjoyed a corona light.
I also grabbed some nuts for a little protein while we all chatted and caught up. I haven't seen some of my Arizona family in a really long time!
The night ended well and my family returned to the hotel room more tired than we realized.

The next morning Dad worked some of his magic and conjured up some coffee with what was in the room. He can always make a good cup o' joe. We woke ourselves up and eventually decided that since mom was going to have her annual breakfast meeting with her two brothers, we were going to have a Dad and kids day of our own starting with: workout!
We made our way from the room in search of the fitness room. This is the view from the third floor where we were staying.
We found the workout room which was well equipped. There's my boys!
I brought my laptop down so I could do the Jillian DVD. No shame! This was Day 2.
I finished my video which got me all red in the face (in a good way of course) and once Dad finished his cardo, I caught the guys in some team action.
Switch! Eventually I got suckered into it too! We even did a triangle passing routine with two medicine balls. Good thing I am mildly coordinated.

We showered up and hit the breakfast scene where the goods were well stocked.

It should come as no surprise that I went for the oats!
Breakfast was delicious and we got to sit and chat with my grandparents before heading out to see a scary movie! We had our hearts set on the new Adrian Brody film: Splice.
Before we went to the theatre we stopped at a Super Walmart where I got new sunglasses (finally!) and some movie snacks. I have been wanting to try the sea salt chocolate for so long that I was even willing to ignore the discovery that it is not in fact vegan! I needed to experience this treat so I made the exception.
And this is how we smuggle chocolate into the movies!
Arizona is hot. Chocolate melts faster! It wasn't as salty as I had expected but it was still very good. I had two pieces in the movie and shared with my guys.

I am a firm believer that you should always make your own opinions about movies but I am just going to tell you... we were all soooo disappointed with Splice. This seems to happen fairly often: a movie which is truly more of a sci-fi is marketed as a scary movie which leads people like my Dad, my brother, and I to go into the film with certain expectations only to leave feeling duped. We were all really bummed!
At least there was a Rubio's in the same shopping area. Rubio's always brings me back up. I went with the portabello and poblano tacos with black beans. Yum!
I also had a little of the left over salad that Mom brought back from her lunch at The Cheesecake Factory.
For an extra kick of protein to hold me over until the wedding dinner that night I had one of these Planters nutty cranberry bars.
They're pretty good. Lots of peanuts.
It's finally time! We could see the wedding set-up from our room. I can see my mom down there saving us seats on the left side.
My brother Eric and I waiting for the ceremony to begin.

Mommy and Daddy.
Here comes the groom with his grandmother.

The bride made quite and entrance coming down from the elevator.

My aunt and uncle giving Lindsay away!

It was a very relaxed and beautiful ceremony, much like the couple!
One smashed glass and a mozaltov later, Lindsay and Matt were married! A reception followed where I enjoyed a little Heinny :)
The spread was loaded with fruits, cheeses, and roasted veggies!
Of course I stocked up.
On the other side of the room was a table with this little boxes labeled for all the groups. On the back of the tag was our table number.
Filled with M&M's!
Eric and I also shared one of these bruschetta and ciabatta breads which was brought around by a server.
Eventually we made it in to the dinning room where we sat with our grandparents and my cousins Lexie and Michael and Uncle Mark and Aunt Linda. There's my mom and her dad across our table.
The first dance! Lindsay is the typical height for the women in our family and Matt towers over her. It's too cute!
Instead of little a little bride and groom on the cake were little Chihuahuas! (There's an inside joke).
White wine for dinner and champagne for toasting.

Dinner started with a salad which I devoured, not knowing what would be next for the entree.
The entree was salmon with wild rice and grilled veggies which looked good but I still asked if there was a vegetarian option just on the off chance. It took a little longer to come than everyone else's but they were nice enough to bring me this taste pasta with grilled veggies (and cheese that I pushed over to one side). It was pretty good!
So that inside joke that I mentioned earlier was that Matt is a very tall guy with a tiny little Chihuahua named Minney Mouse. Of course when my family met him there was a lot of teasing and it came out in there speeches that night. Completely to his surprise, Matt's Dad made the last speech of the night and out from the kitchen came this cake! Yes, that is actually a cake!
For dessert they served a slice of angel food cake with chocolate dipping sauce. I avoided the whipped cream for the most part but the chocolate was just too tempting.
This is what happens when you let Michael play with your camera. And Michael, this is what happens when you play with the camera of your cousin who has a blog and puts all her photos on the internet! Hahahaha!
After a way too much line dancing but before the macarena, the couple made the first cut the wedding cake was served. I had a little taste of it for good measure! It was very sweet and fluffy. Dangerous cake indeed!
We danced away the rest of the evening before heading out for a few drinks with some cousins and friends. It was such a great ceremony and we all really enjoyed ourselves.

The next morning Eric and I headed down to the breakfast buffet where everyone was already eating together. I started with a cup of java to jump start my brain.
I wasn't in the mood for oats so I went for assorted fruit, a V8, and whole wheat toast with peanut butter which I had 1 and 1/4 of the slices.
From left to right: My Mom Ann and Dad John, my Aunt Lisa and Uncle Bob, and my Uncle Mark and Aunt Linda. My mom, Uncle Bob, and Uncle Mark are brothers and sister.
Aunt Linda and the official Ms. Tonkin!!
Me and bo bo :)
We really had a good time catching up with the Arizona family since we don't get to visit as often. After staying and talking into the afternoon we had to say our goodbyes and make our way to the airport.

By the time we got to the airport I was getting cranky I was so hungry. Luckily we stopped at a Fox Sorts Bar and Restaurant where I ordered a salad, french fries,
onion rings,
and zucchini sticks. I know it's not the healthiest but honestly, that was the best I could do with the menu. It was predominantly meat based which I can understand since, after all, it was a sports bar!
After our meal I had to part with my family :(
I ordered water during the flight and had one of those Planters bars as a snack.
I've gotten to put in some solid work on the book I'm reading this trip: The Alientist by Caleb Carr.
I also had some peanuts!

When I finally made it home I was exhausted! I had no energy to cook so I tossed some of the Quinoa Three Bean Salad on some spinach with a few artichoke hearts.
It may seem strange but all I wanted was a bowl of cereal and then to go to bed which is just what I did!
It was a perfect weekend to relax before finals and catch up with family!

Sorry that I've been MIA lately. We (as in Mommy and Me) are not only packing up my apartment for me to move out but also packing me up to go to Israel for six weeks! It's been a rather exhausting process but mom is the real brains behind the operation and really I shouldn't be complaining at all. Also, the internet has been disconnected at my apartment so I had to come to campus just to get this post up! I hope you understand :)

Who knows, maybe by my next post I'll be abroad!