Things I Learned in Madison + a Very Green Smoothie

So you know how I’ve been blabbing about going to Madison to apartment hunt? Well, I went, I met my new roommate, we looked at lots of apartments, and we eventually filled out an application. Exciting! It was a great weekend which provided me with fodder for a list of Things I Learned in Madison:

1. Afghan food is really yummy.
2. Afghan food is really yummy except also kind of evil when it hides egg yolks in a salad dressing.
3. The best way to convince hardcore omnis that being vegan isn’t so difficult might very well be to assent to lunch at McDonald’s, then eat a surprisingly filling salad and prove that finding vegan food is not actually all that difficult.
4. Being in a McDonald’s after not entering a fast food joint for years is sort of depressing.
5. I am an inveterate people-pleaser.

Number five was the sort of revelation that shouldn’t have been revelatory. The apartment we chose isn’t in downtown Madison; it’s much more on the outskirts of the city, practically in farmland. This is what my roommate wanted, and although I’d have preferred something smaller and more centrally located, I’d rather have her be happy and content with a larger apartment than make a fuss and have her be dissatisfied later. I don’t know if that’s a good quality or if it has something to do with my history of low self-esteem and desire to please everybody without becoming a hassle, but there it is. At least the place we chose is right on the bus line, so my carless self will have easy access to downtown. Hooray for that.

Anyway, enough pseudo-introspection – onto the food! I tried Vega Whole Food Smoothie Infusion for the first time today, since there was a packet included in the drink mix giveaway I won a few weeks ago. I decided to just add it to my normal Green Monster, which resulted in an Extra Green Green Monster. Heh.

Mmm, green.

You may notice that my smoothie seems rather diminutive. This is because we only had half a banana left, so I had to scale down my Green Monster. I used less kale and soy milk than usual, but I still dumped in the entire Vega packet. This is probably why my smoothie seemed a little grainy and powdery; I’m sure if I’d had more liquid, it would’ve worked out better. But the taste didn’t disgust me and I had no problem finishing it, so that’s good, right? I’d love to try Vega with an all-fruit smoothie – maybe next time! All in all, I approve. :)

I wanted to say that I needed this infusion of greenery to make up for unhealthy eating while in Madison this weekend, but then I realized that it wasn’t actually true! I ate pretty healthily in Madison, in part because I always travel with a stash of raw food and/or granola bars. Something like a Raw Revolution bar makes a great hotel breakfast and fills me up for a few hours. I also got to experience a small taste of Madison’s wonderful restaurants when I had dinner at an Afghan place and had a tasty spinach, potato, and carrot stew. I can’t wait to try more restaurants when I move out there for good IN TWO WEEKS.

…AHH!

Three Degrees of Experimental Failure

Today has been a day of experimentation, with – I’m sorry to say – generally dismal results. It began this morning when I decided that my typical Green Monster (banana/soy milk/kale/soy protein powder) was getting a little boring. Spotting a couple of kiwis sitting abandoned in the fruit bowl, I decided to conquer my fear of the fuzzy fruit and throw one in. I’m not sure why exactly I have an aversion to kiwis, to be honest. When I was young my mom used to cut them up for my siblings and I during the summer, and although VeggaSis and VeggaBro loved them, I… didn’t. But I’m all for giving food a second chance, so into the GM it went.

GM of dooooom.

Well. This GM was kiiinda nasty. First of all, the kale refused to blend nicely. Second, it tasted gross. At first I blamed the kiwi and set about gulping down the Monster, since I hate wasting food. But as I continued drinking – grimacing all the while – I realized that the disgusting taste was more along the lines of an unripe banana than anything. I don’t know about you guys, but there’s something about unripe bananas that makes me want to vomit. Actually, bananas in general have always been troublesome for me; as a kid I hated their texture, and their taste didn’t excite me enough to make me enjoy eating them. These days I can stomach ’em okay (well, most of the time), but today the unripe banana flavor in my GM defeated my willpower and after I gagged and nearly vomited (TMI, I know), I just couldn’t finish this Monster. At least I only had about half a cup left. MAJOR FAIL.

My next ‘speriment looked pretty innocent from the outside.

La la la, I am an ordinary sandwich...

Seems like your average peanut-butter-on-whole-wheat-flatbread sandwich, right? INCORRECT. Let’s reveal the secret ingredient that made this sammie so memorable!

SURPRISE!

Yes, folks, that is a peanut butter and onion sandwich right there. At some point during my web surfing this morning, I saw someone mention enjoying pb&o sandwiches and I had to learn more. A quick trip to VegWeb opened up the wide world of bizarro peanut butter sandwiches. Being a curious lady, I decided to give this rather unorthodox pairing a shot.

Honestly? I wasn’t feeling it. To be fair, it wasn’t nearly as disgusting as I’d anticipated; the flavors really did sort of cancel each other out. But overall it was just kind of odd. I didn’t toast it as the VegWeb “recipe” suggests, but I kind of doubt that would’ve made much of an improvement. So although it wasn’t utterly repulsive and I didn’t run to the toilet screaming after taking my first bite, I don’t anticipate trying this combo again any time soon. The flavor was just not worth having my mouth taste like onions for the rest of the afternoon. ;) MINOR FAIL.

My third and final experiment should’ve made up for my past two failures. The blog world has been raving about Gena’s banana soft serve for a couple of weeks now, so I thought it was high-time I gave this treat a go. Despite the fact that banana flavoring is not my top choice for any sort of icy treat, I was totally prepared to be amazed by the soft serve.

And, um, I was amazed, but in a terribly, terribly bad way. I was – and am – amazed that the frozen banana chunks appear to have killed the family food processor.

Ooops.

I haven’t told my parents about this yet, as it happened merely half an hour ago. But as soon as I turned on the food processor, it started jumping around and then stopped completely a few seconds later. All subsequent attempts to get it to work failed. I fear the worst. Again, MAJOR FAIL.

Sigh.

Green Monsters – ur doin it rong!

Guys, I’m an idiot.

You know how there’s that stereotype of the book-learned, academically gifted person who, while brilliant, lacks common sense and an ability to function outside an academic environment? Well, that’s not me. Not exactly, at least. I mean, my dad may tell me I’m brilliant, but c’mon – he’s my dad. And in general I do have common sense, and I think I am perfectly capable of functioning in the real world.

But sometimes I can be a real blockhead.

I’ve been drinking Green Monsters a la Angela all summer now, despite the looks of revulsion I get from most family members when I gleefully stand at the kitchen island pulling pieces of kale apart and throwing them into my blender with wild abandon. I have grown to love green smoothies and I just can’t understand why more people don’t try the gorgeously colored drinks.

But guess what? All this time I’ve been ignorant, misguided, foolish. Today, however, I realized what I’ve been doing wrong, corrected my error, and have now entered a state of Green Monster nirvana. My mistake? Not blending my smoothies long enough.

Yeah. Really. It’s that simple and that stupid. Today I was tempted to blend it for longer because of the rather revolting slimy banana chunks that I found in my last smoothie, but I don’t really care about the reasoning behind my change at this point. All I know is that adding an extra twenty seconds to my blending time creates heaven in a glass. It was a hallelujah moment when I took a sip of this Monster and realized that no longer would I be forced to chew up bits of unblended kale! No longer would I find large green specks between my chompers! And no longer would I be confronted with slimy banana bits! New vistas of smoothly blended bliss have opened up before me. I’ve seen the light!

Smooth green bliss.

I wish I had an older photo for comparison, because seriously – this Green Monster is pure velvety bliss compared to what I’ve been drinking. No wonder it seemed like my old smoothies weren’t green enough – I wasn’t truly blending them! And no wonder they always photographed poorly. It probably also helps that I’ve graduated from a Carleton pint glass to this posh crystal number I dug out from my family’s “special occasion” cupboard, but still. Even if I did drink this from a pint glass it would still be heaven in a glass.

I’m so elated and energized by this discovery that I’m going to go do some core and arm exercises to celebrate. Guys, I never work out in the morning, but since this Monster goes down easy (that’s what she said), it also goes down faster than my previous Monsters, and has already given me a boost of energy to fuel an unprecedented morning workout.

Hallelujah!

Please forgive the LOLspeak in my title. Even though spelling errors make me cringe (English major alert!), I find LOLcats ridiculously amusing. Forgive me!