Tag Archives: cupcake

Nice Day for a Picnic

Last Friday I took the day off and had plans to have a picnic at Pedernales Falls. The day before I was looking at the hour by hour weather report and my computing machine was reporting an 80% chance of thunderstorms between 11 and 1. Since Perdernales Falls is prone to flash floods it seemed that the world was against me. But I was wrong. The world loves me. Or maybe it feels completely indifferent and I just lucked out. First my friend Kristen brought me some cupcakes.

Then I got some really pretty flowers.

And then I made some olive salad to go in a muffaletta sandwich ’cause olives are my favorite food.

We went to McKinney Falls State Park and there were wildflowers everywhere.

We saw a giant lucky lizard.

But we still found a protected spot for our picnic, just in case. There was no one around, probably because of the scary forecast but it was the most beautiful day.

Dan let me take as many overprocessed photos as I wanted, because it was my birthday.

And then we finally ate the sandwich.

I guess an 80% chance of thunderstorms still means you get a 20% chance of blue sky.

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The Steeping Room at the Domain

Update 5/31/2018 The Domain location is closed, there is a newer location at 4400 North Lamar

For the longest time I had been avoiding “The Domain”. It’s not like it’s very hard to avoid since I don’t ever go shopping and live in South Austin and it is really far north. But, there have been a few times it has come up (like when my mom comes to visit) that I had to actively avoid it. When they built the large outdoor shopping mall it was touted as being a high end shopping mall for a certain kind of luxury shopper. Having an inherent hatred of shopping, things that are expensive, driving across town, and perfume it just isn’t my scene. But I kept hearing about this little tea shop called “The Steeping Room” that was very vegan friendly that I had to try it.

I’m so glad I did. As shopping malls go, I actually liked the domain. It had all the normal stores but since you can walk around outside it doesn’t suck your soul out as much and I am not coughing, sneezing, and crying from the department store’s perfume.

The Steeping Room itself was a nice little cafe with a little bit of outdoor seating and a kind of fancy chain feel if you know what I mean, pleasant. It was very bright inside with lots of white and little tables. The place was packed when we went and they immediately brought us their extensive tea menu that had a thousand different kinds of tea with lots of information about tea. My friend and I chose the Earl Grey because we are fans and it was described as “the best earl grey tea you will ever have. I think it was! Then we ordered dinner. I got the Buddha bowl which was rice, lentils, baked tofu, sweet potatoes, greens, and for the sauce I chose the cashew cream sauce. It was pretty good, very healthy and filling but a little lacking for me. The tofu was really dry and the bowl reminded me of one I had at Blossoming Lotus which was especially  good. Maybe I should tell the steeping room about soy curls because I liked them much better in a bowl like this!

They also have lots of different vegan options for dessert, or I guess they usually do but when we went  it was just a vegan cupcake which was fine by me!

The cupcake was perfect! The frosting was luscious and creamy and the cake was moist and delicious. I definitely recommend the Steeping Room. Especially if your mom is town or you like shopping. Or live north. And as a word of warning, if you stare at this picture of the cupcake long enough you might go into a trance that only a cupcake can revive your from so LOOK AWAY!

Star Trek Feast

I can’t find the picture that I have of the 7th grade version of me dressed in full Star Trek the Next Generation starfleet uniform. I really wanted to post it. I am surround by two Klingons that are dressed so well you would think they stepped out of the future. When I was in 6th grade my best friend, Amanda, and I even reenacted an episode, casting all of our (girl) friends as Picard and Riker etc. I was a very belieable Worf, well as believable as a 6th grade girl can be.

So yeah, I was am a nerd. I don’t go to Sci-fi conventions any more but I did live in my mom’s basement for a while. And you know what? Now I blog about food that I made. So if you see me walking down the street you can yell “NERD” all you want and I will take it as a compliment. There aren’t many people, I would wager, who simultaneously had a crush on Captain Picard AND Wesley Crusher. I can also identify the season of the next generation by the shape of Riker’s beard.

I have been recently revisiting my Star Trek roots in anticipation of the new movie, listening to podcasts, watching the original series on the Roku and Deep Space 9 on DVD from Netflix (why do they have to be so expensive?). I have also been thinking about all the food and how good it would be. I was lucky enough to see the new movie with a glass of Romulan Ale in my hand (thank you Alamo Drafthouse) following this feast.

I made Bajoran Hasperat. It is based on Lolo’s version at Vegan Yum Yum except with the addition of a large sausage shaped chikpea cutlet, some extra spices (sumac & smoked paprika) and golden beets instead of carrots. Everyone really liked them and the guys even had them for breakfast the next day.

I also had gaeta olives on the side that were supposed to be in the wrap. Mmm Gaeta.

I roasted Ferengi Tube Grubs (Fiddlehead Ferns) and Asparagus for the side dish that were made palatable by the addition of Cardassian Yamok Sauce

the sauce was basically white beans sauteed with garlic, onions, tarragon, and lemon and then blended with a few green olives.

We had it on potatoes too, I loved it and it inspired the next night’s meal. I will post the recipe if anyone is interested it was perfect for the season.

Here is Amanda and I forcing her boyfriend to give the Vulcan salute,  it is sad that neither of our boyfriends are Trekkies, they have thier own nerd activities though, I promise.

My favorite part of watching the new movie was that Amanda was sitting next to me and every time someone gave the customary hand greeting Amanda did it too. (NERD!!!!)

The best part of the whole meal, though, was the Earl Grey cupcakes, they are an alteration from the chai cupcakles in Vegan Cupcakes take over the World. I made the frosting from the book that uses Agave and coconut butter instead of sugar and margarine and it was divine. Mr. Smurf doesn’t even like frosting on cakes usually and he was eating the leftovers with a spoon.

It was a good meal.

What are you a nerd about?

PS- the cupcake background is from http://hubblesite.org/gallery/wallpaper/ they have lots of great images

Lazy Smurf goes to SXSW

For the past 5 years I have been a volunteer at the South By Southwest Music, Film, and Interactive Festival. This year my volunteer crew was dissolved (since no one shoots on film anymore) and I almost let the laziness take over. See, I am lucky enough to have a job where we get Spring Break off and it falls during the festival and with the beautiful weather it was hard, very hard, to not go with my true nature and spend the week, blissfully, in my hammock, doing yoga, and taking the dogs on epic hikes. But another part of my nature is taking advantage of things that are free, and watching movies, learning about technology, and enjoying music. In the end I decided to participate and it was so much fun. The first part of the week I spent seeing movies.

Some of my favorites were Moon, a low-budget but wonderfully acted  science fiction. I was really excited to see this because I love sci-fi but I am not into big-budget independence day-type movies that saturate the market. Indie Sci-fi is lot more interesting but a lot more difficult to make well without a budget. This one was great, the effects and set design were very believable and the premise was really interesting and original. The direction and the acting made it a really enjoyable and thought-provoking flick.I also enjoyed Sebastian Gutierrez’s Women in Trouble. It was one of those movies that makes you really happy independent film exists, or rather independent video in this case. You seldom see women characters in a mainstream movie and this one had at least 10 main characters that were women. Off the top of my head the only interesting female movie characters I can think of…. I can’t think of any, really. They mostly exist in TV (hello Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Battlestar Galactica) but they exist in real life as well (hello every lady I know) so it is disappointing that in movies women are only ever sex objects or family members. This was a movie where the women were either professional sex objects or mothers, daughters, and sisters and yet they managed to be dynamic multi-dimensional, entertaining characters as well.  And it was really funny! Women are never funny without being over the top emasculating bitches in movies so this was a real switch.It was sometimes confusing for me because it was shot on video with a lot of porn actress characters so I kept expecting the sex to start any second but it never did. Well, there was one very disturbing scene involving a story about sex but you will have to see the movie to learn about that. Instead, there was scene after scene of women in L.A. living their lives.

Speaking of women, if you are as terrified as I am by the idea of birth you might enjoy the movie Grace and the short animation Birth. Two very different but equally chilling takes on procreation.

I always enjoy the animated shorts but I especially liked the stop motion animation “Sweet Dreams“. It was original and fun and,  I think, even had a message although it starred a cupcake. I wonder if the filmmaker, Kirsten Lepore, is vegan?

Another film that I missed but really wanted to see and thought I should inform you all about is the movie Mine. It won the best documentary category but I was working my volunteer shift when it was on and missed it. It follows the story of dogs that got left behind in hurricane Katrina and then got adopted by new people. The hurricane survivors eventually found their dogs and a legal challenge ensued. What a nightmare. I hope it gets released and if it does I am going to see it. I love dogs.

One political doc that I did see and really enjoyed wasthe Yes Men Fix the World. If you haven’t heard about these guys, check out their first documentary, “The Yes Men” they are a couple of corporate pranksters who got their start making fake websites for places like Halliburton and then waiting to get invited to conferences and giving hillarious presentations. They are really funny and the movie even ends on a hopeful note.

I had one moment when I was a little bit star struck during the Q&A for Observe and Report. I really like Seth Rogen and everyone from Freaks and Geeks because it is the greatest tv comedy in the world but I probably would have passed if it he hadn’t been there along with one of my heroes, the funniest woman I know of, Anna Farris. I first fell in love with her in the creepy movie May but she completely won me over in the only girl stoner movie, Smiley Face. If you have ever enjoyed a stoner movie please check this one out, it is so hilarious and she plays a stoner better than anyone. I really enjoyed getting to see her!Finally, I learned a lot about mushrooms and mushroom culture in Know Your Mushrooms. First, I want to mention that I didn’t even know there was a such thing as mushroom culture, and for a while I lived in the heart of it in Olympia Washington. I wish I would have learned about foraging for wild mushrooms then! It looks like so much fun and tasty. It ended with a beautiful sequence of time lapse mushrooms growing and then we got a Q&A where I learned that it is supposedly really easy to grow your own mushrooms.

I didn’t attend the screening that had free mushroom pizza but I did try some new things in Austin, until I ran out of money.  Alin over at Pulling it Together raves about Lulu B’s little trailer and I have been wanting to go there since it opened, the hours just don’t mesh with my schedule but with a week off I finally got to go and I tried the tofu vermicelli bowl.It was really fresh testing with the cumber, greens, vegetables, and basil. The tofu was seasoned nicely and was the perfect texture, and perhaps best of all is that it was really a lot of food for a very low price so I will be coming back for sure! I want to try the avocado sandwich mmmm sandwich.

Halfway through the week my sister came to town which has been great. Dan has spent the week as her intern and is hoping to land a spot in the organization.

She is tough to keep up with! I don’t usually hang with people that consider going home at two am an early night. Her first day in town we saw some bands at Habana where they were offering free pancakes.

Did you know they have pancake batter in a spray bottle now? I don’t know if it is vegan but regardless I wasn’t about to try it. Instead, Sistah Smurf bought me lunch and I got the vegetarian platter. They have the best salsa in town and I am going to try and recreate the yucca fo’ sho’.While we were there I got to here the band Brothers and Sisters and they were really good.

I also got to see Erykah Badu at Auditorium shores which was followed by the always fantastic Explosions in the Sky which were followed by explosions in the sky.It was a good week.