Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lazy Sunday

Wilson keeps trying to convince me that I ought to get another job because I have every night and weekend off. You know what though? No. No way. Not the good life. His argument is that the good life is early retirement, but frankly, I'd rather enjoy bits of the good life where I can now. Like Sunday mornings.

A local radio station has a great program on Sundays (The Sunday Sessions from 10 am - 12pm) that's all acoustic/stripped performances of great alternative songs. WFNX or 101.7 FM in the Boston area. Right now they're playing an acoustic version of The Ting Tings "That's Not My Name." It's awesome.

You know what else is awesome. My mom. That's right. I'm not too proud to say that my mom rocks. Miss SJ put together a care package for me that includes four jars of PB & Co White Chocolate Wonderful and 5 cans of Libby's pumpkin. So I can stop hoarding what I have and use it in delicious albeit every day things like oatmeal.


Over-the-Top Pumpkin Pie Oats
3/4 cup water
dash salt
1/4 cup mix of rolled oats, oat bran, and steel cut oats
1 small banana, sliced
1/2 cup of pumpkin
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

Bring water to a boil, add oat mix, salt, and sliced banana. Whisk! Cover and let cook approximately 4-6 minutes, whisking intermittently until the banana "melts" into the oats. Add pumpkin and spices, vanilla at the end, whisk! Pour into bowl. (Make sure bowl is big enough!) 

Optional topping: PB & Co White Chocolate Wonderful and Nature's Path Hemp Seed Granola
(If I had graham crackers or Biscoff cookies, you'd bet your patooty they'd be crumbled on top.)

Fluffy and delicious, oh yes.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Not the laziest vegan in the world, but close.

From Candle Cafe's Facebook
For most of my life I've heard that I'm lazy. It's not entirely inaccurate. It certainly is something that I have a proclivity toward and something at which I excel. I wouldn't say that I'm the laziest vegan in the world, and not because that title has already been taken,  but it's been a common thread in my life. In fact, I'm kind of convinced I should have been born a cat.

Ok, so what does laziness have to do with "la bonne vie?" Well, sometimes the good life is comfort food, and sometimes (often) I'm too lazy to cook. Enter Candle Cafe macaroni and vegan cheese frozen entree. Creamy, topped with a sprinkle of Daiya, it definitely hit the spot on this chilly autumn day. The serving is a bit small, but the noodles are good, and it's all warm and melty.

This is my first time trying one of Candle Cafe's frozen entrees, but I was definitely tempted to get it after reading a review. After seeing a $1 off coupon in Whole Food's Whole Deal Newsletter and a $1 coupon on the package, I decided to buy it for a rainy day, and I'm glad I did. I probably won't buy this regularly, but I will certainly buy it again.

That is, if I'm not too lazy.

Shop It To Me: What I Want Thursday

I don't always open my Sale Mail on Thursday, but sometimes I'll do a cursory glance. It's not that I don't think Shop it to Me is doing a good job, it's that I'm a bit bored with fashion right now. There is one trend that I can get behind though, and I know it'll make you laugh.
Alice and Olivia at
Palazzo pants. That's right, Palazzo pants. High-waisted ones at that. One of my favorite things to wear in high school was this teal pair of palazzo pants that I inherited from my mom. I'd wear them with a teal and periwinkle tye-dyed T-shirt. Yes, it was as awesome/atrocious as it sounds. Sometimes I'd tie on a little practice ballet skirt that a friend gave me. I wonder if there were such a thing as fashion blogs then, if I would have been Tavi before Tavi was the Style Rookie. Actually, I think this was before Tavi was born. Yikes. Let's not go there.

These days wide-legged trousers like these and a fitted button down shirt a la Katherine Hepburn is very elegant look, pretty far removed from my hippie-dippy past and the bohemian trend that seems to never, ever die.

Also in my Sale Mail today is this wallet from Marc by Marc Jacobs. I am not particularly obsessed with it by any means, but I was intrigued when I saw the description as "faux leather." Yes. This. More vegan-friendly Marc by Marc, please. Thanks.
 'Animal Q' at in Black Multi 
Peony Multi

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Playing Hooky with Wilson

OK, neither of us were actually playing hooky. Yesterday was Wilson's day off, so I took a vacation day. Our conflicting schedules mean I don't see him nearly as much as I'd like to!

I tagged along with him on errands, and I got to go to Grasshopper for lunch! Hooray! How did I get to go there with the curmudgeonly omnivore? Wilson misunderstood my response to his question: Only vegan food? I said it's Asian food so it doesn't matter, and he took that to mean there was meat. What I really meant is that in most Asian dishes, I think it's all about the preparation, sauces, and spices, and I don't think one can tell so much if you're eating chicken or gluten. Finally, an instance where something is lost in translation and I gain!

Wilson, look happy about eating vegan food!
We were still in time for the lunch specials, so I ordered the Battered Gluten with Steamed Vegetables in Sweet and Sour Sauce. Wilson kind of refused to order, asking for "vegetables and rice" only. Well, that's what he got—Stir-fried Assorted Fresh Vegetables and white rice. Mine came with a Hot and Sour Soup starter, and I chose a side of brown rice. 

Spicy Hot and Sour Soup
The Hot and Sour Soup was really tasty. (I'm learning it's difficult to capture how tasty some food is in a picture though; sorry if this looks a little gross!)

No Name listed on lunch menu as Battered Gluten in Sweet and Sour Sauce with Veggies
My main dish was basically a smaller portion of Grasshopper's famous "No Name." The lunchtime portion means I only have enough for two meals instead of four.

Stir-fried Assorted Fresh Vegetables
Wilson ordered for the regular menu, so he was given enough food for four meals.

We left full and happy; although, Wilson did mention that he'd pay me back for tricking him. (The vegan kids know what I'm talking about.) But hey, it'll all work out in the end. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Warning: Vegan Rage Level 4 (Slightly Elevated)

Does eating this seem difficult? (Image from Daily Candy: Boston.)
An article on decrees going vegan: Not easy. Or rather, easier talked about then acted upon. What a load of malarky.

Don't get me wrong, going and being vegan can be incredibly frustrating at times, but I would not call it DIFFICULT. If you're committed to the decision, it's just something you do.

It's certainly not as hard in Boston, where we have several vegan and vegetarian restaurants, and more and more restaurants are offering a vegan entree option or are willing to whip something up.

The intrepid reporter appears to have staked out Allston's Peace O' Pie to find sources for this article. Which is a gimme and a little lazy, in my opinion. It doesn't even sound as though she walked two doors up to Grasshopper (another vegan restaurant) to find additional interview subjects.  

Don't eat, use, or wear animal products. Be specific in restaurant (I don't eat cheese, cream, milk, butter, eggs, meat, poultry, fish, or anything with those ingredients or cooked with those ingredients. Annoying? Yes. Difficult? No.) Read labels. Be diligent, persistent, and vocal.

BOOM. Done.

And if you don't want to be vegan? That's cool. I'm not judging you. Honestly! And yes, I'll still share my cookies.

More Everyday Luxuries

I used to spend money. A lot of money. It was money that I didn't have, and it went toward things that I didn't need.

I had a wake-up call, as many of us have during the last few years given the ECONOMIC CRISIS, and now I'm sticking to a budget. Mostly. I'm not going to tell you that it's easy, but so far it's been working for me. I've been tracking all of my bills, spending, and income with Google calendar. It's not the most advanced system, but I like being able to see everything laid out day-by-day, what I spend when and where, when bills will be withdrawn, and when I'm getting paid.

I will say of my prior spending: It was fun while it lasted. One of my favorite ways to indulge was to get a manicure and pedicure. It wouldn't be unusual for me to go once or twice a month. When it comes down to spending that money now, I've several better places for it to go. (Mostly it goes into my belly, and I'm very happy with that.) Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't not buy fancy groceries before, I just would do that AND get manicures. AND buy coffee out everyday. AND pick up a cute pair of flats because they were a good deal, I mean, it's only $25, right? Except that it all adds up.

That being said, it still feels really luxurious, like I'm living la bonne vie, when I'm well groomed. Two of the areas that I think make the biggest difference (besides general hygiene) are eyebrows and fingernails. These are also two of the things that GASP! I've started doing myself.

I'm certainly no professional, but with practice I've grown proficient in both areas. (I think.)


Here are some of the products I used in my last manicure, SpaRitual Instinctual Organic Moisturizing Lotion, butter LONDON Horse Power Nail Strengthener, butter LONDON All Hail the Queen enamel, butter LONDON Hardwear P.D. Quick Top Coat, and Sinful Colors Quick Dry. After removing old polish, I used a cuticle remover cream (be natural cuticle eliminator) and pushed back the cuticles. Then I washed my hands and dried them thoroughly before polishing with base coat, two coats of enamel, and top coat. I followed up with a swipe of Quick Dry. Once nails were dry, I used a ton of lotion and cuticle oil (Nail-Aid Cuticle Cure).

And, since Ulta is currently having a buy two get one free on butter LONDON nail polishes, I thought I'd show you my new favorite neutral.

Photos don't really do it justice (or at least my photos) as this taupe has a fine, holographic shimmer that makes it remarkable.

All Hail the Queen!


Methinks I should have gotten a picture before it started chipping? Although, after four days of wear, this isn't too bad.

It's only my first butter LONDON manicure, but so far I love the formula (thin, but good coverage in two coats), and the durability is on par with most polish in this price range.

That being said, I'll probably only buy it on sale, because that's the economically responsible thing to do.

(butter LONDON is a 3-Free/non-toxic English brand of polishes and nail treatments. More information available on their site here. Be sure to check out their dictionary for a fun explanation of polish names, lest you be confused and think the name 'Bluey' comes from the color being blue.)

They may not look pretty...

But they sure did taste good.

I feel like that sounds like something my father would say. Or at least I'm thinking of him saying it in his accent, and it's funny. (Think stereotypical hillbilly drawl, but do so lovingly.)

Many of my friends get incredibly excited about Fall due to the return of the pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks. The last few years it's been incredibly too sweet for me, even when I get only two pumps instead of the usual four. So now that I'm vegan and won't be having them anyway, I don't feel like I'm missing anything.*

Lest you label me an Autumnal Scrooge, please know that I love pumpkin! I do! Why just this morning I ate pumpkin pancakes! And I had to share.


They may not be my most photogenic subject, but they were pretty darned tasty. I had a Sandra Lee semi-homemade moment, as I usually do with pancakes, and as always, I didn't really measure a thing. I guess if I'm going to be sharing things with people, I should start measuring?

The mix I've been using is Cherrybrook Kitchen, and I am very happy with it. I mean, pankcakes! It's good for kiddos with allergies or vegans, and it's available at Whole Foods (and probably other places as allergies become more commonplace).

I started with 1/2 cup mix. The smallest quantity on the directions is seven pancakes, which I have no business making (and subsequently eating until I'm in a food coma), so I always cut the recipe in half. Standard recipe calls for rice milk (or milk of choice) and oil. I usually substitute apple sauce for the oil, as meh, why not? I got some of the little unsweetened apple sauce cups, and they're perfect for cases such as these.

This morning though, as I was lying awake with a terrible headache, I thought, why not use pumpkin instead of the apple sauce? But the half recipe oil sub of 1 TBS just wouldn't do. So I mixed 1/2 cup mix, 1/2 cup pumpkin, and poured is some unsweetened almond milk until it started to look like pancake batter. It  didn't really, so I put in some more mix. And then some more almond milk. And then I shrugged and thought to myself, whatever, let's fry 'em.

The secret to pumpkin flavored things is Pumpkin Pie Spice. I put a good hardy shake of that and a glug of vanilla and another half stir while my frying pan preheated.


Like I said, they aren't pretty, but they sure did taste good. While it's omnipresent this fall, throw a can of pumpkin into your cart. (I like the organic canned pumpkin at Whole Foods, but I'm kind of weird about things.) You'll be surprised all the places you can stir a spoonful in. Well, unless your vegan, then maybe you know that it's a great substitute for eggs.**

Heck, some wacky New York Best-Selling author puts pumpkin in smoothies!

I hope you are having a beautiful Fall day, and if you're not, mix in a spoonful of pumpkin.

*Pumpkin spice syrup contains dairy state by several sources found via Google. I'm not really concerned about investigating further because, as stated, I don't like 'em.
**Depending on what you're making, if the pumpkin flavor may effect the end product positively or what purpose the egg serves in the recipe, i.e. to bind or to moisten.