diy incense holder

For whatever reason I have always been averse to buying incense holders. I've come into possession of a few over the years but I don't think I've ever spent money on one. There are some pretty beautiful holders out there, but I guess it's always seemed like a bit of a waste to me.

By the same token, I always find myself without one, when I need one! I don't burn incense often, but when I do, I can't wait. I used to just stick an incense stick into an orange and place the orange in a bowl. It was effective but not very attractive.

Then I made this one and it's been working out great so far!
Here's what you will need: a small glass container, small rocks (I got mine from Michael's, you may remember them from this craft), a small ball of polymer clay and, of course, incense.
Press the clay into the bottom of your container.
Pour your rocks over the top.
Then stick your incense in deep enough so that it's held in place by the clay.

And, well, that's basically it guys. If the air is still in your room, the incense ashes will fall onto the rocks. If it's not still, you can place the whole thing on a plate, or a surface that won't be damaged by the ash.

I know I don't have to remind you to never leave a burning incense (or candle!) unattended.

This craft is very simple and very versatile. Plus, when you don't need it anymore, you can still use the rocks and clay for something else!


hearty vegan basil tomato soup with pasta

 I got this idea originally from here. Obviously, I had to find a way to veganize it, though, since I don't eat meat or cheese. Simply omitting those ingredients was a success in my book, but it just didn't feel right calling it "lasagna soup" anymore, since it didn't really remind me of lasagna when I was eating it.
 But it was still yummy :)
Here's what I did:

3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 pint baby portobello mushrooms, chopped
1 Italian pepper, finely chopped
2-3 vine tomatoes, chopped (optional, I just had some to use up)
1 cup of fresh basil, chopped (plus a few extra leaves for garnish, if desired)
2 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes (I used one regular and one fire roasted)
28 oz of water
1-2 Tbsp coconut or safflower oil
1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste
2-3 cups dry pasta (I used spirals, which I think work best)

In a medium pot, set water boiling for your pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente.

While pasta water is heating, in a large pot, heat your coconut oil over medium heat. Once hot, add your garlic, onion, mushrooms and Italian pepper and turn the heat up to medium high. Saute, covered, until mushrooms have released their moisture and onions have begun to turn translucent.

Add your fresh tomatoes, basil, crushed tomatoes, water, olive oil and salt & pepper. Once pasta is finished cooking, drain and rinse under cold water and add to the soup pot. Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes on medium low. This will allow the flavors to meld.

Serve hot.

This makes a lot. 6-8 servings, I would say. Unless you're feeding a 6 1/2 foot tall man, in which case it is about four. I have strong feelings about overeating and this soup sparked a huge controversy in my weird world.

So be warned, it is delicious and should not be left unattended.


etsy love: jewelry edition

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I've been getting a little bored with my jewelry lately. I only own a couple of rings and one of them looks a little cheap (and turns my finger green), one of them is my class ring from high school (I think we all only wore ours maybe the first day we got them. In hindsight the whole class ring thing seems like a bit of a scam. Sorry Mom and Dad!) and then I have a little opal ring my sister gave me for Christmas one year that I love but only wear sometimes.

I have a lot of bracelets but I haven't bought any new ones in a while and I'm not really a necklace person. I have one I wear a lot, my locket, and one Tom gave me for Christmas, and a little pearl necklace for fancier affairs.

Some cute baubles on Etsy have caught my eye. I know that scarf is not jewelry but it's been on my mind for ever. Perhaps it's time to update my collection?

And can we just talk about that gorgeous feather bangle for a second? Made by Rosella Resin which I've posted about before. How magnificent is it? I want it. So. Bad. I love all of their items. They're so beautiful. I've been thinking about picking out one of the rings to buy for myself. The two things keeping me from doing so are a.) the money and b.) I do not know my ring size.

And c.) how could I ever just choose one?!

Decisions, decisions.


vegan burrito with garlic jalapeno sauce

Because it's for a serious health problem this time around, I've been trying to be very strict about my vegan diet (except for eggs). When I slip up I feel very guilty. 

I see it's difficult for people to understand (or even believe) why I need to be so careful, so if I do slip up, it really doesn't help me to convince them and it also introduces things into my body that could complicate my condition. 

But if you don't do it properly, veganism can get dull pretty quick. Especially because I cannot have any of the processed delights that most vegans can treat themselves to, or tofu (although admittedly I've been eating too much of it lately). 

It does get tiring--checking labels, always cooking from scratch. And being tired leads to laziness. Laziness leads to slip ups. I'm pretty proud of myself, though, because I had to be in a room with a bunch of people gorging on pizza (my favorite food) this weekend and I couldn't have any. Sure, I was surly about it, but I held strong, anyway, so whatever.

So, to keep myself on track, I've been trying to diversify my meals by looking up recipes online. I keep up with several vegan food blogs, such as Oh She Glows, Vegan Richa and Vegan Yum Yum (which is no longer updated, but still has good recipes!). 

Sometimes the recipes are a little too complicated for what I feel like doing, or I don't have the right ingredients on hand, or they inspire me to get creative and come up with my own dish. 
For this recipe I used a sauce from Vegan Richa, found here. I made the garlic jalapeno sauce exactly as instructed but instead of having it over pasta (which I also want to try), I decided to have it over some sauteed veggies, beans and rice.
It was really yummy and sort of satisfied the dairy cravings I've been having lately (even if only temporarily). The sauce was creamy and had the flavor of the jalapeno and a little of its heat, but not too much.
Get the sauce recipe here and for the rest you'll need:

1 small orange pepper, sliced
1 small yellow pepper, sliced
1/2 a medium onion, chopped
1 cup of brown rice
1 can black beans, drain and rinsed
1 Tbsp coconut oil (or other oil)
Wraps or tortillas (I used spinach wraps because I could not find flour tortillas at the store that day)
1/4 garlic jalapeno sauce
Optional toppings: salsa, vegan sour cream, vegan cheese shreds, avocado, etc.

Start your rice according to package instructions.

In a pan, melt your coconut oil over medium high heat. When you've brought your oil to temperature, toss in all of your veggies and sauté until they begin to soften and brown.

Add 1/4 cup of the garlic jalapeno sauce, and stir until the sauce is heated and the mixture is well combined.

Warm a tortilla in a clean warm frying pan or in the microwave (10-20 seconds) until soft and malleable. Layer rice, black beans and veggies and fold into a wrap.

Best served hot.

You could add more sauce if you like, or use a different kind of rice, or rice recipe (I bet Spanish rice would be delicious, too!)

I had mine with salsa and it was just wonderful :)