summer... wear art thou?

GEDDIT? . . . because it's a fashion post. . . ?

I know, I know. . . . I'm sleep-deprived. Forgive me. 

Anyway, Here are two items I am dreaming of: 
dress, shoe
I may pick them up soon but . . . like . . . it's frigid out! So having this beautiful dress hanging in my closet might only make me very sad that it's still winter (and a harsh winter at that!). 

We'll see. 

What do you think?

Last year I bought similar sandals from Aerosoles, but they fell apart! Maybe $65 isn't much to spend on shoes these days, but it's still a lot. I would still appreciate if they didn't fall apart, ya know? :)


kalamata tomato sauce

 Now here's a recipe I can stand behind.

This I adapted from a recipe I read in "Better Homes & Gardens" about four years ago. I can't link to it, since I don't have it anymore. But also, it's come a long way since then and is probably not much the same anymore, anyway.

At the time I was living in my first ever apartment, above a gun shop on Main Street in Norway. I miss that little apartment. . . . And Maine in general. I'm finding myself very homesick today.

This is my favorite dish, I think, so it's the perfect thing to have while eating my emotions.

What I love most about this recipe is the flavor of the grape tomatoes and the Kalamata olives. It's kind of a fresher, lighter, more flavorful take on regular old spaghetti. 

I also love that it's quick, simple and makes a lot. I made this Thursday night and I'm still eating the delicious leftovers!
Here's what you need to make this: 

2 pints grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 pint baby portobello mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives (whole or sliced)
1/4 cup Kalamata olive juice
5-6 large basil leaves, chopped
2 small yellow onions, finely chopped
1 Italian pepper, finely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup water
salt & pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp of coconut oil (you could use olive if you want)
1 Tbsp of olive oil
1 lbs pasta (fettuccine, linguine or spaghetti would all be fine)

In a medium-sized sauce pan, heat 1 Tbsp of coconut oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add your garlic, onion and pepper. Stir regularly to avoid burning. Once the onions have softened, add in your mushrooms. 

The mushrooms will begin to release their moisture and your mixture will become slightly more . . .well, moist. At this point, add in your tomatoes, olives, olive juice, water and basil. Stir to combine and allow to simmer on low while you bring to boil a pot of water for, and cook, your pasta. 

If your sauce begins to thicken too much, add a little more water. 

Once pasta is finished cooking, and drained, toss with your sauce, adding a little olive oil to keep pasta from sticking together. serve hot, or cold! It's delicious both ways.

Oh! I almost forgot, I added a can of small white beans to my recipe this time (pictured). That's totally optional. I like to add beans to things because it gives me some protein. 


cauliflower mac & cheese: it was 'ok'

I was pretty excited about this recipe at first. It seemed like just the kind of thing that I want to be posting about on here. Things that are clever, delicious and good for non-vegans. 
It LOOKS good, right? 

But it was SO disappointing! :(

It's not that I expected it to taste like cheese. Cauliflower and nutritional yeast hardly a cheese make, but I was hoping it could at least be the friend I turn to when suffering the sad grief of my break up with cheese.

But it wasn't. It was just something else entirely. Not BAD, necessarily, which is why I chose to write about it, but just . . . too strong, I think? Too much cauliflower. Too much nutritional yeast, which I don't really like the smell or flavor of in the first place, but I kind of forgot that part.
My recipe was adapted from this and I'm gonna tell you what I did, and what I would do differently.

What you need:

1 head of cauliflower (just the florets, really)
2 large carrots, chopped and peeled (not in that order)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/3 cup water
1/3 olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp honey or dijon mustard
dash of nutmeg
salt, to taste
1 lb. pasta (elbows, or spirals or shells, whatever you like)

In a large pot, boil your cauliflower florets and carrots until mashable with a fork (15-20 minutes).

If you have a large and/or powerful blender or food processor, throw everything in there until smooth and creamy.

If you have a small weak food processor like mine, mash your cauliflower and carrots in a bowl and combine remaining ingredients. Spoon into your processor in batches and blend until smooth and creamy.

I hope you cooked your pasta in the meantime, according to box directions, because now you can mix the whole thing together and serve hot.

Now. If I do this again, which I may, I will make the following amendments to the ingredients:

1 head of cauliflower
2 carrots
1 or 2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup (or slightly less) nutritional yeast
1/2 cup of almond milk
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp dijon mustard
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt

I've also read that it can be made with potatoes instead of cauliflower which would maybe make it better. That sounds a lot less healthy, but I'll have to try it with that sometime, too.

Anyway, try at your own risk!


maple clementine hot toddy

 Mmm.. a maple clementine hot toddy. Sounds good right? All organge-y and maple-y.
Too bad I forgot to post this one three weeks ago...

and have since forgot the recipe...

I should really write these things down.

I would just try making it again, but now I'm not supposed to drink alcohol. I think I can guess at what I did, though.
What you need:
1 clementine + 1 for garnish
1 bag/tea ball of your choice of tea (I used loose chamomile and it was perfect!)
1-2 Tbsp pure maple syrup (to taste)
7 oz of boiling water
1-2 oz of bourbon (or more, to taste)

Bring to boil 8 oz of water in a sauce pan with the juice of one clementine and the maple syrup. Turn off the heat and throw in your tea bag or strainer. Let steep for slightly less than typical. Remove tea bag/ball/strainer and add your spirits.

Slice a second clementine and add the slices to your cup as a garnish.

All of the ingredients can be adjusted to suit your taste. If you like, you could leave out everything but the bourbon! But, that won't be a maple clementine hot toddy. It'll just be bourbon.

Now that I've written it all down, I'm confident that that is exactly how I made this. Hooray for memory!


why i'm going vegan again + a little about endometriosis

Hey guys! I know it's been a little bit since my last post, for that I apologize. I have a list of excuses prepared for you: a.) I have to move again, so I spent some time fretting and some time searching for a new place. The latter was a success and my new place is HUGE and SUNNY and I won't have to bring all of my things into my bedroom to photograph (yeah, that Christmas ham was photographed in my bedroom...!). b.) holidays, of course. c.) I took a break from writing my book while I was healing and during the holidays and there was some inertia there getting back into it, but the last few days I've been working on it non-stop and I haven't wanted to interrupt that flow. d.) a general lack of ideas....and also the people who lease our apartment have been doing some invasive renovations that have been pretty disruptive and distracting.

Think about me without a stove or oven for a week and you will understand why I haven't felt like doing anything!

Alright, enough of that. . . . I know this blog is mostly not personal stuff, but since it's my blog I thought I'd talk a little about me and my life right now. Which is going great, by the way, except for basically one thing:

As I mentioned before, I had surgery just before Christmas. The surgery was to remove an ovarian cyst that
has ruptured a few times but never gone away. My doctor suspected it might be endometriosis and it turned out to be just that.

While they removed all of it during the surgery, there is a good chance that it's going to come back. My doctor was pretty insistent that the best and possibly only way to reduce this risk was for me to take birth control. I don't really believe in that. I was on the Pill for four and a half years and they were the worst four and a half years of my entire life. Since being off it I made leaps and bounds: I don't feel sick all of the time anymore and I don't have the severe mood swings or deep depression that I suffered from before.

recipe here
I believe wholeheartedly that you ARE what you EAT and that people are quick to dismiss the healing powers of food. Think about it though: food powers your body. It's what makes us go. Other animals have extremely strict diets because they need very specific things from their food to keep their bodies working properly. The human body has adapted to tolerate a wide range of foods but that doesn't mean all of these foods are beneficial.

That is why I am going vegan again. I'm giving it six months before I meet with my doctor again to determine whether we need to take other measures.

I'm cutting out all foods that contain hormones which primarily includes dairy (the worst offender), meat and soy. (Soy! you might be thinking, How can a vegan live without soy! Trust me though, it's possible and while hard to avoid when eating out, it's not an imperative staple in a vegan diet). This is because endometriosis is aggravated by high levels of estrogen. I'm cutting out sugars because they're inflammatory and I'm cutting out alcohol because it inhibits your liver's ability to filter toxins.
recipe here
Because I have endometriosis, my body is constantly repairing and healing itself. 8.5 million women and girls in America are estimated to suffer from this disease and that might make you think that it's common and therefor not a big deal, but that's simply not true. Any disease is a big deal because it means there's something not right in your body.

Now, I'm not saying there's not something to be said for modern medicine. I think modern medicine is great and it saves countless lives every minute of every day. But I think people have come to rely on drugs to treat their ailments TOO much. It can be so much more simple than that.

Obesity is a disease that illustrates this point perfect. Weight loss drugs are a HUGE industry in our world today which blows my mind because obesity is nearly always caused by poor diet and lack of exercise. So, instead of eating more vegetables and getting your body moving, people choose to put MORE chemicals in to try to shed the weight, but I've seen VERY little evidence that that even really works. The veracity of the claims by these drug manufactures are continually being debunked and then a new drug pops up. It's just crazy.

Anyway, I'm getting off point.

My diet change will mean a change for l'elan jolie, as well, as you may have guessed. I'll no longer be posting hams or chicken soups, but I promise that anything I do post will be delicious and suitable for all of you omnivores out there (my primary taste-tester Tom, is not vegan so he'll tell me if something sucks or not!)

If any of my readers out there are suffering from endometriosis as well, please feel free to get in touch with me! Despite the prevalence of this disease I don't actually know anyone else who has it but I'd love to talk about how it's affected your life and what you have found useful in coping with it. I'm still learning!

Thanks for reading and I PROMISE to have some more on point posts coming up soon! <3