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5 Ways to Stay in Vacation Mode

5 Ways to Stay in Vacation Mode

It’s the Monday after vacation, you’re burnt out and not sure how Friday got further away while you were gone. Know the feeling? Try these tips for keeping the Saturday morning vacay vibe alive and you’ll never dread a post-vacation weekday again. 

  1. Pick up a novel

Whether it comes from the stack of books on your nightstand or a lonely title sitting on your Amazon wish list, crack open a book you can’t stop hearing about. Don’t have a book at the ready? Check out Modern Mrs. Darcy which is my absolute favorite stop for book suggestions. Maybe join Goodreads and  take a look at bookshelves of friends.  The only rule? You are not permitted to choose a book that feels like homework. Now isn’t the time to force a classic upon yourself, no Dickens allowed. Coming home from vacation means reentering reality and a quick detour into a delicious book is just the thing to soften the blow.  

  1. Exercise Outside.

Ever notice how hotel gyms are totally empty? No one who knows how to truly vacation enters the sad mini-room tucked near the hotel pool. What you do see are tourists sporting Fitbits and the like, staying active outside. Why ruin the fun by coming home and zoning out on the treadmill while following along with CNN subtitles?  Get outdoors, even if it’s next to the community pool and do something good for your body. Yoga, lunges, meditation, a run, doesn’t matter. We aren’t trying to replace your routine hot you,  just giving you little post-vacation treat you won’t regret.

  1. Dig In…to a New Culture

Keep the wanderlust alive and get lost in someone else’s world for a few days. Set aside 10 minutes each day to learn what you can about the people living in the place you’ve always wanted to visit. Learn how to say something romantic in a different language, watch funny commercials from abroad, roam through country-sides with Google Earth.  The goal is to keep your horizons broad and open. We often come back from vacation with an appreciation for the size of our world, but quickly close ourselves back into our comforatble walls. Grab a bottle of Italian wine, pick up some French cheese and spend your first free evening back home watching a top rated travel documentary. Netflix has your back.

  1. Make a Restaurant Worthy Recipe on the Weekend

To truly keep yourself in vacation mode, you’ll need to stay excited about food! While we can’t continue indulging in Hawaiian Hula Pie or Texas sized nachos, we can keep our taste buds on their toes! Early in the week, search for a recipe with amazing reviews. You’ll want to take your time with the whole process to keep it from feeling like another chore you’ve fallen behind on. Plan to shop for your ingredients by Thursday night and carve out a couple hours (if needed) to really dive into the whole cooking process on the weekend. No shortcuts!  Keep a glass of wine and a great playlist in the kitchen and don’t forget to truly sit down and enjoy that meal with your family, no paper plates allowed.

  1. Go to bed early on Sunday night

The laundry pile is high, the number of clean dishes are low, there’s a lot to do after being away. Do your preparations for the following week anytime before noon on Sunday. Get those weekend chores done mid-week. Take advantage of Amazon Fresh or Instacart for your grocery shopping, switch to a dry cleaner with free pickup and delivery, in short…delegate. When was the last Sunday you spent truly enjoying the day and playing with those you love? No meal prep, no shopping, no laundry. Plan your evening backwards, starting with the time you want to be in bed with lights off. Backtrack and plug in things that help you relax, be it wine, a bath, a hike or maybe that travel documentary you’ve got in que. Come Monday morning, you’ll feel like you can conquer your week, refreshed and rejuvenated. Isn’t that the whole point of vacation after all?
*Pop back in soon for a post full of Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood tips. Better yet, subscribe at the top of the page and have it delivered!

 

Movie Fuel’s Surefire Oscar Picks and La La Land Orange Julius

Movie Fuel’s Surefire Oscar Picks and La La Land Orange Julius

 

The 2017 Oscars are here and so are Movie Fuel’s favorites! He truly missed his calling as a movie reviewer, so if you know anyone who works for Entertainment Weekly, put in a good word. Take the time to read his La La Land review, his insights and comparisons always astound me…seriously guys, he’s good! And as and added bonus, I have an Orange Julius inspired La La Land Smoothie you can quickly whip up before the opening number and dress mocking begin!

  •  Best Picture: La La Land                                                                   
  • Best Director: Damien Chazelle (La La Land)                                                                                                                                   
  • Best Actress: Emma Stone (La La Land)                                                                                                                                           
  • Best Actor: Denzel Washington (Fences)                                                                                                                                          
  • Supporting Actress: Viola Davis (Fences)                                                                                                                                        
  • Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)
  • Screenplay – Adapted: Moonlight
  • Screenplay – Original: La La Land
  • Cinematography: La La Land
  • Song: City of Stars (La La Land)
  • Visual Effects: Jungle Book
  • Animated Film: Zootopia
  • Foreign Language: The Salesman

La La Land (2016)

Starring: Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling

Directed by: Damien Chazelle

At a time when I could better understand and appreciate the art form, my mother introduced me to many of the 1950’s classic films, especially musicals. I became very familiar with actors like Danny Kaye and films like The Music Man, Singing in the Rain and Oliver!. The biggest difference with musicals is that they are often a purer form of entertainment compared to the standard drama or comedy. Musicals require a certain height of disbelief and force the audience to leave their “normal” world behind and enter a place where people dance in the streets, rooms in an apartment suddenly transition around actors and everyone in the movie knows each other as they breakout in a happy flash mob. The movie musical, similar to its rooted form on Broadway stages (and the Opera before that), has the greatest ability to transport an audience to the purest type of escapism and provides two more layers of expression other than standard acting; singing and dancing.

Director Damien Chazelle, whose directorial debut was the 2014 drama Whiplash, does an incredible job of creating something sentimental and classic but also very fresh. Within its opening musical number and pervasively throughout the film, we understand that La La Land is as much about what the city in which it is set represents as it is about our two main characters. Los Angeles, and more specifically Hollywood, has historically been a place that can create or crush the dreams of so many budding hopeful entertainers; for every Leonardo Dicaprio and Jennifer Lawrence that breaks through, there are hundreds of thousands that do not. This is the story of two of those dreamers, one a traditionalist jazz pianist (Ryan Gosling), the other a saucer-eyed aspiring actress (Emma Stone) who serves as a barista on a studio lot just to be close to movies. Both have their sights on something spectacular and their aligned passion and pursuit creates a charming and endearing chemistry that draws them together.

In its simplest explanation,  La La Land is a musical love story about following your dreams. In between the lines, you’ll find a compelling film examining the cause and effect of the decisions we make while chasing those big dreams and how the power of disappointment drives us. What starts out as corny and unbelievable, quickly and confidently convinces the audience that what they are watching is not only different than anything they have seen recently, which adds appeal on its own, but also that a 1950’s retro style musical can still be cool in the 21st century landscape. Being different than the rest can be pleasing, doing so while maintaining a connection with the audience is even more special and is often the formula for some of the most successful and praised films of all time. Accomplishing this has become increasingly more challenging as more years pass and more films are produced.  

The films greatest strength may be the performance by Emma Stone, who equally expresses vulnerability and confidence in both subtle and bigger than life moments throughout the story. Yes, the stars aren’t classically trained singers or dancers, but in a way their imperfections help keep them relatable. The film also provides emotional punch that eats at our sensibility that life’s choices can unpredictably provide and take away what we love the most. I am not going to beat around the bush any longer, this is a beautifully written, acted and choreographed film (even the music is pervasive well beyond the viewing experience) and on Oscar night, it will easily win Best Picture. Only ten of 32 nominated musicals have won in Oscar history, including most recently Chicago 15 years ago, so another musical best picture is due for a win (the last one nominated was Les Miserable in 2012). If you are looking for escapism, inspiration or romance, go see La La Land, you won’t regret it.

 

Top 5 Films of 2016

  1. Hidden FiguresInspirational True Story of the unsung heroes of the NASA program.
  2. Zootopia – Entertainment for every age in the spirit of Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
  3. The Accountant – Kept your interest to the very end, exciting action flick.
  4. Moonlight – Intense and tender coming of age story in the worst parts of Miami Beach.
  5. La La Land 

La La Land Smoothie

orangejulius

2 bananas
2 tsp Vanilla POWDER
1 1/2 cup milk
4 oranges, squeezed
zest of one orange
handful of ice

and blend!

Christmas Spending and Kombucha

Christmas Spending and Kombucha

Before we begin, I have to tell you that I was compelled to stop mid-Costco and take a photo of a book I never, ever want to receive. Ugh, Jeffrey. 

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Ok, now I’m ready. Hello and welcome back, I’ve missed you! We’ve had a season of learning how to handle something called Reactive Hypoglycemia. It’s a whopper of a mess and I’ll talk about it another time because I have something way more fun to share. Once again Mom, no I’m not pregnant. Two is good.


Ah, the holiday season, November and December are so precious.  These months are the time of the year when I score a Pottery Barn tree skirt for $6, schmancy candlestick holders for $3 and more miscellaneous Christmas crap than our home can handle for a few bucks more.  When my favorite thrift store brings out all they have stored for the past 11 months, everything hits the fan. EVERYTHING.

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This even lacks a bit of Christmas spirit, so I added some festive hats to lighten the mood.  This year, I was 15th out of about 100 in the line which forms an hour before the 400 square foot second-hand store opens. 40 people and their empty boxes are allowed in the store at once.  At this point, we all forget that we are celebrating Jesus and pretend the apocalypse is tomorrow and our family’s only chance of survival depends on THAT gold trimmed placemat set. You want those Spode Christmas plates? You best be prepared to knuckle fight Grandma for them, and she don’t mess. 

That said,  I friggin’ love that sale. 

In an almost easier shopping story, I bought a new car. I mean, um…I bought a new car with my husband’s money. Ugh. I picked out a car and he went to buy it. Don’t kick me out of Pantsuit Nation. (Spoiler alert, I voted for Hills).

I’m obsessed with my new car, but we can’t live in it if we need to. I’m fairly sure that’s not supposed to be the measure of a good vehicle. But honey, let me tell you, if you haven never owned a minivan, you don’t understand that secret sense of security when thinking of possible zombie invasions and the like. The idea of a car large enough to stand in, lie down in and carry a couch in is a tough one to release. So ya, I miss the minivan life, but I don’t miss the threat of my kid’s door falling off, the knocking from the vent, the crappy brakes and the rest. 

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Are you totally ready for the best thing I have purchased this month? You is gonna die. 

Maybe you won’t. But you know who will? My brother, Ron. Now that I think about it, maybe my brother Matt will too. Definitely my mom.

If you can withstand it, let me tell you the story. 

My friend Jody and I love to drive a good 20+ miles for our favorite cup of coffee, an Iced Mint Mojito from Philz in Oakland. I’ve written of this concotion more than once, you should be familar. No booze in the cup, just muddled mint, 2 T. brown sugar, straight up cream, coffee and ice. It’s amazing and I have no caloric regret afterward. I should, but don’t. 

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When time allows, we often venture to nearby shops and explore. We’ve found all kinds of treasures, including a secret hipster nook of Oakland, Temescal Alley, a stop for all things stylish, overpriced and millenial. If you like to have your non-dairy ice cream scooped for you by a 20-something with ZERO shame over her long armpit-hair in a tank top, visit Curbside Creamery and bring about $8.

This week we found Preserved Goods,

a kitchen shop focused on traditional methods of preserving. Think of us as a hardware store for developing your pantry. We provide a community-oriented space to learn, share and shop for healthful products and do-it-yourself supplies. 

Pickling, kefir grains, sourdough bread starters, cultured food, kitchen supplies for the homesteader, butter jars. This store is the most exciting place I’ve been all month. (Comments to yourself, friend).

I know that churning your own butter is probably a clearly paved path to hipsterville, but it’s also so dang delicuous, so what’s a girl to do?  

Fine, I’ve never churned my own butter, that was a lie.  I just need you to believe me that this store is so, so much fun. Ok, here’s my favorite purchase of the season….a Kombucha starter set!

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Kombucha is brewed and sweetened black tea, that sits out for 7-21 days to ferment with the help of a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). It sounds like something you are supposed to avoid, right? The gal at Preserved Goods gave us a taste of her homemade Kombucha and it was better than any I have ever tried. I can’t wait to report back and let you guys know how it turns out.  Tell me this wasn’t the best purchase? Wait, you don’t have to, my brother will for you. 

Happy Holidays Friends!
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Bananas Foster Bread (GF)

Bananas Foster Bread (GF)

The plan was to make some healthy Moringa muffins this weekend (actually last weekend).  Instead, I decided to treat myself to a day without my kids being angry at me. So, I made Bananas Foster Bread, also known as the downfall for all healthy cells in my body. 

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 Like, die, die. Also, I’m really sorry for anyone who may be reading this and has had a loved one venture to heaven recently. Seriously though, if they would have eaten this bread, they’d die too. Again. 

Everyone and their grammy believes they own the best banana bread recipe and they are right. Everyone owns it, folks. It’s always the same thing! Butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon or nutmeg, milk, bananas, nuts and maybe some chocolate chips. Nothing new, except the people who drop in a cup of oil. So nastylicious. The secret to banana bread is….the topping!

Make a crumble, make a drizzle, make something to jazz up your banana bread. On that note, if anyone, anyone at all, is able to create a photo of banana bread with jazz hands, email me right away. 

No segue at all here, just gonna move on. This is probably old news to most of you, but I still can’t get enough of this particular meme…

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You know what else I want to talk about? Gut microbiomes!

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I know, it sounds so boring. If you don’t already know however, gut microbiomes are like the Keymaster from Ghostbusters. Your whole world is locked into your gut, seriously. Skin conditions, depression, anxiety, thyroid connections, fatigue, brain fog and cancer…it’s all in your gut. Well, cancer isn’t really in IN your gut, but your gut has the key to preventing the disease. 

Research on the gut microbiome has exploded over the past few years. This bold new frontier may just provide the string theory of all human disease. “Name just about any ailment plaguing us and you’ll find some ­researchers discovering the microbial angle for a connection,” says Leach, whose latest book, Bloom: Reconnecting with Your Primal Gut in a Modern World, is due out this fall. – Eating Well

One more quote. If I broke it up into two, I figured I could trick you into reading two short things instead of one super long. Sorry, I should have had more faith in your reading stamina

From birth to age 5, children receive more anti­biotics than during any other five-year period in their lives. One of Leach’s colleagues, New York University microbiologist Martin Blaser, M.D., believes antibiotics have “deranged” the micro­biome—even causing some species to go extinct—and that their overuse is why many health problems, including type 1 diabetes, obesity and allergies, are on the rise.

Why am I talking about this? It’s an ulcer update!

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Our lives are in the balance of our guts. All the symptoms that we keep masking with mega-drugs are often tied to the good vs. bad ratio of gut bacteria. We got it wrong. I say we like I’ve had any actual part in the world of medical research. 

We (using it loosely now) may have even got the appendix wrong. Turns out, it might not be a left over piece of intestine we once used to process tree bark. The appendix might just be an extra pool of good bacteria, which can be sent into our gut. – Science Focus

You know what else is up and up and coming in the gut world? Fecal transplants. They super heal and yes, I totally understand how freaking nasty that is. 

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To really talk about all things microbiome, I’d need to start another blog. My poor sister site, SheEmbarks.com is already there, sad over not getting enough attention. So, I’ll point you in a starter direction if you are interested. 

Here are nine ways to start taking betta’ care of your belly (by Dr. Mark Hyman)

  1. Eat whole, unprocessed, unrefined foods. One of the best ways to maintain gut health involves cutting out the sugar and refined carbs and jacking up gut-supporting fiber.
  2. Make 75 percent of your plate be vegetables and plant-based foods. Your gut bugs really love these high-fiber plant foods.
  3. Eat good fats and get an oil change. The good fats we mentioned earlier (like omega 3 fats and monounsaturated fats, such as extra-virgin olive oil) will help with decreasing inflammation, giving healthy gut bugs a chance to flourish.
  4. Supplement smartly. Beyond the numerous benefits (including reducing inflammation), studies find omega 3 fatty acids can support healthy gut flora.  You should definitely supplement with an essential fatty acids formula, if you’re not regularly eating wild-caught fatty fish.  You can find professional-quality formulas in my store. Take a good probiotic supplement.This helps reduce gut inflammation while cultivating health and the growth of good bacteria.
  5. Add more coconut. Studies demonstrate anti-inflammatory and weight loss benefits from adding Medium Chain Triglyceride or MCT oils. One of my favorite fats, coconut oil and coconut butter, contains these fabulous fat-burning MCTs.
  6. Remove inflammatory fats. Cut out bad, inflammatory omega 6 rich fats like vegetable oils. Replace these with healthier oils like extra-virgin olive oil and coconut oil.
  7. Add fiber-rich foods. Nuts, seeds, and a special fiber called glucomannan provide prebiotics and feed our healthy bacteria.
  8. Add fermented foods. Sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, and miso contain good amounts of probiotics so your healthy gut bugs can be fruitful and multiply.

The above recommendations are not miracle cures.  They are the actions that lead to normalized gut function and flora through improved diet, increased fiber intake, daily probiotic supplementation, the use of nutrients that repair the gut lining, and the reduction of bad bugs in the gut with herbs or medication.

Bulletproof your gut

Underground Wellness resources

So, that’s what I’ve been working on. Which is why I can tell you that one slice of this banana bread wrecked me for 36 hours. Totally bloated, 2 pounds of water retention, SO much indigestion and total belly aching. Gluten wasn’t a factor this time, leaving my other arch nemesis, SUGAR. While I can attest to the total deliciousness of this recipe, I can affirm my statement from earlier, you will die. This bread is the downfall of both my healthy cells and society altogether. But…oh lawdy, lawdy it tastes so good. 

banana bread

 

GF Bananas Foster Bread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 12 slices
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Bob's Red Mill gluten free flour
  • 4-5 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick), softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ c butter
  • ½ c pure maple syrup
  • 1 c powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, set aside. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Stir in eggs, milk, vanilla, and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes,
  4. While bread is cooling, melt together butter, syrup and vanilla over low heat. Take mixture off burner and whisk in powdered sugar until smooth. Pour over bread and enjoy heaven.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But Seriously, WHERE’S THE BEEF?

But Seriously, WHERE’S THE BEEF?

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On the bright side, I did find myself this treat at Costco…

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My husband got a kick out of all the labels on this box, he considered it Cocoa Krispies all the same.

Let me tell you a secret, I am a bit of a Vegan fraud. Not meaning I get to secretly enjoy a scoop of ice cream or bites of a burger, oh no, no, no. My animal bits are ingested without taste, they are in my supplements to cure my (almost)-ulcer. Wait until you see what is in some of this stuff! First, a bit of boring back story. If you scroll down, I won’t be offended, because I won’t know.

Only a few days into taking the prescribed Prilosec, I knew I wanted off. Not only did I feel crummy, but it was defeating any actions I had recently been taking to heal myself from a leaky gut. PPI’s like Prilosec, Prevacid and Zantac supress stomach acid, which would allow a forming ulcer to heal itself. The problem with supressing acid is that I haven’t been making nearly enough, for years. I know this because of an amazing digestive enzyme I had started taking and found immediate results with. It was obvious that I hadn’t been properly digesting food for the majority of my life. For the first time in my life (that I can remember), I wasn’t hungry after eating. Open heaven now, ’cause I can die happy.  Until my forming ulcer interrupted everything. Enzymes are shelved for now and here is what I am taking instead. 

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A mix of (brace yo’self): Okrah, bentonite (a type of clay), cow liver, pig stomach and pig brain. Mixed of course with some other healthy stuff. I’m pretty sure that makes me a Vegan liar. Vegans don’t eat brains.

The other supplement I take is a Chlorophyll mix, much less scary. This combo works, though, like seriously works. I have to actually remind myself that I need to eat carefully. While waiting for these to come in to my Chiropractor’s office over President’s Day weekend, I tried about $100 worth of other supplements from Whole Foods, with no luck. My stomach was pissed and if you are reading this in the UK, my stomach was angry, not drunk. 

On another food note, Indian food and I are having an emotional affair right now. We are forbidden to be together, but oh do I long for the day when we can reunite!

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Ready for another complainy girl story? I apologize, I really do. Gonna tell it anyway.

President’s Day weekend in California was beautiful, we had to get outside. After a trip to take the lamest 1 mile hike in the Bay Area, we ventured into Berkeley in search of ice cream.  Whadda ya know, there’s a creamery right next to Philz Coffee! 

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BUT, I CAN’T HAVE COFFEE. 

This is like telling Donald Trump he can’t have hairspray. Things will just get UGLY.

So, despite my best judgement and Google’s warnings, I headed in for a decaf version of my kryptonite, Iced Mint Mojito. I ordered extra sweet and creamy to cut back on the coffee, which also allowed for my 8 year old to take a sip. Now he thinks all coffee must taste like minty milk if you add a bit of sugar. I will move his college savings account over to a Starbucks savings account on Monday. 

But look how fun this little corner Philz is! So many students studying on a lovely Sunday, glued to their screens. I can’t help it, I love it. This would totally have been me in college too. Except, I didn’t go to UC Berkeley, despite our similarity in student loans. I also would never have sat in front of a computer on a Sunday. So, what the hell am I talking about? This wouldn’t have been me, I just like the idea.

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Trust me, I know how ridiculous this post is. When coming up with a title, I really wanted to write, “God, I Miss Jack!” Not knowing who would remember this movie or even understand what I was talking about, I opted for a different 80’s reference, ha!

Poor Audrey. I feel her pain, but I couldn’t care less about Jack, I want some ribs, girl!

With all those complaints out of my system, I can go on to tell you that I actually feel really, really good. I started taking some vitamins that have made my energy skyrocket. As much as I don’t want to admit it, I may stretch out the Vegan thing a while past my next blood results, it just feels really good. Barbecue season hasn’t started yet, so I still have a bit of confidence that I can stick with it. 

Do you have any gluten free, vegan recipes to share? Do you also have some diamonds you aren’t using? If the answer to either of those is yes, I’ll wait to hear from you. 

Paleo Pause

Paleo Pause

Last week Max had a 24 hour tummy  bug and I stormed it like a champ. I actually even enjoyed some of it, he just wanted to cuddle and it brought me back to the baby days. Even though he asked me to not put this picture on Facebook, I’m keeping it here for the future. Sorry Max. Maybe you should have put your toys away more often.

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Now let me show you something else which falls in the category of, “Enjoy it now, you ain’t gettin’ that again for a long time, girl.” 

Carnitas. Beans and rice. So. Much. Cheese.

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Not too long after this Mexican date night I found out a lil somethin’ about my cholesterol. Sorry, I won’t go on with that lie. I didn’t date a new Mexican man. Same white as ever husband, he’s a good catch.  After that date, as I was saying, I discovered that since leaning Paleo (for the past three years), my good cholesterol has increased. 

And. Uh…

My bad cholesterol skyrocketed too. Like, er….50 points. 

And also, I have something called a pre-ulcer. 

For the next three months, until my follow up blood test, I am…I am…I am…a gluten-free vegan. A gluten-free vegan who can’t have coffee, tea, alcohol or spicy foods. I am so freakin’ serious right now. 

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So, in true vegan fashion, I expect everyone else to go vegan too. Go toss your honey and leather belts

Kidding! Don’t send me Anthrax!

One of my first culinary vegan adventures was trying to make something called, brace yo’ self…Mushroom Bacon. I’m just gonna come right out and tell you that those little slices of brown fungi tasted exactly like bacon. They tasted JUST like bacon would taste to someone who has been a vegan from birth and had no actual idea how good the real stuff tastes. Sure, it was kinda good, but if someone tried to tell me I was eating bacon and served me these mushrooms, I’d slap their pretty little stupid face and walk out the door. 

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I’m not even going to give you the recipe, because…just don’t. Instead, you can head over to Clean Food Crush to find this fun pasta-less pasta salad with zucchini noodles and artichoke hearts. Because hey, summer is only four months away and you know it takes you that long to actually try a new recipe. 

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Feeling guilty over creating a blog post with no actual recipe, I decided to offer you a Pinterest worthy image. I challenge you to put it on your Facebook page, make it your Twitter profile picture, share it like crazy. When people ask you what it means or tell you that they don’t get it, act bewildered. 

“You don’t get it? Read it again. Seriously, BE THE BENCH.”

Never let on to the fact that you too, have no clue what it means. 

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Now that I am totally in love with Zumba, I need to buy some special shoes. I mean “special” in all the ways you can take it, too. Zumba requires a dance shoe with the support of a fitness sneaker. Hence, this is what I get to choose from…

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Aren’t these just the stupidest things you can imagine? They look like shoes that were not taken off the conveyor belt during an earthquake in the factory. My knees hurt though and I can’t handle one more thing that reminds me I am inching towards 40. (In 2017)

Zumba is fantastic. There are just so many women in the classes I go to that just do not give the ass of a rat. Rhythm? Meh, who needs it? Coordination? None here! There’s an elderly woman who literally just stops and talks to another woman and checks her phone while the music blares. There are three women who love to grace the front row and dance until they come down from their cocaine highs. These women aren’t always in the same class at the same time. They are all well, WELL over fifty and will slap a ho if she were to try to interrupt their wild Zumba time. WOOOOO! 

Never tried Zumba? Wait until everone has left the house and give this a go!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Recipe Shared 168.3K+ Times

The Recipe Shared 168.3K+ Times

No joke here! As of today this silly little dip has made its way to over 168,300 people on Pinterest alone. I’m sure Hawaiian people would be more than happy to knock a coconut over my head for calling this seriously mainland style dip Hawaiian.

One can dream of vacation destinations in one’s own way. Like you, North Dakota people, if you want to make a recipe covered in ahi tuna and kale then call it Californian, you go for it. You’d also kinda nail it, but that doesn’t matter. 

We all dream of warm vacation destinations in our own way. 

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Short post for the day, just wanted to start talking movies again. The host of depressing, oppressive and lonely movies of the Oscars are almost here, as are the Oscar food posts!

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Ooh, one more thing. 

My 2016 goal is to create a dip that will blow Hawaiian Dip out of the Pinterest water. Are we connected over on Pinterest? 

Follow Kim’s board food on Pinterest.

NOW, back to 2012, minus Gangnam Style

This week will bring lots of movie related posts as the Academy Awards are almost here (Sunday)! Have you seen The Descendants? Yeah, neither has Mr. Movie Fuel, so there won’t be much movie discussion other than what I am about to add. This movie is not meant for Girl’s Night Out. I think the word has gotten out that this movie isn’t just about George Clooney on a beach. It’s a heavy drama with doses of comedy sprinkled in.

If The Descendants is bound to win an Oscar, as many people predict, we might as well have some celebratory food on hand! Movie Fuel will be here on Thursday for our pre-Oscar predictions and some more party food. It’s too bad he isn’t here this morning, we have a super addictive and delicious dip on the table. I hope my kids gobble most of it, because I can’t be trusted around this Hawaiian inspired dip!

This dip could NOT be easier to make!

Hawaiian Dip
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Ingredients
  1. 8 oz. cream cheese softened
  2. 2 1/2 cups sweetened coconut (I prefer flaked over shredded)
  3. 20 oz. can pineapple (chunks or crushed)
  4. nuts or cherries to top dip with
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients together in food processor to crush up pineapple and coconut pieces. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving. I think it tastes great with Trader Joe’s Pita Crackers, but I am sure there are plenty of dipping options you can find!
Food It Forward http://fooditforward.com/
Jy and I are hoping to get out to see the Oscar nominated short films this Saturday. Cross your fingers we can get out to go, it is always such a fun tradition that has gotten harder to keep up with after having kids. Are you watching the awards this Sunday night? Are you going to be happy when I quit talking about the Oscars and movie themed food? Hope not!

See you tomorrow, Happy Tuesday friends!

Kitchen Lab: Burro Bananas

Kitchen Lab: Burro Bananas

I better hurry up and write this, I have three hours left to buy my Powerball ticket. Right now, the jackpot is $900 million, which totally stresses me out. It’s the same feeling I get when I am one BINGO number away from winning, I want it but just can’t handle that much adrenaline. Which is why I am the BEST person to take on an adventurous weekend of zip-lining and parasailing (I’ll hold your stuff.)

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The other pressure I’m facing is that my brother said he will buy us a new house if he wins the lottery. Sounds nice right, but there’s a catch. He said I have to give up my Hippie ways, which is so hard because I have NO hippy ways! I wear a bra, I’m not into drugs and I super, like SUPER hate tie-dye. My essential oil love is new enough to post date his hippie comments. So, what is it? I love organic, so that could be it. Anyway, pray for me, I have a tough road to a new home ahead. 

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I am also really worried about becoming super oil annoying. This stuff is awesome and I can’t stop. Before I chose doTERRA, I read through different reviews and watched plenty of videos, trying to find the BEST oil. Then I just chose, not based on anything overwhelming, I just freaking chose. There is a bit by Aziz Ansari where he talks about extensive google research before buying a toothbrush. Why do we do this? By happy accident I found out I chose the better company (go here if you want to see why I believe this!) Aren’t you just kind of OVER all this decision fatigue? Back to Aziz…

Master of None is Aziz Ansari’s straight to Netflix series and it’s worth the watch. One of us (not me) lost our cable remote and rather than driving to the AT&T store, we’ve come up with ALLLL kinds of channel changing solutions. Mostly, we just hit the Netflix button on our other remote. 

My other Netlix love of 2015 was The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

If you’ve seen both and need more comedy, watch the newest John Mulaney special. 

If you are seriously behind in your comedy world and you truly love comedians who suffer from a case of trucker mouth, oh…are you in for a treat. This clip is not safe for kids, work, church or around your Mormon friends. Take off your mascara girl, you gonna cry. 

Where can I go from there? Burro bananas is the only true conclusion. 

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DSCN0448Near the plantains, you’ll either find Burros or mini bananas. Burros are chubby, short little minions and they are great for frying. My kids were all over these! Honestly, I didn’t notice too much difference between Burros and plantains, so I’d grab whatever the grocery store has and it is usually one or the other. Just be sure to choose very dark, almost black plantains if that is the direction you choose. Burros can be a deep yellow, just avoid the green. 

Burro Fries
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Ingredients
  1. Burro Bananas
  2. Coconut Oil
  3. Coconut Sugar
  4. Cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Open bananas with a knife and peel away skin. Slice burros in half lengthwise and fry in enough coconut oil to cover about 1/2 inch of the bananas. Fry each side for 3-5 minutes. Remove bananas from pan and let oil drain on a plate covered by paper towels. Shake coconut sugar and cinnamon over immediately. Let cool and enjoy.
Food It Forward http://fooditforward.com/
  If I DO end up winning the Powerball, I promise to continue blogging. All the food will be made by my home chef, so things might change up a bit. This is bringing back the idea of a sister wife, I almost forgot. I had things really worked out too. If I can recruit a couple of sister wives who are undercover lesbians and in the Witness Protection Program or something, so they need to hide out, things will go just perfect! I can keep Jy to myself and my sister wives will help with so many chores. Remind me about this later, ok? Good luck friends!

Kitchen Lab: Turmeric Smoothie

Kitchen Lab: Turmeric Smoothie

It has been about two years since I realized TUR-mur-ic is not pronounced TOO-mur-ic. Which reminds me of one of my favorite comedy bits of 2015.  Worth every second of your time, I swear.

Speaking of every second of your time, did you (or do you) watch The Walking Dead? My husband has been binge watching every night. We have a huge tv (if you asked my ten year-old self, regular sized if you ask my 38 year-old self) and this tv is smack to the left of our table where I blog and do serious work on Twitter and even more serious work playing Best Fiends.  

Each night he watches, I have to arrange the left side of my hair to stick out from my giant headphones in just the perfect way, to prevent my eyes from any zombie carnage and ears from hearing brain crunching. I can’t handle that stuff. But, TWD is also a drama. Did you know this? So, I can’t help but occasionally hear something compelling or peek at a longing glance someone is giving. 

Well, two nights ago I got a little cocky with my peeking and saw the thing which I had been avoiding all along. A gang of zombies started pulling apart a lone man, with their zombie teeth! I’m not sure if I saw an eye being pulled out, but I think I did. This mans face was stretched and pulled and GAAAH! It looked like silly putty. 

There was really no point to that story except to recruit others into my gang of scared people. If a zombie apocalypse really does begin, don’t look for me. I can’t handle that kind of pressure, I get nervous during a game of tag. I always answer the question of “How long will you last the zombie apocalypse?” with this scenario…

Me: “Uh oh, looks like zom…” 

For those of you who DO want to survive the zombie invasion, ready yourself now with this next ingredient in the Kitchen Lab Series, Turmeric!

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Go check out p.s. it’s healthy, what a great site!

I know the infographic tells me to pickle it, but uh, that ain’t happening. My friend Kirsten has shared this butt kicking bowl of Turmeric soup with coconut milk and shrimp, perfect for this time of year. I’ll have to ask her for it and share with you. 

While I don’t super love drinking smoothies in the winter, I’m adding this one to my regular rotation. A local vegan cafe calls it something like The Golden Warrior Monkey, which I don’t know how I feel about. There is much about a monkey that I find appetizing. Maybe a Golden State Warrior smoothie, unless I get sued, then I won’t call it that either. For now, I give you…Turmeric Smoothie. 

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Turmeric Smoothie
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Ingredients
  1. 2 very ripe bananas (frozen)
  2. 1/2 c. coconut milk (canned preferably)
  3. 1 T. Turmeric
  4. 1 T. coconut sugar (can omit if bananas are ripe enough)
  5. 1 t. ground cardamom
Instructions
  1. Stick it all in the most powerful blender you've got! Careful with the cardamom, it's powerful!
Food It Forward http://fooditforward.com/

Join me on Instagram, it’s where I have the most fun, see my screenshot? Where else can you see Bill Nye the Science Guy’s legs?

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Happy January my friends, stay healthy and watch out for zombies. 

 

 

 

Kitchen Lab: Superfood Pudding

Kitchen Lab: Superfood Pudding

Helloooo. It’s me. I was wondering if after all these months you’d like to meet. th

To go over…everything. 

They say you can’t talk to dead people

But I disagree. 


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Turns out, I do not actually have a future in song writing, who knew? I’ve missed you! You don’t have to say that you’ve missed me, I don’t want to make it awkward. 

Before we go on though, I have to cut straight to the chase. We are all going to die. I learned this today at the Chabot Science and Space Center in Oakland. So, get this…there’s this other galaxy that is scheduled to smack into us. 

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I know, right!? Oh, you don’t believe me? Here’s some solid proof:

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When I go to church on Sunday, I have some serious questions. Who else knows about this? Is this what they talk about in The Andromeda Strain movie? 

Here’s a little more that I learned about space today: 

Space is scary. I don’t really remember all the reasons why, but it just seems awful. I’m glad it’s there and everything, but space just makes us seem so…little. Also, aliens would be horrible, so there’s that.

There are two jobs that I would rather die before having to carry out. First, Astronaut, which doesn’t have to be capitalized, but it seems rude not to. Second, person who works at one of the scary Halloween haunted campouts, like the one in L.A., with the slogan “Only the dawning will save you.” Google “Great Horror Campout” it’s almost as scary as floating alone through space. Total toss-up. 

Let’s talk about some fun stuff instead! Like Maca (rhymes with…um…,nevermind).

maca

Have you tried it? Maca gives you energy without the shaky anxiety coffee can give. It’s great for mood balance and full of vitamins B,C and E. I’m just at the beginning phases of testing out this energy giving powder, but love it in smoothie bowls so far!

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So, what do I do when I want to get to know a food? Google it, Pinterest it, ask friends about it? Yes, yes and yes. Doesn’t mean you have to! Hence, the new Food It Forward series, Kitchen Lab! I’ll be testing, trying, creating and giving you some ways of trying out new foods or maybe even traditional ingredients cooked in a new way. 

kitchen lab (2)

Up first, Maca!

This is a super easy way to give maca a try. While you may be tempted to judge Superfood Pudding by it’s chunky and clunky look, I dare you to look a little deeper. This recipe is a serious potassium and vitamin B bomb, while tasting as deeply satisfying as any dessert can taste. While it’s easy to eat alone, can I suggest you split this? I’m a little sorry I ate the whole thing. Yes, it’s all raw food and made of simple natural ingredients, it’s also packed with enough energy to stop sleep from happening. 

I’m starting Kitchen Lab off with some extra weird ingredients for most people. It’s doubtful that you’ll be able to pop into your neighbor’s house and ask for a couple teaspoons of hemp seeds or cocoa nibs. Once you have these ingredients in your fridge however, you might be surprised just how versatile and helpful they are!

superfoodpudding

Superfood Cocoa Pudding
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Ingredients
  1. 2 ripe bananas
  2. 2 t. maca powder
  3. 2 t. hemp seeds
  4. 2 t. cocoa nibs
  5. 1 T. maple syrup
  6. 2 T. crushed cashews
  7. 1 T. cocoa powder
Instructions
  1. Starting with the bananas, blend all ingredients together. Immersion blenders work best!
Food It Forward http://fooditforward.com/
So, welcome back and thanks for joining me in the first Kitchen Lab post! Take a look around the blog, lots has changed. There’s a nice long rabbit trail you can follow to learn about my newest passion of wellness using doTERRA essential oils. Leave a comment below if you have any Kitchen Lab suggestions, or just want to say hi!

Here’s to a healthy and happy 2016! – Kim

 

Pork Rice Noodle Bowl

Pork Rice Noodle Bowl

Fifteen years after it began, there is still only one way I really want to greet you.

You know I like to save the food for last, so this post, I’ll start with some telly.

First up, I need to say that American Crime is my newest love, super addictive. The show is directed by John Ridley, who won an Oscar for the adapted screenplay of 12 Years a Slave. I can kinda see where it is headed, knowing now who the director is and slowly watching Felicity Huffman’s character show her uber racist side. Worth the watch, I promise. The acting is superb, Timothy Hutton is fantastic, as is Huffman. Desperate housewife in a total new way.

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I’m also watching Fresh off The Boat, which is straight from the early 90’s and my childhood. Except my family is not Chinese. Also, I was not a boy. We did have a maroon version of the minivan featured in the opening song though, wood panel and all.

Now, on to crappy media. My kids are obsessed with this song that was popular in the Me-hi-can community a couple years back. Remember, my mom is like 97% Mexican, so I can totally say it like that. This song is currently on loop in my brain, not by choice. If you are looking to change your kid’s mood or just entertain them for a few minutes, I say watch the video below. If you are on the brink of insanity or on a date night, I’d say skip.

*Disclaimer – If you are on a date with a Mexican farmer, totally watch it. You may get a proposal out of it.

I have a bunch of cookbooks from the libes (our family pet name for the library). I was so pumped to find Vietnamese Home Cooking, by Charles Phan. I’ve flipped through the book before and found (what looked to be) an easy recipe for Pho.

*If I knew how to put the Vietnamese tilde over the o in Pho, I totally would. Also, I am aware that it is not called a tilde, I’m just grammatically clueless here.

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I wanted something fast and pasta-less for dinner tonight, so I went the way of the rice noodle. Give this recipe a try, it’s easy, full of flavor and even got the approval of the little house men.

To tell the truth, the only reason I just referred to my flesh and blood as little house men, was to segue to Game of Thrones. It is so close!

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Can’t wait to see who survives this season. And what about the little smurf eyed baby? GAH, I can’t wait!

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Mixed Pork Noodle Bowl

 

Pork Noodle Bowl
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Cuisine: Fusion
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 carrot
  • 1" ginger
  • ½ yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Zest of ½ lime
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 box thin rice noodles
  • 1 pound pork
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • ½ bunch fresh cilantro
  • ¼ c. grated parmesan cheese
  • Soy sauce
  • salt
  • pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in pan over medium-high heat
  2. Dice carrot, ginger, onion and garlic and cook 2 minutes or until fragrant
  3. Add pork to the pan and cook until no longer pink
  4. Add zest
  5. Drain oil from pan and set meat mixture aside in a large bowl
  6. In same pan, add 1 box broth and turn stove to high
  7. Let noodles cook until completely soft, around 4 minutes
  8. Pull noodles from broth, with large tongs and add into pork mixture
  9. Add lime juice, cilantro, parmesan and mix well
  10. Season with salt and pepper
  11. Add soy sauce to individual bowls as desired
 

White Baked Goods for Specific Ethnicity Gatherings

White Baked Goods for Specific Ethnicity Gatherings

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Italian Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes, Mexican Wedding Cakes, Swedish Tea Cakes, what do you call the little white snowballish cookies that come around each December? Addictive, that’s what.

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I know that it’s January and we are all mid-cleanse, mid-Whole30, mid-detox, mid-misery, but I promised my sweet friend Mandi that I’d post about these babies and a promise is a promise. Plus, come February, you just might want to make these little drug balls for your Valentine. The recipe is, as always, at the bottom of this post, but I have SO much to talk about first! We haven’t chatted since October. Yeesh. A lot has happened in the past two and a half months. Man, where to start? Well, I got a haircut, like a SUPER bad haircut back in October. I asked for a long bob, something like this:

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After 90 minutes, I looked WAY more like this: 1586815645_cf6cb0ee13

The stylist spent an insane amount of time curling my hair under, while my seat was turned away from the mirror. I came home, cried and whipped out my trusty scissors and made the best of the worst. Ridiculous selfie #1:

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Then, in November, after 37 years on earth, I’ve decided on the tattoo I’d get IF I chose to get a tattoo. But, sho nuff, someone else got it first.

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So, I may go with my second choice, once my next 37 year font search is over.

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Along came December and I fell back in love. Please don’t tell my husband. He actually doesn’t even know I have a blog, so this may wreak a lot of havoc. I’m not permitted to use our home computer. So really, keep quiet.

I remembered Mr. Darcy

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And Colin Firth in Love Actually, another favorite holiday movie.

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And I listened over and over to Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud”, I’d love to post the video, but it’s so, so Dancing With the Stars cheesy. So, here’s some lyrics instead!

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I also did an insane amount of yoga in front of my christmas tree, which did NOTHING to balance out the calories I inhaled. Sweaty yoga selfie? Check! (Ridiculous selfie #2)yoga

Now we are all caught up. Doesn’t it feel good to be up to date with current events? Oh yeah and here’s the recipe for cookies…

 

Italian Wedding Cookies
Yields 80
Little balls of addiction, rolled in powdered sugar.
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Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
  2. 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  3. 3/4 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 1/2 cups finely ground almonds
  5. 4 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  6. 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
  2. Cream butter or margarine in a bowl, gradually add confectioners' sugar and salt.
  3. Beat until light and fluffy.
  4. Add almonds and vanilla.
  5. Blend in flour gradually and mix well.
  6. Shape into balls (or crescents) using about 1 teaspoon for each cookie.
  7. Place on ungreased cookie sheets, and bake for 15-20 min.
  8. Do not brown. Cool slightly, then roll in the extra confectioners' sugar.
Notes
  1. If you aren't eating all of these immediately, keep in fridge or freezer and re-roll in sugar!
Adapted from Allrecipes.com
Adapted from Allrecipes.com
Food It Forward http://fooditforward.com/
Banana Nut Smoothie

Banana Nut Smoothie

I did something weird. Like, really weird. I made milk out of cashews. Doesn’t that sound like the most unnecessary thing you have ever heard of?

I needed cashew milk to replicate recipes from the new juice spot in town, called Nekter. No utters are involved, no straining either! The hardest part is waiting for the cashews to soak ahead of time, which makes them easier to digest. Apparently unsoaked cashews will give you webbed feet and a slight limp. *Previous statement is not scientifically proven

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You can find a recipe worth trying and modifying at Foodilistic. I can’t take a photo yummy enough to give this smoothie all the props it deserves. Dates, nutmeg, cashew milk, bananas…it’s so creamy and perfect for fall.

BUT, I have to stop.

It’s like, really, really not cool to say things like “give props” anymore. It’s right down there at the bottom of the list with, “All that and a bag of chips.” I’ve actually Googled terms such as, “latest slang”, “latest sayings” and researched Urban Dictionary to try to keep up with the language of the cool kids. Alas, I have fallen way, way behind.

The internet tells me I am middle-aged and white. Being 37, I take offense to the middle-aged idea, as that is a good 7 years off, dang it! I can’t exactly argue with the idea of being out of touch though. Yeah, I love to reference movies like Napolean Dynamite and Nacho Libre. Yeah, they are outdated. I can’t help it, I still love them!


As for the white girl thing? I don’t think I entirely look the part. In fact, people never really know what ethnicity I am!

A couple months ago, a cranky neighbor was extra pleasant to me, asking me why I moved back. Nope,  we’ve never moved, I told him. He responded in shock, he thought I was his friend who lived her before. I look just like her and talk like her too. Wasn’t I Persian he asked?

(I’m not)

  • When my hair is dark and curly, people speak Spanish to me.
  • When I wore eyeliner, more people speak Spanish.
  • Someone at a restaurant once mentioned I look like I don’t speak English.
  • I don’t stick out in the Jewish crowd, I blend just fine. (With good reason)
  • I once thought I found “my people” at Jy’s cousin’s wedding. Dark eyes and highlighted hair?! That’s me! Alas, I am not Armenian.
  • People find my blog by the search term, “Japanese eye surgery”. No joke.
  • I’ve been asked if I am I Portuguese? No, but my husband is part, does that count?
  • There was the year in the late 90’s when I had black hair and heard more than one person whisper “Doesn’t she….Monica Lewinsky?”

Here is what I actually am:

  1. Russian
  2. German
  3. Polish
  4. Mexican
  5. Spanish
  6. Native American
  7. Something else my mom can’t remember
  8. Something else that we don’t know. Family secrets, shh!

So, yes, plenty of European white-girl stuff, but also a good dose of the Latin stuff and a bit of mystery.

This is from a couple years back, but looking at this picture, what ethnicity would you say I am? Other than tired from staying up all night with a young baby?

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Me and my cousin April, who totally missed her calling as a catalog model.

Back to my white girl status. There has been a video going around about being a “basic” girl and plenty of memes about being a pumpkin-spice loving white girl. Those totally apply. However, When I say I am a white girl, I mean that I have little to no understanding of pop culture outside of what is highlighted on The Today Show.

For example, I am still Googling the concept of milkshakes bringing boys to the yard. Without the explanations of the internet, I’d still think this is how I get boys to come running:

Hey  boys! I've made shakes and smoothies! Come over here! Come out to the yard!
Hey boys! I’ve made shakes and smoothies! Come over here! Come out to the yard!

I’m on Instagram and follow all kinds of accounts. The other day, this popped up on my IG feed:

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Plenty of comments laid out their virtual laughs and I scrolled on. BUT THEN, I saw another.

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Ok internet, one point for you. I guess I am white. Who is Felicia? Is she on a reality show? Is she in a Tyler Perry movie?

“Bye Felicia” originated from the movie “Friday” where a crackhead named Felicia used to come and ask Craig (one of the main characters) for random things like if she can borrow his car or use his iron – just random stuff. One day she asked him for some money and he says “Bye Felicia” and when she refuses he says it again with gusto. Ever since then, people have been using it as a way to get rid of people in a funny way when someone does or says something outrageous. – Reddit

Which brings me to the next example,

Malia has been playing this song in yoga for a long time and I always figured the words were, “Come get it baby,” just a little slurred. Nope, it’s bae. I think by now everyone knows about bae. But it just bothers me on so many levels. WHY the E at the end? Why not bay or ba? It’s obviously an abbreviation of baby, right? Maybe not. If you are another logophile (word lover, it’s not an illegal act), then you might just love reading more about the controversy over the origin of the term bae at Visual Thesaurus. All the rest of the normal people out there, skip the link and read on about my lacking cultural awareness.

Once upon a time I lived in San Francisco, a couple blocks from the Castro District. I also lived on Treasure Island, half way over the Bay Bridge, between San Francisco and Oakland. I never truly fit in while living in San Francisco, my valley-girl roots just couldn’t be hidden. After a couple years though, I was a little bit city and more in touch with other cultures.

But now, now I live where everything is landscaped. The grocery stores aren’t just clean, they are stocked with over priced boutique items. I live where the CEO’s travel home to after a long day at work. Hence, we are probably one of the poorest family in our surrounding zip codes. But, (yeah, I started a sentence with but), the schools are the best, the parks are amazing, the community is like no other.

What’s the point of all this? I just wanted to really express my new found self-awareness. I am not cool. But no one has called me Felicia, either! So yes, ladies, blend up those pumpkin smoothies, drink down those pumpkin lattes, be basic all you want. I stand in solidarity with you. Let’s be outdated and basic together!
 

Cooking Once a Month. Loving the other 29 days.

Cooking Once a Month. Loving the other 29 days.

I tried really hard to take a picture of a lady in some gross sweat pants at the grocery store. They weren’t dirty or shredded, but they had wording on the butt which read, “FYI, I might not be wearing underwear.” It was only on the right booty cheek, which happened to be the same side her sweater was hiked up on. She obviously really, really wanted to have her message read. 

This was so confusing. What did she want me to gather from her information? Was it a warning to not sit where she has sat? Was it an invitation for conversation about society and undergarments? Does she need some money for underwear?

I followed her and snapped a dozen photos, all of which were blurry. Not sure if you really needed to see her pants, it was more of a need to have proof that these pants exist. 

Are you ready for the worst part? It was in a really, really bad font. 

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Would you like a giant shortcut to dinner? You have two options. One, get really, really rich and hire someone to take care of your meals. Two, sign up for OnceAMonthMeals.com.

It will cost you $10 a month for a basic membership and $16 for premium. You will more than make that up with grocery savings, immediately. There are different monthly menus to choose from and once chosen, the site will compile a few lists for you:

1. A complete shopping list
2. A prep chart
3. Recipe cards
4. Cooking day instructions
5. Labels
6. A thawing sheet, with information for each recipe

The idea of Once A Month Meals is to plan meals, shop for them in one day and spend one day cooking, then freezing all of the meals. That day is not the most relaxing, but it is well worth it.

Onceamonthmeals

It would have made sense for me to take a photo of our freezer last month, when it was full of meals! I’m getting ready for round two of cooking for the month. Because I bought a premium membership, I can swap meals from the suggested menu and choose one of the other 3000+ meals on the site.

As of right now (October 2014), the menus offered are:

  • Traditional
  • Whole Foods (As in healthy, unprocessed foods)
  • Gluten Free, Dairy Free
  • Diet
  • Paleo
  • Kid’s Mini Menu
  • Vegetarian
  • Baby Food

The menus are seasonal and plenty of bonus menus seem to keep popping up, like the pumpkin menu!

Not only is it pretty awesome to have a homemade dinner every night of the week, it’s amazing how much money batch cooking saves. My other, other favorite part? There is usually only one crock pot meal per menu. 

Here is a sampling of what I cooked last month of my mega-cooking day –

Breakfasts:

  • GF Apple Pie Oatmeal Muffins
  • Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
  • Pumpkin Muffins

Lunches:

  • Taco Bowls
  • Lemon Orzo Soup
  • Quinoa Mexican Bowl

Dinners:

  • Perfect Roasted Chicken
  • Autumn Sausage Casserole
  • Crockpot Mongolian Beef
  • Honey Sesame Chicken
  • Mushroom White Wine Chicken

Doesn’t sound bad, does it? Regain your sanity. Stop cooking seven nights a week, that just plain sucks! 

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Biscuits On A Weeknight

Biscuits On A Weeknight

What do you think of when I mention the idea of baking biscuits? 

Do you think of the urban legend, “Biscuit Bullet”, where a lady thinks she’s been shot in the head, but it is really the can of biscuits that popped open in her grocery bags and exploded? 

 

Do you think of June Cleaver, Martha Stewart, Betty Crocker or some other middle-aged white woman with a clean apron?
martha

Do you think of Sir Mixx A Lot and his masterpiece, “Buttermilk Biscuits.”

Y’all ready to get busy? (huh huh!)
Now, buttermilk biscuits here we go
Zip the flour roll the dough
Clap your hands and stomp your feet
Move your butt to the funky beat (huh huh)

Buttermilk biscuits (x 3)
(Lord have mercy Mix-A-Lot’s our here rappin’ about biscuits now)

Freak from L.A. to the Carolinas
Dip them suckers in Aunt Jemima
Don’t make a difference what food you make
Use buttermilk biscuits to clean your plate
You eat ’em in the morn’, you eat ’em at night
Kentucky Fried Chicken makes the suckers just right
I am eat ’em with jelly at my favorite deli
Wrapped and sealed by a freak named Shelley (huh huh)

Buttermilk biscuits (x 3)

 If this has all been too much for you and a little break is what you desire. I’d like to offer up a quick video from a master biscuit baker. Ladies and gentlemen, the best of…Mrs. Paula Deen.


 So, what makes these biscuits so wonderful? There is no need for a rolling pin, biscuit cutter or even kneading. You use two bowls, one for dry ingredients and one to whip egg whites. The egg white beating is the hardest part of this recipe and it is only so if you don’t have a mixer. As long as you keep any yolk remnants out of your egg whites, whipping the whites on high for about 2 minutes should change the liquid from foam to a puffy, white substance. Gently folding the eggs is the secret to allowing the biscuits to bake up light and airy. 

Try these, they are awesome. Once again, you can totally believe me. Not like those other freaks who swear the peas porridge in a pot, nine days old is the best way to eat it, sickos. 

peas

weeknight biscuits

 

Weeknight Biscuits
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Ingredients
  1. 2 c sifted all purpose flour
  2. 1 tsp salt
  3. 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
  4. 4 tsp baking powder
  5. 1/4 c soft butter
  6. 3 large eggs, separated
  7. 1 c whole milk
Instructions
  1. Sift dry ingredients 3 times.
  2. Cut butter into flour mixture.
  3. Beat egg yolks thoroughly and add milk and beat again.
  4. Stir egg yolk mixture into dry mixture gently.
  5. Beat egg Whites until stiff. Fold into batter and blend gently.
  6. Pour into buttered or sprayed muffin tins.
  7. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes.
  8. Check after 15 minutes and turn oven down to 375.
  9. Test with wooden toothpick for doneness.
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