Cheese · dinner · easy · healthy · lunch · quick · salad · Vegetables · vegetarian · veggies · Yummy

Farro Arugula Salad

There was a time in my life when salads were a type of punishment. As a teen, I would routinely eat minuscule salads every night, iceberg lettuce drizzled in flavorless fat-free Italian dressing (15 calories per serving!). I discovered ranch dressing around the age of 16 at my first waitressing job, and didn’t learn about arugula until I was twenty-three when I worked at a higher end French cafe in New York. It opened up a whole new world (cue the song, please).

At the age of 18, I lived in New York with several lovely ladies. A few of them knew how to cook, or were at least good at having real food around. I was at a loss for how to put together proper meals. My undeveloped 18-year-old brain just couldn’t fucking handle it. I mostly ate canned clam chowder, breakfast cereal, bagels from a street cart, sandwiches, and the occasional salad. Now, let’s be clear about these salads. They consisted of iceberg lettuce (ew), pre-shredded cheddar cheese (ew), croutons (fuck yes!), and ranch dressing. If I was feelin’ fancy, I’d throw a boiled egg on top, or maybe even a microwaveable vegan chicken patty.

I took home-ec in high school, and vaguely remember learning how to make scrambled eggs in a microwave (WHY) and rice crispy treats. But no one ever taught me how to make a meal with raw ingredients. Outside of eggs, the first “proper” meal I learned how to make consisted of cream of chicken soup, white rice, chicken breasts, and a packet of dried onion soup mix. I was just fucking stoked to be using the oven at all. Seriously, what was the point of home-ec?!

In fact, I was so clueless about food that I literally purchased a head of cabbage instead of lettuce on one of my first shopping trips in New York. My mom had always purchased it for me, so I didn’t know the difference. It gets worse. I proudly took that head of cabbage home with me and immediately made a salad with it, gloating to my roommates that I knew how to prepare healthy food. I then ate the entire salad before noticing that I had purchased the wrong thing. I mean, let’s be clear, I knew it didn’t taste right. I’m not a fucking moron. I suspected something was off, but was too embarrassed to say anything. Then my roommate brought it to my attention that I was eating a bowl of fucking cabbage. Let me tell you – it doesn’t matter how much ranch you douse it with… it’s still fucking cabbage.

My salads have come a long way since then. I’ve learned to genuinely love them. While I still have a weakness for ranch dressing, I usually opt for something lighter and homemade. This salad is dressed very simply with a little olive oil, lemon, and salt and pepper. It can be served warm or cold, though I prefer warm. It never occurred to me that a salad could be warm until I started exploring food outside of my comfort zone, which is something I highly recommend. Not sure where to start? Find a recipe that peaks your interest (maybe this one), write out a list of ingredients, and go for it.

And for the love of all that is holy… if you aren’t sure what you’re buying, just ask someone at the store. If they’re a dick about it, tell them to fuck off. We’ve all got to start somewhere.

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Farro Arugula Salad (inspired by HelloFresh)

3/4 cup farro

1 yam (or sweet potato), peeled and cubed

1 medium onion, sliced into larger chunks

1/2 lemon

1/4 cup dried cranberries

Olive oil

3 cups veggie stock

Arugula (as much as you want)

A small handful of sunflower seeds

Goat cheese

Salt and pepper (to taste)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Toss the cubed yam and sliced onion with some olive oil and salt and pepper. Spread it out on a baking sheet and bake for about 30-40 minutes, stirring it around halfway through.

While the veggies are roasting, bring the stock to a boil in a medium pot and add the farro. Simmer for about 30 minutes, but keep checking it. You want to make sure it doesn’t overcook, or run out of liquid and burn the shit out of the bottom of the pot (this has definitely happened to me more than once). Once the farro is fully cooked, drain out any excess liquid in a colander and return to pot. Add in the yam and onion mixture, along with a handful of sunflower seeds, the cranberries (this doesn’t really need to be measured), the juice from half of a lemon, a heavy drizzle of olive oil, and a little salt and pepper to taste. Mix everything together and scoop over a large handful of arugula. Sprinkle with some crumbled goat cheese.

Serve this to your friends while pretending to be fancy as fuck, and maybe they’ll forget about the fact that you used to not know the difference between cabbage and lettuce. Or that you still don’t know the different between a yam and a sweet potato.

Asian food · avocado · Dating · dinner · easy · gluten free · healthy · lunch · quick · Rice · Sauces · snacks · vegan · Vegetables · vegetarian · veggies · Yummy

Vietnamese Summer Rolls and New Pants!

I did it… I retired my private pants. It would have been a sad day, except I now have 2 pairs of the GREATEST PANTS ON EARTH. My boyfriend (that’s right, I said it) refers to them as my “Aladdin pants,” due to their majestic flowy-ness (He was actually mocking me, but I’m sure it was done with love). I had plans with him the other day, and he texted ahead of time asking if we could just stay in. I was like, “Fuck yeah.  I was planning on wearing my fancy sweatpants anyway.” Since my new fancy sweatpants have huge slits up the outside of each leg, I couldn’t actually wear them to his place (it’s too cold for that nonsensical bullshit). That means I showed up in leggings and literally took my pants off in his entryway to put on my new, sexy sweatpants. Yes, sweatpants can totally be sexy (he would disagree, but we’re not asking him). He did agree on their functionality, stating that they are essentially the pants version of “sticking a leg out from under the blanket when sleeping.”

I bought a second pair to keep at his place, so I can stop stripping in his entryway. I’m sure he’s disappointed.

I also wore these to the AcroYoga retreat last weekend. I brought an entire bag of clothes – probably 3 full outfits. But I only wore these fucking amazing pants, and the outfit I drove in (both there and back). I mean, honestly, why put on something that will make me less happy?

Speaking of acro, my lovely acro friend, Jamie, taught me how to make these rolls. The recipe called for cilantro, but she is a kind soul that would never even think of having such a monstrous thing near me. They are oddly filling, so make sure you’re hungry. Also, we ate them with mushroom and tofu miso soup, which was a nice appetizer with it. They’re crazy simple, and really refreshing in the middle of winter. They’d also be nice in the summer when you don’t want to turn the stove or oven on.

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Vietnamese Summer Rolls

Rice paper

Rice noodles (cooked according to package instructions)

Big leaves of lettuce (I used Romaine, but they were a little too huge)

Avocado, sliced (critical to add because otherwise everything just tastes like crunchy water – you need fat!!)

Carrots/Cucumber/Bell pepper, sliced thinly

Bean sprouts (I forgot, which made me sad)

Siracha

Peanut butter and Hoisin (equal parts, mixed together, for the sauce)

YOU WILL NEED WAX PAPER FOR THIS RECIPE

For the rice paper: Use a large saute pan filled with warm water (NOT HOT) to soak the rice paper. You’ll do this one at a time, and they only need to be soaked for maybe one full minute at most (I kept feeling mine, and pulled it out once it was soft-ish).* Once the rice paper is soft and foldable, pull it out of the water and spread it out on wax paper. You can lay out a few before starting to fill them, but don’t let them sit too long (they get sticky).

For the filling: Start by placing one large lettuce leaf in the center of each rice paper. From there, layer avocado and veggies of choice. Top with a small handful of rice noodles and a heavy squirt of Siracha.

To roll: Fold the top and bottom of the rice paper over the filling. Then choose a side to start at – pull that side of the rice paper all the way across the filling and tuck it under the lettuce leaf. Continue to roll in that direction. The rice paper will stick to itself. It takes a few tries to get it right, but the janky ones are delicious, too, so don’t stress about it.

For the sauce: Mix equal parts peanut butter and hoisin sauce together. I ended up adding a tiny bit of warm water as well, because the sauce was super thick. The sauce adds a much needed fat as well, so definitely don’t skip it.

Serve with the sauce on the side. Race your friend to see how many each of you can eat (it’ll be shockingly few). Make more sauce and eat it on everything.

*There is definitely an inappropriate joke to be made here.

dinner · easy · healthy · lunch · mushrooms · pasta · quick · vegan · vegetarian · veggies · Yummy

Vegan “Cheesy” Pasta and “Hot” Yoga

Y’all. I did a hot yoga class today, which ended with me panting, sweaty, and shamelessly in child’s pose. Fuuuuuck. Adding heat makes a huge difference. I spoke to the teacher after class and mentioned that I’d never done hot yoga before. He made it a point to emphasize the fact that this was not, in fact, “hot” yoga, as real hot yoga is done at 105 degrees. This was a mere 98 degrees. NBD.

Fuck.

The flow wasn’t even that hard! This has kicked my ass on a whole new level.

Also, can we discuss the mirrors for a second? My studio doesn’t have mirrors, and I prefer it that way. Why do I need to stare at my sweaty ass for an hour? It just makes me feel worse about myself. I mean, I’m sure the mirrors are technically to help with the students’ alignment, but who are we kidding? Some people are just never going to understand alignment, and don’t give a fuck. And if they really want to learn, isn’t it more about how it feels in their body? They should be able to find the alignment without looking into a mirror.

I really hate mirrors when I’m sweaty and in workout clothes. Especially in Warrior II. Fuck. My ass is out of control in that pose, and my belly sticks out. I know, I know… body positivity. And I’m 100% fine with it when I don’t have to look at myself struggling and covered in sweat. It’s the looking at myself in these poses that starts to make me self conscious. Logically, I know these things don’t matter, and I am worthy of love and acceptance. I know that. But fuck. Baby steps.

I made this pasta the other day with simple ingredients that I already had on hand. I know nutritional yeast isn’t something most people just have lying around, but I had it because I’d been meaning to try it. It had been sitting in my fridge for a few weeks when I finally made this pasta. It is definitely not the same as cheese. But it’s still really good! Give it a shot, and just add cheese if you must.

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Vegan “Cheesy” Pasta

1/2 onion, chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1 handful mushrooms, chopped

1/2 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half

10oz pasta (choose your own shape!)

1 1/2 cups veggie broth

1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk (I used cashew)

A large handful of baby spinach or chopped Swiss chard

1/4 cup nutritional yeast (found in the bulk aisle at any co-op or Whole Foods)

Garlic powder

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

Drizzle some olive oil into a large pot and toss in the onions, peppers, and mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a little garlic powder (go easy!). Saute for several minutes, until the onions brown slightly. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Pour in the broth and milk. Stir in pasta and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes, or until pasta is al dente. The liquid will absorb and thicken. While still hot, add in the spinach and mix until fully wilted. Finally, sprinkle in the nutritional yeast and mix well. Top with basil if you’re feeling fancy (I didn’t have any on hand).

Love yourself no matter what you look like in silly yoga poses.

comfort food · dinner · easy · healthy · lunch · pasta · quick · soup · Vegetables · vegetarian · veggies · Yummy

Spinach Tortellini Soup and New Year’s Resolutions

I fucking hate New Year’s Resolutions, but I always secretly make one anyway. I mean, not that that is exclusive to January 1st, though. I always think that starting tomorrow/next week/next month I’m going to start being healthier/more active/more organized/thinner/smarter/more well read/somehow better than I am. It doesn’t matter how much I advocate for loving yourself just as you are, society has still been telling me my entire life that I’m not good enough. I certainly don’t need the reminder every fucking January that I’m still not good enough. Fuck you, January. You don’t know me.

Self love is a constant struggle.

So, in an effort to exercise more (because I want to, not because some shitty-ass Instagram post told me to), I have been taking more aerial fitness classes (and by “more,” I mean two so far). Aerial seems like something I’d be good at… it seems like something that would come naturally to me. I have a strong yoga practice and have been doing AcroYoga for the last year and a half. I’m familiar with being upside down, and I’m pretty bendy. But I’m also heavy. And I haven’t really worked on my upper body strength a whole lot, so…

Fuck. I’m so bad at it. I took a class the other day that was taught by a teacher trainee. Walking into the ice cold studio, I was greeted by a woman in Lululemon workout gear, curled hair, and a full face of make-up. She smiled and bounced over to me, which caused nothing on her body to move at all because she was clearly 0% body fat. There’s nothing wrong with looking like a marble statue! Nothing at all! That’s just not what I look like, and I can only handle so many discouragements when entering a new fitness class. We started with some “warm-ups.” I feel like she kept emphasizing the fact that we were just “warming up”, which made my panting, sweaty ass feel like shit. She referenced our abs several times, and I was like, “What? Where?” as I glanced down at the soft rolls of my belly as I did standing planks while desperately clinging to the aerial silk. I sloppily attempted to pull my entire body weight forward, while maintaining the reverse plank in mid-air, and I kept thinking, “Dear, God, please don’t let me fall backwards before we’ve even gotten into the silks. I can’t handle that kind of humiliation today. I’m far too delicate.”

Once we got “warmed-up,” we got into some of the aerials (poses/moves with our entire bodies in the silks – often involving being upside down). Fuck yes. This is the shit I’m here for. Bring on the inversions! The first one involves hanging upside down with the silk supporting me at my waist. Okay. Great. Got it! Then she had us “crochet” our legs in the silks for added support, so that we could then reach for the silk above our feet, and pull ourselves all the way up into a seated position. You’re following this, right? Because I’m not. Literally everyone else in class just pulled themselves up like it was fucking nothing. But me? I’m over here using all my ab strength just to reach for the fabric. I literally can’t do a pull-up. Not even one. Never could. It’s just not in the cards for me. So pulling myself up from an inversion feels insurmountable. I’m just dangling there, trying first with my right hand, then my left, which is starting to make the silk sway back and forth. I grab on with both hands (finally), and pull with everything in me. Nothing happens.

Let me try that again.

No luck. At this point, I am swaying back and forth while grunting. Everyone else is resting comfortably in their makeshift chairs as the instructor has them practice doing pretty poses in the air. Fuck you guys.

I gave up and just hung upside down like that’s where I wanted to be.

Later in class there was the “vampire pose,” which consisted of pulling up so much that your entire upper body goes all the way through (with the silk wrapped around your waist) and you land in the silk, but parallel to the floor (like if you were pretending to be Superman). The instructor did it very quickly, and it honestly just looked like a great way to break my face. Fuuuuuuuck that shit. I’m out.

During Christmas week I made this soup to make sure I had something other than cookies to eat. It’s so simple and lovely, and makes the apartment smell like cozy winter evenings. Try it – you’ll love it.

 

Spinach Tortellini Soup

1 medium onion, diced

2 carrots, peels and sliced

2 stalks celery, diced

“5 ounces” baby spinach (just grab some big handfuls)

8 ounces (about) frozen tortellini (No, I did not make that shit from scratch. I’m not Martha Stewart, and I’m okay with that.)

8 cups veggie broth  (Make your own! It’s easy! Just boil shit!)*

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

A few sprinkles of dried parsley

Optional: Shredded parmesan to serve

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large soup pot (it’s easiest if this is all done in the same pot – duh). Throw in the onion, carrots, and celery. Saute until cooked through (a few minutes), stirring occasionally. Add a little salt and pepper. It’ll be more flavorful if you let the veggies brown a little bit. Stir in the veggie broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for a few minutes. Add in the frozen tortellini and simmer until they’re warmed through (I mean, just pay attention). Once everything is ready, then finally add in the spinach. It only takes a minute or two for it to fully wilt into hot soup. Sprinkle with parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with some shredded parm (I’m usually a big cheese advocate, but this isn’t super necessary if your tortellini already has cheese in it… which it should, or you’re doing it wrong).

Eat up! You’ll need your energy for humiliating yourself at your next fitness class.

*Not literally.

baking · breakfast · brunch · cake · Christmas · comfort food · dessert · easy · Holiday recipes · potluck food · quick · snacks · vegetarian · Yummy

Cranberry Orange Bread for Christmas

I struggle hard with gift giving. There are very rare occasions that I really nail it… but it’s almost never on someone’s birthday or around Christmas. This year I agonized over presents for my family. My mom always tells me not to get her anything (classic). So I’m left guessing. I know she genuinely doesn’t care what I get her, but I have to get her something. I mean, she gave me life.

I have to be very honest here… I literally almost got her nothing. This is not a proud statement for me. I kind of just threw my hands in the air on Christmas Eve and yelled, “FUCK IT,” startling my cat and probably several neighbors. But then I got to thinking about it, and I remember that not everyone is like me. Some people like knick knacks and nonsensical pretty things. So I went to one of my favorite little shops with a certain someone who was able to finally help me make a decision. I wandered through the whole store bitching and moaning (honestly, I don’t know how he was able to put up with me) that she wouldn’t like any of it. He held up shawls and scarves. I scoffed and pouted as I continually elbowed my way through the crowds of other panicked daughters. We walked into the kitchen area where he suggested a cookbook. Sighhhh. She doesn’t really cook much – not from new recipes anyway. And she’s not a new kitchen gadget kind of person. It just ends up frustrating her, and then she asks what was wrong with the way she was already doing the thing that the gadget is supposed to make easier. “How about this?” he asked, holding up a tea steeper in the shape of an adorable animal. But she doesn’t like tea. Or coffee. I honestly thought about getting her a case of Tab (yes, in fact, it is 1976), but she flies back to Florida next week. Also, seems kind of impersonal. I was about to give up when he said something along the lines of, “She doesn’t care. She’ll love whatever you give her,” while holding a pretty candle holder that had a forest pattern on it when lit, and I was convinced. The madness was over.

My love language is acts of service. I mostly want to feed people to show I care. I want to help them with a problem, support them when they’re struggling, help them paint their new apartment, or move into a new place. That’s how I show love. That’s what comes most naturally to me. Gift giving is hard because I want everything I give to be meaningful – because I really want to be of service. Turns out gift giving doesn’t have to be that serious, and I just need to calm the fuck down sometimes. Shit. Like, what’s the big deal? Buy someone a candle and move the fuck on.

Also, who are those people that purchase the perfect gift whenever they happen to find it and then hoard it until that person’s birthday or Christmas? HOW DO I BECOME YOU?

I made this bread along with some pumpkin bread to give my family as well. Because let’s be real – I’m never going to stop feeding people.

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Cranberry Orange BreadIMG_20171223_130506

For the bread:

1 cup cranberries – fresh, frozen, dried (or a combo – I did mostly fresh and a handful of dried)

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg (at room temp… place into a warm cup of water for 5 minutes if you forget to set it out)

1/2 cup brown sugar (light or dark)

1/2 cup white sugar

1 cup buttermilk (Don’t have it? Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to regular milk.)

1/3 cup vegetable/canola/coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons orange zest

 

For the crumble top:

1/4 cup flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into cubes

 

For the glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons orange juice (I used the juice from the orange I “zested” for the bread)

As much orange zest as you like!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan (or several mini loaf pans!) and set aside. You’ll want to make the crumble top first and set it in the fridge, just so it’s all ready to top the batter.

For the crumble top:

Mix all the dry ingredients in a medium to small mixing bowl. Cut the cold butter in with a pastry cutter (for the fancy folks), a couple of forks (I found that to be impossible), or your hands (this is easiest!) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set in the fridge.

For the bread:

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add in the cranberries and set aside. In another bowl, mix the egg with the brown and white sugars until smooth. Whisk in buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and orange zest. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing gently but thoroughly. No lumps allowed! The recipe says to not over-mix… not sure what happens if you do. Try not to fuck it up.

Pour the batter into grease pan(s) and cover with the crumble top, pressing it lightly into the batter. Bake for 45-60 minutes (the smaller pans need less time, so check them after 35 minutes).

For the glaze:

Whisk all ingredients together. Boom. Done. Allow to cool completely before removing from pan(s) and drizzling the glaze over the top.

Give these to everyone for Christmas/Birthdays/etc. Or just eat them all by yourself. Fuck it.

Cheese · comfort food · Dating · dinner · easy · gluten free · healthy · lunch · potatoes · quick · soup · vegan · Vegetables · vegetarian · veggies · Yummy

Vegan Baked Potato Soup

Y’all. I have been a hermit lately. And by hermit I mean not going to 8 yoga classes a week while also going out with friends/going to friends’ houses several times per week while surviving on 6ish hours of sleep per night (that is like zero to me). Instead, I am spending a lot of time home alone watching The Mindy Project or frequently joining another for some quality Netflix time (while discovering Stranger Things! ZOMG). During my Summer of Anxiety last year, I made the habit of socializing NONSTOP. In fact, I even retook the Meyers Briggs personality test and had actually changed from introvert to extrovert. My personality literally changed due to my anxiety level. How is that even possible?

After that summer things got better, but my schedule did not slow down. In fact, I replaced a lot of my friend time with dating. Remember that one time I went on 6 dates in 5 days? Within that same week I had my “soul crushed” by one of those 6 dates (we’re actually still friends, and were clearly not a good romantic match, so it all worked out). It was all very exhausting. I kept trying to slow everything down, but that seemed impossible while I was still swiping on Tinder.

Being alone often triggered my anxiety, so I made myself as busy as I possibly could.

In the last few months, I have finally been able to actively slow down my life. My anxiety has calmed, and I have found time for myself in a way that hasn’t been possible in a really long time. You know what really helped with that?

Deleting Tinder. Fuuuuuck. Those dates made for good stories, but that was definitely more exhausting than 8 yoga classes a week.

It’s that time of year where many of us start hibernating. Hibernating means comfort food. I literally ate various forms of bread and cheese for 4 meals on Sunday. Yes, four meals. In my defense, I was hungover from the 12 hours of drinking the day before, on top of having a cold that won’t quit. So, no, I haven’t slowed down completely. I’m just finding new things that bring me joy, and not saying yes to everything.

I’m also budgeting like crazy. I made this cozy soup last week without making an extra trip to the grocery store. My new rule is only one trip a week, and only $60 MAX. Last week I only spent $42, and that included 3 different types of cheese. Even shopping at a co-op, this shit is possible. This potato soup is rich and creamy without the cream (cream is expensive). You could definitely add other veggies to it, or even some chickpeas or quinoa for protein. I kept it pretty simple, but did top it with some fancy-ass smoked cheddar cheese (I know that means it’s no longer vegan, but I’m not vegan, so I don’t care).

Side note: These photos aren’t great because of the lack of daylight since daylight savings time ended. It’s been impossible for me to cook and photograph mid-day. It’ll get better, I promise!

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Vegan Baked Potato Soup

3 stalks celery, chopped

2-3 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

1 small onion, diced

4 cups veggie broth (I suggested keeping the concentrate around, as it is cheaper and easier – or you can make your own to be really thrifty)

3 medium potatoes, peeled, quartered, and thinly sliced

1 cup vegan milk of choice (I used cashew, but canned coconut would be creamier)

3 tablespoons flour (to thicken) – can easily be subbed for gluten free flour, or omitted

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional toppings: Cheddar cheese, green onion, bacon/fake bacon

In a large pot with a heavy drizzle of olive oil, saute the onion, carrots, and celery over medium-high heat until they soften (3-5 minutes). Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and the flour. Mix well – the veggies could clump together. Cook for another minute, stirring consistently. Add the potatoes and broth, making sure to incorporate everything well (no flour lumps! I believe in you!). Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Then you have 2 options…. 1. Use an immersion blender (or regular blender in batches) right in the pot to blend everything smooth, OR 2. Scoop half of the soup into a blender and blend until smooth, then return it back to the pot. Option #2 will leave you with chunks, which is my preference. You do you. Once blended, add the milk and some more salt and pepper. Scoop into bowls, top with cheese and green onion, brown up a motherfuckin’ grilled cheese because you’re sick and deserve to have melted cheese with every meal, and go back to watching Stranger Things in your PJ’s.

 

 

comfort food · dinner · easy · gravy · Holiday recipes · lunch · mushrooms · potatoes · quick · Sauces · sides · thanksgiving · vegetarian · Yummy

Mushroom Herb Gravy and Car Shopping

Holy fuck you guys. I bought a new car just in the nick of time. It’s a fucking winter wonderland out there, and I am fully prepared with a car that has working heat (and a fully functional engine that doesn’t threaten to stop at any given moment). Hallelujah!

I bought a purple Honda Fit, and promptly named her Vivian (“Viv” for short). She and I are in love and plan to live a long and happy life together.

Car shopping is the literal worst. I went to several used car dealerships (I mean, who the fuck is out there buying new cars, and do they also have a room full of money in which they swim?), some of which were 40+ minutes away (that’s a long drive in a car that may or may not die without warning). There was one I found online that had several cars in my price range and also had good Yelp reviews. Perfect. I’m ready and I know what I fucking want. Let’s do this.

I pull up to these two wooden shacks. There’s a small sign that says the name of the dealership, and I can see a bunch of cars parked in a huge dirt parking lot behind them. So I walk into one of the buildings and see several people working at desks. No one offers to help me. After standing around with a look of bewilderment on my face, I finally interrupt one of them, a young woman with fake nails and purple highlights, to ask if someone could help me find a car. She tells me to just walk out to the parking lot – there are salesmen out there. Fantastic. As I walk towards the cars, the wind picks up, blowing dirt and sand into my face. I power on. Once I reach what looks to be a wasteland of damaged vehicles, I scan the area. There is no one out there that looks anything like a salesman. There are two couples looking at cars, one of which is asking questions of a man in dirty jeans and a hooded sweatshirt that is driving around in a golf cart. Dirty jeans. Hooded sweatshirt. A GOLF CART.

Am I at a house party in the country? What is happening here?

Dirty jeans man is, in fact, an employee. And he’s not alone! He helps direct me to a second dirty jeans man with his very own golf cart as well. Perfect. Drive me around this piece of shit lot and find me a car that isn’t covered in hail damage. K. Thanks.

Dirty jeans man #2 proceeds to tell me (while he takes me for a golf cart ride) that all the cars on the lot are salvaged. Most of them were purchased at auction and are from floods. Wonderful. He also takes me back to the office with rude purple highlights lady and tells me that I have to look through this huge book that lists all the cars on the lot. Once I find one I like, I should then find a dirty jeans man to drive me (in the golf cart) to said car.

I did not buy a car from them.

Since I was in the area, I opted to check out another dealership. This one only had one employee that I could see. He was a gruff old man that was also poorly dressed. When I walked into the lobby, he was in an office off to the side helping someone else. As that costumer left, he yelled, “Come in,” as though I was a misbehaving child being called into the principal’s office. I tentatively sat down and stated that I was looking for a used car. He asked what I was looking for specifically. I confidently stated, “Honda Civic or Fit with under 130,000 miles for less than $5,000.” At this point I already had my eye on Viv, but wanted to shop around. He let out a chuckle and condescendingly stated, “Oh, honey. You’re not gonna find nothin’ like that. Not for that price.”

I stood up and said, “I already have! But great! Thanks!”

It was a 30 second interaction. I’m proud of myself for not murdering anyone.

The whole thing ended with me getting a very fair deal on Craigslist from an older couple that was just fucking lovely. They also wore clean jeans, which is nice.

I made this gravy for Thanksgiving and it was a hit (with me and one other person, but we have good taste). It’s cold as fuck outside, and that means it’s goddamn gravy season. Am I right?! So throw this together in 20 minutes to help warm up your insides.

 

Mushroom Herb Gravy

8 oz white button mushrooms, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons butter or oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons flour

2 cups veggie broth

1 sprig rosemary

1 tablespoon sage (minced fresh or dried)

Salt and pepper

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and saute for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic plus salt and pepper and cook for another minute or two. Make sure the moisture from the mushrooms has completely evaporated. Sprinkle in the flour and stir to combine. While frequently stirring, allow mixture to cook for another 3-4 minutes. Let the flour toast slightly, turning a golden brown. Whisk in the broth, making sure to fully incorporate it with the flour (no lumps!). Throw in the rosemary (whole) and the sage. Stir well and allow to simmer for 7-10 minutes, or until desired consistency. Remove sprig of rosemary.

Pour that shit on everything. I scooped it onto some fried potatoes, wilted Swiss charge, and then topped it with an egg (see below).

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