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.

baking · comfort food · cupcakes · dinner · easy · gluten free · healthy · lunch · mushrooms · pasta · potluck food · vegetarian · veggies · Yummy

Mushroom and Oat “Meat”balls

The snow situation has been out of control lately. Last weekend Harriet (my cat) and I decided to hibernate at the boyfriend’s place while a blizzard raged outside. Is there anything better than eating comfort food, snuggling inside, and watching Netflix for hours while it snows like mad outside? Yeah, actually… it gets better when you add booze. I drank nearly an entire bottle of vodka over the course of the weekend, mixing it with grapefruit juice and laziness. We spent our time in various reclined positions on the couch, watching anything we could find on Netflix or HBO Go, only getting up to refill our drinks or play a rousing game of Super Mario Brothers. We also got up once to give all three cats “meowtinis” for the fluffy one’s birthday, which was really just tuna and tuna juice in a martini glass.

This is the only photo of these two getting along. Not pictured: The birthday boy (he doesn’t give a fuck about tuna, and just wanted his crunchy treats)

The plan was to stay Friday and Saturday night, then get the hell out of his way on Sunday morning. He and I walked out to my car Sunday morning, and found it under a mound of snow. It took 30+ minutes, lots of pushing, the help from a bobcat (that didn’t help AND scratched my car, me almost crying, then my BF finally maneuvering it that last few inches out of the snow. I was trying to get to Acro, but wanted to stop home first to shower. I wasn’t going to have time for a shower, but would still have time to clean up at home and change cloths. WRONG. There were two snow storms back to back, and this was the second one. That means that there were tons of open parking spots on my street, but they were filled with so much snow that my car wouldn’t be able to get into them (much less out again).

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ARE YOU SEEING THIS?

I would not be stopping at my apartment due to lack of parking, so I had an extra 20 minutes to kill. Filled with rage, I drove over to the fancy grocery store for a latte and a cupcake. I walked into the store, past the bouquets of flowers, $40 teddy bears, gourmet cheese, fresh baked bread, and made a beeline for the bakery counter. There were perfect little cupcakes lined up behind the glass, and I wanted one. There was no one at the counter, so I took my time making my decision. After circling the display several times, I made a choice. Chocolate cake with salted caramel buttercream. But where the fuck is the bakery clerk to help me? What the fuck is happening right now? While the individual cupcakes are behind glass, there are 4 packs of cupcakes sitting out for anyone to grab. Since my rage level was already at capacity, I ripped a 4 pack from it’s stack, and stomped to the register. When I got to the car, I decided to share the other 3 cupcakes with my acro friends.

When I got to acro, I decided I wanted to eat another cupcake after class. Seems silly to share 2 cupcakes with a group of people. So I decided to leave them in my car for whenever I had a cupcake craving next (they would obviously be gone within a day). I referred to them as my car cupcakes, and stand by that as one of my best ideas to date.

I wish upon you all the joy of car cupcakes.

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Mushroom Oat “Meat”balls

24oz mushrooms, finely chopped (if you have a food processor – use it!)

1/2 to 1 onion, finely chopped

1 cup breadcrumbs

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup quick oats (or regular oats pulsed in the blender a couple of times)

1/4 cup parsley

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons parmesan

2 eggs

Olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Chop the fuck out of those mushrooms (and onions). This shit took me nearly an hour. Twenty-four ounces is a LOT when you’re chopping. So maybe invest in that food processor before embarking on this journey. Or just cut the recipe in half like a normal human. When you’re done chopping, throw the onions into a large skillet along with a drizzle of olive oil and crank the heat to medium-high. You ever play that Wii game Cooking Mama? It’s like that right now… you gotta time it right otherwise everything gets fucked up. The original recipe says to cook the mushrooms first. Well, that’s bullshit. The onions take longer to cook, so get those rolling first. Stir ’em around a bit and let ’em cook for a few minutes. They’ll start to soften and become slightly translucent. That’s when you want to add the mushrooms. Let everything cook down. Once it’s all starting to brown slightly, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Now it’s time for the garlic. Once you’ve added the garlic, you’ve only got maybe 3-4 minutes before it burns. I suggested cooking for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently, and then removing from heat. Scoop everything into a large bowl and add all the other dry ingredients (wait to add the eggs!). Stir it all together. Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl, then mix into everything else. Grab a spoonful of the mixture and roll around in your palms until it forms a ball. Line up as many balls (lol) as you can onto a greased baking sheet.

Original recipe says to refrigerate for 2-12 hours. I did not do that. It turned out fine. This recipe also makes an obscene number of balls. I believe it was about 32 total, which is great if you have a large family or a potluck to attend. I do not, so I shared with my boyfriend and only baked a few at a time (keeping the mixture in the fridge for a few days). You could also just cut the recipe in half.

Bake at 375 for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. Throw ’em on top of some pasta,  maybe stuff ’em into some French bread for a meatless meatball sub, or crumble some up onto a pizza. Get creative! Then shove as many balls into your mouth as you can!

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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comfort food · Crock pot · dinner · easy · healthy · lunch · mushrooms · soup · vegan · Vegetables · vegetarian

Mushroom Barley Soup and Matchbox 20

Apparently I’ve gotten to the age of going to concerts at casinos. Matchbox 20 and Counting Crows were at Treasure Island Casino last weekend. Hannah and I lost our damn minds. How is Rob Thomas still hot as fuuuuuuck?

I didn’t even know Matchbox 20 was still together. When I discovered they were going to be performing together, I was completely shocked. Thought maybe someone was fucking with me. Since Hannah and I bonded over our mutual love of them upon first meeting, we splurged for the $800 VIP tickets for the real fans that got to BE ON STAGE WITH THEM.

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LOL JK

We paid $25 and stood in the grass behind all the real seats. BUT IT WAS STILL AMAZING.

As soon as the Counting Crows finished, it starting pouring rain. They told everyone to go inside the casino until the storm passed, but Hannah was like, “Fuck that shit. We’re staying.” We were already soaked, and decided it wasn’t worth the trouble to attempt to go inside with thousands of other people. Instead, we ended up joining forces with another 4 women that had commandeered a tarp they found on the ground. They welcomed us into their stolen shelter and offered us each half a beer (they had been knocked over and spilled much of their contents… but beggars can’t be choosers, right?). We squatted together in the dark, sipping our beers, and getting to know one another, as the lightning flashed outside. And by “outside,” I mean right over my ass, which was too big to make it fully inside the tarp. #bigbootyproblems

Once the rain let up, our new friends wandered off. Hannah had to go to the bathroom, so I saved our spot while Instagraming the video of us singing along to “Long December.” While figuring out my hashtags, I felt a poke in my side/belly. I looked up to see a man that had that used-to-be-a-jock-but-now-mostly-drinks-beer-and-watches-football look. You know what I’m talking about. He was poking me with his umbrella and saying, “Hey…. who are you texting?” I told him I was Instagraming, actually. Apparently he interpretted that as, “Why don’t you join me?” because suddenly he was right next to me, asking to be on my Instagram. I took a photo with him to both appease him and to be friendly. It has since been deleted. I asked his name and he jovially shouted, “I’m Tyler! Ty!” Great. He’s very excitable. Hannah came to my rescue moments later. After telling her that I met my new friend via “umbrella poke,” she exclaimed, “How phallic of you!” Poor Ty had a look of utter confusion on his face and stated that he didn’t speak French.

The man literally didn’t know the meaning of the word “phallic.” Is this real life?

It’s okay, buddy… you’re doing a great job. Just keep making inappropriate jokes and asking to be my boyfriend. That’s definitely how it works.

So, after we thoroughly explain the meaning of the word “phallic,” I asked him where his friends were, since I didn’t see him with anyone at the concert. He casually responded that his wife was “right over there.”

I’m sorry… what?

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The wife eventually joined us. I looked at them both and asked her, “Did you know he was talking to me?” She said yes, and that it’s fine if he talks to other women. Then I asked the obvious question…. “Did you know your husband doesn’t know the meaning of the word phallic?” She also developed a look of confusion, and I felt happy knowing that two such people had been able to find each other in this big, crazy world.

After the vocab lesson, I asked the more pressing question, “Are you in an open relationship?” They both responded at the same time… he said yes, and she said no. Okay. Great. She goes on to explain that it’s healthier for them both to just be able to flirt with whoever they want, because otherwise people lie and it just ends in divorce. She explained that they’re open with each other about being attracted to other people. That’s the only part I understand about the whole thing. I then went on to ask them both, “What would have happened if I had been interested?” Ty chuckled as only a former jock can, and said, “Too bad for you!” His wife looked at me, rolled her eyes, and said, “Trust me, you don’t want him.” I was like, “Oh… I know.

He then went on to say that he wasn’t hitting on me at all. Twenty year old Kelsey would have shrunk back, embarrassed at my assumption. How dare I think I am worthy of such a man’s time and attention? Gaslighting used to work so well on me. Thirty-two year old Kelsey responded with condescension, “Oh, honey…. yes you fucking were.” While the whole thing was funny/ridiculous, the idea of them going out and actively hitting on another person for pure sport really pisses me off. If I had been genuinely interested, his flippant attitude about leading me on would have really hurt my feelings. I understand their point about being able to flirt while in a healthy, monogamous relationship… but that doesn’t mean actively seeking someone out at a concert/bar/club. I was fully expecting him to ask for my phone number – it was a blatant come on, and that’s not okay if you’re not interested.

Let’s get one thing straight, though… I would absolutely never entertain the idea of dating someone that doesn’t know the meaning of the word phallic.

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Hannah and I pretending to be emo as fuck in the rain.

Unrelated to anything in this post (per usual): I made this soup last week, after discovering a vegan crock pot cookbook at the library. It had the mushrooms measured out by ounces, but I didn’t know how to go about weighing shit in the bulk area at my co-op. It was supposed to be 5 ounces of shiitake mushrooms, and 4 ounces of button mushrooms. I made up my own measurements, as you’ll see in the recipe below. I honestly think it doesn’t fucking matter. Also, if you want to make this on the stove, just simmer it all until the barley is cooked through (I’d tell you how long, but I have no fucking idea because I never cook barley – good luck!).

If you noticed on my Instagram a few weeks ago, I went back to eating meat per my doctor’s suggestion. That lasted all of 4 days. Now I’m looking for ideas on how to cut back on dairy, and still get enough protein in without eating meat. Feel free to send me links to your favorite healthy vegetarian/vegan recipes.

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Mushroom Barley Soup

2 1/2ish cups button mushrooms (measured while still whole)

2ish cups shiitake mushrooms (measured while still whole)

0.5oz dried porcini mushrooms

1 medium onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

6 cups veggie broth

1 cup boiling water

Salt and pepper

2/3 cup barley

Pour the porcini mushrooms into a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit for 15 minutes. Drain mushrooms but save the mushroom water to add to the soup. Chop up the porcini mushrooms once they are re-hydrated. While they’re soaking, slice the rest of the mushrooms and saute with onions over medium-high heat in a little olive oil. Saute for a few minutes, then add the garlic and salt and pepper. Cook for another couple of minutes and scoop into a crock pot (you’ll have to do this in batches because the mushrooms won’t all fit in the same pan at once). While this makes for more work than your standard crock pot recipe, cooking the mushrooms first really adds a lot of flavor.

Throw all that shit into the crock pot and turn that shit on low. Leave it alone for 6-8 hours. Done. Boom. Fucking delicious vegan soup. Share it with your friends. Eat it by yourself in your underwear. Whatthefuckever.

Just don’t hit on someone unless you’re actually interested in them. Aka: Don’t be a shitty human.

P.S. This is what Rob Thomas looks like now:

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You’re welcome.

dinner · easy · gluten free · healthy · Lasagna · lunch · mushrooms · quick · travel · vacation · vegan · Vegetables · vegetarian

Vegan “Lasagna” and Nola

I spent Labor Day weekend exploring New Orleans with my Brazilian friend, Humberto, and a handful of his friends. Humberto and I met in NYC 8-9 years ago, where we became fast friends while working together at Georgia’s Cafe (which was both the best and worst job ever). We were roommates for about a year in a gigantic apartment facing the Hudson River in Harlem. Seriously, the place was unbelievable. It was so big that it came with a piano that lived in the hallway… and it wasn’t even in the way. We used it as a bar, because we’re classy motherfuckers. The apartment also came with a floral futon mattress (naturally) and a TV with a pink and green screen, among other miscellaneous shit.

Seriously, this is how we lived for months.

Humberto called it a “Bohemian lifestyle.” We were both too poor at the time to do anything about it. The other girl we were living with (the place belonged to her parents) and I spend 4 straight weekends at Ikea getting new shit for the apartment. That’s where I finally got my bedroom stuff (I was sleeping on an air mattress like a true Bohemian princess), but I don’t remember us getting much else in the way of furniture. After a few months of this nonsense, I started scouring Craigslist for cheap furniture. I only spent about $150, but was able to turn the place into this…

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It was one of my proudest accomplishments.

Humberto moved back home to Brazil in May of 2010. I cried like a baby at my sad office job, but hid it well from my demon bosses (that’s you, Mau and Peter… fuckers). As the years passed, I honestly wasn’t sure we’d see each other again. Then, about 6 weeks ago he messaged me on Facebook asking if I wanted to meet up in New Orleans.

Well, I’d never been to New Orleans before, so I checked my work schedule, found a cheap flight, and said HELL YES.

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Aren’t we the cutest?

We had a great fucking time. I took a vacation from my vegetarianism and became a pescatarian (that means that I could eat fish, for those of you that aren’t too bright) for a few days. Louisiana is all about seafood, right? So I was there to eat me some fucking classic New Orleans dishes. I had crawfish étouffée, seafood gumbo, a fried oyster po boy, and some motherfuckin’ catfish. Everything I ate was fucking drool-worthy, but the food at Deanie’s was especially delectable (the seafood gumbo was fucking to-die-for).

Oh, and we also drank our faces off (or, at least I did). The novelty of drinking on the street prompted me to purchase a “fish bowl” at one point. That shit is heavy! It was literally a gallon of fucking liquid (okay, maybe it was figuratively a gallon but whatthefuckeever). I drank maybe a third of it before I was too full, and also too tired from holding it up to my mouth (there’s an inappropriate joke in there somewhere). Humberto and his friend, Carolina, ended up drinking the rest for me. He was all, “Why would you buy that?!” And I was like, “Because NEW ORLEANS.”

I mean, obviously.

They somehow also got me to dance. I don’t dance. But it was Southern Decadence (their LGBTQ+ festival) and everyone was dancing. It couldn’t be helped. So I set aside my pride and shook my booty. I highly recommend a little booty shake to everyone.

Everyone had to go back to reality on Monday afternoon… except me. I don’t work on Tuesdays, so I stayed behind for an extra day and wandered around the city on my own. It’s where I got my best eating and shopping done. I stayed in an Airbnb for the first time ever, and felt like a real fucking grown-up. Plus, after all that noise and shared space… it felt downright luxurious to lay down in a quiet room by myself.

Some of the phenomenal food I encountered.

On our last day together, walking down the street near Cafe du Monde, Humbero said to me (in his adorable Brazilian accent), “I’ll be waiting for you in Brazil, Kel-Kel. Don’t take too long.” hahaha I love the way he worded that. I literally pictured him checking the airport every day for years.

By the time I got home, I was ready to get back to my vegetarian ways, in addition to lightening up my meals a bit. What’s nice about this vegan “lasagna” is that it reads like a hearty, heavy meal… but leaves you feeling light. I originally found this recipe on Dr. Mark Hyman’s website, but I’ve tweaked it a little bit. The original recipe calls for an egg in the cashew “cheese,” but that really didn’t add anything to it. I had no idea why it was included at all, so I omitted it. I also opted to add mushrooms, onions, spinach, and some garlic powder to add more flavor. I honestly thought this was going to taste like shit (I feel like I always say that about vegan recipes… maybe I need to stop being such a judgmental bitch), but it really is delicious. Try it out for yourself. Let me know if you miss the cheese (you won’t). The first time I made this I ended up dousing it in parmesan, because I hadn’t added any garlic or onions. It was kind of bland, but this version is bursting with flavor. I promise.

Vegan Roasted Veggie “Lasagna”

For the cashew “cheese”:

2 cups raw cashews, soaked in hot water for at least 1 hour, or at room temp for 24 hours then drained

1/4 cup warm water

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons lemon juice

 

For the lasagna:

1 eggplant, thinly sliced lengthwise

1 zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise

1 red bell pepper (I used green, but red would have been prettier), sliced into large squares (as in, the entire side of the pepper)

1 cup of mushrooms, sliced

1 small onion, diced

1 large handful of spinach

Garlic powder (or one clove of fresh garlic, minced)

1 can (15oz) crushed tomatoes

Salt and pepper

 

For the cashew “cheese”:’

Blend everything together in a blender or food processor. It should be the consistency of ricotta cheese. If you’re making it ahead, seal it in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

For the lasagna:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large skillet, saute mushrooms and onions in olive oil over medium-high heat until mushrooms have browned slightly and onions are translucent. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and the spinach. Continue to cook while stirring consistently. Once spinach has wilted, remove from heat.

Drizzle the eggplant, zucchini, and bell pepper with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and arrange on 2 large baking sheets. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through. Allow to cool.

Reduce oven to 350 degrees.

To assemble, spread about 1/4 of the “cheese” on the bottom of a greased 8 x 8 baking dish. Top with a big scoop of the crushed tomatoes, and layer the roasted eggplant, zucchini, and pepper however you’d like to just cover the bottom of the pan. Add more “cheese,” crushed tomatoes, and a scoop of the mushrooms/onions/spinach mixture. Layer more of the roasted veggies. Continue layering until you run out of ingredients, ending with the crushed tomatoes on top.

Say yes to adventures with old friends you haven’t seen in years! Say no to fish bowls.

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Don’t be like me. This was a mistake.

Asian food · comfort food · Curry · dinner · easy · healthy · quick · soup · Thai food · vegan · Vegetables · vegetarian

Thai Coconut Curry Soup

Last weekend I helped a friend out by cat sitting his two little fluff monsters overnight. You know what this means, right? This means I got to stay in a different apartment for a weekend while eating someone else’s food and watching Netflix nonstop.  This also means it was a free-for-all when it came to junk food. I treated it like I was on vacation, which means I ate ice cream and pizza for most of my meals (my mom taught me that you’re supposed to eat cookie dough for dinner when on vacation). To top it all off, my last morning there was spent eating donuts in my underwear while watching A Cinderella Story (all while snuggling a floofball of a kitty). You know you’re jealous.

Fuck. I love staying at my friends’ apartments when they’re out of town. It’s completely ridiculous, though, considering I actually have my own apartment without any roommates. I mean, what am I trying to escape from? I think there’s something freeing about the fact that I can just lay around and not do anything. If I was doing the same thing at home, I’d end up getting up to do laundry/vacuum/wash dishes/etc. When at another person’s place, I don’t have to do any of that shit. Plus, free food! And I got so many kitty snuggles (though it took them a full 24 hours to come around).

The same friend introduced me to Khao Soi soup for the first time. Going completely based on his recommendation, I placed my order and requested that there be no cilantro added (which is often not in the description, but almost always included and guaranteed to ruin any and all food it touches). Upon arrival, I meticulously inspected the garnishes for any traces of cilantro. I didn’t see anything, but did end up getting a few bites of it in the broth. Motherfuckers. Why do people add that shit to everything?! Fucking food ruiners. Despite the herb from hell, the soup was fucking delicious. We kept referring to it as liquid crack, and chalked it up to the added MSG. I fucking love me some MSG. That shit makes everything better.

But!

It’s probably not healthy. My homemade version does not include MSG. It also doesn’t include any fancy ingredients or steps. It’s simple as fuck, and can be ready in 30 minutes flat. (It’s also not as to-die-for delicious, but it’s pretty damn good.)

Thai Coconut Curry Soup

2ish cups of broccoli florets

1/2 large onion, thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced into about 2″ peices

1 large carrot, sliced

8oz Chinese noodles of your choice (I chose some leftover “vegetarian” noodles from the Asian market)

2 tablespoons red curry paste

4 cups vegetable broth

1 cup full fat, unsweetened coconut milk

1 tablespoon lime juice

Red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss veggies (you could honestly use any veggies you have on hand) with olive oil on a baking sheet and add a little salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, stirring once halfway through.

While the veggies are roasting, cook pasta according to package instructions. Rinse with cold water and set aside.

In a large pot, cook curry paste over medium-high heat, whisking or stirring frequently. Cook the curry paste for about 2-3 minutes, until it becomes fragrant and lightly browned. Whisk in the broth and then the coconut milk, lime juice, and red pepper flakes. Add the veggies and let simmer for a few minutes.

Place desired amount of noodles in a bowl and spoon the soup over the top. I like more soup than noodles, but you could treat the soup more like a sauce with pasta if you want.

EAT THIS SHIT EVERY SINGLE DAY. Do NOT add cilantro, or we can’t be friends. If you don’t care about that, then fuck off. (jk bff xoxo) 😉

P.S. Fuck you, cilantro.

corn · easy · gluten free · potluck food · quick · sides · snacks · Vegetables · vegetarian · veggies

Mexican Corn Dip

You ever drink so much that you end up knee deep in mud?

No? Just me? Fantastic.

Apparently you’re supposed to pay attention to where you’re walking in the woods when coming upon a river. I mean, I thought I was paying attention. Clearly, that was false. My boss had to pull me out of the mud, breaking my flip flop in the process. Since those were the only shoes I brought with me for the weekend trip, I had to wear his shoes home.

I’m not good with moderation (or boundaries). I am, however, working on it.

Most companies host a tasteful party once a year, and maybe throw in a few team building exercises. At my work, we like to get hammered and wander through the woods together. It’s how we bond.

I was actually planning on not drinking much this year. But then I showed up to my boss’s house and immediately starting downing pineapple mojitos (thanks, Stacy!). Before I knew what was happening, I was sinking into mud, running around in the river, trying bear meat for the first time, voicing any little thought that crossed my mind, and being an all-around obnoxious drunk person. Suddenly it was early morning, and I was waking up to the sound of dogs walking around, the taste of death on my tongue, and a feeling of regret in the pit of my stomach. #storyofmylife

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But I did make this fucking scrumptious Mexican corn dip to share. I discovered the stuff at a dog’s birthday party the week before. Yes, a dog’s birthday party. He was turning 15 and spent the afternoon getting table scraps and eating ice cream straight out of the container (sounds like every single night I’ve spent white girl wasted). There were cupcakes with frosted swirls of poop on them. It was amazing. I got a little drunk there as well, and went to town on this corn dip that someone brought, after yelling at him for topping it with cilantro (I mean, how dare he? Didn’t he know I was the only one that mattered at this party?). Drunk Kelsey can be kind of a bitch.

After berating him for using cilantro, I also chimed in with, “Have you ever had Mexican style corn with the mayo and cheese? You know, they sell it on the street sometimes? This tastes just like that!” as if this was a revolutionary idea he couldn’t possibly understand. He responded with, “Yeah, that was the idea,” and proceeded to graciously give me the recipe. (He was actually really nice and patient with me.)

OMG, is this what it feels like to mansplain something? I’ve never been on the other end of it before.

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Mexican Corn Dip

4 cups corn kernels (fresh, frozen, or canned)

1 or 2 jalapenos, diced

3 tablespoons mayo

2 tablespoons shredded parmesan, plus extra to sprinkle on top

Juice from 1/2 lime

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Drizzle some olive oil into a skillet and put it at medium-high heat. Throw in the corn and jalapenos. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooked threw and slightly browned. Pour the corn/jalapeno mixture into a mixing bowl with all the other ingredients. Scoop into a shallow serving dish and top with a little extra parmesan and chili powder. Serve with tortilla chips.

If you made it ahead of time and are just pulling it out of the fridge, bake it at 350 degree for 20 minutes, then top with cheese and chili powder before serving.

Side note: These pictures are shitty because I was drunk. *insert shrugging emoji*