baking · cake · chocolate · comfort food · dessert · easy · vegetarian

The Best Chocolate Cake

I made this cake a few weeks ago for Hannah’s husband’s birthday. He requested chocolate cake, and gave me no other fucking information. I was like, “But what kind of chocolate? Chocolate on chocolate or vanilla frosting? Maybe a raspberry filling? German chocolate? Nuts? Ganache? Dark or milk?” Honestly, my chocolate questions can go on and on… and they did. Hannah told me she was just going to pick up a sheet cake from the grocery store if I didn’t shut the fuck up (how dare she). Who the fuck would choose a shitty sheet cake over homemade? Fuck.

So I found this recipe on Pinterest, and was very excited about it’s simplicity. I guess I don’t need to add all the bells and whistles to end up with a delicious cake. This shit is moist as fuck, and the frosting begs to just be eaten by the spoonful. Now, I understand my cake decorating skills are lacking. This surprises no one. Despite my art degree and love of baking, I’ve never been great at making my cakes beautiful. But who the fuck cares? Some day I’ll take a class to learn, but until then… my ugly cake still tastes better than your masterpiece. Besides, everyone knows fondant tastes like shit.

Unrelated Hawaii story: Cortney took me to the Polynesian Cultural Center on one of my last days. I know this place is supposed to teach us about all the different Polynesian cultures (which it did!), but our favorite part was the half naked men dancing. During the first performance we stopped at (I believe it was the island of Tonga), there was one dancer that was so attractive that Cortney and I immediately started aggressively elbowing each other and gesturing with our eyes. He was one of those guys that you think has to be famous or a model or something. I mean, normal people don’t just walk around looking like that. It’s distracting. He must cause so many car accidents by just crossing the street every day. Fuck. So there we were, in the middle of all these wholesome families, just losing our goddamn minds. At one point during the performance, a few of the dancers walked into the audience. Our guy stood a few feet away from us and we got the giggles like a couple of fucking inappropriate teenagers. I was actually pretty embarrassed, but I could not stop. It was completely fucking involuntary at that point. I couldn’t even look at Cortney because I knew the giggling would amplify to uncontrollable laugh-snorting. By the end of it, I was full on crying. I would like to remind everyone that I am 31 years old.

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The Best Chocolate Cake

2 cups flour

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk or half and half

1/2 cup canola oil

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup strong hot coffee

 

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

4 cups powdered sugar

4 tablespoons milk or half and half (or more if it needs thinning)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9 inch cake pans and set aside. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, both sugars, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, and salt. Set aside. In a mixer, mix together milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Slowly add in the dry ingredients. Once fully combined, add in the hot coffee. Divide between the 2 pans and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

My trick to keeping the cake from drying out is cool it in the freezer. Just throw both pans in the freezer straight from the oven. Leave them in there for about 20-30 minutes.

For the frosting:

Beat the butter in the mixer until fluffy. Add in the rest of the ingredients and whisk until creamy. If the frosting is too thick, add a little more milk.

Frost the shit outta that cake.

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There was a lot of alcohol involved.

breakfast · brunch · Dating · eggs · mushrooms · Sauces · tinder · travel · vacation · vegetarian

Veggie Eggs Benedict and Hawaiian Magic

I don’t even know where to begin with this post, so I’m opening with a photo of Cortney and me in Hawaii last week. Y’all. This trip was magic. I can’t.

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A couple posts ago I mentioned that Cortney was setting me up with someone in Hawaii during my visit. This ended up being an ongoing joke between the two of us, with her talking about how I was going to fall in love, and me trying to bring her back to reality (while desperately hoping this guy wouldn’t take up too much of my time and/or be a murderer). I rolled my eyes every time she brought him up, but was also oddly intrigued by the idea of going out with someone on a tropical island (Was I living in a movie?!). I’m naturally an open person, so I just went into it with no expectations, but stayed open to any good that could come from it. I knew that, at the very least, it would be a learning experience and a fun story.

I had no idea what I was in for.

First, I nearly scared him away with my blog post that mentioned how Cortney wanted me to fall in love and move there. Let’s get one thing straight… I never once thought Cortney’s plan would ever work, and that’s exactly what I told him. I’m not stupid – this was a vacation fling. Obviously. And don’t you dare judge me. I’m a grown ass woman, and I’m allowed. I also recognized that it might not even develop into a fling. It was likely going to be one disappointing date, and nothing more.

Holy shit, you guys – I was so stupid.

Remember how I’m always talking about being vulnerable, having feelings, and avoiding a gray world of “meh”? The spectrum of human emotions is a beautiful thing, and I got to feel a lot of it throughout this experience. Yeah, sometimes it’s painful, but fuuuuuck… it’s worth it. If you’re not feeling anything, then what is the fucking point of being alive?

There is nothing sadder than indifference.

Our first date was my second night in town. It was the first of five, each one better than the last. Real feelings got involved, which I recognized around the 3rd date (and he mentioned it first, because he’s a secure dude, which is hot as fuck). I remember getting back to Cortney’s apartment and recapping it to her. She cackled manically like an evil mastermind and pretended to pet an invisible cat, exclaiming that her plan was working. I rolled my eyes. But the fact was, I was now invested and a little bit scared of the repercussions. I knew this couldn’t end like a romantic comedy. We live 4,000 miles apart. I knew that, and I dived in anyway. Why? Because it’s fucking worth it. Because he is interesting and smart. Because he’s secure as fuck and non-judgmental. Because he wasn’t afraid to hold my hand and communicate. Because he reminded me that I don’t have to compromise on what I want in a partner. They can have all of those qualities. People like that exist. He exists. It’s fucking possible.

Oh, and because he bought me fucking donuts.

I desperately hope this isn’t the end for us… but the fact is that it might be. I know that. Yet, still… I wouldn’t take any of it back. I’d do it all again in a second. Fuck it. The feelings involved (even the bad ones) made this so fucking worth it. 

I’ve completely reevaluated how I’m dating here in Minneapolis. And with this newfound knowledge… I’ve deleted Tinder. Not forever, just for now. I need to just sit with this feeling, and have a little space to myself. I’m not closed off (and I hope I never will be), but I’m taking a little time away from seeking out a relationship. I’m too raw right now, and it’s important to be self-aware enough to know that.

As much as I like to share my version of the human experience… this post is feeling very vulnerable to me (plus, I know he’s going to read it, and I’m feeling unsure about that). For now, the rest of this story will remain private. More Hawaii stories with Cortney yet to come, though! Including (but not limited to) snorkeling with a sea turtle, singing to the Moana soundtrack, teaching Acro to a few friends, giving a miniature horse a bath, horseback riding in the rain, and half naked men dancing. Oh, and eating alllll the mochi. Seriously. I spent probably $50+ on mochi. I’m out of control.

Oh, and I ate pork (gasp). I’m not sorry.

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My last breakfast in Hawaii was with Cortney, her husband, and a couple friends. Cortney and I couldn’t decide what we wanted, so we ordered eggs florentine and cinnamon apple pancakes to split. I fucking love doing shit like that. When I got home, I was really missing her, so I opted to make eggs benedict/florentine. This seemed logical at the time.

Veggie Eggs Benedict

1 egg

3-4 button mushrooms

1 handful of spinach

2 tablespoons chopped onion

1 slice of bread (or half an English muffin)

2 teaspoons white vinegar

For the hollandaise sauce:

2 egg yolks

1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 stick butter, melted

salt and pepper

To make the sauce, whisk together the yolks and lemon juice in a metal mixing bowl until it fluffs up and doubles in size. Then place the bowl over a sauce pan of slightly simmering water (making sure the water doesn’t actually touch the bowl). Continue whisking, and do not let the eggs get too hot or sit for too long, otherwise they’ll scramble. Slowly whisk in the melted butter until the sauce has thickened and doubled in size again. Remove from heat, add salt and pepper to taste, and set in a warm spot while you get everything else together. Makes enough sauce to cover 2-4 eggs (I like a lot of sauce, so it’d only be 2 for me).

Saute the veggies, minus the spinach, in a little olive oil or cooking spray, stirring frequently and adding salt and pepper. Once the mushrooms brown, add the spinach and allow to wilt. Place bread/English muffin into the toaster.

To poach an egg! First step: Believe in yourself! If the egg isn’t beautiful, who the fuck cares? It’ll still be delicious. This was my first successfully poached egg, and I did a little dance to celebrate. You should, too. First, grab a deep skillet and fill it up with water. Place over high heat, and add a little salt and 2 teaspoons of white vinegar. While waiting for the water to boil, crack the egg into a small glass/ramekin. Once boiling, stir water with a spoon to create a whirlpool effect. Once it’s really circling, slowly pour the egg into the center. The movement of the water will help keep the egg together, preventing it from looking like a baby octopus. Turn off the heat and cover pan. Allow to cook for 2-5 minutes, depending on how runny you like your yolks.

To assemble (does this really need to be explained?): Cover toast/English muffin with the sauteed veggies. Top with the egg and as much sauce as you’d like. The sauce will not keep, so eat it all in one sitting!

Then go out and collect every single human experience possible. Feel everything.

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comfort food · gluten free · lunch · potatoes · quick · shopping · sides · vacation · vegetarian

Homemade Mashed Potatoes and Vacation Brain

I’m going on vacation today, but my brain has been turned off for at least 2 days. It makes everything more difficult. My patience is wearing thin (and, let’s be real, it’s not great to begin with). I was up late last night frantically packing, because it’s impossible for me to plan ahead. I also insisted upon going to an acro jam, because apparently I wanted to have even less time to pack. And I showed up late to the jam (which, if you don’t know, is just a term for acro people getting together and doing acro for a few hours without a teacher), because I was starving to death. I made mashed potatoes at the last minute, which is silly because it’s not really an on-the-go type of food.

I also ended up going to MOA (for those that aren’t cool and live in MN, that stands for Mall of America) after work last night to return a swimsuit that I purchased online last week. I think I’ve complained about this before, but what is the fucking deal with plus size swimsuits(or is it all of them?)? I ordered one from Torrid with these cute little pink details and a much needed underwire… only to find that it won’t even remotely accommodate my chest. I even tried it on in a bigger size in the store, and technically it fit… but fuuuuck. I was going to have a nip slip for sure, and I don’t need that kind of stress in my life. Fuck that shit. I’m all for a sexy, low-cut look… but I also intend to be swimming and snorkeling. I need to feel secure in my swimsuit. I’m sick of all the stores carrying the some shitty styles in plus size. Like, no, I do NOT want a fucking halter top. Why is this the most common option? Can you even comprehend how heavy my breasts are? That skinny ass fucking strap is cutting into my neck. It’s horrible. And even this one that I purchased last week, which was supposedly made for my body type, is completely impractical. I was literally going to fall out the top of it, and then to make matters worse, there were padded inserts to help push me further out of the top. What. The. Fuck.

Anyway, I did end up finding something I like, but the whole experience was a pain in the ass. I’m just glad it’s not a halter and that it doesn’t have a fucking skirt attached. Stop trying to hide my body. Fuck.

While I’m so excited about all the amazing things I’ll be doing while on this vacation, one of the most exciting parts of it for me is that I will get to turn my brain off for a bit. I’m fucking exhausted. For 2 whole weeks I won’t have to worry about bills, chores, work, or (most importantly) dating. I don’t have to fucking overthink anything, or analyze intentions. I just get to fucking relax and have fun. This trip is so needed right now. And I will get to spend time with a handful of my favorite people, which just makes it even better. Plus, I’ll get to eat mochi every single day in Hawaii.

So these mashed potatoes (is it still plural when it’s just one potato?), like I said, were made on a whim when I was starving last night. I was really craving french fries, but you know, you can’t always have what you want. I’m a big fan of leaving the skin on for mashed potatoes (my mom always says that’s where all the nutrients are), but you’re welcome to peel yours first. I live alone, so I usually only boil and mash one lone potato. It works out really well, because that one potato fluffs up to double it’s size! Try it out. Making mashed potatoes for one doesn’t have to be considered “too much effort.” It’s really easy, actually. Besides, you’re worth the extra effort.

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Homemade Mashed Potatoes

1 large russet potato, unpeeled (but remove all the growths on it, because we all know it’s been sitting in your cabinet for weeks)

1.5 tablespoons butter

A large splash of half and half or milk (~1/4 cup)

Salt and pepper

Bring a pot of water to boil. You only need enough water to fully cover the potatoes. While waiting for the water to boil, wash your potato and chop up into 1-2″ cubes. Once water starts boiling, throw in the potatoes (Carefully! Splashing boiling water is no joke!). I suppose you could just put the potatoes in before boiling the water, but I like to live on the edge. Let boil for about 10-15 minutes (until soft – you’ll know by stabbing a cube with a fork, lifting it out of the water, and it falls right off). Drain and place back into the same pot. Add butter and start to mash with a potato masher. I like to wait until the butter is mostly melted before adding the half and half. Start with a small splash of half and half and mash a bit more. If it’s still too thick, add some more. Continue adding half and half until it’s the consistency you like, and then add some salt and pepper. Taste as you go. You’ll need more salt than pepper, but pepper can be a nice touch.

You could also top this with some green onion, or add in some cooked mushrooms and garlic. Roasted garlic is always good with mashed potatoes, too. But I kept mine simple last night, mostly for a lack of time. Serve with whatever the fuck you want. I did a fake chicken patty and some arugula, because that’s all I had lying around. I wouldn’t judge you at all for serving it with nothing. Just eat that shit right out of the pan while watching some Netflix if it makes you happy. Fuck going out and socializing.

comfort food · Crock pot · easy · gluten free · healthy · lunch · mushrooms · Rice · soup · vegan · vegetarian

Vegan Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup

While I was in Florida, I was also participating in a yoga challenge on Instagram. If you’re not familiar with this, look it up. Seriously. I’m not Google. It was mostly a disaster.

We spent my first night in there watching the sunset on the beach. My mom is a badass, so we sneaked in some mini bottles of wine, too. Then we (I) did some drunk yoga on the beach for the sake of my very first yoga challenge. Being the overachiever that I am (I’m not), I opted to accept an arm balance yoga challenge, despite the fact that I am not physically capable of most (all) arm balances yet. Side crow was so pathetic that I didn’t even post it. It was just me leaning against my elbows in the sand. It didn’t even look like I was trying to do anything. Ughhhh. My side crow is an embarrassment to yogis everywhere.

In addition to not being able to do most of the poses, I was also having a hard time with body image that week. Normally I do okay with that, but lately it has been a struggle. I mean, I’m only human after all. Normally I would spend the time getting the right angle of the photo, so I look my “best.” However, this time my mom was taking the photos, and I felt bad making her retake them. I also had to have a certain pose each day, which meant that I had to post it even if I didn’t love the way I looked in it. So, basically, I posted a handful of photos where I genuinely feel like I don’t look attractive. Logical me knows this doesn’t matter at all. AT ALL. But emotional me feels all vulnerable and shit. Again, I recognize that it doesn’t fucking matter. I’m just a human, and I’m allowed to look human. But, fuck, body positivity is hard. Sometimes I think I’m there, and then some other insecurity pops up. What an asshole.

Moral of the story… be gentle with yourself. I actually got a lot of positive feedback from people about my photos. They were inspired by the “realness” of it. That’s awesome, and really makes me happy. When I was first starting yoga, seeing real humans do hard poses on Instagram actually helped me a lot. It reminded me that there is no perfect body for yoga, and that if they could do it, so could I. If anyone is interested in following my yoga Instagram account, you can find me @kaeyogi.

This recipe came about from an amazing friend. That same friend also gifted me with a crock pot! That’s right… this is my first crock pot recipe! I’m sure it could be made on the stove as well, but it would take a fucking long time.

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Vegan Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup

4 cups vegetable stock

2 cups water

1 cup chopped onion

2 – 14 oz cans coconut milk

2/3 cup uncooked wild rice

1/2 cup uncooked brown rice

1 cup diced carrots

3-4 stalks celery, chopped

4-6 cups mushrooms (I used button and crimini)

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup cold water

Salt and pepper (a shit ton)

With the exception of the cornstarch and cold water, throw everything in the crock pot (making sure to shake the coconut milk before opening). Make sure it doesn’t overflow (mine got close!) as you stir all the ingredients together. Add some salt and pepper. Cook on low for 4 hours (I left mine for 6 though, and it was fine). I was afraid my apartment would start on fire while I was at work, but that didn’t happen. After the 4 (or 6) hours, combine the cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl, whisking together. Add the cornstarch mixture to the soup and cook with the lid off for 10 minutes (increasing the heat to high). Stir occasionally. Add more salt and pepper at the end, and serve with some crusty bread (duh). You can’t fuck this up. If you do, you should question your intelligence.

It was at this point that I panicked about storing all the soup, and I ended up just putting the whole crock pot in the fridge. Seems like a good idea, but makes it hard for scooping out leftovers later. I had to squat in front of the open fridge and scoop from the crock pot thats now living on its bottom shelf. Super annoying.

I serve mine with buttered bread because I’m not vegan. I also like to eat it in bed while watching My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on Netflix. You do you, though.

Also, it’s Valentine’s Day. Go grab yourself one of these mini cakes, and eat that in bed, too. Or do what I did and share it with an awesome friend. Fuck the patriarchy.

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comfort food · dinner · easy · gluten free · healthy · lunch · quick · Rice · Tacos · vegan · vegetarian

Veggie Tacos and Drunken Tinder-ing

It happened. I caught the feelings. And my soul was crushed.

Again, I can be very dramatic. But that doesn’t make my feelings any less valid.

Went to Hannah’s house last night to drown my sorrows in wine and snuggle on the couch. Her husband made us pizza and we watched Netflix  (and Sherlock! OMG!) while I drunkenly looked for validation by feverishly swiping on Tinder (Spoiler: I didn’t find it).

Life advice from me to you: Do NOT use dating apps while drunk. It never ends well. Just don’t fucking do it.

Also: Tinder will never validate you.

I woke up this morning with a list of the most disappointing matches I’ve ever seen. And it just continued throughout the day as people continued to swipe right on me, reminding me of my drunken mistake(s). I’ve never done so much unmatching in my life. Not only that, but I gave out my phone number to a handful of people, and woke up to texts from them. I couldn’t remember who was who, and ended up just telling them all to delete my number. I vaguely remember interacting with them the night before as I looked over some of the texts. One of them was convinced I was some kind of spam bot, and told me to send him a selfie. I told him to stop being weird. At least I was in my right mind enough to not start sending drunken photos. Could’ve been worse (I mean, I could’ve gotten a bunch of dick pics or something- barf). I was also really fucking snarky with these guys. I’m so sick of messaging someone on Tinder, and getting no questions about me. They go on and on about themselves (which is good – I want to know about them!), but then they don’t ask me any follow up questions. Or the questions they ask are really lame… like, “What are you looking for on Tinder?” Okay, that’s an acceptable question, but also ask me something about myself! Fuck. Do you not want to know anything about me? Does that not fucking matter? OMG, also, not one fucking guy I’ve gone out with has asked to read my blog. NOT ONE. And almost none of them ask me about Acro, even though it’s mentioned in my profile, and I have photos. So last night I flat out said to one of them, “Interact with me! Ask me questions!” You know what he asked me?

“What are you looking for on Tinder?”

Fuuuuuuck.

What the fuck do you think I’m looking for?! Human connection, mostly. Preferably of the romantic variety, though that’s not required. Duh. Isn’t that what everyone is looking for to some extent?!

I can’t fucking stand this shit. I need a break. It is mentally exhausting to continually put myself out there. I can’t do it anymore. No dates this week. Just me, my amazing friends, and all the fucking yoga.

I have the best friends in the entire world. Seriously. How did I get so lucky to be constantly surrounded by such empathetic and insightful women? Fuck. I love you guys so much.

Thank you, Hannah, for taking care of me last night, for letting me be unapologetically myself (aka: a mess), and for doing drunken Acro with me. I’m sorry about your knee. I owe you some fucking veggie tacos for sure. Or a taco cake! Next week. I promise. ❤

Veggie tacos are a go-to meal in my house. Mostly because they’re so fucking easy, and I almost always have rice and/or beans in the fridge to go with ’em.

Veggie Tacos

1 onion, sliced

1 bell pepper, sliced

Corn tortillas

Olive oil

Taco seasonings (chili powder, cayenne, garlic, onion powder, cumin, red pepper flakes)

Salsa

Sour cream

Optional: thinly sliced radishes tossed with lemon juice and salt, lettuce, cheese, avocado, whatever the fuck else you want to top your taco with

Serve with rice and/or beans

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Throw in the onion and pepper slices and generously sprinkle with the various taco seasonings (don’t over think it – just throw a few shakes of each seasoning in there!). Stir the veggies, making sure to coat everything in olive oil and seasoning. Let cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and peppers have softened. Take however many tortillas you want, and char them over an open flame (or microwave them if you’re lame) on the stove top. This can also be done with an electric stove, but it takes longer and isn’t as fun. For directions on how to char the tortillas, check out the Taco Cake post. Fill your tortillas with a scoop of veggies, maybe some rice and beans, and any topping you want (I like salsa, sour cream, and radishes). Shovel that shit right into your mouth, along with 7 glasses of wine. Or beer. Whatthefuckever. But, whatever you do, do NOT drink and Tinder.

easy · gluten free · healthy · lunch · quick · Rice · Sauces · vegan · vegetarian

Vegan Chickpea and Spinach Stew

It’s that time of year again… time for setting a new year’s resolution. I have very mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I like the idea of making positive life changes and just trying to be an all around better human. On the other hand, I hate the idea that we think we have to change who we are (usually physically) every single year. Part of me wants to just blow off the whole fucking thing, but the other part of me has some goals set anyway. I mean, these goals aren’t dependent upon the new year, but have been sort of ongoing. Here is my list:

  • Eat mindfully (stop scarfing candy and cookies all the damn time)
  • Get my ass to more yoga classes
  • Advance my Acro practice
  • Limit social media to only checking twice daily
  • Travel EVERYWHERE

I recently got my passport renewed, so that last one is definitely going to happen this year. The others… we’ll see. The problem with wanting to change parts of yourself, either physically or mentally, is that it’s hard to also accept yourself as you are when you’re trying to change. So let’s all practice being a little bit gentler with ourselves. Fuck what society tells us. We are enough just as we are. And if we want to change something, we can, but that doesn’t mean we need to criticize ourselves in the process. Change takes time. It’s not instant.  And if we don’t want to change, that’s okay, too.

My new passport brought with it a sense of freedom I had not anticipated. My ex couldn’t travel for reasons I won’t get into, and so that kept me from traveling internationally. We would get into these huge fights anytime I went on a trip. It was a whole thing I’m not going to delve into right now, but it left me feeling trapped. It was a fight I didn’t want to have, so I let my passport expire for the first time in my life. Now that it has been renewed, and I’m divorced, I cannot wait to go exploring. Iceland and Brazil are both on the list. If you have cheap travel suggestions/tips, please let me know! I want to go EVERYWHERE.

Also, I signed up for Tinder last night, and promptly lost almost 2 hours of my life setting up my profile and swiping like mad. I currently have 11 matches, and almost no one is messaging me. Why swipe right if you don’t want to talk?! I give it 2 weeks before I lose my patience.

I think I’ll focus my energy on planning all the travel! Excitement!

Oh, and this recipe happened when I was searching for meals that would include a lot of protein. I’ve been really into chickpeas lately. And I’m always eating spinach, so this seemed like a good recipe to try. It’s delicious! And I didn’t even realize it was vegan until after I made it. Though, sometimes I add an egg on top, which obviously makes it not vegan anymore. It is also gluten-free! Yay! Side note: I am neither vegan nor gluten-free. This is still good, though! Try it!

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Vegan Chickpea and Spinach Stew

3 tablespoons olive oil

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 medium onion, chopped

3 teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons ground paprika

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2-3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 (28 oz)can whole, peeled tomatoes, slightly drained and mashed

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 (15 oz)can chickpeas

2 cups spinach (I didn’t actually measure this, but threw in a few big handfuls)

Salt and pepper to taste

Brown rice, cooked, for serving

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, and cook for several minutes, until the onions are translucent, stirring often. Add garlic and continue stirring, cooking for another minute or so. Add the spices and stir continuously for another minute or two. Add tomato paste and stir to combine. Add the mashed tomatoes with a little of the juice from the can, salt and pepper, and half of the sugar. Let simmer, stirring occasionally. Add more salt and pepper as needed, as well as the rest of the sugar (only if needed). Let simmer for just a couple of minutes, until sauce has thickened a little bit. Stir in the chickpeas and spinach. Continue to simmer, stirring frequently until chickpeas are heated through, and spinach is wilted. Add any final seasoning, and serve over a scoop of brown rice.

Feel smug about your healthy meal. But maybe have some ice cream for dessert. No one is perfect, and no one should try to be.

comfort food · dinner · easy · lunch · pasta · quick · vegetarian · Yummy

Election Night Anxiety Cooking

I ordered one of those Hello Fresh meal/recipe deliveries because my friend got me a coupon for a free week trial. I was just in it for the free food, but it was actually pretty cool. And it was nice to have something fairly easy/fool-proof to cook on election night, when my anxiety was peaking, and I was unable to concentrate.

The service sends out these 3 neat little boxes with all the ingredients I need for a recipe (also provided) tucked inside. Everything is measured out for me, and the recipe lists every step with a photo. Idiot-proof. What should have also been included, since it was election week (and they fucking knew it), was a bottle (gallon) of fucking wine. I had to provide that for myself. What a bunch of bullshit.

I recognize this is a food blog, so I should keep things light.

I’ve never been good at following rules.

While I realize that things are not quite as dire as they seem, I am deeply disturbed by the election results (as many of us are). I have seen people feel frustrated or angry or disappointed after elections before… that’s normal. What I’ve never seen before is the overwhelming fear, and the sense of mourning. I’ve never been afraid before, and I’ve never seen people so scared of their new leader. I know this happens, but I’ve never lived it. And I recognize how ignorant that is. I’m realizing that I still have a lot to learn, especially considering that I live in an isolated liberal bubble called the Twin Cities. This was a wake-up call for sure. I never thought Trump stood a chance in hell… that the whole thing was a cruel joke. My blissful ignorance lead to a very rude awakening last night, and now I’m left raw and terrified.

When it comes down to it, I know Trump cannot just walk into the White House and make sweeping changes overnight. It doesn’t work like that. And that’s not the thing that scares me the most (though I do worry). He is hateful toward many groups of people, all of whom have very real emotions surrounding this election, and all of whom I am genuinely scared for. But I can only speak for myself, and my personal fears in regards to Trump. The one thing I just can’t seem to wrap my head around, of all the things we know about him (all of the horrible, disgusting things), is the fact that he is accused of sexual assault.

We have elected a rapist as President of the United States.

Are Americans really so uncomfortable with the idea of a woman in office that we have elected a man that is not only accused of sexual assault, but who openly brags about it? What does that say about us?

A challenge to Trump supporters:

I am a sexual assault survivor (and I’m sick of the stigma that goes with that, so I’m posting in on a fucking blog). I challenge you to listen to my story, look me in the eye, and tell me again why you think Trump will be a good president.

And, no, I don’t want you to imagine it happening to your mom, sister, daughter, wife, etc. Our identities as women are not dependent upon those relationships (and not all sexual assault survivors are women). We are humans. We exist, therefore we matter. I am a sexual assault survivor, and I am one of millions. And we all matter. You just elected our abuser as president.

Tell me again how sexual assault accusations ruin a man’s career.

The one silver lining to this shitshow of an election is the fact that people are riled up. We want change, and we won’t go down without a fight. I urge those of you feeling lost and scared to reach out to your friends, family, and community. Rise up. We will not be silent. Band together and work toward change. Find a cause that speaks to you, and support it in any way possible – volunteer, donate, make phone calls, sign petitions, write letters/emails to state representatives. Make your voice heard. All is not lost. We have each other.

And we’re going to be okay.

If anyone gives a shit about this recipe from Hello Fresh, here you go…

Oh, and the photos look like shit because I just don’t care this week.

One-Pot Tortellini Wonder20161108_214903

2 cloves garlic

4 oz kale (or just a bunch), washed and de-stemmed

1 cup milk

1 packet veggie stock concentrate (I suspect a veggie bouillon cube/teaspoon would work too)

2 oz Pesto

9 oz fresh cheese tortellini

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

1/4 cup shredded parmesan

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

All the wine in the house (not for the recipe, but to drown one’s sorrows)

Preheat oven to broil. Take a drink of wine. Thinly slice kale (or chop manically into little pieces), and mince garlic. Take a drink of wine. Grab an oven proof pan (or a regular one, but then transfer tortellini to a baking dish when it’s time to broil) and heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and let cook for about a minute before adding the kale, along with a splash of water. Drink more wine. Season with salt and pepper and stir for 3-4 minutes, until softened. Add the milk, veggie stock, a splash of water, and pesto. Stir well to combine, and add the tortellini. Cook, stirring often, until sauce thickens. While this is cooking take a drink of wine, and mix the breadcrumbs and parmesan in a small bowl along with salt and pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. Once the pasta is cooked, sprinkle with the breadcrumbs mixture and broil until browned on top.

Maybe eat it. Maybe just drink more wine and pass out. I won’t judge you.

**If anyone is feeling depressed/anxious/suicidal or like they might self harm, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1‑800‑273‑TALK (8255). They are available for anyone in emotional distress. Never hesitate to ask for help. I know this is a scary time, but we will get through it.