breakfast · Cheese · comfort food · easy · eggs · healthy · lunch · quick · Sandwiches · vegetarian

Avocado Breakfast Sandwich

When I arrived home from Hawaii at 5:30am last Sunday, the scenery was mostly bare and brown. And cold. I hopped off the plane, thankful to be walking on real ground, in bare feet and flipflops – my newly tanned toes brutally exposed to the cutting wind. To save on space, I didn’t bring a jacket or even a long sleeved shirt. It was a rude awakening for 5:30am, but I was glad to be home. My Lyft driver tried to make small talk, asking about my trip, ooo-ing and ahhh-ing at the tropical locale. I gave one word answers and leaned my head against the frosty window. He shrugged and turned up the tunes – various 70’s and 80’s songs that he unabashedly sang while simultaneously wiggling around in his seat and snapping his fingers.

When I finally walked into my apartment, Harriet (my cat) greeted me with a loud meow before bolting to her food bowl (lest I forget its location), head-butting her favorite side table on the way. I fed her and walked around my space in a haze before deciding on taking a scalding hot shower. It was perfectly blissful. After nearly 2 full weeks of consistently being around other people, it felt luxurious to be alone in my own space. Having been outside all day in the hot Hawaiian sun prior to boarding my 7.5 hour overnight flight, I needed to wash off the leftover sunscreen and sweat. I showered leisurely, filling the bathroom up with a nearly blinding amount of steam. Afterwards, I silently padded around my apartment, allowing the hot steam to permeate the space. The weather outside was dark and drizzly, which felt appropriate for my mood. Having been generously fed on the plane, I opted to burrow under my fluffy covers for a long nap.

Once I emerged from the cocoon of blankets, I fed myself this sandwich. Simple. Warm. Comforting. It’s what I needed after a long flight and a nearly comatose nap. My apartment rapidly filled up with the scent of toasted bread and scrambled eggs, which lingered for most of the day. It was cozy and homey, just as it should be.

Hawaii didn’t go as planned, but that is okay. I was able to gather the information I needed and make a decision. I don’t think I’ll be leaving Minneapolis anytime soon.

Breakfast Sandwich

1 egg

1 veggie sausageIMG_20171107_101555

2 slices of mozzarella cheese

1/4 avocado

2 slices bread

Butter

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Whisk the egg in a small bowl. Pour into a greased skillet over medium heat. In another small skillet, heat up the veggie sausage over medium-high heat until heated through (2ish minutes on each side). While this is all happening, spread avocado into thick layers on each slice of bread. Top one of the slices with the cheese. Then add the veggie sausage. Sprinkle the egg with a little salt and pepper and fold it over on itself (like an omelette). Scoop the egg up with a spatula and add to the sandwich. Top it off with the other slice of bread, then butter the outside of that top slice of bread. Place the whole sandwich, butter side down, into a greased skillet. Press down on it a little bit with the spatula. To really get the cheese to melt, cover with either a lid or an upside down skillet (which is what I do because I’m not fancy enough for lids). Cook sandwich over medium heat for a couple of minutes. If you’re not sure, just scoop it up and check the bottom. It should be golden brown. I like mine a little overdone (as you can tell). Once the bottom is close to done, butter the top slice of bread. Flip it over and give it another few minutes. It’s done once it’s golden brown and the cheese has melted. Serve with some arugula, which should obviously just be shoved into the sandwich. I ended up just eating the arugula with my hands, alternating with a bite of sandwich and a handful of arugula. So classy.

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dinner · easy · healthy · lunch · quick · Sandwiches · Sauces · snacks · vegetarian

Roasted Chickpea Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce

I’m having some body image issues, which I attribute to my strained relationship with yoga. Yoga is something that has played a huge roll in my life over the last 2 years. I started going to ease my anxiety. I continued going because I started following people like @nolatrees and @mynameisjessamyn on Instagram, and they taught me that my body wasn’t in the way of advancing my practice (their bodies looked like mine, but they were doing handstands and headstands without a problem). See, I went into yoga thinking I could only do some of the poses because I’m chubby… and chubby people can’t do yoga… right? Wrong. Fuck that shit. The more I advanced my practice, the more I realized that my body was never in my way. Of anything. Ever. It was all mental. So yoga taught me a beautiful lesson… my body is just as capable as a thin person’s body. It taught me to love my body just as it is, without worrying about how I look to other people. And that carried over into my everyday life. I was completely smitten with yoga for a long time. But lately, that love affair has faded. I started looking at it only as a workout, and not as an activity that brought me joy. I was just going through the motions… forcing myself to go to classes because I needed to get my workout in. That shouldn’t be the reason I step into a yoga studio. It can definitely be one of the many benefits of going, but can’t be my sole reason. So I have taken a break from my practice. I’ve been mostly going for walks instead. Being outside during these last few weeks of warmer weather feels true to me right now. Plus, I get to spend hours on the phone with Cortney, which is always a treat.

I also tried rock climbing for the first time last week. It was SO much harder than I thought it would be! Seriously. Have any of y’all tried it? I couldn’t get more than one full step up on any of the easiest walls for adults. I finally saw a corner full of small children, and made a beeline for one of those courses. It was still HARD AS FUCK. But I got almost halfway up a wall. The friend I was with was so sweet. She said, “It was totally halfway up the wall! I mean, if you’re measuring from your top hand when it’s reaching.” Point is, I tried something new and that is badass. I’m not embarrassed, and I’m definitely going to try again.

Since stopping my yoga practice (temporarily, as I’m sure my love for it will return), I haven’t been as active as I normally like to be. I’ve been lounging and watching a lot of movies/TV shows on Netflix (OMG have y’all seen The Good Place? I’m obsessed!) while cooking delicious food. Honestly, the break feels nourishing. However, it also makes me very aware of my body and the space it takes up. I suddenly feel less worthy because I’m not active. Like, it was okay for me to be a chubby yogi, but just being a chubby woman isn’t good enough. I’m suddenly more concerned with taking up too much space again. It makes me uneasy and insecure, which is something I fought so hard against. I’m working on it, but it’s a process.

By not rushing off to a yoga class every day, I am allowing myself more time to explore other things I love. I’ve been cooking a lot lately, and it feels good to be in the kitchen again. Plus, this means less time wearing pants and less laundry! Fuck yeah!

It’s fall in Minnesota, which means I can finally turn the oven on again. Roasted chickpeas are one of my favorite ways to add protein to a dish. You can season them with whatever you want, and they add such a delightful little crunch to everything. Plus, I feel good about eating them. It makes me happy when I find foods that are both healthy and delicious. One of the things I miss now that I’m a vegetarian is sandwiches. I especially used to love getting chicken gyros from street vendors in NYC. Is this the same? Fuck no. But it is definitely reminiscent, and it satisfies the craving. It is also just delicious in it’s own right. Plus, it’s easy as fuck to throw together, and there’s a bonus burst of heat in your apartment when you have to turn the oven on.

Roasted Chickpea Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce

1 can (15oz) chickpeas

Olive oil

Paprika

Salt and pepper

Cayenne

4 pita flatbreads

1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

1 tomato, sliced

Greens of choice (arugula is good)

 

For the tzatziki sauce:

2/3 cup full-fat, plain Greek yogurt

1/3 cup cucumber, shredded

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon chopped dill

Salt and pepper (to taste)

Garlic powder (to taste)

For the sauce:

Lay the shredded cucumber out on a towel/paper towel with a sprinkle of salt. This will draw out some of the moisture. Let it sit for a few minutes, then mix all that shit in a bowl. Taste it before adding it to the gyros. Adjust seasonings as needed. I don’t like mine super garlic-y. The original recipe called for actual cloves of garlic, which seemed aggressive. If all I can taste is garlic then what is the fucking point? When adding the garlic powder, just do a sprinkle at a time, and taste it before adding any more. If you overdo it, just add some more yogurt and calm the fuck down. It’s going to be okay.

For the gyros:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pat the chickpeas dry with a towel before tossing with a heavy drizzle of olive oil (don’t be cheap) on a large baking sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring them around halfway through baking time. Once finished (they should be slightly browned and crispy), drain on paper towels. At this point, toss with some salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne to taste (taste as you go!).

Warm up the flatbread for a few minutes in the oven while the chickpeas are finishing (I wrapped mine in tin foil), or just microwave them for a few seconds each. Spread a layer of the sauce onto the flatbread, followed by a handful of chickpeas, some onions, tomatoes, and lettuce/greens.

Take the time for some self care, and try not to feel guilty about it (it’s harder than you think).

avocado · Cheese · comfort food · Dating · dinner · easy · lunch · mushrooms · quick · Sandwiches · tinder · vegetarian

Loaded Grilled Cheese After a Disappointing Weekend

I started my day yesterday with a dick pic from a stranger… if that tells you anything about how my week is going.

One of my Tinder dates read my blog. I was feeling careless one night and let him friend me on Facebook, where he obviously found the link. He texted me the day after our first date and said, “Is it weird that I want to know how it ends with the controller guy?” Yes, yes it is weird. I hesitantly replied, “This is why I don’t let my dates read my blog… I don’t actually know how it ends with the controller guy yet.”  But honestly, I was impressed with the fact that he brought it up at all. Seemed a bit ballsy, don’t you think? I appreciated the directness. So, in case you’re wondering, here is how it ends with the controller guy…

I went out with him again last weekend. This was technically our 4th date (Errr… 3.5 dates). We did a morning date with coffee, a trip to a thrift store (where I got a fucking sweet little end table – see photos), and a walk around the park before heading to his place to watch a movie. It was great, actually. And we hung out for around 6 hours (which is something that seems to keep happening to us), despite not really being on the same page about some things.

The night beforehand we were texting a bit, and he popped the question.

Fuck.

“So what are you looking for with this online dating thing?” he asked.

Double fuck.

I knew where this was fucking going. I’m not stupid. This isn’t my first rodeo, and it sure as hell wasn’t my first Tinder letdown. But I was tired of being “talked to” via text message. I got a surge of empowerment, put up some fucking boundaries, and told him what I needed in order to continue this conversation.

So I said, “Can we discuss this tomorrow? I’m not great with text.” (My therapist was so proud of me!)

He said sure, but still went on to say, “I just want to be upfront, so you don’t have the wrong expectations. I’m weekend fun at best.”

I’m weekend fun at best?

I can’t.

I chose not to engage in conversation with him for the rest of the night. I was not ready to have this conversation at all, and I was especially not excited about being rejected again. The next day we did talk, though reluctantly. I could physically feel his anxious energy when I brought it up again. Fuck, dude… this was your idea. I didn’t want to define anything yet. But here we are.

We do not agree about what we want from each other. Big surprise, right? To me, it’s not being “upfront” when you bring up your desire to have absolutely no commitment of any kind (probably ever) 3 weeks into dating. This is the age of Tinder – the age of making your wants and needs known on a profile for all to read, so that we can all make educated decisions when swiping. So, yeah, I already had some expectations. Don’t pretend you didn’t know that. But, hey, I wasn’t that clear about it, either, so I guess we’re both to blame.

So then the question is… why did I decide to hang out with him all day despite knowing we didn’t agree on this? Because I’m human and complex, just like everyone else. And because I fucking felt like it.

I have learned that I need to be clearer about my intentions with online dating. No, I’m not ready to jump right in to something serious… but I also need to know that the option is there, because that is definitely the end goal. When you say, “Casual dating and just see where it goes,” dudes think that “seeing where it goes” means sex and only sex. I didn’t know that. I’m learning.

Fuck.

So I definitely went into this with different expectations and was genuinely excited… and I was let down… again. But you know what? I’d still rather be disappointed and sad every single fucking time versus closing myself off completely to emotional connection. I refuse to enter into these things guarded. Because, as I’ve said before, if you’re not excited and open…. then what is the fucking point? What are we even here for? The human connection is so worth it. I’d take hurt feelings over a gray world of “meh” any day. Wouldn’t you?

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I then had the opposite experience on Sunday afternoon. I went on a 2nd date with another guy(the one that read my blog). He’s smart, kind, secure, motivated, balanced, self-aware, and all around amazing. He’s looking for a relationship and he likes me. Not only that, but he’s good with boundaries and communication. He literally offered me everything I wanted – go slow, and see where it goes (end goal: relationship). He was charming and sweet. We maintained good conversation, and he made me laugh. But I couldn’t look at him as anything other than a friend.

And I feel shitty about that.

I’m trying to not feel shitty about it, because I know you can’t force feelings that aren’t there. But fuuuuuck. Part of me is screaming – what the fuck is wrong with you?! And the other part of me is calmly reassuring myself that he’s just not my person. What’s meant to be will be. Breathe.

But seriously, if there are cool single ladies out there… let me know, and I’ll connect you two (with his permission, of course). He’s so fucking awesome. He was even cool when I told him I didn’t want to go out again.

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I realize this is turning into a dating blog. Get over it. I want this to be a space where nothing is off limits, and where I can write my stories as they really happen. I’m still cooking and eating, and loving it. Sometimes I write about food, but mostly I write about life. Right now my life is mostly about dating. And that’s okay. Shit is always changing.

I made this bomb grilled cheese sandwich after a frustrating afternoon of being double charged for new tires on my car, while also realizing one of the tires already had a fucking screw in it. Fuck the full moon. Seriously.

Next week I’ll be in California and Hawaii (where Cortney is apparently setting me up with a friend of a friend in the hopes that I will fall in love and move there), so don’t feel too bad for me. 🙂

Oh, and the dick pic was from that psychopath that thought he could be his own doctor. I think I have finally successfully blocked him. Only time will tell.

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Loaded Grilled Cheese Sandwich

1/2 avocado, sliced

2 pieces sourdough bread

smoked cheddar, sliced

4-5 button mushrooms, sliced

1/4 onion, sliced

butter

olive oil

Salt and pepper

Heat a skillet over medium high heat, melting the butter with a little olive oil. Add the onions and saute for a couple minutes, until they become translucent. Add the mushrooms and saute, stirring frequently, a few more minutes, until the onions and mushrooms are slightly (or a lot) browned. Add a little salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside. Butter one side of one of the pieces of bread, and place it butter side down in a greased skillet. Top with the sliced avocado, cheese, the onion/mushroom mixture, and the second piece of bread. Heat in the skillet over medium heat, and cover to keep the heat in (it helps melt the cheese). Once it’s about ready to be flipped, spread a little butter on the top piece of bread. Flip over and heat until slightly browned on both sides. Gobble it up immediately – while it’s still gooey. Remind yourself that you’re a badass, and someday the right person will notice.

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Also, can we talk about this fucking bomb-ass table I bought from the Salvation Army on my 4th date with no commitment guy? It was totally worth the soul crush.

comfort food · dinner · easy · jam · lunch · peanut butter · quick · Sandwiches · snacks · vegan · vegetarian

PB & J + Potato Chips

I went swimsuit shopping today. I walked in there with all this confidence… and was immediately put in my place. First of all, why is it so fucking difficult to get something in my size that isn’t fucking disgusting? I’m tired of hiding under skirts and extra layers to hide my thighs and hold my belly in. It’s exhausting. I just want to wear a swimsuit that is comfortable, and cute. Is that so much to fucking ask?

First, I tried a little online shopping at Aerie. They are my go to source for the best underwear, and they refuse to photoshop their models. Plus! They just signed a plus size model to model their standard size clothing. This is a big deal, guys. Anyway, I thought for sure I’d find something on their website.

I am a naive person. Or maybe just a little dumb. Maybe both. Who knows?

Those fuckers didn’t even have my size at all. Apparently, my boobs are too big to be contained by Aerie.

So I went to Target today. I buy lots of clothing at Target, and can always shop their standard size section (I’m one of those people that can shop in both plus size and standard size… usually). So I walk in, and am overwhelmed by all the options right inside the front door. There are stripes and polka dots, bikinis with cute bows and ruffles, one pieces with these cool sheer stripes, all covering 2 huge walls, plus several racks in the middle of the floor. I went digging, highly optimistic.

Sigh. I’m just so naive.

NOTHING FUCKING FIT.

You want to know how many options they had in their plus size section? There was one rack, and everything on it was a variation of the same black, skirted, one piece. God forbid someone see my upper thighs!

Swimsuit skirts can fuck off. I don’t need to hide behind you anymore!

I like to think I’m bold enough to wear a bikini, and just tell everyone to fuck right off. Clearly, the clothing industry has other ideas.

Fuck you, society. Stop body shaming me.

Also, put some fucking underwire in those swimsuits! WTF?

PB & J + Potato Chips

2 pieces of white bread

Jam of choice (I chose my fancy homemade plum jam, but you do you)

Peanut butter

Potato chips

Assemble sandwich in obvious manner. Then smoosh the sandwich a little bit to crush the chips a bit. Shove in your mouth with extra potato chips.

I think this is the best thing that’s ever happened to my mouth.

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Beans · Burgers · comfort food · dinner · easy · lunch · Sandwiches · vegan · vegetarian · Yummy

Pinto Bean Burgers

It all started with a craving for a cheeseburger. There is no meat in my apartment because I’m practicing cooking without it, plus I’m on a budget. Meat is expensive. Beans are cheap as shit.

My burger craving was getting out of hand, I was running out of food at home, and was very worried I would snap and end up at McDonalds. Fuck. Nobody wants that. So I improvised with a pinto bean burger recipe I found on Pinterest, which I modified with the ingredients I had on hand. Inadvertently, I picked a vegan recipe. How this happened, I will never know. But it was serendipitous! My one vegan friend says he’ll read my blog if I post more vegan recipes. I can’t promise this will be a regular thing (unless I run out of food again), but here you go!

Obviously, I added cheese. I mean, come on. (If you’re vegan, don’t do this. Duh.) These veggie burgers are fucking delicious. I fully expected them to taste like shit. Vegan burgers everywhere: I’m sorry I doubted you. If given the proper care, you can be just as delicious as a real burger.

I told my mom that I would make these for her because they were so amazing, and her response was, “No, you’re not. I won’t eat that.”

Don’t be like my mom.

Also, I remade those salted chocolate chip cookies, without Hannah, and they were literally the best cookies I’d ever made in my life. Go make them immediately. You won’t be sorry.

Pinto Bean Burgers

1/2 cup dry pinto beans, cooked and mashed (or 1 1/2 cups canned beans)

1/2 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon ketchup

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

3/4 cup oats, pulsed in the blender a few times

Salt and pepper

In a greased skillet, saute the onions and garlic, plus a little salt and pepper, until slightly browned (start with the onions first, and add the garlic once they are slightly translucent). Toss onion mixture into a large bowl, and add all other ingredients together. Sprinkle in some more salt and pepper, and mix well. Form patties with the mixture (makes 4 large burgers). Heat olive oil in a large skillet on the stove over medium heat, and fry the burgers for 3-4 minutes on each side. If you want to be fancy, you can serve these on hamburger buns. Or you can be like me, and use the perfectly good bread you already have lying around. Add whatever toppings you like! I chose mozzarella, fried onions, spinach, tomato, mayo, and ketchup.

Shove the whole thing in your face at once. Don’t choke.