casserole · cats · dinner · easy · gluten free · healthy · quick · Rice · Vegetables · vegetarian · veggies · Yummy

Weeknight Veggie Rice Casserole and CATS

T and I have been getting settled into the new place. We’re finding our routines and learning how to live with another person. It’s a lot of compromising and communication, which neither of us are used to after living alone for the last few years (more for him). The cats are getting used to it, too. And by “getting used to it,” of course I actually mean that they are causing the loudest fucking ruckus every goddamn morning at 4am. T didn’t believe me that we should wait until 7am to feed them in the morning. He insists that we feed them right when we wake up at 6am. Well, I don’t know about other cats, but MY fucking asshole cats start screaming for food at least an hour and a half before it’s actually time to feed them. And they are happy to teach other cats all their asshole tricks, too. Bourdain usually starts it. He will zip around the apartment, often taking the time to dart across our sleeping bodies several times before knocking the books off the bookshelf in the living room. Then, when we finally get up to wrangle him, he shoots under a chair or behind a box, and starts biting if you reach for him. It’s fun. The only way to catch him is to bring out food, which only reinforces the behavior. So I end up throwing a small handful of dry food into the spare bedroom, and closing the door as he runs in after it. I’ll go back to bed, but now the rest of them are all riled up. Nevertheless, I crawl into bed and cover my head with a pillow, hoping for the best.

 

THEN. Motherfucking Harriet will start nibbling on the large Ikea plant in the living room. I don’t know why we even purchased the fucking thing. It didn’t work last time, and it’s not going to work this time. We are cat people, not plant people. Despite all of our efforts, Harriet fucking eats the leaves every godforsaken morning. And then she proceeds to barf them up on the one nice rug we have, not the wood floors. EVERY. FUCKING. MORNING. And if that isn’t enough, Cecil will attack her right after the barfing incident (which I have taken to ignoring), which causes screams so loud I have to believe the neighbors think we’re running some sort of weird cat fighting ring at 4:30am everyday. I end up having to put her in the bedroom with Bourdain to both protect the plants and for her own safety (we can’t trust Cecil when he’s hungry). Once she is contained, it gets better. But we still have to deal with Cecil jumping on us. In fact, he’ll often sit next to my head and just stare down at my face until I wake up. It’s creepy as fuck. The only quiet, well behaved one is Chuck. He’s such a good, fluffy boy.

Oh wait, that’s not accurate at all. Once the others stop with their shenanigans, Chuck will start yowling uncontrollably in the living room. We have a loft, so the master bedroom opens into the living room, which means he’s yowling LOUDLY right fucking next to us. It’s fucking horrific.

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Oh, and BTW, this all repeats itself at dinnertime, too. It literally just happened while I was writing this. It’s just less annoying at 6pm versus 4am. Ya know?

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Last weekend T and I decided to explore the neighborhood by bar hopping. I had my very first grape ape, and still made us a wholesome dinner. These were things I had on hand, so there was no shopping needed. It was quick and easy, and tasted great with an egg on it for breakfast, too.

Weeknight Veggie Rice Casserole

1.5 cups dry brown rice

3 cups vegetable broth

1/2 can (14oz) diced fire roasted tomatoes

1 can (14oz) chickpeas, drained

Zest and juice of one lemon

1 small onion, diced

3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/4 cup chopped parsley

4 cups chopped spinach or Swiss Chard

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large sauce pan, boil water. Once boiling, add in dry brown rice and simmer for 17 minutes. Drain and rinse. Set aside. Saute the greens with a little olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Once wilted, set aside. In a large skillet over medium high heat saute onion in olive oil until translucent (5ish minutes). Add in the minced garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes before adding in the rice. Mix well and let cook for another 2-3 minutes. Pour in broth, lemon zest and juice, and chickpeas. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir everything together well. Add in half of the feta and the cooked greens. Pour entire mixture into a large baking dish (9 x 13). Sprinkle with remaining feta and parsley. Bake for 20-25 minutes, then broil for 5 minutes.

Clockwise from the top: Chuck (obviously), Bourdain, Harriet, Cecil

comfort food · dinner · Eggplant · Italian · Lasagna · Vegetables · vegetarian · veggies · Yummy

Eggplant Parmesan and Being Basic

It’s prime farmer’s market season, so T and I have been going wild with the fresh produce. In addition to a huge haul at the farmer’s market the other week, my friend also gave me a ton of shit from her garden. I was PSYCHED. She gave me these beautiful little chubby eggplants, and I was bound and determined to make eggplant parmesan. Except it was hot as fuck outside, so I wasn’t so into frying everything in a pan. It takes fucking 45 minutes just to get the eggplant ready to layer, and I was not fucking having it. Plus, as you recall from my corn fritters fiasco, I’m fucking terrified of hot oil. That shit jumps everywhere, and my anxiety just cannot.IMG_20180818_155711

Aren’t they adorable?

T was over when I was making this, tolerating not only my need to constantly have a project, but also my love of the Bachelor in Paradise. I know it doesn’t seem like it, but I can be real basic. Case in point: I had my first pumpkin spice latte of the season this morning, but I digress. We’ve been watching Bachelor in Paradise more than I care to admit, but, in our defense, we only just discovered it. We had a similar obsession with Naked and Afraid a couple of months ago. Watching people willingly put themselves in harms way? Sign me the fuck up. I love that shit. I love when they cry on the show about how it’s the hardest thing they’ve ever done, and boo-hoo poor them. Like, bitch, please. You literally signed up for this your damn self. No one held a gun to your head. And you’re never in any real danger, because the crew is right fucking next to you. I have similar reactions to Bachelor in Paradise when they cry about their boo kissing someone else. I mean, they’ve been on one fucking date. Also… isn’t that the whole point?! If you don’t fuck your way through that show, it seems like you’re doing it wrong. What do I know, though? I found love on Tinder. Maybe it’s possible to find it on TV, too (insert eye-roll emoji).

The friend that gave me the eggplants also gave me a tons of cucumbers, a mutant zucchini, and a bunch of tomatoes. I pickled and baked my way through that weekend, and then had a panic attack Sunday night when I realized I wouldn’t have time to finish everything and that some of the produce will inevitably go bad. We all have to accept that this is going to happen, and calm the fuck down. When all was said and done, I only ended up wasting 5 cucumbers. This sounds like a lot, but I was given BAGS OF THEM. So, basically, I fucking killed it that weekend. But there was no telling me that Sunday night when I was in full-blown panic mode, sobbing on the phone with T. He was like, “Breathe. You need to just sit down and watch some Bachelor.”

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Eggplant Parmesan

1-2 eggplants, sliced into ~1/2″ rounds

Lots of Mozzarella (LOTSSSSSS), shredded or thinly sliced

1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce*

1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1 egg, beaten

Salt and pepper

Take your sliced eggplant, and layer it over some paper towels. Sprinkle some salt on both sides, and let ’em sit for something like 20 minutes. This draws out the water. We don’t want soggy eggplant parm, right?

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8 baking dish and a large baking sheet. Place the beaten egg in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, mix the bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese. Dip the eggplant, one by one, into the egg, then the bread crumbs. Make sure to thoroughly coat everything. Place them in onto the baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 35 minutes, flipping halfway through. Once they’re done, you’ll start layering. In the 8 x 8 baking dish, first spread out about 1/4 cup of the tomato sauce. Place a few of the eggplant slices over that, then more sauce, then cheese, then eggplant, then sauce, cheese, eggplant, etc. End with the cheese. Bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until the cheese is all melted and gooey. You can either slice it like lasagna, or scoop up individual slices. I was trying the individual slice method, but I don’t recommend it.  Baking this took way longer than it should have, and that is when I discovered that my oven runs cold. It turned out way better when I made it at T’s place, but his lighting is for shit.

Serving suggestions: over pasta (super carb-y), with a side salad (keeping it light), with some buttery garlic bread (extra super carb-y), or just on it’s own. Now that the weather has cooled down in Minneapolis, this is the perfect time to start carb-loading. It’s also less of a pain in the ass to have the oven on.

*It can be nice if you saute some other veggies and add it to the sauce (mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, etc). Also, it should be noted that I did not use nearly enough sauce (or cheese) in the pictures. Don’t be like me. Sauce it up.

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!

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

Vietnamese Summer Rolls and New Pants!

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

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

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

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

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Vietnamese Summer Rolls

Rice paper

Rice noodles (cooked according to package instructions)

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

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

Carrots/Cucumber/Bell pepper, sliced thinly

Bean sprouts (I forgot, which made me sad)

Siracha

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

YOU WILL NEED WAX PAPER FOR THIS RECIPE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vegan “Cheesy” Pasta and “Hot” Yoga

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

Fuck.

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

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

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

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

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Vegan “Cheesy” Pasta

1/2 onion, chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1 handful mushrooms, chopped

1/2 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half

10oz pasta (choose your own shape!)

1 1/2 cups veggie broth

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

A large handful of baby spinach or chopped Swiss chard

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

Garlic powder

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

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

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

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

Spinach Tortellini Soup and New Year’s Resolutions

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

Self love is a constant struggle.

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

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

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

Let me try that again.

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

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

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

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

 

Spinach Tortellini Soup

1 medium onion, diced

2 carrots, peels and sliced

2 stalks celery, diced

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

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

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

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

A few sprinkles of dried parsley

Optional: Shredded parmesan to serve

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

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

*Not literally.

babysitting · Beans · dinner · easy · gluten free · healthy · lunch · quick · squash · Tacos · vegan · Vegetables

Butternut Squash Tacos and Babysitting?

I babysat some kiddos this weekend. Can you believe it? Oh, wait… y’all probably don’t know this, but I’m not really a fan of kids. I mean, as a whole… there are several kids I know personally that I love to pieces. Still, I’m not one to babysit much. Mostly just because I’m not the first person any parent thinks of when they’re in need of someone to watch their children. They usually choose someone that is more “kid friendly.” I get it.

So I watched my friend’s kids while she was at a wedding reception last weekend. They are 1 1/2 and 6 years old. The 6-year-old is fucking awesome. Coolest kid around – likes to play with trains and snuggle. This kid is my fucking jam. The toddler is newish to me. We haven’t developed our rapport yet. She’s cute, sassy as fuck, and hates being contained, which I wholeheartedly respect. She’s also desperate to touch anything and everything that is dangerous or fragile and cries/screams when she doesn’t get her way. I have a healthy fear of her, and she has an unhealthy fear of nothing. I bet my mom is reading this right now with a smirk on her face. She’s thinking, “Finally! A taste of her own medicine.” I was not an “easy” child.

I spent most of my 4ish hours with them just trying to keep her from electrocuting herself (she loved sticking her baby fingers into the outlets) or from smashing her fingers in the closet doors. At one point I distracted her by building a blanket fort. The 6-year-old was all about it. The toddler loved it, too… but only because she wanted to run through it with her arms up, ripping down every blanket I put up while screech-giggling. Her brother patiently followed behind her, re-securing everything she ripped down. Eventually I had to break it to him, “Sorry, dude… I don’t think this is going to happen.” He was cool about it, clearly used to her antics.

As soon as I pulled all the blankets down, she went right back to aiming for the outlets. I’d pull her away and sit her down somewhere, which would prompt her to either get up to try again (like a toddler boomerang), or scream and cry. You know how some people give babies whatever they want because they can’t stand it when they’re sad? I am not one of those people. I am fucking immune to that shit. I just looked at her sobbing little face and said sarcastically, “Gee, I’m so sorry I won’t let you electrocute yourself tonight, but my one job is to keep you alive. Don’t make this harder than it needs to be.”

I swear to God, the look on her face said, “Fuck you, bitch. I own you.” Then she got up and headed back to the outlet.

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My AcroYoga group is putting together a little fundraiser dinner to raise money for one of the teachers to go to training this winter. We decided to make tacos, and I am in charge of the vegetarian option. I thought I better practice making this recipe at home before making it for a room full of people next month. Hence, this recipe. It’s a hodge-podge of recipes I found online, and I’m actually quite proud of it. It’s seasonal and delightful. I had a friend of mine taste-test it a few weeks ago, and they agreed that it is delicious. They also had the genius idea of adding an egg to the leftovers for breakfast tacos. DO IT.

Butternut Squash Tacos

1 medium sized butternut squash, peeled and cubed

1 can (15oz) black beans, drained and rinsed

10-12 corn tortillas

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Paprika

Cumin

Garlic powder

1/2 purple cabbage, shredded

2 large handfuls of green onion, chopped

1 lime

Optional: Salsa, avocado, sour cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the squash with a heavy drizzle of olive oil and a good sprinkling of salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, and garlic powder (there is no reason to measure any of this – I mean, honestly, just add as much as you fucking want). Spread the squash out in an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes, stirring around once halfway through. Once there are about 5 minutes left, toss the beans in with the squash. Add a little extra seasoning and bake for the remaining 5 minutes.

While everything is baking, mix the cabbage and green onions in a large bowl. Cut the lime in half and squeeze over the cabbage. Add a heavy drizzle of olive oil (just fucking wing it) and some salt and pepper. Mix well.

Heat the tortillas over an open flame on the stove, slightly charring each side. Fill the tortillas with a scoop of the squash and beans, and top with the cabbage mixture (along with whatever else you like).

Shovel into your face hole.

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This is how it should look in real life: balanced on your knee while you search for something to watch on Netflix.