In the interim….and other excuses

I just wanted to say hi.

Hello.

Yes, I’m still here. And oh boy do I have lots to share with you.

But that will have to wait for another time (another time soon, though!).

You will get to read ALL about why I have so horribly neglected my blog for a while now.

Part of it has been *starting my own business* of independent, freelance writing and editing. Working on building up the clientele part of it, though. 

I named it Inklined. Ink-lined. Like writing…..Get it? You can find it at inklinedllc.com. Feedback is always appreciated as well!

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I did not forget about you. With my crazy life, I kind of forgot about me. But I’ll discuss that later.

I have a ton of project ideas in mind and recipes that I want to try over the summer. Oh, and we just started planting in our garden again! So you’ll get to see a nauseating number of photos of that.

And with that, I’ll leave you. But I’ll be back soon.

excuses

 

Vegan Diaries – Comfort Zone

Originally posted on http://shrinkingjeans.net

vegan diaries

Well that’s it. It’s over. I officially give up on this vegan challenge and lifestyle. Sayonara veganness, welcome back meat and dairy!

APRIL FOOLS!

I just couldn’t help myself. *Chuckle*

All joking aside, week 3 has probably been the toughest week so far in this challenge. Not due to a waning enthusiasm for all things vegan, not due to overwhelming cravings for pork chops or cheesecake, and not due to peer pressure or arguments against veganism. It was due to little things here and there that added up over the course of the week: my boyfriend decided he couldn’t hack the vegan lifestyle (proving once again that women are the stronger sex) and went back to eating ‘normally;’ I went to a family dinner that displayed homemade chocolate-chip cookies and cheese-and-meat-laden dishes; above all, I was ridiculously sick and in dire need of comfort food (and an exquisite compilation of cold and flu medication). When I think comfort food, I think hearty, homemade, stick-to-your-ribs food that satisfies some innate insatiable hunger for said dishes, which, somehow also make you feel better no matter how crummy you feel or sick you are. Miracle food, if you will. The problem with most ‘comfort food’ dishes is that they have some combination of meat or dairy in them. I attempted to combat the comfort food stereotype and create versions that maintained the vegan credentials. Therefore, there will be no ‘Eat Of The Week,’ but instead:

Comfort Food(s) Of The Week

Let’s start with the Italian-turned-American-defining dish that can be tailored to innumerable desires, satisfy the pickiest of eaters, and hold its own in the comfort food category: Pizza. There are few and far between who can turn down a piece of piping-hot pizza straight out of the oven, bursting with gooey cheeses and a plethora of delicious toppings, creating a perfect harmony of sweet, salty, and savory flavors delivered directly to your taste buds. You can be as creative or simple as you’d like with pizza, which is one of the love-evoking characteristics. For vegan pizza, there are a few caveats: thou shalt not have cheese, pepperoni, sausage, ham, canadian bacon, buttered crust, or fake-ground parmesan for topping. There are thousands of homemade pizza recipes online. I (sadly) did not take a picture of the final product, but this is essentially how it went down:

  • Homemade whole-wheat, seasoned, agave drizzled crust
  • Arrabiata sauce (now we have sweet AND spicy) – ‘doctor’ up your sauce however you’d like
  • Sautéed portabella mushrooms, spinach, and onions with olive oil and Italian seasonings
  • Sliced white onion, green and red bell peppers, olives, tomatoes
  • Garnish/top with a little sea salt, fresh spinach (you can let it wilt on the hot pizza), basil, and if you’re like me red pepper flakes

I actually didn’t even miss the cheese!

While pizza is a nice start to some comfort food-filled days, there’s one thing that I kept thinking about over and over again.

Homemade macaroni and cheese.

I grew up spoiled. We rarely had mac n cheese out of a box; it was always a deliciously creamy 3 to 5 cheese dish of baked goodness that my mom ruined us with. Others rarely compare, and the boxed stuff is just out of the question. I even made it as my ‘American’ homemade dish for my Peruvian family when I studied abroad. That and guacamole. Separately, of course. They LOVED it! But, I digress. Cheese is nixed from the vegan food pyramid, so I went searching the web for ideas. I found one from Chef Chloe, whose cookbook I bought, and decided to give it a go. It had great reviews and sounded delicious.

Vegan Mac ‘N’ Cheese

I followed this recipe exact, not knowing exactly how these ingredients worked together. The resulting product actually looked like mac n cheese, so that was very exciting! As I dug into my pseudo cheesy noodles and broccoli, delicious as it was, I was a little disheartened. Don’t get me wrong, it had great flavor and texture, but it definitely left something to be desired for the cheese factor. Pushing aside the inclination to compare it to the mac n cheese I’m used to, I embraced the noodle dish I had created. It would be a great alternative for those who cannot have cheese. For those who can but are looking to try something different, go for it, but think of it as a new dish altogether, and not necessarily as the mac n cheese that you’re used to.

macncheese

Vegan Mac ‘N’ Cheese

Of course, with comfort food you have to factor in something sweet, and, preferably chocolatey. I found a recipe for a vegan chocolate orange pudding, which fit in line with the comfort food theme. I have never been a fan of jello or pudding (I think it’s a texture thing), but the combination of orange and chocolate kept me coming back to the recipe. It’s about trying new things, so why not?

Chocolate Orange Pudding

The recipe turned out to be a complete disaster, so I’m not even going to post it on here. I dug deep and bribed my inner Betty Crocker to come save me on this one. The final product actually turned out beautifully. This is essentially what I did:

  • 1 ½ ripe avocados
  • Almond milk (unsweetened)
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Agave nectar
  • Orange zest
  • Garnish with small orange slices
  • Refrigerate for at least 1 hour prior to servingchoc orange pudding

Forgive the vague measurements – I literally have NO idea how much of everything I put in there. Like I said, I started from scratch since the recipe led me down the pudding path of Hell (glimpse: fake vegan chocolate chip explosion in microwave, insta-drying to vegan chocolate cement). I do know that I put A LOT of agave nectar to sweeten it. You could use whatever sweetener you’d like. You could also start out with sweetened cocoa powder – the unsweetened stuff was all I had. Additionally, I put the avocado, almond milk, and cocoa powder in the blender to smooth everything out. I added the agave nectar and orange zest separately and mixed everything in a bowl. It turned out so creamy. I would say it made about 3 cups of pudding total. Oh, and HOLY CHOCOLATE GODS THAT’S GOOD!

Eye-Opener Of The Week

DIVE!

This 54-minute documentary takes us in to the world of wasted food. Directed by Jeremy Seifert, this documentary follows a group of dumpster divers who routinely get their food from big name grocery chain dumpsters, and exposes the wastefulness of the American consumer, grocery chain, and producer. In America, 96 billion pounds of food are thrown away every year. That’s about HALF the food that gets produced. “We pressure supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, and corporations to Save More and Waste Less. We highlight the role of hunger, poverty, and waste in society and take this on as an issue of justice, ethics, morality, and common sense. We imagine a world of empty dumpsters, full bellies, and regular people leading sustainable lives.” Seifert attempts to explore hunger in America, the amount food waste, and the large gap that could be closed as a result of wasted food ending up in hungry hands. He talks with food banks that acknowledge they have an annual food shortage, and continually strive to feed those in need. While many grocery stores and chains have agreements with food banks, that’s not always the case and there are many clauses and circumstances that create, what should be an easy process, a convoluted one. This award-winning film is literally an eye-opener to a world of waste that rarely comes to the forefront of current societal issues, and up until now, to my mind.

Director Jeremy Seifert is planning to launch another documentary this year that focuses on GMOs and the companies behind them. With the current controversy surrounding Monsanto, as well as GMOs in general, this film is sure to spark the interest of many. Check out the trailer here.

With a tough week behind me, I can keep my focus strong on the next 2 weeks of this challenge. Sometimes the desires of comfort and familiarity can be a learning curve that force us to think a different way. And sometimes that way is out of our comfort zone.

Vegan Diaries – Removing The Rose-Colored Glasses

Originally posted on http://shrinkingjeans.net

vegan diaries

There are 3 kinds of people I’ve discovered in the past week: those who do NOT like their views to be challenged and will most certainly let you know, including what and how they eat; those who will entertain the idea of a change – they will listen, smile and nod, and maybe in some back corner of their brain store that information for a rainy day; and those who are all about learning something new and attempting to incorporate it into their lives, if even just for a day. I have encountered and handled each of these in the past week.

Apparently, going vegan puts me in a different category than, oh I don’t know, everyone else. I am no longer simply a human. I am a vegan human. I feel like I’m on a display for people to marvel at, ridicule, and everything in between. I have been told I am not thinking this through, that I’m being ridiculous, that it’s just plain unnecessary. I have also been told that people love that I am doing this, that I am an inspiration, and that they support me in this alternative lifestyle. I’m not here to dissuade or persuade anyone of anything. I’m simply eating differently. That is all. I welcome the reactions, positive or not; it proves that it’s getting people thinking and talking. Plus, I have thick skin, so bring it on.

I’m surprised at the reactions I’m getting, but also very interested as to why. I think many of the reactions stem from an absence of information. I’m shocked we’re not more educated on our food, food sources, and what we put in our bodies each and every day. It’s appalling, really. I love answering questions–and actually knowing the answers–when people ask me about veganism, nutrition, and food. I’ve been continually educating myself via documentaries, articles, books, and trial and error.

The transition hasn’t been too much of a stretch so far. I’ve made a few mistakes here and there, but have done very well. My energy levels are good and aren’t interfering with my daily workouts, my job (I’m a server, so I’m on my feet a lot), or my day-to-day activities. In fact, I feel great! My body has become, shall we say, much more efficient, due to the amount of vegetables, grains, fruits, and unprocessed foods I’m eating, but I view that as a good thing.

Even though it has only been one week, I have discovered and rediscovered: my rekindled love affair with avocados, I’m not impressed by vegan cheese, it’s hard to cook for one person, boxed and flavored quinoa and brown rice meals are not my favorite, homemade flavored quinoa and brown rice meals are delicious, you can’t trust bread (so I make my own), read the ingredients in EVERYTHING, Thai restaurants are an easy place to be vegan, spices are fun things to play with, my family was surprisingly willing to try a complete homemade vegan dinner, I have many people standing behind me and supporting me, there is always another way to expand my knoweldge.

Eat Of The Week

Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Soup

soupThis soup was the first vegan recipe I made, and it was a hit! It had just the right blend of spices, texture, and flavor. I changed a few things and added a few things – but isn’t that what everyone does with recipes?! Instead of orange sweet potatoes (yams), I used white sweet potatoes. I’m not the biggest sweet potato fan, so I opted for the less-potent ones. It also calls for garam masala, which I didn’t have (nor did I have a clue as to what in the heck it was – it’s a blend of Asian spices), so I made my own. I blended cinnamon, nutmeg, curry, cumin, turmeric, pepper, red pepper flakes, salt, and probably something else that I don’t remember. I added more of this to the soup itself for a stronger flavor. I also added kale for that extra nutritional punch.

Mistake Of The Week

Not all beverages are created equal, even if they are delicious. As mentioned in last week’s post, vegans can drink alcohol, but not all alcohol is vegan. Say what? Some alcoholic beverages can be processed with animal by-products, mostly used for the filtering process. This process voids that particular beverage of all vegan properties. These adult beverages are tricky, though, as they are not required to place anything on their labels acknowledging their veganness, and I fell victim to their ambiguity. After 2 sips of my milk stout beer, the imaginary light bulb over my head went off. The word ‘milk’ triggered it –I know there’s no milk in the beer, people– and I checked Barnivore, a website that informs whether or not a beer, wine, or liquor is vegan. Sadly, my milk stout was not. I sighed deeply, made peace, pushed it aside, and grabbed a New Belgium Fat Tire instead. Not a bad trade off if I do say so myself.

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Craving Of The Week

Chocolate. Enough said. This strikes me as funny, because I’m not usually a big sweets person. I think part of it had to do with the fact that every chocolate anything I ran across had some sort of dairy in it. Stupid subconscious making me want something I can’t have. Yesterday, I emphatically shut up my subconscious and put it back in its place with Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles. SO. FREAKING. GOOD. I had trouble finding the will to stop eating them. I had 3! Ok, ok, I had 5. Oops. They were so worth it.

cookies

What’s better than ooey, gooey, sugary, chocolatey, vegan goodness? Ooey, gooey, sugary, chocolatey, vegan goodness with Homemade Baileys Irish Cream. Also vegan, of course. Although it didn’t turn out quite as thick as I hoped, it was absolutely delicious. I’ll probably let it condense on the stove a little longer next time. Additionally, I added some almond extract for extra dimension. I’m not Irish, but I am Ginger, so this was my unconventional St. Patrick’s Day celebratory meal. I can call this a meal, right?

cookies and irish cream

At least the plate is green…

Eye Opener Of The Week

EARTHLINGS

This award-winning documentary, narrated by Joaquin Phoenix, is “about the suffering of animals for food, fashion, pets, entertainment and medical research. Considered the most persuasive documentary ever made, EARTHLINGS is nicknamed ‘the Vegan maker’ for its sensitive footage shot at animal shelters, pet stores, puppy mills, factory farms, slaughterhouses, the leather and fur trades, sporting events, circuses and research labs.”

This film opened my eyes to a reality that the majority of people don’t think about, or choose to ignore. It’s a harsh, uncensored, and shell-shocking angle, but it’s what happens behind closed doors, so to speak. The treatment of animals originally was not one of the reasons for my vegan challenge, but this film reveals actions, situations, and circumstances that I can’t now unknow. It’s a hard film to watch, but I’m glad that I did. I watched it once, and that’s all I’ll ever need. It definitely evokes antagonizing thoughts and second guessing on whether or not a potential future prime rib indulgence is really worth it. Though difficult, I would encourage you to watch it as well. Knowledge is power.

Read Of The Week

The Omnivore's DilemmaThe Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan addresses the question “What should we have for dinner?” in this eye-opening publication. He follows food from it’s source to the table through 3 different food chains: industrial food, organic or alternative food, and food we forage ourselves. Through personal experience, research, and reflection, Pollan addresses not only what we eat, but how the food we eat today is produced. I am in the beginning stages of this book and am already amazed at the information provided. This book has been recommended to me over and over again, and I’m so excited to finally have the opportunity to read it. I will be doing a book review on it later this month, potentially coupled with a book giveaway on the shrinkingjeans site (fingers crossed!).

Wow. All of that and it has only been one week. My realities have been challenged, altering my outlook and perspective in several food-related areas. Moments of enlightenment, frustration, accomplishment, shock, camaraderie, confrontation, acceptance, and more have all occurred. I can’t imagine what I’m going to come across, struggle with, succeed at, and discover in the coming weeks. This experience is going to put me through the paces, but I plan on enjoying the ride.

One down, 4 to go.

Cocoa almond surprise

I like chocolate just  as much as the next person. If you don’t like chocolate, we clearly butt heads. In my efforts to try relatively healthy foods, I recently stumbled across cocoa-covered almonds. Fan-freaking-tastic! So, naturally, I’m pretty sure I ate about a pound of them, if not more.

Healthy Me = 0, Food Demons = 1.

As I was gorging myself on almonds, I thought to myself: ‘I’m pretty sure anybody with a brain could make these.’ Any time I have a thought like this, I should really have a red flag pop out of my forehead with sirens blaring warning the kitchen police to come haul me away.

But I don’t, so here we go with another brilliant endeavor.

Cocoa-covered Almonds.

Not only are these relatively healthy, they are gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and vegan. Score.

They have minimal ingredients which fit seamlessly with my kitchen requirements, and, of course, and super yummy. Double score.

All you need are raw almonds, agave nectar, unsweetened cocoa powder, and salt.

IMG_0330

Cocoa-covered almond ingredients

Here is the recipe that I used.

The recipe calls for 2 cups of almonds to start, however, since I’m pretty sure that would last me a whole half hour or so, I decided to double the batch.

Turn the oven on to 350ºF. The first step is to blend the agave nectar with salt on medium heat. I used ½ cup agave nectar and 2 pinches of salt -whoever came up with this whole ‘pinch’ measurement clearly didn’t have people like me in mind. Not only are my hands the size of a middle-schooler, my kitchen skills aren’t particularly solid; I prefer exact measurements.- The mixture started to bubble and that’s when I figured it was ready.

IMG_0331

Agave nectar & salt

Toss in 4 cups of raw almonds (for the doubled recipe) and stir until the almonds are completely coated.

Agave-covered almonds. Yum!

Agave-covered almonds. Yum!

Spread the agave almonds on a cookie sheet with wax paper. Put the almonds in the oven for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so they don’t burn.

Agave almonds on cookie sheet

Agave almonds on cookie sheet

My Mom wanted to help!

My Mom wanted to help!

Put 3 tbsp of the cocoa powder in a large ziplock bag – you’re going to put the almonds in there and shake it all up.

Easy, right?

JUST KIDDING!!!

I know all of this sounds very simple, but it turned out to be a little harder than I thought. When you pull the almonds out of the oven, they start to cool very fast which makes them stick to everything! I started putting the almonds into the ziplock with the cocoa powder. Conveniently, the ziplock started to melt through because the almonds were extremely hot. I quickly dumped everything in to a plastic bowl and tried my best to get the remaining almonds off the cookie sheet, off the counter, and off of my fingers.

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Melted Ziplock

Cocoa almonds in bowl

Cocoa almonds in bowl

I put a lid on the bowl and shook them up in the cocoa powder. They looked very slimy, unappetizing, and not exactly covered or ‘dusted’ with the cocoa powder. So I added more.

Bam! It worked! They turned out looking somewhat like I’d hoped! I spread them on another cookie sheet to cool.

Cocoa almonds on cookie sheet to cool.

Cocoa almonds on cookie sheet to cool.

What I didn’t realize is that the wax paper from the first cookie sheet also melted and came off in little bits either on the almonds or somewhere else. I’m not really sure. It also made it stick to the cookie sheet itself and became impossible to peel off.

Melted wax paper. Yikes!

Melted wax paper. Yikes!

What was supposed to be an easy project turned in to:

Cocoa-covered-wax-paper-surprise almonds!

Yep, I’ll eat them anyway.

Getting cultured: Take 2

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. — Albert Einstein

Well, there you have it. According to Mr. Einstein, I’m a crazy person. I like to think that I’m a crazy person with high standards, though, which just goes to show that if you believe in it enough, do zero additional research, and try the exact same method…..you’re certifiably psychotic.

Psychosis works for me. Suits me, in fact. However, instead of proving the rule this time, I am the exception.

~~~~~~~~I MADE YOGURT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!~~~~~~~~

For real. Edible, too! I’m actually going to go ahead and toot my own horn: It was absolutely delicious!

Because my first attempt was such a disaster, it took me a while to muster up the desire to try it a second time. Then again, Rome wasn’t built in a day. -yogurt, Rome…whatever-

When something goes wrong the first time, typically you assess and adjust the process for any subsequent trials. I say typically, because I didn’t. Too much effort. Wait, that’s a lie: I did not put towels on the stove for charring purposes this time. Yay me. I did look at additional yogurt-making recipes, the majority of which called for either powdered milk, yogurt cultures, whole milk and whole fat yogurt, or yogurt machines. Fabulous. Couldn’t find powdered milk -it was probably right in front of me at the store; I obviously don’t do well in grocery stores-; didn’t want to use yogurt cultures since I felt it was pointless because yogurt cultures are in the yogurt you add to the mixture already; wanted a reduced-fat yogurt — I don’t buy whole fat yogurt or milk at the store in the first place, so why would I make it that way? –; and I clearly do not own a yougrt-making machine.

Back to square one. So what did I do? The same damn thing I did the first time…with slight adjustments. I bought fat-free yogurt, 2% milk (last time I used skim – I don’t recommend that), and just talked nice to it. I had everything at my fingertips. When I decided to give it another go, I re-created my double-boiler, got out my trusty thermometer, and was ready to face the yogurt fates. -OH, I decided I didn’t learn my lesson the first time and bought another half gallon of milk to make another unnecessary half gallon of yogurt for this one person. I amaze myself at my intelligence sometimes-

Step 1: create double boiler

IMG_0167

Double boiler

Step 2: pour milk into pot
………….Step 2: pour milk into pot

This gets slightly complicated when the top shelf of your refrigerator has decided to imitate the Arctic and make one giant ice cube out of your milk. -insert background laughter from the yogurt fates here- I’m off to a spectacular start. Step 1 has now turned in to: thaw your giant ice cube of milk any way you can – this may take a good half hour or so. Probably longer.

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Well, that was fun.

After your milk cube is thawed, pour into the top pot and bring up to 180°F for minimum a half hour, stirring frequently. During this process, I did notice that my milk frothed quite a bit more than the skim milk for the first attempt.

IMG_0169 IMG_0175

After about a half hour, cool down the milk to approximately 110°F, stirring occasionally. I did this with an ice bath in my sink. You can do it by leaving it on your counter, it will just take much longer, and goodness knows (and my family, and my friends, and my boyfriend) that I am not a patient person.

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Ice bath to 110F

Add 1 to 3 tablespoons of yogurt (yes, you use yogurt to make yogurt) to your cooled milk. I used FAGE Total 0% for mine. Stir this in well to your milk.

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Add yogurt to cooled milk

Now, you have sour, hot, yogurt milk. Congrats! Think of it as your yogurt embryo. This little guy needs some TLC, and a warm, quiet place to incubate for 7+ hours. You want to keep it between 100°F and 110°F during this time. The site I originally got the recipe off of suggests a heating pad. Uh, don’t try to get super creative and invent your own if you don’t have one. It won’t work. Trust me. This time, instead of putting it on top of the oven, I decided to put it in the oven! ………I can hear your negative thoughts you cynics. Ok, ok, I deserve them. I did not turn the oven on. Instead, I put a lid on my yogurt embryo mixture, wrapped it in towels, and put the bottom of the double boiler (the pot that had the boiling water in it) next to it in the oven. I heated up more water in a tea kettle and added that to it as well. I checked on the temperature every now and then and added more hot water only once.

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The oven ‘incubator’

I intended to pull it out of the oven at 7 hours. But I went to dinner with a friend and lost track of time. I got home when it had been sitting there for at least 9 hours if not longer. Knowing me, and my relationship with the yogurt fates, I was figuratively crossing every limb, fiber, and hair strand I had that this would not be my downfall again. I pulled out the pot, unwrapped it from the towels and lifted the lid to reveal:

Yogurt.

WOO HOO!!!

WOO HOO!!!

I did it! It worked! I couldn’t believe it. It looked like yogurt, and even kind of smelled like yogurt. I was giddy with pleasure and the satisfaction that the yogurt fates and I had become friends come to an understanding. I put it in containers to refrigerate over night -NOT on the top shelf of my fridge-. The real testament would come the next morning with the first sample.

Morning comes. I’m excited and slightly nervous to try it, considering it was something I made. From scratch. In the kitchen. And you just never know how that’s going to turn out. –If it works out, you ideally never have to buy yogurt again; you can use a few tablespoons from your homemade yogurt in the milk to make a new batch.- It was actually, surprisingly very good. Not as tart as I’m used to, but I was ok with that. The consistency was perfect, maybe a little less solid (is that the right word?), but definitely not runny.

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Homemade Yogurt

HECK. YES.

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So good even Klondike wants some 🙂

I’ll just go ahead and give myself a pat on the back for that one.

Tofu pie

No, really. I mean it. No bake blueberry pie. With tofu.

I scrunched my nose up at first, too. Tofu is NOT my thing.

But, it got my attention; I became intrigued. It has a few of my kitchen requirements: minimal ingredients, and minimal time spent in the kitchen. PLUS it’s a no bake concoction. And that’s even better. With the mixture of very interesting ingredients, I decided I just had to try it out for myself! I figured I’d be like a healthy, vegetarian, red-headed Betty Crocker.

Onward to the grocery store.

For those of you who know me, you know that I HATE the grocery store. Everything about it. Couldn’t tell you why, either. I avoid it at all costs; my food supply gets ridiculously low before I decide that a breakfast of condiments isn’t going to do it and I give in to the Evil Food Fortress (aka the grocery store). My goal, if I have to go to the store, is to spend as little time as humanly possible there. I try to pretend I’m a contestant on Supermarket Sweep and have a time limit to grab anything I need. This often results in forgetting items, and running in to things. Or people.

Let me set the premise for you:

I decided to go to a bigger store than I normally do, because I figured they would have a better selection of everything. For a blueberry pie, I needed blueberries. Not a problem. Unless you’re me. I’m calm, cool, and collected, circling the produce section again, and again. And again. There are zero blueberries to be found. I very nicely ask a gentleman stocking fruit if they have blueberries.

“Ah, gosh. I don’t know. We didn’t get an order in this week for them somehow. We’ve got blackberries over there if you want blackberries.”

My immediate, non-censored reply would have been: “If I wanted blackberries, I would have asked you for those! In fact, I wouldn’t even have to talk to you at all because I would have found them on my own in the first place!” But instead, I politely said: “No, thank you.” And walked away.

Then, a miracle happened. As I was passing the clementines, something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye. That’s right, 3 little cartons of blueberries, staring straight at me. Since I so conveniently forgot to write down how much this particular recipe called for, I grabbed all 3 and put them in my cart. Thank you, blueberry karma. -I ended up only needing one little carton of blueberries for the pie-

Next stop: tofu land. I have never in my life bought any sort of tofu. Ever. I’m not a fan of the texture or anything about it. It’s a block of something that tastes like nothing. And that’s just wrong. The recipe calls for ‘Lite Firm Tofu.’ Easy enough. I finally find the tofu selection and search through them. I see ‘Soft,’ ‘Firm,’ and ‘Extra Firm.’ Those are my options. Wtf. At this point, I’m thinking of canning the entire thing, throwing a tantrum, and going home. I talk myself out if it, though, and sit there staring at the tofu for a good 5 minutes. I have zero idea which one to get. So I start poking them to see how ‘soft,’ ‘firm,’ and ‘extra firm’ they really are -like I really know what I’m doing-. That is until I catch a lady in the yogurt section next to me trying not to stare. I opt for the ‘soft’ one and head on my way to find Kefir.

I have no idea what Kefir is, but the recipe calls for it. I try to find it on my own for a while. Remember, more time spent in the grocery store is time that I’ll never get back. I find an older gentleman who works there and ask him. He has no idea. Perfect. We find someone else, and she thinks she may know what it is but calls someone on the intercom anyway. And then there were 4. This guy knew where it was and starts leading us there….right back to the tofu section. It, of course, was sitting right there. It’s a probiotic drink in case you’re interested.

The bright side is that I had everything else I needed for the pie at home, so I could get the heck out of there.

Tofu pie.

Ingredients: blueberries, tofu, kefir, lime juice, stevia, sliced almonds, vanilla extract, vanilla whey protein powder (not pictured), and pie crust.

For specifics, this is where I got the recipe.

No bake blueberry pie ingredients

All the fixin’s

Measure it all out, throw it into the blender, blend, and pour into pie crust. Easy as…well, you know.

-sidenote- I had no idea tofu is kept in water (or something liquidy) to preserve it. I had tofu water everywhere in my kitchen when I tried to open it up. Gross.

Ingredients in blender

Appetizing, no?

I topped mine with sliced almonds. There is an almond crust recipe, but I just bought a pie crust instead.

No bake blueberry pie

The final result!

It needs to sit in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before serving.

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. The pie is delicious. I got confirmation from 3 other people as well that they liked it. No, it does not have the consistency of tofu. In fact, you can’t even tell. The pie could essentially be made with any sort of fruit or fruit combination. I might play around with the recipe next time I make it. After the first slice, I put it in the freezer, and it came out almost like an ice cream pie. I liked it better than just the refrigerated one and will probably do this in the future.

Slice of pie

No bake blueberry pie

Combining a bad grocery store trip with tofu inspired pie turned out not to be so bad after all. …Who knew?

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Watch out, Betty Crocker!

Unintentional intentions

I read this quote by Neil Gaiman and found it lovely and inspirational. It seemed appropriate considering the circumstances, and can also serve as a reminder when I’m on the edge of completely falling apart over a botched t-shirt tie dye job, or turning into the 5’1″ rendition of Godzilla and destroying everything in my path in the hopes of making myself feel better -beware everything in reach without a step stool-.

Mistakes are part of being human. I know that I will make an insane amount of them, not only with the projects I attempt to conquer and share on here, but on a daily basis -cuz I already do-. And that’s ok. Our mistakes are what shape us; some may build us up, others can be crushing, but it’s how we handle the moments after that are telling of our character. Don’t make excuses about them – that’s not going to change anything. Accept them. Learn from them. Embrace them.

That being said, always check your fly….

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life. 

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”

– Neil Gaiman