The Creative Process (BTS Eggplant Magic)

Before I get into my totally non-bullshit post today, I would like to dispute Serafina’s lies from her last post.  I’m an expert at being self-righteous, so listen to me.  I didn’t read whatever book she was talking about, and I never will because I don’t even read this blog, but I can say with total confidence that you don’t need to grow your own shit to feel better than everyone.

 

It’s called Farmer’s Markets + Instagram.

 

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Thank god for stock photos so I don’t have to leave my house.

 

I’ve sung Instagram’s praises before, but really, I can even make myself jealous on that platform with my own past posts.  Sometimes, I even think my life is amazing.

 

Just take some pictures at the market and brag on IG that at least YOU support local businesses.

 

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You can later then put spices in a spoon messily and pretend you’re going to bake, like I do. THE BEST PART OF BAKING IS THE MESS RIGHT?

 

Don’t have a Farmer’s Market?  Snap a pic at your local grocery store/gas station.  It’s all about angles, bitch.

 

This might be a good time to start my planned post.  It was totally planned! It’s not because I take a lot of food pictures but don’t actually write down recipes! *laughs nervously*

 

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My research into how to repurpose my gaming food into healthy family meals.

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about food blogger pictures, and how they basically all look the same.  Brightly lit, sharp focus, appetizing colors, etc.  But you know, Serafina and I are ACTUAL artists and believe art should be organic, like what your food should be (eyes judgingly).  We let our food speak to us.

 

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For instance, these muffins said, “lay us here among the mismatched placemats and make sure you get the flowers in the shot.”

 

Sometimes, at least for me, my food is being an asshole and won’t talk.

 

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I’ve taken a lot of photography classes in my life and I don’t fucking know how to make dal look even remotely appetizing in a picture.

 

I recently discovered Foodie, an app that makes my (totally not shitty looking food) talk.

 

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Also, overnight oats.  Look gross, taste only a little gross.

 

Maybe if I spent time staging the food, bringing out my lighting kit, and using my real camera to take pictures, I would have better results.  But since that’s never going to happen, I modify my pictures with filters.

 

OMG I HAVE GMO PICTURES.

 

-Mary Ellen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Self Righteous Veggie Scramble

Have any of you ever read Omnivore’s Dilemma? If not, you can still read this spoiler because it’s not like it will make a difference. Basically, Michael Pollan spends all this time and energy making a dinner for which he can take full moral responsibility. Grew the veggies, gathered yeast, harvested wheat, the whole goddamn thing. Well, I’m here to say, BITCH, I DO THAT SHIT EVERY MOTHERFUCKING DAY!

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Sorry, I got a little heated there. Pollan and I have a long-standing frenemy relationship, much like mine and Mary Ellen’s, the only difference is that he doesn’t totally know about it. Frenemy relationships sometimes go better when the other person doesn’t know about it because it really decreases the risk of a clap back. Anyhoo, I’ve been working my ass off to grow food and humanely raise chickens, so I can feel morally superior, and it’s about time for me to rub it in everyone’s faces.

Now before anyone gets on my back about the ingredients I used that I didn’t grow (olive oil, salt, and pepper), I have a preemptive retort: I’ve already googled how to grow peppercorns and olive trees. I’m working on it. Sort of. I’m not working on it in the sense that it will happen ever, but I’m working on it in the sense that I thought about it for a minute, which was good enough for me.

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If you want to eat a meal for which you can take full moral responsibility, you’ll need to start growing some veggies, and if you’re not a vegan/want eggs, you’ll need to get some chickens. I also thought about getting a cow or a goat to make butter for this meal, but there are city ordinances against cows and goats, and my boyfriend nixed my idea of indoor goats when I brought up that workaround. Aside from a cow or goat for butter, the only other recommendation I have for this meal is to get a wheat field and make some bread. This would only be worthwhile if you have butter. Otherwise, this is a lovely scramble with ethically produced eggs, zucchini that only suffered minor verbal abuse, and very well cared for tomatoes.

Ingredients

2 eggs, beaten

About ½ a zucchini, halved and sliced relatively thin

A handful of cherry tomatoes, lovingly halved

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Fresh basil or other herbs (optional)

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PSA: Dangers of placing food on the floor to photograph outweigh benefits

Instructions

Cook zucchini in a pan with a little olive oil for about 4-5 minutes until it is close to being done. Add cherry tomatoes and cook for another minute. Add eggs and stir frequently until the eggs are cooked. Garnish with beautiful basil which is still somehow alive in September. Maybe you grew it in part shade or something.

Eat on your patio while your chickens roam. It’s ok to eat eggs in front of the chickens because they also eat their eggs, so they were the ones to make it weird first.

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Food is only somewhat safer on the patio, chickens may still attempt to eat the eggs even though they prefer their eggs freshly laid and uncooked

Zucchini is more flavorful after verbal abuse

-Serafina

Quick Garden Dinner

Friends, I’ve read enough of your fan letters to know that Mary Ellen and I are not the only ones who struggle to get a healthful meal on the table every night after a hard day of work. Quick meals are lifesavers whether you’re Mary Ellen, chasing around her toddler while ensuring her make up is on point, or me, laying around the house in my fanciest business pajama suit pretending to finish my last semester of graduate school. At the end of a long, trying day, cooking a meal that is quick and easy becomes as important as cooking one that is healthful and nourishing.

In light of this, I’m bringing you my super-fast garden meal. You’ll need approximately 3-5 months to prepare this meal, depending on your local climate. Gardening is hard work, and between the costs of your own labor, soil, water, plants, and seeds, you’ll probably spend more on your garden veggies than you ever would on the actual produce from a grocery store. But, as they say, you have to spend money to make money.

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Since garden based meals will depend on what you plant and what is ready to harvest on a given day, I’m going to provide some general guidelines instead of a strict recipe.

  1. Plant zucchini. You’ll need to do this in late spring/early summer, so plan ahead! No one really likes eating zucchini, but as I have previously mentioned, you’ll certainly harvest a lot of it. Corn, green beans, tomatoes, and lettuce will round out your meal, and will also take several months of intermittent effort before you’ll be able to acquire food from the plant.
  2. If you want to eat something other than the vegetables you harvested, you’ll need to go to a grocery store. I know, you’re thinking, why did I bother planting all that zucchini 4 months ago? Shhh, don’t worry, you planted it for lots of reasons. And you should be asking why you didn’t plan ahead better and plant something that grows veggie burgers. There’s always next year.
  3. Find a partner, friend, or neighbor with a grill. Grills are scary, and you don’t want to try to deal with one on your own. They’re also hot AF, but not in the good way.
  4. Chop up vegetables and wrap them in foil. Then have your boyfriend (or whoever you found to use the grill) put your veggies on the grill. They also make giant grill skillets but foil prevents your vegetables from being contaminated with meat if you have a boyfriend who refuses to cook himself a veggie burger.

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    You should also probably season your zucchini. Olive oil, salt, and pepper will be fine. Throw in some garlic powder if you’re feeling super fancy
  5. Put food on plate and then consume.
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This was my boyfriend’s plate. He always eats with his xbox controller nearby. It’s like a safety blanket.

Quick, easy dinner in only 4 months.

Serafina

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is my “Fuck, I need to make a dessert and shave my legs and I don’t really have time for either” cookie recipe. It works well when your significant other comes home and reminds you that you have plans to go to a dinner party/game night and he told everyone we were bringing dessert.

I made these cookies in about 20 minutes and also shaved my legs in the kitchen sink while they were baking. It was an impressive display of my domestic and feminine abilities. Then I went on to win at Secret Hitler because, not to brag, but I’m pretty great at being Hitler. I know how that sounds, but sometimes you have to put aside your values because winning a board game is more important.

These are my go-to vegan cookie, but for time’s sake I used real butter which doesn’t fuck up the consistency of the cookie when you melt it.

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I actually had an excuse not to clean the kitchen before shooting these photos with my phone

This recipe was adapted from one of my first vegan cookbooks, How it All Vegan. I bought the book thinking the authors were lesbians and was very disappointed when they talked about male significant others.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup softened butter (if you want these cookies to actually be vegan, you obviously need vegan butter)

1/4 cup oil

1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce

3 tbsp water

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt (less if butter is salted)

1 cup chocolate chips

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Two types of chocolate chips sounded fancy to me at first, but it just made it seem like I didn’t have enough of any one kind, which might have also been true

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. In a small bowl, combine sweetener, margarine, oil, water and vanilla.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and salt
  4. Add butter mixture and chocolate chips to the flour mixture and mix well.
  5. Scoop balls of dough onto a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are browned

Makes 12-15 cookies

Eat enough cookies that you no longer want to murder your significant other for failing to give you adequate warning to prepare a dessert.

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These were two leftover cookies at the end of the night. I ate them both when we got home.

Just to be super clear, it’s only okay to be Hitler when you’re playing board games. We may flirt with being terrible people around here sometimes, but there are some lines we won’t cross, like actually being Hitler. If I think of any other lines we won’t cross, I’ll be sure to let you know.

-Serafina

 

Hipster Brunch

I had originally planned on posting this on Friday, but, you know, I passed out drunk before I could find my computer.  Then I had to write a new intro for this.  Just know that I work hard to create amazing content for this blog, it just hasn’t been uncovered yet.

 

Today’s post is inspired by my favorite generation, the Millennials.  We actually are the greatest generation.  I mean, come on, even our name is super cool.  We fly around in our jet packs, vacation in nearby star systems, and —

 

Wait, wait.  Sorry, I’m still a little drunk.  Okay, now it’s coming back to me.  Ah yes, we make toast and charge $15 for it.  See?!  GREATEST GENERATION, SUCKERS.

 

Toast is my wheel house.  I have tons of toast recipes.  But you know what alludes me?  Avocado toast.  Avocados are a conspiracy.  Not even government conspiracy.  I’m taking Illuminati shit.  Let me ask you:  how many of you have actually bought avocados and were able to use all of them at the right moment when they were ripe and not brown?  Hmmm???  I can count three whole times for myself.

 

Buying avocados is stressful.  They are expensive, soon-to-be-garbage.  That’s why they charge so much at restaurants, because the stakes are so high.

 

Anyway, let’s make some guacamole toast because it’s lazier anyway.

 

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I threw these on the chair and took a picture of them.  I’m so close to being a professional photographer I’m getting goosebumps.

 

Ingredients:

  • Bread (I used religiously sprouted ones because I’m legit holier than thou)
  • Guacamole (get the individual packs to increase success and happy times)
  • Hemp hearts (because you need to dress it up for Instagram)

 

Directions:

Toast the bread however you like, I won’t judge if you don’t tell me.  Spread guac on bread.  Sprinkle the hemp hearts on.  Read comments on the internet and get into fights with Boomers.

 

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BTS story: I originally had my toast on a plain white plate, but then I thought, “hey, this needs more whimsy.” The process of an artist is a deep river of complex creativity.  

 

Still should probably add butter to this recipe somehow,

 

Mary Ellen

 

Zucchini, rice, and beans

Friends, I’m going to put aside my skin care feud with Mary Ellen for the moment (we all know who won that one, right?) and talk to you about a recipe from my childhood. You can tell this is a very modern recipe, because it comes from a Jane Brody cookbook with the subtitle “Living the High Carbohydrate Way.” That’s right, before all of this keto and paleo bullshit, there were plenty of people encouraging us to eat more carbs, and they were saints.

This is my version of Jane Brody’s Company Rice and Beans with fewer frills (I think she wants you to have like 4 fresh vegetables on hand, which seems ridiculous. I just used canned goods, dried spices, and a zucchini from the garden). Jane Brody also recommends cooking your rice at the same time as the rest of the food (I audibly gasped with disbelief at the thought of multitasking), so I’m going to go another step further and tell you to use a rice cooker. I bought a rice cooker about a year ago and this is second time I’ve used it, so that was a super meaningful purchase that made a measurable difference in my life.

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Yeah, you cook that rice, rice cooker. Then, back to the cupboard for another 6 months!

Get ready for some high carbohydrate living!

Ingredients:

1 cup rice (yield will be two cooked cups)

1 zucchini, halved and sliced

1 can of diced tomatoes

1 can of beans (I recommend garbanzo or kidney, but any bean will do)

Olive oil

About 1/2 tsp oregano

Some garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional: cheese (Jane recommends cheddar)

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You may notice that I didn’t actually use a can of diced tomatoes because I didn’t have any. So I used tomato sauce, which was fine, but a can of diced tomatoes would be better.

Instructions:

Cook the rice. 1:2 ratio of rice to water. Unless you have a rice cooker and then read the instructions or something. I used brown rice because I wanted extra credit.

Saute the diced tomatoes, zucchini, and spices in olive oil for about 5-10 minutes. Add the beans when the zucchini is starting to soften and bring to a low simmer until the rice is done.

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If you leave the stove unattended, you may get tomato splashes all over your cookbook. And also the stove. And maybe your camera.

Serve the tomato/zucchini/bean mixture on top of rice. Top with shredded cheese if your GI tract is up for such indulgences.

BTW, my zucchini plant produces a new fully developed zucchini about every 45 minutes, so prepare yourself to watch me put zucchini in everything I cook until October.

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Carbs are life,

Serafina

How to ACTUALLY Have Flawless Skin

Today’s post is a clap back (is that what kids really do these days?  Do they really clap in people’s faces?  Seems rude but I’ll try anything once) to Serafina’s latest post full of shade.  It took me MONTHS to whittle this down to less than 25,000 words so you’re welcome I guess.

 

But first, let me tell you why there is so much contention between my frenemy and me when it comes to skin care.

 

It all started with a “camping” trip.

 

You see, Serafina and I decided to go on a clothing optional camping trip, and she invited some men I didn’t know.  Naturally, I thought this was going to be a giant orgy, and, excitedly, packed accordingly.  This meant that I didn’t bring a bra and I also wore Brittney Spears-style glitter eye shadow the whole time.  Serafina was appalled at the fact it took me so long to “ready myself for nature” but really, you never know what kind of sexy adventures happen in the woods so I would NEVER be caught dead without a modest application of foundation and rosy cheeks.

 

To my shock and disappointment, no one wanted to have an orgy, but rather “grill out” and “tell campfire stories” and “fight off raccoons.”  So there I was, holding back tears so as not to smudge my ice blue eyeshadow.

 

It would be 20 years until we would speak again, and while my Brittney makeup is long dried up, I still have really overly complicated skin care and I definitely fucking wear makeup while camping and Serafina judges loudly.  NOT EVERYONE CAN HAVE NATURALLY GLASS SKIN, OK?!

 

This is just my face routine, that doesn’t include makeup.  My face routine is mostly in the style of K-Beauty, while my body is all French, baby.

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Shit I forgot the shea butter

 

1. Cleansing

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I have no idea what’s in Softymo, but it’s speedy.

I remove my eye makeup first, and then use an oil cleanser to remove the rest of my makeup, or if I didn’t wear makeup, my SPF lotion.  I use the most gentle cleanser I can find after that.  Cetaphil is my jam on a regular basis (please sponsor me ilu).

 

2. Toner

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The beardy old guy makes it official.

Toner is life.  So much so, I do seven layers.  I’m not kidding.  Do you hear that, Serafina? I actually fucking stand in the bathroom and do SEVEN FUCKING LAYERS OF TONER.  I’m sure she’s screaming at her computer screen right now.  Your pain feeds me.

 

3. Boosters

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TJ Maxx feeds my addiction 

This is the step to which Serafina was referring in my IG posts.  And just FYI, yes, the dog gets one too.

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Beauty standards are unreasonable to keep up with in my family, but even the dog has to do her part.

4. Moisturizers

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I no longer use MyChelle because it causes extreme breakouts on my skin but I didn’t know that until after I wrote all this.  I no longer recommend.

Do you think you’ve already done enough to give moisture to your skin?  No, you haven’t.   It doesn’t matter if your skin is already soft and smooth. Add more.  And if there’s daylight, make sure it has SPF.

 

See it’s not so bad.  All this would easily fit inside a small/medium suitcase, making travel spontaneous and whimsical.

 

And just to prove how well this routine works, here’s a before and after picture:

 

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Left: my first year postpartum where I didn’t care about my looks.  Right: dead and sullen eyes, but hot af and vain as hell.  

CLAP CLAP CLAP

 

-Mary Ellen

Serafina’s flawless skin care regimen

As per usual, I bring you this blog post while procrastinating on a paper that’s due at midnight tonight (protip: it doesn’t count as procrastination if you never start the paper).

Something’s been bugging me lately, and it’s about Mary Ellen. I know, I know, I shouldn’t be coming here to talk shit. But I am, so you can all just deal with it. My problem is that she knows so much about being a girl. So much. She’s always posting things like weird creepy face masks, and I don’t understand it at all. What do the face masks do? Why does she look so scary? How did she trick her husband Annie into also wearing a face mask? Do they put face masks on her baby and dogs? This is just a list of the first few questions I have. Instead of seeking answers to any of my questions, I’m going to assume I’m an expert*** and walk you all through my own “minimalist” skin care regimen.

Step one: Shower every couple of days. More frequently if your armpits smell. But, we’re not focusing on armpit skin care, we’re focusing on face skin care which I think I implied above but didn’t really make it clear until now.

Step two: Once in the shower, ensure that you have some water on your skin. This will be important later

Step three: Wash everything with Dr. Bronner’s. I mean, everything. Face, armpits, hair, butt, feet. You know, everything. Shit, I said I was going to just stick with face skin care and then I went and told you all the other stuff. Oh, well. Now you know the rest of my skin care.

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Also, Dr. Bronner’s provides good reading material if you forgot to bring your phone in the bathroom to take a poop

Step four: if you live in a very dry climate, put some lotion on your skin. I’ve never seen Silence of the Lambs, but I hear that movie comes out in favor of moisturizing.

That’s it! Feel free to ditch all your other skin care stuff, because I don’t know what it is for.

All one!

Serafina

 

***Legal disclaimer: the above advice is not intended to treat, cure, or diagnose any ailments. Serafina Bearafina’s expertise in skin care is merely self proclaimed and she does not actually understand how any skin care products work. She’s not really sure if you should even use soap, TBH. The above advice neither guarantees nor implies that the condition of your skin will improve. Serafina isn’t sure what good skin is, but she probably doesn’t have it. Serafina recently had an infected ingrown hair, and after refusing to seek medical attention, she asked someone to explain exfoliation to her, only to promptly ignore all advice that was given to her.

Homemade vegan lip balm

Have I mentioned that I get a little ridiculously picky about some things? I probably haven’t. But last year I discovered my favorite lip balm had changed their formulation and it was suddenly disgusting and unusable. I found the lot numbers of the old lip balm recipe and I bought a year’s worth, stashing it in my fridge. Everything was wonderful until I only had about 2 left and I started panicking. I bought one of every lip balm and Whole Foods and they were all terrible. I was beside myself and fell into a deeper depression than the time my chicken was eating all of her eggs (that’s still happening, by the way, I just try not to care about it too much)

Anyway, I decided I needed to make my own lip balm and after extensive research, I have two recipes for you. One of the lip balm recipes sucks and the other is amazing and I love it.

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I know what you’re thinking, why bother sharing the shitty lip balm recipe? I don’t really have a great answer for that. I mostly just want credit for all the work I did. And if anyone is wondering if this was an attempt to make Mary Ellen feel bad about herself for not doing things like making lasagna and DIYing lip balm, it is. I’m amazing. I definitely didn’t almost fail out of grad school to bring you this lip balm recipe. And that was definitely the kind of high caliber sentence a graduate student should be writing.

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That’s a bunched up Christmas towel in the background. Everyone uses Christmas towels year-round, right?

Recipe 1: Shitty Lip Balm

Makes about 8 tubes of lip balm

1 tbsp candelilla wax

2 tbsp coconut oil

1 tbsp shea butter

¼ tsp vitamin E oil

Optional: 3-5 drops essential oil (I used lavender)

 

Recipe 2: Amazing Lip Balm

Makes about 12 tubes of lip balm

2 tbsp candelilla wax

2 tbsp shea butter

2 tbsp coconut oil

10 drops vitamin E oil

Optional: 3-5 drops essential oil (I used lavender)

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Jars are the best makeshift double broilers because you can just throw them in the dishwasher and then your pot doesn’t smell like candelilla and lavender when you want to make pasta

The instructions are the same for both recipes

Melt candelilla wax, shea butter, and coconut oil in a double broiler (I just put a jar in a pot of simmering water)

Once melted, add vitamin E and essential oils and stir

Pour mixture into empty lip balm tubes or whatever canister you want to use. I used a pipette to transfer the mixture into the tubes. Let set for at least a few hours until room temperature, they will be fully hardened after sitting overnight. They turn off-white once hardened.

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You’d think with a pipette I wouldn’t get drips everywhere, but my hands were super shaky because I had too much caffeine that morning

May your lips be moisturized but not sticky and gross

Serafina

Buttercup Burritos

Today I want to emotionally open up to all of our millions of readers.  Sometimes it’s hard to bear your soul to those closest to you, which is why I only share my private thoughts on Twitter, as well as subtweet all of my dirty laundry with every relationship in my life, real and fictional.   

 

Lately I’ve been having an existential crisis.  It’s basically consumed me, to the point I hardly even drink anymore (don’t worry, I’m drinking now, like I do when I write all my posts).  At least half of it is Serafina’s fault, because she puts together extremely elaborate lasagnas AND EVEN BOILS THE NOODLES??!! and she even has a boyfriend.  She has basically kept this blog alive single-handedly and pays both of our bills, as well as this guy we met online three years ago named Ayden. Also, I know for a fact she has six pack abs and reads to blind parrots in her spare time. Her personal Instagram has been featured in 70 different lifestyle magazines, 37 made the cover.  Like, how does one even fucking keep up with that shit? What do I have to show for myself? I still listen to CDs on a Sony Walkman.

 

Have I already peaked?  Have all my culinary masterpieces already been made?  Is this all there is? I don’t even get a gold watch?

 

Oh wait.  *record screeches to a halt*

 

Now… before I share this recipe with you, I just want you all to know how much you mean to me.  I mean, I’m sharing LITERAL SECRET RECIPES. I was planning on only passing these down to my daughter, but then I had a son, because it’s what my husband wanted.  We stay in our gender lanes in this family.

 

Sorry, I didn’t mean to get all political and shit.  That’s not what this is about. This is about:

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I feel like the chocolate chips are a little pushy but whatever.

What to eat for lunch when you forgot to eat lunch but now you’re hangry and you have like 3 minutes to make something you can eat while following your child around and throw play doh balls all over the place.

 

I call it: Buttercup burritos.

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Don’t worry, I know this recipe is complicated but that’s why I took 500 pictures.

You take a whole wheat tortilla, because remember, we want to nourish our bodies in addition to our minds, and you lightly warm it.  Spread your nut butter of choice on it. Mine is almond. Sprinkle with a modest amount of chocolate chips. I used an allergy friendly one, not because I have allergies, but because I’m better than most people.

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Shit.  This looks more like a crepe.  But I already committed to the burrito theme and I really don’t want to have to go back and edit this…

Roll your burrito.

Roll your play doh.

 

Eat and try not to choke on it while running around.

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If I were to make this again, I would add melted butter and omit the almond butter and the chocolate chips.

 

“Buttercups are actually quite filling.” – The Foundations

 

Mary Ellen