They See Me Rolling Rice Balls, They Hatin’

There are two things that I love doing more than anything else.  One is stalking random people that I don’t know on social media for hours on end, reading comments on all their posts, and printing out pictures of their pets.  The other is trying to recreate food I see in cartoons if the cartoon characters get really excited about the food.

 

I was going to post a lentil recipe this week, but if you haven’t noticed, Serafina literally has taken all the lentils.  There are no more lentils left.  And now she thinks jackalopes are fruit, instead of the very real death guardian rabbits.  I think her mind is going.  Sad!

 

So, instead, I’m making rice balls.  They made them in an anime I was watching called Maid Sama and even though the main character apparently made them incorrectly, and with tissue paper as an additive, I decided I was capable of trying it, albeit with the Kleenex granules.

 

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This is a pretty accurate representation of how I looked while making these.

 

I’ve done approximately no research into what these are, and I’ve never had them before, but I trust cartoons more than the Food Network so I’m an expert now.  Also, I’ve been eating these non-stop for days.  I love them and they are my baes now.

 

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This is all I had to go on besides the visual aspect.  Salty and not crunchy.  Got it. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • Sushi rice
  • Roasted seaweed (I personally prefer Korean seasoned roasted seaweed)
  • Salt
  • Canned tuna
  • Mayo

 

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This seaweed is amazeballs and cheaper than the stuff at Whole Foods, which is good because I’ve been just crunching on giant sheets of it.

 

Directions:

Cook up the rice, and cut the seaweed into strips.  Drain the tuna, and mix in a glop (distinct measurement) of mayo.

 

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Visual of a glop and sea chicken.

I wish I could give more more direction after all this, but… you know, I just made it up along the way.  First I set out my rice ball amounts and then I salted each side.

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They were all different sizes and I also almost knocked them into the sink.

While the rice was still hot, I molded it into balls and burned myself.  Still working the hot rice, I also tried to make a triangle shape.  Then I forgot these should be stuffed so I dug into the rice balls and shoved some tuna and mayo mixture in it.  Pretend this is on purpose, and mold the ball back and put a strip of seaweed around the bottom.

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Maybe cut the strip a little straighter than I did.  No one cares though because I ate this one immediately after snapping this.

And there you go.  Rice balls.  I’m going to make some more right now.  I bet you’re sad I didn’t make chicken this week.

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Don’t worry I still had chicken.

 

A rolling rice ball doesn’t gather moss,

 

Mary Ellen

 

 

Jackfruit Lentil Enchiladas

My dear blog friends,

I endured many hardships in writing this post. (I know what you’re thinking: there’s no way that’s true. She’s sitting comfortably in her house having just eaten leftovers of the dish she is posting about. What could she possibly have to complain about? Well don’t you fucking even start!)

First of all my free photo editing software crashed and I was worried I’d have to update it, but then it started and it was fine (again, I know what you’re thinking: she edits her photos? Yeah, I do. I spend like 20 seconds toiling over the free editing software that I almost kind of know how to use.)

Then, I had to find my hobo gloves because my hands were just slightly too cold and I thought I might die if I couldn’t experience 100% physical comfort in that moment.

Then, I found out that I’m in school again. Wasn’t I in school long enough? I thought so. I told them I was over 30 so they should just give me a fucking master’s degree and the first person I talked to was like “yeah, obvi” but then the second person was like “no, you have to complete the requirements and blah blah blah.” That second one was an exact quote.

And then I had to go comfort my chickens who are still super traumatized from Mary Ellen’s last post.

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Ew, there’s a cat hair on the can.

Anyway, I’ve come across a bunch of vegetarian recipes that use jackfruit. They all start off by talking about how jackfruit is fucking disgusting smelling just like durian which begs the question of how anyone ever started eating foods that make you gag when you try to cut into them. So I went the obvious route of buying canned jackfruit which doesn’t make you vomit when you open it. And then I made enchiladas which are probably more like smothered burritos, but I’m not changing the title.

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Unlike fresh jackfruit, this just smelled kinda briny like olives or something

Ingredients

1½ to 2 cups cooked rice

1 cup cooked lentils

14 oz can jackfruit, rinsed

8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded

2 cups enchilada sauce (I used homemade sauce from this recipe)

6-8 tortillas, depending on how thick you like your enchiladas

Olive oil

Taco seasoning (I used a homemade blend from this recipe)

1 or 2 cups of veggies to throw in (optional- I used frozen zuchinni, with disappointing results, but other veggies generally work well)

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I think I was supposed to cook the jackfruit longer. I’m not sure though.

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350

Cook your rice and lentils if you didn’t already do so because you were being lazy.

Chop up the jackfruit. I followed the instructions from this site to shred them, but it was way too much work and I’m just going to chop it all up and let it cook down next time. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with eating the seeds or the tough parts and the random seeds that I missed picking out tasted fine.

Cook the jackfruit with a little olive oil and taco seasoning for a few minutes, then mix it with the rice and lentils in a large bowl. Add in cheese, a little enchilada sauce (maybe ¼-½ cup) and any veggies you are using.

Put the enchilada mix in tortillas and place in a 13×9 pan with some enchilada sauce at the bottom. Once all your enchilada mix is tortillaed (it’s a word, trust me), cover in enchilada sauce and finish with cheese.

I usually cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes until the enchilada sauce and cheese are all bubbly.

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My boyfriend took a bite of this and said “it’s not a terrible texture.” Huge endorsement. You can all get excited now and go buy jackfruit.

Enjoy a jackfruit recipe that won’t make you gag while you’re preparing it

Serafina

A Tale of Two Chickens

I forgot to post last week. I have no excuse, because I did the recipes and had all the pictures and most of it written and I just forgot. I’m not sorry. I’ve mostly been busy playing Skyrim so I have a very good excuse.

I went insane at Costco recently and bought a ton of chicken. All sorts of chicken. And then I also decided to get some whole chickens and be like, super amazing with my cooking. But then I just made porridge.

If you’re unaware, you can buy a PACK of two whole organic chickens at Costco. For the people who are on a budget, and love eating chicken all the time, buying it Whole is way more cost effective. Worried it’ll take more time to prepare? Worried that it’s scary? Worried you’ll fuck it all up and you should have just gone with your usual dry-ass chicken breast recipe that you’ve convinced yourself is good enough? Well, unfortunately, your first two worries are probably correct but the last one is not.

Follow me while I take you on a chicken journey.

It all started when I decided I wanted to make dakjuk. I was about to just do a recipe that used all my regular techniques of cutting corners and using store bought, pre-prepped stuff, but then I found this lady. She mentions, subtly, two ways she makes her porridge and I was so intrigued by the prospect of boiling a whole chicken because it sounded so gross I needed to try it.

Oh Costco. I love you so much.

So, a different lady’s blog that I browsed while trying to figure out what boiling chickens was like was a bit of a mental case about it. She acted like it was the most disgusting thing in the world and that she really only does it to save money, etc etc and prayed to Jesus the whole time because it was so hard for her. And I really wanted to hold her close and whisper, “honey, Jesus doesn’t want you to suffer so in His name. Just use gloves, bitch.”

It looks really horrendous because I’m very bad at carefully removing things from pots.

See it’s not so bad.

Anyway, it wasn’t that bad. I mean, I was expecting a lot of bad after reading her post, but it was pleasantly easy and not bad at all. Also, you don’t need a recipe. Throw the chicken in a big pot and boil it with some veggies for an hour. Remove the chicken, debone it, add bones and more water to the pot, and boil for another hour. Strain and you have your stock. It’s easy as shit.

It makes a lot of stock.

So, boiled chicken (when you do it with veggies on the bone with skin) is actually really good. I used this recipe for dakjuk and holy crap it was amazing. Seriously, it will forever replace chicken noodle soup as my sickly comfort food, and it is a nice dish to have to rest my body after a weekend of donut binging. Make like three times more than what the recipe calls for because it won’t be enough.

So what did I do with the other chicken? I roasted it. I’ve never roasted a whole chicken before either, and everyone has a really fancy recipe that makes it intimidating. Through the Korean Bapsang blog I found this recipe.

However, I like to be thorough, so I trussed the chicken like this. It actually did produce a better roast, though I don’t have much to compare it to, except turkey at Thanksgiving, which always cooks unevenly I feel like. Anyway, we ate some of this for dinner one night and then the rest got chopped up and mixed with the leftover boiled chicken and I made the most amazing chicken salad sandwich that I’ve ever had in my entire life. Mmmm chicken chicken chicken.

So there you go. That’s what I’ve been doing lately. Sacrificing chickens left and right while also leveling up as a khajiit in Skyrim is how I’m fulfilling my New Years’ resolutions. I’m sure Serafina is crying and totally traumatized at this point, trying to comfort her chickens because she reads this blog out loud to them and I must admit it was a bit of a hostile post. Don’t worry I’ll post about something less chickeny next time.

No lollygaggin’,

Mary Ellen

Hello, New-Ass Year

I was reflecting on my life as I welcomed 2018, and I realized that there’s something missing. Despite all of my grad-schooling, working in a meaningful career, and raising a family of chickens, I have some serious life goals that I am not pursing. I’m of course talking about my dream of being a babushka. You see, I have some Russian ancestry, and now that I’m pushing 67 (or 32, or however old I am*), I need to really focus on becoming my true self.

After this epiphany, I decided to take a hard look at my life and start making some serious changes. I mean, #newyearnewyou, right? With that, I am embarking on my babushka adventure. My amazon cart is full of various styles of head scarves, but this is going to take more than a wardrobe change. It’s time to make some fucking perogies.

I scoured the internets for perogy recipes and ultimately created this masterful hodgepodge recipe.

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Perogy making efficiency requires gummy fish. And already having dirty dishes in the sink when you start cooking

Spinach Potato Perogies

Ingredients

For the Dough

3 cups flour

1 cup water

1 tsp salt

1 egg

For the Filling

1 pound of potatoes, cubed (I used red potatoes and didn’t bother peeling them)

Several large handfuls fresh spinach, roughly chopped

About ½ tsp garlic powder (or one clove of garlic, minced)

About ½ tsp onion powder (or part of an onion finely chopped)

¼ c shredded parmesan

¾ cup or so grated cheddar cheese

Some butter

Salt and pepper

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#2018babushkagoals take work

Instructions

Combine flour, water, salt, and egg and knead until smooth. Most recipes recommend refrigerating the dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, while you mix the other ingredients together which seems sensible enough.

Boil your potatoes until they are tender. Save some potato water, you might need it if your filling is too dry. Then mash with a little butter and salt (we’ll salt some more at the end too). Set aside.

If you can handle using real garlic and onion, you’d want to sauté them in some oil to start out. If you’re using good ol’ powdered shit like I do, you can just dump it in when you’re sautéing the spinach. Add in the cheeses and mashed potatoes and stir that shit up.

Now take out your dough and roll it out pretty thin (about 1/8th inch thick was the general internet consensus, but it’s not like anyone uses a fucking ruler in the kitchen, especially not babushkas). Cut the dough into circles with about 3” diameter (my biscuit cutter was about 3.5 inches, which created very large perogies). Plop a scant tablespoon of dough in the center. Wet the edges with some water, then fold over and smush the dough edges together. Place the finished perogies on parchment paper until you are ready to cook or freeze them.

Continue assembling perogies for what will feel like a fucking year, and then when they’re all ready, you can boil them in water. Once they start to float, let them coast for a minute to make sure the filling is done and then they are ready. You can also bake or fry them. There’s a lot of variability in perogy preparation. I haven’t been a babushka long enough to have a really strong opinion here. But serve your perogies with butter and sour cream.

If you want to freeze some of your perogies because you don’t feel like eating several dozen perogies in one sitting, you can freeze them raw and then just boil them frozen when you’re ready. It will take longer to cook if you’re cooking them from a frozen state, obvi.

 

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These perogies are fucking huge. I’m tempted to use a smaller biscuit cutter next time, but then I’d have to spend more time making perogies

May 2018 be the year we all become babushkas

-Serafina

 

*Time for a mini true story: My beloved boyfriend, whom I have mentioned on this blog at least once or twice, recently learned that he didn’t know when his birthday was. I made an appointment for him at the eye doctor and came home to tell him that they had the wrong birthday on file for him. He brushed it off, saying that they always had his birthday wrong, it was a clerical error. Then, they ran his insurance and his insurance also had his birthday one year off his supposed real birthday. His insurance, which is through his employer, should most definitely know when his birthday is. And that, my friends, is when a grown-ass man in his 30’s looked at his driver’s license and said “Whaaaaat?” And then he pulled out his birth certificate. And his passport. And then he called his father to double check all of the legal documents. And then, he took a bath. Because finding out you’re a year younger than you thought you were for your entire life is probably overwhelming.

Goodbye, Old-Ass Year

I figured I would make my final recipe post for 2016 – wait – 2017, my most complex one yet.

Okay, I hope you’re all done laughing now. I would never ever ruin a good year of coming up with half-assed recipes with a decent one. I would never ruin things, like Serafina always does. Like when she puts wine into recipes instead of drinking it. I will never understand such monsters.

So if you’re done with the old year and have given up in hopes that somehow changing a ‘7’ to an ‘8’ will somehow make your life better, well, my recipe this week won’t get in the way of that. It’s very self-loathing positive. Also, if you are snowed in or something, it uses very few ingredients, and you may have some lying around, or you can just make something else.

Whatever, I’m already drunk for NYE so I don’t care.

Mary Ellen’s fancy rice recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup veggie of choice (I used shelled edamame)
  • Salt to taste
  • Hummus as needed (optional)

Directions:

Cook up rice in a rice cooker because who the hell actually makes it on a stove. Steam vegetables, then mix all together with oil and sprinkling of salt. I enjoy mine with hummus, but I bet ranch dressing would also work.

Now go make some drunken mistakes with camera phones this NYE.

Mary Ellen

Vegetarian Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

I’ve talked to you all about how my boyfriend and I basically don’t eat any of the same foods. Because it wasn’t already hard enough to live and share a kitchen with a man-person, he also had to go and be a fucking meat eater.

Anyway, it was his birthday recently, and like any good girlfriend, I made his favorite meal. Now technically speaking, his favorite food is grilled dead cow or some shit, so I actually made his favorite vegetarian meal. The good news: it’s been so long since he’s had shepherd’s pie with meat that he thinks the vegetarian version is just as good. There isn’t any bad news. There wasn’t a reason for me to frame it like that.

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See the parts that are black, not brown? Yeah, try setting a timer. Or, like, staying in the general kitchen area instead of going to the backyard to sing your chickens lullabies.

This dish is a mash up of a bunch of lentil shepherds pie recipes, and unlike most of the shit I share on this blog, I actually cook this a lot so it doesn’t suck.

Oh, wait, I just thought of the bad news. I don’t measure things when I cook. I’ve tried to change my ways but it messes up the flow. So, everything in this recipe is an estimate. The second bad news: I didn’t actually make the gravy because my mushrooms smelled bad and I threw threw them in the compost. But I’m linking a gravy recipe that looks like it might taste good for vegetarian gravy….

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Those mushrooms looked like they were going to be totally fine, then I removed the cling wrap and almost died from the smell. I don’t know why I included them in this picture. It just prolonged my suffering.

Ingredients

1½ c veggie broth (1 ½ c water for 1 bouillon cube)

1 tbsp  dry red wine (optional)

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 tbsp flour

Veggies (2-4 cups cut into small pieces)

Options include:

-Celery

-Parsnips

-Carrots

-Sweet potato

-Acorn Squash

-Peas

2 c lentils (1/2 c dry green lentils)

3-4 potatoes

Butter

Salt and pepper

Herbs de province

Garlic powder

Olive oil

Directions

Cook potatoes and mash

Cook lentils with 2 cups water (add water as needed)

Mix the sauce by combining vegetable broth, tomato paste, wine and flour.

Sauté the veggies with oil, herbs de province and garlic powder for about 6 minutes until a little bit soft

Add the sauce and lentils to the vegetable mix and simmer for a few minutes

Pour the lentil and veggie mix into the bottom of the pan

Scoop potatoes onto the veggies and lentils in small portions and even out with a fork

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes

Broil for 5 minutes if potatoes are not yet brown on top (I also don’t set timers which may or may not be related to the shepherd’s pie getting a teensy bit more burned than it was supposed to)

For the gravy, you can try a package of mushroom gravy which comes out rather gross. Or you can try this recipe which is what I tried to do. Or you can do what I actually did which was to make a rue out of butter and flour and veggie broth, then just add dash of garlic powder, some more veggie broth if needed, and salt and pepper.

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May you find many other common meals with your significant other so you don’t have to order Indian food every fucking night.

-Serafina

Baby it’s Cold Outside. Or Warm, Depending on Where You Live I Guess

I’m not gonna lie, I wasn’t prepared for this week. Chalk it up to me coming down with the man flu or something. Also, it’s cold as hell where I live, but no snow (figure out where I live, you weather snoopers!). Also, I hate the expression “cold as hell” because I thought hell was hot, so am I being ironic and it’s not actually cold here? Even I don’t know, so I guess I can go ahead and wear shorts today.

I have been beyond unmotivated these last 20 years, and I doubt that will change in the next 20, loveliest readers. However, I’m dusting off my nice camera and picking up some more projects after the holidays, which means I’ll be putting those off and writing on here instead. Count yourselves lucky because you’ll be getting some quality content from me.

That day isn’t today though.

However, to keep things festive, I used sweet potatoes. I eat these a lot because I tell myself they are healthier than regular potatoes, which I also eat, but I’ll never tell you about it.

This recipe is easy, kind of healthy, vaguely filling, and vegan, so you can have all the bragging rights of every other asshole health nut out there that is bothering you to eat healthy.

Mary Ellen’s Sweet Potato Fiesta!

(This feeds two people)

Ingredients:

  • 2 baked sweet potatoes
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup preferred salsa
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander

Directions:

Cut sweet potatoes in half long ways and slice up the insides to break it open. Heat the rinsed beans until hot in the microwave and add the other ingredients. Spoon on potatoes. Enjoy the rest of your night or go to bed early.

It looks gross.

It looks gross.

The internets is my bae,

Mary Ellen

Self Care

I’m gonna get real with you guys for just a sec here. My life’s been a little chaotic balancing school, work, relationships, and chicken motherhood. Fortunately, I’ve been very thoughtful about how to best cope in times of stress and I have some really wonderful insights that I think will help all of you. I know I’m not the only one who gets stressed around the holidays!

1.Take some time every day to give your loved ones some much needed attention.

Our romantic relationships are easily strained during times of stress. I find it helpful to have little environmental reminders to shower my boyfriend with affection. For example, when I find a coffee cup left half full on the table from yesterday, I don’t just ignore it. I go right up to my boyfriend and throw the old coffee on his shoes. Don’t be deterred by his confusion and demands that the coffee cup was left out by you, not him. He noticed that you noticed, and he appreciated the loving gesture.

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Don’t let him get the upper hand when he pretends to be upset about his shoes, he’s just trying to trick you into taking his side.

2. Nourish your body with healthful foods.

I’ve written about this before, but it’s so important to lovingly give our brains and bodies the nourishment they need. I always reach for healthful, whole foods in times of increased stress.

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These gummy fruit candies are healthy because they are shaped like fruit, vegan, and they don’t have corn syrup. Corn syrup is poison, but fruit shaped things are quite healthy. All the scientists probably say so.

3. Experience nature as often as possible.

Is it 20 degrees where you are? Maybe 70 because of global warming? It doesn’t matter. Go outside and get some sunshine on your skin. Your body needs vitamin D. If you have to choose between getting vitamin D naturally and getting frostbite, go with the latter. Vitamin D is too important to just get from a supplement, you need the real thing.

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Who even knows what they put in supplements. Or pharmaceuticals. Or the water supply. Don’t trust anything, ever.

4. Take some “me” time.

So you haven’t slept in two days and you’re boyfriend’s pissed at you for dumping old coffee on his shoes? Life happens. It’s time to put aside your obligations, lock your boyfriend out of the house, ignore that deadline that passed four hours ago and take a nice soothing bath with a bottle of wine.

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You can pour it in a glass if you’re feeling like you need to be extra fancy, but make sure you drink the whole bottle otherwise it will go bad and then you’ll feel terrible for being wasteful.

Be good to yourselves,

Serafina

Turkey Leftovers and Being Efficient with Your Time

You guys are lucky that Serafina isn’t writing the post-food Christmas blog post. What would she even post about? How to repurpose carrots? How to convince people salads are a meal? No, you all want to know what I did with my butchered animal after we got tired of turkey sandwiches.

I’m not going to lie, I spent a good hour or two online looking for recipes on what to do with the dark meat of turkey. It all involved basically using every cheese and noodle you can find in the store. Don’t get me wrong, I love cheese. I have an unhealthy, lustful, and inappropriate relationship with cheese. But I’m already feeling fat as it is from the copious amounts of butter so I don’t want a cheese casserole sprinkled with turkey.

Psych! I’m using cheese, no need to close out your browser. But I didn’t make a casserole, because I didn’t want to, and I needed something easy and fast so I could go play Skyrim even faster. It’s all about being efficient with your time, so you can go on adventures with your demon horse.

Leftover turkey quesadillas!

Ingredients:

Leftover turkey (or chicken or goose or whatever)

White corn tortillas

Shredded cheese

Cranberry sauce (not the jelly kind, mine was homemade)

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat a skillet and layer your quesadilla as follows: tortilla, cheese, cranberry sauce, turkey, cheese, and tortilla. I salt and pepper the outside.

I forgot to take a picture of it done. I’m sorry. I was really focused on Skyrim.

Here’s a picture of my squirrel tea light holders instead:

No lollygaggin’,

Mary Ellen

Quinoa Lentil Chili (and feminism)

I was talking to my brother recently about how his wife always loads the dishwasher wrong (let’s be honest, it’s a pretty specific skill that not many have mastered). He was wondering if he could blame the whole episode on feminism. As a supportive sister, I told him he could blame whatever he wanted and he proceeded to write Gloria Steinem a strongly worded letter.

I felt guilty about our conversation, though, because while obviously the problem is feminism, I feel like Gloria probably loads her dishwasher effectively. She just strikes me as a strong, independent woman who doesn’t want to eat off a plate covered with hardened cheese particles.

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I wonder if Gloria Steinem gardens… if so, I bet she also makes chili out of her end of the season vegetable hodgepodge

By the way, this is one of those dishes you’re going to want to soak for a sec before you try to scrub the cheese off. Just in case there is anyone out there who needed a little remedial dishwashing LPT.

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Lentils and quinoa fly all over the stove any time you use them. It’s ok, because you can just ask your housekeeper to come back to clean up again once the food is done.

Ingredients:

Oil

¾ cup lentils, rinsed

¾ cup quinoa, rinsed

1 cup diced butternut squash

2 cans diced tomatoes (or use many fresh tomatoes)

2 cups veggie broth

About 1 tsp Garlic powder

Small amount onion powder

About 2 tbsp Chili powder

About 1 tbsp Cumin

A little bit of oregano

Salt and pepper

½ Lemon

Optional: Tortilla chips, cheese,  avocado

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Did I clean up some of the spilled quinoa in between pictures? Probably. Because I’m a feminist who also appreciates a clean stovetop. So I made my boyfriend wipe it off in between shots.

Instructions

Heat oil and add spices. Allow to simmer for a minute. Add butternut squash, lentils, quinoa, tomatoes, and veggie broth. Add lemon, quartered with seeds removed. Keep the skin on, you’ll remove all the lemon chunks before serving. Simmer for a while, until butternut squash and lentils are soft. I think mine simmered for about 45 minutes, but it could have been done sooner.

If it is too thick by the time everything is done, I will sometimes throw in a full can of tomato sauce. I also do that if I accidentally made it too spicy.

Serve with tortilla chips, avocado, and/or cheese.

Think about how we’re now getting 79 cents on the dollar now, ladies, it’s really starting to come together for us!

-Serafina