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

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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

Sandwich Bread for Drake

Well, I’m back, folks. First and foremost, I would like to address some of the rumors that may have been circulating about me and being kidnapped.

It’s true, I was kidnapped while on vacation. However, there was no ransom pitched, unfortunately, to my husband. I wish I could say that my time with my kidnappers was traumatic, but I quickly moved up the ranks to second in command of what turned out to be a Drake cult. Like, Drake wasn’t a member. Just people that worshipped him like a God, the way God Intended.

We were riding high, baby. If you could just imagine a Gatsby style life, it was like that. Women, cars, money, and wine flowed like wine.

It all came to a crashing halt last week when the feds investigated our poorly executed money laundering scheme that we tried to make using an actual laundromat.

Maybe you’re wondering why I’m not in prison. Maybe not. Maybe you’re thinking, “I came here for a bread recipe, why am I reading about this criminal?” Well, you’re just going to be in for loads of disappointment today. I sung like a canary. I gave the man all he wanted to know, and a lot he didn’t want to know. To reward my rat like persona, I just have to wear an ankle bracelet and stay under house arrest for the next 10 years. I offered to give random urine samples but the DA rejected my offer.

So now, down to bread. I promised if I ever got out of the cult, I would try and perfect bread making. So I tried out the classic sandwich bread recipe from King Arthur’s flour website. Just go there for the recipe and instructions because I’m lazy and phone it in explaining things to others, and bread isn’t forgiving in that way. But I took pictures for you.

Basically, I did the recipe exactly the way it called for, except I substituted half the all purpose flour with King Arthur’s whole wheat flour. To, you know, make it “healthier.”

My very first ball of glutinous bread dough.

My very first ball of glutinous bread dough 💖💖💖

 

I didn’t knead this bread by hand, which I regret. I used a dough hook on my electric mixer and while it was kneading I cleaned up. I hated the proficiency of my high class technology.

Arrrr Arrr! Somber dog lies waiting for her bread feast.

All in all, the bread was delicious, but didn’t turn out quiet the size and shape I wanted. I attribute this to over poofing, and the wheat flour, and maybe the amount of yeast I used. Also, I don’t know how to shape dough, which is apparently a skill, but I’ll YouTube that shit later. Doesn’t matter. I will scarf this down happily and try again. The crust and inside texture was perfect. I’m going for a bread machine recipe next though so I can be lazier. Some of my criminal sources brought me Serafina’s FBI file so I know that it’s her birthday today! She doesn’t look a day over 57, she looks amazing, I tell ya. I’m celebrating your honor by continuing to obsessively make the Fried rice recipe until I die. I eat mine with hummus to make it more self righteous.

 

“Pussy run everything.” – Drake

 

Mary Ellen

Fried Rice

Friends, I wanted to talk to you about fried rice today. I have a wonderful story about how I learned to cook fried rice from an Asian lady I met while camping in the Pacific Northwest (we were searching for Bigfoot). But, I just can’t go into that right now. I’m too distracted by my very meaningful research.

You see, I recently started learning about carrots, and it ended up being a bit of a rabbit hole. Did just miss an opportunity for a pun? Shit. Sorry, I’m off my game. I’ve just been so distracted by carrot history that I failed one of my classes and I forgot to feed my boyfriend for a whole week (some how he survived off of Doritos and a bag of beef jerky he found).

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I’m so sorry there aren’t more carrots in this picture

Did you know that there is a virtual carrot museum? I was actually really disappointed to learn it wasn’t a brick and mortar museum because I would have traveled to see it. It talks all about the history of carrots. My new goal in life is to get everyone to change the standard color of carrots again, just to honor me.

Anyway, this fried rice has tons of carrots in it, and it’s also the perfect food. It’s what I make when I go camping and also any other time I’m hungry and there is rice around.

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I also used zucchini since I had one. Zucchini is probably not an authentic addition to fried rice

Ingredients

About 2 cups of cooked rice

About 1 cup of veggies (carrots and peas are a good place to start)

3 eggs

Toasted sesame oil

Coconut aminos (or tamari)

Vegetable oil

Garlic powder

Salt and pepper

Hot sauce

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It’s ok if some of the peas and carrots end up in the eggs. No one will yell at you. Probably.

Instructions for making fried rice while camping (you can adjust these to use in your kitchen if you’re cooking indoors because it’s like fall or something)

Start by heating some oil and garlic powder in a cast iron skillet. Add your veggies and sauté until they are mostly done, then push all the veggies to the side of the pan. Crack all three eggs into the pan and scramble them with a spatula. If you are making this at home, you can try to cook your eggs without burning the shit out of them. If you are using a camp stove, just go with the lowest possible setting, I found that my lowest setting was “extra high.” Once the eggs are mostly done, add the rice, sesame oil, and coconut aminos. Cook until everything is thoroughly heated. Adjust seasonings to taste. Add hot sauce.

If you are camping, serve on plastic plates with sporks, but don’t forget to arrange attractively.

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You can hardly tell I wasn’t camping because I used a spork and a camping cup.

Kumbaya, my future purple carrot farmers…

Serafina

 

Intuitive eating

Friends, I am going to start with an apology. I know I said that I would be eating exclusively soups until Mary Ellen gets rescued from her “vacation,” but I heard about intuitive eating in passing, and I just couldn’t force my body to stick to a strict diet of noodles and butternut squash any longer.

Has anyone else heard about intuitive eating? I’m going to be honest, I heard the phrase one time. And, as with all potentially complex subjects, I’m going to brazenly assume that I know what it means. Yesterday, I got off of a long hard day of work and by body intuitively knew that I needed to wander around the grocery store until I found some vegan gummy bears, and then I needed to intuitively eat them in my car while swerving slightly and shaking my fist at other cars (I couldn’t scream at them because I had a mouth-full of gummy bears).

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I do have green things in my fridge. But my body knew that I needed gummy bears.

Today, I got off of another long day at work, and while my brain thought I should make some quinoa lentil chili, my body knew better. I reached for a jar of chocolate almond butter that I bought yesterday before I found the gummy bears, and then I ate half of the jar with a spoon while drinking a beer.

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The beer is in a fancy stout glass, because I intuitively wanted to bump up the classiness

You guys know how passionate I am about health food, and this intuitive eating idea is no different. I’m just so grateful that there is finally a phrase for the healthful way I approach shoving completely reasonable amounts of sugar in my mouth.

Serafina

Butternut Squash, Carrot, Apple Soup

I think I’m only going to make soup until Mary Ellen gets un-kidnapped. It’ll be like a hunger strike, but I’ll still get to eat soup, which sounds nice. I thought about starting a fundraiser for her ransom money, but I was too hungry from my hunger strike idea, so this will have to do.

I cleared out the rest of my garden this week and found  several butternut squash as well as a few carrots I had missed earlier in the season. I started shooting photos while making this soup, but my camera died, and I couldn’t find the charger. You’re all in luck, though, because in addition to going to school to be Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, I have also completed extensive coursework in courtroom illustration. So, I was able to quickly and accurately draw the important steps of this recipe. I imagine you won’t even notice the difference between my exceptional photography and illustrations.

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I had to cut off a section because a squirrel took a bite of this squash. Fucking squirrels.

This soup was loosely inspired by this recipe

Soup in bowl

Ingredients

Butternut squash

Two carrots

One apple

Small shallot or leek

Garlic (about one clove or some garlic powder)

Fresh thyme (about 2 tsp)

Fresh sage (about 2 tsp)

About 3-4 cups vegetable broth

Olive oil

Coconut milk

Salt and pepper to taste

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In practice, you’ll want to chop the carrots and apple prior to placing them in the pot, I just left them whole for the sake of the composition

Instructions:

Cut butternut squash in half and scoop out seeds. Brush with olive oil and then lightly salt and pepper it. Roast face down on a baking sheet at 400° until soft (about 45 minutes)

Once done, let cool for a few minutes until you can handle it. Scoop out all of the squash into a bowl.

Cut apple and carrots into bite sized pieces

In a large pot, saute garlic and leeks (or shallot) until soft and fragrent. Add carrot, apple, cooked squash, thyme, sage, and vegetable broth. Simmer until apples and carrots are soft )about 15 minutes or so. Add coconut milk. Blend with an immersion blender.

Garnish with salt and pepper, per illustration

 

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Dig in!

Serafina

Minestrone

Oh, hey guys! Sorry, was that a microaggression? I want to clarify that I wasn’t assuming anyone’s gender there. I honestly couldn’t care less how many penises or butt holes you have.

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I felt guilty sorting out the green tomatoes, but don’t worry, I held each of them to my face and let them know that I’d eat them once they changed the essence of their being

Anyway, I don’t know if y’all noticed, but it is fall (oh, I just now got why southerners say y’all, it’s to avoid the microaggression!) I’m so, so sorry this blog doesn’t have any pumpkin recipes yet. It’s not going to change today. What will change is the number of soup recipes we have to offer you. Thanks to my productive garden this year, and the fact that there isn’t an Olive garden within 25 miles of me, I decided to make my own minestrone.

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I’m pretty sure that my distance to the nearest Olive Garden qualifies my area as a food desert

I adapted this recipe from many, many minestrone recipes. I also only used what I had on hand since I really didn’t feel like going to a grocery store. I also think this is one of the few places that whole wheat noodles would work really well.

Ingredients

Olive Oil

Onion powder (or about ½ an onion if you don’t hate onions)

Garlic powder (or a few cloves of garlic)

1 zucchini, chopped into bite sized pieces

Several cups of fresh tomatoes, diced (or a can of diced tomatoes)

About 6 cups of vegetable broth

A handful of fresh basil or 1-2 tsp dried

1-2 tsp dried herbs de provence spice blend

1 tsp oregano

1 can of chickpeas

About 8 oz pasta

Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional veggies that often go in minestrone, but that I did not have on hand: carrots, spinach, potatoes)

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The large pile of mint did not go into the minestrone. That went into a julep because I was in a Southern mood after learning to say y’all

Instructions

Heat oil in a large pan, and sauté garlic powder and onion powder briefly until fragrant. Add carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, chickpeas, and other dried spices. Cook for a few minutes. Then add broth and bring to a simmer. Add pasta and continue to simmer. A few minutes before the pasta is done, add in your fresh basil and other greens if using.

Serve with obscene amounts of parmesan.

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This was a far more attractive amount of parmesan, than I actually used.

Serafina

Dragon Noodles

Friends, I have good news and bad news. I’ll just lead with the good stuff. I finally got in touch with Mary Ellen after her impromptu trip to the Caribbean. She doing so great. Just so great. Incidentally, she did get a little bit kidnapped. I don’t have the details, but her extraordinarily wealthy husband is refusing to pay the ransom because he found out she isn’t a natural blonde.

So much drama, am I right?

Anyway, I was craving some healthy Asian food after hearing about Mary Ellen’s plight (plus, when I tried to get in touch with her husband to see if he was DTF with her out of the picture, I realized he had blocked my number), so I decided to go with one of my stand-bys, Dragon Noodles. It has only 4 tbsp of butter, which is only half a stick, so this easily falls into the “healthy weeknight dinner” category. If only I had remembered to buy, cook, and then eat some vegetables…

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My housekeepers came over today and I still couldn’t clear off the fucking counter before taking pictures

Ingredients

4 tbsp butter

8 oz package of soba noodles

3 eggs

1/4 tsp garlic powder

Coconut aminos

Hot sauce (I used Cholula, though Sriracha is also good if you’re into that sort of thing)

Red pepper flakes

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I didn’t scramble the eggs according to Gordon Ramsay’s method. But they aren’t raw, so there’s that!

Instructions

Cook soba noodles in water per package directions

Melt about 1 tbsp of butter in a pan, and then scramble your eggs

Once eggs are cooked, set aside

Melt the remaining butter with garlic powder

Once pasta has been drained, place it back in the pot and pour butter mixture over it. Add a good amount of coconut aminos and some hot sauce, mix to coat. Then add eggs and serve.

This is a messy dish. It would maybe serve more than one person if after serving yourself a bowl, you didn’t immediately move the rest of the food within reach of your chopsticks.

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Giant pot of delicious spiciness=one serving. As an aside, if anyone has any antacids they want to send my way, feel free

Spice up your life

Serafina

Healthy snacking

When life gets stressful, it’s important to manage your health and nutrition. I recently started working from home more often. Not actually working from home, per se, but I’m home more often so I can focus on my rigorous studies, training to be the next Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman.  When you don’t have coworkers around you and small, measurable workplace goals, it’s harder to keep yourself motivated and on task.

I’ve found that a well-timed, healthful snack is extremely important in my home productivity. It’s essential to ensure your snacks have whole grains and protein, which is why I swapped out half of the flour for whole wheat and kept the eggs in this recipe for cookie dough.

I like to have my first snack of the morning with coffee, after I’ve watched a few episodes of Dr. Quinn, taking detailed notes.

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You can see that there is a box of deck screws behind the eggs. That’s because I have other hobbies that I may or may not choose to share with you. How about you get off my back about it?

By mid-afternoon, I find that my energy levels are subsiding, so I make sure to have some healthful green tea (full of antioxidants and just a little jolt of caffeine), along with some sensible whole grains and protein

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I just couldn’t resist the photogenic nibble while my tea was brewing!

Now, by the time evening rolls around, I start to really drag. I’m going to be honest, every now and then I get an intense sugar craving, but sugar is so bad for you! So, I usually drink some sparkling water with a nice snack, chock full of fiber, protein, and healthy fats!

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I make my own sparking water with reusable CO2 containers, it’s much healthier for the environment and me!

Happy, healthy snacking, everyone!

Serafina