Morally superior granola

These are difficult times for people who constantly take the moral high ground and sometimes forget to point it out to people. For example, I recently got curbside compost (in addition to the backyard compost) and only put my trash out every other week. So, I’m a lot better than everyone else. The guys who pick up my trash know it, but I can’t tell if my neighbors have noticed. I should knock on their doors to tell them how environmentally friendly I am, but I’d hate to contribute to their carbon footprint when they open their doors and their air conditioning has to work extra. I just can’t take on that kind of responsibility for them.

It’s hard enough keeping your own household running. Did you know I caught my house keepers throwing my recycling away with the trash? And I found that monstrosity of a trash bag in the compost bin. Don’t worry, I wrote a very harsh review about the whole fiasco on Yelp. I’m waiting to hear back from the management to see how I can be compensated for the emotional toll this has taken on me.

Are you looking for ways to be more engaged in the community? You can start by providing spontaneous feedback to others about the choices they are making and recommendations about how to improve. Oh, you didn’t rescue your dog? You should abandon your dog right now so a better person can rescue him. Your dog doesn’t want to be with the kind of monster who got him from a breeder.

Another important aspect of being morally upstanding is making your own food, instead of buying food that may have indirectly caused human or animal suffering. Not only is this granola vegan, but it’s guaranteed cruelty-free (unless you accidentally burn yourself on the side of the oven).

granola.JPG
Laying out your ingredients with a clean towel also helps you feel like you’re better than other people, if you need some help on that front

Adapted from Cookie & Kate

Ingredients:

4 cups oats

1 cup nuts (I used slivered almond and pecans)

½ cup melted coconut oil or unsalted butter

1/3 cup maple syrup or honey

½ teaspoon salt

½ tsp vanilla extract

½-1 cup dried fruit (I recommend anything but raisins because raisins are the worst)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° degrees.

If you want this to be morally superior granola, you’re going to need to melt the coconut oil in the oven while it’s preheating. If you just want to make regular granola, I guess you can use the microwave, but I fully expect you to judge yourself for your decisions.

Mix oats, salt, nuts, coconut oil, vanilla, and maple syrup in a large bowl.

Spread thinly on a baking sheet or a 9×13 pan.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until oats and nuts are nice and toasty

Once cooled, stir in dried fruit.

Store in a jar that your boyfriend has tried to recycle numerous times, but you keep foiling him. You can’t recycle it until you’ve fully reused it. Try to make eye contact and bring up the history of the jar every time you get a handful of granola.

Granola 3.JPG
Blueberries are the dried fruit of choice. After our jar argument, I explained to my boyfriend that raisins are bad and he should feel bad about himself for liking them.
Advertisements

Defeated Eggplant

A Saturday post? What am I doing here? I thought it was still Tuesday. I’ll have to talk to my assistant about keeping a better schedule for me, and maybe limit my daytime drinking just a bit. 
This week has defeated me in almost every way. I am so excited for this weekend, where I still have a shit ton to do, but Annie is also semi available and I can just ignore it all and go drink sake in the corner. 

Since Serafina already shared my likeness, I’m sharing this intimate moment with Annie post coitus. Sorry we look like shit. I’m wearing my house/chore clothes and he’s a corporate accountant and has let himself go.

I promised myself I would never do an eggplant recipe on this blog, but, just like I do with everyone else, I break promises frequently and aggressively. This recipe will not win anyone over that is scared of eggplant.  It really is for people who already like it. 
It’s also adapted from my sister’s recipe that I saw her make once many years ago. I was going to call her and ask how to do it, but I just sent her dance videos for hours instead, never mentioning that I was destroying her recipe and posting it publicly. 
Let’s get to it. 

On the plus side, this recipe doesn’t involve much attention, so it’s good for fellow lazy assholes like me.

Sista Ethel May Darkhorse’s Eggplant Appetizer (pillaged from the mind of Mary Ellen’s sister, Inception style)

Ingredients:

  • Eggplant
  • Bell pepper (I like yellow)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Salt (I used course Himalayan in a grinder)
  • Goat cheddar (don’t fucking use anything else) 

Directions: 

Slice the eggplant fairly thinly, salt, and put in a colander to sweat for several hours. When ready to bake, rinse and pat dry. 

Eggplant sweat lodge. Yes, that’s my dirty pan from breakfast. It’s fine. I’m fine.

Lay the eggplant out on a pan with parchment paper and brush with the vinegar. Bake at 375 degrees until it’s pretty done. I didn’t time it, sorry. It’s up to you, young Jedi, to figure that shit out. 

I like to put the pepper on top because it’s pretty.

Remove from oven and flip the eggplant. Brush the other side with vinegar and then lay out cheese slices and pepper on top. Drizzle with oil and salt. Put the eggplant in to broil until the cheese is melted. 

If you didn’t almost burn the house down with the parchment paper, then good for fucking you. Guess you are just perfect at everything, huh?

Remove from oven, and eat it. It’s weird and eggplant-like. Yummy. 

Ugh, need to get a manicure.

The odds aren’t in your favor,

Mary Ellen 

How to create more positive self-talk

Listen, everyone. There’s a lot of negativity in the world, and if anything is going to change, we need to start with ourselves. I’ve included some examples of self talk that starts off not-so-positive, and how to flip it around to be more self-loving (but not in that way, stop being so gross).

DSC_0004
Peaceful pictures of apple blossoms help inspire positivity

Example One:

“You really need to put on some make up so you don’t look like such an ugly hooker”

First of all, it’s best to use the non-pejorative term ‘sex worker.’ Next, you want to turn the statement into a positive. Try this instead:

“Maybe if you put on some make up you won’t look like such an ugly sex worker”

Didn’t that feel better?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
This is a real picture from the back room of the vegan topless bar in Texas where Mary Ellen and I met

Example Two:

“You just ate two entire pints of ice cream, no wonder you’re such a fat ugly cow”

Cows aren’t fat, that’s just how Goddess made them. Let’s try taking a more cow-friendly, positive spin on this self-talk:

“Good job eating those two pints of ice cream, you’re such a fat ugly person. Cows are beautiful creatures.”

I don’t know about you, but I feel better when I’m noticing the beauty and majesty of cows, instead of focusing on the negative.

cows
See, cows are beautiful

Example Three:

“I can’t believe you overdrew your bank account, you goddamn dumb bitch”

That sounded a little harsh, didn’t it? I bet it felt harsh when you said it to yourself. So, maybe don’t overdraw your bank account next time, you goddamn dumb bitch.

trees
If you didn’t overdraw your bank account and get evicted from your apartment, you wouldn’t have moved to the forest to live with the squirrels

Namaste,

Serafina

 

Vegan Chocolate Sheet Cake (with non-vegan chocolate frosting)

Guess what, everyone? I tried to find a recipe for a vegan chocolate sheet cake last week (I was low on eggs and had to bring cake to a barbecue). I could not find any vegan sheet cake recipes. What the fuck? Is this because vegans don’t have enough friends to bother with sheet cake? No offense, vegans. But maybe if you used some butter you’d have more friends. #realtalk #sorrynotsorry

IMG_0931
I am pretty new to sheet-cake-level popularity, so I don’t have large platters. I’m working on it, and I made do with the cake carrier this time

Anyhoo, I ended up making a few slight adaptations to a vegan chocolate layer cake recipe that I have used for years. It turned out marvelously, and thanks to a butter-filled frosting, everyone wanted to be my friend.

IMG_0910edit.JPG
I poured my vanilla and apple cider vinegar into bowls for you guys, instead of just taking more pictures of my vanilla jar with the rusty lid. Making friends takes effort. And butter.

This works as a layer cake with two 9in cake pans, or it could also make 24 cupcakes. I found this handy baking time chart for all you type A vegans looking to make friends with cake.

Adapted from Joy the Baker

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups flour

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup canola oil

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

2 cups cold water

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 9 x 13 in pan and line with parchment. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside.

Mix flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Sifting is advised because cocoa power is a pain in the ass and clumps.

Mix the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla together in a medium bowl.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined (vegan cakes get cranky when they are over-mixed, no one wants to eat a cranky cake)

Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for about 35 minutes. It is done when the skewer comes out mostly clean.

Cool completely then transfer onto a cake platter to be frosted.

IMG_0912edit.JPG
I was not sure about the baking time, so I stabbed the cake with a bamboo skewer about 20 times. It was effective. Also, I didn’t use a timer

Chocolate Frosting, adapted from a recipe on the back of a box of baking chocolate

Ingredients

8 oz baking chocolate (I usually do ½ unsweetened and ½ bittersweet)

6 tablespoons butter

About 1/3 cup milk (I use unsweetened almond milk)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon salt

About 3 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

Melt butter and chocolate. I usually use the old put a bowl over some boiling water method. Once melted, take off heat and let cool for a minute. Add vanilla and salt.

Alternately beat in powdered sugar and milk until you get a thick, but spreadable consistency. Spread evenly on cake. This frosting hardens and becomes fudgy when it cools.

IMG_0922edit.JPG
I don’t know how there are already splashes of butter and chocolate on the cake carrier, I hadn’t even mixed in the powdered sugar at this point, and that’s the messy part

You don’t make friends with salad

Serafina

Making Salad While Procrastinating 

I’m leaving on my trip to the state where Serafina lives, in two days! So, of course I’m not prepared and I’ve been putting everything off by watching Korean pop dance videos all week. 

However, if you make salad instead of a packing checklist, people will judge you less. They think you’re just prioritizing your health or some bullshit like that. 

Remember my post about how Serafina and I met? Well, in celebration of our impending reunion, I’ve decided to share the recipe for the Kicked up Kowboy Kale recipe that was so popular at the vegetarian topless bar that we once worked.  Instead of bacon bits, which I assume is on everything with a cowboy theme, we’re using spiced nuts.  It’s a really easy recipe, but makes just enough of a mess in the kitchen that you get pissed off because now you have more fucking cleaning to do before the god damn trip. Fuck. 

Kicked up Kowboy Kale (adapted from the sketchy owners of a 1960s era topless bar in West Texas

Ingredients: 

(If you’re making this for your own vegetarian topless bar, multiply the recipe by 40)

  • 1 bunch of Kale 
  • 1/4 cup ranch dressing (whichever you prefer)
  • 1 TBSP BBQ sauce (again, whatever brand you prefer) 
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts (or pecans)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Drizzle of maple syrup (a drizzle means different things to different people – you have to discover your own drizzles) 

Directions: 

Put the nuts in a pan at medium high heat with the salt, sugar, cumin, maple syrup, and a couple tablespoons of water. Toast them until they are sticky. 

I literally cook everything in my wok.


While your nuts are toasting, prepare the Kale. 

You will not be healthy for me today, Kale!

Here’s the thing about Kale: it’s great for you and all, but I find it chewy and not great to eat in salads (the curly stuff). Solve this minor problem by drizzling a teaspoon of olive oil and massaging it into the Kale in a bowl. It’ll prevent it from being chewy. 

Prepare the dressing by adding the BBQ sauce to the ranch dressing and drizzle onto the Kale. Toss with your hands and make sure it’s all thoroughly covered. 

Taking a page from the book of Serafina, I did not clean the kitchen before doing any of this.

Plate the salad and add the nuts. That’s it. 

I only have a few place mats left, so I didn’t use one this week until I can get more. It’s like formal dresses. You can’t be photographed in the same one twice. It’s the same with placemats.

I will see you soon, Serafina. 
-Mary Ellen 

Things my Boyfriend Won’t Eat (Broccoli Rabe Pasta)

If you’ve been following our blog for awhile, or at least have skimmed the bios, you probably know that I’m not a lesbian. I know, I know, it’s a big disappointment. But, here we are. Not only does my man/boy friend not have lady parts, he’s also an avid meat eater and hater of veggies. I’m not sure how we live in the same house.

At one point, I started trying to increase the amount of home cooked and healthy meals we ate, so I started a collection of recipes that he will actually eat. It’s in a folder on my desktop titled “togetherness meals” and one of the documents is actually a list of things he won’t eat, because it was easier for me to think of that than things he was willing to eat. I included an excerpt below

IMG_0853edit
Spoiler alert: this pot of greens is on the list!

Things Serafina’s man-friend won’t eat

“Foot Cheese” (apparently the only cheeses that don’t smell like feet are mild cheddar and mozzarella)

Calciferous vegetables

Squash or other gourds

Tomatoes

Eggplant

Anything with a weird texture

IMG_0851edit.JPG
I had trouble not eating the parm immediately after grating it because people who aren’t romantically involved with me generally prefer cheeses with flavor.

Anyway, to celebrate an alone evening I had last weekend, I made all of my man-friend’s least favorite foods (don’t worry, he wasn’t sleeping in a tent outside because we had another vegetable fight, he was just visiting his dad).

 

Broccoli Rabe (AKA Rapini) Pasta, adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

½ lb pasta

½ bunch broccoli rabe (I don’t know how else to quantify this, maybe like a full handful?)

Olive oil

Garlic powder

Juice of about ½ a lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Parmesan

IMG_0859.JPG
You’re not required to clean your sink before draining the pasta, but you will get bragging rights if you use a clean colander.

Instructions

Cut broccoli rabe into bite sized pieces, with the larger stems removed.

Cook pasta half way and then add in the broccoli rabe.

Cook until pasta is al dente and broccoli rabe is mostly soft, then drain.

In the same pan, sauté garlic powder (or real garlic if you’re the sort of person who keeps that on hand) in the olive oil for a minute or so to bring out the flavors. Add the pasta and a healthy squeeze of lemon juice. Mix to coat.

Cover with copious amounts of parmesan.

IMG_0881edit
The ideal pasta to greens ratio is 1:1, and the ideal wine glass will hold about half a bottle of wine (don’t worry, I got a refill shortly after taking this photo)

How to Prepare for House Guests (better than Martha Stewart) 

The past few weeks have been incredibly eventful for me. Not only did I catch a super chest cold from my baby, I am still hacking up a lung and feel sexier than ever.

 
Now, I have to shift my focus to having house guests.

 
I love having house guests. It forces me to really take a look at my life and also take a long sniff at the perpetual dog stench that clings to the air and seeps into the couch. With a baby, poop is now added to create a war of stinky aromatics.
So here’s my list of things I do to get ready for house guests and create an experience that’ll leave them wanting more, wanting more information on what’s going on, or wanting to get the hell out of your house and never return.

 
1. Meal plan. 

Yes, it’s a good idea to feed your guests. Thankfully, it’s warmish outside and we can use our grill that doesn’t keep temperature to burn everyone’s food. Soup is also a good meal because you can make a lot and look like you know what you’re doing.

 
2. Wash your pets. 

img_4232
Dog shame.



Ours hadn’t been cleaned in months, so they smelled. It’s also a good idea to wash everything they touch, which in my case, is everything.

 
3. Clean the floors. 

I literally just did and there’s a clump of dog hair already on it. The baby will soon crawl around in it and spread the clump further, so this point really is just to say that you tried.

 
4. Laundry. 

Make sure there’s clean bedding for your guests, especially when your dogs sleep in the guest bed on a regular basis.

 
5. Get distracted and watch Netflix. 

img_4239
Yes we can, Sung Hoon. Let’s go.



My poison of choice right now is Korean dramas. My brain tells me they’re garbage yet my body wants to rub itself all over them. It’s only creepy if I say it out loud.

 
6. Groom yourself. 

img_4238
On the plus side, I also have coral colored stripes all over my arm.



I try to present myself as kind of having it together for guests, which includes doing my nails, and then fucking them up immediately because I forgot I was making tea and it was over steeping.

 

7. When all else fails, distraction is key.

This could includes my favorites: alcohol, burning incense, running an aromatherapy diffuser (both cover up smells, but also makes you look like a stoner hippy – use with caution), barking dogs, and the baby.  Then they won’t notice that maybe you didn’t hide your sex toys or condoms well enough.

 

Good luck.

 

-Mary Ellen

Mac and Cheese

A couple weeks ago, both my boyfriend and I both had bronchitis. We were sick as hell and all of our communication was reduced to grunting and gesturing. Neither of us bathed for like three days. It was nice. Right before I got really sick, I realized we had no food in the house, so I bravely put on pants and went to the store to get essentials. I got like 10 cans of soup, a couple apples, and ingredients for Mac and Cheese.

Mac and cheese More cheese
I didn’t buy enough cheese, so I supplemented with some sliced muenster, which by some miracle, wasn’t already moldy.

I’ve mentioned it a few times, but my body doesn’t get along with dairy products super well. For that reason, I only ever use almond milk or coconut milk. But I can’t give up butter and cheese, even if it means that in addition to coughing up my lungs, I was crop dusting the hell out of my boyfriend for like three days. Cheese and butter are worth his suffering. I’m a true romantic.

Recipe adapted from food.com

Ingredients

8 oz pasta (I used penne but there’s nothing wrong with elbow macaroni)

½ stick of butter

¼ cup flour

Salt and Pepper

2 cups milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)

2 cups shredded cheese

Mac and Cheese Cheesy Sauce
When you are getting sick, you don’t bother to clean your stove top before taking pictures.

Directions

Cook pasta and drain.

Melt the butter and whisk in flour to make a rue. Let sit over medium heat for a couple minutes, add salt and pepper, then add milk and mix well. Slowly add cheese and mix until it is melted. Add pasta to sauce. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with salad if you feel like your body is begging for nutrients.

Mac and cheese plate
Salad and wine magically turn everything into a healthy meal, even if you’re lactose intolerant and just ate a pound of cheese

I regret that I don’t keep the ingredients for this recipe on hand, but whenever I make it, I have other regrets. Is this the circle of life?

Serafina

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I really wanted to do another doughnut recipe because I was inspired by Mary Ellen’s last post, but I didn’t have time. When you’re preparing for a Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman final exam, there isn’t much time for doughnuts (The exam is basically driving out to a farm and then doing practical multitasking midwifery while you pull babies out of cows, humans, goats, etc. The people and animals that live on a farm are always pregnant, so as long as you drive with your preceptor, it doesn’t matter which farm you go to).

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I made these cookies. I froze more than half the dough in dough balls, and then ate all the cookies and all frozen dough within a few hours. It was very nice.

IMG_0756
I can’t respect people who don’t eat cookie dough because of raw eggs. They’re just like the people who don’t eat food that they’re allergic to. I’m allergic to peanuts, so I only eat them when I know I have an Epipen with me.

This isn’t one of those horrible recipes that expects you to have your butter softened or rest the dough in the fridge for 8 years. This recipe knows you, and knows that if there is softened butter in your kitchen, it’s probably been sitting unnoticed for at least a year. Year old butter doesn’t tend to yield tasty cookies, and you deserve tasty cookies.

Choc. Chip Cookies, butter.JPG
Browned butter tastes better anyway (which is what I tell myself to feel better about my inability to plan ahead)

It also doesn’t have any stupid shit about only using an egg yolk. My chickens work hard laying eggs and I’m not about to let anything go to waste (they’d find out and probably peck my eyes out)

I started a sugar-elimination diet the same morning I decided to make these cookies. I didn’t have processed sugar in my system for at least six hours, which was probably the most important aspect of this cookie success. By the time the dough was done, I had nearly collapsed from lack of sugar. These cookies literally saved my life.

Choc Chip Cookie Dough
I advise using big chocolate chips and trying not to eat all the dough before you’ve made a couple cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen https://smittenkitchen.com/2009/03/crispy-chewy-chocolate-chip-cookies/

Ingredients:

2 cups flour

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

¾ cup unsalted butter, melted, or browned

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup sugar

1 tbsp vanilla

2 eggs

About 2 cups chocolate chips

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325°

Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl

Cream sugars and melted butter, then whisk in eggs and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon to combine. Stir in the chocolate chips. Don’t bother chilling your dough and gallantly drop dough balls onto the baking sheet. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, watching closely. Transfer cookies to a wire cooling rack. If you’re baking all of your cookie dough, just keep on keeping on. If you are freezing some of it, let the baking sheet cool. Then, fill the baking sheet with balls of dough and stick in the freezer for 30 minutes-1 hour. Once relatively frozen, cookie dough balls can go into freezer bags, waiting patiently for the day that they will be eaten.

 

Cookies and dough balls

May the cookie force be with you

-Serafina

The Definitive Guide to Diet and Exercise

[Note to readers: Mary Ellen is not a doctor, but she plays several on TV. She played both Trapper John and Hawkeye Pierce on the hit TV series M*A*S*H, so, it goes without saying, she’s an expert. Take everything she says like gospel] 


Everyone that knows me knows that I’m the pinnacle of health and fitness. My body, being perfect by any standard, has reached the end of the fitness journey. Health nirvana, you could say. 

So, I decided to let you in on my secrets. That’s right. I’m just giving them away, FOR FREE. Fuck you, Dr. Oz.
 
1. Fad Diet

Do all the fad diets. All of them. Because it’s difficult to pick just one sometimes, you can do them at the same time. This keeps your body constantly in fear of what you might do to it, so it burns fat faster as well as sculpting your glutes. Be careful about being ahead of trends, because while it might gain traction and be popular, contributing to an extra 30% more beneficial outcome, you lose -7 points if the trend falls on its face. 

2. Update on social media

This almost goes without saying, but it’s a scientific fact that you burn 70% less calories when you don’t post your workouts online. In addition, if you don’t post your healthy meals online, you gain three pounds. However, if you post your unhealthy meals online with a self depricating joke about how you’re going to “totally be super fat after eating this” than it cuts the calories, as well as saturated fats by more than half. If you’re doing a cleanse, juicing or otherwise, or doing a diet that markets itself like a meathead challenge, you better post before and after pictures, as well as every single day you do it. Make sure you tell everyone you have more energy, despite not drinking coffee during it. 

3. Add workout regimens to Pinterest

It doesn’t really matter if you do them or not, what matters is that you are looking at them. Bonus burn if you change the descriptions because it’s weird when you don’t. 

4. Wear athletic gear out

This is especially important if you’re at a coffee shop or doughnut shop (see, Serafina, I’m fucking conforming to your impossibly high spelling standards!). Generally, I’m always a little sweaty and worn out from the restful night I had baby wrangling, so I look authentic. Jogging in place also helps, as well as aggressively (but friendly) giving your order to the attendant. Take up space, puff out your chest, because you earned this, baby.  When you do this, it acts as a barrier to the fatty ingredients and helps the sugar shoot directly into your bloodstream, giving you unlimited energy for tens of minutes. 

And that’s it. Being fit has never been easier. 

Now go out and get that dream butt you’ve always wanted. 

The hardest, most judgmental trainer I’ve ever had.

Up top, brahs,

Mary Ellen