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

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Self-care in the Caribbean 

Sorry my post is late, but I am currently in the Caribbean and did not calculate the time change correctly. Plus, I don’t even know what day it is. Ever. 

When I looked into the mirror last week, I was incredibly disappointed in the way I looked. Ugly is too kind a word. I can’t believe Annie hasn’t filed for divorce yet, though he’s been suspiciously googling lawyers lately. 

I’m sorry you are about to see some disturbing photos.

I decided to take a trip to the Caribbean for some self care / #treatyoself time. 

I couldn’t even manage a smile in this picture. My hair lost its sheen, and my skin was terribly broken out that I couldn’t even hide it with makeup.

I left for the red eye immediately.  I didn’t even buy a plane ticket or make plans beforehand, or actually even tell Annie. He will find out if he reads this post because I also forgot my phone and underwear so I bought both at the airport. 

The beach was amazing. It wasn’t a nude beach but I still was naked the entire time.

It wasn’t just the change of scenery that was rejuvenating. My body also needed a cleansing so I make sure to only consume high grade alcohols and I sweat out the toxins when I drunkedly ran the beach trying to find my tour guide. It was spiritual. 

As for my skin? I felt that wearing a charcoal mask for the majority of the time was effective. 

There are toxins in your eyeballs and teeth too, so don’t skimp on the mask in those areas.

All in all, the trip has been a success. I’ll be heading home in about three months I think. 

Maybe it’s just because I brushed my hair but I look amazing now.

Next time I’ll share a healthy recipe to heal your toxic shit body too. 

Me and my tour guide, Nathan.

That guy isn’t Spock, 
Mary Ellen 

I Don’t Know How to Make BibimBap 

But I tried anyway. 

And I’ll do it again! 

I think this dish is trendy around where I used to live, because it was advertised everywhere. I never looked into it until quite recently, when I decided my lazy stir frys were boring and stupid and I just couldn’t handle any more soy sauce rice at that moment. You can tell by how eloquently I speak about food that I’m incredibly cultured, and have tasted the finer things in life. 

I was also inspired by the egg rice battle that I temporarily had with Serafina on the blog, and technically this counts because it has rice and eggs. 

[Warning: I’m talking out of my ass]  Traditionally, this dish can be made to order in a hot stone bowl, which helps cook the raw egg, possibly the raw meat, and it crisps up the rice. I don’t have these materials or skills, so this is the lazy white girl version. If you listen to kpop or watch kdramas while making it, it enhances the flavors and spices and helps compensate around 30% for the fact you’re not a Korean grandmother. 

BibimBap (adapted clunkily from My Korean Kitchen)



Ingredients:

  • Vegetables (I used a combination of fresh and frozen, including a julienned carrot)
  • 4oz ground beef 
  • Meat sauce (from the My Korean Kitchen blog) 
  • Gochujang sauce (from the other blog, seriously, you need to get the recipe there I’m lazy) 
  • Rice (I used brown rice) 
  • A fried egg per person
  • Sesame seeds
  • Seaweed
  • Sesame oil
  • Vinegar (I used rice vinegar) 
  • Rice bran oil
  • Sugar, both brown and regular 
  • Minced garlic (I just used some from a jar) 

Directions: 



I couldn’t find toasted sesame seeds so I toasted some myself, like a homesteader.



Make up the meat sauce and marinate the beef with it while you work. This took my three hours because I got distracted and had to change poopy diapers and do other things equally exciting. Also make up the BibimBap sauce. 

In case you needed to see what gochujang is, because I didn’t know, and my choices are limited in my town.
Legit the first time I’ve used this since I bought it a few years ago.

Prep the vegetables, whatever that might entail. I didn’t do much. I sautéed some frozen stir fry with oil and salt, and julienned a carrot. I did not cook the carrot because I wanted a fresh crunch to the dish. I also sliced up the seaweed. 

Here are vegetables.
The product I used is a Korean product according to the package, making it authentic as hell.

Cook the beef, assemble the bowls with the rice and lay out the vegetables in a pretty way. Top with a fried egg and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, and drizzle with the sauce. I did not use raw meat or egg because I’m a coward and I would probably kill myself with food poisoning. 

I do not have bowls appropriate for this dish. I made a huge mess.

 

Maybe it’s because I’m a badass, but I didn’t think the sauce was that spicy, and loved it so much. It was only enough for two people in my opinion. Same with the beef. And I used a ton of vegetables. This is why I’m fat. 

I hope this inspires you to try and create your own BibimBap masterpiece. 

Always read the comment section,
Mary Ellen 

Southern Style Tomato Sandwiches and How to Make Simple Dishes Fancy

I didn’t want to do another Saturday post, but here we are nonetheless. It’s no excuse, but I’ve been busy working on my heavy metal jazz infusion album, which drops this coming week. So, now that that’s out of the way, I should have a much less hectic schedule. 

When I was growing up, my dad used to make us tomato sandwiches for lunch on the weekends. I loved them. I assumed he made them because we were so poor and couldn’t afford ingredients and also that he was lazy. But it turns out, that it was actually a southern thing I was unaware of until recently. 
The recipe is easy: bread, tomato, mayo. That’s it. I’m sure you can figure out how those come together, but I’ll write down the recipe just in case. 

And I’m going to make it fancy and pretentious. 

There are a few simple rules to make any dish fancy. First, add butter. It doesn’t matter what it is, just add a lot of butter to the dish. Second, buy oddly shaped, expensive baked goods with a French name. And finally, make sure you add in at least seven extra steps to your dish to make it more complicated. It doesn’t matter if they’re unnecessary. Just do it. 

Tl;dr – get all ingredients at Whole Foods and speak in a French accent while you cook. 

The traditional recipe calls for Wonder Bread, whatever tomatoes are on sale, and generic fake mayo. We can only go up from here, people. 

Mary Ellen’s Tomato Sandwiches to Make You Feel Sorry for Her Childood:

Bonus: use vegan mayo to give it the extra “in your face” pretentiousness we all crave.

Ingredients:

  • Mayo
  • Heirloom tomatoes
  • Fancy bread
  • Lettuce*****
  • Salt
  • Butter

Directions:

Cut the fancy bread with a chef’s knife because you don’t have a bread knife.



Melt butter in an iron skillet. No, none of this is negotiable. Go out and buy all these things. What? You want to just toast the bread in a toaster? Wtf is wrong with you? You toast the bread in the skillet!

You will become french toast later, my prettys.

Slice some tomato. Apply mayo to bread. Yes, I know, butter AND mayo? Isn’t that too much? Yes, but so what. Lightly salt the tomato with pink Himalayan salt. Lay down some lettuce. Put in mouth. 

This is what a sandwich looks like. Serve with whimsically cubed watermelon.

Make sure to buy my album. I will sign all digital copies, but only if you promise not to sell them on eBay. 

Music is lyfe,

Mary Ellen 

*****Editor’s note: don’t use whatever bullshit lettuce Mary Ellen used. It’s iceberg or bust if you want the satisfying crunch. 

Garden Green Curry

Man, oh, man, I’ve been having a lot of GI issues lately (I wish I could just insert a poo emoji here, but I don’t know how to do that on my computer… I’m only technically a millennial). Anyway, I’ve had a number of conversations with my significant other about how if I die from this illness, he will need to make sure my headstone reads “Here lies Serafina Bearafina, who died out of her butt”

I’m obviously hoping that doesn’t happen, but you have to have a plan in place.

Anyway, prior to my…problems, I was spending a shitload of time gardening. A few weeks ago, I made this lovely dish (I only mention that it was a few weeks ago so no one thinks that this curry will make you die out of your butthole)

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If you’re wondering, no, the broccoli isn’t supposed to look like that, it was basically broccolini, just grown from regular broccoli seeds because I planted it too late.

This curry was born out of the most wonderful of circumstances. My boyfriend, who refuses to eat curry after an incident with his freshman year cafeteria, was away for the weekend. My garden produced about 10 zucchinis and some other unidentified stuff. And (most importantly), I discovered a jar of green curry paste that was about to expire. I know you all wish you can be as inspired in the kitchen as I am, but I’m hoping by sharing these little genuine moments, you can learn how to make edible food.

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Here’s another tip to help you on your food journey: if you think the cauliflower your grew looks weird, taste it before you drop it in the pan.

Ingredients

Brown rice, cooked

1-2 tsp coconut oil

Garlic powder

Ginger powder

Green curry paste

Splash of water

Several cups of garden vegetables (or grocery store vegetables if you don’t understand how to water your garden)

1 can coconut milk

1-2 tsp coconut aminos

1 tsp lime juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Cilantro to garnish

 

Instructions

Cook your rice if you didn’t already (it doesn’t taste very good raw)

Heat coconut oil with ginger and garlic powder for a few moments, then add green curry and a splash of water. Add veggies and saute for a few minutes. Add coconut milk and cook until veggies are soft (maybe 15 minutes?) Once cooked, add lime juice, salt, pepper, and coconut aminos.

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Try not to text your boyfriend a picture of all of the things he hates, unless you want to make sure he doesn’t actually come home.

*poo emoji*

Serafina

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 

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 

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 



Leftover BBQ Stirfry 

Wow. Just, wow. The response to my last post about how Serafina and I became friends was overwhelming. I’m touched. We got emails upon emails requesting pictures of the vajazzle job, and while I would love to send out 40,000 pictures of Serafina’s nether region, I can’t, because Disney owns the rights to all that. I know what you’re thinking, and yes, we are total sellouts. 

Remember how I hate grating fresh ginger? Enter the ginger paste. Laziness in a tube. Can you tell I shop at Trader Joe’s? It’s because they pay me millions to do so, and their stuff is cheap. Not that I need to be frugal because, you know, I’m a millionaire.

This week’s recipe came about through a combination of boredom and weird cravings of something sweet and salty.  Normally,  I make this as a combination of two different leftovers. Leftover pulled BBQ chicken (which, here’s the recipe: like 4 chicken breasts, a bottle of BBQ sauce, a crockpot, and 6-8 hours) and leftover stir fry. At the time, I decided I didn’t want stir fry for a second night in a row, so I plopped some BBQ chicken on top of it, and I ended up loving it. 

You might think that white stuff is butter and be excited, like my husband was, but it’s cauliflower. Sorry to disappoint.

However, I did not do this recipe with chicken today, because I didn’t have chicken. I used tempeh. 

It still kind of looks like chicken, so it might be traumatizing for Serafina’s chickens to see it.



BBQ Tempeh Stir Fry 

Ingredients:

  • Toasted sesame oil (or extra virgin olive oil) 
  • 1/2 TBSP Ginger paste
  • 3 TBSP soy sauce (or coconut aminos)  
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 2-3 cups frozen veggies (can be a mix or I recommend peas, corn, and edamame) 
  • ~4 cups cooked brown rice 
  • 1 TBSP rice vinegar 
  • 1 package tempeh (or pulled chicken, or, if you’re Serafina and have a soy aversion, use steamed or roasted cauliflower) 
  • ~1 cup BBQ sauce 



Directions:

Cut the tempeh into bit sized cubes and marinate with the BBQ for at least 15 mins or you can forget about it and do it overnight. Heat oil in a pan (or wok, preferably) to medium low heat and add the garlic. Don’t burn it or toast it. The garlic should not brown, or you’ll lose flavor. Add the ginger paste. 

Add the rice and soy sauce and increase heat to medium high. Add the veggies and cook until heated through. Finally, add the vinegar. 

While you’re doing all this, also have another pan heated to medium high and try and brown the tempeh, but not to the point the sauce is totally gone. Just make sure it’s heated through. I’ll feel slight guilt if everyone’s food is all cold. 
Dish yourself some stir fry and add the tempeh on top. It’s good, I promise. 

Drink lots of water because this dish is not only salty in taste, but in attitude as well.

Namaste and eat this,

Mary Ellen 

Carrot Soup: Ode to Serafina

It was 1969 and a hot summer somewhere in west Texas. Serafina and I worked at a topless bar off the highway. I know what you’re thinking and no, they would not allow us to be one of the topless performers. We had to be fully dressed waitresses.

It was our dream to perform, but seeing as how we were the only employees forced to keep all our clothes on, it seemed like our dreams would never be realized.

Also, we hated each other. Serafina was always stealing my tables and tips and flirting with my customers. One particular night, as I was bringing table 4 our house special, Kicked up Kowboy Kale (I should also mention that our bar was the number one rated vegetarian topless bar for over five decades), she was sitting in my best customer’s, Seth’s, lap! And I was sweet on him!

Anyway, this kind of went on for the entirety of our employment there, which was only around four months. We didn’t become friends until our last night there. Oh, what a faithful night that was! The bar’s most famous dancer, Seitani, had a severe allergic reaction to some radish pasties, and was rushed to the hospital, right before she was to go on!

Serafina and I locked eyes, and rushed to the stage. There was no music, but we rhythmically (we each had a different rhythm) removed our clothes, trying to outdo one another. The audience booed, but we pushed on. The bouncer tried to catch us, but we darted out of his grip! Finally, in what could be considered the bravest, most spectacular move I’ve ever seen in my life (I still get emotional and teary thinking of it), Serafina ripped her pants off, revealing a rainbow vajazzle. It caught the light from the stage spotlight, and blinded everyone in the bar. The light was so miraculous that it acted as sort of a North Star to weary travelers, and before we knew it, her current lover walked in bearing gifts of cats (she accepted his romantic proposal DESPITE the cats).

We were fired immediately, but I was so in awe of Serafina, and realized she wasn’t just any part time, fully dressed, topless vegetarian bar waitress. She was my guru.

So now our readers know the short form history of how we met, here is a recipe that is dedicated from me to Serafina.

I made this soup at 8am wearing a baby, because I didn’t think I was quite enough of a crunchy granola mom.


Carrot Apple Ginger Soup (adapted from Oh She Glows who adapted it from Joy the Baker)

Ingredients:

1 TBSP olive oil

1 sweet onion

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 TBSP grated ginger*

1 apple

1.5 lbs carrots, fresh from the garden you should have

4 cups vegetable broth

Pinch of nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Ground pepper to taste

Directions:

Prep your vegetables and set them aside. If you hate chopping veggies as much as I do, rejoice! You don’t need to be perfect because you’re going to purée this shit in the end.

Except I’m perfect. See, I did this perfectly.
Just seeing this picture sends me into a rage. I fucking hate chopping and peeling vegetables.
 
Using a large pot, heat your oil over medium low heat, and add your onions. Cook until translucent. Add your garlic and ginger, and cook for a few minutes. Finally, add your apples and carrots and cook for a few minutes longer (I usually wait until I can kind of smell the apple cooking).

Add the vegetable broth, and your seasonings and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 20 minutes.

Use this time to clean up, and make sure your home is in tip top shape. Remember, cleanliness is next to godliness! Or, you can do what I did, brush your teeth and take pictures of your dogs.
 
When all your vegetables are tender, use an immersion blender and blend until smooth (or the texture you like), or, you can do what I did, and transfer it to a blender in batches, spilling carrot water all over the dogs along the way. Either works.
Serve with crackers, a baguette, or my favorite, warm quinoa (yeah I’m that asshole).
Remember to drink your calories,

Mary Ellen

*fuck grating fresh ginger. This was such a pain in the ass and now I have like a pound of ginger left because they only sell them in 20 lbs increments. Just get the jarred ginger.