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 

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

 

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.