Serafina’s flawless skin care regimen

As per usual, I bring you this blog post while procrastinating on a paper that’s due at midnight tonight (protip: it doesn’t count as procrastination if you never start the paper).

Something’s been bugging me lately, and it’s about Mary Ellen. I know, I know, I shouldn’t be coming here to talk shit. But I am, so you can all just deal with it. My problem is that she knows so much about being a girl. So much. She’s always posting things like weird creepy face masks, and I don’t understand it at all. What do the face masks do? Why does she look so scary? How did she trick her husband Annie into also wearing a face mask? Do they put face masks on her baby and dogs? This is just a list of the first few questions I have. Instead of seeking answers to any of my questions, I’m going to assume I’m an expert*** and walk you all through my own “minimalist” skin care regimen.

Step one: Shower every couple of days. More frequently if your armpits smell. But, we’re not focusing on armpit skin care, we’re focusing on face skin care which I think I implied above but didn’t really make it clear until now.

Step two: Once in the shower, ensure that you have some water on your skin. This will be important later

Step three: Wash everything with Dr. Bronner’s. I mean, everything. Face, armpits, hair, butt, feet. You know, everything. Shit, I said I was going to just stick with face skin care and then I went and told you all the other stuff. Oh, well. Now you know the rest of my skin care.

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Also, Dr. Bronner’s provides good reading material if you forgot to bring your phone in the bathroom to take a poop

Step four: if you live in a very dry climate, put some lotion on your skin. I’ve never seen Silence of the Lambs, but I hear that movie comes out in favor of moisturizing.

That’s it! Feel free to ditch all your other skin care stuff, because I don’t know what it is for.

All one!

Serafina

 

***Legal disclaimer: the above advice is not intended to treat, cure, or diagnose any ailments. Serafina Bearafina’s expertise in skin care is merely self proclaimed and she does not actually understand how any skin care products work. She’s not really sure if you should even use soap, TBH. The above advice neither guarantees nor implies that the condition of your skin will improve. Serafina isn’t sure what good skin is, but she probably doesn’t have it. Serafina recently had an infected ingrown hair, and after refusing to seek medical attention, she asked someone to explain exfoliation to her, only to promptly ignore all advice that was given to her.

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Homemade vegan lip balm

Have I mentioned that I get a little ridiculously picky about some things? I probably haven’t. But last year I discovered my favorite lip balm had changed their formulation and it was suddenly disgusting and unusable. I found the lot numbers of the old lip balm recipe and I bought a year’s worth, stashing it in my fridge. Everything was wonderful until I only had about 2 left and I started panicking. I bought one of every lip balm and Whole Foods and they were all terrible. I was beside myself and fell into a deeper depression than the time my chicken was eating all of her eggs (that’s still happening, by the way, I just try not to care about it too much)

Anyway, I decided I needed to make my own lip balm and after extensive research, I have two recipes for you. One of the lip balm recipes sucks and the other is amazing and I love it.

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I know what you’re thinking, why bother sharing the shitty lip balm recipe? I don’t really have a great answer for that. I mostly just want credit for all the work I did. And if anyone is wondering if this was an attempt to make Mary Ellen feel bad about herself for not doing things like making lasagna and DIYing lip balm, it is. I’m amazing. I definitely didn’t almost fail out of grad school to bring you this lip balm recipe. And that was definitely the kind of high caliber sentence a graduate student should be writing.

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That’s a bunched up Christmas towel in the background. Everyone uses Christmas towels year-round, right?

Recipe 1: Shitty Lip Balm

Makes about 8 tubes of lip balm

1 tbsp candelilla wax

2 tbsp coconut oil

1 tbsp shea butter

¼ tsp vitamin E oil

Optional: 3-5 drops essential oil (I used lavender)

 

Recipe 2: Amazing Lip Balm

Makes about 12 tubes of lip balm

2 tbsp candelilla wax

2 tbsp shea butter

2 tbsp coconut oil

10 drops vitamin E oil

Optional: 3-5 drops essential oil (I used lavender)

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Jars are the best makeshift double broilers because you can just throw them in the dishwasher and then your pot doesn’t smell like candelilla and lavender when you want to make pasta

The instructions are the same for both recipes

Melt candelilla wax, shea butter, and coconut oil in a double broiler (I just put a jar in a pot of simmering water)

Once melted, add vitamin E and essential oils and stir

Pour mixture into empty lip balm tubes or whatever canister you want to use. I used a pipette to transfer the mixture into the tubes. Let set for at least a few hours until room temperature, they will be fully hardened after sitting overnight. They turn off-white once hardened.

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You’d think with a pipette I wouldn’t get drips everywhere, but my hands were super shaky because I had too much caffeine that morning

May your lips be moisturized but not sticky and gross

Serafina

Q & A with Master Gardener: Serafina Berafina

Well, you guys asked for it, and we’re finally able to deliver. These are all questions you have sent in for Serafina, world-renowned gardening expert.

Q: What soil amendments do you use?

A: Well, normally I only use compost, but this year I used a little fertilizer as well. I know, I know, you’re thinking ‘what about the soil microbiome???’ Yeah, I read The Soil and Health too (no I didn’t, it was way too boring) In my defense, I only used a little bit of fertilizer and I used compost as well. Most importantly, I found a cruelty free fertilizer.

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Vegan fertilizer: for when your vegetables don’t taste self-righteous enough

Follow up question: Can’t you just make your own fertilizer by growing soybeans?

Follow up answer: Oh, shit, I didn’t realize you guys got the internet out in Iowa. Um… Yeah, you could probably do something like that. You should just ride your tractor down the road a bit and ask your neighbor though.

Q: That was kind mean. I almost don’t want to look you up on FarmersOnly anymore.

A: That wasn’t really a question, but feel free to look me up on FarmersOnly. I’m ToplessMotherOfChickens.

Q: Ugh, fine! How are you handling the stress of chicken motherhood?

A: OMG, reader, OMG. Amelia, my golden chicken, eats all of her own eggs. Every damn one of them. I’ve tried everything. We talked about why she is acting out and whether the other girls are picking on her. My boyfriend made roll-away nesting boxes. I looked into putting up privacy curtains in front of the nesting boxes so she doesn’t feel so anxious. Nothing is helping. I don’t know what to do. I’ve started drinking heavily to cope with the lack of eggs. Everyone I talk to recommends that we slaughter my baby chicken and eat her, like you would any human child that stopped laying eggs. It’s just all too much for me right now.

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Q: Wow, that got a little intense. Maybe we should get to something lighter? Um, what are you growing this year?

A: Great question. I’m a little behind in my planting what with all of the woman problems Mary Ellen told you about last week. So far I have tomatoes, jalapeño, spinach, radishes, lettuce, arugula, carrots, and snap peas. Corn, squash, beans, cucumbers will be planted later this week. Also some flowers or whatever.

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Q: Do you have any gardening bras that you can recommend?

A: No, my boob kept popping out of my bra the whole time I was planting today. It was exceedingly bothersome until I just took off my bra and top (but then I had to apply sunscreen).

Q: Who submitted all of these questions? Some of them seem suspiciously intimate…

A: How dare you imply that I wrote my own questions and answers, don’t make me come over to whatever area of the internet you’re from and make an in-person frowny face at you!

Well, internet friends, there you have it. All you wanted to know about Serafina’s gardening (and more!)

XOXO

Serafina

Smoothie Recipe For the Days You Just Can’t

Hello, dear Eggpiers (that’s our fandom name now, just FYI).  Serafina is busy binge watching Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman so I pulled myself away from my own binging to post in her stead this week.  It was really hard.  I was actually still watching stuff, and I finally decided I better do it now.  If there’s a lot of typos and nonsense sentences, it’s because the show I’m watching is more important than writing this (I’m just watching Kpop videos right now and trying to dance).   I do not read what I’ve written that’s not what real artists do.

 

Now that warm weather is here, I really hate turning on the oven, the stove, or my husband because I will burst into literal flames from getting overheated.  Breakfast smoothies are always a nice way to start your day.  But what if you haven’t gone to the store in a while?  What if you have no greens or fruit or whatever the hell people put in those things to make them healthy and a complete “meal?”  Well, I’ve got you covered.

 

You do need to have this stuff on hand, but they won’t go bad in thirty minutes in your humid as hell house.  It tastes fine.  Remember this is just to get out the door and on with your life.

 

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I used the chocolate meal powder, but I hate it, it tastes weird.  Just get vanilla and put cocoa powder in it instead and then it’ll actually taste like real fucking chocolate.

 

Mary Ellen’s I Can’t Breakfast Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • 1 scoop meal replacement powder (see pic above)
  • 1 TBSP almond butter

 

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I was impressed with this blind banana shot so you have to look at it.  Look at my photography skillz!

 

Directions:

Blend all this shit together until smooth.

 

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It’s about time I used a different placemat I guess.  But this one is my favorite.

 

Alright guys I need to go focus on these dances or I’ll never be able to challenge one of these boy bands to a dance off. I read somewhere that dancing is 75% confidence, 20% cute outfits, and 5% abs.

 

Maybe I have the abs and confidence mixed up.

 

Mary Ellen

 

 

Vegan Chili and Love

Winter is throwing its last tantrum before it will suddenly become spring and we will no longer talk about how much winter has been a bitch where I live.  I can’t always just get drunk to drown my sorrows, so I made chili.

 

I’m just kidding, of course I got drunk too.

 

This week has been incredibly hectic because, after 20 years, I finally finished that k-drama I started.  It was horrible. I lost so many hours to those beautiful men, wasted away my youth, and literally nothing in the show up until the end mattered.  Nothing.  It was just a bunch of random stuff and then they realized they should probably just end it and then they did.  It was beautiful.

 

Sorry, I’m still drunk.

 

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An actual picture of me feeling tied to this show and not knowing how the hell I will get out of it but being inappropriately well dressed for the occasion. 

 

To say that I phoned it in with this week’s blog would be an understatement.  I had been planning this recipe for about a month.  I took one picture.  Here it is:

 

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It’s not even a good one.  I took it with my phone because I was tired and didn’t want to walk into the next room to get my camera, which was fully charged and ready.

 

Anyway, I adapted a Betty Crocker slow cooker chili recipe to be vegan.  It retains all the flavor of the meat infused one, but is a lot healthier in the sense that I didn’t have to go out and buy extra cans of chili beans because I didn’t want to go shopping.  I also just cooked it on the stove top, but I would recommend putting it in a slow cooker for 8 hours to really get the recipe correct.

 

Slow Cooker Vegan Chili to Replace your Housemate on a Cold Night (adapted from Betty Crocker)

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion (or use onion powder like I did because you don’t have an onion)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced (again… powder works too)
  • 1 28oz can diced tomatoes (or 2 smaller cans)
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can pinto or kidney beans, drained and rinsed (use whatever you have on hand because that’s what I did)
  • 1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 4 cups frozen and cubed butternut squash (I used a small baby bag from a giant mommy bag from Costco)
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 2 TBSP chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

 

Directions:

If you’re using real onion and garlic, sauté those in a pan with a teaspoon of oil for a few minutes until translucent.  Otherwise, add all the ingredients to the slow cooker, stir, and set to cook on low for 8 hours.  Eat with crackers and Beano.

 

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I finished off with vegan cupcakes and canned wine, because I’m classy and better than Martha Stewart.

 

There was no love in this post so I guess the title was a lie.  But now you can make lazy chili.

 

Everyone was related in the show,

Mary Ellen

 

Vegan Pancakes and Hash for Your Soul

Yes I know.  I’ve been cooking.  Honestly, a person can only get so much therapeutic benefits from an Irish health smoothie before they have to clean up their life.  That person might be me.

 

This week’s recipe is one that even Serafina’s vegetarian ass can get behind.  It’s healthy, wholesome (unlike your mom), meat and dairy free, and also guilt free, so you can shove all these things in everyone’s faces at the next family get together.  There’s no reason Easter also can’t be a holiday that families fight about food ethics.  We can do better.  Insert your jabs about Trump’s policies on deporting all vegetables from his plate, or how Bernie wouldn’t be such a commie if he’s stop enslaving cows.  There you go, I provided topics for next year to get past all that awkward “weather” talk.

 

I was inspired to create these recipes to try and get my toddler to eat something with nutritional value.  It didn’t work on him, but it did work on my husband so it’s a soft win.  This also satisfies both team sweet and savory at the breakfast table.

 

For the Hash:

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I am slow to prep veggies, so I put it all in together, and no one died because I didn’t cook down the onions first.  

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 lbs yellow potatoes, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 TBSP fresh dill
  • Herbamare to taste
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Oh wait, no I died a little inside but there’s no evidence it was because of the onions.

Directions:

Heat olive oil on medium heat.  Add the potatoes, pepper, garlic, and onion to the pan and sauté until the potatoes are fork tender.  Mash up the chickpeas and add to the pan, as well as the nutritional yeast and dill, and cook until the chickpeas are heated.  Season to taste.  Burn a little bit to the pan.

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Serve with salsa or hot sauce or whatever.  I chose salsa.  I guess I should have included it in the ingredients list.  Too late now.

 

For the Pancakes:

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OMG it seriously is hard to take these dripping batter pictures.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw buckwheat groats, ground to a powder
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 3/4 – 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 TBSP maple syrup
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It surprisingly fluffs up, despite the lack of eggs.

Directions:

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a big bowl.  Add the wet ingredients and whisk until smooth.  You don’t need to whisk wet separately, and you need the batter smooth, no clumps.  Let it rest for a few minutes before you griddle it up.

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This was my personal plate.
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Tried to take another drizzle pic, failed even harder.  This is homemade cashew cream to keep with the vegan theme.

I don’t know how to end this post, but I want to go eat pudding now, so I’ll just do it awkwardly.

 

Mary Ellen

Birthday Cake for Chickens

As you all know, I am completely and utterly obsessed with my chickens. They turned two last week and we had quite the celebration. I wrote about my chickens last year as well on their birthday. This year my boyfriend called me out on playing favorites with the youngest chicken, so we celebrated everyone’s birthday mid-week instead of just celebrating on my favorite chicken’s birthday. It’s important to try to grow as a chicken-parent over time. Sometimes your co-chicken-parent provides meaningful feedback and you have to at least pretend to listen. Other times you just make the chicken cake on the day it works out with your schedule and it happens to look like you are compromising. Who’s to say?

Anyway, I do love all of my chickens so very much. This year’s chicken birthday cake wasn’t quite as big of a hit with them as last year’s (there was more fruit in last year’s), but they enjoyed it nonetheless.

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Carrot Cake Oatmeal Birthday Cake for Chickens

Ingredients

  • Oats
  • Water or almond milk
  • Grated carrots
  • Pecans or other nuts
  • Raisins or something
  • Cinnamon
  • Banana for serving

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Instructions

Make oatmeal by placing oats, etc on the stove with water/milk and applying heat. It’s not very complicated. I believe in you (I mean, I don’t really, but I also don’t feel like writing out the rest of how to make oatmeal, look it up on youtube it if you are still confused).

Put the oatmeal in a ramekin to set and leave in the fridge for a few hours. Once you’re ready to serve the chickens cake, cut a banana lengthwise and gently wrap around the oatmeal cake.

Put in the appropriate number of candles and then blow them out before you take it outside. Cut into several pieces so the chickens don’t fight over the food and everyone gets some.

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I still love my chickens more than you

Serafina

Beet, Carrot, Apple, Ginger Juice

I’m going to try something different with you guys today. Instead of my usual fool-proof recipe that I provide you so that you can finally learn to cook and stop disappointing your family, I’m going to walk you through a cautionary tale about juice.

In a misguided “it’s still early in 2018 so I should try to eat healthy or something” attempt, I decided to make juice without a juicer. You see, juicers are probably expensive, and I don’t really like juice that much. So I never got around to buying one. I also never got married, so I only have kitchen appliances that I decided to purchase with legal currency or received as a hand-me-down. Anyway, no juicer. And I thought I didn’t care about juicing until I found several recipes for a beet-carrot-apple-ginger juice that’s made in a blender. Let’s start with the recipe and then we’ll get to the cautionary tale part…

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Ingredients:

Beet (peel it and cut it into some pieces so your blender doesn’t explode or something)

Apple (same instructions as above, but less important because apples aren’t as hard as beets)

Some carrots

1” chunk of peeled ginger

Instructions:

Throw it all in the blender with about ½ cup water or other juice (I used water, why would I be making juice if I already had juice?)

Blend

Dump into a sieve over a bowl and wait for it to drip out

 

Ok, now that the nitty gritty is out of the way, let’s talk about why you should never make juice with a blender, especially this juice.

First of all, the blender handled the task pretty well and didn’t explode, so that went fine. I was really busy trying not to stain my clothes as I dumped the “juice” pulp into a sieve/bowl so I didn’t get any pictures of that step. Luckily for you, as I have mentioned previously, I am a certified courtroom illustrator, so I can recreate the scene for you with ease and accuracy.

sieve and bowl

Now, as the juice is dripping into the bowl at mind-bogglingly slow pace, you might think that it smells really fresh and that you’re excited to drink it. Don’t get your hopes up. After the first round of straining, mine was still SUPER chunky, so I had to strain it a second time with a finer sieve. All told, I spent like 15 minutes mushing around pulp before I got about 200ml juice.

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At this point, I figured this juice had to be fucking mind blowingly amazing or no one would have ever wasted their time with it in the first place. So, I took my first sip, and it was kinda ok. Then I took my second sip, and I thought it was kind of interesting, and warming with the ginger juice. And then when I took my third sip, I audibly gagged and had to try really hard not to vomit in the kitchen.

After that shock wore off, I thought it through and realized that I was just having an uncontrollable gag reflex and horribly unpleasant warm feeling in my stomach because of the ginger juice. No biggie. So I did what any good girlfriend would do, I brought the juice to my boyfriend and made him try it. He didn’t describe wanting to vomit, but he reported feeling repulsed before passing on a second sip.

So I was now faced with a dilemma, I had about half the awful juice left but I had put so much work into it I couldn’t bear to waste it. After deliberating for about 20 minutes, I decided that I had no choice. I gulped the rest of it down, which was a deeply regrettable decision.

You know, after all of that I’m actually having trouble deciding if this was a cautionary tale or a strong endorsement. Let’s do a Pro/Con list, those always help:

Pros:

  • Your kitchen sink will make you feel like Dexter when you are cleaning up
  • You will feel very healthful prior to drinking this juice
  • Your blender probably won’t explode
  • You can give your chickens some beet greens, which they LOVE!
  • If the Dexter part really resonated, you can cover your hands in the leftover pulp and pretend that you murdered your boyfriend for a few seconds until it gets just a little bit too dark or he walks in on you and looks like he might call the cops
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I had a picture of this that was in focus, but I felt this one captured the moment a little better

Cons:

  • You will most likely vomit upon drinking the juice, or at the very least experience severe nausea
  • Your kitchen will be very messy and beet juice stains everything
  • You will most definitely get a beet juice stain on your favorite sweatshirt, no matter how careful you are
  • You might develop a taste aversion to all of the ingredients in the juice as a result of drinking it
  • If you end up keeping the juice down, all of the bodily excretions you have over the next several hours to days will “bleed” red because of the beet juice (wait, should this be on the pro list?)

You know what? We’re tied! 5 pros, 5 cons! I guess I’ll just leave it up to you to decide if you want to make this fancy blender juice!

Happy juicing!!

Serafina

Goodbye, Old-Ass Year

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

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

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

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

Mary Ellen’s fancy rice recipe

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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

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

Mary Ellen

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

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

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

That day isn’t today though.

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

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

Mary Ellen’s Sweet Potato Fiesta!

(This feeds two people)

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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

It looks gross.

It looks gross.

The internets is my bae,

Mary Ellen