Deconstructed PB&J

The other day, while I was trying to figure out how to justify never having to clean the floors in my house, I started thinking about my okay friend and blog partner, Serafina.  You see, I’m worried about her.  What does she do in the winter?  How does she get her vegetables?  Worried, I quickly came up with this recipe that uses minimal ingredients, all of which you can buy cheaply in bulk without them going bad, so it’ll get everyone through the winter.  It also pairs nicely with whatever that weird drink she made that I’m probably going to start making because I no longer can sleep and wow late night recording sessions are starting to sound good now omg I’m so excited.

 

Deconstructed PB&J.

 

Now, when I use the term “deconstructed” I’m using it with the assumption that I have no idea what it means, but affirms my tendency towards trendy hipster things.

 

This recipe uses no peanut butter or jelly.  So don’t worry if you don’t have those things.

 

Here we go.

 

Ingredients:

  • Rice (I used brown, but you can use white)
  • Nut butter (I used sunflower, but you can use whatever you like)
  • Maple syrup (I guess… you could use jelly…)
  • Butter (because butter makes everything better – I used vegan butter though)

 

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This is the moment it was truly deconstructed, right?  Right?  Did I use it right?!

 

Directions:

So, you cook rice and put it in a bowl and add all the other stuff to your liking.  And mix it.  And then eat it.  Think about Serafina, and her dead sunflower.

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Mixed.  All winter long.

 

Get your vitamins from a tablet, not food.

 

-Mary Ellen

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Trader Joe Goes to Italy

Dear Serafina, I’m upset with you.  If you were going to get addicted to something (energy drinks), then you should have told me because I like to do everything my friends are doing.  Are we not friends?  Don’t answer that, I need to go cry in my REGULAR coffee now.

 

It’s really no secret that I have an unhealthy obsession with my blog partner, Serafina.  So it was really only a matter of time before I tried to rip off one of her recipes.  When looking for a wholesome recipe to feed my lactose-intolerant family, I looked no further than the cheese laden lasagna.  I just felt that, you know, I could deteriorate it a little.

 

Like removing those pesky vegetables.

 

Now, technically I removed all vegetables, because I’m still not sure if tomatoes are one or not.  There’s still tomatoes in the sauce.

 

Also, I made this recipe for the pro-lazys who want to make one stop to Trader Joe’s and get everything they need and do almost no prep.

 

Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

 

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I’m sorry for the blatant snobbery from the “Quattro Formaggio” bag of cheese.  But I’m fancy, so it can’t be helped.

 

Notice that you don’t even need to do cheese prep?

 

While Serafina is off growing food and like, probably churning her own butter for the next post, you can make a shit ton of crap lasagnas.  They taste good though so it’s fine.

 

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When you think you’ve added enough cheese, think back on all of the mistakes you’ve made in your life, and add a cup more.

 

Ingredients (get everything from TJ’s to optimize lazy):

  • Marinara sauce
  • No boil lasagna noodles
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Parmesan, or a cheese blend that has parmesan
  • Whole milk ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Pour some marinara sauce in a casserole dish of your choosing to lightly cover the bottom (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup).  Prep your ricotta mix in a medium sized bowl.  Add ricotta, parmesan (around 1/4 cup), whisked egg, and all seasonings to your preference and thoroughly mix.

 

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Weird, flat noodles that you don’t cook.  Yes, I know you have no reason to trust me, and honestly I still don’t recommend it, but don’t boil the noodles.

 

It depends on your casserole dish on how many layers you’ll have, but it’ll go something like: sauce, noodles, ricotta, little bit of sauce, noodles, ricotta, little bit of sauce, noodles, ricotta, noodles, sauce, cheese.

 

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*Some* people might need vegetables in their lasagna, but those people clearly don’t have vitamin deficiencies.

 

Throw the lasagna in the oven, uncovered, for 30-35 minutes.  Let it cool a bit before eating it.  Not because I care you’ll burn yourself, but because it’s harder to cut.  Just fucking be patient, okay?

 

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See?  There’s like a bowl of salad or whatever in the background.  Far, far away from the delicious cheese.  Don’t worry, Cheese, that spinach can’t hurt you anymore.

 

“I hate Mondays.” – Sandra Bullock

 

-Mary Ellen

 

 

 

 

Self Righteous Veggie Scramble

Have any of you ever read Omnivore’s Dilemma? If not, you can still read this spoiler because it’s not like it will make a difference. Basically, Michael Pollan spends all this time and energy making a dinner for which he can take full moral responsibility. Grew the veggies, gathered yeast, harvested wheat, the whole goddamn thing. Well, I’m here to say, BITCH, I DO THAT SHIT EVERY MOTHERFUCKING DAY!

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Sorry, I got a little heated there. Pollan and I have a long-standing frenemy relationship, much like mine and Mary Ellen’s, the only difference is that he doesn’t totally know about it. Frenemy relationships sometimes go better when the other person doesn’t know about it because it really decreases the risk of a clap back. Anyhoo, I’ve been working my ass off to grow food and humanely raise chickens, so I can feel morally superior, and it’s about time for me to rub it in everyone’s faces.

Now before anyone gets on my back about the ingredients I used that I didn’t grow (olive oil, salt, and pepper), I have a preemptive retort: I’ve already googled how to grow peppercorns and olive trees. I’m working on it. Sort of. I’m not working on it in the sense that it will happen ever, but I’m working on it in the sense that I thought about it for a minute, which was good enough for me.

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If you want to eat a meal for which you can take full moral responsibility, you’ll need to start growing some veggies, and if you’re not a vegan/want eggs, you’ll need to get some chickens. I also thought about getting a cow or a goat to make butter for this meal, but there are city ordinances against cows and goats, and my boyfriend nixed my idea of indoor goats when I brought up that workaround. Aside from a cow or goat for butter, the only other recommendation I have for this meal is to get a wheat field and make some bread. This would only be worthwhile if you have butter. Otherwise, this is a lovely scramble with ethically produced eggs, zucchini that only suffered minor verbal abuse, and very well cared for tomatoes.

Ingredients

2 eggs, beaten

About ½ a zucchini, halved and sliced relatively thin

A handful of cherry tomatoes, lovingly halved

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Fresh basil or other herbs (optional)

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PSA: Dangers of placing food on the floor to photograph outweigh benefits

Instructions

Cook zucchini in a pan with a little olive oil for about 4-5 minutes until it is close to being done. Add cherry tomatoes and cook for another minute. Add eggs and stir frequently until the eggs are cooked. Garnish with beautiful basil which is still somehow alive in September. Maybe you grew it in part shade or something.

Eat on your patio while your chickens roam. It’s ok to eat eggs in front of the chickens because they also eat their eggs, so they were the ones to make it weird first.

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Food is only somewhat safer on the patio, chickens may still attempt to eat the eggs even though they prefer their eggs freshly laid and uncooked

Zucchini is more flavorful after verbal abuse

-Serafina

Quick Garden Dinner

Friends, I’ve read enough of your fan letters to know that Mary Ellen and I are not the only ones who struggle to get a healthful meal on the table every night after a hard day of work. Quick meals are lifesavers whether you’re Mary Ellen, chasing around her toddler while ensuring her make up is on point, or me, laying around the house in my fanciest business pajama suit pretending to finish my last semester of graduate school. At the end of a long, trying day, cooking a meal that is quick and easy becomes as important as cooking one that is healthful and nourishing.

In light of this, I’m bringing you my super-fast garden meal. You’ll need approximately 3-5 months to prepare this meal, depending on your local climate. Gardening is hard work, and between the costs of your own labor, soil, water, plants, and seeds, you’ll probably spend more on your garden veggies than you ever would on the actual produce from a grocery store. But, as they say, you have to spend money to make money.

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Since garden based meals will depend on what you plant and what is ready to harvest on a given day, I’m going to provide some general guidelines instead of a strict recipe.

  1. Plant zucchini. You’ll need to do this in late spring/early summer, so plan ahead! No one really likes eating zucchini, but as I have previously mentioned, you’ll certainly harvest a lot of it. Corn, green beans, tomatoes, and lettuce will round out your meal, and will also take several months of intermittent effort before you’ll be able to acquire food from the plant.
  2. If you want to eat something other than the vegetables you harvested, you’ll need to go to a grocery store. I know, you’re thinking, why did I bother planting all that zucchini 4 months ago? Shhh, don’t worry, you planted it for lots of reasons. And you should be asking why you didn’t plan ahead better and plant something that grows veggie burgers. There’s always next year.
  3. Find a partner, friend, or neighbor with a grill. Grills are scary, and you don’t want to try to deal with one on your own. They’re also hot AF, but not in the good way.
  4. Chop up vegetables and wrap them in foil. Then have your boyfriend (or whoever you found to use the grill) put your veggies on the grill. They also make giant grill skillets but foil prevents your vegetables from being contaminated with meat if you have a boyfriend who refuses to cook himself a veggie burger.

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    You should also probably season your zucchini. Olive oil, salt, and pepper will be fine. Throw in some garlic powder if you’re feeling super fancy
  5. Put food on plate and then consume.
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This was my boyfriend’s plate. He always eats with his xbox controller nearby. It’s like a safety blanket.

Quick, easy dinner in only 4 months.

Serafina

Zucchini, rice, and beans

Friends, I’m going to put aside my skin care feud with Mary Ellen for the moment (we all know who won that one, right?) and talk to you about a recipe from my childhood. You can tell this is a very modern recipe, because it comes from a Jane Brody cookbook with the subtitle “Living the High Carbohydrate Way.” That’s right, before all of this keto and paleo bullshit, there were plenty of people encouraging us to eat more carbs, and they were saints.

This is my version of Jane Brody’s Company Rice and Beans with fewer frills (I think she wants you to have like 4 fresh vegetables on hand, which seems ridiculous. I just used canned goods, dried spices, and a zucchini from the garden). Jane Brody also recommends cooking your rice at the same time as the rest of the food (I audibly gasped with disbelief at the thought of multitasking), so I’m going to go another step further and tell you to use a rice cooker. I bought a rice cooker about a year ago and this is second time I’ve used it, so that was a super meaningful purchase that made a measurable difference in my life.

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Yeah, you cook that rice, rice cooker. Then, back to the cupboard for another 6 months!

Get ready for some high carbohydrate living!

Ingredients:

1 cup rice (yield will be two cooked cups)

1 zucchini, halved and sliced

1 can of diced tomatoes

1 can of beans (I recommend garbanzo or kidney, but any bean will do)

Olive oil

About 1/2 tsp oregano

Some garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional: cheese (Jane recommends cheddar)

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You may notice that I didn’t actually use a can of diced tomatoes because I didn’t have any. So I used tomato sauce, which was fine, but a can of diced tomatoes would be better.

Instructions:

Cook the rice. 1:2 ratio of rice to water. Unless you have a rice cooker and then read the instructions or something. I used brown rice because I wanted extra credit.

Saute the diced tomatoes, zucchini, and spices in olive oil for about 5-10 minutes. Add the beans when the zucchini is starting to soften and bring to a low simmer until the rice is done.

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If you leave the stove unattended, you may get tomato splashes all over your cookbook. And also the stove. And maybe your camera.

Serve the tomato/zucchini/bean mixture on top of rice. Top with shredded cheese if your GI tract is up for such indulgences.

BTW, my zucchini plant produces a new fully developed zucchini about every 45 minutes, so prepare yourself to watch me put zucchini in everything I cook until October.

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Carbs are life,

Serafina

Cinnamon Rolls

Remember how I said I was worried my boyfriend was going gluten free? Well don’t worry, I decided to disregard his dietary restrictions and make these cinnamon rolls. And now he’s no longer interested in being GF. Don’t look at me like that, I’m a good person. It’s not like he has Celiac’s or anything (probably).

Anyway, my new goal in life is to stop eating vegetables and eat only sugar. My biggest hurdle so far is the horrific GI distress that ensues after eating all the pastries and then I turn back to my horrible, disgusting salad eating habit. I know, I know. I’m working on it. I’m kidding of course about the all-sugar diet. This weekend I ate a strict diet of Chipotle and frozen food from Costco. I’m the picture of health.

Anyway, to work on my #healthfoodgoals I used half whole wheat flour here. All whole wheat is too much, but you can get away with half without worrying that you accidentally had some fiber with your breakfast.

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You’re going to wonder if that is enough butter and sugar on top of the dough. There’s never really enough, but this amount is good enough

Ingredients

3/4 cup flour

¾ whole wheat flour

2 tsp sugar

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

2/3 c unsweetened almond milk (or, like, regular milk)

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

6 tbsp melted butter, divided

½ cup brown sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

For the glaze

About 2 tbsp each: melted butter, brown sugar, and unsweetened almond milk

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You don’t have to pull out a ruler to cut your cinnamon rolls unless you are really unable to tolerate the inevitable height disparity

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375°

Spray a muffin pan with oil

Combine the flour, white sugar, baking soda and powder, and salt in a large bowl.

In a smaller bowl, mix the almond milk, vinegar, and 4 tbsp butter.

Add the milk mixture to the flower mixture

Roll out with a lot of flour on the counter (seriously, use a shitload of flour or you’ll cry when your dough is stuck to the counter).

Mix the melted butter with the brown sugar and the cinnamon and then smear all over the dough.

Roll it up, then cut into 8 or 9 even pieces. Place each piece in a muffin slot. Honestly, this would probably work with just a regular cookie sheet, but give them a little room to expand.

Bake for about 15 minutes

Make glaze by melting together more butter, brown sugar, and almond milk. Glaze cinnamon rolls.

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The glaze is mostly clear, but it’s still necessary. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not contributing.

Try not to eat too many salads in between your cinnamon rolls

-Serafina

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

 

Meal prepping like you have your life together

My dear readers, last night, as I finished a paper several hours ahead of schedule, I was feeling incredibly impressed with myself. After contemplating what I would be able to do for the rest of the evening, it dawned on me that the next day was my day to post and I had nothing prepared. You see, Mary Ellen and I have shown you all that we are “with it” ladies of the go-go 90’s, and you know we wouldn’t misrepresent ourselves. We have published volumes on time management and avoiding the perils of procrastination. And yet, there I was with nothing for you fine readers.

PSYCHE! I have an obscene amount of posts that I prepared at various times when I was avoiding writing papers, just in case there was ever a day when I wrote my papers over my blog posts. While I’m deeply ashamed and remorseful that day finally came, I am grateful for my past self who had her priorities in line. I promise I’ll get my shit together soon and take more pictures of gummy bears to inspire your healthy eating habits!

Let’s get to talking about meal prep. Now, I’ve read a lot about meal prep on other blogs. All the internet bitches are super into it (I’m using “bitches” in a gender-neutral sense here, so it’s not a hate crime). They say all this shit about how it’s “cheaper” and “healthier” than whatever the alternative is, but it’s really just a way to justify buying tons of glass containers off Amazon. Well, it’s time I joined them. And since we’re being thoughtful about our meals for the rest of the week, we want to make sure we are nourishing our minds, bodies, souls, and also being stewards to the planet. Let’s make a frozen pizza!

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Make sure you pick up some bulk Lactaid while you’re stocking up on pizza, you’re going to need it.

So you can see here that I have purchased this frozen cheese pizza from Costco. I used to buy the organic frozen pizzas from Costco, but since becoming an impoverished professional student, I switched to the normal, more economical convenience foods. The good news is that what this pizza lacks in fanciness and flavor, it makes up in calorie density!

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In order to ensure that this sumptuous feast will feed me for days of school and work, I have purchased some completely unnecessary glass containers and placed pizza in each container. I’m sure this would not have worked if I used the tupperware I already owned.

I know what you’re thinking: what the fuck was that first picture with the green rice and chickpeas? Well, it was a legitimately good meal that took fucking forever to cook, so I don’t plan on making it again anytime soon. But it was really good so I’ll link it for you out of the kindness of my heart. Read that recipe and then go stock up on frozen pizza.

In health and wellness,

-Serafina

 

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

Broccoli Cheese Frittata

You guys, I have some rough news. You see, Mary Ellen and I have been friends for a long time, and I watched her go through the horrors of not eating gluten for YEARS before she ate some bread and was like “oh fuck yeah, this shit’s the best!” Well, my dearest, darling-est boyfriend is now talking about going GF. It’s literally killing me. You read that right, it isn’t figuratively killing me, it’s very literal. Because gluten is life’s antivenom (I guess the venom part is just normal life. Too dark?)

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I tried to take a pretty picture but didn’t even bother getting all the feather particles off the eggs

Anyway, I try to be supportive every now and then, so I made a quiche without the delicious gluten-y crust. And then I put broccoli in it, which he doesn’t eat anyway. He wasn’t happy. But the good news here is that my chickens are laying eggs more frequently since it’s getting closer to spring, so I had an abundance of eggs. My chickens are such good girls. At least they still eat gluten with me.

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Chickens look weird without arms if you think about it too long. But if they had arms they’d be little t-rex arms since they’re dinosaur birds

Ingredients

8 eggs

1 large or two small heads of broccoli, chopped into small florets

About ½ cup cheese (or if you hate going to the store, 5-6 slices of cheese chopped into small pieces)

½ cup unsweetened almond milk or regular milk

Olive oil

Small amount onion powder

Salt and pepper

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I’m sure you can’t tell which cheese option I went with. Are there really any benefits to shredded cheese? It’s just more work, even if you don’t include the trip to the store

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400

Heat oil and onion powder in cast iron skillet (or another oven safe skillet) and add broccoli. Cover and let steam/simmer for a few minutes until bright green and just a little soft

Beat eggs with milk, add a little pepper and salt, then stir in cheese

Pour egg mixture over broccoli and even out where your massive chunks of sliced cheese went if that is a problem

Cook for about 10-15 minutes, checking frequently. It’s done when the middle is just set

Let it sit for a few minutes before serving.

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It’s such a pretty frittata. My boyfriend wouldn’t even try it.

May you all find something with gluten to eat very soon

Serafina