You’re Beautiful and I Appreciate You

As we all prepare for what comes with the Trump era, I’m going to pause to point out something great.

img_3361I have been S E R I O U S L Y trying to be excited about how many work projects I have. Yay! But also annoyed that my fitness goals aren’t exactly on point and why the fuck is this boy ignoring me? Also what the fuck is with all of this laundry!? I don’t even have any clothes!!!

Sometimes you just have to get out of bed.

Even if you don’t want to. (Wayyyy better chance of staying in bed if you don’t have kids or recently got fired from your job, BTW)

But yesterday, I did get out of bed. With gusto. (Ish.) I spent the day in a satin robe with my best friend doing laundry and getting paid to write. Not the interesting, sexy or inspiring writing. But something that is paying the bills and allows us to do just what we were doing. Lingerie. Coffee. Best friends and avocado toast while dealing with annoying people.

After class I hit the library to do more work at at 11:30, feeling deflated because I still had a long To Do list for the morning, and while I was excited about clean sheets, I just remembered that they were still in the dryer, a car pulled up next to me with their window down. Mine was down too (balmy NOLA “winter”). They said “Hey!” and I said “Hey!” back. The guy driving and girl in the passenger seat were both snacking on something that looked like it was recently picked up from a drive-through.

I don’t know if I knew them or not. But then they shouted over: “You’re beautiful and I appreciate you!”

Something similar happened the other day when I was dropping off items from a photo shoot. A woman at the boutique I just exited paused to tell me how great I looked.

This is not to sound vain – the point is that I felt frazzled and disgusting (why is my car smelling like mold and about to overheat – again) and stressed to the max so it was particularly nice to see how something small can really help shift perspective.

This guy at the bar the other day (I was working, he was a customer) told me to “Stay out of the real world as long as possible.”

I’m fairly sure I’m in the “Real World” and, incidentally, recently got fired from that shitty bartending gig anyway.
So, for all those who are heading out on the town this weekend, remember to be kind. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others.
Also, here is a poem we read last night:
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Back to Basics

Well, friends, June is almost over and I’m staring at July like “Where the fuck did you come from?!” Probably because I took it upon myself to mostly ruin June. And some of May. And in case the pale skin and extra 5-7 pounds from binge eating and even more binge drinking wasn’t motivation enough, I’m actually kind of bored and totally ready to leave this particular party. I’m ready for a different kind of summer fun. (Yes, it still includes rosé and books and omg maybe boys!) Just 86ing too much booze and then drowning my sadness in a GIANT bowl of pasta with butter and cheese because being a graduate student in English might be the least lucrative thing ever.

Anyways, things got messy. Never got out of that post-finals feeling of over-scheduled and too much sugar and not enough sleep. So it is finally time to clean up.

There are a few rules when shit gets messy. First, so many things are out of your control – but many also that are all on you. Small thing: shower. Oh my gosh when I’ve been kind of sloppy and rushed and hungover and busy sometimes I just don’t shower enough. You’d think I’d remember after all of these years that a hangover is deeply improved by a long hot shower. But, sometimes I’m lazy and don’t feel like getting wet. So there.

Point being,  probably the simplest way to change your day for the better is wash/put on fresh sheets and then hop in the shower, shave your legs (shave your neck if you are a dude) and and curl up with your soft, fresh smelling self in bed. See! The world is not that terrible! (Just kidding b/c yes, it is.)

Another easy thing to feel adult is to floss. Yeah some of you do it daily, and everyone tells their dentist that they do – so if you really want to get out of a funk, actually do it!

More on Adulting 101:

  • groceries (healthy snacks and fruit so you don’t reach for junk)
  • start on the other laundry (it feels good!)
  • delete all phone and text history from your bender (if you don’t remember, no sense wondering about it and ruining a whole other week!)
  • make a list (I don’t care what is on it, just make one.)

This week I’m all about going back to basics (because next week I’m doing some crazy diet cleanse shit) and cooking and living simple.

A few weeks ago I met my favorite breakfast partner for bagels and we both decided to also grab a hard boiled egg. Protein, you know? They were a bitch to peel. I don’t eat the yolk unless its egg salad or a deviled egg (see the difference?) so having big chunks of the egg white torn away with the shell while I cursed over a tiny trashcan was not ideal.

But it did inspire me. At home my mom always keeps a dozen boiled eggs and she is really good at it. You can always peel them. The peeling issue has prompted me, on many occasions, to take to the internet for research. Alas, after all that searching, my mom’s way is the best. Sometimes, when I’ve worked out an need to just shower and get dressed, I look for an easy, nutritious breakfast to send me on my way.

Break Fast with this Open-face Egg Salad 

Step One: Turn on a pot of water and bring it to a full boil. (Pour enough to make sure the water can cover the eggs.)

Step Two: Add eggs to boiling water, one at a time, with a large spoon. Kind of close a lid over it between eggs to keep the water boiling. Make sure the water is back up to a complete boil before securing a lid tight and then turning off the burner.

Step Three: Walk away. If you go all day the yolk might get a little greenish tint (but still tasty) 15 minutes is the sweet spot. If you walk away to get dressed and come back in 15, this is what you get:

Hello, egg!

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Me, peeling an egg.

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And look how cute they are!

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I made egg salad – under a Tbsp. of mayo (because the eggs are super fluffy), sea salt, fresh ground pepper on a toasted English muffin. Eggs are still a bit warm. It is V yummy.

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Sometimes egg salad makes people gassy. Try this perfect Tuesday morning breakfast at your own risk/if you don’t care that you may bombard your coworkers with egg-farts, you hate you significant other, you love your significant other – OR, if you are like me – eat it because you are born alone and die alone and if you must eat breakfast alone you might as well enjoy something that is really simple but really fucking tasty and has enough going on that you aren’t starving again at 9:30 a.m. thinking about diving into your lunch.

 

Good Karma?

I’m okay with the misery for now, it’s winter for fuck’s sake, but puhhhleeease if I try to do good things it would be super if there was some karmic retribution. I would love to rack up some future happiness.

Because yesterday kind of sucked. I woke up early, before my alarm, and lounged in bed debating a run or not. It looked miserable outside so I decided to stay peacefully in bed. As if anyone can peacefully BE in bed with a gazillion stressors running amuck their head. If it wasn’t for that, I might just have been sleeping away with the rest of the world. So, even though it was edging on 6:45 a.m. (a bit late for a run) I decided to put on my most festive running pants and hope no one in a hurry on the morning commute ran me over while I cruised though the fog.

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I know. I should get a better app for doing those combined photo things. Anyway I did a shortie run, just 3.5 miles, to leave time to get home to shower and make breakfast before heading to the office for the morning. Of course I was working on a writing assignment the night before until I was too tired so I still needed to finish editing a short essay for class that afternoon. I was early. I stood outside waiting for someone with a key to let me in. Then, I had nothing to do at work but for some reason made the conscious decision to leave my homework at, well, home. Yippee.

I was also famished. Super, super hungry mid morning and irritated that I was bored and had nothing to do with so much stuff that actually needed to be done. I probably checked my phone, Facebook and Instagram at least 100 times in the course of three hours. Pathetic? Yep.  Boring? Hell yes. But, a ray of sunshine, I make plans to meet my BFF at this awesome restaurant that occupies the downstairs spacious, beautiful room of a yoga studio in our neighborhood. I’m pretty stoked because I’ve been meaning to eat at Good Karma since the 4th of July yoga retreat where the guy that is behind the food at Good Karma was our personal chef for the weekend. Oh. My. God. So. Good.

Naturally I got caught up in some chat on my out of work, and I desperately needed gas. Minutes ticking by. And, since I left my school stuff at home, I needed to swing by my apartment. There was widespread whispers of tornadoes and rain storms so I thought I’d quick change into my fantastic all-weather boots before driving the mile or so to lunch. More minutes. Did I mention I was hungry? And tired? And fucking stressed?

Still, I was basically on-time; I mean it was 12:31 and we were supposed to meet at 12:30. And, I noticed my friend’s Civic was right in front of me! (Our cars are twinsies) Wohoo! Cue excitement quickly diminishing because I suck at driving and I know for a fact we are going to both be looking to park and now she will get the better spot first. Fuck.

But wait! She misses one! I am probably shaking from low blood sugar but I put on my signal to go park because I am an adult, damn it.

And then I backed into someone.

Okay rolled into him. Because I don’t think I looked in all of the directions (the key one being behind me). I must’ve missed a mirror?! It all happened quite fast considering how slow I was moving. I probably could have cried from just about anything at that moment but this was more than I was up for. Thankfully I was wearing sunglasses. He was super nice and there really wasn’t damage to his car or anything. He made a joke like “I guess we are going to the same place!”

Um yes. (Great…)

Thankfully that “place” was a mostly vegan restaurant at a beautiful yoga studio in Mid City and that almost required that this guy be a nice human. He also was going to back up so I could park there buuut I most certainly didn’t have the nerve. I said (awkwardly) no thinks I’m going to drive straight.

After a few more tears inside my vehicle I drove around once more, found a spot exactly across from my friend and we walked in together. UGH I suck at life so hard.

On the plus side, the food was amazing. I ordered a warm tofu wrap and my friend had their house made veggie burger. Incredible. The kitchen was backed up so it took awhile and they surprised us by bringing out some lentil soup on the house. Great for me because did I mention that I was hungry? Then, the guy that was at the yoga retreat brought our food out (yay/swoon) and apologized for the wait. I almost melted because we hung out some at the retreat and his incredibly calm personality was very soothing to my insanely high frequency one. If it doesn’t work like a succubus, I’d love to feed off of his calm energy some more.

Gimmie Dat Bean

No, I’m not talking about the bean hidden in the King Cake. I’m decidedly not getting the baby either for that matter because (blasphemy) I don’t spend from Twelfth Night through Mardi Gras eating massive amounts of pastry. Why? Because I don’t eat that shit the rest of the year, with the exception of caving on occasion to the ever-present junk food of the Christmas holiday, so you better believe I’m not trying to fatten myself up for another month. I’d way rather eat Chinese food. (Exception being eating King Cake at a parade-watching party because you can eat whatever you want once the parades start and you walk everywhere.)

As a matter of fact, I’m doing a cleanse and I’m slowly trucking through the same ten-day moderate cleanse that I did right before 4th of July over the summer. I think I’m going to try to make it a biannual thing and (weather permitting) cleanse and then hit up the Swan River Yoga retreat again too.

I went with some friends to check out the WWII Museum over the weekend and it was incredibly informative and a heartbreaking mixture of awe at both the act of creation and devastation. Before heading to the final showing of Beyond All Boundaries , we headed over to the attached American Sector restaurant for a snack. No drinks for me and I had to look at the bartender straight in the face and ask if there was anything vegan on the menu. Then, realizing that I can’t eat most things that vegans eat (bread, nuts, salad dressing), I figured I might as well own up to my cleanse and ordered a $9 bowl of lettuce adorned with 2-4 halves of cherry tomatoes and a few shaved radishes. Yippee!! Oh yeah and I did put a little bit of black pepper and a splash of vinegar and a tiiiny bit of olive oil, because…lettuce. I also packed my own nuts… and on the streetcar I enjoyed my packed lunch of BEANS! And sliced cucumbers.

My excitement over beans is that on Day 5 (and for the remainder of the ten) I can add beans to my diet. Hallelujah! I might have been a tad irritable on days 1 & 2 that only allowed for fruits and vegetables but now I’m flying high and it is because of this amazing bean dish I’ve been making.

Here’s the gist: You can’t eat regular hummus so I modified a warm chickpea puree to fit my dietary restrictions.

Step one: Coarsely chop three cloves of garlic.

Step two: Cook garlic in a dollop of coconut oil.

Step three: Add a can of mostly strained chickpeas

Step four: Combine the garbanzo beans, with a little bit of the liquid from the can, with the sautéed garlic.

Step five: Cook, for kind of awhile. You really can’t overcook it? I walked away to get dressed the first time. The point is that it needs to be nice and hot.

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Step 5: Add a little bit of cayenne pepper, fresh black pepper, red pepper flakes and a shake of garlic powder.

Step 6: Puree! If it is too thick add a little bit of olive oil.

Serve with slices of bell pepper, carrots and cucumber. Or, just eat it with a spoon because that, my friends, is delicious.

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Don’t Mess with My Bananas

Okay…guilty. While I own canvas bags, I regularly forget to bring them to the grocery store. I know. I am a terrible human. And for that, I am sorry.

But seriously, why are the checkout people always so rough with my bananas? I don’t want bruised bananas. I actually like my bananas pretty firm. (l do!)

The worst offender is Whole Foods because after you’ve just unloaded $75 on produce and a few other items, if you didn’t bring your own bag, they put everything in ONE BAG. You are basically guaranteed to come home with your expensive produce all mangled in the name of conservation.

Odd because at other stores, eggs have to go in their own bag. It makes no sense. They are in a carton and therefor not that fragile. I promise…they can go with the bread. They can go with the herbs. They can go with all kinds of things, just put them in the bottom first and then add light things to the top.

But it isn’t just Whole Foods offending my bananas. I’ve noticed this horrible act at markets all over the country. Slamming bananas down on the weigh/scan part. Tossing them haphazardly down toward the bagging end. “BE GENTLE!!!” my eyes scream, “THEY WILL BRUISE!”

Moreover, in general I hate when someone else bags my groceries. This was particularly annoying when I was on my bike because its all got to be weighted properly. Especially because my neighborhood Rouses (and I’m sure most other groceries around the country) puts on average 3 items per bag. I feel like I need to get a cat, to get a litter box just to have something to DO with all of these plastic bags.

As a side note, if my apartment were a sitcom, my roommate would be perfect because he is almost always eating a banana when I see him. I don’t think he cares if they are bruised and eats them well into the browner-stage of ripe. Good for him. Generally in his underwear. Sometimes I find the peels in random places – that’s how I track him.

I must remember those canvas bags.

There’s always next time.

Quesadilla: The Superlative Grilled Cheese

Tortilla + Cheese + Goodies + Skillet = Delicious.

If you disagree, you are probably a bread person. See all previous posts re: the war on carbs if you are surprised that I do not, in fact, think the best part of a grilled cheese sandwich is the bread.

What I do love, however, is the diversity. OH THE DIVERSITY that you have when making a quesadilla.

The combination described below is a personal favorite because a) it uses kale (kale!) b) it uses goat cheese instead of loads and loads of heavier and higher calorie cheese and c) it can be modified based on whatever is in my refrigerator or yours and impress the shit out of everyone who gets to eat some. (You’re welcome.)

I almost always prefer my version to any that I could ever order out, so I was happy to have the opportunity to enjoy this version for an afternoon lunch with my mama.

I started with a hot nonstick skillet with an extra spritz of olive oil nonstick spray. **Important for getting the right level of toasted without it being greasy.

The large tortilla gets folded in half so basically I made two at once, with the inner parts of each tortilla making what looks like a tepee while I added the fillings on top of the half being heated.

First I grated a small amount of cheddar cheese (the unifier) and then threw on some raw kale, fresh ground salt and pepper. I had leftover spicy black beans (whole tomato, garlic, red onion, black beans and chili flakes cooked together) and threw them on and topped it all with a little fresh goat cheese. I then added a little Cholula hot sauce and a final grate of cheddar to glue it all together and … Ta Da… the bottom side is perfectly toasted and it was ready to be sandwiched and flipped.

This was all finished with a little bit of sour cream and a glass of wine. If you are nice, maybe next time you can come.

Cauliflower is the New Kale?

According to a recent post by Shape Magazine, “Cauliflower is the New Kale.”

Interesting, very interesting.

I eat a lot of cauliflower and certainly enjoy both ordering it out and making it at home. I’m not a vegetarian but if I see a cauliflower steak on the menu, you better believe I’m ordering it. (I’ll probably order a real steak too because I generally order everything.) I love to throw it into the mix with some whipped potatoes or roast it in the oven for a salad. Its delicious raw and cooked. But if I want to be really honest (and I do), it is more like a vessel for all the other yummy flavors you mix it with, which is why it is great in curry.

Had I known that this cruciferous vegetable was both anti-inflammatory and good for your immune system I’d have written about it sooner. Anti-cancer, you say?! Perfect. I might say that I eat more cauliflower than most humans. Ever. But that is beside the point. What we are trying to figure out here is whether or not it is possible for 2015 to kick kale to the curb in favor of its brother from another mother, CAULIFLOWER.

Here’s my take: cauliflower is delicious and somewhat nutritious but the “new” kale? That is a stretch. Until cauliflower has billboards and a Twitter account, I don’t believe it. Does cauliflower have a trending hashtag? I think not. Everyone knows that the dark greens are the superlatively bad ass of the vegetables and do all the good things. And cauliflower gives you gas.

Put that in your blender and juice it.