Last Minute Gift Guide

Christmas is ONE WEEK AWAY! Have you finished your holiday shopping yet? Here's a little last minute gift guide if you need a little inspiration. You'll find something for her, for him and all those people you might have forgot to shop for. 

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1. Birchbox, $30 for 3 month subscription Your best bet for absolute last minute gifting. Give a 3 month subscription, print out the gift receipt and put it in a card or schedule an email notification to the recipient. Men and womens boxes available. It's s fun gift because everyone like getting things in the mail. 

2. HP Sprocket, $129 at best buy - for printing mini photos (that are also stickers!) wirelessly from your phone or tablet. 

3. Dakota Backpack, $175 at Dagnedover.com The neoprene material is unexpected and holds its shape. Comes in 5 colors. I love the chunky zippers and interior pocket. 

4. Obama: An Intimate Portrait by Pete Souza, $31 on Amazon.com To perk them up with one beautiful iconic Obama photo after the next. 

5. Breville Compact Juicer, $99 at Bed Bath and Beyond because everyone wants more kale juice in their life. This one accepts whole fruits and vegetables, has a small foot print for tiny NYC apartment life and is easy to clean. 

6. Lekoch flatware, $22.99 on Amazon.com This flatware is so good it drives me CRAZY. It must be the food blogger in me but it's just so damn elegant and modern. 

7. Kombucha Home Brewing Kit, $45 on Uncommongoods.com We all want to make more of our own things and fermentation is bubbly, exciting and impressive. 

8. The First Mess Cookbook, $22 on Amazon.com Because come January first everyone we know will be gyming, cleansing and eating healthy. Give someone a boost with this cookbook full for incredible plant based recipes. 

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9. Mast Brothers Chocolate Library, $75 on Mastbrothers.com or a collection of bars from your city's local artisanal chocolate makers. 

10. Catchphrase, $11.99 at Target and some batteries too. Probably the best game to play after your family holiday dinner. We got one last year and it's the new family tradition.

11. Slip Silk Pillowcase, $75 at Sephora  It's luxurious, defends against wrinkles and helps with frizzy hair. Also, its sooooo soft. 

12. Udon Blanket Kit, $125 on weareknitters.com For the crafty knitter in your life who hasn't bought a scarf or hat in the past 5 years because she knits them all herself. This is a big, cozy, soft wool blanket kit complete with giant needles.

13. Sorel 1964 Premium CVS Boots, $140 on sorel.com  For keeping those feet warm in the snow and slip free in the slush. 

14. Captivator Love Bath, $12 on cap beauty.com soak up the love with this naturally scented bath mix with magnesium, neroli and sandalwood. 

15. Glow Watermelon Sleep Mask, $45 on Sephora.com Glowing skin? Check. Watermelon? Check. All the work done while she sleeps? Check. 

Falafel Roasted Chickpeas (Vegan, GF, DF)

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Did you know you can roast chickpeas to make a crispy, crunchy snack? Until recently, I did not. I had these falafel chickpea snacks awhile ago that got me thinking I could make them my own. If you read Meats and Sweets, you might have noticed that I really like to recreate foods I've had elsewhere, at home. This is especially great with packaged or processed food since home made versions are generally healthier and are free of weird undesirable ingredients. The chickpea snack that inspired me to make these, had canola oil which I avoid. By making my own, I was able to choose which oil I wanted. 

As I mentioned in my hummus post: 

You can use canned chickpeas but I strongly suggest using dried chickpeas. This recipe works for 1 can drained chickpeas or 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas which is a half cup of dried chickpeas. To make prepare the dried chickpeas: measure out 1/2 cup of dried chickpeas and soak them in room temperature water overnight. They will absorb a lot of water during soaking so make sure they are covered with at least 2 inches of water. If you're short on time, use the quick soak method. For this method, add beans to a pot and cover with 2" water. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let soak for 1 hour. After soaking, drain beans. They will now need to cook, as soaking only rehydrates the beans. 

To cook, place in pot of water, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, about 1.5 - 2 hours. Just start testing them for tenderness at the 1.5 hour mark. Just start testing them for tenderness at the 1.5 hour mark. Once done, drain. Chickpeas are now ready. 

Falafel Chickpeas

1.5 cups cooked chickpeas

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2  teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon fenugreek leaf 

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon paprika

2 tablespoons olive or avocado oil

First, dry chickpeas. Either leave the drained, cooked chickpeas out on a kitchen towel overnight or use a food dehydrator for about 30 minutes or let them dry out in the preheating oven for about 15 minutes. They must be dry in order to become crispy. 

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Set aside. 

In a bowl, mix cumin, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, fenugreek, black pepper and paprika. Add oil and mix. Add chickpeas and stir to coat. Arrange evenly on prepared baking tray. Bake 20 minutes or until crisp. Turn pan once halfway through baking. Cool before eating. 

Lazy Vietnamese Cold Noodle Salad (GF, DF)

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Hello there! Wow. I can't believe it's been over a month since my last post! We're almost in a new season. It's mostly just been a combination of laziness and writer's block but it's all over - I'm full of ideas again. 

In other news, I am not vegan. Blood tests and a general feeling of 'meh' showed that it was not the right diet for me. I loved it at first but after a three months I just started to feel terrible. Meat and veggies are the way to go for me, That said, the husband is still enjoying a vegetarian lifestyle so there will still be many recipes on here for you lovely, brave vegan people. (Just not today.)

This cold noodle salad is refreshing. I usually like a big bowl of hot, soupy something in the colder months but this just sounded right. I call it lazy because I looked at many a Vietnamese noodle salad recipe online with long lists of ingredients or instructions. (No thank you - I just want a salad.) This is bare minimum effort but still has a sweet, sour, umami sauce and soft chewy noodle, crunchy fresh vegetable contrast of texture.  

Vegetarians, if you are okay with fish sauce, then sub out the chicken with a brown tofu. If making with chicken, use any type of cooked chicken - grilled leftovers, rotisserie, whatever you may have. Follow the directions on your noodle package. It will probably say to cover dry noodles with boiling water, let sit for 3 minutes, drain and rinse. 

*Note: my lettuce was not photo ready so it's not featured in the above image. 

Serves 4.

Cold Vietnamese Noodle Salad

for the sauce

1/3 c fish sauce

2/3 cup fresh lime juice

3 tablespoons raw or brown sugar

2 cloves garlic, microplaned or finely grated

1/8 teaspoon red chile flakes

for the salad

about 200 grams (4 servings) vermicelli rice noodles, cooked to package directions

4 cups chopped lettuce

2 carrots, peeled, cut into matchsticks

1 bell pepper, stemmed, cut into matchsticks

1 seedless cucumber, peeled, cut into matchsticks

2 cups cooked chicken, in bitesized pieces (12oz brown tofu) 

1/2 cup crushed peanuts

In a small bowl, whisk together fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, garlic and chile flakes until sugar is dissolved. Set aside. 

Build individual bowls by tossing noodles, lettuce, carrots, pepper, cucumber, chicken and cooked peanuts with a bit of sauce.

Ready for Fall?

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Happy Fall! Autumn is officially on but the weather, at least in NYC only just started to agree. Meaning, I wore sandals to work last week and I wasn't the only one. I usually don't fall into the 'I can't wait for Fall!' category but at 75 degrees in mid October, I'm starting to feel for a cozier, sitting in front of a fire under a soft blanket with my loved one drinking cocoa while knitting time of year. I love cozy time. 

What are you most excited about for Fall? Here's a little list of a few fun things: 

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Apple Picking

Getting out of NYC and wandering around an apple orchard or pumpkin patch is usually the first thing I do when I'm in the mood for Fall. Ideally,  there's a farm store where I can stock up on treats. 

Desserts!

Apple, pumpkin, pear, caramel, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, vanilla - all those types of flavors that previously felt unseasonal. Try this, this or this

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Autumn Leaves

Driving through upstate NY, basking in all the Autumn leaf glory. Especially the Hudson Valley with all of its sweet little villages to stop at and explore. 

Layers!

Bundling up in big scarves, sweaters, leather jackets or my coziest grey sweatshirt. Who doesn't love layers? I pile 'em right on. 

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Knit a blanket

A giant blanket. I've ben slowly working on this one at a snails pace all year. If you want something fast but impressive, this arm tutorial and this giant wool will do the trick. 

Hot beverages

Toddies, hot apple cider, chai. Yes! I can't wait to take a stroll through the greenmarket next Saturday with a cup of hot apple cider and a doughnut to dip into it. 

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Using the Oven Again

It's not 9000 degrees in your apartment anymore so take out whatever you were storing in it and replace it with a yummy slow cooking braised dish. Meat people, try this or this. Vegans try this

 
 

Candles

 I don't have a fire place or wood stove to gaze into so instead I light a bunch of candles in different glass vessels that create a beautiful, warm glow. Everything is cozier by candlelight, yes? 

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Sushi Bowls (Vegan, GF, DF)

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Let's think of this more as a serving suggestion than as a recipe. I made these after my week of tempura. I kept these really simple but they would be great served with fish or tofu. Something about the cucumber, avocado, carrot and rice is just like a vegan deconstructed seaweed free california roll. Seaweed and I are not friends so this is perfect. 

You can make everything and then portion it into single serving containers for an easy lunch. Just wait on the avocado and tamari. For those it's best to wait until serving. I used 1/2 an avocado for each serving. 

The lettuce is optional. I just like to make sure I'm getting enough green veggies. You can chop it and treat this like a salad or use the leaves as wraps. 

The best part of this is the sushi rice. Sushi rice is much more than just a type of short grain white rice, it also requires its own method of preparation. Don't worry, its easy. And super delicious, I could eat sushi rice by the sticky handful except I don't because #willpower. 

4-5 servings. 

Vegan Sushi Bowls

1.5 cups sushi rice

rice vinegar, to taste

salt, to taste

2 carrots, cut into matchsticks

2 english cucumber, cut into matchsticks

2 avocados, peeled, pitted, sliced

1 head romaine lettuce, leaves only

pickled ginger

sesame seeds

tamari soy sauce, for serving

In a covered medium sauce pan, bring rice and 3 cups water to a boil. Reduce to low and let cook until water is evaporated, about 20 minutes. Transfer rice to a large shallow bowl, stir with rice paddle and fan to cool. Season with small splashes of rice vinegar and tiny sprinkling or salt. Keep stirring, seasoning and tasting until smooth rice flavor is subtle balanced with the salt and vinegar. Portion rice into bowls. Top with carrots, cucumber, avocado slices, lettuce, pickled ginger. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve with soy sauce. 

Pear Crumble Pie Bars (Vegan, GF, DF)

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I made a conventional version of these a couple years ago and really wanted to make a gluten free vegan version. After following the AIP and now a gluten free vegan diet, it's so weird to look back at my old recipes and see ingredients like all purpose flour and butter. Did I really used to cook with that stuff? It's so funny how much your outlook can change in a short period of time. I guess I've really changed how I eat and cook. 

Feel free to change up the fruit on these. Personally, I love pear desserts but pears usually never make it into baked goods around here because they're so good on their own. If they had been ripe when I bought them, they definitely would not have made it into bar form. Apples or peaches would be great stand ins. If you do change anything - please leave a comment and let me know how it goes!

These are really easy to make. I use a fork for all the mashing and mixing and then switch to my hands. Easy stuff. 

I've made this with both Trader Joe's gluten free baking flour and Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1:1 baking flour. Either one will do or your own preferred gf flour. 

Makes one 8 x 8 inch pan. 

Pear Pie Bars

1 very ripe banana, well mashed

1/2 cup unsweetened non dairy milk (I used boxed coconut milk beverage)

1/2 cup coconut oil, in liquid state

1/3 cup maple syrup

juice and zest of one lemon

3 cups gluten free flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

pinch salt

2 pears, cored and sliced

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ginger powder

Heat oven to 375 degrees, Paper or grease an 8 x 8 baking dish and set aside. 

In a medium bowl, combine mashed banana, milk, oil, syrup, lemon zest and juice. Stir until well combined. In another bowl, whisk flour with baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Stir or work with hands until flour is hydrated. Evenly press 2/3 of dough into prepared pan. 

In another bowl, toss pear slices in cornstarch, nutmeg and ginger powder. Arrange pear slices in an even layer on top of pressed crust. Sprinkle little pinched off pieces of remainign dough over pear layer but don't completely cover the pear. You want it to look crumbly. Dust your hands in flour and lightly press down on surface. 

Bake 40 minute. Top should be golden brown. Let cool. 

Vegetable Tempura (Vegan, GF, DF)

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Tempura time! My mom brought a bunch of delicata squashes from her garden on her last visit and I wanted to do something besides roasting. So, deep frying. Naturally. 

This recipe makes a lot of tempura. When I was coming up with what i wanted to batch cook for the week I decided on my favorite Japanese take out go to's like miso soup, tempura, green salad with carrot ginger dressing and steamed broccoli. I had a great, envy inducing lunches. If you plant to do this, note that summer squash and any other 'wet' vegetables will not store well. The green beans and squash tempura are great for leftovers but the summer squash is much better eaten straight away. 

The batter is super simple - Just gf flour and club soda. It's a light and crisp batter and best mixed right before you are ready to dip the vegetables in and fry. I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Flour and sparkled tap water with our Soda Stream. Besides the Chemex, it's definitely my favorite kitchen gadget/appliance. Who doesn't want club soda and bitters whenever they like? 

The amount of frying oil will depend on the size of your pan. I used about a quart of oil in a 3 qt sauce pan which was cheap and easy to clean up but took forever to fry. More oil and a larger pan is probably more desirable but as long as you have at least 2" of oil you'll be good. 

Serves 6.

Vegan Vegetable Tempura

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1 delicata squash, halved, seeded, 1/4" thin slices

1 large fistful green beans, trimmed

1 sumer squash, 1/4" slices

1.5 cup gluten free flour 

1.5 cup club soda

2 teaspoons grated ginger

1/4 cup tamari soy sauce or coconut aminos

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons mirin

2 teaspoons rice vinegar

In a deep pan, start heating oil to 375 degrees - use a thermometer. While it's coming to temperature, make an assembly line of batter bowl (don't mix yet), cut vegetables and a large baking tray lined with several layers of paper towels. Get your tongs ready. When oil comes to temp, stir in club soda into the flour. Batter should be lumpy with all flour hydrated. 

Dip vegetable slices one by one into the batter and then into the hot oil. Fry as many pieces as you can at a time without the pieces touching - we don't want them sticking together. Fry about 1 minutes on each side. As they are done, remove from oil and place on paper towel lined tray to drain. Repeat until all vegetables are tempurafied. 

In a small bowl, whisk together ginger, soy sauce, water, miring and vinegar. Use as dining sauce of tempura. 

Buon Weekend

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Happy Friday! What are you doing this weekend? I'm getting over a cold - which I never get so I'm a pretty big baby when I do. We're looking forward to a low key Brooklyn weekend - Im hoping to do a little cooking (maybe a little slow cooker something?) and work on a painting. 

Here are some fun internet things to look at: 

This mini series of Hidden Brain podcasts for you but version 2.0 

This skincare brand I've been wanting to try is offering free samples. 

Supporting this relief fund. 

Loving this delicate piece. 

Saying YUM to this breakfast recipe. 

Started reading this incredible book about gut health. 

Anyone seeing this movie? (It was shot with film!)

Cranberry Coconut Healthy Cookies (Vegan, GF, DF)

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As you can probably tell from my posts, I don't eat many sweets or sugar anymore. I try to limit my sugar intake to only fruit which means not a lot of baked sweets happening around here. I prefer to 'save' my sugar indulgences for things like coconut ice cream or a piece of vegan layer cake. Treating it as a rare, special occasion thing has helped changed my sweet tooth to a healthy tooth. You'll notice most of my dessert recipes are sugar free, use natural sugars like maple syrup or are sweetened with a fruit. 

These cookies are made without sugar and sweetened only with a banana and the dried cranberries. 

Cranberry Coconut Healthy Cookies

1 mashed ripe banana

1/2 cup quick GF oats

2 tablespoons dried cranberries 

2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes

1 tablespoon chopped pecans

dash cinnamon and nutmeg

pinch salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a small baking tray with a silpat or parchment paper. Set aside. 

In a medium sized bowl, combine all ingredients. Use a tablespoon to portion 8 cookies onto prepared baking tray. Cookies will not flatten or expand during baking so flatten them into round cookie shapes. Bake 15 minutes. Remove. Cool. 

Buon Weekend!

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It's Friday! What are you up to this weekend? After a few fun filled weekends we decided to stay local and chill. I'm looking forward to a little much needed gym time, as well as working on a few fall recipes and starting some projects.  (I know, I know - I'm too exciting.) 

I'll be back with a post on monday but until then, here are a few links: 

I really enjoyed this goop article. 

Working my way through this long one. 

It seems this restaurant was made for instagram.  

This marriage article made me think. 

Tried this skincare line? I keep hearing good things.  

I want to make gluten free versions of all of these

Detox Vegetable Soup (Vegan, GF, DF, Paleo)

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So, summer is juuuuuuuust about over, isn't it? Instead of quietly crying into my pillow, I though I'd make a bright tomato based, vegetable heavy soup. I wanted something that was healthy but filling which this soup is thanks to all of the veggies. Vibrant, fresh produce always reminds me of warm summer farmer's markets, long sunny days and great meals. 

Serves 8. 

Vegetable Soup

splash olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced

4 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

1 small fennel bulb, cored and sliced

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 14oz tin diced tomatoes

2 quarts vegetable stock

4 cups shredded green cabbage

1.5 cup chopped green beans

2 cups chopped broccoli

2 cups chopped zucchini

s + p 

squeeze of lemon juice

In a large pot over medium heat, warm olive oil. Add onion and garlic, cook until soft, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add carrots, celery, fennel, thyme, basil tomatoes and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Simmer 20 minutes. Add cabbage, green beans, broccoli and zucchini. Simmer 5 minutes more. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. 

Clean Beauty Favorites

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I've been working on swapping out my regular skincare and beauty products for clean ones. Eco friendly products work just as well as their chemical filled counterparts. It's important to me to find products that are cruelty free. It can be a challenge but I've found a few good ones. 

Before I purchase, I read reviews and double check ingredients on the ewg website. Here are my favorite items so far:

Schmidt's Deodorant for Sensitive skin  is the best natural deodorant I've found so far. It smells great and works as an anti perspirant. There is also an unscented if fragrance isn't your thing. 

Simply Sooney Tooth Powder is weird stuff but I love it. It's a tooth powder so you just dip your wet toothbrush in the cup and start brushing. I love this company. It's very difficult to find truly non toxic, safe tooth pastes that are made without carrageenan, glycerin, sulfates and fluoride but this powder doesn't have any of those things. (I really can't believe all the toxic stuff that's put into even 'natural' toothpastes.) This one is made in small batches and has a short, sweet ingredient list. My teeth feel great - super clean with happy gums. I have the cinnamon clove flavor but peppermint might be a good training wheels flavor if you're new to tooth powder. 

I also just realized that the toothpaste in the photo, which is out back up toothpaste, sadly has so many lame ingredients in it. Glycerin, SLS and carrageenan. Ugh. I just looked it up as I realized the ingredients are not listed on the tube. It photographs better than the Sooney Powder. Just an FYI. 

Mascara is a terrifying product to research. First, find a company that does not test on animals, that is vegan, doesn't use a long list of chemical based ingredients and actually stays on your lashes the entire day. Pacifica Stellar Gaze Mascara fits the bill, strengthens lashes and costs less than almost every mascara at sephora. 

If Biossance sent me a t shirt, I would wear it. I've been using the Biossance Eye Gel for about a month and my fine eye wrinkles have started to disappear. Mostly I like it because it feels moisturizing and refreshing when I put it on so I'll consider the above a bonus. The big ingredient is plant derived squalene which is naturally high in antioxidants and promotes cell regrowth. 

In the colder months, I like to use Radha Rose Hip Oil instead of a night cream. It smells great and smoothed out my skin. I like that it's organic and can also be used in my homemade DIY beauty recipes. If you want something in a spray bottle, Nourish Organic Rose Hip Oil Mist is for you. I use it in place of body lotion or a tiny bit on the ends of my hair after straightening to smooth it out and fight frizz. 

I love dry brushing. I bought this inexpensive natural dry brush when I was having some unhappy lymph node issues and they cleared right up after a week of dry brushing. Right before I shower, I brush from my feet to my chest then from my fingers to my heart with small, circular strokes. It's a rush, like an electrical current or fire all over your body. So damn invigorating. 

I never thought this stuff would be as good as it is natural but it is. Cameron and I both use Dr. Bronner's Shaving Soap. It's a thin liquid that lathers up like crazy and gives a close, smooth shave. I like the lavender scent but there is also peppermint and unscented. 

I run a quarter sized amount John Masters Organics Rose Hair Milk through clean wet hair to moisturize and protect it from heat styling. It's smoothing and has a light smell. 

I tried a sample of Mineral Fusion Foundation over the summer and will be purchasing a full size when my current one runs out. It has a similar texture to Mac Studio Fix Liquid but without the icky chemicals. The foundation is part of an entire line so you can also find primer, blush, brushes, everything for your whole beautiful face. Packaging could be updated but that's my only complaint. I have the powder compact and it's great. 

I'll post again as I find and try other clean products but in the mean time - How about you? Any clean, green, eco friendly, cruelty free, vegan products you're smitten with? 

Buon Weekend!

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Happy Friday! What are you doing this weekend? My parents are Brooklyn bound so I know there's going to some crazy good meals and lots of laughter heading my way very soon. If you feel like a bit of internetting, here's a few interesting things: 

Can't wait to read this. Who doesn't love a good biography? 

Just started this crime podcast. 

If I was in a jacket wearing mood, I'd go for this one. 

The sound of art. 

Have some time to volunteer? Orientations starting soon!

This is a great list of salads perfect for lunch. 

Cooking for One Small Dog

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We still have one meat eater in the house. Her name is Chibi and she's our tiny, charming Chihuahua Pomeranian. We cook for her. I don't specifically make her breakfast every morning but about once every two weeks, we make a big batch of her 'wet' food in the slow cooker. What she will eat in the next few days goes into the fridge and the rest we freeze in small containers. 

Some people think it's crazy but this is what we do. I like knowing what goes into her food, its healthy and she loves it. As a 7 year old pup, it's important to keep her at a healthy weight which will help her live longer, be less likely to develop diseases and make sure her aging joints are not burdened. Who wouldn't want that for their little friend? 

Cut food into pieces that are appropriately sized for your dog. Chibs is very small so I have to painstakingly cut up chicken thighs into one million tiny pieces. I find this maddening and will probably start grinding her chicken instead. 

Chibi's Dog Food

1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 sweet potato

1 small apple, peeled, stemmed, seeded

1/3 cup peas, frozen or fresh

1/3 cup chopped green beans, fresh or frozen

1 carrot

Chop vegetables and meat to desired sizes - smaller is better. Place all ingredients in slow cooker. Cook on high for about 3 hours. Chicken should be cooked through and vegetables will be soft. 

Let cool completely, portion into 8 oz containers. Chill one in fridge and store the remaining in the freezer. 

Ramen Soup Jars (Vegan, GF, DF)

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Aka your new favorite lunch. Who doesn't love a cute little jar lunch. It's so portable and easy to eat anywhere. All you need is hot water. You can definitely change customize these to your liking. Want spice? Add a bit of chile paste or hot chile oil. Want carbs? Add a ton of noodles. 

I'm calling these ramen jars but you can definitely make them with out noodles for a lighter, grain free meal. You can't see them in the photos, but we used these aip friendly Shirataki noodles. They are a dried noodle, made from tapioca starch, konica powder, calcium and citric acid. They taste just like a glass noodle. I found these at whole foods but they are also available online.  Feel free to use any noodle you like but precook them if they will need more than a few minutes in hot water to cook. 

Just remember when you're prepping the vegetables that everything in the jar is cooked by pouring boiling water into the jar, sealing and letting it sit for a few minutes. This means that everything should be sliced small and thin. 

Here's grocery list what you will need to make 8 jars:

4 carrots, cut into thin matchsticks

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced

2" knob fresh ginger, grated

4 cups thinly sliced green beans (about 1#)

4 cups chopped broccoli, in bite sized pieces

1/2 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup shelled edamame, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup miso paste

1/2 cup tamari soy sauce

1/3 cup sesame oil

2 teaspoons garlic powder

noodles, amount is up to you, I used 8 shirataki dried noodle nests.

Here's the recipe for ONE jar:

Vegan Ramen + Vegetable Jar

1 tablespoon miso paste

1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 teaspoon grated ginger

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1 scant tablespoon thinly sliced scallions

1/2 cup carrots, cut into thin matchsticks

1/2 cup thinly sliced green beans

1/2 cup finely chopped broccoli

1 tablespoon corn kernels, fresh or frozen

1 tablespoon shelled edamame, fresh or frozen

1 serving of noodles (cooked or uncooked - see note above)

Line up 8 clean glass jars with lids. Fill each jar with the above ingredients. Seal and store in fridge. When ready to serve, fill jar with hot water. Stir, to loosen miso paste. Replace lid and shake lightly to mix ingredients. Let sit for about 5 minutes. Carefully remove lid and enjoy. 

Buon Weekend

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After my last week's post Cameron and I realized we have been speaking different languages to each other. He says 'bon' in French and I say 'buon' in Italian.  I had no idea we were so trilingual. 

What's everyone up to this weekend? We are heading off to Minneapolis for a family get together. I'm looking forward to seeing Cam's mom, dad and sister, meeting more of his (our!) family and exploring a new city. Hilarious antics to follow. 

Here's some fun internet things:

Zara is killing it this season. This, this, this and this are all on my wishlist. Gah! This too. 

This is the holy grail of lotions.  

I found this podcast so helpful

Why we should all be kind to each other. (Old article but I love it anyway.)  

How to Support DACA Program here and here.

DIY Makeup Remover

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I really don't have a good nighttime skincare routine. I'm really more of a morning person. My new thing is once I know I'm home for the night - which is usually when I get home from work and any additional errands - I wash my face. It goes like this: I walk in, take off my shoes, kiss Cam and Chibi and go wash my face. If I don't do it then, it just won't happen. Yes, I'm that lazy. Look, what can I say? You get to a point in life where you know how you are and have to work around it. 

Most makeup removers bother my eyes so I decided to make one myself. This DIY version whips up in about 2 minutes. You'll spend more time digging through the pantry for rosewater than actually making this. It takes make up right off, is chemical free and smells great. 

This is an oil based remover so it will leave an oily residue that will either need to be followed with a warm washcloth or a cleanser. Your skin will feel nice and moisturizer afterward. 

I made my own reusable cotton rounds which was super easy and very satisfying. Any time I get out the sewing machine, locate the foot pedal that I store in a different area of the apartment and re learn how to thread the bobbin always leaves me with a probably not completely deserved, very good feeling of accomplishment. You can make your own, purchase them on Etsy or Amazon, or use disposable cotton rounds. 

Makeup Remover

2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 tablespoons tap water

1 tablespoon witch hazel

1 teaspoon rose water

14 reusable cotton rounds

To Make: Warm oil to liquid state. Blend all ingredients. Transfer to clean jar. Add stack of cotton pads. Press pads firmly into make up remover. Flip and press again to make sure all have absorbed some of the makeup remover. 

To Use: swipe pad all over dry skin, massage into skin with pad. Follow with cleanser of choice. Gently pat dry and follow with toner, serum and/or face cream. 

DIY Reusable Cotton Rounds

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I hate creating waste. As you might recall from posts Kitchen Detox and Reusable Replacements, it's important to me to be mindful of what goes into the garbage bin. This is why we use cloth kitchen towels and napkins, totes instead of plastic shopping bags and now these cute little cotton rounds instead of cotton balls or cosmetic rounds. I made 14 so I won't run out. (I can't go longer than 14 days without doing laundry - I'll run out of the socks I like.) I would've made more but I ran out of the thread colors I wanted to use. Make as many or as few as you like. The instructions work for any amount of rounds.  

Supplies:

Cotton fabric

thread

pins

scissors

rotary cutter

cutting mat

paper

pencil

sewing machine

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Instructions:

Wash, dry and iron fabric. Find something circular that is just over 3 inches across. I used a drinking glass from Ikea. Trace the form onto a piece of paper and cut out with scissors. Make two or three of these - you may end up needing them. Lay fabric out flat on your cutting mat. Place the paper pattern you just made on a corner of the fabric. Hold in place while you use your rotary cutter to cut out the pattern.

Continue until you have two circles cut out for every cotton round you wish to make. I made 14 rounds so I had to cut out 28 fabric circles. If you accidentally maim your pattern - use one of the backups. When al the needed circles are cut out, take a moment to clean them up. They do not need to be prefect but try to get rid of any jagged edges. 

Line up one circle on top of another, with wrong sides facing each other on the inside. Right sides will be facing out. Secure with a pin. 

If you have a serger, serge the edges together. I do not have a serger, just a regular sewing machine so I did a little faux serge by selecting the zigzag stitch and sewing off the edge. Use a piece of scrap fabric to try the technique first. Once you get the hang of it, move on to the prepared pieces. 

Line up your pinned round so the edge is in line with the middle opening of the presser foot. Sew a few sitches, back stitch a few stitches and go around twice with the zigzag stitch. You want one side of the zigzag to land on the edge of the fabric and one side of the zigzag to land off the edge. Once you've made it around twice, back stitch a few stitches and cut. Repeat until you've gone through all the prepped rounds. 

Trim any loose threads. 

Buon Weekend

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Happy Friday! What's everyone up to this long weekend? Cameron and I are heading up to Cold Springs, NY for a kayaking trip. I can't wait. Here are a few fun things to click on:

This is my new favorite podcast. 

Read a great review of this movie. 

I love this brand's story. Ordering myself a bottle!

Now is the time to join this organization. 

This toast guide is genius. Not to mention delicious. 

Somehow, these are the most flattering things ever. 

Kimchi Soup (vegan, paleo, GF, DF)

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I think I have a soup addiction. I made this earlier in the week after returning to Brooklyn from a weekend in Ithaca to a house with almost no food. I keep meaning to freeze a pint or two of each soup I make so that I'm not caught with nothing to eat but I never remember. 

Luckily, my mom sent us back here with a bunch of veggies from her garden and the local farmer's market. The haul also included a new jar of kimchi. Cameron had mentioned an idea for a kimchi soup earlier in the week and after a quick fridge inventory, I realized we had everything we needed for a healthy, late summer vegetable kimchi soup. (Thanks, mom!)

This is a great fridge clean out recipe since it will work with most stocks and vegetables. I happened to have corn, carrots, zucchini, kale and green beans but most other vegetable would work too.

Kimchi Soup

small splash oil

1/2 red onion, chopped

small 1" knob ginger, peeled and grated

2 garlic clove, grated

1 quart vegetable stock

1 1/2 cup kimchi with liquid (I chopped mine first) 

2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce

1 cup chopped zucchini

1 cup chopped green beans

1 cup chopped carrots

3/4 cup corn kernels 

1 cup chopped kale

s + p, to taste

Warm oil in a pot, over medium heat. Add onion, ginger and garlic. Cook until soft, stirring frequently. Add stock, kimchi, tamari zucchini, green beans, carrots and corn. Simmer until vegetables are tender. Time will depend on how thin vegetables are, these took about 8 minutes. Stir in kale. Season to taste.