Wolfie: Month Nine

I know what you are all thinking- didn’t she just post one of these things? Yup- but it was practically a month late. *ugh* I know I am just terrible at this right? Well, if all goes according to plan, this will FINALLY be done relatively on time… *crosses fingers*

Let’s start with this photo- terrible right? He just won’t stay still. How do people do it?! I see all those trendy milestone blankets, but this kid will not stay on his back. I think the last photo involved Jon standing by holding Wolfie down till I started to hit the shutter. Oh well. You get the point. The kid is screaming and large. Moving on.

FOOD: Eating like a horse still. But we had some major break throughs! One being that HE ATE A LIL BB BURRITO! Yey! It was the cutest thing ever and it actually made some foods easier for him to eat (aka rice)

Wolfie is largely disinterested in my boobs. I mean he still likes to nurse, but I think sometimes he likes formula better simply because he can feed himself. He at one point was trying to figure out how to feed himself with my boobs. See I use a shield which is a small piece of silicon that makes it a fool proof latch for babies. He has ripped it off my boob, and tried sucking on it. Eventually he has figured out that there is something with the combination of the two, then he tends to stare at my nipples and pinch them. Baby. Listen. Stop it. It is weird.

MOVING: Oh man is Wolfie into walking… well at best as he can. He has been mostly “cruising.” No, he isn’t picking up men for casual sex, as my husband jokes, he is using tables and chairs to hold himself for walking. If he isn’t holding onto the couch or coffee table, it is usually the alligator walker we got as a hand me down. Seriously that kid just goes back and forth and back forth of the living room.

Naturally all this movement means there is a lot more thuds. I can now tell when he wakes up not because of screaming but because I hear the back of crib banging on the wall. He also has lots of little dings and bruises from trying to walk when he is exhausted.

GROWTH: Still tall and skinny. The most recent visit to the Pediatrician came with these stats-

  • Weight: 19lb 7oz (48%)
  • Length: 2ft 5in (80%)
  • Head: 17.52in (34%)

Not too different percentage wise from the last visit. And the scary thing is that I was looking at his numbers to clothing sizes and pretty much his weight is in 6-9 month clothing and his height is clipping towards the 12-18 month clothes. Huh?!

The visit also showed that he has a slightly low iron count. The doctor said that he thinks there was a mess up with the tests since Wolfie doesn’t SEEM anemic. So that means I have to get back into the habit of giving him his vitamins again. Just incase.

And that’s more or less it. I am only covering about 2 weeks worth of life for Wolfie, so you know, not much to say.

This Month in Jen: August 17

In my usual fashion- just like 14 days late. No biggie right?! XD Well, here’s what I’ve been up to in August. I’ll leave you with that so you can read before it is October XD

Reading: Finished Strong Female Protagonist, so I get to return it to Alexa WHEN SHE MOVES TO HER NEW APARTMENT! Very exciting. But focus on the book- it took a lot longer to read than most graphic novels. It is fairly text heavy, but the visuals are still very awesome. I don’t think the texts take away from the medium. I liked the idea of superheroes in the everyday world, and I love how internal conflict that Alison has with trying to “save the world forever.” You don’t need to be a super hero person to really dig this novel.

After finishing that, I went to the library and saw Emily Strange in the YA section. I had no idea that there was a comic series…. so long after her debut. I remember loving Emily Strange when I was a little tween (I mean look at that website- so dated!). So it has been interesting to read The Complete Emily the Strange: All Things Strange. It is interesting to see a personality bloom for Emily. I think I would of fallen in love with her even more if I had the comic when I was younger. What is most interesting is the style changes all the time. Some are stories, some are little “hyuk hyuk” jokes, some are little interviews, and some are just really cool art. Heck even the artistic style changes through the comic series. And naturally this is making me want to dye my hair black and cut some bangs again. I know I shouldn’t though. I never upkeep my bangs.

Watching: As always I am late to the game with what I am watching. Jon and I just finished up season two of Master of None. God I love that show. It never stops entertaining me, and really tries to push what a TV show can do with editing. It is also FINALLY getting Jon on board with Eric Wareheim. Jon HATES Tim and Eric and Tom Goes to the Mayor. I love the visual editing from them. Now Eric Wareheim is in something Jon can dig (read: a plotline) Side note- I saw Eric once in person! I didn’t say hi, mostly because I kept thinking “Why the fuck does this giant look so familiar?” He was at DiBruno Bros so he was probably buying cheese.

Jon and I started watching Key and Peele. It was on the short list of things I would like to watch, but I didn’t know how Jon would react. He randomly decided he wanted to watch it the other day, and we are in love.

A bandana bib from our new etsy shop

Crafting: Nothing new really. Well, my Mother and I are working hard on opening an Etsy shop filled with quilts and little sewn goods for babies. Right now I have a whole whopping ONE item in the shop. XD But we should soon have more.

Listening: For Jon’s birthday I tipped his parents off that he wanted a new record player for Christmas. But it didn’t work out because we had too many things we needed- mostly a new storm door. Turns out that it kind-of is a gift for me as well. XD I brought down all our old CDs and I’ve been jamming out to a lot of Judy and Mary and SE7EN. If they sound familiar, it might be because Judy and Mary sang the opening theme for Rurouni Kenshin and SE7EN debuted in the US with a single featuring Lil Kim.

Podcast: The Longest Shortest Time just released an episode on talking to kids about racism. Ugh. I thought it would be tough to explain veganism to Wolfie, now this? It is really interesting hearing how it is okay to be clumsy talking about racism as a white parent. They also talked about how kids notice these things very early on, so the race talk might be come much earlier than what I originally anticipated.

Garden: My pathetic garden always surprises me. The Spider Queen plants from last year went to seed and grew this year. Sadly, the bunnies kept nibbling them down, so I assumed they were toast. Not so! They bloomed! Though they were not as impressive as last year. XD I am hoping my boss will share some seeds for the plants that seemed to be bunny proof with me. It is possible that I might be growing tobacco next year.

CSA: Tons of green beans and tomatoes. So many tomatoes. Like stupid tons. Luckily the crockpot makes tomato sauce super easy anymore. Just cook for an insanely long time. Done! XD But this was the last week for tomatoes (probably) as we had a “take what you want” written on the you pick board. Tomatillos are back but so far I only took a quart and made my tomatillo tofu. Blackberries finally ended and raspberries are starting to come out.

I made some okra curry from Vegan Richa, and Wolfie gobbled it all up. We got a spaghetti squash (yey this season has been horrible for them) and made them into tacos with the tomatillo tofu. Lots of bell peppers and onions have been going on pizzas, some eggplant here and there, and one or two summer squashes. We’ve gotten a tiny yellow watermelon and two big red watermelon.

I’ve been boing and chopping up the beets for my smoothies. It’s been too hot to make any of the beet recipes that I like. T_T We got one head of lettuce for the summer, which to chopped, washed and ate asap because things freezing in the fridge is still and issue.

Other Eats: PUMPKIN BEER! Okay so that is a little bit of a September thing. I’ve been really happy with booze lately. Maybe that is a sign I am getting more sleep? We had a big family get together so I got to taste a few beers, cocktails, and champagne. I’ve been browsing local liquor stores seeing what they have and dreaming up new cocktail recipes… maybe? BTW if anyone tracks their beers via Untapped, follow me and Alexa! We love seeing what other people are drinking!

And in news of food, I did it- I signed up for Vegan MOFO 2017! I won’t be using their prompts. I’ll HOPEFULLY post more Veganized American Cakes, and cocktails. But Alexa might pop in with the prompts.

Other Shares: I’ve been thinking a lot again about body image. I wrote about how weird pregnancy is for the body, but post pregnancy brings up slightly different issues. And not that men don’t have issues with changing bodies, but I think women have more circumstances where their bodies have drastic changes. Anyways, all of this is leading up to Gina’s new post about Why She Got Her Breast Implants Out. She talks about why she got implants, why it made sense at the time, and why she got a little more plastic surgery done. It is a great read for anyone who had breast cancer or had a baby or both or none of the above. Clearly the post will have body image trigger warnings but also “clean eating”

I also feel like lately I’ve been handling bad news by ignoring it. It can be hard with a kid since you know that the stupid choices being made will effect him the most. So I am taking the time to point out Hurricane Harvey. If you have any money or time to offer, Offbeat Home gives a bunch of great links to food banks, diaper drives, and ways to volunteer your time.

Wolfie: Month Eight

What a month. Wolfie is becoming a little person instead of a screaming lump. And in usual fashion I am very late with this post. Instead of pretending like I am going to just talk about the past month- I will be talking about the past month and a half because HE IS JUST DOING SO DARN MUCH!

SITTING
This is probably one of the first things Wolfie learned how to do this month. It has been a frustrating struggle. He can sit up and that was good enough for awhile. Then he was getting frustrated that he would get stuck either sitting up or laying down.

Well, one day Wolfie was napping while Jon and I were trying to get some things done around the house. The monitor went off, and Jon questioned as to whether or not he should get him. I made an off-the-cuff comment

“meh, he sounds fine, let him play a little by himself.”
Jon replied with “okay…. oh….”
He got up and showed me the monitor. My response?
“Oh… yeah… you should get him”

All you could see on the monitor was Wolfie’s big bald-ish noggin because he’s figured out how to hoist himself up! 

CRAWLING
My last note was “just about to crawl”… mark that down to “nailed it”! It has been so nice to have him be able to move around and gain some independence. Here is how his evolution in crawling has progressed: 

  1. Butt scooting, pretty much moving around in a big circle, confined to a 2 foot radius
  2. Sort of crawling- getting about 2 “steps” in before throwing in the towel
  3. One day you realize you didn’t have to pick up Wolfie for the last 30 minutes. OH SHIT! he’s crawling!
  4. Crawling starts out with dragging one leg behind, kind-of looking like a bug with a leg torn off.
  5. He figures out how to keep his knees in contact with the floor, now can crawl long distances
  6. Screw knees, let’s use our feet! now his butt is high in the air as he crawls
  7. Stairs! Yup, this little munchkin climbed up a small step at Grandma and Grandpa’s house…Eep!

Wolfie is now so excited that he is able to crawl towards Toulouse. It’s really funny because he crawls all the way across the room, exhausting himself, then when he starts to get close to her, Toulouse just casually and calmly gets up and just walks away. Better up your crawling game Wolfiecakez.

TALKING
After so many months of being really quiet, Wolfie is starting to babble with intent again. For a long time we thought his first word would be “hi” since he kept making an “H” sound with various words. But, now I think “UP” may end up being his first word. He often says something sounding very close to “up” with his hands up in the air, looking to get held. It is hard to say since he will randomly say it totally out of context though.

He has also learned how to blow out air so we can move our hands over his mouth. You know, like that racist Native American stereotype? It’s only cute because there aren’t any racist undertones when Wolfie does it. It is pretty darn cute when he grabs your hand to make the noise. But he has moved on to making the noise himself with a balled up fist and (on rare occasions) his foot when in the car.

STANDING
This kiddo just wants to walk. The first comments I got when I posted a video of Wolfie crawling were ones about how he just wants to stand. I am pretty sure he has been wanting to stand since he was in the womb (so much kicking!) He is getting increasingly better at standing. He started holding himself up by playing with his jungle toy, but had a hard time grasping the idea of how to accomplish that without any toys around him. Then he started to understand that he could use tables and chairs to stand up too.

The next step (clearly) is pulling himself up. He has no problem using me as his own personal ladder. He’s really started to nail it, to the point that it’s never phased me. Almost everyone excitedly asks if I knew he could pull himself up, and I just shrug my shoulders. Meh. Not impressed. Sure you can use my squishy body to pull yourself up. Until… yesterday morning he started to try and pull himself up from sitting to his knees. After some major encouragement from me, I motivated him to pull himself to a standing position! WHOOO! This morning I even caught him using the glider. So now his crib has been lowered again to the absolute lowest setting, and his video monitor has been moved very far away to keep the cord out of reach.

HAND-EYE-COORDINATION
For awhile Wolfie was clapping but with one palm open and the other in a tight fist. Now he totally has the whole clapping with both palms opened. In fact, the other day I heard a solid “clap” sound.

He is also starting to understand the whole waving thing. But I think it is mostly for himself. Rarely he will wave hello or goodbye. But he has learned to let his arm go limp to make me shake it when out and about.

His little pincher grip is getting better. If you hand him a small piece of food, he will clamp it with his pointer finger and thumb. It’s adorable! Oddly enough any advancement with his hand-eye-coordination seems to revolve around food. When he plays he seems most interested in trying to stand, crawl, walk, etc. Not play with toys.

EATING
I think awhile ago I made some joke about ways Wolfie is like an ACTUAL dog. Add this to the list- he has been trying to pick up and eat his spit up. OMFGFDHJ*@#UEJ@## SO GROSS! Spit up is already bad, but he just finds way to make it EVEN WORSE by going for it. You know, like spreading it around with his feet, or chunks of his food. STOP IT! I know you are reading this blog, baby!

So far the only food he hasn’t really been diggin’ has been chickpea-egg-like things. I made vegan omelets and little savory bean muffins. Both he happily ate the first day, but then didn’t care after a day or two.

Just eating peaches with Aunt Alexa… naked… on the kitchen floor

Otherwise he has been LOVING peaches, but sadly, I think we are going to be done with them soon. By the time we go to the orchard again they will probably be all gone. This kiddo could probably eat two whole peaches in a day if I let him. Bananas are another favorite. I think my favorite part of BLW is making lil bb versions of normal food. I got to make ADORABLE little naans. And after going to Vedge, Jon wanted to have some recipes from the Vedge cookbook for his birthday dinner. It was so stinkin cute plating fancy food onto a small baby plate.

HEALTH
It finally happened- Wolfie caught a cold. Back in the day, I am thinking around 6 weeks, Jon got a cold, then I got a cold. IT WAS AWFUL! But somehow Wolfie didn’t get sick, but I remember it was really rough trying to get through the day.

I remember taking Wolfie to the library and him touching all the toys and putting things in his mouth. I was nervous but I didn’t want to be that paranoid parent. Sure enough- he got sick… and so did I… and so did Jon. I woke him up and thought

“your nose is really runny… is this a cold?”.
Answer: yes.

It mostly sucked because it messed up his sleep schedule (which means it messed up our sleeping). He would either nap for 2-3 hours, or only 10-30 minutes. One night he woke up 3 times during the night, bringing back horrible memories of the really early baby days.

I also got flashbacks of the sneaky snot swipes from watching my niece Morgan. She got sick much more often from being in daycare and having allergies. Oh did I mention Wolfie was teething while sick? So there were just constant waterfalls of snot and spit. Have I mentioned how disgusting children are?

TEETH
HE HAS TWO NOW!

The bottom two teeth came in about the week of turning 8 months. Not much else to say other than read the previous paragraph.

SLEEP

I remember being so nervous that Wolfie would never nap longer than 30 minutes. Gosh it has been such a crummy experience when he was young with napping. Sleep at night- thumbs up. Sleeping during the day, tears. 

Aside from him getting sick, naps are getting so much more regular. It started with secured morning naps. Then after getting sick, it seemed like something switched, and he decided “yes, these naps rock” Now I know that I can get two naps in, the morning being much longer than the one in the afternoon. This is the only reason why this post finally getting up …*sigh*. It is nice to have some peace and quiet during the day.

Post Pregnancy Fashion


BB Cream: tarte | Lips: Baby Bat Beauty | Dress: Ezra via Modcloth | Shoes: Target
TRIGGER WARNING: body image talk

I am finally understanding why Mom’s have a bad rep for their fashion choices. I have a closet full of clothing and most are unwearable. Lots are too small, some have too many lacy holes and buttons for Wolfie to grab at, and some are too fancy. Some I’ve just haven’t even tried on yet. 

One Bad Mother released an episode about self care. They talked about as you and your children grow, what constitutes self care changes. I know when Wolfie was born showering, eating, and sleeping were on the top of the self care list. But now that things are becoming more manageable, taking care of my self image is surfacing. I want to make an appointment to get contacts again, I want to dye my hair a fun color, and I want to wear clothing that are nice.

But my body isn’t the same. It is slightly different from when I was pregnant- I knew I would be totally different each day getting a little bigger and bigger, and suddenly go through the most extreme weight loss. Wanna loose 10 pounds in ONE DAY?! EASY! Just have a baby!** But now I don’t know what will happen with this body. I am MOSTLY “normal” but I do have a little more fat on my tummy. My boobs are very much so bigger, but what will they look like after I stop breastfeeding? When will I stop?! So how the heck am I suppose to buy new clothing if I have no idea what size to get?

**Disclaimer may take 9 months to create baby

If I go shopping I like to go alone, and I found out quickly, it is hard to shop with a little nugget. I can’t just pick clothing off the rack and know they will fit. My body has changed so much. My boobs are bigger, my hips are wider, I mean I’ve been living in t-shirts and leggings this summer. And I literally have no shorts or pants that fit (that aren’t for working out that is.) So I’ve been thinking about doing a subscription clothing service. While searching around I saw that Dia & Co has a Try-Day Friday fashion challenge- try to go outside your comfort zone.

The simple act of going into my closet and picking out a new outfit is very intimidating. I was so excited when Jon and I would go out for dinner, but 90% of my dresses didn’t zip up. It was incredibly frustrating especially since it use to be my waist that would be too big, not it is my chest. This alone has had me stick to the same tried and true shirts, skirts, and leggings for my wardrobe.

And having my clothing not fit properly around my chest only fans the flames of my personal discomfort around them. I’ve never liked my boobs. They are big, floppy, and pain to find both clothing and bras. The problem is only getting worse, I went from sometimes a D to E, and I can only assume they will look like deflated water balloons after nursing. Ugh. So I thought I would dig into my closet and find a dress or shirt that I would have to wear a strapless bra! Yikes!

I found a dress that I bought on sale from Modcloth. It doesn’t look racey or anything, but bra straps always show. So I never wore it. I went the whole 9 yards, lipstick, bb cream, hair pulled back, and some cute shoes. Once I had everything on, I really wasn’t sure why I put off wearing a strapless bra with this dress. It was all very comfortable.

Now, don’t think this is all sunshine and rainbows. Shortly afterwards I found out that strapless bras and babies are a horrible combo. I had to change before making my errands otherwise I would of been flashing everyone I walked past. But it will probably get worn out next time I am with little Wolfie or when he gets older and doesn’t need me to carry him everywhere.

Then when I looked at the photos on my computer I was not loving how my chest looks. But loving how I look in person is a place to start right? I know part of my dislike of the photos is the lighting. And you can’t see how sparkly the lipstick is, but it was nice to not be wearing an oversized t-shirt with leggings for once. It has definetly inspired me to clear out my closet. Try things on again, try and give my clothing a second chance.

My Vegan Restaurant: Vedge

Vedge

1221 Locust Street, Philadelphia 19107
website | facebook | instagram | twitter

It’s finally happened- I’ve eaten at the legendary Vedge restaurant! The spot is known as a major restaurant to check out for any foodie when in Philadelphia – omni, vegetarian, or vegan. It has taken me so long to write this post- 2 months! There is just so much to talk about. The history of the restaurant, building, chefs, and naturally the food. When we went we pretty much ordered everything from the menu (No- really). The meals are sold as small plates, and are suggested you get three plates per person. Each section has 5 dishes to choose from, and we had 4 people altogether. It was easier to choose what we weren’t going to order, but before I get ahead of myself let’s talk about the history.

Vedge opened up in 2011 with Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby. The co-owner Rich Landau has reached a minor celebrity chef status, being featured in many interviews, owning several restaurants, and even being featured on Chopped (and won!) Landau and Jacoby have shaped Philadelphia’s vegan food scene, expanding it from it’s punk and religious background. They opened up V Street, a tapas bar, and Wiz Kid, a fast food cheesesteak shop. Nicole Marquis was an employee at Vedge, and has expanded the vegan high end dining experience by opening up Bar Bonbon, Charlie was a Sinner, and HipCityVeg. Just type in “best of philadelphia” and Vedge will appear in many different articles. There isn’t much debate- Vedge is one of the best restaurants in the entire city.

If you aren’t much for “fancy” food, then grab a drink or dessert at the bar to appreciate the architecture. The building was designed by the legendary Frank Furness. He designed over 600 buildings during the Victorian era. Most of his buildings are in the Philadelphia area, and many were destroyed. But this row home has managed to survive, and it really gives a fun layout for a restaurant. When you first walk up the steps it doesn’t feel like you are going into the right building. Surely you are walking into someone’s apartment? Once you open the doors you make it to the bar area and are quickly greeted by the hostess. There is a dining room in the front of the building and one in the back, we were seated in the front, giving lots of light at the beginning of the meal for photographs. Whoo!

Thinking about visiting? Here are some things to keep in mind. One is that everything I’ve written below is subject to change, in fact, their menu changes daily. Not joking. Part of this is because they try and truly stick with seasonal produce. The waiter said there are staples to the menu, or there are some things that simply get modified. For example the radishes seem to be available year round, but the choice of radishes change according to the season. So this menu is the 2017 spring/summer menu.

Also make a reservation — now! Yes I mean now! Open a new tab, google their number, and call! They book months ahead of time for weekend dinners. My sister tried to make reservations for my birthday, and they were booked. Last year my parents in law tried to take us out to dinner but they were booked. But if you are going to be able to dine during the week- you will probably have a much better chance of snagging a table. Even still, if you don’t mind sometimes they will let you eat at the bar without reservations, which isn’t bad. I wouldn’t mind grabbing a cocktail and dessert at the bar late at night- or right when they open XD!! 

On paper the prices don’t seem too expensive. But the menu is set up to order one plate from three categories. They aren’t particularly shareable- I mean try cutting those tiny radishes into four pieces! So this is what makes the price of your meal to shoot up. The review is divided up in the categories on the menu, cocktails, the vedge bar, the dirt list, the grill, and desserts.

So I will leave you to read my reviews on the dishes after saying this- Hey Vedge! Want to have me back and pay for my meal? I can totally do another review of your fall/winter menu. Hit me up. I can also try Wiz Kid or V Street! *winkie face emoji* Alright I’m done selling out- read and drool.

COCKTAILS

BLACK HOLE SUN
scotch, burnt miso, maria al monte, charcoal 14
Dummy’s Guide: scotch, burnt miso, amaro– a bittersweet herbal liqueur, hip stuff to make things black
Jon, his Dad, and myself all got this cocktail. It is a strong drink served in an old fashion. The combination is very odd, scotch plus an herbally liqueur? And what would burnt miso and charcoal even taste like? They all come together nicely, and the miso and charcoal take off some of that astringent alcohol taste. This was so good that my Father in Law got a second.

THE ELDER SAGE
gin, elderflower, lemon, smacked sage
This is a very tasty cocktail but nothing unique. Gin and elderflower are made for each other. But I can say that the flavors work very well. If you can’t stand neat hard liquor, this is probably the cocktail for you. Simple, light, and not too sweet.

LIFE OF PABLO
tequila, aperol, rhubarb, poblano
Dummy’s Guide: tequila, amaro– a bittersweet herbal liqueur, rhubarb, poblano peppers
I don’t think I’ve ever talked about my love of poblano peppers on the blog. They are my favorite pepper, and I get so excited when they start showing up at my CSA. So it was obviously in the cards for me to get this drink. They layer the drink, making a rhubarb layer and a poblano layer. The more you drink, the more they mix together. Truthfully it seems like a weird mix, but they worked so well with each other. I would never think to mix an amaro with a tequila, but they picked out what seemed like the least bitter of all the ones available.

RABBIT FIGHTER (Not Pictured)
rum, strega, pomelo, cardamom bitters
Dummy’s Guide: rum, green herbal liqueur, a citrus fruit, cardamom bitters
Hmm… I blame this cocktail- my third of the night- for my less than stellar memory. Okay- it is probably because we tried almost EVERYTHING off the menu but hey- I can still blame this right? I remember liking this cocktail a lot, but the specifics are a blur. #blogfail

THE VEDGE BAR

FANCY RADISHES
smoked tamari, yuzu avocado, pickled tofu, shishito
Let me first start by talking about how we all had to skillfully cut each and everyone of those radishes into four pieces. We divided ALL of the dishes- but this one was a particular challenge. This dish is a staple, according to our server, but the radishes change as they come into season. Some of the names I reconized from our CSA, but I was a dummy and didn’t take notes. I can hands down say that my favorites were the radish paired with the tofu and the radish paired with the shishito pepper. The tofu and pepper gave a wonderful contrast of texture to the radishes.


PORTOBELLO CARPACCIO
deviled turnip, caper puree, nigella grissini
Personal opinion here- not sure if I get the whole “deviled” veggies thing. But that is only a minor part of the dish. The grissini, or let’s be real- a breadstick, was super yummy and made daily. The portobello was amazing. They are thinly sliced and cooked or marinated to perfection.


SALT BAKED BEETS
crushed cucumber, dill, capers, cured olive, rye
This is one of Vedge’s signature dishes. They bake beets at low temperatures for 2+ hours over a bed of salt. The salt takes moisture away from the beets, concentrating the flavors. It also gives the beets a unique texture. I’m normally not a huge fan of rye or dill, but they worked wonderfully with the beets.


RUTABAGA FONDUE
today’s soft pretzel, yesterday’s pickle, charred onion
Hands down- one of best dishes of the night, or even best in this category. The pretzel was fluffy and soft on the inside but just enough crust on the outside. It is pure magic how they get the rutabaga to be so fondue like. It is fluffy and creamy. I can honestly say that the pretzel worked perfectly with the fondue. Yeah, the pickles and onion were good too- but the pretzel and rutabaga?!

THE DIRT LIST

NEBRODINI MUSHROOMS (Not Pictured)
as “fazzoletti”, “pomodoro”
If you know Italian food you probably have an idea of what this dish looks like. If you are like me and am totally hopeless, you were completely surprised. Fazzoletti is a flat square noodle, which kind-of look like someone picked apart a ravioli. THe mushrooms were served in a similar fashion- flat and square. Pomodoro is a quick light pasta dish with olive oil and fresh tomatoes. Although everything I ate at Vedge was amazing, this dish was less memorable.


POLE BEANS & ZUCCHINI
briam stew, hummus, smoked sourdough
The title is a little misleading, the pole beans and zucchini are not the highlight of the dish. I think the sub-description better explains what you are ordering. There is a big serving of hummus, topped with briam (a greek stew with pole beans and zucchini), and smoked sourdough chunks are placed on top. Even though we were expecting a larger portion of beans and zucchini, the dish was amazing. The hummus was perfectly smooth and not too thick or thin.


PEA LEAVES
flash seared, smoked onion dashi, pickled spring onions
Greens are always a little disappointing. I always want more than what they serve! These pea leaves were super amazing, tender, flavorful and not too bitter. The dashi and pickled spring onions added only a little bit of flavor, letting the pea leaves really carry the dish.


GRILLED GOLD POTATOES
black garlic tahini, za’atar, calabrian chile relish
I think these potatoes were the favorite in this category. I am not a HUGE potato person so that is saying something. It has everything you need- crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. The flavor combinations were perfect. The tahini had a wonderful garlic-y salty flavor, and the chili relish gave it this dish a bright burst.

THE GRILL

ASPARAGUS “COLCANNON” (Not Pictured)
peas & green garbanzos, garbanzo crepe, smoked kohlrabi
It has been a long time since I’ve eaten asparagus. I don’t get any in my CSA and they tend to be pricey. The asparagus was nice and thin, making each bite tender. The garbanzo crepe wrapped around the asparagus, and sat on sauce (I think made from smoked kohlrabi?) with some peas and green garbanzo beans.


SSAMJANG GLAZED TOFU
edamame puree, burnt miso, cucumber, sea beans, toasted nori
I am a sucker for tofu, and this was a delicious small slab of tofu. It was well pressed, grilled, and marinated. I especially liked the accompanying flavors. The tofu itself wasn’t overly flavored, but the edamame, miso, cucumber, and sea greens added to it perfectly.


EGGPLANT BRACIOLE
smoked eggplant, italian salsa verde, cured olive
My Mother in Law was excited to try this. She had made this recipe several times at home using the Vedge cookbook. She first pointed out how much tidier their eggplant dish looked compared to hers. But after doing some googling, I think she did a REALLY good job with her version. Naturally I can’t help but compare this dish to the one she made. I love the rice filling at Vedge, it is fluffy, light, and packed with flavor. But I think I prefer my Mother in Law’s eggplant. Hers is just a little bit thicker, which I prefer. Regardless, this is a great dish, and I am pretty sure sticks on the menu most of the year. Heck it was even on the menu when Gina from The Full Helping went 5 years ago.

SEARED MAITAKE MUSHROOM (Not Pictured)
celery root fritter, smoked leek remoulade
This was another crowd favorite. We almost ordered a second plate of it. Maitake mushrooms (or hen of the woods) are amazing and hearty. The mushrooms are very “meaty,” perfectly cooked to be tender but not too dried out. The celery root fritter adds a nice contrasting texture.

DESSERT

So this is where I really dropped the ball. I forgot to take a photo of the dessert menu, thinking it would be fairly stable each night. Nope. I know they have rotating ice cream flavors each night, which my Father in Law picked since the featured flavor of the night was pistachio. It also appears that they have different variations of cheesecake that are always available. My husband went with the cheesecake, but I can’t remember what flavor he chose. Regardless, it was one of the best cheesecakes I’ve tasted in awhile.

CHOCOLATE UBER CHUNK (Not Pictured)
malt custard, pretzels & peanut butter, stout ice cream
Although the menu changes all the time, this seems to be the staple of the house. My Mother in Law jumped on this dish the second she saw it. I don’t blame her. I had a bite and it was amazing. Perfect for a chocolate lover.

GOLDEN PEACH ROBATAYAKI (Not Pictured)
yuzu-chile cornbread, miso ice cream, honeydew duck sauce
So after three cocktails and sharing two flights of Amari- my memory is a little hazy. Well, at least when it comes to reading. I couldn’t find the name of the dessert I had, until randomly this dessert appeared on the menu again. Oddly, I remember that night being surprised there was a peach in my meal…which seems unlikely since peach is in the title. Who knows, but I am 99% sure this what I had. Peach. Check. Miso Ice Cream. Check. Honeydew sauce. Check. So much to say about what the heck this even is. Well first robatayaki is a slow barbecue method from Japan. So this is what it looked like- the honeydew “duck sauce” is poured onto the plate creating a pool. The yuzu-chile cornbread sits on the honeydew puree, then the robatayaki-ed peach and ice cream sits on top of the cornbread. It is overall sort of like a fancy-pants sundae. All of this sounds very unlikely to be a good match, but it was actually perfection. So many textures and flavors. I love how salty the miso ice cream is, then is balanced by the sweetness of the honeydew sauce. The peach is also sweet, but adds a hint of tartness. The cornbread added only a little crumble to the dish overall.

Photo from my Mother in Law showing some of the Amari we sampled

AMARI FLIGHT
This deserves mostly an explanation, and less of a review of each individual drink. Maybe one day I will go back and give a more solid review, but this is something you will most likely want to do if you visit.

So what is Amari? It’s Italian for bitter, and you might of noticed me listing some amari in the cocktails above. They are herbal liqueurs that have roots back when hard alcohol was a way to administer medicine. Today they are usually served as an after-dinner digestive, which is why they appear on the dessert menu. If you are wondering what it tastes like- well that’s where things get complicated. Each one has their own blend of herbs and strength in alcohol. They can have anything between 16 to 40 percent alcohol. Wikipedia has a great little breakdown of different types, including ones made with artichokes, grapes, rhubarb, truffles, and bark.

Again, I would love to do a sampling with a notebook and all to really do some justice about these different drinks. But for now, I will leave you with a list of drinks offered, with some notes and links to learn more about them. 

*NOTE: Prices are just listed to give an idea of how expensive the bottle might be. All stores will price differently.
**VEGAN WARNING: If you decide to buy Amari/Amaro from a liquor store check this list or barnivore before buying! Traditionally the red color comes from bugs.

Amaro Don Ferne 25% ABV $50
Amaro d’Erbe ‘Nina’ 30% ABV $35
Amaro Meletti 32% ABV $20
Averna 29% ABV 40 proof $25-30 a bottle
Cynar Carciofo style (made with artichokes) 16.5% ABV (there is a special 70 proof) $35
Elisir Novasalus 16% ABV $25
Fernet Branca 39% ABV $35
Maria Al Monte Fernet style 40% ABV $30
Ramazzotti Amaro 33% ABV $20
Sibona Amaro 28% ABV $32

Congrats! You made it to the end!
Which dish are you most curious to try?
Have you ever been to Vedge in the past?

Cheap Vegan Finds at Home Goods

I am not much of the type of person to make a post of my latest hauls or cheap finds, but I was pretty excited about my recent trip to Home Goods. It is a pretty hit or miss sort of place. Some things are cheaper there, some are not. I mostly like to look at their kitchen and food items. They have some “health foods” for cheap. What I mostly like is that there are some brands that are endorsed by the Food Empowerment Project.

With that said let’s start with CHOCOLATE! I remembered that Navitas is listed under as recommended brands from Food Empowerment Project. I am always in need of bars so I can stash them in my backpack just in case. I noticed the box was in the clearance section, and listed as $11 a box of 12 bars. I figured that is less than $1 bar, which is about the price of clif bars. I later looked online- Amazon is selling them for $20 a box (cheaper for subscription)!

I’m glad I got them because they are really tasty. They remind me of kind bars only not as hard. I never liked how crunchy the nuts made the bars, but these have lots of soft crispiness from rice and quinoa puffs. Oh! I also love how they DON’T have chia seeds. Seems like all companies just toss them into foods and then you get the problem of getting chia seeds stuck in your teeth. I am guessing these were still on the shelf because people were afraid of the cranberry chocolate combo? It was yummy, but not much flavor from the cranberries.

I haven’t done anything yet with the almond meal, in fact I rarely use the stuff. I skip over recipes that use it because the price is too much. But this was $4 so I thought why not. It seemed cheap… and it is. I looked online amazon sells this brand for $12! And it looks like almond meal is around $8-12 for 12-16oz. Nice steal! I remember loving a recipe for raw cookies that use almond meal. Might mix some up this weekend.

I also found this protein powder for $7. It said that it had 14 servings, and each serving had 15 grams of protein. I normally don’t like things that say detox, and I didn’t find the brand listed of FEP’s list, but I thought why not? Got home and stuff sells for $24!? What?! I prepared the smoothie like they suggest on the box and it was pretty good. I will probably add some cocoa to the mix, but I wouldn’t recommend it on principle.

This I’m MOST excited about. I am sucker for packaging, and new products. People know how to market to me. So when I saw this macadamia nut milk I wanted to try it. But it is always priced around $4-5 in stores (and on Amazon) it was just too much for me. Heck- I have been thinking the store brand soy milk is too expensive ($2.80 for a half gallon). This was on sale for $2! Whoo! That’s cheap enough for me to try once. The package was pretty dinged up, and there was only one container so I am thinking hard about how I want to use it.

There were some other goodies there. Like nutripods (which I do use creamer so didn’t get them), beanitos, and orgain. 

Any good bargains lately?

This Month in Jen: July 17

Jon and I went to see the Michale Nichols photography exhibit. It was really interesting and sad. They had these HUGE photos of red wood trees at the entrance.

Reading: I just finished up American Cakes. Horray! I wish I wasn’t so hot because I would really like to bake a few different cakes. T__T But I guess you’ll see some new recipes in the fall.

I also picked up Strong Female Protaganist. Alexa lent it to me awhile ago but I just started to read it. It is pretty interesting. It tells a story of an early 20s super hero girl who decides to give up crime fighting and go to college. 

He’s a photo of me looking very nerdy ^__~

Watching: Jon wanted to watch the show Paranoid. It was okay. It is a Netflix original and is about a small local police force investigating a murder of a Mother. It ends up exposing a huge cover up of a drug company. It felt a little anti-climatic at the end, and it didn’t feel particularly special. I did really enjoy the Danish police, they were so happy and upbeat. Overall not bad if you enjoy cop dramas.

We finished up the series (or what has been made so far) of Veep. Our library has it and I have to say it is really funny. It is based on the BBC show The Thick of It. I tried watching it in the past, and it was funny but I think the combo of thick accents and foreign governments left me a little too in the dark. Anyways, Selena Meyers is inspiring a potential new hair do…. maybe. I am not sure how much upkeep I would have to do.

Crafting: Well my Mom and I add the grey spacing between the cats, and the glasses so all we need to do is.. you know… make it into a quilt. The summer is almost over but oh well. We can enjoy next summer and the every summer after that.

I also have been working more on the crossstitch for my friend but nothing special to photograph and put on the blog. Maybe next month?

Listening: Gosh- am I even listening to anything worth while? Hmmm… I took out a bunch of Flaming Lips albums from the library but they are sitting on the dining table. Feminist Killjoy PHD playlist became public again so I’ve been listening to that a lot. But that is more or less it. 

Look at this cool kid rocking the jean jacket with blue jeans at the hippest place in town- The Philadelphia Flower Show!

Garden: Not much is going on right now in my garden. The balloon flowers randomly started to bloom! Yey! But otherwise I think we have hit the end of the variety in my garden. Hopefully I can re-arrange a few things and plan what I want to grow next year.

Podcast: Mosaic Science had a REALLY interesting episode on the safety of city cycling (you can either read or listen the article). They compared the stats and types of biking routes in different cities. I have learned to bike in Philly which promotes the USA style of biking with traffic. You think of yourself like a vehicle and follow all the laws. But we are slowly making bike only lanes and such.

CSA: I have NOT been keeping track of my CSA picks and what I have been making but here is a brief list of what I have been getting:

  • green beans, green beans, and oh green beans
  • fresh onions and garlic, and some scallions and leeks
  • a few green bell peppers
  • one eggplant
  • “cutting” celery
  • zucchini and summer squashes
  • spring carrots
  • okra
  • tomatoes!!
  • cherry and sungold tomatoes
  • blackberries
  • and finally nappa and regular ol’ cabbage

Other Eats: Jon and I went to the new Whole Foods location. I will be writing a review because it is actually a pretty cool place. We were planning on eating as Wiz Kid, but they were closed! They literally JUST opened up their new location, making me think they were closed to get as many staff members over for their grand opening. Ugh. 

Little me during Christmas time at my Grandmothers on Long Island

Other Shares: I scanned some old photos recently- like the embarrassing ones. In all my dorky kid glory. I loved taking photos and I was always just testing the waters, so you have my lovely 90’s selfie. There is also the photo of me at the Philadelphia Flower Show in my jean jacket.

And Outside is CRUSHIN IT with their articles! There is a really interesting one that I read this month about eating disorders and sports. I thought it was really interesting since many people assume that if a certain diet is endorsed by an athlete that it MUST be healthy. Heck even my Mom off handedly talked about how marathoners loose their periods as if that was okay. 

So what made your month in July?

Wolfie: Month Seven

Holy cow! This month has flown by. It really has me reflecting on how much has changed in the past 6 months. I remember dreading breastfeeding. I am glad I stuck it out, although I don’t love it, it is much cheaper and simpler than formula. I remember feeling such disconnect with little Wolfie when he was a floppy, wrinkly, newborn, and the days when I was so desperate to get out of the house.

Now I am always amazed by how much Wolfie moves around. I love it when he rubs his face into my shoulder, even though that pretty much means he is toast and needs a nap. He smiles so much more, drools less, burps on his own, and most importantly poop a lot less often. He sleeps through the night, naps twice a day, and I get some time to myself. I don’t think I will look back at month one to four with too much nostalgia. But I think I will be thinking of the “good ol’ days” when looking back on these months.

So let’s talk about what the heck Wolfie has been up to. Well, he is becoming a serious foodie. He is getting the whole bite-chew-swallow thing. Before there was a lot of biting off food, then spitting it out for the next bite. Some were swallowed, but I mostly ended up with little bits of kohlrabi and apple all over the high chair. It wasn’t until the one day when Wolfie was eating half a banana and half a pancake that I noticed a shift in his eating. When I cleaned up, I didn’t find a million chunks all over the place. Meaning he ATE MOST OF THE MEAL! Crazy! He hasn’t complained at all with any of the food I’ve given him. Curry, rice, veggies, fruit, pickles, all good. I love how a lot of what he eats depends on what we get from our CSA. It automatically will switch things up for him. Pretty soon we will take him to the orchard and he can start trying out stone fruit. And he can finally find out what Peaches are since I sang that song to him so often as a newborn.

Photo by Wendy Ringel

Making it out to our CSA has been something of a challenge. As Wolfie has gotten older he has gotten into the habit of napping at 8 in the morning. Our CSA opens up at 8, which causes us to bring a cranky baby to pick up our produce. Ouch. We would let him nap, but with the summer we like to go as early as we can before it gets hot. Next year should be much easier since he will most likely be taking naps in the afternoon. It’ll be more fun for him then, he’ll be able to “pick” produce, and walk around. Right now he is just carried around by me, or his grandparents. But he sure loves looking at the piggies. I am sure there will be tears in the future about what happens to the pigs.

Last time I didn’t include Wolfie’s stats from the doctor’s visit. Well, he is now 17lbs and 1oz- in the 68th percentile. His head is 43 centimeters, in the 72nd percentile. And finally his height is 2 feet and 3 inches- making his height in the 93rd percentile. So I apparently have a very long and skinny baby. In fact I did some searching to get an idea what size clothing he should be wearing and found that his weight is in the 6-9 month clothing but his height is in the 9-12 month clothing. His feet are just much too long for his footed jammies.

I will have to say everything is starting to feel like those ooey-gooey “he’s growing so fast” moments. He is sitting by himself without my help though I need to prop him up still. He is now itching to start moving around, and I am seeing the end soon to being able to walk away from him and knowing he will “stay put.”

*sigh* But that is why I started to make these monthly posts. I knew everything would be moving fast. So I am glad I trying to stick with this.

This Month In Jen: June 17

Clearly I am not taking enough pictures with my SLR when the cat sleeps in the backpack.

Reading: Still reading American Cakes, and I am thinking about revisiting some recipes so I can make another post in here. Some of the most interesting cakes are actually ones that are published in passing like the War Cake, mayonnaise cake, or the original brownies. So I will probably be making some of those as well.

Watching: I’ve been watching lots of Adventure Time. I use to walk Wolfie in the afternoon but moved it to the morning for the summer so I could run/walk before it got too hot. So that means I am bored as heck in the afternoon. So Adventure Time has been something good to watch since it is short, and Wolfie tends to not care about what is going on the TV screen. I’ve also been watching the FIFA Confederation Cup as well. This, unfortunately, Wolfie loves to watch. So I have a feeling he will be a team sports type of guy.

I’ve been also obsessed with Crash Course Mythology Series. I’ve always loved mythology but sometimes it is hard to find (and cheap) sources to that aren’t Eurocentric. But this series talk about lots of different areas, including myths from China, Japan, India, parts of Africa, and the Americas. Heck even Hawaii! I strongly recommend checking it out.

Every single cat for my quilt. Click to see the full sized image.

Crafting: Still working on my cat quilt. We finished all the patches! Yey! Now the boring stuff- making it into a quilt. lol. My Mother and I need to make a trip out to Intercourse (yes that’s the name of a town) to get more of the grey fabric. I will be so happy when this is over. Our current blanket it too warm and too small for the summer.

Listening: Charli XCX released her new album so I’ve been listening to that on Spotify. Jon and I have been checking out albums from the library and transferring them to our computer. I found Foo Fighters and now I am suddenly remembering how awesome they are.

This guy sits in the house all winter and gets shoved outside all summer

Garden: My garden is doing much better than last year! After owning it for 3 years, my amaryllis FINALLY BLOOMED! My Mom got it for me one winter and it bloomed when we got it, then it just didn’t after that. It was pretty exciting to see the red flowers, but we might have to give it to someone else since it is poisonous to children once winter comes. Our succulents bloomed as well! They are spreading quite a lot which was the plan for them. We even had a few lilac blooms as well. 

The mystery plant that I got from Lowe’s has been thriving! It is much bigger than what I expected so this fall we will move it someplace different. I think it has been blocking the light for the balloon flower. The gladiolas keep getting nibbled by bunnies. And I think I have watermelon seeds that sprouted. Wut?  Which is nice but a bummer since it looks like the hops vine didn’t make it. T_T

Podcasts: Now that Wolfie has been sleeping more through the night I’ve been listening to less podcasts. But when he wakes up on rare occasions at 4 in the morning I’ve been listening to Oh No! Ross And Carrie’s Scientology series. It has been pretty funny. They also have a really funny series featuring their trip to the Ozark UFO Conference. Highlights? The Owl speaker, a penis star map, and a woman who thinks we had our memories wiped away after 1996. 

CSA: I tried to keep a log of all of the food I got from my CSA. Yeah that didn’t last too long. Well here is a fairly basic summary-

  • half a bag bok choy
  • half a bag beet greens + extra beet greens from parents
  • 2 bunches of beets with greens + 8 leafless beets
  • 2 bunches of collard greens
  • 7 heads of lettuce (almost all frozen in fridge)
  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 1 bunch turnips + greens + 5 solo turnips
  • cutting celery
  • 3 bunches of scallions
  • 7 garlic scapes
  • 5 kolhrabi
  • 1 1/2 bags of kale
  • 3 bunches of parsley
  • 1 quart snap peas
  • 1 1/2 bags of tatsoi
  • 2 heads of nappa cabbage
  • 2 heads of cabbage
  • 6 zucchini
  • 10 or so small carrots
  • 2 slicing cucumbers
  • 5 pickling cucumbers
  • 4 broccoli crowns

A fancy tea party for my Mom’s 60th birthday. Wolfie eats radishes, pesto, and cucumbers from our CSA

CSA Meals: I’ve been going nuts with stir-fries- Pad Kee Mow, Pad Thai, Moo Shu using bok choi, tatsoi, kolhrabi, and summer squashes. I am probably maxing out my sodium intake. Oops. 

I’ve been busy making lots of dips and spreads. I tried out a creamy radish dip that was in our CSA newsletter, parsley and cutting celery pesto, and a beet hummus. All of which has been put on toast for Wolfie. He’s been digging some of the produce eating sticks of kolhrabi, golden beets, broccoli, and cucumbers. Hubby’s been eating the snap peas raw with his lunches.

Since the early produce days consistent of mostly greens, I’ve been busy eating salad (whenever the lettuce doesn’t freeze up) mostly taco salads. I used some of the beet greens instead of spinach in a florentine. I’ve made Chana Saag with kale and coconut milk. And pretty much blending extra greens in smoothies whenever I can.

Finally, with the few strawberries that I got I made the chocolate pudding that Jenny got me from our package exchange. It was awesome and easy to make. 

OMG so fancy!

Other Eats: Ice cream! Store bought ice cream! I’ve been snacking on little ice cream snacks when possible in stores. And MOM’s Organics have had my favorite Sorbabes on sale- Peanut Banana with chocolate fudge. We’ve also been to VEDGE! I am so excited to write up the review for the blog. And I got some sick photos before I drank too much and it started to get dark. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

What have you guys been digging for the month of June?

Wolfie: Month Six

I swear everything is moving super fast. Wolfie is on the edge of moving around. He is starting to roll around more- but mostly when I walk out of the room or when he is alone in the crib. My guess is that he knows I’ll hand him some of his toys? But then again he isn’t very good at rolling off his tummy, so there were a few times he woke up in the middle of the night and I had to roll him on his back again.

Wolfie can now sit up by himself (once you prop him up). He loves sitting up while playing. I no longer need to be right behind him – though sometimes he wobbles too much and falls down. Thank goodness for the sitting because he now wants to stand up less. Yey! Less work for me.

The other day we went to a friend’s 30th Birthday Party and there were lots of babies. I was a little surprised how much Wolfie just wanted to hang around the other babies. He was clearly taking notes because the two older babies were crawling. At the party he kept trying to get on all fours but wasn’t sure how to move. In fact he still was trying it at home, and actually keeping his tummy off the floor. So who know, maybe crawling will happen in the near future?

Sleeping is getting better. He still cries when we put him down for the night but it is immediately stops when I leave the room. Maybe I’ll start reading a book before leaving for the night to try and soften the transition. Sadly, we had to do sleep training for naps. I put it off and put it off and kept Wolfie in his small rocker instead of the crib for naps. Then a heatwave hit right as I was trying transition. I didn’t want to use the rocker since it wouldn’t help in the heat. He also wasn’t falling asleep in my arms because he was too hot, not that it mattered because he almost always woke up when I placed him in the crib. It was sooooo terrible. But once the heatwave went away, he fell asleep in the crib by himself. Now he has similar reactions as going to bed- crying when I am in the room, but starts putting himself to sleep when I leave.

And now the sleeping is a LOT more consistent. It has been a sigh of relief for us, since we know he will STAY asleep at night. I remember for the first 2-3 months having to swap baby duty so I could try and get enough sleep. Now if I am getting up in the middle of the night it is at 4 in the morning. And I am not pretty much always getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep.

Loving solids! I was a little worried about starting him on solids since the recommendations are now to wait until they a six months old, but I figured why not. If it seemed to be a bad idea I would take a step back and wait. So far no digestion issues and he seems eager to eat the purees. I made some awhile ago from produce from last years CSA crops- butternut squash, turnips, and parsnips. All are getting the baby seal of approval.

Then I flip flopped and read Baby Led Weaning. So I ditched the purees and went for “adult” foods. It has been interesting since 95% of the food rarely gets into his mouth. So maybe there will be a what we ate coming up soon.