Project 365: Days 166-179

Day 166: Dew kissed carrot tops- or is it dill?

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Day 167: Homemade mango sorbet with the in-laws

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Day 168: Took a trip into the city and visited P.S. & Co.

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Day 169: There was a huge storm that went by, afterwards the sky turned crazy colors with crazy clouds.

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Day 170: The weather has been so cool lately, so Toulouse has been all about the windows lately.

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Day 171: Took a picture of a beautiful mural in Philadelphia.

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Day 172: Just a little ladybug.

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Day 173: This house is part of my CSA, and Jon and I are trying to figure out what it is used for. We are guessing it is where the interns stay… but it looks nicer than where the owners stay. Such a mystery.

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Day 174: Still trying to stick to my “not plant photos” rule, and I think I am doing pretty good so far. This is one of the historical building in Philadelphia.

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Day 175: I had to take a photo of the worlds cutest beer bottle. As for the beer itself, not the greatest.

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Day 176: Starting to make some pickles.

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Day 177: A rusty old garbage bin is sitting on the street of my work, but it was kind-of cool looking.

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Day 178: Tried the savory vegan lunches at Espress It and will be writing a glowing review soon.

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Day 179: What the pickles ended up looking like once fermented.

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Sunday Reading 07-05-15 #43

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Alexa meets her dream man- Daniel Bryan <3

Hey guys, I had a HUGE scare this weekend. So on Friday night my husband and I were talking about what we were planning on doing since my computer is 8 years old, and it isn’t fast enough to process up to date browsers. To put in perspective, to have chrome and firefox open at the same time, it uses up HALF of our processing speed. Ouch. That is how my husband and I function, I use Chrome, he uses Firefox. So after coming up with a replacement plan, the computer crashes the next day. UGH! I freaked out, shouted, then came up with an emergency plan, then magically the computer started working again. I backed our harddrive up and I am just waiting for our computer to crash again, you know at some point. Oh and when the computer WASN’T working I managed to spill hot coffee on me, freak out if the mac store would be open on the 4th of July (it is BTW), cut my thumb badly, and almost hit a deer. It was a great morning. DX

But I hope everyone had an awesome 4th of July (or Canada day, or good weekend) I got to see two fireworks, one from our apartment window on the 3rd and the other in person. There are so many places doing fireworks within a 2 mile radius from our apartment, hell you could even hear the fireworks going off in the next town WHILE watching the fireworks.

We are also going to watch the Women’s World Cup Game because USA is awesome.  If you need a little refresher before watching the game, here is a little preview of the game. Honestly, I don’t know if it will be nearly satisfying as it was to watch the US beat Germany. I love seeing upsets. But really how did Sausage miss that kick?! Well, I am glad they got eliminated since it was so hard to hear the announcers say sausage so many times. Side note- google WANTED me to add sausage at the end of the search “Célia Šašić.” I betcha she HATES sausages.

Farm Round Up:

What I got:
2 quart of green beans
A handful of snow peas
buttload of sweet basil & parsley
1 large yellow squash
A few beets with greens
A few radishes with greens
1 small bunch of carrots with greens
1 small bunch of collard greens
garlic scapes

What I’m cooking:
Snow Pea + Nappa Cabbage Stir-fry
Buffalo Hummus Wraps with lettuce cucumber and radishes
Carrot Top + Parsley Tabbouleh
Summer Garden Pasta (for company BBQ)

History:

My friend who is an art history buff (and has a masters in it) found this interesting article that has proof of same sex marriage in 100 AD! Okay so it isn’t quite the same being that they only have males and that can marry each other and it seems less about love and more about legally joining bank accounts. But still very interesting regardless.

I found this article about the history of the tampon really interesting. I think we should all be a little open about periods and all the embarrassing stuff. I was so engrossed by the article that by the end of it I felt like I should be watching lifetime and eating some yogurt.

Food:

Bryant Terry has contributed some recipes to the Kitchn, and I am drooling! I seriously need to pick up his cookbooks. It is past the 4th of July but maybe some other day for a cookout.

These baked cauliflower in a manchurian gravy looks amazing. Just enough crunchy to match the tender cauliflower and flavorful sauce. Mmmm..

These banana nut muffins are probably the best gluten-free muffin I’ve ever made. They are slightly gritty (a little much flax egg) but still super yummy. Totally recommend making these.

I was never a chicken and waffles fan, but these would want me to give it a second chance.

Franklin Fountain is doing a dairy free BLUEBERRY ICE CREAM! BRB I’m just going to run into Philly to get a cone. Alton Brown also named them as one of his top ten restaurants in the US! Wow.

Think Pieces:

I love Raechel’s Mindfulness Mondays. I like her newest post about leaving things better condition than when you found them. I personally find this mindset relaxing, taking care of what you own. And she goes even further and talks about leaving your friends and family in a better mindset 

So my husband and I started to watch the women’s world cup (yes! tonight USA vs Japan!) and it got me thinking, why don’t we watch more women’s soccer? I know the WNBA is fairly popular, and I feel like soccer is just as interesting with women as it is with men. I got even more confused when I read this article about why the USA always has a solid female soccer team. It is a really interesting read, but it is a shame there isn’t more recognition for the female soccer leagues overall. 

My Honeymoon: Bar Harbor & Acadia National Park

Two years ago my husband and I got married and went on our honeymoon in Maine. I have already written about our wedding and the first part of our trip in Portland Maine. Now I am talking about our trip visiting Mount Desert Island and Bar Harbor. I had been to Portland before but I could barely remember anything about my trips when I was little. But Bar Harbor was a place I can vividly remember. So I was excited to show the place to Jon.

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When we first arrived we settled into our room at a local small hotel. It was privately owned and very nice. It had a small kitchen, making it easy to make our own lunches or breakfast, if we so chose to. Then we went to the local supermarket to pick up some food for lunches and snacks.

We walked around the downtown Bar Harbor area and all the memories flooded back to me. All the cute restaurants, and stores. Oh and the weird novelty lobster soaps. My sister and I loved those things. We came right before the tourist season, so the town was actually pretty dead. This made everything really romantic, so I recommend coming during the off season. Not much is actually closed in Bar Harbor like in Portland, but things do tend to close earlier.

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We first started by driving around Acadia National Park. There is a main loop that drives to all the major points for the park. There are other trails, mountains, and points of interests that is part of the park on the western side of the island. But most of popular attractions are clumped together on the eastern side. As we drove all around we saw water from the rain create small water falls on the side of the roads.

We figured we would try the Bubbles Trail since it was fairly short. I mentioned in the previous post how it rained everyday we were there, right? Well, I didn’t take in consideration that it might not be raining hard, but the rain gathers and falls down the mountain. By the end of the trail we were struggling to get a grip, and I managed to slip and scrap myself. My husband was very concerned but this isn’t the first time I scrapped myself while hiking. I use to do it all the time when I was little and all you can do is to keep walking and tend to it later. *Note to self, buy mini first aid kit*

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Aside from rain the skies were really foggy. It was pretty cool and we got some cool photos in the process. But it did prevent us from seeing some great views. We drove up Cadillac Mountain but couldn’t see very far which was a bummer because all Jon wanted to do was see the sunrise together. In fact we drove up it twice in hopes we could see the view before we left, the clearest day out the whole trip. Still it was a no-go. I guess it just gives us more incentive to return, right?

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By the end of the trip the rain eased up a little, sadly that happened on Memorial Day Weekend. Man what a huge difference! All the sudden the amount of visitors doubled! My husband commented that it wasn’t very nice once all the tourists came out, which made me laugh since it still wasn’t peak season.

But there is something of a gamble by going to Mount Desert Island during May. It could be beautiful, or it could be rainy and foggy. It is really hit or miss. Luckily there are lots of fun things to do on the island that don’t involve hiking. Below is a pretty large list of things to check out, indoor, outdoor, and food wise.

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Food:

Hannaford Super Market
86 Cottage St Bar Harbor Maine
website
This is small supermarket but was well stocked with vegan and vegetarian options. The location is great because if you can’t find what you are looking for you are walking distance from A&B Naturals, which may end up having it. We can’t comment on this store since we didn’t check it out, but both places will have plenty for you to stock up on perishable foods and snacks for the next week.

Morning Glory Bakery
39 Rodick Street, Bar Harbor Maine
website | facebook
This cute little bakery is a little hidden on the side roads. I would recommend checking it out since they have some breakfast basics. They have a few vegan options and I found the bagels and hummus my favorite. They even have a vegan sandwich that you can grab on the go. The place was pretty busy whenever we would go, and filled with locals. So go early and don’t expect to get a seat.

Eden Vegetarian Cafe
Closed
Super bummed that this excellent restaurant is closed. They featured locally sourced foods, and mentioned whenever possible the specific ingredients that were local. For example my bento box had local tofu, seaweed, and fiddleheads. The food was really amazing, though I remember my cocktail being less than awesome. It was way too sweet. They had a beautiful location that wasn’t in the direct downtown area, but was still a walking distance. Even though the food was amazing, I did think they tried to be a gourmet restaurant, and might not of been that good. Even still, if they were still open, I would of definitely eat there again.

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This Way Cafe
14 1/2 Mt. Desert St. Bar Harbor Maine
website | instagram | twitter | facebook
This was probably our favorite restaurant in Bar Harbor. They have lots of vegetarian options for food, and some vegan options as well. Their breakfast has a tofu scramble options, though I had eggs since I was still eating it at the time. I also remember getting their zucchini noodles for dinner, but it seems to change a little from when I ordered it. I remember it tasting awesome though. The restaurant has a very low key campy diner feel, but with some gourmet recipes. Take note that the menu can change by the time you go, but it looks like they have various ways that you can make your meal vegan. Our server was super helpful, and they were insanely fast. So you get your grub and out the door quick to your next hiking adventure.

Reel Pizza Cinerama
33 Kennebec Place, Bar Harbor Maine
website
I didn’t know where to place Reel Pizza Cinerama. Should it go under places or food? Well, this was a perfect place for us since it rained so much. Pretty much this is a place that serves both pizza and shows movies. These types of movie theater/restaurants are popping up all over the place. This theater is very mom and pop, has a couch in the front, and uses old bingo boards for calling orders. The pizzas are very vegan friendly, offering a soy cheese and nutritional yeast to sprinkle on. Downsides? They only show two movies and are really popular. We got tips from locals about how to visit. Appear an hour to 30 minutes BEFORE doors open. When you get in, sit down first, then have someone order your pizza. We followed these rules, and we were glad we did, the theater was packed (and this was OFF SEASON!) and our pizza was finished just as the movie started. Bonus- they even serve locals beers.

Matsumoto Joe Cafe
5 Firefly Lane, Bar Harbor Maine
website
After a certain point, I needed a little me time away from my husband. I went for a small walk around town to check out a cute cafe I saw. I’m glad I did. This small cafe had some mangas for people to pick up and read, and some cute little japanese snacks to buy. But the kicker is the amazing coffee. I had gotten some lattes from Morning Glory Bakery, and was disappointed. I got a soy latte here, and was transported to a blissful world. I was mad I didn’t stop here earlier. If you are a big coffee lover, I would check this place out. When I was there they were serving both soy and almond milk, but I am not sure if they stopped offering both.

Places:

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Abbe Museum
Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor Maine
website | acadia website | facebook | twitter | pinterest | youtube
This museum has two locations. One is located in the downtown Bar Harbor area, the other is nestled in the center of Acadia National Park. If you go to one museum you will get a coupon for a discount at the other location, so it is a good idea to check out both. We ran out of time and only got to see the location in the park. I found this location really interesting because it is full of history. The location in the park centers mostly around Dr. Abbe’s findings in 1920’s. He was one of the first archeologist in Maine, finding many artifacts from the tribes that lived in the area. The museum also sports older dioramas, which were raising money to update. They also just added another exhibit talking about the ever evolving trading of the Wabanaki and the French. 

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Seal Cove Auto Museum
1414 Tremont Road, Seal Cove Maine
website | facebook
I remember going to this museum when I was a little girl. It was the go-to place to visit if there was a rainy day. I remember it being packed, rows and rows of beautiful vintage cars. The place has gone through a major facelift since then. In the past there were cars from all different time periods, but now the owners decided to stick to early cars, from 1895 to 1920. What makes the exhibit so interesting is that it defies how we think of cars. They sport eco cars (electric models) and lots and lots of different car manufacturers. One thing I took away from the exhibit was that most car companies made more than just cars, like motorcycles and sewing machines. The museum is on the other side of the island so it can be a 45-60 minute drive.

Acadia National Park:

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Cadillac Mountain
Info on the Official Website
Although we didn’t take any trails up Cadillac Mountain, I have done so several times when I was little. I am fairly certain I have done both the north ridge (listed as moderate), and the south ridge (listed as strenuous) trails. If a little girl can do it, so can you. Even though we didn’t hike up it, I completely recommend driving up it. There is a gift shop on the top, so can pee after your hike! The views are also spectacular. The park always recommend driving up to see the sunrise. There are even sometimes early morning yoga classes up there too!

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The Bubbles
Info on the Official Website
Jon and I were able to take the Bubbles trail before the rain built up too much on the mountains. It is a fun trail, but unlike some of the mountain trails, there is more up and down since you are going to several peaks, not just one. The trail is pretty short, and connects to others if you want to extend the hike. When we went it was incredibly foggy (see photo above). We can only assume the views were nice.

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Ocean Path
Info on the Official Website
This path is a great tour of the various points of the park. The path is 3 miles and an easy walk. It starts at the Sand Beach and goes all the way to Otter Cliff. What is nice about the walk is that you can park almost anywhere and pick up in the middle of the walk, easy peasy. It is a great way to visit Thunder Hole during peak hours, park far away and walk over. You will also see a variety of different surroundings, being near cliffs, beaches, and dipping a little in some wooded areas. This trail is perfect for a quick casual walk for the first or last day of your trip. It is also great for days where the weather is less than stellar as slipping and falling isn’t a big issue.

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Thunder Hole
Info on the Official Website
Going to Acadia National Park and not visiting Thunder Hole should be against the law. This was my favorite attraction when I was a kid. The shape of the cliff creates lots of splashing and a loud boom. After a long hot hike it feels great to have water splash on you. It is best to check the official website and ranger stations about the tides, and they will recommend when the best time to visit. I always visit several times, during peak and off hours.

Buffalo Wing Collard Greens

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The process of buying our new townhouse is going really well. Our inspection went well, and the owners pretty much agreed to all the repairs we asked for. We got the house for much less than asking price. Jon has been amazing and has been filling out all our paperwork on time. We had a bump in the road, we needed to pay all 20% of our down payment (we originally only had 18%) to get the house due to various bullshit. But we were able to get that money fast and resolve that last minute problem.

Overall the experience isn’t so bad, but man, I can’t stand being in this apartment anymore. It is hard to find the motivation to clean, do laundry, cook, or do anything knowing, yeah it will be ending pretty soon. I won’t need to cook in a small kitchen anymore. Gone will be the days of putting the cutting board on the toaster get it out of the way. No more having to wait around for the laundry to finish so you don’t hog the machine.

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I think the thing I am most happy about saying goodbye to is the odor battles going on in the hallway. Anyone who lives in an apartment complex will know what I am talking about. If someone is cooking bacon in a nearby apartment, you can usually smell it in the hallway. If someone smokes in the complex, you usually know because the entrance always smells like cigarettes. You know, those things.

Well, there is a smoker in our building, and he smokes really close to the doorway, probably closer than legally what he should. I know this bothers everyone in the apartment. We hear people slam their windows shut as soon as we all smell tobacco. The annoying thing is that our neighbors seem to think they can get rid of the smell by using air fresheners. Ugh. So then our hallway smells like tobacco and perfume. One lady has even left a glad scent stick in the hallway. FYI, my husband and I can’t stand the smell of artificial air fresheners or candles.

I don’t make the problem any better. I cook lots of stinky foods. My kimchi and curries leak into the hallways too. I know your brain is exploding from all these contradicting smells.

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I’ve been trying to keep busy. I started doing the Summer Shape Up 2015 program on The Fitnessista. It is a great distraction, it gives me clear defined goals and workout routines. So that is pretty cool. It is also giving ideas for food, which although they aren’t vegan they might inspire a vegan version. For example these oat bars are AMAZING and I made a tofu srirachi salad wraps.

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This recipe wasn’t suggested for the Summer Shape Up program. This has been stewing in my head for awhile. I love making greens and beans with a sauce and a grain. It is super simple and super easy. I also love Frank’s Hot Sauce, which is the hot sauce to use in buffalo wings. So I wanted to make a creamy sauce that tasted like ranch dressing mixed with hot sauce. It was a perfect combo.

I loved this recipe so much I think I made it each time I brought home collard greens from my CSA. The spring batch is done for the season so I guess I have to wait until the fall to make this recipe again. Bummer right? I always served this with some rice, but you can do whatever you want. You can save some collard greens whole to wrap the greens and beans into. Or you can make wraps with flour tortillas. Whatever floats your boats really. I also made a good dish by using black eyed peas instead of chickpeas as well.

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Philly The City of Love

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Shirt: Comme Toi via Modcloth | Skirt: Downeast via Modcloth | Necklace: Similar styles on Modcloth | Shoes: Rocket Dog | Sunglasses: Target

I had some posts started before I fell far behind last week. But I think I should talk a little about my weekend. I don’t talk about “new” things about me as much as I would like on my blog. Lately they have been mostly restaurants, recipes, and educational stuff. I think the fashion posts and the sunday reads posts were spots that I could just talk about what I have been doing everyday. I like more structured posts since it gives me a chance to explore new areas, help people with purchases with reviews, and learn new important things about veganism. 

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First let me start by pointing out how bad ass I look? My husband is a delicate flower when it comes to photography, he is so worried he will mess it up. I don’t blame him since I have pretty high standards. I complained so much in college that my friends would post every single photo on facebook. It wasn’t like they were posting bad photos of their friend to make them look better, the photos of themselves were equally bad. I finally came to the conclusion that they just had no clue how to photograph people. So when my husband takes a photo of me, he panics. And worst, I want him to take photos of me in PUBLIC- in front of other people!

So while walking around there was a cute government protected historical building, that had it’s gates opened, so I asked if he could snap some photos since it was kind-of out of the way. I posed, he snapped, and he even took some photos of me candidly! Wow! Maybe it is because he is helping with coding of the Free People website that he is getting some fashion blogging tips. I even got some bad ass wind gently blowing my hair. Well, it just means I will probably bother Jon to take more fashion photos when we go out. XD

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I’ve been into Philadelphia a lot this week. Monday I was antsy and had to get out of the house and went to P.S. & Co to read. Then on Thursday my friend Justine (check out her new youtube vlogs) came to visit from Portland so we went into Philadelphia for the day. She is thinking about moving to Queens or Philadelphia, so I gave her lots of reasons to move closer to me. We ate pizza, got great coffee, and went to Spruce Street Harbor Park where we drank beer and talked with our old school mate.

When the weekend rolled in, my husband was getting antsy in the apartment too, so we thought we could go to Spruce Street Harbor Park too for beer and seeing the tall ships that were there that week. Boy that was a huge bust. There were so many people. We aren’t the type to like crowds. I rather go to beaches during off seasons because the crowds are too much. I remember loving the water parks in Florida during February because it was “too cold” for the locals. So after about 10 minutes we decided to get the fudge out of there. 

We still had fun, we enjoyed walking around town enough. We even got to cross the rainbow crosswalks in the Gayborhood. And we are really excited later this month when the oval opens their pop-up park. It was never as crowded as Spruce Street Harbor Park, and I liked how close it is to the Art Museum. So we will definitely plan a day where we see some art and get some beer outside. 

What have you guys been enjoying this summer? Any good beers or beer gardens I should be checking out?

Sunday Reading 06-28-15 #42

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My goodness this has been a super busy week. Monday I was so annoyed at my apartment that I had to get out, so I went into Philadelphia and walked around. So I figured Tuesday afterwork would be when I make a post. Midway through a HUGE storm came in and I had to shut the computer off since the lights kept going out. Then the next day I found out that the storm was super awful. There were tornado warnings, heck there WAS a tornado. Apparently my husband drove home from work during the height of the storm, which wasn’t cool. The next morning my husband finds out his work didn’t have power, I find out my gym class was canceled because of power outages, and so I called my work, which luckily had power. 

Anyways, my husband hogged needed the computer for his work the next two days since it took so long to get the power back up. So I couldn’t work on the site. I also had my best friend who is currently living in Portland come to visit so we spent a day in Philly. Which was pretty cool. Then the next day I went out to dinner with my Mom, oh and got to watch the USA play against China. So I am PUMPED for the Germany vs US game, but I’m a little scared. It will be an intense game.

Anyways, I’m pooped today. I ran 5.3 miles and thought “Yeah today would be another great day to walk a lot in Philadelphia.” So I proceeded to walk 4 more miles in Philly with my husband. We originally were going to see the tall ships and the rubber ducky but the lines were crazy. And decided that it wasn’t going to be fun in the end. Oh well. Here are reads we picked this week and my list of produce:

Farm Round Up:

What I got:
1 quart of green beans
1/3 bag snow and snap peas
buttload of lemon & purple basil
nappa cabbage
1/2 bag bok choy
scallions
1 large kohlrabi
1 bunch beets + greens
2 large summer squash

What I’m cooking:
Black Bean Tempeh + Snow Pea + Nappa Cabbage Stir-fry
Bok choy + Tofu Stir-fry with vermicelli noodles
Kohlrabi + Red Lentil Curry
Purple Basil Ice Cream
Pickled Peas in a lemon and basil brine (recipe will be posted)
Chili with squash
Lentil Burgers with a side of green beans

Fun:

This was an interesting article about the richest witches in Romania. The photos are just simply an interesting look into a world that virtually unknown in the US.

We all know that technically tomatoes are fruit, but did you know blackberries aren’t berries? My mind got blown away from this SciShow video.

These photos of the Mermaid parade really put a smile on my face.

This tea mix sounds super tasty for the summer. If only my fridge was packed with greens.

Kaylah managed to find so many animals in the desert. How did I mess that up when I would visit my parents in Utah?!

I am excited that they are reopening the pop-up park near the art museum! That means one night will be beer after the art museum!

Political:

Emily from Bite Size Vegan interviews a man who is vegan and in the military. It is pretty interesting and brings up and important issue about how the military can support vegans better.

Ted wrote a really interesting post about a local restaurant, but it isn’t vegan. In fact it might make a vegan’s stomach turn, or maybe not at all. What the difference between cooking pig’s head and a pig’s belly? But then he takes a big turn and starts talking about illegal immigration, and I think brings up lots of great points. It is a great story that everyone should read, skip the first few paragraphs if you don’t want to read about stewing meats.

Living in an apartment in Philadelphia we had mice and cockroaches. The mice didn’t bother me as much as the cockroaches and house centipedes (I don’t know small things that go fast, mice are just big enough to not bother me.) Traps had been set, and I feel a little bad about it. Which is why I loved this article reflecting on all the housemates the author had over the years.

I loved this post about a guy who tries to eat all “women food” for a month. Which I like since I’ve had some guys who refused to eat something because it was targeted for women.

Sunday Reading: 06-21-15 #41

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Who is this moody hawt babe? It’s Alexa enjoying her friends wedding. Lately Alexa has been super busy helping with the planning as she is part of the wedding party. And I know from my wedding, if Alexa is part of the party, she helps out a buttload. I am sure her friend Tara got a kick ass wedding, and got tons of help from this lovely lady.

Has anyone been watching the women’s world cup? Whenever they have their games aired on TV my husband and I watch, even when it is in spanish. Thank goodness for Telemundo. I kind-of want to watch it with my nieces since one of them is playing soccer right now. But I am also aware she is just going into kindergarden, so you know, she only kind-of interested in soccer. 

Farm Round Up:

What I got:
5 cucumbers
1/2 bag shelling peas
1 quart strawberries (last of the summer)
1 bunch of beets & greens
1 bunch of collard greens
1 bunch purple kale
2 heads of lettuce
1 head nappa cabbage
1 head spring cabbage
4 small squash
garlic scapes

What I’m cooking:
Pickles (some kombucha pickles, other brined)
Shelled Peas and went straight into the freezer
Banana Ice Cream with Strawberries
Beets Chips (beet greens for smoothies)
Buffalo Collards & Chickpeas (will be on the blog Monday!)
Kale, black beans, and rice with a tahini dressing
Chickpea salad wraps stuffed with kohlrabi (last week) and lettuce
Stir-fry with nappa cabbage and kohlrabi (last week)

Food:

1) I am usually not into cutesy food recipes and 2) these are totally not vegan, BUT I find these cute bacon shortbread cookies a great idea for vegans baking for omni-dads. I try not to buy non-vegan products as gifts for people, but my Dad is uh… stubborn about his meats. But he sure love sweets. I would love to try making these vegan for maybe his birthday?

These lentil and roasted cherry tomato dumplings are making me drool on my keyboard. I hope the tomatoes are strong this year from the farm.

I would LOVE to try out this new Vietnamese restaurant Same Same. Hopefully they mean vegan when they write vegetarian.

Fashion:

If I lived in Philly I would buy this dress in a heartbeat for night biking!

This outfit.

Need more cats in your wardrobe? Here is a great tutorial on how to make cat socks.

Other:

I love how Lacy writes, it is to the point and has a lot of meaning. Her recent post talks about “eating clean” and hits so many topics on the nail. I love eating well, I like eating things that make me feel good. But I don’t like some of the culture as it gets over analytical and therefore damaging. When I talk to people there is a lot of confusion of what is healthy and what isn’t, and a lot of it have to do with “clean eating” concepts.

I think is honestly the best Daily Show episode ever recorded.

Talking about the Daily Show, there is an interesting article asking where is the conservative Jon Stewart?

Find all the sheep on google maps!

National geographic has a great article talking about the structure of a dolphin’s brain. Really interesting for all those animal nerds out there.

And here it is, your moment of zen.

Project 365: Days 159-165

Day 159: I was really half assing this shot expecting a crappy photo, but when I got home I was really surprised how nice it turned out!

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Day 160: Got a recipe for buffalo collard greens coming up. I love this recipe, btw, so much I have been buying extra collards from the farm, and eating it three times (once a week). I noticed a cat in my shoot, so I got a photo of her.

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Day 161: Plants, plants, plants, seems to be all I photograph right now? Maybe because my place is a mess from lack of motivation. I mean I am only moving in like a month.

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Day 162: More plants. I think I am starting to get lighting, aperture, and all that jazz down. I am thinking I should refocus on my photography by spending more time on each individual photo.

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Day 163: Green plants, leafy plants, plants are my muse, or just all around me.

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Day 164: Maybe I should make a rule next week, no photos of plants?

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Day 165: Finally, a non-plant! My work is being featured in South Jersey Magazine and my boss wanted a photo of her (the other boss didn’t want to be in a photo) So we set up a little fake framing job, got a step-stool and took some pictures. We had a perfect lighting in the front. We probably spent an hour taking photos, figuring out the right pose, which actually was really unnatural XD

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What Jen Read #3 Winter 2015

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I am trying to keep on top of my book recaps (which I failed at). I love seeing what other people read, and what they thought about it. I started to keep track of my reading in the early spring and never finished my reviews until now. So sorry for the delays! But here is what I was reading and what I thought of it.

What I am Currently Reading

Eating Animals – I don’t actually read that much non-fiction relating to veganism or food. So after a few recommendations I picked up this book.

Food: A Love Story– My husband picked up Dad is Fat for my birthday, and then proceeded to buy Food: A Love Story for me for Christmas. It should be interesting since one book is about veganism and the other is all about foods, mostly non-vegan foods.

What I’ve Read

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ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running

This book is not going to win any writing awards. Dreyer writes poorly, repeats himself, and has many poor metaphors and jokes. At times I found the book slightly painful to read, and had a hard time plowing through the chapters. Sometimes the book comes off as a commercial cult or pyramid scheme. He is constantly mentioning the website, his classes, other books, etc, etc.

But the information in the book is incredibly helpful. Dreyer gives advice on how to run with physical suggestions and metaphorical ones. Most of the book is about how posture drastically changes how you run. I already knew some of this from Born to Run, and knowing about theories on barefoot running. A lot of the posture techniques line up with running with finger shoes. So making some of the changes weren’t hard. But some of the suggestions helped take stress off my muscles, and therefore let me run longer and have shorter recovery times. Overall, the running style is simple, keep your spine straight, muscles relaxed, engage core, and strike the middle of the foot, not the heel.

His “metaphorical” suggestions are pretty helpful. One of the biggest reasons why I got the book was that I was having a hard time being able to breath for runs lasting longer than 20 minutes. His recommended taking long but slow runs, which helped. But what really stuck out to me was the question “Why are you so upset about heavy breathing? Does it make you feel like you can’t meet your goals?” Figuring out the psychology of running expectations helped me let go and enjoy the run.

This is a useful book, but hardly an enjoyable read. It probably took me a year to finish from front to back. And even still there some suggestions I just can’t accept. For example the suggestions on diet don’t really work with my vegan lifestyle. And some health information doesn’t quite have scientific backing. This then leaves you in the realm of health with tons of contradicting methods. This is a book I might want to buy and keep on hand, and refer to it from time to time. 

My Drunk Kitchen: A Guide to Eating Drinking, and Going with Your Gut

Am I the only one here that likes to read “bad” reviews for products? Not because I think they can be funny like sugarless gummy bears, but because sometimes people point out what they hate, and it is exactly why it is great.

What most people say when they don’t like Hannah’s book is that they never saw her YouTube channel before and they were disappointed that it wasn’t a real cookbook. When Alexa first told me about this book, I tried looking in the cooking section, only to find out that it was in the humor section of Barnes and Noble. After clearing that up, it became obvious that this was more in the ranks of I Like You by Amy Sedaris. The difference is that there are less helpful “tips” in this book than Amy’s.

What confuses people is that My Drunk Kitchen could be a book about “recipes” when it has absolutely nothing to do with improving your food in the kitchen. The book is made to make you laugh, and I respect that it doesn’t feature real recipes for a joke like Thug Kitchen does (which results in mediocre recipes.) But Hannah does more, and pokes fun of at all the issues 20-30 year old goes through. Plus, by having the quality of the book so high, nice glossy pages, beautiful photography, excellent graphic design, it sets a tone of seriousness for not so serious material.

The dangers of writing a humor book is that you risk your audience from just not getting it. It seems that you will either find the book a great think to pick up and read a few pages, or find it the biggest waste of paper. I personally think that if you find Hannah’s YouTube channel funny, you will find this book funny. And I wouldn’t say this is a book for “drunks,” but a book for anyone who felt like they made any wrong choices as an adult, whether it be dating, work, love, taxes, or cooking.

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Norwegian Wood

I picked up Norwegian Wood because I liked Haruki Murakami’s short story collection After the Quake. What I liked about the stories were their surrealistic story telling. But I was disappointed when I started to read Norwegian Wood. It reads wonderfully, but the world created in the story was very normal. There wasn’t anything “magical” or surreal about the storyline. Just a boy in college and him falling in love with girls. But I couldn’t stop reading. Even though the story was nothing like what I was expecting, it was giving me something else worth my time.

The story is about Toru, a quiet college student living in Tokyo in the late 1960s. He reunites with his high school friend Naoko, the girlfriend of his late best friend. The two soon fall in love, and the day after making love to each other, Naoko heads to a mental institution. The story follow Toru, and how he copes with Naoko being away from him, and dealing with what feels a little bit of a meaningless life for him.

I think this story hits people in two different boats. Some people will argue that there isn’t anything special about this story, it is too far from Murakami’s normal narratives. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to be gained from the novel. There story is well written and has important themes about love and depression. The writing kept me turning the pages and wanting to know more.

What I found most interesting are the characters. No one is particularly good character, everyone seems to have their own faults. Toru treat women poorly and dislikes his peers. Naoko is depressed and treats Toru unfairly. Midori seeks independence and respect as a woman. Nagasawa is a rich and privileged male who doesn’t believe in sexually faithful to one person. Hatsumi is Nagasawa’s girlfriend, who is conflicted about being in love with a man who doesn’t treat her as a person. And then there is Reiko, the most complex character in the whole book. She first appears to be a well natured woman, but by the end of the story I can’t help but wonder if she is the most underhanded and deceitful character of them all.

I hear many people make arguments that the story is sexist, and it is true. The women in the story get the short end of the stick. But it does offer lots of discussion. Were Naoko and Toru really in love? Is Reiko a sociopath? What is being said about homosexuality in the book? Is Reiko really a lesbian? I think a lot of these complicated relationships are comments on Japanese society, but it is very open-ended. I do recommend reading this book, though if you are a fan of Murakami keep an open mind. It is truly different.
NOTE: This book is very sexually graphic.

Princess Knight Vol 1

In heaven, angels assign hearts to babies before they are born. After a mix up, a baby is accidentally given both a boy and girls heart, and an angel is sent to earth to protect and correct the problem. This baby was born into a royal family as girl. Afraid of loosing control over the country, the King and Queen pretend this daughter is really Prince Sapphire. Once grown up, Sapphire struggles wit the role she grows up with, and the tension between his boy and girl hearts.

It is worth noting that this novel was written from 1953 to 1956 in Japan. The author, Osamu Tezuka, has a reputation of having poor female characters in his stories. This story in many ways reeks of dated views of gender, but on the flip side burst through boundaries of sexes. Many people call the story sexist since when Sapphire is a “princess” she is wearing a blonde wig, a big poofy dress, and has proper manners. When she is a “prince” fencing is her main skill. But I patiently read the story, waiting to see if the moral would be that gender makes no difference. There was naturally a slip up where for a brief moment Sapphire’s boy heart was removed and all her fencing skills and strength was sucked from her body. This wouldn’t bother me so much if Sapphire was aware her heart was being removed, as it could be chalked up to a loss of confidence.

But as I was reading it I thought of contemporary viewpoints of transgenders, being stuck in a body that doesn’t feel like your own. Falling in love with someone who might not agree with your sexual orientation. Tezuka tries to create a gender neutral character, that appeals to both males and females of the time. As the story goes on in the first volume the “prince” seems to look more and more like a girl.

Gender politics aside, the story is lots of fun. It flows fairly well and I was compelled to keep reading. The book is divided up so you are left with a cliff hanger after the first book. The art is charming, though many ideas seem to be based of Disney’s fairy tales, not Grimes’ or other written fairy tales. But I was still able to ignore all the cultural flaws to enjoy the story and art. 

So where does it leave this comic? I truly enjoyed reading the book, but it is a reminder of changes in time and cultures. Being a Westerner a lot of the story seems ignorant of our folklore. Many characters are snatched from Disney films, and there are mix ups from Christianity and Roman gods. Then on top of that there are dated roles of gender from 50s Japan, which can be a hard pill to swallow. If the story and art wasn’t so pleasant, there would be no hope of me finishing the book, or wanting to read the second one. It is now, in my point of view, like reading an old novel. We know that all classic literature are dated and sexist, but we put into context to when they are written. Princess Knight has a great story and art, and at the time paved the way for mangas. It added longer story arches to the genre. The book is still enjoyable, but perspective is in greater need to truly respect it.

Sailor Moon Vol. 1

 I decided to pick up the manga of Sailor Moon after my husband and I started to watch original TV series. We noticed that lots of ideas and plots got glossed over, and I was interested in getting more details. I figured, surely the book must of been more well rounded with the details, right?

As I started to read the manga I immediately noticed differences from the show. In some ways I found them better, for example there isn’t much information about Usagi’s evil nemesis. Bits of information is given, but I am a little disappointed that so far in the first volume we don’t get any big reveals about their goals or identity.

Although I found the art pretty and story charming, it probably isn’t the greatest thing for an adult to read. The flow might seem choppy since as a manga, it’s chapters were released in magazine publications, with other manga stories. So the start of the series is choppy as each character is introduced in each story, Mercury, Mars, Tuxedo Kamen, Jupiter. Each battle ends in a chapter probably since at the beginning of the series Takeuchi didn’t know if the story would become popular.

But there is enough going with the story that I wanted to keep reading. Most everything is set up, so the plot is open to keep going. I am definitely up to reading the next volume, and see how it compares to the two TV series.

Penne Sweet Potato Casserole with Sesame Crumbs

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I am getting so over my current apartment. I know I’ve mentioned how I’ve bought a rowhouse. It is an exciting adult step for my husband and I, and a little scary. We went to our inspection on Saturday, and turned out really well. We are requesting $1,000 worth or repairs before going in, and there isn’t anything we would care about it they said no to (and I think only two requests they legally need to fund us or fix). Going through the house again makes me want to start designing everything.

There is a WHOLE MONTH before we can move in, and it is killing me. I want my dishwasher, god I would love to take a plate and just put it away and out of sight. I would love to only have to handwash a blender and french press in the morning, then a few pots at night. I would also love to wash my clothes whenever I want and not have to worry that if I leave my laundry in the machine and then be a burden to someone else. I want for Toulouse to have stairs to run up and box windows to stare out of.

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To try and keep my mind occupied I am trying to do the Summer Shape-Up on The Fitnessista. It might be fun to have new recipes to try out, and heck switch up my breakfast plans a little even! This is the first day in years I didn’t have a SMOOTHIE! It was oddly really hard, but I think tomorrow my body will cope with it a little better. Funny since I read so many articles about how smoothies are calorie bombs that don’t keep you full for long. 

This will also help with spicing up my workout routine. I’ve been pretty much just been running and going to an Orangetheory class each week. So it probably will be nice to get more weight training in, especially since I will be lifting many many many boxes in a month. No need to workout on moving day.

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This recipe was resurrected from the dead this weekend. I originally made the recipe, wrote down notes, and loved it so much that I took photos for the blog. I edited the photos, but waited to post it since I had a few other recipes I wanted to put on the blog. Fast forward a few weeks and I couldn’t find the recipe. At that point summer was creeping in and the desire to cook a casserole had disappeared. So I figured the recipe would never make it to the blog.

Then my husband decided he would clean the computer area. And what did he find? The recipe! I am pretty excited about it because I would like to make this recipe again this winter. I love Korean sweet potatoes. They have a chestnut-like flavor which I totally recommend using in this recipe. If you can’t find any, the closest substitute is a white sweet potato.

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I also love the touch of sesame flavor on the top crumb. The sesame seeds really add an extra crunch that contrasts the creamy sauce and soft noodles. It adds a nice twist to the normal creamy pasta casserole dish. I really don’t think it emulates any western cream based noodle dishes, like alfredo or macaroni and cheese. This really is something that stands on it’s own.  Continue reading