I have no idea if these are cupcakes or muffins. I kind-of get annoyed by American standards for muffins. When I use to work at the coffee shop my current bosses ran, they would taste baked goods from various bakeries to choose a supplier. Their biggest complaint was the muffins were too gritty or dry. When they asked for my opinion, I replied with “they’re muffins, not cupcakes.” Sadly we ended up picking frozen buckets of muffins and baking them on location. My bosses were so proud of their decision, I hated those muffins, too soft, too sweet. Muffins are suppose to be low-sugar, have some whole wheat, or spelt flour, or something of the like. Sure you can have a chocolate chip muffin, if most of the sweetness is tied up in the chocolate. Muffins should be a limbo stage between bread and cupcake.
But what about these? I originally was going to call them cupcakes, originally tossing in some chocolate chips and a crumb topping. Surely that would make them decadent enough to make them cupcakes, right? Well, the crumb topping melted after a day, so I scrapped that. I had to make a second batch, and ran out of chocolate chips. So the new photographed results felt like a lie to have a recipe for naked cupcakes. But I personally like them without a glaze or frosting. But they are surely very soft and tender. So muffins they will be called.
Many of you guys know that I have been going nuts over Macaccino. I don’t like promoting brands like this (unless I am making money, come on macaccino! give me money I can keep making these recipes!) but I am loving the powder form and the unique flavor. But you can skip the macaccino in the recipe and use espresso powder, or brewed coffee to make more a Pumpkin Spice Latte muffin. Variations will be in the recipe below.
You can also switch things up by using half whole wheat flour instead of just all purpose flour to make these more muffin-y. But since I’ve been eating these as a midnight snack, I didn’t feel like it was needed. In fact that is kind-of why I love macaccino! I don’t have to worry about caffeine levels late at night. No I don’t think it would have much if you use espresso powder or real coffee, but just one less thing to worry about.
Other little tips about these muffins. The first batch I made I used home roasted pumpkin (actually long pie squash to be exact.) If you make your own home roasted pumpkin you might have to take an extra step to puree the squash. You can be lazy (like me!) and just mix all the wet ingredients in a blender. But if you are using the canned stuff, like I did for the second batch, you can mix everything perfectly fine with a fork.
What about nutrition? Well, I think of these like a dessert, hence why I am eating them as a midnight/bedtime snack. Below are the vitamins and minerals in recipe. There will be variations, clearly, if you are using hemp milk instead of soy, or if you decide to add chocolate chips or coffee. No none of these numbers are particularly high, but I don’t think it is too bad for 220 calories (10% of the calories for most people) and for something that tastes like such a dessert.
I am actually a little surprised it took me so long to post this review. See I use to work at Animo I guess around 2 years ago. I worked there for quite sometime actually, and I really miss the food. Vegan MOFO has the prompt of “Where do you eat when you want someone else to cook for you?” and the answer is nowhere. I usually have enough leftovers in the fridge or freezer to hold us off. We tend to find take out too much of a burden to do. The closest we get is me making a pizza from store bought dough or possibly Chinese take out.
But then I thought about the days of when I worked at Animo. If I ended up closing I would take home some burritos for Jon and I to eat. When I first started to work there they had free food for employees, which meant I would have their fresh juices, smoothies, and salad whenever I wanted. It was pretty nice. I would even sometime suppliment some of the meals there. If I had some soy yogurt, I would toss in some fresh fruit.
So let’s start with the basics- there are two locations for Animo. They have their original location in Haddonfield, NJ, but they have expanded into Philadelphia. I would recommend checking out the Haddonfield location since the Philadelphia location is always packed and is usually visited by office workers grabbing their lunch. Both locations differ, as I think the Philadelphia location tends to have more on location baked goods and special events.
The stores are not exclusively vegan. Sorry. But it is very easily customizable. The staff is usually pretty knowledgeable about what vegan means and will help you make your meal vegan. They don’t do fake vegan cheese or sour cream, but the flavors are really intense and you don’t need it.
The basic vegan ordering low down- the smoothies have yogurt in them. Ask for no yogurt or to sub with soy milk. The protein shakes are actually vegan by nature! They will probably ask what type of milk you want, cows, soy, or unsweetened almond. If they don’t, they defaulted to the soy. The protein powder is soy based unless you specifically ask for whey. They have acai bowls and special banana ice cream, both have no dairy in them. For the breakfast foods, you have a choice between their oatmeal or a peanut butter banana burrito.
Now for the burritos. My favorite thing about Animo is that they have two burrito sizes! You can get the full size burrito, or the ‘petito.’ A petito is about half the size of a normal burrito. So if you think Chipotle’s burritos are two meals, you’ll enjoy the petito. You can get their classic “mission” burrito, without cheese, and you have the “protein” option of veggies for extra. They also have the Bank Street (with veggies), Kale and Quinoa, and the Hummus and Veggie burritos which are all vegan as well.
And what is that beauty you see up above? That would be The Border Salad. It is lettuce greens topped with guac, blue corn chips, and pico de gallo. Since I’ve worked there I have my own little preferences. I skip the cilantro-lime dressing and go straight for their homemade hot sauce. I also like to get their salsa added, and it is totally worth it to get the roasted veggies added. Only thing is that you need to ask for no-cheese to make it vegan.
Ever made a recipe and have it be so awful that you had to revisit it again? This happens to me often. A recipe is floating around with some great flavor back bones. You think they should have a perfect flavor combo but it just lacks basic cooking know how. This happened with some pumpkin black bean burgers. The recipe was made by a non-vegan, and clearly didn’t know how to bind together the burgers. In their defense, they were probably also trying to avoid grains.
So when Vegan MOFO did the prompt asking what my “easy cook” meal would be, the answer was frozen burgers. But I know it would of been pretty boring if I pulled out some existing burger from my freezer and slapped it on a bun. So it gave me the chance to make a much better tasting pumpkin black bean burger.
When given the chance I ALWAYS try and bake my burgers. Why? It makes freezing much easier. It also makes grilling much easier. I can just grab a few burgers from my freezer and hand them to a host of a BBQ. People will always ask how to “grill” it, and I just say load up on oil, and heat all the way through. You can also toss these guys back in the oven, or just flip them in a small skillet. Heck sometimes these burgers make their way crumbled on a salad or in a wrap (did you check out my WIAW yesterday?).
This recipe specifically makes A LOT. I mean 8 on the low end if you like big thick burgers, 12 if you like small burgers for those store bought bagged hamburger buns. I am a firm believer that if you are using a food processor, you might as fill that bad boy up since it takes up so much space on the drying rack.
Now that I have baby on the way, these burgers will get eaten for sure. There will be too many nights where I won’t want to or don’t have the time cook.
Curious about some nutritional information? Well I happened to plug the recipe in Cronometer and I am happy to report these burgers are pretty good for the body (and soul). Remember these numbers are for if you divide the recipe up into 11 patties, so if you get 8 patties the numbers per burger will be higher. I got 7 grams of protein in that small patty, 5 grams of fat (with 37% of your omega-3!), and 27 grams of carbs (with 8 grams of fiber.)
I just screencapped the nutritional values for people see. And if you are thinking that isn’t that many, it just gives you more reason to eat a second burger, or make a double stacked pattie! I mean we haven’t even added the nutritional values from the lettuce, tomato, onions, hummus, bun, or whatever your imagination can think of the dress up that burger.
I know it is only the second day of Vegan MOFO and I am taking a break from the prompts. I like using this blog sometimes as a way to remember things, so keeping up with some of my pregnancy posts is important to me. Granted, this post IS about vegan food, so it is still in the same spirit. It just doesn’t have the theme of the go-to-impressment meal. I won’t lie- you will be getting a preview of future Vegan MOFO posts. XD But let’s move on-
As always I start my morning with a shake. Yup, I’m boring. I usually am so busy doing remaining dishes from the night before, and prepping
my husband’s our lunches that I really like having quick shakes that I don’t need to think about. So this shake is one I featured before in my first and second WIAW posts. They turned out looking more brown looking. I guess it large depends on how much greens I happen to add that day. XD The photo looks extra pretty today since I was taking a photo for a Vegan MOFO prompt.
Before heading to work I had to stop by Wegman’s to buy some peanut butter since we ran out. How will my husband live without his PB&J sandwiches?! XD So I figured I would pick up an almond milk latte as well. I am always surprised how much a latte will fill up my belly until lunch time. I figured I would take a photo of my “drink station.” Keeping my work area clean is SUPER important. Like 99% of the stuff we get at the frame shop isn’t worth much. Many things are digital photos or a $40-100 print. But some things are one of a kind- like needlepoints, old family photos, kid art. And now we are getting increasingly more and more expensive art, ranging from $1,000-80,000! No joke, the other day we got a call because a customer thought we lost his $80,000 print we framed, and I went white. I had no idea that piece was so expensive. Turns out he forgot that he brought it an appraiser to make sure it was authentic. Side note guys- if you think you have $80,000 print, get it appraised BEFORE getting it framed. They are most likely going to have to open it back up and reseal it. I know how many of my readers are sitting on expensive art ^__~
Lunch rolled around 12:30, and I ate my cut apple and a wrap with crumbled pumpkin black bean burger, radish greens, carrot shavings, and some Just Ranch dressing. The wrap was okay, it was a little dry. I also ate a few handfuls of tortilla chips because my boss took them out while we were eating. How do people NOT eat chips when the bag is opened?
So I didn’t photograph the apple and chips (use your imagination guys). I also didn’t photograph the two rolls of smarties and one of the new Nut Filled Clif Bars. I actually had the Coconut Almond Butter, and it was pretty good. I am not sure how much of a fan I am of them. I think I will stick to the originals, but they are still worth the occasional splurge.
Before work I took some photos of the Pumpkin Black Bean Burgers (will be posted tomorrow) so I figured I would wrap up one of them and eat it as a mid-day snack. It was actually a pretty nutritious snack- gots some extra beans, pumpkin, and radish greens! I added some roasted garlic hummus to the bun, but I wish I could of added more since it was a little dry… and cold.
Dinner is going to be featured in an upcoming Vegan MOFO, I wonder if anyone will be able to guess from the photo? It is kind-of a stretch for the prompt. XD I rarely make meals like this, but I know I should start getting use to it as I plan to have kids. It isn’t too hard to make three separate things, especially when you can just shove the tofu in the oven. I had a little brown rice, curried beets, and tandoori tofu from Vegan Eats World. I saw that My Cat Loves Daiya tried it out and it just looked so yummy I had to do the same.
Then I wrapped up the night with a Pumpkin Spice Macaccino Cupcake. Again, something I will post on the blog for Vegan MOFO. I didn’t take a photo since I ate one of the first batches where I mixed in chocolate chips and had a crumb topping. The topping- uh…. melted. So they looked pretty nasty before I took any photos. So I made a second batch without those add ins. Baking is never perfect the first time right?
So how did I do? Well, I ALWAYS point out, everyone is different, and needs different amount of calories. I am 8 1/2 months pregnant, so yeah, I’m eating a lot XD Just click the chart to enlarge it if you can’t read it. Out of all the days I think I hit the most of the nutritional goals. As always, the packaged goods aren’t very accurate, I mean the clif bar didn’t register most of the vitamins and minerals, which is a bummer since the regular clif bars usually show up.
I know it looks like I ate A LOT of sugar, but I have my specs registered for 50 grams of sugar, the suggested amount. About half of the sugar that is being registered are naturally occurring from the banana, apple, beets, and carrot that I ate. Yeah, not the greatest that I have doubled the amount from smarties, clif bar, latte, and a muffin/cupcake. And let’s not forget all those sneaky added in sugars in dressings and breads and such.
I can’t believe I am getting to the end. There might be ONE more of these What I Ate Wednesdays before the baby comes. And if I try hard, I might do a few more to show the food recommendations for breast feeding. The good news is that I can freak out a lot less about iron! YEY!
What are you guys eating today?
I can hear my Aunt groaning all the way in Florida. “Oh honey, that’s no po’boy” in a heavy Southern accent is ringing in my ears. My Aunt Sheila is originally from Louisiana, and she is a recipe purist. I’ve been told that if I make a roux with oil instead of butter, you have a completely different recipe on your hand. But I am jumping ahead of myself. What does this recipe have to do with the first vegan mofo prompt?
Well, we are suppose to be talking about our favorite foods. I was a little stumped. My answers are pretty easy: calzones and ice cream. But I’ve already given my recipe for a standard calzone (very ricotta-y just the way I like it), in fact it was the second post for Vegan Mofo last year. I couldn’t make a recipe for ice cream mostly because my freezer is PACKED. If there is leftovers it is getting frozen for post baby exhaustion.
So I asked Jon, what HIS favorite food was. His response was “a really good sandwich.” I got what he meant, there is something really nice about having a good loaf of bread, and the right fillings. He gets stuck with PB and J too often for his lunches for work, so I think when he gets something different, it makes him happy. At first I was going to do a buffalo tofu sandwich, since I love anything with buffalo sauce. But I think my lack of veggies in my diet made me go a little crazy with the craving, so I made a cauliflower buffalo wing po boy.
So now, let’s go back to the beginning- what the heck is a po’boy? This is important because there has been too many times where I’ve eaten a sandwich named a po’boy but lacked many of the defining qualities of the sandwich. There is a fine line between a cupcake and a muffin and so is a sandwich and po’boy. A po’boy is a sandwich mostly associated with Louisiana, but is a local speciality in Texas, Alabama, and Mississippi. It most famously has lots of small fried shrimp as the main filling, but it can be crab, oysters, crawfish, sausage, and sometimes even roast beef or french fries. It needs to be served in a crispy piece of bread, and the food pieces can’t be too big.
I’ve been eating bastardized versions of po’boys almost anytime my Father had to cook dinner. All he had to do was take shrimp, bread, and fry. Then we would add the roll, mayo, and fixings. So in many ways, this sandwich is a variation. I am using cauliflower instead of shrimp. I am breading it and baking instead of frying. But I guess the biggest betrayal is that I am slapping on lots of buffalo wing sauce. Oh well.
I’ve also come to realize I talk a lot about food history. ESPECIALLY during Vegan Mofo. In fact, my hopes that next year I will do a month devoted completely to American historical cakes. But since I’ve decided I am going to be so thorough, let’s talk about what makes buffalo wing sauce, buffalo wing sauce. I think I saw Jenny from Herbivore’s Heaven talking about subbing a hot sauce for something else in a blog post. I cringed a little, but then realized I didn’t know why. Heck, I think I have over 10 different spicy based condiments in my fridge. Each so similar but have their own unique qualities.
If you live in the United States, you know that you are either getting Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, or some other name brand that has the word “buffalo” on the hot sauce label. Even though buffalo wings are covered in a sauce that is just hot sauce and butter, most shelf stable bottles of “buffalo” sauce does not have any butter in it. Good news for vegans. But what make “buffalo wing” sauce different from others is that it is a mix of cayenne peppers, vinegar, and garlic that have been aged.
So what should you do if you aren’t in the United States and can’t find the proper sauce? Well, look at labels and see if you can find the word “cayenne pepper.” That really is the secret to the flavor. There are many varieties, but finding that wording will more likely ensure that it is the variety and flavor you are looking for. Also flip to the ingredients and try and keep it short and simple. You mainly want to see vinegar, pepper, and garlic in the ingredients. Or you can try out Domestic Fits’ recipe or Sunny Side Up’s recipe.
This year we haven’t watched as many horror films as hubs and I had hoped. I think this happens every year though. This year seems to be a little more realistic as to why we haven’t watched many films. Lots of driving, and lots of learning about baby stuff. So I will end the month of October with the last of the films we watched.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Plot: In the Iranian ghost-town Bad City, a place that reeks of death and loneliness, the townspeople are unaware they are being stalked by a lonesome vampire. –IMDB
Review: This is a hard movie to describe. It fits the horror genre since a vampire is in the plot, and there are some serious spooky vibes going on with this film. But in many ways this seemed more like a new wave feminist batman. The pacing is slow, erie, but never employs any shock or gore like most horror films. This sits between genres in a similar way Let the Right One In does. To say it isn’t a horror would be wrong… but to say it is would feel a little like a lie.
The story follows a young man Arash who is struggling to support his drug addicted Father. Work is hard to come by in his town, as it is a run down ghost town. He comes into a large amount of drugs after his Father’s dealer is killed. After dealing some drugs at a party, Arash runs into a strange girl on the street, starting a romance. Little does he know, this girl is going around town ridding it of men who take advantage of women.
This is only the second Iranian film I have seen. Awhile ago I watched the film The White Balloon, and loved it. This movie is directed by a female, which is rare for the horror genre, film in general, and I am sure for Iranian film as well. The movie relies heavily on it spectacular visuals, otherwise the story would be too slow moving. What I find interesting about the film is it’s borderline love affair with Western media, but it still feels very fantastical and foreign. Even though it feels like it could be an Iranian town, the whole film is shot in California. The main character listens to largely Western music, but Iranian pop is sprinkled throughout the film. This could be because the director Ana Lily Amirpour was born in England, but grew up in the United States.
And some people point out that maybe that is what the film is about. An Iranian women struggling to live in a world that isn’t part of her upbringing. The Girl is surrounded by drugs, sex, and female abuse, and she fights against it. The Girl wears a veil while out, but is it because it helps her stay hidden? Or is because she is a practicing Muslim?
Overall: Great for art house film lovers
Plot: Oshare (Gorgeous) is excited about spending summer vacation with her father, until she finds out that his beautiful, freakishly serene girlfriend Ryouko would be going as well. Oshare decides she will be going to her aunt’s house in the country instead. She brings with her her friends from school – Fanta (who likes to take pictures, and daydreams a lot), KunFuu (who has very good reflexes), Gari/Prof (who is a major nerd), Sweet (who likes to clean), Mac (who eats a lot), and Melody (a musician). However, the girls are unaware that Oshare’s aunt is actually dead and the house is actually haunted. When they arrive at the house, crazy events take place and the girls disappear one by one while slowly discovering the secret behind all the madness –IMDB
Review: Confession time- I didn’t actually watch this movie, at least this year. Alexa did. She texted me as she started to watch it, because it is something else. I could talk about the metaphors. I could talk about how “Japanese” it is to give people some context. But what really makes this movie shine is just how out there and unique it is. I can think of other films to recommend for any of the movies I reviewed on the blog, but not this one. House stands alone. Heck, I don’t think there is anything else directed by Obayashi that is anywhere as crazy as House.
So what makes this movie so unique? Well, filming techniques are all over the place. Ranging from weird cuts, songs, melodramatic sets, green screened effect, stop motion animation, I mean everything. If it is a special effect at the time, Obayashi used it. And he used it to make some humorous ways to die. Death by piano? Check. Disembodies head biting your butt? Check. Clearly Obayashi had a sense a humor about the whole horror genre, and let’s be honest, maybe some drugs were involved.
The end result is the most “gif-able” movie ever made. What I love about this film is that it is funny, it is suppose to be funny. And even though it is so light hearted and doesn’t take the spooky aspects seriously it still packs as much gore as any other horror film. There is no shortage of blood, missing girls, skeletons, and gore. You’ll probably still have no problem sleeping at night, but you have that safe “danger” that you get from say a Goosebumps episode.
The movie falls between two camps. It is kitchy and gaudy, and really attracts the type of people who like movies like Troll 2. But unlike Troll 2, a floating head that bites your butt is suppose to be laughed at, so it isn’t really the type of film that is so awful that it is good. It is probably better to be describe it like a tragedy or melodrama. There is just so much drama going on that you accept this alternative universe for what it is. Any holes in the plot line, or flaws in the characters are easily dismissed. Possibly the closest thing to be out there is maybe The Rocky Horror Picture Show, only with crack.
You might be questioning if this film is for you. I mean there is a painting of a cat spewing out blood. I remember being very unsure when I first started to watch it. I couldn’t quite make up my mind about what to think. I remember sensing my husband’s uncertainty when we saw it at The International House. But the further along you watch, it all begins to click as the girls move away from their everyday life to the haunted house. The surreal hell house becomes a character of it’s own, and you surrender all logic of film to Obayashi. Give it a chance. You’ll be happy you did.
Overall: Everyone needs to see this film
Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?
Plot: In a tale that almost redefines sibling rivalry, faded actresses Blanche and ‘Baby’ Jane Hudson live together. Jane was by far the most famous when she performed with their father in vaudeville but as they got older, it was Blanche who became the finer actress, which Jane still resents. Blanche is now confined to a wheelchair and Jane is firmly in control. As time goes by, Jane exercises greater and greater control over her sister, intercepting her letters and ensuring that few if anyone from the outside has any contact with her. As Jane slowly loses her mind, she torments her sister going to ever greater extremes. –IMDB
Review: I remember watching this film when I was younger. I knew what the story was about, and I remember thinking the story seemed so obvious. But watching it again with my husband I thought it was much more chilling than I remembered. The movie floats right on that blurry line of psychological thriller and horror. So heads up, no spooky ghosts or supernatural things in this film.
The movie was based on the novel with the same title. The movie was so unique at the time, that it received an initial X rating in the UK. The movie was such a success that it created a new genre- Psycho-biddy. Stories that base their real life horror on mental instability of aging women. The genre has slowly faded away, mostly because society has been more forgiving on older women. But let’s face it, in the age of plastic surgery, women are constantly being told to never age.
I am hesitant to speak too much of the film since it is such a classic. And unlike newer horror films, you can still be spooked if you know the ending. If I accidentally give up the ending, it probably wouldn’t be so spooky. I do note, since this is a vegan blog, there is some animal deaths in the film. Nothing too graphic, especially when compared with the next film I am reviewing (The Witch) This is another great film for anyone who is a little bit of a scaredy cat.
Overall: Classic film.
Plot: New England, 1630: William and Katherine lead a devout Christian life, homesteading on the edge of an impassible wilderness, with five children. When their newborn son mysteriously vanishes and their crops fail, the family begins to turn on one another. ‘The Witch’ is a chilling portrait of a family unraveling within their own fears and anxieties, leaving them prey for an inescapable evil. –IMDB
Review: I’ve been obsessed lately with Stuff You Missed in History Class. Every year they try and do a bunch of Halloween themed episodes, usually revolving around witch hunts, ghost hauntings, or general mysteries. I guess because of this I was in the perfect mood to watch this film. That and I wanted to watch it last year in theaters but ran out of time.
Just like A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, this film isn’t your typical horror film. This movie has a very slow pace, which is fitting for the story. The story takes place in 1630, with an exiled family. Life moves slowly. What I think Eggers does well is captures the mania that happened with settlers in the past. We constantly hear about how people in the past would blame ailments on witches, and it makes them seem dumb and irrational. But in reality is a great way to live in denial, or to have a scapegoat. Even today many people say their house is haunted and are convinced the thumping in the attic is a ghost, not a raccoon.
I pretty much loved everything about this film. The acting, direction, photography, editing sound, like I said everything. It is a refreshing breath of air for the horror genre since it has all the same editing, sound, color, and lighting techniques. There is much less of a big loud startling thump that makes you jump. But as mentioning since it doesn’t have these elements, I think many people might be dissapointed. If you approach the film as just another movie, you can fully apprieciate it.
And since this is a vegan blog, and this movie is about early settlers you can guess there will be some graphic imagery with animals. Let’s just put it this way- no major pain inflicted to animals but you will see blood.
Overall: Excellent ode to New England superstitions
Directed by: Mel Brooks
Spooky Type: Comedy
Watch: YouTube Trailer
Plot: An American grandson of the infamous scientist, struggling to prove that he is not as insane as people believe, is invited to Transylvania, where he discovers the process that reanimates a dead body. –IMDB
Review: Ever watched a trailer for a comedy, and thought “this trailer is pretty funny, I should see this movie!” Buuuut…. when you watched the movie you find out that all the really funny jokes were in the trailer, and therefore the movie was just boring? That’s what I felt with Young Frankenstein. I’ve seen it talked about on that “I Love the 70’s” mini series, and had clips played often from friends.
My husband has been DYING to get me to watch it. “You gotta watch Young Frankenstein,” and I have found that if you tell me something is the best or that I HAVE to watch it, I tend to think it is overrated (like oh The Matrix.) But I felt bad for all the movies I was picking out, so I thought now would be the time to watch it. Sadly, I heard most of the great one liners already.
I should of liked the film. It was funny, and filmed perfectly in the style of the old horror films. But again, I heard so many of the jokes before. Plus I had the same issue as An American Warewolf in London with Young Frankenstein. The women were meh. I get the jokes and where they were coming from culturally. Older horror films always had that sexual tension between the leading male and some random woman. But it would of been nice to have a female character that went outside of stereotypes and been stronger.
Overall: Funny and great if you haven’t heard any of the jokes before
These past two weeks have been crazy. I’ve been either doing non stop laundry (getting all the baby clothes cleaned) or spending 2+ hours each day driving my husband and myself to work. It is so sad. I actually live 10-15 minutes away from my work. My husband has about a 20 minute drive. But because of where his work is, it just isn’t a straight shot from his work to mine. Plus we have an hour difference in when when we start our jobs. Then add on rush hour traffic. I’ve been cursing a lot guys. XD We should be getting our second car back on Monday.
I had lots of fun with my shower. There were lots of drinks, food, and LOTS of vegan desserts. My friend Justine had a sugar overload, she wasn’t use to there being more than one vegan option at a party. There was pictionary, and some of the usual baby games (Guess the Baby Gear Game and Guess the Baby Stats) But it was mostly just a party where people could have some booze (well, except for the kids and myself) and just mingle and catch up. I am not much of the type of person to have planned games, cutesy things, and being the center of attention.
My sister planned a trailmix bar, which was pretty vegan friendly. There were some non-vegan mixins, but you can easily sub them with some vegan chocolate chips and non-honey nuts. We made our own little mixes, and I am sure Jon will be mixing it into his oatmeal every morning. It will be super helpful when we are dead tired from staying up late.
I think my sister remembered that Trader Joe’s had vegan marshmallows and saw these cute vegan s’mores pops. She said they were pretty easy to make, and they were pretty tasty. Just put a stick in a marshmallow, dunk in chocolate, and roll in graham cracker crumbs. Naturally you want to check if all the ingredients are vegan, but my sister checked all of that. I think she used a recipe like this one. My sister said the vegan marshmallows are denser than non-vegan ones, but I can’t tell the difference since I can’t remember when I had a “normal” marshmallow.
This photo cracks me up. Looks more like a funeral than a shower. Some people had to catch a train back to NYC so they got first dibs on the desserts. Almost all the New Yorkers are wearing all black or something very dark that looks black in the photo. And then there is Alexa in the middle with her pink hair giving our friend Ali the stink eye as she eats a dessert. I am guessing Alexa was hungry. She claimes it was just unfortunate timing. BTW if that dress looks familiar (which it probably doesn’t) I wore that dress on the blog many moons ago. I gave it to Alexa since the dress armscye (the holes where the arms go out) was too small for me.
I didn’t get any particularly good photos of my outfit. I was rushing out of the door to get to the shower, plus I can’t find a dress similar to link to anyways. I bought the dress second hand from Kate Gabrielle‘s online instagram account. I paid something like $20 but a medium black shift dress with little bell sleeves. It originally came from Forever 21, a store I wouldn’t promote, and it wouldn’t have the dress available anymore anyways. It clearly is no longer a dress with my tummy, and became more like a tunic with black leggings. If you want a similar look for a baby bump- Pink Blush has an actual dress made for baby bump that is similar. I hope everyone likes my super serious and super derpie faces.
Aside from great food, clothes, and company, we got a lot of great stuff for the baby. We got practical stuff like wash clothes, and car seats, but also cute things like Sophie and Fanfan! We are finishing up our shopping as the days are coming up. It is kind-of nice to know that we can pick whatever we want at the point. We stocked up on secondhand newborn onesies, and I will be checking out Swap.com for sleep sacks and jackets.
For week 32 the baby was the size of a naked tailed armadillo. The app doesn’t say which species, which drives me nuts (since I am such an animal know it all) but I can leave you guys with this cute cartoon about armadillos. For week 33, the app says the baby is the size of a ferret. Since they are a semi domesticated animal, I feel less bad leaving a link to a google search of ferrets in costumes.
Right before the shower Jon had been getting so anxious about the baby. For the most part our prep work has been painting rooms. Now that we are getting closer he started to worry about all the technical stuff. I don’t blame him. He kept asking me “Are you SURE you don’t want to take a birthing class?” I was pretty hesitant because I am pretty good at remembering things, so I was worried about taking a class, paying for it, and having lots of info repeated. Even a two day class at the hospital was $70. I can’t imagine how expensive some of those 8 day lamaze classes would get. So to get Jon to shut up, I mean calm his nerves, I rented a DVD from the local library. They have one option- Laugh and Learn About Childbirth.
Let’s just say thank GOD we didn’t pay for a class. Okay clearly it would of been different experience depending on the teacher. But I think I made a face of disgusts the whole time at the tacky wholesome jokes while Jon looked like he might of fainted. Things got a little easier as things went on for him, and I think I got more in vibe with the tacky jokes, or maybe she just grew on me more?
The first few classes/episodes/whatever didn’t have much new information for. I think that’s why I hated it so much at first. But it didn’t help that this lady has the most dated hair, and acted like a character played by Cheri Oteri mixed with your outgoing-but-not-so-funny high school drama teacher. Highlights? Showing everyone what a baby looks like coming out of a knitted uterus… which I can’t really remember why she needed that simulation. Then she talked about the different positions you can be in to give birth. She shows some of the positions- all are not flattering. Then she proceeds to say “you might look silly doing this one” and goes on all four. Nothing particularly bad. Then proceeds to say “or you can go on your side” and makes that move up above. Jon and I lost it, and couldn’t stop laughing. This lady made it seem like this was such a normal position to be in. Oddly, I just noticed that she is wearing tights under her khakis.
There are so many weird little things this lady does (like tights under pants.) Actually there are lots of weird decisions about the filming. Like they make as if it is a “real class” and have other couples sitting there. Which kind-of stinks there isn’t any same sex couples, or single moms or something like that. But they go around having everyone introduce themselves, you know, like a class. They even have a Dad who doesn’t speak English, but they keep asking him questions and such, only to have the teacher be like “uh… not sure what you are saying.” That one got me scratching my head. Another fun fact about the teacher- she had twin boys. She claims she would eat 4,000 calories to keep up with her milk supply and still loose weight. She claims she ate half an Entenmann’s cake every day. What?!
I think it overall was helpful, though I can’t say it is best since we haven’t seen any other videos out there. But I think it helped ease Jon about how awful the labor will be. He also better understands why I don’t want an epidural. We’ll see how I deal with the pain, but honestly I think I have a high pain tolerance. And if there is one thing I took away from this video is that it is better to try and tough it out as long as you can before getting the epidural.
I am a little happy to focus some of this blog to food again. Vegan Mofo is coming up and I didn’t get as much prepped as I hoped. I am crossing my fingers that Sunday and Monday I can do a lot of pre-writing for posts. It will be nice to have a few things to counteract all the baby stuff. The other day I was at Barnes and Noble and I was thinking about grabbing a pregnancy magazine. And then just couldn’t do it. And instead grabbed Bitch and Ms. I think the guy ringing me up was a little confused. XD
Unless you are just checking out my blog for the first time ever, you probably already know that I am pregnant. Actually, 8 months along at this point. And some people already know that most pregnant women aren’t suppose to have coffee- or rather they are only suppose to have so much caffeine. I am pretty sporadic about my coffee intake, but because I don’t have it all the time, I can accidentally guzzled too much in one day. And top it off, pregnant women have a harder time getting caffeine out of their system. I had a day or two where I accidentally drink too much caffeine and was rather jittery.
But I know many people like to drink less coffee, or can’t have any caffeine in their diet for medical reason. Because of these reasons, I was really happy to try out some coffee like products on the market. I tried to have the products in various styles to try and fill everyone’s coffee desires.
Two Quick Notes! I bought all these products on my own. So these are all my own opinions, though I never give my input about if the cost is worth it. Truthfully I like buying expensive coffee so I say all are worth the price. But if you are looking for cheap- go for the teeccino. My second note is that I don’t think caffeine is evil. I think out of most plant based stimulants caffeine is pretty awesome and safe (when in a natural state of coarse, you can overdose on the purified powdered stuff.) I am reviewing low caffeine or caffeine free products so no tea and yerba mate reviews. I also wanted the flavor to be in the same ball park but still be fairly easy to find in stores.
What is it?: I’ve heard about this drink for awhile and have wanted to try it ever since I’ve heard of it. Pretty much the cacao bean is roasted in the same style as the coffee bean
Positives: It isn’t 100% caffeine free, which to me is a good thing. I like having a little bit of a caffeine kick, and it also provides a little bit of bitterness. It also never claims to taste like coffee so you can drink it with an open mind. But the cacao is easy to mix with coffee beans if you are trying to help wean yourself off of coffee grounds. Mixing the two also give a really awesome and unique flavor (think mocha)
Negatives: It is a little watery and pre-ground. The drink is thinner than normal brewed coffee, and I think it would help if the grinds were a little smaller. But you can’t do that since they are pre-ground.
How to Brew: I’ve tried this in many ways, pulled an espresso shot, french press, and drip. I have found the only way to drink this is by using a french press. The espresso was a watery mess, and the drip was alright but tended to have trouble filtering. The French Press will give the best full body flavor.
What it tastes like?: It tastes like a watered down mocha latte- kind-of. There is a distinct chocolate/cacao flavor going on, but you have some rich notes that give a subtle notes similar to coffee. This clearly doesn’t taste like coffee, it has a totally different flavor profile, but can fill the void of full body, bitter, hot beverages.
What is it?: A blend of various plants and herbs. The main ingredients being used are carob, chicory root, nuts, barley, dandelion root, and some nuts and dried fruit. There are many blends available in different packaging. There are some that are gluten free (without the barley), tea bags, loose for drip, and lots of accessories.
Positives: This is 100% caffeine free for anyone who wants it. The drink also comes in various different methods so you can either brew it at home, or have tea bags for on the go. There also many flavors which works well for anyone who might be a picky eater. This brand is also probably the most widely available coffee substitute as I found it at Whole Foods, Wegmans, and small mom-and-pop health food stores.
Negatives: It is easy to mess up the brewing process. There have been times where I over brewed and had horrible tasting teeccino. Because of this, it isn’t so easy to mix the teeccino with coffee grounds if you are trying to get rid of caffein from your diet. The brew time is less than regular coffee, and you need much less grinds as well. I am also not a huge fan of their push for a caffeine lifestyle as they use very questionable spokes people sometimes.
How to Brew: I’ve tried many methods, and found my favorite is the tea bags and pulling espresso shots. The tea bags make it so you don’t add too much tea to the brew, and you want to use less than the average cup of coffee. Because of this strong flavor, it works perfectly for an espresso machine. I pulled a shot, added it to iced soy milk, and had a yummy latte, though it highlighted the flavors that aren’t as coffee-like.
What it tastes like?: This tastes the most like a cup of coffee. It doesn’t quite taste the same, but if you ever had a coffee-chicory root drink than you have a better idea what this stuff tastes like. It uses various grains and such that give a similar bitter flavor, but they use coffee flavorings which really give it that authentic flavor. Overall if I am craving coffee but don’t want the caffeine, this stuff is pretty satisfying. It is full bodied, full of flavor, and in some ways better than just drinking decaf coffee. Crazy? Maybe.
What is it?: These are blends of maca root that have been roasted to give a more coffee like flavor. Their original blend uses maca, cocoa, nutmeg, mesquite, and cinnamon, but they have two other blends. Their black reserve uses black, red, and yellow maca root along with beet powder. Their mint has a little dried peppermint leaf.
Positives: Super portable and quick to make. If you like instant coffee (ugh, so bad tasting) this is the coffee replacement for you. Just add hot water, stir, and add any creamers and sugar. Because of the powder form, it makes it easy to make other coffee flavored snacks like lattes, smoothies, and desserts. I also like how this brand promotes the use of other vegan products when making.
Negatives: It is a little gritty overall. I find that towards the end of the cup it gets a little too thick, which could be remedied by adding more hot water. Even when I make my macaccino latte, it still gets a little thick at the bottom.
How to Brew: There is pretty much only one way to “brew” and that is to dissolve the powder. You can use hot water or add mostly soy milk like I do. You can sub any recipe that uses espresso powder with this.
What it tastes like?: Just like the Crio Bru there is something very coffee like that comes from roasting the maca. But you most definitely can taste the maca flavor coming through. There is no way you could just sub the macaccino powder with just maca. As mentioned before, since it is a powder that is mixed with hot water, it does have some off the pitfalls as instant coffee does. But I would think more on par with Starbucks super finely ground instant coffee.
Oh boy this week has been crazy. I FINALLY updated all 400 posts to make sure all the images are working and optimized. Finally. The pictures should get bigger whenever I update the layout… if I ever do that. XD Last weekend Jon and I had our baby shower, and it was a lot of fun. We got lots of stuff and our nights have been putting together some of the gifts, and washing every single thing. Yup, I think I did a load of laundry every day of the week except for maybe one night. Yikes! We don’t do a several loads in one day since we air dry our laundry, but that probably won’t happen as often once the baby is born.
We also finished painting the baby’s room, and now we can really start to settle into that space. We are making sure everything is working (like having a closet door that fully closes) and organized. We ordered a new mattress for baby, all the cloth diapers, and I just found out about Once Upon a Child and got a bunch of newborn onesies for cheap. Thank god for second hand kids shops.
Annoyingly tonight I need to drop off my car to the car repair shop. For like the past year (or two) we’ve had a leak and therefore a bucket in the car. Well, a week ago the gas station attendant didn’t twist on the gas cap all they way, making the check engine light go off. We tightened it and it eventually went away, but made an appointment already. I wanted to cancel the appointment, but Jon wants to get the leak fixed. 9__9 I kind-of like my weird janky bucket. I always like the idea that it makes it less likely that the car will be stolen XD
I love reading about how complex animals are. To me it really re-enforces many aspects of veganism, particularly conserving the environment. There is also something very humbling that most of the things we think of as being “human” aren’t exclusive to just us. Well, this article pretty much points out that most cods can have issues with breeding with other cod fish that live far away. This gives bigger incentive to classify cod fish as a non-sustainable fish.
I loved the timing of this post. The blog The Only Living Girl in NY is similar to The Dainty Squid- lots of photos of random destinations ranging from nature to kitchy tourist traps. Which is why I kind-of love that she took photos of Trump’s Taj Mahal. It was technically opened when she visited but it might as well been closed. When I mentioned the irony to my boss, he was telling a story about how he took a friend to Atlantic City to check out all the casinos. What he found very odd about the Taj Mahal, which was their last stop, was how hard it was to actually FIND the slot machines. If anyone has been to Las Vegas, they know that the slot machines are the FIRST thing you see in the main entrances. It seems pretty obvious why the place was a flop.
I have a confession- I am not a huge donut fan. I know, I’m in the minority. I also don’t really like bacon, even in the pre-vegan days. But I always CRAVE donuts because they always look so gosh darn pretty! Especially these new trendy cosmic donuts. I can’t even comprehend how people make them! Both recipes are vegan, but I recommend checking out the “salad cakes” from Vegan Doll House, since she sneaks a few veggies in there. I like cakier donuts anyways.
Exercise has slowed down quite a lot. I think in general I am more active than most people since I stand all day at work. But on weekends I try to get in some extra walking from doing errands and going to my CSA. Plus that is when I try and fit a longer workout in, whether it is lifting some weights, a barre workout, or a run. Well, sort of. I have to officially retire my running. I think I might be having Braxton Hicks contractions while running, and I read that isn’t the greatest. So it is official- running is done until probably the end of the year.
I am going to try and fit in a 30 minute walk everyday, since that seems to be what most doctors recommend anyways. Problem is that I kind-of hate my neighborhood for just walking, so I will try and figure out how to budget my time to drive into parks or towns that I find more relaxing. *crosses fingers* Hopefully that works out.
Doing well. Occasionally my back hurts at the end of the day, and I’m a little slow at sitting up when watching TV. But otherwise I can’t complain. I ended up getting my flu shot last Monday, and that was the first time doing that since… goodness… I don’t know. High school or earlier? Yes, I know I am a bad adult, especially since I have insurance to cover it. I need to go back again and get my Whooping Cough shot as well.
The other day I did get a migraine. It sucked away an entire day. Which stinks because I thought- sure, I will get some random stuff for the baby done if I’ll be home all day. Nope. At one point I fell asleep for 2 hours, thinking I would be fine without my complicated pillow set up. Nope. Hips really hurt afterwards. It is the weirdest thing to me about any pregnancy symptom.
There are two very aquatic animals this week- the platypus and small-clawed otter. They are kind-of weird choices, mostly because I don’t think I’ve ever seen a platypus. Like never at a zoo when I was little. It is one of those animals that most people know of, but I guess most people never see. So I have no clue how big they actually are. I mean, how common are they in Australia? Like do most Australians see them swimming around in ponds and such?
As for the small-clawed otter? I’ve remember them from the Jungle World exhibit from the Bronx Zoo. Actually they seem to be in a lot of zoos, so they either must be pretty happy in captivity, or just very abundant in Asia. If they are pretty common in Asia, I would love to spend a few trips just searching for them by the water, since zoos don’t benefit animals.
Oh wait! I have to do stuff!
Jon and I are hitting that “oh yeah, we should probably get some stuff done soon” sort of moment. I mean, we aren’t acting late in the game, just sort of slightly freaking out since it FEELS like we have been putting these things off forever… which I mean we kind-of have. We need to do all that boring stuff like get shots (one down, two more to go), pre-register at the hospital, pick a pediatrician, get a breast pump, figure out more health insurance stuff, and you know, all that sort of jazz PLUS thinking about holiday stuff. I already asked Alexa to start planning when she will help up decorate our Christmas tree, to get it done before the baby might come. Because I know my arms aren’t going to reach as far as they use to.
It’s All Downhill
I feel like the past two week flew right by. I have a hunch the next 8 weeks will fly right by as well. I will be busy buying Christmas gifts, planning things, and blogging for Vegan MOFO (at least that is the plan XD) I have a feeling the last four pregnancy posts will be very short. Or maybe not. I guess we will have to just wait and see.