Yes, I know this isn’t Sunday, it’s Tuesday. But most of these articles were about pregnancy which might of seemed fishy if I posted it before my formal announcement. If you missed it- I am 15 weeks pregnant and just hit my 2nd trimester. It is also the reason why I have been blogging much. But my energy levels are back, and I have the time as well, so it all works out.
Last Sunday Reading I mentioned that I’ve been busy but couldn’t actually think of anything I was busy with. Looking back that is a BIG LIE! We have been very busy. Here is just a list of the many many things I’ve been busy with the past month or so
- My friend Justine lived with us for about 2 weeks since she started a new job in Philly (she has happily found an apartment to stay in though)
- A big summer thunder storm went by and ripped off our storm door so I had to take it down
- My nieces had their first ever ballet recital which is a big deal for dancers
- Hubs and I painted our bed rooms (colors are featured in my belly shots if you are wondering)
- Went into Philly to visit my friend Chrissy to eat at Grindcore House for 3 hours!
- Been busy brainstorming with my Mom about sewing quilts and clothing for my new tummy
- Planning on redoing our third floor office/workout room to make room for a nursery. I might share details on the blog (mostly info on how to make a cheap desk)
- Our CSA started up at the end of May so now every Saturday morning is occupied by picking our food share. Maybe I’ll start up a weekly food plans from it?
- We got our first super adult purchase- A NEW FRIDGE!!! Actually Jon cared more about the specs but I have been enjoying the extra space. And we already spilled a bag of curry leaves in the freezer to make it very very dirty
With that being all shared and updated of my busy adult-life, on with links that almost exclusively involve stuff about babies and pregnancy. I think they are important to share even if you aren’t thinking about kids, as they are important social issues.
I think most people know that you aren’t suppose to drink when pregnant. But depending where you live, seeing a pregnant woman drink a glass of wine might seem not so odd, or it might send irks down your spine. I have mixed feelings. The research shows having a glass once in a while probably won’t do anything to the baby’s development, but most doctors (especially in the USA) will say to just avoid the stuff to be safe. Which might make sense, but pregnant women take socially okay risks all the time. Maybe scooping the cat litter while the husband is gone for a weekend, eating raw vegetables, or even driving the car (there is always the risk of getting hit by another car.) Pregnant women should weight the benefits with the risks, we need to get places so yeah, we will be driving a car. But what about booze? Some women end up binge drinking in the last trimester, which to me is a sign of stress. So wouldn’t it be best to balance it out and have a few drinks to take the edge off rather than binge drink which clearly shows to effect the fetus? But even still, the idea of me drinking a beer while pregnant still rubs me the wrong way. It is so embedded in our culture that I feel weird doing it. Or worse, I would be more afraid of what other people would think of it.
I wanted to first tell everyone on the blog when I got pregnant. I didn’t care about the idea of miscarriages. I figured I would be honest if it happened, even if it took a few weeks to be able to emotionally write something. They happen fairly often, though most people wouldn’t know that. I had a girl from my high school wrote about having a still born and the emotional toll. For anyone who doesn’t know the difference is that a miscarriage is defined as the termination of a fetus before week 16-28 (depending on state laws), anytime afterwards would be a still born. The article talks about how little we actually know about them, which can be very frustrating to the women who have repeated miscarriages.
This is a very horrible name for an article (stupid age of click bait titles!) as it never REALLY explains what makes whole wheat healthier than white. But it talks about a very interesting thing- the many different ways that wheat’s glycemic index varies. It kind-of blew my mind, and made me wonder if I just swallowed pasta whole if that would make the glycemic index even lower (which is probably a very very bad idea XD)
Super interesting article about vitamin D and the history of it. What I love about learning about the history of vitamins, you learn about all the different foods that get fortified with vitamins that we kind-of assume are natural. Like I never knew that milk is fortified with vitamin D, I just kind-of assumed when I was younger it was just made that way.
Another interesting article about kids, parents, and social issues. There is the “parenting happiness gap” where people who don’t have kids are happier than parents. Some countries have this issue and others don’t. Apparently there is clear cut and easy data that shows that the gap can be explained by how much government and work support parents have. I am fairly certain many of the issues about reproductive rights with women revolve around the fear that women wouldn’t want to have children because well, there isn’t much help. No paid leave. Bad vacation time. And lots more. I joke with friends that there is no logical reason to have children since there are so many disadvantages when it comes to money.
If anyone has noticed I haven’t been posting much on the blog lately. I can safely say a large reason for this is because I am pregnant. Yes you might of heard me drop the bomb on blog comments or facebook groups, but my husband wanted me to wait till we formally told all our friends and family before posting anything on the blog. Frankly I am glad I waited because overall I would say like maybe 5 in real life friends read this, but I didn’t want a friend to go nuts and tell everyone else and have Aunt Bertha freak out that I never called her (FYI I have no Aunt Bertha ^__~)
I have been wanting to tell readers why I’ve been MIA, mostly because people aren’t kidding about being tired the first trimester. And reading about it in my super science-y book– it is because your body is doing A LOT OF WORK getting the baby situated. Which is weird since it is the time when most women don’t talk about their pregnancy, and look the most normal. Not to make it seem like the rest of my 6 months will be a breeze- but I’d come home from work (early mind you) and just want to sit in front of the TV or read a book. It was weird, some how sitting on the computer was a draining experience.
So how far a long am I? Well, I am just started week 15- which means I just started the second trimester. Pretty much my digestion has been weird, my tummy looks like I ate a large burrito, my workout game blows, my boobs are even more huge, and now that everyone knows I am pregnant I get asked “how are you doing” more often than I like. I also get told by my Mom about how pale I am. I’m always pale. I mean look at those photos below- the last photo is my slightly tanned body and some lighting trickery.
There’s debate on the due date- I thought it was December 11th, Jon says it is the 12th, or maybe I am getting both dates wrong? Either way baby is coming out at some point during the month of December. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ And I could look up this information up, but really… do you guys care? I just care about spiking my eggnog at SOME POINT post pregnancy for the holiday season.
So what does this mean for the blog? Hopefully I will still feature restaurant reviews, recipes, and whatever else like I normally did. But while pregnant I will do weekly (or maybe bi-weekly) updates of what is going on.. hopefully it’ll be interesting/humorous to everyone. And I am sure I will talk about vegan parenting post pregnancy, but I swear I won’t be using any pastel chevron on the site.
A Little TMI Guys:
One thing that tends to be a little on the down low on commonly talked about pregnancy symptoms are the ones regarding digestion. Apparently pregnant women not only get acid reflux/heartburn but they are also non-stop farting, burping, and peeing machines (well I think everyone knew about the peeing part.) In fact I am sure if scientists did a study they would find pregnant women release as much CO2 in the as burping cows. Though I am starting to wonder if cows keep farting and burping since dairy cows are always pregnant. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ But the only thing pregnant women don’t do is poop apparently.
I keep reading book and after book, blog after blog about how constipation is going to happen to me. I laughed, “Poor naive people, I’m VEGAN. Do you even know how much fiber I eat?!” Until one day I realized I went a whole day without pooping… which was a little disturbing. I felt a sudden need to buy prune juice and bran flakes to help out. I am much too young to be worried how many times I poop in a day, or week. Or maybe me worrying about gross body fluids is just preparing me mentally for dealing with a baby’s disgusting body fluids? Oh in case you are worried, I am doing fine. Everything is working right on schedule.
It came in the middle of the night:
I am fairly certain my tummy has been growing in the middle of the night. No joke, one morning I woke up with the sensation of rolling around on my tummy as if I was on an exercise ball. Which is bizarre since my stomach was even smaller than it is on the photo above. It is hard to comprehend the idea that a living thing in growing in my tummy. Yes, you know there is a baby in there, but I find myself always being weirded out by how “hard” my stomach is. I mean, if my stomach has ever been this big it has been because of food, and it can be easily squished.
I need a drink… a nice bitter one:
I can say that I miss a drink. I love alcohol, but I never needed it to “take off the edge.” I just loved the complex flavors that they would have from fermentation. So in many ways, I think it am going a little nuts without it. Why? Well, many people know that booze is off the table for pregnant women (depending on your doctor and culture) and people need to be careful about drinking caffeine.
I don’t drink coffee or beer consistent enough to consider it a need, so I skip it. And let me tell you the options are almost all sweet. Soda, fruit juice, sweet tea, kool aid, and it goes on and on. No sour, no bitter, no complex flavors. Okay sure there are healthier things out there like kombucha or freshly squeezed juice, but both are off limits since they can harbor potentially harmful bacterias. Cool. And when I do find drink that are a little sour, bitter, or complex, they are sweetened with sugar or technically have caffeine (iced tea?)
I am reaching the point of desperation. Yes, I still drink coffee from time to time. I mainly dumped it because I brew my coffee quite strong and have no way of really knowing how much caffeine is really in it. As for beer, even though many studies say that occassional drinks aren’t a risk to the baby, I can’t shake that feeling. Or worse, I wouldn’t be able to take the social stigmatism. So I am left googling “best alcohol free beers” in hopes to get my hops fix, and I am even thinking if dog beer would be worth my time. (Answer probably not)
These photos have been sitting on my computer for over a month? Oh gosh, maybe two months now. I have been crazily eyeing up Champs ever since I first heard of it. I went to Champs when visiting my sister in Brooklyn, and I got to meet her boyfriend, who actually comes to Champs often with his vegan and vegetarian friends. Although being vegan doesn’t mean you only have to eat healthy foods, when eating out it seems that the vegan option is almost always a salad. Sure restaurants are starting to give other vegan options, which pretty much means you can choose between a salad and a veggie burger. Sometimes all a vegan wants is some good old fashion greasy diner food. Well, this is the place to go.
I didn’t take any outdoor shots, the place isn’t glamourous, and it shouldn’t be. It’s a diner. It keeps the interior with traditional diner decor, note the mirrors and sparkly seats. If you aren’t familiar with diners here is a basic outline. If you are American, a diner means a specific style of restaurant that is mostly popular in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York area. Originally diners were similar to trailer homes, they were prebuilt models that could be purchased. They were long an narrow for transportation purposes, but it meant it was fairly cheap to build a completely new restaurant. Because they were prebuilt, there was a very specific style (think art deco, metallic, and kind-of looking like a trailer). As the diners became more popular they became bigger. Some places sold prebuilt models that could put together on premises in order to “expand” the restaurant. Now most surviving diners are massive monsters. If you want a comparison, here is an original styled diner compared to a later monster diner.
So as the size of a diner has changed, the decor and food is what seems to define a diner. Stereotypically diners have checkered floors, vinyl booths, a bar area, and neon signs. But overall the decor must be humble, if it is too polished it clearly isn’t family owned. The food menus are traditionally huge, with portions to match. Depending on the location of the diner, you’ll get a different menu. If you are in the south you’ll probably get grits and biscuits, but in New Jersey you probably will find lots of Italian food. I know that is the appeal for most people is that you can go in a group and if one person wants Italian and the other wants a burger, you pretty much will please everyone… well except the vegan. Sadly most diners are not very vegan friendly unless you want french fries and a salad. Enter Champs.
Clearly Champs isn’t using a traditional diner cart, but they try and replicate the interior. They have the classic paneled mirrors, checkered floors, and funky lighting. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the decor is originally from some other diner. They have some macabre touches here and there, like I remember there being a skeleton near the cashier. Probably due to the fun interior and the great food, there was a huge wait.
Whenever I go to an all vegan restaurant I have such a hard time choosing. I am so use to only one to five options and then deciding if I want something light or not (ie do I want a salad or a veggie burger?) Even the non-vegans had a hard time deciding what to get. I figured I would go for food items I had never seen vegan before- the poutine fries ($9) and the cubano sandwich ($11). For anyone who isn’t familiar poutine are french fries that are covered in gravy and cheese curds. I never would of thought they would of been so addictive! I gave my sister a bite, and she deemed them authentic… or authentic enough (the cheese curds weren’t quite right, but I think we all suspected that.) The cubano is a vegan version of the cuban sandwich, which is a hot pressed sandwich with pork, swiss cheese, pickles and mustard. This sandwich was yummy and the “ham” was bizarrely close to what I remembered of ham. Mostly it was the way the “meat” shredded. I was pretty full from the poutine so I took half of the sandwich home, which kind-of stunk up the train. Oops.
What did everyone else get? My sister, Lindsay, got the Buffalo Chik’n ($11), a faux chicken sandwich that has lots of hot sauce, ranch, and veggie toppings on a roll. I took a bite and thought it was pretty good, and was pretty close to an omni-style sandwich. I’ve eaten plenty of faux buffalo wing foods and vegan versions tend to only have hot sauce flavor, which I like, but not everyone’s cup of tea. Her boyfriend ended up getting the Blue Plate Special, which was only available that day. It was a mix of mac and cheese, a fried chicken drumstick, corn, and biscuits (maybe cornbread?). Lindsay seemed to like the mac and cheese, which is saying something since she is a BIG cheese fan (note: if Lindsay is reading this, I am sure she would want me to point out it didn’t taste JUST like cheese, but we all know that) The chicken drumstick was full of seitan goodness, and even had a wooden stick in it so you could eat it just like a normal drumstick.
Jon and I were both eyeing up the same sandwich- the Country Fried Seitan ($13), but he “claimed” it before I did. The recipe features seitan made from Blackbird, breaded, fried, and served on texas toast with bacon, cheese, ranch dressing, tomato and greens. Funny thing is that I’ve never had texas toast before going vegan, and I am in love with it. More proof that going vegan only expands your options.
Great thing about Champs? It is fairly cheap. We got an appetizer and an entree for everyone and meal was cheaper than our lunch… and there was 4 people for dinner and 3 for lunch! Yikes! It probably helps that there isn’t any booze being served at Champs, so that kept the bill small. Also the plates are pretty big, which makes it so you only need the main meal. Even still, these are great prices if you are dining out in New York City, so if you are visiting Manhattan island, it would probably be worth the trip out to Brooklyn.
This recent batch of books have been library books. Which means one of the books was left out of the photos. Womp womp. Oh well. I really enjoyed these reads, though they are in many ways very different from each other. Two comics that are about coming of age, a comedy book about fake facts, and a novel about German imperialism and orthorexia.
What I am Currently Reading
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America – I have heard a lot of good things about this book but I finally picked it up from the library because it was the book of the month at Vegan Warrior Princesses Attack Book Club.
The Vegetarian – This is another book on the Vegan Warrior Princesses Attack Book Club but I would of picked it up regardless once I found out about it. Very dark, and I am only a third of the way in. I have no idea how this is going to escalade.
What I’ve Read
I’ve been in love with John Hodgman’s podcast Judge John Hodgman. He apparently picked a passage from his own book for the obscure cultural reference, and I figured “hey, why not read it?” I expected to read something that is sprinkled with humor but contain tons of pretentious cultural references, and the book did not disappoint. Basically The Areas of My Expertise is written in the same style as a Farmer Almanac, many many random facts sprinkled throughout the book. But what John Hodgman does instead of writes a bunch of fake facts, and made up stories written in a dry tone.
But I don’t think this a book for everybody. If you like reading the New Yorker, including their humor section, then you will probably like this book. Otherwise I think Hodgman comes off as too dry for people tell when he is being humorous or serious. It also helps if you know of Hodgman’s humor before picking up the book. I won’t lie that I imagined Hodgman delivering some of the lines in the book. Again this helped me read very “silly” jokes as if it was very serious, adding to the humor.
Overall what I love about Hodgman is that he is usually pretty good about being funny but not offending certain groups. He is well educated and is sensitive to many issues, in fact he has actually given some great advice in his New York Times column. I think the only thing that is offensive is the book is his chapter on hobos. One might think this is insensitive to the homeless, but I think he was more so poking fun at the romanticization of “hobos” during the Great Depression. In fact the hobo wikipedia page doesn’t seem too far off from what Hodgman wrote.
I originally picked this book when I read an article about a man who ate nothing but coconuts. I find historical food trends interesting, perhaps because it helps keep current food trends in check, or at least reminds us that nutrition hasn’t changed much over the years. If you also find that interesting this is the book for you.
The story follows Nuremberg, a German man who has found the secret to health. He believes coconuts are god’s perfect food since they grow so high up on trees (to be closer to heaven) and because they resemble the human head. But since they are so hard to find, he decides to move to the south pacific to own a coconut plantation, where he was spend his days in the nude and eating only coconuts. Along the way he passes the path of other fruitarians, and other historical health food figures.
Although the story does follow themes of orthorexia and dogmatic views of food, the story is also about colonialism. Nuremberg is only about to live his paradise life because Germany is occupying New Guinea. He is also a white man who although isn’t rich, has more money than the locals and therefore is able to buy a plantation. The themes of colonialism is further emphasized by Nuremberg’s interaction with the local people, with his sense of superiority.
I really liked this book, but I wish I spent more time sitting down to read it in one sitting. The writing deserves the attention of the reader. The text is dense and isn’t structured like most best selling novels. There is no dialogue to break the page, the story doesn’t follow traditional story telling, etc. I personally liked the book, but I plan to reread it at some point. There were too many nights where I would read 10 pages and put the book down, making the story too disjointed.
Sunny is a story about kids in that are living in Japan’s foster system. Some of the kids are able to see their mothers, and others are uncertain if they will ever see their parents again. The comic shows various little snippits of their lives and how they cope with their lives, interact with each other, and have little faith from the adults in their lives.
The first chapter is all over the place, dabbling in various small moments in the kids lives. This is to introduce us to all the different characters, and get us use to the chaotic life in the foster home. But as the chapters move on, they focus mostly on one character, for example one was about the toddler Shosuke getting lost. Another is about Kenji trying to drop out of high school and getting permission from his drunk father, straddling between adulthood and childhood.
The illustatrions fit the story very well, and the author writes very coherently. The overall book is great but I would of liked to see stronger female leads. There are girls and females in the foster house, but they aren’t featured in their own story, and when they are featured it is to be the love interest. Outside of this fact, (which is pretty common in Japanese writing) the story is really great and one I would recommend reading.
SuperMutant Magic Academy is a prep school for mutants, warlocks, and witches, training their paranormal and super natural powers. But the stories are less Twilight and more like vignettes of the mundane high schools we grew up in. The book started as some short comics published online over the course of 4 years. Each story is about one page, but there are few that span several, especially at the end.
I really loved this collection of comics and I wished that I was able to read it when I was in high school. It really captures the angst and social frustrations that occurs in high school. It even captures more contemporary frustrations like coming out to your friends, unrequited loves, and more. Though some of the jokes reminded me a little more college than high school, like the artist doing avant garde performance art. Some of the jokes are completely devoid of the super natural, while others focus only on that, such as the immortal boy.
What I really like about the book is the drawing style of Tamaki. Each panel is drawn simply with with black and white. There is a nice balance between sophisticated and cartoonish, making the humor shine, but the panels worth admiring.
I strongly recommend buying this book. I would even like to get a copy for myself to flip through from time to time. You can read it straight- front to back, but since this was written as a serial, most comics are readable all alone. There isn’t a strong storyline until the end where everyone is graduating. If you know someone in high school- buy this for them. If you ever been the “uncool” one in high school, I am sure you will appreciated the jokes in here as well.
Hello everyone! I am a little late for posting my Sunday Reading post, but oh well. I am good at ignoring self made schedules. I’ve slowly gaining some control in my life again. The last two months have felt a little bit like I had been running in slow motion. I would try my hardest to get certain things done but next thing I would know, hours would go by and I didn’t seem to get much done. But I am finally working on some posts that I started drafts of a while ago, and reading tons of books that has been on my to read list for awhile.
Tomorrow is my birthday and this weekend my Mother and Father in Law invited my husband and I over for dinner. I might of specifically requested for certain vegan meals, and my Father in Law made me the pad thai dish from The PPK. It was pretty yummy, and made the perfect amount for 4 people. My Mother in Law surprised me with vegan chocolate cupcakes. Apparently she found out of the recipe from Mayim Bialik‘s appearance on The Rachel Ray Show. The cupcakes were pretty yummy, and what I like about them is that it is easy for non-vegans to make. You can check out the recipe over here. There was some confusion from her end of which tofu to use (which took awhile for me to figure out too) but the frosting still worked out.
I forget where I’ve first heard about the olm, but it is a cave dwelling salamander that has no eyes, and is only found in a cave system in Slovenia. They are really interesting and beautiful looking. So when I saw this article on my news feed I got pretty excited. The New Yorker talks about the cultural investment the Slovenian people have with this salamander, along with their folklore.
Here is some happy vegan news! A lot of people argue what would happen to all the animals if we adopted a vegan diet. Although it seems unlikely that the world would go vegan overnight (causing an over population of farm animals) some more complicated cases are wild animals bred in captivity. It is nice to see wild animals get closest to living in the wild that they can. It takes time, money, and effort from humans, but I think the results are worth it.
I love this article. I get very frustrated when we talk about animals and intelligence, because it gets complicated. I remember joking about my cat was smarter than my nieces when they were little tiny babies. Yeah humans are suppose to be smart, but my cat has object permanence, does your baby? Joking aside, there are many things that animals do everyday that is amazing. There is even a squid that can change it’s color AND control it’s shadows. We might not be able to comprehend what that would feel like, how much active thought process does a squid go through to control it’s color changing? It is hard for us to think of walking as something we need to learn since we learned it at such a young age, but it is part of our intelligence.
This article is one that sums up most of the body love movement. I have heard some crazy fat-phobic people say things like “just eat less food,” and hey I understand where some people come from. Weight and health are two things that are deeply embedded in our minds. But one thing is for sure, weight is more complicated than we think. We are finding that weight can be controlled by more than just calories, including epigenetic, gut flora, and much more. We get so set into the mindset that our weight is “our fault” that when I tell some people about these studies they defend their original thoughts on other things. I remember citing a study that said that people from the 80s were thinner with the same amount of exercise and calories than people today. What did I hear? About whole fucking grains. Really? I then asked that person if they ate more whole grains in the 80s than they do today, answer no. So this is a much more high profile study that shows that rapid weight loss might be more complicated than “sucking it up” and having lots of willpower.
I am a little bad about helping people with nutritional information. Veganism is easy, really, but it does require us to rethink the rules of nutrition. We have so much programed in our minds as kids- x amount of protein (meat), x amount of grains, x amount of dairy, x amount of fruit, etc. But things get really complicated with a plant based diet. This might partly because a lot of these foods merge into the different categories. And I think since long time vegans get so use to this new way of thinking we tend to ignore newbies, who might not know all the basics. I am always stressing that I still taking vitamins, largely vitamin B12, but still pointing out that meat eaters can be low on the vitamin since animals don’t make the vitamin. It’s created by bacteria.
Gena has written a great outline of things to look for in a vegan diet. You might need to think about your protein sources for the first year, but it’ll become second nature. Concerned about calcium? Pay attention and you will eventually learn enough information that you won’t need to think twice about your daily choices.
I’ve done gardening in the past. When I was younger I had a garden underneath our old swing set. But let’s face it, I was more interested in picking flowers to go in the garden than actually maintaining it. As I got older I went through many apartments that kind-of made gardening something unmanageable. I’ve always lived on the 2nd floor, making the only plant option indoor ones. I also lived in Philadelphia for a few years, and if plants went outside I risked someone kicking and breaking the pots. When I moved back to the burbs, I was still on the second floor and the rules of gardening was really murky, so I chose to avoid it.
So when we bought our row home, it was the first time we had a small plot of land to grow things in. The problem was that the previous owners wanted more patio space and filled the soil with rocks and stepping stones. At first I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal, just pick out the big stepping stones and then pick out the smaller rocks. In fact my bosses took the stepping stones to use in their own gardens, so I just had to pick out the smaller rocks in-between the stones. I think my tip off that it would be hard was the fact that there wasn’t any weeds. So. Many. Stones. There was a layer of pretty store bought stones, and then just a foot of stone filled soil. It took about 2 months of random rock picking with my husband to get the stone situation to an controllable state. Even still, there are a good amount of rocks in our soil.
Aside from that we have had a few challenges- mostly squirrels. I brought out my amaryllis plant that I got this Christmas. I also tried starting seeds for a few flowers and herbs, starting them inside but putting them outside on warmer days. Well, it turns out that the squirrels were still pretty hungry from the winter and kept digging through my plants. I pretty much gave up hope for the flowers and herbs, but a few of the Black Hollyhocks have lived, though I still need to transplant them. None of the Purple Perilla have lasted, they seeds got washed away.
As for the herbs… I don’t know what is growing. Well, I do know some of the cilantro is growing. I know this because I saw some of the seeds stuck the sprouts and because the leaves are starting to get all cilantro-y. I am excited because it is one of the herbs at my CSA that gets cut down fast. I also planted mint and basil, but squirrels pushed the dirt around so much that I think some seeds got buried too deep. Everything got moved all over the place.
There are two more edibles that I planted, lettuce and hops. I planted two types of lettuces, one I can’t remember the name of (oops) and the other is arugula (or rocket). Again I planted these because my CSA isn’t the best suppliers of lettuce. We might a head or two in the spring and another 2 heads in the summer, then that’s it. So I figured it would be nice to have more.
I have no idea what I am doing with hops. I am taking a chance and trying to grow it on our fence, and I think a neighbor is using the community fences, so I think it is allowed (technically we own the inside of the house, and not the outside, so it makes things a little weird). I picked the Cascade Hops plant because it sounded like it might do well with my soil and it sounded like it would be nice and fragrant. We have no plans on using the hops for brewing, though maybe we can get some extra cash on the side. Where’s the dollar sign emoji face when you need it? Anyways, after a lot of waiting I THINK I see the the hops starting the grow. Either that, or it is a weed. So fingers crossed.
Other things? Well, we got a beautiful gnome for the garden, with a golden cone hat. And he is planted to a bush that I got on sale at Lowe’s. Sadly I can’t remember what the bush is. Womp womp. It was really pathetic when I bought it, all dried out. Now it looks like there are fresh shoots coming out, so that’s reassuring. Maybe at some point I will be able to tell what it is by searching the flowers.
There also two stepping stones jointing out porch area to the sidewalk, and I bought these cute succulents that looks like some sort of stonecrop/sedum. Again, I am an idiot who forgot to save or label the plant. It will hopefully crawl and fill in the spaces over time, might not happen for a few years though. I might have to ask my boss if I can steal some of his succulent plants to help fill in the gaps.
Speaking of my boss, I’ve been getting some other freebies from him. See he LOVES gardening, and all the companies he orders from tend to give out free bulbs and the like. (for example I got free dill seeds when I ordered from Thyme Garden Herb Co.) So I planted some Balloon Flowers and Gladiolus. So it looks like we will have a fairly full garden for the first year.
So that is what is going on with my garden right now. Hopefully I will try and post updates ever month or so as my garden fills out.
I remember when I first started the blog, Alexa usually came to me because I had more vegan options in my area. Flash forward to today, now it seems like Alexa is sitting in the suburban vegan mecca. There are so many places I want to visit near her, but they are usually closed on the day I come to visit- Mondays. So Alexa suggested Cardinal Provisions, a brunch and lunch based restaurant. She had went before and thought I would dig it.
Alexa’s note: Visiting Cardinal with Jen wasn’t the first time I had been there. I had actually gone on Valentine’s day with Mr. Ian, and on that day I had one of THE BEST waffles I have ever had. It’s definitely on my list of Top 5…because apparently I have that sort of list now. I believe it was a special for that weekend, but hopefully it will pop up again. The waffle was covered in caramelized bananas and thin mint crumbs.
That’s right…THIN MINT CRUMBS.
I loved the dish because 1) it was vegan and 2) it’s not something that I have see anywhere else yet almost resembled something that I might make for myself (and think “Alexa, you are cray cray.”) I was slightly hesitant about the mixture of banana and mint flavor, but it was fantastic. I had also had the nitro infused coffee with my food that morning and it made everything even more delicious.
She was right, I loved the place. If you have ever been into New York City for brunch and enjoyed it, you will love this place. The store is very small but has a lot of personality. I am not sure how common this style of restaurant is, but you are seated, and waited on, but you pay at the end at the cashier. There are some baked goods and juices that you can grab and take with you, making it a spot to actually get a breakfast “on the go”. There are adorable vintage tiled floors, cute metal backed seats, and vintage salt and pepper shakers at all the tables. Yup, they pretty much nailed the setting.
So is the place vegan? Uh… no. But the menu is very vegan friendly. There are only about two dishes listed as vegan on their breakfast/lunch menu, and three from their brunch menu but they have little Vs next to items that can be made vegan. This is a dream come true for vegans who love breakfast foods. It even looks like about half of the kids menu is vegan as well (mostly nut butter or jam sandwich combos and some veggies) If you are looking to grab a quick breakfast, you can get their vegan croissants and some fresh juice up at the counter. Oh you heard me correctly. Vegan croissants at a non-vegan restaurant. Although this might not happen every day, when we went they actually have a daily special that was vegan. Let’s face it, how often does that happen?
A word of caution. If you want to do the traditional brunch thing and do some day drinking, you might have to bring your own booze. Cardinal Provisions does not have a liquor license, so call ahead of time to see if it is okay if you bring your own champagne for mimosas. They also have nitro infused coffee and I fucked up and missed by chance to try freshly tapped nitro coffee. Also on the menu that would quench your cocktail thirst? Kombucha, bitters and soda, green, grapefruit, and orange juices.
So what did we get? Well, the day we went they have a special- a vegan burger on a either a roll or vegan croissant. It originally came with fries, but we were both in the mood for a side salad. The burger was topped with a pickled carrot slice, cauliflower, and artichoke. Let me tell you, it has been a long time since I’ve had a croissant, and this was much better than the ones I had in the past. The croissant was super flakey and buttery. The burger was also the best vegan burger I’ve gotten in a non-vegan restaurant. The burger was very solid, and didn’t smoosh out like most vegan burgers. The outside was charred beautifully giving a nice contrast to the flaky croissant.
Alexa’s note: Since I love the place so much, I visited again without Jenny. The other dish that I’ve gotten here also involved waffles (I’m not sure if anyone else is picking up on a theme here or if it’s just me?), but it was the vegan version of Chicken and Waffles. In place of chicken they subbed in a mushroom that they were calling “Hen of the Woods”, which I believe is just a fried maitake mushroom. I loved the texture and taste of it, and as a vegetarian I can get pretty tired of mushroom consistency and flavor. It came with a jalapeño cashew remoulade layered on top and then syrup to go on top of all of that. Again, it was another dish where I could have been a mad scientist playing in my kitchen but it magically tasted fantastic once on the plate. This dish is (luckily) on the menu all of the time. I highly recommend it.
I also love the atmosphere like Jen pointed out. Not only is the decor really adorable, but the employees are super nice and are always willing to help you find a way to make whatever you want into a vegan friendly version of itself if it isn’t already. I haven’t had a bad meal there yet and I don’t expect I ever will.
If you check out their website you might notice that they have both the restaurant and catering services. If you are looking to do a wedding shower, work event, wedding, baby shower, etc, they will work with all your requirements. I’ve been following their instagram account and have seen some photos of some all vegan catering jobs. Thinking about when Jon and I were planning out wedding, this would of been a great options. At the time he wasn’t vegan and I was trying to be. Cardinal Provisions would of given us a nice 50/50 menu of vegan and non-vegan options.
Alexa’s note: Last note! If you are in the market for a birthday (or any celebratory) cake, they do that as well! A friend of mine ordered a cake from Cardinal for her birthday and it was actually the best cake I’ve ever had. And it was vegan!! The cake was moist, the frosting was delicious and didn’t taste overly sugary…it was sublime.
So we would both recommend this place if you want a fancy lunch out. It isn’t a 4 star restaurant, but not quite the place to go for a cheap meal either. If I was staying for vacation in Asbury Park I would recommend checking this place out at least once for lunch or brunch. That being said, for the price range for a lot of the nicer restaurants in this area it isn’t that much more.
Hi everyone! Sorry I’ve been a bit of a bum lately. I have been pretty busy… sort of. It is mostly a case of I haven’t had much a chance to be on the computer, and when I did, I wouldn’t be in the mood. I am much more interested in snuggling with a blanket on the couch, which has really given me lots of reading time. If I had a laptop, I probably would be blogging just as much as I did before. But until the day someone just hands me their laptop, I will be using the one I have in my office.
I’ve fallen behind with my links for reading, so some of these article might seem pretty old, so sorry guys! XD I am rarely on top of these things lol. Well hopefully I will be writing more again this week and will get back into the swing of things.
It is about time this happens. I really enjoyed the recent women’s world cup, but I was also a little sad hearing about how little these women were being paid. When complaining, someone replied with “well these girls won’t have to worry anymore with all their endorsement deals” like that solves the root of the problem. My biggest regret is not being able to support the Women’s Soccer League more since there aren’t any teams nearby.
I have been finding a lot of article lately about animals and how science treat their emotions. I get why scientists are so hesitant to say if animals feel pain, have emotions, and have similar problem solving skills to humans, but it seems equally naive that they wouldn’t have any.
I first was introduced to Consumer Reports by my Father in Law. He suscribed to the magazine, and I liked their rating system. They didn’t just go with the “best” they also took in practical things like money into consideration. In fact, a lot of the time the Walmart brand foods often would be ranked the best for the price (for things like ketchup.) I now rarely pick it up since the subscription is a hefty chunk. Instead I learned to use online product reviews, whether it be Amazon, Modcloth, or Target. This article brings up some great points like online reviewers are only reviewing one item. For example the person probably bought one TV, not 12 different ones to compare to each other. And they point out something I wasn’t aware of, which make sense, people being given free products to review on Amazon. The person still can say they live the product, but overall are less likely to take price into consideration.
Bugs get the short end of vegan stick. I sometimes have a hard time getting the warm and fuzzies for a fly. But it seems science is slowly starting to defend bugs as conscious creatures that deserve a little more respect. Although the article isn’t claiming much, it is an interesting step in the field to assume bugs are running on a little more than 100% automated instinct.
Another case of bad journalism snowballing out of control. Apparently articles about how adopting a vegetarian diet put you at risk for heart disease and colon cancer. It’s udder crap. How much crap is it? Well apparently the authors of the study had to release a statement saying that wasn’t what they found in their study. To put it simply, the scientists found that societies who had adopted a vegetarian or near vegetarian diet developed a way to produce their own omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. If they then adopt a meat eating diet, their bodies will be flooded with too many fats, and will have health issues. Most writer confused hundreds of years of a vegetarian diet with a few years within ones lifetime. Nor does producing your own omega-3 and omega-6 make you sick, if you stick to a vegetarian diet.
I know what you are thinking- what a boring name for a restaurant. Hummus Market. You are probably picturing some falafel bar that is good for a quick sandwich for on the go- but you would be wrong. This restaurant is located in Williamsburg Brooklyn, and is one of my sister’s favorite places to grab food. The place is vegetarian and very vegan friendly, with only a few non-vegan products (yogurt, cheese, and eggs). The place offer authentic middle eastern foods, and doesn’t even have falafels on the menu. The food is oily (in the good way) and is very filling. It is most definitely not the type of hummus restaurants that you probably have in your area.
The menu makes it very easy to share with other people. There are several kinds of hummus that you can pick from, the shakshuka and sabich are topped with eggs, but you can ask for them to be left out to make them vegan. They come with two pitas and a spicy sauce. You can then pair it with the mix and match menu. There are several different vegetable sides that you can share and pair with your pitas and hummus. My sister got the moroccan carrots, beets, and the labneh (a strained yogurt which isn’t vegan). Each side is $7 individually, but you save a little if you get 3 or 4 ($19/24 saving a total of $3 or $4)
The carrots are served cold and are covered in a harissa, making them incredibly spicy, I personally really enjoyed the carrots, and would of tasted great in a pita with hummus. The beets are also served cold, and were flavored with some onion, parsley, coriander, and lemon. The spices and lemon helped brighten the earthiness of the beets. We also got served a side of Israeli Salad, which was very yummy. It was a crunchy salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, and onion.
If you are interested in the mix and match sort of a approach all foods are vegan except the lebnah, roasted peppers, and red tomatoes. The peppers and tomatoes have feta, but they might not be able to make them vegan as it could be pre-mixed. Ask to make sure. I also didn’t ask but you may want to make sure the tahini sauce for the Eggplant tahini is vegan as well.
Jon got the mushroom stuffed pita. It has cooked mushrooms, harissa, hummus, pickled onion and parsley. The pita was super spicy but you could still taste all the different flavors. The bonus is that you get a little side of the Israeli Salad, so the cucumbers had a nice cooling effect. The only other vegan pita is the cauliflower pita, though some of the other pitas could be modified to be made vegan.
The salads on the menu aren’t vegan, but could be easily made so. There is cheese in two of the salads, and the brussels sprout salad has a honey dijon mustard, which might be easily subbed for one their other vinaigrettes. The menu becomes less and less vegan friendly, but if you talk to the staff it might be made vegan. For example the farm veg cakes might be vegan if you ask for no tzatziki, but you might want to make sure there is no egg binding the veggies together. Same issue with the sweet potato latkes, which are served with a yogurt-chive sauce.
I personally wanted to try their stuffed onions since it isn’t something that is common. I first tried stuff onions when my Mother-in-Law made them for Thanksgiving. So I was a little interested in some authentic ones. Pretty much the layer of onion is peeled and wrapped around a rice stir-fry filled with pine nuts, kale, spinach, and date honey. If you are yelling at your screen that honey isn’t vegan, I know. Date honey is another name for date syrup. Overall I found the stuffed onions too sweet for my preference, but the onions were very delicate and easy to cut through. It is truly a dish you will want to try when you are here since I’ve never seen them on a menu anywhere else.
If you are concerned about drinks, there are few alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks to choose from. There are some drinks specific to the middle east such as the Turkish coffee and mint lemonaid. There is a small selection of beers (all listed seem vegan) and wine (Bonterra Chardonnay & Run Riot Pinot Noir) to choose from, which was interesting since the setting is so laid back. The place is a sit down restaurant, and someone will take you order and bring your food out. But the setting is a perfect mix of upscale and casual. There is even seating in the back in a little garden, but it wasn’t warm enough at the time.
I would recommend this place if you are up to trying out new cuisines. Authentic Middle Eastern restaurants aren’t always available throughout the USA. And I thought there was plenty of different options and variety for any vegan. What I really like is that all the food is vegetarian, and it might not seem so intimidating if you come here with an omnivore. There is lots of whole veggies and easily recognized foods that won’t be intimidating to anyone new to vegan foods.