Home Cooked Meals: Oct. & Nov. 2016

Every month I like to look back at the delicious dishes I’ve made. They remind me that there’s an infinite amount of cooking possibilities and to keep researching and experimenting with foods. Each dish was either an original recipe or from the Minimalist Baker’s blog, http://www.minimalistbaker.com. 
Vegan Purple Soba Noodle Ramen 

A Hot Pot of Wassail 


Vegan Falafel Sandwhich 


Recipe from Minimalist Baker!

Vegan Pumpkin Bread


Another one of Minimalist Baker’s to die for recipes!

Pumpkin Soup with Kale 

Heart Red Bean Vegetable Soup


Vegan Chocolate Cake 

Recipe again from you-know-who! Highly recommend! 

Mama’s Chinese Porridge with A Chinese Donut 

Purple Mountains Majesty: Lime-Spiked Garlic Purple Cauliflower With Rice 

Unlike many artificially purple foods, purple cauliflower actually tastes good. I’m looking at you, purple Skittles. 

✨ Roasted Garlic Purple Cauliflower ✨

Ingredients:

Purple cauliflower (remember, yellow ones exist too and no, they’re not the regular beige ones but darker. They’re undoubtedly YELLOW.) 

Olive oil 

Salt & Pepper 

Garlic Powder 

1 lime 

Recipe:

Step 1: Cut the cauliflower into small florets. 

Step 2: Place the cauliflower into a baking dish and toss the lilac florets in olive oil, salt & pepper, and garlic powder. Make sure everything is evenly coated. 

Step 3: Roast in the oven at 350 degrees F for 40-55 minutes. 

Step 4: In the meant time cook up some rice! I like to use a rice cooker and sticky Japanese Rice but you can use any kind, I don’t imagine it changes the dish much.

Step 5: Halfway through roasting, take out the cauliflower dish, move them around to get more even cooking and put them back in for another heat wave. 

Step 6: When the cauliflower is slightly browned, take it out of the oven and gently place the florets of joy on a steaming pillow of rice. Squeeze lime or lemon juice on top, watch the purple cauliflower now turn PINK and serve yourself! You deserve it! 



Schmear It: 3 Cream Cheese-less Bagel Recipes

You might be thinking, why the crass title? I know it’s strange, seeing as how you’d never catch me actually voicing anything like that. But I like to think of my writing as flexible; I choose the words when needed, crass or no.

Prelude—The Obvious Vegan Bagel Recipes: I’m only including these because there may be some people out there new to non-dairy bagels and you ought to know some things. Tofutti cream cheese is the BEST vegan cream cheese and then there’s our non-dairy Earth Balance butter. When I can only buy one, I pick the Earth Balance butter. It comes with more product and you’re more likely to use the butter (say for sautéing vegetables, mushrooms, pasta) than to use the cream cheese. Plus, I never feel right buying things I can only for one purpose.

Now for the REAL recipes! Every bagel I used in this recipe was an Einstein Brothers Everything Bagel from COSTCO. That’s the best place to get A Good Bagel Deal, 12 for 5.49, two flavors only but they don’t let you down.


 

Easy Peezy Pus-less Pizza Bagel

A lovely name, isn’t it? I promise the rest won’t sound so gross. As many people are realizing, a lot of cheap cheese has pus in it, and even though I still eat it every now and then, I prefer to go without in my own cooking. Finding a dairy-free option also provides a new challenge and has opened my eyes to new ingredients I wouldn’t have known about before. The explorative joy of challenging diets!


Step 1: Toast the bagel. I use a Hello Kitty toaster. Yours might not be as fun to slip your bagel into but I’m sure it’ll still get the job done.

Step 2: While it’s still hot, drizzle some olive oil on the halves, dab on some pasta sauce (you can even use white), then hit ’em with the essential pizza spices, dried oregano, dried parsley, and black pepper.

Step 3: Serve with a generous heap of spinach, drizzled in your own dressing made from balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. It may look like a lot of spinach to you but I like to make sure I’m getting enough iron and fiber with every meal.

 

Eggplant Hummus With Sun Dried Tomatoes and Spinach

Tangy, creamy, and crispy is what just a bite of this bagel is. Hummus is another plant-based smear for bagels and breads alike, similar to avocado spread. Because hummus spread needs a kick sometimes, I like to throw in tang-spiking flavors like sun dried tomatoes, lemon juice, or capers. This recipe is perfect for a packable lunch and goes well with a hot dark coffee brew.

Step 1: Toast the bagel (remember, you can also use a pan or oven for toasting).

Step 2: Generously SHMEAR (been waiting to use this word) eggplant hummus, or any kind of hummus, on the bagel slices.

Step 3: Joyously drop a few sun dried tomatoes onto the hummus and prepare for each one to be an immense flavor bomb.

Step 4: Shove a HANDFUL of spinach and make it balance on the bagel halves. I don’t care if you think it’s too much! We’re getting that iron in!

Step 5: Turn up “Blue in Green” by Miles Davis and indulge

 

Garlic Sautéed Spinach Bagel Dusted With NOOCH 

This is a personal favorite of mine. The juice from the sautéed spinach works PERFECTLY to wet the bagel just enough. Probably six out of the twelve bagels I got from Costco were prepared this way. NOOCH is what the common folk call nutritional yeast. If you go dairy-free, get familiar with it now because you’ll be dousing everything edible in sight (including your fingers) in this cheesey-flavored dust. It provides essential nutrients like b-12 (even meat-eaters don’t often get this nutrient) and protein and tastes just like cheddar mixed with parmesan.

Step 1: Mince 3 cloves of garlic. Turn up any size pan to medium heat and drop in a tablespoon of any oil of your choice, I prefer peanut or grapeseed.

Step 2: Drop the minced garlic onto the oil and let it cook for 1 – 2 minutes.

Step 3: Start toasting the bagel slices.

Step 4: Throw in about 1 and 1/2 cups of thrice-washed spinach and let it sit for 1 – 2 minutes or until it becomes a little wilted. Then stir it around the pan until it reaches a dark, hunter green color making sure it doesn’t turn into a sickly, army green—that’s when your greens are overcooked.

Step 5: Turn off the heat and generously place the spinach onto the toasted bagel slices. Do not be afraid of the delicious garlicy, iron-infused juice from the spinach! Let it soak into your bagel. Don’t worry about it being soggy, it won’t because the spinach releases just enough juice to rid the bagel of its dryness yet not become a wet waffle.

Step 6: Dash a heap of nooch on the spinach and eat as a bagel sandwich or with the spinach on top, absorbing its savory soft garlic goodness into the roof of your mouth.

 

Let’s Roll It: A Goth Vegan Sushi-Rolling Party and Why Vegans Can’t Shut Up

In the hopes of fulfilling a mini-dream and exposing others to the delights of vegan food, I held a Goth Vegan Sushi-Rolling Party at my apartment. I myself am not goth but I love themed parties and sushi and thought the dark aesthetic would translate well to the sushi rolls. (Side note: I typed ‘famous vegans’ into Google recently, which was after I held this event. The results made it seem as if there are more vegans who are goth than not. I wonder why that is!) Through publishing this post, I’d like to provide inspiration and guidance for other vegans hosting parties for non-vegans or for those thinking about becoming vegan and perhaps afraid that being vegan might not be any fun at all. (The most fun people I know are vegan or vegetarians.  😉 )

When you’re vegan, being vocal about it is important, which is why so many of them are. It’s why we have memes and various other Internet Jokes making fun of vegans not being able to shut up about their veganism. Take this meme, for example.

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Being mindful about how you present veganism is even more important, which is why I try to use gatherings such as my goth sushi party to represent veganism in positive, affordable, creative, conscious, and playful ways—all the while trying to not be pompous because vegans are already stigmatized that way. When you claim to be anything, you should always keep this question in mind: Would someone who sees me think positively or negatively of what I represent? Yes, it sucks that sometimes we are automatically handed the job of representing a kind of people, but it would be worse if we ignored it. I never asked to be a representation of vegans, but if I claim to be vegan, non-vegans are going to use their interpretation of me as a glimpse into Veganhood.

Like the guy who made that Dave the vegan dinosaur meme has noticed, vegans talk about being vegan a lot, but we kind of have to. Try to see it like this: eating is something we all have to do. The vegan thing is bound to come up sometime, and often. What’s more, being vegan is an act of rebellion. Our current world is not made for vegans and we have to be constantly aware of the ingredients in foods we may ingest. Eating out may seem impossible, especially to newly-hatched vegans. (Positivity Insert: It’s not.) If you’re vegan or thinking about going vegan, I am not here to make you depressed! I know I said that our current world is not made for being vegan, but there are a lot of vegans out there who have made vegan spaces for people like them. For example, Los Angeles is one of the best cities to be vegan. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a lot of vegan places around you like me, host an event. If you can’t do it in your home, find a friend who can. Do it in a public space like a park.

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image23OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAProcessed with VSCO with f2 preset  Processed with VSCO with t1 presetOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHOWEVER this is not to say that being vegan is not fun. Does being vegan look FUN yet? (Just now typing that made me feel like I’m a mom desperately trying to be cool. Anyway.)

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Processed with VSCO with t1 presetOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAProcessed with VSCO with f2 presetSince this was a goth party, some friends and I created a metal/dark playlist that you may also enjoy. I recommend throwing on your gothiest garb and blasting it from the local canyon.

Trouser Wowzer: Pants That Aren’t Skinny Jeans For Women

First Published in the Long Beach Union Weekly Here.

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Fashion is a barometer for culture. On a deeper level, this pant guide demonstrates how fashion measures cultural changes. As many know, fashion changes quickly, every change an indication of a change of culture in that geographic area at that time. Here, we’ll see how women’s pants act as a barometer for women’s changing gender roles starting from the 20th century, a century which saw radical trouser changes for women (and thus cultural changes). Though generally known that women have gained significant socio-political rights since the 20th century, gender equality has not been a constantly rising trajectory. Over the course of history, particularly of the 20th century, women’s rights have risen and fallen and risen again, and are still constantly in flux, and women’s pants reflect that.

Your skinny jean-wrapped limbs have forgotten to dance—because you’ve forgotten pants could be something other than skinny jeans. But everything is going to get better, starting right now, because I’ll show you how to bring exuberance back into those pedal pushers. I’ll show you pants that aren’t skinny jeans. I’ll show you something good.

Palazzo Pants

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Like many wonderful things in fashion, the popularity of these explosive pants can be traced back to Coco Chanel in the 1920s, a decade of prosperity and modernity as women gained more rights and started entering the workforce, and not just in America.

Though not always, these thin, breezy pants oftentimes sit high on the waist, above the hip bone, and flare out from there either to the ankles or the floor. I recommend these for the taller folk out there, as they usually come long. Due to their billowing nature, they’re great for warm days spent under the sun or in the shade. What many people don’t realize about super flowy pants is that they’re better at keeping you cool than tight pants do—every time you move you get a little breeze, perfect for counteracting the heat.

These pants were made for waist accents. Pair them with sandals, a cropped shirt, and a wide belt, even just a piece of fabric tied in a bow around the waist will do.

A Fun Reminder: these pants are two great swaths of joy, meaning that they’re a hell of a lot of fun to walk in, since the cloth careens around your legs, echoing the ebb and flow of the sea.

Cigarette Pants

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War acts as a catalyst for many things, and you probably know there were two Really Big Ones in the 20th century. During WWII women were encouraged to help with the war effort, which meant more women were working by the 1940s, when we start to see more cropped trousers flared out at the bottom with fitted hips and higher waists (this way, you can bend over without everyone knowing what color your underwear is). They were much better suited for working, which eventually led to our modern, professional pant: the cigarette pant.

The 1950s saw a “masculinity in crisis” as many men returned home from the war to wives who were no longer complacent with being stay-at-home moms. Gender roles were being redefined and many women were made to feel they’d overstepped their boundaries and pressured into becoming more traditionally feminine again. Thus, the work-friendly trousers became more feminine, as exemplified through style icons like Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn.

Though similar on the outset, the biggest and most important difference between these pants and skinny jeans are that cigarette pants are sleek. Skinny jean legs taper from the knee down while the cigarette stays the same from knee to ankle. The effect and feel is completely different. Whereas skinny jeans are often made of thicker, heavier, and more denim-like material, cigarette pants are made from thinner, more flexible, and more breathable material. And that crisp, ironed crease sliding down the middle of each leg? God! I love it.

When we really get down to it, this pant is a miracle pant and my favorite because of this: cigarette pants mean sleek which means elegant which means effortless sexiness. There you go! They instantly make a lady look like she knows what she’s doing. Instant respect.

Cigarette pants range from the more figure-hugging, spandex-infused type to the slightly roomier, still figure-suggesting type, to the loose, modern fit. If you thought this pant couldn’t get any better, sit back down because you can use accessories, shoes, tops, and hair to easily either dress down or dress up.

Other names our cigarette pants go by: stovepipe pants, pencil pants, slim-fit pants.

I can’t write about these pants without showing you the hard visuals. For flawless cigarette pant insurance, visit our ladies, Marilyn Monroe or Audrey Hepburn, Sandra Dee or even Elvis Presley.

Types of Cigarette Pants:

  • Skinny
  • Tapered
  • Straight leg (straight line from the knees down)
  • Bootcut
  • Flared
  • Wide leg (straight line from the hip down)

 

Bell Bottoms

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Legs. LEEGGGSSSS.

Some people read bell bottoms and are horrified but please, bear with me. It takes a particular kind of individual to make those bells ring and that person could be you.

Though generally associated with the hippie revolution in the 60s and 70s, bell-bottoms were originally worn by American sailors in the War of 1812 and then in the 1850s by British Sailors. Flash forward to Europe in the 60s where the trend was then picked up in America and embraced by hippie counterculture. These pants exemplified rebellion and anti-establishment, rising to popularity during the Civil Rights Era, when many women of color became visible in mainstream media for the first time. Many bell bottom wearers shunned the western infatuation with materialism and sought fabrics from India and Africa, such as colorful tie-dies and paisleys. Bell bottoms were further popularized by the Charlie’s Angels girls, who were among some of the first women taking active roles in television at the time. Towards the end of the 70s, disco had fully adopted this look and when that ephemeral era of music died, so did bell bottoms. Now bell bottoms are making frequent reappearances with the recent surge of music festival fashion, where they are often worn in denim or printed, thin material.

Like the Palazzo, these pants allow for more flexibility, freedom and fun. If you want to have a really good time, go for the velvet bell bottoms. For warm weather, spotlight your bell bottoms with a wide brim hat, wedges, and a cropped shirt, or for colder air, a leather belt and a nice sweater will do.

The bell bottom is a pant that I just don’t see enough. They’re youthful, carefree, and always make the wearer look like they’re having a better time than the rest of us.

Culottes

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The most contemporary of the pants I’ve explored here are culottes, pants which oftentimes look like a combination of a calf-length skirt and pants, perhaps signifying an androgynous approach to contemporary fashion. They originate from men’s breeches (see George Washington for example) and the split down the middle allowed women in the Victorian era to ride horses naturally rather than side-saddle.

Culottes flare from the hip, offering more ventilation and differ from similar pants, like the palazzo, through their shorter hem line ending mid-calf or just below the knee. A crisp, ironed crease can often be seen running down the middle of a culotte pant leg, as they are often made of thicker material. Because of this, they tend to look more professional and can be a looser alternative to the cigarette pant. If you want to get a little funky, go for the pastel or leather options, which look great in black or army green.

Culottes are often styled in a minimalist, modern way, with few accessories, heeled sandals, and a coat. On a warmer day, pair it with a mock neck tee, get on your bike and go, because these pants were made to move.

Delicious Quote of the Day: Get Drunk by Baudelaire

“Get drunk, always. That is the point: nothing else matters. If you would not feel the horrible burden of time weigh you down and crush you to the earth, be drunken continually. Drunken with what? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you please. But get drunk.” —  Baudelaire

 

Baudelaire’s words remind me to feel, always. As much as I can. Emotions, in and of themselves, are not bad (even the ones you think are bad). 

Dorm Room Decor

Transferring to a university and living in my school’s dorms from my parents’ home has liberated me in many ways. I never liked the way my mother decorated our home (if you can even call it ‘decoration’) so I always planned that when I moved out I would make my place indicative and expressive of my taste. Living in a dorm during the school year is not exactly moving out but it’s the best I have right now and it certainly feels good. The pictures below are of my side of the dorm room (I share with a lovely roommate). This is how I’ve decided to decorate for the spring semester and I hope it expresses some primavera vibes. I tried to make everything light and airy, almost ethereal, with the soft pastel colors, animal figurines and of course, the deer head (which I carved from cardboard with a pattern found on instructables.com). This is my first year living in a dorm (third year in college) and I can’t believe how lucky I am to have such brilliant suitmates. Some of them introduced me to putting colorful lights in my room and after seeing the lavish effect in her room, I high-tailed onto the store and strung up a few in my own room. My roommate has a ton of lights herself, making our room look like a glowing box of color at night.

I really like how my room’s turned out and if there’s any other decorators out there I’d love to hear what you think!

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My giraffe mask looks like she’s getting married! Whoaho!