Apocalyptic Obsessions

The world isn’t really going to end this year. We all know that… or we at least fervently try to believe it won’t because any other outcome seems unfathomably horrifying. Still, it’s almost fun to entertain the idea from time to time, and with our calendars bearing that dreaded year, what better time than now to talk the subject to hell, beating the rotten remains of all four fabled horses? Lord knows I attempt to wax poetic on the subject often enough.

I guess I don’t remember exactly how old I was when I first started to fathom the end of the world, maybe 6 or 7, but I remember the moment vividly. It was summertime and I was standing in the grass outside of the apartment building I lived in, watching the birds pass time and again overhead, below the sun. We must have been learning about the universe and the planets in school because I spent a lot of that day just sitting there in the grass, thinking about the sun; where it went – how the moon followed it, always, never able to catch up. About how our world could fit inside its circumference countless times over. How if it were any closer, we would all burn and if any farther, we’d freeze. I knew the sun was old, and I knew that stars, like our sun, die. At this point, a couple of kids came by to ask what I was doing, and would I please move my creepy little ass out of the way of their kick-ball game? I mentioned the sun, and how long it had left to live. One of them came back, very matter-of-factly, with “2012. The sun will die in 2012 and that will be the end of the world”. An answer I was strangely satisfied with, mostly because it felt at the time like that day would never come. “Maybe I’ll already be dead by then?” I thought. Clearly, I’ve always had a bit of a macabre sense about me, even back in my Madonna worshiping stage.

I still think about it a lot. I dream about it a lot, too. In fact, I’d say a good 75% of my dreams are apocalyptic in nature and have been since… well, a long-ass time, I guess. I don’t even consider them nightmares at this point as they seem to occur with such regularity. I’m just accepting that I’m obsessed and downright batty with the idea of the world ending. It’s good to know that I’m not alone in this, though. How many doomsday prophecies over the history of mankind have been touted? In manifestations ranging from meteors to prophetic chickens to, and this is my greatest fear (granted, outlandish and unfounded… I hope) – a worldwide extraterrestrial takeover.

The world as we know it is bound to end someday – whether or not it will happen in our lifetime is for the most part of course, unforeseeable. What I find most interesting is the prospect that it could possibly be in correlation with some of the Catholic teachings I was brought up with. I consider myself Agnostic only in that I really can’t say with 100% certainty that I don’t believe in some sort of higher power, though my own education and common sense has me staunchly opposed to Christian theology as a whole. I think this fact alone may be what keeps me so curious; that I could be proven so wrong, and all that I had refused to believe in was materializing in a most terrifying way. Bellowing, deafening trumpets sound at all corners of the earth and then the sky breaks open… hell, even just mentioning this as a possibility has me questioning my sanity.

I don’t know that humankind will ever stop being fascinated by the prospect of the End of Days. Whether it be by the hammer-like fist of a vengeful God or by our own sinewy hands – through extraterrestrial overlords come to make slaves of us all or a demonic plague spilling upwards from the bowels of Hell. After 12/21/12 comes and goes, we’ll sit at our tables eating dinner or drift to sleep in our beds and conjure the next manifestation of the apocalypse. In that, I’m looking forward to what we come up with.

Mini Tofu Scramble Breakfast Pies

I’ve been on a serious culinary kick lately, and I couldn’t be more stoked on it.

Sunday it was butternut squash ravioli (not homemade, not gonna lie) with kale and baby bella mushrooms in a garlic sauce. Monday and Tuesday it was different hummus variations (the trick is: an unreasonable amount of garlic). Last night it was Vegan Curried Split Pea Soup with Roasted Cauliflower (which I still haven’t eaten, actually), and I had every intention of writing up that recipe for you guys (and probably still will). However, over the course of the day another, more enticing idea crept inside my brain and wrought havoc until I finally decided to give in and give it a go.

Mini Tofu Scramble Breakfast Pies

This wasn’t entirely my idea, to be quite honest. I had in my head that I wanted to make a tofu scramble at some point, probably this weekend, and then I stumbled across this recipe: Tofu Veggie Hash Brown Breakfast Pockets. Then, I noticed my brand spankin’ new muffin tin I got as a Christmas gift (thanks, Jenn!!) and it all started coming together in this mish-mashed mind of mine. I figured I could whip these up tonight, freeze ‘em, and have a quick, easy, healthy, and (hopefully) deliciously awesome breakfast to take to work in the mornings which, let’s be serious, is something we could probably all use. Monday through Friday my breakfast typically consists of iced coffee – yes, even in the dead of winter – and actually, that’s generally it. Sometimes I’ll have a piece of toast or something. So really, this recipe epiphany was much needed, because you know what they say… breakfast is the tits.

And how could you go wrong?! It’s got grains, it’s got greens, it’s got protein, it’s got whatever the crap is in sweet potatoes that make ‘em healthy (I forget and I am not looking it up), and most important of all, it’s got love. I know some of you out there are gonna read this and think “Gross! Tofu for breakfast?! You monster!” but guess what? Fuck you, it’s fabulous. Give it a shot, ya pansy ass. You could probably stand to lose a few, anyway.

 Crust

  • 1 and 3/4 cups wheat flour (more for dusting)
  • 2-3 Tbsp ground flax meal
  • 3/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 stick vegan butter, softened
  • 1/2 -1 cup cold water, added bit by bit until desired consistency is achieved

Sift through and mix dry ingredients. Add melted “butter” and start adding water. Kneed until you have a nice little ball of slightly sticky, but kneedable, dough and stick in the freezer for about half an hour (or shove in the fridge if you’re not gonna use it right away – this makes it easier to roll out/finagle).

Filling

  • 1 block tofu – pressed, drained, and crumbled (I like to do this, freeze, and then drain again to get a nice consistency)
  • 3 cups chopped spinach
  • 4 medium cloves finely chopped garlic
  • 1 large sweet potato, cubed, microwaved, and lightly mashed
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp. each of turmeric and cayenne pepper
  • Dash or two of hot sauce (optional)


  • Heat up a bit of olive oil in a skillet and add the tofu, spinach, and garlic. Sauté for seriously, only a minute or two. The thing is – you’re gonna be adding this mixture into something that’s gonna be baked for a bit, so you don’t want to cook the “innards” thoroughly (as you would in, say, a stir fry… or, uh, straight up tofu scrambles).
  • When all that jazz is sauteed, add the minced/mashed sweet potato
  • Take your dough out of the freezer/fridge and need it out really thin, and line your muffin tin with said… dough layer. Individually, that is. Like… okay, kneed out small circles and fit them to mold your muffin tin – there ya go
  • Add the tofu mixture to your adorable little mini pie crusts and, with the same rolled out dough, make little tops for said pies and crimp down with a fork.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes and you’re golden! (literally!)

And I think that’s it! If you make it and it sucks it’s probably your fault.

In other news, I cannot for the life of me stop listening to this song, which should be blasted at full volume while baking. RIP, David Gold:

Focus

I lack it.

I’ll be the first to admit it, too.  For example, at the present and for this blog alone I’m working on the following posts: A hummus recipe, a drunken advice column, and an essay about the Apocalypse. That’s of course not counting my extracurricular  endeavors, and on my own time as well I’m entertaining tackling writing a novel. Eh, at least no one can accuse me of being a one trick pony. Too often, though, I feel like I might have my hands in too many pots. Scalding, white hot pots, constantly boiling over.

Is that so bad, though? Isn’t it important to have drive, above all else? Passion? Sometimes I feel like I have passion for too many things and at other times, not enough… for anything.

Ah well.

Sometimes these quasi-paranoid, manic-like tendencies can manifest themselves in some fruitful ways. I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on my endeavors and where I want to go from here, so I’m gonna ride it out, focus be damned. Just know that I’m workin’ on shit and I’m crossing my fingers it’s gonna be rad.

Gratuitous New Year Post

WARNING: This Post May Contain Mildly Sappy Content

So. Here we are, in 2012.

At this point, I’ve read enough hopeful tweets for what’s to come and status updates admonishing the year we’ve left behind. Fingers are crossed to either “make this year as amazing as the last” or “take 2011 and LEAVE IT – Worst year EVER”.

I know you have too. No, I’m serious, I do – so I almost hate doing this to you all but let’s be honest: there was no escaping one of these.

At the onset of 2011, I had nothing but high hopes. It was going to be my year: I was single, about to turn 25, had a job that I didn’t entirely loathe, a myriad of super rad, amazing friends, and big plans to move, go back to school, etc. and so on. Then… a bunch of shitty things happened.

Shitty things that I won’t get into, because there’s no point in revisiting any of those incidents. Doing so won’t make me feel better about any of those moments, nor will it win me over any sympathy because frankly, continuous strings of complaints and “oh, poor me’s” are kinda… gross.
So, rather than rattle off all the unfortunate occurrences from the past 12 months I’m gonna focus on the awesome shit that happened this year and share that, instead:

  • I met some amazing people and cultivated some friendships I’m looking forward to enjoying more in the years to come
  • Fixed my shoulder!
  • Successfully conquered a brief addiction to painkillers on my own
  • Got the car of my dreams
  • Was featured in a DVD compilation of Grindhouse films
  • Had a centerfold photo featured in a tattoo magazine distributed in multiple countries (clothed, thankyouverymuch… okay, well, mostly)
  • Started writing for two online publications
  • Saw some of my favorite bands live
  • Spent a few days in NYC with one of my very best friends – the first time I’ve seen her in four years
  • Gained some much needed confidence in a number of areas

And in the coming year I can’t wait to tackle, and subsequently conquer, even more. For example, the following:

  • Cut back on drinking. Like, a lot
  • Prepare and eat completely vegan meals at home and be more aware of what I’m ordering when I’m out
  • Get back in shape and get to/maintain a weight I’m comfortable with
  • Go out with friends more
  • Update this freakin’ thing more often
  • Get a passport and travel abroad
  • Start looking more seriously into getting back to school
  • Curb how much I say “gratuitous” because I seem to say it way too often
  • Get back into modeling

Things get better, friends, and when things aren’t looking up, it’s important to think about all the amazing tidbits that make up your life as it is. If 2011 sucked – forget it. If it ruled – make this year even better, because it’s totally possible and you can absolutely do it. Don’t dwell in the past, or focus on the negative because that’s not going to do anyone – you or the people listening to you complain – any good. As someone I respect, admire, and am outstandingly proud of once said: “It could always be much worse”.

Now shut up, pull up your big girl panties and get the fuck out there. Happy 2012.

Solstice

Dearest Winter,

While you could arguably be dubbed the most beautiful season at your best, you more often than not find yourself on my “shit-list”.

I’m a wimp. I fucking hate the cold.

Snow covered landscapes kissed by morning light as the sun lazily creeps over the conifers may seem achingly gorgeous, sure. Lapping waves over pebble beaches momentarily embraced by sand and stone by way of the frozen waters – an untame entity briefly quieted by the cold… what a lovely and beauteous image.

But fuck that.

And fuck you, winter. Too bad you’re a fucking dicknail.  I’m cold, pissy, and depressed because it gets dark at, like, 4 pm. Plus, I’m fat, now. Your freezing, dark depravity is making me crave comfort food like it’s nobody’s business. Guess what I’m eating right now, you son of a bitch – a block of cheese. I am eating… a block… of cheese (classy, expensive cheese, but still). And it’s your fault. All I want to stuff my face with is fat drenched, cheesy, shitty, warm and hearty crap which, I know – I could totally make healthy on my own but do NOT start pointing your finger at me, you fucking heathenistic miscreant of a season. How dare you.

I’m not the one that decided to start dropping my temperature to an unbearable level just to be a dick.

I’m not the one who unloaded a shit ton of precipitous excrement on YOUR windshield when you had to get your ass to work to try to actually make a LIVING.

I’m not the one that forced a multitude of adorable, albeit exceedingly dangerous, creatures to sleep for, like, EVER so the rest of us have to live our lives without the adorableness of said creatures for MONTHS you MONSTER!!!!

I…

I… I’m sorry. I’m sorry.

You know what? You’re just doing your job. I know that, and… I may not like it at times, but this is what you were deigned to do. And I need to accept that. I know you’re not inherently evil. No, really, I know that, it’s just… I mean… do you have to be such a dick about it? Because, no offense, sometimes you’re kind of a dick about it. Can we move past this? I promise not to yell and hem and haw and post derogatory updates about you so long as you promise to not be as much of a dick…?

No?

You are heartless and you are my least favorite season : (

Walking in a Nutrient-Rich Wonderland: Kale

As the years go by and we all get fatter, I, as I’m sure most of us, encounter one complaint more and more often – “I need to lose weight”. Hell, so do I! Well, maybe not “need” – but want, absolutely. Don’t we all?

Last year, I went on a complete health-food/exercise kick. This past year that willpower has waned – OH, how it’s waned – to a point where I would sit on my ass and inhale an entire pizza in one sitting watching Law and Order SVU reruns or Real Housewives of Atlanta (guilty pleasure to the max). Not okay. For anyone… to be clear, I’m talking about the gluttonous sloth tendencies, not the Kim and NeNe addiction… that’s totally healthy.

Sure, maybe the holiday season isn’t the best time to reverse this curse, but what the hell? Why not get a head start on that inevitable New Years resolution? I’ve gained about 12-15 lbs. this year. I want to lose 10. How am I going to do that? First off: pilates. Girls – if you’re not doing pilates, you’re doing yourself an extreme disservice. It’s such an accessible way to stay active and healthy and in shape. Your asses will look killer after just a week, two tops! Scouts honor.

What else? Kale.

This isn’t the first time I’ve brought up this wonder-plant here and you can bet your bottom dollar it won’t be the last. Kale could potentially be one of the most amazing plants to grow on this earth. It’s rich in Vitamins C, K, beta carotene, calcium, and so on. It’s easy to prepare and also it’s fucking DELICIOUS.

There are SO many super easy ways to incorporate it into your diet, as well!

- Add some to mashed potatoes so you don’t have such a starch heavy side
– Chop and sauté with portobello mushrooms and garlic in olive oil and toss with cheese ravioli or tortellini and roasted butternut squash
– Serve BBQ tofu steaks (or marinated eggplant slices) on a bead of steamed kale and couscous with red onion
– Duh! Add some to your salad for lunch! Or dinner. Or breakfast… weirdo.
– Make
– Still stuck on the potato option, huh? How does a kale and fake bacon loaded baked potato sound? Try it!
– Throw some in your lentil or minestrone soup
– Add some to pretty much any casserole or fake meat-loaf
– Sauté with garlic and serve it as a side: Bam! That easy
– Leftovers from the last suggestion? Whip some together with cream cheese and use it as a bagel spread the next morning – or as a dip the following night (add a touch more olive oil and garlic for the latter suggestion)!
– Kale pesto? Give it a whirl!
– Add it to your stuffing!
– Add it to your green smoothie!
– Don’t drink green smoothies? Me neither! I should probably get on that!
– Add some to your bomb-ass stuffed eggplant recipe like I did this evening! Want photo evidence? YOU GOT IT!


That’s kale, cubed tofu, baby bella mushrooms, and roma tomato sautéed with yellow onion and garlic, tossed with Parmesan cheese and baked in eggplant halves

My point is – kale is versatile and it’s good for you. It’s filling, low-calorie, packed with fiber and other good stuff and it’s unreasonably delicious. You should eat it. Your body (mouth included) will thank you.

Here are a few of my favorite kale recipes, for good measure:

- Asparagus Kale Stir-Fry: I make this at least once a month and have done so for well over a year. Too good

- Vegan Red Curry Soup: Sweet potato? Red curry? Kale?! Holy fucknuts <3’s

- Kale Mallung (Sri Lankan Kale with Coconut): Savory sweet, something I usually don’t go for… this, however, kinda rules.

-Indian Kale and Split Peas Unreasonably good.

That’s all I’ve got for now, but hopefully some light has been shed on a vegetable you might have otherwise avoided! Eat and be merry, friends. Frankly, I just don’t want you to die.

Holidays vs. Tattoos and How to Deal With It

I’m not a fan of the holidays. I’m gonna say it outright – this time of year just stresses me the fuck out.

For all intents and purposes, you would think I’d love them – copious amounts of cooking/baking, drinking (hello!), shopping, dressing classy-ish, seeing friends out of their usual element. The thing is though – I stress myself out. If I’m making a casserole, I want it to be the BADDEST ASS casserole you have EVER put in your mouth. If I get you a present? I want you to cry, like – shed literal tears over how awesome the gift I got you is. I feel like if I don’t have high standards in these arenas, then fuck it, what’s the point? I guess there’s a look into part of my neurotic nature. If I break down crying after you don’t break down crying out of the sheer enigmatic ecstasy that is my coconut chocolate chip cookie recipe, well, now you know why… you heartless BITCH.

Ahem.

In all seriousness, and I know I’m not alone in this boat, but I’m not one for the holiday season. Granted, there’s something comforting about a yearly ritual, especially as you get older and you’re left to continue the ritual on your own. I do stress out about presents, and I do stress out about the food I make for my friends and family. This year, however, one thing I’m not going to stress out about – my tattoos.

A minute and dismissible topic for a lot of people, myself included (for the most part). However, a lot of people still struggle with bringing themselves to “outing” themselves to family with this form of self expression. This sort of prejudice may seem flippant, but in truth it’s a conversation a lot of people that choose this “lifestyle” deal with on the day to day.

A great majority of the people I hold near and dear to my heart have tattoos. Most of them are pretty much covered. In fact, most of my more successful friends are those with the most tattoo work. I’d like to take the time now to disclose that I do not associate with drug dealers, rapists, con artists, or criminals of any sort. I love the fuck out of my friends and am proud to say that I have nothing but respect for all that they do – in keeping the art community alive, in keeping the music community active, in protecting our borders and our country as a whole, in keeping criminals off the streets, and in keeping our families alive as nurses, doctors, veterinarians, and so on. It’s a choice. It’s a choice good people, as well as those who are more troubled than some, make. That doesn’t throw us all in the same boat. We’ve all been told, throughout our lives, to not judge a book by it’s cover – yet I still see that happening daily. In this day and age, one would think that we as a whole would be over this sort of pre-imposed judgement but we’re not. That fact alone breaks my heart.

It’s a way of expression. It’s not hurting you, it’s bringing joy to the subject. Most, if not all individuals that adhere to this lifestyle are active and supplementing the artistic community in a big way. Isn’t that a community we’d want to nurture for years to come? What would we have if not for the creative minds that decided to brazenly elbow their way through these crowds of conservative, tight lipped individuals? The same right-winged masses that then cried out for entertainment in the forms of books and plays and the like?

Who’s writing the screenplays you’re so enamored with? Who’s writing the songs you tap your feet to? Who’s illustrating or painting the covers of your books, magazines, your articles, your album covers? Designing the intro piece to your favorite cooking or “From ‘Drab’ to ‘Fab’!” show (barf)? Better yet, who’s cooking your $75 fillet mignon at that five star eatery? Who decided what sorbet to serve as a palate cleanser, and who perfected a mocha mint chocolate mouse that had you grabbing at the all-too-polite waiter for the recipe?

It was one of us. We’re behind all of it. We helped you keep up with your “fabulous” lifestyle.

How many news stories to you hear about, day in and day out, about us “kids” covered in tattoos committing heinous crimes? I keep up with the news. 8 or 9 times out of 10 (I will admit… I suck at math) it’s a straight laced dude with too much power seeing what he can get away with. THAT’S who’s corrupting your kids. THAT’S who’s putting powder up their noses and shit in their veins. I’ve seen it first hand. I’ve never taken part in it, or even entertained the idea of perpetuating it. It’s heartbreaking and disgusting to me and every single person I associate with.

Thankfully, thus-far in life I have not encountered this kind of prejudice. Not a lot of people that I know can say that. I pray to whatever God is out there, that this will not stand – That people of every race, every religion, every sexual orientation, every constitution will be able to live how they see fit and will be able to do so under his or her free will. Right wing or left wing – in between or just doesn’t care.
I want you to be able to practice whatever you want, so long that it’s not physically, mentally, or emotionally hurting anyone. In turn, I would like to be able to do the same.

How, then, do those of us who encounter such prejudice deal with it?

Prove them wrong. It’s as simple as that. Be the awesome, caring, intelligent, understanding, vibrant, multi-faceted individual that you are and always have been. Through these normal, day to day actions the stereotype is quietly being torn down, hopefully allowing those with doubts to see that you did not just break out of prison to steal all of their worldly possessions to fuel your crack addiction.

Well… what if that doesn’t work?

Pffft… fuck’em.