Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

Cry Me A River

I hate whiners. Truly. I have broken up with men because I found them to be sissified man children who think the world owes them eternal happiness. Women who behave like entitled princesses, believing they are the specialist of all the snowflakes, honestly deserve a smack back in to reality.

So, truly feel free to smack me around after this but I need a good pout.

This new headache medicine is making my life an unmitigated hell. After some careful consideration, my doctor and I decided to try treating my migraines with Effexor, an antidepressant. I am on a low dose as I am not actually depressed, but this minimal amount of the drug has proven effective in treating some womens’ migraines. My old drug, Topomax, made me stuttery, tingly, forgetful and, most importantly, put my sex drive in the tank and competed with my birth control at the same time. Can you imagine a fate more awful then getting knocked up from a bang you weren’t even that into? Christ, it is enough to give you a migraine.

When we decided to take the Effexor route, I knew there would be some adjustment. The headaches had once again become unbearable, intervening with my life in a way that was unacceptable. Every night for the past week I have been forcing those pills down my throat.

I am miserable.

I am nauseous and shaky. The bed spins every night as I try to drift off to sleep. Yesterday I dry heaved in to the trashcan beside my desk three times during the course of the day. My head is still pounding since the stuff this medicine is supposed to do–stop the ever present ache in my temples–has not taken effect yet. I am irritable and gripped by a shameful amount of self pity. Everything seems like a personal insult. My dripping faucet taunts me and my co-worker’s loud laugh has left me homicidal. If I was a crier, I would cry…but then again I can only imagine how much worse that would make things. I just want someone to rub my back and tell me this will get better.

I know it will get better, I do. It really isn’t so bad. My life is a good one. I have friends who are more like family. I have managed to make a decent living for myself despite my Women’s Studies degree. I don’t take myself too seriously and I can usually ring the fun out of most situations. Hell, I rock a leopard print trench coat and I look like the baddest bitch in DC. I hate that I have wished away every single day of this past week. I am lucky to have the health insurance that will eventually rectify the problems these headaches cause.  But at this very moment? I want to whine and scream about how god damn awful I feel.  I want to crawl up in a ball and wait for the next month to be over, a month of pain I am not looking forward to but I know will be worth it.

But, hey, I have to believe the time is worth it, that something really good will come from this.  I will be better and happier and life will be a bit more bearable.  So I sit and I wait.


(The time here is worth it.  This is a healthy, tasty snack.  The peas are nice and crunchy and are bursting with flavor.  Take the time to make these.)

Slow Roasted Chickpeas

1– 14 oz can chickpeas, rinsed

3 TBSP olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp coriander

Cayenne pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425. Pat dry rinsed chickpeas and place on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove chick peas and toss with oil and spices. Cook for 15 more minutes.

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Sunshine Day

This weekend I was that girl. You know her and you have probably smirked at her. Hell, I have even thrown a few well deserved nasty glances in her direction.

I dressed blissfully, shamelessly and highly inappropriately for this time of the year. I may have skipped a time or two; this is how freaking happy I was to feel the warmth. Gone were the tights and my bare legs saw the first glimmer of sunlight. I gleefully tucked away the knee high boots for open toe stilettos and flip flops. Not a tear was shed when I pushed my winter coat and mittens to the back of the closet to make room for my trench coats and swing jackets.

I know it is too soon, though. This optimism is premature and soon enough I will me searching for my scarf. I am getting far too ahead of myself, but I cannot help it. I am ready. This body wants to feel sunlight.

I will be sad when the cold returns, but there is an upside. I cannot believe I am going to say this but a final snap of cold weather would bring one good thing: a final opportunity for soup.  If you have spent enough time here you have probably picked up on my penchant for soups, stews and chilis.  They are easy, cheap and generally healthy; what more does a girl need? I made this one a few weeks back for a quick and easy dinner with a friend.  The potatoes make it hearty without tons of fat and the leeks add a really nice flavor.  We were all surprised at how great this tasted since it only took about 30 minutes to pull together and had minimal ingredients.  Served with a salad, it was a perfect week day dinner (and the leftovers made for great lunches.)

So while it would make me sad to hide my sandals again, I could definitely live with eating this one more time.


Golden Potato Leek Soup
Adapted from Cooking Light

1 tablespoon butter
3 cups thinly sliced leek (about 3 medium)
6 cups cubed peeled Yukon gold potato (about 2 1/4 pounds)
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 (14-ounce) cans organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson Certified Organic)
2 thyme sprigs
1/3 cup lo fat whipping cream (I used ff half and half)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To prepare soup, melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add leek; cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally (do not brown).

Add potatoes, water, salt, broth, and 2 thyme sprigs. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes or until potatoes are very tender.

Remove pan from heat; discard thyme sprigs. Partially mash potatoes with a potato masher; stir in cream. Used a blender or an immersion blender to further puree soup for a creamier texture. Sprinkle with black pepper.

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On Clarity

As we get older we find ways to cope with those things–and those people–that have hurt us. Self-effacing jokes are made, drunken outings are planned and memories are pushed down to a dingy and dank places in our hearts that we rarely visit. Of course the pain never goes away, but we cope. You know it shapes who you are and, hell, if you prescribe the the “Eat, Pray, Love” view of the world, you even begin to believe they make you a better person.

These scabs, though…we do our damdest to not pick at them. While physical scars may make for a good party trick or impress our dates, the emotional wounds are best hidden. Ripping them open and revisiting the initial hurt is not a place we should return. It may itch and look disgusting but we do our best to leave it alone, let it heal in peace.  Of course we may have weak moments where we pull at the edges, but it is best let be.

Of course, we cannot control the actions of others.  Outside elements are always the wildcard in these situations. Sometimes something or someone will remind you of the hurt and all the pain comes rushing back. We see it isn’t quite healed; the injury is still there.  More times than not it is the initial perpertrator of the damage, coming back for one last word, desperately trying to get under your skin once again.

But we have a choice.  We’ve been there, we know what it feels like.  The past hurt serves as an armour, an alarm bell to avoid the danger.  Sure, phantom pains are felt but we are smarter, wiser.  Scars may be hot on a bicep, a face, a chest, but they ain’t so good looking on our hearts.  We know it, we’ve learned it, and we walk away now that we can see things clearer after the initial dizzying haze.


Carrots, full of vitamin E, are great for your eyesight and have the added bonus of tasting really great when roasted. This is barely a recipe at all. Just mix together a few tablespoons of olive oil and a few tablespoons of honey. Toss some carrots with the oil mixture and a pinch of salt and some pepper. Roast at 450 degrees for about an hour. When they come out of the oven sprinkle with more salt. I used a pink Himalyan salt to finish things off and I really think it made a world of difference. These carrots are sweet and homey and serve as a perfect side to chicken or beef.

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On Judgment

“I can tell you this because I know you won’t judge.”

“You’re the only person I can tell this…”

“This has to be between us…I know you get it.”

That’s only the beginning of it. I’ve heard variations of those phrases since I was 18. A college pal used to say “People just tell Lex stuff”. It’s true; they do. I’ve proven a pretty decent track record at keeping a secret; I have some doozies locked deep inside this chest. Also, I like to think of myself as a fairly nonjudgmental person. Sure, I have judgments–isn’t that what a moral code is, anyway?–but I am fully aware the world is full of nuance and tough choices.  Who the hell am I to tell you how to live your life? Finally, I’ve made no secret here, and even more so with friends, that I am far from perfect.  While I am not the most egregious of sinners, I would never call myself a saint. A friend once said one of the reasons she likes me is I “admit my shit”; it makes sense why my friends feel comfortable coming to me.

Of course a small part of me feels validated by people’s trust and the inner gossip whore relishes these juicy tidbits of personal shame.  Yet, one thing about this always gives me pause.  When someone says “I know you won’t judge” it always seems a tacit admission of prior judgment of me.  It as if they are saying “We are kindred spirits in bad behavior”.  Now, of course, this is not always the case, yet I cannot help but blanch when someone starts spilling their dirty little secrets to me.

So I am going to go ahead and admit something to you, but please don’t think I judge you.  I just know you have been there.  I am in a food rut.  This is similar to a few recent recipes, but I just cannot seem to get enough Mexican food lately, namely black beans.  This is a simple, easy and healthy recipe that took me 15 minutes to prepare.  Also, at less than $5 for the whole thing, its a fiscally responsible meal that packs a nutritional punch. This is a rut I am completely comfortable being stuck in.

Just please don’t judge me.


Mexican Stuffed Potato

1 TBS olive oil

1 large clove garlic, minced

1/2 red onion, chopped

1/2 jalapeno pepper, deseeded, deveined, and chopped

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can diced tomatoes, about half of the liquid drained off

1/2 tsp ground coriander

3/4 tsp ground cumin

Salt and pepper

1 baked sweet potato

Heat pan over medium-high heat and add oil. Let oil heat and then add onions, garlic and pepper. Sautee until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, beans, spices, and salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 7-9 minutes. Serve atop potato.

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“I have a vagina in crises, sir. Please, you have to squeeze me in”.

The obviously very fabulous man on the phone sounded horrified. I am sure he scrubbed his brain with bleach and danced to some Scissor Sisters in an attempt to rid himself of the image I had painted.

I was on the phone with the salon where my back-up waxer resides. Yes, I have a back-up waxer. I take my vagina very seriously.  The poor man took pity on me and penciled me in to the last slot of the day. I thanked him profusely but he just seemed to want to get me off the phone.

Ms. Back-Up is good, but seeing her effects my psyche. Many of my friends see her, full time, and we were discussing her one day. I said, “She always tells me I look like a porn star when she is done”. The rest of my girlfriends all replied “Oh, she tells me I look like a supermodel”.

Fucking hell. They are Giselle Bunchin, I am Ashlynn Brooke.

So, they are the supermodels. The good girls, or at least as good as you can be when you are going for the full monty. The ones who come to parties prepared and write thank you notes and have perfect skin and shiny hair. What does that make me? Cracked out and damaged and irresponsible? A social pariah?

My vagina is many things. A porn star she is not. I mean she is kinda a piece of work, a little wild, but a porn star? No.  She really resents Ms. Back-Up.

Or…it seems she resented her. Past tense. Not only did she come through for me this week, she gave me an even bigger gift. When I was done, she grabbed her mirror, pressed my hand on my precious and said, “See?! You look like a supermodel.”

I am a supermodel, a good person. I am an upstanding citizen, a responsible individual, a pal everyone wants at their parties.   I will even remember to bring some dip.


You will never, ever make onion dip from a soup packet again.  This is seriously delicious.  The depth of the caramelized onions is amazing and it is creamy without being dense because of the addition of the yogurt.

Caramelized Onion Dip

From 101 CookBooks

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large yellow onions (about 1 1/2 pounds), finely chopped
3/4 cup sour cream -I used low-fat
3/4 cup Greek yogurt- I used low fat
3 teaspoons dehydrated onion powder/granulates (salt-free, natural)
very scant 1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large thick-bottomed skillet over medium heat saute the chopped onions in the olive oil along with a couple pinches of salt. Stir occasionally with a wood or metal spatula and cook until the onions are deeply golden, brown, and caramelized – roughly 40 or 50 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

In the meantime, whisk together the sour cream, yogurt, onion powder, and salt. The important thing is to add whatever onion powder you are using to taste. Add a bit at a time until it tastes really good. Set aside until the caramelized onions have cooled to room temperature. Stir in 2/3 of the caramelized onions, scoop into a serving bowl, and top with the remaining onions. I think this dip is best at room temperature.

* I am caving and doing this as a one time only engagement for my darling LiLu. I owe her.  Mom, I am sorry.

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Blueberry Yum Yum

Um, so I am sick again.  I am feeling better today, but I have been disastrously sick.

It is not like last month where I prayed for the sweet and merciful end, but there is lots of coughing. Also, a good deal of sneezing taking place. The sniffles? Yeah, they are making a guest appearance. My head is a painin’.

I fell asleep at 9 pm last night.  I don’t think I have done that…ever.

Who did I piss off? I have been eating my veggies, working out, trying to be a good girl. Then it occurred to me. In a particularly lovely piece of hate mail yesterday, some “stud” (his words, not mine) reminded me that I am a “Saigon Hooker”.  Now, first, let me say, I prefer “lady of the night”…also, I am French, not Vietnamese.  Yet, I think he is on to something.  It is all the sailors…I caught some sort of whore disease. Apparently a tranny whore disease because I am also “GAY”. Good sir, a few experimental nights in college does not a lesbian make.

So… how does one cure a whore disease? CVS was out of Valtrex so I settled on something a little more old fashioned. Do you know that blueberries are the most packed with vitamins and minerals of any fruit or vegetable? They are! I am here to teach you. This salad is chock full of  nutrients and lots of really good stuff and still manages to taste great as well. I love the crunch of the nuts along with the creaminess of the goat cheese. This is one of the better salad dressings I have managed to pull together; it was tart and tangy without being overpowering.

Hopefully it will cure anything that ails ya.


Pomegranate Blueberry Salad

For Dressing

3/4 cup Pomegranate-Blueberry Juice

1 small shallot, finely minced

1 splash (about a tablespoon) of white wine vinegar (you could use champagne vinegar as well)

Salt and pepper

1 teaspoon tarragon

2 tablespoons olive oil

Bring juice to a low boil and reduce the liquid unti about a 1/4 cup is left. Let cool for about 10 minutes. Add shallot, vinegar, salt, pepper and tarragon. Whisk in oil and set aside.

For salad

Arugula Mix

Toasted Walnuts

Crumbled Goat Cheese


Toss salad together and add dressing. Mix until well coated.

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Cheap Trick

I did not sleep incredibly well this weekend.

bettyjoan was in town and spent Friday and Saturday night at my place. This was a trip I counted down for; the kids don’t say “da bomb” anymore, but that pretty much sums up bj. She humored me (though I didn’t have to twist her arm to very hard) and partook in fun activities such as cooking, trips to Sephora and shoe shopping. It was a veritable explosion of estrogen.

Of course, there was some drinking. Let me tell you, she looks innocent but the girl can throw back. Even though she accused me of keeping her up past her bedtime, she kept up every step of the way.

This is where sleeping becomes an issue. Now, ya know how when you drink you already have kind of a weird, restless sleep? Well, this isn’t my only sleep issue. If you have been reading here a while, you might remember I sometimes sneak attack spoon my friends. It has happened on more than one occasion and I have an outright complex about it. It is a problem so prolific that while on the phone with Hammer pre-Friday afternoon nap, he felt compelled to warn her: “Watch out, I hear she is a cuddler.”

Now the love I share with my friends is pure and simple and real. I don’t want them scared of waking up entangled in a Lemm pretzel. So, while bettyjoan peacefully slept, I was started awake multiple times by my subconscious fear of holding her ever so gently. While I may need a good hug from time to time, my friends don’t need me attacking them. It really cheapens our relationship when they are constantly rebuffing my advances.

Honestly, the only thing cheap we wanted about the weekend was our dinner. bettyjoan and I issued a little challenge to ourselves to see if we could prepare a dish for less than ten dollars.  She took the appetizers…go check it out. This is what I came up with–it is inexpensive, filling, and tasty. Most of the ingredients are pantry staples so it take pennies to pull it together with great results. I think the fire roasted tomatoes in this are clutch; they add a depth in flavor you cannot find in regular canned tomatoes. I love corn tortilas, but feel free to swap in flour ones. I cannot stop making this–for dinner, for breakfast, for a drunken snack. These are really good. I am patting myself on the back right now.

And this, my friends, was cheap but classy. I will let you choose what one I am…


Huevos Rancheros


1 tablespoon olive oil

3 tablespoons finely diced red onion

1 can diced fire roasted tomoatoes

2 oz. (half a small canned) green chilis

1 teaspoon cumin

Salt and pepper

Heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook for about two minutes. Add tomatoes, chilis, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook for about 30 minutes.

Black Beans

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons red onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1 can low salt black beans (not drained)

1 teaspoon coriander

1 teaspoon cumin

Salt and pepper

Heat over medium heat and add garlic and onions (note–you could throw a strip of bacon in here as well). Cook for about three minutes. Add beans, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Cook for about 20 minutes over medium low heat.

To assemble

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 corn tortilla

A few tablespoons Mexican cheese (Mexican cheddar, Monterrey Jack…I used Habanero Jack)

An Egg

Salt and pepper

Heat oil in pan for about a minte over medium-high heat. Add tortilla and cook for about a minute. Flip the tortilla and immediately sprinkle cheese on the tortilla. Allow it to melt a bit, about 30 seconds. Crack egg on top of the tortilla, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and allow it to cook for about 1 or 2 minutes (you want the edges and underside white). Some of the egg may creep off the tortilla, but that is fine. When the egg is mostly cooked, flip the tortilla and finish cooking the egg (about 45 seconds). Remove the tortilla/egg, cover with sauce and serve beans on the side. Garnish with sour cream, more cheese, and cilantro.

PS: Don’t forget to check out So Good this week.

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