Crispy Eggplant + Orange Salad

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Shopping is an activity I detest.

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Unless I’m with my mother and she’s paying, of course.

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But honestly moms just have this innate skill that the Lord infuses in them the moment they conceive. They can choose clothes for their daughter that said daughter would never pick out herself and they turn out to be the daughter’s very favorite clothes.

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I’m simply lost without her shopping guidance. I spent three hours shopping for a dress this weekend. Three hours of my life I could have spent doing 1.8 million other things like bingeing a show, reading a book, exploring a new hobby, learning a new language, working on my excel spreadsheet of America’s top airports, etc. I went to NO JOKE 11 stores. Everything was either a frumpy sack on me or $300. I needed Susan there to dig through the sale bins & pull out the gem among the rocks. And isn’t it the MOST typical that I was shopping v specifically for a dress, so the world conspired against me to put nothing but adorable sweaters in my path? It’s cruel and unusual!

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So, the next best thing – I made her online shop for me & ordered a dress she picked out. Boom.

 

 

Time: 1 hour (prep + cooking) | Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 cups of arugula
  • 1 eggplant, peeled + cut into cubes
  • 1 cup of panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp. of flax meal
  • 1 cup of spinach
  • 1/4 cup of basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp. of nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp. of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of quinoa, cooked
  • 1 orange, cut into lil pieces
  • 1/2 cup of kalamata olives, cut in half
  • 1 shallot, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 1 tsp. of crushed red pepper
  • S+P, to taste

How to:

  • Place eggplant cubes in a colander + sprinkle with some S, coating on the lil cubes – let water release + drain for about 30 minutes
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • In a food processor, combine spinach + 1 cup of aurugla + basil + pumpkin seeds + nutritional yeast + garlic + S+P, process on low + slowly add in 1/2 cup of olive oil until well combined, refrigerate until ready to serve
  • Add flax meal + 1/2 cup of warm water to a bowl, set aside for a few minutes + add breadcrumbs to another bowl, add red pepper + some S+P to it
  • Pat dry the eggplant cubes, then a few cubes at a time, dip into flax egg bowl + then breadcrumbs, place on a lined baking sheet
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes, tossing once in the middle of cooking
  • Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil in a lil skillet over medium heat
  • Add shallot + S+P, cook for 4-5 minutes
  • To serve, arrange some arugula on a plate + top with eggplant + quinoa + orange + olives + shallots + pesto
  • Get a bite of every lil component on your fork + do the same for your sweetie + wrap your arms around each other like you would with champagne + then feed each other until your arms fall asleep

Mango Chile Lime Salad

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I am a nomad, a wanderer, an earth child, one with mother nature.

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Perhaps a little extreme, but I do feel akin to an adult Dora the Explorer these days.

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We went to Asheville, NC this weekend and bopped around. Every single time we go to a new city, I am reminded that I am my best self when traveling for fun. Allow to overshare.

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One – because I know I’m going to get some fresh selfies with my boo thing. Two – I LOVE going to places where there is 0 chance I’m going to run into any human being I have ever encountered. Can you say liberating?! Three – I get to debut new outfits to an entirely new audience. Strangers are the only people I trust. Four – I like pretending to be a local wherever I go and acting like I have a clue what I’m doing. For instance, when exiting an establishment and heading to the next, one must always be prepared to immediately turn left or right. Do not lolly gag outside of the place of business asking your travel bud where to go. FAKE IT UNTIL YOU FIND SOMETHING KEWL. Five – all the new tastes in my mouth from all of the delightful, local restaurants. If you travel and go to the Chili’s….we need to have a conversation. I just love traveling around the hunk of land we call America with my man. Even better that we get to live all over the doggone place and move every couple of years to get a feel for everything. I really am obsessed with not knowing where we’re going to be next or for how long.

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Unless they send us to the middle of nowhere Iowa or something, then I’m OUT.

 

 

Time: 45 minutes (prep + cooking) | Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe mango
  • Juice of 1 orange + zest of 1/2
  • 3 tbsp. of lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. of ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp. of sweet chili paste
  • 2 tbsp. of cilantro
  • Arugula
  • 1/2 a red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup of roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup of quinoa, cooked
  • 1 avocado, sliced thin
  • S+P, to taste

How to:

  • In a food processor, combine mango + orange juice + zest + lemon juice + vinegar + ginger + chili paste + cilantro + S+P, process until smooth
  • To assemble salad, arrange arugula on a plate + top with some red onion + some cherry tomatoes + some pumpkin seeds + some quinoa + some avocado + drizzle with dressing, repeat with remaining ingredients
  • Serve chilled
  • Pick up a fork in each hand + scoop together large heap, slingshot at face as if your mouth is the bullseye

 

Salad dressing adapted from here!

Roasted Root Veggies + Chipotle BBQ

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Well it’s the most wonderful time of every 2-3 years.

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The time when Leonardo DiCaprio graces us with a new award-worthy performance in a major motion picture.

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It’s been an especially long four years for me, personally, since The Revenant. While we finally got our Oscar, it left a little something to be desired as far as him really getting to highlight his range, ya know?? Hanging out in a horse carcass is kewl and all, but I want a little more from him.

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Despite it being a Quentin Tarantino film, I was so super jazzed for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. That cast? I mean, come on. Star-studded! Even from the trailer, you can tell the sets and wardrobe are a visual delight. Using my dazzling snaggletoothed smile and underwhelming wit, I convince my husband who detests going to the movies more than any activity under the sun to go see this flick with me. We make it an event with a large popcorn and everything. We settle into these dope recliners and I’m ready for movie magic. While my baby boo delivered a performance I contend will earn him several nominations even *fingers crossed* a win or two and he and Brad made the cutiest pair of all time like I’d watch them watching paint dry, I was underwhelmed with the plot. I mean, it was entertaining, but I just can’t get behind QT’s perspective on things I suppose. Something about the blood, guts & gore just doesn’t jive with me???

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Why can’t L just do like a sweet romantic comedy opposite Kate Winslet once in a while?

 

 

Time: 1 hour (prep + cooking) | Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. of brussels sprouts, halved
  • 2 beets, peeled + chopped
  • 2 parsnips, peeled + chopped
  • 2 cups of baby rainbow carrots, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of tomato puree
  • 1/4 cup of agave
  • 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. of chipotle peppers in adobo + 1 tsp. of the adobo sauce
  • 1 tsp. of soy sauce
  • Cilantro, for serving
  • Quinoa, for serving
  • S+P, to taste
  • 2 tbsp. of olive oil

How to:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  • Arrange brussels + beets on a lined baking sheet + parsnips + carrots + onion on another
  • Drizzle each with a tbsp. of olive oil + some S+P
  • Roast brussels + beets on bottom + other veggies on top, stirring both once after 20 minutes, bake parsnips + friends for another 10 + brussels + beets another 15-20 or until crisp to your desire
  • Meanwhile, combine tomato puree + agave + vinegar + peppers + soy sauce in a sauce pan over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, reduce heat + simmer for 10 minutes
  • To serve, top some quinoa with veggies + drizzle with bbq sauce
  • Mix all that goodness + slop up that grub + make some oinks in between bites, embracing the inner piggy in all of us