Monthly Archives: November 2014

A Moveable Feast

Rosie and I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday! We’re plant-based in this family, so we enjoyed a delicious, guilt-free, vegan feast. My darling Matt and I spent a leisurely afternoon cooking at my parents’ house, taking our time to make everything from scratch, and catching a few glimpses of the parade. Because Matt is Canadian, this was our second Thanksgiving celebration, the first having been in October for him.

The Menu:

Roasted Beets in Balsamic
• Roasted Garlicky Potatoes
• Sweet Potato Soufflé
• Roasted Cabbage
• Orange & Brown Sugar Carrots
• Traditional Sage Stuffing
• Brussels Sprouts
• Vegan Loaf with Mushroom Gravy (store bought)

‘Tis the season for root vegetables, and we’ve been cooking a lot of them, and specifically, beets. I absolutely despised beets growing up and refused to give them another try until just a few years ago. My friend, Rebecca, and I were at one of our favorite local haunts, The Bee’s Knees, a couple of summers ago, where she was happily eating a beet & peach caprese. The dish was certainly pretty- ruby red beets, luscious peaches, crumbled goat cheese, and fresh basil, all drizzled with balsamic vinegar. She encouraged me to try it, saying she makes the same dish and promised that I would at least love hers when she made it for me. This was before I went fully vegan again, so I summoned up all my courage and picked up my fork. She was right- it was perfect. Thus began my love affair with beets. I had always felt like a bad Lithuanian, not staying true to my heritage’s adoration of this hearty vegetable, and now I am pleased to say I feel worthy of my Eastern European genes once again! My dad has always loved them, so now he can no longer tease me or try to trick me into eating them!

So, yesterday, we roasted beets, and I sautéed the greens in balsamic. If you have never cooked the beet greens, you absolutely must next time (as long as they look fresh and green). They’re so delicious and full of nutrients. It’s also a plus when you can use the whole product in a meal.

Balsamic vinegar and garlic played huge roles in our dinner this year. We had an ample supply of garlic and since Matt and I are big fans, we used it in just about every dish. He roasted purple baby potatoes with a simple combination of garlic and olive oil, while I roasted cabbage (again, with the Lithuanian heritage), in garlic, olive oil, and balsamic. I also tossed some whole carrots in an orange, brown sugar, and balsamic mixture, having been inspired by EverKind‘s Thanksgiving blog post. We rounded out the meal with my special sweet potato soufflé, my mom’s dressing, Brussels sprouts, and a surprise vegan loaf with mushroom gravy that my mom had gotten for us. Needless to say, we have lots of leftovers, some of which I partook in for lunch today!

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I’m usually the self-professed Queen of Baking, but was so into cooking the meal this year, I ended up not making a dessert. I definitely felt weird not having anything sweet to produce! I’ve been feeling a little under the weather today (another Thanksgiving tradition and one I’d be happy to get rid of), but that hasn’t stopped my craving to bake. EverKind shared a quick and easy recipe for Holiday Dessert Rolls, and not wanting to exhaust myself even further by making a big production out of dessert, I decided to give this time-saver a try. The best part? I never knew that Crescent Rolls are vegan! I grabbed a can of them at the store, the chopped up some semi sweet chocolate, grated some cinnamon, sliced up a banana, and baked at 375° for 11 minutes. Topped with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, a little more grated cinnamon, and a drizzle of some Ah-Laska chocolate syrup- voilà!

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Paired with some soy nog spiked with cinnamon, my sweet tooth has been satiated.

But I wasn’t the only one to have a nice holiday- Matt made sweet Rosie a special plate of scrambled eggs (she’s not vegan 😉 ) as a treat last night- she’s such a lucky lady!

And with that, the holidays are officially here! What are you looking forward to the most this season?

Happy Holidays!

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Wolf’s Apothecary

If you’re a regular reader of blogs, then you’re in no doubt familiar with Jen McCabe’s swoon-worthy site, Honey Kennedy. If you’re not, hop on over and let her take you on a tour of Portland’s best right now!

We’re planning on a PDX visit in the near future, and my list of places to see & shops to patronize keeps getting longer and longer, thanks to her blog. Luckily, I haven’t had to wait too long to try some of the fine products out of that dreamy city, thanks to the incredible “Giveaway” section on the Honey Kennedy blog! She hosts giveaways nearly daily with all sorts of makers and shakers, and the gifts are pretty epic- even if you don’t win the big prize, the person or store she’s collaborating with offers a discount, so everyone can enjoy. My most recent win nabbed me a $50 gift card for myself to Portland apothecary, Wolf’s Apothecary, as well as two more $50 gift cards to share with family & friends. Naturally, I chose my sweet mom and darling Matt! The homemade, all-natural products at Wolf’s Apothecary are just plain wonderful, and it was so hard trying to narrow down what to try first! I ended up ordering Rapunzel’s Hair Oil, the Dandelion Milk bath powder, and a tube of Lip Salve-Ation. Rapunzel’s Hair Oil is an intoxicating elixir that one uses to tame & bring luster to ones locks, and its scent alone is luxurious. I can’t help but massage a few drops into my long mane at night since the aromatics are so relaxing!

There are few things I love more than taking a long, piping hot bath, and they’re made even better with sweet smelling, skin softening products. The combination of dandelion root, lemongrass, and lemon verbena was so on point that the wafting steam lured my kitten to sit at the edge of the bath and dip in his tail- it’s even fluffier than before!

A self-professed lip balm addict & junkie, I will try any and all chapsticks. The Lip Salve-Ation has in it infused oils from apricot kernal, sweet almond, and coconut, amongst others. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I didn’t have to reapply this lip balm every fifteen minutes-a fairly normal activity for my dry lips, thanks to nearly twenty years of lip balm obsession. Another aspect I liked about this balm was that it’s pretty unisex. A lot of lip balms come across fairly feminine, both in packaging and scent, but this is one that I would feel confident giving to both my boyfriend or best female friend. Stocking stuffers, anyone?

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I’m also a sucker for good packaging, and look at how simply perfect this is! The hoarder in me will reuse these bags for storing my tea-making herbs, and the bottles give my powder room all the fancy feels!

One of the best aspects of sharing these products is promoting small businesses. Having worked for and currently employed by a small business, as well as being an artist, I know first hand the labor and love that goes into creating something you hope will be enjoyed by others. Black Friday is coming up, but it’s important to remember the people who stay up all day and night to bring you a little something special you just can’t buy at big box stores, on Small Business Saturday.

Happy Shopping!

Black Magic Woman

I found out about designers Sandi Falconer & Danielle Wright, also known as FalconWright, first via Victoire Boutique, an awesome Toronto shop I heard about through the sweet deals at Garmentory, and then again by way of Kinship Goods, a store in West Virginia. (Whew! Get all that?!) This was around late September/early October, and during the time when one starts to really get excited about the Fall and the spooky 10th month. FalconWright debuted their ‘Curses Collection,’ which featured pretzel-like snakes, all-seeing eyeballs, and Pac-man style ghosts. What really caught my eye, though, were the Witchboard & Zodiac printed pieces. I daydreamed about the vibrant blood red Ouija board pouch, and saw the zodiac signs at night in the stars! Imagine my delight yesterday when my sweet mama surprised me with this special package!

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FalconWright had done a promo a couple of weeks ago that when one purchased any item, she’d automatically receive a free card holder in the Zodiac print! My mom took advantage of this deal to order me the Witchboard pouch (perfect for a deck of Tarot cards, no?), so I’d be able to enjoy both patterns I so loved. I couldn’t have a better mama! Several years ago, when I was an undergrad getting my degree in Art, I was working on a series in ceramics which included these deformed bats with butterfly wings. The porcelain one on the bottom right corner, named Beauregard, was even selected to be a part of that year’s Juried Student Show! I think that they, along with some cleansing rose incense, and my new witchy artifacts, have me all set to ward off any bad magic vibes!

fall feels

It’s finally, FINALLY starting to feel like Fall! I had full intention of attending a French film fest that a dear friend was putting on for his cinema series at the local university, and where my sweet boyfriend was set to DJ in between films, but I’m afraid that the warmth of the bed and furry snuggles were just too enticing! Instead, I took advantage of spending the day in between the sheets, enjoying a much needed rest.

Though my part of the world stays pretty humid, therefore leaving my skin hydrated and moist, I’m still not taking any chances when the cooler, drier weather hits. I’m always eager to try new facial products, and over the past few months, I’ve found some really great ones that I’ve adopted into my daily routine. Even though my skin type falls into the “normal” range, changing cleansers always gets me a little nervous. After running out of my favorite Kiehl’s facial wash, and being too lazy to order more, I opted to try something I could get locally. I’ve fallen hard for Dr. Bronner’s Almond soap! I use it twice a day in the bar form, and it is so incredibly gentle. So simple, and easy to find at Target, as well as health food markets, such as Whole Foods.

I was hipped to Herbivore Botanicals Pink Clay soap, a wonderfully vegan bar via Rail and Anchor while visiting my boyfriend’s family in Michigan. Another gentle formula, the scent is so refreshing, and I tend to alternate between it and the Dr. Bronner’s.

A couple of times a week, I use Fig and Yarrow ‘s facial scrub, which I bought after winning a Mother’s Day prize from Nora Modern ‘s Instagram account, that included another one of their products. It leaves my face feeling silky smooth and refreshed, especially after an intense hot yoga session.

Hands down, THE BEST toner in the world comes by the way of Shop Summerland, where proprietor and all around sweetest lady (with the most adorable baby ever!) stocks Robert’s & Co.’s Rosewater. Splashing it on my face each morning with its clean, cool, and rosy formula makes me feel like a classy gal from a foreign film.

Locking it all in, I use Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Lotion, my trusty old faithful. It was a little too oily for me when I bought it, but after shelling out the money for it, I felt like I needed to give it a try. Fortunately, my skin adapted, though I’ll be getting the oil-free version next time.

Smoothing on some Rose & Vanilla lip balm from Fig and Yarrow, by the way of Shop Summerland, keeps my lips from chapping as the winds start blowing just a little bit harder. To know me is to know I’m completely addicted to chapstick. When I find one as pretty as this little tin, and hand crafted, as well, I’m definitely hooked!

Facial routine

Fig Yarrow face care
$45 – urbanoutfitters.com

Dr Bronner s body cleanser
$6.67 – asos.com

What keeps you looking and feeling soft in the cooler months?

xx,

emily

(Though there are links from polyvore, I recommend ordering these products from the links I’ve supplied. Support small businesses!)