Some Big News


I haven’t posted in a really, really long time. I think for the most part it’s because I haven’t had anything to say. But it’s also because I had something pretty dramatic happen several months ago. Seven months and 2 weeks ago to be exact.

Yes, if you guessed that I got pregnant, you’d be right. Back in January I was having some feminine issues that made me purchase a home pregnancy test. Do you know how in television and movies, the woman takes the test and it takes the allotted however many minutes to get the anticipated ‘yes’ or ‘no’? Well, in reality, it takes about 5 seconds. I dipped the tester in urine and BAM! the little window gave me the dreaded +. No waiting, no pacing, no bargaining with the universe to spare me yet again.

It took me 3 very emotional months to come to terms with my situation and to decide to keep the baby. But once I did, I have never been happier. The whole experience is very empowering and even if the father has decided to only be financially responsible I still feel that this is the best decision for me.

I don’t doubt that it’s going to be hard and that I may have moments of extreme self-doubt and emotional upheaval, especially with my history of depression. And I’m afraid of messing my kid up with my relationship history and my internal struggle. But I am already in love with him/her and if nothing else, I’ll spend my life proving that to my child. I’ve come a long way in therapy and self-awareness and know I have people I can turn to when times get rough. People who will give me advice and soothe my sometimes fragile ego.

I’m just excited to meet him or her. To get to know the person and see who s/he is. To guide him or her through life and follow on his or her life adventure.

I’m deliberately not finding out the sex so it can be a surprise. And I’m taking yoga and reading loads of books on natural child-birth so I am ready when the time comes. I know I’m a strong woman and can handle anything that comes my way. I try to meditate nightly to connect with the baby and to relax into accepting that the birth is going to happen how it’s supposed to happen, no matter what I write down in my birth plan.

I’m excited to begin this new journey and share it with anyone willing to listen. Maybe I’ll learn some valuable things along the way that will benefit other new mothers out there. Or maybe I’ll just need somewhere to vent. Or maybe I’ll want something to keep me occupied that isn’t poopy diapers, breast milk or single mother related.

I hope you’ll come along for the ride whatever the reason.




Vegan Nachos

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Vegan nachos with all the fixings

I’m lazy and I’m vegan. These things have already been established. So no one will be surprised when I post another easy recipe of what I have for dinner sometimes.

I love nachos. But when I stopped eating dairy I stopped eating them and have been sad ever since. It’s one of the only things I miss about going dairy-free. That and a tall glass of milk with my popcorn. I’ve learned to live without these treats and I admit my life has been a wee bit less because it it. Until now.

I have learned to enjoy popcorn sans milk, but I couldn’t live without nachos. I could use that fake cheese but don’t like to each much processed food, so I wanted to find an alternative. I found it with another raw foods-like recipe from Post Punk Kitchen.  I changed it up to suit my needs (and my cupboard) and came up with this yummy concoction. I usually serve it over tortilla chips with homemade refried beans, guacamole and store-bought salsa.

Cashew Queso (adapted from this recipe) 

1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hrs or overnight

2 cups veg broth

2 tsp cornstarch

1 Tbs olive oil

1 small yellow onion, diced

4-6 jalapeño stuffed olives, diced (I buy mine at TJ’s, but have seen them at QFC)

3 cloves garlic, diced

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp red pepper flakes

2 Tbs nutritional yeast (I buy mine in bulk from PCC)

1/4 tsp salt

1 Tbs lemon juice (I get mine from a squirt bottle, not fresh but to each her own)

Drain the cashews. In a blender or food processor, puree them with vegetable broth and cornstarch until very smooth. This could take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes depending on your blender. Rub between your fingers to test; slight graininess is okay, but try to get it as smooth as possible.

In the meantime, preheat a 4 quart pot over medium heat. Saute onion and olives in oil with a pinch of salt until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute about a minute more.

Transfer vegetables to the blender where the cashew mixture is. Add cumin, nutritional yeast and salt. Blend again until very smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender with a spatula to make sure you get everything.

Transfer mixture back to the pot. Whisking often, turn heat up to medium until the queso comes to a slow rolling boil. Lower heat so that it doesn’t burn and cook for about 20 minutes. Whisk often and check to see that it’s thickening, if it’s not, then turn the heat up a bit. It should become nicely thickened but velvetty and pourable.

Stir in the lemon juice at the end. If the queso seems too thick, drizzle in a little water and whisk to desired consistency. Taste for salt, spices and lemon juice and adjust as you like.

Serve hot!

I make a big batch and refrigerate it for about a week. I wouldn’t keep it longer than that and mine usually doesn’t even last that long!

Refried Beans

1 15-oz can of pinto or black beans, drained and rinsed

1 Tbs olive oil

1/2 small yellow onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground coriander (dried cilantro)

1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium frying pan. Saute onion about 5 min or until slightly soft. Add garlic and saute about 30 more seconds. Add beans and spices and saute until fragrant and well combined. Use a potato masher or big spoon and mash the beans, leaving a few unmashed for texture. Or alternatively, place beans in a food processor or blender and mash before adding to onion/garlic saute.

Just another version of a lazy dinner for me. Sure, it take awhile to make this stuff initially, but the leftovers are fast and easy!

Kale Salad, Yummy Yummy

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Ok, so if you’re not familiar with kale, as I wasn’t until a few years ago, you might shy away from using it. When I first started getting kale in my CSA bin I had no idea what to do with it. I ate it raw and was not a fan. So I started sautéing it until I got bored with eating it that way. So I googled “kale recipes” and discovered the versatility of this lovely vegetable. 


My p-patch plot (pre-weeding) and kale aplenty.

You can use it in soups, in tofu scrambles (or omelets if you’re not vegan), eaten as kale chips, or simply stir fried with whatever other veggies you have on hand. I went to work when kale was in season and explored every kale possibility. But if you know me, you know that I’m lazy. Sometimes I just want to come home and microwave a frozen dinner or get a ready-meal from the grocery. Or I want to make something that requires little to no prep work and/or cooking time. This makes it hard to be a vegan, but not impossible in Seattle. A local grocery, PCC, sells vegan sandwiches and pre-made meals like tofu and pasta, or tofu stir fry. In a pinch, it’s fantastically wonderful to just stop there on my way home from work and splurge on something I only have to unwrap to eat. 

So I started to dread kale in my CSA bin and didn’t want to have anything to do with any green thing I hadn’t heard of in my youth. Like kale, collards, beet greens, or chard. WTF were you supposed to do with this stuff? I mean, sure, if you wanted to spend time finding a recipe, washing it, chopping it up, then cooking it, fine. But this couch potato couldn’t be bothered. So I sadly let it go limp in my fridge, then put it in the compost bin to be taken away. And I thought that was the end of me and any sturdy leafy green.

Until last year, when I volunteered at a local raw foods restaurant doing food prep. My eyes were opened to the awesomeness of kale salad. It’s easy, you most likely have the ingredients on hand and it’s delicious! And requires very limited prep work and there’s no cooking time! 

I currently am growing kale in my P-patch (community garden) plot and have made a delicious potato kale soup and loads of kale salad. I can’t imagine a day where I ever get sick of eating this stuff, easily my favorite vegetable.

Easy-peasy Kale Salad

A bunch of kale, washed and de-stemmed

Salt, to taste

lemon juice, to taste

olive oil, to taste

Make sure the kale is as dry as possible (I use a salad spinner). Rip up the kale in bite sized pieces and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle kale with enough salt to coat the top layer, depending on how much kale you’re using. I usually use about 7-10 leaves and about 1 tsp of salt (give or take 1/2 tsp). I would start with as little salt as possible until you get a feel for how much to use and how you like it to taste. 

Massage the kale and salt until the kale becomes tender and starts to shrink to about half its size. Taste it repeatedly during this process to make sure you have enough salt. You should taste the salt, but it shouldn’t be overpowering. Remember that the lemon juice and olive oil will add their own flavors so if it tastes a tad too salty, it’s ok. Rinse your hands of salt and make sure they’re dry. Add a squirt of lemon juice and about 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Massage into the salad. Repeat this process until it tastes good to you. Always start with very little because you can always add more, but cannot take it away without potentially ruining the salad. I tend to over-salt a little bit because I like my salad kind of salty, but you should definitely season it to your own tastes. 

So there you have it, hands down the easiest, tastiest recipe for kale. 

A Garden I Shall Grow…


I’ve been away for a long time, dealing with some personal things and trying to figure things out. I feel like I’ve been saying that for awhile, maybe I’m not supposed/ever going to get it. Hmmm.

While I’ve been on hiatus I’ve changed jobs a couple of times, got a 10×15 ft plot in a community garden and committed to being 100% vegan. I’m actually thinking of changing jobs again, but that’s boring. So instead, I’ll talk about my P-Patch plot.

My garden "before"

My garden “before”

What’s a P-Patch? Well, it’s the community garden program here in Seattle. It’s named after the family, the Picardos, who used to own the land where the city developed the first patch. It’s funny how many times I tell people I have a P-Patch and they have no idea what I’m talking about. Until I did a little research, I thought all community gardens were known by this nickname and that everyone in the city knew what they were. Not so!

In my garden, I’m taking a seriously experimental approach. I’ve planted seeds in the ground because the seeds I planted earlier this month inside  never went beyond germination. I’ve read that this is a bad idea because the plants won’t have enough growing time. We will see!

I planted spinach, kale, carrots, cilantro, thai basil, chamomile and thyme. I thought I’d plant some cukes as well, but am told they take up a lot of space that I might not have. So I might just get some tomato starts instead. I swear to Pete that there’s an edible plant sale every weekend through mid-summer here. So I’m sure i have plenty of time, and if not, it’s ok! It’s all an experiment anyway.

I began planting in May, and have been back a few times to add compost, fertilizer and water. I actually need to water more often than I have been, but sometimes I’m so tired when I get home from work I just want to eat dinner and read a book or watch my new favorite show, Gordon Ramsey’s The F Word.

My garden last week, pre-weeding and compost topdressing

My garden last week, pre-weeding and compost topdressing

My kale and spinach are doing well, and the carrots seem to be growing, too. None of the herbs save a single plant of cilantro have made an appearance, though, so I might start those over again. All in all it’s coming along nicely and I’m having a lot of fun doing it!


My vegan monkey bread

I’m also working on doing more cooking, baking and smoothie drinking as a confirmed vegan. For those of you that don’t know what that is, it just means that I’m a vegetarian that doesn’t eat dairy or eggs. I’ve actually discovered a lot of fantastically delicious things that are healthier and just as delicious as anything I ate as an omnivore. For instance, banana ice “cream”, cashew “cheese” and the best pancakes I’ve ever eaten.

I think a lot of my family, especially the mid-westerners, think I’m odd for not eating meat or cheese, but I feel great, have lost weight and my skin is clearer than it’s been in a really long time. All things worthy of maintaining this way of life. Now if only I could stop making high-calorie vegan desserts….



I was itching to get out of Seattle and explore someplace new, so I took the bus down to Tacoma Sunday morning.

Union Station

Union Station

My initial plan was to visit the Tacoma Art Museum (TAM), the Museum of Glass(MOG) and then walk along Pacific Avenue to see some classic buildings (like Union Station and the Pantages Theatre), then down to the water to watch some boats and visit Fireman’s Park. However, it was a cold and rainy day so I only made it to the two museums and then a local brewery for some lunch before heading back home.

I love being able to take the bus from Seattle down to Tacoma. It probably costs less than the gas it would take me to drive down and once I’m there I don’t have to worry about parking or any other car-related concern. The bus drops you off practically in front of the Museum of Glass and it’s only a short walk from there to the art museum.

I went to Tacoma a few years ago with a boyfriend to visit the museums and I remember it being a lot nicer than it was. Don’t get me wrong, the TAM and MOG are beautiful and worth visiting, but only if money isn’t an issue. The TAM cost $10 for an adult regular admission, and the MOG costs $12. No offense to Tacoma, but that’s a bit steep for what you’re getting. The TAM was free this particular visit because of some Northwest Art Festival thing so I’m not sure if we got to see everything. We did get to see Andy Warhol’s Flowers for Tacoma and Michael Kenna’s Photography which is the whole reason I was there anyway, but I felt a little disappointed.

I found out that in 1982 while Tacoma was building the Tacoma Dome, the city solicited national artists to submit a design to decorate the roof of the dome. The selection process whittled the submissions down to 5 artists, Warhol being one of them. This public invitation to decorate a local landmark was because of the City’s 1% for public art fund. “That means that 1% of construction costs for capital construction projects goes toward the construction or acquisition of public art.” (Source) To make a long story short, Warhol’s design wasn’t chosen, but 30 years later the art museum dedicated an exhibition of his design for the dome as well as other flower art and photographs from his career.

Interestingly enough, the artist that did win, Stephen Antonakos, wanted to decorate the roof with an abstract work of orange neon. The city council members at the time were divided between people who wanted a famous artist installation, and those that thought that the rest of the world wouldn’t “get it” and the Dome would be a joke. The contractor on the job said he would not guarantee the roof if art were attached to it, so Antonakos was asked to do an inside-the-Dome neon project instead. (Cool fact: the Tacoma Dome hosted its first major concert on Aug 11, 1983 with David Bowie.)

After the TAM, I visited the MOG (or ode to Chihuly). I love sitting in the hot shop and watching people blow glass. Every

Snake In A Tree: child's drawing turned into sculpture.

Snake In A Tree: child’s drawing turned into sculpture.

month they choose a chid’s drawing from their art resource center to be made into a glass statue. The day I was there happened to be a day they were making 12-year-old Erin’s “Orca Singing Sensation.” She had drawn an orca whale with sunglasses, standing at a microphone. It was amazing to watch her drawing become a small glass sculpture. I say small, but it ended up probably being the size of a normal teddy bear. They had some of the previous designs on display in the hallway leading to the restrooms and they were some of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.

After leaving the MOG and eating a quick lunch, I hopped the bus back to Seattle. It had been an exhausting day, so I have to admit I napped most of the ride back. The bus was warm and cozy after spending a lot of time walking in the cold rain from museum to museum to lunch and there’s just something relaxing about watching the world go by out of your window. On the way to a destination, I’m usually excited about getting there, but on the way home I’m more relaxed and can let the bus driver absorb all of the stress of driving in Sunday afternoon traffic.

I really enjoyed my short day trip. Although I was exhausted and am out of practice of traveling, it felt good to be on the move. I’m planning a trip to San Diego at the end of February and this little excursion has me really looking forward to it. One of my favorite things is being able to travel freely in a new city, seeing things for the first time and meeting new people. I wish I had a career where I could work non-stop for 6 months, then travel for the rest of the year. That would be ideal, but I know it’s won’t be my reality any time soon.

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” –Robert Louis Stevenson.

Lethargy and a Case of the “Eh”s


Do you ever feel like you just don’t have anything to say? Sure, I have a lot of things going around in my brain, but nothing I really I want to commit to “paper.” Or even really say out loud. Maybe I’d rather just be introspective.

I recently started working at a mall shop in downtown Seattle and believe me, there is a lot of fodder for blog posts here. The parents who come in with their children and seem afraid of disciplining or telling their children “no.” Or the fashion trends of young girls these days. Or the inability of some people to be able to acknowledge my existence when they walk into the store, because apparently they don’t need me for anything. Even after I cheerily say “hello.”

But I don’t really want to commit to anything. Maybe that’s a metaphor for my life at the moment. I recently applied for a job at a youth crisis center, a dessert catering company, and an attorney’s office, all jobs I thought sounded like my dream job as I read the job posting.

Or maybe I’m just feeling fickle. I am at a pretty big crossroads at the moment. I am looking for a job, thinking about returning to school, and finally open to meeting a romantic partner. Everything is just so up in the air that I guess I feel too scattered to complete anything.

Ok, I’m now too tired to add any more thoughts. I think I’ll go take a nap….

My, you’re handsome


I was watching a very entertaining TEDx talk today and while the guy giving the talk was doing his presentation I immediately thought of a friend of mine. The guy giving the talk, Jason Roberts from TX, was obviously very excited and passionate about his topic and I really wanted to send the link of the talk to my friend, but I considered it for a beat and decided against it. Why, do you ask?

Not because I don’t like my friend, or thought he wouldn’t like it, but because I haven’t spoken to him in a while and I didn’t know if he would think it was appropriate. Or that he would appreciate it. Or that he wouldn’t think I was weird for sending him a TED talk out of the blue telling him it reminded me of him when we haven’t spoken in months and we really weren’t that close to begin with. Am I weird for wanting to send it?

I often see or hear things that make me think of others and love sending emails or posting on Facebook walls to share these things with the people I’m thinking of. And I love doing random nice things for my friends. But I so often get no response, or a negative response that I’ve pretty much stopped doing it.

Now this is awkward.

For example, a few years ago a male friend and myself were going to meet for a movie. I thought it would be nice to smuggle soda and snacks into the theater like I had done as a kid, and to bring this friend his favorite soda (which he had ordered once while we were out to lunch). When we met outside of the theater I told him about my secret stash and showed him what I had brought. He simply said no thank you, and that he liked to buy a different kind of soda at that theater. It was just what he always did. I cannot tell you how hurt I was. I brushed it off because I didn’t want him to think it was a big deal, but I felt stupid for bringing him something I thought he would enjoy when he obviously didn’t want me to bother. I had brought it as a small token of my appreciation because he always paid when we went out, even though we weren’t dating. He, of course, didn’t know any of this so I tried not to take it too personally.

Another time, several months ago, I had texted a friend that I used to spend a lot of time with a message telling him I missed his face. I realized that people don’t tell each other often enough the nice things they think or feel, so I wanted to let him know what I was thinking. I got absolutely no response back. Maybe he didn’t get the text. Maybe by the time he got it too much time had gone by to reply. Maybe he felt uncomfortable with my candor.

Maybe that’s the answer. Maybe we as a society have learned not to get too involved. Not to share too much. Not to appear too vulnerable. How often have you heard a story or seen a segment on the news about how disconnected we can be? A child being spanked or verbally abused in public and no one says anything. A homeless man passes out on the street, but nobody stops to investigate. Two teenage girls playing heavy metal music on the bus just a little too loud and while everyone looks at them with annoyed looks on their faces, no one says a word. Are we afraid?

The last example was something that happened today on my bus home from grocery shopping. Two young girls got on the bus and immediately turned on a music device. I at first thought it was their phone ring tone, or they were watching a video that was a little too loud. I wanted to say something, because I had a headache, but kept making excuses not to. Maybe it will be over soon. When the bus is moving it’s not too bad. My stop is coming up soon anyway. What if I say something and they yell at me or get violent? The type of person that would get on a bus and play loud music obviously isn’t thinking of others, so if I ask them to turn it down they probably won’t anyway, right? And if they did get violent, would anyone come to my aid, or just ignore it and be glad it’s not them?

When did this become accepted behavior? The “I’m not going to get involved” behavior? Was U.S. society always like this? Why do we think it’s rude for other people to ask us politely to turn down our music? Why do we think it’s ok to get on a bus and play loud music and not consider others? Why do I get unsettled when the charming guy at work tells me, very sincerely, that he’s delighted to see me? And why do I hold back when I want to tell someone a nice thing that I was thinking about him/her?

A friend recently told me how when he travels through Asia, the women there often tell him he’s handsome. They will make this statement as part of normal conversation: as in, “Hello. You are very handsome.” I had this experience once before while I was volunteer farming in England’s Lake District. During dinner on my first night there the woman of the house, who was Filipino, told me that I was very sexy and that she wished she was tall and thin like me. I thanked her politely, but was unsure of her intention. I realized that she was complimenting me, not making a proposition, and just saying what she thought.

I didn’t express my delight at the time, for whatever reason, but I actually wish we could do that more here. Occasionally a very enlightened being will tell me I have a beautiful smile, or pretty eyes, but it’s few and far between. And I don’t think it’s because these things aren’t true, I just think people feel weird saying such things in a platonic way. Maybe they’re afraid I will take it the wrong way (as if!) or that it will make me squirm.

So maybe I’ll keep doing nice things and saying what I think and just accept the awkwardness. I think I would rather do that and risk being uncomfortable than not doing it and living in fear of how someone will react. Forget that guy for not accepting my soda!