Shout Out Sunday

Another week in the books! Enjoy this week’s faves!

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this makes me die with laughter every time i see it
  1. Sex Education on Netflix is the most wonderfully charming show. I can’t stop watching! The young actors are absolutely brilliant and the cast is insanely diverse. One wonderful thing about the show is that it is completely inclusive of LGBT sexuality and relationships, which gets nearly as much representation as straight ones. A perfect, perfect show.
  2. Melissa Villaseñor’s Lady Gaga impression is the best thing I’ve ever seen.
  3. I wrote a post a while ago about *feminine products* and trying a menstrual cup and never posted an update! I’ve been using exclusively a cup for a few months now and I’m obsessed. I’ll never go back to tampons and pads! I still keep some on hand for emergencies, but I’m a cup girl for life. The cup I use is not available anymore (it’s Hesta Organic), but I’m interested in trying other brands, like Lunette.
  4. Not to be a dorky dad, but I just checked my credit report on creditkarma and you should too. It’s super important to be aware of your financial health!
  5. This Twitter thread about a college professor assigning his students to make memes is solid gold.
  6. One of you has to buy this because I’m on the Spending Fast and can’t. IT’S PERFECT.
  7. I’m thinking of trying to do Whole30. Have you ever tried it? My best friend did and loved it—and she looks freaking fabulous to boot.
  8. This hash brown recipe looks amazing.
  9. And on that brunch note…Rosé Raspberry Sorbet Mimosas, dude.
  10. This next one is NSFW, so open at your own discretion—I’m a huge, huge fan of this little guy. I’ve been really reticent about this sort of thing, but I’ve been trying to be more open-minded!
  11. Bonus Content: The Head and the Heart covers “Don’t Dream It’s Over” and I am deeply, madly obsessed.

Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed some of this #content. As always, follow me on all the socials @highwaytochel, and check out my Poshmark store @highwaytochel. Sayonara!

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Shout Out Sunday

Think I’m gonna get right down to business today, guys! Here’s my week in a nutshell:

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  1. I’m actually doing it, fam! I’m doing the Spending Fast. We’re shooting for a year, but it’s based on need. If I can pay my consumer debt down faster (I have a couple of ways I could do this, but they’re both pending/not guaranteed), we might not need to keep going until 2020, but honestly, the experience has been so empowering that I don’t think I’ll want to stop! I’m rereading Anna’s book, and Katy Goodman’s Insta stories have been super inspiring (she has a No Buy highlight). Just with little tweaks, my grocery bill has started to come down, I’m using cash for purchases, and we cancelled cable (finally!). Student loans go into repayment next month, so things will be really tight—I’m working on starting a side hustle job (more on that later). It feels so good to rid yourself of all the stuff in your life that’s weighing you down! P.S. Anna’s book (Kindle version) is on sale for $1.99 right now, so snatch it up!
  2. Catastrophe series 4 is streaming on Amazon starting March 15th and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s one of my favorite pieces of media ever made. Sharon and Rob are geniuses beyond measure. I think I’m going to cancel my Amazon Prime subscription after I watch it, which is kind of a big step for me! I’ll have to buy the season of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel next year, but a one-time $12-ish purchase is better than $49-$99 a year to support a company that sucks!
  3. Since I’m not spending money right now, I’ve been bringing my own lunch to work every day. Sometimes, that means the Trader Joe’s microwave meals that we still have from before the No-Buy, but mostly it’s meant leftovers and jar salads. I stan a jar salad. They are my favorite thing on the planet. People at work think I’m nuts rolling up to the breakroom with a quart Mason jar of lettuce but they don’t even know. You can put literally anything in a jar salad. My last one was champagne-pear salad dressing, snow peas, beet sauerkraut, mixed greens, and vegan cashew parm. Delicious!
  4. I’m psyched to make this soup recipe. I make a mean tomato basil, but subbing cashews in for cream is genius! My belief about food is that, if you can make it vegan with little to no effort, do that shit.
  5. I started using the iBotta app, which gives you cash back for buying certain items and submitting your receipts. It’s like coupons, but 2019. I think apps like this can be a slippery slope and convince people to buy products they don’t need, but I go through and find only things that are already on my grocery list, and choose the most cost effective brand. For instance, there was a $1 back bonus on Health-Ade Kombucha, which made it, effectively, cheaper than even the store brand. I’ve made $13 so far, off of only 2 shopping trips.
  6. Do you read New Darlings? They’re sharing their pregnancy journey right now and it’s so sweet I could scream. I can’t wait until that’s me!
  7. Dogs aren’t actually smart. Sorry not sorry to break this to you.
  8. I saw Neko Case when I was in Tallahassee and holy fucking shit was she amazing. If you haven’t listened to her new album, shame on you.
  9. On that note, Jenny Lewis has two new songs out: “Red Bull and Hennessy” and “Heads Gonna Roll
  10. Don Cheadle’s shirt choices on SNL last night were NEXT LEVEL.
  11. Saved the best for last: RUSSIAN DOLL. RUSSIAN DOLLLLLL! You’ve gotta watch this show. Drop what you’re doing and immediately log in to Netflix. It’s only February but this is definitely the best show of the year. Natasha Lyonne is breathtaking. We just finished last night and I am already yearning for a new season. A perfect, perfect show.

Sunday Kind of Love

Happy Sunday! I have the dreaded task of homework to look forward to today, but hopefully you have some free time to chill out, max, and relax all cool. Here’s what I’ve been thinking about this week.

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  1. I’m so inspired by the March For Our Lives. I wish I could have gone into Boston yesterday. Be sure to sign the petition against gun violence!
  2. The Lamplighter, Maria Susanna Cummins—Maybe 19th century sentimental fiction isn’t quite your “thing,” but I am absolutely obsessed with this book right now. The tale of little Gerty is so heartbreakingly sweet. Here’s a link to the Kindle edition, which is free!
  3. Should I do this? It’d be nice to have Spotify Premium again, but I’m so used to that no-commercials Hulu life, that I’m not sure I can go back! It would save me $7/month, and I’d get another service. I’m torn!
  4. This tweet destroyed me. Bless the person that saw that connection.
  5. Give me this vegan queso immediately.
  6. And on that note, I’m making these tacos ASAP.
  7. I’m so excited to watch Champions on NBC! I’m into anything Mindy Kaling is involved with, and the cast is stellar!
  8. Did you know that students and educators get a discount on digital subscriptions to the New York Times? It’s crazy affordable. I just subscribed and am loving all of this nonstop crossword action!
  9. And, last but not least, John Oliver’s staff wrote a book about gay bunnies getting married in response to Mike Pence’s Marlon Bundo book, and it is truly, truly inspiring. It’s out of stock at the moment, but as soon as it’s back, I’m buying one for my future kid.

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See you next week, bunnies!

xoxo,

c

 

 

Picante Chickpea Lentil Chili

Sometimes, you’ve just got to make chili, but you don’t have any beans, meat, or meat-adjacent foods in the house. So you improvise! My husband is a garbanzo fiend, so I knew he wouldn’t sweat the substitution.

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no, not that chilli!

It’s been bitterly cold in New England for the past few weeks (no lie—we got a storm that was called a “bomb cyclone” in case we weren’t miserable enough), so something hot and spicy was what the doctor ordered.

I whipped this up using ingredients I had on hand, but it turned out so delicious, I wanted to record the recipe for posterity! Enjoy!

P.S. I highly recommend using all organic ingredients, if possible, because of course I do.

Picante Chickpea & Lentil Chili

  • 2 cans garbanzo beans*
  • 1 c. green lentils
  • 6 c. vegetable broth
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 2 potatoes, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 chipotles in Adobo sauce, diced**
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 c. premade salsa (or diced tomatoes)
  • 1 oz. bourbon (or 2 oz. beer), optional
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp. Adobo seasoning***
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • salt to taste

*You’re probably a better person than me and make your own chickpeas from dried. In that case, 2-3 cups should suffice.

**Add as much chipotle as you want—just be warned that going heavy on the peppers will make this very, very spicy.

***If you don’t have Adobo seasoning, get some  sub garlic & onion powder, tumeric, paprika, black pepper, and oregano.

Instructions:

Over medium heat, melt the coconut oil in the bottom of a large saucepan or dutch oven. Add the red onion and celery, lightly salt. Saute until soft. Add the red pepper, potatoes, and zucchini and saute until soft. Add minced garlic and stir until fragrant, 30 sec-1 min. Turn up the heat and deglaze the pan with bourbon, if using. Return to medium heat and add garbanzos, lentils, tomato paste, salsa, chipotles, and spices. Stir until fragrant, 1 min. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 mins. At the 30 min mark, check the lentils and potatoes for doneness (I know this is a meat term, but I’m appropriating it!). If soft, turn off heat and add lime juice. Salt/spice to taste.

Serve with brown rice and top with avocado, cilantro, sour cream, or shredded cheese!

 

Easy Breezy Noodle Bowls

I. Love. Noodles. I know that I have argued that tacos and burritos are the world’s best foods, but noodles put up a very good fight for that title. Noodles are versatile AF! There are a million different kinds, all of which are the most fun to eat. There is nothing glamorous to slurping down a big bowl of noodles—perhaps it is the great equalizer we have all sought. Maybe noodles will bring world peace at last.

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gimme these right now!
A note on terminology: I don’t know if this is actually correct, but to me, a noodle is derived from rice, and pasta is derived from wheat. When people call pasta products “noodles”, I get a mild aneurysm, but then again, I never said I wasn’t compulsive.

I grew up a ramen fanatic, and I never grew out of it. I did, however, grow out of that MSG life. Health nuttiness and packaged food ne sont pas les choses qui vont très bien ensemble, très bien ensemble. I’ve been listening to Rubber Soul a lot lately, can you tell?

Unnecessary and ill-advised Beatles reference aside, my life’s mission is to eat noodles daily, and this is my go-to recipe when I come home from a long day at work and just want to gorge on something that won’t give me heart disease or diabetes #pieloverforlife. This recipe is also one of many in my personal give tofu a chance crusade, the sword I have chosen to fall on. Enjoy, my loves!

Easy Breezy Noodle Bowlsserves 2

prep time: 10 mins / cook time: 10 mins

  • 1 pkg udon noodles
  • 2-3  c. chopped broccoli florets (the broccoli shrinks when cooked!)
  • 1 pkg firm tofu, drained and cubed
  • soy sauce or tamari
  • sriracha
  • sesame oil
  • rice vinegar
  • cornstarch
  • sesame seeds
  • coconut oil for frying
  • agave, optional
  • ginger paste, optional
  • garlic, chopped, optional
  • chopped nori, optional
  • matchstick carrots, optional
  • matchstick cucumber, optional

To start, set a pot of lightly-salted water on to boil. When it reaches boiling, cook your noodles according to package directions. I buy frozen, so it usually takes about 4-minutes of cooking. Drain noodles and set aside.

Next, whisk together your soy sauce mixture. I use a few tablespoons of soy sauce, a squirt of sriracha, and a dash of sesame oil. Optionally, you can add ginger, garlic, and/or agave to this mixture to add more flavor to the final product. But this is the basic 10-minute version of this recipe, so fancy ingredients be damned!

Drain your block of tofu. Press out as much of the water as humanly possible, and then chop into cubes. This is a great guide to pressing tofu! Once cubed, toss the tofu in some cornstarch and pan fry in the oil of your choice—I like to use coconut for this. Fry the tofu until it’s golden on all sides—do your best with this, it’s hard to flip that many little pieces evenly! Then pour your soy sauce mixture over the tofu, toss in the pan until evenly coated, and then remove from heat. Save a little bit of the soy mixture—you’ll want to toss the broccoli in it later!

While the tofu is frying, get out your wok (if applicable) and start cooking your broccoli! I like to cook the broc in sesame oil, because it has such a great flavor. Heat the oil over medium heat, add the broccoli, and stir-fry! I like to let it cook in the oil for a few minutes, and then squirt in a little rice vinegar to help soften the broc (I’ve seen Hibachi chefs do this, so it must be the proper way, right?) After the broccoli has reached your desired texture, drizzle the soy sauce mixture over it, toss, remove from heat, and then proceed to assemble your bowls! Start with noodles, add broccoli, and top with tofu! Sprinkle the whole bowl with sesame seeds, and grab some chopsticks! You’re ready to eat a passably nutritious meal that kicks take-out’s ass any day of the week!


My favorite way to eat this is with an additional sprinkling of chopped nori and some cold matchstick veggies on top (carrots or cucumbers are the way to go). Also, everything tastes better if you eat it with chopsticks, so don’t skimp!

***

That’s it, honeys! I usually have all of these ingredients on hand, so this is a common throw-together lunch in my household. This is also a great starter dish for anyone who is looking to cut a little bit of meat from his or her diet. It’s packed with protein (and probiotics if you add the nori). The above method of preparing tofu ensures a nice crisp on the outside that will have even the most adamant tofu naysayer begging for seconds.

Sex-y Corn Chowdah

Corn chowder is flipping delicious. Actually, you can put any creamy soup in a bowl, call it chowder, and I will love it, but that’s another issue entirely. #gordo


The only problem with this arguably perfect food is that it is often full of cream and butter, which in moderation are aces, but don’t exactly make for healthy nightly fare. Well, no more. I have created a chowder that is both vegan and made out of six vegetables!

All the veggies / who independent / throw your hands up at me!

I’m really sorry about that. Every time I’m passionate about something, I start helplessly paraphrasing Beyoncé. Six vegetables,  though! Now are we getting the title? Where my AP Latin nerds at?

Anyway, here’s my foolproof corn chowder recipe!

Sex-y Corn Chowdah

  • 4 cups corn kernels (fresh is best, frozen will do)
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 large russet potato, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large organic carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup scallions, chopped (the green parts)
  • salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • juice of half a lemon

Some like it hot…for extra zazz, add 1/4 tsp. of cayenne pepper, or a tablespoon of pimenta moida in with the garlic. Highly recommend.

If using corn cobs: lightly grill or roast the cobs. Let cool and cut the kernels off the cob.

If using frozen corn: measure out 4 cups. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the kernels out, drizzle with olive oil and dust with salt. Roast at 400 degrees for a few minutes, until the kernels start to brown.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot and add the onion and celery. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and stir. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Next add the carrot, bell pepper, and potato. Cook for another few minutes, adding black pepper and more salt if desired. Next, add the garlic, 3/4 of the corn, and dried basil. Stir and cook until the garlic becomes fragrant. Next, add the broth and let simmer for 10 minutes, or until the potato is fork tender. Remove the pot from heat and blend the soup with an immersion blender until creamy. Once blended, return the pot to low heat and add the lemon juice and the remaining 1/4 of the roasted corn. Simmer for a few more minutes to allow the flavors to combine. Turn off the heat and add the chopped scallions. Stir around and then taste to see if more lemon juice, salt, black pepper, or basil is needed. Serve immediately and top with more chopped scallions, shredded cheddar cheese, or sour cream if desired. Happy snacking!

 

**Recipe is loosely adapted from the Thug Kitchen Cookbook. Credit where credit is due!

 

Sweet Heat Chickpeas & Vegan Mashed

So, I accidentally created the best dinner ever tonight. It started with a mashed potato craving, was facilitated by a bunch of produce I needed to use up, and resulted in heaven.

Sweet Heat Chickpeas

  • 2 small beets, peeled & chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 c. green cabbage, chopped
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 1/4 c. pimenta moida*, or red pepper flakes to taste
  • 2 tbsp. avocado oil
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • salt & ground black pepper to taste

Vegan Mashed 

  • 4 russet potatoes, peeled & chopped
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened organic almond milk (make sure it’s not vanilla!)
  • 3 tbsp. Earth Balance
  • 1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
  • salt & ground black pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 400. If you have a Convection Roast setting, use it to get that roasty-toasty crunch.

To get the Mashed going, throw your chopped taters in a saucepan, cover them with cold water by about an inch, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer potatoes until fork tender.

For the Chickpeas, add all of the ingredients to a glass baking dish, toss to combine, and stick that mother in the oven. Remove and stir every 5-10 minutes, or as you notice the top of the dish browning. The liquid released from the zucchini will keep everything moist as its cooking, so you don’t really have to worry about anything drying out or burning. The chickpeas are done when the zucchini is soft and the beets are fork-tender (about 20 mins), but you can cook for up to an hour if you prefer more crunch.

While the chickpeas are cooking, drain your potatoes, add in your add-ins, and then mash until smooth. Don’t over-mash or they’ll turn to glue!

so much yum
When the chickpeas are done, give them a good stir, then plate and serve! If you’re like me, you’ll mix the mashed and the chickpeas and veggies into a food mountain on your plate. So delicious!

*A note on pimenta moida: I’ve never actually made this. You can (I assume) buy this at specialty Portuguese grocers. My mother-in-law is from the Azores, and she made an enormous batch of it in the spring and gave some to all the kids. Literally, this is how much pimenta I have:

full size pitcher of cold brew for reference
That thing was FULL just a few months ago. I could drink the stuff.

I hope this recipe helps you all take baby steps towards putting weird shit like beets and cabbage in your dinners! So into cabbage right now!

Bon appetit!

—DellaBites