Fun and Games

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Sometimes it’s fun to be a tourist in your own city.  I hardly ever do it and I’m realizing that I should be.  On a whim, Adam and I decided to head down for a day at the Santa Monica Pier.  It’s been so long since I’ve been there but it was a fun day date.  You can play games, ride rides and get your fortune told.  It’s took me back to my childhood.  Part of my resolutions are to have more fun this year.  Say yes to stuff and not be so boring.  🙂

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Clearly by the look on my face in the last photo, I’m terrible at these games.  But I had fun anyway!

Top: Chicwish

Pants: C/Meo Collective (thrifted at Wasteland)

Shoes: Lulu’s

Purse: Antik Kraft

Jumpsuits and Denim

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I’ve said it many times but I’ll say it again, I LOVE jumpsuits.  Like I just want wear them all day, everyday.  They are so versatile and I think they flatter every woman’s body. You can dress them up or dress them down.  I find it to be an effortlessly cool look.

My friends and I do these “clothing swaps” where we all bring thing we don’t want or don’t wear and then we go through each others clothes and try to find things that work for us.  Many of my friends are a lot shorter than I am which can make it harder to swap clothes with.  My friend Pippa has great style and I tend to love everything she brings to the clothing swaps, but the problem is that she is 5’2 and I am 5’9.  But when she brought this jumpsuit to the swap, I knew I had to have it.  And luckily when I tried it on, it was the perfect cropped length.  In the past I have found things in stores or clothing swaps that were a little too short in a not cute way,  and I just had them hemmed up a little bit more and then they are the perfect cropped pant! Easy Peasy!

I also got this jacket from Pip.  You can see how it just looks like a cute cropped jean jacket where as on her, it’s was a normal jean jacket.

And my badass vegan shoes I purchased at Nasty Gal.  Obsessed with them.  Be prepared to see them paired up with a lot of outfits.

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Jumpsuit: Unknown

Jacket: Juicy

Shoes: Nasty Gal

Photos by Matt Misisco

Vegan Gluten-Free Lemon Cheesecake Bars

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Growing up my mom cooked all the time.  Up until my sister, who is 6 years older than me, went away to college we ate dinner as a family every single night at 6pm.  I always had a home cooked meal.  Looking back it was one of my favorite things about my childhood.

My mom made so many dishes that I loved but one thing that always reminds me of my childhood are Lemon Cheesecake Bars.  It was one of those things that my mom made that people raved about.  And oddly enough, it was only semi-homemade.  The base was made from box cake mix.

Since becoming vegan a few years ago, I wanted to see if I could re-create some of my mom’s specialties but do it vegan and gluten free.  I attempted to make these bad boys 2 weekends ago and I ended up throwing the whole batch out.  I’ve vowed to myself this year that even if I fuck recipes up, or they aren’t great, I will post my flaws up here and show you what went wrong.  But after I made them the first time, the filling was great, and it was the cake that just didn’t set so I new I could get it right if I tried again.  This one wasn’t perfect and I forgot to take a few photos but it came out pretty well.  So without further ado, here is the recipe.  Oh and the entire thing was made with coconut sugar which has a lower glycemic index so they are “healthier” than most recipes.

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Here are all the ingredients that I used.  I’d say you can grab whatever vegan/gluten free yellow cake mix you want but they are all very finicky, so beware if you try a different brand.  The Simple Mills Yellow Cake mix was rad because it only had like 5 ingredients in it.  And the first ingredient on the box was almond flour not sugar like most of the others.   The Leaf Cuisine “cream cheese” has such a nice flavor to it and has a base of cashews.  You also need coconut sugar, oil, flax meal and a lemon.  And that’s all folks.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Make a flax meal by combining 1 TBSP of flax meal 3 TBSP of water.  Stir well and place in fridge to set.   Add the cake mix to a bowl and add in 1/3 cup of oil and mix thoroughly. The batter is going to look really wet and sticky which is how you want it.  Now grease a baking dish and add the batter in and bake for 20-25 min.  It’s gonna look like it’s not really set but remember that you are going to bake it for another 15 min after you add the cheesecake part so fear not.  I cooked the cake bottom for like 30 minutes and it is a tad over cooked but I like it crunchy so all good there.

Now for the filling: add cream cheese, juice from one lemon, 1.5 TBSP of coconut sugar and the flax egg to a food processor (or use hand held mixer) and blend until nice and creamy.  You can also add in the zest of the lemon if you want, but I left it out.  Side note: because the cake bottom is so sweet I opted to use as little sugar in the cheesecake part as possible but if it’s too tart for you, feel free to add a little more coconut sugar.

Spread the cheesecake evenly on top of the cake layer that you just took out of the oven.  Put back in oven and bake for another 15 min.  You just want it all to set and the cake bottom to cook a little more.

When it’s done cooking, let it cool until it’s room temp and then stick it in the fridge and let it get nice and cold.  Enjoy!

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Ingredients:

1 box Simple Mills Yellow Cake Mix (vegan/gluten-free)

1 8 0z container of Leaf Cuisine Classic Plain Not Cream Cheese

1 lemon

1/3 cup grape see oil

1 TBSP flax meal + 3 TBSP water

1 1/2 TBSP coconut sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Make one flax egg: 1 TBSP flax meal and 3 TBSP of water.  Stir and set in fridge

Add cake mix to a bowl and mix in the oil.

Pour into a 8 X 11 baking dish and bake for 20 min

For the cheesecake, add cream cheese, juice from 1 lemon, flax egg and coconut sugar to a food processor and blend until creamy.

Spread the cheesecake mix over the baked cake layer and bake for another 15 minutes.

Let it cool to room temp and then put in the fridge to further cool and then serve!

 

Color Block Sweater

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Every year at Christmas, my dad and stepmom go to Kauai to escape the harsh Chicago winters.  Some years I’m lucky enough to tag along, this year being one of them.  If you’ve never been to Hawaii, I highly recommend you go at least once.  It’s really a stunning group of islands with such different topography than what we have on the mainland.  Lush, green, tropical…it really needs to be experienced.

This year was much milder than previous years.  I didn’t bring anything “warm” because it was Hawaii but I had thrown in this cute color block sweater (not a warm sweater more like a sweater you wear in California when it’s 60 degrees kind of sweater) that I got from SheIn just before I left.

I’ve been super into solid colors lately, especially white, so when I saw this online I had to get it.  It’s cropped, it comfy and so versatile.  I rocked it with shorts one day as well.  I had also brought along my new, snazzy (do people still use that word?) flats from Gunas, who primarily make hand bags but they did a limited run on shoes and I was lucky enough to get in on that shit before they ran out.

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Side note: I was too scared to put all of my weight on that vine because I was afraid it would have broken.

Sweater

Jeans: Mossimo

Shoes: Gunas

 

Baked Herb Tofu

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I’ve decided that I really want to start incorporating more posts as to what I eat on here.  Not sure anyone really gives a shit but hey, its my blog and I can do what I want.  If i’m being 100% honest, I don’t really cook all that much.  My idea of a healthy dinner is 2 rice cakes with avocado and beyond meat beef crumbles.  While not a horrible dinner, it’s not the best.  I’m super lazy and I usually eat out of convenience.  Salad is a big staple in my house as well as grab and go food but one of my resolutions this year is to cook more.  So I’m starting with recipe that was a staple in my boyfriend’s house growing up.  Though, in his youth it wasn’t a vegan dish but he converted it to one and it’s fucking amazing so I’m gonna share it with you guys.

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This is an easy, vegan, gluten free meal that will satisfy many palettes while also being healthy and flavorful.  To get started here is what you’ll need: Almond Milk, Tofu (I like the extra firm Wildwood 20oz), Earth Balance, Rosemary, Thyme, Chives, Sage, Parsley, Gluten-Free Flour and Cauliflower.  If you’re not into almond milk, then I’m sure you could any non-dairy milk.  Also, I use GF flour because I have celiac but you can use any flour.

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To start, toss the cauliflower in 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil and then roast in the oven at 450 degrees for like 15.  I like my veggies well done but it you don’t, then maybe roast them for like 7 min.  Adam’s family serves this dish over rice which is definitely an option but I prefer to serve over veggies.  I’ve done it over broccoli as well which is delicious or you could do an array of vegetables.  Once you’re done with the cauliflower then you’ll want to set it off to the side and turn the oven down to 325 degrees.

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Next, sautée the tofu in a little bit of olive oil (1-2 TBSP).  I like to get it nice and crisp.

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It should look like this.  If you’re using a less firm tofu, make sure to press it ahead of time to get out as much moisture as possible.  Then transfer the tofu into a baking dish.  For the sauce, put 2 tablespoons of Earth Balance into the pan and add the flour, to make a roux.  Add the milk and bring to a boil.  Then add in the remainder of the ingredients.  Cook until it thickens and pour it over the tofu in the baking dish.

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Bake it at 325 for 50 mins.  When it’s done it should have a nice crust on top of it.

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Spoon it over the cauliflower and voila! Dinner is served!

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Ingredients:

1 large head of cauliflower

2 tbs margarine
3 tbs flour
2 1/2 C milk
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 tsp. rosemary
1 tsp. sage
1 tbs. parsley
1 tbs. dried chives
1 package of tofu

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Chop up the cauliflower and toss with olive oil and bake for 10-15min.  After the cauliflower comes out tun the oven down to 325 degrees.
  3. In a sauce pan sautée the tofu until crispy.  Put it in a baking dish.
  4. Melt butter in the sauce pan and add flour to make a roux.
  5. Stir in almond milk and bring to a boil.
  6. Add in remaining dry ingredients and cook until the sauce thickens.
  7. Pour sauce over the tofu and place in the oven.  Cook for 50 minutes.
  8. Serve over cauliflower.
  9. ENJOY!

 

Wattle Mansion and Community Garden

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It feels like there are shops on every corner in Los Angeles.  I don’t think you could hit every single one in your lifetime even if you wanted to, and I don’t…that sounds exhausting.  I’m always trying to find new places in my neighborhood and recently I walked into this place called Style Express.  It’s super inexpensive like a Forever 21 and they have some cute stuff.  I  am really into the big bell sleeves at this point on a lot of my clothing (once I find something I like, I have to have like 9 million of the same thing).  I found this cute little elephant scarf at a little shop in Santa Fe, NM.  I don’t remember the name but I’ve seen them popping up everywhere.

It’s finally been cold enough in LA to sweaters which is so fucking nice and rare.  The last 5 years we haven’t had any kind of winter and we’ve needed them, especially when they bring rain (drought much).  But I’m sure I will be over the cold weather in like 2.5 seconds and want the 70’s back.  That’s being a southern californian for ya.

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Top: Style Express

Jeans: 7 for all Mankind

Shoes: Coconuts by Matisse

Photos taken by Adam Grimes

 

 

 

New Year’s and Shit

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Wow, I can’t believe it’s 2017 already!  Where does the time go?  I’ve already broken one of my New Year’s resolutions which was to start posting here consistently starting the first week of January.  I’ve been running around since I got home from Christmas vacation and haven’t really had time to get anything done.  Excuses, excuses…I know.  But I really want to start posting here more often and writing more as opposed to just posting pictures.  Not sure how into that people are going to be but who gives a fuck!

Speaking of zero fucks given, that’s another one of my New Year’s resolutions, to not give a fuck about what people think.  Living in LA (or anywhere for that matter) I feel like it’s so easy to get caught up in what other people think you should or shouldn’t be doing.  What I’m realizing though, is that no one cares.  People are too consumed with themselves to REALLY give a shit about what other people are up to.  And I don’t necessarily mean that in a negative way, I just mean that we’re always on to the next thing and we all spend so much time in our own heads that it’s hard to give too much time and thought to what others are doing.  And even if they do, why should I care?   I’m an adult.  I should be well past the point of giving a shit what people think of me.

These photos were taken when I went home to New Mexico (my home state) for Thanksgiving.  I live in Los Alamos which is about 40 minutes north of Santa Fe.  But I spend a lot of my time in Santa Fe because it is such a magical place and of course no trip home would be complete without eating at Tomasita’s.  It’s the best New Mexican food there is.  I highly recommend going if you’re ever in New Mexico.

Thanksgiving was nice and cool so I was able to bring home sweaters but not so cold that I had to wear a heavy jacket (truth be told I don’t really own and warm jackets).  I loved this Steve Madden poncho sweater because is cute, cozy and super soft.  Also I’m going through a white phase so bear with me.  I know it’s faux pas to wear white after Labor Day, but I think because I live in Southern California where it’s nice year round, it’s ok.

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Top: Steve Madden

Jeans: 7 for all Mankind

Shoes: Rocket Dog

xo

Jessica