Elizabeth Nolan Brown // Blog

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Archive for the ‘My Life’ Category

Cocktail Recipe: The Petticoat

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Last summer, some friends and I invented a cocktail we nicknamed ‘the Petticoat,’ which involved kombucha (a fermented probiotic tea) and St. Germain, an all-natural elderflower liqueur. It’s a great summer afternoon cocktail, when you want something cold, refreshing and only mildly alcoholic or sweet.

St. Germain is only 20% alcohol by volume, and because of the fermentation process, kombucha tea can contain trace amounts of alcohol. Bottled kombucha sold in stores is only supposed to contain .05% alcohol or under, but home-brewed kombucha can contain up to 2 or 3% alcohol, depending on how long it’s been fermenting.

If you need to kick it up a notch, try adding gin.

The Petticoat Kombucha Cocktail

1.5 oz St. Germaine
1/2 to 1 cup kombucha tea
1 teaspoon raw honey

Combine kombucha & St. Germaine, then stir in raw honey.

If that’s too light for you, try leaving out the honey and adding 1 oz gin and a sprig of rosemary.

Originally published on Blisstree.com.

Written by Elizabeth

May 8, 2012 at 11:48 pm

Posted in Food, My Life

Recipe: Portobello Caps with Walnuts and Blue Cheese Over Wilted Arugula

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I came up with this dish the other night because the only veggies I had in the fridge were portobello mushroom caps and a bunch of about-to-go-bad arugula. My boyfriend’s response? ‘Wow, this is like something you’d see on a cooking show!’ Yeah, it turned out that good. But even though baked portobello caps stuffed with walnuts and blue cheese and served over wilted arugula sounds (and looks) fancy, this delicious dish requires practically no effort to make—my kind of cooking! Plus, the combination of mushrooms, greens, walnuts, olive oil and blue cheese gives you a good mix of vitamins, protein and healthy fats.

Baked Portobello Caps with Walnuts and Blue Cheese Over Wilted Arugula

Ingredients:
(serves 2)

• 2 large portobello mushroom caps
• 2-4 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles
• 2-4 tablespoons raw chopped walnuts
• 3 cups arugula
• olive oil
• about 1/4 cup lemon juice
• dried red chili peppers (optional)

Preparation: 

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Place portobello caps open-side-up on lightly greased baking sheet. Fill each cap with 1-2 tbsp blue cheese, 1-2 tbsp walnuts (it kind of depends on how big your mushroom caps are). Drizzle lightly with olive oil.

3. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, until cheese is gooey and walnuts are slightly browned.

4. On stove, saute 3-4 dried chili peppers in 1 tbsp olive oil for a few minutes, then add about 1/4 cup lemon juice. Add half of arugula, and stir. Add remaining arugula, and more lemon juice if necessary. Stir everything together and simmer until greens are lightly wilted.

5. Serve mushroom caps over bed of wilted arugula.

Originally published on Blisstree.com.

Written by Elizabeth

March 3, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Posted in Food, My Life

Mashed Sweet Potato and Turnips with Thyme Butter

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I wasn’t sure what to do with the big bunch of turnips I’d gotten from the local CSA pickup this week, because turnips are one of those vegetables a bit outside my culinary comfort zone. But it turns out turnips mash up almost as nicely as potatoes. I riffed on this recipe from Eating Well, with sweet potatoes and turnips mashed together and flavored with thyme butter (the EW recipe calls for more sweet potatoes than turnips, but I made mine more turnip heavy and that worked out just fine). The result was creamy and light, with a traditional mashed potato consistency but way more flavor and less fat and calories. I did use butter, but you could substitute vegan margarine to keep things dairy-free.

Turnips, by the way, are quite good for you—and less loaded with carbohydrates than some other root vegetables (one 3.5 ounce serving of turnips has about 30 calories and 6 grams carbs). They’re also a good source of vitamin C, fiber, and potassium. And as members of the cruciferous vegetable family (like broccoli and Brussels sprouts), turnips are high in phytonutrients and antioxidants.

Mashed Sweet Potato and Turnips with Thyme Butter
(serves 4 as a side dish)    

Ingredients: 

• 3 cups turnip (about 4-5 medium turnips), peeled and diced
•  2 cups sweet potato (about 1 large potato), peeled and diced
• 3 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
• salt + pepper

Preparation: 

• In medium saucepan, add turnip, sweet potato and garlic. Cover with water, and bring to a boil.

• Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and let simmer 12-15 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Drain, then return vegetables to pan and cover.

• In small skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat. As it melts, add in fresh thyme and simmer for a 1-2 minutes.

• Pour thyme butter over vegetables and mix together.

• Smash with a potato masher. Stir in salt and pepper to taste.

Originally published on Blisstree.com.

Written by Elizabeth

February 16, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Recipe: Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

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As the weather gets chillier, I can’t stop thinking about soup (is that weird?). Soup is just about the only thing I want to eat right now—and by soup, I mean homemade soup, because I’d like to avoid the sodium, BPA and blandness of Campbell’s and its ilk, thank you very much. I’d also, however, like to avoid spending copious time in the kitchen. The following recipe for creamy tomato basil soup, adapted from a recipe by nutritionist Lauren Talbot, uses vegetable broth and and your favorite brand of tomato pasta sauce as its base, cutting down on both time and the total number of ingredients you need to add.

As with most soups, the longer you simmer it, the more flavorful it will get—but if you don’t have a lot of time to prepare dinner, don’t fear: Total prep and cooking time for the soup can amount to as little as 30 minutes.

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup


Ingredients: 

• 1 jar tomato pasta sauce (I used organic tomato basil sauce from the brand Naturally Preferred, but you can use whatever you like best or have on hand)
• 3-4 cups vegetable broth
• 1/4 to 1/2-cup fresh basil
• 1 carton/cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
• 1/4- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
• 1 cup organic 2% milk
• 2 tablespoons oregano
• about 2 tablespoons ground black pepper

Preparation: 

• Heat jar of tomato sauce in large pot. Once it’s bubbling, add vegetable broth and basil, and turn heat to medium while you chop and gather other ingredients.
• Add chopped tomatoes, parmesan cheese, milk, oregano and pepper.
• Let everything simmer for at least 20 minutes.

Enjoy as a main course, or as a side dish/hors d’oeuvre.

Originally published on Blisstree.com.

Written by Elizabeth

December 19, 2011 at 10:28 pm

Posted in Food, My Life

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Recipe: Vegan, Whole-Grain, Cinnamon-Raisin Bread Pudding

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Bread pudding is a traditional holiday dessert—and one traditionally made with eggs, beef fat and lots of sugar. This vegan bread pudding remains true to the original with baked bread, raisins and lots of spices, but it’s absent any eggs, dairy or other animal products. Using unsweetened almond milk (only 40 calories per cup), a minimal amount of sugar and Ezekiel’s sprouted whole grain cinnamon raisin bread as the base keeps things low-calorie and cuts down on the number of individual ingredients needed (the bread already contains organic raisins and cinnamon). And once you mix the ingredients together, you’re only looking at 30 minutes baking time—making this a perfectly easy (and delicious) vegan holiday desert.

 

Vegan Whole-Grain Cinnamon-Raisin Bread Pudding

Ingredients: 

• 4 cups day-old bread (like I mentioned, I used Ezekiel sprouted grain cinnamon raisin bread; if you’re using plain bread, you may want to add 1 cup raisins and an extra teaspoon ground cinnamon)

• 3 cups unsweetened almond milk

• 1/2 cup organic sugar

• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 1 teaspoon nutmeg

• 1 teaspoon ground ginger

• 1/2 cup raw, chopped walnuts

 

Preparation: 

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

• Put bread in 8″ – 9″ square baking pan.

• In bowl, stir remaining ingredients—almond milk, sugar, vanilla, walnuts, spices—together.

• Pour mixture over bread in pan. Stir to mix.

• Bake 30 minutes.

 

Serve warm bread pudding alongside chilled apple-sauce for an overall apple-pie-like effect. Yum.

If baked earlier and refrigerated, reheat whole thing in oven for 8-10 minutes before serving. Individual servings can be reheated on the stove.

Originally published on Blisstree.com.

Written by Elizabeth

December 18, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Recipe: Quick Holiday Freezer Pickles

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This is a quick and easy freezer pickle recipe from The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich. My sister gave me this book—which contains 250 different pickling recipes—for Christmas last year, after I failed miserably at a Thanksgiving pickled-onion attempt. It’s taken me a whole year to try again, but I’m happy to report that last week’s freezer-pickling efforts went much better (like, these are not just edible but really good—crunchy, semi-sweet and a little bit spicy, too). And while most of the recipes in the book require a few weeks fermenting time, freezer dill slices can be made one day and served the next.

Freezer Dill Slices from The Joy Of Pickling
Makes about 4 pints 

Ingredients: 
2 1/2 pounds pickling cucumbers, thinly sliced (about 8 cups)
3 tablespoons pickling salt  [You can use kosher salt or sea salt instead; I did] 
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup minced fresh dill
1 teaspoon whole dill seeds
1 cup chopped sweet ripe pepper, such as bell or pimiento, preferably red
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar

Preparation:
1. In a large bowl, toss the cucumber slices with the salt. Let the cucumbers stand at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours, and then drain them.

2. In another bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients. Pour the mixture over the cucumbers and stir well. Refrigerate the mixture for 8 to 10 hours.

3. Pack the cucumber slices and liquid in freezer bags or rigid containers and freeze the containers.

4. Thaw the pickle for about 8 hours in the refrigerator before serving it.

Although these pickles are packed in vinegar, their main preserving agent is freezing, Ziedrich points out. “For some reason, cucumber and other vegetable slices packed in vinegar and sugar before freezing don’t turn to mush, but stay crisp. This is a very effective way to preserve not just vegetables but also herbal flavors that weaken or die in canning and drying.”

Because food expands when it freezes, allow about 1/2-inch headspace in whatever you use to freeze pickles in. Frozen pickles can keep for about a year; they’ll keep in the refrigerator for several days.

Originally published on Blisstree.com.

Written by Elizabeth

December 17, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Posted in Food, My Life

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Recipe: Vegan Gingerbread Cookies

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This healthy, spicy vegan gingerbread cookie recipe is a mis-mash of several others—Martha Stewart’s chewy chocolate gingerbread cookies, Post Punk Kitchen’s vegan gingerbread cut-outs—with a few of my own twists. I’m not a terribly patient or detail-oriented baker, so my cookies (below) don’t look the best. But they were easy to make, and ended up being crowd-pleasers at a holiday party I had this past weekend—especially once I added a little (non-vegan) icing whipped up from cranberries, butterscotch chips and greek yogurt.

Vegan Gingerbread Cookies 

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp fresh, finely-grated ginger
1/2 cup almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp cold-pressed coconut oil
2 ‘eggs’ worth of flax goo*
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup organic sucanat or brown sugar
1 tbsp raw cacao powder

* Flax goo as egg replacer: Mix 1 tbsp ground flaxseed with 3 tbsp boiling water for each egg. Let mixture sit for about 10 minutes before adding to other ingredients.

Preparation:

• In medium bowl, combine flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, chili powder, baking soda and cacao powder.

• In another bowl, mix together fresh ginger, coconut oil, flax goo and sugar. Add vanilla extract and almond milk. Combine wet ingredients with dry and stir together.

• Flatten dough into a disk, wrap in plastic or cover with foil/parchment paper, and chill for 20 minutes to one hour (tightly wrapped, it can be chilled for a few days).

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

• Spread cookies—in whatever shapes you choose; I just went for boring circles—on lightly oiled baking sheet. Cook for 12 minutes.

The cookies ultimately tasted good but looked dull, and since I was making them for a holiday party, I decided to dress them up with a little cranberry-butterscotch icing. Here’s the hastily improvised—and non-vegan—icing I made to top my gingerbread cookies.

Cranberry-Butterscotch Icing 

• 3 tbsp greek yogurt
• 3 tbsp butterscotch chips
• 1 tbsp shredded coconut
• 12-15 fresh cranberries

Combine ingredients in food processor until smooth.

Spread icing on cookies, then let harden in refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.

Originally published on Blisstree.com.

Written by Elizabeth

December 15, 2011 at 9:23 pm

Recipe: Roasted Chestnuts

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Don’t worry—while chestnuts roasting on an open fire might be romantic, your oven will do the job just fine. I first oven-roasted chestnuts two Novembers ago, to bring as a side dish for a Thanksgiving potluck. They were so delicious—rich, nutty, savory—I wondered why I’d never considered the nuts before. Though chestnuts are hard-shelled when raw, they take on a soft, potato-like texture when roasted that makes them ideal mashing, using in stuffing, or turning into breads, soups and deserts. But the plain roasted nuts make a good snack or side all by themselves, too.

Chestnut nutrition: Though chestnuts are high in starch, they’re less fat- and calorie-heavy than many other nuts, such as walnuts or almonds. They’re the only nut that contains vitamin C, and also a good source of fiber, protein, mono-unsaturated fatty acids, B-complex vitamins (niacin, thiamine, riboflavin) and minerals (such as iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium). For more on chestnuts’ nutrition profile, see here.

To roast chestnuts: Start with one pound of fresh, unpeeled chestnuts.

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Using a small, sharp knife, cut an X across the curved side of each chestnut. The X should be span the entire side of the nut—this keeps the nuts from exploding while cooking, and makes it easier to peel them later. [I cannot stress enough how important this is: If you don’t make the slits big enough, or don’t allow the nuts to roast long enough to get soft, peeling them later will be painful and difficult; but if you make big enough incisions and roast long enough, you shouldn’t have problems.]

3. Spread chestnuts X-side up on a large baking sheet. Cook for 30-40 minutes.

4. Let chestnuts cool slightly—they’re best served hot, but you want them to cool enough so you can handle them. Once cooled, peel back the outer skin of the nut and enjoy!

Photo: BBC

Originally published on Blisstree.com.

Written by Elizabeth

December 12, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Recipe: Pomegranate And Persimmon Vegan Fruitcake

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Nobody likes a fruitcake, right? That’s a trope so old that I’ve never even been quite sure what a fruitcake actually is—just that it’s something nobody wants to get come the holiday season. But Wikipedia informs me that while fruitcake typically refers to a sweet cake baked with dried or candied fruits and nuts, any cake with fruit as an ingredient “can also be colloquially called a fruitcake.” Which inspired me to try coming up with a healthy, vegan fruitcake, using the pomegranate and persimmon I had in my fridge.

Turns out (yes, this is more Wikipedia reading, here), the earliest fruitcake recipes, from ancient Rome, list pomegranate seeds as an ingredient (along with pine nuts, raisins and barley mash). Fruitcakes from the Middle Ages used honey. Candied fruitcakes became popular starting in the 16th century, because they were cheap and sugary. In the Bahamas, fruitcakes are soaked in rum. In the UK, traditional Christmas fruitcake is covered in Marzipan and an egg-white dressing (seriously, British food is the worst). Mail-order fruitcakes started shipping in America in 1913. In Germany, Christmas fruitcakes are made with yeast, raisins and almonds; in Canada, fruitcakes are dark, moist, undecorated and shaped like a loaf of bread.

The point being: You can make something not-terrible and call it a fruitcake. Or, I did, and am going to, anyway. So here’s my vegan, whole-wheat pomegranate and persimmon fruitcake recipe. Happy holidays. It makes about two loaves, so you may want to half it (or triple it—vegan fruitcake for everyone!).

Vegan Pomegranate and Persimmon Fruitcake
Makes: 2 loaves 

Ingredients
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup chopped raw walnuts or almonds
2 tbsp cinnamon
2 tbsp nutmeg
1 cup sucanat or brown sugar
2 tbsp sea salt
1 pack (7 oz) Red Star Quick Rise Yeast
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup water
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tbsp molasses
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1-2 cups persimmon, chopped

Preparation: 

• In large bowl, sift together flour, flaxseed, nuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, salt and yeast.

• In a separate bowl, mix together milk, water, olive oil and molasses.

• Add pomegranate seeds and persimmon to dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients. Stir everything together.

• Pour in lightly-oiled or sprayed 8-inch bread loaf pan, about 3/4 full.

• Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.

Originally published on Blisstree.com.

Written by Elizabeth

November 30, 2011 at 9:22 pm

Recipe: Ginger Molasses Cookies

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Looking for a holiday cookie recipe without all the eggs, butter, milk or excessive sugar? Look no further. These vegan ginger molasses cookies have been a holiday favorite of mine for a few years now. They’re not terribly sweet, but with such a strong spice flavor—ginger and cloves and cinnamon, oh my!—no one should mind. And gingerbread fans in particular will enjoy these cookies.

I’m fully aware that they’re not much to look at, but they’re tasty and relatively nutritious (thanks, flax seed and whole wheat flour), which trumps presentation in my (cook)book. If you want to pretty them up a little, try pressing the top of the cookie in turbinado sugar before baking.

Ingredients:
• 2 cups whole wheat or buckwheat flour
• 2 teaspoons baking soda
• 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
• ¼ cup molasses
• ½ cup raw coconut oil
• 1 cup raw turbinado sugar or dried cane sugar (sucanat)
• 2 tablespoons apple sauce
• 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
• 1 teaspoon ground ginger powder
• 2 teaspoons cinnamon
• 2 teaspoons ground clove
• 1 teaspoon sea salt

Preparation:
• Preheat oven to 350 degrees

• Make ‘flax goo’ by combining ¼ cup boiling water with 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed. Let mixture sit for about 10 minutes before adding to other ingredients.

• Stir together: Flour, baking soda, cinnamon, clove, ginger powder and salt

• In another bowl, combine: Coconut oil, sugar and fresh ginger. Mix until soft. Then blend in flax goo, molasses and applesauce.

• Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients a little at a time. Stir together completely, and let sit for 5-10 minutes.

• Form cookie dough into 1-inch balls. [Optional: Dip top in turbinado sugar.] Place on oiled cookie sheet, a few inches apart.

• Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Originally published on Blisstree.com.

Written by Elizabeth

November 9, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Last Saturday Farm Market in August

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bon bon baking squash, fall squash, farm market

[Please forgive me, but I have just now gotten into the whole Instagram photo filtering business (tilt-shift!), and I am going through a bit of an infatuation phase]

Written by Elizabeth

August 27, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Posted in My Life, Photos

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New (Old) Revenue Stream for Struggling Newspapers

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Dayton Daily News 'Learn a Language' French Instruction Record

Courtesy of the Valley Thrift Store, Cincy, OH

Written by Elizabeth

July 22, 2011 at 9:10 am

Posted in My Life, Photos

New Gig // Blisstree

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I’ve been guest-blogging at Blisstree this week!

Blisstree is the part of the portfolio of B5 Media sites—Crushable, The Gloss, and the newly-launched Mommyish and The Grindstone—focused on health, wellness and things of that ilk. It’s been in the Favorites folder of my Google Reader for a while now, ’cause 1) its features a lot of alternative/natural health and nutrition content, the kind of stuff that many women’s sites shy away from, and b) it’s feminist-tinged, without being an explicitly feminist site. Plus, it’s got a low-key, earnest but insouciant sort-of vibe.

Anyway, here are my first four posts:

  • The Paralysis of Analysis: Stop Overthinking … “I used to feel that the best way to go about stuff is to feel every emotion and not suppress a thing,” my friend told me. “That’s the wrong wrong way.”
  • Sunscreen Lingo Exposed: How to Decipher Sunscreen Labels … Once upon a time, sunscreen was sunscreen, and your biggest concern was higher or lower SPF. Then lo and behold ingredients in some sunscreens are found to actually accelerate the growth of skin cancer. Ingredients in others may disrupt your hormones. Should you chuck it all and reach for the baby oil? Not yet …
  • Know Your Honey … Whatever the verdict on honey and allergies, there are still plenty of ways honey can be beneficial (beyond tasting good in your tea). But not all honey is created equally!
  • I Was Orthorexic, and I Didn’t Even Know It … On my progression from the High Americana diet of my youth, to disordered eating habits, to eating for health, to focusing too much on eating for health, to … normality? Well, most days!

Written by Elizabeth

May 12, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Curio: Photo Edition // USA, Pt. 2 // California, Chicago, Cincinnati, Covington, Columbus

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Today, Conor posted one of my photos on the Atlantic for his ‘What America Looks’ like series, which reminded me that I never got around to posting my second round of travel photos. Ahem. Well, here we are. And it’s even, unintentionally, alliterative. California. Chicago. Cincinnati. Covington, KY. And Columbus, OH. Drive-thru liquor & cigarettes, Covington, KY CVS, Venice Beach Isabel, Slake Magazine, Venice Beach You Are Loved by Creepy Children party, Echo Park Andersonville, Chicago // Indoor tent Hazardous Chemicals Chicago, Opening Day Liquor cabinet, Short North, Columbus, Ohio Bikes, Venice Beach, California Santa Monica, New Age Bible & Philosophy Center Bar Ladies Sharonville, Cincinnati, Ohio Wrigleyville

Written by Elizabeth

April 13, 2011 at 9:13 pm

Santa Monica

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Santa Monica
My friend Kylee took this photo when I was staying with her in Santa Monica last week.

Written by Elizabeth

March 22, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Curio: Photo Edition // USA, Pt. 1 // LA, CA & TX

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CurioPalm Trees, Santa Monica

'Read Up' Graffiti, New Orleans, Fauxbourg Marigny

Red VW Bug, New Orleans

Cocktail menu, Neighborhood Services Tavern, Dallas

New Orleans street

Dinner House M, Echo Park, Los Angeles

House in New OrleansHotel room, Parc St. Charles, New Orleans

Somewhere in Texas

Venice Beach Rocketbuster Boosts, El Paso, TexasVenice Beach

* Pardon the weird faux-thumbprints on these, please. I’m a geek and I love making photos look like polaroids, but the app I use insists on including these.

Written by Elizabeth

March 15, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Los Angeles

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girl in LA bar

Written by Elizabeth

March 7, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Posted in My Life, Travel

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no moss

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the secret

don’t worry, nobody has the
beautiful lady, not really, and
nobody has the strange and
hidden power, nobody is exceptional or wonderful or
magic, they only seem to be.
it’s all a trick, an in, a con,
don’t buy it, don’t believe it. the world is packed with
billions of people whose lives
and deaths are useless and
when one of these jumps up
and the light of history shines
upon them, forget it, it’s not what it seems, it’s just
another act to fool the fools again.

there are no strong men, there
are no beautiful women.
at least, you can die knowing
this
and you will have
the only possible
victory.

— Charles Bukowski

Greetings from our nation’s capitol. I was here just a few weeks back – first for a wonderful Liberty Fund conference on Hayek, then to work from an office and visit friends and quake with terror at the Thundersnow!. I went back to my parent’s house in Cincinnati for a few days, and then just narrowly missed Chicago’s Great Blizzard, arriving there the Friday after the storm to find my friends, of course, building an igloo. I stayed in Chicago for nine days, and upon returning once again to Cincinnati I figured, “Why stop?” So last week I threw together the framework for a NorthSouthEastWest, 1.5-month bout of itinerantism. Nomadism. Vagabondness. Call it what you will (just not “transient train hopping;” that phrase has gotten me in trouble before during a Teach for America job interview). I hitched a ride with some family down to Washington, D.C. for a few days. I’ll be Amtrak-ing from here down to New Orleans, then hitting up Los Angeles and possibly other cities in California, followed by Chicago and Panama City Beach, Florida. All of these locations have been chosen because of proximity to friends, with the exception of New Orleans, where I have just long wanted to go and never been. In some places, I may be working on some Exciting! Things! with friends. In others, I may just sunbathe. And work, of course. I’m lucky to have a job I can perform from wherever.

So, that’s happening. I have been twittering my rules for nomadism, which have so far included:

Step 1 // Buy a bigger suitcase.
Step 2 // Buy a fancy DSLR camera
Step 2.5 // Learn to use fancy DSLR camera…
Step 3 // Come up with pretentious name for travels. I like saying this is my ‘Bukowski phase’
Step 4 // Hitch a ride with a cowboy. Otherwise known as my Uncle Bruce. http://ygrog.com/gyf6vwbj
Step 5 // Love affair (duh)
Step 6 // Good friends with futon, tofu stir-fry, Lambic. And a sun-porch.

I assume there will be more. Along with pictures of skylines. I’ve already been taking a lot of pictures of skylines. And I promise a travel-worthy March mix soon…

But really, what I want to do in this post is link to this and this. Two pieces by Ann Friedman, about her own recent travels.

See, I have also driven cross-country from West to East. Twice. Once to New York, once to Washington. I made both of these trips, which I remember as pretty unremarkable (which is to say I don’t remember much about them at all), with other people. I have gone West when I’m seeking greatness, and East when I’m feeling resignation. West is possibility, East is inevitability. West is risky, East is safe. It’s not that I’ve been unhappy on the East Coast. I have found great friends and professional success there, too. But going West always seems to mean moving toward something new and wonderful. I realize this is just a narrative I’ve imposed on the series of choices I’ve made, but it also feels true in some objective sense.

Well. We’ll see.

Extremely Dangerous Tree

It's all sorts of dangerous out here.

Written by Elizabeth

February 23, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Recipe: Carrot Ginger Miso Soup

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I had carrots leftover from making carrot mac-and-cheese earlier in the week, so I decided to try another winter carrot recipe. This Asian-inspired carrot ginger miso soupvia Smitten Kitchen—is not only warming, but packed with health-promoting ingredients—making it a perfect dish for right now, at the height of cold and flu season.

What’s so health-promoting about it? Well, Miso is a ‘live’ food, which means it’s full of infection-fighting probiotics. Fresh ginger is also said to be a cold and flu fighter. Garlic contains a natural antibiotic. And carrots are heavy in vitamin C, which might help if you already have a cold. As Deb of Smitten Kitchen puts it, this dairy-free, gluten free (depending on what type of miso you use), vegan and virtually fat-free soup is “the very picture of healthful do-gooding. It’s about one cube of tofu away from earning a halo or at least being surrounded by singing cherubs.” [Just beware that with the vegetable broth and miso, it’s a little sodium-heavy.]

The soup pairs nicely with simple steamed vegetables and soba or udon noodles (I did bok choy and buckwheat soba noodles). Just a word of caution on the blending step: Hot liquids in a blender will cause the lid to fly off and carrot soup to go flying around your kitchen. Do not repeat my mistake.

Carrot Ginger Miso Soup 

Ingredients: 

2 pounds carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
4 cups vegetable broth
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 – 1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 tablespoons finely chopped or grated ginger
1/4 cup miso paste*
2 scallions, thinly sliced

* I used brown rice miso; Smitten Kitchen used white miso. Some types of miso are gluten-free, others—like barley or rice miso—are not.

Preparation: 

Sauté onion, garlic and carrots in olive oil for about 10 minutes over medium heat.

In soup pot, combine broth and ginger, then add carrot, onion and garlic. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes (until carrots are tender), stirring occasionally.

Puree soup in batches in blender, or all at once with an immersion blender. [This is where I went wrong, and ended up with a wall and sweater full of carrot soup. I think it’s because I transported the hot soup directly from the stove into the blender, and heat increases pressure. I would recommend letting the soup cool a little bit first, and then heating back up when you add the miso. Or try these instructions for blending hot soup without it exploding.]

In a small cup or bowl, whisk together the miso an a half-cup of the pureed soup. Stir the miso mix back into the pot of soup. Season with salt, pepper, additional miso or additional ginger to taste.

Once soup is in bowls, top with scallions. Smitten Kitchen also recommends a drizzle of sesame oil.

Originally published on Blisstree.com.

Written by Elizabeth

February 10, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Recipe: Baked Carrot Mac and Cheese

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I’m not a big fan of carrots on their own, but I know they’re good for me, so I like recipes that kind of sneak them in. But in this carrot mac and cheese dish—my riff on this recipe on Leite’s Culinaria from cookbook author Melissa Clark—the carrots aren’t just for stealth nutrients; they actually add to the macaroni’s creaminess and flavor (while helping cut down on calories by replacing some of the cheese).

I left out the sour cream, eggs and butter from Clark’s recipe (I wasn’t about to attempt vegan mac’n cheese, but I like to cut down on unnecessary dairy and eggs). I also added scallions, for flavor, and ground flaxseed, because that’s another nutrient-filled (but basically tasteless) food I like to sneak into things—though the dish will do fine without either. The result is a rich, creamy and nutrient-dense casserole that you can whip up a big, warm dish of on cold nights—a kinder, healthier comfort food.

Baked Carrot Mac and Cheese

Ingredients: 
2 cups whole-grain macaroni, cooked
2-3 cups carrot, finely grated or roughly pureed
2-3 cups grated cheddar cheese
4 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup milk (dairy or unsweetened dairy substitute, like rice milk)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/2 tbsp mustard powder
salt, pepper

Preparation: 

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Combine cooked, drained macaroni with finely grated or pureed carrots.

3. Stir in cheese, olive oil, milk. Then add scallions, flaxseed, mustard powder, salt and pepper.

4. Pour mix in lightly oiled baking dish. You could sprinkle the top with more cheddar cheese, a little parmesan bread crumbs or raw sunflower seeds.

5. Cook for 20-30 minutes, until it’s lightly browned.

Originally published on Blisstree.com.

Written by Elizabeth

November 8, 2010 at 9:12 pm

Posted in Food, My Life

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