3 Comments

Friday Faves: Hug Wraps

You know the old adage, ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade’? Well, Brenda Jones is a woman who definitely took that notion to heart and is changing the world, one Hug Wrap at a time.

Facing the frightening diagnosis of breast cancer in 2008, Brenda turned her own despair and uncertainty into hope for others with her creative alternative to the traditional, drab hospital gown, in the form of her handmade, adorable and super cozy Hug Wraps.

The old gowns “take away patients’ dignity, respect, comfort; it strips them of everything,” says Brenda, of Southampton, New Jersey. “But when you put on a Hug Wrap, you put on a smile.”

Each Hug Wrap is handcrafted by Brenda and her mission is a simple one: to make sure that every person facing cancer receives a Hug Wrap to know that they are loved and supported throughout their journey toward wellness. To date, more than 1,000 Hug Wraps have been distributed to cancer patients all around the world, each arriving to its recipient with a touching, hand-written note from Brenda — a special sentiment that, undoubtedly, makes a world of difference to those facing the fight of their life.

I have been personally touched by cancer, as I’m sure many of you also have been. My mother is a survivor and I have grandparents who have battled the disease, as well as a very courageous and inspirational classmate who faced breast cancer at 24 years of age and is now cancer-free! I hope to never, ever hear the words “You have cancer,” but I’m so thankful that Brenda and her Hug Wraps are there for those who do.

Please reach out to Brenda to let her know that you think she’s awesome and, if you are able to, support her initiative to make sure that every cancer patient has a Hug Wrap. She’s on Facebook and Twitter and she is hoping to get Hug Wraps featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You can tweet in support of that goal using  or contact the show, directly, to let them know that Brenda and her Hug Wraps rock!

If you know someone who is currently facing cancer, why not gift them a Hug Wrap to let them know that they are surrounded with hugs, love and support?

Thank you, Brenda, for your dedication to bringing a little more comfort, style and hope to those battling cancer. The world needs more people like you!!


1 Comment

Horny Corny

Okay, I know the name is weird, but let me preface this entire post by letting you know that this is not my recipe. It’s my husband‘s. I prefer to call this delicious veggie dish ‘Yum Corn,’ but since it’s not my recipe, I guess I really can’t control the name. So, ‘Horny Corny’ it is!

He’s whipped this up a few times this summer and after one such time when he made it while I wasn’t home, he sent me this text:

I kid you not...

I kid you not…

 

That explains a lot, right?!

He told his mom about his creation and how delicious it is and she was the one that dubbed it ‘Horny Corny!’ We made it when we were visiting his parents in Cape May last weekend and they thought it was pretty awesome! So… There’s how it got its name, and here’s how to make it!

 

Ingredients:

  • 6 ears of fresh corn (you can use frozen corn, as well)
  • 2 Tbsp. Earth Balance
  • salt, to taste

To prepare:

  1. Remove corn from cob and place it on a large sheet of tinfoil with the sides rolled up.
  2. Distribute the Earth Balance over the top of the corn and season with salt.
  3. Transfer to a hot grill and let cook until kernels begin to brown, stirring occasionally.
  4. Taste and add a bit more salt, if necessary.
  5. Get ready to get lucky, fellas and ladies! (Remember… His words, not mine!!!)

 

A little heavy on the EB in this photo... 2 Tbsp. usually does the trick!

A little heavy on the EB in this photo… 2 Tbsp. usually does the trick!

 

CM horny corny

Viola! The brown pieces are the best!!

 

This is a tasty and simple-to-make side dish that pairs well with veggie dogs, burgers and other summertime essentials. It’s really delicious as is — the browned bits of corn really explode with flavor — but feel free to jazz it up a bit. I’m thinking some diced onion, jalapeño or cherry tomatoes would make great additions to this dish.

Makes about 6 servings

Oh, and as far as the validity of the name goes, after eating this corn, I’ve never really gotten the urge to do anything other than run out to the market to get more corn to make up another batch! ;)

 

What are some of your favorite corn recipes?


1 Comment

I Forgot How Awesome Weekends Are

I’ve mentioned before that I work as a pet-sitter and dog-walker. It’s pretty much the perfect job (for me, at least!), but there is one thing I do miss about a more conventional job: weekends. A pet-sitter’s days are long, sporadic and unpredictible, especially during the summer months. It’s not very often I get a day off, let alone two in a row, but I do make sure that I take off a few weekends a year for a little R&R.

Last weekend, I took three whole days off and Ant and I (and the dogs) headed to one of our favorite places in the world — Cape May! It’s a town that holds a ton of great memories for us and we had a wonderful time there, as we always do.

Here’s a little photo recap of some of the things we did.

CM on the way

Heading to nearby Wildwood to check out the new dog beach!

 

CM wildwood dog beach

 

CM wildwood fire hydrant

 

CM hydrant 2

The giant fire hydrant sculpture is made from old amusement ride parts. Pretty neat!

 

CM wildwood plaque

 

CM walking to WW beach

 

CM checkers close up

 

CM sally close up

 

CM sm selfie

In front of The Southern Mansion, where we were married in 2010!

 

CM sm pets

Selfie gone wrong…

 

CM firehouse

 

CM geckos

A little lunch at Gecko’s. Dogs are welcome in the patio dining area!

 

CM Mad Batter drinks

 

CM veg ravioli

Dinner and drinks at The Mad Batter. Vegan ravioli = yum!!

 

CM checkers ocean

Checking out Higbee Beach.

 

CM tree

Very Lion King-esque, don’t you think?

 

CM in the water

 

CM driftwood

 

CM making friends

Making friends!

 

CM dogs waterline

<3

 

CM rolling in sand

 

CM horny corny

Horny corny. More on this in a future post…

 

CM on a boat

Badass boat selfie.

 

CM shoreline

 

CM dolphins

Don’t worry… these are dolphin, not sharks!

 

CM me with cow

I had to stop at this antique store and pose with the plastic cow out front.

 

(Sigh…) I wanna go back!!

Who else loves Cape May? What are some of your favorite spots there?


4 Comments

BDS

No, it’s not some sort of medical condition and it’s not a test that you have to pass to get into an expensive and selective educational program. It’s not the name of the latest pop sensation and it’s not the new tech gadget that everyone has to have.

BDS = big, delicious salad and it’s one of the quickest, easiest and tastiest meals to prepare. Yes, I said meal  and you’ll find out why in a second.

I’m always under the impression that salads get a bad rap and I feel that they’re one of the most underrated foods in the entire food kingdom (yes, I just made that up!). It always seems as though they’re reserved as a last-resort meal choice and limited to the kinds of ingredients that you’d find at your local, $5.99, bottomless salad bar.

But that’s definitely not the case with the BDS.

Here’s why.

I think the greatest thing about salads is that they’re so versatile. Did you know there are more than a dozen varieties of lettuce?! No? Neither did I! Take your pick to form your base, then toss in whatever other ingredients may float your boat at that particular moment or whatever you happen to have on hand. You don’t have to stick to traditional salad ingredients and you don’t even need to stick to a certain theme. There’s no rhyme or reason when it comes to the BDS. If you like it, toss it in and see how it turns out! The sky’s the limit, really! Fruit. Veggies. Seeds. Nuts. Tofu. Tempeh. Veggie burgers. Faux meats. Pretzels. Crackers. Beans. Salsa. Rice. Quinoa. Cous cous. Noodles. Spices. Seasonings. Herbs. Vinegars. Oils. Tahini. Hummus. That mystery thing in the back of your fridge… Okay — maybe not that. Mix hot and cold, cooked and raw, flavors, colors and textures. Don’t be afraid of how it will turn out, because like everything else in life, when it comes to cooking, you only learn from your mistakes — from trial and error — so get in that kitchen and have fun with it!

At the moment, my favorite BDS to make is this Tex-Mex inspired one:

bds

I know it doesn’t look like much, but a photo really can’t do it justice. It also doesn’t help that I’m a terrible food photographer (if you want to get blown away by some awesome food pics, though, check out this blog that I discovered the other day. Mouth = watering!) But trust me — this BDS is like a fiesta in your mouth and I could eat it every single day!!

Here’s what I include:

  • spring mix base
  • sauteed tofu cubes, onions and corn
  • salsa
  • hot sauce
  • grape tomatoes
  • avocado
  • tortilla chips
  • refried beans
  • taco seasoning

The best part? I don’t even need to add salad dressing! I just toss everything together, add a drizzle of olive oil and dig in!

And I assure you, if you don’t think your apetite can be satiated by a ‘mere’ salad, you haven’t yet mastered the art of the BDS. When done right, not only are they big and delicious, but they’re filling as well! The BDS can definitely work as a stand-alone meal for a night when you are short on time or just don’t feel like cooking. They’re great for sharing, but if you’re like me, you just might become a little selfish when it comes to your BDSs!

The next time you find yourself hungry and short on time, or are just looking for a healthier alternative to other types of meals, give a BDS a try and let me know what you think! I’d love to know what kinds of stuff you put in your salads!

P.S. — Although I don’t believe in following recipes too often (I use recipes more for inspiration that instruction), I would love to get my hands on a copy of Terry Hope Romero‘s Salad Samurai to see what kind of wacky and wonderful salad creations I may not have thought of yet! Does anyone have it? What do you think of it?!


3 Comments

Things I Think About When I Don’t Think I’m Supposed to be Thinking

dog savasana

I have a confession to make.

I think during savasana.

Entirely. Too. Much.

I know! It’s like a cardinal yoga sin. I’m not sure why I have such a hard time “shutting off,” but I do. And it’s terrible.

In my last post about yoga, I said that savasana was my favorite part about yoga. And it definitely still is. But it’s also the hardest.

I’m a female over-thinker with a diagnosed anxiety disorder. That lovely trifecta results in a brain that is always, always running and I sometimes wish it had a switch that I could just turn off for a few minutes to get some peace. But there’s no switch, no magic solution, no way to really shut it off. Most of the time, I can keep it under control, but for some reason, I just can’t do that when it comes time for savasana.

During savasana, the body, including the mind, is supposed to enter a quiet and relaxed state, bringing clarity and restoration to the body, mind and soul. However, if you’re anything like me, it doesn’t quite work that way. Instead, the silence and stillness sends my mind into overdrive and I end up having an internal dialogue that sounds something like this:

 

‘Ah, savasana! My favorite part of class!’

‘Am I breathing right? I don’t think I am?’ (change breathing to feel more “right”)

‘That’s better.’

‘Well… Sort of.’

‘Oh my God! Did I lock the door?!’

‘I did.’

‘Wait… Did I?’

‘Yes. I remember now. I did.’

‘Oops. Supposed to be relaxing.’

‘Ew. I think someone just farted!’

‘Hmmm… Breathing still doesn’t seem right.’ (change it again)

‘Crap… I don’t know what I’m going to make for dinner.’

‘Shut up and relax!’

‘Why is my back so itchy?’

‘Supercalifragalisticexpealadocious…’ (wiggle wrists and ankles to the beat)

‘What. The. Hell?’

‘Ok, deep breath. Relax…’

‘Ow! My foot is asleep.’ (shake foot to wake it up)

‘Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.’

‘Wow, it is REALLY quiet in here!’

‘I wonder what my schedule’s like tomorrow.’

‘Does Ant have clean clothes for work?’

‘Geez, would you just relax already?! Time’s almost up!’

‘Damn this pranayama crap!’

‘Oh no! I feel like I have to sneeze.’

‘Please don’t sneeze. Please don’t sneeze. Please don’t sneeze.’

“Achoo!”

‘Damn.’

‘This is so dumb. Why can’t I just enjoy this?’

‘Why is the sky blue?’

‘This lavender [eye pillow] smells so good.’

‘I should really get into aromatherapy again.’

‘I need to get laundry detergent.’

‘Damn it, STOP THINKING!!!!’

‘And toilet paper.’

‘I really liked that music. Very soothing.’

‘JUST STOP!’

‘Breathe.’

‘I’m hungry.’

‘I wonder if anyone else has such a hard time with this.’

‘JENA!!!!! STOP!!!!’

‘Oh, time’s up already?’

‘A little longer, please?’

 

See the problem?…

Once, I tried out a Yoga Nidra class and had to get up halfway through and take a break. The silence and stillness got to me so much that I felt like I was going to have a panic attack. Totally ruined the experience for me.

It looks like I’m not alone though, since I stumbled across these comical but entirely-too–accurate depictions online:

savasana cartoon 2

 

 

savasana cartoon 3

 

 

savasana cartoon

 

Anyone else a chronically over-thinking yogi? What do you do to quiet your mind? Am I a lost cause destined to miss out on the full and wonderful effects of savasana forever? Help!!


1 Comment

The Cinnamon Snail and A Return Trip to Blossom

Last Wednesday, Ant and I trekked up to NYC for the day. As an early birthday present from my parents, he got tickets to see Rocky (only his favorite movie series, EVER!!) on Broadway and luckily for me, he picked me to accompany him. Of course, the day was just as much about the food as it was about the show and we set three goals for ourselves for the day:

  1. Find the Cinnamon Snail for lunch
  2. Immerse ourselves in the entire Rocky experience
  3. Eat a rockin’ dinner at Blossom



Our journey started early that morning. We got ready and drove an hour to the train station and somehow, we ended up in the designated “quiet car” on the train. And apparently, that’s a very serious thing. We got a not-so-friendly “reminder” about it from the ticket-puncher guy within the first five minutes.

Our bad!

It was a long two hours…

shhh train

We got into the city around 11 and moseyed around for a bit before heading out in search of The Snail. We lucked out that day — social media informed us that The Snail just so happened to be parked right near the theater district that day, so we made our way there. I told Ant to look for a long line and head toward that direction. From what I’d heard, where The Snail is, there is always a line.

Sure enough, we found line and it led us right to The Snail!

snail collage

I ordered the special that day, the Habanero Cauliflower Buffalo Wing Sub, along with a Meyer Lemon Twist. Ant got the Smoked Portobello Mushroom Carpaccio sandwich and an “Faux Zebra” donut. My sandwich was spicy! Not in a bad way, though. I enjoyed the kick and was still able to appreciate the other flavors that the arugula and dill spread had to offer. Ant said his sandwich was tasty, too, and we both enjoyed our pastries.

We thought our meal was a bit on the pricey side, but definitely was worth it. If you’re in the city and you happen to see this food truck, you have to brave the line for a bite to eat, even if it’s just for a pastry. I really don’t think you can go wrong with any of their offerings. And, if you’re already a fan, make sure you vote for them to win the title of Vegan/Vegetarian Food Truck of the Year! Hurry, though, the poll closes on August 8th!

snail my sandwich

snail ant sandwich

We took in the sights for a bit longer, then headed to the theater for the show, which was really great. I’m not a huge fan of Rocky (sorry, Ant!… you already knew that, though), but I thought they did an awesome job of working the story into a Broadway production. Sets were impressive and the score was enjoyable. Too bad it’s ending its run on Broadway in a few weeks!!

nyc sights

rocky collage

After the show let out, we made our way to Chelsea for our reservations at Blossom. Of all the veg places to eat in the city, after our stellar meal at Blossom back in March, Ant wanted to return. Although I loved my meal during our first visit there, I would have liked to have tried somewhere new, but it was his day, so Blossom it was! And it didn’t disappoint.

blossom front

The setting inside is cozy and we enjoyed our spot by the window and all the people- and dog-watching it provided. (I’m not much of a city person and could never see myself living in NYC, but if I ever did, I think Chelsea would be the place for me). And the food? Superb, of course! We put it on par with Vedge in our “city,” but I think we both like Blossom just a little bit more.

We started with the chef’s appetizer sampler.

blossom sampler

 

blossom appetizer

Is your mouth watering, yet?

I thought so!

Everything was so, so delicious! I have to admit though, I was a bit freaked out by the caviar — it looked a little too real — but it was quite yummy! My very favorite were the fried pickles, though. You just can’t go wrong with frying up a pickled veggie and dipping it in some tangy sauce! 

For entrees, I had the Moroccan Tagine and Ant had the Port Wine Seitan (which he also had on our first visit).

My tagine was exotic, aromatic and perfectly seasoned and judging by how quickly Ant scarfed down his meal, his was very good, too!


blossom tagine

 

blossom seitan

Of course, we had to squeeze some dessert into our bellies! I had the Chocolate Ganache and he had the Apple Crumble.

blossom desserts

 

Somehow, we managed to roll ourselves out of Blossom and headed back to Penn Station. It’s a good thing that the trains run so often — we were so stuffed with delicious food that the walk back to the train station took us a long, long time!

Overall, we had a wonderful time in New York and we can’t wait to return for our next adventure!

 

Frequent NYC-ers or locals — where are your favorite places to eat in the Big Apple? Has anyone seen Rocky?

 


Leave a comment

Three Things: August

three august

Holy crow! I can’t believe that it’s August already and time for another round of Three Things!

Here were my July goals:

  1. Use less plastic
  2. Lose 8 pounds
  3. Make a fruit & veggie smoothie in my Nutri-Bullet for breakfast every morning



Here’s how I did:

I can happily say that I used significantly less plastic in July than I normally do. I used reusable shopping totes pretty religiously, I limited my purchases of plastic-bottled beverages, I began storing things in lidded containers, instead of in plastic zip baggies and I took The Last Straw Challenge.

I lost two pounds. Not eight, but better than none. I made a conscious effort to eat less bread (my food downfall!) and I think that helped out a bit. This one is remaining a permanent goal…

I had my fare share of smoothies this month. I didn’t have one every morning, but most mornings I did. Oh, but I didn’t always make them in my Nutri-Bullet… that’s because I GOT A VITAMIX!! You guys, this machine is amazing and does everything it claims to do! It’s pricey, but I got a super awesome deal and I think it’s something that should be in every vegan’s kitchen.

Now, on to August’s goals:

  1. Donate blood
  2. Declutter
  3. Try a new yoga class



I’m excited about this month’s Three! Okay, not really. I’m terrified of number one — I get soooo freaked out by getting blood drawn — but it’s something that I really want to do. Check back around September 1 to see how I did!

 

Where are my fellow “Three Thing-ers?!” What are your goals for this month?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 135 other followers