Tangy vegan cheeze queso

Tangy vegan cheeze queso

This cheezy queso is so good. Flavor wise it’s as close as cheesily possible to the real thing. My kids gobble it up without comment, so it’s definitely good enough to fool the palette of ten years olds. Their dad has them convinced that ‘vegan’ is a homonym for ‘gross’ so I let them happily believe my queso is made with all the animal products and they don’t complain one bit.

When I was young and nutrition was the farthest thing from my mind, I would frequent a popular convenience store for hot dogs and absolutely crush them with chili and queso.  Now I wouldn’t touch a convenience store hot dog if you paid me, and store bought queso is not something you will ever find in my pantry, but that doesn’t mean I cant dip things into a velvety bowl of cheeze sauce when the mood strikes.   

Cutting dairy from my diet has led me to better skin and fewer digestive upsets but I am only human, and sometimes I find myself craving the savory taste of cheese.  Miyokos vegan cheese cookbook is the very first book I ever purchased on Amazon. I’ve played around with a variety of vegan cheeses trying to recreate that authentic cheese flavor.  Some have been pretty good and some have been worthy of the compost bin.  But this queso…this is the business.

Both vegans and non vegans LOVE it.  It can be easily be customized and used as a cheeze sauce for veggies, or vegan mac and cheeze.   It’s not as nut heavy as some other vegan cheeses, making it lower fat and easier on the wallet.

If you have been disappointed with other vegan cheeze sauce or are looking for a new recipe that really is hard to screw up, this is the one.  It is tangy, creamy, smooth, satisfying, and CHEESY. This right here is the answer to all your dairy free prayers.

Tangy vegan cheeze queso

Ingredients:

2 medium potatoes peeled and cubed

1 carrot peeled and cubed

1/2 cup soaked cahsews

2 cups veggie or mushroom stock

1/8 cup nutritional yeast

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp dijon mustard

1 tsp arrowroot starch

2 tbsp canned chillies

1 tbsp chopped pickled jalapenos

Directions:

Peel and cube the potatoes and carrots and simmer in the 2 cups of stock for about 30 minutes or until softened

Use a slotted spoon to remove the boiled veggies from the broth and place in a high powered blender. Allow to cool slightly

Add all the remaining ingredients except for the jalapenos and chilis to the blender and pour 1/2 cup of the reserved stock over the ingredients

Blend on high speed until all the ingredients are combined and become velvety and cheesy in texture.

Season with additional salt, pepper, nutritional yeast and acid to your taste if needed

Pour into a serving bowl and stir in the pickled chilies and jalapenos (feel free to omit for picky eaters)

Serve immediately and enjoy

Sweet and spicy red snapper ceviche

Sweet and spicy red snapper ceviche

My city is going through a major heat wave and cooking in my hot kitchen has become a torturous event.  I woke up this morning dreaming of crisp autumn days which is crazy considering every year winter nearly kills me and spring can’t come soon enough.  Us humans are so hard to please. 

Yesterday I made dinner in the slow cooker but found even just having the appliance running seemed to add unwelcome warmth to an already sweltering kitchen.  Tonight, I decided, dinner will be cold.

People in hot climates understand the misery of cooking on hot days.  Ceviche is a dish commonly enjoyed in South America where days are hot and fish are a’plenty.  It is one of my favorite fish dishes that I find just as satisfying as any hot meal. 

If you are a person who is afraid of sushi or gets squeamish at the though of raw fish, don’t fear.  The fish in ceviche is technically cooked, though no heat is used.  The citrus in the recipe denatures the fish to the point where it becomes texturally similar to cooked fish. 

Ceviche can be made with any white fish, prawns or scallops. Fresh is always better than frozen as it retains a better texture and wont turn mushy on you. I went to my local fish monger for a recommendation and she suggested some fresh red snapper. My ceviche turned out beautiful and was a lot less expensive than some other potential varieties.

I love to eat ceviche with plantain chips or tostones.  Plain old tortilla chips or beans and rice can be a lovely pairing too.  If you’re super low carb or keto, just dig right in with a spoon and enjoy… it’s so good. If you’re vegan, omit the fish and you have a killer pico de gallo on your hands. This is a very versatile recipe that will hit every inch of your taste buds.

Sweet and spicy red snapper ceviche

Ingredients:

3 fillets of snapper or 2.5 cups cubed white fish

4 limes juiced

1/4 cup orange juice

2 tbsp finely diced red onion

2 minced cloves of garlic

1 cubed avocado

1 diced red bell pepper

1 diced jalapeno

1 diced roma tomato

a handful of chopped cilantro

1 cup cubed pineapple or mango

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Season and cube your fish into 1/2 inch peices

Juice the limes and mix with orange juice in a glass or porcelain bowl. There should be about a cup of citrus juice

Add the fish to the citrus, stir to combine, cover and refrigerate for 4-5 hours

An hour before eating chop up the remaining ingredients into a fine dice

Using a slotted spoon scoop the fish out of the citrus juice and toss in with the diced veggies

Spoon 4-5 tbsp of the citrus liquid over the ceviche and stir to combine

Return to the fridge for about an hour to combine the flavours

Season once more with salt and pepper to taste

Serve and enjoy

My personal struggle with shiny object syndrome and four simple exercises I use to stay focused

My personal struggle with shiny object syndrome and four simple exercises I use to stay focused

Have you ever heard of shiny object syndrome?  It’s a term I only recently discovered, which is surprising considering I have been suffering from it my entire adult life.

Shiny object syndrome is the curse of the Entrepreneur, it also frequently infects individuals with ADD.  Being an entrepreneur with ADD, I have been thrown off course by the shininess of things on multiple occasions.  It has led me to dip my toes in multiple lakes without ever making it across a single one.  I have explored the waters of a registered hypnotherapist, reiki healer, new media specialist, hairstylist, computer coder, holistic nutritionist, novelist and aspiring fashion designer and have yet not achieved great success with any of the above.  The struggle is real.

The rise of the internet has brought with it so much opportunity, almost any dream has become achievable, and yet so many people seem to be so lost.

I blame all the shiny objects. 

Shiny objects are opportunities that look so bright and shiny you are willing to throw out whatever projects you are already working on to chase them.  They are the get rich quick schemes or the new trends that trigger major FOMO and send us jumping feet first into uncharted waters.   

It’s important to be willing to switch course if the universe is nudging you in a different direction, but if you find yourself switching course on an annual basis you probably have come down with a case of SOS.

Having shiny object syndrome is like deciding to climb a mountain, getting half way up and realizing you’d rather climb that other mountain over there.  You will always be climbing without the satisfaction of reaching the summit.  So exhausting.

So how do we utilize the vast opportunity created by modern technology without getting distracted by shiny objects along the way?  I believe there are some simple adjustments anyone can make to stop the exhausting cycle of SOS.  I’ve used them in my own life with great results and you can too.

Step into your zone of genius

This is the most important place to start.  Not truly knowing what your life mission is, is a sure fire way to get sucked into shiny object syndrome.   Really getting still and focusing in on your purpose is the first and most important step to realising it. 

Some ways to identify your thing is to lean into those things that make you feel amazing.  Maybe you won’t become a tennis pro at 40, but if Tennis makes you feel better than anything else, you could start teaching private lessons or open a tennis shop. 

Your zone of genius is the place you shine.  You are your best self here.  Time moves differently here.  You could stay here forever and be happy.  Once you step into your zone of genius you can better plot a path forward without getting distracted by all the shiny things because you are on your path.  Wouldn’t it be so much easier to stick to a diet of food you enjoy than food you hate?   

If you have a few things and just can’t decide on ‘the one’ ask yourself…. all money and glory aside, what is ‘the thing’ you would regret not having gone for at the end of your life.  Be honest with yourself and don’t sell yourself short.  There’s nothing like our own impending mortality to make us realize that not chasing our dreams is actually way crazier than chasing them.

 Learn to still your mind and practice positive self talk

When my mind is not still I can get swept up in the chaos of wanting to achieve a million things simultaneously or wanting to drop everything for something that seems brighter and shiner.  More than once I have found myself with a cluttered mind looking up nursing programs or checking out the prerequisites for law school.  ‘Just get a real job already’ I’ve been prone to tell myself, ‘your odds of having a successful clothing line are slim to none.’ 

But then I get still with my thoughts and I remember being a little girl making clothes for her barbies. I realize how good it makes me feel to create things with my hands.  This sets me back on course and every other shiny little thing falls away. 

Spending time in meditation is vital for those of us with SOS.  Every time those negative thoughts creep into my mind I crush them with a mantra ‘I have a successful clothing company.’ Once you have identified your ultimate goal, create a mantra for yourself that you will repeat when you feel self doubt or are tempted by shiny objects.  The mantra will help reset your focus and will remind the entire universe that you are here on a mission and you are going to achieve it.

Set concrete goals

Goal setting is everything. Writing down goals gives them even more merit.  I find it incredibly helpful to set a five year goal and then back engineer it by writing out what I will need to achieve every year to hit my five year objective.

My goal were set in January for this year. They were to design my collection, pick my fabrics and begin selling pieces so I can receive feedback on fit.  It’s just over the half way mark of the year and I have smashed this goal. 

Having my goal for the year has allowed me to focus more deeply than I usually am able to and has (mostly) kept my SOS at bay.

Write lists

I have become the queen of list writing.  My husband makes fun of me for all the notebooks filled with lists that I leave everywhere. 

I think I might also have shiny notebook syndrome.   

But writing lists truly is the ultimate SOS remedy, especially for anyone struggling with ADD or general cluttered thinking.

I do a very generalized list the first for the month, a more specific list on Sunday nights for the week, and usually jot down at least three things I need to accomplish every day before bed.  When I wake up in the morning I don’t have any time to scheme about shiny objects because there is a list to get through. 

I have been known to overestimate what I can do in a day and underestimate what I can do in a month.  If this is you, don’t worry about it just slide those unfinished tasks over to the next day.  As long as you continue with the process you will be blown away when the month comes to an end and you can assess everything you have been able to accomplish.

If you or someone you know is suffering from SOS I hope you will find this list as helpful as I have.  I know how frustrating the shiny object curse can be. Having dreams is a big part of what makes life beautiful, but achieving those dreams is what makes life worth living.

Zero waste DIY pant hem scrunchies

Zero waste DIY pant hem scrunchies

Scrunchies seem to be all the rage these days. They can be found plastered all over my pinterest feed, atop the coifs of IG models and on the shelves at my own salon. From a fashion perspective they can make a messy mom bun look romantic and pulled together in an instant, and from a hairstylist perspective they are much more hair friendly than a typical old elastic. There’s no denying scrunchies are having a major moment, but paying some of the scrunchie prices Ive seen makes me want to shave my head.

Scrunchies are not hard to make even for the most novice sewer. And if you would prefer to skip the fabric store lineup and have a pair of pants that needs hemming you can whip up a couple of zero waste scrunchies in no time.

Wide leg flood pants are also having a moment. I personally love a pair of ankle grazers, so when I picked up these awkwardly long linen pants at the thrift store for the shop, I knew I was getting a two for one.

To make your scrunchies:

Chop the bottoms off your pants and cut the seam off of one side so you have a long rectangle rather than a circle. I also suggest trimming off any existing hem so that all four sides are raw. Whether you are working with flat fabric or a pant hem your rectangle should be a width of at least 4″ and a length of at least 18″ The wider the width the more voluminous your scrunchie, and the longer the length the more scrunch it will have.

Fold your rectangle in half length wise with the right sides together and sew along the joined edges.

Turn your tube right side out using a seam turner, or attaching a safety pin to one end and slowly feeding it through.

Cut an eight inch long piece of elastic attach a safety pin to the end of the elastic and slowly feed it through the tube. It helps to pin the other end to the opposite edge of the fabric tube so you don’t end up losing the elastic inside of it. The idea is you want to be able to tie or sew the two ends of the elastic together inside of the fabric tube….like so.

Once your elastic has been secured into a circle, fold the raw ends of the tube in on themselves and tuck one end into the other.

Sew in a straight line as close to the edge as you can to seal the elastic within the scrunchie.

Pop that three-days-with-no-shampoo-mom-hair into a messy bun and go about your biz looking look chic a f.

If you make yourself some scrunchies let me know how they turn out and please feel free to pin this tutorial if you found it helpful!

Stop giving others the permission to make you feel shitty

Stop giving others the permission to make you feel shitty

One of my girlfriends recently came over for a hang out and as she was leaving, her son asked if they could come back again soon. 

“Of course, I have nothing going on right now and Elle definitely has nothing going on right now,” she said. It was an innocent response. Just some words coming out of someone’s mouth with no meaning aside from the meaning I chose to give them, but of course I allowed those words to make me feel like poo. I spent the rest of the day in a funk feeling like loser of the year.

In that comment I convinced myself that the whole world perceives me as someone who ‘doesn’t have much going on.’  (Because I’m so important the whole world even thinks of me at all right? lol.) I started picking apart everything I was working towards and telling myself I have accomplished nothing of value.

Even though I have an eccomerce shop, it’s just an Etsy shop and not even a very great one.  Even though I’m in school, its only an online diploma.  Even though I write for this blog, it’s nothing more than a hobby.  Even though I work outside of the home, it’s only twenty hours a week.  Even though I’m a mom, I’m not even a mom who keeps up with homeschooling.

And in that moment, everything I had accomplished in my entire life amounted to nothing more than a big pile of doo doo. 

Later that day as I was feeling thoroughly sorry for myself, I headed out to walk the dog with my favorite podcast downloaded.  As the rain started to sprinkle, I pulled a hood over my head and hit play. I don’t know how she does it, but Cathy Heller from the ‘Don’t Keep Your Day Job Podcast’ always has what I need when I need it, and I highly recommend her to every creative mompreneur I know. 

Almost immediately I received the message I needed to hear;

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

Eleanor Roosevelt

I snapped right out of my funk.  My friend had simply said some words, it was me who gave those words the permission to ruin my day.  Obviously, we can’t change the way others perceive us, so why worry about it.  There are always going to be people who judge us, or who just don’t get it, but at the end of the day, who really cares?! In reality, no one is actually spending much time thinking about us at all.  Everyone is far too worried about their own lives.  The fleeting judgments others do have only matter if we choose to let them.

There is no way for anyone else to understand our personal experience.  No one else is with us walking in our shoes. Nobody is watching us grind daily, waking up early, staying up late, barely having a moment to catch our breath and still only feeling like we’ve reached some imaginary halfway point. So our opinion of ourselves is the only one that matters. People will think what they want, but allowing those thoughts to affect us in any way… that’s on us.  

And so rather than feeling like loser of the year, I chose to round out that day feeling proud of myself… as we all should. Every. Single. Day. We are exactly where we are supposed to be in our personal journey, so let’s stop wasting time worrying about other peoples opinion and start feeling good about how far we have already come.

We have to stop giving others the permission to make us feel shitty, because we have way too much going on and aint nobody got time for that.