Skinny Bitchin’, Again: Curried Chickpea Cakes

In case you didn’t quite get the gist of my previous post about the new Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Recipes by Kim Barnouin, YOU NEED TO GET IT. Invest the $20 you were going to spend on take-out, and put it toward this wonderful recipe collection.

Here’s another reason why: the curried chickpea cakes. Literally, from start to finish, these probably only take about 10-15 minutes (really!), use very few ingredients so they are super inexpensive, and half the work can be done ahead of time so you just warm them up for dinner!

So, please give all credit to that skinny bitch Kim, and then get the book. Or at the very least, make these right away.

Skinny Bitch Curried Chickpea Cakes


  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup green onions or scallions, roughly chopped small
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tsp cane sugar, OR 1 tsp agave nectar
  • 2/3 cup bread crumbs (unseasoned, I used whole wheat)
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • *I also added 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2/3 cup cooked brown rice (have this cooked and ready to go!)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • grapeseed oil or sesame oil for pan searing (I used sesame)

Add chickpeas and green onions to a food processor, and pulse until everything is ground and mixed together. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Add the coconut milk and dried spices and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula. It will form a dough-like consistency.

Add cooked brown rice and salt, and mix.

Mold mixture into balls and press, to make 8-10 patties.  *If you aren’t ready to eat them right away, put wax paper down on a baking sheet, put patties on sheet, and cover with saran wrap. You can put them in the fridge until you are ready to eat!

In a large pan, add enough oil to thinly coat the bottom of the pan, and heat on a medium temperature. Add patties and sear until the bottom os browned, about 3-4 minutes, then flip to brown the other side. Take them out of the pan and place on paper towels to help remove excess oil. Continue until all patties are cooked.

That’s it! I told you it was easy. I made these with a salad of kale, carrots and spicy peanut sauce. The chickpea cakes are great on their own, but you can add a fresh salsa or chutney on top.

Upon eating dinner, we (all two of us) came to a unanimous decision that these are absolutely delicious and we need to have them at least once a week.

And here’s the best part: if you have all the spices and oil on hand, ALL YOU HAVE TO BUY are green onions, coconut milk and a can of chickpeas. If you have some of those on hand, all the better.

I dare you to try and save some for leftovers.

IT GETS BETTER: A Lehigh Valley Video Project

I’m sure most of you are familiar with the “It Gets Better” project – an internet based project where various people in support of GLBT rights and tolerance have had short video testimonials aimed at queer youth, to remind them that much of the harassment and injustices they face will get better in time.

The internet is full of video subissions, from various organizations to political leaders, to random folks wanted to lend their words and support. I’m so happy to announce that when I got in touch with some people to see if they had interest in helping make a Lehigh Valley PA submission, everyone immediately said “Yes!”.

So! On Sunday, Nov. 7th, ANYONE interested in participating can go to Civic Theatre of Allentown, from 1-4pm, where they will get a maximum of 3 minutes to lend themselves and their voice to be filmed. The point of the project is to remind people that over time, you get more comfortable in your own skin, and you find support from friends and community that are sometimes hard to come by when you’re a teen.

You are welcome to do this in any way that suits you best – read off a paper, just start talking, share a story, get mad, get excited, play an intrument… whatever you do best, do it and be proud!

Please go here to see the online event page, and spread the word: It Gets Better Lehigh Valley

Huge gigantic THANK YOU’S to: Sarah and Matt Fulton of Post Sputnik, you do incredible work that constantly improves and gets people excited about the Lehigh Valley. The fact that you will lend your equipment, talent and time to this project is humbling and everyone this affects will be forever grateful.

And also to Ryan Hill (my love!), Bill Sanders and Arlene Daily of Civic Theatre of Allentown, because despite organizing, planning and rehearsing the biggest production of the year, you all immediately wanted to help out and offered Civic Theatre as the public space for the filming to be held.

This project is for ANYONE that supports GLBT people and rights. There is a full, thriving community in the Lehigh Valley and this is a beautiful place for anyone to call home.

(Skinny) Bitchin’ about a New Cookbook!

If someone told you a book about veganism, slaughterhouses and insults would become a bestselling book, would you believe them? Likely not. But that’s just what happened when Rory Friedman and Kim Bournouin titled their book Skinny Bitch: A No Nonsense Guide for Savvy Girls Who Want to Stop Eating Crap and Start Looking Fabulous!

Very sneaky. Under the guise of a regular ol’ diet book, Skinny Bitch shot to the top of the bestseller list almost immediately. While it is packed full of weight loss advice, nutrition info and some recipes, it also includes details about slaughterhouses and gross conditions of animals raised for food. It’s an interesting approach, though likely a little shocking for people who didn’t see it coming.

My over 60 year old boss (at my bookstore job) read it and went vegan overnight. Incredible!

Rory and Kim have since put out many more books (about being pregnant and vegan, for example) but recently Kim released a hardcover, full-color cookbook. Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook is full of fresh, easy and delicious recipes that all use whole foods.

Some of the best and most unique recipes include: vegan blue cheese dressing (WOW!), vegan chicken marsala, and coconut banana french toast. Are you salivating?

The other night for dinner I made the Peanut Pasta Salad with Fried Tembeh bits – essentially an asian inspired warm noodle dish with fresh broccoli, carrots and the BEST peanut sauce I’ve ever made! I know not everyone likes peanut butter – I’ve yet to  understand how that is humanly possible – but if you do like peanut butter and peanut sauces, this will blow your mind.

Skinny Bitch Peanut Sauce

  • 3 Tbsp peanut butter (preferably natural)
  • 1/4 cup water (if the water is hot, it’s easier to mix)
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 Tbsp agave nectar
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons french minced/grated ginger

Mix everything together, then put use it on noodle dishes such as this one, leafy greens, or anything else edible. It would likely make cardboard taste delicious.

Tonight, I’m going to make the Curried Chickpea Cakes. Whoa, I know. Want to come over?

FREAK FLAGS FLY: New reality show “Freaky Eaters”

This morning, the Rachel Ray show featured folks from a TLC reality TV show that I, at first, thought I misunderstood because I had never heard of anything like it. The show is called “Freaky Eaters”, and documents people who have alleged food addictions to only a certain type of food, or more specifically, only one food.

And I don’t mean your old, alpha-male uncle who insists “I only eat meat at every meal!” – no no. There is a man on this show who, for example, only eats cheeseburgers. That’s it. For every meal. Not hot dogs. Not chicken sandwiches. Not steak. Literally, all he eats for every meal are cheeseburgers.

Another woman has such a sugar addiction. Before she is even out of bed she reaches for her nightstand to consume candy, then gets up. She consumes 6,500 calories a day in sugar.

Other addictions on the show include: cheese, bread, pasta and potatoes.

Thankfully, the show doesn’t just highlight these unusual habits and leave them to be mocked or gawked at like a carnival sideshow. The folks featured receive intensive therapy, coming to terms with the the underlying causes of their addictions (as with drugs or alcohol), and then work with a therapist to overcome the problem.

The shows psychotherapist Mike Dow works to help the addicts understand not just the problems with addiction in general, but also the health, social and environmental ramifications. He shows how relationships have been strained – the hamburger guy’s wife is in culinary school, and she is heartbroken that he will never eat the food she cooks for her family. He piles a wall of  pizza boxes to show the trash and waste. He covers a fake grave with sugar.

In the Los Angeles Times, Dow said “When you consider that two-thirds of Americans are overweight, I think there are a lot of people out there who do have a problem. Hopefully, we will see things like people increasing meaningful relationships and decreasing the importance of food, and adding purpose and pleasure to their lives.”


DON’T YOU AGREE?: The Four Agreements

This is a book I finally snagged for myself after finding it for a quarter at a thrift shop. It’s been around forever (well, for years) and I had flipped through it on various occasions while perusing dormmates bookshelves in college. I encourage you to buy or borrow a copy and give yourself an hour to read it.

To sum up, the author speculates that all of our belief systems about the world, our peers, and ourselves comes from agreements we have made with ourselves. “I think people should act this way, therefore if they don’t, they are wrong.” The expectations and assumptions we have agreed to believe are perceived as THE TRUTH, and deviation from them is unacceptable.

If we can strip all of those perceptions down to a bare minimum, and agree to the four concepts in this book, we (and essentially, everyone else) could live with so much more peace, love and kindness.

The Four Agreements are:

1. Be Impeccable With Your Word

The broad scope of this concept is to avoid sin against yourself by what you think.  Sinning against the self takes many forms: such as, putting yourself down, gossiping, or putting anybody else down because you don’t agree with what they think.  Actions and words need to be consistent as part of being impeccable with yourself.  The other side of the coin is the smoky mirror concept.  Ruiz makes the point that our perceptions of others are merely reflections of ourselves.  Therefore, to put another down or project negative words or energy towards another person, is to lash out at the other person because of our own insecurities.

2. Don’t Take Anything Personally

There is an awful lot of negative energy out there and some of it is directed at us by other people.  If you take it personally and take on the poison of another’s words, it becomes a very negative agreement you have with yourself.  What anybody thinks about you, or says about you, is really about them.  Not taking it personally allows you to be in relationship with anyone and not get trapped in their stuff.  This agreement can also pertain to things that we take personally that cause us to go into upset.

3. Don’t Make Assumptions

What we think we understand about what someone says, how someone looks at us, what someone means by what they do, etc, may often not reflect reality at all, and more often than not lead us to think badly of ourselves or of others, and reinforce not being impeccable with our word.

4. Always Do Your Best

Your “best” is a variable thing from moment to moment.  “When you do your best, you don’t give the Judge the opportunity to find you guilty or to blame you.”  You can always say, “I did my best.”  There are no regrets. (p.80)  The other key to doing your best revolves about being in action.  “Action is about living fully.  Inaction is the way that we deny life.  Inaction is sitting in front of the television every day for years because you are afraid to be alive and to take the risk of expressing what you are.  Expressing what you are is taking action.  You can have many great ideas in your head, but what makes the difference is the action.  Without action upon an idea, there will be no manifestation, no results, and no reward.” (p.82)

It can be intimidating to step back from yourself and admit that just because you claim you value something (“I have patience”; “I respect others opinions before injecting my own”, etc…) doesn’t mean you actually live those values (“Why can’t you change this immediately!?” or “I’m going to talk about you behind your back because something you did offended me!”).

It’s awfully selfish of us to assume everything is about us/for us/against us/has to do with us. What if we spend all of that time focusing on doing things for OURSELVES, and instead made assumptions that other people were doing things for themselves? To strive to speak kind words of people before hurtful ones? To remember that every person has their own whole entire life of experience that existed before we ever came along?

Reclaim your actions, and do so with integrity!

A Way With Words

My hilarious stepdad is a very slow typer – one of those guys who searches the keyboard for each individual letter, making a few sentences take many minutes to execute.

He has recently taken up writing poetry on Facebook. Most of his poems are about the Phillies (an example below), but today I was overjoyed/flattered to see him write one about Save the Kales. I’m sharing that poem with you, copied and pasted exactly as written, grammar errors and all because it’s more adorable that way.

It also helps if you imagine that my stepdad is essentially a guy from the SNL “Superfans” sketch, except someone who likes Philly sports teams.


SAVE THE KALES is a great blog, I hope that you’ll stop by.
Veggie and vegan cooking, Trust me it’s worth a try.
Jaime K runs this blog, and she will answer questions for you.
She’s very good at what she does, and is very pretty too.
So stop by SAVE THE KALES and im sure that you will say.
Im very glad I did stop by, just to meet Jaime K.

If you’re interested in his Phillies poems, here’s just a taste of the one he wrote last week:


The PHILLIES are in it and the Rays are not.
A repeat of 08 is not what we got.
In the playoffs I’ll tell you whats lame,
Hometown fans who won’t say till the end of the game.
The Rays will be at home eating there chili,
watching the series,

Thank you, Rich, for the endless hilarity that comes when you use the internet! I love you!

Savory Desserts: EVENT This Weekend!

I was planning today’s post when I got a phone call that it wasn’t too late to hop aboard the Just Desserts train, so now I’m preparing for that!  If you live in the Lehigh Valley area and like tasty treats, come out to Just Desserts this Saturday on Southside Bethlehem.

For $10 in advance ($12 that day), you get to sample 22 dessert tables set up at 22 different shops. There may or may not be voting for your favorites (can anyone confirm or deny this idea?), and meet your neighbors and friends and check out local businesses. If you haven’t been to Southside lately, you owe it to yourself to go. There is a LOT of wonderful stuff happening over there!

I’ll be out front of the best hair salon your pretty little mind could think to dream up, Eskdandalo!, with owner Alison Leigh and me dishing out the sophistocated (and all vegan) goodies.

What ARE the goodies? Well… I’m not tellin’. But here’s a hint:

All of these ingredients plus many more will be a part of the dessert party! Don’t get too excited, under-agers, all the wine alcohol will be cooked out. (Maybe.)

This rainy day is perfect for preparing – leftover wine, a supervising cat, and Ella Fitzgerald singing to me from the turntable. A wonderful reminder that we don’t need much in life to have the most wonderful times. It’s true!

I hope to see you Saturday (6pm-8pm)!


(Tickets can be purchased at participating shops, including  but not limited to: Cleo’s, Home and Planet, Eskandalo! Salon,  Godfrey Daniels, Apotheca Salon, SHUZE, Timezones Global Goodies & Framing Gallery, Loose Threads Boutique, Hard Bean Café, Homebase Skate Shop, Fox Optical, Tallarico’s Chocolates, Molly’s Irish Pub & Grill and more!)


Playing Dress Up

A couple of weeks ago, I had a conversation about a specific topic, and since then the subject has come up multiple times in my personal life, and in surrounding influences/others’ lives.

I was talking with some friends about how strange it is when people attack you or put you down based on who you inherently are. Not for something you’ve done, or a particular belief or opinion, but rather the ways you’ve embraced and continually express yourself.

The initial conversation with friends began when someone was upset (annoyed?) because an ex-partner was accusing her of being superficial because she enjoys doing her hair, makeup and putting nice outfits together. I immediately related – when my last relationship ended (and I will never disrespect that person here, I’m just sharing this part of my experience), hurt feelings meant that suddenly my love for dressing up, and writing blogs (which I have done since age 15 – thankfully most have dissipated into the internet), and taking photos, etc… was just “my way of seeking attention/being high-maintenance/superficial.”

I know, I know, it’s a silly thing in the grand scheme. But it hurts. Because it isn’t about any of those awful things, and it never has been.

I spent years of my youth feeling bad about myself because I didn’t have the physical attributes of many of my peers. When I hit the ninth grade and discovered the underground music scene (which was INCREDIBLE in the late 1990’s in Wilkes-Barre!), it was one of the single most positive influences of my life. And aside from the many things being a part of that community gave me, my self esteem about how I looked finally emerged.

The older girls I looked up to were covered in tattoos and crazy vintage-inspired clothes, and were politically active, preparing to leave for college at ivy league schools, touring all over the country with bands, writing books, starting craft businesses, and organizing community events. Smart was sexy. And so was wearing what you liked and owning it.

While my style may have shifted slightly over the years (1920’s vamp, ridiculous rockabilly, etc.), I have always felt the most “myself” when expressing it outwardly. It’s fun. It makes me feel good. It has ZERO to do with gender-norms, and EVERYTHING to do with me liking it. So there.

Halloween is a silly time, and everyone has fun dressing up. But why not do that every day? In the first issue of WINK Magazine, lovely Lisa O’Brien wrote a wonderful article about the fun and self-definition that comes with dressing for yourself, whatever that means for you. And in the current issue which focuses on the theme of Costumes, Editor-in-Chief Tina Hemmerle has a wonderful feature once again driving this point home:

“…getting into costume is something we do every day of our lives, EVERY TIME WE GET DRESSED… our costume is a powerful form of non-verbal communication…

It is just plain fun to “dress up”… For me, a great way to turn a dreary day into peaches and rainbows is to wear something that will make other people smile. Even when my plan backfires and people point and scoff, I still feel good knowing I don’t blend in with the crowd. Contrary to a popular general belief, this behavior does NOT come from a need for attention, but rather a desire to express that I am not LIKE everyone else in the crowd, and that I don’t require the approval of others to maintain personal happiness. “

I suppose my point is this: Live your life in a way that feels good and true for you. How can anyone think badly of that?

And: Go out and pick up the new issue of WINK Magazine! There’s an awesome Lady Gaga-inspired photoshoot, a history of local hauntings, my article about literary character/author Halloween costumes, and much more sassiness!

(Photos in post taken from Advanced Style, a wonderful blog that chronicles the street fashion of old people, and Fashion Pirates, a truly fabulous blog by a stylish young lady – she’s only 17!! – that is equally inspiring and hilarious)


If there is one thing single, solitary thing in the world that every last person alive, dead, and eventually born could use more of – it’s love. And not just romantic love, but the sort of love that is imminent, that exists within and between each of us as humans beings toward ourselves, toward one another.

LOVE is never, ever wrong and while our world is not perfect, every day I do believe we move closer to loving our fellow human beings enough to treat everyone with equality, dignity, and importance.

On this day, let us reflect on the people worldwide and those in our personal lives that have faced opposition because of loving a same-sex partner. (I guarantee there are more people than you realize.) Let us not just empathize with the struggles, but take action to speak up on behalf of them to continue to make the world a more compassionate place.

Let those in the queer community remember that the straight community is full of allies that would do anything they could to support you, so reach out and explain how.

Let the queer community also reject opposition to bisexual and transgendered folks, remembering that everyone is fighting the same fight – to love freely. When you criticize queer people that may not identify specifically as “gay”, you have stopped progress in it’s tracks. Equal rights and respect for all.

Let us – all of us – do what we can to live every day sharing that LOVE with our friends and neighbors, strangers, people like us and people different than us, people we have hurt and people we have helped. Sometimes all it takes is the projection of loving kindness to understand what once seemed hard to comprehend.

A truly open heart doesn’t shut it’s doors to anybody. And better yet, it’s contagious.

Happy Coming Out Day!

Never be afraid to be yourself!

FALL SOUP: Apple Sweet Potato Coconut Saffron

That’s a lot of delicious in one little bowl! This soup is a perfect example of how I like to cook – think about tasty flavors and find a way to mush them all together. In this case, literally and the mushing was done with a food processor.

Tip for reluctant cooks: If all of your ingredients are yummy, it’s going to be difficult to make something that tastes bad. Trust your instincts! Have fun!

After making this soup, I realized I could have done a few things differently – namely, peeling the apples and sweet potatoes before baking them. I left the skins on and then squished out the insides once they were soft. (That sounds so violent, yikes!) The downside: some of the insides remained, and by peeling first I could have got a little more. The plus side: eating the baked apple and sweet potato skins with the remnants of the insides is DELICIOUS, and super-duper good for you (lots of fiber and nutrients!). Use whatever method works for you.



  • 3/4  lb. sweet potatoes (about 5-7 small to medium sized potatoes)
  • 6 apples (I used cortland apples),
  • 3 shallots, rough chopped in small pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, rough chopped in small pieces
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1 cup plain almond milk (or other nondairy milk, but almond is really creamy)
  • 2 cups water (added later than the previously mentioned cup)
  • 1 small pack saffron (0.2 grams)
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • salt to taste

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cut sweet potatoes and apples in half lengthwise.  Brush olive oil on flesh side, put flesh side down on a baking sheet.

*I only had room for 3 of the halved apples on my sheet. Since they are less dense than potatoes, the apples were done first. I removed the baked apples (the skin started to remove itself) while leaving the potatoes, then added the rest of the halved apples. When the second batch was done, so were the sweet potatoes. I swapped apples at about 20- minutes in, then put the tray back in for another 20 minutes.

Remove tray and allow apples and sweet potatoes to cool.

In a large soup pot, add 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Add red pepper and shallots. These veggies will cook in the water instead of sauteing in oil. When veggies have “sauteed” in the water and water has evaporated some, add the rest of the ingredients. When you can handle the apples and sweet potatoes, remove the skins or scoop out with a spoon and drop into the pot.

Saffron is a really unique spice, but it’s EXPENSIVE. However, it’s distinctive flavor make it something nice to go to once in a while. For $3.00, I only got this tiny amount, but it did impact the flavor of the soup. (You can, of course, omit it from the recipe if you don’t want to use it.)


Once everything has boiled in the pot for about 10 minutes, remove pot from heat and allow to cool. Ladle into the food processor in batches (or use an emulsion blender – next on my list of needed kitchen gadgets!).

Garnish with more allspice, or a cinnamon stick!

This is a sweet soup, but hearty and comforting for cool fall nights. It’s VERY low fat (the biggest source of fat coming from the coconut milk), and the red pepper and sweet potato make it extremely high in vitamin C – great if you feel a cold coming on.

Snuggle up and enjoy!