Patton Oswalt, NEPA BlogCon, The Perks of Being a Wallfower, oh and… It’s the Last Year of My 20’s.

Tomorrow, Sept. 28th, is my birthday! I hope to spend Sunday evening drinking wine around a fire and ruminating on life, what being one-year-from-3o means (everything? nothing), but for now let me tell you about some WONDERFUL THINGS going on, starting now:

Patton Oswalt

Friday, September 28th (2 shows) – 7:30pm and 10:30pm, Steelstacks in Bethlehem, PA

If I get to spoon (I’d settle for a hug and a photo) Patton on my birthday, I’ll never talk about eyeliner again. Maybe. But I do have a crush on him in the way that he represents every awesome dude I was friends with growing up, who were just really funny, clever, normal-people with a lean toward/fullblown nerdiness , and he grew up to make a career out of all of those things. I feel… proud of him. (?)

Bonus: My boyfriend is the opening act, too! Birthday threesome?! OF HUGS.

“If one more of my Whole Foods-friends tells me I need to have a home birth, I am going to punch all the soy on the planet.”

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NEPA BlogCon

Saturday, Sept. 29th in Naticoke, PA. 8am-7pmish

North East Pennsylvania Blog Conference is a new event, and an all-day nonstop blog explosion featuring workshops and panels from folks all over the East Coast (um, hello, Gala Darling will be part of it!). How to monetize your blog, branding, marketing are some of the subjects covered. Plus! I’ll be co-running the “Using Media Effectively” panel to talk about going from Blog to TV Show. If that’s not enough goodness for you, proceeds go to charity!

I was going to post a link about ordering tickets, but they sold out. Nice work, ladies. (NEPA BlogCon Website)

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The Perks of Being a Wallfower

Film release in Philly

This one get’s it’s own post, but I may wait til I see the movie first to talk about… all of it.

The sad girl that forever dyes her hair blue-black and lives in my soul used this as a bible in high school. My first ‘zine, Pinkie Swear, had a little love manifesto to Charlie. I’ll see if I can dig it up.  It’s too dear to my most formative years to keep writing about it casually…

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AND

The Bethlehem Food Co-op is in a contest to win $2,500 for start up fees! Watch the video

and VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE!

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PRODUCT REVIEW: Sprout Skincare from Brooklyn, NY

Sometimes life hands you something serendipitous.

Only a few weeks after reading about a SPROUT skincare product in a magazine, and being immediately struck by their graphic design and all-natural skincare claims, I got this little goodie bag of products to slather all over myself. And listen up: they are maaaaaarvelous. 

The first thing you’ll notice about all of their items is that the ingredient lists are very small and many are sourced from small, conscious companies in the United States. They are very easy to pronounce and likely contain ingredients you are familiar with.  Examples: almonds, sea salt, rose water, apple cider vinegar.

(If you’re thinking “Yum!” at this point, I will admit to tasting some of the Exfoliant. Just because I could. Yup.)

Next, you’ll notice the products look very clean. Nothing is dyed, full of chemicals to change the texture, rolled in glitter, etc. These are truly the epitome of “all-natural”, and they look and smell (and taste!) like they are supposed to.

But the third, and most important thing? THE PRODUCTS WORK. They work very well. 

I’m a lady who still has occasional breakouts and skin problems, and some Big Skincare Companies I’ve tried in the past literally made my skin bleed. It’s obvious that natural products are better for those of us with problem skin, are concerned about what we put on our bodies, and want to stay vegan/animal-friendly… but with “greenwashing” abound, it’s hard to know who to trust.

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I happily report that SPROUT is trustworthy and effective (and vegan!), like that friend you meet a summer camp who comes into your life to show you how to do your makeup just when you need it most. In fact, a week and a half into using the products without mentioning them, I received an email from someone saying, “Your skin looks great! What products do you use?” No joke.

The Sprout tagline sums it up:

Simplicity is the essence of Awesome.

WHAT I GOT:

Exfoliant – This looks like cookie crumbs. After splashing some water on my face, I pour a little of the powder into my hand, then use my fingers to dab it on my face. I make small circles all over my cheeks, chin and forehead. After a few moments, rinse with clean water. It leaves skin super-soft, without harsh dryness, or like you rubbed course sandpaper all over your face.

Cleanser – Smells light and fresh with a hint of rose. Despite wearing a lot of makeup, I’d squirt some on a cotton ball and go over my whole face. (Sometimes twice if it was a LOT of makeup.) My skin felt clean, not dry or greasy, and redness and occasional acne spots actually improved.

Toner – Nice to use after all that cleaning. It feels like it helps tighten my pores, and never feels chemical-ish like so many other toners.

Lip Balm – YUM! I got cinnamon, which was perfect for the fall. Made with cinnamon oil and coconut oil (and just a couple of other things), it felt so good on my lips, made them soft, and this flavor is perfect for September/October! In case you were wondering, it made kissing extra-delicious. Significant Other approved.

Cream – It’s a lotion/moisturizer/body oil/body butter hybrid, and It. Is. Fantastic. Rub it on your face, put some on your body, and it’s also excellent on your lips. Pretty much just get some and start at the top of your head and put it on everything, all the way down. A tiny dab on your finger goes a long way. If you have 25 different lotions in your bathroom, listen to me: throw them away, and get this one. It will save you money, time, counter space, and be better for your skin.

Save the Kales! readers can shop at a DISCOUNTED PRICE!

I’ve teamed up with Vegan Cuts to offer you 10% off all orders by using the discount code BLOGFRIEND. So start that holiday shopping early, folks. *Discount doesn’t apply to shipping. Expires October 31st. 

– Follow this Link –

You can get all the items I mentioned in the Full Mini-Kit, priced at just $58. With that 10% savings… hey now, that’s a deal!  Thank you SPROUT and VeganCuts. My clean, refreshed face is smiling very big for you.

BEING KIND IS TAKING A STAND: “The Power of Kindness” by Piero Ferrucci

“Being kind is taking a stand. By itself, it might not help:

Maybe our kindness will be ineffective. The money we send to alleviate hunger might be unwisely used. Helping an old lady across the road does not eliminate poverty in a faraway country. And for every plastic bottle we pick up on the beach, another ten will be tossed down tomorrow. Never mind. We have affirmed a principle, a way of being.

Just as important is to realize that microcosm is macrocosm: Each person is the whole world. As many mystics and visionaries have pointed out, each individual, in some subtle and mysterious way, embodies all people. If we can bring some relief and well-being to just one person’s life, this is already a victory, a silent, humble response to the suffering and pain of the planet.

This is the starting point.”

From The Power of Kindness: The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life by Piero Ferruci

{plywood art, $48, by spunkyfluff on Etsy}

COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY: “Blissful Bites” by vegan chef Christy Morgan

Giveaway time!

I’m so excited to announce a fall giveaway for one of my favorite cookbooks of all time (not joking), Blissful Bites by Christy Morgan.

 Blissful Bites is a full-color, healthy recipe masterpiece. All vegan, many allergy-free, and inspired by a macrobiotic culinary background, this book has you covered no matter how particular your diet is! The pages are spilling with colorful photography, and are crammed to the edges with cooking tips for the beginner or experienced cook. Trust me, you want this one.

Watch the video to learn how to enter:

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In case you missed it, the rules are simple:

1. Go to the Save the Kales! facebook page

2. Leave a comment telling me which is your FAVORITE green vegetable

… that’s it!

Don’t forget to check out The Blissful Chef website

And if you haven’t done so, read this entry/watch this video from the time I got to spend the day cooking with Christy and Allyson Kramer!

Save the Kales! and The Blissful Chef

EPISODE 5: HOME SWEET HOMEGROWN, Grow Indie gardens, The Joyful Elephant, Stir-fry Shepherds Pie and Vegan Breakfast Bowl

We travel to the Grow Indie test gardens to meet DIy gardener and book author Robyn Jasko.

In the kitchen, we make a Stir-fry Shepherds Pie with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes, followed by a breakfast or dessert of a Rice Bowl with Stone Fruits, Ginger and Cinnamon topped with an pretty pistachio garnish.

Finally, we meet Lehigh Valley nutrition coach Michelle of The Joyful Elephant, who helps people transition to a plant-based diet.

STIR-FRY SHEPHERDS PIE with WASABI MASHED POTATOES

  • 4 russet potatoes, peeled
  • 3 portobello mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 block tempeh, crumbled by hand
  • head of broccoli, florets cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/4 green cabbage, chopped

Boil a pot of water on the stove, enough to cover the potatoes, and add salt. Boil until potatoes are soft, about 20-25 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.

Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to a large pan, then add the onions and mushrooms. Let the onions get translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir to avoid the veggies sticking to the bottom. Add the crumbled tempeh to the pan, letting it brown and stirring so it doesn’t burn.

If the veggies are sticking to the bottom, add a little soy sauce or Bragg’s to loosen them up.

Add the broccoli and cabbage to the pan. Make the dressing (if you haven’t done so) and add that, stirring it through the veggies. Let veggies cook until broccoli is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.

DRESSING/SAUCE for Stir-Fry

  • 2 Tbsp tamari/soy sauce/Bragg’s
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp agave
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 inch ginger, grated
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, grated

Whisk everything together in a small bowl.

Vegan Stir-fry Shephards Pie with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes

WASABI MASHED POTATOES

  • 4 peeled, boiled potatoes, cooled off
  • 2 Tbsp water, with 1 tsp veggie broth base (or just veggie broth)
  • 1 tsp wasabi paste (more or less to taste)
  • pinch of salt

Use a potato masher to mash potatoes — or if you have a fancy mixer, use that! When potatoes are mashed, add remaining ingredients. You don’t need to add vegan butter or oil, but you can for a richer flavor.

Note: DO NOT EVER “mash” potatoes in a food processor. They get very gummy and are… awful.

ASSEMBLE the Dish

Turn oven to Broil. In a casserole dish, dump the veggie mixture and make an even layer. Add mashed potatoes on top. Add fresh cracked black pepper. Put the dish in the oven til the potatoes start to brown, about 10 minutes (but keep and eye on it, your oven may be different!)

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Vegan Breakfast Rice Bowl with Stone Fruits, Ginger and Cinnamon

STONE FRUIT and GINGER CINNAMON RICE BOWL

  • 1 and 1/2 cups cooked brown rice (or grain of choice)
  • 2 peaches, chopped
  • 2 purple plums, chopped
  • 1/2 cup blueberries

DRESSING

  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1-2 inches ginger, grated
  • 1 Tbsp agave
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (use the good stuff!)
  • chopped pistachios to garnish

Add rice and fruits to a large bowl and mix. Add dressing and mix with rice and fruit. Get a handful of shelled pistachios,  wrap in saran wrap, and use a hammer (or heavy object) to gently crush them into pieces, and use them to garnish the bowls.

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The People We Meet

Robyn Jasko of Grow Indie, and Home Sweet Homegrown with Jaime K of Save the Kales!

Meet Robyn Jasko, author of Home Sweet Homegrown  book and gardener extraordinaire! Robyn runs the Grow Indie test gardens in Kutztown PA,  and GrowIndie.com, an AMAZING website and resource for all things DIY/organic gardening.

Meet Michelle of The Joyful Elephant – Plant Based Nutrition Support. Michelle is a food coach and works with her clients to meet their health and dietary needs through education, hands-on work, and support to help people make a smooth transition into plant-based nutrition. Michelle is certified through courses from two of the top plant-based doctors, T. Colin Campbell (as seen in the film Forks over Knives), and Dr. Fuhrman of the Eat to Live program.

Michelle of The Joyful Elephant, and Jaime K of Save the Kales!

LINKS:

The Joyful Elephant facebook page

The Joyful Elephant website

Grow Indie facebook page

Grow Indie website

“Home Sweet Homegrown” by Robyn Jasko, book order site

VIDEO: Garden Gazpacho with Chef Wendy of Balasia/The Honey Underground

What a special treat!

One of my FAVORITE CHEFS OF ALL TIME, Chef Wendy Landiak, joined us at the Grow Indie Gardens while taping Episode 5 of our cooking show (online in a week!), to make a super-fresh gazpacho.

My new favorite memory of Wendy is now the image of her walking through the garden, cutting fresh veggies with her chef’s knife, and then lugging her Vitamix to a hay bale to set up her workspace.

It truly doesn’t get fresher than this, folks!

Garden Gazpacho with Wendy of Balasia + The Honey Underground

RECIPE for Garden Gazpacho

As you can see, nothing was meticulously measured, so here’s an idea of what went into the soup:

  • Fill a blender halfway with various tomatoes (rough chop large tomatoes into large chunks)
  • 1 bunch basil, leaves only
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 medium cucumber, cut into chunks
  • 1 tsp (or more to taste) smoked salt and/or Himalayan pink salt (if you don’t have these, regular salt will do, but it may not be as exotic!)
  • 2-3 hot peppers (lemondrop pepper, jalapeno, or hot pepper of choice! Removing the seeds will cut down on the heat. Add these to taste. Maybe start with one if you’re wary of the heat!)
  • 1 and 1/2 bell peppers (red and/or green), rough chopped in chunks

Start blending on a low-medium speed until gazpacho is blended. Stop while it still maintains chunky texture! That’s all. 

Optional: Drizzled with good olive oil, torn pieces of stale bread as makeshift croutons, garnish with fresh basil, add olive oil and heat on the stove for a pasta sauce

Wendy Landiak of Balasia and The Honey Underground on Save the Kales! making Garden Gazpacho… IN the garden.

Wendy cut up a bell pepper to make some impromptu spoons. And hey – it’s even kid-approved!

You can find Wendy at the Balasia stand at Farmer’s Markets across the Lehigh Valley. And if you EVER have the chance to attend her supper club, The Honey Underground (named after a poetic way of describing carrots), you MUST. GO. You must.

Find out where Wendy’s going, what she’s making, and how you can get her food by following the FACEBOOK page, or checking out her WEBSITE. 

Did I stress how delicious her food is? (Here’s a post I made about The Honey Underground — pictures!) Organic, local, always vegan, fusion-food inspired by cuisines around the world. She also caters events, will do private cooking classes, and is knowledgable about food allergies and even Ayurvedic cooking.

The Noise of Failure Growing Beautiful

I’ve been reading and re-reading Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird, which is — and I’m choosy about the books I describe this way — probably the best book I’ve ever read on the subject of writing.

It includes this poem, perfect for a September Monday (which is, by nature, different than other-month Mondays).

August in Waterton, Alberta by: Bill Holm

Above me, the wind does it’s best

to blow leaves off

the aspen tree a month too soon.

No use wind. All you succeed

in doing is making music, the noise

of failure growing beautiful.

Waterton Lakes National Park

 

I’m working on “Jaime K’s Guide to Autumn, Pt. I”, which acknowledges the impossibility of talking about autumn in a short, singular way. I’ll describe the best books, movies and outfits among other things, for hands-down the best season of (f)all.