Camping Out

Scamps. SCAMPS. I am beside myself right meow. We are THREE DAYS AWAY from THIS.

I mean, really. REALLY.

I have been waiting for this ever since Netflix announced they were doing it. Kristin Wiig, Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Jon Hamm, EVERYONE ELSE ON EARTH THAT I LOVE AND ADORE. SFW, I blog for Netflix. I don’t freaking blog about shit I don’t like, (unless I truly hate it like that one book that one time.) Everyone and their stepbrother, (who may also be a bear and a billionaire, and possibly the head of a motorcycle gang intent on saving some chit) has been waiting for this release. (TWSS)

It couldn’t come at a better time because,

and I’m not going outside for ANYTHING. I’ve even taken to working out at home–mostly. ME! WORKING.OUT.AT.HOME. With my kids and my dog, and the insanity…Just leaving the house feels like a burden that carries the weight of my underboob sweat. It just does. Thankfully, I live in the land of Amazon Fresh and Peapod and Fresh Direct and Thrive Market, and Urban Organic, and most importantly–delivery liquor because,

I mean, dammmmmnnn, I’m even sending my laundry out. Even my delicates. IT’S QUITE POSSIBLE THAT SOMEONE, RIGHT NOW, IS HANDLING MY PANTIES. And guess what?

So, even though I am nowhere close to a personal trainer, (unless we’re training to how to bribe preschoolers with candy corn, or possibly training for a rousing game of flip cup) I still came up with an At-Home workout for everyone. Completed entirely with .gifs from the cast of Wet, Hot, American Summer: First Day of Camp.

EXHIBITION

First, you’re going to need to limber up.

Michael Ian Black is perhaps a bit robot-y, but who GAF? not me?

Now? Power walk like you fucking mean it. Ten minutes, or however long it takes you to look amazing.

Please, don’t neglect your wig.

Swing those legs, scamps! Those man pebbles and ladyflowers aren’t going to fan themselves!

Feel those feelings. It burns like, an easy 6 calories.

COMBO TIME!!

Thrust it like you’re making babies.

It’s best to wear cut-off jorts at all times. Natural fibers only.

Now things get really hot…

So, time to refuel.

repeat, like, enough for eight episodes.

Now, you know I don’t eat McDonald’s. I’m pretty sure the only vegan item on their menu is the apple slices. So, that’s not my refueling option of choice after my nightly makeout sesh with Bradley Cooper.

So I made something that goes really well with beer, because, don’t tell me you’re not going to drink a few while watching this wondrous extravaganza. They’re vegan, but once again, I gave non-vegan options.

Faux-ritos and Creamy Cilantro Dip


Faux-ritos and creamy cilantro dip

Faux-ritos

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Keywords: bake

Ingredients (4 servings)

    dusting for baked tortilla chips

    • 2 tsp nutritional yeast or 2 tbsp crumbled parmesan cheese
    • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
    • 1/4 tsp celery salt
    • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
    • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp cumin

    for the chips

    • 8-10 small flour tortillas
    • cooking spray (all-natural)

    for the dip

    • 1/3 cup vegan mayo I use JUST MAYO, or regular mayo
    • 2 tbsp frozen recaito
    • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
    • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

    Instructions

    preheat oven (or toaster oven, like I used) to 400F)

    slice tortillas into strips

    arrange strips in a single layer on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet

    spray with cooking spray

    bake for 8 minutes or until crisp

    while baking, whisk together toppings for chips

    remove strips from oven and spray again

    toss in a bowl with the dust

    for the dip

    thaw the recaito overnight in a separate bowl in the fridge

    stir with mayo and red wine vinegar

    DIP

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    Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.
    Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.

    Re-Reading the Classics.

    Today, I’m kicking it old school. I know that I said for the first edition of..

    adoring assigned reading

    that I would be doing The Picture of Dorian Gray, however, the recipe I want to do for that book takes HOURS in the oven, and since it’s hotter than the proverbial mother fucker outside, that’s a big NO.

    (aside: my use of “the proverbial” sort of bugs me. I think it’s overused. However, we do have a sort of proverbial mother fucker in Oedipus, that scallywag, so it’s ok. Also, probably a Lannister has had improper relations with their primary life-giver at some point…)

    ANYWHOOOO, I ended up making waffles. Those were first invented in 1842/43 in Belgium, and spread across Europe like wildfire. So I went with that time. (Yes, TPoDG would also be that time–semantics–hush.)

    I want to introduce you to a lovely, gripping, SHORT book you’ve probably never heard of or read. It’s FREEEEEE on Kindle and Smash and iBooks and Scribd….etc etc etc. Your library probably doesn’t have it.

     

    It’s so under-appreciated that no one has ever given it a groovy cover!

    The Haunted Chamber

    There is a reason I’m not a graphic designer, people.

    Anywhoooooo, I’m TERRIBLE AWFUL HORRIBLE at writing book summaries. But, since the author was unaware that Goodreads and blurbs would be a thing, and there isn’t a fucking blurb to be had, I’ll try it. Bear with me.

    Picture it: England, sometime in the 1870s ish. There is this Baronet, Adrian Dynecourt, and he returns home after a long journey abroad. He immediately begins to entertain guests, as you do, and welcomes first his very-favorite heiress, Miss Florence Delmaine. Unfortunately, she is chaperoned by her widow cousin Dora the backstabbing turtlelover. Even more unfortunately, Sir Adrian’s cousin, Arthur the conniving assbasket also shows up. Thankfully, Adrian is a fellow who is stout of character and can put up with many shitshows all at once.

    It is clear to every guest at Adrian’s months-long houseparty raver, that he’s way into Flo.

    Dora the explora-ho thinks this is a bad match. Flo could make it rain for centuries and lasso herself a duke, and here she is, interested in a mere Baronet, who has but decades worth of stripper-monies in his coffers. Dora is pretty sure Adrian would be far better suited to, say, a widow of reasonable fortune with an ass to grab.

    Well, wouldn’t you just know it? Arthur the alphadick, having little ability to even make a mist at a scantily-clad lady or gent, is desirous of an opportunity to to increase his worth and elevate his station. He’s a smooth talker, and convinces Dora the horror to help him split Adrian and Florence up, while leading Florence right into Artie the asscandle’s arms.

    But this isn’t as easy as say, fleecing the aristocracy, or convincing scared, racist old, white people that Fox News is actually news, because Adrian and Florence remain pulled to one another…

    The Haunted Chamber

    That doesn’t stop Arthur the Awful and Dora the Double Agent from trying….Will karma kick them in the stones?

    Probably.

    READ IT. MEOW.

    Imagine if Jane Austen had a decidedly darker personality–or a bitchy twin. That, my lovelies, is Margaret Wolfe Hungerford. Unappreciated, and mostly forgotten, she’s worth a read.

    Also, I DEMAND DAVINA PORTER NARRATE THIS AT ONCE. (pretty sure she answers to no woman.)

    So, what book could I possibly have chosen as this great tome’s contemporary companion? Hmmmm????

    Ze blurb:

    She thought the best love affairs only happened in books…

    Traumatized by the deaths of her parents three years ago, Natalie Hewitt lives an introverted life, taking college classes during the day and working as a barista in a coffee shop at night. A passionate reader, she uses the writing of the world-famous and reclusive novelist Rafael Melendez Mendón to assuage her grief. His words are her refuge, his characters better company than anyone she could meet in real life… until Julian Kovač walks into the café one summer evening. He is a handsome, quiet young man and Natalie feels an instant connection.

    But Julian has a secret that is both the most wonderful revelation Natalie could possibly imagine…and the very thing that could tear them apart.

    My argument for reading after Maggie’s book. (I think Ms Hungerford and I would’ve just gotten on like gangbusters, so I’ll call her Maggie. Mags, if we’re drinking.)

    Orphans with income! Intrigue! Smart ladies and gents and the people who want them TO NOT KNOCK BOOTS, EVER.

    Emma’s writing is fun and concise, and she’s not given to over-long descriptions, or crowding the main characters’s lives with nonsense. Her sense of timing in this book is impeccable, with just enough romance and suspense to keep you extremely interested without developing an ulcer.

    It has the same sort of “we REALLY need to be honest with one another in order for the shit not to hit the fan” feeling of The Haunted Chamber, and it works really well.

    The recipe?

    Vegan Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Waffles

    To de-vegan, use regular buttermilk, eggs instead of flax eggs, and melted butter in place of coconut oil.

    vegan buttermilk chocolate chip waffles

    vegan buttermilk chocolate chip waffles

    Vegan Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Waffles

    by Cat Bowen

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook Time: 30 minutes (5 min/waffle)

    Keywords: bake vegan

    Ingredients

    • 1.5 cups AP flour
    • .5 cup rolled oats
    • 1 cup vanilla soy milk plus 1 tbsp lemon juice, set aside for 10 minutes
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 2 tbsp flax meal with 6 tbsp water, set aside for ten minutes
    • 1/4 cup coconut sugar (or regular sugar)
    • 1/3 cup coconut oil
    • 1 overripe banana, mashed
    • 1 cup chocolate chips

    Instructions

    mash the banana in a large bowl with the coconut oil

    add in the flax and water, stir

    add in the milk and lemon mixture, stir

    stir in oats

    sift in flour

    add chips and baking powder

    stir in chips

    if it’s too dry, add a bit more milk

    if it’s too wet, add a bit more flour

    That’s the weird thing about vegan baking, sometimes batters act differently in different circumstances.

    pour into greased waffle iron set to high and scoop enough in to cover 2/3 of it. close and bake.

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    Orange is the New Blackberry Vinaigrette

    Over the last few weeks, I’ve paced myself. I’ve been running (watching) a very slow marathon, because I didn’t want to finish. It was very much like delayed sexual gratification, only, you know, solo (which I guess could be done, but WHY?), and without any sort of peculiar (to me) rope-tying incidents.  I found myself parceling out my viewings as I did with “Daredevil” and every TED talk that I may want to absorb. I spread the episodes out like legs on a prison bunk.

    I think you know where I’m going here.

    AHHHHHHH!!!!! THEY’RE BACK!!!

     

    Thirteen episodes of “OMG” no, “really?” and “could that happen?” or “I know Ruby Rose must be the BEST way to discuss sexual identity and gender binaries at the moment, but really, I just want to know who does her brows and does she polish her skin with diamond dust, because, REALLY!”

    Sure, watching 13 episodes over a couple of weeks may seem an otiose activity to many, (not people who read B2B, obvie. Because, we have, like, goals and shit. Most which involve combining books and Netflix reading/watching on the elliptical. You multi-tasking scamps, you!) but, to those who do….

    I mostly wanted a reason to use that image. Also, my son, when at his teeny-tiny Buddhist class/Tai Chi class he heard the Dalai Lama speak, he thought it was Yoda. Unrelated, but adorable.

    “Orange is the New Black” just keeps getting better every season. Part of me gets claustrophobic just watching it, but a part of me can’t help but wonder what I’d do in Piper’s position. (not THAT position, you dirty-minded scamps. I think we can all agree I’d be AWESOME at THAT position, regardless of my sexual orientation. ;))

    I’m sure, if I found myself in prison, I’d be the worst inmate ever. I wouldn’t stop crying because, obvie, I WAS FRAMED!! I AM INNOCENT!! I’d hate not having my regular routine, and the lack of family–or dudes–would prove overwhelming.

    One may think I’m arbitrarily hyper-sexualizing this show. I’m not. The physical connections in “Orange is the New Black” become essential to each of the characters. They are the corollary of the isolation and denial. The fascinating system of hierarchies, favors, and a-typical gender roles in the show are balanced with humor, humanity, and heart. The show is ever-interesting, and ever fresh.

    What recipe could I possibly pair with it? I’m obviously NOT making prison food. But, I can play-on words like whoa.

    Orange is the New Blackberry vinaigrette.

    It’s tangy, it’s seasonal, it’s yum.

    orange is the new blackberry vinaigrette

    orange is the new blackberry vinaigrette orange is the new blackberry vinaigrette orange is the new blackberry vinaigrette

     

     

    Orange is the New Blackberry Vinaigrette

    by Cat Bowen

    Prep Time: 5 minutes

    Keywords: appetizer condiment

    Ingredients (one jar.)

    • 1/3 cup blackberries
    • 1/4 cup orange juice
    • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
    • 2 tbsp mayonnaise (I use Hampton Creek Just Mayo)
    • 1/2 cup evoo
    • 1/4 cup loose basil leaves, chopped
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 4 tbsp champagne vinegar
    • 1 tbsp honey

    Instructions

    combine all ingredients and puree in a food processor.

    store in an airtight jar.

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    Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.
    Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.

    Auralgasms #6

    Auralgasms.

     

    This week’s auralgasm, I’m featuring a narrator who is so ridiculously prolific (almost 600 listings on Audible) I had a difficult time deciding how and when to feature him.

    Quick anecdote about the narrator I’m featuring before I dive into my review of his reading, ok? Ok. He’s British–very proper BBC Britty, and so is one of my daughter’s favorite people in the entire world, her Guncle Will. Will is also very proper BBC Britty. (Not always, he’s from the midlands–and used to sound as such. Oxford, Cambridge, and Princeton snipped the country right the fuck out of his accent.)

    Anyway–oddly enough, their actual speaking voices are eerily similar. So similar, in fact, that one evening, when I was cleaning the kitchen, and listening to Bleak House on my small speaker on the counter, my daughter popped-up out of bed at eleven at night expecting to see her Guncle Will bringing her a bubble tea and storytime–as is their custom. Now, she’s listening to the young reader’s version of Gulliver’s Travels on audio, and she insists it’s her Guncle Will and not…

    Simon Vance

    Simon Vance is one of those narrators (along with, perhaps, Dina Pearlman, Davina Porter, and John Lee) whose voice is heard so often, in so many instances, that one sort of accepts it as a piece of the collective consciousness of readers. However, Simon Vance is not simply mellifluous notes imposed on words to carry a tale–no–he is the sort of engaging chameleon who interferes with one’s daily life, because, the soul he gives his characters cleaves to one’s imagination like taffy on an apple.

    Honestly, there isn’t a genre he hasn’t narrated. However, the books wherein I feel his artistry is most evident? The classics. I have converted more than one reader who has eschewed the great works of literati past in favor of the sole concentration of contemporary authors, by luring them with the promise of Simon Vance’s quietly explosive performances of Victorian or Edwardian literature.

    Me:”You don’t like (insert name of any one of a gajillion books here)? That’s probably because you couldn’t scrape through the text. Here–listen to this.”

    Them:”Ok, it turns out I do like (Dickens, Wilde, Wodehouse…).”

    {insert a long conversation about whichever.}

    Simon Vance brings the past to life in a way that breeds curiosity into whether or not the man is actually a time traveling actor, bridging worlds between the late 1800s in England, and my kitchen, at eleven at night, whilst I’m completing my day’s tidying up.

    I think this is his car.

    In fact, I’m so very confident in the universal appeal of Simon Vance’s narration, I’m introducing a new series on B2B which his narrating could be a huge factor in.

    adoring assigned reading

     

    The new series will feature books which may or may not have been assigned to us in High School or college, and which we inevitably cheated ourselves by utilizing Cliff’s notes or the like, and avoided reading them. I will pair each chosen book with a contemporary novel with similar themes or a contemporary author who is greatly inspired by the classical novel/author.

    How does Simon Vance play (pun intended) into this? Many–and I mean many of the classics I’ll be exploring have been put to digital by Simon Vance, and even better, many are available in the extremely affordable whispersync pricing through Audible and Amazon.

    The classic I’ll be writing about is The Picture of Dorian Gray  by Oscar Wilde, and the pair is Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman.

    Now for the recipe.

    Ok, I’ll admit, I haven’t a bloody clue what foods Simon Vance may favor. Yes, I have asked narrators in the past for their favorites, but for this Auralgasms post I decided to go with the theme of British literature as opposed to narrating favorite. Why? Ok, the honest answer is that I’m obsessed with this current recipe, and I’m just going to (very possibly wrongly) assume that like all British people (because I’m American and I generalize the fuck out of people from other countries) Simon Vance likes curry. (Honestly–who doesn’t? Ok, I can think of several people, but I’m purposefully ignoring them.)

    Curry is superduperpopular in the UK. India, a former piece of the British Empire, salted the country with its culinary influence and left a lasting impression. It’s available pretty much everywhere, in pretty much every incarnation.

    here it is…

    Creamy Coconut-Curry Almond Butter

    It’s sweet, it’s savory, it’s so godsdamned good with fig and date jam it’ll make you want to sexytime with a British colonist–bikram style.

    creamy coconut-curry almond butter creamy coconut-curry almond butter

    creamy coconut-curry almond butter creamy coconut-curry almond butter

     

    Creamy Coconut-Curry Almond Butter

    by Cat Bowen

    Prep Time: 5 minutes

    Keywords: blender appetizer breakfast condiment sandwich side snack paleo vegan vegetarian

    Ingredients (1 jar)

    • 2 cups roasted unsalted almonds (or really, any nuts)
    • 3 tbsp coconut oil, warmed to liquid form
    • 3 tbsp honey
    • 1 tsp mild curry powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt

    Instructions

    blend ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

    devour with your face hole.

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    Auralgasms #5

    Auralgasms.

     

    It is no secret that I have mostly reserved my audiobook enjoyment to works of fiction. There is just something about layered voices telling a gripping tale that fills me with a pregnancy of want. Simply put–tell me a story.

    ready for my bedtime story. get to it.

    However, in the last month, I’ve been absurdly busy with my personal scholarship, and desirous of the words held in the books I wanted to re-read, but my time was limited. My recent conversion to a fully plant-based diet made me want to read the books that held this conviction in my mind.

    The Omnivore’s Dilemma

    In Defense of Food

    Salt Sugar Fat

    So I decided to throw caution to the wind, and listen to a non-fiction audiobook. I’ve done it before and enjoyed it, with The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and The Devil in the White City, but those books are so…gah…not typical–different–almost fiction in the manner in which they’re told. I never really placed those in the same category as other non-fic books.

    When I purchased the books I wanted to re-read on audible/scribd, I paid no attention to the narrator. For me, this is akin to Sarah Jessica Parker just “throwing something on” to go to a premiere. I’m fucking picky with my narrators. A bad narrator can RUIN a book for me. I’ll either stop the story and never pick it up again, or I’ll switch to the words on pages version so fast it’ll make your head spin.

    The first book I queued up was Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. It’s an old favorite of mine. I’ve read and re-read it several times over. It’s one of those books that is the perfect sort of splint for your backbone. It is the gird for my plant-based loins. It answers a simple question: “If I can eat virtually anything, what should I eat?” That’s a BFD.

    I downloaded the book and went about preparing dinner. (because, meta-life, yo.) I quietly chopped vegetables as I the words soothed me.

    About fifteen minutes into my dinner preparation and reading/listening, I thought to myself homeboy sounds just like Leto Atreideswtf?! Sure enough, scrolling through my library, separated by narrator, I realize HOMEBOY IS LETO ATREIDES. That moment led me to scroll through, and realize he’s also Larson’s narrator, and Moss’s, and damn it all to hell, he’s the narrator of the book I’ve been putting off, (which was hugely and highly rec’d to me by a close friend) The Doll Maker

    BTW, I’ve started The Doll Maker, and it’s scaring the fuck out of me–as expected. THANKS FOR THAT.

    Who is the narrator?

    Scott Brick.

    He’s won a few audies, and racked up a fuckton of articles on sites like Audiofile, and the WSJ.

    But the real reason to listen to him?

    BECAUSE YOU WANT HIM TO READ TO YOU. This is the prevailing theme in my auralgasms posts. Do you want this narrator to read to you, and why?

    Obviously, the answer (for me) is yes, or he’d not be featured, but it’s for very specific reasons. To me, Scott Brick’s style of narration harkens back to the golden age of radio. That of Orson Welles and “The War of the Worlds.”  It’s fantastical melodrama. It’s gripping and damn fun. When he narrates nonfic, it’s relaxed and easy to listen to. Even with challenging subject matter–it’s easy to listen to.

    I am truly enjoying listening to a book about how we’ve been completely fucked sideways by the tenets of capitalism; and about how big agri-business does not give a single fuck that they put profit above everything–even sick children.  Sure, I’m getting fist-smashingly angry all over again, but not at the narrator or the author–at fucking Cargill and General Mills.

    His voice is alarmingly disarming. You just kind of sit back and say, “well, huh. how about that?” Then you keep listening. You’re absolutely compelled to keep listening.

    When I was doing research into his narrating life, so that I could design a recipe for this post, I found out something interesting: his partner is THE FUCKING BLENDER GIRL. I mean, I’m a food blogger, of COURSE I follow the blender girl. More than that, he’s FUCKING PLANT-BASED. GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! KISMET! It was totally the universe telling me to write this post! 

    The recipe was easy to think about after that. I give you the recipe inspired by this narrator:

    Cuban Chickpea and Plantain Burgers

    (ok, he’s not Cuban, but still…)

     

     

    Cuban Chickpea and Plantain Veggie Burgers

    by Cat Bowen

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook Time: 15 minutes

    Keywords: bake entree sandwich gluten-free kosher vegan vegetarian

    Ingredients (9 patties)

    • 1 very ripe plantain
    • 1, 15.5 oz can chickpeas-drained
    • 1/2 ripe avocado
    • 4 scallions, chopped
    • 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
    • juice of half of a lime
    • 3 cloves of garlic
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
    • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
    • 1/4 tsp coriander
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 3/4-1 cup binder of your choice–breadcrumbs, tortilla crumbs, coconut flour, dry puffed amaranth–ground, etc etc etc

    Instructions

    Preheat oven to 350

    puree plantain with spices in a food processor

    add remaining ingredients and pulse until just a bit smoother than very chunky slowly add in binder of your choice, until it looks like you could form it into balls

    form into baseball sized balls

    flatten into 3/4″ thick patties

    place on cookie sheet lined with parchment

    bake for 10-15 minutes

    serve as you would a traditional burger or in a lettuce wrap

    to freeze leftover patties, wrap first in plastic wrap, and then foil, and then place in a ziptop bag.

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