Monday, 24 September 2012

Invisible Woman

Sometimes I think I am invisible.

It's happening more now, as I age and my skirt length is more modest to hide cellulite and creped knees,  and my jowls are starting to out-droop my, um... chest jowls.

But never is my invisibility more apparent than in a public bathroom.

You might think, hey this is a good thing, Ellen. You can stealth poop at the mall and no one is the wiser.

I suppose that would be a good, sort of un-greedy - not asking for the ability to fly - kind of superpower. The ability to poop in public restrooms without people knowing that it was you. I'd probably make use of the super power. And not always for good.

But my problem is what comes after the pooping (not my happy dance, either).

Those sensors in sinks and hand dryers in public restrooms do not sense me.  It's as if I don't exist and I can stand in front of the sink for 20 minutes waving my hands and cursing while teenager after teenager watches in amusement, only putting down their Arizia shopping bags long enough to give their hands a cursory splash in the water that comes oh so easily to their youthful fingertips.

Stupid youths.

If I am in a bathroom with old school, manual taps, then I inevitably have to do battle with the sensor hand dryers which leave me soggy with no recourse but to dry my hands on my pants.

And then everyone, at least for about 3 minutes, knows that technology ignores my existence.

Even worse, of course, are the invisible butlers that flush after you've done your dirty dirty business.

Or don't.

Yah, they don't see me either. 

Unless, of course,  I’m sitting down, spraying water and whatever.

Or it doesn't work at all, forcing me to leave my shame for the teenager in line who will be utterly grossed out and will make no bones about huffing in disgust while I shrug guiltily and shffle over to the sinks for another dose of humiliation.

Most undignified. And could give someone/me a heart attack.

Luckily I eventually figured out that there's a little button you can press. Not until many times too late.

Maybe I’m a hologram, only visible at certain angles. That would be cool.

It's be hard to eat snacks if I was a hologram. But for sure I'd be thin.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Foodie Friday - Elpoo's Vegan Lasagna

A long, long time ago when I was still eating animals, like, 6 months ago, I used to make big lasagna about once a month. It's one of those things that freezes well, so on days when I don't feel like cooking, or I've had all of my calories for the day before 11am, I have something I can pull out of the freezer and give to my handsome husband when he comes home from a hard day's work making up cute names for vitamins (He does other stuff, too, but I  kind of like focusing on the more entertaining aspects of his job. Describing how he has to write informational pamphlets for cleaning products or tins of beans is, well, less sexy).

So anyhoo, since I became SUPER FREAKIN' VEGAN, I've not been able to find a lasagna recipe that was anything more than, "meh".

Until now.

Holy crap.

Not just the best vegan lasagna, but the best lasagna, PERIOD, that I have ever had.

A few caveats, of course. 

1.The recipe is labour intensive and you'll make a mess. But you'll be able to make 9 large servings of lasagna, more if you supplement your meal with a side salad or toast or what have you. 

2. The lasagna comes out of the pan fairy sloppy - it's not a vinnetarte of a lasagna, no layer cake of pasta and sauce and cheese that one has come to expect. It's more of a splat. A splat of amazing deliciousness.

3. This is not a healthy food choice. The sodium is outta the park and there's only 6 grams of protein in the whole dish, if that's an issue for you. It also includes a crap load of processed foods (Daiya cheese). You won't care. Have some broccoli tomorrow. It will be ok.

I'll probably tinker with this recipe to see if I can get it to firm up a bit. Chilling the cooked lasagna completely, slicing and then reheating the slices, might work if it's super important to you. I'll let you know if I figure it out.

But, if you don't care what your lasagna looks like, and you want a vegan taste sensation that will knock your socks off, then you need to do this.

You could also make this recipe like a large casserole with cooked penne in layers and it would be just as good and no one would say "Hey vegan loser, your lasagna is splatty".

If they said that to you, I'd karate chop them in the throat. I'm just that loyal to you.

I adapted this recipe from several and  I can't remember all the sources as I just sort of tweeked it as I went along. So if you're here and you say Hey, that bitch stole my recipe, just pop me a note and I'll give you credit. I just can't find you! :-)

Ellen's Vegan Lasagna

serves 9-12

Here's What You Need:

7 Tablespoons Vegan Butter (I use Earth Balance), divided

6 sundried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained
1 carrot
1 zucchini
3T flat leaf parsly
2 bell peppers
8 oz white mushrooms, cleaned
1T rosemary
2T dried basil
2 T dried oregano
2 T dried thyme
1 T smoked paprika
salt and pepper (I was pretty generous with both)

1 T olive oil
7 cloves of garlic
5 Cups of Tomato Sauce 
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 C nutritional yeast
7 oz raw spinach (about 2 cups packed)

2 packages Daiya brand shredded vegan mozzarella.

Vegan Parmesan (I used about 1/2 cup, max)

1/2 - 3/4 C Daiya brand shredded vegan jalapeƱo jack 
4 and 1/2 C,  UNSWEETENED non-dairy milk (I used almond)
.5 C flour
1 onion chopped fine

12 lasagna noodles (or as many noodles as it will take to make 3 layers in your pan)

(if you don't have the jalapeno jack shreds, just add a spicy bit to the white sauce, like a bit of cayenne - something that will cut any sweetness from the non-dairy milk).
What you need to do:

1. White Sauce:
    -Melt 6 T vegan butter in a saucepan. Add onions and cook well, until translucent - about 3-5 minutes
    -Add flour, cook, stirring constantly for a few minutes, making a nice paste
    - Add non-dairy milk. Wisk until smooth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and continue heating, about 20-25 minutes until nicely thickened.
    -Stir in the 1/2 - 3/4 C shredded Daiya jalapeno jack cheese to melt into the white sauce.
    -add salt and pepper

2. While white sauce is cooking, use a food processor to finely chop mushrooms, peppers, sundried tomatoes. Use shredding blade, and shred one or two carrots and the zucchini. (Alternatively you can chop and shred using a knife and box shredder, but it's a lot more work and less fun than the food processor). Put in a bowl and set aside.

3. In a pan, heat 1 T olive oil and the remaining 1 T of vegan butter. Add garlic and stir for a minute or so. Add the veggies from the food processor mix and stir to combine well. Heat for about 5 minutes.
    - Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Stir to combine
    -Add rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano, smoked paprika and nutritional yeast
   - Add spinach, carefully stirring in so that they cook down
    - cook for about 10 minutes and set aside.

4. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain well.  I used whole wheat because I'm super virtuous.

Heat oven to 375

Spread a thin later of the tomato sauce mixture in the bottom of your lasagna pan. Then put down a layer of noodles. 
Spoon over a layer of the white sauce, followed by a layer of the Daiya Mozzarella
Cover the cheese with a layer of tomato mixture.
Repeat layers - noodles, white sauce, Daiya, tomato sauce, two more times.
Top with Daiya and the vegan parmesan.

Bake, covered for one hour (put a cookie sheet or foil under your pan because it might be messy)

After an hour, turn the heat on your oven up to 500, remove the covering from your lasagna and let it toast up for about another 15 minutes or so.

Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

It will be shloppy. Do not care.

Right out of the oven. Resist temptation to bob for burnt-y cheese bits.

another angle to show you what you could be eating RIGHT NOW (well, in about 2 hours).

Look at me. Now look at your bowl of inferior dinner. Now look back at me. I'm a lasagna!

Ooooooooze-y goodness

I kept a slice for you

Sloppy, but will make you hover 6 inches off the ground.

Nutrition Facts (values are approximate. Did not have trans fat #s so input 0.)

also, there are about 4 grams of B12 per serving, from the nutritional yeast --  important for vegans!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

You pays your money, you takes your chances...

I just bought a steam mop thing from The Shopping Channel.

H2O Mop X5 Steam Cleaner with Super Clean Kit

Why do I feel like I've shaken hands with the Devil, or taken my first snort of cocaine?

Is it a good deal, or just a slippery slope?

Will I really have the cleanest floors in the world, or will I end up on an episode of Hoarders, with a VISA card maxed out, shelves filled with the finest in "Diamondelle" TM jewelry and Bumpits TM that plastic, spaceman money can buy?

I watch The Shopping Channel while I'm on the treadmill. I'd probably be a better person if I watched the BBC news, but it's so much less shiny. Today's was my first purchase, but I have long been familiar with all of the fabulous wares on offer at TSC (that's an abrieve). I've come THIS close to buying a Kitchenaid, a pair of stretchy pants, Rhonda Sheer's Genie Bra (it's SO comfy. Apparently), a watch from the Joan Rivers' collection (I know), a carpet. The list goes on.

I'm also kind of obsessed with one of the models on TSC. Shona (Show-Nah). 

She looks a bit like the mannequins of my childhood.

Slightly elfin, crazy waist to hip ratio and a constant expression of demure that makes me want to simultaneously slap her and offer her a cup of tea. I want her job.

So yah, I can't stop watching, and while I watch, I want.
Usually by the time I'm off the treadmill, the urgency of needing a Wayne Clark's Ravishng Roaring 20's Crystal Cuff bracelet has worn off and I'm more interested in not perishing than I am in accessorizing. 

Today was different. 

I could not stop thinking about that damned steamer.

My floors are kind of a "thing" with me. What I mean by that is that they will never be clean enough. Never be shiny enough. Part of the problem is the animals. The other, bigger part, is that I am abysmally lazy and hate cleaning my floors. I vacuum once or twice a week. I wash the floors... well... less frequently, let's say. So the hope that this miracle machine will actually do all the work for me. And that I'll have the mirror shiny floors of my dreams.

I'm not holding out much hope. But I am a little afraid that now that I've opened the gate, that I've taken that first step, that I've, well, popped my Shopping Channel cherry, that I've embarked on the slipperiest of slopes.

It's a long way down.

I'll see you at the bottom, Ryan.