I’m not sure why everyone is so hung up on dip and mini corndog recipes this week? Let’s be honest – do you even really like sports? When is the last time you sat down and watched a football game? I guess it’s the excitement of it all pulling us in. I’ll be the first one to admit that I don’t really understand sports at all. However, I do still get excited about Superbowl Sunday. There is one game I’ll be transfixed watching on Sunday but it won’t be the Superbowl. You’ll find me over on Animal Planet watching The Puppy Bowl. Yup, have you seen the line-up of puppies up for adoption this year?! Everything from the baby boxer to the husky / lab mix pulls at my heart strings. I’m sorry – am I gushing? I can’t help it – they are just so darn cute.
Entries Tagged as 'Uncategorized'
Posted on: January 31, 2014
Posted on: January 18, 2014
There are so many moments that lead up to me wanting to start an independent (maga)zine about the Midwest. Reading Midwest Living and not understanding why they think everyone in the Midwest is a woman over the age of 60 who prefers to go antiquing for American-flag-themed wood decor and make ‘easy’ recipes out of boxed mixes. Swooning over The Kinfolk Table from front to back and being a little bummed when I got to the end to realize they extensively covered creative artists from both the West coast and East Coast but there was not one profile from anyone in-between. Agonizing over what I could make the next zine I worked on about – knowing I wanted to be an expert on the topic but also realizing there are DOZENS of beautiful zines already about both my day job and hobby (food and music). And then it struck me – I’m constantly surrounded by creative friends (artists, designers, photographers, yogis) and I didn’t have to move to Portland to find these people. They were right here. Right here in the Midwest.
I read independent magazines religiously – anything from Kinfolk to Weekend Almanac to Pure Green to Chickpea to Cereal (the list goes on and on and on). And heck, I even love a handful of majorly distributed magazines as well – Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Whole Living (which is sadly, no more..), etc. The idea for this magazine is to take a little inspiration from all of these – sleek, simple design that will let the images do the talking while feeling cozy and relatable to all types of people.
Though the first issue will be some what of a ‘test-run’, I have some small experience dabbling in making zines (remember that Summer VV zine I made? Yeah, that was cool, right?) and have been itching to make more. It’d be wonderful if you joined along on this journey with me as we work together to figure out the kinks and rewarding benefits of the print world.
I’m looking for anyone who is interested in contributing. We’ll need recipes (get creative – we have to be known for more than sugar pie and buckeyes!? Although if you have a damn good buckeye recipe then I’ll take that too), destination stories (Did you have an amazing experience in Chicago once? Or camping in the UP?), photo essays (Great Lakes, you are gorgeous. I know there has to be some gorgeous photos of you out there), childhood memories (I couldn’t have been the only one who played Hide & Seek with friends in the nearby cornfield!), innovative Midwest company profiles, and anything Midwest related. It doesn’t stop there – anyone interested in being an editor, designer, or distributor should also get in contact. You don’t have to live in the Midwest currently but just have a positive story or experience from it.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any inquiries.
In case you are totally oblivious of this “fly over-country” then here is a reminder of the parts of America that are considered the Midwest:
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
Let’s get creating!
UPDATE: You guys are all freaking amazing! I’ve had so many emails pour in over the last 24 hours that I am both overwhelmed and SO excited! To keep things managable I am accepting open submissions for articles, illustrations, recipes, and photos until February 21st. Please send all submissions (and questions / concerns / excited notes) to email@example.com. Also, still in need of some designers and illustrators so shoot me an email if you’d like to be given an assignment!
Posted on: December 29, 2013
The small gap between Christmas and New Years has always been a time of reflection. A time to sit back in awe and amazement that another year has gone by. A time to shuffle through all the things you’ve clung onto for the past year. And a time to let go of all the items on your list that weren’t checked off. It’s even easier for us bloggers to do this since we’ve got a whole website dedicated to documenting our year – whether its through the food we ate or the clothes we wore or the products we lusted over..these actions tell a story that make up a chapter of our lives.
I’m very pleased to report that my reflections this year have been SO much more positive than last years. 2012 had been a year of huge change and a complete year of doubt. I had graduated from college halfway through and had spent my whole life in confidence before that point. After graduation, I was left feeling lost and vulnerable – left with complete doubt in everything I did (everything from where I was living to what food I was putting into my body to coming to terms with getting older). But – let’s stop there and not reminiscent down that rabbit hole.
It feels so good to read that old post and know that I’ve grown into my ‘adult’ skin so much in this past year. Yes, I still have a lot of growing to do and I still have a long list of irrational fears (who doesn’t?) but it’s been such an improvement since then. I’ve come to really love the small Midwest town I call home – not because there is that punk house that used to serve us drinks underage during shows or those spider-ridden rocks where we could day drink on the lake all day without being bothered. No, I’ve learned to look at this city with fresh eyes and appreciate being able to walk a few blocks to our local co-op grocery store to buy ‘hard to find’ flour blends and local produce. I’ve learned to love the lake for it’s beautiful trails that you can spend a whole Saturday afternoon getting lost in (sober!) and making your dog’s day by taking him for long walks through the centuries old neighborhoods.
I don’t think I’ve changed too much in 2013 but my outlook certainly has. I’m so very excited to evolve more come 2014. Here were my 2013 goals:
1. More adventures close to home 2. Less doubt, More Risk 3. Less processed foods 4. Work on photography 5. Keep moving forward & always improving 6. Continue to surround myself with positive people
I think it’s safe to say I can check all of those off my list. Although, everything on that list are all things that are still a ‘work in progress’ and I do want to continue with these goals in 2014. Here are a few more light-hearted goals to add to the 2014 mix:
7. Get our asses to Montreal. It’s time – this IS our next big trip.
8. Spend as many lazy Saturdays as possible on the vintage turquoise boat I inherited
9. Rent a summer home on Lake Michigan and spend a weekend on the beach
10. Make my own print magazine / zine (whether it be a collaboration or just all VV – it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and needs to happen)
10 feels good. 6 BIG ongoing goals from last year and 4 new fun ones. Yeah, I feel good about this. I’m ready for you 2014!
And finally, as I continue with my reflection of 2013, I thought I’d share some of my favorite VV memories with you..
Posted on: December 5, 2013
I’d like to think I’m not a preachy vegetarian. Perhaps it’s because I grew up in a very meat-centric family that would have half a cow in their freezer at all times (from the farmer down the street) and a family who found my eating habits to be bizarre. Or maybe it’s because I can’t help but roll my eyes at every new food trend that comes onto the market and the media’s excuses for why you should try it out. Or maybe it’s because I met a lot of pushy people who wanted to tell me why ‘meat is the answer’ and I realize how annoying it can be to have another diet pushed on you. And perhaps more because I hate explaining my dietary reasoning to everyone. ‘Is it because of health? It it for animal rights? It is environmental excuses? religion?’
To be honest, it’s because of a lot of things but mostly because of the animals and my health. I used to hate getting those ‘Oh, so do you work for PETA or something?’ looks when explaining I didn’t approve of commercial farming or that I couldn’t stomach the texture of fatty meat in my mouth. I used to usually just say it was for my health (which, in part, is true) and explain that I lost a lot of weight and gained so much energy when I transitioned to vegetarianism. Although, I was also 12 and going through puberty so who knows which helped out more? Being a vegetarian for 12 years, I sort of forgot why I did it until a few months back. Being vegetarian has become such second nature that I never ever even think to glance at a meat item on the menu or compromise on a chicken based broth at a restaurant.
I didn’t realize my animal morals were so strong until my boyfriend went hunting with his father a few months back. It being his first time and his excuse was to get out into the woods / meditate so I didn’t really think much of them actually killing anything. Oh but they did. They came home with big grins on their faces and a giant dead deer in their trunk. I remember seeing the look of smog on their faces when they broke the news and I had to hold back crying. For a few days, I couldn’t put my finger on why I was so upset – people have been hunting for thousands of years and it’s very natural. I finally realized that my opinions on killing & eating animals were more passionate than I had previous thought. I was so angry at how selfish the whole situation was; he’s been eating a sustainable and delicious vegetarian diet the 3 years we’ve been together and it bummed me out that he could so selfishly take a life for a ‘morning of fun’. It’s one thing when you need it to survive but it’s another thing when we can so easily live off of plants and nuts. It all just seems so selfish when removed from the ‘meat and potato’ American stigma we are used to.
What sprung putting my vegetarian thoughts down on paper was receiving a copy of The Vegetarian Cookbook For Beginners which is divided into a informative section as the first part and recipes as the second. I was amazed at how much I learned about the different religious, moral, and health reasons that provokes people to go veg. I was also fascinated to learn about all the health benefits, the history of vegetarianism, and some of the many challenges that come along with switching to a new lifestyle.
I know that not all of you come to VV because you are vegetarian. Perhaps some are here for the creative recipes and clean aesthetic? Or some are just interested in what it is like to be a vegetarian? Or some of you prefer to eat a few vegetarian meals a week? Or some just really enjoy my sweets posts that have nothing to do with any dietary restrictions. Whatever your reason is for being here and reading this, if you have any interest in vegetarianism at all, I suggest you check this book out.
And now for the giveaway! In addition to giving away the Vegetarian Cookbook For Beginners, I am also giving away some of my favorite spice grinders. Do you remember when I did a shout out to JR Watkins during that Pumpkin Pie with Salted Molasses post (pictured above)? Well I’m obviously a huge fan of their spices and they were kind enough to send me some grinders. And these aren’t just any grinders – they are lemon pepper and garlic salt. Both goes fantastic with literally everything! I’ve basically replaced them with my usual table salt / pepper because they had such a wonderful extra bite (except in baking – garlic and sweets don’t usually go together).
And the last part of the giveaway are some Vegetarian ‘Ventures magnets. Yup, I made magnets. I don’t know why? Probably because my boyfriend and all his friends make band swag in the form of buttons, t-shirts, and cassettes so I wanted to have a little blog swag. Why not, right? I love these little magnets – I wish I could just send one out to every single one of you! They are seriously SO cute and awesome.
The giveaway starts today and will run through next Sunday. I will be shipping out the winner their goodies the following Monday. Thanks for entering!
Posted on: October 14, 2013
I was hoping to post this recipe yesterday for you all to make on your lazy Sunday but that seems to have not happened. So now we are just going to have to eat popcorn for breakfast. Or as an afternoon snack (that’s a really good idea! Why don’t I do that more often?). And if we don’t have time for that, then we’ll just have to have a lazy Monday night movie and popcorn session. Okayyy? Okay.
In the cool weeks of October, we host weekly bonfire and horror movie nights at our place. Being a baker, my favorite part about hosting is having delicious snacks and drinks whipped up for everyone to enjoy. Although I wish I had hours and hours to spend making pies and sangria, we host the movie nights on Wednesday so I work all day. That means I have about 45 minutes to clean and get everything in order before our guests come over. Although I sometimes plan ahead and whip up a Pumpkin Pie or caramel corn the night before, I usually am scrambling the day of. And that is how this popcorn recipe was invented. Using what I had on hand, I wanted to have a big bowl of unique and delicious popcorn to create more of a movie atmosphere. The best part (in addition to it being absolutely delicious) is you can whip this up in 10 minutes and then still have plenty of time to get to tiding up the house.
Posted on: July 21, 2013
It has been hot hot HOT here in the Midwest. It’s hard to get motivated to eat copious amounts of food (let alone turn your oven on) in this heat. I’m not complaining… this is always the time of year that I start to master my salads. When you start eating the things three times a day, you are bound to get creative with them. Corn relish, seasoned chickpeas, baked goat cheese, preserved lemons, stuffed tomatoes, polenta croutons…the options with salads are endless!
When imagining these cups, think Americanized lettuce wraps (and not the kind you get at P F Changs). These little cups are filled with a vegetarian Cobb inspired salad. You can fill the cups with goodies before hand or put all the toppings in individual bowls and let people pick and choose how much of everything goes into their cup. Or you could even do it lettuce wrap style and mix the salad ingredients together in one bowl and then let your guests scoop the desired amount into little raddichio leaves.
If you’ve never had raddichio before, it’s a must try (especially for any salad lover). They look like mini red cabbages but have a flavor profile closer to the endive. Raddichio is slightly bitter and is part of the chicories family along with endives and escaroles. You can mellow out the slightly spicy / bitter taste by roasting the vegetable but I personally think it gives the perfect raw edge to this, otherwise pretty tame, Cobb salad.
Posted on: February 21, 2013
This is usually the part of winter where I get fed up. At this point, I am over root vegetables and kale salads and chili and stews. At this point, I’m usually throwing in the towel and ordering take out, frozen pizzas, or milkshakes for dinner. It’s that last leg before spring food hits the produce isle and I can’t help but find it hard to stay inspired after four months of the same thing being in season.
Not this year. This year I was determined to not get bored with dinners. This year, I constnaly have been reminding myself how much I long for minestrone or curry when it’s 90 degrees out. This year I’ve added fun new techniques to my winter routine – like my tagine and slow cooker. I’ve added things into my soups to make them more interesting – like those insanely delicious goat cheese croutons.
And now I’m back with another soup recipes with a fun addition: spiced chickpeas. These chickpeas are…woah. It was hard to save them for dinner because there was so much munching I should have been making the soup. Wash the vegetables, eat a few chickpeas, simmer, eat a few chickpea, season, eat a few chickpeas. You get the idea. So addicting.
I’m pretty excited to start adding these chickpeas to my afternoon snack routine. It will be a nice change from greek yogurt or nuts. I found this great resource of different seasonings for your chickpeas over at MPMKs – cannot wait to try them all!
Coconut Curried Carrot Soup with Spiced Chickpeas
- 2 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 8 medium carrots, diced
- 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth (I used homemade)
- 1 15 ounce can of coconut milk
- 1 Tablespoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ginger powder
- Salt / Pepper, to taste
- Feta, optional
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- dash of salt
To make the chickpeas: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all the ingredients together and put in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes or until the chickpeas are crispy. Remove from oven and let cool.
To make the soup: Heat olive oil over medium in a large saucepan. Add onions and saute until translucent (about ten minutes). Add the carrots and cook for another five minutes. Pour in the stock, coconut milk, ginger, and curry powder. Cover and cook for about ten minutes (or until the carrots are soft).
Once all the vegetables are soft, remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender. Season with salt, pepper, and maybe a little hot sauce (if you like a kick). Top with feta and chickpeas.
Posted on: February 12, 2013
Just tryin’ to get outside whenever possible. Wyatt and I weren’t sure if we were going to have that much time on Thursday so do Valentine-esque things so we went on a little hike over the weekend. There is nothing I love more than hanging out with my favorite person and favorite puppy in one of my favorite places. Pure bliss.
Posted on: January 4, 2013
Happy Friday! Any big plans for the weekend? I didn’t start my work week until Wednesday so this week kind of feels like cheating…did I really earn weekend already? I could get use to this 3 day week thing! As for my weekend? The only thing I have planned to to make some homemade ravioli (now if I could only decide on ONE filling option…).
Continuing with my New Years resolution to eat less processed food, I decided to make my own harissa paste instead of heading to the specialty market to pick up a bottle of it. I needed some harissa paste because I received a beautiful Tagine for Christmas and have been cooking in it non-stop. It’s such an easy, delicious, and ridiculously healthy way to whip up a batch full of hearty veggies drenched in flavorful Middle Eastern or African spices.
So what exactly is harissa paste? It’s a condiment made out of chiles that will have varying ingredients depending on location. It’s been known to be used in African, Moroccan, and several other Middle Eastern countries. I added a few teaspoons of it to a butternut squash, raisin, and shallots combination I made the other day and it was delightful. I plan to use the leftover paste as a condiment on sandwiches (adding a little bit of honey bring the spice level down without compromising the wonderful flavor). I’ve also heard of peopling dipping fresh bread into it or adding it to cooked couscous.
This recipe can also be made with fresh chiles (just omit the soaking process). I am eager to grow some in my garden this summer so we can experiment more!
Posted on: December 22, 2012
Posted on: January 23, 2012
So I came up with this idea from Much Love Monday where she posts pictures of hearts to keep moral up on gloomy Mondays. I am going to try to post a picture every monday of something that keeps me happy so that I can stay positive through the week.
1. Playing with my food. I love that adding neon food coloring to everyday foods make it extra fun and extroadinary
2. My vintage vinyl player creates the best “crackle” to complement my more abstract 7″
3. My brat of a cat, Sophia Marvelous. She’s cute and snobby and I love her.
4. Fresh produce from our garden! It’s not the season for it right now but having my massive garden to look forward to this summer is what is keeping me through this winter.
Posted on: December 31, 2011
I don’t do this very often but I’m going to make this post be about my life instead of food (don’t worry. I’m not turning this into a vanity blog on you; just have some end of the year things I’d like to discuss).
First, I know I talk about food a lot (well…this is a food blog) but my first passion is actually music and I feel alittle ridiculous not posting about my ‘Top Albums of 2011′ because everyone does it and I swear I have an opinion too! Anyways, I am no music expert of any kind and am not going to try to show off so I’ll keep it short to a top 5 (and then add a bunch of honorable mentions). Also, I should mention that my criteria for a music list is based off no musical competence what-so-ever and I base my list off of how much I listened to these albums (this is a PERSONAL list after all), how they influenced my year, and overall general enjoyment of them.
To be honest, this probably wouldn’t be on my list if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s Ty Segall. This album didn’t catch me the way that ‘Melted’ managed to but it’s still a great album and did slowly grow on me. Ty Segall is one of my all time favorite artists so I am going to give him a break with this album since he manages to put out music a couple times a year anyways so I’m sure he’ll redeem himself soon enough. Plus, I do have to give him credit for trying to go in a different (softer) direction than much of his previous music so I guess at least he is expanding, right? Sure.
This album probably should have made the cut because of how much I managed to listen to it this year. It’s poppier than their previous album which is often times bad (for sure since my boyfriend tends to play albums into the ground) but it never got on my nerves and I still manage to find it catchy after the 100th listen.
Mikal Cronin- S/T (Trouble in Mind)
Wow, I am so predictable. I’ve managed to make all of my ‘Honorable Mentions’ part of the same genre. I promise I’ll try to expand on my actual list (oh yeah..I should probably get to the ACTUAL list here eventually). Anyways, my love for Mikal Cronin was discovered because of Ty Segall…Ty produced this album, Mikal produced the Ty album mentioned above. They are both great musicians and although my loyalty lies with Ty Segall…this album was much better than ‘Goodbye Bread’. This album was actually just a really great album and I’m going to leave it at that.
Now, for the list.
5. Kurt Vile- Smoke Ring For My Halo (Matador)
Can’t say that this album is perfect for every mood but when in the right mind set, this album is phenomenal. He’s just a really great songwriter and this album got me. I didn’t have any experience with Kurt Vile before this album so I do have to admit that I came into it not knowing what to expect but it was far better than I could ever imagine. It’s not even my “type” of music but it’s great for what it is. Yup, that’s all I’m gonna say about that.
4. Bon Iver- S/T (Jagjaguwar)
So the honest truth with this album is that I’ve probably only heard it all the way through 2 or 3 times. I can’t say he is my “cup of tea” (not that he’s bad or anything) but it’s on my top list because of the influence it’s had over my year. Because he’s an artist of ours at work, it’s been amusing to see the excitement of other employees as he has been succeeding and it’s been fun to see him explode as an artist over this past year. Being the distributor of this album, I’ve probably have seen this cover everyday for the past six months and this is the album that has made work crazy (at times and in a good way) and it’s just an overall great feeling to be proud of being part of this artist’s career. Sorry, I’m done being sappy…I just honestly really love my job and am very happy for all the good this album did for the great people I work with.
3. Yuck- S/T (Fat Possum)
I feel a little embarrassed putting this album on my list but I’d be in denial if I didn’t. My first encounter with this band was back in March at SXSW and they put on one of the worst shows I have ever witnessed (and I’ve seen ALOT of music). They were too pretentious to even be in Texas (let alone on stage in front of a bunch of Americans) and yet they literally fell apart halfway through their set and just ended. It was God awful. Anyways, this album came out a few months later and I listened to the whole album at work (without realizing it was them) and loved it. It’s raw (but not disastrous) and catchy and simple. It’s such a shame that they can’t seem to get their live performance together or they could probably blow some people out of the water.
2. Tennis- Cape Dory (Fat Possum)
This album is the girl side of me coming out but damn, I am in love with Tennis. The girl has a beautiful voice, the music is feel-good, and the story behind the band is oh so romantic. SUPPOSEDLY, this band is a couple that knew nothing about music and gave up everything to travel down the East coast by boat. Along their journey, they managed to make this album. Ideal life? I’d say so.
1. JEFF The Brotherhood- We Are the Champions
I first heard of this brother duo a couple years ago because we distribute a 7 inch of theirs at work but I didn’t really think much of them. It was not until I saw them (coincidentally, at the same showcase as Yuck) at SXSW that I fell in love. I have yet to find someone who doesn’t like this album. I work (and I mean this in a nice way) with 3 big headed (when it comes to music) musicians and to find something that we all agree on is VERY VERY rare (according to my metal loving boss, my music is too girly and boring) but we all sing along to this one.
Phew, done. Well I was also hoping to post about my winter picnic the other day but this post has been long enough so perhaps another time. I do want to make a quick New Year Resolution list…nothing too personal or anything. My Music Business professor claims that people are 80 percent more likely to follow through with things if they write them down so if I publish my list on the internet then that has to raise it to at least 88 percent, right? Maybe? No?
1. Polish my Photoshop skills
2. Expand my photography skills
3. Figure out what I’m going to do with my life (stay in Bloomington? Move? Move where? Get a job where?- Luckily and not luckily, this will have to be figured out regardless of if I’m ready come May)
4. Take Arizona road trip
5. Adopt a puppy!
6. Visit Farm Sanctuary
7. Keep up with my blog
7 is already too many so we will end it there.