Saturday, August 22, 2015

Homemade Brunch and Saturday Productivity

Weekends call for brunching, right?

I had every intention on waking up early and getting waffles and pecan coffee with my friends... but I had a little too much fun by firelight last night, and wound up sleeping until noon. I even missed my family taking off for a day adventure to find burgers, fries and root beer floats.

No big deal, though. I don't mind staying home and doing 12 loads of laundry while sorting my mail and RSVPing to weddings, while also coming up with Facebook content and editing all 16 pending posts in the Urban Cashmere blog.

I guess I really was meant to get shit done today.

I made a cup of coffee and added a tablespoon of this amazingly delicious new vegan coffee creamer I found. The brand is Califa Farms and the flavor is Pecan Caramel. It's actually everything I have ever needed it to be and more, and it tastes so good in coffee and hot tea.

As I sipped my coffee, I paced around the kitchen wondering what I could make that would be brunch-y and all around delicious? I started to settle on a piece of toast and an egg when I realized I had one BOCA Burger left AND an avocado. I then put my creative brain to the test and off we went.

I also made a delicious Chocolate Cookie Butter smoothie which I devoured way too quickly. It was supposed to last me through my editing, and it made it through this sentence.

Amazingness on Toast

1 piece of homemade bread (or whatever you eat for bread)
1 egg
1 BOCA Burger
Half of an avocado
Vegan cream cheese (or not vegan)
Cheese (optional)

1. Crack egg over small cooking pan and let cook, try to strategically flip it without getting yolk everywhere. I fail at this constantly so I eat my eggs sort of hard, though runny eggs are so delicious.
2. While this is cooking, cut up your avocado, toast your bread and heat up your BOCA Burger.
3. Put cream cheese on toast, throw egg on top, strategically lay burger on top of the egg, followed by avocado and sriracha. Add cheese if you're feeling crazy.
4. Eat with fork and knife.

Chocolate Cookie Butter Smoothie
(Not pictured, but freaking awesome)

1 banana
Half of an avocado
Half a tbsp of cocoa powder
2 tbsp of Biscoff Cookie Butter (Trader Joe's makes a good copy cat version)
1 cup of almond milk
Half cup of ice
Vanilla sugar (optional)

1. Put everything in blender of Ninja and blend it. Then drink it and weep.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


I promised myself I would never revisit this part of my life ever again, but I've been feeling kind of down lately so I felt that it was imperative to acknowledge who I was just a few short years ago. 

The first photo was my freshman year of college when I had absolutely no cares, was full of self-confidence & could drink my current self under a table. The middle photo is from one of the worst years of my life, junior year of college, when I allowed life to walk all over me. 

Middle me is a perfect example of how to deal with stress in the wrong fashion. When life gets hard, the worst decision you can make is to take it out on your body. Though comforting, alcohol, overindulgence and laying around every day are NOT the answers you're looking for. I completely lacked self respect during this time period. I hated myself and my misery made it easier to hate others just as much. I lost a lot of relationships when I was this person, and unfortunately I let it last a lot longer than I should have (2011-2013). 

But you know what? The third picture is right now and even though I could be in better shape, I am so, so happy with the progress I have made. I lost relationships two years ago, but I've built stronger ones since. I lost a lot of self respect before and I am just now getting it back. I can truly say that even though some days are so hard, I've overcome so much. I'm still a work-in-progress and that's okay, I'm a lot further than where I was before. 

I guess what I'm trying to say is, when life deals you a bad hand, give yourself a day to wallow and then pick the deck back up and play again. Don't get caught up in the misery of it all, or you will lose yourself. 

A healthy mind really does make all the difference in having a healthy body. 

I'm no counselor, nor do I have any certifications in any health behaviors, but I am a huge advocate for self-help and self-love. If you're struggling with life, I will gladly be the ear that listens, and can give you as much advice and love as you can take.

Peace & love & all that jazz.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Peach Pie and the Best Crust Ever

I've been craving a homemade pie as of late, but the biggest issue I have faced when baking them is that my crust is typically awful. I shouldn't say awful, it's not awful per se, but it isn't necessarily the tastiest. In fact, my crust has always been thick and chalky and I have had the worst time finding a solution for it. I received a few pointers from some fellow pie-bakers who had some great tips - use half regular flour and half quinoa flour, or use piping hot water instead of ice cold. These were all good ideas, but the best solution I found was a recipe on Pinterest that required butter. 

I've probably mentioned this before, but I have a dairy allergy. I'm not lactose intolerant, so I won't get a stomach ache if I eat something with lactose. I have an actual dairy allergy. I experience apprehension - my heart races and I feel like I'm panicking, I get heavy eyes and I feel foggy, and sometimes I break out into hives or a rash. One time, after eating something buttery, I wound up having to get steroids injected into my throat because everything began to tighten and I almost stopped breathing. Aw :)

With that being said, I wasn't sure if my vegan butter would be an ideal substitution for this pie crust, but I was willing to try.

This weekend I bought a boat-load of peaches with the intention of baking a peach-blueberry pie, but I literally forgot the blueberries were in the fridge when I went to bake, so peach pie it was.

I have to say that as I began baking this pie, I was extremely impressed with the pie crust. By the time I had flattened it, I knew it was going to be the crust that would change my life. As I put it in the freezer to firm it, I thought to myself 'I think this just may be the answer I have been waiting for'.. and it was.

Although a piece of my top crust got stuck to the wax paper while I transitioned it over to the pie, thus making one side of the pie look like a murder scene, the pie still turned out better than expected. NOTE: I roll my dough between two pieces of wax paper, hence why the "stuck." The crust was exceedingly flaky and the peach filling was sweet and gooey. 

Trust me kids, you will want to try this recipe at home.

All regular flour, shortening and Earth Balance Vegan butter sticks

Perfection wedged between two sheets of wax paper.

Hand peeled, hand sliced - went a little beyond the 6 cups recommended because... look at them.

I'm so in love.

Added an extra touch of flour for maximum firmness.


Gorgeous. [not pictured: Pie's bad side]

Below is my recipe for amazingly banging peach pie!

Pie Crust

2 1/2 C flour
1/2 C vegan butter
1/2 C shortening
pinch of salt
ice cold water, add teaspoon by teaspoon until you form the right consistency

1. Place flour, salt, butter and shortening in bowl.
2. Use your hands to combine ingredients until small pebbles form
3. Add cold water a teaspoon at a time until the dough begins to hold together and form a ball.
4. Do not over handle the dough. Dough should be soft, moist but not wet.
5. Divide dough in half.
6. Place ball of dough onto wax paper and flatten. Place another piece of wax paper over the top and roll out the pastry into a circle. If your pie pan is 9 inch make sure your circle is bigger than 9 inches so you have enough for the edging.
7. Remove the top layer of wax paper and place pastry into pie tin. Remove other piece of wax paper and press pastry into pan. Use your fingers to crimp the edge of the crust.
8. Freeze for 30 minutes to firm up the pastry. This helps prevent pastry from shrinking during baking.
9. Prick the bottom of crust to prevent bubbling during baking.
10. If pie calls for a baked crust bake at 400 degrees. For the first 10-12 minutes keep the edges of pie covered with foil and then remove for the last 15 minutes. Bake until golden brown.

Peach Pie Filling

3/4-1 C sugar (depending on how sweet your peaches are)
4 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
6 (or more) cups peeled, sliced fresh peaches
2 tablespoons butter (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Add to peaches and mix lightly (not too rough).
3. Fill your crust - dot with butter, if you'd like
4. Add top crust; make edges look nice.
5. Bake in oven for 45 minutes, or until juices are bubbling and crust is browning.

Make sure to share your pie recipes with me in the comment section below!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

10 Songs for Focusing

Whether you're studying for a big test, typing up analytic reports for work, catching up on the latest PLL theories online, or performing any task that requires your undivided attention, you're going to need some focus music. As someone who is obsessed with creating 8tracks playlists, I feel that it is my duty, nay, my calling to share with you songs that have helped me calm my nerves during some stressful typing sessions.