book reviews, crafts, cheap things…

Posts tagged “vegan

Book Review: Calling Dr. Laura by Nicole J Georges

Calling Dr. Laura : a graphic memoir

I really like Nicole J Georges’ work, and Calling Dr Laura is no exception. Read it! It’s gigantic (260 pages), tells a solid story, and has awesome art (lots of detail).

The narrative contains all kinds of goodness: queerness, lying parents, stress, relationships, chickens, histories, Portland Oregon, fortune telling, dogs, veganism. . . If you like her other work, you’ll like this book. If you like any of the topics I just mentioned, you’ll probably like this book.

I was looking at the amazon reviews of this book, and it looks like a lot of the crappier reviews were from people who got the book for free from the Vine program. I guess that’s what happens when you give a kind of niche (queer, vegan, artistic) book to a flatly mainstream audience that doesn’t really have any interest in it?

Her etsy shop’s on vacation right now til mid-march, but here’s the link

Find the book at a library near you



Financial Literacy February- Dessert$

For as long as I can remember, I have coveted sweets.

I grew up in a household where the sweetest thing in the pantry was a pretzel. When I would ask for dessert, on of my  parents would hand me a carrot and the carrot peeler. I remember literally salivating one when I heard my dad use the phrase “piece of cake” when talking to the landlord. I even remember the specific cake that I was salivating for: yellow with chocolate frosting. I heard him say it through the window,  and taking it literally, ran outdoors in pursuit of a sweet treat. Well over 20 years later, I am still disappointed with the linguistic lesson that stepped in the way of my desired (and nonexistent) dessert.

And well over 20 years later, I have the strongest sweet tooth of any of my peers. Up until fairly recently, I would have a dessert every day. Somewhere between waking up and brushing and flossing before bed, I would without doubt have a delightful and indulgent few moments with a cookie, a cone of soy ice cream, something from the vending machine at work, a vegan doughnut from whole foods, an elderly candy cane or coat pocket starlight mint if I was desperate. I blame it on my parents.

This is not to say that I don’t like real foods. I love them, especially the ridiculously healthy ones. I’m a strict vegan  and I otherwise eat mostly unprocessed foods and produce from the farmers market. I don’t own a microwave, and I’m too cheap to buy most prepared meals. Desserts have always been an exception for me. While I’ll balk at paying $6 for a sack of rice that will last two weeks, I’ve tended to think nothing of throwing down $2.50 for a delicious cookie that will last 15 minutes or less. Not to say that the cookie isn’t delicious (it is! The picture below has made me really, really want one)– but there have certainly been eras where I’ve one of them every single day. That’s a lot of money for someone who has mostly lived on the financial fringe.

alternative baking company

Alternative Baking Company is a brand that I can feel non-evil about supporting– but I’ve certainly had a number of rendez vous with Red Vines, the accidentally vegan animal cookies in the vending machine at one of my jobs, soda (ewwww) when I worked restaurant jobs and it was free, accidentally-vegan cheap store brand cookies…

But getting to the point of this post. This is not a post about getting healthier. This is not a post about making ethical dessert choices. As it is “Financial Literacy February,” this is a post about saving money. Let’s say I was spending $2/day on desserts. Not bad (and certainly not as bad as those poor souls who spend $6 every morning on coffee have it), until I consider that’s around $60 per month. $60 is a pair of shoes, a week and a half of local produce for a household of 2 people, one tenth of a pretty great bicycle (so great that it would get stolen in 2 seconds), a museum membership, half of a dremel, or about a bajillion of the things that I covet on Etsy. $60 is a lot of money!

But I love sweets, and I think that abandoning my sweet tooth cold turkey would take a sizable chunk of joy out of my life. February’s deal is that if I want a dessert, I have to make it myself. This will save money, both because ingredients are cheaper than finished products, and because I’m pretty busy these days– I don’t have a lot of time to bake. This fate is far from unpleasant– I’m quite a proficient baker, and I can throw together  batch of cookies in less than 10 minutes.

I’m doing ok so far– I made chocolate chip cookies last week that were pretty decadent. They were chewy and crispy, all at once! I did buy a quart of vanilla soy ice cream from trader joes– though its original intention was as an element of Monday mornings homemade strawberry shortcake. I think it still counts as purchasing a ready made dessert. But no one’s tracking points here.

Fun a Day, Day 17

The saga continues!

Today I arrived in Oakland a bit early for a dental appointment (totally awesome dentist who actually takes my crappy insurance! She’s worth the BART ride!). To pass the time, I wandered through Chinatown, stopping first into Layonna for some fake meat, and then into Park Grocery Liquors at 828 Franklin Street for a scratcher ticket.  The thing about Park Grocery Liquors, is that it’s not really a grocery store. But neither is it a liquor store. Rather, the best that I can describe it, is as a gambling outpost. Upon passing through the doors, I was faced with a dark store interior that was inhabited by maybe 10 elderly men who were furiously gambling with one another and on their owns. Only one joined me at the scratcher machines along the wall– the others filled out those fill-in-the-bubble forms and gambled around a table

The ticket that I purchased– the “Dragon’s Fortune,” did not bring me a fortune. But I’ll live.

The poverty Gourmet: Dessert– Texas Apple Pie

Remember the notion of a pie?

The classic “Dennis The Menace” pie cooling on the window, the “We Help Mommy” pie that Martha and Bobby helped prepare for Daddy, the perfectly good pie smashed into the face of a comic villain?

I was not thinking of those little cultural gems today when I threw together the beauty below. Rather, I was thinking about the sack of half-bad apples that i bought at the farmers market last Sunday for less than a dollar, and the half- cup  of brown sugar that was languishing in the kitchen cupboard, the fact that we magically still had (whole wheat) flour left, even after my recent sourdough-making bonanza, and my insatiable sweet tooth.

The whole thing probably cost around $2 to make. OMG dessert for, like, two whole days!

yee haw

yes, that really is the state of texas in the middle

Here is how I did it:

(note: an even cheaper, “dinner pie” version of this recipe can be made but cutting the sugar in the apple mixture and by eliminating it in the crust)

1. Get 6-or-so elderly apples. Skin and thinly slice them.

2. Put the apple slices, a few squirts of lemon juice, some shakes of cinnamon, a squirt of vanilla, and maybe 1/4 cup of brown sugar in a covered sauce pan and simmer on low. Stir occasionally, and watch as your crisp fruits wither into syrupy cinnamon-y goodness. Try not to eat too much of it before it reaches the pie. By the way, those recipes that  call for the addition of butter or cornstarch– B.S. The apples and sugar make their own syrupy glop.

3. while the apples are cooking, put maybe 2 cups of flour, a few teaspoons of sugar, some cinnamon,  a couple small chunks of margarine, and a splash of oil (hey, it’s all about economy here!) into a mixing bowl (if you are feeling rich, add more sugar and more oil). Mix it with your hands ’til it’s crumbly, and then add water until it resembles pie crust dough.

4. split the dough in half and make the crust-bottom with one part, and the crust top with the other. I bake mine before putting the filling in. Some people do not. Be sure to choose excellent shapes for the top. I chose Texas and circles and rings. After Assembling the pie, sprinkle some more of the brown sugar on top. It will crystallize and you can feel all decadent.

5. Photograph, let cool, and eat.

crumbs or diamonds?

Lately I find myself wanting to subscribe to magazines the same way that I often want to slink through the aisles of Thrift Town or pour through the Google results repeatedly for “vegan fair-trade shoes.” These drives may be shallow, but they pass the time.

At work I linger on the pages of Vogue Paris, Interview, Interior Design and Domus. I save subscription cards and imagine the thick, glossy pages heaping toward me as I unlock my mailbox. I imagine the bulk of them slick under my arm as I carry them up the stairs to my apartment, and the smell from between the pages as I remove them from their plastic wrappers.

I would be lying if I said that I didn’t consider going to fashion school when i was nearing the end of high school. I even took an all-about-fashion elective class when completing my 12th grade credits. But i would also be lying if I said that I felt comfortable attending the FIDM prospective student faire/fashion show when I was seventeen. Aside from a girl with a wild gauzy skirt, dark eyemake-up, and a jungle of brownish red curls (who i could not stop staring at), I was one of the only ones there who was not clad in the Clothestime fads of the time.

This blog is an attempt to chronicle what has happened since then, and how being a vegan, feminist, fair-trade-lovin’, broke-ass queer student geek translates into the world of paying attention to and appreciating things happening in fashion– both mainstream and gutter. I plan to post recipes, art ideas, stuff I made, dessert i baked, and things that I like.