Turtle Jello or: The Things I’ll do For my Ungrateful Bee of a Daughter

Turtle Jello or: The Things I’ll do For my Ungrateful Bee of a Daughter

For the record: my daughter is 8 years older than me, and also a red eared slider turtle.

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it’s true

Turtles, like human children, are supposed to eat their greens to stay healthy. Tippy, also like human children, is a huge brat and hates eating her greens. She goes through phases. When I first adopted her from a family that, while having good intentions, neglected her and her nutritional health, she wouldn’t eat anything but ReptoMin pellets. According to Tippy’s vet, her diet should only be 50% ReptoMin pellets. First, I got her to eat freeze-dried river shrimp with her pellets. THEN I got her to eat zucchini bits with her pellets, but she stopped wanting to eat the dry shrimp. THEN I gave her a cooked cocktail shrimp as a treat and she stopped wanting to eat anything but shrimps!
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This is a problem because I had just gotten Tippy’s shell from a dusty sickly stuck-shed brown to a beautiful shiny black! It only took a few months for Tippy’s picky eating to result in some dry patches on her shell so I knew I had to do something. I took Tippy to her annual vet exam and asked for some advice. (NOTE: Tippy was the coolest turtle in school in her dinosaur sweater from her Auntie Vicki! <3)

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Tippy’s greatest loves are being dressed up and going to the vet (this is a lie, they are MY greatest loves)

The vet suggested that I chop up Tippy’s veggies and hide it in some shrimpy jello. Which sounds as disgusting as it SO. WAS. I’m a vegetarian and I’ve never made jello before despite the fact that I’m a shitty vegetarian who totally forgets to not eat gelatin so I looked up a recipe to make sure I didn’t fuck it up too much. I got the general idea from this recipe posted on redearslider.com’s Turtle Talk! forum . Mine is a lot simpler though, as I had not thought about adding anything other than greens and shrimp to the gelatin. Next time I do this, I will follow their recipe a bit more and include calcium powder and pellets! So here is my very SIMPLE turtle jello recipe:

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Ingredients:
– Knox gelatine (1 packet)
– Red leaf lettuce (approx. 4 leaves)
– Precooked cocktail shrimp (2 large)
– Boiling water (1/2 cup)
Tools needed: 
– Ice cube tray
– Food processor or blender or willingness to finely chop lettuce and shrimp together

Directions:
1) Clean and roughly chop the lettuce and shrimp

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This picture is just to show off my turtle cutting board that Tippy’s Auntie Lisa got me! 

2) Put it all in a food processor and blend!

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This food processor was given to me by Tippy’s Grandma Roberta! Tippy’s family is so generous ;_;

3) Mix the pureed green/shrimp mixture with one packet of the gelatin and add 1/2 cup of boiling water.

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Pre-gelatin/water addage

4) Spoon the liquid into an ice cube tray! (Bacardi Bat ice cube tray not required, but HIGHLY recommended)

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Courtesy of Auntie Ginz! 

5) Refrigerate for 2 – 3 hours!

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NOTES:
1) I cannot EXPRESS to you how nasty this smelled. Again, I am not a meat-eater so I am not really into fishy smells. But I am not one of those vegs who tries to feed their pet veg because I am not a doofus SO I GRINNED AND BARED (BEARED?) IT.
2) I actually think I could have used a higher ratio of gelatin/water to puree because the cubes did not hold their shape very well (see above)
3) I tried shoving some ReptoMin into the cubes because I was afraid that the cubes were too greens heavy and I needed to make sure that Tippy’s nose said FISH and not LETTUCE. This would have been a lot easier had I done it BEFORE refrigerating like the forum suggested but OH WELL
4) Tippy LOVED IT. When I first walked up to her she was like go away mom I’m friggin sun bathing 

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But then I wafted a piece of the jello towards her and she (slowly) jumped into the water and NOMMED the HELL out of it

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SAVAGE

Based on her reaction I give this recipe TEN TIPPYS OUT OF TEN PLUS ONE SHRIMPIE

🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🍤

The $25 Target Challenge

The $25 Target Challenge

I have a Target problem. (Am I a basic white bee because I have a target problem? Or do I have a target problem because I am a basic white bee?)

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Get a PSL to sip while you shop! via http://www.beesinfrance.com/

My friend and co-worker, Madre de Bueno (formerly known as “Teacher some number I forgot”) also has this problem. So last week when we decided to go on a target trip to knock out our various secret santa situations MdB came up with brilliant idea: we would challenge ourselves to only spend 25 dollars at Target. It seemed impossible, but we believed we were up to the task.

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spoiler alert: we weren’t up to the task 

It was actually a perfect set-up. I had two secret santas to shop for, a work one and a friend one. I had $15 left to spend for the work secret santa and around $10 for the friend one. It would be eeeeasy to spend $25 or below.

We started our adventure at the dollar spot, the section of target that has $1, $2, and $3 items. IT’S GREAT. All my student’s token system prizes come from this section.

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I love you, cheap section of target

MdB and I found the only remaining Halloween item among the xmas stuff because we have Halloweendar.

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Luckily, I was not tempted (because I still have target halloween stickers leftover from two months ago). Unluckily, we didn’t find a lot of good stuff in the dollar spot so we were forced to move on to other sections, a devestating move for the $25 challenge.

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Next stop was target’s very small book section! Here we see MdB being an actual thrifty shopper and using the target cartwheel app to see if that cookbook was on sale (it wasn’t). And HERE we see me fucking around with these little sticky mirror things you can put on your cell phone case:

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I should be ashamed of how many crappy selfies I took in this tiny little mirror, but I’m not because I am Proud Trash. 

Those mirror stickers were TEN FUCKING DOLL HAIRS can you imagine.

Anyway, there was no great finds in the book section either so we moved on to the gift cards/gifts to go aisle. Where I found THE PERFECT THING FOR ONE OF MY SECRET SANTAS which I can’t tell you about because… they might read my blog? Goooood timing on this post, Me. What I can tell you about is this HORRIFYING price check item override nightmare situation:

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An eleven dollar difference WHO DID THIS 

It’s been 5 years since I worked in retail but this still stresses me out. Who put the nice expensive cards in the $3.99 face? Was it an employee who just had one more to put up and didn’t want to bother with the shelving in the back? Or did a customer take it out from on top and put it back wrong?!?! Either way that’s $11 that I’m gonna have to cost this company because I know that target has the same policy that CVS had that if it’s mis-shelved you get the price it was shelved at sob sob sob CASHIER NIGHTMARES

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Anyway, the gifts to go aisle was a success! Including the $3 worth of stuff I got at the dollar spot I was sitting pretty at $12 left to go in my $25 budget. EASY.

So here where it all started going downhill. I’m not trying to SPILL ANY SECRETS but one of my secret santas said their favorite scent was one of the three items given to the baby jesus uPON his birth. Very holidayish, yes?! WELL I looked at and smelled at every damn candle in target and I did NOT find the right scent. I DID however find the OTHER smelly thing jesus received on his birthday:

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WTFKJSKFHSFB

but even if this WAS the correct smell it was a ~*~*~$15*~*~ flippin candle so, no.

My frantic candle search led me to download the cartwheel app to see if I could get a good deal on something I personally needed

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BULLSHIT

The cartwheel app is USELESS. Once the idea of alcohol was in my brain it was all over. I mean, how can I really expect to go to target without buying a cube of wine? I was setting myself up for failure. MdB and I both realized that we weren’t going to meet the challenge of spending $25 BUT we were determined to buy all our secret santa gifts. And in that way, we were victorious.

Because I’m not a real writer, and I can’t even structure blog posts, the rest of this will be a list of funny things that happened while we were at target:

  1. MdB found a loose kit kat on the floor and offered me $5 to eat it
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    I couldn’t do it, tho.

    2. We ran into our friend, Algebra (I hope you like your blog nickname, Algebra)! AND a random lady who was ALSO secret santa shopping!

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    This picture is titled “Things MdB doesn’t need/can’t have” – Also, check out Random Lady in the background!

    3. MdB had an ACTUAL FIT in the cleaning aisle about this special edition xmas scented soap.

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    this should be an ad for meyer’s

4. “That doesn’t even LOOK like Jennifer Aniston! It looks like Jennifer Aniston photo-shopped onto Mary Kate and Ashley Olson” – MdB

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she’s right tho

5. We stood on the other side of the aisle away from the clothes section for a good five minutes convincing ourselves that we didn’t need to buy or look at any clothes

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Honestly, going to target and avoiding the pull of the entire clothes section is the true miracle of this post. 

6. We found this adorable cookie jar but couldn’t agree on whether it was a squirrel or a chipmunk. IT’S UP TO YOU, INTERNET. SQUIRREL OR CHIPMUNK????

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I’m #teamsquirrel myself

7. This youth shirt design which is weird EVEN by pre-teen girl shirt standards

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tag yourself, I’m the shoe

8. Madre de Bueno took this sneaky snake photo of me at the peak of my mountain madness at the wrong jesus smell candle
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9. And finally, we took this beautiful family photo

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how do you flip photos is a question i have

so in conclusion, spending $25 or less at target is literally impossible based on this one trip. THE END.

Meal Subscription Box Hell and Other Over-Exaggerations

Meal Subscription Box Hell and Other Over-Exaggerations

This post is dedicated to Ginz, for without whom’s free box coupons I would never be able to make this snarky post about meal subscription boxes

Meal subscription boxes are, I think, the new thing. I’m basing this idea on the fact that there are a lot of different companies doing it and my targeted advertisements are all about Gryffindor sweatshirts and meal subscription boxes (I assume that this is because all hip millennials are into food and harry potter).

First, a disclaimer. I am in no way saying that meal subscription boxes are budget-friendly. Michael and I’s weekly grocery budget is around $80 TOTAL. That is, we aim to spend $40 EACH every week on EVERY food item (except alcohol which is, very sadly, part of the fun money budget). I’ve tried two different subscriptions, the first (Blue Apron) was about $60 a week – and that’s for THREE meals for TWO people. This one I am reviewing for this blog post (Hello Fresh) is $80 dollars a week! So if I were to really do this weekly, I would either have $20 left for 4 nights of dinner, 7 mornings of breakfast, and 7 days of lunches for TWO people – OR completely use up my grocery budget on three meals total. So why am I even making this post? I don’t know?!?!? I need to do something with my broke ass time.

So! Ginz VERY KINDLY gave me a free box of Hello Fresh. It arrived this afternoon.

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Their packaging is actually v cute

Michael gets home before me most days and he NO JOKE, saw that I got a meal subscription box, went to Harris Teeter, and brought home a frozen pepperoni pizza.

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PHOTOGRAPHIC PROOF. 

Is this because he just really, really likes pepperoni pizza but never gets to eat it because his girlfriend is a vegetarian?!?! OR is it because last time I got a meal subscription box I guilted him for not helping me with it, and then took like two hours to make a really little meal???? YOU DECIDE. (NOTE: “If you want to know the truth, I wanted the pepperoni pizza! Normally we just eat cheese pizzas! Only cheese pizza! I just wanted pepperoni! I saw the box, but I didn’t even know what was in the box! LIES!” – Michael)

So inside the big box was three little boxes

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Please notice that the 3rd box looks tilted, that’s important later

So that was nice. If I remember correctly, Blue Apron’s box was a big mix of all the different packages of ingredients.

Inside the box was a booklet with the recipes and a little envelope with coupons for other services. (GINZ, DO YOU WANT A FREE BOX OF GRAZE, HMU) I really did like the booklet better than the big loose papers that Blue Apron gives you.

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fancy pantsy!

I spent a while thinking before I decided which recipe to make tonight. It was a rice bowl, a pizza thing, and a pasta thing. I decided to do the pasta thing because it was described as “easy peasy” and that it would take 20 minutes. NOW I don’t buy into the times they give you on recipes, and by “they” I mean people without obsessive compulsive disorder. People without OCD just cook willy nilly. People with OCD, you know, you got to at LEAST double the predicted time. Probably triple. This particular recipe took me like an hour and some change, but that’s mostly because it was a disaster, as I will explain.

First, I did like the directions they provided. They were simple. HOWEVER, they were a little TOO SIMPLE?? What the fucks a “lug” of oil? That’s not a common term! I assumed it was like, a healthy amount. I googled it and I got this fucking link for the chef dude who designed this for Hello Fresh’s forum or something. These people can’t even agree on what a lug is and they’re the sort of people who participate in online cooking forums!!! So, in short, I ended up with a sauce SO OILY I had to methodically spoon out the oil that settled on the top. It was a bit much.

I bet you think that was the disaster, it wasn’t! The real disaster is that I reached in the box for the can of tomatoes and it was covered in nasty green goo. I was like UM IS THIS PESTO? IS THERE PESTO IN THIS RECIPE (there wasn’t)?? So this particular box was smashed in on the side, which I didn’t think was a big deal BUT it smushed the tops of the asparagus and got really nasty and rotten.

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this photo kinda underplays the nastiness, it was all over the can next to it

This lead to a pretty decent sized OCD freakout that would have resulted in me throwing out the entire big box of food and sending a really nasty email to Hello Fresh BUT Michael read the email before I sent it and talked me down. I had already started to figure out what else I was gonna make for dinner because OBVIOUSLY if one item was spoiled then could I trust the rest of the items?!?!?!?! But anyway. I threw out the asparagus and made the pasta without it.

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fancy pasta sans asparagus

It was alright. Just like Blue Apron, it was enough for two small portions. And also like Blue Apron, I will probably just use the rest of the box as I see fit and not fuck with the recipes. I can spread out the ingredients a lot better than the suggestions let me tell you.

So in CONCLUSION was this Easy Peasey Fancyname Pasta worth approximately $26.666666??? Hell no. Was it fun to receive a big box of groceries for free? Hell yes. So if you know someone with a free box code, go the hell for it.

PS – PRO TIP FROM GINZ: The ice packs that come with the boxes are reusable!

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Please note the perfectly fine frozen cheese pizzas that Michael SHUNNED

Budgeting: Back and Budgetier Than Ever

Budgeting: Back and Budgetier Than Ever

You know that feeling when all your credit cards are maxed out and you have approximately 6 dollars to last you the 10 days until pay day AND it’s t-minus 20 days til Xmas?!?!?!? HAHAHA I DON’T THIS IS JUST A HYPOTHETICAL FEELING. I am a Real Adult and I manage money so, so well.

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This gif is entirely unrelated to my financial situation

So despite the fact that I am an insanely well-paid public school educator who doesn’t need any help with money ever I’ve started thinking I need to go back to budgeting.

I know what you’re thinking! “GODAMMIT KAILA, YOU STARTED THIS BLOG TO WRITE ABOUT YOUR BUDGET” I know, I know, calm down. The truth is I did SO WELL the first two months of this blog/this budget that I got COCKY and once I get COCKY it all goes downhill.

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This is what came up when I googled rooster going downhill. I chickened (HA) out of googling cock going downhill, but let me know what happens. 

So I’m admitting defeat WHILE ALSO admitting that I can TRY, TRY AGAIN!

In my effort to accept my defeat and move on to even greater budgeting heights I did what any American does when they need help: I googled “how to accept failure and move on”. Lots of results came up, so that’s pretty encouraging. We all fail! I wanted to read an article from a reliable source so I did what I tell my students to do “if you’ve heard of the source before there’s a better chance it’s legit” (this is real advice I give, and before you say anything please remember I’m a science teacher and I have a lot to teach the middle school kiddos without getting into scholarly sources okaaaaaaay). One result was from forbes.com – as a VERY WEALTHY and BUSINESSY person I know that Forbes is some sort of magazine. So please join me in my journey of making myself feel better, as I break down “Five Ways to Make Peace with Failure”

  1. “Don’t make it personal” – done. My self worth is COMPLETELY in tact francocry
  2. “Take stock, learn, and adapt” – why DID I fail? I’m gonna have to say it is because budgeting is hard. Why is budgeting hard? Probably because everything that is great costs a lot of money. I live a very luxe life. Sometimes, my friend Ginz gives me coupons for fancy home recipe delivery boxes and I cook up all the food and pretend that I’ll be able to afford NOT cancelling my subscription. Have you noticed that those boxes think that human beings are tiny mice who eat tiny mice portions?! I should make a post about that.
  3. “Stop dwelling on it” – this one is hard because I fucked up so bad I’m reminded of my fuck up every time I want to buy a cheap little thing. The other day I went to the gym and I was like “oh, I forgot my water bottle, I’ll just buy a bottle of water he-OH WAIT I can’t. I CAN’T BUY A 3 DOLLAR BOTTLE OF WATER.” Or I’m like. Hmm salsa and pasta sauce are basically the same thing right BECAUSE I CAN ONLY GET ONE. Wow, I’m doing an awesome job of not dwelling.
  4. “Release the need for approval of others” – this one is easy as long as no one knows I fucked up my budget WAIT
  5. “Try a new point of view” – not “damn I cocked up the budget” but “wow, my intentional 10 month budget hiatus really gave me a good perspective on how I’m so fucking broke”. IDK about this one.

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ALRIGHT I feel rEADY NOw.

Tune in next time for very possible further failure!!!!!

 

A Hall Monitor’s Tale

A Hall Monitor’s Tale

I started writing this post during hall duty and IMMEDIATELY abandoned it when hall duty was over. You may be thinking that my hall duty wasn’t very long but IN REALITY I am an incredibly slow writer. So anyway, this was just sad and lonely and in my drafts and I’m never going to finish it so here it is have fun people:

A Hall Monitor’s Tale 

Or, You’ll Have to Wait There’s Someone Already in the Restroom

It’s standardized testing season, the most wonderless time of the school year. This is my 5th year in education and I’m pretty used to our state’s standards: The Standards of Learning (it took me THREE YEARS before I understood why out-of-staters laughed whenever I mentioned the S.O.L.s.)*. In these five years I’ve been a substitute teacher, a school-based substitute, an instructional assistant, and a full time teacher. So I’ve given SO MANY SOLs, I wouldn’t even be able to count. The mention of testing has changed over the years due to rules changing and student populations changing but it, overall, it’s mostly the same. Someone needs to read the state mandated script and someone needs to make sure that students are ALONE or SUPERVISED in the bathrooms AT ALL TIMES. Teaching, it’s a very glamorous job.

* Google it and ignore any result about Virginia or Mars timekeeping

I am currently doing the latter job. If you’re a teacher you already know this, because you can LITERALLY do NOTHING while in the room with testing students. You cannot grade papers. You cannot write lesson plans. You cannot look up cute end of year awards on Pinterest. And don’t even THINK about reading a book or magazine. You can’t even look directly at the computers the students are testing on! The state mandates that test proctors are allowed only to exist, they call it “active monitoring”. Basically, you are expected to walk around the room (that has been stripped of any student work or posters), not looking at anything, waiting for a student to raise their hand and ask one of the few things they are allowed to ask. There is a really funny but sad We Are Teachers article about this entitled, 17 Things You Can do While Actively Monitoring a Standardized Test.

If they ask to use the restroom, the student is sent to a hall monitor like me, whose whole purpose is to make sure only one student is in the bathroom at a time. Because. Cheating? Also, we have to make sure testers are not lollygagging at the water fountain and that non-testing students aren’t making ANY noises.

200_s

 

Vegetarian “Chicken” Noodle Soup

Vegetarian “Chicken” Noodle Soup

I’d like to first point out that we have awesome names for a lot of vegetarian/vegan substitutes (Soysage, fakin, ET ALL). However, the only chicken substitute name  I am aware of is “chik’n” which is CRAP. The vegetarian name should be a hilarious variation and should sound similar to but noticeably different from the meat name. Ordering a “chik’n” patty at a hip restaurant will most likely get me the flesh of an actual chicken and I don’t… want that. If some hero could get on this I would really appreciate it.

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ANYWAY

Happy Early Mid-August! The most panicked time of the year for the public school teacher such as myself. Summer is rapidly imploding and as much as I would love for the heat index to NOT hover around 110 I am IN NO WAY READY for Labor Day (not to mention all the in-service that comes before it). For those of you who ARE NOT teachers (who are you and how did you get here?!) I bet you’re wondering why it seems I have been neglecting my blog all summer. WELL. I’ve been very busy catching up on my reading (harry potter fan fiction) and watching this year’s Oscar contenders (the lego batman trailers over and over again) as well as some much needed exercise (pokemon go). But I’ve finally written in enough time to share my newest favorite-est recipe:20160813_180216

Vegetarian Chicken Noodle Soup
Ingredients:
– Fake chicken soup bouillon broth cubes* (or vegetable bouillon)
– Frozen fake chicken strips**
– Medium onion (1)
– Water (1 cup for every serving of bouillon)
– Garlic (around 4 cloves)
– Nutritional yeast (like.. a quarter cup, no joking fam)
– Some kind of pasta (the whole goddamn PACKAGE)***
– Spices**** (TO TASTE)

*I have a VERY SERIOUS recommendation and it is this weird vegan Austrailian soup company’s bouillon cubes

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I found these on the top shelf of the broth section of the soup aisle at my local Shopper’s Food Warehouse and they have CHANGED MY LIFE. They have chicken, beef, and regular vegetable flavors and OMG I FEEL LIKE… like I prayed for these products?!?! Like I got down on my knees in the Shopper’s Food Warehouse and prayed to Paul Newman Patron Saint of Grocery Stores/Rob Zombie Patron Saint of Vegans and my prayers were answered?! You gotta check out that website linked in the image caption and just.. figure out where this shit is available near you and fill a whole drawer in your kitchen with it IT’S THAT GREAT. I mean… some body has got to let Knorr onto the secret that you don’t need FATTY TISSUE from fucking ANIMAL CREATURES to make a good soup. Whew!

** On this batch I used a bag of Quorn’s “chicken pieces” but any unbreaded chicken substitute will do. If you use Morningstar or Gardein you just have to chop them up to make them more reasonable for soup. ALSO only one of these is vegan and I think it’s Gardein? Anyway if you a vegan check that shit out first.

*** I use literally whatever gimmicky healthy-but-not-whole-wheat non-noodle pasta is on sale and not homophobic barilla. So like last time I used Shopper’s store-brand 50% whole wheat shells and this time I used Harris Teeter’s store brand hidden veggie bow-tie pasta. YOU COULD EVEN USE SPAGHETTI IF YOU WANTED just go nuts my friends

**** MY SECRET SPICE… IS TEACHER SPICE (shout out to Ginz) ba33582da2be3f12daf99594e8a01ca0d30c9a27

Directions:
1) Bring water, nutrional yeast, chopped onion, chopped garlic and bouillon to boil
2) Add package of pasta
3) Microwave frozen fake chicken according to package directions
4) Once pasta is cooked, add fake chicken
5) Spice to tasteeee
6) Remove pot from heat and cover
7) Allow to stew in it’s own residual heat for like 20 minutes

DONE!

Listen… I’ve been a vegetarian for 9+ years but it tastes like what I remember of homemade chicken noodle soup. ALSO Michael liked it which is a HUGE DEAL because I make weird soups like it’s my fucking job and normally Michael (rightfully) avoids them but with my first batch of this soup he ate a bowl and woke me up (because he is a vampire who eats in the middle of the night) and told me how much he liked it and I was so flabbergasted that I thought it was a dream BUT IT WASN’T HE REALLY DID LIKE IT and we ate all of it in like two days and I didn’t have to freeze ANY OF IT IT WAS A MIRACLE

PLUG TO OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA: Hey are you a vegetarian or vegan person who likes to wear cool patches and let the flesh eaters know that carrots are great?!?!?!?! WELL SO AM I AND I MADE THIS PATCH FOR US buy it on my newly reopened etsy! 3 dollarydoos for a handmade patch free shipping within the United States?? WOW!~*~*~*~*~

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Nun Comix on Etsy

Windowsill Sprouting

Windowsill Sprouting

Taking care of plants is friggin’ the best. Watching something you’ve nurtured develop roots and grow is seriously satisfying. Plus, they’re good for the air quality of your home AND they trick house guests into thinking you are a decent enough human being to keep something alive.

I’ve lived in apartments with varying degrees of sunlight for a good chunk of my life and I’ve always been searching for the easiest way to grow and maintain plants indoors. Conventional (read: pinterest) wisdom states that succulents, like aloe vera plants and cacti, are the hardest plants to kill. Over the years I have found this to be FALSE.

I have killed more succulents then I care to count. I think I have the following things going against me:

  1. My (s)mothering instincts: the cause of death for pretty much every plant I’ve slaughtered is INCREDIBLY MASSIVE over-watering… syndrome.
  2.  Plants at big box stores and home improvement shops are bred for beauty, not longevity

Case in point: The Grafted (Moon) Cactus
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Grafted cacti are definitely beautiful and they’re easily the most common succulent I see for sale, at nurseries and big stores alike. Michael got this cactus for me for my birthday a few years ago and, despite this recent decline, it’s been my most successful succulent. But the fact is that this guy’s days are numbered. The grafted cactus is the marriage of two different species of cactus: a mutant chlorophyll-lacking variant of the chin cactus (the red part on top) and a hylocereus (the green stem). These two cacti have different water and sunlight needs so keeping the conjoined plant alive is a balancing act. Definitely NOT an easy plant to keep alive.

I don’t have any images of my MANY attempts at keeping aloe vera alive as they have all been over-watered to the point of complete destruction.

So, I’ve been looking for a perfect indoor plant and I think I’ve found it. My favorite type of plant is:

  1. Beautiful
  2. Easy
  3. Fast-growing
  4. Uncommon enough to make you look like a gardening GENIUS
    and most importantly…
  5. FREE

I’m talking about windowsill sprouts!!!

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I love sprouting plants so much that I may have gotten a Friday the 13th tattoo the other day that celebrates putting teeny plants into teeny jars:

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Guest starring: the Tippy tattoo I got after having her for about a month, another impulse Friday the 13th plant tattoo, and some cute goober

Maybe you’ve seen a info-graphic on pinterest that states “SAVE MONEY: TEN PLANTS THAT MAGICALLY REGROW THEMSELVES”. I know I have. And it always sounds too good to be true. Maybe that’s why it took so long for me to try it. In fact, I didn’t try “regrowing” food scraps until I unearthed an onion that was sprouting in a large bag I had bought from the grocery store. It already HAD visible green growth so it wasn’t a huge step to plop it in water and stick in on my windowsill. However, regrowing food ISN’T too good to be true!

What you’ll need:

  1. A small mason jar or other glass cup (FUN FACT: those tiny testing glasses you get from beer and wine festivals are the perfect size!!)
  2. Tooth picks
  3. Vegetable, leaf, or whatever scraps
  4. To remember to fill/replace the water as evaporation/cloudiness dictates!
  5. A sunny windowsill!!!!

Here is a list of what I have sprouted in my apartment: 20160118_113045_HDR-1

  1. Onion (and potato)
    Technically, I did not use scraps for my first sprouting adventure. As I mentioned, I found the onion already sprouting in the bottom of a 3 pound sack of onions. All I did was suspend it in a mason jar with some toothpicks. Same with the potato, which already had a few growing “eyes”. The photo at the right is about a week into the experiment. As you can see, both veggies grew impressive looking roots. The potato had some tubular growth on the side facing the window but HONESTLY it was NOT pretty. I learned that golden yukon potato sprouts are dark purple tubes that take forever to grow leaves and look super creepy.
  2. 20160308_065253_HDRGarlic 
    This garlic sprouted roots OVERNIGHT! It was completely awesome! And the green sprouts grew SUPER fast. It was only on my windowsill for a weekish and then it was big enough to transplant to a pot! Bonus: I read online that mosquitos don’t like the smell of garlic so BELIEVE that I’m putting garlic plants all over my balcony. If you’re wanting to try to sprout plants on your windowsill, I recommend starting with garlic, it was definitely the fastest growing and the easiest to start.

 

 

3. Romaine lettuce.
This is the one that I was SURE was too good to be true. BUT IT’S TRUEEEEEEEEEE. So, all you have to do is make sure you don’t chop the romaine heart too short. You want there to be some green left, and some leafyness (technical term) in the middle. Like this:

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Image from Gen X Finance

The lettuce will regrow from the middle, and eventually the side bits will shrivel up. Don’t be alarmed by the fact that no roots appear. A slit naturally appears on the flat end of the heart, and I guess water gets in through there? MAYBE IT *IS* MAGIC.

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Day 7 to Day 17! 

Eventually, I transplanted the onion, garlic and romaine into pots and put them on my balcony:

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From left: onion, garlic, romaine 

It can be a rough transition for the sprout to go from jar to pot BUT as long as you keep it watered, keep it in the sun, AND don’t repot it like five times in a row (like I may have done) they it should survive just fine. You might have to do some trimming (as you can see, the onion had to be hella [technical term] trimmed down}) if the leaves droop past the point of no return. Theoretically, I could eat the transplants but they’re just so pretty?!?!?!?!!?!? Also, if you don’t have a balcony, you can keep them inside. In fact, the onion lived inside for all of winter yaaay.

4. Celery 20160515_132128_HDR
This is super similar to romaine, but it’s even MORE important to not cut the stalks too far down. In this case, I also tried to regrow the fatter celery stump but I had cut it too far down and it wouldn’t sprout. However, I had a feeling that I had fudged it so I also suspended the the middle stalky bundle and BOOM that DID regrow, hallelujah! Also no visible roots on the celery sprout.

 

 

 

 

5. Heart-Leaf Philodendron
So this is technically a cutting, not a regrowing, I think?!?! But age is just a number so whatever. So to do this one you have to cut off a piece of the vine WITH a joint, like sooo:

20160515_132148_HDRAnd suspend it in water, no toothpicks needed.

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Drink the District tasting glass aw yeah beer 

I just started these the other day so no roots have grown yet but according to the internet they will come out of the joint. This philodendron is from a potted garden that Michael gave me for my birthday about 4 years ago and I’m so happy that it’s still hanging out and growing little babies AND I JUST LOVE IT SO MUCH, IT’S NAME IS FRANKIE.

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I LOVE YOU FRANKIE

6. Spider Plant
Okay so I don’t have any pictures of this cutting sprouting roots BUT it happened and come to think of it it happened in my classroom which (AT THE TIME) had barely ANY sunlight at all (which AT THE TIME I thought was soooo difficult, stupid past Kaila who took her skylight for granted). This sproutie came from a co-worker and look at it now!

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Featuring avocado seeds that I’m trying REALLY HARD to sprout. I might have like ten of them scattered in various pots  around the house

So there you have it! GO FORTH AND grow SMALL PLANTS in SMALL CONTAINERS in your SMALL WINDOWSILLS and finally feel joy again!!!