Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ghetto Home Fabulous: Vegan Baking Edition

Have you guys tried making macarons? Everyone says they're the dessert of the decade, but I feel like they would have fit in better in the eighties - puffy and brightly colored, you know?
Anywho, I'm supposed to be moved out of my old apartment by Friday at noon, which is really funny because I still have heaps and heaps of my junk over there. Unfortunately, one of my favorite things to do when I have important deadlines is to ignore them and instead go bake snobby, labor-intensive cookie-things. I joined forces with vegan Grag for this one, forming Team Ve-Greezy. Providing moral support were Matt, Moko, and Luigi the Cat.

The usual macaron recipe calls for almond flour, white and powdered sugar, egg whites, and flavoring, and involves a million tiny steps. Team Ve-Greezy had some trouble with this, being cheap, lazy, and vegan - no one has a good vegan macaron recipe! NO ONE! Come on, internet! So we improvised the ghetto-home-fabulous way and made our own recipe, based on this one.

5 T ground flax seed
1/3 c water
2 bananas
3/4 c (ground) almonds
1 c powdered sugar
1/2 c cocoa powder
3-4 T oil

Mix flax seed with water. Whisk vigorously for...a while. I don't know. Ten minutes? Grag did this part. Add mashed bananas. NOTE: If you want to, skip flax and bananas and add any egg replacer equal to four eggs. Combine cocoa and oil and add to mixture. Finely grind almonds. This will take a long time and the noise of the food processor will drive everyone in the house crazy. Add almonds and sifted powdered sugar to mixture. Let sit for 30 minutes (who knows if this makes a difference). Pipe/spoon circles of batter onto parchment paper. Bake for 12 minutes at 325 F. For filling, we mixed a stick of earth balance with 1 t vanilla, 1.5 c powdered sugar, and food coloring.

photo by Grag

Obviously, these look nothing like macarons. I'm guessing that they also taste nothing like macarons (I've never had one before). The venture was not an entire failure, though, as they were still pretty delicious. Plus, look at these whoopie pies down here. See the resemblance? Who needs those fancy macarons, anyway?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

I've Heard It's A Butte

Last week, I flew west over Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming...
...and landed in Missoula. Bam. I was met at the airport by several confused-looking stuffed animals. Wiki whisked me off to the diner and then to her sunny little house. That afternoon, I freaked out at the BEST FABRIC STORE EVER, and then we had cupcakes at Bernice's. Other stores of note: Shakespeare and Company(lots of really good graphic novels, like Skim by Jillian Tamaki), Joseph's Coat, the cool yarn shop next door, Worden's for candy/snacks/beverages/nice bearded cashiers, and Butterfly Herbs for tea, coffee, incense, stationary, etc. Looks like congregants of the church of Knitta have been hard at work. Anyone in Lincoln want to do this with me? There is a group of deer that like to hang out in Wiki's backyard. As I was leaving the house the first morning, I turned and saw this lady standing right next to me. She just watched while I got my camera out and then was kind enough to pose for a few photos.The University of Montana campus was really lovely. I spent a good deal of time reading in the library(which also has plenty of stuffed animals), laying in the grass and drawing, or going to the university center to buy muffins.
Yes, I consumed an exorbitant amount of baked goods on this trip, but only to keep my strength up for all of the hiking I did(or that's what I told myself). The two mountains that are most accessible from the downtown area are Mount Sentinel (in the photo above, behind the university) and Mount Jumbo, just across the Clark Fork River.You can follow the M trail on Mt. Sentinel about 600 feet up to the huge concrete "M" [for Missoula? Montana? Mighty Mountain?], where people seem to often forget their underpants, apparently. I would have been pretty proud of myself for huffing and puffing my way up here except for the fact that I was frequently passed by heavily pregnant women, toddlers, and old people.
A few days later, in order to have something to brag about, I climbed all the way to the summit- 2,000 ft above the trailhead. It was really cold, rain was coming, I forgot my camera, took a few wrong turns into the forest(pumas!? grizzlies!? poop of unidentifiable animals!), got lost, broke the rules and took a ridiculous short-cut, and made it to the top where I was rewarded with a stunning view and the letters MGMT scratched onto a rock - hipster hikers? I celebrated by spinning around and singing a mash-up of "Eye of the Tiger" and "The Sound of Music" until I realized that there were people right behind me.
The next day I hiked the trail to the big concrete "L" on Mount Jumbo - L for Loyola [High School].
Unlike the "M", there were hardly any other people on this trail. It was much easier going, and the vegetation was more varied.I broke trail rule number two by picking a crap-ton of wild flowers until I saw the little sign that says "Don't pick the wildflowers, stupid girl". Oops. I just can't keep my hands off of tiny pretty things. My first time out hiking, I went with jeans, a corduroy blazer, a large purse, my ipod, colored pencils and paper, wallet, cellphone, $7 smooth-soled canvas sneakers, and no water. STUPID. So this time, I prepared by wearing less clothing, taking less junk, wearing sunscreen[still got fried], and I had plenty of water and....trail mix. Back down in town, I found all of these little bicycles. Students can rent them from the university. I thought that was nice. UNL, why do we not have a fleet of little red bicycles, huh?Things were adequately artsy-fartsy.Here are some more photos from my previously mentioned squirrel encounters: I can't not mention all of the shamazing people I met while I was here. They must put some sort of awesome-solvent in the water, because everyone I hung out with was talented, charming, friendly, and good-looking. I'm not even exaggerating! Allow me to pimp some of them to you:

Wiki (of course). A.k.a. Alice Bolin. Poet. DJ. BFF. Generous hostess. Read her blog here.

John B. Bunny Meyers. Poet. Hilarious. Sassy. Makes a mean lasagna. Read his blog here.

Z. Cody Lee. Poet. Speaks French. Prints letterpress books. I do not have a crush on him. Visit his website here.

Molly Laich. Fiction writer. Cool, cool lady. Let me live in her house and hog her bathroom for a week. Read her blog here.

Additional props to all of my other new buddies whose blogs/websites either don't exist or elude my internet-creeping. AND, Thursday nights at 8 on U of M college radio 89.9 KGBA is the New Lakes poetry show which everyone should listen to.

The week ended with a small bang - poetry reading, poetry reading after party, poetry reading after after party+karaoke at the VFW, and the after-after after party at the Oxford Club with special guest, "Cheesy Fries".

I left on Saturday morning and flew again over Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and Nebraska, back to Omaha. My happy parents greeted me with hugs, a bacon ranch quesadilla, and a Zhu Zhu Pet. The next day I drove home to Lincoln where I dealt with the sink full of dirty dishwater that I forgot about before I left. My bad.
P.S. Dear Wiki, I left my pink shoes in your bedroom. Sorry if they smell. You can throw them away.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Greetings From Man-tana

Missoula's all magical. Like Oz. Or....Care-a-lot. Yesterday, I was just sitting' under a tree at the base of a majestic mountain, contemplatin' life and eatin' trail mix, when this little dude came up and begged for pecans. How could I say no? Cute things get whatever they want from me.

Friday, April 16, 2010

More Buns, of the Sugary Variety

Yesterday was the day of birth of my beautiful Starkey. To celebrate, I created what I like to call the "Dirty Bunny" cakes, modeled after a picture my mom found in the newspaper.
I just took a round chocolate cake, layered on [cold] hot fudge sauce, oreo ice cream and another chocolate cake. After a quick freeze, I cut it in half crosswise and added the frosting and decorations(frosting ice cream is really hard! - that's where the "dirty" part of "dirty bunny cake" came from). The eyes and nose are m&ms, the eyebrows are tiny chocolate chips, and I cut the ears from envelopes, since that was the only paper I could find lying around(ghetto home fabulous). I forgot to add the whiskers, but you probably could use something like uncooked spaghetti, pretzel sticks, licorice, sour ropes, etc - work your sweet, jazzy improv magic.

I am going to go hit the hay now, seeing how I stayed up too late last night (unhealthy activities - french fries at the playground - turkey horror stories - plugging abandoned TVs into outdoor outlets downtown - photographing ourselves while sitting on random tandem bicycles), and tomorrow I am getting up bright and early to get on an AIRPLANE to go see WIKI in MISSOULA, MAN-TANA! Ahhh! Prepare yourselves for, like, fifty million pictures of mountains and sunsets and cool poets in the coming posts.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Current Obsessions

1. Chin heads are so 1996. Why don't you all come to my apartment and we'll drink Surge and listen to Kris Kross and glue googly eyes to our upside-down faces, kay?

2. This skirt is so great, even though it would make me look like I was hiding a Sherman Klump butt under there. Impractical unflattering things are theeeee best.


I will give five dollars to whoever buys these and wears them with an amoeba-print dress and frizzy topknot.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Junk in Mah Trunk

Apparently I've been driving around with my entire childhood in the trunk of my car because when I cleaned it out the other day I found 1) The Black Stallion series box set 2) a shoebox of runner's up ribbons and 3) an envelope of American Girls paper dolls. What the heck? Some other treasures included:

This photo of my brothers and I molesting a deer in Colorado in 1996. Tube socks ahoy!This c. 1971 sewing book my mom gave me back before I was even interested in making my own clothes. Obviously I've made good use of it, hence my technically flawless bloomers, pfft.

And the creme de la creme was my old high school sketchbook. Since I am inept at xml, I have only these tiny scans to show you, but allow me to highlight their crappiness: On the left here we have Iekeliene Stange, my favorite model, with a cupcake-adorned slip-on shoe from Teen Vogue and a poem by Robert Brautigan:

If you will die for me,
I will die for you
and our graves will be like two lovers washing
their clothes together
in a laundromat
If you will bring the soap
I will bring the bleach.

On the right is Lily Cole in Hussein Chalayan. Above in bad French I wrote something like, "Without a doubt the silliest dress in the history of couture - it's called the topiary dress". On the bottom is a haiku by Taiga: "'Look, O look, there go/Fireflies,' I would like to say--/But I am alone." Emo much?
I think this one was supposed to be the "national folk costumes/ethnic patterns" spread. I'm still all about the lady matador style.
Anyone ever into Sailor Moon? I watched that, plus a bunch of Dragonball Z and Fruits Basket, but that was about the extent of my anime love. I was also pretty big into Japanese toys for a while, and brands like Tokidoki and Hello Kitty. On the bottom left page I have a random stamp and a poem from one of my dad's wacky treasure hunts. On the right page is a Tokyo subway ticket that I found in a library book, and the sketch at the bottom is copied from a bar of soap, I think? Soap or cigarettes.

Speaking of Dragonball Z, I had a big crush on Trunks. Yeah, and I was probably 15 or 16 when I drew this, if that tells you anything about my maturity. This Natalie Dee comic will explain the horse drawing - note the title. This is from a project I did the summer before college where I took ads out of Vogue and replaced the models with hamsters. Oh, the things we do when we are bored.

This concludes our short tour through my awkward, fretful teenage years. Stay tuned for more sketchbook pages and couture hamsters.