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From the category archives:


Easy Dinners: Bow Tie Pasta

by Emma on June 4, 2012

in Dinner

Before we talk about pasta, tomato sauce, quick weeknight dinners or whatever else I will probably ramble on about I gotta say something:


It’s not done done. We will probably have some rewriting to do, maybe a few more photos to take. But over the weekend my sister and I turned in our very first book together, and I really can’t think about anything else. I feel so so excited, and happy and sort of relieved (that was a big project dude). I love hanging out here on the blog and cracking (awkward) jokes while sharing recipes, but my main jam is A Beautiful Mess. So thanks for your patience while I’ve been MIA lately, or at least it’s felt that way.

After finishing things up late last night I went to bed (duh). This morning when I woke up I felt excited to do every me-project I could dream up. Here’s a list of things I got excited about:

Cleaning my house, giving my dog a bath, painting my toe nails, building a fire in my pit and making s’mores, working on a few home projects, mopping my floors, researching alternative flours (thought I forgot, didn’t you?), riding my bike, catching up with a few friends, trying hot yoga, finishing my current fantasy novel, getting my car fix (it’s been acting weird)…

And as I review this list I can’t help but notice that I just might be the lamest person that ever lived. Not sorry.

And on that note, let’s talk easy homemade tomato sauce. (I’m amazing at segways. Obvs.)

Easiest Ever Homemade Tomato Sauce, makes about 3 cups.

Needed: 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2-3 cloves minced garlic, 1 28 ounce can whole stewed tomatoes, 1/2 yellow onion, salt, pepper, cayenne or other spices.

In a pot lightly saute the minced garlic in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes. Strain the tomatoes and dump these in the pot. Half your whole onion and remove the skin, add the entire half to the pot (we’re going to remove it later so you want it to be in a whole piece). Let this cook and mingle on low heat for 20 minutes or so.

In the mean time cook your pasta. I like bow ties. They seem fancy. I like sautéed onion and soy sausage. I like chopped cilantro. I can do all this while my tomato sauce simmer. Pretty cool, huh?

Remove the onion. I use an immersion blender to blend my sauce at this point. You could do this in a blender. You could do this with a wooden spoon for a more rustic sauce. Whatever. You pick. Choose your own adventure. Now taste and add your spices accordingly.

And that’s how you do a pasta dinner with homemade tomato sauce in under 30 minutes. You’re welcome. xo. Emma


Easy Brussels Sprouts Stir Fry

by Emma on May 29, 2012

in Dinner,Vegan

My crazy love/obsession with brussels sprouts is still going strong. We are coming up on our six month anniversary… or so.

I don’t actually keep track of that kind of thing because, dude, it’s just food.

But I’m thinking we should go ahead and make it official or something. Me and brussels sprouts are just meant to be.

Before I left for a little camping adventure this weekend I made a quick brussels sprouts stir fry one day for lunch. I love how this meal is suuuuuuuper quick and totally filling without having any bread. Don’t get me wrong—I have nothing against bread. I mean, I’m a baker…. so…. I like bread. But often times it’s easy to lean too heavily on carbs in a vegetarian/pescatarian diet. I also liked this meal because it incorporates soy meat. I actually don’t eat a whole lot of faux meats. I’m not entirely sure why. I don’t have any real issues with soy I just never got in the habit of using fake meats after I went vegetarian.

I think it’s funny every time I do cook with fake meat because I usually show some kind of picture on instagram and then I have friends leave comments about how they are concerned since I’m eating meat.


I’m the one who insists on sharing pictures of what I’m eating or cooking constantly though, so… I can’t really judge anyone’s behavior. I’m a weirdo. What can I say, I like my hobbies. I do I do.

There’s no real “recipe” here. I just stir fired a few quartered brussels sprouts and a veggie sausage. I like to heat up my pan with the oil until it’s really hot before adding the ingredients. Like, watch-out-the-oil’s-a-gonna-burn-you hot. I sometimes get impatient, but that’s the goal. I added few walnuts toward the end and seasoned with sea salt. Normally I’d say you need a lot more seasoning but the soy sausage was already pretty heavily spiced, in my opinion. But if you make something similar to this dish and you are using real sausage, or no meat then be sure to add more seasonings of your choosing.

Hope you all had a fabulous weekend. All my clothes smell like a river and I have a pretty sweet sun burn where my hair parts… so I had a pretty fab weekend too. :) xo. Emma


Risotto Basics

by Emma on May 1, 2012

in Dinner

I think the first time I ever made risotto was about three years ago. You know what’s weird, I don’t think I have actually ever eaten risotto at a restaurant. Every time I’ve ever had it, I’ve made it. I believe I first got into it because the main character in a murder mystery novel I was reading made risotto and I thought that sounded pretty cool. Plus that character was british, really into philosophy and she solved murders… so she seemed like she knew what was what. And that’s how my love of risotto first began. It was a food obsession of mine for a while, and then life kept going and it had probably been almost 2 years since I’d made it.

Until a few months ago; the boyfriend and I have recently gone through a bit of a risotto kick. I think it has mainly come about for a few reasons: creamy cheesy rice is delicious—why would you not want to eat that all the time, its super easy to make, it’s a very easy dish to make vegetarian (or pescatarian) and we bought a big container of arborio rice and I really only know how to make two things with arborio rice (risotto and rice pudding). So the risotto food obsession has seen a reoccurrence in my life; and I’m welcoming it back like an old friend.

Basic Risotto, makes 2-3 servings.

Needed: 1 cup arborio rice (you can use other rices but the texture will not be the same), 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock (or whatever stock you like), 1/2 cup wine (white or red, or use more stock if you don’t like/have wine), 1/4 cup chopped onion (any kind), 2-3 tablespoons oil or butter, 1/2 cup shredded cheese (any kind, my favorites for risotto are parmesan or Gruyère but be adventurous!). You can add chopped herbs, pesto or a couple of tablespoons of cream if you like. I usually make some kind of sautéed vegetables to go with it too, whatever is in season or just in your refrigerator is great.

In a deep pot over medium/high heat sauté the chopped onions in the oil until they begin to soften. Add in the dry rice and continue to sauté until the grains begin to look translucent. While you are doing this have another pot over low heat with the stock and wine in it. Begin ladling a big scoop (or two) of the stock mixture into the rice. Stir. Stir. Stir. Once the liquid has mostly absorbed into the rice add another spoonful or two and keep stirring. Taste the risotto once most of the liquid has been added, season with salt and pepper (or whatever you think it needs). Once the rice is done stir in the cheese (and any optional ingredients you want). Serve hot and creamy with a side of anything.

xo. Emma


Black Bean and Quinoa Burgers

by Emma on March 15, 2012

in Dinner,Vegan

I know that the first official day of spring isn’t until next week. But. I go by an entirely different standard.

I turned my air conditioner on in my car this week. To me, that’s it. That’s the sign that it’s time to start crafting short shorts (yep, started a project involving cut-off shorts last night, I know, I’m cool), it’s time to plant those herb seeds I bought last week, it’s time to build that fire pit in my back yard (because I have marshmallow knowledge and I gotta make s’mores soon!). It is so on.

I have this weird tick about using my car air conditioner. Until mid-July I pretty much have to be sweating before I will turn it on. I don’t know why. It’s totally unreasonable. I guess I just think I’m saving money, or that it’s really not that hot, or that it’s just too excessive to turn on your air even if you’re face looks like a cherry tomato.

I dunno. It’s a thing with me.

But this week… I did it. It’s still only March and I totally turned my air on. And I made vegetarian sliders. The sun’s out, my lawn needs mowing, my excessive use of sunscreen is starting to feel justified… it’s time for food that feels like summer.

Also, these sliders have a secret ingredient. It won’t be secret after you read the ingredient list below…. but that’s in the future right now. This is the present.

Did your mind just blow a little? Yeah. Me too.

Black Bean and Quinoa Burgers, makes around 12 slider size patties (less if you make regular size).

Needed: 1 1/2 cans black beans (you could use 2 full cans, I just happened to have a half can on hand), 2 cups cooked quinoa, 1/2 yellow onion, 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon curry powder, salt + pepper and one package of french fried onions (!!!!!!!!!!).

If you want to use bread crumbs instead of french fried onions you totally can. If you want to add an egg to this at the blending stage feel free.

In a small pan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Cook the chopped onion with the spices until they begin to soften and appear translucent. Cook your quinoa. Drain and rinse your beans. In a food processor combine the cooked onions and beans, blend until a rustic paste forms. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the quinoa and crushed french fried onions. Form into patties and either cook in oil until they begin to crisp or cover in plastic wrap and freeze for another night.

xo. Emma