The Fantastical Peafowl Adventure

BEHOLD, THE FIERCELY MAGNIFICENT PEACOCK, WHO SHALL HENCEFORTH BE NAMED THE REAL COUNTESS EDNA VON FANCYPANTS.

BEHOLD, THE FIERCELY MAGNIFICENT PEACOCK, WHO SHALL HENCEFORTH BE NAMED THE REAL COUNTESS EDNA VON FANCYPANTS.

You guys, you guys, I have seen some weird stuff in my time in Portland, but this was amazing. I have been meaning to write more on this blog, but I kept feeling like the first entry back had to be amazing, because you cant have a 2+ year absence then be like, so snap peas are awesome, amiright?  Although snap peas really are great, but tonight is the night it happened and I was like, THIS. This is my intro to a better, badass blog and it is also the closest I have ever actually come to hugging a bird and both of those things are pretty great things.

Ok so, for started, it has been a long week. A lot of heavy lifting, probably a little dehydration, and not a lot of sleep.  Does this have a point you say?  Yes it does.  Be patient.  So I'm bringing centerpieces out to my van for an event, and as I'm putting boxes in the car, a peacock comes strolling down the lane like she owns the place. To say my heart stopped would be an understatement - this is like a dream come true.  Now, I love all worldly creatures, but peafowl have a special place in my heart, amongst unicorns, cats, and sea otters.  They are epic and awesome yet terrifying a little bit and they have rad stuff coming out of their heads like a 20's flapper and this was REAL LIFE and she had stuff coming out of her head like 3 feet away.   SHE WAS SO CLOSE.  The stuff!!  The head stuff.  it was right there!!  I could have flicked it.  But I didn't obviously because you don't just flick head stuff.

Now here was the problem - my phone was in the house and since husband is out of town, I would obviously need to make him jealous that he missed out and for that I would need picture proof.  I ran like I have never ran before, came back out with my phone, and peacock was nowhere to be found.  I was running up and down the block, and a man gets out of his car across the street and I yell frantically "Have you seen a peacock?!?"  He did not respond to me.  It is at this point that the dehydration comes into play because while I know I look insane to this stranger, what if I am actually insane and there was no peacock?  Did I imagine the whole thing?  I refused to believe this but I was really not gone very long and I don't think peacocks are known for their speed.  Well they might be I don't know. But anyways, just when I was giving up hope, that peacock poked its head over the rock wall in front of my neighbors front yard and the skies parted and the angels sang or maybe that was me I don't know.

I am at once elated by the fact that I am not completely mad and also I will now have proof of this peacock, but I only get its butt as it walks away into her side yard, and from that angle, it may as well be a rooster, which is another animal we have seen wandering around our street so it would not be the epic "booyah" to husband that I had dreamed of.  

Fades right into the background.

To give you a little bit of backstory, I have never once spoken to or even seen this neighbor, and her house is elevated so that you would have to walk up steps to see into her side yard.  That, or climb up her rock wall in the front of her property, which is obviously what I did because PEACOCK.

So I'm up there, but there is a big bush blocking my view of the peacock, and that is when I hear neighbor's side door open.  She starts saying "shoo! shoo!", and for starters, I didn't think people really ever said "shoo" in real life, I thought it was only something evil people said to magical mice in fairy tales, but secondly, are you for real lady?  YOU ARE SHOOING A F$%#ING MAGICAL PEACOCK.  WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!?  As she is shooing, I clearly have no regard for the fact that I am a crazy lady peering into her yard, and I start yelling "Is there a peacock in your yard???"  Of course I know there is a peacock in her yard, but I had high hopes that this could start a conversation along the lines of - her: yes there is a peacock in my yard, would you like to take the steps up like a normal person and take a picture there, why are you wearing that outfit (I was moving stuff all day and it was laundry day I wasn't dressed to impress OK), me: why in the world would you shoo a magical peacock, that kind of thing.

She did not seem to hear me.  I yelled it again, louder, and this time she shut the door.  I once again deliberated if I was insane, and what if this wasn't actually a peacock but a pigeon and I was hallucinating.  Did I even exist? Because the last two humans I had encountered ignored me and the only creature that seemed to acknowledge my existence was this pigeon.  With that possibility, I decided I did not want to be arrested so I climbed down the rocks and walked up into my yard, a bit deflated.  I get to the top of my driveway, and there is the majestic beast, strutting her stuff on top of the fence between our yards like a f$%#ing badass.

To the left...

To the right...

Homegirl knew how to STRUT.

Homegirl knew how to STRUT.

It was everything I ever dreamed it would be.  I took picture after picture, and at times it actually seemed like she was posing for me. I tried talking to her, coaxing her to let me adopt her.  I told her she could live in our yard, that sort of thing, I promised her food, although truthfully I don't know what peacocks eat and what if they eat mice and I'm not ready for that kind of responsibility so I immediately regretted it.  She turned to say goodbye, generously letting me snap some more photos of her profile, before she hopped down, albeit not gracefully, she kind of made this "oof" sound like my elderly cat makes when she jumps down from the bed when she needs to sneeze, and then this marvelous, effervescent creature exited my life.

I turned to go, whereupon I ran into my downstairs neighbors very shy cat, who had never let me within 15 feet, and I thought this is it, this is our bonding moment.  I said, "Did you see the peacock?"  The cat ran away.  This was not our bonding moment.  

Alas, my adventure with the peacock was complete for the day, and to show the gravitude of this experience, I didn't even floss today, and I floss every day except for very special occasions, kind of like a rewards system, like I was literally standing at the bathroom sink saying out loud "I don't have to floss today because I saw a peacock in my yard", like somehow the peacock appearance will provide some kind of magical barrier to tooth decay.  Fingers crossed she will accept my offer to join the Von Fancypants family because if I get an amazing book deal out of this epic story and we have to move to Bruges for some book deal reason it would be pretty amazing to try to bring her on a plane and "accidentally" let her loose and just be like "oh, is my peacock eating your peanuts?  So sorry about that."  Those words have never been uttered before in the history of time*, and I would like to be the first to say them.  I will end it with ever more photos of her glorious presence:

You can kinda see her if you peer through.

*unsubstantiated

 

 

The Gastronomical Delights of Mung Bean Fettuccini

The Gastronomical Delights of Mung Bean Fettuccini

Argh, fettuccine just does not look like it should have two c's o me, but this is what google is telling me.  A few weeks ago, I came across Exas Organic Mung Bean Fettuccini, whose sole ingredients are mung beans and water.  I have no idea how that is even possible, but I guess that is why I am not in the business of making bean noodles.  Too bad, I could really use that bean noodle money to buy a yacht.  About to embark on my detox, I was intrigued. Not only is it gluten free, it is extremely high in both protein and fiber (25 & 11g, respectively).  What?!?  Those stats are nuts.  That is close to half to recommended amount for someone my size.  I figured it would likely taste awful and induce a gastrointestinal revolt.  I had to try it.  

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Eminence SPF 30 Bright Skin Moisturizer Review

Eminence SPF 30 Bright Skin Moisturizer Review

Eminence is a natural, organic Hungarian brand I have been wanting to try for awhile.  Looking at their website will entertain me for a shameful amount of time, and I would very much like to make some bad financial decisions and buy one of absolutely everything they sell, which is a lot.  A few months ago, I managed to restrain myself and tried the Bright Skin Moisturizer since I desperately needed a sunscreen and wanted help with reducing spots and evening skin tone (and Eight Greens Youth Serum, review to come).  I wanted to use them for awhile before giving a final verdict.  So, let me start off by saying that I love this moisturizer/sunscreen.  LOVE IT.  But there is a bit of a good, the bad, & the ugly thing happening here, so I'm gonna break it down real quick and dirty for you:

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A Burger in Name, but Not in Spirit

A Burger in Name, but Not in Spirit

In spirit, these moist, flavorful gluten free patties are the amalgam of high-reaching hopes, the memento of crushed dreams.  They are the ghost of previous dinners that have gone by - of recipes that were intended, yet not to be.  It's leftovers.  Pitiful, abandoned leftovers and widowed ingredients, sitting in the fridge, watching their bodies decay faster than a drug-addicted starlet, waiting for their day of glory.  Their day of glory is finally here, because I am here to tell you that you should mash them up and make burgers.

My Detox Pinterest board is another landmine of fruitless daydreams - mainly in the form of delicious looking veggie burgers.  Somehow, all of them require buying ingredients I don't have laying around, and I hate doing that, because I know I will buy a handful of sage, use one sprig, have great intentions for the rest, and then 2 weeks later I find it shriveled and smashed beneath some oranges, those bullies.  I blame them entirely, and me not at all.  But after reading through a few recipes the other day, it occurred to me that the basic recipes were all the same: some grain, like quinoa or oats, an egg or two, maybe some oil, herbs and spices, perhaps a healthy flour binder, and a mashy thing, typically in the form of beans.  It's sad that it took me so long to grasp this, because to all other food bloggers it seemed to come pretty quickly.  So today, I was wondering what to make for a detox dinner, and I realized that I had a bunch of mashy things I needed to get rid of!  Oh happy day.  Bring on the burgers.

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Exciting Coconut Oil News...

Exciting Coconut Oil News...

Coconut Oil to me is what Windex is to the Greeks, according to My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  I love it.  I love it a lot.  And I use it for everything.  A few months ago, I wrote a post about coconut oil, specifically the overpriced RMS Beauty Coconut Creme that is basically really high quality coconut oil that is outrageously marked up (but still totally awesome because coconut oil is the best).  This post is actually one of my more popular posts, and since then I have been on the lookout for other top-of-the-line coconut oil brands to add to the list, and I am super stoked to say that I found two that meet all of the qualifications that RMS lists:

- Organic, made from fresh coconuts.

- No chemical refining, bleaching, or deodorizing.

- Extracted from fresh coconuts within the day to eliminate mold growth or danger of other impurities. 

- No heat processing: centrifuge-based extraction which preserves all nutrients, not expeller-pressed.

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Spring Detox Grocery List

Spring Detox Grocery List

Ordinarily, when I say I'm doing some kind of cleanse/detox, my friends will roll their eyes and assume I'm up to my "hippie sh%&."  However, for some reason, this time around everyone is super interested.  Must be something in the air, or just the prospect of bikinis looming, but more and more people are willing to try out a cleanse nowadays.  Perhaps it's the influx of celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Shailene Woodley extolling the virtues of these detoxes, and while you can roll your eyes at them all you want, the fact is they both look pretty f$&%ing awesome.  The problem is, as it always will be: time.  Well, that, and willingness.  If you don't really wanna do this, it's ain't gonna happen.  But if you've never done one before, it can seem daunting in terms of finding something to eat, and having the time to cook it.  My method is: keep it simple.  Invest some money in some basic ingredients that are versatile, and keep your meals inventive but easy.  Read on for my comprehensive grocery shopping list:

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Antioxidant Packed Raw Chocolate Recipe, Sans Sugar

Antioxidant Packed Raw Chocolate Recipe, Sans Sugar

I am a self-proclaimed chocolate addict.  My entire family was raised to idolize the cacao bean like it was a tiny, delicious-flavored god. I can probably count on one hand the number of days in my life I haven't had at least one thing chocolate, and like all true chocolate fiends, I despise white chocolate for being a big fat fake and judge those who love it (LOML is one of them, and I still give him the side eye for it).  Now, I am off sugar, which poses a serious problem for me.  "Well, this might be a great opportunity to wean yourself off chocolate", you say.  "Fie!" I say!  (Is that what fie means?  I have no idea.)  Seriously, life without chocolate for me is a miserable one, and unless this world is ravaged by zombies and I find myself preoccupied with other, not getting eaten concerns, I will find a way to eat it.  Plus you know, it has health benefits.  So I needed to find myself a solution.

Let the google begin!  So much googling to be had!  Anyways, I googled it.  Did you know that dark chocolate, even SUPER dark (86%) chocolate has around 7 grams of sugar per serving?  Still a ton better than the 24 grams in milk chocolate.  Just for reference, according to the American Heart Association, the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day are around 37.5 grams for men and a measly 25 grams for women.  That is the absolute maximum you should be having.  I have...um...a friend, yes a friend, who has been known to eat 3 bars of milk chocolate in one day, so this news is a little disturbing.  For that friend.  Yes, so anyways, the dark chocolate is an improvement (not to mention there is more cocoa in it, which is chock full of fiber, antioxidants, and flavanols, and may even help with weight loss), but still not great for someone wanting to cut out added sugars completely.

Luckily, I found this simple looking 3 ingredient recipe on the blog Chocolate Covered Katie (which is an addictive blog in itself) that looked easy enough to do, and I already had the ingredients.  Score!  All you need is:

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Spring Detox!

Spring Detox!

Spring is in the air right now....dewdrops twinkle among the cherry blossoms, and the air is redolent with fragrant florals and freshness.  There is just something about the spicy smell of hyacinth blooms and spring breezes always makes me want to torture myself in new and inventive ways.  Last year, it was the Tracy Anderson Method, and this year, it's a month-long spring detox - body, mind, and home.  I'm talking dry brushing, mega green smoothies, cleansing yoga, meditation, and a daunting closet organization that I'm hoping will be more freeing than spirit-crushing.  I like to think of it as shedding my sludgy winter skin and revealing a new self that is way more awesome.  Truth is, I started it a little over a week ago, and although it has been trying at times, it is a far cry from torture.  In fact, I feel pretty amazing: I've been in an unabating good mood that has made my typical snark all but disappear, and I have a ton of energy that helps keep me motivated.

I have embarked on a few detoxes over the years, from an all-juice 3 day cleanse to a two week complete elimination diet (CLEAN by Alejandro Junger) that was mostly protein shakes and moodiness.  The juice cleanse was particularly challenging, as by day three I wasn't even hungry, I just wanted to be able to chew something.  But I think I have finally found the trick: moderation.  Basically, when you cut out EVERYTHING, all you will want is what you can't have.  Which is everything except kale.  I've never found those detoxes to work for me, because it quickly becomes an obsession with truffle mac & cheese and at one point I even DREAMT I was eating mac & cheese, like ALL NIGHT, and I am not wasting my dream time on food again, not when I could be flying over Narnia on a fire-breathing pegasus*.  Anyways, the whole point is to make healthy changes that will last, not create an unhealthy obsession.  My advice is - pick one thing you want to focus on, and try to eat as much whole, unprocessed foods as you can.  I am focusing on cutting out sugar, with the exception of citrus fruits and berries, and I don't really have any other foods that are taboo (it turns out that I have the opposite of a gluten intolerance.  I turn into a complete monster without gluten.  And I pass out.  I'll still eat dairy too - but I'm going to get really high quality, organic dairy and eat it in moderation.)

My other advice?  Don't buy a cleanse**. 

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