Vegan Spicy Tofu and Black Bean Tacos

The yummy continues! We recently got a Costco membership… dangerous. A pack of 3 firm tofus… $4.99. Like I said, DANGEROUS. Pretty excited to get healthy food for cheap.

This super hot weather is perfect for tacos and old classics. I recommend this dish with The Slackers.

Once again, this recipe is an adaptation from a recipe I recently found online. Whole Foods posted this delicious recipe!

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Ingredients: (recipe below with adaptations)

  • 1 (14 ounce) package extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon taco seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  •  corn tortillas, warmed (gluten free)
  • 3 cups shredded green leaf lettuce
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese (Use Daiya to make vegan)
so fresh!

so fresh!

Directions:

Put tofu, chili powder, oregano, cumin, coriander and salt into a bowl and mash together with a fork. Set aside.

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crumble into small pieces

awesome blend of spices

awesome blend of spices

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and two-thirds of the red onions and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add tofu mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the moisture has evaporated, 10 to 12 minutes.

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Add beans and remaining red onions, stir well and cook until beans are heated through, about 5 minutes more.

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Spoon tofu mixture into tortillas, top with lettuce, tomatoes and cheese and serve.

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Surviving Florida Summer: How To Guide

It is HOT out. For the past week our air condition has been broken. My frizz is flying, Burt can’t catch a break and that sweat that creeps up at night has found a new home. Popsicles, watermelon and swimming pools sound fantastic to me at all times. Keeping in line with HEAT I recently submitted this post to A Breakfast Serial. Enjoy!

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Pre Global Guts Fiesta Outfit

This post can also be found at A Breakfast Serial.

Surviving Florida Summer: How –to Guide

Activity #1 Global Guts

Materials Needed:
(1) two swim towels
(1) swimming pool
(2) donut floats
(1) raft
(3) kids

Directions:
Step 1: Kid #1 uses raft to make large waves in pool- continue waves, even if body is tired.
Step 2: Kid #2 and Kid #3 place bodies in donut floats.
Step 3: On your mark, Kid #2 and Kid #3 swim through impending waves.
Step 4: First kid to end of deep end wins leg of global guts.
Step 5:  Winner takes towel, grabs each end of towel, place towel parallel to back (reference superman for further instructions).
Step 6: Raise towel overhead, run around pool, let towel wave in the air (close eyes and imagine towel is country of origin flag)

Activity #2 Fiddler on the Roof

Materials Needed:

(1) boom box
(1) Fiddler on the Roof featuring Zero Mostel tape
(2)  towels (schmatas)
(1) swimming pool
(2) kids

Directions:
Step 1: Place fiddler on the roof tape into boom box
Step 2: Fast forward tape to “Matchmaker.”
Step 3: Kid #1 and Kid #2 take towel, wrap towel around head… leaving only face exposed (reference babushka doll for further instructions).
Step 4: Press play
Step 5: Skip around pool, schmatas on heads, screaming Matchmaker

Activity #3 Maury

Materials Needed:

(1) box of bagel bites
(1) television
(2) kids

Directions:
Step 1: Remove bagel bites from microwave
Step 2: Sit on ratty couch
Step 3: Turn on television; turn channel to Maury Povich show.
Step 4: Eat bagel bites
Step 5: Finish Maury, wait for Cheers

The Heat

This past weekend Stephen, Kyle and I ventured to the movie theater to see The Heat. We rarely go to movies. When I do attend I usually am hyper critical of the films. At times this is a great attribute and has made for some great conversations, while at other times I wish I could just laugh at dumb stuff.

I am not quite sure what drew me to The Heat, none the less, I suggested we catch this flick. I am in support of any female led comedies. Upon arrival the credits rolled and I noticed Paul Fieg directed and produced it. I began to feel more confident in our choice. I am a fan of Fieg’s work and have adored him since the good ol’ days of Freaks and Geeks.

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I do not like how photoshopped McCartney is… bad move 😦

The verdict:
This movie was fantastic! I was surprised by the themes and choice in delivery for particular subjects.

It was consistently funny
The film was crude and genuine. Although it was vulgar, it wasn’t trying to prove a point. Sometimes I think female led comedies think they need to be overly vulgar to make up for the fact that they are in a rare position as leading ladies. The Heat is bold, but it never feels awkward. Melissa McCartney nails every line and does a phenomenal job acting through a range of emotions.

Prostitution
As an active member of the Young Activist Council for Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation I am hyper aware of media’s portrayal of prostitution. We meet McCartney as she stakes out a transaction between a prostitute and a john. I was sitting on the edge of my seat anticipating how she would handle the two. I hoped she would put the blame on the rightful people (the john and pimp)… and she did. She makes a comment to the prostitute but overall her focus is on bringing justice to those who are seeking the services. It was beautiful to see the rightful perpetrators be brought to justice.

Gender in the Workplace
The film was not scared of acknowledging the misogyny that is still incredibly relevant in the workplace.  In a scene where Bullock and McCartney are confronted by a DEA agent they have an open dialogue about the difficulties they face in their respective agencies because of their gender. Through a comedic lens they shed light on how difficult their positions are and how they must work harder than their peers just to be recognized as somewhat equal.

Love Interests
There weren’t any! I think this is the first female comedy (ever) that does not even dabble with a love interest. At the end of the film Marlon Wayans winks at Bullock, but aside from that second of film time… the women’s love interests are absent from the plot. There are consistent jokes and references to the women’s sexuality but the the women own their sexuality. The women carry the film on their own without the help of a man, and its awesome and so refreshing.

 

Over your Fourth Of July holiday opt for The Heat and support female comedy!

Muscle Beach

Happy July! Summer is here and life could not be better. Sunshine, dresses, and…. Annette Funicello.

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Love summer!

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Last week I hosted a vintage summer party for my beautiful friends and it was inspired by all things summer. To prepare for the party I researched mid-century foods and recipes. Jell-o became a central part of the party as it is a necessity for any vintage party.  The dishes were fun to make and I loved putting together the playlist.

Some of the tunes came from Beach Party. This album is the perfect

 Menu:

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Food:

Cherry Coke Jell-o
Groovy Jell- Salad
Pigs in a Blanket (vegetarian)
Green Olives (a must for any mid-century shin dig)
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Smores Bars
Fruit Salad
Cheese Plate (Swiss, Cheddar, Pepperjack)
Finger Foods: Cashews, Chips, Chocolate Covered Raisins

Drinks:

Gin & Tonics
Summer Sangria

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Recipes:

Lime Jell-O blended with cream cheese and walnuts. Served wit cool whip, cantaloupe, and watermelon.

Lime Jell-O blended with cream cheese and walnuts. Served wit cool whip, cantaloupe, and watermelon.

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how very American… cheese!

Wrap veggie hot dogs in crescent rolls and bake for 10 minutes

Wrap veggie hot dogs in crescent rolls and bake for 10 minutes

Summer is the best for fruit!

Summer is the best for fruit!

Gluten free and delicious! Due to time constraints I used the Duncan Hines gluten free yellow cake mix, it was great!

Gluten free and delicious! Due to time constraints I used the Duncan Hines gluten free yellow cake mix, it was great!

Cherry Coke Jell-O This was a party favorite! Combine cherry jell-o, coke zero, and cherry pie filling!

Cherry Coke Jell-O
This was a party favorite! Combine cherry jell-o, coke zero, and cherry pie filling!

Smore's Bars (another favorite). These no bake treats are great.

Smore’s Bars (another favorite). These no bake treats are great.

Summer sangria! White wine base.

Summer sangria! White wine base.

This was Stephen's area :)

This was Stephen’s area 🙂

Happy Summer!

*If you want any of the recipes message me and I would be happy to pass them along. Most I just found on google searches.

Lean In and Stop Whining

I have had so many posts running through my brain but unfortunately due to circumstances my time on the computer is limited and thus I reserved my typing for Smarty Pants. However, I NEED to get this out.

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead has been widely critiqued both within popular media and feminist circles. Additionally, when I bring up the text to just about anyone immediately their eye begins to wince and their lip quivers. They follow up their facial twitch with “ew I don’t like that book.” I immediately ask: “have you read the book?” The response 99% of the time is: “no.”

I think it is easy to read op-eds from fancy journalists and take their word. Its also really easy to avoid dealing with a tremendous and daunting problem we have in our country (or world :)). Sheryl Sandberg (as privileged of a beautiful Jew she is) isn’t just taking on getting a parking spot for pregnant ladies, she is taking on patriarchy and as we all know from our time in Women’s Studies courses… patriarchy sucks and is a difficult beast to tackle. I am not shocked that people would rather critique then indulge in the text’s points because if they were to take Sandberg’s points and assign value to them, then that would mean they are part of a movement that can be uncomfortable and difficult.

A breakdown of why your critiques are invalid:

1. Sheryl Sandberg is privileged which makes her points irrelevant.

Congratulations! You have done a magnificent job of pointing out the obvious. It would make little sense for someone who works at a fast food restaurant to write a text about gaining power. Sandberg also acknowledges who her intended audience is, and her role within the corporate sphere in the first few pages. Sure, Sandberg was able to gain power because she attended a well regarded undergraduate an graduate institution but this argument does two things. First, it negates all hard work she put into getting into those two schools (last I checked I am a Jew and I wasn’t automatically accepted to Harvard). Secondly, it is just another form of the same ol’ critique that surrounds women of power. Do people question Obama’s validity? My sources tell me went to a fancy undergrad and grad school and guess what… he is still seen as a relatable human!

This entire conversation makes me think of the hierarchy of power I referenced frequently with my students. We as a country have three classes of people. We have lower class (work jobs that require no thought), middle class (a job that requires a specific skill set) and the wealthy (jobs that require innovation and critical analysis). To gain wealth you need to be able to think. The thinkers are the influencers and their thoughts eventually dictate the work and rolls of the other two classes. I love grassroots efforts (which Sandberg is trying to cultivate with her Lean In circles http://leanin.org/) but I think its also critical we acknowledge that we need women like Sandberg, one of the wealthy folk to be thinking about these systems. At the end of the day… she does have power because of her status. Yes, her power is of less value to society because she is a lady, but she has found her way to the class that makes the big decisions. Her point about women needing to be in more leadership positions gets to this very point. We can march and protest all we want (and these are beautiful ways to get your point out) but we also need people at the top making major changes to be our allies. It never hurt anyone to have a friend at the top.

2. Sheryl Sandberg is exploiting feminism:

Great… exploit! Her entire chapter on her role within the feminist movement was refreshing. My beautiful and lovely feminist allies need to take a step back and calm down. Who cares that she references Gloria Steinem on every page? The fact of the matter is… she is referencing feminism constantly and isn’t that something to be excited about? I can not tell you how many books, articles, and conversations I have been a part of where the central topic is “how do we get people to not be scared of the word feminism?” Well here is one platform that seems to be pretty darn successful.  We should be celebrating these efforts. Perhaps the general public isn’t being introduced to feminism through punk or a zine but they are being exposed and isn’t that what we want?

3. Sheryl Sandberg hates moms:

Really? I just can’t.

 

Lean In and stop critiquing:

We should always be critical of any body of work. But I think our need to analyze…. analyze… analyze…. is hindering our ability to see the real value in this text. If we are going to shift our systems of oppression we need to tackle it from all angles. Further, I don’t care which power class you belong to: being told you are worth power is always relevant. Having a supportive partner is ALWAYS relevant. Asking for what you want while using an authoritative authentic voice is a must, and realizing that YOU ARE OF VALUE is a lesson we all should not only listen to but embody.

Also please note that I could have written about 3 more pages about my obsession with the ideas of this book, but instead of me telling you why its amazing, just go out and READ it (don’t just watch the TedTalks).

Summer.

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”  – F. Scott Fitzgerlad (The Great Gatsby)

This is my last week of teaching. After 3 years as a classroom teacher, I will take a curtsey, walk out and take ownership of my career. I am incredibly excited and nervous. I am hopeful and inspired.

One of the things I am most excited about is having autonomy over my time. Further, I can  decide for myself which work structure works best for me. After being micro-managed for 2 years, the idea of setting goals and fulfilling them because I am motivated (not working out of fear) is incredibly liberating.

The most energizing part of all of this change is that I am doing something I want to do. Not just want I want to do, but something I love to do, what I am made to do. (My post on lady leadership is a work in progress and will happen eventually :))

I am already feeling the benefits of this transition. I am spending time with friends, enjoying the weather, cooking again, and most importantly getting to be with my husband. Further, the onset summer is spectacular and invigorating!

Being with friends is beautiful. I have missed this tremendously. Over the past 5 months I haven’t seen people (working two full time jobs can do that). We have even had friends over! Stevi and Nick came over for pizza. Stevi and I were perfect housewives and made veggie pizzas for all to enjoy.

Pizza night with Stevi and Nick!

Pizza night with Stevi and Nick!

Gluten free and regular crust!

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Also here is our current song of summer!

Where in the world…

Things are good, really good. A response to this greatness is my inability to keep up with posts. Between work, Smarty Pants Yoga, and being sick, I haven’t cooked anything new (I have been eating the recent posts on rotate) nor have I been able to practice yoga (it is killing me but beautiful husband says I must rest… dang).

Even though I have been sick I have used the forced time at home to finalize some of our spaces. We still have a ways to go but this past weekend I made some major progress! The Uptown neighborhood hosts an amazing Vintage Garage Sale every few weeks and I hit the jackpot this past Sunday!

I have realized that a clean space is a critical piece to my happiness. I endure chaos on a daily basis between work, multitasking, and 150 individualized emotional messes. Coming home to a space that lacks chaos let’s me take a deep breath and relax, even if just for a minute.

Here are some shots of our new finds!

Bedroom:

Side table! Brown and gold antique

Side table! Brown and gold antique

room

The cats love our new space

Living Room:

Vintage bar cart!

Vintage bar cart!

Mid Century magazine rack

Mid Century magazine rack

New vases and center napkin.

New vases and center napkin.

Queen of the Jungle Gym

I have been insanely busy and sick, however I had the pleasure of writing a guest post for A Breakfast Serial about life lessons after college. I feel this post is a pretty thorough explanation as to why I haven’t been posting. I am can not wait until June 7th when I am working only one full time job!

Full post: Queen of the Jungle Gym.

In my post I mention Lean In.  I have wanted to write a post on this book for a while. I am not going to attempt this now, but I will leave you with Sheryl Sandberg’s TEDTalks. This talk is only a snippet of the entire conversation that we must have about women in leadership roles.

Flowers in Bloom

I wrote this piece for ABreakfastSerial a few weeks ago and felt it was appropriate to share considering Chicago is in full bloom.

“The Petit Bouquet” 

Going to the chapel and were gonna get married” blared from my iPad on June 20th 2012. The sun shined brightly through our Parisian windows, it was the first time it hadn’t rained in days. I remember standing in the elevator of our flat staring at Stephen, it seemed like a normal day, but it wasn’t.

Annie at Le MaraisWe walked over to Le Marais, found a small corner café and basked in the sun. To me, nothing is better than Parisian breakfast. Fresh jam, a warm croissant, and a crisp espresso is how everyone should spend their mornings. While enjoying one another’s company I decided that a bouquet was necessary for the ceremony. Up until that morning I had not considered flowers, but as the vows crept closer, I found myself drawn to the idea. Stephen at Le MaraisThere was a small flower shop close to our flat. On our way back from breakfast we stopped in to purchase a small handful of flowers. “Bonjour, could I purchase some flowers?” I asked. The woman behind the counter ignored my question and continued on with her business. Rookie mistake…English.

Defeated, we left the shop and searched for another flower store. A few blocks from our first destination was another store, specializing in exotic plants. Needless to say, I did not care to carry a palm frond and decided to forgo the possibility of patronage.

We returned to the first shop. Stephen and I stood on the corner and strategized. French! We needed to speak French!

Round two: “Pardon Madame, le petit bouquet?” I said with a terrible accent. “Ah oui!” she replied enthusiastically. Petit, not quite, but the flowers were beautiful.

Flowers

Flowers in weddings have symbolized many things throughout history. Flowers have symbolized the new harvest and life. They have been cited to represent loyalty.

Flowers in WIndow

For me, Le Petit Bouquet represented growth and new beginnings. I stood behind the Notre Dame chapel and exchanged vows with the most wonderful gentleman. Although we had been dating for 6 years prior, those vows began a new journey, our new life together as a family, as one.

Annie and Stephen Notre Dame

Veggie Quinoa Stir Fry

Whole ingredients! Veggies! Whole grains! Balance! Oh its good!

The detox greatness continues with this veggie stir fry recipe. I adapted this recipe and added quite a few veggies to the mix. It was filling, nutritious and super low calorie. One serving is only 190 calories!

Veggie Quinoa Detox Stir Fry

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Ingredients:
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 10 button mushrooms
  • 1 small bushel of kale
  • 2 small zuchinni
  • 1 c of quinoa
  • 3 c veggie broth
  • 1.5 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
yum!

yum!

Directions:

1. Rinse veggies and chop roughly. Place ingredients in food processor and pulse.

2. Place veggies in deep saute pan (needs a lid) with 1 tbsp of olive oil and let cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

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3. Pour quinoa and broth and bring to a boil. Mix all ingredients together.

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Bring to a boil and cover

4. Stir in spices.

5. Once boiling cover mixture, bring to a low -medium and cook for 15 minutes (or until moisture evaporates)

* You can serve cold or warm