Christmas Eve


Currently fighting off the plague that seems to have descended on my workplace.  I certainly didn’t ask Santa for a cold, but I got it anyways.  It seems only appropriate that I settle into a long Christmas Eve of gift wrapping while doing a marathon of The Walking Dead.  There is a lovely dinner awaiting me tomorrow, I’m not really cooking, I’m more of a sous chef/Typhoid Mary.

The first course:


Cannot wait to try this soup!  Roasted cauliflower, yum! Hopefully the spice will do my cold some good too.

And the must have dish of 2014 seems to be balsamic roasted brussel sprouts.  I have seen variations of this dish a million times. I think this is the recipe that we are going with, although maybe we’ll choose our own adventure.

Brussels be a roast'n

Brussels be a roast’n

Kosher on a Budget?  I may have to revisit this blog later and learn some tips.  I don’t know much about kosher food other than some horrific hard boiled coffee/onion eggs served up by my sister.  It’s a classic story in my family, universally known as the worst dish ever served at a holiday dinner.  Here’s hoping tomorrow things turn out better.

Merry Christmas!


Soapwalla Kitchen


Product review time!

For Christmas my sister gave me her favorite brand of deodorant.  (No, I didn’t open my present sneakily, we celebrate Christmas early.)  Confession: I am deodorant obsessed.  I currently have 10 different deodorants in my bathroom, none of which I’m totally happy with.  They either don’t work, or are so heavily perfumed that I can’t wear it to work.  I think I’ve tried every brand out there.  I would prefer to use a deodorant with natural ingredients, but end up using traditional deodorants to get non-stinky results.

tip of the iceberg, there are a few more in the back of my cupboard

tip of the iceberg, there are a few more in the back of my cupboard

The Soap Walla brand makes killer deodorant!  I love the smell and it actually works.  Check out their blurb…

Soapwalla’s Deodorant Cream is vegan and is made with the highest quality organic and food-grade ingredients. Our Deodorant Cream does not contain questionable additives such as sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens or harsh and harmful chemicals, petroleum, or aluminum compounds that are frequently found in commercial antiperspirants, and is NEVER tested on animals.

Ding! Ding! Ding! It is all the things I look for.


At first it was a little weird to be rubbing in a slightly gritty cream, but I’m used to it now.  It absorbs in quickly and doesn’t seem to transfer to clothing.  I like the bergamot scent so much I don’t mind it being on my hands after applying.  The pot isn’t big but you need so little, it seems like it will last a long time.  I’m already planning on buying a full-sized pot on Boxing Day.

The Parker

Aquarello Carnaroli Risotto

Aquarello Carnaroli Risotto

I will admit that this post is long long long overdue.  I had some other things that pulled me away.  I have a whole stack of posts in mind, and I promise to get back on schedule.

My sister and I finally made our way to The Parker restaurant last weekend.  It’s been on my list of restaurants to try for months and months and it was worth the wait!  The interior of the restaurant is pretty small and simple in a minimalistic slightly industrial way.  I honestly couldn’t describe it any more than that, I am too absorbed in the pictures of the food.

Confit Potato

Confit Potato

It must be my German-Irish heritage, but I love potatoes.  I hadn’t really eaten them for more than a year but I fell back in love this summer when my CSA box yielded so many.

Heart of Palm

Heart of Palm

I loved the amuse bouche of taro root chip and some sort of dip that reminded me of artichoke dip.  I could have licked the slate clean.  In contrast, the risotto (top picture) I didn’t much care for, but if I’m honest I haven’t tasted a risotto that I loved.

amuse bouche

amuse bouche

Now I must admit that this happened at the end of September which was my eating on the cheap month.  This meal didn’t exactly fit into the budget, but it was a really lovely meal.

What’s In Your Products?


Do you read food labels?

Seven years ago I was diagnosed with Celiac disease and had to avoid gluten containing products.  Since then I don’t eat anything unless I’ve read the label, no exceptions.  When in doubt I don’t eat it.  I know lots of people don’t read food labels, for a variety of reasons.  I don’t like that I have to read labels and so when possible I prefer to eat foods that don’t have labels like fruits and veg.  While reading labels looking for gluten, my eyes were opened to the crap that is added to processed food.  Inevitably I started to avoid these products and look for better options.  For whatever reason I started to read the ingredient list on my lotions, shampoos and conditioners.  I was shocked to not only find gluten containing ingredients, but also a chemical shit-storm.  I stopped using the ones with gluten and started to wonder wither I should be using the other products as well.  Like seriously, what the heck am I applying to my skin?  Our skin is not only our largest organ, but it also absorbs whatever we put on it.  Why am I applying chemicals at all?  Where in my body are these chemicals going?


Looks like shampoo, but really it's just cancer in a bottle

Looks like shampoo, but really it’s just cancer in a bottle

Overtime I started switching to more natural alternatives for toothpaste, shampoo, body lotion deodorant and sunblock.  I didn’t really know if the products were good for me or not.  I figured that if they had a short pronounceable ingredient lists and was sold in my local health food store it was probably ok.  A few months ago Eco Vegan Girl Whitney Lauretsen shared a website that she uses to check if a product is “good” or not. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a searchable database of products and assesses their level of risk to health.  I found it helpful to see which ingredients should be avoided and for what reason.



EWG recommends using products that they rate as 2 or lower.  Overall the products I bought as natural alternatives were rated 2 or below, so I feel good about that.  There are some bad product that I’m still holding on to… cosmetics.  I really must invest in more eco-friendly make-up.


I encourage you to go the EWG website and search your products to see how safe they are.