Thursday, April 15, 2010

Even vegans can enjoy "cheesy" pizza

When I was a kid my mom would make English muffin pizzas for lunches every so often. They are delicious and oh so simple. I have started eating them A LOT recently. I started eating a mostly vegan diet in January of this year and honestly it was easy but I did miss pizza and other melty cheesy things.

I heard Sara Gilbert, yes the actress from Rosanne, talk about vegan cheese that melt, through her twitter account. She recommended Follow Your Heart cheese alternative. I believe it is also lactose free (don't know why it wouldn't be but it doesn't actually say lactose free anywhere) so even if you aren't vegan and you avoid cheese because of lactose sensitivity you can still eat pizza!

I went to the health food store I do all my primary shopping at and what do you know they carry it. With my block of mozzarella cheese alternative I headed to the pasta aisle and grabbed a jar of organic Italian herb pasta sauce. Next I headed to the bread corner and looked through the rows of different English muffins they had. I settled on a pack of flourless organic 7 sprouted grain English muffins.

They sounded pretty healthy (I have no idea if they are actually any healthier than generic white English muffins). I'm not a fan of wheat breads so I was a bit concerned about how they would taste but I just went for it, I wasn't even sure if the cheese was going to be any good. I thought maybe it is something you have to learn to love because let's be honest there are some vegan foods that are DISGUSTING, but that can be said about any kind of food can't it.

At home I set out to make myself some vegan English muffin pizzas. Here is my step by step guide for making English muffin pizzas, not because I think you can't figure it out yourself but because I wanted to share my new favorite meal, with pictures too!

I use a toaster oven to make my pizzas.
Set opened English muffins on a toaster oven tray, if you like you can toast your English Muffins first so they are a bit crispy. I like mine soft so I do not toast them.

I am not a big fan of pasta sauce but I use a generous amount on my English muffin pizzas, it soaks into the muffins and makes them tasty and very moist.

Next add as much as you like of the shredded mozzarella cheese alternative.

Bake at 450 F. It usually takes about 10 minutes with no preheat of the oven. I like my cheese a bit browned, it doesn't brown as well as dairy cheese so be careful if you're like me and you like practically the whole top to be brown, you will probably burn your muffins before the cheese gets like that. When they are visually just about done I turn the toaster oven to broil and broil them for a minute or two.

Let them sit for a few minutes, transfer to a plate and let them sit a few minutes more, trust me, I was eating these things every other day for almost a week straight and I burnt the roof of my mouth so bad it hurt to drink lukewarm tea. Let them sit and cool. The combination of the heated muffin and sauce sealed in by cheese makes for one hot pizza. Now enjoy your pizzas that are still hot but not too hot that you can't eat anything remotely warm for a week.

I have also used Follow Your Heart's cheddar cheese alternative to make cheesy beans for dip, burritos, and things. The first time I tried their cheddar I shredded it and added it to a bowl of hot chili and stirred it around and expected it to melt like dairy cheese. It did not and the chili I made was not very good either.

Their cheeses need to be melted before using in a separate dish or, like in the pizzas, while heating/cooking your food. It took a bit before I tried their cheddar again and while I do not like it as much as their mozzarella it is still a great vegan/lactose free alternative. I usually cook myself some beans and heat an open faced tortilla with beans and cheese on top like the pizzas, a Mexican pizza I guess. If I am reheating beans or making cheesy beans to be used in another way I heat them together in a pot on the stove or a dish in the oven. You can also heat just the cheese on the stove or in the microwave to a liquid to be used in/on whatever.

*Silly disclosure thingy* I did not receive anything for free or in exchange for anything said in this post or any post for that matter. These are all my own opinions influenced by nothing, no one, or anything but me, myself, and I. If I ever do receive anything from anyone you will be the first to know, trust me.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Wide legged jeans into "skinny" jeans.

I was looking through patterns and sewing ideas and random things I had bookmarked recently. I have no idea where I read this but I read about making a regular pair of jeans into a pair of skinny jeans and it sounded pretty straightforward. I believe it was from a site that offers patterns and things but I can't find it in my bookmarks and I probably got there by clicking link after link after link.

Why would I do this? I hate shopping for clothes I actually have to try on especially pants. The proportions between my waist, ass, and thighs make jeans a REAL pain in the ass to find a good fit. Not to mention I can't afford much and jeans are so f'ing expensive. Price aside if they look like they will fit my waist I can't get them past my ass to even find out if they actually fit my waist. If they fit my ass the waist is WAY too big or has that stupid huge gap at the back. If I find a pair that I can live with the waist and the ass is ok when I walk the tightness of the thighs just starts to work the pants down to below my ass crack because the waist is actually too big and they are basically being held up by my thighs and due to them being a stiff material.

It's all just too much for me, let's not even talk about the fact that I'm five feet tall and I can take about 2 to 3 feet off each pant leg. Ok let's talk about that. It's not such a big deal now that I have a sewing machine but I've only had it for about a year and a half and had given up on buying jeans many years ago. Also it's kinda difficult to self measure pant legs for hemming, I had a bit of issues with the skinny jeans I made and the legs are off a bit but I made them long enough it's unnoticeable especially since they are skinny jeans and just gather at the top of my feet not "dangling" loosely down my heels like wider legged pant would.

Being short makes skinny jeans pretty impossible to shop for because my legs just aren't long enough for the proportions of the pants to work. They taper way too slowly to fit my legs properly. Even now that I can tailor the legs of pants all I want with my sweet sewing skills (holy shit did I really just write sweet sewing skills, LOL!) there is still the fact that I pay WAY too much for a pair of pants to go home and have to deconstruct them to make them actually fit. I feel if I am going to pay that much for a pair of pants they should be able to pretty much be wearable as is. Please tell me that isn't totally unreasonable and I'm not the only one who feels that way.

I gave up shopping for jean quite a few years ago, I don't think I have bought a new pair in close to 3 years. I have a pair of capri jeans that have holes and worn out parts all over the place (ok just mostly the ass area, pants just can't contain my ass, ha!) that I have patched to no end. They look pretty normal while I'm wearing them because apparently I did a pretty good job even though I totally winged it patching them up. That's pretty much how I sew, by picking up things and try them and teaching myself and reading tutorials and blog posts here and there.

I attempted the skinny jeans after just reading the how to once, it was literally just a written guide kinda like this will be, but they are much better than me and just wrote the directions minus all the blabbering. Hey I like to blab deal with it. ;) I am pretty amazed it actually worked and I managed to make them look good and damn proud actually. Here we are finally to the good part, thanks for reading all my blabbering.

I used a pair of pretty wide legged pants that I have had for years and they are quite stretchy, stretchy really is the way to go for making skinny jeans so they give and don't get too tight, especially around the ankles, you want to make sure you can get your feet through them, your feet might need more room than you think.

Turn your desired pair of pants inside out and put them on.

Make sure the outside seam is pretty much on the outside of you leg evenly as you gather them to desired "skinniness" on the inside of your leg and pin them at desired "skinniness" all the way down your leg. Don't make them too tight we aren't going for the liquid latex look here.

You may need some help from a friend to keep the pinning even and get a good straight line. I had a very uneven line once I took the pants off and was pretty much unable to do anything with them at this point. My pins were crooked and well one of them ended up in the side of my calf for a bit as I was trying to get them off. Still not sure how I achieved that great feeling, I hate getting poked with pins. Yea I know I have tattoos how can I hate getting poked with pins, PINS are my problem, not needles. Things that are suppose to poke me are fine by me. (That's what she said! LOL!)

I had to put the pants back on and re-pin them, still didn't do a very good job but I got out a piece of tailors chalk and actually traced a line on the inside of the pin line while I was still wearing them to have a more straight/even line. It still wasn't very straight but it gave me a good starting point.

I took the pants to the sewing machine and sewed OUTSIDE the chalk line, closer to the original inside seam, making them LOOSER than the chalk line since I made the chalk line inside the pins. I didn't want to make them too tight because that just would just ruin them and then I would be minus a pair of pants and would be forced to buy a new pair, I only have 3 pairs of non work pants. I tried to start my seam on top of the already existing one a bit higher than where I marked them so I wouldn't end up with an odd bunch or dart looking thing on my pant leg and continued the seam at an angle using the chalk line as an outside guide.

I tried them back on and they fit nicely. I cut off all the excess material and hemmed the bottoms and I love my "new" pants. Hope this is understandable and will help anyone who may want to give this a try. It's nice to have a pair of jeans that didn't cost me a thing and aren't actually new but sure do feel like a new pair of pants.

Here is a before and after picture of my jeans. Came out pretty good, no? :)

I know I am happy with them and I have worn them multiple times and washed them too and they haven't unraveled on me. I had images in my head of wearing them out and a seam popping and they start unraveling on me. Weezer's Undone The Sweater Song came to mind actually, hehe.
So Just for the fun of it have a listen, cause who doesn't love Weezer? (that's rhetorical, I really don't wanna know if you don't like Weezer, it's great sewing music too so just don't tell me.)

Weezer's Undone The Sweater Song from their official youtube page.

*I'm not so sure skinny jeans are something I should wear all that often, make my thighs look huge, comparatively of course, I realize they aren't actually huge at all.
*Yes I am pigeon toed, always have been and it is so obvious in so many pictures.
*I love the fact that our plastic lizard toy door stop is in the background of the after picture. Had a few people come over and see it and ask if it was real. Yeah I have a live lizard loose in my house and I let it stand right in front of my door! Really people I'm crazy and I'm a reptile freak but that's just irresponsible. No one messes with my animals, NO ONE. Plus the coloring is quite off for an actual lizard.

Friday, April 9, 2010

My name is mudnessa and I'm....

...An inconsistent blogger despite my best intentions.

I wish I blogged more frequently even just about the asinine stuff that goes through my head, like the things I blab on and on about to Rich which make him just look at me and shake his head and say, "You're thinking too much again." Sometimes if it's ultra geeky or just purely asinine I get, "It's a good thing you're hot." If it is very scientific of me and just something WAY too well thought out and my inner scientist comes out I get, "God you're hot."

I wish I would actually blog the many not so asinine things I want to share. I wish I could keep up with the weekly picture posts I wanted to do starting at the beginning of the year. I wish I would get around to writing about the less chemically nail polish Rich got for me for Christmas. (That's one thing stopping me, the inability of my brain to find the right words sometimes, less chemically, really brain, I mean really. Can't you just find the proper word instead of making up or using stupid ones!) I wish I could get around to writing about the sewing things I have accomplished, including one a twitter friend specifically asked me to please blog about doing. (I'm going to get to it Allie I promise I will eventually.)

What is it that is stopping me, that good old thing called procrastination and also that pesky bad time planning that seems to always plague me and many other people. At least I know I'm not the only one that has this time issue.

I have cut out A LOT of time wasters recently but picked up a few more, mostly I waste my time reading twitter. I am SO addicted it's comical but I enjoy it and the friends and acquaintances I have made and the few friends I've had pre-twitter and now keep up with them via twitter are great and I wouldn't trade them and it for anything. It feeds my tennis addiction and allows me to "stalk" celebrities, have I mentioned I'm celeb obsessed, have been as far back as I can remember. I find the whole thing odd but it is what it is.

I have also almost doubled my hours at work recently. That leads to A LOT of time I don't have to do things at home. I'm still only working part time but it makes a big difference. The added hours have lead to me living in quite a sty because nothing gets cleaned anymore, not that it did all that frequently before. I have a cleaning schedule written on my calendar but that hasn't helped and I've been doing that for probably a good 9 months and things previously still didn't get cleaned all that often. My nickname isn't mudnessa just because it's cute, it's appropriate. Picture Pigpen from Peanuts, minus the actual appearance (usually) or smell. I try and not let myself get to smelly.....wait why am I writing this down and putting it out there for anyone to read. Oh because I really don't care, if that wasn't obvious.

Oh time I wish you went slower sometimes, faster others and just didn't exist at others. I wish I had a better handle on you, had you under control and didn't just let you slip away or dictate what I can and can't do because of you.

Hey would you look at that it's now after midnight. I should crawl into my bed right now since I have a lot to do to catch up on this weekend, sadly sleeping is not one of them but that doesn't mean I won't actually catch up on sleep and not on the other stuff. Especially if I don't make myself get into bed soon.

Basically I have time issues. I have priority issues. I have thinking issues, according to Rich. I have cleanliness issues. (Don't know how that got into this post.) These are all the more common and less bizarre issues I have, if only you knew the others. Maybe one day I'll get to feeling like sharing those but people I actual see have been known to read this and that could get awkward, not that they think I'm all normal like but they put up with me...well because they have to.

So here's to me trying to get more blogging in because I want to and I have to do things I really want to when I'm home, it can't all be about cleaning and things I must do, I would go more insane than I already am and that wouldn't be good for anyone.