Weekend Fun + Banksy’s Newest Art

Hope you all had a great weekend!  I’m going to keep it short and sweet here.  

Image

We did a little wine tasting. 🙂

Image

 

We hung out.

Image

 

I took impromptu photos! 😉

Image

 

It was so beautiful.  🙂

Image

 

Karen Doo-Doo got me this!  

Image

 

We went here.  Cold Spring Tavern.  Beer + Live Music.

Image

 

Ate good stuff.  🙂

Weekend highlight?  Standing on my dad’s deck, with the awesome view of Santa Barbara in front of me, with a warm fire in the chimenea, talking to Heather, while eating a cinnamon roll.  What about you guys?  Hope you all did something fun!

Have any of you seen the latest from Banksy?  It looks like a “score one for the vegans”, but I’m not sure!  What do you guys think?  Here’s a link for you to go see what I’m talking about.  It’s called Siren’s of the Lambs.  Go check it out!  

http://autos.aol.com/article/banksys-latest-art-project-goes-on-the-road/?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl19%7Csec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D391120

 

Weekend Stuff + Today Stuff

Hi, people!  How was your weekend?  Generally speaking, it was a great one around here….though HOT!  What gives?  Um, weather…you DO know it IS October, right?  Apparently we are supposed to get rain here in the next few days, so going from one strange extreme to the next….for Southern California!

Saturday we kinda holed up because it was so hot (damn near 90 degrees!) and WINDY!  Crazy gusts of wind reached 30 mph literally blew the pebbles off our roof!  So, we watched a movie, ran a few errands at air conditioned stores only.  🙂  Hi, Target.  You were a nice, cool, spot and just wandered around for about an hour…. lol  Got my brother a birthday card and that was about it!  I made mac n’ cheese + buffalo “tenders” + ranch salad stack for dinner.  Health?  Eh, not so much.  But my point of view was eff it–it’s hot and this is what I want to eat!  We watched a kinda interesting documentary about alien conspiracies in South Africa, had a nap, then, after it had cooled off (our house was still 85+ degrees inside!) made regular and vegan custard (for cupcake fillings) and replenished my homemade granola stash.  A fairly productive day, given the yucky weather.

Yesterday (Sunday) the weather was MUCH nicer–still pretty darn hot, but only mild wind.  Plus, it was my brother’s birthday!  I made cupcakes…

Image

These are the vegan ones.  🙂  I filled them with vegan custard and topped with ganache!  Vegan Boston Cream cupcakes ahoy!  I also made non-vegan ones, but since I didn’t eat them, they aren’t important. 😉

While those were cooling we headed to the beach!

Image

Image

I don’t know what’s been going on lately, but a far few of these guys have been washing up on the beach here.  This one is still ALIVE.  I never knew that this is what an alive sand dollar looked like!  You can see he’s wounded, or something of that nature, (lost part of his fuzzy purple coat!), but I waded in a little ways and hucked him out to sea in the hopes he’d get another chance.

Image

That’s a happy dog enjoying himself! 🙂

Image

The ocean is photogenic.  😉

Okay, so after this fun beach walk, we came home, I finished up the cupcakes, (you know, for brother’s birthday), and made our dinner.

Image

Oh yeah, HOT DOGS! lol Quick and easy.  The dinner was not going to be vegan friendly, at all.  My mom, as per my brother’s request, made pasties, which are these amazing meat + potato filled pies that you slather with gravy and/or ketch-up.  I may have to see if I can make a vegan version of this sometime.

Image

Dinner was on my dad’s deck, and the view doesn’t suck!  🙂

Hung out, celebrated my brother, ate, laughed, and probably had too good a time.  😉

Anyway, that’s what happened around here!  Hope you all had a great one, too!

In other news, my car is still running fine.  Don’t know what caused that failure to start issue on Friday.  Oh!  And today we are going to launch our new company website!  It has been a bit of a labor of love, but it is finally ready to go live.  Yay!  Go us!  I’ll post once it is officially ready to look at–we are still working out the last kinks.  🙂

**UPDATE!** Our new website is live!

www.knotdesignllc.com

Go check it out!

Today is going to be kinda busy, for a Monday.  I have to plan for our SEMA ’13 trip, which will include seeing about meetings with prospects, booking our hotel, and touching base with the people we already know.  SEMA is wild.  Cars, car guys, cars, crazy cars!  And it’s HUGE!  I need to figure out how long to go for as it always seems we never have enough time at these things.

Last but not least:  KICKSTARTER.  Guys. I’m running out of time on it.  I’ve sent the link to countless blogs and websites and I’m hitting a bit of a wall as what to do, next!  I’m asking again for suggestions/help.  It seems the issue is traffic getting to my campaign and I’m doing what I can to improve that, but I’m running out of time!  Egads, I think I only have 10 days left or so.

Okay, well, I can’t get bummed out now.  Off to my regular job and time to stop blogging.  🙂  Have a great Monday and thanks for reading!

Vegan Almond Joy Recipe Review + General Me Stuff

Hi guys!

Have you ever just had one of those moments where you are so grateful to just be alive?  Where the colors seem more vibrant, the sun feels like it’s hugging you, and you really feel connected to everything?  Sounds strange, but I had one of those moments today.  Everything was calm, beautiful, pure, and I was…present.  Not thinking about Kickstarter, or the business, or who I might need to get in touch with for a project; not thinking about my dog, or the piece of mail I forgot to send; no.  No thoughts. And no, I wasn’t on anything, either.  🙂

It was pretty awesome.  I’m honestly not even sure what triggered it–I guess I just got out of my car to have lunch with my dad today and was in that state of mind.  Anyway, lunch with dad was fun, and insightful, as per usual.  I was explaining to him that I struggle to be a hardass with our clients.  My preference is to be fair with everyone, and not see them from the place of, “What can I take you for?  What can I get out of you?” and rather, “What can I contribute here?  What can we create, together?”  I don’t like having to manipulate or play politics. I don’t like negotiations and I don’t like having to “sell” people on a design.  The longer I do this job, the more I realize everyone wants to play designer, but rarely anyone has taste, and because it’s all so subjective, people think their 2 cents matter when it really shouldn’t.  It just shouldn’t.  Trust the people you hire to deliver.  End rant.

My dad’s thoughts? “Well, that’s business.”

I’m seriously beginning to wonder if this business stuff is for me.  I feel I can’t trust anyone; that they are just working me (us) and I fall right into their trap. Every. Time.  Then I just get pissed off that we got taken advantage of, or could have negotiated a better price for our work.  I get anxious many times during the day when I have to “deal” with a client, over something simple.  I’m really beginning to think I really just suck at business and this has shaken my confidence to the core.  I can’t even make a simple email happen without considerable thought now.

Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer.  I just wish it were easier!  And that, to have the success I’d like to have, I don’t have to morph into a sneaky, raging a-hole.

Okay.  ….phew.  That’s a lot.  Let’s move on, shall we?

RECIPE TIME!  YES.  Best. Part. of. the. Day!

http://realfoodrealdeals.com/2013/09/21/almond-joy-truffles/

Found this totally yummy recipe for Vegan Almond Joy Truffles on a sweet little site called “Real Food.  Real Deals.” and I said, “Hell yeah, I wanna make THAT!”  So I did.  Photo!

Image

I give this recipe a solid 8.5 out of 10. (*note: reasons for point deductions have been clarified and the directions were not unclear.  I’m just an idiot, apparently. lol)

What I loved:

1.  5 ingredients.  (Winning!)

2.  Healthy ingredients.  (Woot.)

3.  Quick & Easy to make.  (Heck yeah.)

4.  Tasted great.  (Oh yeah, you know it!)

Why I deducted 1.5 points:

1.  Unclear directions.  Is the chocolate supposed to be melted?  The recipe doesn’t say.  I thought that for the sake of it be a truffle, the chocolate should be melted.  It’s only logical, right?  These kinds of things need to be clear for the idiots, like me.  I really dislike having to guess and potentially waste food.  If I had just added in the chocolate chips, not melted, it wouldn’t have turned out.  So, I’m sorry, but this whole chocolate issue cost ya one whole point, just for the stress on me and having to think.  I don’t want to have to think about a simple recipe.  No.  Do I LOOK like I want to think?  (If you could see my face, the clear answer would be, “No, you don’t want to think, Jessica.”)

*Update* So, you can just leave the chocolate unmelted.  The recipe is clear enough–I guess it just didn’t make sense in my little brain.  Hope you can forgive me, Real Deals Real Food!

2.  1/2 point was lost because these didn’t have the full, wow you in the mouth taste of a traditional, non-vegan almond joy.  They were good, don’t get me wrong!  And I fully suggest you all go out and make these!  Just be aware.  If you are thinking they are going to just like almond joys, don’t be fooled.  They are almond joy inspired.  But, that’s good enough for me!  I was just expecting it to be a little more similar to one of my favorite candies of all time.

3.  Last but not least, a little note.  I added just a touch of vanilla extract and a touch of almond extract.  It seemed like it was needed.  You don’t have to add it, and I don’t think it really made a difference in the price of rice in China, but it is something to consider if you agree with me on this point of view, which is: “If you are baking something, it should probably have vanilla in it, somehow.”

Image

These would make great little tea party treats or even dessert appetizers.  Um, I don’t know about this last photo.  Seemed like a good idea at the time!

Anyway, they are a nice little treat and I may have been to hard on ’em, so please know, I do give them a solid two thumbs up–make ’em.  They are pretty delightful–just make sure you melt your chocolate. 😉

Note:  Or don’t melt the chocolate.  🙂  As the original recipe intended.  But if you DO melt the chocolate, they come out dang tasty!

Weekend Round-up + Easy Dinner Recipe

I hope you all had a very enjoyable weekend!  I know I did!  It was nice to be busy on Saturday–having fun kept my mind off the Kickstarter stuff.  Son of Doo-Doo and Heather, Nick, Ruxin, and I went to Lizard’s Mouth Saturday afternoon to just hang out, have relax-y time, and watch the sun go down.  Little did I know that Ruxin is a mountain goat in dog form!  He scaled the rocks like a champion!  Lizard’s Mouth is crazy beautiful and has a glorious, sweeping view of the hills and ocean above Santa Barbara.  I’m amazed that I’ve lived in Santa Barbara most of my life and have never been there. 

Image

See what I mean?  Just beautiful.

Image

Image

Goat Dog in action!  Look at him climb! 

Image

This is probably one of my favorite photos, ever.  🙂  Look at how victorious he looks!  So proud!  It was a total toss up for him–climb, or eat acorns, which there were a lot of, which he WOOFED down a lot of.  “They had a bunch of acorns; I ate a bunch of acorns.” 😉  Fortunately there were no adverse effects from all the acorn eating!  Yay!

Image

It was a little windy and started to get cold, so we packed up and headed back before the sun went down.

Image

After Lizard’s Mouth we headed back to Tingle Manor (Son of Doo-Doo and Heather’s place) and had veggie burgers and lost horribly at Catan. 

Yesterday Nick and I hung out here, went for a nice walk on Main Street, walked along the the ocean front, and had a long discussion on what we could do to get the word out about my Kicktarter project and just published book, “The Warkak and Snoozle.”  Guys, the few of you who read, if you have any suggestions here, I’d love to hear them.  Seriously.  Please message me and let me know if there is something else I could do, here.  🙂  Thanks!  My small victory was emailing the Dyslexic Kids facebook page to see if they’d share my book–it IS written in a dyslexic friendly font after all!  They did share the book on their page, wrote a very nice little introduction for their followers, and I’m so grateful–honestly, I don’t care about sales.  I care that people read and enjoy, like I did as a kid.  I think it is interesting that more people don’t publish using these sorts of heavy bottomed fonts.  They are so much easier to read, even if you don’t struggle with dyslexia.

Sunday dinner was not fancy, but I made one of my old stand-bys:  Tofu & Artichoke Couscous Medley. 

Image

Since going vegan I have had to create a couple of easy, quick, tasty, and healthy go-to recipes and this is one of them.  I keep my pantry stocked with the flavors and ingredients I enjoy, so that in a pinch, I can throw something together with relatively minimal effort.  I’d classify this recipe as more comfort food, vegan style, and often replaces mac-n-cheese around here.  On a side note, I know I give the things I make funny names, and if you have a better name, let me know!

Ingredients:

3 Cups Veggie Stock

1 Tbs Olive Oil (Optional, but tastier with it for obvious reasons!)

1/2 tsp Salt

1 + 1/2 Cup Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains Blend (it has Israeli Couscous, Orzo, baby garbanzo beans, and quinoa in it and makes a great base for many recipes.)

1 Can Artichoke Hearts, Rinsed, Drained, and Quartered

1 Package Tofu (Savory Kind)

Sun Dried Tomatoes

Toasted Chopped Pecans

Directions:

In a large pot, place veggie stock, olive oil, and salt.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Stir in couscous mix.  Turn heat down to low, cover, and let cook for about 7-8 minutes. 

Add tofu, stir, recover and let cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Add artichoke hearts and sun dried tomatoes, stir, cover, and let cook until all liquid has been absorbed; roughly another 3-5 minutes. 

Image

Serve with a salad and/or veggies.  I made peas and had some carrots and snap peas that I topped with a little Goddess dressing.  It was pretty tasty, hearty, and satisfying!  This recipe makes 4 servings and the leftovers are great cold, which I’m eying already, though it isn’t even lunch time.

Image

After dinner we went and visited our friend Matt (who is awesome!), brought a bottle of wine and some freshly baked pumpkin spice cookies (see last post!) and just hung out.  I should update that recipe as Nick and I felt that the cookies were better after the dough had been chilled over night.  The dough bakes fine without being chilled, however, but I’m not surprised that being chilled made it better, as this is the way with that type of dough! 

Visiting with Matt was a very nice end to a very nice weekend.  Now I guess it’s back to the grind!  I hope you all had a great weekend! If you have suggestions for how to help promote the Kickstarter or the book, please let me know!  🙂 

Pumpkin Spice Cookies + General Cheer!

Happy Fall, y’all! 

Today is the first official day of fall!  To celebrate and make sure I start the season right, I made some very tasty, fall inspired cookies!

Image

I also busted out my brand new pumpkin body lotion and fall-smelling candles to boot!  So now my house smells like a pumpkin and I do, too!  But back to the important stuff:  COOOOOOKIES!!!

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Cookies (me want it.)

Ingredients:

2 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour

1 tsp. Baking Soda

1 tsp. Baking Powder

1 Heaping tsp. Ground Cinnamon

1/2 tsp. Ground Nutmeg

1/4 tsp. Allspice

1/2 tsp. Salt

1 Cup Granulated Sugar

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar (Lightly packed)

1/2 Cup (1 stick) Softened Earth Balance Baking Sticks

1 Cup Pumpkin

1 Ener-g Egg Replacer

1/2 Tbs. Vanilla

2 Tbs. Maple Syrup

 

Image

Uh-huh-uh-huh-uh-huh!  Flavor profile Pumpkin Bomb ‘Splosion! 🙂

Directions:

1.  Combine your dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. 

2.  In a larger bowl, cream your “butter”.

3.  Beat in the sugars, ener-g, vanilla, and maple syrup.  Cream until light and fluffy.

4.  Add the pumpkin to your sugar/butter mix and combine.

5.  Slowly add your reserved dry ingredients to your wet ingredients, mixing until nicely combined.

6.  Using a spoon or small scoop, drop the cookie dough onto a baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.

7.  Bake for about 10 minutes (check the bottoms for done-ness).  If you made larger cookies than me, they will obviously take longer.  I’m trusting you all to know when the cookies are done.  🙂

Image

Image

Notes:  These cookies taste very pumpkin-y and make your house smell AAAHHH-MAAAAAY-ZING!  They are better once they have cooled 100%, and it will be hard to wait!  You could easily roll them in a little cinnamon sugar before baking.  To me, it seemed like they needed a little….something.  The naked cookies were yummy, but they needed GLAZE.  Yes.  When in doubt add more sugar, right?  …right.  😉

Glaze (these amounts are approximate; I suggest futzing with the ratios to get the taste right for your taste buds)

1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar

1 tsp Vanilla Almond Milk (or alternative milk option of your choice; doesn’t need to be vanilla either, it’s just what I had handy)

1 tsp Maple Syrup

8-10 Drops of Lemon Juice (this helps make it a bit less shockingly sweet)

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Stir together until smooth.  Drizzle over cookies.

Image

Image

These cookies will certainly help perk up a ho-hum day and fill your house with some fun, autumnal cheer!  They are pretty easy to make, too.  Nick said that these cookies would be good with raisins in ’em.  …I guess I could see that.  Me?  I just want to eat them!

I’m going to bring some with me tonight because we are headed to Santa Barbara to go see Son of Doo-doo and Heather!  Yay for game night!

Next order of business: Kickstarter!  I got my 7th backer today!  Huzzah!  Thank you to all my backers and to all of you who are helping to spread the word.  I am so grateful.  🙂  Keep up the good work and I might share some pumpkin cookies with you!

Oh, wait, you missed the Kickstarter link?  Here it is again!

Do you need even more ways to stay in connection with all things pirate?  Like Modern Pirate Quarterly on Facebook!

https://www.facebook.com/Modernpiratequarterly

 

 

 

Friday Means The Weekend is Here! + Banana & Peanut Butter Yummies

Image

Happy Friday everyone!  What do you make when you want something sweet, semi-healthy, that is easy and quick to make?  Banana Yummies of course.  Well, I don’t know what else to call them, so you figure out the name.  I’ll just give you the recipe and directions!  Sure, this isn’t super original, but they are very tasty, so….here ya go.

Image

I also love the limited number of ingredients this recipe calls for!

Ingredients:

1 Banana (or more, depending on how many people you want to share the yummies with.  I find that if I make too much of a good thing, I eat too much of a good thing, and well, you guessed it!  It isn’t such a good thing in the end!  And by end, I mean MY end!) lol)

Peanut Butter &/or Almond Butter (I wasn’t sure which would be tastier, so I did half and half!  More on this to follow!)

4 TBS Chocolate Chips (I like the Enjoy Life brand, they are vegan, but if you aren’t vegan, use what you have around the house.)

1/2 Tsp. Coconut Oil (optional.  Makes the chocolate nice, smooth, and more melty.)

Directions:

1.  Slice up your bananas.  Lay slices on a small plate or baking sheet lined with wax paper.  Note:  I thought I was being all fancy to slice them diagonally.  I do NOT recommend doing this!  Had I thought about it better, I would have realized that trying to line up the tops with the bottoms down the road to make them sandwiched would be tricky.  Then, getting them all coated with chocolate would also be hard!  Boo!  Anyway, make them nice, coin shaped, about a 1/4 inch thick or so.

Image

2.  Put a little dollop of either peanut butter or almond butter in the center or 1/2 the slices.

Image

3.  Next, turn them into little sandwiches!

Image

See what I mean about how they don’t line up nicely?  Coin shaped, people!  Coin shaped! lol

4.  Put the little banana sammies in the freezer for about 10 minutes while you prep and melt your chocolate.

5.  Place the coconut oil in a small pan or pot.  Using medium low heat, melt the coconut oil.  Then add the chocolate chips and stir until the mix is nice and smooth.  Careful, vegan chocolate melts kinda funny sometimes!  It can burn much faster than regular chocolate.

Image

Image

6.  Place semi-frozen banana sammies on a fork, then spoon chocolate all over them until they are completely covered.  Then place back on the wax paper.  Once all sammies have been covered in chocolate, put them back in the freezer.

7.  Let freeze for about an hour.  Eat, enjoy, share, eat…. 🙂

Image

Almond Butter vs Peanut Butter!  Which tasted better, you might ask?  BOTH were equally AMAZING.  I’d suggest try making both and have a taste test like we did around here.  Nick and I couldn’t decide which was better.  If you make ’em and have a preference, I’d love to know!

Next order of business:  KICKSTARTER UPDATE.  Well, I have SIX backers!  Um, yes, they are all friends and family.  So, at least I know who I’m giving a kidney to should they ever need one! 😉  I’m starting to get a little nervous that people may not “get” my idea, or something.  On my Kickstarter stats, people watch my entire video only 20% of the time!  Guys.  Watch the FULL video.  There are outtakes and they are funny; certainly worth sticking around for!

27 days left on Kickstarter!  Ah!  Okay, here is the link again, in case y’all missed it.

And here is the facbook page for Modern Pirate Quarterly!  Go “like” it!  You know you do! 🙂

https://www.facebook.com/Modernpiratequarterly?ref=hl

Last but not least, people, have a great Friday!

Great Weekend!

Okay guys.  It’s Monday.  Again.  Booooooo.

I personally think that the weekends should have one more day included–so that every weekend would be a three day weekend!  Who’s with me!!  If the Roman emperors could add a whole MONTH in their honor, surely adding one measly day in, every week, wouldn’t be THAT hard, right?  We could call it “people’s-day.”  🙂

I hope you all had a great weekend!  Here’s what I got into, mostly via photos! Yay photos!

Saturday I wrapped this:

Image

Nothing says “I’m glad we are family!” like a giant, paper bow, right?  🙂  This is my gift for Son of Doo-doo–Catan.  Also do note the Warkak and Snoozle making a cameo….

Then, I met some friends for lunch who I haven’t seen in years (no joke, literally years!  sad and true) and it was so nice to get a bit caught up.

Then, we headed to Santa Barbara to celebrate Son of Doo-Doo!

Image

We got lost and ended up on Miramar beach, not Hammonds.  How is possible I’ve lived in SB most of my life and never heard of these beaches!?  Anyway, it all got sorted out.

Image

We brought the dog.  This proved to be a mostly regrettable choice.  He was crazy excited and there was food EVERYWHERE, right at his face level.

Image

I can’t wait for him to not be a puppy any longer and we can trust him to just hang out and be good!  Wrangling him was Nick’s full time job, and my part time job, which made it somewhat hard to just enjoy and have fun with everyone.  Here he is, totally crazy because he wanted these:

Image

Not. Vegan.

Image

Beach fun!

Image

We then headed to Montecito for a quick birthday drink at Los Arroyos.  While the people who worked there were rude to us, the margarita was super good.  Post drinks Nick, crazy-eye pup, and I headed home, relaxed, and watched Lilo & Stitch.

Sunday was great, too!  We headed back to SB for more birthday shenanigans!

We had a little snack-y picnic down at the harbor and I snapped a photo for your viewing pleasure:

Image

We then took my dad’s boat for a sail.  And by “we” I mean my dad took us for a sail. 😉

Image

Captain Don for president!  Go ahead, if you see him, ask him what his policy is on Syria!  😉

Image

Nope.  Doesn’t suck.  I took TWO Dramamine pills so that I wouldn’t get sea sick.  I felt totally fine during the sail, but was SO. TIRED. from the “less drowsy” formula and I’d hate to see what regular type would do to me! 😛

Image

Bye bye SB Harbor!  You were great.  Now, out into the open sea!  Where there was wind, oh my lots of wind!  The boat was healed over so hard, the only photo I managed to take of the rest of the sail was this:

Image

I didn’t even realize the film on my iPhone had changed!  Ooops!

A great time was had by all.  After the sail, Son of Doo-Doo and his sweet girlfriend, Heather, invited us back to their place to play CATAN.  My dinner last night was chips and candy and it was AWESOME.  No joke.  Sometimes you just need to do it.

Our Catan game was cut short owing to the time–we needed to tend to the pup who we’d left home yesterday.

So, today, I feel relaxed (in spite of having to pay quarterly taxes), totally tired (my brain can’t even seem to spell words right today wtf), oddly hungry (I suppose from the lack of “real food” last night? ha!) and looking forward to Tuesday where we will have a Catan rematch.  I’m not going to pile up on ore this time.  For those of you who know the game, yay!  For those of you who don’t, boo and shame on you, go get yo’self one.  🙂

Oh, and Kickstarter.   T-Minus THREE days until I launch!!  THREE DAYS people.  No one wrote back to me from Ellen, Oprah, or even on the local level.  Uhm……how does it get better than this?? I’m going to make some caffeine filled hot tea for lunch, then email them all, AGAIN.  And write birthday trees.

Have a great Monday and I hope you had a splendid weekend!!