Dec 16, 2014

TV Star Sweater

I couldn't figure out who this very '80s outfit reminded me of.

Then It hit me: Angela from Who's the Boss?

My sis-in-law Alessandra thought it looked like like something Anne Archer would have worn in Fatal Attraction:

This shoot actually had a lot of strange moments.

Awkward, unintentional Brooke Shields Calvin Klein ad parallel:

Strange moments with Chi:

Also, I need to publish a novel because I somehow ended up with a book jacket photo circa 1982:

Lastly: these photos should not be taken as an endorsement of Heinlein's Expanded Universe. Not his best, you guys, not his best. 

Dec 12, 2014

Vegan Mac and Cashew Cheese

I got a couple requests for my vegan Mac and Cashew Cheese recipe! Specifically, the cashew cheese part. Here's the rundown:

Vegan Mac and Cashew Cheese

1 1/2 cups raw cashews
1/2 a steamed sweet potato
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 clove garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
1/3 to 2/3 cups non-dairy milk
1-3 tsp celtic sea salt
Tiny pinch nutmeg (optional, adds depth of flavor)
Cracked pepper (also optional)
1 box of your preferred pasta, prepared according to instructions

1) You can either soak the cashews in water in the fridge overnight, or use my 5 minute method: grind them in the blender or food processor dry for a couple seconds until they create a coarse meal. Cover with water and let stand for 5-10 minutes, then strain the soaked cashew meal through a mesh strainer. Don't worry about wringing every little drop out, they're going to get wet again anyway. Dump the soaked, strained cashew meal back into your blender or food processor.

2) Peel, cut up, and steam the sweet potato for 10-15 minutes until tender. Add cooked sweet potato to blender or food processor.

3) Juice the lemon and add the juice to the blender or food processor. Add the nutritional yeast, peeled clove of garlic, 1 tsp of celtic sea salt, the nutmeg if you're using it, and 1/3 cup of the non-dairy milk.

4) Blend that shiz. I use a crazy high powered blender, so I just run it on high for a minute or two. Be more patient if you're using a food processor, and just let it keep going for 5-10 minutes if it has to. Blend until completely smooth. You may want to add additional non-dairy milk, depending on how much water your cashews soaked up. Add more salt to taste. 

5) Top your pasta with it and eat.

The key to this recipe is the sweet potato, which adds the perfect texture. Skip it if you're normally a fan of Velveeta type cheese where it's super glossy and there's no grit. I like putting on Andean Dream brand quinoa pasta. I'm not allergic to gluten, it's just way easier to digest. I switch this recipe up only sightly to make nacho cheese. I'll post that recipe too, but don't be afraid to improvise it yourself, because that's what I did.

Let me know if you try this recipe out! Hit me up here or on Instagram @cammilacollar and tell me how it goes. :)

Dec 9, 2014

Bundle up

This vintage cashmere swing coat is kind of a family heirloom.

I used to wait until a day when I was wearing something fancy to pull this coat out of the closet, but lately I've been liking it even more with jeans. Why not just enjoy the juxtaposition, right? 

Winters are long here, so I'm always looking for new and ridiculous ways to stay warm. Anyway, thanks again for all the kind words about our recent illness! I'm gonna be totally honest: I kinda still feel like shit. But I feel slightly less like shit than I did before, which means I'll be back to full power in no time. ;)

Dec 5, 2014

You Be Illin'

Actually, not you, us. We're sick as fuck. Ill doesn't even cover it.

The author is pictured at the ER (left) and the doctor's office (right).

It started as a respiratory virus with crazy aches. But then it randomly turned into a stomach issue where I couldn't keep any fluids down. That, with a high temperature, made me dehydrated so my blood pressure started dropping. So I wound up in the ER. 

My dad works at my hometown hospital so aside from general misery, I felt okay about going. My mom came down too and snuggled me like I was five, as I assume I will do to Gbear if she ever has an ER visit, even as an adult. Anyway, after a night full of IV's delivering saline and nausea medicine, I was good to go.

The author is pictured swaddled like a burrito conversing with her dad (left) and cuddling with her mom while eating an electrolyte popsicle (right)

The crazy thing is that the stomach bug ran its course within a day or two but respiratory infection just got worse, and MC got it too. MC, by the way, is not pictured here, but he's spent this entire time being super duper loving and attentive, getting me every glass of water or loving cuddle I've needed. And I'm not gonna lie, when I was like doubled over with pain before we went to the ER, he clearly looked like he was tearing up too, just from watching me look so agonized. 

Anyway, we went back to the doc (this time just to our family doctor, pictured at the top), where we were told our viruses had both germinated the worst chest and ear infections she's seen in a while. Hilarious! So we still kinda feel like we got hit with a shit ton of bricks, but we're recovering. That's what's up over here!

Dec 1, 2014

The Collars Love: Datevitation GIVEAWAY!

Want a gift that'll blow your loved one's mind? Scroll down and enter this giveaway!

You know the old practice of giving someone you love a book of coupons redeemable for things like "1 Backrub" or  "1 Trip to your favorite shop"? It's a classic move: It shows that you've been listening, and it finds a way to give an activity as a gift.

But it's a double edged sword. If you're not artistically inclined or your life is super busy at the moment, you can end up looking like a Vince Vaughan character. 

NEVER FEAR. You can give your loved one all the personalized thoughtfulness of a date coupon book without worrying it will look jank with Datevitation! They let you customize your date coupon book to look classy/adorable and then they print and ship it to you! 

They knew that MC and I are sappy mofos, so they offered us the chance to give away one complete, customized coupon book, designed by you and delivered to your door for free. Scroll to the bottom to enter! Your mom/husband/girlfriend/BFF/whoever will be so glad you did.  

A few examples of Datevitation's 500+ adorable date ideas.

They also let me design and print one so I could personally show you how awesome it is. So I made one for MC. Wanna see?

For the record, you can't really dance to hardbop but whatever.

If you want, you can upload photos to personalize the illustrations and top them with silly cartoon hairstyles. I could not resist giving MC and I both Bea Arthur hair. But if you don't feel like it, you can just use Datevitation's pre-existing smiley faces, which are crazy cute. You can still customize the text of each date description.

As you can see, their zillion date options run the gamut from romantic gestures to recreational sports to doing someone's chores for them. If you click a thing that certifies you're an adult, you can even chose sexytime type dates (and I'm all for that). But these books aren't just for couples. You can customize them for any kind of relationship by clicking your and your recipient's gender/age and whether it's romantic/non-romantic. The website customizes the dates and images for you.

Dates can be customized for family, friends, or couples of all stripes.
MC knew that Datevitation had approached us with this offer, but he still BEAMED as he looked through his book. Partly because that Bea Arthur hair idea was freaking hilarious, but mostly because of the principle that makes the date coupon book a great idea in the first place: it makes us happy to see that someone we love is paying attention. 

Does your girlfriend often wish you'd put down your phone? There's a coupon for a "no phones" date. Does your BFF seem frazzled? There's a coupon for a spa day. Does your husband fearlessly and relentlessly sift the cat litter without ever being asked (ahem)? There's a coupon that says you'll do it for him. When you pick these coupons with care, it shows you've been paying attention to the things your loved one says and does, and even better, that you appreciate them.

Okay so enter this giveaway! 

It's a Rafflecopter drawing so you know the drill. You can earn approximately a ZILLION chances to win by following us on various social media. 

Also: Use the promo code LIKEALADY for $10 off AND free shipping.  That would get your book for $15 total, including shipping, at a 54% discount, if you got a five-coupon book like mine.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winner is chosen on Friday. Open to US residents only. Good luck!

Nov 26, 2014

Just Married! (2.25 years ago...)

I've been trying to find all the photos hiding in nooks and crannies around my work computer before my job ends here in a month. While I was looking today, I found these pictures MC took of me after we got home from our wedding reception in August of 2012!

The house was totally unfinished and it had been a wild day, but I can still feel the giddiness and excitement I had abut spending the rest of my life with MC. What's truly bonkers is that I still have it, like every day of my life. True love is the shit.

I also found this picture:

I took this at the bank counter when we deposited our treasured wedding gifts before zipping out of town for our honeymoon. Those bills and checks are tucked into the '70s Harlequine Romance Novel we based the design for our wedding invitation on. :)

And last but not least: these pictures of Chi, giving himself a hardcore mani-pedi in our honeymoon cabin. Man, he's really digging in.

Nov 24, 2014

I sing and dance in my shiny pants

Shiny pants: Asos
Leotard: Capezio
Shawl: Street market in Auckland
Shoes: Steve Madden
Necklace: Thrifted

Nov 20, 2014

Baby Stepping into a Plant Based Diet: Salad Dressing

Okay, you're making a power salad for your dinner as an easy default. What about dressing? You've probably heard how all those fatty dressings from the bottle will bloat the calorie content of your once-healthy salad, and all the unhealthy oils, sodium, sugars, and MSG (also listed in so many sneaky ways) in a bottle of Hidden Valley Crap are bad for your health and beauty, triggering your body to store unprocessed fat and additives in your tissues, and making you leach the minerals that make your bones strong and your skin look good. WELL FUCK.

No problem! You can just make your own! Suck it, Kraft! 

Power salad containing spinach, celery, cucumber, red bell pepper, red onion, radishes, an ear of corn roasted in the oven in its husk for like 15 minutes, a little raw saurkraut, and some cubed, steamed sweet potato, topped with Collars' Own Creamy Vegan Power Dressing.
A quick refresher for newcomers on making a power salad one of your go-to dinner recipes:  
Ever looked at your "recommended daily allowance" of vitamins and minerals and been like "How the fuck is it even possible to eat this much Magnesium (for example)?" It's possible if dark, leafy greens and other vegetables are a staple of your diet. Fresh veg is low in calories, but high in nutrients, which you can absorb quickly and easily. With veggies, your body doesn't have to divert energy it would use for your immune system or your dang sparkly eyes like it does when it's trying to assimilate nutrients from something hard to process, like meat. Remember, the amount of Calcium or B6 or whatever on the label means NOTHING if your body can't actually break down the molecules and use those nutrients. Hunger isn't just your body asking for calories to use as energy, it's also your body asking for nutrients. Start dinner with a big dose of those nutrients in a power salad. You'll feel much more in tune with your needs, and if you feel further hunger, you'll know it isn't just your body going  "UHHHH I NEED RIBOFLAVIN!!!" (or whatever).

Home made salad dressing can be quickly whirred up in the blender or the food processor, making it a really easy way to add any number of nutritionally powerful, deliciously savory ingredients that you might have trouble incorporating into something like a sandwich or pasta. And obviously, when you make it yourself, you control what's in there -- no nasty additives for you! 

Sometimes I plan for a power salad to be my whole meal, so I add ingredients that are nutritionally and calorically dense to the salad. Other times, I plan on eating a little something after my salad, like a homemade veggie burger or some hummus and crackers. When I do that, I know that's where I'll be getting that dense, necessary fat and/or protein, so I don't need to pack as much of those elements into the salad. Okay, so here are two salad dressing recipes, one for each scenario. I'll break down the benefits of the individual ingredients at the bottom of the post.

When you want a full meal out of your salad, this dressing will add heft, along with your other, more dense ingredients, like nuts and grains:

Collars' Own Creamy Vegan Power Dressing:

Fresh juice from 1 lemon
Splash of Apple Cider Vinegar
1-2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
1/2 tsp Celtic Sea Salt
1-3 Cloves raw garlic to taste
2-3 Tbsp Tahini
1 big handful of cashews (Best if soaked overnight but you can just blend for longer if you forget)
1-2 tsp Organic miso paste (A tub of it can be expensive but it lasts a looooong time and it's super good for you. Get organic though, from a brand like Westbrae. Other ones have MSG and/or fish. Eew.)
1 Tbsp Raw Honey (Skip or replace with an alternative source of balancing sweetness if you're ethically opposed -- no big.)

Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add extra ACV if it's too thick. Skip anything you don't have, just think about what that ingredient was all about so you can balance the flavors. Miso is very salty, so if you go without, try adding a little extra Celtic Sea Salt. ACV is acidic, so if you don't have any, add a little more lemon juice, etc.

Some random, delicious, good-for-you things you can try adding (and I have):

Avocado: If you cut it open and it's sort of mediocre but not actually bad. You know what I'm talking about? When it's just a little stringy? Puree it into your creamy dressing. It's rich and delicious and you won't need the cashews.
1-2 Tbsp of Healthy Oil: The thing about healthy, unrefined oils is that the less saturated they are, the more easily they go rancid, so do what I do and keep them in a squirtable container in the freezer. Try organic Hemp, Flax, or Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
A big handful of cooked beans: They blend well and add just a little texture, not to mention protein.
Leftover hummus: Totally done it. No shame.
Veggie broth: Try a few Tbsp if you want to thin it out but find find extra lemon or ACV too tangy.

When you want to keep the dressing light:

Collars Own Tangy Oil Free Dressing:

3-4 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
Fresh juice from 1/2 a lemon
2-3 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
1/2 tsp Celtic Sea Salt
1-3 Cloves raw garlic to taste
1 Tbsp Organic miso paste (Same rules apply.)
1 Tbsp Raw Honey (Same rules apply.)
1 Tbsp dulse
Optional: 1-2 pinches of your preferred spice (Tumeric is really good for you. Cajun spice blend is also really delicious. Just be sure to check the label of a spice blend to make sure there's no MSG or any of it's other sneaky names. A while back I was like "How come my face gets puffy whenever I eat taco seasoning? Oh.")

Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until fully incorporated.

Ingredient breakdown - In case you want to know why I pick some of these ingredients for health and beauty:

Lemon Juice and Apple Cider Vinegar: Fresh lemon (squeezed out of the fruit, not bottled) and ACV (the unpasteurized kind, like Bragg's) aid in digestion, increasing the HCL in your stomach and supplying enzymes. This is super important, obviously, because bad digestion is linked to weight gain as well as bloating and gas, and there's no point in trying to give your body the vital, beautifying nutrients it needs if you don't digest them. Lemon and ACV also have numerous documented health benefits, like killing pathogens in the body, lowering blood sugar, aiding in weight loss, and killing cancer cells.

Raw Garlic: The nutritional punch of raw garlic is insane. A one oz. serving offers a significant amount of Manganese, Vitamins C and B6. Manganese in particular is a mineral you need to properly absorb other nutrients -- very important. Raw garlic also has highly documented immune boosting properties, measurably decreasing the rate of catching a cold or flu. It's also got major antioxidant properties that reduce the the rate of Alzheimer's, aids in detoxifying heavy metals from your tissues, and combats bone loss and estrogen deficiency. Just try and make sure you and your partner both eat it. If you both have garlic breath, neither of you have to feel bashful about it. ;)

Miso: Eating lots of soy isn't good for you, unless it's fermented. Fermented foods are great for you, providing good bacteria that help your body extract nutrients of your food. That's the case with miso, which also has many, many other associated benefits, from its high concentrations of vitamins B2, E, K, calcium, iron, potassium, choline and lecithin, to it's major disease fighting, anti-oxidant properties.

Nutritional Yeast: Call this stuff "nooch" for short, like I do, and drive your friends crazy! Nutritional Yeast is crazy high in B12, which is otherwise not super concentrated in many plant based foods. All vitamins and minerals are important, but B12 is particularly vital for your metabolism. Don't lie, you know that makes it your favorite.
Dulse: Like all sea vegetables, dulse is very, very high in many minerals. Minerals are particularly important when it comes to your skin and hair, in addition, of course, to your overall health. Specifically, dulse is backed with iodine -- another vital nutrient for your metabolism. DING DING! What's kind of funny is that crappy table salt (see my first post in this series on why Celtic Sea Salt is your beautifying, non-crappy option) is often fortified with iodine, but the amount of sodium in a serving of traditional table salt, without other trace minerals present, has the anti-beautifying effect of causing you to leach your body's existing mineral stores -- potentially right out of your bones. Gross!

Tune in for more posts in this series. Next, I'll cover veggie burgers and hummus, talk about some more of my favorite nutritionally powerful ingredients for my staple meals, and talk about plant-based meals for kids.