Minestrone ‘Krautchi’ Soup

So I have just learned the nutty flavor of quinoa and decided to use put it in a vegetable and bean soup. I soaked the minestrone beans overnight before cooking in order to prep it for easier digestion.

I also wanted to try out making kimchi, but since I am in a foreign country I chose not to ferment my own cabbage. Instead I went the lazy route and bought a fermented whole cabbage in the produce department.

Ingredients for Soup:

Mixed beans -oaked overnight for easier digestion-

(I used a minestrone mixture)

Frozen green beans

Quinoa

Fresh Tomato

Salt

I drained the beans and placed them in a pot with water to boil. I also added tomatoes since I wanted them to become stewed. After about thirty minutes I added the frozen green beans and salt to taste. My quinoa was precooked so I added it in last right before taking it off the eye. If you don’t have any precooked then you can wash them and then boil them for 15 minutes then add them to the mix, or throw them in 15 to 20 minutes before you finish cooking. Either way it gives a nice chew, grainy, nutty texture sort of like fresh oatmeal.

Although it needed small preparation the flavor was delicious and it is definitely a healthy choice especially for the wintertime. Quinoa is also a very healthy addition as it packs in lysine and other amino acids as well as being a complete protein and a good source of manganese which promotes healthy bones.

Krautchi:

Ingredients:

Fermented cabbage

Fresh Carrot

Fresh Garlic

Yellow Onion

Chipotle Hot Sauce

(I used heinz brand)

Shred and chop the carrots, garlic, and onion and mix with hot sauce by hand in a bowl or container. Chop the cabbage to your taste. Mix it into the other ingredients and voila. It honestly tastes just like kimchi.

I had never purchased a fermented whole cabbage before but it works great for those who dont want to use jarred sauerkraut as it may be too shredded. Kimchi is usually made with napa or Chinese cabbage, but the cabbage I used was the regular one in the store.

Normal kimchi and also sauerkraut have natural probiotic functions and therefore is great for your digestive system and decreasing the overgrowth of yeast in your body by packing the body with healthy bacteria.

Also, this chipotle sauce is heavenly. I have also been eating cauliflower ‘bites’ with this sauce as the coating and it is so good. The grocery store selection is limited where I am currently living (in Montenegro), so I dont have the option of looking for Korean spices.

It definitely saved time and concern since I am not in my native country so don’t I want to get sick over trying to ferment anything. Another thing I noticed about the cabbage was this white milky substance, which I learned to be kahm yeast. It is not harmful and all I had to do was rinse it off and enjoy the pickled veggie. Cheers to trying new things!

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I served the krautchi as a garnish on top of the soup. Delicious.

 

 

 

 

 

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Vegan ‘Cinnamon Oblivion’ Recipe

This recipe is inspired by my all time favorite dessert, which is from Outback restaurant. I used to order it all the time alongside the Queensland Chicken salad. Oh, those were the days. It is made with all vegan friendly ingredients, and suprisingly does taste like the real thing.

Ingredients:

Chia Seeds

Cinnamon

Vanilla flavored soy yogurt

(I used Alpro brand)

Crunchy granola

(I used Verival  Bio Beerer Crunchy)

Frozen mixed wild berries

(I used the one with strawberries, blueberries, and cranberries)

Place the granola in the oven to warm. Put chia seeds and cinnamon in a bowl and add the soy yogurt. Mix lightly. Top with frozen berries. Then when the granola is warm put on top of mixture and mix until coated.

The frozen berries and vanilla flavor stand in for the vanilla ice cream used in the dessert. The berries as they melt also taste like the raspberry sauce that I always chose to place on my dessert instead of caramel. The cinnamon takes the place of the cinnamon apples, which are so decadent, but has too much sugar. The granola is the crunchy chocolate croutons that I used to love so dearly.

Even if you have never tried a Cinnamon Oblivian:cinnamon

this dessert is very tasty and a healthier version for those who are lactose intolerant or dont desire to eat animal by products such as is found in the ice cream and whipped topping. The chia seeds are added in to give a boost of fiber, protein, omega vitamins, and other important nutrients.

Here is a few pictures of me preparing the dessert.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Issue of the Candida

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I have had problems with yeast under my breasts, as I am a large chested woman, since I was a teenager and it has been a slow uphill battle to find a definitive cure for chronic breakouts. I also have recurring vaginal yeast due to the same imbalance of healthy bacteria due to poor diet, as most Americans have.

In the past I tried probiotics in supplemental form, probably in my early 20’s to no avail, as it seemed to make my stomache get even more irritated. I have also tried yogurt, but with my dairy intolerance it also caused an adverse reaction. The only suggestion I received was to take a strong yeast fighting medicine called diflucan consistently, and indefinitely. All was well until I travelled overseas and it seems like this regimen is frowned upon.

Since I have had yet another issue I have decided to try again alternative methods. I just purchased some oil of oregano which I have read helps with antifungal issues. It smells very nice, a bit like mint, and it tingles like tea tree oil. I put one drop in a teaspoon each of olive oil and placed it on my bedside to use as a topical ointment. We shall see if it stands up to the hype.

Also, I was reintroduced to a product that I use for my hair health as it also seems to be helpful in fighting yeast. Apple cider vinegar can be drank warm with a splash of lemon and cayenne pepper to help cleanse the body. I have started drinking this in the evening and morning to do more to regulate a healthier gut flora.

I also bought some more probiotic supplements, which is infused with b vitamins. I hate taking pills but a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do to make the body sing in unison. While I was at the health food section I also picked up some nutritional yeast to add to my vegan/vegetarian food journey. I wondered if it would be contraindicated to my yeast problem, but I read that it should not have any negative impact. Again we shall see.

I did learn that coconut oil and also fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut are natural probiotics and help fight candidias by replenishing your gut with healthy bacteria.

If you are having any similar problems then check out this website https://www.thecandidadiet.com/. I know that I have been waiting nearly 20 years if not longer for this sort of information.

 

 

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Photography 2

This gallery contains 18 photos.

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Crna Gora on the Rocks

If anyone has seen the Casino Royale 007 movie, they may have heard of the country that I now reside in. I saw the movie back in 2014 while still living in the state of Washington, and had to google it to make sure that it existed. Montenegro, or the black mountains, is a small country that formerly belonged in Yugoslavia, along with Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia, Serbia, and Macedonia. I am happy to state that I have been to almost all of these countries, save for Macedonia and Bosnia, but I do plan on visiting Sarajevo in the near future. These are truly beautiful lands carved with rich history and culture.

The actual movie scene was from what I researched, shot in the Czech Republic, but Montenegro definitely has some top spots that could have been used. On a day trip from the capitol of Podgorica, I traveled a few hours and was able to see three different towns-Rijeka Crnojevica, Budva, and Kotor.

The first is less than thirty minutes away and it is a historic fishing town. It has its roots all the way back to the beginning of the Ottoman empire ruling in the area. The residents of Podgorica fled to the mountains to escape the Turkish army. They thrived in the rough terrain since the Ottomans did not know the land as well as them. The fishing town is not very populated now, but it is still a gem to visit as it sits in the presence of Skadar Lake, a popular tourist destination via the national park.

Budva was my next stop, which was an hour away. It honestly reminded me of Monaco, just a smaller version, and much more beautiful due to the adriatic sea surrounding it. The water is so crystal clear that it is enchanting to sit and stare into the horizon. There are portions of the old town walls from the medieval ages still in existence, and the prices are much more palatable than Monaco.

After leaving, thirty minutes later I was in Kotor. It is one of the most preserved locations in Montenegro as being authentic and approved via UNESCO as a protected establishment. The old town has a backdrop of a mountainous fortress that looks amazing around dusk. In all the locations were unique in their own way, and it is amazing to find so much history and picturesque moments in such a small country.

Check out my youtube channel at Tales from the Vlog to see a video on this trip or you can just click here https://youtu.be/J63ZME66PD8

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Travelling the World, Naturally

I am back again to talk more about my hair journey while abroad. As in my last post earlier this year, I am still learning new and interesting things about my hair while living outside of the U.S. For starters, I have come to understand that my hair is low porosity. This means that it doesnt let moisture in very well. In order to accomplish this I have to use heat to open up my hair cuticles. My hair has grown substanstially since this past February, and I am more in tune with what my hair thrives on. For instance, too much product builds up on my scalp if I use anything that my hair doesn’t like. I have figured out that it does well with a simple conditioning of extra virgin olive oil and honey. My goal is to condition weekly while washing my hair with apple cider vinegar. The product that I use for moisturizing in between is a shea butter beeswax cream mix that I found at a cosmetic store in the current country that I am in, Montenegro. I also found a gel schwarzkopf that has no alcohol.

This lack of ability to obtain multiple processed products will assist me when I do get back to the states and am able to get my hair trimmed into some fashion that is suitable to wear loosely. At the moment my hair is at a stage where it is growing long in the back but still shorter in the middle. Read further for my summary of what may help you if you do find yourself travelling around without adequate textured hair products at your disposal.

 

For any black female, starting a natural hair journey can be daunting. Whether you go for the big chop (which I did) or you gradually allow your tresses to come down, learning to understand and take care of your particular grade of hair is a challenge. Now just imagine trying to learn to love your hair in a foreign country. This has become my experience since fully grasping the importance of moisture and nurture with my strands. Since my undergraduate college years from 1999 until now I have gone natural approximately three to four times. This last time being the most enduring and educational. Particularly because I decided to continue with my journey which began the summer of 2013 due to a broken down vehicle and no option for getting to the hair stylist. I walked to the nearest head start and shaved it all off. The experience was lovely until I reached what most people proclaim as the ‘weird’ phase of a natural. It was too long to just wear loose and look nice and not quite long enough to pull in a ponytail. My weird phase also came when I was knee deep in a very minimally populated area of those who have African descent. My struggle began in a place called Croatia.

It is a part of the former Yugoslavia and although there are a small percentage of blacks in the country, it is not enough to cater to the unique hair needs of the population. This scarcity led me to try extreme measures, therefore, I went onto youtube. And from there I began to learn how to make DIY conditioners and cleansers that have helped my hair tremendously. I do have lapses in memory of what I am supposed to do such as tying my hair in protective styles, moisturizing, and I still have yet to get on the bandwagon of detangling with a brush. I have however stopped brushing my hair, finger detangle (occasionally), co-washing with apple cider vinegar, and using coconut oil to help maintain moisture. It is a uphill battle but less than a year after learning the do’s and don’t’s of natural life (albeit this is my umpteenth time) I building an appreciation and love for my locks. Although I don’t have easy access to many of the products I see on youtube, even in a place like Croatia there is a drogerie mart (DM) on every corner which sales apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, aloe vera oil, and other natural ingredients like eggs, mayo, olive oil, etc. to support healthy hair growth in women, or men, of color.

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I’ll Have What He is Having

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In the case of Sweeney Todd, a classic literary character beloved of all ages, ascent to notoriety began in an 1846-47short story publication called A String of Pearls: A Romance.  The authors of this publication purportedly have been Malcom Rhymer and Pickett Presto, two men who were well known at the time for writing these stories.

This sort of publication was geared toward the growing population of working class adolescents within the British culture, and became known as a ‘penny dreadful’ or ‘penny horrible’ for their cheap cost(similar to pulp fiction nowadays) as well as grotesquely explicit language. A String of Pearls, among other publications known by the moniker of a ‘penny dreadful’, was most influential in the literary competence of the children who read it.

This era of literacy for Great Britain’s youth coincides perfectly with the surge of books published within the Golden Age of Children’s Literature. Elements such as setting, character, and plot are used by the authors to apprehend the minds of its audiences, as a means of identification for British children who read it at the time. These youth, living near the Port of London, would have encountered the settings and topics discussed on a daily basis.

London’s Fleet Street, in the year 1785, is the first setting which is encountered in the story. It houses Sweeney Todd’s barbershop, St. Dunstan’s church, and is a pathway to the den of thieves, Ms. Lovett’s pie shop, Bell yard, as well as the port for the ships at sail. This street is the main setting of the story and around this is where most of the action in the story will take place. Two secondary settings that are not connected to Fleet Street are Mr. Fogg’s asylum and the Mundel home.

A third is out at sea close to Madagascar and is used by the character Colonel Jeffrey to speak on the third party knowledge he has of the love interest of a main character Johanna Oakley.  These settings are important because most are actual destinations in London and it would have resonated with the British that this was a validation that their lives and struggles mattered, especially in a literary aspect.

Johanna Oakley, as stated above, is one of the main characters in the story. She is described in the piece with phrases such as ‘a creature of the rarest grace and beauty’. She symbolizes innocence and hope, which was evident as her character persevered for love throughout the story and held steadfast in the belief that her lover was still alive amidst the knowledge of his supposed doom amongst the flames of the ship Star.

The main character is of course, Sweeney Todd, who by all odds is corrupt and cruel. He is given askew traits and stands out from other characters due to his extraordinary hair and signature laugh. His personality can be summarized within a quote in the publication ‘With all my soul’ said Sweeney Todd; ‘it’s very touching-very touching indeed “The heart that can feel for another!” and as he spoke, he emptied the glass, which he pushed toward Fogs to refill.” (Chpt. 25 Mr. Foggs Story at Madhouse)

This statement is being spoken as Todd chats with Mr. Foggs, the money hungry owner of the asylum in which Todd has placed his apprentice Tobias because the child’s knowledge of his corruption threatens his livelihood. The statement is ironic for Todd, as he only thinks of himself and will crush the lives of anyone who comes against his ‘upstanding citizen’ persona, which is obvious by his having placed another apprentice in the same madhouse.  The other distinct characters in the story are Ms. Lovett who has a capitalist nature, Tobias, who is seen as vulnerable, and also Hector, a dog who is given human characteristics by his demeanor and action, and represents loyalty. These characters would have been seen by the British children as possible role-models or traits to imitate within their society.

The last elements of discussion are the main plots and the conflicts that derived from them. The story is pushed forward from the beginning with Sweeney Todd’s desire to sell expensive stolen pearls that he has acquired. This issue takes him from a jewelry shop to a thieves den, and then finally he is able to dispose of them by way of a royal loan shark.

Tobias’s conflict is fueled by his fear of Todd having his mother arrested for an alleged knowledge of her stealing items, and this fear leads him to the asylum and finally he resolves it by breaking free and speaking to a magistrate about Todd’s crimes. Mrs. Lovett and Johanna Oakley’s problems coincide when Johanna’s lost beau takes a job as a ‘cook’ in Mrs. Lovett’s pie shop and discovers that her scrumptious pies are prepared with flesh from the victims of Mr. Todd. This knowledge concludes the story and could have been viewed by the readers as a dark tale of greed and the importance of choosing their life path wisely.

Like to read the story in full http://www.victorianlondon.org/mysteries/sweeney_todd-00.htm enjoy!

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