I have come to terms with the fact that I will probably never have the self-control to be a vegan. I want to be a vegan. I want to enjoy a vegan diet for the health and environmental benefits. I want to be your condescending, morally superior food scold. I have managed to go vegetarian for lengths at a time, but I have enough self-awareness to know that veganism is off the table, at least for now.
It still makes me happy to find super simple ways to turn some of my favorite milky, eggy, buttery foods into a vegan delight. I feel kind of ridiculous blogging this recipe because it is so obvious and easy, but I had no idea until recently that you can totally replace the egg in pancakes with a banana and yield a result that is still edible. I almost always use almond milk and Earth Balance butter or oil when I bake so I didn’t have to change anything there, but all I did was take the pancake recipe I always use and swap the egg for a banana, and boom. Vegan banana pancakes. Maybe I will be your morally superior food scold, after all.
If you’re wondering whether this still tastes like pancakes or if it tastes like a pancake recipe that is mildly acceptable for a vegan who knows they cannot have traditional pancakes, don’t worry. This has not turned pancakes into some weird rubbery space crepe. It’s pancakes.
I am sure you can do this with pretty much any pancake recipe, but here is mine:
+ 1 cup whole wheat flour, plain flour, or whatever you normally use.
+ 1 teaspoon baking powder
+ 1 tablespoon sugar, agave nectar, or whatever you prefer to use as a sweetener. I use sugar, so if you’re using a liquid sweetener you may want to add a touch more flour.
+ 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
+ Pinch of salt
+ 1 ripe banana, mashed
+ ¾ cup almond milk or other non-dairy milk
+ 1 tablespoon Earth Balance butter or other non-dairy butter/oil
+ Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
+ In a separate bowl combine the banana, milk, and vanilla. Add the mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until all the lumps are gone. You know, like when you make pancakes. Add a little more milk if it’s too dry, a little more flour if it’s too runny.
+ Do I really have to explain how to make pancakes? Put the butter in the pan, turn it to medium heat, and once the butter is melted and you see a little smoke bubble, pour a scoop or two of batter in the pan. Flip it when you start to see batter bubbles. Repeat with the rest of the batter.
Serve with fresh fruit and maple syrup. Devour.
Now you’re a breakfast vegan.
Friday: After attempting to get a little work done and miraculously dragging my ass to the gym, Josh and I packed up some clothes and bananas (seriously) and headed 2.5 hours west to Grand Rapids for Gilda’s LaughFest.
Road trip fuel.
We bought tickets to see The Nerdist live on Friday night, which took place in a church so the jokes basically wrote themselves. Not a defunct church, either. A functioning church with auditorium seating and little pockets on the seats with bibles and hymn books. Unfortunately we got there just before the show started so I didn’t get to impress Josh with the amazing hymn-singing skill I still possess as a recovering Catholic.
Check out the scenery behind his noggin. The patron saint of duck face.
Chris, Matt, and Jonah each did a few minutes of standup followed by a live taping of the podcast. They all shared their altar boy experiences and feelings about Grand Rapids, like the public museum that has an entire floor devoted to chairs and how Jonah got out-hipstered when he asked a guy in a record shop about the cassette tapes he was selling, who responded “well, they’re not for everyone”. They also mentioned going to a bar called Stella’s Lounge that had 200 kinds of whiskey and a Ted Nugent pinball machine, which made up for the lack of redeeming qualities in the city. We headed there immediately after the show, of course.
Stella’s also has devil heads on the wall and a menu item called Ted Avocado Nugents. Deep fried avocado. Of course we ordered some. My mouth was the draft, and the avocado pieces tried to dodge it. I wish we had a bar like this place in Detroit, there was so much character and an incredible drink/food selection.
Saturday: Spend the day wandering around downtown Grand Rapids. Walked into the public art museum, fell asleep immediately, left. Josh did get excited that they had the super powerful hand dryers in the bathroom, though. Bonus! Wandered into a coffee shop where a woman had her two-year old twins named Sedona and Sydney crawling all over the floor. I know their names because the Mom would not stop saying them. I debated with myself which city they were likely conceived in. Let’s say both, it’s more fun that way.
We eventually made it over to Founders, one of the most popular breweries in Michigan. Pigged out on some beer cheese dip, honey wheat beer, and walter’s melon beer (tastes like a watermelon jolly rancher, SO GOOD). Basically we were trying to blow ourselves up, and it was amazing. Don’t even ask about the car ride home.
Saw another comedy show Saturday evening, an all-star showdown with 5 comedians competing for $10,000. The audience voted on their favorite at the end. We both voted for Mike E. Winfield, who ended up winning the whole competition. Democracy! Here’s a clip of him from several years ago:
How was your weekend?
It seems like every photo I’ve ever taken that ends up in my category of “absolute favorites” is a photo that was taken on a total whim with no expectations whatsoever. I snapped this one on Easter Sunday in 2011 while hanging out on Venice Beach with my Mom. She came out to visit me while I was working there and let me tell you, there is no better way to celebrate zombies than by walking around Venice Beach eating funnel cakes and telling hippies no, you cannot contribute to their hunt for Easter weed. At least not while my Mom is around, guys. We just came from church. Wait, are you Jesus or his twin? Sorry for your loss, bro.
I am dying for a nice warm beach getaway – wow, that’s a totally original thought for someone in the Midwest in March, isn’t it – but that’s not exactly in the cards right now. Instead, Josh and I will be heading out to Grand Rapids later today for a comedy festival, where we will see the Nerdist podcast live and see how many people we can scare by telling them we came from Detroit. I’m pretty excited and hope I get to pinch Chris Hardwick’s cheeks. All of them.
How jacked is it that I have lived in Michigan my whole life and never been to Grand Rapids, or for that matter, about 70% of this state? I’ve driven through a good portion of it to go to Mackinac Island and the UP and other destinations, but I am really bad about thinking “hey, maybe I can get to know my beautiful state a little better this year. Maybe I don’t have to go to the west coast for vacation.”
Just kidding. Yes I do.
What are you up to this weekend?
+ This week has been pretty fun and busy. Thursday night we went to Cliff Bell’s for the Moth Story Slam, which I had never been to before. The theme was money and a few minutes before the show was supposed to start, the host said there weren’t enough names in the hat to go on so we needed to start digging through our brains to think of a story to tell. It is something I would like to do eventually so I was trying to think of a story related to money other than “I don’t have any and I am really bad at handling it,” but I was coming up totally blank. Finally there were enough names in the hat and the show got started. Once a girl started telling a story about a guy who offered her $1,000 to take a dump on his chest, it hit me like lightning – a story, that is. Nothin’ like a poop story to get your creative juices flowing. My friends kept telling me it wasn’t too late to put my name in there, and I highly considered it because it is a story I have told a million times – and involves money AND my dog’s butt – but I couldn’t get up the courage to do it. I don’t even know if they would have let me since the show already started. Either way, I kind of regret not trying because it’s a story I am really good at telling. Maybe I will blog the story, even though some of you have probably heard it since I know I have written about it on previous blogs.
+ Today we are going to the St. Patrick’s Day parade downtown. For some reason I have never been to it, even though I love St. Patty’s and live 5 minutes from Corktown. Good thing I have my to look the part. It’s a toss-up between that and my green ‘Merica shirt. Josh has a matching one so maybe we will do that and see how long it takes us to get beat up.
+ Oh! I almost forgot. I’ve decided to give away free ad space for the time being. You can get them here and use the code GINGERMANDY for a 100% discount.
Here are some links from the past few weeks.
+ The four tattoos you need to stop getting right now. I love this whole blog.
+ How to get great product photography with your smart phone and PicMonkey. One of my biggest turns offs on Etsy is shops with horrific product photos. There is no excuse! If you take pride on your product, you don’t need expensive equipment to get nice photos.
+ Have you ever had a missed connection in your own home?
+ Palate cleanser – a chart on the various varieties of vegetables.
+ Modern celebrities in famous paintings. Love this.
+ Gender is a spectrum beyond pink and blue. Stop obsessing over colors, parents-to-be on Facebook! Your baby isn’t going to give a shit if his room is “too feminine.”
Hi. You have my skirt. I have talked to phone representatives from your warehouse four times in the last week. Each time, they are telling me you have arrived at my building and left because you could not get through the gate. The gate that has been open for months because my building is run by the mafia and they do not believe in fixing things unless it is at risk of causing a flood, fire, or murder.
Despite the fact that the gate is always open, I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt, you lying little liar. Here are a few things you can do if the gate is closed (it’s not closed):
1. Wait for someone who lives in the building to go in or out of the gate. This happens in 5 or less minute increments. They will open the gate with their clicker in order to go in or out. Once they open the gate and go in or out of it, you will be able to go in or out of it before it decides to close again. The best part is that once you are in the gate, you will not have to wait for someone else to go in or out of the gate in order to leave. You will not be trapped in the gated parking lot once you are inside of the gate. You will not need to bring snacks or water in case nobody decides to leave or arrive. Even if this were to happen, I’d let you break into my car and eat the Gardetto’s in my glove box from 2007. But none of that is going to happen because all you will have to do is pull up sort of close to the gate and it will automatically open for you. Kind of like how it is open now. Always open.
2. You could call me and tell me you are here with my package and would like me to let you inside the gate that is allegedly not open. I offered this solution to your phone representative during each of our four phone conversations, but they say the problem is that drivers are not equipped with company cell phones. Drivers, the people who work from the road, do not have company cell phones. I would gladly come down from my ivory tower and let you through the gate. I would even wait outside 30 minutes if your warehouse called me to let me know you are on your way to my allegedly closed gate. This is how far I am willing to go to make your job easier. Just short of getting in my car and driving 30 miles to pick up my package from your warehouse. I’d do that, but I don’t want to get in my car. It smells like old Gardetto’s.
3. You could park your truck in the small lot right in front of the allegedly closed gate and WALK YOUR BODY (and my package, preferably) THROUGH THE DOOR. That’s right. There is a door attached to the gate that any guest under 800 pounds can walk right through if the gate is closed. You can then walk to the front door, which is right next to the office. That’s where you can leave my package.
Choose wisely. I hope you haven’t tried on my skirt.
I feel like “gym pet peeves” is the type of article that has been in every women’s magazine and on every fitness website, and that writing this is pointless because everything has probably already been said somewhere. But then again, isn’t that how everything is on the internet?
First of all, I will say that I love my gym. Some of my favorite things include the chill, positive atmosphere in the weight room, the realization that you can never tell somebody’s strength and athletic levels just by looking at them (it’s crazy to see what some tiny ass people can do!), and the giant firefighter guy who GALLOPS on the treadmill faster than I can run and leg presses more than 1,000 pounds. I think he is a science project.
Now that I got my nice gym notes out of the way, here are the things that grind my gears the most.
1) People who don’t wipe down machines. Listen. I am a person with very uncivilized hygiene standards. Unless I am cooking something or sick, I rarely wash my hands. I really only wash my hands in public when I am with friends or the towel hostess lady is there because I’m probably going to come in the bathroom repeatedly and I am apparently really concerned about what this woman thinks.
HOWEVER, it is downright gnarly to use a machine at the gym and not wipe it down when you are done. I don’t know who you are or what you are sweating out. I do not want to sit in sweat made of the leftover dumplings you ate, or worse, MRSA. And because I am generous, I don’t want you to sit in my MRSA either! I have become the person that wipes down a machine before AND after I use it, which means I probably spend less time working out and more time playing Mary Poppins around the weight room.
2) People who wear perfume. I know westerners have a ridiculous obsession with smelling like cotton candy, vanilla beans, hearts and daggers, or whatever inanimate object your perfume smells like, but here is the problem with that – your rancid armpits will not make me sneeze like your Love’s Baby Soft will. There is nothing worse than getting into a groove on the treadmill only to have someone get on the machine next to you who is loaded with butterfly kisses or Axe body spray. A lot of people have allergic reactions to strong artificial smells and if it’s bad enough, can cause migraines. I know this is hard to believe, but if you take showers and use soap and water on your body, your BO is far less likely to affect someone as much as your perfume. Also, it’s good to stink a little at the gym.
3) Locker room modesty. When I started going to the gym I realized it was the first time since high school that I would be using a locker room. I didn’t realize how awkward it can get in there, mostly because anyone under the age of 65 who takes a shower will go to extreme lengths to make sure all their sex parts are covered with the tiny towel while walking over there. This made me all paranoid about letting it all hang out at first, especially since there are sometimes kids in there and like, is it cool to be naked around kids? I was trying to be civilized by weaseling my underwear up my legs while holding a towel over myself, but then I thought, you know what? IT IS A LOCKER ROOM. WHERE PEOPLE CHANGE AND SHOWER. I don’t care who sees what, and I don’t care if they care that they are seeing it.
I understand that this is another western thing, or maybe just a midwest thing. I also understand that a lot of people have body issues and want to stay covered, but I am willing to bet that body image issues are less prominent in countries where there nudity is less of a big deal. I just… I don’t care if I see your labia. I don’t want to see your labia, and I don’t want to watch you change, but I don’t care if it’s there. Just put a towel down before you sit on anything and we’re cool.
Do you have any gym pet peeves? What am I missing here?
The best part of being an adult is that you get to do whatever the hell you want. The interesting part about that is that as adults, we rarely do the things we thought we were going to do all the time back when we were kids. Like snorting a pile of blow off every surface in your Grandparent’s home or staying up really really late to watch bad TV and eat Pop Tarts. I know it’s crazy and hard to believe, but I don’t do either of those things as an adult.
As an adult, it feels really good to go to bed around 11pm and wake up around 7am. It grosses me out to even say that, because even when I was 19 or 20 I kept thinking about how I couldn’t wait to get my shit together and figure out how to work for myself because there was nothing more dreadful than waking up at the crack of dawn for school or work. Give me the crack of noon, please.
I like the early morning hours because it feels like “off the grid” time for me. If I wake up at 10 or 11, the Internet and outside world is already functioning and getting things done and I feel like I have to get to work right away. If I wake up at 7am, there is much more enjoyment to be had in sprawling across the couch for coffee and blog reading and Weeds watching before making my way to the coffee shop and/or my inbox. I wake up and complete tasks at a more reasonable pace, and I can’t even explain how good it feels to be getting out of bed because my body says it’s time, not because I overslept and am now tired all over again but have to get things done even though now I’m going to be a crabby mess all day.
It probably helps that I like what I do, so that might be an unfair advantage. Most days, I wake up and want to get to work right away because I am excited to finish some copy and send it to my client or get started on a blog about something I thought of while showering at the gym the night before. It’s a much different feeling than waking up at 7:30am to go to work in a horribly outdated ad agency, which made me feel like I spent the previous night beating my head with a bunch of hammers… or snorting blow off my Grandparent’s coffee table. It’s hard to tell.
Moral of the story: I spend a lot of time thinking about how I really need to get my shit together, but small victories like waking up early and using it to become more productive make me feel like I am doing alright.
My brain has been bankrupt as far as blogging goes this week. I’ve been waking up at 7am with a need for coffee and lots of motivation to get to work, which is good I think. I am working on a copywriting project for a really amazing charity organization (and I hope to share more about them once everything is up and running) and 90% of my brain space has been devoted to that.
Anyway, “You’ve Got Maelstrom” by Blockhead came on Pandora this morning while I was deep in a work-induced fog. It’s the first time I’ve heard it and it gave me the urge to snap out of it, get up, and hoop away my achy shoulders and legs for a minute. I love when that happens.
That’s all I got.
Oh, yesterday I also wrote about the Yahoo CEO’s decision to ban telecommuting over at The9Billion. I’m sure most of you already know what I think about it, aside from my fascination that Yahoo still exists. I actually had to Google it to figure out what it was (kidding).
Saw my sister last weekend for the first time since Christmas, it was her 20th birthday and we met up with her and my family at Hard Rock Cafe downtown. Her boyfriend had never been there (and Josh and I hadn’t either because it’s Hard Rock Cafe) so she wanted him to see what it was like. It was actually pretty good and the TVs were playing 90s music videos so it was like watching MTV before school when I was 13. I can never be disappointed when I hear Chumbawumba or Nine Inch Nails.
Also, I feel like I look really old (and responsible/put together, as if I make good life decisions) and my sister looks really young in that picture. It’s funny because ever since she became a teenager people have been saying they thought she was the older one. I was 21 and she was 15 and distant relatives at a baby shower were asking me what I was going to do after high school and what she was doing once she finished college.
Anyway, on to some reads for your weekend.
+ First, I would like to give a quick mention to my sponsor glasses.com. If you’re hesitant about buying glasses online, they offer an awesome service that allows you to choose your 5 favorite pairs and have them shipped to your home for free so you can see what you like the best. I usually wing it when I order glasses online, but this is something I would consider trying out. I particularly like that there is a line of “ECO” brand frames made with recycled materials.
+ A group of creatives took their favorite bad feedback from clients and turned them into posters. These are hilarious.
+ Five kitchen skills that will make your life easier. Obvious, but definitely useful. I’d say 80% of the meals made in my home involve garlic and onion.
+ Pretty much.
+ Free, legally binding electronic signatures. Could be helpful for freelancers who have lots of contracts out there.
+ Is it REALLY hard for you to muster up the effort to work out? It might not be pure laziness. This makes a lot of sense to me.
+ I wear yoga pants because I am a lazy fuck who works at home and hates anything that isn’t cotton or spandex, not because I think it turns dudes on.
+ 40 of the most powerful pictures ever taken. This will make you feel a lot of feels.
+ Bill Nye’s house! This is some cute shit right here.
+ The 6 different types of procrastinators. I am definitely the “dreamer.”
The first time I tried bikram yoga was about two years ago at a little studio in California. I hated everything about it. Like, literally everything. I hated the heat, I hated the stupid towel on my mat, I hated the instructor’s voice and the dragon tattoo taking up half of her body, I hated the girl front and center with really big boobs who could lift her body straight up in half locust pose, I hated my hair, I hated that I had to pee, I hated my face. I felt like I got absolutely nothing positive out of the 90 minute class, and told everyone bikram yoga was useless and the room felt like satan’s asshole.
You can imagine my response when my friend invited me to go to a bikram class with her a few weeks ago. My first thought was a resounding “HEEEEEEEEALLLLLLL NO,” followed by “I have shin splints from running!” and “I’m a redhead, I can’t take the heat!” and “I need to wash my hair!”
Then I had a change of heart and thought it might be time to give it another chance.
So I did, and I didn’t hate it. It might have been because there was a first-timer in the class who hated it so much he actually uttered “fuuuuck this” after the third time we had to turn around and lie down during the seated poses, which made me think “hey, you’re not audibly swearing, so you’re doin’ alright. Go you.”
I went to my second class yesterday.
Side story, before I talk about the second class:
After my first class I decided I needed to find a better water bottle to bring with me if I decided to go again. All mine have a screw top lid and really small opening, so I have been looking to buy something with a bite valve and wide lid so I could pack it with ice cubes. Since Detroit doesn’t have any fitness type of stores right in the city, I figured I could find something at either a drugstore or dollar store. I checked Rite Aid, CVS, Walgreens, and Dollar Tree. Nothing. They all had the aluminum bottles with a tiny lid, which I already have, but nothing that actually fits an ice cube.
So this is what happened at Rite Aid, my last stop:
Me: “Do you sell reusable water bottles?”
Store attendant: “Huh? Like the kind you put alcohol in?”
Me: “Or like the kind you put water in.”
And this is why Detroit is in the crapper.
OK, back to bikram.
I went again last night with my friend. Josh even decided to tag along and try it out. I think he liked it?
The beginning of the class I was doing my usual thing, where I mentally try to determine how much time is left and think about how I can half ass the next pose to prevent from literally passing out. Then when I checked my pose in the mirror and got a look at my sweaty sports bra, dripping wet bun, yoga shorts creeping up to the heavens with a whole muffin shop hanging out of every fold, I realized that this class is literally the grossest and probably most vulnerable I allow myself to become in public, and yet it makes me feel stronger, more powerful, and more in-tune with every inch of my body than just about anything else I have ever done. I’m a ridiculously lazy person and this class forces my body into a whole new zone of discomfort.
I started to notice my breaths becoming deeper, using more and more of my lungs that probably haven’t felt a good sip of air in god knows how long. I started to notice the benefits of my workouts at the gym – stronger arms, better posture, much more endurance, allowing me to hold poses for a second or two longer and sink a little deeper into each one. Noticing these small changes really drove home a point I keep trying to tell myself – working toward new fitness goals might never become easier, but I will get better. That’s good enough for me, even if it involves inhaling an inferno while dying in camel pose to realize it.