Happy Thanksgiving!

This year has absolutely flown by! Today is Thanksgiving and I have so many things to be thankful for this year.

Firstly, I’m thankful for all the people in my life who helped lift me up, believed in me and in turned helped me believe in myself, and pushed me to be the best version of myself.

I’m especially thankful for all the new people who’ve entered my life and shaped it in ways I didn’t know were possible. I’ve had incredible experiences with and because of you all and I am truly blessed to have the privilege of having you in my life.

I’m particularly thankful for my new work position. The sheer love, support, fun, and creativity I’ve been allowed to experience here is more than I could’ve hoped for. Knock on wood, but I’m happy to get up for work every morning and happy to bring my cheery ass in and spread positivity. It’s amazing what a supportive environment can do for your mental health.

That said, myself and Bullseye are wishing each and every one of you a wonderful Thanksgiving day!

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A Cozy Gnocchi Soup for Rainy Days

Hey fam.

It’s a windy, rainy day today and I have the weekend off, so I was feeling the cooking fire under my butt this morning and I made brunch (bacon, eggs, and cheese bites) and lunch/dinner – a gnocchi soup that’s so good, my friend Betsy has even made it. And the only reason I mention that is because we’re both stubborn people at times and it’s difficult to convince each other to do simple things like HEY WATCH THIS MOVIE. But HEY, she tried this soup and has added it to her cooking lineup, so that’s awesome, right?

Anyway, the original recipe is a vegan version – that I’ve made until Christmas and Easter lent. However, today I made it with reduced fat milk and it turned out just as well.

Here’s the link to the original recipe. And here’s the recipe breakdown if you don’t wanna move your eyes from the gorgeous photos I took of my soup.

Ingredients

2 tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic diced
1/2 yellow onion diced
4-5 stalks celery diced
5 whole carrots diced
3 tbsp. cornstarch
4 tsp. Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base
4 cups + 3 tbsp. water separated
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 package gnocchi
pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, celery and carrots and sauté until veggies are softened (approx. 10 minutes).
  2. Dissolve cornstarch in 3 tbsp. water in a small bowl.
  3. Dissolve bouillon in 4 cups water to create “chicken” broth.
  4. Add cornstarch mixture, “chicken” broth and almond milk to veggies. Bring to a boil.
  5. Add gnocchi and spices and simmer on low for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Taste to adjust seasonings and serve with fresh parsley.

Chrysanthemums ’17

It’s officially a month since my last update and shamefully, I did not deliver on my promises of having queued up posts. Truthfully, I was so busy and mentally occupied in the time leading up to the cruise, I just didn’t get around to it. But excuses, excuses, we’re not here to talk about that, so let’s cut to it.

I have a few chrysanthemum photos I want to share from late spring this year.

I tried some different editing styles in Photoshop with these to bring out a more vintage, cooler toned look. I need to mess around with this style, cause I definitely feel like I can enhance them even more, it’s just about finding that balance.

Hope you guys enjoy.

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June Update

Babes, we’ve entered the Summer season and the season of Cancer (happy birthday to all my fellow Cancerians!!) and I haven’t posted in a hot minute.

But let me tell you all that although I sometimes suck at keeping a steady posting schedule, I do have content to share with you. I just updated Vivologie, but wanted to do the followers on this blog the same courtesy and let you all know that I’m heading out on vacation for my birthday in the next couple weeks, but I’m planning on having posts queued up for your enjoyment.

I’m about to spend some time editing selfies because I feel like I haven’t done anything with photography in a while and I wanna flex my skills.

I have plenty of photography to share, however, from the past few months. So stay tuned and hope you all enjoy the beautiful June weather!

Cheers,
Viviana

Moroccan Veggie Stew with Turmeric Basmati Rice

It’s Lent season at my house which means vegetarian food all day errday.

We don’t celebrate Lent for religious purposes in my house, but we do celebrate it for dietary purposes. My mom seems to strugglebus when it comes to cooking vegetarian sometimes, but I cook vegetarian like 85% of the time that I decide to make actual meals (not desserts), so of course it’s pretty easy for me to find exciting recipes to try out.

And of COURSE I got my ass on Foodgawker last night and this morning. Actual morning today because I got up at a semi-reasonable time. I was that excited about making rice.

I knew I wanted to make the rice before I knew what the “main dish” would be. But I found the perfect match  – I wanted to do something with chickpeas again, but a little different from straight up Channa Masala.

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So I found this great recipe for Moroccan Veggie Stew.  I didn’t have saffron because that shit is expensive. And if I had known that pitted dates tasted so good in this recipe, I would’ve added WAY more than the 4 it calls for. My tweaked recipe can be found below, and you can follow the link to see the original.

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Moroccan Veggie Stew

Ingredients

1 onion
3 carrots peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 baking or russet potatoes peeled and chopped
4 medjool dates, pitted and chopped (I recommend putting a fistful in there)
1 16 ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup (or can) of tomato sauce
2 cups of water
1 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1 pinch of ground cumin
1-2 pinches of ground coriander
1 teaspoons of smoked paprika
A pinch of saffron (optional)
Olive oil/Grapeseed for cooking
Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375
  2. Meanwhile, in a sauce pan (or dutch oven), saute the onions, carrots and celery on medium heat with some olive or grapeseed oil and a pinch of salt. Saute the vegetables until they start to soften – about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add the potatoes, chickpeas, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, and saffron. Stir the ingredients and spices around for about a minute, being careful not to burn the spices.
  4. Add the tomato sauce with two cups of water. Stir in the garlic and the dates. Adjust the salt, cover the pot and bring to a simmer.
  5. Simmer the stew on the stovetop for about 10 minutes.
  6. Transfer to the stew to the preheated oven and cook for 30 minutes. I also transferred mine to a Pyrex bowl before I popped it in the oven. If you’re using a dutch oven with no plastic on it, you can leave it in your dutch oven pan.

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As for the turmeric Basmati rice, I followed this Jamie Oliver video for how to make perfect fluffy rice because I literally always fuck up rice when I cook it. But LO AND BEHOLD, following this video actually worked for me. And the rice turned out great. I did have to add extra salt after it was done because my “pinch” wasn’t enough when I seasoned it at the beginning.

Turmeric Basmati Rice

Ingredients

1 cup Basmati rice
2 cups water
3 pods of cardamom
10 pieces of whole cloves
1/2 stick of cinnamon
1 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste

Directions

  1. Rinse rice in cold water to get rid of starch and imperfections.
  2. In a heated sauce pan, combine your rice, water, spices and salt.
  3. Cover and bring to a simmer-boil for 8-10 minutes (or until water is evaporated). Do NOT remove cover, but make sure the water doesn’t bubble over.
  4. Once all the water is evaporated, remove cover and remove cardamom pods and stick of cinnamon. Stir gently and serve.

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Astro Photography

I’ve recently been turning my eyes to the skies and spending time in the r/astrophotography subreddit on Reddit. I’ve been trying to figure out exactly how I can best use my DSLR to capture photos of deep space, but I’m pretty positive I don’t have all of the right equipment as of yet. And since I’m a visual learner, reading about how to set everything up leads me to more confusion, so I’ve been trying to find videos that help me and this one that I watched last night was pretty informative for a quick set up.

We had a gorgeously clear sky last night, perfect for stargazing. I played around with my Meade telescope for a good hour and a half and 3 hours later went back out with my DSLR to try my hand at photographing the sky. I think I got some pretty good shots for my first try.

I also attempted to take a SUPER long exposure shot that took more than 20 minutes to capture, but I got impatient and shut the camera off at that point. Here’s a few shots I edited in Photoshop to enhance the stars. I captured The Pleaides M45, Orion (and when zoomed in, you can even kind see the Orion Nebula M42), and The Big Dipper.

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The Big Dipper

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The Big Dipper

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Orion and The Pleiades (M45)

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Half of Orion and The Pleiades (M45)