Fighting Irish (Patriarchy?)

Let me just start by saying this: I hate my ovaries. I hate my uterus. I hate the curse of Eve. I hate the patriarchy. I hate that the vegan pop tarts have no frosting, and I hate that day drinking is considered so gauche–because my uterus says it’d benefit quite a bit from a … Read more…

Do Not Google Image Search “Vermont Horse Play.”

I love fruit. I love cooking and/or drinking. I love strapping men who are well-versed in both. Chef Michael Chernow makes me want to eat meat. I love second chances. So, it stands to reason that a book that has all three, a great story, a leading lady that makes me so happy, and the … Read more…

All That Glitters is Gibbons

When I began blogging, I had gurlpages. Do you remember that? If you’re under 27, I guarantee you do not. It was like Angelfire, but with 100% more glitter gifs.

por ejemplo…

I loved my little blog there. It was super emo. I was a teen girl with severe anxiety, hardcore depression, and a fierce need to fit in…somewhere. I wrote poetry, bitched about transitioning from a fundamentalist Christian school in the most dangerous city in Ohio, to a Mennonite school in Amish Country, Ohio, where I knew no one, and hated every minute.

(Aside: there is no help for the Fundie school. I mean, if Marilyn Manson devotes a significant portion of his autobio to its destruction of his confidence….?? It is probably still absolutely awful. However, I think, had I started at the peace-loving Mennonite school, I could’ve really enjoyed it. There were even gay students!!GASP!!)

Later, I blogged on Typepad and Blogspot, always looking for my little place to write. Then, when I was pregnant with the Peanut, I started Breakfast to Bed. It was a mess. I had no direction. It took me years to become comfortable with focusing on my life/fitness/books all while sharing my food. In the beginning? GAH! I wish the internet would swallow those posts and take them to the internet subspace on the superhighway. Like Tron, or The Matrix or whatever that weird 90’s movie with Keanu-as-automaton was. The posts should go there.

However, along with the time of B2B’s incunabulum, I met some really awesome bloggers. TaraStephanie and I all had babies around the same time. We met on twitter, and quickly became friends. One day, Stephanie says to me “You’ve GOT to read Brittany’s blog–you’ll love her.” So I read it. And I did. I really did.

I ended up following her on Twitter, and GAH! She followed back! That was huge for me.

I started reading her archives, and had her blog bookmarked in my feedburner RSS feed.

She writes about topics that few bloggers dare to discuss. Masturbation, the sometimes tiresome life of a mother, money problems, self-esteem, the “bed death” that most marriages go through at some point. She makes no apologies, and must have a lady carriage made of pure brass, because that broad is BOLD.

Then, three years ago, she gave an amazing TED talk. Things seem to have really snowballed since then. You cannot blink without seeing her mentioned, or someone quoting her, or a link to her byline.

Most recently, she wrote a book. A very good book.

 

I know, I know. OMGSOMANY bloggers have written books at this point. Some are awesome, some aren’t. I feel like, many times, the voice of the blogger is somehow lost in the medium. It no longer feels as if they wrote the book. Fat Girl Walking reads just like a selection of BrittanyHerself.com‘s juiciest and most incredibly intimate posts.

It’s as if Brittany Gibbons opens her soul, and just sprays each and every page with the sparkling residue of herself. She tells stories about her grandmother, her college life, her bankruptcy, her determination to succeed afterward. It’s harrowing and uplifting.

Fat Girl Walking

She puts it all out there. Everything.

She’s never afraid to tell the stories, even those of her sometimes irrational behavior. She accepts this part of her as it is just that–a part of her. It’s not what defines her, but what makes her human. Sometimes we all act like lunatics, because we are all a *little* crazy. Fat Girl Walking is told with such unabashed bravery that it compels the reader to take a step back from their own lives, and question where it is in that life they need to show a little more mettle.

middle finger

Brittany Gibbons is a brilliant writer with an aptitude for storytelling that will no doubt continue to evolve and flourish throughout her career. I have every confidence that Brittany Gibbons’s work will quoted and studied alongside those such as Nora Ephron, Joan Didion, and Patricia Volk.

Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin, Every Inch of It,

Four and a half sparkling soul stars.

So? What recipe could possibly go with such a book? Well, Brittany Gibbons is from my land of Ohio, and as such deserves a popular Ohio “salad.” And I veganized it because I can. It has been verified by non-vegans to taste as good OR BETTER than the original.

I give you…

Vegan Strawberry Pretzel Jello Salad. It’s a salad because we say so.

Vegan Strawberry Pretzel Jello Salad

Midwest is Best. rvw of Fat Girl Walking by @BrittanyHerself and Strawberry Pretzel Jello Salad.… Click To Tweet

Vegan Strawberry Pretzel Jello Salad

 

Vegan Strawberry Pretzel Jello Salad

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes, more if you don

Cook Time: 15 minutes plus 2 hours in fri

Keywords: side appetizer dessert vegan

Ingredients (16 bars)

    for the strawberry jel fililng

    for the whipped cream

    • You can ABSOLUTELY use 1 8oz package vegan cream cheese (tofutti), softened and and whipped with 4-6 oz coconut cream and 1 cup confectioners sugar, whipped together until smooth, however, I used coconut whipped cream.
    • the separated fat of 3 cans of full fat coconut milk
    • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
    • 2.5 ml or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

    for the pretzel bottom

    • 2 cups crushed pretzels
    • 1/4 cup melted coconut butter

    Instructions

    Preheat oven to 400F

    stir together coconut butter and pretzels and press into the bottom of a 9″ or 10″ square pan

    bake 8-10 minutes or until you can smell them toast and they’re a darker brown

    remove from oven and cool completely

    boil together the juice and water and stir in the jel.

    stir in strawberries.

    pour over crust evenly

    let cool in fridge completely

    if you are making the cream cheese topping, whip the ingredients together on high until fluffy and spreadable–may take more coconut milk. ONLY USE A SOY CREAM CHEESE. It doesn’t break like the others.

    If you are making the coconut cream whipped cream follow these instructions

    top the jel with the cream

    chill in the freezer for fifteen minutes

    slice and serve.

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    Slate Beats Grey

    Quick marathon training update!

    I ran all of my miles last week in spite of feeling like the wrong side of a wrecked cab. YAY! I did not, however, make it to Crossfit more than once. I also completed only 45 minutes of yoga. This week will be better! My stride feels good, my motivation is high, and I have nothing precluding me from kicking ass and taking names. Sometimes, lacing up is the hardest part. Sometimes, it’s the complete lack of desire to wake up and put on a bra. The struggle is real.

    Another small point of business before the book review. I GOT A PUPPY!!!! Ok, I adopted a seven month old shih tzu/havanese puppy–but, still–PUPPY!!! Her name is Montana Wildhack, (yes, I re-named her, yes after a character in Slaughterhouse Five. Yes, the porn star) and she’s all that’s lovey-dovey and playful. She’s a bit like a cat in that she prefers to be justthiscloserightontop of me when I’m writing, but we’re working on an agreement.

    IMG_1338Right now, she looks all kinds of silly because I had to trim her face down to nearly the skin because of mats, but it’ll grow back soon enough.

    OK!

    Book Post!

    In the last few days, I needed a “cleanse” from truly shitty novels (pun intended.) I’m working on a project that requires me to read an obscene amount of PNR, Contemporary romance, and historical romance. This is normally GREAT. However, when you’re mostly concerned with an even sampling, that means RANDOM, and random means, “omg wtf did I just read?!”

    Truly, I have read some really terrible books lately.

    Typically, when I need a palate cleanser, I turn to an old standby–Vonnegut, Austen, Alexie, Fitzgerald, or Bronte. I fill my mind with the quirky cadence of Cat’s Cradle, or the loving embrace of Northanger Abbey. The exquisitely-written prose is like a balm on my wounded psyche, providing curative energy that allows me to keep going.

    This time, I went out on a limb with an author that I’d only read once before. However, I LOVED what I did read. So I figured that if I hated it, it still counted as research! (it fits into the parameters, but just barely.) However, I loved it like I love sugar and new socks.

    Radiance by Grace Draven.

    radiance

     

    Yes, the MC is sort of muddy in color. Slate-ish. Unpolished chrome, even. Ok, fuck it, homeboy is gray. Not 50 Shades, though. Because homeboy isn’t a creepy stalker, either.

    The Blurb:

    THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE

    Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over.  A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty.  Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.

    THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE

    Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage.  Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat, but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human.  Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.

    Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.

    Why I loved it:

    So many reasons. Let me try to flesh this out for you. 

    First, holy fuck the language. Grace Draven must be either A: a total word nerd, or B: a medievalist. How do I know this? She used one of my FAVORITE archaic words in Radiance: swive. Which was a PRECURSOR TO FUCK. It predates my favorite word. I adore using it, but I am really limited in my use of the old word, because, essentially, eight people know what it means.

    The world building and sense of “place” in the text are insanely detailed, but not so overly detailed that the reader has no blanks in which to fill with their own imagination. She created an entirely different humanoid race, but it’s not like, say, a klingon, where they’re just…strange. These “kai” are just different enough as to be worrisome, but not different enough as to send you screaming.

    Also, this was not a “let’s get naked and make babies at first sight” type of story. The relationship in this book built organically, and out of the bonds of trust and friendship. The attraction came with knowing the other person inside, as well as the skin they wear.

    radiance

    The action didn’t feel out of left-field like it sometimes does in fantasy. It wasn’t “and they were walking along, and a six-headed dragon lord decided to poop rainbows in their direction.” There was an even, slow build to the action that built the tension gradually, and served to fuel the romance in a manner I’ve not seen previously.

    Radiance by Grace Draven is an epic fantasy romance that will convert even the most deeply-rooted detractors of the genre. The story may be the work of unbridled imagination, but the best traditions of classical storytelling shine through like a candle in the night. Much in the way an Elizabeth Hunter novel spans more than the alterity of the tomes, this book isn’t merely romance or merely fantasy, it elevates each aspect to make the whole something altogether more. 

    If Le Guin decided to start penning romance novels, Radiance would be the novel she’d read to prepare.

    Five Stars.

    The food NOT inspired by the book.

    Why is it not inspired by the book? Because the two dishes most prominently discussed in the book are A: plain potatoes, and B: a venomous and viperine insect that is baked(?) in a pot pie, and fights back. No fucking thank you. Four and Twenty Blackbirds was my previous pie nightmare, now? It’s killer bug pie. 

    SO?

    I made cake.

    Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Mug Cake.

    and it’s good.

    Whole Wheat, no refined sugar, choc chip mug cake and a 5 STAR BOOK REVIEW! #fitfluential #books #cake Click To Tweet

    whole wheat chocolate chip mug cake whole wheat chocolate chip mug cake
    whole wheat chocolate chip mug cake

    whole wheat chocolate chip mug cake (MICROWAVE!)

    by Cat Bowen

    Prep Time: 2 minutes

    Cook Time: 90 seconds

    Keywords: microwave breakfast dessert side snack

    Ingredients (1 serving)

    • 2tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
    • 2 tbsp whole milk
    • 1 tbsp maple syrup
    • 1/2 tbsp butter (1 1/2 tsp)
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
    • pinch baking powder
    • 2 tbsp chocolate chips
    • cooking spray

    Instructions

    spray the inside of a mug with cooking spray

    in another bowl combine all ingredients

    pour into prepared mug

    microwave on high 90 seconds

    eat immediately.

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    *Scrum*tious.

    Ok, I know this is out of order, but today is a book review post, and Friday will be Get Series(ous). Why? I need better pictures of the food made for the post. Which means I’ll have to make it again. le sigh. (snicker)

    Before I get to the meat of the post…RUNNING UPDATE!

    Ok, I just finished (we’re in a blog time machine) my extra-super-long-run. Like, just this side of a marathon, long. It’s actually the longest distance I run pre-mary. 20 miles. It was a bitch, and I struggled. I felt good, and strong, but my headspace was all effed up. It was like one of those times when one is having sex, and enjoying everything, but they can’t help but remember that they missed that one spot while shaving on the back of their thigh, and DON’T TOUCH THERE. (here…I have boobs…you like boobs! DAMMIT, MEN WHO MARRY 6′ TALL WOMEN ARE LEG MEN! SHIT!) That was how my running headspace was going.

    I wanted to just focus on the run and talking to my run partner, but NO. I couldn’t. I kept looking at my Garmin, and could not stop watching my speed. GAH! Here I was, running a score of miles with one of my very best good pals who has run a few sub-3 marathons, and I kept looking at my freaking GPS as though he wasn’t pacing me. He flat out TOLD ME he’d pace me. That we’d set up our splits in 5 sets of 4 miles, and I only had to worry about running.

    I was tripping over my own brain.

    However, with his excellent pacing, I set out (mostly) what I’d wanted to accomplish. Our average was no greater than 8 min/mi, with some miles significantly faster, including 3 sub 7s. Oddly, our fastest miles were the miles I felt best. Let’s face it, the shin-crushing, side-stitching, mucus-running miles are only the best miles when my head is shoveling out darkness. Thankfully, the pain and endorphins are a pretty good plow.

    This.

    book cover is link.

    Now, you scamps know I love me some LH Cosway and Penny Reid. I was over the moon when I received an ARC of this book. I received it with no expectation of a review, and I already pre-ordered it. Therefore, it was like a pretty little gift in my inbox with a pink bow.

    The Blurb:

    THE HERMIT

    Annie Catrel, social media expert extraordinaire at Davidson & Croft Media and clandestine celebrity blogger, can make anyone shine in the court of public opinion. She is the Socialmedialite, anonymous creator of New York’s Finest and the internet’s darling. Virtual reality is Annie’s forte, but actual reality? Not so much.

    THE HOOKER

    Ronan Fitzpatrick, aka the best hooker the world of rugby has seen in decades, despises the media—social or otherwise. The press has spun a web of lies depicting him as rugby’s wild and reckless bad boy. Suspended from his team, Ronan has come to Manhattan to escape the drama, lay low, fly under the radar. Only, Ronan isn’t easy to overlook, and he can’t escape the notice of the Socialmedialite…

    THE PLAN

    When Ronan is sent to Davidson & Croft Media to reshape his public image, he never expects to cross paths with shy but beautiful Annie, nor does he expect his fierce attraction to her. He couldn’t be happier when her boss suggests pairing them together.
    What lengths will Annie take to keep her virtual identity concealed? And what happens when the hooker discovers who the hermit really is?

    This book reminds me a lot of the confections featured throughout its pages, light, sweet, and too quickly gone.

    When the book opens, it is immediately apparent that the tone of it is the quick-witted snarky humor that readers have come to expect from both LH Cosway and Penny Reid. Told in first-person, the story begins fast and that pace is held for the duration of the majority of the text.

    What I loved. 

    The dialogue, both spoken and internal, was by far my favorite part of the book. Here’s a snippet.

    Roses are red, violets are blue. I’m using my hand, but thinking of you. 

    How could I not love that, right? The banter between Annie and Ronan, or Annie writing as Socialmedialite, was spot-on hilarious. LH Cosway didn’t shy away from using UK sayings in her parts of the text to water it down for American audiences, and Penny Reid spouted ‘Merica fearlessly. Ok, I don’t know if she was writing this book while flying an American flag behind her head and drinking Coca Cola while humming “The Star Spangled Banner,” but that’s how I picture it happening.

    Strike that, I picture her humming this:

    I love that the characters were each strong and extremely well-suited to their occupations. In their professional lives, they take no prisoners. They are educated, intelligent, leaders in their field.

    I love that two authors who depend quite a bit of the good word of bloggers did not pull any punches when it comes to the sort of banal trivialities that afflict social media and blogging. Because, let’s face it, the internet provides a great deal of anonymity for people hide behind. This, in turn, allows a great many a person to switch off their “good person” button, and become epic steaming shitpiles of douchebaggery.

    I love that the “mean girl” trope was used, but not in the completely typical manner. Usually, I sort of hate the “mean girl” trope. It’s overdone, and to be honest, even though those women truly exist in real life, I feel like writing about them over and over again just perpetuates it. I’m way too feminist not to say “Hey, why must it always be the girl who is the asscandle?” This book featured an asshole *couple.* For some reason, that made the manipulative bitch pill easier to swallow.

    I 100% realize that hating this specific trope is completely my own feminist hangup.

     

    I loved the HEA. Of COURSE I did. *SPOILER ALERT* I won’t call a book a “romance” if there’s no HEA. It’s a romaybenot, or a bummermance, or you know, fiction.

    The Hooker and the Hermit has plenty of chest–and other area–tingly bits throughout the text. I dare say this book is a bit more “in the sack” than Penny Reid’s other novels, but about on-par from what I’ve read of LH Cosway. (I’ve read four, and I think I’ll binge this weekend.)

    I adored the chemistry between the two MCs. I thought the verbal tug of war was believable without being overly realistic. Because, duh. It’s a fucking romance. No one writes about how that one time your boyfriend once admitted to the fact he touched himself to images of his fourth grade gym teacher.

    *that was a thing that happened.

    I love that there’s enough rugby players on Ronan’s team from which to choose for sequels.

    I love that the entire time I was reading, this is who I had in my head as Ronan:

    Stuart Reardon…a real, live, just-look-at-that, rugby player.

    This is him again…for comparison. Obviously.

    I would not kick him out of my house for wearing boots indoors. I hear they’re good for knocking.

    What I maybe didn’t love as much. 

    I really hate saying anything remotely negative about this book, because I truly believe you should read it. It’s fun, it’s engaging, and sessssy as hay-ell.

    However, just a few, tiny things. GAH! I feel like dreck.

    I thought the first 1/3 of the book was unevenly paced. It goes right into the action, great, hook us! Yes! But the romance felt less-genuine, a teeny bit rushed. The chemistry was there, all the fizzle and spark, but I had trouble connecting the two MCs and the reasons for their deeper attraction.

    I felt as though the MC, Annie’s excuses and behavior in the final quarter of the book were in opposition to her inner dialogue, especially given how she purported to feel about Ronan. But! It does come to a satisfactory conclusion.

    This last bit is again, 100% my own hangup…

    The book was set in NYC. I happen to know a bit about NYC. I feel like the setting was very inconsequential, which saddens me, because NYC in and of itself can add so much to a story.

    Again, that’s my New Yorker’s bias.

    The Hooker and The Hermit 4, ball-kicking stars.

    And guess what???

    This book has a theme near and dear to my heart. If fact, I would argue it’s actually a bit of a motif–symbolism if you will. Annie loves herself some tea and desserts. The first thing we see of Annie, she’s having a bit at Tom’s Southern Kitchen. Then, we see her eating an eclair in the office, Ronan feeds her dessert, and even has one himself later in the book. Here’s the thing, only when she is dealing with inner turmoil does she turn to the sugary support beam. I don’t get the sense she’s eating her feelings as much as I do she’s using it as a substitute for stability. These things are always the same, even when I’m in upheaval. In the end, when she’s settled, there is no mention of cookies or donuts or eclairs or wine–anything. Just she and Ronan.

    The Hooker and the Hermit by LH Cosway and Penny Reid

    Obviously, I had to make eclairs for today’s post. It was that, or treacle tart, and eclairs won.

    I also could not possibly be expected to make typical eclairs. Yes, I use the same Alton Brown pate a choux recipe everyone else does for the shell. Yes, I use the same epicurious recipe for pastry cream everyone else does. I make ganache exactly the same way everyone else does. HOWEVER, I folded peanut butter into the pastry cream. Because I could.

    Peanut Butter Eclairs Peanut Butter Eclairs Peanut Butter Eclairs

    This is a process, not a recipe. Use THIS recipe for the eclairs, and pipe them into logs instead of dots. Same cooking time. Make THIS pastry cream and fold in 1/2 cup of Jif Natural PB. NOT the all-natural whole foods pb. This is not the time for that. Ganache is just 1:1 chocolate to heavy cream. I suggest dark or semi-sweet chocolate. Melt them together in the microwave in 20 second increments, stirring between, and stir until smooth. Cut open the sides of the FRESH eclair and pipe in the peanut butter pastry cream. Dip in ganache. Either eat immediately or freeze immediately.