Monday, April 27, 2015

Recipe: Vegan Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burgers

When I tell people that I'm a vegetarian, most of them ask me if I made the switch for health reasons. Honestly, I don't always make the best dietary decisions. I eat a lot of pasta, sugars, and "meat substitutes" that are often filled with more bad than good. That's why recently I've been making more of an effort to get protein from REAL food. And, that's also why these black bean and sweet potato burgers couldn't be more perfect. 
1 and 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes (two or three depending on the size)
1/3 cup cooked brown rice (I used instant rice, and left it slightly under cooked)
 1 cup of oats (I used quick-cooking)
1 15 ounce can of black beans rinsed and drained
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons of cumin
1 teaspoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon of smoked or regular paprika
1/2 teaspoon of salt
olive oil

Slice your sweet potatoes in half, lay them cut-side down on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and roast in a 400 degree oven until tender. While those bake, grind the oats in a food processor. You don't want a powdery texture, so just pulse them until they're fine. Once the potatoes have cooked and cooled, scoop the insides out of the skins and into a mixing bowl. Add all of the other ingredients, and combine them together. I found it easiest to use my hands, but an electric mixer or wooden spoon would also do the trick. Form patties from the mixture and place them on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Place the patties in the refrigerator for 1520 minutes before cooking. You could also place them in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to save time! The cooling process is important, as it keeps the burgers from falling apart while cooking since there are no eggs to act as a binder. Once the patties have cooled in the fridge or freezer you can cook them in a pan with olive oil over medium heat until they are golden brown to just-slightly-charred, and warmed all the way through. Voila!
I added cheese to some of the patties, and a mountain of toppings. I also served my burgers with zucchini fries (that I need to perfect before sharing the recipe) and an ice cold wheat ale. These burgers were so filling and flavorful, and made an even better "round two meal" on a big chopped salad. I can imagine these would also be wonderful in a wrap, or ground up for tacos. I'm thinking about just making them in bulk to freeze, and have on hand for an easy dose of protein. Hooray for good, healthy food!

P.S.- If any fellow vegetarians would be interested in swapping recipes or giving me some tips on how to achieve a more balanced, wholesome meat-free diet, please feel free to comment below! I feel that after seven years of vegetarianism, it's about time to do it right. Thanks! 

(Recipe adapted from this.)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Outfit: I'll Just Hope For Rain

     I didn't think I could love this apartment of mine any more than I already do, but Spring has proven it possible. There are trees sprouting blossoms, and tulips peeking from the dirt. The red brick looks so gritty and beautiful in the dampened haze of April. Yes, this season really is bringing a renewal to my spirit. It's planted a fresh feeling of  lightness that I can see just simply passing nodding strangers whose heads have been looking down at slush-covered pavement all Winter long. The sun is on it's way, and that's enough for now. 
     My style has been as ever-changing as the Ohio forecast. I went on a huge closet binge, and have been trying to build back a wardrobe full of versatile, high-quality items. This skirt is probably one of my favorite pieces so far. I love it's structure, and the pale, peachy tone goes with just about everything. I've really been loving more feminine silhouettes and prints. AND COLLARS. I recently explained to a friend that I visited Forever 21 shortly after watching every season of Portlandia, and, was so inspired by the brilliant Carrie Brownstein, that I nearly bought out their stock of peter pan-collared tops. Oops. Along with my collar obsession, my umbrella has become my most coveted accessory; as it's been raining non-stop for a week plus. April showers, blah, blah, blah. It's actually been really lovely, though. I am a puddle-splasher at heart. The rain is also a great excuse to buy and sport an army-green trench coat, too. Just saying!
With love,

Outfit Details:
Hat- H&M
Top- Forever 21
Skirt- Express (found at Gabriel Brothers!)
Boots- Steve Madden (also a Gabe's score)
Purse and umbrella- T.J. Maxx
Jean jacket- Thrifted

P.S,- I'll be adding new items to my Instagram shop this week; Free People dresses and other goodies! Be on the lookout @shopragsandroses 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Natural Skincare for Acne-Prone Skin

I have struggled with stubborn acne since I was fifteen. We're talking deep, painful, under-the-skin cysts with inflammation and lots of little pimples to match. A couple years ago, I found a routine that actually worked and improved the severity of my acne, but it certainly wasn't doing the rest of my face any favors. I tried to find natural remedies/cleansers that had the same effect, while also promoting healthy skin, but unfortunately couldn't find anything that did the trick. I was finally so fed up and desperate for some relief that when an opportunity arose to try out a certain celebrity-endorsed three-step system, I jumped at the chance. This system was a "new and improved" formula that promised healthy, glowing skin along with tough acne-fighting powers. Seems too good to be true, huh? Well, indeed, it was. My skin had a very negative reaction to the popular line; it gave me an entirely new kind of acne, most likely sprouting up because of how dry my face was becoming. Yes, the road to good skin is paved with lots of trial and error. Luckily for me, I seem to finally be on my way to perfecting my daily routine with products that are not only a great defense for acne, but are also natural and good for the areas of your face that are not affected by breakouts.
These two cleansers have been life-savers for me. I discovered Lush by seeing countless pictures of bath bombs on my Instagram feed. Little did I know that they offer tons of cleansers, toners, and masks; all of which are handmade and natural. The "Herbalism" cleanser has been such a great addition to my skincare routine. It does take a while to get used to, as it does not lather like traditional cleaners. It's more like a paste, and until I learned how to get the perfect texture with it, it really didn't do much for me. But, now that I've got it down, I've noticed a huge difference in my acne and skin tone. It has an exfoliating effect, too, which is great for all skin types to really get a deep clean. This Organic Surge Cleanser is something I discovered a few years ago while working at TJ Maxx. I remember one customer in particular who would buy out our entire stock when we'd get the products in. I never paid much attention to the brand until I had my mishap with the high-end cleansing system I was using. While you can't always find it at TJ Maxx, due the nature of their inventory, I do seem to get lucky most times. But, it's also available online for a price you really can't beat; even after the shipping cost from the U.K. It is made up of essential oils that balance the skin's PH, and aid in fighting blemishes. It has a really refreshing scent to it, too!
These brands should look familiar. What can I say? Stick to what you know. When I dove into the wonderful world of Lush Cosmetics, I couldn't ignore the rave reviews on this mask. It has a rich texture that feels so good going onto the skin. You can really feel this mask working, with it's cooling effect. It's super refreshing, and always makes my skin feel so soft after I rinse it off. I use it about once or twice a week, depending on if I'm having breakouts or not. This moisturizer is another one by Organic Surge, and I can't rave about it enough. Like the cleanser, it also has essential oils that promote healthy skin. It is really creamy and thick, but never pore-clogging or heavy. I like to use it at night before I go to bed.
As for the other products I use, they are items you can find at most super markets/natural food stores. I use the coconut oil to remove my make-up. It takes literally everything off, even stubborn mascara. I like to dilute the apple cider vinegar with water to use as a toner after cleansing. It helps take off any stubborn dirt or grime that your cleanser may have missed, while balancing the acid in your skin and evening tone. I just recently started using tea tree oil as a spot treatment, and I have had excellent results. Make sure you dilute it! I found this out the hard way when I put the harsh-smelling oil straight onto my face. It left me pretty red. But, once you add some water to it, it really does the trick. I usually put it on at night, right before I moisturize. 
So, that's what's currently in my bag of tricks. I'm so relieved to finally be on the right track to finding products with little to no chemicals or harsh ingredients in them. I'm very interested in learning more about essential oils and how I can add other ones to my routine, as I've had excellent results with them so far. Another thing I've done to benefit my skin is cutting out milk from my diet. I made the switch to almond milk, and have noticed serious improvements now that my body is not ingesting all of those hormones. I'm hoping to weed out dairy all together eventually. But, I'm sucker for cheese and ice cream. Woops. What are some of your favorite natural skincare products?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Shop Rags and Roses!

I'm so excited to announce that Rags and Roses now has an Instagram shop, @shopragsandroses ! It features vintage and gently worn fashions of quality for unbeatable prices. Simply comment on items you're interested in with a valid PayPal email, and the rest is history. Shipping is free on all U.S. orders. Sales are final due to the nature of the merchandise. Feel free to contact me through email for any other questions: Go get your shop on!

Popular Posts