Author Archives: Crypto Mom

About

I’m Victoria. I’m a writer living in Brooklyn with a penchant for fashion, natural living, and exploring. I’m a recent college grad trying to learn the ropes of balancing life as a young professional in this amazing city. I’m lucky enough to have travelled and experienced a lot already, but I’m never really satiated.

This space is a collection of a little bit of everything.

For any questions, comments, or freelance and promotional ideas, please contact me at Victoria[at]pursuitofhippieness[dot]com.

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natural beauty // going shampoo free

When I began to hear the buzz about going shampoo-free, I knew it was something that was totally up my alley. Going completely au naturel when it comes to beauty has been a goal of mine for some time now. I am so passionate about nature and what the earth has to offer, and I’ve gotten to the point where I feel like my vegan, plant-based diet is just the beginning–it has inspired me to work further towards incorporating these philosophies in all aspects of my life. Plus, more opportunities to DIY? Please.

There are different recipes out there, but the typical no-poo regimen consists of a baking soda scrub (the “shampoo”) and an apple cider vinegar rinse (the “conditioner”). The baking soda cleanses and lifts grease (and stank) from roots, and the vinegar clarifies strands and adds shine.

There were some daunting aspects to the process. For one, I read many a horror story of this monthlong period of nonstop grease, before going poo-free begins to “work.” I’ve never had the kind of hair prone to greasy roots (I generally only need to shampoo 2-3 times a week), but the prospect of hot summer days and not shampooing didn’t seem like the most ideal of situations. Also, one of my friends (Sara!) had begun to give it a try, but stopped for reasons along these lines (with the addition of hot yoga). And that vinegar rinse? I had no desire, as Sara so perfectly put it, to “smell like salad dressing.”

But I wasn’t ready to give up the idea, so I decided that there had to be some kind of transitional way to go, rather than just giving shampoo up cold turkey. After some research, the most feasible course of action seemed to be cutting down the ingredient list of my current regimen drastically. I had been using a great line of shampoos and conditioners, Organix, which I chose for its simplicity, affordability, and because it smells freaking awesome. But my next step was to choose something even more basic, and I went for a little homemade concoction made of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap (I love the almond scent), a couple tablespoons of coconut oil, and a few drops of jasmine essential oil as my new shampoo, and went straight for that vinegar rinse in place of conditioner.

It worked!

It wasn’t without occasional pitfalls–on one particularly memorable occasion, my mom noted that my hair smelled “earthy”–but I met these with little adjustments (and sometimes, quick Google searches) to remedy whatever the situation was. 

But that obviously wasn’t the end. Last month, I decided to go for the moment of truth, and switch exclusively to baking soda. I had one very iffy week, but it was nothing that a topknot couldn’t hide. And compared to the 4-6 week-long nightmares I kept hearing about? I’ll call it a complete success.

Which brings me to now! I am now a month into the new regime, and there are no signs of turning back. I love how healthy my hair looks and feels, I love that my puffy frizz is so much less of an issue than it has been my entire life, and while I haven’t calculated it, I imagine that I’m saving a crapload of money to boot. Take a peek at my regime–and I hope that I have at least a couple of no-poo converts in the making.

Baking Soda “Shampoo”

– baking soda

– water

– essential oils: I use tea tree oil (it does wonders for an itchy scalp and is basically the ultimate skin remedy) and jasmine (smells amazing)

To make: Fill an empty bottles about 3/4 full of baking soda. Add just enough water to make a paste, and then add the essential oils. Mix well.

To use: In the shower, apply the paste to all areas of your scalp, and massage as you would normal shampoo. Don’t worry about covering all of your hair–the scalp is the focus. Rinse well.

Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

– Unfilitered Apple Cider Vinegar

To use: Avoiding your roots, pour or spray the ACV on your hair from the middle of the strands to the ends after your baking soda cleanse. Let sit for a couple of minutes, and rinse well. Finish off with a blast of cold water to seal the cuticle of the hair.

AFTERCARE: COCONUT OIL CONDITIONER

After towel-drying, while my hair is still damp, I put just a little bit of coconut oil on my fingers and apply it to my ends, scrunching my hair as I go. This has allowed my natural, curly texture to really shine through–and it makes my hair smell really good.

HOW TO AVOID THE PITFALLS:

– Greasy roots: Up the baking soda, and make sure you’re getting all of your scalp. Also, make sure the vinegar is not touching your roots. This was my problem, and once I learned that it encouraged grease, this simple adjustment worked wonders. I also have found that using a spray bottle makes for easier application, and wastes way less vinegar. Also, make sure that 

– Smelly hair: If you smell like salad, really make sure you’re rinsing that ACV out of your hair well. It’s completely normal for your hair to be a little pungent while it’s still wet, but that should completely dissipate once it’s dry. In between washes, use baking soda on your roots to lift any grease or smells–like dry shampoo!

A mess or wasting ingredients: I bought some travel bottles at a beauty supply store and they’re great–particularly the spray bottle for the ACV. Much easier than trying to pour or scoop from a plastic container or glass jar.

——–

Give it a try, and stay tuned for my next natural beauty DIY: face cleanser.

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balila hummus.

Remember my obsession with my neighborhood Lebanese restaurant? Seriously, I miss it already, and I haven’t even left yet. But one of the things I can take home with me is my newfound love of Lebanese food.

Along with the moussaka, this is our favorite tapas dish to order there. Whenever we order it, the owner always asks, “Do you know what this is? Because often people order it and are surprised when they get it.” Of course, at this point, we know what we’re getting. And it’s great.

It’s not your typical smooth, creamy hummus. Consider it hummus, deconstructed, and served warm. So basically, it’s a hot dip of mashed chickpeas, cumin, and toasted pine nuts. Sounds basic, but trust me, it’s awesome. We like to have potluck parties here, and my homemade version of this dip has become a staple. Serve it with warm pita and/or veggies, and you’ve got a hit on your hands.

Balila Hummus

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas, undrained
  • 1 tbsp plus 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • juice of half a large lemon (or one small)
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until shimmery.
  2. Add garlic, and cook for about 10 seconds, stirring, before adding the cumin. Cook just until the garlic starts to brown (be careful not to burn it!), and add the chickpeas with liquid in the can. Add the lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  3. Simmer gently, uncovered, for about 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, spray a small skillet with a bit of cooking oil. Add the pine nuts in a single layer, and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until just browned. Remove immediately and put in a small bowl to the side.
  5. Once the liquid in the sauce pan has reduced a fair amount, add the parsley and the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil and give a quick stir. Cook on low, covered, for just 1 minute more, and remove from heat.
  6. Using a fork, mash most of the chickpeas. You want to keep it chunky, so don’t go overboard, and leave some of the chickpeas completely whole. Put in a serving bowl, and stir in some of the pine nuts, sprinkling the rest on top.
  7. Serve with warm pita and fresh vegetables.

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bircher muesli.

When I was in Switzerland a few weeks ago, this was served at one of the restaurants where we ate breakfast one morning. It’s a national specialty there, and the best part about it is that it is infinitely adaptable.

It also makes a great transitional breakfast for the seasons. Hearty and filling, it’s best served cold, which is great as the days get just a little bit warmer and warmer. Consider it spring’s answer to oatmeal.

Bircher muesli is traditionally made with yogurt or cream, so in order to veganize the most traditional, original recipe, I subbed coconut cream. It was the perfect decision! The hint of coconut mixed with lemon, apple, and cinnamon makes an unexpectedly wonderful flavor combo. Since I first made this recipe a few weeks ago, it has become my go-to breakfast…. until I’m back home with my blender, that is.

Be sure to think ahead- you’ll have to assemble this the night before. But it means an extra 10 minutes sleep the next morning!

Bircher Muesli

Serves: 1-2

Ingredients

  • 2 heaping tbsp coconut cream (scooped from the top of a can of coconut milk)
  • 1/4 cup raw oats
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp raisins
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (or to taste)
  • 1/3 cup almond milk (or more as needed)
  • 1 apple
  • 1 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • (agave or other sweetener to taste)

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl or container, mix the coconut cream, lemon juice, raisins, cinnamon, and almond milk until combined. Cover and put in the fridge overnight.
  2. The next morning, grate the apple (with the skin still on) over the bowl so it captures any juice as well. Stir in the walnuts and sweetener of choice to taste. Depending on desired consistency, add more almond milk as needed.
  3. Serve.

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Detox Salad

Last night I was pondering which way to go re: the obligatory post New Year “detox”. When I was reorganizing all the stuff I moved out of my apartment a few weeks ago, I was feeling ambitious and went ahead and unpacked my juicer, so 3 day Juice Cleanse was option 1. Back in May, I embarked on a week of raw eating that was actually really successful, and an easy transition since my diet is primarily plant-based anyway, so last night that became option 2. Last January, I went an ayurvedic, macrobiotic route… option 3.

But I’m opting for option 4: to make small, positive choices in all areas of my life that will contribute to overall mental and physical health. I believe that a slow and steady approach will do so much more to foster lasting good habits. Plus, I haven’t really gone overboard with unhealthiness in a while, so small adjustments are really all I need.

What I do want to do this week, just for myself, is keep a little journal of what I’m doing well, plus tasks I need to get done each day. I get scattered in this crazy brain of mine- you should see all the “stickies” on my computer desktop- so it’s better for me to keep things visually organized.

A few highlights of my goals, big and small:

– keep track of my sleep, and aim for 7 hours at least with no interruptions

– take time for meditation each day

– start doing yoga again on a regular basis

– keep coffee down to 2 cups max

– cut sodium consumption

– drink more tea and water

The next couple of weeks have the potential to be a bit overwhelming as I get everything in order to, ahem, move out of the country. It is all the more important, therefore, to remain as calm as possible. I opted not to really share my resolutions for 2013, but I will say that one of the big ones is to remain positive and zen, even in the face of stress. Good healthy habits will help to keep me centered.

Eating well is always a part of that. This salad is a staple, both when I hit the Whole Foods prepared foods bar and at home. It’s easy to make, sweet, zesty, and adaptable… I made some changes to the original posted at Oh She Glows.

Detox Salad

adapted from Oh She Glows and Whole Foods

Ingredients

  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 head cauliflower, stems removed
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup currants
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • kosher salt, pepper to taste (1/4-1/2 tsp salt and lots of pepper)
  • 1 tbsp garlic dulse flakes (optional)
  • 1 tbsp kelp granules
  • salt free seasoning to taste (I used Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute)

Instructions

  1. Process cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots in the food processor separately until each is shredded and mix together in a medium bowl.
  2. Mix in the remaining ingredients, and stir until well-combined. Feel free to adjust seasonings and lemon juice to personal taste.

Notes

Angela also suggests adding a bit of maple syrup if you would prefer some more sweetness, but I think the currants do the trick.
Also, the recipe normally calls for 1/2 cup raisins as well- I omitted because I only had currants on hand.

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Filed under Appetizers and Sides, Eat, Gluten Free, Main Dishes and Entrees

Weekend DIY: The Perfect Bubble Bath

Baths aren’t the most eco-friendly thing in the world, but when used sparingly, they are a godsend. Feeling overworked, anxious, stressed… or even sick? Taking a bath can be an economic and therapeutic fix. There are a few ingredients that can make a bubble bath positively blissful, as it should be… and the great part is that how you mix and match is totally up to you and your mood.

  1. Epsom Salts
    Benefits
    : draw out toxins; increase magnesium in the body which leads to a boost in serotonin, elevating your mood
    How to use: add 1-2 cups to your warm bath. Sea salt is a decent alternative.
  2. Bubble Bath
    Benefits:
     depends on the kind you choose, but most will soothe and soften your skin
    How to use: I always add it to the bath as it’s running, right near the faucet so that the bubbles foam up immediately and I can gauge how much I want. Shower gel can be a good alternative, though it might not foam up as much. Pamper yourself! I just splurged on this the other day: It was amazing. I’m definitely on a budget, so I usually just grab my liquid shower soap and use that, but this proved that it is definitely worth it.
  3. Temperature
    Benefits: depending on how hot you make it, warm temperatures are soothing while hot temperatures are detoxifying
    How to use: this sounds like an inane detail but it can actually make or break the experience. It really falls to personal preference- do you want a loooong, relaxing time to read a book? Then keep the temperature on the warm-hot side. A shorter, detoxifying experience? Make the bath super hot (but not scalding- think a hot jacuzzi; you don’t want to burn yourself!) and sweat it out for 15-20 minutes or so.
  4. Essential Oils
    Benefits: Here are some of my favorites:
    lavender: lowers heart rate and blood pressure for anti-anxiety; helps insomnia; soothes inflamed skin
    eucalyptus: decongestant; soothing for sore throat and cough; soothes muscle pain; rejuvenating and de-stresser
    jasmine: anti-depressant; relieves muscle spasm (including coughing); de-stresser.
    rose: anti-depressant; soothes coughing and muscle pain
    bergamot: anti-anxiety; relieves soreness
    patchouli: anti-anxiety; antidepressant; soothes skin; helps fluid retention
    There are soooo many more. I almost want to do a post with a more complete guide… maybe I will eventually. Just have fun experimenting and even do a little research on what the benefits might be.
    How to use: mix and match your favorites- most will compliment each other pretty well, as long as you keep it to two or three, tops. Just add a couple of drops of each to the bath as its running. Use sparingly- essential oils are expensive, and they’re strong. You don’t want to feel high from the fumes!
  5. Ambiance
    Light some scented candles, dim the lights, pour yourself a glass of wine, have a few magazines or a good book at the ready, and turn on some Bon Iver. Oh, and for the love of God, turn off your phone.
  6. And extras
    Do whatever you want! I like to smother my hair in coconut oil and pile it on top of my head to soak. I also have this amazing lemon sugar scrub that I rub all over my legs to slough off dead skin and it makes them soooo smooth. Whatever floats your boat.

Happy relaxing!

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Vegan Feta and Spinach Pasta

The other day, I was running an errand for work and picked up a spinach and feta wrap for one of my bosses. It smelled so unbelievably delicious that I vowed to myself right then and there to somehow create a version of those flavors for myself. So I got to researching, looking to use nuts as a base for the cheese rather than tofu. A few tweaks here and there and one roasted spaghetti squash later, success!

The feta is a little labor intensive, more so than nut-based cheese sauces I’ve made in the past (macaroni and alfredo) because feta is supposed to be crumbly, not smooth and creamy. Because of this, it had to be pressed and drained in order to work. It’s definitely worth the effort, because the texture is almost spot on and the flavor is packed.

Tossed with spaghetti squash (or pasta!), fresh spinach and mushrooms, and the result is a healthy and hearty take on an old favorite.

Vegan Feta and Spinach Pasta

Ingredients

  • +For the Feta+:
  • 1 cup walnut pieces, soaked in water for 2-3 hours
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 2 tsp miso paste
  • juice of one half a lemon
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • +For the Pasta:+
  • Spaghetti Squash or Pasta of choice, cooked
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup white mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. +For the Feta:+
  2. After soaking the walnut pieces, add them (with the water they soaked in) and the rest of the feta ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  3. Lay out two layers of cheesecloth on top of each other, and scoop out the cheese from the blender, placing it all onto the middle of the layered patches of cloth. Bring all the edges together and tie tightly with a piece of twine.
  4. Gently squeeze so any excess liquid drains immediately. Then place in a small strainer over a jar or bowl (I used a tea strainer over a mason jar and it worked wonderfully) and let sit in the fridge overnight, so that any additional liquid will drain as well.
  5. When ready to use, simply remove the cheesecloth and put into a small container to use as needed.
  6. +For the Pasta:+
  7. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil onto a pan. Add the garlic and cook on low until the garlic begins to cook, stirring. Add the mushrooms, and cook until soft.
  8. Add the spinach leaves and tomatoes, and cook, stirring, just until the spinach is wilted. You may need to add a little bit of water or vegetable broth to ensure that nothing burns and the spinach steams well- just use sparingly. Remove from heat.
  9. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta or squash with salt, pepper, and cooked vegetables. Crumble some of your new feta over it at your discretion- I recommend being liberal!
  10. Toss all together once more and garnish with some black pepper and more crumbled feta before serving.

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Pumpkin Baked Acorn Squash with Cinnamon and Fresh Herbs

We’ve got a squash on squash situation.

I have here one of those serendipitous recipes that just seemed like a simple idea to put together but exceeded all expectations. I was quickly reminded that cinnamon as a savory spice is unexpectedly fantastic. And guess what? Pumpkin puree makes a great marinade. Cinnamon and fresh herbs make a great air freshener. And as the chill in the air becomes more pronounced, this recipe is a great excuse to crank up the oven and celebrate the harvest.

P.S. This is already on my Thanksgiving menu.

Pumpkin Baked Acorn Squash with Cinnamon and Fresh Herbs

Ingredients

  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp miso
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce (low sodium)
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • handful each of fresh sage leaves and fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 cup white mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 acorn squash, sliced
  • pepper

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, broth, miso, garlic, soy sauce, cinnamon, and fresh herbs until combined.
  2. Chop the mushrooms, carrots, and acorn squash and put them in a large bowl. Pour the pumpkin mixture over the vegetables and toss, so everything is evenly coated. Transfer the entire mixture to a baking pan, laying out as evenly as possible, sprinkle with pepper, and loosely cover with aluminum foil.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30-35 minutes, checking periodically and stirring the mixture. Remove and serve.

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My Favorite Fall Recipes

It’s a chilly afternoon- even a little blustery. It’s also the first day I noticed some leaves changing color. The first official day may have actually been a few days ago, but as far as I’m concerned, today is my first day of fall.

I love inventing and trying new recipes; so much so that I often forget some good ones I’ve made in the past. This slideshow may be for my benefit as much as yours. So let’s all reminisce and get re-inspired together, shall we?

And of course, there are plenty of other great recipes for fall- and all seasons- here.

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Pumpkin Earl Grey Tea Cakes

Pumpkin and Earl Grey go great together. Who knew?

I whipped these up on a day that I was feeling the need to make something elegant. They’re so perfect for the season: gently spiced, but with a comforting pumpkin kick. And perfectly complimentary to a steaming mug of tea. Thick socks, blanket, and a good book are all recommended.

Pumpkin Earl Grey Tea Cakes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup oat flour
  • 2 earl grey tea bags
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp ground flax in 6 tbsp water
  • ½ tsp orange zest
  • pinch of salt
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Soak the ground flax in the water in a small bowl for about 10 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the almond milk with the pumpkin puree, sugar, vanilla, and the emptied tea bags.
  3. Whisk together gently, and then add in the soaked flax, and then the remaining ingredients. Whisk gently until completely combined. Distribute evenly in a lightly greased but unlined muffin tin (the tins shouldn’t be filled to the brim, but halfway or less).
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cake comes out clean.

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