Just when you thought things couldn’t get any crazier, they do! It seems like our trajectory here is defying all laws of logic. Like Exhibit A. I just found out that our prices are going up. Which was shocking to me since we didn’t raise them. But apparently, market pressures are driving them up. I didn’t even think that happened, but here we are. Am I in a movie? This feels like a movie right now.
In other news, I just posted a new video to our video page. For a CAPRESE SALAD. I am totally hooked on these right now. And tomatoes are in peak season. This recipe takes 5 minutes to make too. So if you haven’t done so already, you should CHECK IT OUT. You won’t be sorry.
I have much more to tell you, but not enough hours in a day. More updates coming soon!
Hello out there! Haven’t been posting much lately, but things have been evolving rapidly over here. It’s been quite the spiritual journey. I expect a flurry of posts this week as I sit back and reflect for a minute. It’s been one of those years that moves so fast that everything is a blur. Exciting times. Maybe even too exciting for my delicate constitution. But I suppose sometimes, you have to push it to the edge. Just so you can assess where that is.
Anyway, I just posted a new video. It’s a recipe for the LEMON THUMBPRINT COOKIES you see pictured above. I’ve been pretty addicted to them lately. This is a great recipe for people with autoimmune disease. No wheat. No sugar. No dairy. Check it out and let me know what you think.
It’s been a while since I posted. I keep meaning to, but something always comes up. I can honestly say that this is probably the busiest I have been. EVER. But I am loving it. Even the health challenges that come up. There is something so fulfilling about being down and out and then finding your place in the world again. It feels good! Anyway, I hope to be posting soon about my ongoing health journey. But if anyone would like to take an inside peek at our cheese lab, we just posted a video tour of it. Along with a quick and easy recipe for APPLES AND CASHEW BRIE.
Well, things have been evolving pretty quickly around here. Julie and I have been hitting the ground running. That’s for sure. If you’ve missed the last few posts, you might not recognize this blog. A lot has happened! It still hasn’t fully sunk in as a reality. It all feels like a fairy tale to me. But if you missed the memo, Punk Rawk Labs HAS EXPANDED. It’s been a pretty dramatic change for me. My new partner, Julie, is a dream. If you haven’t met her yet, check out the newest video for PUNK RAWK LABS TV. She takes you on a GUIDED TOUR of our new space.
The retail space is kind of functioning as our office/packaging center at the moment.
We’re not sure at this point when it will be open. Right now, we are so buried in cheese orders, that we need to get caught up before we can open the retail space.
The kitchen, however, is fully licensed and operational! It seemed at times like it was never going to happen. I have to admit, there were some crazy obstacles on the way here. But miraculously enough, the answers all appeared exactly when they were supposed to. It was a nail biter though!
We haven’t officially started taking orders yet. As we are still getting caught up on our backorder. But we are slowly adding new stores. Our cheeses are now available in Minneapolis at the SEWARD COOP. In fact, Julie and I will be doing a sampling demo there next Sunday afternoon.
You can also find us at SIDECAR FOR PIGS PEACE in Seattle, WA! Sidecar is a non-profit store that raises money to support a pig sanctuary. Not only does the money go to a great cause. It also happens to be the best deal on our cheese (being a non-profit).
I just happened to be in town the day they went on sale (for a wedding reception). Friday the 28th. And insanely, I got an email the following Monday that they were already sold out! I couldn’t believe it!!
It’s an exciting time, to be sure! We’ve been hearing from the most unlikely places. This is our order board. Right now, we are working on orders for Denver, Portland, Seattle, Cincinatti, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. We have a lot of stores to get to. But when it’s all said and done, there will be quite a few flags on the US map (a full listing of stores which carry us is HERE). Pretty magical. I have to say. But I should quit gabbing for now and get back to work!! More updates soon…
Woah, Nelly! Things are blowing up these days. And it’s not just me. My boyfriend, Tom, sent me back this picture from LIVE LIVE AND ORGANIC. He was in town twice a couple weeks ago. Once to do sound for TBT at Webster Hall. And once for their surprise appearance on LETTERMAN! They did so awesome! So anyway, Tom checked on my stores while he was there. Things are going really well at Live Live and at One Lucky Duck! Cheeses have been selling so well at the One Lucky Duck Chelsea Market location that they are going to start stocking them at Gramercy Park too! And that’s not all!
In my last post, I wrote about MY FIRST ORDER FOR RAINBOW GROCERY in San Francisco. This is a picture that was posted by ECOVEGANGAL (who just unveiled her new, improved site today!). OMG…Did those go over well! They got a nod in the SF WEEKLY and in VEGANSAURUS! Apparently, renowned author and cheese expert (not vegan!), GORDON EDGAR, was singing their praises. And since he’s not exactly vegan, people perked up!
I mean really perked up! They sold out in a few days. This picture was sent to me by my friend Jonathan. Crazy, right?
It gets crazier! I sent them another order last week. And apparently, 80% of that order (50% larger than the first order) was pre-sold via a waiting list! And the rest of it sold out in a couple days. So now they’re still on a waiting list! (Thanks to Gordon for snapping this pic for me. He likes to be called Gordon Zola…pretty funny for a cheese guy).
The same thing has been happening over at VEGAN ESSENTIALS. They can’t keep stuff in stock either. And I’ve been adding new stores! Next order is going out to FOOD FIGHT! in Portland!
Needless to say, things are a little crazy! I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed. And I’m plotting my next moves….
…which speaking of, did I mention that we got our own shop?!! I just got the keys two days ago. Definitely overwhelmed!! But check out the video I made for PRL TV! It’s a TOUR of our new space! Crazy, huh?
Well, the time has come. The time for me to rejoin the world of the living. The last six years have been like a cocoon phase while I healed from my CASUALITIES of MODERN LIFE. But the universe has spoken. And it’s clearly time to move on to something bigger. I FINISHED PHYSICAL THERAPY a few weeks ago. And a couple days ago, PURE FOOD AND WINE placed their first order for my cheeses (which will soon be available in their juice bar)! If that’s not a foreshadowing moment, I don’t know what it. On that note, I’m announcing my OFFICIAL LAUNCH ON KICKSTARTER. The last several years have been kinda tough. But I’ve been getting by with a little help FROM MY FRIENDS. Thanks for joining me on this journey!
But we didn’t stop there! There is also a recipe for these mint nib macaroons using homegrown mint.
These date cheese bites also pair nicely with the cheese platter…
And these chocolate truffles are always a crowd pleaser! Videos demoing all of these recipes can be found at PUNK RAWK LABS TV.
Last but not least, I have a Christmas carol for you. It’s me playing the piano! Truth be told, I posted it last year too. But our piano has been in storage for way too long. So alas, I don’t have a new one this year…
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, you realize it’s a little cold for your taste. Isn’t that how it always goes? Well, I’ve been having this kind of ongoing discussion with my doctor ever since my LAST MEDICAL MELTDOWN.
Remember this one? When my eye swelled up for no reason. Again. They were going to send me back to rheumatology when I had a meltdown. Long story short, I’ve already been there TWICE. It was awful. Really expensive, really emotionally draining, really unproductive, frustrating, and negative. Basically, a step in the wrong direction on multiple levels. So I had a MELTDOWN.
In any event, I got the news last week that I tested positive for ANA (anti-nuclear antibody) again. This has actually happened a COUPLE TIMES already. And each time, I went through the testing process and was worked into a tizzy only to be told that it was all in my head. Apparently, this is a pretty common occurrence for people with autoimmune disease. Having a meltdown from being run through the ringer when asking for help is par for the course. According to my doctor, people (who are clearly sick) can go through this process for up to twenty years! And doctors recommend anti-depressants. To help patients get through it. Really? Seriously?! I need to go on drugs to tolerate an unacceptable situation. Two words. NO THANKS!! I’ve done my time. After that, it becomes the recipe for insanity.
I had a long talk with my doctor about it. She seems to understand where I’m coming from. And sympathize. At this point, it appears that it’s one of two things. It’s either lupus. Or it’s some other disease that’s closely related to lupus that doesn’t have a name. So, basically I have lupus. Lupus basically means that you’re immune system is miscalibrated (which mine definitely is). Your immune system attacks normal cells in your body causing disease. I personally think that my immune system is attacking toxic stuff that has become part of my body since my exposure. And the reason I think this is because I have these violent seizure-like episodes (called MYOCLONIC JERKING) at times. It’s always centered on my diaphragm. And it literally feels like my body is trying to kick something out. In the end though, a name is just a name. It’s not going to change my symptoms. It’s not going to make me feel better. Why do I care? I am already self-medicating with my anti-inflammation diet. I’m not interested in going on the drugs. So why put myself through all this? Truly. What is the point? The medical testing and wild goose chase are literally going to bankrupt me. I’m not doing this anymore. I want my life back! And I don’t want to spend the remaining precious energy that I have on pointless dysfunction. I think that as long as patients tolerate this situation, it will be perpetuated.
There are more important things in life. Like, look how cute my kitty is? OK. Technically, she’s my boyfriend’s kitty. But she snuggles with me more (probably because I’m ALLERGIC TO HER).
Oh yeah. And I love to play guitar. And I used to be in a band. And do all kinds of interesting things. And those things have been passing me by. It’s time to reclaim them.
So that’s what I’m doing. Check it out. I just played a recital with my GUITAR TEACHER, Jeremy, last weekend. And I am getting ready to officially launch my business (stay tuned for details coming soon)! I’m on a mission to rebuild my life on my terms.
And it all starts here. Check out my latest video for this RUSTIC HOLIDAY FLATBREAD. My boyfriend says it’s my most creative recipe yet. Not only does it not exacerbate inflammation. Like normal bread. It’s actually anti-inflammatory! I’m filming the companion video for this today. A holiday cheese platter. Check back soon…
The holidays can be a tricky time for people with IMMUNE SYSTEM ISSUES. Admittedly, working through this problem has definitely contributed to tensions in my family. Things have evolved over time. The perception has changed from the weird food that she eats to deal with her hypochondria to an annoying inconvenience that everyone else has to deal with to trying to find things that THEY eat that don’t make me sick to not being invited for the holidays to that’s some weird liberal political thing that’s not real to now. I think the fact that people are starting to take an interest in my work has started to legitimize it somewhat to some members of my family. So I guess I am going home this holiday. I’m not sure if I should make the attempt to bring some of my creations with me. In the past, I have sent samples of my work home only to find them uneaten in the pantry six to nine months later. It’s hard. On the one hand, you don’t want to inconvenience people. But on the other hand, the last time I went home I literally developed a bad ULCER IN THE BACK OF MY THROAT that made it painful to eat. So while I respect and understand the reasons why people don’t necessarily get it, it doesn’t make it less hurtful for me to deal with. This has got to be (for me) the most difficult aspect of AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE. Nobody understands. Not even the doctors. And unfortunately, this more often than not leads to situations where the patient is made fun of, de-legitimized, disrespected, not included, and generally made to feel like it’s their fault (all in their head or not really happening). Over time, I’ve learned to just not engage such negativity. I’d like to present a three minute video explaining how to easily resolve the issue and create a NORMAN ROCKWELL OUTCOME. But I would be lying if I actually believed it were that easy.
That said, I think the best strategy for approaching this conundrum is probably to try to make things that are good by anyone’s standards. I’ve slowly been collecting some recipes. These HOLIDAY TRUFFLES have been a big hit for me.
These DATE CHEESE BITES have also been surprisingly well received for me at holiday parties.
The next installment in this series if going to be this rustic holiday flatbread. The is a really flavorful cracker with a nice texture that’s surprisingly light on the digestive system for a flatbread. Then, we’ll follow up with our coup de grace for this season, a holiday cheese platter featuring the flatbread and some raw vegan cheeses. Stay tuned to our HOLIDAY CHANNEL for updates!
11/11/11. An auspicious day. With a full moon. This is supposed to be the day when everything reboots. It definitely feels that way for me. Lots of big changes going down this week. According to my horoscope, I’m supposed to start coming up with some big revelations. I’m not sure if that’s really happening yet. I’m not sure if reality has fully sunk in. I haven’t really processed it all.
Check out this necklace I made for my physical therapist. I had my last session this week. It seemed so surreal. I’ve been going for almost a year and a half. Ever since my BIG CRASH. I’ve come a long way.
From using a walker…to being able to flip myself over…to standing…and walking…and rebuilding muscles…fixing my alignment…and headaches…and nerve damage…and MRIs…and neurosurgeons. It’s been an interesting journey. My physical therapist has seen me through a lot. So, it was kind of sad in a way. It’s sad to say goodbye. It’s also a little scary. Physical therapy is like the warm, fuzzy, security blanket where you can work out issues.
My neurosurgery appointment was good. Good and bad. It was good because I was not really FEELING THE SURGERY idea. (I was having a pretty strong intuition against it, in fact). And luckily, neither was the neurosurgeon. He said I probably do have nerve damage in my neck and shoulder. But they can’t fix it with surgery because I have arthritis! Who knew? I guess I have spondylosis in my spine. Apparently, people who have that respond really badly to surgery. Well, I tell you what…I have never been so happy to be told I have arthritis.
In another bizarre twist of fate/harbinger of change, I was invited to speak to a class of college students about raw food/healthcare. I took one picture. And I think I had the camera on a really low light setting in a really high tungsten kind of lighting. It looks kind of cool. The students were great. I was really surprised at their questions. They were really on the ball. And curious about what I ate the day before. And what I ate when I was in the HOSPITAL. And they asked really smart questions. Good vibes.
And in case that isn’t enough evidence that things are starting to shift, the weather changed this week. We’ve been flirting with the colder weather. But this week was the first real freeze. Time to bring in the plants. Look at this little habanero plant. It’s so cute. It looks just like CHARLIE BROWN’S CHRISTMAS. Winter is definitely on the way. So here we go. Head first into an uncertain future. But one with limitless possibilities. And good karma. Wish me luck! I’m not necessarily seeing the answer right at this moment. But I trust that it’s there.
Oh and PS! I posted a new video this week featuring my dear friend, HEIDI (who I never would have made it through this health debacle without). We made a NETTLE LATTE. Check it out…