On The Menu


August 8th, 2013

palumbo caprese
Things have been evolving rapidly over here in the world of PRL. And in the most beautiful way. I’ve been trying to find time to post more updates. More big changes are happening! I can hardly believe all the goodness that is coming down the pipe. Like Exhibit A. Check out this beautiful raw, vegan caprese salad featuring our cheese!! This is being served at PALUMBO’S PIZZERIA. Right here in St. Paul, MN. A huge thank you to BRINA from San Francisco who posted this pic while visiting. Check her out on INSTAGRAM! And while you’re at it, check us out on INSTAGRAM too!


Palumbo’s is also serving vegan pizza’s featuring our cheese! Isn’t that amazing? They even have gluten free crusts. This beautiful pizza was ordered by KATY (who works here and you should also follow in INSTAGRAM).

cheese plate
If St. Paul isn’t exactly in your neighborhood, they are also featuring our cheese on the vegan cheese plate at PORTOBELLO in Portland. I haven’t made it out that way yet either. But last week, I happened to meet someone from Olympia here in town. And when I mentioned that they had our cheese on the menu, she was like OMG. That place is incredible. There’s a line out the door. You have to make reservations months in advance. I haven’t even gotten in yet! Which sounds pretty promising to me. You should definitely check it out…

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Chicago VeganMania


August 4th, 2013

veganmania
OMG. I have so much to tell you. But I haven’t had any time. This has been the CRAZIEST YEAR EVER! I wouldn’t even know WHERE TO START. Well, I would. But it would take me all day. Though if you happen to be in Chicago on September 21st, I’ll be there all day. It’s VEGANMANIA! It’s all day vegan extravaganza. And it’s Free! We’ll be sampling and selling cheese. But there will be a food court and all kinds of vegan businesses and food demos and speakers. Should be pretty interesting.

katy
I’ll be bringing KATY with me. If you follow us on INSTAGRAM, chances are you’ve run across her before. She’s one of our cheesemakers. But she has a food blog of her own…MN VEG. You should check it out.

Will post more updates soon. Hope to see you around…

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Forging My Own Path


July 6th, 2013

storm
Hello out there. Things have been a little wacky over here. We had a crazy storm a couple week ago that knocked out the power in South Minneapolis. Lots of downed trees. And downed cars. As you can see. Harley Rae was having a grand old time exploring through the wreckage. We lost power at the shop. But only overnight. So it didn’t affect us too much. Though I was off the internet for a few days. When I came back, I heard a rumor that we were closing. Ha! Pretty funny. I’m happy to report that we aren’t closing. I, personally, went through a pretty rough patch this year. But it’s gotten a lot better. I think a lot of it has to do with the pettles helping me find more balance in my life. And a lot of it had to do with this guy…

norwalk
My boyfriend was starting to get worried. So he went crazy and got us one of these! A NORWALK JUICER. I’m not kidding when I tell you that this juicer is changing my life. I’ve used a lot of juicers by now. And I’ve owned a lot of juicers too. But this one is different. It’s expensive. It’s true. But as my boyfriend says, it costs the same as about twelve hours in the hospital. So if you have health issues, like me…It becomes more an issue of how do you want to spend your money. On going to the hospital? Or on staying out of the hospital? Which ultimately is way way cheaper. So we went with the juicer path. And it’s helping…a lot! I feel like I’m getting my buffer back. It makes such a huge difference. I can’t even tell you.

hiawatha
I should mention that I’m doing a little workshop on juices and smoothies in a couple weeks. Its one of many workshops during a REJUVENATION DETOX CHALLENGE WEEK event we’re doing in collaboration with HIAWATHA YOGA (across the street). Julie is also teaching a Raw Foods 101 class. You can find event details and register online HERE.

music
In the meantime, I’m just trying to relax more and enjoy the music. I found out recently that my kitty really likes violin music. She just sits intently and listens. And then she tries to wack at the bow and figure out how it works. It’s pretty cute. This week, I’m taking a much needed vacation too. My boyfriend has gotten us on the guest list of so many shows this week! It’s gonna be good. Between now and this time next week, I will have seen Cheap Trick, Los Lobos, Bob Dylan/Wilco, Robert Plant, and the David Byrne/St. Vincent show. So the next time you hear from me, I’ll be a whole new person.

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No Wrong Answers


June 5th, 2013

aiko and meHello out there! It’s been a while since I posted. I kinda had to take a step back for a moment and recalibrate things. But I’m doing a lot better these days. Thanks in a large part to what my friend, Janice, calls pet therapy. These little critters have taught me a lot about balance and where to find it.

crybabyWhen I start going off the rails, they sure let me know! This is Aiko. And she sure has opinions about things. But I swear that her sweet little purrs are healing me. The last time I checked in, I was not in the best place. But things have come a long way since then. My business partner is back from maternity leave. And I’ve kind of got things functioning a little smoother at the shop. But beyond that, I think there’s been a big internal change. An attitude shift…towards something more empowered.

Admittedly, when scary symptoms start coming up, I think a person is naturally inclined to run to the doctor.  To try to find an answer. And that has pretty much been my approach for the last seven years. But truth be told, that approach has been FRUSTRATING ME. I mean, let’s face it. Our healthcare system is DYSFUNCTIONAL. Everybody knows that. And it’s getting more expensive by the hour. Nobody knows how much anything costs. And there’s not a lot of internal incentive to be efficient. So a person with a mysterious chronic health problem that nobody understands can easily rack up some big bills and not have a lot to show for it. And I’m not gonna lie, I’m not independently wealthy. I mean, who is? And if I keep going the way I have the last seven years, I’m gonna end up broke and probably, if I were to be completely honest about my experience, not any healthier. So I’m thinking it’s time to shift gears. Change the way I’m looking at this problem.

gymnastCute little Aiko is quite the gymnast. She can get herself into some pretty odd defying places. And she has been inspiring me to look for solutions in places where they might not be obvious on first glance. Fresh eyes.

bookHere she is with my dad (who btw, is reading my friend, Janice’s book FREEDOM TO THRIVE: RECLAIMING OUR POWER TO HEAL). Don’t get me wrong, my doctor has helped me in a lot of ways. But I think the big shift for me is that the things that are happening in my body are scary. Unsettling at times. And I think when these things happen, a person wants to hear something definitive. They want to understand. They want to know what to expect. They want it to be well, less scary. But here’s the truth. The doctor can’t do that. Make it less scary. The only person who can do that is me. I feel like I’ve been hung up that there’s a right way to deal with a health problem. The ‘accepted way’. But there isn’t really one. We are all different. Different people will react to the same situation in different ways. Depending on all kinds of factors. Personality, will to live, support systems, luck, the position of the sun on the day you were born…whatever!

eco-liciousAs my friend, Joshua, would say…’This is my movie!’ I get to decide how it ends. Hell. I get to decide the whole damn plot. And this movie is not about a sick girl who gets beaten down by the world. Hells no! I mean, let’s be real. I don’t have time for that. I’ve got a business to run. (Cheeses at ECO-LICIOUS in Charlotte).

perelandraAnd in cased you missed the MEMOS, things have been BLOWING UP! I mean, things have gotten SERIOUS! (One of my yoga teachers sent me this pic yesterday from downtown Brooklyn – at PERELANDRA!)

noochIf this kinda situation even happens to a person, it only comes around once in a lifetime. You have to seize the day! (NOOCH in Denver).

harley raeThis is Harley Rae. She’s been teaching me a lot too. Especially about seizing the day. This girl has no fear! (Just like YOKO SHOWED ME).

harley raeI’ve definitely been pushing my body to it’s limits lately. But the thing I have to remember. My new mantra is, ‘I’ve got this!’ This situation was tailor made for me. By me. I just need to hang on to the reins. And not be in such a hurry to give them up when I get overwhelmed by some moment that will pass. I need to just chill out and get things back into balance.

lovey catSo that’s pretty much what I’ve been up to. Getting back into balance. And it seems to be working so far. At least, the HIVES have been getting better. So yeah. Bring it, world! I’ve got this..

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The Writing On The Wall


April 25th, 2013

poop
I’m not going to lie. Things have been a little poopie around here lately. For one thing, it won’t stop snowing. It’s gotten kinda ridiculous. Poor Harley Rae is from Tennessee and isn’t sure what to make of it. Too cold for southern dog! And beyond that, I’ve been feeling like poop too.

eyeIf you’ve been following this blog for a while, you will know that I’ve been struggling with a MYSTERIOUS ILLNESS for a WHILE. It’s kind of a long story. And it’s pretty annoying. But basically, I have a super FREAKED OUT IMMUNE SYSTEM that likes to MALFUNCTION in all kinds of weird ways. For the last seven years, I’ve been diligently going to the doctor trying to get answers. I’ve gotten diagnosed with all kinds of things. Symptoms range from crazy RASHES to DIGESTIVE DISTURBANCES to RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS to BLOOD PROBLEMS to NEUROLOGICAL PROBLEMS to inflammation in weird parts of my body (like my EYEBALL, for example) to being insanely tired to all out ORGANS GOING OFFLINE (not even sure how to describe what happened here…at the time, nobody else did either). Anyway, it’s a long story. But the links (in all caps) go back to the past.

armLately though, things have escalated a lot. First, I got diagnosed with a BLEEDING ULCER. Then, I started to have these crazy rashes all over my body. They’re super itchy. And they pretty much come and go all the time. I’ve had them for a few months now. Sometimes they get really intense. The thing that keeps coming up with all these weird symptoms and the one thing that they all have in common is that they are all complications of LUPUS. The word lupus really freaks people out. Basically, it means that your immune system can’t tell the difference between your own tissue and foreign cells. So it attacks normal tissue in your body. It can happen anywhere. I’ve pretty much had a gut feeling that that’s what is wrong with me since about six months after my TOXIC EXPOSURE. You just know. But whenever I would bring it up, I would get blitzkreiged with all this negativity. NO!! That’s not what you have. It’s all in your head. Are you sure? Take it back! It’s not true!

I get it. Nobody wants me to have lupus. Truth be told, I don’t want to have it either. Having lupus is bad enough. But getting diagnosed with lupus is almost as bad as just having lupus. It’s a total mind f&ck. I’m not kidding. People think you’re crazy when you say that. Which is part of why it’s so messed up. People who don’t know start to think you’re crazy. But it’s actually a real thing. My doctor even told me about it.

lupus bookThis book talks a lot about it too. It’s the definitive book on lupus written by a guy who specializes in it. Basically, it’s a really hard to diagnose disease. There’s a lot of far ranging symptoms that can be caused by a lot of things. So people go around in a limbo for years until it becomes obvious what it is. Meanwhile, you keep finding yourself in messed up situations.  Because nobody around really understands how sick you are.  Going to the doctor involves getting passed around to all these specialists who do all kinds of tests.  And let me tell you, they aren’t cheap.  Not at all.  And in the end, nobody really knows anything.  So it really starts to feel like a dead end after a while.  Which is why I’ve been throwing a tantrum about NOT WANTING TO GO TO THE DOCTOR.  Honestly, I’m still figuring out what I want to do about it. Right now, it’s just kind of this spector that’s casting a shadow over me.

 werewolfThe word lupus means wolf in latin. I guess the disease was named that because most people get diagnosed when they start getting these crazy rashes that make them look wolf-like. It feels more glamorous to me to think of it like I’m turning into a werewolf when it happens. Somehow more poetic than feeling like you have some weird disease. I mean after all, all the best super heroes are weird mutants that turn into werewolves at night. Right?

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Chronic Urticaria


April 10th, 2013

love fest
We interrupt this love fest to bring you another dose of reality. If you’ve been reading my ramblings lately, you will know that i just ADOPTED SOME AMAZING AND LOVEABLE PETS! Part of this was an attempt on my part to bring my life back into balance after noticing some ALARMING SYMPTOMS THAT I’VE BEEN ATTEMPTING TO IGNORE OUT OF FRUSTRATION WITH THE CURRENT STATE OF OUR MEDICAL SYSTEM. Well I finally got over myself and my ‘I’m never going to the doctor again’ drama long enough to go get it checked out.

urticaria
Turns out I have chronic urticaria. Basically this means I have chronic hives. A pretty frustrating place to be. The doctor said that basically it’s a complication that is often associated with LUPUS (a drumbeat that’s been beating in my world for a while). But just because I have it doesn’t mean that I have lupus. She also said that the hives are triggered by stress. Which is also not surprising considering that I became the CEO OF A MULTI-NATIONAL CORPORATION this year and my business partner is on maternity leave. The hives won’t be under control until the stress is. So basically, I’m on the right track. I think I instinctively knew what I needed to do. But I need to step it up a bit.

Needless to say, I am doing a lot of processing right now. I have a lot to say about all this. But as with most emotional processing, it will probably be happening in fits and spurts coming up. I’ll keep you posted…

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Man’s Best Friend


April 1st, 2013

harley rae
Hello out there! If you’ve been following this stream of consciousness (and I have been kinda of shocked by the far flung responses I’ve been getting to it), you will know I’ve been looking for some gentle and natural solutions to life’s big problems. My big problem right now is definitely stress. Starting a business is well, hard. It’s a lot of responsibilities. And it’s pretty easy to get consumed by all the things that need to get done. And also easy to lose site of when to stop. At least for me. With my workaholic tendencies. I got diagnosed with a bleeding ulcer recently. And for me, that was a sign. I need to slow down. But I needed some help. I kind of need someone to remind me that I need to slow down. I’m kind of bad that way. So anyway, I’ve devised a multi-faceted approach to help me with this.

first day
First off. I got a dog. This is her. Harley Rae. She is the best. dog. ever. She really keeps me in line. When I start getting obsessed with work and going overboard, she gently reminds me that it’s time to take a break.

harley rae studio
This dog has a glamorous rock and roll lifestyle. Here she is at the recording studio where my boyfriend works.

aiko
We originally planned to stop there. But when we went to the HUMANE SOCIETY, there was this adorable stray kitten. She was so little and so cute that we couldn’t help ourselves.

kittles and me
Her name is Aiko. Which means ‘love child’ in Japanese. She’s definitely a love bug. This is the snuggliest pet I’ve ever met. Now I have two new friends to help keep me in line.

record playerMy next order of business is to get the shop running with or without me. Right now, I’m like the dunkin’ donuts guy. The one from the 80’s commercial that lives, sleeps, and breathes around the donut schedule. It’s a little too stressful for gimpy girl. So I’m on my way to listening to more records (check out our office stereo) and sitting down and doing more paperwork.  Almost there.

I have the power to heal myself!  And that is exactly what I’m going to do…

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It’s Not Lupus. Or Is It?


March 31st, 2013

cute eye
Hello out there! I’m making up for lost blogging time with some progress reports. Lots of people have been asking about my health and how that’s going. I’d like to report that I started my business, rode off into the sunset, and lived happily ever after. And in a sense, I did. But health issues are a learning process. It’s kind of a journey. I feel like I’ve passed a big barrier in not letting them define my life and my future. But to be honest, I’m still figuring it all out.

welt
For the past few months, I’ve been having a sort of never-ending flareup. It started out like this. These welts. Really itchy welts. At first under my arms. But now pretty much everywhere. Sometimes it would be welts.

rash
Sometimes I would get these rashes. Kind of all over. Sometimes they feel like burns. But they’re not. I’m not really sure what they are.

octagonal
Sometimes they have interesting and artistic shapes.

clusterfuk
Sometimes they are clusters of red spots. Like this. Sometimes, they look more like clusters of mosquito bites. But in spots where you don’t really get mosquito bites.

mosquito bites
When I do get mosquito bites, they look more like this. Fluid filled weirdness. (NOTE:  This pic is old.  There are no mosquitoes right now.  It’s winter.  At least in Minnesota.)

Typically, a person might go to the doctor for things like this. And don’t get me wrong, I really like my doctor. And I think we have a good relationship. But I have a very LONG HISTORY of going to the doctor with my weird issues and SPENDING TONS OF MONEY on GETTING THE RUNAROUND. After a while, it becomes an intelligence test. You have to ask yourself some important questions. ‘Is this actually helping me?’ ‘Can I afford this?’ ‘Is this helping me to create a life that I want to live?’ I think the answers to these questions are different for different people. But ultimately, you have to choose the path that’s right for you.

eat more kale
My answer to all the above questions is a resounding no. It’s not helping me. I can’t afford it. And it’s not helping me to create a life I want to live. I feel like it might have been an acceptable path for an era where health insurance actually covered things. But times have changed. Dramatically. And ultimately, I have to be honest with myself. I’ve gotten very little help. I’ve been emotionally and physically abused. I’ve spent thousands and thousands of dollars on a wild goose chase. I’ve gotten no answers. And I’ve wasted hours and hours of my time. It’s not the foundation for a life I want to live. Every now and then, I’ll freak out about some scary symptom that comes up. A month or so ago, it was that I woke up in the middle of the night and barfed up a ball of bloody mucous. I went to the doctor. It turned out I had a bleeding ulcer. Kind of a rite of passage for a new entrepreneur. My blood tests showed that I tested positive again for a couple autoimmune screeners. Rheumatoid factor and ANA (anti-nuclear antibody). Honestly, my gut feeling is that I have lupus. I’ve had this gut feeling for years. Since six months after my toxic exposure. I kind of knew. I think most people know. But I went through years of people telling me it was all in my head. And trying to convince myself otherwise. Ultimately, I realized that this was doing more harm than good. I need to accept who I am. What I am. What I’m going through. I do not need to spend energy denying, trying to fit into other people’s boxes, being in some weird limbo because my test results aren’t consistent with other people’s expectations. It’s not helpful. It’s painful. It feels like a step backward. I’m frankly not capable of humoring the situation any longer. I’m a reasonable person. I’m well mannered. I’m agreeable. It’s really not me. It’s the situation. And this situation isn’t working for me. My doctor suggested that I go to see more specialists (a really expensive, really frustrating, really unfruitful endeavor). This prompted a meltdown where I told her I was never going to the doctor again. Kinda dramatic, I realize. But that’s where I’m at right now. And apparently, this is considered a normal reaction to this situation.

What’s the answer? This is a good question. And one that I’m still kind of processing…

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No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn


March 28th, 2013

nooch
Woah nelly! Things have been crazy around here. So crazy that I haven’t had much time for posting lately. I have really been keeping my head down and my nose to the grindstone. In a way, I think being sick is really good preparation for starting a business. Looking forward, it looks kind of hopeless most days. Making the impossible happen. Looking back, it looks like a miracle. The hard part is keeping focused when you’re the only one who can see it. I think that learning to be zen in situations that are well, unpleasant, is what being sick is all about. Same with starting a business. You just have to keep busting through barriers despite how it looks on the outside. Keep pushing. No matter what. Until one day you look up. And you realize that you’re whole environment has changed. So anyway, our environment has sure changed alright. We are really starting to carve some marks out on the map of the US of A. We’ve been consistently selling out at NOOCH (an awesome vegan boutique in Denver).

park and vineI am continually amazed that the cheese has developed a following in places where I didn’t even know there was an audience for vegan products. PARK AND VINE is another new store in Cincinnati that has started carrying us. Who knew that Cincinnati was such a hotspot for vegans! I admit that in the beginning, I thought nut cheeses would be too weird to fly in the midwest. Man, was I ever wrong. (My boyfriend who incidentally is from the Midwest is quick to remind me of this).

brainer
The cheeses are even selling in Brainerd, MN at the CROW WING FOOD CO-OP! Brainerd is a fairly small town in central MN. Not exactly where I’d expect to find a hotspot for vegan fare. But that just goes to show how much I know. Thanks for schooling me, Brainerd!

wheatsville
WHEATSVILLE in Austin, TX is another store that has been selling a ton of cheese. I actually went to college in Austin. So it feels pretty satisfying to reconnect with the city.

vegan haven
I used to live in Seattle too. Home of VEGAN HAVEN. Another hotspot for our cheese.

mckinleyville
We even made it out to Humboldt County, CA! We’re at McKinleyville Central Market there.

malt and mold
And of course, New York City! That’s where it all started for us. And it’s kind of an epicentre for us. We have several new stores there. MALT AND MOLD is an amazing beer and cheese store on the Lower East Side.

high vibe
HIGH VIBE is an amazing raw and vegan boutique in the East Village. I think it’s in the East Village anyway. I’ve been corrected on my NYC geography a few times.

perelandra
Last but not least is our newest store. PERELANDRA in Brooklyn. This is a really new development. Like, today new. We’re really excited about this. In fact, if you go there now, they should have some free samples of the cheese to try. I think they might also have the best deal in town on the cheeses. Definitely check it out.

Needless to say, we have been really really busy. I have pushed my body to it’s limits. And beyond. I’m hoping this new development is a sign. No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn! But now we’ve arrived. Brooklyn! We are in your hood! What happens once you get to Brooklyn? Two days of sleep? That sounds good. Maybe this is the start of a kindler, gentler era of growth. Because I am having a monster flare-up right now. But I digress. There will be a whole other post about this tomorrow. Wanna know how to start a business with no money and chronic health problems? Well, I’m still figuring that one out myself. But I’ll tell you’ve what I’ve learned tomorrow…

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Lemon Thumbprint Cookies


March 17th, 2013

lemon thumbprint cookiesHello 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. :)

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