Ash Ambirge and Molly Patrick. From Trailer Parks and Teepees to Successful Entrepreneurs + Smoky Tempeh Strips


Today we’re ditching missionary style and we’re doing things a little differently.
Dust off the ol’ crotchless undies, align your chakras, and let’s get cozy.

When Luanne and I started Clean Food Dirty Girl in 2014 I knew I was going to have to start writing on a regular basis because besides video, how else do you connect with people all over the world from your computer (on a Wednesday morning while pantless and double fisting peanut butter stuffed dates)?

You write. You keep writing. You write some more.

You write emails, you write blog posts, you write landing pages, you write sales pages, you write website copy, you write receipt templates, you write for other websites so they will link to your website, you write your bio (10 gajillion times until it stops sounding like a dog barfing), you write Facebook posts, you write Instagram posts, you stare at Twitter wondering how to use it, then you write something short because you’re pretty sure that’s how it works.

You write until your keyboard goes out, your fingers are sore, and your ass is numb.

And then you write some more.

This was all fine and dandy apart from the teeny tiny fact that I was scared shitless to write because I was horrible at spelling and grammar and I did not consider myself to be a natural writer. But if I wanted to start my own thing online (which I wanted even more than three baby goats on my lap), I was going to have to fake the funk and start writing anyway.

Sometime in 2014, I found Ash Ambirge and her company, The Middle Finger Project. I was hooked from the get-go. Her real talk, her cussy ways, her fuck YES attitude, her advice about business and writing, it all worked for me. I was smitten.

I already knew that I didn’t want to be like every other plant based / vegan website / business out there. I wanted to be inclusive, I wanted to be real. I wanted my personality to be part of the deal, and I wanted to use the word fuck when deemed necessary (which as it turns out, is often).

Ash and her Middle Finger project gave me the pass I needed to say fuck it, and present my business to the world in a way that I have fun doing it.

Ash and her Middle Finger project gave me the pass I needed to say fuck it, and present my business to the world in a way that I have fun doing it. She is a warrior of words, a champion of authenticity, and the queen of staking your claim and going after what you want with vigor, a martini, and hot pink lipstick. So you can imagine my excitement when I found out that she had agreed to chat with me about her new ass-kicking book that just dropped! I could not wait to get on screen with her and talk about business and life and whatever else came up.

The morning of our video call, my armpits were literally dripping with sweat, and my stomach felt like it had a small to medium-sized camel in it. I was equal parts shit-scared-nervous and holy-shit-excited. As I suspected, she was a pure delight to talk with.

This video has absolutely nothing to do with eating a plant based diet, so if that’s what you’re after, skip it. Unless of course, you want to live the life of your DAMN DREAMS, and then, by all means, peep the goods!

Warning: this video contains exactly 2.4 billion curse words, so if your little one is around, or your conservative great Aunt Mildred, throw in some earbuds for this one.

Closed captioning available

Ash, thank you from the bottom of my teepee loving heart for talking with me. Your light shines BRIGHT as shit!

Ash’s new book is called The Middle Finger Project: Trash Your Imposter Syndrome and Live The Unf*ckwithable Life You Deserve. Read it, read it, read it! Also, check out her website, The Middle Finger Project for a much-needed dose of mic drops.

Have you ever wanted to start your own thing? I would love to hear about it in the comments below!

Smoky Tempeh Strips

Makes 48 strips
Author: Molly Patrick


Steaming Ingredients

  • 2 packages tempeh, steamed (directions below) (227 g / 8 oz each)
  • 2 cups water (475 ml)
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika powder

Marinade Ingredients

  • ¼ cup water (60 ml)
  • ¼ cup vegan Worcestershire sauce (60 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons smoked paprika powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper (about 20 turns)


Tempeh Steaming Instructions

  • Cut each tempeh block in half so you have 4 thick pieces.
  • Add two cups of water and the 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika to a pot, along with a steamer basket, and bring to a boil. Place all 4 pieces of tempeh in the steamer basket (it's okay if they stack on one another) and place a lid on the pot. Turn the heat to medium and steam for 15 minutes. If you don't have a steamer basket, no worries! Simply place the tempeh pieces directly into the simmering water and continue with the recipe as written.

Smoky Tempeh Instructions

  • While the tempeh is steaming, mix up your Marinade by placing all of the Marinade ingredients into a small bowl and whisking until combined.
  • When the tempeh is done steaming, use tongs to carefully transfer the tempeh from the pot to a cutting board. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. When cool, slice each piece widthwise into 12 slices about 1/4" thick, for a total of 48 strips. Place the slices in a flat-bottomed storage container and pour the marinade on top. Use your hands to gently coat all the pieces. Allow to marinade for 15-20 minutes.
  • Preheat your oven to 425 °F (220 °C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
  • Carefully transfer the Tempeh slices to your baking sheet and arrange in a single layer. Smear any remaining Marinade over the slices.
  • Bake for 15 minutes then turn each slice over and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until browned on the edges.
  • To make a most badass sandwich, lightly toast (or not) two slices of your favorite whole grain bread, smear some avocado on both slices of bread, layer on Smoky Tempeh Strips, top with sliced tomatoes, and your favorite lettuce greens. Take a big ol' bite and savor the yum.
  • If mayo is more your jam, check out this recipe for a staple whole food plant based sandwich spread.

Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with betting on YOU!


Get a weekly dose of inspiration to eat more plants and celebrate imperfection

Our Sweary Saturday Love Letters are written by our ex-boozer, ex-smoker, plant-loving co-founder, Molly Patrick.


  1. Ruth Prokesch on February 29, 2020 at 11:27 am

    Please explain why we steam the tempeh.
    I have a very similar recipe for tempeh “bacon” and it doesn’t say to steam the tempeh first.
    Thanks so much,

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl - Steph on February 29, 2020 at 3:02 pm

      Hi Ruth! Steaming is important because it removes bitterness sometimes associated with tempeh and it helps the tempeh absorb the marinade. Enjoy!

    • Georgina on March 1, 2020 at 4:57 pm

      Thanks so much for the link to Ash’s book. Listening on Audible now. I turned 60 last year and I also started long term unpaid leave from my work due to burnout. So many ah huh moments in this book. Sooo, this book isn’t just for the young starting out. I’m not sure where my work life is heading. It’ll be a surprise! Thanks so much Molly x

    • Georgina on March 1, 2020 at 4:59 pm

      I thought I didn’t like tempeh but since steaming first I quite enjoy it.

      • Molly Patrick on March 3, 2020 at 4:03 pm

        It really does make a difference!

  2. Emily on February 29, 2020 at 12:14 pm

    Amazing! I actually right this second want to start my own thing and have been thinking about it for awhile! It’s basically a “back to basics” wellness plan that takes away all of the bs commercialization of what “wellness” has become and gets back to basics to live your best life—eating well, drinking water, moving your body, learning your emotions, etc. I am a licensed therapist and my friend a personal trainer and together we want to help build a community that combines addressing mental health and physical health (can’t fully have one without the other!) and do something we think could really help people live their best lives. The great news is, all the tools are there, we’re just the support! I hope this is something people would be interested in, and although ambitious, I don’t know where to start! Thanks for sharing and listening!

  3. Polly on February 29, 2020 at 2:23 pm

    Great interview! So happy for you! Love you both! Ordered The Middle Finger Project on your recommendation and love it! You are both an inspiration to me! Thank you!

    • Molly Patrick on February 29, 2020 at 10:45 pm

      Fuck yeah!
      Isn’t Ash the best!?
      Be sure to sign up for her emails – they are gold.

  4. Erik on February 29, 2020 at 3:45 pm

    5 stars
    Hi Molly,
    Hopefully I’ve finally won the wrastlin’ match between me and my ‘pooter, and can finally get your Saturday fuckeries hand delivered to my inbox without any Microsoft-Church-Ladies trying to save my soul by blocking your non-dog barfing-sound-alike-missives!

    Just wanted to say what a fun read this whole post was! (Knew it would be by the linguistic awesomeness of the first paragraph!)

    • Molly Patrick on February 29, 2020 at 10:47 pm

      Thank fuck!
      May nothing come between me and your inbox EVER again, amen!

  5. Lesley Nicol on February 29, 2020 at 7:15 pm

    Always look forward to my Sunday email which is always a good read as is the blog page it directs to and of course not to mention the free recipe. Never had tempeh before and this looks an interesting way to prepare it.

    I have a daughter who has a passion for working with disabled folk, especially young people and has often talked about going into business with her partner. I’m going to encourage her to watch this talk between Molly and Ash Ambirge which might spur her on to make the jump. BTW Molly Patrick should you ever write your autobiography one day, it will be a very interesting and fun read.

  6. Jessica on February 29, 2020 at 10:07 pm

    5 stars
    I made this for lunch today. So delicious!

    • Molly Patrick on February 29, 2020 at 10:43 pm

      I’m so glad you liked it!

  7. Deb on March 31, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    5 stars
    Awesome interview, Molly! Loved her book SO damn much…just finished it tonight.

    I have a feeling that this book will be life changing!! Thank you for sharing about her -)


    • Molly Patrick on March 31, 2020 at 7:47 pm

      So glad you liked it!

  8. Jessie on May 3, 2020 at 9:54 pm

    I am having a hard time finding vegan worchestershire right now. Is there something I might substitute it with? Thank you so much!!

    • Molly Patrick on May 3, 2020 at 11:59 pm

      If you leave it out it will still be super yummy 🙂

      • Jessie on May 18, 2020 at 11:47 am

        Awesome! Thank you! I’m going to try it!

  9. Ghulam Mohyudin on May 6, 2020 at 3:36 am

    5 stars
    It was perfect the first time. I learn so much from you as well! Keep it up great post.

  10. Dora on May 16, 2020 at 6:42 am

    Dear Beautiful woman. I love your blogs ,your recipes,your everything ‘s I’m so happy you are part of my plantfood family you are inspiring.thank you lovely Molly .

    • Molly Patrick on May 18, 2020 at 11:33 am

      So much love headed your way!
      Thank you for the kind words.

  11. Dennis Edward on May 19, 2020 at 3:36 am

    Waoh………Yummy and delicious dish.Thanks a lot for sharing this.

  12. Karla on June 18, 2022 at 5:50 pm

    OMG! I just watched the whole interview…I laughed and cried…. And just downloaded the book on my Kindle. I am a teacher who loves kids, but is burned out 100%. I have been studying canine hydrotherapy for years, built a pool, and am going to (scarily, if that is a word….just fucking scared to death financially) GO FOR IT this fall! My boss could not give me a split with another teacher, but told me I need to take my days off….So, here I go, taking one day a week to work with dogs who need hydrotherapy. I am not 100% confident, but I have taken courses and know that I have resources. THANK YOU BOTH, for believing in women like me. <3 I hope I can somehow keep in touch with you both so that I won't give up …..

    • Team Dirty - Brittany on June 20, 2022 at 1:54 pm

      Yes! Go for it! And keep us posted. It sounds like an amazing and rewarding service. We are with you 💯!

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