About Me

My photo


Change. I've learned to embrace it, ride it out til the end. Sometimes I'm kicking and screaming, other times weeping with my eyes clinched tight. Once in awhile I ride like a dog in a car, head out the window snorting what life has to offer. Mother to young adult children, a marriage of thirty years, and a desert to mountain to valley waltz with God have shaped me into someone I never imagined I'd be. Life is short and I want to live it. Tears, sighs, laughter and change. Every morsel granted to me. Scrambled, shaken or stirred.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ Salted Caramel Pecan Fudge Pie...















Salted Caramel Pecan Fudge Pie

Crust:

2 Cups pecans
1 Cup pitted dates
2 tsp cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

In food processor or super blender combine these items until they stick together in a doughlike clump. If too sticky to handle add a little more cocoa and a few more pecans. If not sticky enough add a few more dates. Press the mixture into a large (greased) pie pan or the bottom of two greased tart pans. If your mixture is a little weepy, just soak up the extra juice with a paper towel, I had to blot mine.

Filling

1 2/3 cups dark chocolate chips (melted)
1 pkg silken tofu (Mori Nu 12.3 oz, I used firm)
1 1/2 TBSP cocoa
1/8 tsp salt
2 TBSP agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla
1 TBSP non-dairy milk.

Mix all together all ingredients except melted chocolate. When completely mixed add the chocolate and combine until uniformly chocolate. Spoon mixture into pie shell or tart pans. Place in refrigerator.

Salted Caramel Pecan Topping

2 TBSP Earth Balance
3 TBSP brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 Cup chopped pecans (toasted are nice)
1.5 tsp cocoa powder
3 pinches of salt (about 1/16 to 1/8 teaspoon)

Melt Earth Balance, add brown sugar and heat til it bubbles and comes together, stirring constantly, turn heat down and simmer for about a minute. Add the remainder of the ingredients. Drop randomly onto the pie.

Keep refrigerated. (If you don't eat it in one sitting.)This is delicious. Totally. Every omnivore who tried it loved it, so it's not just for those freaky Vegan tastebuds.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ Post Thanksgiving Recipe Round Up


A few more Thanksgiving recipes. As long as I still have a few leftovers, I can keep posting, right? & made a brown rice "stuffing" that cannot be shared with y'all. If I don't watch her and write down what she's doing the "recipe" remains in her brain alone...and not for long. Ha. Ha. But there is one more meal's worth of that bad boy... so one more recipe tomorrow. It will be worth it. Salted Caramel Pecan Fudge Pie....oh, BABY, it's amazing!


Mushroom Sage Gravy






3 TBSP Earth Balance
3 TBSP flour
1 oz package mushrooms (diced)
1/2 med or 1 small onion (small dice)
1 minced clove of garlic
4 Cups vegetable broth
2 tsp dried sage
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
3 TBSP red wine vinegar


Saute onion and garlic in Earth Balance until they are carmelized. Add mushrooms and saute until tender. Add flour. When it is all mixed in and forms a paste add the veggie broth. As sauce thickens and simmers add the sage and thyme. When it gets to the consistency you want taste it. Add the vinegar, taste again, add the salt if needed. Great over potatoes or on the Chick pea cutlets. I spied a few family members drenching turkey, too. Makes about 3 1/2 cups depending on how thick you like it.

Here is a bonus. Vegan Mashed Potatoes

4 Lbs organic potatoes, large dice (leave skin on unless you hate chunky potatoes)
1 head of cauliflower (deflowered, as in cut the good stuff off the stems and get rid of the stems)
4 cloves garlic
4 TBSP vegan cream cheese
3 TBSP Earth Balance
potato water or unflavored/unsweetened non-dairy milk if needed
salt and pepper to taste.


Boil the potato chunks and garlic in a pot large enough to add cauliflower to so all can be covered in water and lidded (a dutch oven worked, a large crockpot will work too, if you are doing this the night before. If you want to use a crockpot, add the cauliflower with the raw potatoes and cook on low overnight). Add cauliflower when potatoes are nearly done. (25 minutes or so into the simmer process.)When everything is tender (45 minutes or so) turn off heat. When cooled enough to handle without danger of scalding, carefully drain, saving a cup or two of potato water. (More if you are making gravy and need it for that.) Mash all -- garlic, potatoes, cauliflower. Mash some more. It won't be smooth with the skins. And that's good. Add the cream cheese and mix it in real well. Taste, add potato water or unsweetened non-dairy milk if needed for consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. When happy with texture and taste, mix one more time and leave three small wells on top of potatoes. Add the 3 TBSP of Earth Balance, one in each well. As people dig in the "butter" will end up on most servings. Feeds at least 15 people unless they are potato freaks. My 3 quart crockpot was nicely full.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ Brrr It's Cold Outside...Soup for You...

I spent the weekend being domestic. I. E. I did a lot of cooking and began the start of some craft projects. I made a big ol' batch of Seitan (Vegan with a Vengeance version) and decided I needed to use up some onions that had decided to begin sprouting in my pantry. Here's what came out of that. 

(Happy Tail-end Side of Birthday Week to You, X-ta! Hope it's been a good one.)

"Steak" and  Potato Stew

2 Cups Potatoes small dice (3-4 potatoes)
1 TBSP Earth Balance
1 Cup Chopped Mushrooms
2 Small or 1 Medium/Large Onion
7 Cups Vegetable Broth
1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
2 Cups Small Dice Seitan
1/2 tsp Salt
1 TBSP Balsamic or Red Wine Vinegar

Melt Earth Balance in Dutch oven/soup pot) or frying pan. When hot add onions until they begin to caramelize, then add mushrooms and saute until tender. Either transfer to a crock pot (if using frying pan) or add directly to the Dutch oven the vegetable broth, soy sauce, potatoes, seitan. Simmer until the potatoes are tender. (Low 5-6 hours, high 2-3, stove top 1 hour) Taste and either add the salt or skip it. Add vinegar and serve with crusty bread.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ ThanksgiVing Cranberry Citrus Apple Bake


Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

I'm watching a colorful sunset and relaxing before we go to our next Thanksgiving meal. The recipes I wanted to create worked. Which is why I didn't post yesterday. Not that they worked but because I was still doing research. Or, maybe experimentation would be a better description.

I'm going to share them with you.

The first one is the:

Cranberry Citrus Apple Bake

1 1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries (you could probably use fresh with no problem)
1 Cup Craisins
5 Small Oranges (Like Clementines or Mandarins) or 2-3 larger ones.
3 TBSP Maple Syrup
3/4 Cup Chopped Pecans
6 Medium-sized Apples
1 Cup of Oatmeal
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar

Spray 9 x 13 pan. Preheat oven to 350 when ready to bake.

Mix the cranberries, craisins, Pecans and 2 TBSP of the maple syrup together. Squeeze all the oranges over the mixture, scrape out any extra pulp you want. Set aside to let the flavors marry.

Slice the apples into thin slices, you don't need to peel them. Lay the slices in the 9 x 13. Drizzle the apple slices with the remaining maple syrup, sprinkle brown sugar over that and follow with the oatmeal. Cover this with the cranberry mixture.

Bake at 350 for 45-minutes to an hour. Serves 20-24.

If you are doing Black Friday, be careful out there!!!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ Affluenza and the Thanksgiving Season...

It is late afternoon, a late, gray afternoon. Three animals are curled up next to me. One purrs, another snores. All are blessedly warm.

And I'm hurrying to post some blog posts for the three blogs I dilly-dally around with and am feeling a sense of accomplishment, or maybe relief.

Dinner is partially ready. I've got a kitchen chemistry class tonight, and am going tomorrow to buy the rest of the food I need to create Vegan masterpieces for Thanksgiving. I don't plan to shop on Black Friday. I plan to sleep in two or three mornings this weekend.

But why do I feel a little crabby? And stressed? And overwhelmed?

My mind is already on the next few weeks and what that means. It means juggling, working, cleaning, shopping, cooking, cleaning, interacting, acting joyful. I want simple. But I don't allow myself to embrace simple. Instead, I complicate. If one is good enough, three would be incredible. But sometimes I give up at two and feel guilty.

Is this an American disease I've picked up? The dreaded affluenza? Is there a cure for it?

I've heard some sermons about words lately. Not new information. Crud. I've studied it myself. And it's not just a Biblical truth. It's a universal truth that a negative mindset breeds negative words and stinking thinking becomes the emotional equivalent to a bed bug infestation. What is the antidote to stinking thinking? This season, Thanksgiving (even though it's been completely eradicated by Christmas gloss and glitter at every store I've stepped into this week...but that's stink think) offers a huge piece of the puzzle. Gratitude.

I am grateful that today I have a few moments to breathe and catch up on a task. And I'm grateful I have a job. I'm grateful for warm animals who love me, heck, they adore me, and when I'm not tripping over, or cleaning up after them, a cuddle, a lick or a tail wag can definitely make a bad day not so bad after all. I'm grateful that I have three children who live close enough that I can see them on holidays. I love that I have been able to become friends with the grown-up versions of their special selves. I love that I have a roof over my head when some don't. I'm grateful that I have food in my freezer and pantry. I never have to worry about stretching one cup of rice or beans into three meals. My worry is what exactly I can add from my riches to make those beans and rice taste better. I have shoes. Lots of shoes. Not Imelda Marcos style, but I have more than one pair, and can always find socks without holes, too. My family is relatively healthy. No one is in the hospital. No one is currently reeling from bad news. My husband is a good man and we have a good life. We don't need for anything. Most of what we long for are wants.

Ten minutes of pondering what I'm grateful for and I already feel better.

Sigh. In and out. The air I breathe, the God who gives it to me. The sun that is hidden. The cold that has gripped the earth to slow the cycle of growth so even the ground can rest. And the signal that I am supposed to seek rest as well. Yes. I am very, very blessed.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ Oh Yeah, This One Was Tasty...Asian Cranberry Slaw


On my quest to find delicious and Vegan or Veganable recipes for Thanksgiving I found a braised cabbage recipe that sounded pretty yummy. Except all the flavor came from pepperoni. Uhhh, so I put the idea of a warm cabbage slaw into my think-tank and this is what came out.

Braised Asian Cranberry Slaw.

1 Onion, small dice
2 TBSP sesame oil
1 tsp soy sauce
4 Cups Chopped Cabbage (or approx 1/2 large head cabbage, I used purple)
2 TBSP rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
1 TBSP sesame seeds
1/2 cup craisins

Heat 1 TBSP sesame oil in pan. Get it hot. Toss in onions and cook til browned and aromatic. Add cabbage and cook until it begins to shrink and tenderize, 3-5 minutes add soy sauce and hot pepper flakes. Stir and cook until cabbage is coated. Turn down flame and add sesame seeds, vinegar and last TBSP of sesame oil. Stir well, add craisins, stir again and serve.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ ThanksgiVing with a Capital V...

To work through this Thanksgiving feast conundrum I think I have to dissect it. It helps to think about what I like, need, love about the Thanksgiving feast occasions.

Here is my early dissection list: the flavors and textures I love, the things that scream Thanksgiving meal.

Rolls. This is no issue. I’ve got a French bread recipe from the red gingham cookbook that is virtually Vegan. It calls for egg whites which I’m just going to skip since they just help make the bread crusty. And the suggestion was to use water if you want extra crusty. Win. Win. I’m going to make a batch of bread, as rolls, and with whole grain flour and some extra fun added. I'm thinking garlic rolls, some rosemary onion rolls, and maybe some herb with parsley, sage, and thyme.

I love the taste and texture of cranberry relish, but it has gelatin in it. I could use agar but I have an idea that will take a cranberries relish type dish another step into deliciousness. Stay tuned.

I’ve never been a die-hard turkey fan and I’ve always LOATHED dressing. This may be because early on I discovered my mom used giblet juice (and possibly little bits of giblets themselves sliced and diced but this is usually denied in an attempt to get me to eat it.) I always put gravy on my turkey and usually just ate one serving, calling it good. This year I’m going to make the Chickpea Cutlets. I think I might make smaller ones and bake them in the gravy. I’ll add sage and celery to the gravy to give it that Thanksgiving taste. More on this later, too.

Potatoes. That’s easy. We don’t need to make them, but I may do a batch anyway. Cut and boil potatoes (about 5 pounds) leave skin on for texture, a few peeled cloves of garlic and salt to taste, toss in a bag of frozen or fresh chopped cauliflower, when all tender, drain most of the water. Save some if needed. Add a container of Vegan Cream “Cheese” (Trader Joe’s has one.) Mash to consistency you like, add more potato water if needed. Make a few wells, add a TBSP or so of Earth Balance to each well.

My aunt has made a fudge pecan pie for years. That sucker is delicious. And full of dairy. So. I’m thinking that what I love best is the fudginess and the pecan. The flavors can be Veganized, No problem there, either. Not sure how yet, but it's on my list. Stay tuned.

Pumpkin. & has produced two different, delicious caramelized pumpkin nut “cheese”cakes. And she just needs to tweak her recipe to pull off the perfect Vegan pumpkin pie, traditional style.

& also keeps mentioning a Vegan stuffing recipe she found somewhere.

All of these sound delicious and I'm pretty sure they will scratch the itch and fill the "meat and dairy" void. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ Gobble, Gobble, Gulp...


My anxiety level clicked up a notch today.

Why? Probably because I solidified plans for two Thanksgivings and remembered a church Harvest dinner I'd signed up for. Not a big deal. Really. None of them are at my house. And I kind of have them all on my radar. But. These suckers are all a week or less away.

Yikes.

This is the first year we are going to concern ourselves with the Vegan thing, too. Which means that what I prepare has to be Vegan for us to eat without guilt and/or sadness that we are gorging on stuff we don't really want to gorge on, and it has to taste good to others, those who are hoping that what we bring to the table is going to be deliciously up to our normal standards of food.


I've been called a good cook. And I've had folks ask my husband and kids what I made so they can be sure to grab some at potlucks. I don't want to become the weirdo lady who brings tasteless food to gatherings. I want to keep my good cook badge.


The other issue I have is the stupid Martha Stewart inner freak who wants to not only make things good enough, she wants to make things that cause tastebuds to rejoice, and tears to well and maybe even spill over the eyelid and trickle down a cheek. You know. Sappy stuff which is better than a purple ribbon at a state fair.

My challenge over the next few days is to find, tweak, twist and wrestle foods that embody the spirit of Thanksgiving and the heart of "Kind" eating i.e. Whole Food Plant-Based.

I'm not even thinking about Christmas. The Eves of many Christmases past have been at my house and full of soups rich with meaty goodness, cheeses, creams. Cookies, and candies made with items like butter.

Suffice it to say. This blog is going to continue to be about food. I'm very grateful that there are hundreds of other blogs that are about food, too. I'm going to need all of them as I take the holiday challenge to beat my own holiday food expectations.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ Monkeying Around

Crazy day.

For starters. I was a little crabby. People annoyed me today. So it's probably good that I didn't have a patient filled day as I was seriously lacking patience. : ). However. I did start out my morning with a new guy who laughed like I was a stand up comedian. (This is my absolute favorite thing. I have another patient that hoots and hollers at almost everything I say. Trust me, a person is seriously good when she can make, "I need you to put this paper top on so it opens in the front. Remove your blouse and bra and lay them right here." funny on any level. I do, apparently. It's pretty amazing. (Okay, sometimes I ad lib and add a few other one-liners, and these folks are fasting which means they DO not have the benefit of coffee in their systems, which can affect common sense and bring drastic mental changes.) But still. However, an enthusiastic hooter generally only crosses my path a total of three minutes, and they are usually long gone when I hit the paperwork part of my job.

I left work when the scanner took the equivalent to a spring break and refused to come back, even when I whistled for it and promised it treats.

& and I went to the big city again for groceries, our Financial Peace University Dave Ramsey class, and candle shopping et al. Ecoscents, a local "cottage" candle shop was kind enough to honor a Groupon we both purchased and then procrastinated and tried to redeem on a day they were closed, the last day of redemption. They gave us the full value, even though the date had passed, and really, honestly, we should not have procrastinated and should have noted that they wouldn't have been open on the last date because they don't have weekend hours. Nice of them to be generous, they really could've just given us the value we paid as required, instead they let us spend the full amount. The candles smell amazing. And they will refill the jars, and any other candle jars we have, for a discount of 30%. Kind of cool. I picked out a cranberry hot tea and an herbal medley that are yummy. 

Since we were in the neighborhood, (literally, we walked through the ditch that separated the stores) we visited an indoor farmer's market that is chock full of locally grown and made items. Fun and quirky and nice to know we can still find some local stuff after the farmer's markets go to sleep for the long winter.

Finally, the pictures. This is Latte Art. & made me a monkey. I'll let you figure out which one is her monkey in my mocha soy latte, and which is the pro's monkey. We will be generous and say this was a) her first attempt at a monkey, and b) soy milk doesn't quite produce the foam that milk does, so there's that. 

As far as financial wisdom. Uhh. I wish I had taken Financial Peace University about twenty years ago. I'd be typing this from some beach somewhere...maybe. :  )

Monday, November 14, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ Monday Malaise...

...might just have to do with the time change. Or the fact that Monday comes too early and weekends are too short. Or because the weather tells me that the cocooning season is here.

It is dark at 5:15 around here. Dark. Last week found me in PJ's and slippers twice before 7:00 p.m. In my defense, 7:00 p.m. felt like midnight. And I technically could wear my PJ's out and about. Could. Shouldn't, wouldn't, but could.


We've been doing some cooking and baking. Our goal is to use up what we've already got, creatively. Some of the results are mehhhh, which is the Monday Malaise way to say, edible but not yell-it-from-the-mountaintops-worthy, hence no recipes or photos of the results.

Veganomicon (by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, really, I'm just a fan, not a full-on stalker. She's got great recipes! ) gave me a nice little chickpea cutlet to try out. Try out I did. And they will be on the Thanksgiving menu. Yum. I made a nice little mushroom sage gravy that, with a bit of tweaking, will star as well.


My dad's birthday celebration happened last night. Save for the salmon I steamed then broiled for the meat-eaters, everything else was Vegan and pretty much got snarfed up. We had frozen squash soup base from an earlier huge batch of squash soup and we added roasted veggies of all sorts (the last of the CSA farm veggies) turnips, beets, potatoes. & outdid herself with caramel walnut pumpkin "cheese"cake, and chocolate almond pies. She even tried her hand at a tofu-free regular pumpkin pie.


We ate well over the weekend. A quick trip into Trader Joe's gave us a thrill. The farm brussel sprouts bit it in the hail storm. But these little cuties looked great, tasted even better and make for lots of fun veggie moments.






Friday, November 11, 2011


Marbled Mix-Up Oatmeal Squares

3/4 Cup Flour of choice (I used Whole Wheat Pastry)
1/2 teaspoons soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 Cup Coconut Oil or Earth Balance
3 TBSP Sugar
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 TBSP ground Flax seed
3 TBSP water
1 Cup Oatmeal
1 Cup Vegan chips of choice/or dried fruit/nut/chip combo of choice


Grease 9 x 13 pan, pre-heat oven to 350. Place flax seed in water and set aside. In mixing bowl combine oil/Earth Balance, sugars, vanilla. Add flax mixture. Mix in soda, salt, flour. Finally add the oatmeal.

Scrape mixture into pan. Then sprinkle topping combo (i.e. semi-sweet with dried cranberry, or just semi-sweet, semi-sweet and white, etc.) over the batter. Place in oven and bake for 2 or 3 minutes. Remove from oven, run knife up and down lengthwise, then widthwise, through chocolate/chips/topping and batter, making marbled swirls. Place back in oven, finish baking for 12 or so minutes. Cool. Cut into 24 squares.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ Reading, Cooking, Rithmetic....


We've been taking classes like crazy lately. And learning lots of great information. 

The farmers are taking us to an organic growing class in early December. One of the sessions will be all about non-pesticide pest control. Hopefully they will teach the words and steps to the Horrible-Horned-Tomato-Worm be-gone ritual. 

Until then & and I have signed up for four weeks of Kitchen Chemistry. Sounds dangerous to me, too. Especially with the two of us on board. Good news, we don't actually touch the hot pots, the blenders, the chef knife. We get to eat the examples though. This instructor leans Vegan. 

Our first class was all about fats. Useful information and a few great substitute ideas. Tofu Hollandaise and Caesar salad dressing were actually called tastier by several non-vegans in the class.

I learned the following: That very little flavor comes from the fat, including butter. Fat is added for texture, heat transfer and binding. So it can be tweaked with to avoid some fat. She suggested that fried foods can be roasted if the heat transfer issue is handled correctly. Fried foods need the frying oil to be at the 300-350 stage so that the oil immediately sears the food and seals it. So the oven needs to be set to 450 to compensate. A cast iron cooking source (i.e. pan or griddle) or baking stone can be preheated with the oven. Then the veggies laid upon it (allowing space for proper cooking) and the food put back into the oven. A nice crust/sear should occur and create a texture that is similar to frying. Hmmm. Going to have to try that out. She also said that nut meals can take the place of some fat and some flour. 1/2 cup equals 2 TBSP fat, 2 TBSP flour. I'll be trying that out as well. Veggie and fruit pulp can be used in place of oil in salad dressings and other items. Potatoes can add cream to soups. And when doing a vinegar oil dressing. Always put the spices/seasoning in the vinegar and let it sit for 5 -10 minutes. The water soluble portion is what accepts the flavors. 

I'm also partnering with & at a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University class. Uhh, if you don't have common sense money skills, hate money handling, have a desperate need to make some changes, look into taking this class. Seriously good information. I actually understand the concept and a tiny bit of the language of investing after just one video lecture.


Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ Last Farm Day and a Song...

Yesterday was the last official farm day of our extended CSA season. I can't believe there were still veggies to pick and pack. But there were. Spinach leaves the size of my hand, a bag of mixed green lettuce, sage, rosemary, thyme. (Makes me want to burst out in song. Oops, more about that later.) Tomatoes, Swiss Chard, garlic, radishes, turnips and beets. A full bag of yumminess. We had been recycling boxes every week. The picture shows just a few of the bags we packed. 24 of them that almost covered two 8 x 4 tables. That's a lot of stuff to pick, to wash, to weigh, separate, and pack. But it finished the year on a tasty note and shows that even baseball sized hail can not kill spirit, only a few plants. 

Now on to &'s embarrassing moment. 

She and I tend to be singers. (Not in public, usually, mind you). The songs we sing are usually motivated by what is going on around us and set to popular tunes/and or composed on the spot tunes. I suppose I started this twisted little thing. When the kids were little I'd sing while I drove. Or when they were pouting, or throwing temper tantrums, or whining. Sometimes in moments of cuddling, but the kids would usually put their sweet little hands over my mouth then. So maybe that's why I'd sing where the could not reach my lips. Anyhoo. I just made up songs and got a real kick out of it if they rhymed accidentally or fit into the tune. The louder the background noise (whining et al) the louder I sang.

& has this "gift". We actually have called her the singing bush girl (the movie Three Amigos...if you've not seen it, you are missing out.). So, on Sunday, the dogs had just gone out to go potty and & let them in and began singing to them. I was upstairs and heard the singing, and since it's a usual background noise, I didn't pay attention. Until I heard conversation. Uhhh. What? 

& had her back to the front door, pretty much standing in the doorway, the door was open save for the glass storm door. She was singing to the dogs and texting. Singing real loud. Suddenly, from just behind her she heard a timid knocking. She silenced the song, turned and faced some young, slightly smirking man on the other side of the glass. He was just going through the hail-whacked neighborhood leaving a business card if anyone was looking for a carpenter. 

I wonder if he's telling the story about the crazy singing lady.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ Culinary Conference Two Thumbs, Two Paws Up...



Part 2 of the Culinary Conference.

Isa's session was tasty and entertaining. She brought three kinds of cookies. The maple walnut cookie was amazing, surprisingly beating out the double chocolate one.

She also has a dry sense of humor. This is my favorite. I am so not dry. If I think something is amusing, it falls out of my mouth followed by laughter...my own, sometimes ONLY mine. But someone with dry humor can deliver a killer comment with no emotion even flickering across their features. Isa delivered.

She started with a matter of fact comment that pretty much slayed the group. The previous gals had shared the details of the construction of their cookbook which included lots of local history. One piece, a rare find, proved the legend of the creation of the famous Reuben sandwich in our neighborhood. One of the gals shared that New Yorkers had claimed the sandwich beginning in the 40's, but the cookbook authors have a menu with proof that it was served locally in the 20's. I don't know if these gals were taunting the New Yorker in the audience or were clueless that they were tossing a gauntlet...

Isa began her session and mentioned she grew up in New York, where the Reuben sandwich was created. Ha.Ha. 

You just have to love people, don't you? One guy's phone rang right in the middle of her talk. It didn't just ring, first an electronic voice loudly chimed each digit of the phone number calling him. Then the ring. He did excuse himself to answer it. A few minutes later he returned, told Isa that his friend was in some other state, and wanted him to tell Isa that she loved one of her salad recipes. Unfortunately, Isa was in the middle of a sentence, during her speech, at the time he delivered the message. Yeah.

The picture of Isa gives a nice fun house effect. The lights were half on, half off as she had a power point going. This was snapped just as my mom finished telling her that & and I are big fans and we were going to begin stalking her. The fuzziness of the picture is because I really don't know how to take a picture of someone who's just been notified of impending stalking without being real creepy doing so... I think the lighting does a great job highlighting that moment of horror for Isa.

The other picture is one of her power point ones, one of her cute kitties and a friend. Not sure if this is the famous Fizzle cat, but regardless, it's a cute one.
Tomorrow. I have to share &'s hilarious "oops" moment that has NOTHING to do with Isa.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ Culinary Conference Two Thumbs Up



A neighboring library sponsored a Culinary Conference on Saturday. It was pretty much all about the celebration of food. The city's local college has a culinary program with a terrific reputation and, as I found out, a bistro. (Going to have to try that.) They also put together a cookbook as a fundraiser for a scholarship program in memory of a classmate who passed away. It was a fascinating panel discussion. None of them, including the instructor, had worked on a cookbook before.

The library provided lunch. Nice. Even a sage hummus. Double nice. Serendipitously, there was a cookbook exchange. We could bring cookbooks we didn't love and try to find cookbooks we could. And we did. Several Vegan/Vegetarian books to choose from. Nice. The event was free. NICE!


And if that wasn't enough, there were framed menus from old restaurants. Some were just cool to look at, and some were memory provokers. The prices. Yikes. My mom pointed out the menu from the restaurant at the bus station that she and dad ate breakfast at the morning after their wedding. Ha. She said at the time she thought he was romantic, but after seeing the prices she realized he was just cheap. Ha. Of course that was 50 years ago.
Our area is known for some pretty impressive restaurants. The library director said the reputation of fine dining helped him make his decision to move to the area.

All of that was really nice. But the cherry on top was Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Dare I finish this post tomorrow? It seems cruel. But I have so much to say. Cliffhanger.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ The Kind Diet ~ Reviewed


Alicia Silverstone

My Review:


Alicia Silverstone's Vegan/kindness tome went with us on a recent road trip. The passengers in the car passed it around and read up on some of what Alicia had to say. She gives great information on how and why to go Vegan. She shares delicious recipes. Her peanut butter cups and Rustic Pasta are amazing, and many pages in our copy of The Kind Diet have become stained and/or dogeared in the months since the road trip.


Alicia's voice is friendly girl-next-doorsy and she shares little stories, encouragement and pictures from her life. Her book is part why, and focused on the Kindness of plant eating, to animals, the planet and the human body. (Without graphic pictures and horrific stories of packing plants.) The how of her book is broken down into simple categories. In each category, she gives hints and examples and role models.The just getting started category, of those who are taking baby steps into Vegan eating, she labels flirts. The stricter and more devoted Vegan category is next, with tips and hints for those willing and ready to commit to a strict plant-based diet. Finally, she gives insight on the next class of plant-eaters, the Superheroes, those who embrace Veganism and take their passion to the next level. Some of her ingredients are not super easily grabbed at the local grocery store. Some I had not even heard of. She explores the debates on grains, sugars and soy. Discusses organics, pantry supplies, and the pros and cons of eating Nightshade vegetables. Her information includes a good, solid overview of how to get the nutrition the body needs from eating plants.


I don't think this should be the only Vegan cookbook you purchase if you are Vegan or going that direction. However, it's a good one to grab if you are a flirt, and it should take you to the edge of the Superhero chasm. We refer to it and cook from it often.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~Italian Cheezy Toflets w/ Garlic Tomato Sauce ~




Italian CheezyToflets with Garlic Tomato Sauce

1 pkge extra firm Tofu

Other veggies if desired. I used tiny, chopped up eggplant.
Marinade:

1 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 TBSP lemon juice
3 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp Italian seasoning

Breading:

4 TBSP nutritional yeast
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp Italian seasoning

Sauce:
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp olive oil
4 diced tomatoes
salt to taste

Drain and press tofu. Slice into cutlets (1/4-1/2" thickness, I got about 14). Drizzle or brush marinade on both sides of tofu. Let sit a few hours (overnight would be great but mine didn't sit very long.) Dip tofu slices in dry breading mix. Heat skillet and brown/crisp tofu slices. Lay in bottom of 9 x 13 casserole dish. If you have extra breading dump it over the top of the slices, or mix it with the other veggies you might be using. Put the veggie layer, if using, on top of the tofu. Let it sit. Mince the garlic and let it sit a few minutes. Heat the tsp of olive oil, toss garlic and saute until golden. Add chopped tomatoes. Dump garlic tomato mixture over the tofu slices. At this point I'd shake some sea salt over the whole dealio. Mine needed salt. Bake at 350 for approx 25-30 minutes. Serve with bread, salad, and whatever else sounds good. Serves 4-5

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Serials and Scenarios ~ Rick Lawrence's Sifted



What Will Your Troubles Reveal About You?


Rick Lawrence explores God’s “sifting” to discover why we suffer in this life.


Worn down by the troubles in your life? Overwhelmed by piled-up problems? Worried about others who are hurting? In his book, Sifted: God’s Scandalous Response to Satan’s Outrageous Demand, Rick Lawrence offers fresh biblical perspective on pain, based on a single Scripture snapshot: Luke 22:31-32.


“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” These two simple verses from Luke’s account of the Last Supper launch a profound exploration of the meaning of trouble in a Christian’s life. Suffering is inevitable, and if we’re honest, the explanations commonly offered often just don’t hold up or help very much. But Jesus’ perfect metaphor of sifting provides fresh perspective on why we suffer and what the sifting process can reveal in our lives.


Peter was to be “sifted like wheat”—shaken hard, beaten, and finally separated from his false identity. Satan was the one causing it, but Jesus would allow it. Lawrence’s verse-by-verse exploration offers insight, comfort, challenge, and a call to greater intimacy with the God who allows our pain because He wants us to know who we really are and what we can become.


If we believe that Christians are still sifted today, why do we so often judge those who are experiencing hardships? They must have done something wrong. God must be punishing them. But suffering is inevitable, whether it comes in the form of life-shifting catastrophe or the drip-drip-dripping of daily troubles. Sifted will encourage those who are facing trouble now and those who will face it in the future. It will encourage us to see our pain as a means to greater knowledge and intimacy with Christ. Lawrence offers a rigorously honest, deeply challenging, yet powerfully comforting exploration of the trials that beat us down, the good God who allows our troubles, and the incredible beauty the process of sifting can reveal in us.

About the Author: Rick Lawrence has been editor of GROUP Magazine, the world’s most widely read resource for Christian youth leaders, for 23 years and is the co-leader of The Simply Youth Ministry Conference. In his role as “Youth Ministry Champion” at Group Publishing, he leads the organization’s expeditionary efforts to challenge, encourage, and equip youth pastors. Lawrence has authored hundreds of magazine articles and is the author, co-author, or editor of 31 books, including JCQ’s: 150 Jesus-Centered Discussion Questions, Jesus-Centered Youth Ministry, and the adult/teenager small-group curricula Make Their Day and Ten Tough Things. He’s a consultant to national research organizations and a frequent conference and workshop speaker. Lawrence and his wife, Beverly Rose, live with their two daughters in Denver, CO.


Sifted: God’s Scandalous Response to Satan’s Outrageous Demand by Rick Lawrence

David C Cook/August 2011/ISBN: 978-1-4347-0074-2/300 pages/paperback/$14.99


My incomplete thoughts : I can't do a full review yet. I'm so behind reading and reviewing. However, I have started Sifted and am impressed with the depth of Scripture usage and the study of this intriguing and a little unsettling conversation between Jesus and Peter. More to come. But in the meantime, check it out.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Scraps and Snippets ~ Farmish Thoughts...

This will automatically post while I'm at the farm today. How fun is that? 


Okay. Fun might be overkill. I do love the autopost feature of Blogger, though. 


There is a rumor that it will hit the mid-70's today. And if the weather today is anything like yesterday, it's going to be fabulous. 


Did I mention we found a tomato worm while we cleaned up the garden? Remember the tomato worm? The horned devil of the bug/insect kingdom? The farmer had a ritual dance to make them go away. And to dispatch with one is horrendous and hideous, and may necessitate counseling. This sucker, the one we found, had fortunately already crossed over and it was as long as my pinky finger, and as thick around, too. UGH! Shudder. I'm thinking the farmer dance might just be a natural girlie reaction to a wicked ugly critter vs. a chant to make them go away. 


Tomorrow won't be a Vegan or food post at all. Just so you know. Today was going to be the same, but I'll be at the farm. Farm = food and veggies. And I've found out that today is World Vegan Day. The US has a total of four events to celebrate. But worldwide, whew, apparently there are lots of Vegans out there. It's a whole alternate reality for sure. Here's a comprehensive website if you are interested.