Thursday, February 28, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Color Me Annoyed


I spent no less than twenty minutes looking for a shirt I wanted to wear today.

This is picture is PART of my closet. There are as many blue, gray and black upper body garments hanging under this rainbow of clothing.

Why? Twenty minutes? It's not like these don't fit. Oh, they all fit. It's not like I have a bunch of things I HATE in my closet. I'm actually pretty good at donating things I HATE.

My office is beastly hot most mornings. It has to be 80 on a really bad morning. Okay. That's not a huge deal, many of you would say it sounds like a dream, well, I'm not one of you, and it's too hot. So. Rather than sweat all day I avoid cardigans and sweaters. But I'm not giving up the cute cardigans I love and wear on weekends, so this issue rules out 1/3 of what is hanging in my closet.

Color. Some days you just want to be bright and fun, quirky or eclectic. Today I wanted to wear polka dots. Some days I prefer the simple canvas of black and gray. But today was a polka dot day. And my favorite polka dot shirt is a full swingy brown and cream polka-dotted baby doll top that happens to be sleeveless. The problem came with putting a sleeved item with it. Nothing looked good with it. And I tried five or six different options. So sad. So now I'm not wearing polka dots.

But, good news, I am wearing clothes. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ What Was That???

I got an email this morning. Xta accused me of being a slacker blogger. Asked me what was up with the past couple of weeks. 


I told her I was blaming a head cold, extreme busyness and a lack of fresh blog fodder. So, rather than post stuff that left me yawning I thought I'd give the WWW a break. 


But Xta told me that my daily post waiting for her in her inbox was a kick start to her day. 


I am not immune to threats and flattery (real or imagined) so here we go. Plinky prompt to the rescue. Feel free to chime in with your own answer in the comments, and with threats, flattery or any combination of thereof :  ).


What sounds remind you of your childhood? 


 My memories are rich with scents and sounds. For the most part, the scents are probably best left unremembered. I did have two brothers, after all, and we mucked horses and did a go around with chickens. Just sayin. 

The sounds that remind me of childhood..trains, road trips, and summer storms. We lived a few miles from a train yard. My nightly descent into sleep was populated with clangs, whistles and revving engines. Those sounds wove themselves into the fabric of my sleep memories. 

More irregular sounds flashed into my psyche during some of Iowa's impressive summer storms. Rain rhythmically pattering on the rooftop right above my corner bedroom and cascading down the gutter and down spouts softened the rumbles of thunder. And eased my fears when lightning cracked the sky


And one of my favorite sounds from childhood...road trips. We had relatives who lived a distance away. We'd pile in the car and drive. The usual squabbles probably hastened my parents' aging process and increased their blood pressure, but to this day, I love a road trip. Whining, fighting, complaining, potty breaks...they are part the pleasure of being held captive with my near dear ones. 


But I digress. Back to the childhood road trips. Once my brothers calmed down, and usually went to sleep, lulled by the hum of tires on pavement, I would relax into the car seat and soak up the sounds. The thrumming tires, the relaxed breathing of my brothers and the muted conversations between my parent, the sound of security. 


Sounds? Your turn. And, see you tomorrow...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Scraps and Snippets ~ Tempeh Taco Packets...

Had to put my creative cooking hat on. The natives were hungry and I had limited ingredients. 

So Tempeh Taco Packets were born. 

5 to 6 tortillas 
1 pkge tempeh
2 TBSP hot sauce with extra for garnish
2 TBSP lime juice
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 onion sliced
10 mushrooms sliced
2 sliced peppers (I used half a bag of Trader Joe's melage)
Toppings (if you have them) (or extra ideas for stuffing shells)
Vegan sour cream or unsweetened plain yogurt
chopped lettuce
chopped tomatoes
chopped black olives
chopped green onion
salsa or hot sauce
black or pinto beans

Mix hot sauce, lime, chili powder, garlic powder and cumin together. Slice tempeh and marinate in sauce. 

Heat the onion and peppers in a tiny bit of oil if you have a pan that sticks. When beginning to soften add mushrooms. In another pan fry slices of tempeh until they begin to brown. 

Place tempeh slices (4-6 for each tortilla based on how thick you sliced it) and a 1/6 of the vegetables on each tortilla, in the center. Add any other fillings you might want inside. 

Fold tortilla over filling. Two sides in. Then the other sides folded over that, kind of like wrapping a present. 

Grill the tortillas, flap side down, turn and finish. Add the toppings you want on top. Eat.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Scraps and Snippets ~ Chocolate Nachos

Nacho Chips

1 TBSP sugar
1/2 TBSP cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon melted coconut oil

6-8 tortillas.

Preheat oven to 225

Mix the cinnamon, cocoa and sugar together. 

Smear the coconut oil on the tortillas. Sprinkle the powder over the tortilla shell. Cut into triangles. We cut into wedges and cut those in half. Bake at 225 for 20 minutes. Then turn off the heat and leave them in the oven. 

Chocolate Strawberry Drizzle

1/8 Cup water
1/4 Cup strawberry jam
1/2 Cup chocolate chips

Heat the water until hot. Add the jam and mix together until it begins melting, then remove from heat. Add chocolate chips and stir until they are melted. 

Coconut Peanut Butter Drizzle

1 TBSP coconut oil
2 TBSP peanut butter
1/2 Cup chocolate chips. 

Heat peanut butter and coconut oil in sauce pan. When warm, remove from heat and add chocolate chips, stir until melted. 


2 kiwis
1 Mango
1 orange
1 handful of blueberries

Other Toppings

Diced strawberries
Chocolate chips
Chopped peanuts
Coconut Whipped Cream

Friday, February 15, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ A Thought for the Day...

I don't have anything swirling in my brain that must be shared with you. Don't get me wrong...I have a lot of swirling, it's just that most of it is a jumbled mass of huh!?! so I'm going to spare you. 

I went to Plinky for some prompts. 

Here is the question it posed.

"Do you have a favorite quote that you return to again and again? If so, what is it, and why does it move you?"


Here is my response. 


Words inspire, soothe and challenge me. So much so that I have a coffee table that is covered in my favorite verses. Or when our youngest moved out too soon and our hearts were in turmoil I could only finally find peace after I repainted her room and added the word HOPE to the wall. 


Words move me. My mom has even made comments about me and my word obsession. 


So it should be no surprise that I have favorite quotes that speak me. So many. Good books are highlighted or dogeared where a good quote lies. I've got journals with handwritten quotes. 


And out of all these words in my life the one quote that is foundational to me, the one that helps me focus all my swirling thoughts, all my needs, hopes and fears, toward truth and reality is a simple comment uttered two thousand years ago. 


John 6:68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.


 Like I said. Simple. And not all that profound. These words don't paint a picture or inspire me to do something great like train for a marathon or start a non-profit foundation.  But they are bedrock.

Let me explain. Peter, a simple fisherman had followed Jesus for a couple of years. He'd seen miraculous things and he'd listened to the heart and words of a man who spoke with authority and had claimed to be the son of God. Jesus's words infuriated the religious leaders and didn't always jive with the many religious laws that were preached. But those words must have ignited hope and righteousness within Peter because he left his life to follow Jesus. The things Jesus said carried deep authority and planted themselves into the soil of Peter's heart. 

In this simple statement I see the deeply planted tap root of Peter's faith. Jesus offered/offers healing, love, forgiveness and hope to those who would or will believe Him. He'd miraculously fed thousands from a small basket of food, He'd taught, and He'd healed. People followed Him in droves, but, He knew most just followed for the perks. He made some pretty intense statements before Peter's response. He called people to truly believe what He said, to give up their comfort and follow Him. He asked people to enter into a covenant relationship with Him. To allow Him access to their very beings. And people left, unwilling to sacrifice, unwilling to attach to Him, unwilling to believe. 


Jesus asked His disciples if they would be leaving Him, too. 


Peter responded. 


In my life I've struggled with belief. I've struggled with doubts. I've struggled with the commitment I've made to believe in Jesus. Religion and other "Christians" or Christians have discouraged, crushed, disappointed and infuriated me. Religiousity usually makes me sick versus gives me a desire to worship the God of the Universe. I have been horrified to see a "good Christian" treat another human being with contempt or unkindness. I've been disappointed when a person I respected falls in a too human way. 


But those things, those issues, those disappointments have to do with human failings, not Jesus. And when I look around at all the religions and non-religions and the belief systems I see that the majority are based on working to become a better person. I know I cannot become the person I was created to be without being in covenant with Jesus. I know that His sacrifice for me was personal and I don't want to waste it by rejecting what He did for me. Regardless of what is going on around me, what horror is happening in the world, what religion is doing in His name, I know Jesus. And I know that He is life and He offers life and He speaks life. And I choose life. Where else can I go? Final answer. Only to Jesus.  




Thursday, February 14, 2013

Scraps and Snippets ~ Maple Mustard Tempeh Mornay

Maple Mustard Tempeh Mornay

We had a Tempeh Mornay at a local restaurant last week. Rob loved it and wanted me to attempt it at home.

So, based on what I had on hand and my skills, this is what I came up with. The sauce at the restaurant had wine in it and I didn't have artichokes.... but this is tasty on it's own rights.

Sauce to taste, if you want sweeter or spicier adjust to the higher amounts:

1 and 1/2 to 2 TBSP mustard
1 and 1/2 to 2 TBSP maple syrup
3 - 4 TBSP flavored vinegar. I used orange champagne, but I think balsamic or red wine would be tasty, too.
1 TBSP flavored oil (I used sesame, but a nut, avocado or olive oil would be good.)
sesame seeds

2 Cups prepared quinoa
1 package tempeh cut into small cubes (I used three grain)
1/2 TBSP oil (I used sesame)
1 small or 1/2 medium onion diced
2 Cups chopped mushrooms
1 to 2 Cups chopped veggies of choice. I used Brussels sprouts. The restaurant used artichoke hearts.

Blend sauce together and set aside. Prepare quinoa as directed.

Saute onion and tempeh (and if using a vegetable that takes a bit to cook, add this now) in oil until onions are translucent and tempeh is golden.

Add the mushrooms and lightweight veggies and let them soften. Add quinoa and sauce. Stir well.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Cheesy, Cheesy, Cheesy...

I know the transition between QuitCHIR and recipes/Vegan talk was a little...well...non-existent.

But...clearly, the focus is now food.  But remember...attitude is within your realm of control and that may be the only thing you can.

Way back in November I mentioned the Artisan Vegan cheese project. 

& and Lindsey found recipes in Veg News magazine and took some trial runs to a Vegan meet up. I acted as chief bottle washer and spreader provider. 

The cheese was amazing. Brie, Chevre, Buffalo Mozzarella, cream cheeses and a Cheddar Cheese ball.

Since then, we've purchased a few cheesemaking books. And the girls have tried many, many different versions of recipes.

So far this is what they've learned. Each batch of cheese is going to be different. Any tweaking of the recipe will change the end result. Temperature, time, manufacturer of ingredients and...well, just about anything can make a huge difference. A quick cheese is inferior. Lemon juice and cashews, though nice to toss together and get a cheese-like result, is not Artisan cheese. The real deal has to age, and requires a fizzy, nasty, sour medium to do that. Rejuvalec is that medium. Grain rinsed and set out to begin sprouting. Once that happens, the grain is immersed in water until the water smells a bit like sweat socks. The other ingredients are added, and then the magic begins. 

Grains don't always begin to sprout when soaked so the all important rejuvalec can ferment. Not all miso is the same. Even the same manufacturer. Like I said, just about anything can go wrong.

The little cheese elves provided cheeses for family holidays, friends, several Vegan gatherings and have Facebook fans who have begun to order.

No two cheeses are the same...even the same recipe. I guess there is a reason there aren't hundreds of Vegan Artisan cheesemakers out there. 

The goal for this week. To get several pounds of cheese aged, packaged and delivered to new customers. Then on to tweak, tweak, tweak their cheeses into the ones that make those customers beg for more.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Scraps and Snippets ~ Fudge Fondue ~

Fudge Fondue

1/3 cup coconut oil
1 cup chocolate chips
2 TBSP flour
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 TBSP non-dairy milk

Place ingredients in a small warmer crockpot or low setting on a fondue pot, stir until combined and all chocolate is melted. Spoon fondue over the dippers. Dipping the items into the pot will leave residue so drizzling over their dippers is recommended.

Dipper ideas: strawberries, graham crackers/cookies, vanilla or mini chocolate chip cookies, mini oreos, strawberries, fresh pineapple chunks, grapes, pretzels, mango slices, dried fruit, marshmallows, banana chunks, apple or pear slices.  You can also use this as hot fudge for ice cream.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Scraps and Snippets ~ Buffalo Dip or Sandwich Spread ~

This dip was a hit at a potluck. Even with the most meat-loving, anti-Vegan men in the group. Got two thumbs up. And there wasn't much left.

Buffalo Dip or Sandwich Spread

Makes approx 4 cups.

2/3 cup unflavored, unsweetened soy yogurt 
2/3 cup Frank's Red Hot sauce or your favorite buffalo or hot sauce.
1/4 teaspoon ground celery seed
3/4 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon (heaping) ground black pepper
2 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro (or additional 2 TBSP finely diced onions)
2 Cans rinsed and drained garbanzo beans (approx 3 1/3 cups)
1 cup finely diced celery
1 TBSP finely diced onion or 1/2 TBSP dehydrated onions

Pita rounds, cocktail, Italian or French bread, tortilla chips or celery for dipping or sandwich making.


Put drained garbanzo beans in bowl and crush with a fork. Mix in all additional ingredients. Serve with celery sticks, chips, tortillas, pretzels, bread of choice.

Friday, February 08, 2013

QuitCHIR # Open the Door...

I snapped this picture when touring a local, historic jail.

And it occurs to me that our lives are a lot like this wall in the jail cell.

We write our version of our story on top of the circumstances that have placed the walls in the first place.

And then many of us continue to be imprisoned by the story, the walls, and the bars.

But, the jail I visited was open to come and go. It would have been a little crazy for me to close the door, sit down on the metal bunk and claim my place in that cell. 

Because the words written on that wall aren't my life, my story to tell. Nor are the words that I've written on my own walls complete truth. We are not stuck in the cell, and with that story, those words, unless we don't do anything about it. 

Choose to live. All aspects of living. Reclaim, Rewrite. Live. 

So. I wrote new words. 

Thursday, February 07, 2013

QuitCHIR # 24 Through and Through


Through shows what was hiding behind the scary obstacle. 

Through shows us landscape we've never encountered.

Through shows us what we are made of.

Through teaches.

Through shows us who's really with us on our journey through life. 

Through changes us, grows us, and challenges us. 


Wednesday, February 06, 2013

QuitCHIR #23 I Will Tomorrow...

 The quote is buried in the trees, as in can't see the forest for the trees. 

So here it is because it's a thought provoking one. 

Isn't it?

" Courage doesn't always roar.
Sometimes courage is the quiet voice
at the end of the day saying, 
'I will try again tomorrow.'"

Sometimes, it takes courage to just get out of bed and stand to face the day.

Sometimes, courage is opening that door and going back into that place that shreds your bravery, tests your boundaries and causes you to break out in a sweat.

Sometimes, courage is ending the battle you've been waging when the battle costs too much to continue. 

Many times, it is falling to your knees and giving the control of your life to God, and accepting His love and guidance. 

Courage has many faces and they all come with a price tag.

God tells His people to take courage and fear not many times throughout His Word. Is that because He knows how prone we are to losing hope? 

One of the most valuable discoveries I made about courage was during a Bible study. If God tells us to have courage, hang on, fear not...and He tells us to ENcourage each other (building up courage), then what is the opposite of encouragement? Discouragement. Which is the taking away of courage. And who's goal is to steal, (take away) kill and destroy? 

Is there a quiet courage whispering that the time to do the very scary thing right in front of you is now? 

Monday, February 04, 2013

#21 QuitCHIR ~ Seeing through

This quest for less negativity. Indeed a journey. 

Some days are better than others for me. 

 Lately, I've been challenged to see things from another person's point of view. And God's is a really good point of view to start with. If God so loved the world that He sent His only Son to die for any person who would be believe in Him, well, I think I need to acknowledge that each of those people is valuable to Him. Even the ones who drive me batty.

The other day a friend mentioned something that's hung around my mind for awhile. She said that if we are each created in God's image, then the basic human personality types are part of who God is. 

Hmmmm. So if a melancholy is a deep thinker, creative and artistic, God has those qualities. A phlegmatic is laid back and dependable, yep, God has those qualities. A choleric is detail driven, God is a God of exquisite detail. And the sanguine. The dreamer. God dreams the best dreams, doesn't He? 

Our personalities are tainted by sin, selfishness and circumstances. God's attributes are pure and motivated by love. He is light without shifting shadows. At the deepest core of who we are, we are created in the image of God, and He loves each of us. 


Friday, February 01, 2013