Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Living and loving with an 
attitude of gratitude 
for life, family, friends, health, good weather, 
all that I am, all that I have, all that I don't have, 
all that is now, has been, and is yet to come.
(Sly and the Family Stone
Thank you for letting me be mice elf again)

Young people all away, 
most in Cali.
(Eagles Hotel California)
(Thank you Bob and Shirley for hosting them. 
Regrets that I could not attend.)
And one in Gotham, to me the greatest city on planet earth.
(Yeah, Empire State of Mind)

Makes for a leisurely, grateful day.
First up, breakfast.
Homemade sausages, made from red beans and rice.
Baked, since temperature cool enough to turn on the oven, 
and to cut down on the fat.
Mashing the beans
cooked brown basmati

Mixing beans, rice and spices

Shaped sausage patties, baked not fried.

Recipe suggests serving with biscuits, 
yet I wanted something a bit more festive,
and to munch on all day.
Number 1 R&B song on this day in 1956,
Fats Domino singing
Sounds like a blueberry corn muffin kind of day!
My go-to vegan cornbread recipe
makes 8 by 8 pan cornbread or 
12 regular sized, 18 mini-muffins:
1 1/2 cup soymilk
1 1/2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1 cup organic stone ground cornmeal
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
jazzed up for muffins with
2 Tablespoons raw sugar
1 cup frozen blueberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix soymilk and vinegar; set aside.
Lightly oil pan, muffin tin, or use cupcake liners.
Mix dry ingredients together, along with sugar.
Add applesauce to soymilk mixture.
Fold soymilk mixture into dry ingredients only until moistened.
Add blueberries.
Divide evenly into pan.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into batter
comes out clean.
Enjoy with the sausages.
Great finger food to munch on all day while watching football.

Complimented by full-sized sweet potato pie!
For recipe, see previous posting, October 25,
Day 25 of Vegan MoFo 2011.
Used 9 inch pie plate, instead of mini-pie maker.
Baked at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes,
or until center no longer jiggles.
Cool on rack for at least an hour before cutting.

Thank you Sinfull Bakery
for a vegan pot pie.

Truly grateful!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Recommended Reading: BLUE NIGHTS

In this excellent, profoundly honest, book,

the very talented, powerful author,
Joan Didion,
 stunningly shares with her pain, thoughts and anguish over the loss of her beloved daughter, 
Quintana Roo.

Good review of this was written by author John Banville for the NY Times book review.

The book opens on June 26, 2010, as Didion thinks back to her daughter's wedding day seven years before, 
five years after her death. 
Remembering that it would have been Quintana Roo's anniversary, the promise evidenced that day causes the writer to reflect on her daughter's childhood, the questions asked and unasked, 
answered and unanswered. 
Things said eloquently, and the eloquence of things left unsaid. Further reflections are on her own childhood, her marriage, 
her parents, their deaths, her husband, 
John Gregory Dunne, 
and his untimely death from a heart attack two years before 
the loss of their daughter.
Questions I think most parents have, 
if they are brutally honest with themselves in their 
self reflections on the enormity of parenthood, 
pepper the book; the "what ifs." 
"What if I fail to take care of this baby?"
"What if this baby fails to thrive, 
what if this baby fails to love me?"
...and the unthinkable...
"What if I fail to love this baby?"
Didion also writes about coming to terms with her own aging and mortality, affected by time spent saying what would eventually prove to be good-byes to friends and family in ICUs on both coasts; time in hospital with her dying husband, and in and out of emergency and ICUs with Quintana Roo.
I won't spoil it for you by giving you the intimate details of how she came to parent and name the daughter she lost; 
I want you to read it for yourself.
I will tell you this:
the title refers to that time of day, 
"...when in certain latitudes...approaching and following
the summer solstice...when the twilights turn long and blue..."
"...The French called this time of day l'heure bleue..."

It's a good read, and, depending on how you do it,
quick if you just go through it,
a little longer if you self-reflect.

The Eagles
In A New York Minute

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Happy Anniversary, Sam and Leola!

Happy 81st anniversary to my 
maternal grandparents,
Samuel and Leola

Both are with the ancestors now.
I love you more than words can say.
Thank you!
Thank you!
for everything!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Happy 60th Birthday, Betsy!

My good friend,
 Betsy Johnson,
would have turned 60 today.

Happy times at her 50th birthday party.
with the love of her life, her husband, and my good friend, Dave.
with Kelli and other party guests.
We had such great fun together.
At Bob and Lupe's wedding
She was killed in a motorcycle accident 9 years ago this month.
For months after she died, 
I would dial their number to tell her something,
then remember that she was gone.
Thank you, God,  and Dr. and Mrs. Ingram, 
for the gift of your wonderful daughter.
And thank you, Betsy, for being such a
lovely person and great friend!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Make Me Wanna Holler

#1 R&B song on this day in 1971
the great 
Marvin Gaye's
"...make me wanna holler, the way they do my life...
...bills pile up sky high, send that boy off to die...
...make me wanna holler, throw up both my hands...
...violence increasing, trigger happy policemen...
...panic is spreading, Lord knows where we're heading..."

Sound familiar?
Like, 'WHAT'S GOING ON' now?
Marvin was truly ahead of his time,
and, yeah, what goes around...

Many of my fellow Tejas Vegans
are in Round Rock for the
23rd Annual Lone Star Veggie Chili Cookoff

Blissful Chef, and Blissful Bites author,
Christy Morgan,
about whom I blogged a couple of days ago
will also be there doing cooking demos.

I'm doing my own veggie chili at home,

watching my current team,
the Houston Texans,
whip up on Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Tough to watch 'cause in the late 70's & early 80's,
Bucs used to be my team.
(Mighty O'JAYS singing 
QB was Doug Williams.
Coach John McKay.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Blissful Bites

Last evening, 
One Green Street,
Houston's organic lifestyle destination store,
hosted vegan Cookbook author, caterer, cooking instructor, 
consultant, raw food enthusiast and personal chef,

also know as The Blissful Chef,
in town offering tastings, and signings of,
her new book,
vegan meals that nourish mind, body and planet.

Christy prepared her Mac and Kale for us, 
a delicious raw kale salad,
massaging/marinating the kale with a mixture of 
tamari & olive oil, to soften it, 
adding nutritional yeast for that cheesy flavor (the 'mac'),
 topping it with chopped avocado
and rehydrated sun dried tomatoes.
Yeah, it was really good!

Christy says that since going vegan nine years ago,
she has experienced great health and 
a sense of well being that gives her 
a feeling best described as pure
Blissful Bites from the Blissful Chef
Thank you, Christy!

#1 R&B song on this day in 1966, the great

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veterans Day. 11-11-11

Thank you to the 
who serve, and have served, in our nation's military, 
allowing us to be the proud Americans we are.
A very special, warm and fuzzy,
to my all time favorite veteran,
Remembering what my granddad used to tell me about why people
of color have always served, 
despite their fellow Americans not appreciating their service.
And why the road to human rights is often paved with tears,
"Freedom isn't free, or cheap."

Today is 11-11-11,
very auspicious day due to the number sequence.
Whether it is tied to next year's end of the Mayan Calendar
or just a true palindrome of number 1s,
every day is a gift so let's enjoy it!

Haven't posted since end of 
(that's MOnth of FOod for the uninitiated)
had a great time.
Thank you, MoFo team, for the idea, and the challenge.
The fun and camaraderie 
of daily blogging about great vegan food,
and cooking most days -
Who knew?

Staying with the music theme started during MoFo,
the #1 R&B song on this day in 1978,
Chaka Khan's

Friday, October 28, 2011

Vegan MoFo Day 28 - Midnight Train Peach Make Over

Welcome to Vegan MoFo Twenty-eight
- Day 28 of Vegan Month of Food 2011

This week in 1973, Gladys Knight and the Pips' 
Midnight Train to Georgia 
hit #1 on both the Pop and R&B Charts.

My mother's family is from Georgia,
(thank you, Ray Charles!)
making me a fan of
sweet Georgia Peaches.
which I buy in bulk toward the end of the season,
when they are sweetest, soft and quite ripe,
and freeze for when only 
homemade peach cobbler
will satisfy my munchies.

Still a bit warm for heating up the oven,
so the cobbler gets a make over into a
Peach slump.

4 cups sliced, ripe peaches, thawed if frozen, reserving 1/2 cup peach juice
 - or 2 16oz cans sliced peaches, preferably packed in their own juices
1/2 cup granulated sugar (if using canned peaches packed in syrup, reduce sugar to 1/4 cup)
1 TBS arrowroot powder, or non GMO cornstarch.
(this is to thicken fruit mixture, can substitute 1 TBS flour if that's all you have on hand)
1/2 tsp cinnamon, divided
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup vegan butter, melted
1 TBS vegan butter

In medium bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, and oats until well combined. Stir in melted butter until batter forms coarse crumbs. Set aside.
In small bowl, whisk reserved peach juice, or syrup if using canned peaches packed in syrup, with arrowroot powder, and set aside.
In large pot with tight fitting lid, uncovered for now, melt remaining 1 TBS vegan butter over medium heat.
Add peaches and granulated sugar, and cook until peaches soften, about 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently.
Reduce heat. Stir in arrowroot/peach juice blend. Mixture will thicken. Stir in vanilla, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Spoon the oatmeal batter on top. It will expand while cooking.
Cover the pot with the lid, and cook, without removing lid, for 20 minutes.
When done, remove from heat and serve.

Refrigerate any leftovers.

NOTE: Tight fitting lid is a must, as it locks in the steam from the heat to cook the topping.
If this were my usual, oven baked cobbler, your thinking is correct, it would have a bottom crust, as well.

Released this week in 1962, 
Dionne Warwick's 
debut hit,
Don't Make Me Over,
began a streak of 33 three chart hits for the 
collaborative teamwork of Warwick on vocals,
and the production and writing team of 
Burt Bacharach 
Hal David.

(Yes, South Carolina, as you are fond of saying,
your state grows more peaches than your neighbor Georgia.
Acknowledged, okay?)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Vegan MoFo Day 27 - Are you Experienced

Welcome to Vegan MoFo Twenty-seven
- Day 27 of Vegan Month of Food 2011

Another busy day working with one of my favorite charities,
Child Advocates, Inc.
(aka CASA)

So I'm supporting my local vegan establishments, 
instead of at home cooking.

Lunch at The Vegan Cafe
Veggie burger and Fries
Vanilla almond ice cream

Chef Ali is wearing a Jimi Hendrix Tshirt,
leading me to ask the quintessential 
Hendrix question,
(...have you ever been experienced?
Well, I have.
Let me prove it to you...)

If you are new to 
The Vegan Culinary Experience,
an educational and inspirational journey of 
taste, health and compassion
you are in for a real treat.
Designed by the nationally award winning 
Executive Chef and culinary instructor,
Jason Wyrick,
The Experience presents the information of a traditional magazine
coupled with the latest web technologies.
The current issue, available for downloading at the site, is
Quick and Easy
- 40+ simple recipes requiring minimal effort 
while yielding maximum flavor.

Evening reception with one of my alma maters, 
for the
event to benefit the campaign for excellence
(FYI - that wonderful narrative baritone is the great actor and musician,
Avery Brooks,
Rutgers alum, and tenured professor at 
Rutgers' Mason Gross School of the Arts.

Nice venue for the reception,
The Woodlands Resort and Conference Center
Non-vegan reception food (I had a salad)
so "nothing to see here."

Still, in a 
RU State of Mind

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Vegan MoFo Day 26 - Food Day Munchies, Happy Birthday, Bootsy!

Welcome to Vegan MoFo Twenty-Six
- Day 26 of Vegan Month of Food 2011

Food Day is a national campaign to change the way Americans eat and think about food.
Houston participated  today, 
October 26, 
by hosting events during the Wednesday weekly
City Hall Farmer's Market
sponsored by Urban Harvest.
Seasonal Ingredient throw-down featured four local celebrity chefs.
(seasonal ingredient - Collard Greens!)
Congratulations to Chef Monica Pope of
for winning the Chef throwdown/cookoff.
12 Noon
Largest Community Lunch commenced. 
Participants could BYOB or purchase lunch
from Farmers Market vendors. 
All vendor offerings are locally sourced from within 
150 miles of Houston.
Food Day Town Hall Meeting, 
hosted by City of Houston, on lower plaza of City Hall, 
featured local food movement leaders 
and community stakeholders discussing actionable 
ideas toward improving the local food movement.

Great opportunity to support the Vegan Vendors selling at the market, including my favorite sweet spot
Sinfull Bakery

Portabello Sweet Potato Panini
Houston's Vegan Food Truck
Green Seed Vegan

Radical Eats
Removing husks from my spinach & corn tamales


Pat Greer's Kitchen
Pesto Party Geez

Talk about getting my
Vegan munchies

Speaking of the Munchies,
Happy Birthday William "Bootsy" Collins!
the Man who put "Bass in your Face"
My all time favorite by Bootsy Collins/Bootsy's Rubber Band 
Munchies for Your Love
Does it get much better than a munchie-themed love ballad?
(...I'm hooked on you chocolate star, 
I've got the munchies for your love...")