Archive for September, 2013

As I’m typing this, it has been nearly two thousand miles of driving for me.

It has been nerve racking eccentricities by my partner on my driving habits(i.e., enjoying the landscape at 75 miles an hour, occasional swerving, every semi truck that I pass).

It has been some awesome meals & fantastic times.

The last post left everyone with the idea that I was going to be able to bring my canine companion with us.  That didn’t happen according to plan.  Our friend ended up moving into our place with his pooch & has been keeping Cinder company in our absence.  I’ve texted a couple of times & restrained myself for many more to not seem to be a pain in the ass, because I do appreciate how awesomely our friend does with animals & despite how short a notice we gave him, he still showed up with smiles and an excited will, despite the fact that we told him about her separation anxiety & resulting bathroom breaks in our place.

The important part is that they are all doing great & that I’m totally taking our friend out for drinks in appreciation.

I digress though, just thought before any questions about where Cinder is in this story came up, a good explanation was necessary.

So my partner & I started our journey around eight at night on Tuesday from Jacksonville.  We made it to Clinton, South Carolina at a seedy hotel that cost too much for checking in at 2:30 in the morning.  I drove until I couldn’t anymore, which is kind of what I do this entire time–driving takes a lot out of me, and sometimes I just get tired.

The next day we checked out of the hotel & made it all the way to Kentucky and found a nice out-of-place Thai food restaurant in the middle of McDonald’s, Wendy’s & other horrible fast food places.  Being a fan of curry, especially of the Massaman variety, I decided on the Massaman Curry–try it Thai hot every time, it is so flavorful:

I took a bite already I was so hungry & it smelled so good.

I took a bite already I was so hungry & it smelled so good.

From there, it was to Lima, Ohio to do some family stuff.  We had some awesome Mexican food at a place called La Charreada(a staple of my diet when I lived there), and parted ways so my partner could get some personal family time & I could catch up with friends over drinks.

The next day it was my family’s turn to get hang time, but before that, we stopped at Cedar Valley Cafe in Findlay, Ohio for some of the most remarkable Lebanese fare you can find in Ohio–the pic speaks for itself:

Best.  Value.  Ever.  Falafel patties are phenomenal here.

Best. Value. Ever. Falafel patties are phenomenal here.

I could seriously eat at that place on a daily basis.  They just have the flavor profile so spot on.

We had some time with my folks, then had some more time with my partner’s family(after she spent a lot of time trying to find a dashing outfit for me, in which she did & I was hardly any help, predominantly because I am the worst when it comes to pop fashion & she knows how to make me over perfectly).

The next day we traveled to Toledo, Ohio for a wedding(coincidentally occurring on my birthday), or for Friday’s sake, the rehearsal dinner.

I was hungry by the time that we got up to Toledo, so I went to a place called the Tandoor on the south side of the city.  I had never been there before, but I missed the lunch buffet & got the menu item called Channa Masala, an awesomely seasoned chickpea dish that I got hot(as in spicy) & it looked a little bit like this:

Just so tasty, I love finding a jewel like this in cities.

Just so tasty, I love finding a jewel like this in cities.

With a hint of garlic & ginger, this dish makes me want to make this on a daily basis from now on.  Actually, I ended up catching this on the buffet with my partner’s parents the next day before the wedding.  This is actually one of their favorite places & I was so happy to get to try it as well.

I was stoked that the caterer made us a vegan pasta and red sauce dish for the wedding, but it was sad that my partner’s family couldn’t take home their leftovers because the wedding hall apparently didn’t have boxes.

The day after that, we ended up going to Cedar Valley Cafe with my parents(told you I could eat that daily) & having leftovers.  Portion size is awesome there, needless to say.

Later on that day, we met up with a cousin(my favorite, even though no blood relation, just way too much in common with him) in Columbus & went to a place called Hal & Al’s.  This place is a vegan’s dream.  If that dream was real, delicious, inexpensive, had a fantastic selection of beer, and was in a blue building.  In which it is all of that.  The food looks like this:

There are only three of us eating all of this.  Delicious to the extreme.

There are only three of us eating all of this. Delicious to the extreme.

So we needed a couple of boxes, but keep in mind the empty plate closest to the pic once had a vegan brat with the works(basically a pizza making station) on it and I couldn’t wait for these two to get their food….there were a lot more fries too, but we share in my circles.

The leftovers from both Cedar Valley and Hal & Al’s were both consumed cold(I try not to use microwaves anymore–call it weird, but I don’t think it can be good for food) and were still delicious…I would suggest an oven, but not many hotels are equipped with those.

I’m currently in Statesville, North Carolina & am going to get some vegan chow tomorrow in Charlotte.

Now onto the podcast part of this crazy blog post.

Have you heard of Citizen Radio?  Of Our Hen House?  Red Radio??!

Let me sum this up for you….

Citizen Radio got me to quit smoking cigarettes nearly a couple of years ago & think critically about everything when it comes to news.  Also, I laugh hysterically nearly every three minutes because it is such a funny podcast, and it got me started on podcasts initially.

Our Hen House is just beyond informational when it comes to vegan stuff.  I have it as my home screen, and so should you–it has so much breaking news on the website, that even though I am not yet a paying subscriber of this, it is well worth the money & when I do have the money I will join “the Flock.”

Red Radio is fantastic as well when it comes to vegan info.  The interviews are fantastic & the information that Erin Red gives on it is truly inspirational.

So those podcasts have helped me with a lot of my drive, I hope they help you as well.  I’ve got a free app on my HTC LTE called Podcast Addict & find these on a daily or weekly basis.  Check it out & donate to whomever you can–I personally donate to Citizen Radio, but hopefully in the future I’ll be able to donate to all three.  They are really good podcasts & offer all of them for free!  You’ll love them.

Seriously.

Also, go to Ohio and check out some of these spots.

I’m on my way tomorrow to snuggle with Cinder.

 

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So in a couple of days my partner & I are going to Ohio for a wedding and to visit our families for about a week.  We typically take turns on vacations to make sure our canine companion Cinder doesn’t get too lonely or anxious, but we are both going this time.

A little bit on Cinder’s history….

We found her at the Humane Society back in Ohio in 2009, already four years & a few months old and a Hurricane Katrina survivor.  The shelter in our county had four such canines & I can only imagine how many more were distributed to all of the shelters across the nation after that horrible storm.

To this day, Cinder still shows a lot of fear when storms come through(more fear than any dog I’ve met, and there are a lot of pups I’ve known) & absolutely freaks out when my partner & I leave, despite not making a big deal of comings & goings or trying to ignore a hopping, licking, fifty pound ball of happy to relax her.

She has gotten a lot better mannered in the four years we’ve been with her, but she still shows signs of the past unknown.

Which is why I was very hesitant, if not completely against the idea of boarding her for the time we were gone.  There were talks of these “paradise” places & just awesome boarders, but I couldn’t see Cinder being comfortable at all & I’d hate to undo all of the work we have done together to get Cinder to have a relaxed & relatively care free life.

Just not a good idea.  At all.

Then the idea of one of our friends staying with her came up.  We have some friends that could do it, but considering how anxious she gets with us & her occasional messes on the floor, I’d hate to put our friends through a week long janitorial training program while fending off that fifty pound lick machine mentioned before.

Just so everyone knows, I love coming home to such an enthusiastic, loving friend on a daily basis.  It makes for a perfect end to a long workday.  So when I made it a point to say that she should go on the trip with us, I had all the right answers.

Partner:  Where will she stay?

Me:  I’ll get a hotel if she can’t stay with family.

P:  What about the wedding?

M:  Our cousin loves her, he wants her to stay with him.

P:  What about food or eating out?

M:  I like picnics.

And on and on.  There is just no way I can leave Cinder behind and wonder what she is doing for a week, so she just has to come with us.

It’s just non-negotiable;  where I go, she goes.

Except for work, but someday I’ll have a job where she can hang out with me all day long.

Now, here we go with some easy vegan pizza dough!

Start with 1 1/2C of warm water and 2t of fast rising yeast.  Let that sit while you get all of the rest of the ingredients set up.

Mix 4C of flour & 1/2t of salt in a mixing bowl.  Mince about five cloves of garlic and set aside.

By now the water/yeast mixture should be decently mixed.  Add 1/4C of olive oil(I’ve gotten to like coconut oil in this too) and the garlic to it, mix well & add to the flour mixture.

Knead that combination until it is pretty well mixed & soft.  It should still be just a bit sticky.  Cover with some saran wrap & set aside for an hour or until it has doubled.  While I wait, I usually make my sauce & chop my veggies or season my tofu.

Take the dough & spread it in a greased pan evenly, trying to move everything to the border of the pan.  Throw your sauce & toppings on top, throw it in the oven for about 25 minutes at 350 & enjoy!

You can make alternatives to pizza as well with this dough recipe–calzones, bread sticks(top with vegan margarine for extra yum), or even make small loaves of garlic bread!  The minced cloves of garlic give the bread just enough of a hint of garlic to make it tasty but not overbearing.

Well, that’s it for me for a couple of days.  I might write a couple of these on the road because I do love coming across cool vegan spots on road trips, so keep an eye out for that!  Ohio does have some awesome places to eat, you just have to find them:)

So my partner came home after hanging out at the beach all day with some of her omnivorous friends and had a rather strange question posed to her.

By “rather strange,” I mean “wow.”

She had been asked about a supposed liquor that had bison urine as one of the ingredients and whether a vegan would drink the liquor knowingly or not.

Not exactly your usual alcohol question.

First, I said no, because no one can be sure what the handling procedures are, and I can say without too much of a doubt that it isn’t something that I’d think was right for any sentient being.  Not to mention the fact of drinking urine from anything isn’t exactly on my bucket list.

Second, I searched barnivore.com for liquors that weren’t vegan(quite a few, but none that I saw a description involving urine).  It’s actually a really handy tool I use for alcoholic drinks.

You get to the main page & it will give you a choice of beers, wines, or liquors.  Pick one or just search a name.  Just really useful at a liquor store.  Or at a bar.  Or if you are wondering.  It’s pretty much the coolest thing for if a vegan wants to find out if a specific alcohol has any animal product in it(wine drinkers, brace yourselves).

Check it out, just something handy for your vegan tool belt.

Now that that’s out of the way, on to the Cayenne Cinnamon Pineapple Chunks!

Grab an entire pineapple, cut the outer layer off & cut the core away.  Cut all of the usable parts into inch-by-inch pieces, you don’t want any too big.

Throw the chunks into a mixing bowl & add 1/4t Cinnamon, 1/4t Cayenne 1/8t clove & 1/8t allspice.  Toss that around for a couple minutes or until all of the chunks have a good deal of the spice on them.

Get your dehydrator out & lay the chunks in a single layer on one of the sheets.  In a day or so, you should have some spicy-yet-sweet morsels ready for camping, protests, road trips, or just a good bike ride(I do a lot of things).

If you don’t have a dehydrator, never fear–throw those chunks on a skewer, put them on a grill & cook them until you have a great side dish for anyone!!

Enjoy!!

Yes, you read that right, comic books.  Animal rights comic books, to be more precise.

I collected comics when I was younger & still do, but to a lesser extent now.  I’m more a fan of the art & the storyline(both of which make up a comic book, obviously) now & enjoy just perusing shelves & seeing if any of my childhood art heroes are still out there slinging ink.

Just recently I came across a new series called “Liberator,” written by a Matt Miner & inked by Javier Aranda and published by Black Mask Studios.  I was initially attracted to the publisher because I am a big fan of Bad Religion & Brett Gurewitz(guitarist) is one of the people involved with the creation of this said publisher.  They put out quite a few comics including Occupy(which profits go directly back to the Occupy Movement) and Ballistic, to name a couple.

Matt Miner writes a story revolving around a couple of animal rights activists, Damon & Jeanette.  Damon is a coffee barrista by day, Animal Liberation Front hero by night, & Jeanette is a very vocal protester, shown to be fearless in the face of the police in order to do what’s right.  Both are attempting to help animals & end things like factory farms, animal testing laboratories, and fur farms.  There is even a part where Damon becomes seriously badass(not to mitigate the aforementioned badassery) & takes care of some dog abusers, netting him a companion.  I don’t want to give too much away, but I’m sold on this series & the next issue comes out next week on the 11th!  A beautiful job of inking by Javier Aranda brings it all together so well.  I really wish there were more comics out like this–if you know of any, let me know:)

Now on to the curried tofu scramble breakfast burritos!

Like most of my recipes, this is an easy one(you are just waking up & doing this, right??!).  Brown some tofu & white onions in a pan greased with coconut oil.

Once that is browned, add a small handful of drained pimientos & a cup of fresh spinach.  Mix well & let the spinach wilt in the pan.

On top of that mixture, sprinkle about a 1/4t of curry powder, 1/4t of chili powder, & just a pinch of ground cloves.  Mix that well again.

Throw that in a burrito wrap & you are on your way to a great day!  Enjoy!!