Archive for January, 2014

Whew.  What a day.

I just got back from taking the 8-week old new addition to our family to the vet to get him fixed & initial shots, now that he’s old enough & developed enough.  That was a relatively easy time, even considering how much I was thinking about how it would be if I were having these procedures done to myself(I just tried to be empathetic, and I realize it is required when adoption occurs), which is a very odd way to process this going on in retrospect.

Little Baby Alec Burrito Baldwin(full name) did well though & the entire staff loved him(someone also wanted to adopt him if things here don’t work out IN WHICH THEY WILL.).  In addition to all of this, I noticed a considerable change in his car etiquette–he was one to typically stay in his kennel, but for this ride home, he was looking out the window & sitting in my lap napping, sometimes giving me the sleepy eye:

He is so tired.  Don't worry, we are in a parking lot at this point.

He is so tired. Don’t worry, we are in a parking lot at this point.

So all in all, that was an easy experience.

While I was waiting for him to have his procedure, I grabbed some coffee & did a little sketchbook art.  Usually I draw funny things or just little comics, but either way, it is something I am passionate about & hope to build into part of my career someday.  Here are a couple shots of work:

Iron Burgundy or Iron Anchorman?

Iron Burgundy or Iron Anchorman?

That is one buff Darwin fish.

That is one buff Darwin fish.

Just because I have a beard & want to illustrate my daily feelings.

Just because I have a beard & want to illustrate my daily feelings.

None of my work is by any means awesome, but it is pretty funny I have to say(seriously, I have to say it is).

So there you go.  I promised you some doodles in the last post, so there they are.  Feel free to share them or tell important people about them that might want to pay money for me to do this a lot.  Or just enjoy them, that’s kind of what got me into drawing in the first place.

Okay, now onto some big vegan/veg stuff!

No Meat March.

It’s kind of a big thing around here in Jacksonville, as well as a few other cities with a decent veg community.  This will be my second No Meat March here, and it is a great idea brought to fruition by a group called The Girls Gone Green.

The Girls Gone Green is a group that focuses on environmental, animal, & health issues.  They have events & fund raisers all year & host the Northeast Florida Vegfest in the fall.  Last year for No Meat March, I was relatively new to the scene, but I offered to hand out flyers & spread the word.  The head of The Girls Gone Green, Julie Watkins, got a stack of flyers to me and I handed them to people at work & anyone that didn’t have their hands full at the time I saw them.

I guess that kind of kicked off my relationship with The GGG & I started volunteering for everything they participated in(Welcome to Rockville–a two-day concert/festival, Tap ‘N Run–a mini marathon where runners drink beer & run, & helped with parts of Vegfest planning).  It’s truly a fun group & wonderful way to get positive, healthy information out to the community.  All the volunteers are awesome & the girls that are the center of it-Julie, Jen, Brandy, Jen, & Cate-are awesome people as well.

Okay, so No Meat March is basically a pledge to go meat free for the entire month of March(I still sign up even though I’ve been vegan for years).  You have the option to go dairy free or butter free too, but it focuses primarily on the meat aspect & trying to ease people into the knowledge that meat isn’t necessarily something we need in our diets(I think the growing number of vegetarians out there prove it).

When you sign up for No Meat March, you get emails giving you awesome recipes & you get a membership card that gets you discounts at certain restaurants or shops.  Pretty cool, huh?

I tried to get involved so much that I got my boss to approve giving a discount to the restaurant I was managing at the time for the month.  If you work at a restaurant that has a bunch of vegan/vegetarian options & there is a No Meat March happening around you, get in touch with your boss & the person heading up the NMM campaign & get involved!

I highly encourage signing up for it & spreading the word.  Even if you aren’t in Jacksonville, it’s a fun way to get friends into a healthier, more compassionate lifestyle, and you get those recipes too!  Check it out!

That’s about it from me, I hope everyone is through this crazy freeze.  Update:  the plants are coming back, only a few died from our freeze here:).  In any case, stay warm, enjoy the pictures, check out No Meat March & The Girls Gone Green, and have a good couple of weeks!

Well, I’m sad to say that a lot of my outdoor plants have perished.

The perpetrator of this seemingly perpetrator-less crime?  The polar vortex.

I know, when you first hear those two words put together, visions of little polar bear cubs hovering around you in a soft, furry & hug-worthy tornado pop up.  That was basically the antithesis of what went down in my community garden & balcony garden.

What had happened was a whole bunch of freezing weather finally made it down to Florida(truth be told, I really hated being the only state to have nice weather while the rest of the country was an iceberg–it kind of made us look like we were heat hoarders & waaay too many of my acquaintances shared this graphic on the internet:

Just one of the graphics...this one is pretty nice versus what happened at its worst.

Just one of the graphics…this one is pretty nice versus what happened at its worst.

You can kind of see where this would paint many Floridians as dicks for posting this in a moment of boasting), forcing a lot of us to stay inside.  I tried to, for the most part, occupying my time with drawing & reading.  I even worked on a couple of comics for a page(check it out here if you dare) that I haven’t been able to update for a while due to working so much in the past few months.  I’ll share the drawings next post & probably a few comics as well.  I apologize in advance.

Needless to say, I kept busy.

When I did have to be outside for farmers markets, I definitely couldn’t feel my extremities, or they were just very, very cold.

A lot of people threw sheets or plastic over plants, many to no avail, primarily because this freeze stayed for a few days here.  That isn’t normal, and it killed a lot of plants.

That isn’t a problem for me, I have farmers markets I can still peruse & I have starts of plants inside(yes, I consider pepper plants & various herbs nice house plants).

I really do need to start gardening inside more though, it would be much more convenient & easier to keep pests away.  I am a giant fan of the hydroponic systems that look like gutters just flowing water down to the bottom, where the water gets pumped back up to the top.  Of course, whenever hydroponic systems or indoor plants come into play, you always have to take a step back & think…..

They wouldn't do anything while I was at work, right?

They wouldn’t do anything while I was at work, right?

Well, that might mean making a wall around the apparatus.  Maybe a moat.  Wait, they drink moats.  Two walls with sentries keeping watch from towers it is.  In my living room.

Enough on that front though, let’s talk polenta.

Polenta is super easy to make & really has a way when it comes to customization.

Basically go with the idea of 1 cup of corn meal to 3 cups of water.  Boil the water first, then whisk in the corn meal so it doesn’t clump.  Throw just a pinch of salt in there, turn the heat to low, and stir often for about ten minutes(or until thick).  That is your base, add what herbs you want to it from there!  I usually add a tablespoon of garlic & a tablespoon of rosemary to make it pop, but add what you like!

From there, put the mix in a large pan where the mix is only about 1/2-3/4 of an inch deep.  Cover & let that sit in the refrigerator overnight.  In the morning, cut it up(think about cookie cutters for fun shapes too!) & pan fry the pieces.

I didn’t take any pictures of the food, so here are some more dog pictures.

He sleeps when I'm reading.  He sleeps all the time.  Not when he's eating or playing though.

He sleeps when I’m reading. He sleeps all the time. Not when he’s eating or playing though.

She likes to smell things that I have, even if it is a rock.

She likes to smell things that I have, even if it is a rock.

If you are feeling really frisky, make a great sauce for it–I recently found a spectacular ragout recipe that is super easy!

Saute a few handfuls of washed & sliced mushrooms & a diced yellow onion on medium high heat in some olive oil until carmelized.  Add a couple cloves of minced garlic & a pinch of salt & pepper.  Throw just a bit of marsala wine & a decent amount of veggie stock(1:4 ratio) into the mix & boil for a couple minutes.  From there, turn down the heat to a simmer, add a tablespoon of arrowroot powder(or another thickener) & heat for about ten minutes, mixing often. Turn off the heat & mix in a handful of chopped Italian parsley.

Put that on your polenta & enjoy some tasty goodness that will warm you up!