Archive for September, 2014

Man.

It seems like just last week I wrote a post.

Because it was.

That helped immensely.  Writing has always been my go to when it comes to issues I might have in life.  I’ll take a second to write something down, sketch a little, anything to take that moment & make it a learning experience.

Because I love learning experiences.  They make me feel like I’m still just a baby, learning everything for the first time, which can be exciting, but also annoying because it hasn’t been perfected right off the bat.  I’m usually pretty good at being well-balanced when it comes to learning new things & abilities, but it’s really easy to catch me off-guard if I don’t know something in particular.  Like what the Latin name for a grasshopper’s back leg is.

Or the Latin name of what a Big Mac really is(I doubt it has a legitimate Latin name).

I am a self-proclaimed jack of all trades, and definitely not a master of all.  I’m happy with that, mainly because if I was good at just one thing, I’d get grouped into a particular area & that just doesn’t fit me.  I’d want to encompass everything & be level, not just be good at one thing.  I’m forever curious & want to know new things.  It’s not a bad place to live.

I learn along the way & the guidelines are simple:  don’t make life too complicated.  Those rules that life throws at you?  Ask routinely if they are necessary.  Question everything, because so many won’t.  I still don’t ask as many questions as I should, and maybe that should change.  Probably not though, because I like having at least two friends.  When it comes down to it though, there isn’t any absolute, and so in all seriousness you should ask the strange questions.  You don’t get anywhere but into some sort of line by following everyone else.

I managed to work a lot & have a bit of fun this week though.

I even spent nearly two hours straight jumping around in the ocean by myself.  If that isn’t a bit of a soul cleanser, I don’t know what is.

Julie & I did the podcast thing again, and I apologize for NOTHING.

After that, I went to the community garden, weeded a bunch, & grabbed what I thought was a giant bag of elderberries.  That ended up being about a cup of them once I pulled them from the stem & rinsed them.

I hope they're Elderberries at least.  Or at least have hallucinogenic properties.

I hope they’re Elderberries at least. Or at least have hallucinogenic properties.

From there, I threw them in a saucepan & covered them with water.

I turned the heat to about medium to give a slow simmer & added a diced sand pear(really good for baking, but awesome for pancakes or sauces you want to naturally sweeten).  I’d imagine an apple would do the same if you were in a bind.  Let that go for about a half of an hour, adding little bits of water if need be.

Like a cauldron of goodness, this is.

Like a cauldron of goodness, this is.

Once the whole concoction is purplish, throw it in a blender & then put it back in the pan.  Add two tablespoons of maple syrup & simmer for a few minutes.  Then, just put that into a jar & chill it.  It should set up as it cools down.  I’ve read that there are some natural pectins in the berries themselves that aid in the setting.

Who needs to wait until they're old to blend everything?  Not this guy.

Who needs to wait until they’re old to blend everything? Not this guy.

Have you got any sourdough bread?  I like to always have some on hand.  Community Loaves is my go to here in Jacksonville.  Put that jam on a couple of pieces of that & enjoy.

"Without bread, I am nothing." -Jam

“Without bread, I am nothing.” -Jam

That’s it.  Just wanted to write & experiment with berries that I found, no laws against that yet that I know of.

Here are some pictures of dogs.

I just told him a joke.  He's not really smiling, this is his grimacing face.

I just told him a joke. He’s not really smiling, this is his grimacing face.

I must be boring.  They sleep A LOT.

I must be boring. They sleep A LOT.

When there's vegan pizza involved, someone is always near, guarding the floor like a miniature marsupial with magnificent manners.

When there’s vegan pizza involved, someone is always near, guarding the floor like a miniature marsupial with magnificent manners.

Was sent some pure awesomeness yesterday:  “Work hard, make friends, do good deeds, be somebody!”

I couldn’t agree more.

Have a great week.

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Well.  It’s been a little bit longer than usual for my break in between these blog posts.

I promise, there are reasons.

First, my sister got married in Ohio, so we went up there for that.  Great time & the fact that I was able to make food for the veg-heads there so they had an option other than the caterer that didn’t know how to work with plant-based foods very well.

Then, we got back & I got fired from my job because the employer apparently couldn’t afford me anymore.  It’s good to at least have a vacation prior to that, even if you have to pay bills for that vacation from paychecks that aren’t coming in.  It would’ve been a bit less awkward if they hadn’t tried to keep my composition book that I record all of my recipes in overnight the day before this was announced to me so they could copy the pages.  I made the copies myself so that wouldn’t be necessary, after all, it was kind of obvious what the employer was doing after I had a short time of studying them daily.

I found some side jobs because some friends had ears to the ground for me, and that was really awesome.  I love that I have people who care about me so much.  Unfortunately, those jobs were somewhat limited when it came to working hours, but that’s not the point.  I’ve got some great friends & I ended up finding a job that does okay for what it is now.

Then, before I even officially got the job, I got dealt some news that was coming for a long time it seemed.

Namely, a separation.  A divorce.  I always swore that I’d never get one of these, but weird things have ways of not being completely under your control.

I mourned.  A lot.  That doesn’t change much though & I’d much rather look to the future than the past.  I made it “official” on Facebook in the best way I could:

“Well, thanks everyone that came along for this close-to-five-year ride with us.

Melissa & I are separating. We are simply growing apart in our interests & activities, and this has been transpiring for some time now. It’s been a Hell of a ride & we are still supportive to each other in this journey we partake upon called life.

Like I wrote, this has been in the works for a while, and finally coming to light. It’s no one’s fault & we are working to make this as amicable as possible between the two of us. We are so lucky to have had the time that we had together–there are so many great memories there, but the beauty in our species is the constant change & evolution we see apparent in the literal blink of an eye.

Again, a giant thank you to everyone that has influenced or inspired this relationship, you are awesome & we appreciate you.

Also, you’re not getting your wedding present back.”

Needless to say, there was quite the downward spiral.

Then it was my birthday.

That didn’t change much, but I’ve had plenty of time to think about things & realize that this is considerably better that we had decided on this now rather than later.  Plus, she’s letting me keep the pups, which I am super grateful for.  They were & are my little confidants when it comes to needing hugs or love.  They’d sleep in the spare room with me & that helped immensely with the separation pains.

Overall, I think I’m fine now.

So now it’s time to get better than fine.

I used to tell myself (and a lot of people who didn’t want to listen to me) that I’d turn the world upside down.  Looking at all of the things I’m into right now, I’d say I’m making an impact & helping as many others as I can.  It might hurt every so often, but all of this change is for the best.  I think of it as a fantastic time we have spending our time together, whether in direct contact, if you’re reading this, or in seeing one of my random posts on one of the social media sites I use.  I influence you & you influence me in some way, and in that, if I’m weird, you are too.

Embrace that, because sometimes that weird feeling is all we have.

That, and pictures of dogs:

Cinder isn't always photogenic, but when she is, she's so cute.

Cinder isn’t always photogenic, but when she is, she’s so cute.

Books get us through all kinds of things.  Some sleep through it sadly.

Books get us through all kinds of things. Some sleep through it sadly.

On our way to the beach for a morning run.

On our way to the beach for a morning run.

The good part of the new job is that it's right around the corner from the best vegan bakery ever.  Also, more reading.

The good part of the new job is that it’s right around the corner from the best vegan bakery ever. Also, more reading.

Birthday starter...Intuition People's & a Wild Turkey

Birthday starter…Intuition People’s & a Wild Turkey

Lastly, what kind of vegan recipe blog goes on about boring lives going into the gutter and then flying to the heavens like a reaper phoenix without dropping at least one recipe?

Here’s a good one.

It’s coconut bacon, and we use it for the #NachoBar most weeks as of late.

I know, a lot of you are like, “COCONUT BACON??  What is that??!!”

Well, it’s coconut chips that are marinated in a sort of sauce that mimics the flavor of bacon.  This stuff is way better for you because the cholesterol & fat are massively minimized, while the flavor & consistency are delightfully satisfying, even to the most reluctant carnivore.

Take a cup of coconut chips and 1/4t of smoked paprika & mix them together in a bowl until evenly coated.

In another bowl, mix 1T of water, 1T of Bragg’s Aminos or soy sauce (whichever you prefer–I’m a fan of Liquid Aminos), 1T of Liquid Smoke, 1/2t sea salt & 1t of maple syrup.

Throw the two of them together until well mixed & then lay the mix out on a cookie sheet in a thin layer.  Put that into an oven that’s been preheated to 350F & bake for 10 minutes.  Pull from the oven, mix around, throw back in the oven for five minutes.  Repeat until it’s nearly crunchy(it will continue to cook & get harder as it cools).

You can obviously adjust the Liquid Smoke or maple syrup to suit your personal tastes, but this was my favorite combo.

Pretty easy if I don’t say so myself.

That’s about it for me, remember, we have a podcast at www.greenbeanpodcast.com & do the #NachoBar quite often with fun new toppings every week!  Check it all out & have a great couple of weeks!

Seeya!!