Posts Tagged ‘dog’

I think we got more rain after Hermine passed than the initial blast.  That made riding the bike around just impossible.

Well, when it rains and is crappy out, you have to find shelter.  Where else better than a kitchen with a gallon of good beer?  Oh yeah, and food.

I was going for Eggplant Parmesan, but I decided to get creative and make it into a chili too.

Start with skinning & dicing two small eggplants.  Throw some salt on it & get it to “sweat” the bitterness out.  You can put it in a colander so that the liquid drains easily.  Let that sit for about twenty minutes and saute it in a pan with a little bit of oil until it’s browned.

In a large pot, take a diced yellow onion, four chopped tomatoes, a minced clove of garlic,1t salt, 2T of oil and set the pot on medium, mixing occasionally.  It will eventually be a base marinara(stop there if you want marinara).

This stuff is going to be marinara soon.  Then chili after.

This stuff is going to be marinara soon. Then chili after.

Mince up a couple of your favorite peppers(I used a Hungarian wax & a datil), grab 2T of Italian spices(oregano, basil, thyme, sage, etc.) and throw those in the pot with the marinara.

Fresh from the garden.  Doesn't get much better.

Fresh from the garden. Doesn’t get much better.

We're getting there.

We’re getting there.

Once everything is incorporated nicely, add 4C water, 3C cooked pinto beans, & 3T chili powder.  Cover it up and let it cook for a long time.

The water will reduce some.

The water will reduce some.

From there, you’ve got a bit of time…probably an hour or so, so just grab a beer and watch the storm roll in on a preferably enclosed porch.  Maybe even look down to see a friend with you in the kitchen.

I looked down.  He looked up.  He also had onion paper on his nose.

I looked down. He looked up. He also had onion paper on his nose.

After you’re finished spending an hour however you’d like, add the sautéed eggplant from before to the mix.  It should be noticeably chunkier now.

This is noticeably chunkier than before.

This is noticeably chunkier than before.

Let that simmer for another ten minutes while you cook some noodles or rice or whatever you like with Eggplant Parmesan Chili, not that you’ve had it before, but get creative….that’s what a kitchen’s all about.

Put the mix on top of whatever you’ve decided on & follow-up with some almond Parmesan or just plain ol’ nutritional yeast to get a little veg cheese action going.  It might look like this:

Now that's some storm comfort food there.

Now that’s some storm comfort food there.

Once the storm is over, hug your fur babies and get some incriminating pictures of them.

Okay, it's not incriminating, but it's pretty cute what Cinder's doing here.

Okay, it’s not incriminating, but it’s pretty cute what Cinder’s doing here.

….aaaaand that’s how you enjoy some time in a tropical depression.  Or in this case, a humid sadness.

Just kidding.  Hope everyone’s okay & has electric back and such.  I’m glad it didn’t hit as bad as what a lot of the meteorologists were freaking out about Hermine, but they’re all out there for the big scoop and the exaggeration.  Now, enjoy some Chili.  Or Eggplant Parmesan.  Or whatever you want to call it.


Wow.  It’s been some time since I’ve written here, mainly because I’ve been acclimating to a better life and celebrating how much I’m liking it(trust me, I’ve been celebrating a lot lately).

Both jobs are great, both pups are still awesome, and I’ve been in the kitchen more than I’ve been in my life.  This gives me a lot of time to imagine new recipes and weird food combinations that make what I do so much more fun to me.

There’s waaaay too many “I”‘s in those paragraphs.  Here’s a picture of pups:

He made a shank, and proud of it.  I think he's trying to tell me something.  I better give him more food.

He made a shank, and proud of it. I think he’s trying to tell me something. I better give him more food.

Okay.  Now that is out of the way for now, let’s talk barbecue.

One of my friends had this great idea about using Portobello mushroom stems for barbecue.  I haven’t had the opportunity to try it, so I figured I would give it a go.  It turns out it’s really easy.

Start out with the stems:

You'll obviously cut & clean them before cooking them.  Unless you like gritty BBQ.

You’ll obviously cut & clean them before cooking them. Unless you like gritty BBQ.

Shred them between your hands.  The easiest way is to roll them in between your hands, but you can also just pull them apart.



Add about 2T of oil to the 4C of shredded stems.  Don’t use too much, because the mushrooms will exude liquid too.  Dump a diced onion in there, mix up real good and heat on medium heat.

Okay, I like chopped onion, but if you like it diced, go for it.

Okay, I like chopped onion, but if you like it diced, go for it.

Once the onions start to get a little translucent, add some spice.  I’ve never been one to settle for a pre-made BBQ sauce if I have some spices on hand, so I used 2T brown sugar, 1T salt, 1T pepper, 1T paprika & then added a minced garlic clove.  It might look like this:

Chef Cinder supervises most things involving food in the kitchen.

Chef Cinder supervises most things involving food in the kitchen.

Stir every so often so it mixes well & doesn’t stick to the pan(it shouldn’t with the oil in there).

Sous Chef Little Baby Alec Baldwin is always around for cleanup.

Sous Chef Little Baby Alec Baldwin is always around for cleanup.

That’s it.  Like most of the recipes here, it’s super simple and ultra-tasty.  Throw it on a bun, eat it on its own, or top some mashed potatoes with it(that’s what we did).

That’s all for now, I’ve got to head to this college course I’m leading and then hunker down for the impending storm that’s about to hit Florida.

By hunkering down, I mean grabbing a bunch of beer.  I think some vegan eggplant parmesan is in the forecast too.

Oh yeah, the college course is through Florida State College at Jacksonville.  It’s a continuing education course devoted to a plant-based lifestyle.  This should be a breeze teaching:)

Have a good one!


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!

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:)