Posts Tagged ‘puppies’

WOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAHHHH.

It’s been a long time.  Sorry about that.

I blame a year-long bender or something or maybe writer’s block or….

Meh, who cares.

I blame Rick & Morty.

Anyway, I made some pretty delicious tempeh strips the other day that warrant a recipe.  I only took a picture of the after effects(sorry!!!).

These things were insane.

So they’re baked tempeh strips with some sweet & spicy mustard dipping sauce.

Start with tempeh.  Cut strips at whatever size you want.  I did around 3/4″ by 4″.  If you want tempeh nuggets, cut them into nugget size.  It’s your deal & I don’t want to harsh anyone’s style.

Set your oven at 450F.

Dip the tempeh strips in soy milk.  While that’s going on, mix 2C Flour, 1T Onion Powder, 1/2T Garlic Powder, & 1/2 T Salt.  Put several droplets of the milk in the flour mix, then mix them around so there are a bunch of flour “flakes”…you’ll thank me later.

Toss the tempeh in the flour mixture, then have a bowl of oil at the ready.  Toss them around in the oil and then back in the flour mix.  If you want more flaky crust, repeat the milk/flour/oil/flour fun.

Have a lightly greased pan for the strips/nuggets/cutlets/whatever you wanted to make from the tempeh ready to go in the oven.  Let them go 20 minutes, flip, then go another 20 minutes.  If they aren’t brown enough, go longer.  Powder with a little pepper at the end for some good spice.

Big learning deal here folks:  put them in the center of the oven.  First time I tried this, I had them on the top rack(I again blame Rick & Morty) & put a little char on them with some rookie ignorance.  Maybe just keep an eye on them, just not the ol’ “pot never boils” eye.

For the mustard:

This one’s a toughy.

1/4C brown mustard

1T agave

1/2T sriracha

Mix that & put your strips in it.

That makes for some happy pups.  Well, happy pup pictures.  Here you go.

This is actually him grumpy.

This is actually her dopey.

WHERE ARE THE OTHER FIVE DWARFS??? We’re going on a walk.

That’s it.

Sorry again for the long break.

I can’t really blame it on much other than I’ve been working a lot & helping to organize this year’s Veg Fest in Jacksonville.  It’s been a crazy amount of work and fun and just enlightening.  I really feel for event organizers, especially those that make events happen a lot….it’s kind of stressful.  But fun.

Come visit if you’re around, it’s happening November 11, 2017 in Riverside Park.  It’ll be a fun time.  If you want to read more, check out https://jaxvegfest2017.weebly.com/ or the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/jaxvegfest/.

I can’t seem to stress it enough, but it isn’t the regular Veg Fest that goes on here.  The regular got cancelled and so we’re filling in for it.

Seems like the right thing to do, especially considering it’s kind of a thing that we should have a few times a year at least.

I have to get the vegan cordon bleu out of the oven now.  I’ll have a couple of pictures next time:)

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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.

Shredded!

Shredded!

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!

 

I hope you like pictures, because there’s a lot of them on this post.

Not of my hair though.

I read something about a “No-Poo” hair washing technique & was kind of moving in that direction anyway.

I decided to shed the typical shampoo & conditioner to avoid a lot of the chemicals & animal byproducts that are in them, keep those same chemicals from gunking up our water systems, make lab testing on animals a thing of the past, and to save a little bit of money in the process.

That, and I just heard that it was healthier for your hair.

In January, I started using two mixtures for washing & conditioning.  The washing mixture was a tablespoon of baking soda in a cup of water.  The conditioning mixture was a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water.

You’ll understand my concern if I had initially thought that my hair was going to explode off of my scalp with the help of the carbon dioxide that would undoubtedly be produced rapidly by the two mixtures coming into contact with each other.

That didn’t happen fortunately.

What did happen was a bit of a mess the first week, the naturally-occurring oils returning slowly to my hair.  What happens with most shampoo & conditioners is that they strip your hair of these oils & then you are often left with more of a mess than what you initially had.  For what?  Hair that smells like a natural scent that was derived from unnatural sources.  Looking at the ingredient label of a shampoo bottle is a lot like reading a Stephen King novel–scary, long, and it makes you have to think(especially when it comes to the six-syllable chemicals).  Most people don’t look at the ingredient label though, and just buy what a celebrity says to buy on television.  It makes it easy when their beautiful, not-at-all maintained hair can look that good with a product they would only touch from outside the bottle.

Anyway, the experiment went on for three months & my hair got better & better.  The manageability got better, the feel of it was nicer, and I could shower anywhere with the help of a person’s kitchen stuffs.

After three months, I went without the mixtures, just rinsing with water & every so often using coconut oil as a leave-in conditioner(back to the natural smell part of it all).  If you don’t like coconut oil, you’re a prick & I don’t know what to tell you on how to give your hair a better smell other than to use some sort of fragrance oil.  Actually, lavender oil is nice too.

I LIKE TO SMELL LIKE FLOWERS, OKAY?!

In any case, it’s been six months and then some, and a seemingly menial change has made it impossibly easy for showers.

The last post I mentioned an urban adventure where I walked about ten miles, just kind of getting lost & looking at some cool sights that I wouldn’t otherwise see on a trip driving.  I would bore you with the typical minute-by-minute dribble, but I don’t really think you want to read “left, right, left, right, left, left, trip, fall, right, left…”

So I’ll just throw some cool pictures on here & hope that you think they are cool too.  It’s a walk through West side Jacksonville to downtown, so there are many different types of neighborhoods & sights to see.  Again, I encourage everyone to get lost & just take an adventure day, if not do that every day.

No compound here, folks....just your average, run-of-the-mill hou...GETINHERE!!!!

No compound here, folks….just your average, run-of-the-mill hou…GETINHERE!!!!

The shed in the back was pretty cool too, I wonder what's in the....HEYYOUISAIDGETINHERENOW!!!!

The shed in the back was pretty cool too, I wonder what’s in the….HEYYOUISAIDGETINHERENOW!!!!

I'm perplexed at how this one will work out.  I marked out the information, that wasn't just senseless graffiti.

I’m perplexed at how this one will work out. I marked out the information, that wasn’t just senseless graffiti.

Cool murals on tattoo shops.

Cool murals on tattoo shops.

...on all sides of the building.

…on all sides of the building.

I....I couldn't have been the only one to read this wrong.

I….I couldn’t have been the only one to read this wrong.

I love people that garden their yards.  Makes so much sense.  Tasty, tasty sense.

I love people that garden their yards. Makes so much sense. Tasty, tasty sense.

SO MUCH TASTY SENSE!!

SO MUCH TASTY SENSE!!

I don't know if it's a thing people do, but I had to have passed a dozen discarded tea bags in the street on my journey.

I don’t know if it’s a thing people do, but I had to have passed a dozen discarded tea bags in the street on my journey.

"Oh, what's that officer?  Nothing, just laying on some train tracks trying to get a picture."

“Oh, what’s that officer? Nothing, just laying on some train tracks trying to get a picture.”

Something about cool, old, abandoned houses makes me want to go inside them.

Something about cool, old, abandoned houses makes me want to go inside them.

Cool fountain in front of a cool house.  Cool.

Cool fountain in front of a cool house. Cool.

I see these stickers all over town.  Good publicity for Harvey Dent.  Or is it?

I see these stickers all over town. Good publicity for Harvey Dent. Or is it?

I swear, there are like five squirrels on the other side of this tree.

I swear, there are like five squirrels on the other side of this tree.

What's a walk through Riverside without some Sweet Theory?

What’s a walk through Riverside without some Sweet Theory?

Sun through some Spanish moss in a giant tree.  Love it.

Sun through some Spanish moss in a giant tree. Love it.

I love this.  I'd feel really bad if they misspelled a word though.

I love this. I’d feel really bad if they misspelled a word though.

Old, abandoned, & condemned buildings are cool too.

Old, abandoned, & condemned buildings are cool too.

Quiet little homeless camp by a bridge.

Quiet little homeless camp by a bridge.

All kinds of randomness in the fire pit here.

All kinds of randomness in the fire pit here.

IMAG2970

Getting into the graffiti part. If you look closely, there’s a guy sleeping by one of the pillars beyond the symbol.

IMAG2972

ooooooooooooooooooo

ooooooooooooooooooo

ooooooool.  Now run before the cops think you did it.

ooooooool. Now run before the cops think you did it.

Only a couple blocks left.

Only a couple blocks left.

Waiting for the sky rail.

Waiting for the sky rail.

Cool views from above on the sky rail.

Cool views from above on the sky rail.

Jumped off of the sky rail, jumped onto a bus right before it took off.

Jumped off of the sky rail, jumped onto a bus right before it took off.  The man with the neon shoelaces will be eating a hard-boiled egg soon.

SEE?!  The wheel is not his, but he yelled at me while I was reading to stop someone because she had lost it as she was getting off of the bus.

SEE?! The wheel is not his, but he yelled at me while I was reading to stop someone because she had lost it as she was getting off of the bus.  Seems logical.

A member of the species douchebaggus, yelling at the bus driver because she wouldn't let him off at a place that wasn't a bus stop.

A member of the species douchebaggus, yelling at the bus driver because she wouldn’t let him off at a place that wasn’t a bus stop.

Someone needs to fire the inspirational letter guy.

Someone needs to fire the inspirational letter guy.

I have no idea who Dalaw is, but they are remembered on the sidewalk.

I have no idea who Dalaw is, but they are remembered on the sidewalk.

I told you, a lot of pictures.  Cool stuff to see though & always fun adventures.  It’s a great way to spend a day off, just wandering around, grabbing a coffee & a loaf of bread at Community Loaves(I sadly didn’t get a picture there, but expect a ton of them in the future, I LOVE that place!), walking, eating doughnuts at Sweet Theory(Love again), walking, walking, walking.  It’s a nature hike in an urban environment, if you don’t plan it(which I am a fan of doing on these types of excursions).

That’s about it for me this week, we are recording another podcast today & the vegan meetup event that I wrote about a few weeks back is coming up this Saturday the 12th, so there should be some fun stuff coming up soon.  Everyone have a great day/week/timespan, and there will be more stuff coming soon!

Here are the promised pictures of the pups.  If I had a wallet with pictures in it, these two would compose pretty much all of it ha.

In aerodynamic mode.

In aerodynamic mode.

It's a pillow on top of a pillow!!  Yay!!

It’s a pillow on top of a pillow!! Yay!!

I think he'd be perfectly at home in a cave.

I think he’d be perfectly at home in a cave.

Resting after tennis ball fetch time.

Resting after tennis ball fetch time.

More tennis ball fetch time.

More tennis ball fetch time.

Seeya!!

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!

Hello there, I hope the holidays are treating you right so far!

This year we traveled up to Ohio for the holidays with our families, which can be tough somewhat, being that we are literally a thousand miles away & so it seems that we are at a distance where they can’t see our week-to-week progression through life(though we do keep them up to date via phone calls).  It isn’t usually so tough when it comes to vegan food options; my partner’s parents are vegan & vegetarian and mine ask for specific items to buy(I typically make it easy on them & tell them hummus or veggie plates).  My family is pretty anti-kale(might have been the way they tried to cook it we suggested), but got me a cooking with kale cookbook anyway.  Just gives you an idea of where I’m coming from.  I deal with a lot of silly vegan jokes from my family, and I just laugh at the jokesters, not necessarily the jokes.  Then I give them a bit of information that surprises them on how beneficial a plant based diet really is for you.

Just remember that if anyone is poking fun at your veganism/vegetarianism/choices in life–laugh at them just enough to make them believe that you are laughing with them, and then enlighten them just a bit.  If they aren’t responsive to that tidbit of information, just continue laughing at them & don’t ever let anyone persuade you to think you are doing something wrong when you know in your heart that it is right.  Just be.

That’s our holiday in a nutshell.  Now we are back in Florida & enjoying tons of vegan options & warmer, sunny weather.

But that’s not why we are here, is it?

I’m here today because of a newer obsession–Macrobiotics.

Pretty cool stuff overall.  I was at a taproom recently and a new friend started telling me about his experiences at a certain Macrobiotic institute where he learned so many cool new things about food & the spiritual/scientific background of it all.  The really cool stuff is that it is all pretty much one big thing–not just spiritual, not just scientific, not just food, & not just a way of life–it’s all of it put together(at least from what I have gathered in our conversation & then further reading into the subject matter).

If anyone that reads this has any input on Macrobiotics, I’d love to hear it(especially if you know of any specialists in the north Florida area).  I’m definitely still learning myself, and always will be, but this is really something I’d love to get a better dialogue on.

Oh yeah, and right before we left for Ohio, we adopted a new part of our family:

His name is Little Baby Alec Burrito Baldwin, or Alec BB for short.

His name is Little Baby Alec Burrito Baldwin, or Alec BB for short.

He definitely fell asleep on my lap while I was working on some art yesterday.  We do have another adopted family member who you may know as Cinder:

She's a bright one, & quite a smiley pup too.

She’s a bright one, & quite a smiley pup too.

Cinder has been part of our family for four years now & has needed a companion for when we are out at work.  She shows a bit of separation anxiety & is quite a hyperactive friend.  Now that the two of them are together, getting them acclimated to each other is the next process.

One is a morning pup, the other not so much.  Guess which is which.

One is a morning pup, the other not so much. Guess which is which.

We’ve definitely given Cinder a lot more love, knowing she is probably thinking this is her replacement.  I don’t think she is necessarily showing signs of trepidation at the fact, just more along the lines of a jealous thing.  Not because of the attention, either.  Probably because in Alec BB’s potty training process, he gets to knowingly defecate on the carpet & get into much less trouble than Cinder.  Or I’m just reading into it too much & Cinder is just temporarily depressed that she isn’t the only baby.  The main thing is to show them both love & not play favorites.

Which we aren’t.

Alec BB just happens to be sleeping in my lap against my will.  So now I have to take a lot of breaks to pet & brush Cinder.

Enough of that cuteness though….

New Year’s Eve is tonight, are you celebrating?

If you are, that typically makes you more prone to the morning bug tomorrow, typically known in layman’s as a hangover.  I’ll spare you the Hangover movie .jpg & get right to it.

If you are trying to alleviate or avoid a hangover, here are some options you should try either the morning of or the night before(after drinking, of course).

Water.  Lots of water.  Alcohol takes it away from your body, being a diuretic of a sort, so put that stuff that composes something like 98% of your body back.  That might explain dryness of skin too, but I can’t be positive on that, just my own observation.

Fruit juice or smoothies.  Your body’s metabolism will speed up with the sugars in these, so it will give the bum’s rush to any hangover(I’ve always heard tomato juice is really good because of the vitamin B you lose during drinking as well–might give you an excuse for a bloody mary, just make sure they make it without Worchestershire sauce, that is essentially anchovie ketchup).

Bananas & potatoes(skin on).  Have a banana, they pack a potassium punch & are a great start to any day.   Make some homemade hashed browns with the skin on, they are good too!  Plus they might get some of that grease to your body that it is craving, coating a stomach & making it less upset.

Sports drinks.  We used to drink a 32 ounce bottle of Gatorade before going to sleep & woke up with no hangover at all.  That was back around the college days, so I’m pretty sure hangovers were non-existent considering the constant BAC running through our veins.  I have to be more careful with my brain & liver now.

That’s just a few ideas to keep you going into 2014 without too much pain.  That’s about it from me, still working on a bunch of recipes, so I have a ton of subject matter to delve into soon for some easy vegan tastiness.  Be safe out there & enjoy the rest of the year!

I still have an Alec BB sleeping on my lap.