Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

I have no excuse.

I took some time off.  Working.

Well, mostly working.

Predominantly doing a combination of work, cooking, guerrilla cleanups(I’ll detail that term later), podcasting(I hope that I don’t have to detail that term for you), gardening(It’s an easy term), volunteering, outdoorsing, and hanging out with pups & friends.

See??  Podcasting!  (I totally didn't think that it would be that easy to define the term)

See?? Podcasting! (I totally didn’t think that it would be that easy to define the term)

It's not hanging out with pups until you have one four inches in front of your face staring longingly into the crumb of breakfast that's in your beard.

It’s not hanging out with pups until you have one four inches in front of your face on your lap staring longingly into the crumb of breakfast that’s in your beard.

Outdoorsing(Noun):  doing stuff outdoors.

Outdoorsing(Noun): doing stuff outdoors.

Okay, now that we’ve blown through most of the pictures for this post, let’s get to the Mac & Cheese.

Because plant-based comfort food is AWESOME.

You will need:

1 medium potato, chopped

1/4 red onion, chopped

2 small carrots, chopped

You should put all of that in a pot, adding just enough water to submerge the veggies.  Cover & boil that for about 15 minutes.

While all of that is happening, put this in a blender that you’re close to:

1/2C cashews

1/4C nutritional yeast

2T coconut oil

1 clove of garlic

1/4t mustard seed

1/8t paprika

1/8t pepper

1/8t cayenne(use less if you aren’t the best with heat.  I just like my mac & cheese with a little spice)

By the time you’ve accumulated the ingredients and put the precise amounts into the blender, the veggies should be fork-tender.  Add the veggies & the water it cooked in into the blender.

Then blend.

Blend for a minute or so, that should get the mixture to be pretty smooth.

From there, cook off about half of a box of pasta(around 8oz dry) to an al dente state, drain, & toss in a mixing bowl with the “cheese” mix.

That’s it. Vegan Mac & cheese. Now you can trick all of the kids into eating their veggies. If you want to have extra deliciousness, put the meal in an oven-safe pan, top it with some bread crumbs seasoned with some Italian-style seasoning & bake it until toasty on top.

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This is what it looks like in a bowl.

Now, in keeping up with tradition, here’s some pup pics:

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"That little son-of-a....He's right behind me, isn't he?"

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On their tanning bed.

Oh yeah, I was going to explain guerrilla cleanups.
Basically, it’s a quick one or two bag trash cleanup wherever it needs it(which is more often than not if you live in an urban area). I’ll break out the bike, find a site within a mile from my place(further if in a car), throw some gloves on & pick up debris. It usually takes about a half an hour to clean up an area where it’s taken months for people to trash. It’s become one of my many hobbies & I try to do these at least once a week. It beautifies the area and the trash won’t make it to the waterways, which are also cleanup sites on some days.

Because let’s face it, water is kind of an important thing.

Have a great week & I’ll try to post recipes from the classes I’ve been teaching on here!

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See?? I'm a bona fide teacher!! Also, a flyer designer!

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I have been slacking.

A lot.

I’ve been working a lot, and then occupying my time with making artisan vegan cheese, volunteering, kayaking, and walking the pups a decent bit.

It doesn’t seem like a lot until you factor in the fifty-five hours a week I spend at my day job.  That’s the minimum too.

And it’s salary.

And I still can’t afford to pay attention. (hehe, had to throw that in there)

In any case, I’m working on getting time off of work to go on vacation to Ohio.  This means there will be some hotel down time, which I will chronicle the vegan joints we cruise through & hopefully a few dog parks or hiking adventures.

Also, bourbon.

This is the Bourbon Trail, right??

This is the Bourbon Trail, right??

As it’s been a while, I’ve been stockpiling recipes, so there should be one or two coming up with the adventure tales.

This particular post, we’re going to talk pita.  It’s reaaaaaaaaalllly easy to make.  Like, slap the ingredients together, roll out, flop on a hot plate in the oven, and you’re good.

Well, not that easy.

The ingredients you slap together are 2t yeast & 1C of warm water to start.  Let that get all assimilated, like 5-10 minutes.

Yeasty water.

Yeasty water.

Mix in 1t olive oil, 2t sea salt, & 2 1/2C of flour & knead that until it’s really doughy.  Let that rise in a greased airtight container for an hour.

I mean, it's dough.

I mean, it’s dough.

In the meantime, throw half of a cup of flour into the air so that it’s on absolutely all of your kitchen counter.  Or just the area you’re working on.  The part where it’s everywhere comes later anyway.

Get out your rolling-pin or something to make this dough really flat & get it covered in flour.  You want everything covered in flour to prevent sticking.  Preheat the oven to 450F with a metal hot plate or baking stone inside.

That dough should have risen some & now you can pinch off pieces of it, roll that in your hands into little dough balls.  Then, put them on the floury counter & roll them into large, flat discs.

Dough ball.

Dough balls.

DOUGH DISCS!!!

DOUGH DISCS!!!

Hopefully you’ve read this to this point & haven’t forgotten to turn on the oven.  If you have the oven already on, throw the discs on the hot plate or baking stone, turn on the oven light, and sit there like it’s a holiday movie on the television.

Because this happens.  It's really cool to watch.

Because this happens. It’s really cool to watch.  Like, they puff up. 

When they do expand, they can be pulled from the oven, unless you like them a bit more toasty.  Feel free to leave them in for a couple extra minutes if you want.  Just make sure you eventually pull them out.

They look like pita.  Now we need dip.

They look like pita. Now we need dip.

BONUS!!!!!!

Hummus recipe:  throw 2C chick peas, 1/4C tahini, 1/2C water, juice from one lemon, 1 clove of garlic, 1/8t cumin, 1/8t chili, & 1T oil into a blender or food processor & puree that stuff.  Add salt to taste, as well as any other cool ingredients you might like(I enjoy ghost pepper powder, but just a little–no need to burn the face off).  Finish by sprinkling paprika & additional oil on top, then by dipping pita bread into it.

Very easy.

Very easy.  Note the flour is still EVERYWHERE.

That’s it for me.  I’ve got a birthday to kick off the trip to Ohio, so wish us luck.  I love working in the kitchen with a hangover, but driving is a completely different story.  Especially over 1,000 miles.  I’ll tell you about it later.

Here’s some pup pictures to keep you busy:

 

I just made a really bad joke.  No, seriously.  He looks at me like that all of the time, so you know my jokes are horrible.

I just made a really bad joke. No, seriously. He looks at me like that all of the time, so you know my jokes are horrible.  Also, I don’t have that ugly of a chin in real life.  It’s the way I’m crunched up laying.

He did something wrong.  I don't know what it is, but he did someth........oh, come here you little cutelord!!!

He did something wrong. I don’t know what it is, but he did someth……..oh, come here you little cutelord!!!

If you even utter the word "walk" in my house, this happens.

If you even utter the word “walk” in my house, this happens.

That’s all for now, you all have a great week or two!!!

 

I’ve been a bit busy.

Lots of work from the day job & lots of work from the kitchen.  I’ve been playing with recipes for vegan cheeses & have started working more and more toward a new project called Counter Culture Foods.  The way that I see it, I’m pretty good at this whole slow-foods, fermentation & culturing of foods thing, so why not?  There’s going to be cheeses, pickled veggies & I’m playing with….shhh…. bread.  Take a look at the link which will take you to the Facebook page & give it a like to follow along in the adventures.  I’m currently working on numbers for it right now & giving out samples to friends to try(sorry, no shipping…..yet.).  I’ve got a decent plan in place & that should be up pretty quick.

Peppered gruyere.  That stuff is nuts.  he he.

Peppered gruyere. That stuff is nuts. he he.

On the cookbook status, I’ve started working on the format & I think the best thing is to do a pay-what-you-want e-book or find a good recycled paper publisher.  It seems that there are so many books out there and I’d like to stay a bit different while remaining true to the environmental animal I am.  It is well underway though.

I got a little tired of those banana cookies that I had posted about a few months back & had a couple of bananas that were getting to that super-nutritious browning stage.

This presents a conundrum, primarily because I have several small tubs of frozen bananas in the freezer, either in chocolate iced cream form or in whole banana form for treats.  So freezing more bananas was out.

Cookies are good, but those easy cookies just didn’t get the craving from me.

Muffins ended up being the way to go.  I whipped these guys up in about ten minutes.  Then I ate most of them in half of that time.

You say half empty, I say I'm half full.

You say half empty, I say I’m half full.

I mashed two bananas in a bowl, added a flax egg(3T warm water & 1T ground flax, let sit for a few minutes), & then mixed in two tablespoons of coconut oil, a teaspoon of sea salt, two tablespoons of agave, a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, half a teaspoon of cinnamon & allspice, half a teaspoon of vanilla, a teaspoon of baking soda, & 3/4C of whole wheat flour & 1/4C of rolled oats.

I scooped the mix into a greased muffin pan & then tossed it in the 350F oven for twenty minutes.  A toothpick came out of one of the muffins clean, so that was my indication that they were done.

And so was I after I ate four of the eight muffins it makes immediately after they came out of the oven.

Well, not immediately.  That would be the actions of an insane person hellbent on burning the top of his mouth.

Which I have learned from.

Easy though, right?  I suggest making a glaze with a tablespoon of almond milk & 1/4C powdered sugar for the top, but that’s not necessary if you want to skip the sugar, which I’ve been working on as well.

I guess that’s about it for the time being, lots of work behind me & lots ahead.  It’s like I’ve got a non-stop chemistry set and it just gets more & more interesting.

"Jesse, we've got to cook....er, I mean ferment.  Culture.  Just make me some cheese."

“Jesse, we’ve got to cook….er, I mean ferment. Culture. Just make me some of that damned delicious cheese.”

So, I’ll leave you with some pup pictures, but have a great week & I’ll keep you updated!

When you're mowing the front yard for fifteen minutes & the pups are like, "Can we help???!!!"

When you’re mowing the front yard for fifteen minutes & the pups are like, “Can we help???!!!”

Making dog food & turning around to this is always entertaining.

Making dog food & turning around to this is always entertaining.

Life is so tough.  So, so tough.

Life is so tough. So, so tough.

Bye all!!

It’s getting hot out.

It’s almost like summer is here already.  That means get bananas, pineapple, mango & other fruits to keep good sugars in you.  I played around making a fruity hot sauce even, but that one is for another post.

For now, we’re going to play with ginger soda.  After all, I’ve been playing around with fermentation for a while now & it is immensely great for your gut & health.  There’s healthy bacteria that are in it, very similar to homemade sauerkraut.

Insanely good for you.

Plus, it’s kind of cool to have something living on your kitchen counter.

That might have sounded weird.  It doesn’t really walk around or anything, but it does have some cool action going on in the jars you put it in.

This is what you start with.

This is what you start with.

Okay.  To start, throw 1/2C of water in a mason jar, add a tablespoon of sugar & tablespoon of minced ginger to that. Make sure to put a lid on the mix.  Every day, add another tablespoon of sugar & minced ginger.  Do that for five days or so.  The mixture should start getting a little bubbly & have a good pressure whenever you open the jar.

I’ve always liked making sun tea.  I’ll throw four bags of green tea into a quart of water & throw that on a windowsill in the morning.  Like this:

The ginger grows after a while.

The ginger grows after a while.  Kind of like a healthy Freddy Krueger.

Next up:  add about 1/4C of the liquid from the ginger bug(that’s the cool kid name for the mix we made earlier) to 2C of the tea, then add a tablespoon of sugar.

Why all of the sugar you ask?

Because bacteria need to eat too.  The little fizzies aren’t going to happen on their own in an environment where they can’t get some sort of energy.  That energy is sugar, & it gets broken down on a molecular level, so it isn’t like you’re drinking maple syrup.

Unless you put maple syrup in your ginger soda.

I won’t judge.  It might taste great.

Here’s what it should look like:

The three amigos.  You can tell which one has more sugar being broken down by the foam at the top.

The three amigos. You can tell which one has more sugar being broken down by the foam at the top.

Give it a couple of days & test it by tapping the top of the jar.  If there’s pressure, you did things right.  Open it up, hear the hiss & pour yourself some of your homemade soda.

There’s so many flavors you can incorporate into it too–I threw a pineapple chunk into one of the jars to just have fun & the next day I got a fruity ginger soda.  Hibiscus tea instead of green tea?  That works really well too & it’s almost caffeine free!

So.  Easy.

You just have to have some patience & ferment.

While you’re doing that, you should check out this awesome vegan joint in Jacksonville called the Garden Truck.  It’s been around for nearly a year & they have some fantastic food there.  They do sausage & gravy and blueberry(from an organic farm not too far away) pancakes for brunch, among other meals.  There’s a great selection for lunch & dinner too, ranging from their white bean sausage & peppers on cibatta bread to a delicious gumbo that’s like hanging out in Creole country.  The decor is modern, where there’s a strong influence of city life mixed with some wonderful relaxing living herb centerpieces on the tables.  I love the place & the crew there is so much fun.  I definitely need to get out there more often.  Here’s a couple of pictures:

The brunch.  It is soooo good.

The brunch. It is soooo good. 

It even has an open kitchen.  It has a great ambiance.

It even has an open kitchen. It has a great ambiance.  I love the plants too!

I love peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, so I played around & created this quick recipe too.  I put 2C of sunflower seeds, 1/8C sunflower seed oil, 1C pureed strawberries, a banana & 1/8C agave into a blender and made a sort of butter & jelly mix.  Just something fun to play with & you can even eat it on its own.  I chose to have it on some sourdough bread as an open sandwich & that worked out really well.

It's almost like a pate spread.

It’s almost like a pate spread.

That’s all for now, here’s some awesome pictures of the pups:

Everyone is happy after a walk/run in the park.

Everyone is happy after a walk/run in the park.

When I'm on a ladder grabbing kumquats from the tree, this is what I look down to.

When I’m on a ladder grabbing kumquats from the tree, this is what I look down to.

Vegan pigs in blankets & broccoli mac kimchi-eeze.  Kind of tough working around these guys in the kitchen sometimes.

Vegan pigs in blankets & broccoli mac kimchi-eeze. Kind of tough working around these guys in the kitchen sometimes.

Sometimes, I have no caption.  Feel free to add one.

Sometimes, I have no caption. Feel free to add one.

Have a great week!

Disclaimer:  I don’t really have writer’s block.

On the contrary, I’ve been writing a lot.  Just not on the interwebs.

I’ve been really busy with work and playing around with vegan cheeses & fermentations as of late.  It seems like I’ve always got a science experiment on my kitchen counter at any given time.

Most recently, I found a cool recipe for smoked gouda & started playing around with variations of it to make it more simple & just have fun.  I never really played with coconut milk as the base for a vegan cheese, but it works really well & there’s so many different things you can do with it.

As cheddar was my all-time favorite flavor, that was my starting point.  Again, SO EASY.

Put a can of full fat coconut milk, 1/4C of water, 1/4C of nutritional yeast, 1T sea salt, 1T miso, 1/4C tapioca starch & 2T agar powder into a blender or food processor & blend that until it is completely mixed.  Throw that into a saucepan & cook on medium for about ten minutes or until the mixture starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.  Put that mix into a glass mold & set it in the refrigerator for a few hours.

Take it out of the mold and eat the entire recipe in one sitting.

EASY, RIGHT??

Well, you can save some for grilled cheeses too.  It just so happens that this is perfect for heating back up so it starts to get all melty.  I love it with some sourdough & roasted onions.  Like this.

So many noms.

So many noms.  That’s with olive sourdough, BTW.

If you really want to have fun, you can play around with the recipe and add all kinds of stuff.  Like noodles.  Or vegan sausage.  Or broccoli.  Or all of the things.

I should put this in between some olive sourdough.

I should put this in between some olive sourdough.

I have been talking about it for some time now, and I have a ton of recipes & pictures.  So I’m going to be working on a cookbook to fund a vegan food cart or a food truck.  Hopefully by the end of this year.  I’ve got to do some more research on publishing & fund-raising for it, but the entire premise of the book is to help people convert into a plant-based diet in a healthy manner.

NOT by eating vegan pizza in front of your dogs on a daily basis.

NOT by eating vegan pizza in front of your dogs on a daily basis.

The issue is that so many people starting on a plant-based diet do so by eating all of the processed junk and nothing else.  Mind, that’s not horrible if you are taking supplements, but if you want to have a smooth, healthy transition, you are going to have to understand what to eat.  And that, sadly makes vegan pizza something you should only have once a week when you first start out on your adventure.

Then you ease yourself into a daily regimen of vegan pizza.

Kidding.  Don’t do that.

So that’s the basis of the book.  I would love for it to be educational, humorous, & full of cool things that are easy for people to try out, even if they aren’t jumping on the veg-wagon.

If anyone has any input on publishing or anything regarding cookbooks, leave me a comment below.  I’d love to learn as much as I can & find out how to do this stuff.

Plus, it will fund a veg-cart/truck/business(these are all long-term goals & aspirations) so hopefully you can go to a ball park here and find some cool vegan food.

I found a salad bar at a stadium recently.  I think they serve peanuts somewhere too.

I found a salad bar at a stadium recently. I think they serve peanuts somewhere too.

So that’s it.  Let me know if you have any input & I’ll keep everyone updated on the status of the cookbook.

And now, a couple of pictures of pups:

It's Soul-Eater...er...I mean Cinder.

It’s Soul-Eater…er…I mean Cinder.

Not sure why he sits so cute, but he does a great job at it.

Not sure why he sits so cute, but he does a great job at it.

Someone has their eyes closed for the family picture.  Someone else looks like they're expecting food immediately.

Someone has their eyes closed for the family picture. Someone else looks like they’re expecting food immediately.

Have a great week & write you later!!

Who would’ve thought going on vacation(or just taking a few days off of the ol’ day gig) would have kept me so busy?  I really didn’t.

I rode about forty or fifty miles on a beach cruiser bike around town, visited One Spark a handful of times, finished a design for a shirt that I’m pedaling for a few bucks, caught a lot of cool music shows, went to St. Augustine with my family & today kind of relaxing or catching up from the residual hangover from the week of insanity.

The shameless plug for the shirt.  I designed it because the governor likes to ban the topic of climate change among government officials.  Bans.  The.  Entire.  Topic.

The shameless plug for the shirt. I designed it because the governor likes to ban the topic of climate change among government officials. Bans. The. Entire. Topic.

I’m pretty sure I’m leaving something out, but it’s fine.

There were a lot of beers drank.

A LOT.

But this is a food/pup blog, so let’s get on with that.

Lately I’ve been playing in the kitchen with fermenting, whether it’s rejuvelac for culturing vegan cheese, sauerkraut, or kimchi.

I’ve always been a fan of kimchi & trying to get people to enjoy it.  It is, unfortunately, something that people either like or despise, and trying to figure out a delicious non-traditional way to make it considering there is fish paste in it most of the time is a daunting task.

But I did it.

And it’s really easy.

Take a head of cabbage(napa if you’re trying to go traditional) & shred it to about 1/8″ strips.  Add 2T of sea salt, 2t of red pepper flakes, 2t of minced ginger, a cup of sliced green onions, & 2t of sugar to the shredded cabbage in a bowl.  The cabbage should start sweating almost immediately.  Cover it with another bowl with a little weight to it & it should look a little like this:

I press the cabbage with multiple bowls to get things going efficiently.

I press the cabbage with multiple bowls to get things going efficiently.

From there, cover the bowl & let it sit for about 24 hours.  Take a peek at it & make sure that the liquid that is being pulled from the cabbage is now covering all of the mix.  If it isn’t, press it a bit harder until it does, which shouldn’t take too much effort if the cabbage is fresh.

Let that sit covered for four to five days at room temperature away from sunlight.  After that, it should have a pickled scent to it.  Throw it in a jar, press it under the liquid(save all the liquid) with a fork & put it in the refrigerator to enjoy whenever.  This usually lasts around three months if I don’t go crazy & eat it all on a bed of jasmine rice first.

MMMMMMMkimchi.

MMMMMMMkimchi.

Like I said, it isn’t really traditional, so it isn’t going to look like the stuff you’ll buy in the store.  But it’s damned tasty.

We’ve been setting up the #NachoBar at some green events around town & are going to be at Welcome to Rockville, a giant two-day concert in the heart of Jacksonville.  We’re going to be popping up at other events soon as well & should be having a blast with the vegan nachos.  We had some high-profile characters at our last endeavor:

The mayor is back!  This time, his eyes are open for the photo!!

The mayor is back! This time, his eyes are open for the photo!!  Actually, everyone’s eyes are.  & we’re all creepy with the red eyes.  Except for my photobombing friend in the back.  He’s hilarious.

I mean, craft beer & vegan nachos, how can you go wrong?

I mean, craft beer & vegan nachos, how can you go wrong?

Other than that, I think life has been a little busy(albeit fun) recently.  Here are the puppy pics for the post, enjoy!

SO HAPPY.  They just got back from a walk.

SO HAPPY. They just got back from a walk.

They get tired shortly after.  And they mock each other.

They get tired shortly after. And they mock each other.

It almost looks like the ball is screaming.

It almost looks like the ball is screaming.

SEE??!!  They love kumquats!!

SEE??!! They love kumquats!!

They also like my Southwest tofu scramble.  Well, just looking at it.  Because I gotta eat too.

They also like my Southwest tofu scramble. Well, just looking at it. Because I gotta eat too.

That’s it this time around, get in the kitchen & have some fun!!

I really need to come up with a better excuse for why I haven’t been writing as much as I used to.

Actually, working on other projects & happenings, not to mention the crazy amount of hours I pull at work, tend to keep me on my toes & off of my laptop a lot.

That, & cooking things on off times.

Also, on some days off, I get the pleasure to help out with one of the coolest events Jacksonville has to offer…the Northeast Florida Veg Fest!

It was held earlier in March this year instead of the typical November time slot, & the weather couldn’t have been better, fueling a record turnout that by all accounts estimated around seven thousand people running around the park eating veggie food, playing with adoptable companion animals, drinking a beer in the beer garden, or listening to some of the awesome bands that came out to play.

I snapped a lot of pictures throughout the day & a video of the pie eating contest.  It was a blast of a time & I can’t wait for the next event!

Early morning set up.  Around 7AM.

Early morning set up. Around 7AM.

Having the first beer of the day around 11.  With Crescendo Amelia Big Band rocking the stage.

Having the first beer of the day around 11. With Crescendo Amelia Big Band rocking the stage.

BUNNIES.

BUNNIES.

Yes, I'm the guy that sneaks up to take pictures of your dog.

Yes, I’m the guy that sneaks up to take pictures of your dog.

People starting to crowd the park...

People starting to crowd the park…

Shannon representing the Girls Gone Green tent.

Shannon representing the Girls Gone Green tent.

Dave from BikeJax striking a pose.

Dave from BikeJax striking a pose.

Adorable pups.

Adorable pups.

Prissy pups.

Prissy pups.

Kids moshing around.

Kids moshing around.  Also, Mayoral candidate Bill Bishop.

Pie eating contest....

Pie eating contest….!

Chieforia bringing the ska to the party with a last-minute save when we had an open slot for music.

Chieforia bringing the ska to the party with a last-minute save when we had an open slot for music.

Stunned spectators that I surprised.  I don't think I surprise them much anymore.

Stunned spectators that I surprised. I don’t think I surprise them much anymore.

Our sausage & peppers and gumbo from Garden Truck, one of the great food vendors.  That didn't last long.

Our sausage & peppers and gumbo from Garden Truck, one of the great food vendors. That didn’t last long.

Cute pups...

Cute pups…

My attempt at a selfie with the Mayor.

My attempt at a selfie with the Mayor.  You see him, right?  He’s like thirty feet back or something.  Behind the guy with the sunglasses.  Not that one, the other one.

Ashley did better, though the mayor's eyes were closed on this one.

Ashley did better, though the mayor’s eyes were closed on this one.

Some noms from Reggae Shack, a cool Jamaican place out of Gainesville.

Some noms from Reggae Shack, a cool Jamaican place out of Gainesville.

Master Radical totally rocked the stage.

Master Radical totally rocked the stage.

Someone found a forever home too:)

Someone found a forever home too:)

I probably should have brought these guys along too, they weren't happy I was gone all day.

I probably should have brought these guys along too, they weren’t happy I was gone all day.

That’s about it, I’ve got a couple of recipes that I’ll feature on the next post, but this seemed like a decent amount of eye candy for this go around.  Have a great couple of weeks & hope to see you at the next Veg Fest!!