Let’s Cooperate

I’m off to a wedding today (woohoo! I watched wedding shows all morning so I’m extra-lovey and super excited!), so check back next week while I hope to get caught up on posts that have been stewing in my brain for weeks.

But let me remind you about this little initiative… well, scratch that. It’s a big deal.

The Bethlehem Food Co-op is rolling along, full steam ahead.

WE NOW HAVE T-SHIRTS, BUTTONS, BUSINESS CARDS AND BROCHURES! Go to the website to learn more about how you get any of these wonderful things to spread the good word.

A committee is currently working on putting together a cookbook for a fundraiser and you’re going to want to get one, because no one can ever have too many cookbooks. Ask me, I know. If you’d like to know more or be a part of it, send an email to info@bethlehemfood.coop

The next Bethlehem Food Co-op meeting is open to ANYONE, and will be this Thursday, April 19th at 7pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Center Street in Bethlehem. Bring a friend, bring your kids, bring cookies.

On Saturday, April 28th, we will be part of Bethlehem’s Earth Day celebration with information and be part of activities for the kids!

Poster in progress, Christian Weber Creatives. I'll replace this with a real one when he sends it to me.

Speaking of Bethlehem, starting this May the NEW Historic District Farmer’s Market will begin at the Sun Inn Courtyard, right there downtown (walking distance, hey now!) on Thursdays from 11am-3pm. The Co-op will be around with an information table and helping the vendors if they need it.

If you would like to be involved in ANY of these wonderful projects, leave a comment and I’ll help you get in touch with the right people.

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WEATHER PREDICTIONS: How Weather Influences Productivity

I’ve had a bunch of OCD’s my entire life. They are very mild – I don’t have trouble leaving the house or functioning in day to day life because of them. But I like things in even numbers. Except six. OhmygoodnessIHATEthenumbersix. Last week I parked in a metered lot and didn’t realize I was in space 6 until I went back to my car where it had been, sitting on the blacktop of SPACE SIX for HOURS and I felt uncomfortable the rest of the day.

I also need touch and temperature to be balanced. (Am I a Libra or what?) For example, if someone with very cold hands touches my right arm, I need them to touch my left arm in exactly the same place.

Another one that has crept up in the last 2-3 years is where I can be, physically and literally exist and take up Jaime-shaped space, based on the weather. If it’s a day I’m working from home and it’s sunny, I cannot be in my house. I pace around hugging the cat and feeling “off” and unproductive even if I’m getting work done.

Rainy days are preferable (unless I’m taking a road trip… but maybe even then) because I can be home and feel relaxed. You are supposed to be home and comfortable and loungey on a rainy day, even if you have a lot of work to do. Although, coffee shops make a great backdrop (one of my favorite atmospheres) for writing and reading and saying hello to neighbors, watching the people scamper with umbrellas.

Remember that scene in High Fidelity when Rob said he organized his record collection autobiographically? Mine is organized by season.

This morning I woke up to a strange weather phenomenon: hovering over my street was a giant dark gray storm cloud, like the space ship in Armageddon. Beyond it, looking toward the library, a bright blue sky with puffy, cheerful white cumulus clouds.

I had no idea what to do with myself.

I got dressed, I flopped back in bed, I tried to read, I tried to relax with a cooking show until I “figured it out”. It was so incredibly uncomfortable. I considered closing all the curtains and trying to go to sleep until the afternoon. There’s so much to do, so much to write. The places I’ve been, the people met, the food happily eaten in the past few weeks… but how do you do anything on a day like this?

So here I am. One of my favorite coffee shops, armed with books (The Five Things We Cannot Change and my signed copy of Vegan’s Daily Companion, specifically), trying to make a plan for the rest of this day, this week, this month, forever and ever? I don’t know.

From The Five Things We Cannot Change by David Richo (every page is highlighted multiple times, it’s nearly impossible to pull out just one part, but here you go):

“If we have the courage to face life’s unavoidable truths, we will find the grace to love no matter what happens to us. Love is always unconditional.

Neither changes, endings, altered plans, unfairness, suffering, disloyalty, or lack of love can stop us from loving. Our ‘yes’ to such a stunning grace is what our ego always wants to say, since it means the end of being afraid is the beginning of being free.”

I needed to write a post today because now I feel like I’ve done something. Thanks for understanding I used this as a sort of outlet today, differently than other days in content.

I hope you’ll find the courage, motivation and inspiration to do something beautiful today. Even if it’s just to pause a moment to reflect on yourself.

I’M HAPPY YOU’RE HAPPY: And There’s Enough for Everyone

I posted this on my personal facebook page a few months ago, but it’s worth sharing again.

“We could all do better not to let jealousy, subjective comparisons, and perceptions of others “perfect lives” and happiness ruin our own dreams. Besides, if people really ARE happy, well.. isn’t that the goal? Couldn’t we stand to feel happy for them and not turn into grouches and insist they must be faking it?

The point is: another person’s success and joy doesn’t take ANYTHING away from you… And we’re all human. Just because someone isn’t blasting the internet with their personal struggles doesn’t mean they don’t have any. Act with love, not fear.”

Let us strive not to feel threatened when others do well in the form of a new job, a new creative project coming to fruition, they get recognized for work, they find a happy relationship, and so on.

Bright Colors make me happy. Photo by ADG Photography

When we aren’t happy with aspects of our own lives, it can be an impulse to look at someone’s happiness and begin to pick it apart to make ourselves feel better. WHY do rational, friendly people do this?

Here’s the thing: the world thrives, we thrive, when we make connections and share in our talents and visions.  There is not, and there never will be (thank goodness!) only one of the best of everything: the best musician, the best writer, the best designer. Someone else excelling in a field that you work in doesn’t mean you should stop doing your work, or that it’s any less valid.

The internet is such a wacky thing. It allows us to literally edit our lives. Sites like Facebook let you decide what to make public or private, what photos to share (the most flattering, of course!), and in the midst of all that sharing we can also leave out the hard times, the times we struggle, the bad days, the I’m-calling-in-sick-and-staying-on-the-couch-all-afternoon moments.

Most of us have had financial struggles, worked jobs we weren’t proud of (maybe even embarrassed of), been through at least one really horrible breakup, worked through self-esteem troubles, etc. Yet we compare and compare and compare and forget the truth: at the end of the day, we are all flawed, we are all imperfect, we all have ghosts in our closet or regrets that became lessons.

Watermelons and summer dresses make me happy. Photo by ADG Photography

Everyone, all of us, deserve happiness. No. Matter. What.

The sooner we can remember that, the easier it will be to focus on having it for ourselves.

LADIES IN THE KITCHEN: Cooking video with The Blissful Chef, Manifest Vegan and Save the Kales!

By the end of this post, you’ll see a video and the recipe for these tasty goodies: Popeye Cakes with Avocado Dipping Sauce. But I need to tell you about some great girls first…

Popeye Cakes, photo by Allyson Kramer

Popeye Cakes, photo by Allyson Kramer

Last week I went to Philly to meet in person (finally!) Allyson Kramer of Manifest vegan, now a Philly resident, and Christy Morgan, “The Blissful Chef” on her Blissful Bites book tour as she was traveling around from Texas.

This day meant an awful lot to me. Both of these brilliant women have played a rather large role in my own cooking knowledge and inspiration on a very basic level, but I have always admired them for being awesome vegan role models in their own right. (Yeah, I said role models, ladies!)

Allyson and Dot

Two summers ago when this blog went under a bit of an attack (to be fair, it needed to happen and that   instance taught me a lot), Allyson found my email address and wrote the most beautiful, supportive email. It      meant so much to me at the time that someone reached out to share her own story of a similar issue, how to deal with it, to remember not everyone thinks about things the same way, and NOT to be deterred from moving forward. I had just read about her and her work in VegNews magazine and she was somewhat of a celebrity in my eyes, and she was writing to little ol’ me?

It’s been nearly two years since that first email, and Allyson has been around since then to be my sounding board and a point of graceful insight when things in “the vegan community” can get confusing or disillusioning. Many times I’ve hastily written to her, a knot in my stomach, and an email 18 paragraphs long of rambling and spelling errors, and she always comes back with incredible insight, even if it’s just to say she’s felt the same way.

None of that even begins to touch on her work. I have an older interview with her HERE, though some information is different now, she’s had much more recognition for her work, and her book Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats is coming out in June. You’ll be buying it, riiighhht?

Christy Morgan cooking demo

Christy Morgan is a powerhouse. I was surprised when I met her to see how tiny she is (I’m taller than someone, what?!) because she operates on this go-go-go level. She is a trained macrobiotic chef and has participated in countless cooking demonstrations on TV, at Vegfests, and most recently at the super-big-deal IACP NYC event.  She teaches cooking classes and can do nutrition consultations over the phone, so if you’re looking to work with a true professional, give her a call.

Blissful Bites is a gorgeous full-color book that teaches basics like knife skills, to the simple “what’s the difference between vegetarian and vegan?”, and each recipe has notes to let you know if it’s low oil, gluten free (most are), can be made in less than 45 minutes, etc… It’s broken down by season, THEN by type of dish within the season. So… it’s Spring, and you’re hungry for lunch– Boom. A ton of recipe ideas. How cool is that?

Brunette Vegan Cooks with Glasses club, first meeting.

Christy offered so much insight on book deals, touring, working with clients and people of all backgrounds and skill levels, and “a typical day in the business”. I don’t know if this girl ever stops working! She’s a great example of how hard work pays off.

OKAY, I’M DONE GUSHING FOR NOW! On to the recipe!

When I got to Allyson’s house I had just got done hugging everyone and we had a few rounds of “Oh my gosh, we’re all hanging out together!”, we immediately got to work on making some lunch. Allyson had a well-stocked fridge with every vegetable you could think of, so we started throwing things together and came up with what Christy has dubbed: Popeye Cakes!  (They are green and kind of tasted like spinach, despite not using any spinach!)

Here’s a video and the recipe (taken from The Blissful Chef Blog):

Popeye Cakes with Curry Avocado Sauce
(makes about 14 cakes with 2 cups sauce)

Popeye Cakes

Toasted sesame oil
1 bunch chard, chopped
1 carrot, grated
1 zucchini, grated
4 baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon coriander
1 29oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoon flax meal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown rice flour

Preparation

Heat up a medium skillet with sesame oil then saute veggies with spices for a few minutes. Cover with lid and stir occasionally. In the food processor, blend chickpeas with mustard, vinegar, flax, and salt until no big chunks remain. Add sauteed veggies and pulse those into the chickpeas until well combined. Place mixture in a large bowl then mix in flour until well combined.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with SIlpat or parchment paper. Wet your hands and form cakes about 2 inches in diameter. Place on cookie sheet and continue until all mixture is made into cakes. Bake for 30 minutes, then flip and bake for 20 more minutes. Meanwhile make your sauce!

Curry Avocado Sauce

1 small bunch kale, steamed
2 avocado, pitted
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 lime, juiced
1 lemon, juiced
1/3 cup fresh dill
1 teaspoon white miso
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)

Preparation

Place all ingredients in a food processor, and blend until smooth and creamy, about a minute. Scrap the edges of the bowl a few times to incorporate all the ingredients. Serve on top of Popeye Cakes or as a dip with corn chips!

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Thank you so much, Allyson and Christy, for being friends and inspirations. I’m on a path that has no clear direction but forward, and there aren’t a lot of people I can turn to for personal experience and advice, but you have filled that void and I’m thankful and proud of you both.

Thanks to Kate for taping the video and taking photos so we can always remember this day!

The only still photo of the three of us, haha.

Allyson’s blog Manifest Vegan, and Christy Morgan’s website The Blissful Chef.

“We Are All Meant to Shine”

Thank you to Laure Lovelace, my fitness bootcamp trainer, animal activist, and someone I’m happy to call a friend. She sent the following to me over the weekend:

One of my favorite quotes makes me think of you today…

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?

Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Shine On by Lan Truong

by Lan Truong

It’s from Marianne Williamson. The first time I read that quote I was moved to tears as well. Being someone who to this day at times feels ‘guilty’ for being happy it is something I need to remind myself of.

I used to think that being compassionate meant feeling pain all the time. While it is painful to be aware of the tragedies of this world, we do no good by wallowing and not being our best. When we are at our best we can BE our best and that makes the world a better place.

Shine on my friend ♥

–        –         –         –

A smart one, she is. Yes. Shine on.