Summerfestivus for the Rest of Us

It’s 11pm and I’m typing this from a picnic table surrounded by quiet trees on a University campus in a small town at the other side of Pennsylvania.

This afternoon, after some traffic and one too many rest stops, I made it to Vegetarian Summerfest (ahem, Vegan Summer Camp) and within 5 minutes of walking around I was hugged four times.

That’s one huge every minute and fifteen seconds.

My first class was a focus on interconnectedness, a discussion that explores the notion that, elementally, we (all of us) are the same as all nature and “things” (everything), vibrational energies buzzing and humming, made up of the stuff of stars, one in an infinite sky but no less brilliant or worthy of light.

Sound like a feel-good family comedy? It is, I suppose, almost exactly like that. Which is precisely what makes being here so special.

 

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EPISODE 2: “Community Garden”

Here’s the second episode of the Save the Kales! half’-hour show!

In this episode…

We visit the Good Growers of Northampton Community College as they show us an impressive community garden that sprouted up in just one year and admire their recycled materials and sustainable practices; back at the kitchen we use some of their produce to make Kale Mac + Cheese Casserole with Sundried Tomato crumble AND a Cannellini Bean and Greens Salad with Fresh Herbs; and we stop to eat and learn about the Bethlehem Food Co-op from two pretty ladies workin’ hard to make it happen.

Mike MacDonald chats with Jaime K about community gardening.

RECIPES

KALE MAC + CHEESE CASSEROLE

  • cook one box pasta of choice (no eggs!)
  • one bunch of kale, stems removed and torn/cut into small pieces
“Cheese” Sauce
  • one box silken tofu (MAKE SURE it’s silken)
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 4 Tbsp. white miso paste
  • 1 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 cups almond milk
Crumble Topping
  • 2 cups bread, crusty or soft
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes (preferably not packed in oil)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook one box of pasta as per directions. With about 4-5 minutes of cooktime left, add kale to the pot. Drain pasta and kale. Once drained, add to a large mixing bowl.

In a blender, add the ingredients for the cheese sauce and blend until very smooth. *Note: This makes about TWICE the amount you will need for this dish, but I like to make extra since you already have the ingredients out and this stuff is soooooo good it’ll be nice to have around! Use on pasta, veggies, as a dip, on nachos, whatever! 

Pour the sauce over the pasta and kale until creamy but not soupy, and mix. This will be about half the sauce.

Get a casserole dish and spray with cooking oil spray. Pour the kale mac + cheese into it. Add a little more cheese sauce on top so it won’t dry out.

In a food processor, process the bread and sundried tomatoes until mixed into a crumble. Spread over the top of the casserole. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the top just starts to brown.

Save the Kales kale mac + cheese casserole!

BEAN, GREENS AND HERBS SALAD

Ingredients

  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 4-5 cups cooked cannellini beans (one bag of dried beans); or 3-4 cans
  • dandelion greens, one bunch, torn into smaller pieces
  • 2 handfuls of arugula
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped
  • 1/8 cup italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/8 cup mint, chopped
  • olive oil to coat lightly (2 Tbsp, add more if needed)
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 and 1/2 Tbsp. aleppo pepper (or dried red pepper flakes, 1/2 the amount)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
Halve the tomatoes. Drizzle some olive oil on top with a sprinkle of salt, and put in the 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes.
While tomatoes are roasting, add everything else to a large mixing bowl and toss gently with your hands. When tomatoes are ready, add those and mix.
*Note: You don’t need aleppo pepper, but it’s truly amazing and would make a nice little treat for you or a friend who loves to cook!

Save the Kales! bean, greens and herbs salad!

Colleen and Cathy from the Bethlehem Food Co-op.

The Ocean Waved

It’s quieter here. At night we wear sweaters and stay up late playing games with the kids, red card blue card reverse order. When we lick our lips they taste like salt and grit and we don’t even mind.

Everything is books and sandwiches, cotton clothes and beach naps. The coffee tastes better with this view. I forget most things and maybe that’s the point.

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When You Think You Have Nothing

One of many from Lisa Congdon’s 365 Days of Hand Lettering. One of my favorite artists + hand drawn type = Inspirational magical beauty.

Quiet Day

The husband and father of one of the most beautiful families I’ve ever had the pleasure to know passed away last night. My heart is torn open in shock and sadness.

Sandi and Dennis

Sandi has been a dear friend, my “Bethlehem Mom”, the woman who helped me through one of the toughest times of my life by saying, “Love isn’t supposed to hurt and make you feel sad all the time”, we have laughed together so much, when I needed encouragement she always popped up at just the right time, and continues to even now, every day I see her. She always greets me with a smile and a hug, and I wonder if I can ever give back to her the love and support she has given to me.

Her family is so creative and loving, she and her husband Dennis raised two beautiful boys who make the world better with their art and their kindness. Dennis and Sandi exemplified that marriages can last and work, and their sons have grown up in a home of love, respect, and adoration that will be passed along to their own families. I have often thought, if I ever have a family of my own it would be a great source of pride if we could be as kind, selfless and inspiring as the Meyers family. Love radiates from them.

Family love, personified.

It’s too hard to find words right now. I’ll borrow from e. e. cummings:

life’s not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis

Dennis, what an honor to have known you. The world is immeasurably better because you were in it. Your family will go on to continue to make it great with all the lessons and love you gave them. In them, you leave the best legacy.


Blog Inspiration: Corinne Bowen (Okay, also Human Being Inspiration)

Corinne first contacted me what must be over a year ago to tell me I won an online contest via Crazy Sexy Life for some UliMana raw cacao truffles. Hey, online contests are fun, and it’s really fun to get an email from a women who writes for one of your favorite websites (CrazySexyLife.com) and print publications (VegNews and Vegetarian Times magazines).

I’ve enjoyed seeing her work pop up in media outlets I frequently explore, and I’ve poked around on her website now and again. Corinne is also in-house-editor of Crazy Sexy Kitchen, by Kris Carr, a new book due out later this year.

Hanging out/working with Kris Carr in Woodstock, NY.

It’s not an exaggeration to say to women has her hands in some of my favorite things, truly dream projects.

In the last two weeks we’ve reconnected via the internet, and I have been endlessly pouring through her blog. Literally reading every entry whenever I have the time. I have been making the time, in fact, because her posts make me so excited about writing, cooking, carving my own career path, and the entirety of life in general.

http://www.CorinneBowen.com

Her blog has everything I truly find pertinent and personally satisfying in a blog at this point in my life: she’s   soon turning 30 so I’m finding moments of her life quite relatable from an age-perspective (I’m 28); I love reading about her beautiful, creative family and her extremely healthy vegan pregnancy; she has been focusing on the simple pleasures we can often forget – how refreshing it is to clear up some clutter which creates better mental space as well as physical, or that chopping vegetables can be meditative; but especially the posts she writes about following your bliss and how she gave up a “safe” career path (a salary, a 401K) to pursue freelance writing.

When I read about her projects, I almost (almost) feel intimidated because she has worked on/is working on what are some of my personal dream projects. A quick glance at her resume of work makes me feel like I’m talking to a person living the dream life.

Her beautiful family enjoying the sunshine.

And that’s whats so special about her blog. She illustrates that a dream life is possible. It’s not always glitzy and glamorous, it may still require a grocery budget, and it’s certainly not always easy or without self-doubt or hard work. But that’s what makes it great: it’s tangible, and it may be simpler to come by than we imagine.

There are far too many wonderful posts to try and pull from my favorite parts, but this one sums it up fairly well:

“I showed Audrey (daughter) her reflection in the mirror and couldn’t help but snap our photo. I thought: This is my life, on my terms, doing what I love with my baby girl beside me. I remembered: The doubt of changing careers, the anxiety of taking leaps of faith (over and over again), and the difficulties that came with ignoring advice. And I confirmed: Every single sleepless night, every what-if mind game, every hymn sung by my imaginary choir of critics (all of which still exist on very low volume) were so clearly worth the grief.

When I feel afraid to listen to my gut, I reflect on tiny yet tremendous moments like the one at Ma Petite Shoe. These quieter times are loud in perspective. They give me a little space to relish the fact that I’ve yet to discover a moment that following my bliss didn’t eventually lead to just that. And I’d urge anyone who has something daring or dreamy tugging at their heart to take a step forward, even if it seems scary.”

– Corinne Bowen.com

Corinne and baby Audrey

EXCITING THINGS!

Cookbook Giveaway/Birthday Wish (Support a Sanctuary)

1. Corinne is giving away a copy of the wonderful Blissful Bites cookbook! I’ve talked about Christy and her book before – it’s really lovely, tons of color photos, and the recipes are healthy and easy to make. This is one of my favorite cookbooks and Corinne feels the same way. She’s giving away one copy! 

2. For her 30th birthday, Corinne has asked folks to donate to the Maple Farm Sanctuary. She was introduced to this sanctuary after writing about them for a VegNews article, and it inspired her to selflessly ask that her birthday gifts come in the form of donations. You can sponsor a chicken for as little as $10 (yup, just ten dollars) and greater donations help larger animals. Instead of going out for lunch one day next week, consider donating to a wonderful cause and make a birthday wish come true at the same time.

She ended our most recent email exchage, a few hours ago, with this:

“It’s funny how easy it is to think that when we achieve a certain milestone, everything else will make sense. I’ve found that that never really happens. It’s just about being happy where you are. Things are always getting easier and more difficult at the same time! I think that’s the beauty of life when you guide your path by your heart. xo”

Go to her site. Start reading. Continue reading. Bookmark then read some more. Repeat.