Color Runs, Book Clubs, Farmer’s Markets and Links I Love

As it turned out, that weird stomach bug I thought was over when I made my last post hid itself away just long enough to trick me into thinking I was better, then woopsies I went out and got sick in a garbage can in a public place. New experiences happen all the time, right? Ew. I spent a few more days hunkered down in bed with peppermint tea and dog cuddles.

I was determined to make it to the Color Me Rad 5K, so I  laced up my sneakers and made it through feeling not just good, but strong and happy and oddly connected to the 7,000 people running along with me. It was beautiful! The Southside was  a stunning mosaic of galloping bodies and candy-colored clouds.

colormerad coop team.jpg

bethlehem food coop 5k.jpg

And take a gander at this video Matt (STK! co-producer) made while running:

Everyone got RAD temporary tattoos, that um, seemed not-so-temporary, at least for the few days immediately following the run. I grew to love mine and briefly considered adding it to my forearm permanently. You are rad. I am rad. Life is pretty rad.

rad tattoo.jpg

These hot, hot days have been perfect for unleashing a barrage of freckles, big ol’ salads every day for lunch, and fantasizing about the mint herbal tea from Horns. In my daydreams I am backstroking through a swimming pool of this stuff, laying across a raft with the World’s Longest Straw. Get yourself over there if you’re in the area. (*Horns had new owners take over within the last year, and they are super vegan-friendly, and friendly in general. And one of the STK! interns works there, so say hello!)

horns herbal tea.jpg

I’m now part of a feminist book club with some local ladies, and our first meeting involved a delicious array of vegan cheese spreads, fig + almond cake, fresh fruit, and some wonderful insight. Our first book was Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth, and it listening to the personal stories of the group about how beauty, self-image, comparisons, weight, and family relationships have affected their lives really left me more aware of how I perceive others and myself.  (It’s awfully easy to make assumptions about folks and what their lives must be like, eh?) I am thankful for the openness and vulnerability of those in attendance who talked so candidly about deeply personal experiences, and the reinforced idea that we never really know what someone is going through, or has been through, especially when we only know them on a superficial level (or not at all).

This is a list of links I love gathered from ’round the internet:

Garden gnomes attend a fancy-schmancy Garden Show (and uppity vendors got mad)

What are the standards you’ve set to measure your worth and success?

Now you can smell like Sylvia Plath or Edgar Allen Poe

The best depiction of Depression I’ve ever read/seen (it’s illustrated!)

Do you feel the need to achieve Boho Perfectionism?

Trade debt for freedom and experience

Why the “Strong is the new Skinny”  trend is damaging to our self-esteem and body perceptions

Sometimes the vegan/health community can cause you to feel self-conscious

The Onion has some insight for those with anxiety (harhar)

emmaus farmers market.jpg

Farmer’s Market season is in full-swing, and I hope you can make it out to a farmer’s market and soak in the greens, the flowers, the straw hats and tote bags. If you’re in Bethlehem, check out the new market on Southside. Not to mention all the rest in the Lehigh Valley area.

… This weekend, me and Ryan take off for a vacation. I’m looking forward to the local walking ghost tours, days spent around a pool, days spent together obligation-free. Bring. It.

Til next time,

xo Jaime K

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Save the Kales! Vegan TV Show: Behind-The-Scenes at Brad’s Raw Foods

We visited the wonderful folks at Brad’s Raw Foods Chip Factory, located just a short drive outside of the Lehigh Valley, PA. Some of the sweetheart ladies on his staff made this little behind-the-scenes video on our filming day:


.

Save the Kales! relies on co-producers, camera crew and interns to make each show (a team that has grown over the year and they are my little TV show family!), and now you get to see what some of these guys look like. The Brad’s Raw Foods episode will be on television and online in March. Check it out!

 

 

 

“Our Truthfulness Can Change Lives” – On Writing, Blogging, Sharing and the Year Ahead

On the evening of the Winter Solstice, I took a pen and scribbled tiny, torn scraps of paper with the words and ideas I wanted to let go in the year ahead. I was at the home of a friend with a handful of other folks, some I knew better than others, and we shared the very sincere and open experience of acknowledging what we no longer want (writing it down) and symbolically releasing it (burning it to ash). Passing paper and pens around and each of us, silently, taking our turns saying

g o o d b y e

to any negative untruths, what has held us back, or prevented growth.

solstice

If it sounds a little eye-rolling and new-agey, it was. In the best possible way. There’s nothing like seeing your weakness literally turn to dust to give you a new frame of mind.

. . . . .

Last night, I got an email from a sweet girl who wants to start a blog. She asked, “How do you handle putting so much of yourself out there?”, impeccable timing because I have been wondering the same thing.

2012 was the year I put less out there. Moments and experiences and opportunities, and even some of the beauty of the minutiae of day-to-day life, were kept to myself or those I shared them with. It can be so exciting to have these magical tools that you tell anyone and everyone about anything and everything… but before long your life doesn’t feel valid if not enough people “like” it, and you’ve created a weird reality-show version of yourself (albiet unintentionally).

There’s another part, too. While hate-mail and comments are inevitable for anyone with a blog (or anyone doing just about anything, thanks to the internet) and I’ve learned so much about how to handle them when they come, there’s one that continues to stick out and I’ve let it prevent me from blogging some of my most important experiences.

Without glorifying The Meanest Email I’ve Ever Received, one small part of it suggested that Save the Kales! had become what so many other “lifestyle” blogs can become: A perfectly curated illusion of a perfect life with a perfect home and perfect food and a perfect relationship along with perfect clothes, friends, social life and material goods.

Wow.

It shook me, mainly because 1) I know those blogs, I have felt that way looking at them, the way you slink around your house after reading them, feeling ho-hum and wondering how you pulled the short straw in life and 2) I didn’t want to be a part of anything that made people feel bad about themselves. Because life is beautiful, but not perfect.

oasis of health food in Maryland

So I never wrote or shared photos of the biggest experiences of the last year. (Some are too precious, even now, and I like the feeling of keeping the best secrets just between me and the stars.) But in omitting experiences, I omitted the best part of blogging: reflection and appreciation, figuring-things-out and seeing life outside your own mind.

In her book This I Know, Susannah Conway writes on blogging:

“My blog began as a simple space to share my passions and talk about my days. There was no great plan… But as I became more comfortable sharing my feelings online, the healing path wasn’t far behind.

Blogging gave me back my voice after a year of feeling mute, the daily writing as a way to measure progress, the support from my readers such a boon on the days I crumbled, a collective cheer on the days I soared. I felt seen again, that I had a purpose, that my story was helping others, while they in turn helped me.”

Looking forward, I’ll continue to mind the gap between over-sharing and shamefully hiding. Save the Kales! began as an outlet in a time of crippling anxiety and depression, and to look back on how life has changed in almost three years since it began… that really is something. And it wasn’t because anyone handed me an answer — it happened because I worked my ass off to get better and actually got out and did things. I changed my perspective, I changed my life. Easy? Nope. Essential? Oh, yes yes yes.

While this blog will always be a “vegan blog” by default, I’m thrilled to get back to the roots of why I love to write (which are not unlike why I love to read): because through shared experiences we find purpose and connection.

I hope you’ll be a part of it.

Cheers to writing and dreaming and scheming and full-heart-believing.

Happy New year!

xo Jaime K

.     .      .     .     .

in 2012:

ballerinas

For a few months, I worked for an Arts Organization/Festival and have a whole new respect for these types of nonprofits, especially with a small staff (of two) and the faint hint of a budget. The behind-the-scenes work is more than I could have thought possible if I hadn’t seen it first hand. Keep fighting the good fight.

cafe santosha

I had some truly spectacular food.

h20kitchen

Including the fanciest, prettiest, 14-course dinner of my life, with special vegan dishes made just for me. This was edible art from a dear artist/chef who I’m happy to call a friend.

somuchcoffee

… and so much coffee. So. Much. Coffee.

jaimeandryan4ever

I began the fourth year of the dearest relationship to my heart, and along the way learned so much about expectations, commitment, remaining an individual while being one-half of a partnership, and deep, soul-brightening love.

trees

I found my way back to nature, to running, and learning more about what my body (and mind) are capable of.

masonjarlightsinNYC

I embraced concepts of minimalism, and continue to get rid of what doesn’t support my vision of the most beautiful life, tossing everything from spark-dimming ideas to material possessions. Stripped down, there’s a whole lot of beauty.

veria

I found myself in places I’ve only dreamed of, for reasons I still can’t believe are… real. (Sometimes photographs serve as the pinch on the arm, the you-aren’t-dreaming reminder that life is so weird and crazy and good.)

purplehouse

I found my way to new towns.

eastonpa

And rediscovered my own town.

cavetour

And traveled through underground caves.

nycskyline

And navigated the biggest cities.

beach

And went to the ends of the earth.

MY PIEROGI DREAMS HAVE COME TRUE: All You Can Eat Pierogies at Slovak Night

Hello, my name is Jaime K and I’m obsessed with pierogi.

If I had to pick one “last dinner” food, I would choose pierogi.

One of my favorite childhood (um, adult) dreams is getting trapped inside a giant peirogi.

Remember when I found this Pierogi Parade bag?

I once almost broke up with a boy because he had never heard of pierogies and kept calling them “Pilates”.

In fact, come to my house and you can meet THIS Pierogi:

Pierogi Cat

So, MERRY FREAKIN’ CHRISTMAS to me, because I just found out our pals at The Honey Underground are having a Slovak night.

That’s right. All you can eat pierogi, cabbage & noodles,  halupkis, galubki, halushki, borscht and more! ALL VEGAN. As much as you can eat before you turn into a Pierogi.

Heaven on Earth.

… Be still my Polish heart.

DETAILS!:

The Honey Underground

Slovak Night, Saturday Dec. 1st

6pm-10pm

$15.95 per person

Reservations required

Click Here for address and phone number

Facebook Page

Pierogi kitchen towel. Fan art?

{Pierogi Kitchen Towel, $14 by Garbella}

Shall we take bets on who will have to roll the other out of there? Thank you WENDY for making my dreams come true.

.    .    .    .    .

GARLIC PARTY: Vegan Buffet for $20

Garlic is as good a reason as any to throw a party. In fact, it may be one of the better reasons.

Chef Wendy of Balasia and The Honey Underground knows this, and has arranged a celebration in it’s honor along with Robyn of the Grow Indie gardens.

(Click links above to see some videos of these ladies and listen to me gush about how wonderful they are.)

If you’ve ever needed the extra push to try Wendy’s food, LET THIS BE IT.

Garlic Party is an all vegan, local, organic BUFFET — for a mere $20. (And BYOB)

Call the number on the poster to RSVP, get a costume (or not, but if you dress like a vegetable it would be adorable… a sexy vegetable?) and prepare to feast, my friends.

Saturday, October 27

Held between 6pm-10pm

1153 Gravel Pike, Hereford, PA (past Emmaus, PA)

Honey Underground on Facebook

EPISODE 5: HOME SWEET HOMEGROWN, Grow Indie gardens, The Joyful Elephant, Stir-fry Shepherds Pie and Vegan Breakfast Bowl

We travel to the Grow Indie test gardens to meet DIy gardener and book author Robyn Jasko.

In the kitchen, we make a Stir-fry Shepherds Pie with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes, followed by a breakfast or dessert of a Rice Bowl with Stone Fruits, Ginger and Cinnamon topped with an pretty pistachio garnish.

Finally, we meet Lehigh Valley nutrition coach Michelle of The Joyful Elephant, who helps people transition to a plant-based diet.

STIR-FRY SHEPHERDS PIE with WASABI MASHED POTATOES

  • 4 russet potatoes, peeled
  • 3 portobello mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 block tempeh, crumbled by hand
  • head of broccoli, florets cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/4 green cabbage, chopped

Boil a pot of water on the stove, enough to cover the potatoes, and add salt. Boil until potatoes are soft, about 20-25 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.

Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to a large pan, then add the onions and mushrooms. Let the onions get translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir to avoid the veggies sticking to the bottom. Add the crumbled tempeh to the pan, letting it brown and stirring so it doesn’t burn.

If the veggies are sticking to the bottom, add a little soy sauce or Bragg’s to loosen them up.

Add the broccoli and cabbage to the pan. Make the dressing (if you haven’t done so) and add that, stirring it through the veggies. Let veggies cook until broccoli is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.

DRESSING/SAUCE for Stir-Fry

  • 2 Tbsp tamari/soy sauce/Bragg’s
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp agave
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 inch ginger, grated
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, grated

Whisk everything together in a small bowl.

Vegan Stir-fry Shephards Pie with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes

WASABI MASHED POTATOES

  • 4 peeled, boiled potatoes, cooled off
  • 2 Tbsp water, with 1 tsp veggie broth base (or just veggie broth)
  • 1 tsp wasabi paste (more or less to taste)
  • pinch of salt

Use a potato masher to mash potatoes — or if you have a fancy mixer, use that! When potatoes are mashed, add remaining ingredients. You don’t need to add vegan butter or oil, but you can for a richer flavor.

Note: DO NOT EVER “mash” potatoes in a food processor. They get very gummy and are… awful.

ASSEMBLE the Dish

Turn oven to Broil. In a casserole dish, dump the veggie mixture and make an even layer. Add mashed potatoes on top. Add fresh cracked black pepper. Put the dish in the oven til the potatoes start to brown, about 10 minutes (but keep and eye on it, your oven may be different!)

—————-

Vegan Breakfast Rice Bowl with Stone Fruits, Ginger and Cinnamon

STONE FRUIT and GINGER CINNAMON RICE BOWL

  • 1 and 1/2 cups cooked brown rice (or grain of choice)
  • 2 peaches, chopped
  • 2 purple plums, chopped
  • 1/2 cup blueberries

DRESSING

  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1-2 inches ginger, grated
  • 1 Tbsp agave
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (use the good stuff!)
  • chopped pistachios to garnish

Add rice and fruits to a large bowl and mix. Add dressing and mix with rice and fruit. Get a handful of shelled pistachios,  wrap in saran wrap, and use a hammer (or heavy object) to gently crush them into pieces, and use them to garnish the bowls.

.     .     .     .     .

The People We Meet

Robyn Jasko of Grow Indie, and Home Sweet Homegrown with Jaime K of Save the Kales!

Meet Robyn Jasko, author of Home Sweet Homegrown  book and gardener extraordinaire! Robyn runs the Grow Indie test gardens in Kutztown PA,  and GrowIndie.com, an AMAZING website and resource for all things DIY/organic gardening.

Meet Michelle of The Joyful Elephant – Plant Based Nutrition Support. Michelle is a food coach and works with her clients to meet their health and dietary needs through education, hands-on work, and support to help people make a smooth transition into plant-based nutrition. Michelle is certified through courses from two of the top plant-based doctors, T. Colin Campbell (as seen in the film Forks over Knives), and Dr. Fuhrman of the Eat to Live program.

Michelle of The Joyful Elephant, and Jaime K of Save the Kales!

LINKS:

The Joyful Elephant facebook page

The Joyful Elephant website

Grow Indie facebook page

Grow Indie website

“Home Sweet Homegrown” by Robyn Jasko, book order site

VIDEO: Garden Gazpacho with Chef Wendy of Balasia/The Honey Underground

What a special treat!

One of my FAVORITE CHEFS OF ALL TIME, Chef Wendy Landiak, joined us at the Grow Indie Gardens while taping Episode 5 of our cooking show (online in a week!), to make a super-fresh gazpacho.

My new favorite memory of Wendy is now the image of her walking through the garden, cutting fresh veggies with her chef’s knife, and then lugging her Vitamix to a hay bale to set up her workspace.

It truly doesn’t get fresher than this, folks!

Garden Gazpacho with Wendy of Balasia + The Honey Underground

RECIPE for Garden Gazpacho

As you can see, nothing was meticulously measured, so here’s an idea of what went into the soup:

  • Fill a blender halfway with various tomatoes (rough chop large tomatoes into large chunks)
  • 1 bunch basil, leaves only
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 medium cucumber, cut into chunks
  • 1 tsp (or more to taste) smoked salt and/or Himalayan pink salt (if you don’t have these, regular salt will do, but it may not be as exotic!)
  • 2-3 hot peppers (lemondrop pepper, jalapeno, or hot pepper of choice! Removing the seeds will cut down on the heat. Add these to taste. Maybe start with one if you’re wary of the heat!)
  • 1 and 1/2 bell peppers (red and/or green), rough chopped in chunks

Start blending on a low-medium speed until gazpacho is blended. Stop while it still maintains chunky texture! That’s all. 

Optional: Drizzled with good olive oil, torn pieces of stale bread as makeshift croutons, garnish with fresh basil, add olive oil and heat on the stove for a pasta sauce

Wendy Landiak of Balasia and The Honey Underground on Save the Kales! making Garden Gazpacho… IN the garden.

Wendy cut up a bell pepper to make some impromptu spoons. And hey – it’s even kid-approved!

You can find Wendy at the Balasia stand at Farmer’s Markets across the Lehigh Valley. And if you EVER have the chance to attend her supper club, The Honey Underground (named after a poetic way of describing carrots), you MUST. GO. You must.

Find out where Wendy’s going, what she’s making, and how you can get her food by following the FACEBOOK page, or checking out her WEBSITE. 

Did I stress how delicious her food is? (Here’s a post I made about The Honey Underground — pictures!) Organic, local, always vegan, fusion-food inspired by cuisines around the world. She also caters events, will do private cooking classes, and is knowledgable about food allergies and even Ayurvedic cooking.