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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JUMBARS: Bethlehem Restaurant Week and an Awesome Breakfast

Jumbars in Bethlehem, PA

This past weekend kicked off Bethlehem Restaurant Week! Participating downtown restaurants make special menus that allow you to try entrees and side dishes for a low fixed price. Go HERE to find out more!

On Sunday morning Ryan and I walked to Jumbars, a quaint little lunch and breakfast spot owned by Emily, one of the nicest folks around. Going to Jumbars feels like walking through a pretty New England town. Everything is colorful, cheerful, and made with love.

They have a great menu – very vegetarian friendly, and with a day or two notice the owner is happy to make a vegan lunch feast. Thankfully, you can still drop in without notice and get a tasty vegan breakfast!

Great atmosphere.

While a menu staple, I was happy to see the tofu scramble as part of the Restaurant Week menu – which means I got tofu scramble, potatoes, toast AND my side of choice (fresh fruit salad with mangos and berries and grapes) for only $10. Yup, ten bucks.

Tofu scramble with zucchini!

Mango = extra good.

Coffee or tea? Your preference will be met here. While the coffee is top notch (I believe organic/fair trade), there are many choices of tea, most of which are herbal. Sip and enjoy.

Natural Health magazine, awesome breakfast date, coffee and the anticipation of tofu scramble. I LOVE SUNDAYS.

You can help yourself to any flavor of homemade jam for your toast (including the wonderful PEPPER jam – sweet and spicy at the same time, delicious).

Try some of each!

And – this is what really stole my heart – a large shelf full of about twenty kinds of HOT SAUCES. And you can try them all if you want to! Just be careful you don’t get so excited that you nearly knock them all down and create an avalanche of tiny glass bottles if you try to take a photo of them… woopsies!

Including some from the local Easton Salsa Co.

The place does fill up, especially for brunch on Sunday. You shouldn’t have to wait too long (if at all) but keep that in mind. I promise it’s worth it!

INFO

  • JUMBARS Breakast and Lunch
  • Saturday and Sunday 8am-2pm; Monday closed; Tuesday – Friday 8am-3pm
  • They also offer catering (and can do vegan foods!)
  • 1342 Chelsea Ave. Bethlehem, PA
  • Just a few blocks from downtown North Side, about 2 blocks off Center Street
  • Go HERE to link to their website

It makes you want to wear dresses (but you don't have to).

PHILLY AND CHEESESTEAKS GO HAND IN HAND.

Luckily for those of us not eating cheese or steak, we can still join the party thanks to many vegetarian and vegan options all over the city!

In fact, HERE is an article that explains why PETA named Phillies stadium the most veg-friendly ballpark for several years!

And what a city it is! Two weeks ago Ryan and I went to Philly for an afternoon. We wandered around a part of the city I’d never been to, any every single house looked like Dwell magazine’s Best of the Year issue. I wonder if historic Bethlehem would throw me out of town if I eventually build a home like this.

I'll take one of these, please.

... And one of these.

And what the heck, throw in a bowling alley for good measure.

It was a hot, hot day but we had fun walking around and finding nice air conditioned places to get bubble tea, etc.

Architectural Antiques Exchange. A huuuggggeee building with salvages pieces from homes, bars, churches, etc.

Perhaps one of the most perfect coffee shops on earth, yes?

Concrete Polish? Polish, as in, all of my family has names that end in "ich" or "ski", my cat's name is Pierogi and I call one of my grandmothers "Bobchi"?

We wound our way through the most insane tailgating I have ever seen to get to the Phillies stadium. You can get VEGAN HOT DOGS there! Among other things!

I am slowly but surely understanding sports.

His shirt explains it!

Around the sixth inning, we ventured down a few levels to get ourselves some veg-steaks. (So what if we had a ton of soft pretzels and vegan hot dogs first?)

Ryan got a vegetarian cheesesteak; I got a vegan chicken steak with buffalo sauce and extra hot peppers!

The fact that it was so messy meant I couldn't inhale it in five seconds and I got to enjoy it longer.

That same tactic didn't work for him, though.

Thank you SO MUCH to Lori and Bob, Ryan’s mom and dad, for sending us off to this game and giving us a really fun, delicious day out!

Belated Mother’s Day: Three Generations Get Sandwiches

My mother and I went to Doylestown, PA this Saturday to visit my grandmother and spend some quality time together since we didn’t get to see each other on Mother’s Day. My Mom is, and has always been, my biggest supporter. (As the mother of an only child, she has always said “I guess I did it right the first time!”)

My Gram could be Betty White’s sister in terms of personality, even though she always get’s stopped by people to be told she looks like Barbara Bush. (For the record, she is not a fan of the Bush family, and I an empathize because people say I remind them of Sarah Palin. We should tour together.)

BONUS: Hilarious video of my Gram in all of her glory below!

Here’s how we spent part of our day, including getting lunch at a great little lunch spot with excellent sandwiches:

My mom got to my place and brought these lovely lilacs from her yard at home in Wilkes Barre, PA. We have always had lilacs at every house we lived in while I was growing up. They smell wonderful and make me nostalgic.

My mom got a new car that looks like an avocado – I’m jealous, it’s so cute! It also has this compartment that holds drinks and is REFRIGERATED. Fascinating.

VIDEO! Gram tries, and fails, to buckle herself into the back seat. This is a little snippet of what spending a day with her is like.

In downtown Doylestown we went to lunch at a place called Lilly’s.  Super-cute inside, everything made with fresh quality ingredients, amazing unlimited fresh brewed unsweetened tea, and hearty sandwiches.

I got one called the Andrew Wyeth, which was a homemade vegan burger topped with zucchini, artichoke, greens, tomato and a white bean spread on pumpkin seed bread.

It took Gram a while to decide what to get. It’s okay because she dressed like a sea captain. Ahoy! 

Fact: Several years ago she decided she would only wear striped shirts so if she spills something on herself it won’t be as noticeable. Very clever.

Walking to the car I found this happy sidewalk chalk graffiti. YAY! indeed.

We took Gram grocery shopping. It lasted over… two… hours… To keep myself occupied, I found amusement in weird food. Behold: Lunch meat ends. Blarrrggg.

It was great getting to see two ladies, and without both of them I wouldn’t be here! I love you both so very much, thanks for the great day.

When I got home my stomach hurt from laughing.

PROVIDENCE (some of it) IN PICTURES

I’m stilled editing the videos from the trip to Providence, RI but wanted to share some of the better parts in photos. Unfortunately, most of the SUPER, AMAZING food was captured on video only, but we still managed to get some goodies, such as:

This horrible, horrible image placement on the back of the bus. The little chubby guy in a hat cartoon is actually quite cute when his face isn’t over a vent in the bus that gives him a perfect Hitler mustache. How did this get approved!?

The saddest sub-category of books I’ve ever seen. Anti-Optimism?! Who does that!? After this I balanced it by going to a section called “Kittens and Glitter”.

This is a most excellent cooperative venue called AS220 – they teach silkscreening classes, have an art gallery, live music, and so much wonderful vegan food. The video will include us eating here stuffing our faces with copious amounts of vegan Mac n’ Cheese with broccoli raab, among other things.

I appreciate the use of the sad face in this bathroom graffiti.

Took about a 20-block walk to this place, Julian’s, where we had an awesome brownie dessert with rice milk ice cream and took a vegan cheesesteak which we ate for breakfast the next morning.

On Day 2, we spent a good deal of time at the Culinary Museum and Johnson and Wales University. About 1/4th of the entire museum was devoted to diners – their beginnings, history, revitalizations, etc… and I was in my glory. Wish my Dad could see it! It made me nostalgic.

This was the coolest! This display combined from information about diners and the 1939 World’s Fair, the latter of which is also a fascination and interest of mine. My dad collected ’39 World’s Fair memorabilia. I have good memories of wandering around antique malls and getting him the best Christmas gifts. I saw this and my heart swelled!

This place had the best interactive exhibits!

Just me hangin’ out with my prize winning cow, before the two of us went into the pasture to eat some greens. Grass and kale, respectively.

If someone shot me with the Honey I Shrunk the Kids ray gun, I would live in this. It’s a bit of a fixer-upper but nothing I can’t handle.

A really wacky, handpainted chef’s jacket is an homage to Julia Child. It’s so silly and I love it. If any of you want to expand your artistic abilities, let’s make one for Save the Kales! I will rock that thing with pride.

An area of the museum was devoted to local companies and foods, and there was a great display about Tomato Pie (essentially, vegan pizza – a sicilian style baked dough with tomato sauce to be consumed hot or cold). The description said this is a “must have” for every party or gathering by residents of Providence, which is how those of us from Wilkes-Barre, PA feel about Middleswarth BBQ chips.

Check back soon for the videos that feature a LOT of the awesome food we consumed, some new recipes, and a menu so those of you locally can order batches of food weekly!

CONTESTS, ROAD TRIPS, TURKISH FOOD AND THANK YOUS.

Let’s go in order:

  • 1. Our local newspaper is having a Best Blogs Contest, and Save the Kales! is nominated! (My other blog, HEART OF STEELcity, is also nominated, but more on that in a minute.) There are many blogs in many categories – go, check ’em out, and vote for your favorite. (I’d love it if it happened to be mine, of course, but check ’em all out!)

There are a few corporate blogs thrown in, and while they do awesome things and I mean no disrespect, I’d love to see this contest won by people who write first and formost because they are passionate about what they do, and passionate about contributing to making the Valley great, not just because they make a salary to do so. I’d love to see independent writers get recognition that comes from winning the contest since they aren’t the ones with marketing departments behind them.

A blog can only win one category, so while some of us are nominated for several, I’d love to see your votes go to: a) Save the Kales in FOOD b) and HEART OF STEELcity in NEIGHBORHOOD

Thank you in advance, and best of luck to my friends and fellow bloggers for keeping a caring, DIY vibe to the Lehigh Valley through your observations.

GO HERE TO VOTE (only once a day, but you can do it EVERY day!)

  • 2) Two weekends ago, Ryan and I took an overnight trip to Providence, RI which was essentially a food tour and documentation of said food tour. I’m currently editing a 2-part video full of delicious foods, drinks and excellent establishments that have both. This will come in handy if you every find yourself in Providence, or give you good reason to plan a trip!

Fancy painting of some cows in the hotel lobby. I don't see enough cow art.

Vegan white russians, cheesesteak wraps, mac and cheese, and brownie + ice cream desserts galore. Also a visit to the Culinary Museum at Johnson and Wales University. SO fun!

  • 3) My new blog post at the aforementioned HEART OF STEELcity blog documents our visit to a Turkish restaurant in Allentown. Um, you guys. This has been here forever but it’s new to me and it’s literally MY NEW FAVORITE RESTAURANT. Tons and tons of vegan options.

If you live nearby or visit from out of town, you need to go here, and you need to take me with you. I can’t stop thinking about it. I may write a love letter. Dear baba ghanoush, I like you, do you like me? Check one box.

You can see photos and read about it here:  HEART OF STEELcity

  • 4) Thank you to everyone who reached out after my last post about my father’s death and how it lead me to a veg-diet. Your posted comments and personal messages directly sent to me have shown, once again, how lucky I am to have the kindest folks in the world supporting me and you are all a testament to the kindness of people, the good in all hearts. I reflect on your words in times of sadness, and then feel brighter and better when I think about them, and you. Thank you. So much.

One of my favorite artists ever, he makes my heart and eyeballs feel good, Rob Ryan

GETAWAY: Getting to the Good

I don’t for one moment take for granted the incredible weekend I got to spend in such a beautiful small town, and certainly not the accommodations, the friendly people, the animals, food or inspiring shops. This is something we’ve been planning for a while, and it was every bit as relaxing and blissful as I’d hoped. Join me for a trip to the Pennsylvania/New Jersey border.

There is way too much goodness to fit into one post, so today I’ll focus on FOOD and SHEEP. Enjoy!

VEGAN eggs Benedict and breakfast potatoes. (Tofu "eggs" and nondairy/non-egg hollandaise sauce!)

Our first stop was brunch at the super delicious Sprig and Vine in New Hope, PA. Brunch (best meal of the day) paired with an amazing all-vegan menu started the trip off right. If you don’t think it’s possible to make vegan versions of your favorite foods, this should prove you wrong.

Chicken Fried Oyster Mushrooms with biscuits and gravy!

Ryan got the “eggs Benedict”,  we split tempeh sausage, and I ordered the most incredible, soul-foodesque meal of chicken fried oyster mushrooms with buscuits and gravy. Ohhhh man. (*Note: “Chicken fried” doesn’t mean fried with chicken, it means it’s coated and cripsy the way fried chicken is. No animals harmed!)

Three wines for the price of one glass!

That night, after having drinks at a beautiful old bar with a tin ceiling and candles, we went to Lambertville Station for… well,  more drinks and I got this amazing WINE TREE. You pick the type of wine you want (in this case, Pinot Noir) and they bring you three different samples from various wineries. It was AWESOME. I later found out the wines, sold as a bottle, ranged in price from $60-100. Whoa! Thankfully the wine tree cost much, MUCH less than that.

A mere fraction of the wine cellar in Lambertville Station.

As much as I like modern architecture and crazy colors, the historic aspect of these  towns  was absolutely perfect. Everything was covered in snow and everyplace had candles and fireplaces. Certainly cozy, certainly relaxing and going during off season meant we were able to find little corners to have just for ourselves. Perfect.

Good morning indeed.

Mornings at the inn are amazing – they bring you coffee and tea, a copy  of the paper and the sheep are awake and Baa-ing outside the window. I felt completely spoiled and wish I could do it every weekend!

Speaking of the sheep… what beautiful creatures! They were so well cared for, happy to hang out in their sheep-house and roam around as they pleased.

Being around animals like this is a great reminder that ALL animals can think, feel and love. ALL have personalities and a desire to live happily and peacefully.

If you have a dog or cat, you already know this. You clearly have a big heart, too, to care for a being and love it so much! Consider that every other animal – a chicken, sheep, pig, etc… is just as capable of the great spirit we love within our companion animals.

If you are able to find a sanctuary to interact with animals that you may not have ever had a chance to meet in person, take that opportunity. Your heart will swell.

I can’t wait to do an update about the rest of our excursions on this most wonderful trip! But the things you can’t see in photos is the calm, the peace of mind, the restoration of mind and heart that it brought. Sometimes, to get away from what can seem overwhelming, we need to literally get away from our lives and our towns. It can be a vacation, or a single day trip to rejuvenate and restore our love for home.

Now go hug a pet or a friend and have an awesome day!