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.

Banana Walnut Red Grapefruit Muffins

Co-op meetings always make me feel like a superhero. I just leave feeling better and more optimistic about life, this town, the capabilities of people to create the things they wish to be a part of. It’s all incredibly inspiring.

And it also makes me motivated to do things. Maybe it’s the work-hard, Rosie-the-Riveter-muscle-flex, You-Can-Do-It ethos flowing through my veins. I like it.  I came home after a marathon grocery shopping (okay, and pink hair dye purchasing) spree only to clean the house, do a few loads of laundry, make several dishes for lunches this week, and get some writing done. In about an hour or two. A small feat to people who accomplish this on a daily basis (I’m looking at you, parents everywhere!) but productive and good nonetheless.

In the midst of all that, I made these muffins, which are so easy and adaptable to whatever ingredients you feel like tossing into the batter. This is a variation on a recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. Originally Chocolate Banana muffins, I use a little less sugar than called for and have found that anything that goes well with the subtle taste of banana works well here. Go crazy.

Vegan banana walnut grapefruit muffins



  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • *a handful of chopped walnuts
  • *one red grapefruit, pith cut off, diced into small chunks

*This is the part that let’s you add anything you want.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients and mashed bananas until it is thick, almost like a paste. Add the dry to the wet ingredients, mix together. Add the walnuts and grapefruit pieces, mix through.

Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray, or use liners. This should make exactly enough for twelve muffins (as long as they are  regular, not mega-sized). Fill the sections of the tin to the top, and put in the oven for 20-30 minutes. I tend to think these are best in the 20-25 minute mark, when they are extra soft inside.

Remember, there are no eggs so worry not about them being slightly “underdone”. You can, and should, lick the spatula and bowl clean. And if you have a loaf pan, and prefer your muffins in bread-form, that would work as well.

The Meaning of Thanksgiving

Colleen Patrick Goudreau talks at Vegetarian Summerfest about Holiday Traditions and Thanksgiving ideas and ideals, and “the human ability to cling blindly to one’s rituals” – with an analogy drawn from Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery. 

“Because we’ve always done something doesn’t mean we have to continue to do it. Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.”


More videos under the cut…

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She so eloquently sums it up…

“If I profess to be a compassionate person, it doesn’t mean I get to be compassionate only to those I like or who agree with me. It means I strive to be compassionate towards everyone.

That’s the thing about compassion – it’s gotta be equal opportunity or it’s just inauthentic. It’s easy to be compassionate towards like-minded people. The challenge is choosing to have compassion towards those with whom I disagree.”

As per Colleen Patrick Goudreau, super-woman with incredible knowledge and the biggest heart.

This is something I think about all the time, not just in the way of vegetarianism/veganism but in so many aspects. What would happen if, instead of criticizing someone for not knowing, we were happy to teach them something new?

If instead of jumping to conclusions, we asked?

If instead of polarizing each other, we became more considerate?

Instead of taking something as personally insulting (even if that was the intent of the sender), we used it as a constructive way to make an improvement?

NEW BOOK: Color Me Vegan!

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau has done it again – another incredible cookbook to her list of accomplishments. I LOVE Colleen. Her podcasts (search: Vegetarian Food for Thought) are some of the most thought-provoking things I’ve ever heard, and her intelligence and compassion are evident in all she does.

I am particularly excited about this book, Color Me Vegan,  because it contains not just great recipes and bits of info, but clear and easy to understand nutritional information. Come for the food, stay for the wealth of knowledge.

Here’s a cute video of Colleen and one of her cats showing off the new book, available in early December. (Unless you are lucky enough to live in CA at attend the official book launch party. I’m so jealous!)

Preview of Color Me Vegan from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau on Vimeo.

(If you can’t see the video without a password, click the “Preview…” link above)

If you wanted to, you know, get me a gift for the holidays, then ahem ahem, this would be nice.

Check out all of the billions of amazing things Colleen does – her podcast, her other books, her recipes, her articles, etc etc etc…. wonderwoman!

Picnic and (Iron)Pigs!

Tonight I’m going on a double-date picnic at a baseball game! Goodbye, summer!

I’m excited to squish my toes in the grass, see how much I actually know about baseball (I think I finally get it), and share vegan foods with good friends.

One of the dishes I’m bringing is a mock-tuna salad. I can’t take the credit for this one – it comes straight from one of my favorite cooks, authors, podcasters, and all-around inspirational people, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.

It’s the first time I’m making this particular recipe, and I’m totally impressed by how healthy it is! Even with Vegenaise (which is an amazing animal-free mayo substitute, but not low calorie by any means) it’s so full of fresh, whole foods that one serving only gets a tiny portion of Vegenaise, so don’t feel bad about eating this!

Better-Than-Tuna Salad (from The Vegan Table)

  • 2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup Vegenaise
  • 1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

I used the food processor for everything, and did it in this order:

Cut the carrots into 1-inch thick chunks, to help them break up easier in the food processer. Throw them in and process until they’re in tiny pieces/shreds. Transfer to a LARGE mixing bowl.  Cut the bell pepper and celery into 1-inch chunks, and do the same thing, transferring to the bowl.

Add walnuts and parsley to processor, mix until crumbly. Add to bowl. Add chickpeas to processor, mix until crumbly – consistency will be like a dry peanut butter, still film and crumbly, but really soft. Add to bowl.

Add Vegenaise, mustard and salt and pepper to bowl, mix everything together. THAT’S IT! *Note: You can add some sea vegetable flakes, like kelp or dulse, to the mix to make it taste “fishy” you’d like that.

This makes a TON of food! I filled two medium-sized tupperware containers with the salad. This is very inexpensive, and would be great for a large family, a potluck or party at which you need to feed a lot of people.

Some raw chopped onions would make a nice addition, but I didn’t want us all to have to breathe on each other with onion breath all night.

Spread on a sandwich, in a pita, or over some greens. ENJOY!

“Speak your Truth”.

My exercise of choice is running. I started a few years ago when I found myself feeling out of shape, and noticed all the time I spent complaining and feeling bad about it could be spent actually doing something to change it (imagine that!).

Last year I started searching for podcasts to keep me company during runs, and came upon something so wonderful you must believe when I tell you it has been, quite literally, life-changing. Colleen Patrick-Goudreau  is a Vegan Warrior to say the least. She is a cookbook author, writer, podcast producer, a teacher of cooking classes and lectures – to name a few.

You can find out about all of her endeavors through her website, Compassionate Cooks (.com) – and here’s a short video where she talks about her transition to veganism.

Today I want to draw your attention to her podcast, “Vegetarian Food for Thought”.  I was searching for something that would give me some recipe ideas, and what I found in this podcast is so much more! For starters, Colleen is very well-spoken and deeply intelligent. Her vocabulary alone will make you feel smarter, but it is the eloquence with which she speaks about issues often times difficult to articulate. Topics range from favorite foods to the historical context of vegetarianism to how to be the lone vegan at a party.

She can talk about lentils for twenty minutes and make it interesting. More than that, her enthusiasm and encouragement  for a more peaceful world, and a deeper understanding of self and others are the invaluable gifts you will gain as a listener.  Never “preachy” and always inspiring, Colleen has become a personal hero and one of the factors that motivated me to start this blog!

Go, right now, to itunes and find the podcast “Vegetarian Food for Thought” and download every episode. And keep an eye out for her cookbooks at your local bookstore, “The Joy of Vegan Baking” and “The Vegan Table”.

Mediterranean Cruise

Okay, not a cruise (a girl can dream!) but perhaps the next best thing: food from a Mediterranean Deli. Some dear friends were telling me about this deli I had never been to, even though it’s only 10 miles away and I’ve lived in this area for 9 years! My pal Tesh drives by all the time on her way to work, and picked up some goodies for me.

She is a real pal, because this stuff was tasty! She picked up some meatless marshoushe, which is a cold salad of green beans, parsley, bulgar, onions, lemon juice, huge brown beans…. and some other stuff, perhaps. I has trying to find a recipe online, but believe it or not, “marshoushe” doesn’t even turn up in google!  If anyone recognizes this food and knows it by another name, please let me know! It was AMAZING.

She also got me some garlic hummus – isn’t homemade always the best? Hopefully you all know the wonders of hummus and eat it on a regular basis, so I’ll move along to the mouhammara, a roasted red pepper dip. The best I’ve ever had, though, was one I made from a recipe out of the book “The Vegan Table” by one of my personal food-heros, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.

Muhammara Recipe from “The Vegan Table” cookbook
2 to 3 whole roasted peppers (from jar or roasted yourself)
2/3 cup bread crumbs (see below to make your own)
1 cup walnuts, toasted
4 large garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons clover agave nectar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more for added spice)

In a blender or food processor, combine the peppers and all the remaining ingredients. Taste, and add more spice or salt as necessary.

But wait… here is the best part of my deli gifts. GIANT, HUMONGOUS HOMEMADE PITA BREAD. This stuff puts all other pita to shame.  It was so soft, and tasted like a cross between regular pita and Indian naan bread. Plus it was ENORMOUS!  One pack of pita contained four of these monsters all folded up.

I want to use it as a blanket for the duration of winter.

Today’s lesson: search your town for ethnic delis! You likely have something a few miles from home that you don’t even know is there! Get out those phonebooks and look.

And many thanks to my friends for introducing me to Forks Mediterranean Deli at 1508 Sullivan Trail, Forks Township, PA. (Essentially, its in Easton, PA.) Happy eating!