Nerves Before the Pilot Episode

Emotional Sunday.

I spent the afternoon at a baby shower for the producers (and editors and camera crew and director and assistant) of the show, and my heart was just so full at the thought of these two wonderful people, Matt and Sarah – one of those cool, creative, fun and constantly involved-in-everything-awesome married couples – bringing a baby girl into the world.

(Also producers of the show Lehigh Valley Mirror!)

Now it’s a few hours before the the pilot show airs for the first time, and my stomach has been in knots all day.

I can’t stop thinking about how this happened… how I got here, wherever “here” is anyway. Two and a half years ago, in the darkest time of my life, when I felt I had hurt people too much, done nothing but created a mess that could never be undone, felt like my existence in the world was causing more harm than good, and what was the point…

… something in my guts said, “Jaime. You are going to do something important. Please hang on. You’ll figure it out eventually. You will.”

I still don’t claim to have figured it out. Those closest to me know the amount of time I still spend trying to figure it out (bless their hearts), the worry and anxiety and fear that creeps in while trying to find a purpose and learning and getting better and wanting  everything to be good for everybody.

When I think of the people who have helped put this show together, I am beyond humbled. They could spend their time and energy on anything else — countless hours of editing, texts at 1am asking about graphics layouts, the first episode surviving  amidst a production computer that totally crashed and died, hauling equipment around, setting up lighting, takes and retakes, finding the right music, money spent on software and groceries, etc…

To you all, thank you for believing in me enough to devote your skills, energy and friendship. Matt and Sarah; and Christian: you are the greatest bunch of people a girl could work with. If a day ever came when money was no object, I would see to it you are taken care of for the rest of your lives. This is just as much your show as it is mine. I love you and “thank you times infinity” is still not enough.

This is only the beginning!

The TV Guide channel. Kind of surreal.

–         –        –         –          –

Last year I went to a discussion panel on creativity at Lehigh University. A student in the audience raised his hand and said, “I want to make movies, but Lehigh doesn’t offer video production, so for now I’m majoring in English and I’ll study film when I get to grad school. What English classes should I take?”

As one person on the panel began to answer him, he was interrupted by another professor who stood up so assured and said (I’m paraphrasing):

“We live in a time when you don’t need permission from anyone.

You don’t need to wait til grad school. If you want to make movies, get a camera – buy one, rent one, borrow one – and make a movie. You’re in school during the week? Do it on weekends. You can’t get it done by yourself? Meet people who share your passion and help each other. You do not need to wait. You don’t need a class. You don’t need  four years of school and to graduate: those are excuses.

If my five year old son and his friends can grab our digital camera, turn it to the movie setting, make a video of them playing Cops and Robbers, upload it to Youtube and get a few thousand hits, all in one afternoon, YOU CAN MAKE A MOVIE.

Now go and make one.”

 –        –        –        –       –

I do hope you’ll enjoy the first episode of Save the Kales! Surely, there is still a lot to learn and I’m so excited to see how we’ll all learn and get better as time goes on. A lot of work and love went into this project, and seeing it in a tangible form… Wow. Now that I have this out of my system, I’m speechless.

Enjoy!

Advertisements

IT’S SHOWTIME(S): First Episode Airs this SUNDAY and Beyond

Well, well, well… I have a couple of dates and showtimes for the first episode of the show!

*The show WILL be online in two weeks

If you have RCN Cable, you can find the first episode of Save the Kales! this upcoming week on RCN Channel 4:

  • Sunday, May 6th, 9:30pm
  • Tuesday, May 8th, 11:30am
  • Saturday, May 12th, 6:30pm

It’s possible it’ll pop up other times, too, but those we know for sure. At some point it’ll go in the On Demand lineup and be available online indefinitely.

I Love Lucy moment at the tofu factory.

In the first episode, we go to a tofu factory, then head back to the kitchen to cook two dishes with this main ingredient: a tofu basil “ricotta” pizza with fresh arugula and lemon, and my Sunday Brunch Tofu Scramble. When it’s time to eat, we’re joined by Johnny Gee of the blog Johnnysized.com as he tells us about his transition to a plant-based diet that has allowed him to lose over 60 POUNDS and he is now OFF ALL MEDICATIONS. Wow!

Meeting on set of Episode 2 with Sarah, one of the producers!

We just finished the cooking segments of Episode Two, and it’s looking great!

Thanks for the support and encouragement, and check out the show when you get a chance!

NEW VIDEO: Vegan (Eggless!) Quiche. Yes, Really.

I first learned about the technique of combining tofu and nondairy milk to use as an egg-like mixture from what may have been my first cookbook, The Garden of Vegan by Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard. They sit there on the cover having a picnic in vintage dresses and pretty tattoos and inside all of the recipes are sassy and 1950’s kitschy clip art is found on every page.

The great thing about this quiche recipe is that once you have learned the basic “egg filling” ratio – 1 cup of tofu blended with 1/3 cup nondairy milk – you can pretty much add anything else you’d like and make your own recipe!

I made this quiche based on what ingredients I had on hand and what I thought would look pretty and colorful. Get creative with spices and veggies. *Note that using some turmeric will make the mixture yellow and look more like eggs if that’s what you’re going for.

WATCH THE VIDEO BY LEHIGH VALLEY MIRROR (below):

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 premade pie crust (read ingredients! or make one from scratch)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 5-8 mushrooms, chopped
  • 1-2 Tbsp soy sauce (or Tamari or Bragg’s)
  • about 2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 block (one cup) extra firm, or firm, tofu
  • 1/3 cup nondairy milk of choice (I use almond milk)
  • 1 Tbsp turmeric
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2-3 green onions, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • about 12 stalks of asparagus (to garnish the top)
  • 5-7 grape tomatoes (to garnish the top)

Save the Kales on Lehigh Valley Mirror

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add olive oil, onion and garlic to a pan and sautee about 4 minutes until the onions start to become translucent. Add red pepper, mushrooms, soy sauce and basil. Mix everything and let cook until veggies just start to soften, another 5-7 minutes.

Press the water out of the tofu. (For this recipe you only use half the block, so put the rest in a container of water and put it back in the fridge.) Put tofu in a food processor with the nondairy milk. Blend until smooth.

Save the Kales Vegan Quiche on Lehigh Valley Mirror

Add tofu mixture to a large bowl along with the veggie mixture. Add turmeric, nutritional yeast, green onions and some salt to the bowl and mix everything together. Add to the pie crust and spread out evenly.

Place asparagus stalks on top along with the tomatoes in a pretty pattern, if you choose to use them. (You can also just make them part of the veggie mixture.) Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees. The top will get golden brown.

Save the Kales Vegan Quiche

*TIP: Often times premade pie crusts are sold in twos. This recipe also only takes 1/2 a block of tofu. If you have some extra veggies and spices, you can easily make two quiches instead of one!

BONUS: The extra tip in this video is about using olive oil to remove your eyemakeup! Check it out around the 6:30 minute mark.

NEW VIDEO: Hot Cabbage “Wedge Salad”; Fall Flavors!

Thanks once again to Lehigh Valley Mirror for your video producing and editing prowess!

This dish was influenced by the nutritional abomination called a wedge salad. This usually consists of: a chunk of iceberg lettuce covered in bacon and bleu cheese. Not vegan. Not healthy. Usually (strangely enough) kind of expensive in some fancier restaurants. Who needs that?

Here I took the concept of shape and texture and created a plant-based whole foods warm dish with sweet and savory flavors. This is very simple prep work and cooking for a pretty final result.

Hot Cabbage “Wedge Salad” VIDEO

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 head of cabbage, cut into wedges through the core
  • 1 yam or sweet potato
  • 1 apple (honeycrisp is the BEST!)
  • olive oil
  • salt + pepper
DRESSING:
  • 1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup (the real kind!)
CANDIED NUTS:
  • vegan butter melted in a pan (Earth Balance!), about 2 Tbsp.
  • enough brown sugar to make a carmelized paste
  •  about 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds (or nuts of choice)
  • a dash of cinnamon
* some dried cranberries for garnish

Manatees LOVE cabbage! Invite some over for Thanksgiving!

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place the cabbage wedges on the sheet, then lightly brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until starting to brown, about 25 minutes.

Cut the yam and apple into small dices. You can leave the peels on. Put them in a bowl with a small amount of olive oil to coat. Spread evenly on a baking sheet, and add it to the oven with the cabbage when you have 15 minutes left of cook time. (Both should get done at the same time.)

To make the dressing, whisk the mustard, balsamic vinegar and maple syrup together in a small bowl.

For the candied nuts, melt the vegan butter in a pan on low heat. Add brown sugar and mix until it’s thick and caramelized. Add nuts and stir to coat – add more nuts if mixture is still really wet. Add a dash of cinnamon, and spread mixture out on a sheet of wax or parchment paper to cool.

When all components are ready, plate by putting the cabbage on the bottom then topped with the apple and yam mix. Then drizzle on some dressing, top with the candied nuts and add some dried cranberries for a garnish!

Hot Cabbage Wedge Salad

There you go! This makes an awful lot of food, and would be a great addition to a Holiday meal or potluck. Enjoy!

–    –    –    –    –    –    –    –    –

If you or someone who you know has a business or organization interested in sponsoring Save the Kales! cooking videos, please tell them to contact: LVMirror@lvmirror.com 

NEW VIDEO: Indian Spiced Stew

Dried lentils, potatoes, onions… some of the most affordable ingredients you can buy, right? You’ll be happy to know the base of this stew relies on these cheapies, a few other veggies you’re so inclined, and some spices. That’s all you need to make a tasty and healthy meal to warm you up!

Watch the video:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups cooked rice or grain of choice
  • 1 cup dried green lentils
  • 2 brown potatoes, chopped and cubed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp. salt and a few shakes of black pepper
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. garam masala
  • OPTIONAL VEGGIES: 1/2 green bell pepper, 1/2 red pepper, 3 cups spinach
  • 1/2 cup of sliced raw almonds
  • cilantro for garnish
Start cooking your rice/grains so they will be ready when the stew is done.
In a large soup pot add the lentils, potatoes, diced tomatoes and onion. Add water, cumin and garam masala. Mix everything together, then put in a stove at high heat until simmering. Then cover and reduce to low to continue to simmer for 35 minutes.
If adding fresh veggies, put them into the soup pot when you have only five minutes of cook time left so they can maintain some freshness.
In a small skillet, add the sliced almonds and turn up the heat to high. Let the almonds start to toast – they will get brown and fragrant. Toss them to toast evenly. DO NOT let them burn.
Time to plate! Put your rice or grains on the bottom of your dish, ladle stew on top, garnish with toasted almonds and cilantro.

Thank you once again to Matt and Sarah of Lehigh Valley Mirror for the great video!

VIDEO: Veggie Stacks inspired by the Bethlehem Vegfest Posters!

Bethlehem Vegfest is less than a month away (holy moly!), and I’ve been looking at the poster design by Christian Weber Creatives and got inspired to make this dish.

I also hope you’ll give a round of applause, once again, to Matt and Sarah of Lehigh Valley Mirror for turning this video into a Save the Kales web cooking show – which will become a monthly feature! This is the first one and I am so excited to get better, share more recipes and little tips called “Food For Thought” (an homage to Colleen-Patrick Goudreau’s amazing podcasts, but also a fun play on words).

This is some of great poster art for Bethlehem Vegfest, six designs in total, and you can find all the designs on the facebook event page!

You’re going to be there, right? “Yes, of course!”  That’s what I thought. On to the recipe…

WATCH THIS VIDEO, OH MY GOSH!

EGGPLANT ZUCCHINI AND POLENTA VEGGIE STACKS

*This recipe makes enough for 2-3 stacks, but you can make a hundred more depending on how many veggies you use and how big they are.

  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced into inform rounds about 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced into uniform rounds about 1/2 inch thick
  • 1/2 refrigerated polenta, sliced into rounds 1/2 inch thick
  • about 1/2 cup olive oil (may not use all of it)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray, and lay out cut zucchini and eggplant. Brush lightly with olive oil and season with a little sea salt and pepper. Put in the oven for about 25 minutes, until veggies are cooked and tender.
When you have about 10 minutes of cooking time left, put the cherry tomatoes in the oven (use the same cookie sheet if you have room).
Heat olive oil in a pan, enough to coat the bottom. Add the polenta slices and cook for 5-8 minutes on each side. One side is done when it’s golden in color. Move to a plate covered in paper towels to absorb some of the oil.
In a small saucepan, add about 1/4 cup olive oil and heat on medium high. Add the grated garlic until it starts to just brown, but not burn. (Make sure the heat is not too high.) Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes becoming very fragrant. Remove from heat.
Allow oil to cool a bit, or just be careful not to burn yourself for this next step! Add garlic oil to a blender or food processor with 1/2 cup fresh basil, and blend on high until oil becomes green.
Start stacking! I used polenta on the bottom since it’s a little sturdier, but go in any order. Top with a drizzle of the garlic and basil oil, some of the roasted tomatoes, and a leaf or two of fresh basil. PRETTY!

Vegetable and Polenta stack

Go check out Lehigh Valley Mirror, check back for more Save the Kales! videos, and we’ll see you at Bethlehem Vegfest! 

NEW VIDEO: Healthy Sweet and Sour Broccoli with Pineapple

I’ve been doing this thing where almost all the groceries I buy lately are fresh produce, usually not knowing what I’ll do with any of it until I get home and start putting things together. It forces me to cook with more veggies since not using them means they go bad (goodbye, money!), and it encourages me to rely on the true flavor of the food and using spices.

I do eat pretty healthy, but have always still indulged in less-healthy options. However, eating a diet that is at least 70% veggies has not only been delicious and fun but helped me lose some weight and helped my occasionally-problematic skin clear up. Win-win-win.

This recipe is incredibly simple and has a really impressive flavor.  It’s also really easy. If you can chop, mix stuff in a bowl, and take something in and out of an oven, you can do this. It also only takes about FIVE MINUTES (not counting cooking time, which you can use to watch cat videos on Youtube).

Here’s the video!

Extra-super-special thank you to Matt and Sarah ofLehigh Valley Mirror for making a beautiful video. I’m excited to say I’m going to work with them at least once a month to make more cooking segments! You absolutely MUST check out their websiteevery week (updated on Wednesdays) for videos of 100% local businesses, artists, musicians, retail shops, and events.

Sweet and Sour Broccoli

  • 3-4 heads of broccoli florets (or estimate equivalent amount of pre-cut florets)
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple cut into chunks (use canned if you must!)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 Tbsp. agave nectar
  • juice of 1/2 an orange
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, tamari sauce or Bragg’s liquid aminos
  • 2 teaspoon. chili paste (optional)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil

Add the broccoli and pineapple to a large mixing bowl.

.

In a small mixing bowl, add remaining ingredients for the sauce. Add sauce the broccoli and pineapple and mix. Put coated veggies into a baking dish, and put in oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

.

Broccoli will start to brown a little on the top, and that’s when it’s done! Dish over your favorite whole grain or rice. Top Enjoy!

.

*You can certainly add more veggies to this (red peppers would be great), or a protein like tofu or tempeh. Mmm.

.

Did I mention you should check out Lehigh Valley Mirror?