Unlikely Story

In the middle of January, we were shooting photos for my column in Lehigh Valley Style in a bookstore in Easton. I changed outfits next to the history books and me and Colin wandered into the alley. “Stand there, look happy”, he said when I crunched my way into a pile of ice-snow almost up to my knees and he took a few quick shots before the bitter biting winter air hurt too much to pretend it was Spring.

Unknown to either of us, one of those photos became the May 2015 cover of Style. It is Colin’s first cover (something he has wanted for two years), and mine too (something I didn’t think was possible?). Surprise!

lvstylemay2015 cover In a year of so much loss, of leaving behind or moving on from so many of the things that were a part of me for so long, I have spent the last six months remembering how to be alone; how to find community when you leave the town where you lived for a decade; how to take a break from creative projects and hold on to the truth that it doesn’t mean they will crumble or you will be forgotten; how to focus on love for those who mean the most to me – to allow love to change when the time for change has come, to find it in my friends and my family and my friends who have become my family, to be surprised back into passion; to remember that things change but our value doesn’t increase or lessen because of it.

It has not been easy. Important things never are.

But I have found, over and over, that just when we are about to give up on ourselves something happens that reminds us that we are enough. That we will be OK, and we are already OK.

lvstylemay2015

On Tuesday, May 12th, the magazine is having it’s monthly Insider Happy Hour, which is a FREE event and open to EVERYONE. You can wear a fancy outfit and bring a few dollars for drinks, and we can hug each other and get our pictures taken for the magazine. I hope to see you there!

You can get more information here: LV Style Insider Happy Hour

And find out more about Colin’s work: Colin Coleman Photography

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Raw Pineapple Upside Down Cookies

Take all the tastiness of pineapple upside-down cake, and make a healthier, no-bake, raw vegan version! Note that raw cherries would make this a truly raw dish, but you can find vegan maraschino cherries in stores or online. I think they taste a little more old school that way.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup cashews (crumbled in food processor)
  • 3/4 cup dried pineapple (blended in food processor)
  • 3/4 cup dried dates (blended in food processor)
  • 1/4 cup raw sesame seeds
  • raw coconut flakes (about 1/2 cup)
  • cherries, raw or maraschino

Put the first four ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix well with your hands to create a “dough”. Roll the dough into small balls, then roll in  a plate of dried coconut to coat. Use your thumb to press into the balls and create a small space to put 1/2 of a cherry. Ta-da!

Want more videos? Watch here:

 Thai Mushroom Lettuce Wraps | Chipotle Sweet Potato Salad | Ultimate Buddha Bowl

Save the Kales TV: One Year Passed… and a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

Last week we taped the cooking segments of our thirteenth episode, the first episode of the second year for the Save the Kales! TV show.

Wow.

With impeccable timing, Vance Lehmkuhl (writer of V for Veg column for The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philly.com) called to interview me for an article about Vegan TV shows. I love that the column is about multiple shows – plural, thankyouverymuch – because that many exist now (!!!), and it’s an absolute honor to be included among the much-anticipated Vegan Mashup, shows by Christina Pirello, and The Vegan Black Metal Chef (who, by the way, is the nicest guy ever, and before STK! aired it’s very first show he somehow found out about it and and found me online and wrote, “Just make it whatever YOU want it to be, and it will be a success”.)

You can read the article here: TV Dinners, the Vegan Way

And STK! has some exciting news, and since it’s officially in print I can finally share it:

stk-seattle-animation

It has been so hard to keep this a secret!

IT’S TRUE. Save the Kales! episodes will start to air in Seattle & parts of Canada, to a potential audience of over two million households. That number typed out looks like this: 2,000,000. *gulp*

I’ll give more info as everything unfolds, but if you live there or have any friends in Seattle, put in a good word for us, will you? I’m excited about it airing in Canada since I already sort of have the accent, eh?

.    .    .

Our show, the Little Show That Could, has come a long way in the first year. I’ve had some chuckles with the crew about that first episode (parts of it cringe-worthy), the way creating each DIY episode completely on our own has been such a wonderful lesson in getting more comfortable talking on camera, slowing down, tightening the editing, bringing in more cameras, utilizing help of assistants and interns… and I’ve made some very, very good friends.

There's his name in the credits! Yay, Matt!

There’s his name in the credits! Yay, Matt!

Matt is my right-hand-man, and without his help the show would not exist. He’s a co-producer, the main camera man, the director, and editor. It’s a shame you don’t get to see him in every episode because he puts a tremendous amount of time and work into every single one.

A few days ago, I received this email from Matt (shared with permission):

“This past Wednesday I was reflecting on the fact that the STK! show was a year old.  I was thinking of how the quality keeps getting better, how it seems to be growing in popularity and all the positive things that have come out of it.   Then I realized something that came out of the show I hadn’t considered…it’s been slowly changing me too.
 
Obviously, since my daughter came along eight months ago, my whole role in life has been re-evaluated, re-organized and restructured.  All though it has all been wonderful it hasn’t always been easy.  Somehow, Save the Kales! became this goal…something positive, something that I felt needed to get out to the world…something that would make people more empowered about themselves and happy about who they are (or in my case, happy about who I was becoming).
 
I’m a pretty sure I’m a different person than I was a year ago.  I know a big part of that is my daughter, but I know it wouldn’t have been such a positive, empowering change if it wasn’t for Save the Kales!  My transition into fatherhood has been eased a little bit and I’m not as afraid moving forward….and I’m also finding myself eating a lot healthier then I did a year ago 🙂
 
So, as I was saying, this past Wednesday I was reflecting on all of that and and then suddenly the universe threw me a surprise, as it does from time to time.  The blog you wrote at the 10th anniversary of your father’s passing popped up on Facebook somewhere.  I only knew what you had told my wife and I in the past, but I had never read the post.  I was reminded of a lot of things…emotionally and spiritually…and was very touched.  It also reminded me of why we started the show in the first place.  You’re a very good, honest person that exudes positivity and somehow makes people comfortable with themselves at the same time.  I know we saw that spark in you and thought, “other people need to experience this.”
 
I know life isn’t always easy and we still have a ways to go with the show, but you should be very proud of yourself…you can and ARE changing peoples lives for the better.  There is far too little good in the world that gets exposed and I feel it is our mission to get more good out there to the public.
 
With that all being said…thank you, thank you, thank you.  I’m glad there are people like you in the world and I’m very excited that we’re working with you to make it better.
 
  Happy 1 year STK!TV”
Me, Sarah and Matt thee Christmases ago because I can't find a more recent photo of the three of us together (!). THEY MAKE DREAMS HAPPEN.

Me, Sarah and Matt three Christmases ago because I can’t find a more recent photo of the three of us together (!). THEY MAKE DREAMS HAPPEN.

And it’s true. We make this show because we believe in it. 
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Listen, if I was a painter, I’d paint. If I was a musician, I’d make music. Or draw, or sculpt, or create whatever it is my abilities lent themselves to in order to do the work that expresses our mission: be kind to yourself, animals, and each other.
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…As it is, we have equipment and an outlet to make a show on TV and we do our best to make it welcoming and informative while being friendly and inclusive. We make a show because that’s what we can do. We recently got a new sponsor who reached out to us because “the show isn’t pretentious, and [they] like that”. What a compliment!
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At the end of the day, this isn’t about me, or Matt, or our crew. It really is about wanting to make some positive difference, in whatever way we can, however big or small that turns out to be. Doing something is better than doing nothing. And when I run into people at the supermarket who say “Excuse me, do you host that Kales show?” or get emails from people who are, at the very least, incorporating more vegan meals into their cooking, it’s proof that what we do matters. (“We”, as in, all of us. You too.)
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On the set of our third episode, performing the ritual of clearing kitties out of the kitchen.

On the set of our third episode, performing the ritual of clearing kitties out of the kitchen.

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Thank you for watching or reading or supporting Save the Kales! in your own way, and supporting what we stand for. Matt said, There is far too little good in the world that gets exposed, and I feel it is our mission to get more good out there to the public.” Yes, yes, a thousand times YES.
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We’re so happy to continue to do just that.  Cheers to Season Two and heading to the west coast! xo
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… and this outtake video of our second episode, because it makes me laugh every time I see it, and who couldn’t use a good, contagious laugh?

 

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“Belated Valentine: A Work in Progress” — a poem by Steve Marsh

The past several weeks have been the longest I’ve gone without blogging since the birth of this site. Now, the month of it’s third Birthday, I find myself in a new home with a new four-legged family member.

(When we first viewed this place, I found myself thinking, “I can write here.” A few weeks later we’re all moved in and I can’t seem to find enough notebooks and pens. Our environments can affect our creativity so deeply, yes?)

The moving process always feels so vulnerable. Your hands touch every. single. thing. you own, and that moment determining it’s value can feel equally oppressive and insignificant.

The best parts have been purging so much to make room for only what I really love and what supports my ideas of beauty and inspiration (I can’t even remember what I’ve gotten rid of), the paint samples and furniture arranging and lazy nights giddy to just stare at the walls and all the other joys of nesting, and uncovering so many beautiful things I forgot meant something to me once.

belated valentine by steve marsh

I can’t remember where I first found this poem, but I’m so happy I scribbled it down years ago, and happier to have found it just in time to share with you today. It’s a long one, but worth the read for those lines that punch you in the gut with their beauty. Happy Valentine’s Day. xo

Belated Valentine: A Work in Progress by Steve Marsh

I woke this morning with that shadow feeling I’d
been dreaming
significant dreams
strong and powerful,
richly full of meaning.
But I was unable to recall them no matter how
hard I tried.
Chasing them only makes it worse,
like groping for the other tennis shoe
lost under the bed
just beyond reach
closing my hand on something
to discover it is only
so much dust and dog hair.
.
I closed my eyes,
breathed deeply,
and reached for that familiar place.
.
But the Universe asked me a question:
Why do I continue to love you?
.
And I began to answer immediately because
confidence is the feeling we have before we
understand the situation.
.
Why in the face of all we have seen
and failed to see in each other
do we persevere?
.
I begin to understand it is a matter of pride
and pride is, after all, what we have.
Vanity is what others have.
.
So, in pride or vanity I offer:
I love you because I have
always loved you.
.
And the Universe knows this is not the whole truth.
It knows it like it knows we can’t pray a lie.
.
I try again.
I love you because of all we have been through together.
And the Universe does not like this cliche any better.
It asks, with all the Aristotelian logic it can muster:
Do you not manifest “all that you have been through together”?
The Universe knows and will not let me get away with half a truth.
We have been through “all that”
because we have put each other through “all that”.
.
It asks another question:
How can you assert love after all you have seen?
.
The helplessness after surgeries;
The weakness in the face of adversity;
The cowardice in the face of confrontation;
weight gain,
hair loss,
reduced libido,
nakedness at forty,
nakedness at fifty?
The knowledge that the final solution does not involve Bean-o.
.
And I begin, in answer, to list the qualities I admire in you:
Tolerance,
Patience,
Trust,
Faithfulness,
Forgiveness.
But the Universe will not allow this equivocation either.
And because the Universe is a big believer in the Socratic Method,
it asks,
Why do I love my dog?
.
I confess to perceiving a similar list.
.
The Universe sends me the Spring songbirds
early
who sing, and feed,
who show me community in bright red colors
and high energy.
The birds know nothing of our sorrow.
.
And the Universe asks again:
In the face of this sorrow, why do I continue to love you?
.
It is not because Mothers are better than Fathers.
It is not because women are better than men.
It is not because teaching is better than poetry.
It is not because daughters are better than husbands.
.
And slowly, the answer,
or rather the understanding that there is no
answer,
begins to reveal itself to me.
.
There is no aetiology for love.
.
I do not love you because
I do not love you in spite of
I do not love you since
I do not love you in so much as
I do not love you for the reason that
.
There is no reason.
No logic,
no syllogistic proof.
It simply is.
I love you.
It comes about without cause.
And with luck it is returned
without cause.
.
That is why love fits more aptly into poetry than paint.
It is not revealed to the mind through the eye.
It comes to the heart, through the nose and the fingertips.
.
The old poet had it right.
“Do not go gentle…”
Even here in this moment of doubt
I do not give up,
I do not go gentle,
Down by two in the bottom of the ninth,
two out,
two on,
two strikes.
I will take one more goddamned pitch!
And even if I fail
we will play again tomorrow.
.
The story of my life is told between parenthesis
which you open and you close.
And inside those parenthesis is one word.
It is (Hope).
.
vday1
vday2
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… Whether you’re in romantic love or in love with life or in love with your own heart, recognize how very special that is. Love is hard work (worth it). It’s there every moment, a small vibrational hum, the ambient sound of day-to-day life: we notice it when it’s gone. Don’t take it for granted.
With Love, on Valentine’s Day,
 Jaime K

(Allegedly) Raw Marinated Mushrooms and Kale with Walnut Cheese

If you’re trying to eat healthier, but still want a filling comfort-food meal, give this a try! You can watch the whole half-hour episode by going to this Youtube Playlist.

rawmushrooms and kale  I wanted to make this recipe after hearing someone talk about a walnut-based vegan “cheese”. It’s one of those recipes with simple, tasty ingredients that can’t help but be delicious when they are combined.

Watch the video:

Mushroom Marinade

  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/8 cup Bragg’s Aminos (or soy, or tamari sauce)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • *1 tsp. maple syrup or agave, added later only to the kale!

Veggies

  • 4 large portobello mushroom caps
  • 4 cups packed kale, torn into bite-size pieces (or as much as you have in a bunch)

In a small bowl, whisk together marinade ingredients except maple syrup. Use the 1/4cup measuring cup and scoop out some marinade, then set aside for later use.

Use a damp paper towel to wipe the dirt off the top of the mushroom caps (this cleans them). In a rimmed baking dish or tupperware container, place the mushrooms gill side up. Brush the marinade into the mushroom gills, then place in the fridge for  at least 1-2 hours.

Get a large mixing bowl, and add the raw kale to the bowl. Pour the reserved mushroom marinade over the kale, and add the maple syrup. Use clean hands to massage the marinade into the kale for a few minutes, and kale will break down in size.

Vegan Walnut Cheese

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/8 cup miso paste
  • 1/8 cup water

Blend all walnut cheese ingredients in a food processor until it’s a chunky spread consistency.

.    .    .    .    .

Raw Marinated Mushrooms and Kale with Walnut Cheese

Raw Marinated Mushrooms and Kale with Walnut Cheese

I plated the dish with the kale on the bottom of a large platter, topped with the mushrooms gill side up, and then filled the mushrooms with the walnut cheese. You can garnish with kalmata olives, sesame seeds, or smoked paprika. 

… and if you’re looking to make some healthy changes in the New Year and want to eat more plant-based dishes or go vegan but don’t know where to start, I’d love to work with you!

“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.

Bethlehem Vegfest 2012 is Almost Here!

Pick up your free copy of The Mix this week for the special Bethlehem Vegfest feature!

Save the Kales! promotes veganism as an ethical, compassionate lifestyle and any and all suggestions made by me to be part of Vegfest as speakers or vendors are committed to this, too.  

THIS SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8TH

11am-6pm, Southside Bethlehem Greenway

(the linear park between 3rd and 4th Streets)

I was going to make a “Must See” list, but I think you guys can handle it. There will be plenty to see, listen to, watch and eat. Bring your family, bring your dogs. You can find the lineup of speakers and cooking demos HERE, and a list of every vendor HERE.

IN THE MEANTIME… Don’t miss the last few days of Vegfest Restaurant Week! 

Cafe Santosha vegan meal

This gorgeous meal comes from Cafe Santosha, one of the most veg-friendly eateries in the ENTIRE Valley. The food always looks like art, and tastes like it too. Healthful and creative dishes are always on the menu. Check out their facebook page for photos and updates.

Description of dish (above)Mediterranean Quinoa and Lentil Salad with Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Red Onion, Capers, Lemon, and Parsley served over greens…. Chic Pea and Brown Rice Croquettes served over Sautéed Local Greens with Roasted Garlic and Lemon topped with a Roasted Red Pepper Tahini Sauce and a Basil Walnut Pesto…
Vegan Chocolate Cake served over Triple Berry Coulis. Also available gluten free! ($15)

and

other special vegan items in the LV this week at Jumbar’s, Tapas on Main, Yianni’s Taverna, Molly’s Irish Grille, and Sotto Santi Pizza is making vegan pizza all week! 

You can find the WHOLE list of participating restaurants and their menus HERE, 13 in totalHappily, many of these places offer some/all of the selections year-round.