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Monday, November 12, 2018

Vegan Meatless Mushroom-Walnut Loaf Recipe

2 1/2 tablespoons of flaxseed plus 5 tablespoons of water (for flax eggs)
1 medium onion diced- any type of onion is fine
3/4 cup of celery diced
3 cloves of garlic
3 1/2 cups of baby bella (cremini) mushrooms, finely diced (but I think any type of mushroom is fine)
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup of cooked potato - mashed
3/4 cup of old fashioned oats
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 cup of walnuts finely chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon vegan worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
pepper to taste.
Ketchup for the topping.

Heat oven to 375 degrees and line a large loaf pan with parchment paper.

Put potato on to cook.
Put rice on to cook
Mix flaxseed and water and set a side it will gel up in about ten minutes
Saute onions and celery for about 5 minutes in a little vegetable broth, then add garlic, thyme, parsley, sage, rosemary, salt and pepper. Saute for an additional two minutes.
Add finely chopped mushrooms and cook for around seven to nine minutes.
In large bowl place mashed potato, rice, oats, breadcrumbs, corn starch, walnuts, tomato paste, worcestershire sauce and combine well and add the mushroom mixture and continue to combine well.

Press mixture into prepared loaf pan, top with ketchup, bake for twenty-five to thirty minutes.

Can be refrigerated for 4 - 6 days, or kept in freezer for 2 - 3 months.

Great cold in a sandwich the next day, reheats well for future meals.

I found this recipe at at Vegan Huggs click here to visit website it is a treasure trove of recipes and if you sign up for the newsletter you are periodically emailed delicious vegan recipes.

ENJOY, my family, vegans and omnivores alike, enjoy this nut loaf.


Sunday, November 11, 2018

Around The House

Almost two years ago our youngest child Emily moved back home with our grandson Masen. At the time Masen was just eighteen months old, they needed somewhere to live and we welcomed them into our home. Well fast forward two years, Emily is certified as an EMT and working full time on an ambulance for a local hospital along with going to school to eventually become a paramedic. Little Masen is now three and a half and goes to pre-school two days a week. At the beginning of this year Emily met a nice guy, they recently got engaged, he is a police officer and quite a bit older than she is but they seem to be a good couple. Joe just purchased a new house and Emily and Masen have moved in to join Joe and his children. So with all of this the sewing room I gave up for two years, and was happy to do so, so that Masen could have his own room is now mine again. 

Today I got up around five, I am always awake around four-thirty in the morning, came downstairs for my cup of coffee, vitamins and bowl of oats, worked on some crosswords and then headed out for a five and half mile run. I returned from my run, it was quite cold out, twenty-six degrees, freshened up and left for Mass. I popped into Kroger on my way home to pick up a few items I forgot to get on yesterdays shopping trip and headed home. Today Dave and I have the entire day to ourselves, how delicious, it rarely happens so is very, very enjoyable when it does occur.  Dave has spent the day outside, enjoying the cold but sunny weather while cleaning up the vegetable gardens, putting away lawn furniture and generally puttering around at a leisurely pace enjoying himself immensely. And me, I cleaned out the last bits and pieces from Masen's room, moving them into the room Emily used while she lived here, and moved all of my sewing and craft items back to my reclaimed sewing room.

One of the hymns we sang at Mass this morning really spoke to me, Lord Of All Hopefulness click here to hear . What a beautiful hymn, the words are very comforting. And as Father Mark told us, as long as we have Faith and Love in and for Our Lord we will always be okay.

Dave has plans for the room Emily used, he likes to make wine but hasn't done so for several years, once Emily and Joe move the rest of the stuff out of there it will become the Dave's "winery" and indoor craft room.  Boy do we ever sound like a couple of empty nest middle agers LOL. And, now our guest bedroom is back to being just that rather than a guest room with a bunch of my sewing things crammed in to every available space. 

So here are some pics:

Looking into the sewing room from the door, Masen's little bed will remain at house.

Three of my sickly and/or on the mend house plants will enjoy the sunny window.

All my sewing things back in their place.

A view from the doorway of the guest bedroom.

Another view of the guest room, my yellow and white teddy bear, Andrew who I have had since I was five is hanging out with Puppy Love a Snoopy stuffed animal my Dad brought home from America when I was fourteen.

Do you like house plants, apparently I do as I seem to have amassed a whole slew of them and have told myself enough is enough. They are kind of like pets, a few of them have names.

The succulent who keeps me company while I wash dishes.

The kitchen table crew, including Penelope Poinsettia II.

My Wandering Jew in the macrame hanger my son Ben made for my birthday.

A re-potting of a plant from my father-in-laws funeral in the cookie jar that always sat on the counter in my in-laws kitchen. 

The family room crew enjoy this sunny location. Doreen the Philodendron is on the right, I have had her for around fifteen years.

My orchid, will it ever bloom again, a Christmas cactus and an Aloe Vera plant hang out in the dining room.
Another re-potting of plants from Ralph's funeral earlier this year.

Fern 1

Fern 2

The accumulation of bits and bobs on my family room wall.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

More Vegan Cooking

Wow, with my husband eating vegan most days of the week, this is a huge lifestyle change for him, I have had to get creative with cooking so he doesn't get bored. It is a fun and enjoyable challenge to search for vegan recipes that are healthy, tasty, and I think Dave will enjoy. So far I think I am succeeding with the challenge.

This week I made sweet potato and black bean enchiladas, I modified the recipe slightly, I used collard greens instead of spinach, and did not bake the wraps in the oven covered in salsa. Instead filled the high-fiber wheat tortillas with the sweet potato black bean mix and served them with salsa and pickled beets on the side. A very colorful meal, I guess it became more of a burrito than an enchilada, the filling, I tasted a little, was very, very flavorful. Dave really enjoyed.

Last night I made a dish called African Vegetables - what a delicious meal. I filled a large bowl with brown rice and put an ample portion of the African Vegetables on top, again Dave really enjoyed his meal. The recipe started with onion, garlic, and green pepper sautéed in vegetable broth, to this cinnamon and paprika is added, then about a cup of water, some cubed sweet potato, sliced zucchini, corn, spinach, canned tomato, tomato paste, and just before serving a large scoop of natural peanut butter is added. To me the peanut butter is the ingredient that totally makes all of the flavors fuse together, making a "party in your mouth" kind of experience that is spicy, peanutty, vegetabley, and just the thing for a cold and gloomy November evening.

Tonight I am serving left overs from the past couple of days. But, I have more recipes to try on Dave, a very nice sounding twice baked potato, a black-eyed pea salad, and a masala chickpea dish. There is a recipe for a salad made with couscous, I plan to substitute quinoa, as I am not keen on couscous.

The recipes I am using are all from a cook book I purchased early this year after borrowing a copy from our local library. The cook book is called, The China Study CookBook by Leanne Campbell, PHD.  All of the recipes are whole food plant based and all are very healthy, no added oils or fats, very limited sugar, very limited salt. Most recipes have simple ingredients so are not expensive to make and usually I have most items already in the house, or a suitable substitute.

I have found with cook books it is often best to borrow a copy from the library, really look through it, try a few recipes and then make a decision about whether it is worth buying. I have purchased a few vegan cook books in the past and then not really used them as the recipes are either not very healthy, or call for unusual and expensive ingredients.

Do you have a favorite cook book?

Peace be with you,


Saturday, November 3, 2018

A Spledoinkel Day

Today is granddaughter Alivia's 6th birthday, yesterday evening I took her birthday shopping, we had a really nice time out and ended our evening at her favorite restaurant, McDonalds! Alivia selected her birthday meal, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, and fruit cocktail. My son Matt, Alivia's daddy, is making a giant meatloaf to bring over, and of course there will be birthday cake and ice cream. I made up a vegan loaf for the vegetarians and vegans in the family.  I just love that a six year old enjoys such a nice comfort food kind of meal, she picked the same birthday dinner for her 5th birthday, and grandson Patrick picked the same meal for his 8th birthday this year. Grandson Henry always picks spaghetti and garlic bread, and grandson Charlie always wants pancakes and sausage. I wonder what meals the five younger grandchildren will want as they get older.
Alivia and Ralphie enjoy their Happy Meals at Mickey D's

Vegan loaf all mixed up and ready to pop in the oven a little later today

This morning I went out for a run, it was a little below freezing, no wind, and the air was clear and sharp, really the most perfect running weather. My times were excellent, I only ran three miles, but did each one in under ten minutes. When I finished my run I took a few pictures, it was simply beautiful out and the crisp fall air very invigorating.

Pretty fall foliage

A picture of the tree line

Me feeling invigorated after my run.

My "big bird" running pants, ha ha!

A view of the back of our house with a frost covered roof.

The day went from a cold and frosty morning to a brilliant fall day. Grandsons Henry and Patrick came over for the afternoon and have kept grandson Masen entertained. They built a leaf nest and then sat in it eating Kit Kat bars. 
The boys in their nest
 Dave has taken advantage of the mild weather to  trim some branches in the areas that we park out front, a necessary chore and one that I think he rather enjoys.

I just finished reading The Lido by Libby Page, I enjoyed it for the most part although felt it dragged a bit towards the end. It is a nice story, I cared about the characters, but felt that the ending was really rather unlikely. I much preferred the book I read before it, The Keeper of Lost Things. I am now reading A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, although only a little way into the story I am really enjoying it.
I picked a few books up at our local library branch, it is a small branch and the selection of books is a bit scant. I like the MC Beaton Agatha Raisin stories, but am not a fan of his Hamish MacBeth stories. They are both sort of silly mystery story series with the "cozy" factor so many mystery have.
I have never heard of Becky Clark, but I think it is going to fall into the silly mystery story with the cozy factor genre. The third book, The Farm by Tom Rob Smith sure sounds good, but the reviews are rather so so, I will give it start and see how it goes.

I refilled the bird feeders today, I cannot tell you how much pleasure the grandchildren and Dave and I get from watching all of the birds who visit our feeders. We have many woodpeckers, lots and lots of sparrows, blue jays, red wings, and cardinals. In the summer, gold finches, blacked capped chickadees, humming birds, join the throng, and we saw a Baltimore oriole and an indigo bunting this year. We get cat birds and cow birds, and mourning doves. And occasionally our neighbors chickens go on a wander and always manage to show up to peck at all of the dropped seed around the feeders. Nature, there is always something interesting to see and enjoy so it is very important that we all help take care of the environment.

The all you can eat buffet for the avian wildlife
And last, but not least, I bought a new tea towel for the kitchen, it is hanging on the front of the stove, don't you just love Mr. Fox. When we purchased this stove I made sure it had a handle on the front of the oven that would allow me to hang a towel from it, our last stove did not and I always wished it did.
Splendid Mr. Fox

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Cooking Vegan for a Non-Vegan

In the words of Bob Dylan, the times they are a changing. My husband Dave, Mr. Meat and Potatoes Guy, is eating vegan four to five days a week, I still can't believe it. It is so enjoyable to make dinner for both of us and we are eating similar foods. I am quite happy with my vegan bowl of goodness, my name for what I eat, my mom calls it my bowl of weeds, a mix of lentils, canned tomatoes and nutritional yeast topped with steamed veggies, either kale or collard greens, brussel sprouts, purple cabbage, mushrooms and another vegetable like parsnip, sweet potato, turnip, or rutabaga, I enjoy this very much and eat it for lunch and dinner most days. My husband, he is not so into green leafy veg, and he is pretty picky about his root vegetables so I have had to get creative. It seems that my creativity is paying off as he is enjoying the meals I have made for him.

My vegan bowl of goodness, aka bowl of weeds :)

Homemade quinoa and black bean pattie with salsa and steamed veggies for Daveypoo

Vegan veggie pattie with cajun beans and rice and steamed broccoli and sweet potatoes

Vegan meatloaf, with steamed veggies, mashed potato and corn and black beans

Vegan meatloaf, Daveypoo has enjoyed this in sandwiches too.

A few weeks ago Fort Wayne had their very first Veg'n Brew Fest, it was awesome, my grandson Masen went with me. It was wonderful to see so many vegan vendors, Masen sampled chocolate flaxseed milk, he did not like, then chocolate flaxseed crackers which he did like. We tried some kombucha, not a fan. I bought a cool t-shirt and Masen picked out a fun animal necklace for Grandma. The weather was beautiful, verging on hot, for an early October day. I think the Veg'n Brew Fest will become an annual event for Fort Wayne, and I am so glad to have attended the very first festival.

Masen and I getting ready to walk over to the festival

My shirt and necklace

Wear this pin proudly on my jean jacket

As we prepared to walk over to the festival, we had about a half mile enjoyable walk along the river greenway, Masen saw a bunch of kids playing football. Lets go over there grandma, I said oh yes it looks like fun but we are going to a vegetable festival. I must say every time I think of this conversation I chuckle.

Peace to you,


Monday, October 29, 2018


I love this time of year. Drizzly days, beautiful colors everywhere, a feeling of everything relaxing, hunkering down, readying for the cold days of winter. And yet, the very next day can arrive with brilliant blue skies, warm sunshine, and a pleasant breeze, it truly is a time of transition.

Yesterday we had most of the family over, daughter Emily and son-in-law Brad were missing as they both were working, but all nine grandchildren, our other children and their spouses were over for a Sunday meal. It was a rainy, windy, day we even had a spot of hail at one point. A perfect day for comfort food. I made sloppy joe for most of the attendees, vegan burgers for son Ben, and my vegan bowl of goodness (lentils and lots of steamed veggies with nutritional yeast, Yum Yum). For desert I made a pan of brownies, they lasted about five minutes, and a bowl of green jello with canned peaches, a favorite with most of the grandchildren. I enjoyed a scrumptious granny smith apple. I provided potato chips and raw veggies and pickles for sides. It was a nice meal.

You can imagine the chaos with nine energetic children cavorting around the house, the oldest ten, the youngest nearly two, seven of them six and younger! They are a noisy and rambunctious lot, I wouldn't have it any other way. When everyone leaves the silence descends upon the house like a heavy blanket of snow, it is good to be the grandparents, we need the life and energy of the younger ones, but we also need our peace and quite, grandchildren provide a nice balance and make you realize that parenting is definitely for young people!

On Saturday I took six of the grandsons to the downtown library which is the main branch of our wonderful public library service in our county. This is their favorite library location because we get to park in the underground parking lot and this is why they think it is called the downtown library - because we have to go down into the parking garage to park. There is a great playroom in the children's section, we spent some time there, it is big area with lots of interesting things to play with, I learned that grandson Peter, who is four, is an absolute whiz with puzzles. While at the library we selected a few movies to watch, the kids picked out four, and I picked out a few for myself. One of the movies I chose was Castaway with Tom Hanks, it is beautifully filmed, and turned out to the be the perfect movie to play in the background whiled everyone was over yesterday. There really is no dialogue, for the most part just beautiful views of an island in Fiji. We all agreed it was the best type of movie to watch while nine children busied themselves with their imaginative games.

I have read a lot of books this year, I am listing them in a blog post and on January first I will post the list of books read in 2018, and begin my 2019 list. I just read The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan, some have described it as "very twee", I would totally agree, yet it is such a lovely story, it is total escapism with an excellent plot and unexpected twists and turns all the way through, it is classified as a "happy ending" book, and it is.  I am now reading The Lido by Libby Page, another "happy ending" book, I am halfway through it and it is a lovely story, well told. At the beginning of the year I read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, another "happy ending" book, it too was super enjoyable. I have read a lot of books this year, some very dark, some a bit dreary, and just before reading The Keeper of Lost Things I read Black and Blue by Anna Quindlen, in fact read two of her books back to back, neither had happy endings, and I felt I was ready for something a bit light hearted and cheerful. I was listening to a book club radio program on BBC 4 and they mentioned The Lido and The Keeper of Lost Things, and how popular they are, both are first novels by their authors, and they said they are classified as "happy ending books". I checked our wonderful library and put them hold, I am glad I did they have met my expectations.

The host and guests on the radio program I mentioned had a lengthy discussion about why "happy ending" books are so popular right now. I thought to myself, DUH!, do you even have to ask, look at the world we live in, wars, political fighting, everyone taking offense about everything, mass shootings, gruesome news stories, we are overloaded with the awfulness of the world we live in and the news rarely counters it with the wonderfullness of the world we live in. No wonder we want a little escapism, a story about nice people who do nice things with a happy ending. My next book in queue is, A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, I am looking forward to reading it.

Well that is all for now,

Peace be with you,


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Managing a Broken Jaw on a Vegan Diet

Last Friday started off like a normal day, I headed out for an early morning run so I would be home and ready for grandchildren to start arriving. Half way through my run my normal day ended abruptly. I tripped on a small lump of dried concrete on the road surface and fell, my chin took the brunt of the impact and I now have stitches in my chin and a broken jaw, along with a compression fracture on my 7th vertebrae and a lot of scrapes and bruises. Thankfully Dave had not yet left for work, a quick call home, thank heavens for cell phones, and he came to rescue me and took me to the ER. I met with an orthopedic doctor later in the day and the vertebrae fracture is clean and stable and nothing to worry about, carry on with normal activities. The jaw break however is really a pain.

Again, thankfully, the jaw break is a small, clean fracture, but it has made eating an absolute chore. I called an oral surgeon, I am seeing him today, and was advised to eat soft foods only in the meantime. Believe me, even soft mush food is a challenge. I was amused by the advice given for a soft diet, eat pudding, mashed potato, macaroni and cheese, ice cream, milk shakes. I thought well that is fine if you are not vegan but what am I going to eat.

Well, thank goodness for the invention of the food processor, it has made eating somewhat tolerable. I thought why can't I just make my usual bowl of vegan goodness, lentils, beans, canned tomato, nutritional yeast, Brussel sprouts, kale, red cabbage, mushrooms and any other vegetable I fancy, lately I have been on a parsnip kick, and then run it through the food processor. Well it has worked well, it is a stodge for sure, thinned down with a little veggie broth, very, very tasty, just not that appetizing to look at. And, I know that I am eating a nutritious meal that is giving my body all the things it needs for healing, rather than a bunch of dairy and sugar that simply promotes inflammation. I am also enjoying blue berries and banana with almond milk, it is a nice smoothie and gets some fruit into my diet along with my veggies. So, really my diet hasn't changed much, it is simply food processed before I eat it :)

I love my morning oatmeal, and thought it would be easy to eat, it is not so easy, my morning bowl of oats and ground flaxseed is taking me around 40 minutes to eat. My vegan bowl of goodness stodge is taking me about as long, small, small spoonfuls at a time are all I can tolerate. And, swallowing is the worst, it pulls on my jaw and hurts. I never thought I would look at mealtime as a huge time commitment, and even worse, kind of dread eating, as I know I am going to feel sore when finished.

Well on the plus side, no loosened teeth, and none knocked out. All will heal, but it was certainly an unexpected turn of events and one I hope I never repeat. I feel rather fragile, as if I am cautiously creeping about, and I am very wary of being bumped into, or bumping into things as my body seems to be in an over protective mode, I am assuming in a few days this will pass and I will start feeling hale and hearty again.

Peace to you,