“Happines is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of traveling.”
- Margaret Lee Runbeck, creative writer
i survived hurricane Wilma.
for the most part, i am a pretty positive person. i embrace tragedy and disaster with about the same energy that i embrace joy and happiness. anyone who knows anything about my personal life knows that i am not exaggerating. being positive, however, doesn’t mean that i am stupid or belittle the forces of nature. i have lived through many a hurricane and know the best and worst case scenarios. i happen to live in an area that is prime target for the worst case. fortunately, Wilma spared us the worst of her wrath, but we still have some nuisances to deal with. our city is not expected to have power for at least another week, but we finally got water back yesterday. i have enough gas to make it to work another day or so. by that time, things should be back to normal in the city where i work so i will be able to refuel. life is good and it only gets better !
the actual hurricane was exciting (in a scary way). i can laugh about it now, but at the time i thought i was going to die. during the second half of the storm (the worst part this time), a piece of wood or roof or something came through my bedroom window and caused a mini-storm in my apt. Jose opened up the rest of the windows and we sought refuge in my tiny bathroom. he went out between squalls to salvage some of my things and to keep the apt from flooding completely.
after the storm, we came out of the bathroom to assess the damage. luckily, i only lost a few things, but most importantly, we made it out ok. Jose started to work on getting all the water and glass out. i felt like i was going to have a nervous breakdown when i saw my apt so i wasn’t much help at that point. by day 2, the water was gone and we started the cleaning process. there was some kind of mutant dirt all over the floor and walls. it was almost impossible to get it off. fortunately, i had a bottle of goo gone (good stuff !) and sponges ! i wish i had a picture of Jose and me on all fours cleaning every square inch of my white floor. it was a scene !
we felt disgusting and had no water in the apt that night, so we went for quick (VERY quick) dip in my dirty pool. i then fixed us a yummy canned food dinner which we ate very fast ! food had never tasted so good. i hope we’ve seen the last of hurricane season since i am still missing a window. fortunately, the weather is GREAT. Wilma left just in time for our first cold front of the year. see, it’s never TOTALLY bad. even during the worst of times, there’s always something to smile about.
i thought the following was an interesting article:
There are times when you may find that being around certain individuals or
groups of people leaves you with feelings of discomfort. It may be that
spending time with a particular friend feels draining or that dealing with a
specific coworker exhausts you. Being around toxic or angry people is also
draining. And you may even find that being surrounded by a crowd of people
lowers your energy levels rather than perks you up. This is not that
unusual. Each of us radiates energy and is capable of being influenced by
the energy of other people. It is important to learn how to shield yourself,
so you don’t unknowingly take on someone else’s energy. While some people
know how to instinctively protect themselves from being adversely affected
by energy, most of us need to discover and practice the technique that works
There are a number of ways to avoid being affected by people’s energy.
Shielding is one preventative technique you can use. Center yourself and
envision being enveloped in a cocoon of loving and protective light. This
protective layer should allow you to consciously regulate the energy around
you. The intent to shield oneself is all you need for this technique to
work. You can even create a trigger word to assist you in quickly creating a
shield. Say this word each time you create a new shield, until the word and
the shield become automatically associated in your mind. If you run into a
person whose energy you find draining, you may want to cleanse your own
energy field after your encounter. Sage, cold showers, singing, mineral
water baths, spending time in nature, and a simple break to recharge are all
ways to accomplish this.
While it is important to know how to shield yourself from energy, there are
those energies that you may not want to shut out. The energy of laughter
from a newborn baby, the feeling of joy radiating from someone in love, and
the frequency of calm emanating from an enlightened teacher are just some of
the energies coming from others that you may want to have around you.
I love apple pie. It’s one of the few desserts that is actually easy to veganize. Here is a slight twist of the American classic.
1 vegan pie crust
3 Macintosh appled, peeled, cored and sliced
2 Granny Smith apples, peeleed, cored and sliced
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
pinch ground cloves
2 tsp cornstarch
4 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
3 tbsp sugar or substitute
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 vegan pie crust, crumbled
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground allspice
2 tbsp sugar or substitute
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Take crusts out of package and set aside.
3. Peel, core and slice apples and place in bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
4. Place apple mixture in bottom of pie crust.
5. To make crumb topping, take top pie crust and crumble into a bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
6. Place crumble mixture on top of apples.
7. Pake in pre-heated over for 15 minutes.
8. Decrease temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 40 minutes.
Serve pie warm with Soy Delicious ice cream.
I’ve always liked soup. I can eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. OK, maybe not breakfast. But seriously, I love soup so much that I’ve actually turned Jose on to it. Now he’s a soup-addict too. To celebrate the beginning of fall (everywhere else in the country) I made a simple, but tasty soup this weekend.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
32 oz vegetable stock
1 can corn kernels
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
8 oz whole wheat pasta (for soup)
1 bunch kale/chard/spinach, chopped
1. Heat olive oil in large soup pan.
2. Saute garlic and onion until translucent.
3. Add pepper and carrots and cook for another 5 minutes.
4. Add vegetable stock, canned corn, thyme and salt. bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 minutes.
5. Stir in your favorite green (kale, chard or spinach) and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
6. Serve soup hot with warm crusty bread.
This is a great recipe for those fall and winter days. Not necessarily good for Florida, perhaps, but I can always turn the AC down and pretend.
I love carrot cake. I had a vegan carrot cake made for my birthday party two years ago and it was a hit. Tonight, I decided to try my own recipe. It’s low in fat, but tasty.
3/4 cup sugar or substitute
1 cup raisins
1 cup grated carrot
2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger root
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp applesauce
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
8 oz vegan cream cheese
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar or substitute
1/2 tsp orange zest
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Mix sugar, raisins, carrots, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, oil and applesauce.
3. Add water and pour into medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 5 minutes.
4. Pour mixture into a bowl and let cool to room temperature.
5. When cool, mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and 1 cup of the chopped nuts.
6. Pour mixture into greased 8×8 baking pan.
7. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let it cool for about one hour.
8. To make the frosting, whisk all ingredients together until mixture is creamy.
9. Frost cake when cool. Top with remaining chopped nuts and serve.
Jose loves seitan and has been asking for it for a while, so I made this easy stirfry tonight.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 green pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into strips
8 oz seitan, cut into strips
2 tbsp soy sauce
4 oz snow peas
4 oz bean sprouts
crushed red pepper (to taste)
1. Heat oil in large pan.
2. Saute garlic and onion until golden brown. Add pepper strips and stir fry for 3 minutes.
3. Stir in seitan and soy sauce. Cook for another 2 minutes.
4. Add snow peas and bean sprouts and stir fry for another minute.
5. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if desired. Serve over brown rice or noodles.
I make this dish often so I try to use different vegetables every time. Try substituting your own favorite vegetables !
Jose and i have been together a grand total of 4 months even though the actual “story of us” is complicated and spans many years. in simplest terms, we’ve known each other for over 10 years, tried dating in the past, it didn’t work but here we are again.
we decided to go back to the restaurant that re-started things earlier this year. but Jose wanted to make it even better and got us a room at one of the properties owned by the company where he works. so off to south beach we went. initially, we wanted to have our special dinner on saturday, but i totally forgot to make reservations in advanced and the restaurant was completely booked by the time he called. so we ended up with reservations for 6:30 on sunday.
we made it to south beach saturday night after we had finished all of our chores (laundry, cleaning, etc). we were both starving and i was craving sushi. we walked towards washington since i thought that’s where Hard Rock sushi was. unfortunately, i was way off and we ended up at Toni’s because our tired feet couldn’t take walking another block. Toni’s chic interior and high zagat ratings (posted on the window) were incredibly deceiving. our food wasn’t too bad, but not at all what we had expected. as if that wasn’t enough to keep us from ever visiting Toni’s again, the service was worse than economy class on a full flight. the waitress brought us the dessert menu twice after we had requested the check 3 times. i consider myself a very reasonable and understanding person, but i would definitely NOT recommend this place if you are ever down in SoBe. don’t be fooled the the cool interior and impressive zagat ratings.
on sunday, Jose and i had breakfast at Einstein’s (or SoBe as my boss likes to call it now). i’m not sure why the sky cried, but we got soaked on our way back. i had only packed the essentials, of course. so we were stuck indoors most of the day. i didn’t mind so much because the view from our unit was amazing (see pic), but i still went for a run sometime in the afternoon when the skies looked a bit more friendly. but just as everything else in SoBe, it was a sham. about 10 minutes into my run, it started to pour again.
we decided to stay indoors until it was time for dinner. after getting lost and calling the restaurant twice, we finally arrived. we had asked for an outside table. the evening wasn’t at all like the first time we had been there. i don’t mean to sound negative, but i don’t think it ever will be. that first time was too perfect. but we were happy to be there, as a couple this time. we had tea after dinner and then the skies decided to piss on us again. our waiter was amazing. he had been wonderful throughout the evening, but as soon as it started raining, he told us to grab the essentials, quickly came inside with the rest and escorted us to an indoor table. as a token of our appreciation, Jose left a sizeable tip. despite the freakin’ rain, we had an excellent weekend.