January 26, 2018


Don't think there's a recipe for spring rolls here, but these look great!

I belong to a vegan group that gets together about once a month for lunch out. It's a fun way to enjoy great conversation and explore all the vegan restaurant options in our city. At the last event, one of my friends from the group, Sandra, told me she belongs to another vegan group in the nearby city of Bellevue, that holds a potluck every month. They choose a theme for the potluck by the 'idea-on-a-piece-of-paper-drawn-from-a-hat' method, and her idea was selected for the next potluck. I think they usually pick a popular vegan cookbook, but she wrote Andrea's easy vegan cooking on her piece of paper, and everyone was supposed to cook something from my blog. Would I like to come?

Roasted veggies

 A more extroverted, confident person might have been thrilled and honored, but I was horrified. I tried to remain calm and 'normal' but I was experiencing thoughts like, "what if the recipes don't work?" "What if everything comes out awful?" "What if they hate the blog?" After recovering from the sensation of having sharp kitchen knives hurled at me, I said I would attend, if the date didn't conflict with my grandson's fifth birthday party. His birthday was occurring on a Tuesday,  and I didn't yet know which weekend day would be selected for his party. I even started to look forward to the potluck, and think about what I might bring.

Braised greens with tofu, cashews and raisins.

As it turned out, the date of the potluck was also the date of the Women's March in Seattle, as well as my grandson's party. We spent the morning and early afternoon at the march, the late afternoon at the joy-filled birthday party, and the evening at a quieter family birthday dinner at the little guy's house. It was an amazing, exhilarating day, and while I'm truly sorry to have missed the potluck, I'm glad I spent most of it with my wonderful family.

Two chickpea salads.

According to Sandra, 14 people attended the potluck, and it was a success — everyone enjoyed the food. (I hope she's telling the truth!) I had asked her to take pictures, and the photos I'm sharing here are hers, reprinted with permission.

I liked this marcher's sign!

Here's a glimpse into what I did on the day of the potluck. As I mentioned, I participated in the women's march, as I did last year. It feels so uplifting during these troubling times, to be surrounded by people who believe in justice, kindness, truth, etc.

I took a couple of photos of marchers and their signs.

And here's the birthday boy, just after blowing out the candles on his cupcake. Some days there are just not enough hours to do everything you want.

January 05, 2018

A mug of hot chocolate-almond-coffee

I was reading the paper the other day, and a recipe for a chocolate coffee smoothie caught my eye. It was in an article on healthy recipes. It wasn't the 'healthy' aspect that held my attention — it was the chocolate combined with almond and coffee in a potentially warming drink. The smoothie aspect was unappealing, considering the outdoor (and indoor!) temperature, but the thought of a soothing hot, delicious beverage was tempting. I adapted the recipe to provide a warming beverage, rather than a cold one. The drink isn't thick or creamy, but it is delicious. If you're in need of a hot beverage to warm you up, you might want to try this one.

I'm not a regular coffee drinker, and neither is my husband — he drinks gallons of tea — so we don't have a coffee maker standing ready. Plus, I'm extremely sensitive to caffeine, and can only drink decaf. I have a jar of high quality freeze dried instant decaf in the cupboard, just in case I occasionally want some, and that's what I used. If you have hot coffee ready and waiting, or prefer your beverage with caffeine, go for it. You could also use a coffee substitute. I'll probably try it with my Dandy Blend herbal dandelion root beverage.

Hot chocolate almond coffee
(adapted from a recipe in Parade Magazine by Alison Ashton)
  • 3 pitted dates
  • boiling water (or hot brewed coffee)
  • 1 rounded teaspoon of freeze-dried instant coffee, decaf or regular (if brewed coffee isn't being used)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon plain, unsweetened non-dairy yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • generous pinch of cardamom
  1. Place the dates in a one cup glass measuring cup and add  boiling water to make one cup. (OR, place dates and cold water in the measuring cup and microwave two minutes. OR, place dates in glass measuring cup and fill to one cup mark with hot brewed coffee.) Let sit one minute.
  2. Add contents of measuring cup to high speed blender. Add instant coffee (if brewed coffee wasn't used), yogurt, almond butter, cocoa, and cardamom to the blender. Blend until smooth and frothy.
  3. Enjoy.