October 30, 2010

EZ Harvest Food and Vegan Chocolate Pudding

I have a small collection of little squash from the garden.

Pumpkins, orange and white, butternut squash, and delicata squash.

I roasted some of them for about 40 minutes at 375°.

Took the skins off, scooped out the seeds and cut up one of each kind and split between two bowls. I then heated up the potato leek soup I made yesterday and poured it on top. It became potato leek sauce. I didn't take a picture of it with the soup because we'd been out and we were hungry. I'll do something with the other roasted squash tomorrow.

I wanted something sweet afterward so I whipped up some vegan chocolate pudding.

2 avocados
2 bananas
about a 1/4 cup non dairy vanilla milk
4 TB chocolate hazelnut hot cocoa mix
1 TB mint sauce (fresh mint and agave thickened in the freezer)

all blended in the food processor until smooth.


I am starting to realize what a family holiday Halloween really is.  I miss my sons and all the preparation of designing our costumes and gathering the supplies.  When I was young Halloween was one of the biggest days of our lives.  Since our family was so large, the collection of decorations and costumes grew every year.  I think it was some of the most fun my siblings and I had together. We were usually one of the most popular Halloween haunts on the block.  I remember the neighborhood kids anxiously looking forward to seeing what we came up with each year.  Our mother would dress up every year scaring some trick-or-treater's just about past the next house. It's always been one of my favorites, it's been a big deal and a lot of fun with my own children.  I know both of my sons are thinking about me today.

Pixie, kobold, elf, and sprite
All are on their rounds to-night,-
 In the wan moon's silver ray
 Thrives their helter-skelter play.

Fond of cellar, barn,or stack,
True unto the almanac,
They present to credulous eyes
Strange hobgoblin mysteries.

Cabbage-stomps-straws wet with dew-
Apple-skins, and chestnuts too,
 And a mirror for some lass,
Show what wonders come to pass.

Doors they move, and gates they hide,
Mischiefs that on moon-beams ride
Are their deeds, and, by their spells,
 Love records its oracles.

Don't we all, of long ago,
By the ruddy fireplace glow,
In the kitchen and the hall,
Those queer, coofllke pranks recall?

Eery shadows were they then-
But to-night they come again;
Were we once more but sixteen,
Precious would be Halloween.

-Joel Benton

“At first cock-crow the ghosts must go, back to their quiet graves below.” ~ Theodosia Garrison

October 28, 2010

Creamy Leeky Potato Soup Sans Cream

Creamy Potato Soup with leeks, red onion, garlic, celery, red bell pepper, yellow and green mild chili peppers, 2 small jalapeños, fresh thyme, fennel, and a some freshly grated nutmeg.

I used some red potatoes from a fellow gardener and a few of the blue potatoes from my garden. Most of the vegetables except the leeks and celery, and the herbs came from our garden. I'm still working on the food we grew this year, even with the strange weather.

I quartered the potatoes and just covered them with a couple cups of vegetable broth and some water. I simmered the potatoes until they were tender then mashed them with roughly in the same water they were cooked in.

In another pan I sauteed the leeks, red onions, garlic, peppers, and fresh herbs. I added the sauteed vegetables to the potato mixture and simmered together for about 15 - 20 minutes.

House smells good today.

Triple Berry Risotto

Triple Berry Risotto
Hard Red Spring Wheat Berries, whole Barley, and Spelt Berries

This is a simple meal, warm and comforting.  This is a variation of the vegetable barley risotto recipe on the back of the bag of whole barley from Bob's Red Mill.

2-3 TB garlic chili oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups combined whole barley, wheat berries, and whole spelt berries
2 cups or more zucchini, cut in about 1 inch cubes
6 cups low sodium vegetable broth
2/3 cup Sherry cooking wine
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese

Heat the broth to almost a boil for adding to grains later.

In a large pot sauté onion and garlic in the oil, about 2 minutes.  Add in the dry grains and sauté for about five minutes stirring often, allowing the grains to brown a little.  Add in the heated broth, sherry, and zucchini and bring to a boil.  Turn down the heat to a simmer, cover pot and cook for about an hour depending on how you like the texture of your grains.  It may take a little more than an hour.  Remove lid and add in cheese.  Cook an additional 10 minutes with no lid.

This can be made without the cheese using nutritional yeast instead of the Parmesan and Romano cheese.

October 24, 2010

It tastes like Apple Cobbler...

but, it's zucchini cobbler with dairy free vanilla bean ice cream.


    * 8 cups peeled, chopped zucchini
    * 2/3 cup lemon juice
    * 1 cup sucanat
    * 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    * 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    * 4 cups whole wheat all-purpose flour
    * 1 cup date sugar
    * 1 cup sucanat sugar
    * 1 1/2 cups vegan margarine, chilled
    * 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


   1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook and stir zucchini and lemon juice until zucchini is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg and cook one minute more. Remove from heat and set aside.
   2. Preheat oven to 375°. Grease a 10x15 inch baking dish. In a large bowl, combine flour and 2 cups sugar. Cut in butter with pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir 1/2 cup of butter mixture into zucchini mixture. Press half of remaining butter mixture into bottom of prepared pan. Spread zucchini mixture over top of crust, and sprinkle remaining butter mixture over zucchini. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
   3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until top is golden. Serve warm or cold.

I think I'd use less flour next time.  It was a little too much bread for me.  I cut the sugar in half from the original recipes I found.  The first one I found had so much sugar and butter, I could have used Brussels sprouts or mushrooms and my husband would have eaten it and he doesn't like either of those.

The ice cream is homemade dairy free vanilla ice cream made with coconut milk creamer, non dairy milk, coconut oil, vanilla bean, a dash of salt, and a tablespoon of vanilla vodka.  I read that the alcohol keeps the ice cream from crystallizing and getting too hard.

Roasted Fall Vegetables

The roasted vegetables are my husband's handiwork. He brought home some very large, tired carrots I wasn't interested in using. I already had a few things going. He said he would peel and clean them. So, I walked him through the process while he prepared the vegetables. He added some parsnips, a large beet, a big yam that needed a home, some homemade garlic chili oil, and fresh herbs. He's my favorite sous chef.

Pumpkin Polenta

I ran across this idea from a blog I read called Gluten Free Goddess.

Her recipe is for four servings, I doubled the polenta recipe to use in other meals later.  I used four cups low sodium vegetable broth, 2 cups water and 2 cups polenta.  When the polenta had absorbed most of the liquid I added 1 can of coconut milk, about 3 cups pumpkin pureé.  The pumpkin came from the garden, but I didn't grow it.  It just appeared in the corn rows.  I assumed it was either a gift or the folks stealing the corn put it down and forgot it.  I also added fresh herbs from my garden, parsley, rosemary, and some purple basil. When it had simmered a little I added 2-3 TB vegan margarine and 1 1/2 TB agave.

Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa Fresca
by Karina Allrich - Gluten Free Goddess

3 tomatillos
1/2 orange or yellow bell pepper
1 Anaheim chili pepper
1 fresh lime
A dash of extra virgin olive oil
A drizzle of raw organic agave nectar
Sea salt, to taste
A handful of fresh chopped cilantro
1 small avocado

Remove the papery skins from the tomatillos and wash the stickiness off with produce soap and water. Roughly chop. Toss into a bowl. Wash and halve the bell pepper; seed and chop one half. Add to the bowl. Stem and clean the chili pepper; dice. Add it in. Drizzle the mix with fresh squeezed lime juice, olive oil and agave nectar. Season with sea salt, to taste. Add in fresh chopped cilantro and stir to combine. Cover and chill till serving.

Just before serving, peel and pit the avocado, dice it and add the avocado to the salsa.

This is the same pumpkin polenta chilled, then sliced and warmed, served with black beans and roasted vegetables (carrots, beets, parsnips, and yams).

Green Tomato Bread

If you live in the Pacific Northwest, I don't have to ask if you had any green tomatoes in your garden this year. I pulled some of the tired tomato plants the other day and brought home a box of red and a box of green tomatoes.  Some of the green ones will ripen, some of them I'll use now.  I googled green tomato recipes and found a few I wanted to work with.  I made two of the bread recipes yesterday, they are both very good. 

They're both called Green Tomato Bread.  Of course I made some changes, I made them both dairy free. One is made with green tomato puree, and molassest.  I used date sugar instead of brown sugar, wild flower honey, grape seed oil, egg replacer instead of the eggs, and roasted pecans instead of walnuts.  It's a dense bread, almost a cake. This one is vegetarian because I used the honey, but if you use agave it is a vegan bread.

The second one, by the Southern Chef in Louisiana, came out a little more light and bread like. This recipe called for two cups of sugar, too much for me, I used 1 cup of agave instead. Other changes I made were: egg replacer instead of eggs, applesauce instead of oil and roasted pecans and cashews.

October 22, 2010

A Good Day for Gardening

Artichoke Blossom
Well, it wasn't a 70° day, but it was pleasant.  I spent about four hours in the garden and could have done more.  I did work up a bit of a sweat and decided I'd gotten my exercise for the day very early.  Just like a regular workday, noon came before I knew it.  I stayed out until about 1:00 p.m. or so and then went home, ate a nice bowl of beans and spent the afternoon with Rhonda.

The tomatoes are pretty tired now, I think I've gotten what I'm going to get out of them.  I did go home with about ten pounds of red tomatoes and five pounds of some nice green ones I saved.  Many of the ripe tomatoes do look like it's gotten too cold and some have experienced a little freeze. Some of the green ones I will try to ripen and some of them will go into some green tomato recipes.  I think I'm going to try a green tomato bread recipe I saw recently.

I pulled three of them up and worked the soil and planted three varities of garlic in their place, two purple varieties and one white. I think one of them is an elephant garlic.  I do love to roast those.

On top of the garlic I spread the dried seed pods from my shelling beans and a layer of the very large cauliflower leaves for a nice mulch.  I'm looking forward to seeing them blossom in the springtime.  I planted a little more than last year.

After that I dug up the rest of the blue potatoes, at least I think I got them all.  They do look like dirt clods.  I also grabbed a couple pepper plants to hang and let the peppers finish ripening and dry.  I planted quite a few varieties of peppers this year. Anaheim, cayenne, jalepeño, Tennessee cheese, red and green bells, something called New Mexican hot, and a few more I don't remember the names of.  I am thinking of drying them and stringing them in some artistic way for holiday gifts this year.  I came home with a few cucumber, some zucchini, summer squash, a small head of cauliflower, and some lettuce.  There's still lots of work to do. Even though I did work hard yesterday, it was a most peaceful day.

When Rhonda called, I was on my knees very deep in the potato trench.  I'd been working for four hours and when she said, let's go out for awhile, it was perfect timing.  We got to share some time talking about life and her daughter's upcoming wedding in April.  I will be helping with the food, of course.  I've catered many weddings, this will be the first that I will bring many vegan and vegetarian items.  I'm looking forward to this little adventure.

October 21, 2010

I'm a Gardener Today

Get to have a day of my own today. Starting the day a little slower than usual, sipping my coffee and listening to music. Enjoying a little extra time with my sweetie in the morning. I get to go out and do some work in the garden today.  I'm putting some bigger tools in the car than usual and getting some real work done out there.  I've been waiting for the sun to shine so I can get out there.

We've had a break in the pace at work and the sun has been shining. The weather reports say this could be the last day in the 70's for quite some time. I am fortunate enough to be able to take advantage of it to love my garden a bit today. Since the sun goes down a little earlier, we haven't been able to spend as much time out there. Many chances I've gotten on the weekends, the weather has been wet. There is much to be done. There's still lots of vegetables to be harvested, weeds to pull, and potatoes to be dug up. I can plant my garlic today and get some of the tomatoes and peppers that haven't ripened uprooted so they will ripen indoors. I'm very excited to be outside today. I do so love playing in the dirt. 

October 20, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Delights

Follow this link above to the recipe

Birthday at work and there are lots of allergies among my coworkers. I made these with soy and brown rice flour for a gluten free cookie.  Dairy Free and this time I used Xylitol  instead of the turbinado sugar.  A lower glycemic cookie, my diabetic friend can have some too. I also used pecans instead of walnuts and dried currants instead of raisins. I toasted the coconut and the pecans. They're a soft cookie, kind of like a little pumpkin cake.

I just found out someone else is allergic to coconut.  I almost omitted the coconut, but then remembered I had used 1/2 cup coconut oil with 1/2 cup vegan margarine because I didn't have enough vegan margarine already made up.  I'll make something without coconut next time for Cathy.

October 18, 2010

Vegan Pumpkin Muffins with dried Currants

Pumpkin Muffins with dried currants

15 oz pumpkin purée
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup oil (I used grape seed oil this time)
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup mashed banana
1 1/2 cups spelt flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 TB plus 2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup dried currants

Preheat oven to 350º

In a large bowl, mix pumpkin purée, maple syrup, oil, vanilla, and banana. Mix thoroughly.  In a separate bowl, sift flours, baking powder, cinnamon, sea salt, and cloves.  Add dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and stir until just combined.  Fold in dried currants.

Spoon into prepared muffin pan and bake for about 20-25 minutes.  I made mini-muffins so the cooking time was about 20 minutes

October 17, 2010

Pumpkin Curry Soup - Sunday Lunch at Grandma's

After we carved our pumpkins, I made some pumpkin curry soup. I had some fun with it by serving it in little pumpkin bowls. Kaylee loved it.  I made some quick hot water cornbread to go with it. The cornbread came out very nice, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. I roasted a few small pumpkins and put some soup in them for my lunch next week.

Curried Pumpkin Soup Recipe

2  cloves garlic, peeled
1 med onion, peeled and quartered
1 lg. jalapeno pepper, seeded and -coarsely chopped
2 Stalks celery, cut into -2-inch lengths
3 lg. Carrots, peeled and sliced -1/4 inch thick
2 tbsp. Olive oil
1 3/4 lb. pumpkin, peeled, -seeded, and cut -into 1-inch dice
3 c Low-salt vegetable stock
1 Bay leaf
2 tsp.  curry powder
1 tsp. Turmeric
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp. salt
freshly ground pepper
1/4 c shelled raw pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp. sour cream (optional)

Place garlic in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add onion and pulse until finely chopped. Set aside. Place jalapeno in food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add celery and pulse until finely chopped. Set aside. Place carrots in food processor and pulse until finely chopped.

Heat 1 tbsp. of the olive oil in a medium stockpot over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Add jalapeno, celery, and carrots and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the pumpkin, vegetable stock, bay leaf, curry, turmeric, cayenne, 1 tsp. of the salt, and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small sauté pan, heat remaining tbsp. of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add pumpkin seeds and remaining 1/2 t salt and cook for about 30 seconds, shaking pan constantly to prevent burning, until all the seeds have popped. Remove from heat and add parsley.

Place 2 cups of the cooked vegetables and about 1/2 cups of the liquid in the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth. Stir puree back into the soup. Adjust seasonings, and stir in the sour cream, if desired. Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds.

We followed it up with the dairy free pumpkin pie ice cream I made yesterday.  It's just a pumpkin kind of day.

Pumpkin Kind of Day

We were all happy to be out in the sunshine at the pumpkin patch.  The goat seemed especially pleased.

We wandered out to Willow Grove Gardens with Kaylee yesterday.  It was a beautiful fall afternoon, the sun was shining, and it was kind of warm.  We didn't need to wear a sweater out to the farm.  We just wandered around and looked at animals.  Kaylee got to pet and hold some.  There is a Dri out there, a female Yak, and her baby.  It was fun to hear the children react as they came out of the barn and noticed an animal they had not seen before.  I heard "there's a bull like animal out here mom" a couple of times.  Or, "there's a big hairy bull out here mom." A Yak is not an animal we saw much of growing up. 

There is a baby yak and a momma.  Apparently the momma is very protective of  her baby and it was about the time we showed up that the baby had escaped it's pen and was running all over the place.  We could tell this baby was happy to be out of the pen, it just ran and ran and ran.  The Dri was very agitated that her baby was out with all the strangers.  The farm was pretty busy with families out enjoying the day and looking for that perfect pumpkin.  She rammed the fence a couple times while we tried to take photos. We watched as Mike, Rhonda, and Ruth worked to get the baby Yak back in the pen. That baby was happy to be running about and wasn't coming easily. It was a bit exciting.

October 16, 2010

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

Nana sent me a very large list of ice cream recipes, 53 pages of ice cream recipes.  The first one that popped out at me was a recipe called "Great Pumpkin."  It is pumpkin season. I thought a pumpkin pie ice cream would be fun to try. The great pumpkin recipe was pretty simple, but not what I was looking for.  I studied the recipes for awhile and as most of them called for milk, eggs, condensed milk, and/or cream, I played around with the non-dairy substitutions and came up with this recipe.  I made my own dairy free version using a combination of the components of three of those recipes: Ultimate Vanilla, Butter Pecan, and Great Pumpkin.  I added the same spices I would add to a pumpkin pie: cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.  It took me awhile playing on paper before I actually whipped it together, but I got what I was looking for, Dairy Free Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream.  It tastes like frozen pumpkin pie, with the whipped cream, and the pecans add a nice crunchy texture.  It got two thumbs up from my granddaughter and my husband.

Begin by making a substitute for condensed milk.

Condensed Milk Substitute

1/3 cup thick coconut milk (The cream at the top of the can)
1/3 cup maple syrup or agave
1 TB melted coconut butter

Whip all above ingredients together and place in the refridgerator until ready to use.

Vanilla base for ice cream

3 TB egg replacer
9 TB filtered water
3/4 cup date sugar (or brown sugar)
Remaining can of coconut milk from condensed milk substitute
Condensed milk substitute (above)
1 pint coconut milk coffee creamer
4 TB melted coconut oil (or non hydrogenated vegan margarine)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean

In a large mixing bowl whisk 3 TB egg replacer with 9 TB filtered water until thoroughly mixed and fluffy.  Add the condensed milk substitute, then 4 TB melted coconut oil. Add 3/4 cup date sugar (or brown sugar) and again mix thoroughly.  Add the rest of the can of coconut milk and 1 pint of coconut creamer, 1/2 tsp sea salt and the seeds of 1 vanilla bean. (2 TB vanilla extract can be used instead of the vanilla bean)

Pumpkin mixture

15 oz. pumpkin puree
2 TB egg replacer
6 TB filtered water
1/2 cup date sugar or brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves

In a separate bowl, whip an additional 2 TB egg replacer with 6 TB water until thoroughly mixed and fluffy.  Add an additional 1/2 cup date sugar to the egg replacer.  Add one cup of the prepared mixture and when blended thoroughly add 15 oz. canned or fresh pureed pumpkin.  Add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger. Add this mixture to the vanilla ice cream base and chill for four hours or more.  Freeze in your ice cream freezer.

While the mixture is chilling, prepare some pecans.  To do this, mix 1 cup chopped pecans with 2 TB of melted coconut oil and 1/3 cup brown sugar or date sugar. I used maple syrup, but I think it was too moist.  I will try a granulated sugar next time.  Add the pecans about five minutes before ice cream is completely frozen.

Helpful tip:  Something I have learned about homemade ice cream is that it should be taken out of the freezer and left in the refridgerator about an hour before I want to serve it.  It is very hard right out of the freezer.  Thawing it slightly helps with that.

Scarecrows in St. Helen's

I do love all the seasons.  Although I do like the warmth of spring and summer, fall is one of my favorites. The cool fall breezes seem to blow out the bad air and give everything a renewed feeling.  The sun is shining in the mornings and the fall colors are radiant.  We're going out to the pumpkin patch in Willow Grove to get Kaylee her pumpkin and mess around with all the little animals on the farm.  I'll be sure to post some photos of our prize pumpkin she brings home and what it looks like after we've done a little sculpting.

Went to St. Helen's, OR this week to do some business.  This is Halloweentown.  There were scarecrows all over town.  Isabelle fits right in with this crowd.

October 9, 2010

Vegan Apple Spice Ginger Cake

It's that time of year for apples in the Northwest.  I received a large bag of apples from a friend and made some homemade applesauce and put some up in jars last night.  Today I combined some of that applesauce with some freshly grated ginger, freshly ground Jamaican allspice, some molasses and maple syrup for a not too sweet, but flavorful apple spice cake.

1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup applesauce
1½ tsp ground Jamaican allspice
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp grated ginger
1 medium apple, diced

    *  Combine the molasses and applesauce in a large bowl.
    * Combine remaining ingredients and stir into the liquid. (If the batter seems very dry, add a little more applesauce or a little water.)
    * Bake in a nonstick or pan-sprayed 8x8-inch baking pan, in a 350 degree oven, for 30-45 minutes or until it tests done.

Whipped Tofu Topping

This is a delicious nondairy alternative to whipped cream. Keep blending until it is really creamy.

 8 ounces silken tofu
 2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar
 2 tablespoons oil
 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
 1 tablespoon soy or other nondairy milk, if needed Puree tofu, sweetener, oil, and vanilla or almond extract in blender or food processor until very smooth and creamy. Add milk if necessary for creamy texture. Chill for at least one hour before using. It will firm slightly as it chills.

Makes about 1 cup

Note: A few drops of liquid stevia extract can be substituted for other sweeteners.

Oktoberfest Sans Knockwurst

I made homemade sauerkraut this year.  The first thing I thought of was warm sauerkraut with mashed potatoes and gravy.  Yesterday I picked some beautiful blue potatoes in the garden.

I went a little farther than the mashed potatoes. I made some potato pancakes with a some homemade applesauce, warmed the sauerkraut and grilled some lemon pepper tempeh.  I made a vegan herb gravy with black bean flakes, rosemary, sage, salt and pepper, and garlic, for the tempeh.  It was a fine example of Bavarian Oktoberfest meal, a vegetarian Bavarian meal.

I asked my husband if he enjoyed his dinner. This was his reply...

October 8, 2010

Luna and Friends

Remember the cat? Cat Dilemma

Well, he's been hanging around more often and we've even given him a name.  My granddaughter named him Luna.  I think he's in cahoots with the raccoons I was worried would harm him.  We have a very nice canyon behind our house.  It's not visited much by humans so the wildlife there thrives.  I've seen the raccoons for years, but have never had an encounter with them.  I have always heard that we shouldn't leave cat food out on the deck as the raccoons love it and will be by to visit.  I thought that it would be OK to feed Luna and then take the bowl inside.  I found out that wasn't a good idea the hard way.

Sitting on my porch having a cup of coffee very early in the morning before sunrise I heard some very loud chewing, much different than the cat.  I turned on the light to find two very large raccoons enjoying the cat food.  My being there didn't bother them at all, they just looked at me and kept on eating.  It took a few minutes to shew them away, the light didn't bother them either. I even saw one of them sneak back up the stairs and peak in to see if maybe I had left and left that bowl of tasty cat food.

Two days later, I gave the cat some food thinking I will just wait until he is finished and bring the bowl in.  I forgot my coffee cup and came inside just to get it.  I couldn't have been inside but 30 or 40 seconds.  I came outside and sat down to wait for the cat to finish eating.  Shoot, I heard some strange growling.  Those raccoons actually pushed him out of the way and proceeded to eat.  They were about two feet from my feet.  I slowly went inside turning on the light and trying to shew them away.  They took their sweet time.  So long, we were able to get a couple photos.  They aren't the greatest photos, but you can see how large these guys are.  I will feed the cat inside from now on.  I now turn on the light before going on the deck. My husband also takes a flashlight to the compost pile at night.

Now, this being a street cat who adopted us, I think he's getting fed at more than one house on the block.  He's probably showing these large, cute, but dangerous rascals where the food is.  They're not going to hurt him, he's doing them a favor. 

Raccoon's shopping

Leaving on his or her own time.

Friends in the Garden

As I was picking beans last Saturday morning, a man came up behind me because he wanted to meet the person gardening behind his house. He would also like the corn stalks when I'm done for his friend's cows. Apparently it's a great treat for them. I know this man, his name is Steve. I haven't seen him in over a year and a half. He didn't recognize me at first as he is getting a bit old, 85 I think. When I told him my name and gave him a big hug, he remembered right away. His wife died last year and she was one of my closest friends.

Last year I experienced some emotional growth. That's what I'm calling it now anyway. It seemed that devastating news came about every two weeks. It began with learning my very dear friend would be dying from cancer. I felt privileged to be able to help her through it, but it was sad nonetheless and I miss her. I missed her terribly when life seemed a bit hopeless last year. Cheryl is the first person I thought of calling when things got tense. She'd have been at every court date she could, sitting next to me and reminding me things always work out. She'd remind me that things don't always work out the way we'd like, but they do work out. The sun usually comes out, in theory anyway, we do live in the Northwest.

One of the reasons we began the big garden was to work out some of the stress and tension we were under last year. It sure works, we also didn't realize how much we love the gardening. That's turned out to be a huge blessing that will hopefully continue for a long time. It's a very large community garden, surrounded by houses on either side. Turns out since Cheryl died, her husband Steve's eyesight has gotten weak and he can't drive. He's moved into town. He has been living directly behind my garden since last year. He says he comes out and looks around it every night. He loves our garden.

I felt comforted that someone I love has been there when we weren't. Sometimes when I'm working out there, I've had some conversations with Cheryl. I felt a little more like she has really been there. After he left I had a good cry. It was a grateful cry, kind of a cleansing cry. I love ya Cheryl, glad you are part of my life.

Bene Bolognese

Bene Bolognese Recipe 

Made this tasty vegan version of a recipe generally made with pork, beef, and cream last night. I added some chopped eggplant from the garden, a diced mild chili, and used white troufle balsamic vinegar and water instead of the white wine. Most of the ingredients came from my garden. I am looking forward to lunch today.

Vive Bene