Thursday, May 31, 2012


I am ashamed that this post did not get written prior to now.  It was quite an amazing food day.  It occurred a few weeks ago, Ashley and I were at the store looking for something to make for dinner after a mind-numbing day of shopping for work clothes (which I hate).

Wandering aimlessly down the isles, we found a treasure.  Marzipan!  That was it!  We had a snack plan!  We were making candies!  We fought the idea of skipping dinner and going right for the candy overdose but opted to get something solid in our stomachs.  Enchiladas.  Yum.

Then it was on to the candies.  I made some chocolate and Ashley made some caramel and we were off!  We did not do a very good job of marking them as we made them so when it was time to eat, the were much like mystery candies.  We did not exactly know what we were going to get.  I took some to work and shared as well, they were a big hit.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Duck Park!

I seem to be extremely far behind on posting blogs.  I have been back from my Florida trip for 5 days now and have not posted anything about the adventure.  I still feel like I have several days worth of pre-Florida blogs to post.

Prior to Florida, Ashley and I took Kaleigh to a local park.  I am not even really sure what it was called but they were calling it the duck park.  It made sense when I got there as there were ducks all over the place.  We brought some old stale bread to feed them.  Kaleigh loved it, they were eating right out of her hand.

We then played in a playground for a bit.  I encouraged Kaleigh to jump off the moving swing, promising I would catch her.  She did, I failed.  She went face down in the dirt.  She was uninjured but also unhappy with me.  She was a champion though, dusting her self off, sitting out for a couple minutes and then asking me to help her on the monkey bars.  I did not drop her this time.

After the park, We all came back to my house to celebrate Ashley finishing her finals.  We had some strawberry cake form Southern Sweets.  It is always a favorite and we take any opportunity we can to get some!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A day trip with the girls

I took a day trip with Ashley and her daughter Kaleigh prior to going to Florida as well.  We went to one of my favorite spots in Georgia, Sweetwater Creek State Park.  I have mentioned the fascinating history of this park in the past.  Beyond the layered stories on the park, there is a magnificence to it.  It is exactly what I would want for a short trip out of the city.  Rushing river, large trees, rocks to climb, perfection.

It was Kaleigh's first time at Sweetwater and she really enjoyed it.  We found a tiny (smaller then your fingernail) frog, tiny mushrooms, a huge bird, and so much more.  She was even able to climb most of the rocks without any help.  Despite a little rain at times, we all had a great time.

After the hike, we headed to Harmony for a late lunch and then caught a movie.  Days off from the jobby job are rarely a disappointment and this was no exception.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

When the Cracks visit...

I am back from my mini vacation in Florida.  I want to share the stories and memories but due to some time constraints, I will hold off for a couple of days. 

First  want to share a small dinner I had with my friends Adrienne and Nate from Crack the Plates.  I have not hosted in awhile due to my hectic schedule.  I made some time before leaving again and we had dinner at my place.  Adrienne is imposing some dietary restrictions on herself to cleanse so this was a sugar free, gluten free meal.

I made a simple salad with some blueberry basil vinaigrette dressing to start off.  Then we had some roasted red pepper soup, a recipe I have really been enjoying.  Roasting red peppers is quickly becoming a favorite for me.  We also had some mustard covered tofu that really hit the spot and added to the tang of the meal.  The cracks brought some raw brownies for us to share as well.

We chatted it up a bit after dinner, skipping our usually debate time.  We talked a bit about entrepreneurial ideas and compared and contracted Adrienne and my cooking style.  I also share some stories and pictures of my trip to Spain.  It was a light-heated night and a good per-cursor to my trip to Florida.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Food I did not make!

Since I have been back from Spain I have been working nearly everyday.  That is the price of a vacation at my jobby job.  Once back, you will need to make up for it with a terrible schedule, despite the fact that you earned the vacation time to begin with.  Classic.

I have been back for nearly 3 weeks now and have only had 4 days off.  I am ready for another vacation, so I am taking one!  This one will be short, I will be taking Ashley and Kaleigh to Florida to visit with my mum.  We will do all sorts of fun things and it should be very relaxing.

In the meantime, I have been fortunate enough that some folks have helped me eat well while at work.  I made a trade with someone at work, I brought him some green smoothie, in exchange for some of his all corn tamales.  Since most tamales are not vegan, I have not had much experience with them however, these were fantastic!  They were so sweet.

Another friend of mine brought me some cakes from a local natural foods store.  I saved these for my bedtime snacks, after such long days, I deserved them!

Ashley also made me some of her amazing mac and cheese.  I have not had it in a long time but it is certainly my favorite recipe.  She does not cook often but Ashley is a great cook and I was thrilled to have a massive amount of this to tote to work with me day after day.

There is some degree of normality in store when I get back from Florida and until then, it is nice to have help from people to stay well fed!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day Brunch

It has been years since I have lived in the same state as my mother.  My jobby job is also not very forgiving around these types of holidays, so my mother's days are generally uneventful and filled with work.  This year was different in an unexpected way.

Ashley was trying to some up with something she wanted to do with her daughter and her mother to celebrate the day.  I was giving her ideas but we were just coming up with blanks.  Then I offered to cook them all a brunch before I went to work.  They took me up on the offer and I hosted my first mother's day brunch.

I made pancakes, both blueberry and cinnamon currant, topped with maple syrup and home fries on the side.  I severed a strawberry banana smoothie and the remaining blueberries on the side.  It was a fun time and the first time I have spend quality time with Ashley's mother.

After bunch, they all filled out and I got ready for work.  I tried to call my own mother a couple of times to no avail.  I wish I was able to make her some brunch on mothers day too.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Spain Vacation: Day Twelve; parting ways...

Sunday was my last day in Spain.  Pari's friend Chris came over early and we headed back to the Equipo B squat for pizza day.  Maik and I were both going to make our own versions of seitan for the pizzas.  I was also in charge of making some more vegan cheese for them as well.  It was an afternoon of cooking in the squat.  Getting the vegetables ready, the seitan ready, and the cheese made took several hours.

Maik made a seitan that used lentils.  It had a great texture and i looked over his shoulder while he made it.  It was very inspiring and something I am going to play around with myself.  He watched as I had my seitan (and vegan cheese) as well.  It was a great sharing of ideas.  Much of my seitan did not last to the pizza making as the residents of Equipo B and the people helping make the pizzas seemed to snack on it quite a bit.  At least it was enjoyed and made an appearance on several pizzas.

Around 5pm folks started to arrive.  We served far more pizza this Sunday then the prior one.  We left around 9pm again and there was a good crowd of people.  I would estimate that we served nearly 50 pizzas.

When it was time to leave, I was reluctant.  I really wanted to stay.  The community was something I had not felt in years, since my punk rock days in Maine.  There is a definite romance to that lifestyle that appeals to me.  I would love to go back to Barcelona and see some of the friends I made again.  It was a amazing trip and has started a snowball effect on my thoughts about community and family.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Spain Vacation: Day Eleven; Gopal, park and Garraf

Saturday, Pari, her kids and I walked to Gopal for another lunch.  We had some more burgers and cake to go.  After lunch we played a bit in the park right outside of the deli.

Pari had to go clean the school that Zahid attends and refused my help.  It would be several hours so I hoped a train and went out on my own again.  Garraf was my destination, the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.  It was a short train ride and then I was on the beach.  I walked through the sand and relaxed a bit.  Since my hike in Vall de Nuria, my sandals were broken and my traction was spotty at best.  I was hesitant to climb into the rocks along the coast.

I was able to scale a fence and walk along a massive rock to the sea where I found dozens of wild flowers.  It was a really nice walk that felt very relaxing.  I hoped a train back to Barcelona just before the rain started to fall.  Then I walked around town a bit more and returned for some a pasta dinner at with Pari's family.  It was an early bedtime.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Spain Vacation: Day Ten; Food Food Food!

It was my second Friday in Barcelona.  This time I was much more aware of my surroundings.  I ventured out alone for most of the day.  About 4 blocks from Pari's apartment was a vegan store.  I wandered in and got a few items.  One was a chocolate covered eclair type item, another was an amazing ice cream item.

For lunch, I took myself out to a place called Juicy Jones.  It was an eclectic little vegan restaurant.  They offered a meal for about 8 euros that had bread, soup, entree, desert.  I jumped on it.  I had a potato soup, some Vietnamese noodle dish, and for desert I had some apple crisp.


After my lunch I walked to the tourist area of town.  I walked through the open air market and looked at all the gorgeous fruit and vegetable displays.  It was a nice walk around a town I was beginning to get familiar with.

One of Pari's friend was supposed to come over for dinner but she bailed out at the last minute.  I was in charge of cooking while Pari was at work.  I opted to make falafel.  Sometimes it is difficult to cook in a new kitchen, with someones else cookware, and in a country where the items seem slightly different.  As I tried to fry the falafel, the oil started to smoke and fulled the entire house!  Hocine came running into the kitchen asking what was going on.  We had to open all the windows and I was shut in the kitchen to fix the disaster.  I quickly got it under control and finished the falafel.  It did not hold together wonderfully but it tasted great.  I even whipped up a little cucumber sauce to have on the top.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Spain Vacation: Day Nine; Punk Rock

Over the last decade I had faded away from the culture of punk rock.  For me, punk rock was parental.  It taught me the ways of rage, compassion, criticism, veganism, and anarchism.  It brought me into a world of politics and showed me a new world.  A better world, a world of options and freedoms.  About 10 years in, the bitterness of the punk world overwhelmed me.  I left the music behind but the culture is something that will go with me to death, a constant companion.

In the last several months, out of the blue, I have started listening to punk again.  All the time, nearly exclusively.  It has felt familiar and true in ways I can not describe.  I have missed this part of myself.  The anger pulls me out of the mundane.  It is a needed reminder of an urgency I lost.

Leading up to my Spain trip, I was looking for a punk show to attend.  The last punk show I went to was several years ago when Appalachian Terror Unit played at a tiny pizza shop here in Atlanta.  Pari found a show of my favorite Spanish anrcho-punk band, Crosta.  She is not much for the punk rock (actually, she is just in the closet about it) so she enlisted her punk friend Seva to take me.

The first band was unmemorable.  Im not sure I payed much attention and no one seemed to be there yet.  The second band was Sect.  From what I understand, it was only their 3rd show.  They were very good and I really enjoyed them.  The Crosta played.  They were fantastic.

The show was in another of the squats in Barcelona.  It was called Los Blokes Fantasmas.  It is one of the longest running squats in the city and has a long history of confrontations with the police and the city.  It was a pretty amazing place to see.  They even sold vegan pizza while the bands played.

Being there was so comforting.  I felt like I was with friends.  I felt familiar.  I felt like I was home.