My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween "Leftovers," World Vegan Month!

Yeah, I know, this post is so yesterday. :-) I'd planned to publish it last night, but a goblin ate my homework.

Although I feel a little rueful for such a Halloweenish post in November, it is mostly food-related, and today is World Vegan Day, the beginning of World Vegan Month and the first day of Vegan MoFo (Month of Food), so all things considered, I guess this post is pretty timely after all! (Today's also my mom's 75th birthday, and she's vegan too! A momentous day for all things vegan!)

Though I didn't sign up for Vegan MoFo, I do hope to share more food posts this month as a show of solidarity. There are, at last count, 556 bloggers participating this year, sharing all sorts of vegan food-related posts from all over the world. It is a beautiful sight to behold and abundant with impressive recipes, so do check it out! (And to my friends who are participating, I look forward to your awesome posts over the next 30 days, wish you much luck and hope you have great fun!)

(Fun Update: I guess I of am kind of participating in Vegan MoFo a bit, by proxy! My sweet, talented friend Jennifer at the dazzling Gilding Lilies blog invited me to do a couple of guest posts for her regular Meatless Monday feature during Vegan Mofo, and today she shared my Happy-As-A-Clam Clamfree Chowder recipe! I'm honored to be her guest for her first Vegan MoFo post! Thanks, Jennifer!)

And now, without further delay (because there may still be homework-eating goblins afoot), here is a sampling of our weekend's "Halloween cauldron cuisine"...

This is me in the kitchen. ;-)

One of our favorite meals this time of year is what we call Moroccan Chickpea Stew, but whose official name is "Chickpeas and Sweet Potatoes" from Robin Robertson's cookbook, Vegan Fire & Spice. We love it with the chickpeas, but in honor of the day we used black beans instead. It was very festive with its Halloween colors, deliciously aromatic and tasty with its wonderful blend of spices (cinnamon, cayenne, cumin and turmeric), and served over organic whole wheat couscous, wonderfully filling and satisfying.

Our dinner last night was simple, as many of our meals are, and true to our Halloween color theme: butternut squash (cooked in the pressure cooker), a blend of wild rice and black forbidden rice (cooked in our nifty Perfect Rice Cooker), and to round things out, Brussels sprouts with Walnut Dressing.

The wine, Girasole Vineyards' organic Pinot Noir was a new discovery in a local liquor store on Saturday. It helpfully says "VEGAN" right on the pretty label, no need to check with our helpful friends at Barnivore first! It's a nice wine, too! (For information about animal products commonly used in making wine and beer, here's a good FAQ page that addresses that and more).

And if you're wondering about the ice cubes in my wine, yeah... I do that. Coming from an Italian family I was allowed to drink a tiny juice glass of red wine, diluted with ice cubes, starting at age five. (My great-grandfather worked at a vineyard in Tuscany and made his own kegs of wine after he arrived in Montana). I'm afraid this early habit ruined me for life, as I've preferred ice in my wine ever since. I drink it only on occasion (starting at such an early age didn't turn me into a boozer!), but almost never without ice cubes. It's a double vice, what can I say? :-)

And finally, because Halloween's my favorite holiday and I have to wait another 364 days for it to swing 'round again, I'm not quite ready to move on. So humor me a little longer while I share a few photos of BW and me from Halloweens past. (I'm having fun with the new scanner!) :-)

BW as a UPS man, complete with nipping dog, is my favorite costume of his (but the scarecrow picture cracks me up every time), and the woodland faerie was my favorite costume of mine (though dressing up as a gypsy is always great fun for me!)...

I have no idea what those dark smudges are that appear to be on our carpet in that scarecrow photo! I promise you, our carpet (though old and since replaced) never looked like that. Must be some weird shadowy effect from scanning ~ or maybe that mischievous goblin is still around, putting hexes on my photos!

At any rate, happy November ~ and enjoy World Vegan Day, World Vegan Month, and Vegan MoFo! (And Happy Birthday, Mom!) :-)


  1. Thank you sweet girl. I hope lots of folks come to see your recipe over on my blog. You are so kind to share.
    Happy Birthday to your Mom. Happy World Vegan Day to everyone.
    Fun costumes. I like the biting dog very much. My dog has a bad attitude with the UPS man too. I'm not sure what that is all about.
    Watch out for those goblins, they'll get ya every time!
    Thanks again! xoxo

  2. My pleasure, Jennifer, and I hope so too! Thanks for all your happy wishes! :-)

    We had fun adding the dog to BW's UPS "costume," since it was really what transformed it from his work uniform to a costume (well, that and the mardi gras mask, lol!), and it was a big hit at the Halloween party we attended. BW used to have trouble with some of the dogs on his route till he started handing out treats to all of them on a regular basis, and now they all think he's the greatest thing on two legs! But one time, years ago, we were sitting at a red light when a vehicle pulled up beside us and the dog inside it took one look at BW and went berserk. It wasn't a dog on BW's route and BW wasn't in his uniform, but BW turned to me and said, "Somehow he knows I'm a UPS man!" :-)

    Goblins and Gremlins, I'm always watching out for them both, because you are so right! ;-)

    Thank YOU again, Jennifer! xoxo

  3. I'm most happy to recognize World Vegan Day and Month, even if I don't cook and the recipes are lost on me, but being vegan is really important to me and I'm just glad I found someone who can cook for me. I'll share the recipes. Meanwhile, one of my two dogs goes ballistic over UPS, FedEx, anyone in a uniform. And one of my FedEx drivers does provide treats, but that still doesn't stop Chauncey. Living on an island and not wanting to leave my home and certainly not my island, I get lots of UPS andFedEx deliveries, but that hasn't helped either. I have no idea what is up, especially since I have such wonderful folks delivering to me, but there it is. Your costumes are great!

  4. Happy World Vegan Day Laurie!

    You are certainly not alone in blogging about yesterday...Halloween recaps are popping up all over the blogs...and why not, it is one of the coolest days of the year!

    Wow 556 bloggers so far...that is a beautiful thing to many vegans connecting in the ether.

    I saw your guest post on Jennifer's blog and it was fab. My mouth was watering. Creamy clam chowder is one of those things that is so easy to crave, but not so straightforward to emulate. I mentioned on my comment there that I wished I could make it right away, as I do have some dulse and some other seaweeds hanging around in the cupboard, but I've got to do my own MoFo theme :( Anyway, I'll be making that very soon.

    You really have to post more food, because it all looks delicious...the stew looks so good, as does your dinner! I love brussel's sprouts, and I love the idea of walnut dressing on them...I'll be trying that out as soon as I get a chance too!

    I've had that wine before...and like you, I had to try it when I saw Vegan right on the bottle. I was wondering about the ice cubes in the wine and thought maybe you had made sangria or similar...but that makes sense...we were allowed to drink small amounts of wine at the table too, but only on Sundays...I never liked it as a child though...funny how tastes change...:PPP

    So cool about your Tuscan wine-making great grandfather!

    You guys look adorable in your costumes...BW as a Scarecrow does make me laugh too, and you make the sweetest, cutest looking faery! Love the nipping dog on the UPS costume too: how clever...I"m having fun from your scanner too! :)

    Oh, and Happy Birthday to your mom! That is so cool she's mom is happy eating vegan meals with us, but she's not open to going vegan...oh well.

  5. Your blog is so much fun to read! The colorful food looks wonderful and the costumes are great. The nipping dog is unbelievable! As for being late with your Halloween post, mine isn't going up until tomorrow. Some people are late, and others are even later. :D

  6. Also, how did you get the photos to display side by side? You must be a bit of an html wiz!

  7. Wow, Laurie, those costumes are terrific! I love your long red nails with the gypsy costume. lol

    That's so wonderful that your mom is vegan, too. I would love to have more vegans in my family!

    Vegan Fire & Spice is out absolute favorite cookbook. We've tried about 20 recipes from it so far and have loved all but one or two. The Moroccan Chickpea Stew is on my list of ones I want to try yet, so I'm glad to read that you like it! We also have some forbidden black rice in our cupboard which we've never tried before, so maybe I'll just put both on the menu for next week....

  8. Daphne ~ I'm not sure, but I think almost all the recipes I plan to share this month are gluten free, and I know there's at least one gluten free vegan blog, Gluten Free Vegan Munchies, participating in Vegan MoFo, so you might find new goodies to pass along to your personal vegan chef!

    I don't blame you for not wanting to leave your fun house or island! Glad UPS (we don't use the "F" word in this house, LOL) can help make sure you rarely need to! :-)

    I wish I knew why so many dogs take such a dislike to delivery people! When I was a kid we adopted a beagle named Princess from some neighbors who neglected her. Well, actually she adopted us, coming over all the time, eventually spending the night then basically moving in with us, and when Dad got orders to a different state my mom convinced the neglectful neighbors to let her move with us! Anyway, Princess HATED people in uniform, and for a while that included my dad when he'd get home from work! She despised the mailman too, and cops, but she saved her most bitter loathing for the dogcatcher. Before we became her guardians, the neglectful neighbors often just let her roam the streets, picking through garbage cans, so she was picked up by the dogcatchers several times and taken to the pound. She apparently associated all uniforms with those traumatic experiences. Is Chauncey a rescue? Might such a thing have happened to him?

  9. Rose ~ You're right, of course - I've been seeing some of those Halloween recaps and it made me feel better! My posts always feel a day late and a dollar short. LOL

    Thank you for your sweet comment over at Gilding Lilies as well as here about my clamless chowder recipe! We really do love it. Once I made the broth thicker with arrowroot powder, but we decided it didn't need it. I hope our health food store gets in more Yukon Golds soon, I want to make a batch of it while BW's on vacation next week (it's supposed to finally turn cold then!) I can't wait till you get a chance to make it, I'll be eager to hear how you like it and what, if any, changes to might make to it. Oh, and you must try that walnut dressing! It's especially yummy on steamed kale, but I also love it on potatoes, tossed salads, and, of course, the Brussels sprouts! Thank you for saying such nice things about my food pics, I promise to post more recipes this month for sure, though I don't think the pictures will be as pretty since the Halloween decorations really helped make a difference with these! :-)

    Cool, you've had that wine before? We'd never seen it! I liked it better than BW did, so I'm getting to polish off the bottle. :-) We tried a new wine we found up in Billings that we really liked. We saved the bottle so we can get it again next time. I keep forgetting the name... will get back to you on that! It was an organic Merlot that also said, "VEGAN" right on the label. Gotta love that! Sangria - wow, I haven't had any of that in years! Used to drink it quite a lot when I lived in New Mexico. I can't remember if I liked wine as a kid, but I probably did! Would have been chianti, and to this day I really prefer dry and semi-dry red wine!

    Yeah, my great-grandfather was quite a character. Lived to be 88 or 89 and never did learn to speak English! He'd listen to the opera on the radio and whistle along, which drove my great Aunt Marie (with whom he lived in his later years) absolutely bugshit. :-)

    I'm tickled you like our costumes! They were fun. I had a pretty nifty pirate costume too, but the photo is lousy (really grainy). Had a parrot perched on my shoulder and everything. :-)

    It took a few years for my mom to break some of her habits, and to get it through her head that "organic" didn't mean "vegan" (she'd proudly tell me that she'd bought some organic chicken broth, I'd tell her that's not vegan, she'd reply, "But it said organic on the label"... thank goodness THOSE years are behind us! LOL), but she's been doing great the past few years. I think it was easy for her because she hates to cook. Being vegan is fun if you love to cook, easy if you don't! :-) I'm glad at least your mom enjoys eating vegan meals with you, but then your meals are so spectacular, she'd be certifiable if she didn't!

    Speaking of vegan meals, I'm being called to supper. More later!

  10. Andrea ~ Aww, thank you so much! I'm always so pleased to have you visit my blog and am happy to hear that you find it fun! I sure enjoy my visits to your your delightful corner of cyberspace! Thank you for your compliments on our costumes and colorful vittles, and also for making me feel better about the timing of my Halloween post. Sounds like I'm in great company with my fashionable lateness! :-) I'm looking forward to seeing your Halloween recap!

    Rose ~ I wouldn't call myself a wiz, but I can do html. However, since my old homepage days I've gotten a bit rusty, and since Blogger I've gotten lazy and mostly use their "plug and chug" features instead. But I probably would have been better off using the html this time because putting those pictures side by side the "easy" way involved a fair bit of trial and error and an impressive amount of cussing. I can't even remember now what I did to get it to come out right... I think I just put them side by side, with one aligned left and the other aligned right, and as I recall that would have been fine except adding for the second row of two, which is when the spacing and stuff went all loony. But it worked out in the end, and I thank you for noticing! :-)

    Btw, the Merlot we got in Billings and really liked is from Organic Vintners. Is that one you've tried?

  11. Molly ~ Thank you, Molly! I love putting a costume together and then getting dressed up in it, and am so happy you enjoyed the results of some of our past efforts! I wish I had photos of all my costumes from the past and wish everyone else did too! I love seeing clever costumes, especially ones people have put together themselves (as opposed to buying off a store rack, what's the fun in that?) Those long red nails I wore as a gypsy were challenging, especially since I keep my nails really short in "real life!" I had to be careful I didn't put out my own eye (or someone else's!) You can't see them in the photo, but I also had bells on my ankles. :-)

    I wish everyone had more vegans in their family! :-)

    How fun that Vegan FIre & Spice is your favorite cookbook! We've only tried a couple of recipes... one used black-eyed peas (which BW doesn't really care for) and we thought it was just "meh." But the Chickpeas and Sweet Potatoes is such a favorite that our book opens right to that page, so we've yet to try anything else out of it! ;-) You'll have to tell me which recipes you like best so we can try those too! We need to put that cookbook to better use, though the C & SP recipe alone was worth the purchase price!

    Oh child, I think you're going to love that black forbidden rice! It's beautiful, yummy and healthy. You know, like all of us! ;-)

  12. To Laloo's mom: Happy Birthday AND congratulations on your 75th year on this planet! May health and happiness be your constant companions!

    Laloo, I always love, love, love your holiday themed posts. Thanks for sharing pictures of Halloween past. The UPS man costume complete with nipping dog cracked me up! And you make for a very lovely fairy. :-)

    I'm gonna have to try that Walnut Dressing next time I cook chard or kale!

    The carpet color is due to the direction it's facing, not because it's dirty. Just like when you vaccuum the carpet, you'll see different shades when you run the machine to and fro.

    For Daphne, CupcakeKitteh is posting soy and gluten free recipes from around the world.

  13. VW ~ Thank you for your sweet birthday greetings to my mom! I'll pass them along to her when we talk on Friday!

    Thank you so much, VW! Holiday posts are especially fun to do, and I'm so glad to hear you really enjoy them! That UPS costume of BW's was a big hit at the party and now is a big hit on my blog! When BW retires, I hope he'll get to keep one uniform for future Halloween parties! (I still have the stuffed dog!) :-)

    I know what you mean about pile carpets changing color depending on which direction you vacuum, but I swear the carpet didn't look like that in real life! I think it was a combo of vacuum direction, flash, crappy old camera, and those nasty goblins. ;-)

    Thanks for passing that info about Cupcake Kitteh's blog for Daphne! I haven't visited Kitteh's blog in a long time, I must check it out during MoFo!

  14. Chianti is hands down my favorite wine too! I love the dry ones.

    So cool about your great grandfather...have you ever seen that film "Queen of Hearts" a story about an Italian immigrant family in London back in the 50's or made me think of it because the granddad in that film was always sitting in his room listening to the opera.

    I'm going to try those recipes as soon as I can get my head on straight. MoFo has me reeling a little.

    I can imagine aligning the images did involve lots of cussing, based on my experiences with things like that in blogger. Well done!

  15. Rose ~ And here I thought for sure your favorite wine would be Rosé. ;-) My favorites are Chianti, Cabernet Sauvignon (a clever friend always called Franzia, the wine sold in boxes, "Cardboard Sauvignon" lol), and a good Merlot. (Nonno Tony always made Chianti!)

    I've never seen Queen of Hearts, but it sounds really cute, and your mentioning it has led to something fun! We never bothered with Netflix's "Watch Instantly" feature since we met none of the computer compatibility requirements with our little old iMac, and our satellite connection made watching videos a pain. But as of this Friday, we're finally switching ISPs and our new connection will be at least twice as fast and cheaper, and with our new computer we'll be able to now watch instantly! It wouldn't have even occurred to me to check if I hadn't looked up Queen of Hearts and seen that it's only offered in the "Instant" format, so I dug further and am so excited! (Especially since our PBS feed will be going digital on the 15th, so we will no longer have TV at all).

    I'll bet MoFo has you reeling! You took on quite a challenging theme and are doing a magnificent job, your first posts are absolutely incredible! Maybe you'll get a cookbook author/food photographer/caterer gig out of it! (Someone with pull should darn well notice all that talent on display!) :-)


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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