Vegan Kick-Start Shake

Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. —Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

So here's my excuse for that thing we call...breakfast — a vegan kick-start shake. It combines your morning injection of caffeine, chocolate for that deep seated craving, a splash of soy milk and a punch of banana. Who wouldn't like this to kick-start their day?

What is it that they say about breakfast?

Oh yea. All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast. —John Gunther

1/2 c non-dairy milk
1/2 c espresso or strongly brewed coffee
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 T agave
2 ripe (or very ripe in my case) bananas
4-8 ice cubes

Combine all ingredients into a blender.

Blend. Whiiiiirrrrr....

Pour into your favorite cup. Yes, it is Easter Sunday and I am sipping my vegan kick-start shake from my adorable Starbucks Easter mug. 

This recipe can be adjusted to your espresso-y, chocolaty, banana-y liking. So go ahead, experiment and drink up ladies and gentlemen...your happiness depends on it!

This recipe makes approximately 28 oz. so share the goodness with a loved one...or you can just keep it all to yourself — it's up to you.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead... 1 Peter 1:3

Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life. — S.D. Gordon

Happy Easter!

Tips on how to mark the season of Spring:

Seasons come and go — whether you're talking about the weather or stages in life — it is as certain as the sun rising and setting each day.

Happy first day of Spring to you!

Tips on how to mark the season of Spring:

  • treat yourself to a fresh bouquet of flowers
  • snack on tart kumquats
  • roast bright green spears of asparagus
  • watch a lightning storm from the back porch
  • wearing wellies, splash in spring post-storm puddles
  • plant seeds into the fresh black soil
  • have a picnic
  • skip the gym and run outside
  • dine al fresco
  • visit the season's first farmers market
  • notice trees budding and birds singing
  • get a pedicure for all the open-toed shoe wearing
  • walk through the perfumed lilac gardens

It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want — oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it is just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! —Mark Twain

How do you indulge in the new life Spring brings?

Celebrating Vegan St. Patrick's Day

Today is the one day where anyone can put on the color green and say "I'm Irish" whether it's the truth or not. So, I'm taking advantage. It's fun, you should try it, green beer and all. Okay maybe not green beer — ick, but you get my point. Let's have some fun with this!

This vegan Bailey's Irish cream recipe is unreal — honestly it is better that the store bought version. It's pretty dangerous to have around the house. It is amazing simply over ice or poured into a piping hot cup of joe. Go here for the vegan Bailey's Irish Cream recipe. It's so simple and quick to make!

Go here for the vegan whole wheat irish soda bread recipe. If you're just looking for a traditional (non-vegan) recipe, check out this recipe. My favorite way to eat Irish soda bread is toasted and "buttered" with Earth Balance.

roasted cabbage

For the ultimate St. Patty's day side dish — cabbage steaks. Go here for the recipe.

And finally, for the main dish, Lucky Vegan Irish Stew:
1 white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large leek, sliced, discard green portion
3/4 c. fresh curly parsley, chopped
1/2 t. ground thyme
1 bay leaf
7 carrots, chopped lengthwise into 1 inch pieces
2 celery ribs
3 T medium pearl barley
4 c veggie broth or stock
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
10 small golden potatoes, cut into small cubes
1 c fresh green beans, chopped into 1 inch pieces
brown sugar, to taste
salt & pepper

In a large heavy-bottomed pan, heat evoo over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and leek and sauté until translucent.

Add parsley, thyme and bay leaf and stir. Add carrots, celery and pearl barley. Pour in the veggie stock and apple cider vinegar.  Cover and cook on low heat for 10 minutes.

Add potatoes, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Occasionally stir.

While waiting, practice your Irish jig.

Add green beans, cover and cook for about 15 more minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Salt and pepper to taste. If the stew has too much of a vinegary taste you can add a pinch or two of brown sugar to counteract — but just add a tiny bit at a time — sweet stew is yucky. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve the stew in large flat soup bowls, garnish with parsley. 

St. Patrick's Day isn't complete without a cold glass of Green River.

Today I leave you with an old Irish blessing. May love and laughter light your days, and warm your heart and home. May good and faithful friends be yours, wherever you may roam. May peace and plenty bless your world with joy that long endures. May all life's passing seasons bring the best to you and yours!

So go ahead, put on the greenest outfit you own and have some fun. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Vegan Pasta Recipe

This past week my whole family took a day off mid week — and we made an Italian feast. Why? Just because! My family is fun like that.

 Dad, where were you for all the pictures?

Sweet puppy, Jade.

We were thankful for the cozy warm inside, because outside was a serious winter day.

Vegan Pasta Dough
5.5 c all purpose flour (more as needed)
1.5 c water (more as needed)
1/2 t turmeric
1 t sea salt
2 t olive oil

Combine dry ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl. Create a well in the center, add water and olive oil. Stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. Using your hands, kneed the dough in the bowl until all the ingredients bind together and it forms into a ball.

The dough should not be sticky, and should also not be so dry it doesn't hold together. If you find the dough to be too dry, add a bit more water – VERY gradually. On the contrary, if the dough is too sticky, add a pinch of flour at a time until the proper consistency.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, with floured hands, for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth. If the dough is sticky, add a bit of flour as needed. Once kneaded, form dough into a ball and lightly flour the surface. Allow dough to rest, covered with plastic wrap or a clean towel, for 10-20 minutes.

After the dough as rested, on a floured surface, use a sharp floured knife to divide your dough ball into 5-6 equal parts. Roughly form these pieces into discs, generously flouring each side.

On a floured work surface, roll dough disc as flatly as possible, constantly flipping and making sure each side is well floured.

Make sure you wear a black shirt when working with flour...

Roll from the center out, then flip and do the same for the other side, rolling your piece of dough into a long and narrow shape, rather than a round shape. Try to get your dough down to between 1/8" and 1/16" thick. Thoroughly flour each side, then roll dough up and make cuts along the roll to your desired width. Unroll noodles and place on paper towels or a drying rack. Repeat with each dough disc.

Dry the pasta for 10-15 minutes and then boil noodles until done. Drain, top with your favorite sauce and eat!

Thanks to Slow Club Cookery's pasta recipe.

Have you ever made homemade pasta before? What is your favorite sauce?

In truth a family is what you make it. It is made strong, not by number of heads counted at the dinner table, but by the rituals you help family members create, by the memories you share, by the commitment of time, caring and love you show to one another, and by the hopes for the future you have as individuals and as a unit. —Marge Kennedy