Month: November 2010

herby onion veggie gravy

I was telling my friend, Becky, about my vegetarian gravy yesterday and she encouraged me to post the recipe.  Becky is one of my very first vegetarian friends and though I didn’t know it back when we first met, she was one of the inspiring people that–without trying–encouraged me to become a vegetarian.  She never pushed me not to eat meat.  She didn’t criticize my turkey sandwiches or tell me all of the ethical reasons I should give it a try.  She was simply healthy and had conviction about the food choices she made, which can be an even more powerful tool than steamrolling someone into giving up something that has been a foundational part of their diet for a lifetime. Thanksgiving, to me, is all about returning home to a warm place full of family and friends, yummy food, late night games of Pinochle, crunchy leaves, crisp air and sweaters, red wine, and stuffing and cranberry sandwiches for breakfast the next day. There are also mixed feelings because of the main food choice on this lovely and non-commercial …

The Kind Diet

Last Christmas, a dear friend gave me a copy of The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet by known animal activist and actress Alicia Silverstone.  Today, I picked it up off my shelf and decided to read it again. Who doesn’t want to feel great, lose weight, save the planet, and of course look like Alicia Silverstone? Before you discredit this as celebrity propaganda, I ask you to give this book a chance.  Look past her character in Clueless and look at the energy she expends being the front woman for PETA, promoting The Farm Sanctuary, and passing knowledge to the world via her book and her online community The Kind Life. Silverstone became vegan after making the connection between pets and farm animals. “Why did we buy some of them cute little doggy beds while slaughtering others?  I had to ask myself–in all seriousness–why don’t I just eat my dog?”   I think this is how many of us start and it is quite a bridge to cross …

where furry animal toys really come from

Someone please tell me the logic in skinning an animal to make toys for other animals to play with.  I can’t wrap my head around this and I know if you are reading this blog, you likely feel the same way I do. The other day, I received an email as part of PETA’s Skinned Alive campaign.  They were preaching to the choir.  Just a few months ago, my fellow animal-lovin’ friend Elinor called to my attention the grotesque fur-wearing “high fashion” models peppering the pages of  Allure Magazine. We both took it upon ourselves to post our disgust on their Facebook page and I wrote a letter to the magazine indicating their irresponsible and uncompassionate behavior has caused them to lose at least one reader.  When the first PETA note came through, like most people, I signed the petition and made the decision to move on and forget about it for both self preservation and truthfully (and shamefully) because I didn’t have a lot of time to think about the issue at that moment.  …

the inevitable end of harvest

Putting the garden to bed for the winter is a sad and daunting task.  Even though we have a small yard, we have managed to stuff it full of vegetables and flowers in both beds and pots.  We even planted a baby apple tree, though I have no idea how that will go over once it starts to actually grow. This past Sunday, we got up and did the “inventory” to see what is left to do.  We must have had a frost, as the tomatoes and peppers were officially gone.  To my surprise, there are a few plants hanging on for dear life and–shockingly–flourishing.  The amaranthus is going strong. We will still have carrots for a little while it seems. The mums are of course in their prime. The dahlias were still in full bloom and the red roses were (and still are) incredibly bright against the dull November gray background. Besides a steaming cup of coffee, crunchy leaves, and the time spent with Chris outside, what made me happiest was seeing the herbs green and growing.  The rosemary topiary went …

to start…

 I grew up in Upstate New York on 14 acres in the middle of nowhere.  Nature was a huge part of my life.  Other kids had real neighbors and we had deer, turkeys, rabbits, birds, squirrels, and all sorts of wildlife as fellow members of our neighborhood.  My parents were gardening junkies and every year our garden grew dramatically, incorporating crazy kinds of squash, potatoes, string beans, lettuce (not just one kind, but every kind known to man), herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers, and everything you could think of that grows in Zone 5.  My father can attribute his love of gardening to my grandfather. I attribute my love of gardening to my parents. I, too, have the gardening junkie gene.    It was evident that I’d always have a soft spot for animals as a child when I became obsessed with a book called The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader (first published in 1949), which tells the story of animals surviving winter.  I worried and cried about how deer would find food and wondered where …