YES WE CAN!

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photo credit Yahoo.fr

It’s 6 a.m. here in France, and we haven’t slept much tonight, let me tell you! Monsieur Fish and I sat watching with tears in our eyes as the new President Elect of the United States spoke in Chicago. The first elected U.S. president of Guppy’s life is, in my opinion, the first post-racial president to be elected.

I’d also alike to add that McCain’s concession speech was top notch. McWar has never found favour in my eyes, but I must say that he was very sport as we say in French.

I’m so freaking excited I can’t believe it! France is mobilized, there are parties and people in the streets everywhere, and tonight at 6 p.m. there is going to be a big to-do on Les Champs Elysées. WOOOOOOT!

For the first time in 8 years, I am proud to have an American passport.

Vegan MoFo Day 25 – Happy Mail & I’m Proud to MoFo!

I’ve been watching with secret envy as many of my fellow bloggers have been receiving Happy Mail… but low and behold, what is this I see? A package of love from Germany from the lovely and fabulous Mihl! Her blog, Seitan is My Motor is one of my favorites – she is articulate, funny, shares the most beautiful photos and delicious recipes (like her most recent post, Norwegian Cinnamon Buns. Good grief! Save me from my own gluttony!).

Guppy, photo-layout assistant & cookie lover

My super package of love contained not one but two kinds of homemade cookies wrapped beautifully with care, a sampling of Mihl’s favourite dark chocolate and a gorgeous post card :

The cookies traveled beautifully (at least the cold weather is good for something!). They are delicious!

blurry photo due to fighting off 3-year-old cookie monster…

Even if you didn’t get some Mihl vegan cookie love in the mail, you too can enjoy the cookie goodness! You can make the Almond Chocolate Cookies found in her recipe index. Mihl, is the recipe for the Chocolate Cookies with White Chocolate Chips up, too? Let me know & I’ll link it! I didn’t see it, but I was distracted by the cookie-induced nirvana I was experiencing…). Merci mille fois, Mihl! I’ll have my revenge…just you wait and see…

Can you believe it’s already Vegan MoFo Day 25? Personally, I can’t. This month has flown by like the Wicked Witch of the West on her bad-ass broom. I continue to discover new vegan bloggers and am inspired by so many groovy folks living compassionate lives. With much political debate around the impending elections in North America, I have to chuckle when I come across the occasional “I’m not going to get all political on you” type comment on vegan blogs…I understand what the person is trying to say, but the fact of the matter is that everything is political, like it or not, and being vegan is one of the most outwardly political things you can possibly do. We are living our convictions, whether you arrived in Veganland to fight speciesism, because of your concerns about the environment or for personal health reasons – or heck, all three, you are living your beliefs every day and I think that’s the most amazing thing a person can do. Vegan MoFo has allowed us a wonderful arena to showcase the delicious delights of vegan cuisine and food preparation, and to really concentrate on getting the word out about what it is we love – nourishing, tasty food sans cruelty. Beautiful.

Vegan MoFo Day 17 – Birthdays, a gift and my favorite thing (in my kitchen)

Political aside :

I was so sleepy last night after waking up at 4:30 a.m. to watch the presidential debate that I opted to go to bed rather than write a MoFo post. This might sound weird, but I feel sort of sorry for McWar. Most political analysists agree, he was slated for the Republican nomination in 2000 (save that little “mistake” when he said that he thought that decisions about abortion should be made by women and their families it was deemed better to to get him out of the spotlight, enter Bush). He reminded me of a little Jack Russel trying to play rough with a German Shepard – he knows he probably isn’t going to win, but wants to show us all the fight he has left in him. Let’s just hope the Obama voters don’t get too confident- go out and vote kids!

MoFo Post :

One of the great things about Vegan MoFo (besides having a backlog of blog reading to do) is that the kids are sharing some of their favorite things. I love reading about your favorite kitchen gadgets and appliances, and so I thought I’d share a picture of the thing in my kitchen that I love the most…

That’s right. It’s not a stand-up mixer (though I would love one) or a vitamix (yeah, I’d like one of those, too). It’s my Wonder Woman mug. I use it for measuring, for heating water in the microwave, and for cutting out biscuits. When I was 5, I wore my Fruit of the Loom Wonder Woman Underoos like they were my uniform, and my poor mum had to engage in some serious negotiations to get them in the wash. My mug lets me relive my Wonder Woman nostalgia (dare I say complex?) in a healthy, quiet way. I do try to save the world, but allow me to reassure you, I don’t parade around France in a stars and stripes bikini and knee-high red boots…though that might be fun.

I also use my mug to drink my favorite tea :

Their almond green tea is the most amazing tea I’ve had in a long time. It smells so good, I find myself just giving it a little wiff from time to time when I open the pantry…Does that make me really weird? Since the spring I have been striving to eliminate coffee from my life. I love coffee so so so much, and it hasn’t been easy, but I’m down to about 4 espressos a month. My one raw day a week really helped me break the cycle. But I think the green tea has helped more.

Today is one of my sister’s birthdays. We are only 21-months apart, and as children (and teens) fought like cats and dogs. We are like night and day. She and her husband have a dairy farm, are Southern Baptists, put large signs for whatever Republican candidate is running in their field…you get the picture.

That being said, even though we could focus on everything that divides us, since becoming adults we work very hard to agree to disagree and focus on what we have in common, and we do have much in common. I wanted to make her something special for her birthday, and this is what I came up with :

You might remember this apron that I made for Jen. I loved the retro look and color combination so much that I decided to make the same one for my sis. This was actually my first crack at embroidery (I stitched up the pockets over a month ago…before the leaves even!) Hoping to broaden my crafty horizons, I bought the Sublime Stitching Kit last spring, but it wasn’t until this project that I actually used it (not because it isn’t adroable, just because I am always working on 10 projects at once!). I stitched the pockets using the retro transfers from the kit. I felt much more confident after this first project, and everything I’ve embroidered since have been just things I drew free-hand.

I know that my nieces (ages 11 & 13) will enjoy using this apron in the kitchen as much (if not more) than their mum!

Also (at the risk of embarrassing myself because I’m wrong) I’d like to wish a happy birthday to our Bianca! Joyeux Anniversaire ma belle!

Vegan MoFo Day 9 – The easiest meal in the world…

I’m about to share with you a 20-minute meal that is so fast, easy & healthy that I’m almost embarassed to post it, but I will, because in my quest for Vegan MoFodom I have no shame…

But first, look what was sent to the United States today :

Go back to your Arizona ranch McCain – this is Obama’s Game!

My collegues are all rooting with me. We’ll be drinking champagne Wednesday, November 5th after my morning classes together. I doubt I’ll be getting much sleep on the 4th. Damn time difference…

And now, I will present you with one of the embarrassingly easy things I throw together when I have no meal plan, and will give you the tools you need so that you too can feign suave sophistication serving healthful foods to your friends and family…

Yes, even the picture is a total schlep job – but it works kids! Seriously! You’ll be loving it!

Here’s what you’ll need to make this dinner :

2 cups lentils & 4 cups H2O – yellow, green – whatever color you want, because even though the textures are different, it’ll all be ok in the end. If you’re in a big hurry go with the red or pink ones because they cook a little faster. Get them boiling. Yes, they’ll take more than 20 minutes to cook, but just start them up & check your email, comment a few blogs, then go back into the kitchen.

1 cup quinoa & 2 cups water – get that simmering in a pot, cover it, check it from time to time to be sure it isn’t burning, and add a little water if things get too dry. This should take about 15 minutes give or take.

1 Onion, 1 can crushed tomatoes, some cumin, salt, pepper, olive oil – While your pots are bubbling away on the stove top, chop your onion. Put it in a frying pan with the oil & spices and brown it up. Add the crushed tomatoes.

Stop! Your quinoa is done! It’ll burn if you don’t get it off the stove! Fluff it and cover it and leave it alone.

Stop! Drain your lentils, they’re done! Chances are, they soaked up all the water and that’s just fine. Now dump them in with the onion and tomato and stir it up. You may want to add some hot sauce or some more spices. I like to add some chili paste, you know, because I’m hot like that. Once it gets a little thick and yummy you can turn off the burner.

2 soy yogurts, a small bunch of fresh chopped coriander leaves, a little lime juice, salt – Mix these up in a bowl together. With a spoon. Lick the spoon. If you don’t like the way it tastes you can add a fresh chopped tomato, maybe half of a diced cucumber, more salt…you get the idea…

Voila! You have a balanced meal chock full of protein, fibre and vitamins! If you want to be super-cool you can wrap it up in a flat bread or tortilla or just pile it up in a bowl as I did above. Personally, I love the juxtaposition of the hot, spicy lentils and the cool, fresh yogurt sauce with the mellow and zen quinoa making peace and love in between. That’s just the kind of girl I am.

Vegan MoFo Day 8 – Gratitude…and a secret family recipe to share my gratefulness with you!

There are days when I am overwhelmed by waves of gratitude. I am able to look beyond the artifice of the superficiality our consumerist-bulimia so often imposes upon us. This shallow egotism, to which we are unwittingly yoked, is so often subversive and hidden… just discreetly clouding to the corners all that is really who we are… our substance, our essence. Who we are is of course the decisions we make, the choices which delineate diets… our politics, really. The life we live is the best suited spokesperson for what we believe in, and there are moments of serendipity where we can feel that what we’re doing is in harmony with what we want to be.

I’m so grateful for …

twirling through the forest trails

the last of the summer berries

some of the last tomatoes I’ll be buying before next Spring

the amazing aroma of garlic frying in olive oil, just waiting for the above tomatoes…

Very gratefully feeling better, I was able to set aside some time to enjoy my family, make a few litres of what my family calls “Garlic Gravy”, which is just the most amazing and most simple tomato sauce. I’ve got a good amount in our deep-freezer for Winter cooking. I never buy jar sauce, ever. I do, however, during the winter months, buy canned tomatoes. But my great-grandmother Antonia’s “Garlic Gravy” needs fresh tomatoes to really shine. This is our family recipe, but it is so terribly basic that you might be thinking, “she’s got to be kidding, this isn’t a tomato sauce recipe…”. Oh yes, it is. Let me reassure you…

Great Grandmother Antonia’s Garlic Gravy

this is for just a normal amout of sauce, for lasagne or for a pasta dinner…

  • 2 to 3lbs vine-ripened tomatoes
  • 1 bulb of purple or pink garlic, or just normal if you can’t find them
  • fresh parsley
  • about 30cl or a 1/4 of homemade ketchup or a few tablespoons of tomato paste
  • salt and pepper to taste

Now here’s the deal kids – cut up your garlic and tomatoes BEFORE you do anything else. Seriously. I have begun this thinking I could chop tomatoes like the wind, only to find that my garlic is burned and that my haste made nothing but waste.

So, once everything is all cut up & ready, cover the bottom of your pot with olive oil and heat it on high until it’s just terribly hot. Add your garlic, and while stirring it, *very* slowly begin lowering the temp, being very careful to not burn your garlic. If it looks even a little brown, get your pot of the burner NOW! Continue sautéing your garlic until you just know it’s about to brown on you and add your tomatoes. Now turn that heat back up until it begins boiling. Don’t forget to stir from time to time. Bring the sauce down to a simmer, and let it go, uncovered, for about a half an hour. Add your ketchup, parsley, and add your salt and pepper if you need, and let it go for a few more mintues. That’s it. Sometimes I leave it with the chunks of garlic and tomato, sometimes I blend it up and it looks just beautiful. The taste will bluff you, because you’ve done nothing incredible, but your sauce will taste as if you did.

I’ve never met my great-grandmother. She passed away before my parents were married – she was in her 80s, outside working in her garden (she chopped her own firewood until the end) when she suffered a what would prove fatal stroke. Despite all her talents, she never quite mastered English (she was Croatian), and she took coins from her pocket to communicate to the paramedics that my mum worked at “Penny’s” department store, and that’s how they knew to call her there. I feel very close to her despite never having seen her – genetic memory? – and feel so greatful that she shared this recipe with my mum, who shared it with me when I began making my own food, about two years ago.

What are you grateful for?

I’m so thankful to be a vegan, and to have wonderful, nutritious vegan foods to eat, and fabulous blogger pals like you!

Blessed Eid ul-Fitr & Shana Tovah Kids! Raw Vegan MoFo Thursdays!

Don’t you just love how all the big holidays just seem to happen at the same time? Sundown tonight marks Eid ul-Fitr, the end of Ramadan, we’re also “fêting” Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and we just celebrated the Fall Equinox – oh, and it JUST HAPPENS TO BE VeganMoFo…coiencidence? I think not!

The Universe has all its ducks in a row to help us feel a bit of union with our fellow wo and man, Vegan or otherwise, and that just makes me feel all fuzzy-happy-granola-handing out daisys-ish.

And before we get all wrapped up in our Raw Thursday excitement, let’s not forget about the big Vice-Presidential Debate happening in the United States, either. Ahem, Vote Democrat People, ahem.

Anyway, I just love a good Raw Thursday, so let’s get started!

Breakfast :

My morning began with a lovely smoothie – a frozen banana, a small pear, a tablespoon of ground flaxseed, a big handful of fresh chopped parsley, and about a half cup of fresh apple juice. I have no picture, because at 6 a.m. in my kitchen there is no light save the orangy-glow of my ecologically-friendlyish lightbulb. Just imagine it was pretty and it tasted fresh and crisp like the autumn morning.

A.M. Snack :

The Raw Thursday post-run mid-morning snackie-poo was a Raw Banana Bread Bar. You know when you do something so obviously simple, yet it turns out freaking perfect? Well kids, that’s what this was all about for the Shellyfish. I wanted to re-create some of the Fancy-Over-Priced-Raw-Bar goodness, and I did it all by my self! Sorry about the crappy picture, but I took it while eating, so there you go. Here’s the so easy recipe so you can make them at home and feel very proud of yourself, too:

RAW BANANA BREAD BAR

  • 100g  raw almonds
  • Three dried bananas, chopped
  • 150g pitted dates, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • water

I put the almonds in the food processor first to grind ‘em up a bit, then added everything save the water, which I slowly added to help make a paste. The consistency is still a bit sticky, so maybe next time I’ll use less dates & less water, and maybe throw in some walnuts…but the taste is dead bang, kids. Wow!

Lunch :

A humongous salad  with fresh battavia lettuce, freshly grated carrots, corn (frozen, well, thawed frozen, duh), and my usual “I’m not paying attention to what I’m doing” vinagrette which is usually apple cider vinegar, some olive or other oil, a clove of garlic, some tahini, maybe some fresh herbs, etc. I also had me an “Almond Flaxseed Burger” from Brendan Brazier’s The Thrive Diet. Oh how I lament that talented professional athlete and vegan Brazier caved to the marketing whimsies of his publisher and dubbed this book a “Diet” book. Grrrr. It’s not really a diet book, though it does have a very high-raw meal plan and a very small selection of recipes in it. It’s a good read if you’re vegan, raw-curious, and an athlete. I picked it up last Spring after Jen suggested it – thanks Jen! – it’s handy because it does have recipes for making your own energy bars and recuperation puddings and such.

P.M. Snack

The afternoon snack is really key for me on my Raw Thursdays because I do feel rather peckish around l’heure du goûter or snack time, not to mention that I don’t eat dinner until nearly 8 p.m.  Yesterday I posted the recipe for Tahitian Almond Dip (by popular demand), and that got me craving it, but as I was taking out the ingredients I decided to not leave good enough alone and change it up a little. Holy freaking Almond Dip Batman! I am so glad I decided to play with this, because it is so darn good…it has this amazing Fall-Carameled Apple feeling to it (though I’m sure nothing like Maggie’s Vegan Caramel Apples, drool, drool). Try this, you will not be disappointed!

THE SHELLYFISH FALL ALMOND DIP

  • About a cup raw almond butter (I just eyeballed it, because it is so annoying to measure nut butters and have them get all sticky on the measuring cups.)
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved & scraped a bit
  • fresh apple juice – I have no idea how much, maybe 1/2 a cup? I just kept adding it until it was creamy enough.

I put everything save the juice in the food processor, then started adding the juice when things got gummy.

Dinner :

I haven’t acutally had dinner yet! I can tell you, though, that I’ll be having another huge salad – this time with shreaded zuchini and raw beets, and I’ll be having the other “Almond Flaxseed Burger” because the recipe makes 2, really 3, small patties. I know if I wait until after dinner the chances of my getting this post up today are drastically reduced…so better now than tomorrow!

Speaking of tomorrow, stay tuned! It’ll be the big drawing for the felty-love pouch! I’m so excited!

No Raw Thursday, No Iron Cupcake and No to Palin!

Don’t forget to leave a comment here to be entered

into my little drawing for a felty-love pouch!

Visiting in-laws means no Raw Thursday for the Shellyfish…proving true to form in my normal “I have to do everything really well so my in-laws love me” way, I’ve been very busy cooking & baking up a storm, and it just wouldn’t do for me to be eating a separate, raw meal at the same table… I’m working on showing how “normal” vegan cuisine really is, and while I don’t think raw cuisine is “weird” (ok, sometimes it IS), I do think it would appear a bit strange for me to be eating my Raw Tacos while they dine on the lasagna that is in the oven! JFTR (just for the record), my brother and sister-in-law are adorable, and they would love me even if I didn’t cook up a storm…it’s that perfectionist/over-achiever curse from being a ballet dancer all those years…not them! So, see you next Thursday for some raw goodness!

The Public Broadcasting System, or PBS, is the primary public and commercial-free channel in the United States (un peu comme ARTE ou France 5 mais sans les pubs). This channel provides many incredible educational programmes for children, excellent news coverage, and fabulous documentaries. There is a very un-scientific poll up on their web site asking people if they feel Ms. Palin is qualified…http://www.pbs.org/now/polls/poll-435.html you don’t have to be a U.S. citizen to realize that McCain’s feeble attempt at harvesting the female votes that would have perhaps gone to Hillary Clinton is a catastrope in the making…she may be a woman, and it’s always exciting to see more women in power, but she has a horrible environmental record, is not a pro-women’s rights voter, and has no experience with foreign policy AT ALL. Please click the link – it’ll take 20 seconds – and let your voice be heard! Oh, and check out the uber-talented Kindara and her fab Quilted Obama T-Shirt – because everything is political, our choices, our voices, and especially our art!

I have had too much on my baking pan this month, so I’m passing on the Iron Cupcake challenge for September (much to the chagrin of M. Fish). Please go check out some of these excellent entries from some of my favorite bloggers : The amazing Amanda braved post-Ike conditions to make her Basil-infused Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes, Diann has some adorable popcorn-decorated Peach Gazpacho Cupcakes, the Michigander (I love that word!) Maggie has some beautiful Basil-Citrus Cupcakes, and Sweet Potatoe has delicious Coconut Cupcakes with Mango-Basil filling and Coconut Frosting. Today is the posting deadline, so the hills will be alive with the sounds of cupcakes!