Wish You Were Here

Dear Mom,

I wish you were here. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you a hundred times. I miss our daily conversations. You were the best listener and were always interested in my stories, always asking questions, wanting to know more. Our conversations always just flowed, and I miss them. I think of you every day I drive to work when I remember that I can’t call you for our morning chat. Or when I try a new recipe or see the doctor or accomplish something at work. When I see an old friend or go on vacation. Always stories I want to share with you.

I wish you were here. Ethan has passed us all out in height and continues to be a kind and gentle soul. He loved you so and he remembers you in his prayers.  He does his best to keep Grandpa company after school, although I don’t think they chat the way you and he did. You were Ethan’s confidante as well; he trusted you with all his secrets.

I wish you were here. We have carried on with each sunrise and each sunset, but it’s not the same. Your house looks exactly the same, with your crafts in the same piles that you left them in a year ago, but it’s not the same. We miss your presence at concerts and holidays and family game night. We miss your cookies, your voice, your laughter. We miss you telling us to “be careful” and “call when you get there”. We miss your love — always selfless and unconditional.

I can’t believe a year has gone by already. The day you died is so clear, as if it happened yesterday. I know you are near. I feel your presence and your love. But I wish you were here.

Until we meet again,
Michele

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IMDb: Wish You Were Here (2012)

Goulash

One of my favorite dishes that my mom always made was affectionately called “hot dog goulash”. I truly don’t know of anyone else who ever made it. It was a dish my grandmother used to make, and then my mom always made it. She and I were the only ones who really liked it (plus cousin Stephanie), and it was always a special treat that we shared together.

The dish started with hot dogs, chopped into chunks, and sautéed in oil. (Sounds healthy already, doesn’t it?) Then she would throw in some chopped onions to cook for a bit, and then a can of diced tomatoes, a bit of water and some diced potatoes. It was cooked until potatoes were tender.

I’m sure it doesn’t sound like much, but it was “our” dish. Every now and then, Mom would get a hankering for it, and she would always call me to have some with her. Great memories and great comfort food. I miss those days.

So what’s a girl to do when she doesn’t eat hot dogs anymore?

Enter: Forks Over Knives’ White Bean, Kale and Potato Stew

I may have posted this recipe before, but tonight as I was cooking the stew, I looked into the pot and it reminded me of my hot dog goulash. Minus the hot dogs, of course. Onions, tomatoes, potatoes… (visualize the hot dogs in here, and you’ve got it!)

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Add some kale (or in my case, spinach), some cannellini beans, and some seasonings, and it’s perfection!  One of our favorite stews and now I know why… It reminds me of our special comfort food!

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*****

For my local peeps… a great new restaurant to check out: Terra Preta in Scranton.  (Well, I don’t know how “new” it is…) I went there with a friend for lunch today. They offer a mix of options, but I was thrilled with the variety of vegan options. And they are all about “farm to table” foods. I couldn’t decide between the rice & veggie bowl, the veggie & quinoa burger, or the vegan veggie flatbread with cashew cheese.  I opted for the latter and a cup of sweet pea soup. Mmmmm.  Must go back to try to rest!

*****

IMDb: Goulash (2008)

Magic Kitchen

After spending the last five hours in the kitchen, it seems an appropriate post to talk about some of the latest recipes I’ve tried.

Since we have a three day weekend (yea!), I pre-made the Oh She Glows “Maple-Cinnamon Apple & Pear Baked Oatmeal”.  We’ll have that for breakfast tomorrow morning, plus it will give me some leftovers for Ethan’s breakfast for the week.

Today, I also made the Oh She Glows “Our Favorite Veggie Burger”. This took some prep work (grating carrots, chopping onions and cilantro, mashing black beans), but overall wasn’t too time-consuming. I served these on whole grain rolls with grey poupon mustard. You can add cheese, if desired, and all the usual burger toppings.  David and I enjoyed these burgers, but Ethan wasn’t a huge fan. He doesn’t care for “seeds” (sunflower) or onions… He did eat most of it, but the dog enjoyed the remainder. The batch made 8, so we have some for lunch tomorrow. (Won’t Ethan be happy?)

With the burgers, I made a new recipe for “French fries“. With no oil.  The trick is to partially boil the potatoes first, and then bake with some seasonings.  Everyone enjoyed these super healthy “fries”! I might mix up the seasonings a bit next time (a little less paprika, a little more kick).

Last week, I also made three new recipes:

Smoky Lentil Soup was a recipe I found on the blog, Plant Based Christian. This was a yummy soup, and the best part was the simplicity of preparation. Eight ingredients (if you count the water), thrown into my Instant Pot.  Turn on for 15 minutes. It counted get any easier.

Oh She Glows “Indian Lentil-Cauliflower Soup“. This was a big hit… except for the fact that David doesn’t like sweet potatoes. I didn’t think they were too strong/sweet based on the way they cooked in the recipe, but he noticed.  Ethan is a fan of curry and I loved everything in this recipe: red lentils (my favorite kind), cauliflower, spinach, fresh ginger…).

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Oh She Glows “Tex Mex Casserole“. Everyone loved this one!  No complaints and definitely something to add to the rotation.  This dish has loads of vegetables and it’s the first time I tried out some vegan cheese (Daiya). Melted within the dish, you would never even know. I opted for spinach over kale, as always.

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I also made the vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Torte that we all love. I took this to work once to rave reviews by everyone! As a reminder, I replaced the tofu with coconut milk vanilla yogurt. I think I’ll go have some now…  :)

*****

IMDb: Magic Kitchen (2004)