Memorial Day

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From our trip to DC in April

Memorial Day was a much bigger holiday than it is now. We would have a parade. My parents would take us to the cemetery to care for the graves of our family members who served. Tell us stories about people buried there(I wished I had listened).

And we weren’t the only family doing this. There were cars lined up and down the little paths.  Other people would be out there at their family graves.  People would be swapping graves. 

The purpose of Memorial Day seems to have been forgotten. I just thought that I would do my part to celebrate our veterans, some who are my family. So to start out, “It’s Never Too Late To Thank A Vet.”


Super Easy Spicy Black Bean Dip For Your Weekend Barbecue!

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Spicy Black Bean DipThis weekend we will be going to a couple of barbecues.  I always go with the understanding that very few people will be grilling a boca burger for me.  I make sure that I bring something that works for me, that I enjoy.  Spicy black bean dip is one of those dishes.  I make sure that I bring tortilla chips to scoop it up.  If I have time and stale pita bread, I would make garlic pita chips.  That is good!
Here is the Spicy Black Bean Dip recipe from Jeanne Lemlin’s Vegetarian Classics.  Every time I bring this dish to a party, people ask for the recipe.  Try it!  You’ll like it!
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (my husband likes it hotter, so I add more)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp. lime juice
1 clove of garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree.  Put in a nice serving bowl and sprinkle on some chopped parsley for color.


An Assassin In My Garden

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Assassin Bug

Friend or Foe?

I had taken my camera out to my garden hoping to get a picture of the bees on my fennel blooms.  Instead, I found this fella.  I had never seen a bug like this before I moved to Texas.  My garden was teeming with them.  I looked them up and found that this was an Assassin bug.

Assassin bugs get their name from their predatory habits. Theses are beneficial bugs, because their voracious appetites for other bugs keeps pests under control.  In cotton fields, assassin bugs prey on a broad range of prey including flea hoppers,  lygus bugs, aphids, caterpillar eggs and larvae and boll weevils. They will also eat other  insects such as lady beetles and big-eyed bugs.

Living on a sandy island, we have a lot of fleas.  I think my Assassins help keep them under control.  They are beautiful and bad!


The Mellow Mushroom~~A Bit of Vegetarian Heaven In A Cajun World

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The Mellow Mushroom in Lafayette LA.  A little bit of vegetarian heaven
The Mellow Mushroom in Lafayette LA. A little bit of vegetarian heaven

All my fellow vegetarians will tell you how hard it is to find dishes especially prepared for vegetarians at everyday restaurants.  I have resigned myself to eating a lot of salads and pasta dishes when I travel.  Usually after I ask that they leave off the chicken and seafood.  So I didn’t expect much on our trip to New Orleans. We decided to stopped at the Mellow Mushroom in Lafayette.  We decided to go there, because of the name.  It reminded us of the the Mellow Yellow Pizzaria we use to eat  in Hyde Park, Chicago.  The Mellow Mushroom has a dish called the Maui Maui.  That was a phrase that was part of the hippie culture of the 70s.  That sealed the deal.  We were going there, even if all I just got a salad! Imagine my surprise when we got there and found a cornucopia of vegetarian dishes.  Here is the menu: What we had:

The Capri
The Capri         Mozzarella, Basil, and Tomatoes
The House Calzone
The House Calzone
Spinach, mushrooms, Roma tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.
 Righteous Portobello Reuben
Righteous Portobello Reuben Need I say more?

We later found out that the first restaurant was opened in 1974.  There are locations all over.  I am going to check for them before we go on our next trip! Marcey

The Quirkiest City!

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When all our friends were going to Hawaii for their honeymoons,  we just had to buck the trend and go to New Orleans.  When I was a young girl, I read the book “Skye Cameron”  It was about a young woman who lived in New Orleans in the 1800s.  The book gave New Orleans this wild west kind of flavor.  I read about the diversity of it’s people.  About Creoles and Cajuns.  Voodoo.  It seemed so foreign and mysterious.  What was really cool is that I didn’t even have to leave the country to experience this.  My honeymoon was the perfect opportunity to go there.  I wasn’t disappointed.

We only got back there once in the past 30 years.  However, my niece, who lives right outside of New Orleans, got married last Saturday.  Needless to say we jumped at the chance to go to the wedding(we would have gone anyway. LOL)  It did give us a chance to visit for a few hours.  Here are a couple photos:

At the Cafe Du Monde
Of course we had to have beingets and cafe au lait!
Party Dog?
Do you think he overdid the beignets or had something stronger

And the title for this post is from an article naming New Orleans the quirkiest city.  Click the link!


We Went To D.C & Found Great Yogurt!

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Siggi's YogurtDid you know that there is a big world out there?  Most of it we have never seen or experienced.  In the last year, I have had a number of things happen that have made me realize how short our life is and how many things we never get to see or do.  We are so tied up in getting through each day.  Just trying to survive.  I have decided that I am going to take time out and explore.  Try new things.  I started this blog to share what I find and what I experience.

My husband and I just came back from Washington D.C.  There is so much to see and do, that it would probably take you a decade to make a significant dent.  We did get to see some cool things.  Found some great restaurants.  Tried some new foods.

The best thing we found was Siggi’s Yogurt!  I love yogurt.  The problem is that I find most of them too acidic or too sweet.  Siggi’s is just right.  And it has an interesting story.  A young man had emigrated from Iceland to New York.  One of the things he missed the most was his yogurt.  He decided to make his own and the rest is history!  You can even get it in Texas. I haven’t found it in a story yet, but I am hunting it down.

Here’s the link if you want to check it out!

This was me!

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BadcookWhen I was young, I was a terrible cook.  What can you expect? My mom was an even worse cook.  I burnt some things.  Others, I didn’t cook enough.  I knew my husband really loved me when he ate all those awful meals.  I had to say yes when he asked me to marry him.  He was too good to lose.

My love of cooking started on our honeymoon in New Orleans.  Talk about culture shock.  I am from Chicago.  Food there was pretty plain in the 1970s.  New Orleans was a different world.  The aromas were wonderful.  The taste was out of this world.   We wanted to be able to have this when we went home.  The solution was to take a cooking class at the New Orleans school of cooking.  It was one of the best things that my husband and I ever did.  We had a lot of fun in the class.  It was something that we could do together.  We continued to take cooking classes throughout the years.

We have gone from being meat eaters to vegetarians (my husband does occasionally eats fish).  Long story.  I love vegetarian dishes.  The colors and textures.  The variety.  I have had success finding vegetarian recipes to replace the meat dishes that I use to prepare.

Recently, a friend’s vegan stepdaughter came and stayed with them for Easter.  My friend and her husband are meat eaters.  She was at a loss as to what serve her stepdaughter.  She asked for my help.  We came up with a menu for the weekend which included a potato curry and a cassoulet.  Both vegan.  And both things that everyone could enjoy. After that weekend, my friend called me up to tell me it was a great success!  Her stepdaughter came to her and said that no one had ever done anything as nice as this for her.  That she felt really special. 

The whole family liked what we had made. Her stepdaughter asked if I had a blog where she could get recipes from.  This is what is getting me started with a blog.  I will go into more of my thoughts in the future about mainstreaming vegetarian cuisine.  Making it palatable for everyone.