Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dream Beans

Most of the time, my dreams are just mental chatter, with no usable content worth remembering, and certainly nothing prophetic. Sometimes I'll wake up humming a song I've never heard before, but I'm not a musician, so I don't try to hold onto those. Sometimes I'll wake up with a phrase or sentence that seems ever-so-sage in the moment, but when I write it down and look at it an hour later, it's just plain silly. So when I dreamed a few nights ago that my friend Paul had cooked a beautiful meal, and placed it before a group of old friends, with the mental recipe attached, I woke up thinking, Yum! I have to cook this! Then I wrote it all down... and waited. For a couple of days I kept going back to it, half expecting it to become a silly mess that would never hold up in a real kitchen. But amazingly, after two days, it still looked like a good idea, so last night I got to work and tried it out.

Work is the wrong word. It was more like play. It was fun. It was easy. And best of all, it was good. Really good. Good enough to share with friends at my own table, and good enough to share with you here. This recipe was a gift to me, so here you go -- have some! I'm not sure what to call it yet. Beans & Beans was my first thought. And if you make it with greens instead of green beans, it could be Greens & Beans. Then again, it did come from a dream, so Dream Beans seems right today. Call it whatever you want. If you cook some up, be sure to make the Corn-Wah too, because they were both in the dream, and they go great together.

Dream Beans

(Note: Start the Corn-Wah first, so everything will be done at the same time)

Fresh Green Beans -- cleaned up and cut into about 1 inch bites
Canned Cannellini Beans (big white beans) -- drained and rinsed
Fresh Garlic -- as much as you like, sliced thin
Almonds - slivered or chopped
Olive Oil
Nutritional Yeast
White Wine -- for drinking and splashing
Coarse Sea Salt
Fresh Lemon

Heat up a big skillet and lightly dry-toast the almonds. Swirl in some olive oil, toss in the garlic, and then the green beans. Cook them for a few minutes until they're starting to get tender. Add the cannellini beans, a generous sprinkle of nutritional yeast, and a splash of wine from your glass. Add salt to taste. As soon as the beans are done to your liking (I like them still a bit crisp) squeeze on the juice of half a lemon, give it one last stir, and serve with Corn-Wah, that's been cooking away on it's own all this time.


This is a simple quinoa dish made with corn, which gives it a nice sweetness and texture that's perfect with the Dream Beans. Get this going before you start cooking the beans, and they should both be ready at about the same time. Serve the two together, and you have a complete vegan meal. Or add a bit of fish or something if you feel you need an extra dish on the side.

Rinse 1 cup of quinoa well to remove the bitter outer coating
Bring quinoa to a boil in 2 cups of water, with some frozen organic corn (or better yet, fresh in season), chopped red bell pepper, dried or fresh oregano, and a little salt. Cover and cook on low heat for about 15-20 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Rick says this is his favorite quinoa dish yet.

There you go. I hope you like it. It's super easy, and super good. The nice thing about creating something presented in a dream is that it comes form "someplace else". It's not something we'd likely think of on our own, no matter how hard we squeezed our little brain cells together. Where does dream information come from? I don't know... our subconscious, parallel realities, guardian angels... God? It doesn't matter. I like knowing that it isn't really mine. It doesn't come from "me". I'm not really responsible for the outcome if it's lousy, but I also don't get to take too much credit if it's good. It's a useful lesson in humility. As with any inspiration, the important things are to be open to it, accept it as a gift, take minimal credit, and participate. This keeps the window open and the flow going. I hope I'll be able to tap into that quantum reality that offered up this tasty treat again. I don't really know how to do that, except to stay open to it, and to try everything that presents itself. Meanwhile, have a nice dinner, and let me know how it turns out for you!

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Fork in the Road

When I don't know what to do, I usually figure it's best to do nothing. I've been in that stuck spot for a few weeks now, just sort of standing around, scratching my head, and going, What??? Tell me what to do already! I've made a little jewelry, and sold a few pieces. I'm focusing that part of my time on the show I'll do in November. I've had a bunch of email recently, from nice people telling me they miss my beads, and wish I'd go back to making them. Well... that's probably not going to happen. I've been fooled by this ploy before. Oh Kim, oh Kim, we love those beads. We need them. We want them. We will buy them... HA, says me. I've spent the last 3 years doing what those well meaning folks have asked, only to find that they disappear when it comes time to pull out their wallets. Let me put it this way, how long would you go to work if you didn't get paid? Hmmm?

Thanks to "the economy", or global warming, or Mercury in retrograde, or whatever you want to blame Things on, beads and jewelry that were once considered necessary, or at least justifiable, comforts are now "luxuries".  I don't believe it, but since most people do, my work is not really valued at this time in world history. I mean look at tribal people's all over the planet. Sometimes they don't have food or water, but they always have jewelry, because personal embellishments are considered important for a variety of cultural and spiritual reasons. But that doesn't matter a hoot here, and all the begging in the world isn't going to get me back to the torch. To be honest, I think all this struggle is really a Message From God that's finally getting through to me, because I'm finally willing to listen.

Something I've known for a long time is that I'm not just and beadmaker or jewelry maker. I have lots of talents that have been stuffed under the bed for years because my total focus has been on making stuff, making stuff, making stuff... the main goal being to make a living. The guys on the street corners with their "will work for food" signs crack me up. We all work for food. Sheesh. Most of us don't have the luxury of flitting through our days, doing things we love, while somebody else drags the food in. So when the work no longer supplies the food, then the work needs to change.

That's where I'm at. The work needs to change, the blog needs to change, and interestingly, food has become not only the motivating factor, but the inspiration and theme behind the changes. Haha! Heehee! Who knew? It appears that what I'm "supposed" to be spending my time on now is the very thing I've been working for all along. Food.

Almost a year into the vegan adventure, and several months past the RV adventure, I'm finally finding a new focus. I want to write a book. For real. A cookbook of sorts. Or more accurately, a cooking book. Day after day, I put on my apron and make huge messes in the kitchen, all the while taking notes and and stuffing bites of food into any mouth that gets within range. I'm making good stuff. I'm taking good notes. I'm getting encouragement. And I want to keep going. Nobody's paying me to do this. Yet. But Rick's handyman business is doing well, and bless his heart, he's also taken a part time job at the hotel he used to work for. He wants me to do this because it means he gets fed really, really well, and because he believes in me. He always has. More than anybody else I've ever known.

My new mascot is the bumblebee. Scientifically, aerodynamically speaking, the bumblebee can't fly. But still, it does. You can't do that, means nothing to a bumblebee. It does what it does, ignoring the rules. There's a lesson there for all of us. Whatever it is, we can too. What I'm doing now seems impossible, or at least improbable, but I'm going to keep flapping my little wings anyway. Who knows, I just might get off the ground.

So this blog... it was about Taos, back in the Greetings From Taos days. Then I moved it here, thinking the RV thing would last... forever. Now I've pondered starting a new blog, and asking you all to move with me again, but I really don't think that's necessary. I think "taking the long way home" still applies, because this entire Life Journey is really about making our way along as creatively as possible, knowing there's no real goal, no start, no finish, no home other than the great cosmic soup we all swim in. Might as well take the long way every day.

So, I hope to hold your interest, and I plan to stick around after all, sharing this new adventure, and a few recipes here and there. We'll have fun. We always do. When there's a fork in the road, pick it up and eat something with it.

Friday, March 18, 2011


I've been cooking a lot lately, and making a little bit of jewelry. The Bead Muse seems to have left me, and I don't think she'll be back any time soon, if ever. C'est la vie. I really don't mind. Maybe it's just Spring Fever, but I feel like I'm in one of those limbo-places again, where nothing's really wrong, but I know something is trying to shift. As always, I wait for Further Instructions, and wonder what I'm supposed to "be" when I grow up. Can't just Be. That doesn't pay the bills. And besides, it would drive me crazy. So I wait, and I cook, and I ponder the idea of writing some sort of cooking book. I'm getting encouragement, and that helps. I'm making notes and tentatively listing possible chapters. And cooking. Did I mention cooking?

My Mom was a great cook, in a meat-n-potatoes sort of way. I learned a lot from her, and then wandered off to try some tricks of my own. I think I do pretty well, and I know that when we're good at doing something, it's usually a good idea to share that gift with the world in some way. Maybe it's time for me to share this one. All signs point to Do Something New, which is a sharp left and miles away from Keep Banging Your Head Against The Same Old Wall. Even my hands are begging me to ease off the jewelry and give them a rest. The big question is, Will I/can I listen? Or will I chicken out, afraid to jump off the cliff, not trusting the net that has always, always been there...

This morning I woke up intending to make some banana scones, but changed my mind and made a delish breakfast scramble with tofu, sweet potatoes, pinto beans, and spicy red chile sweetened with just a splash of maple syrup. That's what I call inspiration. That's what I want to be listening to. And I know from experience, the better we are at opening up and letting inspiration move through, the stronger the flow becomes. 

Listen. Cook. Write. Repeat.
That's my plan for the weekend.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Vegan in Vegas

I'm back from a great little trip to Las Vegas. Family, friends, sun, and fun. A few tasty beverages, a little shopping, a lot of fountain watching, and no gambling. I'm too smart for that silliness. I choose my silliness elsewhere, thanks.

My youngest sister, Jill, rounded us all up to celebrate her 50th birthday, and we did a great job. It was also the first time our Dad had been to Vegas since 1939. Things had changed a bit, and it was fun to watch him take it all in. As Official Photographer for this trip, I took way too many pictures to post them all here, so if you want to see them, follow this link to Facebook, where you should be able to see the whole album.

My biggest "fear" about going to Vegas was the food. I knew I was traveling with total meat-and-white-food eaters, and thought I'd be stuck with bowls of lettuce the whole time. I brought along some staples of my own to make in our hotel kitchen, and that was a good idea. But one great surprise was that all the restaurants at the Wynn, which is right down the street from the Wyndham Grand Desert, where we stayed, have vegan options. Oh, happy me! Our first night out I had a wonderful, imaginative salad and mushroom risotto. At the big catered party the next night, Jill made sure the caterer had several special little dishes, just for me. Very thoughtful! I did eat my share of salads, and lunch at Gilley's was the most challenging, but I made it work, and certainly didn't starve while I was away from home!

A few days in that crazy town are enough for me. I had a great time, but it's good to be home!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Nevada Girl

I've been busy, busy, busy, cooking up a storm, flirting with the idea of writing a book, and prepping to go to Las Vegas this week for my baby sister's Big 5-Oh! I'm sort of a Nevada Girl at heart, having spent 13 or so years there in the Reno/Tahoe area. I worked at Harrah's Tahoe for most of that time... as a cocktail waitress... had two babies in Carson City, and eventually met Rick in Minden. Nevada was good to me. It's always fun to go back to that oddly electrified state, even though I'm a little intimidated by Vegas. At least I won't have to drive in that crazy place! I think I'll leave my computer at home, and just enjoy the freedom of traveling light, and being out of touch for a few days. I'm taking everything from the Alchemy Shop with me, in case anyone is short of proper Vegas Bling, but there's still my Etsy Shop for your retail therapy pleasure. See you next week, with a full report on my Vegan Adventures in Las Vegas!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Vegan Diner Dinner

Here's one for the "meat heads" among us. As a girl who was raised by a hunter dad, and a mom who loved to cook, I totally understand the yearning for a good old fashioned meat-n-potatoes meal now and then. I began to see the subtle wish for this in Rick the other night, when I made Bean-Wah Burgers, and mused out loud about how I though the burger-stuff would also make a good meat loaf. His little eyes lit up, and I heard him mumble, through a mouth full of bean-burger, something that sounded like... graaaaavy... mashed potaaaaaaay-tos... mmmmm...

I got the hint, and the very next night set out to make a big ol' plate of comfort food for my man. The Bean-Wah mix this time was a little different from the one I shared here back on February 22nd. This time I used pinto beans instead of black beans, mixed quinoa and rice, and added grated carrot and chopped walnuts. Here's the whole list of ingredients:

1 can pinto beans -- mashed
1 "blop" refried beans (about 1/4 can)
cooked quinoa, cooked brown rice, uncooked oatmeal -- about 1/2 cup or more each, until the mix feels like good burger/meat loaf consistency.
potato starch -- about 3 tablespoons
1 or 2 grated carrots
chopped walnuts -- 1/2 cup or more
nutritional yeast -- 1/2 cup-ish
salt, pepper, onion powder, Spike, and ketchup to taste

Mush it all together with your hands, and taste it for seasoning. It's OK! There's no dead stuff in there! I'm sorry for the inexact measurements. You know what it should look and feel like. You'll be fine. At this point, either make burger patties and fry them up, or stuff the whole shebang into a loaf pan, cover the top with ketchup for old-school authenticity, and bake it at 350ยบ or so, for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how thick it is. Remember, you can't undercook it because it's not meat.

To go with, I made mashed potatoes with veggie broth, garlic, basil, vegan "butter", a little tamari and nutritional yeast, plus salt and pepper, of course. I also made a big pile of green beans -- frozen, French-cut, again, for retro-authenticity -- and seasoned them with a little vegan butter, garlic powder, and smoked paprika, to mimic the bacon my Mom would always lace green beans with.

The topper, literally, and deliciously, was a rich mushroom gravy. Make it the same way you make meat gravy, but use a mix of olive oil and vegan butter for starters. I sauteed minced onion and chopped mushrooms, and then added a couple of spoonfuls of oat flour to make a roux, before adding veggie broth, and seasoning with a splash of wine, a little tamari, lots of pepper, and the Secret Yum Ingredient, a couple of good sprinkles of truffle salt, which rounded it out and gave it a lovely earthy richness. If you don't have truffle salt, don't worry. It will still be wonderful.

This meal was all the things comfort food should be -- warm and mushy and delicious -- without a trace of guilt. It made Rick very happy. Ok... I liked it too.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Etsy Sale

This week I'm holding a Spring Cleaning Sale in my Etsy Shop! Use the Coupon Code "SPRING" to get 25% off everything in the shop! Here are a few samples...