Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Worth Watching

The boys and I were fortunate to be able to attend the Inconvenient Truth presentation live at our synagogue the other evening. I wrote earlier about the film, but the presentation is even better. There's more information, the information is more current and, most important there's the opportunity for interaction with other people. It was a very worthwhile evening and opened the boys' eyes in a big way.

On the way home, we picked up a DVD that had been mentioned: Who Killed the Electric Car? This is an excellent film (creepy Mel Gibson interview notwithstanding) and is a must-see about the intentional efforts to prevent US consumers from obtaining zero emissions vehicles. Infuriating, really.

On a completely different subject, but also excellent: The Lost Boys of Sudan.The film was recommended to me by the woman who "hired" me to teach the Somali women to knit. It's a wonderful documentary about the resettlement of a group of young Sudanese orphans in the US. I've worked with refugees and immigrants for many years but never tire of hearing their stories, so I found this film very moving.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Red Scarf Wrapup

I dropped my red scarf off at the local yarn store acting as a collection point. Apparently they had just sent in 150 scarves and were planning on mailing in at least 100 more today. Wow! That's a lot of red scarves. I will likely never work with chenille yarn as long as I live, but I was glad to help out nonetheless.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Cinnamon Rolls

I'm getting very few comments on my posts (except for Elizabeth --thanks, sweetie!) but I do know that lots of folks are out there, silently downloading recipes. Which pleases me immensely. So I'm trying to continue posting the good ones I use. I'm delighted to share, but I would love it if folks could drop me a line just to let me know if they're trying the recipes and how things turn out.

Another gorgeous day here in Portland. We took a brisk family walk, the high point of which was standing on a pedestrian overpass over I-205 with The Princess while she waved madly at the cars below yelling "duckling!" for no reason I could understand. The drivers in the cars below often waved back and honked, including the driver of a large semi whose horn made The Princess giggle with glee.

We returned home for an afternoon snack of cinnamon rolls. I've used many cinnamon roll recipes over the years but had long thought that I could tweak my regular challah recipe just slightly for a good result. I replaced oil with melted butter, water with milk, and upped the sweetening just slightly for a delicious dough. I use my bread machine but it's basically challah dough, the easiest yeast dough in the world as far as I'm concerned, so making it by hand (or heavy duty mixer) should yield similarly delicious results. The recipe is here. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Good Day Sunshine

What a difference a week makes. Last Saturday I was curled up in my bed gripped in the clutches of a nasty stomach virus. I lost a few days to illness and came out of it to find myself panicked about the boys' falling behind in their schoolwork and full of doubts about the wisdom of our educational choices.

As I gained my strength back I also gained my sense and I am so delighted that The Spouse and I made the decision to pull the boys out this week. It's like a cloud has lifted around here. The boys no longer "need" their computers for schoolwork and are suddenly back with us, hanging out in the the common areas of the house and even playing games together--real games, with boards and pieces not just pixels on a screen.

The Spouse and I are scrambling to make a plan because we do realize that the structure offered by Connections was a big draw for the boys. I guess they'll be wanting a daily list of tasks which is hard for me. Anything involving planning and organization is hard for me but hard is not necessarily bad.

Last night we went to a Kabbalat Shabbat service for the first time in ages. Friday nights are so hard for us, everyone is fried at the end of the week but that, of course, is exactly why coming together to welcome Shabbat is so very important. Plus the services were led by two good friends (one if Jonah's Hebrew tutor) who can always be counted on for spirit-lifting music and thoughtful discussion. Once we found out they were leading, we wanted to make the effort to go. Now that The Dark Lord is past his bar mitzvah he believes he never needs to set foot in a synagogue again and it was quite an effort to get him to come. I had to put up with lots of eye rolling and lame excuses but eventually stopped kvetching and joined us.

I woke up to a brilliantly sunny morning and was able to recognize it for the gift it is. I pulled on my trusty running shoes, grabbed my iPod and headed out the door for a good long walk. I hadn't done my full neighborhood loop (2.3 miles) in a couple of months for various reasons: time, weather, illness, whatever. I can usually come up with an excuse that will keep my sorry self in bed but I didn't even try this morning. I was anxious to get out and move. I started with the customary "hello" to the Muscovy duck around the corner, walked down through the sketchy part where I'm always a bit nervous, then the long walk up the hill, a quick stop to catch my breath, and then an easy walk home. I started this walk last spring in an attempt to get fit and lose some weight and came to find that I actually enjoyed this time to get to know my neighborhood and take note of changes as the months went by. After two horrible weeks of illness, I felt such immense joy at being able to get my body moving in the sunshine.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Big Decisions

Last spring we decided homeschooling as we’d been doing wasn’t really working. It had begun to feel quite haphazard and inconsistent and I began to worry that my children would be completely unprepared for The Real World. When we investigated Connections Academy, a virtual charter school based in Scio, Oregon it looked too good to be true. We were skeptical going in, of course. It’s nothing but a big for-profit corporation that couldn’t possibly have our kids’ best interests at heart. But the promise of the box of materials on the doorstep and the pre-planned lessons was just too marvelous to ignore. Surely, we thought, this would be a good bridge between our cozy life at home and The Real World and we’d have real, live teachers standing by to help us.

While the relatives and schooling parents all seemed to breathe a sigh of relief that we were finally doing something sensible with the boys, all our homeschooling friends had reactions ranging from doubt to horror. Why ever would we give up the autonomy and freedom of homeschooling for the experience of others deciding what, how, and when our children need to learn? Honestly, I was happy with the curriculum and felt that my kids would have a great academic foundation in the program. And I felt that having outside authorities night reduce the power struggles I was having with the boys about schoolwork.

We expected a transitional period but it’s now halfway through the school year and both boys are too busy to go anywhere or see friends. We feel trapped in the house, we hardly see anyone, and it’s always all about getting the work done. This is childhood? One child is perpetually “behind” and under pressure (and not surprisingly, acting out) while the other has found that computer based learning provides a world of distraction and that one can skate along doing shoddy work with few consequences. The Princess is stuck at home while I crack the whip over her brothers and I am bordering on depression from the stress of it all.

Oddly enough, the boys tell me that they want to continue with this program. When we talk about it, it’s the structure that appeals to them but not the pace. But we don’t get to make substantive adjustments with Connections. We haven’t found a way to make it work for our family.

While I dread hunting down resources, planning lessons, and developing curriculum again, I feel like this just isn’t a good fit. I know I can take what worked from this experience and adapt as necessary to come up with something that works for our family and helps my boys grow into themselves. I’ve sent in the letter stating our wish to pull the boys out. And I finally feel like I can breathe again.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Birth Day

I took The Princess to a birthday party today. Not only is A her very best friend, she's the daughter of one of my very closest long-time friends. And I was there when she was born. So, technically, was The Princess who was but a tadpole in my womb at the time.

I was honored when A's mother asked me to stay with her and provide support during her labor. It is such an astounding experience to witness labor and birth. All did not go as planned and there were, in my opinion, things that might have led to an easier birth, but it the entire experience was unforgettable. I tried so hard to be there for my friend and her husband despite my exhaustion from the child growing inside me. I so wanted her to have a positive, empowering birth experience and was frustrated when I couldn't help that come to pass. Eventually A arrived, tiny and perfect and magnificent and I got to hold her right at the beginning and gaze into her astounding eyes. That five years have passed since that night is somehow more astounding to me than the years that have passed since my own children's births and each birthday reminds me how honored I was to witness the birth of this child.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Green Rice

Green rice is a staple around here. One of those dishes that's simple, nutritious, and infinitely satisfying--comfort food at its best. We've been making what we now call "regular" green rice around here for years. The recipe comes from Deborah Madison's The Savory Way which was a gift from my sweetie on the birthday right after we were married. We've cooked just about everything out of that book but green rice is a perennial favorite of adults and kids alike in this house. The greens, herbs, Parmesan cheese, and rice is perfect blend of flavors that's become one of our staples.

With this excellent track record I was delighted to find a "new" green rice in Vegetarian Suppers from Deborah Madison's Kitchen. This version is creamy sand elegant, with the gentle bite of fire roasted chiles and velvety sour cream. I still have a few bags of treasured roasted chiles in the freezer from the farmers' market chile man and this is an honorable way to put them to good use. I added corn kernels to make it more of a green-and-yellow rice, and to very good effect, I think. Green Rice with Roasted Green Chiles and Leeks is a keeper--a perfect dish for a cold night and hungry family.

Stripy Goodness

Still snowed in here, but it's beginning to melt. I think the roads will be a nightmare after dark. Luckily school is closed for another night, which keeps hundreds of cars off roads which are bound to be slick and nasty. I realized that between illness, the holiday, and inclement weather I haven't left my house in over 5 days apart from a couple of snowy walks. No wonder my nerves are just a wee bit frayed.

I decided to work on a new project--I've long wanted to try a scrap yarn sweater so yesterday I assembled odd balls of yarn for a cardigan and cast on for a basic top down cardigan for The Princess. The yarns run the gamut from Lamb's Pride to my own Kool-Aid dying experiment with quite a few balls of unknown origin tossed into the mix. A very promising beginning but I dread weaving in all those ends down the road.I've had lots and lots of time to visit other blogs and I have found some real gems. My little efforts here in blogland are rather paltry compared to some of the wonders out there--watch the blogroll for new additions of you are interested. But the most serendipitous find du jour (given the project I just started) is The Random Stripe Generator. I am a fool for stripes so I had all kinds of fun with this. Take a look and have your own stripy fun.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Happy Winter

So many great things today. We woke up to snow, lots of snow, giant fat flakes tumbling out of the sky. Real snow is such a rare treat in this part of the world and the kid in me tends to get very excited about it especially when there's a night off work. I actually felt well enough to walk around the neighborhood with the kids. I love how the snow muffles sound. For a time we heard only our feet crunching the snow. The Princess can't remember a proper snowfall in her lifetime so this was huge for her.

I'm drinking my first cup of coffee since I got sick--what a treat! The little things in life are good, no? As we walked in the snow, I thought of Happy Winter Fudge Cake, a recipe from Laurie Colwin's More Home Cooking which along with the earlier Home Cooking, is one of the most read books in my library. Colwin's novels are not my favorites but her food writing is spectacular. Reading her essays about food and cooking is like hanging out in the kitchen with a clever, talented and much loved friend. Of course there are wonderful recipes but there's more: an enthusiasm for making and sharing food that is contagious and inspiring. Whenever I find myself in a funk a re-read of either of these books will quickly set things right.

The phone keeps ringing as baffled students call to figure out if they need to venture out to school tonight. I am happy to tell them "stay home, keep warm". We have a cozy fire, lovely music, leftovers in the fridge and there's nothing ahead of me but a long night of knitting--bliss! I'm not even knitting alone. The Spouse has gone into the second skein of his eternal vest project and MonkeyBoy has picked up the needles again in the last few days. "Mom", he said, "I love knitting. I really love knitting. I love knitting while it's snowing best of all". That's my boy!

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Well my sweetie sure knows how to take care of me. While I spent the entire day in bed reading and knitting my way back to health he made me one of my very favorite dishes. Deborah Madison's gumbo is delicious--warm, spicy, and packed with nutrition. It's a wee bit time consuming but not at all difficult to make so I urge you to make up a big pot of it soon. It freezes beautifully so you can easily tuck a few servings away in the freezer for another day. I am sure this is going to fix me up and I'll be right as rain tomorrow!

Yuck, Part 2

I thought I felt poorly last week. What I wouldn't give for those run down sniffles today. I finally got whatever The Spouse has had for nearly 2 weeks. When the night sweats became a regular thing, he saw Dr. Ed and got himself a prescription for Zithromax. I am beginning to wonder if The Dark Lord and I aren't headed down the same road. The poor boy sounds like he's going to cough up a lung at night. I'm not so much at the coughing stage--it's more skull-splitting headache/fever/body aches with some dizziness and nausea thrown in for fun.

In the past 48 hours I have done very little but sleep, read, and knit: the red scarf is nearly finished and I read the new 500 page Philippa Gregory novel in under 48 hours. Her historical novels about Tudor England are definitely one of my guilty pleasures, and having the latest show up on the library holds shelf Friday afternoon was extremely good fortune as The Bug began to have its way with me. Also I've had lots of fun browsing craft blogs and wishing I felt well enough to head downstairs and do some sewing.

If I ever had any doubts about my husband's love for me (I didn't, by the way) they would surely be erased by how well he's cared for me this weekend. He made the trip to Salvador Molly's to bring me some spicy macaroni pie which I adore. Currently he and The Princess are out buying supplies to make vegetarian gumbo which will undoubtedly restore me to full vigor. For two days he's done everything (dishes, cooking, laundry) and kept the kids relatively quiet. So even though I feel like warmed over garbage today, I do know how very lucky I am.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Red Scarf Project

The Oregonian ran a story in today's living section about The Red Scarf Project which aims to support former foster kids now in college. Because these young men and women are often lonely and without support once they leave the foster care system, The Orphan Foundation of America sends care packages as a way of showing that these folks are indeed cared about. They're hoping to include handmade red scarves in the 2500 care packages they'll be sending out for Valentine's Day. Something in the story touched me, so off I went to pick up some yarn. The current state of finances necessitated that the yarn come from Fabric Depot rather than a nice yarn shop, but the scarlet Lion brand chunky chenille is going to make something extra cozy. The best part? As I was paying for my yarn, I noticed the lady in line behind me also had two big skeins of red yarn. I asked if she, too, had read the story in the paper and it turns out that she was also knitting for The Red Scarf Project.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Seven More Knitters in the World!

Today was my first day working with the Somali refugee women as a volunteer knitting instructor. When The Princess and I arrived at Kateri Park in SE Portland, we met the two women organizing the class and another volunteer but no students in sight. Eventually they showed up, eager to get going, which was gratifying. We started out with yarn and needles donated by Mabel's and some of my very kind and generous friends. I decided I'd cast on for them and let them work on learning the knit stitch. I was surprised at how quickly most of them seemed to catch on despite my often awkward instructions. Their English is very limited and I realized the usual beginners' rhymes would only be confusing so I cut it down to the basics: in, around, back, off. It seemed to work.

I was pleased to see how many of the women took the needles from me as I was trying to demonstrate, anxious to get to work. One kept trying to indicate that she was left-handed which I've never really factored in while teaching someone to knit. After a few frustrating rows, she grabbed the needles, turned everything around and got to work figuring out how to do it her way. I look forward to seeing what she's come up with by next week. The women seemed to have a great time, hanging out, schmoozing, and laughing at their mistakes. The began to help each other out, and the smiles as a row was completed were priceless. I am so grateful that I fell into such a wonderful opportunity.

Oh Happy Day!

Anyone who has read my profile or spent any time with me knows I am a huge fan of Manu Chao. I can't get enough of his crazy world beat multilingual music. I love the repetition of musical samples, the clever lyrics, the complex themes covered in seemingly simple songs, and the fabulous audio collage thing he has going on.

He's not terribly well known in the US which is probably why his latest studio album wasn't even released here. It's all in French which probably doesn't do much for sales on our side of the pond. I've only been able to find extremely expensive copies of this CD (like $60 and up) until one day in December when I took a peek on eBay and, miraculously, there was a copy of this very CD with a starting bid of $7.50.

Something went horribly wrong years ago in the process of setting up my account and things became so colossally screwed up that I have never been able to use eBay. And it's probably just as well, really. But when I found this album I simply had to have it. I called on the able assistance of a dear friend who managed to win it for me despite a few hours of competition with some Italian guy. I was considering emailing the guy and explaining to him that since he could actually buy the CD in Italy it would be really nice if he would just let me get it. But I don't speak Italian. Nonetheless he must have sensed my agitation because he stopped bidding and the CD was mine. It's been pointed out that I could have likely special ordered this from any number of music shops here in town, but I rather like this roundabout way of getting my hands on this CD. The best part? It was mailed from Bulgaria! You just don't get stories like this with iTunes!

And the music, unsurprisingly, is great. I'm on my 3rd time through (it would have been more were it not for my job!) and I'm liking it more with each listen. There are a few familiar musical bits from earlier albums but the sound is very distinctive. The lyrics, alternating from silly to serious to indecipherable (for me anyway) are entirely in French and Manu's voice is warm and rich. The album seems somehow simpler and more personal than earlier works. I'm delighted to have this new addition to my collection.

A Finished Object!

...and not even the first since I started this blog but some others got away to their recipients before I could take photos. This is MonkeyBoy's long-awaited sweater made with gorgeous, hand dyed merino from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. I bought a 500 yard skein of their yarn at the 2005 Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival and made a slightly too-small sweater for the boy which he wore and loved despite its less than generous fit. This past fall I bought 2 huge skeins and made a much larger sweater with lots of leftover yarn. Enough to add length at the waist and cuffs as needed. The pattern was a simple top-down raglan, a pattern I highly recommend because it's easy to follow and simple to modify. Also--no seams--when it's done it's done. The best part is knowing it will be well worn and loved!

Monday, January 08, 2007


Lynn told me there was some other official name which I've completely forgotten, but I finally figured out how to make a list of links which you'll find tidily arranged down on the right side of this very page. Some of these are friends' blogs/websites, and others receive regular visits from moi. Clearly there's a wide range of subjects but I will say that if you can't laugh at Dirty Sugar Cookies, you probably shouldn't hang out here.

Hopefully you'll find something to tide you over as you eagerly await my next post. Warning--the volume should be slowing down as today is Day 1 of Winter Term. I will need to actually tidy up, put on proper clothes and teach some English 4 nights a week which will likely be a bit of a shock to my system after 3 luxurious weeks of vacation.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


So I feel like I've had a cold for at least 2 weeks. In the old days, pre-Graves', I'd run to New Seasons and stock up on immune stimulating products and kill those bugs dead in their tracks. But the doctor says I'm to avoid such things for now. She did give me the OK for The Tonic, as we refer to it around here. It only occurred to me yesterday to brew up a new batch of this stuff which, alas, takes 3-4 weeks to reach full potency. It's a powerful mixture of onion, garlic, horseradish, cayenne, turmeric, and vinegar, sweetened with honey. Did I mention that it's powerful? It kept some of us virtually bug-free for most of last winter which is saying a lot around here. I finally mixed up a new batch (it's only finding the fresh horseradish that's a tiny bit challenging) and it's merrily steeping away on my counter in all its screaming yellow glory. I won't say "enjoy" but maybe it will be useful.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Cinnamon Puffs

Last night I went to bed virtuously planning to arise at a reasonable hour, gently wake my children, feed them a nutritious breakfast, and bundle them off to Shabbat services at our synagogue. The younger two actually wanted to go. But it didn't work out that way at all. The Spouse is still sick and slept fitfully which affected my own sleep. I awoke rather bleary and not at all motivated to drag sleeping tots from their cozy beds. So I turned on the computer, began the day at Radical Torah in honor of Shabbat and then caught up on some other reading. I was delighted to find new visitors to my blog--thanks for stopping by and leaving comments!

Somewhere between health care reform and The Yarn Harlot my stomach began to rumble. French toast made from Friday night challah is pretty standard on Saturday mornings when we're home. Yesterday's challah was absolutely delicious, the best I've made in months. I don't know why this is, I use exactly the same recipe week after week but there are always variations in the final product. Yesterday's challah was soft, sweet, golden, and perfectly cooked. The Dark Lord and I did some quick calculations and figured I'd probably made close to 800 challahs in the last 10 years, so declaring yesterday's loaves in the top 40 was pretty good, I thought. But I don't much like French toast. I wanted something sweet, but with a little kick. Something to go with coffee. Clearly I needed French Cinnamon Puffs, a rich, eggy muffin-like thing rolled in butter and cinnamon sugar. If you haven't yet figured this out, we are a butter positive family!

These are actually full of wonderful associations for me. As a teen I spent an inordinate amount of time hanging out with friends downtown at the Coffee Ritz. This was way before Starbucks came to Portland, before lattes, before there was a coffee shop on every corner. We would take the bus into town after school and hang out for hours drinking black coffee and people watching. Most of my babysitting money went for coffee but when I was flush I could splurge on a French Cinnamon Puff, with its buttery, sugar-crunchy topping. Absolute heaven.

And then I forgot all about them for many years. Around the time MonkeyBoy was born I began craving these things like a madwoman, which how my cravings always come on. If I had had a computer with internet access in those days no doubt I could have found a recipe in no time. But this was during the Dark Ages, so to speak, so if it wasn't at the library or Powell's, it wasn't available and with infant MonkeyBoy and toddler Dark Lord, my browsing time was severely limited. One day, lo and behold, my marvelous Aunt Nancy sent one of her always appreciated packages. This contained, among other things, a cookbook entitled Breakfast in Bed. If cookbook addiction is hereditary, I blame Aunt Nancy for she surely passed it on to me, along with many wonderful cookbooks. Within this small book I found a recipe for the puffs of my youth.

I have since made them many times. Recently they were on the menu for a Sunday brunch with friends, one of whom grew up here and knew exactly what I was putting on the table. It was a wonderful moment of connection. We didn't know each other as teens but had shared this experience though she actually worked at the Coffee Ritz and apparently suffered mightily whereas I was merely a customer.

The original recipe was stupid in that it only made about 8 good sized puffs. I'm sorry--who has an 8 cup muffin tin? Ridiculous! So I've upped the quantities just slightly in order to fill a normal person's muffin tin.

Even though they are called Cinnamon Puffs, the hint of nutmeg in the batter is crucial. I have not been a huge lover of nutmeg over the years, but it's growing on me. One of the very few actually cool places I've discovered in mid-county is the wonderfully exotic Anoush Deli which is full of all kinds of goodies from Eastern Europe and the Middle East. For pennies, one can buy a handful of whole nutmegs for grating at the Anoush. When you run them over your Microplane grater, not only are you rewarded with a heavenly aroma, but they are beautiful to look at as well. I think so anyway. So try the Puffs. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


It's turning out to be a pretty good day after all.

I just heard back from a woman who posted to the Portland Stitch and Bitch list last month. She was looking for a volunteer to teach knitting to refugee women. I don't think anyone could have come up with a more perfect volunteer position for me. Knitting and ESL? Yeehaw! I can even bring the kids! I am extremely excited about this. Maybe The Dark Lord's Peace through Yarn logo was prophetic. I start next Wednesday.....yippee!

New Paintings

Last month The Spouse and I happened upon a wonderful show of paintings at a coffeehouse in SE Portland. Ryan Dobrowski was showing 300 (!) 5.5" square paintings which were simply delightful: birds, bicycles, plants, and much more. We bought two of these tiny pieces of art--it was very hard to choose just 2--and waited all month for the show to come down. I picked up the paintings today and can't wait to get them up on the walls.

Tonight we'll be going to an opening at The Portland Art Center where my dear friend Laura has work in a group show entitled THE OTHER PORTLAND Art & Ecology in the 5th Quadrant. I find it odd that a show whose theme is North Portland is showing downtown, but no one ever asks my opinion.

An Historic Moment

I was snuffling around the house this morning in an early January funk. All the fun holiday stuff is over, it's gloomy and gray but entirely without the promise if snow, the boys are back "in school" which is often a tiresome slog to get work done, and I don't get paid until the end of the month. Feh. But then I started reading the day's news and realized that there is indeed something to celebrate--Nancy Pelosi was sworn in as the first woman Speaker of the House. Earlier today she remarked:

(Today) is an historic moment for the Congress, and an historic moment for the women of this country. It is a moment for which we have waited over 200 years. Never losing faith, we waited through the many years of struggle to achieve our rights. But women weren't just waiting; women were working. Never losing faith, we worked to redeem the promise of America, that all men and women are created equal. For our daughters and granddaughters, today we have broken the marble ceiling. For our daughters and our granddaughters, the sky is the limit, anything is possible for them.

The entire text of her speech is available here.

I'm delighted to see Pelosi as Speaker, not only as a groundbreaking role for US women but because she promises to be a counterweight to Bush.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Peace Through Yarn

...or something like that. The Dark Lord just fashioned this groovy little icon for me. I think it's perfect!

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

It's a good thing I do mine in the fall because if, like millions of others, I'd vowed to eat right and lose weight in 2007 I'd already be a failure!

We were invited to eat Portzelkje today at the home of some new friends. All I knew was that they were some variation on fried dough and since Chanukah's been over for all of 10 days it must be time to eat fried food again. It was a lovely afternoon -- just the kind of experience to bode well for 2007.

Since it was New Year's Day, it seemed black eyed peas should be on the dinner menu, not that they've ever been customary in my family. But still. The problem, of course, was coming up with a nice, flavorful vegetarian recipe. I figured I'd find something tasty in Passionate Vegetarian (thanks, Karen!) and I was not disappointed. The dish is called Dancin’ John: New South Black-Eyed Peas and Rice and is absolutely delicious, chock full of tasty veggies and warm spices. With some thick slices of crusty bread it was perfect. Next time I might even throw in some thinly sliced mustard greens or kale towards the end but it was most tasty just as written. And even vegan--not a big deal to me, but a subject of interest to many.

I have been trying to figure out a good way to get recipes out there in an easy-to-manage format. If anyone is actually looking at these, please let me know if the current set-up works. Thanks.