Friday, October 28, 2011

The Soundtrack of My Life "Dream a Little Dream of Me" Mama Cass Elliot


This is an old one for me. I love to sing this song and I have for years. I chose this version because I love it, not that I think ill of Ella Fitzgerald or Louis Armstrong, I don't - but I love Cass Elliot's voice.

She speaks of fading love and I do too - but in a different lane of life.
I guess that moment when I've begun to wonder if those people out there, those I love, will forget me because I am not longer a walk away.

This song is for you.
The kiss of our relationship lingers on and I wish you well. I wish you happiness. I wish for us to meet again and most of all I hope that these fears are unsubstantiated and it won't matter - the distance - because love, friendship, compassion and caring can pass through any amount of distance.

"Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you,
Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you.
But in your dreams, whatever they be,
Dream a little dream of me."

Taking this leap and moving forward has taught me a lot. 
I've learned many things that I need and many more that I don't.
I've learned that the harder you hold onto something, the faster it fades.
I've learned that, while I'm not a betting woman, sometimes you have to place every cent on you, because you deserve it.

And I've learned that it may hurt my heart at times, but that hurt somehow makes more space and allows me to have room for all those out there that need me, just as I need them.

"Stars fading but I linger on, dear,
Still craving your kiss.
I'm longing to linger till dawn, dear,
Just saying this...

Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you,
Sweet dreams that leave all worries far behind you.
But in your dreams, whatever they be,
Dream a little dream of me." 

Dream a Little Dream of Me - Mama Cass Elliot - (promise I'll dream of you too)

Halloween Vegan Delight! - "Pan de Muerto"

Pan de Muerto

Pan de Muerto is a traditional Mexican bread eaten in the weeks leading up to Dia de los Muertos - the Day of the Dead. It is to be eaten at the grave site (or an alter) of your loved ones.

This is my modified vegan version of the recipe. I used soy milk because it is thicker than rice milk, but if you'd like to try rice milk, let me know how it turns out! 

Ingredients

  • 1/4 C Earth Balance
  • 1/4 C Soy milk
  • 1/4 C warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 3 C all-purpose flour (NON-Bleached & organic if you can)
  • 1 1/4 tspn active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tspn salt
  • 2 tspn anise seed
  • 1/4 C Florida Crystals sugar
  • 2 portion Ener-g Egg Replacer
  • 2 tspn orange zest
  • 1/4 C Florida Crystals sugar
  • 1/4 C fresh orange juice
  • 1 TBSP orange zest (zest orange before you juice it)
  • 2 TBSP Florida Crystals sugar


Directions
  1. Heat the soy milk and the Earth Balance together in a medium saucepan, until the EB melts. Remove from the heat and add them warm water. The mixture should be around 110 degrees F (43 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl combine 1 cup of the flour, yeast, salt, anise seed and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Beat in the warm soy milk mixture then add the egg replacer and orange zest and beat until well combined. Stir in 1/2 cup of flour and continue adding more flour until the dough is soft.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. (about 10 minuets) 
  4. Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. This will take about 1 to 2 hours. Punch the dough down and shape it into a large round loaf with a round knob on top. Place dough onto a baking sheet, loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until just about doubled in size.
  5. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven let cool slightly then brush with glaze.
  6. To make glaze: In a small saucepan combine the 1/4 cup sugar, fresh orange juice and orange zest. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 2 minutes. Brush over top of bread while still warm. Sprinkle glazed bread with sugar.



Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween Vegan Delight! - "Mulled Wine"

Mulled Wine

This, my friends, is a traditional Halloween treat. And, as adults, I feel it's necessary for us to act like adults... and drink some mulled wine. 

This is by far the easiest of all the recipes - Here's what you do...


1 bottle red wine  - (louis jadot beaujolais is my suggestion to you)
1/4 C brown sugar (make your own - Sugar (florida crystals) & molasses, 1 tbsp - stir. It's that easy)
1 tspn cloves (whole cloves - not ground)
1 tspn ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or 1 cinnamon stick if you have it - the stick will work better)
1 bay leaf
Half an orange


Get a nice big glass pitcher and set it aside (its to make our wine look pretty when we're done.)
Pour the wine into a sauce pan, add brown sugar (that you made - go you!), the stick of cinnamon, push all the cloves into the ride of the 1/2 orange and add that into the pitcher, nutmeg and bay leaf.


SIMMER for about 20 minutes. It should steam, but you don't want it to boil (or the alcohol will go bye-bye). Set aside and allow to cool. Strain into the pretty pitcher we set aside earlier and then serve to your friends! Enjoy!! 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween Vegan Delight! - "Pumpkin Bread"

Spooky Pumpkin Bread!! (or just... Pumpkin Bread ;) )

Pumpkin Bread is one of my very favorite dessert bread known to man. It is perfect cold, but even better just warm out of the oven (and then add chocolate chips to it and it's to die for). This is my recipe that I've developed over time. (the original one had 4x the sugar and was... not vegan.)

Ingredients

  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 4 portions Ener-g Egg Replacer OR 1 C Apple Sauce (apple sauce will work great - promise)
  • 1 C canola oil (*full body olive oil will work too. It's fruity. I know it sounds funny but it's a nice addition, but do not get Extra Virgin, buy FULL body)
  • 2/3 C water (you may need a hint more water to thin out the batter)
  • 1 C sugar (Florida Crystals)
  • 3 1/2 C  all-purpose flour (non-bleached & organic if you can - King Arthur)
  • 2 tspn baking soda
  • 1 tspn salt
  • 1 tspn ground cinnamon
  • 1 tspn ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tspn ground cloves (all spice or mace can be used as substitutes) 
  • 1/4 tspn ground ginger

1 C Nuts (pecans would be nice) *OPTIONAL*
1/2 bag Chocolate Chips (Enjoy Life chips are vegan & allergy friendly) *OPTIONAL*


Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, egg replacer (or apple sauce), oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
  3. Bake for about 40 minutes in the preheated oven. At 40 minutes check the center of the loaf with a toothpick. Most times they need to bake for a full hour, but it depends on the stove. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Halloween Vegan Delight! - "Whoopie Pies"

Whoopie Pies

Whoopie Pies are what is responsible for your very favorite Oreo cookie. This, my friends, is the delicious dessert that changed thing for the better. (in my opinion) and the best part is you can mix it up. Listed below is a traditional Chocolate Cake with Ricemellow frosting in the middle. BUT, you can use the up coming Pumpkin Bread Recipe, or maybe even make some Red Velvet Cake and sandwich this deliciousness in between. 

It's a great little treat for when you have a holiday party, be it Halloween, be it Christmas - it doesn't matter, heck, maybe it's just Saturday night and you deserve a treat after a long hard week!


Ingredients

  • 2 C HOT Coffee (boiling if you can manage)
  • 1 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 3/4 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 tspn baking soda
  • 1/2 tspn baking powder
  • 1/2 tspn salt
  • 1C Earth Balance, softened
  • 2 1/4 C Florida Crystals sugar
  • 4 portions Ener-g Egg Replacer
  • 1 1/2 tspn vanilla extract

  • Filling:
  • 1/2 C Earth Balance, room temp (or vegetable crisco - it is vegan, but it is crisco...)
  • 1 C confectioners sugar (aka power sugar)
  • 1 C Suzanne's Ricemellow Fluff 
  • 1 tspn vanilla


3 drops Red Food Coloring *OPTIONAL*2 drops Yellow Food Coloring *OPTIONAL* to give your filling a pumpkin glow!

Directions



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 2 cookie sheets and set aside. 
  2. As the oven is pre-heating (takes about 10 minutes) in a bowl blend together 1/2 Cup Earth Balance (or crisco), 1 Ricemellow Fluff and begin to add the confectioners sugar 1/4 Cup at a time. Once blended, add the vanilla (and food coloring if using) and set in refrigerator to cool up a bit.
  3. In a separate bowl pour Hot Coffee over the Cocoa power and whisk until smooth - set aside and let cool .
  4. Third BOWL your biggest bowl (IT'S A BOWL EXTRAVAGANZA!!) Cream Butter, Sugar, Egg Replacer & vanilla
  5. And the last bowl - Flour, Baking Soda, Baking Power & salt. If you don't have a sifter use a DRY whisk to blend the dry Ingredients. 
  6. Add the Flour Mixture and the Cocoa Mixture into the Creamed Butter mixture in alternative batches. (1/4 C Flour - a scoop of Cocoa Coffee - 1/4 C Flour = a scoop of Cocoa Coffee - repeat until it's all nice and smooth)

Place a dollop of chocolate cake batter (about 2 tablespoons worth) onto greased cookie sheets. Be sure to leave space in between each dollop allowing the cake room to grow. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven, place on cooling rack, repeat until you use all the Cake Batter.
Once the cakes have cooled, scoop a pleasurable amount of filling onto one Cake and top with a second cake - BAM! AWESOMENESS IN YOUR HAND - now eat it and thank me later. 
Tomorrow... spoooookkkieeeee Pumpkin Bread! ;)

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Unknown

Sitting still for days
For years
Waiting for nothing
And it came
Watching the minutes
Roll into hours
It will come undone
The life was
And it is
As something else
Rushes over you
You leave
You head for the unknown
And sigh
Peace is at hand
Change
And freedom

Halloween Vegan Delight! - "Caramel Apples"


VEGAN Caramel Apples - YUMMMMMMMMM

So what do I miss once I became a vegan? Is it cheese? No... Is it steak? (ew) NO! It's confections. It's dessert - its that little bit of dinner I wait for all day in the hopes it WON'T attach itself to my ass, but instead sit nicely in my belly and make me want to smile - SO - MUCH - LONGER.

I miss... Caramel Apples. They remind me of fall. They remind me of Halloween. They remind me of my childhood when I didn't know better. So I give you this delightful recipe, but I will tell you one very crucial thing - you REALLY need to have a candy thermometers to make this. Don't think you can wing it. You can't. Nothing personal. If we could wing this - candy thermometers wouldn't have been invented. They have been, buy one. 

If you live in an area that has apple picking, go pick come apples! If you don't go to the store and get a pile of Granny Smith apples. Why? Because they're firm and a bit tart (not much unlike myself) and they are a nice contrast to the sweet (sweet, sweet) caramel we're going to be making.

If you abhor Granny Smith, get whatever you like - I won't judge you. Honest. I just want you to eat caramel... seriously. Its good.

Vegan Caramel
Makes will coat 8-10 apples

1C Earth Balance Butter

2C sugar (Florida Crystals) [regular sugar is not vegan]
2 cups soy milk (like Silk)
1 cup light corn syrup
1 tspn vanilla

Line an 8 inch x 8 inch pan with parchment or wax paper (but 
parchment is better) or cover a baking sheet with parchment and ready your apples and sticks. You can cover a few apples and then place the remaining caramel in any parchment lined container to set up and make candies. (OR you can make a bloody good sundae using some delicious vegan ice cream like Tofutti or So Delicious
  • Place the margarine, sugar, soy milk and corn syrup in a large saucepan (4 quart or higher)
  • Bring ingredients to a boil stirring constantly. <- don't go off and start tweeting or checking facebook - stir! Stir like the wind!)
  • Cook over medium-high heat while stir like said wind until candy reaches 248 degrees F. (243-5 for softer caramels) on that candy thermometer you went out and got just to make these apples. 
  • Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour into lined baking pan. If coating apples then let allow the caramel to cool for a minute while still stirring and then start coating. (Dip them in the pot. Dip them in rounds. Give each apple at least 2 or 3 coats - yum-tacular) After you coat the apples place them in the fridge or eat them as soon as they cool.
If you want to put any sprinkles on them, do it BEFORE you place the apples in the fridge. Then eat them - eat them a lot. ;)


Friday, October 21, 2011

The Soundtrack of My Life "Up, Up, Up" the Givers


Life can come at you in a way that makes you forget the truth about being alive. Moments rob us of the joys of life, they suck the energy out of our being and sink us into a hole that leads to a life we've never wanted.

Dance like no one is watching, they (whoever they are) say that. Do things as if you will not be judged. Do not be afraid of the whispers and hushed tones. Do not mind the looks or the snarky eyebrow lifts.

Dance.
Rise up.
Be the best you that you can be.

And remember - the reaction people have to you and your life is a direct reflection of them and has nearly NOTHING to do with you at all...

So dance like no one is around and rise up, up, up above love, into the clouds and into the you that you secretly dance with in your own heart.

"You’re gonna find your way, find a way to be
You’re gonna get yourself a land with your old man
You’ll get it free, you’ll get it free"

I found this song vie my husband. "You have to use this in your classes Aryn." He told me, and he was right. This song is my yoga - it has an awesome beat, it's hella contagious and the lyrics bring a smile to my face and makes my eyes gleam.

"It’s the way now, way to see 
                                                    ‘cause it's inside and out with no doubt 
                                                        It’s in everything, it's in everything"

This song is celebration and right now I feel like celebrating. Tomorrow is my birthday, and today I'm on the road driving towards Missouri to check out the Meramec Caves (to find TREASURE) lol. So now, right now in this very second I need a truth - and that is one day you're up and then you can be down but if you work hard and have faith and believe...

"You’re gon’ find your way, find your way to be
Yea you're gonna get yourself a line with your own spine
You’ll get it free, you’ll get it free

It’s the way now, way to see
Yeah in the moment it comes and it goes
Gets in everything, it's in everything"

It's in everything - love, truth, honestly - it's in everything and we may go up and we may come right back down and we may get lost and then find our way out of the, well, caves - but if we want, most of the time... we can be up.

Givers - Up, Up, Up



Thursday, October 20, 2011

Goodbye Cleveland

Goodbye Cleveland: a Tribute -

At the tippy top of Ohio, where the land reaches the shore...


Skyscrapers emerge from the ground, into the sky they soar...


The Terminal Tower sits front in center, as a symbol of the land...


My grandmother sold greeting cards in the Arcade, she and my mom hand in hand...


The Industrial Flats held Cleveland's steelyards, and now holds shopping malls...


117th was dotted with houses, families with dogs and cats...


The Cleveland Browns...


The Indians too...


This is where I had my first beer...

It doesn't matter where life takes me, I am who I am because I grew up here...


Goodbye Cleveland...


The Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame...


The food on West 4th...


Home Opening Games....


Goodbye to the Playhouse, where your lights shine so bright...


Goodbye to the Grog Shop, and those loud drunken nights...


Goodbye to the 5 O'clock...


Goodbye to My Friend's...


Goodbye to Coventry and it's late night skate trends...


Goodbye to the Cleveland Art Museum that showed me my soul...


Goodbye to the Cleveland Orchestra that help make it grow...


Goodbye Saint Augustine Academy, even thought you closed your doors long ago...


Goodbye Lakewood Ohio and millions of late night strolls...


Goodbye Cleveland, you will forever be in my heart...


Goodbye Ohio and thank you for my start.

With Love,
Aryn

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Halloween MeMe - BOO! (...scared you, didn't I?...)

My Halloween MeMe! Please enjoy! Please copy and paste and write in your own answers and then send me a copy! And PLEASE eat some candy.


1. What is the worst treat to get when trick-or-treating?
A flimsy hair comb... seriously... wth? That and pennies. "Oh look mom! Remember that new addition you wanted on the house? Here's $.13. Don't spend it all on one wall."
It's sad... what happened to the tootise roll? 
2. What character from any horror film would you most like to play?
Mr. Dark from Something Wicked this Way Comes... scared the beejesus outta me!

3. Would you rather your costume be Gruesome (zombie, victim, etc), Fun (super hero, childhood hero) or the slut (you know, the "cop"... ehhem...)? 
Gruesome or Fun - depends on the party. As for the slut ones, they lack imagination... at least go as a stripper... 
4. How many Halloween, Friday the 13th, or Nightmare on Elm Street movies combined do you have on dvd?
None. I'm not the horror movie fanatic in the house. I'm the one that owns Strictly Ballroom and Pride and Prejudice. OH! I want to go as Mr. Darcy! 
5. What is the scariest movie you have ever seen?
Swim Fan, but mostly I was terrified because I realized someone in Hollywood green lit it... terrible movie, just terrible. 
6. Favorite costume you have worn on Halloween?
I dressed as a marionette one year... that was fun and I dressed up as The Scarlet Witch - comic book character. (enjoy) 


7. Favorite Halloween treat?
Candy Corn. Yup. I'm the ONE person that likes CANDY CORN. yum... 
8. Create your own jack o’lantern or get the kit?
All of my pumpkins look like a 7 year old made them because I use a butcher knife and a sharpie... but it's an original! 
9. Have you ever had nightmares about a scary movie character chasing you?
I've had a lot of nightmares in my time, but the scariest ones have always been about nameless, faceless people trying to rape/stab/drown/set me on fire and none of them were in movies. (yet, until I write that book which will be optioned for a movie and then the answer to this question will be "yes". Must revisit this in a few years.)
10. Best thing about Halloween?
Halloween has been my favorite holiday since I was a kid. A family in my neighborhood used to do a haunted house, and once when I was in high school I got to help. It was awesome. 
11. Strangest Halloween custom you’ve seen?
My sister went as a statue bust one year and I had some friends go as jehovah witness... freaky... 
12. Person in your family who most likes Halloween?
It's a tie between me and my husband, granted our son is 3... he may take the lead next year. :)
13. Are you superstitious? If so, name at least one superstition of yours.
Yes, I guess. I'm fascinated by superstitions... I guess I can't really name any, but I always have an eye on the ground looking for my four leaf clover! 

Tag!!