Vegan Thanksgiving!

November 28th, 2011 Posted in Food I've Made | 2 Comments »

To start we had a “stoup” (stew-soup) that was composed of extra virgin olive oil, potatoes, onion, vegetable stock, kale, roasted red peppers, crushed fire-roasted tomatoes, garlic, cracked black pepper, salt, cilantro, parsley, bay leaves, cayenne, chili powder, and some other spices (haha), all topped with daiya (surprisingly yummy vegan cheese).  The base of this recipe is called “Red and Green Winter Stoup” and is found in “Rachael Ray’s Big Orange Book.”

stoup

Next, the main meal, which had:

main meal

Stuffing made from gluten-free bread, extra virgin olive oil, vegetable stock, white wine, celery, carrots, onion, parsley, thyme, rosemary, sage, cracked black pepper, salt, and some other spices.  The base of this recipe was found on a random blog by Google with the search “gluten-free vegan stuffing.”

Gravy made with mushrooms, yellow miso, quinoa flour, canola oil, water, cracked black pepper, and salt.  The base of this recipe is called “Mushroom-miso Gravy” and is found in the cook book “Vegan Cooking For One.”

Roasted mini red potatoes with rosemary, olive oil, cracked black pepper, and salt.  This has no base recipe, it’s just delicious.

Spinach with pine nuts and craisins, cooked with extra virgin olive oil, vegan margarine, ginger?, other spices (ha, sorry, can’t give away all the secrets I guess), cracked black pepper, and salt.  The base of this recipe is called “Sauteed Spinach with Almonds and Raisins” and is found in the cook book “Vegetarian” by Kitchen Collection.

Organic cranberry sauce, in a can, because we can.

String beans and broccolini, tossed and baked in extra virgin olive oil, garlic, cracked black pepper, and salt.  This recipe is called “Roasted Broccolini and Beans” and is also found in “Rachael Ray’s Big Orange Book.”

For those meat-eaters, there was also meat at the table.  My parents ended up purchasing turkey and ham, but everything else was vegan and freaking delicious!  I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving as well!  <3

Art #41

November 26th, 2011 Posted in My Art | 2 Comments »

sketch

Art #40

November 24th, 2011 Posted in My Art | No Comments »

sketch

No Question

November 23rd, 2011 Posted in My Writing | 2 Comments »

No Question by Betty Leigh Verbeke

 

Last time I was here,

I wanted to ask you

If you felt it was necessary

To feel pain

To produce “stage-worthy” poetry.

 

But before I formed

The proper placement of words,

I already knew my answer.

 

See, I choose to exercise my free will.

That’s right,

I am an optimist.

I am the conscious creator of my thoughts,

Feelings,

And actions.

I understand and utilize

My autonomy

To better my life

And those in it.

 

I love your poetry

And I am moved

By your pain.

 

Now give me a chance

To move you

By my triumph.

 

My life IS rainbows,

And butterflies,

Blue skies,

And watching the sun rise,

But I see it fall too.

However,

I find beauty in its departure

And appreciation in its absence.

 

There is no yin

Without the yang.

A bird does not sing

Without a song to sing to,

Without another bird to listen.

 

I am here to hear your words.

Mine are:

Life,

Love,

And the pursuit of happiness.

 

I am my own role model

And I am damn proud

Of who I am.

 

The past gives inspiration,

But the future gives opportunity.

Which do you prefer?

Art #39

November 22nd, 2011 Posted in My Art | No Comments »

sketch

Recent Meals

November 22nd, 2011 Posted in Food I've Made | No Comments »

salad

Meal One: Salad composed of romaine lettuce, tahini roasted pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, flax seeds, nutritional yeast, cracked sea salt, cracked black pepper, and a sesame ginger dressing.

tacos

Meal Two: Tacos made with wheat tortillas, black beans, button mushrooms, avocado, cracked sea salt, cracked black pepper, and pico de gallo (tomato, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, garlic, and lime juice).

beans

Meal Three: White beans with green chilies, cracked sea salt, cracked black pepper, and garlic powder.

rice and avocado

Meal Four: Avocado paired with brown rice, black beans, garlic, tomato, onion, button mushrooms, cilantro, cracked sea salt, and cracked black pepper, all sauteed in extra virgin olive oil.

curry vegetables

Meal Five: Brown rice topped with baby carrots, broccoli, zucchini, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, cracked sea salt, and cracked black pepper, all simmered in tikka masala curry and coconut milk.

Art #38

November 21st, 2011 Posted in My Art | No Comments »

sketch

“The Book”

November 1st, 2011 Posted in Books I've Read | No Comments »

book

“The Book On The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are” by Alan Watts

First of all, much thanks goes to Jessica and Kelly for letting me borrow this book!  Discussion of who we are comes up quite a bit in my life and I have never read anything that states things as easily to understand as Alan Watts states his opinions in this book.  I like taking philosophy classes, just to learn what they have to offer, not because they are a required credit.  This book is basically like any other philosophy book, you interpret the author’s ideals how you want and take what you want from it.  This book has a lot of really interesting, thought-provoking, and inspiring stuff to offer and here are some of those things:

“Most of us have the sensation that ‘I myself’ is a separate center of feeling and action, living inside and bounded by the physical body – a center which ‘confronts’ an ‘external’ world of people and things, making contact through the senses with a universe both alien and strange.”

“We do not ‘come into’ this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree.  As the ocean ‘waves,’ the universe ‘peoples.’”

“Irrevocable commitment to any religion is not only intellectual suicide; it is positive unfaith because it closes the mind to any new vision of the world.  Faith is, above all, open-ness – an act of trust in the unknown.”

“At this level of existence ‘I’ am immeasurable old; my forms are infinite and their comings and goings are simply the pulses or vibrations of a single and eternal flow of energy.”

“Genuine love comes from knowledge, not from a sense of duty or guilt.”

“I realize, too, that the less I preach, the more likely I am to be heard.”

“It is, then, as if the human race had hypnotized or talked itself into the hoax of egocentricity.  There is no one to blame but ourselves.  We are not victims of a conspiracy arranged by an external God or some secret society of manipulators.  If there is any biological foundation for the hoax it lies only in the brain’s capacity for narrowed, attentive consciousness hand-in-hand with its power of recognition – of knowing about knowing and thinking about thinking with the use of images and languages.  My problem as a writer, using words, is to dispel the illusions of language while employing one of the languages that generates them.”

“Thus the soul is not in the body, but the body in the soul, and the soul is the entire network of relationships and processes which make up your environment, and apart from which you are nothing.”

“Society is our extended mind and body.”

“Through enslaving others he himself becomes the most miserable of slaves.”

“[The individual] may be seen, instead, as one particular focal point at which the whole universe expresses itself – as an incarnation of the Self, the Godhead, or whatever one may choose to call IT.”

“For unless one is able to live fully in the present, the future is a hoax.  There is no point whatever in making plans for a future which you will never be able to enjoy.  When your plans mature, you will still be living for some other future beyond.  You will never, never be able to sit back with full contentment and say, ‘Now, I’ve arrived!’  Your entire education has deprived you of this capacity because it was preparing you for the future, instead of showing you how to be alive now.”

“But, as Douglas E. Harding has pointed out, we tend to think of this planet as a life-infested rock, which is as absurd as thinking of the human body as a cell-infested skeleton.  Surely all forms of life, including man, must be understood as ‘symptoms’ of the earth, the solar system, and the galaxy – in which case we cannot escape the conclusion that the galaxy is intelligent.”

“No, but inconceivable as it seems to ordinary reason, you – and all other conscious beings as such – are all in all.  Hence this life of yours which you are living is not merely a piece of the entire existence, but is in a certain sense the whole; only this whole is not so constituted that it can be surveyed in one single glance.”

“[...] the ego-trick must be overcome through intensified self-consciousness.  For there is no way of getting rid of the feeling of separateness by a so-called ‘act of will,’ by trying to forget yourself, or by getting absorbed in some other interest.”

“But I define myself in terms of you; I know myself only in terms of what is ‘other,’ no matter whether I see the ‘other’ as below me or above me in any ladder of values.”

“The sense of paralysis is therefore the dawning realization that this is nonsense and that your independent ego is a fiction.  It simply isn’t there, either to do anything or to be pushed around by external forces, to change things or to submit change.  The sense of ‘I,’ which should have been identified with the whole universe of your experience, was instead cut off and is played as a detached observer of that universe.  In the preceding chapter we say that this unity of organism and environment is a physical fact.  But when you know for user that your separate ego is a fiction, you actually feel yourself as the whole process and pattern of life.  Experience and experiencer become one experiencing, known and knower one knowing.  Each organism experiences this from a different standpoint and in a different way, for each organism is the universe experiencing itself in endless variety.”

“Thus when the line between myself and what happens to be is dissolved and there is no stronghold left for an ego even as a passive witness, I find myself not in a world but as a world which is neither compulsive nor capricious.  What happens is neither automatic nor arbitrary: it just happens, and all happenings are mutually interdependent in a way that seems unbelievably harmonious.  Every this goes with every that.  Without others there is no self, and without somewhere there is no here, so that – in this sense – self is other and here is there.”

“The world outside your skin is just as much as the world inside: they move together inseparably, and at first you feel a little out of control because the world outside is so much vaster than the world inside.  Yet you soon discover that you are able to go ahead with ordinary activities – to work and make decisions as ever, though somehow this is less of a drag.  Your body is no longer a corpse which the ego has to animate and lug around.  There is a feeling of the ground holding you up, and of the hills lifting you when you climb them.  Air breathes itself in and out of your lungs, and instead of looking and listening, light and sound come to you on their own.  Eyes see and ears hear as wind blows and water flows.  All space becomes your mind.  Time carries you along like a river, but never flows out of the present: the more it goes, the more it stays, and you no longer have to fight or kill it.”

“Once you have seen this you can return to the world of practical affairs with a new spirit.  You have seen that the universe is at root a magical illusion and a fabulous game, and that there is no separate ‘you’ to get something out of it, as if life were a bank to be robbed.  The only real ‘you’ is the one that comes and goes, manifests and withdraws itself eternally in and as every conscious being.  For ‘you’ is the universe looking at itself from billions of points of view, points that comes and go so that the vision is forever new.  What we see as death, empty space, or nothingness is only the trough between the crests of this endlessly waving ocean.  It is all part of the illusion that there should seem to be something to be gained in the future, that that there is an urgent necessity to go on and on until we get it.  Yet just as there is no time but the present, and no one except the all-and-everything, there is never anything to be gained – though the zest of the game is to pretend that there is.”

“How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and such a fabulous arabesque of nerves as the brain can experience itself as anything less than a god?  And, when you consider that this incalculably subtle organism is inseparable from the still more marvelous patterns of its environment – from the minutest electrical designs to the whole company of the galaxies - how is it conceivable that this incarnation of all eternity can be bored with being?”

“After people die, babies are born – and, unless they are automata, every one of them is, just as we ourselves were, the ‘I’ experience coming again into being.  The conditions of heredity and environment change, but each of those babies incarnated the same experience of being central to a world that is ‘other.’  Each infant draws into life as I did, without any memory of a past.  Thus when I am gone there can be no experience, no living through, of the state of being a perpetual ‘has-been.’  Nature ‘abhors the vacuum’ and the I-feeling appears again as it did before, and it matters not whether the interval be ten seconds or billions of years.  In unconsciousness all times there are the same brief instant.”

“In looking out upon the world, we forget that the world is looking at itself – through our eyes and IT’s.”

Hello November!

November 1st, 2011 Posted in Thoughts & Thanks | No Comments »

Oh my goodness it’s already November!  The world is spinning so fast!

The semester is almost over and my classes are finishing strong!  I am so grateful I took philosophy of ethics and business principles this semester!  I already registered for classes next semester and they are: business calculus, international business principles, and business management!  So stoked!

Also extremely stoked that my sister,DonNell, is moving back to Texas next week with her new fiancee!!  I can’t wait to meet him!  I am so grateful that she is in such a good place in her life and that she is so happy!  It makes me feel so good knowing that she is so happy!  I love her so much and I can’t wait to hang out with her all the time again!

I am so happy that DonNell and I are hosting Thanksgiving for our family!  I am so grateful our family will eat anything and that DonNell being gluten-free and me being vegan is no issue!  Thanksgiving will be a delicious feast!

I am so grateful for the fall weather!  It is so freaking nice outside every single day!  I am so grateful for the smells/feelings that accompany fall!

I am so grateful for the motivation to work out!  I took a few months off and now I am back on!  It feels so good!  The contrast is phenomenal!  Running and yoga are the slam!

I am so grateful for poetry slams!  They are inspiring, engaging, and bring people together!  I love it!

I am so grateful I get along with my new roommate!  I am so grateful for my friends!  I am so grateful for my family!  I am so grateful for my life!  <3 <3 <3