I finished my NaNoWriMo novel last night!


Advent is Almost Upon Us

This article explains the Nativity Fast,  which for New Calendar believers begins this Monday,  November 15.   Here’s some guidelines.

This article suggests that the Eastern Orthodox way of celebrating Nativity (Christmas) may prevent the holiday blues.  The idea is that the world is in darkness and a kind of famine until the Light of Christ burst into the world at the Nativity and this famine of spirit is paralleled by a sort of a physical famine of body.

Meanwhile,  I discovered these seaweed snacks!  They are low-calorie, vegan and an addictive alternative to potato chips.  Get ’em at Trader Joe’s.

Today is the 13th day of VeganMoFo and NaNoWriMo.

Today the Church commemorates Apostles Stachys, Amplias, Urban, Narcissus, Apelles, and Aristobulus of the Seventy.

Holy Mount Athos: Elders and Hermits

Pizza & Cinnamon Rolls plus a recommend for Bosch mixers

The photo speaks for itself:  Simple whole wheat crust, using my bread recipe;  bottled spaghetti sauce,  some fake mozzarella cheese,  olives, onions and artichoke hearts.  I made a pan of cinnamon rolls with the left-over dough:

Just roll the dough out into a big rectangle,  spread it with vegan margarine,  sprinkle with a largish amount of brown sugar and cinnamon,   add raisins and/or nuts .  Roll up,  slice,  place slices into greased pan and bake at 350 for maybe half an hour.

All this bread-baking is very easy because I have the most wonderful appliance,  a Bosch mixer.  They are expensive.  I had just inherited some money from an aunt and that’s how I was able to afford it.


This is the 11 day of VeganMoFo and NaNoWriMo.  I have fallen behind with both projects!

Today the Church remembers the Monk Avramii (Abraham), Archimandrite of Rostov

Favorite Cookbooks: Oldies But Goodies

All we had for dinner tonight were leftovers so no new recipes to share today.  I thought I’d write some short reviews for older veg*n cookbooks that  younger folks may be unfamiliar with but are still in print.

TEN TALENTS,  by  Frank and Rosalie Hurd. This is an old-timey cookbook put out by a Seventh Day Adventist couple and is the source of two of my favorite recipes,  Cashew Gravy and a spaghetti casserole made with pimento cheese and cashews. I am on my second copy.  You can buy it here.  I can’t vouch for the 7th Day Adventist doctrine but it’s a very good book.

THE FARM VEGETARIAN COOKBOOK. Since the members of the Farm commune grow their own crops,  this small book has a lot of recipes for farm products like corn and soybeans with very little reference to packaged convenience food.    For example,  the lasagna recipe assumes you are planning to make your own lasagna noodles from the year’s wheat crop.  Recipes calling for soy milk assume you are starting from scratch with your own beans.   Nevertheless,  the recipes are still useful and can be easily adapted for less agriculturally-minded people and the book itself is a glimpse into a fascinating sub-culture.  You can buy it here from Amazon.

TOFU COOKERY by Louise Hagler.  I’ve used this book for 25 years.  This book is especially useful for making ordinary food,  like enchiladas, using tofu.  My favorite section is the desert chapter near the end,  especially the cream pies!  Order it from Amazon.

THE NEW MCDOUGALL COOKBOOK is based on the famous McDougall diet,  which is vegan and extremely low-fat.  Years ago I lost considerable weight following this plan but alas,  I also lost my hair.  I do not pretend to be smarter than Dr. McDougall who I admire very much but I think we do need to eat a little fat.  (My hair all grew back when I started putting margarine on my toast and olive oil on my salads.)  But apart from that quibble,  this is a great cookbook and has some especially nice soup recipes.  You can order it from Dr. McDougall’s web site.

Today is the 6th day of VeganMoFo and NaNoWriMo.
Remember to set your clocks back tonight!

Today is the day the Church commemorates  the Joy of All Who Sorrow icon.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Spring Rolls

I am not Vietnamese but my favorite restaurant here in Seaside is the Noodle Bar,  a Vietnamese lunch counter.  I always order the vegetarian spring rolls that come with a tasty peanut dipping sauce.  I like them so much I make a pretty good facsimile of them myself.

For the rolls:

A package of spring roll wrappers (rice paper),  like this:

A head of lettuce (doesn’t matter what kind). Separate, wash and pat the leaves dry.
Some thin pasta,  boiled and drained.  (All kinds of possibilities but it must be thin.)
A bunch of green onions,  sliced.
A big carrot,  shredded
A cup or so of tofu,  crumbled and sauteed.  (Or any meat substitute of your choice.)
A bunch of fresh cilantro.  (You may also include fresh mint and fresh basil.)

Optional (for me, at least):  Bean sprouts.   I generally leave these out.


Soak one wrapper in a bowl of hot water for a few seconds until softened but not disintegrated.  Place it on a plate.
Place a lettuce leaf in the center of the wrapper,   maybe a little closer to the bottom
Place a handful of the noodles on the lettuce.
Top with the carrot,  onion,  tofu and a leaf or two of cilantro.
Carefully roll it up,   starting from the bottom,  flapping over the two sides and sealing the top flap.  Make sure it’s tight!
The roll will tend to stay rolled up because the rice paper is quite sticky.

Here’s a video  I found on YouTube demonstrating how to roll them up.  Warning:  meat is used in the demo.

The peanut dipping sauce:

In a small sauce pan combine:

2/3 cup natural peanut butter,  either smooth or crunchy
1 cup of hot water
2  tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
2-3 minced cloves of garlic (don’t use garlic powder)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Stir over medium heat until thick.   If it’s too thick to use as a dipping sauce,  add more water.

The rolls are served cold.

This is the 5th day of VeganMoFo and NaNoWriMo.

Today the Church remembers the Apostle James,  the brother of the Lord.

Lenten Orange Poppy Seed Cake

This is a very simple recipe that  produces a cake that is not fancy but is very satisfying.  I always take this to Lenten potlucks.

Orange Poppy Seed Cake

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine the dry ingredients;  combine the wet ingredients;  mix it all up.
Spoon the thickish batter into a greased pie pan or something of a similar size.
Decorate the top with dried cranberries and nuts,  if you like.
Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.
Give it the toothpick test for doneness;  it might need to bake a little more.

This recipe comes from  Secrets of Fat-Free Baking by Sandra Woodruff.  The original recipe called for baking it in a loaf pan and calling it “bread,”  but I like cake better.

This is day 4 of  VeganMoFo and NaNoWriMo.

Today the Church remembers the Seven Holy Youths of Ephesus.

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