Every culture has its version of the ‘roll’, whether it’s an egg roll, burrito, crepe, taquito, Chinese lettuce wrap, goi cuon, American roll-up and cabbage roll. There are different versions of the cabbage roll from various counties: Sweden, Finland, Bosnia, Italy and perhaps most famously Poland.
Cabbage rolls are usually soft-boiled cabbage leaves wrapped with minced beef or pork and rice and are baked in a tomato sauce. It’s a simple peasant food. I can remember my mother in law admonishing me not to cook cabbage in my house if I didn’t want visitors to think I was impoverished.
Yes cabbage does release a lingering strong odor when cooked but cabbage is very nutritious. Well open a window and turn on a fan if you are so delicate. Cabbage rocks! It’s full of manganese, dietary fiber, potassium, vitamin B1 and B2, folate, calcium, selenium, iron, protein and niacin.
And by the by, it’s filling, tasty and a child friendly dish!
Every year toward the end of September I feel a pain in my heart. I’m giving up the glorious sun filled days of carefree summer where there are no worries about homework and tests and our family has vacation and sleeping in on the schedule. But the days get cooler and leaves change color and a new routine replaces the dog days of summer. We rent skis for the winter and just like that I’m loving fall.
I guess I’m a season chameleon. I can’t wait for Halloween decorations, Thanksgiving dinner, apple picking, jumping into leaf piles and chowing down pumpkin pie!
But my kids aren’t exactly enthusiastic for my Grandma’s pumpkin pie recipe: one’s a vegan therefore no eggs or milk and the other one is trying to eat only healthy food. Traditional pie crust is not healthy. It’s full of fat and calories (unless you use my healthy vegan pic crust. Stay tuned!) The pumpkin is the nutritional star with leading roles going to high vitamin C and A, high fiber and zero fat in a can of 100% pure pumpkin.
Hence I devised vegan pumpkin pie custard! It tastes just like Grandma’s pumpkin pie (minus the pie crust) and is a nutritional bonanza!
one can of 15 OZ pure pumpkin
12 fl oz. almond milk (you can substitute other vegan milks)
3/4 cup of coconut sugar(or sugar of your choose)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 flax seed egg
Grind the flax seeds in a mini-grinder or coffee grinder until fine
Soak the seeds in the water
Preheat your oven to 350° and grease the ramekins
In your mixer bowl put all the dry ingredients and gently whisk
Add flax seed eggs mix
Slowly add milk while mixing
Ladle mixture into ramekins
Put ramekins in a pan filled with water about an inch below the top of ramekins
Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until pumpkin mixture has firmed
Take out of water bath and refrigerate for another hour or more
I have been shocked by some people who insist on dividing a check total by the number of people at the table. Most of my friends are sensitive to fair pay for what one orders so there’s no problem.
You may ask, why I don’t just ask for a separate check? Well my child is already painfully aware of his fiscal status and I don’t want to appear cheap and embarrass my child even more then driving the ten year old car wreck that surrounds Escalades, Range Rovers, Lexus’, Audi’s and other brand new expensive cars.
Yet if you ever ask a single unemployed mother who painfully tries to order the cheapest items on a menu: a glass of house white wine and veggie burger for herself and a hamburger and water for her son to divide equally with you who orders surf and turf for herself and son, with three glasses of top shelf vino, a soft drink, 3 appetizers and a dessert, WTF? Oh and by the way the offending party probably belongs to a country club, has a brand new car, many vacations during the year, a job and a husband who has a job. I don’t get it.
So I pose to everyone when it comes time to divvy up the check at team dinners: think about the people at the table and what they ordered. Think about those of us who don’t eat at restaurants unless there’s no alternative. Think about those who don’t order multiple drinks, appetizers, and desserts. Know that our children are giving us anxious glances to see if we can afford the cheapest menu item. We are struggling and trying just to pay the utilities and taxes. And if my child may have a bite of the chicken wings that you ordered, I apologize. This probably maybe the highlight of my child’s vacation. There’s not going to be a beach vacation, ski house, European or Caribbean tour. I just want my child to enjoy the little I can give and still pay the bills.
At the hospital they let me stay alone with my husband for 20 minutes after he passed. I hadn’t left his side for more than two hours for the last three weeks. A wonderful angle of a neighbor stepped in to help care for my kids: 11 and 14. Our minister was there and my father and family came two days before he died. But when I was alone with him after he passed I had no idea what I should do. I took his wedding ring off his finger and took mine off and placed them both on a gold chain hanging around my neck. I then just collapsed into his body and cried telling him how much I and his children loved him.
Three years later at what would have been our 21st wedding anniversary it’s still there our rings around my neck. I know I should have moved on and taken this pathetic plea for attention off. Yet somehow it had become a token of comfort, something tangible that I can grasp at various points during the day when I want him at my side.
Our daughter and son brought me a beautiful bouquet of flowers and wrote a touching card in honor of the day.
My daughter told me she picked out each flower for the bouquet, certainly her perfectionist father would have done the same. They are so much alike. The flowers are beautiful just like my children.
I remember two weeks after my husband died I went to a widowers grievance support group at Greenwich Hospital. A widow in his 70’s said the pain of his wife’s death four years ago hadn’t eased. In fact, he wanted to join her. I didn’t return to the support group.
I have my husband’s personality, charm, temper and eyes in both my children for which I am blessed. Sometimes it’s hard to ‘get over’ and ‘move on’ after your soul mate dies. Those who seem to grieve long after the acceptable time are still in pain and may not want to ‘move on’. There is no acceptable time limit for sorrow.
When I was growing up, I looked forward to when my parents went out at night because that meant we could have Kraft Mac & Cheese. Supposedly the company made it healthier a couple of years ago by removing artificial dyes, flavors and preservatives. Hold on Kraft fans, this new Kraft dinner is not a healthy choice to eat. It’s low in fiber and still high in sodium, sugar and saturated fat. I came up with a healthy vegan mac & cheese that doesn’t have any artificial ingredients is low in sodium, but high in protein and fiber, and zero added sugar and only 2 teaspoons of healthy oil. Yes, it does take more time to make, but it tastes better and is better for you and your family.
1 head of cauliflower cut into florets
2 teaspoons grape or virgin olive oil
1 chopped medium yellow onion
1 cup sliced bella mushrooms, (can use crimini or white mushrooms)
1 red pepper finely chopped
1/4 Cup finely sliced sun-dried tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, chopped
about 1/2 cup low sodium vegetable broth
1 cup Cilantro stem removed and cut (reserve 2 tablespoons)
1/3 cup Nutritional yeast
1 can (15.5 oz.) small white beans drained (reserve the bean liquid for later use)
2 Tablespoons white wine or low sodium veggie broth*
1 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt!)
1 Teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon turmeric
2 cups dried cavatappi (or elbow) pasta, cooked and drained
1/2 green onion chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Place cauliflower florets on a cookie sheet covered in foil or parchment paper. Drizzle with oil and lightly season with salt and pepper. Place under broiled until gently browned. Watch closely.
In a large fry pan saute onions in broth for 5 minutes then add mushrooms, red pepper, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic. Continue to saute adding broth as necessary, until soft.
Cook pasta until al dente. Drain.
Prepare sauce by adding beans, wine or broth*, turmeric, garlic powder, nutritional yeast, 2 tablespoons cilantro and cayenne pepper to blend. Blend until smooth, stopping to stir and adding liquid as needed.
Combine cauliflower, pasta, green onion and remaining cilantro in fry pan. Then stir in sauce.
Heat over low medium for a couple of minutes until warmed.
* I frequently use wine in recipes. I understand some people have a hard time metabolizing it or want to avoid for other reasons. I totally get it. Substitute low-sodium veggie broth. For those of you who can’t tolerate “LTP” remember it is found in the skins grape but white wine is fermented without the skins. Check with your doctor if you can tolerate white wine.
Yum, yum, yum! This is a Tex Mex salad that can be served as an entrée. I like bringing it to group BBQ because its healthy, filling and vegan. And if i bring it I’m insured a good meal. This simple recipe only calls for the corn cooking in the microwave several minutes. Other than that everything else is raw and easy to assemble.
4 ears of corn, Kernels cut off the cob
2 1 lb. 13 oz black beans , rinsed and drained
2 bell pepper chopped (red, orange, yellow or green)
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 Hass avocados chopped
1 shallot chopped
For the Dressing:
4 limes juiced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves chopped
1 Tablespoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredient except dressing in a large bowl
Put all the dressing ingredients in a jar so you can shake and add later if you are bringing it to a gathering
Shake dressing and combine with other salad ingredients
A friend of mine (we are both over fifty) told me that women talk sh*t about each other because that’s what women do. Then we’re supposed to make up and choose someone else to talk sh*t about. Apparently it’s a gene particular to women and it’s something a woman can’t escape. “It’s what we do. We gossip,” she said.
The next morning after she told me this gem, I woke to find the most popular New York Times article on its website was “Why Women Aren’t C.E.O.s, According to Women Who Almost Were” The article quotes Mrs. Clinton commenting on her defeat, “Certainly, misogyny played a role” in her loss to Donald Trump. I would venture it wasn’t just men hating Mrs. Clinton but many women didn’t support her and chose Donald Trump. I was aghast that she lost. And more shocked that women supported Trump. I was so proud of being a woman in the USA and to witness the first female president.
My daughter was ecstatic with the possibilities and campaigned for Hillary as did my friend’s daughters. I felt a resounding attitude that a woman was qualified and the best candidate for president and would be elected. After all hadn’t Trump said a slew of misogynist statements such as “Grab them by the pussy” and all women hate prenups, because they are gold diggers and pumping breast milk is “disgusting.” Or that a woman must be hot in order to be a journalist and women on “The Apprentice” need to rely on sex appeal.
Yet some women chose him over Hillary. Was this the Stockholm Syndrome? Some of my female friends confided to me that they liked Hillary better but their husbands supported Trump. I was astonished that they were still married to their sexist husbands much less quietly kept peace because their husband were “good providers.”
I don’t think women are inherently in competition with other women. I support other women and would like to think they support me. Talking sh*t about other women is horrid, not a casualty of my sex. As Michelle Obama said, “When they go low, we go high.” After all, I am woman.
If you’re a vegan you know jackfruit is a frequent meat substitute in many vegan recipes. When this nutritious fruit is cooked it mimics the texture of pulled pork and its mild taste can easily be seasoned to a variety of flavors. Just recently several national chain food stores have started carrying the fruit in the produce section. It’s sold whole or in pieces. You may prefer buying a cut up jackfruit section since whole jackfruit can weigh as much as 80 pounds. Whole Foods and many Asian markets stock fresh and canned jackfruit. If you choose to use the canned variety, make sure it’s packed in brine or water, not sweet syrup. Jackfruit may look intimidating but its well worth the effort to learn how to prepare and cook with it.
approximately 3 lbs of unpeeled jackfruit or 2 drained (20 oz.) cans
1 large yellow onion
1 bell pepper (Red, orange or yellow)
3/4 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground fresh pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 cups veggie broth plus 2 tablespoons
Cut up jackfruit into several smaller sections. (Note: jackfruit is very sticky so you may prefer to wear gloves and cover your cutting board with a sheet of parchment paper.) Remove rind with a knife.
Keep slicing jackfruit into large chunks. Remove the seeds and from the pieces.
Put a large heavy bottom pot filled with broth on the burner to boil. Meanwhile cut jackfruit into thin shreds.
Add sliced fresh jackfruit or drained canned jackfruit to broth and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes.
While jackfruit is simmering slice one large onion and bell pepper. Sauté onion and pepper in a pan with 2 tablespoons broth until soft.
Combine sautéed veggies with jackfruit and remaining ingredients. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes. You can serve the ‘pulled pork’ on a gluten-free roll as it is traditionally done. I prefer to serve it with roasted baby potatoes.
I may ask you how to start the generator or how to work a chain saw to remove a fallen tree or what type of epoxy to use to replace tile or if I can borrow an axe but you tell me your husband does that. So, I ask your husband for advice. Yes it’s more important to me to be friends with your husband for survival reasons but it’s one hell of a jump to think I’m making the moves on him. I loved and love my husband. And after a terrible illness he is gone, not just to me but his children. Yet I still need to survive. There’s no pot full of gold for my family after his death, there’s heartache and survival.
My neighbors exclude me from parties, but invite my son. He’s at all the neighborhood spontaneous gatherings: Memorial Day, Fourth of July, the just because what the hell let’s have a party. But I’m never asked. Maybe that’s because I’m their worst nightmare, the 50 something widow without a life insurance policy payout. I know why you dread having me around. I’m like the ghost of things to come in the Christmas Carol.
But that doesn’t mean you should shun all the single ladies. I was married for twenty years. I’m not looking to entice your husband as my sugar daddy. I’m looking for advice on how to care for a home. I’m looking for employment. And yes, I’m looking for female friends. I have thankfully one married woman who invites me to gatherings and welcomes me into her home. Her husband, a doctor, was at my husband’s side in the hospital when he passed. To both of them I’m eternally grateful.