Wednesday, November 27, 2013


If you need me, I'll be in a tofurkey-induced food coma for the next week.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Vegan Thanksgiving recipes!

One of the top questions vegans seem to get (at least, in my experience) is, "So, what do you eat on Thanksgiving?" Rather than just answering the question, I decided to post some recipes.  This year, I'll be making the following dishes:

-stuffing (my grandmother's recipe that I veganized)
-green bean casserole
-mashed potatoes
-pumpkin pie

Oh, and maybe a salad since it might be nice to have some food that doesn't send me into a carbohydrate-induced coma.  

Because I'm having tofurkey this year (which doesn't require a recipe since it's pre-made), I decided to include a recipe for one of my other favorite main dishes.

Mock Chicken Pot Pie

1/4 cup vegetable bouillon
2 1/2 cups hot water
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 15.5-oz. can white potatoes, drained and cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups frozen or canned and drained mixed corn kernels, peas, and diced carrots
1/2  lb. faux chicken, cut into tiny cubes
1 box puff pastry sheets
       Preheat the over to 400 degrees. Mix the vegetable bouillon powder with the hot water to make stock. Combine the nutritional yeast and flour in a large pot and stir constantly over low heat until lightly toasted. Add the oil, stirring to make a roux. Slowly whisk in the stock, garlic salt, and pepper. Add the vegetables and faux chicken. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until heated through. Roll out one sheet of puff pastry and place in a 9-inch pie dish, trimming to fit. Place the pastry in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until it starts to puff. Remove the pastry from the oven, pour the filling into it, and place the other sheet of puff pastry on top, cutting and pressing together the edges and making several 1-inch slices on top to allow the steam to escape. Continue baking for approximately 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden and puffed.

Green Bean Casserole

¼ cup vegan butter (like Earth Balance)
¼ cup flour
1 ½ cups vegetable broth, warmed
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
Two 14.5 oz cans green beans, drained
One 2.8 oz can French fried onions
1. Melt margarine in a saucepan over medium heat.
2. Add flour and whisk continuously for 1-2 minutes until it forms a roux.
3. Add broth, soy sauce, and garlic power; whisk for 1-2 minutes until the sauce is thick and bubbly.
4. Add the oil and nutritional yeast. Whisk again until smooth.
5. Pour the sauce into a small casserole dish, add the green beans and stir to coat.
6. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes, then top with the French fried onions and bake for 5 more minutes, until browned and bubbly.

Pumpkin Pie


2 10.5 ounce packages silken (soft) tofu
1 pre-made pie crust
1 16 ounce can pumpkin
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves


Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
In a blender or food processor, process all ingredients, except for 
the pie crust, until smooth.

Pour into pre-made pie crust. Bake for one hour, or until a toothpick 
inserted in the center comes out clean. Chill before serving, if 

Standard Bread Stuffing

3 quarts soft bread cubes (3 quarts = 12 cups)
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground sage
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/3 melted butter
2 heaping tablespoons of corn starch plus 4 tablespoons of water (mixed together)
3/4 boiling water

1.  Mix bread, salt, sage, pepper, onion and celery in large bowl.  Pour melted butter over it and mix well.
2.  Add corn starch mixture and water.  Mix lightly until well blended.

Note - If a dry dressing is preferred, decrease liquid.

Cook at 375 degrees for 1/2 hour.
Cook in a casserole dish or in a covered bowl.

Mashed Potatoes

1/4 cup olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
 3 medium Yukon gold potatoes

1. Place the olive oil in a small saute pan set over medium-low heat. Add the garlic, and cook until garlic is soft, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and set aside.
2. Peel the potatoes, and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks. Place chunks in a medium saucepan filled with cold water. Add 2 1/2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until a knife inserted into a potato chunk comes out easily. Drain potatoes in a colander set over a heat-proof bowl, reserving 1/3 cup cooking water. Transfer potatoes and reserved water to a medium bow
3. Using a whisk, mash the potatoes and reserved cooking water until smooth. Whisk in the reserved olive oil and garlic. Season the mashed potatoes with salt, and serve.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Vaudeville and popcorn

Last weekend, I worked at an old vaudeville theatre (that seats 600 people), and it was so cool!  When I received the itinerary, all I knew is that I was to head to a place called Logansport, Indiana and perform at a place called the Shindig.

I had no idea what a treat I was in for!

First of all, when I arrived, I saw this:

Call me egotistical, but I never get tired of seeing my name in lights.

Second, the staff could not have been nicer! I even got my own, personalized tour of the backstage area/dressing rooms (which contained cast notes/graffiti from 1912) and basement (which contained a Freddy Krueger-style boiler room and tunnels throughout the city). I wish my camera could have captured how cool this tour was, but, it was largely dark, and my flash wouldn't do it justice.  So just take my word for it, mm-kay?

I also got quite the history lesson. The theater was built in the 1800's for vaudeville, converted into a movie theater around the time movies like Gone with the Wind and Wizard of Oz became popular, then back into a live venue in the 1960's, and then back to a movie theatre in 1970. In fact, I was the first woman to perform on the Shindig's stage since 1970.

And, as if that isn't cool enough, they served popcorn (not just any type of popcorn, but movie theatre-style popcorn, which I love, love, LOVE).  I'm pretty sure I might have eaten my weight in it.
I got to work with the very funny (and mega-talented) Ron Feingold. If you haven't seen his show, it's super unique, and you should definitely check it out (especially if you like acapella music).  

Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to explore much of Logansport since I was working on my legal memo for law school all day and night. I seriously only took breaks to shower and perform.  Well, and to eat copious amounts of popcorn, of course.

My face most of the weekend:
Luckily, I was much, MUCH happier once, after working on it for nearly a month,  I turned it in on Sunday.  Cue more popcorn-eating to celebrate.   

Monday, November 11, 2013

First 5K in a while

As part of my marathon training, I ran a 5K this weekend. My training program is 29 weeks long, and it starts off very slowly.  Thank everything holy.  If it started with running ten miles three times per week, I think I might want to die.

I ran the Ann Arbor Turkey Trot, which actually took place at Hudson Mills Metropark in Dexter, Michigan (my hometown - yay!).  I have many fond memories of rollerblading at Hudson Mills.  And I think I even had a girl scout meeting there once.

Hudson Mills is incredibly scenic, and I had planned to take pictures of all of the fall colors.  Sadly, my iPhone died around mile 1.  So that meant no photos, and even worse, no music.

This marked the first time I've ever run without music.  And let me tell you, the sound of your own hyperventilation ain't pretty.  I just feel bad for the other runners who had to deal with my phlegmy-about-to-pass-out sounds. 

Considering I've been really sleep-deprived and not running nearly as much as I'd like, I still felt pretty good. My only goal was to run the whole time, and I accomplished that.  And I also got to see a lot of beautiful sites.

 Front and back of my shirt.  C'mon I couldn't run a turkey trot without preaching the good word.

The first mile marker (AKA where my phone's iPhone's battery met its tragic end).

At night, I had the pleasure of working with the very funny (and nice, too!) Sal Demilio and Kent Tucker.  We had a really good time at Dooley's in Mt. Clemens, Michigan, and the audience (which was stacked with MMA fighters and their wives) was super fun.  Luckily, nobody put me in an armbar after they heard my joke making fun of the UFC.

Monday, November 4, 2013

My first marathon

Completing a marathon has been on my bucket list from the time I figured out what a bucket list was and made one for myself (notice I said "completing" and not "running"). I always figured it'd be something I'd do during retirement when crocheting got boring. It was especially easy to put off considering I had never even run a mile when I added it to my list.

But, after completing my first half marathon, I decided that life is short, and why not start checking some of those "to do" items off now? So I bit the bullet and signed up for the 2014 Cleveland Marathon.

That means I have 195 days to get in shape, train my body to run 26.2 miles, and not want to puke while doing it (well, I'll settle for two out of three).

I found a training plan online that has me running three times per week, slowly increasing my long run mileage each week.  

And I'm happy to say, I did my first run yesterday. Since law school has me quite busy and sleep-deprived, I really haven't run much since the Lansing Half Marathon. Holy wow, did I get out of shape quickly! I was pretty winded after one mile. But I pushed through, trying to envision that finish line (and me not needing a stretcher when crossing it).

I'm a bit nervous for all of this running, but I'm also super excited! That's one thing I love about running: it forces you to push through the hard and through the pain and through the things you never thought you could do. I don't so much like the sweat, but I do like the metaphor for life that it can be.I look forward to posting updates about my progress! 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Expensive Halloween costumes and telling jokes in Indiana

After Halloween, I headed down to Merrillville, Indiana where I again worked with the ultra-hilarious Dave Waite. We performed at sold-out shows by night, and by day, we shopped the Halloween stores' discounts and ate at Qdoba.  Sadly, the stores only offered 30% off (as opposed to 50% like normal - wtf, Indiana?), so the costumes were still, like, $89.99. Not sure why costumes that barely cover the wearer's rear-end (and resemble a piece of felt) are so expensive, so back to cheap, pun costumes for me.
I'm the black-eyed P's. I know; insert groan here.

Some pictures from the shows (that's me, Dave and our MC, David Spaliaras).

Saturday, November 2, 2013


I. absolutely. love. Halloween.  I mean, like really love it!  Like, I potentially love it more than New Kids on the Block (gasp! I can't believe I even typed that last sentence).

Because I was working on both the Saturday before (post-show blurry picture with Dan Currie and Dwayne Gill below) and on Halloween itself, I only got one opportunity to dress up.

So, there were no wild and crazy parties, and the overly-sexy costumes were to a minimum.  P.S. Overly-sexy Halloween costumes = way out of hand.  Sexy Freddy Krueger?  Really? Yeah, because when I think sexy, I think of a pedophile with a messed up, burned face.

Anyway, I digress...

My mom invited me to celebrate her birthday by attending the Washtenaw Community Concert Band's annual Halloween concert.  Not only was it an opportunity to eat tons of make her a chocolate cake, but the major selling point was we got to dress up!

I was Bee Arthur.  Ba-Dum-Bum-TSH!

My mom went as a fortune teller.  Sadly, her prop tarot cards weren't able to tell me if I'm going to actually survive law school.

The band was really impressive, and they played songs from Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, and even did a piece set to "The Raven."  And that chocolate cake wasn't too shabby either, if I do say so myself.

On actual Halloween, I headed up to Northern Michigan to work at the Turtle Creek Casino.  I got to share the stage with the super hilarious Dave Waite...and an alien.  It was the first time I've ever followed an extraterrestrial.  Katy Perry would have been envious.

This is the hotel where I stayed (I got the jacuzzi suite...holla!):

And they had all of these awesome pumpkins in the lobby.

And now, for the 50% off candy sale...