Australian Avocado Pizza

I HAVE BEEN SO BUSY! I’ve been feeling bad about not posting, but yesterday I looked in my book database and realized it took me two weeks to read the last book I finished. That’s crazy! Usually I finish a book in two days. So believe me, I’m not being negligent because I don’t care about you. It’s just been an insanely busy summer.

In exciting news, Smuckalert is here! I told him I would make pizza Saturday night, so while the oven was pre-heating I asked him what he wanted on his pizza, and he asked me a strange question: “is it tomato- [read: to-mAH-to] based or avocado-based?” Whaaaat? In what country is the default pizza not assumed to be made with tomato sauce? Actually, I’m pretty sure the default in Australia IS tomato sauce, but Smucks assures me that “chicken avocado” is a normal pizza over there. I’ve ordered pizza in Australia and I don’t remember any such thing, but there is the fact that I would likely completely ignore a “chicken” anything pizza on a menu. My response Saturday night was, “I don’t have any avocados and I don’t know what the hell an avocado-based pizza is, so what do you want on your tomato pizza?” But I like to please Smucky and I was intrigued by this avocado pizza, so I decided it was perfectly okay to make pizza twice in three days and dragged Smucky to Wegmans this afternoon to stock up on avocados. Usually avocado-anything is “California-style” (and believe me, it’s appropriate), but I’m calling this Australian pizza because I really do think it’s mostly an Australian thing. The ingredients for this were mostly dictated by Smucks, so it’s also Smucky’s pizza.

Avocado Pizza

pizza dough – the ingredient amounts listed below are about enough for 2-3 large individual pizzas
2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
juice of 1 lime
4 frozen teaspoon-sized cubes of cilantro (Trader Joe’s sells this), or about a handful fresh, chopped
1/2 – 1 tsp salt
your favorite vegan “chicken” – I highly recommend Gardein – chopped into bite-sized pieces
thinly sliced onion
thinly sliced tomatoes
thinly sliced jalapenos
vegan mozzarella

If using frozen dough, remove from the freezer 1-3 days in advance, and from the refrigerator 1-2 hours before baking. Preheat the oven as high as it will go an hour before bake time.

Slice the avocados in half, peel and pit them, and roughly chop them, then place it in a food processor or blender.

Place the cilantro, garlic, and lime juice in the food processor or blender as well and blend until smooth. Add some water to thin so it’s a bit more spreadable than guacamole, then add salt to taste. Blend very well. Place in a bowl just big enough to contain it and cover it to keep it from oxidizing and turning brown.

Defrost the “chicken” enough to chop (if necessary) and chop into bite-sized pieces. Thinly slice the onions. Slice and chop the tomatoes.

Thinly slice the jalapenos.

Sprinkle some flour on your workspace and shape or roll out your dough, then transfer to a semolina- or cornmeal-dusted pizza peel. Spread a nice layer of avocado puree on the crust.

Top with the jalapenos, tomatoes, and onions.

Add the “chicken”.

Sprinkle with the “cheese”. I also like to dust it with Dragonfly’s Bulk, Dry Uncheese Mix, which I keep in a shaker.

Bake until crust is browned and “cheese” is melty.

Serve hot.

Cut with scissors because it’s the awesome thing to do.

Smucky has come a long way. When I met him nearly 10 years ago, he never would have been this happy about eating vegan food. I let him keep deli turkey and mozzarella slices in the fridge when he stays here, but when I asked him if he was going to put real cheese and chicken on his pizza, he said no, vegan was fine! He said he was a bit nervous about the “chicken”, but after trying it thought it was pretty good. That’s why I recommended Gardein. Every non-vegan I’ve given it to has really liked it, and I’m typically extremely wary of giving fake meat to non-vegetarians.

Smucks devoured his pizza and then helped me with mine…although he was rather displeased about the jalapenos on mine (I left them off of his).

Sometimes I worry I’m going to have to have Smucky’s laptops surgically removed from his face, but I insist on technology-free dinners. I try to extend the conversation after the meal for as long as I can before the boys return to their computers. Here is Smucky after dinner looking very deceptively cute…he’s actually being very evil. BUT I CAN’T TELL YOU WHY.

I worked from home today so I could keep Smucky company. I’m extremely busy at work these days and was quite wrapped up in it, but I did end up having to take a few pictures of the cats, busy as I was.

Thinking about submitting this one to Cat Fancy for their cover.

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Pickled Jalapenos

Wow, have I been busy! I was thinking earlier today that it has been a while since I’ve made a post and lamented the fact it seemed it’d be even longer until I’d have a chance to do so, until I decided to make burritos for dinner and realized I could use and then write up my pickled jalapenos! Which I was trying for the first time and which turned out fantastic! So here goes! (I’m addicted to exclamation points today!)

Pickled Jalepenos

1 pint jalapenos
1 small carrot, sliced on the diagonal
3-4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp Mexican oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp peppercorns
white or cider vinegar to (just barely) cover other ingredients (about 2 cups)

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until jalapenos are soft, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer to a clean glass jar.

Refrigerate for at least three weeks.

That’s it! The hardest part is not eating them for the three weeks. I actually ended up waiting four, but they were worth the wait.

Tonight I minced up a few …

… and stuffed them into a burrito. They were REALLY good! I don’t know why I’d ever buy pickled jalapenos again.

The second hardest thing about the pickled jalapenos was getting a picture of them that didn’t involve Gomez, who kept getting between the peppers and the camera. This picture was taken with Torticia climbing atop me as I squatted on the floor. SO MANY KITTENS!

Nona, if you’re reading this, I really do think he looks like a baby Crookshanks.

So. In other news. Boston. It’s full of Australians and vegans! Mark and I accompanied this handsome Australian fellow to Boston:

We stayed with a friend Smucky’s known “since birth”, Nick, and I’ve decided that all the Australians I know are the greatest people in the world. I’ve never met an Australian I didn’t love! And on top of that, I met a vegan! This is very exciting because I’ve never actually MET a vegan in real life, other than Mark, who converted after I met him and probably because I met him, and this girl who lived in the apartment above me in one of my places in Baltimore (who was probably my biggest inspiration when I went vegan because I figured if she lived in the exact same place I did and she could do it, I could do it). I’ve ALMOST met other vegans numerous times but this is the first time it actually transpired. Not only that, but Smucks, Mark, and I knew him through Twitter for reasons completely unrelated to veganism. So we met up with him on Saturday and he took us to The Other Side, where I ordered the raw Mock Chicken Salad:

Zach promised to take us to Peace O’ Pie on Monday, which I was extremely excited about, but then it turned out they are closed on Mondays and I shed tears of pain and grief (as we were leaving on Tuesday). Apparently the entire city of Boston shuts down on Mondays. Smuckalert asked us to walk along the Charles River with him so he could take pictures on Monday and I told him it was probably closed. (It wasn’t, but it was very, very, very hot. I thought Boston would be an escape from the heat?!) Zach mostly redeemed himself by suggesting we go to Addis Red Sea instead, which was conveniently located right down the street from Nick’s place, and although it took forever the food was fabulous (although not quite DC Ethiopian fabulous; that’s one thing DC does right). I LOVE Ethiopian food, so I was about to burst with excitement, as well as hunger. I was so hungry and excited, I quite forgot to take a picture of the grub, but I DID take this picture, which I wanted to submit to The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks, but it turned out too blurry.

Not too blurry for my own blog though! (Which may soon turn into the Blog of Unnecessary Exclamation Points.) It says, “Hi! My name is ‘MESOB’. I am serving you as a ‘TABLE’. Please do not lean on, I am very fragile.”

Busy upcoming weekend; it may be another few days before I’m able to post again, but I found a vegan grill cookbook in the library, so I’m looking forward to grilling up a bunch of stuff in the very near future and I’m sure I’ll have my camera in hand. Until then, mates, g’day!

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Celebration of Celebrations 2009

Mark and I have an annual summer party, called the Celebration of Celebrations, that usually coincides with a visit from Smucky. This year’s party was this weekend and like last year, I managed to not take any real pictures of any of the food I made. However, I did get several requests for recipes, so here’s a run-down of what I served, as well as some horrible photos. Most of the food had already been wolfed down before I was able to get a second to take pictures.

Here is some of the spread:

That’s homemade Italian bread, and with it a dip of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and freshly ground pepper. I bought a ton of snacks: several different kinds chips (including Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos for the novelty of it because they are vegan and I haven’t had a Dorito in a million years), peanut-filled pretzels, and Virginia peanuts. It was junk food heaven. I made ranch dip, which is what I got the most requests for recipes for. Unfortunately for the world, I just throw things together when I make dips (well, when I make just about anything, really), but this is approximately what I did:

Vegan Ranch Dip
1 jar Vegenaise
1 cup vegan sour cream
2 Tbsp dried parsley
1 Tbsp dried minced onion, reconstituted briefly in hot water then drained
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp dried dill
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Mix all ingredients together then refrigerate for several hours to allow flavors to blend.

I balanced all the junk food out with some veggies and hummus. I was going for unusual colors of ordinary vegetables (purple peppers and yellow baby carrots!):

I made two different types of hummus: roasted red pepper and extra garlic.

Hummus, Two Ways

1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 can chickpeas
1 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic (or more to taste for extra garlic flavor)
optional: 2 roasted red peppers (for roasted red pepper flavor)

Combine the liquid ingredients in a food processor, then add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.

I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t make my own salsa; it’s usually Mark’s job to make salsa but he didn’t grow any hot peppers this year so he’s not interested in making it. I did, however, make guacamole, which I served with chips and store-bought salsa.


1/4 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
2 ripe avocados
Tabasco, to taste
juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 tomato, chopped

If you have a molcajete, place the onion, garlic, and salt in it and mash with the pestle. Add the avocado and mash, then add the Tabasco and lime juice and continue to mash. Stir in the tomatoes, and serve in the molcajete. If you don’t have a molcajete, put all ingredients except tomatoes in a bowl and mash with a fork until smooth-ish, then stir in the tomato.

The guac was such a hit that I had a request/demand to make a second batch around 1 a.m. – it it was all gone by the time I cleaned up around 4.

At Smucky’s request, the main course was a pasta bar of sorts. I cooked several different kinds of pasta, including a gluten-free penne, and made a couple different sauces.

Marinara Sauce

2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed (or to taste)
2 28 ounce cans diced tomatoes (I like fire-roasted)
1 tsp dry oregano
1/4 – 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
salt to taste
juice of 1 lemon

In a large pot or Dutch oven, bring some olive oil to temperature over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and cook for 5 minutes or until onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes and seasonings. Let simmer for 20 minutes to half an hour, add the lemon juice, then use an immersion blender or blend in batches in the blender until to desired chunkiness or smoothness.


2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups (packed) basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
1/3 cup Dragonfly’s Bulk, Dry Uncheese, or nutritional yeast

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.

The main attraction, however, seemed to be Hamburger Noodle Bake, of which I made a double batch and had only a small bit leftover – even after filling everyone up on junk food for a couple of hours before serving it. I was a little surprised how popular it was considering there were no other vegans or vegetarians (I don’t think, anyway) at this shindig. Even the ever-skeptical Smucky enjoyed it! I prepared it Friday night, put it in the fridge overnight, and baked it up Saturday afternoon, which made it perfect party food because I didn’t have to worry about it the day of, everyone loved it, and it tasted fine sitting out buffet style all night long. I can definitely recommend that recipe for appeasing omnivores!

I didn’t take any pictures of the pastas, but in this photo by Smucky – which also shows you the snacks in much better detail – you can see them at the far end of the table:

I also made mint chocolate chip ice cream, it being Smuck’s favorite flavor, but I forgot to tell everyone it was in the freezer! Fortinbras made short work of in the morning (and by morning, I mean “3 p.m.”, which is when I think he got up), however, when doing his usual rummaging and foraging, and Smucky’s had a bowl or two today…and I’m having one right now!

Smucks also got an unattractive shot of me looking a bit crazed while putting all the food out:

But hey, guess what? I finally got to spend most of the weekend in the pool, so maybe I’ll stop complaining about the lack of summer? I sure hope so and I’m sure you all do too!

And finally, here are me and Smucky celebrating!

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Guest Post: Smucky Bakes!!

Note from Renae: one of my best friends in the world, whom I recently visited in Sydney, surprised me tonight by sending me a guest post! This is shocking because he’s a meatatarian…and didn’t even own a decent kitchen knife when I showed up at his doorstep. But I think you’ll agree after reading his post that he’s making huge, delicious strides in the way of vegan eating and cooking, and in fact, I’m hosting a small dinner party this weekend and now I’m planning to make Smucky’s banana bread for dessert! And with that, allow me to introduce Smucky!

Hi, everyone, welcome to my guest post! My name is Mark, but Renae Myers usually refers to me as Smucky, or Smuckalert. This is me pictured below, with my sous chef Max Powers below.

It has long been a dream of mine to make an ieatfood guest post, however there has always been two primary complications keeping me from achieving my lofty aspirations:

1. I am not vegan – I eat meat almost exclusively, and
2. I can’t cook

But, I am not deterred easily! Thanks to some mentoring from another vegan friend of mine, I have been able to create a dish that is not only 100% vegan, but also what I like to call, ‘the business’. I am referring of course, to banana cake! Note that this is my first time cooking, so the fact that this worked is somewhat remarkable. OK, here we go…

First of all, the ingredients:

2 ripe bananas
2 cups flour
1 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup vegan margarine
1/2 cup vegan cream cheese
1/4 cup soy milk
1 tsp vinegar
1/2 tsp bi-carb soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 tsp cinnamon
Spray canola oil
4 cups love

The products pictured are all available locally here in Australia. Note that you guys call bi-carb soda baking soda apparently. Also, my vegan friend (who is also American) told me that vanilla paste is unavailable there, so instead you need to use vanilla essence or something like that. I know the bananas look like they’re past their prime, but this is how they’re supposed to be for banana bread.

You will need several kitchen implements also. Although I owned a few of the things I needed, I didn’t know what they were for or what they did (mum had bought them for me at one stage). So, when my vegan friend visited she made me get all the other stuff I needed. Basically, buy this stuff:

The following instructions can be used for converting all of the above seemingly unspectacular products into a little slice of heaven:

1. Preheat the oven to 177C (350F)
2. Blend the bananas like so

3. Combine the 1/4 cup soy milk with 1 tsp of vinegar into a small bowl.

Note that I used “light” soymilk – a health-conscious move that is nullified by the unruly amounts of sugar that go into this.

4. Pour the 2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp bi-carb soda, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp cinnamon into the mixing bowl. It will looks like this:

5. Mix it all together with a spatula so that it looks like this:

6. Add the blended bananas, 1/2 cup margarine, 1/2 cup cream cheese, soy milk mixture, and 1 tsp of vanilla paste. You should now have something like this:

7. Mix the shit out of it. (Make sure u set the mixer on low and put the beaters in first, otherwise everything flies out all over the kitchen in a comedic manner.) You should now be left with this:

I don’t think you’re meant to eat the mixture but I totally did, and I advise it:

8. Spray your bread pan with canola oil for some reason to do with sticking stuff, and then put the mixture into it:

9. Put it in the oven and leave it on for 50 mins or so. BAM, done. My mentor advised me that the best way to test if it’s ready is to stick a skewer in it, and if nothing sticks to the skewer, it’s done. Otherwise, the mixture inside hasn’t baked fully, so you need to wait longer. It should look like this at the end:


And now for the icing on the cake, you can add some icing on to the cake. This is really easy – you can do it while the banana bread is cooking. Here are the ingredients:

1. 2 cups icing sugar
2. 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese
3. 1 tsp vanilla paste

Icing sugar is called powdered sugar over there I think. Usually the packaging will give some sort of indication of awesomeness. To make the icing:

1. Clean all your kitchen implements
2. Put all of the above ingredients into the mixing bowl. It should look like this:

3. Mix on low again, you will be able to tell when it has become money, because it will look like this:

4. When your banana bread has cooled, apply icing:

5. Serve

My presentation skills are a little messy, but that banana bread tastes like God’s love. Gordon Ramsay even asked me how I got it so tasty*

* Based on events that never actually happened.

–It’s me, Renae, again. Isn’t Smucky awesome? I’m so proud that he actually baked something – and made it vegan! Many thanks to the other vegan in his life. He’s visiting us next month and I can’t wait to see him! Maybe I’ll teach him how to cook something too – his other vegan friend is outdoing me! In the meantime, here’s a picture of us in downtown Sydney:

And here’s ol Smuckalert in his natural habitat:

You can tell from the Opera House in the background!

I’m super excited Smucky hosted another food-loving friend – who amazingly happens to be vegan as well – shortly after I left in March, because now he has all these fancy new kitchen appliances I can play with the next time I’m there. Hell, his oven didn’t even work when I was there! And I had to buy him a knife!

Anyway, try Smucky’s banana bread: if it’s vegan and Smucks will eat it, it MUST be good!

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Kangaroo Pasta

Greetings from Sydney!!! I LOVE it here! My friend Luke and I touched down about 8:15 a.m. Sunday morning. I was surprisingly un-jet lagged and we spent Sunday walking around Smucky’s neighborhood. We decided to take it easy the first day so I cooked the three of us a meal. At the grocery store I found these:

So kangaroo pasta it was!

The challenge was cooking the meal. Smucky has lived in his house for nine months now, so you’d think it’d be reasonably stocked. However, Smucky does not cook – at all – and it was painfully obvious. His oven was pleading for help. I’m not kidding: the clock/temperature window read “H E L P” when I got there. I assuaged its pain somewhat by setting the clock, but between the three of us we were unable to get the oven – other than the clock – to work. Smucky claims it’s been used since he moved in, but it definitely doesn’t work now. And he didn’t even know!

Before leaving the States, I had asked Smucky if he had a decent knife, planning to pack my chef’s knife if he didn’t. He stated he had a “big knife”, so I didn’t bother. Smucky’s “big knife”, however, turned out to be nothing more than a glorified steak knife, accompanied by about 20 steak knives. So after an hour in King of Knives, I bought him a cheapish but somewhat decent chef’s knife. I can’t live without a knife!

Smucky’s mum has stocked him with a few pots and pans that he’s never used, so I did find a nice pot for cooking the pasta and a large skillet. After a few minutes of panic (on my part), he even managed to scrounge up a cutting board. So I was finally in business. Kangaroo pasta and a tossed salad! A quick and easy meal prepared in a woefully underused kitchen!

Kangaroo Pasta

1 pound kangaroo-shaped pasta (obviously you can use any pasta but unless it’s kangaroo shaped it won’t be Kangaroo Pasta)
olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp capers
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp chili flakes (I added this to my dish separately since I was dining with spice sissies)
sea salt to taste
fresh basil

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Add the pasta and cook until al dente.

Mince the garlic and chop the onion.

Chop the sun-dried tomatoes and measure the capers.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and garlic.

When the onions are translucent …

… add the sun-dried tomatoes and capers.

Cook for a few minutes, then add the fresh tomatoes …

… and the tinned tomatoes. Season with oregano, salt, and chili flakes.

Let the tomatoes cook down for a few minutes, then add the basil and the pasta and allow to warm up.

I also made a tossed salad.

For a dressing, I just mixed together some olive and balsamic vinegar, along with a bit of salt and garlic. Smuck doesn’t have a whisk, can you believe that?! I used a fork.

I had also bought a baguette: if Smucky’s oven doesn’t work I can’t bake my own, unfortunately. Here’s the table:

Smucky’s father had suggested a good Australian red for us. And here’s the pasta plated:

Luke – who couldn’t tolerate a vegan meal and cooked up some sausages for himself and Smucky- adds some dressing to his salad:

Smucky was very happy to enjoy a home-cooked meal for once!

Happy as the Smuckster was, I was not that happy with the meal, unfortunately. First of all, I didn’t let the pasta warm up enough after adding to the sauce and it was not as hot as I’d have liked. Secondly, I don’t think this is really the thing to make with kangaroo-shaped pasta. This dish is really better with penne or something like that. I think kangaroo pasta is crying out for a more mac and cheese approach. I have another box of it though!

Now that the food is out of the way, meet Max Powers!

Max is Smucky’s cat, whom I LOVE! I always feel a little sad and lost when staying in a catless home, so I was very happy when Smucky got Max, and not only that, but Max is very friendly and loves me too! And he’s so handsome!

And now if you will indulge me, a few photos from my trip so far…

My dear friend Smucky in his natural habitat:

We visited the famous Sydney Opera House:

And then the Botanical Gardens next door:

The greatest thing about the Botanical Gardens, though, is the BATS! I have a life-long love of bats and the Sydney Botanical Gardens are home to a very large breed of macrobat called flying foxes or fruit bats and they are really, really neat.

He’s sticking his tongue out!

There are also wild parrots!

Today, we walked from Bondi Beach to Congee Beach, which is a beautiful (but long!) walk. Here’s me and Pig early in the walk:

Here’s Bondi:

And some waves:

It’s February and I was hanging out on the beach! I’m sunburnt! I’m sure I’ll be back with another post before I return home next Friday, but please forgive me if my posts are sporadic and possibly non-food related. Eating vegan is easy in Sydney, though. Cheeseless pizza on its way to me as I type!

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Entertaining the vegetable-hating Aussie

I am currently in the midst of a week-long vacation from work, staying home to entertain my close friend from Australia, Muck (because he’s Australian, he doesn’t always pronounce his R’s, so his given name Mark became Muck…although since my husband Mark is Smark, Muck is more often Smuck). Smucky and I couldn’t be more different in terms of palate: he’s a vegetable- and spice-hating carnivore with little sense of culinary adventure and I’m (obviously) a vegan with a taste for spicy food and trying new things. So I try to find some compromises when he’s here. He’s generally pretty good about at least trying most of the things I make and sometimes he even likes them! I do let him keep a quart of milk and sliced deli turkey in the refrigerator (the latter meaning the cats really like it when he’s in town) so he doesn’t starve, but I enjoy introducing him to new things.

Sometimes I am really surprised by the things that are new to Smucky. For example: bagels. I offered him a homemade bagel last summer and he said he’d never had nor even seen one before. What?!? How can you spend nearly three decades on this planet and never encounter a bagel?!?! The good news is he really took to bagels once he tried one. Now I feel obligated to keep a supply of them on hand when he’s here. They are fun to make, so it’s okay. After he took his jet-lagged self to bed early Monday night, I got to work and surprised him Tuesday morning with fresh everything bagels:

Somehow we’ve managed to go through 8 1/2 bagels already, so it looks like another batch is in my immediate future.

Smucky adulterates his with non-vegan turkey and mozzarella (and, surprisingly, sliced “beetroot”…apparently it’s a normal sandwich topping in Australia): he’s never had cream cheese because he “doesn’t like cream”. I, however, smear mine with Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, and in this case, jalapeno jelly from my mother-in-law in Charleston. Is it the healthiest way to start my day? Maybe not, but I’m on vacation, damn it!

Another thing Smucky’s never heard of is blueberries, which is possibly even more bizarre than bagels. He and I were in Wegmans tonight picking out sodas to buy for a party we’re having this weekend, when he suggested we try a blueberry soda. I said I was skeptical about the universal appeal of blueberry soda and asked him if he’d ever had it and it came out that he didn’t even know what a blueberry is: he thought it was just a flavor of “lolly”. Once I got over my shock, I abandoned him in the soda aisle, ran back to the produce section, grabbed some blueberries and returned stating he was going to find out what a blueberry was and not in soda form. Oddly, I did buy the blackberry soda he suggested without asking him if he knows what a blackberry is…maybe he just thought it best to keep mum about it.

One of the few meals I can think of that will satisfy both of our needs is Italian-style pasta. Usually we end up having spaghetti at some point when he’s here, but today I decided to go all-out and spring vegan lasagne on him. His eyes got big with excitement when I announced we’d be having lasagne for dinner, although he immediately asked, with concern in his voice, “but what about the meat and cheese? You can’t have lasagne without meat and cheese.” I told him not to worry his pretty little head about it.

Not only did I make lasagne, I decided to make my own noodles:

I made a very Veganomicon lasagne, with some alterations.

I substituted one spinach layer with commercial vegan “ground beef” in hopes of better appeasing the one who thinks lasagne can’t exist without meat and cheese. I’m very impressed by the fact that he ate two pieces despite the fact that I kept a spinach layer! (He did ask, suspiciously, “what’s with this green stuff?”)

(My homemade noodles didn’t retain layers very well, I’m afraid…)

One thing that I make that Smucky eats without hesitation or suspicion is ice cream, about which honestly I was at first a bit surprised. He’s such a fan of cow milk that I expected resistance to vegan ice cream…but he’s eaten about three quarters of a quart since yesterday!

Smuck’s favorite is mint chocolate chip, so I make it especially for him. Smark’s favorite is cookies and cream, so I made that tonight:

… although it looks like I’ll have to make another batch of mint chocolate chip tomorrow night. I also bought pistachios today in order to make pistachio ice cream for the party, although Smucky today informed me he hates nuts, so I guess he won’t be having any of that. Sigh.

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