Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Saying goodbye to a family friend

The latest birthday card sent to me by HJ- animal themed of course (December, 2013).
Today I found out Hazel Jeanne Rodgers died. Most people knew her as "Jeannie" and I knew her as "HJ". You do not know her, but the world lost a special person. Growing up, my sisters and I would receive a card from her for all the holidays throughout the year. And I mean every holiday; Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Thanksgiving, etc. For Christmas and birthdays we’d receive a present along with our card.

I was the only one that ever wrote her back with thank you letters. As I grew up, letters continued but instead of thank you’s, it was hello letters. I’d write more about what I had been up to and keep her up to date with all the family news. Once in awhile I would call her and we could easily talk for over an hour. 

HJ was like a close aunt and meant a lot to me. It is hard to put in words why she was such a strong influence in my life, but I guess she was like a lifeline away from my sometimes-chaotic childhood and supported my adventures through life.

When in high school, I started to get interested in animal issues. HJ was kind enough to get me subscriptions to animal rights magazines and organizations, which helped educate and shape me into a beginning activist. More recently, she sponsored an animal at a farm sanctuary in my name and got me a membership to People’s Committee for Responsible Medicine.

HJ was also generous on her own, giving funds to multiple human and animal welfare groups, including sponsoring a child in another country. She opened up her home to feral cats in her neighborhood, offering food and shelter to those who couldn’t be tamed and affection to the cats who wanted more. 

HJ is not survived by any family. She never married or had any children, but there is many people who will miss her dearly. Anyone who knew her would remember her as an extremely friendly and giving person. Since HJ is not having a memorial service, I wanted to honor her memory in some way. This blog post does not even begin to explain her amazing spirit, but I wanted to share with others a life that was truly extraordinary.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Tempeh Turnovers: the leftovers are perfect for lunch!

This is one of my favorite recipes!  I love it since the turnovers taste so good right out of the oven, but also makes the best lunch (and easy to transport too).  I feel that tempeh is often cooked wrong and so people think it tastes bad (kinda like tofu). This recipe allows the tempeh to get great flavor through baking.  

Tempeh is often misunderstood.  The description of it- fermented soy essentially- does not sound appetizing, but it can be amazing!  The best tempeh I've ever had is from Dovetail Bakery in Portland.  I use to work there and never got tired of it.  The smokey tempeh is available with weekend biscuits and gravy, and on sandwiches during the week.  So tasty!

Tempeh Turnovers


12 oz. Tempeh, chopped
1 large Zucchini, chopped
1 medium Red Onion, chopped
1 large Red Potato, chopped
1 medium Sweet Potato, chopped
1 Tb Oil
2 tsp Garlic Granules
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Parsley
2 Tb Braggs Liquid Aminos
1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast


3 1/2 cups Flour (plus more)
1/3 cup Oil
2 cups Warm Water
1/2 tsp Salt

Boil the cut potatoes (red and sweet) in water until soft enough to bite into (but still keeps its shape). Drain and set aside.

In a large pan, heat the oil on medium-high heat.  Add the onion and tempeh and cook until onion is translucent.  Add the zucchini and cook another few minutes.  Add the spices, nutritional yeast and braggs to the mixture and combine.  Add the potatoes and stir in.  Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt.  Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the water.  Mix to combine and knead for a minute. You want the dough to hold together but not be sticky.  Add more flour if needed.  Split the dough into 6 balls.  Using a little extra flour, knead each ball to soften.

Spread dough in palm of hand into a circle slightly larger than your hand.  Fill half the dough with the tempeh filling.  Fold dough in half and place on a greased baking sheet.  Repeat with the rest of the dough balls.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. 

You may have some extra tempeh filling, which goes great served with rice too!