Monday (Meatless) Monday

Had an interesting and emotional weekend as I participated in a workshop with an organization I have admired for over 20 years.

Linda Tellington is a pioneer in animal touch therapy and her patented “T-Touch” method is used all over the world on everything from elephants to fish to domestic pets and even people!

Best Friends LA offered us a 2-day workshop by the wonderful Cynde Van Vleet, CPDT-KSA from I.C. PawAbilities, who gave us a good overview of how to work with stressed felines which is definitely something we encounter on a daily basis at BFLA. Now is the time we call “kitten season” when hundreds of stray cats and/or kittens flood into our facility. Cats are so different from dogs in many ways, but they are the same in one: having major stress in strange situations. And there is nothing stranger than an animal shelter with a cacophony of barks, sounds, kids yelling, phones ringing, etc. Some of these animals are so traumatized that they shut down and then we have a harder time finding new homes for them. Thus the need for an easy, safe method to center them and get them back to themselves is almost a necessity for volunteers and animal caretakers.

Approximately a dozen women (why is it always women, where are the men?), with the most tender hearts and purest intentions, spent from 10 am to 4 pm learning as much as we could about how to tend to our little critters. Most of us have our own pets to practice on at home, but we were given access to the Cattery at BFLA and got a chance to put the T-Touch method to great use where it was needed. A new $10 Adoption initiative kicked off this week and as a result, the place was jumping with potential adopters and children.

There were some amazing recoveries that occurred almost on the spot, including a couple of cats with range of motion issues and a couple with trust situations. If I can, I’ll try to find a link to some video we shot which clearly shows that, with even the smallest amount of effort, impossible things can become possible.

Life is full of daily miracles but we tend not to notice as we speed pell-mell through our days. The opportunity that animals offer us is one of “mindfulness.” Cindy used that phrase many times during our workshop. Cats in particular are mindful, present, focused – something we could all use a refresher course about. Finding that place inside us and connecting with an animal who needs your attention and love is the way to rediscover our own needs and joy.

My bucket list is always topped with the fervent desire to devote the rest of my life to helping animals in as many ways as I can. To have a career in animal therapy is my stated “retirement career” although I’m thinking I might start it sooner rather than later.

For now, BFLA and other great organizations like The Gentle Barn, The Farm Sanctuary, Mercy for Animals, the Lu Parker Project and Rover Rescue offered me a chance to get involved and make a difference. Plus my one and only fur baby Tori came to me via fostering for Rover Rescue.

If you have been feeling cut off from the natural world, need a little more love in your life, want to know at the end of each day that what you did mattered, please consider volunteering with any of these great organizations.

It’s good karma, too! 😉

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Here is my Meatless Monday recipe that I found while searching for some vegan ‘cue. The one thing that still lures me is the smell of a barbecue and with the warm weather, all my neighbors break out the grill. I realized though that it wasn’t the meat I was missing, it was the wonderful, smoky deliciousness imparted by the seasonings and aromas. So I figured there must be something I could do on the grill that would replicate that olfactory experience and I found it – eureka!

It’s from a great website,The New Veganism, by food blogger Gena Hamshaw via the Food52 website. Here is her note on these fabulous Tempeh Kebabs:

Tempeh Kebabs with Homemade Barbecue Sauce/Photo by James Ransom

“Sweet, tangy homemade barbecue sauce is a perfect complement to the nutty, earthy taste of tempeh. This easy, crowd-pleasing dish is ideal for summer entertaining…”

I’m trying it out on Memorial Day Weekend – let me know what you think and, if you try it, how it turned out.

NMRK,

Lisa and Tori

Lisa Lyons

It’s a Good Time to Be a Vegan

I have to say I am so encouraged by the spreading of the plant-based diet movement that is gradually entering the commercial food chains. When everything from Stonefire Grill to Subway to 7-Eleven are offering vegan additions to their menu, I am delighted.

I am fortunate to live in a major metropolis that attracts all kinds of cuisine so by visiting a site like happycow.net, I can find a listing of over 60 restaurants in LA area alone that are vegetarian and/or vegan friendly. How awesome is that?

Specialty items like Go Max Go vegan candy bars can be found at Fresh & Easy stores, Target carries Morningstar Farms, Gardein, Sweet Earth, and their own Archer Farms versions of vegan substitutes – I truly believe that as the technology to produce better versions of traditional animal products, it will become more accepted. Kind of like the gay marriage initiative – I mean, who would have thought ten years ago that we would have so many states recognizing the right of gay men and women to marry and create families?

But I digress…back to food! My BF Chris and I dearly love micro-brews and I was so happy to find a great place to combine California beers, sausages, an array of board games and dog-friendly outdoor seating. Sound impossible? Nope, it’s Tony’s Darts Away on Magnolia Blvd. in Burbank. It’s a great neighborhood bar with a duplicate menu to satisfy carnivores and vegans alike. They recently started serving Sunday brunch but any time is good time to indulge here. My (Best Food Friend) Eileen and I celebrated her birthday here with the brunch and it was delicious. Please support our local businesses who are socially conscious and fun to patronize!

NMRK,

Lisa Lyons

Lisa Lyons
“I smile as a cause and not an effect…”

Melting Cheeses via FoodNetwork.com

Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy!

That is my BF Chris’s triumphant cry when we indulge in a particularly cheese-laden dish, generally pizza. Mo’ cheese, mo’ better is his motto.

So when making the switch to a plant-based diet, the thought of forgoing cheese was painful. I remember only a couple of years ago snorting in a most un-ladylike way when a guy at a reception told me that I could make delicious cheese from nuts.

But never let it be said that I won’t eat my words if I’m proved wrong and in this case, I was!

I have tried most of the vegan cheeses available locally at Sprouts, Whole Foods, Fresh & Easy including Daiya and Follow Your Heart, but I have to say they are just okay. There are some wonderful creative chefs out there who are pushing the boundaries of cheesemaking with great results. Check out Skye Michael Conroy’s latest cookbook THE NON-DAIRY REVOLUTION COOKBOOK, available on Amazon and the author’s website, thegentlechef.com. He also has THE GENTLE CHEF COOKBOOK and THE NON-DAIRY EVOLUTION FORMULARY: Cuisine for the Ethical Gourmet and that certainly describes me.

There is also a page on Facebook where Chef Skye’s adherents post pics of their successful renditions of cheese boards and I must say it is impressive. Also have discovered some terrific bloggers doing great things in the plant-based food world, like this recipe for Vegan Feta by Jo Hobson of Including Cake.

feta+5.jpg

Vegan feta – Credit: Jo Hobson, IncludingCake.com

I’m also dying to try the recipes from super cheesemaker Miyoko Shinner in her latest cookbook. So I went online and ordered the ingredients that sub for animal-derived products like rennet, and replaced with kappa-carrageenan and super agar among others. All the ingredients in the cookbook are readily available on Amazon or from speciality companies like Modernist Pantry who carry a full-range of culinary products for both vegan and non-vegan chefs.

But I have discovered that I have an irrational deep-seated fear of making cheese – or at least making cheese badly – so the ingredients have been gathering dust in my pantry for months.

As next week is my birthday, I have asked my vegan warrior Princess Pamela Whistley to open her kitchen so we can make some cheese together. Fearful things are always lessened by the presence of a good friend with vast knowledge, right?

I will post pics of my results so you can judge if I have any talent for this pursuit. Just thinking about cheese cake, fondue, a wheel of brie, moussaka with feta…I’m drooling already.

Cheesy, cheesy, cheesy!

NMRK,

Lisa Lyons

Lisa Lyons
“I smile as a cause and not an effect…”

Long Time No Blog!

It’s good to be back.

I had some issues with my old blog and had all good intentions to move it to another server. And then sometimes life does a u-turn on you and before you know it, years have slipped by and no blog posts. None. Nada. Zip.

But I digress….what else is new? I am the Q of ADHD so deciding to start blogging again about one (well, maybe two or three) is major. Thus BUDDELISH was born – devoted to Food, Buddhism and the Search for Meaning of Life. Never let it be said that I back away from a challenge. Soooo, I figured I would start with food.

This past summer, I made the decision to drop animal products from my diet. After years of proclaiming myself a friend and protector of animal rights, I was struck by the thought that one does not eat one’s friends (except in Hollywood) so with a sigh and fond last look at smoked pastrami, sushi and chicken tikka masala, I made the choice to switch to a plant-based diet.

Thanks to my darling vegan warrior friend Pamela Whistley, and her cute hubby Dale Hendrickson, the transition has not been all that painful! I am happy to report that these days in the greater Los Angeles area, there are more than 60 restaurants identified online as vegan and/or vegan-friendly. And even when I traveled out of the golden state to South Carolina, I still found delicious non-meat dining options in Summerville and Charleston.

I realized that for me, food is all about the taste and, in particular, the sauces. I can eat most anything if the seasoning is delicious. Indian cuisine, Thai cuisine, Mexican, Italian…they all have an allure that draws me in. Sometimes, I just dive into Pinterest, find recipes I like and then “veganize” them.

I’ll share the ones that work as I go along. Even those that don’t are a learning experience. Keep checking this space for updates, but I can say one thing: I have definitely lost weight since dropping meat and I can have a clear conscience about matching my words, deeds and thoughts.

My new goal is to try each one of those 60 vegan-friendly restaurants to see if it is worth dragging my family and friends there. I’ll let you know!

Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo (that’s the Buddhist part) from all my diggities and kittehs at Best Friends Los Angeles.

Lisa Lyons

Lisa Lyons

“I smile as a cause not an effect…”

 

Skyboat Scores Top Audiobook “Go the F*** to Sleep” with Samuel L. Jackson

With over 750,000 pre-orders, Audible.com was ready to bring the top-selling picture book “Go the F*** to Sleep” by Adam Mansbach to audio life. When renowned actor Samuel L. Jackson came onboard to narrate, Audible turned to one of their top audio production partners, Skyboat Media, to turn around the monster hit in record time. According to Skyboat’s Stefan Rudnicki, he and partner Gabrielle De Cuir met with Audible on a Wednesday, recorded the book with on Friday and the completed book was released the following Monday!

“Go The F*** To Sleep,” best described as an irreverent children’s book for adults only, quickly became a No. 1 hit on Amazon, had its movie rights optioned by Fox 2000, and now it’s a runaway best-selling audiobook. Click here to see some footage of Jackson recording the book at Skyboat’s Los Angeles studio (courtesy of A.V. CLUB – THE ONION).

Skyboat Media has a well-deserved reputation as the company that publishers turn to when they need an important project turned around quickly and expertly.The company has received numerous industry awards including two recent Audie® Awards from AudioFile Magazine.