Meat Free Monday: Pink Salt is Tofu’s Best Friend

I recently bought a grinder of Himalayan Pink Salt, and it’s really taken my breakfast tofu sandwiches to a new level.

I also bought some “Meyer Lemon & Blood Orange Pepper Jelly.” It’s sweet, spicy, and citrus-y. I generally like pepper jelly, unless it leans too heavily on green bell peppers … but this is just a whole new level of yummy. The only better pepper jelly I’ve had recently was Mississippi State University’s own five pepper jelly.

Yum!

Meat Free Monday: Super King Buffet In Hattiesburg, MS

So this is my favorite Chinese buffet around.

Why? It is very vegan-friendly if you don’t mind a shared hibachi. 

Their make your own has not only soba but udon, glorious udon! As well as a good selection of vegetables and sauces.

Also, they have two vegan sushi types, plus seaweed and edamame on the buffet. 

For dessert, they have fresh fruit. The pineapple is my favorite.

I can eat myself silly with yummy food I know is safe.

Yay!

Meat Free Monday: Babalu in Jackson, MS

Babalu Tacos and Tapas is positively great.  They have a few vegan things on the menu,  including their outstanding guac and their black eyed pea hummus.

But I got a couple of almost-vegan items made vegan: the vegetal taco (just ask them to hold the cheese. It is delicious!) and the black bean burger, which came with guac, onion, arugula, and a delicious sauce. 

They normally fry the black bran burger, which requires an egg bath, but for vegans, they skip the egg bath and grill it instead. It was outstanding.

Their iced tea was also good. Ask for it with lime, for an unexpected treat.

They have locations in Jackson, Memphis, Knoxville, Birmingham (Alabama, not England), and Charlotte.

The Storm (February 10, 2013)

Tornado

I didn’t see the storm. But I heard it and felt it. Katherine did – three houses wide and stretching to the heavens, rushing toward us. And it rattled her.

he slammed the front door and shouted “get in the hall! Get in the hall!” I did what she said. When I felt it coming, I got her into the inner bathroom bathtub.

As the storm passed over us, I stroked her hair and whispered, “It will be all right. It will be all right.” That was nothing more than speculation, and I knew it at the time. But it seemed the right thing to say. In truth, it was more of a prayer than a statement of fact.

After the most harrowing minutes of my life, I felt my ears pop, and everything went silent.  “There. The storm’s passed.”

We walked to our front door and stepped outside. The destruction was unmistakable. Roofs with trees through them. Thick pine branches strewn across yards and streets like tinker toys discarded by a frustrated child. Huge trees, four feet in diameter, blocked the road on both sides.

Lines and cables lay coiled like vipers. Any one of them could have been live and deadly.

Neighbors poured from their houses, alive and shell-shocked.

We felt lucky, blessed, and thankful, not only that we were alive, but that we’d sustained so little damage.  Then we looked out the back door.

Two massive pines bisected our yard. Our carport lay in shambles, crushed. Our cars (my beautiful, beautiful car, the first I’d ever bought because it was beautiful) lay buried, smashed, totaled, buried underneath no fewer than five big trees.

The dog yard fence was twisted and crushed like tin foil. I thought, dimly, that I could probably handle never seeing Molly, Charlie, and Gigi again, but I couldn’t handle finding their bodies.

Katherine started feeling contractions.

As dusk fell, rescue workers came, evacuating those who could not stay. The way was slow, on foot, through yards, around downed lines and fallen trees, making their painstaking way to where the ambulances waited.

Paramedics told us the hospitals were full, that even if we went in, we would only be triaged. They told Katherine to lie on her side and try to keep calm, to time her contractions, and to call 911 if she needed to.

Our phones rang mercilessly, until I turned mine off to conserve power. How do we call 911 if we run our phones dry answering questions?

When true dark fell, the rescue workers slipped away. No streetlights, no headlights, no moon. No cars. No escape. A pistol on each bed stand, a high-intensity flashlight beside it. Loaded. Chambered. No safety.

No safety.

Rain kept the looters away. It fell like sheets. Sporadically, thunder rumbled, lighting lit the whole night sky bright as day, and Katherine shuddered. I shuddered, too.

We got precious little sleep that night.

But morning came, and with it, the first good news.

Gigi, our traumatized stray, had not perished in the storm. The noises we heard in the night were her wedging her 90-pound body between the patio couch and the corner of the deck. She’s my favorite of our dogs, but I’ve never been happier to see her.

City workers cleared the street. Although we still didn’t have working vehicles, at least we could get out if we needed to. Our parents came to help clean up, to bring supplies, and see if we needed a place to stay. Progressive came through, and we had rental cars by sunset.

It wasn’t over, and it wouldn’t be for quite a while. It wasn’t okay, and it wouldn’t be for quite a while. But it was close enough. And it was going to be okay.

God had preserved us through yet another storm. I don’t know why he has protected us so closely for so long, and I’m certain we are no more valuable or important than anyone else, but I am grateful.

I am grateful.

Tim’s Back (and Tim’s front. They’re both here!)

You may have noticed a two-month silence on this blog. I hope you noticed it 🙂

Two months ago, an F4 tornado passed over our house, close enough my ears popped. It tossed several hundred-foot tall pine trees around like Lincoln Logs, smashing our carport and both cars.

Twelve days later our first child, a daughter, was born.

I may write about all this in more detail later, but suffice it to say I wasn’t thinking about blogging for a while.

But it’s been two months, and it’s time to get back on that horse. I have things I want to say, things I need to wrestle with.

So, here goes…