Sunday, December 31


how do we say goodbye to a whole year?
in the best ways we know how-
that entails eating a LOT of awesome stuff as hard and fast as we can...
last night,
it was the final pizza party of 2017,
and it was a bangin' brouhaha of flavors, bro.
three pizzas.
three definitely distinct themes.
a triple threat of triple-treats,
and everybody agreed,
it was tight, TILTY, and expert af.
word up.
i don't know about y'all,
but we F*ing love that pee eye zee zee ayy!!!!
check the teleport:

black beans over crushed tomatoes and daiya cheddar chee',
red onion, grilled sweet corn, grape tomatoes, spinach,
sweet rings of tiny peppers, and cilantro to garnish;
plus a dope dose of fried garlic sprankles,
because rules is rules...
the crust is, as always, a semi-semolina slab of superb sexxxiness.
i like olive oil, i like salt, i like wheat, and i like yeast,
so really, it's no surprise that i like this dough.
i added a bit of wheat gluten to it,
in anticipation of the soul-sucking cold
that's seeping into the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress
being responsible for retarding the rise-up of my floury jauns,
and a little exxxtra stretch being required.
the crusts were perfection, after baking in a 485℉ convection.
of course,
there were MORE pizzas, too.

salt-and oil-roasted potatoes!
daiya mozzarella!!
braised broccoli bits!
a few tomatoes for color,
those garlic jauns, and a caramelized onions to turn up the taste to eleven.
(it worked.)
some of you may be saying:
but, that's all fine and everything, but what about an asian-inspired pizza?
hold on.
i got you covered, kids.
check the cauli-wobble-type teleport:

holy sh!t this one's a live wire on the streets!!!
watercress tossed in sesame oil is tight.
mae ploy chili sweet chili sauce turns that in the right direction.
green onions go great alongside those flavors,
and then,
if you think you're ready,
you've GOT to activate some sesame-seared, soy-glazed cauliflower.
that's word, neighbors.
seared in sossamon oil, splashed with soy, and steamed, covered, until sorta soft,
then blasted with toasted seed sprankles.
it's so good, you'll pass out.
did i forego chee'?
no worries, it was amazing anyway.
pea tendrils on top?
F* yeah!
AND garlic sprankies....
i mean, c'mon, kiddo-
too much is the right amount.
that means activating all that good stuff all at once in one place.
but, for realsies, tho-
we totally dominated THREE PIZZAS,
all different, all dope, all for us, in a row.
that's family togetherness, bro.
we doo-doo that sort of freaky-diki sh!t.
honestly, i don't know if we could've picked a favorite.
then again,
we don't play favorites.
instead, we just go all in on everything expert...
harvest, maple, kayla, and i.
that was the final pizza night lineup.
oh, right-
crabtree was here, too,
snuffling underfoot in the hopes of vacuuming a morsel or two.
he's opportunistic.
i'm a reckless mise en place coordinator.
it's a perfect match.
we all enjoyed each others' company.
dinnertime is where we all meet up, and recap the adventures, or lack thereof,
that compose our day.
it's also where we come together and share a common experience as a cohesive unit.
i love that.
now, as we exit this year, and our new years eve traditions all unfold,
we're getting ready.
for a big fire.
for radical  homemade vegan sushi.
for movies.
for sparkling cider, because it's cooler NOT to drink.
for a new calendar and a new year.
we start it correctly, because we start it together.
this is it.
the last one.
the final throes.
it's ending, so it can all begin again.
i hope you're ready, because it's coming in hot, on this cold cold night;
never auld, never lang syne;


this is IT.
this is how we go out.
adios, 2017.
aloha, 2018.
it's the coldest it's been in ages,
it's darker than usual,
and in general,
things are winding down, spiraling down, and falling down.
despite the deepening dark, plummeting temperatures, and downright frosty attitude
permeating this grim northern mountain vale,
it was still a massive year in terms of progress,
with far-reaching grabs for woodsly goodsly greatness coming hard, fast, loud, and proud;
live and directly across the full-spectrum of full-frontal fresh-to-deathly-hallowed
Folk Life & Liberty liberated litanical warrior poetry,
which absolutely includes, but is not limited to:
lightning-striking viking virtues;
berserker barbarian battle-beastly animated anthropomorphism;
accentuated precision-pointed percussive bass-boosted hot fiery furnace stoking;
family togetherness;
active participation;
just be dopeness;
and level-eleven elevated conscientous compassionate considerate consciousness.
have any of y'all ever even F*ed around on that kind of hottness?
i mean, c'mon.
too much is the right amount,
anybody can SAY it, but damn, duders,
it's an unholy heluuva lot more of a challenge to exemplify that mantra.
we doo-doo it every day, and allow me to let you in on a little secret:
it's exhausting. the very best way imaginable.
2017 was kind of a hard style, but, when that's pretty much your only style,
we shouldn't really be too surprised, right?
for realsies,
me and mine rep the hardest ones,
perpetually, and by design.
easy isn't invited, because that implies a lack of growth.
evolution isn't achieved when success is already present, man.
we prize and pride ourselves on heroic efforts and herculean labors.
with that being said-
the huge change-ups and adjustments that've ensued sort of stand to reason.
big catalyzing, polarizing, powerhouse moves were made,
and if that sh!t doesn't take you farther and further than where you were when you started?
i'll go on record right now as saying you're effing up,
and you're doing it wrong,
and you are NOT invited to our metaphorical metaphysical make-out parties,
not now, nor in the future, either.
that's awesome every single minute.
i couldn't have done it without dennis, patti, and nate-
all of whom became full-blooded family in the process.
that's not to say that matt, michael, and shawn weren't essential and instrumental
in the branding and creation of all the collateral hot fire,
because they were.....
but the dudes who were covered in paint every day are now part of the team, too.
that's tight,
and having a super-sexxxy new studio to create all the new sexxxy fuego is expert AF.
and let's not forget that kayla joined the activation society in late summer, as well.
who'd have guessed that there was a worth-a-damn damsel ready to shun distress,
and stress,
and most states of undress,
and instead span time with y'boi as a sweet thang, spitfire, wicked witch,
and willing collaborator?
all i care to comment about that is: lucky me.
and there's actually a LOT to be psyched about.
i'm resolutely going to continue to stay hyped on all of it.
like, that's my resolution.
to forcefully inflict an attitude of gratitude and generosity on all aspects of
my furiously savage stormswept raging gypsy woodland routine.
i'm sayin':
if it's ALL really happening,
then it ALL means something.
it's only a matter of whether or not we can decipher the encoded cryptograms
of the secret universal blueprints,
because it's right there, thinly veiled,
waiting to spell out all the paths and trajectories of fortune,
that favored benefit of those boldest few who're unafraid to seek it in the dark.
the universe IS cruel, but only because the easy way is the identifying mark
of the least-deserving of all the BIG action and BIG fun and BIG rewards
that come from trying your hardest,
and then trying even harder;
paying attention, and lookin', and seeing, and noticing, and noting everything;
and knowing.
that's that really real sh!t.
knowing is the hardest one,
because there's more to learn every single freakin' second.
which means trying harder, and paying even more attention.....
rules is rules.
i believe every word of that, despite having NO use for motivational speakers.
...and while it isn't ever all happy-happies and swell times,
the bitter only serves to make the sweet sweeter,
at least, that's true if you're actually paying attention.
loss, and lack, and limitations are a part of life.
unavoidable, but necessary-
bad tidings, poor timing, and terrible tragedies are what introduce adaptation,
and improvisation,
and the opportunity to grow, overcome, overthrow, and evolve.
i'm grateful for all of it.

     dear twenty seventeen,

               i can't say i'll miss you,
               but you did have a few things going for you.
               let's hope your successor provides twice as many opportunities for success,
               and maybe twice as many degrees on the thermometer sooner than later.
                                                            your pal,
i'm ready for what's next.
good, bad, ugly, dope,
whatever, wherever, whenever;
never quiet, never soft.....

Saturday, December 30


what the eff?
we got a surprise snow day?!
i don't know who thought this sh!t was a good idea,
and i wonder if they had to fill out a requisition form or somethin',
whatever happened, it worked against us,
and now winter is coming down on us pretty flippin' hard...
nothing but dangerous roads,
which just happen to be packed from median to breakdown lane
with confused and dangerously timid out-of-state vacationers,
crawling and slipping along on the ice...
shoutouts to long holiday weekends,
and the insistent inebriation that has become compulsory for it's enjoyment....
i mean,
not for us, because we know better than that.
it's okay NOT to drink.
in fact, it's preferred.
and so we'll be here,
safe and sound, if not warm, in the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress,
for the lion's share of the weekend,
counting down the end of days, before the beginning of days restarts the clock.
as the wind whips,
and the skies empty their crystalline tears onto every slickened surface nearby,
we're gonna need some new hottness to carry the day.
on the ones,
we don't indulge in becoming uninhibited parodies of our worst selves,
but we DO overindulge in sugary-sweet baked greatness.
that's real.
no booze, no tourists, no icy trekking,
but instead,
ALLL the cookies.
and what cookies are better than the legendary albie-style ROCK BLOXXX?!?!
my contribution to all that's good in the world,
right here, as usual, at the end of the calendar:

if you've had 'em, then you already know.
if you haven't? you're messing up, neighbors.
these are the TRUTH.
i won't even proselytize any more,
i'll just hit you with a recipe, and dip out.
preheat your oven to 375℉
in a medium mixing bowl,
cream up:
1 cup sugar (i mixed organic and demerara);
1/2 tsp salt;
2 tsp vanilla;
8T (1 stick) earth balance vegan butter;
with your spatula, fold in:
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce;
3/4 cup natural creamy peanut butter;
1/3 cup ground unsweetened dry coconut;
1/2 cup coarse oat flour (fresh ground if you've got it like that)-
next add:
2 1/4 cups flour;
1 tsp bakey powder;
1 tsp bakey soda;
1+ cups mini vegan chocolate chips!!!
moosh and mash it, roll out little bitty balls, golfish-sized,
and flatten 'em evenly on a couple of baking trays-
yep, you're gonna wanna fork-line crisscross those discs.
rules is rules, and they ARE peanut butter....
bake those bad babies for 13 minutes,
and let 'em cool on a wire rack.
and as i said, i observe the rules, which clearly state:
too much is the right amount.
hence the white chocolate drizzles at the finish line.
there you go.
make 'em,
love em,
eat 'em.
and i promised no more preaching, so i'm out;
never quiet, never soft.....

Friday, December 29


it's going to have to get twenty four degrees hotter just to not be any degrees.
that's A*-hole.
negative double digits are for jerks,
and apparently, also for all of new england.
which might be the same thing.
that's a great reason to stay indoors and snuggle up.
but some of us have to work,
which means leaving the house,
which means dying of hypothermia within seven steps out the door*....
unless there's some superior new hottness holding it down
and heating up our barbarian blood-pumphouses....
oh, c'mon, you know.
breakfast, neighbors.
i'm alluding to some burly, hearty, insulating edible excellence that'll activate
the fire inside us!!!
yeah, it IS a tall order,
but, i mean, we're just up here shivering and suffering with no good reason not to reach for
some big ol' bad-A* berserker bananen 'kaken.....
that's a real thing, man.
check the teleport:

oatmeal! raspberries! double banana magic! coconut!
real mutha-F*ing new hampshire-tapped maple syrup!!!
...and the twin tastes of family togetherness and active participation,
which happen to make most menus more interesting.
how does one decide to bring the sloppycake game to the stovetop?
bro, i just told you: it's less-than-no-degrees outside.
we NEED lumbejackin' hotstacks of manly panniecakes for our SURVIVAL.
these definitely done did it, tho.
we're still here specifically thanks to the intervention of these epic ho'cakes.
no doubt about it, these are the jauns that kept us alive yesterday.
(i don't know WHAT is gonna do it today, tho)
you wanna make some of these fat stacks?
i'll recap our process, for you to replicate at your own igloo of icy doom:
in a medium bowl, sift together:
3 T sugar;
1/2 tsp salt;
1 cup flour;
2 tsp bakey powder;
1 tsp bakey soda;
1/4 cup quick oats;
1/3 cup coarse oat flour;
4 T shredded unsweetened coconut.
mash in:
2 large ripe bananas;
3 T vegan sour cream;
4 T melted vegan butter.
lastly, stir it all up with:
1 cup non-dairy nog;
a dash of cinnamon;
2 tsp vanilla.
fold it together and let it rest while you fire up a large skillet with coconut oil.
y'ever made pancakes?
i thought so.
do that, over and over, until the batter is used up.....
make sure to make a SAUCE for 'em.
the citrus-spiked berry jammie-jammin' goodness will carry the day...
it's just berries, agave, powdered sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, and lemon zest, plus heat.
there's no exxxact proportions,
but i'll bet you correctly guessed that i listed the ingredients in descending order of quantity.
i'm secretly helpful whilst also being encouraging...
the maple syrup is real.
rules is rules, after all....
the bananas on top are almost overkill,
except that too much is the right amount,
and we're up here trying not to freeze to death, kids.
don't begrudge us any exxxtra fruit.
it's imperative to helping us stave off frostbite.
i had ten pancakes.
the were twice as heavy as my usual sunfeathers,
but that was by design.
i stayed warmer for longer, and even found some time to go outside with crabtree.
...but only just barely.
bull terriers are NOT designed for extremes in temperature.
not. one. bit.
i'm not complaining, but we're also not getting enough exercise at the moment.
i s'pose not ripping off his paw pads is a good thing,
but his agitated antics inside the Folk Live & Liberty Fortress 
aren't my favorite thing to come home to.
my kids aren't exactly psyched that they arrived here just in time for an apocalyptic arctic
raging stormswept windy tundra wasteland experience,
that's how it goes.
nature wins, and we lose, at least for now.
we're making the best of it, but it's still getting the best of us,
and bringing out the worst in us, too.
we're frozen,
and the light and the heat are dissipating far faster than we can realistically generate.
this may well be the way we go out;
never quiet, never soft.....

Thursday, December 28


nacho night is tight.
i mean,
the girls love 'em,
i love 'em-
everybody who know what's good loves 'em;
and anybody who isn't all about those libre tortillas chips,
liberally laden with loads of lusciousness can go F* themselves.
that's word.
we don't skimp out on the chips, the chee' or the toppings.
too much is the right amount, and that's all you need to know
to create an expert tray of dinnertime demolition, dudes.
real talk.
if you think you have enough stuff on 'em,
that's a good indication that you'll need at leas 25% more stuff on 'em.
trust us, we're pros at this.
in case you have any doubts, just refer back to the teleport:

that's right, kids.
overlap allllll your chips (i prefer yellow circles, like salty corn venn diagrams),
and positively smother those jauns in every kind of awesome available.
we did a custom blend of  minced daiya mozz and cheddar,
then more chips, and a healthy blast of nootch-boosted buttery refried beans,
then a few MORE chips, and MORE CHEE'....
and that's when the party really got started:
seitan experté, with oregano, cumin, cilantro, coriander seed, and smoky paprika.
black beans, diced sweet onion, quartered grape tomatoes, sweet rainbow pepper rings,
fire-roasted green chilis, tomatillo salsa verde, shredded baby spinach......
and after baking, at 410℉, for 15 minutes,
with the air circulating like a convection whirlwind?
we fully realized maxxximum activation, with green onion and cilantro sprankles,
AVO-F*ING-CADO, and lime-infused sour cream drizzles.
why are nachos such an amazing thing?
i mean, really....
they're straightforward as heck,
and they don't require a lot of skill to create,
yet the rewards are tremendous.
i like that.
BIG flavors in a hurry?
crunch, and squish, and salt, and spice?
yes and yes and yes and yes!
cheesy pull, beany bite, salsa slaps, and so on and on and on?
that's. what's. up.
we tuned 'em up.
we always do,.
and we enjoyed each others' company while we stuffed our faces full.
what else is there?
oh. movie night on the couch.
(i fell instantly asleep)
and family togetherness to eleven.
it's unfolding around me,
and my peoples are here to enrich my cold cold life.
i'm a lucky man,
and if it weren't for the gale-force garbage blowing arctic air at our heads,
this would be the most wonderful wintertime in an age.
the whipping bone-bite brutality of the high-volume vicious velocity
bellowing and buffeting our bodies is kind of ruining it.
just sayin'-
nature wins, but she's a terrible sport about it;
never quiet, never soft.....


...and on XI-mas we feasted.
that's sort of what we DO, dudes.
maple requested dumplings, days in advance,
so dumplings are what we had.
...and dumpling soup, too.
i mean, c'mon.
one kind of dumps is NOT enough,
not when radical expert vegan dumplestiltskins are sort of a heroic tradition
here at the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress.
the standards here are higher than everywhere else,
because we understand the prime directive:
just be dope, or F* right off.
it's as simple as that.
we bring the hot fire and the lightning, we bring the noise,
and we sure as sh!t dominate the sauces like bosses.
check the dumpy-dumper-type teleport:

these jauns have the flavor you crave and savor,
so do me a favor and blast out a batch for yourself please,
just so you can confirm that my tradition is a good one.
you'll be glad you did,
and your bellyhole will lose it's mind, and your mind won't even mind that happening!!
friends, the toasted double sossamon sesame seeding of the dough is a nice touch.
don't you agree?
pretty food seems to taste better, and ugly food is NOT invited to the party.
i guess our plates are pretty shallow, even when they're deep in the middle, if y'feel me...
we have those righteous potsticky gyoza-type jauns ready to rock,
and the wontons coming atcha hella tight with scallions and seitan and garlic!
so we stuffed our faces on ace-level stuffed blumpers,
and none of us left the table hungry....
here's how it went down-
this way, you too can overindulge in excellence in the relative comfort of your own kitchen.
in a smaller mixing  bowl, combine:
1 1/2 cups flour;
1/4 tsp salt;
1 T two-tone sesame seeds;
1/3 cup warm water, and a few exxxtra T's, +/-, to reach a smooth doughy consistency....
knead it up well, for minutes on minutes,
and rest it, covered, on the counter for a few after that.
roll it out, and cut circles or squares with your preferred cutter or cup or knife,
uniformly forming the foundation of these filled and fulfilling floaters...
(leave out the seeds, and reduce the recipe for the soupy dumpy doughrolls)
you're gonna need some fill-ups for the interior, kids-
here's what we made:
in a medium skillet, on high heat, with 2 sesame oil hot af inside,
3/4 medium onion, minced;
1 large carrot, minced;
3 cloves crushed garlic;
1 smaller head of bok choi, shredded;
1 block exxxtra-firm tofu, diced small;
3 cups shredded baby kale (it'll wilt down to like, a thimbleful)
ginger, GPOP, sesame seeds, ground mustard seed, black pepper;
a splash or two of soy sauce,
and equal dose of rice wine vinegar...
toss in a few raw green onion bits, and let it cool off, so it doesn't melt the wrappers.
a scoople of that, a fold, a pinch, and a few crimps in the seam,
plus a little time on the counter to firm up,
and you're suddenly ready for an exxxplosion of elite dumpledorian greyness!!
now, the cooking part is key here-
arrange the dumps quickly in three rows in your hot pan,
with a spoonful of searing sesame oil read to singe 'em-
let them fry up for three minutes,
then douse 'em with a dose of HOT water (like 2-3 T),
and lid the pan right away, to steam those suckers on all sides.
when the water is absorbed, turn every dumper on it's side,
and let that second surface get golden, too.
just like that, now they're ready to rock all of your socks...
y'can't beat it, and you're gonna wanna join forces with 'em right off.
you're a dumplord from the future now.
the only thing missin'?
you need the flavor profile to be tight, but it's not exxxact science.
it's essentially soy/rice wine vinegar/sweet/spicy/sesame oil, in that order,
in roughly these proportions: 3:3:2:1:1
so, like, drop in a clove of crushed fresh garlic, and a dash of green onion,
a few sesame seeds and cracked black pepper, for sure;
but, also give it a scoochie springle of Garlic Powder and Onion Powder,
because if you ain't GPOPpin' you ain't cookin' for sh!t
the sweet could be straight-up sugar, or it could be agave (my personal preference)
the spicy?
sriracha if you want flavor, red pepper flakes if you just want heat...
really, you're the commander of the sauce strike force, man. so do what you like...
i also need a second sauce.
rules is rules, and double-dippppzzz are a thing around these parts.
this one is easier:
3 parts sriracha, to 1 part soy sauce, to one part rice wine, plus one drop on liquid smoke,
a few sesame seeds, a touch of sesame oil, and ground mustard seed......
simple, but effective for activating extra levels of excellence in your skull.
word up.
oh, and then we effed with that soup.
we sorta HAD to.
after all, too much is the right amount,
and we're not trying to be weak little diaperbutt babyheads, are we?
no way.
we're on that big action,
and that family togetherness,
and that super-deluxxxe dinnertime active participation.
the soup was simple af, but soooooo good.
in a medium pot, boil up:
3 T minced onion;
6 chopped scallion bottoms (the light greens and whites);
1/2 large peeled chopped carrot;
3 T soy sauce;
3 T rice vinegar;
3 cups broth;
black pepper, red pepper flakes, salt.
get that bubblin', then add in three large handfuls of baby kale,
and your seitan-scallion wontonameras, until they float.
friends, that's so easy you can't mess it up!
the seitan sh!t was simple, too.
1 1/2 cps minced seitan, one bunch of scallion greens, two cloves of crushed garlic,
plus soy sauce, GPOP, ground mustard and a touch of liquid smoke......
these are the things that make a meal magical.
i even added pea shoot sprankles on top.
yes, i did.
i like it fancy, and i want to have a special time,
so a few extras are never a bad idea if the goal is special fanciness, right?
heck yes!
we terrorized every last morsel.
we licked our fingers,
we cleared our plates,
and we spanned time as a team.
all of that equals expertism at it's finest,
and that all we really needed.
i am so very grateful for the time i get with all these girls.
this is IT, and that's that;
never quiet, never soft.....

Wednesday, December 27


tofu pot pie?!?!
that deeeeeeeep style casserole glassarole is where it's at.
...and that's no rigamarole.
christmas dinner, for two,
but with enough food for many more?
that's how i do it to it,
because too much is the right amount.
custom salty, buttery pastry.
thick, firm, herb-crusted tofu.
roasted potatoes and parsnips.
sauteed, braised, and burly onions, celery, cauliflower, cabbage, and carrots.
heavy-duty homemade roux gravy.
and peas, because rules is rules,
and peas are essential to pot pie, guys.
check the teleport:

and that's good news, because that means MORE pie per slice, bro.
c'mon, man.
with that star and holly pattern on the crust?
i made the crust basically the same as every other pastry crust-
only with no sugar nor vanilla,
and just a little exxxtra butter and creamchee',
but essentially the same.
and the tofu was browned in olive oil,
right before it got a really wet, juicy, succulent herb bath.
that's what gave it the chickeny-littlest suggestion of savory flav'.
that's one cup of broth;
with 1 tsp each GPOP, sage, thyme, ground mustard powder;
a shake or two of rosemary; parsley, and celery seed;
1 T nootch;
sea salt and black pepper;
a splash of soy sauce;
a few drops of  liquid smoke;
a T of agave and 2 tsp of non-GMO organic cornstarch.
y'just pour it onto the 'fu, and let it soak in and reduce and thicken,
and BOOM, just like *that* you've got super-turbo-ultra-delicious delights ready to go.
the veggies are easy.
roast your potatoes ( i used to average sized medium chef's white jauns, diced)
and a fat parsnip, cubed up,
in a liberal olive oil and salt and pepper toss'around,
while you oven is preheating to 410℉.
(that's for the pie to bake at later)
that's all.
toss 'em once or twice, until they're as golden as you like 'em.
all done.
chop the carrots (2);
the onion (1 medium sweet yellowish one);
2 cloves of garlic;
2 cups of cauliflorets, smallerized;
3 cups of shredded sliced cabbage;
*it will wilt down once heat-softened, kids, it's ok*
1 celery heart, with leaves, diced.
in 2 fat pats of butterish- earth balance is my favorite,
plus a dash of salt, over medium heat,
let that saute for a spell, until the onions start to achieve translucence.
blast it with a splash of red wine vinegar,
a dash of nootch,
a little GPOP,
and few tablespoons each of fresh rubbed sage leaves,
de-stemmed thyme, and chopped up rosemary;
add a few glugs of olive oil, and a spoonful or two of water,
cover your pan, and let it all steam for five or more minutes.....
add a 1/4 cup of frozen peas.
they're good for you, probably, or something to that effect,-
but, more importantly,
they're absolutely mandatory for a proper potty-mouthed pie.
add the tofu, the veggies, and the roasted roots together,
dump 'em into that pastry-bottomed deep'a'role pan,
cover that with a cup of homemade gravy.
then roll out a lid of pastry hottness, complete with ventilation holes,
and decorate it as you deem appropriate.
i don't care for a bland-lookin' pie, guys.
i like 'em fancier.
i think that pretty food tastes better.
that's the truth. i doo-do that freaky sh!t, and activate the loveliness on the outside,
as well as within.
(for the record, i did reserve a cup of gravy for the post-bake lube-up.)
i know what's good.
bake that bottom-heavy baby b!tch for half an hour?
i dunno.
i didn't set a timer,
i just took it out when it looked good.
friends, baking is at least partially intuitive.
it's about feeling every bit as much as following a recipe.
i mean, for me, it's a LOT more about those feels,
because i could give a sh!t about a recipe.
i usually just remember as best i can about what i did,
and write it here for y'all to adhere to, or ignore, as you see fit.
fresh out of the oven,
it's devastatingly hot,
so give it a second to  rest, then saw off a raging wedge of this super-offical
slab of wintry, holiday-savage, hot fiery flavor-exxplosiveness!!!
and be sure to activate it with a few fresh parsley and green onion sprankles,
i mean,
you know the rules, buddy.
how good is it?
well, it'll stick to your ribs,
and it'll keep you warm in subzero fahrenheit temperatures, too.
i can attest to both, as they're happening right now.
the extra gravy was a good call.
it always is.
and the savory fresh herb essence?
you know that's expert af.
that still leaves us lacking the details of last night's elite elevenmas repast.
you can't have a partner-party, and then leave your kids out in the cold.
no way.
that's what jerks do,
not worthy warrior poets.
last night was family dinner,
and it was a dumpling party.
i guess that'll have to hold off until tomorrow,
because i've got bundling up to do,
and trudging and plodding through the strength-sapping snowpiles
of this woodsly northern forest realm.
shoutouts to crabtree for predictably being a real sunovab!tch the whole time.
i'm tense as heck in anticipation of his antics.
he's not ready,
i'm not ready,
and my darlings are still asleep upstairs.
their vacation means much more work for me.
this is it,
and while there's surely more to it than just this,
we're just waiting for events to unfold outward, and reveal the hidden messages
at the rate and clarity that they're predetermined to;
never quiet, never soft.....


for crimbo morning,
i had myself some holiday cheer-ups, by special request,
for brekkie and beyond-
that's right.
special circumstances require upgrades to the standard process,
and celebratory instances are doubly demanding of uber-dopeness dispensation.
wordimus prime.
check the teleport:

they're spongy,
they're fruity,
they're hearty,
and they're very bright. thanks to a liberal zip of lemon zest
what else is there to say?
a great muffin is the right answer, when the question is:
why are you awake at 4:30 a.m. on christmas when there are no little kids at your house?
it's those muffzies, man.
and here's how you can make some, at whatever o'clock, for yourself.
...and you don't even have to wait until next crimbo, either.
preheat your oven to 350℉

in a medium mixing bowl, cream together:
1 cup sugar;
2 tsp vanilla;
1 stick (8T) vegan earth balance buttery spread;
1/2 tsp salt;
1/3 cup medium flake unsweetened unsulphured coconut;
once thoroughly combined, add:
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce;
3 T maple syrup;
1/2 lemon's worth of microplaned zest...
stir well,
then sift in:
2 1/4 cups flour;
4 T tapioca flour;
1 tsp ea bakey powpow and soda;
next, stir in:
1 1/2 cups tiny blueberries;
and add:
1 cup non-dairy milk.
stir until combined,
and scoop evenly into greased muffin tins,
to get baked for 30 minutes.
should they be eaten hot?
should they be eaten room temperature?
well, yes.
how about toasted with a pat of butterish?
they should be eaten, fast, slowly, and at an ordinary pace.
they should be savored and devoured and consumed with reckless abandon.
they're terrific.
and while they're just blueberry muffins,.
they're so much MORE too.
and that's what we want, and that's what we need,
and that's what's really happening.
they lasted a lot longer than i thought they would,
most likely because there's SO MUCH FOOD here right now.
it's hard to limit yourself to the specific devastation of just one thing.
i mean,
too much is the right amount;
but MORE of everything is pretty F*ing good too.
that's no joke.
make these if you like good things.
or skip 'em if you're an A*-hole.
today is the day.
the end of the holiday, officially, for me and mine.
we get a second day of delights, and that's awesome,
but that was yesterday,
and now we're on the unforgiving work regimen that i've come to accept as my lot in life.
work work work is my purpose.
whether it's in my kitchen,
or out on the arctic blasted roadways of my neighborhood,
the studio or the store,
i'm workin' it.
that's my thing.
that's what i DO.
because there's work to do, duders,
and if there's a need that requires feeding,
or a glaring gap in the creative closed-loop circadian cycle of spirit and memory,
i fill it up and/or in.
that's what's up.
today is the day again,
just like every day,
and it's all really happening, which seems to be the whole point;
never quiet, never soft.....


...aaaaaand a whole full-sized second christmas for my kids.
after a long day of driving in driving winds and plummeting temperatures,
down and up,
we returned in triumph to the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress,
and set ourselves up with an even louder, fresher, harder batch
of holiday cheer and goodwill and sh!t like that.
that's real.
check it:

after the X marks the spot,
we set our sights on the come up,
and it's always expert.
shouts the F* out to XI-mas!

the crisp-edged metallic foil paper is tight and bright,
and the stocking game is too damned righteous for sure.
do you see all those luxxxurious candy-style canes?
those aren't the multi-pack box-jauns.
those're the expensive sh!ts, because my crimbo situation is no joke.
we've got traditions to maintain,
and we've got expectations to at least meet if not exceed...
well, yeah,
of course i pack each present full of color-coordinated outfit hottness.
what do you think i am?
an A*-hole?
no way, josé.
i care a great deal about these two teen turds.
and it means an awful lot to me to watch them open up carefully collected
thoughtful, site-specific holiday expressions of my year-round affection.
that's the truth.
we froze ourselves silly on the way to the woodsly goodness.
crabtree was overly excited and did his best
to make a needling naughty nuisance of himself for most of the afternoon.
we had a special dinner, but only after we had ALL the chocolate.
harvest, maple, kayla, and i all enjoyed ourselves,
and each others' company,
and the spirit and memory of XI-mas, too.
and that dinner?
damn dudes, that's it's own thing,
but it's a damned good thing at that.
now, it's time to get back to the grind,
and keep those hard styles poppin' at AMPERSAND TATTOO.
i know you've got that christmas money,
and i hope i see you soon to hand some of it over to y'boi
in exchange for a mark on your permanent record.
i'm on that daytime tattzap work release,
sandwiched between morning and nighttime family togetherness
with my peoples and my pup.
i am grateful for the time i have been given, guys.
it's all killer, and no filler.
100% expert spanning of moments and spaces for our faces;
never quiet, never soft.....

Tuesday, December 26


early morning.
tiny, merry, bright bright bright strings of lights.
and warm candles crackling and flickering.
ribbons, bows, baskets, boxes, and stockings.
that's what's good.
snow outside falling fast.
warm blueberry muffins baking in the oven.
coffee, tea, and a terrier.
y'know what that sounds like?
it sounds a whole helluva lot like Xmas, to me.
i mean, really, what else do you need?
oh, right.
it does help a little tiny bit if you've got somebody to span that time with...
word up.
that makes sense, i s'pose.
you wouldn't just want to wrap a bunch of sh!t you got for yourself, would you?
you already know what it IS, and that's no fun at all.
kayla woke up all-the-way-ready for a crucial crimbo celebration,
and she brought a surprisingly heavy dose of cheer and spirit to the party with her.
i was impressed.
christmas is sort of a trial, is't it?
you either have that holiday hottness bubbling up from deep within,
or you're busy making excuses about why you don't.
i've got a wellspring drawing from a limitless aquifer of level-eleven give-a-F*ery,
and it drives me forward into Xmas, and then on again to XImas,
back to back.
that's two christmases, man.
shoutouts to divorce for making that possible!!
at any rate,
the holiday was here.
the muffins were delightful,
and the presents?
well, the presents were totally and completely expert.
rules is rules in the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress,
and rule one for christmastime is:
too much is the right amount.
that means color-coordinated triple-paper wrap-ups,
and thiqqq heapsof well-prepared parcels and sh!t, too.
no shystie piles will be permitted under the tree, 
lest you desire persecution for poor preparation.
that's real.
the good-good is all we want.
and that's what we need.
this year?
well, it was MUCH better than last, that's for sure.
check the crim'boromir-type teleport:
hearth and home and tree and me and you and us....
cast iron, brick, mortar, timber, and light.
what's better that that?
did you just say presents?
ha!'re right, that IS better!
no way.
i would never use baby-b!tchbag whimsical-picture-print paper!!
that's not my jauns, bro.
go easy.
i'm not bragging or nuthin', 
but take a look at how well this lovely young lady brought the heat for y'boi:
that's tight.
and while we're on the subject,
i'm no slouch, not now, nor ever, so i wasn't sweating it either, neighbors:
that sparkle is essential.
the very best part?
every single thing was thoughtful, and custom-tailored to each other's tastes.
there were no off-notes or bummer presents.
only expert-level hot fire for and from the both of us.
that's rare.
and it was pretty freakin' nice.
the other best part?
today is XImas!!!
in just a short bit, i'll be round-trippin' through the woodsly goodness,
down into the bellyhole of butt-blastin' boston suburbs, 
and on through to the center of massachusetts to collect harvest and maple
for a whole other 'nother 'nother celebration!!!
i'm so excited that a second christmas is about to pop off!!
it's ALL really happening.
the giving, the getting,
the time-spanning,
the family togetherness....
i'm grateful for all of it,
and i'd be a big fat liar if i said it didn't make me feel pretty damned good.
there's more to the story, including the recipe for those muffins,
and a detailed tale of christmas pot pie,
but a this moment,
there's no time for that......
it will wait, and we'll resume where we've left off.
until then;
never quiet, never soft.....


y'boi was on that kevin mcallister jauns,
on christmas eve,
in the plummeting temperatures, darkened cloudy skies,
and solemn labor pains of what might've been a bummer,
had i been less of a worthy warrior poet and active participant,
and more of a diapery doodoo-butt-baby.
i may have been home alone, but i remained undeterred from celebrating.
that's no joke-
i don't need company around to bring the noise.
i just need pots, pans, and a plan.
...and i had all those things.
y'know what else i had?
the mutha-F*in' formuoli!!!!
wordimus prime!
check the teleport:

homemade just tastes better, and that's a fact.
do you like ravioli?
you do?!
me too!!!
but, how many do you think you could take down in one shot?
because i dominated a few dozen, and then some, like it wasn't even no damned thing.
for realsies, neighbors, i was determined to put it to it,
and i did exxxactly that.
holidays are mostly about food.
and presents, where applicable, but that was for the following morning, man.
the night before was dedicated to these ravs,
and i did myself a solid with this one.
the dough? homemade.
the butternut sauce? from scratch.
the filling? custom.
the sprankles? expert.
have you been naughty? nice? how about hungry?
all of those will get you the recipe, because i'm not santa;
and that means  i don't determine who deserves to make dope ravs and who does not.
here's how to doo-doo these sexxxy circles of savory semolina perfection:
in a small mixing bowl, combine:
1/2 cup four;
3/4 cup semolina flour;
1/2 tsp salt;
3 T olive oil;
1/2 cup warm water.
knead it for 5 solid minutes, and wrap it to rest until you';re ready for rolling it.
i made slightly serrated circles, about 2" apiece, and i got enough to press together
around thirty ' almost sixty or so, all told.
in a medium/small pan,
1/4 cup minced onion, caramelized;
1/4 cup minced red sweet pepper, seared until soft and ever so slightly blackened at the edges;
3 cups shredded spinach, wilted under a teaspoon or two of salty pasta-boilin' water...
1 big clove crushed garlic;
GPOP, pink salt, black pepper; fresh thyme.
it's simple, but it's incredible.
y'put that, cooled, into the cut circles, and crimp the edges with a fork.
then, because good pasta is easy to make, but rules is rules,
y'gotta let 'em sit on the counter and firm up before you boil them.
and when you boil them, in that covered vat of saline, y'only gotta go it 'til they float.
that's when they're ready.
you COULD toss 'em in sauce, or oil, first.....
i just prefer mine to look nicey-nice so i can see the pure form,
before i defile their al-dente outer shells with thick slippery succulence.
sorry, guys,
but the truth is i'm just sorta like that.
the pasta was tight and TILTY af.
and yet, it was only 1/3 of the BIG action.
next stop:
in a medium pot, on medium heat, soften:
3/4 chopped onion in 2 T vegan butterish;
add salt, and 1 clove crushed garlic;
when the onions are translucent,
dollop in 2 T tomato paste, and stir it ruthlessly, letting the whole thing toast up.
(that should smell A-MAZ-ING, if it doesn't, you effed up, or you're broken)
add 3 cups chopped, peeled butternut squash,
and let that slip around in the pasty onion mash...
cover all of it with 4 cups of veggie broth,
add a big shake of GPOP, a few tablespoons of fresh sage and rosemary,
salt, black pepper, a little bit of cayenne,
a healthy spoonful or two of nutritional yeast,
and let it simmer until the squash is soft.
do you have a stick mixer? y'know? an immersion blender?
the magic wizard whizzer is key here.
if you don't, go get one, they're pretty expert on those occasions where they're needed.
mostly, they hide in your gadget pantry.
still, it's better to have it and rarely use it
than to need it and instead find yourself effing around with a blender or food processor.
i'm not sayin', i'm just sayin'.
but, you're going to want to smootherize the sauce/soup/squash stuff.
and then, you're going to want to eat A LOT of it.
do both of those things.
and if you're timing things right,
the squash takes about forty-five minutes from start to finish,
so you could make dough, start the soup, blast out the filling,
get a pot of water on the path to boiling, roll dough, cut shapes,
drop filling in 'em, cover, pinch, crimp, ad rest them all,
then whizzz that soup while the ravs are about to float,
and, if you're truly about that feisty feasty boy life,
you'll have been frying up all your sprankles on that back burner.
well, yes-
too much IS the right amount,
and four kinds of spranks seems like the correct course of action to me, at least
a big ladle of orange hottness,
a fat spoon droppin' 'olis,
and then the final portion fo your final grade, the mandatory exxxtras.
fry up some baby bellas, until the moisture and sliminess are erased.
blacken up a half dozen halved sweet grape tomatoes.
brown a big batch of garlic slices on both sides,
and grab a handful of that rocket, man.
arugula, bro, it's a veg-e-ta-ble.
how good is it?
it's the best.
how much is there?
if you're determined, you could crush it yourself,
if you're considerate, it'll satisfy a pair of you.
food is my constant companion.
and even better, i get to create it, destroy it, and let it nourish me.
that's infinitely better than watching a bunch of casual acquaintances,
or family members, get tuned up on the hooch.
...have i mentioned how ugly and unattractive i find alcohol consumption?
well, i do.
and the older i get, the less i feel guilty for staying away from the people and places
that partake and cater to that kind of unremarkable social decomposition.
it's just very simply not my thing, and believe it or not:
it's ok not to drink.
you will end up alone though, most times, and at most places,
so you'd better make friends with food, or get a dog, or both.
i said a dog.
cats are basically the drinking alcohol of the pet world,
and i like them just as little.
i rep a hard style, but it's very stylish regardless.
that's how i spanned my solo flight through the holiday pregame.
there will be dumplings.
because it's XI-MAS, man,
and we don't come through on some weak sh!t.
not once, not ever;
never quiet, never soft.....

Sunday, December 24


these creatures are stirred the F* up.
oh, c'mon.
i know you know what it's the night before, neighbors. there's not supposed to be any stirs,
not even from a mouse.
there's one of those little gray A*-holes running around in the walls
scritching his dumb face exxxtra loudly an' that 
right here at the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress;
there's this damned dog who just happens to be going stir crazy in the snow.
and the snow is perfectly the worst kind.
alllll of that-
and the sleet runoff has the bottom inch of slick sludge hibernating in the cut,
waiting to trip and slip you up whilst you shovel.
y'like that?
me too.
i returned home to the woodsly goodness under dire and dastardly road conditions.
it never got very bright,
it sure as sh!t wasn't tight (although my much-whitened knuckles told a different story),
and while i made it home safely,
it took a helluva lot longer, 
and was appreciably more demanding than the taxing and unrelaxing drive 
TO my hometown the day before...
i spanned most of the past two days in the car,
under a falling sky of snow and ice,
having a pretty non-expert time.
going and coming, there and back again, 
all in an effort to make ensure that my daughter knows
that she's more valuable to me than my physical safety, 
comfort, convenience, or well-being.
y'feel me?
that's what you do when you do the right thing, doctor.
just ask ossie davis (you'll need a ouija board).
the creatures are ASTIR.
from one end of town to the other,
every last last minute monster is crawling and clogging the whole spot.
and while that's happening,
i'm over here thinking about ravioli.
i mean,
i think those of us who grew up italian-american style had to sniff a lot of fishy fish stinks
on christmas eve.
i'd much rather munch up some sort of stuffed pasta, 
and forego, forever and ever, the dead ocean denizens.
but that's just me,
and that's just the thing....
it's just me and the crab-man tonight,
which makes him the only one of the magnificent seven who is in attendance.
if you get it, you've got it.
if not,
get ready,
because your boy is sans famiglia,
and also sans any F*'s to give.
that makes it the perfect opportunity to rav my oli,
and i think that's precisely what i'm gonna do.
it was a half day at the studio,
everything is wrapped up,
and me and the little milky boi are gonna hang tough,
and most likely sleep tight,
although i presume we'll be in bed late,
because we don't have any reason to get up early....
(we still will, believe me)
i'll like as not also spring from my bed to see what's the matter,
since trees and sh!t have been snappin' and poppin'; their limbs at me since i got home.
i've got a danger mouse in the house,
and i've got bark and barks within and without.
it's all really happening,
and it won't really be a thing until XI-mas.
i guess that's how it goes;
never silent, never night.....


*author's note: this was composed friday*
happy F*ing berfday maple star!!!
that's right!
my youngest child turns sweet sixteen years old today.
in a row.
and that's a big deal.
that means an automobile learner's permit,
and potentially after-school employment,
and also, that the kid is flippin' sixteen.
that's a good year.
a big year, even.
and you know i'm headed down to connecticut, 
braving terrible weather conditions,
worse traffic,
and disastrously delicate diaperbabies on then highways and rural routes
that lead to my destination.
woo hoo!!
the thing is-
i love my not-so-little baby, and i wouldn't miss out on this for anything.
i'm driving.
because celebrating is important,
and maple is important,
and if there's one thing i enjoy- 
it's commemorating the minutes and moments that matter most 
with my most magnificent and magical werewolfen pack of 
bloodline-tied peoples, in any places and spaces within which we may congregate. 
and also,
because rules is rules,
and cake is a mandatory accompaniment to berfday celebrations,
you can rest assured that i'm bringing the big action down south with me.
that's right, neighbors.
dad is in charge of the cake.
mostly because none of those F*s give any sh!ts about vegan food,
and it's a bummer when everybody gets cake but me.
every year, every time, i'm steady bringing the hottness,
to share with all these dudes.
because i'm not an A*-hole, bro.
and good cake is hard to come by,
especially when you're dealing with some no-cookin'-A* box-mix store-bought-type folks.
i'm big-timin' and showboatin' and one-uppin' and grandstandin' on that from-scratch,
homemade, no-recipe but still-dope,
vegan lightning-striking viking vanguard of victual virtuosity.
and maple requested maple frosting,
so that's happening too.
check it out:

my kids don't get that sad stuff.
they get the big burly beautiful jauns.
sixteen years!!!
and what a great person.
and what a clever and artistic actor!
and what a freakin' sense of humor.
i'm biased, for sure,
but i've got myself a youngest daughter who has far more in the way of endurance
and enthusiasm than i ever have.
and it doesn't hurt that she's a good-lookin', joke-crackin', 
subtle secret-listening smirkin'-A* sixteen year old, either.
i know i'm lucky, and i'm feeling it.
i'll probably feel even luckier once i'm out of the car, safely and soundly celebrating
with all the people who contributed to the creation of such an enjoyable kid.
i am grateful for the time i get, and the space we span.
it's ALL really happening,
and i'm well aware that this is what matters.
happy berfday, maple star.
sixteen is no joke;
never quiet, never soft.....

Friday, December 22

DEEP D!!!!

gimme alllllll the pizza.
that includes the fancy varietals,
especially that depth chargin' deluxxxe-luxxxurious dopeness
that we've come to love as a legitimate pizza in it's own right.
the expert vegan deep dish.
there is nothing so rewarding as a slice of pizza pot pie, guys.
that's word.
you know what i'm talking about.
the big action.
the heavy hitter.
the massive attack.
check the teleport:

that's that epic pee eye zee zee ayy sh!t, neighbors.
you know i've gone deep into serious pizza territory,
and come out on the other side a changed man....
the crust!
the chee'!!
the fillin'!!!
the sprankles!!!!
too much is the right amount,
and this is the monument to that sentiment.
i mean it.
real talk, this has so much going on-
it excels and exceeds pizza's ordinary parameters,
while still keeping all the basic elements in place.
it's a winner and it was the best way to activate the solstice.
i had the guy over.
not the guys.
i don't have that many local active participants ready to throw down.
...just nate, but he's enough.
how so?
because he's down to immerse himself in the experience,
and then dissect and analyze the ingredients,
and generally be truly present for the shared time and community at the supper table.
that's what i'm lookin' for in a bro, bro.
and he's got it.
we ate and ate and ate it all up,
and i'm tellin' y'all-
it was the TRUTH.
get closer:

now lemme tell you about this crust.
i had my oven crankin', at 485℉,
with the convection spinner circulating all that hot air.
but, while it was preheating,
i also happened to have a roaring-good dough bulking on the counter.
in my trusty and indispensable stand mixer, i combined:
1 2/3 cups flour;
1 cup semolina flour;
one punch of cornmeal;
2 tsp salt;
2 T vegan butter;
5 seconds' worth of glugs of olive oil;
a spoonful of sugar;
1 pkg fast-actin' yeast;
1 cup warm water + 1 tsp bread machine yeast.
i let that beat itself silly, on the #2 speed on the side, with the dough hook doing the thing,
for like, five minutes, and then let it puff up some, covered, and oiled,
while i prepped all those mise en place bowlfuls of ingredients.
i greased a 9" springform pan,
and pressed 3/4 of the dough down and up and around,
and let that rise another fifteen minutes,
before i added all the stuff.
this balanced blend of stuff is essential to truly deepening the dish. really.
although, i never had one prior to becoming a vegan.
so, i just surmised and assumed and winged it.
y'know what i used?
1 1/4 onions, chiffonade cut and caramelized;
3 cups of sliced portabellos, cooked down by half, with salt and olive oil on high heat.
3 cups of wilted spinach, which makes, like, 4 tablespoons,
added to rainbow sweet peppers, diced and softened;
2 FULL cups of smoked sizzled seared soy-sauce-browned red lentil-seitan sausage slices;
i dropped some homemade cashew-garlic-tofu underchee',
and then three trimmed slices of daiya provolone,
then the onions, and mushrooms;
next up?
daiya mozzarella, minced for maxxximum meltability (that's the rule now...decreed),
then the peppers and spinach,
then daiya mozz, mixed with with a single minced slice of that provolone.
(it comes in cut discs, dudes; but i mean, y'all can blend up your chee' however you want,
i'm not your supervisor)
then the sausage,
the some basil, because overdoing it is cool.
crushed tomatoes spooned all over and into the nooks and crags and canyons.
is that it?
what are you?
a no-lookin'-A* A*-hole??
you can SEE that there's more chee' blops on top.
and fried garlic sprankles, too.
rules is rules, buddy.
get with it.
i baked that stout keg of corporeal ecstasy for twenty minutes,
and it was F*ing PERFECT.
no jokes.
the crust was elite.
the chee' was melty.
the interior was HOT.
and then,
i activated one more visual component,
and turned it up to eleven with rocket-man leaves of arugula,
and a few parsley spranks.
it's the right way to celebrate the darkness.
because deepness goes great with lightless nights,
just like pizza goes great with everything.
i do what i do, friends.
and what i do is keep it excellently expert in this kitchen.
good meals and good times with good people.
that's something to lighten spirits and brighten the nighttime.
the only thing heavy allowed to sit with us was those massive slabs of that DEEP D;
never quiet, never soft.....

Thursday, December 21


that solstice darkness.
that's what's up.
the longest length of lightlessness?
almost every other day has a twin, except the solstices.
they stand in opposition at both ends of light and dark.
today is the day, dudes.
the deepest darkest one.
it's NOT the shortest.
it's still 24 hours, take it easy.
nobody is getting cheated out of any minutes.
it's just the least bright bright bright.
that's okay.
i've got matches, and enough boxes to bonfire the holy hell out of the woodsly goodness.
that's the thing about online XI-mas shopping:
corrugated kindling arrives in abundance.
that's awesome, really, because i LOVE a good fire to commemorate a seasonal shift.
y'know what else i love?
check the teleport:

it's expert, that's what it is.
yes, indeed.
it's like pecan pie, sort of,
but with rolled oats instead of nuts.
nate's got the allergies.
not then kill-you-to-death ones,
but more of the ouch-my-mouth-fell-off kind.
i'm not trying to get involved in any mouth removal;
so i substituted oats, to greater results than i'd have imagined.
it's got a black bottom, which is to say, melted chocolate underneath the oats,
and it's got chocolate chips in the mixture, too.
AND, there're cocoa sprankles on top,
seem like a good idea?
i know,
and i HAD to anyway, because too much is the right amount!
damned straight, bruh.
i don't bring the weak sauce to the party.
i bring the F*ing PIE.
you want to make some?
i want you to.
here's the plan, man:
preheat your oven to 400℉
prepare a crust, please.
the recipe is >> here <<.
prepare the filling, too.
that's the following:
5 T melted vegan butter;
1/4 tsp salt;
1/4 cup chocolate chips;
1/4 cup brown sugar;
1 cup thick rolled oats;
1/2 cup quick oats;
1/2 cup non-dairy holiday nog (it's SO GOOOOOOOD);
1/4 cup dark agave;
1 tsp vanilla;
4 T cup tapioca starch;
1/4 cup medium-flake unsweetened coconut;
2 T molasses;
4 T egg replacer starch powder + 4 T hot water, whisked until foamy and thiccc.
stir all of that up, and let it rest so that it's a pasty, soft solution.
add it in,
but only AFTER you blacken that bottom, bud.
i melted one large handful of chocolate chips with a splash of soy milk to emulsify 'em,
dropped in a little drip of vanilla, stirred it over low heat,
let it cool a little baby bit,
and spread it out onto the crimp-edged dough in my pie pan.
i decorated it with cut-out hearts.
mostly because i love oats, and also because i love pie.
it was lovely, to be sure.
a couple of exxtra chocolate chips on top,
and that cocoa for good measure had me ready to bake the heck outta this sweet circle.
i gave it thirty-two minutes.
who knows how long it'll take in your oven,
but take it out when it looks golden and crispy an' that.
you knew that already.
it's soft, and chewy, and rich, and thick,
and the chocolate is NOT overpowering at all,
but the subtle nog flavor is a real treat when it creeps up on your tastebuds.
did i eat half of this in one shot?
i did.
i'm a F*ing gross human being.
at first, it was amazing,
then, it got addicting,
and then it was just self-destructive.
there's nobody here to tell me NOT to tune up half a pie,
and i wouldn't listen to them anyway.
no way.
everything i like in one place, waiting for my face to feast on it?
who would limit themselves to a single slice,
especially when allll the slices are right there and there isn't anybody to share them with.
all i'm recommending is:
if you're conscientious about your weight and/or caloric intake,
maybe make this with some hungry people around;
that way there will be less of it to ingest individually,
and then perhaps you'll feel like less of a gorging gargantuan than i did.
it's just a suggestion.
this is IT, though, bro.
the solstice.
the official first day of winter.
it's cold, it's dark,
and it's almost X & XImas.
more importantly,
it's the last day to get sh!t done before i head south to the small state called connecticut,
back to where i'm from, which is, in fact, SO far away from where i'm AT.
not physically, really.
it's only maybe 250ish miles or so from there to here.
but philosophically, the mountains are a whole other 'nother other universe
away from the place i used to call home.
my darling dear sweet youngest child is about to be sixteen years of age,
and that's a BIG deal anywhere.
we're celebrating,
and commemorating,
and i'm bringing the cake with me.
it's ALL really happening, in successive sequential chain-reactive overreactions
that speak softer than the words i use to great effect when dealing with the big sticks
that i'm about to visit.
here's to winter.
here's to darkness.
here's to the natural fact that tomorrow is a brighter day,
even if it's supposed to F*ing snow on my head the whole time i'm headed south;
never quiet, never soft.....


i got the big bags of berries.
and that means i had a LOT of 'em,
to use up as i saw fit.
and i thought to myself:
'dude, when's the last time you made a linzertorte?'
...i checked, and it's been a while
six+ months, in fact.
which got me thinkin'- how could i freak it off a little,
and make it something even more exciting to my face?
MORE berries, obvi.
and a little exxxtra-sexxxiness for the crust, too.
i think it worked.
what do you think?

it was buttery, it was brown sugary, it was tart, but sweet, and soft, yet somehow crisp,
and all of it was right there, ready to be consumed in huge gluttonous sharkbites....
which is precisely what happened.
too much is the right amount,
and taking down 75% of that sweet tart in one shot was definitely too much.
i had a tum ache, but it still felt like triumph.
that's no joke.
the berry filling was pretty simple, but it tasted complex.
that's the prime benefit of more than one berry, really-
they all bring something to the table that the others lack.
here's how you can make a little fulfilling filling at your house, kids:
on medium heat, in a medium pot,
break down:
1 cup frozen sliced strawberries;
1 cup frozen raspberries;
1 cup frozen blueberries;
1/2 lemon zest and juice;
1 tsp vanilla;
1/2 tsp lemon extract;
1/2 cup powdered sugar;
2 T organic non-GMO cornstarch.
^^^you can make it while you're barely paying attention.
but, still pay attention, dummy, and don't burn it.
stir it, let it thicken, and let it cool, or it'll melt your dough.
and the dough on this sweet lil' baby b!tch is TILTY af, man.
check it:
in a medium mixing bowl, cream:
1 stick vegan butter;
1 cup brown sugar;
1 tsp vanilla;
1 1/2 tsp almond extract;
1/2 lemon zest and juice;
1/2 tsp salt.
cut that all together, then add:
1/2 cup almond meal;
1/3 cup coarse oat flour;
1 1/2 cups flour;
2-3 T non-dairy milk, to bind it all into one cohesive dough.
knead it, chill it, roll it, and cut it to fit in a tart pan.
i got snowflakes, i got braids, i even got fancy laser-engraved rolling-pin patterns
produced by using a generous and thoughtful gift from my sister mary grace.
we got crust on the bottom, filling over that,
and fancy crusty shapes and sh!t on top,
plus a handful of big raw sugar crystal sprankles.
oh right, of course-
bake  it at 380℉ for somewhere around twenty- to twenty-five minutes.
you know how you like your treats, buddy.
don't let me dictate how golden your tarts should be.
the almond flavor is superb.
the fruit is decadently thick and sweet and tart.
the butter and sugar are right up front,
with a little back-end heartiness from the oats.
i'm not sayin' it's the perfect pre-winter treat.
.....the thing is, it just might be though.
if you can tell the truth,
you can do anything.
for some reason, which i'll assume has something to do with survival
at a primitive structured social neolithic evolutionary level,
we're hardwired to make life easier by droppin' a fib here and there...
maybe it's conflict avoidance/deferral mechanism?
i dunno.
i mean,
a little lie to get away from some undesirable act or consequence
certainly seems effective in the short term, doesn't it?
think about it:
saying NO is hard for folks, because it feels mean-spirited to refuse to participate
in acts and actions that other folks are amped on, but that don't mean sh!t to you,
and would essentially take time away from doing something (or nothing)
that you'd find more rewarding.
it's the source of that classic 'we'll see/lemme check/ i'll get back to you' answer.
because telling the truth is hard, i guess.
that's why yes is always yes,
but NO is almost always something else.
if you can overcome that bit of genetic behavioral programming,
you can accomplish anything.
like max with the wild things.
max said: NO.
and in spite of the terrible roars and teeth and eyes and claws,
he did what he wanted, and went where he wanted to get what he wanted, anyway.
he was also the wildest thing, and the king besides, and also make-believe,
yet i think you get the idea, right?
or like,
when somebody asks if you did that thing they told you to do,
and you say: yes.
....even though you didn't do it!
c'mon, man.
they're gonna find out, and probably pretty soon, at that.
honesty is the best policy, right?
or is that just what supervisory individuals instill in you,
to get you to tell on yourself?
getting in trouble is part of evolution.
you do a thing, that thing has consequences.
it's the fiber of the universe, man: cause & effect.
it all costs something.
if we're facing it with forward looking eyes,
and an innate sense of accountability hints at an understanding
of how truth works, on the larger scale.
and maybe that imparts a willingness to be better.
what i mean is-
you have the willpower to override cowardly self-preservation instincts,
and become MORE than the simple form who just wants to live,
and MORE of a worthy warrior poet who wants to flourish and THRIVE.
lies, man, are what keep you back.
the easy way is never the path to improvement.
without problems, there are no solutions.
it's cause and effect.
know what you want.
say what you mean.
do what you say.
you will NOT win any friends in the bargain, neighbors.
trust me on that one.
we all admire a straight shooter, unless they're aiming at us, right?
i admit i don't want to use any more time to write any more about this idea.
i've got other things to do that i care about more.
the point is:
truth tellers should never stop,
and lying is a choice.
so stop choosing that,
and turn yourself into someone who is a whole lot better,
albeit possibly less likable to the watery diaperbutt doo-doo babies
who keep lying to themselves.
the emperor isn't wearing clothes, friends,
and don't let anybody tell you otherwise;
never quiet, never soft.....