We don't have a community garden plot, although we have friends who offered to share theirs (thanks Kit and Emily!), but this year was definitely not our best gardening year. However, we have been so lucky with a community of friends who are happily willing to share the fruits of their labor with us. We've enjoyed fresh greens all year from our neighbor's Scott and Deborah's garden, black raspberries and more recently pears from our neighbor's Vicky and Greg, and several friends who don't live close by have also contributed to our table. This picture is off dinner made from tomatoes and an onion from Kris and zucchini and summer squash from Rob's coworker's garden. I guess I did add some basil from our "garden". VeganYumYum's Super Quick Tomato Basil Cream Pasta (Again! I can't seem to stop making this.) with whole wheat linguini and a little variation. I bought some Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese from Common Ground Food Coop on their last day in the old location (they had a sale on all produce, frozen, and refrigerated items so they wouldn't have to move them which meant I stocked up on processed foods I wouldn't normally buy...not such a great idea health-wise, but I was helping the cause, right?) and added it to the sauce while in the food processor (reminiscent of this recipe). I made more FatFree Vegan's Sunny Summer Squash Soup (I am in a delicious rut of quick summer foods) and the tofu is Cashew-Ginger Tofu from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan which I made for our family reunion on Sunday.
The reunion was for my dad's side of the family and I love seeing them, but I know they find our food "strange" and usually don't even try it so this year I was thinking of just making sandwiches or something for us and not taking anything to share...we don't eat anyone else's food usually (lots of friend chicken). I was just tired from our busy Saturday, but Rob made it clear that my plans were not going to cut it. I didn't have much time (or so I thought...I thought it started at noon, but it was really 1pm) since we had to drive to a tiny, tiny little town about 45 minutes away so I whipped up some Mac Daddy (with peas) from Veganomicon for the first time and the Cashew-Ginger Tofu. The Mac Daddy went over fine at the reunion, although Parker and I agree that we prefer Vegan Dad's Creamy Mac and Cheeze. No one would even try the tofu except my family and my dad, sister, and her boyfriend. Their loss. One of the relatives came up and asked if the Mac Daddy had tumeric in it (it does) and she went on about how she had read recently about the health benefits. I think it is sweet that she was trying to connect with our "crazy food". It is hard for this family of farmers to understand why one would not eat any animals products...no matter how many years I have been veg. My sister always comes through and she brought vegan mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes, lentil salad, and purple cabbage salad. We were actually stuffed by the end of the reunion. Here are some leftovers the next day. Cashew-Ginger Tofu as a sandwich with avocado, my sister's mashed potatoes (yummy, yum, yum!), and Mac Daddy with peas. Here is Josie playing around in the community center where we have our reunion every year. It is sort of sad that my family is the youngest people who come. I am trying to think of something that might get my cousins back for the reunion. Everyone is pretty spread out now and this is really the only time we see each other. When I was a child we had the reunions at a big park in Decatur, IL, but as people aged they decided it was best to have the climate controlled community center in Hammond, IL. Although it was my dad's family, it always makes me miss my mom even more. My mom was the one who reminded me of everyone's names and talked recipes, gardening, or farming with this family I hardly knew. I was reading Chicken and Cheese's entry about her dad the other day and she expresses much of what I feel about the loss of my mom. Even after six and half years, it is still hard. Events like the reunion just bring it all more to the surface. The kids had a fun time and that helps. They love seeing everyone and talking to all the adults. It is also one of the only times we get to see my brother and his girlfriend. They live a couple miles away from us, but they have only seen Josie in passing. They are very busy and work all the time. I see my brother when he is working on redoing a house, storefront, or bar in town. He has his own business and I understand how that can totally take over all one's time. My Uncle Bob and Aunt Bessie brought tons of apples and pears from their backyard which we've been eating all week. It was nice to get together and I am reminded again and again how lucky we are to have our community of family and friends.