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There’s My Plane !! Teese me with Cheese, and an ‘oh so sinful’ BBQ Tater Tot pizza !!

Posted by on Nov 7, 2013 in Reflections On Sunrise, Vegan Plant Based Recipes | 0 comments

There’s My Plane !!  Teese me with Cheese, and an ‘oh so sinful’ BBQ Tater Tot pizza !!




“Celebrate we will, for life is short, but sweet for certain !!”
   ~ David Matthews Band


Good morning friends.  I’d like to start by wishing my boyfriend Spencer a very happy birthday.

On one hand, we won’t have too much time to lollygag today, as we have villa guests arriving tomorrow.  We are literally “in the weeds” from the 12+ inches of rain we received while we were gone.  And as you can see from my sunrise photo, November is typically our rainy season, and the days have continued to bring afternoon showers, making our clean-up a bit challenging.

But no matter, we will always make time to celebrate, for yes … Life is short.  We’ll still start off slow. I’m thinking I’ll cook something special for brunch – maybe some type of benedict or a quiche –  while he opens his gifts.  And after work, Captain Spenc and I just might head out to the movies to see that new Tom Hanks movie, Captain Phillips.  We’ll celebrate with friends on Saturday night, when we can finally relax again.

What I find so surprising about morning meditation is that it often brings something totally unexpected. The waves are thundering from a cold front that moved off the East Coast. But above the din of the ocean, I thought I heard a plane. I looked up to see a commercial jetliner streaming high in the sky, leaving behind a trail of white, high above the clouds. Is this something new on Thursday’s to one of my Southern Caribbean neighbors, or have I simply been missing it all these years ?

Whenever I see a jetliner like that, my Grandmother Prehn pops into my head:  She’d say “There’s my plane !!”   Although she didn’t travel much, I’m guessing she loved to imagine all of the exotic places that she might be headed.  I know the feeling Grandmother, as yesterday I texted “Calgon, take me away!!” as I struggled with my villa duties.

When I think of my Grandmother,  whom I only got to visit for a few weeks each summer in my youth, I will always remember 3 things about her:   She loved to take afternoon tea, she made amazing cinnamon rolls, and I hated her tater tot casserole.  How appropriate for what I had already written last night for the food segment of my post.   So here’s to you Grandmother Prehn … No doubt you are getting a cosmic giggle right now from that eternal plane, high in the sky !!


Oh, please Teese me !!!

My friends over at the Facebook group, Power to the Veg!, host monthly food swaps.  I find myself sometimes feeling a bit envious of all the new products on the market which they share.  And which I will likely never find here at my markets.  But I do make a list of all the goodies that attract my attention, to try to hunt down to when I visit stateside.

And one of these hankerings was Teese ‘Cheese’ by Chicago Vegan Foods (also maker of Dandies Vegan Marshmallows which are amazing !!).

So at the start of our fall trip, and our quick layover in St. Louis, we planned an outing to Whole Foods to see if I could find it.  I spotted the Teese right away in the refrigeration section, and picked up a “Creamy Cheddar Sauce” and “Nacho Cheese”.

I was unsure if it would travel well for my 8 hours between St. Louis and Spokane … The label didn’t offer much assurance.  But I decided to risk it.  It’s vacuum sealed, and the ingredients didn’t seem to be one’s which would readily spoil.   My mother in law, Terry, helped me pack it with some ice packs. And I can say it traveled very well, and was perfect when I finally stopped hoarding it, 6 weeks later …


Wonderful Web Resources: Snarky Vegan

As our long days of Beet Harvest work set in, I began testing and tweaking a few dishes on my traditional Southern Thanksgiving menu.  One of the one’s I’m still working with is a veganized version of Grandmother’s “Mac and Cheese” (my grandmother on Spencer’s side of the family).   I had high hopes that the Teese would finally do Grandmother’s recipe justice.

But as I opened the “Cheddar “Sauce” tube, it was a firm block of goo, and I had no idea what to do with it.   It looked exactly like Velveeta, from days of old !!

Off to the web I went, and the most helpful resource I found, which gave me exactly what I was looking for, was Snarky Vegan.

Making Snarky Vegan’s Teese Mac & Cheese Casserole

Although I think the proportions of cheese sauce to noodles in her recipe needs to be divided in half (ie. maybe 8 oz pasta to the sauce), the “sauce” part really did make for a delicious mac & cheese casserole. The trick is to heat the Teese in a saucepan with some non-dairy milk, add a few seasonings, and stir until until gooey. Then mix it with your pasta, and bake with breaded topping if you can wait that long.

Honestly, the Teese Sauce looks just like the base for Kraft Mac & Cheese when it’s all melted. Oh, and the taste … Deliziosa !!!!!  Get Snarky Vegan’s Teese Mac & Cheese Casserole recipe here.


Inspiration photo from Pillsbury for a Chick’n & Teese Cheese Pot Pie Casserole. Yum !!

Later in my travels, I would remake Snarky’s Teese Sauce using the Nacho Cheese, and create a Chick’n & Teese Cheese Pot Pie Casserole.   I mixed the Teese Cheese Sauce with some Campanelle pasta (1 cup dry), a pack of Green Giant Market Blend frozen veggies, and some cooked Gardein Crispy Chick’n (no sauce).  Then baked it with a topping of Bisquick drop biscuits.  OMG, was that ever good !!!  Sorry I forgot to photo it, but I hope you get the drift from my inspiration photo ….



As for Snarky Vegan, unfortunately she doesn’t appear to be blogging much any more.   Her last entry was December of 2012.   But here’s a girl after my own heart when it comes to “junk food”.

And knowing I’d be honoring her this week, I picked another OMG type recipe off her index: BBQ Tater Tot Pizza.

And I bet you thought all I ate was lettuce and tofu … Nope!   Even I eat “junk” every now and again.   And I’m not afraid to admit it … !!   To quote Snarky:  “I may suck air, but I eat real food.”   I did add a sprinkle of arugula, just to satisfy my guilty consciousness LOL …


Go ahead.  Try the Tater Tot Pizza !  I doubt Snarky and I are the only one’s who think pizza and tater tots are a match made in heaven !!

Please visit for my version of the recipe. 


PS. And be sure to hunt down Teese if you are near a Whole Foods.  Since Teese has not made it here to the VI, at least that I know of, I topped last night’s pizza with the new Go Veggie! Dairy Free Mexican Style Shreds, found locally at Plaza Extra. I’m a fan !!  Might even taste better than Daiya, and it did melt very nicely …

And PSS. What a shock to go and look at the Teese nutrition label yesterday.  While it feels like indulging in a guilty little secret, there’s no cholesterol, only 150 or so calories per serving, and 1/6th the fat of Velveeta !!!!


Letting Go, Generosity & Betty Crocker’s Spanish Paella

Posted by on Nov 6, 2013 in Reflections On Sunrise, Vegan Plant Based Recipes | 0 comments

Letting Go, Generosity & Betty Crocker’s Spanish Paella









“Letting go helps us to to live in a more peaceful state of mind and helps restore our balance.”
~ Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go

The sky held an amazing array of colors this morning: From beautiful reds at dawn, to a golden harvest yellow at sunrise, to a gorgeous silvery blue as the sun rose above the clouds. As I watched this spectacular display by mother nature, I was also watching my cat Namaste, who was intent on watching something in the grass below the deck.

I was marveling at what a beautiful coat he has, and how handsome he’s become as he’s grown from a kitten into a cat. In an instant my mind jumped to a picture I recently posted, of a mink in a cage, awaiting his destiny in the gas chambers, to become a coat for some socialite. You can learn more about the very sad fate of minks here in a short article over at VegFriend.

I used to own a mink coat. My mother gave me one of her two when I moved to New York City, just after college. I was a new vegetarian back then, and had not yet made the connection between what I considered my diet, and what would become my creed: A profound love, respect and reverence for all innocent life.

One winter, I lent the coat to a friend, and when I moved to the Virgin Islands, the coat was simply left behind. Had my mother known, she might have skinned me LOL. But I never felt a sense of loss over that coat. Actually, I felt a sense of relief at leaving it behind.  To quote Budda: You can only lose what you cling to.


Letting Go Builds Generosity

It is said that one of the best ways to build the virtue of generosity – as opposed to possessiveness – is to begin giving away our most precious belongings. As I put my luggage away in my attic yesterday, I was forced to acknowledge that I still have much to let go of. While I’ve taken quite a few loads to my local consignment shop, I have much more which needs to go.

What about that leather Coach shoulder bag that a friend gave me years ago. It must have cost her a pretty penny. Why am I still hanging on to it ? I’d never wear it, but someone might get good use out of it.  The cow is already dead for goodness sakes.

As I sit here, and look around my fairly impersonally decorated space, what is it that I am clinging to, that maybe I can send to a friend this Christmas ??

How about you ? Maybe set an upcoming date on your calendar to downsize your belongings. Pick up some extra cash by taking valuables to your local consignment shop.  Consider donating items from overstuffed closets to the needy.  What item(s) in your possession would make you very angry if they were lost, stolen or broken. Consider giving that possession away to a loved one … ?

“The mental and physical space we create by letting go of things that belong in our past gives us the option to fill the space with something new”.
  ~ Susan Fay West

And please, if you win a million dollars, don’t every buy a fur coat !! Because that’s just cruel 😉


Betty Crocker’s Spanish Paella

On to lighter topics, dinner last night, Betty Crocker’s Spanish Paella, is one of my favorite “quick fixes”. And this family favorite was highly welcome after a long day of villa cleaning and maintenance.   Not only is it fast, but it’s also very filling.  And it’s super simple with only 4 ingredients: Saffron yellow rice, a can of red kidney beans, a can of artichoke hearts, and a cup of frozen green peas.  Serve with a dash of tabasco.  The artichokes stand in nicely for a meaty texture and what would traditionally be shrimp &/or chicken. The red beans are very hearty, and the peas give it a wonderful sweet crunch.

I always feel full and satisfied after this meal, so I’ve never added additional protein. But for those wanting a more substantial meal (or families with a mix of veg*n and meat eaters) …How about a Gardein “Turkey” Cutlet with a little gravy on top ?? Yum !!

I generally use the Mahatma brand of Saffron Rice, which although vegan, does contain MSG. My hope for the future – for my cookbook – is to replicate this store-bought rice with a healthier, homemade knock-off.

Until then, I hope you enjoy this quick fix meal as much as Spencer and I do … Happy hump day everyone !!

Betty Crocker’s Spanish Paella Recipe

1 – 10 oz package Saffron Yellow Rice (Mahatma Brand)

1 cup frozen sweet peas

1 – 15 oz can Red Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed

1 – 15 oz can Artichoke Hearts (quartered), drained and rinsed.

Prepare Saffron Rice according to directions (using Earth Balance for butter).  Add in the peas 5 minutes before the rice is done.  When rice is cooked, stir in the kidney beans and artichoke hearts.  Serve with a dash of tabasco sauce.

A printable version of this recipe is available over at

Gratitude and 3 “Before-You-Know-It” Bean Dips

Posted by on Nov 5, 2013 in Reflections On Sunrise, Vegan Plant Based Recipes | 0 comments

Gratitude and 3 “Before-You-Know-It” Bean Dips


“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
– Unknown


Hello friends! After an adventurous 2 month hiatus, I’m happy to report that I’m back in the saddle. No, I’ve not given up my morning blog, although I must confess at times, I had considered it. But to have awoken to this most gorgeous of morning skies, after a week or grey and rain, was truly inspiring. How can I not share it !!


Tuesday’s Terrific Tip:

Yesterday morning, I began a free on-line meditation program entitled “21 Days of Gratitude” offered by Yesterday’s program featured a splendid visual meditation, filmed by Louie Schwartzberg. If you are familiar with the works of Ken Burns, Louie’s video photography of people and the nature world are of equal talent. And I can’t think of a better way to offer my gratitude over the next three weeks, as we approach Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays.

The presentation will focus on three areas for gratitude over coming weeks: Inner strength, family and friends, and the beauty of the living universe and the awe of nature.  Twenty-One different mentors will share their personal experiences with gratitude.  The visual patterns of nature will help the mind be free of distracting thoughts, and open the heart to the beauty around us.

I hope you’ll join me in experiencing this truly lovely gift to yourself.  To Learn More and to Register, please visit: 


Finding Your Purpose – Change to my Blog Format

The meditation theme and mantra yesterday was “Finding Your Purpose”. It couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve never had 8 weeks go by so quickly. And while my experience was truly amazing – a quick layover with my in-laws in St. Louis, vacationing and hiking Glacier National Park followed by 3 weeks of workamping at a Sugar Beet Harvest in Montana – I came back to find myself feeling more adrift than ever. But also truly ready to explore my purpose here on this mother earth. As I contemplated giving up my writing, I was filled with sadness. And I had to ask, why I was even considering it ?

As I sat with the question, I was struggling with the fact that “Reflections on Sunrise” was taking all of my time away from my other blog “The Twisted Vegan”. And that I am just as passionate about my food blog as I am talking about spirituality and spreading lovingkindness. And writing daily “Reflections” has been a heck of a lot easier than the intermittent style I’ve been sharing over at “Twisted”.

So I’ve decided to merge the two blogs. Which means you’ll be getting more content from me than ever 🙂

Vegan followers, I hope that my morning sunrise photo, quotes and thoughts on spirituality from a yogic and zen perspective will be uplifting for you. And Sunrise followers, I hope you’ll enjoy my food posts. I hope to be a trusted resource should you ever find yourself considering a switch to plant-based living (or have the concept recommended by your doctor), adding Meatless Mondays to your family’s weekly menu, or having a child announce that they are no longer eating meat or having me over for dinner, my hope is you’ll find what you are needing at


Recipes for 3 “Before-You-Know-It” Bean Dips

As I mentioned, our vacation started with a short layover in St. Louis to visit Spencer’s parents. The night of our arrival, we got in late, and my mother-in-law, Terry had prepared the most wonderful homemade bean dips, which she served with bruschetta from Sam’s Club (topped with vegan cheese substitute I might add!). This week is very busy for me, as I re-open the villa for a check-in on Friday. I know this time of year can be hectic for most everyone. Terry was kind enough to share her recipes with me over the weekend, which I’ve adapted slightly per her notes. Using on-hand ingredients, these dips come together in no time !! Perfect for unexpected company or healthy snacking.

Simply blend the ingredients until smooth in a Magic Bullet (my favorite appliance), food processor or blender.

Enjoy! And as always, I offer gratitude to you for taking time out of your day to read my thoughts. Namaste !!


Sesame Garbanzo Bean Dip

Adapted from the Cookbook “Dropping Acid”

1 15.5 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

5-6 tablespoons vegetable broth

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

Serve with Edamame and Rice Crackers


Zingy White Canellini Bean Dip

Adapted from

1 15.5 oz can canellini beans, drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons vegetable broth

2 tablespoons olive oil

Juice of 1/2 Lemon (1+ tablespoons)

1 small clove garlic, minced (1/2 teaspoon)

1/2 teaspoon salt

* For a seasonal kick, add in some fresh Rosemary

Serve with cut veggies and Pita Chips


Savory Black Bean Dip

Adapted from The Magic Bullet Cookbook

1 15.5 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup roasted red pepper (pimentos, canned or jarred)

2 tablespoons vegetable broth

1 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1 small clove garlic, minced (1/2 teaspoon)

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Serve with cut veggies (I loved this with baby carrots) and Corn Chips

I’ll add a PDF for download later today. 

Sending Documents to my Kindle & Sharing eBooks

Posted by on Aug 7, 2013 in Tech Tips | 0 comments

Sending Documents to my Kindle & Sharing eBooks


















Using an eReader, and sharing books, is one of the best ways to help our environment.  We conserve paper, and we save money in the process.  And we might just make some’s day !!


Send PDF documents to my Kindle:

I’m wanting to send out the “Biography” document I talked about yesterday to my Kindle so I’ll  have it while I’m traveling.

How do I do this?

Well, with a Mac, I can print anything to a PDF.
File/Print/Save as PDF in lower left of print dialog box

So I printed the webpage to a PDF.

PC People, you can download a PDF Printer here …

I can then send that document to my kindle (or iPad) for anytime reading (saving 13 sheets of paper) ….

First, I can email it to my kindle account

Set up under Your Account / Manage Your Kindle / Registered Kindle Reading Apps / Send-to-Kindle E-mail Address

Want to send me something to read … (see below, I need to approve you first!)

But, I can also download a free app for use on my computer, which makes this even easier (there is also a link on this page for PCs)

Now I can:
– Drag & drop any document to the “Send to Kindle” icon on my dock
– Print the document and choose “send to Kindle” printer
– Control-Click on one or more documents & send to Kindle


Now, what if I would like to sharing e-Books I’ve purchased on Amazon …..

Set-Up Approved Senders:

Go to Your Account – Manage Your Kindle

On the lefthand menu, select Personal Document Settings under Your Kindle Account (second set of boxes)

Add someone to your Approved Personal Document e-Mail List (this is their Amazon Account eMail address, not the email address of their kindle) …

So for me you would add:


Sharing Purchased e-Books on Amazon:

Go to Your Account – Your Kindle Library.

To the right of each book you own is a yellow Actions button.

In the Actions menu, select “Loan this Title”.

If Loan this title is not an option, lending is unavailable for the title.

Complete the form, entering the amazon email address of the person with whom you wish to share your book (remember they need to have added you to their account as an approved sender).

** Be sure to send the Kindle book loan notification to your friend’s personal e-mail address and not their Kindle e-mail address (unlike before, where pdf documents are emailed directly to the kindle).

Amazon will send an e-mail to the recipient with your personalized message.

You will not be able to read this book while it is on loan (7 days if the request is loan is NOT accepted, and 14 days if it IS accepted).


Sharing with eBookFling:
———————————- is another wonderful way to share books, especially if none of your friends are avid e-book readers … It’s worth creating an account, as they send out a weekly email with free ebooks via Amazon, based on your interests. I’ve picked up a number of decent free fiction novels this way


Happy Reading (and sharing!)

Welcome to my blog and website

Posted by on Aug 20, 2012 in Tech Tips | 0 comments

Welcome to my blog and website

Today, finally goes live.  I’ve published many websites over the years using Adobe Creative Suite products, but this is my first full scale website using WordPress.  And I’m excited, because this means I can better assist you in creating your own website and blog for business or personal use. Which is a method to organize your thoughts, drive your passion, and create your dreams!

Using traditional means of HTML web publishing, it would be very difficult for the website owner to maintain his or her own content, without some technical know-how.  This often led to static websites that quickly became outdated.  Or, the website owner would become highly dependent on a web site designer such as myself to make updates, which of course can become expensive for the client, and tedious for the developer.  The beauty of WordPress is that it is open-source, meaning that it is free software, and that there is a large community of developers that create for it, and design using it.  This will allow me to work with my web clients, design the graphic design framework or template and upload the initial content, but the client will be able to maintain it on a go-forward basis.  Blogging and Newsletter propagation have never been easier!  And these are things that keep your customer coming back to your site.  Truly, with as little as an hour of training, you can be creating your own content on the world wide web  !!  And there are so many plug-ins for WordPress, that the ability to add slick features, such as social media links, YouTube videos, Google event calendars or integrated e-commerce capabilities are a snap (just to name a few)!!

As well, I am excited, for this site marks a turning point in my life.  Up until now, my life has been tied up in managing my own brick and mortar businesses.  With this website (and the numerous virtual extensions thereof), I am able to share concepts and knowledge with people, without being tied to a physical location.  Describing who I am, and what I do has always been a bit of a conundrum.  I never quite had an “elevator speech” down.  Sure I’ve created alot over the years like “Victoria owns PC Paradise, or Victoria has a Villa”, but that doesn’t get to the heart of the matter.  These are businesses I created to serve people;  They are an extension of who I am, but not what I identify myself with.  I hope that this website gives you a clear cut picture of my capabilities and joy in creative expression.  If I can ever help you plan an awesome vacation, create greater prosperity in your life, or help you on the road to wellness so that you can optimize your fullest potential, you know where to find me ….

Thanks WordPress!
For more information on developing with WordPress, please visit