Thanksgiving Must-Have: Aunt Willmetta’s Rolls

I don’t know a whole lot about my Aunt Willmetta, I have mainly poorly formed thoughts. I think she was a school teacher. I think she was my maternal grandfather’s aunt. I think she lived in Missouri. I know one thing: it was not Thanksgiving without her rolls. When I became vegan, I was very glad to find her recipe holds up well to veganizing. (Seems the recipe holds up well to tweaking of all sorts, because my mom last edited it to have the dough rise in her breadmaker, years ago, when we could both still eat wheat.) This year, I’m teaching my daughter to make them, so it only seemed fit to share the recipe with y’all. This recipe will also be in my upcoming cookbook. Hooray for sneak peeks!

Addendum: My mother reports that Aunt Willmetta was her father’s aunt. She lived in Independence, Missouri and worked as a Home Ec teacher. She never married. These rolls were also known as refrigerator rolls, as you could let the dough rest in the refrigerator after the first raising until it was ready to be used.
I tried a gluten free version this past week. The results were mixed, but not awful. I will let y’all know if I have more success next time.

Aunt Willmetta’s Rolls

½ c warm water
1 T yeast
1 t sugar
1 T flax seed
3 T water
1/3 c oil or melted vegan margarine
1/3 c sugar
1 c nondairy milk or water
1 medium potato, baked and mashed
Or, 2/3 c potato flakes mixed with 2 T water
3-4 c flour (can use white, whole wheat, or spelt)
1 t salt

In a small bowl, combine warm water, yeast and sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes, until foamy. While waiting for yeast mixture, blend flax, water, oil or margarine, sugar, nondairy milk or water, and potato. When yeast is ready, pour yeast mixture and blended mixture into a large bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon while slowly adding flour and salt. If the dough gets too tough to stir, pour it out onto a floured surface and knead in any remaining flour. Continue to knead until the dough is soft, smooth and cool. Lightly oil a large bowl. Put dough in bowl and turn dough until it is coated in oil. Cover bowl with a damp kitchen towel. Let sit in a warm place for an hour. Punch down dough. You can let it rise for another hour, or you can proceed with the rolls. Roll out the dough until it is ½ inch thick. Cut with a circle cutter. Put rolls on baking sheet. Brush with melted vegan margarine. Crease each circle of dough down the middle with the side of your hand. Fold the dough over. Brush with more melted vegan margarine. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 20-30 minutes. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.

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My Dad Loved Elvis More Than Your Dad Loved Elvis

My dad died last week. He’d been ill with lung cancer, especially the last 6 months. 

My husband encouraged me to write about my dad, as a way of remembering & getting through the grief. Also because he knows I’ve been meaning to write more. A lovely idea, but one I didn’t think I had the brain power to handle just yet. I still don’t feel that I have my wits about me much, but I do have a few thoughts. My dad & I had a lot of love between us, but we also had a lot of distance. Losing him has helped me to let go of the distance, & as such this essay is focused on the things that bring me joy to think about.

My dad’s idea of Sunday service was Elvis gospel favorites and homemade buttermilk pancakes.

When we went on a roadtrip from Oregon to Texas, we listened to Elvis’ Sun Sessions on repeat. All through the desert. My dad loved to travel, & took me lots of places. The summer we drove to Texas, we took a trip later that summer to Florida. Yosemite, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Florida coast…all in one summer. I would have not seen as much without him.

My dad had pretty great taste in media. He took us to movies often, we rented movies every week when I visited. He never complained when I rented Charlie & the Chocolate Factory repeatedly. He introduced me to the works of Steve Martin. He loved a good blockbuster movie. Seems like we went to one every year… Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, National Lampoons.

When he took us to the bookstore, he let us get whatever we wanted. Music stores, too. It was nice to get to decide, & to be left alone to do it. Later, when I worked at a bookstore, he took my recommendations, & enjoyed them. I bought him Wicked & Shopgirl, which he read & liked.

When my mom and I went to Nepal when I was in high school, my dad bought me a Canon Eos Rebel to take with me. I had that camera for years.

He was an early riser. He had excellent handwriting. He tipped very well & treated everyone with the same professional courtesy. My dad grew up poor, but travelled the world. I’m proud to say his manners showed his farm boy ethics. He loved dogs. The more mutt, the better. He loved a good stray.

I ate at restaurants with my dad often. He loved delis & barbecue & burgers & dessert. He introduced me to pasta alfredo, eclairs, gazpacho. He could always tell when I was too full, but still wanted dessert.

Without a doubt, every visit, my dad asked me to make chocolate chip cookies, & I always obliged. You can thank him for my baking obsession. He enjoyed cooking projects, but rarely had time to devote to them. I remember a 24 hour cheesecake experiment. It was crazy good. I’m planning to replicate it in a vegan way with my daughter soon.

My dad wore a Speedo.

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The Dagger Beach

In honor of John Vanderslice’s new release, Dagger Beach (streaming here), my husband and I decided to host a listening party last weekend. We have been fans of John’s music for years, and have seen him play many times. We wanted to preview the new vinyl before John plays a show in our town this week (tickets available here). We hoped to drum up interest as well as familiarize ourselves with the new songs before the performance.

While we were planning the listening party, we got the idea for a signature drink to honor this album. It was a big hit, so I wanted to share it here with you.

The Dagger Beach
12 oz ginger beer (Rachel’s preferred)
1/2 c spiced rum
juice of one lemon (if using Rachel’s, this is optional)
1/4 c blue curacao
3 limes (2 juiced for the rims, one cut for garnish)
coconut sugar
ice cubes
Mix the ginger beer, rum, and lemon juice together in a pitcher. Pour the lime juice into a small plate, and the coconut sugar onto a separate small plate. Dip the rims of the glasses into the lime juice, then the coconut sugar. Set aside. Put two ice cubes in each glass, and pour the ginger beer mixture over the ice, leaving a little room at the top. Float a teaspoon of blue curacao over the top & add a lime slice for garnish. Drink while listening to Vanderslice, of course.

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Recipe Tweak of the Week – L’s Infamous Nut Roast

Last night, as I was perusing twitter, one of my friends mentioned she had a nut roast in the oven (not a euphemism). I had been planning to make soup for dinner, but asked for the recipe anyway. She was happy to oblige, and before long I’d decided to make some nut roasts, in addition to the soup. Because of my current dietary plan, I had to change the recipe significantly from L’s original. The result was incredibly delicious. I am so happy to be able to share it with y’all.


Continue reading

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Recipe Tweak of the Week – Pumpkin Cornbread

Internet, I make a lot of new recipes. But I have a hard time calling them new, because more often than now, they’re some sort of variation on a previous recipe, from my book or from another author. My inner perfectionist has Issues letting these sorts of recipes get published. It feels like cheating. But, I tweak recipes so often, because I am easily bored with my food, and the results are often ones I want to share. This blog has been awfully quiet lately, so, I’m making a deal with inner perfectionist to allow these “not new” recipes to be shared, since it helps me to get my butt in the chair & write. Everyone wins! Continue reading

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Milkshakes Make Things Better


When I started my elimination diet in January, I certainly didn’t expect to still be following it in October. Yet, here I am!
After further testing with my naturopath, I recently started following a candida diet as well, so eating is even more complicated than it was on my super complicated elimination diet. Siiiiigh. Allow me to recite the litany of things I’m not eating. No: soy, corn, gluten, buckwheat, quinoa, peas, garlic, artichoke, fava beans, navy beans, sunflower, cashew, pistachio, sugar, refined grains, banana, melon, grapes, alcohol, fermented foods, vinegar, tamari, juice, or dried fruit. Oh, and no more than 2 servings of fruit. Yep. Everyday. It’s pretty exhausting, to be honest. But, I’m still eating pretty well, & this shake is becoming a habit. I save up all my fruit for the day to have in it, that’s how special it is. And, dead simple to make.

Habitual Shake
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup vegan milk (I use unsweetened almond milk)
1 cup frozen fruit (mango + raspberry is my favorite)
sweetener to taste

Blend! Drink! You don’t have to share…

If I’m feeling virtuous, I add many of the following, I tsp each:
- hemp seeds
- chia seeds
- spirulina
- flax seed
- rice protein

Usually, though, I make it simply, as the recipe is written up top. Perfect.

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musings from the bowels of Facebeg

I’ve found when an issue is raised that requires attention, many people feel uncomfortable with the change required, so they shift the focus onto something else, like moral purity, to keep from accepting that change should take place. in doing this, they not only keep the change from happening, they also keep others from learning about the issue at hand.
activists need not be morally pure to make change. they only need be committed in the face of apathy & fear.

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New Class: The Vegan Lifestyle – From Planning to Plate

Join me at LifeSource Natural Foods for a discussion on veganism.

Vegans & non vegans alike will discover new information & resources for cultivating a satisfying and delicious plant based diet.

Call LifeSource to RSVP (503) 361-7973

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Lola Ursula Keightley 2000-2012

Hello Internet,
Towards the end of January, my dog, Lola, died. It was really sudden, so I took a few months to sort my feelings so I could share them with you. Continue reading

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I Love Food


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