Happy Sunday everyone! I bet you noticed the lack of posting the last two weeks, and all I can say about that is I MISSED YOU! Normally we have fresh posts for you every single week, but when something like this happens, I like to come back with one of our “Life at the Little Green Kettle” posts so that you can see what I’ve been up to. These past two weeks have been very different to what you might expect. Besides my regular busy bee activities like teaching, cooking and exercising, two new things popped up in my life. One is my new work as a volunteer at one of Madrid’s farm animal sanctuaries! The other, which ended up filling my every thought day and night, was the terrible crisis that is going on in the country I grew up in, Venezuela. So come on in and take a look at everything that’s been going on at the Little Green Kettle.
My beautiful batavia lettuce survived the winter and continued to grow into this beautiful head of lettuce! There’s nothing like seeing the entire process from seed to salad. Or in this case Mexican night, since we ended up shredding it and serving it over tacos. It was crisp, fresh and delicious!
Another new experiment was making these incredible mini lentil and beet sliders. As it turned out, the best bread so far for these has been mini bagels! Who would have thought?! We served them with a side of oven fries with herbs and they were incredible! I hope to have this recipe ready for you soon!
Last weekend, I had a little afternoon vegan feast for some friends and their kids. It’s important to say that out of all my friends they’re as far away from vegan as is humanly possible ha ha! And still, in spite of cooking vegan goodies for about 20 (I always overdo it), there wasn’t a single chip, or cupcake on the table by the end of the day. Everyone loved the food! In fact, I made vegan versions of the food I used to make for them before I went vegan and it was even tastier than the original version, and yet, familiar to all of them. Here is one of the two dads – hubbies of my two best friends from childhood – (to the right) and Mr. Little Green Kettle is to the left in the plaid shirt.
My beautiful little nephews and nieces and one of the two gorgeous mammas.
I wouldn’t leave you without a close up of the food! One of the biggest hits was my Homemade Let’s Party Salsa, and below you can see the mini ‘arepitas’ (a typical Venezuelan dish, more on this below) with three fillings of vegan sour cream or ‘nata’, melted vegan cheese, and avocado slices. I also made vegan chocolate cupcakes with a heavenly vegan cream cheese frosting (I served it on the side in case the kids didn’t want any, and two of them actually asked me to put some on their cupcake! Adorable!). My pecan pie (recipe for this coming next week!) was a huge success, and so was the huge Mexican 7 layer dip I made. Overall, a HUGE hit!
These are two of my closest friends. We met in school when we were 4 years old in Venezuela and by some kind of miracle, we all moved on different moments to different parts of the world, and all ended up here in Madrid 5 years ago and live 20 minutes away from each other. My heart fills with joy every time they visit and we can talk about the old days.
They’re going to kill me if they see this, but look at us in typical Venezuelan attire for a school project MANY moons ago! I’m in the middle in pastels. This photo will take on new meaning as you continue reading below.
Yesterday of course began at the farmer’s market which means I have a fridge full of veggies and fruits. For lunch, I gave my hubby a real treat by making one of his favorite Spanish dishes (in its vegan version of course!): bocadillo de “calamares”, which is basically a vegan fried calamari sandwich. The calamari rings were made of soy meat (I bought them… don’t think I’m that resourceful!), and were pan fried and served on a baguette with some vegan mayo, and some chips and a kale salad on the side. As the day went on, I got ready to go to a very special event, one I will never forget.
In the past two weeks, and also during the past 15 years, Venezuela, the country I was born in and grew up in, has been going through its most difficult and violent moment in history. This took a turn for the worst recently as a few students were killed after a peaceful protest against the government. The truth is, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. After years of injustice, lack of basic products and resources (including basic food items and medication), human rights violations, political prisoners, and especially the highest crime rate in the world (war zones included), Venezuelans want action and change. Above all else, so that we never lose a single life again, no matter what their political inclination might be. Yesterday, the protest was not only in Venezuela, but in all major cities in the world. Of course, I was there at 6pm sharp to show support to my family and friends that are living through all the violence in Venezuela. It was one of the most special protests I’ve ever participated in.
As we sat down on the floor to form giant SOS letters that would be photographed from nearby buildings and raised lit candles after sunset in memory of all lives lost (25,000 only in the year 2013), a man started playing the guitar with one of our country’s most emblematic songs “En Venezuela”. There was not a dry eye in the house. I remembered my mother and how she protested against the Vietnam War in the US, and against the unfair pay and conditions of grape growers in California. I remember how she always told me “protests never give you the impression that they’ll work until one day they do”. I felt so happy to be there, next to my best friend Lili who came with me. It was such a special event to take part in. If you wish to help, you can! The biggest way to help us is by tweeting and reposting news coverage from Venezuela to keep awareness high in this critical moment that could change everything for us. An even bigger way to help is to tweet or email your local news channels and ask for more coverage on the Venezuelan crisis. Anything you can do to raise awareness is an amazing gift to all Venezuelans who are fighting tooth and nail to keep our country as safe and prosperous as it once was.
THANK YOU to all my incredible followers on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter who have helped us spread this message.
This morning I of course woke up craving arepas, a traditional Venezuelan dish. I’ll have a recipe for these soon. These were filled with all vegan goodies, a bit of vegan butter, avocado slices and some vegan cheese, and of course a cup of my hubby’s famous soy lattes.
I’ve got two very exciting news on the animal rights front. One, is that our little Nala has become famous! (at least she thinks she has!). Our favorite animal rights website OurHenHouse.org selected a photo I took of her in the snow last month as their “This Animal on this Day” segment! I found out as soon as I got back from the protest last night and they have no idea how special it was to feature a Venezuelan dog on a day in which Venezuelan’s were heard across the globe! Go Nala! Go Our Hen House! Take a look at our little one here and at this incredible website we’ll be talking about really soon.
Here’s the photo I took and submitted! (Bunny DNA is suspected)
Finally, to end this long recap, I have a very special announcement! Since two weeks ago I’ve been working as a volunteer for El Valle Encantado, one of Spain’s farm animal sanctuaries and the recipient of this year’s award for best animal sanctuary in Spain! I’m dedicating a whole post to the beautiful animals I’ve met really soon, but in the meantime, we really need your support and it’s as easy as vegan pie! Simply visit our Facebook page, click Like to follow us, and share if you can! I’m specifically on the FB team creating great content for you in English, so I promise the posts will be special and you’ll get to meet all the animals that are being cared for and saved at the sanctuary.
That’s all for today, but stick around this week for more on the sanctuary, two incredible vegan rockstars, a yummy soy bean and coconut curry stew and of course… vegan pecan pie!
To all my Venezuelan readers and followers, I’m in awe, as always, of your determination and bravery, I’ll be supporting and helping from the distance every step of the way. Los quiero!