Somewhere that’s green

When we moved to this neighborhood, I was trying to figure out how to describe it, and the best I could come up with was that I felt as if we were living in the “tract house that we share somewhere that’s green” from Little Shop of Horrors — it’s a safe, quiet neighborhood full of little houses with kids and dogs playing in the yard. An ice-cream truck comes through now and then, and there’s a mom-and-pop grocery store a couple of miles away. It’s like the whole neighborhood is secretly a wormhole to 1958.

This afternoon, I was on the phone with my mom when the little girl across the street wandered onto my porch to do something I’d read about but never actually seen anyone do:

She asked to borrow a cup of milk, because she’d run out in the middle of making something.

I had to ask her to repeat the request, because it was just too perfect to be believed. I’d just been thinking about how much I love living in Red Fork and how excited I am about working for our Main Street program, and here came my young neighbor to confirm what I’d long suspected: I live in the best neighborhood in Tulsa.

A cup of milk.

I think we just one-upped the popsicle test.


By popular demand …

… here is the recipe for my vegan lasagna. I actually made a half-batch for last night’s party, as I did the other half lacto-ovo, and I just kind of made it up as I went along, but these are the rough proportions:

1 box no-boil lasagna noodles
1 jar of spaghetti sauce (or make your own with two cans of tomato sauce and your favorite Italian spices)
1 medium yellow squash, sliced
1 green bell pepper
1/2 lb. sliced mushrooms
1 c. chopped onion (frozen kind is OK)
1 box frozen spinach
1 bag julienned carrots
Half a can of cheap beer
1 lb. extra firm tofu (NOT silken)
Two bags vegan mozzarella shreds
Chopped garlic to taste — start with about six cloves and adjust to your liking
Olive oil or margarine

In a wok or large skillet, saute onion and pepper in olive oil or margarine until pepper is soft. In a heavy skillet, brown carrots in olive oil or margarine. Add beer and simmer until it evaporates. While carrots cook, add squash and mushrooms to wok and saute until squash is tender. Thaw spinach in the microwave. Add spinach and cooked carrots to wok. Cook until spinach is heated through. Add garlic and cook very briefly (30 seconds or so).

Using two knives in a criss-cross motion, crumble the tofu.

In a greased baking dish, place a layer of lasagna noodles, a layer of vegetables, a layer of sauce, a layer of vegan mozzarella, and a layer of crumbled tofu. Repeat until all ingredients are used up.

Bake at 350 for about an hour.

Extra-firm tofu is a healthful and less expensive alternative to ricotta cheese, which has a very similar texture and flavor.

Lasagna is a very forgiving dish, which means you could start with this recipe and riff on it to your heart’s content. The squash seemed to be the key to the whole thing, but I think zucchini would work as well as yellow squash. If you don’t need it to be truly vegan, saute the vegetables in real butter.


Too little sleep, too much work, too long a roller coaster this week.

In the past 10 hours, I have driven 100 miles (half of them on Route 66); healed what I am almost certain was the onset of strep; tripped and landed elbow-first on a concrete sidewalk; healed the elbow by clinging to Mrs. Eddy’s assertion that “accidents are unknown to God” and that we cannot be harmed by right action; learned to make all the different kinds of burgers on our menu; washed three sinkloads of dishes; drunk almost an entire pot of decaf; and tried — unsuccessfully — to convince myself that I have enough energy left to edit about 150 images and run two errands.

I still feel 17, but I feel like a sleepy 17-year-old who desperately needs a nap and a bowl of ramen noodles before she gets up and running again. I think I’ll have both and then tackle that stack of projects on my desk….