AMERICA // Social Distancing + Quarantine time

 

89951617_2884913834888798_2858453262661582848_o.jpgIn a world of reality TV, social platforms, apps, podcasts, celebrities, online debates, and influencers, the one thing I want to convey as a blogger right now to my readers, is not the latest hair trend this week, but that our world is in a blanket of a pandemic, and that we as humanity and as a whole need to stay quarantined, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.   COVID-19 doesn’t care if you’re a boomer or a millennial, what religion, what class, what sex, what race, if you’re family members, it doesn’t care what music you listen to, how above it you think you are, what you have been through, what ivy league you went to,  what your favorite team is, or what fashions you wear. COVID-19 will attack your respiratory system if you do not self-quarantine and practice social distancing. Our medical field  will not be equipped to handle the numbers of those infected if we do not start waking up and taking the necessary steps to flatten the curve.

So, yes I got your attention with an aesthetically pleasing posed picture, but the revolution will not be televised, as Gil Scott Heron once said, and even if it is televised and not sensationalized, people still have their eyes closed.  Also, quarantine time doesn’t mean pure loneliness, many forget that most of us were glued to our phones when society first only associated the words “corona” with the Mexican lager. If you are looking for activities,  i’ll be posting lists of things to do and watch on this blog and our other social media platforms. Read books, cook, and just know that studies do show by following the precautions listed, and insisted by our governor, we can lower the number of those infected.

I do not want to see my city, the city of Cincinnati, Ohio, once a boom-town, turn into a ghost town, like the song by the Specials. I know this city, and I know when COVID-19 is ready to tumbleweed the hell out of the wild Midwest, our city will be there to support all of our small businesses.

I just hope our government will have the same love for our small business owners, as it does for wallstreet. One can hope, it is an apocalypse right, anything can happen.

( Immense sarcasm).

2020 has also been a year where we have both opened VADA GALLERY, a life long “American” dream, and like many other small business owners, we have now moved our sales of our entire art collection online, to help flatten the curve.  Every single person in this world is affected in one way or another by this pandemic. I personally have a brother whom is a doctor in DC/Baltimore with a specialty in infectious diseases, and sister in law whom is also a doctor in the DC/Baltimore area, as well as a cousin whom is a teacher, wife, and mother with twin boys there as well.  My best friend will spend the next three weeks in quarantine 24/7, in San Francisco and LA, with another friend sick and unable to receive any diagnosis because of the lack of COVID-19 tests in Denver,CO. I have family members all over the country and world, just like everyone else. I have seen countless friends lose their jobs in the restaurant world and beyond. I personally spent my early twenties living and studying art history in Florence, Italy and studied and and lived in Tours, France. I have watched these beloved countries where I found parts of my soul, fully be torn apart with death. I have watched and listened to journalists who in the midst of this epidemic, which fastly turned into a pandemic, tirelessly fight to give the mass public what we have the right to know, and that is the truth.

I think the world is hurting on an entire vibe level that was unknown to some, until now. We are all hurting as one, we are fleeing to our homes, to shelter, to safety from COVID-19.  Let’s hope and trust we will find a vaccine for COVID-19 and not treat it is as a race to the fucking moon, but as a way to band together to save humanity.

 

Continue reading “AMERICA // Social Distancing + Quarantine time”

Local Spotlight // Destiny of Desire at Playhouse in the Park

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I have always loved the Arts community in Cincinnati, Ohio and I absolutely adore it even more with the opening of Destiny of Desire, a dramatic stage play comedy and homage to Latin American soap operas playing at Playhouse in the Park FEB. 29 – MARCH 28, 2020   |  This melodramatic,hilarious, passionate, well written play, brings to the stage and audience, comical soap opera takes on classism, mother daughter relationships, love, coming of age, sorrow, loss, betrayal, lust, secrets, more, secrets, and ( look back and forth) even more secrets. I have to say with a much deserved standing ovation, Destiny of Desire is the best play I have seen in years. Even if you didn’t grow up watching telenovelas, this play will make you full belly laugh. With wonderful comedic outlandish scenes, to highlighting topics that need to have a spotlight in this country and beyond, this play still holds the audience’s attention, captivating and intriguing, with jaw dropping dramatic hilarious twists with shock and aw scenes. Needless to say, my loud laugh came out in the Marx Theater that night, but thankfully it was matched with simultaneous roars of laughter and enlightenment from my fellow play goers.

This largely Lantinx cast, Directed by JOsÉ Luis Valenzuela , with playwright by Karen Zacarias, is a switched-at-birth comedy full of music and dancing, broken up into two acts. It was beautifully choerographed by Robert Barry Fleming. My eye could not stop moving with  brilliant + fluid set designs by Francois-Pierre Couture, and lighting by Pablo Santiago. The music and solos amid this wonderful team was simpatico for all things that make for a terrific performance from all aspects of the production. This piece light hearted and enthralling is really needed in our country at this moment in time. This play is full of social, cultural and political issues that literally play out and enfold. Destiny of Desire AWAKENS the audience. Buy your tickets today! 

SHARING THE LOVE // PLAYHOUSE IN THE PARK PROMO CODE 

  • PROMO CODE : ENTER IN PROMO CODE DestinyVB for a Discount offer of 50% off tickets when purchasing tickets

Follow on Instagram + Twitter  @CINCYPLAY

FACEBOOK : CLICK HERE 

More about Destiny Of Desire + to PURCHASE TICKETS // CLICK HERE 

Photo Cred: Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park

Recipe Roundup // Valentine’s Day Desserts you’ll Love to Make

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Heart Shaped Pavlova 

 

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White Chocolate Raspberry Tart

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Cookies and Cream Bark 

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Chocolate Cream Cups 

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A Gooey, Decadent Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Creme Brulee

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Towering Flowerless Chocolate Cake 

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Get the Recipe: Chocolate Layer Cake

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Mini Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

1371591151130.jpeg Chocolate Truffles

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Get the Recipe: Chocolate Pots de Creme

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Triple Chocolate-Hazelnut Cookies

 

 

 

Sandwich Roundup // Holiday Homage to Provisions Edition

Screen Shot 2019-12-21 at 4.44.35 PM.pngTurkey Brie Grilled Cheese Sandwich With Cranberry Mustard – Get the recipe HERE

 

One of my favorite eats of the holiday seasons is a plump Provisions-like sandwich, jam packed with our families holiday favorites from the night before- turkey, stuffing, cranberrys, mashed potatoes, and more stuffing. EVERYTHING goes in the sammie. This holiday tradition came about when Anne Black, told me about the famed turkey terrific sammie, from one of my now favorite sandwich shops in all of the world, Provisions.  Provisions is  located on the small island of Nantucket, MA – and is one of the must stop eat spots when on the island. Also, another amazing sammie shop on the island is Something Natural. Now back to the Turkey Terrific – the Turkey Terrific is a smoked turkey/stuffing/ cranberry sauce & mayo on Portuguese bread, and really is as amazing as it sounds. If you’re not on the island in the Winter, check out some of the recipes below. Try them as a homage to our Provisions turkey terrific favorite from afar.

Enjoy, indulge, and happy Holidays!

Peace + Love,

V

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Leftover Turkey, Brie, Bacon, and Cranberry Sandwich – Get the recipe.

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The Ultimate Leftover Turkey Club

Packed with bacon, cheddar cheese, andcranberry sauce, there’s a reason this double-decker club is dubbed the “ultimate.”

Get the recipe at Oh, Sweet Basil.

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Waffled Cranberry Cream Cheese Turkey Sandwiches

Feeling the day-after-the holiday blues? This recipe is sure to sweeten up your mood.

Get the recipe at NeighborFood.

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Turkey Grilled Cheese with Cranberry and Brie

Holiday leftovers turned into grilled cheese? Yes, please!

Get the recipe at Life Tastes Good.

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Turkey, Brie, Pear, and Cherry Chipotle Panini

The special sauce in this sandwich is a mix of cherry jam, adobo sauce, and chipotle peppers.

Get the recipe at Cookin’ Canuck.

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Turkey, Brie, and Cranberry Mustard Panini

Sandwiches like this one make all that holiday meal prep worth it.

Get the recipe at Just A Little Bit Of Bacon.

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COURTESY OF THE RECIPE CRITIC
Grilled Turkey Florentine

Your holiday turkey will taste better than ever when combined with spinach, sautéed mushrooms, and peppered bacon.

Get the recipe at The Recipe Critic.

 

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Loaded Turkey Panini

You’ll want to pinch yourself after tasting how good this yummy panini is.

Get the recipe at Pinch of Yum

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Vegan loaded Holiday Panini – CLICK HERE 

Sweet Potato Grilled Cheese
Andrew Scrivani for The New York TimesSweet Potato Grilled Cheese

Sandwich King Jeff Mauro’s
Sweet Potato and Toasted Pecan Grilled Cheese

Since sweet potatoes are a staple of most Holiday tables, Chef Mauro thought it was important to make them part of a leftover sandwich. The combination of melted cheese, toasted pecans and mashed sweet potatoes creates a gooey treat that will quickly become a favorite holiday tradition.

8 slices country white bread
2 cups toasted pecans, crushed
Leftover mashed sweet potatoes
8 slices aged Swiss cheese
Leftover French-fried onions from green bean casserole
Chili powder, to taste
4 tablespoons butter, softened

1. Heat nonstick skillet over medium heat.

2. Layer on the bottom slice of bread one slice of Swiss cheese, a schmear of sweet potatoes, crispy onion, a tablespoon of crushed pecans, a couple of pinches of chili powder and another slice of cheese. Place slice of bread on top.

3. Spread both sides of bread with softened butter and griddle each side slowly, until the sandwich is golden and insides are melted and gooey.

Yield: 4 sandwiches.

 

Gift Guide // Top 1O Cookbooks

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1. “Nothing Fancy: Unfussy Food for Having People Over” by Alison Roman

This year there are so many amazing cookbooks to put on the holiday cookbook Gift Guide, that I am considering writing a part deux, to feed all of your must-have cookbook appetites for 2019. Even though there are countless recipes posted online and on instagram, there is something wonderful and special about cooking, reading along the steps while flipping through the pages of a solid thick cookbook. Even with hands doused in flour while flipping through pages, it somehow makes the recipe more memorable. I personally recount each dish that I have successfully whipped up while looking at my old cookbooks, it even reminds me to attempt the recipes I need a little more practice on. I adore a good Sunday filled with attempting new and old recipes. Enjoy some of my favorite cookbooks below, happy almost Sunday + happy cooking!

Peace + Love,

V

 

 

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2.“Antoni in the Kitchen” by Antoni Porowski and Mindy Fox

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3.. “Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African-American Cooking” by Toni Tipton-Martin

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4. “Sababa: Fresh, Sunny Flavors From My Israeli Kitchen” by Adeena Sussman

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5. Asma’s Indian Kitchen: Home-Cooked Food Brought to You by Darjeeling Express

 

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6. Life Is a Party: Deliciously Doable Recipes to Make Every Day a Celebration

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7.Oven to Table: Over 100 One-Pot and One-Pan Recipes for Your Sheet Pan, Skillet, Dutch Oven, and More

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8.The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook, Expanded Edition: From Lady Mary’s Crab Canapes to Christmas Plum Pudding-More Than 150 Recipes from Upstairs and Downstairs

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9.Milk Street: Tuesday Nights: More than 200 Simple Weeknight Suppers that Deliver Bold Flavor, Fast

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10.Between Harlem and Heaven: Afro-Asian-American Cooking for Big Nights, Weeknights, and Every Day

 

Home Decor // Friendsgiving Holiday Tablescapes

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Looking to entertain this Friendsgiving? If you are like me, the Holiday months are your time to really give back to your family and friends. Whether you enjoy gift giving, cooking, shopping local, or donating your time and energy to helping those less fortunate, the magical months to do so are upon us. I love the Holidays, and really can’t pick which holiday is my favorite, during the colder months. Give me a table to decorate, put on some Bing Crosby, let me create hours of goodness in the kitchen, throw a little snow into the mix with a perfect dress, and goodness you’ll just find this happy girl singing fa lalalala, all the way to the New Years. Enjoy some of my favorite tablescapes just in time for you to throw a hearty decor filled Friendsgiving, with whomever is your family.

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Recipe Roundup // Vegetarian Fall Recipes

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VEGGIE POT PIE RECIPE

These pot pies are loaded with veggies like sweet potatoes, peas and lentils so they’re still packed with protein! They are then topped off with a puff pastry crust, which makes them feel a little more *special* and indulgent, without the fuss of having to go and make a crust.

Butternut Lasagna with Wild Mushrooms and Sage- a delicious vegetarian or vegan main dish, perfect for the holiday table! Can be made ahead! #butternutlasagna #veganlasagna #veganthanksgiving #veganmaindish #vegetarianmaindish #mushroomlasaga #veganchristmas #vegandinner #plantbased #cleaneating

Butternut Lasagna with Wild Mushrooms and Sage– a hearty, delicious vegetarian lasagna is perfect for the weeknights (make it ahead) and special enough for your holiday table!

20 Cozy Vegetarian Dinner Recipes ( for Fall!) | French Onion Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Caramelized onions, melty Gruyere and toasty bread. A cozy vegetarian dinner perfect for the colder months! #grilledcheese #sandwich #frenchonion #grilledcheesesandwich #vegetarianrecipes www.feastingathome.com

French Onion Grilled Cheese Sandwich with caramelized onions, melty Gruyere and toasty bread. A cozy vegetarian dinner perfect for the colder months! Serve with a green salad and call it dinner!

A soothing and comforting North Indian Butternut and Potato Curry hailing from Rajasthan, featuring winter squash and potatoes, using whole spices and ghee, served over fluffy basmati rice. | #pumpkincurry #potatocurry #aloo #butternutcurry #rajisthani #kaddu #curriedpotatoes #vegetarain #indianfood

A soothing and comforting North Indian Butternut and Potato Curry hailing from Rajasthan, featuring winter squash and potatoes, using whole spices and ghee, served over fluffy basmati rice.

 

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Sweet Potato, Gruyere, and Rosemary tart – sweet potatoes with the nuttiness of Gruyère and the pungent flavour of rosemary. The recipe itself is a variation of an Italian tart with potatoes and fontina, so you can play around with the ingredients depending on your taste.

 

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Roasted Butternut Enchiladas with Quick Mole Sauce – topped with cilantro, avocado and toasted sesame and pumpkin seeds. A fast and delicious vegetarian dinner recipe full of amazing flavor!

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The Pumpkin Feta Tart is absolutely gorgeous and a perfect centerpiece at any Fall Harvest Gathering. 

20 Vegetarian Dinner Recipes for Fall! Roasted Butternut Tikka Masala in a fragrant tomato coconut sauce, infused with Indian spices. Vegan & Gluten Free! A healthy delicious dinner recipe, perfect for fall! Plus 15 COZY VEGETARIAN RECIPES FOR FALL !| #meatless #fallrecipes #vegetarianrecipe #vegandinners #fall #tikkamasala #butternuttikkamasala

This fall-inspired recipe for Roasted Butternut Tikka Masala can be made vegan with chickpeas. The fragrant tomato coconut sauce is infused with Indian spices. Vegan & Gluten-Free! A healthy delicious dinner recipe, perfect for fall! 

20 Vegetarian Dinner Recipes for Fall! Tunisian Chickpea Stew with Carrots, turmeric, harissa and Yogurt! A healthy vegetarian dinner recipe, perfect for fall! PLUS 15 COZY FALL RECIPES that are VEGETARIAN! | #chickpeastew #vegetarianstew #vegetariandinnerrecipes #fallrecipes #

Tunisian Chickpea Stew with Carrots (and their tops), turmeric, harissa paste and Yogurt! A healthy vegetarian dinner recipe, perfect for fall!

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Savory Pumpkin Lasagna perfect for those nights in, have one, two, or three pieces of this amazing comforting vegetarian dish. 

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This Cozy Autumn Wild Rice Soup is full of hearty seasonal vegetables and wild rice (plus chicken, if you would like), it’s wonderfully creamy and comforting, and easy to make in the Instant Pot, Crock-Pot or on the stovetop.