Okay, the first picture shown is my peanut butter banana cookie dough vegan smoothie. There are these oat bars. Bob’s red mill makes them. They have a peanut butter, coconut, oat, honey bar that tastes just like a chewy peanut butter cookie; the kind grown ups used to give you for free in the grocery store as a kid so you’d be quiet long enough for your mom to really buy some merchandise. Anyways, i got a hankering for something sweet one weekend and i wanted a vegan cookie dough smoothie. So i put frozen bananas, pacific brand vanilla hemp milk, and organic crunchy peanut butter in a blender. I ran the blender until the mixture was thick and smooth. Then i broke the peanut oat bar into chunks and sprinkled them into the blender. I pushed “pulse” just to stir the pieces in a bit and then i spooned it into a cup. It was to die for. Really hit the spot! The squash, potatoes, and spinach pictured above are grown by local farmers in the area. If you’ve never gone to a farm stand and purchased a giant bag of fresh cut spinach, then gone home, washed the dirt off of it, and wilted it in a skillet with nothing but salt and pepper, you have never lived. It is a flavor that doesn’t resemble frozen or canned spinach at all. It is absolutely scrumptious. I get excited every time i see those big bags of leafy goodness in the market. It might as well be cotton candy to me. The pinto beans are also grown locally by farmers in the area. I bought them fresh, some of them still in the bean pod. I had never had fresh beans right off the plant before. This was a first for me. They were brightly colored robust little pebbles and they smelled kind of like plants. I cooked them in my instant pot in salted water. I never knew beans could be so good. They were fall apart in your mouth soft and they had a savory flavor, a freshness, that i have never associated with beans. I dont know how to describe it. Sometimes when i buy veggies from the farmers instead of the store, they just taste brighter. That’s the best way i know how to explain it. Anyways, i ate those beans on everything from rice to baked potatoes for a whole week. I even made bean salad with avocado and local tomatoes and lemon. If i ever see them at the market again (next year) i’ll get another bag in a heartbeat. The soup might not look like much but it is sweet as candy. It is the japanese sweet potato soup from the casa de luz recipe book. First of all, my mother heard me say i wanted that cookbook but couldn’t see how anyone would pay that much for one little cookbook with such wholesome but simple recipes in it. When my birthday came around, she got that cookbook, wrapped it, and drove it all the way out to the country to give it to me. I couldnt believe she’d paid all that for this book when she’d made much more complex recipes herself. But alas, i loved simplistic, no-fuss recipes, comfort food with little fan fair, and vegan of course. I wanted that recipe book more than i was ready to admit to myself, and my mother somehow recognized this in the few moments i was flipping through the pages, willing myself to leave it behind. In that recipe book is one of my all time favorite foods; japanese yams. You can’t get those in the hill country. So, the very next time i went up to visit my mother, she had a big old grocery bag of japanese yams that she deposited into my car. She might as well have given me gold bars. I took those yams back to the hill country and carefully placed them on the bottom shelf of my pantry cabinet. I had gold in my cabinet! I used some of those japanese yams to make the wonderful soup and i ate the rest plain; standing over the sink, holding the halves of the yams in my hands like a heathen. They were like starchy little pieces of sugar. It was wonderful.