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Easy Delicious Dinner Ideas Vegan Vegetarian

A Favor Before I Move

April 16, 2021

Moving starts out as a great idea. Then you try to do, in one month, what you’ve put off for nine years, and reality slaps you silly, which is why I haven’t posted for a month! I’m packing, getting all my medical tests, meeting friends, and got some writing published — yay! More info is below, along with the favor.

I thought I’d made great progress just taking the art off the walls, then I dug in and realized how much stuff I’ve accumulated in nine years. Some is mine, some my kids, and some I’ve picked up along the way.

You’ll now find one third of my belongings in the Goodwill Store on Brand Blvd. in Glendale. And I’m still not done. I’ve learned a valuable lesson over the years. Just because someone gives you something doesn’t mean you have to keep it. The clincher for me was, do I want to pay seven dollars a cubic foot to send something across the country I was never crazy about to begin with? The answer was often, no.

What used to be my living room.

My living room was overrun with boxes which I carted up the stairs in an espresso-fueled energy burst. Now my second bedroom is overrun with boxes. I’ve been watching episodes of NCIS to get me through packing. I’m on season six and still packing, but my eyes are wide open to the many ways someone could do me in. This knowledge will come in handy while driving across the country in a car with 186,000 miles on it.

What used to be my daughter’s room.

I’ve had wonderful dinners with friends I haven’t seen in ages, which makes it so hard to leave. I make a lifetime of friendships, then decide to pull up stakes and go. But at least you all know I love yinz, as they say in Pittsburgh, and you have a place to stay wherever I am. So, visit!

One of the many medical tests I just completed in preparation for my departure was a colonoscopy, which must be medical code for inhuman torture. In a country with so many brilliant minds, how can we not come up with a beverage that will clean your insides that doesn’t make you retch?

Since the colonoscopy I learned I can actually survive on broth and Jello for two days without dying. I’m now very interested in trying the broth and Jello diet to see if I can lose a few pounds.

I also refuse to accept that there’s no better way to examine a woman’s breasts than to squeeze them flat until the breathless woman screams in pain. I love how they say, “OK, don’t breathe” As if you could if you really wanted to. Can’t some brilliant mind out there devise something conical that can expand or contract to fit said breast into? Is this too much to ask? Dammit, if only I’d been an engineer. I can see it in my head, I just need a genius engineer to help me create it. If you’re a genius engineer, please contact me.

I also occasionally write for an online group called Read650 and I’m so proud and excited to be one of the Read650 writers partnering with Carnegie Hall for its first-ever online festival, ‘Voices of Hope.’ Woo Hoo!

You can hear my story by subscribing to the Read650 Podcast ( https://utm.io/udhmA ), or visit the https://Read650.org website at 6:50 pm EDT starting this Friday through April 30 to hear true 5-minute stories of resilience and recovery. My story, Grateful for Covid? Yes, will be featured on Monday, April 19, 2021 at 6:50 p.m.

Meanwhile, you can buy the anthology with the collected ‘Voices of Hope’ essays at https://utm.io/udhmM

While you’re online, go to the Carnegie Hall Voices of Hope website to see the list of streamed performances that range from orchestral and chamber works to folk and jazz ( https://utm.io/udhmP ). There’s also a great article about Read650 in the Albany Times Union.

This is a truly wonderful perk in the midst of my moving craziness.

I also discovered a great recipe for my health conscious friends — lentil patties. This is what happens when your friends go vegan on you then ply you with their extra cooked lentils. (Thanks Mandy.) I couldn’t waste them, so I tried lentil patties and was pleasantly surprised. Some healthy woman named Sylvia Fountaine had them on her website called FeastingAtHome.com. Here is a link to her lentil patties. I added a little more mushroom to mine and really liked them.

They’re a bit time intensive, but they’re really tasty and no guilt afterward leaves you feeling refreshingly perky. I served mine on a bed of sauteed spinach, then chopped some fresh dill into plain yogurt, added a little salt, spread it on top and it was delicious. You could add cucumber to the yogurt and make it a salad.

Now here’s the favor. If you haven’t taken a moment to follow me on this blog, please do so by putting your email address in the box on the right side. I promise you will not be contacted by Nigerian millionaires who swear they’ll share their riches with you. I ask because I need to look WAY more popular than I am so I can get a literary agent, so feel free to tell your friends, or even total strangers to follow me. I’ll take anyone. Thank you! Now here’s the recipe.

Yields1 Serving

 ¾ cup dry lentils
 2 cups cooked lentils
 1 tbsp olive oil
 1 large shallot (or 1/2 cup diced red onion)
 5 garlic cloves (roughly chopped)
 1 lb mushrooms sliced
 ½ cup rolled oats
 ½ cup walnuts
 1 ½ tsp cumin
 1 ½ tsp curry
 ¾ tsp kosher salt
 1 egg (If vegan, substitute 1 TBSP flax with 3 TBSP water)
 2 tsp soy sauce, or Braggs Liquid Aminos
 ¼ cup chopped parsley (or cilantro)
Dill Yogurt Sauce
 1 cup plain yogurt
 2 tsp finely chopped fresh dill (or more to taste)
 salt- to taste

1

Cook ⅔ -¾ cup dry lentils in simmering water until tender. Drain. You will need 2 cups cooked.

2

While the lentils are cooking, sauté the onion, garlic and mushrooms in olive oil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add a little water if it gets too dry. Turn heat down to low and cook until very tender and cooked through. Set aside.

3

In a food processor, blend the oats into a course flour. Add walnuts, pulse 10 times. Add half of the lentils, half of the mushroom mixture, salt, spices, egg (or flax and water) and pulse repeatedly until it’s well combined and forms a thick dough. It doesn’t need to be smooth…a little texture is good. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and mix in the remaining cooked lentils and fresh herbs.

4

Using wet hands form into 8-10 little cakes or 4-5 burger patties.

5

Sear in a skillet, in a little oil, over medium heat, taking care to let them brown and form a crust, before flipping. This insures they don’t stick to the skillet. As they form a crust, they release from the pan more easily.

6

Serve with the remaining mushrooms on a bed of sauteed spinach with dill yogurt sauce.

Ingredients

 ¾ cup dry lentils
 2 cups cooked lentils
 1 tbsp olive oil
 1 large shallot (or 1/2 cup diced red onion)
 5 garlic cloves (roughly chopped)
 1 lb mushrooms sliced
 ½ cup rolled oats
 ½ cup walnuts
 1 ½ tsp cumin
 1 ½ tsp curry
 ¾ tsp kosher salt
 1 egg (If vegan, substitute 1 TBSP flax with 3 TBSP water)
 2 tsp soy sauce, or Braggs Liquid Aminos
 ¼ cup chopped parsley (or cilantro)
Dill Yogurt Sauce
 1 cup plain yogurt
 2 tsp finely chopped fresh dill (or more to taste)
 salt- to taste

Directions

1

Cook ⅔ -¾ cup dry lentils in simmering water until tender. Drain. You will need 2 cups cooked.

2

While the lentils are cooking, sauté the onion, garlic and mushrooms in olive oil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add a little water if it gets too dry. Turn heat down to low and cook until very tender and cooked through. Set aside.

3

In a food processor, blend the oats into a course flour. Add walnuts, pulse 10 times. Add half of the lentils, half of the mushroom mixture, salt, spices, egg (or flax and water) and pulse repeatedly until it’s well combined and forms a thick dough. It doesn’t need to be smooth…a little texture is good. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and mix in the remaining cooked lentils and fresh herbs.

4

Using wet hands form into 8-10 little cakes or 4-5 burger patties.

5

Sear in a skillet, in a little oil, over medium heat, taking care to let them brown and form a crust, before flipping. This insures they don’t stick to the skillet. As they form a crust, they release from the pan more easily.

6

Serve with the remaining mushrooms on a bed of sauteed spinach with dill yogurt sauce.

Lentil Cakes with Yogurt Dill sauce
  • Reply
    Debby Libengood
    April 17, 2021 at 6:16 am

    Safe travels Fran.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      April 18, 2021 at 4:37 pm

      Thank you Debby. I hope you’re well! Maybe I’ll run into you back there. You never know. (Unless you’ve moved away like most people.) But thanks for reading and taking the time to post. I really appreciate it!

  • Reply
    Gina Bernsen
    April 16, 2021 at 8:55 pm

    Best of luck Frannie on your move and safe travels. Love you, Gina

  • Reply
    Nicol
    April 16, 2021 at 5:29 pm

    I wish I was there to help you! I am glad we get to share this move across country again thing together though, and I just wanted to stop over here and send you big love xox

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      April 16, 2021 at 6:32 pm

      Sweet Nicol, I’ll take all the big love I can get! Thank you. This is rather hellish, but having good family and friends makes it all bearable.xoxoxo

  • Reply
    Chas Madonio
    April 16, 2021 at 11:47 am

    I gave your name to a person who called me about my car warranty expiring. I told him you needed more people to subscribe to your blog and that you were going to drive cross country in a car with 186,000 and NO WARRANTY!! He was so excited and said he would loan you some money as soon as the Nigerian Sheik sent him his inheritance. You’re Welcome! Also, if you think a breast exam is torture, I will put a man’s cystoscopy up against it any day. Surely, it was developed bu a woman urologist who hates men. Anyway, good luck on your move and let’s plan to get together when you are back in our time zone. Safe travels!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      April 16, 2021 at 6:33 pm

      Wow, that Nigerian shiek gets around. He must be loaded! You are too funny and YES! I would love to see you when I get back there!

  • Reply
    Donna Tunno
    April 16, 2021 at 10:52 am

    The Pandemic made a lot of changes in your life, especially your decision to move back to Pittsburgh. Brave decision – leaving that weather and especially all your friends! Your family is excited to have you in our lives again! We are relieved you are not coming alone on the cross country journey. The thing I’m most excited about is finally being able to find out who makes the best carrot cake? You or me? We will have blindfold voting. Ciao!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      April 16, 2021 at 6:36 pm

      OOH! A carrot cake smackdown! OK, I’m in! I’ve lost before so I can handle the pain. Thanks for reading. I’m sure you will all be sick of me before long. The hardest thing is leaving my friends, but I keep hoping I can come back for visits and maybe they’ll be crazy enough to visit me in da Burg. Looking forward to being done with packing! Uncle Richard has promised to make gnocchi with me. I can’t wait!

  • Reply
    Charles Burkett
    April 16, 2021 at 10:48 am

    My sympathies are with you, Fran. I had a colonoscopy this morning so I’m still recovering. I will be returning to Pittsburgh in July, but only to visit. I would love to stop by and see you. Good luck.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      April 16, 2021 at 6:38 pm

      That would be great Chuck! Definitely email me and call. If you’re on Facebook, I’ll send you my email address and my phone number. Carolyn will be right up the road from me, we can have a mini NBHS 1973 reunion.

  • Reply
    CEO
    April 16, 2021 at 10:18 am

    You’re MOVING! I cannot believe it. Are you heading through STL on your way east. PLEASE let me know i would LOVE to see you!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      April 16, 2021 at 6:40 pm

      I totally COULD go through St. Louis. I’m going to visit my son Brandon and his family in Chicago, so it’s on the way. And you, Chris and JoAnn are all there, so it would be a fun visit. I will be figuring out my itinerary this week. I’ll let you know. Message me on FB and we’ll exchange info. xoxo

  • Reply
    Fran
    April 16, 2021 at 10:11 am

    Thanks Fran for the Lentil Patties recipe! I’ll check out your reading too. We will miss you!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      April 16, 2021 at 6:41 pm

      Always trying to help my healthy friends! I will miss you too! xoxo

  • Reply
    sandramanninglevy
    April 16, 2021 at 9:46 am

    Hey Fran, would love to stop by to wish you well before you go. Let me know if you have time — I think you have my number.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      April 16, 2021 at 6:50 pm

      Sandra! Wow, yes that would be great. I will check for your number and see what we can schedule! xoxo

  • Reply
    Susan Sutherland
    April 16, 2021 at 9:38 am

    Hey Fran, make sure you let me know when you’re heading my way! Happy Trails!

    • Reply
      Betsy McCusker
      April 16, 2021 at 1:57 pm

      We moved from our Jersey Shore home after 20 years. We wanted to move upstate where we owned a small place on 5 acres with low overhead and even lower taxes. Joe got a job up there so I said, “No problem! Go! I’ll take of everything!” Sold the house in 33 days. I wasn’t ready to quit my job yet, so the necessary things were packed to go to my rental house, as well as upstate. And the piano had to go to my daughters. Had two yard sales, did a weekend at the flea market, then the rest went to Goodwill. I got rid of a LOT. I refer to most of it as “guilt stuff”. Because my mom kept it in a drawer for 60 years, I felt compelled to keep it another 20. I don’t miss any of it. I kept what was truly special to me and I am not accumulating more. Except shoes, can’t have too many shoes. I was in the cedar chest recently and said to my husband, “I’m burning the cards we got at our wedding”. We’ve been married for 36 years. My kids will appreciate it someday. Best of luck with your move, it’s awesome and exciting that you’re making a fresh (less encumbered) start. 😊

      • Fran Tunno
        April 16, 2021 at 6:44 pm

        I totally get the card thing Betsy. Your kids WILL thank you! I still have more to go through, but am almost done. I’m looking forward to being back home. A small place on five acres sounds ideal! Congratulations!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      April 16, 2021 at 6:44 pm

      Hey Susan, I am making my travel itinerary this week. I do want to stop and see you, I think I can do it! Looking forward to it! xoxoxo

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