Yield: 4 servings
Once again, I must apologize for my second hiatus of the summer…
As most of you know, my life-force of a husband of 25 years (our anniversary is 9/15) suddenly and unexpectedly passed away on July 30 from acute cardiac arrest. With more love and support from our intersecting circles than anyone has a right to expect–a veritable wellspring of grace and goodness and a true embarrassment of riches–I was beginning the next phase of my journey and trying to imagine a new normal with my beloved Minnie the Great Dane. Both of us were now without our mates as her Huffie passed away on December 13.
Then, on August 24, my beautiful girl was claimed by the sudden enslaught of a take-no-prisoners auto-immune disease in which the body destroys its own red blood cells as fast as they can be transfused, causing extreme anemia and then a seizure accompanied by nystagmus, from which she wasn’t going to recover. I was shattered for many reasons, including that Minnie and I were going to make it through this first year together. My friend, Mary Beth, held me as I held Minnie telling her how much I love her, what a good dog she was, and how much I would miss her until well after she was gone.
As a friend wrote, my home had been emptied of my Virginia Beach family in a mere 9 months. When I realized that there was no one who cared if I got up in the morning or came home in the evening, the overwhelming emotion was of being untethered. So, the next day–I think Minnie would understand–the first order of business was to adopt two new dogs: Urban and Patsy. They had just come from an ASPCA in TN to our VA Beach SPCA where my husband was on the board and had served as president, as well as current treasurer. I believe their country music star names were part of their branding. But, Joe and I went to graduate school, met, and married in Nashville, so the names stuck.
This pair of 8-month old dolls have been acclimating beautifully to their new home for the last 10 days, including healing from their spay and neuter surgeries with cones on their heads 24-7. But we have been a No-Cone Zone for 5 days and life is good, full, and busy. Now that we have become a pack, the second order of business is the return to this, my beloved blog.
I have half-jokingly proclaimed this the Year of the Mini-Meal because, for over a month now, food–at least not in the robust quantities I consumed it before–has not only not been my obsession, but has been largely rejected by my body in its adrenlaine-powered fight or flight mode.
But when I do eat, as I have mentioned previously, my food needs to be more beautiful, simple, and nutritious than ever before. And if I can eat it on a rice cake, all the better. So, enjoy this tasty stack as a snack, first course, or as your own mini-meal.
1-15.5 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup finely minced tri-color bell peppers (e.g. red, yellow, and green)
1/4 cup shredded carrot
2 tablespoons lightly salted and roasted sunflower seeds
1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 rice cakes
4 thick tomato slices
1/2 cup chimichurri or vegan pesto
In a medium bowl, combine chickpeas, peppers, carrot, seeds, mayo, and salt and pepper, lightly mashing chickpeas. Spread each rice cake with 1 tablespoon of chimichurri or pesto. Top each cake with one-fourth of the salad and a tomato slice. Dollop one more tablespoon of chimichurri or pesto on top of each tomato slice and serve immediately with a sharp knife and fork.