“Cool.” “Close.” “Embrace.” “Satisfaction.” “Pleasure.”  “Getting your groove back.” “I’m still the good girl, trying to be a bad girl.”  These are words and phrases plastered on my vision board, a collage of images and words that capture what I am creating in 2012.  I made it on New Year’s Eve, and it hangs on the inside of my closet.  A large portion of it is dedicated to relationships.  I want Love in 2012 and beyond.  There I said it.  Pure. Simple.  Unapologetic.  I deserve it.  It has taken me all of four years of being divorced to own and name that desire.

For some reason this post is hard for me to write.  I’ve drafted and redrafted.  Started, deleted and started again.  It’s supposed to be short and sweet.  It’s supposed to be for Valentine’s Day, and I barely finished in time even though I started almost two weeks ago.  So here’s the raw, honest deal.  I have not really dated since 2008, but now I finally feel like myself again.  Beautiful, brilliant, spiritually-attuned, creative, energized.  I deserve the best.  I deserve it all.  I will be dating in 2012.

Though the one has not manifested before me, the process of putting together the vision board helped me clarify what I want.  I look at the board everyday.  I smile at it.  I like the words on it. I’m moved by the images on it.

There are pictures of four handsome men.  A cool, hip-hop artist, who is FINE and whose style, and most of all whose lyricism and artistry, I appreciate.  Another of a former pro athlete who is vegetarian.  He is there because I am vegan, and I love nurturing, welcoming and sharing life-affirming food with others.  My next love does not have to be vegan, but he does have to be open to experiencing this major part of me.  In the third picture, a man and a woman cook together.  He is at the cutting board, and she is behind him as if her arms were just around his waist.  In the fourth one, a man lies on a sofa admiring something.  In his smile, I see strength, confidence and affection.  He looks like he’s admiring something, perhaps the woman he loves.

Oh Yuk.  You are becoming one of those. . .a dreamy, hopeless, romantic.

The act of making a vision board is an affirmation in and of itself.  It’s the same as  my grandmother’s expression “Name it and Claim it. . .If there is something you want in life, tell God, expect it, move in the world like it’s already yours, and watch it show up.”  I have not been so confident about this in the love sector of my life.  Perhaps because where man woman love is concerned, I have not seen too many good models up close.  I am a child of divorced parents.  I am divorced myself.  I have been engaged in the healing process that is necessary behind the end of a relationship.  The vision board I created almost four years ago had nothing about relationships on it.  The board itself is down in the basement in a space that I pile junk in.  Junk that prevented me from even entering the room.  But it’s been four years of recovery and (re)discovery of who I am in the world.  To get here, I’ve been writing and writing and writing some more.  I’ve been cooking and writing about cooking and teaching about cooking and cooking some more.  I’ve been creating new surroundings in my home.  I’ve been purging physically, emotionally, and spiritually, things that don’t serve me, that don’t make me feel alive, creative and whole.  Although the one has yet to show up, I treat myself the way I want to be treated in the context of a relationship.  The way I want us to be when we are together.


Love is hard to write about when you doubt that you’ve truly experienced it or when what you were sure was love deteriorates into something else.  . .

So tonight I am dining at Vita’s Eatery, aka my dining room, in the comfort of workout clothes.  Esperanza Spalding serenades while playing her upright bass.  Even though it’s a Tuesday night and no one else is home, I decide to eat on china.  Not a chipped plate, not the plastic ones that the kids use and not the one they made one day after school.  I eat from my finest dishes.  Battered and fried tofu, garlic mashed potatoes, broccoli with garlic, herbs, and vegan butter and a glass of white wine in a crystal glass are what’s on the menu.  I light a candle.  I move the lily that I love the smell of from the guest bedroom to my placemat.  I breathe, take my time and savor the food.  I think about the peace of mind that I now have, and I consider what this experience would be like if shared. . .A half hour later I receive a text.  It’s an invitation to Mishas, a coffeehouse in Old Town, Alexandria.

I’m not big on coffee, but I can have tea or apple cider. . . I like Old Town and Mishas seems like a cool place. . . I considered myself to be in for the evening. . .It’s only 10 til 6. . . He’s a bit younger.  . .It’s just a cup of coffee, damn.

I laugh to myself, shower, get cute, and go.

“Spectacular” is another word on my vision board. . .I am taking relationship ruins and resurrecting something spectacular. 

Vita’s Battered and Fried Tofu

Marinade for tofu (in a medium bowl with a tightly fitting lid)

1/4 cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 block of extra-firm tofu (West Soy Extra Firm , Nasoya Super Firm, or bulk bin tofu are some of my favorites.)

Batter (in another medium bowl with a tightly fitting lid)

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp ginger powder

1 tsp salt

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper


Pour oil about an inch high into a cast-iron skillet.  Heat over medium high heat for at least 15 minutes or until the next steps are completed.  Cut the block of tofu into cubes of your desired size.

For the marinade: In a medium bowl with a tightly-fitting lid, combine the liquid amino acids, onion powder, garlic powder and ground ginger.  Add the cubes of tofu and seal the lid. Invert the bowl, turning it over gently a few times until the tofu is evenly coated. 

For the batter:  In another medium bowl with a tightly-fitting lid, combine all of the batter ingredients.  Working in batches, add the marinated tofu to the batter. Seal the lid, invert the bowl, turning it over gently until the tofu cubes are coated evenly with the flour mixture.  Add the chunks to the hot oil and fry, turning the cubes for 8 to 10 minutes or until a golden brown coating forms. Do not crowd the skillet.  Adjust the heat as necessary.  Cover a plate with a paper towel.  Transfer the fried tofu to the plate.  Repeat until all the tofu is fried. 

Serve with hot sauce.


About Levita Mondie

Through Vita's Vegan Ventures, I share my passion for and knowledge of life-affirming vegan cuisine, including Soul Food, Mexican, Italian, Indian, Ghanaian and more. Contact me at vitasveganventures@gmail.com to schedule cooking classes, demonstrations, lectures, and more. See more details at https://vitasveganventures.wordpress.com/ .
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17 Responses to Untitled

  1. This is so very life affirming. Thank you so much for sharing this with me. I am sharing it with others on FB. You rock Levita Mondie. You so totally rock my sister. I have always said this, and each year you show and teach me more and more. Valentine’s Day hugs and love to you and the girls. Michelle Antoinette Montgomery

  2. This is so very life affirming. Thank you so much for sharing this with me. I am sharing it with others on FB. You rock Levita Mondie. You so totally rock my sister. I have always said this, and each year you show and teach me more and more. Valentine’s Day hugs and love to you and the girls. Michelle Antoinette Montgomery

    • lmondie says:

      Thank you for taking the time to read and share your reactions to this post, Michelle. I’m so blessed to have you as a friend and support. Happy Valentine’s Day to you too.

  3. Reese says:

    Very romantic, but not sappy. Very affirming, without being demanding. Very descriptive, without being wordy. EXCELLENT piece. I hope “your cup runneth over!”

  4. christine says:

    Love this entry. I hate Valentine’s Day, always have. Before I found Brian, I used to joke that I couldn’t even say “love” when keeping score in tennis (“Uhm… ZERO serving 15”). When you don’t have it, you long for it. When you have it, you miss “the good old days”. In the end, I think that what you wrote hit just the right note — that we all have to be good with ourselves. Good to ourselves. Your entry reminded me of a great poem (not surprisingly). Hope you don’t mind me sharing it here:

    Love After Love

    The time will come
    when, with elation
    you will greet yourself arriving
    at your own door, in your own mirror
    and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

    and say, sit here. Eat.
    You will love again the stranger who was your self.
    Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
    to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

    all your life, whom you ignored
    for another, who knows you by heart.
    Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

    the photographs, the desperate notes,
    peel your own image from the mirror.
    Sit. Feast on your life.

    Derek Walcott

    • lmondie says:

      Wow! Thank you for this poem! That’s exactly what I hoped to capture in this entry. You always do my heart good, Christine. Thank you so much for following Vita’s Vegan Ventures. I will be printing this poem out and sharing it.

      Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Brian.

  5. Raziyah says:

    love it, I am so proud of you!!!

  6. erikabonner says:

    Thank you this gave me hope, and a vegan recipe to try on my son. I am the daughter of divorced parents and am going through my own divorce right now. I am coming back to life again, and discovering what it is like to be happy. I think I am ready to start planning for my future, instead of dealing with the past. Thank you for such a thoughtful post.

    • lmondie says:

      You are welcome, Erika. I wish you patience, healing and happiness. Please try the recipe and let me know how it turns out and, at some point down the line, how your healing process is going. You are on your way.

  7. dclioness says:

    This is wonderful, hon! Wishing you many adventures in and out of the kitchen this year!

  8. rsmiles says:

    Hey Levita! Thanks for writing this. As usual, you are such an inspiration. I did a vision board for the first time this year. One of the phrases on there is “falling in love with myself.” Here’s to doing just that!

  9. Tarvis says:

    This made me smile….and smile some more….and my stomach growl…and growl some more.
    Feeding the soul, mind, heart and stomach is such a rewarding endeavor. You do it well.

  10. dclioness says:

    isn’t it interesting when we post our most vulnerable selves and everyone responds to that? great post, Levita, and well done. Truthful AND inspiring! Thanks for that.

  11. Nancy says:

    Yes, I like it! And I have to hear more about this coffeehouse DATE! Love yourself and then let others love the one(s) you love. Speak to me! You’ve almost inspired me to start dating again. Almost. I’m still healing from that nuh, but I’ll get where you are eventually. Sounds like a good place.

  12. Levita — you, your warmth, your writing, your cooking, your endless boundless limitless creativity — and your willingness to put yourself out there and share, wow. You demonstrate the power of vulnerability and why it is so important for us to strive always toward our authentic and best selves, even when no one is looking. So love you and all that you do!

    Robin Anne

  13. ggotyoback says:

    Love the post..I am recently divorced( well not really with paper..but its all the same paper or no paper if you love someone)….love your courage, keep writing these jewels and I can’t wait for a cup of tea on the veranda

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