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Welcome To Winter!!! And Happy 2017!!

Vonda---Winter-is-Coming-web

I want to begin by saying how absolutely wonderful it was to tour again this year (last year, now!) in The U.K.  What an amazing experience it was, again!!  For those of you who didn’t see the choir performance from Gloucester, I’m including a link here (click the underlined text!)… enjoy it!

When I book these tours with my agent, I spend months preparing and thinking about the thrill of traveling, of playing songs for people who really listen or sing along, and these thoughts really inspire me.  To have a tour to look forward to and plan for is one of my favorite things in life… I only wish we could visit so many other countries.  Maybe when my son goes to college!!  Until then, we’ll keep going where we can. I am grateful to you for showing up at the shows with your love and enthusiasm, and I’m incredibly thankful to still be able to do music as my job, thanks to you…which brings me to our next tour, right around the corner, in Germany!  We are heading over for a couple of weeks at the end of April… can’t wait!!  Some people ask me if I’m tired after the show, as I sit out at the merch table signing albums, etc., and my feeling is the same every night; it’s so wonderful to meet people in each city and to laugh with them or talk for a bit (and hug…ha!).  I also learn a lot from these conversations… I hear your requests, and I truly appreciate the feedback.  My wonderful friends, James Ralston (guitar) and Jim Hanson (bass) will be with me, as always, and we will have a drummer, as well, this time around.  Check the website for dates!!  

I just found out that we’ll be coming back for one week to London and a couple of other cities, as we’ve been invited to do a festival in July!!  I’ll keep you posted with details. And the most recent touring update, is that we’re putting together another U.K. tour in February, 2018.  I’m trying for another European tour in November of this year, as well.  We’d love to get back to France, Spain, Belgium and so many other countries.  There is even talk of going over to Japan, at some point in the next year… I haven’t been to Japan since I opened for Jackson Browne in 1996!  21 years ago!  I also remember touring in Japan, when I was Rickie Lee Jones’ keyboard player/ background singer, in 1985 and 86’.  I wrote a song called “Forward My Mail To Osaka”. (Haha!)  I never recorded the song, but Japan had quite an impact on me.  It’s incredibly eye-opening to go to a place so different from home… and I loved it.

I’ll keep you posted on that…

Ready for a new recipe???  I AM!!  My sister-in-law was in town from Israel, and made this in my kitchen… it’s a great side salad.  Let’s call it “Cabbage with Pine Nuts”.

Cabbage With Pine Nuts: (as discussed… haha.)

Ingredients:

  • Cabbage, very thinly sliced (maybe use a mandolin – play it very quietly, and the cabbage will be thin.)  
  • Toasted pine nuts about 1 Cup (buy raw and gently toast on stove — never take your eyes off of them — they burn if you look away (kind of like my ex boyfriend of 30 years ago).  So about 2 minutes on medium/low heat, until golden and you hear Harps and Angels singing – Thank you, Randy Newman, for the reference.  
  • Toasted sesame seeds  About 3/4 of a Cup (same deal as above). 

Sauce:

  • Soy Sauce 2 Tablespoons
  • Sugar 1/4 Cup  (I know, it is a lot, but it works… or as Ina Garten says “How bad could that be??!!”  
  • White wine vinegar 1/2 Cup
  • Canola or sunflower oil (or something similar) 1/2 Cup

Boil sauce ingredients for about 2 minutes, or until sugar is dissolved, then let cool for a bit.  

Mix cabbage, pine nuts, sesame seeds, then pour cooled sauce over and mix.  Enjoy!!

I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday Season, and are enjoying the colder weather… I am!!  It’s finally raining in L.A.  Yay!  I realize how silly this may sound to some of you in Eastern Europe, or in Chicago — maybe I should move…?  Haha!

There is so much going on in the world in politics, and I’d rather not get into it here, but I would like to say that, as always, I wish for peace for all, and for love to win, over everything.

Have a wonderful winter, and I will send more recipes soon!!

Peace and Love,

Vonda

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Winter Blog 2016

Hello!!! 

I’d like to welcome all of you who are new to my email list!!  We had such a spectacular time touring in Germany and of course England, over the past few months.  The tours leave me with such a good feeling of sharing music, seeing people sing along and even seeing tears in some peoples’ eyes.  Writing can often be a lonely business, though very fulfilling. Sometimes I wonder if the music I’m doing will reach people, move people, uplift anyone… so to see the amazing reaction is truly gratifying and really keeps me going.  Also, we get to meet you after the show and have a little chat!  I was invited to someone’s house for dinner in Northern England… the women were so lovely, I almost took them up on their offer!  Touring is such an adventure and a gift… a busman’s holiday.  We get to see the world, sometimes one small town at a time — like Barton, England!  Or Burgrieden!  These are places I would never know existed, were it not for going on the road.  Some of the best Thai food I’ve ever had was in Leeds, England, on a night off… just me and my journal, out for the evening. I have a section of restaurants I keep in my iPhone, for when we travel, and often will go back to some little Italian place in Düsseldorf, or in Paris.  As you will soon find out… I love great food. (Who doesn’t??!)  I’m not really a foodie (well, in my heart I am!), but I sometimes willcook a great meal.  I’m working on a cookbook, which I’ll eventually publish, but in the meantime, I’ll be posting some fabulous recipes I’ve learned from sisters, friends, chefs, or that I’ve made up. Today’s recipe will be a Mexican Casserole!  It’s a good way to use many vegetables that need to be cooked.

L.A. is getting some rain… yay!  We need it, as you may have heard.  My favorite thing to do is to light a fire after a good home cooked meal, and to read — no music on, just the rain.  Looks like we’ll be getting many opportunities for bundling up and lighting fires… I know that some of you laugh, because you live in places where it’s freezing!  But for us here, in L.A. rain and cold weather are novelties.  It’s exciting!
The future holds many good things… I’m already writing a new album, we have a U.K. tour booked for October and are in the process of booking a Spring 2017 tour.  Hoping for Ireland, Austria, Germany, Spain, etc…We’ll keep you posted!  Maybe that cookbook will be finished by then!   Please feel free to post recipes on my FaceBook page… I think all friends should share their best and favorite recipes… keep things interesting!
I realize that it’s a huge world and that there are so many countries we haven’t been able to visit or return to.  As you know, the music business has changed dramatically, and we artists are doing our best to keep it all going, so I appreciate your understanding in this.  When my son goes to college, I’ll probably tour a LOT more!
Here’s the recipe:
Mexican Casserole:
Prep time — 30 minutes
Cooking time — 30 to 40 minutes.
Ingredients:
  • Red onion – one medium, diced.
  • Olive oil — 2 tablespoons
  • 2 Zucchinis – medium, diced (about 2 cups)
  • Frozen corn or fresh about a cup (at least)
  • Black Kale or any leafy green vegetable, like chard, spinach, etc… chopped roughly. 2 cups
  • Two cans of organic, black beans, rinsed. Or if you can make your own, that’s better.
  • 1/2 cup diced red, yellow or orange peppers
  • About a cup of shredded cheese – Mexican blend (or really any cheese) or cashew cheese or any vegan cheese, if you prefer.
  • Corn tortillas (it’s a bit of an extra step, but often Mexican restaurants will sell their fresh corn tortillas… very reasonably priced). You can freeze what you don’t use.
  • One container of fresh salsa (not from a jar). Or you can make your own – it’s very easy… just dice tomatoes, about 2 cups, mince 1/2 fresh jalepeno, dice 1/2 red onion, chop together with fresh cilantro, add a bit of crushed garlic, and a bit of lemon, salt and pepper. So much better than store bought. My friend Alejandra taught me this.
  • Cilantro (fresh)
  • Avocado
  • Sour cream, or vegan sour cream.
Preheat oven to 400º
Sautee onion in oil on low heat until soft 5 – 6 minutes
Add the zucchini and sauté until soft – 5 more minutes.
Add peppers, cook 2-3 minutes Add Black Kale, or leafy green vegetable – Sautee 2 minutes, until just mixed in.
Add corn Salt and pepper to taste.
Once the corn is added, just cook a couple of minutes.
In a casserole dish, rip up and lay down a layer of corn tortillas. Add a layer of salsa, then 1/2 of the beans and 1/2 of the cheese.  Add 3/4 of the sautéed vegetable mixture.
Repeat with remaining ingredients, layer again… ending w/ last bit of cheese.
Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until bubbling hot.
Let it rest for about 15 minutes, before serving.
I serve this with sliced avocado, cilantro leaves sprinkled on top, dots of sour cream and hot sauce! (And great, green salad on the side.) Enjoy!!! 
Looking very forward to meeting again, at some point, and until then a very Happy New Year to one and all, and may peace prevail on this gorgeous Earth we are so blessed to reside upon.
Love,
Vonda
P.S. How are YOU?  Ha!
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Happy Summer

Hello!

Summer is here, finally… yay!  The Pacific Ocean, however, is not hip to this fact – it’s still freezing!
Over the last 5 or 6 days, we boxed up and sent off all of the Kickstarter rewards, and got the pre-sales up on iTunes.  It feels so good to have written, financed, recorded and now released this album, Rookie!!  (Well, July 10th is the official release date, but you can pre-order now, if you don’t already have it waiting in your mailbox.)  The physical CD sales are set for August 7th in The U.K. and Europe, but you can always find them on my website.  There will be a link to CD Baby or Amazon-the pre-sales are ready on iTunes now!
I’m heading to London this week to do promo (Weekend Wogan, Elms, and many, many more radio shows, as well as lots of magazines and newspapers… and some T.V.)  Should I bring close-toed shoes?  That’s the big question…
Here’s the mung bean/quinoa salad recipe!!
1/4 cup mung beans
1/2 cup quinoa
1/4 cup diced red onions
1 cup of chopped, fresh, flat leaf parsley
1 cup of chopped, fresh mint
1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
Lemon to taste (maybe a whole lemon)
1/4 cup olive oil (some people may want a bit more)
Salt and Pepper
Boil water and cook mung beans for 10 minutes.  Then add the quinoa and cook for about another 10 minutes.  Drain and cool.  Add all of the other ingredients.  That’s it!
You can serve this with some hummus and a Greek salad, pita bread, some olives and maybe some homemade baba ganoush… which I have yet to learn how to make.
I had the most amazing Tahini in Israel when I was there recently.  Everyone poured it over their salads, and it was wonderful!
Books:  I just read a great book by Anita Brookner, titled Falling Slowly.  Now I’m reading her most acclaimed book, Hotel Du Lac, which I very much like, as well.
Well, gotta go pack – go shopping in my closet.  I’ve been wearing that black beaded dress for about 5 years now – maybe time for an upgrade?  Ha!
 
Have a wonderful summer!  Drop those kids off at camp and read some books… and make some mung beans!  My son really likes talking about mung beans… he dreamt about a giant mung bean taking over L.A.
 
Bye!!
Love,
Vonda
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Mini Update

Hi all!

I’ve been off the radar, having a lovely summer with my family and traveling a bit, but now I’m ready to rock again!  Haha!  We’re about to launch our KickStarter campaign in the next 2 weeks, so I’m gearing up for that.  For those of you who don’t know what KickStarter is, it’s  a crowd funding campaign so that I can raise the funds to make my next record.  I have almost all of the songs finished, and I’m getting very excited to do this record, at long last!  We’ll be sending out many more details, but in the meantime, to clue you in on a bit of what we’ll be up to, there will be various levels a person can contribute, from as low as $1.00 to $3,000 for many “rewards”, including recording a song for someone you love!  (Yourself??!!)  I’m also going to have several gold and platinum albums available, signed photos, new T-shirts, tote bags, the CD, of course, as soon as it comes out, and many more cool things you may like.  This is all to help me record this album and to tour on it as well.  We’ll see if I reach my goal, which I’ll tell you more about in the next few days as this all comes together… so stay tuned!  I hope you’ll be a part of making this happen, at any level… it will all be greatly appreciated, especially now that the music business is so different.  I really look forward to making a new record soon!

In the meantime, stay positive healthy, and I’ll be in touch soon!

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Almost Spring

If I’m not mistaken, I smelled an early Spring wafting through the screen door yesterday morning.  It had rained slightly, for a couple of days, so I thought perhaps that was why I had this feeling… but no – it’s here again today.  Can it be?  January and February are often bleak, after the holiday season.  Days of running on the beach seem a long way off… but not this year.  Perhaps it’s because I have the European tour to look forward to!  And my tremendous excitement about finishing the album, and trying out KickStarter or PledgeMusic, or one of those great indie launchpads.  These things, combined with the beautiful black and green kale, the swiss chard, beets, arugula, lemons and herbs all exploding in our backyard make for a very promising month!  We went hiking in a beautiful canyon overlooking the sea yesterday… a massive layer of fog made it impossible to distinguish whether we were seeing a tremendous steamer ship peaking out of the fog, heading to northern California, or a the top of a lone skyscraper (heading to northern California – just the top of the building – the rest would be staying put).  A beautiful sight.

Off to work – hey, have you checked out Lizz Wright yet?  What a luscious voice.  Please listen to her!

I have gotten many comments from people asking why I’m not coming to Paris, London, Belgium, etc… on this brief tour.  I’m still finalizing dates, so if we add anything, I’ll let you know, but this is kind of an interim tour.  There will be another one to follow, probably when the album is done.  Fall maybe?  I’ll let you know as soon as I do, and I’ll keep you all updated on the status of the album, and as always, I hope to see you on the road!  For those of you who can’t fly to Berlin, I’ll think about setting up another Stage It, or a video feed so that you can be part of all of this fun.

Have a great February!!

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