12/23/08

We're walking here.


We're walking here., originally uploaded by erin32mc.

I love the size difference between my kids at this stage.
That's all I wanted to say. I'm in love with them. I thank them
for choosing me to be their mommy. I truly am lucky.
Can't wait for 2009. Gonna be fun.

12/22/08

Only silly need to apply


Lily is confused, originally uploaded by erin32mc.

We had a family day yesterday. A big brunch of tempeh crumbles from VWAV, homemade biscuits, golden gravy, and sweet potato hash. Good stuff! Then playing handball or skateboarding. Off to Santa Monica Airport to watch planes land and take off. This was Lily's first time. Henry went MANY times as a kid. Anyways, Lily enjoyed seeing the planes and then we went to the park that is next to the airport. Once she saw the swings, she was smiling from ear to ear! Once we got Lily settled in the swing with Daddy, Henry and I took off to go see the dogs in the dog area of the park. Not much happening. The sun had set and it was getting cold so we decided to head over to Real Food Daily for dinner.

Henry ate a grilled cheeze sandwich while reading a Star Wars comic. Lily polished off a tempeh triangle and some mashed potatoes, although Daddy's sweet potato mash was much better! I can't believe we're ordering kid meals for Lily. But she has a great appetite, so we might as well order her a whole dish to herself.

On the way back to the car, Lily had to walk on her own, alongside all of us. Of course a 2 minute thing became a 15 minute or more thing. But that is totally fine. It was exciting to see her explore.

Now it's back to work for me while the rest of the family is sleeping in on a wet and chilly day. Lucky buggers!

12/19/08

Sheperds pie is good!


Shepard's pie is good!, originally uploaded by erin32mc.

This photo makes me happy. I love seeing people enjoying food, especially when they are in my family. Lily is eating sheperds pie and she looooves it, as you can see. She went to bed with a full tummy.

12/18/08

Holiday Baking


Sugar cookies, originally uploaded by erin32mc.

Over the weekend, I did some SERIOUS baking! Must have been nearly 400 cookies and treats. Sugar cookies, snickerdoodles, chocolate chip cookies, and chocolate covered pretzels. Most of it went to my work. My boss likes to send out homemade treat baskets to clients. Four of us at work made treats to send out. Of course, mine were the only vegan ones. My chocolate chip cookies came out PERFECT! So soft. And tons of chocolate chips. Henry thought I overdid it, but I thought it was just right. Funny that he thought I overdid the chocolate, I never thought I would hear those words come out of his mouth.

This weekend we have a cookie exchange party to attend with our vegan family playgroup. Henry has been craving peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, so that is what we are making. That's our family activity for the week.

12/8/08

Baked treats

This was Lily's birthday cupcake.  It is zucchini spelt with a vegan cream cheese frosting.  Lily doesn't eat wheat yet but I wanted her to have something "birthday" like.  So this is what she got.  She didn't eat.  She just wanted to hear people sing Happy Birthday to her and clap.  She does not have a sweet tooth.  She wants savory more than anything.  So to make up for her passing on her cupcake, I ate four of these.  Most of which were eaten late at night when the kids were asleep.  The frosting was really good, I ate that straight out of the bowl!  But don't we all?  The frosting, I think, was from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.  The muffin recipe was from Dreena Burton's last book  Eat, Drink, Be Vegan.    

This is the cake that I made for everyone else to eat at Lily's 1st birthday celebration. It is a basic vanilla cake recipe and fudge frosting.  My son loves this cake!  It's the cake that we always make for his birthday.  So , since Lily is too young to pick, Henry was able to pick for her.  Score!  

After Thanksgiving, I was still in the mood to bake.  I had a huge bag of apples that my Aunt Suzie gave to me.  I don't know where the kids were, my husband must have been out with them or something, but I was able to make the crust from scratch and dive into this beautiful pie without any interruptions.  It was delicious.  Too bad I didn't have some soy ice cream in the freezer.  That would have been amazing!  I guess I'll have to make it again.  I used a recipe from Julie Hasson's book,   The Complete Book of Pies.  Her recipes are very straightforward and easy to follow.  Even though there are non-vegan recipes in the book, she has done a great job of noting where a recipe can be veganized.  I need to make more pies from this book.  But this apple pie was a good place to start. 






12/1/08

YEAH!!!


YEAH!!!, originally uploaded by erin32mc.

Lily is 1 year old!!!!! We celebrated her birthday on Thanksgiving with my family. I made a two layer vanilla cake with fudge frosting for the family. Lily had a zucchini spelt muffin with vegan cream cheese frosting. She was not interested in the muffin at all. She just wanted to look at everyone looking at her. At the end of the birthday song, she clapped with the family and got off my lap to walk around.

I can't believe she is already one year old. Amazing how fast time flies by. Of course I cried a little on her birthday. I wish I could slow down time a little. I don't want her to be a baby forever. I just want to cherish it a little bit longer.

Thanks for joining our family, Lily. I hope you know how much I love you.

11/15/08

Halloween 2008


Lily as a crawling dinosaur.  

Henry as Gene Simmons from KISS

I know Halloween was a little while ago, but I never posted photos of the kiddies.   Henry is really into KISS.  Thanks to his dad.  It went over well with adults.  His fellow classmates didn't have a clue to who he was.    Lily, of course was clueless to Halloween, but we dressed her up in a hand me down outfit.   Henry called all the shots on which houses to go to and when to stop.  Surprisingly he stopped at 8pm, I expected him to go much longer.  Next years costume has already been talked about.  So far he thinks Paul Stanley or Ace Frehley of KISS.  I bet he'll go through many ideas in the year to the next Halloween.  

In the last week, I've got back to the office to do work.  I've been working from home since Lily was born.  And it has been wonderful.  A little crazy at times trying to balance family and work but for the most part it was great.  The office has been nutty, so they asked me to come back in.  Hopefully it is temporary but I'll just be thankful for the time I had at home and be quiet.  My husband is the stay at home parent and is doing a great job.  It's rough juggling two kids and their activities.  Somehow it all works out and dinner is on the table.  As I said, work has been nutty, so I better get back to it.    

11/6/08

Mixed feelings

So obviously, I'm happy about our next president being Obama and not McCain.  But I am disappointed in California for passing Proposition 8.  I can't even talk about it.  Breaks my heart.  I was talking about the outcome election day with  my son, who is 7 1/2 years old.  When I explained Prop.8, in simple terms, he was sad thinking that two friends of his would have to choose which mommy they wanted to keep living with.  Obviously I needed to do a little more explaining.  At the end of the discussion, he asked "Why does it matter to people who someone marries?"  I couldn't have said it better myself.  

11/4/08

Vote!



Get out there and vote people!  Obviously you know who I'm voting for.  

11/3/08

Time to cozy up!

Finally it is feeling like Fall weather in Los Angeles.  Grey clouds.  Possibility of rain at any minute.  A chill in the air.  I love this time of year.  It is gorgeous!  Absolutely gorgeous.  All I want to do is cook and bake.  Work is getting in my way.  But trust me, I'll manage to squeeze some kind cooking into my day.  Maybe some biscuits to go along with a nice pumpkin soup or a thick stew.  I'll find the perfect thing and it's going to be good.  Warm up the house and my family.  Let's hope this chill lasts.  

10/29/08

Vegan MoFo: Cookies



Chocolate Chip Cookies, originally uploaded by erin32mc.

For the first time in days or maybe even weeks, my kids went to sleep at a decent time! They were both asleep before 9pm and I had the place to myself. I can't tell you how much I love moments like those. I could go on for days and days. But I won't. But what I will tell you is that since they were both asleep and I still had some energy, I baked. Nothing fancy. Nothing new. Just simple and delicious chocolate chip cookies. My go to recipe for chocolate chip cookies is always from Vive Le Vegan by Dreena Burton. Before I found this recipe, I just used the Tollhouse recipe that my grandmother used. You know the one, on the back of the bag of chocolate chips. Yes, that one. But Dreena Burton's recipe is more simple. No egg replacer and she uses maple syrup which adds a great flavor to the cookie.


Chocolate chip cookies always make me think of my grandma. The one who cooked from scratch. When you would visit her house, she'd have a tin of chocolate chip cookies waiting for us. The tin was always on top of her bread box. After giving her a hug, I'd wait for the adults to start talking, and then I would sneak off to the kitchen to find the cookies. My brothers didn't have the same need for sweets as I did, they still don't. My dad and I are the sugar junkies. So I didn't have to fight way to the cookie tin. It was a peaceful, quiet moment. Then pour a glass of milk, now I always drink plain rice milk, and sit at the counter that separated the kitchen from the dining room, in a spinning bar stool. Soon my dad would come in and join me. He would stand across from me and we'd chit chat about nothing while we dunked our cookies.

As my grandmother aged, her cookies did too. They didn't taste as wonderful. But no matter how tired she was, she always made them when we came to visit her. So my dad and I always ate them. And took the leftovers home to show her how much we appreciated the treats. Sometimes I would ask to make them with her, but she didn't like people in her kitchen. She liked cooking alone. It was her domain. It took quite awhile for her to accept me cooking my vegan food in her kitchen. She wanted to kick me out but I kept explaining that I needed to cook my food separately from hers and I wasn't trying to disrespect her. The meals I made there were always simple, so that I didn't hang out on her turf for too long. After my grandfather died, my grandma moved in with one of my cousins. That way she wasn't alone. I never saw her cook again and she never had cookies waiting for us when we would visit. She didn't care what I did in the kitchen, she would grumble that it wasn't hers anyways, it belonged to my cousin, so do as I please. Funny, but I missed the struggle. I wanted her to get up and push me out of the kitchen. To try and take over. But it wasn't going to happen. The desire to cook was gone for her. Before she passed away in 2004, she asked if there was anything I wanted of hers. I went straight to the kitchen and requested her mixing bowl ( a beat up yellow pyrex bowl) and the cookie tin. She thought it was funny that I wasn't asking for pictures or jewelry. But I had the photos I needed to remember her by, for when that time came. And I don't like jewelry. I just needed to have her cookie making supplies so that when I made cookies for my family, she would be there with me.

10/26/08

Vegan MoFo: Chocolate Spread


When I order stuff online, I always check the "sales" page to see if I can find any good deals.  Last week I ordered from Pangea and got a few sales items.  The Ritter Sport Peppermint chocolate was a GREAT sales find.  But another thing I ordered wasn't so great.  It was chocolate spread made for Pangea.  I was hoping for something that tasted like Nutella.  I use to love that stuff.  Probably enjoyed it too much.  Anyways, I ordered the spread since it was only 3 dollars. (Now on sale for 99 cents.)  Quite the deal, I thought.  I took a spoonful and it was oily.  Kind of slick.  So I put it away and thought I'd deal with it later.  That maybe I could think of something to use it for that would mask the oily texture of the spread.  Flash forward to the other day, when I was craving chocolate and I grabbed the spread.  Went back to the computer, where I do my job, and ate a spoonful here and there throughout the day.  Have you guessed what happened yet?  I'm sure you have.  I ended up eating the whole jar!  I felt like crap!  Such a headache and tummyache.  Yuck.  It wasn't bad enough that I didn't really like it but to eat it all when I didn't really like it makes me feel like crap.  I should've just thrown it away.  Three dollars wasted.  I've wasted more on stuff before.  But here it is.  In all of it's emptiness.  Blech! 
 

11 months old!

The photo is Lily in part of Henry's Halloween costume.  Henry is going to be Gene Simmons of KISS.  Matt made bat wings and attached them to the shirt.  Very cool.  I'll post more photos of that later, for now I just can't believe it has been 11 months since Lily was born.  And of course that means, one more month and she's a year old!  That blows my mind.  This time has flown by so quickly.  Too quickly.  She is on a mission to catch up to Henry and other big kids that she observes.  Last night, Henry was in his loft (it's a low loft, only three feet off the ground) and Lily climbed up the ladder to get to him.  I didn't stop her, just stayed right behind her to catch her if she fell.  Well she didn't need any help.  She got up to the bed without a problem.  Then she went up three more times.  We finally had to put a gate up on Henry's bedroom door so she wouldn't wake him up.  Normally Lily would be asleep before or at the same time as Henry, but since she has so many new things to try out, she's up until 10 or so every night.  And she still wakes up super happy and silly.  See....

10/24/08

Vegan MoFo: Pizza



PIZZA!, originally uploaded by erin32mc.

Of course, this is one of Henry's favorite meals. What kid doesn't love pizza? Well, I'm sure there are some out there who don't, but let's ignore them right now.

Henry loves pizza but he loves plain pizza. Crust, sauce, and FYH (Follow Your Heart) cheeze. That's it. Nothing else. Which I can accept...but that gets old for me and his dad. So we made a deal. Half the pizza is for him and half is for us. So on our side you can see we had black olives and tempeh sausage crumble from Vegan With A Vengeance and under the FYH cheeze, I have hidden soy pepperoni. It dries out when it is on top of the cheeze, so hiding it keeps it moist. Before we had kid #2, I made the dough from scratch. This isn't the story anymore. Now I buy it ready made from Trader Joe's. We try to always have a package in the fridge. You don't get that lovely yeasty dough smell in the house like you do when you make it from scratch, but sometimes you just don't have the time.

If Henry wasn't allergic to pineapple, I would've thrown some chunks on there too. Maybe next time I'll make two separate pizzas. Then I can load up on pineapple and soy pepperoni. That's one of my favorite pizza topping combos! Good stuff if you haven't tried it. What's your favorite pizza toppings?

10/22/08

Vegan MoFo: Tofu Spinach Pie



Tofu Spinach Pie, originally uploaded by erin32mc.

I love this dinner! Ever since Matt made it for me 14 years ago, I have loved this meal. And now, our son likes it too. He doesn't love it , but that's okay. I'm just happy that he'll eat it. It comes from The New Farm Cookbook.

Crust:
3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup of Earth Balance
Mix together until crumbly. Then add  3/4 cup of cold water. Mix until a nice dough forms. Split into two balls. Roll out on to fit your rectangular pan.  Poke a few holes in it with a fork. Prebake the bottom shell in the oven at 400 degrees. 15 minutes should be good enough. Roll out other ball of dough and have it ready for later.

Mixture:

one large onion, chopped

bag of chopped frozen spinach

package of firm tofu, crumbled

1 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. salt

juice from 1/2 a lemon

pine nuts (optional)

nutritional yeast (optional)


Saute chopped onions in a little olive oil. Throw in spinach,garlic powder, salt and warm that up. Put in crumbled tofu. Mix it up. Squeeze lemon over and throw in nutritional yeast and some pine nuts, if using. When warmed thru, it's done. Throw this in the prebaked shell and then cover with other piece of dough. Put a few holes with a fork for steam to escape. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Look for a nicely browned crust. Cut and enjoy!

This is a great food item to take to a potluck. It serves loads of folks if you cut the portions small. But if it's just you and few folks, you have enough for HUGE portions and maybe even lunch tomorrow! Which is what I'm having right now.

10/19/08

Vegan MoFo: PPK October Care Package

On the PPK Forum, a care package swap was set up (by Katie of Don't Eat Off the Sidewalk) for those that wanted to participate.  I had wanted to join in last year, but didn't have enough posts to the forum.  But this time around, I was able to jump in.  Yeah!  I got paired up with a person in Vermont.  She sent me a great care package.  The only thing I requested was butterscotch chips.  I had heard a lot about these and I can't get them in Los Angeles, CA.  Other than that, I left it up to her on what to put in the box.  
The first thing I tried was the maple candies that are in the shape of frogs.  SWEET!  Wow!  Made my teeth hurt a little bit.  I think I could take a little nibble and be completely satisfied.  Eating the entire candy frog was too intense.  Next up was a sample of the BBQ chips.  Tasty.  I love BBQ chips.  Ranks up there with salt and vinegar chips.  Then I tried one of the chocolate bars that had a cream center.  That was amazing!  I devoured that.  Didn't share one bit of it with my family.  On Saturday, I baked cookies and of course I threw in the butterscotch chips!  They were good.  I prefer chocolate chips, but obviously it was nice to have a different flavor.  My son and mom really liked the butterscotch chip cookies.  They wanted to eat a few more.  I haven't tried the other chocolate (chocolate mint and spicy chocolate) or the maple syrup.  But you can't go wrong with natural pure syrup!  And I'll crack open the blueberry-rhubarb jam the next time I make a  PB&J.  I've never heard of that combination before.  I'm looking forward to it.  My husband has his eyes on the gingersnap cookies and since I didn't share the chocolate bar, I'll let him have those.  I'll just make sure to get a taste before they are gone.  Thanks a lot, Becca.  Your choices were awesome!  

She can walk!

As of Friday, October 17, Lily is walking.  First it was three steps at a time, then plop!  Back to crawling.  Then it became five steps at a time.  Yesterday she was doing fifteen steps at a time.  Life as we know it in our house just got turned upside down again, in a good way!  I haven't gotten any good photos of her actually in upright motion, hopefully I'll get some soon.  

10/17/08

Vegan MoFo: Store bought treat



Ritter Sport, originally uploaded by erin32mc.

On The PPK Forum, I have heard about the peppermint Ritter Sport chocolate. While looking around on a few of the vegan sites (Vegan Essentials, Pangea,etc), I found these babies on sale on Pangea! I love me a good sale. So I ordered three of these, some Tartex, and a chocolate spread that I haven't tried yet.

When the box arrived, the chocolate mints were melting. So I threw them in the fridge and waited. Waited for cold chocolate mint perfection! Last night, when everyone was out, I opened up my first package and tasted the Ritter Sport for the first time. YUM! It was good. Good like York Peppermint Patty good. I ate the entire package, minus two squares that I gave to my mom. I didn't feel so good at the end of that package. But doesn't take away from how great the chocolate tasted.

If you haven't tried one of these babies, go! Get yourself one. You won't regret it.

10/16/08

Vegan MoFo: They're here!

Persimmons! Yesterday, my husband and daughter went to the Santa Monica Farmer's Market to get the usual (onions, garlic, celery, dates, apples, berries).  But we have an agreement that if something stands out or catches their eyes, that they will add that special item to the goods.  
Yesterday that special item was my beloved persimmons.  There are two types of persimmons.  I only have a love for one. The kind that looks like a flattened tomato, otherwise known as Fuyu.  The type of persimmon I don't have a love for is the Hachiya.  The one that looks like a big acorn and has to be eaten when it is ripe.  Really ripe.  The Fuyu can be eaten firm or soft.  I like the texture of it when it is firm.  Like a firm apple.  

So far I have never done anything with a persimmon but cut it up and eat it straight.  I eat as many as I can, without making myself sick, when it is their season.  Maybe this year, I will actually make something with my beloved persimmon.  Maybe ice cream or muffins.  Or toss them with roasted sweet potatoes.   Today, I'm just going to eat it straight.  Pure persimmon.  

10/14/08

Vegan MoFo: Healthy food equals healthy son

This is off the path a little bit but somewhat related since I'm talking about my son, who has been raised a vegan.  He was born at 10 pounds 14 ounces and 22 inches long.  By the time he was four months old, he was 22 pounds.  Once he got mobile, he leaned out a bit.  Even though Henry has been a picky eater since he was 2 1/2 years old, we still manage to get good food into him.  And don't worry, he still gets treats here and there. He doesn't go without!  That's for sure.  Now Henry is 7 1/2 years old.  Every year, he is suppose to go in for a well child check up.  I meant to have him  go in during the summer for the check up but it didn't happen.  So he had his 7 year check up today.  He passed with flying colors.  

It was fun to watch and listen to him answer all the doctor's questions.   First was the weigh in.  56 pounds.  Height is 49 inches.  He's grown from last year.  That's always a good sign.  
Next up was the vision exam.  15/30.  Doctor said that is fine.  Anything below 50 is perfectly right on for young kids.  Then into the exam room for questions.  Henry showed her his homework, was eating a banana and  drinking coconut water in front of her, and then showed off some of his martial art moves.  Then when she started doing the eye,ear, tonsil check.  Henry made sure to pull up his sleeve and show her his muscles.  Heart good.  Lungs clear.  Then a few questions to see about his developmental growth.  She asked him what a pen was and his response was "A writing tool that does not erase."  I liked that one.  Made me giggle a bit.  Next was a clock, which he responded "Something that tells us time and has the numbers one to twelve on it."  He tried talking to her about poltergeists, but she said she didn't know much about them.  He told her to get a book from a library so she could find out about them.  I never knew that Henry knew the word "poltergeists" until that moment.  Henry asked if he had to do a blood test, she said no, just urine.  So Henry peed in a cup, washed his hands, grabbed a bug toy, and said his goodbyes.  

Even though I know Henry is healthy and growing.  It's always nice to have that back up from the doctor's file that shows his growth on a chart.  To hear from a "professional" that he is doing great.  

So if any of your friends, family, or coworkers question that a vegan diet doesn't give a growing child what they need, here's one example that shows them wrong.  Now it's time for me to cook up a dinner.  Have a good night.  

Vegan MoFo: Another fast dinner



Curry Fennel Cauliflower Bake, originally uploaded by erin32mc.

Another gem from La Dolce Vegan by Sarah Kramer.  It is called Curry Fennel Cauliflower Bake.  All of the work was in the chopping of the vegetables and tofu. Once you have that out of the way, throw it all into a big baking dish with some olive oil, garam masala, fennel seeds, salt, and some black pepper. Let it bake for thirty minutes. Play with your kids, do a crossword, wash some dishes, or just stare at a wall.  When the timer goes off,  throw in some peas and cilantro.  Let the peas warm up for a few minutes.  And you are done.    The smell was fantastic! Even my picky seven year old loved the smell that was coming from the oven.

I served it over basmati rice and dug in. My husband and I had two big servings each. Our son ate everything but the peas and onions. He actually ate cauliflower!!! That is a first in our house. And he loved the flavor of the tofu. Next time I'll probably throw in more tofu. Henry was searching through our bowls for leftover tofu, it was that good.

10/13/08

Vegan MoFo: My pantry



pantry, originally uploaded by erin32mc.

I don't have a huge pantry, but I seem to manage. As you can see, the top shelf is almost all pasta. I love pasta. The family gets a bit tired of it, but I could eat it practically everyday. So simple and filling. I don't really like brown rice pasta myself but I keep that for Lily. She loves it. Henry will accept it in a pinch, but he'd prefer the "usual" pasta. We go through a jar of peanut butter in a week, easy. Maybe even more than that. Henry eats it in his soy yogurt and loves his PB&J! The second shelf is mainly for my canned goods. Lots of beans (black eyed peas, pinto, black, butter). I love beans. If only I could convince Henry to eat them. I even told him he would "toot" more if he ate beans. I thought for sure that would work on a 7 year old boy. No such luck. I'll have to try another angle. Although I do get him to eat chickpeas by making the chickpea cutlets from Veganomicon. He loves those as long as they are SUPER crispy! 

Taking up a big amount of space on the shelf is our nutritional yeast. Ever since I tasted this on popcorn back in 1991, I have always had some in the pantry. Usually, I buy this in bulk. My co-op was out for a few weeks, so I was forced to buy it from Whole Foods. I usually have a mason jar twice this size packed with the nooch! And then of course I have some diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, ketchup sweetened with agave, and random items like pudding mixes for a quick treat on the bottom shelf.

I wish this pantry was larger so I could have even more goodies in here. But I have the basics and they get me by. On any given night, I have no problem fixing a quick meal for the family if I don't have a lot of time. Chili, pasta with red sauce, beans and grains, pumpkin muffins, and pb&j's are always available at my house. So if you stop on by, unannounced, you know what you'll be eating.

10/11/08

Vegan MoFo: Simple and new



Berry Oat Squares, originally uploaded by erin32mc.

So I said I wanted to try something from La Dolce Vegan and I did. This morning I woke up to a chilly home, chilly for Los Angeles. So to warm it up in the best possible way, I turned on the oven and got cooking. I picked Berry Oat Squares out of La Dolce Vegan. Simple and pretty quick. Oats, sugar, flour, margarine all go together for the crust and topping. Blueberries, blueberry jam, and a bit of flour were the middle a section. Prebake the bottom layer, then add on the berries, throw on the top layer and bake for 20 minutes. Out comes a simple and tasty treat. I ate my first slice over the stove. Didn't even bother with a bowl. My second slice is the one in the photograph. My third slice was after watching Henry play in his soccer game. I'm trying to hold off until tomorrow for the next piece. I don't know if I'll make it until then.


Also, if you like the bowl, you can order one of your own!  Go to etsy.com and you can shop for lots of vegan dishes.   The bowl in the photo is my son's and it actually says *vegan henry* on it. And of course we have one for our daughter too but she can't have it until she stops throwing everything she picks up.  

10/10/08

Vegan MoFo: Cookbooks



cookbooks, originally uploaded by erin32mc.

As I said before, I didn't have many cookbooks when I first started being vegan. But I think , as you can see, that I have made up for that. Before we had kids, I would buy any vegan or vegetarian cookbook that caught my eye.

With so many cookbooks, I don't use all of them all the time. I have my favorites: New Farm, Vive Le Vegan, Vegan With a Vengeance, Veganomicon, The Accidental Vegan, and Vegan Lunch Box. I do try to force myself to pull out a cookbook that has gotten much attention lately, and pick a few recipes. I usually try new recipes on the weekend, when I have more time.

This weekend I'm trying to use La Dolce Vegan. I have made only five recipes from this book. That just doesn't seem right. I need to make more. So I picked out a few, mainly sweets, since nothing savory reached out to me. My son will be happy to have some treats in the house this weekend. If I'm lucky, he'll help me bake.

10/9/08

Vegan MoFo: Stuff in the freezer



Freezer contents, originally uploaded by erin32mc.

Today, this is what the inside of my freezer looks like. We have a few frozen meals to eat in a pinch during the day. While working, I sometimes forget to eat, so Matt will throw an Amy's meal into the oven to feed me. Riblets for Matt. He loves those things. I can't stomach them. Also in there you can see some frozen spinach for the tofu spinach pie I'm going to make when the heat wave ends. My soy ice cream from Trader Joe's, flours, peas, filo dough for making something fancy, and hash browns. We love those salty hash browns from Trader Joe's. I know it's junk food but once in awhile they are okay. In the green container is sneaky tomato sauce that we use for our pizza. Henry hates his green veggies, so we throw them into our red sauce, put it in a blender and tell him the green bits are oregano. Also Lily has a stash of frozen breastmilk for those days where I have to go into the office. Something in there for everyone.

10/8/08

Vegan Mofo: Quick sweet tooth fix

Yesterday, after I dropped off my son at school.  I realized I was hungry and knew there weren't many options at home, so I stopped off at Whole Foods in Brentwood, CA.  Right there you know I'm in trouble.  Going to a market, especially Whole Foods, is dangerous when you are hungry.  At first I was picking up bananas, apples, a butternut squash (to roast for Lily), grabbed a few vanilla soy yogurts.  Not bad, right?  All sounds fine.  Then it happens.  I walk down the baking goods/cereal/peanut butter aisle.  I grabbed our normal peanut butter and then I saw it.  An old friend.  Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter made by Peanut Butter & Co.  
There was a time where I always had this in the house.  But I soon realized that I was going through the jar far too quickly!  So I forced myself to say good bye and swore it off.  Never to have it in my house again.  But I couldn't pass it up yesterday.  Probably the hunger did me in.  I have held off from cracking this baby open but I don't think I can hold on much longer.  Soon I will grab a spoon and dig into that creamy, chocolate  goodness.  It's going to be so good.  Who am I kidding?  It's going to be amazing!  

10/7/08

Vegan Mofo: Family quick fixings

There are nights that I only have a twenty to thirty minutes to get dinner on the table when I am clueless to what I should make. 

Henry's number one meal is rice, tofu with marinade, and any type of fruit.  I usually make this on the night my husband goes to school.  Matt is so tired of this meal, that he can't eat it.  So problem solved, make it when he's out.  

Another quick fix meal that pleases Henry is tofu pups, some kind of potato (tater tots, hash browns, etc), and olives.  When I was a kid, my dad always put olives on the plate with hot dogs.  So I'm just copying him.  I wanted to make the adult tofu pups a little more exciting, so I threw together some chili.  The recipe is based of the New Farm Cookbook chili recipe.  Beans, tomatoes, tvp, spices, and onion.  Takes about 20 minutes to get that one finished from start to finish.  Plus it makes enough for leftovers.  That is always a nice perk to a meal.  

My favorite quick fix meal is pasta.  Last night this was dinner.  Linguine, red sauce (I use the recipe from Vegan Vittles), and tempeh sausage crumbles (recipe is from Vegan with a Vengeance).  Throw on a little nutritional yeast and dinner is done!  If I'm lucky, I might have salad or garlic bread to go with this but last night I wasn't so lucky.  No salad to be had.  But that's okay.  Dinner was perfect without it.  

10/6/08

Vegan Mofo: Shojin Restaurant in Downtown L.A.

Before summer started we heard about a new vegan restaurant that is located in Downtown Los Angeles.  This is a part of town we don't go to very often.  Just a long ride for us since we live closer to Santa Monica.  But on Saturday, I decided it was time to check it out.  The place is called Shojin and it is mainly Japanese food.   It is located in a mall in Little Tokyo.   When we arrived, I was a little nervous having the kids eat there since it was a bit fancy for us.  Nice chairs, fancy utensils, breakable art within reach, and very quiet!!  So any noise we made would be even more noticeable.  The staff was very friendly and didn't seem put off by the young kids in their restaurant, so that was a good sign.   

Matt and I both picked bento boxes for our lunch.  You get a choice of rice, soup, or salad along with cold tofu, mushroom/seaweed salad, and two entrees.  I picked the rice along with pumpkin croquettes and seitan balls for my bento.  Matt picked the soup and fried tempeh strips and a fried gluten cutlet.  Henry wasn't interested in much, so we were able to order him soy cheese on toast.  He was really happy about this.   Lily ate my rice and some avocado that we were able to order since there weren't any options otherwise for her.  

Then just when I thought we were done, the waitress brought up DESSERT!  At first I said no but when I got "the look" from Matt and Henry, I asked to see the menu.  We had a few choices:
green tea "moss" cake, chocolate walnut cake, custard with fruit all served with vanilla rice milk ice cream.  Henry picked the chocolate walnut cake.  
It was more like a brownie.  Very dense but moist.  The ice cream was tasty but not creamy.  And there was a mango fruit sauce that went nicely with the chocolate cake.    Henry shared a little with us but licked the plate clean! 

We picked the green tea "moss" cake.  Both of us have never had a green tea dessert so we wanted to check it out.  
The cake was really dry!  There was a layer of red bean in the middle of it that didn't seem to go along with the other flavors and too much green tea powder on the food and plate that a few times I choked on it.  I would pass on this dessert next time and try the fruit custard dish.  

Overall, I'd say it was well worth the visit.  But for three meals and two desserts, the bill came out to fifty dollars.  A bit high for a family dining experience but reasonable for the amount of dishes ordered.  I think we'll go back next time without the kids.  I'll make Henry a grilled cheeze at home and save the 7 dollars.  

If you check Shojin out, make sure to go into the Japanese market on the bottom floor of the mall.  There are some gems in there.  We always try to get some vegan bean cakes but this time I couldn't find the kind I like.  Next time, there's always next time 



10/4/08

Vegan Mofo: When the kids are asleep

When the kids have gone to bed and I need a little something something.  This is the kind of stuff I reach for.  Vanilla soy ice cream and a little chocolate syrup.  Simple.  A nice treat to give myself.   That I don't have to share with anyone.  And yesterday I really needed something after the day I had.  
Lily found an old ant trap that was in the office I work in.  I found it in her mouth.  With her smiling SO big as she sucked on the metal tin full of poison powder.  I got it out of her mouth, checked to see if any powder was in her mouth, washed her hands, and rushed off to the ER.  There we hung out for three hours or so under observation to see if she was okay or not.  She is okay.  No signs of any poisoning.  Thank goodness.  Lily didn't get poked or stuck with any needles. No tubes.   The nurse just checked her vitals (which were good), her weight (21 pounds), and set us up in a room where someone came in every 15 or so minutes to make sure she wasn't vomiting, drooling, or having excessive tears.   Lily slept through most of this, so I was left to hold her and beat myself up mentally.  I was lucky.  Really lucky that she only had the ant trap for under 20 or seconds.  And that she didn't seem to get any of it in her mouth, or enough of it to cause any problems.  

Of course the area where the old trap was found has been scrubbed and wiped clean.  Making sure there isn't going to be any powder picked up on her hands or body as she crawls around the office.  So learn from me, make sure there aren't any things hidden away.  If there is the smallest chance that an item can be moved, or shoved aside, assume your child can move it.  Before you allow your child to roam around someplace new, do a scan of the area to make sure there aren't any hidden dangers.  

If I would have had a beer in the house last night, I might have had a few sips of that to give myself a treat.  But we're not really drinkers, so for me it was ice cream.  I might just have another bowl again tonight.  I'm crazy like that.