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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lily as a crawling dinosaur.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.