Comfort on a plate

Mashed potatoes with gravy is comfort food. There were nights when Matt and I moved in together that we would fix only that. Eat a couple bowls and call it a night. Would warm us up on those chilly SF nights. I still reach for mashed potatoes and gravy in hot LA and the dish still gives me comfort. Now I make chickpea cutlets to go along with my mashed potatoes and gravy. This night it was white bean cutlets since I was out of chickpeas. But that was fine. They came out delicious as always! I love making my cutlets super super crispy. Plus I know my son will eat his if it's super crusty. Nothing like a big bite of cutlet with some mashed potatoes and a couple of peas all smothered in golden gravy!!! Never leftovers when this is dinner. We eat and eat until it's all gone.

10 months old!!!

Lily turned 10 months old on Friday and it made me cry. This is going too fast. I know she will be 1 before I am ready. Today she learned how to clap and I smiled at her and cheered her on. But I had tears running down my face. Proud and sad at the same time. It makes me want to cry again just writing about it.



These are my new favorite food. The recipe can be found at Everyday Dish.

The recipe is called Spicy Italian Vegetarian Sausages. After watching the video on how to make the sausages, I knew it was simple enough for me to try it for myself.  You mix the dry ingredients, then mix the wet. Then mix then those together. Take half a cup of gluten dough mixture, shape it into a roll, put it in some tin foil, steam for 30 minutes and you have some tasty tasty stuff! I ate one straight out of the steamer, so did my Dad. The others were cooked up in a pan with a little olive oil. That's the way my son enjoyed them. I was going to share these with the vegan family playgroup that I am involved with. But I was selfish and kept them for us. I want to make some pasta and throw them into the sauce. Gonna be good! So good.


Breakfast at work

I work from home but I still feel rushed to get to work. I feel so lucky to be able to work from home that I don't want to screw it up and have my employers take away the sweet deal. So every morning I get up, get Henry's breakfast going then make his lunch. Lily usually wakes up and I nurse her, change her, and dress her for the day. My husband or I drive Henry to school (10 mins away). When I return, I log on and get going on my shot (I do digital effects for movies). Hunger pains start to make their presence known to me, so I'll fix myself something quick like this meal here and get back to the computer. Trying not to have to many crumbs fall on the keyboard or my lap!

My husband brings Lily to me when she wants to nurse or if he needs to do something without Lily under his feet (i.e. getting laundry started or stirring the compost). He takes her back and I'll see them again for the next visit. I'm lucky, right? I know I am. I am thankful. Very thankful. So I better get back to work.


From Vive Le Vegan

This is my new favorite treat. I don't know the exact recipe title but it is made with hemp seed butter, peanut butter, maple syrup, a little vanilla extract, and a dash of salt, chocolate chips, and rice cereal.

Just add the first four ingredients in a pot on the stove. Blend them together. Once that is done, pour in some chocolate chips. Turn off the heat, stir until chips are melted. Then add the cereal. Pour into a greased 8x8 pan, pat down, and put in the fridge.

When they are set, it tastes like fudge! But it seems like healthy fudge since there is hemp seed butter and peanut butter (you can use any nut butter you want) in them.

Vive Le Vegan by Dreena Burton is one of my favorite cookbooks. I use it every week and it has my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe in it. Well worth the cost of the book!


A challenge for me

Last year I was an observer.  Watching and reading as much as I could find of other peoples vegan goods and thoughts.  But this time, I'm jumping in.  So for the month of October I am going to give myself a challenge, the VEGANMOFO challenge, and try to post everyday regarding vegan food.  I'm excited.  Some nights I have woken up with ideas of what to write about during October.  But that's for later....no need to talk of it now.  Just know that I am excited to be playing.  This is my kind of team sport.  No points, no outs, just lots of food and good fun.  


We had a date out!

On Saturday, my husband and I went out to see Kristin Hersh at McCabe's in Santa Monica.  McCabe's and Kristin Hersh are two things, among many others, that I have a soft spot for.  Shows at McCabe's are special.  As a child growing up in West L.A., I was lucky enough to attend school with Tim and Tom Zehnder whose father worked at McCabe's.  This meant that every year he would come in with some cool instruments from his work and put on a small concert.  The whole family would play and sing for us.  For a lack of a better word, they were hippies. Long hair, peaceful, artistic, and different than any other family I had ever seen before.  So when bands play at McCabe's, bands that I like, I try my best to go see them.  
I found out a few days ago that Kristin Hersh was going to be playing at McCabe's so I bought tickets without wondering how I was going to get a babysitter.  That was secondary.  Once my husband agreed to going to see the concert, then I had to figure out who was going to take care of our kids for a few hours.  Luckily I live really really close to my parents, and they were nice enough to agree to the late night.  (Thanks Mom and Dad.)  
Sad to say the show wasn't sold out.  It should've been.  Kristin Hersh is a great story teller.  Besides the horrible seats that we had to sit on, metal fold up seats that makes your butt go to sleep within 20 minutes, it was great to see Kristin and hear her sing again.  It had been too long.   
So go do a search on Google or whatever search engine you prefer and have a listen.  I hope you enjoy.  

P.S.  It was nice to be alone with my husband and kid free just for a few hours.  I wish we could've squeezed in a dinner too but maybe next time.  I felt bad though when we arrived home to find out that Lily cried for 30 minutes straight when she realized we were gone.  That makes my heart ache.  She slept really well after crying so hard.  Poor babe.  



This is our cat, Allie. She doesn't look as regal as she has in the past. But sadly we found out she was in renal failure. So we put her down today. She wasn't eating or wanting to socialize. Allie has always been a social kitty, so she was definitely not herself.

Yesterday I groomed her (especially her tail, Allie has always loved her tail) with Henry as we talked about how she was sick and we might have to let her go so she wasn't in pain. As hard as that talk is, it needs to happen. I want Henry to understand what is happening to her. He cried a lot at school yesterday and was hanging on to the idea that maybe she would get better. But she was 16 years old and the kidneys were shutting down. There wasn't any getting better for Allie.

I don't look forward to picking him up. This will be hard. My dad thinks we should plant a tree in Allie's honor. I think that is a good idea. Have something positive come of today.

Allie, I'm glad you are not in pain. We loved having you in our family.


S'mores by the cyber campfire

S'mores by the cyber campfire, originally uploaded by erin32mc.

Went to my brother's yesterday for dinner. I always bring a dessert for Henry to have, so he doesn't feel left out when that time comes. Last night it was s'mores. Vegan graham crackers, chocolate, and Ricemellow spread. Sticky but good! I'm having some while I take a break from work.

Veggie Grill in El Segundo

This the tempeh burger with pineapple.  Tasty! 
Veggie Grill in El Segundo, originally uploaded by erin32mc.

My son likes to go here as much as possible. They have simple burgers and salads. Nothing too fancy. Nothing too pricey. Bright light due to lots of windows, high ceilings, friendly staff. My only complaint is the loud music. My son tells me I'm too old if the music is too loud. But I really don't need to hear Teena Marie blasting so loud that I can't hear my son talking who is less than two feet from me. Plus, who needs to hear Teena Marie anymore? Wasn't she popular about 25 years ago?!!?

Anyways, go to Veggie Grill if you get the chance. They also have a restaurant in Irvine. I've never been to that one, but it's the same food. And their desserts are pretty good too. But we walk over to Whole Foods and hope for vegan cookie dough ice cream in a cup. That is really worth the drive!


2nd grade

This is Henry as he waited in line at his new classroom. Room 53. I place we will get to know very well over the next nine months. He had to wear his ac/dc shirt and his "rock" sleeve today. He already cares about what he is wearing. I'm in trouble if this continues. What will middle school be like?!?!!? Yikes! But for now, we'll just enjoy 2nd grade. Let's hope it is lots of fun.

Cinnamon Rolls

Last night, around 9pm, I decided it was time to make some cinnamon rolls. I have never made cinnamon rolls before but I've seen someone else's online and the idea has been in my head for a week or so.  The idea of having to wait for the dough to double, then to rest, rolling it out, rolling it up...had me a bit scared.  But once I dived in, it was okay.  The smell of the yeast as it foamed up with the warm soymilk and sugar reassured me that all was going to be okay.  And kneading was relaxing.  I always forget how calm I can get while kneading dough.  I enjoy the process.  These are the rolls as they rest before I put them in the oven.

They went into the oven for fifteen minutes.  And in that short amount of time, your house will start to smell like the warmest childhood memory that you have.  It was fantastic!  I didn't have enough powdered sugar to make a frosting and I didn't want to wake my sleeping children to make my own in the blender, so I made a glaze instead.  Margarine, vegan cream cheese, vanilla, a dash of salt and some maple syrup poured over the hot rolls when they came out of the oven.  They are fine without the glaze, too.  There is enough flavor and sweetness to carry  it off.  
Today is the first day back to school for Henry, our oldest, so it was nice to do something special.  He had this for breakfast and there is a tiny cinnamon roll in his lunchbox, too.  I'm sure he'll lick his fingers clean!!!