10/26/12

More Pumpkin fun times - Vegan MoFo 2012





Like a lot of folks, I am on pinterest pinning foods that I want to try one day.  Over on portuguesegirlcooks.com, there was a gorgeous post about pumpkin scones with a spice glaze.  All I needed to do was substitute the one egg and some milk to make it vegan. These babies didn't take long to throw together.  I made them while making my kids breakfast and getting them out the door to school.  The recipe makes eight large scones, take it from me, double the recipe!  I took some to Lily's preschool and I'm forcing myself to save one for my son for after-school.  I've already promised a friend that I will make more for when I see her on Tuesday.  It didn't take her long to convince me.

10/25/12

Pumpkin - Vegan MoFo 2012



My daughter's preschool teacher asked me to do a cooking activity with the class.  Had to be pumpkin somewhere in the end product.  Lily wanted pumpkin muffins but I wanted to try a new recipe.  So I cracked open Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.  Low and behold there was a simple pumpkin chocolate chip cupcake with a cinnamon icing.  These are our new favorite cupcakes.  We had them without the icing and with, do yourself a big favor and make the icing.  Not that they HAVE to have the icing, they are good either way, but the icing is so delicious!!!  


These photos are from our practice run.  Two days later we made them with her class and all went perfect.  Kids and teachers all loved them.  Asking for second and third servings of cinnamon icing to their cupcakes.  I have the leftover icing in my fridge, waiting to find another use for it.  I might just have to use it on a spoon straight into my mouth!

10/20/12

Berry Oat Bars - Vegan MoFo 2012





 Berry Oat Bars from Color Me Vegan by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. 

I haven't cooked much from this cookbook but I liked how it was divided up by colors.  A reminder to eat a wide variety of colors on our plates to get our vitamins.  Maybe my CSA box will encourage me to dive into this cookbook for more than just berry oat bars. 


The berries that my daughter and I picked at the farm the other week were put to use for this plate of yumminess!  I've made these a few times and love them every time.  I held back a little on the sugar to feel less guilty that this was breakfast today.  If the kids wouldn't have been here, I would have kept the sugar at the regular amount, but trying to be a good role model and all.... Still delicious!  I have two pieces left, but not for long.  Have a nice weekend folks!

10/17/12

CSA goodies - Vegan MoFo 2012




Sunday was our CSA pick up day.  As you can see, I got a lot.  This is the family sized box for 35 dollars.  I'm mixed on whether I should keep doing it since I've been laid off.  This box is going to be the deciding factor.  I like having all of these freshly picked goodies forced upon me but some things I just wouldn't buy.  Like what???  Eggplant.  My family doesn't eat eggplant.  And I've been getting beets every box since we signed up.  I like beets, don't get me wrong.  But I could use a break from lovely beets.  The celery root....I've never used celery root before.  Maybe a salad...or cook with potatoes... we shall see.  We have gone through the grapes, dandelion greens, jalapeno peppers, and the tomatoes already.  Most of the plums are gone.  I need to cook up the summer squash, anaheim chiles, and the other mixed greens.

So help me out here folks, what would you do with the celery root?  Or how about those beets?  I need to find another way to eat the beets besides roasting them.

10/16/12

Garlic Knots - Vegan MoFo 2012



Everytime I get a new cookbook, I browse through it and then I browse through it again with my kids.
Asking if anything catches their eye.  Usually the sweets grab their attention.  No surprise there.  But when we got Chloe Coscarelli's book Chloe's Kitchen: 125 Easy, Delicious Recipes for Making the Food You Love the Vegan Way, the kids both wanted the garlic knots.

The garlic knots take awhile to make due to the dough.  It has to rise, you have to roll it out, and then twist the dough bits into these cute little knots.  Brush with olive oil and stick them in the oven.  While these are baking, mince a lot of garlic and parsley and put in a bowl with olive oil.  Once the knots come out of the oven, dump them into the bowl with the garlic oil.  Put on a plate and watch them disappear!

10/15/12

Garbanzo bean snack - Vegan MoFo 2012






On Saturday it was errands day.  Clean house, bake scones for my son's Dungeons and Dragons group, do laundry, and lots and lots of dishes!  During the middle of the day I realized we needed a snack.  Grabbed a can of garbanzo beans, rinsed them, dumped onto a cookie sheet.  Pour a little olive oil, some salt, and nutritional yeast.  Move beans around so everything is covered and pop into the oven.  I put the oven at 400 or so.  Every few minutes give the sheet a shake and put them back into the oven.  When the beans start to get browned, but not dried out, take them out.  Let cool a little bit and enjoy!!

10/12/12

Treats for teacher - Vegan MoFo 2012


My daughter goes to preschool.  There are a total of six teachers in the two classrooms.  Every so often, when I find the time, I make extra treats for Lily to take with her to school.  One teacher has gotten so comfortable with us,  that she is making requests.  Which I am totally okay with.  I'm glad she enjoys our treats.  So the recent request was something with lemon.  Lemon is her favorite flavor in desserts.  Challenge accepted.  Game on!  

Two weeks earlier I had bought meyer lemons at Costco.  They were just sitting there, daring me to find the right recipe to use them in.  Now Teacher Ranie was too.  I pulled out Veganomicon by Isa  Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.  Opened up the book to an old favorite,  Coconut Lemon Bundt Cake recipe.  SO moist!  I didn't want to make an entire cake for the teachers, I knew I would want some of this yummy goodness for us too, so I made cupcakes.  


Once again my fantastic kitchen helper put on her apron and got to work.  Turning this bundt cake into cupcakes gives you 22-24 cupcakes.  I put them in the oven for about  20 minutes at 375 or so,  and rotated them halfway thru the cooking time.  Leave them in the muffin pans for about 10 minutes so they don't fall apart and then let them cool completely on a cooling rack.




You could leave them as they are.  They taste fantastic on their own.  I did whip up a lemon glaze by adding some lemon juice to a cup of powdered sugar.  Then just drizzled it across the top.  (no photo of that, sorry)  You could also gently dip the cupcakes into the lemon glaze bowl.  Just covering the top.  So yummy.

Teacher Ranie and the rest of the teachers loved these beauties.  And I received my  next challenge/request....  lemon bars.  Once again I'll be pulling out a book by the Moskowitz and Romero to meet that challenge.

10/11/12

Diner Slaw - Vegan MoFo 2012






Another night of throwing food together quickly to feed the family.  First I grabbed the bag of pre-cut butternut squash from Trader Joe's.  Tossed that with some olive oil and a little salt and rosemary.  Threw that in the oven.  Then cut up my tofu and breaded it.  My coating is simple enough: flour, nutritional yeast, salt, basil, garlic powder, and pepper.  Pan fry that until nice and crispy on all sides.  I needed some kind of green veggie....found a head of cabbage from our CSA box.  Grabbed Julia Hasson's Vegan Diner cookbook and tossed together "diner slaw".  Easy breezy!!!

Not the prettiest looking plate of food, but mighty tasty and filling!  Time for me to go make lunch before picking up the kidlet from preschool.  What's on the lunch menu for today you ask?.... Frito Pie!!!!  Fritos (Trader Joe style), black beans, green chiles, onions, and vegan sour cream.  Pile in that order in a bowl and dive in, baby!

10/10/12

Pink rice anyone? - Vegan Mofo 2012


Every Sunday we go to our local library, well I lie, we go to the nicer library in Santa Monica.  The kids pick out videos that we can keep for one week and I cruise the cookbook aisles.  My daughter really loves the pictures in one bento box book that we have found.  She has been on me to check it out again and again to make the lunches for her.  The book is called Yum-Yum Bento Box: Fresh Recipes for Adorable Lunches by Maki Ogawa  I finally took the hint and checked it out.


Lily picked out "fluffy lamb" as her first recipe to try.  The recipe calls for a quail egg to make the face. Lily's is made out of raw tofu.  I did my best to shape it like the egg ..... not so great, I know.  The ears are tofu too, but in the book they are cheese.  Then seaweed cut for eyes, nose, mouth (forgive my terrible skills again) and ketchup for the cheeks.  We added beet food coloring to the sushi rice to give it the deep pink color.  Lily loved going through the process of copying the book and veganizing it.  She ate everything but the "egg of tofu."  Lily let me know that I did a good job but it wasn't exactly like the picture.  I appreciated her giving me the good news first.  Maybe my skills will improve over time if I continue practicing.

10/9/12

At the farm - Vegan MoFo 2012



My youngest one had Monday off of school so we drove out to Underwood Farms in Moorpark for a little fun.  They are having the Fall Harvest Festival right now.  Weekends are 12 dollars for each person!!!!  Luckily the weekdays are only 3 dollars each.  We walked thru the sunflower fields, the pumpkin patch, tomato vines, bell pepper area, and most importantly, the blackberries!!!!  Lily decided that we needed to pick blackberries first.  Not many to grab but I think we were able to find about thirty berries.  Lily loved picking the berries, so that is all that matters.  Grabbed a few peppers and tomatoes and headed out.  Lily reminded me that we "had" to get some pumpkins...she twisted my arm.  Grabbed two of the smallest pumpkins we could find and called it a day.  And what a great day it was. 


10/8/12

Plum tart - Vegan MoFo 2012


The other day I opened my email to find an update from Celine Steen at have cake will travel.  There were gorgeous photos of plums in a gorgeous crust.  She had my attention!  I opened the link and was so happy to see that she had shared the recipe for these gorgeous treats.  
Almond Plum Mini Crostata Pies.  I quickly realized that we had plums from our √áSA box and almond meal in the fridge.  These babies were going to become a reality right then and there.  As I started to pull out ingredients, my daughter asked what I was doing.  I replied it was time to try plum tarts (simplified the name for a four yr old and me, who am i kidding?!?!).  She pulled out her step ladder, pushed up her sleeves on her Hello Kitty jammies, and stated "I want to help!"  Well okay, the more the merrier.  

  before


 after

These simple tarts were super easy to throw together and smelled delicious coming out of the oven.  There is almond extract in the filling, so you can really smell it.  Crust was so tasty and the dish as a whole wasn't overly sweet.  We were able to share with  my parents too.  My father couldn't stop raving how great these tarts were.  So take my dad's word, and mine, and get this dish cooking in your kitchen asap.

10/6/12

Time to get thrifty! - Vegan MoFo 2012


Sorry for the missing of posts, I was laid off on Friday.  I am the sole bread winner of the family, so it really stresses me out, obviously.  A few good things about being laid off: more time with  my family, more time to cook, and being forced to be frugal in all areas of my life.  So I did my menu for the week and I will be cooking my butt off.  No choice but to make things myself to save every penny.

So for now I will leave you with a dinner from Thursday.  Simple tempeh pan fried with some olive oil and soy sauce, kale (from the CSA box) sauteed with onions in olive oil, and root beer beans from Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites by Joni Marie Newman and Celine Steen.  My son and husband love root beer, so I thought I'd give this recipe a go.  Let it be known, I really really dislike the taste of root beer.  So I was being a really nice person making this for them.  I have to admit, if I mixed the beans with greens or tempeh in a bite, it tasted really good.  On it's own, I couldn't do it.  The root beer taste was just too strong for me.  But if you are a root beer lover, you better check it out!


Upcoming adventures:  plum tarts(another recipe from Celine Steen) , cinnamon rolls, and lemon coconut muffins!  Woah! That's a lot of sweets...I better get some more savory going.

10/4/12

Vegan Mofo 2012 - Snack


I always have snacks on hand, whether I'm with my kids or alone.  I never know when I will have to work a long day or work through lunch, so I try to always have more than necessary as far as food is concerned.  Luckily my work has a nice kitchen, everything but a full size stove.  So I keep frozen brown rice, fake nuggets from Trader Joe's, coconut milk yogurts, trail mix, and knishes here at all times.  Do you notice what is missing?  No fresh veggies or fruits.  I'm trying to do better at keeping those things here on a week to week basis.  This week I brought in persian cucumbers, carrots, and hummus for dipping.  Nice and simple, notice how that is a theme of mine?


10/3/12

My helper - Vegan MoFo 2012


This is my main kitchen helper.  She loves to measure, mix, and taste test all foods that come through the kitchen.  She also loves to make suggestions for future dishes.  In this photo, she is asking if we can make strawberry lemon cookies, a strawberry lemonade cookie if you will.  An idea to be tried out in the near future.  Last night we did an old favorite from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar , we like to make the banana oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips.  Delicious and easy.  Something that we love in our house.  We made a double batch so that we could share with the teachers at preschool.  Spreading the vegan love yet again!

10/2/12

Vegan MoFo 2012 - BLTA sandwiches








Used up more CSA goodies yesterday by making Tofu bacon, lettuce, roma tomato, and avocado sandwiches.  Number one, this is my favorite tofu bacon recipe to use.  The recipe comes from The New Now and Zen Epicure: Gourmet Vegan Recipes for the Enlightened Palate by Miyoko Nishimoto Schinner.  Simple recipe: tofu, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, and liquid smoke.  No marinating, just do it all up on the spot.  Working parents on the go love that!  Once the tofu bacon is ready, slice up the tomatoes, wash the gorgeous red lettuce leaves, get the organic avocado ready, and don't forget the creamy vegenaise.  Perfect for our everlasting summer that won't go away.  Happy eating!

10/1/12

VeganMofo 2012 begins


Ideas are still rolling around in my head for what to do this month.  Not quite sure which path to take, so bear with me folks.  It might be a themed month, it might not.  

(not this weeks goodies.  this was my first week)

Yesterday I picked up our CSA box.  I'm new to the CSA box thing.  Normally I prefer going to a farmer's market and picking out what grabs me at the moment.  Lately, with work and life, I have been missing my farmer's market runs.  So I thought I would try the CSA route for awhile.  So far it has been okay.  Sometimes I get something that I won't use (corn or green beans - my husband has Crohn's Disease and those foods don't work in our house), so I share it with extended family or coworkers.  Which I like, spreading the organic, fresh love of fruits and veggies.  Feed the masses.  I love it.  

This is my third box:  beets, japanese eggplant, cilantro, plums, grapes, nectarines, oranges, pomegranate, cabbage,  anaheim chiles, kale, chard, lettuce, roma tomatoes and garlic were the beauties we took home this week. 



 The beets have already been roasted.  I will eat them for lunch today.  Normally I would eat them warm from the oven with a little margarine, salt and pepper.  Simple and perfect in every way.  The beet greens have been saved so that I can saute them with tempeh for tomorrow's dinner.  There is a recipe in Vegan Brunch that comes to mind.  You can never go wrong with breakfast for dinner!    

5/24/12

Gluten free donuts!


My 11 year old son is in Little League, meaning we have games every Saturday and once more during the week too.  I like to have fun and feed folks while we watch the games.  One family has severe nut and milk allergies and another family can't have gluten.  So I cracked open "Babycakes: Covers the Classics" and looked for an easy recipe that would be easy but also not time consuming.  Donuts won out.  I've made them before and the texture is light and cake like.  I decided to dress them up a bit and dipped a third in chocolate, another third got the powdered sugar treatment, and the last of them were cinnamon sugar.  The chocolate were popular with the kids, no surprise there, but the cinnamon sugar donuts were a big hit with the adults.

To make these donuts you need to pick up quite a few speciality items (arrowroot powder, potato starch, brown rice flour, and coconut oil).  The recipe also calls for a lot of vanilla extract, 1/4 cup!  I don't put that much in.  I do about 2-3 tablespoons.  They turn out just great. You also need a donut pan since these babies are baked not fried.  But don't worry, those pans will get used over and over after you try these out.  You'll crave 'em.  Promise.

5/23/12

What I did on my break from work this Spring....



I have been out of work for the past month.  First time in 15 years.  I will be going back to work in a few weeks, so I'm not freaking out. Maybe I should be but I'm not.  Life has been full of mommy duties and I LOVE it.  I miss staying at home with my kids, picking them up, cooking anything and everything, and going to farmer's markets.  So I've just been staying in the moment and not allowing myself to freak out.

My favorite local farmer's market to go is on Wednesday in Santa Monica,CA.  Here is some of my stash: strawberries and cherries for Henry, garlic spice almonds for Lily and Matt, tomato basil bread for me and Matt, a little bag of trail mix for me as I rush around town, purple and blue potatoes to make rosemary potatoes for Lily, tangerines, onions, tomatoes, pears, rosemary, and cilantro.  On this particular market day, the streets were filled with the smell of cilantro.  Amazing!  I think I need to make a perfume of cilantro.  Who wouldn't love that?

When I do go back to work, I'll be happy to be working again, but oh so sad to miss out on my favorite shopping day.

5/22/12

Cookie dough is the best



Every week we go to the library in Santa Monica to get movies and new books.  Lily knows that before we go to the kid's section, Mommy is allowed to stop in the "new" section to look for cookbooks.   She loves finding new cookbooks with lots of colorful pictures.  The other week we were lucky enough to find "Sticky Fingers' Sweets: 100 Super-Secret Vegan Recipes."  That night Lily and I read through the recipes and admired the pictures, we both agreed that Sweet-n-Salty cookies were THE cookies to try.
It was a winner!  Lily says they are her new favorite cookie, Henry says they tie with our usual house favorite (chocolate chip cookies from Dreena Burton's Vive Le Vegan cookbook).  And the crowd at the baseball field during my son's game would have to agree that these cookies are fantastic.  The recipe made FIVE dozen and we came home with six cookies.  Adults and kids alike came back for thirds and fourths.  So these are winners, Lily was right.

3/2/12

Happy Birthday little man!

Can't believe H has already gotten to the lovely age of eleven!  His birthday was last month and he spent it at a gaming convention.  He was a happy happy guy.  Sixteen hours, in two days, of Dungeons and Dragons!  Then a few days later he was surprised with a Motorhead concert.  Life is good.  I love you, H.

1/16/12

Happy Birthday sweetie!


IMG_0604, originally uploaded by erin32mc.

This was from November 2011, but better late than never. My little one turned 4. Hard to imagine four years has passed since she was born. Time is flying by way too fast. This kid is awesome! Just like her big brother. I'm one lucky momma.