Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday Night Pizza Party

Friday night is movie night at our house. We don't have a TV and so that means we watch DVDs on our computer. Athena loves movie night and can't wait for me to say "it's time!". Tonight Rowan was magically napping late and so she and I decided to make pizzas to get us in the mood. She helped me all along the way and rolled out the dough, spread the sauce, and "decorated" the pizzas. She even cut the olives herself which was pretty cool. I had to do some quick mommy thinking because I wanted to include her in the prep but I had to think of something that her little knife could cut through. Olives were a good choice just in case you were wondering. It was super fun and tasty. I used a Trader Joe's premade dough, muir glen pizza sauce, and then added chopped spinach, olives, artichoke hearts, carmalized onions and peppers, and Follow your heart vegan cheez. I was so happy to have artichokes on my pizza as this was the first time I found organic artichoke hearts in a jar. It was very exciting. Anyway, don't forget to sprinkle some homemade parmesan on your pizza too. And we served this with a kale salad, mmm, mmm, mmm. Oh, and sometimes I do like to make my own pizza dough and sauce, but definitely not on a Friday. I'm just lucky to make anything at the end of a long week.

Really good peanut noodles

I love this recipe because all you have to do cooking wise is boil water. My kind of meal!
Coconut Peanut Noodles:
16 ounces pasta of your choice (I used trader joe's organic brown rice penne)
3 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons organic vegan sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 can coconut milk

Cook the noodles in large pot of boiling unsalted water. When the noodles have only a minute or 2 left, you can add 1-2 cups spinach and 1/2 cup frozen peas if you want! Drain immediately and rinse with cold water. Drain the noodles really well and transfer to a wide bowl; toss with the sesame oil so they don't stick together.
In food processor, combine:
ginger, garlic, lime juice, sugar, peanut butter, coconut milk, rice vinegar, and soy sauce.
Stir in sauce with noodles. (you'll have a little extra sauce, depending on how "saucy" you are feeling)
Garnish with sesame seeds, hot sauce (you can mix hot sauce into the food processor but if you are feeding kids then leave out), green onions, and/or cilantro.

This dish tastes good cold, hot, or warm, whatever you are in the mood for.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Lasagna and raw dessert kick

I was running low on groceries Monday and wanted to used up stuff in the crisper so I settled on making lasagna. The picture is terrible but the lasagna was pretty good. It would have been great with some vegan cheez on top, but I didn't have any and didn't have time to make any either. The filling was made of tofu which I food processed with a bunch of sizzling veggies (1/2 onion, 1/2 red pepper, bunch of kale, and a big broccoli floret). It was a good way to disguise the veggies. I also added the juice of 1 lemon, some Italian seasoning and maybe about 1/4 cup nutritional yeast. I used a jar of Trader Joes pasta sauce, and sprinkled some bread crumbs and Parma on top. On my serving I added some hot sauce because I like to eat hot sauce with just about everything.
Since that first batch of raw brownies, I've made 3 more variations of brownies plus these raw coconut almond balls. The recipe for these was similar to the brownies only I used coconut instead of cacao powder.
Coconut Almond Balls
1 cup almonds
big handful of dates (about 6 medjool or 12 deglet noor)
1/4 cup or so coconut flakes
big squeeze of agave (2-3 tbsp.?)

Process until mixture is sticky and well combined. Roll into balls and freeze. These were super addictive. Every time I walked in the kitchen, I would grab one to snack on.

Seriously adorable

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Back on track

Everything is back to normal over here which has been nice. It was a busy week starting off with the delicious Moroccan chickpea patties from VlV. This was the first time I made them and they were a hit. They don't hold together super well, but I know if I refrigerated the batter longer it would have been easier. My mom was over that night and she is not vegan but really enjoyed the flavor of these.
Tuesday, I was on fire again, but the final meal was never photographed because it was so good we just couldn't put our forks down to get the camera. I used the Arora Creations "Goan Fish Curry" seasoning. Don't be put off by its name because it was just fabulous. I marinated tofu (instead of fish) in the seasoning packet with 1/2 cup lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil. Next I started to saute some onions, ginger, broccoli, and fresh chard from my garden. After a few minutes, I added the marinated tofu and sauce and cooked it until all of the sauce was absorbed. Finally I added a 1/2 can of coconut milk. I served it up with brown rice and squeezed limes on top. Chris and I both absolutely loved this perfectly spiced dish.
Orange Poppy seed muffins from VlV. I was out of applesauce so I used 2 ripe bananas instead and they turned out really tasty. Athena loved these, especially because I sprinkled a little bit of cinnamon/sugar on top.
Thursday was Pajama Day at Athena's school, and they were having a special snack of cinnamon buns and hot cocoa. I wasn't feeling up to making a big batch of cinnamon rolls, too labor intensive, so I bought some store bought dough and rolled it up with cinnamon and sugar (kind of like rugalagh). Then I drizzled powdered sugar mixed with rice milk on top. She loved these, but nothing about them is very healthy so I won't make them again unless it is for another special occasion. She packed along a Soy Dream vanilla milk box because she told me she likes it better than hot cocoa. Easy enough for me!
As I was prepping for dinner Thursday, Rowan woke up from his nap and I had only chopped the onions and ginger. So I wanted to feature this dinner that was made entirely with a baby on the hip. It was an easy dinner, mostly just stuff straight from the pantry, but it tasted great. I was really into the "Arora Creations" packets this week.
The finished dinner.
And finally, the truth about butternut squash. I just don't really like it, and no one in my family does either. But I keep trying. So I finally figured out a way for us to enjoy it. Butternut squash muffins! I used the "Best Pumpkin Muffins" recipe from VWaV as a starting point. My only changes were: 1) for the flour I used a combo of whole wheat pastty, oat, and chickpea. 2) Subbed butternut squash for pumpkin. 3) Oat milk instead of soy. These were gobbled up immediately, and all of us butternut squash haters were amazed.
Raw brownies! I was inspired by another post I saw on Veggie Girl's blog. They took about a minute to make and were fantastic. Even Athena inhaled one and she told me when I said I was going to make them, "I don't really like raw things." Seriously, these have changed my life. I can't wait to make more and try more raw variations, the possibilities are endless. My recipe for raw vegan brownies is:
1 cup raw walnuts
5-6 medjool dates, pits removed
2-3 tbs agave nectar (I just squirted a bunch in so that is a total guess!)
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
optional 1 tbs coconut butter
Puree in food processor until well combined.
Press into loaf pan.
Freeze 1 hour before serving.
And I know I said I wouldn't do it, but yes it is waffles again! I used the other half of my butternut squash to make these super yummy waffles.
Butternut squash waffles:
2 cups buckwheat flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
2 cups non dairy milk (I used 1 cup rice and 1 cup oat)
1 cup butternut squash puree
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
optional sliced bananas and/or vegan chocolate chips
Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix the wet ingredients whisking together until well combined. Add wet to dry and stir until completely mixed. Add a little water if it seems too thick. It should be thick for waffles, but I did add a bit of water. Waffle iron away! I did use this same batter to make a pancake for Athena and it worked great!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

11 month photo shoot

Athena at around 11 months. Since I didn't blog back then, it was fun to go through some old pictures. The top 4 pictures are her and the bottom 4 are Ro.
Diaper change!


Weekend Good Eats

Chris made this for lunch today after our LONG hike. Ok, so it was only 3 miles, but it is 1.5 miles up a hill so it feels longer. Plus, we were each carrying a child (or 2) for most of the hike. Athena actually did real well, and hiked 3/4 mile on the way up. We went to a local spot called Cowles Mountain. Chris and I used to hike it all the time before the kids, and then a bunch still when we just had Athena, but today was the first time the 4 of us made it to the top! It was a good feeling to be at the highest peak in the city of San Diego. We forgot the camera though, oops, but I found some pictures from back in 2005 when Athena was 14 months old!
Anyway, back to the food. Chris made these noodles with peanut-coconut sauce from The Artful Vegan. That sauce recipe is incredibly good. We had a big super omega salad too with avocado, hemp seeds, and pepitas.
Saturday night, we were feeling like indulging in one of our old favorites, falafel. This was inspired by the "falafel deluxe" we used order at this Middle Eastern restaurant in SF. It was huge and full of falafel, potatoes, eggplant, hummus, and more. These are the largest wraps you will ever see. And once, after a 10K, Chris ate 2 of them. Those of us who witnessed this could not believe he did it. It was incredible! So last night, we made a yummy version and I made my first attempt at Baba Ghanoush. It was delicious! I used the recipe in the link only instead of microwaving the eggplant, I sliced it into discs, salted it, and broiled it 5 minutes on each side. Then I removed the peel and made it as directed. I have always loved baba, but for some reason I thought it would be "difficult" to make. It really isn't at all.
After our long week, Friday night I made sweet potato waffles and baked potatoes, featuring Athena's plate. Sweet potato waffles were based on the pumpkin waffles from Vegan with a Vengeance, and they were super! Can you tell I love waffles? And yes, the waffles are animal shaped, I have a farm themed waffle iron (my mom gave it to me), and while it is kind of ironic for a vegan, I love this iron as it makes the BEST waffles. So we will continue to eat our waffle animals.
LEMONADE***The sugar free lemonade in ED&BV is super yummy. Just thought you should file that one in your brains because today was the first day I tried it. Looking forward to more of it because I love lemonade, but this kind I don't have to feel bad about drinking loads of sugar (it is sweetened with stevia).

Friday, February 15, 2008

Another from ED&BV*Tamari Roasted Chickpeas!

You must make these, everyone has said so and now I'm saying it too. These are so delicious. Even Athena asked for more and she does not like chickpeas (she loves hummus though). She ate hers with brown rice and, yes ketchup, and we enjoyed them on the salad, by the handful and with brn rice too!

Snow Day

It snowed yesterday in parts of our county that rarely see snow! It was so exciting and so a few friends and I (Luci and Alex)decided to brave the roads and head to Julian. It was totally worth all the driving and my kids were so awesome. Rowan slept both ways the entire drive (about an hour each way), and Athena napped on the way home and was a champ on the drive out. It was just a perfect day, other than the fact that by the time we got to the snow area to "sled", Athena was wiped out and not that excited. She played excitedly for a few minutes at least. Oh, and she cried when her friend P nailed her with a snowball and the snow went down her back! Rowan absolutely loved the snow and kept trying to get back over to it while I was dressing the kids in dry clothes (they were soaked because hey this is San Diego and the snow doesn't last long!)
Click on the above picture for the full set. Oh and thanks to Luci for lending Rowan that awesome hat and jacket.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

So unfair, but Rowan is 11 months

So unfair:
After nursing (literally) Rowan through 4 days of the flu I got struck. It has been pretty bad, but my fever seems to be gone. Chris has stayed home from work the past 2 days which was a big help and gave me time to rest each day. But the kids are missing mom so I really hope to be back to normal soon. Rowan still gets plenty of time snuggling since he still nurses at least ever 2 hours, but Athena hasn't gotten much time with me. She has napped with me on the couch the past 2 days which was sweet.

Rowan is 11 months old today! I can't believe my baby will be 1 next month, makes me get all misty eyed and stuff. He is doing amazing things these days. He walks more and more each day and is getting pretty good at it. I'd say he walks much more than he crawls now. He is also beginning to grow his vocabulary. Everything with 4 legs is "Dah" (dog). "Dah Dah" is (Dad). His clearest word is "Hi" which he says everytime he sees the phone and sometimes holds his hand to his ear (his sign for phone). He also mimics sounds really well. Like if we say "ahhhh" he says "ahhhh". He says "bye" inconsistently and "mama". He is just getting so smart. I'll say "Rowan do you want to go eat?" and he will walk to the table.
Rowan is an excellent climber too. He has crawled on top of many things we didn't think he could. He still adores his big sis and follows her around so much (too much for her sometimes). I just love him to death. I'm getting ready to post my birth story too now that we are nearing his birthday! I have notes to help me remember everything. So, I'll write more when everything is back to normal. Hooray for Ro!

And one more thing he does that is THE most adorable. He jumps! He doesn't get air but he stands there and "jumps" over and over when we say "jump". You have to see it!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Long Week

Rowan has suffered for 3 nights now with a high fever and is pretty awful during the day. I hope we turn the corner soon. He felt cooler this morning, but did still have a 101 fever, better than the 103-104 in the night! This flu is awful, I hope no one else in our family gets it. So it has been a hard week, but there have been good things too. Athena was lucky enough to still go to playgroup yesterday while mommy stayed home and napped with the baby and made brownies. A good friend picked her up (and another friend too) and brought her to playgroup so she could be with her friends and enjoy the 75 degree weather! She came home happy and warm and I realized it was the first time I had let Athena go with someone other than family, well her school I guess isn't family but the teacher is a family friend. So it was a big step for me and a big step for Athena because she used to cry just going to her grandparents houses. She is growing up and so mature these days.
Here is what we ate this week:
I know I've blogged this before but it was the lemon garlic sauce from ED&BV. I just love how easy this dinner is and so satisfying. Like I said before, double the sauce recipe and use half of it to fry up some seitan and broccoli and dinner is served!
Tuesday I made burritos. It was one of those nights where I messed everything up. The beans were fine, I just put in the pressure cooker so that was pretty brainless. The rice was mushy and I didn't use a recipe but it was OK. Then I made the vegan cheez whiz sauce and really messed up. Rowan was napping and I heard him start to wake up so I quickly threw in the final ingredients. The only problem was I had swapped the cumin for nutmeg. I realized my mistake but it was too late so I just added the cumin too. The cheez sauce would have been good if it weren't for that darned nutmeg incident. We still ate it, well not athena, but chris and I and now we have a container left of it in the fridge that won't get used because, well, it was too weird! Athena ate her entire burrito that night though and I am just amazed at what she will eat!
Wednesday night it was tasty tempeh chili from La Dolce Vegan. I love that recipe as you may already know and we have renamed it "pregnancy chili" since I couldn't get enough of it when I was pregnant with Rowan. I must have been craving the double dose of protein from the tempeh and beans. I always double this recipe so we will have left overs.

Thursday night Rowan was sick and I felt awful too so Chris and Athena went out for burritos.
Friday's brownies from TJOVB. I have made many failed brownie attempts in my life as a vegan but these turned out well. They taste like a lowfat brownie though, so if you are searching for something super decadent then these may not be it. Well, maybe they actually are it since I did make a few changes to the recipe. I used whole wheat pastry flour and I used 1 cup of sugar instead of 1 1/2 cups. I just couldn't bring myself to put that much sugar in when the recipe only called for 1 1/3 cups flour! I didn't even realize until afterwards that they don't have any oil, thus pretty lowfat. I like these and the texture is good. I'd make them again for sure since they actually held together.
Yesterday afternoon I had to get out of the house so took the kids on a walk to the neighborhood farmers market. It was such a beautiful day we headed up the hill afterwards to look at the horses and let Athena run at the park for a few minutes. I carried Rowan in the ergo the whole time to minimize him spreading his germs.
Last night it was ED&BV's Mellow Lentil "Sniffle" soup since all of us have the sniffles. I was hoping to win over Athena with this one, soup hater that she is, but she still does not like soup. Oh well, Chris and I enjoyed a couple bowls each and she finished her lunch for dinner. This soup is great and just what we needed last night.
After another rough night with Rowan, I wanted a normal weekend morning and so I made pancakes from, you guessed it ED&BV. They are the Rasberry Cornmeal ones although actually mine were strawberry. These are good but aren't like my standard variety. Athena loved them too and I felt good about her eating her oats and cornmeal for breakfast. Make sure you let the batter sit for at least 5 minutes as my first batch didn't really stay together while the 2nd batch was just fine and easy to flip.

So I'm almost done with my super long post but just one more thing. Here is a pic of Rowan the day he got sick. I had no idea this was going to be so bad!
Do you think it was from all that dirt I was letting him eat!:)

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The baby is sick

I have a post ready to go in my head but Rowan has been very sick since last night, seems worse than he has ever had before (even the Roseola). His fever has been 102-103 all day. He is sleepy and sad. He still smiles though, which makes me feel better. Tonight when Chris went to get some burritos for dinner, oh yeah I forgot to mention I felt awful today too, Rowan just laid in my arms and stared at me. Then we took turns honking each other noses and touching eyes, nose, mouth, and hair. I leaned my head and shook my hair to tickle his face. He loved it and started petting my hair. Within 2 minutes, he was asleep in my arms and I was taken back to his newborn days. 30 seconds later chris walked in and he jumped up, but those 30 seconds were precious. He's up again...

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Athena on guitar with vocals

Weekend update

Friday night I made some rice crispy treats, kamikaze style. I didn't measure anything or use a recipe but it was something like:

3 cups puffed rice cereal
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup carob chips
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
handful dried cranberries

I heated up the PB, carob chips, and BR syrup and then stirred in the rest. Pressed it into a baking dish, put in the fridge, and VOILA! I didn't take a picture because we ate the entire tray while driving to my sister's house! Which leads me to the next part of our weekend. Athena spent the night with my sister, so Chris and I went to the movies. The drive-in that is. We had Rowan with us and he stayed awake for the first movie, Rambo. Before you worry about what a bad parent I am for taking my baby to see Rambo I will just say that he REALLY wasn't watching at all. He was busy playing with anything and everything he could find in the car, you know, sun glasses with case, CDs, keys, radio dials, etc. He fell asleep shortly after the 2nd movie started, The Bucket List. Both movies were equally terrible in their own way. I wouldn't recommend either of them, unless of course you are within driving distance of a Drive-In Theater in which case it doesn't matter what movie you are seeing since it is more of the "experience".

Saturday morning I had the pancake itch and so I tried the highly recommend (thanks Kelli!) The Joy of Vegan Baking recipe. These pancakes were fantastic. I used all whole wheat pastry flour and almond milk. I opted to add some sliced bananas and seriously these were the best banana pancakes I can remember. I even goofed up and didn't wash my pan very well, remember that spicy Indian food from Thursday?, and they still tasted good. Heck, I may start adding cayenne to my pancakes more often!
After the kids woke up from early naps (Athena was SO tired from her wild night out!), we headed to Sipz Cafe and our local APRL thrift shop to clean out our garage a bit. It is nice to have a place to donate our used stuff too that raises money for something we are so passionate about! Someday I'll bring my camera to Sipz, but just in case you were wondering we ordered the BBQ Chicken Bowl, Spicy Chicken with Basil, Pad Thai with Tofu, and I had a Thai Iced Tea.

Today I slept in with Athena and when we got up, Chris was making scrambled tofu ala VWaV and home fries. I stepped in with, you guessed it, more pancakes. This time Chris wanted bananas, blueberries, and chocolate chips and they turned out scrumptious again! Everything was just right.

For dinner tonight we wanted to make something from EDBV, and settled on the Quinoa and Chickpea confetti casserole (mostly because I had a fennel bulb and that just doesn't happen very often). It was super easy to whip up and turned out very well. I made the Maple Balsamic sauce to drizzle on top which really made all of the difference. Just by itself it is pretty plain, nothing to special, but with the sauce it tasted great! Rowan chowed down on it which was cute. Athena had some with ketchup as usual, but at least she is eating quinoa now. Oh, and I made those chickpeas in my pressure cooker, and seriously you have to do the same. Canned beans just don't taste like the ones you make yourself, I never knew that until recently.

Finally, to satisfy our sweet craving, I made the "You got Peanut Butter in my Chocolate" cookies from EDBV. They were pretty good, not too sweet, but still tasty. I had to kind of wing it because I didn't have any sugar on hand (just a little powdered), but they still turned out fine. The batter was too dry at first so I added a splash of almond milk and I did use the barley flour, something I haven't used much before.

So that about wraps it up. I hope to have another good week!