Saturday, October 31, 2009

MoFo Day 31 - Happy Halloween

We spent the evening at my brother's house so the kids could trick or treat with their cousins. We left a couple of bowls of candy on our doorstep and hoped for the best. We came home to only one of our 8 pumpkins smashed in the street (not bad) and just a few pieces of candy left in the bowls. The kids enjoyed a few pieces of candy out of their treat bags and will leave the rest out for the "Halloween Fairy" or "Halloween Bunny" as Rowan calls it. The Halloween fairy will leave them a present in return, and also a few pieces of candy:) One of the funniest moments of the night was when Rowan was handed a bag of "hot cheetos" and he immediately exclaimed, "Mommy! Them are vegan!" which is his way of saying these days that he sure HOPES they are vegan. Wishful thinking I guess you could say. He never brought them up later though, so I guess he wasn't too excited about them.
The key to a successful vegan Halloween is stocking up on lots of vegan chocolate varieties.:)
I made this basket to pass out to the littler trick or treaters, pretzels, raisins, fruit leathers, and play dough.
Skittles and lollipops for the older kids. My kids actually tasted their first skittles today. wow, what a day:)
Before we went out for the evening, Athena made a plan for pumpkin carving. She carefully designed the faces for each of her 3 pumpkins, big, medium, and little, and drew them on a piece of paper (I think she picked this up from school).
Then Chris helped carve the kids' designs.
They thought this butterfly shape inside the pumpkin was pretty neat.
My race car driver.Pink Super Girl.
Happy kids.
The trick or treating crew, aka "the cousins".

Thursday, October 29, 2009

MoFo Day 29 - Birthday

Today is my nephew's 3rd birthday. It was fun celebrating with him and the family. I don't really have a post ready today but look at this awesome vegan cake my sister in law made for the occasion!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

MoFo Day 28 - Waffling about waffle irons

I own only one waffle iron, and a silly one at that. My mom picked it up on discount and it is a belgian style maker but in the shapes of farm animals. While I love my waffle iron, I dream of a thinner, crispier waffle. So I'm thinking of asking for a new one for Christmas this year. I feel like having 2 waffle irons in the house might be a bit over kill, but I really think it will get a lot of use since I love making waffles. I also decided I want an electric air popcorn popper. I had one long ago and I don't know why I gave it away. I need to be able to make more popcorn and my pot technique sucks now that we have an electric range. I've pretty much decided that I need to bring popcorn with me everywhere because twice in the last month I've caught 2 year old Rowan eating random, most likely, butter laden popcorn. Both times we were at the playground. One day he was leading a group of toddlers in a found food experiment. They were all shoveling their faces with popcorn they found on the ground (and i have NO idea who left it there)! ew, double gross. The next occasion he was digging into a friend's bag of popcorn and when I told him that it wasn't OK, he shoved a few more handfuls in his mouth. Athena was such an easy vegan to raise. She loves being vegan and never questioned it. Rowan on the other hand, well, he wants to eat the "yucky kind of chicken" (stupid KFC billboard by Athena's school!). My husband and I have always felt that as our kids got older, we would allow them to make their own choices about food, but we meant A LOT older. For now, we will continue to make the decisions, whether Rowan likes it or not:)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

MoFo Day 27 - Vegan Essentials

Our latest Vegan Essentials purchase arrived today. The jokerz bar has already disappeared into my belly, wow, it was good. It was my first time trying one. I consider it an early Halloween treat to myself:) The 2 canisters of vanilla chai vega will be enjoyed by the entire family. Chris will most likely use the vega sport drink (also haven't tried it yet so this is just a sample of it). Then to round out our purchase...some vegan B12 tabs.

I just baked 45 pumpkin muffins for Athena's class. I signed up to bring snack and instead of buying a couple of bags of veggie booty I had the great idea of baking muffins for the school. Now I am kind of kicking myself, but I think the kids will enjoy it:) Athena doesn't usually eat snack but she is excited to eat the snack that we are bringing! We are also bringing a bowl of strawberries and rasberries as per Athena's request.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

MoFo Day 25 - zbar

Rowan at the Halloween Cyclocross Race.
Rowan enjoying aclif kids zbar as the after race prize.

We went to 2 parties today and so I wasn't really in the kitchen much today (other than whipping out a quick batch of pumpkin chocolate chip muffins). So I thought I'd just leave you with some pictures of Rowan enjoying his bike race with his Dad. He had an amazingly fun day.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Mofo Day 24 - Pumpkin Pancakes gone wrong

Here is a pic of the new and improved pancake. They tasted better today surprisingly.

Chris has the camera with him so I can't post the pictures but I really screwed up my pancakes this morning. The first batch were just piles of mush. I had added WAY too much pumpkin. I tried to remedy the situation by adding lots more flower and it worked OK. They were definitely not my best and not pretty to look at since they were chocolate and a little burnt they looked like extra burnt pancakes. I actually have a question about pancakes...I can make them fairly well but I only have a cast iron skillet to do it on. I find that it is really hard to get the temperature just right so they don't burn, but actually cook through the center. Anyone have tips for me? My family doesn't complain, they gobble up any of my wacky creations. I wish I could share a recipe but it was seriously a very random mixture.

On an entirely different note, I spend the afternoon/evening with my 5 year old and had a very nice time. We went to the ballet (for the first time), then out to dinner, and then did a little shopping. The boys were out at a Halloween bike race and are just arriving home now. Athena has been asleep for an hour already! I'll try and post the picture of my very ugly pancakes tomorrow. Until then...:)

Friday, October 23, 2009

MoFo Day 23 - Fresh Salsa!

As I've gone through this month, I have realized that we eat so many tortillas. At least twice a week it seems we are wrapping something up in a tortilla. Tonight I made some salsa to go with our wraps du jour. The salsa was pretty spicy, so not for the little ones, but I LOVE spice so this one was for me!

Sara's Salsa
3 large tomatoes
1/2 red onion
1 red pepper
1 cup spinach
juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
(chile's of your liking, I used one really tiny red one that I don't know what it was called, and a HUGE jalapeƱo)

I blended it all up in my food processor and that was that. Cilantro would have made it even better, but I was all out:(

I am looking forward to tomorrow. I'm taking my 5 year old to the ballet for free, and then going out to dinner with her while the boys go to a Halloween cyclocross race. Then Sunday, we have 2 parties to enjoy!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

MoFo Day 22 - the best lunch (ideas)

I've been packing a lot of lunches lately and was just wondering what your favorite lunch you've ever packed was? The one I most loved this year for Athena's lunch was a couple of pumpkin pancakes with sides of applesauce and coconut milk yogurt. Who doesn't like breakfast for lunch? Here is another lunch I packed this week. Again, nothing special, but it gets the job done. The little containers held some peanut butter for dipping the pretzels. I packed Rowan a lunch today too because he and I joined Athena's class for their weekly park walk. I was so happy that she invited me to come because at the beginning of the school year she told me she didn't want me to ever come on the walks:( Now she says I can come every other week. Sounds great to me! Athena is still loving her school which makes my life so much easier.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

MoFo Day 21 - English muffin pizzas

This is another one of our quick and easy dinners that the kids LOVE. They love to make them and most of all, eat them! I use the Rudi's organic whole wheat english muffins, then bake them in the toaster/convection oven at 375 for 8-10 minutes. The kids pick what they want on them, tonight Rowan just wanted cheeze and Athena opted for seitan and olives. Of course they got a good sprinkling of nooch. They had other stuff on the side as well, like little green grapes and carrots sticks. We had to eat dinner on the run and these transported nicely.

Here is a picture of my little cutie that I couldn't resist. He really enjoyed hte pumpkin patch today!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

MoFo Day 20 - another quick dinner and the NEW LUNCHBOX

So I don't always feed my kids really healthy stuff, but I try to balance it out as best as I can. My kids LOVE veggie dogs, I think they are pretty gross but do enjoy them a couple times per year. Tonight they got to pick their dinner and so veggie dogs it was. I paired it with a heaping pile of kale chips and hoped the sprouted bread and kale balanced the meal out. They also ate some fresh apples and bananas and a brownie for dessert (this was over the course of a few hours).
Athena's new lunchbox arrived! Nothing fancy for her first lunch in it, but I'm sure she'll be happy with it. She's got a PB & J sandwich, green grapes, seaweed rice puffs, 1/2 a mini luna bar, and applesauce sprinkled with cinnamon on the side.
Here is the box closed.
And into its insulated bag. The applesauce container fits right into the pouch next to the water bottle holder. Pretty nice!

Monday, October 19, 2009

MoFo Day 19 - Noodles again

Sometimes being a mother of 2 young children with busy extracurricular activities means I don't make the elaborate meals I intend to. Some nights I just open my fridge and try to pick a vegetable I know they'll eat, a protein, and a carb. Tonight it was peanut noodles with chickpeas and spinach. And they gobbled it up. It is a cinch to whip up something like this quickly because I don't have to look at a recipe or anything. I just KNOW what I need. To finish off the meal I gave them each a bowl with fresh organic oranges, raisins, raw cashews and coconut flakes. There, I'm done, and on to the next part of our evening...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

MoFo Day 18 - Chai spiced pumpkin scones

I took a box of simply organic chai spiced scones, added 3/4 cup pumpkin, the ground flax the recipe calls for, and added rice milk until the batter got the right consistency. Then added a few chocolate chips for my 2 little chocolate loving monkeys and sprinkled them with sugar. I know some of you might be thinking that all I do is bake out of a box, but honestly I bake quite a bit and from scratch! I just can't pass up sales on some of these baking mixes, especially when sometimes it would end up costing more to buy the ingredients individually. I also just like to compare them to my homemade to see if they taste any different. Growing up I remember only baking things out of a box, so I am proud that I have come a long way in baking from scratch. The scones turned out pretty well. Athena gobbled 2 up while Rowan snubbed them entirely. I'm guessing it was the strong chai spices that turned him off, or it may have been the consistency. This is a gluten free mix so the doughyness is a little different than he may be used to. I'm pretty sure it was the spices though. It was nice to be able to whip up something special in only 5 minutes this morning since I wasn't feeling 100%. I'm fighting off a little cold so I've been taking it easy. I hope I feel better tomorrow!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Mofo day 17

We are heading to a vegan potluck soon. I made some brownies and cashew cheeze dip to serve with chips.
I am also blogging from my iPhone for the first time. I'll keep it short for now and I'll maybe update after the potluck.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, October 16, 2009

MoFo Day 16 - Banana PB Chocolate pick me up shake

It was really hot today and by the afternoon I was tired and overheated and wanted a little treat. This is my favorite treat when I don't have any baked goods in the house:)

Banana Chocolate PB Shake

1 frozen banana
12 ounces almond milk (if you plan on having some to share)
1 scoop of peanut butter (or any other nut butter)
1 spoonful of chocolate sauce

Blend and enjoy.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

MoFo Day 15

Yep, I missed a day. I usually blog after the kids are in bed but last night I fell asleep with the kids on accident and just couldn't bring myself to get back up. I didn't have a fabulous post planned anyway, so no big loss, but I really wanted to succeed this month! I was just going to say that my kids LOVE the idea I borrowed from this blog for "banana sandwiches". They have snacked on it the past 2 days.

Tonight I made this soup again and these muffins again. For the kids it was just oven roasted potatoes with lots of dulse, tamari roasted chickpeas, and garlic bread. I also tried a tuscanlope today which is a lot like a cantelope. It tasted almost the same to me but the outside looked different (not much though).

That is Rowan's plate. You can see the tuscanlope:)

Here is a picture of the soup when it just started cooking in the crockpot.And here is the finished soup!

Athena has the day off tomorrow so we are planning on doing something special, her choice, for the day. I feel like it's Friday, woo hoo!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

MoFo Day 13 - Whole Foods Pizza and Fresh squeezed OJ

Athena juicing some super juicy organic oranges
Rowan waiting "patiently" for his turn
The pizza we saved for Chris (we packed a few pieces away for lunch tomorrow)

Tuesdays are tricky over here as I stupidly signed Rowan up for a soccer class during our usual dinner time. I usually pack something for the kids to eat before hand, but I wasn't up for it today. Luckily, I live just a few miles from a Whole Foods who fairly recently starting serving up Daiya vegan cheese pizzas. Their pizza are huge and I find them very delicious. The kids LOVE pizza, but I usually just get their half with olives and daiya so I don't have to spend my evening picking onions of their food. Chris and I go for the vegan veggie which usually contains olives, onions, peppers, artichokes, tomatoes, and eggplant. We also had some spinach salad to round out the dinner.

When we got home from soccer, the kids helped me make some fresh squeezed OJ. Athena has the sniffles, so this was perfect for her. Our oranges were very sweet and made perfect OJ. I can't wait to buy some more at the co-op next time.

Monday, October 12, 2009

MoFo Day 12 - Peanut Fried Rice

Tonight's dinner will win no awards in the photography contest, but mmm it was good. My kids are big fans of peanut sauce with noodles, but tonight I thought I'd put the left over brown rice to good use by making rice with the usual peanut sauce. I started out by lightly frying some seitan (premade stuff that my local food coop makes and sells) in coconut oil, then I added the rice and some toasted sesame oil. Next came the chickpeas (1 15 oz can) and about 5 cups of finely processed spinach. I then added the juice of 3 lemons, garlic, ginger, agave, tamari, peanut butter, and a little more sesame oil. I stirred it all up and let it cook awhile and that was it. Athena goes crazy over anything seitan and chickpea so she gobbled up 2 bowls of this! Rowan was cautious at first, he's usually a kid who eats with his eyes and so I don't really blame him since this meal was pretty much a brown mess of food. He eventually came around and gobbled up his serving happily. So there. We don't always eat pretty over here, but this really was good and versatile. You could put pretty much anything in it and it would have been tasty.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Vegan MoFo Day 11 - Pumpkin pancakes and more

Pumpkin pancakes (my favorite!)
Chris' quinoa salad

I woke up today feeling good and busted out some pumpkin pancakes for the family before my morning soccer game. My favorite pancake recipe is the one in The Joy of Vegan Baking. For this version I just add pumpkin puree (just less than 1/2 a cup) and then add spices (cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg). These are just so good, I'm even packing some leftovers for Athena's lunch tomorrow because they make her so happy:) I always sub in whole wheat flour and still have good results. (I have made them with all purpose flour and they just taste lighter and more "treat" like)

For lunch, Chris fixed up some quinoa. My husband is a quinoa lover, he makes it every week which is why you've been seeing so much of it on this blog! This quinoa salad was filled with so many yummy things.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Vegan MoFo Day 10 - Muffins, soup, and salad

Dinner salad with balsamic dressing and lots of hemp seeds
Autumn minestrone soup

We had a busy Saturday, which is pretty normal around here. I made pumpkin chocolate chip muffins for breakfast, and packed up the soccer game snacks. Yep, it was our turn to bring snack. We brought apples and bananas for halftime because my oranges were too hard to peel. For after the game we passed out organic rice crispy treats, organic fruit leathers, mini luna bars, and organic juice. My kids were in heaven and stuffed themselves with their little pre packaged convenience foods. I've mentioned it before, but I'll just say it again, I am also the coach of Athena's soccer team. Yep, Coach Sara. I actually enjoy it more than I expected. The kids are great and I feel like the parents think I'm doing a pretty good job. I tend to worry about what they think, but then remind myself that they didn't volunteer to do this so they can't really complain!

After soccer, Chris took Rowan on a bike ride and I decided to make the autumn minestrone soup. It turned out well, but wasn't really anything special in my opinion. I served it over whole wheat pasta and topped it with nutritional yeast. My kids are self proclaimed soup haters, but I tried to point out the things they liked in the soup so they at least were willing to try it. I think they each ate maybe 5 or 10 bites out of it but still reminded me that they did not like it at all. Chris and I went back for seconds though:)

Soon we decided we'd take the kids to the movies. This was only the second time we'd taken Athena to the theater (we took them to the drive in once as well) and the first time we took Rowan. Athena seems to be mature enough to enjoy a G rated movie now and she had a great time. The movie was the 3D Toy Story and neither of my kids wore their 3D glasses. Athena said she, "did not want to see things that close to her face". Rowan got pretty freaked out a few times in the movie. It was just too loud and too action packed at times and he got scared. When I tried to take him out of the theater though he wanted to go back in. So he didn't completely lose it, but I still don't plan on taking him back to a movie again until he is at least 4, it just seems like way too much stimulation for a child his age. I don't know what I was thinking.

After that we came home and made a quick dinner. We whipped up some "beanaditas" (tortillas with beans, vegan cheese, avocado, and optional salsa). We also made a huge salad with a tasty balsamic vinaigrette dressing. I put olive oil, flax oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, garlic, and agave in the blender and then drowned our salad in it. I also made a quick batch of chocolate coconut ice cream. This required only 4 ingredients: coconut milk, cocoa powder, agave, and vanilla. It ends up tasting just like the store bought chocolate coco milk ice cream, only it is a little more affordable.

So, that was the wrap up of our day. The kids were exhausted and fell asleep early which is always nice on a Saturday. Tomorrow I'm off to my game in the morning and then I'm having my cousin cut my hair! I'm so tired of my hair right now and ready for something new.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Vegan MoFo Day 9 - nothing to say

I wasn't sure what I was going to post about tonight. Our dinner was nothing special, Amy's burgers with lots of fixin's, kale chips, and oven fries (again). I almost had a complete disaster with the fries because for some reason my oven heated to 500 when I turned it up to 400. It was insane! Luckily I happened to check on it to flip the fries and noticed the inside thermometer was in the red. That is one thing I miss from our old house. I hate the stove/oven here. It is old and unreliable, I loved the one from our old house that we bought new. At least I got my dream refrigerator when we moved here so I won't complain too much.

I bought 3 cans of pumpkin today so expect to see some baked goods coming soon. I have a pumpkin sitting her waiting to be baked, but it hasn't happened so I caved and bought the cans. I also bought 5 cans of garbanzo beans because they were only 59 cents each for organic beans. I've noticed now that fall is here, I've been stocking up on everything. I think it is kind of strange as it seems to be done completely unconciously. During the summer, our cupboards were bare and we were eating out quite a bit. Now we've only eaten out once in the last 2 weeks and I can't close the cupboard doors. Fridge is stuffed too. I'm looking forward to making this soup recipe this week, veganizing it of course. So, that is about all for now. This weekend is full of soccer games as usual. Athena plays on Saturdays and I play on Sundays. Should be fun!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

MoFo Day 8 - Cashew Cheese

There are a lot of cashew cheese recipes floating around, and I pretty much love them all. Tonight I made the recipe included in Erik Marcus' latest book and I have to say, it pretty much rocks. I didn't have pimentos on hand (never do, never will) so I usually substitute roasted red peppers. I was out of those tonight as well so used raw red pepper and it tasted the same to me. Tonight I spread a layer of the cashew cheese on a whole wheat tortilla, then topped it off with some of my pretty quinoa from yesterday. I rolled those up and baked them for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees, and voila, dinner was served. With a yummy organic salsa to top them off, these really hit the spot. By the way, I almost always warm my tortillas this way. I love baked burritos because I still get a crispy tortilla, reminiscent of the fried ones from my childhood, but without all the extra fat. If you haven't tried it, you should, and see what you think. I was supposed to make a salad to go along with these but everyone was getting hungry and just wanted to eat! I always have good intentions at dinner time, but then get pressed for time and kind of wing it. Oh well, there were veggies in the burritos so it wasn't so bad.
Sorry to tease you, and not include a recipe, but I don't have permission to share it so I just can't.

And here's something I'm totally excited about. I just ordered one of these new stainless steel lunch boxes! I saw one of Athena's classmates with one and thought it looked very nice. A friend of mine decided to put together a group order so we could all split the shipping and they should be arriving early next week. Hooray!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

MoFo Day 7 - Quinoa

Quinoa nachos
Pretty quinoa mixture (spinach, red pepper, and black beans)

We've been eating a lot of quinoa lately, and when I say "we", I mostly mean Chris and I. Athena won't touch it, and Rowan only eats it a bit. We don't have a 'go to' quinoa recipe, so we tend to just throw random stuff with it and then throw that in a tortilla, or serve it with chips. One night we thought it tasted like Indian nachos because the quinoa was curry spiced. I love how versatile quinoa is and enjoy it sweet and savory. Last night I just used up some old stuff from the fridge and it made such a pretty quinoa mixture. I added a few spices and served it with fresh salsa. So, does anyone have a favorite quinoa recipe? I love the terriyaki quinoa from one of Dreena Burton's books, but my husband doesn't do terriyaki:( And, any ideas on getting my picky little Athena to eat it? I'll probably have to make quinoa muffins or pancakes to get that dream to come true!