Archive | September, 2011

Seitan Day!

14 Sep

I’m super cheap. And we eat a lot of food. We live in a place that definitely isn’t known for being a Vegan Mecca, so there’s lots of cooking going on in our house.

I’ll confess something, I’m not a huge fan of the actual cooking. The eating, I adore. The shopping, organizing, cooking, kitchen cleaning, not so much. Well, maybe that’s not fair. When things are peaceful and I get to cook at my own pace… without reminding one kid 50 times to do his homework and when I don’t have a toddler pushing his stool to the counter and screaming “help! mama! help!” and frantically signing “cook” over and over and over… and when bedtime deadlines aren’t looming… and I’ve actually managed to procure food from the grocery store, then yes, I do enjoy cooking. But weeknight, chaotic cooking is not my favorite thing in the world.

Once the food is on the table and all 4 of us are eating together, laughing and chatting and shooing away cats, that I love.

I’ve been slowly trying to adjust to batch cooking so I can make these nights less frantic. So my future chef can help without making my head explode because of his (adorable) attention to detail (read: mega ultra slowness). And so I can remind Shae to finish his homework, in a non-screamy, non-naggy tone of voice.

One thing that I’ve been doing weekly, for a few months now, is making a huge double batch of seitan. I love Joanna’s from Yellow Rose Recipes. So much so, that I wrote the doubled recipe in multicolored chalk on the inner doors of my pantry. We get lots of questions about that from visitors. I’ve tried other recipes, but this one just sticks. I’ve served it to so many non-vegans who have loved it, including tons of kids. And believe me, kids will tell you when they don’t like something.

Not only is seitan delicious, but it’s also super versatile and really inexpensive to make. I order my vital wheat gluten online to keep the price down. One double batch feeds our family for a few dinners scattered through the week, plus sandwiches for Shae and my husband Matt’s lunches every weekday. The huge amount of money we save makes up for how sore my hands are after all that gluten kneading.

And since I cook this ahead of time, I choose to do it at a calm part of the day, when it’s just Silas and I at home and the house is quiet. My little kitchen helper was able to “help! help! help!” as much as he wanted. And I definitely enjoyed that.

help animals, win stuff!

8 Sep


(photo from Ride to the Light’s facebook page)

Do you like winning things? Do you like helping cute animals? Then you need to check out this raffle, Katie from Don’t eat off the Sidewalk! is running on her blog. All you have to do is donate some money to an amazing cause, Ride to Light, a bike ride to benefit Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary, Out To Pasture Sanctuary and Hope Animal Sanctuary. Any amount will do! Even $5 gets you entered in Katie’s raffle. After donating, go to her blog and follow the super simple instructions. You’ll have a chance at winning awesome stuff from Herbivore Clothing, a cookbook from Celine, artwork from Amanda, a Liv Lovely cookie’s voucher donated by Carrie from Vegan Coupons, or a $20 grab bag of adorable pins & pocket mirror from teeny tiny tantrums!

This is a win, win situation. Do it!

Also, how great is Katie for doing this? The greatest. And she has really pretty hair.

hello there, little vegan fish

7 Sep

Hi! Welcome to my blog. Why, yes, I am attempting to lure you in with pictures of a cute kid. Is it working? If not, I promise cat pictures soon. And possibly a cat cuddling a dog picture, if you’re lucky. I figure this blog will be bits and pieces of my life, which mostly consists of vegan food, kids and animals. We live in a place that isn’t known for it’s vegan-friendliness, so I think I’ll also try to feature local stuff. We’ll see where it leads.

Why not just jump right in? This is Silas. He’s my youngest son, an almost 3 year old vegan wild child. He’s also an extremely picky eater. Not, like, regular picky, this is a whole ‘nother level. It’s a constant game of trickery and maneuvering to get healthy food into his cute little body. I feel him though, as I’m pretty sure he inherited this LOVELY trait from me. (sorry, mom!) Most of my childhood was spent refusing to eat nearly everything. I was awful. At one point, I remember refusing everything that didn’t involve tomatoes or potatoes. I took some cooking classes in high school that somehow convinced me to expand my tastes, but I didn’t truly give up the finickiness until I went fully vegan in 2001. Now I’m happy to try anything and as long as it isn’t too spicy hot, I usually love it. But this isn’t about me. And there isn’t a lot of reasoning with a 2 year old who just wants his damned banana, you know?

Call it a pure stroke of luck, but in the past week, he’s become really interested in cooking. He drags his stool to the counter and begs to help. The first night, this led to an actual green vegetable being consumed without the aid of blending into smoothies or baking into muffins! Earth shattering. Nearly wept with joy. So, obviously we are all jumping straight aboard the Silas Cooking Train.

The above photos are from a french toast making adventure. He was watching from a safe distance from the stove and cutting shapes out of bread, until he ran off to his little kitchen to procure his own little frying pan and cooked up a fishy. That’s how we vegans do fish, folks.

He ended up eating an entire piece of french toast after all this helping! We used our good friend Pamela’s Rainy Day French Toast recipe, but added flax meal to it and used a bit of agave nectar for dipping. Dipping is essential in the toddler world.

Super simple recipe that really brings back that french toast taste I so miss. I remember my mom dragging out her huge frying pan and making batch after batch for our family, this recipe takes me right back.