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Vegan MoFo Day 27: Halloween cracker spiders!

27 Oct

Day 27.

Cracker Spiders! We make these every year, but this year Silas made them himself! He’s so old, ya’ll.

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Vegan MoFo Day 18: Tofu Scramble for the scramble haters

18 Oct

Day 18.

What kind of vegan doesn’t like tofu scramble? My kid, that’s who. I ran across this recipe from Vegan Dad’s blog recently and it mentioned being a hit with kids who also didn’t like tofu scramble, so obvs meant for us. Super fast and super basic, but it really does remind me of scrambled eggs without the grossness. I usually prefer my scrambles loaded with veggies, but this is nice too. Also, so so fast.

Turns out Silas loves it! Says it reminds him of rice. Yeah, I don’t know either. Sometimes you just have to nod your head and to along with it.

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Vegan MoFo Day 11: fast food doesn’t have to come through a car window.

11 Oct

Day 11.

Everyone always tells me they’d eat better if they had time. Which I totally get, because yeah, me too! But the thing that I realize they are trying to do is replace drive-thru meals. I spend a ton of my time in the car so I really get it. We live far from everything, my kids have a constant stream of places they need to be, I feel like a full time chauffeur most days. But drive thrus are not something I even consider. For the busiest days, I’ll pack sandwiches and fruit to eat in the car on the way. Sometimes we throw some fruit, spinach, protein powder and soymilk in the blender and bring smoothies in the car with us. Yes, that means leaving the blender soaking in the sink until we are back home, but look at all the nutrients we are eating! So much more important. I’m sure that’s quicker than waiting in a drive thru line, right? I know the Starbucks drive thru makes me want to cry a little.

A few days a week we have to cut into Silas’ naptime for lunch and we all know that is torture. When a 4 year old still takes a 3 hour daily nap, on top of sleeping easily from 8pm- 6:30am, you attempt to move the earth in order to preserve that little block of midday silence!

This calls for real speed.

Sometimes I read blogs about this that end with homemade bread and marinated seitan and fruit shaped into kittens and rainbows. You are in the wrong place if you are looking for that type of result. That is not hectic busy food! I wish it was. That’s stepford food and I am about as far from that as possible. This is actual no-thinking, quick eat something remotely nutritious please food.

I usually give quick options, like “peanut or almond butter on your toast?” or “spinach or carrot sticks?” Because I’m a firm believer that giving kids some sort of power over their foods makes them more likely to actually eat it and more likely to make healthy choices on their own in the future.

On this day, Silas went with peanut butter on his whole wheat bread, carrot sticks with a bit of thousand island dressing to dip, applesauce squeezer and his gummy multivitamins as his “snack”. That was a little ridiculous but why would I complain?

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We play a little game at each meal to see if be can identify which food groups he’s eating, this is him cheering himself on for having while grain, protein, fruit and a veggie.

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And then the results of a 3 minute to throw on a plate meal:

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I’ll sometimes stick this type of Lazy Meal into his little lunchbox and let him munch on the road or while we wait to pick his big brother up from school. Crazy fast, easy and cheap, and no greasy trash fast food!

P.S. I’m typing this blog post on my phone, using the WordPress app, waiting in the middle school pick up line, while Silas and I sip on spinach/banana/blueberry/soymilk/pea protein smoothies. Silas is trying to suck the very last drip of his up his straw. YUM.

2012 Goal #1-Getting out of a food rut

9 Jan

This has nothing to do with the post, but look how cute they are! Shae helping Silas learn to putt putt golf for the first time. So fun!

Everything got a little crazy around here over the past few months,  but it starting to settle into a new normal now.  As 2012 is rolling in, all I can think about is trying to feel more settled.  But settled in a new, old sort of way.  That doesn’t make much sense, but it feels like it does so stick with me.   I feel like the last few years have changed me and how I am living.  I’ve gotten real lazy.   Like I’m stuck in a whole bunch of ruts and have given up trying to get out of them.

Gotta do something about all that.

The first rut, the one I’m going to talk about today is food related.  I used to really enjoy learning to cook new things!  I actually went through a spell where I truly loved cooking.  It was so fulfilling and exciting!  I was so happy to be feeding myself and my family nutritious meals, while learning about food in the process.   Somewhere since the birth of my second child, cooking has become just another chore.  Sure, I love eating.  But the cooking and cleaning up after was just annoying.  I was relying way too heavily on processed, convenience foods that were super quick and didn’t involve much of anything.  Sure, we were still eating better than the typical American diet, but not anywhere near as healthy as we used to.

Somewhere around Vegan MoFo, I became interested in actually cooking again.  Just here and there when the house was quiet and I wasn’t on a strict time schedule.  It was starting to become fun again!

Sort of.  I’ll never make peace with the clean-up portion.

Mid October, my husband lost his job and I was forced to cook more to lower our food budget.  This was the best thing for me!  I had to make time to cook.  I got back into my habit of making seitan every week, doing large batches of pancakes and muffins to freeze.  Just little things that used a little time, but saved a lot of money.  Somehow by creating these new habits, I started to really enjoy cooking again.  Looking forward to it, even.

It wasn’t long before I realized that I make the same things over and over and over again.  I have all these amazing cookbooks but I haven’t made much out of them in so, so long.  I baked a few new things over the holidays and had so much fun that I decided to challenge myself to make as many new recipes & foods as I can this year.  So far, on the morning of January 9th, I’ve tried out 6 new recipes!  I am having such a great time and so happy to be back into what is feeling like my old rhythm!

I’m trying to not overwhelm myself, so I pick out a few recipes I’ve wanted to try for ages and just wimped out on at a time.   Once those are done, I add a few more.  I’d love to hear your favorite recipes of the past few years!

First up was the Santuary Dressing from Appetite for Reduction.  I grew up on Hidden Valley Ranch and remember it fondly.  I tried lots of replacements over the years and the only thing that came close (although it’s not like it AT ALL) for me was Brianna’s Poppyseed Dressing

Yummy, but expensive.

I’ll probably never buy it again but Isa’s Sanctuary Dip is absolutely perfect!  Creamy and just totally fills that Ranch sized hole in my heart.  Let’s just say that a few days after making this the first time, I made it again.  A double batch.

Second up were Katie‘s famous Tempeh Wingz from Don’t Eat of The Sidewalk.  If you’ve been on the internet AT ALL, you know how every single person that tries these loves them.  I stayed away at first because I’m a total wimp and hate anything remotely containing hot sauce.  Matt, however, has hot sauce running through his veins practically.  You would not believe the amount of space in my pantry that is decided to that stuff.  But that’s another post for a whole ‘nother day.

I decided to finally make these for him, but they smelled so good, I ate a few without sauce on them.  Holy hell!  They are amazing!  Shae and I both are ready to quit Gardein Chick’n Strips straight up.  For Shae to say that, you just don’t know what a big deal that is.  Kudo’s Katie!

Matt was super impressed too and a little betrayed that these existed so long before hitting his mouth.  Poor guy.  These are going into regular rotation for sure.

Third:  Pasta Con Broccoli from Appetite for Reduction (I’ll be using this book a lot because it’s one my most neglected).  So yummy!  Shae wasn’t the hugest fan, but I’ll use less red pepper flakes next time and replace the wine and I think that will win him over.

Fourth: Quinoa Salad from Appetite for Reduction.  Shae actually looked though my cookbooks with me and begged me to make this.  Anyone else know of a almost 13 year old boy that begs for Quinoa?  I’ve actually never made it before, but we’ve had it out plenty of times and all really love it.  I think I’ve avoided it because it’s friggin $6 a box here!  That makes 4 cups.  I want bulk bins and I want them now, dammit.  Anyway, we love it!  I think we love everything actually.

Fifth & Sixth: Shittake Risotto from Yellow Rose Greatest Hits & Maple Carrots from Appetite for Reduction.  You all know that you NEED TO OWN every single book Isa is involved with right?  Well same goes for Joanna Vaught.  Just buy it and you’ll thank me.  I have her first book and zines, but bought this one too.  I’m not sure if the Risotto is in one of her others and I just overlooked it or what?  But it jumped out to us now.  Actually when Matt heard I was going to attempt it, he said “I love Joanna.  Is that okay?”.  Of course it’s okay.  I’d be concerned if he didn’t.  Risotto sounds scary, right?  I’ve always been terrified and assumed it was just way above my skill level.  No longer, suckers!  It turned out just amazing.  We basically oohed and awwed the entire meal.  This is what I’ll be making to impress people!   I trust Joanna’s recipes and directions and just went with it and it’s actually SUPER EASY.  Basically, lots of stirring.  Which you can do while playing Words with Friends.  Bonus!   The carrots were great too, just sweet enough.  Shae devoured them and asked if we can always make them that way from now on.

I don’t mention Silas’ opinions much because Silas hates food.  I’m working on it guys, believe me.  Sensory issues are not the easiest job for a Mama.  I’ve helped him through many other little hurdles, this one will be in the past soon enough.

Today I’m going to try out Mama Pea’s Zee Bars.  We do buy the Clif Zbars.  Not because they are marketed for “kidz” as Mama Pea harps on, but because they taste good and are an easily available prepackaged treat.  Shae used to keep them in his classrooms in elementary school for unexpected birthdays and stuff instead of sitting there watching the other kids with their eggy cupcakes.  Silas loves them now.  They have gotten us through a few really long bus rides on vacation!  Matt and I prefer them to Luna or Clif bars.  Maybe we are just kidZ still?  Who knows, but Mama Pea’s recipe looks yummy so I’m excited to see how they taste!

And super excited to be excited about cooking!

Vegan MoFo: death by cookie

18 Oct

Yesterday,  I was in desperate need of the kind of joy that only an amazing baked good can bring.  You know, THAT kind of day.

I know your MoFo feeds are already overflowing with pumpkin what nots, but I’m going to add to that.   You can never, ever have too much pumpkin!

My favorite baked good of all time are Pumpkin Muffins and we had those recently, so I moved on to my favorite cookies.  Also pumpkin, of course.  The Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies from Vegan with a Vengeance are delightful little bites of happiness.   Soft and chewy and just… the best.  I haven’t had them in awhile after eating 50 billion of them last winter, but it’s time to let myself loose near these babies again.

As soon as they got out of the oven and were just barely cooled, I immediately ate three.

Yep, just as delicious as I remembered.  Best cookie ever.  So happy!  Missed these so much!  yay!!!

Then my throat got all burny and scratchy and my lips started to tingle.  My voice got all hoarse.  My throat was really hurting and felt so weird.  Not great.

Hmmm.  This was just like last week when I was making mini pumpkin muffins in miniature ice cream cones for Silas’ birthday and I had a stupid reaction after touching my eye with the molasses.  My eyelid was huge and swollen shut and I felt like death until the antihistamine kicked in.  Then I felt woozy and like my head was about to fly away on it’s own, all while cooking and throwing a birthday party.  Funsies.

Wait!

Molasses.

Dammit.  Also in these cookies.

Uh. huh.  So I don’t know if this is an allergy developing or an intolerance or what, I just know I don’t want to deal with it again because it sucked.

And now there are 4 dozen of my favorite cookies just sitting there taunting me.   The kids are eating them and gushing about how much they love them and I’m debating whether it’s worth the antihistamine coma to eat just a few more.

It probably is.  It’s a super rainy day and I’d kind of a like a nap anyway.

They’re really amazing cookies.

p.s.

Shae’s soccer team won their leauge championships this weekend!  Yay, Shae!

Free Pin Friday winner!

17 Oct

Congrats, Noelle!  Silas drew your name out of the crazy green pumpkin, so you win these 2 teeny tiny tantrums pins!

Congrats!

That cereal bar he’s nomming on is made by Barbara’s Bakery and he’s obsessed with them!   I love healthy things that are readily available at our local grocery store, Publix.

The Teal Nail Project

16 Oct

Today is National Feral Cat Day!  As a way to raise awareness, The lovely folks at The Teal Cat Project have taken time out from upcycling kitty tchotchke’s to raise money for cat rescue programs and  started the The Teal Nail Project.  Using our pretty teal nails to get people talking and thinking about the millions of kitties that need our help!

So naturally, I thought my kitties would be grateful to participate and help their fellow felines.  Right?

Karma was somewhat cooperative.  I was denied the right to pet her, but she was happy to stare at the camera.

Zoila is not used to my nails being painted and decided they were 10 little teal enemies attacking her.  She was not about to let that happen.

And Indiana wanted nothing to do with me or my teal fingernails.  He was much too busy cuddling his bff.

They may not be appreciative, but they sure are cute.

Now, I’ll be wearing my Teal Cat Project tshirt and  getting ready to talk my head off to anyone who glances at me about how important supporting TNR programs are!

(If you’re interested in my nail polish, it’s Sinful Colors Mint Apple.  Vegan, not tested on animals, cheap and readily available at Target!)