Thursday, May 24, 2012

my day in food pictures

Tonight, my day in food pictures:

Chocolate mint melties from Eat, Drink, and be Vegan

Maple Banana Loaf (with chocolate chips) from The Everyday Vegan

Proper Healthy Granola Bars (uncut) from Let Them Eat Vegan!

Now, I must pack.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

pre-vacation baking and cooking

When we travel I like to bring a lot of our own foods.  I make things that travel well, are kid-friendly, and of course delicious.  I like to choose foods that are versatile, good for breakfast, snack, and dessert.  I also bring fruit (we go through a LOT of fruit), fill up our water bottles, tea for me, and almond milk.  I sometimes have to stop by the grocery store once while we're out of town to replenish something, but not always.

Today I did some baking.  I had hoped to get a couple more things baked up for the trip but alas, the pace of a three year old is not the same as a 40 year old.  But that's the fun of it.  When he hears that the baking is about to begin, he asks for "the big stool", makes sure his water is close by (because he gets thirsty with all the snacking) and settles in.  He's a good helper, as all of my boys are.

First we made Dreena's cocoa cookie dough balls.  Talk about versatile!  If these were not rolled in natural sugar you could include these as an extra-special treat for an extra-special-occasion breakfast.  I haven't been putting chocolate chips in mine, mostly because I keep forgetting.  I must apologize for my horrible pictures.  I think (hope) my camera is on its last leg.  Anyway, if you have Let Them Eat Vegan! then you must make these.  They are sugar free (unless you roll yours in natural sugar as I did), oil free, and full of chocolatey goodness.  If you don't have this cookbook, then you may remember when I did a book review and included the recipe in that post.  Make them please and let me know what you think.

Second on my list was granola.  Normally I prefer Dreena's hemp-anola but I was running low on hemp seeds.  Heather had a recipe for granola listed in her first round of recipes for 30 Day Vegan and thought I would try that one.  Personally I still prefer Dreena's, it has some healthier ingredients and has a nicer crunch to it but Heather's is tasty too.  I substituted millet for the whole wheat flour in Heather's recipe.

Yesterday I made cocoa goji granola.  Do you see those lovely goji berries in there?  This is a nice change from your average granola.  It has a delicious chocolatey flavor with a hint of orange from the zest.  I've been snacking on it straight out of the container, but I think it will be fantastic with almond milk.  I used pumpkin seeds instead of sunflower seeds.

I love these muffins.  They are also from Let Them Eat Vegan!  The banana and coconut flavors are delicious together and will be great for breakfast or snack.  They will travel well too.

Tomorrow my plan is to make granola bars, a batch or two of cookies, and at least one dressing.  I can't be without the curried almond dressing for long! 

30 Day Vegan's post today included another group of recipes for the coming week.  I look forward to trying some of those in the next couple of days.

My Fifths Disease symptoms continue to fade.  I was able to put my wedding rings on for a few hours today.  By the boys bathtime they were quite difficult to get off but I was happy to have them on for a short time anyway.

Now it is time for bed.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

is anybody in there?

Yes, I'm here.  Sorry for the absence.  Ive been a little under the weather.  Fifths Disease has been going around my boy's school.  Adults usually aren't susceptible, but guess who contracted it?  In children the symptoms resemble a mild cold followed by a tell-tale rash on their cheeks.  Sometimes the rash can spread to other parts of their body but not always.  In adult women the symptoms are very different.  Extreme joint pain and swelling are the main symptoms.  A rash can also occur, but not the signature rash on the cheeks.  Also extremely itchy soles of your feet and palms of your hands.  sigh, it's been a load of fun!  The good news is that I'm feeling remarkably better.

I was a bit concerned over the weekend when I was reading comments online from others who have suffered through Fifths as an adult, saying that their symptoms lasted as long as a year.  I could not imagine being limited as I was for a year.  I am so thankful to be feeling so much better.  So better I'm actually cooking again, since I had taken a long break when I was ill.


I discovered a new blog a few months ago that really spoke to me.  Beauty That Moves is a beautiful journal-type blog.  Heather and her husband homeschool their 14 year old daughter, she teaches yoga, is currently studying holistic nutrition and offers a wonderful workshop that I signed up for this spring.  30 Day Vegan began just yesterday and is not only about eating a vegan diet for 30 days but also about nurturing your whole self.  There are daily postings Monday through Friday, whole food vegan recipes, access to Heather to answer any questions that may arise, and a supportive community of people who are all in this for different reasons.  For me I was looking to add to my vegan support system and learning a thing or two more about whole foods vegan cooking. 

Day two's post talked about setting up a whole foods kitchen.  Heather says, "The kitchen is a workspace, a food studio!" and suggested we share with others how we can prepare our kitchen to work best for us, to offer encouragement for one another.  I have some work to do in my pantry, some organizing needs to be tended to and once I do that I'll share how I keep a whole foods vegan pantry.

Welcome to my kitchen:

My main workspace, I try to keep as clear as possible.  My first copy of Let Them Eat Vegan! never, ever leaves my counter.

This space works more like an office/desk instead of a cooking workspace.  The paper and some mail is usually on the counter's edge.  Do you see the wine in the background?  It's leftover from my book club which met at my house last week.  I need another party, or some visitors!

This is the bar area where the kids like to eat their breakfast and lunch.  It makes passing out meals, seconds, and clean up much easier.  The door in the background is my pantry.  Do you like my beautiful placemats?  My lovely sister, Kari, made them. 


I'm still cooking my way through Let Them Eat Vegan!  Today I made the cocoa granola with goji berries.  I'll post pictures tomorrow.  It is yummy and gets a thumbs up from everyone (including my most picky boy).  Dreena had a great post about the health benefits of goji berries that prompted me to get a few at the store and play around with them.  They are a little expensive and tad different from your average dried fruit.  But they have a nice flavor and they are versatile and went great in the granola.  You remember Dreena has her new website at right?  It's a beautiful site and she has several new recipes on their now.  Take a peek sometime.

The evening has gotten away from me and I must head to bed.   Looking forward to feeling better tomorrow, more cooking and baking, and another post from my workshop.

Sweet dreams.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

change is in the air

Change is in the air.  Spring is coming.  I can feel it. 

And summer is just right around the corner.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

happy may day

Let's just start with this picture, shall we?

I must say, in my own defense, I did ask them to not go over the culvert anymore.  Bottoms were getting some air, along with the wheels and I wasn't sure how many more times the fire truck could take that bumpy drop.  The fire truck has been with us for four years and it still has boys (and my niece) that want to ride it.  The expressions on their faces are priceless.  One is bracing for impact while the other is smiling with delight.


 The boy's school celebrated May Day today.

It was a sweet celebration.  The lower elementary students had the honor of wrapping and unwrapping the ribbons around the maypole.

There was a small traffic jam when they switched directions.  So sweet...

I got to stand behind my middle son and his class.

One upper elementary student danced ballet while the other students in her class (including my oldest son) sang Wild Mountain Thyme.

It was a cool, overcast morning and reminded me of how many years this school has been celebrating this special day.  And also reminding me of those full-circle moments I seem to be having so many of.

Happy May Day to you all!