Saturday, September 30, 2006

a few dinners + a trip to the glacier

It has been one long busy week especially with daddy gone.This was our dinner the night before Daddy got home. Fast food. A veggie burger. Really, it was that or drive 25 miles to our favorite pizza place and this was just way more economical. (Although, they do make a mean cheese-less pizza!) Eli loved the "burger", raved about it! Emma tells me she prefers the bocca burgers from Costco. One of the few items she can eat there when they have their sample tables set up.Ohh baby! Let me tell ya about this one! Eggplants must be a tricky item to ship here. They are over priced and often to soft, dented, or bruised w/ moldy tops. Ewww, hardly ever worth buying. But, on that rare occasion that they are fresh looking and even on sale.. Yea! this was the case. The asparagus was on sale too. And we all LOVE asparagus! Any way.. this is Baked breaded eggplant from the Venturesome Vegetarian (it's a beautiful vegan cookbook). It is very reminiscent of eggplant parmesan w/o the cheese and well, baked not fried. The eggplant is dredged in pureed silken tofu and then bread crumbs and baked. I topped it w/ some spaghetti sauce I had in the freezer. This was Daddy's welcome home dinner! I didn't take a picture but, the next day for lunch we had the baked eggplant in a pita w/ sauteed onions, green pepper some sauce and a slice of veganrella, a truly PERFECT combo!
This dinner was also awesome. But, it took me all day to prepare. I again made Bryanna's "chicken" curry filling as I did here. This time I used it to make "egg rolls". For the adults I also added shredded cabbage and carrots. The kids I added some mashed sweet potatoes. The won tons here are filled w/ mashed sweet potatoes, then baked. I was going to try and bake the egg rolls too, but really after putting so many hours into the prep I really wanted them done right. Honey was happy to hear that!
Quinoa and Black Beans (a repeat ). To this recipe I add a can of fire roasted tomatoes and a can of green chili's. I also serve it over a bed of shredded romaine lettuce. Delicious, kid friendly and a one pot full of protein wonder! On Friday I volunteered to go on a preschool field trip to the glacier. Good times. A global warming side note..I grew up here and have watched this glacier shrinking myself. I moved away for about fifteen years and was quite stunned when I came back and saw it again. I should dig up and scan some of my old photos from 25 years ago when the glacier use to come to about where the waterfall is in the above photo. There was a trail along the right side of the lake and I remember we would be walking right next to the glacier and could reach out and touch it.

I just googled Mendenhall glacier and found this pic (want to see it high resolution?) on a noaa site from 1981. Crazy huh? that rock point in front of the glacier is where the we took the above photos from.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

color us green..

Our very green dinner. Green noodles from The Vegetarian Family Cookbook by Nava Atlas. A very kid friendly recipe. Basically it is green peas, steamed broccoli, a bit of silken tofu and soy milk pureed. I used to make this a lot when the kids were toddlers. I haven't made in quite a while though. It seemed a bit bland for me, but that is probably why the kids like it. Note to self.. next time it would be awesome smothered w/ some sauteed garlic, onions and mushrooms.

The Best Pumpkin Muffins from Vegan w/a Vengeance .. and if you don't have the book (who doesn't?) the recipe is on the post punk kitchen here.
And they truly are the best! Emma and I made them this morning. Yet another classmate will be celebrating a birthday this week.Which means they will be bringing cupcakes to school. So we have to be prepared.
She was cute while making them she saw how much sugar was going in and said " these are kinda not good for you, huh mom? well, at least they have pumpkin in them and at least that's a fruit or something"

Sunday, September 24, 2006

simple meals..

Thanks you all for all of your well wishes! I am so much better now!
Okay so I would have really loved to call in sick and stay in bed all day, but lunches need to be made, kids need rides and well, there are those pesky dinners as well.. What does a Mom w/ a miserable cold cook for dinner?? Well, the first day when my cold was at its worst I made the "mums bean and cheese " casserole from How it all Vegan. My brain was foggy though and my bean to potato ratio was a bit off. I tried the Veganrella Cheddar cheese for the first time (in the casserole). Emma and I both thought it was ehh.. alright but, we both prefer the Veganrella mozzarella way better. I threw on the left over carrot oat patties for good measure.

Miso soup w/ bean thread noodles, mushrooms carrots and the ever important green onions..

Okay this is another very simple dish that we all love! And I do make it often. Split pea soup w/ sweet potato and Mexican seasonings. It's from the complete vegan cookbook . I do usually make bread or biscuits or something but, that night I just didn't have in me so we had toast.

By this dinner I am feeling WAY better, but Daddy left for a work trip to the big city of Anchorage. So I didn't feel the need for a big dinner production. Again w/ the baked tofu nuggets. Come on people they are just to easy and good! The rest is a hodge podge of sorts of butternut squash "crunchy" broccoli and more toast.

The kids had worked really hard on making our Sammy a bed of sorts by very methodically spreading out the newspaper all over the living room. They were a bit disappointed that he didn't like his new bed until they made it way more comfy by adding his favorite blanket. Sammy loved it after that.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

weekend fun

Last weekends fun..Friday at the beach.. On Saturday we went to a new park .. We really had fun it was way more my kids size then other playgrounds..

On Sunday we were invited to go to a birthday party for one of Emma's little classmates. It seemed like we spent all day preparing.. Eli and Emma made wrapping paper and birthday cards. I made Dreena's Chocolate P-nut Butter Squares from Viva Le Vegan, for Emma who can't have the cake and had two more birthdays coming up this week at pre-school. Awesome stuff! three layers of goodness! The oat base, the peanut butter center and last the chocolate topping.. I messed up the oat base though. I accidentally used reg. oatmeal instead of quick cooking and this just did not work. The base was hard and crumbly.. waa.. But, Emma loves it none the less. Because I thought I blew it I also made the Moosewood Restaurant cooks at home 6 min chocolate cake. I experimented using stevia again, the recipe calls for a whole flippen cup of sugar so I used 1/2 cup sugar and replaced the other 1/2 cup sugar w/ 1/2 tsp stevia. Daddy loves it! Well, the party was at five and I assumed there would be some sort of dinner or snacks so, before we went I made the kids and I some more "hot dog" soup. None of my food pictures turned out, so here is a picture of Emma's wrapping paper.Monday nights dinner...
Zucchini delight from How it All Vegan and Carrot Oat patties from Bryanna's 20 Min. to Dinner.
Well, my only complaint is that because I grated the zucchini in the food processor it made the casserole a bit too soupy (I was trying to disguise the zucchini, so the kids would eat it). The original recipe calls for lentils but, I didn't have a can and I was being lazy so I replaced it w/ some chick peas that I cooked last week. It worked. The patties were tasty I will definitely make those again!

edit: Okay so I am really hoping that my post make some sort of sense I have come down with a hell of a cold and I hope to join the land of the living really soon! Until then it will freezer food and what not around here. I'll be on the couch if ya need me..

Sunday, September 17, 2006


From the comment box on my last post...
Let me first say I love to read the comments that you all post! it just tickles me to no end!
thanks for stopping by my little ol blog..

I thought I would share these with you ..
Well, mostly Crystal, who I get the feeling is hearing her biological clock ticking a bit louder these days. Over at Motherhood uncensored she started this challenge of sorts using flikr where you can make your own motivational poster.. these are some posters that her readers came up with (Crystal had asked for kids throwing fits): earplugs, birth control, Parenting, and my favorite - climb every mountain- okay that one is just too cute!

Crystal also asked if I like living in Alaska. Well, I have traveled a bit in the "states"; up and down the west coast many times, California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, Idaho. A bit on the east coast; Maryland, D.C., West Virgina, Virgina. And I have been to Hawaii, driven through Canada, been to Thailand and Hong Kong. I have also been fortunate enough to have traveled to many very remote parts all over Alaska. And, I couldn't imagine living any where else. Where I live now is a pretty small town of 30 thousand people (third largest city in Alaska). It is unbelievably beautiful. We live in a rain forest near the ocean surrounded by mountains, glaciers and wildlife. The downside is we live in a rain forest and it is often rainy or overcast here. Another down side is what the locals call "island-itis" - the only way out of here is by ferry boat or plane, and both are pretty spendy.

Leslie asked about the mix diet family.. yes, we all still eat sea food occasionally.. And Daddy-o and kids will order some meat now and then when we eat out. Which is becoming very rare these days. I prepare (I am guessing) 99% vegan food-breakfast, lunch and dinner.. the 1% would be vegetarian because the boys still eat real cheese, yogurt and eggs now and then. Our transition to being vegan is still a work in progress but, coming along quite nicely..don'cha think?

ya, uh thanks Gaia for pointing out my spelling errors.. ewww!

Now on to the food...

Let me just say this was the best stroganoff I ever made! I made the seitan using my old recipe: a combo of Vegan w/ a Vengeance and some "chicken" spice. A funny side note, as I was making the seitan little Emma started eating it out of the pot when it was cooling .. straight up and she loved it! A far cry from a few months ago when I couldn't get anybody to eat the stuff. Anyhoo I also used the Seitan-Portobello Stroganoff recipe from the same book on pg 163. If you don't have the book, both of the recipes can be found on the post punk kitchen. Anyway, of course I had to make some kid friendly changes, like pureeing the onions and mushrooms. I also just used large white mushrooms (much cheaper, and its what I had on hand). I didn't use the red wine, I react w/ a migraine to the smallest amounts. The recipe called for 1 cup of burgundy so I substituted 1/2 cup red wine vinegar and 1/2 cup veggie broth. I can only imagine that the original recipe would very much be a restaurant quality meal!

I was intrigued to try this Cheeze Rice and Broccoli Casserole from the un-cheese cookbook after seeing it on Vegandiva's blog. Well, as Eli is constantly reminding us- he DOES NOT LIKE his broccoli mixed w/ anything! So, both kids had to be a bit coaxed to finish their dinner. I thought it was pretty good and VERY easy to make! I also made more "chicken" nuggets (w/ the seitan I made the other day). This time I used a recipe on the back of the bisquick box. It worked! The seitan is coated w/ bisquick and some seasonings then, I baked it (not fried) w/ a tbls of earthbalance melted in a bottom of the baking pan.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Lifes a Beach

Corn bread muffin
So as my previous post mention that black bean soup recipe makes a lot! so we had left overs. Along w/ leftovers I made our favorite corn bread muffins from How it all Vegan Pg.130. So simple and not to sweet. I do use whole wheat pastry flour instead of all purpose and they always turn out great! Behind the muffin is what I add to my bowl of soup.. YUMMY! The black bean soup is a bit bland for me, but I think that is why the kids like it so much. So, I like to kick it up w/ the chipotle hot sauce!

Blue Banana Muffins

Also from How it all Vegan.. some blue banana muffins Pg.131.. I thought they had a great texture to them but, I cut the sugar down from 1/2 cup to 1/4 cup and well, they where a bit bland... and the recipe doesn't call for salt but, it really needed a touch. Oh by the way this extra buttery muffin was one of the kids.. Kids need some bit of fat in their diets, especially when they aren't eating meat. Barbecue grilled tempeh
Ohh last nights dinner was delicious!! Barbecue Tempeh! Hubby grilled him and the kids some Rock Fish (yes, we are still a mix diet family..) I had this tempeh in the fridge and this is my favorite way to eat it. I use a home made barbecue sauce recipe from the Vegan Word Fusion Cuisine. Oh I can not begin to tell you how good this is! Hugs
For the first time in forever we have had some sun!! which means we can go to the beach!! yea! after school yesterday we headed out and it was fabulous! It was a bit windy and a bet chilly as fall is really in the air here..but,still fun was had by all.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

black bean soup and french toast..not together though.. silly

Yesterday I pressure cooked some black beans. Well, long story short I forgot them in the pot after releasing the pressure and well, they got over cooked. So what do you do w/ over cooked black beans you make this kid friendly and favorite Vegan Black Bean Soup! Be warned this recipe makes heck of a lot! Which is good.. means left overs tonight! yea! I like to add to mine some chipotle hot sauce, extra cilantro and a a dab of vegan sour cream ! I bet a sweet potato would be an awesome addition as well. We have tried many different black bean soups, this one is the kids fave.
Okay.. soo Monday night we had to go to Eli's kindergarten open house. Part of the festivities was a pot luck.. And well, I was not prepared w/ our own little meal soo I kinda bribed the kids to come home early and we would have "french toast" and "sausage". The kids always seem to be tickled by having a breakfast for dinner. I veganized this recipe before we were trying to go vegan, out of necessity because Emma had been diagnosed to be allergic to dairy.. I had found two different recipes that I combined w/ fabulous results..

Julees french toast
3/4 cup blanched then skinned almonds
1/4 cup soy creamer
3/4 cup soy milk
3 tsp. maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 banana
I put in all in a blender and blend until smooth.. dip bread in mixture and I am betting you know the rest.. fry until golden brown.

We topped ours w/ earth balance and Vive le vegans blueberry maple syrup.. (thank you very much for the idea Vicki)

Monday, September 11, 2006

food funk

Not a lot of blog worthy cooking happening here this weekend. I seemed to have lost my cooking mojo. It's just with the kids and school I haven't quite got a system or routine yet and has left me feeling really scattered.. which leads me to Fridays dinner.. When I got up on Friday, I just hit the ground running By the time the kids and I got home and settled, and I sat for the first time all day at about 4:30 I just wasn't ready to cook a big meal.. or well, really cook at all. Enter hubby.. He came home from work and slapped together some black bean taco's everybodys fav. It was sooo nice to have a bit of a break. Three cheers for honey!
Saturday night dinner yet another wrap.. I made some more baked "chicken" nuggets only more like strips w/ some "ranch" dressing and baked sweet potato fries..

Last night we had a family date- a movie and dinner down town.
edit: honey was a bit offended by my choice of words.. food funk .. ect..ect.. his tacos were fabulous and the wrap was great.. for the record..

Friday, September 08, 2006

One big success + well, one not so big.....Okay soo MY KIDS ATE TOFU!! not creamed, not hidden but, in plain sight! those little cubed things are baked "chicken nuggets" and they were a BIG hit! (insert happy mom dance here... ohhh you know the one! the one w/ the silly arm movements--too the tune of its your birthday ahh huh...). Straight from the Vegetarian Family Cookbook pg 144 . Okay so, I didn't tell them it was tofu.. When they asked what's for dinner, I told them that I was making "chicken nuggets", but I was using a different recipe than I did before (frying seitan). They bought it. They both are pretty cute using the exaggerated quote hand movements when mom makes "chicken"..ha ha.. along side our "chicken nuggets" is some baked mac & "cheese" - yummo!

"cheese" sauce
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup nutitional yeast
1 tsp salt & garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 cups water
1 tsp prepared mustard
2 tbs. earth balance
Combine dry ingredients and water and heat until bubbling and thick. remove from heat add mustard and earth balance.
This makes a lot.. i probably used half for 4 servings of noodles.
For the baked mac I added some home made bread crumbs from some left over home made bread in the freezer. Just toasted it and put in in the food processor w/ a bit of olive oil and simply organics all purpose seasoning. I baked it along w/ the "chicken nuggets". This will definintly become a regular item! ha!

Okay, now for my not so good dish.. again I will spare you the photo and give ya a cute one of Eli eating it.. Okay, so all of the ingredients look good but, for some reason it was just no one's favorite and I can't say we will be trying it again.. anyhoo.. It came from the Vegetarian family favorites Pg. 186, The black beans w/ potatoes and tortillas. I guess ya win some, and you lose some occasionally.. huh?

sooo. I must ask - do ya all really go back to read the comments when you ask questions? I've noticed some of you comment on a lot of blogs.. How do you ever keep track?

Vicky asked about which Bryanna cookbook I would recommend..
I have three: The Twenty Minutes to Dinner, Nonna's Italian Kitchen, and Authentic Chinese Cuisine. I haven't tried Nonna's but, I must say, the Authentic Chinese Cuisine has me captivated, as it has new ways to make "meat" substitutes... stuff you will not find in any other cookbook. And the recipe we tried was fabulous!!! I really can't wait to try more. The 20 min. to Dinner cookbook is good, but there are a lot of recipes more for adult taste than my little ones are ready for. But, Emma would say the "hot dog soup" was worth the price of the book alone! But, really there is SOOOO much to learn from every one of her cookbooks.. She is amazing! All of her books include a heck of a lot of tips, tricks and substitutions! They truly are the most informative Vegan cook books!

There were lot's-o-comments on the Vegan family Favorites.. I don't think I would rush out and buy it (sorry Melody .. I haven't tried your recipes in the book.... yet) There are a lot of obvious recipes in it and that's what made me think I should send it back initially. But, I didn't, and please don't get me wrong as I have only tried one of it's many recipes.. soooo... stay tuned for more! I think it would be ideal for beginners or those transitioning to the veggie world...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A new Emma favorite!!

Sweet potato curry from Vegan Family Favorites. This is a cookbook I have not used before, and quite frankly I almost sent back. Little miss Emma is out of her mind for this dinner! This morning at breakfast she reminded me to buy more coconut milk and sweet potatoes, because , evidently she wants again REAL SOON! It really is a mild peanut nutty kind of yellow curry, simple,quick & not to spicy. We where out of brown rice so I paired it w/ healthy organic, whole wheat w/ flax seed noodle! For Eli again w/ the plain cauliflower (it's been on sale lately, here in our neck of the woods). We had enough for left overs at lunch today and Emma asked her Daddy which is better "hot dog" soup or these noodles? Daddy of course answered the noodles.. Emma voted for the "hot dog" soup....hummmm????

Monday, September 04, 2006

weekend cooking + I switched to beta..

SO.. Saturday night pizza-making fun! actually since trying out my other Bryann Clark Grogans cookbooks and LOVING the results I busted out 20 min to dinner again.. I had all the ingredients to make her Greek-style spinach pizza. Pretty darn tasty! Me and Hubby both agree the only thing it was missing was garlic! the filling consist of tofu, miso, nutritional flakes and spinach seasoned w/ a touch dill. This topping would make an awesome filling for a stuffed-noodle bake topped w/ a marinara sauce(hubby's suggestion). I made a whole wheat crust, I double the recipe and in retrospect I didn't really have to. One crust would have been plenty. The spinach pizza would have been a hard sell for the kids though. So, they made their own..poor things we were out of their favorite toppings so their plain pizza consisted of crumbed bocca burger and cheese- veganrella for Emma and reg. mozzarella for Eli. On the side we had a big garden salad. I have been blessed w/ children who love salads! yea!

So yesterday little Eli had some sort of flu that really knocked the wind out of he sails and he pretty much slept all day. Leaving Emma with no one to fight with.. ahhh.. These two kids have this innate urge they can't seem to control .. when one is sleeping the other is compelled to wake them up..urrggg. soo I tried to distract Emma in order to let Eli rest we made Muffins that taste like doughnuts from Vegan Vittles. And well, no one complains about fresh made muffins. I can't say that they taste like doughnuts(maybe a little bit), but they were okay. And not only was Emma distracted she also has a muffin to take to school next week, one of her little preschool classmates is having a birthday and that always involves eggs + butter of some sort (cake, cupcake or cookie). For dinner last night we let Emma pick. Over mac -n- "cheese" she chose Cheezy corn and frank chowder again from 20 min. to dinner.. and well, I will spare you the photo.. But, really it was tasty! as freaky as it sounds. The soup was really chalk full of goodness: tofu, miso, nutritional yeast flakes, potato's, onion, celery, corn and well hot dogs. Emma LOVES the veggie dog! cold, cooked, plain or as a sandwich. And now evidently in soup. Eli bounced out of bed today and is feeling much better. He tried a bite of soup and actually liked it.. Wow!

Saturday, September 02, 2006


I was tagged by Gaia list my top picks of things I think everybody should eat before they die

This tag started quite a discussion in our house so I thought my list would include my family's vote for their favorite food..

1. Hubby voted for my birthday sandwich from last year.. It was quite a work of art! Sandwich consist of marinated (w/ garlic and red wine vinegar) portabella mushrooms and eggplant, steamed Temphe then smothered in a home made bbq sauce, all grilled by hubby the grill master along w/ roasted red pepper, red onions, tomato and lettuce all on a fresh hoagie roll.. yum!

2. Eli voted for the chocolate pudding we splurge on now and again.. I say splurge because in our neck of the woods they are about .97 cents a cup...EEKKK!!!

3. Emma voted for Mac -n- "cheese" which consists of earth balance, nutrional yeast flakes, dash of garlic powder, onion powder and simply organic all purpose seasoning.

4. My vote is for Dreen's homesyle chocolate chip cookies! Those are sinfully delicious and I do believe everyone should experience them themselves!

5. Me and hubby agreed vine ripen homegrown tomatoes.. Our produce where we live is basically "van ripened", not so good.... Our climate makes gardening difficult, don't get me wrong it can be done.. Amber, my older daughter was about six the first time she had a home grown tomato said " Mom.. These are sooo good, they are not like the kind we buy at the store"...

jeeeezzee who hasn't been tagged yet? and sorry if you have been previously tagged..
I will tag
Vegan eats & Treats
vegan cookbook tester

Yeah, That "Vegan" Shit


This is little Eli's contribution to the blog world! He was cute last night and grabbed the camera during all of the dinner prep commotion.. When I asked what the heck are you doing? He said "don'cha need a picture for your blog?" So below is the Mister Eli's picture of the vegetarian ground "chicken" becoming Curried "chicken" filling So.. Last night I broke out Bryanna Clark Grogens Authentic Chinese Cuisine.. Her cook books are really great! They are all chalk full of tips, tricks and substitution options for all of her recipes. Anyway, these little crispy wontons were quite an undertaking to say the least! But, the pay off was huge!!! First I had to make the "chicken" which is a brilliant combination of TVP, Tofu (shhh don't tell the kids) and gluten, mixed and steamed. Then came the "chicken" filling which really amounted to adding some curry - the recipe calls for onion, but I left it out for Eli's sake. Then came filling the vegan wonton wrappers and frying them. I know, I know, I have never fried so much in my adult life as I have in the last month??? soo much dear hubby commented about buying a fry daddy.. oh for the love of my big fat butt NOOO! I also made Bryanns sweet and sour dipping sauce which was really more for the kids - to entice them into eating the won tons. Okay, I managed to dirty every dish in the house- this no exaggeration! On the side, we had brown rice and we had some cauliflower that really, really needed steaming which makes for one very happy Eli. Plain, not mixed w/ anything, is how that boy likes his veggies.
So the kids have been taking a lot of pictures lately and magically managed to change some camera setting buttons, and.. I wish they could switch them back as easily as they changed them. On our camera, it's no easy feat. Truly I don't know how they managed it w/ all of the menus and prompting to save. But, 4 and 5 year olds have unique capabilities, don't they?

ahh... a couple cute pictures of Emma and her kitty Sammy napping while Eli was at school. We adopted Sammy a couple months ago from the shelter, he was a stray cat. He is about three years old, and man, I truly don't know how they ever survived w/o one and other. He has blended and become one of our family flawlessly.

He has trained us all very well.. This is Sammy's blanket.. And when we lay it out on our laps he will jump up and LOVE.. that's what little Emma calls it when they snuggle..

I have also been tagged by Gaia to list my top picks of things I think everybody should eat before they die .. I will do that, but, I am still thinking about it! She also made the nuggets... wow.. I was just tickled to see my name her blog!