Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween fun!

So Saturday was full of Halloween fun, Daddy was still out of town, so I was left to entertain the little ones.. The first stop was the Glacier visitor center.. It had to be the coolest Halloween party in town! It was filled with ghoulish stations that were all geared towards Alaska..
The world renown Alaskan Blood sucker- The mosquito. The skeleton station had a display of skeletons like the Alaskan bats, beavers, bears, seals and what not. Another station was about carnivorous Alaskan plants.. Each station had a game for the kids to play, for example the skeleton station was pin the skull on the skeleton.

The absolute coolest part was after getting the kids loaded back in the car a big ol black bear crossed the parking lot full of people. I did hop out of my car to try and snap a picture, but evidently I was kind of flustered, in a hurry and I didn't have time to zoom in. And well, my picture is just a black fuzzy spot far off in the distance.

Anyhoo here are the kids sporting their face paintings.. After the glacier we went to Eli's school carnival for 2 more hours of fun filled haloween fun! After all that FUN I must admit I was in NO MOOD to go home and cook so we drove down town for our world famous Cheese-less pizza.. Eli went for strait pineapple Ms. Emma's and mine had pineapple, red pepper and red onion!!! It was kinda funny, there was a new waiter who while I was ordering repeated Cheese less like 5 times, like I was out of my mind! he kept trying to confim he had heard me right..He evidently had never served a cheese less pizza and found it quite unbelievable.. (at least that was my impression) Well, at least it was served w/o cheese.. it could have been worse! We have had many send it back to the kitchen incidences because of communication break downs between us- the waitress and the cook.

Okay, Sundays dinner>>> what did I do with my extra hour? (day- lights saving time) I made seitan.. Then made some home made whole wheat hamburger buns.. I then used the seitan to make sloppy joes.. (I replaced the hamburger w/ 2 1/2 cups seitan, diced) Me oh my... It was pretty good. Not great though, the kids ate it so I really can't complain. I left out the ever important green pepper 1) because I didn't have one and 2) Eli would have never eaten it. I think that would have really made the recipe complete though. Oh Well! Oh ya, I also made Dreenas home style chocolate chip cookies so little Ms. Emma would have a treat to bring to pre-school for her Halloween party extravaganza..
This was Mr. Daddy's welcome home dinner .. YEA!!! Daddy is finally home!!
Home made hamburger buns w/ seitan sloppy joes and a fabulous garden salad. Monday was my signature spaghetti sauce w/ all the vegan fixings.. Tuesday was Halloween so we just had left over spaghetti.. Ya for leftovers!!!

Here is little Ms. Emma Halloween haul.. the left side is at least milk and egg free (she is allergic to dairy).. I did not read the labels for bug parts, gelatin or non-vegan sugar .. we are by no means purest- and I don't buy candy ever- so I can't image once a year it will hurt.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Kid Food Galore

On the day I made this soup was a day full of Murphy's law. I won't go into any of the gory details but, Daddy was still gone and the kids and I weren't even heading home until 5:30. I had no ideas about what to make for dinner. So this is what I came up with. Creamy tomato soup and veganrella quesadillas. One of Emma's favorite soups, Eli on the other hand tolerates it but, definitely not one of his fav. As I was driving home, passing by one of two Mc Donalds in our town, all I could think about was some sort of healthy fast food. The fantasy went something like this...Me pulling up to the drive up window and asking for the eggless sandwich and a side of roasted veggies oh and for the kids two hummus wraps one w/ red onions both w/ a side of sweet potato fries. Can I just ask does this exist out there in what I loving refer to is the "real world"?

Bagel dogs (our fav. brand is Yves veggie dogs). The recipe came from bunnyfoots blog long ago. I was trying to make up some of my cooking disasters lately. This one was mostly for Eli. Next we have a sweet potato curry from vegan family favorites, I added some green beans and garbanzo beans.
This one was by far my favorite dinner of the week! From How it all Vegan "tofurky". I wanted to give a few "turkey" kinda of dishes a try before thanksgiving. This one was quite awesome. It calls for marinating the tofu for an hour then baking it for an hour then frying it. I ended up w/ a lot of the marinate left after I baked it so I added it all to the frying pan and it eventually reduced down. If you haven't tried it, let me just tell you should - you won't be disappointed. On the side the orange potatoes- 1/2 white potatoes 1/2 yams. The kids didn't partake in the tofu, they had some out of the box frozen bbq "riblets" instead.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

weekend flops

I recycled some leftovers and made the sweet potato and black beans chili from the other day into wraps. The kids and I were at the store and noticed some orange cauliflower which sent them into begging mode " oh please Mom can we buy it? can we please" whats a mom to do say no? Eli concluded that it taste just the same as "real" cauliflower. Little did he know it boast to have 25% more beta carotene the white.
From Dreena's Vive le Vegan Tomato-lentil pasta sauce. This was okay, Emma ate it, Eli needed a lot of coaxing. I LOVED the addition of toasted pine nuts and well, for me the capers didn't really add anything to it. Even little Emma who every once in a while will ask for a bite of capers straight up out of the bottle left a pile on her plate.

So the next two bean dishes came out of a new cook book I won off of e-bay for the whopping price of $2.98 w/ shipping!! Well, I kinda feel bad because the seller in the end didn't send it media mail and the cost of shipping for him ended up being $5.70. Whoops. The book is Vegan cooking for everyone by Leah Leneman. It has some pretty intriguing recipes but, it was published in London and a lot of the recipes call for a yeast extract. I had to google it and learned that the name brands are Vegemite or Marmite, which I have heard of but never seen in stores around here. Anyway these where pretty simple recipes that I thought the kids would like but, I was wrong. The first was a kidney bean "cheese burger". The book has a few pictures in it and the Kidney "cheese burger" was one of them. Their picture looked mouthwatering good. My "burger" how ever turned out looking nothing like it. The second was a Mexican bean loaf w/ a tomato gravy. This recipe also had nothing in it that I thought the kids would be opposed to but, it just wasn't a hit either. I must say though, I had it the next day in a tortilla and thought that it could make good enchiladas.
Sunday morning we had vegan w/ a vengeance's "fronch" toast. That was a big hit! and so much simpler then my french toast concoction! (which blogger is acting up and I can't seem to link to it right now)

On Saturday the kids were invited to a costume birthday party. No we are not big Dolphin fans. I bought them off of e-bay and this was the only combo of fit and matching team outfits that I could find for the kids. Eli use to have shoulder pads but they have been misplaced. I can only think that was a good thing and nobody was tackled as a result. And of course, when we are invited to birthday parties we have to go prepared so I made some blueberry-banana- oat muffins.

Friday, October 20, 2006

good times

We're home again. We had a great time visiting w/ my family. Let me just say there was no vegan love in Ketchikan even the salad and my Granny's 80th birthday party had shrimp in it. Oh well. Fun was had by all.. Exhibit A- My brother- aka Uncle Rick showing Eli wearing a tie ain't all bad...On with the food....So here we have the black bean and sweet potato chili from the Vegetarian family cookbook. Little Eli had requested that one night we make herbs chili again, from Cooking with Herb the Vegetarian Dragon cook book. Well, the kids didn't really like it the first time we made it. I think they just liked making it. Herbs calls for tvp which the kids haven't quite taken too (YET). So, I suggested we make this chili and from the Herb book we also made Flora's crispy polenta and cut them into stars and hearts w/ a cookie cutter. Well, this time the chili was a hit! You really can't go wrong w/ sweet potatoes and black beans. And hey look after MUCH practice both kids can peel potatoes! My little helpers.
Next is Vanessa's Lentil-Quinoa stew from La Dolce Vegan. Good, simple and quick to prepare. Really hits the spot on a chilly fall day. Paired w/ what we call crunchy broccoli at our house (raw) and some organic wheat u-bake dinner rolls I found at Costco (quite a deal I might add-12 rolls for .97 cents)
So Daddy is going away on a business trip again. So last night had our vegan comfort food send off dinner. Evidently I have become addicted to frying. I have not fried anything in over 20 years, since the fried chicken incidence of '85 when my brother and I tried frying chicken for the first time - the oil was way too hot- in shorts -you get the idea. And now I guess I am just making up for lost time. (Sounds like a guilty confessional doesn't it?) Anyway using some seitan from the freezer (I use vegan w/ a vengeance seitan recipe and add 1tsp each Rosemary, thyme, sage and 1/4 tsp each cumin and garlic powder) Then used this "chicken" fried recipe. Which by the way makes WAY to much of the dry ingredients, I only used half. Gravy comes Vegan Vittles- golden gravy. And well, EVERYBODY loved dinner! Again, what's not to love? Daddy also got a tub of Dreena's creamy hummus (his all time favorite hummus) to take on the plane w/ carrots and bread. As well as Vegan w/ a Vengeance Lemon Gems cupecakes - what a lucky boy.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

tacos, nuggets, and stuff..

heJeez I would love to post every day.... Really I would, funny thing is I just don't have the time.
Anyway here we go with some of this weeks vegan goodness, kid friendly, dinners !

My hubby has no vegan cooking confidence, but bless his heart he does try to help alleviate some of my cooking duties now and again. (thanks honey!) And, well everyone loves tacos! This time instead of frying he thought he would try something new. First spraying the corn tortilla filling w/ beans and veganrella for the girls, cheddar for the boys and then baking them. It worked pretty good except where the tortillas touched the baking pan, it got a bit soggy there. But, I didn't hear any complaints and there where no left overs.

Yup, seitan nuggets this time I tried changing the recipe using 1/4 cup flour + 1/2 cup cornstarch. Its hard to say if 1) my oil wasn't hot enough or 2) the flour absorbed more oil then cornstarch. These where a tad to greasy for me. But, again no leftovers and no complaints. When I make them again I will probably go back to the 3/4 cup cornstarch. Next to those nuggets are some smashed potatoes. I try to use 1/2 sweet potatoes and 1/2 regular potatoes. I have noticed that when I do that I really don' t have to use much earth balance at all. (who am I kidding though isn't that like ordering a hot fudge sunday w/ a diet coke? being as I fried the nuggets and all). The story behind this dinner. I had bought this pasta from the bulk bin at the store for one of Eli's Kindergarten homework projects and for some reason Emma became obsessed about eating those noodles, oh they where her favorite .. "remember mom I had them once?" "Can we please have them tonight?" So this is what I came up w/ it is from the cookbook Simply Vegan and is very reminiscent of what my mom used to make and call goulash, only Mom use to put slices of Kraft cheese to melt over the top. Very simple, very kid friendly its basically some tomato juice w/ chili powder and a can of kidney beans and some corn.. and OH, must not forget those magic noodles. The recipe calls for elbow macaroni.
Miss Melissa asked about the bbq tempeh - I steam it for about 20 mins, while its steaming I make a bbq from a recipe in the Vegan World Fusion Cuisine (a really beautiful, chalk full of good recipes kinda of book) let it marinate for what ever, 15 min - hour. And then my honey the grill master grills it up. It doesn't take long maybe five minutes a side. OH MY IT IS THE BEST!!!!! it made my top five list!
Miss aTxVegn asked about breaded tofu.. nope, no eggs needed I do press the tofu and then it is coated in 1 tablespoon of olive oil then dredged in the rest. You can find the recipe in the vegetarian family cookbook pg. 144 ( I just saw your reference to the book! yea!)
I don't feel quite comfortable about posting recipes from cook books.. It some how feels different posting it on the Internet then say just sharing w/ a friend. What is the etiquette? I have posted links when they are available. But, in the end I guess I would rather support those vegan authors and encourage others to just buy their books!
Okay, the little kids and I will be away this weekend to my grandmothers (the little one's great Granny's) 80th birthday party in lovely Ketchikan, Alaska. I do look forward to seeing my family.. but, I have a feeling that I will be eating lots of green salads and bread.. I wish I was more prepared. I did make some of Dreena's home style chocolate chip cookies to take with us. Priorities people! My granny is famous for buying a ton of store bought sweets not of which are not vegan, and none of which Emma can eat (she is allergic to dairy). I will return again next week..

Saturday, October 07, 2006

lots of pics - not much to say

Well, it has been a while and I have been cooking.. What the heck happened? Our internet was down for three days. Oh the horror! I think there where only two streets in town affected and we lived on one of them. It was pretty strange to live in the dark ages again. I found that things just cross my mind through out the day and I want to go google the answer, or find a recipe, or read y'all blogs for some dinner inspiration. Then the internet returned and the power went out. Anyway, here are some hi-lights from the week..

Nothing fancy here my baked mac and "cheese" and a big ol garden salad. Mr. Eli who is five exclaimed "THIS DINNER ROCKS" while shoveling it in "JUST ROCKS MY WORLD". What every mom wants to here!
BBQ tempeh w/ pineapple fried rice from the garden of vegan.
"chicken" pot pie I was in need of some good ol' fashion comfort food.
An Italian style soup loosely based on a recipe from the Complete Vegan Cookbook topped w/ some veganrella chedder. And home made 12 grain bread, I substitute some of the flour w/ almond meal and man is it good!

Friday night fun.. Well, I had a particularly hard day on Friday and my honey offered to pick up some take out to make the night easier. The problem is there just aren't any real vegan options for take out on our side of town besides a cheese-less Papa Murphy. Don't get me wrong we have done it but, I just wasn't in the mood for that. So, this is really just as easy, much cheaper and makes the kids just as happy. Win Win.
A real treat! Saturday morning slice of heaven! Honey made his vegan sourdough waffles and they are AWESOME! This is one of the few foods that the box -o- egg replacer gets used for and works really well in.