Vegetarian Family

A Peek @ Food We Eat & Things We Do!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Walnuts + Basil = Pesto

Fall means walnut season for us. The squirrels are busy in the trees collecting the nuts and running all around scouting places to hide them. All this squirrel activity irritates Jolie to no end. She works over time trying her hardest to put an end to something that won't stop until the nuts are gone. (There are a LOT of walnuts on our two trees) We really appreciate Jolie putting in the extra hours, because the squirrels are messy & rude. The debris they leave behind includes green casings, intact walnuts, partially eaten walnuts, shell fragments; and they dig holes in the grass, flower gardens, planters, garden, and anywhere else you could hide a nut. There are lumps all over our grass with buried nuts. I collect the intact nuts to use throughout the year, and to put back to feed animals in the winter. All this keeps us busy, and is a frenzied Fall ritual for us. Don't get me wrong, we love our walnut trees despite the extra effort. They provide a cool canopy during the summer, food for animals and us through the seasons, and of course, help reverse the effects of global warming.

Here's a close-up of a green globe about to release a walnut to the ground. Sometimes, the green globes open up, and perfect walnuts fall to the ground (I collect those) - Other times, the green balls will fall to the ground and the squirrels will peel the green to expose the nut (it's theirs!). If I find a green globe, I toss it over the fence onto public land -- it'd be great if it grew, but that hasn't ever happened. Instead the birds, squirrels, and countless other animals enjoy the feast.

Here's some basil and tomatoes freshly picked from our garden.

We had the pleasure last weekend of getting to know a Celebrity Canadian Chef! "Who?" you may ask -- which is exactly what I asked when Art said he made friends with Chef Rob Rainford on the airplane. When Art told me, I didn't know who he was --- We don't have cable, so we had not seen his popular TV show; and we don't eat meat, so we had not heard of his cookbook. We put our differences in diet aside, and he came over to Art's studio to hang out with us after his gig. We had a great time getting to know such a fun and likeable guy!

This is 'Walnut Basil Pesto' from Vive le Vegan! pg. 111, and it's served over quinoa pasta shells, with a sprig of fresh basil. The circle of walnuts represents 1 day's harvest from our walnut trees. I've also made 'Classic Pesto' from Vegan with a Vengeance pg. 132, which similarly features walnuts & basil, but the results are totally different. Vive's pesto is more creamy & perfect for tossing with pasta. VwaV's is more traditional and green, which I think is delicious with pasta as well as spread over a cracker as an appetizer.

PS: Tomorrow is Bananas Gorilla's Birthday!!!!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Shake & Make Soy Ice Cream

What You Will Need:
2 tbsp. Sugar
1/2 tbsp. Vanilla
1 pint-sized plastic zip bag
1 cup Vanilla Silk (my modification)
6 tbsp. Rock Salt
1 gallon-sized plastic zip bag
mulit-colored Sprinkles

How To Concoct It:
1. Fill the gallon-sized plastic bag half full with ice. Add rock salt and seal.
2. Pour sugar, soy milk, and vanilla into the pint-sized zip bag and seal.
3. Place the pint-sized zip bag into the gallon-sized zip bag and seal.
4. Shake the bag for 5-7 minutes. (Cuidado: Use hot mits, cuz your hands will get cold!)
5. Use scissors to snip a corner from the ice cream bag to squeeze onto the cone -- soft serve style.

Concoction Tips & Ideas:
* Make peppermint ice cream by adding 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract or 3 tbsp. of crushed peppermint stick.
* Try topping your ice cream with sprinkles like we did. Or go for nuts or fresh fruit.

For Olivia, this was the best kid treat we've made -- it even topped
Magic Monkey Bananas! You can see that she's at the end of her cone here, and she wanted more.

I've made the shake & make ice cream before with my classrooms, and it's a great edible science experiment kids love. But this is the first time I've attempted it with soy milk, and I think it was better because of the vanilla flavoring in the Silk.

I included this photo because I thought you might like to see how this "tale" ends....

Monday, September 25, 2006

Breakfast Ice Cream

Sometimes food is so delicious that you need two spoons to keep a steady rotation of intake. For Abi, this was one of those times.


1 Banana
1 C. Frozen Blueberries
1 C. Frozen Strawberries
1 Tsp. Vanilla

Olivia cracks me up! After the first lick, she says, "Mommy is that cold?" and I say, "Yes, it's breakfast ice cream." Replys with, "I'll need the sunglasses."

I agree with Liv --- this is the cold, creamy, fruity taste that we enjoy in ice cream on a sunglasses wearing sunny day -- except this is waay better than real ice-cream because:

it's freshly made each serving
it's healthy: packed with antioxidents, vitamins & minerals
it's cruelty-free because it's vegan
4. there are only four ingredients: and, you know where they came from

Plus, with this ice cream, it's so delicious that you kinda feel like you're getting away with something, especially eating it for breakfast. My reluctant fruit eater really digs into this entirely fruit dish!! It's simply brilliant!

Thank you to Gaia of Live It Up Vegan! for this recipe and the inspiration to make it.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Kale is the "new" lettuce

I don't "hate" sandwiches. I like them well enough, and trust me, I've eaten my fair share of them -- usually as a last resort, mind you, like after crossing a desert. Which is literally true, because when we drive to CA, we try really hard to make Bishop before Erick Schat's closes because they make an amazing Veggie Sandwich. (it's hard to get fresh veggie food on the road!) But this is my sandwich story -- and this is my new high-water mark as far as sandwiches are concerned.

VwaV 'Tempeh Bacon' pg. 23 (cooked yesterday, cold from the fridge)
Tomato (organic, thin slices)
Kale (raw, hand-tear pieces from the spine)
Dijon Mustard (Woodstock Farms Organic)
Idaho Harvest Organic Golden Flax & Whole Grains Bread (Fresh & Local!)
Half of a California Avocado

I think kale is way better than lettuce in sandwiches. It has great flavor and really stands up to the sandwich squeezing & is prettier.

These are 'Lindsey's Peanut Butter Cupcakes' from La Dolce Vegan! pg. 239. They were delicious, we'll make them again & again.

This morning, I made Breakfast Ice Cream -- inspired by Gaia's post. Can't wait to share the photos with you -- it was a big hit! Have a wonderful weekend everybody!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Spuds, Soup, & Sauces

Here's some of our famous Idaho Potatoes mashed with Earth Balance, Vanilla Silk, and Sea Salt. Served with 'Mi-So Good Gravy!' from The Everyday Vegan -- I omitted the ginger for personal preference. The gravy was tangy good and made friends with everybody on the plate. Also on the plate is 'Tempeh Bacon' from Vegan with a Vengeance.

Quick, Punk Heads! What's wrong with the ingredient line-up for the 'Tempeh Bacon'? What shouldn't be there? The vinegar. I figured it out in time that I needed apple cider -- we had some apple juice that worked fine. The tempeh is Turtle Island Five Grain, Jess says it's her favorite. I didn't have the recommended peanut oil, so I used sesame oil instead -- and I don't have liquid smoke, so I subbed agave nectar. This marinade is perfect, but next time I'll double the recipe because my 16 strips weren't all submerged. They marinated overnight with several careful flippings.

It rained the other day, so I made some soup. It was delicious, and I froze the left-overs.

2 C. uncooked Barley (cook b/f adding)
2 Cloves Garlic
1 White med. Onion
Olive Oil (saute garlic & onion b/f liquid)
1 Carton Imagine Organic Vegetable Broth
2 C. Water
1 Stalk Celery
2 C. Carrots
1 Red Bell Pepper
3 Leaves Kale
1/4 C. Tamari
16 oz. Tomato Paste
1 Tbsp. Hoisin Sauce
1 Tsp. Sea Salt
1/2 Tsp. Cumin

These are 'Carrot-Raisin Muffins' from Vegan with a Vengeance. I really like these muffins and even ate several the next day. Too bad the girls didn't care for them -- I'm not surprised with Liv, but Abi usually likes everything. Oh well, can't win them all, and we'll try another kind next time.

It was dinner for just myself, and this is what I chose. A cup of guacamole (avocado, tomato, garlic, lime, cilantro, cayenne pepper, sea salt) and a cup of black-eyed pea chipotle dip (blk eyed peas, tomato paste, onion, chipotle pepper, cilantro, garlic, lemon, cumin) from the Sept. 18 issue of Meatout Mondays. For dipping, I have fresh celery and homemade pita chips (WW pita bread cut into wedges, brush on olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and bake @ 350* for 10 minutes)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Polka Dot Rice & Pregnant

We got home yesterday from our 40 Watt Hype groupie tour - one day later than our plan. (I saw 3, & Art saw 4 performances) Our car broke down outside Sacramento. It wouldn't start after a meal break, so we called AAA, and we all rode on a big, yellow tow truck to the car doctor, loosing about 5 hours. After that, we couldn't make it home, so we spent the night in "beautiful" downtown Winnemucca, Nevada. We kept clicking our ruby red shoes, "There's no place like home, There's no place..." Thinking of "The Wizard of Oz" -- have you ever watched it with the TV volume off and listening to Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon?"

In the above photo, you see red bell peppers, carrots, peas, corn, and scallions all prepped and ready for the kids to make 'Polka Dot Rice' from "Salad People" by Mollie Katzen. It was mixed with jasmine rice, and served with broccoli, strawberry, and a Morningstar Chik'n Nugget. Olivia loved deciding what to mix in with her rice -- another success from this charming cookbook. I can't wait for "Pretend Soup" to arrive in the mail...

Abigail is proud of her skill sets with a spoon and fork --- but, let's face it, some things are most efficiently obtained by grabbing with your hand. Polka dot rice falls in that category.

My friend, Lora, who we threw the baby shower for came by for a visit recently. In this photo, she is at 39 weeks -- today, she is overdue by 2 days. I can't wait to meet Marcus! For another lovely belly-shot, visit Melody.

What do you do when this shows up at your door?

Make cookies, of course. This is what remained of Dreena's 'Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies' after the pregnant lady left! From Vive le Vegan! pg. 131 --- as if you didn't know already! :o)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Crafty Photos

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Where Have I Been?

On the road...

40 Watt Hype released their album 'Strong Feet on the Concrete' and during the record release tour, played at BSU -- full-circle -- right in the city where the album was produced. We arrived at the campus via bicycles & trailer to see the band rockin' the students. After that show, they were headed back to California for shows in Venice, San Diego, & Fresno. We decided to become groupies and follow along -- they put on an amazing show.

Here's the Vegetarian Family's 'Strong Feet on the Concrete.' We're all sandy right after enjoying the ocean at 19th street Newport Beach. It's right by the pier and there are always sand dollars poking through the sand if you look carefully.

We also visited 'Centennial Farm' at the Orange County Fairgrounds. This is a must stop for kids in Costa Mesa. It has all kinds of farm animals that appear healthy and happy - like these 2 day old piglets.

It also has a well kept garden area, and you can buy their fresh veggies for a donation. This is a photo from the herb section - the stevia plant in the lower, left of the photo caught my eye because of it's popularity with several bloggers. There are rows and rows of all kinds of vegetables each with a marker featuring information and nutrition facts of each plant. It is a picture perfect farm complete with a red barn and windmill -- worth a visit if you're in the area.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Art in the Park & Prickly Pear Cactus lemonade

It was the 50th Anniversary for Art in the Park. It's a super popular event in town, featuring 265+ booths with beautiful arts and crafts, children's art and activities, food, drink, and entertainment all in a beautiful park setting. Each year, I look forward to this event....

The girls and I traveled in style. We sported the bicycle and trailer to enjoy the morning and avoid parking & congestion hassles. It was awesome breezing by parked cars idling for parking spaces. We were among the first ones on the scene and so I was able to ride around the vendor's booths to get the lay of the land for about 20 minutes before the foot traffic got too thick -- then I walked the bicycle. Abi was able to stay awake & enjoy even though it was her nap time.

This painting is the only thing I really wanted -- and it probably cost more than everything else at the festival combined -- Muy expensivo, pero muy bonita! Anybody recognize the location of this painting?

The Menu Says:

"That's right! Cactus syrup and our Original lemonade! It's sweet and all natural! The prickly Pear syrup is imported from Arizona. (No artificial color added) The Kids love it!"
I ordered a large - thinking of our AZ bloggers - and was instantly struck by the bright pink color. "No artificial color?" I asked. And as proof she proudly held up a big glass dispenser revealing the deepest pink color I've seen. "Wow, can I take a photo of you with that?" I say. "Give me your camera." she says reaching for it to take mine instead...

She sang the praises of the prickly pear cactus, saying that it is naturally sweet and high in anti-oxidants. It is such a strong & vibrant color, like that of a pomegranate or cranberry - and it tasted very sweet and flavorful.

We continued on -- munching on popcorn, drinking lemonade and taking in all the original art.

I couldn't resist getting the girls aprons from one of the vendors. Liv choose the yellow one with the cat and the fiddle for herself, and the red with the cow jumping over the moon for Abi. They both love wearing them.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

La Bicyclette & Les Legumes Vert

This is how we spent the morning -- on bikes with the cool-cloudy breeze all around, rushing river beside us, and the green tree canopy overhead. It was lovely. We packed a picnic of water and pb&j sandwiches and apples.

Smoothies are the best after some exercise. In the glass is a great blend of:

Fresh --- pineapple, peach, mango, banana, OJ
Frozen --- strawberries, water (ice!)

I also made 'Peanut Butter Cupcakes' from La Dolce Vegan! pg. 239 - We were pretty hungry, and they disappeared quickly sans photo. I'm still confused about the differences between muffins and cupcakes. What are the rules?

It was a bicyclin' kind of day, so we popped this inexpensive bottle of French red. It went perfectly with...

a green salad! This bowl consisted of:

Butter Lettuce
Red Butter Lettuce
Red Bell Pepper
Green Onion
Tomatoes (from the garden!)

Kale might be our favorite vegetable (we prefer VwaV 'Garlicky Kale' pg. 120) and I still had some Asian Tempest garlic around. You also see steamed asparagus & red bell pepper, which was added to the veats bites when they were finished cooking. There's also collard greens, which we think turns out best in the rice cooker with a little water and earth balance & sea salt -- that's it! Art cooked the Veats Bites with a small amout of basic bbq sauce. This is our favorite kind of meal --- Green!