A Peek @ Food We Eat & Things We Do!
Tagged & Broken
I was tagged by Isil @ Veggie Way to offer up my 5 favorite foods for a project started by Melissa @ The Traveler's Lunchbox.Here are 5 Foods to live for -- it was really tough deciding, and I can't believe cherries and corn didn't make the list...1. Potatoes -- baked, twice-baked, boiled, fried, mashed, scalloped (I sound like the Forest Gump shrimp dude!) No matter how you slice it, they are such a basic and delicious food, which feeds the masses. And, as you know I'm from Idaho so I'm partial!2. Tomatoes -- another versatile food - plain with sea salt, pasta sauce, sandwiches, salads, brushetta - it's all so flavorful and good for you too (considered a "wonder food"). Remember, never refrigerate a tomato!3. Nuts -- Doesn't matter what kind -- almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, Macadamia nuts, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, walnuts -- another "wonder food" that boosts the immune system, lowers cholesterol levels, prevents osteoporosis, and has protein. They go with anything, or on their own.4. Citrus -- Oranges, Lemons, or Limes -- I can't decide. I've recently discovered the deliciousness of zest! And, don't forget to drink the juice for the Vitamin C.5. Pizza -- Who doesn't like pizza? And looking out at your blogs, I see that there are as many varieties of pizza as there are people.
A little update on my pretty bowl that everybody seemed to like from the baby shower. It broke. Dad gum it! I splurged several years ago and bought this for my birthday -- and had NEVER used it until the other day. I was saving it for something special, which the shower certainly was.... But I should have been enjoying it all along. I re-learned a lesson. "Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today" "No time like the present" and my father-in-law's favorite "This is not a dress rehearsal" I'm going to try, but I don't think I can fix it.We are all a little bummed....
Hello from the Fair! Come along....Liv did this one twice -- with dad and with mom. I couldn't help but audibly catch my breath at the top -- each time loosing my stomach. "Mommy yawned" is how Liv described it. My invincible Mommy legend lives on -- she was thinking that I was about to fall asleep! :o) "Yes, darling, mommy is just bored looking down on all the little people inside this rickety ol' rust bucket!"Abi got in on the Merry-Go-Round and LOVED it. She waved to Art like a parade queen each time around. I'm the dizzy one in the middle.Abi and I took a photo of them from our elephant. More of the around & around and up & down.
What? You're kidding, I didn't I tell you that I had a twin? Here she is on the Urban Cowboy bull. She said that this is something she's always wanted to do for some unexplainable reason, and just wanted to check it off the list since there was nobody around to laugh. The shadow of a man handed me...err, uh, handed my sister a glove and said, "A beginner, OK then, I'll just operate her at a 9 instead of a 10." Comforting, sir.I'm not an exhibitionist, but I am the spontaneous type. Example: Once, long ago, I was out on a double date and we were around a pool -- we all got to talking about how much fun it'd be to just jump in the pool and swim. We all counted to three, and the only one who got wet was me -- hair and all. It was sorta like that with the bull (only I was sober). I'm not sorry I did it, because it was a fun challenge. But, I don't like real rodeos -- at all. And I didn't notice then, but look at the nasty leather on the cow. Ick, Nasty, Horrible. So yeah, for some odd reason I wanted to try, even though I am against all that it stands for. Doesn't make sense, and I figure this'll probably offend somebody...somewhere. I don't mean to - it's just the way the day unfolded.Guess what she won for picking a duck out of the pond? A DUCK of course.Aren't these guys adorable? It tickles when they lick the grain from your hand. They look so happy and clean -- just how I want my young girls to think it oughta be. Where do the goats and all the other animals go after the fair?This whipper-snapper tried to eat Abi's hat. Think I'm kidding? Just look at that goat expression.
We saw, and interacted with lots of wonderful animals -- cows, horses, chickens, sheep, pigs, roosters -- but I only have photos of the goats. We especially enjoyed them.
On Sunday, I hosted a baby shower for a dear friend that I've known since 4th grade. We went to elementary, jr. & high school together, and she's the one who introduced me to Art back in 1990 when they were in law school. And now, she's a first time mom at 40. It was myself and 4 other long-time friends who planned and threw the shower for Lora.Deanna made this tea. It was so refreshing and perfect. It had fresh peaches, mint, tea ice-cubes, and was sweetened with stevia. She is an amazing cook and her tea was a big hit.I made Dreena's 'Quinoa Spring Salad' from Vive le Vegan! I had all the ingredients chopped and measured in the fridge ready to toss together that morning - the pine nuts were in the fridge ready to be toasted. I tossed the salad, and forgot the pine nuts. Nuts! I was bummed that I forgot, nobody knew except me, and the salad was a big hit. Lots of questions from first time quinoa eaters, etc. Isa says to never apologize for your food, and I didn't.
Deanna also made this beautiful pasta salad. She had cork screw pasta tossed with olives, sugar snap peas, artichokes, tomato, cauliflower, broccoli, red bell pepper, dressing, and I think feta cheese. She may have had even more veggies than that -- I remember thinking there is every veggie known to man in this salad. Delish.Tammy made the watermelon fruit bowl. It's hard to see in this photo, but there is all kinds of fresh fruit -- watermelon, pineapple, apples, oranges, cantaloupe, etc.
You also see my finger sandwiches with black bread, cream cheese, baby archly, & cucumber.
And Ann's colorful, fresh veggie basket.After everybody left (about 25), we took some more photos of just us. We had to rub the Buddha belly for good luck...and also to document the magnitude of her otherwise washboard stomach. :o)We all wanted good luck, so we stuffed ourselves with balloons for the group pregnancy photo. My shirt was long and stretchy, so I look just as pregnant as Lora.She received a bunch of terrific gifts -- many along the Winnie-The-Pooh theme, and is expecting a boy mid-September.
August 22, 2006 --- that makes 14
Ok, most of you already know that we recently celebrated our anniversary. Here's a photo just before going out to dinner at Richard's. We hadn't been there before, and were pleasantly surprised that they had a special vegetarian menu. I had: Carrot Ginger Soup, and Spinach & Artichoke Raviolis (hand made pasta with a tomato vodka cream sauce, and the day's fresh vegetable -- which was asparagus. Art had: Salad, and Avocado Risotto Cake (avocado risotto cake & fried tofu wasabi & lemon aiolis, & again the asparagus) We shared a bottle of red and enjoyed the evening on the patio.
Heart Tart for Art
2 Fuji Apples - peeled, cored, cut into 1/8 inch thick slices (squeeze lemon juice over exposed apples to prevent browning)
2 Tbsp. Sugar
1 Lemon - finely grated zest & juice
4 Tbsp. Apricot Preserves
1 Tsp. Vanilla Soy Milk
Vegan Puff Pastry Squares
Preheat oven to 450*. Press puff pastry into individual containers. Combine apple slices, 1 Tbsp. sugar, zest from lemon, and several squeezes of agave nectar. Spread preserves over the crust (I used Organic Apricot Lavender Leaf preserves). Arrange apple slices in concentric circles atop preserves, overlapping. Try to build up a pretty edge for the crust, brush it with soy milk, & sprinkle with remaining sugar.
Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350*, cover crust with tinfoil and cook for 15 more minutes. Reduce heat again to 325*, cover entirely with tinfoil and cook 15 more minutes. Let cool.
Art & I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary this week, so I made 2 individual sized Heart Tarts. If you plan to use a regular tart pan, double the recipe.
This is for Urban Vegan's clever tART contest.
McHummer of a bad idea
I saw this over at Vegan Cyclist, who in turn got the idea at Veggie Geek.You can make your own sign and voice your opinion here.
Cookies & Celebrations
The stage was set......'Double Chocolate Almond Explosion Cookies' and 'Peanut "Better" Cookies. We were receiving a house-guest, and nothing says, "Welcome" like homemade cookies -- don't ya think? I used spelt flour for both batches because I think it tastes better. I really like that Dreena gives that option. My first experience with parchment paper was just this year, so I don't know "the rules", but I used the same sheet 3 times (toasting the almonds + 2 batches) and it was no problem. Does everybody do that?
I emptied the maple syrup container on the right during this cooking session, and on the left is the replacement. ($20.00 per 64 fl. oz.) I have never gone through so much maple syrup in my life! An itty-bitty bottle used to last us years -- it'd move with us. Even "no big deal" hubby raised an eyebrow when I noticed we were out of syrup and the pancakes were steaming. We don't want to get caught like that again, so we're buying it in bulk. You Canadians really like your syrup, don't you?! Obviously, we do too -- thanks for giving us a reason to enjoy it other than pancakes. :o)I know, you've seen these cookies before -- this is a different photo....really. And there's a not so subtle message in that -- if you haven't made them, you should treat yourself & others.Had to include a photo of my current favorite cookie. This time I had the almond slivers and it makes such a difference on the appearance, and I like the way a sliver crunches better than whole ones ground.The next week or so is going to be busy and exciting for me. As you know, we have someone staying with us a couple nights, so we'll be showing him around town. The 22nd is our 14th wedding anniversary! Of course, we have a sitter. :o) The next night, Art will be spinning records at a cool restaurant/bar in town and three of my best buds will join me for drinks & food. The following Sunday, I'll be hosting a baby shower for one of those friends. I'm making some tea sandwiches -- you know, the fancy kind. Please, any cool ideas in the finger sandwich department?I caught one of those moments on camera today. Abi was playing in their cubbard and for the first time, I saw her stacking the sippy cups. I was impressed and told her so, when Liv went over and they began working together. Stacking the cups together -- it was beautiful. Kinda makes up for the spilled smoothie today --- red, gooey, sweet, seedy, splattered all over the white cabinets.
I'm rockin' an "old" photo of Kleo and I because she rocked my world today. Here's the text message she sent:"hi Art n Vicki! On 3rd day of vaca in NoCal and Peter n i just got out of local screening of An I. Truth. Amazing. Hope U are healthy n happy..."I'm speechless at how much this means to me -- even though she's the kind of person who would have seen the movie anyway -- she knows how much it means to me. There's nothing like blogging friends. A group of like-minded people pulled together across space and time because of same passions. I love ya, KleoPatra -- and the rest of you!Appropriately, this is the BIZARRO cartoon today. Appropriate because Kleo is a HUGE fan of Dan Piraro, and also because it sheds light on the Inconvenient Truth. I'm not as good at posting cartoons as Kleo -- here's what it says:Daddy Polar Bear: "Someday, Son, this will all be yours." (next bubble) "Of course, it will all be liquid and you'll be in a zoo somewhere, but still."Enjoy your vacation, Kleo....& hurry back to blogland.I'm throwing this photo in for Susana over at Mama's Village because she loves seeing beautiful art. This is a statue of Anne Frank at our Human Rights Memorial. In Anne's words:"How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment, we can start now, start slowly changing the world!"Anne M. Frank
March 26, 1944
Food & Find
Liv is my #1 helper when it comes to cooking, and her favorite thing to cook is muffins. Here she is stirring the dry ingredients for 'Wolffie's Banana Blueberry Muffins' from La Dolce Vegan! (p. 274) I like the hint of molasses, but perhaps the flavor is too strong for the girls?I thought they were great -- warm from the oven with a bit of Earth Balance... But the girls didn't like them -- even though there were big, plump blueberries inside....
Can't win them all -- and the best compliment is from a critic!
They loved this! These smoothies had:Fresh Banana & cantaloupeFrozen Strawberries & MangosCarrot/Orange juice & IceThey were as thick as they look.
It was a solo dinner for me and this is what I chose, 'Pureed Chickpea Pasta Sauce with Fresh Herbs' from Vive le Vegan! (p. 99) over Soba noodles. This recipe has 17 ingredients, excluding the pasta, and I had them all! Right down to the fresh oregano from our garden - I had to use a flashlight to pick it last night. This was really yummy and if you're a garbanzo fan, you gotta try it.
And now, for the "find" part of this post... Look what we found at Costco -- A 12 pack of Amy's burgers! At .80 cents a patty, I think this is a great deal. I'm so pleased to see vegan, organic, delicious food available in bulk! One more testament that the Veg Lifestyle is becoming more mainstream. Can you believe this is the first time I've tried Amy's? Hands down, this is the best veggie burger I've had. Period. The only down-side is that we have to gack down the "other" brand burgers in the freezer.
Party Planning & on the side
Last night, all 5 party planners were here to talk details of Lora's baby shower. Teri made two batches of the punch for us to preview & sample (champagne, club soda, blackberry brandy, bitters & an lemon-ice ring) We liked it! I made 2 appetizers for snacking. Dreena's 'Cannellini Bean Yam Hummus' -- but I messed around with the recipe too much. The only white beans I had were Great Northern, and I used chipotle hot sauce (what the recipe calls for) instead of dry chipotle spice, which I prefer. I didn't have pinenuts or cilantro and so sprinkled almond slices on top with garden fresh tomatoes. Not the usual "WoW" of the dip.
Another repeat recipe was 'Classic Pesto' from VwaV, featuring tomatoes from the garden and walnuts from our trees. I did too much tinkering with this dish also. I decided that I wanted to double it, which is easy enough except I didn't have enough basil. Forging ahead, I added the optional nutritional yeast. The plate was empty at the end of the evening, but I knew it could have been tastier. A friend (omni) borrowed my VwaV & noticed the look of hesitation on my face upon handing it over - No..really, I'll be OK without it for a week. :o) We've been enjoying the bicycle trailer my neighbor loaned us. A nice man took our photo at the park, and now I know why I don't turn my camera that way. We're going to take it out for a spin again today -- my plan is to map out a bicycle route for a house guest who'll be with us this weekend. He used to work at Mother's Market in Irvine, so I want to pick his brain and see if I can squeeze a recipe out of him. I also hope to cook something special, but I don't know what!
Vive le Cookie!
But, first an update on the previous post: The VwaV Seitan recipe makes quite a bit, so as you see, we have the beginning of three more meals in the freezer ready to go.
Liv was happy to help wash the Yukon Gold potatoes for....
'Miso-Curry Roasted Potatoes' from Vive le Vegan! pg. 68. These are so delicious, and the miso paste adds such a nice brown crispness to the spuds.
After seeing these cookies on nearly everyone's blogs and reading the rave reviews, I had to make them myself. 'Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies' from Vive are amazing & if you haven't made them yet, what are you waiting for?'Double Chocolate Almond Explosion Cookies' from Vive are also delicious! I didn't have almond slivers, so I used whole almonds chopped up. Equally delectable are the Peanut "Better" Cookies from the same cookbook - Dreena really has a way with cookie recipes!This weekend, we bought a new kitchen gadget, a blender. Enter....The SMOOTHIE! This is one of Art's just before hitting the motor, he likes his with yogurt, fruit, & some protein powder. The girls and I like ours with ice, fruit, & juice. Last night, I "Oooohed & Ahhhhed" over one with:fresh pineapple
ice & OJ