Sunday, September 26, 2010

Greetings from Maui!

I won't be posting much this week because I'm on vacation. I promise to have a few full posts about my vacation when I return. Here are a few iphone pics though:


I'm having a blast! See you guys at the end of the week!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Winner Winner Chickn Dinner!

We have a winner for our drawing for the $35 CSN gift certificate, it is (drumroll...........)


I will email you your give certificate code. Comment and let me know what you get!

Thanks to everyone who participated in my very first giveaway! I hope to have more soon!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Getting Creative

I've been so busy cooking, eating and blogging about cooking and eating that I haven't had much of a chance to knit (or date - but really, that's for a different type of blog). These last few days I've been bit by the bug and have been knitting more and cooking less. I also had to get an emergency root canal due to cracking my tooth in half on a cocoa roast almond (damn you, delicious almonds!) and the three hour long dentist appointments have left me cranky and craving ready-made soft foods.

This means that I've been eating out a lot more.
Yummy tofu Pad Kee Mao with my mom.

 You can tell why the boys absolutely adore her. She kept them entertained while I nursed a very sore mouth and tried to swallow mouthfuls of delicious noodles without chewing. Wine definitely helped.

Tonight was pizza. We probably haven't had pizza in about 3 months. No pics of the food, just a pic of two very happy boys covered in pizza sauce. You would have thought I took them to Disneyland instead of Pagliacci.



But all this fast-ish food has given me the time to finish up this labor of love. The type of love that makes you want to stab yourself with a knitting needle. But now that I've gone thru the blood, sweat and tears I think I'll love it forever.

Pretty darn awesome huh? I've blogged a bunch more about it in my knitting blog. You can see it here if you are interested in my crafty adventures.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Operation Fruitfly

This is the face of the fruitfly's best friend. Marcus' love of fruit is matched only by his love of hiding things. What do these great loves yield? Hidden Fruit. Yay. 

Midweek I found our house overrun with fruitflies. They'd built condos and were working on a little shopping center on the kitchen counter. Now, I'm not vegan because of a great love for all animal-kind. I have no qualms about battling fruitflies. This is war. I embarked on hunting down apples from under the couch, banana peels from under the bed, grapes from behind the chair.

This combined with bleaching of all surfaces and setting fruitfly traps made me almost too busy to notice (as I was rushing thru my livingroom) my fruitfly loving son, sprawled out on the floor with his toothbrush crammed down his diaper, scratching an itch. Say what? Yes, that's exactly what I said. Fruitflies were forgotten for the moment as said toothbrush was confiscated and tossed in the trash. I don't even know what to say further about this other than, my kids are definitely boys. Is it bad that I was a bit proud of his resourcefulness? When he gets older he is going to be MORTIFIED that I shared this with the blogosphere. At least I didn't take pictures as some of my friends suggested. Anyways, back to the fruitflies.

Because I'm going to Hawaii on Thursday (can I get a "Yay"?) and I don't want the fruitflies to take over again while I'm gone, I'm on a mission to use up all fresh produce before I go. Extra avocado and heirloom tomatoes were just asking to be the obvious vegan standby.
Fresh guacamole. Along side some mashed black beans with melted Daiya cheese and some oven-baked tortilla chips. A nice, light lunch. One day, avocado and I will make it official and get married. You will all be invited.

Even with such a yummy lunch, snack time comes quickly and with a vengeance in my household. I had a melon that was smelling very sweet, but I wasn't really in the mood for plain old melon. I remembered some bananas that I had put in the freezer during the great fruitfly war of midweek. I decided to try for a new, refreshing snack. It was appreciated by all and was a quick and easy way to use up the entire melon.



Fresh BananaMelon Shake
 
Serves 4
Ingredients:
2 frozen Bananas
1 medium size Melon (honeydew, canaloupe or orangeflesh melons work great), seeded and the flesh chopped
1 tablespoon Lime juice
2 tablespoons Non-Dairy Creamer

Instructions:
Place all ingredients in the blender and mix until smooth. Serve immediately.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Stuck at Home, Cooking Abroad

Don't forget to enter my $35 CSNStores Giveaway! It's super easy! Click HERE>>

This little boy is in trouble. Big trouble.
I'm not going to go into what juvenile crime he committed. Let's just say it's enough for the high courts me to sentence him to be grounded for a week, with no new anything for a month, and a two-page letter of apology.

So this means that all of our fun plans for the weekend are canceled. No kids concert, no parks, no soccer games. We just get to stare at each other. ALL WEEKEND.

I can only stand a mopey 9-year-old for so long, so I sent the boys to the backyard to play, with the instructions to not have too much fun. Malcolm is grounded, after all.

I quickly worried that, left to my own devices, this would be a weekend trip to Couchpajamaland,
Nobody wants that. I decided it would be a good time to tackle some new recipes. I dug out an old French cookbook that I had bought in college to see what I could veganize. Since it was breakfast, I decided to try a Clafoutis.



A Clafoutis is fruit (traditionally cherries) surrounded in a moist, pudding-like cake. Since I had peaches in stock, I decided to use those instead of cherries. This is usually a very eggy dish, so I knew I was going to need to change up the flavor a bit to make up for it. The ginger and lemon definitely gives it a zestiness that rounds out the taste. This is a quick and easy dish and makes a great breakfast.

The entire thing was devoured happily. It was filling, yet light, and the ginger gave it nice depth. For a little while we forgot that we were locked together in punishment.


Peach Clafoutis with Ginger
Serves 6 (unless you have kids like mine. If you do, I will pray for your grocery budget)

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups White Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cups Organic Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
2 cups Non-Dairy Milk
3 tablespoons Earth Balance Buttery Spread
3 medium Peaches, chopped into 3/4 inch chunks
1 teaspoon fresh grated Ginger
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350. Place peaches in a buttered casserole dish and toss with lemon and ginger. In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients and set aside. Heat milk and butter until butter is melted. Pour milk/butter mixture into dry ingredients, stirring while pouring to prevent lumps. Mix just until lumps are gone. Pour over peaches. Bake approximately 40 minutes, or until cake is set (but NOT toothpick clean) and top is light brown. Let cool and enjoy!


Peach on Foodista

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Earning My Vacation

Don't forget to enter my $35 CSNStores Giveaway! It's super easy! Click HERE>>

I'm trying to keep things in perspective. My family is healthy, I have a job, my friends are great.

Screw that. This was not a good day. It just wasn't.

It started with my now 3rd day of stomach woes. I have eaten a bit more white flour and white rice than usual lately. That combined with a high amount of stress has completely shut down my digestive system. Not even my detox shake is working. I look pregnant. All the time.

I woke up this morning feeling bloated and gross. I dragged my tired, fat ass down the stairs to make some oatmeal when I heard my youngest yelling at me from his crib. Not smiling. Not happy. Screaming and demanding his favorite thing in the world.

Food. He's in the middle of a growth spurt and getting over a cold, so we are in constant snot-covered fits right now.

I put my breakfast on hold and piled his highchair with grapes, bananas and a peanut butter jelly bar. This did not satisfy. Two bowls of cereal later and the fit subsided. Did I mention that he's in a growth spurt?

I scarfed down my food and rushed to get dressed while listening to the boys argue about where they were going to sit to put their shoes on. They argue about everything right now as Marcus' favorite sentence is "Leave me alone! You not boss!" and I've turned into that screeching mom threatening to sell them to the circus.

I get to work late.That would be the highlight of my work day. I'm not going to go into detail, because it will just elevate my heart rate. Let's just say that I was putting out fires left and right. Actually I wasn't putting out fires. I was running from fire to fire with a small bucket of water and watching buildings burn down.

I'm trying to get everything at work in order so that I can have a stress free vacation next week. This is not working as the stuff to do seems to increase exponentially each day.. I've also been working so hard that I haven't been able to go to the gym. I'm sure this isn't helping my stomach issues either. Seriously, do you guys have any tips about this? I'm eating fiber, I'm drinking water, but nothing is getting rid of this food baby.

On my way home from work, I got lost. I really don't know how this happened. I work in the town I grew up in. I've never once gotten lost there, not in my entire life. I really didn't think it was possible to get lost in Lynnwood, WA. It took me 45 minutes to find my way out of the town that I've been driving in since I was 16.

By the time I picked up the kids, it was 7:15 at night. I'm not going to cook. I heated up some Amy's Mexican Casserole Bowls for the kids.
These things are delicious and pretty nutritionally sound. I don't eat them anymore since they have cheese, but the kids scarfed them down.

For my dinner, I turned to my comfort soup - since it's calming and something that my still very unhappy stomach can handle. And, honestly, I had already made it yesterday. I think I would have eaten just about anything if it meant avoiding cooking tonight. This soup is light and soothing with a lovely onion flavor - almost like a leek soup. It has extremely low calories as well. It's also insanely easy to make.


Sweet Onion & Zucchini Soup
serves 6

Ingredients:
1 large Sweet Yellow Onion, chopped
2 medium Zucchini, chopped
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon dried Thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Truffle Oil
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:
Place onion and zucchini in a medium pot and add water, salt and thyme. Boil on medium heat until vegetables are tender. Remove vegetables from water (but don't throw out water) and place in a blender with approx 1/2 cup water from the pot. You may have to do this in a couple of batches, depending on your blender. Blend until smooth and return to pot with the water. Add truffle oil and salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

The kids are fed and (with the exception of a toy truck related fit) happy. I was able to put them in bed and give them nice kisses and hugs and goodnight wishes and for 5 minutes they were the angels I know them to be. They are safe and warm and I know that's all that matters. Life is pretty good, I guess.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

CSN Stores Giveaway Extended

Hey guys and gals! I just wanted to let you know that I'm extending my CSN Stores giveaway until Wednesday, Sept 23rd.


CLICK HERE to enter!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Keeping Things in Balance

DON'T FORGET TO ENTER TO WIN YOUR $35 GIFT CERTIFICATE FOR CSNStores.com! IT'S SUPER EASY! CLICK HERE NOW!!>>

Life is all about balance. I'm trying to learn that now to break old habits of going all out on diet and exercise and then flaming out after a few weeks. I've managed to keep up this healthy balancing act for over 4 months now. It's been slow and steady progress, but I feel like these changes are going to stick.

This weekend was all about balance.
Friday. Sensible breakfast and lunch, along with a light workout, followed by
Giant pitcher of mojios! Not pictured: the 5 lbs of guacamole also consumed.
This was a fun night with my old high school buds. We've been friends for over 13 years. We get together about every 6 months or so and it's always a blast.
Don't ask about this last one. It was disgusting. I worry about my friends perceptions of their cooking abilities.After a night of drinking and eating I was feeling not so hot. But not quite as bad as my mojito drinking partner in crime - Dave:
That, my friends, is the face of regret.

Fridays excess was balanced by this:
A fantastic hike in Wallace Falls with more friends!
The best of these photos are courtesy of my talented friend Marie (above in blue).
Marie is the type of friend who reminds me to suck my stomach in before she takes a photo. I love her.
After the hike was over the girls suggested we go over to a nearby restaurant for food and drinks. I had planned a light dinner and was about to decline, but then I remembered something important. This is my life. Life isn't about missing out on fun times with the people you love just because you want that number on the scale to go down. I reminded myself that I'm a grownup, and I can actually go out to dinner and eat what I want so long as I'm willing to make up for it. 

So that's what I did. There is no photo-documentation of the dinner indulgences. Lets just say that it included corn fritters, tacos, guacamole and a small bit of chocolate cake. I went to bed that night not feeling guilty like I used to - like I'd really blown it, because I new that the next morning I would start fresh and balance it out. I kept to light, yet delicious and wholesome food and got in a decent sized walk and all was right with the world.

A day of balancing in under 1600 calories.

Breakfast:
A bowl of oatmeal with a mashed banana, 6 walnut halves, So Delicious Coconut Milk, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of flax seed and a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg. Finished with a cup of tea. Nom. Nom. Nom. So very delicious and kept me more than satisfied until lunch.

Lunch
Crumbled black bean-quinoa patty with sauteed kale and garlic in a bit of olive oil. Topped with 6 walnut halves (chopped), heirloom tomato, soy sauce and balsamic vinegar.

After my workout I was getting quite hungry, so I had a quick snack.
A small handful of cocoa roast almonds. If you haven't tried them - RUN TO THE STORE NOW. They are so good. So so so so good. They aren't the most natural, but the ingredient list isn't too scary either. And they are worth it to get a great chocolate fix along with some protein for staying power.

Dinner
Homemade dosas with curried potatoes. No. Words. For. The. Awesome.

Dessert - Oh yes, even a 1600 calorie day comes with dessert.

A handful of strawberries with homemade chocolate ganache. I don't really have to tell you that this was delicious right? I didn't think so. I like to keep some ganache in the freezer for little chocolate fixes here and there.

So here I was able to make up for some indulgences and not feel the slightest bit deprived. In fact, I felt downright spoiled. Isn't food fun?

Next post: recipe for the Dosas with Curried Potatoes!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

$35 Giveaway from CSN Stores!!! - Extended!


The folks at CSN stores.com contacted me and asked if I wanted to offer a $35 gift certificate on my blog. I looked at these cute bistro sets, that would be a great addition on my deck and wished I could win a gift certificate! Being a fan of all things free, I jumped at the opportunity to share a gift with my readers. You know you love free!

Now, I did some research on CSN Stores before deciding to do this giveaway. They have over 200 stores with just about any kitchen and dining supply that a foodie like you or me could think of. Their customer feedback seems solid as well. Click here to take a look around their stores and imagine what fun you'd have with an extra $35.

How To Enter This Giveaway:
  1. Click the Follow button (on the top right of this blog) to become a fan of this blog and
  2. Leave a Comment on this post about the kitchen tool or appliance that has helped you the most with your healthy eating goals.
This giveaway will be open until 10pm pacific time on Thursday, September 16th Wednesday, September 23rd. The winner will be picked randomly on Friday, September 17th Wednesday, September 23rd!. Good luck!


Please note that the gift certificate does not cover shipping and handling fees.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Peanut Butter Jelly Time, Peanut Butter Jelly Time

Come on, dance with me - "Peanut butter jelly time...peanut butter jelly time..."

This little boy? He loves his peanut butter and jelly.

And this little boy? He's a longtime fan.

And this not-so-little girl? Has to admit to having one or three.
She apparently must also admit to wearing those purple ruffles (I do what I want!!).

If you were to do hair tests, like they do on crime shows, I'm sure our years of PB&J addiction would show.

Our family love of PB&J means that we are constantly walking around gooey, sticky and smelling of peanuts. All household surfaces are likely to have at least one jelly-smudged fingerprint.

So what's a mom who hates cleaning to do?

Whip up a batch of these tasty (and healthy) snacks:

Peanut Butter Jelly Bars
Ingredients
Crust:
1 cup almonds
1 cup rolled oats (regular oatmeal kind)
1 cup wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 fresh dates, pitted
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Filling:
1/3 cup organic peanut butter
1/3 cup organic fruit preserves (your favorite flavor)

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350. Place almonds, oats, flour, baking powder and salt in a food processor. Process until it forms a powder. Add remaining ingredients and process until it becomes a dough ball. Divide in half.

Roll out half of the dough on piece of parchment paper until about 1/8 inch thick. Spread peanut butter on top. Roll out the other half of the dough on another piece of parchment paper until it's the same size as the first. Spread jelly on top. Using the parchment paper as a holder, gently lay the peanut butter half of the dough (pb side down) onto the jelly half, forming a gigantic sandwich. Remove parchment paper and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

Place in oven and bake approximately 20 minutes, or until dough is raised a bit and top is medium brown.

Allow to cool and eat whole in a celebration of peanut butter, jelly and gluttony - or cut into bars and share with kids. Your choice.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

These Very Last Days of Summer

While I have already broken out the fall boots here in Seattle, I still think of labor day weekend as part of summer. While the weather is cooler, the trees are still green,

and while we might not be taking a dip in the pool, we can still take a walk down to the pond.
And bikes can still be ridden.
And swings can be swung.
And there's still fresh fruit to be eaten.
This tart works wonderfully with any summer fruits - peaches, apricots, mangoes - whatever you have on hand. It's cool and refreshing, yet rich and satisfying. The cashew crust is so yummy, I could eat it by itself. We had it for breakfast and both boys had polished theirs off in under 5 minutes.

Summer Fruit Tart with Coconut Creme and Maple-Ginger Glaze

Serves 6 (if you like large slices, and you know you do)
Ingredients:
Maple-Ginger Glaze
6 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons water

Cashew Crust
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup oats (the regular oatmeal kind)
2/3 cup wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

Coconut Creme
1 cup firm silken tofu
2/3 cup So Delicious coconut milk beverage
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons maple syrup

Fruit Topping
2 cups fresh fruit, sliced (I used strawberries and bananas)

Instructions:
In a small saucepan, combine the ingredients for Maple-Ginger Glaze and heat until boiling. Remove from heat and let sit for at least 10 minutes. Half of this glaze will go on top of the tart and the other half will go in the crust.

Preheat oven to 350. In a food processor, blend all dry ingredients for the Cashew Crust until they form a grainy powder. Add the vegetable oil and half of the glaze mixture and process until combined. Press the crust into a greased pie plate or tart pan. Bake until light brown. Remove from oven and place in freezer. Rinse your food processor.

In food processor, combine all ingredients for Coconut Creme and process until smooth. Put in a small/medium saucepan and heat, stirring constantly, until just before boiling. Remove from heat and continue to stir while it cools, until you have a thick pudding consistency.

Remove crust from freezer. Scoop Coconut Creme onto the crust and spread until even on top. Arrange fruit on top. Drizzle with remainder of glaze mixture. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Enjoy!