Wednesday, September 28, 2011

City Biking

Now that the weather is finally cooling down in our area
Daniel is trying to convince me we should ride our bikes to run errands. 
We got a trailer for the girls, and he's going to be constructing 
some sort of trailer to carry groceries. 
I was totally not into the idea at all.
I kept picturing the Wicked Witch of the West 
peddling away on her bicycle and the music that follows her.
I didn't want that to be our family.
But Daniel just showed me this video
and I'm warming up to the idea. 
Nice family outing...right?
I'm mostly interested in how 
I can get me one of those outfits that girl is strutting. 

Exercise makes endorphins and endorphins make you happy
and happy people just don't shoot their husbands.
No, I did not just quote Legally Blond.
Seriously, this makes the Netherlands seem so crazy cool. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie

This week I went back to school!
I'm excited to start, but horrified at my syllabi.
 I'm a literature major, so yes, heavy reading.
So now I have one more reason to be busier.

But so far being busy hasn't stopped us 
from hitting up my husband's family parties.
His father comes from a family of ten kids,
and since most of those kids, had kids, and they had kids
and most of them still live in the same area,
there is usually some sort of fiesta every weekend.

I'm beginning to slowly get more and more comfortable
making vegan food for others.
So far everyone is really enjoying it.
This might partly be, because so far, everything I've made vegan
falls into the dessert category and is laced with sugar.
Daniel's cousin told me that he'd gladly come vegan dessert time.
Now that Daniel's family is getting into severe healthy eating
(they are eating less meat and dairy, 
and have to eat a pound of raw veggies, 
and a pound of cooked veggies everyday!)
to lose weight, I'll probably be taking more main courses.
Last night there was a going away party for an aunt,
and there were three veggie dishes!
I couldn't believe it.
Usually I'm only able to eat rice and beans at their parties.
I can hardly contain my excitement for their new diet.

I made these because they don't require a lot of special ingredients.
They call for vegan butter, which I happen to believe 
should already be in everyone's fridge,
and a milk replacer, which everyone 
should also have for cereal and baking. 
Instead of egg replacers these call for bananas,
which cause these cookies to taste bananay.
I have to say, for traditional chocolate chip cookies,
these wouldn't cut it.
But these are still really good.
My absolute favorite thing about these 
had to be the dough.
 It was perfect.
Vegan cookies can be dry or crumbly.
Not these.
Please make these this weekend and see for yourselves.
Next time I make these I'll probably double the chocolate chips.
I like my chocolate chip cookie covered in chocolate chips,
not three per cookie.

My toddler mixed the sugar and butter for me.
Wow, she did a fantastic job!
Got it all creamy.
Electric mixer, what? 
Get a toddler.

The recipe calls for white and wheat flour,
but I just stuck with white since it was for a get-together. 

I highly recommend pressing the cookies down before baking.
And ours took longer than ten minutes.
We just kept our eye on them till they got golden.

I went to the party with two dozen cookies and came back with none.
One cousin went so far as to seal some in a zip lock bag 
for himself before everyone else got to them.
Looking forward to my next batch so I can enjoy them. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Creating Letters Out of Wood

I had made some letters for our first daughter, Therese, 
and now I will share the process through 
the letters I made for Monique's. 

First, to start I found a font I liked Monique's name in using Word 
which looked like this:
After finding a style, I then free hand drew out the letters in a larger print 

The M turned out to be problematic when cutting out of the wood,
I turned to drawing a more simple cursive M. 
After drawing out the letters, I cut them out to trace onto the wood. 

I used left over particle board, just to be thrifty, in the end 
I should have used a more durable wood. 
The particle board becomes very flimsy and I had a couple of 
instances where the letters snapped and I had to 
glue them back together using wood glue. 
I used a jigsaw to cut out the letters. 

With the first letters I made, I wrapped them with cloth. 
I tried to do the same this time around, but 
was unable to, I believe the cursive added an element that 
I was unable to overcome. 
So I decided to paint the letters and mount them on the wall. 
Before painting I recommend sanding down the rough edges, 
also this is where particle board was harder to work with
since they are very porous I had to put many coats of paint to 
make it look really nice. 

Next up, bringing nature into your home decorating. 

Monday, September 19, 2011


You all!
I'm terribly sorry for being absent for so long. 
I had family in from out-of-town,
and then we had a big party to throw.
It was my in-laws 25th wedding anniversary,
my daughter's first birthday,
and my brother in-law's 13th birthday.
What a party! 
It's going to take me a while to recuperate from that one! 
The party started at 11a.m. and went till midnight.
Yup, a real Mexican Party.
Unfortunatley I'm not a real Mexican.
I fell asleep before 10!

Here is my incredibly cute one year old
just after she devoured the vegan chocolate cake I made.
She made sure she had every last crumb!

I made the Fat Pants Cake from the first Babycakes cookbook.
The frosting is so hard to make.
It came out...slushy...
but it was still super good.
It's supposed to be covered 
in chocolate chip cookie crumbs as well,
hence, the fat pants,
but that's enough sugar for me!

For my brother-in-law I made the cornbread from The Kind Diet.
Best cornbread recipe ever! Everyone who eats it falls madly in love.
And it has no sugar, which is a major plus. 

After spending the weekend prepping for the party,
partying, and recovering,
we haven't been taking the best care of ourselves.
All I wanted to do was go home and 
make a good macrobiotic meal to rejuvenate my body.

Now I know you all aren't looking at this picture and thinking,
"This is my dream meal! So glad she is sharing!"
One month ago it wouldn't have been mine.
But really, it was so soothing on my body.
Incredibly medicinal. 
The only thing that was missing were steamed greens,
but we are out, so we had to live without them.

Millet Patties - the first time I made these, I had to eat them with ketchup.
Today I just flat out enjoyed them.

That onion dish with black stuff is the Hijiki, 
The first time I had hijiki, I could barely stomach it. 
This dish was actually totally delicious.
I went from detesting sea vegitables, to actually craving them.
It's crazy what happens when your body takes over. 

I was out of mirin, so I doubled the shoyu.
Since I was really hungry, I cut the cooking time in half.
Never thought I'd see the day that I'd enjoy sea veggies. 

All Hail Hijiki

Hijiki is the alpha male of sea vegetables. Loaded with minerals, it packs a serious nutritional punch and is incredibly good for your hair, nails, skin and bones. In fact, after eating a serving of this dish, my skin feels softer immediately. Hijiki also has a fishy flavor, so it may take some getting used to. If this dish is too strong for you, substitute arame, which is a little milder in taste and intensity.

Medium handful dried hijiki, soaked in spring water for 30 minutes
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 onion, sliced in half moons
Pinch sea salt
Spring water
1 tablespoon shoyu
1 tablespoon mirin
1 medium carrot, sliced in matchsticks

While hijiki is soaking in spring water, chop the vegetables. When the hijiki is softened, discard the soaking water and, if the hijiki is in long strands, chop it into 1-inch pieces. Most companies, however, sell hijiki in little strands.

Heat the sesame oil over a medium flame in a heavy skillet that has a lid. Add the onions and sauté for a few minutes, adding a pinch of salt. Add the hijiki and sauté it with the onions, coating it lightly in oil. Add water to half way up the hijiki and onions. Bring to a boil and add the shoyu and mirin. Cover and let simmer 30 minutes. Add carrot matchsticks on top. Let simmer 10 more minutes. Garnish with scallions.

Makes 4 servings.

To do this recipe using arame instead of hijiki, simply rinse arame (no soaking required) and reduce cooking time by 10 minutes. Feel free to use light sesame or olive oil for seasonal variety. This recipe is delicious with fresh corn, snow peas, green beans, or any vegetable that rocks your boat.

This week I'm definitely sharing a miso soup recipe with you.
I keep having that "I'm about to get sick feeling"
and three times this week I've made that soup 
and it makes me feel better instantly.
How cool is that? 
I love you miso soup. 


Sunday, September 11, 2011

I Dream of Rice Dream

Just wanted to give a shout out to my dinner.
For the past couple days 
I've really been fighting 
the urge to cheat, especially today
(Aunt Flow came to town).
So instead, I treated myself 
to some of my favorite vegan food.

After scrubbing the shower walls 
and running errands,
 I was too beat to make dinner.
So I stopped by Chipotle.
Big fat burritos are one of my 
favorite meals of all time.
So satisfying.
I love their veggie burrito.
All the toppings are delicious!

I've been incredibly tempted 
to make a nacho run today.
At Chipotle they make the best chips.
Crispy and sprinkled 
with about three layers of salt.
Thank you Chipotle,
that was just what I needed.

I haven't had dessert in such a long time.
I'm trying to get on the Macrobiotics Diet.
They don't eat much flour and sugar, those macros. 
I made couscous cake this week for "dessert" and to snack on.
Yes you read that right, couscous cake. 
It's good...yeah....
Covered with dried fruit and apple juice.
Those macros, man.
It really is delicious, my daughters love it,
but it's not something I could feast on. 
Sometimes it's hard for me to consider 
anything that is not covered in chocolate, good.

So tonight I treated myself to a Rice Dream.
You all have homework:
go to your local health food store 
and pick up a Rice Dream Ice Cream Bar.
You'll be able to give up ice cream after you have one of these.
I had the Vanilla Nutty Bar, 
which is dipped in chocolate and covered in nuts.
But I also love their Moca Pie, 
which is a cookie ice cream sandwich dipped in chocolate.
I especially love these because they use barley malt instead of sugar,
so they don't spike up my sugar levels. 

Tonight I'm watching 27 Dresses for the zillionth time.
I love this movie because Kevin reminds me so much of Daniel,
always goofing around and not taking much of anything seriously.
And he's always aggravating Katherine Heigl's character.
Daniel walks a fine line between making me down right crazy and making me laugh.
Plus, I love this actor. 
I mean, how great are his lips? 
Remember when he was in X-Men 
and he wore those glasses so we never saw his eyes?
We could only see his lips, which really, are all we needed to see.

I sound like someone who needs to get out more. 
Have a great weekend everyone! 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

21 Challange

PCRM, a website by vegan doctors,
 has a great 21-Day Vegan Challenge.
When you sign up
you receive daily emails guiding you how to eat 
and what to make throughout the day.

I realize that Oprah had a vegan challenge 
that lasted one week,
but I think 21 days is a better way to go.
When you give up meat and dairy
the first week you may be irritable fighting off cravings,
detoxing, cranky,
but by week two and three,
that is when vegan powers start to kick in.
Your body relaxes more and you'll 
probably start to loose weight.

The vegan challenge started Monday the 5th,
but it is never too late to join!
Go pick up almond milk for your breakfast cereal,
hummus for for lunch,
and a veggie burger for dinner and bam!
There is one day all set!

A few weeks ago I 'fessed up
that I can be a big fat cheating vegan.
I can't help it!
I'm terrified of commitment!
How am I married you say?
Mighty forces were at work on my wedding day.
No, for real. 
But that's another story for another time.
For now, I'm joining this challenge
 to free my body from traces of animal products
and to remind myself how great I can feel.

Let me know if you sign up!
I'd love to suffer with all of you!

Haha, we all know not much 
suffering will be going on.
Vegan food is delicious!
To read a great story about changing 
your taste bugs from steak to tofu
visit The Kind Life

Happy Eating,

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Why My Toddler Is Not Vegan

I run a vegan kitchen.
If you walk into our home,
you will be vegan for the duration of your stay.
However, I'm the only vegan in our household. 

When my first daughter, Thérèse was born,
I wanted her to have a semi-normal childhood.
I didn't want to be one of those moms 
who brings a box lunch for her vegan child to a birthday party
(although, I do admire moms who do that).
I wanted her to be able to have the occasional pizza, ice cream, cake
But with that in mind, her eating meat was never an option for me. 
I'd done enough research and
knew I didn't want her eating meat at all.
Wait, what about that semi-normal childhood you talked about?
I thought it was possible to have a great childhood without meat,
and I did say semi-normal, right?

Raising a vegetarian child is really not hard at all.
I'm not super crazy about meat,
so if she's eating a dish that has been cooked with meat,
say beans with bacon, 
we just eat around the bacon.
When we go to fast food restaurants,
she gets fries with grilled cheese or quesadilla
and never a drink.
Don't get me started with soda.
That's a whole other topic.

When we go to a party,
she eats beans, pasta salad, potato salad,
chips, rice, tortillas. 
Sometimes it can be tricky, but it always works out.

Sometimes I doubt my decision.
(Isn't that what motherhood is about?)
Am I ruining her life? 
Is she going to hate me forever because I'm depriving her?
Is she going to feel lame and left out?

Last month Daniel and I were munching on tacos at a restaurant.
A little girl with her grandma and another lady sat down at the table next to us.
The grandma was explaining that the little girl was vegetarian.
What?! A vegetarian child? No way!
I had to get a look at this, 
completely forgetting that my own child was vegetarian.
She was adorable, long curly hair.
She looked healthy, clear skin, white eyes,
and she was sat in front of a bean taco.
And she was sitting still.
A big deal for anyone watching a kid under five.
"Look Daniel! That girls looks totally normal 
and healthy and she's veggie!"
"Uh...yeah...." My husband doesn't doubt his decisions.
She's vegetarian and she's going to be fine, that's it.

But the biggest affirmation came 
when I was pushing my two girls 
down the vitamin aisle at our local health food store.
The guy who was helping us looked like he was in his mid-twenties.
I started talking to him about what vitamins to buy my two year old.
I explained that she was taking B12's because she was vegetarian.
He lit up! And went on to explain that he was raised vegetarian.
He said his parents really instilled healthy habits into him,
no soda, no fast food, just good clean food.
And the result? 
Now he eats chicken and fish, but refrains from beef and pork.
Doesn't eat junk and at thirty, 
he's the same weight he was in high school
while all his friends (also thirty) are overweight.

So what I was hearing was that this man was grateful 
to his parents for the healthy vegetarian foundation they laid.
He didn't resent his parents for all the years of deprivation from meat!
Big sigh of relief.

I have a special someone in my life 
who is always questioning my decision 
to raise my child veggie.
For me, the bottom line is this:
Not allowing my child to eat meat is not a big deal.
Her taste buds are freed up so she can appreciate other foods
and it's been proven that most vegetarian children eat more veggies than non.

Many people ask, So...then what does she eat??
There is life outside of meat my friends.
Here is what she ate today.

Breakfast: Everyday she has the same thing,
Oatmeal with quinoa, banana and raisins
Ann's Power Breakfast Smoothy from Vegan Family Meals

Snack: Prune

Lunch: Leftover vegan enchiladas made with adzuki beans

Snack: Peanuts

Dinner: Homemade Vegetable Tempura (green beans, broccoli, onion, carrot)
Vegetable sushi (nori, rice, celery, carrot, avocado)

All day I'm shoving water down her throat 
and she manages to sneak bites of bananas.

I don't want you all to think that my two-year-old 
is some magic veggie eater.
We have accepted that when we sit down at the dinner table,
we are not just there to eat and have a jolly good time.
We are there to get my toddler to eat all the veggies 
on her plate before she leaves the table.
And yes, it's a battle, and yes, sometimes I want to give up,
but this is important to us.
And it pays off. 
She rarely gets sick
And that is incentive enough for us.


One time my husband went through the Carls Jr's 
drive through and got her chicken stars without thinking.
I nearly had a heart attack when I heard this.
What is that stuff made of?!
Visions of the big breasted chickens from Super Size Me
were clucking their last cluck in my ears.
But as it turns out,
she didn't even eat them.
She ate the tips,
the little star legs
and discarded the rest.
That's my girl.

Some of Thérèse's favorite foods:

All things Babycakes, banana bread
One Pot Veggies - I wouldn't say favorite, 
but she didn't put up a fight!
Steamed Greens - She eats off my plate
Chard Potstickers - she'll have one or two
She loves anything with udon noodles
and both her grandparents make mean lentil soups that she can't resist.

Notice macaroni and cheese is not on this list!
It's not her favorite.
Weird since that's pretty much all I ate 
during the pre-vegan portion of my pregnancy. 

The Why:

I don't like talking about facts on my blog
but if you want to know why I keep meat away from my toddler, read on.

There are A LOT of reasons
to become vegetarian.
There was only one
reason why I decided to raise my daughter veggie.

As humans, we have very long digestive tracks.
So long in fact, 
that it takes meat three days to get through the body.
That means for three days meat is working it's way 
from the entrance to the exit at 98.7 degrees Fahrenheit.
If I left meat on my kitchen counter for three days,
my kitchen would probably stink,
and the meat would probably start looking totally unappetizing.
The same thing happens to the meat consumed in our bodies.
Its starts to rot.
While it rots, it lets out a strong stench and releases toxins. 
This causes illness and body odor 
(I now use much lighter deodorant. No joke.).
A human will not get sick and die overnight 
because our bodies will try to fight the illness,
but eventually the human body will give up. 
The result will be cancer, tumors, 
high cholesterol, high blood pressure
just to name a few. 
If my toddler grows up and decides to eat meat, fine.
But while I'm in charge, 
I want to keep her liberated from toxins 
as much as possible...any odor. 


Breast milk contains less than 10% protein.
Babies are working harder than anyone else.
They are growing so much they have to sleep all day,
and all they need is less than 10% protein.
That means we need much less protein 
than we've been led to believe. 
Especially since we aren't working or 
growing nearly as much as a newborn.

My toddler gets her protein from beans,
nuts, nut butters,
bananas, carrots, potatoes, apples
all high in protein.
But pretty much everything we eat has protein.
So it's not something I have to worry about.

Vitamin B:

Vegetarians must take a Vitamin B supplement.
Our soil is totally depleted of Vitamin B.
Omnivores don't need to worry about Vitamin B 
because it grows as a bacteria inside the animals they eat.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Oatmeal, Walnut and Dried Plum Cookies

For some unknown reason,
oatmeal cookies were one of the first cookies
 I used to bake all the time when I was little.
Maybe I baked them because I thought
they must be healthy since they have oatmeal.
Or maybe I baked them because no one in my house liked them
so I could devour the whole dozen myself.
Or maybe there is just a special place in my heart for them.
I've worked with lots of different oatmeal cookie recipies over the years 
and this by far is my favorite one.

Alicia Silverstone has a HUGE sweet tooth,
so I usually find that using less of the sugar she calls for works splendidly.
For this recipe, I used the maple syrup and molasses
and excluded the maple sugar completely.

I also used whole wheat pastery flour instead of white,
and almonds instead of walnuts (because I'm out!),
and I had to use some canola oil because I only had half of the amount of safflower oil.
Feel free to substitute as you like with this recipe. 
I don't think you can do this gooey, soft, delicious cookie wrong.

Speaking of getting this cookie wrong (*cough)
you'd think by now I'd be able to make oatmeal cookies perfectly.
Note: Not all the cookies fit on one cookie sheet.
If you think they do, you will end up with one giant cookie.
Thankfully, it didn't sacrifice the taste one bit.

Servings: Makes 10 to 12 cookies
  • 1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup maple sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup safflower oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. molasses
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried plums or other dried fruit
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the oats, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the syrup, oil, vanilla extract, and molasses. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir to combine. Fold in the dried plums and nuts.

Using your hands, roll tablespoon-size scoops of dough into balls. Place the balls onto the prepared baking sheet and press down slightly on the balls to flatten the tops. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a baking rack to cool completely.

For variety, replace the all-purpose flour with whole wheat pastry flour, barley flour, spelt flour, or a gluten-free baking mix (choose one that does not include baking soda and baking powder). You can also substitute chocolate chips for the dried fruit and any kind of nuts for the walnuts.

The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone. Published by Rodale Books. © 2009

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Healthy Inspiration

If you are needing inspiration to jump into a plant based diet check out Forks Over Knives.

Daniel and I watched Forks over Knives this week and we both loved it.
If you watch this movie,
you will immedietly want to throw out your meat,
grab your shovel and launch a garden.
Okay, maybe not that extreme,
but it really will make you question what you are consuming.

This movie is on the long side because it is packed
with facts, research and personal testimonies.
It explains why milk is not a good source of calcium
(I had read that before, but now I get it thanks to their visuals).
The statistics are wonderful too.
People are always telling me,
 "Why eat greens and avoid soda? Cancer is everywhere, in everything."
Thank the Lord for this movie, it proves those people wrong.
Bonus: In the documentary they visit a fire house filled with ripped vegan firemen.
How about that?
And a vegan UFC fighter feeding his adorable baby?
Just go ahead, melt my heart and sign my life over
to vegan cooking why don't you?
But the best part of this movie is the realization
that my health fate is in my hands.
That's powerful!

It's on instant on Netflix. Check it out!

I made this pesto because I had a bag full of arugula.
Arugula is so so good for you, and this recipe has it paired with basil,
so speaking of cancer, this pesto has major cancer fighting properties.

Photo from Gourmet Sleuth

Arugula Pesto:

2 cups baby arugula
1 cup fresh basil leaves
2 1/2 teaspoons white or yellow miso
1/3 cup blanched almonds
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoons salt

Blend in food processor.
Serve with Pasta.

Also, I've opened up my comments to everybody (not just those with Gmail and blogger accounts).
Please comment questions, successful moments, links for recipies, comments.
I'd love your imput!