Thursday, March 28, 2013

March Projects

This month I have been feeling really cool with my little projects.
I made cupcake toppers for the first time. Okay, now I know what all the rage is about. 
They turn a party into a fiesta! haha. I also broke out my sewing machine. Our home is so tiny my sewing machine doesn't have a place to hang outside of it's box. But I have plans to turn a corner of our room into a craft area for me. So excited about that! (We kicked Athena out of our room. She is now sleeping with the big girls! And we feel like adults again now that we don't have to tip toes around snoring infants.)

A friend of mine is always posting super cute dresses she makes for her daughter. I decided enough was enough! I cut out a couple rectangles and sewed up this dress for Thérèse. Okay, so it wasn't that easy. It did only take me one afternoon, but since I didn't have a pattern and not much clue as to what I was doing, (I have never gathered before), I'm going to have to devote some more time to fixing it. And such is life. We got some fabric so I can make Monique a dress as well, but I have already come into problems with it since I want to add a sash. Clearly I have no idea how to do that.

Here is Thérèse's dress made from scraps of fabric and ribbon from around our home.
The same friend gave me her fabric scraps! 

Had a mini desert inauguration party on inauguration day. 
You can find these awesome cupcake toppers and bunting here
Served Babycakes NYC blondies the girls and I made. They were soooooooo
so so so so good. My husband requested we keep them around the house all the time. We've made these multiple times before but, I guess we just forgot how mind blowing delicious gluten-free, dairy-free goodies can be. I have the cookbook, but you can find the recipe online here, along with Zooey Deschanels personal testimony of her deep love for them. 

I was pretty excited to learn that a couple recipes I posted on The Kind Life were given four and five stars! Now that's just amazing. Thank you to those kind people who tasted and rated these dishes! You can find the recipe gallery here.

Big fat fail. I didn't take any pictures of my last freezer crock pot meal making. Here is an itty-bitty picture of the ratatouille from fitness magazine. 

I only had to make three dishes since I still had a couple meals left over in the freezer. That's the great thing about freezer meals. I don't have to worry about food going bad in the fridge if we have an unexpected meal out. Everything is frozen, ready whenever I need it. 

I made chickpea ratatouille, Coconut curried tofu spinach and Thai Sloppy Joe's. I was a little disappointed that the sloppy joe's were only four small portions. We like leftovers. But if we end up not liking it, I guess it will work out. I was a little apprehensive about this dish. But last week I made her Cannelloni and Daniel and I decided it was one of our new favorite meals. We were pretty upset it only made six cannelloni (how did I not realize that while I was preparing it?) In our house, that is enough for one and a half people, not four like the recipe suggests. That day my husband had ridden his bike to and from work, a mere 54 miles, so the guy could have easily ate them all by herself. I left off the top cheeses and I made my own tofu ricotta cheese. Next time I make the ricotta, I will leave some miso out since I think the flavor was too sharp for the girls.

The last project March will see is the girls' early morning Easter celebration.
Excited about the sweets and treats! 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Girl Behind the Blog: Inner Foodie

Linking up today with Ashley and Chelsea for my first ever video blog. Never thought I would do a VLOG but when I saw the topic was Inner Foodie, I couldn't pass it up. Be a sweetie and ignore my mom hair (aka: disheveled poof). I love how I started playing with Athena's hair and made it a thousand times worst. (FYI: I laughed because I realized I have no idea what I am saying.) 

Here is a link to Babycakes NYC the girls that keep me sane and incredibly happy.

Also, here is my favorite recipe that I cannot live without. I could eat this every darn day and never grow tired of it. This dish is a must eat with udon noodles. It it serious comfort food. It's so nice to eat dark leafy green veggies and be seriously in love with what your eating. 

Going to be making freezer meals today! Tomorrow I will link up some new vegan freezer meals I make. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

My Favorite Things & My Absolutely Least Favorite Thing EVER

   Wanted to share some of my new favorite things with you all. These are little items that make me oh so happy and I wonder how I ever lived without.

   We are slowly making our home non-toxic. It is really important to me to have safe dishes for the girls. We have cheap plastic dishes for them and it kills me. I just feel the toxins leaching onto their food. Finally added these wonderful dishes into our cupboard. Green Eats is such a great brand. Made here in the U.S. out of recycled plastic, which is way cool. They feel so sturdy and safe. I love them! We have a couple plates and bowls for now. Looking forward to adding their utensils and cups in the near future.

     Our dog really needed a bed. I finally made her one. It was so easy and super inexpensive. I knew I wanted a bed with a pillow case for her so I could wash it weekly. The beds sold at the store with cases were ridiculously priced. Seriously? It's just for my dog. She loves this thing. We used to find her sleeping on the couch in the middle of the night. And she used to wake up with us when we had to deal with the girls late night needs. The first night she got her bed she didn't move! We no longer find her wondering or on the couch! 

     I wanted the bed to be a neutral color that blended into our home and hid any hair she would shed. I was so excited when this fabric was $1 a yard! I made the pillow orange. That pop of color really makes me happy. These were my first button holes! It was nice making something for a dog so I wouldn't be freaking out about it being made perfectly. It is what it is. 

   This is my new favorite book series for kids. My First Pictures of Easter is such a great book to teach kids about Easter. I love it because it is short while explaining important details about Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday and the rest of Holy Week. Kind of bummed it doesn't include the Agony of the Garden, but all in all, I think this book is fantastic. One reading, and it takes your kids right in the moment. 

   I love how they portray the Resurrection. Mary Magdalene weeping, then rejoicing. Helps kids understand how everyone was feeling.

FREEZER MEALS! Okay, let me just say, I'm in love with freezer meals. The first time I made them, I was alone with the girls, I made a weeks worth of meals and had the kitchen cleaned by noon! This project makes the rest of the week dish and labor free! This is seriously amazing to me. I just stick the defrosted meal in the crock pot or in a pot on the stove on the day we are ready to eat it. 

     After I did this the first time, I would find minutes here or there to throw a meal together to stick in the freezer. Yesterday I set the day aside to make a bunch of meals. I didn't go shoping for it, and it turned into me finding a way to use up all the produce we had in our fridge. I would have prefered to do this on Saturday and rest Sunday, but I was busy Saturday. I didn't get started till afternoon. Between this big project and the girls...really pooped me out big time. 

  This is actually a picture from a couple weeks ago. What I made yesterday: Scalloped Potatoes, Tortilla Soup, Zucchini and Corn Cannelloni (I made my own vegan ricotta for this), Rice Frittata, Rustic Pot Pie. All dishes except the soup and cannelloni were from Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker

   I also made oat bars for snacks to eat throughout the week. I used cranberries instead of dried cherries. Monique and I love them. Thérèse doesn't know what all the fuss is about. 

     I also love reusable toys! A sweet friend is sharing this jumper with Athena. I've been wanting to get this for her, she is definitely my active one. I rearrangned my tiny living room to make space for this. I love changing our living room up. We've lived in this home a year and three months and I've change the living room around about four or five times. I can just see the girls as adults in therapy, "Our lives were so unstable as children. Our mom was always rearranging the living room furniture." 

     OKAY, LEAST FAVORITE THING: SWITCHING OUT THE GIRLS' OUTGROWN CLOTHES FOR A BIGGER SIZE, which is actually way harder than it sounds. I used to hate doing this when I just had Thérèse. Now I have to do this times three. I can handle pretty much everything involving the care and hard labor of children and I love it. But this, THIS is just my least favorite thing about having kids. I must be doing something wrong because it is such a huge task and takes me forever. I go through every article of clothing to know if it needs to be stored, donated or for current use. It took me about eight hours to get all three girls' clothes done. But every box with clothes in the garage is now perfectly organized, and every drawer in this house looks so beautiful I don't even recognize it. It's like Real Simple came into my home and fixed 'em drawers. So I guess it was worth it. So glad it's over. This Saturday project drained me. And then to spending Sunday cooking! I was basically worthless today. We had a pajama party. Thérèse won since she stayed in her pajamas the longest. 

     I feel like throwing up just looking at this picture. 

     So after this very hard weekend, I was so excited to sleep. Went in my room to find my spot on the bed occupied by this person. Which is the creepiest thing ever. I don't know who did this, but it's not okay. 

     Speaking of eight month old has SIX TEETH! Yeah...I've had kids before...and I've seen it all...but this is a first...

     Sorry this is blurry. She doesn't stay still. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What I Wore

I'm participating in my first ever link party! So, here is my outfit,  yo.

I love this outfit because it is so comfortable while being casual/nice.
Bonus: I got this skirt for $10! I love a good bargain. 
I'm sure I'm supposed to tuck it in, but tucking in terrifies my short waistline. 
It's nice to get into something that isn't running shorts or yoga pants. 

        I asked Daniel to take a picture of Athena and me. Monique photo bombed our picture. 

     I invited Monique into our photo. Forgetting how offended she was at not being asked in the first place, she got distracted and started to unbutton her blouse. 

     Blouse: Banana Republic, Skirt: Express, Sandles: Reef

Linking up to these blogs today:

Monday, March 4, 2013

You mean that's a 'D' not a 'G'?

     It was my intention to post Disneyland pictures in the month of February since that is when we attended the place, but that never happened. Just like it was my plan to post my seeing Tony Bennett in January. OH MY GOODNESS! I SAW TONY BENNETT! This is my forth year working The Humana Challenge, a golf tournament in my hometown. I was so happy when I was asked to work the Opening Party. Bill Clinton introduced Tony Bennett (yes, as in former President!) Tony Bennett was amazing. Such a dream come true for me since he is the last of his kind. He is something like 87, and still managed to sing for nearly an hour and put on a great show. I was pretty much crying the whole time. Working that party was horrible/stressful, but Tony made up for it. It's still the highlight of the year for me. Although I did have a dream last month that I never actually saw him, but instead I saw a cover band! Talk about a nightmare! 

    Anyway, here are Disneyland pictures. We decided to go Superbowl Sunday in hopes of less crowds. There were definitely less people in the afternoon. We got great seats for the parade (a bench!) and also for the fireworks. We weren't going to stay up for the fireworks. The girls fell asleep in line for Peter Pan, so Daniel and I dropped them in the Stroller and had some very quiet alone time staring at Tom Sawyers Island and watching the lights in New Orleans Square. By evening there were no people. As we were walking through Downtown Disney on our way out, the girls woke up and decided they wanted another ride on the Carrousel. So we hopped on the Monorail and found ourselves back in the park. Glad we stayed because I haven't seen the fireworks in about ten years. Every time I do, I am always so amazed by Tinker Bell and wish I had her job. But I can't get on Dumbo without wanting to puke my brains out, so zip lining is out for me. That dream always gets kicked out fast. 

      This is a safe distance from the characters. The mice from Cinderella tried to go in for a hug and Thérèse screamed murder and booked it. She's good at multitasking that way. 

    Scared of the door too. Hey, at least I know they have an imagination. 

      Toon town is not scary. Toon town, is awesome.

I love how she is sticking her tongue out. On the back of the fire truck too. 


      The parade was a major highlight. 

        This is my favorite picture of the day. Monique was so amazed that she was seeing Simba, that she slipped into a trance and started waving both hands. She stopped, looked down at her hands, wondered how they got there, and just kept waving. She calls it her "Two Wave". 

       Op, that's mine. 

      At this point Daniel and I were thinking to ourselves, "We were almost to the did we end up back in this place?" I think Daniel jokingly said something about "YOLO" and all I could think was, "We are going to be paying for this Monday!"

       Best fireworks show ever! Sorry 4th of July Firworks. You ain't got nothing on Disney. See Tink? Overall, I don't like the girl and her attitude. But really life flying Tink...amazing. 

       I don't follow many blogs (I don't have the time to). For the past couple years I've been following Cute and Delicious run by Alix. I like to go to her space to see what childless married vegans who reside in L.A. are up to. She has great food photography. She and her husband just hosted a Wes Anderson party, which I wish I had crashed. While we were walking through New Orleans Square, I saw them! I muttered something incomprehensible, "Thosearethosepeople" and took off running after them. Good thing Thérèse is a great runner because I totally forgot I was holding her hand and she kept up great. I ran up to them and said, "Not to be a big weirdo creep, but I TOTALLY FOLLOW YOUR BLOG!!" Super awkward introductions were made and I was super happy and they were smiling but I didn't know what to say. I wish I had gotten my nerd out and asked them what they were eating on this fine day, but everything happened so fast and before I knew it, I had said "bye". Daniel, who had no idea what was going on, ran up behind us with Monique on his shoulders and I was just like, "THAT WAS AMAZING! WASN'T THAT SO COOL?!" He was actually expecting the couple to be like, "um...yeah...we are not who you think we are crazy lady" but the names and faces matched. I was on a high all day from running into them. 

     Speaking of eating in D-Land. We packed so much food we didn't need to eat till dinner time. My favorite spot is the Burger Place in Tomorrow Land. They have the most delicious roasted vegetable sandwich on ciabatta bread. I look forward to that sandwich every time we visit. The veggies are marinated in balsamic vinegar and are so juicy. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. 


Monday, February 25, 2013

All In A Sunday Afternoon

     Yesterday we went to mass and then ran a ton of errands. Usually afterwards, I'm beat and ready for a nap (I hate running errands), but yesterday I rested for a bit, and then spent the rest of the afternoon/evening working in the kitchen, made dinner, fit in a quick run, and gave all the girls a shower. The only way I can explain all this extra energy is that I went on a three mile run on Friday and the energy carried over throughout the weekend. Plus, I find working in the kitchen can be relaxing when you have someone to help with the kids! 
    I didn't run all last week. Consequently, my headaches were at a level ten (I have daily TMJ headaches), I didn't sleep well, and I was super depressed. I need to get my lazy feet out the door and remember to run at least every other day.
    Anyway, here are a couple of the things I made yesterday:


Hungry Man's Double Chocolate Trail Mix: Dark chocolate covered pretzels, dark chocolate covered raisins, dried cranberries, raw almonds, raw pecans. 

   Daniel is notorious for grabbing a handful of chocolate chips when he is hungry. This kills me because 1) Chocolate chips are for baking 2) There is zero nutrition in that and chocolate chips are not filling. I finally got around to making him this mix and stuck it where the chocolate chips used to be.

   We are trying to save money in every way possible. So I decided to be the biggest freak on the block and make my own dog treats. I realize dogs aren't vegan, but obviously, we only have vegan ingredients in our home, so these ended up being veg. Doesn't matter because she loves them. This was a fun project for Thérèse and me while Monique and Athena slept.

Vegan Pumpkin Doggie Cookies

2 1/2 cups flour (I used self rising flour because I've been trying to use it up)
2 tbsp ground flax seed mixed in 6 tbsps water
2/3 cup pumpkin purée 
3 tbsp peanut or almond butter 
2 tablespoons canola oil

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place flour, flax seed mixture, pumpkin and nut butter in a mixing bowl. Stir it together then add oil. Add more water if too dry, add flour if too wet. Stir and then knead together to form a dough. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4-inch think. I used an empty spice jar to cut out 1-inch cookies. Keep rolling out and cutting till all the dough is used up. Place on a baking sheet, it's okay to crowd them since they won't be expanding. Bake for 25 minutes for crunchy cookies.

Tip: I used canned pumpkin purée from thanksgiving. Since I didn't use the whole can, I divided the remaining pumpkin into three zip lock baggies putting 2/3 cup into each one and freezing, ready for the next time I  make these. 


I also made bagels! What?? They turned out to be more like unleavened bread. Daniel figures there must be something wrong with the yeast (expired or opened to long) because I followed the directions perfectly and they didn't rise. I didn't realize till the last step that they were not shaping up to be the way they were supposed to be. Whoops. I was about to have a melt down, but Daniel gave me a lecture about how I can't expect perfection when I try something the first time. Apparently this is the same talk he gives his emotionally disturbed students everyday. Great.

 Here are some girl pics for you all:

Athena and Thérèse morning cuddles.

The four of us after our shower and so ready for bed!

After this busy weekend, I'm okay with it being Monday. Kind of. Kind of okay with Monday. You know what makes Mondays great? Freezer crock pot lasagna! All made and defrosting in the sink. I used one of my freezer slow cooker meals last week and was so excited by the zero work and five minute clean up! I was so pumped that I made two more meals Friday morning before I left town for a couple days. Why did I never do this before?

Monday, February 18, 2013

R&R Family Style

    Our family got to live life large with a four day weekend. Ordinarily, if we had time off, we would leave town or run errands or somehow find ourselves very busy. We are always so busy! This weekend we decided to take a mini family vacation in our own home. I mean much needed home family vacation. It was so relaxing. As relaxing as it could be with three little people, housework, cooking, bathing dog, Daniel doing homework and lesson plans...but all constant work aside, it was perfect. 
Every day is vacation day for this girl. Lucky...

     Saturday we went on a hike in Oak Glen. It was beautiful! So nice to get out and be away from the pollution. There was even some snow left over. We needed to take these girls to the snow before winter was over. Glad we get to check that off our list! 

     This is Mo in a nutshell. Really, I just asked her to smile. 

     Love how Thérèse is hiking up her pants to keep them snow free. 

     My view.

Post hike cuddles. 

     Today I found myself with some free time, hahahahahahahahahahaha! Oh my goodness, that was funny. So I decided to make up some crock pot meals. I really need crock pot meals in my life, especially on days that I'm busy running errands or cleaning. But on those days, I don't have time in the morning to stick my ingredients in the crock pot. Excited I now have them prepped in the freezer! I wanted to make more, but Wednesday is our food shopping day, so by Monday/Tuesday we are low on everything. I made what I could. We shall see how this works out for us and hopefully do this more often! 

Rustic Pot Pie from Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker
Lasagna (mixture) from Peta, but I added some tahini, miso and EVOO to give it more flavor.
Chili-Potato Gratin from Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker

    Last night I started reading Wuthering Heights. I wish I had realized it was from the Gothic Period before I started reading it. I thought it was going to be all sweet and cute like the Austen book I just finished (yes, I stereotyped all female authors into sweet and cute. How terrible is that?) I started wondering why I was suddenly COMPLETELY TERRIFIED OUT OF MY BRAINS (I've gotten weaker since birthing children), but now I'm at a point that I have to finish the book because it is so darn good. It's going to be lots of long nights till then. 

     I want to say a big THANK YOU to all of my followers. It is so cool to see my little blog being followed from ten different countries! I've been having a lot of fun getting to write again and share our family with you all. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Dairy-free, Sugar-free Tea Party

    We had our first Valentine's Day Tea Party today. I broke out my 100+ year old china  from Germany, a wedding gift from my adopted Grandmother. The girls enjoyed drinking tea for the first time out of their little plastic tea cups and tea pot. I wanted the food to be as traditional English tea as possible, but kept it all vegan and sugar free! Love that. Still, I forgot how rich tea food is! Glad we had early tea so they could get all that sugar high out by nap time.

Note the clean shinny beautiful faces. Soon to be covered with chocolate.

I get a big girl plate. These shortbread cookies were to die for!

The Menu:

*  Raspberry Scones from Babycakes NYC Cookbook (Agave Sweetened)
*  Gluten-Free Lemon Poppy Seed Teacake from Babycakes NYC Cookbook (Agave Sweetened)
*  Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies from The Kind Diet (Sweetened with Maple Syrup)
*  Cucumber Finger Sandwiches with Chive Butter
*  Olive Cream Cheese Spread Watercress Finger Sandwiches
*  Farmers Market Sliced Strawberries
*  Chamomile Tea for the girls
*  Tazo Calm Tea for me

Substitutes: For the cream cheese replacement I used "This is not a tub of cream cheese" from Trader Joe's. Veganise to replace the Mayo and Earth Balance Butter to replace the butter. 

Favorites: I was in love with the cream cheese and watercress sandwich. I just followed the recipe (posted above) and topped with a bunch of watercress. SO GOOD. I think I will make this for myself on a regular basis. The shortbread cookies stole our hearts. I've tired to make these a couple other times and they didn't come out quite right. Today I actually followed the recipe very carefully. I took one bite and was transported. We all fell in love. Now I get what the whole short bread infatuation is about. So delicious. 

Special girl time with my crazy girls. They were excited about life. Monique always has some whack move going on. 

Thérèse was a little liberal in her tea pouring. Monique taking a sip. So cute!

Tea was followed with a dance party. Monique got in this position and danced around the whole room like this. It's what she does. 

Dinner! This was one of the best pizzas I've made. The dough was perfect and the sauce sweet. I've been working to perfect the potato pizza for a while now. Potatoes are a great alternative to cheese and vegan cheese. I paper thinly slice them and let them hang out in olive oil for a while. Once I get this recipe just the way I like it, I will share it. For now, it is still in the works. 

We served this with steamed very dark leafy green veggies called broccoli greens? Never heard of it. Got it at the farmers market and the girls like it! Love it when dinner is easy!

Tea party was fun. We will be having another one Easter Morning! Can't wait! For now, I'm keeping out one of my pretty cups for my quiet time Mama moments. 

Hope you all had a lovely St. Valentine's Day!