Thursday, August 21, 2014

Oklahoma Birthday

Jackson wanted to celebrate his sixth birthday up in Oklahoma at his Grandma Lillie's house, so that is what we did. I picked up some road trip snacks: Late July ranch chips, Hail Merry raw lemon macaroons, Tom's Tabooley hummus falafel wrap, and Harmless Harvest raw coconut water. I have tried many brands of coconut water, but I saw this article about how not all brands are of equal quality, and I decided to try one of the best-rated. It's expensive, but man, it tasted so good!

Our first evening in Oklahoma, my awesome mother-in-law volunteered to watch the kids so Tony and I could have a kid-free get-together with our friends Michelle and Alan. We met them at Whiskey Cake in OKC. The decor made us smile. Fresh sprigs of rosemary in a light bulb vase? Never seen that before. Also, the male wait staff all sort of resembled lumberjacks. White t-shirts, suspenders, beards.

Tony and I decided to share some appetizers, starting with hummus and pita bread and fried green tomatoes. The tomatoes' breading was super light and crisp, as it should be.

I had a sazerac, which featured one large block of ice, instead of ice cubes. Why? I have no idea. I also had a hibiscus gin and tonic, which I liked much better, but I forgot to take a picture of it.

Still hungry, we ordered goat cheese "fondue" with olives and sourdough bread. I wouldn't really call it fondue, since it wasn't melted, but it was good and filling.

The next day, we just hung out around the house. Games were played.

Tony was wrestled into submission.

Garden cherry tomatoes were eaten.

The next day, it was party time! Jackson's cousins came over to celebrate with him.

First duck-duck-goose, then freeze tag.

Thought they were gonna knock me down! Haha.

Sweaty and red-faced, Jackson opened his presents.

He requested a Transformer cake this year. It was my first attempt at making and working with fondant. It turned out a little too thick and goopy. My Transformer looked like he had a rough night.

Jackson didn't mind.

We had to come home the next day. Before we left, we had lunch at Golden Corral. Have you eaten at one of these? We don't like the one in Austin because they do a lot of seafood and it smells like fish. The ones in Oklahoma are pretty good though, as long as you understand that your plate will be heavy on the yellows and browns and lacking the other colors of the rainbow. I had broccoli, mac n cheese, fried okra, roll, corn pudding, and carrot souffle. 

Cotton candy for the birthday boy's dessert.

Sister needed her own.

A great visit as always! We love going to Grandma's house.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Olivia is in the midst of her second summer of swim lessons. Jackson is swimming on his own at this point, after three years of lessons, so now it's sister's turn. Being a Piscean water baby, she is loving it so far.

While Tony was working at the convention center, I took the kids to dinner at Dimassi's, a Mediterranean buffet. As soon as I saw the huge trough of hummus, I was like, "Why haven't I been here until now?"

It was all delicious. It didn't taste like "buffet food" can sometimes know, like it's been reheated too many times and picked up weird flavors. Everything tasted fresh and seemed pretty healthy, not greasy. Let me see if I can name off everything I sampled: hummus, baba ganoush, falafel, tabouli, spinach, green beans, okra, cauliflower, dolmades, and pita bread with some kind of herb/seed topping. I could have just eaten that bread with a bowl of hummus and been happy, but it was all great.

We had to try all the desserts: rice pudding, apricot shortbread, and baklava. Man, I love baklava. I need to make some at home, soon.

Now I feel the responsibility to bring Tony to Dimassi's, because ever since our trip to Detroit he has been lamenting the lack of good Greek/Mediterranean eats in Austin. So we will return soon!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Safari Show

Started off today with a smoothie in the bowl. Yes, that means Tony got up with the kids and let me sleep in!  Woohoo! (I won't use the blender if he is still sleeping.) I threw in frozen banana, spinach, chlorella, ground flax, bee pollen, vanilla and stevia. Topped with hemp granola.

Our awesome community library hosted Safari Greg from the Austin Zoo. Tony took Jackson to see the whole show, and Olivia and I caught the end of it...featuring this giant snake...after her ballet class.

Afterwards, the library served ice cream sundaes. As if my kids did not already love the library enough.

Dinner was 15-Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta from The Oh She Glows Cookbook. Imagine the creamiest pesto you've had, with tons of rich basil flavor, only creamier, thanks to the avocado. Jackson and Olivia informed me that, any time I make spaghetti in the future, this is the sauce I need to make.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Kids and Quotes

"What I wanted most for my daughter was that she be able to soar confidently in her own sky, whatever that may be." - Helen Claes

"Prove yourself brave, truthful, and unselfish, and someday, you will be a real boy." - The Blue Fairy from Disney's Pinocchio

Today I was introduced to wheat berries. I'd never used them, or honestly seen them, before.

Well, they are lovely! You need to soak them overnight before cooking them, but they provide a nice chewy textural component, similar to barley, in The Oh She Glows Cookbook's Protein Power Bowl. (The online version of the recipe calls for spelt berries, which I haven't tried either, but the cookbook recipe calls for either spelt or wheat berries.) And as a lover of all things lemony, I heartily approve of the lemon-tahini dressing that coats the wheat berries, lentils, spinach, red bell pepper, and tomato (I also threw in some edamame because I needed to use it up.)  

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Library Love

One of the perks of our new home is our wonderful community library, just five minutes away. We hang out there at least once a week, always stopping to greet Ms. Frog on our way in.

The children's section is completely separate from the rest of the library, which means Jackson and Olivia can play and talk with no shushing. There is plenty of seating and it is such a cozy, welcoming environment.

For dinner I made the Enlightened Miso Power Bowl from The Oh She Glows Cookbook. The citrusy dressing imparted such great flavor to this healthy bowl of quinoa, edamame, sweet potato, carrots and scallions.

We also enjoyed homemade PB&J ice cream courtesy of the Vegan Chocolate cookbook. I didn't have all the ingredients on hand to make the fudge topping, so I just sprinkled it with chocolate chips and roasted peanuts. No one complained!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Playing More at Mt. Playmore

Austin is big on indoor play facilities. With our roasting hot summers, this is a boon for parents. So when the newest such facility, Mt. Playmore, opened recently, my play group went to check it out.

We were there for five hours and I only got one decent picture of Jackson and Olivia on the jungle gym, because they were constantly in motion! After completely exhausting themselves running around, the arcade caught their attention. I had already dropped $40 on admission and lunch, so I wasn't psyched to buy arcade tokens on top of that. Fortunately they found an air hockey table that was working for free.

Intense concentration.

Super competitive game of air hockey.

Yeah, so, they don't allow you to bring your own food in, which means you can either leave for lunch and come back, or order food from their snack bar. Sweet potato fries and Kraft mac and least the fries were sweet potato? (I'm reaching, here.)

For dinner, I made Lemon-Infused Mediterranean Lentils and Roasted O&V Potatoes, both from Let Them Eat Vegan. So today was pretty devoid of veggies. But I love lemon-infused anything, so I really enjoyed the lentils.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Frozen in Real Life

Sorry for the disappearance. I was on "single parent" duty all last week, as Tony's job required him to practically live at the convention center downtown 24-7. We did get to visit him.

Now the kids think that watching robots play basketball is what Daddy does at work all day.

We ate some not-at-all-healthy meals, such as the fried veggie plate at Boat House Grill, for a lunch playdate with friends.

But I did cook some evenings. Tempeh Stroganoff from 30-Minute Vegan's Taste of Europe was enjoyed by all. I served it over quinoa instead of pasta because I seem to serve everything over quinoa these days. Thank you, giant 5-lb. sack of Costco quinoa.

The highlight of the week for Jackson and Olivia was the Frozen sing-along at the book store.

I now know the sound of 100+ small voices singing/shouting the words to "Let It Go" in unison (well, mostly in unison.)

Afterwards, Princess Olivia and Sir Jackson got to meet Elsa and Anna. Jackson even gave Elsa a hug. Say what now? A special night for us all.