Monday, October 24, 2011

Dia de los Muertos

On Saturday, we spent the day downtown at the Dia de Los Muertos (Mexican Day of the Dead) festival. Tony and I used to go before we had kids, and we were excited to take Jackson and Olivia this year.

Lentil tacos with guacamole gave us some fuel for the celebration.

The very cool Mexic-Arte Museum puts on this festival each year. I love the murals on the side of the museum.

The ofrendas were so gorgeous, covered with paper marigolds and offerings for the departed.

Jackson liked the skeleton musicians.

Sugar skull lollipops were a big hit with the kids. Jackson made a big, sticky mess with his. For the rest of the day, his hair smelled like burnt sugar (which was kind of nice.)

On the music stage, bands played all day long. There were also vendors selling Dia de los Muertos art and Mexican food.

Finally it was time for the parade. We headed over to 6th Street to get a good viewing spot. A big cheer went up when the parade came into view.

I loved all the dancers in their amazing costumes and skeleton make-up.

There were also dancers with giant papier-mache skull heads, who stopped and did a little dance in front of us.

How was your weekend?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pumpkin Patch

Over the weekend, we took the kids to a local pumpkin patch. We took a hayride, checked out some animals, and enjoyed the perfect fall weather. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

When we got home, I made a quick pot of soup for dinner. I chose the Winter Greens Soup from the appropriately named Fields of Greens cookbook, which I checked out from the library. It's the cookbook of Greens Restaurant in San Francisco.  I ate lunch there once, many years ago.

All the dust and hay at the pumpkin patch caused Tony's allergies to flare up, so he requested greens to help his immune system out. This soup is chock full of greens -- a full head each of kale, chard, and spinach. Look at that vivid green color! The soup had a great flavor, and homemade garlic croutons were a perfect addition.  I'll have to copy down some other recipes from the cookbook before I return it to the library.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fall Festival

The other day we took the kids to a fall festival at Jackson's school. In addition the typical booths selling crafts and baked goods, there were a lot of fun activities for the little ones. Jackson and Olivia both loved the bouncy house.

There were llamas to pet...

...and feed.

And, Jackson got to ride a pony. He was so excited!

I've seen some sad pony rides in my lifetime, but honestly, these animals didn't look like they minded being there one bit. So I was glad to give Jackson this fun new experience. He and his sister are both developing a big love for animals, which is so nice to see.

To snack on, we brought along some Navitas Naturals Raw Power bites. Jackson and Olivia both love the Citrus Chia flavor.  Since the snacks are so nutrient-dense, you'd think one or two would be enough for them, but they like the flavor so much that they keep coming back for more.  I'm partial to the Cacao Goji bites because they taste like a chocolaty indulgence, yet they actually have no refined sugar and are packed full of super healthy stuff like sunflower seeds and maca powder. They are my new favorite grab-and-go snack when I am out with the babies.

Dinner was super-easy Peanutty Pasta. You'll have three burners going at once for this, but it really is easy and fast.

Peanutty Pasta
8 oz. linguine
14 oz. firm tofu, drained and pressed
2 carrots, finely shredded
6 scallions (white and light green parts only), sliced
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
2 tsp. sriracha chile sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced

Boil linguine according to package directions. Meanwhile, cube the tofu and dry-fry it over medium heat in a nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray. Fry until golden-brown on one side (about 5 minutes), then flip and brown on the other side (5 more minutes.) Once you have those things going, combine the water, peanut butter, brown sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, sriracha and garlic in a saucepan and heat, whisking, until the peanut butter melts and the sauce thickens slightly.

To serve, drain the linguine and toss with the tofu, carrots, and scallions. Pour the peanut sauce on top and stir to coat.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Halloween Prep

Hey all, I am thrilled to report that Olivia's ear surgery went fine yesterday and she is doing absolutely great! She was a little fussy yesterday as the anesthetic wore off, but today she is back to her usual sweet and playful self.  We're keeping her away from Play-doh for the next couple of years, by the way.

 Do you have your Halloween decorations up yet? We put up ours over the weekend. 

I've never seen two kids who love rats and skeletons so much. Truly, they are my offspring.

"Look, Daddy, a femur!"

Tonight's dinner was Vietnamese French Dip Sandwiches from Veganomicon. Awhile back I asked you guys to tell me your favorite vegan cookbook recipe ever. This is mine.

Today was the first day that it really felt like fall here in Austin. After dinner I took a walk around the neighborhood and breathed in the crisp, cool air. I love this time of year.  We've been keeping the kids busy with one fall activity after another. I'll post some pics soon.

Hope you're having a good day.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sugar Cookies

I'm throwing in the towel on Vegan MoFo, sorry guys. I've caught the cold/stomach yuckiness that Tony, Jackson, and Olivia has last week, and I doubt you want to see pics of the bananas and yogurt I've been subsisting on. 

Also I had to take Olivia to the doctor today, and we found out she will have to have ear surgery on Monday morning. The purpose is to remove a big gob of Play-doh that she wedged in there right up against her eardrum. She wouldn't hold still for the doctor to get it out, so they will have to put her under anesthesia.  Kids. What can you do with them?

Make sugar cookies and give them lots of extra love and cuddles. Or that's what I'm doing, anyway.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pumpkin Ziti and Giveaway Winner

Good morning! The winner of my Peas and Thank You giveaway is....capiscumthings! Congratulations, please email me your mailing info and I'll get that right out to you!

And a big thank you to all who commented with your favorite vegan cookbook recipes! The Veganomicon Pumpkin Baked Ziti got quite a few mentions, so I thought I better try it out.

As is usually necessary with a more labor-intensive recipe, I did some of my prep in the morning while the kids were occupied with sleep and breakfast -- pureeing the cashew ricotta, toasting the homemade breadcrumbs, and grinding nuts. In the evening it still took me about an hour to put together, including baking time. But it makes a big casserole dish full, so now I don't have to cook tonight. It all evens out, right?  It's such a perfect autumn meal, with the flavors of sage, walnut and of course pumpkin.

I also made these Sour Cream and Onion Kale Chips that Carrie on Vegan posted. What a yummy snack.

Have a lovely day, see you tomorrow.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Hey, how was your weekend? This weekend I attended the Austin Yoga Festival.  It was awesome, especially considering that it was my first yoga festival and my first time ever practicing yoga outdoors.  The festival was held at a gorgeous park right on the lake, and the weather was beautiful during our yoga session. A lovely breeze kept things nice and cool.  It started pouring down rain later on, while I was attending a lecture, but the speakers quickly moved their talk indoors and it was fine.

The lecture was called "A Heart Centered Approach to Food and Lifestyle on the Yogic Path" and it dealt with veganism and its ties to the yoga philosophy.  The speakers, Claudia Castro-Leverett and Thomas Leverett, discussed both ethical and health reasons to follow a vegan diet. The focus was on compassion -- having compassion for animals, and also for ourselves and our well-being.  The medical statistics and descriptions of slaughterhouse cruelty weren't new information to me at this point, but it was a solid reinforcement of ideals that I already believe in, yet find it hard to stick to from time to time. I left the festival feeling inspired to try to eat compassionately every day.

Speaking of inspiration, I thought I would post some links to recipes that have inspired me so far this MoFo. Don't they all look so good? Can't wait to make them.

When I got home from the festival, I had Spicy African Peanut Soup waiting for me in my slow cooker. Another Peas and Thank You recipe. Tony was fighting a cold all week, and then Jackson and Olivia caught it, so I wanted to make something warm and healthy that would help them feel better.  We all loved it -- no leftovers.

Today is the last day to enter my Peas and Thank You giveaway! I'll announce the winner tomorrow morning.