Friday, August 31, 2012

Balancing Act

One of Jackson's birthday presents this year was a balance beam. He recently finished his gymnastics class, and we thought he might want to continue practicing at home. He loved watching the Olympic gymnasts and now he is making up his own "routines."
He can also levitate, check it out.
Olivia likes it too. She also likes wearing brother's shirts that he has outgrown.

We had lunch today at Mister Fruit Cup, a new trailer that specializes in, you guessed it, fruit cups. Fruit cups are a Mexican street food. A few years ago when I lived in South Austin, I lived near a  fruteria where you could get a big cup of freshly sliced fruit, sprinkled with lime juice and chili powder. But I'm pretty sure they've closed down. So it's nice that this trailer has opened to fill that void.
It's also nice that they have a full vegan menu in addition to their regular menu, including vegan brownies and whipped cream!
Don't they look lovely? Nice arrangement. From left to right: I had the Thai with basil, mint, chopped peanuts, and brown sugar sauce. Olivia had the Tropical with cashews and coconut flakes. Jackson had the Rainbow, with vegan whipped cream and sprinkles.
This afternoon we picked up our CSA box. This week we received basil, arugula, okra, cantaloupe, summer squash, cucumbers, eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, beets, onion, and assorted sweet and hot peppers.

Lots of fruit today, and lots of veggies. Tomorrow, probably some pizza or nachos or something. For balance.
Do you have any big plans for Labor Day weekend? I'll just be relaxing with the family, cooking out of course, and catching up on my blog reading, too. I've gotten distracted this week, playing around on my new tumblr. You see, I am extremely ready for fall to get here. Summer is wearing me down. It was 101 degrees today! So I'm trying to experience fall vicariously until the real thing arrives.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Jackson's Birthday Dinner

Jackson's birthday fun wasn't limited to his party at Chuck E. Cheese. Since Tony unexpectedly had to miss the party, we had a second celebration one evening when Tony could be a part of the festivities.
First we had dinner at Chuy's. I had my usual, veggie enchiladas.
After our meal, the wait staff came out and sang Happy Birthday to Jackson and gave him an ice cream pop.

Back at the house, we had cake. Jackson requested a fire truck cake this year. Actually, he requested one last year, too! But this year, he specified that it should be in the shape of a real fire truck. I did my best to oblige him.

Then came a few presents.

He is really into dragons right now!

He likes clomping around in his new Monster Feet.

A very happy birthday for an awesome little dude.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Jackson is 4!

It is hard to believe, but my little baby Jackson turned four last week.
I had a sense even before he was born that Jackson would be a "spirited" baby, and my premonition proved true. He was so happy and alert -- always smiling and laughing and ready to play.
As he gets older, I am amazed by his energy. His daredevil nature can make me nervous, but I love his enthusiasm and excitement. I hope he always retains his adventurous spirit, whatever life brings his way.
We baked some cupcakes for his birthday party. He did the sprinkles.

We had his party at Chuck E. Cheese. It was Jackson's first time there. He has seen the commercials so he was very excited about it. The monster truck was his favorite ride.

Happy Birthday, sweet boy! We love you.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Last Gymnastics Class

Jackson has been doing gymnastics for the past six months, and he has learned a lot. He is awesome at doing somersaults; he even taught Olivia how to do them. His balance has also improved dramatically. Who knows, he may do another class in the future. Right now he is going to switch to swim lessons for awhile. So today was his last class. It was also pajama day!

He is such a little monkey.

For dinner last night, I made the banh mi sandwiches from Veganomicon with the five-spice dipping broth. My favorite recipe ever. It used to take me forever to make the seitan, but it gets easier with practice. And the payoff is always worth it.
I also grilled some okra and zucchini from our CSA box. Do you like okra? Some find it too slimy. I love it. Luckily, my kids share my love for it. We grill it and eat it up like candy.

Hope you are having a great day!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Friday Food

On Friday night, Tony went out with a couple of buddies after work, so I was left to entertain Jackson and Olivia until bedtime.  They had taken long naps that afternoon, so they had lots of energy to burn. It had been fairly hot all day but, as evening rolled around, it was downright pleasant outside.

First, we stopped for some liquid refreshment. Strawberry banana smoothies for everyone!

Then, we hit the splash pad.

It was nice to get some fresh air and watch the kids frolic in the water. Bonus: they were totally ready for bed when we got home!

Here are some other eats from the day. For lunch, a "clean out the fridge" salad with arugula, chickpeas, green olives, and lemon and olive oil dressing.
For dinner, Choosing Raw's Curried Chickpea Salad...
...paired with glutenfreehappytummy's Pesto Cauliflower Nuggets.

How was your weekend?


Friday, August 24, 2012

Costco Finds

This morning we met up with friends at the playground to celebrate a sweet little boy's second birthday, complete with cookies and cupcakes. And a Sonic diet green tea for me...I've gotten completely addicted to them this summer! It's so easy to stop and order one on the way to the park. There are worse vices, I suppose.

This afternoon we made our first exciting foray into the world of Costco. Well, that's not true, I made a scouting mission last week, scribbling down prices so I could cost-compare with H-E-B. I'm a nerd like that. A thrifty nerd. Once I realized I could save quite a bit, I went back with the kids and got a membership card.

Now our pantry is stocked with boxes of cereal almost big enough for Olivia to crawl inside, and enough paper towel to last until a few extra goodies.

Two-pound tub of Sabra hummus? Oh yes, Costco and I will get along just fine.

Are you a Costco member? What do you buy there to save money?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


My parents visited last week. They are very close to buying a home here. It will be nice when they get moved and the kids can spend more time with them. Olivia loves to sit and have Grandma fix her hair.

When I was little, my mom would braid my hair before I went to bed, so it would be wavy when I woke up. She hasn't lost her touch.

My parents always like to eat at Magnolia whenever they're in town. I had the stir fry with veggies and tofu. Always a good pick, and plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day!

Being from Detroit, the Texas summer heat is always an adjustment for my mom and dad. We did a lot of indoor activities to stay cool. One morning we hung out at the mall play area.

On my parents' last evening in town, we had dinner at Kerbey Lane. I had the cherry cheesecake pancakes.

Olivia had French toast. "Mommy, take a picture of my food, too!" she insisted. Future food blogger right here.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Tony's Birthday at La Condesa

His baby face means that he still occasionally gets carded to buy alcohol, yet Tony actually celebrated his 39th birthday this past weekend. My parents were visiting and were kind enough to watch Jackson and Olivia so I could take the birthday boy out for a fancy dinner.

Tony chose La Condesa, a "modern Mexican" restaurant in downtown Austin. We arrived a little early for our reservation, so we hung out at the bar. I ordered a mojito. It was full of tangled mint leaves, and it was nice and strong!

While we waited, I admired the restaurant's design. Very hip and stylish. The light fixture above our heads caught my eye.

We were soon seated, and started off our meal with a salsa sampler.

Tony had a pork chop for his entree, which he enjoyed immensely. He also had a side of Mexican street corn, sprinkled with chili powder and dry, crumbly cotija cheese.

I'm sorry for the increasingly poor quality of these pics. I was using my phone's camera and I didn't want to use a flash, so they are pretty dark. But this was such an awesome meal, I felt like it was still worth posting about.

I had the chili relleno stuffed with quinoa and butternut squash, swimming in a hot tomato broth. It was so good. The quinoa soaked up the yummy tomato sauce, and the poblano pepper was so tender it was practically falling apart.

For my side, I ordered the grilled green beans with epazote. They were nicely charred and very addictive.

We ordered more drinks as we ate. I tried a caipirinha, which came with blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries floating in it. Like the mojito, it was strong and tasty.

The dessert menu was so crazy, we had to order something. We decided on the remolacha con coco -- a beet juice-colored cake served with chocolate mousse, coconut sorbet, hazelnuts, and pickled beets. Believe it or not, the salty-sour flavor of the beets was perfectly offset by the smokiness of the hazelnuts and the sweetness of everything else. It was perfect! I even relented and used the flash.

The next day was Tony's actual birthday, and I made him some birthday enchiladas. I used this recipe but subbed sweet potato greens for the kale. They were so good! It was a big production -- blanching the greens, making the cashew cheese, making the enchilada sauce -- but the end result was well worth it.

The birthday boy was pleased!