Thursday, February 28, 2013

Carrot Dogs?

Oh, Pinterest. You are so mindless, but sometimes you produce some real gems. Without you, I never would have discovered the odd genius of carrot dogs. Yes, just like hot dogs, but with a carrot instead of a meat by-product. I know, this sounds ridiculous. Give it a try!


I also had my first go at making homemade Larabars for Tony to grab on his way out the door in the mornings. Cheaper than store-bought, and  you have more control over how you flavor them.

Olivia adores her new dress that my talented friend Meredith made for her. And I adore how cute she looks in it!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

McKenna Museum

Today we took a little road trip to the McKenna Children's Museum down in New Braunfels. Jackson and Olivia were entertained for hours by the various interactive games and displays.

Jackson showing off some moves on the light-up dance floor.

Olivia and her friend taking good care of the baby.

Jackson responding to an emergency call.

Their favorite part was the outer space-themed area.

Ready for their first space mission.

Blast off!

For dinner I attempted to make the Samosa Stuffed Baked Potatoes from Veganomicon. I got overzealous with my potato scooping and tore some of the skins. So I decided to chop it all up and throw it in a casserole dish to finish baking.

Not the most attractive presentation, but totally yummy, especially with a dollop of Joni's Cilantro Chili Lime Sauce, a tester recipe for her new cookbook. Sarah suggested this awesome pairing. Thanks, Sarah!

Monday, February 25, 2013

South Congress Trailers

This weekend we found ourselves in South Austin around lunchtime, so we headed over to the South Congress trailers. Of all Austin's food trailer parks, I think this is the original and definitely the biggest. We walked back and forth a few times, discussing our option.  I ended up with a Kerala Kokonut dosa from Nomad Dosa, and was quite happy with my choice. The thin, soft dosa (an Indian fermented pancake, similar to Ethiopian injera) comes filled with curried butternut squash, eggplant, and other veggies, plus your choice of two sauces on the side. I didn't think I would be able to eat the whole thing, but I did!

After walking off my dosa and doing a little shopping, we circled back around to the trailers. This time we stopped for dessert at Hey Cupcake.  Jackson chose red velvet.

Olivia and I shared a vanilla cupcake, topped with pink vanilla buttercream.

How was your weekend?

Friday, February 22, 2013


Recently we tried a new-to-us lunch spot, Sazon. Their online menu looked pretty awesome, with a whole section "para vegetarianos." However, once we were seated and handed our menus, I became confused. I couldn't find the vegetarian items. The only veggie entree I saw was grilled vegetables. I'm sorry, but I don't come to a Mexican restaurant to eat grilled vegetables. I asked the waiter what was up and he said that the menu had recently been changed and apologized for the website not being updated. I asked him if they could possibly make one of the vegetarian entrees I'd seen on the website, such as spinach enchiladas. He checked with the kitchen and said yes, they could accomodate. So that was cool of them. And the enchiladas were quite good -- generously stuffed with steamed spinach, and covered in a tasty red sauce. That being said, I doubt I'll return, since I don't like having to request special meals because there's nothing I can eat off the menu.

After lunch, the kids and I attended a birthday party for a sweet little school mate of Jackson's. There was a special guest at the party and I just had to get a couple pics.

Jackson and Olivia were posted up at the food table for pretty much the entire party. Nevermind that we had just eaten lunch.  Two words -- growth spurt! Either that, or the lure of all-you-can-eat Pirate Booty was too much to resist. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Seeing Soundsuits

Today we rode the train downtown. Jackson wondered whether zombies are allowed on the train (answer: yes, as long as they are silly 4-year-old zombies). 

Our destination was AMOA-Arthouse, to see the 'Hiding in Plain Sight' exhibition by artist Nick Cave. I'm a fan of his soundsuits, having seen them previously at the Brooklyn Museum. Jackson thought they were pretty cool.

Olivia enjoyed the childrens' loft, where she could create her own art.

We got home close to dinner time, so I threw together this Lentil and Spinach Curry. Super fast and quite tasty with garlic naan.

Here are this week's testers for Joni. Smoky Chili Lime Sweet Potatoes, which look almost charred, but that's just the chili powder coating them. I served them with Lentil Walnut Burgers, from Dreena Burton's Let Them Eat Vegan. My word, those are some tasty burgers. I am never buying frozen veggie burgers again. I had no idea it was so easy to make your own.

Next up we had some meaty, grilled Kofta Kebabs. I served them with raw cauliflower tabouli and cilantro tahini sauce (both recipes from Living Raw Food) and garlic naan. I don't have much experience with raw cuisine, but the idea of using cauliflower in place of tabouli is genius as far as I'm concerned.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Today the kids and I visited a grocery store with a unique, "green" concept. It's called in.gredients, and the idea is that you bring your own containers. For everything. The majority of the store's offerings are found in bulk bins. You bring in your own reusable jars or bags and fill them with just the amount you need. You can also bring in empty dish detergent containers and refill them from metal tureens. Same with shampoo.  

There's a lovely garden area out front, as well as a playscape.

Some friends joined us for lunch. There's a deli counter offering locally-made pizza, empanadas, bagels, etc.  We watched the kids play while we enjoyed a relaxed meal at a nearby picnic table.

Rosemary sea salt bagel from Rock Star Bagels, with smoked black bean hummus.

Breakfast empanada with egg and potato from Mmmpanadas.

Vegan apple fritter from Red Rabbit Cooperative Bakery.

Pretty pink iced tea to drink.

When we got home, Jackson and Olivia claimed they were still hungry (growth spurt!) so I made one of their all-time favorite treats, Averie Sunshine's chocolate chip protein balls. I used chocolate hemp protein powder, so these were double-chocolate balls. 

And now I'll show amazing restraint by ending the post with nary a ball joke. Have a good day, guys.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Valentine's 2013

Hope it's not too late for a Valentine's Day wrap-up! We just got a new computer, so it took me a few days to get my pics loaded.

On the 13th, I joined some girlfriends for a low-key Galentine's night in. I made vegan puppy chow for us to snack on while we watched a movie.

On the morning of the 14th, our play group had a Valentine's party for the little ones. I made strawberry cupcakes, which I forgot to take a picture of, but here's the entire spread in all its toothache-inducing glory!

Olivia had fun.

Tony and I opted to save our date night for the weekend. So that evening I made a 5-minute pasta sauce by blending a jar of roasted red peppers and a jar of basil pesto. Served over penne, topped with pecorino romano. Couldn't be easier.

On Saturday evening, we dropped the kids off with the sitter and had a rare adults-only dinner at Iron Cactus. I started off with a refreshing paloma 

We shared some chips and queso.

I had the veggie enchiladas, which came with cilantro rice and black beans. I liked that the enchiladas were topped with sun-dried tomatoes. I'd never seen that before.

Hope you had a Happy Valentine's!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Lunch at the Trailer Yard

Today we hit the North Austin Trailer Yard, or NATY, for lunch. I was intrigued by the veggie burger offerings of Good To Go. They offer four kinds of patties, including hempseed and portabello. I went with the edamame patty. Next, you choose your toppings. Mine included hummus, cucumber, tzatziki, and olives. Japanese edamame with Greek toppings? Sure, why not. The dude making my burger assured me it was a popular combination. And, it was a tasty lunch.

After we ate, the kids challenged me at the sack toss game.

Before we left, we ordered a gourmet donut to go from Snarky's. The smores donut sounded chocolatey and decadent. In reality, it was a little dry. I think paying $3.99 for a donut made me have very high expectations.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Great Homemade Milk Experiment

I recently checked out a book from the library called Living Raw Food, which inspired me with its variety of homemade non-dairy milk recipes. I decided to try them out and see if I liked any of them better than my usual brand of almond milk.

First I made hemp milk. It was super thick. I strained it through a fine mesh sieve.

It was still quite thick, and the hemp milk grounds tended to collect at the bottom of the glass (even after straining). If I made this again, I would double the amount of water, to thin it out. I can't decide how I feel about the earthy, green flavor that the hemp seeds impart. Sometimes I find it gross, but other times I like it. Kind of like drinking wheatgrass juice.

Next I made coconut milk, using dried, shredded coconut. This had a more "milky" consistency i.e. not so thick and creamy. For coconut milk lovers, this is probably a cheaper option than buying it at the store. Personally, I am not a huge coconut milk convert. I prefer nut milks.

That brings us to my third experiment, cashew milk. Living Raw Food suggests a shortcut of using cashew butter instead of soaked raw cashews. This milk was the fastest to make, did not require straining, and had the best flavor out of the three. I liked it so much I made another batch when my first pitcher ran out. 

Cashew butter is pricy ($14 per jar at the food co-op), so I'm not sure how much money I would save making this at home instead of buying my usual almond milk. But now I know I enjoy the taste of cashew milk. I guess the next step is to make it with raw cashews, which would be cheaper than using cashew butter, and see how we like that. I should also try making my own almond milk.

Do you make milks at home? Got a favorite recipe?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Capital of Texas Zoo

Today we visited the Capital of Texas Zoo with some friends. It's a small, rustic, family-owned zoo, but the animals appeared well-fed and the kids appreciated being able to get up close to the animals. 

Tiny goats, is there anything cuter?

Jackson was fascinated by the prairie dogs.

I had never seen an albino peacock before. Gorgeous!

My favorite odd-looking creature, the capybara.

Dang it, I forgot what these adorable little guys are called. They look like a cross between kangaroos and bunnies.

For dinner, I made another one of Joni's tester recipes, Thai Peanut Fried Chicken and Waffles. First time making savory waffles.

Peanut sauce, I want to eat it every day.

Tofu "fried chicken" turned out perfectly. Love that crispy breading!

Once I put it all together, I couldn't wait to dig in! Perfect with a drizzle of maple syrup. All waffles need maple syrup in my opinion, even the savory ones!