Friday, March 28, 2014

Karate and Ramen

Jackson recently took part in his first karate tournament. He can be silly in his karate lessons, so much so that we occasionally wonder if he is learning anything. However, he took the tournament very seriously.




We celebrated with lunch at Michi Ramen. It was cold out, so I started with hot tea.

We ordered veggie tempura to munch on while we waited for our ramen. Sadly, I realized that the dipping broth for the tempura is not vegetarian. And tempura without dipping sauce is bland as hell.

For a minute, I was as sad as this little fellow.

But then my vegan ramen bowl arrived, loaded with greens, mushrooms, sweet corn and black garlic oil.

And I was like, "tempur-what?" cause I was so busy slurping down noodles.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Orange Belt

Jackson completed another round of karate lessons last week, which meant it was time for a belt test. The leader of the dojo came to class to test all the students.

Jackson lined up with his fellow yellow belts and was tested on all the moves he was supposed to have mastered.

He passed! His yellow belt was tied into a knot, never to be worn again, and the orange belt was presented to him.

To celebrate, we went out for pizza at Craig O's in Lakeway. We do not normally drive that far for pizza, but we had a Groupon. We sat out on the deck, which overlooks the giant playscape.

We started with a big Greek salad for all of us to share.

We ordered the veggie pizza with tomatoes, green pepper, red onion, black olives, and mushrooms. The crust was exellent. I appreciate it when the crust doesn't sag and become soggy from the weight of a bunch of veggie toppings. Please excuse Tony's pepperoni slice edging its way into the photo.

So proud of my dedicated little karate kid!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ruling the Realm

If I've never mentioned it before, I'm kind of obsessed with Game of Thrones. I've read all the books, and I'm counting down the days until the new season begins. Naturally, when I heard that the Game of Thrones Exhibit was coming to SXSW this year, I was there.

The Iron Throne wasn't nearly as sharp and stabby as I imagined. In fact, it was quite comfortable and inviting! We also saw Arya Stark...well, the actress who plays her. She was throwing t-shirts into the crowd while we waited in line outside. I wish I could show more photos from the exhibit, but I accidentally erased them from my camera. Luckily, Tony had our throne pics on his phone.

After visiting the exhibit, we picked up the kids from my parents, and we all went out to dinner at Kerbey Lane. I had the hippie burger (veggie burger) with sweet potato fries.

Olivia enjoyed pancakes as we all discussed what kind of rulers we would be if the Iron Throne were ours.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Healthy Hips

I'm not sure if I have mentioned it on the blog, but Olivia was born with hip dysplasia in both hips, and she had to wear a special harness for the first few months of her life. 

This contraption helped her hip sockets develop in the right position, and she crawled and walked at the usual times. Over the years, she has had to go for periodic x-rays to make sure her bones are growing properly. Last week, she had her final checkup with the orthopedic specialist!

I am happy to report that her hips are in good shape, and no further monitoring is needed! Olivia is happy to report that she got to wear some super silly oversized medical shorts and play with the cutest soap dispenser ever while we waited for the doctor.

Afterwards, we had some time to kill before picking up Jackson from school, so we went to the grocery store and picked up a few treats: cacao nibs, ancient grain milk (made with rice, quinoa, amaranth and millet), kombucha with chia seeds, and arugula and cabbage chips.

I gave up caffeine when I was pregnant with Jackson and never really returned to it, but I was curious about yerba mate tea. I heard that it gives you an energy buzz, but without the jitteriness that coffee can cause. So I picked up a bottle of mint-flavored yerba mate and drank it over the course of the afternoon. It did make me feel more energized, and I like its refreshing taste. But I'm not sure if I want to go back to consuming caffeine on a regular basis.

Dinner was Lentil-a-Roni from Isa Does It. I loved the creamy tomato sauce. I want to start adding cashew cream to all my tomato sauces from now on, it's so good.

Monday, March 24, 2014

On the Rebound

I had been seeing a lot of mentions of the health benefits of rebounding, or bouncing on a mini-trampoline. It's supposed to be good for your circulation and lymphatic system. I also thought the kids would enjoy having a new toy, and I was not wrong.

Last week I went to Z'Tejas to celebrate St. Paddy's Day with my moms' group. We had sour apple margaritas with green salt, a leprechaun's favorite drink. A little sweet for me, but okay, I still had two because they were wee.

I ordered the Diablo Pasta, a spinach and red pepper linguine with cream sauce, veggies, and a pile of sliced raw jalapenos on top. The jalapenos and cream balanced each other out for just the right level of heat.

Just so y'all know, this post title was merely an excuse to post one of my favorite 90's indie songs.

Friday, March 21, 2014


While on spring break from school, Jackson was my frequent sous-chef. One morning we made our own pita bread, using the recipe from The Garden of Vegan

He rolled out all eight pieces himself, and was quite proud of his efforts.

We ate it all up along with various packaged Indian entrees from Trader Joe's. A mini-Indian buffet, at home.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Burritos (Kind Of)

Jackson's spring break was last week. We had a couple of nice days and a lot of chilly, gross days. The latter were spent wrapped up like burritos watching movies.

We did venture out to see a movie at the theater, too -- Jackson and Olivia's first 3-D movie. The goofy glasses improved their moviegoing experience by approximately 200%

They also indulged me with a trip to Trader Joe's, so you'll be seeing a lot of convenience food-based dinners in upcoming posts, much like tonight's TJ's cheese ravioli with...ummm...Costco marinara, HEB salad mix, and Annie's Goddess dressing!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Today I took the kids to Camp Mabry to visit the Texas Military Forces Museum. It had been awhile since our last visit, so Jackson and Olivia were eager to get their flight on.

Dinner was a crockpot soup with chickpeas, red lentils and smoked paprika that I found on Pinterest. I doubled the amount of smoked paprika because duh, it's awesome.

"Dessert" was a couple glasses of Buddha's Brew basil-honey-ginger kombucha. The new Whole Foods in our hood sells these growlers which are a good deal compared to buying individual bottles. 

I am still experimenting with making my own kombucha. Initial batches turned out too vinegary and not bubbly enough, but not long ago I learned about double fermentation and that makes it a lot better. Now I am working on adding different flavors. So far I have only done lemon-ginger, but I will post more about it after I try some different flavors and can offer some tips.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

St. Paddy's 2014

Hope you had a festive and leprechaun-free St. Patrick's Day! We wore our green, so we were safe from their pinches.

Dinner was Trader Joe's veggie burgers topped with greens, Veganaise, dill relish, ketchup and mustard on whole wheat buns. This was my first time buying TJ's veggie burgers and I love them! I think they're the best frozen burgers out there.

We also had sweet potato fries, not pictured. But just a few, because we had to save room for dessert -- carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, a tester recipe for Kristy's cookbook. I can't give away the recipe, but these cupcakes contain a lot of grated carrot -- just how a good carrot cake should be!

Chillin', knowing their gold is secure for now.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Olivia is 4!

Olivia is four! 

In lieu of a big party this year, there were big gifts. Roller skates, for my sk8er girl who loves to go fast. In the picture below, she is wearing the baby skates I initially bought for her, the locking kind that strap on over shoes. But after a few laps around the house, she informed me that they were too slow. So we ended up exchanging them for big kid skates like Jackson's.

Also, bikes! Their first bikes. In a matter of days, they have gone from hesitantly peddling down to the mailbox, to tearing it up at the park. I have a feeling the training wheels won't be needed for long.

Olivia's birthday dinner was something new I came up with -- savory cinnamon rolls. I made pizza dough and layered on spinach, mushrooms, and mozzarella cheese. Then I rolled it up, sliced it, and arranged it in a baking dish. We pulled off individual rolls and dipped them in marinara. I guess I need to come up with a better name, though, since there's no cinnamon in these!

Homemade cakes have become our birthday tradition, and this year my girl requested a Princess Elsa cake because she lives and breathes Frozen. ("Mommy, the cold doesn't bother me anyway!" she informs me whenever I remind her to wear a hoodie outdoors.)

Happy fourth to my shopping buddy, cuddle monkey, sweet girl, tiny tornado, princess, Olivia Avery.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Pancakes and Pizza Bowls

I had some coconut flour in the freezer from an attempt to cook gluten-free for a friend. Wanting to use it up, I made coconut flour pancakes for the kids.

They look fine, but I couldn't get them to cook all the way through no matter how long I stood over the stove. The inside had a mashed potato consistency. Jackson and Olivia insisted they did not care, so I served 'em up with blueberries and maple syrup.

Jackson ended up with an upset tummy. It may have been because of the coconut flour's high fiber content, or because he ate four pancakes. I don't know if I'll do any more cooking with this flour. 

Later, sous-chef Olivia helped me fix dinner.

Miss Olive-Fingers and I made the Pizza Bowls from Isa Does It. We used Field Roast apple sage sausages, our favorite. I have a really cheap blender, so my sauce wasn't super-smooth, and looked sort of gross. But the taste was phenomenal. Tony was hoarding the leftovers, saying, "This is so good!"