Thursday, October 30, 2014

Captain Olivia Fingerhands

I had barely gotten the words "pirate storytime" out, when Olivia had donned her best pirate threads and was ready to go.

Such an attentive pirate.

She was ready for the interactive portion of the program. Balloon swords were passed around and there was much swashbuckling to be had.

Afterwards we hung out and, of course, she was drawn towards the masks and disguises.

Fingerhands! Kind of creepy, no?

We came home and had lunch. I had a salad with pomegranate seeds, peanuts, and mulberries, topped with TJ's hummus dressing.

We also made another green juice, except this one wasn't as bold green, because I added carrot.

Dinner was noodles with sauteed tofu and steamed broccoli, tossed with Easy Peanut Sauce from Vegan on the Cheap. My go-to peanut sauce recipe. I don't know why I don't make this every week.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


One benefit of the 6:30 wake-up...

Jackson is an early riser by nature.

Olivia, not so much.

While Jackson was at school, Olivia helped me make some Seitan Breakfast Strips from American Vegan Kitchen.

After thinly slicing the seitan, we sauteed it and it was all ready to be used in a couple more AVK recipes.

The Seitan Poboys are fantastic. The seitan is crispy and chewy, the way I like it, with lots of flavor. The coleslaw was the star for me, however, with a splash of lime juice contrasting the creamy mayo. I will always add lime juice to coleslaw from now on! We ate these on kaiser rolls.

I also made a batch of Loaded Baked Potato Soup, which was awesome. Tami's recipes are never bland. I love the addition of broccoli and chickpeas to this soup. I topped it with chives and more of the seitan strips. I still had plenty of seitan strips left over to freeze; I will use them another time to make more poboys.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Alien Pumpkins

Last night's dinner was Tofu Mushroom Stroganoff from Isa Does It. I love this creamy pasta. Total comfort food. I had some scallions to use up, so they went on top.

After dinner, it was straight into pumpkin carving!

Jackson and Olivia both went for an alien theme. This was the first year we let Jackson wield the carving tools himself.

Tony helped Olivia with her carving.

Many-fanged, many-eyed, many-horned jack-o-lantern aliens!

Weird confession: I absolutely love the smell of pumpkin guts.

I picked out the seeds, tossed with a little olive oil and sea salt, and roasted them slow and low, at 250 degrees for an hour. 

Looking spooky!

Monday, October 27, 2014


Olivia helped me put up our Halloween decorations. She loves all things spooky.

Some day I will adjust to living in Texas, and it won't seem weird to be putting up Halloween decor when it's 90 degrees out!

For dinner I made Pumpkin "Mac Uncheese" from More Quick-Fix Vegan, using Halloween pasta in fun jack-o-lantern and spider shapes.

Toasted pecans made a nice crumbly topping. We had roasted broccoli on the side.

That's all for today, I woke up with a stiff neck and shoulders two days ago and it still has not gone away, so I need to spend some time with the heating pad.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Orange and Green

 More pumpkin products, y'all! Will it ever end? No, because I am a pumpkin buying fool this year.  First at HEB I found pumpkin harvest soup, pumpkin spice sandwich cookies, and pumpkin spice muffin bars. I thought the cookies would be soft, but they are crunchy. Hard to stop at eating just one! The muffin bars are dry, I wouldn't recommend them.

Next, at Sprouts, pumpkin pasta sauce and pumpkin gelato. The gelato is so good, with a really strong pumpkin flavor. I also bought a pomegranate for Olivia. There's a pomegranate tree at the library that she always notices, but the pomegranates are still very small. I wanted to show her how they look when they are ripe.

She ate almost this whole bowl of seeds (not in one sitting, thankfully for her digestive system.) They are a fun snack to eat with little fingers.

"Let's get more pomegranates!"

To counterbalance all the sugary pumpkin goodies, I made us some green juice this morning. I used a recipe I've seen in several places online: 2 apples, 4 celery stalks, 6 pieces of kale, 1 cucumber, 1 inch knob of ginger, and 1 lemon.  

I also made some apple butter balls for an after-school snack.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Out and About

Jackson was extra sproingy this morning. He bursts out of bed full of energy, in spite of the fact that our 6:30 a.m. wake-ups are getting darker and darker as we make our way through autumn. 

Watch out, kindergarten!

Olivia and I got out to Camp Mabry for a walk around the track and some pilot practice.

She had to try all the pieces of exercise equipment in the outdoor workout area, too.

For lunch, we picked up a take-out order from Bouldin Creek Cafe. After my recent failure at making homemade "eggs" benedict, I decided to let the professionals handle it. The "Renedict," pictured below, features ciabatta bread topped with tofu scramble, spinach, tofu bacon, and Hollandaise sauce. I really couldn't get home fast enough to tear into it.

Olivia was eager to share it with me, but she fortified herself with some Earth Balance cheezy crackers on the drive home. These are super good!

Dinner was Pantry Paella from More Quick-Fix Vegan. The idea is a Spanish paella made with ingredients you keep in your pantry, so the base is quinoa. It was tomato-y, olive-y, and not too heavy, perfect after a big lunch.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wonderful Wasota

Saturday afternoon, we headed down south to enjoy an outdoor lunch at the Wasota African Cuisine trailer.

I cooled off with a hibiscus iced tea.

The four of us shared two giant plates of food. The servings are so generous, we actually took home leftovers. We ordered the V1 platter which came with akara (bean patties which taste kind of like hush puppies), jollof rice, plantains, and spinach, all liberally covered in spicy tomato sauce.

We also had the V14, which included more spinach, jollof rice, black-eyed peas, and kelewele (caramelized plantains), again covered in the same tomato sauce. So the two plates were very similar, but with slightly different offerings.

We remembered enjoying these particular dishes before, so we ordered them again. But next time we'll branch out. There's a veggie burger that I want to try, as well as some intriguing-sounding soups. 

The trailer next door was selling fresh fruit and veggie juices. I had to ask the proprietor if the cricket powder was made with real crickets. He assured me that crickets are the food wave of the future and taste like chocolate. I will take his word for it!

After lunch, we tried to attend the Dia de los Muertos parade downtown, as we do every year. But we got stuck in traffic and missed it. We could see the parade going down 6th street as we were still driving around looking for parking! Fortunately, we had another fun activity to attend Saturday evening.

The Goblin Glow festival is held at a park out in Lakeway, about 45 minutes away. We were worried that the kids might fall asleep in the car and then be up all night, but that did not happen. 

We hit the kettle corn tent first thing.

Then we found a seat on the grass and watched as several hot air balloons lit up, each in turn, and sometimes all at once. There was a DJ playing 80's music, and it was a pretty big crowd. We wondered if the balloons would launch, before coming to the conclusion that it would probably be super dangerous to try to fly a hot air balloon at night. So we enjoyed the glow and the popcorn, and headed back home. 

It's pretty rare that we take the kids out at night, and we let them wear their Halloween costumes, a full two weeks before Halloween, which was a big deal. So it was a fairly exciting evening for our Hulk and Rapunzel.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


I wanted to make something really comfort-foody this evening, and American Vegan Kitchen's Tater Tot Casserole certainly fit the bill. Bonus: I got to use my cute blue casserole dish, which I rarely dig out of the cupboard.

The base is a blend of TVP, portabello mushrooms and other veggies, and of course it's topped with tons of tater tots. When Tony came home and saw what was for dinner, he asked if we were having the Duggars over. But I'm sure this was tastier and healthier than anything Jim Bob and Michelle could cook up.

Pretty in pink and serious about her coloring.