Friday, January 30, 2015

Problem Solver

Today Jackson received a "problem solver" award at the quarterly awards ceremony. It's one of the character traits that they focus on. He has always been a curious little person who loves figuring things out, so I thought it was a fitting award!

Olivia loves to check out the fish tank whenever we visit Jackson's school.

For lunch, I made the Horseradish Dill Hummus from Appetite for Reduction. I love horseradish. Olivia and I polished off the whole bowl, along with pita chips, carrot sticks, and a peanut butter protein ball for dessert.

For dinner we had veggie burgers with curly fries. I was hungry, can you tell?

Hot cocoa is a bedtime treat I've been enjoying on the regular. I don't buy the prepackaged mix. It is super easy to make your own. I like to add maca to mine.

Maca Hot Cocoa
8 oz. almond milk
1 tsp. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. maca powder
2 packets stevia

Spoon the cocoa powder, maca and stevia into a mug. In a separate cup, microwave the almond milk for 2 minutes. Pour it into the mug and stir vigorously with a fork, to break up any clumps of cocoa powder. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Gymnastics and Donuts

Olivia started ballet and tap class a few months back. Sadly, she was only able to attend three classes before the studio closed unexpectedly. I wasn't able to find another dance class that had an opening for her, but she agreed that gymnastics would be just as fun. 

She loves it. It's at the same studio where Jackson took tumbling a few years ago, so she is excited to follow in big brother's footsteps.

I love watching her through the observation window. She and her classmates are such little monkeys.

Afterwards we will sometimes stop to pick up groceries and we will share a vegan donut from Red Rabbit Bakery. Olivia prefers a classic chocolate donut.

Once I talked her into Boston Cream Pie, my personal favorite.

We also approve of the slightly more sophisticated lavender donut.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Art and Vegan Trailer Food

One morning Olivia and I ventured downtown to Women and Their Work Gallery to see Susi Brister's show before it closed. Olivia, the 4 1/2-year-old art critic, stated that the faceless, anonymous figures were "creepy."

But the weightless palm trees were "super fun."

We treated ourselves to lunch at a brand spankin' new vegan food trailer called Bistro Vonish.  We shared a pizza with Brussels sprouts, fennel, apple, and a savory, salty cheese (cashew-based, maybe?) that I loved. The pizza "sauce" was an apple-cinnamon chutney. This was one gourmet, sophisticated pizza. Absolutely out of this world. 

The "custard" kolache was no slouch, either. Can't wait to go back and sample more of the menu, which changes depending on what's fresh locally.

Saw this sign in the course of our travels. It really depends on the situation, for me personally. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Sibling Love

As I learn to use the filters on my new phone, I appreciate a moment of laughter and love between Jackson and Olivia.

Yes, like all siblings, they fight. Wow, do they fight. But, on the flip side, no one can make them laugh the way they make each other laugh.

I don't know what Jackson was whispering in her ear. It was probably something about poop. She was cracking up.

Some people have given me looks of terror when I mention my kids are only seventeen months apart. But, I love this bond they have. I hope it always stays strong.

Dinner was Creamy Tofu Chicken Pasta Bake from Cookin' Crunk.  This is good stuff. It's noodles and tofu in a creamy, cheezy sauce, but it's not mac n' cheese, because it also contains mushrooms and tomatoes and celery and green pepper. I liked it.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Snow Day 2015

Jackson was off school last Monday for MLK Day. We started our morning with blueberry waffles and Trouble.

In the afternoon we headed for a "snow day" held by a local church. In Austin, this is the only chance we usually get to play in the snow, so it was madness!

Jackson and Olivia jumped right in.

The perfect snowball, he said, then quickly looked for a target to throw it at.

Warming up with hot cocoa.

For dinner I made a simple stir-fry with frozen Asian veggie mix, baked tofu, brown rice, and the Passion Peanut Sauce from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan.

Friday, January 23, 2015


Today I tried a Suja Elements Macachino. I wonder about the cancelling-out effects of consuming maca and caffeine together. It was delicious though.

Dinner: American Vegan Kitchen's seitan poboys, with lime-infused cole slaw, on kaiser rolls. Now this is a sandwich my friends. A very fast dinner since I had a frozen batch of the seitan on hand.

A girl and her pup.

A boy and his Lego creature.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Train Time

I tried to make a pumpkin pie smoothie for breakfast. Frozen banana, pumpkin puree, soymilk, cinnamon, stevia, and pecans. Hit the spot!

Jackson had an early release day at school, so we got to have fun. I took the kids to an art gallery in Round Rock that had a special model train installation.

They both got to take turns being conductors, which was super cool.

I couldn't get over the level of detail in the model village.

This was clearly a huge investment of time and money for the train set owners.

Trying super hard not to touch the trains!

Watching the trains race.

For dinner I made the Not-From-a-Box Mac and Oat Chez from OATrageous Oatmeals. By making the "chez" powder in advance and storing it in your pantry, you can have instant mac n' cheese a la Kraft, only vegan. I really like the convenience factor, and the kids gobbled it up!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cupcakes n Burgers

Today Olivia and I met a friend for lunch at Phil's Icehouse. We got there a little early so we went next door to check out a new bakery, Baked By Amy's. Amy's has always been known in Austin for their ice cream, but now they are branching out to other sweet treats.

As soon as we stepped inside, I was taking deep breaths of that amazing bakery smell. I wasn't going to buy anything because we hadn't had lunch yet, but then Olivia had to use the restroom, so I felt like we should make a purchase. We shared an apple pie cupcake decorated with buttercream, caramel drizzle, and sweet brown sugar crumbles, with apple filling inside.

Our lunch. Mama-sized veggie burger on the left, Olivia-sized version on the right.

We also brought a tres leches cupcake home for Jackson. 

Kid deserves a cupcake. 

Boom! Shoe tying, mastered!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Mr. Dressup

Do any of y'all remember an 80's children's show called Mr. Dressup? He was like the Canadian version of Mr. Rogers. Growing up in Detroit we got a number of Canadian television shows, and this was one that I watched from time to time.

Anyway, now it's Jackson's nickname. It was his idea to make crowns and he specified the color of the "jewels" that should go on top. Then Olivia needed a crown, too, of course.

For lunch we had the broccoli cheddar soup from Isa Does It. I want to bathe in this luxurious creamy, golden soup. Not really.

Jackson received The Lego Movie for Christmas, so he said we should have a popcorn party and watch it. He described what a popcorn party would be like, and I thought a visit to Cornucopia would do the trick. There we chose several different flavors of popcorn that we could sample while we watched the movie. We got cajun, salt and vinegar, pumpkin pie, confetti, and red hot flavors.

We also picked up a couple of Via 313 veggie pizzas for dinner. THE BEST pizza in Austin. I wish I was eating it right now. And every day. They really need to open a North Austin location.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Two Reviews

Today I have a couple of product reviews, which I like to do from time to time. I'm not compensated financially, but these companies did provide me with free samples of their products.

First, I tried new frozen pupusas made by Tres Pupusas in Boulder.  If you're not familiar with pupusas, they're Salvadoran cakes made from corn masa and stuffed with different fillings. Kind of like a quesadilla, but smaller in circumference and thicker. Tres Pupusas' cakes are made with organic and non-GMO masa, although I don't think the other ingredients are organic. I chose the Green Chile & Cheese and Spinach & Cheese flavors. Two vegan flavors, Black Bean & Sweet Corn and Pinto Bean & Kale are also available.

The pupusas cooked up quickly in a skillet on the stovetop, and Jackson, Olivia and I shared them for lunch. I preferred the green chile and cheese pupusas, with that little added touch of heat from the green chiles. The kids loved the spinach and cheese variety. They had fun stringing out the melted, gooey mozzarella filling. The masa crust was crispy on the outside, but creamy on the inside. 

The Tres Pupusas packaging recommended serving them with curtido, a kind of cole slaw, for authenticity,  but we just ate them plain. I think they would have also been good with some marinara! 

Next, Cocozia has just released a chocolate flavored coconut water. In addition to the hydrating, healthful properties of coconut water, this has the added bonus of tasting just like chocolate milk! I'm not kidding. It is a great electrolyte replacer after a workout, sure, but I've also been drinking a cup as a treat before bed when I'm craving a little something sweet.

Not quite as thick as a chocolate soymilk or almond milk, true, but it's still plenty creamy and chocolaty for about 60 calories per cup.

Have you tried any new products that I should check out?