Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Olivia Turns Five

Olivia started off her fifth year of life by feeding breakfast to her ponies.

For a special dinner, I made the Leek and Bean Cassoulet with Biscuits from Veganomicon.  I stuck it under the broiler for a minute after it finished cooking, to get the biscuits nice and golden.

I subbed chickpeas for the navy beans. It was so good!

Olivia requested a Rainbow Dash cake this year. She is just a little obsessed with My Little Pony these days (and Shopkins, and Monster High!) It was fun and challenging to make and to decorate. For the cake and frosting, I doubled the vanilla cupcake and vanilla buttercream recipes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.



At five, Olivia loves roller-skating, gymnastics, fairies, princesses, hour-long baths, board games, cuddling, being tickled, and all things pink and purple. She can count to one hundred and she is starting to learn her sight words. She wants to grow her hair long like Rapunzel and she is excited to start kindergarten in the fall. She is a delightful little girl and I am so lucky and thankful to be her mama.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Master Builders

I love it when Jackson and Olivia build together. 

Navigating their relationship one train track at a time. Give-and-take. Sharing. Splitting responsibilities. Team effort. Such important life lessons. Kids learn so much through play.

Sprouts was having a nice sale, so we picked up a few goodies. We always need more Nag Champa. Alaffia bath products are the only ones I buy for the kids. They seem like a wonderful company, committed to reducing maternal death rates in West Africa.

How could I pass up Way Better sriracha chips, made with flax, quinoa, and kale? Those are like the top 4 hippie ingredients all in one chip. I also grabbed a local Tom's Tabooley Spicy Thai tofu wrap. It was good, but no match for their hummus falafel wrap, which they were sold out of or else that's what I would've gotten, since it's amazing.

Old-school tea vendors Celestial Seasonings have come out with a line of kombuchas. I always like to try new kombucha flavors. Their Hydration blend contains coconut, lime, and hibiscus, while the Immunity blend is grape. I believe these are the two Sprouts exclusive flavors, if you want to look for them. I also grabbed a handful of Larabars since they were buy one, get one free.

Dinner was veggie burgers with Veganaise, dill relish, jalapenos, and mustard, with crinkle cut fries. Chomp!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Park Play

I'm so happy spring is on its way! After school it was warm and sunny, a perfect afternoon to hang out at the neighborhood park for awhile.

Creek exploration!

We had a simple Mediterranean feast of baked falafel (from Appetite for Reduction, our favorite falafel recipe), bulgur tabouli, hummus, and tahini lemon sauce.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Random Eats

Just some meals that were too good not to record for posterity.

Taco Fiesta Potato Crisps from Oh She Glows. Tony and I both love these savory little bites of potato, walnut "taco meat," cashew sour cream, and salsa.

Lunch at Juiceland with Olivia. She had the Clementine smoothie with OJ, mango and peach. I had a Ninja Bachelor Party juice with pineapple, celery, kale, parsley, spinach...and jalapeno!  I prefer my green juices to have a strong green flavor rather than a sweet, fruity flavor, and this one definitely fit the bill! I loved it. We also shared some sour cream and onion kale chips.

Green Bean Casserole Pizza from Bake and Destroy blog. I made this once before using a store-bought crust and I wanted to try it again with a homemade crust. This pizza is completely ridiculous and totally awesome.

Tony brought me lunch one day, a quinoa, wheatberry and Brussels sprout salad from North. I've never eaten at the restaurant but the salad was fantastic.

Remind me to buy more coloring books! They tear through 'em.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Go Dragons!

Spring soccer season has begun. Jackson is on the Dragons this year. Earlier games mean sleepy players.

And sleepy spectators.

But everyone is still having fun.

To warm up afterwards - Sweet Potato Succotash Stew from Vegan on the Cheap.  So good. I'm always excited to make a recipe that uses the underrated lima bean.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Cupcake Practice

A chilly morning in front of the fire. We may not have too many more of those! Spring is on its way.

Vegan on the Cheap's Almost-Instant Chickpea Tomato Soup. Five minutes and you have lunch. We love this recipe.

And VOTC Baked Ziti for dinner, except made with whole wheat elbow macaroni because that's what I had.

Oh yeah, we also made cupcakes! I've decided to add more vegan baked goods to my repertoire. It took me forever to master buttercream, and now I'm working on my decorating skillz. Every batch of cupcakes is practice. I love practicing.

These are the PPK Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes. I don't believe in food guilt or using words like "sinful" to describe my food but I will make an exception for that chocolate mousse because it's like, how can I be eating something THIS insanely rich and chocolately and oh yeah, it's also attached to a delicious chocolate cupcake.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Pink Eyes, Big Heart

Olivia came down with pinkeye recently. She had it once before and it cleared up on its own, but that was not the case this time. Just when I thought I had better take her in to see the pediatrician, she started running a fever and wheezing. Off we went!

When the doctor said she wanted to do a chest x-ray to check for pneumonia, I panicked internally. That's not a word any mama wants to hear. Thankfully, Olivia did not have pneumonia! She got some antibiotics and she was also given a breathing treatment to help her lungs.

She was so happy she didn't have to get a shot.

I made some of her favorite foods to help her get better, including whole wheat toast with jam.

Our favorite hummus, Horseradish Dill Hummus from Appetite for Reduction.

Perfect Kale Chips from Oh She Glows. They really do turn out perfect every time and Olivia will eat a whole tray.

15-Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta from Oh She Glows. If this was the only pasta I made for Jackson and Olivia, they would be fine with that.

What are your favorite foods when you are sick?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Snow Day

Spring seems to be taking its sweet time arriving in Austin this year. Hopefully that means summer won't be hot as blazes. Sunny days have arrived for now, but just a couple of weeks ago Jackson had a snow day. Actually it was an ice day, or more precisely, a "fear of possible ice" day. We'll take it.

Popcorn, pillows, and Big Hero 6.

Soup for dinner - the best thing to warm you up. Spiced Red Lentil, Tomato and Kale Soup from Oh She Glows. Oh, this was good!

I also tried my hand at baking some pretzel rolls. I am not very good at baking yeast breads. These came out less roll-shaped than I would've liked. I am not sure how to keep them from spreading. I will try again though.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Mucho Tex-Mex

After some initial qualms about returning to veganism, in particularly the difficulty of doing so when surrounded by a Tex-Mex loving, omnivorous family, I'm happy to report it's going really well. Much easier than I thought. And that includes Tex-Mex. Because we do eat a lot of it.

If frozen margaritas weren't vegan, I would be so screwed though.

At Polvo's, the Michoacan salad, loaded with huge chunks of ripe avocado.

Chipotle sofritas bowl, and a good book.

A birthday lunch at Chuy's for Olivia, who turned 5.

Guacamole soft tacos. The rice is also vegan. The refritos I'm not sure about, because I don't eat them anyway.

Cheers to vegan Tex-Mex!

Friday, March 6, 2015


Tony and I had a "date lunch" over the weekend while the kids visited my parents. 

We ate at Sway, a fancy Thai restaurant. When I say fancy, check out the restaurant interior by clicking that link. The design is beautiful. Not kitschy like some Thai places. We had the option of communal seating or window bar. We sat at the bar, with a view of the dreary, rainy sky and one of the moon towers.

I started with the po-pea jay, a vegetable spring roll with tomato chutney. I admired the slab-of-rock presentation. The roll was good, a little dry.

Sway brings out dishes as they are ready so I got my side of baby bok choy with toasted garlic, before my entree. I love bok choy and it was sauteed to perfection.

I ordered the green curry with tofu, eggplant, fingerling potato, peas, Thai basil, hot peppers, and more of that toasted garlic that seemed to garnish every dish. The server warned me this was one of the spiciest dishes and I thought, "Bring it on!" Well, it was a challenge! The curry was delicious, but you know how a curry's heat intensifies when it sits overnight? I was actually afraid to bring home leftovers because I wouldn't be able to eat it if it got any hotter! Luckily I was able to eat it all at the restaurant, haha.

Kosmic Kombucha is a local company and they make a special kombucha just for Sway, with Thai flavors like coconut water, ginger, and lemongrass. It was the perfect drink to wash everything down!

Truly out-of-the-ordinary flavors and experience, we'll be back for sure.