Friday, April 30, 2010


I have a triple dose of "kids say the darndest" for you today! It's been a silly week. :)

1. We have a new little girl in our class who is very shy, and a very picky, very slow eater. I noticed at lunch the other day that she was practically shoveling her food in -- totally chowing down! I asked her if she liked this lunch and she replied, "yeah, this food makes my tummy feel GOOOOOOOOOD!"

2. Late in the afternoon yesterday, I asked one of the girls who was picking her up. She replied, "my mom. I don't want my grandma to pick me up -- she farts too much."

3. At lunch yesterday, seemingly out of nowhere, one of the boys announced, "when my mom walks around the house with no clothes on, my dad slaps her butt!"

Oh lord.

Happy Friday everyone!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

smoothie, bread, and brunch!

It's officially smoothie season! Here's today's:

Local, unsweetened vanilla yogurt, papaya, banana, raspberries, flax seeds, and orange juice. So sweet and nourishing and refreshing (and pink!)


I planned on working on our current bake-a-long project this weekend -- "Aunt Melissa's Granola Bread." Victoria gave the bread a great review, and I was thrilled to try it out!

Unfortunately, my first try at the bread yesterday was an utter disaster. I decided to make a free-form loaf, (instead of baking the bread in a pan, as the recipe suggests,) and I ended up with a nearly black, crusty, flat loaf that was completely inedible. To the trash, unfortunately, and back to the cupboard for a second round of ingredients.

Why am I opposed to using bread pans? Because my loaves ALWAYS stick, no matter how well I grease them. Today, I had the brilliant idea of lining my pans with parchment, which allowed each loaf to release beautifully! Wahoo! Trial #2 was a huge success:

The recipe suggests splitting the dough into two 9-inch loaves; I chose to split it into three 8-inch loaves. My pans weren't as full as I'd like them to be, and in fact, I think I'd split the dough into two 8-inch pans in the future. (I like a tall, majestic loaf of bread.) :)

How about the taste, you ask?

The loaves were cool in time to slice and enjoy with brunch:

Holy cow, this is some damn fine bread! Soft, chewy, yeasty, and slightly sweet, with little surprise nuggets here and there from the incorporated granola. I think I like this even better than the Oatmeal Bread for morning toast! YUMMERS!

"Yummers?" Yeah, I just said "yummers." But really, it's that good!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

dinner AND dessert!

After my grueling (but fun!) afternoon in the kitchen, this is "all" I have to show, (so far,) for my efforts:

Tabouli, vegan spinach pie, and roasted asparagus made a mighty fine dinner!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble, topped with vanilla ice cream, was a mighty fine dessert!

opening day: Minneapolis Farmer's Market

Holy cow, I was pleasantly SHOCKED to see SO much local produce given it's the official opening weekend of the Minneapolis Farmer's Market! Check out my awesome scores:

Asparagus, spinach, honey, green onions, rhubarb, hydroponic cucumbers, fresh herbs (oregano, dill, mint, and parsley,) mozzarella, parmesan, hydroponic tomatoes, hydroponic peppers, and mixed baby greens (with edible flowers!)

After wrapping up errands this morning, I made another pizza for lunch:

Artisan Bread half whole-wheat crust, homemade marinara, local mozzarella and local parmesan, local spinach, local red bell pepper, local mushroom, red onion, and kalamata olives. YUUUUUUUUUUUUMMMMMMMM!

I have been slaving away in my kitchen all afternoon, so there will be more food news to report soon enough . . . until then!

Friday, April 23, 2010

kids say the darndest . . .

I ran to Mississippi Market this afternoon to pick up a few things for home, and noticed that whole-fruit popsicles were on sale . . . time to spoil the children!

The kids were THRILLED to have popsicles for snack . . . all but one. I purchased a box of strawberry and a box of mango popsicles, and let each one choose a flavor. One of my girls chose strawberry, which I was surprised by -- she has turned down fresh strawberries repeatedly. I warned her that the strawberry popsicle was going to taste like real strawberries . . . she still chose it. And you guessed it, that pop ended up in the trash. (GRRRR!)

Later in the afternoon, this little one was complaining to me that she was hungry.

I said, "well, that's because you didn't eat your snack."

She said, "I didn't like it."

I said, "you know, I've never met a kid that didn't like popsicles."

She said, "But I like popsicles."

I said, "but you didn't eat it!"

She said, "I like regular popsicles."

I said, "That's because you're a picky-pants!"

Well, this resulted in huge peals of laughter, and much chanting of "picky-pants, picky-pants, picky-picky-picky-pants!" by both of us.

Until suddenly, she stopped, looked down, and then back at me, and said, quite seriously, "nuh-uh -- I got shorts on."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

outdoing myself

According to Dan, I outdid myself with tonight's dinner:

"Curried Tofu," from VCON, garlic-roasted asparagus, roasted potatoes, and some (honestly, pretty overcooked) quinoa. Yummers all around! (The overcooked quinoa wasn't a huge problem -- it kind of reminded me of couscous, actually, which was what I originally wanted to make, but we were all out!)


The weekend's so close, I can almost TASTE it! ARGH! I can't wait to go to the Farmer's Market this weekend! I hear there are veggies already -- SO early for Minnesota! Wee!

every day.

(thanks for the picture.)

Happy Earth Day! Those of you new to my blog may be surprised to find that environmentalism extends WAY beyond reuseable shopping bags and compact fluorescent bulbs in my house, and that I make a serious commitment to reducing my carbon footprint as much as my time and budget allow.

What do we do, you ask? Here's a laundry list:

~ eco-friendly cleaning and paper products, (mostly Seventh Generation,) including recycled toilet paper, paper towels, and kleenexes, vegetable-based soaps, and reusables as much as possible (i.e., dryer balls, dish scrubbers, handkerchiefs, mini-towels to go, rags, etc.)

~ vegetable-based (and organic when possible) health and body care products, toothbrushes w/replaceable heads, organic cotton tampons, and again, reusables as much as possible (washcloths, body scrubbers, etc.)

~ reusable shopping bags AND reusable produce bags, as well as shopping from the bulk bins (bringing my own containers) as much as possible, also buying as much local and organic as we can (I'm psyched to hit up the Farmer's Market this weekend!)

~ packing lunches and eating at home as much as possible, including reusable bags, containers, silverware, and cloth napkins

~ obviously, we recycle :) (everything!)

~ eco-friendly, compostable cat litter

~ walking, biking, and/or bussing as much as we can

~ reusable water bottles, coffee cups, etc.

~ we eat a 100% vegetarian diet at home, largely vegan; Dan does eat meat occasionally while dining out, I do not

~ eliminating junk mail by getting off the "lists"

~ line-drying at least one laundry load per week, to save a little electricity (and money, since we run through quarters like no one's business!)

So . . . what are my Earth Day goals this year, you ask? I have three -- two simple, one a bit more complex.

1. I really need to get better about taking a travel mug with me to the coffee shop. I think if I keep one at work (for those impromptu trips to the co-op for an afternoon pick-me-up!) it will help a lot. I never take a "java jacket," but if I can eliminate the paper cup and lid, even better! (I rarely buy coffee out, but this is still a little thing I can do!)

2. I need to source a location that recycles #5 plastic -- I have those big yogurt tubs coming out of my ears these days, and I only need so many for the bulk items when shopping! Any suggestions?

3. I need to work on "greening" my wardrobe. How? I'm going to try to learn to thrift, even though I really, really, really HATE shopping. (Ugh.) I also want to source more stores that manufacture clothes in a slightly more sustainable way (i.e., at least paying their workers a liveable wage, etc.) Anyone have good suggestions for places to shop? I know about H&M and American Apparel, but any other ideas (real stores and/or websites) would be helpful! (Particularly, anyone know where to get decent petite size pants made in a sustainable way?)

What are you doing to to help the Earth -- today, or every day?

P.S. We're starting a weekly trash-pickup with our kidlets at work today, and they also want to plant a garden this summer. Wahoo!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

salad #2 this week . . .

Another fantastic salad, courtesy of Eating Well, tonight:

"Spiced Eggplant-Lentil Salad with Mango" was fantastic! Top a bed of romaine with a spicy, sweet, tangy mixture of roasted eggplant and lentils, then garnish with diced mango, chopped cashews, and cilantro . . . mmmmm! Dan mentioned that this salad tasted extremely healthy to him, but also very delicious! (As all healthy food should taste, right?)

I paired our salads with a few homemade pita chips, which were a perfect accompaniment. I'm really looking forward to eating leftovers for lunch tomorrow! Woot!

dear pizza

Dear pizza,

It's been a while! We've missed you!

YUM! I did consciously take a break from pizza, even though we could enjoy it every single week and never get sick of it, because, really, who needs to consume that much cheese? ;) Anyhow, Artisan Bread half whole-wheat crust, homemade tomato sauce, red onion, mushrooms, kalamata olives, mozzarella, parmesan, and a last-minute sprinkle of oregano.

I did manage to cram a huge side salad portion on this plate as well . . . and I have to remember to post soon about our new favorite "house dressing!" Stay tuned . . . !

Sunday, April 18, 2010

one chill evening

After a very busy weekend, (errands, mountains of laundry, mega cooking extravaganza, friends' housewarming party, plans with other friends, etc.), Dan and I were due for a chill evening. We started with these seemingly indulgent, but really truly healthy taco salads:

The June 2010 issue of Eating Well has a GREAT article titled "Elements of a Power Salad," containing several tempting recipes, most easily vegetized, and this taco salad caught my eye right away. Now, I think that Eating Well does an excellent job of printing outstanding recipes and nutrition information, but they've really outdone themselves this time . . . this salad was AMAZING! Looking at that picture makes me want to yank the leftovers out of the fridge and have a second dinner! (Although I probably won't, since I'm not all that hungry right now. But you get the idea!)

We followed the salads with . . .

Yesssssss . . . strawberry cream puffs! Organic strawberries have been on deep sale lately, and I just couldn't resist. YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM.

After dessert, we hopped on our bikes for about an hour. Next on the agenda? Couch!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

catchin' up

First, here's the laundry list of tasty eats we had this past week . . .

The black bean burgers from VCON, with sides of roasted sweet potatoes, coleslaw, and the obvious pickle:

Not complete without the pickle, right? :)

Simple pasta and salad:

Whole-wheat penne dressed in my homemade marinara was a huge hit with Dan, as always. I tend to think of pasta w/red sauce as kind of "boring," but it's one of Dan's favorite meals! Who knew?

Red Curry over brown rice:

MMMMMMMMMM . . . spicy delicious! Tofu and tons of veggies made our usual coconut curry extra-special. Yum!

A wheatberry, black bean, and edamame salad we're taking to a potluck tonight:

I only sampled a bite of this earlier, but I was impressed by how a few quality ingredients combined to make something so tasty! Score.


I took advantage of the gorgeous weather today and walked to the co-op for our weekly shop:

local, organic cashews
local maple syrup
local, organic rolled oats
local, organic wheatberries

local pepper jack
local mozzarella

local, organic, shelled edamame

kava kava

organic yellow corn tortilla chips
kalamata olives
vital wheat gluten
Virgil's root beer (to take to the potluck!)
Annie's Goddess dressing (on sale!)
organic salsa (on sale!)
organic crushed tomatoes

organic bananas
organic mangoes
organic limes
organic asparagus
organic eggplant
organic spring mix
organic cilantro
organic white button mushrooms
organic red onions
organic green onions
local hydroponic lettuce
local hydroponic tomatoes

grapefruit juice
extra-firm tofu
local, organic, vanilla yogurt
local whole-wheat pita (made w/organic flour)
local, organic eggs


I'm excited to try a couple of the recipes in the most recent issue of Eating Well for meal-sized salads . . . I'm also planning pizza and curried tofu with awesome side dishes this week.

How has your weekly fare changed with the change in seasons?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Here's a small selection of the pictures I took this past weekend, during Dan's and my trip to Duluth. We had a great time hiking and hanging out, and were pleasantly shocked by the weather -- 61 and sunny on both Saturday and Sunday! Wow! I don't think we've ever been up to the north shore when it hasn't rained at least a little bit. :)

On our way to Duluth, we couldn't contain ourselves much longer, and stopped at Jay Cooke to hike a little bit:

After arriving in Duluth and checking into our (lousy) motel, (hey, but you get what you pay for, right?), we enjoyed dinner at Pizza Luce and a quick browse at the Electric Fetus before watching a little cable and crashing pretty early.

Saturday morning, we enjoyed breakfast at Amazing Grace cafe, (and picked up sandwiches to go for lunch,) before heading a little further north to Gooseberry Falls. We hiked a TON and enjoyed a picnic lunch on the shores of Lake Superior:

After all of that hiking, I was pretty beat, but we didn't want to miss Split Rock Lighthouse. We stopped for a short cup of coffee on the way, and then walked around the lighthouse and the beach a little bit:

(We saw about four deer munching at the side of the road as we were on our way out of the park, and they weren't bothered much by us, so I was able to snap several pictures. This was the best one!)

We enjoyed a slightly greasy, murderously large dinner at Fitger's on Saturday night. I tried their wild rice burger with a side of sweet potato fries, which was pretty good, considering I really don't much care for "veggie burgers." Sweet potato fries are always awesome, though!

Sunday morning, we went to Uncle Loui's Cafe for breakfast before bumming around Duluth. We poked into a few stores before crossing the lift bridge and walking along the beach:

Realizing we were pretty worn out and we had a ton of stuff to do once we got home, we drove back to the cities early afternoon. We had such a relaxing and fun weekend!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

kids say the darndest . . .

Upon arriving at work this morning, one of the kids told me that her mom sprayed perfume on her this morning, and that she smells like perfume now.

Later, when she was sitting in my lap, she turns to me and says, "you don't smell like perfume -- you smell just like Miss Catherine!"

Deodorant and coffee, that must be my signature scent!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

pile o' veggies

Dan and I have been out of town all weekend, and even though we've been eating reasonably healthfully while away, today was an exception. We got up late, went to brunch where I had French toast with bananas, blueberries, and walnuts, did a few things, ate some candy, drank some chai, then hopped in the car and headed home. We had some fruit and almonds in the car for snacks, which I enjoyed, but by the time we got home, I was HUNGRY. Why? Because I had nothing to eat all day except bread, fruit, a few nuts, and a bunch of sugar.

Eeek! Bring on the veggies!

"Tempeh Nicoise" salads totally fit the bill. I feel so much better after plowing through this pile o' veggies!

Friday, April 09, 2010

sticking with the VCON

I went through a period this winter where I found meal-planning a little overwhelming -- I found myself bombarded with ideas, but having a hard time narrowing down what we were going to eat each week. Ugh!

Lately, though, I've found a solution to my self-imposed problem -- choose one cookbook off my shelf, and stick with it for a week or two. I spent a couple of weeks getting to know Vegan Planet, which I'm happy to report was a good thing (tofu quiche!), and now, I've been sticking with VCON for a little bit. Not only does this new system allow me more focus in my recipe-selection, it "forces" me to try new recipes from cookbooks I've owned for ages!

First, something not from VCON:

Since we had leftovers from the giant Greek salad we took to Easter dinner, we did have giant salads one night this week. The salads were fabulous, and the biscuits made them even better! I love biscuits.

Now, time for VCON:

"Tomato-Rice Soup with Roasted Garlic and Navy Beans" was really simple and really delicious! If you roast the garlic ahead of time, this comes together in the blink of an eye, and is hearty and comforting! Yum.

"Leek and Bean Cassoulet with Biscuits:"

More yum! I was worried, after our recent Shepherd's Pie disaster, that this dish would fall short into the "hearty, but bland" category as well. Not so! Rich and flavorful, this is definitely a dish I will make again. I also found this relatively simple to prepare -- the directions in the cookbook for having everything ready ahead of time were smart!

Happy weekend, everyone!

Monday, April 05, 2010

nom nom nom nom nom!

After finally finishing up the leftovers from last week, it was time to get back into the kitchen!


Basic chocolate-chippers, nothing out of the ordinary, but Dan was about due for a batch of his favorite. :)

Dinner Sunday Night:

More tofu quiche! I switched up the veggies this time, using spinach, artichoke, mushroom, sun-dried tomato, and olives, and chose complimentary herbs, (dill, parsley, and oregano.) I un-veganized the quiche by topping it with a little crumbled feta before baking, which was unneccesary but delicious! This should have baked a little longer than it did, but it was getting late and we were getting hungry, so we sacrificed in the texture department a little bit. Despite the slightly creamy center, this is definitely worth repeating!

Dinner tonight:

When talking with Dan about the kinds of meals he really likes, he mentioned he likes it when I make "huge hunks of tempeh." Happy to oblige. :) "Hot-Sauce Glazed Tempeh," from VCON, with "Messy Rice" (also from VCON,) and simple garlic-roasted broccoli, finished with a squirt of fresh lemon juice. Deeeeeeeelicious! I know it was an exceptionally good meal when I can't WAIT to eat leftovers for lunch tomorrow!