Monday, April 9, 2012

No Interesting Food Here

Well, I haven't posted in so long because I have not been cooking anything interesting. We seem to have some commitment every night of the week lately, which means lots of spaghetti. Also that's all my kids eat. The kids were on spring break last week, and we ate out a lot. By Friday, I was sick of eating not so great food and was motivated to take charge and cook something decent. I made this salad from Vegan Family Meals.

It was made of roasted beets, "Sweet Mustard Tempeh," and raw kale with an orange tahini dressing. Very earthy - not something you would serve to someone who eats "regular" food! I was proud of my kids for trying all the components without complaining (then they ate Cheerios). Still don't really like tempeh, but this was pretty good. 

Easter dinner:

I wanted everyone to have their favorite foods so we could avoid the usual dinner time battleground. Still meant cooking something different for everyone, but it was worth it. That meant spaghetti for the little girls, mashed potatoes for the big girl, steak for the Carnivore, and tofu for me! I made the citrus roasted tofu from Nava's Vegan Holidays. I liked the glaze but it didn't do much for the tofu.

 I have not been liking my "protein" foods lately, which seems odd to me after being a vegetarian for 30 years. I have a friend who has been vegan for a long time, and recently went back to eating meat after a bout with pneumonia that she felt she needed to eat meat to recover from. What gives? Not that I am craving meat, just better cooking. What are your favorite, most satisfying foods?

Easter fun: pretty dresses and beautiful spring weather!

Our own little Easter bunny!

In other news, my husband did this for his Easter weekend project:

Added that center beam and all the dark wood to the family room ceiling. Doesn't it look awesome? We tried to get a contractor to do it, but all the quotes were so outrageous that he did it himself.

Here is a bad part of living in the south:

Didn't know these critters lived here. They are smaller than the Arizona variety but just as creepy!

Thursday, March 1, 2012


We have all been sick lately. It started with my oldest girl, then me and my youngest daughter. I was flat on my back in bed for three days. Then we had house guests for the long weekend, and I guess I over did. My youngest and I both had relapses. 2nd round of antibiotics, more missed school. She is finally getting better. I am recovering more slowly. Moms don't have time to get sick! The best part is seeing her more herself.

Here is a soup I made - the first healthy thing I have eaten in a while (too many margaritas and chips when our friends were here!) I had some stale bread to use up and this is my favorite way.


olive oil (the original recipe called for a half cup!)
1/2 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
12 baby carrots, quartered (or two large carrots, chopped)
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 15 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 15 oz. can navy beans, rinsed and drained
1 large russet potato, cut in small cubes
6 cups water
1 t. dried basil
1/4 t. sage
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1 bunch kale, chopped
1 1/2 T. Better Than Bouillon No-Beef Broth
6 thick slices stale Italian bread

Saute onions in oil until soft and brown. Add garlic, carrots, and celery and saute few minutes. Add everything else except bread. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Add bread, smashing with a spoon as it softens. Simmer, covered, another 1/2 hour.

You may need to add some salt, although I added a half teaspoon and it was too salty! You would think the veggies would be overcooked with that long cooking time, but somehow they are not. Really delicious.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Greetings From Our New Home and Game Day Chili

SO, it's been quite a while since I have posted! For some reason, moving was  a lot harder this time around. Maybe because I was sadder to leave this time, or more worried about the kids (because they definitely didn't want to leave!), or just overwhelmed by the sheer volume of stuff. We thought we did a great job of cleaning out when we put our house on the market, but still had to throw out a ton of stuff when we got to the new place. Much smaller closets and fewer kitchen cabinets, and just different in general so stuff didn't fit the same. So if you are moving any time soon, get rid of twice as much as you think you need to (or better yet, don't accumulate it in the first place!)

We drove all the way without stopping because our car was so full, we didn't dare take anything until we got to our destination. The kids and dogs were both great on the trip. We were worried about the dogs, as they are always bad in the car and have never been on a long trip. But I guess they were so nervous, and didn't really have any room to jump around, so they slept the entire 14 hours! We only stopped for gas and bathroom breaks and snacks - did not want to leave the dogs in the car when we were in a restaurant. We arrived in Georgia about 2:30 a.m. It was really dark (obviously) and we were exhausted, so just went to sleep on our air mattresses. The next day I awoke to find these in my yard (on December 31!):

Certainly a nice surprise and greeting in our new home! The weather has been outstanding, warm even by Georgia standards. We have been sitting on the porch in the sun on the weekends. The kids even wore shorts a couple of times!

This is the view from our deck. It is beautiful in the morning when the sun is rising (an hour later in GA than in Illinois!) and when the full moon is out over the trees. I am so thrilled with this, because in our last house we overlooked a busy road and some commercial buildings (at least in winter when there are no leaves on the trees). I didn't even know about the view, as I had not seen the house before we arrived and it wasn't in any of the pictures.

The dogs are loving their new yard. Although we had a fenced yard in the old place, it was always wet and muddy and they couldn't use it much. Here the ground seems to dry pretty quickly after it rains.

They are also enjoying their new couch potato status. In the old house, they weren't allowed out of the kitchen. Here they have the run of the first floor, and their crazy behavior has improved tremendously. Although they still have accidents, and now we have to keep sheets on the couch!

Happy doggies.

The girls decided to cook dinner one night and had their waitress gear on. At the end (it took them two hours), my 12 year old said, "Mom, how do you do this every night?" That comment alone was worth me doing the clean up for them!

And now for some food!

This is a Cesaer salad from Vegetarian Times. Not sure which month - it came via e-mail with the 21 day Yoga Challenge (which was really fun and motivating, by the way).

The sauce on the tofu is Mmmmm sauce from Peas and Thank You. My kids, who normally don't eat potatoes, really loved those baked fries!

Sweet Potato and Harissa soup from Veg Times October 2011.

Roasted chickpeas from Peas and Thank You. I never have success with roasted chickpeas, no matter which recipe I use - they always turn out unpleasantly chewy. Does anyone know how to get them crunchy?

Kung Pao Tofu and Singapore Curry noodles from the Chinese takeout place. We are so thrilled to have good Chinese food again! There did not seem to be any in Illinois. I really liked the noodles. I saw a similar recipe for them in Vegan Express by Nava Atlas. I need to try it and see if it is as good as these noodles were.

And finally, game day chili. Did you know that the NFL is making a stink about people using "super bowl" in advertising? Even my church, which hosts a big party every year on that day, got a letter from the NFL saying they can't call it a super bowl party. 'Cause they are not making enough money already on all their licensed stuff, they have to license the name, too. Anyway, my neighbor hosted a big party for the bowl, and I brought this chili. It was loved by vegetarians and meat eaters alike!

Game Day Chili

1 large red onion, chopped
olive oil
1 green pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 15 oz. cans pinto beans
2 15 oz. cans black beans
4 T. chili powder (the regular supermarket kind)
1 t. ground chipotle chili powder
1 T cocoa powder
1/8 - 1/4 t ground cloves (start with the smaller amount) (or use 3 whole cloves, but then you have to fish them out or risk biting into one)
1-2 T soy sauce
water to barely cover

Saute onion in oil until browned, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt. Add peppers and saute another 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt (I always tell you to salt each layer, don't I?) Add garlic and cook a few minutes more. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for a while. Smash some of the beans against the side of the pot so the chili thickens. Serve with all the fixin's! (That's what my southern neighbors all say).

Monday, December 12, 2011

Favorite Sandwich Spread

This is really simple and really good. I have been making it for years.

1 can vegetarian refried beans
1 T veganaise
2-3 T ketchup
lots of chopped pickled jalapenos

Mix it all together. The amount of ketchup depends on the consistency you like.
That's it!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Last Visit to My Favorite City (At Least For A While)

The day after Thanksgiving was 55 and sunny, so I thought it would be a good day to visit my favorite city for the last time before we move. Nothing specific to do, just visit our old house and favorite places in the neighborhood. I will miss it so much!

Winter sun and trees make a striking landscape. You can see the art museum behind the trees. The "wings" open up daily and have a 218 foot wingspan!

It seemed much colder here with the wind whipping off the lake!

Must climb trees! Hohn bridge in background.

Surfers in Lake Michigan in November!

St. Mary's and Water Tower. The old hospital on the right, with the new Columbia-St. Mary's behind it.

The pavilion at Bradford beach. This reminds me of the pavilions in South Beach, except they are not made of brick!

Looking north on Bradford Beach. No one wanted to walk with me. Look at those white caps!

We ate at the Comet Cafe on Farwell. Love this place - makes both me and the Carnivore happy. I had the seitan Philly steak with a vegan nacho cheese sauce. Why can't my seitan taste like that? No cardboard here. In the foreground is the mashed potatoes with beer gravy. Only in Milwaukee!

This was the only good thing at my Thanksgiving dinner. It is a cranberry marinated and pan fried tofu. For some reason none of the side dishes were good! Don't know why - I have made them all before.

Had these for dinner the other night. They are really tasty. No nasty soy after taste. Yes, I know they are processed, but I just don't always want to eat beans!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Message from a 7 Year Old

This was written by my daughter in school, without any prompting (or editing) from me:

"Please don't eat me for Thanksgiving dinner. I look better sitting at the table, not on it. I have a bad case of turkey pox and I will make you very sick. I'm too young to die. I'm a loving bird, not a meal. My meat's not ready yet. I'm so fat that I'll make you fat.

So you can see, I wouldn't be a good meal for Thanksgiving dinner."

Not sure where this came from - we don't talk much about things like this and we are an omnivorous household, with the extended family always making a huge deal about the turkey. Wow!

Also, they did an essay using the letters in "Thanksgiving" as the first letter of every sentence:

"G":  Giving thanks for what we eat. Making prayers for God.

"V": Vegetables all over the table. I love to eat with my family.

"I": Instead of turkey I eat cranberry sauce with my sisters.

"N": Now we're all happy together. We eat.

"G": Giving and doing good things is a good thing to do on Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving, however you celebrate!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cheater Curry

Sautee in oil.

Add sauce and bring to simmer.
Add pressed, cubed tofu.

Add halved grape tomatoes. Simmer 15 minutes.

Add spinach, simmer 5 minutes.


Serve over brown rice.

Can you tell where I like to shop?