Thursday, July 30, 2009

Too Hot to Cook...Almost.

Ryan's dinner for after swimming at grandma's house: cucumber slices; soy cheese squares; carrot sticks; dijon potatoes; green bean & chick pea salad; peanuts; flat pretzels; peach puffs; plum pieces.

My dinner:
Red Raspberries
Champagne Raspberries

And some cute from
the park...

Maia still likes
to eat flowers.
Somehow she
always manages
to hunt out the
edible ones, thank
goodness. But then
again most field
wildflowers are
technically edible,
especially in small

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Life's Short, Eat Dessert First!

Here's a straightforward
dessert the whole family

Coconut Rice Pudding

1 cup arborio rice
1 can coconut milk
2-3 cups water
2 T. sugar
1/2 cup almond milk (optional)

Place rice in a large saucepan. Add 1 cup coconut milk and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low. Simmer about 20 minutes, stir, then continue simmering until most of liquid has been absorbed.
Add remaining coconut milk, and as liquid is absorbed, slowly add warm/hot water in approximately 1/2 cup increments, stirring almost constantly. When rice is tender, remove from heat.
Add almond milk or thin with water before serving if pudding has become too thick.
The kids love to top with a little brown sugar or fruit...I like frozen strawberries or ripe banana slices while the pudding is still quite hot. If you want, you can also add fruit during the cooking process if you prefer softer cooked fruit.

I've made a few too many
desserts this week! Finally,
a recipe from Colleen
Patrick-Goudreau's The Joy
of Vegan Baking
that I
actually liked, Banana Crumble.
The top was nice and crunchy
and the bananas didn't need
to be overripe.

We ate it with Trader Joe's
vanilla soy ice cream. Their
soy yogurt imitates Double
Rainbow's brand very well.
My favourite flavour is
definitely the Cherry
Chocolate Chip.

But one cannot live on
dessert alone...
Time to roast up whatever
veggies I had on hand in
the fridge. I covered two
baking sheets with onion,
garlic, kohlrabi, broccoli,
potatoes, zucchini & summer
squash, asparagus, & colorful
bell peppers. A little olive oil,
salt, pepper in a 400 degree
oven until tender & browned
and you have a great start
to many meals.

I tossed the veggies with a
can of chick peas, and a
dressing of olive oil, lemon
juice, garlic, salt & pepper.

In the rice cooker I had a
batch of Ina Garten's
Herbed Basmati Rice ready.
The two dishes went
perfectly together. And what
a great way to use a mix of
fresh herbs.

I know some people think
a rice cooker is a single
purpose gadget, but in my
opinion they couldn't be
more wrong. There's a good
reason most asian households
have a rice cooker!

Got leftover rice? I used
a heaping of leftover rice
in this Broccoli Rice
Casserole recipe
from the
VegPeople recipe archive.
It traveled well to the park
the following day in a
Thermos too (and of I
forgot to take any photos
of our picnic, oops!).

I love the cheezy broccoli.
This is a quick recipe that
uses a bag of frozen broccoli.
The sauce was a bit salty in
my opinion, which meant my
husband didn't have to add
any to his for once!

Monday, July 27, 2009

cookbook challenge, week 5

More recipes this week from Tomato Blessings and Radish Teachings.

First up was Focaccia:
Olive Oil Bread with
Fresh Rosemary. The
recipe said it would also
be great as round loaves,
but in the future I think
I'd prefer it flat. It was
tasty though.

Next was a most intense concoction, Baked Beets with Dried Cranberries and Sun-Dried Tomatoes. Whoa! Strangely yummy, but no one else would touch it.

Finally, Macaroni Salad
with Tomatoes, Bell
Pepper, and Red Onion.
This was a good idea, but
rather bland. The capers
saved it. But I must admit
that after trying a few bites
I globbed on a bunch of my
own pesto, and then it was fantastic! LOL.

Only problem with my new camera-download-to-laptop situation is the lack of photo editing software. I'll have to try to remedy that soon, because dark pics and red eye are annoying!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pesto x3

When the basil comes in, I'm all about making pesto to freeze for those dreary days in early December. I make mine thick, and thin it with olive oil or pasta cooking water when I'm
ready to use it.

Using ingredients like purslane (treated as a weed in the U.S. and a delicacy in Europe), walnuts, and walnut oil, really give meals a boost of omega-3 fatty acids.

Use your pesto on pasta, sandwiches, bruschetta, or as a dip. Or toss it with shaved ribbons of zucchini & summer squash with some chopped tomato. Beautiful! Truthfully, I'd be happy to sit down with a bowl of pesto and a spoon, haha.

Purslane Pesto

1 cup purslane
3-4 cups basil
1/2 tsp. salt
4-6 cloves garlic
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4-1/3 cup olive oil

Wash purslane and basil. Put first 5 ingredients in a food processor. Add olive oil while processing, until ingredients come together to form a thin paste.

Kale Pesto

2-3 large kale leaves, stems removed
2-3 cups basil
1/2 tsp. salt
4-6 cloves garlic
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup walnut oil
1/4 cup olive oil

Wash basil. Put first 5 ingredients in a food processor. Add walnut oil and olive oil while processing, until ingredients form a paste.

Pine Nut Pesto

3-4 cups basil
1/2 tsp. salt
4-6 garlic cloves
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/4-1/3 cup olive oil

Wash basil. Put first 4 ingredients in a food processor. Add olive oil while processing, until ingredients form a thin paste.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Loose Ends

I'm in the process of moving
all my photos to an external
hard drive and switching to
the "family" laptop. The
computer I call "mine" is so
full of nasty viruses it often
takes forever just to come
out of sleep mode. Should be
interesting trying to share
with a husband who leaves
his other laptops at work,
and 3 boys who are obsessed
with online games, the Lego
website, and JumpStart world.

The rainbow swiss chard from
the farm never ceases to amaze
me in its brilliance. Even though
each colour tastes the same, it's
hard not to want to choose a
stem of each colour when picking.
Soups are very colourful with a
base of chopped chard stems!

Last week I also picked tons of
basil and made 3 terrific pestos.
I picked many other herbs too,
plus some purslane, raspberries,
blueberries, chard, kale, collards, scallions, lettuce, carrots, kohlrabi, beets,flowers, zucchini & summer squash.

Yesterday's rainy pickup brought the first of the green beans, 2 quarts of blueberries, more raspberries (both red & gold, always so pretty), lettuce, zucchini & summer squash, scallions, beets, cabbage, pickling cucumbers, carrots, baby tat soi greens, kale, collards, chard, red potatoes, herbs & flowers.

I may go back later today to pick the herbs & flowers that I didn't get to in the rain. The pesto is soooo good it's hard not to make more right away!
Nate's lunch for grandma's house: 2 pbj sandwich quarters; mixed berries; carrot sticks; steamed broccoli; smoked almonds; a vanilla calcium vitamin.

Also, a big thank you to reader Becky! She commented:
"Hi again! I just voted in the VegNews Best of 2009 Veggie Awards, and I wrote you in for favorite blog. :) "
Wow! I'm flattered. Thank you so much. Here is a link to the VegNews awards poll if anyone else is interested in voting (and not just for me...there are many many cool foods, blogs, restaurants, cruelty-free products and more to vote for!). There are 5 amazing prizes being given away to people who vote, so check it out!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

cookbook challenge, week 4

Procrastinating a bit here...only made 2 recipes from Tomato Blessings and Radish Teachings last week...

Potato Salad with Corn and Red Pepper

Really tasty, simple, and
most of the kids liked it.
My husband really enjoyed
it and even mentioned it
later, which is saying something!

I served this potato salad
along with some spicy baked
tofu and sauteed pea shoots
with garlic and white wine.

I'm sure I'll be making this
again. It seems to be a good
recipe to empty out the pantry

Drunken Cabbage

A ludicrously simple recipe,
drowning in white wine. Even
cabbage has to taste decent
with wine and salt!

I paired this with a simple
but elegant bowl of mixed
rice with a bit of goma shio

After a month of the cookbook
challenge, I really feel like I
am getting a feel for the style of
food this author has to offer.
I chose it because it would be a
good fit during the bountiful
months of summer, utilizing our farm share food and forcing me to use my usual ingredients differently. I'm looking forward to another cookbook challenge in the fall. I think it's a great way to make use of lesser-used cookbooks and expand our family's everyday menu.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Harry Potter bento

the new
film, and
create a
for the
I spent
on my
Hogwarts bento. I should have done a bit more on the Gryffindor and Ravenclaw house crests, but all in all I'm pleased with how it turned out.

The Gryffindor corner in the upper left begins with an apple slice meant to resemble Godric Gryffindor's sword. A mini pumpkin muffin sits below that, alongside some fresh gold raspberries. The rice square is topped with rice cheese decorated with red nasturtium petals and edible red ink.

Clockwise in the Ravenclaw corner, a blue cornflower blossom sits atop a vegetable gyoza. Some local blueberries add more color. And the rice square is topped again with a rice cheese crest with a kalamata olive raven perched on a branch of purslane. The house name was written with blue edible food marker.

Down below is the Hufflepuff corner, with yellow takuan slices, and a couple of meatless meatballs. The rice square and rice cheese crest are brightened by yellow nasturtium petals. A little food marker was used again, and finely grated chocolate gave the Hufflepuff "beaver" it's brown tinge.

Finally, Slytherin. Blanched spinach, bean salad, & tiny pickles rounded out the meal. My favourite part of the bento is the Slytherin snake, made from a lovely sage leaf that gave the snake a scaly silver-green appearance. Green edible food marker were of course used for the fine print Slytherin title.

In the center of the bento was one more rice ball, with a nori HP. Around the edges of the bento I used green leaf lettuce and purple kale. Steamed asparagus helped define the edges of the house sections.
Most of the greens, berries, herbs & flowers were picked by me locally.

Here is another image:I left the bento to be devoured by the kids (along with some english muffin soy cheese pizzas) while I went to see Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Thumbs up!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Maia's 1st birthday!

Maia turned one on sunday.
She woke up to a Hello Kitty
balloon that Dada had bought
for her (which Nate popped
on purpose the next day,

We all went for a walk,
Maia in the jogger. She
wore her new birthday
clothes from Mountain
Aven Baby
that a mama
acquaintance of mine
makes from home.

The boys all made pictures, cards & books for her.

left to
(2 3/4),
(5 1/2),
Maia (1),
(6 3/4).

The only
is the excessive mosquito population due to all the rain we've had this season.

I made carrot cake cupcakes
(minus the raisins) from
VCTOTW. AJ requested no
frosting on his, which he later
changed his mind about,
hence the one naked cupcake.

The birthday girl:

And don't forget the new Hello Kitty socks!

Maia's first cupcake:

Before bed Maia enjoyed Hello Kitty Hello Numbers! It's a favourite and perfect for birthdays.

Happy Birthday Maia!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

cookbook challenge, week 3

Moving right along...I made 3 more recipes from Tomato Blessings and Radish Teachings this week. But I didn't stay absolutely true to all of them. I cut back the heat on the chili, and it still ended up too spicy for the kids. And I used 1/2 regular flour in place of all whole wheat in the bread.

First up is the Black Bean Chili. Simple, hot, and my
husband and I liked it. If
it hadn't been too spicy, then
it wouldn't have made enough,
so in a way we got lucky. I
served it with grilled chreez
and tomato sandwiches.

Asparagus is hands down my
husband's favourite vegetable.
But everyone in the family
thought this Ginger Asparagus
recipe was fantastic. We usually
steam asparagus, sometimes
grilledor roast it, often stir-fry
it chinese style in a salty sauce...
but this was very simple, and
I absolutely will be making it
this way again!

I served the asparagus with
my baked bbq tempeh (recipe
being tweaked, but coming
soon!) and some Moo Potatoes
as AJ called them because Maia
liked them so much, but
basically just roasted red
potatoes with rosemary and
other herbs.

Last but not least, the
Overnight Wheat Bread.
I have never baked a
successful loaf of bread
myself from scratch. This
recipe looked so simple I
thought I couldn't screw it
up...and I was right! Yahoo!

It was a bit sour and wheaty,
even after replacing half the
whole wheat flour with
regular unbleached flour,
but Ryan and I still loved it.
My husband and Nate liked it
well enough. AJ ate it, but said
it wasn't his favourite.

The recipe made 2 loaves, so
I made one on a sheet pan
and one in a loaf pan.

The loaves didn't come out of
the oven until early afternoon,
but the first loaf was 2/3 gone
by evening. The second loaf I
am enjoying torn in chunks to
accompany a hearty soup.