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Monthly Archives: October 2012

“The best laid plans…

…of mice and men often go astray.”
-Robert Burns

Two potential defeats today:(

I participated in this vegan food swap hosted by The Verdant Life. Basically, it’s pen pals for food.

I was assigned sweet Galen from omgoshimvegan and I put together a little care package for her. Want to check out the goods? She wrote a kind post right here.

So the idea of a swap is that you give something and you get something, right? Sadly enough, my person totally bailed on me! No contact, no email, and definitely no treats! I’m so sad! I even wrote her an email with my address after I hadn’t received any contact, but no response. Sigh…

I knew it was a chance I was taking, but still disappointing…

And then then, it rained on Halloween. And the friends we were going to have dinner with got the flu. And Matty B is sick too!

I headed home, certain that our evening plans were ruined. But then, by some miracle (which might be sacrilegious- would Jesus perform a miracle to help us trick or treat?), it stopped raining.

And even though I was right in the middle of making dinner, we headed out. Matty B, a giraffe, a ladybug, and me:)

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It was a great evening! Matty B is stocked up on candy, at least for a week, J Man and Miss Rae had so much fun, and me? Totally forgot about my food swap disappointment.

Besides, who needs vegan food with a jack-o-lantern full of Halloween candy?:)

Life’s too short to eat almond milk yogurt…

Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats

I’m trying people. I really am. I’ve been reading Skinny Bitch (I know- the title isn’t very nice) not because I’m trying to lose weight, but because the book is all about adopting a vegan lifestyle.

I’m so on board with everything the authors are saying about the crud food that we eat- soda, processed junk, fast food, etc. It really solidified my decision to be vegan.

And then I got to the animal part. Friends, I had to stop reading. It was too much for this girl to take! And I don’t even like animals! (Cue booing and hissing).

Here’s the scoop: we don’t have pets.

1) I clean up enough poo from my kids, I don’t need to add animal poo to the mix.

2) We don’t have a yard. It’s not fair to pets to always be cooped up in a small house.

3) We’re busy enough without worrying about yet another living, breathing being that needs attention.

There it is. Judge away.

But, but, reading about these sweet little cows and chickens and pigs who are suffering, suffering? That did it. I decided to go hard or go home- no more cheating/fudging/pretending things were vegan.

Enter the almond milk yogurt.

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If you’re a longtime versatile vegan reader, you know about my yogurt issues. I love me some yogurt! But non dairy imposters? Curdly, watery, gross! I have not been a fan of Trader Joes soy yogurt, so I thought I’d try this Amande brand.

When I took off the lid, I thought it might have gone bad- it was in chunks- literally, chunks. Matty B immediately started choking and gagging (which isn’t new when he’s watching me dig into my ‘healthy food’) and I very anxiously took a bite. It wasn’t spoiled, but it wasn’t good. The texture was chalky and the flavor wasn’t sweet or tart, it was just sort of bland.

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I tried covering it up with a pile of strawberries, bananas and pineapple.

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And some granola to balance out the yogurt disappointment. Breakfast was fine. Nothing amazing. Life’s too short to eat almond milk yogurt.

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Lunch was a pretty salad and ugly leftover minestrone. I also snacked on some hummus and pretzels.

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Dinner was a veggie chicken patty on a whole wheat bun with some Alexia fries and a pile of veg.

The menu for the day was fine, but that almond milk yogurt just put me in a funk. I don’t know if I can do it, people. I really want to be 100%, but if I had to choose between that gloppy slop I had today or no yogurt, I’d go no yogurt. But I don’t want to!

Help me! Do you have any palatable non-dairy yogurt suggestions?

It’s that, or a long winter of oatmeal…

AA (Apples Anonymous)

MMAZ Better With Veggies

It’s time for an intervention.

Lately, whenever I walk into a room full of people, I’m certain they’re going to solemnly sit me down in a special chair, in the middle of a circle and say the following words:

“Holley, you’ve got to stop with all the apples. We’re here for you. We’ll be with you every step of the way, but it’s time we step in. You’re obsessed with apples, and you must control yourself.”

They’re right, you know. I was looking at past blog posts. It started out innocently enough with a simple trip to the apple orchard. It progressed to apple juice and apple sauce and even baked apples.

There were some successes and some failures.

Apples have been snacked on and taste tested.

So I’ll agree, whole heartedly. Enough already with the apples!

Except for just one more…

This recipe is like my nicotine gum, or my patch. It’s slowly weaning me out of the world of apples and into the world of…

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Carrots? No, I just loved these pics of J Man:)

An awesome lentil soup recipe is headed your way.

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The usual suspects are here: onion, bell pepper, and garlic.

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I spiced it up with a little chili powder. And then, as any good recipe should, everything else is dumped into a crock pot!

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Everything else? Lentils, tomatoes, carrots and apple juice. What’s that? Yes, you heard me right! Apple juice!

The juice gives a great sweetness, a counterbalance if you will, to the spicy chili powder.

Warm, spicy, and actually, for a vegan recipe, kind of ‘meaty’. This would be great over rice, with a side of cornbread, or even just by itself.

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And that’s it. My last apple recipe. For at least a week:)

Sweet and Spicy Lentil Soup

Ingredients
1/2 large onion
1/2 bell pepper (I used yellow)
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 TBS olive oil
1 TBS chili powder
3/4 cup lentils
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1 cup apple juice
1/2 cup water
1 14oz can crushed tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
Sauté onion, pepper and garlic in olive oil until veggies are soft. Add chili powder.

Combine onion mixture and remaining ingredients in a crockpot. Cook at ‘low’ for 8 hours.

Fall personified

If it’s “fallish”, we’ve done it.

Apple picking?. Check.

Fall baking? Check. Double check.

Pumpkin patch?. Yes, sir.

But if that weren’t enough, we found it necessary to cram in at least one more weekends’ worth of fallish behavior.

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We spent the evening with some friends, carving pumpkins and making caramel apples. I don’t say this very often, but on this particular evening I was very glad our kids are young.

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1. We’re not “stayers”. You know, when you invite company over and you’ve had dinner and coffee and dessert and you’ve chit chatted for a good 3 hours and it’s 11 pm and they’re still sitting on your couch. We don’t do that. Partly because the kids can’t handle it, but partly because we can’t handle it. I’m old. I need my sleep. I like to go home and read before bed. Sometimes with warm milk. And Metamucil.

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2. The second reason I’m glad our kids are young? They are perfectly happy with a pumpkin that has 2 circles for eyes, a triangle nose and a half moon smile. The other children at this harvest party desired black cat silhouettes and other complicated designs. I have a feeling our friends were up into the night, perfecting their pumpkin carving skills…

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3. Finally, the best part of the night was when we “unveiled” our creations and lit the pumpkins outside on the porch. J Man’s “oohs and ahhs” were the best! Older kids need Xbox and Red Bull. My babies get their kicks from tea lights in poorly carved pumpkins.

And to get our total fill of “fall” in, we attended the Fall Festival at my school. It was fabulous, naturally:)

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Not surprisingly, the kid’s favorite part was the bouncy house. They went over and over again and the sweet kid manning the booth just let them do it. There have to be a few perks to my job…:)

Finally, looking for a sneak peek at our 2012 Christmas card…?

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Classy, eh…?

I just need to find a good dry pile of leaves to jump in and our fall experience is complete! Dry leaves in Portland? I may have to lower my expectations:)

Baked Maple Streusel Apples

Everyday Vegan Girl

Between chocolate for breakfast, and more than my share of apple cinnamon monkey bread muffins, it seems only right that I forgo tonight’s dinner altogether and just eat dessert.

I have a very specific memory of sitting on Grandma V’s kitchen floor with my brother, eating ice cream for dinner. That’s right, mom. Ice cream. For dinner. We thought Grandma V was possibly the coolest chick ever. And I remind myself of this fact while I’m having a conversation with J Man and Miss Rae’s grandma that goes something like this:

(While kidlets are visiting Grandma and Papa)

Grandma: “Has Miss Rae ever had fruit snacks before?”

Me: “No, but I don’t think she’d choke.”

Grandma: “She didn’t choke. She likes gummy bears, I mean, fruit snacks.”

Fruit snacks, huh, Grandma? In Grandma’s defense, there probably isn’t much difference between fruit snacks and gummy bears sugar-wise. But I have come to grips with the fact that Grandma’s can and will spoil their grandchildren. So whether that means gummy bears or ice cream for dinner, it’s a privilege they’ve earned.

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This is what I had for dinner tonight (x2. Plus some guacamole and corn chips- I’m the picture of health, I tell ya). It. Was. Awesome.

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Buttery, cinnamony, streusel sweetened with…wait for it…dates! I’m super proud of this recipe that I made up from my head! Other than this and this, this is one of my proudest recipe creation moments!

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Did you get a good look at that streusel? There it is. Up close and personal. Think of every ingredient you love associated with fall. It’s in there. Pumpkin pie spice. Pecans. Maple syrup. Yes, yes, and yes.

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Look at those beauties. Apples are SO good right now!

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I used a grapefruit spoon to core them and hollow out a nice deep well for all that glorious streusel.

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Be still my beating heart. This is fall personified.

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The best news of all? This isn’t just dessert. You could throw a dollop of soy yogurt on top for a yummy breakfast. Maybe even chopped up over oatmeal? Or, the best way to eat it? With a scoop of ice cream. For dinner. While sitting on the kitchen floor.

Baked Maple Streusel Apples

Ingredients
4 large apples
1/4-1/2 cup apple juice

Streusel
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup vegan butter (Earth Balance)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup pecans
10 dates, pitted (I used medjool)
1/4 cup non packed brown sugar
1 TBS maple syrup (real)
1 cup rolled oats

Instructions

Slice apples in half, core, cut out desired amount of apple flesh to leave a well for streusel. Set aside.

In a food processor, combine all streusel ingredients except for oats. Process until dates and pecans are thoroughly chopped. Add oats and pulse until desired consistency.

Fill apples with 2 TBS filling each. Let your husband eat the rest of the unused streusel.

Place apples in 9×13 baking dish. Pour apple juice around the base of apples. Bake at 375, covered with foil for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 20 minutes.

Apple Cinnamon Monkey Bread Muffins

I don’t like waiting.

If I get a birthday gift in the mail from out of town, even if it’s before my birthday, I desperately want to open it right now.

While I won’t allow myself to do this, I have frequent urges to listen to Christmas music in October…or July…or March…

Last weekend we were on our way to the apple tasting and we stopped for gas. For those non-Oregonians, we don’t pump our own gas here. When it’s raining, I love living in Oregon. On this day I was anxious to GO! We pulled up to the pump and waited. And waited. And waited. I could take it no longer. I got out and tried to get into the computer system and pump my own blasted gas, thank you very much. I wasn’t actually successful as I didn’t know the gas station password, but I did manage to get an attendant over to our car…

I don’t like waiting.

Waiting for baked goods might be the hardest of all. That’s why in general, I make lots of muffins and scones versus cakes or breads. 20-30 minutes? I can do it. 50-60 minutes? My stomach might eat itself in the meantime.

That’s why these Apple Cinnamon Monkey Bread Muffins are the best! Regular monkey bread will typically have a raw middle in my house because I just can’t wait. Muffins bake up so much faster!

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Remember I promised you yet another apple post? I initially planned on submitting this recipe to Healthy Vegan Fridays but let’s be real. These muffins are vegan. These muffins are not healthy!

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Well, I take that back. They’re healthy in the fact that you don’t use that dough that comes in a can that you smack on the side of the counter to hear the ‘pop’.

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They’re healthy in the fact that the recipe calls for whole wheat pastry flour.

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They have apples for goodness sake! Apples are healthy!

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So ignore the fact that each little dough ball is rolled in cinnamon sugar.

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Ignore the brown sugary caramel syrup drizzled on top.

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And congratulate yourself.

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You’re eating something healthy for breakfast – no waiting involved!

Apple Cinnamon Monkey Bread
Adapted from this recipe at Vegan Fling

Ingredients

1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 TBS baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 TBS vegan butter (Earth Balance)
1 TBS real maple syrup
1/2 cup soy milk, mixed with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 apple, peeled and diced

Brown sugar syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 TBS vegan butter

Cinnamon sugar for rolling

Instructions

Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter until small crumbs form. In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, soy milk and apple cider vinegar. Mix into dry ingredients. Knead until smooth and divide dough into small balls, rolling each in cinnamon sugar mixture. Add diced apple to cinnamon sugar dough balls and gently stir. Divide dough into a 12 cup muffin tin.

In a small saucepan, combine syrup ingredients. Cook over low heat until sugar has dissolved. Drizzle over each muffin cup. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes. Restrain yourself from eating the entire batch yourself.

Nutella love

Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats

I may never again look at Wednesdays the same…

Thanks to peas and crayons for hosting all the food fun!

I don’t know if it was because today felt like Monday, or because I just got back from vacation, or maybe because Portland weather has finally reared it’s cloudy, rainy head, but I needed some chocolate…for breakfast.

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Have you ever had one of those chocolate oatmeal “no bake” cookies? This oatmeal tasted just like that. It was warm and chocolatey and seemed super indulgent, although in all reality, the only somewhat unhealthy thing was the giant glob of Nutella on top.

In the mix? 1/2 cup of rolled oats, 1/2 banana, 1 TBS flax seed, 1 TBS cocoa powder, 1 TBS cacao nibs and said glob of Nutella. Everyone should have chocolate for breakfast once in awhile.

Decaf was consumed. I should have had regular. It was that kind of a day!

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Lunch was secretly eaten while on a conference call. I hear stress is good for digestion? Yeah, that’s a lie. Lunch was tasty, though! 1/2 cup brown rice, roasted veggies (broc, cauliflower, squash, green beans and carrots) with yet another delicious “glob”- Chipotle guacamole. Matty B and I were just there and I always instruct him to get his unwanted guacamole on the side so I can have it later. What does Chipotle do to make it so good? Regardless, even though I was eating in stealth mode, the combo was good.

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I stress ate an apple. I wasn’t hungry, I just wanted to chew. I realize there are worse things to eat under stress. It’s a good thing I didn’t have the Nutella in my office…

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I came home and made homemade pita bread. That calmed me down a little- well, that and Miss Rae loudly belting out “Onward Christian Soldiers”. She’s got talent, that one:)

Dinner was another scoop of brown rice, 2 falafel patties, hummus, tomato, lettuce, cucumber and a warm pita. Oh, that pita was good! I ate another unpictured half, covered in Nutella. Ok, ok, no Nutella, but it seemed to fit the theme of the day!

Eats were fairly balanced- my life? Not so balanced. That’s what you get for going on vacation. Next time, I won’t actually go anywhere so I don’t have to deal with bathousands of emails to return and piles of laundry to wash (who am I kidding? Matty B does all the laundry) when I return. Yeah, I think I’ll have a stay cation next time- just me and my jar of Nutella…