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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles

Our travels this holiday season were as follows:

Portland to Leavenworth, WA.
Leavenworth to Walla Walla.
Walla Walla to Spokane, WA.
Spokane to Walla Walla.
Walla Walla to Portland.

1200 miles later, we came home to this:

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And this:

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I don’t know about you, but piles of laundry and a mostly empty fridge make me want waffles.

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Matty B was somewhat shocked at my dinner decision. I ask you, however, what should I have made with the contents of that fridge? Miso/vegenaise sandwiches? Parmesan almond milk yogurt? I think not.

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I did take advantage of one item in the fridge. Applesauce. Am I the only one who grew up eating applesauce and peanut butter on toast? So warm. So cozy. So delicious.

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Covered in peanut buttery/applesaucy goodness, you couldn’t tell that my waffles had pumpkin pie spice, but they did.

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This meal was truly the ultimate comfort food experience and let me tell you, after looking at that pile of laundry, I needed some comfort.

These boys needed some comfort too.

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This was before the Cowboys game. I won’t share the after pics. Good thing we had waffles.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles

Ingredients

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 TBS Baking powder
1/2 TBS pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup soy or almond milk
1/2 cup pumpkin
3 TBS olive oil

Instructions

Combine wet and dry ingredients separately. Combine and mix until well incorporated. Spray waffle maker with no stick spray and cook according to waffle maker instructions.

For best results, top with peanut butter and applesauce.

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Good and Better Pumpkin Coconut Milk Soup

I know you’re planning on being virtuous today. Whether your vice of choice was mashed potatoes, pecan pie or corn casserole (guilty), you overdid it a little, right? It’s possible that I should eat a bag of spinach for lunch today…

Think of this recipe as a little angel on one shoulder, and a little brown sugar covered devil on the other.

Pros of this soup:

It’s easy. It’s fast. It doesn’t actually taste at all like Christmas (cause let’s be real, enough already with the sage…) and without the garnish, it’s pretty healthy.

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You could almost memorize the ingredients: 1 can of pumpkin, 1 can of black beans, 1 can of lite coconut milk, some seasonings, water and lime juice/zest. Cinchy.

You really could just dump everything into a pan, heat and serve.

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And while it sure isn’t pretty, I actually prefer this puréed in a vitamix, or maybe you have one of those nifty handheld stick blenders. That’d be the ticket. I like the texture better with the beans blended up a little, but you do sacrifice that vibrant orange color if you go this route.

This soup, a little bit of leftover veggie tray? You’re set for a healthy, filling meal.

And then the cravings come…

You know what I’m talking about. You don’t typically eat much sugar in real life. And you don’t need it. You feel good.

And then you break out of that mold. You have just a little sliver of pumpkin pie. And just a few spoonfuls of apple crisp. And what about the sweet potatoes?

And here you are, the week after the day, craving sweet goodness like there’s no tomorrow. What’s a girl to do?

Option 1: eat the above recipe and pat yourself on the back. It’s good.

Option 2: eat the above recipe and add this awesome Coconut Walnut Praline to the top. It’s better.

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I’ve been totally digging the sweet/salty combo these days. With the coconut milk in the broth, and the coconut chips on top, you might just think you’re on a sandy beach in the Caribbean.

Of course, this topping put the soup into the next stratosphere!

You might want to make a double batch cause this praline is good on oatmeal, ice cream, yogurt, almost anything! Maybe even corn casserole…although, I don’t need any encouragement to dig into more corn casserole!

Bring on the spinach!

Pumpkin coconut milk soup

Adapted from this recipe

Ingredients
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained
1 14-ounce can light unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup veggie chicken broth (I used McKays Chicken Seasoning)
4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
3/4 teaspoon grated lime peel

Preparation
Stir cumin in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat 30 seconds. Add pumpkin, beans, coconut milk, broth and 3 tablespoons basil. Bring soup to boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 3 minutes to blend flavors. Mix in lime juice and lime peel. Season soup with salt and pepper. Garnish with remaining basil.

Topping

Melt 1 TBS butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add 1 TBS brown sugar, 1 TBS coconut flakes and 2 TBS walnuts. Stir frequently until nuts are caramelized and golden. Top soup if desired. Or, eat directly out of the pan.

Christmas 2012

Christmas was…

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Sleigh rides

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Gingerbread cookies

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Snow!

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Petting zoos? Yes, petting zoos. Although, no reindeer…:)

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Sledding.

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Family dinners

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Presents and playgrounds

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Cookie baking

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More sledding!

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Snowman building

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And family:)

Hope your Christmas was just as merry!

WIAW- the day after the day

After Thanksgiving gorge fest 2012, I was determined not to overdo it this Christmas. And don’t get me wrong.

I ate some of this:

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And a lot of this:

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But overall, I didn’t eat until I was painfully full and I got in a few good 3 mile runs over the past couple of days, so I feel good. Good.

Still, breakfast was light this morning because 1) I was still full from Russian tea cakes and peppermint brownies, 2) we were at the cabin and there weren’t many breakfast options.

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Dave’s killer bread toast with 1 TBS peanut butter and 1/4 of a banana.

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Dutch Bros. decaf soy latte. They put in just a splash of their gingerbread syrup because I have to wean myself slowly from Christmas.

I had lunch with my mom and sis at Olives cafe in Walla Walla. They didn’t have many vegan options but I went for the roasted veggie sandwich without cheese and a cup of the coconut curry butternut squash soup.

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Roasted eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms and tomatoes. I ate half of the sandwich because it didn’t really have a lot of flavor. I suppose that’s why they typically include cheese. No matter, the soup was great!

I should have just had the cheese at lunch, because I got my fair share at dinner tonight. Matty B and I had a date at this cute little place- Europa.

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My parents watched the kids so we could have a fun night out- we haven’t had a “date” in so long!

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Green salad with balsamic, eggplant Parmesan and roasted Brussels sprouts. This was definitely a versatile vegan moment. Look at all that cheese! Yikes! I ate about 2/3 of this. The food was great. The company was better:)

I adore my babies but it was so nice to have a nice meal out without cleaning up spilled water, searching for crayons that have fallen under the table and inhaling my meal so we can eat and leave before either of the cherubs has a meltdown.

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We finished off the meal with some fabulous soft peanut brittle while browsing a gingerbread house display. The only downside to the evening was my horrible fingernails. Chipped toothpaste color? Classy…

Heartening

I was somewhat dismayed the other day. Disgusted, really. Disgusted in America.

What was my dissatisfaction regarding? Unemployment? The economy? Homelessness? No. All of these things are definitely cause for concern.

However, what had me so indignant was Christmas music. Yes, Christmas music.

I was preparing for our all school Christmas sing along and looking for some inspiration, I googled “best Christmas songs” and was led to a link that promised the “top 100 Christmas songs”. Jackpot, right?

2 out of the 100 were Christian Christmas songs. 2 out of 100.

2.

100.

Shockingly, Silent Night and Little Drummer Boy made the list overrun with Santa Baby, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus and The Grinch.

Really? Really. No Away In The Manger. No Little Town of Bethlehem. No Hark The Herald Angels Sing.

Disheartening. Is the opposite of disheartening, “heartening”?

If so, we had a very “heartening” night last night.

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I’ve almost fulfilled my whole Christmas Bucket List and visiting The Grotto may have been one of my favorites!

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I loved watching my kidlets pet the animals in the stable.

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I loved listening to Christmas carols and looking at the lights.

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But most of all, I loved that the whole thing was 100% about Baby Jesus.

Don’t get me wrong. We love Santa.

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Obviously.

And while we sing “Frosty the Snowman” (Miss Rae’s favorite part is “thumpety thump thump) and “The 12 Days of Christmas” (Can you guess who’s favorite that is?:), I need my babies to know about another Baby:)

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So much joy:)

Christmas Croque en Bouche

If I ever get fired from my job, I’m totally going into party planning.

My friend Glenda and I have talked about it.

She’d decorate and we’d both cook.

Glen whipped these up for a friend’s party last week.

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Are these “hot chocolate cupcakes” the cutest thing you’ve ever seen?

Not to be outdone, I was determined to prove myself to Glen. I didn’t want her to have any second thoughts about our future career change.

Here’s my latest creation:

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I’ve done this before, only I made cream puffs from scratch.

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This was taken two years ago. This one was probably tastier but much more time consuming.

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You can totally do this at home and then shock and amaze your friends and family. If your friends and family happen to be Martha Stewart, she might be shocked and amazed too!

Just pick up a styrofoam cone at your craft store and buy a whole bunch of powdered sugar donut holes and tooth picks.

Poke ’em in.

That’s it. I stuck cranberries on the ends of the toothpicks because I didn’t want to take the time to poke all of the toothpick tips in. This probably took me 60 minutes. No bigs.

What do you think? Would you hire me? I come with vast experience including school board meeting presenter, fire drill coordinator and perfect attendance certificate maker.

I guess I need to start working on my party planning skills v. my school administration skills…

Vegan Pumpkin Spice French Toast

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.

Correction: Breakfast used to be my favorite meal of the day.

Stop and think about what you order at your favorite brunch spot. Eggs Benedict? A crispy waffle? What about a mushroom omelet? In my experience, unless the restaurant is specifically vegan, you’re eating oatmeal. And if you order toast, make sure they leave off the butter. Sigh…

Now I like oatmeal. Obviously I like oatmeal. But I eat oatmeal Every. Single. Day. If you read my WIAW’s, you can vouch for me.

And I’m starting to fall into a breakfast rut. During the summer, I mix it up with yogurt parfaits or smoothies, but I already run cold (if your name is Matty B you can vouch for me) so I need a hot breakfast, especially on December 20.

Could French Toast be the catalyst for change?

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I’ve seen recipes that call for silken tofu, but I’d just purchased this egg replacer and was curious to try it out.

This was one of those “guess and dump” recipes. Everything went into the blender because nobody wants fake eggs chunks. Fake egg chunks could quickly turn breakfast into my least favorite meal of the day…

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Since its December 20 I feel vindicated in using cinnamon bread versus my usual whole wheat. Why do I need an excuse to use yummy bread? It’s how my brain works.

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With the vanilla and the pumpkin spice, (and my cinnamon bread:), this French toast is flavorful enough that it wouldn’t need any syrup- maybe just a smattering of powdered sugar.

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I sure don’t know how to leave well enough alone…

Trader Joe’s cranberry apple butter and honey pretzel peanut butter.

Heavenly.

Eaten with my kiddos while sitting by the fire?

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Who needs oatmeal?

Vegan Pumpkin Spice French Toast

Ingredients

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup almond milk
2 tsp egg replacer (powdered)
1 tsp vanilla
2 TBS pumpkin
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Bread of choice

Instructions

Purée everything except the bread in a blender or magic bullet. Dredge bread slices in egg mixture. Fry in a skillet over medium heat until golden brown.