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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Lemony Sunshine Scones

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Praise The Lord! The sun came out!

Here in the City of Rain Roses, we’re a little vitamin D deficient.

But then, from out of nowhere, the clouds broke, the drizzle subsided, and the sun shone through…

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Obviously, the sunglasses needed to be dusted off. We unearthed them under a pile of unopened sunscreen bottles and flip flops with the tags still attached. The kids were confused.

What is this bright orb in the sky? Why aren’t we wearing our snow boots? How come Mommy isn’t shivering, like usual?

It was disconcerting…

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And fabulous!

In honor of the mysterious sunshine that graced our pale, scurvy-ridden faces (wait. Is scurvy a lack of vitamin C? Not D?) I made scones.

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Scones full of lemony sunshine.

This recipe calls for lemon sugar which is purely an excuse to mash sugar and lemon together and use the extra for a little “facial” for your hands. I’m not lying. I did this. It made my hands super soft and then I smelled like lemon at work and not stale Cheerios, which is my fall-back scent.

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This recipe is based loosely off of a recipe for blood orange scones at How Sweet It Is. The recipe isn’t healthy and it isn’t vegan, but I just love her blog and thought I could veganize these scones. In the process, I think they’re slightly more healthy, although, let’s be real. Are any scones actually healthy? Maybe I should have snuck some beet purée in the mix…

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They tasted like sunshine, and they smelled like spring. My mom and sister were visiting and they raved. (But they also tell me that I’m skinny and my children are the most beautiful children in the world, so they might be slightly biased…)

And now it’s hailing. Thank goodness I have some lemony sunshine scones to get me through.

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Her future’s so bright she needs shades…

Lemon Scones

Ingredients
3 lemons, zested
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups AP flour
1 1/4 cups ww pastry flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup earth balance butter
1 cup almond milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp vanilla

Glaze
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 cup (approx.) powdered sugar

Instructions

Combine 2/3 of zest with sugar. Set aside. Combine milk with vinegar. Set aside. In food processor, pulse flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon sugar. Add butter. Pulse until pea sized crumbs form. Add vanilla, remaining zest and milk mixture. Process until a sticky dough is formed.

Press into a circle onto a floured board, cutting into 8 wedges. Bake for 15 minutes at 425. Let scones cool 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice and powdered sugar until glaze is desired consistency. Drizzle over scones and serve.

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WIAW habits

I’m a creature of habit.

I like things to be predictable. Surprise parties? Not my favorite. Schedules? Love ’em!

Two examples of this:

1. I always eat my breakfast in the car. Always. It started because I wanted to multitask. Also, I have a 25 minute commute and it keeps me from getting bored. Yes, my food entertains me. This morning, I was actually ready with time to spare. I could have easily sat down and eaten my breakfast, but I couldn’t do it. My habit is to eat my breakfast in the car. That’s what I did.

2. When Miss Rae was just a tiny baby and was waking up early every morning, Matty B and I would share the burden and switch off mornings getting up with her. Like a crazy woman, I would use my mornings to exercise. I religiously went to spinning class on Tuesdays and Fridays (my mornings off). Now? The lady who teaches on Fridays is really no good. Miss Rae consistently sleeps straight through until 7 am. I could go other days. But I don’t. I go Tuesdays and Fridays. That’s what I do.

I have an “oatmeal for breakfast” habit. I have a “salad for lunch” habit.

And with some inspiration from a few new recipes, these habits were shaken up today!

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Carrot Cake Barley from this recipe. Creamy and flavorful and so good!

Coffee. Regular. I don’t want to talk about it.

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Lunch was a fabulous surprise! I brought a boring old salad to school, but my sweet friend Kari went to New Seasons and got yummy lunch treats to share! This plate has roasted Brussels, asparagus, kale salad, apple slices, bread and sweet/salty hazelnuts. Such a great “pick me up” in a long day!

She also brought some green juice.

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I need some fruit in my juice. This was a little too vegetabley for me.

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I snacked on some hummus and carrots while I made dinner. This hummus was so good, and actually wasn’t made out of garbanzo beans! Secret ingredient? Red lentils! I followed this recipe and was actually really surprised at the outcome. My lentils were bright orange/red, but this looks like regular hummus! Crazy and crazy good.

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Dinner was my homemade pita bread stuffed with Trader Joe’s falafel, lettuce, tomato, cucumber and more of the above hummus.

And I ate chocolate. Some habits should never be broken.

First World Problems

I was listening to the radio the other day, and the DJ was talking about “first world problems”:

For instance…

My garage is so full of stuff, I can’t park my car in it.

My car broke down so I had to drive my other car.

The ice maker in my fridge doesn’t send out the cubes fast enough.

Only in the USA would these be real concerns.

The “first world problem” that we experience most frequently at my house?

We have so many toys in our house that my kids don’t know what to play with.

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J Man and Miss Rae have multiple, financially stable grandparents, aunts/uncles and friends in their lives.

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The amount of tents, slides, sports equipment, bikes, computers, stuffed animals and books found in our house will blow you away.

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And trust me when I say that the kids have fun. They do! All three kids love their playthings!

And while the “stuff” drives me absolutely batty, we’re blessed.

(Side note: today I packed up a couple giant Rubbermaid containers with toys that neither child pays attention to anymore, and set the bins at the top of the stairs for Matty B to take downstairs to storage. Immediately these were the most entertaining toys the kidlets had ever seen in their lives.)

So the morale of this post?

1. Be thankful. Be thankful that you have food, shelter, health and safety.

2. Thank you to all our friends and family for your generosity to our kiddos!

3. Sometimes, sometimes, your kids don’t need iPads and air hockey tables.

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Sometimes fun can be found in the simplest of things…

No Fail Pita Bread

Better With Veggies

Pita bread is like coffee. It’s either good or bad- no middle ground.

Pita bread from a Lebanese restaurant? All puffy and billowy, all soft and chewy? So good.

Pita bread from a grocery store? Wrapped in plastic, all tough and stale? So bad.

This recipe isn’t as good as the “real thing”, but it’s mighty close!

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Have I mentioned my fear of yeast? You’ll notice that the bread recipes on this blog are minimal. We’re heavy on the scone/muffin recipes, but actual bread? I have a flat bread, a focaccia and a pizza crust recipe. That’s it. None requiring ample rising. I’m too impatient, I guess…

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But if I, self proclaimed yeast failure, can manage this bread, so can you.

It has the 4 most important qualities to any good recipe:

1. Easy
2. On hand ingredients
3. Fast
4. Delicious

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#’s 1 and 3 are especially important as I’m frequently making dinner with one child strapped to my leg and the other generally getting into mischief…

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J Man- the king of “selfies”…

No Fail Pita Bread

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups AP Flour
1 cup WW pastry flour
1 packet yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 TBS sugar
2 TBS olive oil
1 cup warm water

Instructions

Combine AP flour and all dry ingredients (not WW flour). Mix well, them add oil and water. Slowly incorporate WW flour until all combined.

Separate dough into 8 sections and let rise in a towel covered bowl for 20 ish minutes in a warm place.

Roll out dough to size of a corn tortilla. Bake directly on the oven racks in a 500 oven for 2 minutes, then flip over and 2 more minutes.

Check out other “yeasty” recipes at Better With Veggies

Banana Bread Pancakes

As always, I’m late to the party.

Yesterday was “National Banana Bread Day” and I didn’t celebrate. There were no banana shaped decorations. No banana themed games were played. I didn’t even eat anything banana flavored.

None of the other members of my family were too torn up about it.

Matty B doesn’t like banana bread. J Man doesn’t like bananas (this week) and Miss Rae doesn’t like eating…in her chair- she much prefers grabbing a bite here and there as she runs around terrorizing her brother.

But I like all of those things: eating, bananas, and banana bread. Do I need a whole loaf of banana bread to myself?

Absolutely not.

And so banana bread pancakes were born.

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Look at these beautifully overripe bananas. I don’t throw away bananas for anything. I love them mashed into oatmeal, sliced on top of PB toast and if they are too far gone, I peel, freeze and smoothify them. Yes, smoothify is a word.

This recipe is as easy as they come because you just throw everything into a blender. Have I mentioned how much I love our Vitamix? I’m thinking of naming her. Maybe Genevieve.

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As is tradition, some pancakes are made in the shape of letters. When J Man is 13, I’ll still be making shaped pancakes, but they’ll most likely be symbols from the periodic table…

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The best banana bread has nuts and chocolate chips. I followed suit by topping my pancakes with more banana and a giant scoop of sunflower seed chocolate almond butter.

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And today, history was made. Miss Rae sat in her seat and ate her whole breakfast without requesting “scoosed peas?” (Translation: May I be excused please?) after 5 minutes.

It might have been the jam on her pancakes.

No matter, I’m celebrating. I hereby dub February 24 “National Children Eat All Their Breakfast Day”.

Start planning for next year. It’s a momentous occasion.

Banana Bread Pancakes

Ingredients

3 cups soy milk
2 cups rolled oats
4 ripe bananas
1 cup WW pastry flour
1 tsp salt
2 TBS baking powder

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in powerful blender. Purée until smooth. Cook pancakes over medium heat in an oiled pan.

P.S. this makes a lot of pancakes. 1/2 the recipe for a smaller batch.

Italian Zucchini Bake

the veggie nook

I’m watching American Idol. It’s pretty bad. Maybe the best word would be cheesy. The judges are irritating, the contestants sound like they’re singing karaoke and I’m already sick of the phrase, “you made that song your own…”

Cheesy.

You know what else is cheesy? Cashews.

I’ve been playing around with nuts recently. There’ve been some successes

There’ve been some failures. Undocumented failures. I still have a little pride intact…

I’ve made nuts into meat, fudge, cookies and smoothies.

And today, I made nuts into cheese! I followed Angela’s recipe for Lemon Basil Cheez Sauce exactly. And then I made this amazing Italian Zucchini Bake.

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Zucchini takes the place of lasagna noodles. Sprinkle them with a little salt and let the salt pull out the moisture.

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I layered the zucchini with sauce, just like lasagna.

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Lemon Basil Cheez. Yes, Cheez with a “z”. Is that cheesy?

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I make my own cheese. I don’t make my own sauce. I have Martha Stewart hidden in my heart. At this point in my life, Elmo seems to stifle Martha.

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More layers including sundried tomatoes and Trader Joe’s vegan mozzarella.

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Dinner is served! I was concerned that this would be soupy. After all, the zucchini was bound to give off some liquid.

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Nope:) It was perfection in a ramekin.

More perfection?

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Snuggling with Miss Rae and lamby. Not cheesy at all!

P.S. what do you think of my girl’s super short bangs? She thinks she’s trendy. I think it’s a miracle Matty B got her to sit still long enough for the chop-job.

Italian Zucchini Bake

Serves 1

Ingredients
2 small zucchini, sliced into “noodles”
1 cup spaghetti sauce
1 recipe lemon basil cheez
1 cup vegan mozzarella
1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes

Instructions

Sprinkle zucchini noodles with salt and let sit for 15 minutes. With a paper towel, blot moisture from zucchini.

In a small ramekin, layer zucchini, Cheez, sauce, tomatoes and vegan mozzarella. I used 3 layers. The top layer should be sauce with some additional mozzarella sprinkled.

Bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Allow to cool at least 15 minutes before you eat it. I think this cooling time helps it “set up”.

Loved it.

Note: this was supposed to post much earlier, but because WordPress hates me, it’s late. Don’t blame me. Blame the Internet devils…

There’s something magical about a long weekend.

Confession: I very frequently confuse MLK Day with President’s Day. Same for Memorial Day and Labor Day. My mind is too full of other random knowledge, such as all the lyrics to The Wheels on the Bus.

Regardless, whether I’m thanking Abraham Lincoln or laborers, we had a great weekend!

Sometimes, weekends can be full of house cleaning, grocery trips and frantic attempts to “get caught up”. This weekend was no exception, but the extra 24 hours made me feel like I had all the time in the world!

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J Man using his helmet for something more strenuous than fractions. This picture makes me happy because it proves that he’s an actual little boy, not a 45 year old accountant.

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Lemon scones. Recipe promised. P.S. lemon tastes like spring and I’m ready!

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Date night. Grandma baby-sat while we saw Argo. Loved it. Loved. It.

Loved it.

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Lunch at Laughing Planet. Loved it. Not as much as Argo, but loved it still.

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These brownies:

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From this page:

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In this cookbook:

Using this candy:

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Loved it. More than Laughing Planet. Less than Argo. If you’re keeping track.

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Sunshine and Rain. All within 20 minutes of each other. Only in Portland.

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Overlook Park:

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Love them. Love. Them. Yes. More than Argo.