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Monthly Archives: October 2013

Happy Halloween!

Halloween isn’t really a big deal in our house. It’s really not different than most “normal” days.

1. The kids have been wearing their costumes everyday for about 2 weeks now. And it’s really not uncommon on any given day to see them sporting random jewelry, head bands or my shoes. They get their fashion sense from Matty B. Although, he can’t fit into my shoes…

2. The recent candy consumption in my house is out of control. Between potty training treats, flu shot condolences and motivation to swallow yucky tasting medicine that is supposed to taste like orange, but must actually taste like death the way J Man fusses and moans, there have been jelly beans, M candies (m&m’s) and lollipops flowing abundantly.

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Still, any excuse to eat pie is acceptable to me. One of my workers said today, “You know what my favorite kind of cake is? Pie.”

Agreed.

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Thankful Thursday

Running with Racheal

I’ve been a big baby lately.

So, I messed up my ankle.

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Yes. Yes I did.

I’m smiling in the photo above, but I haven’t been smiling for at least 72 hours.

Why?

I’m a big baby who’s been ignoring all the good things in her life and focusing on one little blip, one little set-back.

I had to read this book for work. I was dragging my heels. I’ve got stuff to do! But, my sprained ankle allowed for ample reading time, so I did my homework and hit this little gem:

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So, what’s my reality?

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Coffee dates with my favorite girl.

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Apple Pie

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Pumpkin Carving

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The Corn Maze

If all this is my reality, I’d say I have a lot to be thankful for! Tomorrow is Thankful Thursday. I’m early. Also, most people aren’t thankful until November.

What can I say? I’m an over achiever.

What are you thankful for today?

Scarborough Fair Pasta

Scarborough Fair Pasta

Confession: in the not too distant past, I thought that the Pauls in both The Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel were the same Paul.

You know, Paul Simon and Paul McCartney? Yeah, I thought they were the same guy. Both Matty B and Unk C are judging me right now.

Sorry boys. Sorry Paul…s…

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The best way to apologize, especially to boys, is food. Side note: the best way to apologize to girls is chores. Sparkling clean kitchen floors and piles of mail and other junk that has magically disappeared? That’s the way to my heart.

But back to the Pauls. In an attempt to rectify this situation, I made Scarborough Fair Pasta. You know, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme?

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I would bet that none of The Beatles were vegan as none of their songs lend themselves to vegan cooking. “Honey Pie”? Vegans don’t eat honey. “Blackbird”? Vegans don’t eat those. “Sour Milk Sea”? I’m gonna go out on a limb and say no one should eat sour milk.

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This pasta tasted like Thanksgiving. Easy Thanksgiving, that is. Pasta is cooked and then sautéed with olive oil and garlic. A handful of each, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme is beauty.

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If you are a member of The Beatles, you might want a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top. Just don’t use sour milk.

Pride Goeth Before A…

I’ve gotten a little over-confident in my old age.

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The girls dorm was sponsoring a 5k run for breast cancer. 5k’s are my favorite because I can do them without dying. I was fairly optimistic about the run. Other than being a little sleepy eyed above, I was ready to go!

I had my tunes. I had my runkeeper app that I love. I was sporting pink, as all breast cancer runners should. Also, J Man had told me that I was going to place 2nd, so I had some expectations to live up to. He’s super smart, so I was fairly confident.

As soon as we started, someone called out behind me that a car was coming. I was already on the far right hand side of the road, but I went over a little further, just to be safe.

It was then that the universe spit on me and said, “I hate you.”

I slipped on something (gravel, pothole, air?) and my ankle totally rolled. I went down. Hard. I tore up my hands, ripped a hole in my favorite Under Armour running tights and was absolutely humiliated.

At least 5 people stopped to help me up and they encouraged me to walk the rest of the way. I was maybe 1/8 of a mile in.

I’m no sissy.

It didn’t hurt that bad.

I walked for 30 seconds and then ran the rest of the way.

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That’s a pretty unflattering picture of me coming in to the finish line. I wouldn’t have posted it, but it’s my proof that I ran in spite of my injury.

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Well, there’s some more proof…

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I’m pretty happy there. But then it really started hurting, like really. And the nurse on site said I should go to the doctor and Matty B and I, just the day before, had a conversation about his unwillingness to go to the doctor, so I felt like I needed to set a good example.

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FYI: the ER is cold. Also, my blood pressure was 76:45. I think the nurses thought I was dying. They should have probably been paying more attention to the lady in the room next door. She sounded like she was dying.

After a round of X-rays and an up close and personal introduction to a horribly unfashionable boot, it’s just a bad sprain.

And no running for at least two weeks. Are you kidding me? The holiday season is just around the corner! Apple pie is calling my name! And I’m just supposed to sit around?

It’s gonna be a long two weeks…

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Healthy Crockpot Applesauce

I don’t miss apple paraphernalia.

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There are some things that I really miss about teaching. Funny things the kids say. Talking to Jr. High girls about their boy problems (always good for an internal laugh), high fives in the mornings.

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I don’t miss apple things. Somewhere along the way, someone decided that teachers like apples and thus, superimposed the apple theme onto any teacher gift/mug/card/candle.

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My current coworkers (glory be) do NOT give me apple stuff. They do, unfortunately provide me with tofu desserts, but that’s a problem for another day.

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Still, as much as I’m morally opposed to sweatshirts with quilted apples and the quote “2 teach+2 learn= 4 ever”, I do like apples themselves.

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There’s a place in Milton-Freewater where you can get their “seconds” for $10 a box. The first place apples must be impeccable, because their seconds are quite nice. Matty B got us a giant 50 lb. box for, yes, $10.

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What do you do with 50 lb. of apples?

You juice 20 of them and then discover that while Great Grandpa won’t drink milk, water, juice, tea or really, any beverage at all, he will, in fact, drink fresh pressed apple juice!

Then, you make applesauce.

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Ignore your husband who says, “Don’t use all the apples! Leave some for pie!”

Don’t worry. If you have a 50 lb. box of apples and you use 15 for applesauce, you still have too many apples.

And what I’m about to tell you next is the most important thing you’ll learn today. Take notes, if you wish.

Applesauce is the easiest thing you’ll ever make, other than toast.

Step 1. Peel and chop apples. Get a handy apple peeler. Didn’t I tell you to get one a few days ago?

Step 2. Fill (and I mean fill) your crockpot with apples. Add 1/2 cup water.

Step 3. Turn your crockpot to “high”. Go to work. Worry all morning that Great Grandpa is going to stick his questionably clean finger into the crockpot.

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Step 4. Come home. Use your stick blender for 30 seconds, or until applesauce is desired consistency.

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Step 5. Smile. You made applesauce. It’s good. It’s nothing but apples. You are a rock star and Martha Stewart all rolled into one.

Did you take notes like I suggested?

Sorry. Old teaching habits die hard…

Garam Masala Mini Muffins

We like all things “mini”.

1. Mini golf? We’re obsessed.

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And when I say “we”, I’m referring to the child prodigy, also known as J Man.

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Don’t let her fake smile fool you. This picture was taken at hole #1.

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This was #6, five too many holes for Miss Rae. She spent the majority of the day pouting on this bench.

2. We love mini tomatoes. Ok, ok, I’m actually the only one who loves mini tomatoes, but I have high hopes for Miss Rae, my future foodie.

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3. We love mini tractors.

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If only Rae had less hair, we’d have a “mini me”!

4. We especially love Minnie Mouse. For some reason, for both kiddos, she’s the favored of the Mouse family. Most likely, she’s Miss Rae’s favorite because she’s J Man’s favorite and vice versa…

But the best mini of all, and I’m certain you’ll agree…

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The mini muffin. Oh friends, I hit the bullseye with this one. Granted, almost anything dipped in melted butter and then rolled in cinnamon-sugar will make most people swoon, but these are special.

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a) They’re vegan. That alone makes them special. Note: Let’s talk about my job. I’m surviving here, but it’s a hostile work environment:). Word on the street is that there was a bad smell upstairs in the office and the assumption was that the offending odor was vegan food. Or maybe, just vegans in general. I should bring in some of these mini muffins. Then we’ll see who smells!

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b) Garam Masala. You know, the spice used in a lot of Indian cooking? Yep. In the doughnut batter and in the sugar coating. Weird? For sure. Good? Absolutely.

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Matty B was unsure, but was feeling brave, so he humored my creativity and tried them. His response?

“It tastes like curry. But so good. And weird. But so good! I wish Indian restaurants would serve this for dessert instead of that gross rice pudding (kheer) they serve!”

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The only problem with mini muffins? Somehow you end up eating double the amount than you would if it was one regular muffin.

Weird how that never happens with mini tomatoes…

Regardless, be brave and try these muffins. They won’t make you smell. I promise.

Garam Masala Mini Muffins

Ingredients

5 TBS earth balance
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup ww pastry flour
1/2 cup ap flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup almond milk
1 TBS pumpkin purée

Coating
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp cardamom

1/4 cup earth balance, melted

Instructions

Beat earth balance and brown sugar until fluffy. In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Mix the tablespoon of applesauce into the almond milk. Add small portions of the flour mixture and the milk mixture to the butter and sugar, beating well between each round.

Spray a mini muffin pan with cooking spray and put a scant tablespoon in each hole. Bake for 15-18 minutes at 350.

Meanwhile, mix coating ingredients (except for earth balance).

When muffins are done and still warm, dip in earth balance and them roll in sugar coating.

The Garden Vegan Cafe Review

I have a soft spot in my heart for small businesses.

It might be because my parents had/have a little bakery and I see how much work it takes.

It might be because I despise walmart. Notice how I refuse to give them the capital “W” that proper grammar says they deserve?

It might be because there are so many cool small businesses that don’t make it and then I’m forced to go to Walmart. That “W” autocorrected and I’m too lazy to fix it.

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I hope and pray that the Garden Vegan Cafe makes it.

I’m anxious because they have a new, prime, corner space on Main Street and rent can’t be cheap.

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I’m anxious because they have a bevy (yes, bevy) of smoothie options and there is no Jamba Juice in Walla Walla and even if there were, the Garden’s smoothies are better. And better for you.

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I was anxious because I didn’t know how to pronounce Nicoise but then I YouTubed it and now I’m smart. (FYI: nih-swaus).

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I was anxious because I didn’t know if the kiddos would eat anything, but the staff very kindly left the kale out of the grape smoothie and the peppers out of the Daiya quesadilla.

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(This is the only picture of the kid’s food. Mine is much more photogenic.)

But mostly, people, mostly I’m anxious that not enough people will frequent the Garden Vegan Cafe and I’ll be left to slog my way through a very questionable lentil burger at The Brik and a whole lot of French fries. Which, while being vegan, aren’t necessarily my idea of a healthy meal.

Go. To my 3 Walla Walla readers, go to the Garden Vegan Cafe right now. To the other 4 non-local readers, send me money for more Cacao Seduction.

Support small businesses! And hungry vegan girls!

P.S. The food was good. Really good. And fast service. And the restaurant was clean. And you learned more about the restaurant in my P.S. than in the whole previous “review”.