Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Pens to Lens 2018 - The Monster Who Ate the Boy

Speaking of food at our house, we don't usually allow any non-vegan food in the door. We also have several short films and music videos shot at our house over the last few years. We were kind of shocked when one of the directors brought meat, as a prop,  to a shoot at our house. Dema was in the film, but didn't actually eat the meat. It was still tough for us to even let it in the house. This director is lucky we love him and believe in his vision. So, if seeing meat consumed in movies bothers you, please don't watch, but if you can get past that...check out a short Pens to Lens film from this year called The Monster Who Ate the Boy. Dema plays the boy. Because of everyone's crazy schedules and Brian, the director, not wanting to come back on multiple days...we ended up shooting into the the wee hours of the morning. We all got a little punchy and a lot tired. Parker was working as crew and did the lighting. Josie stayed up very late entertaining the actors between takes. It was a long day for Josie and Parker because they got up early that morning to work on another film, but they love it so much! Dema was a great sport about one of the very messy scenes which was shot at around 3am!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Brunch Brussel Sprouts

We went on a pretty long hiatus from any real entertaining. Many friends moved away, life got busy, the house was never in good enough shape, cooking for others seemed daunting, but then I made a promise to myself to get out more to support local bands which led to a promise to myself to have people over...nothing big like we used to do, but two or three families. I'm so glad I made both promises because I never regret either. Some days I feel like canceling or some nights I don't feel like leaving the house, but I am so glad I push myself through.

 We've had a couple brunches with a couple neighbor friends and friends we met from doing films. They are all great people and we always enjoy their company. I have to keep myself from taking pictures because I also want to live more in the moment.

However, I do want to remember some of the dishes we make because just like before, I love to try new recipes when we have people over. One of my favorites from our brunch this weekend was Maple Syrup Roasted Brussel Sprouts. One of our friends is gluten free, avoids soy, black pepper, and cucumbers. The cucumbers are pretty easy, but the rest makes me get outside my comfort zone. Especially, the gluten free. I've baked a few gluten free coffee cakes, but since I am no baker, I still have a long way to go on the gluten free vegan baking road. 

We omitted the black pepper in the recipe above, but I don't think we lost anything. I will definitely put this recipe in our normal routine and try it with the black pepper. These brussel sprouts are a perfect addition to any brunch!
Our sweet old rescued greyhound, Gracie. She is super happy to have people over for meals again. She especially loves the younger kids who tend to drop more goodies on the floor for her to snack on.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Blog Like No One is Reading

I'm going to be blogging more. I need an outlet and I want to have a place for my kids to have memory reminders. This means I am blogging for me, not anyone out there. I will keep this public because I don't have anything here I don't mind sharing, but if no one reads it...that's fine.

Here is where our family is right now. We live in a small Midwestern college town where I was born and we've lived here 19 years now. Whoa! It seems crazy when I type it out. We moved here from Maryland (DC area) when I was pregnant with our first (was supposed to be our only) child. 

So that makes Parker 18 years old. He is attending a fabulous community college so he can save money living at home and he has a theatre scholarship (yay, for saving even more money). He homeschooled K-12, except for sixth grade at a public school and, as a lot of homeschoolers in our town, he took classes at the same community college during high school. He used to be a nanny for two awesome kids, but quit this fall to concentrate on school, theatre, and film. He is in a local improv group, interns at a local film production studio, and runs several role playing groups. He amazes me every day and he is so much more mature than most of the adults I know, but I'm hoping he lets go a bit and has some immature fun from time to time, while he still can. He has yet to experience being vegan living on his own, but he has been learning how to cook since he was little and is hoping to find some vegan-friendly roommates at some point.

Dema (Demetrius) is 14 and attending public school for the first time. He homeschooled all, but 4-6th grades (private school) and is now a Freshman at high school. He has OCD and this makes some things more challenging, but he makes friends easily and is a talented singer so this opens a lot of doors. Dema is also very involved in theatre and music so he was able to experience being on stage with his brother several times before Parker graduated. Dema approaches his veganism much differently than his siblings and his time socializing after different productions has taught him how to navigate the vegan choices in fast food/chain restaurants. He likes to bake, but has very little interest in cooking, at this point.

Josie (Josephine) just turned 11 this month and she is still homeschooling. She would be in 5th grade in public school, due to her birth date, but she does mostly 6th grade at home. She is very focused on athletics and tends to be the most competitive person in the house. She is going to guest post soon about her experience at a very well known gymnastics camp and their lack of vegan options, food waste, and more.

Swim/Gym Smoothie - What We Did This Summer

This is from our crazy summer. Josie was super girl giving her all to two very competitive sports and having a blast doing it. Vegan athlete style!
Some days Josie's post-swim pre-gymnastics smoothie matches her leo.
I don't usually make daily smoothies anymore, but Josie swims for two hours and then works out at gymnastics for 3.5 hours. Some days she doesn't feel like eating much between her two sports (she has only an hour between each a couple days a week) so a big smoothie filled with fruits and veggies is in order. This day she noticed that she just happened to match her spinach and blueberry smoothie. The swim/gym smoothie had frozen blueberries and peaches, raw spinach, beet juice, alma powder, ground flax seeds, and unsweetened soy milk.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Local Resistance

Our musician friends, Elsinore, made this timely song/video.  Warning: it is political and there is some language. Please, those of you in the US, get out there and vote!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

New (to us) Frozen Vegan Pizza - Convenience Food

We don't buy frozen pizza very often, but I was leaving my 18 (Parker) year old and my 14 (Dema) year old home alone during a very busy week for them. Rob was working on his sailboat in Virginia Josie and I went hiking for a couple days (more about that in a future post) so I stocked the freezer so the boys wouldn't have to cook much while we were gone. One of the things I found was Sweet Earth Veggie Lover's Pizza. It didn't look bad nutrition wise for a frozen meal and they were on sale! The boys didn't get up needing the pizzas while we were gone so Josie and I got to sample it as well.

The verdict? Very tasty and we would definitely buy again. Parker gave an enthusiastic thumbs up and Dema thought there could have been more cheese. I like the unusual toppings and the amount of cheese is just right to keep the toppings on the pizza, but not overpower the taste of the veggies. I haven't had corn on pizza since I was in the Dominican Republic many years ago. Parker was skeptical about the corn, but now he is a convert. Josie is not a huge frozen pizza fan, but liked this one better than most.

Monday, July 2, 2018

The Red Herring - Fusion Dinners

For a college town, we have a sad lack of completely veg restaurants, but we have one mainstay that has been here for decades. It changes a bit every year or so, trying new things with different students getting involved. Some years they are only open for lunch and only during the normal school year. This year, The Red Herring is open for dinner once a week, even during the summer, for fusion dinners. They use as much local produce as possible and highlight different cuisines each week. We've only been a couple times this year because Josie had gymnastics during the dinner hours until her gymnastics schedule switched for the summer. Josie would go every week if she could.
Indian fusion night at The Red Herring; vegetable biryani,  tofu paneer saag, massor dal, and salad.
Four of us made it to the Indian fusion night and I was surprised how much Dema enjoyed it. He is not the biggest Indian food fan, like the rest of the family, but I think he appreciated the subtle Indian flavors of fusion night.
For fusion night, they just have one platter (usually with a gluten-free option too)  for everyone, but you can choose the extra sides or appetizers.
Desserts at The Red Herring are always a treat!
Josie has swim team practice in the evenings on fusion night so we usually go directly to the Red Herring. This means she is tired and starving so we order everything we can. This night was Americana and she got the roasted cauliflower buffalo dip. It totally held her over until the main course.
We don't use cauliflower enough at home. I need to remedy that. It is such a nutritious and versatile vegetable! This is one of the benefits of eating out at The Red Herring, I get some great ideas of things to make at home! The burger was my favorite and I'm not a huge veggie burger fan these days...too often it is the only option at restaurants so I avoid them now. I'm so glad I didn't miss out on this eggplant black bean burger, it was the best burger I've eaten in a long time! I love veggie burgers with actual veggies and with good spices. I totally understand some people want a vegan burger that mimics meat...no judgement, but that isn't what I like.
Yes, she ate everything!
Josie always gets dessert at The Red Herring. It goes back to when she was younger and The Red Herring was one of the only places in town to serve vegan desserts. Now we have too many options, but she still loves the slightly healthier inventive desserts at The Red Herring. This evening it was the dried coconut bacon chocolate cake. She shared a bit with me and it was quite good, but not overly sweet and it was a great end to a wonderful dinner packed with local produce!