Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Vegan Baked Ziti or Not

I know what you are thinking (all 6 of you readers out there), where is the food already???? Linda never cooks anything, I'm pretty sure she eats, but where are the pictures of food? She talks about going out and things Rob makes (that saint of a husband since she is obviously sitting on her lazy vegan a** blogging all day while he's off at work making the money and then comes home to filthy house and whips something together for that poor family to eat)...but, what does she cook??? The non-vegans reading the post are smugly saying to themselves..see I knew being a vegan is hard work or see all vegans are lame or something similar and laughing a wicked little laugh.

Actually, I know you all (6 of you) weren't thinking about me, but while I form blog entries (most of which never reach the computer) in my head while hanging the laundry out to dry, I fantasize about an adoring blog public just waiting for my next post and hoping for some vegan porn (pictures of yummy vegan food...get your mind out of the gutter!). I like to see pictures of food on the blogs I frequent and I'm sure I'm not alone.

Rob doesn't understand why just pictures of food and not pictures of people eating the food. I've tried to explain that people eating food is not so attractive and possibly unappetizing. I mean do your cookbooks have pictures of food or pictures of people eating the food? I have to admit that at times I find watching people eat almost disgusting. (I realize after this confession we are unlikely to have many dinner guests except our invitation or when you do, you will slyly hide your chewing behind a napkin.) I guess that would be reason #653 why we haven't opened a vegan restaurant. It would be like opening a shoe store when feet give you the heebie jeebies. Of course, I still WANT to open a vegan restaurant because I want to eat there and hang out (which is reason #1-#7865 for opening a vegan restaurant) and no one else is opening one here. If they did, I would be kicking myself (or more likely Rob) for not opening it myself. Not that it is his fault mind you (don't tell him that because I'm always saying he is squelching my dream), he is pretty supportive of anything I want to do. He supports the business I already have, Tribal Life, even when I take any possible profit and buy more inventory with it so the best I can ever hope for is to break even. I keep telling him it is not about the money, but he says should try for non-profit status then since business needs to be at least a little about the
money. I tell him it is about meeting amazing, cool, people, and hooking up said people with products they can believe in or hooking up small businesses with customers who are amazing and cool. This is again why a restaurant would be nice because I could just hang with amazing and cool people all day...oh yeah and cook some food, do the books, yadda, yadda, but how hard could that be?? So then he reminds me that I have a bunch of amazing and cool friends (many of them customers) who I could spend time with if I wasn't so busy with my business. Whoa...hmm, he might have a point there, but I'm putting my hands over my ears and not listening while I search the world for fairly-made, vegan, environmentally-friendly products which are actually useful and don't cost a month's salary.

Where the heck was I?

Still no food pictures today, but let me explain. I did intend to cook something this afternoon (besides the normal lunch I made for the kids...please, I am not THAT lame). Last night my saint of a husband mentioned that he would like some vegan baked ziti. Sure, I can do problem, I'll just surprise him tonight with some Vegan Baked Ziti. So, I took all three kids out to the local health food store, stuck Josie in the Hug-a-Bub while she slept and still heard how I didn't dress her warm enough in this 60 something degree weather, spent over $200 on groceries (it has been a while since I've been there), and realized my 3 year old has become an expert in sneaking things into the cart while I'm not looking (maybe that accounts for the large bill). I came home and nursed my little girl while the boys helped unpack the bags (all reusable ones, of course, although it didn't keep the cashierACME Bags EarthTote™ - Heavy Duty Reusable Shopping Bag - Blackfrom asking "paper or plastic?) and put things away. Running like clockwork, I am supermom, I am so together...I am only trying to cook dinner and everyone else does this every day without an issue...shut up, I am making something new for my sweet husband and it will taste great.

Then an hour of nursing, changing cloth diapers, nursing, changing cloth diapers, hanging up clean cloth diapers on the line at the same time my little baby is wetting in a cloth diaper so I'm already do thing start to get so out of control??? I made lunch for the kids, not as complete as I was hoping, but a couple vegetables, a couple fruits, beans, and a grain so not terrible. The entire time I'm carrying Josie in a carrier or trying to get her to sleep in her bouncy seat. If she would just sleep in the bouncy seat, I could put the ziti all together and then just bake it when I know what time Rob will be home. No problem. Wait, she will NOT fall asleep unless she is somehow attached to my body. Then I get her really close and I hear my sweet little Dema in the bathroom saying "I'm doing a good job of wiping mom." Hmm, better see what is going on in there. Poop and toilet paper everywhere. Okay, Parker go make Josie happy in the bouncy seat while I get your brother in the bath. No, I'm not mad at you Dema, you did a great job, but next time it is okay to ask for help. Ugh! Why does so much of parenting involve putting things in their body and then cleaning up what comes out of their body?

Okay, finally, everyone is clean and Josie is asleep in the bouncy seat in the kitchen so I can finally look through my recipe books and put together this easy baked ziti from different sources (sauce here, vegan ricotta there). I realize I haven't eaten so I eat some of the kid's pasta while I flip through the cookbooks. Wait, I can't feel the kids pasta tonight since they had it for lunch. What else could I make. I look around at the full sink of dishes, the sleeping, baby, the $200 of groceries which need to be made into something and I decide I should do laundry instead, Josie wakes up and I nurse at the keyboard lamenting my planned dinner and think of something I can throw together last minute.

Why did I not inherit that gene from my mother which allowed her to stay up until 3am working on stuff for some worthwhile organization or typing up one of the kid's papers for school and still feed us three meals a day, clean the house, attend several meetings, grocery shop, etc.?

PS. I did go ahead and make the %$*(#! Vegan Baked Ziti in my lame, last minute way after blogging about it made me feel bad enough to get up and try again.

Make vegan ricotta from your recipe of choice (I chose one from my favorite Italian cookbook, Nonna's Italian Kitchen by Bryanna Clark Grogan, and doubled it)
Boil whole wheat Bionaturae rigatoni pasta for 10 minutes (should have been a little less)
Warm up jarred pasta of your choice (I chose Garden Vegetable Pasta Sauce)
Garden Vegetable Pasta Sauce
Slap a little Earth Balance on a glass casserole dish.
Put some vegan ricotta on the bottom of the dish.
Mix the rest of the vegan ricotta with the sauce.
Layer the pasta and sauce in the dish until full.
Sprinkle some vegan parm (I prefer to make my own, but ran out of time so used the canned stuff which I would leave out or use just nutritional yeast instead).
Shred some FYH (Follow Your Heart) vegan cheese on top (I used Monterey Jack just because)

Cook at 420degrees (if your oven is messed up like mine...400 for normal people) for 15 -25 minutes (depending on if you want it to get kind of crusty like Rob likes it).

I would make my own sauce next time and use less sauce (I was planning on making two dishes full, but didn't). I will make this again. I'd have broccoli as a side and we needed some olive rosemary bread from Mirabelle (our local bakery), but it worked for dinner and Rob has lunch tomorrow (already packed in To-Go Ware with a salad on top and the ziti on the bottom).


Anonymous said...

Ah, Linda...welcome to my world! They say three is the hardest adjustment. After that, what's one more? Well, I never had 3, but the transition from 2 to 4 was quite difficult. The dirty house will always be there. The laundry will always be there. Just snuggle (and feed) your babies.

Angi said...

LOL I was coming to post the exactly same thing as the matriarch, right down to never having 3, jumping right to 4.

But I also want to say, that it looks yummy. Even after 4 years of dairy free living, I could never eat vegan cheese. We did grow to love Nutritional Yeast. And we still do.

Good for you for making a dinner. Now go back to nursing that sweet girl.

Linda said...

Some days it all comes together and having three is easier in a way and then other days I am in awe of all of you with MORE kids because I can't seem to make it work. In the middle of all this yesterday a mouse came into the house (it is now gone).

Angi, it took over 10 years of dairy-free living for us to try vegan cheese. We prefer NY too.

Thanks to both of you...I feel better.

Shawna said...

Linda, another 2 who jumped to 4 here (you sure know a lot of people with twins). Your post made me tired! I am actually in awe of moms who seem to be able to take care of the house and kids and find time to cook anything half-way nutritious. My MIL does 90% of the cooking in our house. As for making it work with more kids...we all do the best we can and hope it's good enough!

Jane said...

just wanted to leave a comment saying i love reading your blog! vegan mom of one 1 year old here, and i rarely manage to make a decent meal! today i have tofu marinating in the fridge for dinner, woohoo! usually its grab whatcha can in the evenings! i dont know what i will do if / when i have more kids!

VeganLinda said...

Shawna, I do know a much of people with twins...glad it isn't catching. :-) I need a mother-in-law.

Jane, thanks for stopping by the blog and commenting. Glad you enjoy it!