Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Leaf Love

I mentioned October has been pretty nasty weather-wise in my part of the world. It has been cold and wet and I prefer to be warm and dry. What gets me up and out of bed in the morning is waking up to the view of the park and the beautiful trees. It makes the cold weather tolerable.Don't take my iPhone's word for it. Check out my sweet and talented neighbor, Cynthia's blog and her pictures of the park. Breathtaking!
We did have a brief, but lovely warm-up last week. One of the advantages to homeschooling is when Mother Nature serves you a special day, you can move school outside. We read books, wrote reports, and drew pictures at the park. Here Dema is regaling us with a story before teaching Josie her body parts in Spanish.We also went on biking/walking/busing adventures to the Orpheum Children's Museum, library, downtown, campus, and Scott Park before heading downtown again for Spanish. Josie actually requested I take this picture as we waited at the bus station for transport to our next destination.
This is Josie's normal response when I take out my phone for a picture. "No pictures!" I just couldn't help it. She looked so cute (before the picture protest) in her two favorite purple sweaters. The one underneath was made last year by our fabulous neighbor, Margie.
This weekend our amazingly thoughtful friends, Kit and Emily, dropped off pumpkins to our house from their family's pumpkin patch. We were supposed to all get together to carve pumpkins, but they came down with the intestinal illness which seems to have infected half our town. Yet they still dropped off pumpkins for us to carve. I tell you, we are not worthy of all the delightful people we have in our lives!Josie, Rob, Parker, and Dema carving pumpkins. Apparently, it is serious work! We have our old 6lb. nooch bucket for compost and glass container for saving seeds. Loretta and lovely her family joined us for the carving and they look equally serious!The kids had a great time jumping in piles of leaves after they were done carving and then as darkness fell we enjoyed a yummy dinner (thanks to Loretta and David bringing excellent soup and pasta to add to Rob's stir fry). Now if fall wouldn't turn into winter...

Lentil Love

I'm a VeganMoFo 2009 Dropout. I know it.

I just can't justify spending time at the computer some days. A few days were super beautiful and we had to spend every second we could outside since we've already had unseasonably cold and rainy weather most of the month. The beautiful days are precious and fleeting. The rest of the time, I feel like I should be washing dishes or fixing something. Not only have I not beenblogging, but we've been cooking super simple, quick meals. Yummy, but blogged about before. One of the foods I've been making a lot is soup. Lentil soups, specifically. Creamy lentil soups so that means lots of red lentils. Mmmmm! We love lentils! Tonight I had a little two much two year old help and not enough adult help so I threw this together:Silky Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup and Easy Peanut Sauce Over Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Peas and Broccoli

The Silky Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup is from Vegan Feast Kitchen and the Easy Peanut Sauce was a tester recipe from Robin Robertson's latest cookbook (I can't wait to buy it as soon as things stop breaking around the house!). The peanut sauce is already a favorite and the soup is a new fave. Dema is in a mood lately where he turns his nose up at everything just to drive me insane. He will say he doesn't like everything, even as he devours it or even if it is something he asked for. He is extremely contrary so we try to ignore his comments. Tonight he was much better and ate the entire bowl of soup with much lip smacking before he said he didn't like it. Dema and Josie had frozen pomegranate kernels with their meal. Another hit with Dema and he ate most of the bag before he said they were "okay". Silly boy!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Another One Bites the Dust

Not so VEGANMOFO 2009...

Dishwasher broken.

I put a load of dishes in the dishwasher, turn it on. Walk away, run back in kitchen to sound like grinding glass coming from dishwasher. Look it over, can't find anything obviously causing the noise. Start it again, again horrible noise, but quicker this time. No problem, I can wash dishes by hand in a shallow old sick which doesn't fit most of our pans. We went through this before with this dishwasher....months and months until Rob finally fixed it. We'll leave for Chicago and get away from the cold house and the dishes for a weekend of friends and VeganMania.
Roof leaking.
As I go up to the attic to get the suitcases, I notice a little water on the floor...hmmm. No matter, very small amount of water and it had been raining for like 40 days and nights. We'll deal with it when we get back.
Radiator in play room hissing (old house, steam heat).
No problem, found a great plumber who came by quickly to fix it (broken pipe...out over $300, but its fixed).
Boiler gushing water.
I like to save energy and I also have this contest with myself every year to keep the heat turned off until my birthday in November. This October has been very cold, but I am tough. The family is tough. We like to wear layers (hats and coats in the house). When it is cold inside, you don't mind getting on your bikes and going places outside (it is actually warmer riding your bike). Yet, our boiler kicked on (see radiator hissing above) a couple times already because we can't turn our thermostat lower than 49 degrees F (which is probably a good thing). Radiators leaking water, check boiler in the basement, water gushing...panic since I'm not a handy woman and I didn't even know where the turn off valve for the water is (I do now!)...helpful neighbors, Rob takes afternoon off...plumber not available. No problem, we don't need heat anyway until November and if I really want to warm up I can do dishes.
Boiler fixed.
Heating/AC person comes to look at boiler five days and $80 later. Build up or something messed up some valve thingy (Rob dealt with him, I wrangled the kids). They didn't much anything because the draining of the boiler probably fixed the issue. No problem, nice to have it fixed before we need it and a professional checkup.
Wait, the kitchen radiator is leaking steam now. Must be a job for the plumber. $30 later, yes the valve needed tightening, but he takes a gander at the boiler and it is flooded again. No problem, Rob needs to clean out some pipe connected to the boiler. We're not real confident this will fix the problem, but we'll keep our fingers crossed now won't we.
Three year old front loading washer broken.
I put some clothes in the washer, go upstairs to get kids ready for bed. Come back downstairs to put the laundry in the dryer. It has stopped mid-cycle. Crazy kids, must have knocked the setting or played with the buttons. Start it over. Read books to kids, Rob goes downstairs to put laundry in dryer. Washer completely non-responsive. Another one down. Houston, we have a problem.

At least we have our health and our humor (and Queen).

Friday, October 16, 2009

Chicago Vegan Mania

Last weekend we took the train to Chitown to see our friends Katherine and Todd and attend Chicago Vegan Mania. I thought it would be fun, especially for the kids to go to a big event which was all about veganism. We have lots of friends who are vegan friendly, adults who are vegan, and few vegetarian friends, but sadly we don't know any vegan kids in our town anymore. I heard about Chicago Vegan Mania on a Vegetarian Resource Group parenting email list so I knew there would be some families. I guess we've lived in a small college town too long because I was blown away by the line at the door when we arrived at the event last Saturday. It was so nice to see a line of vegans winding its way down two streets waiting for the doors to open on a cold Chicago morning.
Although it was only a little past ten in the morning, we went straight for the food. We were given some tickets at the door and then bought more so we could use them on food. I don't have a good feeling for how expensive the food ended up being because we bought the sample sizes. I also think we were given the free tickets based on a family not per adult or per person, but I have to admit I'm not sure. I think next year (they hope to make this an annual event!) they should do free tickets per person (children included) if they want to draw families to the event. I understand they have to pay for the event though.
Our first food stop was Soul Vegetarian. We've eaten there before, but it has been waaaayyyyy too long. As I remember, the restaurant is fairly small, but the service was excellent and the food even better. I love my health food, but sometimes it can leave you cold wanting more. I admit my heart has a special spot for a cuisine which usually comes with a "big mess o' greens". Soul Vegetarian does wholesome like a warm snugly hand-knit afghan. They are the place to go for quality vegan comfort food that satisfies, the likes of which I've never found anywhere else. We bought the sample platters and Dema devoured the bbq seitan, Parker mmmm'ed his way through the mac and cheese, and Rob and I savored the sauteed collards. It was all great and I wanted to go back to buy the large plate, but there were more good eats to be had. I have to add that Soul Vegetarian is a class act and they know how to cater an event. Other vendors ran out of food pretty quickly (this can be a problem at vegan events...people want to eat the food!), but SV made a reported three trips back to their restaurant (not a short jaunt) to keep all our vegan bellies filled.
Rob grabbed some wraps from what I believe was an Upton's Naturals booth. They were scrumptious! He had to go back for more. I was hoping it was a restaurant, but maybe this is better because I can talk to my local co-op (Jacqueline, are you out there?) to stock Upton's Naturals products. We usually make our own seitan, but their products are worth spending money on. There was live entertainment on the stage in the room with the food. It was nice, but a little loud so it was hard to talk and get to know people.After eating, we checked out the other booths. Here is a picture of the boys chatting it up with a woman at a chiropractor booth (Dema has another Upton's Naturals wrap in his hand). It was so funny how long they talked with her. There were lots of vendors and non-profits there. From water purifiers to Mercy for Animals to Ethical Planet (with a great sale on vegan shoes, I almost bought a pair of high heels...a little bit of my pregan shopping personality coming out, I was a little bit of a shoe hoarder in my time, but that is a story for a different post) to art. It was all there. Here is Parker getting the last sample of vegan chocolate from an unknown vendor (sorry!) for Josie who was about ready to grab the plate. The kids spent a while at the crafts table making pictures and musical instruments. We met a few other families, but didn't get a chance for the kids to chat much. I was a tad disappointed that there wasn't more for kids. I'll have to think of some things they could do next year and maybe offer to help out.
Our friend Todd (a pescetarian) was quite a sport about attending with us. He and his wife, Katherine, were leaving for NJ the next day yet he spent the day hanging out with us manic vegans. The event was in the Wicker Park area of Chicago and Katherine's toy store is not far away so later in the afternoon Todd and Rob took the kids to Building Blocks (to Dema Chicago is all about the toy store, but he showed great restraint and was happy with a small Lego set). I stayed to catch a couple of the speakers (I think Parker would have enjoyed the speakers too, but Josie needed a nap and Dema was getting antsy...it would have been great if they had "speakers" or organized activities for the kids during the talks, but I totally understand that would be harder to do). The first speaker, I was able to catch was Will Tuttle, PhD. We bought a few of his music CDs over the years and the kids really enjoy the animal sounds with the piano, but I don't think I've ever heard him speak. Dr. Tuttle has kind of a new-agey, yoga instructor feel about him and pretty much exudes peace. I enjoyed his talk so much that I immediately went downstairs to buy the audio version of his book, The World Peace Diet, but no one was at him booth (he was still talking with people upstairs). I didn't want to miss one of my favorite speakers, Dr. Greger, MD so after waiting a while, I ran back upstairs for Greger's talk, but I came back after to buy Dr. Tuttle's audio book and a CD of his talk.Dr. Greger was in a hurry to get to the airport, but full of energy, fun (I really wish Parker could have been there for this one), and informative. Dr. Greger sifts through the studies with his trained eye and comes out with an annual DVD of what he has learned. He separates the wheat from the chaff so to speak and does so with a cute, geeky sense of humor. He ran his session in a game show fashion. We all stood up and he would ask questions about nutrition (e.g. Are mushrooms better for you raw or cooked?) and we raised our hands sort to "vote" for the answer we thought was correct and sat down when we got a question wrong. Vegans tend to be more interested in nutrition than your "average" citizen and many of us keep up on the latest nutrition news. So it was lots of fun to hear the gasps of disbelief when people would get an answer incorrect. It was especially fun to see large groups of people sit down after one particularly "tricky" question. The person left standing at the end, was give a free CD (one you can't even buy if you beg him). Then everyone stood up again for the next list of questions. Exercise and quality nutrition information, it doesn't get better than that. Loads of fun! I have to say, humbly, that I was the last person standing once and came very close a couple more times. A nine year old girl was the last one standing for the first round of questions, very impressive! Oh and you should always eat your mushrooms...cooked. Sorry raw foodists, there are apparently toxins on mushrooms that are harmful to you, but cooking the mushrooms gets rid of the toxins and allows you to reap the many health benefits without the poison. Or so the studies (per Dr. Greger) say. More on his 2009 version of Latest in Clinical Nutrition in a later post.We had to catch the early train Sunday so I could be back for the radio show. The kids love riding the train, but they were a tad tired and ready to be home. We read the rest of the seventh (and last) book in the Harry Potter series and snacked on dried figs. When we arrived back in our little college town, we stopped at a local bar/restaurant for a black bean burger (pretty much the only thing we could find on a Sunday morning) and then walked the mile home. Josie enjoyed wheeling "her" luggage part of the way home and she loved her borrowed boots (thanks Amara and Indigo!).We always love visiting our friends in Chicago (and sadly never have enough time to see everyone or go to all the great veg/veg-friendly restaurants) and were glad we could make the Chicago Vegan Mania as well. We look forward to next year!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A-ha Moment

Not this kind of a-ha moment:

One of the those kitchen a-ha moments where you wonder why you didn't think of it before and you are sure everyone is already doing and you are the last to figure things out. Well, a couple weeks ago I was making a quick dinner before running out to a meeting. I only had something like fifteen minutes to get food on the table and change clothes. I decided on FatFree Vegan's Easy Mac and Cheeze. Vegan mac and cheeze is not vegan mac and cheeze to me without some veggies, but I was short on time and our dishwasher is broken and most of the dishes piled up in the sick. I was heating up the water in our pasta pot and it occurred to me that my bamboo steamer would fit perfectly on top of the pot. I cut up some kale and threw it in the streamer and by the time the water was boiling, the kale was steamed. I served the pasta with warmed up leftover lentil soup. Done and done. A hot filling, nutritious meal in the time it took to boil water. I really don't know why it never occurred to me before to take advantage of the heating water to steam veggies, but now I do it all the time. I even steam veggies over the water I heat for tea (it is quite cold in my house already...50 to 55 degrees F...so hot tea is what gets me through the day).What a-ha! moments have you had in the kitchen lately?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Best Things in Life are Free

Okay, so this meal wasn't exactly free, but we just threw it together from leftovers so it was easy peasy and ohhhh soooo yummy! It reminds me that sometimes the most simple dishes are the most satisfying. I love the steam coming up from the wok. This is before Rob threw in the leftover brown rice and red rice. I still need to blog about red rice sometime. Soon, I promise!Broccoli, carrots, tofu, collards, onions, garlic in cast iron wok
Hot air balloon over our house (thanks for the heads up, Loretta!)

Tomato Rosemary Scones

I can not express in words how Tomato Rosemary Scones (from Vegan Brunch) have changed my life. I promised I'd blog about them a while back, but I never had the time to give them their due. Tomato and rosemary is always a delicious combination so they caught my eye the first time I opened Vegan Brunch. I was making sauce with tomatoes from my garden one morning. Enjoying the sauce making experience. Adding onions from my CSA share, sweet peppers from my garden, more thyme, more oregano over the course of the morning. Soaking some cashews and adding them to the sauce and a little bit of this and that. I pureed the whole thing because the kids will pick out the tomato skins (I just like to cook them chopped skins on) if I don't puree. The end result was several cups of sauce luscious lovely homemade sauce. Plenty to make Tomato Rosemary Scones and some leftover. I use white whole wheat flour instead of all purpose and subbed date sugar (just a couple Tablespoons not the 1/4 cup of sugar the recipe calls for). They were so easy and fun to make. I started making them as a normal daily routine when I made sauce. I made them as part of a meal for an omni friend who just had a baby and she asked for the recipe. I made them so much that we went through our 25 lbs. of white whole wheat flour in record time. Tomato Rosemary Scones, farmer's market black berries (from freezer), whole wheat past with broccoli and VeganYumYum's Hurry Up Alfredo
The first picture is dinner and the second lunch the next day. I saw this recipe on VeganYumYum and didn't really think much of it until I saw Lisa post about it and knew I had to try Hurry Up Alfredo. It worked fine in my food processor since we still don't have a blender. (Sigh, on top of this our dishwasher broke down again, our oven is acting like it is on its last legs, we discovered our roof is leaking before we left town this weekend, and yesterday we found out we have a broken pipe on one of our radiators which we haven't yet turned but it got cold enough in the house to start up by itself at 50 degrees F...back to the food!) I would definitely make Hurry Up Alfredo again.
Carrot Bisque (Vegan with a Vengeance) with raw pumpkin seeds, Tomato Rosemary Scones, fresh mango
Tomato Rosemary Scones (Vegan Brunch), Carrot Bisque (Vegan with a Vengeance) served over quinoa with raisins and raw pumpkin seeds

Friday, October 9, 2009

Brunch, It's What's for Dinner

As if brunch wasn't crazy enough. I mean, mixing the lines between breakfast and lunch...wacky stuff. I've found myself looking at Vegan Brunch for inspiration for dinner as well. Maybe it should be called "bruncher".Sauteed Collards and Sausages (Italian Feast Sausage recipe also from Vegan Brunch) from Vegan Brunch

I doubled the Italian Feast Sausage recipe the other day when we were going to have friends over for brunch. Brunch had to be canceled so I used some for the Sauteed Collards and Sausages for dinner and served the rest for Monday homeschool group lunch on buns with "hot dog" toppings. I cut them in half for the kids and that was plenty to fill the buns. They were great both ways! I even had an omni homeschooling mom friend who is not big on vegan food sniffing the air saying "That actually smells good!" and checking them out. She was surprised to hear I made them at home out of pinto beans (similar to this recipe). I used hot paprika because we don't have any sweet so they were pretty spicy. I was never a big sausage fan pregan days, but I love me some spicy seitan! I will definitely make them again.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Kiss My (Jalapeno Garlic) Grits

I never ate grits as a kid. I think the only way I had ever hear the word is from Alice which I'm sure was on reruns when I was a young kid (I know I'm dating myself) and that may be one of the reasons I don't own a TV. My kids may be missing out on a bit of Americana and some pop culture, but they also won't have all the one-liners in their heads when certain words are uttered.

My southern husband introduced me to grits and now it is a family favorite for quick warm snack or part of a warm satisfying breakfast. I used to wait for Rob to cook the grits because he "knew what he was doing", but it is so easy, I can't believe I thought there was some magic to it. I like to saute some garlic in olive oil, then add the water and bring it to a boil, add the dried grits, and I take such pleasure stirring it until it starts to thicken (I even have a favorite bamboo slotted spoon which I think of as my "grits spoon"). Right before the grits are done cooking, I add nooch, salt, and freshly ground pepper. We usually have everyone's favorite hot sauces on the table so we can all add the one we enjoy.
This morning, I was flipping through Vegan Brunch as I made the kids Apple Cinnamon Pancakes (no apples today so I added extra shredded coconut and almond extract instead of vanilla) and decided we needed some Jalapeno Garlic Grits. I'm lazy so I just sauteed the jalapenos we have sitting around from our garden (they are red not green, we grew four or five different types of peppers so they may not be jalapeno, but they looked like they jalapenos) and the garlic like I normally do instead of following Isa's instructions. This way I only used one pan. Josie and Parker loved them, but Dema wouldn't try them. He is a grits fan, but they can't have "red things" in them apparently. More for us. The Jalapeno Garlic Grits are a nice change from grits topped with hot sauce and they had just the right amount of kick.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

An Ode to IF YOU CARE® Parchment Paper

Ode to IF YOU CARE® Parchment Paper
When I bake with puff pastry or am craving cookies, you are the one I reach for.
IF YOU CARE® Parchment Paper
You keep me from using unnecessary oil and you make clean up a snap.
IF YOU CARE® Parchment Paper

If I could change one thing about you, yes my love is not unconditional...
IF YOU CARE® Parchment Paper
Anyway, that one thing would be your size, yeah, I know, I'm so shallow, but it is true.
IF YOU CARE® Parchment Paper
It seems like a cruel joke that you a tad too wide.
IF YOU CARE® Parchment Paper

In my perfect universe, you would be exactly the size of my baking pans so I wouldn't have to fold you. I'm lazing and feel like it is a waste.
IF YOU CARE® Parchment Paper
I rarely think of you, but when I need you and you are gone, I am lost.
IF YOU CARE® Parchment Paper

Kind of like the springy toilet paper dispenser thingy which one of the kids broke, I don't realize how much I miss you, until I want to use you
IF YOU CARE® Parchment Paper

I should make a special trip to the store to buy you, sorry if I'm making you feel used and cheap.
IF YOU CARE® Parchment Paper

But the truth is our relationship is all one-way. I take and you give.
IF YOU CARE® Parchment Paper

Are you really better for the environment or am I fooling myself?
IF YOU CARE® Parchment Paper
I still like how I can use you twice before recycling you.

IF YOU CARE® Parchment Paper
I messed up and used waxed paper once and I promise to never cheat again!
IF YOU CARE® Parchment Paper
Smoke, carcinogens, icky mess, what was I thinking?
IF YOU CARE® Parchment Paper

I know I don't always show it, but I adore you!

IF YOU CARE® Parchment Paper

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lemon Chickpea Lentil Soup

Tonight I made Lemon Chickpea Lentil Soup from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan. It is a great fall weather soup. I used more tomatoes from our garden and some leftover zucchinis. People are always giving us veggies saying they figure we'll use them since we're vegan. It is great! I love free veggies, especially from other people's gardens, but I have to get going on the zucchinis. I think I'll end up freezing quite a bit. Rob made some fantastic homemade bread this weekend and used up the rest of our 25lb of white whole wheat. He is really getting the hang of baking bread and it was perfect with this soup. With the chill in the air, I have to make homemade apple sauce. I sliced up apples and pears, threw them in my crock pot, added a little water (if you have enough pears the water isn't really needed), a little lemon juice, and a little cinnamon, and little date sugar and cooked it until it spelled done. I had some leftover puff pastry so I filled some with the apple sauce and baked at 400F for about ten minutes. They tasted like apple (sauce) turnovers.Please hop over to Vegan Dad's blog and made his Creamy Chunky Cauliflower Chowder. I don't have a picture because we ate this Monday for lunch at our homeschool group, but it was excellent (several people asked what the good smell was, but I didn't share). Rob made some of the bread dough into these big rolls (sorry no picture) which were perfect for dipping. Yes, I'm in a pureed soup rut, but I love them! I had cauliflower I needed to use up and I remember Vegan Dad's post, but I'll probably buy some this weekend just to make this soup again. It sort of reminds me of his Creamy Mac and Cheeze sauce, but in a cauliflower chowder form. Trust me, make it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Vegan Tempeh Sausage Three Ways

By now you have all heard that the Vegan Tempeh Sausage Pastry Puffs from Vegan Brunch rock, but if you read my blog often you'll understand I just can't leave well enough alone. Sure, puff pastry can be vegan (check the label). You can even make it yourself. Alas, puff pastry is no health food no matter how you slice it. Sure, fine for once in a while, but the tempeh sausage is so good you'll want to eat it more often. I've mentioned before it is excellent on pasta, but I wanted to try something different.
So, I decided to try it on prepared polenta. I preheated the oven to 400F, put a little oil in a casserole dish, sliced up some prepackaged polenta (I think it was sun-dried tomato flavor), spread the polenta over the bottom of the casserole dish, topped with tempeh sausage and baked until the polenta started to brown (the tempeh started to brown a little too much before the polenta so maybe it needs to cook longer, but at a lower temp?). Not the same as puff pastry, but still very yummy. The family ate them up and I'll work on perfecting the heat/timing and maybe a sauce?
From the first bite, I've thought the tempeh sausage would be excellent on pizza. Rob made some pizza dough this weekend and we tried it out. Excellent. Kale, carrots, kalamata olives, homemade sauce from the last(?) of our garden tomatoes, and tempeh sausage. Yum!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Food for Thought Radio

Remember, Vegan Linda is on the airwaves every Sunday from 3-4pm (CST) on WEFT (90.1 FM for locals and webcasting at http://weft.org/ for non-locals or locals who like to listen online).

Today I won't have my co-host, Meat-free Mike, but I will have a special guest. I'll be discussing vegan pregnancy, raising vegan children, and much more.

Also, check out the new blog for our show. I will try to keep it updated with books, articles, and recipes we mention on air. Eventually, I hope to have our shows archived so you can listen anytime.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Ethiopia, Egypt, and China

This is actually my Friday post that I'm writing Saturday morning because after all our traveling fun yesterday, I fell to sleep reading the seventh Harry Potter book to Parker. No, we didn't actually travel to Ethiopia, Egypt, or China yesterday. We did borrow my dad's car and the entire family (Rob took off from work) drove two hours east to Indy. I checked out the Indianapolis Vegetarian Society website on our drive to find a new place to eat. Usually, Indy is not our destination but a stop on a much longer trip to the DC area or North Carolina so we have a favorite Indian place near the interstate to stop for a quick bite before heading back on the road, but we felt like trying something different. We adore Ethiopian food, but rarely make it and have no Ethiopian restaurants in our town so Abyssinia caught my attention. I also thought Ethiopian would tie into our homeschool study of Ancient History. We were the only people in the place since we arrived at 11am, opening time, but the friendly service was a little slow, okay, very slow. The food made up for the service and we all decided it was the best Ethiopian we've eaten outside of Adam's Morgan in NW DC. Parker was especially enamored with the food and requested that Abyssinia be a stop when we are in the area next.
"Vegetarian TA3" (collards, red lentils, spinach, cabbage, potatoes, yellow lentils, carrots & green beans and injera) from

Abyssinia Ethiopian Restaurant (317-299-0608)

5352 W. 38th St. Indianapolis, IN 46254

After lunch, we arrived at our intended destination, The Children's Museum of Indianapolis to check out the Tutankhamun exhibition. We met up with several other families from our weekly homeschooling group to experience King Tut and the rest of the fun at the museum. As I mentioned, we are studying Ancient History with this group of children so King Tut was a great tie in for this year. I learned as much as the kids did from the exhibition and it inspired us all to learn more, but I would say that Parker (9 years old) probably enjoyed the King Tut portion more than Dema (5 years old), but I think it is great they both were there to experience it. Josie fell asleep in a carrier during King Tut, but she thoroughly enjoyed the hands on exhibits in the rest of the museum.The Rube Goldberg Ball Machine kept all three kids enthralled for quite a while. Nothing is as fun as physics.

Dema loves fish so being able to "join" them from underneath the aquarium was a fun experience.Rob and Josie squeezing in together to check out the fish.The Take Me There Egypt exhibit was a favorite with all three children. Here is Parker tossing a fake orange onto the table in the Egyptian market. We enjoyed answering the questions about what herbs were helpful for what ailments (ginger is good for the heart), looking at what foods we regularly eat which can grow in Egypt (olives, figs, wheat, almonds, dates, mangoes, etc.), pretending to drive a tok-tok (pronounced "took took", I believe, and it is like a small three-wheeled taxi), and trying on Egyptian clothes. We ended up playing with our friends until the museum closed and we realized we were starving. We decided to try out another locally-owned restaurant from the Indianapolis Vegetarian Society website, but this time we went for Chinese. Sesame had a few more vegetarian options than most Chinese restaurants and the service was decent (the waitress caught on to the vegan thing quickly and was able to help us order some items which aren't listed on the menu), but I would say the food was so so. It was a little saltier than I like, even for restaurant food. Buddha's Delight, Mock Chicken Cashew, Mock Duck, and Kung Pao Tofu (the best by far) from

Sesame (317-228-1688)

1413 W. 86th St. Indianapolis, IN 46260

There were few vegetables and pretty much bean curd (tofu or tofu-like) was the main ingredient in most of the dishes. Not terrible, but not great. Maybe two and half stars out of five.

It was a full day of fun!