Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pinto-Pecan Fireballs

Okay, mine were really Pinto-Walnut Fireballs, but I figure that is close enough.  I looked in my magic cookbook (1,000 Vegan Recipes) for an idea of what to do with leftover pinto beans last week and I found Pinto-Pecan Fireballs and had to make them.  Each member of our family has his/her own favorite hot sauce so we don't shy away from spicy.  This recipe has four tablespoons of hot sauce and a bit of cayenne...the kids loved them.  I had to make a second batch later in the week.  Super quick and easy.  I crumbled the last few into wraps with Vegenaise, guac, shredded carrots, and za'tar.  This is my favorite way to eat them and next time I'll try them on pizza.  So good!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Last Minute Halloween Post

If you locals don't have a pumpkin yet (even if you know you want more), head on down to Arthur, IL to The Great Pumpkin much more than pumpkins!

Josie, Dema, and I are addicted to Ginger Chews.  It is almost insane.  Just thought you should know, in case you might want to, I don't know, help a mama out and bring more.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Parker's Brassica Soup

Last night, Parker announced he was making supper.  All three children are in the kitchen quite a bit.  Josie (3) loves to peel and cut vegetables, dump in ingredients, turn on the food processor, stir, etc.  Dema (6) loves to peel, cut, pour, stir, and taste, etc.  Parker (10) loves to create.  He always has and I, unfortunately, don't give him enough opportunity to do so.  He doesn't like to follow recipes when he cooks, but helps me by reading the recipes when I cook and he and Dema do the math (fractions, additions, subtractions...depending on if we doubling a recipe, etc.).  This time, he wanted to do everything and was even a tad annoyed when Josie wanted to help by peeling the garlic and the potato so I shooed the younger siblings out of the kitchen for one on one Parker cooking time.  Parker decided on each ingredient and cut it all up, but I (and later Rob joined us) was there for conversation.  It was really nice and Parker came up with a yummy soup.  He didn't measure much, but I kept track so here is the recipe as best as I can relate it.

Parker's Brassica Soup

1 Tablespoon olive oil
6 garlic cloves minced
1 medium onion chopped
1 broccoli head  chopped (include as much of the stem as you like since the entire soup is pureed at the end)
1 cauliflower head chopped
1 carrot chopped
2 medium potatoes peeled and sliced
4 cups water (you could use vegetable stock too)
1/2 cup plain non-dairy milk
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup sauteed mushrooms (we needed to saute our mushrooms to put in a dish the next day, but Parker grabbed some for his was a nice addition, but completely optional)
2 Tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
sliced Kalamata olives for garnish (I had noticed Robin Robertson put sliced Kalamata olives as a garnish for her broccoli soup in 1,000 Vegan Recipes so I suggested this addition to Parker.  He wanted to add them to the soup, but Rob and I suggested he stick to the garnish.  He wants people to know the olives are optional.)
red pepper flakes (optional) Parker and I both sprinkled some on our soup, but it is optional and don't do too much
Za'tar (for garnish...we didn't use this, but all agreed it would be an excellent addition.  You could also add it with the basil)

1. In a large soup bowl, heat up the oil and saute the onions and garlic until translucent.
2. Add the broccoli, cauliflower, and carrot and cook on medium heat for five or ten minutes (add a little water if you need to)
3.  Add the water and potatoes and cook until potatoes are tender.
4.  Stir in remaining ingredients except the olives, turn off heat and puree with an immersion blender.
5.  Serve with olives in a separate bowl for people to use as garnish.

The soup was a success and we devoured it with some Pekara focaccia.  The great thing about soup is you can pretty much throw in whatever vegetables you have around and make it taste great.  I promised Parker that he will have more creative time in the kitchen.

A great movie pairing for this soup:  Wallace & Gromit:  The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

C is for Cookie

I don't make cookies often, but the kids like to grab a cookie from time to time (they may ask for one every time) at Common Ground Co-op.  Usually, we have them pay for things like cookies with their own allowance and many times they decide to buy a tamale or other treat instead of a cookie, but they always check them out.  Saturday before our Market at the Square/Common Ground Co-op run, Dema asked if he could take his money and buy a cookie.  I said I would bake cookies instead.  I finally got around to baking them Monday night.  I made the Chocolate Chip Cookies (with the optional chopped walnuts and I may have added a bit of shredded coconut too) from The Joy of Vegan Baking.  They are good and don't taste any different from non-vegan chocolate chip cookies (which are just as good as the quality chips you use), but I've found over the years I am becoming progressively picky about my desserts that chocolate chip cookies are not on my A list for cookies.  I know, it is blasphemy, but there, I have said it.  If you do desire chocolate chip cookies, it is a great recipe (my yield was double her one dozen cookies, but I like to make them smallish).  I used white whole wheat flour, of course, because we rarely use unbleached all-purpose flour and never have it around the house.  I will say, about a year ago, I made Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar (this recipe calls for white whole wheat flour, uses less sugar, canola oil instead of Earth Balance and yields 2 dozen...I think they make small cookies like I do) and I enjoyed them just as much or more.  Yes, they probably tasted "healthier" than the cookies I made this week, but the kids liked them just as well.
I don't think I even blogged about the macaroons I made for a neighbor's holiday party last year.  The recipe showed up in my email, on or around the day of the party.  I subscribe to VegNews, The Cancer Project and other lists which send out recipes regularly.  I can't find the recipe now, but it was decadent.  Since the holidays are just around the corner, I thought I'd try my hand at making macaroons again this year.  Both The Joy of Vegan Baking and Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar have macaroon recipes which look very good.

I made Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar for a lovely vegan potluck at Kit and Emily's.  I think it must have been around the holidays last year or possibly Mardi Gras.  Anyway, I still think of them fondly.  I need to make more soon.  They are chocolaty with a hint of kind of cookie!  Sorry, I think I might have lost the pictures in the great hard drive demise.

Common Ground Co-op makes/sells Josie's favorite, vegan molasses cookies, and I need to find a recipe for them.

Speaking of baking, check out Jack Norris RD's blog post about trans fat.  He explains hydrogenation very well.  Rob is buying oils to make our own bar soup and his own shaving cream so we've been discussing hydrogenation and fractionated oils a lot lately.  When we make soap, we obviously don't have to worry about ingesting them.  We've avoided hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils in food we eat for a long time, but it is always good to keep up to date on fats.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bug Butts

A friend of mine used to co-host a radio show about spoken arts.  They joked about the "gods of the airwaves" pulling things together for them which they had not planned for the show.  Every week, things always worked so nicely, seemingly vastly different topics would some how all tie into each other as if it was all so well designed.  Yet, pretty much they were winging it every week.  Alas, I miss this show, but I think about their "gods of the airwaves" when homeschooling life ends up coming together as if I laboriously planned lessons down to the minute detail.

We are "unschoolers" by heart and definitely go with the flow of life as much as possible.  This just works for us so much better than fighting it.  Unschoolers are the willows of the homeschooling world.  Grounded, yet bending, and often a whole lot of fun.  We also have a wide range of interests and ages, for just having three children, and they usually are learning together.  Much of what we do has to be able to incorporate 3-10 year olds.  Luckily, they are pretty interested in helping each other out or learning from each other.  My ten year old might be in a corner reading his own book or writing a story when I sit down with a book to read to my six or three year old.  More often than not, I find my ten year old sucked into the story or it sparking some idea or experiment in his mind.  Why am I telling you all this?  I've decided to blog more about our homeschooling life, when I have time, since a question about vegan homeschooling curriculum came up on a veg parenting list.  I might blog weekly or biweekly about our homeschooling adventures.
We went camping the week of Labor Day (I've been meaning to blog about it, just haven't had the time yet) and Parker found the cute little caterpillar above.  We had checked out some books/movies prior to the camping trip, but hadn't read/watched our way through them all yet.  The next week we cracked a few of the unread books and found information on the creature Parker photographed, a skipper caterpillar.  Sometimes information just falls into our hands effortlessly.  Parker was more interested in the topic after spending some time discovering creatures while camping and I had promised to look up the caterpillar when we arrived home, but forgot.  In the end, it all came together.  And speaking of ends...
Bug Butts by Dawn Cusick
I have to admit, this book caught my eye at the library and I had to pick it up.  My kids, for better or worse, are not into potty humor.  They don't enjoy saying "butt" and "poop", just for fun.  They don't fall to the floor in a fit of laughter at someone passing gas or run from the room when a someone changes a baby's diaper.  Still, they enjoyed this book.  Three thumbs up from the kidlets.  As you can tell form the cover, the illustrations are more on the cute side than overly "gross".  I think even poop or bug adverse parents could stomach reading this book with their kids.  It is full of interesting facts without being bland and I'm guessing anyone who isn't an entomologist will learn something.  Insects are amazing creatures.

I believe there are so many wonderful ways to learn; hands on, information put to music, visual, by teaching others, manipulating tools, reading, etc.  We haven't owned a TV for over ten years, but we have a computer and I don't hesitate to use educational movies in our day.  My eldest will recite facts back to you after watching a documentary, my six year old could learn almost anything if he can sing it, and so far my three year old picks things up best if she thinks it was not intended for her.
Eyewithness DVD Insect
We usually grab a few movies from the "educational" section of our library each week.  Unintentionally, Insect was one of our picks.  It is short and sweet, just the right amount of time for me to wash some dishes before helping with math problems.  The kids were excited to tell me, the African bombardier beetles from Bug Butts also made an appearance in Insect.  Another few thumbs up.  It is not an in depth movie by any means, but it kept all three of them entertained and they learned some things and it sparked some interest in learning more.  I enjoyed hearing Martin Sheen's voice as I did the dishes.

We have quite a few books about insects in our home library and the kids went through this week and pulled out their favorites to read again.  The search for bug books initiated a sweet lecture by Parker to his siblings about why spiders are not insects.  It was so fun to listen in on that one.  Here are some of the books they found and recommend:

A True Book Praying Mantises by Larry Dane Brimner
First Discovery Butterflies by Gallimard Jeunesse and Claude Delafosse
The Life Cycle of a Butterfly by Bobbie Kalman
Butterflies by Emily Neye
It's a Butterfly's Life by Irene Kelly
First Discovery Ladybugs and Other Insects by Gallimard Jeunesse and Sylvaine Peyrols
Are You a Ladybug? by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries
The Life and Time of the Ant by Charles Micucci
In Front of the Ant Walking with Beetles and Other Insects by Ryuichi Kuwahara
Brilliant Bees by Linda Glaser

These books don't really teach about insects, but they are very vegan friendly stories about compassion to all creatures and the first is a great story with a strong female character:

Just for fun:
Creepy Crawly Calypso by Tony Langham

A cute book combining math concepts and insects:
A Remainder of One by Elinor J. Pinczes

Most of the books above are for younger readers and I also picked up Insectopedia at the library on a whim.  Parker (10) and I are enjoying this book immensely.

This is also a great time of year to get outside and check out bugs in person before the weather gets too cold.  I have the kids take their sketch books outside and find interesting bugs to drawn.  Then they write (or dictate, depending on the child) everything they know about the creature and a few questions they have about it too.  Lots of fun and we all end up learning a thing or two.  Learning about insects is a great way to teach compassion and respect for these often overlooked beings.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Black Bean Noodles

When we make beans, we usually make a lot.  I know I could freeze them, but I usually don't...don't ask me why.  Maybe I like the challenge of finding ways to use 14 - 20 cups of cooked black beans or chickpeas or both in a week.  A while ago, I was at the end of our black beans and running out of ideas.  I remembered a Vegan Dad blog post and searched his site for the dish.  I thought at the time he wrote the post that the dish looked good, but never tried it out.  Well, I made it, it was good and easy and versatile (I added extra veggies because that's how I roll), but I failed to share it with you.  So now that Vegan Dad is on a hiatus, I encourage you to go back through his old posts and make something new to you.   I promise, you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Processed Pleasures

We eat a fairly whole foods diet, whatever that means because it means different things to different people. I am happy with our diet, but I'm always tweaking and improving.  I am a mother after all and not a day goes by that I don't think of what I put into the growing bodies I love.  Above and beyond being vegan, which is primarily an ethical choice, I pay close attention (my husband might even say I'm obsessed at times) to nutrition.  I love to read about nutrition and am always looking at the latest research.  I am not quick to jump on food fads, but I will add foods or limit foods depending on what makes sense to me from a nutrition stand point.  I do believe in moderation for many things, but I don't agree everything in moderation. A little bit of lead, a spoonful of mercury, or a nip of get the point.  I also think our culture has completely lost any rational thought when it comes to moderation.  We are spiraling completely out of control, trying to fill a hole which can't be filled with all the pretty prepackaged foods in the world or the biggest houses or the newest electronics.  We are labeled consumers first and we don't seem to mind.  As a family, we talk quite a bit about marketing and and non-food related.

Rob and I grew up in houses where our extremely busy mothers cooked...meals...all the time.  Fast food was not an option or was a rarity.  Yet, I can speak for my experience, my mother thought of nourishing her family with foods they loved more than foods which were good for them.  It is understandable and sweet.  She would make special foods for me, the picky eater who hated all veggies and loved cheese, and try very hard to sneak some nutrition, but in the end, my love of a food would trump healthy choices.  She was known for loving people through food, even as she killed herself through food.  So much is in that which we put in our mouths.  Food really is more than the sum of its parts.  I love the movie, Ratatouille, and almost cry each time I watch it.  The flashback to Ego's childhood with his mother feeding him and the true meaning of comfort food...I think I might bawl now just thinking about it.  Oh so much wrapped up in simple smells or tastes or textures.  It is impossible for me to completely unwrap it all in a simple blog post.

Suffice it to say, once in a while, I crave a processed food.  Not because I miss cheese, but because my mother lovingly or maybe sometimes begrudgingly would slice up the Velveeta, add some milk and I'm guessing some seasonings in this wonderful big pot of hers.  She would stir it as it melted and pour the sauce over enriched white macaroni.  When I close my eyes and think of this dish, I can almost feel her presence...almost smell her, as if I could reach out and touch her.  I miss her more than I could possibly express, but those of you who have lost mothers...especially those of you who have lost mothers far too young, you understand and no words are needed.
Thus, there are days when I pick up some sale Daiya and Follow Your Heart vegan cheeses and want to hug them.  I don't think my mother ever made quesadillas.  In fact, I don't think I've ever eaten a non-vegan quesadilla, but it does have processed pleasure written all over it.  You can make vegan quesadilla pretty healthy with kale and sweet potato filling and they are out of this world.  Sometimes, just sometimes, it is fun to make them out of Daiya and prepackaged guacamole (this is my first time trying this product and now there is an organic version sold at Strawberry Fields or Common friend, Sarah, would sometimes bring prepackaged guac to our homeschooling group and I didn't quite get the beauty of it, I mean how hard is guac to make from scratch...yet I rarely make it and just add naked avocado to most anything...I'm a prepackaged guac groupie now, thanks Sarah!).  The quesadillas pictured above have homemade black beans in them too.  Also pictured is a tamale from the grab and go case at the co-op and  salsa.  Ironically enough, the only people who really fell for the quesadillas was Rob and me (Parker ate one or two because he is awesome to cook for), but Dema and Josie turned up their noses and scarfed down their favorite kale sweet potato tamales instead.
Here is a grilled vegan cheese Rob made months ago (I think back in April which shows how often we make food like this).  He added his secret ingredient...vegan Worcester sauce which totally made the sandwich.  Sorry, I can't remember for the life of me what yummy creamed soup is pictured.  It might be a cheeze soup as well, but with nooch.  Again, I remember the soup being a hit and the grilled cheese going over so so with the kiddos.

Some people slam vegan diets because "tofu is too processed" (say this in a whiny annoying voice for full effect) or closer to the truth "vegan cheeses are unnatural".  I would probably agree with the later, but I don't think any cheese is really natural.  I don't think there is something lacking in the human body which makes us, alone of all the mammals on the planet, need the mammary excrement of another mammal....let alone make it into a myriad of cheeses.  I would also argue that Velveeta (although I don't know if any people making these comments would actually eat a Kraft cheese product) is just as "unnatural" or " processed" as vegan cheeses.  I would also say that one can't get more processed than feeding food to another animal and keeping the animal alive for fraction of their natural life and then slaughtering him/her for meat.  I don't mean to come off as someone who doesn't want her choices questioned by anyone.  I'm happy to listen and willing to debate on the rare occasions when people seem genuinely interested in respectfully exploring the topic.  I am very happy that what we eat is breaking through to the collective conscience of this great nation of ours and that people, to be blunt, even give a damn.  But, from time to time, it is nice to take off the health nut hat and put the blinders on myself and partake of the Kool-aid (as long as I can stay true to my ethics).  I mean, we only live once, right?  Everything in moderation.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

We Heart Our Co-op!

I wrote this in late September, but sadly never posted.  Better late than never.

We have friends who used to live in Minneapolis and they had a bumper sticker on their Subaru stating "I (heart sign) My Co-op!".  At the time, I was sort of envious of the sentiment.  We had a co-op in town which Rob and I had joined separately and together.  We kept our membership when we moved out of state and came back to a mess of records so we joined yet again.  The humble little co-op was housed in the basement of a church and many long-time residents of our twin cities didn't even know it existed.  When we first started shopping at this co-op, it was kind of dark and hard to find things.  The staff could be a little heavy on the angst and a little short on customer service.  It always felt to me that there was some unspoken club, far beyond co-op membership, which you either belonged to or you should leave.  This little co-op wannabe (as we might have called it from time to time), improved over the years or maybe we just grew to find some things endearing.  I remember some people complaining when they actually bought a price scanner because they were "selling out to the man".  Someone started (or I became aware of it) a co-op daycare day.  One day a week, parents could shop downstairs while other parents watched their kid(s) upstairs.  This was before they really had carts and the grocery store area was so incredibly small, it was tough to maneuver with children in tow.  I started frequenting and sometimes babysitting on these days.  I came to appreciate a place where like-minded parents could come for one day out of the week and socialize, but I still did very little of my weekly shopping at the co-op.  I would try to find things to buy and end up shopping at Strawberry Fields after our co-op day.  Looking back, the spark of love for the co-op started to take seed during those days.

Fast forward (and I do mean fast!) to today.  This uninviting co-op of fifteen or twenty years ago, which I forced myself to shop at, has grown into a co-op other co-ops want to be when they grow up.  It is really nothing short of amazing, truly awe inspiring.  Some days when I shop at Common Ground Co-op, I wonder if it is all a dream and at the stroke of midnight it will all turn back into what it originated from, a la Cinderella.  Yet, it is real.  Not only is it real, but it is still growing.  Expansion is on its way, after a very short time out of the basement.  There are definitely key people who made this happen, but really it was so many people...members loaned money, volunteers made countless calls, and so many other jobs I can't even begin to list them.  It actually makes tears come to my eyes to think about it all.  I am so appreciative and I am now able to say "I HEART MY CO-OP!".  I have come to think of it is as mine, as we all should.  It is not a store.  It is a part of the community.  A growing part of the community and we all benefit from its existence.  There are times I dream of living other places.  I have a bit of city girl in me, which longs for Chicago or NYC or my beloved DC.  I love mountains and oceans, the prairie often does not cut it for me.  This week of 94 degrees followed by highs in the 50s makes me curse Illinois and its notoriously awful changing weather.  I could live forever on an island in the Caribbean, even if it meant living in a tent.  So many lovely places to live. Yet, I know this sounds hokey, I would miss my co-op.  Wow!
Josie chatting and eating her brunch of breakfast burrito from the co-op deli, soy yogurt from the co-op refrigerated section, and coconut water from the co-op shelf, on the co-op patio.  We were visiting with friends and enjoying the Folk and Roots Festival.  The co-op had wonderful kid-friendly entertainment during the Saturday morning post-Market at the Square rush.
Dema enjoying a lunch of vegan quiche and soup from the co-op deli and drinking coconut water from the co-op shelf, at the inside seating area at the co-op, before his brother's yoga class at the Community Center for the Arts.
The kids sporting their co-op shirts after Saturday morning Market at the Square and Common Ground Co-op fun.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Green Pasta and a Halloween Sneak Peak

Don't adjust your screen, the pasta really is green and being eaten by a spider light.  Yesterday morning I made steel cut oats with cinnamon and sliced apples for breakfast rounded out with a green smoothie (this time it was kale, almond milk, flax seeds, frozen banana, frozen blackberries, and frozen blueberries with a Vega Smoothie Infusion).  Since kale was the only veggie in the smoothie, I tried to pack two bunches in, but with all the berries, I was left with a handful of lone leaves.  Around noon, when I was throwing everything in the Vitamix for Vegan Dad's Creamy Mac and Cheeze sauce, I thought of those few remaining leaves of kale.  Surely, they felt odd being the only ones not bunched together.  I decided to add them to the Vitamix.  I am so glad I did!  The green color was great and the kids could not get enough (all three of them ate three large bowls, good thing I doubled the recipe).  I subbed Brazil nuts for the pine nuts and used four cloves of garlic instead of onion powder.  I steamed carrots and peas over the water for the whole wheat pasta and sprinkled raw pumpkin seeds as garnish.  Simple and satisfying for my little crime fighters.
I am the biggest scrooge when it comes to Halloween, but this year I've tried to get into the spirit and bought all three kids a costume (usually we make costumes or use hand me down ones or loaners).  Parker wanted to be Spiderman (not that he's ever watched Spiderman, mind you, he just likes that his name is Peter Parker).  His costume is really too tight, but a size bigger would be baggy and Spiderman's suit is pretty tight in "real life".  Parker likes to get into character.
Here is my super hero hanging out in his web/hammock chair.
Dema finally chose a policeman outfit after a very stressful time at Dallas and Co. (a locally owned costume shop).  The kids would not let go of my hands and were terrified at every turn.  My poor sweet kids and their over-active imaginations.  We'll be paying for that trip for months with Dema, but he is super happy with his costume.  
No gun, yay!  He does love the handcuffs and badge and I think the color looks great with his eyes.
Josie has said for months that she was going to be Spider Girl for Halloween.  I didn't even know there was such a person, but I found the costume online and ordered it.  This is huge for me.  They promise to wear their costumes for imaginative play around the house so we'll get our money out of them and so far they want to wear them all the time.  Josie would live in her costume if she could.  She thinks the costume makes her super fast so she rarely stands still enough for a picture.  I might actually be looking forward to Halloween this year!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Legume Love

Beans are perfect any time of the year, but for some reason I just can't get enough of them when my toes and my nose feel the cool nip of fall weather.  Yes, I realize the outside temps are still quite nice and almost hot in the sun, but it is already below 60 degrees in my beloved old house and it won't get much warmer until next summer.  My bamboo socks are on my feet, I'm dressed in layers, I enjoy washing my dishes by hand again because my cold hands get warmed up, and I have blankets stashed all over the house for snuggling.  Soup weather...bean soup weather.
Spicy Pinto Bean Soup and Curried Chickpea Patties from 1,000 Vegan Recipes

Monday night we had Hummus Soup again and Tuesday night I decided on Spicy Pinto Bean Soup from 1,000 Vegan Recipes.  I've made it before, but it appears I never blogged about it.  So hear ya go.  The first time I made Spicy Pinto Bean Soup it was, well, a little soupy for my taste.  Very good, don't get me wrong, but I like my bean soups a bit thicker and not as broth-y.  Since I had the hummus soup on my mind from the night before, I thought I'd add 1/2 cup quinoa (uncooked, just as the hummus soup calls for) to the pinto bean soup.  Yes, that is exactly what it needed.  Perfect.  I love to add more texture and bite while adding more nutrition.  It makes me happy.  I still had a little time before Rob was due home from work, so I threw together the Curried Chickpea Patties* (also from 1,000 Vegan Recipes) and sliced up some apples with peanut butter on the side.  I was rushing off to the gym, so I left supper for the family to eat.  Parker decided to eat another bowl or three when I cam home from the gym.  Another great soup to make all winter.

*I've posted about the Curried Chickpea Patties before and we obviously love them.  I add raw kale to them all the time now and sometimes cooked quinoa.  I usually sub half the vital wheat gluten with nutritional yeast and add a bit more curry powder.  They are great to play around with to make your own.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Hummus Two Ways

Rob soaked and pressure cooked chickpeas at the beginning of the week, then made a big awesome batch of hummus.  Fall has officially arrived, the leaves are falling off the trees, our house sounds like it is being pelted continuously by hail (acorns), and the squirrels are going crazy.  It is soup time, but it is also a very busy time with the kids involved in soccer, ballet, yoga, piano lessons in addition to their normal activity.  Rob has his plate full at work and I've been trying to work in time at the gym and going out with friends at night.  Not a lot of time left for spending hours in the kitchen.  Hummus Soup to the rescue!
I've blogged about YTVS's Hummus Soup at least once before, but really this soup is so easy and packed with nutrition, I had to revisit the recipe.  Really it is broccoli quinoa soup and the original recipe is from the amazingly frugal yet creative Melomeals (I am sooo happy she is back to blogging about food again!).  I added extra tahini to the kid's soup to tame down the two chipotles in adobo sauce and added raw pumpkin seeds to add a little crunch and nutrition (the soup already has two cups of hummus, quinoa, sweet red pepper, and broccoli so it doesn't need anything more, but I can't help myself).  I pureed the soup a bit in the food processor.  Our hand blender bit the dust (it was only a few months old...grrr), and our beloved food processor broke (I've developed a work around which involves three hands) so I almost put the soup in the Vitamix, but I really wanted to keep it chunky.  Common Ground Co-op had their owner appreciation day this week so I stocked up on produce and other items and threw in some Pekara focaccia to go with the soup.  It was so simple and quick and the leftovers are even better.  We will being eating this delicious soup a lot this fall.
This week has been full of hummus sandwiches, as well as fun.  The kids' favorite combo right now is hummus, za'atar, pickles, avocado, shredded carrot and kale.  I made a fresh batch of red pepper and chipotle hummus for lunch today.  The kids were obviously extra hungry after playing all morning with friends so they eat ate two of these wraps.  It looked so perfect for Halloween with the black mission figs and honey crisp apples, I had to take a picture.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Happy World Vegetarian Day!

Wow, I have a dozens posts started and not finished.  Life is happy and busy.  I hope all of you are having an awesome World Vegetarian Day!

We joined Loretta and her family for a free kid's movie last Sunday morning.  There is something about seeing Shrek Forever After at 9am on a Sunday morning which was a little surreal to me, but we had fun.  After the movie, we all biked back to Loretta's house for a lovely vegan brunch.  Loretta made Raised Waffles and Classic Broccoli Quiche from Vegan Brunch with baked tofu, fresh berries, and crock pot apple sauce.  I made East Coast Coffee Cake with frozen blueberries also from Vegan Brunch.  I don't have pictures, but trust me, it was soooo good!  As we tend to do, we hung out so long that brunch turned into an early dinner (Loretta sweetly joined me for my afternoon radio show first, thanks!) while the kids played and the guys watched football on the computer.
Josie and Loretta's daughter, Teagan, eating farmer's market corn and Tricolor Rotini with Pesto Bianco from 1,000 Vegan Recipes.  Look at Teagan licking her lips, too cute!  The kids enjoyed Loretta's pasta so much, I had to make the pasta this week when we went over to our neighbor/friend, Vicky's, for a fire.  I subbed pumpkin seeds for the pine nuts with I'll do again.  I rarely have pine nuts on hand.  I also added a bit of nooch to the pesto since Loretta did.  I served mine over whole wheat macaroni and added steamed broccoli, peas, and carrots.  Yet another quick, versatile, yummy dish from 1,000 Vegan Recipes.
I'll leave you with Josie's new shoes, at the Urbana Free Library.  We bought them yesterday at Heel to Toe in Urbana before Parker's yoga class (at the Community Center for the Arts).  The boys have been wearing Tsukihoshi shoes for a year or so now (thank you, Neli for introducing us to Tsukihoshi!) and love them.  Easy/quick to put on, washable, durable, comfortable, cute, and vegan!  I am so happy to see we can buy them locally now at Heel to Toe.
Josie asked for me to take a picture of her new shoes as she played at the playground near Parker's soccer practice.  So here they are in action.

Have an wonderful day and I'll try to take time for a more thoughtful post soon.