Sunday, July 31, 2011


It is no secret we like tea. Most of the time we go for green or white and always unsweetened, but sometimes on a staycation you have to go one higher. Josie and I were at Common Ground the other day and she was super hungry. We were out running errands all day and it was hot so she was thirsty. I talked her out of the normal coconut water and into some Honest Tea. Pomegranate Red Tea with Goji Berry to be exact. This stuff is crack and one look at the label tells you why, organic cane sugar is the second ingredient (after water), dang. Oh well, gotta live it up once in a while and the organic ingredients and tea sourced from community-owned farmer's co-op in South Africa makes it go down even better. Josie enjoyed a vegan breakfast burrito and black bean/yam tamales from the deli and strawberry soy yogurt. That girl knows how to satisfy her hunger. Seeing Honest Tea all over the country reminds me that we were encouraged to invest in the company back when we lived in Maryland and it was just a tiny start-up based a few miles from where we lived. Even then, I totally loved Honest Tea and we had the money to invest in something pre-kids, but in our typical financially savvy fashion, we passed. Still hitting myself in the forehead for that one.

We missed our chance to invest in a business with a quality product that we believed in, but it isn't our last chance or yours. Tomorrow you can head down to Common Ground yourself and invest in a local business that isn't just a grocery store, but a important part of our twin college towns. Co-ops are an investment in the community and our future. Don't miss this chance!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Post Pool Provisions

We aren't going to be able to fit a vacation in before school starts this fall (oh how I will miss being an exclusively homeschooling family) so we've been eating "vacation food" after we swim at Vicky and Greg's pool. Not a bad staycation and our friend Todd came down this weekend with his adorable son Tai which was an added treat. Here is a picture Todd (a wonderful photographer hobbyist) took of Dema at the pool.
My sweet seven year old looks so grown up here.
He lost his tooth at the pool a couple days later. His third baby tooth to go and the first to come out in Illinois. I call him Toothless now.

See the resemblance? He has a very similar personality to Toothless in the movie. You just have to love him. Now back to the food...
Everything bagels from Pekara topped with avocado or Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese both sprinkled with za'atar. I can't believe Rob and I ate bagels almost daily when we lived (pre-kids) in Maryland. Of course, they had real bagels out east, but I can't imagine even eating the good ones on a regular basis. Parker ate his bagels with both avocado and cream cheese sandwich style. I swear that kid has a bigger appetite than his parents and that is saying something.
Crackers with We Can't Say It's Cheese (Hickory-Smoked Cheddar-Style Spread). I just found this at Strawberry Fields and had to try it out. Surprisingly good! Great texture, but the spread started to melt in the heat, maybe dairy cheese spread would have too, it was hot! Crackers are a once in a while food in our house, but fun staycation food. Small meals several times a day is the key for the kids on hot, humid days.
Lots of fresh fruit and green smoothies to be had too. Green smoothies cut two carrots with one knife (great saying from today's entry in the Vegan's Daily Companion, no stones being thrown at birds in our house) because they pack in the nutrients and keep active kids hydrated. This kept them satisfied until we could put a proper dinner on the table.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Nuts for Gnocchi, Crazy for Kale, and Cheers for Cherries

I love gnocchi. It reminds me a lovely Italian restaurant (unfortunately, I forget the name) the Fannie Mae crowd used to lunch at when I worked in NW DC. Pretty much the only vegan item on the menu was gnocchi, but it was so good! Gnocchi is fun to say and fun to eat. I unknowingly mispronounced it for years until we moved to Savoy, Illinois next to Joann. She corrected me on all things Italian (her parents came from Italy and she visited her relatives still in Italy quite often). She was also a mother  figure for me when my my mom died and a surrogate grandmother for Parker and Dema (Josie wasn't born yet). We moved and she moved to the coast, but I will always think of her when I eat gnocchi. I'm too lazy to make gnocchi myself, but I splurged on Caesar's Organic Gnocchi with Potato (I thought all gnocchi had potato? Where is Joann when I need her?). I found this gnocchi in the freezer at our co-op. I know they carry a fresh (I think it is just on the shelves) whole wheat gnocchi (with sweet potato, I believe) from Gia Russa too. I buy that infrequently, but it is quite good. Anyway, I don't buy or make gnocchi often because my two youngest are nuts. Rob, Parker, and I could all eat ourselves sick, but Dema and Josie turn up their noses. I think it is the texture. More for us!
I topped the gnocchi with sauce made from the Gnocchi with Red Wine-Tomato Sauce recipe in 1,000 Vegan Recipes. Robin Robertson gives directions to make the gnocchi and the sauce is simple, but with fresh from our garden tomatoes it was perfect! We sauteed some kale and Asian greens from the farmer's market with another splurge (on sale at the co-op), Smoked Apple Sage Field Roast Sausages. Kale was fitting since I started Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's book Vegan's Daily Companion today. Kale is the first entry. I can tell I will love this book. It is broken out into 365 days (duh!) with "For the Love of Food" on Mondays. How else would one start a vegan daily companion book than with kale? The greens were Josie and Dema's favorite part of the meal, oh and they loved the cherries too.
Who doesn't adore cherries? This is Josie this morning saying, "I just ate $10 worth of cherries by myself, can we please go buy some more!" Okay, she has no idea she ate $10 worth of cherries, but she was pretty proud that she ate them all at one go and she begged for more. I couldn't say no, could you?
This afternoon we bought both Rainer and dark sweet cherries. We may have to go back again tomorrow for more. If the taste isn't enough for you, here are some more reasons to eat these lovely treats.
All in all, this was a super simple satisfying meal, perfect for yet another hot summer evening.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Yes, it is hot out there. I know we are not alone. I won't complain, but the coolest part of my day (after a quick mid-day dip in Vicky and Greg's pool, they are saints, I tell you) was cycling to the gym. I have noticed that when the indoor temp in our coolest room in the house hits 83 degrees (meaning the rest of the house it probably well above 86) there is a little thing inside me (maybe my soul?) that just melts. I can deal with the heat until then, but all bets are off when I sweat just sitting in a chair attempting to read. My kids get a little (a lot) snicky and everyone feels a little out of sorts. It even sucks the appetite out of my hungry little crew and I sure don't feel like spending much time in a hot kitchen. What to do? Well, we usually start out the day with a smoothie jam packed with nutrition so it fills us up as it cools us down. This morning we had kale, beet, carrot, frozen blueberries and strawberries, flax seeds, and soy milk. It was an awesome magenta color (sorry it was consumed before I could snap a picture) and totally satisfying.
If you aren't into smoothies or just need something with a little more bite, leftovers are a great way to beat the heat. Here is Amelia's Black Bean Pasta Salad (she graciously gave us some after the meet-up) and Blackened Spicy Chickpeas (from The Indian Vegan Kitchen) served over Jasmin's Mattar Pulao. I don't think I mentioned in my post about the meet-up that the author of The Indian Vegan Kitchen
is also a Registered Dietitian with a Master of Science in Foods and Nutrition from the University of Illinois, Urbana (our little college town). Small world.
Make whole wheat dough before hand (stores well in long-term in the freezer or refrigerator if using in a couple days). Whip up some pizza sauce, add whatever you have on hand (carrots from our mini-CSA, kalamata olives, fresh pineapple from our neighbors who are out of town and gave it to us, basil from the garden, and bit of Daiya cheese) then cook in the oven while you are playing at the park. If you don't want to mess with a tomato sauce, use hummus, it makes a great alternative. Quick and easy with little clean up.
Here is yet another pasta salad, this one I made based on the Last-Minute Italian-Style Pasta Salad from 1,000 Vegan Recipes. It takes longer to type out the name of the salad than throw it together. It doesn't call for chickpeas, but I always put them in. You could add any veggies you have on hand. Perfect for when everyone is too hot to move. The sandwich is a typical Parker favorite baked tofu with veggies, but a special twist. Melody from Vegan for $3.33 a Day posted a recipe for a sauce/mayo sub on Facebook (who says FB is just a waste of time?) and I knew we had to try it. We made a double batch so I plan to use it on everything. A winner! (I have contacted her to see if I can link to her recipe because I don't see it on her blog.)
Or you can let others cook for you while you enjoy some allusive air conditioning. Josie enjoying a Southwest Salad at Aroma and below a Junior Hummus Plate also at Aroma. Yes, both easy to make at home and wonderful hot weather options. What are your favorite ways to beat the heat? Stay cool!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer Vegan Meet-up

Great vegan meet-up Saturday evening with some new faces and some non-veg people in the group (I love people who don't mind coming to a vegan potluck even though they aren't veg). Rachel blogged about it here? Her pictures are so awesome. I need to find out what kind of camera she uses. It was great to see her and everyone else at the meet-up. I ate so much, it was all so yummy!

We hosted this meet-up and the day was beautiful so we set up at the park.
Josie was climbing the trees waiting for the vegan group to show up.
"When do you think everyone will show up and what kind of food will they bring?"
 Here is the spread (early on, several dishes came after I took this picture). If any meet-up attendees want to share their recipes or already have a blog with the recipe posted, let me know.
Katie's Corn Fritters with Black Bean Dip (you can barely see it at the bottom). Don't you love how pretty they look? They vanished quickly!
Meat-free Mike's Quinoa Salad. He had me at cilantro. For some great ideas for quinoa recipes, check out Cooking Qunioa.
I think someone (sorry I don't remember who brought it) called this Broccoli Slaw, but I call it delicious. It had grapes and apples along with the usual broccoli salad suspects. It is one of my favorites, but I rarely make it.
Amelia made this Savory Zucchini Bread with vegan cheese on top. Oh my! She brought two of these and they disappeared (I'm pretty sure my children ate almost one dish by themselves). Amelia is legendary in our house and the kids love anything and everything she makes. She also happens to run the Common Ground Co-op Deli department. I secretly want to open a vegan restaurant with her, but for now I'm just happy to have her smiling face at the co-op and her yummy food at the meet-up.
Amelia's Black Bean Pasta Salad, one of Dema's favorites and one you can eat by stopping by Common Ground's deli.
Jason's Spicy Green Beans, yum! Rob and I are not huge green bean fans. I don't know why, but we buy them for the kids and we eat them happily, but don't crave them. These green beans I could eat every day!
Rachel's Confetti Ramen Slaw with Hemp Dressing. I rarely make anything with ramen. Not that I don't like ramen, I just don't think about it. This was so good, I will have to start stocking ramen noodles in my pantry.
Rob made Blackened Spicy Chickpeas from my new cookbook, The Indian Vegan Kitchen by Madhu Gadia. It calls for black tea in the recipe. We haven't cooked with tea often so it was fun to make a version of chole without tomatoes and the subtle tea flavor in the background.
Rob also made his take on Jasmin's Mattar Pulao. I had to return Ginger and Ganesh to the library so he went by memory.
Obviously, the tempeh salad (kind of a vegan take on tuna salad) went fast. Sorry, I don't remember who brought this one. A great way to tempeh haters to learn to love it!
One of several platefuls of food. One of the non-veg participants went on and on about how colorful vegan food is...yep, a wonderful way to eat your rainbow. Who says vegan food is boring?
To drink we had Chase's home brewed beer and my latest favorite sun tea, Good Earth Organic White Tea Sweet Citrus flavor.
Rob had to set up the slackline because it is too much fun. Here is Amelia looking like a pro!
We finished up the evening with a night swim at Vicky and Greg's pool A perfect end to the day and nothing makes one sleep better!

Want to be part of the vegan meet-up fun? Locals can click the link at the top of the post and join the meet-up group. Don't have a vegan meet-up in your area? Start one!

Dr. Greger's New Website

For those of you who like to get your nutrition geek on, things are just getting better and better. First, Vegan for Life was published and now, Dr. Greger's new website is up and it looks to have most of the information he includes on his annual DVDs. I love peer reviewed information about nutrition broken down easily and given away for free. He also has a groovy sense of humor and the facts are in a great format for kids. My children look forward to watching his DVDs every year and it is amazing what they remember. Check out Dr. Greger's website and visit it often, I know I will!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ethiopian Potato and Peas with Split Pea Puree

If I was stranded on a deserted island with just one cuisine, I think it would have to be Ethiopian (followed closely by Thai and Indian). Sadly, I am on a Midwestern U.S. college town "island" surrounded by corn and soybean fields with no Ethiopian in sight. The nearest Ethiopian restaurant is quite good, but two or so hours away in a direction we don't travel often. Plus, being car-free means even if it was 30 miles away, it would seem pretty far. After reading Cutting for Stone*, I was really craving Ethiopian. So what does one do? Make their own. We are still in the infancy phase of learning Ethiopian, but Vegan Dad's blog helps. This dish is his Ethiopian Potato and Peas with Split Pea Puree. We just happen to have an abundance of yellow split peas so we'll be making this a summer staple.

*Book review coming soon! If anyone has suggestions for books based in Ethiopia, let me know. I would also love to hear your favorite veg Ethiopian recipes.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Vegan for Life!

Just a quick post to say, Vegan for Life: Everything You Need to Know to Be Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet is a must read for anyone who is vegan, thinks about being, knows a vegan, etc. I am biased since I'm a huge fan of Virginia Messina and Jack Norris. I love how they are committed to veganism from an ethical position, but try to be as unbiased as possible when analyzing the nutritional information. They keep on top of the latest research and amend their recommendations accordingly. They have done a wonderful service to the vegan movement by publishing Vegan for Life. It is extremely consumable for the layperson, going through nutrient by nutrient, but then also pulling it all together to show how easy it can be to be well nourished while staying true to your values. Nutrition for pregnancy, lactation, children from birth up are also covered, as a mother of three "vegan from conception" children (ages 11, 7, and 3), this makes me very happy.*

The section of Vegan for Life on what types of studies are done, the significance of each type of study, what to look for and how to interpret the data is helpful for anyone who cares about nutrition. Much of what is covered, is also here on Jack's blog. This is something else I appreciate about Jack and Virginia, they are quick to share their knowledge and will also try to answer questions. I believe they truly want everyone who is vegan to be as healthy and happy as possible. Vegan for Life doesn't cut more out of your vegan diet by vilifying cooked foods or gluten, but also covers how one with food allergies or sensitivities might still eat a wide variety of nourishing healthy foods.

I can't say I really found a lot of surprises in Vegan for Life since I try to stay up-to-date on nutrition, but it was great to see some of what we've been practicing for years in print. It is also nice to have certain reminders because we all get lax about our health from time to time or get into certain food ruts, veg or no. There is a entire chapter on soy which is very balanced and well-written. Vegan athletes are covered as well as people eating a plant-based diet with chronic diseases. It isn't a huge tome, under 300 pages, but thorough. So do yourself a favor and get your hands on Vegan for Life, you'll be happy you did.

For locals, I have two copies of Vegan for Life, so I am more than happy to loan one out.

*My eldest had his physical for public school today and I tried to find something amiss. Not that I don't believe you can raise healthy vegan children, to the contrary, but I am a mother first and no matter what I feed my children, I take their health seriously. Our pediatrician almost laughed at me (okay, he did laugh at me, but in a nice way). Parker eats better than almost anyone I know and he really is the picture of health. He has a congenital heart defect and comes from small parents (and grandfathers on the short side as well) so he will never be the biggest in his class, but he has consistently impressed the doctors. He is obviously old enough to make his own choices about food, but I am glad that if he decides to be vegan for life, he has the information he needs to make healthy choices.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Feels Like the First Time

Our sunny summer day started out right. Breakfast was a "clear out the produce to make room for more" green smoothie with kale, banana, plums, peach, frozen mangoes, shredded coconut, soy milk, and flax seeds. I had one of the those, I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier epiphany recently. I like to soak my greens one to three times before eating to clean off all the soil and any possible little green worms lurking on the leaves. I used to compost the water, but now I pour my slightly green tinted liquid on my house plants/hanging porch plants. I know, I know, what took me so long?
We drink our smoothies out of Dharma Glass straws. I bought a set of four a couple years ago and we love them. Since Rob was usually at work when we enjoyed our green smoothies, I didn't think we needed more than four. He always felt left out and I've intended to buy more so he could have his own, but now we have regular visitors at smoothie time so we need enough for guests so the time to buy more is now. Especially since we are really down to three. Josie and I left a finished green smoothie glass with our awesome straw on the porch one afternoon as we went to pick up the boys from the neighbor's house. When we arrived back home, I was surprised to see the glass knocked over on the porch table. There was no breeze so I couldn't figure out what happened. Then I looked around and saw our glass straw was missing. Josie's quickly found part of the straw on the ground several feet from the porch, but it was broken! These straws are heavy duty and even dropping them accidentally in our old ceramic sink or on the hardwood floors doesn't harm them. What could have happened? I looked closer and I'm pretty sure the only explanation is squirrels...yep, they loved the remnants of the green smoothie so much that they bit through the glass. Now Dharma Glass has a guarantee, but I thought squirrels might be beyond the scope. Now that I'm buying more straws, I will send what is left of this one back and see if they can replace it. I wonder if this will be the first return due to squirrels.
The first tomato sandwich of the summer. Oh so simple, but oh so good! Our tomatoes are still green in our garden, but Rob bought some tomatoes from farmer Greg today while he and Josie were shopping the Market at the Square. The first fresh tomato of the season always tastes like the first tomato ever to me. I rediscover the wonder every summer. Nothing quite compares to the first one. Rob barely unloaded the bike before making us each one of these sandwiches. No frills, just a bit of Vegenaise, so we could enjoy the taste of the tomato. I can't wait to eat more tomatoes as ours ripen, but I'll still have the memory of the first one of the season. Summer is so yummy!

Friday, July 8, 2011

More Simple Summer Suppers

Just a couple simple suppers we've made this week (they were amazingly unphotogenic, but quite good).
Rob threw this meal together with produce we needed to use up. It is a slightly different version of one of our favorite meals. Bed of garlicky kale/beet greens, brown rice, roasted beets, and a sauce I threw together (parsley, carrots, onion, ginger, lime juice, sugar, sesame seeds, water, ume plum vinegar...I think that is it...all thrown in the Vitamix), and lightly fried tofu. Steamed green beans with a little iodized sea salt (for reasons to use iodized salt, check out a recent post by Jack Norris.)
What do you do when you have tempeh in the refrigerator and it is about to expire? PPK's Tempeh Helper to the rescue! I grew up on "helpers" so this is a blast to the past, but with a vegan twist. Too salty for my kiddos, but Rob and I couldn't stop eating it. Next time less salt for my children who have never heard of hamburger helper. The steamed green beans, carrot sticks (with carrots just hours out of our friends' garden), and yellow watermelon (thanks, Michael!) were a hit.

Dema-ism for today: I wish a I had a video, but those who know my seven year old will be able to picture it. He was rocking out to a song today. He and Josie often go around singing (usually songs they make up on the spot) when there is no music playing. I listened more closely and realized he was making up his own anti-war/peace song. I guess all that Michael Franti he listened to as a baby had some impact. He is one intense little dude.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

How Many Veg Guys Does it Take to Grill Tofu?

We decided to totally relax this three day weekend. We (okay, I) always try to get a lot of work done around the house, special projects, do all the holiday stuff, entertain, etc. on long weekends. This sometimes turns into a lot of stress and really unproductive which leads to more stress. This weekend I wasn't going to plan anything and we were going to just relax. Well, in reality that means we only had one dinner at a friend/neighbor's house, my radio show, the neighborhood parade, cycling as a family on one of the hottest days of the year, and 20 people over for a cookout. That is as relaxing as it gets around here, but it was quite an easy-going weekend.
Saturday morning started out with the family waking up to oppressive heat which would only get worse. What to do? Hop on our bikes and head to the Market at the Square and Common Ground Co-op. It was worth it, of course, but poor Dema was pooped by the time we arrived home. He usually rides on the back of my Xtracycle when we venture more than a couple miles, not because he can't ride that far, but because he is still a little distracted at seven so it stresses me out unless Rob is with me. Two adult eyes on him is best. We were all hot and cranky (due in no small part to some really amazingly clueless drivers) when we arrived home, but the free Zico coconut water, that was handed out outside the co-op/farmer's market, quickly put things right. Our favorite was the pineapple flavor. It reminds me, what is your favorite coconut water? We love the stuff, but it is expensive and some brands have added sugar so I only buy it as a special treat when we eat a the co-op. The Zico people said their product is premium because it only contains coconut water and natural flavors (the flavors are the kicker, I really don't like that catch all "natural flavors"). We will definitely buy Zico in the future. It is a pretty subtle taste and not too sweet like some of the other coconut water I've tried. The mango was also nice, but pineapple really hit the spot. The rest of Saturday was pretty much spent trying to stay cool in kids room (they have a small window A/C unit which takes the edge off) and finishing Cutting for Stone.*
Dinner at Cynthia and Ernie's Sunday night was just what we needed. The kids played, we got to catch up with our neighbor/friends (including Rebecca and her brand new babe), and meet their friends down from Chicagoland (they happen to have two adorable young boys, who Josie took to right away). Oh yes, and the food was great too. Rob and I made the Skillet-Baked Panko Cutlets because it was something I could start before the radio show and he could finish up while I was gone. I just arrived home and sat down when Owen knocked on the door to remind us we were supposed to be at his house for dinner. It was really cute and I was glad the cooking was done.  Little did I know that the friends from out of town we were there to meet are gluten free! There was plenty to eat though. Cynthia made a wonderful veggie curry and our favorite kale (she added currants, I will have to try that next time). I didn't get a picture, but trust me it was all yummy and pretty. We chatted about homeschooling, parenting, homebirthing, living abroad, nuclear power, and all the fun things that make a meal interesting. As we walked home, long after dark, we met up with other neighbors and we all watched the last of the Country Club fireworks and chatted before calling it a night.
Monday (the 4th) was beautiful weather-wise. In fact, I can't remember a July 4th in Illinois that was as nice. Usually it is 99% humidity with blistering heat, but it was quite pleasant for midsummer. I woke up minutes before the neighborhood parade and quickly dressed, dressed everyone else, grabbed the kids' bikes and walked down to Eisner Park for the sweet little "parade" that makes our neighborhood so quaint (in a good way). It was great to run into neighbors who don't live near us anymore and see how their little ones have grown-up. Josie had a grand time riding her Like-a-Bike balance bike in the parade with the big kids (her brothers and their friends). She insists she "won" the parade (yes, that non-competitive parenting is completely lost on our three year old these days). I think it is due to the bike races we attend every year. Notice the dress she insisted was the only thing to wear on the 4th of July. She is my little ninja princess.
We cooked a bit for the evening potluck at the park before heading to Vicky and Greg's to swim in their pool and socialize. I really don't think I could survive a no A/C summer in Illinois without our awesome neighbors. They are great in so many ways and the pool is just a bonus, but this year it has been a lifesaver. We were all cooled off and refreshed for the cookout. Unfortunately, Greg and Vicky had other plans, but they gave us a yummy watermelon before heading out to their event. The park district recently installed a grill at "our park". At first I was a little worried. The grill location is really close to our house (and several large trees) and I was not looking forward to the smell of charred animals. Then we decided to make use of it ourselves. We have a hand-me-down gas grill my brother gave us years ago, but for some reason using charcoal at the park was more interesting to Rob. It was quite fun to see four veg guys trying to get the grill working without lighter fluid. Kit is the man and kept a level head even as he was holding a flaming piece of cardboard (I didn't ask how it got that way) in his hand next to 100 year old trees. Too bad I didn't get a picture. Nothing burned down and all was well. Katie introduced us to grilled tofu. (Why have we never done this? Katie's not even veg! We should be ashamed.)
Katie brought the most festive dish of the cookout. This strawberry rhubarb crisp was amazing and adorable at the same time. Is was Katie who convinced us to do something on the fourth and I have to say if she offers to bring food and beer to your house for any reason, take her up on it. You'll be glad you did.
Parker had three servings of Katie's quinoa salad. So I knew I had to make it myself. I asked Katie for the recipe and this is what she said:
1 cup quinoa (I used a mix of white and black)
soy beans (I steamed a frozen bag out of convenience)
2-3 carrots - shredded
2 green onions - sliced thin
cilantro - chopped

dressing (fresh ginger, toasted sesame oil, garlic, braggs amino acid, rice vinegar, agave, orange juice) I wanted to put in some rooster sauce, but knew someone was avoiding peppers and Adelaide was watching me. I only made about 1/4 cup of dressing because I didn't want to overpower the dish, but clearly this dish is about knowing your audience.

Boil quinoa in lightly salted water, drain then put quinoa back in cooking pot and back on the stove (burner is off). Add dressing to warm quinoa and toss. Then add everything else. So simple and delicious.

This is also really good with cooked greens, roasted veggies, you name it. I take it to work most days and eat it with lettuce.
While we are talking about salads, I was so glad Erin left the rest of the this lovely lentil salad at our house since they headed to Dodd's for the fireworks. I ate the last of it yesterday in a wrap (well the kids helped) and it was so good! Lentils, carrots, onions, peas, peppers, but my favorite part was the golden raisins. Yum!
Kit and Emily brought hummus and chips, always a favorite.
Rob made Channa Masala and rice because we had chickpeas and that is what he thinks to make when we have chickpeas. It was wonderful as usual. We can't have a holiday without cooking Indian.
I also asked Rob to make Patriotic Potato Salad. I made a cookbook for my mother the Christmas before she died. I put this recipe in there because it was on of the first 4th of July recipes my mom veganized for us. I've been thinking about my mom a lot lately and I just needed to have this potato salad. Rob and I had plans to make a lot more, but I'm glad we didn't. It was plenty of food. We were worried about making things gluten-free for Katie, but we completely forgot about omitting the nightshades for Emily. I could just kick myself! The next get together, we promise to be better about making things everyone can enjoy.
Katie also made these vegan peanut butter cups which I completely resisted, but will have to try the next time. We never found out who took the one before the picture, but the kids all gave them three yums up!

Gita is famous in our house for her pies and she brought two peach and raspberry pies that were to die for, but I didn't get a picture. She had some difficulty with the crust she showed up with the pies after I took pictures. Just perfect with vegan vanilla ice cream on top!

After we all ate our fill and cleaned up, most of us walked over to the vacant lot next to Cynthia and Ernie's to watch a neighborhood fireworks show. We never see a need to go to the big show put on by the city because how can it be better than sitting on a blanket a block away. The mosquitoes didn't even bite me! Rob and I had a few minutes alone on the blanket watching the show before the kids cuddled in with us. So nice to not have to deal with crowds and just walk home with our tired little ones. All in all a very restful holiday!

*This will be a post to itself and the Ethiopian food we cooked.

Josie-isms for today:

Me, "What are you up to?" Josie, "Throwing a party with my dolls." Me, "Nice." Josie says dreamily, "The heart enjoys."

I know I've gone on and on about our awesome neighbors, but really we are so lucky to be surrounded by such an amazing and diverse group of people. Josie doesn't play "house", she plays "neighborhood". She is always having me be a "neighbor/friend" when we play.

Josie has an unlimited amount of imaginary sisters, but the other day she cracked me up because she announced she now has twin sisters named Cilantro and Coriander. Filed under, "your daughter might be growing up to be a foodie if..."