Sunday, January 15, 2012

Whirlwind Weekend

A busy weekend for us and it isn't even quite finished.
We hosted a vegan meet-up Friday night. The hit for me was Rachel's Spinach Balls, but then I saw the amount of Earth Balance and my heart fell. No wonder I loved them! I have to come up with a 40 year old vegan friendly version. I just can't eat like a teenager any more. Of course, my kids can and did. They loved the peanut butter cupcakes provided by our new neighbors (yes, we now have a couple living across "our park" from us and they are vegan...we are taking over the world).
 Lots of yummy hummus. This one was happy hummus (I think the green is pesto?)
The roasted cauliflower and pita chips was a favorite of Josie's.
This pasta, beans, red sauce, kale, and Daiya bake was a big hit too. I think Amelia? brought this one and I need the recipe. Amelia definitely brought some chocolate peppermint soy milk, a little adult beverage to go in it, and some spectacular whip cream (did you make it, Amelia?).
Here is Parker's first plate of food with the scornbread (Jazzy Vegetarian's cornbread made with bananas courtesy of Eric) and There was a lot of food I didn't get a picture of. Everything was delicious, as usual.
My contribution to the evening was Lotsa Veggies Lentil Soup from Appetite for Reduction. I used red onion for the onion and kale instead of spinach because that is what I had. My neighbor, Vicky, brought over some zucchini Friday or I wouldn't have made the soup. We rarely have zucchini around this time of year. I didn't try the soup during the meet-up because I was too busy eating what everyone else brought. There was a bit leftover so I warmed it up for breakfast the next day and it was even better than Rob's favorite (the French Lentil Soup with Tarragon and Thyme from Veganomicon). I also made a version of our new favorite soup, Coconut Corn Chowder from Quick-Fix Vegan. I've made quite a few changes to the chowder so I'll post the recipe soon, but I highly recommend Quick-Fix Vegan. It is one of the few cookbooks I just leave in the kitchen to use on a daily basis.

Two of our young friends joined the fun at the meet-up because it was our neighbor/friend's 40th birthday and they went out for dinner without the kids and then to a local bar. We joined them at the bar after most of the meet-up guests had left, thanks to my sister who stayed to watch all five kids and host the remaining vegan meet-up guests. We felt awful running out so early, but we wanted to take to join our friend for a drink and toast his 40 years on the planet. I'm glad the meet-up people felt comfortable enough to hang out even after we left.

Saturday morning Rob and Josie walked downtown and caught a train to Chicago. Josie's bestie, Teagan had a birthday party in Chicagoland on Sunday. Our fabulous friends Todd and Katherine let Rob and Josie stay with them even with the due date for their second child coming up very fast. Katherine is the most amazing person working full time at her toy stores at nine months pregnant and then keeping her son and my daughter last night while Todd and Rob went to see a movie.

Meanwhile back in C-U the boys and I were eating brunch on Saturday of blueberry and banana pancakes, snuggling in bed reading books, laughing, playing Minecraft, and watching one of their favorite cartoons on netflix. I don't think I've mentioned Avatar: The Last Airbender before, but I should. The kids discovered the show after a trip to North Carolina a year or maybe two ago. They love that the main character is a ethical vegetarian and values all life. The show teaches wonderful lessons, but it a interesting way (Rob and I even like to watch the show). It is something all three kids can and want to watch. Check it out!

Saturday evening our friends Ricky and Catharine had us over for dinner. The boys were able to play with their twin boys without Josie getting in the mix. A nice change, of course they miss their sister, but sometimes it is nice to not have her always with them. Ricky made yummy curry and we had great conversation and they picked us up and dropped us off since it was pretty cold out and the bus isn't super convenient on the weekends for our area. We really have the best friends!
Today the kids were eating leftover coffee cake (I made another East Coast Coffee Cake for our dinner at Catharine and Ricky's) late this morning when one of their friends called asking if the boys wanted to meet at a local school yard to go sledding. We all walked to to the "hill" with the sleds, but they also took turns with their friends "snowboard". Yes, we have very little hills around here, but they work. The friend lives close to the school so we went to his yard to see the amazing igloo he built. All three boys could fit inside it.
I had the radio show and in the afternoon so we had to leave before the kids were ready. I arrived home around 4:45pm after the show, but we still finished a wonderful fun dinner and cleaned the dining room and kitchen before 6:30pm. I started marinating the tempeh before we left for sledding (it doesn't have to marinate more than an hour, but it seemed fine being left longer). The dish is Buffalo Tempeh over Mac and Trees both from Appetite for Reduction. I was not blown away about the Easy Breezy Cheezy Sauce the first time I made it, but it really works with the Buffalo Tempeh. I used Parker's favorite hot sauce for the tempeh and it took almost an entire bottle so I'm not sure how often I can make this. Rob is not a big mac and cheese kind of guy, but I know he would have enjoyed the tempeh. The picture in the background is a four year old Parker. I can't believe he'll be 12 in just a few weeks!
The boys had one of my favorite So Delicious products yet for dessert, the Coconut Almond Mini Bars. Purely decadent coconut, almond, and chocolate combine to taste toffee-ish to me and it is just the size for a special treat. Speaking of treats, Rob and Josie are on the train headed home!

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