Thursday, August 31, 2006

Defending the Honor of My Vegan T' Art

Occasionally Dave will wake me up with the gentle word, "Honey." Occasionally I will respond with the growl, "Honey's not here, I'm black strap molasses-ssss." Today is a day like no other and today I feel the growl rising up deep within my vegan soul. Know that I am usually a nice vegan, but today I have very serious work to do and the honor of vegan cooking ideas and inspiration to defend. This post is my entry into Urban Vegan's T'Art contest... let the battle begin!

The weapons of my warfare:

1 7" pie pumpkin, 1 lb Swiss chard stalks removed and greens chopped, and 1 large sweet vidalia onion - all from my garden

14" deep dish tart pan, large sharp knife, and vegetable peeler

One 375 degree oven

(see other supplies needed for the journey below)

Preparation for the Battle:
100% Spelt Tart Crust
The Battle Frontline ....Don't mess with me!

The Defensive Details:

Cook the diced pumpkin (I use a pampered chef microwave vegetable steamer, but you can steam it anyway you want).

I used a dutch oven pan to combine the chopped greens, cooked pumpkin, and sauteed onions/ garlic.

I proudly present ....
This is a free form tart. In America tarts are often though to be complex with it's symmetry, precise rows and perfect circles, placing the average fruit and potpie at the level of a culinary demolition derby - to "French" and confounding for Amercan daily fare. This need not be so, a tart is actually just an open faced pie, either sweet or savory and inherently pretty on it's own so there is no need to go to alot of trouble to get a stunning appeal.

No I am not French... American, but today I defend the honor of my vegan t'ART.

click link to get recipe(s)
COUNTRY BAKING: Simple Home Baking with Wholesome Grains and the Pick of the Harvest by Ken Haedrich (c) 1990. It is not vegan, but with a little skill can be easily veganized. I like his "down home" conversational family style writing. He has an muffin recipe that is an agreement with his wife, she gives birth and he spends a week making all of her favorite foods... the muffin recipe was one of them - it's that kind of chit chat that makes this book appealing to me.

Warriors who boldly marched before me to make today's plight a successful one....
I salute Bryanna
Clark Grogan of Vegan Feast who included a Squash and Kale Savory Tart in a Previous (Oct/ Nov 2005) subscription of Vegan Feast Newsletter. No brave vegan should ever attempt life without this noblest of resources.

Here's a closer look, my tart served with homegrown tomato soup, roasted pumpkin seeds, and chopped pears ....
Oh and about the teaser:
These are just not big enough for the tough job this vegan has to do.
I'll post again on Monday as I need to regain strength after this battle.
This tart makes a great leftover lunch meal also.
Try it with farmer's market squash and greens if you don't grow your own!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Buried, Gone mad, and lunchbox (not in that order)

I had to go to a curriculum night at Matthew's school last night, so Dave was in charge of supper duty. He made a basic thick crust pizza using commercial soy cheese, TVP s'sage crumbles (i keep this made ahead in the freezer ready for nights like this) and a good pizza sauce. Today's lunchboxes include pizza leftovers, a banana, and a container of green beans that grew in our garden. Sorry if the picture quality is not the best... I am working on this and hope to be able to allow you to click and access a larger picture. Until then I leave you with a tag and will show you what I must be doing the rest of the day. My post tomorrow afternoon will be my entry for the vegan t'ART contest. The t'ART I will be presenting makes excellent leftovers also. I have been having alot of fun toying with this concept so come back and check it out, I'll think you'll enjoy it. :)

ALSO - I just switched to the BETA blogger. Gotta say the spelling moderator is great. I'm sure anyone who has read my blog at any time knows there were typos everywhere because I never took the time to spell check using the old way. This new version of blogger should help me with that now. :)

This one comes from Catherine of Albion Cooks. And looks like it originated from the Traveler's Lunchbox, an interesting piece to read so I'll place a link to them to. I present the five foods that I think everyone should try before they die.
1) Bryanna's Seitan Wellington Roast with Madeira Gravy... time consuming so only for a special occasion but an awesome presentation as well as an awesome eat. It uses a wonderful mushroom pate as well as phyllo dough sheets.
2) A simple stir-fry of fresh picked (from your own) garden greens... Swiss chard is my current favorite. But a pot of spicy southern greens would work to or maybe even a soup with some greens added. I can be flexible here, it's all good.
3) Three sister's pizza: A concoction of squash, corn, and a savory white bean spread with vegan Gruyere cheese. Autumn time is near and I am really looking forward to eating this again soon.
4) Acorn squash, roasted to perfection in the oven until the edges are browned and filled with my five bean soup. Use the squash as the bowl and make sure to pull up spoons of it with the soup.
and last but not least (drum roll please) ...
5) Stufado an Italian vegetable stew that includes all sorts of peak of the season fresh garden produce. It's nice and thick and wonderful, esp when the leftovers are served in calzone pockets.

My dining room table is a mess. What you see here is an assortment of paperwork I have laying everywhere. I am writing a grant proposal which is a final project for the last class I had to leave to take (the one week one in which I stayed in the sorority house). My idea is a program that will be a bridge between the public school and the homeschooling community ... a true alternative approach to education. The focus of my program will be supporting the parent-teachers who teach their students. So what happens when mom is lost in a mess of paperwork?

Well I "force" others to cook...

What happens during this cruel and unusual time of punishment? This time Dreena's Home style Chocolate Chip Cookies were made. Oh, oh, oh, (to the 7th degree) .... so good! I have made some fatty sugary vegan cookies in my lifetime (the kind that I would often not eat due to the high wasted calorie content, but I sure sold alot of them). I LOVE THESE COOKIES! I ate these cookies and didn't have a problem with the ingredients.Melissa used olive oil instead of canola and I can see many variation options with this recipe. For example ... need to lower the sugar content? Sub stevia and if you don't mind the chemicals use sugar free pancake syrup. Want a wheat alternative... use Bette Hagman's Four Flour Bean Mix (gluten free) or spelt flour. We used a dairy free chocolate chip (sunspire brand).

I have to warn you though. When you force this kind of work on your family, it causes them to react in animistic ways. Don't say I didn't warn you... none of these cookies made it into a lunchbox - no, not one.

Tomorrow is the last day to enter urban vegan's vegan t'ART contest.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Containers, PBJ's, and Birthday

Although I love the laptop luchbox that schmoo used last year (and the awesome one that was sent to J Schmoo) I couldn't convince Dave that we couldn't live without these $100 wonders no matter how wonderful they were. And unfortunately last year we had a time finding containers that did not leak juices out into the lunchbox. :o( ! This year we did some searching to find a more cost effective way to accomplish a leak proof container for our lunches and this is what we have found so far.
I do not have the large containers like pictures on amazon, only small ones for lunchboxes but so far we like them. The rubber ring on the inside lid keeps all liquidy things where they belong. We have round ones and square/ rectangular ones in different sizes. We also often freeze our drinks to use as the "icee thing" to keep our boxes cold.

IN this lunchbox picture you will see another whole grain wrap (me and my people like these), this time the wrap has a few slices of Lightlife (link to company website) Deli slices (link to deli products page) - I bought the roast turkey flavor. A leaf of lettuce and dijon style nayonaise on the side (things get mushy if these are assembled prior to eating time), a side of Tomato soup (link to previous blog entry and recipe) with sprinkles of basil, dill, and shredded frozen Bryanna chedda' cheez (subscriber newsletter recipe). Melissa will eat the soup chilled, there is a microwave option but if she chooses it to much of the lunchtime is used up to enjoy the rest of the meal.

What is that tye dyed blob of color you ask. Melissa's birthday cupcake, she turned 15 yesterday. We purchased this at a Natural food COOP during our Sunday shopping trip. It has a little sign that says Happy Birthday and it is vegan. Wow! (I won't say how much it was, but sometimes splurges are necessary). It is sitting in a little plastic box that protected it during her trip to the school and to the lunch table (the light loves the plastic box and makes it look huge, but it's really not that big) .

We discovered Matthew's school has three lunch options ( some vegan friendly choices served daily), we were so excited. On Friday he opted for a PBJ sandwich, carrot/ celery sticks, fruit and a small soymilk. They charged $3.85 for this... the first time through and then when he realized it wasn't enough food he went back and they charged him the same again. $7.70 for a peanut butter jelly sandwich lunch and it wasn't even good bread.... ouch. This week he has more than enough PBJ sandwiches on good bread (mom made seedy spelt), plenty of veggie sticks with his favorite dip and even a couple of fruit cups along with almond milk... chocolate, his favorite (on sale for $1.69 quart this week) to take daily. We managed this for alot less than $7.70 daily = $38.50 on one meal a week. His sandwiches are made ahead and stored in grandpa's freezer so he can take them out and pack his lunch easily during this week. I am thankful that the vegan options are there, but it is more important that we get our boy an education than it is to support this option (occassionally if they serve anything to good to pass up, we may).

I throw cleaned and stem removed tomatoes with their skins in into a pot and puree my tomato soup (see recipe link above) with my kitchenaid hand held blender. I also freeze whole tomatoes when I am short in time during the end of summer and use them straight form the freezer.... warm water ran over a frozen tomatoe will cause it's skin to sklip right off. It is easy to cut the stem portion off with a sharp knife and place the frozen fruit into a soup or into a pot for sauces or ketchup (which I can when I have more time in January/February). Here is me pureeing my tomato soup.

Here is Dave's hand dipping a slice of french bagette topped with TVP taco meet and Bryanna's vegan chedda (broiled) into his tomato soup. He also likes the cheez melted into his soup. The thought of the french onion souop with the crisy bread and cheez crossed my mind.... on ly this is a french / mexi version. I love it when food cultures intermix.

TVP taco meet:
The following info is copied directly from the veggin' out talk board under Re: Wanted: Salad Ideas!!
« Reply #8 on Jul 26, 2006, 2:22pm »

TVP Taco Filling by MELODY
-2 cups dried TVP granules
-1.75 cups boiling water
-2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
-1 tsp Oregano
-1/2 tbsp Ground Cumin
-1/2 tbsp Ground Coriander
-1 packet Taco Seasoning Mix
-1 large onion (red onion adds nice color)
-7 cloves garlic
-1 green pepper
-1 red pepper
-1/2 cup Chopped tomatoes or salsa
-1 cup Cilantro (I omited)
-Juice of 1 Lime
-Water as needed
Bring water to a boil, pour over TVP, mix and set aside. In a large heavy bottomed pan heat oil and spices over medium heat. Add onions, garlic peppers and stir- fry for several minutes. Stir in TVP and tomatoes. Heat through and add tomatoes or salsa, lime, water if needed to keep it from burning. Taste and add salt/pepper if needed. Take off heat and stir in Cilantro.
There will be enough filling for 8 tacos and the filling freezes well.

I like to make a big green salad and put an ice cream scoop of this in the middle, top it with olive, green onion, vegan sour cream and a good chipotle type of dressing. You can even crumble some blue corn chips over it. Yum! -melody

Monday, August 28, 2006

Jalepeno Cheez Bread Lunch

Here's a picture of my lunch from the other day. This post is in honor of my sis who has now managed to lose 60 pounds over the past 12 months (she's omni). She loved something called jalepeno poppers which is a fried finger food. I made a jalepeno soy mozz bread roll for her awhile back and she thought it was amazing. I had lunch with her today and this is what we ate. I'm typically not a hottie, but I can handle canned jalepeno pepper slices.

I took small peices of canned jalepeno pepper peices, placed them on top of some multigrain bread and topped with frozen shredded Bryanna white chedda' cheese. (another recipe available to her newsletter subscribers). I broiled it to perfection in our toaster oven. I have three thin peices of griddle seared tofu (dipped in soysauce prior to griddling with sauteed onion and mushrooms), a side salad, and a bit of the mushroom marinara that I canned yesterday for the jalepeno bread slices. I dipped my bread into the marinara. If I had the talent to add a sound link button for you to push, you would hear something like, "MM ... mmm!".

Of course, leftover suppers always make it into lunch boxes and here is the shake and bake tofu with dijon style nayonaise and lettuce leaf, banana with kokobits, and dilled carrot sticks. I know the schmoo box ALWAYS included a fantastic assortment of a veggie.... we are vegan and I have a mindset towards healthier eating, but I would never get away with some of the veggies or the veggie salad combo's that Jennifer did (not that I wouldn't eat them, but even if they were packed for my group they would come home or be thrown away so I wouldn't know... or so they think). Melissa said the sandwich was filling and she didn't have time for the others so she finished off the carrots and bananas in the afternoon.

A teaser of what is to come....

I pulled these items out my my misc drawer more than a week ago and since then they have been laying on my counter. I've only had them for two years and the original papers and packaging is still there ... ummm, maybe they are antique by now and worth some money :o) ! But I couldn't sell them, cause I need them for

Urban Vegan's T'Art Contest .

Honestly, I have been hoping for these little pans to talk to me so I would know what to do with them (Do you think I might be beginning to suffer from a little B 12 deprivation?) .... but they haven't (WHEW!), so I've been searching through a few cookbooks. You could be my competition if you hurry to get your entry in... August 31st is only a few days away. Check it out and join the fun!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Shake & Bake Tofu / lunchbox

This one is for Kleo who recently mentioned that she misses this.
Kraft Shake and Bake original mix taken from the "Top Secret" recipe archives.
1/2 C plus 1 Tbsp corn flake crumbs
2 teaspoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon each paprika, sugar, garlic powder, and onion powder
Combine and use.

Here's a link to Bryanna's "Cheap" Homemade Shake and Bake

My personal favorite seasoned coating mix...
2 C dry bread crumbs
1 1 /2 tsp sea salt
1 1 /2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp granuated onion
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp poultry style seasoning
2 Tbsp olive oil
Blend with a pastry cutter until well mixed. Freeze in between uses.

PREHEAT OVEN to 400 degrees. Spray a blackened oven sheet with a little non stick spray and place coated slices onto this. I marinate my firm tofu slices in Bryanna's Brest of Tofu Marinade one or two days and dip them into the mix of choice. Press it into the mix to make sure the coating sticks to it, do both sides. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow to rest 5 minutes before serving.

Large square container:
1 tofu scramblers wrap with chedda sauce
Carrots and celery with vegan ranch dressing
One cherry almond muffins (put into the box straight from the freezer)
French Style Candied Peanuts
Bottle of water(frozen ahead to dual purpose)
See yesterday's post for links to the vegan ranch dressing and the chedda sauce.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Lunch Box, Canning, and Family

School has started. We have a lunch box to share with you today!

Organic Multi-grain bread with Bryanna's Vegan Chedda' Cheese, YVES Veggie Brats meatless zesty italian sliced into rounds and broiled until the top was set and somewhat cripsy (although it does't stay crispy it holds together well and you can eat it cleanly). I used Bryanna's vegan "cheddar" which calls for tahini and irish moss powder, but this recipe is from a subscriber only newsletter, so I will post a link to Bryanna's free archives for cheesy sauce that I have used for this purpose before. We do like the tahini recipe better. It does melt and when chilled it firms again, the flavor is awesome.

This is served with a side salad, Bryanna's vegan ranch dressing, and romaine/purple cabbage/ shredded carrot salad. I found some vegan carob chip cookies in the freezer so she also got a couple of those stuck in at the last minute (not pictured). We froze a container of Capri sun juice to serve the useful dual purpose of ice pack.


Makes 1 cup

1/2 c. vegan mayonnaise
1/2 T. lemon juice plus soymilk or nut milk to make 1/2 c.
1/2 tsp. dried parsley flakes
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. garlic powder or granules
1/8 tsp. onion powder
pinch dried thyme

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Place in a covered container or jar and refrigerate for several hours before using.


I also canned last night. Using the tomatoes that are ripening in our garden I made spaghetti sauce and Sicilian Style Split Pea Soup. These require a pressure canner and 1 1/2 hours at 10 lb's of pressure. I have raved about my Presto 23 quart pressure canner in previous posts. I still love it and have no complaints.

For meals away Matthew took a package of instant noodles and a homecanned jar of "browned meety TVP strips for Brown and noodles - an easy fast supper. Good bread and mom canned lentil stew was another ready made, just toast and earth balance the bread. He will stop and get some lettuce and dressing from the store to have there also. This weekend we will have to plan ahead for his meals next week. It's really wonderful to have the soups and TVP strips canned ready for use because they can travel and sit without refrigeration (until they get opened).

Both recipes here were inspired by Bryanna Clark Brogan's cookbooks. I used Brian's Wine- Free Mushroom Tomato Sauce on page 44 of the Nonna's Italian Kitchen Coookbook. I did add 1 cup of TVP granules and 2 tsp Bill's Best Beffy flavored boullion powder to this. I reduced the cooking time since the TVP soaks up some of the extra liquid which does not need to evaporate during the long simmer process... I also only simmed for about 1 1/2 hours since I knew I would pressure can it and it would cook for another 1 1/2 hours there.

The Sicilian Style Split Pea Soup recipe came from Bryanna's Fiber For Life Cookbook, page 93. The recipe calls for 1 c split peas and macaroni, I use only split peas and use a whole 1 lb bag... all other ingredients stay the same. The soup was brought to a boil, cooked for 10 minutes and then placed in jars. I made 3 quart and 5 pint jars by doubling the recipe (I have a 23 quart pressure canner). The canning time would require 1 hour 15 minutes for the pint and 1 hour 30 minutes for the quart on both the split pea soup and the pasta sauce, so I did both of them together for the 1 hour and 30 minutes. At the end of the process time I was tired so I removed the canner from the heat and went to bed. This morning the canner had cooled, so I opened it, took the jars out , set then on a towel to rest for a few more hours (undisturbed), and cleaned up everything else ... all is well. A friend who has pressure canned for years said that she has done the "t tired to wait gotta get some sleep" time for years and has never had a problem, the food is the same. I did it previous with lentil stew and TVP strips, there was no difference.


Melissa is the school crossing guard (and I am her backup). She was pretty happy that she got a $2 an hour raise. It is an exceptional raise, considering that she works one hour a day. She now has a school license and can drive herself to the crosswalk and then to school. A boy named Victor has also been calling quite regularly. He seems to be respectful and she says they are just friends. I am glad this friend lives more than an hour away from us. Watching my babies grow up is exciting and wonderful as well as a little sad. She seems to have matured alot this summer as she was working at the church summer camp where she met alot of interesting and friendly people.

One thing that really tickles my fancy is that she takes lunch during school days and I am really looking forward to packing these come September when I will be eating at the school for 12 weeks. STAY TUNED... the Harvey family version of vegan lunchbox. :) Melissa is enrolled part-time for SpanishII, Algebra I, and Anatomy class. She continues on in piano, drum, and singing lessons as well as is practicing up on the ability to test for 1st degree TKD black belt sometime this year. Iowa's laws towards homeschooling / dual enrollment are friendly. Even in my rural area, although there are NO programs or helpful things like many bigger cities have, this option allows our family the best of both worlds and maximizes our freedom of choice.

Matt starts his first day today in a big city 1 1/2 hours away. He left today, will stay at grandpa's tonite, and will be back tommorrow for supper. I hope to have a special celebratory supper with movies and fun chatter. Although I am sitting here typing for my blog, I feel almost exhausted like I am coordinating some big event. I think it must be mom emotional baggage. Hugs to moms who are exercising faith as their babies venture out into the world this month.

I end with another Matthew cooking event ... here he is with his first attempt at making Vegan with A Vengance orange scones. We liked the scones idea, but the orange zest flavor was very bold, we didn't like that. Matthew took one bite and didn't eat anymore of these due to the orange zest flavor... the rest of us did with the frosting.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Cherry Almond Muffins and tagged

Here's a picture of the muffins Melissa made for me. They are a bit smaller than what I would have done because she made 18 out of a recipe I make 12 from. She followed the 2/3 "rule", I don't with these muffins and for me they always rise into perfect little dome tops ... that doesn't always happen, but it does with this recipe. I got the idea for these from VwaV cookbook. I like many of the recipes in this book, but am unhappy with white flour and sugar. For a breakfast muffin I wanted it to be a bit more fibrous and hearty, so I combined the idea of this recipe with a favorite recipe of Bryanna's that we love (Almond Crumb Cakes). The end result became ...

Dori 's Birthday Cherry Almond Muffins
I do not add almonds to the muffin batter, but these are topped with a sweet crunchy almond topping. They were grand and I think I will ask for them next year too.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine Wet Mix in a small mixing bowl:
1 3/4 cup vanilla soymilk (or add 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup applesauce
1 1/2 Tbsp vinegar OR same amount lemon juice
2 tsp almond extract
3/4 tsp KAL brand stevia extract powder (you can try another brand, but the results will probably not be the same... I notice a "stevia" taste when I use other brands

Combine Dry Mix in a medium mxing bowl:
1 1/2 cup spelt flour OR same amount unbleached organic all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

Combine the wet mix into the dry mix, stir until just mixed - do not over mix. Then stir in:
1- 1 1/4 cups pitted and quartered Sweet Cherries (note change from original publish)

Crumble Topping:
1/3 C slivered almonds
1/4 C unbleached sugar or sucanat
1/4 C whole wheat pastry OR spelt flour
2 Tbsp melted Earth Balance or preferred margarine

Fill 12 non stick (I use I CARE brand) parchment paper type muffin cups full, 18 for the size muffins pictured but I prefer 12. Comine the almond crumble top ingredients and spoon 1 Tbsp of this over each of 12 muffins OR divide evenly if making 18 muffins. Bake 18-22 minutes (until toothpick test done). Use the shorter time if making 18 muffins, the longer of making 12.

We also ate sandwiches and blackened tofu salads this weekend. Here you see my firm tofu slices sauting on a hot flat griddle pan. I like to cook mine with onions. I did marinate the tofu before cooking on the non-stick. I also like to slice it thinner like this so that it absorbs more flavor. I often use the marinade as a cooking liquid, over the hot heat the tofu soaks up more of the marinade flavor.

We often eat our meals like this. Dave prefers sandwiches (sourdough bread in this meal topped with a savory mushroom sauce) while I prefer salads (yellow pepper, red tomatoes, blckened tofu/mushroom/onions topped with a few slivers of almond). Matt often likes everything separate... protein, bread toasted, and then fruit and/or green salad on the side. Melissa varies between sandwiches and salad. I have found the family to be happier at meals when I have "eating options" then we all feel like the meal is designed for us.

I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying what is considered the last part of summer. The peppers, tomatoes, and canteloupe in the picture at the side were grown in our garden.

I have been tagged by kunsjoi, the computer engineer and future door to door soymilk salesman. This tag is to allow me to share 5 favorite quotes with you. There is a list here and I chose five from this list.
"Determine never to be idle...It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing."
Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826)
"Working in the me a profound feeling of inner peace."
Ruth Stout
"Frugality without creativity is deprivation."
Amy Dacyczyn
Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.
Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900), The Critic as Artist
and at last...
this one seems appropriate for my blogger land friends.
"I have you and even if we never meet or ever see each other, we have left our thumbprints in the thick, moist clay of each other's lives."
Hugh Elliott, Standing Room Only weblog, May 6, 2003

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Brown for my birthday

Happy Birthday to me on Sunday.

My family is full of summer babies and Melissa's will be coming up on the 28th. Speaking of Melissa, the little blonde rascal has discovered boys, not that she didn't notice them before but she has noticed that she likes to talk to a few and a few like to talk to her too. Our cell phone minutes were maxed out last month, so we had to pay a few $ extra which we have never done before - we have alot of minutes and alot of free time ... she has done alot of talking! (not just to boys)

To celebrate I purchased a case of Rice Dream Chocolate Marble Ice Cream (16 oz containers). I asked Matt to make me a Hot Fudge Ice Cream Pie from the last recipe in Dreena's, Everyday Vegan Cookbook. We didn't have a pie pan as deep as I desired, but an 8" square glass dish worked well. You see this pictured above with 4 candles representing the 4 birthdays we have to celebrate this month (me, Matt, Melissa, and my sister). We had a good time eating this pie together, but realized after having a sensible size peice we wanted MORE and justified eating the whole pie with the celebration excuse.

Matt enjoyed making this and he enjoyed eating it even more.

We staged this picture, but we still got a grand laugh out of it. Matt really enjoyed the pie. Matt really really enjoyed the pie. He alse really likes this wonderful soy free and vegan ice cream. I was surprised by how rich and creamy it is.

We are in the final days of summer. Matthew will be leaving Tuesday to start his computer technology and networking classes in a city 1 1/2 drive from us. He will stay with his grandpa during the week and come home Friday after class and then go back on Monday. His classes take place at a cooperative high school (not comprehensive) with his post secondary enrollment (an option legal here). He is actually considered a high school senior and will still be homeschooled chemistry, literature, as well as take guitar lessons and have a membership at the ymca (just a block away from his school). Planning his stay away from home is and will be a big adjustment for all of us.

Gifts in our family are often service oriented or we enjoy shopping together. At Christmas we shop together severasl times and we all budget a certain $$ amount per person, we purchase what we want but do not get it until the celebratory day. Birthdays are the same but with a smaller $$ amount. For me I usually like service gifts, esp the ice cream pie kind or the cherry almond muffins from VwaV that Melissa intends to make for me for Sunday breakfast.

Since sewing the shirt for TX121 I have caught a bug. The bug causes me to want to make more. I sewed a brown corduroy jumper (overall style) and am planning on making a matching purse to go with it for my birthday. I hung up the dress in our living room for Dave to see this afternoon thanking him for the lovely present. He loves it when I do things like this, it lets him off easy. I have lost sleep over this project simply because I am enjoying it so much. :)

The label on the inside of the jumper facing says "crafted with love". I found that cute little label at a sewing store last night when we also went out for supper at Saigon Cafe. I ordered a homestyle gluten. Loved it, it was served over thin noodles and had a good amount of veggies in it... so good. I also picked out a cute necklace and earrings to go with my newly created outfit.

Like I told you, brown for my birthday... hot fudge ice cream pie, long brown overall style jumper with a matching purse coming soon, jewelery with brown stones, and cherry almond muffins (brown enough).

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A road tripping picnic

We road tripped yesterday. Isn't driving Iowa interstate beautiful. Several years ago I drove my sister to Amarillo Texas... rolling tumbleweed is a good way to describe what I saw. That and the radio station we listened to had an advertisement for the city bus every five minutes. I remember it vividly because my cousin and I drove her 16 hours there, stayed 10 hours and drove 16 hours back.

Back to the road trip. At the beginning of summer I had visions of weekend hiking trails and Sunday after church picnics dancing through my head, so one day when I happened to be strolling through a kitchen store at a shopping mall a clearanced picnicing backpack called out my name. It was regularly $42.95 and I got it 80 % off. Isn't it great how I save money. Unfortunately, Dave always just spends it.

Great picnicing backpack, eh?! I searched cookbooks several hours trying to find the perfect picnicing meal to take with us. I wanted it to be special. My virgin backback was out and about for the first time... it had to be special.

The winning recipes came from Dreena Burtons, The Everyday Vegan. I made the Lentil Veggie Wraps (p. 101) and the Cool Cucumber Toss (p. 94). These were great picks and I enjoyed both of them very much, so much that I am going to have them again today when the kids and I go out and about some birthday and back to school shopping. I couldn't seem to get enough of the cool cuke toss... the fresh picked basil from my garden took it over the top.

In packing the bag I froze our drinks in plastic bottles the night before (lid slightly loose, tightened upon packing). I packed veggies in a separate baggie, lentil spread in a lidded container, chutney in a small serving cup. Dave had potato chips on the side and his favorite sweet coated peanuts. When it was time to eat we found a good shady place to sit. I put the cool cuke salad in an old soy yogurt carton, but also wrapped itin saran wrap to protect from potential leaks.

Here's my lentil veggie wrap. I used nappa cabbage, red pepper slices, carrot shreds and black olives sliced.

Later for a snack we purchased a slice of apple pietza. This road trip was made to the Iowa State Fair by the way. While I was there I of course looked at every new kitchen gadget I could find. My favorite find was a pressure cooker. There were several sizes and they were all "precious" .... in the Lord of the Rings kind of meaning. I could probably give you the sales demo, because I watched it three times before Dave convinced me that I was being hypnotized and would soon be pulling out the plastic if I didn't come with him right that moment.Isn't apple pietza beautiful. The apples were shredded into very thin ribbons and it was topped with almonds. Of course the veg stand we bought it from that was also selling veg corn dogs and deep fried veggies wanted to ruin it with a caramel sauce, I would have none of that.

We had a wonderful day AND we only got suckered $22 on two awesome bottles of cleaner / wax. Once bottle is enough to wax a car 6 times, a three year supply, but it also can clean the bottems of your stainless steel kitchen pans, sink, aluminum, etc, etc. I passed up the amazing mops and squeegie rags, but the pampered chef booth sure was pretty. Dave, usually such a sweetie, kept wanting to take up my limited fair time with drill bits, and saws and bendable ladders ... he was even drooling on the sun room display, but I wiped his chin and quickly found a kitchen utensil booth while he regained his composure.

We both agreed that the best stop we made was at the cell phone booth. It was time to renew our contract so we did a little shopping to compare plans. Our current plan provider shot us the best family plan deal (four phones for the price of one), unlimited talking to family members or each other, the ability to check e-mail via our phone as well as take pictures and send them to each others phones. He shot us a heck of a deal and that could have only happened only at the fair. Someday I will figure out how to take a picture via my phone and upload it to my blog, the sales guy told me it was possible. He was is also an ISU student who checks his e-bay accounts during class and his girlfriend bought some software for her phone and got the college fight song via mp3 download to be her ringer. I love technology.

And before I finish, Happy 18th Birthday to Matt who is officially 18 at 3:16 pm this afternoon.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Matt's Taekwondo Demonstration

I finally figured out how to post a movie. I recorded Matthew's taekwondo nunckuk form on my camera shortly after I got it and could not do anything with it until now.

Here he is in action....
protector of stolen cookbooks, banana screams, and
many more amazing feats his mother has not yet told you about.
Click on the film strip picture or link below to watch.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


My baby is home! She's back after a two week stay away (the last two of the total five weeks throughout this summer). She has been a junior staffer at a summer camp. I was so excited that I wanted to make her homecoming special so I baked a cake. This is totally out of my ordinary. I have done so much baking as a part of my business and I don't care to have to much for sugary white flour treats around the house, BUT this is a special occasion and I have wanted to make it since first seeing it on Bryanna's website ... this would have been shortly after she began Vegan Feast.

I did make my own special touches to it.... for example mine is sugar free and completely sweetened with KAL brand stevia extract (see link on my sidebar). I use the following sweetening substitution: a scant 1 tsp KAL stavia extract powder = 1 Cup white granulated sugar sweetening power. I also used 1 cup whole wheat organic pastry flour and 1 cup all purpose organic wheat flour plus 2 Tbsp oat flour. The cakes didn't rise as well, but well enough and it was still a beautiful presentation as well as tastey. I love, love, love this frosting.

(link to Bryanna's Recipe)

Dave finished the addition to the garage this evening. It has two doors, one for the riding mower and one for the push mower.

He also built a bird house and has desired to make a welcome sign in our front yard for a very long time. He got the idea of placing a bird feeder on a pole at that sign which is to be placed in our front yard flower box. Well, he completed a bird house that looks like our house, shingled and all. When I first saw this, even if it is cute, I felt like we crossed a line somewhere... a now we are "one of them" kind of line. I don't know who them is, but a bird house that looks like a mini version of our home?! He wants me to paint what looks like our shutters on his mini house, I will even though I feel the idea is, umm - maybe dorky is the word I want to use ... it makes me think of pink flamingoes I don't know why but it does.

I harvested some chard for supper. I pulled the thick celery like stalk off the green leaves and chopped them like celery. I sauteed them with garlic and then added the shredded leaves, salted, added apple cider vinegar, and a little soy sauce. That is all that is in this pan... the chard stalks are red and add a nice color to this dish.

I also made VwaV green curry, which uses a tomatoes and chickpeas. I used chard in this dish to sub for the spinach and it worked very well.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Dori can sew.

I finished the shirt I mentioned last week. It is the final project of a class called TX 121, designed for FCS teaching certification seekers who need basic sewing skills to teach in secondary education classrooms.

See Dori sew.

Here is the olive green cotton camp shirt, style B with interfaced collar, cuffs complete with pleats and button hole closure, and my machine can sew button holes :D. You can see that the sewing details include matching thread color and really neat wooden buttons. It is adorned with two simple branches of rosemary in picture one just because they happened to be laying on the table when I wanted to take this picture.

Sew Dori sew.

Will I ever wear this... It is to big and has some crooked sewing, but maybe I will. I really like the color and the buttons. Perhaps it will go well as a light jacket over a turtleneck and skirt this fall.

My next plan is to make a skirt that uses a 2 hour "easy" pattern and no where near the skill that this one did. The skirt will probably be the one I would wear with this :).

Dori can cook to, but you'll have to wait for the next blog entry to see that.