Friday, August 08, 2014


The only purpose of this post on my MFP blog is for life balance and celebration.... for everything there is a season. Getting these pictures up here is a real job.  But I got it.  I do enjoy making cakes with family and we had fin this year.

Made for my sisters birthday, 2014.  It is vegan vanilla all-purpose cake using brown sugar (recipe dreena burton), raspberry preserves between layers, white marshmallow fondant, with cream cheese flavored buter cream as "the glue" under the fondant and crumb coating.  To give size perspective, the cake pans were 6 inches and four cakes were used.  Overall height was about 6 inches after leveling everything.  I had fun.... time consuming, but fun!!

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My son's 25th birthday hobbit house... this is actually from 2013.  He used a basic white and chocolate cake recipe (no boxed!), the cake and cupcakes are half and half.  Basic vanilla butter cream icing which we colored every possible way, the hobbit house it a rice krispie and the mini houses on the cupcakes are cake trufles, the ring and cute garden items are marshmallow fondant.
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My daughters 23rd birthday DR WHO cake.  She really did the majority of this.  I only helped with the recipes and occassional problem solving.  She has my skills but more patience!!  I love her to the moon and back especially through the life learning experiences.   photo b962ed83-297b-4279-9508-2476af34b6fb_zpseafd778d.jpg

Saturday, June 02, 2012

a new chapter in a new location

So much time has passed since I took a job outside of the small town where we raised our children and now three years later live three hours south of there in the country.  We went from a small town acre to a country acreage including timber land and a crooked creek that runs through it.   Some days I think to myself,"What were were thinking? (within an exasperated internal sigh)", while other days I verbalize it out loud wondering if we were half crazy.

Through an unexpected situation with work, Dave and my workplaces were located in a way that we had to maintain dual residency for three years, agonizing! Fortunately we are now on the other side of this and now (for the past two months) both live in one place 100%  of the time.  I no longer think the "are we crazy" part, but now look forward to blogging again about our newest adventures.  This one will include our "baby", Ricky, faithfully waking us at 6am so he can run outside to chase the squirrel up the tree.  The ones where I share about our gardening and current mom and pop business endeavor.... the one that will take several years to build.... again.  The one that will require research each step of the way.  The one that will require hard on the back labor and need to be watched over ........ did I say that I no longer wonder about crazy, I digress.  :-)  -not really.

Today's blog entry will also STILL be about family life cycles.  I found this great educationally informing website about this topic to share with you:

This blogspot focuses mainly on marketing research and sheds insight into purchasing decisions of the family.... nice info if you are looking at selling something and needing to figure out who to target .... exactly the kind of info helpful while future business planning.

Info below is copied and pasted from the website....
Family Life Cycle concept consists of
- income, family composition, changing demands on income -
These are the different possible Titles:
1.Bachelor - This is someone who is young, single, not living at home
2.Newly married - They are Young and with no children
3.Full Nest I - Have their youngest child at under 6 years
4.Full Nest II - Have their youngest child at 6 years or over
5.Full Nest III - Tend to be Older married with dependent children
6.Empty Nest I - Are older married, have no children and living at home 
7.Empty Nest II - Older married, retired, no children living at home 
8.Solitary Survivor I In labour force
9.Solitary Survivor II Retired

I am in the #6 Empty Nest 1 stage of life.  I see that I never had a stage 1 in adulthood, because I went from parents home to married #2 and full nest #3 within a year.  So "here we are" on the road map of family life........... I love family life, it's what I chose at a young age, it's what I studied in college and it's apart of what I teach professionally within my job, and now I realize it is what I have been blogging about for years and now will open a new chapter and start a fresh.

P.s. I made the doll pictured above using a pattern from the book: 

Doll Fashionistas: Sewing Stylish Dolls and Their Wardrobes [Book] by Ellen Lumpkin Brown in Books

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Yaki Soba & Wonton "Muffins"

I got my EAT TO LIVE book by Dr. Furhman in via UPS yesterday. I have finished reading up through Chapter two. He does alot of explaining about fiber, photochemical, and the importance of nutrient dense food. Everything he says agrees with my personal nutritional interests and background. His explanation about slow metabolism's and low calorie diets is interesting and new information to me. His food pyramid would definitely have fruit and veggie's portion to the widest with grains following behind, as I age and see myself getting a little less active (although I still exercise purposefully three - four times a week) this all makes sense to me.

I started my healthy foods eating experience with a book sale book titled The Save Your Life High Fiber Diet by Dr. David Reuben (c) 1976. I was interested in this book because I just started experiencing some health problems in my early 20's.... alot of hormonal issues. Shortly after reading this book a trip to the library lead me to Dr. John Mc Dougal's very first book .... one written before he had a bunch of cookbooks and prepared prepackaged foods for sale. Then an Internet search lead me to Bryanna Clark- Grogan's very first cookbook, The Almost No Fat Cookbook which I loved before I even understood the word vegan. I bought a coffee cup at this same time to commemorate my decision, it has the very same picture by Mary Engelbreit that I show below. I've been a vegan foodie ever since then. Then larger changes occurred: giving up my social work career and becoming a home schooling SAHM, selling our home and purchasing an acreage, buying another building an opening up our bakery, then the list goes on and on ...... life has changed so much from that decision. I haven't looked back and have the same mind set again after selling our business while I go to full-time teaching (family consumer science / health). Perhaps while reading this eat to live book I will have another paradigm, but so far nothing is new to me that I have read - I will continue.

Meanwhile..... In the Kitchen

While in to the greens mode, Brussels sprouts are one of my favorites. This is an old, but goody post that I decided to bring up from the April 2006 archives. Enjoy!

YAKI SOBA (buckwheat pasta)
I have made buckwheat noodles before using my hand crank pasta maker, but didn't have time to do this for this meal. I found a yaki soba recipe that I wanted to try and I needed it quick because we would be out for most of the day and be very hungry by the time we arrive home. I was happy to find 100% buckwheat flour noodles at an oriental market last week, $2.79 (not organic) for 10 servings and each serving is bunched with a paper holder so that it is easy to boil up just as much as is needed. Eden has an organic 100% buckwheat soba, but I couldn't get this ordered in time and I think it costs $3.79 for a 12 oz serving. Buckwheat is a grain that my son is not allergic to at all and can eat without problem, but I know his system is sensitive and a problem could develop if we overdo. Plus for non allergy conscious eaters, buckwheat soba is a good way to incorporate variety in the diet (a good thing to do).

I made my seasoned cabbage and carrot/ onion and chik'n chunks ahead of time in the microwave the night before I planned on having this for supper. It turns out that I was the only one eating this supper because everyone else had something going on (of course the leftovers will be served another night - usually the weekend). This is a basic dish easily eaten with chop sticks.

My favorite part of this meal is the wonton "muffins". I baked them in my toaster oven in a mini muffin pan. The filling is unique and made from brussel sprouts (original idea from a Vegan Feast newsletter in which artichoke hearts were used).


The idea for these "muffins" came from browsing some online recipe archives, not vegan but great food ideas that could be make to my preference. I will be making my wontons in this way in the future, possibly buying another mini muffin pan.

In addition to the wonton wrappers I used this same filling for stuffed mushrooms at my Easter meal. Yumm! The mushrooms were baked at 375 degrees for 15 - 18 minutes. I enjoyed these best 15 minutes or more after coming out of the oven. I am impatient and like to grab things straight out of the oven... Burned mouths are not fun! FOR NON-BAKERS... I think these mushrooms could be cooked in a covered pan and turn out well also. Cook until the mushroom is at an enjoyable quality and the filling warm.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Sugar Withdrawal

I ordered the book Eat To Live by Dr. Joel Furhman. I have been re-reading posts from last year and decided it is time that I take a serious look at healthy food and living. Of course when it comes to holiday time again (once a month or bi-monthly) I will do something that makes life a treat, but I am really wanting to make a change and lose a little flour. Geish! I can't believe I said that, I was a whole grain organic baker for a living for 5 years before going into teaching (health and life skills/ occupational family and consumer science) and a cooking mom before that.... freshly milled whole grain flour IS HEALTHY right! Yes, I cannot deny, but I think I need a little break from wheat and easy going more with the whole grain. Now I will not give up all that I enjoy, just not make it daily or even every week habits.

I don't have my book in yet, Thursday is the big day according to amazon. I will also get my circular knitting needle on this day so I can knit two socks at the same time. I am looking forward to this, but I know it will be a slow process!

Here's a food report:

I have been taking meal ideas from both Bryanna Clark-Grogan and Dreena Burton cookbooks for meals. I know there are some new cookbooks out, but I just need to stick in my personal comfort zone for awhile.

BRYANNA's Sharp Chedda' Cheez

Bryanna has some nice cheez recipes in the previous Vegan Feast newsletters. I was impressed with their goodness when the original recipes calling for Emes vegan gelatin came out, then we went through the fall of the company and the wonderful cheez recipe needed a new ingredient that would give it the perfect texture. IRISH MOSS powder was one suggestion and it is what I have available, as stinky as it is. I had to order a pound of the green powder and was asked by other coop members how I intended to use it. When I told them it was for vegan cheez making, I think they thought I was losing my mind and when I first made the cheez using it I wondered whether it was a mistake also. As you can see in the picture below it is green inside the glass measure..... it also smells pretty fishy. But once all is added and cooked the way the recipe says, the green goes away and it doesn't smell or taste the way the Irish moss powder does.

Here is the cheez topping the Mexican Lasagna in Dreena Burton's latest book Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan. You can see the chedda and the frozen block of cheez in the background. It even browns beautifully, however Dreena's recipe says to cover for the main baking process and then uncover for the last few minutes, I left the casseroles uncovered the entire baking time. Here's "close-up", it appears to me that the peice I ate is a little blurry. It was delish though and I, for the first time in my entire life, ate avocado.
Next up is the enchilada casserole that I tried from Dreena's Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan Cookbook. I had it for supper and then again for lunch and the last of it will be for lunch today. I like it and again a new avacado experience. The bad thing about avacado is the $1.84 price for one.

Lasy quick picture is of a lunch salad and homemade croutons using the innards of the red pepper sage bread that I made for the muffaletta awhile back. Hope your lunches are healthy and nutritious.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas and Soup Mix

VEGAN BISCOTTI (plain anise flavored) with awesome dark chocolate brushed on top and sprinkled with ground up english walnuts. My base recipe came from Bryanna Clark Grogan's Nonna's Italian Kitchen Cookbook, Only I made mine a plain anise flavored variation.
Here's a free recipe that I found though:
Fat Free Vegan's Cinnamon Biscotti Recipe

Now that I have your attention with my tantilizing favorite holiday treat -

Merry Christmas!

I've been trying to post for a couple of days, but I guess NOW is my lucky moment to accomplish the task. After the ice storms came a wonderful Christmas day with highs in the 50's, and sunshine. It was awesome. We had a great Christmas day brunch before opening presents, which we already knew all that there was because we shop together and get what we want .... we just don't get it until after the Bible reading by DH followed by the brunch. Without further ado, I'm going right to the food pictures. Here is my first round Christmas day. The pizza is BREAKFAST PIZZA by Bryanna Clark Grogan Oct/Nov/Dec Vegan Feast Newsletter. Every holiday season since I started subscribing we have had a new awesome main course brunch dish to feast upon. I have been subscribing since the beginning and will not stop. The ideas and personal connection is worth every penny. Bryanna is a kitchen goddess, NO... wait! I take that back, because of Bryanna I AM A kitchen goddess! :) I served the pizza with a sliced pear and a soymilk (made in my soyajoy) cappuchino.

Next trip to the kitchen allowed me to get some of this TENDER BANANA BREAD from Bryanna Clark Grogan's cookbook, FIBER FOR LIFE. I love this because the fat is replaced with a silken tofu mixture which is also great protein and it is made 100% whole wheat pastry flour, yet is still wonderfully tender. The cookbook offers the option to use dates in this, but I use vegan chocolate chips which my family adores, I like that if I am going to add a little fat it comes from chocolate. Mmmm-my kinda fat.
More cheers for Bryanna and the VEGAN FEAST Newsletter again. Here is a picture of her seitan "salami/ pepperoni", I did the pepperoni version. My meat eating sister ate 10 slices of this with crackers and said, I love this stuff! I wasn't a big fan of the seitan o'greatness awhile back due to the fact it was so dry, but this salami / pepperoni is not. The crackers you see on this plate are actually pretzel flats with an everything seasoning, new find at the grocery store and they are not to bad. Back to the seitan, every issue of the newsletter usually has one new way with seitan that I get the pleasure of trying.
I need to back track just a bit. Here is my counter setup for the breakfast pizza. The crust dough, vegan "sausage" crumbles (Bryanna's kielbasa seitan recipe from my freezer that I crumbled up), the tofu frittata mix in the food processor, red peppers, shredded sweet potato, and shreds of Bryanna's sharp chedda' cheez. The crust is interesting, it is like a thick batter that can sit in the frig for up to two weeks until you are ready to use it. The recipe calls for enough to make two pizza crusts. I am going to try a mushroom onion style pizza with the other half, I found a recipe for this that I really want to veganize in a weight watchers magazine.
Okay, I am sure that you are probably thinking Bryanna again? .... yes, I say again. There are so many recipes I still have to try from all of her cookbooks and other vegan feast newsletters that I could sing her praises for a long time. This is my version of CHRISTMAS STOLLEN, the dough has no fat but is not dry. I used the sweet bread dough from her Al-most No Fat Holiday Cookbook. To make it stollen I added cardamom, coriander, orange peel, pecans, english walnuts, rum soaked raisins, cranberries, chopped dates and dried prunes. More backtracking. Here is the seitan salami after it finished cooking in my clay pot, it is wrapped with cheesecloth. It cookes in a small amount of very flavorful broth, which does not get completely soaked up as you can see a small amount is left over.

Last idea to share. I like to make a batch of a recipe I found many years ago called Be Prepared Soup Mix, I call it Five Bean Soup Mix. When I want to make some I take 1 1/2 cups of the beans, 1/4 cup of the seasoning mix and a can of diced tomates. Sometimes I make it in the crockpot, somtimes on the stove top, but all the time when I make it do I enjoy it.
1 1/2 cup pinto beans
1 1/2 cup white benas
1 cup kidney beans
1 cup baby lima beans
1 cup chickpeas
1/2 cup dried minced onion
1 Tbsp paprika
2 tsp salt
1 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp garnulated garlic
1 Tbsp Frontier chicken flavor bouillon powder
3 Tbsp Frontier beef flavor bouillon powder
1 Tbsp parsley
1/4 cup vegan bac'un bits
1/4 cup dried Frontier mixed vegetable soup flakes
Combine the beans and place in a large jar with enough room to add the baggie of spice mix.
1 "batch" = 6 generous servings of soup
To make a batch soak 1 1/2 cup of beans overnight, drain and place them in a 3 quart saucepan (or crockpot). Add 5 cups of water and 1/4 cup seasoning mix, you can add the tomatoes now or at the end of simmering time. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer 2 - 2 1/2 hours until beans are tender or crockpot cook them on low all day.
Per serving: 187 calories, 12 g protein, >1 gram fat, 465 mg sod, 33 g complex carbs, and 9 grams fiber.
Individual batches can also be prepared separately, add a nice label with instructions, and give as a gift.