Monday, June 24, 2013

Backyard Treasures

We have lived in our house for nine years (which is crazy to me), and we have had this ugly prickly tree in the backyard that assaults any being who gets too close.  Decomposed berries hang off the tree and scatter all over the ground; we have had many years of trying to keep the animals away from them.  

Our friends were over last summer and they took a picture of the tree with its leaves and berries.  After consulting with some gardening experts, they reported back that the tree is a sour cherry tree.  That's pretty awesome, but what do you do with sour cherries?  I made a batch of just-OK scones last year and called it a day.

Good thing this prickly beast provides some tasty cherries.
The eldest Picky has been watching the tree with baited breath and yesterday she announced it was finally ready!  Sure enough, the little hanging fruit had turned bright red overnight.  So as the Pickies got ready for the day (ie: started the fighting before 8:00 a.m.), I harvested some of the cherries.

Surprisingly, I was inspired to bake yesterday afternoon and I put Little Miss Picky to work.  In-between Kelly Clarkson tunes, while I got the batter ready, I taught her how to prep the cherries-she removed the stems, rinsed them and pitted each one.  I was glad to have her so helpful and willing.  (Because let's face it-you never know what you will get with an almost nine-year old girl).

And the muffins were a pretty awesome mix of sweet and sour.  Kind of like my Pickies.

Cherry Almond Muffins

1 cup unsweetened vanilla coconut milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup sugar (plus more for sprinkling)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup favorite vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

2 cups sliced sour cherries

Preheat oven to 375 degree.  Grease your favorite muffin pan-you know, the one that doesn't have all the crispsies from the last baking adventure.  In a small bowl, add the apple cider vinegar to the coconut milk and set aside (this my non-vegan friends, is how you make butter"milk").  

In a large mixing bowl, stir together all the dry ingredients.  Add the oil and extract to your milk and gently pour it into the flour mixture.  Mix together until the batter is moistened...don't over-mix!  Fold the cherries gently into the batter.

Fill each muffin cup about 2/3 of the way.  Sprinkle with sugar on top.  Bake for 25 minutes.  
Try not to eat them all.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Little Beings of Fur, Whimsy and CHOMP CHOMP

So my Pickies are err...picky and wonderful and exhausting, but the little furry beings that take up my heart are another story.

Hubby and I LOVE animals (duh) and when we were dating back in the day, we went to California and came home with a Boston Terrier pup.  We were such responsible adults; we not only brought her home on the airplane cross country, but we lived in an apartment with a pretty strict "no pet" clause.  Kali was sweet but she had a mean bite ("CHOMP, CHOMP!") and she did eat my first ever pair of expensive Steve Madden boots.  But we loved her anyway.

We continued our quest of responsibility when we rescued Pugsley (surprise-a pug!) from a puppy mill.  She came home the size of my palm and I loved her with every ounce of my being.  Of course she came to that "no pet" apartment where she and Kali became best buddies.  OK, not really, but they loved and tolerated one another amongst chewed-up carpet (hey, it wasn't ours!) and puppy pee pads.

Nine years went by with no issue; we moved, we had kids, the little beings carved out their places on couch cushions and in the laundry room.  Pugsley lost one of her eyes in a freak gasoline fight (shout-out to "Zoolander")-no, not really, but she had an accident and had to have it removed.  And for the next two years, she was the sweetest, kindest, most patient dog on the planet.  

A year later, we rescued Winnie the Pug and she brought an interesting energy to the house.  See, we knew that the girls were getting older and we were afraid that if one of them passed, the other would be miserable.  So Winnie, at seven months old, brought the playful side out of Pugsley and the persnickety side of Kali.

Pugsley passed away this past October and we buried her in the backyard and sang "Let it Be".  

Two months later in pure "The Notebook" fashion, we lost Kali as well.  We spread her ashes in the same area as Pugs, and we sang "Let it Be" again.  Sidenote:  My kids now get sad when they hear this song.  Lesson?  Don't use perfectly beautiful songs for animal funerals if you want to keep liking them.

We spent this winter with one dog-the first time in over ten years.  And we eagerly anticipated getting Winnie another little furry being to play, romp and create mischief.

And there is our Ruby.  She is 2 1/2 months old and she is teething something awful.  Pity the animal, human or article of clothing that comes towards her mouth because CHOMP, CHOMP, she gets it.  Hoping this is a quick phase.

It is extraordinary how these little beings conquer our hearts and how much the grief physically hurts when they are gone.  Not only for us adults, but the Pickies talk a lot about them, too.  I'm so glad that they are able to experience the love and compassion of animal companionship-even if it means I'm mad at the pup for biting my favorite dress (or two!).

We will always have these little beings and their stories in our hearts.  What are YOUR animal stories?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hopefully Summer Can Get Past Bodily Functions

Summer vacation is here and this was a text from yesterday:

(me): "He hasn't puked in over 24 hours and boom-continually every 20 minutes for the next few hours"
(response): "That's awful!
(me): "Yes.  Especially since I got toilet water in my eye during one of the sessions.  It's OK to laugh."

That about sums it up. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have started summer vacation with the stomach flu. Besides the random vomiting at the most inopportune times, jumping into action every time someone coughs, and making the littlest Picky carry a bucket everywhere he goes, it's been OK. I've worked on laundry, planted a garden, read and even got in a couple workouts.
Hello Veggies.
But now what? As I wait to see who will be the next to drop, we need to have some fun. Not too much fun, the kind of fun that requires a bit of resting as to not aggravate the ex-sicky Picky. 

 I would like it to NOT include:
  • Vomiting (duh)
  • The Wiggles "Hot Poppin' Popcorn dvd or music
  • Slug-Bug or Jeeper assaults
  • Dog pee from the new puppy (who is very cute-but she bites and pees in the house.)
    I'm cute but my teeth are sharp!
I'm hoping I can stick with blogging this summer's adventures. I'll let you know what the Pickies decide they want to do to pass the beautiful, warm days.

The biggest picky just stepped in pee. 
And as the littlest picky would say, "That's what you get!"

Monday, October 8, 2012

Meal Planing Monday 10/7-10/12

My family ran a race last Sunday morning, and while my hubby made awesome time, my meal-planning for the week didn't fare as well.  I use Sunday mornings to plan our menus and then go grocery shopping while he takes the Pickies to the gym.  That didn't happen last week and our entire week felt the pinch:  lots of take-out, not-so-healthy meals. 

My handsome running hubby  is a rock star!
My parents are coming this week-YAY!-so Thursday and Friday are up in the air.  

Smoothies and oatmeal
Red pepper and white bean soup, salad
Pumpkin and white bean lasagna, salad, bread

Smoothies and pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins (NEED baking powder!)
Leftover lasagna and salad
Black bean and sweet potato enchiladas, green beans, fruit

Smoothies and cereal
Chickpea salad sandwiches, fruit and salad
Hot and sour soup, edamame, rice, salad with miso-ginger dressing

Smoothies and cereal
Out for lunch!
Tortilla soup and taco salad

Smoothies and coffee cake
Leftover soup and salad
Out (Birthday dinner?!?)

I forgot to mention that I have been loving my crockpot and the cookbook Vegan Slow Cooker.  Not only are the recipes delicious and pretty healthy, but some of them can cook on high for 3-4 hours, which is awesome when the littlest Picky is resting and I'm thinking about dinner in the afternoon.

Next week's plan should be fun because my mom is gluten-free, and that's always fun with a vegan menu, haha.  :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Meal-Planning Monday IS BACK--9/24-9/28

And...I'm back.

So it turns out that when you do the school PTA newsletter, you don't blog.  And when you blog, you don't knit.  And when you knit, you don't read.  And when you read, you don't snuggle on the couch with your handsome hubby.  I guess it's about finding balance, right?  Anyway, I can't even begin to tell you the number of people who have asked about my blog these last couple weeks, and more importantly, they want to know what we are eating (which I find funny).

Let me tell you a little secret:  We have been eating out WAY too much, spending WAY too much, and eating WAY too much.  So now that I feel like we have established a good routine, I have been meal-planning.  As always, if you want a recipe, I'll be happy to share.  :)

Shakes and cereal
Salad and tomato-macaroni soup
Chickpea piccata, cauliflower mashed potatoes and green beans

Salad with quinoa and tempeh
Miso soup, stir-fry, rice and salad

Shakes and cereal

Shakes and baked donuts
Chocolate-orange pancakes, scrambled tofu, roasted veggies

Shakes and cereal
Leftover tofu and quinoa
Homemade calzones, green beans and salad

And I am sure I will make these every night.  What are you eating this week?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Beans for Breakfast? Who is this Crazy Woman?

I can't possibly be the only one.

Everyone else eats beans for breakfast, right?

OK.  I am fully aware that I may get the "weird award" for my breakfast preferences, but if you haven't tried eating them in the morning, you are missing out.

When hubby and I went vegan, I did my fair share of baking vegan donuts, pop-tarts and coffee cakes.  I have never been a huge breakfast eater, so most of the time I would skip it.  Or I would eat half a Larabar or an apple and a handful of raw almonds to give me the energy I needed for my morning workouts (I still do that sometimes).  I was never a huge egg person (blech), but I definitely missed the savory options in the morning.

And then my southern friend introduced me to garlic-y, salty, creamy grits.  And I was sold.  I started making them every so often with tofu and then one day I had leftover black beans.  They were delicious, although the grits were a bit heavy and the protein in the beans left me satisfied through my usual "snacky" times.

When hubby and I went to Costa Rica, we had this incredible buffet at the hotel.  Obviously we didn't partake in the majority of the offerings, but they had these awesome potatoes and gallo pinto (black beans and rice).  We would eat it with fresh salsa and guacamole...seriously it was probably one of the best things we have ever eaten.  The great thing about this was that we would eat around 6:00am, go surfing, ziplining or work (apparently we had to work in paradise), and I had very little desire to snack until lunch time.  I wasn't stuffed, just comfortably satisfied.
Our unbelievable Costa Rican breakfasts...
So now, I try to eat beans for breakfast...whatever is leftover works for me.  My friend's mom made us her Arabic mjadra (lentils and rice) and I ate that for four days straight.  Yesterday I ate leftover chickpea piccata.  Since I have been doing this, I haven't wanted to eat everything not glued down.

So as Yo Gabba Gabba says, 
"Try it.  You'll like it."

What do you eat for breakfast?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Mama's Making Some Meals 3/13-3/16

Another Monday, another mildly crazy week.  
Only this one starts off with a home-bound mama with a sicky Picky.  

I ran away to the grocery store yesterday afternoon after planning a few meals off Pinterest and I am hoping everyone likes them around the house.  I'm only planning dinners because we mainly rely on sandwiches, burritos and leftovers for lunch.

Vegan pizza soup, salad and sesame soy green beans
This is most definitely not my picture
(I "borrowed" it from the link)...but it looks yummy!

Chili, cornbread and broccoli

Crock-pot baked potatoes with leftover chili, salad

Homemade pizza, roasted veggies

What are you making this week?