Friday, February 25, 2011

I'm still here

Have you seen Joaquin Phoenix in I'm Still Here? Wow! Throughout the entire film, my jaw was on the floor. Really.

I had a quick outpatient surgery on Wednesday and am finally feeling better. It's only been a day and a half, but it feels like forever and ever. The Dad has been great! He has been working from home so he can get the kids to and from school while I sleep. He has also been cooking dinner. Well, except for last night because I honestly missed being able to cook. I think it was a little too much a little too soon, but all is well. It's a good thing he had all that practice while I was in Massachusetts or he would be at a loss with the routine.

Meal catch up. We left off with the Spaghetti Tacos.

Monday was Sloppy Joes from the box and salad. Fantastic Foods brand. The kids LOVE them!! I had spent the day making soup so The Dad and I had that instead. A lentil and Auntie Knitter's Tuscan. Both were amazing.

Mmmmm lentils.

Kid 3 wanted to showcase the interior of the sandwich. 

Kid 4 about to take a ginormous bite.

Kid 2 almost done, he didn't even wait for everyone to sit down. It's a rule around here ;)

Kid 1 really loves a sloppy joe. We never made them as omnis and I'm glad as who knows how they would compare.

Auntie Knitter's Tuscan soup. I added about 1/4 C of tiny wagon wheel pasta for a little extra umph. 

Tuesday's meal was kind of a smorgasbord. I had a real craving for nachos. We always have a huge bag of tortilla chips on hand (organic at Costco for under $4/bag can't beat it!) and I luckily had some Teese in nacho cheese flavor. I dolloped on the Teese, some black olives, and some Boca crumbles on the tortillas.  Baked it all for about 20 or minutes and voila! All the kids really liked these, as well. The Dad and Kid 1 each had a veggie burger that was pretty darn tasty, just a little mushy.

I really should have made a salad, but I had a late doctor's appointment and really didn't have time. I was totally missing my greens, though. Greeny withdrawal. :(

Tofutti Sour Cream is sooooo amazing!! Perfect sub for Breakstone's, so thick and rich!! Yum!

Wednesday, I don't have any pictures, but The Dad made spaghetti and "meatballs". We tried the Trader Joe's meatless meatballs and everyone but Kid 4 seemed to enjoy them.

Last night was the night I missed my kitchen. Bad. And I really needed veggies. Lots of veggies. So, I tried a recipe from the Kripalu cookbook that Auntie Knitter gave me. Mashed Millet with Cauliflower. It was good. It reminded me of polenta. It needed a little something, though. Maybe I'll cook it in vegetable broth next time. I topped that with sauteed sliced baby bellas, pinto beans, and garlic. Kid 1 LOVED the bellas!! WOO HOO!! I also roasted some Brussels sprouts and parsnips. Kids 1, 2, & 4 really liked the millet. 

All for now. Back to our regular thumb postings and normal dinners shortly. ;)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Silly Spaghetti Tacos

Those of you with children may be familiar with the Nickelodeon show iCarly. I have only seen snippets of the show and seeing as how we don't have cable, I'm not really sure where my children saw it. That being said, my kids have been requesting Spaghetti Tacos for quite some time. Last night, I gave in.

The Dad made chili so he and I could have a taco 3 way (although we subbed the shredded cheese for vegan sour cream). I also heated up some Trader Joe's meatless meatballs, which were pretty good, for the kids tacos.

Kid 3 really hates sauce on her spaghetti so hers looks a little blah. The whole thing just looks a little weird anyway, though. 

That's mine. And, I must admit, it was really really good. I LOVED the crunch from the taco shell.

The Dad went for a deluxe version open faced on a tortilla. 

We forgot to get a photo of the thumbs, but I assure you, each and every one of us loved this meal. It was new, it was fun, and it was just plain silly. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Grilled Tofu & Veggies

Tonight, Nanny Noodle and Papa Pepper came for dinner. Auntie Knitter had given me a recipe card from Big Y that had a delightful sounding recipe on it. Grilled Tofu with Vegetables and Orzo. I didn't have enough Orzo, so I subbed 1/2 of it with some tiny wagon wheels.

I also made a Veggie Pizza. That recipe is one of my favorites and there is never any leftovers. I typically make it for parties and holidays but I really wanted it yesterday. It was so easy to veganize! The crescent dough isn't the healthiest option in the world, but it is vegan. I used Tofutti cream cheese and sour cream, neither Nanny Noodle nor Papa Pepper could tell.

Last but not least, a rather amazing salad of Romaine, kale, spinach, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumber, jicama, and garbanzos.

I forgot to tell you about the tofu! I purchased "Crispy Chicken Tofu" from the Whole Grain Asian market and it was amazing!!! I grilled everything on my George Foreman grill LOL. The tofu really crisped up quite nicely and the texture was PERFECT without any pressing!!! Most of the label was in Chinese so I can't really tell you about it, but I'll be purchasing more and I'll take a picture. 

All the adults gave a thumbs up where all the kids gave a halfsies. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

17 Bean & Barley Soup & Chicago Diner

When I was at Trader Joe's the other day, I picked up a bag of their 17 Bean & Barley Soup. 17 beans!!! How can you go wrong with a 17 bean variety??? Ummmm, you can't! I typically don't fully read the directions on anything, I am a self-professed scanner. That being said, I totally didn't read the recipe properly. I soaked the entire bag o' beans as opposed to the 2 cups the recipe called for. Oh well. I did, however, only use the recommended 2 cups. I added carrots, parsnips, celery, and garlic. I also tossed in a bunch of spices. It was soooo good! I'm probably going to make more today with the rest of the beans and freeze it for lunches. The Dad and I both really enjoyed this soup and it was so easy! I didn't even offer it to the kids as A: there were beans in it (lots and lots of beans) and they don't like beans so much. B: it was a soup and they don't like soup so much, either. They did have Gardein nuggets and broccoli. That, they really liked.

Mmm mmm! Look at that steam! It really was so good! 

For dessert, we had some num num nummy Cherry Chip Soy Ice Cream, also from TJs.

Last night, we went on a little field trip into the city. I had heard wonderfully amazing things about The Chicago Diner and wanted to give it a try. 

Both The Dad and I ordered the famous Reuben. I opted for sweet potato fries and he ordered the tomato bisque.  

The fries and the soup were amazing. The sandwich was amazing, as well. However, once I got to my second half, I was a little overwhelmed by the cheese. They use Daiya and after a while it had that gooey weird texture that freaks me out so. I ate about 3/4 of the sammy and all in all, it was really good. 

Kid 1 ordered a Whopping Deluxe Burger sans sauce. Kid 1 devoured that thing!!! And, ate the rest of my Reuben!! Kid 1 also had his first shake EVER as he's allergic to milk. Very exciting! 

Kid 2 ordered the nachos. Unfortunately, there was too much "stuff" for him to really enjoy it. I, on the other hand, thought they were AMAZING!!!!

Kid 3 went for a naked Garden Salad with a side of sweet potato fries. Yet another winner! She loved it, she did pick out the beets, though ;)

And, finally, Kid 4. Kid 4 ordered the mac & cheeze. Sadly, she was not impressed and only ate a wee bit. She did, however, suck down her chocolate shake.

Do you see that thing???? WOW!! Topped with whip and chocolate chips!! Yee Haw!!! All of the kids had that shake and man oh man was it amazing! 

I took a piece of the cocoa mousse cake home because I was stuffed. It, too, was yummy!!! I will be back, maybe for their brunch or the Country Fried "steak".

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Shhtir Fry and "Chikn" Scallopini

I've been quite the blog slacker lately, and for that, I apologize. Yesterday I cruised into Whole Grain Fresh Market in Westmont for the first time, WOW! What a great find! I really wish I could read Chinese, as I'm sure I would've left with a few more bags. Found some great noodles, produce, interesting tofus, sauces, crackers, and vege shreds (I really wish they came with instructions, I'm assuming you reconstitute like TVP). Soooo, what did we have for dinner last night? Shhhhtir fry, baby!!

I used rice noodles, straw mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, baby corn, asparagus, and snow peas. I also minced and browned some tempeh so nobody would know it was there, I believe it worked as I don't think The Dad knew. Sadly, I had forgotten all about the gorgeous bok choy I purchased at Whole Grain. I mildly flavored it with a Vegetarian Oyster Mushroom sauce. YUM! The Dad and I enjoyed it, while the kids, just so-so. Kid 3 really really didn't like it. Kids 1 & 2 ate it but weren't thrilled. Kid 4 was off on a playdate. 

In my travels yesterday, I also popped into my Whole Foods and picked up some Chik'n Scallopini. Without really reading the package, I kinda thought it was an all in one kind of thing. Nope. Just the Chik'n cutlets. They gave you "meal tips" on the back and I followed the first one that called for wine, CAPERS (hello!?!?! My favorite little burst of flavor!), and butter. I also added about 2 cups of fresh spinach to the pasta at the end of cooking. YUM YUM YUM YUM is all I can say! I used 2 cups of white wine, about 3 tablespoons of butter, 1.5 tablespoons of lemon juice, and more capers than you can shake a stick at. Really, this was amazing. Amazing! I've been very impressed with the Gardein products, really, I can barely tell that it isn't real meat. 

The Dad and myself loved it. I mean really really loved it. Kid 1 did not love it, but ate all of it and gave a thumbs up. Kid 2 was halfsies as he wasn't thrilled with the Gardein. Kid 3 LOVED the Gardein and tolerated the pasta. Kid 4 wanted nothing to do with any of it. 

Today, I shuffled over to Trader Joe's and found this great little product called, Oh! That's right! Dairy-free MOCHI!!! It's their own brand and IT'S. TO. DIE. FOR. Luckily for MamaMango and The Dad, the kids don't like them. Muuuaaahhhaaahahahahah!!! I had never even heard of Mochi before today and couldn't resist the fun looking product for only $2.99 for 6 (when it comes to desserts, 6 is the magic number). It came in 3 different flavors, Mango, Chocolate, and Coconut. SOOOO FUN!! I only wish the designs were as prominent in real life as they were on the packaging. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Home Again, Home Again Jiggety Jig

Oh I had such a wonderful time with my family and I miss them so. I suppose it's good to be back home, though. Everyone seemed thrilled to see me, which makes my heart swell a little ;)

Valentine's Day dinner was Herbed Orzo with Oven Glazed Tofu cut into little hearts. The orzo was, in my opinion, delicious!! The texture of the tofu was a little mushy, which made me sad, but the flavor was awesome! I'll definitely use that marinade again, but for pan fried tofu instead. The kids thought it was okay, didn't really dig the tofu, however. The Dad was a little grouchy, so I'm not sure how he felt about the meal LOL, he ate it all, though.

No thumbs as I ran out of the house quick in a hurry to get to knitting.

Do you notice a difference in the quality of my pictures? Auntie Athletic was kind enough to give me her old camera while I figure out what kind to get. There are a ton out there, you know.

I already feel like reminiscing, so here are a couple shots of Skiing Grampy's yard. Again, it is truly my favorite place to be. 

There were about 10 wild turkeys in the yard one morning, but they were too quick for me to get a proper picture. 

I did, in fact, go snowshoeing. Woo! What fun!!!

A shot of the viney forest.

The view from the front yard. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Bela Vegetarian NOHO

WOW! Knitter Auntie and I had the most amazing lunch this afternoon. We had planned to go to Northampton today, it's a great little town. Fun shops, talented local artists, and delicious food. I was in charge of picking the lunch spot and I found Bela Vegetarian via Happy Cow.

The restaurant was small and cute, maybe 8 or so tables, and a constant stream of customers. 1 adorable waitress and 1 amazingly talented chef. Knitter Auntie started with a side salad that was OUT OF THIS WORLD topped with a homemade Sunflower Parsley dressing. It was so good, I swear I could drink it.

I ordered the Tempeh with Collards, and a Sherry Curry Lo Mein. Knitter Auntie ordered the Cajun Beans & Rice.

Both dishes had such amazing flavor and I really wish I had the vocabulary of a food critic to properly express my excitement. Unfortunately, I don't and you'll just have to take my word that they were 2 of the best meals I've ever had.

I deliberately saved half of my lunch so I had room for dessert. Oh, yes! They also have dessert.

The first was Auntie's. A yummy yummy Baclava Walnut Tart made with agave!! She got the homemade whipped cream on the side. I opted for chocolate. Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache. Our lovely waitress also asked if I wanted the homemade whip, "Thank you, no." I replied. "We do have a vegan whip, it's just not homemade, if you'd like." she said. Ummm, YES!!!! Dessert was amazing. I want to set up a cot in the back and just move in. When I return to MA in the summer, I will be back with bells on and kids in tow. Thank you, Bela Vegetarian. Our lunch was fantastic. We will return.

On the kid front, tonight was the Father/Daughter dance at school. It was a Hoe Down LOL, so the girls and The Dad got their cowboy/cowgirl on and danced the night away.

They have been managing without me and The Dad wrote one blog dinner that I am aware of, but has yet to post. Kid 3 appears to be the one who is really missing me the most. And, yeah, I kinda miss them, too ;)

Thursday, February 10, 2011


What a great day! Knitter Auntie and I met Auntie Athletic and her dear friend for lunch at the cutest little restaurant in Southwick. Red Riding Hood's Basket is a delightful little gem. The baked goods looked amazing! I had a little nibble of the Auntie's desserts, a cinnamon knot and a raspberry jumble. Sooo tasty! For lunch I had a great wrap, veggie wrap minus the cheddar cheese.

Served with potato chips, pickles, and a wee cup of grapes.

The Auntie's soup. I cheated and had a tiny bite despite the fact that it was made with chicken stock. Delish. I can totally veganize this baby!

Auntie's seal of approval ;)

The signage. So cute! The interior was amazing! Vintage Red Riding Hood memorablia everywhere! It also had great tin ceilings and walls.

Knitter Auntie and myself spent the rest of the day shopping. It was a great afternoon. 

Tonights meal was a gorgeous salad made by Knitter Auntie and a great risotto from the Skinny Bitch Cookbook. No thumbs picture as I totally forgot, but all involved loved it! We also made some Kale chips which everyone loved! Skiing Grampy even suggested it be used at one of his famous parties! Talk about a seal of approval! They were gone too quick to snap a picture.