Monday, July 30, 2012

Curried Coconut Corn and Tofu Chowder

Poor Ian is allergic to pepper... and I love spicy, especially curry.  So since he was going to be out for the evening on Monday I decided to use up some stuff in the fridge and make something a little spicy.  So here is what I came up with.

4 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil
1 Large Onion
4 Carrot
6 small ears of fresh corn
4 cups of vegetable broth
4 cups of coconut milk
1 package of firm tofu
3 Tablespoons of Curry Powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in your stock pot on medium

toss in your chopped onion and your corn 

add carrots

Saute until the veggies are soft

Prep your tofu.  Drain it, wrap in paper towels and press out the moisture.

Once the veggies are soft add your liquids and bring to a boil, stir in 2 of the tablespoons of curry powder

Cube the tofu and fry it up on a medium high heat with the other 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and the final tablespoon of curry powder

Mmm... curry

Reserve a few of the curried tofu chunks for your ravenous toddler

If you like use an immersion blender to blend up the liquid and veggies a bit.  It makes it a bit more creamy, but leave it a little chunky.

Stir in the fried tofu and let everything simmer until you are ready to eat.

Enjoy a nice glass of wine


And munchkin approved.

I love clean diapers!

I find stacks of clean neat diapers are particularly satisfying.  While we were camping this weekend we used Grovia Biosoaker disposable inserts so weren't lugging around a stinky bag of dirty diapers all weekend.  So Friday I made sure all the diapers were clean before we left so we didn't come home to a stinky pail.

Here are the fitted diapers I've made myself. 

This is my stash of Twinkie Tush diapers.  I <3 Twinkie Tush. Her diapers are so adorable and really well made. 

And here is everything stacked on the changing table.  The top row is Bum Genius inserts, cloth wipes,  Green Mountain Diaper Large sized prefolds, and Twinkie Tush Night Nights.  The bottom row is Bum Genius pockets in the monkey box, Fitteds in the middle, and Grovia shells and soakers and assorted covers in the giraffe. 

Happy Birthday to me! A Pic-Heavy Post

This Sunday I turned 32, but its ok... in my mind I'm still 6.

To celebrate, Mich, Ian, Micah, Laurel, the munchkin and I went camping.  I really enjoy camping and we didn't go at all last summer (the baby was a bit to young to sleep in a tent.) It was kind of a last minute decision.  We had been bouncing some ideas back and forth for what to do for the weekend and hadn't really settled on anything so Monday I called around and tried to find us a good site.  We ended up at Woodford State Forest near Bennington, VT.

Friday we packed... and I will admit that I was having a fit of grumpy, cranky, anxiousness.  Then a look at the potential weather (rain, rain, thunder, rain, with a side of rain) and I started to think wanting to go camping was a stupid idea and I should just hide under the covers all weekend. But we left anyway and once we got going my mood lifted and by the time we made it to our site I was genuinely excited.

Friday night we set up camp then headed to North Bennington to try out a pizza shop that was gluten-free and vegan friendly. score! Marigold Kitchen was awesome. I had a pizza on the most amazing vegan gluten free crust with dayia mozzarella.
So good. I ate the whole thing by myself (well, the munchkin helped a little) This pizza was worth a two hour drive!

We headed back to the campground and just relaxed for the evening.  The munchkin did great in the tent.  I was able to get him to fall asleep and head out of the tent to play a little magic with Micah before we headed into the tent to sleep.  

Saturday, after a failed attempt at making coffee on the camp stove, we headed into Bennington to explore the town.  Bennington was a cute little town with a nice main street area for shopping.  Unfortunately I didn't notice the storefront for Earthy Crunchy Mama until Sunday and they were closed!  Oh well, it just gives me a reason to go back.  But we were able to stop at a great gaming store, the Gamer's Grotto.  It was huge, good selection and they even had some video gaming and plenty of space in the back to play.  In fact while we were there they were having a magic tournament.  My family bought be a copy of Ticket to Ride, which I have been wanting for awhile.  We had lunch out at a local brewery, Madison Brewing Company, which was very tough for me and my dietary restrictions. I love good beer. But they did make their own root beer which was pretty awesome. 

After lunch we stopped at Spice-n-Nice, a small natural foods store to pick up some food to cook for dinner.  It was a small store but they had a nice selection and even a small produce section so we were able to get something to satisfy everyone.

It was drizzling and rainy for most of the afternoon into the evening.  With the damp, it took a little while to get a fire going.  We relaxed, read, and chased the munchkin around.  He loved walking to the nearby swingset and waving at every car that passed by.   Micah and I ducked out for a little bit to find a geocache and pick up trashy magazines for Michy. 

Dinner was wonderful.  Baked potatoes, baked beans, hotdogs for the meat eaters, and vegan, gluten free grilled cheese for me and michy.  I did mine with Jack flavored daiya and a layer of laurel-made peach preserves.  It was so yummy. 

Yummy dinner

Michy and Laurel

My delicious grilled cheese!

After dinner, I got the baby to fall asleep in the tent and then made one of my favorite camping treats- bananas with melted chocolate and marshmallows.  Michy even found vegan marshmallows for me at the coop.  
They stuck candles in mine.

After dessert we played my new game. 

It was pouring by the end of the night, so we headed to bed and it rained steadily all night long.  By morning it was too wet to try and cook breakfast outside, so we packed up camp and headed into town for brunch.

We spent the rest of the day meandering our way back home.  We checked out Bennington Potters, the Bennington War Memorial, and the Cemetery where Robert Frost is buried.

Getting ready to pack up

The munchkin was having a blast stacking the creamers at brunch

Bennington Potters

Playing outside the pottery shop

The Bennignton War Memorial

Robert Frost

And our last stop... the scenic overlook shop on Rt 9 in Vt. 

It was a wonderful weekend and a great way to celebrate my birthday.  Next year I want to go camping for a whole week, two nights is just not enough time. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Always on the go

It was a lovely weekend here in Western Mass.

Friday started out kinda dreary... and rainy days always make me want to cook.  So when I got out of bed I made vegan potato salad, vegan gluten free chocolate chip cookies, and a loaf of gluten free bread for our planned trip to Tanglewood.  Though with the rain, I was a little nervous that we wouldn't be able to go.
Micah! Cookies are not for Breakfast. 
Banana Pancakes are for Breakfast.

Munchkin approved

Luckily the rain cleared and we were able to make the trek out to Lenox for a wonderful picnic and evening of music.  Lawn seats on fridays are only $9 and kids are free.  $9 to see the Boston Symphony Orchestra!
Turned out to be a beautiful night

Picnics are serious business

Saturday Micah stayed home with the munchkin while Ian, Michy, Laurel and I went to a really cool workshop at EcoBuilding Bargains on making art out of recycled materials. Got lots of cool inspiration.   EcoBuilding Bargains is an awesome store that sells recycled home building materials.

Saturday afternoon was a meeting for Transcending Boundaries.  Only three months until the conference.

After the meeting we took the munchkin to check out a different playground the next town over.  It was a great playground.  There was a sandbox area, an area for school aged kids, and a preschool area.  The munchkin had a blast! He loved going on the slides.  He particularly enjoys climbing up them and then sliding down on his belly. I just love hearing his exclamations of pure joy.

Sunday I met up with a few of my mom friends to go swimming and then out for brunch with our little ones.  The munchkin is really starting to enjoy the water.  It is a lot of fun to watch him splash and giggle.  He still wants me right by his side, but he is getting more adventurous.  He also loves digging in the sand.

Before brunch we checked out a really cool toy store.  The munchkin was fascinated by the trains. 

Today has been less than productive.  I went out for a meeting this morning that no one bothered to tell me was cancelled. Oh well.  Then I got home to a pretty cranky baby who is finally taking a nap.

Off to get some stuff done while he sleeps.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Maple Coconut Kale Chips

I love kale. When I was pregnant I actually craved it. I especially love kale chips.  One day Michy brought home Maple Coconut Kale chips from the coop.  I thought "maple coconut kale.... i don't know... that sounds really weird." But wow they were good. Sweet and crunchy! yum.  Those kale chips were made by Jungle Treats.  Jungle Treats makes really delicious dehydrated kale chips, so they are raw too.

I had a bunch of kale leftover from the farmer's market tueday and I had been thinking about those kale chips... so I thought I'd give it a try.  They came out delicious!

So here is my recipe:

One Bunch of Kale
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 of Grade B Maple Syrup
1/2 cup of Shredded Coconut

1. Preheat the Oven to 400, place the rack in the middle of the oven.

2. Tear up the kale into bite-sized pieces

3. Put all the ingredients together in a large bowl

4. Mix it up- I use my hands to make sure all the kale is nicely coated

5.  Spread the mixture out on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes.  Then check them... if they aren't crispy yet keep checking every 3-4 minutes.  Be careful and keep a close eye on them, kale chips go from not done to burnt really fast! You could also do them in a dehydrator, but I didn't have the patience to wait all night :)

6. Try not to eat them all in one sitting!

Ersatz Coffee Alternative

I haven't had caffeine in almost  two weeks now, but I've still had some decaf coffee.  Like I said before, I love coffee. So I'm trying to find  substitute that will work for me.  I liked Pero, but it contains both barely and rye... so it isn't gluten free.

So  I googled... and discovered Ersatz.  Unlike most coffee substitutes that contain barley and rye,  Ersatz is a blend of roasted rice, peas, and chicory.  So I thought I should give it a try and I mentioned it to Michelle.  They actually carried it at the River Valley Market, so Michy was able to bring me home some from work.

So now that I've had a few cups I thought I'd give a little review.

Its not coffee.

It doesn't have that bitter acidic bite that I love about coffee... but seeing as it is the acid in the coffee that bothers my IC that is probably a good thing.  Once you get over the fact that it is not coffee it is a really enjoyable hot beverage.  It has a really nice toasty smell (the scent was really familiar and comforting, then I realized this afternoon as I made the munchkin lunch that it kind of smells like a rice cake- but its a good thing, I promise)  The taste is mellower than coffee, but still has an enjoyable toasty-ness. I drink coffee black, so that is how I tried this first, but it was also quite tasty with a little almond milk and stevia.

I can see this becoming my morning beverage.  The day just doesn't feel right if I haven't had a hot cup of something.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Geeks and Gardens

This was another house productivity weekend.  We've been trying to schedule them regularly to try and get everything to a good manageable baseline.  So we are focusing on things like organizing the bedrooms, basement, and maintaining the yard.

This weekend we focused on maintaining the flower beds that frame the house.  We had 7 cubic yards of red cedar mulch delivered a little before 8am Saturday.  First we weeded all the beds, then I mowed the lawn, and we started spreading out mulch.  It felt like hours and hours or shoveling and moving wheelbarrows full of mulch throughout the yard, but eventually we had a nice think layer of mulch framing the whole house.  It looks so much nicer than the weeds!

This is one of the four large flower beds.  I should have taken before photos... oops.

After the flower beds were done, we did some work to our tiny backyard. Weeding, mulching, and tearing out a broken water feature put in by the previous owners.  It now looks pretty cute back there and will be a nice place to set up the kiddie pool... which I may end up doing this afternoon since it is so hot!

We also did some rearranging of the exercise nook of the basement and made room for a weight machine my parents gave to us. 

The munchkin spent a lot of his time running around the yard, playing with shovels, and getting dirty. By the end of the day he was a very tired kiddo.

Sunday, Micah, the Munchkin and I headed down to Hartford for Connecticon for the day.  It was our first time.  They call themselves a multi-genre pop culture convention.  I'd say they were like an anime con with a really heavy gaming focus.  We actually spent the majority of the day in the gaming room.   Played Ticket to Ride- which is really fun and I want to get a copy of, and Micah entered and won an 8 person Magic the Gathering Tournament.

The gaming room was huge- this is just the tables for card games- further to the right were round tables for board games, and then in the back were round tables partitioned with pipe and drape for table top role play gaming.

While Micah was doing his tournament, the muchkin and I wandered the dealer's room and the artists tables... then just wandered the halls and people watched.  This was an awesome con for watching cosplayers, and I really want to make costumes for all of us for Arisia this year.


After the con we headed into West Hartford for dinner at Max Burger.  I had a delicious housemade veggie burger on a tasty gluten free bun with a side of sweet potato fries.  yum!

This morning was spent in court... and I'm off to a client meeting in a few minutes.  

Friday, July 13, 2012

Moses supposes his toes are roses

So far so good this week with the gluten free.  I had an oops on Monday and got a burrito before I even thought about it, but other than that I've had no gluten this week.  I'm also now over a week with no caffeine, and I feel much better.  No headaches anymore!

Wednesday night I used my gluten free bread and some daiya cheddar- vegan gluten free grilled cheese with a side of blueberries and an apple cranberry chutney to dip. yum!

The Grilled Cheese was munchkin approved.

Thursday I was out of the house most of the day.  I had two client meetings, one of which was a hour and a half drive away.  So I left the house around noon, had my meeting, and then drove straight to the co-op to pick up Michy for our date night. 

We had the most delicious gluten free pizza at Hillside pizza.  I cheated a little and had cheese... but the gluten free crust has eggs and diary in it, so it seemed kinds silly to have the vegan cheese if I was already cheating.  This was so great and really satisfied my pizza craving. I paired it with a yummy Virgils Root Beer


After dinner, Michy and I headed to the movies to see the 60th Anniversary Big Screen Showing of Singing in the Rain.  Singing in the Rain is probably my favorite movie of all time.  Its also a special movie to Michy and me.  So we had a delightful date, sharing movie-theater treats (junior mints in popcorn) and enjoying a classic film.  

After the movie we headed home and I was able to get some munchkin time before bed. 

This morning I snuck out of bed early to go to the Morning Flow yoga class at Heartsong.  It was a great class and set a wonderful tone to my day. 

On my way back into the house, I noticed how pretty our morning glories are looking.

Tomorrow we working on cleaning up the flower bed around the house.  I have 7 cubic yards of mulch arriving at 10am!