Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wonderful Day of Family and Friends...

Just finished the last of the dishes and swept the kitchen floor.  We had a wonderful holiday full of good food and great company.  I'm happily exhausted, but before I fall asleep I thought I'd just share a few pictures from our day.  I realized I didn't take nearly enough pictures today.  Oh well.

started our day with mimosas 

The munchkin helping me roll out gluten free puff pastry

Our dog Tyson terrorizing the train passengers

Pie!

Sleepy puppy cuddled on my lap

Sleepy munchkin cuddled with Nana

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Finally sitting and enjoying a glass of wine after going non-stop all day.  Court, then shopping, then baking and cooking prep.

The River Valley Market Co-op General Manager directing traffic in her turkey hat

The liquor store- a very important stop

When I got home these awesome shirts from Wacky Alpacky were in the mail for the munchkin

Then I got started on pies- here is a gluten free gingersnap crust being made

and pumpkin pie filling

nom nom nom... can't wait to slice into this tomorrow.

The munchkin is up in bed asleep, Micah is a work, and Ian and Michelle are grabbing food with Ian's mom who just flew in from Ohio.  I'm home alone... this almost never happens.  It is a much needed recharge for the holiday weekend.  I'm off to knit.  I want to finish a sweater for the munchkin by this weekend!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Dinner Prep

is underway.  We are expecting to have 21 people for dinner so there is a ton of work to get finished.

So far I've baked and pureed pumpkin for the pies, I have pie crust chilling in the fridge, and finished the  cranberry sauce.  I actually feel like I'm a bit behind this year.  I was in court yesterday and today, and actually had a job interview that came up suddenly (cross your fingers for me) so I haven't been cooking as much as I would normally be in the days before the holiday.

Tomorrow I'm in court again, then its home to bake and prep.  I'm attempting to make gluten free puff pastry!

I had another happy experiment with the vitamix for dinner (unfortunatly I didn't take any pictures) but I made a soup by roasting carrots, parsnips, kale, and onions then blended them up with veggie broth and cashews.  It was delicious- but a little too thick.  I need to remember more liquid next time.

And speaking of the vitamix... the munchkin has started to say "yum yum yum" when I turn it on and run happily in circles around the kitchen.  I think he has been enjoying my experiments almost as much as I have.

Monday, November 19, 2012

just another monday

I really don't have too much to say today... it was a typical busy weekday.  I spent my morning in court, then came home and tried my best to be productive.  I finished a pair of custom monster bum pants for an etsy customer.  Ran some errands at City Hall and the Post Office.   Tonight Michy and I went shopping because I desperately needed a new suit, and I found one that looks quite nice if I do say say myself.  Michy and I had a decadent dinner out while Ian watched the munchkin.  It was quite nice to have a drink and grown-up conversation. 

Tomorrow is shaping up to be a pretty busy day... and I have got to make a dent in the Thanksgiving preparations.  There are pies to be made!


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning...

The munchkin helping dust

This weekend we spent cleaning and getting ready for Thanksgiving.   Our dinner will be 21 people, so there is a lot to get done to get the house ready.  Yesterday we tackled the living room- moved all the furniture, swept the floor, moped, vacuumed, even ran the curtains through the washing machine.  Then we worked on the bathroom, scrapping, scrubbing, and moping. Today was the dining room, and I just did a quick wipe down of the kitchen- which will get a more intense work-over once the cooking begins.  I love Thanksgiving and it makes me really happy to get our house ready to entertain.  The munchkin seems to get a kick out of cleaning too... he is constantly trying to sweep the floors, he loves to wipe the table down after dinner, and today he was running all over the dining room dusting with the big duster.

Time to go decompress after a very productive weekend. I even managed to get in a client meeting and some billable work this weekend.  I'm exhausted!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Gingerbread

We are going to a friends house tomorrow to build gingerbread houses, so the munchkin and I baked some gluten free gingerbread today.

He took a bath right after these pictures. There was molasses everywhere!




Thursday, November 15, 2012

Catching up.

So I missed a day.  *sigh*  I really was planning on blogging once the munchkin fell asleep yesterday, but I got distracted by court-in-the-morning nerves and settled in to watch a show and fell asleep.  My intention had been simply to post a cute picture of the munchkin... so here goes...

I used the Vitamix to make "ice cream" which was really just a couple frozen bananas, a tablespoon of carob, and a little almond milk.  Yummy sweet treat that is super healthy! 

Today was another day in a two week string of long, stressful court days, so I'm feeling a little frazzled tonight.  But I did get a fun pic this morning of Micah in some new socks he was very proud of...

Ninja! 

Tomorrow looks to be a much calmer day.  Still lots to do (isn't there always lots to do) but at least I'm not in court in the morning so I may actually be productive. 

Off to bed.
 

 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Vision Board

Tonight was the final meeting of a program I've been doing at Heartsong Yoga called the 40 Day Life Makeover, based on the book "40 Days to a Personal Revolution" by Baron Baptise.  The program was 40 consecutive days of yoga, meditation, and mindful eating. 

My thoughts on the actual experience are still a little jumbled, I may have more to blog about in a few days, but I wanted to share our final exercise.  For our last class we pulled out magazines, scissors, and glue and created Vision Boards. The prompt was opened ended- what do we want for ourselves, see for ourselves.   So I flipped through the magazines and pulled out pictures that represented the way I would like to live my life.  Confident yogis, engaged happy families, delicious wholesome food, music, fire, and beautiful surrounds.  It came together quickly and looking at it makes me feel empowered and inspired- which is kind of how I felt about the whole 40 day experience.  Now I need a place to hang it where it will inspire me everyday.

 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Creamy Cauliflower and Kale Soup

My love affair with the vitamix continues.   This morning I made another batch of almond milk (and have more yummy crackers in the dehydrator), and for lunch I made a quick soup.  I love that I can make a hot creamy soup so quickly.  I love soup.  So today I raided the fridge to see what produce needed to be used.  We had some Cauliflower leftover from our farm share, half a red onion, and some kale that all needed to be finished up. So this is what I came up with...

  

Ingredients:
1 head of Cauliflower
1 bunch of Kale
1/2 large Red Onion
1 cup of vegetable broth
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 nutritional yeast
thyme, oregano, sage, and salt to taste

Chop and lightly steam the veggies (if you aren't using a vitamix I'd let them go longer- until they were very soft) 

While the veggies were steaming I prepared a base for the soup- 1 cup of veggie broth, blended with the cashews, herbs, and nutritional yeast

Throw in your steamed veggies and blend on high for 4-5 minutes until you see steam in the lid. 


Not quite munchkin approved, but he was completely distracted by how awesome the salt shaker is for all of lunch.   Micah and I, however, thought it was quite tasty.






Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sweet sundays

playing at a friend's house

Once again the munchkin refused to let me sleep past 6:30, so we got up and had breakfast... and I succumbed to the coffee's siren call. The munchkin hung out at home with Micah while the rest of us went to church.  It was nice to actually get a chance to hear the sermon.  The theme of the service was the intersection of grief and gratitude, and gave me some good ideas to chew on.  I am really enjoying the new minister at the church we have been attending.  I am actually feeling excited to go, where a year ago I was really feeling some reluctance.

After church, we all headed out to our friends' daughter's first birthday party. It was fun to get to see friends we don't see very often, and get a chance for our munchkins to play together.  It is amazing how much can change in just a few years.  More children keep popping up in our circle of friends... which makes for different parties.  But I have to say, I like the new normal.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Vegan Shepard's Pie


It has been a long day.  The munchkin hasn't been sleeping past 6:30 since the end of daylight savings time.  I haven't had a quiet morning to myself in a week! So I was up early entertaining him while we made breakfast.

After a big pancake breakfast, and a house logistics meeting, we spent the rest of the day cleaning and organizing.  We have a ton of books.  Four adults who love books, one of whom was an English grad student accumulate a lot of stuff.   In my child-proofing paranoia, I've started to get kind of nervous about our towering overstuffed bookshelves so I asked my family to clear them out, give some books away, sell some, archive some, and only leave out a small fraction of what had been there.  It is a major project, but we are making really great progress. 

After all that hard work we needed a really hearty dinner... so I made us a nice comforting Shepard's pie.  Lentils instead of meat, frozen corn, mashed potatoes, sprinkled with a little nutritional yeast. 


comfort food- nom nom nom

munchkin approved. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Finally home...

after a long day.

My grandmother is in the hospital, so for the second time this week I packed up the munchkin and drove about 2 hours to Rhode Island to visit. Michy went out with me on Monday and today I went out with just the munchkin after I was done in court for the day.  In addition to seeing my grandmother, my brother flew out from California to visit so it was a chance to see him and let the munchkin get some time with his uncle, who he hasn't seen since he was about 6 weeks old. It made for a long day, but it was great to get some time with my family.  

But of course the day would not have been complete without playing with my Vitamix some more! When I woke up this morning, I made almond milk and then took the almond pulp to make almond crackers in my dehydrator. They were in there all day, and when I got home about a half hour ago they had become delicious crunchy crackers- and since I used the dehydrator they still have all the healthy benefits of raw almond.  I followed the almond milk up with some kale, spinach, carrot, celery, and apple juice... sounds like it would taste like grass- but it was surprisingly tasty.

Almond soaking overnight

2 cups of almonds, 4 cups of water

strained through the nutbag that came with the Vitamix

almond pulp

Delicious almond milk

kale, spinach, carrot, celery, and apple juice

playing at Nana's house

blocks with his uncle

when we got home the crackers were done

nom nom nom 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

No Internet, boo!

So as I was in the middle of typing up my post for the day, our Internet disappeared! Comcast says there is a major outage in our area, so who knows when it will be back. *sigh*

By no means is this a major tragedy. I'm grateful to have a nice warm house with power. But the bigger blog post will have to wait.

Instead I'll just leave you with a picture of the tasty crackers I made today.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My New Toy- Vitamix Turboblend VS


Michy and I bought a Vitamix as our holiday present to each other.   I have been lusting after this machine for a long time and last week the coop where Michy works offered them as a special item, which was just enough of a push to convince me to make the commitment. We got an awesome blender, get her employee discount, and supported the co-op.  Wins all around.

Michy brought it home yesterday, and I was so excited to get started... but didn't have a chance until this morning.   I've used it four times today.  I can tell this is going to become a staple of my cooking.

One of the main reasons I wanted a vitamix was to make smoothies.  I love to have smoothies for breakfast, and I kept killing our immersion blenders... they just weren't holding up to the daily abuse.  I also wanted to be able to get a smoother consistency with veggies and be able to include more veggies in my morning drinks.

My first experiment was more of a juice than a smoothie but still yummy and gave me a good idea of how to work the machine.


1 apple, 2 carrots, 1 beet- chopped

1 cup of water, the fruits and veggies, followed by about a cup of ice. I also threw in a tablespoon of Udi's DHA Oil blend

It took less than a minute to reach the right consistency

The munchkin and I enjoyed glasses of this all day long.

clean-up was super easy.  rinse, add water and a couple drops a dish-soap and run for a minute. 

The next thing I tried was making pancake batter.  Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures while I did this, so you will just have to trust me that it worked great and tasted wonderful.  I had a great recipe for oat flour pancakes from Renee Hastings, who has been doing nutrition counseling for a program I have been involved in at Heartsong Yoga.  Basically it involves grinding oats in your food processor to make a flour to use for vegan/ gluten free pancakes.  The vitamix easily ground up the oats to a great flour consistency.  Oats are so much cheaper than some of the gluten free flours out there- so I have a feeling I'm going to be making oat flour alot. 

One of the coolest things I had heard about the Vitamix was that it would actually make hot soup- right in the blender.  I decided I had to try that.  So I combined a cup of water, a half cup of raw cashews, 4 tomatoes, 2 cloves of garlic and some spices to make:

Delicious creamy tomato soup!

Munchkin approved (and notice he is still enjoying his apple carrot beet juice!)

My final experiment of the night (which I am enjoying as I type) was a couple squares of 100% cacao baking chocolate, coconut milk, vanilla, and stevia for a frothy hot chocolate. 

Right now I've got some raw almonds soaking on the counter that will turn into fresh almond milk first thing in the morning. 

I also picked Michy up from work today and got a ton of produce so we can experiment with some green smoothies.   I am already in love with this machine.  I can't wait to see what else we can come up with.