Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Asian influence

We have been trying to cut back on breads in the house.  We have been somewhat successful and honestly, I am really enjoying the foods we are eating right now.  It has been mostly Asian inspired foods over the past couple weeks.

I have made masala, tofu stir-fry, coconut lime tempeh, and Pho.  I really enjoy Asian flavors and all the veggies you get.  It makes me feel much better then some of the American spin-off veganized dishes that we eat.

I am thrilled that Kaleigh and Ashley have been on board with the Asian cuisine.  Kaleigh has gotten really excited when we she Pho in the pot.  Ashley has that same enthusiasm when I make one of her favorite, coconut lime tempeh.

With all the physical work we have been doing around the house (gardening, tree planting, flower planting, bush planting, general home repairs) it is great to eat something packed with veggies and flavor!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wordless Wednesday; the bands

Uncle Spudd

Michael Spualding of Wessley

The Howl

In Exile

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Karate in Gardiner!

Kaleigh had another Karate tournament this past weekend.  It was her fourth overall.  Fortunately, it was about as local as they can get, right in Gardiner, Maine!  It was a pretty good turn out from her academy and my dad and Sue even went!

Kaleigh's group was filled with some tough competition this time.  All the girls were tournament regulars but it did not scare her off.  In her forms, she gave the best preformance she has given at a tournament.  She took her time and was making great moves.  Her sensei was there and spoke with her just before it was her turn.

Having him there really seemed to ground her and giver her confidence.  She did an outstanding job, placed fourth and got her first trophy!  She was so excited and proud of herself.  The look on her face was priceless.

In the sparring she did an excellent job staying aggressive but the girl she was fighting was quite a bit taller then her and beat Kaleigh.  She did not seem phased by it after her outstanding forms performance.

We had to leave right after she was done to get to a birthday party but we did get to see a few more of her team compete.  It was a great time and we were all thrilled that my family was there as well!  Karate has really done some amazing things for Kaleigh in a very short period of time.  She is sleeping better, seems to have less anxiety, has been able to appreciate short term goals, etc.  We are extremely happy with her dojo, her senseis and Kaleigh for all the hard work!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Garden Time!!

For over a month we have been prepping the garden space and seedlings.  Last week we had the garden space tilled by a guy up the road from us.  Yesterday was planting day!

Prior to getting dirty, I started a slow cooker with some Indian food.  We knew that we would be tired and have no interest in cooking dinner after a long day planting food.  I tossed the typical spices in with some cauliflower, chicpeas, and peas.

From there we got our shovels, rakes and seeds and headed to the garden space.  We went pretty fast, building rows and mounds while planting our seedlings and seeds.  It helped that we drew a map of what we wanted to do the night before.

 I can not begin to count how many seeds we planted.  It was unreal.  We only got about 70% of the space planted but it was a great start!  We got broccoli, spinach, kale, lettuce, cabbage, zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, carrots, red onions, sweet onions, cauliflower, kohlrabi, and bell peppers all got planted.  It was a full days work for sure.

After a long day we all came in and had an iced tea mixed with lemon-aid before eating the dinner we had so smartly been cooking all afternoon!  It feels great to have the goals that we made for this major move to Maine begin to come to fruition.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Almond Joy attempt #1

As a child I was never a big candy eater.  I would gorge on Halloween and maybe even Easter but overall, I did not eat a lot of candy and when I did it was typically not of the chocolate variety.  However, recently I have been craving candy bars.  Being vegan, that is often either an impossibility or very expensive.

I started thinking about what type of candy bar I could make that would be fairly simple.  Almond Joy!  After looking at a few sample recipes I gave it a whirl.  My coconut filling was so wet that I could not form it into bars to dip in chocolate.  In fact it was so wet that I had to pour the chocolate over the top and try to make squares instead.  They were still pretty wet for that as well.

They were quite tasty though!  Not to mention I learned to use significantly less coconut milk next time I try.  There will be a next time, of that I am sure!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Veggie burgers done right!

In our house, when we eat veggie burgers it is usually a quick meal when we are out of time or beat from a long day.  It is not a celebrated dinner.  Monday night was different.

Kaleigh and i were left home along which often results in portobello mushroom sandwiches but this week we went for something a little out of the ordinary.  We decided to go all out with some veggie burgers.

We took our typical veggie burger, lathered it with Bar-B Que sauce, layered with with flour fried onions, and topped it with mustard and roasted garlic.  Served with a side of streak fries and some salad greens!  It was a phenomenal dinner!  We both were looking for more even after we were full.

It felt good to take something that is often a shameful meal and celebrate it with Kaleigh!  New perspectives on food are too often ignored but this was refreshing, albeit a guilty pleasure!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Fun Town!

Kaleigh, like most 8 year old's loves amusement parks.  Fun town is in southern Maine and is really more of a stationary fair then a traditional amusement park,  How her though, it did not matter, rides are rides and she loves them.  To top it all off, some of my friends were going so we met up with them!

Kaleigh connected with my friends Matt right away and he was nice enough to ride every ride with her.  They were troopers, despite upset bellies, they slogged on!  This was the first year that Kaleigh was tall enough to ride all the rides and even get her own bumper car!

We were at Fun town before they opened and there until they closed, since it was Mother's Day weekend, Ashley was free.  We had a great time and it was great to see old friends as well as make a few new ones.

One the way home we hit Chicago Dogs and got some vegan hot dogs and fries with root beer on draft!  The we went to Reds to get some vegan soft serve before heading home.  It was a busy day but very worth it!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day with Mothers!

Being in Maine for mother's day was something different.  It has been over 10 years since I have seen my mother on mother's day.  Ashley, Kaleigh and I invited her over for brunch.  Ashley made her special pancakes and I make home fries, granola, fruit salad and green smoothies.

Brunch was great, the potatoes and granola was a big hit.  I even went into the yard and picked a bunch of our crocus flowers to put in a vase on the dinning room table.  We talked about memories of some of our first mother's day experiences.  It was interesting to hear both perspectives from my mother and Ashley.

After brunch my mum headed home and Kaleigh and I gave Ashley a slew of things to pick from for the days activities.  She opted to take Tessa and head to Vaughns woods for a walk/hike.  Before we left Kaleigh and I each gave Ashley a rose bush.  I gave her a yellow primrose and Kaleigh gave her a campfire rose bush.

We had a great hike, even Tessa was enjoying herself.  When we got to the stream in the woods we all decided to put our feet in the water, except Tessa, she decided to lay down in the rushing water! We wore her out and she was apparently hot.

After our hike and a few quick errands we were home.  Ashley and Kaleigh planted their hanging tomato plant while I made dinner.

I made a thai peanut dish with flat rice noodles, broccoli, green beans, peppers, and topped with some thai basil.  Ashley loved it!  After dinner we planted the rose bushes which wrapped up a great day.

It was wonderful to see my mum on mother's day.  My mum made some tough choices while raising her kids.  I joke about what an easy child I was but I was not, I was a tough child and teen to be around.  Having the responsibility to raising me was a tough one but I believe my mother made some great choices and allowed me the freedom to learn as I went, as we both were.  She is a strong woman that has learned not to put up with anyone's shit.  I see her in myself and I am proud of that person, her and I.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

An odd pairing..

The majority of the time I do my best to make cohesive meals.  I feel like even for just cooking with the family, things taste better when they make sense together.  Last night Ashley had to work late and I threw cohesiveness out the window!

I had made gazpacho earlier that day.  Really healthy, raw, lots of veggies, flavorful and spicy, always a hit in our house.  It tends to lend itself to other refreshing dishes that are fairly healthy.  Last night?  It got paired with my homemade vegan hamburger helper!  Extremely heavy, salty, gooey, stick to your sides type of dish.

Kaleigh and I ate them separately as it was certainly a weird paring.  Delicious but weird.  I would do it again!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Tree planting day!

Last fall Ashley and I ordered some fruit trees from a locally based national organic tree and seed supplier.  Those trees were ready for pick up this past weekend.  We drove all over rural Maine, lost but eventually found the trees!    We got 3 apple trees, 2 plums, 2 pears, a cherry, and a peach.  We were super excited.

Excited until we realized how much work we had ahead of us.  That same night I went out and dug all 9 holes for our new mini orchard.  I was wiped and figured I would be sore the following day.  When I awoke the next morning, I felt pretty good, a little muscle soreness but nothing too bad.  We decided it was time to get them in the ground.  More digging.  Lots more.

A few hours later we had all the trees planted.  Just in time for Kaleigh to help with the last two and
get her to karate.

Once home from karate I watered the trees and it was dinner time.  I was really too tired to make anything so we had a rarity in our house, Sub Sandwiches!  We all loved them and agreed that we should have them more often.  It turned out to be a great day filled with lots of hard work.