Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Coconut lime rice for Ashley!

Coconut lime rice with tempeh and bell peppers is one of Ashley's favorite dishes.  She asks for it nearly very week and I rarely deliver.  This week was an exception.

For the first time ever I steamed my tempeh before cooking it.  I had heard it removes some of the bitterness.  It in fact did remove some bitterness and I do not think we lost anything in the flavor.  It turned out really well.  Almost well enough that Kaleigh would eat it.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Ashley is working her magic!

Ashley works hard to provide for our family.  She puts in the hours and occasionally has to stay late.  She does a great job and we all appreciate it.  Given this, I take on most of the cooking responsibilities in the house.  While I enjoy cooking, sometimes it is a shame because Ashley is actually quite a good cook as well.

Sunday she woke up with the urge to cook.  I got right out of the way and let her take over the kitchen.  For breakfast she baked some donuts and covered them in chocolate.  They were great!  I really miss donuts so these were a nice treat.

For lunch she made some really fun tacos.  They were filled with her famous cole slaw this time with a tex mex touch, roasted spiced cauliflower and topped with cilantro and avocado.  They were really good.  A unique lunch for us and super tasty.

It was great to be kicked out of the kitchen for the afternoon.  As much as I enjoy cooking, it is nice to have a break without a drop off in foods I like!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Sugar Cookies!

Kaleigh has been on April vacation this week.  She and I have been knocking out big cleaning projects all week.  On our way home from her private karate lesson on Thursday, she asked if we could make sugar cookies.  I figured since she had been such a hard worker all week it was a good day to make some fun cookies!

We made the dough, let it set.  Then rolled it out and Kaleigh got to use whatever cookie cutters she wanted/could find to make the cookies.  We had some pretty cool ones, a small teddy bear, a couple dinosaurs, a coffin, a cauldron, etc.

After baking them we whipped up some icing and dropped some color in some.  She went to work icing cookies!  She had a blast.  They came out pretty cool, we even made a little scene!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

No Pho-ken Way!

It has been years and years since I have had Pho.  I never had it in Atlanta which is odd since the city has a high population of Vietnamese restaurants.  That means it has been over 10 years since I have had the soup dish.  Additionally, I have never made it or even attempted to.

Over the past few weeks, Ashley has been requesting that I make her some Pho.  I thought it would be a fun challenge and went all in.  It was actually quite an easy dish and turned out fantastic.  The only ingredient that is a little difficult to come by in rural Maine was the Thai basil.  Since it is just a garnish, I bet I could use something else without an issue though.

After trying to get the Pho all ready for Ashley when she got home from work, she had an emergency case at work and was forced to stay until nearly midnight.  Kaleigh and I had Pho without her.  I stayed up until she got home and made her a fresh bowl though.  Pho dinner in bed!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wordless Wednesday!


Beans and Veggies

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Working the pallets!

Sunday afternoon we hosted a small event at our house.  Fun with Pallets.  It was short notice and only family came but we had a blast.  We had a cookout with my new birthday grill: potatoes, BBQ mushrooms, corn on the cob, melon, and pasta salad,  It was great to cook outside like this.  It is something I have never done in my cooking "career".

After lunch, the kids and I all started working on pallets.  We made about 10 raised beds for the garden and a 2nd compost bin so we can allow the one I made last fall start to decompose fully.  After the pallets, Ashley and some of the kids started another 200 seedlings while I took a couple of the kids and planted 3 raspberry and 3 blueberry bushes.

My mother was at the house as well.  Everyone got a chance to get some Reiki done with Returning.  We got a ton of work done in an afternoon.  It was a really productive day and it felt great.  Spring is coming and we are going to grow some food!

Monday, April 20, 2015

More Squashed Orders!

My new company, Squashed kept me busy over the weekend with a number of orders.  We had an order on for delivery on Saturday that went well.  We made 4 different type of cupcakes and they looked great.  The customer was very happy.

Sunday I made another dozen of the cardamom with lavender icing for another order.  I also had been meaning to try to use my jumbo cupcake tray.  Since I was already baking I figured it was a good time to try.  They came out perfect, super moist.  I just did a simple vanilla cake with chocolate icing but it was great, and huge!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Random Friday Ramblings

This past weekend, it was nearly 70 degrees.  Ashley, Kaleigh and I took advantage of it by starting our seedlings for the garden.  We got about 100 plants down and still have about 200 more to go for this coming weekend.  Lots of peppers and tomatoes!

Kaleigh also noticed that the garlic we planted last fall was starting to sprout up!  That is really exciting because we honestly did not know if it was going to make it.  We thought we might have gotten it in too late.

Ashley and I also found a great new mug from the thrift store.  A perfect mug for vegan root beer floats!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Weekday night shows can be rough.

Punk rock on week nights in Maine can be rough.  Maine is not a state that most bands have on their radar to play and if they do opt to play Maine, we often get week nights so they can hit the bigger cities (Boston, New York) on the weekend for a good turn out.

Last night, pop punk band Dead Words from Texas played in Skowhegan Maine.  There was not a huge turn out but it was still a lot of fun.  Two (mostly) acoustic acts opened the show.  Both were very different but a lot of fun.  Mike Spaulding on Wessley even slipped in his own rendition of a G.G. Allin cover.

Next up was a band that my long time friend Jonny and I have been working on.  We were acceptable for our first show.  Although Jonny (who plays with the Unseen) plays shows often, it has been well over 10 years since I have played.  It was a fun experience though and I think it was fairly well received by the 20 or so kids at the show.

Dead Words played next.  They were super nice guys and played pop punk.  Generally not my style but they were fun to watch live and played their style very well.  Ashley really liked them and Kaleigh got both a shirt and a sticker!

Last up was the Skowhegan locals who have been making a solid name for themselves throughout the state, Uncle Spudd.  On their home turf they took a few more chances with their songs then they did the last time I saw them but they were still very good.  They are some of the best kids in the punk scene and they have a lot of fun playing.  They do so much for Maine punk rock it is incredible.  One of them even earned a Limp Wrist CD from me!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Seitan Bacon!

Tempeh bacon is something I have been making for years.  While it is very good and perfect in several situations, it lacks some of the bacon cache.  While I do not remember the taste or texture of bacon, it seems to be that the tempeh is too dense and really lacks the texture and doesn't quite compare to the saltiness.

I wanted to try it another way.  Ashley recommended I try to make a seitan based bacon.  I gave it a whirl.  The taste was not perfect but the texture was more like bacon (I think).  We used it in some B.A.D. (breakfast and dinner) which we had not had in a long time.  Breakfast and dinner is a term Kaleigh and I coined and one of her favorite meals.

We also used the bacon on a pizza the following night.  It was pretty good then too!  I still think I might prefer the tempeh version but I will continue to work on this recipe and see if I can get it a little better.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Flooded with Nachos!

Over the weekend, Ashley Kaleigh and I, without realizing it, ate pasta in some form 3 times in two days.  It was overload and we knew it.  To me, this is amusing because I can recall when I first went vegan in the late 90's, I thought eating pasta was super healthy.  It is a funny transition since now I think of it as empty carbs and junk food.

Monday rolled around and I was trying to come up with a dinner plan.  All that kept popping in my head was more pasta dishes,  Pho, garden pasta salad, etc.  I knew we could not eat pasta in any form again.

Nachos!  I buried those chips (yes, there really are chips in there) with mock meat grounds, black beans, my own special nacho cheeze sauce, lettuce, salsa, guacamole, and vegan sour cream, then dusted them with fresh cilantro.

Nachos as a meal?  Ill do it! Dinner!

Monday, April 13, 2015

The 3rd!

Kaleigh attended her 3rd karate tournament this past weekend.  It was much smaller and we thought that might be good but as it turns out, all the "serious tournament" people were there and it was still a tough competition.

Somehow, she got put in the wrong group and competed with girls that were more experienced than her.  I think it hurt her confidence a bit because she seemed a little overwhelmed.  She did a great jon, kept her head up and pushed through.

Later in the day, as we were waiting for the rest of her team to get called, another group was formed that she was supposed to be in.  It was a relief that she was able to compete with people on the same level.  She even got 2 trophies!  One for her fighting and the other for her forms.

Her performance gets better each time.  We are always so proud of her effort and work.  She is an amazing child that we are so thrilled to have in our lives!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

My Mum is Back!

After many months in Florida, my mother is back in Maine!  It was a great treat for her to come over for dinner.  She even brought gifts; some very cool items including vintage pyrex!  Sadly, due to a school commitment, the visit was cut a bit short.

I made chili. which is one of her favorites and added a side of southern cornbread and steamed broccoli.  Although short and we have so much more to catch up on, it was a great visit and really good to see her.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Indian night!

With the recent trend in our house of playing with Thai flavors, I thought I should go back to something I knew well.  Indian flavors.  I made my mulligatawny soup, which has been a few years since I last made.  I for got how much I enjoy this soup.  Kaleigh loved it.  She is a big soup eater anyway but she said this was a favorite for her.  She loves lentils and this was the perfect combination for her.

One the side I made some Indian potatoes.  They were solid but nothing special as I did not have enough time to really let them simmer for hours.  All in all a good meal before we rushed out the door to Karate.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Cupcake weekend!

Over the weekend, Squashed was in our first restaurant, the Hi-Hat Pancake House.  They immediately sold the initial 2 dozen we gave them and we began work on 3 dozen more.  They sold through most of them and the customers loved them.  It was a great start to building relationships with vendors.

Sunday evening, Ashley wanted me to try to make a nice maple sugar cupcake for some of her co-workers.  After already baking 5 dozen, I said sure!  They came out really well.  Maple syrup is so expensive that I worry I would not be able to realistically sell them for a reasonable price though.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Hunt?

Ashley, Kaleigh and I were driving into town the other day when Kaleigh began to tell us how she was upset that we had no Easter plans.  Without realizing it, when we moved to Maine we ignored a lot of those things that she did with her grandmother.  Instantly, Ashley and I felt bad and new we needed to come up with something.

I went out and got some stuff to hide around the house.  When she went to bed, Ashley and I hid a bunch of candy for her.  Neither of us thought much about the Easter bunny since Kaleigh does not believe in Santa and had never mentioned the Easter bunny.  However, in the morning she was excited that she saw candy all over the house (so was Tessa whom we had to fend off) and I mentioned sarcastically that the Easter bunny must have been here.  She got really excited and made a statement about the Easter bunny living in Maine and that was why he came to our house this year but never in years past in Georgia.  

Either way, she had a great morning hunting for candy around the house.  It was fun for Ashley and I since we found some good hiding places and got to see Kaleigh struggle a bit.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Dinner guests!

Last night we had some guests over for dinner.  Sadly, Ashley was called into work and unable to join us.  It was the first time in 8 months that she has gotten a call to come in and it just happened to be on the night we were having guests.

Fortunately, one of the guests, was a 6 year old for Kaleigh to play with.  They had a great time playing with some electronics and trying to scare everyone after hiding.

For dinner I made mashed potatoes, fried tofu, and covered it with a mushroom gravy.  On the side was roasted cauliflower and kale chips.  It was a good meal, nothing to fancy but tasty just the same.  It was a plate full of Kaleigh's favorites and after dinner we all had cupcakes!  Hooray for having friends over!  It was great to see and catch up with people I have not seen in years.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Our first week!

After only a week in operation, our company Squashed delivered our first special order.  I really enjoyed the fun piping techniques I was able to use and I think the cupcakes came out really pretty; which was the goal.

I also took the past weekend and experimented with a gluten & soy -free cupcake.  I think it turned out well but still might need a little tweaking.    All in all, we are very excited about our first week, thanks to everyone for your support!  More to come very soon!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Wordless Wednesday!


Chicpea Burgers

Split Pea Soup

Taco Pizza