Monday, April 29, 2013

18 Jet-lagged Hours of Fun

Laura, one of my best friends in the world, recently took a trip to Ireland.  She was there for about 10 days with a friend of hers.  I rarely get to see Laura, about 6 years ago she moved to Los Angeles.  On their way home from Ireland, she planned an 18 hour lay over in Atlanta so we could spend time together!  Eighteen jet-lagged hours of fun!

First, right from the airport, Laura wanted to go to Southern Sweets.  She says that there is nothing comparable in LA and each time she comes to Atlanta, she make it a priority.  We got nearly one of each slice of vegan cake they offer and ate most all of them.  Sugar coma.

That evening we planned to meet up with Ashley and Kaleigh and walk around Piedmont Park and a trip to Green Sprout, another must do on Laura's list.  We all ate too much and left with the wonderful feeling of nearly exploding.

The green space in Atlanta is much more abundant then most cities of it's size which is why both Laura and her friend were impressed with Peidmont Park.  Kaleigh brought her bike and we spent a couple of hours in the park, relaxing.

Then it was an early night due to an early flight the following day.  It was a short visit but I am glad I got to see her and her friend was really nice.  I hope I get to see Laura again soon!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Day of Relaxing and Eating!

Last Friday was a lazy day.  Ashley and I lounged a bit, went to Harmony for a late lunch.  Generally, I only frequent Harmony for weekday lunches.  They have some insanely cheap specials and their dinner prices are a bit over the top.

We got some errands done and then made some Spaghetti Squash with Pesto Sauce.  It has been a couple year since I made this dish and I forgot how amazing it is.  There were even leftovers for me to take to work the following day.  This dish sits so well and is great cold.

For a bedtime snack, Ashley made a sort of dessert quesadilla.  It was topped with cinnamon and sugar, with a side of oat based ice cream and filled with bananas, peanut butter and chocolate.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

French Toast topped Afternoon at the Park!

I am really enjoying my new camera.  There is a huge learning curve which is fun but can be frustrating.  I have been trying to take shots in places and lighting that I had not previously bothered and I have gotten some good results.

Thursday, I picked Kaleigh up and we went to the playground.  There were several other kids but she mostly played with me or by herself.  She is so cerebral, it amazes me.  I think her leanings on her thought process will really benefit her in life.  She spent some time building sand castles and sand caves.  Then I encouraged her to run and play on the phenomenal playground equipment.  She had fun but it was like pulling teeth to get her started.

For dinner, we had a simple vegan french toast with some soy sausages and fresh mango.  Ashley joiced us for dinner but Kaleigh gobbled all the mango before anyone could get a share!  I can not say I blame her, the couple slices I had were fantastic.  When it comes to her diet, I would much prefer her to fill up on the mango then the french toast...although, that is what I did...

Monday, April 22, 2013

Sick Day; Muffins and Pasta

Kaleigh had been diagnosed with strep throat last Sunday.  She had to stay out of school for Monday, sadly, missing her perfect attendance that she had been working for all year.  However, Ashley still had clinic so I offered to take Kaleigh for the day.  I figured we would watch a few movies and relax, since I was also off from work that day.  We did, precisely that.

We did make some raspberry and chocolate chip muffins though.  Somehow, we messed them yup and the came out a little tough and a little overdone.  It was ok, they still all got eaten.

Ashley joined us for dinner.  I made a simple dinner of pasta with a store bought sauce.  I used the remaining pepperoni deli slices that I had in the sauce though.  It was actually another great way to use them, they were perfect with the pasta.  I also made some roasted brussel sprouts.  It was quick and easy, sometimes that is just what is needed. 

A week later, Kaleigh is feeling much better.  I can recall being a child and recovering from illness with such quickness.  Now, I get a cold and it lasts three weeks.  I am envious, but glad she is better.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Random pictures with my new camera!

I have been trying to learn how to use my new camera.  I have been taking pictures indiscriminately for a week.  Things I might not usually take a photo of, just to see how the shot can be done.  I am really enjoying the experience (I am trying not to think about spending the money).

I figured I would share a bit of my dorky photography journey with the blog world.  Thus far, I am really impressed with the quality of the pictures.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Stuffed Peppers and a Goodbye

Friday I did something rare, for me.  I spent some money.  In fact, I spent a decent amount of money on something I wanted but did not need.  Historically, I have had issues with spending money on non-necessities so this was a big deal.  I bought a new camera.  This is likely to be the last post in which I use pictures from my old camera so it is almost like a farewell to an old pal.

Despite my anxiousness about a new major purchase, I was able to spend a nice afternoon with Ashley.  We went to the store to figure out what we wanted to make for dinner and decided on stuffed peppers!  I have never made them before but I had made enough other stuffed dishes that I figured it would be an easy transition.  It was. I stuffed them with TVP, brown rice, veggies, and herbs.  I topped them with some tomato sauce and vegan cheeze.  They were delicious.

As side dishes, Ashley made my brussel sprouts recipe and together we made some mashed cauliflower.  It was a great meal and a good distraction from my buyers regret.  I am looking forward to learning my new camera and showing off some new pictures.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Liberated from Daycare!

Since Kaleigh was on her spring break, and ended up spending a lot of her time at daycare because Ashley still had classes and clinic, I took one of my days off and set up a special day for her.  We started the day with some hummus and pitas and then went to the Atlanta Center for the Puppetry Arts.  We saw a a cool puppet play about Brer Rabbit.  She thought at first it might be boring but she really enjoyed it. 

After the puppet show we made our own hand puppets and looked around the Jim Henson inspired museum.  They had a great Labyrinth exhibit which we both were impressed with as we recalled our favorite parts of the movie.

After the puppet show, we went to see a movie.  We were trying to stay inside for as much as we could since the pollen was really thick.  After the movie we did another extra special event.  We went rock climbing!  Kaleigh had never been and the place had a special kids wall.  She was able to get up quite well for her first time.  She had so much fun, despite being intimidated at the sight of the huge walls.  We had an awesome day and I hope she felt like she did not waste away at daycare all week.

Friday, April 12, 2013

First hike of the season: Sweetwater!

Kaleigh was on spring break this week.  I did not even realize they got a spring break in kindergarten.  Sadly, it did not correlate with Ashley's spring break, which meant that Kaleigh was going to spend much of her time at daycare.  Ashley did request a personal day on Monday so that the 3 of us could go on our first hike of the season.  Sweetwater Creek State Park.

Sweetwater may be my favorite hike in Georgia and it is only about 45 minutes from my house.  It is private, lots of woods, wildlife, rushing water, it has it all.  Kaleigh was allowed to pick which of the hikes we were going to go on, she chose the white trail.  The white trail is a little over 4 miles, her little 6 year old legs were going to be tired!

Before we left, the 3 of us all pitched in and made some sandwiches for our lunch in the woods.  I made the cilantro hummus, while Ashley made the wraps.  Kaleigh helped us both, she is awesome in the kitchen!  She even wrote our names of the wraps so that we were sure to get the right ones.  When Ashley was not looking, Kaleigh and I even slipped some chocolate covered raisins in the lunch bag!

We saw all sorts of wildlife; turtles, hawks, a heron, ducks, and even snakes.  In fact, we saw a King Snake.  We hiked a little off the trail because I knew of an old foundation that I had seen snake skins before.  This time, right as we jumped onto the foundation, there was a large King Snake checking us out.  It was over 3 feet long; although Kaleigh was a little scared we stood and watched it for a few minutes.  Then it began to look like it wanted us to leave, so we did.  Kaleigh was extremely brave and talked about the snake for the rest of the hike.  It was quite a great day.

What a 6 year old looks like on the ride home after a 4 mile hike:

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Nate's Buffalo Sauce is Amazing!

Around the start of the year, I was at the crackhouse and Nate gave me a gift.  Nate rarely cooks but he made buffalo sauce for his good friends and I happened to be on the list.  I was pretty committed to saving it for the next time I hosted them for dinner but each time Ashley came over she nearly begged me to cook with it.  Finally, she wore me down and I used Nate's amazing buffalo sauce without sharing with them.  The sting of guilt washed away as it soaked into the pressed tofu strips and our mouths began to water.  Within minutes we had a block of tofu and used the entire jar of sauce.

Quickly, we steamed some brocolli and I had some shells & cheeze for side and we sat down for an all american southern meal.  I even topped the tofu with some homemade ranch!  It did not disappoint.  I hope that Nate makes some more of the phenomenal sauce for me again soon (hint hint), maybe next time I'll share.  I really need to see them more!  Missing the cracks and eating their food.