Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Orange Black!

This last week, Kaleigh earned her 4th new belt this year!  We have been attending karate nearly 5 times a week for the past 12 months and each day she is itching to go again.  We are so excited she found something that she loves so much.

She earned her orange belt with a black stripe, which means she gets to learn a new kata.  She has been on the edge to learn a new one for month.  She is really excited for that opportunity!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Busy weekend and some jackfruit!

This weekend was incredibly busy, as I am sure it was for most Americans.  Ashley, Kaleigh and I spent most of the weekend making holiday presents and I also had quite a few orders to fill over the weekend.  Not to mention that I agreed to bake cupcakes and bitty mints for Kaleigh's school party.

We got nearly everything completed though.  It was a productive weekend for sure.  The girls both leave for Georgia on Christmas day but we are doing some festivities at my mum's house on the eve and my dad's after they return.

Saturday evening, we took a break from the work and I made dinner.  We are still playing around with the jackfruit and I opted to make a chickun salad with it!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Sweet Sesame Tofu

We have been eating primarily gluten free for some time now.  During that time I have been using a lot of sauces for our dinners.  I typically lean more towards cooking Asian dishes so I have been working to improve my sweet sesame sauce.

This time we used some tofu and onions and surrounded it with some steamed broccoli.  It was a hit with the girls and myself!  I am looking forward to trying another round soon!

Friday, December 11, 2015

New Menu!

We are extremely excited to announce our updated menu for our vegan food company, Squashed!  I will just post it up and let folks read through it!  Enjoy, we can not wait to fill new orders!  Some local (Central Maine) delivery options available.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Jackfruit because, why not?

It seems like every time I use a social media outlet someone is showing a another awesome thing they did with jackfruit.  Ashley and I were intrigued and wanted to see what we could do.  The next time we were at the Asian market we hunted down some of this fruit that belongs to the fig family.

When we were ready to experiment with is, we took the easiest route and made some pulled "pork" sandwiches.  We figured that with that much Bar B Que sauce, how could it be bad?

We pan fried both sides and then began to mash it apart into the "pulled" style.  It took a few minutes for the jackfruit to soften up and begin to come apart but when it did, it looked pretty cool!

We fried in some onions and added the sauce, toasted some hoogies and we were ready for dinner!  We sat down, excited but curious to find that these pulled "pork" sandwiches were outstanding!

 The texture was really unique and we all really enjoyed our meal.  Next time we are at the Asian market I will be getting more jackfruit as I have some wild ideas now!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wordless Wednesday!

Buffalo Tempeh Salad with vegan Ranch


Peanut Stir-Fry

Aloo Gobi

Sushi on the salt brick

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Grand Finale

As the cold weather rushes into the North East we have decided to stop doing music shows until the spring.  Our final show of the year / season was on Saturday night.

We had Sticker Incentive open up the show.  They are a local part time ska band that has played our space once before.  They are nice guys and their music is upbeat and poppy.

Next up was Bummed Out.  They have played here a number of times and are some of the nicest dudes.  They are always thankful of the opportunity to play and are well liked by the folks that come to our space.

Third was a another local favorite in Stokin the Neighbors.  Just back from tour, they play faster 90's style pop punk and are also some great dudes that have been really supportive of our space.  It is always great to have bands like them come and play!

Last was Survay Says, a ska band out of New Jersey.  They play an upbeat ska punk sound with a ton of energy.  Nick from Stokin' the Neighbors really wanted to have me get Survay Says to come up so I tried my best to get them here and it worked out.  The crowd was really excited about them and they played a great set.  They were really nice guys and hung out for a meal after the show.  Ill try to get them back up on their Spring tour!

It was a great first year for us doing shows at the house.  Not only is it a needed outlet for me to have access to these shows but it feels great to be able to provide this type of music for Maine folks.  To see everyone having so much fun dancing and shouting and bobbing their head really makes all the work worth it for me.  We have a great community being build and it is wonderful that we can be a part of that!

Monday, December 7, 2015


We have been making chili for Squashed ordered regularly.  In the past few months, as the weather has gotten colder, it has become out best selling dish.  Typically I make it fairly mild in temperature but I had a special request for some heat on this particular order.

I have found that using jalapeno peppers (which i generally add to chili) does not give much heat.  It offers a small taste but mostly just a nutty pepper flavor.  For this special order, I used chipotle pepper.  The heat was escalated a noticeable degree and referred to as Inferno!

I honestly did not feel in was crazy spicy but it did have a nice heat to it.  Our customers we all happy with the heat it brought so it was a great success!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Sick of Thanksgiving...

Prior to the Thanksgiving break for the girls, I had the grand idea to make a holiday inspired feast.

I made some cranberries, which are one of my favorite things to have this time of the year.  I love the tartness of freshly made cranberry sauce!

I made some mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli and some turkey flavor inspired tofu cubes!  Ashley and Kaleigh loved the tofu turkey bits and the meal was a hit!

I have always had fun playing with these traditional flavors around the holiday.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Post Giving

Last year, after the Thanksgiving craze was over we went to my dads for a late weekend dinner.  This year we did the same.  Last year we did a much more Thanksgiving type meal and invited some local family members, this year it was just them and us and we opted for some taco lasagna type dish.

We had some awesome apple pie for desert which was great considering I was unable to eat any pie on Thanksgiving day.  The only pie crust that was vegan was the mincemeat pie.  Irony.

Our visit with my dad was great as always, it has been a really great thing to be so much closer to to them!  It is one of the main reasons we moved up to Maine and it has been better than expected!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

I forgot Thanksgiving!

I forgot to post what we did for thanksgiving this year.  We did not go all out but we made a few things.  Last year we basically brought our own thanksgiving but had too many leftovers.  This year we opted for a more modest approach.

We brought our own vegan turkey option, as well as some store bought stuffing that was vegan.  Ashley made a cool carrot and sweet potato casserole topped with an oat crumble.  I made some corn bread muffins, 12 with jalapeno and 12 without.

We had a good time and saw a lot of family.  I think it was good that it was Ashley and Kaleigh's 2nd time at my grandmothers for thanksgiving because they knew more people and felt more conformable.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Tofu making failure

For her last birthday, Kaleigh got a tofu making kit.  It got set on a shelf and forgotten until recently.  This weekend she wanted to try and make some homemade tofu.  It is something that I have never done so we pulled out the kit and began to follow the instructions.

Unfortunately, it was not long before what we were working with no longer resembled the instructions.  We began to wing it.  By the end we had several blocks of soy product that looked similar to tofu but tasted awful.

We still have an awesome kit and loads of soybeans and will look up some other recipes and try again as Kaleigh was heartbroken that 2 days worth of work did not come to fruition.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

West African Peanut Soup

I am not very familiar with African food.  I have never been out to an African restaurant and never tried to cook it at home.  To say my exposure has been limited would be an understatement.

Ashley asked for soup last night for dinner and my mind immediately went to butternut squash soup but I wanted something new.  Something we had not had before and might be some fun flavors to experiment with.

After some limited internet searching of flavor ideas I decided to make a West African Peanut Soup.  While I looked into the typical spices used in West African I also decided to make some cabbage on the side and toss the pomegranate we had in the house on the plates as well.

Ultimately I think the dish could have used a little more salt it was actually quite a good first try!  We all liked it and we even have a little leftover for lunches!

Monday, November 23, 2015


About every six months, Kaleigh and I pull out all the food scraps that we have been saving in the freezer and make a bunch of vegetable broth.  This weekend we took the opportunity to clean out the freezers and opted to make loads of room by removing all the scraps and brothing!

We got out our two large pots and started packing in frozen food scrap veggies.  Adding water and bringing to a simmer.  Adding more water and simmering for several hours until the broth was dark in color and all of the veggie scraps were simmered well.

We double strained the broth to make sure there were no food scraps left in it and got 6 large jars of broth before dumping the simmered scraps into the compost.  It is always really rewarding to make broth and I am thrilled Kaleigh enjoys it.  We get to talk about how we try to use everything to its fullest but eating the veggies, then using scraps for broth then composting what is left.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Feeling Soupy!

As the cold weather storms into the North East, it brings with it the desire for hearty and warm soups!  Around our house, soups are one of our favorite things to eat.  There is not many foods as comforting as a warm bowl of soup.

Over the last few days I have made three great soups for myself and the girls.

Lentil Soup with Kale Chips

Thai Coconut Soup

Chinese Bok Choy Soup

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

My Mum had a Birthday!

Sunday we celebrated my mother's birthday.  She had family and friend come over and do a painting class with her.  It was a lot of fun and resulted in some pretty cool paintings!

I baked her a cake, cinnamon raisin cake with a layer of pineapple butter cream topped with vanilla butter cream and crushed pecans.  I really have been enjoying cake baking!

My mum has been a great influence in my life and I am so happy that she is creating her own space and enjoying her life now.  She lived unhappily for too long at the expense of an awful husband and the resulting children who were a challenge.  It is great to see her flourish and love her time now.  Happy Birthday mum!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Two shows this weekend!

This was a great weekend.  Friday I was able to spend some needed quality time with Ashley and watch a movie during the afternoon.  It was a relaxing opportunity that we do not get often enough and really set the tone for a nice weekend.

That evening Kaleigh and Ashley opted to stay home while I took the drive to Bath for a show.  My friend James had set it up and I helped him get his first touring band, Puberty Wounds.  They were a lot of fun and it was great to see some new faces as well as some old friends!

Saturday I spent the day baking and the evening we hosted a show at our space.  We had a lower turnout but it was still a lot of fun.  I was happy to see some good friends and make some new ones.  Our season for shows at our house is coming to a close soon but it has been amazing watching it grow!  So proud of what we have all done as a community.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

BBQ Tofu Night!

Occasionally, Ashley has to work late and Kaleigh and I have dinner without her.  We are never happy she misses dinner with us but it does allow us to eat some dishes that are not always Ashley's favorite.

That was the circumstance last night.  Kaleigh and I opted to make BBQ tofu, a dish she and I love and often eat more than we should.  We had mashed sweet potato and roasted brussel sprouts as our sides.  We both ate two plates full and were stuffed.

Ashley got home just before bedtime and we heated her up a plate.  It is not her favorite but she still appreciated the meal after a 12 hour day.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Considering New Menu Items

With the changing of the seasons, we are working on a new private chef menu at Squashed.  Likely to be removed (temporarily) are the seasonal dishes like Ratatouille and Gazpacho for more hearty winter dishes.

One of the dishes we are considering is a second Indian dish.  Aloo Gobi is a dish I have a lot of experience making and would be an easy addition.  I am still not sold on the need for 2 Indian dishes on such a small menu but it might work.

We always do our best to accommodate special orders so it might just be a dish we offer to folks who ask.  We are also considering a subscription option that I may add things from an "off the menu" list.  I am really excited to see how the business continues to progress!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Kaleigh's Cookies!

While riding home from karate class last night Kaleigh was talking about how she wanted to make something when she got home.  I always try to encourage her creativity and suggested she make a comic book.  She has been reading a lot of comics recently and thought she might like to make one.  She scoffed.

When we got home I started dinner and Kaleigh asked if she could make cookies.  I was happy to hear she would be in the kitchen with me and told her to go ahead.  She has made cookies by herself before and I figured she could do it again without issue.

She pulled out all of her ingredients, her cookbook and I noticed that she was also making them with the gluten free flour so that Ashley could have them as well.  She is such a thoughtful child!

It took her a bit to make them but she was determined to do it without assistance.  She was deciding what to add into the cookies for flavor and opted for cranberries, chocolate chips, coconut shreds, and currants.

When she was adding the currants she told me that they must have been genetically modified raisins.  I corrected her but added that it as great that she was thinking about those types of things.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Obligatory Halloween Post!

Obligatory Halloween post!  It is one of the few holidays I think are kind of fun actually.  Most are a bore but Halloween has some cool stuff going on that I can get behind.

This year, Ashley made some awesome mini donut treats!  Not only were they vegan but they were also gluten free so we could all enjoy them!

That evening, Ashley, Kaleigh, and I went to meet up with my family and trick-or-treated through my old stomping grounds!  Last year Kaleigh opted for a scary costume but this year she wanted to go as a Newsie!  The costume was awesome and there were even some older folks that greeted her at the door knowing just what she was!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The future menu change

With some future revisions to our private chef menu at Squashed, we are likely to remove ratatouille.  Despite it being one of my favorite dishes, the seasonality of the ingredients makes it difficult to maintain integrity through the deep winters in Maine.  It makes me sad since it is also a fairly hearty dish.

With regular orders coming in during the fast passing autumn weather, ratatouille has taken a back seat.  We were able to fill an order recently though!  For me, it is a dish I really enjoy making so anytime I get the opportunity I take it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wordless Wednesday!

Fried Rice

Roasted Farro with Veggies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Split Pea Soup