Saturday, March 29, 2008

Chick-o-stick Ice Cream!!!!!!!

I feel as if I've found the Holy Grail of vegan recipes! Yes, this lovely vegan blogger has formulated Chick-o-stick ice cream! I just found this so haven't had a chance to try it yet and probably won't this weekend, but this is one for next week's menu...


While browsing through many vegan blogs last night I came across one I had not seen before, The Conscious Kitchen. Once you have checked it out, it is needless for me to say I was inspired. Scroll down to the unbelievably beautiful cupcakes, for example. Besides all of the beautifully photographed food and amazing-sounding recipes, I particularly was drawn to this excerpt from the blog description:

I’ve been vegan for more than 10 years. For me veganism is (considered approach + eating) / (me + my contemporary context). I understand veganism as a process and a commitment to living a life with compassion. Veganism is not a stable or unitary response to production and consumption, it is active and comprehensive in its consideration of how best to respond to the commodification and degradation of life that takes place in the contemporary context of agribusiness production. Veganism is not even just about animals, it's about people, the producers, workers, transporters and sellers of food, it's about the environment, it's about our whole relationship to the big broad world out there.

Not to be mushy, but—I eat for peace, I cook for love, I think about food as a means to connect and I use this forum as a means of extending my table—the food on it, the work behind it, the thoughts about it, the fun and the flavor too.

--Emilie Hardman, The Conscious Kitchen

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sneaky Mom, 0, Toddler, 1

First of all, I am not a big fan of the current cookbook craze that teaches parents to "sneak" healthy foods into their kids' diets. I can't say too much about the books themselves because I have not read them, but just on principle, I don't like the premise. I've always thought it best to teach Luka (and now Cas too) about how foods are good for our bodies and how we can eat to be strong and healthy. far as Luka goes, that was all fine and good for the first 2 1/2 years of his life. I was always so thrilled when he chose fruit and vegetables over candy, or tofu over the meat offered by well-meaning relatives. Then he turned 3. Apparently 3 year-olds like to test and assert their own independence, and one of the ways Luka likes to do this is by eating very little food. He would live on cheese if I let him. Despite the dilemma that produces for me trying to transition to a vegan diet, all cheese all the time is horrible for his little digestive system. So last night, while reading the section on children's nutrition in Becoming Vegan by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina, I once again came across the recipe for Sneaky Dad's Pudding. I had seen this recipe many times before but had never considered it, again because I don't care for the whole "sneaky" premise. But...desperate times call for desperate measures (or rather, toddlers screaming for cheese call for desperate measures) and I decided to give it a try. Luka loves to help out in the kitchen, so I invited him in to make chocolate pudding. He added all the ingredients and mixed it all up in the trusty Magic Bullet, and commented several times how yummy it looked. Once it was all done, I put it in a bowl for him and he actually seemed excited to eat something other than cheese for once. But did he eat it? No. He just looked at it thoughtfully for a minute, then told me I could have it and could I please go get him some cheese. Cas ended up gleefully eating the sneaky pudding, so at least someone reaped the nutritional benefits. So back to the drawing board...I am hoping this is all just a stage.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

a bakeless Easter and banana lust

I wish I was here posting pictures of some fabulous goodies baked for the holiday tomorrow.  I bake every Easter.  But not this one. :(  We are just finally all getting healthy again, and my house is a crazy mess.  We will be eating at our parents' houses tomorrow and have been excused from bringing a dish this year, probably for fear we will contaminate everyone with whatever was going on around here.

On a positive baking note, I tried a cookie from Alternative Baking Company, who makes vegan cookies.  I had the Peanut Butter Persuasion, and it was the best vegan cookie I've ever had, and also the best peanut butter cookie ever.  

In other food-related news, I've developed an obsession with making sure we always have plenty of bananas in the house.  This is due to my newfound addiction to green smoothies (I use bananas for my base).  This is quite the shift for me, however, since just a few months ago I was still semi-boycotting bananas.  I wasn't buying them except for maybe once each month, and when I did I felt guilty.  I live in Michigan...obviously bananas are not local, nor will there ever come a season when they  will be (although with global warming I probably shouldn't speak so soon).  So again, I am faced with yet another facet of my food dilemma.  What's more important to me...local, veg*n?  I know that I vote with my dollars and when local food is not available I try to get organic and/or fair trade.  But what is involved in the banana business?  Some days I feel as if I am drowning in research trying to figure out where my money is going.  I wonder if there will ever be a day when I just *know* that something is ethical or not...although I suppose part of the human process involves developing our own system of ethics based on experience and awareness.  So...yeah, bananas.  We can't run out or I start to become very anxious like people do when they are on their last cigarette.  I don't know how I feel about the ethics of ME buying bananas.  Just confused.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Brobee! The little green one...

Well, Charm City Cakes won't be knocking down my door any time soon, but I thought Brobee turned out quaintly cute. The best part is that he made Cas smile!

Sadly, I'll be making Brobee 2.0 in a few days because we had to cancel today's party. Cas woke up in the middle of the night crying and very uncomfortable and stayed up for most of the night into the early morning. We have all been sick around here (except Cas) and now it seems it is his turn. I hope it doesn't last poor little birthday boy. Anyhow, we rescheduled the party for later this week, so hopefully that will work out!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Time flies...

My baby is a year old today! More pictures of cake madness and toddler revelry to come...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

seasonal bad luck, green smoothie technique, and baby (toddler!) Cas

We have been bombarded by germs in this house, and it's making us all a little crazy. I am hoping that springtime will be a healthier season for all of us. I've started Cas on green smoothies and he loves them! His immune system is pretty strong and he has stayed fairly healthy this winter, so I'm hoping the smoothies will help to maintain that.

I've started using Nate's technique for blending the greens and it works much better than mine. He packs the fruit in first, then the greens and water before blending. I was doing the opposite. Having the greens closest to the blade seems to puree them nicely, leaving the chunks of fruit for last and giving them a creamier texture. I am able to use less bananas this way, although I'm not exactly sure why it works that way.

On a completely separate year ago today began the loooong back labor that would lead to the birth of baby Cas. It was my due date, and he would not be born for two more days. Luka and I took laps around the block in my hopes of progressing the labor, and then later in the day Nate was a trooper and stayed with me for each contraction (24 + hours worth!). I can't believe my baby will be a year old! I made a couple practice cakes for his party yesterday and settled on one I liked (and I think he will like) best. It is the Deep Chocolate Vegan Cake from "Moosewood Restaurant New Classics", and it will be decorated to look like Brobee from Yo Gabba Gabba. For our party guests, I will make an assortment of cupcakes which, at least for now, will include chocolate pretzel cupcakes, chocolate mint, and either banana split or chocolate raspberry. I'll try to post some pictures this weekend.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Raw Adventures

I'm still doing the green smoothies, even though I haven't blogged about them in a week. Much to my surprise, I got a second round of the flu earlier this week. I was lucky that it didn't last long at all (probably a result of the greens!) but I was still really frustrated that it happened at all. Attempting to eat raw until dinner has really opened up my eyes to the way I had been eating. I thought I was eating pretty good, but now I actually know what it's like to FEEL good. I have more energy and feel more balanced in general (except when I have the flu, in which case I just get mad). So now I have to figure out the best way to make this work for me. I'm not ready for 100% raw, although that is something I'd explore in the future once the kids are done breastfeeding. My comfort zone has been with vegetarianism/whole foods, but I am drawn to veganism more and more. My body feels better as a vegan, and honestly so does my conscience. My weaknesses are butter and chocolate. Vegan chocolate is easy and accessible, so that's not a big deal...but then there's butter. I do love Earth Balance, but not for baked goods. So right now, I'm mostly raw until dinner on most days. My goal is to incorporate more (cooked) vegan dinners. I don't expect Nate and the boys to follow this plan at all. Nate has been very supportive and encouraging of my vegan experiments, so I am lucky there. The boys can make up their minds when they grow up if they want to be veg*ns, or raw, or whatever. After all, it has taken me 34 years just to get to this point.