Veggie Monster

broccoliMy kid eats his vegetables. I know, amazing. Maybe it’s a phase. Just kidding.
It’s not. Do you know how I know? Because we eat vegetables…..the adults. They
are in everything, and at every meal. Even smoothies. Even breakfast. (Ok so
That’s a little exaggeration, not always at breakfast, but I make up for it with
snacks) I suppose by this age ( T is two ish) you’ve all realized they copy you.
If you don’t realize it, hello, now you do. I love vegetables! There I said it.
But not in every iteration, so I get it if you think you don’t like them, or you
think you don’t have time. I have two babies, a dog, a part time job, and I
exercise regularly. I understand being short on time, I’m typing this as I eat my lunch, before I practice, on a Wednesday, which is when I do yoga at The Yoga Joint South and the boys will be with a sitter. This is why I can type, because nap time usually involves yoga and practicing at home, during nap time. I also understand being tired; I have an infant, and a toddler who wakes me up regularly. I understand tired (and a coffee addiction). Although I don’t understand girls in their early twenties without children attempting to commiserate my exhaustion with theirs, even if they are a nanny. You have no idea, and you can quit, so shush up.

Any who. Vegetables. My favorite is kale. Don’t boohoo it till you try my favorite recipe. Which is from chocolate covered Katie. http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2014/02/19/cook-kale/
It’s soooo good. Oh god it’s good. I’m going to list some of my strategies here, so you’re welcome.

Strategic move number 1:
Left overs. Make a huge pot of this. It’s warms up easily. Or the roasted root and squash yumminess I’ll post at the end. I rarely have leftovers because I eat it all. I made the roasted yumminess yesterday. I made a lot with the intention of having leftovers. I ate them. I ate them all. Everything except what Timmy ate.
A good tip for everyone with tiny tots that need to eat mush. Make whatever veg you’ll be eating, purée that sh* t up after. If you’re making the kale you can do it still. Butternut purée is a good base for it. Butternut
freezes beautifully. So just do it.

Strategic move number 2:
Purée baby spinach into everything. It doesn’t detract from sweet things at all. I put it in my pancakes. I put it in smoothies. I put it in my chocolate mousse. See recipe. You can put it in spaghetti sauce. Done. Easy. You can purée
butternut squash too, not as easy to add to everything, it has flavor (a yummy one) which is why it’s in my pancakes.
You don’t have to sneak it on little ones, let them watch you. They are learning that vegetables are good for them, and taste good. And that mommy and daddy aren’t sneaky (all the time). It’s just an easy way to eat your vegetables that’s all. Nothing nefarious.

Strategic move number three:
If your child little or older doesn’t like them, that’s ok. You eat it, and Keep trying. First time T tried broccoli, he was not a fan. I was gutted. Broccoli was my favorite growing up, and is still a winner. My mom sautéed it in olive
oil and garlic, pinch of salt. I only ate the tops. And you know what, T does the same thing. I don’t care; I eat his stems, happily. Back to T learning to love it. I made it for him again. He still didn’t like it. Third time I made it
again, he ate the whole thing. I kept trying. It wasn’t hard, because I was eating it myself.

This goes back to modeling behavior. If your kid doesn’t like veg, look at how you treat it. Is it a chore to eat? Change your attitude, try a new recipe, and don’t give up yourself. Why eat something you don’t like? I don’t. I
Like the food I eat. Genuinely. Do I prefer cake? Hell yeah I do. I freakin looooooove cake. But that is a sometime food (thanks Cookie Monster) I love chocolate, cookies, chips, fried yummy things. Ooooo French fries. But those are treats. If you find foods that are healthy, and taste good, you’re modeling better behavior for your kid. They’ll have a better relationship with food. They won’t need to go on a diet. Diets suuuuuuck. They are temporary fixes for a problem that doesn’t go away. Another cool thing about vegetables, aside from being loaded with vitamins, they are loaded with fiber. Which fills you up (making the cake less tempting), and helps you, um, hmmm, cleans you out. This helps your overall health and well being. Kids are little people, this goes for them too. Eating healthily makes you feel sooooo good. Diets make you cranky. Eating good food does not. Eat your vegetables, Peace. Teaser, I’ll be discussing my journey towards loosing the baby weight next time. Teaser two, it’s not magic or easy.

Roasted Yumminess
Butternut Squash
Beets
Olive oil
Sea salt
Pinch of rosemary
Directions: Preheat oven to 425, cut vegetables into a medium cube, and toss in olive oil salt and rosemary. Roast till lightly browned (the squash the beets it will be harder to tell) I roasted mine for 45 min.

Healthy Chocolate Mousse
One package mori-nu organic extra firm silken tofu
½ cup semi sweet chocolate chips (I love Ghirardelli)
Teaspoon of vanilla
Handful of baby spinach
Puree tofu and spinach in a blender till smooth.
Melt chocolate chips (I put my bowl of chips over a bowl with hot water) gradually fold in tofu mixture. Till fully incorporated. Chill. Or not, we ate it warm the first night, but it was even better the next day. You can add additional sweetener, I didn’t because I thought it was perfect as is. I think maple syrup or agave would be the best to mix in if you wanted it sweeter.

Spring is sprung

Spring. It’s spring! Or nearly spring. Here in So Flo I lose track of the seasons, so it’s been spring to me for awhile now. Until I got a garden catalog. NOW it’s spring. When I was a kid, and young adult, the spring catalogue was something to look forward to. It was something my dad and I poured over. He’d hand it to me, and tell me to pick out something good for the yard. Pick a tree, any tree! I’d get so excited, and immediately start dog earring pages and putting stars next to my favorites. One year I starred a burning bush. When it arrived it was a stick, disappointment hit hard ( I was a kid). I was expecting a beautiful red orange bush! Never mind it was spring, and leaves don’t go fiery till fall. But my dad put that stick in the ground, and it exploded. He didn’t just have a green thumb, he was green up the shoulder, maybe his face too. I could have sworn he was magic. Every plant he got his hands on went forth and multiplied.
He started irises one year, and they multiplied so quickly and prolifically, that when we moved and he took a bunch for the new yard, it wasn’t even noticeable. Then those took over the Belmar yard! Best part of late spring is seeing that sea of purple. If we got lucky, they bloomed in time for the Spring Lake 5 race and party, they are famous. Grandma Gert swings bye to fill a vase, mom gives them away, and the sea of purple is barely dented. I’m sad I won’t see it in person this year because of baby number #2 preventing me from flying, but getting the garden catalogue and actually having the yard to put the plants in soon is a nice consolation prize. I already have my stars next to my favorites! It’s a very tropic friendly catalogue too. Lots of key lime trees, dwarf bananas, gardenias, jasmine, and even a lychee tree. Very different from the northern varieties I grew up with, but I know my dad would be gleefully rubbing his hands together over all the cool stuff we could plant.
It’ll be my first garden since his premature departure from our lives in ’09. The last year I lived with my parents I had an amazing vegetable garden. 3 kinds of tomato, 2 kinds of spinach, tons of eggplant, blue berry bushes, all organic, mulched with my juicer compost. And it flourished due to my efforts. Or so I thought. My dad, who acted so proud of me and my vegetable adventure, was spraying my beautiful organic garden with fertilizer! And no one even told me till last year! 4 years later! I laugh because I know my dad probably got the biggest kick out of my bragging about my organic garden. I hope I have half the amazing garden I would have if he were helping. I have a little Timmy to help me where the Big Tim lIt’s spring! Or nearly spring. Here in So Flo I lose track of the seasons, so it’s been spring to me for awhile now. Until I got a garden catalog. NOW it’s spring. When I was a kid, and young adult, the spring catalogue was something to look forward to. It was something my dad and I poured over. He’d hand it to me, and tell me to pick out something good for the yard. Pick a tree, any tree! I’d get so excited, and immediately start dog earring pages and putting stars next to my favorites. One year I starred a burning bush. When it arrived it was a stick, disappointment hit hard (I was a kid). I was expecting a beautiful red orange bush! Never mind it was spring, and leaves don’t go fiery till fall. But my dad put that stick in the ground, and it exploded. He didn’t just have a green thumb, he was green up the shoulder, maybe his face too. I could have sworn he was magic. Every plant he got his hands on went forth and multiplied.
He started irises one year, and they multiplied so quickly, that when we moved and he took a bunch for the new yard, it wasn’t even noticeable. Then those took over the Belmar yard! Best part of late spring is seeing that sea of purple. If we got lucky, they bloomed in time for the Spring Lake 5 race and party, they are famous. Grandma Gert swings bye to fill a vase, mom gives them away, and the sea of purple is barely dented. I’m sad I won’t see it in person this year because of baby number #2 preventing me from flying, but getting the garden catalogue and actually having the yard to put the plants in soon is a nice consolation prize. I already have my stars next to my favorites! It’s a very tropic friendly catalogue too. Lots of key lime trees, dwarf bananas, gardenias, jasmine, and even a lychee tree. Very different from the northern varieties I grew up with, but I know my dad would be gleefully rubbing his hands together over all the cool stuff we could plant.
It’ll be my first garden since his premature departure from our lives in ’09. The last year I lived with my parents I had an amazing vegetable garden. 3 kinds of tomato, 2 kinds of spinach, tons of eggplant, blue berry bushes, all organic, mulched with my juicer compost. And it flourished due to my efforts. Or so I thought. My dad, who acted so proud of me and my vegetable adventure, was spraying my beautiful organic garden with fertilizer! And no one even told me till last year! 4 years later! I laugh because I know my dad probably got the biggest kick out of my bragging about my organic garden. I hope I have half the amazing garden I would have if he were helping. I have a little Timmy to help me where the Big Tim left off. I think we’ll be ok..

Yummy Delicious Ceasar Salad

Salad!

Most of the country is still recovering from snow storm after snow storm, while

us folks living So Flo are knee deep in the best weather we have all year! I

don’t want rub your noses in it but it’s beautiful here. Salad weather lol. So I

made one last night for my dinner, it was so yummy I had it for lunch too.

 

         One of the hallmarks of everything I make is simplicity. I can’t mess

around with too many spices, nothing complicated. Mostly because I don’t have

time, but really I grew up eating simply flavored food. Broccoli sautéed in

garlic and olive oil was my favorite food, going to friends houses and seeing my

beloved trees drowning in cheese sauce did not make me happy. My moms Ceasar

salad is super simple, crushed garlic, lemon, olive oil, salt, and parmesan.

It’s famous. Didn’t you know that? Even her vegan version rocks! Now to make it

a meal, I need to dress it up a little. Today I added some “roast tofu” but your

standard baked tofu will do, chickpeas, and sundried tomatoes. The base I used

was I love kale, by organic girl. I love salad mixes, they make life easier. Who

has time to wash and dry lettuce! I need a salad spinner. It’s on my list. So

I’ll give you my recipe for my Ceasar salad dressing. It’s not for a lot you can

double triple whatever it. It makes enough for me. I like my food fresh, mostly

because I may not want something again for weeks and weeks by then this will be

bad, who wants waste. And this is so quick. So here you are!

 

Caesar Salad Dressing

Serves 1

1 small clove of garlic

1 tsp capers

1 tsp lemon juice (fresh please)

1 tsp olive oil

1 Tbsp vegan mayonnaise

 

Crush the garlic with your knife, add capers, chop the heck out of them. Add mix

to bowl add remaining ingredients.

That’s it sooooooo easy. Enjoy!

What the Fudge

 

I fluked up my fudge. Ok not really, it’s still no fail fudge, but you need to use the actual ingredients.

Years ago I veganized the recipe that was on the marshmellow mallow fluff package. Marshmellow (mallow) fluff. It is delicious. It reminds me of my childhood. Every Christmas I looked forward to my mom cracker cookies (you know the recipe with saltines), her banana bread, my Grandma’s beautiful gingerbread houses (one of these days I’m going to learn her secrets) and my Mom’s fudge. It’s simple enough, but when I was at Whole Foods this week for my shopping, I couldn’t find Ricemellow fluff the vegan healthier alternative to the Kraft stuff. I was like no big whoop I’ll grab vegan marshmallows instead. yeah, they don’t quite work the same. When I got to the point in the recipe where you add the fluff, my mallows* didn’t melt, I had chopped them up, and they were not melting!! The horror! I had to put the whole pan back on low heat and work the heck out of them till I had one homogenized mixture. Luckily it worked out, but my arms were so sore, I had to cut my home practice short. It didn’t help that I was dead set on an arm balances day, either. It’s delicious still. I’m dying waiting for it to cool. I wanted to confess my near fail though, because I’ve never heard of one on a blog before. In the meantime I’m making tacos for our lunch, and then heading over to the Yoga Joint South to deliver some fudge and pick up some goodies. I always have my arms full when I am there so a separate shopping trip is called for! Here is “my”/ Krafts veganized fudge recipe.

Fudge

3 cups of sugar

¾ cup earth balance (I love the soy free its even closer to sweet fresh butter taste then the soy version)

2/3 cup coconut milk (full fat don’t be stingy, its fudge for Christmas sake)

7.9 oz of chocolate chips*

7 oz ricemellow fluff

2 tsp vanilla

Crushed walnuts (optional)

Combine the first 3 ingredients in a large heavy bottom sauce pot, heat on medium to a low boil, stirring the whole time, for 5 minutes or till your candy thermometer reaches 235. I love my thermometer. Remove from heat, add chocolate, stir till it’s all melted, add fluff and vanilla stir till combined. Pour into a 9x13inch baking dish lined with parchment, and for good measure (but optional) coconut oil. Top with optional crushed walnuts. Allow to cool, keep in the fridge. It’s sooooooooo good. And it’s simple, and nearly fool proof. So simple in fact I’ve only made it a few times, but it’s stuck in my head.

 

*Seriously why is spell check kicking my butt on this word, the things aren’t even made from mallow root anymore!

Let’s talk about Beets baby

Let’s talk about Beets baby

I love them. Maybe that’s weird. Not going to lie, I didn’t like them for most of my life. In fact when I worked at a juice bar in college, I would make the vilest, most good for you juices, they were for my own tourcher*. I’d throw burdock, kale, spinach, lemon, ginger, cucumber and yes beet. Nothing sweet. And they were not very good tasting. I would chug them fast as I could. It wasn’t till after I had been juicing for years where I’d let myself have a yummy treat in the form of a live lemonade. Apple, Lemon and Ginger, divine, throw some greens in, you don’t even notice. I still don’t like juiced beets though. I do love, love, love love to eat them though. Mostly I prefer them raw, or in beet jerkey form. Yes I said BEET JERKEY. I have flirted with the raw food movement off and on. I can definitively say, while I love certain raw treats, and definitely LOVE raw desserts. I’m super down with cooking food. The beet jerkey recipe you have 2 options! If you have a dehydrator you can dehydrate them for about 24 hours on 170, or you can “dehydrate” in you over at its lowest temp, for hours and hours. Or you can take my favorite option roast them at 400 for 20 minutes . It depends on how thinly you can slice your beets,  they shrivel a little but not be crispy. I don’t even think it merits a real recipe. It’s too simple. You slice your beets super thin, throw the slices into a baking dish, cover with tamari soy sauce and drizzle with olive oil. Then follow the aforementioned cooking and “cooking” directions . They are so so yummy. Or maybe I’m nuts……… no they are really good. Hopefully I’ll get a mandolin one day, that makes this so much easier. But I’m also a Mommy, Opera singer, yoga fanatic with limited time so, I think the dehydrator option and the roasting option are the quickest and easiest.

In other news I’m obsessed with Rehab Addict on DIY. It’s a great show! I love old houses, and grew up in them.  The show got me thinking about our soon to be home, and even though it’ll be temporary I’ll be able to buy some furniture and décor that our current place doesn’t have the room for. Like there will be Window picture frames and a bar somewhere. I’m hoping to find these items salvaged. Rehab Addict got me thinking about where there might be some Home Salvage places in South Florida. I found a great place called Adam and Eve Salvage, in West Palm. I haven’t been to the place yet, but it has a pretty informative website, listing current inventory. I’ll be making a trip when my last opera for the season (Tales of Hoffman)is over, till then I’ll be drooling over my show, and Adam and Eve’s website. www.adamandevesalvage.com

* Is torcher/torture/torcher, misspelled. Apparently spell check and autocorrect on my phone don’t know how to spell it either. I guess I don’t use that word very much. Ok so it’s spelled torture, took me a few days but I just realized it now. I’ll leave it though, because it’s kind of funny that I can’t spell that word.

An ode to my Favorite Food Bloggers!

An ode to my favorite food bloggers.

 I love tweaking recipes, its rare that I don’t tweak as I go, even rarer that after I’ve made it I don’t think about what I could have done to make it better. (Also, while I cook I like to warm up. Mult tasking. Ain’t no one got time to do those separately!
) Anyhow. The point is, at some point my own recipe started somewhere. Sometimes from Grandma, or Betty Crocker but increasingly its food bloggers. I know a lot of people who are looking for resources to help them eat healthier. So I’m going to let you in on some of mine!

-Chocolate Covered Katie!

http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2013/06/17/healthy-waffles-recipe/ 

These waffles are happening this weekend. I love her recipes. They don’t make huge quantities, so they are less likely to go bad in my refridgerator. But honestly, there would be very little chance of that happening anyhow. Because her stuff is good! If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll love her! Here’s one of my all time fav’s of hers, I don’t mess with it. Its really really good. And Raw!

http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2011/03/07/you-gotta-try-this/

Also her ranch is pretty good to. I’ll list it here, with my addendums!

Crazy-Good Ranch Dressing

  • 12 oz (1 package) silken-firm tofu (Mori-Nu is recommended for best taste)
  • 3/4 tsp each garlic powder and onion powder
  • 1 tsp dry dill
  • 1/3 cup water, or more or less depending on desired thickness (I use 100g)
  • scant 2 tbsp apple-cider vinegar (I was more generous than scant and use red wine vinegar)
  • 1 and 1/2 vegetable broth cubes (I use Rapunzel brand. You can use more or less, depending on desired saltiness.)
  • 2 tbsp low-fat Veganaise (or regular) (If you leave this out, you’ll still have a nice dressing, but it won’t be nearly as yummy!) (I made it more like 5 Tablespoons def. Needed more)

Combine all ingredients, and blend until creamy. (I use a Magic Bullet.) (I did too)

 

-Your vegan MOM is also a great site! Not as simple, but she’s cooking for a family of 4, and her little boys love her stuff!  This is a recipe that when I have time to make it, both of MY boys love. I don’t do it often, but they like it. I like my tofu simple steamed with a yummy tamari, onion, sugar sesame sauce. But boys are boys, they like crispy stuff. I sub out the cornflakes and use whole wheat breadcrumbs, because I usually have those. Crispy corn cereal isn’t really
something any of us like.

http://www.yourveganmom.com/your_vegan_mom/2011/04/crunchy-baked-tofu-sticks-and-post-easter-food-trauma.html

-http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com/

Kathy is inventive and very very healthy. I don’t LOVE everything she does, but she has some freaking awesome ideas. Like frozen melon in a smoothie. AMAZING and life changing! She also inspired me to revisit Acai. Acai is a crazy good for you super food. It adds a depth and creaminess to your smooties (oops typo but funny enough that’s what T man calls smoothies). I like the unsweetended ones so you can add naturaly sweet things, like frozen bananas or watermelon, and it won’t knock you over with sweetness.

In conclusion (thesis mode slipped in there) there are tons of great sites, but these are my go to ones. In addition if you’re a Thai food lover these are 2 of my favorite Thai recipes, I’m making Tom Yum today actually!

http://thaifood.about.com/od/vegetarianthairecipes/r/vegtomyum.htm

http://www.mynewroots.org/site/2013/02/the-best-coconut-soup-ever/