Monday, January 11, 2016

Sick Day or Month or Whatever

This January is turning out to be the month of illness. First I was sick, still am, with some sort of stomach bug, then a sinus infection which turned into asthmatic bronchitis. I was bed ridden pretty much until this past Sunday; even then  I coughed my way through most of the service. Then the Bumper came down with a version of the stomach flu. She started vomiting at around 10pm on Saturday  and kept going at two hour interval until 8am on Sunday. At least two of the episodes she caught me full in the face. Yep I spent most of the night covered in kid barf... ah the joys of motherhood. I know I was sleep deprived because I found it funny that we were being ceremonially re baptized ( Whereby the priest sprinkles the entire congregation with holy water) and a scant two hours before I was drenched in vomit. I saw it as a rather blunt metaphor for sin and redemption through Christ.
The Bumper was feeling much better today and she should be ready to go back to school tomorrow, but now Nana is sick. We have all been drinking loads of hot tea and eating lots of soup.

p.s. The Bumper's mittens turned out rather Seussian

Friday, January 1, 2016

Dear 2016

Dear 2016,
 Here we are on the first day of a brand new year and in spite of having another nasty cold I am feeling pretty optimistic. I am looking forward to seeing what this year holds. It is hard to believe it has been five years since I started this blog. When I started the Bumper was not yet born and now she is five. I am excited about watching her grow even more. I feel so fortunate that I get to share her adventures with her and I hope there will be plenty in 2016. This year am hoping to improve my knitting, crochet and sewing skills. I have several projects I have finished which have not yet been photographed. I am looking forward to finishing my second novel this year. I had to start all over at the end of November, but I don't mind because the story is stronger than it was before. I also want to improve my physical fitness. 2015 was a year of illness and inactivity. I want 2016 to be the year I get active. As always I want to grow closer to the Lord, but this year I am going to be more mindful of the example I am setting for the Bumper.
What are your hopes for the new year?

Happy New Year!

p.s. I also hope not to wash out for Vegan MoFo!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas is coming!

Happy Advent!

I have not abandoned the blog. That being said I have been running full tilt since October, right up until I got a virus that put me in bed for two weeks. I have also hosted a birthday party for my five year old Bumper (Where did the time go?)

Currently we are getting ready for Christmas. Two weeks ago I put in 15 volunteer hours at the Bumper's school. The Cafeteria lady and I baked, wrapped, and put angel stickers on  500 sugar cookies to be given out at the Christmas play. It was intense and did not leave much time for anything else.We have three candles on the Advent Wreath.
The infamous sugar cookie

This weekend we pulled down the decorations and managed to put up the outside lights, and the mantle garland, but the tree is still bare and the Nativity still in the box. I have 2 hat and scarf sets to knits, mittens and a blanket to crochet (which the Bumper informed me must be finished by Christmas). We also have yet to send out our Christmas cards, or do the baking. We still need to make Chocolate Chip Cookies, Oatmeal Cookies, Butter Tarts, and a birthday cake for baby Jesus(the Bumper's idea).

In the middle of all this business, one thought anchors me : On Christmas Eve we will go to Midnight Mass and let the gratttitide, love, and joy we have be reflectin on over Advent come pouring forth in song, and praise as we proclaim and celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ! This the core, the most important part. Everything else is gravy.

Peace of Christ this Holiday

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Mea Culpa, Socks, and Catch Up

Isn't He Cute?
It has been ages since I have had time to blog. Vegan MoFo was a let down for me this year. Real Life got in the way of my plans, but is how it is sometimes.  Let's just say I ate a lot of veggies burgers and PBJ sandwiches, hardly blog worthy. We are into Autumn now, but the days are still wonderfully warm ( 75F). The Bumper and I have been making the most of the warmth by being out side as much as possible. We stay on the playground  after school until at least 5:00pm.
Shh! I'm Hiding!
It's a Long Way Down!
Up and Up I Go!

 Last weekend we went to a local farmers market which had a corn maze and other activities for kids. The Bumper enjoyed herself thoroughly. She hid in the hay, jumped off  bales, climbed a rock wall, and even finished an obstacle course. It made me tired just to watch her. At the end of the day I had a thoroughly dirty, tired and happy little girl.

Sock Showcase!

I finished my first pair of socks! (Please Insert Happy Dance). I was so excited I did not know what to do with myself, I actually want colder weather just so I can wear them! Naturally I did what any sensible person would do and cast on the second pair right away. This pair will be for my sister and I am hoping to get them finished in time for her birthday in January. It is a pretty long window, but I am a pretty slow knitter.
My Pumpkin Salute!

The weather here has not yet gotten cold enough for me start baking and slow cooking in earnest,  but I did indulge in making some vegan pumpkin muffins for Nana's birthday. Nana turned 69 on October 11 and the Bumper wanted to throw her an impromptu party. We also made a bunt cake complete with frosting and candles (the Bumper helped blow them out),we pinned a ribbon on Nana and the Bumper sang her two versions of Happy Birthday.

Whew! We have been busy! Tonight I am off to a revival meeting at my friend's church. It should be an interesting experience.


Friday, September 18, 2015

Of Peppers and Pretzels

Argh! I had such hopes and I was really excited for Vegan MoFo this year, but back to school laid me flat!. Yes I have more time for writing (the novel takes precedence over the Blog), however there are things I did not count on: The first week of school everybody went a half day, and there was the new sleep schedule to adjust to. I now get up at 6:00am to get the Bumper out the door by 7:45am. Then there are the parental volunteer commitments. I don't mind, I just did not expect to have so may late night meetings to attend. The Bumper also started soccer with practice on Wednesday and games on Saturday.
I am still game to finish out the month and I like the prompts so much that I will be using the ones I miss throughout the coming year.
 Yesterday's prompt was to  make or eat a local dish. I live on Maryland's Easter Shore and the local dishes are not vegan friendly. We are talking scrapple, also called head cheese, which is made from various pig parts, crab cakes, raw oysters, and steamed crabs. So no thank you. There is one Eastern Shore local dish that is vegan: Pepper Relish (I can't eat pepper relish because it makes me break out in hives) and one that can be easily veganized: Pretzel Salad.
The Pepper Relish Recipe is courtsey of my friend Beverly L a life long resident of the Eastern Shore. It is her grandmother's recipe.

Pepper Relish

14 red peppers
10 green peppers
12 onions
3 cups vinegar
2 T salt
4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon celery seed
2 tablespoons mustard seed
Clean onions and peppers, removing seeds and  white pulp from peppers.
Grind in food processor to fine consistancy
Put in large pot or basin and pour boiling water over. Let sit five minutes.
Drain in colander and pick out large chunks.
Prepare syrup in large pot. Add pepper mix and boil 25 minutes. Can in
hot jars and seal. Makes 6-7 pints

Pretzel Salad

Pretzel Salad is made with crushed pretzels, cream cheese, sugar, frozen strawberries, and strawberry jello.
I subbed the dairy cheese for Tofutti brand and omitted the strawberry jello since I couldn't find vegan gelatin.

2 cups pretzels crushed
1 tub non-dairy cream cheese of choice
2Tbs of lemon juice
3/4 cups vegan margarine
1 package of frozen strawberries
3TBS + 1Cup sugar (divided)
Preheat oven to 400F

Crush pretzels and combine with margarine and the 3Tbs sugar. Line the bottom of a greased 9x13 glass baking dish. Bake at 400F for 8-10 min until set. (pretzels should be brown but not burnt)
Take out frozen frozen strawberries and put in bowl. Stir in lemon juice and 1/4cup sugar. Let sit for 10-15 min or until there is a layer of strawberry juice syrup at the bottom of the bowl.
Mix together softened cream cheese, and 1 1/2 cup of sugar, spread over crust, top with strawberries and refrigerate until chilled through.
This version does not have the traditional jello-like top layer but it is still delicious. If you have access to vegan gelatin by all means use it. Just prepare according to package directions and pour over the frozen strawberries before putting it in the refrigerator.

Happy Eating!
p.s. Most versions use a layer of whipped cream too, but I don't like it that way.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Throw It In a Bowl and Call It a Day

Quick and easy? Sign me up! I do not have time for fussy recipes. In the time it takes me to cook supper the Bumper can undo all of the house work I have done for the day. Now a microwave a veggie burger or dog is fast and can be tasty, but they also full of  additives that I do not want in my regular diet.  Since we are in the middle of a heatwave here on Maryland's Eastern Shore I decided to make a super easy cold salad, from this Vegetarian Times recipe.

What I like about this salad is I already had every thing on hand in my refrigerator, the only substitution I made was fresh mango. Unless it is disguised in a smoothie I don't really like the taste of frozen mango. I will use them if I have no other choice, but I prefer fresh.

The Bumper's favorite quick and easy vegan recipe is cherry tomatoes fresh off the vine: just rinse and eat!

 On the tofu scramble from yesterday? I think a half teaspoon of cumin will suffice.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Vegan MoFo: Such Fond Memories- Just Like Nana Made (Not Exactly)

Okay so the prompt for today was to recreate a meal from your childhood. I figured a good way to approach this would be to ask my mom what my favorite meal was when I was a kid and then veganize it. I expected her to say something like pizza or spaghetti and meatballs, or tater-tots and fish-sticks, or even beef stroganoff. All of which I definitely liked. Nope none of the above. Apparently from my mom's recollection, my hands down favorite meal was dat da dah dah: Spinach and egg over rice. Does anyone else hear the wamp wamp wamp music?

Apparently I was a budding vegetarian way back when. Just so you know the freak fruit does not fall far from the tree the Bumper's current favorite is spinach pizza with vegan cheese. Well this is vegan mofo, so what did I do to make this dish vegan? I swapped out the egg for that perennial favorite tofu. Yep yet another tofu scramble recipe as if the Internet wasn't awash with them already. I am, however, pretty free wheeling with the tofu scramble and I never expect it to taste like eggs. In fact I think I would be grossed out if it did. Instead I played around with garlic, cumin, turmeric, salt and pepper to get something savory and that would complement the spinach. Not quite the dish of my youth, but tasty and cruelty free.

1tsp olive oil
1 bag (roughly 2 -4 cups) of fresh or frozen spinach. Take your pick scrambles are pretty forgiving.
1 package extra firm tofu. ( drain and press lightly)
1tsp cumin
1-2tsp powdered garlic or 1 clove fresh minced.
1-2 tsp turmeric
1 tspt nutritional yeast(optional)
Sprinkle of Old Bay Seasoning optional
dash of salt
dash of pepper to taste.

Lightly saute spinach in olive oil ( about 5min or until spinach starts to wilt but is still bright green) in a large frying pan.Crumble the tofu and add it and the spices to the spinach. Cook until tofu is completely coated with the spices and warmed all the way through. Serve over rice.
To save time you can steam spinach in the microwave, scramble the tofu in the pan, and serve when tofu is done. Like I said this recipe is forgiving. Play with it. I always do.

Happy MoFo

P.S. I know this isn't MoFo related, but I am on the instep of the second sock, here come the toes!

Crumble tofu into pan