Monday, July 19, 2010

We Ate Mexican-y Last Night with a Lot of Raw

I've mentioned that I'm trying to get out of this rut and recapture a love for cooking. I think that when you have kids, sometimes - in a way - cooking can start to become a chore. Don't get me wrong. I really love doing cooking projects with them. My kids are so much fun, and they love it.

Like this one from quite awhile back (when my daughter was still in onesies...she's wearing my Martha Washington cap from my 6th grade Constitution play because we couldn't find the third chef hat)...I originally posted about using the Arrowhead Mills Organic Brownie mixes here.

And I happily love to nourish them with home cooking. However, it's not always fun to cook when you are constantly stopping to break up fights, help out in the bathroom, and listen to, "I'm hungry!" repeatedly, etc. I don't like to talk while I'm cooking. I like to cook the same way I like to clean - all by myself. Deep down, I really am "thankful in all things," and I know there will come a time I'll miss the little interruptions...sigh.

I say all of that to say this...I had the most enjoyable meal preparation time last night. I think Child #1 was on the computer, and #2 and #3 (Thing 1 and Thing 2) were upstairs or something. (I TRY to arrange something like this every time I want to cook alone, but it doesn't always work out this way.) I got to just mill around, enjoying my nice big kitchen. I feel like if I drank wine (I don't like wine.), this would have been the perfect time to do so.

I didn't think I had enough avocados (I only had 1 big one plus another half.) for regular guacamole so I just chopped the avocados and added chopped tomatoes, garlic, salt, and salsa. Trying to be "fancy," I put it in a cereal bowl and turned it upside down on the plate.

I am a little embarrassed to say...this was one of the first times I've ever made homemade refried beans. (I am so pathetic.) I'm really excited about it, and YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST: I am never buying canned refried beans again. I don't buy a lot of canned food, anyway, because it freaks me out, but refried beans are one of the things I always pick up in a rush. I liked mine much better, anyway. This time I just soaked and cooked the pinto beans and put them in the food processor with some spices. I was trying to keep them relatively benign for my 5 year old.

I put them in a casserole dish with Daiya and set it in the oven...mmm.

Finally, I just made a salad with lettuce and some parsley and beet greens I needed to use up, plus chopped bell peppers, olives, and salsa.
The night before, I made some of Matthew Kenny's Golden Tortilla Chips for the dehydrator. I wrote about trying his Eggplant Bacon recipe here. The chips were another successful raw venture. They mostly consist of thawed frozen organic corn, water, and flax meal - plus onions and spices.

The negative is that it takes 12-24 hours in the dehydrator.
(I think I took them out at about 18 hours.) My whole family ate them really well:
10 thumbs up.

I didn't know if there would be enough chips, so I made some extra ones by baking my Food for Life Gluten-Free tortilla shells. I brushed a little olive oil on the kids' chips but left off the extra fat on Ryan's and mine.

As soon as she started eating, my 3 year old daughter asked for some "mustard and ketchup." The kid loves mustard and ketchup. I squirted a little mustard on her plate but drew the line at ketchup. She was dipping her chips in the mustard; she wanted more and was mad because I told her she had to dip them in her beans and guacamole, not mustard. Poor, deprived child.

A few giveaways I'm mentioning: Vegan Backpacker is having a giveaway for a Secret Society of Vegans t-shirt and badge.

Vegan Crunk is having a giveaway for Soap Nuts Laundry Soap.

Love Veggies and Yoga is having a giveaway for a $100 gift certificate to CSN Stores.

And get excited because I'm going to be having a fun vegan food giveaway, sometime during the next day or two!


  1. Wow! I wish I had been over for dinner! Anything mexican (thats vegan!) is for me!

  2. looks delish! And by the way, all toys belong to my husband. He's a 38 child.

  3. Sometimes cooking is a chore for me, too, and I don't even have kids! I agree with you on the refried beans, I am trying to cook my own too. I cook them in a slow cooker and freeze the extra. Your plate looks super tasty.

  4. Mmm Mexican :) I have never tried refried beans before, but I applaud you for skipping the can and making your own version at home! Yours looks great.

  5. Love Daiya. I have never made refried beans either - now, I've taken beans and smashed the crud out of them and spiced them up, but that's not really the same I don't think. Nicely done.

  6. That sounds like a perfect dinner. I wish I had a dehydrator those chips look and sound great! The avocado salad looks to die for, and I've never made my own refried beans, thanks for the inspiration; I must, must do that soon...I'm sure they're head over heals better than the canned variety.

    Love the pic of your little chefs...and it sounds like you have a little mustard-lover there too. Great post.

  7. I always buy tinned refried beans, but I think I'll try it your way now.
    We don't have a dehydrator and they're pretty expensive, so I keep planning on trying our oven set at economy (the way I raise my bread dough) to see if that works.
    That photo at the top is probably the cutest thing I've seen for a LONG time! Adorable!

  8. Those chips look awesome. I keep thinking about getting a dehydrator.

  9. I've never even thought to make my own refried beans! That is SO easy!

  10. Love homemade refried beans too! They do taste so much better, with out all the BPA. Good idea, putting some Dayia on them and baking them a bit- yum! Mexican is one of our favorite meals, so easy, healhty, and filling! ( :

  11. Along the lines of my previous comment, would you mind if I asked you what kind of dehydrator you have, and whether you'd recommend it?

  12. Oh, I'm so with you on the whole ketchup thing. My littlest one puts it on everything! I am very impressed with the effort you put into your meal and with all the variety! It all looks delicious!

  13. Stacy, I think I'm going to do a post on dehydrators in a day or two...I just have an inexpensive one from Wal-Mart (more later!)

  14. That would be great. I'd like to try it (using one) but I am not going to buy an expensive one right off the bat. It'd be great to know how flexible/useful a cheaper one is.