Friday, March 18, 2011

St. Patrick's Day

My oldest son presented me with this fistful of flowers on St. Patrick's Day. When we are apart for the day, he almost always has something for me. I usually find at least one drawing in his backpack with "To Mom, From (his name)" written at the top. Love him.

I am currently in "make kids more capable around the house" mode. They do help around the house some, but I am guilty of preferring to just do it myself so it is done correctly and quickly. However, I know I need to put in the time to teach them to do it right, and I know our household will flow more smoothly once they are doing more of their share. (Call me optimistic, but my plan is for the three of them to completely take over the laundry.) They're definitely old enough and capable (or at least could be) enough.

I said all of that to say, my 5 year old sat the table for me!

Every year for St. Patrick's Day we have a smorgasbord of green food, like this one. I wanted to do something different this year so I picked two dishes I'd never made.

For the Pesto Pasta, I used this recipe (subbing half of the oil with almond milk and a mixture of parsley & spinach instead of basil) for pesto. I wouldn't say it was delicious. It was okay. I probably didn't love it as much because it wasn't salty, and I didn't salt it at the table (since I'm trying to cut that out).

I liked the Pesto-Olive Foccaccia a lot. I think I could have left it in the oven a little longer, but I was trying to hurry things up. And I could have probably kneaded it better, etc. to make it lighter, but my son was helping me...and again, I was in a hurry.

The roasted asparagus (which was lightly misted with olive oil, Braggs, Coconut Aminos, spices, and lemon juice) was delicious. It got 10 thumbs up.

And then, of course, there were kiwi slices on the side "just because" they're green, pretty, and yummy.

I was disappointed in our silicone shamrock cupcake pan. They didn't resemble shamrocks after they rose. But they did when I turned them over.

I used the Simple Vanilla & Agave Cupcakes recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. It uses agave nectar (which browns quicker) as the only sweetener. They had more of a muffin taste, and we liked them.

I decorated them upside-down. Which was kind of weird. But I'm only trying to impress the 10 and under crowd here, so it's all good.

I also tried making Shamrock Shakes. I looked online, and there appeared to be many recipes supporting the addition of avocado into a creamy, delicious shake. After making them, I'm still not convinced of this. I think it's just not for me. I should have stuck with a green smoothie, which would have been delicious. My line of thinking was that if a green smoothie is delicious, then a green milkshake has to be that much better.

I used Purely Decadent Coconut Milk ice cream and added avocado and kiwi. Maybe if I hadn't made these myself and didn't know that it contained avocado (which I LOVE in non-dessert foods), it would have tasted better to me. I have food mixing issues. I also added just a bit of frozen kale to make it greener.

The verdict: 10 year old and 4 year old drank theirs right up, and my husband said he liked it, too. My 5 year old didn't like it, though, so I used his to make popsicles which they ate right up this morning.

After-supper entertainment included making St. Patrick's Day frog masks, puppet shows behind the couch, and a little karaoke.

Lots of "luck" and blessings to you all this weekend!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Deceptively Delicious Part Two PLUS Chocolate Muffins!

Continuing on, trying out recipes from Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious...

(You can read about my veganized Blueberry (Squash) Lemon Muffins and Bean (Squash, Carrot) Baked Tortillas in my last post.)

I made a version of her Spaghetti Pie one night. I used Whole Wheat Angel Hair. I mixed 2 cups of Marinara Sauce with 1 cup steamed carrot puree. My 5 year old loves raw carrots but won't normally eat cooked carrots. (That's where the "deceptive" part comes in.)

I poured it into two pie plates, topped it with Daiya and my own version of meatballs, then baked it at 350 until it seemed ready. It was "delicious" with 10 thumbs up!

Pardon me while I waste time play around on Picnik for awhile:
1)pureed broccoli and seitan, 2) rolled up into balls, and 3) after they had baked

We loved these Broccoli Seitan Meatballs I created, based on the meatball recipe from Deceptively Delicious. As usual, I'm sure the rest of you will have better ideas about how to spice these up.

I used:
1 1/2 cups slightly steamed pureed broccoli
1 package of seitan
enough bread crumbs to help form balls
and a sprinkling of garlic salt

I pureed the broccoli with the seitan and garlic, then stirred in the bread crumbs before forming the balls and baking until slightly firm & browned.

Although it wasn't quite "pie-like" the first night (because we ate it hot from the oven), it definitely was the next day for leftovers. It cut very nicely into slices.

In other news:
I tried out the Chocolate Fudge Muffin recipe from Little House of Veggies. You might have seen it on her blog. Or you may remember drooling over its sister recipe, Chocolate Nutty Brownies, on Shenandoah Vegan's blog every few days for a week...or four.

This picture doesn't really do them justice. (Morgan's picture with the recipe is super yummy-looking.) These are the changes I made: I eliminated the oil (It only calls for 1 teaspoon to begin with - one major reason to love this recipe.), and I cut the sugar in half. The chocolate chips are what make the recipe, anyway.

Unless you're only baking for one, don't even bother making these unless you're going to double the recipe. Otherwise, you'll just feel angry and bewildered that you're out of these decadent little creatures so soon. Seriously, all five of us were talking about how much we loved these the entire time we were sitting at the table, eating them. There was a lot of "mmm"ing involved.