Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What's For Dinner?

Since the week is already half over, we have eaten most of this menu. I can report that it has been a perfect summer dinner plan. It didn't heat up the whole house, I didn't spend long in the kitchen, and everyone has enjoyed the end result.

I call that success.

Monday: green vegetable stir fry with cabbage, broccoli, & green beans, brown rice, magic sauce

Tuesday: refried black beans, corn tortillas, sautéed red peppers & onions, shredded cabbage, corn, tomatoes, and guacamole

Wednesday: summer corn and vegetable soup, salad

Thursday: pizza, salad

Friday: burgers, oven fries, tomatoes, avocado

Saturday: out

It has been way too hot to use the oven. But since pizza is next on the menu, I figure I will go ahead and make that plum cobbler I have been craving.

I will also be posting a recipe for the summer corn and vegetable soup. We had it tonight and The Boy asked if I could save some for his lunch tomorrow.

*This is where I had to pick my jaw up from the floor.* I think that's testimony enough to its yum-factor.

I've had a few peeps ask about vegan or non-dairy cheese. I'll be honest and admit that most of what's on the market leaves a lot to be desired. If you are a cheese connoisseur, you won't be fooled.

However, the Follow Your Heart brand has a mozzarella and a cheddar in block form that are pretty good. They melt nicely and have a mellow flavor.

I have made grilled cheese and other sandwiches using the Galaxy brand cheese slices. Again, they melt nicely and the flavor is mild. I present you with exhibit A, shown above. The Offspring chow them down, so it must be ok. They aren't shy with the constructive criticism.

Honestly, I don't miss cheese all that much. I went without even a sprinkle of cheese for four months and then tried some vegan enchiladas with the optional cheese on top. It was overwhelming to my palate. I ended up scraping it all off after just a couple bites. I've found I like the taste of food better without the cheese.

Go figure.

Now, for some input.

Is there an interest in some meat-free recipes?

I always try to keep meat-eaters in mind when making something. I think to myself: Would my Pops like this (if I didn't tell him it was vegan, of course)? Anything I post would be fairly simple to put together, family friendly, and pleasing to those not living off "rabbit food". I know many of you are doing a Meatless Monday or cutting down in meat consumption. This might make that quest a bit easier.

The key when serving such meals: don't use the word vegan. It's an immediate turn-off to most. I rarely use that word anymore unless I want to ensure that The Boy will find it "ewwww".

Also, on a non-food note, I have been challenged to do a vlog. I am not a fan of myself on video. But I have a hard time backing away from such challenges. There's just one problem: I have no idea what to vlog about. I've been racking my brain for a couple weeks and I got nothin'.

Give me a topic.

Something that can be filmed in front of my computer.

No, I won't sing.

No, I won't get naked. (Sorry, pervs.)


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Good Times...

I would replay this week, if that were possible.

It was good times.

The Offspring were shipped off to the country for a few days.


I wore diagonal stripes to see a hot drummer play with his band. Flirting ensued. I took him home.

We sat outside on the porch and stayed up until the wee hours listening to music from years past.

Good conversation. The kind without the lulls.

The next morning that drummer told me to pack a bag. We were going to leave the city limits for the night.

A swim suit, mascara, a pair of clean underwear, and an extra shirt.

Let's hit the road.

And that we did.

Checked into a room.
Walked around.
Shopped through the windows.
Ate good food.
Had drinks at the bar.

All of it done away.

The summer solstice hit a couple days later.

Usually the solstice goes more or less unnoticed around here. This momma don't have it together enough to exchange solstice gifts, make special pajamas, sing songs around the fire, or whatever the solstice in-crowd is doing these days.

I am solstice-challenged.

But not this year.

This year, The Mr. and I celebrated the longest day by sitting in the white trash pool drinking cold beers under a beautiful Texas sky. The stars were out. A cool breeze was blowing. Eddie was playing his ukulele.

A summer memory made.

That picture is blurry. Blurry pictures mean you're having fun.

It's a shame The Offspring missed it.


The silence had to be broken at some point. The air conditioner soon followed.

The Offspring returned just in time to sit in a hot box, otherwise known as my house.

See that temp up there? 80*. That was taken at 11:30pm. You can imagine what the temp was after the sun came up.

Not cutting it.

It was 100* outside. And I had a cake to bake.

There were a couple of birthdays to celebrate!

The birthday girls pampered themselves with an at-home spa day.

Toe polishing.
Nail polishing.
Lip gloss.

The works.

It's not a birthday unless there's cake.

Hello Kitty cake.

And of course, presents.

One of us received a Barbie who has a dog. A dog that pees.


I got a working air conditioner.

And a Zach Galifianakis bobble head.

Oh, and cards with sweet words inside.

My loves know me well.

Good times.

What more could a girl ask for?

Friday, June 24, 2011

37 Things

My favorite lipstick is Dr. Pepper Lip Smackers.

I hate tan lines.

I rarely wear skirts. Unless I have a tan. And even then, it's rare.

I'm able to count the number of pedicures I've received by someone other than myself on one hand.

I'm picky about the movies I watch.

That explains why I rarely go to the theater.

I have four tattoos. Five if you count the one that's covered with another.

I'm not well traveled.

But I'd love to go for a long vacation in Italy. Off-the-beaten-path Italy.

I'm bad with names, but good with faces.

I really don't know if I could give up Dr. Pepper, even though I'm fully aware that it's pure rubbish.

Cash is rarely in my possession.

I'm not a fan of shopping. Especially mall shopping.

You don't have to give me a gift, but I always want a card. With sweet words inside.

I don't like driving with other people in the car.

In fact, I've developed a sort of car phobia and don't like being a passenger either. It's weird.

In college my nickname was 2-Can Dani. It still holds true.

Sour Patch Kids and Hot Tamales are the exception to my no candy rule. On occasion.

I have always had a dog. And I always will.

I'm not a cat person. Yet we have three cats.

I have OCD about most everything except laundry. I've come to terms with the fact that I will never be caught up.

I'm an only child.

I have hazel eyes that change from blue to green.

I am a terrible nail biter. Awful. I need an intervention.

When I wish upon a star it's for Spurs season tickets.

I always vote. Even in the small elections.

Getting carded seriously makes my day.

I don't wear earrings but I usually have on a bracelet or two.

I have a thing for owls.

Cereal should be eaten straight out of the box. It tastes better and saves on dishes.

Flirting via text with The Mr. is one of my strong suits.

I dream of living by the lake and growing tomatoes and black eyed peas. It will happen.

I still sit in my Mema's lap when I visit.

My 4th grade teacher was Mrs. Eubanks. She was great. I wish I could thank her.

I dust my baseboards and lamp chords. I can't be the only one that does this...

The Girl and I share a birthday. Pretty cool, huh?

I don't feel 37.

At all.

**Thanks for the inspiration.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

In the blink of an eye...

In the blink of an eye, my baby has grown up.

A couple hours from now, a new day will begin.

When my girl wakes up she will have kissed five goodbye.

Time to greet six with open arms.


She's ready. She owns it.

She is the opposite of an old soul.

She's innocent. Pure sweetness.

This girl is easy to love, I tell ya.

Happy birthday, Nora Sabine!

You are prized beyond measure.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Return of: What's For Dinner? (plus bonus features!)

It's been three months to the day since I posted a menu. So let's get down to business, k?

Monday: steamed vegetables over brown rice and black beans

Tuesday: spinach salad with artichoke hearts, mushrooms, olives, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, and cashew-tamari dressing

Wednesday: vegan vegetable lasagna

Thursday: burgers, oven fries, tomatoes, and avocado

Friday: out for veggie fajitas and margaritas

Saturday: orange-sesame tempeh stir-fry, brown rice, spicy cabbage

This plum cobbler looks mighty tempting. So does this pie. And these muffins.

All in due time, foodies. All in due time.

The vegan lasagna on Wednesday deserves its own post. Why? Because it's the greatest lasagna I've ever made or...dare I say...eaten. That's why.

Our family polished off half a pan in ten minutes one night. I have started making it every other week, although I'm tempted to put it on the menu twice that often.

Don't worry. I'll share.

All in due time.

Since it has been a quarter of a year since I posted a menu, I feel as if I owe you something.

How does corn pudding sound?

I adapted this recipe after the one found in this book.

This has become a family favorite. It's substantial and could easily be a heartier side dish or a main dish when paired with some beans. I usually serve it alongside a big pot of black eyed peas and a large salad.

Corn Pudding

1 package frozen, sweet corn, thawed
1/2 cup silken tofu
2 Tbs non-dairy milk
1 small onion, diced
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350*.

Coat an 8x8 baking dish or 9 inch pie plate with cooking spray.

Combine 3/4 cup corn with the tofu and non-dairy milk in a blender or food processor. Pulse until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.

Add onion to a skillet and cook until soft. Add to the corn-tofu mix.

Add remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl and stir until well combined. Pour into the baking dish. Spread evenly with a spatula.

Bake for 30 minutes. Let stand 10-15 minutes before serving.

This can easily be adapted to more of a Mexican flavor by adding some chopped chiles or jalapeños.

This version is vegan, but you could stir in a bit of cheese or add a sprinkle to the top.

Now, an update.

I've had lots of you wondering how the vegan diet is going ever since I decided to go meat and dairy free.

To put it simply, it's great.

But nothing is really that simple, is it?

I was plugging along, enjoying a diet free from all animal products. Then about two months in, I noticed my, ahem, libido wasn't at its usual level. I started having some mad cravings for the forbidden animal protein, to the point of distraction.

I gave in. I had a buffalo burger. And amazingly, all cravings were sated. I still felt great. And my libido came back instantaneously. *wink*

Not being one to follow rules or be labeled, I don't claim to be a vegan.

When asked what kind of diet I follow, I respond with this: I eat a 99% plant based diet. I'm a 99% vegan, if you will.

Once a week I have a small portion of bison, which is one of the healthiest meat choices available. If you are a meat eater, I encourage you to go here and follow the links. It has a lot of eye opening and useful information.

The Mr. has been following the same plan. We held hands and jumped off the diving board together, and then realized to feel our best we needed a life preserver.

A life preserver in the form of a bison patty. Meat-eating vegans? Why not?

The Offspring have been eating a vegetarian diet with limited amounts of cheese and eggs. And of course, the once a week serving of meat. That means their mac & cheese and Life Cereal are still safe.

They rejoice.

I'm still tweaking things here and there: playing around with gluten-free, doing some food combining, adding chia seeds to the mix, reducing soy intake.

There are times when it makes my head spin.

But I figure this is a healthier channel for my food control issues.

Many of you have sent emails with words of encouragement, blog links, and recipes. THANK YOU! I've loved and appreciated them all.

And there it is: A menu, a recipe, and an update.

I'll be back next week...unless the angry vegans hunt me down.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


My Pops.

He's always been my superhero.

Happy Father's Day!

No one can beat you.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

In the Kitchen...

I still cook dinner for my family.

I do.

You might not believe me since I haven't written a What's For Dinner post since March 22nd.

I checked.

Well, I don't have a menu for you this week either.

I'm going to remedy that next week.

But until then, I figure we could just hang out here, in the kitchen.

My children are eating me out of house and home.

I think I say that every summer. With good reason.

I'm telling you, they eat!

I need a grove of fruit trees to keep them full.

And an endless supply of Life cereal and tortilla chips.

Other beginning of summer observations:

A schedule is a must.

We spent last week loafing.

I realized very quickly that if we (I) were to make it to fall with our (my) sanity, loafing would have to have its allotted time slot in the day.

Popcorn, watermelon, and cantaloupe is a perfectly acceptable lunch.

Grilled (soy)cheese with a side of strawberries is a well received dinner.

For those still in the single digits age-wise, that is.

Who am I fooling? I'm down with it, too.

Although, my breakfast of lettuce, tomato, and hummus on wheat is not met with the same enthusiasm.

The Mr. thinks we are all nuts.

The Boy having another kid to play with across the street has blessed my life in ways I never knew possible.

This is a new thing and I'm a little scared to acknowledge how wonderful it is. But it is. Wonderful.

He goes over there and plays...for hours. They ride bikes, skateboard, run, trade Pokémon cards, play Wii, and other such boy things.

The key is, he goes over there. Not here. There.

Not that I care, but The Boy says that since this kid is allowed to have a messy room, it's better.

I knew my OCD would have some dividends.

We go through a lot of toilet paper in the summer.

You're welcome, Charmin.

The news is no longer safe to watch with children.

The word "wiener" would have brought giggles from my children even without today's current events.

I feel like I'm living in a Beavis and Butthead episode.

"Why do they keep saying...hee, hee...wiener?

Added to the mix: our youngest kitty was recently "fixed".

The Boy: But what's broken?

The look of horror upon The Boy's face when learning our little meow-meow's fate is one I'll never forget. I doubt he'll forget, either.

I've had enough of the male anatomy.

It's one week in.

That's what I know.

But with that knowledge comes a couple of cold beers at the end of the night.

Sweet relief from the feeding, scheduling, playing, noise, toilet paper replacing, and wiener talk.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ten On Ten: June

June 10th.

Ten pictures taken over ten hours.




Repeating: Is it time to go out yet?

Answering: Yes. It is.







A handful of images captured throughout the day...

A perfect summer day.

We are on hiatus from early, rushed mornings. There is now time to color. And make smoothies.

The pool is inviting. The sun is welcoming.

There's time to read. Create. Play.

Afternoons are now being spent with neighborhood friends instead of math worksheets and reading logs.

It is simply perfect. Even with its imperfections.

Imperfections that I seem to have trouble naming.

Join me back here for another ten in July.

My love-of-summer-tune will remain the same.

I'm the DJ and I'm putting it on instant replay.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Summer Begins, Again

It has *finally* arrived.

That glorious time of the year known as SUMMER.

Sun tans and flip flops.

Cold ice tea.

Another season with the white trash pool.

Salad for supper.

Sitting on the porch swing.

Free time. What a novel idea.

Swinging on the porch swing.

A new water gun.

Grilled fruit.

Ambushing little sisters with a new water gun.

A new summer soundtrack, downloaded and ready for memory making.

Green grass. Unless you live in drought stricken Houston.

Nightswimming. With...and without the children. *wink*

Rain dancing. And celebrating the late afternoon roll of thunder that may, or may not produce some relief.

Wine drinking, without the concern of next morning headaches.


School is out.

We have quickly settled into a summer rhythm. It took all of one afternoon.

I celebrated by taking one long, indulgent nap. This was followed by a large glass of wine, sun on my bare legs, and splashing in the pool.

The rest of the weekend has been much of the same.

I can't express how happy this makes me.

And it's only just beginning...