Wednesday, January 31, 2007

More Sun Dogs

This is another picture of Sun Dogs - They are so pretty - In this one you can see the orb around the sun.

Here's a closeup of the prism.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Blue Belt Test

The Man Cub tested for his Blue Belt - Here he's breaking his board. It's awfully hard to get a shot right as the board breaks - he was so proud that he broke his board on the very first kick. It's a "step behind side kick" for this test - his first kick without a running jump into the board - so all the force has to come from the kick.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Sun Dogs

One of the pretty things here - way Up North - are Sun Dogs. The little prisms to either side of the sun. I don't ever remember seeing any down south.

This pricture is toward evening and they aren't as spectacular and rainbow-y as some I've seen.

Roasted Veggies

Sorry about the lack of posting over the weekend - I had to play the organ at Church on Sunday and that always stresses me out and I have to practice every spare minute. It went well enough - and for a late lunch I made Roasted Veggies.

This is just a jumble of root veggies from my garden last year.

Parsnips - I'm not a big fan of parsnips - but a few in this dish are nice

A couple of Tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar - and that's it - roast covered at about 400 until tender and carmelized. I love the little roaster too - the Man gave it to me years ago for Christmas - it's from Williams Sonoma and I don't know if they still make them. At some point I broke the little knob off the top - it's an onion bulb - and we had to find a special high temperature epoxy to glue it back on - but I would probably have kept it even without the knob.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Winter Thaw

Each year the PTO at the Man-Cub's school does a "Winter Thaw" where they bring Hot Cocoa and a Rice Krispy Treat to each child - dressed this year in Hawaiian attire. One year they dressed as snowmen - thank goodness that was before I moved here. I thought the Man had a Hawaiian shirt - but apparently it didn't survive the move - so I thrifted this one and as it was too large I tied it up - rolled up my olive scout trousers and donned my flip flops - it was fun.

Here we're exercising with the K5 class - before their snack.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Houses for the Birds

Last night at Cub Scouts, we made birdhouses. The cubs did a great job and no fingers were smashed.

The Man-Cub is very proud of his birdhouse and can't wait to paint it. I'm always surprised that birds can survive the winters up here - but whenever we're outside we see and hear birds - so now they'll have a home.

Monday, January 22, 2007

We have a piano in my house...

I was tickled that the Man-Cub wrote this on a school assignment - he was supposed to describe his house - and of all the things he could have written - he chose to say that his house has a piano. That would probably be one of the first things I would list about my house as well...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Hiking in the snow

Saturday, we went to the National Wildlife Refuge and did some bird watching and looked for Elk - we didn't see any - and Bison - we didn't see any - but a game warden told us that they had shipped all of the buffalo out to another Refuge in Nebraska to mate with some other "pure" Bison - it seems the ones here have no "cattle" genes - so they were very special - there are some other pure bison in the country and they are putting them all in one place so that they can breed more pure Bison - anyway we missed seeing them.

The hike was nice - it was a sunny day - about 14 above - and we were all dressed warmly. As usually happens - too warmly and layers had to come off - that's a good thing - but I usually wind up carrying the offings - I need to remember to wear and empty backpack...

We didn't wear snow shoes as the snow was not that deep and they are a little more difficult to maneuver in - they do loan them out at the visitor center - but we came across these neat tracks in the snow - btw - we are walking on a frozen lake here.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Asian Potstickers

We went to a friend's house for dinner and they are not vegan, but they were having a make your own Potstickers dinner. My friend's mother is a 1st generation American WWII bride from Japan - she's 80 years old - and she taught me how to make the wrappers - it's super easy:

Potsticker wrappers:

2 cups flour
1/2 cup boiling water - she stressed that the water has to be boiling.

Mix well - until it forms a stiff dough and then roll it into a log and wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until needed. Then just cut a circle off and roll it out until it's very thin and the size you want.

Then fill with whatever you want - we used a mixture of:

grated carrots
chopped green onions
grated ginger
chopped water chestnuts
chopped baked tofu
soy sauce

Then just wrap them up however you like - we tried wrapping like candy wrappers - like envelopes and these - just pull up the edges of the wrapper and squish together - they were all good - bake at 350 until lightly browned.

The dipping sauce is super easy too:

1/2 cup Knott's farm jalepeno jelly
1/2 cup rice wine vinager
1/2 cup soy sauce

They all tried everyone else's potstickers - I of course stuck with my own and everyone agreed that my potstickers were the best - they really did have a lot of flavor.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Mmmmm Mmmmm Good

Last night we served dinner at the Salvation Army. The menu was Hamburger Hotdish - basically Hamburger - browned with onion with a bunch of Mushroom Soup - topped with Tater Tots - it's a favorite with the kids up here - I had never heard of it down south. This was served with a big pot of mixed vegetables. And for dessert we made cupcakes. I went to our church to cook the food about 2:00 and then we hauled everything up to the Salvation Army building about 6:00 PM to serve. So, what's a vegan to do when she has to sit at a table with a bunch of people eating the above. Well, she plans ahead and makes an exact vegan copy of what they are having. I made a tiny "Hamburger" hotdish and a bowl of mixed veg - no butter and had that ready in the kitchen for when it was time for the servers to sit down and eat.

I made my vegan Mushroom soup:

1 can Mushroom stems and pieces - put the whole thing in the food processor and pulse a couple of times - or if you like the big chunks just leave it as it is.
2 cups of soy milk - I used light this time but I've used full fat before - it makes a creamier soup.
1 vegetable bouillion cube
2 shakes of cayenne pepper - not sure how much that is - adjust to your taste - I like it better than black pepper which seems too harsh for a nice rich mushroom soup.
A pinch of garlic powder - again you don't want it to be overpowering.
2 Tablespoons of flour.

I just stir it with a whisk until it's thick and bubbly. It's the perfect base for a green bean casserole with french fried onions on top. And it's good with some Saltine crackers for lunch.

For my tiny hotdish, I cooked some chopped onion in the micro - see the world's hottest onions post - and added some Morningstar Farms crumbles and stirred in enough Mushroom soup to make it creamy and topped with tater tots. When I went back to the kitchen and got my plate - it looked exactly like everyone else's, except that my mixed veg was not overcooked - haha.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Health Fair

I worked at the Health Fair at the Man-Cub's school. I worked at the Hydration Station - cute. We had posters about hydration and a bottle of water for every student.

Every 5 minutes the kids changed stations with 2 minutes of exercise in between - so we were doing jumping jacks and kicks and push ups and squats and running -

so I don't need to work out today - haha.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

"Chocolate Chip Cookie Heaven"

The Man-Cub wanted to bake cookies yesterday afternoon - he was out of school for Martin Luther King Jr. Day - so I checked VegWeb for a recipe and found this one

Of course, they don't sell any vegan chocolate chips here and I didn't have time to order any - so I bought an endangered species chocolate bar (which for some reason they do have here) and chopped it up - a little too finely for proper chocolate chips - more like mini chocolate chips. The recipe makes the perfect amount for our small family - about 2 dozen.

The Man-Cub measured and mixed all of the ingredients - I should have taken some pictures of the little chef - but this is the only picture taken - after the fact and the Man-Cub took it himself.

Monday, January 15, 2007

One sock down - One to go

I finished the toe of the Man-Cub's sock - he tried it on and it's a perfect fit - so I'd better hurry up and finish the second one - or he'll outgrow them before it's done. It's a pretty quick knit.

I didn't realize the color was so close to the carpet color - here's a picture on the wood floor for better contrast.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Nice friends and Collard Greens

One of our new friends here overheard me the Man talking about the lack of greens (fresh or frozen) in the grocery store here - about the only thing you can find with any regularity at all is spinach - and we're just not that big on spinach. The MIL sent us a big box last year filled with turnip, collard, and mustard greens all frozen and fed exed - that was really nice but long gone. Anyway, our friend was in the metropolis (haha) and happened upon some fresh collard greens and she got a big bag for us and dropped it off this afternoon. So of course I made them for supper. They were really good - sweet and tender - and not too sandy at all.

I love the winter light in the kitchen - the sun is so low on the horizon that it shines directly in the southern facing kitchen window - very warming...

Friday, January 12, 2007

Youth Socks

I'm so glad that I changed the pattern and didn't go with the child socks as I had originally planned, as they would definitely have been too small - so this is an original pattern - just sort of made up on the fly - I'll try and write everything down and post it as I make the mate.

I'm down to the toe decreases so it'll be done soon. The Man-cub is pleased with the results - he asked if they were only for church - haha.

Baked Tofu and the very busy week...

This is one of those crazy weeks - In addition to work:

Cub Scouts - Monday 6:30 - I already blogged about that...
Birthday luncheon at the nursing home - each month a birthday luncheon is served for everyone who has a birthday that month - I read a poem and helped serve the cake and punch and coffee. - Tuesday 2:00 PM
Tae Kwon Do - Tuesday 5:30 PM - this is every week - I know - but it still adds to the busy-ness of the week
Mentor Program - Tuesday 7:00 PM - the Man-Cub's school has a mentor program for new families - to help them know about the routines and extra programs at school - The mentors met Tuesday to go over all the programs and events for the new year so that we can be informed when we talk to our "mentees".
LYO - Wednesday 5:00 PM - our Youth group meets every Wednesday right after Confirmation classes - there are 14 nice young people in the group - we made these string crosses

and these bird houses - it was a lot of fun - you never know about crafts and teenagers - some work and some don't - but these were fun.

Both photos from

Tae Kwon Do again - Thursday 5:30
PTO - Thursday 6:30 - I'm always a little late to this because I can't get the Man-Cub home from TKD and back to the school by 6:30

So - I'm really looking forward to the weekend and a chance to catch my breath.

I had gotten 4 blocks of extra firm tofu while I was in the metropolis - haha - over the weekend and one of my favorite ways to eat tofu - is simply baked with a little EVOO and then sprinkled with soy sauce.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Poles Apart

That's the theme for this month's Cub Scout meetings. At our meeting Monday night - the scouts carved soap Polar Bears - pretty messy - but the Man-Cub loved it and wanted to do another when he got home.

Then they played a game of Ice Crossing - very easy to set up - You'll need 4 pieces of white paper - the ice bergs - and land (some way to mark the finish line) - we crossed the blue carpet to the brown tile. The object is to move your icebergs forward one at a time and keep your balance on the one you are not moving - if any part of you touches the water - you've fallen in and have to go back to the beginning.

I made vegan brownies and everyone loved them - no one even knew. The vegan doc at talks about whether to let people know they are eating a vegan treat - I usually do not...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Little Tiny Pound Cake

I used my cute little bundt pan - a Christmas Present from my wonderful sister - to make a cute little pound cake. The recipe that was in the pan (veganized of course):


4 tablespoons Earth Balance
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg equivalent - I used Red Mill egg replacer
Pinch of Salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup soy milk - with one teaspoon apple cider vinegar added
3/4 cup plain flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Cream margarine and sugar, beating well at medium speed of an electric mixer. Add egg replacer and beat well. Dissolve soda in soy milk mixture. Combine flour and salt, add to creamed mixter alternately with soy milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix until blended after each addition. Stir in flavorings. Pour batter into greased 1/4 sized pottery tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 26-28 minutes. Remove from pan and complete cooling on a rack.

The tube pan is from McNeill's Pottery, Seagrove, NC.

This recipe barely filled the pan half full - so I think next time I'll double it. The texture and flavor of the cake was very good 'though.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Space Aliens and the abducted North Country Hat

We were in Fargo this weekend and we ate at the Space Aliens Restaurant and unfortunately the North Country Hat is now missing - I'm sure some Alien is wearing it in deep space right now. The Man-Cub has asked for another one - but I'm not sure - he hasn't managed to keep one for a week yet.

Anyway, in keeping with the theme of space aliens - the Man-Cub asked for green Jello - well, jello is a like bad word for vegans - so I made some green goo:

I used 3 cups of water
1 packet of Lime Koolaid
1/2 cup of sugar and
3 Tablespoons of Agar Agar flakes that Karen sent for Christmas. It turned out very authentic.

And I just finished reading the Bird Flu Book by Michael Greger and it's really scary - as all the doom and gloom prophecies are... You can read the entire book online here

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Another Dishcloth and Corn Salad

I finished another of my simple little dishcloths and trimmed it in red.

And I made a quick corn salad to take to a covered dish supper.

It's super quick and easy:

1 can whole kernel corn - drained
1 can black beans - drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 T canola oil
1/8 cup sugar
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar

see - easy peasy!

I'm still waiting until after Epiphany to take down the Christmas decorations - I don't want to miss any of the 12 days...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

New TKD project

Since my TKD socks are finished - I cast on for a pair for the Man-Cub - his are worsted weight 'though - so they will be thicker/warmer/last longer - hopefully.
I was going to use the Family of Socks pattern from Lion Brand - - but the child size seems to small and the ladies too large - so I'm adapting the old pattern that I know and love -