Saturday, January 28, 2017

Postpartum Life

Postpartum recovery is hard! Recovering from a C Section definitely took a lot longer this time around and this affected the meals we have been eating tremendously. We have totally been too dependent on faux meats, so I decided to challenge myself. Each week I am going to prepare at least 2 recipes from the mountain of cookbooks on my shelf. Hopefully, this will ensure that we consume more than Gardein products and brown rice.

A while ago I purchased the Oh She Glows App and finally decided to actually do more with it than mark recipes as my favorite. I was so happy with a Broccoli Cheese Soup recipe, my husband tried it and immediately said"home run!" This Recipe called for miso, which is super expensive here, so I simply omitted it and added more salt and yeast flakes. 

In the past, I would usually visit the Minimalist Baker's website almost everyday, but have been quite delinquent lately. I was pleasantly surprised though, when googling bread machine recipes for rolls too see this show up. In no time I had fluffy, tasty rolls to accompany my soup.

I had long been a fan of Kristy Turner's first cookbook, But I Could Never Go Vegan and snapped up her second cookbook that focused on families. Unfortunately, this cookbook has not appealed to me quite as much. Though I was blown away by the recipe I did try, Grandma's Date Walnut Bread. This was so good, it's 3 in the morning and I am thinking about another slice!

This week I plan to try at least 2 more recipes from this book and hopefully will be blown away again.

I have to tell you about what I am reading this week. This week the Newberry Medal was 
awarded and one of my favorite books, The Inquisitor's Tale was chosen as a Newberry Honor book. I have placed an order for the winner, The Girl Who Drank the Moon and can't wait for that to get in my hands.

Recently, I read another book in the Drew Fathering Series, Murder on the Moor. I am not usually a fan of mysteries or suspense but I like this series . The main characters are funny and I think that readers truly like and care for them. Drew makes mistakes, but this book reminded me of the danger of jumping to conclusions. Drew and his wife, visit an old friend in an effort to solve a mystery that is centered around an old home and a spooky moor. It seemed to be influenced by Sherlock Holmes and the Baskerville Hound, but included subtle Christian references that I appreciated. I actually figured out whodunnit before it was revealed but I still enjoyed this book, and look forward to others in the series. (A copy of this book was provided by Bethany House Publishers.)

I also have to recommend The Woman on the Orient Express. This is not usually the kind of book that I would read, but it had me absolutely spell bound. Check it out!

Well, until next time....happy cooking and reading!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Life Changes

2016 has not gone quite as planned. Pregnancy definitely put a brakes on my vegan food game, I don't know the last time I actually picked up a cookbook to plan or execute a meal. Bed rest put a stop to shopping and cooking, then early delivery and a C-Section erased all desire to spend time in the kitchen.

Surprisingly, reading was not a priority. Bed rest just tends to be exhausting, despite its name, and I had no interest in books.

But baby is healthy and at home, my desire to cook and read is slowly returning. My cookbook collection got a boost from two new books.

Image result for isa chandra super fun times               Image result for but my family could never go vegan

I love Isa Chandra, so this cookbook was a must have. Kristy Turner's first book is one of my absolute favorites, so I decided to splurge on her newest book. I have yet to try any of the recipes from these books, but am looking forward to preparing a meal for my family to celebrate the holidays and all the life changes 2016 has brought us.

I don't have the time to read mediocre books anymore, so I am really picky about what I am reading these days. The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen was a good use of my time. For some reason, I love books about small towns and inns. This book tells the story of Jane Fairmont Bell who feels inadequate for many reasons including her overbearing mother in law. I love that Jane comes into her own and that this is not a predictable love story. There are moments of intrigue and mystery in the book and the author does an excellent job of creating characters that I found endearing and interesting.
Image result for the innkeeper of ivy hill

A free copy of this book was provided by Bethany House Publishers.

I look forward to all 2017 will bring and wish you and yours a year filled with good vegan food and great books.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Christian Lit and Other News

Finally, my Master's Program is done and I am free to read, cook and relax. Unfortunately, Netflix seems to have stolen hours of my time. I recently fell in love with the series Blindspot, and am counting down the hours to tonight's episode.

It's so nice to actually have leisure time, and I have fallen into a reading rut with formulaic romances that just pass the time. So, I was happy to get a chance to read The Domino Effect by Davis Bunn (a free copy was provided by Bethany House Publishers). This financial thriller kept me up many nights and I even passed it on to my aunt who is in the business of banking. Esther Larsen, named after my favorite biblical character seems to have a perfect life, but is suffering from extreme loneliness and an attack of conscience. The book chronicles her life changing to one that is full of love and friendship, but it happens in totally unexpected ways. Davis Bunn describes an impending financial crisis without boring me to death and actually kept me reading. I loved that Esther was competent and didn't melt into a puddle every time something bad happened. Even though she did form life saving relationships. Davis Bunn has done an excellent job of keeping the reader thrilled and engaged.

This year Vegan MOFO will actually take place in November. Each day has a different prompt which I am looking forward to trying out. Will I make it through the entire month? No clue! But it will be fun to try.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Reading is Fun......

My Master's Degree Program is finally winding down, and I am beginning to have free time in the evenings. Unfortunately, most of this time has been spent watching Netflix (Ms. Fisher's Murder Mysteries, Doc Martin) rather than reading. I have been getting back into the swing of things, but have found myself mostly tied up with YA or middle school novels (Mr. Lemoncello's Library, Wonder, Diary of a Part-Time Indian).

Books that deal with the issues of slavery, racism and segregation are always so difficult for me to read. Ironically I read two books that addressed these topics from very different perspectives. Counted with the Stars by Connilyn Cossette and Stella by Starlight by Sharon Draper.

Counted with the Stars tells the story of a young girl that is sold into slavery after bad business choices made by her father. Kiya has some very demeaning experiences, but still doesn't face the circumstances of the Hebrews around her. How many of us have really thought about what it means to be a slave? I shudder to think of it and Connilyn does a great job of conveying the emotions of the slaves, Egyptian and Hebrew. The anger, disgust and shame! Another thing I thought about when reading this book was how it must have felt to experience the plagues. The author made me realize that the common folk must have had no idea what was going on. The rumors that must have swirled around. I hardly read biblical fiction because there is so much room for disappointment, but Connilyn Cossette did an excellent job. (A free copy of this book was provided by Bethany House Publishers.)

Stella by Starlight will be a read aloud for my fourth grade class next year. I think my students will be able to fully understand how blacks living under the yoke of racism and prejudice must have felt. It has some scary moments as life does, but is a must read.

Reading is fun! I am reminding myself of this more each day, but I realize that it is more than fun. It can open your mind and help you to imagine clearly events that have shaped your reality. I look forward to tackling more difficult times and topics through the words of these authors.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Happy New Year!

The Christmas trees have been put away, and in my case all the goodies have been eaten. I do mean all! I seriously over indulged during the holidays and am doing my best to get back on track.

One of my favorite bloggers Bianca from Vegan Crunk started a 28 day detox using The Abundance Diet, so I decided to give it a try. I cannot follow the plan exactly the way it's set out, but have chosen a few recipes that will hopefully get me back on track. I had my first smoothie that included spinach, surprisingly I actually enjoyed it.

A few times I have ordered lunch from a delivery service---Sprout you can check it out on Facebook. For eight dollars, you can have a really delicious vegan lunch delivered to your work place. It was here that I first tasted soy curls, I was amazed and had to try at home. I couldn't find them in Nassau so resorted to Amazon and it was absolutely worth it. I love these things, the texture is amazing! I recently reordered directly from Butler's and would advise you to do the same as the price is better on this site. Sweet and Sour, Barbecue and Jerk, all are possible with Butler' Soy Curls.

Over my holiday break, I finally got a chance to visit Lil Mustard Seed Cafe on Rosetta Street. I had the mushroom burger! Best homemade burger ever! I wish they were open on weekends or later in the evenings just for me to drop by and have that burger.

So, I spent my holidays doing more than eating, I read a lot! I recently discovered The Nerdy Book Club, which has caused me to buy more books in a single time period than I ever have before. My classroom library is growing and my brain is exploding with all the great children's literature I have read.

Thanks to Bethany House Publishers, I was able to read The Midwife's Choice by Delia Parr. This is the second book in the series At Home in Trinity. This book delved into the lives of the other characters and showed how women in a community could stand together and make a difference. I love stories about midwives and stories that tell how important they were to communities, particularly in a time when women did not have many rights. This book has a serious cliffhanger, I want to find out what happens next!

Alas, my holidays are over and it's back to school and work! But wait, I can see the Easter holidays just a little ways off......

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Thanksgiving and the Christmas Countdown

I have wanted to host a Thanksgiving dinner for a long time and finally had that chance this year. It's amazing the amount of work that went into planning the meal. Weeks of googling and saving recipes, choosing the right recipe and finally the preparation.

My cooking began two days in advance when I prepared the Pumpkin Pie from one of my favorite cookbook Oh She Glows. This pie was absolutely delicious topped with coconut whipped cream. I also baked cornbread for cornbread stuffing. Much time was spent researching cornbread stuffing, I just could not find a good vegan recipe, so I ended up combining a few recipes. The result was so good! My advice for Christmas is to ditch the regular stuffing and go with cornbread stuffing.


Oat Patties with Mushroom Gravy (This was contributed by a guest, but I am working on recreating these patties. Easy and Tasty!)
Caesar Salad with Chickpea Croutons (Salad Samurai by Terry Hope Romero)
Cornbread Stuffing (Inspired by Minimalist Baker)
Sauteed Cabbage and Carrots
Beans and Rice (Made by my MIL)
Roasted Butternut Squash (Oh She Glows)
Pumpkin Pie with Coconut Whip Topping (Oh She Glows)
Pecan Praline Cake (This was made by my very talented aunt.)
Pecan Bars (Fettle Vegan)

Dinner was lots of work, but the effort was worth it.

There is so much eating to be done over the next few days. Christmas breakfast at my aunt's home, my only contribution will be muffins that will come from one of my many favorite cookbooks, 150 Best Vegan Muffin Recipes. I do plan to prepare a Stuffed Seitan Roast from my other favorite, But I Could Never Go Vegan and cookies  from the website Fettle Vegan for an intimate family holiday dinner. I have to say something about this website, I recently discovered Fettle Vegan. I love everything I have ever made from this site. Please check it out!

The holidays are a time for family and good food. I plan to enjoy lots of it this season and hope you do too!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Lots to Say!

Working on my Master's Degree and starting a new school year has pretty much depleted by brain cells which explains my absence from this blog. I had also began relying heavily on vegan convenience foods, which isn't very interesting to talk about....But I have mended my wicked ways and am back in the kitchen and have actually began buying ingredients again.

 Despite my lack of productivity in the kitchen I have continued expanding my cookbook collection. I think this cookbook has been used more than any other I have ever bought, 150 Best Vegan Muffin Recipes by Camilla V. Saulsbury. This cookbook has changed my life! I whip up a batch of muffins twice a week now, all of the recipes are easy and worth the time spent in the kitchen. Most of the recipes use vegan yogurt which can be found at Solomon's Fresh Market. I mostly use Almond Dream's Vanilla Yogurt which is afford-ably priced and not overly sweet. My favorites are the Chocolate Chip Muffin and Banana Walnut.

I don't usually buy Kindle versions of cookbooks, but had heard so many good things about Dreena Burton's Plant Powered Families that I decided to give it a try and wanted immediate gratification. I have also been having a BIG problem with trying to pack healthy, appealing lunches for my first grader. I hoped that this cookbook would help. So far I have tried about three recipes from this book and was pleased, my favorite has been the chickpea burgers. My entire family absolutely loved them which was a win for me. My only peeve is that all of the baking recipes are gluten free, but overall this is a good book for families trying to feed vegan kids.

Even though I am now a reforming junk foodie, I am happy to see the the wide variety of foods being carried in my local store. I recently found Earth Balance Cheddar Puffs, Popcorn and other items. YAY! I also have to recommend So Delicious Cashew Milk Ice Cream. This is the best vegan ice cream you will ever eat, I promise. These items are pricey, but worth the occasional splurge.

I was led to begin a clean up process in the diet of my family after watching OMG! a documentary about Genetically Modified Foods. I was inspired to start buying organic, until I picked up a pound of organic chickpeas being sold for nine dollars. Nope! Had to purchase the non-organic brand for one dollar and ninety-nine cents. I am trying to use the clean fifteen and dirty dozen resource while shopping. I guess I can aim for something close to perfection.

Unfortunately, my reading has been limited, but I was determined to carve out time to finish this latest book by Lynn Austin. The third book in The Restoration Chronicles, On This Foundation tells the story of Nehemiah who leaves Persia and travels to Jerusalem to lead the building of the wall. The story is familiar, so I think everyone knows how it will end. Yet, Lynn Austin does an excellent job of building suspense and intrigue. Halfway through the book, I read the book of Nehemiah just to check the facts and confirm what I was reading. Lynn Austin is a gifted writer who makes biblical history come to life. I hope this series never ends!

Happy Reading and Eating!