Tuesday, February 28, 2012

National Pancake Day

Well friends, today was National Pancake Day. How do I know? I'm glad you asked. My dear husband was kind enough to post it on our Google calendar to remind me. Thanks, Dave.

I guess it's true; the way to a man's heart is through his stomach.

So, in honor of this special occasion we went to dinner at IHOP where they were serving up free pancakes in exchange for a donation to the Children's Miracle Network. Yes, I am a sucker for a charity event so I was happy to accompany my husband to this tasty celebration.

The restaurant was really crowded and we ended up having to wait a while for a table, but in the end it was worth it. The food was great and we were happy to support such a great charity.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


I would like to introduce you to a squirrel whom we affectionately call Nubby.


Nubby likes to hang around our neighborhood and is a frequent visitor to our backyard. He (we assume he is a he) seems to enjoy nuts and mushrooms and staring at Gromit. Now, you may be asking yourself how we know it is the same squirrel who we see hanging around. Good question.

Well, Nubby has an unmistakable identifying feature - he is the only squirrel we know of without a tail.


And, no. We didn’t Photoshop these pictures. I think he looks like a guinea pig running across the fence; don’t you?


Weird, isn’t it?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Deliciously Vegan Fridays

Welcome to another edition of Deliciously Vegan Fridays! This week’s recipe: Nacho Taco Salad. I adapted this from a recipe found in Vegan on the Cheap.

Nacho Taco Salad

15.5 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
15.5 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups salsa
2 tsp chili powder
1 cup vegan cheddar cheese, shredded
4 cups tortilla chips
3 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
2 ripe plum tomatoes, diced
Optional toppings:
sliced pitted black olives
green chiles

1. In a large saucepan, combine the black beans, pinto beans, 1 cup of the salsa, and the chili powder. Use a fork to mash a portion of the beans. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally to heat through, for 5 to 7 minutes. Keep warm.


2. To serve, divide the tortilla chips among plates or shallow bowls. Spoon the bean mixture over the chips. Sprinkle with vegan cheese. Sprinkle on the lettuce and tomato and serve at once, passing the remaining salsa and any desired toppings at the table.


On a scale of 10, we would give it a 8, without the cheese. We were not fans of the vegan cheddar cheese - it was softer than the vegan mozzarella cheese we have used in the past, which made it really hard to shred. Plus, it tasted kind of nasty (in our opinions) so we wouldn’t recommend using that.

That’s my recipe for the week. If you made a vegan recipe and would like to share be sure to link up below. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Valentine’s Day celebrations

Happy Valentine’s Day! Ok, so I’m a little late posting this, I know. But after my 52 hour work week last week I was a little tired. So better late than never, here is a recap of our Valentine celebrations.

Last month when we were in San Francisco with Dave’s grandparents we walked by a restaurant that had wonderful aromas coming from inside. We passed by it a couple of times and I made comments about how great it smelled and how we should eat there sometime.

My sweet and thoughtful husband took note and made surprise reservations for us the Saturday before Valentine’s Day! We spent last Saturday in the city where we ate a yummy dinner at the restaurant that smelled so good and then we walked around Fisherman’s Wharf. We came across an arcade museum with working (and a few creepy) old machines. It was a lot of fun to walk around and see so many different things and we even put a few quarters in to see what some of them would do.


On Valentine’s Day I received some beautiful flowers at my office (which I didn’t take a picture of. Oops!) and that night I came home to a wonderful fondue dinner - It was like eating at The Melting Pot, but in our own dining room! Dave had looked up the recipe for something similar to the mojo cooking style at The Melting Pot and prepared that with some chicken, steak, and shrimp for cooking. He also prepared mushrooms to cook in the fondue pot and made green goddess sauce to stuff them with. That is my favorite thing at The Melting Pot! I am one spoiled, and lucky, wife.


I brought home a really nice bottle of wine to enjoy with our dinner and I made these red velvet Valentine cupcakes for my wonderful Valentine.


And, of course, this post wouldn’t be complete without a picture of our little Valentine pup.


I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Deliciously Vegan Fridays

Welcome to another edition of Deliciously Vegan Fridays! This week’s recipe: Baked Ziti.

I found this recipe in Vegan on the Cheap. This was our first dish made with tofu. We were a little intimidated by it at first, but we decided that if it was mixed in with pasta and marinara it couldn’t be too bad :-)

Baked Ziti

12 ounces ziti
3 1/2 cups Marinara Sauce
1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained and crumbled
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
3/4 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly oil a 3 1/2 quart casserole dish and set aside. (We used a 2 1/2 and a 1 quart casserole dish)

2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the ziti over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain well and return to pot. Add 2 cups of the marinara sauce and toss to coat.


3. In a large bowl, combine the tofu, yeast, parsley, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper.


4. Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce in the bottom of the prepared casserole. Add half of the pasta mixture and top with the tofu mixture. Top with the remaining pasta and spread the remaining marinara on top.


5. Cover tightly with foil and bake until hot, about 45 minutes. Serve hot.


On a scale of 10, we would give it a 8. We thought it still had a strong tofu flavor, but the rest of the ingredients do a good job of adding additional flavors to cover it up enough to be pretty darn good. I think we will definitely be trying tofu in another dish again soon!

That’s my recipe for the week. If you made a vegan recipe and would like to share be sure to link up below. Happy Friday!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Winter blooms

This Colorado girl is used to February looking like this (thanks for the picture, Dad!):

But this February, I’m seeing this:


No leaves, green grass, and no snow. It’s crazy to me that I haven’t seen snow since we went camping in July (in Colorado). My system is a little bit in shock from not going through my normal seasons. I’m not sure what to think of these 60+ degree “winter” days, but I’ve had a little bit of fun posting pictures of palm trees and green grass on my Facebook page as my friends and family in Colorado are posting pictures from the snow storm that dumped 14+ inches of snow last week. Sorry, friends, I couldn’t help myself.

But the real kicker? This:

Winter Blooms

There are flowers blooming… in our yard… in FEBRUARY!

I never thought I’d say this, but I miss the snow. Sure, I don’t miss the thought of sliding off of the road into a ditch during a big snow storm, but I miss what I know as winter and I miss the peace that comes from staring out the window at a blanket of white over the world.

Maybe a trip to the California “mountains” in a few weeks will help put my system back in check… or maybe I just need to suck it up and enjoy the sunshine and this new season of life ;-)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Deliciously Vegan Fridays

Welcome to another edition of Deliciously Vegan Fridays! I missed a couple of weeks but I’m back with some new tasty recipes! This week’s recipe: Black Bean Soup with Kale and Rice. I found this recipe in Vegan on the Cheap.

Black Bean Soup with Kale and Rice

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup long-grain brown rice
4 cups cooked or 3 (15.5 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
3 cups chopped kale
5 cups vegetable stock

1. Pour the oil into a 4-quart slow cooker and turn it on low. Add the onion, carrot, garlic, and rice.

2. Add the beans, tomatoes with their juice, cumin, thyme, paprika, salt, and pepper. Add the kale, pour in the stock, and stir to combine. Place the lid an the slow cooker and cook until the rice is cooked and the vegetables are tender, 6 to 8 hours. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if necessary. Serve hot.


On a scale of 10, we would give it an 8. It was really filling but didn’t feel heavy. This dish made really good leftovers and was extra yummy when we dipped chips in it :-)

That’s my recipe for the week. If you made a vegan recipe and would like to share be sure to link up below. Happy Friday!