Odds and Ends, Plus Vanilla-Coconut Cream Coffee

Wow, it’s been a while since my last post! I would like to say that I have a good excuse, but of course I don’t. Work, teaching, kids, running, cooking…..amazing how much time that stuff takes up!

We’ve had a fabulous Memorial Day so far. I usually don’t work on Mondays, so this should feel like any other Monday, but somehow it really seems like a holiday! We don’t have any big plans. I had a nice 6+ mile run; I was proud of myself for running in 70+ degree weather. I usually wilt in the heat and don’t run after the sun comes up, but I purposely slept in this morning and still ran. Go me! 🙂  After running, the girls and I (well, mostly I) made some no-bake peanut-butter chocolate bars and brought some to two sets of our wonderful neighbors, then hit the playground for some slide-and-swing action.

these are one of my favorite recipes ever – quick and delicious, sweet and salty, crunchy and smooth, all at once

We are lucky to have 3 playgrounds in walking distance – I don’t know how I’d survive my at-home days without them! Completely unintentionally, the high-school age kids of our neighbors accompanied us to the playground. it was nice to have some adult company, and the girls love their “grown-up” friends. They are a simply lovely and gracious family. We’ve really enjoyed getting to know them. It turns out that we have quite a few things in common: reading, music, dogs, art. I found out today that the dad has a blog about gardening, which is fitting because their garden is truly beautiful and amazing. We admire it every time we walk by their house, which is usually at least once a day. They have offered to help us set up a container garden, which I’m excited about. Neither my husband nor I have a green thumb, but I’d really like to spruce up our yard a bit. I am so excited to have guidance and help with the garden.

This past weekend we hosted a small birthday dinner for my mother-in-law. I made the vegan paella from The Voluptuous Vegan. It was fabulous. Of course, never having had ‘regular’ paella, I have nothing with which to compare it, but nevertheless, this is a delicious and impressive dish. Instead of mixing the rice, veggies, rosated cauliflower/chick peas and roasted tempeh all together, as per the recipe, I layered everything on top of the roasted tomato sauce, which made for a beautiful presentation. We ate it so fast that I did not get any pictures.

I thought this cake looked really pretty, and it was sooo good, too. I usually don’t like nuts in my food, but the sliced almonds added just the right amount of crunch and contrasted nicely with the smooth, sweet almond frosting.

I made a vanilla cake with strawberries and almond frosting for dessert. It was scrumptious. I haven’t had luck previously with making the standard vegan baking-soda-and-vinegar chocolate cake as a vanilla version, but I tried again and it worked this time. Normally it’s too moist/spongy/sweet/baking-soda-y, but this time I got the proportions right and it was moist without being gummy or spongy, and sweet without being cloying.

Lastly, this afternoon I treated myself to a cup of coffee at home, with a touch of vanilla extract, over ice, and topped with some leftover whipped coconut cream. (My husband had made the whipped coconut cream to go on the cake, and we had a tad leftover). It felt like a decadent coffee-shop style treat; I enjoyed it while reading on the couch while the girls napped. I just brewed one cup of coffee, added a drop of vanilla and a touch of sweetener and soy milk, ice, and then topped it with the whipped coconut cream. Delish.

We have a really old-school, environmentally-friendly coffee maker. It makes exactly one cup at a time, which is great for portion control but not great for serving guests or combatting excessive sleepiness due to toddlers and nervous greyhounds. Oh well.

our super-dooper fancy-schmancy coffee maker

I’ve got some homemade seitan and tofu marinating in a mustard-y and olive oil marinade, and will bake it in a bit for dinner tonight. I’m not sure what else we’ll have; maybe some sauted zucchini? Definitely no-bake peanut-butter chocolate bars for dessert, of course 😉

I will post the recipes for the peanut-butter chocolate bars, and the cake, soon.  I also need to be better about posting (in general) and recording runs (in specific); I’ve got to start the official marathon training soon!

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4 responses to “Odds and Ends, Plus Vanilla-Coconut Cream Coffee

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