Thursday, April 16, 2009

Quick, someone hide my scissors...

So we took the plunge and turned them into real bangs this morning. She's even happier today. I'm still adjusting. What have I done to my baby? She looks WAY too old. Sob (that's sob, as in cry, not s.o.b.) She said she looks JUST like me now. Well, maybe that means I look young?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Seriously good stuff...

I realize this blog is turning out to be more recipes than pictures, but I have so few dishes that any living person would actually dare to eat again. No, really. So these need to be on record. That and so I don't forget for next months menu!

I made this on Monday and it was a huge success. I sprinkled shredded cheese on top as well.

(from of course)

Mexican Lasagna

1/2 large green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 large red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
corn tortillas--at least 12
3 cups (28 ounces) fat free refried beans (if you're vegetarian - check the ingredients for no pork fat)
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 tsp. chili powder, divided
1/2 tsp. cumin, divided
3 cups black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup salsa
1 can enchilada sauce
sliced black olives

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a non-stick pan with a little water (1 tbsp.), sauté the peppers, garlic, and onion for about 3 minutes, or until softened. Set aside.

Spray a 9 X 13-inch baking pan with non-stick spray. Line the bottom with a layer of tortillas (you may cut some of them to fit). Make sure you cover the entire bottom of the pan.

Stir the refried beans and spread half of them evenly over the tortillas. Cover the refried beans with half of the pepper-onion mixture and half of the tomatoes; sprinkle with half of the seasonings and half of the black beans.

Add another layer of tortillas and repeat the layers of the other ingredients. Spread the cup of salsa over the final layer of black beans. Cover with a final layer of tortillas, pour the enchilada sauce over the top, and sprinkle with black olives. Cover and bake for about 30 minutes or until hot throughout. It will be easier to cut if you allow it to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Note: Fresh corn is a great addition to this. I use about 2 cups of uncooked (or frozen) corn and add it as one more layer. You will need a deeper pan, though.

Makes about 8 large servings. Each serving contains 319 Calories (kcal); 5g Total Fat; (13% calories from fat); 15g Protein; 56g Carbohydrate; 9mg Cholesterol; 601mg Sodium; 14g Fiber. Weight Watchers 6 Flex points.

Spring break me?

It's spring break for Sydney this week. And it's cold. Wait, isn't this supposed to be spring? It snowed yesterday. Craaaazy. So we're going nuts trying to find inexpensive ways to stay busy. It's not working very well and we're watching too much TV. Plus my house is a disaster area. I give up trying to keep up with them. I'm beginning to think Jon & Kate plus their 8 (that's 2 Sydneys and 6 Sam's!!) MUST have an entire team of house cleaners on standby - at least on filming day.

The girls have set up a tent in the dining room and have spent the last few evenings staying up late and watching movies on our portable dvd player in there. Works for me!! And we bought crafts yesterday but they did them all in two days. Yikes. I still have a few days left....

And Sydney has been BEGGING me to cut some bangs for her. Apparently "so people can tell she's my daughter". Funny girl. Well, Mimi is coming this weekend so I gave in today, knowing that if I butchered them too much Louise can make everything better. :-) She now has long side swept bangs and looks like a teenager. We're off to get her drivers license. Seriously. She giggled at herself in the mirror for 10 minutes. Apparently, she likes it. Sigh.

Melted candy time....

It's Easter time again. And it warmed up enough on Easter Sunday to melt all the chocolates just enough to make it difficult for Mommy to sneak candy in the morning. How can I pop that candy in my mouth without being caught when the packaging is melted onto the candy? What's up with that?

Sam came down with a terrible ear infection on the way over to California so we spent Friday evening at urgent care. It was her first ear infection and it was a painful one, for her and myself. It's always heart wrenching watching your baby suffer. Fortunately, moments before we got in to see the nurse, the pain went away and she's been great ever since. (I however, got a girls night out and the band took away the hearing in my left ear. I'm definitely old.) The girls had a great time finding eggs and weren't as eager to get home as mommy and daddy. Ah, well. At least they slept great.

Monday, April 13, 2009


This should be a post with Easter pictures, but I'm too lazy to get up and get my camera. Maybe tomorrow?? Sydney is on spring break this week and we are having a lazy day to recover from our weekend of candy and craziness. Showers? Maybe. Pajamas all day? Definitely. Unless I find the energy to get up and go grocery shopping. I doubt it though. There's always tomorrow.

So here is a meal that I made on Thursday that turned out pretty good. Tim even gave it a thumbs up! I've never cooked with eggplant before, so this was a first. I thought it was a little tough, so I wish I would have sliced it thinner and broiled it a bit longer, but overall - the sauce was delicious. I was a little skeptical because usually vegan "cheese" sauces are a failure in this house, but this was GOOD. Although, I sprinkled real parmesan instead of vegan. Yummy. This is another recipe from She really needs to come out with a cookbook. My life would be easier.

Vegan Eggplant "Parmesan"

1 large eggplant, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 pieces of whole grain bread, toasted and made into breadcrumbs
2-3 tbsp. soy parmesan (or ground almonds)
fresh basil leaves, chopped or torn
olive oil spray

Tomato Sauce:
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 16-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tbsp. tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste

"Cheese" Sauce:

1/2 cup extra-firm silken tofu
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tbsp. cashew butter or tahini
1 tsp. onion powder
1 1/2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
1/8 tsp. white pepper
2 tsp. corn starch

Salt the eggplant slices and put them in a colander to drain.

Prepare the tomato sauce by sautéing the onion in a non-stick saucepan until it becomes translucent (you may use a little water if you like). Add the garlic and sauté for one more minute. Add the remaining tomato sauce ingredients, and cook for 15-20 minutes.

Prepare the cheese sauce: Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth. Blend again right before using to make sure that the ingredients haven't separated.

Rinse the eggplant slices and pat them dry with paper towels. Spray a baking sheet lightly with olive oil and place the slices on it (you may have to do this in two batches). Spray the tops lightly and place under the broiler. Watch carefully, and remove when the slices start to brown, about 3 minutes.

Assemble the casserole: Preheat the oven to 350. Spray or wipe an 8x8-inch non-metal baking dish with a small bit of olive oil. Place half of the eggplant slices on the bottom of the dish, edges overlapping. Sprinkle with half the breadcrumbs. Spoon half the tomato sauce and pour half the cheese sauce over the breadcrumbs and sprinkle lightly with soy parmesan. Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients (reserving some bread crumbs for on top, as mentioned above). Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes, until slightly browned on top. Sprinkle with fresh basil just before serving. Serves 4.

Each serving provides approximately: 238 Calories (kcal); 9g Total Fat; (30% calories from fat); 13g Protein; 32g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 477mg Sodium; 8g Fiber. (These figures, especially fat and sodium, vary drastically depending on the exact ingredients you use.)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Another success!!

I'm amazed. I have found 3 - count 'em - 3 delicious vegan meals - in the past few weeks that I can't live without. Of course, by the time we finish with them, they aren't technically vegan, a bit of cheese here and there - but they are still healthy vegetarian meals that my husband and at least one of my children will eat AND enjoy! :-) Such excitement! This is another one I found on

(I added a big scoop of cream cheese to the mashed potatoes and Sydney ate them up!!)

Skillet Gardener's Pie

2 pounds Yukon gold or red potatoes
1/2 cup soy milk
salt and pepper, to taste
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, diced
2 ribs celery, diced, leaves minced and reserved
8 ounces mushrooms, diced
2 cups fat-free vegetable broth
16 ounces kidney beans, cooked
2 cups green beans, cut in 1" pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced (or 1 tsp. dried)
1/4 teaspoon sage
2 cups baby spinach leaves, packed
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water (or veg. broth)
extra rosemary for garnish

Scrub the potatoes and cut them into cubes. (I leave mine unpeeled, but if you want you can peel them before dicing.) Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are tender. Reserve a cup of their cooking water, if possible, and drain. Place in a large bowl, add the soymilk, and mash until smooth, adding a little of the potato-cooking water if they seem too dry. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and set aside in a warm place.

While the potatoes are cooking, make the "pie" filling. Spray a large non-stick or cast iron skillet with canola oil. Heat it on a medium-high burner and add the onions. Sauté until onions are translucent. Add the garlic, carrots, celery, and mushrooms, and sauté for 3 more minutes.

Add the vegetable broth, kidney beans, green beans, and herbs. Simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes and all vegetables are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste (I added a little hickory smoke salt). There should still be some liquid in the pan, but if it has become too dry, add a little of the potato-cooking water. Add the spinach and stir until it's completely wilted. Mix the corn starch with the water until smooth, and add it to the pan. Cook, stirring, until mixture has thickened.

Spoon the potatoes evenly over the top of the filling and sprinkle with chopped rosemary. If potatoes have cooled, put the skillet under the broiler for a minute or two. Serve immediately while hot.

Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 272 Calories (kcal); 1g Total Fat; (3% calories from fat); 13g Protein; 56g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 46mg Sodium; 11g Fiber. Weight Watchers Core/ 5 Flex Points.

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