Justice League of Street Food Bash; Or, Dalyn meets Hosea

Yesterday we went to the Justice League of Street Food Bash in Denver. Mostly, for me, it was an excuse to feel like an adult and eat some good food–both of which were easily accomplished. The Bash included 10 food trucks (only one of which was vegan friendly), wine and beer, music, a play area for kids, and lots and lots of hipsters. I loved every second of it.

The whole thing took place in a parking lot behind some crazy modern lofts in an old industrial part of Denver. The play area was open courtesy of Open Air Academy–a school I would love to go despite being about 32 years too old. The toys are wooden, the furniture is reclaimed and handmade in Scandinavian style, and the floors are concrete so dirt and water are welcome inside. So. Sweet. Eames had a blast playing at their water tables and being THAT KID, who splashed and soaked all the other good little girls and boys.

Notice the difference in color between his front and back? Yeah...

But the highlight, of course, was the food and a celebrity food meet and greet. The Steamin’ Demon food cart is run by the folks at Watercourse and provided the only real choice of vegan eats. They had two choices but we went with the Loco Moco:

The creaminess of the gravy (which I think is soymilk based) paired perfectly with the hot sauce. And the quinoa patty was tender but held together well–a tough combination in veggie patties. Apparently, this bowl is a veganized version of a popular Hawaiian breakfast dish. A fact I only know because I was schooled by Hosea Rosenberg, winner of season 5 of Top Chef, during our interview. He’s putting together a show on food trucks that he’ll be shopping around. So, if it ever makes it on TV, I’ll get my 15 minutes of vegan fame.

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First day on the job.

Most first days at a new job are racked with awkward getting-to-know the coworkers, the bosses, your desk, breaktimes, the flow of the workplace.
My first day at being a stay-at-home parent wasn’t quite so awkward since I already knew the boss pretty well, and the coworkers/clients were people I had known for all of their lives.

Now that I’ve had a week to let it all sink in, and differentiate some of what was the first day jitters and what’s the norm, the list of thoughts I had that first afternoon are more obvious with a little bit of hindsight:

1. The day goes by so much quicker than I expected. I’m not sure where the days go, but I must be having fun because every time I look it’s time for lunch, or a nap or it’s already 4:30.

2. I need a to do list. Obviously, there are daily chores that need doing. Dishes, laundry, putting toys away (the kids and mine, mind you,) feeding/cleaning up after the animals, etc. And then there are the bigger projects that need to happen: weeding the garden, organizing the office, making room for a craft area, filling out various paperwork, travel plans and arrangements, etc. Without a list of what those things are, I fear I’ll never get to them for the daily chores.

3. I’m going to need some ideas for things to do with the kids that are free, cheap, easy, and/or close by. At this point, I think I’ll settle for  three of the four. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be doing some exploring of local parks in the near future.
Dalyn pointed out that I’m lucky I’m starting this stay-at-home gig in the summer, when it’s nice out most of the time, and easy to take the boys out to a park for a few hours.  I’m not sure what we’ll be doing for outings come fall and winter, but I’m sure we’ll find something.

4. I really love being at home with my family all day.  I can definitely see why people have trouble going to work at an office or something after staying at home all the time with their kids and family.

5. This isn’t really something I learned on my first day home with Eames, but I did spend a bit of time thinking about it this week and it seems to fit here.
I tend to want to do too many of my own projects. Even without the kids around I suffered from this. I hope having them around and being forced to become more organized with my time will help me get to some of those things I’ve been putting off for years

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A Shiny New Baby and Other Recent Happenings

Since the last time I blogged (on either of my old blogs), things have changed. Drastically. Of course, that is bound to happen when you haven’t done any writing in 6 months. So, without excuses and without further ado… actually, there will be much more ado. It’s just that each ado will be getting it’s own blog post. So, stay tuned.

In the meantime, however, I give you a list of the latest happenings in the land of vegan breeders:

Most AwesomeCuteWildCuddly Happening: The arrival of Dashiell Brown on April 28, 2011. He weighed 8 pounds, 15 ounces and is a dead ringer for that older brother of his.

Eames and Dashiell striking the same pose.

Most Anxiety-Producing Happening: Josh getting laid off. While it’s lovely to have him home (especially in the warm glory of early summer), it’s hard to feed two growing boys and to maintain my lifestyle with zero income. A life of leisure needs to be financed somehow.

Most Inevitable Happening: Dalyn going back to work. Luckily for us, we have options in this terrible economy. I had already signed on for a summer class (my TV class, which I am sooooo excited about), but now I’ll be back to teaching at CU close to full-time in the fall. Will I be able to get my writing done? Well, I can’t possibly get any less done.

Most Overdue Happening: The Westy getting fixed. Though we bought it in October of last year, it was in the shop until March. Then it failed the emissions test. Five times.

38 weeks pregnant. Almost as big as the van.

Most Mundane Happening: Starting another blog. A family blog that compiles all of our boy-saturated vegan adventures in place. Welcome.

Most Uneventful Happening: 101 Things list ending. Luckily, I have a new blog on which to reflect and plan for another 101 things.

Most FrustratingJoyfulMaddeningHappyCrazyWildCuriousEcstatic Happening: Eames quietly turning two on May 1, 2011–two days after his baby brother arrived. It was a hard week for him with a new brother, getting sick, being away from us for the first time overnight, and negotiating the language barrier. It was also the only quiet thing he’s done in months.

Eames being Eames.

Posted in 101 things in 1001 days, Boys, Cults of Culture | 2 Comments

2011: Making Time, Doing Things

I’ll admit it: I love the idea of goal-setting and being organized…but, I can rarely pull it off in real life. In real life, I make fitful progress on big things, only finishing when I absolutely have to, and I simply ignore the little things until they either go away or become big things (like having service turned off). While I think I’ve gotten better in general, I’ve become increasingly frustrated with this approach to life and I’m particularly worried that this year –with only one income, another baby, and a dissertation to write–it’s going to be a debilitating problem that will interfere with some of the bigger goals I’d like to accomplish (DISSERTATION).

So, what did I do? Well, first, I took it out on Josh. I’ve had a hard time keeping up with the house and sometimes feel like I’m not getting any help. More than that, though, I’ve also started feeling like we’re not taking time out for each other. As a family. So I got upset and declared that we needed to take advantage of the time of year and make some resolutions together. Even just spending 30 minutes together talking about what we’d like to do this year was cathartic somehow and it made me feel a lot less guilty about insisting that we turn the tech off one night a week and then proposing that we watch “Centurion” (which is a totally forgettable movie).

We tried to keep the goals reasonable (I’m redoing my 101 things list in a couple months, so this felt like a good time to work on the little annoying things) and each came up with individual goals and some that we need to work on together.

Do dishes after dinner
Take more lunches
Set up dates
Consolidate passwords
Get a physical
Eye exam

200 words a day
Print pictures
Hang art in the upstairs
Establish baking routine (1 day a week, every 3 days, something)
Teeth cleaning–6 months
Take Eames to the dentist

BUDGET–get current on little bills, monthly budget, savings goal, research savings options, apply for state insurance, renew AAA, rental insurance renewal…
Learn photoshop/watch tutorial
Road trips (one weekend trip every other month): Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, RMNP, Durango
Organize the office–get rid of the desktop, org books, make space for work
Pay bills on time–divvying up, setting the calendar, autobillpay
Tech-free night per week (crafts/games/local trips/coffee night)
Set up a will
Life insurance–term

I’m particularly excited about going tech-free one night a week and I think it’ll give me the time to accomplish some of the other goals I’ve listed here. Admittedly, most of the time, I’m tired enough by the end of the day that all I want to do is watch Top Chef, but I’m also feeling the need to do something more often that doesn’t involve babies or work. I’d like to take better advantage of Eames’s 6:30 bedtime. I’m groaning inwardly at the idea that couples need to make time for eachother, but it’s amazing how life gets in the way of so many things. So, yes, I’m going to be that woman–the one who schedules time with her partner. And I think I’m going to really appreciate it. Sigh.

Here’s to a productive 2011!

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Books of 2010: Reading Can Be Fun!

In honor of the reading I do for fun, instead of for work, I thought I’d keep track of the books I read this year.

Eating the Dinosaur–Chuck Klosterman
Lost Cyclist: The Epic Tale of an American Adventurer and His Mysterious Disappearance–David Herlihy
Spice: The History of a Temptation–Jack Turner
Born to Run–Christopher McDougall

Neverwhere–Neil Gaiman
Stardust–Neil Gaiman
The Bachman Books–Stephen King
Dust of Dreams–Stephen Erikson
Hunger Games/Catching Fire/The Mockingjay–Suzanne Collins
Wizard of Earthsea (Books 1-4)–Ursula Le Guin
Affinity–Sarah Waters

 Books I Re-Read:
 Camulod Chronicles (Books 1-5)–Jack Whyte
A Game of Thrones–George R.R. Martin

Posted in Cults of Culture | 1 Comment

Vegan Fantasy Fudge

Growing up, my mom made the most delicious fudge. In fact, it was one of the few chocolate things I can remember that I actually liked, but it had to be my mom’s. Other fudge I found distasteful at best. Crumbly, grainy fudge just doesn’t do it for me. Little did I know, however, that the fudge wasn’t exactly her recipe. Like many of the dishes I associate with my mom, this one came from the back of a jar–the Kraft Marshmallow Creme jar to be exact.

So, this year, I set about to duplicate that fudge without the grossness that is gelatin. The recent explosion of vegan marshmallow options promised to make that fairly east and, indeed, it was. The fudge turned out good. Not as smooth as I rememeber it, perhaps, but still really good. I’m pretty sure Eames lived off nothing but fudge for 3 days and had a keen eye for the container we kept it in, sneaking his little hands in whenever he got a chance.

 Vegan Fantasy Fudge (based on the original Kraft recipe)
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup Earth Balance or vegan margarine
2/3 cup coconut milk
1 12 oz. bag Ghiradelli’s semi-sweet chocolate chips (the gold bag is vegan)
1 10 oz. bag of Dandies vegan marshmallows
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 t vanilla extract
In a medium cast iron (or any other heavy) pot, combine sugar, EB, and coconut milk. Over medium-high heat, being to a full rolling boil. Stir constantly! Once it’s reached a full boil, continue to boil for 5 minutes. Stir constantly! After 5 minutes, remove from heat and immediately stir in marshmallows and choclate chips. It really helps if you use an electric beater. I had to put it back on the heat for a minute to get everything to melt, but with electricity you should be fine. Once the marshmallows and chocolate chips are melted, add nuts and vanilla. Pour into a greased lasagna pan, taking care not to scrape to the bottom or sides of the fudge out of the pan–let a toddler with a mean sugar tooth eat that off a spoon–so you don’t get any grainyness.
Let cool at room temp for several hours, then use a sharp knife to cut into bite-sized pieces.
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Mofo 2010: Walnut Tempeh Scramble

See, I love breakfast. I’ll eat it for any meal and I’d much rather go out for breakfast than dinner.  When I was still in California, we went to breakfast as a family every Sunday and it’s a tradition I dearly miss. The problem is that going out for breakfast as a vegan isn’t always the easiest undertaking.Of course, I miss my family most of all, but I also miss going out for breakfast in general. The problem is that, as a vegan, it isn’t always the easiest undertaking. Even in the Boulder area, offering tofu as a replacement option for eggs is rare.  But, there is one place that has a couple of vegan choices–and one is more than worth seeking out.

Honestly, the title of this post is a little misleading, since there are no actual walnuts involved in the making of this scramble. Instead, it’s my version of the Walnut Cafe Tempeh Scramble. While I love going to Walnut Cafe, it’s often very crowded and, with Eames eating as much as I do these days, it’s gotten somewhat pricey for us to go there regularly (and don’t even get me started on whether or not they actually have vegan sausage–it changes from month to month). So, for endless seconds and guaranteed vegan  sausage, I make it at home with my own expanding family.

Walnut Tempeh Scramble

Olive oil
1 T tamari
4 medium potatoes, small dice
1 package tempeh, diced
1 green bell pepper, small dice
1 onion, small dice
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 package Gimmelean, crumbled
1 1/2 t smoked paprika
1 t thyme
1 t Spike seasoning
3 T water
salt and pepper to taste

In one medium skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add tamari, then potatoes and tempeh. Cook for about 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. While those are cooking, mix seasoning and water in a very small bowl. When potatoes are semi-cooked and tempeh is browned, add in seasoning and water. Stir and cover.

At the same time, heat oil over medium high heat and add Gimmelean, onion, and bell pepper. Cook stirring occasionally, about 5-6 minutes. Then add garlic and cook until the Gimmlean is browned and onion/bell pepper is softened.

Once the potatoes are soft, add Gimmlean/onion/bell mixture to potatoes and stir well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with Daiya, Cholula, and serve hot.

Makes about 4 good sized portions.

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