Saturday, October 31, 2009

trick or treat

PUMPKIN SEEDS!!!!!! One of my most favouritest things about this season!!

A relaxed day of autumn
goodness, with roasted
veggies: purple potatoes,
sweet potatoes, butternut
squash, carrots, parsnips
& turnips.

Maia wore her harvest
dress, and Ryan played
some of his funky toys
from his school party.

It was soooo windy we decided not to try lighting the jack o' lanterns. Maybe tomorrow night...before I break them down and cook them up to save for winter recipes!!

And now for the Halloween costumes...Pikmin!

AJ sure had quite the stash before we removed all the non-vegan candies! We sent most of it away with grandma to do with it as she pleased. But the kids still had ample treats to stuff themselves silly with before bedtime. Maia tried her first raisins and Annie's fruit snacks. I did not expect her to participate in the trick-or-treating, but she wanted to go right up to people's doors and pick something to put in her pumpkin bag, just like her brothers. Too cute.

Vegan Mofo III is now complete! See you next year! Or hopefully tomorrow...

candy candy candy

We let our kids do all the usual Halloween stuff, trick-or-treating included. I have a stash of replacement treats ready to stuff in their pumpkin bags when they get home.

Ryan and AJ are getting old enough that they often know which treats are vegan and which are not. But this year I'm going to post lists that they can check themselves--a "Yes" list, a "No" list, and a "Don't Know" list (which necessitates Google searches, emails to manufacturers, and 1800 phone calls...and often surreptitious trips to the trash can or to the "donate" bag). And of course they can just read ingredients with us.

Here are the lists I'll be posting today: The "Yes" list and The "No" List. The "No" List is by no means all inclusive. What
it does is flag candies that
contain less obvious bug-
derivatives. Milk chocolate
and gelatin containing treats
are pretty easy to discern.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pumpkins and Leaf Piles

First of all, forget about Hallween, these chocolate covered peanut butter balls would be perfect for ANY occasion I can think of, or any non-occasion, or a final bite on death row. I only made 1/3 of the recipe and still ended up with this many! Thank you HappyVeganFace for posting the recipe!

Here's a view of the
inside. Simply scrump-
tious. The only hard
part was finding vegan
graham crackers. The
recipe is really easy.
And they look pretty
too. You could sprinkle
them with all sorts of
lovely extras.

Meanwhile, AJ was enjoying the loot from his kindergarten party.

If Maia had her way she'd be outside alllll day. The fall weather has been awesome.

I made a Cauliflower Tomato Soup with Herbes de Provence for dinner (but didn't take a pic til I was half done eating it!) from the cookbook Tomato Blessings and Radish Teachings that was really excellent. And Maia practiced carrying around her pumpkin bag...

Ryan made a spider
hat at school, showed
off his vampire teeth
(neon green teeth?!),
and then grandma
came over to help get
started on the pumpkin

I think Maia might well
have fit right inside this
pumpkin it was so big!

body parts bento

Of course vegans eat things like eyeballs, intestines, heart, blood, bones & fingers. Why do you ask?? Gross!
Ryan's lunch: noodles coloured w/a few drops of red food dye; mashed potatoes w/ketchup, cucumber & black olive; soy cheese bones; red bell peppers; rolls w/sliced almond "fingernails"; a tiny pear on the side.

And for Nate, a cupcake to take along to his class celebration...
More festivites later today!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

too much to do

Totally ran out of time this morning! I had grand plans to make a cat out of a darker medium, but resorted to rice cheese with the intent to added nori stripes to him, but not even that materialized before it was time to shuffle the boys out the door to school...

and a
of a
nori &
w/soy sauce; meatless meatballs.

The broom looked a little neater until my first leek tie fell off because I'd cut it too short, so I left it longer the second time, but the broom bristles got quite ruffled in the process.

What I needed the time for this morning was preparing a platter of food for AJ's kindergarten Halloween party. The school nurse declared the 1st grade rooms "no food" zones due to so many different food allergies, but AJ's half day kindergarten was allowed "fresh fruit, canned fruit, fruit juice & water", since they ONLY have nut and dairy allergic children! The room parent and I chatted about plans and decided we'd break the rules and include raw carrots...gotta have orange & black for Halloween after all! I brought tiny boxes of raisins to donate to the goody bags, along with this:
Halloween party platter: cantaloupe "maple leaves"; gherkin pickles (hey, biologically they're a fruit!); baby carrot & black olive "pumpkin"; orange "smiles". The platter was returned to me empty, so I take that as a success. AJ said he had a great time. But the big fun was their Halloween parade with all 5 kindergarten classes to show off their costumes to the rest of the school and next door to the assisted living residence where they were also read a Halloween story.

It turned out to be
a perfect fall day for
the parade. AJ was
recognized by the
older kids (who were
more likely to be
familiar with video
game characters) as
a Blue Flower Pikmin,
and the boy in front
of him happened to
be dressed as Mario. (Two years ago AJ went as Luigi from Luigi's Mansion.)

It's hard to tell AJ is even
wearing a costume though.
Here's a slightly better
picture of him leaving for
school in the morning.

As if I weren't busy
enough, I wanted to make
some cupcakes for one of
my husband's employees, so I spent yesterday doing that--saving back 3 for the boys--and I managed not to make any extra for myself!
Stay tuned for another crazy day of Halloween fun tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


AGGGH!!!! A BOY! The costumed kid reminds me of something from It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, which has always been one of my favourite Halloween book and movies.
Ryan's lunch: Tofutti cream cheese & strawberry jelly ghost sandwich w/raisin eyes; steamed broccoli; peanuts; slice of asparagus bacun tofu quiche topped with a soy/rice cheese ghost trick-or-treater w/nori eyes.

I thought it would be
interesting to show a
typical morning's
spread of tools I use
to create a bento
embellishment. Here
you can see the ghost
cookie cutter I used
for the sandwich, scraps
of leftovers, the costumed
boy in progress, and
various knives, tweezers
(for placing tiny nori
pieces) and scissors. I do
sometimes use shape
punches, but more often
I just use some small
scissors and cut shapes
freehand. On the right
you can see a box full of
nori scraps, which reduces
waste and is handy for
tiny facial features.

Finally, the finished
product. Notice the size
of the bento in comparison to a typical small cocktail napkin. It took less than one raisin to create the eyes of the ghost!

And here's Maia at school
waiting to pick up AJ. The
fall leaves on some of the
trees were really impress-
ive. All of the fall colour
has been late this year,
but there have been some
very vibrant red trees.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Ryan's lunch: tofu salad roll w/"BOO" rice cheese letters; Sweet & Sara toasted coconut marshmallow; orange bell pepper & olive "pumpkin"; underneath the pumpkin is a layer of carrot sticks, and under that a layer of gherkin pickles; blanched baby greens (spinach, tat soi, beet greens) dressed w/soy sauce.

Maia loves to dress up, so she should be all set to go on Halloween!

Monday, October 26, 2009


I think these owls turned out too cute...
Ryan's lunch: rice w/nori
owls & rice cheese beaks;
bread crust branches;
cucumber leaves; meatless
meatballs; tempura broccoli
& butternut squash; fall
apple leaves; a dropper of
soy sauce.

I also wanted some tempura
for breakfast, so it worked
out well. I battered and pan
fried some broccoli leaves,
broccoli florets, & wedges of
butternut squash.

And a little soy sauce for
The only problem with making tempura is that once you get your oil hot and your veggies ready to be floured and dipped in the batter, then you've got to commit to staying at the stove for a few minutes while they cook. They cook pretty quickly. But with 4 kids it is a safe bet to say you will undoubtedly be interrupted and overcook some of it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

countdown to Halloween

Fall weekends full of playdates and leaf raking necessitate some cool Halloween munchies...

Jack O' Lantern carrot platter with black olives & celery stem.

Pumpkin Curry Hummus

2 cans (15.5 oz.) chick peas, rinsed & drained
1 T. tahini
2/3 cup pumpkin (or other orange/red winter squash)
1 tsp. garlic powder, or ~1 T. chopped garlic
1/4 cup or 1 small onion, roughly chopped
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. grated ginger
1 T. lemon juice
2 T. olive oil
1/3 cup water
paprika for garnish

Steam cubed pumpkin, or thaw and drain frozen pumpkin. I love using red kuri squash for its colour, but butternut squash is also a good choice.
Put everything in a food processor, adding water slowly as hummus mixes. Garnish with paprika.

I'm gonna call these muffins because I started baking them at 6:45am and served them with breakfast. And they are thicker and less sweet than cupcakes, so I'm just gonna keep on pretending, haha...

Chocolate Chili Mini Muffins

2 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup vegan sugar
3 tsp. Ener-G Egg Replacer Powder + 3 T. water, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup soymilk
1/2 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped (optional)

Mix all ingredients together. Scoop into non-stick mini muffin tin. Bake at 350F degrees 18-20 minutes.

We gave Fashion Peace's Absolutely Fabulous Vegetable Pasta with Marinara Sauce a try. Super yummy! I lightly steamed the zucchini ribbons though, and left out the agave nectar simply because I was out of it--we served it alongside a baked potato. My husband really enjoyed this combo and we have enough sauce leftover for another use soon!

And finally, when you have lots of beans in the pantry, fall is perfect weather for chili. We usually eat a fresh bowl piping hot, then serve leftovers with bread, a baked potato, cous cous or other similar small grain.

3 Bean Chili

2 T. olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
3-4 large garlic cloves, finely diced
1/2-1 tsp. hot pepper sauce (I use homemade but store bought is fine too)
1/4-1/2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1 T. dried oregano
1 chile in adobo sauce, chopped (optional)
1 15.5 oz. can kidney beans, drained
1 15.5 oz. can black beans, drained
1 15.5 oz. can chick peas, drained
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1 T. balsamic vinegar
2 T. ground cumin
2 T. chili powder
1 cup soy crumbles (optional)

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until just soft. Add garlic and hot sauce and cook another 2-3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, stir. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover. Simmer at least 30 minutes, preferably 45 minutes.