GooGoo

2015, a Recipe Odyssey: July Edition

Well, this has been a whirlwind month.¬†We went to Spangle, WA for Restoration International‘s Northwest Family Retreat. It was great. It was my fourth time going, and the first time that I felt like a normal human being and actually thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end.

Things are starting to come on in the garden, too. I’ve been picking blackberries almost daily this week. Green beans are on, but I keep forgetting about them. Oops. We harvested one cauliflower so far. Tomatoes are coming on and the cabbage is putting on heads. The sunflowers are blooming.

But also my little Lou Who (who will be three next week – THREE!) is blooming. About three days ago I decided it was Time to Use the Potty, and she has not only done all her business in the toilet (barring a couple puddles on the floor the first day and one yesterday), but she’s woken up with virtually dry diapers in the morning as well. This is too easy. I keep waiting for something to go Drastically Wrong – I mean, GooGoo was over three when I started her training and it took her MONTHS before she got anything close to this proficient (and even now at 5 1/2, we still have a fair amount of Incidents. Please know, I’m not putting down GooGoo, I know every child is different, and she is highly sensitive, possibly has sensory issues, so, yanno – I’m just saying that, in comparison, that’s why this feels too easy.)

Here’s what I made! Grouped by source. (And not necessarily in order, because since I’ve been gone and/or ridiculously busy for a large chunk of this month, and this post has fallen through the cracks for weeks.)

From Vegan With a Vengeance, 10th Anniversary Edition:

1. Lemon Poppyseed Muffins – I actually really liked these, and I have never liked lemon poppyseed anything, ever.

2. Pancakes, raspberry-lime variation – For a pancake, this wasn’t bad. (I’m not a pancake fan, but I like to try different ones since my family loves pancakes and hey, why not?)

3. Cherry-Almond Muffins – I made this in loaf form and I liked it, but didn’t love it.

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4. Tempeh Sausage – I made this ahead of time and froze it for use in…

5. Tempeh Sausage and White Bean Gravy – which was SO EASY to make, and we ate it on…

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6. Baking Powder Biscuits – Okay, so honestly I was a bit blah about trying a biscuit recipe, because a biscuit is a biscuit is a biscuit, right? Well, these were amazing. I’m guessing it’s the use of two fats instead of just one, maybe? I did half white, half whole wheat flour, and these were so light and delicious and perfect.

As for the gravy, I really liked it, despite that it looks a little like barf on a biscuit. Mr Pine Nut thought the flavour was too strong, but I really enjoyed it, largely because the tempeh added a lot of bulk but I really didn’t taste it so much, as I do it many recipes.

7. Lentil-Walnut Burgers – I decided that I’d try something I heard about subbing zucchini for mushrooms. It worked great! I have these made up and frozen now for future meals, but I did try one of the ones that broke. It had a great flavour. My primary gripe was that they were tremendously soft and flipping them was almost impossible. I had to bake them way longer than the recipe said. Soooo… next time I think I’ll have to add in more breadcrumbs or something.

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8. Pumpkin Waffles – These were a hit! Not only did they have zero issues sticking or falling apart or things like that, but they tasted great. ūüėÄ

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9. Oatmeal Pumpkin Cookies – Of course I had to use up the remaining cup of pumpkin from the waffles, so, uh, THESE. These are going to be a regular. They are amazing!

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10. Maple Walnut Scones – These were good, but I thought I’d like them more than I actually did.

11. Berry Scones – But I liked these even better. I used fresh-picked (like literally freshly picked) blackberries from right outside our house. The girls liked these too and overall they were more of a hit than the maple ones.

[12. ETA: Apple Pie Crumble Muffins – Oh man these were good.]

From Veganomicon:

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13. Mexican Millet – This was really good and paired perfectly with…

14. Black Beans – …these. The only negative I have is that I didn’t make a double batch, because they were licked clean!

From Isa Does It:

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15. Lentil-a-Roni – SO GOOD! And easy. Definitely would make again.

From Vegan Brunch:

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16. Zucchini Spelt Muffins – I tried really hard to like these, but I just didn’t. I hate zucchini. ūüė¶

17. East Coast Coffee Cake, Jam Swirl Version – oh om nom nom.

From Vegan Diner:

18. Mushroom Burgers – And nope, I didn’t use mushrooms! I used zucchini. These turned out really well and I was pleased. They are a little softer than the usual burgers I make, but still held together really well. I haven’t tried them yet; as with the lentil-walnut burgers, these are actually going to be used more next month.

Cookbooks [or other sources] represented in July: 5

Did I meet my goal? Nope. But I didn’t expect to, and I’m impressed with myself for having made as much as I did!

See you next month, with August’s recipe report!

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Categories: breakfast, brunch, challenges, cookies, dairy-free, dessert, entrees, garden, GooGoo, Lou Who, lunch, pasta, scones, travel, vegan | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

2013: The Photoessay

Happy memories, things to be thankful for, and good friends.

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Happy 2014! I hope you all have a good, safe, wonderful year. I don’t do resolutions; I think they’re silly. But, I do have some goals! Here is what I’m shooting for in 2014:

  • More zines
  • Putting out a digital recipe book
  • Getting out of this trailer and into my house
  • Adding lots of new lovelies to my Etsy shop – what would you like to see there? I’m open to considering all suggestions!

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Categories: GooGoo, Lou Who, Mrs Pine Nut, pumpkitten, travel | Leave a comment

Exiles of the Snow

First, business: One of the winners of the giveaway has never responded to my email, so I’ve chosen a second winner via Random.org: Panda With Cookie! You should be getting an email from me shortly!

***

The view from the living room window of our friends' house

The view from the living room window of our friends’ house during the cold snap of doom

Now, on to other things. We had a cold, cold cold snap. Our woes began when the trickle of water we left running wasn’t enough of a trickle and our trailer pipes froze on GooGoo’s birthday. This wasn’t as bad as it might have been, since we do have a water storage tank in the trailer that we can fall back on. The problem with that is that when it’s empty and the trailer hose is frozen, refilling it involves a 5-gallon bucket being toted from the house where water *was* still running, a funnel, and four hands.

Spiders are creepy, but their webs are awesome.

Spiders are creepy, but their webs are awesome.

With the weather forecast ominously predicting lows in the teens, we became exiles from our own abode on Friday the 6th. We headed with girls and cat in tow for the booming metropolis of Shedd where we found refuge with good friends until the snap passed.

We had all kinds of adventures with the their cat hating our cat and our cat being all passive-aggressive to their cat, a treacherous trip to Corvallis because Train Boy was going to just PERISH if he had to use Nucoa instead of Smart Balance just one more meal, and hearing Greensleeves practised a few times over the course of the week. I got quite a few felt ornaments made, though, and got in some music practise myself.

The girls being entertained by The Engineer

The girls being entertained by The Engineer

Well, the weather didn’t warm up on Tuesday as they had predicted. It was Friday before everything was sufficiently melted and our pipes were thawed out. So we ended up being away from home for eight days.

Pumpkitten knows there's a heater right beneath him

Pumpkitten knows there’s a heater right beneath him

We’re still getting things back in order around here and I have been afflicted with ridiculous fatigue I can’t explain. I have been lazing around hoping to regain my energy. I predict I’ll be back to normal tomorrow, but we’ll see.

***

Bonus! Three photos of GooGoo’s birthday. How is she four already?

The tiger cake!

The tiger cake!

The pathetic picture of the inside of the birthday cake.

The pathetic picture of the inside of the birthday cake.

The sweet birthday girl. I love you, GooGoo!

The sweet birthday girl. I love you, GooGoo!

 

 

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Categories: birthdays, GooGoo, Lou Who, Mrs Pine Nut, pumpkitten | Tags: | Leave a comment

Journey to √Čiden: Day 5

Today. Today is the day you have been waiting for.

Well, maybe. Have you watched The Lizzie Bennet Diaries? Do you understand what is meant by the phrase “DARCY DAY”? Well, if you haven’t and don’t, I’m currently deciding if I’m going to pull one of those on you. By the time I get to the end of the post, I’ll have decided. So read on.

This post is going to be pretty photo-heavy, by the way.

On the 30th, Wednesday, we left my sister’s at about 9 for Salt Lake City – Temple Square, particularly. I have been wanting to go there for some time because I have a historical interest in Mormons. Between my sister’s and SLC we counted 8 churches and 1 temple. 2 of those churches were right. next. to each other.¬†

We found The Temple with little difficulty, and found a parking place with a little more difficulty. But it gave us a pleasant walk down State Street enjoying the fabulous fall foliage and the large beautiful houses.

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We detoured slightly through one park where a certain caretaker and his yellow gocart was busy caring for the park.

We found a place to cross the street where there weren’t a bunch of workmen working on the crosswalk. We went on to stroll in Brigham Young Historic Park where there was the PERFECT Jumping Off Things photo op, next to some black metal statuary of swimming boys, but that caretaker on his little yellow gocart was, like, right there. Boo. So we took some boring normal photos instead.

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After that we went on toward The Temple. It wasn’t hard to spot. I scouted out a good jump spot, because I really really really REALLY wanted a Temple Jump Shot… and then guess who pulled up nearby in his yellow cart? You guessed it, our friend (or maybe stalker?) the caretaker.

I ambled about innocently, too chicken to jump in the presence of the caretaker, especially after having seen the sign about The Temple grounds being private property and bla bla bla. I took a photo for a girl who requested a shot of her in front of The Temple. Mr Pine Nut and I stood pressed right up against the locked double-layered gate and stared up at it. We observed all the fascinating symbols thereon.

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(The above was patched together for me via Photomerge.)

The Man Who Communed With 'Jehovah' #necessaryquotes

The Man Who Communed With ‘Jehovah’ #necessaryquotes

A sweet smiling 50ish lady with white hair in a perfect bun came by with a rainbow umbrella under her arm. She had a tiny high voice and was very exuberant as she enquired whether I made my hat and she was SO glad to see us there enjoying Temple Square. Then she asked GooGoo if she knew what the flowers were planted by the gates and told her they were DAISIES! She talked about growing up with daisies and petunias and isn’t it wonderful how those memories come back? She moved on, leaving me contemplating the bed of daisies. I had never seen such purple, pansy-shaped daisies before. Hmm.

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It was staring to mist a bit by the time we found an open access gate to actually approach The Temple. I had Mr Pine Nut take a photo of me on the temple steps and then it was time to hustle back to the car and be on our way. I took the wheel and it was off to Grand Junction, Colorado.
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It was a beautiful day for the drive. Once we got out of SLC, which took forever, and there are like SEVEN LANES OF TRAFFIC, we saw red rocks, green rocks, striped rocks, dustings of snow, and fantastic cloudage. We got to our destination at 4.45, and √Čiden and I met at last. She is gorgeous.

Then we went home, and tumbled into bed exhausted about 10.30.

Okay, out of time for now. More later!!

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Categories: GooGoo, Lou Who, Mrs Pine Nut, travel | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Journey to √Čiden: Day 4

Early on Tuesday morning, I stepped out to get my cookie-making stuff from the car and the smell of winter in Idaho hit me: woodsmoke and frosty evergreens. Yes.

The girls in a rocking chair. One of them not so happy.

The girls in a rocking chair. One of them not so happy.

I had brought along all the pre-measured dry ingredients in bags for three different types of cookies. Out of those three I baked cowboy cookies while Edda’s mom made fried potatoes, tomato gravy, and eggs, and there was carrot juice, grapes, and apples. All delightful. Mr Pine Nut and Edda’s dad talked gardening and her mom and I talked music, and some other friends from the area showed up to say hi and chat a bit.

It was 10.15 when we started to dress the girls and load up, and then we talked in the driveway for a while. I had planned for us to be gone at 10, but it about 11 when we actually hit the road! It was fine, though. We don’t get to see these folks much. We filled the gas tank in Pinehurst, and were off to Montana.

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When I first left Idaho in 1999, we headed east on 90. I’d never been further east than Mullan, and it was a move, not just a trip. I wasn’t coming back. The panic I experienced as we passed Mullan and headed for regions unknown was absolutely terrifying to me.

In 2011 I travelled through en route to a wedding and relived a tiny bit of that, but this time not at all.

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First rest stop of the day! These two went to the bathroom and then had a little run.

First rest stop of the day! These two went to the bathroom and then had a little run.

It was three and a halfish hours until we got on 15 South. We stopped in the booming metropolis de Melrose, Montanner for gas and to switch drivers and allow one of our number to find a secluded spot amongst trees along a two-lane road that had a speed limit of 70/65 at night. Apparently Montanese want early death?

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My hair=super dry and tangled and crackly. My lips=insanely chapped.

The sun hitting this mountain was so pretty.

The sun hitting this mountain was so pretty.

As was this burning sunset sky.

As was this burning sunset sky.

GooGoo singsonged a ton. Ever-da-day, ever-da-where, lights ever-da-where, this is our famwee‚ÄĒover and over and ooooover. She looked at her Eloise Wilkin treasury in the dark “reading” it. I think she also asked me about 5773 times if Aunty has a dog? Two dogs? Big dog and little dog? We going to Grandpa’s?

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We ate supper at Subway in Idaho Falls. We took in fruit and flatbread for my sandwichphobic daughters while we had tasty veggie delite footlongs. Two dudes sitting a few tables away seemed fascinated by my girls. I wasn’t sure if they were friendly or creepy, but thankfully we never had to find out for sure one way or another. We got back on the road at 8.51pm.

We passed through Pocatello. Lit up at night it looked gigantic; I was suprised to learn it’s about the same population as Corvallis or Yakima.

Speed limit went from 75 to 80 as we crossed the border to Utah. Oy.

We arrived at my sister’s about midnight and went right to bed. What was a 9-hour drive according to Google Maps had ended up taking close to 13 hours with the stops we had to make!

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Categories: GooGoo, Lou Who, Mrs Pine Nut, restaurants, travel | Leave a comment

Journey to √Čiden: Day 1

I anticipated running around like a beheaded barnyard fowl on Sabbath morning, the 26th. And I did.

I was up early and traipsing between house and car, trailer and car, shed and car, armed with a flashlight and laden with Stuff. But after a nice game of Tetris Packing the Car, all got loaded and I managed to still cut a fine dash for church in some new-to-me thrift store treasures (red silky shirt and silver/black striped tie) AND get on the road to church by 8.

Sabbath school went well. We left church about 12.30. I read a 96 page book (Taught by a Tiger) and then we stopped around 1.30 at a rest area along I-5 to eat lunch, because I was starving.

Cuddling the annoyed-looking beast while I ate my lunch.

Cuddling the annoyed-looking beast while I ate my lunch.

We had bulgur burgers (or, as a friend once humourously referred to them, Bildeberger bulgur burgers) and hummus on rye chapatis, kale chips, carrot sticks, and cowgirl cookies (well, my version was cocoanut, walnuts and cranberries). I told Mr Pine Nut that I’m pretty sure these are the cookies I’ve been waiting for all my life. “Well, I’m glad you finally met,” he said dryly, “so you can get married.”

We were vastly entertained peoplewatching at the rest stop. There was a young boy striking dramatic poses by trees for his mom to take pictures, and the couple in the SUV nearest us spent close to 20 minutes messing around adjusting their back seat and then shutting themselves into the back of the car from the inside. Um.

We dropped off the Pumpkitten at our friend K’s, who graciously opened her home to him despite his inability to get along with her cats on previous visits. We visited a while with her, met her husband and baby and stepdaughter, and were off on our way again at 4.20. Mr Pine Nut got mixed up and thought we needed to get back on I-5 and 45 minutes later I realised what had happened after we’d inched along for like ever in traffic. We were supposed to get on 84, actually.

So he crossed back into Oregon on 205, got on 84, and all was well again. We stopped at rest stop to eat parfaits and pee. I drove the rest of the way to Yakistan and we arrived at my dad’s at 9.

Sunset reflecting on the eastern mists along the Columbia Gorge

Sunset reflecting on the eastern mists along the Columbia Gorge

The girls were very energetic after having been asleep in the car. GooGoo helped grandpa make cookies. He asked, “Whole wheat flour or regular flour?”

“Regular flour,” said GooGoo.

“Regular flour, regular flour,” singsonged my dad as he got out the regular flour. When he opened a new bag of brown sugar he sniffed it “to make sure it wasn’t tainted with hashish.”

That’s my dad’s sense of humour for you.

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It was 11.30 before we were finally in bed.

I also got the news that I had a new nephew, and K messaged us that Spot was being a ferocious furball, hissing and having to be lured into their room with treats because he would Not Allow Them to Pick Him Up. Oh joy. Poor K.

One thing I took to my dad on this trip was the plum conserve I made for him back in September. It’s from the mother of my best friend Edda and goes way back. What is a conserve, you ask? It’s a combination of fruit, dried fruit, and nuts, and you spread it on bread. My batch came out super thick and didn’t spread very well, but Edda’s mom says that’s not too abnormal. So.

Plum Conserve
4 lbs. plums (about 8 cups cut up)
4 T lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 c raisins
4 1/2 – 6 c sugar
1 c walnuts

Wash and pit your plums. Chop nuts. Combine all ingredients in a pot except nuts and cook until thick. This may take a while and you will want to be stirring very often. When the mixture is thick enough, remove from heat and stir in nuts.

To process, pour into sterilised jars to within 1/2″ of top. Put on a lid and a ring firmly and process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. This recipe yields 3 pints.

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Categories: canning, cookies, Food Preservation, GooGoo, jams jellies and the like, Mrs Pine Nut, pumpkitten, recipes, travel | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Photos of the Day #25-29

Last week I was up at Camp Kuratli for Restoration International‘s family camp. I went by myself with the girls since Mr Pine Nut had to work. A lot of these aren’t great quality. There was plenty of rain and damp!

GooGoo and Tractor Boy exploring what was probably a trash can holder while the rest of us set up camp. She said it was a chicken coop; he said it was a shed.

GooGoo and Tractor Boy exploring what was probably a trash can holder while the rest of us set up camp. She said it was a chicken coop; he said it was a shed.

Thursday was a very pleasant day. The little ones enjoyed the playground, especially this Giant Pile o' Tires.

Thursday was a very pleasant day. The little ones enjoyed the playground, especially this Giant Pile o’ Tires.

Looking lost in space as we wait for our breakfast at Bob's Red Mill on Friday morning

Looking lost in space as we wait for our breakfast at Bob’s Red Mill on Friday morning

The children's choir singing "Pass It On" on Sabbath

The children’s choir singing “Pass It On” on Sabbath

Loaded up to go home this morning in the pouring rain!

Loaded up to go home this morning in the pouring rain!

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Categories: GooGoo, travel | Leave a comment

Photos of the Day #20, 21, 22, 23, 24

Lou Who enjoyed crawling in the grass watching her daddy turn the compost pile.

Lou Who enjoyed crawling in the grass watching her daddy turn the compost pile.

I went to church solo on Sabbath since GooGoo was still sick. I sneaked a picture of Lou Who in Sabbath school playing with the little plastic fishies in the water.

I went to church solo-with-baby on Sabbath since GooGoo was still sick. I sneaked a picture of Lou Who in Sabbath school playing with the little plastic fishies in the water.

Three of the ladies at our bi-monthly Sunday morning yarnfest. The one in the middle offered to roll my green yarn into a ball, but by the time she got done with it the other two had stepped in to save it from tangly oblivion.

Three of the ladies at our bi-monthly Sunday morning yarnfest. The one in the middle offered to roll my green yarn into a ball, but by the time she got done with it the other two had stepped in to save it from tangly oblivion.

This little monkey's new favourite thing to do is climb up onto this bench.

This little monkey’s new favourite thing to do is climb up onto this bench.

The girls in a laundrybasket. GooGoo was "reading" to her sister from her beloved American Girl catalogue.

The girls in a laundrybasket. GooGoo was “reading” to her sister from her beloved American Girl catalogue.

Categories: GooGoo, Lou Who | 1 Comment

Photo of the Day #18

I have a very sick little girl. I suspect she has pinkeye on top of the cold/cough/fever she already had. She hung out laying on this bench most of the day. Poor GooGoo.

I have a very sick little girl. I suspect she has pinkeye on top of the cold/cough/fever she already had. She hung out laying on this bench most of the day. Poor GooGoo.

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Categories: GooGoo, sickness | Leave a comment

Photos of the Day #12, 13, 14, and 15

GooGoo having a contemplative moment with Jeremy Fisher. He's been around a while. I got him when I was about 5.

GooGoo having a contemplative moment with Jeremy Fisher. He’s been around a while. I got him when I was about 5.

K's birthday cake. She wanted ice cream cake, so her mom made a caramel-pretzel ice cream cake with homemade cocoanut ice cream. Tasty, but the rocky road cake (not pictured) was even better.

K’s birthday cake. She wanted ice cream cake, so her mom made a caramel-pretzel ice cream cake with homemade cocoanut ice cream. Tasty, but the rocky road cake (not pictured) was even better.

Blurry, but this was such a gorgeous hydrangea. I got to bring it home with me after our women's ministry training event Sabbath afternoon.

Blurry, but this was such a gorgeous hydrangea. I got to bring it home with me after our women’s ministry training event Sabbath afternoon.

Sunday was plum-canning day. On the left are the bright and jewel-like processed plums, and on the right are the dull, boring unprocessed plums. We did 49 quarts, all before lunch!

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Categories: birthdays, canning, Food Preservation, GooGoo | Leave a comment

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