Getting Caught Up

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, sorry about that.  It has been a crazy few weeks.  The Hubs, Kiddo and I helped my mom and step dad get my grandma relocated from Arizona to California. That took some time to get done.  We took a weekend, drove out to her place, loaded up our full-sized SUV and hauled her belongings back.  My mom and step-dad brought Grandma out, did all the shopping for new furniture, organizing and got Grandma all set up in her new place.  I spent a week and a half creating dinners and lunches for everyone.  That way we were all still eating healthy and maintaining our vegan ways and mom didn’t have to deal with meal planning, shopping and prepping on her already too long of a to do list. The feeding of everyone in itself was pretty tiring.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and am always more than happy to feed anyone in need of a good meal, but taking all those recipes and doubling them meant twice  as much chopping and prepping and some of these recipes are all about the slicing and dicing of a lot of veggies! But like I said, well worth it, since the payout was having family here every night for dinner for a week and a half. Not to mention how much fun it was to share some of my tasty new recipe finds with everyone.  Buddha’s Delight, Moo Shu Vegetables, Raise the Roof Sweet Potato & Vegetable Lasagna, Vegetable Udon, just to name a few. Makes me hungry just thinking about them.

Anyway, Grandma’s doing great and we love having her  so close to us now. She’s now just a couple miles from us and we have her over for dinner every Monday night. Even though she isn’t on our same dietary path, she is a soup Hound!  So I have been picking new soups to try every Monday.  Last week I made Cup of Garden soup, it was FANTASTIC! It had carrots, celery, red onion, cauliflower, kale, zucchini, basil, garbanzo beans, pasta, tomatoes, leeks.  It was packed in nutrients, super low in fat, and calories. This week we tried a Corn, Potato and Leek Chowder.  It was super delicious and one of the easiest recipes I’ve made in awhile. I am also thankful for a new friend who has graciously typed up and emailed me a bunch of new soup recipes.  I plan to work my way through them all.  Soups are fun, they are easy to create, offer lots of flavor combinations and are hard to mess up.  Soups are probably the easiest thing to do vegan.

As if working 3 days a week, helping get Grandma moved, raising a kid and cooking for 6 people wasn’t enough, I have also been busy booking cake and catering gigs.  There is plenty of pre gig work to do before even getting a deposit.  I have to create and locate recipes and create a menu, I have to figure out how many batches will be needed to make enough to serve 25, 150, or 250 people.  Then I have to price everything out and get the bid written.  After which I have to cross my fingers and  wait to hear if I am selected for the job.  That said, it is all a labor of love and has been paying out quite nicely as of late. I just did a cake and bouquets for a 20th wedding anniversary, vow renewal.   3 tiers of red velvet and cream cheese filling, covered in fondant, airbrushed with shimmer, wrapped with ribbon, and detailed with hand piping.  Here is a picture…

Isn’t she a beauty?  The evenings color scheme was black, red and silver.  I am very pleased with the final outcome.

I also booked a baby shower catering and cake for a Sunday in March.  The Momma-to-be is vegetarian (Yippee) and so the hostess and I came up with a salad bar where I will put out a big bowl of greens and then set out toppings clustered together that when used will create a specific type of salad, like, grilled chicken Caesar with croutons, shaved Parmesan, sliced grilled chicken and Caesar dressing, or a Greek salad with red onions, tomatoes, feta cheese, peppers and cucumbers.  You get the idea.  Then I’ll make a couple of sides, like my beloved Heart Attack Mac and a Caprese salad.  I’ll make a peach Sangria and finish everything off with a cute baby cake.

After the baby shower in March I have a wedding reception in April where I will be feeding appetizers and dinner to 150 people with a fun kids menu to boot!

See, not too busy, right?  Well let’s not forget it’s about time for the spring veggie garden to go in.  I have it all mapped out and am trying desperately to find some time to start prepping the ground.  Especially since I have teamed up with a friend and her mom and have now got all my veggies, both seeds and seedlings, ordered.  We are still harvesting lots of romaine and Bibb lettuces for our salads as well as some really pretty and super sweet carrots, check these out..

That’s right, we have the typical orange carrots along with yellow and red ones, our cream and purple ones went in a little later and are just starting to be pull-able. But I am super excited to get the Spring/Summer garden in and growing, I have expanded my planting area so I can grow more delicious veggies.  I am going to plant bell peppers, jalapenos, tomatillos, sweet potatoes, corn, green beans, zucchini, cucumber, eggplant,  little pumpkins and 5 varieties of tomatoes.  I love growing my own produce, I love knowing what goes into it, that it is grown organically and that it is fresher tasting than anything you can buy in the market.  I try to find interestingly different varieties, like the carrots above, anyone can get an orange carrot, but pulling up red, yellow and even purple carrots, too fun!!  The tomatillos are a purple variety. The pole beans are an Italian Heirloom variety that is also purple. The tomatoes are Heirloom, Big Beefy, and little yellow romas.  Growing all these unique vegetables makes eating healthy not only easy because everything is literally right at our finger tips, but also lots of fun.  Who wouldn’t love seeing purple beans on their dinner plate, or a rainbow of carrots sprinkled in their salad.

So we are what, 6-7 weeks into our Whole foods, Plant Based way of life, I shared in the beginning how strong some of the cravings were and that I wasn’t always 100% vegan.  I am now finding that my cravings are losing their intensity.  I am also finding great, healthy alternatives to a lot of them.  The veggie meat alternatives that are out there now are so great!  I have enjoyed buffalo wings, chicken nuggets, shish kebabs, and all low fat & high protein. And CRAZY GOOD!  This week we are going to try a pulled pork that is all veggie as well as hitting the kebabs again, only this time I am going with a teriyaki style where I will grill the Seitan with fresh pineapple and red bell pepper in a homemade teriyaki sauce. I am coming up with and finding some great recipes, I am going to have to do better about taking pitures and posting them on here to share.

Well,  here are a few numbers to end with today:  The kiddo is down 10  pounds, I am down 23 and the Hubby is sitting below 200 pounds for the first time in the 17 years I have known and loved him!!!! The energy level is still going strong and I have even added some exercise to my morning routine now.  Chomping at the bit to get my feet back in walking order, I have so much energy, it would be great to get the dogs out there and get back to walking a few miles a day again.


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