Saturday, March 31, 2007

Abigail Turns 2 & Loves Elephants

These are 'Elephant Chocolate Cupcakes' with 'Peanut Butter Cinnamon Topping' from Native Foods Cookbook. After reading Brooke, Kleopatra, & Elizabeth's opinions on this cake, I was eager to give it a try. Elizabeth made it for Hibi's birthday, and Kleo enjoyed hers "on the house" @ Native Foods, cuz it was her birthday --- so fittingly, I made it for Abi's birthday, who is absolutely gaga over elephants. She throws her arm up in the air like an elephant trunk and makes a great roar. Actually, we all do that. We pretend to be an elephant family. You probably feel the same way, and you can click Brooke above for some great links to help elephants. Back to the cake... I made ours into cupcakes, which was just right for little hands. And really, you shouldn't even consider skipping the peanut butter topping.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Centennial Farm @ OC Fairgrounds

Next time you grab a bite at Native Foods in Costa Mesa, stop by Centennial Farm. (South on Bristol, Right on Newport Blvd, Right onto Fair Drive) That's only 1.52 miles away, with an estimated drive time of 3 minutes. And, it's free, so just walk in and stay as long as you'd like. You'll be happy you decided to visit this exemplar farm, complete with a big red barn, beautifully tended gardens, and all kinds of animals that are well cared for.

If there's any left, you can buy the pick of the day. They lay the produce out and you pay with an honor system donation.

There are several of these photo opportunities throughout the farm. After visiting countless times, we still can't resist them.

Pile of baby goats

Ba, ba, baby black sheep...


And.... The pigs got restless at dinner time. The mama above, and her friend somehow managed to get up on the fence and proceed to oink very loudly. They were accompanied by the sheep, who were equally vocal & persistent. It was quite exciting to hear the animals speak up for themselves.

This photo deserves a caption! Have any in mind?

Monday, March 26, 2007

Latest CA Trek

We had a great time in California! I was pleased that we were able to squeeze in a meal at Native Foods ~ CA Vegan in Costa Mesa. At the bottom, you see my plate of 'Tijuana Tacos' (soy taco meat, salsa fresca, Native cheese, shredded romaine lettuce and guacamole on grilled corn tortillas. $7.50) Across the table is Art's 'Chicken Run Ranch Burger' (crispy battered soy cutlets with Ranch dressing, lettuce, carrots, onion. $8.50) The food was delicious, and I know a special Pisces who also recently enjoyed a meal here...

Ahhhh, the simple pleasure of an endless sea of sand....

Some other highlights for the family were a visit to The Aquarium of the Pacific, The Wild Animal Park, Centennial Farm, and Griffith Park.

Busy days like that make for great naps. The girls were asleep in the backseat of the car as we were driving by Real Food Daily.

Spontaneously, Art says, "Quick, jump out of the car and go get dessert at the counter while I drive around the block and the girls sleep."

"You're on!"

Unfortunately, there wasn't an open seat at the counter, and waiting list. I asked about their cookbook, and the busy hostess said it'd be $27. No thank you. Strike two, and I was extra bummed after looking over the menu and wanting to try everything. We'll be back when we have more time.
I cheered myself up with a quick shop @ the corner Goodwill. I bought these shorts for $4, and the first time I wore them, I pulled a $5 out of the pocket. Whoot! It was folded neatly, and Art's mom thinks the donor left it so the buyer would have a nice surprise. I like that idea.

They are Old Navy - low waist and tan.

It was this little Diva's 2nd Birthday recently -- I'll tell more about that later.

Art and I even made a weekend get-away to San Diego - sans kids! When in town, we always hang out with our great friend, Chris, in his studio. Here's Art playing drums to some music Chris is spinning. Then they'll switch places, or Art'll play guitar or bass. It's always fun.

We ate at SipZ a couple times, which is where I met Kleo for the first time last year. And we were thrilled to be able to see KleoPatra again, but this time, we ate at.......

Kung food, which is conveniently located near Balboa Park, where Peter, was participating in an Art Show. He brilliantly paints palm frond masks, revealing the personality of mother nature's palatte, then giving each a name. Kleo generously bought me one I was oogling over, and we bought another which I couldn't live without. Visit Peter's site to see some of his work, some may even still be available for purchase... Sorry, 'Turkish Delight' and 'Frond 242' are in our CA pad.

Peter says we look like sisters, and I think that is the biggest compliment ever. Below the smiles you see identical 'Bacon Cheeseburgers' completely vegan with a side of sweet potato fries. You can read all about our great adventure
here. Thanks for sharing your day with us, Kleo, and introducing us to yet another awesome Veggie San Diegan restaurant! :o)

We capped off our San Diego stay with a bicycle ride on the boardwalk in Pacific Beach. Art and I lived in PB for four years, and were at the beach daily. It was so awesome to be back and doing what we loved so much. The sun was warm and the ocean breeze was refreshing. There were people of all sorts everywhere! All of them enjoying this amazing place in their own way. A big part of my heart will always be here in San Diego.

I've been busy the past couple weeks trying to catch up with laundry, cleaning the house, yard & garden work, daily stuff, and an elephant birthday party. Hope you are doing great - I'll be around soon. :o)

Monday, March 5, 2007

Outrageous Orange Pear Strudel

Tomorrow morning we are off to California! In addition to visiting family & friends, I have a couple restaurants that I want to try. For now, I'll leave you with a solution for that left-over Fillo pastry in your fridge...

You Need:
Juice of 1 Orange
2 Pears, diced
3/4 C Florida Crystals
couple shakes Cardamon
6 Fillo Sheets
Almonds, for the top

Friday, March 2, 2007

1 Year Blog Anniversary & Highlights

This month marks one year that I've been blogging. I began when a friend told me about her new blog, but I didn't start food blogging until I stumbled across Vegan Lunch Box, which completely fascinated & inspired me. I began stocking my cabinets with unknown items like tamari, agave nectar, nutritional yeast, & the like. At the same time, I began buying in bulk what would previously have taken us months or even years to consume, like maple syrup, molasses, and whole wheat pasty flour. I started collecting and studying vegan cookbooks. Blogging has been such fun for me, if not addicting. I'm constantly learning new things while cultivating meaningful relationships. It's a wonderful connection -- sharing what we learn & pulling our collective forces to make positive impacts on this Earth.

Here are a couple more new items in my kitchen. I used carob powder in the above most unfortunate cake, which was 'Jen's Chocolate Cake' from How it all Vegan! Art's 17 year old food processor broke, and tainted the batter with hard plastic shrapnel. Luckily, I've been promised a new one for my blog anniversary gift. (don't ya love made-up holidays which bear gifts?!) I didn't want the cake to be a total loss, so I iced it with some canned frosting we don't use anymore, but didn't want to toss. I lost interest in this project very quickly and was ready to cut my losses. However, the smell of chocolate was in the air and the natives were hankering for it. So I quickly made some cupcake to keep the peace.

'Sexy Low-Fat Chocolate Cupcakes' from Vegan Cupcakes. I just substituted chocolate soy yogurt, chocolate soy milk, and added 2 tablespoons of my carob powder. I frosted them with a simple vanilla soy milk & powdered sugar mixture, and topped some with coconut flakes and dried cherries. These had a delicate chocolate taste and disappeared really fast! And now, some personal favorites & highlights of the year for Vegan Vice:

Cutest Dog Appearance
Most Enjoyed Ice-Cream
Most Delicious Cookie
Best Original Recipe
Favorite Monkey Recipe
Favorite Restaurant Review
Cutest Child Cooking
Most Creative Endeavor
Winning A Contest
Meeting A Cool Blogger
Best Crafty Post
Best Costume

But really, I think the best is yet to come. Thanks for playing along with me! :o)