There's No Place Like Home

Last time I wrote I said I might be absent for a while due to an eventful upcoming weekend. Now that the weekend has come and gone, let me just say I did not foresee how much crazy we were in for. There was so much going on the whole time I only took my camera out once, for about 10 minutes. Oops...The plan was to make the 8.5 hour drive on Thursday to see our family in Boise once David got off work. We got out the door exactly as planned and without a hitch. Somewhere along the way we missed a junction, and ended up lost, and while lost getting a speeding ticket. In David's defense, he was the driver that the cop decided to pick on in a cluster of about two other passenger vehicles and two semi trucks going the same speed. As for the getting lost, David has an iPhone 3GS bought used with a prepaid plan (no data) and I have a cracking, creaking flip phone, and thus no GPS. Always print or at least write down directions kids... After David's truck driving dad got us back en route the night went smoothly. We arrived in Homedale (our po-dunk destination) around 10:00 MST, only 1.5 hours later than planned. 

LL Ruby and Gpa E-Club in the house, laying down some beats.

  I should mention that this was a surprise visit, only my dad, little sisters, and David's parents knew in advance. It was my dad's birthday present to my mom. We stayed up late LATE Thursday night, and all of the rest of them, naturally. On Friday we had lots of visits planned and it was a bit hectic. We stayed maybe a little too long at my grandma's (whose reaction to the surprise was definitely the best) and I don't regret that at all. I think I might just miss her the most. After leaving Marsing we drove (with my mom and sister in tow) the 30-40 miles to Boise to see David's mom and brother. That visit was fairly short too. We had planned to take my mom, sister, and Lorelei to hang out at the "big" mall there while we went out on a date (what is that anyways?) to our favorite Boise coffee shop before meeting one of our friends for drinks when she got off of work. It turned out that we were stuck waiting at David's family's house for a different friend to show up there who made his own plans to see us  David. So we missed our date and would have had an extra wheel seeing the other friend, except that guess what? I didn't get to go out with them because on our way to our destination we were rear-ended while stopped in "traffic".  Boise's lack of people willing to work made for a wasted half hour waiting for the police to arrive to tell us that there wasn't enough damage to file a report. Really? A broken carseat and two people under age 18 in the vehicle that was victimized means no report? Reminds me why I'll never move back to Boise, ever. It's funny to think we've been living near Seattle for 9 months and never been in an accident or had a ticket...Anyways, I had to take my rattled, grumpy toddler to the nearest Target to buy a new carseat, as the buckle broke on the old one upon impact. It was NOT a good night. I was really disturbed by being in my first auto collision ever, and if I'm completely honest, at the time I was also very upset with my husband (which I felt guilty about) for carrying out plans with friends after the whole ordeal. 

On Saturday we left Lorelei in Homedale with my mom (Gramama) and my baby sister (Titi Abby) so that we could make up for our missed coffee date. It was weird, and so nice to go out by ourselves. The last time that happened I was 8.5 months pregnant with our nearly 2 year old daughter. Overdue much?  We really enjoyed the time together, feeling like us again. It was unanimous that Boise didn't feel like home anymore and it was really weird being there. When we left there was a big empty lot that was the future site of Whole Foods there, and now the building is up, about to open in a month. The small town health food coop that we went to when we lived there has been remodeled to compete with Whole Foods, and sadly it looks way, way to much like they're trying to be the health food giant itself. We didn't linger there long, just long enough to buy items to make my mom a birthday cake that our vegan selves could eat. After about 1.5 hours in Boise we went back to Homedale to make cake and potato leek stew for my family. Upon our arrival one of my aunt's and her family were visiting. I learned that my child is as horribly dependent on me as I thought, telling everyone for 20 minutes before I got back (in a whisper to not offend anyone), "I want my mommy." 

Almond flavored soy milk latte and vegan peanut butter oatmeal cookie at Flying M.

The rest of Saturday we spent cooking and just hanging out, which was a welcome activity (or lack of). David and I disappeared for a few minutes to bring my mom a birthday mocha and came back to our funny bunny running around outside with Gramama. We had a hard time getting her inside that night, after pushing a cat around in a wheel barrow and tumbling down stairs several times she was having much to much fun to come in. We're finding she's at that age that everything we want her to do has to be a fight. The joys... We stayed up til 2:30 talking with my dad and my sister while my mom went out with a friend. My youngest sister who is almost 17 is the only one left at home out of 3 girls, the other is 19, married, and in California. I was really glad to have that time with her because I so vividly remember being her age and feeling the exact things that she does right now, and feeling like no one could relate. Having the conversations I did with her made me think a lot about how I want to love and parent my own daughter, so that maybe she won't feel the same things my sisters and I all did.

Lorelei pushing "Paisey" (Paisley) in the wheel barrow. Paisley was her kitty before we moved, but we have a two pet max. She climbed in herself. :)

Anyways, the trip home was wonderfully uneventful and we couldn't be happier to be home, well except for Lorelei. She was really digging all of the extra attention and entertainment from family. This week is for packing and appointments. We move into our new apartment next weekend. That will be nothing compared to everything that happened last weekend. Bring it on!


Autumn Walk

This past weekend was pretty low key for us. We managed to spend almost an entire day at home and it was much needed. On the day home we started some packing because we're moving into a different apartment on the 9th. I know, that seems a bit early to start packing, but we're really excited and just want to move in now.  The new apartment is in the building that my husband works in, is about 60 square feet bigger, and though it's still a one bedroom our little lady will have her own area for her crib and toys separate from our living area. It's also about $25 a month cheaper than our current apartment, and it's back door opens to a shared courtyard instead of a tiny third floor balcony. Hopefully we're as happy with it as we think we will be. I'm already mentally arranging our furniture and decorating it. 

The one day that we got out of the house we decided to take advantage of the lull in the good 'ol PNW rain and take Lorelei to the park. Every other park trip has been uneventful, or even not good with her. She had never really shown any interest in the playground equipment, especially NOT the swings. It was also hard to enjoy a park with her when all she wanted to do was run away. This visit was different and so good! She walked with us and never really tried to stray. She held our hands. And most excitingly she climbed all over the playground, therefore so did we. Having a kid is the best excuse to play. Her favorite slide was the fastest one, also the wetest. We all went down it several times. :) Then she played on the swings and surprisingly loved that too. We pushed her higher and faster and she squealed and kicked her little legs. It was so bittersweet seeing the metamorphosis from tiny baby who needed help with everything, to little kid, completely independent and self-sufficient. 

After the playground we made friends with some ducks who obviously spend a lot of time around humans. Then we crunched through leaves and piled up some to throw Lorelei in. She loved that too. :)

This week will be busy. I have a ton of food preparation and cleaning to do before a super eventful weekend. Hopefully I'll have a chance to blog, but if not, oh well. Hope you had a lovely Autumn weekend!


Stuffed Acorn Squash

Since we get all of our produce for a week from Bountiful Baskets we have no control over, or advance notice of what our produce for the week will be. This works to keep me on my creative cooking toes. This week we got some acorn squash, which I was pretty stoked about. I REALLY love squash, all of it! Last night before making dinner I perused Pinterest for inspiration and discovered that most recipes for acorn squash involve stuffing them. Working with what I had, I came up with this recipe and my husband and I both enjoyed it. 

What you'll need:

1 Acorn Squash
4 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Sweet Onion
2 Stalks of Celery
1/2 Tart Apple
2 cloves garlic
1 cup cooked rice of choice
1 lemon
Pinch of dried sage
1 tablespoon balsamic
5 teaspoons agave
Salt and Pepper to taste

This recipe serves 2, with leftover stuffing mixture (that's delicious on it's own).

  1. First you'll need to bake your squash. I cut mine in half, scraped out the seeds, brushed on a tiny bit of oil, salted and peppered it, and put it flat side down on a baking sheet in a 400º oven for 30 minutes.
  2. While the squash bakes make the filling. Starting with the rice since it takes the longest. Cook your choice of rice according to it's directions. 
  3. Caramelize a chopped onion by sautéing it in about 3 tablespoons of olive oil on a med-low heat until it is dark on the edges (not burnt).  
  4. Mince the garlic and chop the apple and celery into about 1/4 inch pieces while the onion cooks.
  5. Once the onion is properly cooked toss in the minced garlic and cook for about a minute, til it's fragrant.
  6. You can add the celery and apple simultaneously. Cook the mixture for about 5 minutes.
  7. Mix in your cooked rice.
  8. Remove baked squash from the oven and scrape out some of the flesh to combine in the stuffing. Leave enough in the squash for it to keep it's shape.
  9. Add the juice of half of the lemon, 3 teaspoons of agave, the balsamic, and sage, and as much salt and pepper as you see fit.
  10. Generously spoon the stuffing into the two squash halves. Drizzle each half with one teaspoon of agave and place in the oven for about 5 minutes. 
  11. Serve with lemon wedges to add some moisture and zing!
  12. Enjoy. :)


The Grocery Bill

Since Thursdays are our grocery shopping day and I'm already sitting here making this week's list I figured I would share our grocery budget. You see, I'm kind of proud of it. This version is revision number 5 or 6 since we got married. Several revisions were based on the amount of money we had for food, then on changing to a vegetarian diet, and now vegan. David and I pride ourselves on not ever having discrepancies over money because we have very detailed budgets for all of our income that we've decided on together. Sure it's tight sometimes, but we don't let it freak us out. Our bills always get paid, and we have everything we need.

It doesn't seem like a lot of food, but we always end up with enough to eat 3 (sometimes very weird and *ahem* "creative") meals every day. Bountiful Baskets has been great for us because we end up with extra produce at the end of most weeks instead of running out 2 day before grocery shopping day comes around. We can't wait to pay of our car in February so we can afford the organic basket. Anyways, there's a little peek into our food and finances. I'm sure it won't be the last. :)


Midweek Music P.12: City Bear FATE OF SOUND

If you come here often you've heard of City Bear. I've posted about his music here, and here. This is the solo music project of my amazingly talented uncle. For me, and many others, there has been a lot of anticipation for his first studio recorded album due out soon. I'll definitely keep you posted on when to check it out. Until then, here is his newest piece of work, shot by his friend, the talented Ashes Wednesday


On My Mind...Bistros, Cafe's, and Bars

It occurred to me today that I haven't shared one of my biggest dreams and greatest passions here, and that seems silly since this blog is about my life. Since I was a sophomore in high school I have dreamt of having a job in the coffee industry. At first I would have been happy to just be a barista. After I worked as a barista in my first job, unlocking and channeling some creativity I thought, no I want to be the entrepreneurial mind behind a successful and pride earning cafe. As my passions and talents became more clear I knew that my vision was growing. It would have to be more than a place to get coffee. I would have to share my edible concoctions as well. It would have to be a place of inspiration, of relaxation, and beauty, with service and product to match. Here and now it stands to be a bistro boasting an all vegan menu. A haven where someone looking for a place to be whatever they need it to be, and where they can come and order anything from the menu not worrying or asking if it is vegan friendly. A place for artists, activists, friends, families, anyone really, to enjoy. That is my dream. 

If you follow me on Pinterest, you may have seen my board, My "Someday" Business Venture, where I pin inspiration for my shop. And if you don't take a look at a few of my favorite pins right here!

Sources clockwise from top left: 1.Unknown. 2.Photo source unknown, art by Kelli Murray. 3.Eater. 4.Tumblr.


David's Trail Bars

Being vegan and buying pre-packaged foods can be a real challenge. I think some people would be really surprised to know how many animal by-products go into various foods. Anyways, in lieu of trying to decipher ingredient lists and spending oodles of money on snacks for on the trail, or anytime really, David had the idea for these simple, scrumptious snacks that would be easy to eat and give an extra dose of energy. He told me the ingredients that he wanted in the bars, and I elaborated on that for this result. They are great because you don't really need more than a mixing bowl and wooden spoon to make them, and they are really delicious.

Ingredient List

  • 1 1/4 cups organic peanut butter (we used crunchy for these)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup agave syrup (we used Madhava's hazelnut flavor)
  • 2 tablespoons oil, more for the baking dish (coconut would be best, but whatever works. we used mild olive oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup of unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of old fashioned oats
  • 1 tablespoon golden flaxseeds
  1. Preheat your oven to 350º.
  2. Mix together peanut butter, salt, agave, oil and cocoa powder until well combined.
  3. Add in all of the dry ingredients and once again stir until well combined.
  4. Lightly oil a small square baking dish and add in the mixture. Press down firmly and evenly across.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes to set, to and make your place smell yummy!
They reminded me ever so slightly of no-bake haystack cookies, and we'll be making them again soon. Maybe with the addition of raisins or something. Hmmm...
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