Friday, November 28, 2008

Yummy Yummy in My Expanding Tummy

We took the kittens back to the vets last night to have their little stitches taken out (well, Eliot had her stitches taken out by the vet, Sylvia, in her infinite craziness, decided to take her's out on her own). They were rewarded with their favourite treats and some wacky cat nip. After the vet and some wretched Brussels' traffic, we headed home for dinner. We had goodies in for Italian (I just bought some really greenish looking spelt and spirilina pasta), and Thai - and we went for the Thai.

Now any long time readers will know that I don't toot my own horn when it comes to my cooking. I am just not the kind of lady. Especially not when I see the likes of River, Shellyfish, Celeste and other vegan bloggers who are consistently crafting beautiful and interesting food. BUT....last night's curry was the dish to end all dishes. So if you only ever try one of the the vegancowgirl's recipes...this is it!

I am not sure if it is some newly developed baby growing super power, or if it was the never-before-used Lime Leaves, but the curry was so tasty I wanted to cry (and lick the bowl) - I actually did both...but the tears were from an episode of Little Mosque on the Prairie.

All other ingredients were pretty generic Thai curry ingredients (though I did serve the curry on a bed of Japanese Soba noodles), so I am pretty sure it was the fresh and authentic tasting Lime Leaves that did the trick. Yum Yum!

Lick The Bowl Curry and Soba Noodles

200ml organic coconut milk
200ml tomato puree

2 tsp olive oil

5 spring onions - diced

1 big thumb of ginger - diced

1 slab of extra firm tofu - diced

2 sweet potatoes - sliced
1 aubergine - sliced and diced
1 handful of frozen Lime Leaves - I picked these up from our Asian grocery shop
your every day average thai curry paste (I used red)

1 packet of organic soba noodles.

In other news...(how did I manage to not blurt this out at the top of the post?) It's a Girl!!!! Is it selfish (or maybe weird) to be excited about the idea of making a mini feminist inside by belly right now? Well, too bad!

I am off to Dublin tonight with Kim - girl's weekend away. We spent last week in Nice, which was...ok. The conference was great, but the city was actually...not very nice. A little on the sleazy side. And the food was less than impressive. Ah well, you win some, you lose some. I am not going to start complaining about the wonderful travel opportunities I have. We are off to Budapest next weekend - to visit friends. It will be interesting what happens to this vegancowgirl in the land of the goulash (to quote kevin).

I also have to share a picture that Kevin took of me when we traveled to Ypres for Armistice Day.....we pulled over when we saw this pile of carrots on the side of the road. Both Kim and Kevin thought it was a vegan's dream to be atop a bed of carrots. Have they never tasted vegan brownies? Now THAT would be a vegan's dream.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Coconut Date Oval, Pumpkin Bread & Puffies

The week is wrapping up and I can't believe that I haven't found time to post! But I have lots of yummy offerings to say I am sorry. A little something sweet, and a little something savory! We ate lots of good food this week, including pizza, some great granola, sweet potato and bean burritos (thanks kevin) and some great sketti sauce - none of which was captured on film. Rather, I have the goodlets of today!!!

I had planned on baking yesterday afternoon and taking some vegan goodness over to a friend's mexican-soiree, but, alas, following a light lunch and a morning of new duvet shopping, the walnut wasn't so happy, cutting me down at the knees and leaving me a nauseated mess atop the new duvet (and new duvet cover that I just love). Kevin took care of dinner - turning out a pretty good rendition of Lynnie's Sweet Potato and Refried Beans Burritos AND guacamole!

After a nice morning at the market I came home and got straight to work making Fat Free Pumpkin Bread, Coconut and Date Squares and prepping tonight's dinner - Aubergine, Tomato and Chickpea Puffies. Yum Yum. Of course these dishes were all excuses to play with our sexy new kitchen not a mixer, not a bread machine, not even a waffle iron. We picked up an amazingly wonderful new Nikon D90! Wow. By far the most darling camera I have ever owned. And, I figure by 2010 I might know what to do with it?

Coconut and Date Oval

4 cups of oats
2 cups of w.w. flour
2TSP apple sauce
3/4 cup of maple syrup

4 cups of dates (pitted)
1 cup of water
1 cup of coconut milk

I boiled the water and added the pitted dates, stirring them a couple of time before leaving them to simmer whilst I cobbled together the crust. I wanted fattie/sugar free date squares, so I decided to go the apple sauce and maple syrup route - which produced a stickier crust, but one that proved to be as crispy post-oven as its' higher calorie cousins. I threw all the crust ingredients together in a bowl, gave them a mix and then pressed half of the lot into a spring form pan (no square pan for me!). The dates were done warming up and squishing down, having soaked up all the water. I added the cup of coconut milk to the date-goo, mixed it in and added the pot full to the top of the crust. I whipped out my trusty purple spatula and lovingly moved my date-goo all about the crust. Once I was happy with the date goodness, I crumbled the remaining crust atop. Having already preheated my oven to 350, I popped the date squares in the oven and turned the timer to 40 minutes.

They are delicious. Seriously...I could eat the whole plate up in one go.

Not one of the Puffies were the same. I decided to be silly and play with my dinner tonight. Since Kevin was out at a late Sunday (!!!!) work meeting, I had free-reign in the kitchen and made a selection of puffies using the (yes, shock, horror) pre-prepared pastry I found yesterday at the shop. Earlier today I had sliced and baked a whole eggplant - so those slices were going in for sure. BUT - I also wanted to get rid of some of the other stuff kicking around the fridge in an attempt to clean out the fridge before heading off to Nice on Tuesday night (yes, the sunshine of Nice awaits me). The Puffies were all super yummy - I was happy with every single little version that I made....and I think Kevin was too - I even made him a cheesy non-vegan version.

Here are a couple of the insides -
- tomato puree, spring onion, green tomatoes, eggplant, and hummus
- black olive tapenade, spring onion, tomatoes, eggplant and chickpeas
-tomato puree, chickpeas, basil, eggplant and tomato

Super yummy!

Baby Update:

We had the first ultrasound on Friday. Wow. I wasn't ready for the uber-strong emotions that hit me the second the doctor fired up the screen that faced me. But there in front of my eyes was our little baby in all its tiny tiny glory. I was dying to hear the heart beat and I didn't have to wait long because the doctor cranked up the volume and for the first time I heard the sound of my littlest vegan. The baby entertained us for a good long while - moving around, kicking its little legs and turned around. Kevin and I both were a bit of a soggy, teary mess when we left the hospital. And of course we scanned and emailed the ultrasound photos to both Canada and the U.K. We want the grandparents, aunties and uncles to be involved as much as they can be - even if they are a plane ride away. Thanks so much to all the great comments, info and support. I love it!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Introducing...the Littlest Vegan

It has been ages since I wrote...and I am sorry. But my life has been turned upside down in the last month and we only now feel like this is VeganCowGirl-ready news.

Introducing.....the Littlest Vegan!!!!!!!!

Being responsible adults, Kevin and I weren't quite ready for the positive pregnancy test that we found ourselves staring at in the company of a friend! (that's how much I didn't think I was pregnant, but wanting to put a colleague's comments about my insomnia and nightsweats to rest, I took the test).

We knew that we wanted to have a little tribe of geeky, music loving, stripey sweater wearing, world travelling vegan kids - but we were thinking that there would be a few more mother's days with cards made from the paws of Sylvia and Eliot before we got around to the job of having to pick a midwife, come up with a birth plan and try to estimate the reality of having a home birth in our apartment herein Brussels. But.....this is it. We are in the zone and have managed to transfer ourselves from the all-encompassing thoughts of "oh my god, we are having a baby" to "yahhhhh we are having a baby".

I have already taken a few verbal shots (from family members no less) on my choice to be a vegan mom-to-be and subsequently raise vegan children. But, I couldn't really care less, I know I have done the research, I know I am healthy, I know that I get enough folic acid, iron, vitamin B12 and I know that our baby is as well. My midwife supports me 100%, and Kevin is behind me all of the way.

I admit to have been knocked down by all of the nausea, stomach upset and fatigue the last month has thrown at me. I also admit to developing an obsession with peanut butter and toast, but I am ok with that. The last few days have been toilet-hugging-free, so I think I might be out of the yuckiest bit (webbed fetus fingers crossed) of the morning/all-day-long sickness.

Needless to say we have had to bump up the wedding, from April to February 14th (come on, you didn't think I would miss a day to be fancy and uber-pretty, just because I have a little bit of a tummy???).

My mom has become the ultimate grandbaby-crazy woman. You mention the word baby and she loses her mind. Good. She deserves to be this excited, and I am glad that my body can do something that seems to be making so many people happy (despite the horrors it is raining down on me over the next 6 months or so).

Today was the first day that I really felt myself - was able to get to the market, clean the house, and I even made soup! I used a Rodrigo Squash (i had never seen this variety before) and some potatoes as the base. I enjoyed ever moment of making this soup. I have missed the chopping, peeling and guesstimation that is my time in the kitchen.

I welcome any/all comments from vegan parents/moms to be. I believe in the power of sharing personal stories more than all the books written on any subject - so if you have anything you want to share, tell, whisper, scream - send it my way. I will be more than honoured to add your experiences to my growing understanding of this total life change.

I also have to add - (shout out to the world) a huge thank you to the most amazing partner a woman could ask for! Kevin has been wonderful. Right from the first moment when he put his arms around me and whispered "you are going to be a great mom" to the endless glasses of juice he has gotten me. He has picked up the slack around the house on the days where I have just about enough energy to tie my shoes. I love this daddy-to-be more than I ever thought possible. Mwahhh!

Here is my dead simple squash soup from tonight:

She's Having A Baby Squash Soup

1 Roderigo squash - peeled and cubed
4 cups of water (or more depending on how thick/watery you want it)
spices - I used: turmeric, cumin, pepper and chili flakes
I cooked the squash in the water for about 1 hour and then blitzed it. The smooth, creamy soup was the perfect receptor for the spices.

1 baguette from your favourite dog man at the market
1 tsp of olive oil
1 clove of garlic
I smashed the garlic and oil together and spread it all over the fresh bread before popping it under the grill for 5 minutes.
The bread was a perfect side kick to this mildly spicy and all-the-way tasty soup.