Thursday, August 30, 2012

Elena's Creative Salads

My kid has become tired of our tossed salads which I don't understand (I make one hell of a salad) but it is true. She has recently become a fan of the Food Network watching Chopped  and  Food Network Star sometimes over and over. These shows have introduced her to the idea of a different type of salad. She has been inspired to try different ingredients and to make the salad look a certain way on the plate.

Her first creative salad was inspired by a commercial she saw during a cooking show. The commercial was  for grapes and the chef stands the grapes up in a design. Elena took this idea and ran with it. She cut the tops of organic, green grapes and stood them up in rows. This was the bed for the salad. She then topped the grapes with spinach, red onions, walnuts and olives. She made her own dressing of olive oil, lemon and herbs which she drizzled on and then a dash of ground flax seeds.

Elena's Grape Salad

Her second salad was inspired by a recipe in Color Me Vegan by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. The salad in the book is the Grapefruit, Yellow Pepper and Avocado Salad. The recipe calls for (obviously) grapefruit, yellow pepper and avocado and other ingredients including red onion, romaine and agave nectar. Elena strayed a little by using green pepper and stevia. She placed guacamole on the romaine lettuce beds and then added the mixture of grapefruit, peppers, onions that have been soaking in a dressing made from grapefruit juice, lemon, olive oil, stevia and herbs. I made a soup to go along with our salad. I used a no chicken broth and added celery, onion, beans, pasta and chard. I love cooking with my lil vegan.

Grapefruit salad on bed of romaine and guacamole

Veggie bean soup and bread to accompany the salad

Lettuce Eat Salad,

Monday, August 27, 2012

Various Berrious- A Smoothie

Elena had been itching to make a smoothie. It has been awhile since our last creation so I promised that we would make a smoothie this past Saturday. We decided it would be a berry smoothie however we were open to other ingredients when we went shopping. This particular smoothie included various berries (how it got it's name), kale, kiwi, lemon, flax seed and grapes.

Various Berrious Ingredients

We started with a half cup of Mighty Mango juice from Naked and added the ingredients listed above. We added a a little water and then filled the rest of the blender with ice. I used the grate setting and then Elena suggested the cream setting for just a minute. She insisted that this final touch gave the smoothie it's creamy consistency.

The Finished Product

Thierbach Approved

It was after the first taste that she named the smoothie.  There are plans in the works for a Fruity Frosty and Volcanic Fruit Explosion.

Love, peace and berries,

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Yoga Vegan Love

This weekend I started my first weekend of Yoga Teacher Training! The program is one weekend a month from August until June. I decided to go to World Peace Yoga and Motion Studio for a few reasons. My first reason was the calm and peace that surrounds you when you walk in the door. Everyone is inviting, encouraging and delightful. I leave World Peace feeling incredible. The other reason is this program looks at yoga holistically by including (to name a few) anatomy, the value of yogic wisdom that can be applied to our lifestyle today and (drum roll) ahismic food preparation. Ahimsa means to do no harm or to avoid violence SO ahimsic food preparation is to prepare food that causes no harm or the least amount of harm. Being vegan for us is exactly about causing the least amount of harm as possible to the animals, the Earth and ourselves. When I looked at all the YTT  here in Cincinnati, there was no comparison. World Peace felt like home and I signed up.

2012-2013 World Peace YTT class

Our first two days were amazing. We spent much time on our mats being guided in asana sequences and we experienced a group meditation. We even discussed the relation between food and yoga.  The people are amazing, the music is amazing. I am overwhelmed by thinking about what is to come.

Lunch was provided this weekend and I can't believe that I didn't take pictures of our meals. I photograph almost every meal these days however I completely forgot, still a little nervous I guess. Mark made us two of the most delicious meals that I have ever tasted. Best broccoli that I have ever had, hands down. On Saturday we enjoyed spring rolls, a tofu rice stir fry and a vegetable slaw. Today, we had a mixed greens salad, pesto pasta (damn), garlic bread and the broccoli that had vegan crack on it. I think I am a pretty good cook however I cannot wait for cooking classes with Mark!
This place is something else. Check them out at World Peace Yoga and Motion Studio. There is a restaurant on the way and classes for anyone interested in any type of yoga or meditation.

Thanks to all the teachers and students I met this weekend. It was an incredible experience.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Mansion for Animals

Elena decided earlier this week that she is going to buy a mansion for the purpose of saving animals. The idea began when she was thinking about all the cats and dogs stuck at shelters or on the street by no fault of their own. She is adamant however that no creature will be turned away. She is anxious to take in discarded farm animals that sanctuaries are unable to keep and animals that are not native to this area that might have been abandoned when they became too much work.

This is a great idea however where is an 8 year old going to get enough money to buy a mansion and supplies to care for countless animals? I was going to ask however she offered up her plan before I could ask about it. She is going to continue to learn to cook now so when she is old enough she can compete on Chopped, Cupcake Wars and Sweet Genius. She plans to show the viewers how easy and yummy it is to cook vegan and take the prize money to put towards the mansion.

Floor plan for the animal mansion     

I am not sure if Elena will stick with the mansion idea but I do know that whatever she ends pursuing as she grows up, she will work for the animals. I am very proud of my compassionate, sweet girl. 

Elena wearing her Give Peas a Chance t-shirt

Jason and I took Friday afternoon off together to have lunch and spend some time together. We went to Whole Foods for the salad bar, kombucha and a freshly baked vegan scone. They had a Guava Curry Vinaigrette dressing that was fabulous.

Salad with Guava Curry Dressing

School is starting back on Wednesday. Elena is excited to tell her teacher she is vegan. We are crossing our fingers there is a vegetarian in her new class with a dairy allergy or at least open minded kids. Jason explained to Elena that she didn't have to tell her class that she was vegan however she didn't agree. She explained that each year in school the teacher asks that you share something about yourself, something special that you want everyone to know. There is no way she is not going to share this special thing about herself. Hopefully she will plant more vegan seeds this year the way she did at summer camp.

For the animals,

Monday, August 6, 2012

Vegan Hush Kitties

Elena was reading the nutritional information on our  Hodgson Mill Yellow Corn Meal bag and she noticed a recipe for hush puppies. Elena was obsessed with making hush puppies after reading this recipe and talking about how they got their name. I explained to her that sailors would take leftover batter and deep fry it into balls to feed to the dogs.  If you would like to learn more about hush puppies, click here. I told her we would make them however they had to be a more healthy version of course because hush puppies are deep fried. She decided to rename our healthier, vegan puppies hence the name Vegan Hush Kitties. We are cat people after all. 

AW! Sheldon Thierbach

Ms. Jaben Thierbach

Vegan Hush Kitties inspired by Hodgson Mill Corn Meal Hush Puppies 
1 1/4 cups yellow corn meal
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. sugar
dash of salt
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 flax egg (1 tsp. flax seed mixed with 3 tsps. of hot water, let it sit for a few minutes)
1/2 red onion chopped

Mix and pan fry, we used canola oil.

The Thierbach Vegan Hush Kitties!

We enjoyed these as our bread component along with pasta topped with grilled tofu and onions and roasted brussel sprouts. The meal was pretty darn good. The hush kitties are better when they are warm. However crumbled in a salad, the next day is tasty as well.

Tofu pasta, brussel sprouts and hush kitties