Sunday, December 30, 2012

Vegan Santa Brings Vegan Marshmallows

Snow, I think snow is cold and miserable however the kid loves it. She was dissapointed when we didn't get snow on Christmas but thrilled to see the 3 inches of the yucky stuff we received the next day. We bundled up in several layers and ran out to play, hike and most importantly, have a snowball fight.

Elena with her sled
After she was done with the sled and my snowman turned out goofy, Jason and the sled went inside and Elena started on a hike. It was gorgegous in the woods with the snow covering everything. We were alone and it was super quiet, very peaceful. We watched little birds fly around and watched a creek flow melting snow as it floated along.

Ok, it sucks but it is pretty

As we started to head back, Elena mentioned to me that our Santa was vegan. She doesn't believe anymore but likes to talk as if she does. She described our Vegan Santa at great length. He is good friends with Dr. Will Tuttle and Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, he recycles gift wrap and he treats his reindeer with respect. She said that if the reindeer do not want to pull the sled, he doesn't make them. Vegan Santa wouldn't want to eat the processed cookies and cow's milk (ew) that other kids leave out.  She then remembered that our Santa brought Dandie's Vegan Marshmallows and placed them in Elena's stocking. It was about this time that we were cold and so naturally the next thought was to go home and make hot chocolate with marshmallows.

Walking home in a winter wonderland

Elena walked me through the steps to make hot chocolate on our way home. She suggested almond milk, cocoa powder and vegan sugar. I suggested letting a candy cane melt in it and she later thought to sprinkle cinnamon in the pot as well. The result was one of the best mugs of hot chocolate that I have ever tasted.

All dry and ready to enjoy

Delicious cup of vegan hot chocolate

Stay warm and safe out there! I hope Vegan Santa visits you too.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Operation Vegan Gingerbread Man

Elena and I made gingerbread cookies! She could not wait and even shouted "let operation vegan gingerbread man begin" as we were gathering the ingredients. They were super tasty and very cute.

Fuzzy but cute Elena rolling gingerbread dough
She decided to make two gingerfriends and have them hold hands. They were later decorated in matching tank tops. The tank tops look more like bathing suits if you ask me. It was sad when the bond (or dark chocolate chip) that held the friends together broke. However they were consumed quickly afterwards.

Naked gingerfriends

Gingerfriends sporting tank tops and smiles

We decorated most of the cookies but kept a few plain. I will definitely make these again especially to pack in Elena's school lunch. We will not cover the lunch cookies in icing however maybe a dark chocolate chip here and there.

Vegan gingerbread candy canes

More of Elena's gingerbread creations

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Yogi Potluck

This past weekend was my December Yoga Teacher Training weekend. On Sunday, we decided to bring in a dish to share for lunch. We had so much yummy food including a broccoli "cheese" soup, cornbread, fresh veggies, apple cake and cupcakes. I brought tofu salad sandwiches with peppers, onions and celery. There was also hummus and bread with a oil and herb mix for dipping.

The Lucky 13 Yogis (love you all!)

Before we ate, we held hands and chanted together appreciating each other and the food that was made with love. We sat in a circle sharing our food and conversation. This is an awesome group of people going through an incredible experience together.

Colorful veggies from Mara

Lori's broccoli "cheese" soup

We are 5 months into our 12 month training. We have started teaching each other during our weekends together and are teaching friends and family outside of the training. Everyone is doing so well. I feel very fortunate to be a part of something so special.

Rebecca's plate full of OMazing food

An important part of our training is to learn and live ahimsa or the practice of causing no harm to oneself, other beings and the Earth. We have compassionate cooking classes learning to make vegan meals that are tastier versions of their harmful counterparts.

Now for dessert, Lauren's cupcakes...
and Diane's apple cake
What do yogis in training do on lunch break after they are full??

They hoop and study!

Namaste Lucky 13,

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Secret Santa Vegan Style

We decided to draw names for Secret Santas at work. We would buy three little gifts over 10 days and later exchange a bigger gift. Drew, our team "party planner" asked that we include a few suggestions for the little gifts. I think this may have been because everyone would have been freaked out if they drew the vegan's name. This might not have been the reason but I would bet on it. I listed candy canes, pretzels and vegan chocolate. I thought this would be pretty easy for most people to find. My secret Santa first left me candy canes, then chocolate and finally a big bag of pretzels. Thanks Secret Santa! My secret Santa turned out to be Josh who admitted he was a little nervous to have the vegan but he did a fantastic job.

Drew, our party planner

Josh, my secret Santa
In addition to the gift exchange, we had a food day. I don't look forward to food days because I can be stuck with very little to eat. Our theme was a barbeque so I decided to make baked beans. I was surprised to find out that Tony was making sure his pasta salad was vegan and Larry was making vegan brownies and curry rice. Very cool. A day or two after the party, Rob brought me tofu wraps. My team rocks!

Quinoa salad, pasta salad, baked beans and curry rice!

My meal didn't contain veggies but that's ok. I eat a ton of veggies every day. The gesture from the team was super cool however next time I think I will bring in a small veggie tray to make sure we all get some veggies.

Tony and Derrick

Tamiki and Larry (his vegan brownies were awesome)

Better picture of Tamiki and Angela

Kelli (in the front) and Angela (in the back)

Rob with an odd look on his face

I was hoping for a group photo but that didn't work out. I will definitely get a picture when our week vegan challenge kicks off. It has been delayed until after the holidays. We spend more time with our coworkers than our families. I am lucky to have a group of quirky, funny and caring people to work with all day.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Team Stewart!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Grandpa's Vegan Birthday Chili

Elena and her Grandpa Thierbach have a few days between their birthdays so we always celebrate them together.  Grandpa Thierbach offered to make a vegan meal for Elena for her birthday. He made a wonderful, hearty chili and a salad and we brought a homemade chocolate cake and vanilla icing. He made me a copy of the recipe but I left it however I do remember a few of the ingredients: tomatos, onions, peppers, bourbon, chickpeas, ginger and vegan meat crumbles.

Grandpa's Vegan Chili
Elena and Grandpa's Birthday Cake

Elena received a cardboard castle to color that stands over 7 feet tall. It is awesome and will take weeks to color completely. I bought a new pack of markers and we work on it a little each night.
Grandpa received a few vinyl albums.

Happy Birthday Elena and Grandpa!

To many more vegan birthdays!!