tissue paper chicks.

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Easter is right around the corner and I had to rush to get our craft on! This is an easy craft that you can put together with your little one in no time. Milo liked doing this project because he got to do just about all of the work, even the cutting.

heres what you need:
IMG_6360Paper
glue
tape
googly eyes
orange pipe cleaner
yellow tissue paper or streamers
feathers

Cut a circle shape to your desired size out of white or yellow paper. Cut your tissue paper into all kinds of shapes and sizes. this is a great step for your child if you have child-scissors because tissue paper is really easy to cut and there is no exact science here. Put some glue all over the circle and have your child place the tissue paper on it until its totally covered. Glue the eyes and nose in place. Glue (and tape for extra support) the feathers to the back of the piece, as wings. Cut your pipe cleaner to four pieces (two longer, two short). bend the short piece around the long piece to make the feet, and affix with glue (and tape!) to the back of the chick.

Display proudly!

Here’s another fun easter craft we worked on last year.

vegan rueben.

rueben
Sorry for the delay in posts! We spent spring break in istanbul!

While out grocery shopping before we left, sauerkraut caught my eye. I grabbed a can so we can make ruebens for dinner. We loooove a good sandwich, and this did the trick. And while turkish food was good, it felt great to eat something closer to home.

A good sandwich bread. We use trader joes sourdough bread, but typically ruebens are made on rye or pumpernickle
Earth balance
sauerkraut
Daiya cheese
Tofu (or seitan or tempeh would work too)

Marinade:
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 T olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 T soy sauce
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T fennel
1 T onion powder
1 T paprikia
Few cranks of black pepper

Dressing:
1/3 cup vegan mayo
2 T ketchup
juice of half a lemon
1 T minced onion
2 T sweet relish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all the marinade ingredients in a 9×13 pan. Slice your tofu pretty thin, about 1/4 – 1/8 inch thick. Place in the marinade and give it a good coating, front and back.

Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Flip and bake another 10 minutes or so.

In the meantime, mix together the ingredients for the dressing. set aside.

When the tofu is ready, slather some earth balance on slices of bread. Layer sauerkraut, cheese, dressing and tofu on the sandwich and fry up in a pan until the sandwich is krispy and the cheese is melty and gooey.

Add more dressing to your liking. Enjoy! You can also top with avocado, and or pickles.

bottlecap magnet.

magnetMilo loves easter, and who isn’t ready for spring… so we kicked off this spring season with a simple little craft using bottle caps and some construction paper.

I did the measuring, he did the gluing and cutting. It was great team work. when it was all done, we hot glued a magnet to the back and viola! Bring on the bunnies and the sunshine!

quilted coasters.

Quiltedcoasters

This is a great little project to use up some of your fabric scraps. These coasters are placed together in squares, then cut into circles. It’s great practice of sewing along curves too! I definitely plan to make more as I accumulate more scraps. This was my first time doing any kind of quilting, and I have to say, it was quite gratifying. Maybe I’ll take on a little bigger quilting something or other…. Any suggestions for smaller quilting projects? I’d love to see!

Here’s what you will need to do for four coasters.

Cut 24 3×3 squares out of your fabric. Lay out the squares to decide what order you want them: There will be four used in each coaster. Begin with two squares and sew them together, right sides facing, to form one piece Press open the seam. Sew two more squares together, and press open the seam. Next, pin the two joined pieces together, right sides facing and the seams aligned. Sew together, to form the coaster top. Press open the seam. Repeat to make three more coaster tops.

 Now, Cut circle shapes. I used a wide-mouthed glass as my template, and trace a circle on top of the patchwork pieces. Make sure to center the circle template on your fabric. Cut these circles out. I traced the glass on the backside of the patchwork, then cut a little larger than what I traced so that I could use this as my seam allowance and sew directly on the line I drew*. Cut the coaster backing fabric and some fusible fleece into four circles each.  (*I did the same thing here.)

Place one coaster top, right-side up, on a fusible fleece circle, wrong side facing the fusible (textured) side of the fleece circle. Using a hot iron, fuse the fabric to the fleece. Repeat with the remaining three coaster tops and three fleece circles.

Quilt the tops. With a chalk pencil or erasable marking pen, mark the stitch lines on a coaster top as shown on the template, with the two lines intersecting in the center. You will be stitching through the coaster top and fleece only (the backing will be added in the next step). Quilt according to your marked
lines (see figure C). Repeat with the other three remaining coaster tops.

Sew backing to quilted top piece. With a backing fabric piece and a quilted top piece together, right sides facing, sew around the edge with a 1/4-in, leaving a 1½-in opening to turn the coaster right-side out. Or you can just sew along the line that you drew in the step* above. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitches. Repeat with the other three coasters.

Close and topstitch. Turn one coaster right-side out by pulling it gently through the opening. Push out the inner seam so it makes a smooth circular shape. Turn the fabric under at the opening by ¼ in and press flat and pin if necessary. Topstitch around the edge of the coaster, about 1/8 in from the edge, sewing the opening closed and flattening the edges. Repeat to finish the other three coasters.

Original source found here.

peanut butter banana yeast bread.

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You had me at peanut butter and banana. Baked into a bread?! Is there any better way to eat toast than with peanut butter and banana? This is going to be so great for breakfast. Or as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich! Oooh, or as french toast possibly?!
This also was great because it doesn’t call for too many ingredients, and for a raised bread recipe, the resting time was pretty short!  I found the recipe here.

  • 1 cup warm tap water
  • 2 1/4 t active dry yeast
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup bread flour (+ more as needed)
  • heaping 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 small banana, mashed
  • 1 t salt

Directions:

  1. Whisk the water, yeast, and sugar together. Set aside for 10 minutes, or until foamy. Meanwhile mix the remaining ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer. Add  yeast mixture and knead with the dough hook until the bowl is clean. If the dough is sticky, (mine was) add more flour a tablespoon at a time ( I had to keep adding to mine quite a bit) until well-mixed, pliable, and lovely.
  2. Transfer to a medium bowl and cover with a tea towel. Allow to rise for 45-60 minutes. Transfer to a greased bread pan and allow to rise for 30 minutes or until the loaf is just peaking over the sides.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325F. Bake bread for 35-45 minutes or until sounds hollow when tapped and is nice and dark on top. Remove from pan and cool completely. Slice and serve toasted with more peanut butter and bananas or simply butter, honey, and sea salt.

pop tarts.

poptarts
My child LOVES pop tarts. He’s never had an actual REAL pop tart, for the fear this would blow his mind and it would be ALL he wanted to eat (plus, I think they may have milk in them?). He has had the  organic kind we find at trader joes, and the unfrosted ones are vegan. These are his favorite breakfast ever. If he could have chocolate chip pancakes in the shape of mickey mouse with extra chocolate chips and tons of soy-whip, or pop tarts – the kid would DEFINITELY pick the pop tarts. He wants pop tarts as soon as he wakes up, he wants them for dinner, he wants them AFTER dinner. He’s pop tart crazy. Just because these are organic and from trader joes though, DOES NOT necessarily mean these are good for him. They are loaded with sugar.  I dont think they are the most terrible thing for him to eat, but after eating two pop tarts thats about 40 grams of sugar. EEEK.

One friday night i was feeling adventurous so I thought I’d take a stab at making some of my own pop tarts and see what he thinks of these.  I scoured the internet and found many recipes – but went with smitten kitchen since she’s a pretty reliable source of good recipes. I followed this recipe here. Im not sure these are any lower in sugar, BUT at least I had some control over what exactly went into them.

I made apricot and blackberry flavored pop tarts and I got alot of flack on instagram for not putting frosting on them! I did sprinkle the tops with sugar – two hours of making pop tarts left me tired – I had no energy for frosting this time around. Plus, I was trying to keep these on the healthier side.  There will be frosting next time.

Milo really really enjoyed these. I dont particularly think they tasted like pop tarts – more like pop-pastry or mini hand pies. However, he didn’t really know the difference and at least all that hard work got appreciated and enjoyed!

Pastry
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks earth balance
1 egg replacer ( I used the powdered kind)
2 T almond milk

additional almond milk to brush on pastry

Jam Filling
3/4 cup (8 ounces) jam
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water

Mix the jam with the cornstarch/water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool. Use to fill the pastry tarts.

for the dough: Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter with a pastry blender until small lumps of butter are still visible, and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it. Whisk the egg replacer and milk together and stir them into the dough, mixing just until everything is cohesive, kneading briefly on a well-floured counter if necessary.

Divide the dough in half,  shape each half into a smooth rectangle, about 3×5 inches. Place one piece on a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8″ thick, large enough that you can trim it to an even 9″ x 12″.Cut each piece of dough into thirds – you’ll form nine 3″ x 4″ rectangles.

Brush the dough with a little bit of almond milk. This will be the “inside” of the tart; the almond milk is to help the top piece adhere. Place a heaping tablespoon or so of filling into the center of each rectangle, keeping a bare 1/2-inch perimeter around it. Place a second rectangle of dough atop the first, using your fingertips to press firmly around the pocket of filling, sealing the dough well on all sides. Press the tines of a fork all around the edge of the rectangle. Repeat with remaining tarts.

Gently place the tarts on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick the top of each tart multiple times with a toothpick; you want to make sure steam can escape, or the tarts will become billowy pillows rather than flat toaster pastries. Refrigerate the tarts (they don’t need to be covered) for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 350°F.

Remove the tarts from the fridge, and bake them for 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Cool in pan on rack.

crochet dog sweater.

DOGSWEATER

Stella got her first hoodie a few weeks ago and she really liked it. Shes smaller than we thought she would be, and pitties seem to love to be warm, so I got her one and she seems to really enjoy it.  She hasn’t been too much of a fan of all this snow and cold weather we have been getting – so to help get her through this winter, I thought I would take a stab at making her a sweater with some yarn I had laying around (which is why its so pink!) It definitely needs some work, but this was a pretty easy pattern to follow. I may take another stab at it, but she seems to like it, and it keeps her warm in these chilly temperatures.

Here is the link to the pattern I used. My favorite part is that she refers to the dog as “doggie.”

I’m thinking of trying to take a stab at another one this weekend….We’ll see how that goes.

holiday felt garland.

feltGarland

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My christmas tree is looking a little bare. Last year I made pom pom garland, but for some reason it doesn’t seem like enough. I have been contemplating buying  the felted wool balls and making my own, buuuut they are expensive! I decided since I have a ton of felt left over from making superhero masks earlier this year, I would put that to use and see what I can come up with.

I spent a morning cutting a WHOLE bunch of circles from the felt. Then I ran them through my sewing machine and made a few long strands at different lengths.

It seems to be doing the trick for now! I do have a bunch of 100 percent wool yarn that i bought about 10 years ago, well before I was vegan, so maybe I will figure out how to make those little balls myself one of these days….but I think this garland gives my tree just the little bit of love it needed!

asymmetrical shell stitch baby blanket.

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Cold weather = the time of year when I start to get the crochet bug.

I saw this blanket in my pinterest feed and I couldn’t get it out my head. When I read the pattern it seemed simple enough….

I actually ended up following this you tube tutorial, which is just a tad bit different than the pattern, but it worked for me and once I got it down I was obsessed. I knit this baby blanket using 2 3/4 skiens of lions brand homespun yarn that I had laying around in no time. I started on a Tuesday and was done by Sunday!  If I was knitting a baby blanket this would have taken me months!

So of course now I started a full size blanket…This is definitely going to take me some time, but I’m excited to have learned another crochet stitch.

pumpkin cheesecake.

pumpkincheesecake
I wish I had a better photo of this deliciousness, but daylight savings and night baking means this is the best I can do. I first made this for a thanksgiving potluck at work and it turned out to be a hit with my co-workers, so it was my thanksgiving dessert as well. It is REALLY REALLY good! It’s crazy how it really does taste like cheesecake, without there being any kind of “cheese” in there! This may sound like it’s labor intensive, but really you just throw everything into the vitamix and go. It’s made from things I normally have on hand as well – Definitely a crowd pleaser and may just be my thanksgiving tradition for years to come.

The recipe is from the ppk and can be found here.

For the crust:

1 1/4 cups of finely ground graham crackers or gingersnaps
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons melted non-hydrogenated margarine, melted coconut oil, or canola oil
1 tablespoon plain soy or almond milk.

Filling:
1/2 cup whole unroasted cashews soaked in water for 2 to 8 hours or until very soft
1/4 cup mashed banana (about half of 1 medium-sized banana)
1 12 to 14 oz package silken tofu, drained
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons coconut oil, at room temperature
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 3/4 cups canned pumpkin puree
3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Topping
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon nonhydrogenated margarine *or* coconut oil
Pinch of salt
1 cup pecans, roughly chopped

Make the crust:
Preheat oven to 350F and lightly spray a 9 inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl, combine the crumbs and sugar. Drizzle in the oil or melted margarine.

Use a spoon to blend the mixture thoroughly to moisten the crumbs, then drizzle in the soy milk and stir again to form a crumbly dough.

Pour the crumbs into the pan. Press firmly into the bottom. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes until firm. Let the crust cool a bit before filling. Keep oven on 350 to bake the cheesecake.

Make the topping:
In a mixing bowl use a fork to mash together brown sugar, margarine, and salt until crumbly, then fold in the chopped nuts and stir to coat the mixture. Set aside until ready to use.

Make the filling:
Drain the cashews and place in a blender with the banana, tofu, sugar, brown sugar, coconut oil, cornstarch, lemon juice, vanilla, and sea salt. Blend until completely smooth and no bits of cashew remain, a food processor or strong blender should be able to get the job done.

Set aside 1/2 cup of batter. To the remaining batter, add the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg and blend until smooth, then pour it into the crust. Randomly spoon dollops of the reserved batter onto the cheesecake. Poke the end of a chopstick into a batter blob and gently swirl to create a marble pattern; repeat with the remaining dollops.

Bake the cheesecake for 45 to 50 minutes. Remove cheesecake halfway through baking and sprinkle on the topping. Return to oven to continue baking. Cheesecake will be done when the top is lightly puffed and the edges of the cake are golden. Remove it from the oven and let cool on a rack for about 20 minutes, then transfer to the refrigerator to complete cooling, at least 3 hours or even better if overnight. To serve, slice the cake using a thin, sharp knife dipped in cold water.

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