Friday, February 25, 2011


It's so easy to get derailed from blogging. A stomach virus had us laid out flat, my husband had a very busy travel schedule, and there were so many school events and holidays and projects to attend to. Suddenly you realize that you are no longer allotting time to blog, but instead posting 30 second bursts of pics on Facebook instead.

We arrived back from Florida just in time for the brunt of the winter holidays.
Here is one of the travel meals I made for the plane, in nestable containers for the kids so they would take up little space when emptied, and the grownup meals were packed in recycled disposable containers. There was sesame tofu, marinated mushrooms, blanched spinach, soba noodles, and pickles.

One thing I don't own is
a crock pot or slow-cooker;
I rely on my rice cooker or
deep Calphalon cookware
for those tasks. But the
Florida house is stocked with
a crock pot, so I used it to
make easy dishes like chili,
so I could spend more time
enjoying the vacation instead
of cooking for the family. I
made sure to plan ahead for the trip, pre-mixing the spices I'd need for various dishes in zip-top snack bags, pre-measured for easy cooking. You don't want to have to go out and purchase half a dozen spices when on vacation just to make a tasty meal!

After spending most of
every day in the pool
(thank goodness it was
heated because the
weather in Florida was
unusually COLD), it
wasn't easy to come back
to New England and want
to jump right into Xmas
and snow.

At least Delta was able
to ease that transition
with free drinks.

Because my husband
travels so much, he is
allowed free upgrades
to business class, which
he graciously passed on
to me for our trip.

Many airlines only serve
non-vegan meals on
domestic flights that must
be purchased onboard
(unlike international
flights where you can order
a vegan meal ahead of time
for no extra charge). But at
least the snacks are often
vegan, like these cookies.

I still had a few more
days of school lunches
to pack before schools
were off for the holidays.
Even if I wasn't in the
mood for fancy face
food, I could still try to
make a simple sandwich
into something festive.

So I got out the holiday
cookie cutters and made
reindeer sandwiches. A
red sprinkle affixed to the
nose completed the face.

For a full sandwich, I just
use a sandwich keeper
from Tupperware or one
from the Target $1 section.
There's usually plenty of
space along one side to add
some crudites.

For a treat for the kids,
and to give away to
family and friends, we
made some sugar cookie
stars. Super yummy as
always, these are one of
my favourite kinds of
cookies ever--slightly
crisp on the outside, but
they stay soft inside for
many days (if they last
that long before being
eaten). I often make sugar cookies for school events because nobody can resist them.

I also made a bunch of
mini loaves of walnut
crusted banana bread.
I must say it's nice to
be able to cook with nuts
when on school holidays,
since almost every school
nowaday is nut-free.

We spent the rest of
the school holiday
visiting with relatives
nearby, playing in the
snow, and even got in
a trip to the local
Danforth Art Museum.

AJ is rather interested
in taking art classes
there some time.

There was an adorable
exhibit from the
children's book
Pocketful of Posies
by Salley Mavor, of
her embroidered
fabric nursery rhyme

In between all of the
inevitable holiday
treats I try to infuse
some balance with
healthy snacks. Here
was an entirely green
snack of raw broccoli,
bell pepper, snap peas,
celery sticks, and
cucumber slices.

Shortly after the new
year we celebrate
AJ's birthday. He
requested a chocolate
Mario Bros. cake.
I used raisins for the
eyes, and we served it
with vanilla soy ice

AJ had a painting party
at Plaster Fun Time.
Again I had to make Mario Bros. themed cupcakes. They were a big hit.

And then came the dreaded stomach virus...slowly making it's way through every family member, my husband twice, and two of the kids THREE times. We were all but quarantined for 3 weeks! We never get flu or strep or many colds, but offer us a tempting stomach bug and apparently we can't say no. Ugh.

And so we passed the rest of January stuck indoors, with near-record snowfall, doing lots of laundry (but little cooking).

I made quite a few
noodle soups, but
mostly we served up
crackers and ginger
ale. At least with
soup I could still
use most of the
vegetables from our
winter farm share.

Otherwise I made
simple dishes like
roasted vegetables,
mashed potatoes,
and muffins. It wasn't
easy to get outside
even when everyone
was feeling better
because of the
deep snow.


Unknown said...

I'm glad to see you posting again! And free of stomach bugs :( that is no fun!

The painting party sounds like it was a lot of fun! And of course Mario cupcakes, yum!!

Becky said...

I'm also very happy you're back! I missed reading your blog!