Friday, May 29, 2009

Month of Me: Post 4

This final installment of "me" posts will answer the riddle of the name of the blog. But there won't be any pics, because I'm away from home at the moment! Sorry!

But first...My
Favourite colour: Blue

Favourite author: C.J. Cherryh

Favourite music group of all time: Depeche Mode

Some things I'm bad at:
politics, religion, money, swimming properly, and anything motion sickness-inducing!

Some things I'm good at:
memory tasks (especially spelling), cooking, languages, downhill skiing, gardening.

Favourite foods: tomatoes, pizza, pasta, spinach, chocolate cake.

Favourite destinations (so far): Great Barrier Reef, Bermuda, Sydney, Mesa Verde (CO), Paris.

Scared of: deep water/drowning, overdue bills, fast spiders, telemarketers, U.S. healthcare system.

And finally...the boring story...
Disposable Aardvarks Inc was created in high school with my best friend. He and I were/are big creative writers and partners in crime, (I'll have to scan the mural I made for us if I can find it when I return home). Anyhow...lots of bizarre philosophical banter about cherries, clouds, cucumber sandwiches and the nature of the universe...some fiction and poetry.
After transferring to Syracuse University (and getting Douglas Adams' and Carl Sagan's autographs before their premature deaths), I took my first computer writing workshop where everything was discussed via email (which at the time was Eudora and a relatively new technology to everyone back in the early '90s). A classmate and I who were already quite computer literate (hence my FBI record, oy, but hey I was still a minor so it doesn't count right?!) started spamming people with offers to buy llamas and aardvarks...very unique llamas and aardvarks...such as "Ukranian fluffy vending machine repair aardvarks with toothpick attachments" for only $34,000.00. You get the idea. Total nonsense to fill up people's inboxes and drive them batty.
This exquisitely exhausting list resurfaced when I was a nanny...middle child was an intelligent computer savvy 10 year old who even papier mached an aardvark/armadillo for me and made clay figures for them so we could have pint-sized jousting competitions.
At that point, anything creative I did earned the Disposable Aardvarks title. I used it for senior titles on online forums, created dummy junk-email accounts under the alias, and stamped various permutations of it on giftable cooking creations.
So when Blogger asked me for a title for this blog that I started on a whim (still unsure of what exactly I'd be posting about), it seemed the logical illogical choice.

That's really all there is to it. I fully intended to start another more serious blog with a more mundane proper name, but decided since I don't take it all that seriously myself, I didn't want to encourage others to either.
TTFN...see you back home on tuesday!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bento: Impossible

So I started a new bento challenge group on Flickr called Bento: Impossible. It's just for fun, no prizes or anything (at least not yet!). But check it out if you're interested. I picked the first challenge quite randomly on purpose to challenge myself. If you have some ideas for challenges, join the group...once you've entered a bento photo for 1 challenge, you are welcome to offer topics for future challenges!

Ryan's lunch: Zen Soy vanilla pudding; cucumber salad; purple grapes; soba noodles; cashews; blanched spinach w/sesame seeds.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Serving Up Spring

Ryan's lunch: spinach & scallion hummus with cucumber bagel sandwich; Nutter Butter Bites peanut butter cookies; strawberries & grapes; green beans; carrot cake w/walnuts cupcake (I added walnuts to the last 1/3 of the batter so that some of the cupcakes could have walnuts, but there would be plenty of nut-free ones for AJ to choose for preschool).

AJ's snack: carrot cake
cupcake; soy cheese; baby
carrots; green beans; grapes;
1/2 bagel sandwich.

AJ was "Star of the Week"
this week. He brought a book
that he wrote called "Giraffy's
2nd Day of School" to read to his class, a folder of PacMan drawings to show, a lightsaber, a picture story I put together of AJ from birth to age 5, and his "new" Star Wars shirt (not a hand-me-down from Ryan).

Nate's lunch: 1/2 bagel
sandwich; soy cheese;
green beans; strawberries
& grapes.

A batch of hummus always
keeps us fed for a couple of
days in many meals...

my breakfast: corn thins
with hummus, tomato, &
cucumber; smoked almonds;
sliced strawberry.

Around the yard, the peonies
are being found by the ants
as they start to open. These
were hidden in the woods in
back when we moved in, and
I discovered them as I cut
away brush to create a bigger
yard. Eventually I may move
them, but they seem to like
where they are, even though
it's partially shaded.

The new honeysuckle vine
appears more reddish than
orange to me as it was was
advertised, but it's still very

The rhubarb is growing quite
big this year. For some reason
it didn't do well last year; I
guess it was the weather. It's
another bunch of plants that
was here already that I
definitely want to transplant
to a different location.

Muffin tin meal...Row 1: raisins & dried aprictos; baguette slices w/spinach & scallion hummus; edamame; flat pretzels...Row 2: mini waffles; grapes; seaweed rice crackers; soy cheese...Row 3: cucumber salad; almonds; strawberry slices; carrots & half-sour pickles.

Soba & Seaweed

1 bunch soba noodles
6 baby carrots or 1 large carrot, julienned
2 T. wakame seaweed, rehydrated
1/2 cup bok choy, thinly sliced
2 scallions
1/2 tsp. grated ginger
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. soy sauce

Place 2 tablespoons dried wakame in a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup water. Nuke 30 seconds (or heat the water and pour over seaweed). Chill in fridge, or once rehydrated run under cold water.
Slice carrots, bok choy & scallions.
Boil a small pot of water & add soba noodles, carrots & bok choy. Reduce heat to medium. Cook 6 minutes. Drain noodle in collander and rinse with cold water. Place in a medium bowl.
Add seaweed, ginger, sesame oil & soy sauce. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with scallions. Serve.

This goes great with a cold cucumber salad and edamame.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Like I Need An Excuse For A Cupcake

I just HAD to make some carrot cake cupcakes of AJ's friends has a birthday in his class tomorrow and is bringing carrot cupcakes. Bummer! I guess we'll all just suffer through the batch! LOL.
Starting backwards with food
today...dinner was baguette
slices with scallion spinach
hummus (My Hummus recipe
+ 2 extra scallions and about
2 cups raw spinach), along with
whole wheat pasta & tempeh
with a vodka sauce (which
I forgot to take a pic of, so that'll
have to wait until another time!).
Ryan's lunch: pink rice heart; purple grapes; steamed broccoli; cherry raisins; snap pea crisps; a strawberry; cashews. I added a few heart-shaped saltine crackers on top of the snap pea crisps before packing this up, but after taking photos.

AJ's snack: purple
grapes; pink rice
heart; steamed broccoli.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Ryan's lunch: tofu salad sandwich; blackcurrant Fruitus fruit chews; baby carrots; Lake Champlain dark chocolate w/almonds; steamed broccoli; roasted almonds; snap peas.

Nate's lunch: steamed
broccoli tofu salad
sandwich; blackcurrant
Fruitus; dried apricot.

Nate is getting pretty big.
He sat in the chair all by
himself to get a hair cut

Afterwards he had a great
time at the playground, going
down the slide again and

The big boys couldn't
get enough of the
climber...even Dada
took a break from his
cell phone to try it out.

On to Hana Sushi, where the kids all enjoyed watching "Nemo" in the salt water fishtank, along with many snails, and a shrimp that had just shed his old exoskeleton...

as usual.
rice, &
As always,
AJ is my

Monday, May 18, 2009

Maia Monday

Ryan's lunch: vanilla almond Luna Sunrise bar; 6 layer bean dip; olive tortilla chips.

AJ's snack: veggie
booty; raisins; baby
carrots; olive tortilla

The boys spent much of the
weekend writing books, and
AJ drew probably a dozen
pictures of Pac Man, Pac Man
Plus, Super Pac Man, Pac &
Pal, Ms. Pac Man, & Pac-Xon.
Maybe they've been playing
a few too many 80's video
games lately!

Ryan also made a cool new
game. It had ladders, a hook
on a string that caught a ball
made from tape, and various
moving pieces. Pretty neat.

muffin tin meal...Tier 1: chocolate bunny grahams; spoons of peanut butter; veggie booty; pear slices...Tier 2: edamame; pickles, cucumber slices, carrots; banana pieces; pretzel sticks...Tier 3: english muffin quarters; berry rice crispy bars; steamed broccoli; flax crackers w/Tofutti cream cheese.

baby parts...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Month of Me, Post 3

I did not learn to cook from my parents. Or any relative. Or even a friend.
I am primarily a self-taught cook, picking stuff up here and there and messing with it.

My mother was born in Latvia, a professional ballet dancer, and she does not like to cook--or really even eat. My father was mostly english and scottish, a medical photographer in NYC, and he baked bread, lots of it, for anyone and everyone...also self-taught. He could cook when he had the time, quite well, but he usually had better things to do, like play in a jazz band or fly a plane.

My mother usually cooked some version of "rice, chicken, & broccoli" for most dinners. And when my father was away on weeknights, I would frequently get served a plate of rice or noodles, with raw veggies, fruits & nuts made into a face. It was her way of avoiding cooking, but really it probably set me up for my later preference for artfully arranged food.

I remember our first microwave, when I was 10 years old. I was finally "allowed" to cook. I'd offer to nuke a hotdog for anyone who walked through the door. By the time I was 16 I would cook most family dinners during the summer months, frequently dusting off old cookbooks not touched in decades to try something new.

I bought my first house in
Vermont when I was 21,
and quickly started container
gardening on the porch, in a
raised bed, among the rocks
on the hill in the back...
anywhere something would
grow. I knew little about what
I was actually doing, but
seemed to have a green thumb. I once grew 39 varieties of tomatoes (I recommmend Juliet Hybrid for an easy prolific crop for the whole family)...much more than the dozen tomatoes I'd try to sell for 20 cents each from the tv table set up by the street as a kid.

The best advice I can give to
parents is to always offer
healthy food AND model eating
it (if you MUST have junk, hide
it, save it til the kids are asleep,
but don't have it be a part of
your child's daily food choices).
Include children in the picking,
purchase and preparation of
meals. Even I went through some years in childhood when the only "green" food I would touch was mint chocolate chip ice cream. But in the end I prefer lots of vegetables, the staple of every meal for me now, and our family.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Star of the Day

rice w/
& soy

Only one month of kindergarten
left for Ryan! As Star of the Day,
he brought in a race car & a toy
snake for show & tell, plus a new
container of Lego bricks with lots
of cool pieces to infuse his class'
old collection. We thought giving
his class a gift before school is
over would be more fun. But
maybe one of his siblings will get
to play with them some day if
they happen to get the same
teacher (there are 4 kindergarten classes in his elementary school).

Husband's snack for his flight: carrots; asparagus; yellow bell pepper; tiny pickles; broccoli; 1/2 banana; Lake Champlain dark chocolate w/almonds; bombay snack mix.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Windy & rainy today, so another quick indoor photo, blech! What're ya gonna do?!
Ryan's lunch: Dr. Praeger's veggie pockets; steamed asparagus; licorice comfits & a chocolate button; sesame tofu; marinated mushrooms; soy cheese; veggie crackers.

AJ's snack was pretty
much the same, but

And Nate's lunch had
extra mushrooms because
he loves them so much.

Nate climbed the high
straight ladder at the
preschool playground
by himself for the first
time today. He also got
out his lunch and got it
ready himself. He was
quite proud.

And Maia thought playing
with a roll of toilet paper
was great fun this morning.
Household "toys" are
always the best.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Good Food, Hmmm?

Sorry for the less than exciting bentos this week! It's been one of those...months!
Ryan's lunch: Amy's rice & bean burrito; chocolate bunny grahams; strawberries; baby carrots; blanched spinach; cucumber slices; a pickle.

Husband's lunch: sesame tofu; cucumber slices; blanched spinach; pickles; a strawberry; watermelon slices; spring mix salad w/tomatoes & marinated mushrooms.

We received 2 of 3 food swap packages from the UK that I participated in over on The Vegan Forum. I TRIED to be patient for the third package, but that didn't last long! The boys were all dying to try some new vegan treats!