Monday, October 6, 2008

Greetings from DC

We have been in DC for a couple of days now, and the trip is going really well. The flight was a non-stop and very easy and almost fun. Great, funny crew on Southwest and really nice neighbor passengers. Little bean played and napped and the flight was over in a jiffy. Her aunty picked us up at BWI, saving us a lot of hassle. We only brought 2 carry on suitcases and the stroller, but that was enough to handle.

Saturday morning we walked down to Eastern Market. The farmer's market was very busy, and there was some beautiful produce.

We bought local lettuce, tomatos, pears, zucchini and a huge stalk of gorgeous broccoli. We stopped at a stand run by an ecuadorian guy and purchased a couple of really random knitted finger puppets: a buzzard (bean's choice) and an alpaca (my choice). The seller was stoked that I spoke spanish to him. And I was stoked that I could! G cooked a delicious pasta primavera with the fresh veggies and made a great salad too. Just delicious...we cleaned our plates.

The little bean has pretty much decided to reject the time change, so we go to bed late and sleep late too. Auntie has been very flexible with our wacky schedule, but keeping the bean happy is our first priority. We woke up to the delicious cinnamony aroma of Creme brulee french toast!

Sunday was designated for apple-picking. We stopped at the world's busiest most cramped Whole Foods to get a picnic then kept heading west to Homestead Farms. I was a little nervous when we arrived because it looked sooooo busy with lots of cars in the dirt lot. But the orchards were so large it was no hassle at all. Little bean and dad stalked people in the lot for a discarded wheelbarrow and we were off and running! The farm didn't have any Honey Crisp apples, but they did have Sun Crisp and Sun Fujis. We also picked Red Delicious, which although usually gross in my opinion were sweet and juicy. Cameo, Staymans and Pink Lady round out the list. How many apples did we pick???? Can you guess???? My guess was right on target.

We also picked a couple cute pumpkins, little but still to "heavfy" for the bean. We picnicked in one of the orchard rows and watched the hay riders heading to the pumkin patch. Just a really fun day. Dinner was nachos and they were yummy too. Today, Monday, we are off to the National Zoo!
PS- It was 30 pounds!!!!!!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Should be too hot to cook

And too hot to eat soup.  
Oh well, I've been doing both.  Took the little bean and Grandma N to Sipz Cafe, down in Clairemont last week.  I devoured my wonton soup, but managed to snap a picture of it before I ate it all.  It was crowded with people at noon, and I am always happy to see a very busy vegetarian restaurant!  Service was speedy and our food came quickly, always a bonus when accompanied by a 20 month old.

Now my next masterpiece is really an accomplishment, toot toot (that's my own horn). 
 I rarely order Pad Thai at thai restaurants due to many poor experiences.  Too sour.  Too sweet.  Too much not vegetarian.  Then I finally got my hands on some tamarind paste & fresh lemongrass and I was ready to make VWAV's Brooklyn Pad Thai.  

Oh boy, I was not disappointed.  This was truly a delicious dish.  I did make a few adjustments, used 1/2 as much soy sauce for one, and sprinkled julienned raw cucumber and crushed peanuts instead of cooking the dish with bean sprouts and peanuts.  Man, this is making me soooo hungry!!!

I've also been making the Fronch Toast from VWAV, and the little bean just snaps that up like a baby turtle.  It really is tasty.  

This is my mexican restaurant meal-at-home.  Cheese enchiladas, cilantro rice and black beans.  This was really a better than restaurant quality dish.  

Cheese Enchilada recipe, makes 9 enchiladas cause that's what fits in my pan!
9 corn tortillas
~ 1 lb. shredded organic jack cheese
1 can of El Pato brand enchilada sauce
1 Tbsp canola oil

Preheat oven to 375.  Heat canola oil over medium low heat.  Pour a layer of enchilada sauce in 11 inch baking dish.  Dip tortillas one at a time to soften, only keeping them in the pan just long enough to soften - not crisp.  Place softened tortilla in pan, filling with a couple tablespoons of cheese and rolling up as you go.  Repeat for all 9 tortillas.  Pour most of the sauce over the top of the prepared enchiladas, then top with remaining cheese.  I usually have about 1/2 cup of sauce left over.  Cover the pan with foil, then bake for 20 minutes.  Uncover and bake until cheese is browned, or you can see the sauce bubbling.

Cilantro Rice Recipe
2 cups of cooked rice
2 Tablespoons butter (olive oil is OK)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Cook garlic in the butter over medium low heat in a medium skillet.  Remove from heat, stir in rice and cilantro (or do it in another bowl).  Salt to taste.

The black bean recipe
1 can of organic black beans
1/2 onion, small dice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf

Cook onion in a couple teaspoons of olive oil in a sauce pan.  Add the garlic after a few minutes.  Dump in the can of beans and the bay leaf, and 1/2 can of water.  Cook over medium low heat until most of the water is reduced.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Blackened Tofu-liciousness

There is the most annoying character on Project Runway this season (OK, there are multiple annoying characters, but this guys is the worst). Blayne makes everything "licious", except when he writes it down he always spells is licous. I'm so petty, but it so annoying. Anyway, his super crispy fakin' bakin' tan must have gotten me in the mood to blacken some food!

I recently snagged my dad's beautifully seasoned cast iron mega-skillet and haven't been sure what to make first. Had some hamburger buns and guac in the fridge, so knew it was time to try to copy Taco Loco's amazing blackened tofu burger. I grabbed Ole' Faithful, the Joy of Cooking, and flipping around came to their Cajun Dry rub recipe. I didn't measure exactly, but it was more or less a teaspoon of each: dried thyme, dried oregano, paprika, and black pepper. Plus a 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, and a healthy sprinkling of ground chili peppers. I pressed the firm tofu for about 1/2 hour while I prepared the seasonings above. Cut the block of tofu into 3 "steaks", dipped them in a couple Tbsps of melted butter then dredged the tofu in the seasonings. Heated the pan up to 6 on my electric stovetop (this is really hot on my stove), turned on the exhaust fan, then let those little puppies hit the super hot iron skillet. I drizzled the tofu with the remaining butter (about a tsp was left) and cooked for 3 minutes on each side. Perfectly blackened, and didn't smoke up the house a bit! It turned out great, but was missing the noise of 101 traffic, sketchy parking, scarce seating and ocean breezes of Taco Loco. Sigh.

The Tofu
The Burger

Monday, August 18, 2008

Lazy August Days

Haven't been cooking too much of note, too hot and too lazy to put anything fancy together. Haven't been eating out though, either, so that is good for us and our budget. I'm bummed that I didn't grab a shot of the greek salad the hubby made this weekend, it was beautiful. That is his "go-to" salad, and it rocks.

VWAV Fronch Toast (unadorned)

So yesterday I made creme brulee french toast (stillllll working on perfecting the recipe for this one) and vegan french toast from VWAV. That was delicious. With maple syrup and earth balance on top, the vegan french toast tasted just like french toast sticks. In a good way. Oh man, even the hubby ate 2 pieces before he went to the traditional stuff.

Killa Breakfast Scramble
I guess we were on a breakfast kick, because we had a scramble for dinner. I had some cooked red potatoes in the fridge, so I just browned them in a skillet with onions and garlic, threw in some beaten eggs and YUM! Topped with cheddar cheese, cilantro and a little dollop of sour cream. Really good for a hot august night, but seemed funny eating breakfast on the patio at night ;)
I was happy because it didn't look like a pile of brown mush. That seems to happen most of the time when I scramble a bunch of stuff together.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Soyrizo Scramble

Ah, when the hubby comes up with a recipe, he really does it right. We had a similar dish as a daily special at the Naked Cafe in Solana Beach.

The Soyrizo Scramble
makes 2 brunch servings
3 eggs
2 corn tortillas, torn into pieces
1 T canola oil
1/2 pkg soyrizo (Trader Joe's has a version now)
1/4 C chopped cilantro
1/2 C feta cheese
1 avocado, sliced

1.) Beat eggs until well mixed, he usually does this in a pyrex measuring cup. Add the tortillas to the eggs.
2.) Fry up the soyrizo in 1 Tbsp canola oil over medium heat. When crispy and brown, remove to paper towel covered plate.
3.) Scramble the egg/tortilla mixture. Fold in soyrizo, remove from heat. Fold in feta cheese and cilantro.
4.) Serve with slices of avocado on top.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Sleepy Saturday Night

After a very full day, the hubby and I are enjoying a lazy evening. He got up super duper early to get sod from home depot, we didn't need much but he wanted to beat the rush. By the time the bean and I were up at 8, the sod was laid in the patio and we were all ready for breakfast. I made breakfast sandwiches: whole wheat toast filled with scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, and Morningstar farms sausage patties. Oh and ketchup. Plenty of ketchup. The little one only had eggs and ketchup. We all really love the organic ketchup from Trader Joes. Soooo tasty. Of course, eating al fresco always improves ones appetite.

After trying in vain to purchase a baby bike seat at the local sporting goods store, we returned home for lunch: leftovers from last night. I made a modified Bisquick impossible quiche/pie. I used garlic sauteed kale for the veggie, and it was really tasty. The kale wasn't bitter at all (the hubby's usual complaint), and came out like a mix between broccoli and spinach. Served it up with crispy parmesan potato wedges and we were happy campers. The baby managed to pick out every bit of the kale and just eat the eggy bits. Too funny.

We all crashed out for a nap, then headed down to the beach with my mom. She hadn't been to the beach in years, and it was just a gorgeous day. The water was warm, but the waves were a little choppy for swimming. The little bean charged the water, we have to keep her from diving in completely. She really loves digging in the sand, too, and now that she's older she isn't interested in sampling it.

Dinner was at Kealani's hawaiian restaurant. Mom and hubby enjoyed mahi mahi with rice and mac salad, and I had the teriyaki tofu with the same sides. I was so nervous, because tofu at non-asian restaurants can be ever so awful. What a relief, cooked to perfection and not drowning in sickly-sweet teriyaki sauce. I really liked it and even got to eat the mac salad. There is a chain in San Diego that has meat IN EVERYTHING, including ham in the macaroni salad. Well, they might have iceberg lettuce salad or something, but that doesn't make a meal. We finished off the meal with malasadas, which were super fresh and piping hot. 3 people well-fed for under $25. (The baby gorged herself on rice and malasadas, but that doesn't really count).

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mmmm vegan mac 'n cheez

Actually, this has been a pretty vegan-filled week. Except for the delicioso pizza from last night...Trader Joe's boboli-type crust topped with homemade pizza sauce and plenty 'o melty mozarella. The hubby and I agreed, it was really better than delivery! Little bean ate her little pizza-lovin heart out.

Tonight was the vegan mac 'n cheez, from vegandad's recipe. I tried a taste of it right out of the blender, and I was really impressed. I made it with tiny ziti, which was a fun size for the baby. She doesn't like regular macaroni and cheese, but definitely ate a good portion of this version. She was still hungry for something else, though, and polished off a man-size bowl of rice and black beans. Sheesh, this kid can eat!

Midweek I made seitan & udon noodles with peanut sauce, based on the VWAV recipe. Really good, but the little bean totally avoided it. She seems to avoid peanut butter for some reason. Maybe a good one?

Last weekend the hubby and baby made pumpkin waffles from VWAV. They were outstanding, and really enjoyable with tempeh bacon and maple syrup. Mmmmm. They freeze and reheat very well, too.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

My first meetup

I went to my first meetup event with SD Vegetarians Unite this afternoon. We met at Madras Cafe, a south indian all veg restaurant on Black Mountain Road. There were about 20 people of all ages there, it was so awesome. I met some very nice vegetarians and vegans and it was a lovely relaxed time. Hmmm, how much of that was due to the little bean being home with her dad???? I refrained from talking about her the WHOLE time, but she did come up in conversation ;) It was a buffet lunch, with 20 different dishes, most of which I couldn't name. The curries are different than the standard indian fare (no tandoori, matar paneer, etc). The spicy eggplant was my favorite, but I also loved the dosa with lentil filling. Yum. It was very cool to eat somewhere with 100% vegetarian offerings. After lunch I went to Ker & Little, the huge indian market next door, with a neat woman from the meetup. I picked up tamarind paste and rosewater, which I haven't found anywhere else, and also, some Paneer!

Which led to...the hubby making homemade Palak Paneer for dinner! He used the recipe from the Fullerton SRF indian cookbook (ca. 1980), and I whipped up a small batch of garam masala to use. It was great, and the little bean cleaned her plate. I think using fresh spinach helped the deliciousness. It was also fun to put as much paneer as we wanted in it, usually those are the small jewels you have to hunt for in your big old pile o spinach.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

It's hard to cook when it is hot

It has been about 78 to 80 degrees indoors this week, and not too much of a breeze is coming from the ocean. I decided to make Margarita Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and they were really fun to make with the little bean. She stirred all the ingredients, and because they were egg-free, she got to taste the batter. She really enjoyed helping. The cupcakes turned out perfectly, unfortunately it was too warm inside for frosting. It totally melted. However, it tasted great!

Last night I made Tortilla Soup from the Real Food Daily cookbook. No picture of my own, but there is one on the link. It went together in 20 minutes and cooked up quickly too. Both my mom and husband, tortilla soup connoisseurs, slurped it up. This will definitely be a go-to recipe in the future. The little bean even enjoyed it, and she is so-so on soup.

For lunch today I made Zucchini Rice Gratin from Gourmet magazine. It was more time consuming than I usually do for lunch, but it was delicious. I reduced the amount of oil and salt they called for, and still thought it had plenty of flavor. I also used 1/2 cup of rice, since my 1/3rd cup measure was missing. I'll also use brown rice when I make it again. I don't usually cook with fresh tomatoes, but I am going to start doing that more often. Sadly, both the tomatoes and zucchini were from the store. My poor mom's garden was totally destroyed this summer by various and sundry animals. Mostly rabbits I think. Next year we'll have to fence in the vegetable garden. Sigh, I had such plans for an abundance of summer veg. Oh well.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Something new and exciting!

I made vegandad's hot wings tonight! I left the hot sauce off a couple for the little bean, and used popsicle sticks for her to hold on to, and she totally dug it! G & I finished the rest of them with a spinach & homemade roasted garlic crouton salad that he put together. I can't wait to use this recipe again and again. It was soooo fast and really delicious. No preservatives and junk like the Morningstar version (although, man they are good), and wayyy cheaper. Vegandad is right again, kids love to eat anything on a stick.

Tomorrow the little bean and I will be making cupcakes. I'd hoped to go to the beach, but I have a sore foot and I think I'll keep it out of the sand.

By the way, we are officially venturing into pottytraining land, so staying home is probably in everyone's best interest! A couple little piddles, but nothing too scary. She really likes her potty, that is a relief. It is just getting her to recognize when she needs to go, before she starts going. She definitely prefers the cotton training pants to diapers, and I love that they are reusable.

PS, for the non-veggies (ie G), I will explain the cartoon from my previous post. That is a piece of tofu, not an ice cube. Therefore, the tofu burger is not cruelty-free from the tofu's point of view. Sigh, I thought it was so funny.

Not cooking anything new and exciting

Killa sushi rolls last night, G & I snarfed the whole batch. Usually we have something else substantial with there are usually lunch leftovers. Had a couple of artichokes, sharing most of them with the little bean. She is so funny to watch dip the leaves and scrape the artichoke loveliness. She was game for sushi-tasting, but it isn't quite her thing. Brave for trying though!
We got a ton of groceries yesterday (we meaning G), and I borrowed 2 cookbooks from a super-cool vegan neighbor this weekend. The Real Food Daily cookbook (I love to use parentheses) (G & I ate at RFD in Santa Monica a few years ago...DELISH) and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Tooooooo many choices, we'll see what I whip up.
I'll go out today with a funny (Click to see bigger on their site):

Friday, July 11, 2008

Finally slowing down

We have finally had a chance to slow down after a whirlwind start to this month. Before we took a last minute trip for the 4th, I made VWAV's delicious jerk seitan with garlic kale and baked sweet potato chips. Chips baked in the oven, not chips made from baked sweet potatoes. Does that make sense? It all went together so nicely.
And here was our 4th of July destination!

5 adults and 1 toddler in Aunt E's remarkable little cabin and a couple of tent annexes. We had a totally veggie weekend, the three ladies sharing the cooking responsibilities. We had ratatouille with rice pilaf and corn & bean salad the first night, courtesy of my MIL. Imagine throwing that together after a 10 hour car ride!!!
The next night we had a great saucy veggie & potato dish from Aunt E and the last night was my turn. Of course, I stuffed everyone full of Trader Joe's guacamole and organic tortilla chips before dinner, but there was still room for black bean tacos, whew. Wish I had a picture of all the fixings: flour tortillas, of course the beans, shredded mexican cheese blend, green onions, lettuce and spicy salsa. It was really good.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Apricots coming out of our ears

My mom's tree is so overloaded that branches are breaking off from the trunk. We are talking bushels of apricots. Well, maybe one bushel. But it is soooo many. The little bean loves her some apricots, but we are limiting her to 5 a day. Her best friend, Po-po, downed 5 in 7 minutes. Should be interesting to see the result of that. My mom spent her day yesterday canning halved apricots, making lo-sugar jam and putting up a bit of puree for.......

I really must apologize for being the worst food p0rn photographer in the greater tri-state area. Really, I am pretty darn bad at this. Sorry.

This is my apricot ice cream recipe
as adapted from several sources, including of, course, Veganomicon.

1 pound squishy-ripe fresh apricots (10 to 16, depending on size)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup coconut milk cream (the super thick bit that rises to the top of the can when it is refrigerated)
6 oz silken tofu
1 cup soy milk
3 drops almond extract

Slice open the apricots and remove the pits, then cut each apricot into sixths. Cook the apricot pieces with the water in a covered medium, nonreactive saucepan over medium heat until tender, about 8 minutes, and stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar until dissolved. Let cool to room temperature.

Once cool, purée the apricots and any liquid from the saucepan in a blender until smooth. If there are noticable fibers, you might want to strain the apricots. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes, I just left the apricots in the blender to chill. Add the remaining ingredients to the blender, which should be cool from the fridge. Blend until blended! Freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. This was the max amount I can even fit in my ice cream maker.

Here is this morning's breakfast. Joy of Cooking's Buttermilk pancakes, organic CA strawberries, and VWAV tempeh bacon. Little bean loves her some pancakes and berries, but balked at the bacon. Sigh. It was so delicious.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Swimming bean

The little bean did her best yet at swimming class this morning. She kept her mouth closed most of the time and preferred to swim and kick instead of using the kickboard. She swam with her face in the water a couple of times and didn't drink a drop. She also blew lots of bubbles in the bathtub tonight, stopping every so often to flash a mega-grin to me and her dad.

Dinner tonight was Seitanic jambalaya from Veganomicon, using the seitan recipe from VWAV. I left out the cayenne and the little bean enjoyed a decent portion. NNH (no-nickname-husband) liked the seasoning and had 2 helpings. We had a couple glasses of BR Cohn cab sauv, a good pairing.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Happy First day of Summer!

It took me an hour to get the baby and I out the door to the beach, but I'm happy to say we spent 2 whole hours there. The little bean was covered head to toe: big floppy hat and her new aussie-designed sun suit. She loved playing in the sand, and when it got too hot even under the umbrella, we decided to explore the water. SHE LOVED IT! She enjoyed jumping in the waves with me and swam a little when the water was deeper after a wave. We showered off, which she also loved. After changing clothes, we ate almond butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. I thought she might nap, she kept laying down on the blanket and closing her eyes, but she was too distracted. She also didn't have a nite-nite blankie with her, and that was bothering her too. So we trekked back to the car in the heat, she walked almost the whole way. I was very happy we'd grabbed such a close spot. The beach was getting packed and cars were circling the lot. We might go back later tonight with Dad, I know he wants to surf again.

I've been cooking dinner every night, but have't made anything too remarkable. Made a pretty darn good ginger stir-fry with bok choy and asparagus last night, served with grilled tofu and brown rice. Probably just hungry after surfing, but the-as-yet-un-nicknamed husband cleaned his plate and went back for more (he usually isn't the #1 tofu fan of the universe). He isn't crazy about sesame the same way I am, so I left it out for once. Maybe that made all the difference?

I'm ready to join the little bean for a nap...I'm beat and it's HOT!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Summer is definitely here

The little bean and I swam in my mom's pool yesterday morning, 80 degrees outside, 92 in the pool! It felt like a bathtub, and the little bean went bonkers. She loved swimming so much, I could hardly hold on to her. I'm glad of 2 things: 1st that the pool fence is getting installed next week, and 2nd that swim lessons start on Tuesday. She is going to love swimming lessons at our local YMCA. The husband and I took turns taking her last year, at 6 months old and she enjoyed it then. Today is super boring, lots of laundry and a trip to Target out of the way. We'll plant some flowers after her nap this afternoon.

Last night I made fettucine with garlic and broccoli rabe last night but it got inhaled before I could take a picture. It was exactly as good as a dish I had at Bistro Jeanty in Yountville. The
husband wanted to make jelly-donut cupcakes for dessert, but we had no room left in our tummies.

I thought I'd post pictures of dinner from 2 nights ago, here are the veggie sushi and shiitake kale noodles from, of course, Veganomicon. Usually the sushi turns out a bit rounder, I'm not sure what I was doing this time. The noodles were great, I used pho noodles instead of udon and I think I'll double the broth next time to make it more like soup. The sushi keeps well for a great lunch, as well.
I'd like to make a pilgrimage to 99 Ranch down on Clairemont Mesa to get some cheap produce and random asian ingredients. It is an adventure just wandering around in there.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Vietnamese Seitan Baguette

I made dinner from one of our favorite recipes Saturday night. Veganomicon strikes again! I pan fried the seitan then sliced it up for the sammies. I wish I'd snapped a pic of the dipping sauce, that is what really brings the vietnamese flavor.
Crispy Seitan

The assembled baguettes

We had a wacky mexican lunch with my mom's family yesterday. We blanked out and forgot my uncle and aunt, then the waiter was really grumpy to everyone (even gave me attitude when I didn't order off the menu. The bean burrito was really good with lots of guac smothered all over it.) The chips and salsa were just what we'd been missing, and my auntie had an omelette that looked pretty darn good, full of fresh spinach. The mariachi's had the little bean positively entranced, but she is going through a growth spurt and needed a nap instead of a mexican meal. It was great to see my cousin (currently living in Arkansas), and she announced that she is moving home for good early next year. I'm glad, she is a sweet girl and I look forward to spending more time with her. Happy Monday...

Saturday, June 7, 2008

OMG I love homemade "vegan" ice cream

I decided to bite the bullet and try one of the ice cream recipes in Veganomicon (my current obsession). After spending 3 weeks abroad eating dairy gelato, I wasn't sure if the vegan version would satisfy. The husband requested chocolate, and that sounded good to me, but I only had almond extract. Blended together the coconut milk cream, silken tofu, sugar, soymilk and melted choco chips (oh crap, I bet those weren't actually vegan), threw in the almond extract and some toasted almonds and ... I ate it so fast I didn't have time to take a picture.

Here's the pic from this afternoon:

I also made (heart-shaped) biscuits and gravy from VWAV and we snarfed those down for breakfast this morning. My only complaint is that it looked like sh*t on a shingle. But man, it tasted great. Happy Anniversary Honey!!!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Finally posting some pix

Some lovely Cornwall shots, it was sunny but cold!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Quick update from Wien

We are at Marc and Nicol's fabulous penthouse apartment on our way out for Langnacht of the churches. All of the churches are open late, and many are open to the public for the only time all year. Should be interesting, little bean had 2 naps today so should be prepared. Or she'll pass out in her reclining stroller...we've really spoiled her on not keeping her up late at all this trip. And we have a couple more days here to adjust if she doesn't like it.
Vienna is an awesome city and very kid-friendly. At first it was a big shock from the quiet village of Hallstatt, but our apartment is spacious, bright and close to the city tram. We feel very cosmopolitan here. I see the churches lighting up all around us, so we are off on our evening adventure.

Guten abend vom Wien

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A little piece of heaven on earth

78 degrees, a light breeze and 360 degree views around the lake and mountains. We love it here in Hallstatt. It is a welcome change from the hustlebustle of Salzburg. The little bean gets to run around to her heart`s content as it is traffic calmed here. We took a hike up to a glacier garden yesterday and a bike ride around the lake. Little bean is a great passenger, she cried when we had to return the bikes this afternoon.
All this fresh air and exercise led us to a 3 hour nap, for all 3 of us this afternoon. So relaxed. Dinner was lakeside and just wonderful in the balmy air.

Tomorrow we venture on to Vienna, where it will probably be even warmer. We have an apartment there and will have lots of room to share. Although our room here has been more like an apartment, roomy and airy. We will really miss it here!

Sunday, May 25, 2008


What a lovely sunny couple of days, quite a relief from bundling up against the chill. We hiked across a mountainy-hill yesterday to a mountaineer's hut for lunch. Neat views of the Altstadt (old town) of Salzburg. The little bean had no interest in our fresh lunch, preferring to munch straight off an apple. That occupied her for about 1\2 hour. She enjoys riding in the backpack and her dad doesn`t mind carrying her at all.

We are catching a taxi to the bahnhof in a few minutes, off to the picturesque town of Hallstatt, about 2 1\2 hours away.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Halloo from Salzburg

We had a lovely drive up from Cornwall to Gatwick Airport in London on Wednesday. Just beautiful farm scenery and we even managed a detour to Stonehenge. The little bean was asleep so we took turns walking over to peek through the fence. We ate lunch in the parking lot, REAL Coke with REAL sugar, cornish Yarg cheese with fresh baguette. The best meal!
The flight to Salzburg was easy and comfortable, BA provided sandwiches and beverages even on a short flight. Gatwick is great airport, clean and well organized. We met another family travelling to Austria with a 16 month old little boy. He was cranky, and reflected even more what an amazing traveller our bean is.

Salzburg is COLD! In the 50´s, but we are dressed appropriately. We took a funicular up to the fortress over looking the town and we let the bean run all over the place. Austrians seem to love children, and the bean charms them all. We have been enjoying native dishes like vegetable strudel and cheese spaetzel. It has been very easy to find veggie dishes here, unlike what I´d read beforehand.

Our hotel is a gem, and our host, Peter is one in a million. The little bean has a super soft and comfy cot and our room is spacious. She loves the hand-held shower and throws a tantrum when it is time to get out.

We leave for Hallstatt Sunday morning, so hope we can get online again before that. We miss our family and can´t wait to share our adventures in person. XOXO

Monday, May 19, 2008

The sun has reached Cornwall

Although it was gray in Goldsithney, it was sunny out at the Lizard Point Sunday, a 20 minute drive out to the Southernmost point of england. The views of the flower-carpeted cliffs were stunning, but it was so windy I was worried the little bean might blow right off! We enjoyed a lovely lunch at the most southerly point cafe, great views from inside (and out of the wind). Today we went out to St. Michael's Mount, the castle on the rock off the coast of Marazion. We walked out during low tide and after touring around and lunch we took a boat back. The little bean loved the boat ride, all 5 minutes of it. We have discovered her love of ice cream this trip, when you are having local, all organic ice cream we can't resist either!
The little bean is sleeping well for both her naps and through the night, which is lovely. She wakes up in the morning and from nap looking for "Lyler" (Tyler) the corgie. She seems very much at home here, and she is a pleasure to travel with.
Tomorrow is our last day for fun in Cornwall as Wednesday we travel back to London and on to Austria. Probably won't post again until at least Thursday.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A lovely Cornish Morning

We are all settled with Auntie and Uncle in Goldsithney, my sweet husband did an incredible job driving us from a town 45 minutes away - in a diesel, 6 speed very "posh" car. We were delayed getting into Heathrow so missed our train on Thursday, so spent an evening in London. Lovely hotel, quiet and allowed us to catch our breath. The train was crowded on Friday but filled with really nice people as we travelled from London (Paddington Station) to Truro in Cornwall. We drove from Truro to Goldsithney and got in about 6 pm. Auntie made us a top-notch meal of asparagus hollandaise with rice (and salmon for the omnis). The little bean loved exploring the house and the garden out back. She is in love with their corgie, and he is tolerating her very well. She had a rough patch in the middle of the last night (cursed teething is never-ending), but is sleeping in this morning with dad.

We are going to the village green to a plant sale today, then the beachside playground overlooking St. Michael's Mount. It is gray and cool and feels completely english. What a gorgeous place.

Monday, May 12, 2008

2 Days until the BIG TRIP

Last night the husband and I got the clothes packed into our suitcases and most of the carry-on items lined up. It is such a hassle that we cannot pack most liquids in our carry-ons. I mean, such a hassle! Oh well, it is just part of the adventure of travel. One last trip to the grocery store this morning for snacky items (Milano cookies, crackers) and taco stuff for dinner tonight. (I don't imagine we'll be eating too much mexican food on vacation.) It felt cold out, says Encinitas is 58 degrees. It is breezy and felt much cooler than that. This is probably the weather in both Cornwall and Austria. Better get used to long pants and long sleeves. At least the little bean loves to wear her jacket.

For lunch I made the lentil soup from Veganomicon. I had never made any type of lentil soup, and the only kind I've ever eated is canned from Progresso...and guess what? My lentil soup ROCKED. I almost couldn't stop eating it, I was happy when it cooled enough to go into the fridge. The little bean thought it was pretty tasty. She picked out and ate the diced carrots first, then ate quite a few bites of the soup too. I used red lentils which really fell apart, but I think that was better for the baby to eat anyway.

I am probably enjoying one of the last truly quiet and peaceful moments for the next few weeks. I hope the little bean finds a way to sleep as comfortably during our travels.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Just winding down from a lovely Mother's Day. The little bean slept until a reasonable hour, and we still made it out and about by 9 am. After one false start (no travel high chair or sippy cups), we stopped at the local flower stand and the donut shop. Thank goodness VGs had a couple cinnamon sugar twists to satisfy the husband and I. Delish, but what a sugary mess they make in the car. Little bean had her first taste of sugar-dipped fried fat. She loved it, sigh.

Mother's day was a brunch with my MIL, she prepared lemon poppyseed waffles topped with fresh local strawberries and blackberries (which were from Costco). As if this wasn't enough, she whipped up a quick spinach and mushroom frittata. Excellent, and the bean also loved every bite. Of course, she would have been happy eating just the "berwies" until she popped. I have a mental image of her blowing up and turning purple like the girl in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. After the meal we headed over to the Montage in Laguna Beach to walk along the beach path. It was so gorgeous, even if it was May-Gray today. The bean was reticent to step onto the sand, but she eventually went for it. She was interested in the water coming up, and had fun almost getting wet.

Dinner tonight was huge globe artichokes (4 for $5 at Henry's this week) and a strawberry goat cheese salad. I coated goat cheese rounds with finely chopped almonds and black pepper and sauteed them in a mix of olive oil and butter. The salad dressing was my verion of Trattoria i Trulli's: mayo, brown sugar, olive oil, balsamic, garlic and S&P. OMG, it was great. One of these days I will start experimenting with food pix, but I'll have to be happy with my descriptions for now.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Finally starting to pack for THE BIG TRIP

Well, the little bean is asleep for her afternoon (and only) nap. Which means I have between 1 1/2 and 3 hours to accomplish my daily household chores. The nap will probably be on the shorter side since she didn't want much lunch.

For today I've gotta: clean up kitchen, do one load of laundry, pick up downstairs, planning/packing clothes for THE BIG TRIP. Oh crud, I've really gotta pick up the whole house since the carpets are getting cleaned tomorrow.

We are starting to pack 1 week ahead of time, which is still probably not enough ahead. 2 small carry-on size suitcases for 2 adults and one toddler, plus one duffel for baby backpack, travel chair and diapers. Well, that's the plan anyway. I'll add our packing list when I see what we've actually packed.