3 1/2

silly pants

(He loves this shirt because the cat is using the copier to make more cats. He only wants to wear shirts that involve cats.)

I’m not gonna lie. 3 1/2 is a challenging age. Is it like this for everyone? I’m guessing it is. There’s a lot of yelling, not for any reason but just because that’s the kind of voice you want to use when you’re 3 1/2. EVERYTHING IS VERY EXCITING. MOMMY LOOK WHAT I DID! And the mommy-look-what-I-dids are awesome and I’m not complaining about them. But there’s also the conversations that go like this, when you’re in the middle of folding laundry or washing dishes or making almond milk because you’re a goddamn hippie or editing summaries of court of appeals opinions:

Him: Mommy, can I have [insert name of thing here]?

Me: Yes, just a minute.

Him: Mommy, can I have [insert name of thing here]?

Me: Yes, in a minute.

Him: Mommy, can I have [insert name of thing here]?

Me: Son, you need to learn the value of patience. (Not really.)

Him: Mommy, can I have [insert name of thing here]?

Me: One second!

Him: Mommy, can I have [insert name of thing here]?

Me: AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!

When you’re 3 1/2, there is no “in a minute.” There is only now. And that’s cool, but I’m not particularly well-suited for dealing with these kinds of intrusions on my flow. In the rare event I’m focusing on completing a given task, I want to complete the shit out of that task before I go get you something else and then wander around for the next half hour like I just consumed too much mescaline in Vegas in 1971.

Today out of nowhere, Soren looked at me and said, “Mommy, I’m sorry I’ve been getting you all riled up lately.” To tell you the truth, he kind of rolled over “riled up,” like he knew what he wanted to say but wasn’t sure he was saying it right. “I’m sorry I’ve been so grumpy,” I said, and gave him a hug. “Now we can be friends again,” he said. And I hugged him forever and we were friends again until five minutes later when he yelled and asked me for something 900 times and then we were friends again and when you’re 3 1/2, the highs are so high but man, the lows are so low and you never know what you’re going to get next.

Also your 3 1/2-year-old might sing this song 800 times a day.

Easy-Ass Vegan Dinner

First, you should listen to this awesome song. I’m going to post my epic reggae playlist soon, I promise. I’ve been in a reggae and friends phase since like March and it’s the best. Put some reggae on while you’re just, like, hanging around at home making dinner or cleaning or whatever and I guarantee it will increase the awesomeness of your experience by a noticeable amount.

 

I swear this isn’t going to become a blog where I tell you about everything I eat, but one thing I’ve noticed about vegan meals is that they sometimes require a bit of effort. This is fine because most of what I eat requires a bit of effort, but sometimes you’ve worked all day and then worked out and your husband is out in the yard building a chicken coop and you just don’t feel like doing much. Also, I’m trying to rely less on store-bought fake meat products, but damn I really like them, especially when they’re vegan and made with organic ingredients. I suppose there are worse things.

Anyway, here’s a vegan dinner that isn’t impressive but will take you about 15 minutes (for real) to make:

  • Thinly slice some baby bok choy, which is the best. Heat a little oil in a pan (cast iron is good for this) and stir-fry bok choy. When it’s almost done cooking, add some tamari and sweet chili sauce. Stir and cook a little more. Sprinkle on a little cornstarch, stir, and cook for another minute or two.
  • In a separate pan, prepare Gardein Mandarin orange faux chicken according to package directions.
  • Microwave some organic edamame and sprinkle with sea salt.

15-minute vegan dinner

Here we are enjoying our meal at our kitchen island thing, which seats two. I really miss our dining room table, which is currently occupied by our brooder.

Dogs & Cats & Ice Cream Idea

"The dog will be the teacher."

Today Soren busted out my Fisher Price schoolhouse from the 70s. He set up the dog like so and declared, “The dog will be the teacher.” I’m pretty sure that’s the best idea anybody has had in a while.

Later, I took a nap with someone I will argue is the prettiest cat ever.

UntitledUntitledArguably, this is the prettiest cat ever.

As you might infer from the (lack of) content here lately, I’m in a funk. I’ve been grumpy and kind of sad and short-tempered for a few weeks now. My theory is that it’s because of the goddamn shittastic weather we’ve been having and that when the weather gets better, which it’s bound to do any time now because there’s only so many 20-something-degree, snowy days you can really have in April, things will start looking up. I hope, anyway.

Oh, one other thing! I made tofu satay with peanut sauce for dinner again tonight and I realized something. As I’ve been sort of fumbling toward quasi-veganism (the quasi being because at this point, I think it might be realistic for me to become vegan but I don’t see the point of not eating the eggs from my own chickens because that’s just silly), one of my biggest concerns has been peanut butter ice cream, which is pretty much my favorite thing in the world. I tried making vegan chocolate ice cream once and didn’t like it, mostly because of the coconut milk factor. I like coconut milk in spicy Thai food, but not in dessert items (for the record, I am firmly anti-Samoas and think they are a crime against cookies). So I was down on vegan ice cream until I realized that coconut milk actually works with peanut butter and, in fact, I’d like to make vegan ice cream that tastes exactly like a sweeter version of the peanut sauce that goes with tofu satay, red curry and lemon juice and all. Someone has probably already done this but I don’t even care. It’s my next dessert mission. I guess the fact that I have a dessert mission means I can’t be in all that much of a funk after all.

Tofu Satay & Peanut Sauce

Do you ever go to restaurants and order something that’s always delicious but it never really occurs to you to make it yourself? That’s how my relationship with tofu satay was . . . until tonight, when I made some and holy shit, it’s just as good as what you get at a Thai place and so easy to make.

I followed this recipe from Vegetarian Times but made some changes to the tofu part, like so:

Ingredients

  • one 14-ounce package (organic) extra-firm tofu: cut into quarters lengthwise, then cut each quarter in half lengthwise, then cut each piece in half widthwise
  • 1/2 cup tamari
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

Directions

Mix tamari and turmeric well in a bowl, add tofu, lightly shake to coat all tofu with tamari/turmeric mixture, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Shake the bowl occasionally and flip the tofu pieces once.

Preheat oven to 400F and generously oil a baking sheet. Drain tofu and stick on skewers (I used four). Place on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Flip and bake another 20 minutes.

For the sauce, I followed the VT recipe exactly.

Holy shit you guys. Ben is working tonight so it’s just me and Soren and we devoured these things. I felt bad because Soren asked for more and there wasn’t any, so now he’s eating lima beans, which he loves for some reason. (Full disclosure: While at the store earlier, he declared that he only likes to eat “white food.” Whatever, guy.)

My New Signature Pizza and the Cactus Show

I’m ready to declare this my signature pizza:Untitled

  • thin crust
  • olive oil
  • apricot preserves
  • roasted garlic
  • rainbow chard (heat a little olive oil over medium head, add chard, fry (covered, stirring occasionally) for approximately 10 minutes until pleasantly soft, add salt and pepper to taste)
  • a little parmesan
  • a little smoked gouda
  • thinly sliced brie (I remove the rind)

So good. It’s kind of similar to the last pizza I made with chard, although that one is a lot more work.

Sorry the only picture I have is the bad one I just took of the microwaved leftovers at work (the other slice has red sauce, roasted garlic, yellow peppers, onions, and parmesan/mozzarella/gouda).

We went to the Colorado Cactus and Succulent Society show at the Botanic Gardens yesterday. It was cool. We bought a cactus that’s winter hardy and will allegedly grow to be 5 feet tall. We also got the guy below, who was picked out by Soren. I have a thing for cacti/succulents in glass containers, if that can be considered a thing.

another silly photo of usat the Botanic GardensUntitledUntitled

Update: Veganize this pizza by omitting the parmesan, gouda, and brie. Instead, put some homemade parmesan substitute (use a food processor to process equal parts pine nuts and nutritional yeast, plus a little salt) and a very light dusting of vegan mozzarella (Follow Your Heart or Daiya, or homemade if you have it) on the pizza before baking. When the pizza is finished baking, allow it to cool a bit and cut into slices. Before eating a slice, add some homemade brie. (It’s important to add as you eat, because this brie melts right away. If you have leftovers, you’ll want to reheat and then add the brie.)

For homemade brie, follow the first brie recipe (on page 12) in Artisan Vegan Cheese (no affiliate link). It’s very good but be aware that you’ll need several days to make it.

Yes, Dorothy

Untitled

People really, really like red glitter TOMS. I don’t think I’ve ever been on the receiving end of so many shoe compliments — I’d say that 50% of the people I saw today were all, “OMG cute shoes!!” There’s something about red footwear. One time, many years ago, I was wearing some shiny faux-lizard red boots and somebody at a bar offered me cash money for them right then and there. I declined and still have those boots, but I haven’t worn them in years. Maybe I should.

It’s probably bad that my skinny jeans are so long and baggy around my ankles it looks like I’m wearing denim leg warmers. Good thing I’m not a fashion blogger.

Sunshine

sunshinesunshinesunshine

I have a well-documented love of daylight saving time. As a night person who doesn’t get up too early and doesn’t give a shit about whether it’s light out when I do get up, DST is pretty much my favorite thing ever. I’d almost advocate in favor of year-round DST but for one thing: Standard time sucks so much I almost like being on it for a while because then you get off of it and you’re all, “Yay! More daylight when I can actually enjoy it! Woohoo!” If I had to say one good thing about standard time it’s that it gives you more darkness to enjoy Christmas lights on cold December evenings. And that’s a stretch.

I don’t mind winter and I wouldn’t want to live in a place where it never gets cold or snows, but by this time of year I end up feeling kind of the same way about winter I feel about standard time: I’m so tired of winter and I’m beside myself with glee the first time I can sit in the back yard in a tank top as the sun warms my arms and my face. Soon it’ll be time to start gardening! And maybe get some chickens! (I’m taking a chicken class soon — I’ll let you know all about it.) And do all the other awesome stuff you can do in Colorado when it’s warm! I can’t wait!!