Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The itty bitty baby turns NINE

Isn't she amazing?

That beauty up there turned nine about a week ago.

Where DOES the time go?

Goodness me, if the next nine years go by as fast as the first (and, I have a sneaky suspicion they may just go by even faster), I don't know what I will do.

I guess, all one can do is to LIVE IN THE MOMENT.

Anyhoo, my Momma tells me she loves the pictures she gets to see here on the blog, so I thought I'd share some from the big day.

We don't really do birthday parties around here. Birthdays are very special, family fun days.The birthday girl (or boy, if we're talking about Daddy) gets to choose the days' events ... from the breakfast to be served to the order of the day to the dinner that night. The birthday child always wakes up to a fully decorated kitchen and a living room full of balloons and the day goes on from there in whatever order they had decided upon.

This year, the Princess wanted the day to look like this:
  • Pancakes for breakfast (like at The Old Spanish Sugar Mill in Deleon Springs ... where we add goodies like peanut butter, banana, blueberries or chocolate chips)
  • Presents (of course)
  • The Olive Garden for lunch
  • Water park for a "Night Splash"
Unfortunately, the weather had other things in mind. Stormy skies meant a Plan B needed to be determined. After a bit of thought, the Princess decided she would like to go Roller Skating, something the girls had never done.

What a fantastic "Plan B" that turned out to be!

The day was amazing.

We made pancakes. I put out little dishes with sliced bananas, chopped strawberries, blueberries, chocolate chips and natural peanut butter. We had them with a tiny bit of Pure Grade B Maple Syrup (better than grade A, go figure).

She opened presents.

We grabbed a bit of lunch to go and headed out to the skating rink.

In three hours time, both girls went from completely incapable to much, much better. Momma went from fine to sore!. Momma and Daddy both participated in races that were held for the adults, hahaha. The girls had a blast and declared that they want to do that all the time.

Then, we headed over to The Olive Garden for dinner.

When we finally got home, everyone fell into bed, thoroughly exhausted and sore, but with smiles on faces. It was perfect.

And, the best part is, we still get to do the Water Park. We promised her that we would (she was initially very disappointed about the weather!).

Enjoy a few shots from the day.


This year, we began something called the Birthday Tree ... presents were placed under it for the weeks leading up to the big day ... anticipation was high!

Daddy was so sweet ... he put in Pink and Black earrings just for the Birthday Girl. :)

Making balloons stick to the ceiling is always fun.

Holding up the ceiling :)

The Birthday Girl's first pancake ~ chocolate chips and strawberries.

Cute little set of Gnomes, table, cloth, plates and cups ... made by the Hippie

The Greatest Gifts ... of mine. :)

Is she adorable, or what?


Until next time, 

Irie Momma

Monday, August 26, 2013

Mock Tuna Salad Recipe

Would you look at that? Here, I promised you that I would keep coming back and then I went and left you again for almost two weeks. This is going to be a work in progress, people. I did at least ask you in advance to bear with me, didn't I?

Let me start back with a recipe I came up with not too long ago that we absolutely love around these parts... Mock Tuna Salad. If you've been reading this blog for long, I'm assuming you have gathered that we don't consume any meat in our family. If you didn't know that, well, you do now (smile).

Now, we're not those kinds of vegetarians that go around eating a "meat-and-potatoes" kind of meal and simply replace the meat with fake meat. No. We pretty much completely changed the way we eat years ago. Rarely do we have a plate with three items on it. Most of our meals come in the form of one pot or one skillet and get served in a beautiful bowl (thank you, Mom, for the Polish Pottery!). If they happen to be served on a plate, they are still not three separate items ("meat", starch, veggie). We just don't eat that way.

All of that to say that while we don't generally go around substituting "fake meat" for meat, once in a while a girl still gets a hankering.

One hot summer day a month or two ago, this girl got a hankering for some tuna fish. Somehow, I stumbled upon a recipe online for a vegan (or vegetarian, I can't remember) "tuna salad". I thought I'd try it.

EEEWWW ... it was awful. 

I couldn't eat one bite of it.

But, I had already gotten "tuna salad" into my brain and I wanted some. So, I put the first bowl into the refrigerator (in case Daddy wouldn't mind eating it ... I hate to waste) and decided to use some of my own common cooking sense. Instead of following this recipe's crazy ideas of what should go into a tuna salad, I decided to make it the way I'd always made it back when I ate tuna ... but, without the tuna.

What was born out of that "aha moment" is simply divine.

I will credit that awful recipe with one thing ~ giving me the idea to mash up chick peas for the "tuna". But, that is where the credit ends.

So, I mashed up another can of drained chickpeas and went to work adding what my Momma taught me to add to tuna fish ~ celery, pickles and mayo. Of course, I'm rather creative in the kitchen, so I didn't exactly stop there, but that was the base.

And, here is the finished recipe ... try it. Even if you are not a vegetarian or vegan, I'm sure you'll still find it as delicious as we all do! Especially on a bed of chopped romaine with some Mary's Gone Crackers. YUM-O!

Mock Tuna Salad Recipe

  • 1 can of chick peas/garbanzo beans, drained (Either buy organic or look for a can that has nothing in it but chick peas and water ... we get ours at Whole Foods ... the other stuff has chemicals to preserve color and freshness ... yuck)
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced (again, organic is best ... celery is on the dirty dozen list)
  • Diced dill pickles (again, if you're trying to avoid toxins, look for natural pickles at a place like Whole Foods ... the others at the store have yellow-number-such-and-such and other yuckiness)
  • Veganaise or other vegan mayo, about 1/3 cup (I just eyeball it)
  • Sea salt (about 1/2 tsp) and freshly ground pepper
  • Minced fresh dill if you have it ... or a bit of dry dill weed
  • A sprinkling of Organic Kelp granules (for that "fresh from the sea" flavor ... but, don't go running away from this simple recipe just because you don't have any kelp, or know what the heck it is ... I'm sure it is just as tasty without it)
  • A sprinkle of dry parsley
Drain the chick peas and let them dry out a bit in the strainer while you are chopping your veggies. Dice the celery and pickles (as much as looks good to you, depending on your taste). Place your chick peas on a plate and mash them with a fork (you don't want a paste ... just a quick mash of each ball). In a mixing bowl, combine the mashed chick peas, diced veggies, mayo, dill and salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Sprinkle in some kelp and parsley and stir. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. You will be looking at a bowl that looks pretty dang close to tuna fish, I kid you not. And, it will taste amazing. Enjoy.

Funny story. I was making this the other day and I had only gotten as far as opening the can of garbanzo beans and was chopping the pickles and celery. I am not making this up, I promise. My cat came into the kitchen and clearly intended to jump up onto the counter to get to what I was making. My cat does *not* jump on the counters. Ever. Clearly, even he thought I was making real tuna salad (smile).

Shown here as a "tuna melt" for the girls ... on toasted Ezekiel bread with romaine and melted organic cheddar cheese (though, in all honesty, I thought this was sort of dry ... don't let this be your first introduction to the tuna salad, or you might not come back to it again).
Another day for the girls ... on a Wasa cracker with a bit of organic provolone cheese
In a crunchy romaine lettuce leaf for Momma 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wordless Wednesday ... Sort of

Summer picnic with my ladies

Caprese Salad and Mock Tuna Salad on Romaine

The girls' ~ Mock Tuna Salad on Wasa Crackers with Provolone Cheese

Playing some sort of hand game

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