Thursday, October 05, 2006

Been a while

Sorry I've been MIA... I was really sick last week.. and my mom was here from California to see my niecee..

I still haven't seen her though... as I mentioned, I was sick last week, then, over the weekend, she stopped breathing and ended up in the hospital. Fortunately, she is back home.. and doing well. They never found out why she was having breathing trouble. Right now, I'm waiting for my brother and SIL to decompress and invite me down to see her. I'm going nuts! I want to hold her so much.

I've been cooking a lot, but have only taken pics of 1 meal.. I'm not sure why... I think I've been just to distracted due to worrying about my niece.

This was brunch, freshly ground wheat, made into pancakes, apples and maple syrup, pina colada smoothies and a mexican tofu scramble. All vegan. I love that everyone enjoyed the food and didn't miss the dairy.

I made an quick dinner the other night that turned out to be one of the favorite dinners ever.. according to my kids..
Mashed Yukon Golds with Frozen Spinach
Punk Rock Chickpea Gravy from VwaV
"Fried" Tofu (in the cast iron with cooking spray and soy sauce)

My kids LOVED it, even my youngest who has always hated chickpeas. I was amazed that he liked it.

Last night, I made Seitan and Mushroom Stroganoff and Peas over Ziti and served it with steamed green beans and cauliflower tossed with vegan "honey" mustard. Again, my family loved it. I am very surprised that they love most of the vegan food I make.
Both of my kids have asked me to use more tofu in their dinners.. they say they miss tofu and please, let them eat a pound each for dinner.. oy.. that is mighty expensive, as tofu is around 2.49 per 15oz in my neck of the woods.. but how can I say no, when they want tofu sandwiches for lunch?

Speaking of expensive... I am trying again to get my food budget down. My goal this month is $500. I have been spending between 800-1000 per month lately. So far, this week, I've spent $100 and still have enough staples so I don't have to shop until Tuesday.. I pack my kids lunches... so I need bottled water and individual sized chips for that. I have tons of staples.. so, basically it is lunch stuff and produce that I need to buy....oh, and tofu.. lots and lots of tofu. I haven't made my own yet.. maybe one day... and I still need to master Tempeh. So far, all of my batches have failed. I need to create a decent incubator for it... and I'm sure it will work well.


  1. It's good to have you back, but I'm sorry that you and your niece were sick! I hope everyone is doing better now.
    I'm so impressed that you make your own tempeh- will you do a tutorial on your blog sometime? I saw an Indonesian website with DIY instructions but it just seemed so complicated...!
    Also, I feel your pain as far as a food budget goes. Here, it's just my husband and me, but we spend more than we're comfortable with. Good luck and feel better!

  2. i hope you and your family are feeling better. cook when you're sick too!

  3. Everything sounds so good!
    I think a lot of parents would love to hear their kids ask for more tofu!

  4. Hope you're feelling better, Melody.

    That meal looks amazing. As far as saving some Franklins on food, have you read the Tightwad Gazette book series? They will change your life. All the strategies may not work for you, but they will definitely empower you and change the way you look at $$.

  5. I hope you are better now! I'm sorry for the scary ordeal with your niece! Wow, I can see why you've been very worried and distracted. I hope all is well now.

    Your brunch looks awesome! See, you are such a great chef that no one missed the meat and dairy! Great job!

    I can't get my food budget down either. Everything is so expensive when you try to go organic. :( We love tofu too, and I buy many containers of it. Luckily, it's really good for us and our kids though and it never goes to waste since they love it so much! :)

    For packed lunches, can you just refill the water bottles with your own purified water? Or maybe make snack bags from bulk sizes? FOr sandwiches, I've made a big batch of seitan, and sliced it thin - it's MUCH cheaper than something like "tofurky" slices and it really good. (with veggies and vegan mayo or avocado!) Just some ideas! :P

    I hope you are feeling 100% soon and we'll be thinking of you and your niece!!

  6. i hope you're already feeling better, melody -- and your family, too. i second bazu's request for a tempeh tutorial, cuz you are an amazing cook. :o)

  7. Welcome back, girl! I hope everything goes well with your family - it was your niece that stopped breathing? Wow!

    Cool on the tofu, but I hear you on the $$ impact. I'd love to make my own - that would be so cool.

    Your brunch looks fantastic. Glad everyone liked it...sometimes you never know.


  8. Good luck with the budget - I'm sure you'll be successful!

    :) Mikaela

  9. How about little Nalgenes to replace the bottled water? I don't know whether your kids will bring them back home, or they will just collect in their lockers, though. :) Kids are funny.
    Glad to hear your niece is back home and back to normal. Hope you get to meet her soon!

  10. Yay, a new post from Melody! We've been worried about you! Sorry to hear you have been ill and that your niece was not well, but glad you are both on the mend. I'm working on my food budget as well, it's so hard when there is so much great food to be had!

  11. Someday I want to try making tempeh too...but the incubator seems like a tough thing to master.

    I agree with other people's suggestions about using tap water in refillable containers. Tap water goes through far more scrutany and regulation than bottled water does. It is much safer!

  12. Melody, I hope your niece is fine now... And that you get to see her soon. As usual, everything looks and sounds fab. You take care! Sending good thoughts!

  13. Hi Melody,
    Sorry to hear about the health troubles for you and your neice. How scary.

    It seems to me that the choice usually comes down to time or money. When we were in India, they had almost no packaged food available anywhere. But, on the other hand, they have a situation where almost all the women there do nothing but prepare meals all day. So! Here in the States, we have to find the balance by saving money on the things that take less time, and splurging on the things that take more time. You know? It is a drag, and it's hard to figure out. Good luck.

    Also, I agree with Tanya that it's amazing that you cook when you're sick! I copped out tonight for the 2nd night in a row, and I've just got a cold.

    :) Amey

  14. Glad to hear you're feeling better

    800-1000 a month. woooaah that's a lot


  15. i hope you and your nice are better now, food budget is a hard thing to do, hope you can do it! organic and healthty is so expensive here too, so i know that making a budget is very difficult. good luck!

  16. I hope you are feeling better! The food looks just as wonderful as always, Melody. How do you do it!? Budgeting is something that is constantly stressful for me, so i can totally understand.



  17. Welcome back and congratulations on your weight loss! That's really impressive.

    I hope you and your niece stay healthy and that you get to hold her very soon!