Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Socks and Sandals wha Wha wha??!?!

Yesterday on Twitter, the topics Puertorican Problems and Dominican Problems was trending in Los Angeles.
For those who do not know, I am half Dominican and half Puertorican.  Which makes me a Dominiqueña.  Which also means I was able to connect with so many Dominicanas and Boricuas in Los Angeles.  I also had the misfortune to come across some racist creeps.  They could not bring me down.  There are SO MANY OF US. Everything from:
no more platanos in the house #DominicanProblem
out of sazon #PuertoricanProblem
and everything from chancletas to using Fabuloso.
Two Boricuas from the East Coast live nearby which is also so very amazing.
I enjoyed reading all the Twitter messages and laughed so hard that my homeschooler peered over gigantic history book saying, "glad someone´s having fun".  WHOOPS!
Two Boricuas from the East Coast live nearby which is also so very amazing.
I might even venture out the next time there is a Puertorican Festival in SoCal.

The other day I made this so delicious Vegan Sancocho.
Westcoasters, you can find everything you need in your local Cuban Market.  When I lived in Culver City, I used to go to El Camaguey on Venice Boulevard. Here in Glendale, I found El Mambi.  Very nice people all around.

1 lb. seitan cut in 2 inch rectangles (think short ribs)
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
4 quarts vegetable stock
1/2 cup recaito
1 cup tomato sauce
1 lb each of calabaza, yautia, ñame, and yuca, peeled and diced in 1 inch cubes (you can find this in the store already peeled in the freezer aisle in the Cuban store. Saves ALOT of time since peeling is a bit of work since the root vegetables are not smooth like a potato)
2 medium green platanos, peeled and cut in 2 inch pieces
3 ears of corn cut into 1 inch pieces (or however small you can find them)
1 packet of sazon
adobo for taste
1 quart of water

in a HUGE soup pot, combine the first 6 ingredients, including ALL of the root vegetables
cover and bring to a boil.
reduce the heat to medium, cover, and simmer, for 30 minutes.
add the remaining ingredients and bring to another boil.
lower the heat and simmer, covered for 45 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked.
adjust the seasonings.

My house was warm and smelled so yummy when all was said and done.
Yummy with garlic bread.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Product Review: Tonka XT Ricochet Tricksters R/C Car

I never had a remote control car in my entire life.  My 3 brothers always had them and never let me play.  My son had R/C cars when he was a kid and when I had my 2 daughters they were always surrounded by baby dolls and cuddly bears.  I wish I knew better.  The Tonka XT Ricochet Tricksters is an awesome R/C car.  My teen and tween girls played last night and laughed so hard.  Watching the car flip and make crazy spins.  The Tonka XT Ricochet Tricksters is for indoor use only.  The controller uses 5 AA batteries.  The vehicle already has 1 rechargeable battery. Invest in rechargeable batteries since the Tonka XT will run for 5-10 minutes after 20-30 minutes of charging.  The Tonka XT Ricochet Trickster goes forward, reverse, turns right and left, spins left and right, and giggles the whole time you are playing.  You can play with 2 other boys and girls because it has a maximum of 3 channels.  Each must be set to a different channel or you will have chaos.
I recommend the Tonka XT Ricochet Trickster R/C Car for boys and girls over the age of 5 for lots of fun and giggles.
I received a product sample, coupon, collateral or other special premium from BzzAgent.

Friday, October 14, 2011

World City at the Music Center Program 2011/2012 Season

The 2011/2012 season is about to begin at the beautiful W.M. KECK CHILDREN'S AMPHITHEATRE in the WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL for the World City at the Music Center. It is a wonderful program for everyone to enjoy. Performances take place once a month, usually on Saturdays at 11:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. FREE tickets are distributed on Grand Avenue at 2nd Street. Tickets for 11:00 a.m. performance are distributed beginning at 10:00 a.m. Tickets for 12:30 p.m. performance are distributed beginning at 11:00 a.m. You must get there early because tickets go fast! After the program children and adults can enjoy the wonderful cultural crafts. Take a camera and take pictures of the beautiful artists, garden and the Blue Rose. Don't forget the sunscreen and water!

Located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, the Music Center is one of the three largest performing arts centers in the nation. Stop at Walt Disney Concert Hall and find the perfect something in the gift shop or take a free audio tour of the Walt Disney Concert Hall and garden.

Homeschooling and living near big cities is truly a blessing. 
Everything from learning rocks and minerals at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles to learning about ecosystems at the California Science Center has been instrumental to my hands-on learner. 
When we can't make it to the wonderful museums in and around Los Angeles we hop on over to  Glendale Library where we pick up books and DVDs from PBS, Disney (Bill Nye, Science of Imagineering, etc.) and others. 
We are so lucky to have the world at our finger tips.  It is my goal to make learning fun at "home".  
It is more than workbooks and heavy textbooks involved in the learning process here at home as well as it should be in the brick & mortar schools. 
How I wish, growing up in the Bronx, we had field trips to art, history and science museums. 
 All I ever remember going to was the zoo and the planetarium.  Speaking of planetariums, I need to schedule a trip to the Griffith Observatory Los Angeles in a few weeks.  We haven't looked through the Zeiss Telescope in almost 2 years! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pad Thai

I blogged about this delicious meal.  I made it a few days ago and I think it was much better the second time around.  I tried to cut down on the spiciness for my tween and it was still aroi.  That is Thai for delicious.

6 oz rice stick noodles
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup mirin
3 tbsp ketchup
3 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsps lime juice
1 tbsp sriracha or other chili sauce
2 tbsps refined coconut oil
14 to 16 ozs extra-firm tofu, cubed
1/2 red onion cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 cloves garlic minced (if you find yourself cooking w/ lots of garlic, go ahead and cheat! buy that jar of minced garlic. It will save you time)
3 scallions, halved lengthwise and cut into 2 inch pieces
2 cups bean sprouts
1 carrot, shredded
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, mint, or a combination
1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts
4 to 8 lime wedges ( I did not use lime wedges. I felt that it was just to make the dish pretty. At then end I have no regrets)

cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the agave, mirin, ketchup, tamari or soy sauce, lime juice, and sriracha, set aside.
heat the coconut oil in a 12 to 14 inch wok or skillet over high. add the tofu and stir-fry for 4 minutes. add the red onion and stir-fry for 30 seconds. add the garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds. add the noodles and agave nectar mixture and stir-fry until the noodles are softened and evenly coated w/ sauce. add the scallions, bean sprouts, and carrots and stir-fry until all the ingredients are well combined and heated through.
serve and garnish w. cilantro or mint, peanuts and lime wedges.

I did use a pot instead of a wok or skillet because 
1. I do not have a wok and 
2. the skillet wasn't big enough.
I do have a wok now but mostly to stir-fry veggies.  Still used the big pot.

This recipe is from the Skinny Bitch in the Kitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. I love this cookbook. The recipes are easy enough and quick enough for this busy bitch.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Vegi soup

Soup. Yes. Yes, please.

The other day going up and down the aisle of  Big Lots and was surprised to see such a great selection of food!  I found Bob's Red Mill Vegi Soup Mix for......$3.50!  
Servings per container is 7.  $3.50 for a meal for a family of 4 and then some!  
Freezing the leftovers is a definitely plus for this mom.  You can add your meat or faux meat or more vegetables but honestly there is no need.  It already has 21 grams of protein.  Ingredients are: green split peas, yellow split peas, barley, lentils and vegetable pasta.  
Before I leave to take my chickadee to gymnastics, I'm going to pop some ingredients into the bread machine and by the time I get home I can just relax and eat and get the kids ready for bed.  
No rushing around trying to figure out what I am going to feed the family.

1 1/2 Basic Egg Bread

1 cup milk (I'm using soy unsweetened milk)
1 egg (I'm using ener-g egg replacer)
1 tablespoon butter (Earth Balance has been my favorite for the past few months)
3 cups bread flour (or whatever flour you have.  just check the packaging)
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon active dry yeast or bread machine yeast

follow the manufacturer's directions.  

I can almost smell the yumminess!

Our local library was able to budget the new kids book club.  I was so excited when I received word of this.  My kids loved the club (Snacktime Readers renamed Book Central).  To be able to sit around a table with snacks and drink with a librarian and discuss the book of the month was something we all missed.  Every month discovering a new book to read is always a thrill.  Our local library will be hosting it's annual One Book One Glendale...For Younger Readers featuring one of our local authors Janet Tashjian.  On previous years we have met local authors Kazu Kibuishi and Amy Goldman Koss.  
For my local readers your readers 4th - 8th grades should totally join us  on November 1 7pm  for snacks and conversation about the book, My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian.  If you come by the Glendale Central Library, go upstairs to the children's area and ask the librarian for a copy so that you can join the group.  

Monday, October 3, 2011

Not so Spicy Black Bean Chili

Publishing this again since it is "what's for dinner".  
You can make this chili stretch by having it with steamed brown rice.
It's not 80 degrees today (right now in the mid 60s) so we still have autumn feel although it's winter. 


I remember growing up in New York, autumn was a time for new clothes, excitement of school, leaves on the ground, cool weather and lots of hot meals like chili.
Here in California, autumn is still a time of new clothes, excitement of school, leaves on the ground.  Very hard to be excited about the weather since it hardly changes.  For example, this morning when walked up the road to Smart and Final (a little bit like Costco except no membership fees and only items for the kitchen) it was 80 degrees.  Definitely not sweater weather or a hot meal for some.  I had on my attire for a quick trip to the store. NY Yankee shirt, yoga pants and flip flops.  Last year I was able to wear flip flops until November when it started getting 'nippy'.  
But chili.
Chili I can have all year round.  Yummy with a side of cornbread.  I found at my local Big Lots a package of Marie Calender's Southwestern Cornbread.  
Today's meal cost me under $15 for a family of 4.
Nutritious and delicious and totally vegan.

(Not So) Spicy Black Bean Chili
from the Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 medium-size red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder (more or less for taste)
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
2 15-oz cans black beans
1 cup water
1 4-oz can diced green chiles, drained
salt and pepper 

Heat the oil in a large skilled over medium heat.
Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic; cover and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the chili powder and cook about 30 seconds more.
Transfer the mixture to the crock pot (4 quart is good but if you want to double it make it a 6 quart).  
Add the tomatoes, beans, water and chiles.
Season with salt and pepper, cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Serves 4.

You can definitely double this and save in the freezer for a weekend meal.  Yummy with brown rice, cornbread or whatever you fancy.
A great meal for Meatless Monday.  Honestly, you won't miss the meat and great to serve to those who think meat makes a meal.

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