Friday, July 29, 2011

Mmmm Gyros

This one got a big thumbs up from everybody in the Llama family, the Llama even ate quite a bit of seitan, which is pretty spectacular since he usually doesn’t like 'meats' and has refused just basic seitan on several occasions.

gyro plate 07-28-11


seitan, sliced thinly (~ 1/2 a loaf made from this recipe)

2 cloves garlic
1 sm onion

1 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
salt & pepper
(I just threw everything into the spice grinder and let it go)

sauté the onions until translucent, add the garlic and cook a little longer. Add the seitan and spices and cook until the seitan is staring to crisp around the edges and the spices are fragrant.



1/2 cucumber, peeled, grated and drained
1 C Greek yogurt
1 tsp dill
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp lemon juice
salt & pepper

combine everything and let sit several hours to meld.

This makes A LOT of Tzatziki, but that's ok, because it is super yummy, the Llama loves Greek yogurt and cucumbers, and eats this up like crazy.


gyro setup 07-28-11


Naan (I used this recipe)

Layer everything on the naan, fold, and eat!

gyro hand 07-28-1

Like I said, this was a big hit, we had plenty of leftovers, and we are all looking forward to tomorrow's dinner.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

chili and polenta

I made chili tonight for dinner

It's pretty straight forward, and super simple, but we really like it around here, so I figured I would post the recipe:

1 lg onion
3 cloves garlic
1 lg green pepper
2 carrots
2 stalks celery
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes (or 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained, and whirred in the blender)
2 C dried red kidney beans, cooked
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 batch chili powder*
1 C granulated TVP
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 C veg broth

Sauté the onion until translucent, add the garlic and sauté a minute or two more, add the rest of the ingredients and let simmer gently for about an hour. Serve with cornbread or polenta fries. - Enjoy!

chili and polenta 07-27-11 1

Chili powder:

1/8 - 1/2 tsp cayenne*
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder

Throw everything into the spice grinder and whir.

Polenta fries are just this done to this (using veggie stock, and about half the salt) I say 'just' but they are AMAZING!

*because neither I nor the Llama are big fans of super spicy stuff, we opt for the minimal amount of cayenne. Feel to increase the amount to fit your tastes. The Llama Papa is fond of adding a spoon full of red pepper flakes to his bowl of chili.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

CSA adventures

The other day we got a portion of a friends CSA box. In it was a bunch of radishes, which we don't really eat that often. Or at all really, I've always found the ones from the supermarket to be rather bland and tasteless, but these radishes are really ... powerful, like mild parsnip with a STRONG peppercorn chaser.

We were at a loss for what to use them for, but then I saw a recipe for radish chips and decided to give it a go. But of course I had to fancy it up a bit; this is what I ended up with:

3 large radishes slice thin, but not paper thin.
1/2 tsp Cajun spice

radish chips 07-22-11before

Preheat the oven to 325
Toss the radishes with the spice until they are all evenly coated
Lay them all out on a baking sheet and bake for about 10-15 minutes, turn them over, turn off the heat and leave them in the oven for another 1/2 hr. easy!

radish chips 07-22-11 after
(this was after only 10 more minutes in the oven, they weren't really crisp enough, so I put them back, they were perfect after about 1/2 hr.)

the Llama Papa really liked them (he ate the whole bowl!), and said that they would be great on a salad, like croutons, but better. We have several more radishes, so I'm definitely doing this with the rest of them!

Oh, you want the Cajun spice recipe too? This is a general spice that we use for all sorts of things; it's especially good on popcorn:

1/4 c smoked paprika
1 T garlic powder
1 T onion powder
1 T salt
1 T thyme
1 T oregano
1 T pepper
1 t basil
1 t cumin
1/4 t cayenne

I use whole peppercorns and cumin, so I just throw everything into the spice grinder and whirred it all together.

Also in the box are a ton of salad greens, which means we needed salad dressing!

strawberry vin 07-22-11

Strawberry Vinaigrette
1 1/2 C frozen strawberries*
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar**
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 C oil
1/2 C water

Whir everything together in the blender until combined.

Serve on top of an awesome salad.

strawberry vin 07-22-11 salad

* this could be made with raspberries or any other berry too, but if using a smaller, more compact berry you only need one cup. The strawberries never really fit well in the measuring cup, so I add more to compensate.

** a more tart berry might need a touch more, a sweeter berry less.

Friday, July 22, 2011


Ok, this morning's post was kind of a downer. Don't worry, I brushed my hair and even got to take a shower this morning, so I'm in a much better mood!

Yesterday the Llama Papa made Daal for dinner, so I made Naan to go with it, and it came out super yummy, it was really easy to do; we are definitely going to that more often. (Which makes the Llama Papa very happy, since Indian is his favorite cuisine)

naan  07-21-11

I used this recipe the great thing is that it is so easy, and can also be used to make Greek Gyros! I'm already trolling for recipes!

The problem with being a SAHM

Sometimes you don’t get to brush your hair in the morning, because the Llama needs nursies NOW!
And you usually put on your oldest cruddiest clothes, since it's just going to get food, and Llama snot and goodness know what else on the... and then they do.
And some days you don't get to shower because there is no time when you are trying to wrangle a toddler with no sense of self preservation, or if you do have a chance for alone time, you would really rater just sit and eat your lunch in peace and savor it, or go read a book, or -- gods forbid -- take a nap.

And, because of all of the above, when you have the sudden chance to go hang out with a friend, you can't, because you are just a gross pile of grossness and not fit for going out in public.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011


browsing around pinterest can give a person lots of ideas.

several paper crane and/or other origami mobiles have come through my radar, so i got to thinking about the boring chandelier we have over our dining room table.

but I haven't done origami in ages, and paper cranes are harder than they look. it took me a couple of days of practicing before I got enough good ones to hang. then about half an hour of threading and hanging and:

ta da!

crane Chandelier 07-19-11
(notice the wall of Llama art in the background)

it really cheers the room up, and the Llama loves to look at it and sign "birds!" during meals

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

We have been signing on and off with the Llama ever since he was born, but he never really signed back to us. We ramped it up a month or so ago, as he wasn't really saying any words, and it was obvious that his lack of communication was bothering him (hello toddler hood/terrible twos). in a previous life (college) I had taken some ASL courses and even written my term paper on baby sign so I knew it would help us, but the Llama Papa and I just didn't know where to start.

Enter Signing Time. I had heard from several other mommies and bloggers how helpful it was for them, so we decided to get some of the DVDs from the library.

WOW what a difference, after only a few days of Baby Signing Time one the Llama was starting to try out some signs, including 'cat' which we have been doing with him for ages! We have done Baby Signing Time one and two, and currently have Signing Time #6 'my favorite things' (BST 3 is on hold, but has not arrived yet) each for about one week, and his signing has taken off!
I don't know if it is the DVDs themselves, or the fact that the Llama Papa and I are learning new signs too, and signing more, or if it's us signing with the DVDs, but things are really clicking with the Llama, and communication has gotten so much easier. there are fewer temper tantrums, and we can respond accordingly if he needs something. I love it!

Thank you Signing Time! :D

Signs the Llama uses as of July 15, 2011
All done
Brush teeth

{edit July 20}
more signs:


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bean and Rice Taquitos

Well, I guess really burritos or something since I made them super huge, but they were still yummy!
No pictures, because we ate them all down so fast last night that we forgot to take any.

I used home made whole wheat tortillas with this recipe


1 c Rice
Veg stock
1 onion
1 med onion - diced
2 cloves garlic
1 carrot1 - diced fine
1 stalk celery - diced fine
1 14 oz can Tomato puree
1 tbsp paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp cayenne
Salt and pepper

Cook rice in stock, meanwhile cook veggies until tender, add rice and tomatoes and spices, simmer for 5 min.

Refried beans:

2C dried beans
1 bay leaf
pinch thyme

1 lg onion
3-4 cloves garlic
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp liquid smoke
2 tbsp soy sauce

over cook the beans

sauté the onions and garlic, add beans and spices, mash beans, adding liquid as necessary. Add smoke and soy sauce, mix well.

Layer beans and rice on a tortilla, sprinkle with cheddar jack cheese, roll up, lightly spray with oil bake @400 until edges are golden, and serve.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Self cleaning Toddler FTW

the Llama loves spinning, but the other day after spinning in circles for several minutes he spit up a little on the couch, and on the arm of my chair. No big deal, I got some baby wipes to clean up, and gave him one to keep him distracted while the Llama Papa and I cleaned up his face. The Llama immediately wiped at the spot on my chair, and when we finished cleaning his face, went and wiped up the spot on the couch!

Also, he loves cleaning up after meals. When we are done eating I will hand him a washcloth and he will wipe down any surface he can reach, especially the table. He does a pretty good job at it too!

I hope he just keeps this love of cleaning as he gets older, it will make my job so much easier!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Vegetable fajitas

fajitas 07-01-11

I used home made whole wheat tortillas from this recipe, and toasted ours in the George Forman grill.

1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
1 zucchini, julienned
1 summer squash, julienned
2 carrots, julienned
1 yellow onion, sliced

2 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 C red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp whole cumin seed, toasted, ground
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Marinate vegetables for at least 4 hours.
Sautee with marinade until just tender, and most of the liquid has evaporated off.
Allow to cool slightly before layering in tortillas with a sprinkling of cheddar jack cheese.
Bake in the oven at 350* until the cheese is melted, and tortillas are just beginning to brown.
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