I have avoided Whale Wars on Animal Planet long enough.  After watching The Cove I could avoid it no longer.  So this weekend we had a Whale Wars marathon.  We watched the 1st two seasons on Netflix on Saturday and Sunday and Animal Planet conveniently played Season 3 all day Monday.  We are all caught up.  I almost made it.  I cried during Season 2's Stuff of Nightmares.  So sad and unnecessary.

Please inform yourself about the plight of whales.  We are planning to send a care package to the Sea Shepherd crew.  They have a wish list here.  They are doing amazing things.
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I love Caprese salad.  The first time I tried it was several years back, enjoying dinner out with a friend.  It was extra special because it was made with heirloom tomatoes.  When our main course came, we just wanted more of the salad.  It was that good.  They also served an amazing Lavender Martini.  The restaurant was Stanley & Seafort's in Tacoma WA.

At the Farmers Market this week I picked up some basil and my favorite tomatoes from Rockhouse Farms.  But, this time I felt like pasta, not salad.  I wish I could include pics, it was so pretty.  I should have a camera soon.

Here's the recipe:

When I have the salad, I prefer whole basil leaves, but I thought a pesto would work best to coat the pasta.


1 1/2 cups of fresh basil
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup pecans
3 T vegan Parmesan cheese
dash of kosher salt
1/2 extra virgin olive oil

OK, not traditional pesto, but that is what I had.  This is the first time I used pecans instead of pine nuts.  It was delicious.  Pecans are plentiful here and I always have them on hand.  I used my Ninja, adding everything but the olive oil, pureeing it, then slowly stirring in the olive oil until it was the right consistency.


4 servings whole wheat penne
4 large tomatoes (splurge and get the good ones)
1/4 c balsamic vinegar (approximately)
kosher salt

Cook the pasta in salted water as directed.  While cooking, dice tomatoes.  Place tomatoes in bottom of large pasta bowl.  Add pesto and balsamic and mix thoroughly.  Drain pasta and add to pasta bowl.  Mix and serve with Italian bread.  I like to roll several basil leaves and thinly slice them into slivers and sprinkle them on top.

I served this warm, just the heat from the pasta, but leftovers would have been equally good cold, if there had been any.

Fellow lovers of this salad might notice the absence of the fresh mozzarella, but I haven't found a suitable vegan  substitute for it, and honestly no one noticed.
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I've seen Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) in a lot of recipes, but I've been a little scarred of the stuff.  In it's dry form, straight out of the bulk food bin, it looks a lot like Grape Nuts.  However on a recent trip to the Health Food Store I decided to face my fears and grab some.

I quickly found myself needing a taco fix.  Perfect way to test the TVP.  Making it is easy enough.  I measured 1 cup of TVP into a mixing bowl and poured 1 cup of very hot water into it, stirred it, and covered it for 5 min.  After that I just used it as I would ground beef.

I sauteed some red onion, garlic and jalapeno in a little canola oil over medium heat.  Then, added the TVP and sauteed for a few minutes until onions were soft.  I added some homemade fresh salsa, Mrs Dash Fiesta Lime, taco sauce, garlic powder, cumin and salt to taste.  I was out of taco seasoning.  I then added about 1/2 cup of water, reduced the heat to low and let simmer for about 5 min.  This stuff tastes awesome.  Like taco meat without the grease.  So good.

I can't wait to try it in other things...sloppy joe's first.
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OK, some days are longer than others and today was exceptionally long.  I'm feeling a little better since I just self-medicated with some yummy coconut/almond milk homemade ice cream with chocolate sauce.  I definitely feel my mood improving.

I need more friends with teens.  Or am I simply not meant to understand?

Also, this picture of Marshmallow on Vegansaurus  could make anyone smile.
Though not pretty, this lentil soup was so good Callie and I ate it for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner until it was gone.  Amazing.  Now I want some more.

Classic Boca burger, vegan potato salad and tortilla chips.  Yummy!  We also enjoy the Morning Star burgers.  
I made this homemade granola several times ( I think I will again in the morning).  It is wonderful, especially with ice cold almond milk.  
Veggie pizza made on my pizza stone in my grill.  So delicious.
My first attempt at falafel.  A new family favorite!
This vegan Caesar was truly awe-inspiring.  The cookbook:  Clean Food.
Simple, comforting soup.  
Tempeh taco filling.  This was way better than anticipated.  So good and super fast to make.
Asparagus and Mushroom risotto with sauteed greens. I felt like I was eating out somewhere fancy.
Not quite tuna sandwiches.  Very nice in the summer.
Cheesecake, vegan cheesecake.  I cheated and used a prepared graham crust.  It was wonderful.  We ate it topped with cherries.
Burrito night! I made green chili sauce from scratch.  
Cinnamon Mochi.  This stuff is supper addictive!

Well, that's what we've been eating.  There was more, but it was consumed too quickly to get its picture taken.  Like Roasted red pepper and portabella paninis, Grilled "chicken and gnocci, homemade vegan sausages, baked beans and ice cream sandwiches...
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Wow, it seems when life gets interesting and busy, there is simply no time to write in a blog!

A lot has happened since my last post.  As a family we have finally made the plunge and are vegan, save the occasionally egg from our own well loved nuggets.  And even that may be changing soon.

Homeschool is out for summer, so theoretically I have more free time.

I have resumed knitting, thanks to a good friend who wanted to learn.  I'm about half way through a beautiful ruched scarf, but am disappointed in the quality of yarn.  I grabbed a cheap skein to use as instruction.  Oops.  Now I want to make the same pattern with new yarn.  There is a lady on etsy that makes yarn using bamboo and I'm thinking of ordering some soon.

My garden is dying.  Something is getting in and digging and eating with abandon.  We are down to the last 2 plants and nothing we do seems to stop it.  I wake up every morning to see more of my lovely plants destroyed. Devastating.

My camera is broke.  It was an accident, Brent is forgiven, but it will be awhile before pictures are on here again.

JT was gone two weeks in Albuquerque for work, yet I rarely slept alone.  My kids are sweet, what they don't realize is occasionally Mom likes to sleep in the center of the bed.

Callie spent a few days in Santa Fe for to see an Opera.  She had a great time.

Brent and I spent a wonderful day alone in Downtown El Paso checking out museums and art galleries.

There's more, but I think that's enough.

Oh, there's been laundry, lots of it.
I've been meaning to get out and take pictures of our flowering cacti.  I finally did it, almost too late!

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Not a weird combination if you think craft.  We are making table top potpourri holders for our Mom's Day craft in Girl Scouts.  I'll add a picture when I am done.  I did get a look or two today getting the wine glasses with a Girl Scout check.   What is weird is that Callie won't be coming.
Yesterday, I enjoyed a peaceful morning outside with the kids and the nuggets.  It is finally warming up, but there is still chill in the air.  I love seeing the signs of spring.  The purple blossoms were quite beautiful.  The tree is in the Nugget area and should provide lots of shade this summer.  
The tree next to it was budding.  JT had wanted to pull these out; I'm so happy he didn't.  The buds the Nuggets can reach have been eaten.  

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This morning I made three small loaves of Peasant Bread.  One I added Kalamata Olives to.  They will go perfect with the Lasagna and Tuscan soup we are having today for lunch.  Chrissy and her kids will be here, I'm excited to see her, it has been awhile.
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Today Lori and I are meeting at the hut to finish trimming out our room at the GS Hut.  The girls picked a bright, cheerful shade of green.  Lori and Maria, my co-leader, chose fun curtains a few weeks back.  We are also going to prime the cabinets today so they can be painted later.  The girls want to put their hand prints on them.  I think it will look so nice when it is done.  The building has a cold, industrial feel and the perk up is needed.
Yesterday I cancelled our account at  I was originally a Paperspine customer, for about two years.  After they decided to stop the service, I switched to Booksfree.  I miss Paperspine.  We were 12 at a time customers.  Booksfree took forever, up to 3 weeks to get books to us and the same time to receive them.  We just weren't able to justify the cost of the service with such a long travel time.  Paperspine was never more than a week, usually 4 days.  I'm sad to lose this resource, since books are so limited here.  I guess we can invest the money we were spending at the Coas used book store in Cruces.
I have new babies in the house.  Not people babies, but seed babies.  The first picture was taken last week.  They are growing so fast.  My cats love them too!  They love them a little too much.  I'm finding victims regularly.  I can't keep the cats away. I should transplant them outdoors for their own safety!
The sad little headless stem. 
Here is another one.
This is one of the pumpkin seedlings with it's first true leaves.
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I have been eating veggie enchiladas for the last 3 days and needed a change.  So yesterday I made a lasagna with fresh noodles.   It turned out wonderful.  I was a little nervous about the noodles, since I do not have a pasta maker, but they turned out fine.  My main concern was that they would be too thick.  We are still without meat, so it was vegetarian.  The meat wasn't missed.
First I made the pasta.  It has been ages since I have made any noodles, and this is my first time for lasagna noodles.  The dough came together easily, I did have to add a little water to get it pliable.  
I allowed the pasta dough to rest about an hour before I rolled it.  It was so yellow due to the bright yolks of our chickens eggs.  
It was easy to roll when I first cut it in to small rectangles that would eventually be a single noodle, rather that rolling the whole thing first and then cutting it.  I got 8 sheets from the recipe.  My pasta sheets weren't pretty, the second batch did look a little better than these.  Two sheets made a single layer of pasta in the lasagna. Don't stack, they stick together.  I boiled water with a little salt and added two sheets at a time.  They cooked quickly, I rolled the next two and the ones in the pot were done.  I layered then on a large cutting board with a small drizzle of olive oil between each one to prevent them from sticking.  JT came in during this process and informed me that it was probably not how the Italians do it.  Oh well.
Here is one completed lasagna.  I made two and froze one.  I have a friend coming over Thursday to enjoy the second one.  I also made a Tuscan veggie and bean soup and some fresh bread.  The soup was good, but just can't compete with the lasagna.
It was fun to make, but time-consuming.  It helps knowing there is one waiting in the freezer.   This would be no harder to make 4 and have more in the freezer.  Next time.  

Here is the Recipe:

Fresh pasta ( mine was 2 cups flour, 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks), rolled into rectangles and cooked in salted water
Bechamel Sauce (about 2 cups)
Tomato sauce ( added about 1 tsp Italian seasoning to this) (about two cups)
8oz of spinach, chopped; lightly sauteed 
8 oz ricotta
1 roasted red bell pepper, diced
4 oz crimini mushrooms sliced and sauteed in small amount of olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

First, make all the different components:  tomato sauce, bechamel, pasta sheets and ricotta mixture.  To make the ricotta mixture, combine spinach, ricotta, bell peppers, mushrooms, garlic and salt to taste.  Do taste it to make sure it isn't bland.  

I had enough pasta for 4 pasta layers.  First I put down half the bechemel sauce, add pasta layer, sprinkle half the mozzarella and top with all the ricotta mixture, add a pasta layer then all the tomato sauce, add another pasta layer and the remaining bechamel, add a final pasta layer and the remaining mozzarella cheese.

This recipe is an adaptation of a fresh lasagna recipe found in The Simple Art of Cooking.  A truly wonderful book.

I'm adding the full recipe to Nibbledish.
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Our freezer was unplugged last weekend.  We lost everything.  It wasn't full, but the loss was still significant.  I had traded some flour for a chicken and had put the chicken in our regular freezer.  Suddenly it was the only meat in the house.  I roasted it using the method Alice Waters has in her book "The Art of Simple Food".  It was amazing.  I put lots of Herbs de Provence under the skin.  After that, I made a soup and the meat was gone.

I am a huge fan of Michael Pollan.  I have to say his writing has had a great impact on my daily life.  I read the Young Readers version to my kids and am now facing my own Omnivore's Dilemma.  Callie is now very involved in the foods coming into the house.  As far as she is concerned, there is no good meat in town.  I agree with her, but I just wasn't prepared.  So we are suddenly vegetarian, at least until we can find a nice piece of humanly raised, pastured meat.  Dairy is an issue as well.  Luckily we have our own eggs.

We have been vegan before, a whole year, so it's not like we don't know what to make.  We are now buying Silk for our coffee, Horizon is the only organic milk in town and it is too much like a regular factory farm for it to be an alternative.  I am making a Chile Rellenos casserole today, yum.  I already had some organic, pastured, raw cheese in the fridge; doesn't everybody?   I've located a ham for Easter, so no worries there.  My husband is fine with the lack of meat, but draws the line at his Easter ham.
I miss St Lukes.  It seems nothing is easy and when you think you have found something that works there is a bump in the road.  I don't like to talk much about religion.  People have such strong and varied beliefs.  As I try and educate my children I have found the choice of church a truly important one.  Things my husband and I could overlook seem to mean more when they are being taught to your children.
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I guess that shows how busy and out of it I have been for the last month and a half.  I feel like the last several weeks have gone by in a blur.  Hopefully, this isn't how the rest of the year is going to be.  Bitty is trying to hide too.

My sister's birthday was on Saturday.  She's thirty now.  Almost all my siblings are in there thirty's now.  Jimmy is still in his twenty's, but it still seems weird.

Homeschool has completely taken over my life.  I should get a full time job so I can take a break.  I only wish I was kidding.

There isn't much going on outside of that.  I have put off finishing knitting my blanket, maybe this week.  I am reading Wicked.  It is pretty good.  We no longer have Paperspine, since they went out of business, and are getting our books from Booksfree.  I have never been sadder to see a company close than this one; not even my own.  I much prefered Paperspine, but oh well.