Thursday, July 24, 2014

100 Food Vegan Challenge


My friend Teresa (click here for her blog) is a vegan, but she mentioned that her family was doing a non-vegan hundred food challenge and she was participating when possible. I looked at the list and saw things like alligator and eel and thought that I should probably come up with a vegan food challenge.

We vegans are known for being creative in the kitchen and I think it is easy for us to forget that fact. So, here is my list. I have included both ingredients and dishes so do what you will with that information.

How many have you tried? Please leave a comment for things that I should add to the list for people interested in trying new things.

100. Kale

99. Tempeh

98. Swiss Chard

97. Vegan pot pie

96. Vegan Cheese

95.Heirloom tomatoes

94. Homemade cashew cheese

93. Chapati

92. Quinoa

91. Saffron

90. Amaranth

89. Tofurkey

88. Vegan lasagna

87. Vegan egg-less salad sandwich

86. Cauliflower steaks

85. Vegan caramel

84. Parsnips

83. Vegan sushi

82. Ras el hanout

81. Roasted beets

80. Hummus

79. Vegan Bacon

78.  Vegan "Eggs" Benedict

77. Edamame

76. Vegan wine

75. Field roast

74. Chia Seed

73. Sprouts

72. Salted soybeans

71. Kambocha

70. Dolmades

69. Kasha

68. Polenta

67. Stuffed cabbage

66. Vegan dulche de leche

65. Tahini

64. Vegan Pizza

63. Miso

62.  Freekeh

61. Egg replacer (in a baked good)

60. Vegan chili dogs

59. Vegan Beer

58. Vegan enchiladas

57. Vegan pancakes

56. Pearled Barley

55. Eggplant

54. Veggie Burgers

53. Pepitas

52. Vegan bread

51. Flaxseed

50. Vegan cupcakes

49. Vegan mayo

48. Portobello burgers

47. Jicama

46. Goji berries

45. Almond Milk

44. Vegan yogurt

43. Vegan sour cream

42. Vegan Pad Thai

41. Puff pastry

40. Rice Milk

39. Vegan curry

38. Oyster mushrooms

37. Harissa

36. Farro

35. Coconut Milk

34. Turmeric

33.Nutritional yeast

32. Vegan jerky

31. Lentils

30. Vegan meatloaf

29. Wheat berries

28. Vegan crepes


26. Agave

25. Pure Maple Syrup

24. Vegan mac and cheese

23. Kimchi

22. Chutney

21. Seitan

20. Couscous

19. Scrambled tofu

18. Vegan chocolate chip cookies

17. Coconut bacon

16. Vegan cake

15. Hemp seed

14. Vegan donuts

13. Vegan frittata

12. Soy milk

11. Vegan chocolate

10. Hemp milk

9. Vegan canapes

8. Vegan chili

7. Vegan latkes

6. Vegan quiche

5. Vegan ice cream

4. Vegan cream cheese

3. Vegan hot chocolate

2. Homemade vegetable broth

1. Tofu

Now, please add to the list in the comments!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

About Loss and Lucy

A little over a year ago we said goodbye to our beloved cat Mia (read here) and it hurt deeply, if you are an animal lover you certainly understand. While we were very sad, there was one of us who was hurting more, our other cat Ophelia. She went through a mourning period that lasted months, she would mournfully meow in the way that she always did when she was looking for Mia, the two were exceptionally close.  She became withdrawn and isolated herself. Once Ophelia seemed to settle into the fact that Mia was no longer with us she settled into a deep and lasting depression. She does very little and shows very little interest in most everything.

Eric and I have been trouble-shooting for ages trying to get Ophelia back in action. Yes, she is an older cat, but she is in excellent health so there is no reason for her general malaise...beyond depression. We took her to the vet and he ruled out possible health concerns that could be at the root of her behavior shift. We have tried to keep her more engaged and we have tried new ways of stimulating her, but nothing has really worked. We were pretty sure we were not going to get another cat as there is obviously no replacing a relationship like those two had with each other.

Then, we stumbled upon a few articles that made us think that perhaps a second cat might actually help her. First, let me start by saying that I do not recommend this as a move for every person with a depressed cat, some cats prefer a more solitary style---but not Ophelia. She is not a loner, which made her mood all the more heart wrenching for us. So we decided to take a leap of faith and after some discussion we decided to get another cat.

We were looking for a kitten. Generally we don't adopt kittens or puppies as those tend to find homes more easily than older cats, but as we are already dealing with an older cat our research led us to believe a younger cat would be more easily accepted by Ophelia. We found her at the Humane Society a tiny kitten-- part Siamese (familiar, but not too much like Mia) with startling blue eyes. She was sweet and playful without being intense about it, she wasn't terrified by the girls which was a plus. So we went for it and brought her home yesterday afternoon.




Meet Lucy Scratch-N-Sniff Sparkles Wimmer, mostly just Lucy.

We are going slowly, the cats have only met while Lucy is in a very large dog kennel, otherwise she is free roaming in the guest room while she learns about her litter box (perfect so far) and gets used to the sounds and smells of our loud and busy house. The initial meeting between cats went well, Lucy was totally calm and Ophelia was nervous, but interested---more interested than she has been in anything for over a year. We want them to get used to the smell of another cat. We want their introductions to be peaceful. Cats don't bond in minutes the way dogs sometimes seem to, they take their time and we want to foster a relationship between these two girls and let them become friendly, if not friends. Hopefully Ophelia will remember that she isn't alone and some young blood will help her to feel more like herself. That last sentence made it sound like Ophelia is a cat vampire, she's not.

Ophelia meets Lucy

No matter what we have given another living creature a home in which she will be cared for until the end of her life. Welcome to the family Lucy.

Oh and if you are wondering, Cordelia and Elise are sooooo far beyond excited that I am pretty sure their brains melted a little bit. They are kind and gentle and Lucy is already crazy about them!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


My baby brother Sam is 21 today. I have been laying off the mention of family birthdays lately as I have a huge family and extended family, but twenty-one is a noteworthy birthday. I am so lucky to have two great brothers whom I completely adore. For many years it was just my brother Ben and I, then Sam came along when I was 12. I cannot even believe that it has been twenty-one years since that day. Sam I love you. Happy birthday.

Uncle Sam

Monday, July 21, 2014

Project: Art with Kids

My husband and I are both artists so it is no surprise that our kids seem to share our affinity for the arts. For goodness sake the girls are more comfortable in art museums than most adults we know. With that said, I think that anyone and everyone can and should benefit from the arts. I am not suggesting that you set your kid on a career path, just trying to raise well-rounded kids is the goal.  Eric and I have been making art with our kids since they had the ability to grasp a crayon and we have a few tried and true techniques that might be helpful to you if you want to introduce your kids to the arts.


The most simple way to begin, of course, is to sketch. Cordelia (age 4, almost 5) likes to bring along a sketchbook when Eric and I take long walks. Sometimes instead of walking she will still hitch a ride on the double stroller and sketch everything that she sees or dreams of along the way. She loves to show us her work. Elise (age 2) is happy to scribble and adorably holds up each scribble and declares, "I made a tornado!"

When Eric and I are at the art supply store we will often let the girls grab small canvases which are in the $2-$5 range. Then when the time is right we break it out and let them create. Sometimes they want guidance and other times they just want to do their own thing. If you want to give this a go there are a few things you will need:

pencil (or crayon or whatever)
canvas or watercolor paper
acrylic or watercolors
palette or a paper plate or really anything that can hold paint without leaking
Drop cloths if you are indoors, hose if outdoors

How to get started
1. If this is your first try just give your kid a paper and a pencil and let them have at it, just create without any end goal beyond the act of creation.

2. Depending on your child's interest/age/ability you can start with a simple sketch of something that she/he plans to paint. We learned that if you give a kid paints and a paintbrush before they know what they want to paint you will end up with a brown sludgy mess; totally fine for the little kids, but slightly older kids are more proud of an actual image. Although even Elise is able to do more than you might expect. She, before age 2, was able to make a mark with green paint for a stem and a colorful blob on top makes a flower. I suggest that you ask your kid what they want to paint and think of the most simplified way to achieve that goal. Much as we begin drawing people as stick figures trees can be brown with green on top, grass is is just a green smear, rivers a line of blue, simple stuff. Once your kid shows that they are ready for more you can up the ante a bit and you definitely don't need to be an artist to teach your child the basics, just think simple.

3. When you are done with the sketch, it may take 30 seconds or 2 days, depends on your kid. You can break out the paint and canvas. Sometimes I let them go crazy on a piece of paper first, just to get the wild thrill of painting out of their system before they are ready to focus on a project. I lay out the paints on a palette or whatever I happen to be using. I get a small amount of water for washing brushes (you can skip the water part for little kids). I make sure the area is secure, either there is some sort of ground-covering or we are outside with a hose at the ready. I usually strip the kids down, they enjoy it and it really helps with clean-up. In the summer I will use a water soluble, washable, paint and they inevitably paint on themselves before running through the sprinkler at the end of the painting session.


4. Guide your child a bit, this isn't a time to sit back and check Facebook. Give your kid tips. Teach them about mixing colors:
red+ yellow= orange
blue + red = purple
yellow +blue = green

You've now covered primary (red, yellow, blue) and secondary colors (orange, purple, green). You can experiment with the color wheel even more if you like! Rainbows are great ways to use these colors too.

5. Encourage your child to step away too, to let paint dry, to come back and see what she/he might want to add. You can talk about the shapes that make up our world (sun is round, mountains can be triangles, houses can be squares and triangles). Encourage your child to look at the elements that comprise the big picture and then let them go. Yeah, sometimes you have to bite your tongue as they do something weird that might "mess up" a perfectly good picture, but the end result isn't really a painting is it?

6. Finally, give that kid praise---for their painting, patience, creativity, whatever and display their work proudly!

Sunset by Cordelia

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday Quote: A Girl Should Be


“A girl should be two things: who and what she wants.”
~Coco Chanel

Saturday, July 19, 2014



We have had a few evening storms this week. I love this time of year when hot days are wiped away with a fast and wild downpour. We live in a hilly area, so the roads become rivers rushing downward. The normally loud birds become silent. The thunder rumbles through and the rain falls down over everything. Summers in Wyoming are so lovely.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Week in Phone Photos

Well I don't know about you, but we have had a great week here. Both Eric and I have been super busy with art deadlines, but we have managed to also have a great week. 

Cordelia dressed Eric up as a prince (top hat and bow tie) and told me that I got to be her maid...

My mother returned from a trip to help a family member recovering from surgery. The girls were all over her!

Elise started potty training and is totally killing it! I want to say she is pretty much potty trained at this point, just have a little refining to do.

Eric had an interview published in Western Art Magazine!

Warm weather means outside art for the girls. This means no clothes and inevitably they paint all over themselves before I hose them down. It is great fun.

This little rocker.

How has your week been?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Vegan Recipe: Vegan Black Bean Pie

Moving over another recipe from Rooted Vegan. I did not realize how many I have over there!

black bean pie with follow your heart shreds by
1 package of Follow Your Heart Fiesta Shreds
3 Large tortillas
1 can black beans, drained
1 T olive oil
1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
1 small yellow squash, chopped
1/3 c roasted red pepper, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tomato, chopped
1 c lettuce chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350F. On a lightly oiled pizza plate lay out one tortilla and spread 1/2 of the beans on top. Cover with a layer of Follow Your Heart Fiesta Shreds.
2. Meanwhile: In a medium skillet heat olive oil. Add the onion and cook until transluscent. Add the squash and red pepper. Cook until the squash is soft. Add cumin and garlic powder. Stir until evenly coated.
2. Back to the pizza pan. Lay a second tortilla on top of the bean and Fiesta Shreds. Evenly spread the squash mixture on top of second tortilla. Cover with more Fiesta Shreds.
4. For the final layer add the third tortilla, 1/2 can of black beans and the rest of your Fiesta Shreds.
5. Place into the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Garnish with tomato and lettuce. I also added a dollop of my favorite vegan sour cream.
black bean pie with follow your heart shreds by 


Wednesday, July 16, 2014


I am off in a rush of appointments this morning. How are you today? 

Fun fact: Elise started potty training on Monday and I would say she is at about a 65-70% success rate!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sugar Skulls

A few years ago Eric and I started slowly collecting sugar skulls. I think mostly it was a way to stay connected to New Mexico, where Eric grew up, while still maintaining ultimate cool status that we require. No really, there was just something about them that has always appealed to us. Perhaps it is the simple juxtaposition of beauty and death. We both really love the tradition of Dia de los Muertos and the beautiful artwork that accompanies it.

Anyway, the sugar skull has become emblematic of New Mexico for us in recent years. We often look for the sugar skulls and find new ways to incorporate them into our lives. Naturally we are most interested in artwork and one-of-a-kind or traditional pieces, but sometimes I am more than tempted by the patterns and designs I see coming from major companies. Here are a few of my recent finds in the sugar skull department, none of which are sponsored.


1. I found Doll City Rocker this sweet little Etsy shop that sells tons of charming Sugar Skull jewelry. I love to add tiny adorable touches to my outfits that make a statement, but don't overwhelm.

2. XOXO Design makes this gorgeous gold foil sugar skull. Eric and I would happily display this in our house. I am thinking it would look lovely at the end of the hall or in our kitchen.

3. I love a good tote, something with a cool design is way better than a boring standard tote. The site  makes a sassy little bag.

4. I am not much of a coffee drinker, but Eric certainly is and sugar skull cups are totally a thing! Check out this set of four mugs!

5. I love that this duvet cover has a feminine mix of pink with the skull, pretty isn't it?

6. Dwell no longer carries this pillow, but I am on the hunt to find it elsewhere! Let me know if you spot it somewhere.

7. A gorgeous scarf from Nordstrom. I like that the design is sophisticated and not cutesy.

Do you have any imagery that you are repeatedly drawn to?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Week in Phone Photos

I forgot to clear out phone photos on Friday. So today is the day!

Stuffing their faces with vegan cupcakes!

Cordelia and her bestie

Hello handsome!

Thanks for colored bubbles grandma and grandpa.

Backyard coloring

Jake with the girls at the museum


Charlotte with Cordelia

Sisters in the museum

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday Quote: Sweetest Days

natural bridge visit 2014

 "I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”
~ L.M. Montgomery

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Vegan Recipe: Butternut Squash Coconut Soup

Here is another recipe that I am moving over from Rooted Vegan.

2 T olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 quart vegetable broth
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cubed
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 apples, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
1 can coconut milk
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tsp curry powder

1. In a large soup pot over medium heat add the olive oil and sweat the onions and garlic until just beginning to become translucent.
2. Add the vegetable broth, butternut squash, carrots and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Add the apples, coconut milk, salt and pepper, curry powder. Stir and simmer for 5-10 minutes
3. Using a food processor, immersion blender, regular blender blend until smooth and creamy. Serve hot with some crusty bread and a salad!
~Maria Rose

Friday, July 11, 2014

Elise's Second Birthday


Yesterday was Elise's second birthday. The day started off a bit tense as we were awaiting results of a somewhat complicated surgery for a family member. My mother was gone to help with post-surgical recovery. Happily all went smoothly and we were able to breathe a sigh of relief and focus in on Elise's big day!

Elise was, of course, oblivious to the situation and only aware that she was having a lovely day. We started out the morning with family presents and snuggle time. We played and later went and bought popsicles and ate them in the park.

We ate our meals outside as that is a treat for all of us. There were some decorations and the highly anticipated  and requested PINK cupcakes. How many times will I make pink cupcakes for these girls I wonder? I love it!

After Elise's nap Eric returned from work, my father and brother, and the besties came over for some cupcakes and play time. I relished this birthday as I know that starting next year the expectations rise a bit. We are never huge birthday party people, but the bar is definitely raised when kids start going to preschool parties and such. So, we soaked in a quiet friend and family day which was just the right pace for this sweet little two year old.

Elise and Dad


Dad and the girls

pink cupcakes

Elise blowing out candles

Cordelia and Sadie

Uncle Sam


trashed bedroom
The bedroom was trashed. These kids know how to party!

Elise 2nd birthday

Elise and cupcake

Eric and cupcake

Ari, Elise, dad


When the party goers dispersed I made vegan pigs in a blanket at the birthday girl's request and then it was off to bed. She is two now!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

730 Days: Elise is TWO!!!

Life is moving along way too quickly. Today marks two years since Elise entered this world and completed our family. Over the past year we have watched this girl blossom. Her vibrant personality has really come into focus. Elise is intelligent, hilarious, and cool. She seems to be a bit of an introvert, but once you crack this girl open you will be blessed with humor and affection. She has such a fun loving spirit, brave and willing to give most things a try. She is independent and strong willed, traits that will serve her well throughout her life.

This girl is a mix of brave, she'll always jump off of whatever, and fearful, bugs and shadows! She has the most expressive face on the planet, I am sure. She loves rainbows and pink and her big sister (parroting most everything that Cordelia does). She is creative and driven, this sweet daughter of ours. She adores her grandparents, uncles, aunts, parents, animals, friends---this girl has a big heart!

I cannot believe that it has been two years (almost to the minute as I am typing) that we met her for the first time. I will never forget meeting my baby girl, furious with the indignity of birth. What a day that was, full of love. Read about her birthfirst year and birthday, etc. by clicking the links.

Join me as I look back over this past year with our spirited little lady.

Elise July 2013
July 2013

Elise August 2013
August 2013

Elise September 2013
September 2013

Elise October 2013
October 2013

Elise November 2013
November 2013

Elise december 2103
December 2013

Elise January 2014
January 2014

Elise February 2014
February 2014

Elise March 2014
March 2014

Elise April 2014
April 2014

Elise May 2014
May 2014

Elise June 2014
June 2014

Elise 2nd birthday

Elise 2nd birthday

Elise 2nd birthday

July 2014, today

Happy birthday Elise! You are so very loved.
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