Monday, December 29, 2008

Ho Ho Ho

Merry belated Christmas to all of my Christian readers out there (and those who aren't Christian, but celebrate Christmas anyway (like me)).

And a Happy New Year, too.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

First Snowperson of the Year

Anna and I made our first snowperson of the winter yesterday. It was nice and warm out and our snow was perfect for it.

She was all about it, of course. She helped me roll the balls and pat down the snow. I set her up with tasks. Once the base was done I had her add snow to it and try to make it more round while I went and rolled the second ball.

"Daddy? What's this?" she asked and started carefully walking toward me with an upturned hand.

"That's rabbit poop, Anna. Just throw that over by the trees."

She knew it was rabbit poop. We followed some rabbit tracks only 15 minutes earlier and there was a trail of yellow holes in the snow with a little rabbit poop at the bottom of each one. She was fascinated.

"Birdies eat the poop Daddy?"

"No Anna, birds don't eat the poop. Birds eat seeds."

I think she was confused because we saw a big hole in the snow and ground earlier where a squirrel had dug up a nut. I explained why the hole was there and we followed the squirrel tracks over to a tree.

Poop in the snow -> nut in the ground -> squirrel eating -> tree -> bird eating -> birds eat poop.

I love thinking in two year old logic.

And yes, there is rabbit poop all over our back yard. Last spring I knew exactly where the snowman used to be because of the huge pile of rabbit poop left over. It's harmless I suppose, and well worth seeing those little buggers hopping around out there.

She's hugging the snowman in that one up there.

"Anna likes the snow," she says. On days like yesterday, I do too.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Trees and Lights

Anna drew this picture of trees and lights. She loves all the holiday lights that people have up on their houses. For the first time since owning a house, I actually want to hang lights outside. Just for the five seconds of her face lighting up when she sees them hanging on her very own house.

But I think I'll resist the urge. Maybe next year...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Video, Random Stuff, and the Birth of Sunday Night Night at the Piggy Household

Some more video of Anna. It's cute. You should totally watch it.

Yes, I taught her about toe jam.

You sort of hear it in this video, but it doesn't do it justice - the house shakes when she jumps to that turtle song and you can hear the whole place vibrate. It's nuts. I'm so glad we don't live in an apartment.

The baby in mommy's tummy is named Liam. It's odd to us that Anna said this directly into the little web-cam thing on our Mac. Who was she talking to? Herself, I guess.

There's no way she knows that all of you can see her. But she'll get it soon enough. People have told her that they saw her singing on the computer. It won't be long now before she puts two and two together, realizes I'm broadcasting her to the world and demand that I halt immediately.

Luckily, by then I'll have Liam to exploit for my own blogular gain.

Yes blogular. I'm getting on the "making up words whenever I damn well feel like it" bandwagon. Or blogwagon.

See? I just did it again. Oh, the words you can attach blog to to make new words.

Sorry, I'm in a rambling mood tonight. Just made some squash tomato coconut curry bisque tonight and it rocked. It's the second time I've made it and I'm two for two. So, I'll probably post the recipe soon.

After a nice meal and night with my brother, Mrs. Piggy's cousin and another good friend, we've decided that Sunday night will be Sunday Night night at the Piggy household. Sunday Night night will consist of food (cooked by me, for the most part) and games (video and otherwise).

I like the idea of a game night. And I like cooking for people. So it's a win/win.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

H, I, J, K, emelado, P

It's been a while since I've given an Anna update. She's great, just so you know. Healthy as a horse (assuming that horse barely ever gets sick and has the boundless energy of a 2 year old human and eats like ... a horse).

Here's a video of her singing up a storm. She's been singing a lot for a couple months now, but every time I tried to tape it she'd get camera shy. You can tell she's shy here for the first ten seconds or so, but she gets over it and quickly falls in love with the sight of herself singing.

She's one more step toward being potty trained; no diapers except for during nap and night time. We made up the pee pee and poopy dance she does in the video to reinforce the fact that we're thrilled every time she goes in the potty or toilet (and if she goes in the toilet and you sing "pee pee in the potty" she will correct you. "Toilet actually," she'll say.) We also put stickers on a calendar for every time she goes number one or two in the toilet or potty.

The above video is part one of two. Two will come in the next day or so. Maybe Monday.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Oil Painting - Part 1

Anna painted with oil for the first time last Monday. Yeah, I know, she's too young to work with oil paint. But she's a mature 2 1/3 year old. I thought she could handle it. And it's a gift we're giving her little brother once he's born. It will hang in his room. So ... that's a good excuse.

She did great for a long time until she got some on her clothes and my clothes and then we had to stop the madness. She had a ton of fun. I let her pick out the colors and basically do what she wanted to do. I suggested she fill in blank spots (teaching her early about composition and balance). She made some nice long strokes and chose a nice variety of colors.

Here are some photos.

I did the blue area to demonstrate one way to use the big brush and paint a lot at once.

After she went to bed, I continued to paint and make it into something more.

So now it's drying and once it's dry enough we're going to try again. And Mrs. Piggy will get in on it too. It's a family effort.

I'm thinking we'll let Anna paint some nice bright colors over all this with a couple different small brushes and then we'll take if from there. I'll post more photos once we paint more.

What do you think? Is there a color (or colors) you think would look good over this mess?

Friday, November 21, 2008

7 Things You Probably Didn't Want To Know

Things have been busy here and dammit if I just forget to blog for weeks at a time. Luckily, Liz at Food Snobbery Is My Hobbery has tagged me yet again. Thanks Liz!

Link the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself.
Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links.
Let each person know that they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. Ever since I was in high school I started thinking that I would die in a car crash before I was 30. This was probably because I didn't feel comfortable driving in any town that had a stop light. Since then, I've become a pretty good driver. At any rate, the odds of this actually happening are, of course, decreasing with every passing day. And this January the odds will drop all the way down to zero. That's right. I'm turning 30 in January. I suppose that could have been a point in itself, but the car crash thing was more interesting.

2. I cannot go to sleep in an unmade bed. Ask my wife. She used to laugh at me when I'd make the bed right before we got in it. That laughter eventually turned into a groan and now it's more of a silent spite. Especially when she goes to bed first and is asleep or nearly asleep when I come to bed. Yeah ... I'm sort of an ass. I've also slept in the same pair of shorts for about three years now and refuse to wear anything more, no matter how cold it gets. Before my current pair of pajama shorts, I had worn a previous pair for roughly 7 years before the elastic essentially disintegrated.

Am I actually admitting to these things?

3. I bite my fingernails. I have ever since this one day at a football game. I think I was in sixth grade and this kid and his brother (one and two years younger than me) asked me if I bit my fingernails. I said no. They said it was fun to do and then showed me how to do it. So I started doing it. And here I sit, eighteen years later, biding my time for just the right moment to exact my revenge on them.

4. I've never lived in an apartment. I moved from home to a dorm to the main level of a house that I rented with friends during the post-dorm college years, then to a basement in Saint Paul and then we moved into our house. I wonder sometimes what it's like to live in an apartment. I sometimes wish I had that experience under my belt. But for the most part I'm thankful for the way things turned out.

5. I drank a lot of Mountain Dew in high school and college. On average, probably two or three 20 oz. bottles a day. I was addicted. Then one day, after my wife and I had dated for a few months, she was talking about preparing for her friend's wedding. She was a bridesmaid. She said she might go tanning just a little bit so she wasn't so pasty. I said that that shit gives you cancer and no amount of it is healthy. She said, "Well neither is drinking Mountain Dew." I agreed and proposed a deal, she'll never tan if I give up Mountain Dew. She agreed. She later felt bad for me and told me I could have one now and then. But still, I've only had two bottles since then. That was over 6 years ago.

6. I'm enjoying writing this, but I also can't wait until I'm done so I can turn on the Wii and play Super Mario Bros. 3 which we just downloaded last week. I have never played a Mario game that I didn't instantly adore. And I'll kick your ass in Mario Kart 64 if you ever want to play.

7. I shop at 5 different grocery stores because I'm frugal and each place has something that none of the other places has. Target has 2 packs of Silk Soy milk for under $5.25. Cub has the only kind of frozen diced potatoes that I like. Whole Foods has cheap meat and cheese analogs. Mississippi Market Co-Op has great produce, bulk and deli. And Shuang Hur Supermarket has cheap, cheap tofu. Of the four, the only one I actually enjoy going to is Mississippi Market. Well, I like going to Target too, but that has less to do with the food and more to do with the toy aisles ... and the video games. What can I say, I'm a big kid.

I'm tagging:
My good friend Kris at I Believe In Everything.
Bex at How to Feed a Vegan.
Neta at Vegan Fun.
Vegan Noodle at Walking the Vegan Line.
Whichever sister wants to do it over at The Sister's Vegan.
Isil at Veggie Way.
Cristy at In A Garden ... Somewhere.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Size Matters Not

Anna was Yoda again this year for Halloween.

Some photos:

You can't see it, so you'll have to take my word for it, but she's levitating our Subaru in this photo.

Yoda kisses trees, right?

And finally, enjoying her spoils. Anna now knows what candy is. Thank you very much, Halloween.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Vegan MoFo Day 31 - Boo!

It's Halloween! And you know that that means. Just like last year, Anna's once again dining on human flesh.

Last year it was a free range child we kept penned in our back yard.

Little Timothy was fed a natural diet free of growth hormones and antibiotics and was allowed to leave his cage and go outside and play for sometimes up to a few hours per day! And he lived four happy years before he was shipped off to the slaughter house and took a bolt gun to the head...


This year we just bought some human liver at a supermarket. You'd be amazed the crap you can buy in supermarkets.

So here are a few more of Anna feasting.


Here, she's saying, "Oh, I just can't bear to eat any ... aw what the hell, I can always take the belt off. Gimme another piece of the breast meat!

Ahhhhhh, she's going to really hate me for this when she grows up.

And for the record, it's juice from frozen blueberries. These photos were taken before it got really out of hand.

It was a fun VeganMoFo. Now I think I'm going to take a break for at least a few days. Thanks for reading! Have a happy Halloween! And for those of you who live in the United States of America, please, for the love of all that is real and good, vote for Obama!

Vegan MoFo Day 30 ... sort of - Gimme a Break

Oh jeez.

I guess the running theme in these waning days of VeganMoFo is my inability to keep up with VeganMofo.

What can I say? I'm a busy guy.

Tonight I made some banana cream pancakes from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan. They were fantastic as always (though I should give credit where credit is due - my wife usually makes them because I seem to always ruin pancakes ... but for some reason I was successful tonight). We made the Celestial Cream from ED&BV too.

If you've never made this stuff, you really should. It's super easy. One block of silken tofu. One bar of margarine. About a fourth cup or so of real maple syrup (not that corn syrup crap ... I'm talking maple syrup, you know, from a maple tree). Some vanilla (1 or 2 teaspoons ... the more the merrier, I say). And there you go. Cream of the heavens.

I intended to take pictures, but they were scarfed down in just a couple minutes. We were all really hungry.

And I rolled up some GimmeLean sausage and fried it up like little links, because every once in a while I want my fake meat to remind me of something important: That I can eat the same old greasy shit without causing the unnecessary suffering of another sentient being. I feel the need to prove it about ... oh ... three times a week or so.

- - - - -

So, I think the best compliment someone could give me is walking into my house and saying, "It smells like a restaurant in here." I just love that. My sister came over with her son today to hang out and she said that as she walked in. She was smelling the salsa I had just finished making minutes earlier. It was actually sitting right by the front door because I had just finished eating half of it in the span of ten minutes. Yum.

- - - - -

I forgot to say that a couple weeks ago Anna and I were in the grocery store and she pointed something out and I picked it up to look at the ingredients. After a couple seconds I said, "Oh, no. We can't buy that," and put it back on the shelf.

She then said, "No, Anna doesn't drink cow's milk."

I know! I swear I'm not coaching her. I know that I've mentioned it to her in the past, explaining that when we say we're giving her milk it's almond milk or soy milk. That she doesn't drink cow's milk. But honestly, I've probably explained this to her twice at the most. And it was many, many weeks if not months ago.

Anyway, I'm a proud papa in case you can't tell.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Vegan MoFo Day 29 - Because People Like to Say "Salsa"

So I've been making some salsa from all the tomatoes we've gotten from our CSA and my dad.

I found this really easy recipe that is just delicious. I looooooove homemade salsa. It's like a fresh limey tomatoey Mexican morning exploding in my mouth with every bite.

Wait ... does that sound appealing? It's supposed to. At any rate, here's a photo:

Here's the recipe. And because I can't leave a recipe alone, here are my notes on it:

1. Don't worry if you don't have roma tomatoes. "Regular" tomatoes work just fine.

2. You can leave out the jalepeno if you want and it still tastes really good.

3. Do you love garlic? Then you probably want to put some more in there.

4. I'm a huge fan of cilantro, so I put more in than the recipe calls for.

Off you go. Make your salsa. Enjoy. Savor. Think of exploding Mexican mornings with every bite.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Vegan MoFo Day 28 - Little Piggy

Here's Anna's, "oh-no-dad-did-you-remember-to-write-a-veganmofo-post-today?" look:

It's a pretty specific look.

And no. I didn't. Though I wonder if this one counts?

She is wearing a bib in that photo. I guess I could talk about what she's been eating lately. That's about food, right?

Smoothies. Frozen blueberries and frozen peas. Peanut butter sandwiches (today she had one with just a little grape jelly in there). Almond milk. Soy milk. Water. Guacamole.

She loves guac. In fact, she pretends to make guac a lot. She sits at her little table and uses her stacking cups as bowls and then she'll use mini maracas as the spoons and forks and say that she's making guacamole (which she pronounces with near perfection).

I ask her what she's going to put in there and she usually says garlic first. Atta girl.

She always wants to know what's in everything. If there's ever more than two ingredients in something she'll ask, "What's in there daddy?" and then I'll tell her everything that I put in it, including individual spices and the oil that it was cooked in (when the food was cooked in an oil ... which is often in our house). So I'll tell her all the ingredients and she'll be satisfied.

Until a couple minutes later when she'll ask as if for the first time, "What's in there daddy?" I tell her as many times as she asks. But sometimes I single out an ingredient. Like I'll answer just garlic.

And then she asks again and I'll say, juice from a lime. And so on and so forth.

Well there you go. There's a post about food. That wasn't so hard.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Vegan MoFo Day 27 - BBQ Baked Tofu

Barbecue Baked Tofu from Veganomicon.

On behalf of animals everywhere, the duck that sings the Chicken Dance would like to say thank you.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Vegan MoFo Day 24 - My Dad's Gardens

I've mentioned my dad's gardens a few times in the blog. I've referred to them as small fields. So now here's the proof. When we were back in North Dakota this summer (one of the 10 times, I think?) I took some photos of the gardens.

The first one here is right next to my parents' house. It's a big L shaped garden. In it grows asparagus, tomatoes, peas, strawberries, raspberries, green onions, cilantro, carrots, dill, cabbage, cauliflower and a lot of other stuff.

Then you walk across the highway...

... to his second garden, where he grows squash, corn, cantaloupe, cucumbers, pumpkins, more peas and other stuff.

So those are my dad's gardens. The photos were taken in early July, so the gardens aren't nearly as lush as they get later in the year.

We reap the benefits of these gardens every year. I was in ND just a couple weeks ago and I got a whole box of tomatoes, a whole box of apples, a plastic grocery bag full of carrots, two buttercup squash (which I'm eating as I type), some onions, four cantaloupe, some peppers and a huge pumpkin that's all wrinkled. We call it Grandpa Pumpkin at my dad's request.

Anna loves Grandpa's garden and she loves eating things from the garden, especially when she picks them herself (with help from Mommy in the photo below).

Anna and cousin Joe enjoying the fruits of Grandpa's hard labor (literally):

The person who can first identify the Ghostbusters action figure in one of the photos above wins a mystery prize*.

So, it was my dad's birthday a few days ago. Happy birthday Dad!

*Mystery prize not actually a prize. Must be four years of age or younger to win prize. Contest rules available upon request. Self-addressed envelope with postage paid must be sent to the address below in order to receive rules. Ghostbuster action figure is not a character that actually appeared in any of the movies, but I think it was maybe in the cartoon once ... or not. Must be resident of Uzbekistan to win.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Vegan MoFo Day 22 - I Mean It. Seriously. Make It. Now.

Make this NOW.

You can thank me later.

What's up with me, you ask? Well I made some Peanut Butter Chocolate Balls last night for a big school potluck tonight. And today I'm going to make that Polenta And Stuff With Cornbread On Top for the same potluck.

But seriously, make this. Now.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Vegan MoFo Day 21 - Orange Food

This is a carrot from one of my dad's gardens.

And we got a couple sweet potatoes from our CSA. So I diced both up and tossed them in a bunch of cinnamon, chile powder and margarine (after steaming them for a few minutes in the microwave) and put them in the oven in a casserole dish covered with tinfoil for a good hour or so (take them out and stir every 20 minutes). And this is what came out.

The sweet potatoes carmelized a bit, which resulted in little nuggets of heaven in our mouths. The carrots could have been sweeter, but they worked. I've done this before with just sweet potatoes and it tasted even better. Definitely something to make again come Thanksgiving.

Ooh, and last year during Thanksgiving I put a bunch of Sweet & Sara marshmallows on top of a bunch of sweet potatoes with just a little cinnamon sprinkled on them and holy crap was it good.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Vegan MoFo Day 20 - Pumpkin Soy Cream

"I am a soy cream GOD!!!"

These are the words that humbly came out of my mouth Saturday night after I made pumpkin soy cream.

Do you like pumpkin pie? Then you'll want to copulate with this soy cream. I seriously cannot believe how good it is. I don't think I've ever had pumpkin flavored ice cream before - even before I went vegan - so I don't have much to compare it against. But I am a huge fan of pumpkin pie. I could eat a whole pie in a sitting if you let me. I kid you not.

So, like I said, if you like pumpkin pie then you'll want to get down and dirty with this pumpkin soy cream.

1 cup cream of coconut milk (open an undisturbed can of coconut milk and use the cream from the top ... should give you about 1 cup)
2 cups soy milk
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 box of silken tofu
15 oz can of pumpkin pie mix

Blend all ingredients in a blender until it's all one color. Then follow your ice cream maker's instructions.

To paraphrase a favorite campfire song of mine: Oh lord, it's hard to be humble when your pumpkin soy cream is perfect in every way.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Vegan MoFo Day 18 - Special Weekend Edition

So I made some Mac 'n' Trees today:

It wasn't amazing, so I'm not going to post the recipe. Though this one and this one look really good. So ... you should probably make those.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Vegan MoFo Day 17 - Baked Tomatoes Sicilian Style

My wife had book club last night. Her book clubs are usually potlucks as well, so she had to bring some food. I usually make that food, which if fine by me. I like cooking.

But it's really weird to not be able to watch the food I make being eaten. I mean, she'll tell me whether or not the girls liked it, but still ... I want to watch the act of mastication, to analyze the forehead scrunches and body language with each bite (does that sound creepy? ... Yes? ... What's that? ... You never want me to cook for you?).

But I can't be there, so I feel like the band director who can't make it to the big concert. The auto maker who never gets to drive in the car he makes day-in, day-out. The cook slaving away in the kitchen who never emerges to see what the patrons think of his masterpieces.

Was that last one was too literal?

Anyway, I made these Baked Tomatoes Sicilian Style. They were good. I got to eat one before Mrs. Piggy whisked them away.

Note: I doubled the amount of bread crumbs that the linked recipe calls for. I did this for a couple reasons: 1. The amount called for wouldn't have filled up the hollowed out tomatoes, and 2. I refuse to make something without altering the recipe in some form. It's makes me feel in control of my kitchen.