Monthly Archives: January 2012

Weekend Adventures: Birthday Monster Cookies!

I have one nephew and his name is Jake. He is a rad kid- super athletic and handsome- but more importantly, he is a good person. He is fun and friendly and polite. We just love him to pieces, of course!

Jake’s birthday is right after Christmas so everyone in the family is careful to make sure we make a big deal about his special day so that it doesn’t get overshadowed by the holiday. This birthday Jake turned 9, his last single digit bday!

Jake chose to get a video game console instead of having a party with his friends so we had a little family gathering for cake and ice cream (well, actually, per his request, it was an ice cream cake) and opening presents. And he showed all of us old fogies how to play video games!

I’d been carrying around a picture of some super adorable monster cookies for months waiting to make them for Jake’s birthday. I got the idea from this cute blog, which is one of my favorites. Aren’t they great?

I used my standard sugar cookie recipe which I adapted from this one, and had fun decorating with green frosting and candies. My only regret is that the Tic Tacs are nearly identical in color to the frosting. Next time I’ll switch it up a little more. I wanted to surprise Jake with the cookies, but these would be super-duper fun to make with little kids and let them go crazy with the decorations.

this one was my favorite!

  • Sugar Cookies– oven 425 degrees- yields 12 giant cookies

Cream together:
1 cup vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance)
1 cup sugar

Add to that and mix till combined:
the equivalent of 3 eggs made from Ener-G egg replacer (mix according to package directions)
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix together and then add to the sugar mixture:
3 cups flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda

Roll dough on lightly floured surface to about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. I used a wide-mouth mason jar lid as a cookie cutter.

Bake about 7-10 minutes. My oven seems to run hot so 7 minutes is perfect for these for me.

  • Frosting- frosts 12 giant cookies

I really just eye-balled this but I mixed about a 1/2 cup Earth Balance with a cup of powdered sugar and a bit of soymilk. I used a hand-held electric beater and just kept messing with the ratios until it made a thin, smooth spreading consistency. Then I added green food coloring until I got the shade I wanted.

  • A little tube of black frosting for the mouth
  • Various candies for making facial features. I used Jr. Mints, Lemonheads and Tic Tacs, and some nonpareils.
Once the cookies are completely cooled make the frosting and then start frosting and work quickly. Frost one cookie and then decorate it so that the candies will stick to the wet frosting, before moving on to the next cookie.

all the lil monsters!

Do Stuff: Run a 5K!

I want to run here!

My friend Hillary Libby took this pic. She is a great source of inspiration for me as she trail runs and posts fabulous photos like this!

One of my goals for a long time has been to run a 5k race. I’m not a natural runner but I love the idea of running and the freedom that comes with it. When I see people running effortlessly around town I always think it looks so fun.

Last spring I started the Couch 2 5k training outlined on this site and was really enjoying it until I was sidelined by a yoga-induced heal injury. I had to stop all physical activity and undergo physical therapy for a while. I didn’t get back into running after I was given the go ahead to start exercising again. I had kinda moved on to other things, but it was still there in my mind and on my goal lists.

The Couch 2 5k training is a nine week program that gets you from not running (‘couch’ potato) to running a 5k within that timeframe. I know lots of people who have used the program to get started and are now avid and regular runners. I would love to be among that crowd!

Last week (first week of the new year) I started running again. I’m using the Get Running iPhone app. It costs $2.99 and is totally worth it in my opinion. It guides you through each run- three times a week. You can listen to music while using the app and pause the program if needed and it tracks your runs. I really like it and it is keeping me motivated. Each workout is about 30 minutes- five minute warm up- walk/run for the allotted time- and then a five minute cool down.

Currently I’m running three times a week in addition to doing Turbo Fire six days a week. The runs are short enough and not overly intense that they are a nice addition to my cardio and stretching with the Turbo Fire program. It is a time commitment, but something I really enjoy (physically as well as mentally).

I’m planning to run a 5k in March. I may just do one race and scratch it off my ‘bucket list’ or it may become a ‘soulmate’ workout. I’m excited to see what happens!

Here’s the playlist I created for my training. I like to listen on random because this list is random! BUT, all the songs give me tons of energy. :)

Cat Friends! Now Starrrring: Nathan!

I think Nathan looks like a Na'vi from Pandora!

Please meet Nathan! Nathan is our playful, fun-loving baby kitty. We adopted him last February after falling in love with him at an adoption event at a pet supply store. He was under the care of The Cat People which is an amazing local cat rescue/support organization here in Bakersfield. He was about one year old then and had been in foster care since he was a kitten. Even though he is about the cutest, sweetest, friendliest, softest kitty in the world, he was overlooked because he is black and then continued to be overlooked because he was no longer a kitten. Adult black cats are the least ‘adoptable’ cats. For me they are the MOST desired!! It is my mission to help save as many grown up black kitties as I can!

I find Pepper and Nathan hanging out like this all the time!

Nathan adapted to our family quickly and easily. We only kept him separate for about a day. He was friendly to Bas and Pepper even though they weren’t so accepting of him. He wasn’t afraid and just said, “Hey, I’m here now- deal with it!” :) haha.

Nathan very wide eyed on his first day in his new home

On Nathan’s cage card at the adoption event it said, “Loves to be combed.” And boy does he! He is a super loud purr-er and when you comb him his purr-box goes crazy! He will let you comb him for hours if you wanted to!

Nathan loves to ‘stalk’ birds through the window and will crouch down and wiggle his little hind quarters and jump at the window. He also has the sweetest high pitched twilling voice. I can’t get enough of his meows! He can entertain himself playing with his various toys and loves to attack the scratching post. I hear him dragging his toys around the house at night, knocking into walls and generally having a blast!

Nathan's fangs are too big for his mouth! I swear I am not doing anything here other than scratching his chin!

Nathan was such a fun and special edition to our family. We just love this little life of the party!

Nathan loves Halloween!

Let’s Eat: Vanilla Coconut Scones!

This weekend I was craving something sweet and bready. I decided to make scones and began flipping through all my cookbooks for ideas. I’ve made LOTS of scones over the years. My dad loves them! I eventually decided to use the traditional plain scone recipe from my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook as a starting point. I’ve made this recipe many times (before I was vegan as well as making adaptations after).

I enjoyed my scone with hot coffee and berry juice!

Here is the recipe I came up with (adapted from Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook 12th edition):

Vanilla Coconut Scones– makes 8 large scones- oven 400 degrees

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 heaping tablespoons sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup Earth Balance (or other vegan margarine, solid coconut oil might work too)

2 eggs worth of Ener-G Egg Replacer

3/4 cup coconut cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

non dairy milk


In a small bowl, mix up the egg replacer according to package directions to equal two eggs and set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in the Earth Balance with a pastry cutter or your fingers until course crumbs develop. Make a well in center and set aside.

In another bowl mix together the egg replacer, coconut cream and vanilla extract until smooth. Add a few tablespoons of non dairy milk until it thins out a bit if needed- like the consistency of yogurt. Now pour this mixture into the well of the flour mixture and stir with a fork till just combined. Add a little more non dairy milk if needed to get the dough to stay together.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead up to 10 strokes. Pat into an 8 inch circle and cut into 8 wedges.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or Martha Wrap (I love this stuff and need to dedicate an entire post to it!). Place the scones an inch or so apart. Brush with non dairy milk and sprinkle with course sugar if desired. Bake for 10-14 minutes or until just starting to get golden on top.

Slather with Earth Balance and eat ’em up! I also think these would be awesome with shredded coconut added to the dough. Mmmmm must make again with that variation! I also think they’d be super good with strawberry preserves or orange marmalade. Or agave. or, or, or… ;)

Vegan’s Daily Companion- 365 Days of Love

On January 1st I started reading Colleen Patrick-Goudreau‘s beautiful book, Vegan’s Daily Companion. I’ve had this book for several months and had skimmed around in it but I wanted to start it at the new year and read each day’s entry for an entire year. The book has a short entry for each day of the week (with Saturday and Sunday combined), so six entries per week for 52 weeks. The entries start on Monday and since I really wanted to start it on the 1st (which was a Sunday) I read the intro and ‘how to use this book’ sections first. Colleen says you can read an entry each day in order or skip around however you like. One of my favorite things about the book is the purple ribbon page marker attached to it!

The book is organized like this:

Monday- For the Love of Food- discussion on all kinds of vegan foods

Tuesday- Compassionate Communication- ideas on ways to talk to people about veganism with love

Wednesday- Optimum Health for Body, Mind, and Spirit- how to care for ourselves in the best ways

Thursday- Animals in the Arts: Literature and Film- how animals are portrayed in books and movies. Some of these entries are really sad…

Friday- Stories of Hope, Rescue, and Transformation- uplifting stories of animal rescues

Saturday and Sunday- Healthful Recipes- uhh- well, this day gives recipes! :)

I enjoyed reading a section each morning this week with a cup of tea before heading to work. I’d also love to make each recipe in this book! This week’s recipe is for a massaged kale salad. I ate a TON of kale this past week so I may or may not make this recipe today. I plan to share a little bit about the book in a new series of Sunday posts. Have you read this book?

Vegan's Daily Companion and my scone breakfast on Saturday