Wednesday, 29 April 2009

getting to grips with the garden

Managed a few bursts of gardening before the rain these last few days...
we moved into this house in June last year, so are gradually getting a full year-round view of garden happenings. Picture above is of chives- I hadn't known that they flower so prettily...

..the boys planted some little troughs of coriander seeds;

have put in some spring green gladioli, blue delphinium in the back garden and some french lavender and a sprinkling of poppy seeds in the front. Will be interesting to see what and how things take! I'm very new to gardening but my dad's a veteran gardener so knowing I can tap into his knowledge gives me confidence. Just got to do a bit more clearing to make space for the potato bags, and I think we'll plant those when Grandad visits..

I'm wondering if these are bluebells:

Thing is, they are in a very shady area. I was reading that it takes 3 years after planting for bluebells to really go beyond shoots so it would be great if they are here already... they do look like bluebells but there are other varieties quite similar I think... when out walking in the area, so many gardens have bluebells in and I love their woodland look. Hard to believe that apparantly they are declining...

Saw some ice lolly moulds in M&S, and we've made smoothie lollies when we got in from pre-school, of frozen raspberries, honeydew melon and banana. One mould though was water only, as that's what R wanted to make! Its useful to have another fruit route now summer's coming! R still doesn't eat fruit pieces apart from banana, but loves different smoothies, on its own or mixed into porridge in the morning.

We were down in Southampton recently for my brother-in-law's birthday celebrations, which were all fun. Whilst down there, we took the boys to a miniature steam railway at Eastleigh- they LOVED it! Got some great pics, think my favourite is this one, captures the delight:

I don't think I've ever given our cat a mention on here so here goes: our bonkers but adorable cat we've had for 10 years, Marly, who graciously waited nine years for her own back garden to roam around. She has never been so happy and calm! She is my fellow female within this family but I think she's more volatile than me...
a rare mellow moment basking in the sun:

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

home made convenience

Was so late with dinner tonight; couldn't resist trying to squeeze in an hour of gardening when we got back from work and pre-school at 4. That was fine in itself, boys helping- although preferring the full size fork and spade to their little eyes in the back of the head would be sooo useful! But probably should have done a quick dinner but wanted to use some sweet potatoes, we had veggie burgers and sweet potato chips:

I'm not that into sweet potato but like the flavour of them roasted, and because they're protein rich they're great for the boys.. (part boiled then chopped and cooked on high for 20 or so mins). The burgers were a mixture of mashed black-eye beans, tomato puree, olive oil, yellow pepper and onion based on a recipe from 'Another dinner is possible'. Rohan and Luca ate well in the end; although Luca didn't eat properly until 8.30pm for one reason and another...

Yesterday... M took the boys to pre-school only to find it was an inset (teaching training) day.. oops! Obviously that didn't make our calender...all ended well though. Mit went with the boys to a soft play centre, and did some laptop work in the cafe; and after work we drove to Polhill garden centre, one of those places we all enjoy- great outdoor play area, bought some lavender, hebe, and some bags to grow potatoes and the seed potatoes. Will slowly get things started...

Friday, 17 April 2009

Viva's new websites

So heartening to read that meat consumption is on the downslide, according to VIVA, whose work and stance I greatly admire. They have two new websites at Save their world and Eatgreen. It's the dairy industry which has put me on the road to (very, very almost completely now) veganism but this website holds a host of info which informatively explains animal welfare is just one of the many pressing reasons to enjoy a vegan diet.

The 'save their world' 'soya' section reminds me that much soya is produced for animal feed rather that for soya milk. Someone mentioned to me once that drinking soya milk impacts on the rain forest. But I am now sticking to the 'alpro' brand- they state on their packaging that they use their own specially grown forests and not the rainforests.

So I can't get to the VIVA roadshow in London tomorrow and I do feel quite bereft! It is always such an amazing event, part of my heart is going to be there!!

Indulgence and then some wholesome goodness!

Well, I've learnt that to have a proper vegan Easter I am going to be better organised next year...did the boys little Easter boxes in the garden with a mixture of milk and vegan chocolates. Slightly disappointed in myself I wasn't organised in time to order some vegan goodies from veganstore UK, or Montezumas. Tesco had had the infamous chocolate Lindt bunnies in in dark chocolate, but close to the Easter holiday, the chocolate aisles were pretty ransacked and I didn't pick some up early enough. Sainsbury's did some lovely vegan chocolate which my parents-in-law gave the boys:

It's been a little whirlwind of a party season; 3 of the boys' friends turned 3 in the last couple of weeks, and Mit's brother is 40. My treasured friend down in Hampshire shares that landmark. A couple of the celebrations were in 'Pizza Express'. I love it in that chain, because they are good with children, and it's easy to be vegan- I had the Giadinera pizza with no cheese- just lots of artichokes, red pepper and olives. Really delicious! They don't do soya milk yet, though. Surely they will cotton on soon!
All the pizzeria dining has led us to make more pizzas at home. Had a hilarious cooking session. The boys helped make the dough in their own unique style after having observed the dough being pounded and thrown about in the restaurant. Mit's much more playful when cooking with the boys than me! Dough eyes:

Celebrations have also necessitated more cake making and eating:

Once again, fluffy white cupcakes from 'vegan lunchbox'. Due to the flux of special occasions occuring, I think I am going to have to find a healthier special occasion fix! But.. then again, no.

On the other hand, have rediscovered those great soup mixes you can buy from most supermarkets; dried bean and pulse mixtures that don't need much else adding to make a great, wholesome and filling soup. I just use onion, garlic and whichever veggies are left in the fridge, but the packets always have recipe suggestions. Made this twice recently. The second time, the boys ate some. It was so great to see them eating pieces of barley! But the second time I made it, I'd added some alphabet pasta pieces, and the barley and other bits just happened to be there as well....

The plan for the next few weeks is to really spend time in our garden, weeding, planning and thinking how to use it. We inherited a really pretty, mature garden with this house. I'll take some pictures over the next few days (when it stops raining so hard, to give the most flattering conditions!) but we just need to work out how much to leave things as they are, and what are where to plant. Because I'm indecisive, I think we will grow some herbs in pots, and look into growing potatoes in bags and making a space for those things with plenty of light.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

a little link of lots of food inspiration

Just a quickie, to say I've just come across this fabulous website; Parsley Soup. Looking forward to trying some of these recipes, and the hedgehog cake under 'kids'.. for the next birthdays!
As can be seen, I tend to do very well from other people's creativity when it comes to vegan cookery! The trouble is, the impulse to create myself is hard to push when there are such fabulous websites around....

Having a few busy days here, birthday celebrations and Easter activities. Also managed the half-marathon at Paddock wood which was a strange mixture of gruel and enjoyment!

Will post more soon.