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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother’s Day!!!

Hello everyone and Happy Mother’s Day!

Last year, my Mother’s Day was spent with my wonderful Mom, my wonderful in-laws (Dad & Ma) and their wonderful neighbor. He hauled my RV from their driveway in Colorado Springs, up to Green Mountain Falls. Nic was still working hard in Virginia and our journey into Full-time RVing was to begin, with or without him (code enforcement said we couldn’t stay there any longer). You can read about last year’s Mother’s Day HERE.

With my girls and our kitties loaded in the car, we followed behind our new home as it headed up the mountains. Mother’s Day was spent getting a crash course in handling an RV. It was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. Our parents were there to help with the girls and get the inside set up, we enjoyed a lunch together and then a few hours later, they were gone. I had no idea what I was doing. I was in a new town, in a new home (that I barely understood), and it was just me and my girls. Despite the whirlwind day though, I went to sleep that night with a peace in my heart.

Fast forward a whole year, and this Mother’s Day was even more special. This year, the 4 of us are all together and still full-timing, and for that, I am eternally grateful. MHG made me breakfast in bed and later that morning and I prepped a few goodies for our BBQ in the afternoon with our friends. They are such sweethearts and it’s nice to have made friends at our new park…that are right across the street from our new spot. They came over, set up their Horseshoes game in our yard and we all had a ball together. Nic and I lost to them by only a couple points even! As it turns out, I am VERY good at getting ringers…when there’s a toddler on my hip, lol. Cinderella was getting whiny, so I picked her up as it was my turn to toss. Nic had literally just said “Put her down…you can’t play while holding her.” and right at that moment, I got a ringer! And I did it again with her on my hip for my next throw. Everyone’s theory was that I couldn’t throw my leg out all ballerina style while holding her, and thus it kept me grounded and able to throw more accurately. Sounds about right.

After our game of Horseshoes, we headed across the street to their home for the BBQ. Their cousin & her children joined us as well & brought hot dogs and watermelon for the kiddos. It was kinda cold & crappy weather, so Mrs. F (my friend) cooked all the non-Vegans some porkchops & hot dogs inside. Mr. & Mrs. F fed everyone some yummy food, that’s for sure! My contributions were vegan pasta salad, black bean burgers & my girls’ favorite “energy balls” (that are just peanut butter, chocolate chip yumminess). The recipes are at the bottom. I got sent home with all the leftover watermelon and definitely was looking forward to enjoying it the next day for breakfast!

While the Mom’s and Mrs. F’s eldest son and their cousin’s eldest daughter hung out inside, the Dads took all the kids across the street to our yard to play ball. It was nice and quiet and relaxing. The kids had a great time with the Dads playing ball too, so that rocks!

After a while, I got pretty sleepy and decided to call it a day. I bid everyone farewell and headed back home to round up my family and to thank them for a wonderful day.

All in all, it was a lovely day with friends and my sweet little family. By the time we got home, the girls got into their jammies, finally took a picture with Mommy and passed out seconds later. They were running around with their friends for hours and were definitely all tuckered out.

At the end of this day, I can’t help but to feel so gracious and overwhelmed with love for them.

It may be Mother’s Day, but my girls are the reason today is special.

These two little angels are the song of my soul…and I am beyond thankful for them.

 

 

Please enjoy these pictures from my special day.

(The tree climbing pics with them was from the day before…but they are important to me and I wanted to include them.)

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In the next picture, if you look really close to the center-top most part of the tree, you’ll see my horseshoe, lol. Why I threw it straight up in the air…I have no idea.

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They were blue, we were white. They are really good, Nic and I have no idea what we’re doing, lol. Maybe we should buy a set and start practicing? We had a lot of fun playing with them regardless! There may have been a bit of screwing around as well, lol…

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They caught my “baby-on-my-hip-while-throwing” ringer in action!

Zoes Ringer

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Have I previously mentioned that this tree is 30 feet around at its very base?!

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Now for my Vegan BBQ Goodies and their corresponding recipes…

Vegan Black Bean Burgers

(recipe from the book Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero

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You can freeze these once they’ve been cooked and reheat in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 25-30 minutes OR warm them up on the stovetop on medium heat for 5 minutes on each side.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked or 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 1/2 cup plain whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (or ketchup)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 small onion
  • About 2 tablespoons olive oil plus olive oil spray
  • Whole wheat buns

Mash the beans with a fork on a plate and add to mixing bowl. You don’t want to puree them; just get them mashed so that no whole beans are left, but you should leave some half beans.  

Add the wheat gluten, bread crumbs, chile powder, cumin, water, and tomato paste (and cilantro, if using), but DON’T MIX YET. Use a microplane grater to grate the garlic in. (A garlic press or very well minced garlic works, too.) Use the large holes on a box grater to grate in the onion.  

Mix everything together with a fork, and then proceed to knead with your hands, until the minxture is firm and uniformly mixed (about a minute).  

Preheat a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat.  

Divide the burger mixture into six equal pieces. Roll each piece into a firm ball. Use your palm to press the ball down ton a clean surface to form a patty that is about 1 1/2 inch thick. Press so that the patty is flat on both sides. Make six patties.  

Pour a thin layer of olive oil into the pan. Cook the patties three at a time for 5 minutes on each side, gently but firmly pressing down on them with a spatula. Spray with olive oil before turning over, for uniform browning. Once cooked, the patties should be very firm when you press down on them.  

Serve warm on burger buns with toppings of your choice. (You can see more pictures of when I made them a previous time on this post HERE.)

Vegan Pasta Salad

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Ingredients:

  • 2 small bags of mini pasta (macaroni, spirals, etc.)
  • 2 cups cooked, or 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 standard sized can of black olives, sliced or slice yourself
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced and cut each slice into quarters
  • 1 small onion, chopped into approximately 1/4” pieces
  • About 10 cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 3/4 cup of Italian dressing (make sure it’s really Vegan and there’s no cheese in it)

Cook pasta according to packaging instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water to bring temp of pasta down. Add all the other ingredients and stir thoroughly. Refrigerate until chilled. Enjoy!

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Vegan Energy Bites

(These are a HUGE family favorite.)

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oatmeal

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter

  • 1/2 cup carob chips (or chocolate chips if going non-vegan)

  • 1/2 cup ground (milled) flaxseed

  • 1/3 cup agave nectar or brown rice syrup (or honey if going non-vegan)

  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds

  • 1 tspn vanilla

Mix together well and form into balls. Can eat right away, or can refrigerate to harden them a little.

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My reason for celebrating today.

My loves.

My everything.

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To all my friends and family members that are Mommies…give your babies lots of kisses from me and pat yourselves on the back for being so amazing!!! Muah!

I would like to tell my own Mother thank you for bringing me into this world and for working so hard at raising me (I wasn’t exactly easy on you).  You taught me how to survive this world and how to kick butt at it as well. Your strength, determination and spontaneity rubbed off on me in all the right ways. Thanks for always being there for me. I love you so much.

And to Ma…you rock. I am seriously so lucky to have such an awesome Mother-in-law. Your love of me seriously makes my life so easy! When I see other people in battles with their in-laws, I thank my lucky stars that you guys always got my back and that we *almost* always see eye to eye, lol. Thank you for always being there for me. I love you so much, too.

I wish that I could’ve seen you guys today. You both are amazing Mothers to me and Grandmothers to our girls. I couldn’t ask for better women to grace our lives. Thank you for everything you have done for me and us and continue to do. We all miss you guys so very much and love you even more. (Hope to see you soon!)

Happy Mother’s Day!!!

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