Monday, July 30, 2012

Vegan Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate and Cherries

For the past few weeks I've been craving oatmeal cookies something fierce, but I was hesitant to make them simply because the recipe I usually use involves a great deal of butter. Since our family is trying to drastically cut dairy from our diets, I thought maybe I could create a healthier option. Thus, I give you a recipe I created over the weekend: Vegan Oatmeal Cookies (with chocolate chips and dried sour cherries tossed in).



Makes about 48 chewy, soft cookies

Ingredients:

1 Cup Granulated Sugar

1 Cup Brown Sugar

1 Cup Coconut Oil (melted)

2 Tbsp. Ground Flax Seed mixed with 6 Tbsp. Water and left to sit for 10 minutes

1 Cup All-Purpose Flour

1 Tsp. Baking Soda

3 Cups Oats

Chocolate Chips and Dried Sour Cherries to taste (I used a vegan chocolate bar with a high cocoa content, placed it in a ziploc bag and let my 5-year-old smash it into chips with a mallet.)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350. Mix Flax Seed and Water together and allow to sit for about 5 minutes or until mixture reaches a gel stage (read about using ground flax seed as an egg substitute for more info). While Flax mixture sets up, mix oil and sugar together. Add Flax mixture and Vanilla. In a separate bowl sift Flour, Salt and Baking Soda. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix together. Add Oats and once blended, mix in Chocolate Chips and Cherries. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Happy 7 Months!

Month seven seemed to fly by for us, and for Vivian it brought a couple of new milestones.
This month Vivvers began creeping--rocking back and forth in the crawling position. And although she assumes the perfect crawling position and can actually crawl a few steps, she's still mostly scooting on her belly and pulling herself around with her arms like a soldier. Between rolling and scooting, Vivian gets around our place pretty quickly.
This month she also began pulling herself up to stand. She mostly does this in her crib, but over the past few days she's been pulling to stand on the couch and on me. I don't think it will be long before she starts cruising.


Other new developments this month include:

A whole new vocabulary of vowel-consonant combinations

Squealing and yelling

Picking up tiny objects with thumb and forefinger

Sitting up from a lying down position (she does this by pushing herself onto her side first)

Greater ease and control eating solid foods and drinking from a cup

A new found desire to get into EVERYTHING and to do so at an alarmingly quick rate

This last item on the list has led to Vivian trying to get into her dresser drawers. If I pull the drawer open slightly, she can open it the rest of the way and pull all of her clothes and diapers out. This delights her to no end.
The other day I took one of my old purses and filled it with toys and baby-safe items with interesting textures and sounds such as: scarves, ribbons, rattles and spoons. Vivian spent a good hour going through the bag and examining and chewing everything.
Seamus and Vivian continue to grow closer and closer. There doesn't seem to be any rivalry or jealously on Seamus's part at all. Don't get me wrong, it's definitely been a challenge for Seamus having a new sibling, but he mostly directs any anger or negativity he has at me (and from what I've read this is totally normal).
As far as Vivian goes though, he is helpful, doting and playful with her and always wants to hold her, kiss her and hug her. Vivian absolutely thinks the world of Seamus and is constantly craning her neck to see where he is and what he's doing. She spends a lot of time laughing at him and climbing all over him.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Finally...

It rained today...
...and our yard, and all the creatures in it, are happy.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Easton, PA Farmer's Market

Yesterday morning we drove to the closest farmer's market to our house. It just happened to be the oldest, continuously-run farmer's market in the U.S., and it's only a few miles down the road in Easton, Pennsylvania.
We found tons of organic produce and baked goods.
We were too late for the Zucchini 500, but Seamus created, decorated, and raced a zucchini-mobile anyway.
I love living so close to this sweet little town. Easton has a bustling downtown full of local bakeries, bookstores and antique shops (not to mention the Crayola Factory).
Of course after purchasing all that organic produce, we ended up here:
where we totally wrecked our whole-foods diet with caramel corn, fudge, macadamia nuts, and bubble gum. I see many Pennsylvania weekends in our future.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Lately...

1. I made soap! My very first batch of soap is a 100% olive oil castile soap, one of the simplest to make. I used this book and watched this video repeatedly.

2. We canned our very own raspberry preserves.

3.We also made Italian Ice--so easily and so perfect for triple-digit days.

4. I made face cream (which doubles as a body lotion) for the whole family. I used Rosemary Gladstar's recipe, which is included in nearly all of her herbal books. I used a grape seed oil base and sprinkled in a couple of drops of everlasting essential oil as well.

5. We received a special delivery from our friend Mary. She made Vivver's some diaper covers in exchange for a writing critique. I love a good trade!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Raspberries!



As I type this, our raspberries are ripening, and we've been picking them every evening for three nights now. I started picking a little early--the moment I saw my first red berry--because I was worried all the critters around here would eat them. So far that's not been the case. We seem to be the only critters eating them.

Once we'd picked two quarts worth of berries I made raspberry preserves and put up four jars of the yummiest jam I've ever had. It's the perfect blend of tartness and sweetness. After a little internet research, I found out the type of berries we have growing in our yard are wineberries, an invasive species of raspberry brought over from Asia for breeding hybrid raspberries. They've been here for generations and are flourishing. Our county is bursting at the seams with wineberries. If you take a drive in North Jersey right now, you'll see them all along the roadside.

I'm heading out again after dinner to pick more tonight. I'm hopeful that I'll pick enough to can a few more jars for friends and family and to make a wineberry pie.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Happy 6 Months!

Vivian is six months old! I doesn't feel at all like half a year has passed since she was born. At six months Vivian can sit with greater confidence and rarely falls over any more, and she's on the verge of crawling all over the place.



She's only managed to crawl forward for a few moments a couple of times, and she can crawl backwards fairly well, but each day she grows more certain in her movements. Lately, she's been tucking her knees under and assuming the perfect crawling position, but still her favorite way to get around is to roll.



This month I introduced the sippy cup. Although she can hold it pretty well, it took V awhile to learn how to suck the water out. It's funny watching a breastfed baby deal with a cup; she always tries to nurse it first.



I also introduced solids this month, and Vivvers was oh, so happy to eat meals just like the rest of us. I've been giving her small bowls of brown rice cereal at breakfast and small bowls of vegetables at dinner. (She's still nursing all day, so I don't give her a huge amount of food.) I try to always fed her with the rest of us, so she falls into our same meal routine. So far Vivvers has tried cereal, peas and green beans. Peas are her favorite.



This month has been a language boom for Vivvers. She's added quite a few consonants to her repertoire of vowels. She can make the D, N and H sounds, and she's working on the F sound. Some of her favorite phrases are: nay-nay, day-day, da-da, a da-da Hi die-die and hay-hay.



She's also found a new love of toys and books this month, and now that she's more mobile she can play with them in different ways.
Unfortunately, her absolute favorite toy belongs to big brother, and he doesn't like to share it. Awhile back, actually before I ever had kids, I knitted a couple of nautiloids. When Seamus was born they became his.
A few weeks ago he gave Vivian the pink one, but she prefers his green and yellow one.



This month also brought a new pediatrician. Since we've moved our old pediatrician in Hoboken is just too far away. This time we've decided to go with a family practice; this way we can all see the same doctor. I was very pleased with our first visit last week. Here are V's stats:



16 lbs. and 13oz.

25 1/2 inches long

Breastfeeding every 2-3 hours

Eating 1-2 small meals of solid food a day

Napping twice a day now: a short morning nap and a loooong afternoon nap

It seems each month also brings new nicknames for Vivian, although Vivvers is the main one. This month brother has been calling Vivian: Little Dover, Vivvers-yin and Dovers-yin.
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