Welcome Her With Cupcakes!

jellydougnut.jpgSince my mom’s arrival on Tuesday I have been just zipping around, basking in mumma-land. As is often the case when we live on the other side of the world from our family, well, I don’t get to see my fam very much. At all. So when we have visitors from North America, it’s a really, really big deal.
It’s especially the Guppy who is on cloud nine having her Pamma here to cuddle and play with.

Pamma is omni, but she is more than willing to be a gracious guest and has been loving our vegan cuisinefests. I want to say up front that while my folks and I have extremely different opinions on many things (let’s just say I live on the left, they live on the right), but they have always been very supportive of my decision to live cruelty-free, and have been since I announced my vegetarianism when I was 16 years-old. Encouragement coming from self-described squares (ok, maybe a little), well, I would just like to say “you guys rock, mumma & dad” (I wish my dad could be here, but this is a Pamma-only visit).

I have so many yummy things to post on, but for now I’ll leave you with the Jelly Doughnut Cupcakes from Vcon, which I made to welcome Pamma, and which were, of course, delish!

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The Bunny!

I woke up and wanted to hurry to get out for my run, when I heard squeals of joy emanating from the living room…

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The Guppy knew that today was “Bunny Day”, and she was up and in the living room standing before her basket, repeating excitedly, “Mumma, Mumma, look!”

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How exciting! Baby felt bunnies hatching from vegan chocolate eggs!

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Madame & Monsieur Lapin (Monsieur is easily recognizable by his little French moustache and pink attire…because male-folk do wear pink!) were my first attempts at sewing with a machine (more on that another day…). I followed the free Wee Bunny pattern from Wee Wonderfuls. Monsieur Rabbit was my first attempt (er, pas terrible or not-so-great as we say in French), but Madame Rabbit is much cooler (and looks darn good for just having a brood of felt bunnies!). The little felt bunnies are from the cutest book in the world which I want to blog about when I get the time so I won’t steal the thunder from a future post.

The Bdefilles.jpgunny of Spring didn’t forget me, as I found this beautiful book in my basket and cannot wait to start a billion projects…

Back From Five Freezing Days In The South of France

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This is one of my favorite paintings by Toulouse Lautrec, the French painter who took the name of the beautiful city of Toulouse as his pseudonym (he was not in fact from Toulouse, but Albi, a gorgeous medieval city about 60k from where I was – Saint-Sulpice – very near Toulouse). This really hasn’t much to do with our trip, but since we were near Toulouse, and we went to Toulouse often during our visit…er…ok, anyway…

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Spring has most definitely spring down there, there were blossoms and flowers and buds galore…but with the exception of my daily runs and literally running to the car or to the house to escape the hail and pelting rain, we didn’t really get to be part of the beauty outdoors. You can see my brush with the elements here.

The beauty we did get to enjoy was inside the toasty-warm walls of my in-laws home. We had such a wonderful time- especially the Guppy who was so excited to have other people around from the moment she woke up (we don’t get to see much of our families & extended families so this was a very special treat).

My in-laws have a beautiful home and they had a roaring fire going at all times keeping the house feeling very cosy and homey, and they were so great about my vegan dietary considerations. During their visit to our house during the holidays I had cooked up a vegan storm, wielding whisk and spatula to make satisfying meals for omnivores (and to charm the in-laws of course!). So it was only natural that they suggest I help cook up some dinners- because creating healthful, varied, vegan meals takes some planning and experience, and if you’re not used to it, well, it may seem a bit daunting.

The really big hit dish of our vacation was this fabulous recipe for orange chicken-style tofu. I have seen this recipe floating about all over the blogosphere, and it has lots of variations, but this is a great “base” recipe that you can easily expand on. For example I use way more orange juice – at least a cup – which means that you need to add more corn starch or arrowroot to compensate for the added liquid. I also usually add at least 1 red and 1 orange pepper, an entire sweet onion, and chunked pineapple.

My super-sweet 19-year-old nephew proved to be a wiz in the kitchen! He not only helped me make the orange-tofu, but he was also my main helper when rolling the 49 spring rolls for our final dinner there (my fingers were all puckery when I was done!). He was also amazing with the Guppy who just fell in love with him. He was so great with her, very intuitive for such a young guy, knowing if she needed a juice box or some applesauce, etc., and had no problem letting her jump on his bed or “hang out” with him while he was playing guitar (he even played on demand for her…)

It was also so fun to hang with my sister-in-law, L. She is so handy and crafty- a real inspiration with so many great ideas for various projects. She graciously donated a skein of yarn and some needles and showed me a great pattern for a skull-cappy-chuky thing, which I need to make time to finish. Plus she gave me various huge fabric scraps to amuse myself with.

Now if only we could find jobs down there…we’d pack up and move in a flash!