La Jolla Cove, California Photos

La Jolla Cove was the first beach we went to on our recent San Diego vacation, the early morning clouds were out but it was still lovely weather for swimming in the ocean.  R fell asleep on the way so my husband stayed with him while E and I explored a little bit.  The shot above is the cove as you walk to it from parking on a hill.  To the right are seals sitting on a rock, not that you can see it with this cell phone shot.  We didn’t take our real camera because there was plenty to lug along already and sand and lenses don’t mix well.  (Random tip: put your cellphone in a ziploc baggie, you can still use it but it is protected from the elements a little bit).

There were grassy areas to look out on the ocean and balconies like this one where you can see the seagull peeking up at E.  There is a stairway down to the cove and you can see people snorkeling and swimming.  E couldn’t get enough of the ocean and it was R’s first time at the ocean (E’s first exposure was in February of ’10 in Monterey, California).  My husband even got to float in the water for a time, he looked pretty blissful.  Later that day we went to Torrey Pines State Reserve which had a more classic beach but I liked the privacy of La Jolla Cove.  They also had free showers and bathroom facilities close by.

When traveling to beaches with family you’ll want a short walk from the car and bathroom facilities, among other things, so we skipped more popular beaches like Coronado when we took our requirements into consideration.  I think days like this remind us that experiences are more important than “stuff” and even though traveling with kids is not easy, you have to stretch out of your comfort zone and make time to have a little adventure now and then.

VegBooks.org Review – One Red Apple

This one was so good I had to write a review for it right away.  I first heard about “One Red Apple” at No Time for Flashcards (which, by the way, is a GREAT site for ideas on learning activities for even the youngest kids, I found it via a mommy message board for other August 2008 moms and though the board fizzled out I still happily follow this blog) and added it to my “to check out from the library” list that I keep on amazon.  I for some reason didn’t get around to requesting it for months since the post is dated October 2010, oops!  The new library mobile site is so easy to use that I have been gradually working my way through my “to reserve” list.

It is a lovely book.  Here’s my review.  One I am seriously tempted to add to our library or at least include in the mix when I give baby shower gifts.

I like to give books because they were some of the favorite gifts I received.  When you are alone with a newborn that isn’t being too interactive it is a great comfort to read aloud to them.  I remember running out of things to say aside from narrating my day so a variety of good books helps.  One that tears me up every time is “Someday” by Alison McGhee and Peter H. Reynolds (amazon affiliate link), it is about a mother’s wishes for her daughter.  My sister in law and mother in law gave it to me in a box of books that were for a variety of ages/stages.  E still likes to have us read it to her.

Pinterest

Is anyone else using Pinterest?  I am a huge fan already, it is an awesome way to organize inspiration.  I usually “star” things in my RSS reader (Google Reader) and think “I really should try that” but then things languish there.  Pinterest lets you create categories for images and ideas (preserving not only the link but the line of reference, like if you saw something on someone else’s page and “pinned it” then you’d be able to credit them later on).  The best part is that you can find people with similar interests and follow their boards.

So you could make a board for crafts you’d like to try with your children or clothes and color combinations that you are drawn to.  Seeing the latter on a board will really give you an idea of your own personal style (aspirational for me but maybe I’ll keep things in mind next time I’m shopping).  I am just starting but here are my boards, feel free to share yours in the comments so we can share!  You get emails when people “pin” your shared items which is fun because it gives you people to check out and see if they have similar interests.  One individual pinned a poster I liked featuring a boy and a girl looking at the moon and sure enough she had some great brother/sister art on her boards.

Here are some awesome things I’ve got on my boards right now:

Halloween Treat Bags using tissue paper and floral tape — Totally making these this year!!!  From Martha Stewart.Com originally, via theboerwar on Pinterest.

Big Sister Reading to Little Brother — Sold out on etsy but I just think it is a beautiful illustration, via Lisa Nunn on Pinterest.

Portabello Mushroom Burgers — These look delicious, they have grilled peaches on them too

A Play Map of Your Neighborhood — A great way to teach your child about the streets around them

Oh, and it is an “invitation only” site but that just means signing up and waiting for an invite.  They tie the account to your twitter or facebook account so I suggest starting a twitter account and then using that since facebook has very wibbly privacy standards.

VegBooks.org Review – The Bugabees – Friends With Food Allergies

My latest review is up on VegBooks.org!  The Bugabees – Friends With Food Allergies (click the link for my review) by Amy Recob and 64 Colors.  It ended up being a pretty personal review but I think it has information that I was curious about when I purchased the book.  I have some reservations but it has been popular with E.  I teared up the first time I read it because I thought of all the situations where she won’t be able to eat like her friends but I think we really have to divorce ourselves from associating food with emotions, positive or negative.

A great read, by the way, that covers the emotional and social aspects of food is Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer (amazon affiliate link).  I couldn’t put it down, even though it is non-fiction it is that good.  Brilliant stuff, makes me wish I was a writer.  Another non-fiction book I couldn’t put down is The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins (amazon affiliate link), I don’t mean to go off topic but it came to mind and it is brilliant.  Some slow bits but I could follow most of the science and it is my favorite by Dawkins.  I kept stopping to tell my husband snippets from both books, the only downside is that sometimes when I do that he remarks that he doesn’t need to read the book because I already told him the good stuff.

Slow Cooked Refried Beans Recipe

The first time I made this recipe I told the friend that shared it with me (I followed most of her suggested variations though I used more salt) that I felt empowered.  That may seem silly but every time I make something from scratch I feel better and better about the food I make for my family.  Do I mess up?  Often!  I think you have to keep trying though.

One of our “fast” food options is rice and beans so making refried beans from scratch kind of goes against the “fast” aspect of things but this is easy to throw together and you can freeze it so I think it is still a fast recipe.  You’ll need a slow cooker, something I thought as a vegetarian family we’d never get real use out of!  More photos here.

Supplies

Knife, cutting board

Slow Cooker

Sieve

Food Processor/Blender/Potato Masher

Ingredients

3 cups of rinsed dry pinto beans (no need to soak!) (about 1 lb. 3 oz.)

1 onion, quartered

4 ounce can of hatch chiles

5 cloves of minced garlic

4 teaspoons of salt

1 1/2 teaspoons of black pepper plus 1/4 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

9 to 10 cups of water (I do 10 because when you’re filling cups quickly under running water they don’t fill up entirely)

Fresh lime juice

Directions

Put the beans, onion, chiles, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin in the slow cooker then add the 9 cups of water.  Stir, close the lid and set your slow cooker on high for 6 hours.  My friend remarked that hers takes only 4 or 5 hours on high and the recipe calls for 8 on high but my cooker only has a 6 hour high setting and it worked well.  You’ll need to add more water as needed, you don’t want too much to evaporate so maybe adjust your heat settings as needed as well.

The beans are so very good, you drain them and reserve the liquid.  I run mine through the food processor and add liquid until the consistency is as you like it.  I also add lime juice for flavor.  Now that we’ve made this a few times I can estimate you’ll get 3 pounds of beans if you run them all into the food processor but we’ve been reserving whole cooked beans to eat because they are so good that way.

I love that this is tomato free, flavorful, and much cheaper than canned beans.

Check out the other recipes on the 7/22 Allergy Friendly Friday at CybelePascal.com!  This week the theme is farmstand recipes so I was hesitant to include refried beans but I got the go ahead (on twitter) to post it.

Allergen Free Apple Pie Photos

Yup, another one from the Allergen Free Baker’s Handbook by Cybele Pascal (amazon affiliate link).  Well, in part.  My mom suggested we give this a go when she was visiting, the crust is from a blueberry pie recipe in the book and the filling is just how my mom makes apple filling for German apple cake.  I didn’t have the sweet brown rice flour so I substituted millet flour and then added some extra liquid when the dough wasn’t coming together the way I liked.  We did strips on the top but a classic crust on the bottom.  Out of the oven it was good but the next two days it got better and better!  The crust was perfect on the second and third days.  I used braeburn apples, in the past when I still baked with wheat I had luck with jonagolds though my sister sweats by using macintosh apples.  You need them to be a little firmer and tarter than your usual red delicious.

For the filling you blanche (heat a little on the stove, once it starts bubbling take it off and drain the apples) the apples in some lemon and sugar.  We took the pie out 10 minutes earlier than the blueberry pie recipe called for but we could have taken it out another 10 minutes sooner than that, I think.

Delicious, as you can see by my inability to get a picture before it was half gone.