Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Vegan Pumpkin Coconut Pie for Sarah :)

So this year I am experimenting with a different kind of pumpkin pie.  Clearly you already know that if you read the blog title.  And actually it's custard not pie.

Custard typically has both milk and eggs.  We don't keep either of those in the house for allergy and health reasons.  But oh how I love me some pumpkin pie.  Pumpkin anything really, will do.

When I started to throw together my custard this morning for tomorrow's Thanksgiving meal, I suddenly got struck with the hair-brained idea of using coconut milk instead of my typical almond milk.  I thought perhaps it would make the pie a bit richer since there is a marked difference between almond milk and sweetened condensed death...er...milk in taste, texture, thickness and richness.  While I am fine with plain almond milk I thought that experimenting with the slightly richer milk option was a good idea.  Enter 1 cup of reduced fat coconut milk.  Not the full fat, although I'm sure you could do that and it would be AMAZING.  I just didn't feel like adding THAT many extra calories.


I also had been tossing around the idea of adding some cashews to my custard to help thicken it up and add some richness.  I googled both these combinations and found I wasn't totally off the wall in my scheming, but the recipes were very different from what I was thinking for reasons involving dairy and a non-bake, fridge option.

So I started dumping and came out with something pretty tasty.  I won't say it's amazing, cause I don't think it is yet.  I'd have to do more experimenting.  But is it tasty?  Oh yea.  Very good.  A little bit coconutty and pumpkiny.  Very yummy.

And while I wouldn't necessarily post a recipe I wasn't fully done with, a friend asked for the recipe for her little girls for Thanksgiving who I believe have some dairy intolerances, so I'm sharing early.  So if you are looking to change up your typical punkin pie/custard this year, you might give this a whirl and give me some feedback. :)

The picture is nothing fab since it was taken amidst lots of kitchen chaos.  Then again I don't ever pretend to have fabulous pictures since I am not a photographer and haven't spent any time increasing my knowledge in that area.  Lame me.  But really, how fabulous can custard look?




Vegan Pumpkin Coconut Custard

1 15oz can pumpkin
1 cup lower fat coconut milk*
1/2 cup almond milk (needed it to balance out the cashews and get it to blend)*
1/4c cashews**
1/4c cornstarch***
1 3/4 pumpkin pie spice
1 Tbsp molasses
1/2c agave  (I could have been happy with 4-6 Tbsp, but since this was for others too, I went with 1/2c)
1 tsp vanilla

Everything gets combined in a blender, poured into a lightly greased pie plate (or pie crust), and baked at 350 for 45-1 hour.  Simple as that.  Now for notes.

*If you are hesitant about the coconut flavor and want to start out with half of the coconut milk and start tasting, do so.  Don't add the cornstarch until you are satisfied with your coconut/almond milk ratio.
**Cashews were added for richness and can be left out if you have allergies.  If you omit them, start out using only 1 cup of milk and add the rest only if you need it to blend.  The extra almond milk was really just to balance out the thickness from the cashews.  ALSO, if you are not sure your blender will blend them sufficiently, either try adding them first with the milk and half the pumpkin to see if they will thoroughly blend, OR try adding cashew butter instead of cashew pieces.
***The cornstarch helps it set since it doesn't have eggs.

If you feel like playing up the coconut a bit more, I'd try adding some unsweetened shredded coconut to your custard or sprinkling some on top towards the end of baking for some toasted coconut topping.  If you feel like ignoring the coconut milk, just use all almond milk instead. :)

So, here is a recipe in the rough.  If you are brave enough to try it at this point, tell me what you think!! :-)

Gratituesday: therapy

I was reminded yesterday at Charlie's Dysphagia therapy, that this coming Thursday will be 2 years exactly since we started therapy for his eating issues.  That was quite a realization to think it's been 2 years.  My initial thought was how ironic that the anniversary of something I've been so un-thankful for is falling on a day of thanksgiving.  Wait, is that irony?  I never know.  And not that this is the only day we should be thankful, people.  

It's been a long two years.  There are plenty of days where I feel like the martyred mother who must do therapy with her child every day, multiple times a day.  The mother who can't eat a meal in peace unless her child is at someone else's house.  Wait, maybe that's all mothers with toddlers.  The mother who's life revolves around her child's meals and food.

And then I get perspective.  Perspective like the Dragon Mom I recently blogged about.  Or this other story I found recently of another Dragon Mom who finally lost their battle and kissed their sweet baby girl one last time. I'm sure I would have cried over both of these stories even when I wasn't a mother, but being a mother now makes these stories so much more real, and I can easily saturate tissues and napkins galore before I get past the first paragraph of stories like that.


And when I finally connected all of this in my brain yesterday, I had this moment, perhaps for the first time, where I was truly. seriously. for real. absolutely grateful. for therapy.  Not just the "oh yea I'm grateful we have this and are trying to fix it, blah blah blah" kind of thankfulness.  Charlie has never been failure to thrive (which some kids with eating disorders can be), it's not a terminal illness, we have money to see a therapist, and most vivid yesterday was the fact that WE ARE SEEING PROGRESS!!!  The progress part is exciting because we have definitely been through long periods where progress has been microscopic to non-existent.  And recently it's been visible!  I have hope!  My son will one day eat soup and bread and raw veggies and nuts and pieces of all kinds of healthy foods, instead of pureed everything.  Did I mention I hate purees?  I do.


Why am I glad for therapy specifically?  Because we are seeing progress.  Wait, back up.  Because the speech/dysphagia therapists caught the problem when he was 6 weeks old, and we started taking measures to make sure that nothing got worse, so he didn't grow up establishing a cycle of incorrect eating patterns, resulting in more problems as he grew, poor digestion from un-chewed food, refusal to eat food due to poor digestion and upset tummy (which can lead to failure to thrive) and scariest of all, lots of potential choking that happens when you don't have correctly established chew/swallow patterns.  I don't care how experienced you are in the matter, that moment when you realize your child is really choking, it's scary.

Am I grateful to have avoided all of that?  You bet.  Did that mean I was thankful for therapy?  Not really and truly.  Not until yesterday.

So on this Gratituesday I am thankful for Charlie's therapists and his therapy sessions.  And while I'd love to think of what else we could have done with the time and money we've poured into therapy, I can truly say that  I am grateful we have been able to do this for our son to save him a whole host of problems as he progresses through life.

And this Thanksgiving day - 2 years from our first therapy session - I will be so grateful to have a happy, healthy, thriving child.



Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The weekend in reverse in pictures (take 2)

....minus the death warmed over part

....plus today, which is definitely not the weekend, so we'll say "extended weekend in reverse".

So here we go...

Today is crockpot day.  Almost every Wednesday is or there is no dinner when I get done teaching.  Charlie loves to help Mama make food.  Mostly stir things.  He loves to stir.



 So he stands on his Learning Tower aka The Tower of Power and helps Mama stir.  Did I mention he loves to stir?


And yes, that is a teaspoon he is stirring with.  I finally figured out the smaller the spoon, the less mess he makes.  And yes his hand is practically in the soup in that last picture.  What can I say, he loves to stir soup.  Also, this is why hand washing is important.  Who am I kidding, a little dirt never hurt anyone.


Back up to Monday afternoon.  This is what I came home from Charlotte to.  :-)


Are you grinning from ear to ear?  Cause I was.  See, William left last Sunday afternoon to go to Baltimore for a week.  I left the following Friday morning to go to Charlotte to visit friends.  He came back on Saturday afternoon and I finally came back Monday afternoon (while he was at work).  8 days without seeing him.  So I loved my welcome home greeting. :)



The Daddy and Mommy legos being key components of it all.  We're a little obsessed with "Daddy and Mommy Wegos" as they are called in our house.  Someone marches all around the house toting them and losing them and causing his mother to stress about finding them again.


The best part being that Charlie was the one who actually came up with the "Daddy and Mommy Wegos".  At first sight he immediately associated the red hair with daddy and the brown hair with mommy.  I was pretty proud, I have to admit. :)



Me and my "Mommy Wego".  See the resemblance? ;-)

Back up to Friday morning on the road and this is what I caught sight of.


Don't know what you are looking at yet?


I kept inching closer and closer.


Yea baby.  Only the best beer ever. ;-)  I wanted to follow that van wherever it was going and grab an ice cold Hummin' Bird.  Too bad we had our own separate agendas.


This one's for you William! 



Caught it as I drove by!  And no I did not take my eyes off the road to snap that picture.  I got a lucky shot as I was driving by.  Always drive responsibly.  I was.  For the most part.

So somewhere in between the Legos and the Red Oak beer, the weekend with Charlotte friends occurred, as did the 36 hours from hell.  Still don't know if it was food or just a passing bug or both, but I spent Saturday morning to Sunday evening in such tummy agony as I ever remember feeling.  No one should spend that much time in the bathroom.  Need I say more.

My host was gracious enough to take care of me and watch my kiddo and not take any pictures of me stumbling around in my sweats looking like death warmed over.  Erin, I am EVER so grateful for all of those.  I am pretty sad that I didn't get any pictures of Charlie and Jack playing, but maybe Erin will send me some pictures and I'll get to post them anyways.  I think they had a jolly good time, in spite of the person making mad dashes to the bathroom.

So there was this past weekend.  Glad to be home.  Enjoyed seeing friends.  Wish I could have seen more of them instead of so much bathroom tile.  But still good.

So many more things to blog about.  That must be what being a mom blogger is all about.  Tons of posts to write and never time to write them.

Happy Wednesday evening!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

10 Things...just for you.

10 things to catch you up on my life that is.

1. I think I inadvertently managed to teach my son how to say "good call!" tonight while building our usual duplo train tower.  Every time he put a brick down in a place that wasn't going to structurally weaken the wall, I said, "good call, Charlie!"  And after a while I noticed that every new brick he put on he would say, "goo cahh!"

2. A roach scampered across my living room floor tonight while I was doing my ab exercises.  On the floor. Not 2 feet from the roach.  Nothing like having some bicycles interrupted by a black flash, a screech and a mad leap into the air to grab a shoe.

3. I have tons of pictures that I want to share and things I want to blog about, but they stay unwritten for the time being.

4. I am addicted to Hummus Soup.  So.  Addicted.

5. I will in fact share the hummus soup recipe with you all one day.  Eventually.  When I actually get around to doing a real post.

6. I get to visit a dear friend tomorrow, which I am totally psyched about.  What I'm not psyched about is the 3 hour road trip with my toddler in the car, all by myself, during NON-NAPTIME HOURS.

7. I have discovered Pinterest, and the little girl inside who once used to cut up magazines and save all the favorite pictures and clippings in folders and boxes is running around inside a candy store.  A virtual one that is.  Filled with pictures, not candy.  But there are lots of pictures of candy.  You seriously have no idea how much my inner magazine cutting, favorite picture clipping little girl is coming out.  The best part is - NO EXTRA CLUTTER IN MY HOUSE!


8. I shouldn't be up this late, but I'm waiting on cloth diapers to finish washing so I can pop them in the dryer.

9. I really just want to get my hair cut again. (I know! Really?)  Who would have ever thought this long haired child would become a short hair junkie.  (Btw, the inspiration was a Pinterest picture.  Don't hate me!)

10. I have finally bought a winter coat.  The first one in YEARS.  You have no idea how excited I am at the prospect of not feeling cold all winter this time.

That's all you get for now.  And the dryer is done.  So I'm off to bed.  :)