The Vegetarian Mom

A veggie mom cooking it through the books!

Spotlight Sunday ~ Soups December 3, 2011

Filed under: Spotlight Sunday — The Vegetarian Mom @ 9:43 pm

This week’s Spotlight Sunday is all about soup!  The weather is finally consistently cold enough for soup and I am super excited!  Here are a few soups that WILL be tried in this house sometime soon!


Spicy African Peanut Stew by Peas and Thank You

Black Bean Mushroom Chili by Eating Well

Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons by Disney Family Fun

Pickle Soup by Peas and Thank You

Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup by 365 Days of Slow Cooking

Now I think it’s time to go curl up in some flannel pajama pants and watch White Christmas and hope all this rain we’re getting turns into snow!

Question:  What is your favorite Christmas movie?


Wordless Wednesday ~ November 30: Blurry Christmas Parades and Eggnog! November 30, 2011

Filed under: Wordless Wednesday — The Vegetarian Mom @ 5:45 pm



Toddler Tuesday ~ Pencil Grip Pipe Cleaners November 28, 2011

Filed under: Christmas,Fine Motor,Toddler Tuesday — The Vegetarian Mom @ 10:25 pm

I seriously love Pinterest.  Here is another great idea I found!  I’ve used this in my classroom and at home with my Little Man.  I handed him a handful of pipe cleaners (red and green to make it a little Christmasy and festive) and I showed him how to poke one through a hole in a strainer.  He thought it was neat and tried several more.  Then I tried encouraging him to use one pipe cleaner and poke it into two holes to make an arch.  He thought that was fun, but it was even more fun when one end popped out while he was trying to poke the other end in.

Lots of fun and super easy.  After he filled most of the holes, I had him turn it over and pull them out one by one from the inside of the bowl.  It added in a bit of problem-solving when it came to removing one that was an arch.  It’s so neat to watch the trial and error process of their thinking!

Do you see the tripod grip?  This is an excellent activity for encouraging proper pencil grip.  It is almost impossible to push a pipe cleaner through one of those tiny holes using any other grip.  The easiest, and therefore most natural, is the tripod grip.  I used this in my classroom with students who needed help holding their pencils.  This was a much more fun and practical activity than the old triangle grips you can add to a pencil.

After poking pipe cleaners for about 10 minutes, Little Man decided the pipe cleaners were even more fun if you were running over them with a car.  In an attempt to add some level of skill and organization, I made a “road” for him.  He helped sort the pipe cleaners to pick the color of the road and later I made a curvy path for him to maneuver.

Overall, this was a fun evening activity.  I’ll try giving it to him again tomorrow while I cook dinner and see how he handles it.

Question:  If your little ones are in preschool, what activities do you do at home to encourage skill-building?

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Menu Plan Monday ~ November 28, 2011

Filed under: Menu Plan Monday — The Vegetarian Mom @ 7:36 pm

I’m really excited about this week’s menu!  I’ve got some new recipes to try and a “try again” recipe that I’m hoping works out for us.  Also, it’s one day late.  We went ahead and ate one of these meals last night as part of a new tradition we’re starting (more about that in another post).

Here’s what’s for dinner this week!

Sunday ~ French Toast and Veggie Sausage

Monday ~ Feta and Spinach Pastries

Tuesday ~ Spaghetti with Garlic Toast and Salad

Wednesday ~ Whatever Wednesday

Thursday ~ Mexican Meatless Meatloaf Muffins with a side of corn

Friday ~ Cream of Asparagus Soup and Salad

Saturday ~ Bean, Cheese, and Rice Burritos

Normally, my menu plans go from Monday through Sunday.  It’s a little off this week.  I’ll throw in something random on Sunday to make up for it.  Also, I include a “Whatever Wednesday” each week.  I leave one day unplanned to allow for leftovers, going out to eat, busy schedules, etc.  I almost never eat what I plan for a day on the day I plan it.  So, Whatever Wednesday may actually take place on Friday or Tuesday or whenever.  It just makes planning a little easier and a little more realistic.

For lunch this week, I made a batch of Butternut Squash and Apple Soup.  I poured it into two muffin pans and froze them.  You pop out three or four to reheat for lunch.  Thanks Pinterest!

Have a great week!

Question:  Do you plan your menus?


Spotlight Sunday: Christmas November 27, 2011

Filed under: Christmas,Spotlight Sunday — The Vegetarian Mom @ 12:13 pm
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Are you on Pinterest yet?  It’s amazing!  It’s my favorite.  It’s addicting.  If you’re on Pinterest, follow me.  Anyway, every Sunday I’m hoping to spotlight some of my favorite finds.  I’ll highlight a different board each week.  Everyone’s starting to think about Christmas… decorations, food, gifts… everything.   Here are a few favorites from my Christmas board.

Baby Scribble Gift Bows by Lines Across My Face

Felt Christmas Tree by The Empty Bobbin

Soap Neighbor Gift by Crap I’ve Made

Countdown Santa by La Classe della Maestra Valentina

Handprint Calendar by Christmas Your Way

I do believe that all of these things WILL be done sometime this holiday season.  I’m thinking the handprint calendars would make excellent grandparent gifts wrapped up with a baby scribble bow!  And perhaps after we put up the tree today, I’ll run out and get some felt to make the felt Christmas tree for Little Man to decorate until his heart’s content!

Question:  What plans do you have with your little one this season?


Pinot Noir Spiced Cranberry Sauce November 25, 2011

Filed under: Christmas,Recipes,Side Dishes,Thanksgiving — The Vegetarian Mom @ 6:33 pm
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First of all, I want to say that I am NOT a photographer.  I will probably never be a good photographer.  Maybe eventually we’ll get a fancy camera and I can take lots of fancy foodie pictures.  Until then, you get unedited, point and shoot pictures.  🙂  I promise the food will taste better than the picture looks though!  🙂

With all of that said, here’s my first holiday post.  I tried this recipe last year for Thanksgiving and I loved it!  Everyone else seemed to love it too, so I made some for Christmas as well.  This year, I knew it would be on my holiday menu.  Growing up, I sometimes felt like I was the only one who liked cranberry sauce.  I think it’s one of those “love it or hate it” dishes.  In my opinion, Thanksgiving just isn’t Thanksgiving without a plate of cranberry sauce straight from the can… sliced according to the little indentions on the can.  I guess I finally grew up.  Here’s some real cranberry sauce.  And when I saw that it was made with wine???  Yes, please!

Pinot Noir Spiced Cranberry Sauce

(adapted from Better Homes and Gardens)

Active Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Cooling Time:  2 hours

Serves:  8-10

1 cup Pinot Noir (I also pour a glass for myself at this time.  Crucial.)

1 1/4 cup sugar

1 bay leaf

1 (3-4 inch) cinnamon stick (I use two from my jar.  I think they were probably 2 1/2 inches-ish.)

1 tsp. salt

4 cups cranberries (1 bag)

In a medium saucepan, combine wine, sugar, bay leaf, cinnamon sticks, and salt.  Bring to boiling.  Add cranberries.  Bring to boiling again.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes (until all the cranberries have popped).  Remove from heat.  Let cool to room temperature (about two hours).  Remove and discard bay leaf and cinnamon stick.

Super easy, right?  And delicious!


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Make-Ahead Meals for Busy Moms


Hello! November 9, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Vegetarian Mom @ 3:21 am

Hi! I’m Courtney. Welcome to my little piece of the blogging world! I love to cook and to provide delicious, fun meals for my family. I hope to share recipes and other chit chat from my life as a vegetarian mom!

Here’s a little about my journey as a vegetarian. I’ve tried being a vegetarian twice in my life. The first time, I was married to my ex-husband and we had just given birth to our son. I loved the way I felt with the new diet, but life changed. We ended up going through a divorce. It was difficult to explain that choice to others. In addition, trying to maintain a positive, healthy diet was hard. In my new role as a single mother, money and time were tight. It was so much easier to heat up some frozen chicken nuggets and macaroni. Looking back now, none of my reasons for letting myself go were good reasons. They were excuses. However, I learned from those reasons. I tried to take on much too drastic of a change at one time. I tried to go completely vegan overnight. I tried to use “fake” meats to replace the foods I was used to cooking. I didn’t pay attention to the nutrients I was taking in (or leaving out). Lessons learned.

Now, I’m in a much different place in life. I’m in a new relationship with an old best friend (more on that later). 🙂 We’ve made the choice together to eat clean and raise the little man in the healthiest way possible. We have chosen to try to live as “green” as possible, including our diets. I have learned from my choices in the past and have had much better success this time. My cooking skills have progressed and I’m not so nervous about trying new techniques or ingredients. I’ve found recipes that I love that don’t use the “fake” meats. I have found that I don’t have to give up my favorite comfort foods, but that there are cleaner versions. It’s still a journey in progress. I still have days that I crave a giant bacon cheeseburger. I’m just living and learning as I go. Join us!