Sunday, July 21, 2013

You're a Vegan, What Do You Eat? (Dashboard Cookie Edition)

It has been an embarrassingly long time since I have made a YAVWDYE post.  Might as well jump back into the game with a recipe for vegan chocolate chip cookies, baked on the dashboard of your Prius!

It all started last winter, when one of my favorite vegan cooking sites (Plant Based on a Budget) published a recipe for Trail Mix Cookies.  I love these cookies.  The beauty of them is that you start with a basic dough (vegan butter, flour, sugar, brown sugar) and you can add pretty much anything you want to them.  They always turn out great.

Here is how I usually make them:

1/4 cup Earth Balance

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

Dash vanilla extract

1 tsp baking soda, dissolved in 1 tablespoon warm water

1/2 cup (heaping) flour

1/2 tsp salt

~1 cup quick cooking oats

chopped peanuts

chopped dried apricots or dried cranberries

non-dairy chocolate chips

--> Occaisionally I also add sunflower seeds, ground flax seeds dissolved in water, and/or shredded coconut.

They are delicious:

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You can also add molasses to them and they turn out darker, still delicious:

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Earlier this week, Snarky Vegan reposted the link to her blog entry on how to bake cookies on the dashboard of your car.  Basically, you just need a car, some vegan cookie dough, a very hot day, and cookie sheets lined with aluminum foil.  Visit her site for the full instructions on how to do it.

I thought this would be a fun project for me and Will last Friday-- he often likes helping add the ingredients and stirring when I bake things (though he rarely if ever eats the finished product).  I tried to get him pumped up about baking cookies in the car, but he was decidedly unamused and preferred to play with his trains.  The dashboard cookies turned out to be a largely solitary effort.

I started off with some basic vegan cookie dough:

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Then I placed the cookie sheets on the dashboard of the Prius:

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And waited.  And waited.  While it was definitely a very hot day, our driveway is a little shady, so it took a while for the car to get hot enough for the cookies to bake.

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At last, I decided they were done!

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*Note: be sure to use potholders to get the cookies out of the car! This pan had been out for a couple minutes already so it was cool enough for us to touch it like we are in the picture above.


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I was hoping Will would be excited to have a cookie for a snack.  He did seem interested in the cookies, so I took one off the cookie sheet and handed to him.  He smiled and shook his head.  I asked him to please try it, and to his credit, he did bravely take one bite.  But then he handed it back to me and said, "I don't want it," and ran back inside.

If you have a kid who eats food, please, please, consider yourself lucky.  

More for Rob and me to enjoy, I guess.  

I thought the cookies turned out pretty well, and it didn't heat up the house to make them.  They were a little gooier (sp?) than usual, but there's nothing wrong with that.  

Many more hot days ahead in St. Louis this summer--I'm definitely planning on making these again.  Hopefully Will will eat one this time, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

Thanks to Snarky Vegan for the tip, and thanks for reading!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Dear William (47 months)

Dear William,

Today you are 47 months old! Time is just flying by.

We started off the month with a camping trip near Boonville, IN.  Your father was doing an off-road triathlon there.  Let's just say it wasn't the classiest place in the world (for example, there was a woman at the campground wearing a confederate flag bikini).  But we had some fun.  We found a playground.

Big boy swing

There was a water slide there too, and you insisted that you wanted to go on it.  I told you that you would get your face wet and you would go all the way under the water at the end, and you said that would be fine.  You said you wanted to sit on my lap and ride the slide, and so I hesitantly agreed.  But as we started going down, you got really, really scared and didn't want to do it anymore.  Kind of too late at that point.  And then at the end you were terrified.  You screamed and cried as we went under water.  I think it scarred you for life.  You had about 2 weeks of swim lessons left and you refused to even get in the water most of that time.  I really hope you can recover from this someday.

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 Before the slide. There are no pictures from afterwards.  Too much crying.

We went to the library a couple of times this month and picked out some new books to read.  We found a really good one about a baboon.

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We all had some cuddles on the couch.



You helped me do a lot of painting this month.  We painted your room brown and another color brown (your description).

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Your dad bought a season pass to Six Flags, and because he claims you are 42" tall (you are not), he took you on some of the big roller coasters, such as the Screaming Eagle. 


Funpark 1

You called Six Flags the "Fun Park" and it wore you out so much that you fell asleep on the way home.

Funpark 2

I got my hair cut this month, and it was horrible and so I had to re-do it myself after I got home.  You were very sweet about it and said, "Oh Mommy, you are so pretty."

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You ran the kids' version of Macklind Mile again this year (it was 1/4 mile).  Your grandpa and daddy ran it with you.



Your friend who is our neighbor was running it too.  She fell down.  You called her The Baby Who Fell Down after that.


You had a strong finish.



I couldn't go to your race because I was at a workshop learning to be a doula that weekend.  The workshop was good, but I was really sad about missing your race.

While I was at the workshop, your dad kept you busy by taking you to ride on trains and going to the Fun Park again.

On the train

You fell off your bicycle that weekend, and you had a scraped up lip :(


Big wheel

Your dad also got you a new pool, I think to try to counteract your fear of the water after the waterside incident.

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You were very helpful this month.  You helped me go grocery shopping.

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You rode your bike a lot.  

Practicing cyclocross

You still go to school 2 days a week, and you have started riding your bike there while one of us jogs along beside you.  I am so proud of you for doing that!  Your school is almost 2 miles away!


Our air conditioner stopped working again (just briefly) so we had to camp out in the basement where it was cool.  You didn't mind.



You played with some of the neighbor kids this month, including The Baby Who Fell Down.  The conversations you had with each other were so interesting.


Will: I am number three, almost number four.  What number are you?

Baby Who Fell: I am number two, almost number 3.

Will: I went to the library and the fun park and Ashlynn's house and Nicaragua.

Baby Who Fell: I had a cupcake.


Will, you and I have had an amazing month, and I have one more whole month left before I have to go back to work.  I am looking forward to all the fun things we are going to do!!

Love always,

Mama Meli


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Doula in training

So this happened.

Last spring, during a Google-search rampage initiated by an Oh My God, What Am I Doing With My Life moment, I came across an announcement for a Birth Doula Training Workshop in St. Louis.  

As some may recall, I had a doula when I gave birth to Will almost 4 years ago.  I can't even imagine how completely botched and horrible the experience would have become if she had not been there.  Every single day that has passed since then, I still take a moment to be thankful for her.

Becoming a doula myself was not something I had ever considered.  In fact, I had to take a step back from anything birth or pregnancy related for quite some time (say, 4 years) because these things triggered a flood of negative emotions in me.  Hyperemesis, the near-disaster that was his birth, and the resultant breastfeeding hell that made me wonder what I'd done to deserve such punishment.  We all survived by the very skin of our teeth.

But when I saw the announcement for the workshop-- a DONA approved doula training that included a childbirth education component required for certification--I knew this was where I belonged.  

The workshop took place over 3 days last weekend.  It was intense.  Intense.  30 hours of birth, birth, birth.  The other 20 or so participants in the course now feel like members of my own family.  Most of what I learned wasn't entirely new to me-- it was more like reawakening muscle memory of my once-extensive command of the vocabulary of birth.  It made me appreciate my own doula even more, after trying on her shoes and walking around for a while.

To me, birth is a big, big deal, and after this workshop, I definitely feel prepared to support other women through the process.  In a strange sort of way, my many years of running marathons and ultra marathons, as well as crewing for Rob during his races, has provided me a remarkable preparation for becoming a doula.  Let me be clear: giving birth is nothing like running a marathon or even an ultra, but the kind of support you provide in both situations is actually quite similar.  What you have to do is make someone believe that they can do something, and then they go ahead and do it.  I think I'm pretty good at that.  I got Rob to go up the volcano at Fuego y Agua this year.  I can make a laboring woman believe in herself.

At the moment, I have no real leads on potential clients, but I certainly hope that I have the chance to attend births someday.  While I am gaining experience, I think I would be happy doing community service work for free.  For example, working with incarcerated women who are transported to the hospital from their facility.  Teen moms.  Women who do not speak English.  Low income women who want to have a doula but don't have the means to pay for one.

If anyone out there knows of someone who might be interested in having me attend her birth, please feel free to send her my way!

Thanks for reading.