Saturday, May 8, 2010

Great Grandma Leila's Banana Cream Pie- Vegan Style

Happy Mother's Day.  I miss you Grandma.
My great grandma was once one of those women who baked her own bread and didn't know what a microwave was.  Once she got a microwave, and a taste for convenience, she loved it.  Long before my time, my grandmother was a nurse in mental hospital and worked nights.  Her husband worked for PG&E (the electric company).  They also had a cattle ranch.  Grandma Leila never would have considered complaining about this schedule, but this is what she used to do:  Work all night, come home, make breakfast and pack a lunch for Grandpa Lee, hay the cows, go to sleep for a minute, do any other ranch tasks, make dinner, keep the house clean, go to work for a full night shift, repeat.

If anyone deserved a microwave and food that came in boxes, it was my Grandma.  There are flavors that I miss that come with her cooking but come from packaged things that have ingredients I don't eat, and it makes me miss her and the experiences of being in her kitchen.

Then I discovered PETA's I Can't Believe it's Vegan list.  I couldn't believe that Jello pudding and Keebler pie crusts were vegan!  I headed right to the store to get what I'd need to make Grandma's banana cream pie!

Banana Cream Pie

1 Keebler cookie crust (or make your own with vegan graham crackers and buttery spread)
3 Bananas
1 large package Jello vanilla pudding (not the banana flavor, it's too fakey)
2 cups cold soy milk
1 package soy whipable topping (this and the soy milk are all I changed- she used to use Dream Whip)

This couldn't be easier.  Slice the bananas and line the bottom of your pie crust with a single layer.  Reserve the other slices.  Feed a few slices to a baby if you have one, she'll love it.  In a stand mixer or hand held mixer, combine the cold soy milk and Jello pudding package.  The stand mixer is easy because you can just kind of walk away and play with the baby while she eats banana slices.  You want that gelatinous consistancy that you expect with pudding.  Add the rest of the bananas and let it mix some more.  They will stay chunky, but also get mixed in.  Pour the pudding into the pie shell and refrigerate for about three hours.  Whip your soy whipable topping until it is light and fluffy, and then spread over your pie.  You can then refrigerate and it will keep for a few days- but it probably won't last that long!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cooking, Cooking, Cooking, Worrying

I have been making so many delicious meals lately and yet I haven't had time to take pictures, upload pictures, or write down recipes.  My husband just lost his job and has rightly commandeered the computer for job searches and emails.  Another result of this change is that I have been making elaborate home meals using what we have so that we are not even tempted to go and spend money on prepared food.

Here is a list of some of our meals lately:
*Pecan and Mushroom Burgers with fresh peaches on sourdough bread and sweet mustard.  Served with crispy chard and maple butter carrot matchsticks.

*Vegan sushi with wakame, tempeh, wasabi peas, macadamia nuts, and my secret recipe "salmon."

*Calzones with homemade oniony dough filled with spinach, roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, and Italian Field Roast Sausages and homemade sauce.

*Black bean, taco-flavored tempeh, zucchini and mushroom burritos with homemade tortillas.

*Various tempeh and tofu scrambles with every scrap of "leftover" veggie bits from other meals.

*Corn and potato chowder with arame and fennel.

*Homemade chocolate and maple glazed donuts.

*Oatmeal with dried cherries and almonds.

There's more, but I can't think of it all now.  As a stay at home mom, my husband's job loss has lead me to want to do my job outstandingly (not that I think I'm going to get fired).

As far as the unemployment goes, we are trying to look at things in a positive way and are hoping this is our push to move on from Alaska and either closer to our families or off to Hawaii.  As one of my friends says, "What is your problem with the contiguous United States?"  I don't know.  I think we just like extremes.  If you know of any geology jobs anywhere (we are extremely open-minded right now), feel free to pass them on.

My grandpa's reaction was definitely the sweetest so far:  He immediately asked if we needed money, and I told him we would be fine for a while and will hopefully not need to borrow from him (he has so little as it is, that makes the offer all the sweeter).  After we hung up, he called back and said that when my uncle was a baby he was going to be called back by Army reserve and my grandmother became so stressed that her milk "turned sour."  He said that milk is so important to my sweet daughter that I just have to think positively and not stress out.  He ended up not having to go to war, and he assures me that this will turn out being a good thing for us in the long run.  I can't help but smile with a grandpa so wonderful.

Some day I will post recipes again, and tell the great fish-tales of my swimming baby.  For now I have to pass off the computer for a bit.