Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Happy Thanksgiving!

Although Aaron isn’t the biggest lover of pumpkin, but I have to get my pumpkin fill in as many ways as I can during the fall. One of my favorite ways to use up my stockpile of canned pumpkin is to make a healthy and refreshing pumpkin pie smoothie for breakfast. It’s one way to sneak in a few fruits, some omegas, and lots of antioxidants via spices like cinnamon and ginger.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Thievery
Freddie enjoying my Pumpkin Pie Smoothie on Thanksgiving morning.

I try to whip one of these bad boys together in the time after I drop Freddie at daycare and before I head to work. If I don’t schedule my smoothie making like that, Freddie tries to drink it all. Him having a smoothie isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but he’s a pumpkin hog.


Vegan Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup nondairy milk (we use soy)
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup canned puréed pumpkin
  • 2 Tbsp oatmeal
  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp blackstrap molasses
  • 3-4 ice cubes

Put everything in a blender or food processor and blend. Enjoy!


Vegan Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
Dessert in a glass

 

Fall Festival Time!! Part Deux…

This weekend Pug Daddy’s parents were visiting. That’s right, the INLAWS!!! Noooo! Instead of the usual gathering around the television and addictively watching Fox News like they typically like to do, we decided to take them on a trip to a local farm to enjoy a bit of the Fall Festival season.

I was pondering going to Trax Farm, which is about 30 minutes from our house and located directly off of Route 88. I heard through the daycare-parent grapevine that Trax allows fracking on their property. Yuck!

Instead, we thought that we would try out Simmons Farm. This farm is located in Peters Township, sandwiched in between mega mansions. It’s very spaced out and makes good use of the apple orchards, pumpkin patch, and small stores that are all on the property. I have to say that this farm takes fall decorations very seriously.

F0137277-12C4-45D8-B7E1-68C774ECCCC1

Freddie’s favorite part was definitely the small field where the farm had several animals. His favorites were the goats and sheep.

EA16B908-A879-4909-93F6-3735B728AA3D

We did pick a few apples and it seemed like the hike to ripe apples was a long and sweaty one. I’m not sure why I thought carrying a bushel of apples, with a toddler, walking uphill, on a 75 degree day, was a good idea.

4C70855F-EEA1-4580-958B-955FF8CB7760
…And the rope just keeps going…

Overall, Simmons Farm was a very nice trip. It wasn’t too far away and we didn’t have too much trouble with Fall Festival overcrowding. Next time I might take Freddie on a Friday morning when his daycare is having a day off so that we can have more of the farm to ourselves. Excellent option to entertain the in laws.

B2087B93-F81B-47FC-B1A4-D3F5822B2B55

An Evening with George Takei

So while Aaron and I were out getting some ice cream, I noticed a flyer on the wall. It was advertising “An Evening with George Takei.” I knew he was a Star Trek fan so of course, I said, “Hey, wanna go?” He was not interested and then I dropped the topic.

The very next day, one of my besties Jenny Liu, texted me and asked if I wanted to go to …. “An Evening with George Takei”. Because of the fact that I was already mildly intrigued since seeing the flyer in an ice cream parlor, I agreed to go.

Jenny Liu and I purchased our tickets and planned a time to meet. Since we are both busy ladies, we didn’t have time for dinner before the show. I arranged for Mama D to watch Freddie and she arranged for Mama Liu to watch her boys.

F6B28001-574F-4E51-AB92-B63596B663D4

We meet up in an auditorium on the Pitt campus. This talk was part of International Week and the theme of the week was “displacement”. A Pitt professor gave us an introduction citing all of the recent examples of people being displaced. Dreamers, Myanmar, Syria, and the victims of the recent natural disasters. More groups of people than I had really considered.

D75EDEF6-B339-4DF2-9CDE-EA6A2AD80404
The outside of Soldiers and Sailors where we saw Takei

Then George Takei came out and started his talk. I had known that he had been in a Japanese internment camp, but never really knew the details about how everything had happened. It astounded me how fast anyone could lose absolutely everything. One day you have a successful business, a home, and a family, and the next day, you’re living in a swamp in the Deep South with an empty bank account.

How his parents were able to live the rest of their lives without resentment amazed me. I get so angry whenever Pug Daddy doesn’t empty the dishwasher. I don’t think I could peacefully live in a place that caused me to lose all of my earthly possessions.

George Takei switched gears and started talking about when States started to pass gay marriage legislation. We learned that his husband “Brad” also had come to this lecture. They both became gay marriage activists and got to see gay marriage become legal in all 50 states. It was very inspirational. He seemed so happy and proud. Warm tingly feelings were felt all around.

I was so glad that I got to see Jenny Liu and have a night out. Hopefully neither of us will ever be displaced from our homes and hopefully the people who are currently displaced find some sanctuary. We both enjoyed hearing George Takei’s motivational talk and it had us feeling good for the rest of the night.

B2CB1546-3FA4-4111-82D7-3374492EB90B
Jenny Liu and I after Takei talk

A World Without Cookies is Somewhere That I don’t Want to Live

Its so fun whenever you start to see little things in your children that remind you of yourself or your partner. Like that little sideways glance they do whenever they are doing something that they know they aren’t supposed to be doing. Or the twinkle in their eyes that they have whenever they are happy that is the same little twinkle you noticed on the first date that you had with your partner. Insert cheesy smile that looks like a picture you have of your sister when she was 6.

016E0EDD-9421-44BC-AE51-177AE7BB28BB
He is literally Aunt Banana’s clone in this picture.

At most meals these days, Freddie likes to enjoy a few cookies. Where does he get this love? I’ll tell you. Just like his Mama, Freddie has a crazy love of all cookies. How can you say no to that face? Of course we enjoy organic, vegan cookies, but cookies nonetheless.

We have a hard time making it through the grocery store without taking a little timeout for cookies. Freddie has become quite familiar with the packaging of our favorite brands. Just take a gander at our recent Whole Foods break.

00FEB961-433C-43CF-9626-42FEE3946AB7
We love Alternative Baking Company cookies!

We like to shop and then sit in the cafe for a brief snack time. Sometimes we chat with cafe workers, sometimes we don’t. Freddie had a Peanut Butter cookie and I enjoyed a Lemon Poppyseed cookie made by the Alternative Baking Company.

I think I even have rubbed off my love of cookies on the rest of the Grumble. Everyone loves peanut butter cookies in this house. Mother Hubbard is our Pug Cookie brand of choice.

D5D4A960-4E81-4678-B0D6-0B93AFC5E5AC
That’s a peanut butter cookie that I’m holding at the bottom of the picture.

Pug Daddy and I do have regular debates about the appropriate texture of cookies. He tends to enjoy a crunchier cookie, but I prefer a softer and more chewy cookie. Shall I say the most hated word in the English language? I prefer a MOIST cookie. That’s right, a MOIST cookie.

So lots of cookies are in The House of Grumble. How do households survive without regular infusions of cookies? I have no answers and do not understand this lifestyle. So I proudly pass down cookie love to the pug children and my human child.  More cookies please!

To Pug Chiropractor or Not To Pug Chiropractor?

Last week we took the girls for their annual vet visit at Point Breeze Veterinary Clinic (shout out to Dr Schroth). They all did really well. Everyone’s weight was right where it is supposed to be and the girls all got their vaccinations. All was well in the world and we were hoping that we wouldn’t see the inside of the vet for a solid 12 months.

A few days later, Ellie Mae started acting a little bit strange. She was hiding from us and gradually losing her appetite as time went on. We were getting so worried. Of course this all happened over a weekend and eventually Pug Daddy and I agreed that we should take Miss Ellie Mae to emergency clinic for fear that she was having some kind of adverse reaction to her vaccinations.

IMG_4642
Ellie Mae sleeping on the couch

After Pug Daddy spent several hours in the Emergency Room waiting room, the vet diagnosed Ellie Mae with Intra-vertebral disc disease and potential herniated discs in her cervical spine. As someone who works in Physical Therapy, I knew that this could be bad especially since dogs can’t really do much in the way of rehab. The doctor on duty prescribed pain medication and recommended that we follow up first with our regular vet and then with the doggie neurologist. We would most likely need a doggie MRI and possibly spinal surgery to correct her disc issues. We even got a handout about fitting Ellie Mae for a doggie wheelchair. Dollar signs flashed before my eyes right before I pictured Ellie Mae accidentally rolling her doggie wheelchair down the stairs. A lot of anxiety followed, as well as many glasses of wine.

Fast forward to a few days later, and Ellie Mae and I are waiting to see Dr Schroth. We go into the examination room and she reassures me that she doesn’t think that Ellie Mae is a surgical candidate. Whew!!! She does agree that she needs lots of rest and thinks that we should keep up with her regimen of pain pills.

It just so happens that while Ellie Mae and I are at the vet, the canine chiropractor is available. Dr Schroth suggested that we just talk to her and see what she recommends. Sigh… whenever my baby pug is in pain, I have to try everything right? So I justify a trip to the Pug Chiropractor in my mind. “We’ll just try it,” I think to myself. “The worst thing that can happen is that it doesn’t work” right? So we did it. Ellie Mae got adjusted and we sent some kind of energy into her spine. I feel some good vibes, don’t you?

IMG_4639
Ellie Mae’s chiropractic summary

The results aren’t in quite yet. Stay tuned…

It’s Fall Festival Time!!!

It’s Fall Festival Time!!! That means corn stalks, apples, and my favorite PUMPKINS! This weekend Pug Daddy, Freddie and I took a drive out to a local orchard; Soergel’s, to take in some of the fall season. Little did we know that it would be 80 degrees outside and so packed full of people that we parked really far away and had to hike across a pumpkin patch just to get to the main part of the festivities. We, of course, had Freddie riding in his aquamarine City Minnie stroller and pushed him “off road style”.

IMG_4611
Risden Family at Soergel’s Orchard, October 7, 2017

I believe everyone in the Tri State area had the same idea because there were sooo many people there. We popped into the farm stand style store for a quick drink and we had difficulty moving around. Pug Daddy may have accidentally run into a handicapped woman’s walker on accident (oops!). Long lines combined with a ton of children made quickly doing anything very unrealistic.

Despite the uncomfortable heat, and crowds, we did get to see the rows of apple trees, pumpkin patches, and fall wildflowers. We took a few obligatory pictures and popped our heads into a few shops to see what Soergel’s had to offer. I was super excited about the local Arsenal Cider House that was selling jugs of adult cider. It was the perfect drink for a warmer than expected day. I was also pleasantly surprised to find dairy-free ice cream being offered right next to the plain old cow’s milk ice cream. Freddie wasn’t really feelin’ the orchard after about an hour, but a soy root beer float would have been oh so delightful.

IMG_4622

We had a pretty nice time overall, but I would also like to check out other fall festivals in the area. I’m hoping that we are able to go to one that isn’t’ quite so congested. Hopefully we will actually try the soy ice cream too.