Monday, April 23, 2018

The Good Banana

If you haven’t heard yet, we’re opening a food trailer! We’re so close to being ready to open that I can taste it (see what I did there) and it taste delicious!

The idea to start a food truck began years ago, probably about 3 years ago.  I’ve had lots of ideas and something always seemed to scare me off— the work put in, the cost, the fear of failure, the unknown.  I just continued to put it on the back burner and write it off.  I’d say I’m just too busy, it’s not the right time, I have babies, seems overwhelming, yada, yada, yada.  But I got tired of not just writing off the idea, but writing off myself. My fear of failing and lack of knowledge regarding the food industry seemed to justify not trying, but that’s no way to go about things.  I’d hate to think  Lars or Townes would one day ask me why I never did it and all I'd be able to say was that I was scared.   I convinced myself (and Bob) to just do it.  To at least try.  Because if I didn’t, I think I’d forever regret it.

I have lots of goals for this new journey, but I have one main goal and it’s really simple—to get people to stop eating crap. That’s it.  We’ve been eating crap for so long that I think we forgot what non-crap taste like, BUT y’all! non-crap is so good! I, of course also want to make you all happy and show everyone that some of your favorites can be made non-crap friendly.  Perhaps I should rename the food trailer Non-Crap Food For You.  I don’t hate it…….

I’ve been cooking or baking or sitting in the kitchen with my grandmothers, aunts and momma for as long as I can remember. They all instilled this passion for cooking and a confidence to be in the kitchen, to mess up, to try something new. I’ve never been intimated by the kitchen, or a recipe, or coming up with my own.  It’s what I do and it took years for me to see that confidence as a true gift.  
The food trailer is my way of sharing my gift with y’all. It’s my way of taking care of the people I love and the people I haven’t met yet, but I’m sure to love. It’s my tiny contribution to try and keep you healthy and happy.

IT’S VEGETARIAN – I haven’t eaten meat in 25 years. I don’t like it, never have and probably never will. Just like some people don’t like brussel sprouts, I don’t like meat. So it’d be strange to open a food truck serving meat.  I didn’t open The Good Banana to convert anyone or to shove any ethical mumbo chumbo in your face. I opened it so I could feed you delicious food.  (Thought of a new goal: to get my southwest Louisiana, duck hunting loving brother and father to eat at the trailer without giving me any crap about meat.  Never mind, that’s never going to happen…moving on.)

IT’S VEGAN— Not only is there no meat, but there’s no dairy or eggs.  Everything I cook at home is dairy free so it just seemed the way to go. I wanted to be sort of an allergy friendly place and dairy is such a high allergy food that it was a no brainer.

IT’S SOY FREE— Soy is just one of those foods…. it’s in everything. Literally, it seems hard to find food without it.  Soy is the number 2 most genetically modified food next to corn. So let’s just leave that out.  

IT’S GLUTEN FREE—Because no one eats gluten any more other than my husband. Hahaha! Honestly, when I was creating the menu and thinking of what I’d want to serve, it was just naturally gluten free. So there ya go. Bye bye gluten.

IT’S GRAIN FREE— I don’t think all grains are bad, but when we eat them home I make sure they are coming from a really good source and/or even sprouted and that just seemed awfully time consuming for food production.  And again, trying to be as food allergy friendly as possible.
And because it’s all of those things

IT’S PALEO— I didn’t necessarily want to market The Good Banana as paleo because I think most of my paleo friends would ask, ‘where’s the steak?’  While there’s no steak my beautiful cavemen and women, you can still have anything off the menu while living your best paleo life.  

I’m more than excited to open and to meet all the peoples!! I love meeting all the peeps! I hope it’s a beautiful and delicious journey and thanks for supporting me so much already!  Wimberley, TX you’re one a kind I tell ya.

Fingers crossed we get this trucker (see what I did there?) opened by the first weekend in May!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

My Aha Moment in the Middle of Target

If you can hang in there through my intro, the point of the story will come full circle….I promise.

Winter has been pretty gnarly here in Central Texas. Snow, ice, temperatures in the low teens, and frozen pipes……. wait, was that just us who forgot to drip the faucets?

During this time I realized that Lars had completely outgrown his previous winter attire and for several mornings while Lars was getting dressed I realized that his long sleeve shirts/sweaters were becoming ¾ length shirts and his skinny little arms were exposed to the harsh hill country elements (sunny and 30 degrees).  It was time for new shirts for this guy.

So while in Target one day, as I unexpectedly (or not) had entirely way too much shit in my cart because Target….I stopped by the toddler section to see if I could score some clearance long sleeve shirts for Lars.  I picked up a few 5T tshirts that I thought were cute and held them up and then it hit me…the shirts he HAD were 5T. He had outgrown them! If you don't know, that’s the end of the sizes in the toddler section. That's when I then gazed up across the aisle and there it was…the BOYS department.

I don’t know why y’all, but us moms are a strange breed.  Weird things make us crazy emotional.  I teared up and my heart sank a bit.  I placed the 5T shirts back on the table and painfully walked across the aisle to the boys section.  I felt out of place and like my feelings were hurt. (I know this is all sounding comical but it’s my life folks) How could this be? I’ve never shopped in this section before. I’ve only ever shopped in the toddler section. I made by way to the clearance rack and thumbed through the tops.  I found 3 long sleeve shirts that I thought Lars would like but knew would be a little too big.  I put them in the cart, checked out and headed home.

I tell y’all this story, only to tell you this…. for months now Bob and I have been wondering what in the hell was going on.  Lars has been combative, irritable, disrespectful, frustrated and having minor melt downs almost daily. I kept tossing it up to the holidays, or not enough sleep, which maybe those played a part, but I knew there was something else going on and that day in Target was my aha moment.  Lars is leaving toddlerhood behind and moving straight into boyhood. And it seems to be a really big and at times difficult transition...for all of us. 

He’s leaving the 5T’s and moving into the xsmalls. He’s needing less nurturing and more mentoring. He’s trying to find his independence and not ask for help but at the same time still needs us a lot. I’m sure it’s frustrating for him.  I’m sure it’s hard and exhausting as is any transitional phase. 

My mama heart aches as any mama can relate when your babies transition out of a phase. but this one is hard for me. Harder than that newborn to baby or baby to toddler or toddler to …..older toddler. He’s a little boy, who’s going to be 6 in April and I’m just not ready. I know I have to be ready, but it gives me that achy feeling in my throat, that wow, he’s growing up, time is moving so quickly feeling.

Sad mama feelings aside, I’m so excited for Lars and for what’s to come. I’m also excited to perhaps one day soon be out of this difficult, screw everything phase because that would be super awesome. I know he’s growing up and I know it’s inevitable, but he will always be my baby boy, my first beautiful boy. And just FYI….those shirts that I knew would be a little too big, fit just perfectly.

photo by the most wonderful katherine o'brien

Monday, February 13, 2017

Lars & Townes, I love you.

On this Valentine’s Eve, which Bob and I never really celebrated until we had babies and then you take any reason you can to celebrate, I want to write a letter to my boys…my beautiful, awe inspiring boys.

Being your mother is a gift; a true gift.  A gift that sometimes gets disguised in messes and middle of the night waking’s, in dark circles and short tempers, in miscommunication and frustration.  I never knew a gift would include all of these non-gift like characteristics. But that my loves, has been my greatest lesson learned since being your mother.  The gift of complete and unhindered love that I have for each of you.  I love you through these messes and dark circles, through the tantrums and frustration. I love you while I’m cleaning the endless pee off the bathroom floor.  I love you when you need me 4,000 times during the night….for the fifth night in a row. I love you when I’ve asked you countless times to do something and it doesn’t get done. I love you when I lose my cool.  It’s never hard to love you because it’s who I am now, it’s part of my being.  I am here to love you forever, no matter what.  I’m here to support you and believe in you.  To let you fall but help you up, to watch you cry but hold you tight.  I am yours. 

Lars, thank you for making me a mother.  You are the light of my life; the funniest person I know and often times the smartest.  You are witty and curious and so captivated by knowledge.  I tell myself daily to appreciate your strong will and determination because it will serve you well. It’s just hard to see that when your strong will and determination is keeping you from doing what I ask, but nevertheless I appreciate it and I know exactly where it comes from.  You are the most wonderful and caring big brother in the world and you have been since day one.  Honestly, I had my doubts but they quickly diminished once I witnessed you and Townes for the first time.  I love you Lars, more than you could ever imagine. The day you were born was the  most epic day of my entire life and you’ve continued to make most of my days pretty epic since.

Townes, my precious Townesy...another light of my life. Never did I think I could love another as much as I love your brother and then BAM!! you arrived and my heart just about burst with love. You are always the calm to my storm.  When things have been hectic or crazy, you snuggle your precious face into my neck and all feels right. You are so cuddly and squishy and I love nothing more than holding you.  You make everyone happy with your laugh and your sweet little face. I love how much you adore Lars…when y’all are together life feels pretty perfect.  I love that we are still figuring you out but yet we have endless love for you.  You complete the circle, my sweet Townes.  You are what we were all wanting to make our family full, so thank you for being born; for choosing me as your mother and us as your family.  It’s hard to imagine life before you.  I love you sweet baby.

And to the guy who started this whole love fest in the first place….Bob!  I love you plain and simple.  I couldn’t do any of this without you.  Thank you for supporting me, for putting up with me (goodness…that’s a big thanks!), for being so calm and logically all the time, for being my balance…

Friday, January 27, 2017

Food, Food and Food

If I had to sum up my current life in three words it would be: babies (Lars is still a baby, right?), Bob (because I love him and couldn't do this without him) and food (because someone is always hungry and sometimes I feel like we work to pay our grocery bill).

I've said before that we cook every. single. night. and it still holds true. Some nights I wish we didn't have to cook but we live so far out that 'picking something up' is like an hour ordeal or going out to dinner is a 2+ hour ordeal...with a 4 year old and a 9 month old (no thank you).  Our little town has some great food but nothing quick that's for sure. So we cook and we cook a lot. We cook breakfast, lunch for the kids and dinner, so there's a lot (A LOT) of food and cooking going on in the Authement-Keates household.

Our food bill is our second highest bill for the month next to our mortgage and Bob swears sometimes our mortgage comes in second.....I won't divulge what we spend a month on food but buying organic, healthy and when available local is important to us so it's a big expense.

We obviously don't buy meat, except for when Lars thinks he wants to try halibut, crab, shrimp, turkey hot dogs or some other ridiculously expensive meat item that I cave into buying for him because I want him to try food and be adventurous even though I know the cat will end up eating it or we'll give it we don't have (usually) have that expense. But don't worry....I tend to make up for the cost.

I've found that we do best and spend less when I make a weekly menu that includes dinner, lunches for Lars, snacks, any treats we may want to make and food for Townes and then make my list according to the menu.  Otherwise, we're at the grocery store a few times a week and we end up spending way more money than necessary. When I'm on track and get this done, the total when we get up to the register is a hard pill to swallow but I know if we don't plan we end up spending more.

When I'm scrounging the interwebs and cookbooks for recipes I generally look for vegan recipes.  We're not 100% vegan but I find vegan recipes to be more plant based and nutritional than a lot of vegetarian recipes. I would guess that roughly 4 out of the 7 meals we have a week are vegan.

Also, sorry for the crappy phone pictures of all the food.  There's just no time after dinner's made to take pretty pictures....maybe one day :)

Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Oat Crust (vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free)

Spicy Pesto Pasta with Roasted Veggie and Goat Cheese  (it's a spin off of this recipe)

Chili Cheese Nachos (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

my lunch one random day. garlic quinoa, spinach, cucumbers, olives, tomatoes and avocado with a spicy tahini sauce. no recipe. 

Creamy Vegetable Curry (vegan, gluten free) I would make this every single night because I love curry but Bob hates curry. So I make it when we have company that also enjoys it. 

Thai coconut curry sweet potato soup with roasted tamari almonds (vegan, gluten free)  (curry for the win!! bob was cool with this soup for all you curry haters)

Nachos Supreme. (gluten free) chips, topped with cheese, roasted veggies, Spanish rice, homemade refried black beans, veggies and chipolte cream sauce. 

banana nut bread (vegan, easily made gluten free...this one isn't, refined sugar free)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tripod Holiday Photos

Some years I have my shit together enough to have Katherine take our photos and other years not so much. This year was of the latter.  This year was a set the camera up on the tripod and hope for the best.  I've done this twice for family photos and after we're done I swear up and down that I will never do it again and I will get it together the following year.  It's hard enough trying to get a good family photo with no one crying or pouting or making a 4 year old cheese face with a great photographer let along blindly trying to take it. What's a girl to do?

There's this place in our yard that at around 4:30 has the most spectacular light.  I've always loved it and had this grand idea that we would take these beautiful back lit family photos for the holidays. Well, i got a few of those but I also got an abundance of lens flare which looks cool in some of the pictures but most of them were a hot mess. Trying to set up a picture, get the kids looking at the camera, making sure Bob's not being ridiculous and that I look like a doting loving's exhausting.

this is by far my most favorite and it was the last one taken. the way lars is holding townes' hand... it's almost too much to handle. so much love

these guys have my heart! oh lars, you are so 4 years old! 

the word love seems insignificant to the way i feel about this guy. 

and this guy, my squishy

and this one too

this picture sums everything up perfectly.  i thought for sure everyone was smiling wonderfully at the camera.  Townes is obviously confused as to why he's not on my hip and why i'm so far away.  Lars is being Lars and this is what happens when I ask him to do a good smile and Bob who was being a trooper but was pretty not thrilled because I pulled him away from the middle of an Eagles game to take these pictures

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Lars' Room

I have a slight love affair with empty white space.   That probably doesn’t come as a surprise to people who know me.  Even in my work it shows up more often than not. I like empty space because when things feel cluttered around me, I feel cluttered.  When we began renovating our house (excuse me while I throw up in my mouth….ughhh…that was the worst) painting the walls white was one of the first things we did and boy did it make a difference!  It brightened up the entire house , made it feel airy and clean (even though it was in the process of renovations and there was dust everywhere). 

I also have the opposite of a hoarding problem.  What’s that called?  I can’t stand when stuff accumulates and when I say stuff I mean STUFF.  Toys, crafts, shoes, clothes, towels, reusable grocery bags, etc….Some mornings I’ll wake up and I’m on a mission.  Bob just goes and gets a bag or 4 and I make piles to donate and to take to the dump. 
I like our space to have as little clutter as possible.  You’d probably think I was lying if you walked into my house on any given day but I can only control so much.  Day to day life often times takes over and it takes us a few days to get things back in order. The fewer things we have the less clutter there is and the less mess we have to clean.

Lars’ room is perhaps the exception to my mantra.  When he started having ideas and opinions for his room, I tried hard not to stand in the way.  The only thing I said no to was painting his walls pink (his favorite color) only because we had just painted every wall and ceiling in the house white and we hope to sell the house in the near future.  I told him whenever we get into a new house he can paint his walls J

Lars like any 4 year old has lots of interest.  Obviously dinosaurs take the lead but he also loves rocks, animals, star wars, crafts and books.  And that’s mainly what his room is all about.  In the beginning I had the urge to take things off the wall because if felt cluttered but I’ve come to love it.  When you walk in his room, you know exactly who’s room it is. 

I love that everything in his room means something to him.  His dream catchers are one of the first things I purchased for his room when we had just moved in.  His drawings are one that he obviously loved enough to tape on his wall.  His rocks...OH his rocks! They are very important and have been specially selected, washed and rinsed and placed.  

He is constantly hanging things on his walls and adding more rocks to his dresser or shelf.  He loves his room and that makes me really happy.  He even gets excited about changing his sheets!! He has two sets of dinosaur sheets and when I was a set, it's like he's never seen them before.  It's the cutest. I'm not super into printed bedding (again love affair with empty white space) but when we got Lars his big boy bed he desperately wanted dinosaur sheets and let me just tell you....they were not as easy to find as you would think! 

his quilt was made by his favorite and beloved aunt ann when he was just a wee lad

i framed this preemie onesie that he wore right after coming home....sigh  his maraca was a gift from my mom while on a trip to Mexico.  the framed painting is the first finger painting he ever did 

a pot that he picked out from my aunts house 

a giant moth that he insisted on keeping 

a map of costa rica (because he can't wait to go there) and a small portion of his books and a framed water color frog print he selected

a parrot that's been past down to us from his mimi, and a framed jelly fish water print he picked out at the lavender festival

love him so...and his room

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

This weeks dinners and my grocery list....

Last weeks menu was a hit at our house.  The only recipe I didn't get around to making was the Carrot Tahini Soup which is on the rotation for this week because it sounds too delicious to pass up.  I skipped the soup because we ended up getting a late start on dinner one night and had leftover spaghetti and neatballs.  It worked.

I try to make my menus last a full week, Monday to Monday that way we have Monday or Tuesday to grocery shop.

this is the vegan ramen from last weeks menu.  it was easy but a little more time consuming than i would normally like to spend only because i've never made ramen and i was following the recipe pretty strictly and once I got half way through it, I noticed it said to let the broth cook for TWO HOURS......ummm that didn't happen... but we all LOVED it.  

this is the carrot and broccoli salad with miso ginger sauce.  it was amazing and you must make it! 

This week menu

Carrot Tahini Soup (vegan and gluten free.  also, i refuse to pine nuts because they are stupidly expensive so i'll probably use pumpkin seeds)

Luxurious Tomato Basil Pasta (this is a vegan, gluten free recipe that we all love and is from one of my favorite cooks books, Oh She Glows)

Spicy Potato 'n Black Bean Burritos (this recipe is vegan and gluten free, but I foresee us adding some cheese and maybe greek yogurt)

Falafel Wraps with Tzatziki Sauce (no real recipe for this. I use the falafel mix from whole foods and make a quick Tzatziki Sauce  and top it with spinach, olives, feta and tomatoes)

Black Bean Burgers and Fries

Pizza (Bob's famous weekly addition)

Spicy Peanut Sweet Potato Soba Noodles (this one is making it back on the list from last week, but it's super quick and yum.  I may change it up a bit)

If I'm feeling sassy :) i may make these One Bowl Jumbo Chocolate Chunk Cookies (vegan, gluten and refined sugar free)

Here's my grocery list...after i sent this to bob I immediately texted, OH AND WINE...OF COURSE

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