another day in LA… a trip to farm sanctuary

Farm Sanc 1

Prepare yourself for a pretty heavy blog post.

As I mentioned earlier this month, Leo has decided that he wants to be a vegetarian because he doesn’t want to eat animals and Lenny, Lucy and I have joined him in this journey.  Cooking and eating vegetarian at home has been easy. Lenny and I haven’t had a problem eating at any restaurants yet.  Leo however, has had some struggles.

The other afternoon I took him to a local taco stand where he had been before and he wanted chicken tacos.  I told him there weren’t vegetarian but if he wanted to order them that was his choice.  After a slight tantrum, I conceded and ordered him the chicken tacos.  Lucy and I had avocado tacos and as we sat their eating Leo kept announcing loudly to everyone in ear shot “I’m a vegetarian” as he sat their munching on chicken.  Oy.

Pretty much everyone eating at the taco stand was tuned into what what happening at our table, due to the volume of my toddler, as I tried to reason with Leo about his tacos. “Leo, those tacos are not vegetarian.  They are made from a chicken.”

“No, they are not.  Where are the eyes?”

How does one explain this to a 4 year old?

We decided to take a trip to Farm Sanctuary and introduce Leo to some farm animals friends and hopefully teach him a little bit about the animals that he loves so dearly.

Farm Sanctuary’s mission is to protect farm animals from cruelty, inspire change in the way society views and treats farm animals, and promote compassionate vegan living. Their two farms in California and one in New York shelter hundreds of animals that were rescued from the commercial farming industry.

The tour started with a brief overview of the organization and and a video that included some footage of animals in factory farms, this definitely made Leo (and myself) uncomfortable. So if you visit with the kiddos, be aware of this.  The rest of the one hour tour was spent meeting the animals- which we all loved.

We met a sleepy pig named Macy, two ENORMOUS and very friendly cows, a beautiful black turkey named Turkey Lurkey, chickens, goats and sheep. Our tour guide was great and gave us wonderful introductions to each of the animals that we met, as well as some information about factory farming.  I am not sure how much of this Leo absorbed or understood but he loved meeting all of the animals.  He said he favorite were the cows and the pigs. I loved watching the cow try to lick him and the loving belly rub that he gave to a giant pig.

The farm itself is beautiful, the animals have lots of room to roam, the pigs have a pond to swim in and the chickens even have air conditioning!

After our tour we had a lunch at one of the picnic tables in their courtyard, peanut butter sandwiches, bananas and popcorn. FYI- If you pack a picnic for the Farm Sanctuary, they ask that all of the food be vegan.

Farm Sanc CI am finding that it is a very fine line between giving your child information about how food (specifically meat and dairy) gets on their plate, and scarring them for life.  I know that Leo loved meeting and cuddling all of the animals but I think back to his chicken taco dilemma and I am not sure that this trip brought him any closer to the answer. How did we get this place of treating animals so poorly, I don’t even want my four year old to know about it because it is so brutal and hateful? There is so much to process and so much to learn that I am finding it incredibly overwhelming. This is definitely going to be a struggle with Leo but I love that he is making compassionate choices at such a young age.

a lovely recipe, butternut squash and black bean quesadillas

quesadillas

Happy Meatless Monday! Now that we are eating vegetarian in our home, it’s meatless every day around here so I need to come up with a few new dinners to throw into the rotation.  These black bean and butternut squash quesadillas are a hit!  The first time I made them was kind of an accident.  I was steaming butternut squash (the frozen and cubed variety) for Lucy, and I realized that I made WAY too much. Voila! A new family favorite was born.

Ingredients
olive oil
1/4 white onion finely chopped
1 clove of garlic chopped (I used Dorot)
1 cup of steamed butternut squash
1 15 oz can of black beans
1 cup of shredded Monterey jack
1/4 cup of cilantro finely chopped (I used leaves and stems)
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
10 inch tortillas (whatever kind you like best)
Pico de Gallo (for serving)

Heat oven to 350.

Sautee your onion in just enough olive oil to coat the pan, about 1-2 teaspoons. When the onion is translucent begins to brown, add the garlic. Sauté for one more minute and set aside to cool.

Add the steamed squash to a large mixing bowl and mash lightly with the back of a fork. Drain and rise the black beans and add to the bowl along with cheese, cilantro, cooled onions and garlic and cumin. Stir well.

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Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat and brush with olive oil add a tortilla and top with 1/2 to 3/4 cup of filling. Fold over and cook on both sides until brown and crispy. Place on baking sheet. Repeat until your filling is gone- this will make about five quesadillas.

If your cheese is not totally melted (mine was not) finish you quesadillas for five to ten minutes in the oven. Serve with fresh pico de gallo or your favorite salsa.

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Some notes- You can easily make this vegan by not using the cheese or replacing with vegan cheese. It would also be awesome to add some jalapeno to this (remove seeds and sauté with onion), but as I cook for toddlers that was not an option for me.

Happy cooking!

happy birthday, sweet girl!

Dear Lucy,

I know that everyone thinks that their baby is the sweetest in the universe… but you really are!  You always have a smile and even a snuggle to share with friends and strangers alike.  I have dubbed your frequent look of elatedness/surprise “Lucy face,” which always lights up the room.

You LOVE to eat. You are such a tiny thing, I am not really sure where you put it all but sometimes you eat a better dinner than your brother, and more variety for sure!  Your favorite thing to eat is watermelon.  You also love quiche, lasagna, bananas and black beans. You still refuse to let us feed you with a spoon so every meal results in bath time, which may be your master plan.  You love your bath: you get at least two a day.  You are starting to splash a lot.

You love music and rocking out to the beat.  You also love books but mostly for turning and chewing on the pages, it’s hard to sit through a whole story without grabbing, I get that.

You laugh when we tickle your feet and especially when we “eat” your belly.  You love to play with your brother, especially all of his cool toys.

Lucy, I love you! Thank you for being our sweet girl!  I can’t wait to watch you grow up.

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lucy’s first birthday inspiration…

Can you believe that my baby girl is turning one tomorrow?  I can’t!  It seems like just a few weeks ago that we were bringing her home from the hospital and she was swimming in her newborn clothes.  It’s so crazy how much babies change in the first year.  I think of Lucy as a newborn… so sweet, snuggly and happy… rosenfeld6Actually… these are still her defining traits.FullSizeRender 2 copy

After Leo’s camp themed blow-out, I wanted to do something smaller for Lucy.  Breakfast in the park with a few friends and their baby girls.  It seemed much more Lucy’s style.

I have been holding on to decorations from our wedding for a few years now.  In order to justify all of the space they are taking up in the basement I am going to repurpose a lot of them for Lucy’s party, especially the lace table covers and vintage furniture.  We also have a lot of great quilts, some made by good friends for Lucy that I want to incorporate. Mostly, I want it to be super-girly! After all, if she is anything like her brother, I only have a few years before Lucy is designing event concepts of her own.

Below is some of my initial inspiration… Can’t wait to share some pics with you in a few weeks.

Lucys Bday inspo
tea set by schylling /  romper by by brass razoo (no longer available) / floral crown by kirei handmade / mini doughnut recipe by maison cupcake / vintage shaving mirror is my own / lovely quilt was made by a friend

 

Leo + Cecil

Leo Cecil

Leo announced over a week ago that he was going to be a vegetarian. The kid has always enjoyed eating meat, so I was sort of surprised.  He has a few friends that are vegetarian so I know he has heard the word a lot, but I wasn’t sure that he really knew what it meant.

I think what really motivated him were the chickens at his preschool.  He was eating chicken for dinner and he said something along the lines of “is this like the chickens from school?” I told him yes, and he went on eating. The announcement came the following week.

I am really proud of Leo for sticking to his guns. He seems to be genuinely confused and interested in what comes from an animal and what does not. Now before we eat, he asks me if each item is vegetarian. Last night we had “breakfast for dinner” and he wanted bacon, I told him that bacon wasn’t vegetarian and he was totally fine to go without it.

Lenny and I decided that we would join Leo in his vegetarianism but for a different reason…Cecil the lion.  You’re probably confused, I’ll explain.

If you live in the world or spend any time on the internet… and you’re reading a blog so you probably do… you have heard about Cecil the lion.  An American dentist paid around 50k to visit Zimbabwe and kill a lion; it was a trophy hunt.  The people of Zimbabwe are much less upset than Westerners on Facebook. The internet is calling for the execution of the dentist, bans on hunting, bans on airlines carrying hunts trophies- i.e. dead animals.  Almost every time I log into Facebook or check my inbox there is some petition or call to action for Cecil.  It is gut-wrenching to think about this beautiful lion being killed for sport. I liked, e-signed and shared these petitions, but then it started feeling hypocritical.

41 million cows are killed each year to make food, I don’t feel the same level of outrage over this, but why? I even eat them. Why was I so sick over the death of Cecil but OK with eating meat? Picking and choosing what animals to feel compassion for based on which ones we do and don’t eat seemed unfair.  So like Leo, we stopped eating meat.

We’ve been totally meatless for over two weeks now and I have to say that we don’t miss it a bit, we didn’t eat a whole of of meat to begin with.  I’m trying really hard not to fall into eating a ton of pasta or fake meat and actually increasing our veggie intake.

Stay tuned for some recipes in the coming weeks.

Leo is 4!

After Leo’s farm animal themed birthday bash last year, I swore that we weren’t going to have another big party for him. It was all-consuming, exhausting and expensive… but also sort-of the kid’s party of the century.  People are still talking about the spitting llama and the over-heated turkey.

Then Leo started asking about his party… “When’s my birthday? When’s my party?  What kind of party am I going to have?” What really did me in is when he asked for a camping party!  If you know me, you know I love a good party and that I also love planning parties- especially parties with a theme!!! Even our wedding had a theme! (which I guess is normal these days).  So Leo and I started discussing what a camp party would entail… s’mores and tents of course. Leo and I would even get on Pinterest in the afternoons when Lucy was napping to look at ideas for his party. If the kid wants to take an interest in my passions how can I not encourage him??? Next thing you know,  I was convincing my amazingly talented friend Joe to design a logo for Leo’s imaginary summer-camp, calling my favorite bakery to make camp inspired treats and we are throwing another BIG PARTY for Leo. Over 100 guests this year.

Here’s a few photos of the festivities- once again I forgot my camera and my phone was in use for Leo’s party playlist (lots of Katy Perry)- so here are a few of my friends snaps from the day!

We started off the camp theme right away with the email invite…

Leos Birthday 4 for webCamp Leo gift bags with s’mores to go and Camp Leo canteens!   Leo BagsThe Village Bakery went all out this year with camp themed treats. A personal cake for Leo (that he did not want to share this year!), s’mores cupcakes and adorable sugar cookies! They look too pretty to eat but every last one was gobbled up…

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We even made a Camp Leo backdrop for the buffet table- are you all camped out yet???

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As the adults mingled and munched on yummy potato salad, corn salad and hot dogs and veggie dogs the kids jumped in the bounce house, had their faces painted, made slime and even had a water flight before Leo blew out his four candles…

the birthday boyBounce house fun with friends!
Untitled-1Here’s my favorite shot of the day…. Leo in his “storm super” costume, a gift from his Godmother, helping us clean up after the party.

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What a day!  Leo had a great time and he’s already asking “When is it going to be my party again???”

I’m going to give myself a few weeks to recover before I answer that one…

happy camper