Archive for March, 2012

March 15, 2012

All the pig wants…is to be a bunny

Kids all dream of being something. "Piggy Bunny" can help encourage them.

When I was in second grade, I wanted to be a vegetarian and a veterinarian. When I was in third grade, I wanted to be a third grade teacher. When I was in fourth grade, I wanted to be a fourth grade teacher. It sort of followed that pattern for awhile except for a few years in middle school when I really wanted to be James Bond. I wasn’t quite as creative as Liam, the pig we meet in Rachel Vail’s Piggy Bunny.

Liam is a little pig, but he REALLY wants to be the Easter Bunny. This is an incredibly awesome book about accepting who you are while at the same time following your dreams. Even if you dream of being the Easter Bunny, but you don’t like lettuce, can’t hop, and happen to be a pig.

Things I love about this book: I love that his parents, even though they don’t quite get his dreams to be the Easter Bunny, do understand the importance of telling Liam that they love him just the way he is. The problem, is that they think just the way he is is a pig, but Liam thinks that what he is is a pig who wants to be a rabbit.

Here’s another one. When Liam realizes that everyone is sure he could never be the Easter Bunny and starts to wonder if they might be right, we read this:

“‘This is the kind of problem’ he said, ‘that is called heartbreaking.'”

Oh! Don’t your insides just somersault at that line??

And then, they somersault again when his grandma tells him not to worry, that “They just have the imagination of a kumquat” and to “put on your Easter Bunny suit.” And when Liam says he doesn’t have an Easter Bunny suit, grandpa says this:

“‘This is the kind of problem,’ he whispered, ‘that is called fixable.'”

Oh phew, I feel better already! And then modern parents will appreciate the next part when an excited Liam asks if they know how to make an Easter Bunny costume and we read this:

“‘Absolutely not.’ said Grandma, ‘We will order one on the internet.'”

The whole book is wonderful. It reminds me a lot of one of my all-time favorites, Naked Mole Rats Get Dressed, by Mo Willems. This one is written a little more at the kids’ level (Naked Mole Rats has a lot of sarcasm in there for the grown-ups) and the Easter theme will resonate well this time of the year. I highly recommend it!

Title: Piggy Bunny
Author: Rachel Vail (who also wrote this awesome chapter book)
Genre: Picture Book, Fiction, Easter
Age: 0 – 7

Something fun to do with the kids afterwards:

Look at the illustrations of the pig in his wonderful bunny suit. Print out a picture of your own child and cut out the face. Glue the face onto a piece of paper and have your child draw a picture around it of any kind of costume they would like. You can make several faces if they have several things in mind. I know, my son, for one, has about two hundred careers picked out for himself so we will need a lot of photos. If your kid isn’t quite at the level to draw costumes, you could take a hint from the book and head to the internet: print out pictures of astronauts, knights, etc., and then cut out the faces. Then all your son or daughter has to do is glue his or her face onto the print-outs! I hope you have fun with this, and if you do, please let me know by leaving a comment!

For more books in this genre, check out Mo Willems’ Naked Mole Rats.

For more by Rachel Vail, check out Justin Case, which has a sequel out now!

And what about you? Anything that you wanted to be or still want to be when you grow up? Let me know in the comments!

March 12, 2012

Literary Doppelgangers

Today, I’m blogging about my alter-egos in the Harry Potter series at Nashville Parent. If you could be anyone from those books, who would you choose? Click on over to Nashville Parent to find out who I would like to be.

March 9, 2012

Ridiculously easy and so very yummy chickpea burgers

Welcome to another installment of The Family That Eats Together Fridays! These chickpea burgers are the best thing to come out of my recent (nonvoluntary) experiment in (pseudo)-veganism. When Gyroscope’s instestinal tract decided it was going to temporarily refuse to handle dairy, I had to eliminate from my diet. One easy way to do this was to eat a lot of vegan meals.

I was so excited to get out an incredibly awesome cookbook called Veganomicon, which I highly recommend for anyone who wants to spice up their family cooking with some more vegetables and healthy flavors. Even if you aren’t vegan or anything close to it, you are guaranteed to love these meals.

One of my favorites (and my husband’s who is a true meat-eater), are the chickpea burgers. They are ridiculously easy, which is also a plus. We had them recently with some purple sweet potato fries. Yum! The Wizard of Why is still not sure what he thinks of these, but we can’t usually get him to eat regular burgers, either, so he might not be the best test…

Here’s the recipe from Veganomicon, with my notes in italics:

Chickpea Cutlets (Makes 4, take 10 minutes)

And they are serious about the time. These are ridiculously easy!


Make sure to soak the dried chickpeas over night before cooking to make it go faster. The recipe calls for cooked, so you need to cook before starting. Roast the extras in a hot oven with salt and spices for an awesome snack.

  • Olive oil for panfrying
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas (You could probably use canned, but I fell in love with chickpeas when I started using dry ones. They are so delicious you will never buy a can of anything again.)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten (This sounds weird, but makes the whole burger and it’s texture. And you will use the whole box because you will be making these again and again, I swear.)
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs (I have used almost everything with this recipe; white panko, whole wheat panko, regular crumbs and seasoned ones. Use what you have–just make sure if you use seasoned ones they go with the flavors you are adding.)
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce (For reasons I won’t go into, I can’t eat soy right now, but 2 Tablespoons of molasses does just fine by this recipe!)
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (I always use more; I am from the school of “there’s never enough thyme in any recipe”.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Hungarian paprika (This may be the best, but I’m sure any paprika would work. I put in extra of this, too.)

    Vital wheat gluten and panko bread crumbs

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rubbed sage 

I’m going to paraphrase the recipe, but it’s really easy:

1. Mash chickpeas until no whole ones are left (this is an awesome task for eager little hands!), then add in all the other ingredients and knead for about 3 minutes, until strings of gluten have formed. (Make sure you put in chickpeas first; don’t NOT work in reverse!)

2. Preheat heavy skillet; make four cutlets and need together and then flatten into a 4×6 in shape. (Kids will enjoy making their own!)

3. Add thin layer of olive oil to the pan and cook for 6 – 7 minutes on each side. Recipe says you can also bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, of you brush them with olive oil first. Flip and bake again for 8 – 10 minutes on other side.