Rain, Reality and Reuben Sandwiches!

I love rainy days.

Especially when we haven’t had one in awhile.

Even MORE so when a holiday falls on it and were all home together to enjoy it!

OK, it’s not a holiday-holiday but, it IS St. Patrick’s Day!! That’s something!

For me, today’s rain storm symbolized a flushing away of the stressful week we just had. It was filled with so many ups and downs…

I’ll fill you in. Sit back and take a load off.

We’ll start with the ups.

Cupcakes! Beautiful, fluffy, voluptuous cupcakes. 13 dozen in a week to be exact.

After folks heard about the 6 dozen I’d made, others decided they wanted some too. Nora from the coffee shop had called and said my cupcakes nearly sold out just 4 short days after my last delivery and she needed more. So, I created a Vegan vanilla cupcake with fresh strawberry filling and banana buttercream frosting and brought back the Vegan chocolate peanut buttercream cupcake by popular demand.

Don’t they just LOOK like they were born for that case??

The very next day was my sweet boy’s 3rd birthday.

You can find our amazing birth story here.

I was such an emotional mess, all day. Had it really been three whole years?? It had.

What a blessing this boy has been in our lives. I’m so proud of all he’s growing up to be. I’m thankful to be his mommy.

Since we had already been to Disneyland to celebrate his birthday, we decided to just have a small family gathering at home for him. Plus, a little park playdate fun. Which also included another dozen cupcakes.

I transported them in tissue paper stuffed party cups! Clever, right? And I didn’t even see it on Pinterest!

Here are some highlights from his special day.

Riley laughing at my morning ‘Happy Birthday’ serenade…
The first look of excitement on his face when he saw his balloons and first birthday gift…

The SECOND look…hahaha! 
Enjoying a cupcake at the park… 
Opening presents from Papa and Grandma…

Little brother not knowing what all the fuss is about and thinking, “This is whack!”

His second cupcake, minus the candles and singing. 
The boy HATES being sung to by a crowd. 
It all goes back to the trauma of the 40 people at his first birthday party singing to him…
Poor thing! Too funny! I wonder if Ryder will be the same way. Guess we’ll find out in a few short months, huh? 
I’ll admit, for a brief second this week I wondered if we’d make it to his first birthday.
I know that’s a horrible way to think but when they tell you that your 8 month old has double pneumonia something inside happens to you as a mother. A part of you feels so sick and so helpless that you pray it could be you suffering instead. Your mind races with the worst thoughts imaginable! 
But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. 
Let’s start with how this all happened.
The day after Riley’s birthday was a recovery kind of day. Nothing much going on. It was that day that I noticed Ryder was slightly different. Sickly eyes, a little sniffly and tired. The kind of thing only a mother can detect. Sure enough, the next day he was sick. Not the common cold kind of sick either. We decided to take him right in to be seen. We were told that he had an ear infection and an upper respiratory infection.
This was shocking to me! Why? First of all, it happened so fast! What the heck? Second, Riley to this day has never been sick to where he required antibiotics! Much less at 8 months of age! I don’t know what’s more shocking to tell you the truth. 
We get him the antibiotics he needed and for the next three days he slept so very much.

I thought for sure that this meant he was healing but every new day came and he still wasn’t getting better.
On the third day, I called the RN who said it typically takes THREE days for the medicine to work but to bring him in, in the morning, if he still wasn’t improving. 
He didn’t improve and was now wheezing and struggling to breath. I took him right in and all the way there I was shaking. I could feel that he wasn’t OK. Riley was with us and I knew that he was worried too.
And I was right. 
THIS is when they told me he had double pneumonia. 
I. Was. A. Blubbering. Lunatic!! That is MY baby! 

How could this have happened and how are we going to fix him?? 
It was then that I noticed the sad glance from Riley who patiently sat next to me in the exam room. He said, “Mommy sad?”. I knew I had to suck it up for his sake. I said, “Yes, baby. Mommy is sad but everything’s OK.” His concerned look turned to a hopefully one and he perked right up. 
I was still dying inside.
Our sweet pediatrician then administered a breathing treatment (with the utmost objection from Ryder!), changed his medicine and added two new ones. She also reassured me that he would be OK and we’d see drastic improvement in less then 48 hours. 
I reluctantly accepted her words and went on my way in a zoned out zombie sort of way. Feeling overwhelmed by the feeling of failure. Failure to do my job as a mother. That my baby was broken and I didn’t protect him. That if something happened to him it would be MY fault. Yes, this may sound a bit harsh and rash but that’s how I felt. I couldn’t stop the blame or the tears. It wasn’t until I started to see him improving that I let out a sigh of relief. 
This wouldn’t happen for another 24 hours.
It wasn’t until I started to see this sweet face with the light back in his eyes again that I could let go of all that blame and sadness.
Unfortunately, babies get sick. In this case, there was nothing else I could have done. I did my part in getting him the help he needed to get well. I loved him and cared for him for hours and days on end. That matters! And it’s all OK. He’s well on his way back to being 100%! And so I am. God knows that I was so drained by all the emotions I felt this week. From the joy of my cupcakes being “in demand”, to the pride of my handsome first born turning three and the devastation and fear that comes with a very sick infant. 
Now, today, on St. Patrick’s Day, things are happily getting back to normal. 
So what about those Reuben sandwiches? Alas, we’ve arrived!
It’s a stormy St. Patty’s day and I decided to put Fat Free Vegan‘s recipe for Irish White Bean and Cabbage soup in the crock pot. Just minus the beans and barley and adding fresh herbs to make it my own. The house smells phenomenal! And yet, it was still not enough.
Who wants to play a little game??
Go on, click the link to hear it so you can get in the zone.
Ready?
OK, What is a perfect mate for soup on a cold day?? 
You there, behind the computer, what’s your answer?
A sandwich? 
A sandwich, is correct!! 
*applause* 
And what kind of sandwiches are typically served on St. Patty’s Day?? 
Yes, you with the phone. What’s your answer?
Reuben Sandwiches? 
That’s correct!!
*applause*
Now to win the game…What is the main thing Vegan’s DON’T eat?? 
You with an attitude, what’s your answer?
Meat. They don’t eat meat!

Meat, is exactly right!! 

*carnivore booing*
Okay, okay, enough funny business. 
I want a animal-free Reuben sandwich and I want one nowwwwww! 
That was my Veruca Salt impression.
Come to find out, I’m not the first Vegan to want such a thing. 
Come to find out, it CAN be done AND be fabulous! 
I know. Insanity! 
OK, here’s how I did it!
Reyna’s Reuben Sandwiches

This is a monster sandwich that is oozing with deliciousness! Another amazing creation for Vegan and Carnivore palates alike! You can easily make these into 4 small sandwiches and cut the points way down. Add more veggies too!

Serves 2-4
PPV: 11 for one assembled sandwich with two tablespoons of dressing
Protein: 46 grams per serving

Ingredients

Vegan Thousand Island/Russian Dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons Vegenaise (Fat free/low fat mayo or even Tofu mayo would work too)
  • 2 teaspoons ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons diced dill pickle or relish (Sweet relish can be used if you like)
  • 2 teaspoons diced red onion
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
Sandwich:
  • 4 slices Ezekiel sprouted grain bread (or any bread you like)
  • 2 tablespoons homemade Vegan Thousand Island dressing
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup water, plus more as needed
  • Well-drained sauerkraut, as desired
  • 8 ounces Seitan, thinly sliced 
  • 2 slices Vegan cheese of choice, cheddar, mozzarella, even shredded cheese would work
Directions:

To make dressing: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside until ready to use.

Spray a non-stick grill pan with non-stick cooking spray. Heat over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until they are caramelized. Adding the water and more as needed to prevent sticking. 
Then, add the Seitan and garlic. Brown until heated through and flavors have melded. Remove from heat and set aside.
To make sandwiches: Spread two slices of bread with dressing, roughly 1.5 tablespoons or to your liking. 
Arrange sliced Seitan and onions over the dressing. 
Pile the sauerkraut on top and then add the cheese and the other slice of bread. 

Repeat with remaining ingredients. Making two sandwiches.
Spray a nonstick grill pan with non-stick cooking spray and place over medium-high heat. Place sandwiches in pan and place another heavy pan (I used my Grandma’s old cast iron skillet) or plate on top.

Cook for 3 minutes, until golden brown, turn sandwiches and repeat.

Now pour yourself a green beverage, slice that laddy and enjoy! And may today be your lucky day too. I know I’m feeling lucky!

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    Wow!! again u amaze me!!

    Like

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