Hungry Hungry Hippie

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I was so on top of my meal prepping game this January!  It was one of my goals for the year because I think it’s an area of my life that I can change that will bleed (in a positive way) into the rest of my life.  Plus, any excuse to add more checklists into my day is 100% welcomed.

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In addition to my weekly meal planning, I now have a notebook in which I write a list of the week’s tasks as they relate to the meals I’m making – meals for the kiddos, breads and baked goods, etc.  Sometimes I detail it as far as when to thaw things.  And then on the weekends I try to tear it up in the kitchen, busting out everything from sliced bell peppers to home-made crackers.  That gets it’s own checklist too (because that one includes all sorts of house-work like potting fig trees, vacuuming, cleaning the toilets, and harvesting kumquats).  This past weekend looked like this…

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I made these kumquat poppy seed muffins (our tree is BOOMING and we still have almost 100 to use up).  I am going to have quite the kumquat recipe repertoire on the blog in no time at all since this bumper crop sitch seems an annual theme.

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I tweaked it a bit using buckwheat flour instead of wheat, but they were all for Kyle so I used butter and plain yogurt as called for in the recipe.  Kyle said they were good.  I froze half of them so he wouldn’t tire of them, but they only used up 16 kumquats so I may have to make another few million batches.

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Bulk grain making in the rice cooker.  The crock pot has a whole chicken in it for a bunch of different recipes throughout the week – including broth and stock making.

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To wake up to fresh bread and fresh coffee…I mean…does life get any better??

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“Chick’n” salad with Beyond Meat grilled strips that I diced and tossed with mayo, mustard, and celery for some quickie week lunches.

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Oh this banana bread!

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I added walnuts and chocolate chips to make it more special than your average breakfast quick bread.

It sunk a little bit after some time, but it was a grain free recipe so what do you expect.  A little dense, but delicious nonetheless.

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How much of this do you think I ate in one night?

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If you guessed all of it, you were….correct.

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Pumpkin pancakes for the littles!  I made the batter on the late night so the next morning was smooth sailing. P loved them, but V was meh.  She mostly just liked making a mess with them.  Not cool chickadee, not cool.

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Now that you know my insane system, I’m going to bounce because it’s almost time to get things going for this next weekend.  It’s a little tricky because the weekend is a busy one and I may not get to do much prep.  We are celebrating my first born turning THREE (3!!) and my bestie is staying with us (!!!!!) and it’s the Super Bowl!  Lots of stuffs, huh?!  Don’t stress Elise, make a list.  And eat some kale.  That always helps.  :)

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Macadamia nuts from Thrive Market for SO CHEAP.  They have been gracing my kale salads for the past few days (until I ran out) because what goes better with cruciferous greens and avo than buttery creamy nuts?!?

The weekly menu

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I was just going to skip this past week’s meals because I got so behind but some are worth sharing (because I think you guys should know about these for your own menu planning) but also, I may actually post a recipe.  Gasp!!  I know, I know, I made something from my own kitchen that wasn’t directly from a cookbook/blog that actually requires written out instructions!  It was monumental for another reason too.  It was the first recipe that I made that ALL FOUR OF US ate.  The same exact dinner!  Can you believe it???  I’m so thrilled that amongst all our dietary restrictions and preferences and abilities (meaning amount of teeth one has) we were all able to enjoy the same meal.  It gave me a glimpse into a future that I like.

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It doesn’t photograph great but it was SO good.  And I know what you’re thinking.  Soup?  Really?  Soup can’t be described with caps locks like that.  But I assure you this is a soup that is beyond delicious.  It has serious depth of flavor, but was still super easy to make with pretty common pantry spices.  Although my friends have started giving me crap for what I consider “common” things to have stocked in your pantry after a champagne vinegar recipe I shared with them last week.  Anyway.

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Another PP recipe in the books.  Holler to Gwyneth for yet again creating a recipe that the entire family got down with.

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Kyle is a big fan of cod and has been wanting something in the fish and chips realm for a while now so this was a good compromise.

I used quinoa flakes and corn meal in place of gluten free bread crumbs because I didn’t have any and they worked great!  I liked the subtle quinoa flavor it gave and the breading still got nice and crispy and flaky.  I have since ordered GF breadcrumbs on Thrive because I realized it was a decent thing to have on hand.  I’m sure my friends will disagree with me.  😉

Psst – right now on Thrive they are giving away a kombucha starter kit with any order over $79 – I am so bummed I placed my order yesterday!!  :(  This link gives you a discount on your first order BTW.

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So yeah, I made a slaw to pair with it.  Nothing fancy, just mayo, mustard, sugar, and vinegar with a bunch of shredded cabbage.

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Chose your own adventure style seasoning…I went with the mustard and old bay option.

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No egg required.

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Baked not fried (which is way easier when you are doing one kid’s bedtime routine while they cook).

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Next!

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This one requires it’s own post but it’s a vegan butternut squash soup with white beans.  It’s the recipe I mentioned at the start of the post that the entire fam enjoyed.  Stay tuned.

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This was another really easy recipe, which I came across on Jenna’s IG.  Her blog is done-zo but I still get pretty good inspiration from her insta posts since we both live near the Bay and have similar-ish situations (moms with a passion for healthy living via fitness, cooking, gardening, etc.).  So yeah, I followed her “recipe” exactly and it yielded this gorgeous thing.

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I added fingerling potatoes around the chicken.  The pan juices were legit.  I’m taking credit since the lemons were from our trees. :)

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Glad I had extra twine from our Thanksgiving rotisserie to tie the legs closed with the lemons inside.

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Check out those taters!

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Kyle ate one half and P and I split the breast on the other half (it was big).  Oh, and we had peas with it too.  V is super into peas.  She pops them with her little teeth and gums them into mash quite well.  It’s cute.  Also of note – P actually ate these potatoes!  Maybe he’s coming around on spuds.  It’s so funny that he doesn’t like them considering he does like dinners like the next night’s…

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For a meatless Monday I made a lentil dish from Cook’s Illustrated Vegetarian Cookbook.

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I also made roasted carrots with a curry yogurt sauce (from Cooks Illustrated Vegetarian Cookbook as well).

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P had everything but the yogurt sauce (because it has dairy).

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Oh hi special carrot pattern.

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Here are the plates for the three of us (V had some roasted carrots the next day).

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Served over yellow rice with some lentils and herbs that I made up.

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He wasn’t in love with the dishes, but he ate them without too much coaxing.  He preferred the carrots over all else and they were the first things to disappear.  After that it was a tie between the lentils and the rice.  I think he likes lentils so-so, but they are still a struggle.  Chickpeas are the one bean that he devours happily, and a few others (black, kidney, white) are tolerated and occasionally enjoyed but certainly not a preferred option over, say, bacon.  I’m happy that even if he doesn’t like things, he still eats them fine, but I’m definitely hoping that repeated exposure opens his palate up.  The fact that curry is a consistent win deserves a fist pump, too, so believe me, I’m trying not to push my luck too much while acknowledging the good in any and every form.

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The yogurt sauce was amazing by the way.  I used TJs new product – a full fat cream top greek yogurt from grass fed organic cows.  It was much runnier than I thought it would be considering it was full fat and greek strained, but what do I know about greek yogurt.  My gut didn’t love this meal, but my taste buds did and to be honest, I’ve kinda been in the mood for veg lately that I’m having a hard time staying good about managing my fodmaps intake (hence the GI woes).  That said, it’s a decision I am consciously making so it’s fine.  I feel like the power is in my possession to get back on track when I want and for right now, I want to eat certain foods and will just deal with the gut stuff as it comes.  It’s nothing like it used to be, probably because I’m still much more aware of the little nitty gritty things and I don’t eat a dozen apples a day with hummus and wheat pitas (LIKE I USED TO).

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We were definitely pretending it was summer again with this salad.  That’s what happens when you have one day of 60 degree weather amid a month of 40s.

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The chicken in this was the rest of the roasted one from the weekend.  Plus my favorite dressing of all time, Brianna’s poppyseed heaven in a bottle.

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We also had leftover roasted potatoes along side it.

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Fishy fishy.  On Wednesday we had the usual salmon, broccoli rice bowl with Asian flavors (tamari, ginger, rice vinegar).

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Soupy leftovers on Thursday – P and I had the butternut soup above.  Kyle had the wild rice cabbage sausage soup from the previous week.

Friday was also leftovers (no photo) in the form of lentils, cod, and I don’t even remember what else.  Totally random fridge scraping.

But I did hit up Whole Foods that afternoon for their #onedaysale because it was too insanely good to pass up!

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BUY ONE GET ONE free organic whole chicken!!  Dude, yes.

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Kyle and P had a boys date at the UC Davis basketball game on Saturday, so I made something for P to eat at the game and then Kyle had dinner later when he got home (after putting P down).  It was such a special thing for them, and I’m not sure who had a better time to be honest.  Quinoa with meatballs was what I came up with since we hadn’t yet gone grocery shopping and I didn’t want something that would be gross for Kyle if eaten an hour after I ate.

While they were gone I got my food prep on and got all organized for Sunday’s grocery shopping extravaganza.  This weekend I baked GF bread, made pancake batter, shredded the crock pot chicken, jarred broth, baked Kyle muffins, made a million things for V, and probably did more I can’t recall.

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And ate dessert.

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A complete kit

So.  It’s taking me a while to get around to posting last week’s dinners…in the meantime lemme tell you what’s been rocking my world the past week or so.

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Kale salad love on HHH, shocking right?  NOT.  NOT NOT NOT.  But you guys…

Trader Joe’s wins.  WINS I tell ya.  It’s basically the veg version of this salad (which I have been buying way too frequently since discovering it back in July).  The salad dressing isn’t the same one as the pre-packaged salad, which is a bummer because the spicy dressing is almost the best part of the kit (I wrote to TJs begggggging them to bottle it and sell it to no avail), but it’s still a bomb product.

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I add avocado, naturally, because it’s my lifeblood.

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Oh hi little kit of salad yumminess.

IMG_3286Now, I realize it says “bring to a picnic” or whatever on the front, implying it’s a multi-person serving package, but let’s be real.  I eat the whole bag (plus avo) as a meal.  With carbs of some kind on the side.  Blame it on the calorie sucking nature of nursing, or blame it on me being me, but I can take it allllll down without batting an eye.

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Costco has the best avocado.

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Ok, now I’ll get going on the dinner menu post.

Gluten free bread maker bread 2.0

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A second version of my previous baking success…means I’m basically a pastry chef now right?  HA!  Not even.  I’m pretty proud of this version though and have already remade it.

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Next up is trial and error with substitutions.  Hopefully a xanthan gum free one and maybe even an egg alternative one??  Those are my Feb goals.

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I’ve been super into bread lately.  I think it’s my new kale salad accompaniment of choice (although I did just bake crackers the other day so…maybe not).

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Remember how I went through that cracker bender over the summer??  I must have made 30 batches of crackers over the course of 5 months.  Then I got short on time (coincidentally – NOT! – at the same time V learned to crawl) and started buying Mary’s Gone crackers and Kettle Co sea salt & pepper chips from Thrive because it was so easy.  Those are definitely still stellar options that regularly make it into my virtual shopping cart, butttttttt, there’s something about warm home-made bread. Ya know???

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I also re-discovered my love for the toaster!  I feel a little bad making toast because P has asked all about it and wants in on the action, but there’s gluten that’s been all up in there and I’m not quite sure I’m ready to invest in two toasters at the moment.  Sigh.  Poor kid.  Hopefully he will outgrow his gluten allergy.

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Until then.  This bread (not toasted) is a pretty amazing back-up.  Although I will say it wasn’t until I’d had 1 1/2 loaves to myself before I mustered up the decency to share.  Sorry but it’s really freakin’ good!

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[Side note: V has tried gluten and (hooray!) had no issues.  So that’s good, but I’m still not feeding her any differently than P because (a) so far he doesn’t feel deprived so why make it a potential issue and (b) they share toys and I’m not sure I trust her not to contaminate things either via fingers I didn’t clean well enough or – the more likely scenario – slobber and spit up.]

On that lovely note, how about a recipe?  Great.

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You’ll notice this is a spin on my previous GF breadmaker recipe found here.  That one is still awesome, so if you don’t tolerate almonds, that’s the one you should hit up.  However, the reason I wanted to make a different loaf, was because I wanted something more of a nutrient oomph.

Almond flour brings a different nutrient profile to the picture.  More fat, more protein, more staying power.  But I left in some GF all purpose flour because I didn’t want an almond flour brick, I wanted yeasted sandwich bread.

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I think I made a winner. [And no, I don’t mess around with my avocado game.]

Gluten Free Breadmaker Bread [gluten free, soy free, dairy free]

Ingredients (in the exact order that I put them in the bread maker):

  • 1 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp almond flour
  • 1 1/2 cup gluten free all purpose flour (without xanthan gum)
  • 1/3 cup tapioca starch
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 packet (2 1/4 tsp) yeast

Directions:

Add ingredients to breadmaker in order listed above.  Don’t bother beating the egg, don’t bother pre-mixing the flours.  Just dump them in, one after the other.

Set your breadmaker to the “dough setting” (for my machine this was 1 hr 30 minutes).

Once it finishes, either set it to “express bake” (for 2 lb loaf) or set it to “bake”.

I’m not sure how various machines differ, but for mine, the first portion of the dough setting was mixing and the second portion was letting it rise.  Most machines have a dough setting, so this step shouldn’t be a problem.

The next step consisted of mixing it again for a few minutes and then baking it for 1 hour.  If your machine doesn’t have an option like this, find a way to mix the dough once more (even if it’s just by hand for a few minutes) and then bake for an hour in the breadmaker.

If your machine has a gluten free setting, I’d try that (mine doesn’t).  If your machine lets you set the timing, follow the amounts I’ve indicated above.

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Warm buttered (Earth Balance-d) bread….ahhhh…there’s nothing like it!!

The weekly menu

Monday was a very necessary holiday after Saturday and Sunday were not very restful (Kyle was gone Saturday and then we all left town for our Chico visit on Sunday).  I try to soak up Kyle’s days at home like crazy.  This short week was SO great.  It was rainy on and off so we were limited in our activities and that can sometimes lead to quite a bit of energy bottled up indoors.  But we totally managed to make the week fantastic, which I think was in large part due to having Monday off to food prep and catch up on housework and crap.  Vacuuming and deep cleaning the upstairs left me feeling better than any therapy session could.  Ahhhhhh…

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Thai tofu lettuce cups with brown rice for a Meatless Monday meal.

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The recipe is from Cook Illustrated Vegetarian Cookbook and was both easy and fast.  And most importantly, delicious.

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I didn’t know if P would be down with the tofu with the Thai flavors – there was LOTS of basil and fish sauce and stuff, but he totally loved it.  Next time I’m making two tofu tubs’ worth for a recipe for all of us, because 14 ounces isn’t enough for the three of us.

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This cookbook is full of winners.

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I turned to the crock pot on Tuesday – first sautéing the sausage on the “brown/sautee” setting, with some onions, celery, and carrots.  Later I added broth and wild rice, and then cabbage an hour or so before dinnertime.

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P didn’t want the broth at first, but then suddenly he did.  Fickle toddler shenanigans.  He liked the sausage, veggies, and rice too, so whatever.

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Another veg meal.  Black bean, quinoa, mango, and avo with a cilantro lime sauce I made up.

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P wasn’t down with the sauce, but liked it otherwise.

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Side note: peeling a mango is annoying and doesn’t yield very much.  From now on I’m going to pay for the pre-cut pieces or buy frozen and thaw them.

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Thursday felt like Friday, which is because we skipped gymnastics and for once didn’t have a morning activity.  P and I had some arts and crafts fun (his favorite) while the rain came down outside.

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I also roasted brussels and yukon gold potatoes during the painting and whatnot.

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Reallllllly wish I measured and wrote down the recipe for this one.  I zested and juiced one meyer lemon, and whisked it with ~1/4 cup mayonnaise (the good kind).

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Then added the roasted root veg and some slivered almonds.

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I intended for that to be the whole meal, but then at the last minute I thought maybe it needed something else so I quickly put lentils in the rice cooker and – bam – a protein side dish was born.

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Plus stewed tomatoes and Annie’s BBQ sauce (also from Thrive).

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Dinner is served.

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I left patty-cakes’ lentils plain because he’s not a tomato fan and he totally loved them.  He also loved the brussels and potatoes which is new and exciting (because he usually doesn’t eat potatoes when I make them), but might (definitely) have something to do with the mayo based sauce they were covered in.  😉

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Crock pot again for Friday night’s dinner.  I love the flexibility these meals give me because they make my afternoon wide open.  I also set up red rice in the rice cooker, so dinner was totally taken care of by noon.

Kyle texted me around then saying he was coming home early, asking if I wanted to go get a pedicure.  Uh, lemme think abut that?  YES!!!!  I’ve had a gift card for 6 months that I haven’t used, so to say it was long overdue would be…obvious.

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Oh and while we are on the topic of being spoiled.  !!!!!!  This was my first Temple coffee (decaf soy cafe au lait) which Kyle brought me home midmorning as a surprise since he had a meeting with a coworker there anyway.  The. Best.  He also got me a vegan gluten free samoa donut because he said he couldn’t NOT get it for me.  How did I get this lucky in life?

Later that afternoon I ran to the library to pick up Against All Grain (I had ordered it, so it was all ready and waiting for me to pick it up), which I then read while getting my pedi.  What a Friday!!  I got home by 5, nursed my babe, put her to bed, and served us up some grub.

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I used this recipe for chimichurri sauce from Bon Appetit, but made some changes based on our preferences and what we had on hand (less parsley, shallot and garlic infused oil instead of shallots and garlic, aleppo pepper instead of jalapeño).

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The carrots were added after I browned the chicken thighs on the “brown/sautee” setting.  Perfecto.

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Now it’s time to get my weekend food prep on.  Bread baking above and banola baking below.

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Happy weekending all!

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