Hungry Hungry Hippie

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Journal May 25

May 25, 2015

May 28th is my mom’s birthday and I am pretty excited to go to celebrate with her.  She’s turning 60 and that’s a big one.  It seems like after 30 you only celebrate the round decades so waiting a whole ten years for the next “big” birthday is an awfully long time to wait…

My parents were just in Europe for a long trip.  Just the two of them.  They had a blast and it makes me happy to see them so happy.  I have good role models – for parenting and for husband/wife-ing (couple-ing? what’s the terms for this?).  Whatever.  They are a good couple and I look up to them.  I hope Kyle and I are tackling Prague on foot and sampling Berlin’s finest beers when we are 60 too.

This weekend was good but it just makes me wish every weekend was three days long.  Is that a depressing way to look at it?  Kinda.  I used to live for the weekends for my own enjoyment, but now I live for them for the enjoyment of our family.  I’m trying really hard to keep my hormones balanced and be “normal” for the sake of Kyle (as if it’s possible to will my hormones into a certain state…but there’s only a finite amount of crazy that he can handle and so I try to keep that in mind).  Of course he wouldn’t want me to keep things bottled up from him, but the truth is, I have neuroses that even I acknowledge are ridiculous and should be shut up.  I’m a new mom.  I should accept help.  But (like he tells me) I want to do it all.  Spoiler alert: I can’t.  At least not without having mental breakdowns on a semi-regular basis.  Luckily I have exercise.  It’s my “me time” and I know it may seem obsessive and unhealthy how badly I feel like I NEEEEED it, but it’s truly helpful in managing my stress and setting the tone for the day.  I shouldn’t be so hard on myself for the level of effort I put forth…because really ANYTHING is an accomplishment at this point, but, yeah, I am so dang hard on myself.  I don’t think I’ve taken more than a handful of days off from working out in the past year.  And that’s including pregnancy and post partum.  I’m just making it work because even if I dread going into it (so tired… so so tired) I never regret it at the end.  And it definitely invigorates me.  Which is so necessary with a toddler and two month old.

Oh my gosh V is two months old!  Insert cliche time flies manifesto here.  She is cooing and smiling and responding to me and P in a way that lights us all up.  So adorable.

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Random note: I keep getting emails (ok, I’ve really only gotten two) from google ads that my blog has violated some agreement.  What the what?  First off, I didn’t even know I had google ads (shouldn’t I be getting paid for that or something?).  Second, what ads are these?

The weekly menu

I actually have some recipes that I created in this post!  Imagine that!  But in truth, I did get most inspiration from books and blogs, as I tend to these days.

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I already shared our (meatless) Monday dinner here.  We only had a small serving of leftovers – not enough to make a full meal – so I had it as part of a lunch later that week, bulked up with hemp seeds, avocado, and more greens.  I think I eat 1-2 avocados a day.  And P is in a similar rut.  It’s pricey.

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So anyway, Tuesday I made a chicken and bean bake – this time with bone-in breasts, white beans, and turnips.  Play by play?  Ok!

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Fresh herbs from the garden include thyme, rosemary, basil, and parsley (unpictured because I wanted to let P pick them and he was napping while I prepped).  Plus salt and pepper.

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Whole Foods has Mary’s organic free range bone-in breasts on sale this week for 3.99 per lb.  Go get some.  I froze extras for next week, too.  Can’t pass up that deal.

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I chopped the herbs up and mixed them with equal parts honey, shallot infused olive oil, and dijon mustard.  Then I stuffed the mixture under the skin and rubbed it all over the breasts.

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Baked with foil at 350 degrees for ~40 minutes and then broiled without the foil for the last few minutes to get some bronzing on top.

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This was falling off the bone juicy and I even convinced P to try a few bites of it.  He had a bunch of beans though, which is a big deal since he has previously poo-poo-ed while beans.

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Wednesday was market and since I’ve been kinda over the options I decided to make some stuff to bring, picnic style.

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First up was lentil and potato salad.  I prepped potatoes over the weekend (scrubbed and salted and thrown in the greased crock pot overnight – easy as that).

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I didn’t measure things, but this was super yummy so here’s roughly what I used: 12-15 small yukon gold potatoes (red potatoes will work), 3/4 cup cooked French lentils and sliced red onion with a dijon tarragon dressing.

For the dressing I used 2-3 tbsp garlic infused olive oil, 1 tbsp dijon mustard, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and 1/4 tsp dried tarragon.

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I also made a curried chicken salad.  Since I had planned our meals out ahead, I baked two extra (plain) chicken breasts the previous day (when the oven was going for the chicken and bean bake).

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So I shredded those, then tossed the meat in mayo, curry powder, sunflower seeds, celery, dried cranberries, salt and pepper.

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Boom.  With watermelon and Late July tortillas chips on the side.  All allergen safe.

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I used mayo that doesn’t have soybean oil (be sure to check that yours is canola oil based only).  TJs makes one variety that’s just canola oil, but all the rest have soybean and they are frequently out of stock of the soy-free option.  Fortunately, WFs has one that’s also purely canola oil (see above).

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Thursday was another vegetarian dinner.

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Lentil rice bowls, with wild rice, crumbled goat feta, and a lemon avocado parsley dressing.  The dressing took the longest (hands on time) to make and that was all of 10 minutes.  So yeah, not labor intensive as far as meals go but really really good.

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OMG this dressing!  Totally deserves posting the recipe.

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Lemon Avocado and Parsley Dressing [gluten free, dairy free, soy free, nut free, egg free, vegan]

Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 large lemon (or 2 small ones), juiced
  • 2 tbsp garlic infused olive oil
  • handful parsley (doesn’t have to be exact)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Blend everything together until creamy thick dressing forms.  Add more oil for desired consistency (as written this makes a very thick sauce like dressing).

Notes: TJs makes a garlic infused olive oil as well, but if you can’t find one feel free to add 1 tsp minced garlic and plain olive oil instead.

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You gotta make this!

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Friday was spaghetti with beef and mushrooms.  I finally tried the one-pot-spaghetti technique that’s been all the rage for the past year (longer? I don’t know…I’m out of touch).

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I was nervous about the idea of cooking noodles with everything else and having it not end up as noodle soup, but it was a-okay.  And I even used GF noodles (which can be gummy if not treated specially – drained right after they’ve been cooked through).

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Here’s the recipe I took inspiration from, although there are tons and tons out there.  I believe Martha Stewart was the first to share the idea, but don’t quote me on that.

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I liked that the beef (and for my version – the mushrooms too) were cooked first so I could take some out for P before doing the rest of the stuff.  He doesn’t like tomatoes or tomato sauce.  Can’t blame him – I hated tomatoes and their sauce (and all Italian food really – because marinara was ew) until I was in my 20s.  And even then I didn’t fully appreciate it because by then I was off dairy and let’s face it, most tomato-y dishes are paired with cheese cheese and more cheese.  So yeah.  Not gonna push him because eventually his palate may change, too.  In the meantime, I think it’s funny watching him pick tomatoes from the garden and try them, each time thinking the response will be different, and each time seeing him wince as the seeds gush out into his mouth and he realizes he definitely does not like tomatoes.  Gotta love that he keeps on trying…

We have mellow things planned for the holiday weekend.  Kyle’s grilling on Saturday and then we will do al fresco nibbles on Sunday and have a neighbor’s paella feast on Monday.  Plus some park dates, splash pad fun, and a minor league baseball game.  Looking forward to the family time, very much.  Enjoy all!

Chatter

My brain is all over the place today.  We’ve been up since 5 am and we are all sick.  Sleep has been so out of whack this week.  Example: P passed out on the floor of the toy room at 9:30 am on Tuesday while I changed V’s diaper before we set off for library.  I tried to wake him but he was out.  So he napped there on the floor of the toy room!  For 1.5 hours!  Now I really wish I’d followed through and gotten a monitor in the toy room.  He woke up at 11 as if no time had passed and asked if we were leaving for library.  So sweet.  Even though we missed story time I took him then anyway so we could (a) return our books and get new ones and (b) get out of the house.  He ended up taking another 1.5 hour nap that afternoon too!  He hasn’t done two naps for AGES.  It was good though because we had soccer that night, which starts at 5 pm and he never ever ever would have made it til then without the additional snooze time.  And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Monday was a no nap day.  Thursday was a 4+ (but very interrupted) nap day.  On top of that, we have pretty much beat the sun in rising on a daily basis.

But I seriously feel like an a** hole complaining about this stuff because my best friend is going through some serious sh!t right now that makes my problems seem so very lame.  I try to think about this every time I want to feel sorry for myself.  I have it good.  I am blessed.  I need to focus on the good…because there is SO MUCH GOOD.  Sigh.

This will be a stream of consciousness kind of post.  And probably not so heavy on the recipe/meal front.  But yes to food and life chatter.  There’s your warning.

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Sweet things I’ve been digging.

TJs nails it in the dessert/chocolate category.  Always.  My sis brought me that dark chocolate and it’s really really good.  The grape kombucha was an impulse buy when I had GI issues this past weekend.  It’s part cough medicine flavor, part fizzy booze, and part sugary juice.  I really liked it!

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Another impulse win.  There are other varieties…I’ll let you know if/when I try them.  Suffice it to say, this one was great.

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These are really really good but I think they may be hurting my gut and causing pretty significant symptoms.  I have been having mega GI issues lately (worse than they’ve been in a really really long time – basically since discovering the low fodmaps diet and implementing it post elimination).  The root of the issue is complex, and I think there are multiple factors at play:

(1) I am completely exhausted 99% of the time due to the lack of sleep/stress of caring for a baby and toddler.

(2) I have gotten three colds (1 of which morphed into a sinus infection), a clogged duct, food poisoning, and gastroenteritis in the last 7 weeks.  I am guessing my immune system is not at full capacity thanks to point #1.

(3) My diet isn’t as “clean” or low fodmaps as it typically is.  This is due to convenience and cravings and I have no real excuse for it beyond the earlier points.  Hashtag newmom.  I’m hungry all the time and even though I am doing a pretty good job keeping healthy things on hand and choosing quality whole food options – I’m still eating lots more fodmaps in a day than I used to (i.e. hummus, beans, lentils, apples…healthy delicious things, but fermentable carbs that upset my lower intestine nonetheless).

And so, accordingly, I’m sure my GI bacteria is in a state of complete dysbiosis and I’m on my way to full fledged SIBO (again).  My mild and tolerable “flair” symptoms are now my baseline, which sucks.  And really, the solution is an elimination diet that I’m just not ready to tackle yet.

So there you have it.  I am going to have to go back to a stricter lifestyle down the road, but until then I’m just going to keep eating healthy fare and dealing with the consequences.  At the very least, I’m nourishing my body, even if my digestive tract isn’t as keen on my food choices.

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I found the cookbook section of the library!  Why oh why didn’t I think of this sooner?!?!  I’m really excited to have a free way to sample so many recipes now.

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I made crackers with this recipe (again) and have been using them to shovel x, y, and z into my mouth.  Unfortunately (fortunately?), P is also a big fan of these so we are kinda fighting over them come lunch time.  It’s basically fat, salt, and carbs, so duh.

And OF COURSE the second I blog about patty-cakes being over eggs he requests them two days in a row. Ha!  Kids are something else.  I’m sure now that I’ve written this, it will stop again mañana.

Parenting is hard.  Seriously.

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I haven’t strayed from my smoothie breakfasts for weeks.  They keep me full and taste delicious so why would I?  I did buy a plantain recently though, so I may end up doing something with that.  Probably the same thing I always do though (blend eggs + plantain to make a batter then fry in a skillet to make a huge pancake/bread thing).  I wrote half a post about all my smoothie creations and the various powders and add ins I’ve tried lately and it’s just sitting in my blog’s dashboard waiting for me to finish it.  I don’t know why I haven’t yet…I think I just lost interest in the topic because after trying a bunch of flavors I got behind.  And catching up seems so futile.  Especially when my options are between that and sleep.  Or watching The Good Wife with Kyle.  Or going in the hot tub.  Oh my gosh I finally went in the hot tub again after 10+ months of time away.  I missed it.  It’s one of the only pregnancy rules I obeyed (because my OB was pretty adamant I don’t go in).  I didn’t think overheating was that real of a concern but she is fairly lenient on most issues and said no, so I stuck to her orders.  Sushi and runny eggs on the other hand…bad patient.

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How annoying are the avocado bags that leave green crap everywhere when you cut them open?  It’s slightly irrational how much it bothers me, but it does.  There has to be a better way.  I hate finding those green things all over and since we go through, like, ten avocados a week, we have bags upon bags upon bags.

I used to use avocado and mayonnaise interchangeably, but now I use them both in the same recipe for the same purpose.  Fat.  I like it in egg salads, chicken salads, tuna salads, tofu salads, as a base for dressings…basically straight up with a spoon.  Pretty soon I’m going to be eating an avo and mayo salad.  I joke about it, but I’m also kinda serious…

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My friend gave me a mini bottle of Califia’s cocoa noir almond milk beverage to try and now I have been working my way through every flavor.  They have caffeine, which I don’t really do much of (aside from chai tea), so that’s the only thing that keeps me in check.  Otherwise I’d likely house the whole 48 ounce bottle in a single serving.  Because I reallllly live on the edge, I add some to (one of my cups of) decaf coffee instead of plain almond milk or coconut milk.  I love what Califia is coming out with!  They have some really fun and delicious flavors and I know I’ll eventually try them all because hi, I adore coffee and all it’s cousin flavors.  Mocha!  Salted caramel!!  Have you tried the creamers??  Tell me, tell me everything.

Meatless Monday…and Saturday and Sunday

Kyle was out of town Thursday through Monday and since I wasn’t cooking for our whole family, I found it harder to meal plan.  It’s weird.  I never understood the “cooking for one” dilemma previously, but it’s definitely easier to turn to less stellar options when you are only feeding yourself.  I can’t really figure out why I think this is the case.  Maybe because it’s annoying and hard to make one serving of something?  Is it though?  What did I used to do?  Go to the WF hot bar?  Probably.  I mean I could still make a full meal for just me and P…leftovers aren’t the end of the world…but there’s also the mental road block of feeling like it’s a hassle to prepare a huge thing for one person (he doesn’t eat assembled meals and I always keep at least some variety of his mis en place ingredients are pretty much always prepped and ready to go, so it’s kinda just me I’d be cooking for).  I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I kept ruling out dinner options because I just felt they were an unnecessary to-do given the party-of-one situation.  Big salad bowls with a bunch of random fridge stuff is what I do for lunch, but to do that again for dinner…I dunno, it just feels lame.  I guess I like cooking for a family now.

I wasn’t really going anywhere with that train of thought.

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I’ll share this (family) meatless Monday meal in a sec, but first I’ll blab a bit about the weekend and those meals.

So the crappy thing about the weekend was I got some bizarre food poisoning slash GI bug (I KNOW!  AGAIN!!) and felt like death for most of Friday night and all of Saturday.  So freaking hideous.  I ate very little on Saturday, and despite having access to the entire Whole Foods prepared foods section (post-grocery shopping treat for me) I really wasn’t that into anything I saw.  I reluctantly chose a tofu dish with some rice and broccoli, but really wasn’t excited about it in the least.  My stomach was definitely not in the mood for food.  The only thing that sounded halfway decent was green juice, but I didn’t get any…

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I hemmed and hawed about whether or not eating this would be a good idea or not, but in the end I’m glad I ate it because (a) I enjoyed the flavor and forbidden (allergenic for P) ingredients; and (b) it didn’t hurt my stomach any more than it was already suffering (and I felt like I needed the calories).

The good thing about the weekend was I finally got this in the mail!

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I’ve been lusting after this new cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen (along with Isa Does It and a few others) for a while now.  And I finally decided to just buy it for myself (truth be told I was waiting for Mother’s Day to come just in case, but apparently I’m not very good at dropping clues about cookbooks since I talk about food 99% of my waking hours).

I spent almost every moment the kids were sleeping to dive head first into the recipes.  I am so so excited to make, well, everything!  I have multiple bookmarked already.

The thing is, I’ve been really missing vegetarian (and vegan) fare.  And I’ve felt a yearning to return to it.  But it’s just so hard with all of P’s allergies.  It really doesn’t make sense for our family.  Especially since P loves meat.  Or at least he did.  He’s been kinda over it lately!  It’s so bizarre…first it was eggs…we used to go through two cartons a week and now we use a few for baking but otherwise nada.  I’m doing smoothies for breakfast and he’s doing whatever else.  No eggs.  Then he decided to break up with shrimp (another protein he used to take down by the ocean-full).  And lately it’s been chicken and pork too (more former faves)!  Even some of the processed things like chicken nuggets and sausage are out the window.  He still loves bacon, ground beef and a few others, but it’s definitely a big shift.  So I figured I may as well take advantage and make things I want since he isn’t digging the meat anyway.

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P actually helped me pick out this recipe.  He likes looking at cookbooks too…ha.  In truth, he didn’t actually have a choice because I was browsing The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook while he was eating lunch so that I could get things started for our dinner later and I asked him what he wanted to eat.  I offered either brown rice or wild rice (he loves both) and he chose brown.  So then I flipped to the grain section of the book and read off some choices and ingredients.  He wanted carrots.  Soooo…

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I cut a few corners to make it quicker (one of the several reasons the book is awesome is because it identifies which recipes are fast – in addition to vegan or gluten free).

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I subbed kale for chard (we have SO much in the garden) and carrots for turnips (still have a lot of those too).  I also added the za’atar seasoning to the dish after P went to bed (it contains sesame seeds).

In terms of ingredients that P ate, he tried the turnips (not a fan), ate the greens raw (not roasted), ate a big bowl of rice mashed with avocado and olive oil and hep seeds, and refused eggs.  Good enough.

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Chard, pre and post roasting.

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Tofu on Saturday and a veggie rice bowl on Sunday, on a roll with the meatless meals…so why not continue with Monday night’s dinner too!?

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So I did!

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I bookmarked Kath’s Smoky Tofu Pasta Salad last week and as you can see it made it into the menu already.  Kyle was back home from his trip by Monday night so this was for both of us, but not P (he can’t have soy).

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I made a few tweaks.  I used GF pasta (organic brown rice and quinoa from TJs) so P could have some before I dressed it.

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And then I made the dressing lactose free by swapping the called for greek yogurt and using Green Valley organic lactose free sour cream.  And I added a lot more salt.

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The best part about this was that it could be prepped in advance.  So even though P didn’t actually fall asleep during his nap time, I was at least able to use the quiet time while he was rolling around in his bed to make it and throw it in the fridge for later.

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Oh hi tofu, you’re yummy.

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Kyle and I both loved this.  I wouldn’t say it made 4-6 servings as Kath suggests, but perhaps that’s because Kyle and I don’t subscribe to “normal” portion sizes.

The rest of the weekly menu is a mix of vegetarian and meat-y fare, but I’m going to try to see how I can find a middle ground in balancing all of our dietary preferences and necessities going forward.