Hungry Hungry Hippie

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You Suck At cooking

Have you guys seen these on youtube?

I saw a clip on Jimmy Fallon and was instantly in love.  Watch them, they are hilarious.


I haven’t been good about uploading pics but I just wanted to share that link.  But I’ve been cooking up a storm, obvs.  I don’t think I suck at it  😉


Tempeh for all.  Kimchi for my portion only…


V sprained her ankle and it’s been terrible to try to keep her off it.  Puzzles in her high chair are my biggest stall tactic right now (while I try to feed my own face).



P is starting school in a few weeks (!!!!) and while he is a fantastic self advocate for his allergies, this is the first time I will be away from him and trusting someone else to feed him.  It’s only a snack (and truth be told, I’m still planning to pack his food every day) BUT he will be around others who are eating (potential allergens) which gives me anxiety just writing it out here now.

Thanks to a LOT of teaching, I know he’s ready because…

-He asks if foods have peanuts, sesame or cow milk in them ALL THE TIME.  Like, even foods I feed him.  He knows those are his allergens and that he can’t eat them or he will be sick and/or have to go to the hospital.  He knows to ask an adult because kids don’t always know.  He has asked my parents a few times (even when my dad fed him a plum!) and he isn’t remotely shy about it.  Any opportunity I see for practice, I take, and he is very proactive…just last week he was eyeing the cakes and pastries in the Whole Foods case and wanted to ask the employee if any had peanuts, sesame or cow milk, so I encouraged him to go for it.  And he did.  And he wasn’t terribly sad about the fact that he couldn’t have any, but later told me I “could make him some for his next birthday just like the ones at Whole Foods”.  Yikes.  I have my work cut out for me!!

-He can tell the difference between all the nuts and can pick out which breads and crackers have sesame on them.  We practice this every time we go to a store with bulk bins or a nuts aisle.  He enjoys the practice and it makes him more confident.

-He knows what his epi-pen is and why he needs to have it with him.

-He has a super cool bracelet with buttons for each allergy that he shows off to everyone he can.  We got it a week ago so he could have it before school started and it’s been a focal point of conversation between him and family/friends/strangers ever since.  I’m pretty proud by how empowered he is by something that may otherwise be seen as a misfortune.


This bracelet is made by allerbling and I bought it on amazon.  It comes with 8 allergy charms including peanut, shellfish, wheat, dairy, fish, soy, tree nut, and egg (aka “the big 8”) plus 1 medic charm.  We had to purchase the sesame charm separately.  And there are other charms available too (like ones that say “I carry an epi pen” or latex, etc.).


It comes with two sized bracelets (toddler and child) and P fits in the smaller one easily…which means we have an extra (larger) one and lots of extra charms.  I feel very fortunate that he has outgrown so many allergens (he started with wheat, soy, and tree nut too).

I know I have a bunch of allergy mamas who read this blog so I’d like to give it to someone who needs it.  I feel very strongly that products like this exist because of the active nature of this community and I want to contribute so if you think your child would fit in a larger bracelet and would wear it, leave me a comment….I will choose someone to mail it to by the end of the month.

[You will have to purchase peanut and dairy for yourself because his is using those]


Recent Dinner Winners

Just popping in because I wanted to share some recipes that I think others would like.


First off, this Thai Kale Salad with Cashews from Minimalist Baker was awesome.


Who doesn’t love salty cashews in their face?  Mmmmm.  I subbed sesame oil for olive and nixed the sesame seeds and it was still awesome.


We all licked our plates.

I would never have thought to add green beans to a salad like this, but it was fantastic.

And the dressing!  YUM.  All cashew, all the time.


Definitely worth adding to the regular rotation.  Make this, you guys!


Next was a basil recipe, because the garden overfloweth.


I went to Ikea last month for no purpose other than getting out of the house and came home with two bags of meatballs – one veggie and one turkey.  I’d heard such good things about their meatballs, so I decided to give them a shot.


Full disclosure, I wasn’t thrilled that the meat wasn’t organic and wouldn’t buy it under normal circumstances, but I’m banking on the fact that the Swedes aren’t as shady with their meat as Americans are.  Is that the dumbest thing ever?  Probably.  Just being truthful.  I’m very all or none and it’s something I need to actively work on.  Organic is important to me, but at what point does the search for perfection become detrimental to your health instead?  I can get really worked up when a lettuce blend I want to buy isn’t organic and so then I don’t buy it, which results in me eating something worse that I didn’t even want and being unhappy about it.  So what should I do?  Buy the damn lettuce I want, right?  I think that’s the answer.  I don’t know.  So off track.


Meatballs!  The chicken ones are gluten free (the beef ones are not).  I haven’t tried the veggie ones yet, so stay tuned, but the hype over Ikea’s meatballs is with reason.


They were good – salty and savory little bites that are neutral enough to go with almost anything, whatever flavor direction you go with sauce and accompaniments.  P and V both devoured them.  I prepared them in the oven per the instructions.


Then served them with pasta, home-made pesto, and broiled tomatoes from the garden.


More love for my Brianna’s poppyseed dressing!  It’s not summer without a few of these in the pantry.  I have it on kale salads for lunch on a daily basis (still rocking the massive kale monsters for lunch with all the nuts and avocado possible).

So about the above salad creation….WHAT a beauty.

It had:
butter lettuce (2 packs of organic are now sold at our Costco for the price of one at WF – hooray!)
roasted pepitas (broil/550 degrees F for a minute or so until they start popping)
raw white corn
and poppyseed dressing

No leftovers of that one AT ALL.  Not to be outdone, there was this dinner featuring nectarine as well…


This is from Kitchen Confidante (a new to me site).  I found it while searching for (duh) more ways to use up our nectarines.


Based on what we had in the pantry/fridge I made a couple of tweaks – I subbed farro for wheatberries and strawberries for cherries.

I added the goat cheese to our bowls afterwards so P would have a dairy free version.


Super good and very filling.  Definitely a favorite vegetarian dinner that we will be remaking often thanks to the abundance of nectarines in our backyard.  I shared the recipe with my family, and they all made it and liked it so MAKE THIS ONE FOR SURE.


This meal was cobbled together because I had planned on us going to market (and not cooking) that night but it was too hot…sooooooo I grabbed salmon from the freezer and quinoa from the pantry and then emptied every vegetable left in the fridge onto the cutting board to meet it’s fate in this side dish.

The sauce was a tamari ginger miso concoction that I wish I’d written down but that’s life.  Just a reminder that unplanned and seemingly thrown together dinners are often just as stellar as the thought-out planned meals.  Not sure if that’s depressing or impressive.


The above bowls were created from similar circumstances.  I don’t remember what happened, but whatever I’d been planning on making didn’t happen.  I think I hadn’t yet made it to the grocery store for the weekly haul.

So the tomatoes and green beans were from the garden, and then I just bulked them up with wild rice and “cheese” (leftover Kite Hill’s almond ricotta for me and P, parm for Kyle).  He also had shrimp on his (standard freezer item).

All you need for bowl magic is a grain, a green, and a protein.  🙂

IMG_8911Another thing I have in the freezer…home-made croutons!

Back in May (?) I brought challah baked French toast to a friend’s house for a baby shower.  But I was left with way too much challah to eat as is, so I cubed it, tossed it in olive oil and salt, and baked it in the oven.  Boom!  Croutons for days!  I separated them into a few different bags and froze them.  So on nights when I want to take a simple salad to the next level?  The answer: brioche croutons!!


This was a Caesar-esque salad, but to keep it veg but still hearty, I added roasted pecans.


It was so good.  A unique and filling way to enjoy Caesar salad.

That’s all I got.  Hope you make some of those!

The weekly menu

On Saturday we had our classic summer salad.  Cantaloupe, butter lettuce, avocado, and Brianna’s poppyseed dressing.


Kyle had grilled chicken the night before, so I planned for him to cook an extra breast.  Once we were done eating, I shredded it so it would be ready for the next day (Saturday).  I’m glad I did all that in advance too, because I was with my mom and sisters for the day (wedding dress shopping!!) so I didn’t get back to Davis until dinnertime.  Great to have everything ready to go.


Here’s the previous night’s meal.

IMG_9012As you can see, I had a little helper assembling the salad.  He dried and ripped up all the lettuce for me.




I can’t NOT stop in.  It’s a problem.


All for me!! [Don’t worry, I baked Kyle brownies, I’m not a totally terrible wife]  I’m going to try and make the box last a week.  Wish me luck!

On Sunday Kyle grilled salmon, and I made a broccoli slaw with pepitas, cilantro and a lime juice dressing.


On Monday we had this love & lemon’s recipe for kale and white bean salad with an avocado dressing.  I doubled the recipe (because our appetites are big) and I swapped the tahini for cashew butter.


P and V had the extra white beans from the can with nooch.  The salad was ok, but not my favorite.  It lacked something and I think it was a salty component.  Needed an oomph.  Kyle ended up adding parmesan to his and I grabbed some kite hill almond ricotta (leftover from a meal last week) for me and P.  He ate it all though (he loves kale salads).



On Tuesday I made Jessica’s BLT salad for the 50th time of life.


Kyle asks for this salad every week and I keep turning his request down because it has bacon and I’m trying to wean P’s bacon consumption.  Anyway, I finally caved and made it.  I may swap in coconut “bacon” next time and see if it’s as big of a hit because I have been making it every couple weeks lately (but I didn’t have enough for this recipe).


Sometimes you’re tired and your daughter falls asleep nursing on you and then you have to go grocery shopping and all that will do is a salty soft pretzel.  Thank you Whole Foods hot bar for the warm carbs.


On Wednesday we went to market, so we ate there.  I packed food for the littles (organic veggie meatballs from Costco which are gluten and dairy free), but I got a burger because why not.


It’s on a GF bun and looks small but filled me way up.  The last few weeks’ market dinners have been all over the place.  I’ve really been sampling different things each time rather than sticking to my same old (Indian food more often than anything else).  That’s partially because there’s not much diversity (I miss the food from “Our House” – specifically their pulled pork Caesar.  That was the best dish).  This week there were FINALLY some new places, including the burger place I went to.


On Thursday, I made this pea and almond curry salad which is an easy recipe that my friend gave me a few summer’s ago after I fell in love with the dish at her house.  I’m sure I’ve showed the dish on HHH before because I’ve made it a handful of times in the past.  It’s meant to be a side dish, but I like it as a main.


Smokehouse almonds are SO addicting so any excuse to eat them in massive amounts is fine by me.  I made toast on the side.


On Friday I made the most massive crock pot dish, because I was bringing dinner to my friend.  I actually started this Thursday evening, so it simmered away on the low setting for almost 24 hours.


Their fam eats low carb, so I figured this pulled pork and Caesar salad was a sure win.  That version of pulled pork has always been a big hit in our house.  I had to scratch the Caesar though, because her newborn is having reflux stuff that she’s trying to sort out with changes in her diet, so I made a simple (allergy free) salad instead.  And quinoa.


Because with that amount of juice, you need something to soak it up, ya know?

Seriously, this is THE BEST pulled pork recipe in the world.


The salad was organic mixed greens, roasted pepitas, dried cranberries, and a simple vinaigrette.  Nothing fancy, but apparently it was a huge hit with my friend’s toddler, so that’s always a sign of a good dish.


We still have lots of leftovers so it looks like it will be added to next week’s menu as well.  Might make Caesar this time 😉

And now for some real life pics (because my food photos are actually about 4% of my camera roll)…


They are besties.  Truly.  It’s every parent’s dream to think his/her kids are going to love each other, but their relationship is so beyond that.




Just keep climbing.


It’s literally impossible to photograph a group of >7 kids together.


Morning “family run” turned into an apple picking/construction viewing party.  Because, duh.


A day with Thomas

A few weekends ago, Kyle and I got my parents to watch V so we could take P to Santa Cruz for a special day.


The entire bed to himself and he curls up in the corner like that…ha!  So sweet.  FYI that’s a blow up mattress he is now sleeping in at my parents’ house.

We didn’t tell him where we were going, but we did tell him we had fun plans.  And because he randomly slept in super late, we had to basically shovel food down his throat in 30 minutes before hitting the road.  And while 30 minutes may seem like plenty of time to eat breakfast, for my leisurely diner it was SUCH a s t r u g g l e.


But then we were off!

We stopped at the bux first (because COFFEE to my face thankyouverymuch), and then got out Thomas stickers and a engineer hat as hints…he guessed right away!  We were going to meet Thomas!


He was thrilled.  But then made the (very valid) argument that to get to Sodor we needed to go over a bridge because it is an island.  So I explained that Thomas was coming here to California as a special visit…which he seemed cool with.


Right when we showed up, Thomas pulled up!


The way it works is you buy a ticket for a ride.  We bought one for 10:30 factoring in the 1.5ish hour drive to get there.  So aside from that, we had no agenda, no time constraints.  Each boxcar has room for something like 50 people (big long benches), and there were maybe 5 or so cars behind Thomas.

They have professional photographers all over the place but you can take pics with your own camera and phones too.  We looked up our pics afterwards, but they weren’t much better than any we took on our own.

Screenshot 2016-08-08 14.31.37

Cute, but not worth the $$$$$.


We rode backwards up into the forest (those massive redwoods were gorgeous!) and then after a ways we came back.

P got a engineer certificate en route, which meant nothing to him, but he still thought it was cool.


Since we were in the middle it was hard to see much, but whatever, I was laser focused on the group next to us eating peanut butter baked goods.  The only bummer about the ride was that the voice narrating Thomas related trivia and whatnot wasn’t loud enough so P couldn’t hear it (and I know he would have loved to).


After we pulled back into the station, we disembarked and set off to find the next thing.  Sir Topham Hatt!

The stations were organized in such a way that you had the chance to do something every half hour.  We had about 20 minutes to kill before meeting Sir Topham Hatt so P raced a tractor around and then just played on hay bails and ran around.


I thought they would nickel and dime us, but aside from the store, everything was pretty much free.  You could probably go and have a good time without even buying anything provided you didn’t want to ride on Thomas.  It’s not that ridiculous of a notion, because there was SO MUCH to do.

We only got through a portion of it in the few hours we were there…and Pacman probably would have stayed until he finished every single thing, but signs of fatigue and hunger reared their ugly heads around noon.


See??  He looks so tired here right?




They had bounce houses (separated by age groups – LOVE!), train tables, musicians, magic tricks, story telling, and heaps of food options and soooo much more I didn’t even see.


Ta-da!  <– he learned that from gymnastics class and he and V both do it back and forth all day with each other (they are in gym classes at the same time)

After we left we took lots of winding roads through the mountains to downtown Santa Cruz.  Patty-cakes was looking down the whole time (too into his Thomas “map”)….andddd…outfit change was necessary. Poor babe.  This is the first time he’s gotten carsick.  He gets that from his mama.  🙁


Let’s play a little game of +/-/+…

Fortunately I had a bag of hand-me-downs in the trunk.

Unfortunately, they were for V.

Fortunately, they are very close in size.


We went to a bomb lunch place called West End Tap & Kitchen, which was exactly what we were looking for.  I did some research beforehand and had a few places ready for whatever we felt like (backup was Picnic Basket).  They both focus on local and seasonal fare.  I ordered the (above) roasted organic chicken salad at West End, swapping bleu cheese for feta.  I hemmed and hawed over several dishes, because there’s so much good stuff on the menu, but let’s be honest, if I see a salad that has egg and avocado, it’s pretty impossible to pass up.  Also, it was nice to get chicken while out at a restaurant, because I usually avoid meat (knowing that it’s not organic).


Kyle got a burger and fries.


I had packed a sunbutter and jelly on tortilla for P.


What a fun date.  I’m so thankful that my parents could hang with V so we could get some solo time with P.  I know he feels very loved, but it’s important to get extra one-on-one attention every once in a while – and not just from one parent at a time (because that’s easier to coordinate).  And, naturally, my parents had a blast with their granddaughter…swimming and gardening and all that jazz.

For the rest of you who have Thomas obsessed kids, you should look into when this will be in your area. Price wise it is very reasonable if you can make it a day trip from where you live.  Of course my sweet boy already said he wants to go back with V so she can see it all.  <3