Monthly Archive: January 2013

Best meal of the week

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I have already gone on and on (ad nauseum) about how much I adore Caesar salad on the blog, so let’s just skip all that stuff and get to the point.

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Tofu Caesar Salad [vegan]

Ingredients:

  • 2 heads of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 block extra firm tofu, cubed & baked
  • Follow Your Heart’s vegan Caesar dressing
  • (optional) nutritional yeast

Directions:

For the tofu, drain and press the block until there’s no more liquid (overnight is preferable, but a few hours will work).

Cube and toss in oil, salt & pepper.  Place on baking sheet sprayed with non-stick and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Let cool then add to the romaine lettuce and pour lots and lots of dressing on top.

Sprinkle with nooch (or parmesan for the non-vegan folks like Kyle) and dig in.

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I could literally chug this dressing straight from the bottle I love it so.

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On the side, I made some garlic bread.

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We got this gorgeous loaf of sourdough at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market last weekend.  It was my first time going to the one in Heritage Square on Main Street (I usually go to the one on the Promenade & Arizona).  It’s on Sundays for anyone thinking of going, and in addition to the normal farm fresh fare, they have lots of eateries serving food.  Kyle and I want to go back for brunch now because there were tons of veggie options that looked and smelled fantastic.  And since it’s in Heritage Square, there’s lots of grass and benches for picnicking.

Ca’d’oro bakery is Santa Monica based by the way.

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So back to the garlic bread.

I applied a hefty layer of Earth Balance on them followed by garlic and other Italian seasonings, and salt & pepper.  As you can see, I did leave a few slices plain (aka garlic free) for me.

Then I placed them in the oven (under the broiler) for 1 1/2 –2 minutes (gotta keep a tight watch on our crazy intense broiler – it likes to burn things).

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I preferred this to croutons on the salad, but if you want croutons to add to the salad, you could cube them, toss them in olive oil, Italian seasonings, and toast them in the same manner.

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L.O.V.E.

This was enough for us both to have second helpings.

It was so good that I claimed the leftovers as mine (hands off Kyle!).  Then (freak that I am) I looked forward to it the entire next day.  I like soggy salads though.  Wilty lettuce is my jam.

Color me orange

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Here’s a list of my favorite foods that are orange:

  • sweet potatoes
  • butternut squash
  • carrots

…and now this dip.

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I actually set out to re-make my creamy dijon cashew sauce.  I wanted a nut free version – something lighter.  It turned out quite nicely for a low fat food.  Actually it turned out great for any kind of food.

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And now I’m pretty much putting it on everything.  Especially other orange things.

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You can’t have too much B carotene, right?  Right.

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Tangy Tofu Dip [vegan, gluten free]

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 aseptic pack lite silken tofu
  • 1/4 red bell pepper
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp honey mustard
  • 1 tbsp stone ground mustard
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • pinch salt

Directions:

Puree everything together until ingredients are mixed and consistency is smooth.
Refrigerate until chilled.
Serve as a dip, with veggies, pretzels, or whatever.
Use as a sauce, with grains and roasted veggies.

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The first bowl had quinoa, baked tofu, and roasted butternut squash.

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I also made one with sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and carrots.

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So good.

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It’s pretty awesome as a dip too though.  I’ve had it with celery, carrots, Mary’s Gone crackers, and a spoon my finger.

Try it!  It’s much lighter than the cashew version.  Even if you aren’t a big tofu person this may sway you.

If nothing else, you’ll get some B carotene up in your system.

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39 week check-in

I finally got my iPhone’s playlists ready – I don’t know how it took me this long, but I just synched my favorite mellow music to my device.  Lots of enya, classical stuff, and other soothing songs (ie Buddha Lounge Ensemble).  I have different tunes too, but I feel most serene when I’m listening to tranquil types of music.  Hopefully that’ll help during contractions. 

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And since I’m on the subject of my iPhone, check out all the baby related apps that now dominate the screen.  Geez!  I used to barely have two pages of stuff, and now I have an app for timing contractions (Full Term), an app for tracking nursing/sleeping/pooping (Nursing Timer), and both What to Expect apps (the addition of baby is new, I had the pregnancy one previously).  Hooray for technology :)

I’ve given up on trying to make myself go into labor.  I sorta came to the realization last weekend that he’s going to come when he’s ready and me willing it to happen is pointless and semi-selfish.  Better that I have a fully developed healthy baby than a few less days of discomfort.  Plus, I know my pregnancy is almost over, which makes me think I’ll actually miss (certain parts of) it.  As annoying as his incessant hiccups are (which are so strong now that they shake my entire body), it’ll be weird to not have him all safe and snuggled up inside me.  The fact that I’ve gotten to feel his movements strengthen and change and develop over the past 9+ months makes me feel like we have a special bond.  And now that pregnancy is ending and his birth is imminent, I’m starting to feel like I should really soak up these moments.  It’s a pretty cool thing.  [That said, I wouldn’t mind it would be awesome to be able to drink a beer during the Super Bowl]

I started reading up on post-partum stuff, too.  I’d been putting it off for fear of overwhelming myself (which I ended up doing anyway), but maybe some stuff will stick once I start that journey.  It’s all kind of a jumble right now.  Fortunately I’ve bookmarked lots of websites (www.kellymom.com) and books (What to Expect, the chapter on the first week with baby).  And I know Kyle will be doing anything and everything to help.

Speaking of my better half.  He’s been especially awesome this past week.  He lets me whine, he rubs my feet, he goes on walks with me, and he asks me what I need around the clock.  He’s going to be the best dad ever.  I’m so lucky to have him as a partner through this.  He’s been amazing throughout the entire pregnancy, but I can tell he’s as anxious as I am now that it’s getting down to the wire.  His last day of work (at his paying job) is on February 1st, which means we will have all hands on deck when the time comes.  I’m not going to go into much more detail about him quitting his job, but it’s definitely something we are excited about.  His future is in his solar start up company, and in the meantime, he gets to be at home with his wife and son. 

My (hand me down) medela pump has all new parts now.  It was a pain in the a$$ trying to sort out which parts I needed (why are there 800 pieces to these stupid freakin’ things) and then trying to track them all down (I almost got suckered into some fake knock-offs, but amazon ended up coming through with all medela parts).  But in the end I finally got it.  They’re still all wrapped up and just sitting on the kitchen counter because I have no clue what to do with them at the moment. 

I finally broke the 20 pound barrier.  Ironically, my weight gain stalled for a bit during the holidays, but has now returned.  I’m officially up 20.5 pounds.  And yet, my belly button is still flat.  I guess I’m never getting an outie?  Some people must just not be able to get one (which is kinda a bummer because I always thought that was like the timer that popped out when things were done cooking). 

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He definitely still seems to be growing.  Every time we meet with our OB he tells us that soon movements will decrease as he runs out of space, but so far that has yet to happen.  He’s crazy active at all hours of the day and night.  In just the past week I started feeling his kicks against my right rib.  It’s only at night, when I’m lying on my side, though.  It feels so weird.  It’s not really painful; it just feels like whoa that shouldn’t be there.  My body reacts kinda spastically when he does it, as if to try to move out of the way to prevent it from happening again, but that’s not really possible.  Prior to getting pregnant myself, I remember hearing pregnant women complaining of this very phenomenon.  I guess I’m lucky that I somehow avoided it until week 39. 

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It’s so weird looking back at the first trimester pics.  Was my abdomen ever really that flat??  Those were the days…

The painful cramping that began back in week 30 and continued to plague me throughout my third trimester (forcing me to stop working earlier than intended) have now stopped.  I mean seriously!?!?  What the heck!  My body is so confused.  I can’t tell if things are moving along or not since I’ve always been carrying pretty low.  I feel more pressure (I think?) when I walk, but it could be in my head.  I could simply be paying more attention than I was previously. 

Sleeping through the night is a problem, yet again, that leaves me feeling drained during the day.  I wake up no fewer than 5 times and have a difficult time falling back asleep.  If it’s between 11 and 3 am, I can usually get back to my slumber state eventually, but after 4 am it’s a struggle.  I often lie awake for hours and hours, trying to zone out and think about nothingness to get back to sleep.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been awake long before Kyle’s alarm goes off.  Sleep deprivation feels so pointless without an infant!  Once I have a newborn, at least I’ll have a reason to be up at all hours.  I swear, if one more person tells me to "get your sleep now, while you can!" or "do x,y,z now, while you can!" I’m going to scream.  I’m not a bear.  I can’t store up sleep.  And even if hibernation were a real possibility, I’m definitely not comfortable enough to take advantage.  More importantly, I knew what I was getting into when I decided to become a mom.  I’m thrilled that our family is growing, so stop acting like my life is over and I’ll never be able to do anything ever again.  This is a very exciting time.  Yes, things will be totally different and my world will be turned upside down.  But that’s what I want!  I’m going to be a mom!! 

And that’s about all I’ve got. 

The countdown is in the single digit territory.  Mind blowing. 

Gluten free quick bread

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Coconut Cranberry Banana Bread  [gluten free, yields 2 mini loaves]

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 cup vanilla greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut (for topping)

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine dry ingredients (flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt) in one bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients (banana, yogurt, and eggs).
Add wet to dry and mix.  Fold in cranberries.
Pour (or scoop – batter is thick) into mini loaf pans sprayed with non-stick. 
Sprinkle shredded coconut on top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 38-42 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean).

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Notes:

I used Chobani non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt.  The yogurt and cranberries gives it some tang, which pairs really well with the coconut. 

This bread isn’t very sweet.  If you want it to be a more traditional sweet bread, add 1-2 tbsp maple syrup.  The texture will still be fine.

Coconut flour is a very absorbent flour, so the texture is pretty dense for a bread.  For this reason I made it with real eggs.  I suspect a vegan substitute (ie chia seeds or flax seeds) won’t really work as well, but feel free to try and let me know.

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Not much else to say.

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Pretty good stuff.

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Breakfast.  Dessert.  Snack.  It’s all good.

For the avocado lovers

I ate two avocados today. 

For breakfast I had toast with avocado and a pinch of salt. 

For lunch I had a salad with a lot of avocado. 

For dinner I had a stir fry topped in avocado.

I honestly couldn’t tell you which was my favorite meal.  I love avocado.  I don’t understand people who don’t like avocado.  It makes no sense to me.

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It seems like I’m back in a salad phase because this was so good I can’t wait to have it again.  And again.  And again. 

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Spring greens.  Lightlife’s tempeh fakin’ bakin’.  Carrots.  Avocado.  Girard’s light champagne dressing.

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If this were cold, it would be a hippie bowl.  But since it’s hot off the stove, I guess it’s a stir fry.  Even though the avocado is (obviously) not warm.

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Brown rice.  Sesame oil.  Tamari.  Organic eggs.  Carrots.  Avocado. 

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Perfection.  If I had my way, I’d have avocado in every single meal. 

When I was really young (as in 3 years old) my parents lived in Orange County and their house had an avocado tree.  It was huge and produced TONS of fruit.  Man do I wish we had one today.  Unlimited (and free!) avos would be the best (way better than a tomato plant).