Monthly Archive: April 2013

Passport weekend

This is gonna be a long one, but I like recapping our little family weekends, so this is selfishly for my own (online?) memory.

Friday morning I had my usual breakfast, toast with an egg.  Only I added something special, that I’ll review more thoroughly later on.

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Hint: it’s the peanut butter. 

After eating I spent the morning prepping for an interview.  I have mixed feelings about my timeline for going back to work and it’s a complicated issue that I’m not going to discuss on the blog.  Once I know what the plan is, I’ll share it.  But for now, it remains to be seen what will happen…

Since I was in Sacramento around noon, I grabbed lunch from The Plum Cafe.

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Back when I first mentioned I was moving to this area, several people commented about Sugar Plum Vegan.  It’s in Sacramento, so I decided to look it up as a potential post-interview treat.  Then I read in the “about us” section of their website that they had a cafe as well and decided getting an actual meal would be a better idea.  Technically The Plum Cafe is no longer run by the same person who started it (she sold it to focus exclusively on Sugar Plum Vegan instead), but they still offer lots of the same baked goods.  Plus restaurant fare.  Whoa tangent.

I got the kale massage salad to go.

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Kinda pathetic looking right?

The thing is, this wasn’t actually what I was going to get.  At first I wanted the jackfruit tuna salad because I’ve never had jackfruit and it has always intrigued me.  But then I tried a sample before I got it and it was pretty bland.  So I asked how the kelp noodle dish was.  I also love kelp noodles and (as you can see) was trying to order something different.  When I’m dining out (or buying any food from a restaurant) I try to order things with unique ingredients that I don’t make on my own.  When I asked the girl taking my order about how she liked that dish, she implied it wasn’t their most popular (and basically told me to get something else).  I trust the employees to know what their best offerings are, so I just asked her what I should get, and she said the kale salad.

Cool.  I like kale.  If a kale salad is popular, it must be good.  I got it to go, along with a cowboy cookie (it’s GF and vegan).

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The salad was pretty pathetic in my opinion.  It had kale that had been barely massaged with dressing and a small amount of avocado.  And that’s it.  For $9.50 I’d expect more.  Granted it was organic, but where are the carrots and cucumbers (that are in the menu description)? 

Maybe I’m spoiled having lived in NYC and LA.  If you’ve ever eaten a salad from One Lucky Duck or Native Foods you are probably in the same boat.  Kyle thought my higher standards had more to do with the fact that I could make this salad on my own with my eyes closed and he may be right there too.  I think restaurants should be able to make something better than I can.  But maybe (and I’m not trying to sound arrogant or cocky when I say this) I’m on the more skilled end of the vegan home-cooking spectrum?  In any event, I wasn’t impressed and ended up adding nuts, tofu, and Bragg’s aminos to the salad to make it hearty enough to count as lunch.

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FYI, the cowboy cookie was great (it was oatmeal chocolate chip and did not skimp on the butter/oil).  So I still plan on going to Sugar Plum.  The moral of the story is go to The Plum Cafe for the baked goods.

After lunch we packed up and headed to my parents’ house.

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I’m loving how much more often we get to see them now that we are in Nor Cal!

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We were planning on having taco night, but my mom went kinda crazy at the grocery store and ended up getting lots of other stuff too.

She sautéed some cod while I chopped veggies and made a eggplant, bell pepper, mushroom stir fry.

The Mexi grain blend was a new to my product (I think she said it was from WF but it could have been TJs).  I’ll have to keep my eye out for it.  It had a mix of grains including red quinoa and rice (already cooked), corn, and some other stuff with Mexican seasonings, so all you have to do is heat it.  We used two packets for the four of us, but had extra. 

My mom also got a block of Follow Your Heart vegan cheese for me.  I kinda forgot how much I like this cheese’s flavor.  Lately, Daiya has taken over my life (and wallet), but pre-Daiya I was all about this stuff.  It doesn’t melt as well but I may actually prefer the flavor (gasp!).

Oh, and there was corn on the cob too.

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As you can see mine wasn’t in taco form.  I nixed the shells because I wasn’t in the mood for the oil.  My dad always fries them himself and while they are usually perfection, something about these corn tortillas (from TJs) was off because they were super hard.  They were more like tortilla chips than shells.  Kyle was the only one who had the patience to eat them. 

After dinner, we gave P a bath, read him a story, and put him down.  Side note: I do NOT remember The Giving Tree being such a depressing story!

While P went to sleep in the pack n play in our bedroom, Kyle and I went back out to the kitchen to hang out with my ‘rents.  I checked on him a couple of times (no baby monitor at my parents’ house) and he was sleeping soundly.

He woke up at 2 and 6 and after both breast feeding sessions went back to sleep. 

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The next morning I made breakfast (oats, nooch, avo, and a fried egg) and caught up on all my Bravo trash, including the Rachel Zoe Project and The Real Housewives of the OC (mom, please don’t delete the rest on your DVR because I haven’t watched them yet!). 

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I didn’t do anything active but was still hungry for lunch before noon even came. 

I made a salad with some of the leftovers from the previous night (mixed greens, tomatoes, FYH vegan cheddar cheese and avo).  Plus carrots and a non-grated hunk of cheese (I was lazy and didn’t want to bother with dirtying and cleaning the grater).

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Once my dad got home from work in the afternoon (half day), we packed up for the weekend and headed up to Healdsburg for a wine weekend.  It’s beyond cozy stuffing five people (including a car-seated infant) and all their belongings in a sedan.

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This past Saturday and Sunday was Passport weekend in Dry Creek Valley.  If you want to know more about it, check out this site, but basically you buy a pass and then you get access to all the (50+ participating) wineries, where they have fancy food and wine pairings and entertainment to showcase their grapes. 

I’ve been twice before and it’s so much fun. 

Because my dad was on call for Saturday we only got Sunday passes.  They didn’t used to sell individual days, but then the weekend got so popular they started to in order to allow more peeps access delicious vino. <— info straight from my dad

We got to my grandpa’s vineyard by 5ish, introduced him to P, snacked on roasted nuts for a while, and finally headed to dinner in downtown Healdsburg.

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My dad made a reservation at Baci Cafe & Wine Bar a while ago, and (full disclosure) I wasn’t really stoked on the place before we went.  My dad has really good taste, but the place is Italian (as in, real authentic Italian), which is never my first choice in cuisine because their vegan offerings are usually non-existent.  I’m no longer vegan, but I am still dairy free, meat free, and wheat avoidant. 

The regular menu has no fish options, and all the pizzas and pastas have either meat, dairy or both.  I knew this going in to the meal because I scouted out the menu beforehand, so I had a game plan to either get lots of veggie sides and/or a modified starter salad. 

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We started with Villa Sparina Gavi, a new wine to all of us.  It was a favorite of the owner’s, who was kind enough to visit the table to guide my dad in his selection (upon his request).  He didn’t actually ask for the owner, just someone who knew wine, but that’s who our waiter sent to help us.  Baci’s is a family run restaurant (our waiter was the son of the owners) and it’s personal touches like that which take the dining experience to another level.  It was, in fact, the first indication that we were in for an exceptional night, above and beyond the norm. 

As far as I knew, we all enjoyed the wine.  I only had a small glass, but I definitely liked it.  They buy it from a distributor who imports it directly from Italy, so I don’t think you can buy it anywhere in retail stores. 

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My mom, Kyle, and I all shared this salad.  It was one of the specials so I can’t find the description online, but it had beets, avocado and greens with some kind of delicious creamy cilantro dressing.  So so good!

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My dinner was also one of the specials, which was then modified to meet my dietary specifications.  The halibut caught my eye the second I saw the daily menu, and so I asked our waiter about if it could be made without dairy (butter).  He told me he’d go ask the chef (who was his father – I told you it was a family operation).  He came back and said they could do it.

After our orders were placed, the chef came out to talk to me.  He said the fish could be made without butter, no problem, but the pea puree that it came with had dairy in it.  He asked if I would like roasted potatoes instead, which I obviously accepted. 

I couldn’t believe the head chef of this wonderful restaurant came out from the kitchen just to ask me about the specifics of my dietary request.  Such service!  It just goes to show you that catering to your guests will get you happy (and repeat) customers, as opposed to chefs who stick to the no substitutions policy. 

The meal was awesome, too, by the way. 

No photos of dessert because I didn’t have any, but the gelato was the creamiest stuff I have ever laid eyes on.  It was thick and stretched from the spoon like string cheese.  My parents and Kyle split the pistachio and vanilla, and everyone raved about the pistachio.  Another Italian import that blew the table’s minds. 

Because we got back to my grandpa’s so late, we skipped bath and story time and just dimmed the lights while I nursed P.

Another night of him sleeping soundly in the pack n play in a foreign setting.  I swear, this kid is just too good for words.  I woke up to feed him at 2:30 am and 7 am, after which I planned on staying up…

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But then we both passed back out.  Kyle took these photos and then left us to rest some more. 

I got up for reals at 8:15 and the rest of the fam was already done with breakfast.  My grandpa had made two big smoothies – one of which was non-dairy for me.

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I had one glass and saved the other in the fridge for later.  It was actually pretty good, and I’m kinda picky about my smoothies.  He used strawberries, bananas, and orange juice.  I’m not sure if that’s it, but that’s all he mentioned.

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My parents and Kyle worked the first shift of the day at Mauritson from 9:30 to 1.  Volunteering is optional obviously, but it can be a fun (depending on the winery) and it gets you Passports for the weekend.  I stayed at my grandpa’s vineyard with P while they worked.  Kyle flipped buns next to Charlie Palmer all morning and both my dad and I were way jealous. 

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While they were working, I ate breakfast (no photo, but it was fresh walnut bread and two fried eggs), nursed P, pumped breast milk twice (for later), and gave P a mini bath.  I also scoped out the wineries that I wanted to hit up in the afternoon. 

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I nursed P right before my parents and Kyle got back and then gave my dad a few seconds of instructions before my mom, Kyle and I set back out to do some wine tasting.  Hooray for my dad babysitting (slash staying sober)!!

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The first stop was Michel-Schlumberger.  Kyle and I remember loving it when we went in the past, and even though it is now under new ownership, it’s still great.  They are no longer organic, but aside from that, the wines were delicious.  Kyle said their Cab was his favorite of the day.  I liked the Chardonnay, but I definitely can’t drink more than 4 sips of those kinds of whites.  I also liked the Cab, but not the same one Kyle did (he liked the younger one, but I liked the 2010).  It helped that it was paired with a chocolate covered crostini sprinkled with sea salt.  I tried their olive oil too, but it was only so-so.

After that we headed to Quivira.

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This is another favorite of mine.  My grandpa’s grapes used to go to their Zinfandel, so I’m partial to them in that regard, but they are also organic and they farm the whole vineyard biodynamically.  They have solar panels and use their own bees to pollinate.  And the gardens!  In addition to the wine, they were offering tastings of their estate olive oil, honey, and preserves.  The olive oil was so good we bought a bottle.  My favorite of their wines was the Grenache.  It was so unique.

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Next on the agenda was Rafanelli

They were WAY popular as evidenced by the line winding down the driveway.  We got a sample of the Zin while waiting, which was my favorite wine of the day.  After ten minutes or so without advancing in the line, we ditched for the next winery.  We only had 3 hours total, so we had to be strategic. 

Passalacqua was our next destination.  By this point I was getting a little buzzed though so I only sampled a few of the wines.  None of them stood out to me though.

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The view was pretty exceptional though, huh.

Across the street was our final stop, Dry Creek Vineyard.  This is where my parents worked last year.  We didn’t try very many wines here because we were slightly turned off by the staff.  They were highly suspicious of us for some reason since we didn’t have the necklace things that most people had.  We tried explaining that we had growers passports and didn’t have lanyards because we worked in the morning and never went to the check in area.  Meh.  I didn’t really care that I only tried a few wines there.  By that point it was nearly 4 pm (when the event ends) and I needed to sober up.

We stopped by the Healdsburg General Store on the way back to my grandpa’s so I could get a real meal (the dairy free and veg friendly nibbles at the wineries were few and far between).  I got a delicious egg salad over greens.

Back at the vineyard, my grandpa, dad and P were chillin’.  My dad had given P one of the bottles I had pumped earlier and he took it like a champ (first bottle he’s gotten since the NICU!).  I have been so reluctant to give him a bottle, for a variety of reasons, but I can’t exclusively breast feed (and have no social life) forever.  This was a big step for us both. 

My dad was our DD and drove us all back to my parents’ house that evening.  We hit lots of traffic but rather than stay the night at my parents Kyle and I just drove back to Davis (after changing and nursing P at my parents’ house).

We got in late, after making a WF stop for dinner, and then got P’s bedtime routine under way.

Even though he was still awake when I put him in his crib he just quietly wiggled flailed all extremities until he dozed off.  In other news, he has found his thumb!  It’s very exciting for him to be able to self soothe (without the pacifier). 

Guess what!?!  He slept from 9:30 pm (or whenever he finally fell asleep) straight until 7:15 am!  ALL.  THROUGH.  THE.  NIGHT.

And he wasn’t even crazy when he woke up.  We heard him on the monitor and went into his room and he greeted us both with a big huge smile. 

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I love this kid.

So much.

Ten Reviews

Here are some products I’ve tried lately. Some were bad, some were okay, some were good, and some were awesome. So I figured I’d share. I have no affiliation with any of these companies. These are simply my honest opinions.

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1. Tazo vanilla rooibos parfait (from Starbucks)

Because I like my tea really (almond) milky, I’m always on the lookout for new decaf varieties that aren’t fruity and don’t have mint or chamomile in them (the two herbal flavors I am not a fan of).  It’s surprisingly hard to find.  And lately fennel is all the rage.  No thanks.  This tea is pretty good.  It’s actually more fruity than I was anticipating, but there’s still more vanilla than anything else.  I make a misto with it (half hot water, half almond milk) and happily gulp it down all day long knowing there’s no caffeine. 

Will I buy again?  Yes.  As long as I’m breast feeding I need as many decaf tea options as possible.

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2. Rudi’s gluten free spinach tortillas

I’ve tried the plain and the fiesta before.  I liked the plain, but the fiesta was just meh in my book (didn’t really have much flavor to differentiate it from the plain to be honest).  I was kinda expecting the same problem with the spinach but I’m happy to say they were flavorful and didn’t crumble or crack like Food For Life’s GF tortillas.  You can store them in the freezer and use them infrequently too (just pull them out to thaw slightly before separating how ever many you need). 

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The ingredient list is semi long, but everything is recognizable and they didn’t upset my gut at all.

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I was way too ambitious with this burrito (tomato, daiya cheddar cheese, and scrambled eggs), so I turned it into a quesadilla.  That required a fork…

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Definitely too packed.

I made another quesadilla with just mozzarella daiya, which actually melted and could be picked up.

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Would I buy again?  Yes, yes yes.

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3. Hi I’m skinny veggie tortilla sticks

These are basically fluff food, but they are really tasty.  Kyle was obsessed with them.  He loved the sweet onion flavor as well.

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They aren’t labeled as gluten free, but from what I can tell they don’t have wheat or gluten ingredients (unsure about “tortilla flour” though).  The ingredient list is actually relatively short, with vegetable seasonings dominating it (after corn).  Don’t worry it’s non GMO. 

Would I buy again?  Yes, for Kyle, because he couldn’t stop talking about how good they were.  For me, I’d pass.  I prefer popcorn if I’m in the mood for light snacking.

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4. Lesser Evil veggie krinkle sticks

These are basically the same as the previous and when I asked Kyle which he liked better he looked at me in a confused way that let me know he thought he was eating the same product. 

These are slightly more nutritious in that they have actual vegetables (potato, corn, spinach, and broccoli) and whole grains (wheat, barley, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, and white corn) in them.  But as you can see, they are not gluten free. 

Would I buy again?  Probably not this flavor (I liked the sea salt ones more).  Even though I preferred these to the Hi I’m Skinny sticks, they aren’t gluten free and I tend to try to stick to wheat-less snacks for FODMAPs reasons. 

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5. hippie chow original granola

Usually I make my own granola, but my parents saw this when they were on vacation and bought it for me because the name is too cute to pass up.  It was awesome!  A great balance of oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit (it had dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, pepitas, almonds, and pecans FYI).  I ate it plain and/or atop oatmeal rather than as cereal with milk. 

Would I buy again?  Since it’s not available where I live, no.  But that’s only because I’m too cheap to buy something online that I already make on my own 24/7.  It’s really good though, so if you see it in your area, try it!

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6. Pure Market Express turtle pie

These raw vegan desserts are CRAZY good.  This was the most decadent one yet (I’ve tried a few before).  I shared it with Kyle and he agreed (and he usually doesn’t like raw food – apparently chocolate and nuts are the exception).  I do have to acknowledge the kcals though (almost 500 for that tiny sliver!).  While I don’t track calories or even pay attention to how much I eat on any given day, I know for a fact that’s a lot for a small dessert.  Since it’s made of quality ingredients, it’s way different than an ice cream sundae of equivalent caloric value.  In the end, I suppose it makes for a good treat once in a while, but definitely not something on the regular. 

Would I buy again?  Sadly, it’s too expensive to justify.  But if Pure Market Express’ items were available locally (they require shipping) then most definitely.

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7. Mary’s Gone Crackers (new??) crackers

I can’t find what these are called on the website because apparently they haven’t been debuted yet?  They were samples from Expo West, and they taste just like graham crackers.  They’re delicious.  Like the rest of Mary’s Gone products, they are gluten free and vegan. 

Would I buy again?  Yes!  I loved them.

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8. Pacific original unsweetened hemp milk

I rarely buy hemp milk and I can’t recall previous brands I’ve tried (we are an exclusively almond milk family).  While I appreciate the protein content in hemp milk (as opposed to other non dairy milks), I’m not in love with it’s flavor.  It tastes chalky.  Like protein powder-y milk.  And it doesn’t mix into coffee or tea (it separates and looks like miso soup).  I used it in cooking, so the flavor was masked, because I didn’t like it plain.  I could see it being okay in a protein shake though since it lends itself to that kind of texture and flavor.

Would I buy again?  Nah.  I wish there were non dairy milks with better protein content, but the good nutritional stats in hemp milk still don’t outweigh the flavor.

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9. Jericho spicy hummus

It’s not often (ever?) that I stray from Sabra, but every once in a while I’m tempted to sample new brands of hummus I see.  Jericho was showcasing at Expo West but I haven’t seen their products elsewhere. 

Their hummus was really thick, a plus in my book, and had a strong tahini flavor.  The herbs on top were also really fresh tasting! 

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This flavor was a bit too spicy for me, but Kyle was a fan. 

Would I buy again?  Probably but I don’t know where to find them.  I’d like to try the original (or any of the other flavors), but I have no idea where to buy them. 

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10. The Republic of Tea sampler

I haven’t tried all of the flavors yet, but of the ones I have tried, here’s the deal.

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Cinnamon Vanilla – sounds heavenly, tasted like cough syrup.  Very weird.

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Coconut Cocoa – a totally dreamy tea bursting with chocolate-y coconut flavor.  Love!

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Ginger Peach – more peach than ginger.  For a fruity tea it was okay.

I haven’t tried the rest because they either have caffeine or mint or chamomile.

Would I buy again?  Yes to the coconut cocoa.  No to the rest.

Bananaberry Crumble bread

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Can you believe I made this a while ago but only just got around to trying it?

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I know that sounds insane but it was purely due to the move.  I hated the idea of blueberries and greek yogurt going to waste, so I decided to bake with it.  Transporting a couple of frozen loaves of bread is way easier than berries and yogurt individually.

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It may seem like I’m obnoxiously frugal cheap, but organic blueberries are not inexpensive.  Plus I don’t like the idea of waste.  I’m the girl that takes home the last four bites of her dinner from a fancy restaurant.  I don’t even get embarrassed asking anymore.

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Bananaberry Crumble Bread [vegetarian, gluten free, soy free]

Wet Ingredients:
1 large overly-ripe banana, mashed
1 1/2 cups blueberries (I used frozen)
4 tbsp Earth Balance, melted
1/2 cup blueberry Greek yogurt (I used Chobani blended)

Dry Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour/starch
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Crumble Topping:
2 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tbsp Earth Balance, softened

Directions:

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix wet and dry ingredients separately, and then combine them together.

Pour into greased baking pan (I used two mini loaf pans, but you could make these into muffins too).

In another bowl, mix together softened Earth Balance and coconut sugar, then add atop bread.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 33-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. [The time will be less if you make muffins]

Notes: If gluten free isn’t important to you, just use all purpose flour in place of the brown rice and tapioca flours.  If you’re intolerant of greek yogurt, try coconut or almond based yogurts.  Brown sugar can be subbed for the coconut sugar in the crumble topping.  Coconut oil could be subbed for the EB as well.

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By the way, I removed these loaves from the oven (and took all these photos with my iPhone) while holding P.  That’s meant to both impress you and excuse me from the crappy quality.

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It tastes good, so that’s all that matters.

Moving weekend

I’ll make this brief since this is what I’m up against…

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Hippie tip #1: Buy and sell (or give away) used moving boxes on craigslist before and after you move.  Earth friendly and cheap.

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Here we are in our (old) backyard with a passed out babe and movers schlepping patio furniture. 

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P was clearly not stressed out by the packing process.  On the contrary, he slept probably 30 of the 36 hours that we were transitioning from one home to the next.  He just looooves being held, and since we had no furniture to put him in, we spent the day passing him back and forth between the two of our arms.  I thought I was screwed because the entire time the movers were doing their thing he was snoozing…and knowing we had a 6+ hour car drive ahead of us I was so nervous he’d be awake the entire time. 

[Ordinarily I wouldn’t mind if he stayed up for the long commute (because at least then he’d sleep at night), but since Kyle and I have two cars we had to drive up to Nor Cal separately…meaning nobody was in the backseat with Patty-cakes…meaning his rear facing car seat left me blind to how he was doing.  Without being able to see him, it’s way easier to determine when to stop and change/feed him when he goes from asleep to awake.]

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Hanging out in the bedroom (the last room they packed up).

The movers started at 8 am and didn’t finish until 3 pm (!!!!!).  They were really efficient too, which leads me to believe forced a reality check, we have a lot of stuff.  The real issue was that they underestimated the truck space they would need and ended up having to get two trucks to move us.  I was slightly annoyed at first, but the whole Boston stuff that was going on really put life in perspective.  I have nothing (NOTHING) to complain about.  Period.

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Soaking up some final Santa Monica sunshine with my last meal at 12th Street (seitan, quinoa, avocado, tomatoes, and a hard boiled egg).

After doing a walk through with our landlord and one final diaper change/feeding, we finallllly hit the road.  At rush hour.  The timing could not have been worse and it took us over an hour to drive a mere 4 miles to the freeway (talk about a flashback to the hospital…minus the whole labor thing).

In the end, P slept (again!) for the entire car ride to the Bay Area.  Oy.  We arrived at my parents’ house around midnight, totally exhausted.  For reals, I was a freakin’ zombie.  My parents were already asleep…but what grandparents can resist waking up to play with this guy???

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My dad hasn’t seen PAC man since he was 4 days old (he was out of town for our visit home last month).  Oh and ignore my dad’s jacked up face, he was in a bike accident a few days ago.  He’s okay, thank goodness.

The next morning we met the movers in Davis to begin the unpacking process (something I adore and despise equally).

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The master bedroom.

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P’s nursery.

And the chaos begins…

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This is my view from the kitchen.  :)  Not too shabby.

More miscellaneous…

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It’s already summer in Davis.  Hello hot hot heat.

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Beyond Meat salads from Whole Foods.  Both exceptional, but the curry was my fave.

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Decaf coffee and the French press (very important things to locate in the 40+ kitchen boxes).  I guarantee our movers thought we had problems given the amount of kitchen appliances and serving ware we own.  Note to self: use the good china!!! 

Hippie tip #2: For the future wives creating wedding registries.  Go minimal.  As fun as cake platters and wine decanters sound, they’re not necessary if you still prefer Bud Light and pastries from a bakery box.

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Watcha doin’ dad!?

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House warming gift from Greenbotics.

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My love bug.

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“Home-cooking”.

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Vegan and gluten free style cheese & crackers.

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And the biggest deal of all… P’s first night in his crib in his nursery. [!!!]

This has been a long time coming.  We’ve been using the pack ‘n play (in our room) for over 2 months and as much as I love being near him, I was ready for him to transition to his own room.  We were going to switch him there sooner but once we found out we were moving, we decided to hold off until after the move so he didn’t go through too many transitions in a row or get confused.  Basically, I wanted to give us all the best shot at making it happen in one fell swoop.

Video monitors are the sh!t by the way.

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Now, I don’t wanna make all the new mamas out there jealous (or jinx myself) but the first night he slept from 9:30 pm to 5 am.  Straight.  Not a peep.  And the second night he slept from 9:30 pm to 3:30 am.  And both times he went back to sleep after I changed and fed him. 

In my head I’m thinking “WTF this is too easy, where’s the catch?!?!”.  So now I’m just waiting for it to all go to hell. 

Each night we do bath time, read him a story, and then I breast feed in his (darkened) room, and hold him until he seems sleepy enough to transition to the crib.  Sometimes I cut it too close and he wakes up and I have to start over again, but if I’m patient he doesn’t really stir too much in the transfer. 

Who knows how things will go from here.  I don’t own a single parenting book or know anything about sleep training or nap schedules or whatnot (I do know there are a million different opinions/studies/theories on them though).  I am literally just following his cues as best I can while still living my own life (kinda). 

Okay, that’s the latest over here!  Back to unpacking!

Pumpkin Butter Grain Free “Granola”

This isn’t the first time I’ve made a grain free granola (aka no-grain-nola).  You can see the non recipe for that one here.  [Side note: I should really re-make that and measure things for you guys because it was good!]

Anyway, this was another winner.  I swear I’m going through granola by the pound.  Daily.

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I made this mostly because I had a jar of pumpkin butter in the fridge that needed to get consumed before we made the trip up to Davis.

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Who has this pumpkin butter?  It’s from Trader Joe’s and as much as I love it, it’s super super sweet.  I thought using it in a granola recipe could be good because then I wouldn’t need any other sweetener.  Spoiler alert: I was right.  So there’s no sugar added to this recipe aside from that from the pumpkin butter.

I also used less fat in this recipe because I get emails and comments all the time from people asking if they can use less coconut oil in my quinoa granola recipe.  I like fat, and I think there’s a place for it (in moderation) in a healthy diet, so I have a hard time telling people to cut back the amount in the recipe.  It also contributes the gorgeous clusters and yummy flavor.  That said, I know there are tons of people looking for healthy and tasty recipes that can help them lose weight.  So this is a low fat option.

Pumpkin Butter No-Grain-Nola [vegan, gluten free, FODMAPs friendly]

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp melted coconut oil (or the Earth Balance coconut spread shown above)
  • 5 tbsp pumpkin butter
  • 2 cups coconut flakes (not shredded, flaked)
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cups almond meal (coarsely ground from whole almonds)
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

Combine oil and pumpkin butter, then add in coconut, raisins, almond meal, and salt.  Mix well.  If it is too dry, add the extra tbsp of water.

Spread onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 60 minutes at 225 degrees F.  Let cool completely before breaking apart.

Notes:

You can sub buckwheat cereal (or groats) for the almond meal to make a nut free version of this recipe.  it will still be gluten free, but it will not be grain free.

If you don’t have pumpkin butter, you can probably use canned pumpkin but I’m not sure how it will turn out or what amount would be a good substitution.  You will also need to add in a sweetener then (ie maple syrup).

You might be able to use less oil, and increase the water, but I wouldn’t go much lower than 2 tbsp because it just won’t crisp up as well.

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How did I not take more pics of this?  Hmmm…well it was really really good.  I couldn’t figure out what it reminded me of at first, but then I realized it tastes a lot like cornflakes.  I know that makes no sense given the ingredients, but it did.  It’s slightly chewy, but tastes awesome in a bowl with almond milk or on it’s own.

In moderation it is FODMAPs friendly, but if you’re sensitive to almonds, you have to watch the portion size.  The only other FODMAPs present is the honey in the pumpkin butter, but the primary sweetener is sugar, so again, in moderation it should be well tolerated.