Monthly Archive: June 2013

Workity work

Hey!  I’m alive!  Ish.

This week was crazy.  [Life is crazy]  So many emotions. 

IMG_3229

Adjusting to working again after maternity leave is one thing.  Adjusting to a new hospital and orienting to the new unit environment is another.  And adjusting to spending the day away from my love is yet another.  All these changes require me to be flexible and cool with change, which isn’t my strong suit. 

I’m a creature of habit with a bit of OCD mixed in (what nurse doesn’t have OCD/Type A tendencies, tell me that).  Sometimes this is a good thing (like in an ICU setting), but it’s also something I have to be aware of (so that I don’t let it ruin the spontaneity of life).  Anyway.  None of this has much to do with this post, but it’s just worth noting since I’m now navigating all these new routines and schedules and re-evaluating my roles in life, as a working mom.  Trying not to freak out when things don’t go the same way they’ve been going for the past few days/weeks/months is something I have to consciously work at.  I’m sure it’s a natural and passive part of most people’s persona, but not mine.  It’s enough to have a new kiddo who is changing each and every day, but adding in moving to a new city, starting a new job, and all that jazz.  Lots of variables for a new parent!  As soon as I get in the groove, something else changes.  I like things just. so.  [Type A alert!!]  I’m getting better at adapting and just rolling with the things that are out of my control…mostly because I don’t have a choice and I can only micro-manage so much. 

Clearly, I’m a nut job.  Clearly. 

Instead of going on and on about my neuroses, how about I show off my packed up work food? 

IMG_3223 IMG_3224

For breakfast I had an AB&J bagel.  The almond butter is fresh-grind from the Co-op and the jam is raspberry (home-made by my mom).  The bagel is an Udi’s mighty bagel.  So good.

[Mom, we’re on the last jar of jam, so I need to get more next time I’m home! Remind me!!]

IMG_3221 

Snacks: carrots/celery, nuts, veggie chips, hard boiled eggs, strawberries, and a Larabar lemon pound cake ALT bar

IMG_3225

The ALT bars are on sale at the Davis Co-op and I think the lemon pound cake is my favorite flavor.  I’m really into citrus (especially lemon right now).  May have something to do with the fact that I stare at my neighbor’s orange and lemons all day long. 

By the way, the above packed food was for a half day’s worth of eats (hence the absence of a real lunch). 

IMG_3159 

This is how you do a savory breakfast!  I made a cauli-egg stir fry before the week started, so I had it ready to go. 

On the side I chugged down some decaf.  I had the first half of the french press while pumping (I leave before P wakes up so I pump and leave the bottles for Kyle).  I take the second half of it with me to the hospital.  With almond milk and stevia. 

IMG_3244

Lunch!  Brown rice, goat cheese, broccoli, strawberries, & TJ’s balsamic glaze.

Snacks not pictured?  Who knows where the rest of the stuff went.

One of the things I’ve realized is that I am less able to eat my meals with a fork/spoon (because I pump on my breaks) so hand-held things are preferable. 

Sandwiches and bars are much easier when it comes to multi-tasking, so until my pumping days are over, I suspect I’ll be eating fewer things with silverware.

IMG_3246 IMG_3247 IMG_3248 

See?  Look at all the nut butter and jam sandos!  I only had 3 slices of Udi’s bread left, so I made 1 1/2 sandwiches.  The half was sunbutter & raspberry jam, the whole one was (the last of the) almond butter & raspberry jam. 

I ate the half in the car before work.  I ate the second one while pumping.

IMG_3250 

Bananas are another good thing to snack on while pumping.  We have a bunch at the perfect stage of brown right now (I love ‘naners with brown spots, no green ones for me thanks).

IMG_3251 

Mini Larabars are also perfect bite-lets.  I wish they sold the sample sizes.  I have no idea where these came from, but I have a few more in my bar stash.  Carrot cake is not a typical Larabar flavor for me to buy, but it’s really good!  I’m thinking it may replace cashew cookie as my fave right now.  Although the chocolate ones are pretty awesome too. 

IMG_3226 

Another day’s eats!

As you can see, breakfast was roasted potatoes (made in advance) and hard boiled eggs.

Lunch was cauli-egg stir fry.

IMG_3227 

Snacks were carrots/celery, strawberries, banana, nuts, Dagoba chocolates, chocolate coconut chew Larabar (!!!), and a Van’s cranberry almond bar that I didn’t end up eating.

IMG_3228 

Voila!

IMG_3245 

Three key things that have helped ease this transition process? 

  • Food prep /meal planning
  • Having a supportive spouse and family
  • Picking the right job

I could (and should) write a whole post on how fantastic Kyle is.  I know I did a lot of prep before the work week started, but he was still amazing at executing the plan to his Type A wife’s specifications.  Super dad.  He also brought P to visit me at the hospital on my lunch break so I could nurse him in person rather than pump.  These are the perks of living and working in a small town.  I love it. 

Child care is another discussion that deserves a more detailed post, but suffice it to say, my family has been wonderful in offering up their babysitting services.

As far as picking the right job goes, I lucked out that I found the perfect fit for me both in the location of the hospital as well as the position.  For now, it’s rough because I’m new and on day shift, but soon enough I’ll be on night shifts and everything will fall into place.  Then I won’t have to miss days with this guy.  It certainly doesn’t hurt that I live super close to the hospital and the staff is awesome. 

Even though I did cry a bit (and there will probably be more tears to come) the first week+, I also feel really happy at the end of my shifts.  I’m proud of the work I do and I’m excited to come home to my family.  It’s a win win if you look at it the right way.  But it’s definitely a balance, because I don’t want to spread myself too thin. 

IMG_9874

I mean, look at this face!  I don’t wanna miss anything! 

A salad for Mrs. Dubrow

IMG_3171 IMG_3178 

Summer salads are best served chilled with a cold beer am I right? 

Or wine if you’re too fancy for B minus.  Or champagne if you’re Heather Dubrow.  <— yep, I’m getting my Real Housewives fix on bravotv.com

For the record, I’m not hating on Mrs. Dubrow.  I happen to love the bubbly myself.  And even though she’s nicknamed “fancy pants”, I bet you she’d like this salad.  But I digress.  You’re here for food not my take on D-list celebs.

IMG_3185 

I don’t know what the heck to call this dish since every ingredient shares in the spotlight equally.  How do I decide which is more worthy than the other?  Don’t worry, these things don’t keep me up at night, they just prove the fact that I’m never going to be a professional food blogger.  Cause we all thought that was happening… [sarcasm alert]

Creamy Strawberry Basil Quinoa Salad [vegetarian, FODMAPs friendly, gluten free]

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups (uncooked) quinoa, cooked and cooled (I used my rice cooker)
  • 1/3 cup vegan mayo (I used Nasoya whipped nayonaise)
  • 1 large lime, juiced and zested (approx 2-3 tbsp lime juice)
  • 1 small handful basil leaves, chopped (somewhere between roughly and finely chopped)
  • 1/2 pint strawberries, sliced
  • 2 ears of (raw) corn on the cob
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 4 oz. goat cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

Cook quinoa in water and let it cool.  [If you’re using a rice cooker, remember that a rice cooker cup is actually 3/4 cups, so use 2 of those cups and then fill the water to the indicated line for 2 cups.]

In a large serving bowl, combine lime juice, zest, mayo, and chopped basil. 

Add in strawberries and corn and mix.  Then add in quinoa and mix.  Next add in almonds and mix.  Finally top with goat cheese and salt.  Toss salad and serve.

IMG_3172 IMG_3173 IMG_3174 IMG_3175 IMG_3176 IMG_3181 

This would be such a fabulous thing to bring to a summer picnic.  Or a 4th of July party.  It’s filling enough as the main dish (which is how we had it), but could easily be a side dish if you want. 

IMG_3187 

Notes:

This is a very flexible and forgiving recipe, so feel free to sub as you want based on what you have in the kitchen. 

No almonds?  Use pecans! 

No strawberries?  [sucks for you, but] Use peaches! 

No quinoa?  Use farro, millet, or couscous! 

Grilled corn will work too, but there’s something so amazing about the fresh crispy crunch of raw corn. 

To make it vegan, just nix the goat cheese and add avocado instead.

IMG_3186 

Now go get a beer.  Or whatever cocktail your heart desires.  A Moscow mule perhaps? 

Happy summer. :)

The last weekend

Dramatic post title, huh.

Even though I’ve already technically started work, it has all been fluff stuff, like HR paperwork, physical eval, etc.  So this weekend was my last REAL weekend as a stay-at-home mom.  It’s sad.  I am trying not to think about what I’m missing while I’m away.  But I do like that I can re-discover myself again outside of my mom role.  I wouldn’t go back to nursing if I didn’t love it.

Anyway, Friday was a pretty boring day.  I dragged P to Sac with me because I had an appointment in the afternoon (drug test, vision test, PPD, etc.).  Rather than have Kyle watch the little monkey I took him with me (Kyle will have plenty of father-son bonding time while I’m at the hospital, so it’s good to give him time to work when I can).  Honestly, I’m lucky that I have a really good kiddo because he was a happy camper the whole time (even though we waited for HOURS to be seen).  There were people in the waiting room who were astounded that (a) I brought him with me and (b) he wasn’t making a peep.  He just sat there, staring around, quiet as a mouse.  Side note: Kids are a serious conversation starter.  Single people should bring them on blind dates because they can really crack the ice (aside from the potential awkwardness of having a random baby on a date that is…).  I chatted it up with everyone in the waiting room (they all had kids as well).  Having a baby also makes the waiting time go faster.  So many perks to bringing your baby with you around town!!  But I guess it could be entirely different if your kid was being a fussy pants.

IMG_9838

I treated myself to a venti decaf soy misto.  No buddy.  Mama’s not sharing that with you.

Side note (#2): He’s obsessed with beverages.  Always has been.  He watches Kyle and I drink everything, following the glass of water to our mouth, every. single. sip.  It’s hilarious.  Ordinarily I would think he may be getting ready to try it himself, except that he’s been doing it since he was 3 months old.  I got him some baby spoons to practice with, which has been super amusing.  He’s a total spaz and gags himself more than anything else.  We tried it once and haven’t revisited the fun due to aforementioned gagging.  :P

IMG_9841

After we got home I went on a walk with him and then it was time to make dinner.

IMG_3187

Dinner.

Delish.

Kyle got me treats for dessert.  TGIF indeed.

IMG_9843

No sleeping in on Saturday morning :(

IMG_2114

I breakfasted and then set to work on prepping food for the work week.

IMG_3194

This little man was being pretty needy though, so I ended up wearing him while cooking in the kitchen.

He is fascinated by food.  Takes after his mama.

I’ll share all the prep work at the end of the post.  Along with the (fingers crossed) meal plan.

IMG_9847

We went to the Davis Farmer’s Market for lunch and to pick up produce for the week.  I got kettle corn (again).  Oh, and the above is a breakfast naan’wich filled with egg & potato curry.

IMG_3202

The al fresco weekend tradition lives on.  :)

It was 90+ degrees so there’s no reason to be inside.  Aside from air conditioning.

IMG_3205 IMG_3203

This week’s bevvie was Xarmant Txakolina (a wine from the Basque region of Spain).  Kyle brought it back to the states with him a loooong time ago.

If you google this vino: you’ll see it got pretty popular back in 2011.  It’s bone-dry and perfect for summer.  Very light and crisp and clean.

IMG_3200

And if you’re wondering how to pronounce it, it’s Chacolí, like chock-oh-lee.

IMG_3204

The rest of the eats were all repeats that you can find linked back to in old posts: smoked salmon, olive oil & salt roasted almonds, strawberries, GF and regular crackers, and goat gouda.

IMG_3199

P started getting a little rosy so we brought him inside to cool off.  Doesn’t he look so chill?

P slept like a rock from 6 pm the previous night until 9 am on Sunday, so naps were kinda not happening.

As a result I don’t have many food pics.  I ate breakfast.  Kyle went to work some.  I played with P.  I ate lunch.  Kyle came home.  We went for a family run/walk.  I showered.  I snacked.  And then P finally took a snooze.

IMG_9859 IMG_9860

In my arms.  Oh man was that just what I needed.  Such a sweetheart.

IMG_3218

For dinner we did pizzas.

IMG_3219

Hers: tomato sauce, daiya mozzarella, goat cheese, basil, nutritional yeast.

IMG_3220

His: tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil.

And now for the food prep part of the weekend.

IMG_3189 IMG_3208

Hard boiled eggs.  Brownies.

IMG_3191 IMG_3195 IMG_3196

Kale & Cheese Strata.

IMG_3210 IMG_3213

Roasted potatoes.

IMG_3216 IMG_3217

Ginger and lemon juice.

The weekly dinner menu:

  • Sunday – pizza
  • Monday – BBQ tofurky and grilled corn
  • Tuesday – baked sweet potatoes with the works
  • Wednesday – peanut coconut noodles with veggies
  • Thursday – leftovers/play it by ear
  • Friday – wedding rehearsal dinner
  • Saturday – wedding

And those are just dinners.  For breakfasts we have the strata, roasted potatoes & eggs, and overnight oats.  Lunches are sandwiches, mac n cheese (unpictured but already made), etc.

Some summer produce

I know everyone loves summer produce, so why bother write a love letter to strawberries?  We all love berries and melon and corn right?  Right.

IMG_2934 

Another present from my neighbor.  I’m going to make ginger lemonade with the juicer. 

My own garden is doing pretty well too!

IMG_3119 

Left to right: lime tree, spinach, tomato, parsley & basil.

And then there’s the other greens…

IMG_3117 IMG_3118

Kale and chard (in mega need of thinning out).

IMG_3134 

I had my first salad with them last week.

This delightful lunch time salad had home-grown kale and chard topped in (chilled) roasted potatoes, figs, goat cheese, and balsamic glaze.

IMG_3135 

Pretty much perfect.

The figs were from the Davis farmer’s market and blew my mind. 

IMG_3139 

I also baked with the peaches from the U-pick farm

These muffins are kinda a cross between cornbread and muffins.  Barely sweet and light yet hearty.  I made them gluten free to minimize the FODMAPs (peaches, and all other stone fruit, have FODMAPs FYI).

IMG_3142 

Since I didn’t want to waste the skin (seems sad to throw it out) I baked it!  It started out with the muffins on the same temp, and then I just left it in afterwards (with the oven turned down) to basically dehydrate them until they turned into chips.  Kinda cool.

IMG_3147

Oh look!  More strawberry lovin’…

IMG_3150 

Raise your hand if you want a recipe.

If you actually raised your hand in the privacy of your own home you are awesome.  If you raised your hand in public, get help.  Kidding!

IMG_3144 IMG_3148

Brazil nuts are the base for the dressing.  Which I then massaged into previously blanched kale. 

Creamy Brazil Nut Sauce [vegan, FODMAPs friendly, gluten free]

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brazil nuts (soaked > 1 day then drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup water (+ more for thinner consistency)
  • 1 lemon, juiced (approx 3 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp stone ground mustard
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tsp maple syrup

Directions:

Rinse and drain nuts.  Pulse in food processor or high powered blender.  Add water and process more.  Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until smooth.  Add more water as needed to reach consistency desired.

Mine was a really thick sauce, but thinning it out makes it more dressing-like.

IMG_3146 IMG_3149

I massaged it into the kale, then added the strawberries and mixed it all up.

IMG_3151 

Delish!

Unfortunately this meal was SO good that I decided to eat it a few times in a row on the same day…aaaand…needless to say, my gut was a little stressed out from all the kale [fiber].  I’ve never really noticed a reaction to kale before, but it is something people with FODMAPs should eat in moderation.  Similar to broccoli, it’s rough on the gut  (even for people with normal GI tracts!), so I really should have known better. 

Continuing the berry themed meals…

IMG_3186 

This salad was a huge hit.  Kyle raved about it and demanded I make it again to bring to a lunch party we have next weekend. 

IMG_3179 

There’s kinda a lot going on in it, but it’s still a simple dish with basic ingredients that are in everyone’s fridge in the summer months.

Recipe to come.

Quickie meal highlights reel in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…

IMG_3073 IMG_3110 IMG_3075 IMG_3156 IMG_2501 IMG_2529

  • Fried egg with Udi’s granola, strawberries, and almond milk.
  • Snack plate with baby carrots, Mry’s Gone crackers, hard boiled eggs, goat gouda, & figs (unpictured almonds on the side).
  • Cauli “rice” breakfast scramble with brussels sprouts, kale, celery, and eggs.
  • Massive salad with garden greens, hard boiled eggs, avocado, and other veggies galore.
  • Cantaloupe

IMG_3180 

And work eats! 

Yes, the days of packed lunches are back.  Is it weird that I’m excited to pack my food up again?  Returning to work is a whole other matter. 

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.

IMG_1194

1. Boulder Canyon Natural Foods olive oil kettle cooked potato chips

IMG_1195 IMG_1196

I’m not sure what makes these “kettle” exactly, but as far as ingredients go they are clean and pure.  Vegan and gluten free.  And FODMAPs friendly.  Purely potatoes, olive oil and salt.

I thought they were too greasy, but I’m not a potato chip person.  Kyle loved them. 

Would I buy again?  If Kyle wants potato chips, sure.  Otherwise no.  There are other flavors aside from olive oil that I kinda want to try out, though, like malt vinegar & sea salt.  Or sea salt & cracked pepper. 

IMG_2707 

2. The Cookie Department fully functional cookies

IMG_2708 IMG_2710 

I got a sampler from the company with a few of their products.

They only have one vegan cookie (the Great Full cookie above), so the rest were Kyle’s to review. 

The Great Full cookie was okay.  I didn’t think it really met the dessert qualification in that it was too healthy tasting.  Not enough fat to be called a cookie.  It was more like a breakfast treat to me because it was kinda bready.  It’s cool that it has sweet potato in it, but they should probably just call it an cranberry oatmeal breakfast bake.

IMG_2715 IMG_2716 IMG_2756 IMG_2760

In order of flavor preference from best to worst not best, Kyle liked: awaken baked, chocolate chip nookie, tough cookie.  The flavors were good, but the texture wasn’t his fave.  [And I agree]

These aren’t soft chewy cookies.  Both of us are into softer cookies with some give, as opposed to cookies that have a crispy crumbly texture.  So that is probably a big factor in our less than enthusiastic reviews. 

I will say, however, that they weren’t overly sweet, which was nice.  Sometimes eating desserts at night can give Kyle a stomach ache or headache (he’s surprisingly sensitive to sweets) and he said these didn’t do that at all.  The chocolate chip nookie wasn’t even the sweetest one.  The awaken baked took that honor, but it’s dominant flavor was still coffee.  That’s probably why it was his number one.  I had a bite of the peanut butter flavor (tough cookie) and it didn’t have nearly enough peanut flavor for my liking.  Plus it had nut chunks, which I’m not a fan of. 

Would I buy them again?  Not likely.  I like chewy cookies, plus it’s pretty rare for me to buy desserts instead of bake them myself. 

IMG_2197 IMG_2198

3.  Sun Chlorella Well Well Wow

I got a sample of this and thought it was an interesting product (aside from the ridiculous name).  It’s caffeine free, but meant to give you some extra pep in your step.  Like a 5 hour energy drink with natural goodness and no nasty crap.

I didn’t end up drinking it though, since the warnings for breast feeding moms made me nervous.  Kyle took it with him on his business trip and said it tasted gross.  He could only tolerate a few sips.  For anyone who’s ever tried Echinacea drops, it’s flavor is like that stuff.

Would I buy again?  Negative.  While it’s probably good for you, if the flavor isn’t there, I’m not going to spend money on it.  Unless I’m sick.

IMG_2644

4. Larabar ALT bars

I’ve been looking forward to these for a while, so my opinion may be biased.  Kyle, on the other hand, doesn’t particularly like the OG Larabars, so his opinion is untainted. 

We both loved them. 

Flavor wise, the peanut butter cookie was amazing, but all the rest were just as yummy.  And the fact that they have pea protein only makes them better (they don’t taste chalky like other protein bars though, which is a plus in my book).  I’m not the kind of person who tracks my macronutrients, but I do make a conscious effort to get extra protein into our diets since I’m on a low FODMAPs plant based diet and he’s an active dude.  And for the low FODMAPs people, they are sweetened with brown rice syrup and dates (not honey or agave).  Yay! 

Would I buy again?  Yes!  Pumpkin pie and lemon pound cake are actually the ones I crave the most.  Daily. 

IMG_2664 

5. Silk vanilla unsweetened almond milk

IMG_2663

I am usually an Almond Breeze girl, through and through, but Silk was on sale for significantly less so I took the plunge.  I also found it interesting that it doesn’t have carageenan.  It does, however, have a few other ingredients acting as thickeners, like locust bean gum and gellan.  Hmmm.

The Silk almond milk has a stronger vanilla flavor than Almond Breeze’s version, which I didn’t really like.  I like vanilla, but there was something overpowering about it.  In coffee it’s fine, but I don’t always want vanilla flavor.  For the record, I have tried the plain Silk before which I do like.  I also like that Silk’s products are non GMO. 

Would I buy again?  Nah.  Even if it’s on sale I’m just going to pay for the more expensive Almond Breeze.

IMG_8831 IMG_8832

6. Flamous sprouted multigrain Za’atar chips

IMG_8828 

As far as gluten free, vegan, healthy chips go, these were great!  They have a hearty grainy texture and taste that is a cross between a tortilla chip and a whole grain cracker. 

Hooray for wheat-less snack chips that don’t have a million starches instead of non-glutinous grains.  They’re a bit thicker than your average chip, but not in a stale way, just in a sturdy (pile lots of stuff on top) way. 

I could have used a bit more salt though.  [Says the salt fiend]

Would I buy again?  Yeah, if I can find them!  Now that we’ve moved I’ll probably never see them again.  Their website has a store locator/request form since they’re pretty poorly distributed. 

IMG_9288

7. Earth Mama Angel Baby organic comfort tea

Intended for post-partum mamas with recovery needs and raging hormones, this sounded like something I should invest in.  While it’s hard to say if it helped, it tasted good (like cinnamon).  Way better than raspberry leaf tea (which is not tasty at all).

Would I buy again?  I’m not sure.  I’m pretty neutral on it and since I am pretty picky about repeat tea purchases, I’ll probably pass.  But I did get a coupon inside the box so at least my next purchase will be discounted. 

IMG_2172 IMG_2173 

8. Clearly Kombucha ginger berry

A new Kombucha brand!  And they have a ginger berry flavor!

IMG_2176 

And caps with fun messages!

Like most new products I try, I bought this because it was on sale (at Nugget market).  And I loved it!  I haven’t tried any other flavors because how can you pass up on ginger? 

Would I buy again?  Yes yes yes.  I have already…a few times.  Fortunately they’re still on sale so I’m taking advantage.

IMG_2099 

9. Cybele’s free to eat chocolate chunk brownie cookies

I suppose I’m kinda a hypocrite after the previous review saying I prefer to make my own baked desserts, but these are most definitely better than anything I could bake.

They are SO chocolate-y and SO good.  And free of the top 8 allergens (dairy, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish).  So yeah, vegan and gluten free.  Win!

They are soft and melt in your mouth.  They are exactly as the name describes – loaded with chocolate (and chunks) and gooey like a brownie.  Can you tell I liked these?  There are 10 in a box and I ate 6 in one session and barely pulled myself away from them.  Unfortunately the remaining 4 didn’t stay as fresh so they weren’t as good texture-wise.  They were more like normal (firm) cookies without the give of a fresh cookie. 

Would I buy again?  Heck yeah!  They are brand new to the market and I’m so excited that there are two other flavors to try.  Cybele Pascal is a genius for creating allergen friendly treats. 

IMG_2513 

10. The Republic of Tea twenty herbs tea

I didn’t expect to like this because I rarely like herbal tea.  But I was desperate for a decaf variety and this was the only one left in the Republic of Tea sampler that I got.  I reviewed the other ones I’d tried previously (some were hits, some were misses). 

This was actually really good!  I didn’t add milk or sugar, just drank it plain.  None of the flavors I dislike were dominant (mint, licorice, chamomile, etc.).

Would I buy again?  I believe I will.