Monthly Archive: July 2013

Five to nine weekend

My parents are remodeling their kitchen (slash living room slash dining room slash house slash annoying) so it’s a good thing it was gorgeous and sunny this weekend. 


Because we had a birthday party for my dad!!  He’s 59 years young! 

I’ll get to the party details later.


I have lots of photos of people from this weekend and I know that’s all you guys my sister wants to see anyway.  Food schmood right? 

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P disagrees.  He’s digging the solids.  We had a slow start with carrots, but bananas and avocado have been a whole other story.  He’s a big fan.  Opens his mouth happily when he sees my fingers coming with a little bite. 

[For those who have asked and are wondering we are doing baby led weaning.  I’m not going to write anything about it specifically though because several other bloggers have done excellent jobs of such already.] 


There’s nothing that makes me happier than my little hippie enjoying wholesome real food.

But back to the weekend!

On Friday morning I went on a walk with my mom friends.  We met at Whole Foods because we heard Fabio was going to be in the store for a promo event and we thought it sounded funny. 


Too bad we were there before it started…I was going to ask for some hair growing tips for P.


I wanted to grab some tamales to take home for lunch after our walk but they didn’t have the tofu kind I bought last time.  Pumpkin intrigued me, but I wanted something with protein.   The other kind that had tofu was vegan but not gluten free, so I came home with nada.


I had toasted Udi’s millet chia bread with almond butter and a fried egg.  And decaf.  The refills from the WF coffee bar are a whopping $1.  Kinda steep for just a small decaf, but oh well. 


A smile photo!  Finally!

After (my really late) breakfast I did errands quietly around the house while Kyle slept (he was doing his robot stuff the night before so he got home around 6 am).  Once he woke up we went for a family walk.


I had a pre-walk snack that could be called lunch but since I had breakfast an hour before, was really not too substantial.  Roasted sweet potatoes, daiya cheddar, carrots, ketchup.  I had FSTG crackers on the side because the potatoes weren’t carby enough to fill me up.


I had another snack plate in the afternoon, with lots of similar things.


And for dinner I had some of a zucchini frittata I made the day before.  Recipe coming.

We watched more Orange is the New Black after dinner and then Kyle headed off for a night shift and I cozied up to some dark chocolate.


Since I can’t watch OITNB without Kyle I switched shows once he left…to something decidedly more dumb.  Kombucha and PLL for the win.


The next morning I had a big of oatmeal covered with roasted salty nuts & bananas. 

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I split the banana with my little guy (meaning he had 1/8th of it) and then topped my bowl off with extra almond milk and a dash of cinnamon.

Kyle was sleeping in again so I entertained P in the yard.  He likes grabbing the tomato leaves. 


I spent P’s very short nap time making a salad for my dad’s birthday party.  It had quinoa, kale, and other summer veggies with a kefir based dressing.

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I somehow failed to get a final shot of the dish.  I brought them to my parents’ house separately so I just never took a pic once I mixed them for the party.

It was a winner in my opinion.  And a decent portion was eaten so hopefully others liked it too.  As I set it out three different people asked if it was lactose free and/or gluten free.  Yes and yes!

I’ll post the recipe in a bit.  Once Kyle woke up I went on a run.  I have been trying to squeeze in one run a week lately and even though they are pathetic in comparison to my previous pre-baby fitness level, they make me feel great and they’re better than nothing.  20 minutes around the neighb gets the endorphins flowing.


From there it was go go go to get out of the door and on our way to my parents’ house.  Everything is timed around nursing pacman, so I showered and packed my own lunch for the road.  As you can (kinda?) see above, I used an old to-go container from restaurant leftovers.  There were no leftovers though.  I brought FSTG crackers, hard boiled eggs, carrots, goat cheese, vegan teese cheddar (yuck) and a baggy of nuts and banana on the side. 

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We took back roads to avoid weekend traffic and Where’s Waldo passed out…things were looking perfect…we were making excellent time…and then we came up on a wall of smoke.  It was right on the freeway ramp exchange so we were between two freeways but stuck.  As luck would have it, we were the 6th car back from where the CHP stopped traffic to block off the overpass.  Dang it!  Had we been just 20 seconds ahead we would have made it through.  I am fairly impatient, especially when I don’t know what’s going on.  I wanted Kyle to off road and get back on the other freeway but he’s a law abiding citizen so he refused.  After 20 minutes of nothingness I got out of the car to ask the CHP what the deal was.  He told me they were planning on having everyone drive in reverse all the way back once they got cars to stop coming up behind us.  Seriously?  Bad plan dude.  We were already at least several miles of cars blocked in.  And since we were right in the front I knew it would be for-eh-ver until that happened.  So I asked him if we could offroad to get back on the other freeway…and he said yes!  So we did.  After some creative rerouting and multiple U turns we were back in action.

The delay meant P woke up form his nap (hungry) before we were even halfway home, but he was fine to just suck on his pacifier. 

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Party time!

Marie made this spinach strawberry goat cheese salad.  My dad grilled sausage and salmon.  The salmon had this spice rub.


There was lots of food, but let’s be real, everyone was there to see my dad Patty-cakes.


He was kinda fussy…atypical of him to be honest…but nobody else really noticed it aside from my fam.  Let’s just say he was very vocal and enjoyed hearing his voice.  🙂


I kept him up longer than normal so more of my parents’ friends could meet him, but eventually we took him inside to do his bedtime routine.


Bath.  Book.  Bed. 

We were story-less so I read him a few pages of Cosmo.  I’m pretty sure he was into the lipstick ads.  He fell asleep immediately.  Hooray!  Time for mom and dad to par-tay!


B minus and plate numero uno.

That’s the only shot of the quinoa salad you’re gonna get!  Womp womp.

Quinoa & Greens with Creamy Kefir Herb Dressing [vegetarian, gluten free, lactose free]

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa, cooked and chilled
  • 1 ear of (raw) corn
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped (raw) green beans
  • 2 banana peppers, minced
  • 1 large handful baby kale

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plain lactose free kefir (I used Green Valley Organics)
  • 2 tbsp garlic infused olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried parsley


Cook quinoa and let cool.  Combine with chopped veggies and mix.  If you prefer to cook the green beans and corn first that’s fine too.  I liked the crunch they provided in their uncooked state. 

Make dressing by combining everything and shaking. [I recommend making the dressing a day ahead so the flavors can amalgamate.]

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Everything was fresh from the farmer’s market except for the kale, which was from my own garden.  Farm to table,  Yay!

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If nothing else, these photos say “Baby’s asleep!  Let’s get our drink on!”  Ha!


The night ended with candles and cake.  5 to the 9.  Woohoo!

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Kyle and I went to brunch at Lark Creek on Sunday morning.

We split everything, including 2 orders of fried eggs, home fried potatoes, and a house-made veggie burger with waffle fries. 

Not bad.  I asked for runny yolks but they were hard.  Sad face.  By the time they checked on us I was too hungry to send them back, and even though they offered to get me new ones, I thought that would be a waste.  The veggie burger was fantastic.


After brunch we went back to my parents’ casa to pack everything up.  Instead of going home, we went to visit Elaine and Cooper

Every time we see them the boys are bigger and bigger!  Elaine came to Davis last month so we were due to visit their house. 


It makes me SO freakin’ happy that they’ll grow up together. 

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I mean how cute are these guys?! 


Lauren came over to play too.  Me and my high school besties…now plus two babes.


After P pooped through all his diapers it was officially time to hit the road.

I got hungry on the road (even though I had a soy misto on the way to Elaine’s) and decided to dig in to the quinoa leftovers.  Only I didn’t have a single piece of silverware.  Doh!  I searched every nook and cranny in the car like a mad woman with no luck.  So I MacGyver-ed it and used my Barnes & Noble card as a spoon.  I figured that’s the card I can get away with tossing since (a) I have a kindle now and (b) I can give them my phone number for the member discounts.


After a short walk, we put P down and made ourselves some dinner nibbles.  Al fresco wasn’t happening since it was too hot, so we just brought the picnic inside.

Smoked trout, roasted nuts, carrots, (unpictured) GF crackers, brie & marbled merlot cheddar (for Kyle), goat cheese (for me), grapes, assorted wheat crackers (for Kyle).

Followed by another Kombucha and dark chocolate.

Phew!  Back to the grind…

Whole Foods Fumi Salad

Remember when I wrote an ode to Whole Foods (and basically showed you how to blow your bank account while unemployed for the summer)?

Yeah, well, that post featured one of my all time favorite salads from WF.  The fumi tofu salad.  It’s really just an Asian cabbage slaw, I suppose.  With ramen noodles.

We had lots of cabbage so why not?  I didn’t feel like making tofu, so ours was a protein-less version, but adding tofu (or tempeh) would be the proper way to honor the WF gods. 


Chilled noodle salads are the epitome of summer food.


Doesn’t this look healthy?  Because it’s all about to change once you scroll down to the next photo. 


Yup.  It’s your dorm room staple.  And you thought you’d never see those little flavor packets again.  Ha.

Don’t worry, the recipe doesn’t use the MSG stuff, so you can breathe easy and continue to read on.


FODMAPs people, use the green parts only!


[Imitation] Whole Foods Fumi Salad [vegan] 

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1/2 large head of green cabbage, shredded
  • 3-4 large carrots, shredded/peeled
  • 2-3 green onions, sliced (green parts only for FODMAPs people)
  • 4-5 packs ramen noodles (without the seasoning packets)
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c canola oil
  • 1/4 c tamari
  • 1/4 c hot water
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds


Boil hot water and mix with coconut sugar until dissolved.  Then add the rest of the dressing ingredients and stir together. 

Chop and shred cabbage, carrots, and onions.  Add to dressing in a large bowl and toss.  Next crush the ramen noodles and add to the slaw.  Toss again letting dressing soak into the noodles.  They will still be crispy but will absorb the dressing and soften up over time.  Serve at whatever level of crunchiness you want.


Depending on how much veg you want, you may alter the ratio of cabbage and carrots to ramen as you want.  Since I was making this primarily for Kyle (although I had a few bites too), I used 5 ramen packets and only half the head of cabbage.  Had I made it to suit my personal preferences, I would have used the whole head of cabbage and only 4 ramen packets.  But I like building meals with veggies at the base of the food pyramid.  Kyle prefers a more carb based approach.  Do whatever you want!

If you add tofu, you may want to double the dressing recipe and cook the tofu in half of it.


For more mock WF recipes, see my take on their vegan tempeh salad.  <—another fave prepared item

The banana bread you all want



So you guys want some gluten free quick bread, huh!?  After I asked which recipes peeps were interested in in this post, the banana bread was the most requested one by far.


I totally don’t blame you.  I’ve had it for breakfast every single morning for the past two weeks.


Every. Single. Morning.

I’ve re-made it THREE times since.


It’s so gooooood.

Gluten Free Banana Bread [vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free, FODMAPs friendly, makes 1 mini loaf]


  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 c NuNaturals stevia baking blend
  • 1/4 cup whole rolled oats (certified GF)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 large (super ripe) banana
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


You know the drill.  Combine all the dry ingredients in one large mixing bowl and the wet ones (banana, eggs, & vanilla) in a separate bowl.  Combine the two and pour into a greased mini-loaf baking dish.

Bake for 40-45 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean) at 350 degrees.


Let it cool before removing it from the pan.


It’s awesome with nut butter but equally as good (maybe better?) on it’s own.  Seriously.  It’s freakin’ good.

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Do yourself a favor and make [at least] a double batch.  After making single loaves twice, I realized my banana bread cravings weren’t going away any time soon so I just made two (one for the fridge, one for the freezer).  Well, freezing it was pointless, because the first one only lasted 3 days in the fridge, so the other one is currently thawing now…heaven forbid I have to branch outside this rut come tomorrow morning.


If you don’t have access to NuNatural’s stevia baking blend (I’m sorry!) you could try subbing (a reduced amount of) another sugar.  I can’t say how this will work since I haven’t tried it.  I’d start with 1/4 cup coconut sugar or sucanant to start.  I don’t know how this will affect the bread’s consistency since there will be fewer dry ingredients – if you try it and it works, let me know!  FYI, you can buy NuNaturals products online, be it from the company website, or iHerb or amazon.

And if you’re worried about baking in this summer heat, you could always go topless.


The best of Costco

Oh my gosh you guys, I went to Costco yesterday and literally squealed in the aisles due to all the new (totally awesome) things I found.

Even though we mostly stuck to our list, there were a few things I couldn’t help but get.  The rest were added to my mental shopping list for next time though.

Here are the highlights:


Vicolo roasted tomato with goat cheese & fresh basil.

I’ve made pizzas with their plain crusts several times, but never tried the already prepared ones.  Costco is selling this two pack for cheap and they are bigger than the ones I’ve seen in normal grocery stores.

BOOM!  Love affair continued.  Me + Vicolo = happy taste buds


Food Should Taste Good brown rice crackers.

I’m a big FSTG fan and since we do tons of al fresco dinners I figured these GF crackers would be a nice change up from the Mary’s Gone crackers that I always get.  For the record, Costco also sells Mary’s Gone crackers, but they aren’t reduced in price at all (aka as expensive as ever).


Hodo soy tofu nuggets & yuba strips.

Color me intrigued.  Yuba?


The Essential Baking Company super seeded multi-grain gluten free bread.

This is what caused the squeal.  And if I’m being honest, a happy dance too.  The package comes with two loaves and they cost the same as what you’d pay for one loaf in a normal store.  I can’t wait to try them!


Annie’s Naturals roasted garlic flavored olive oil.

For FODMAPs people like me this is huge.  How did I not know about this product?  Or maybe it’s new?  Until this point my options were between Garlic Gold or DIY so I’m super excited because this bottle is massive and will (maybe) last me a long time.


Nutiva organic extra virgin coconut oil.

Large and inexpensive and organic.  What more could I ask for?  Let the baking commence.

Costco, I love you.  Thanks for offering such awesome products.

What is your favorite Costco find??

Weekly Recap

This week was fun.  Busy and not busy in perfect amounts.  One thing I’ve noticed about working part time is there’s a big (HUGE) difference between 2 shifts and 3 shifts.  It may not sound like it, but I feel like the time off allows me to get so much more done.  And rather than fill it with errands and chores, I can actually hang out and relax and enjoy myself.  It’s lovely. 

Here are some of the things I ate this week.



Baked oatmeal bars with blueberries [sorry about the crappy pic] and peanut butter.

I failed to take a photo of the huge dish I made, but it was bomb.  Initially I was going to try and make granola bars, but I scraped that plan half way through and just made a really thick oatmeal bar instead.  I didn’t write down the recipe but I will next time.  It had all kinds of yummy stuff in it – chia seeds, blueberries, goji berries, almond flour, oats, and coconut oil.  I ate it before work on Saturday, and then made another serious dent in it on Sunday morning, and then finished the whole thing off on Tuesday morning. 

Monday morning was a savory one though.


Two fried eggs with roasted potatoes and ketchup. 

I’m on a mega pepper kick.  Not usually my thing, but hey, I’m just gonna roll with it.  Don’t worry I’m still a salt fiend through and through.


After Tuesday’s breakfast I was out of fresh baked goodies, so I made a loaf of banana bread for the next few mornings. 


I had a slice before swim lessons on Wednesday morning.

And then another afterwards.  With nut butter.  Always with nut butter.


Another slice with an egg.

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For work breakfasts I have been doing hack versions of the classic PB&J.  [Meaning I ran out of jam and have been using fresh fruit.  And almond butter instead of peanut butter.]  Blueberries on Thursday and banana slices on Friday.  Both on Udi’s GF millet chia bread.

I like sandos only because they are easy to eat one handed while pumping at work.

I pump before my shifts too, but since I’m at home I have a table and can sit and eat like a proper human at the same time.  Multi tasking for the win.


Here’s the 6 am scene.  Banana bread and coffee.  Hands free thanks to the nursing bra!


Admittedly I suck at remembering to photograph mid-day meals.  I’m just too busy doing other stuff.  I make a lot of snack plates though so you aren’t missing much.


See? Snack plate with leftover roasted potatoes, carrots, daiya cheddar, and hard boiled eggs.  I probably had nuts on the side too because it’s rare that I don’t have nuts at a meal. 

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This may sound crazy but this was my first time having tamales. 


Impulse buy from Whole Foods. 


I really liked them!  I didn’t know what to expect, but they were yummy.  The outside corn layer is thick so there wasn’t a ton of inside stuffing – I’m not sure if that’s how tamales normally are.  I thought the ratio was good.  Just enough tofu and veg.  Without the guacamole it has the potential to be a bit dry, but maybe not.  I will for sure buy again.


I had one for lunch with Sabra’s classic guacamole.  Truth: I had WAY MORE guac than as pictured. 


Salad with greens, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, and Beyond Meat.  No dressing.  Just olive oil and salt.


Snack plate.  The amount of peanut butter in the bowl is deceiving.  There’s at least 1/2 cup.  No shame.


Work lunch: brown rice pasta with parsley, basil, and kale tossed in olive oil, lemon juice, sesame seeds, salt & pepper. [Greens/herbs from my garden, lemon from my neighbor]

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Work lunch: salad with greens, tomato, roasted potatoes, smoked cheddar goat cheese, and quinoa.  The quinoa was an afterthought once I realized the salad probably wouldn’t hold me over.  I also added some organic miso ginger dressing


I have a few recent repeat offenders in the snack department, so here they are.

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I never liked (okay, I hated) banana chips growing up, but for some reason I felt compelled to buy them this week.  It was my healthy compromise since I really wanted chocolate covering everything from the bulk bins.  Ummm, so yeah, they’re really good!!!  I’ve been enjoying them as a dessert too.

Oh and Kombucha has reared it’s expensive head back into my life as well.  On the daily.  Budget fail.


One thing that has saved a little cash flow is making our own trail mix.  As you can see above, it has raisins, cashews, peanuts, dark chocolate chips, and gluten free cereal puffs.  Not terribly innovative but definitely cheaper than the pre-made stuff.  The most important thing is that the nuts are salty so they cover the raisins in salt too.  Mmmmm.  We POUND through trail mix like nobody business so this is huge for the bank account.


Between my breakfasts and snacks, I’m going to make another loaf of banana bread tonight since this one is almost gone.


Always always always.  All day long.  Nuts for nuts.


Work snacks: buckwheat granola (meh), carrots and celery, banana, Hail Merry vanilla maple almonds (love!!!), quinoa granola bar (didn’t try yet).


Work snacks: buckwheat granola, carrots & celery, trail mix.



Baked tofu, Mary’s Gone crackers, raw goat cheddar, grapes, Milton’s crackers, and salty roasted almonds. 

A typical al fresco meal, but indoors (because it was so hot!). 


Seitan & quinoa bowl with sriracha vegan aioli.  There’s chard from our garden under there somewhere.


Vegan and gluten free tamales. 

This was round two of the aforementioned tamales (even though the pics are from the first serving).  I had the rest of the guacamole (yup, the entire tub just for meeee) and two more tamales.  Can I get a pat on the back for stopping (when I was full) after eating 3 tamales, rather than just finishing off the 4th one just because it was there!?!  So unlike me!


Quinoa with salmon and tomato slices.

Those tomatoes were some of the most flavorful ones ever.  Thank you home-grown produce


Imitation WF fumi salad.


Post work assorted mish mash.  [I had the same thing the following night of work too, so no photo]

Holler if you want recipes to any of these and I’ll try to eventually share!